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Super-yacht makes a splash at Kuwait Yacht Show

Seahawks crush Broncos to win Super Bowl

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Oil strike looms as talks break down MP calls for scrapping Zour North contract

Max 18º Min 8º High Tide 02:27 & 15:12 Low Tide 09:08 & 21:29

By B Izzak conspiracy theories

Stop the 60 years of chaos

By Badrya Darwish


n my opinion, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor is one of the most dynamic and important ministries in Kuwait. Since God blessed us with oil more than 60 years ago, we were in need of foreign help and we opened our doors to expat labor. Why for over 60 years our rules and regulations to bring in foreign labor have not been clear? We don’t we have a set of rules for every problem that concerns foreign labor? Is it a miracle to set up this system? Don’t we have enough educated people and professionals or expertise to sit, debate and discuss how to organize our system? Even if we do not have the expertise, we can bring knowhow from outside. We can seek help from countries that have brought workers from outside. What is wrong in bringing experts? Let us discuss how to put a system in place which is fair and just for both the employer and the employee. Invite university professors and businessmen. They are the concerned ones. Bring small shop owners together with representatives from the ministry of interior with you because these are the two sides to discuss issues. Invite representatives of the ministry of health and the municipality because bringing foreign workers means a strain to the infrastructure in the country. Sit together not just for a day or two, and come up with a system of rules. Stop this chaos in the country. I am sure the new minister can do this. She looks quite courageous, determined and serious to adjust and arrange this in the ministry. She looks like she can do it. Until now, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor works as per the moods of the minister holding this portfolio. For example, one minister comes with his rules and then another one follows him and changes them all. One day you allow the issuance of visit visas and the next day you stop it. One month you open the issuance of commercial visas, for instance, and later another minister comes and closes it. Another rule for example is when you want a certain quota of expats from one country or another. There are so many changes but I can’t list them all in this article. I am just listing some of the latest issues. I think that the best thing the new minister can do is open a debate, invite people and organize seminars. Listen to people because maybe they have better ideas. Maybe the minister herself has better ideas. Look into the countries from where we bring in manpower. They have something to share too. Stop the anarchy. It scares people off. When you bring people and they work under a changing system, they feel insecure. Not only expats feel this. It also upsets and scares business owners. I know the sharks (hamours - people with big wasta) have their own way of bringing in workers - as many as they like and as fast as they like. But these people do not represent the whole country. They represent themselves. I am talking about the small and medium-sized businesses. We are all affected by the everyday changes of rules. We should have rules that suit everybody. Let’s sit and study which jobs we need. Instead of attacking expats every time and making them scapegoats for our weaknesses and disarray, we can organize our own house. There should not be chaos in driving license issuance or traffic problems and penalties. There should be a system that applies to all fairly and squarely. There should be rules and regulations without harassment. There are so many changes that affect everybody’s life. Even healthcare for expats needs to be studied. When you bring in somebody, what are his rights? It is not that if we have a new colonel at the traffic department, the laws should change drastically and in an unregulated way. Why should we rely on the mood of somebody who wants to portray himself as a hero in the country or to show us that he is more patriotic than all of us? Excuse me, we are all patriotic and we love Kuwait. Or is today’s sign of patriotism putting tough and ruthless rules for the labour force in Kuwait. Stop lying to the nation! Stop excusing our downward spiral in many areas with expats. This is not fair. I hope my article reaches the right people. I do not mind joining a debate and sharing my opinion. Maybe I am wrong, maybe I am right. I have no idea. Let’s finish with this problem once and for all and become like any advanced country and have a system nobody can skip. This system should not allow traffickers and quick-buck visa traders. We do not need merchants of false sentiments.

KUWAIT: This handout image shows the atmospheric residue desulphurization unit at the Mina Abdullah refinery complex. — KPC

KUWAIT: Kuwait’s oil sector workers continue to warn of a strike after a final bid to resolve their pay dispute with government-owned oil companies broke down yesterday in disagreement. Despite earlier reports, the Kuwait Oil Workers Union denied late yesterday that it has decided to start the strike today, saying that a decision on the strike will be made by the union’s president Abdulaziz Al-Sharthan. A union official who spoke to Kuwait Times on the condition of anonymity confirmed that a strike was not imminent, saying various steps had to be taken and arrangements made before any lockdown. The union earlier released a statement to the public through its Twitter account that a meeting they held with Oil Minister Ali Al-Omair and Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC) yesterday failed after “they rejected solutions offered by the trade unions”. The union added that the strike has become “inevitable” to restore the workers’ lost rights and preserve other rights. At a stake is a dispute over the payment of benefits, increments and bonuses to oil sector workers that oil companies have been paying over the past few years. Late last year, KPC and its affiliates decided to stop payment of what is known as “Success Partnership”, a form of a bonus drawn from profits beyond those projected in the budget. KPC has said that the payments have far exceeded what is allowed under state laws and it amended the method of payments, which was totally rejected by the unions who threatened to go on strike. Continued on Page 13

UAE says ‘no disputes’ with Qatar Emirati president ‘well’ after stroke

KUWAIT: The suspects are pictured after their arrest yesterday.

Auto thieves busted By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Criminal detectives arrested four citizens and four bedoons who stole cars that left Shuwaikh port after processing by customs. The suspects used license plates that belonged to other stolen vehicles in their heists. They also stole expensive animals, power generators and ATVs. The suspects were placed under surveillance following information about the thefts, and two of the suspects were

arrested and drugs were found on them. They led police to a camp where they stashed their loot, and the third suspect was arrested there under the influence of drugs. Large quantities of stolen goods were also found. Officers then went to another camp where the other five suspects were arrested and where drugs including shabu and hashish as well as eight stolen cars were found. The suspects and the stolen goods were sent to concerned authorities.

ABU DHABI: UAE-Qatar relations remain strong despite Doha’s ambassador being summoned over remarks by a cleric linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahayan said yesterday. “ There are no disputes between the brothers” said Abu Dhabi’s strongman, who is also deputy commander of the UAE armed forces, in remarks carried by WAM state news agency. “Differences take place between brothers in one family, but nothing can separate between us and our brothers in Qatar,” he said, stressing that he enjoys strong links with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

Sheikh Mohammed also said UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed AlNahyan, is “well” after an operation last month following a stroke. “We went through a tough time but we have overcome that,” he said. “Sheikh Khalifa, may God give him long life, is well.” Sheikh Khalifa, 66, who is also ruler of oil-rich Abu Dhabi, has not made a public appearance since the UAE announced that he underwent an operation following a stroke on Jan 24. His brother stressed that the leadership of the Gulf state did not want to hide the news about the president’s health problem, WAM reported. Sheikh Khalifa’s health Continued on Page13

Qaeda breaks link with Syrian group CAIRO: Al-Qaeda’s central leadership broke with one of its most powerful branch commanders, who in defiance of its orders spread his operations from Iraq to join the fighting in Syria and fueled bitter infighting among Islamist militant factions in Syria’s civil war. The break, announced in a statement yesterday, appeared to be an attempt by the terror network’s leader, Ayman AlZawahiri, to establish control over the

feuding militant groups in Syria and stem the increasingly bloody reprisals among them. It also reflected a move by Zawahiri, who succeeded Osama bin Laden as the group’s leader, to reestablish Al-Qaeda’s eminence in the jihadi movement in general, at a time when new militant groups have mushroomed not only Syria but around the region, inspired by Continued on Page 13

Pacific castaway is back in civilisation

MAJURO: A castaway named Jose Salvador Albarengo walks with the help of a Majuro Hospital nurse after a 22-hour boat ride from the isolated Ebon Atoll yesterday. — AFP

MAJURO, Marshall Islands: Sporting a bushy beard and clutching a can of Coke, a castaway who says he survived more than a year adrift in the Pacific Ocean arrived in the Marshall Islands capital Majuro yesterday. A male nurse had to help the man previously identified as Jose Ivan down the gangplank of a police patrol boat after a 22-hour trip from the remote coral atoll where he washed ashore last week after apparently setting sail from Mexico on December 24, 2012. About 1,000 curious onlookers crowded the dock for a glimpse of the long-haired fisherman, who smiled and waved briefly before he was whisked away for a medical check-up at Majuro Hospital. The castaway told US ambassador Thomas Armbruster, who was acting as an Continued on Page 13

DEIR EZZOR, Syria: A rebel fighter holding a weapon watches for snipers as he rushes to cross a street yesterday in this northeastern city. — AFP



Court requests lifting deputy speaker’s immunity By A. Saleh

KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah receiving the heads of charity organizations in Kuwait yesterday.

KUWAIT: The court sent a request to the parliament to lift parliamentary immunity from Deputy Speaker Mubarak Al-Khurainej so that he can be summoned for questioning over accusations of vote buying during last year’s elections. The request was sent to the legislative committee to discuss it and then send it to the parliament if approved. In other news, MP Abdulkareem Al-Kandari demanded amendments to the ministers’ trial law which he says “grants protection to ministers from prosecution”.

“Under the current law, all cases end up being shelved while the ruling cannot be appealed,” Kandari said in a statement yesterday. He said that an amendment to change these conditions can help “protect public funds”. Also yesterday, MP Abdullah AlTamimi released a statement in which he expressed gratitude to education minister Ahmad AlMulaifi and the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training administration for a decision to suspend an instructor over allegations of instigating sectarianism between teaching staff.

Kuwait, Yemen hold talks on cementing ties

KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah receiving Yemeni President Abd Rabuh Mansur Hadi at Kuwait International Airport yesterday.

KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah yesterday received Yemeni President Abd Rabuh Mansur Hadi, in presence of His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah, at the Amiri Airport. The Yemeni leader and the accompanying officials arrived in Kuwait earlier today starting an official mission. Official talks between the two sides were held. The Kuwaiti side was headed by His Highness the Amir, His Highness the Crown Prince and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah. Hadi headed the Yemeni party in the official discussions. Deputy Minister of Amiri Diwan Affairs Sheikh Ali Jarrah Al-Sabah said the discussions dealt with means of cementing brotherly bonds between the two countries, in addition to issues of common concern. Later, His Highness the Amir held a luncheon for the eminent guests at the airport. Hadi and the delegation were

greeted upon arrival by His Highness the Amir along with His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Parliament Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim, Deputy Chief of the National Guard Sheikh Meshal AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah AlKhalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Deputy Minister for Amiri Diwan Affairs Sheikh Ali Jarrah Al-Sabah, along with a host of ministers and senior commanders of the Army, Police, and National Guard. The president’s delegation includes his Foreign Minister, Abu Bakr Abdallah Al-Qirbi, and other senior officials. Meanwhile, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) signed a grant agreement worth $60 million yesterday for the funding of a college and another 12 technical education community colleges in Yemen. The grant will go into the construction of the Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad

College on Socotra Island. The college, constructed on an area of 33,750 sq/m, will accommodate some 300 students. Some 12 regions in the country will benefit from a community college, each of which will include offices, lecture halls, workshop centres, laboratories, sketching centres, a library, accommodation, a restaurant, a clinic, storerooms and a mosque. The projects aim to support socioeconomic development in Yemen, through raising the capabilities of the country’s administrative and academic workforce, read a KFAED statement. The assistance will additionally include providing institutional support of the project’s management team and the country’s supreme council for community colleges. It will also carry out the execution and compilation of curricula for the targeted majors. The agreement was signed by Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Muhammad Al-Saadi and KFAED Director-General Abdulwahab Al-Bader. Al-Saadi commended the “contin-

ued political and development assistance provided by the State of Kuwait,” along with the high-level attendance of National Dialogue Conference talks, represented by Kuwaiti First Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. The visit of the official was followed by Kuwaiti demands at the UN for further support of Yemen during the exceptional circumstances it is going through, he said. The assistance comes in line with contributions made by Kuwait aimed at enhancing human development potentials in Yemen, said the KFAED chief. The Kuwaiti official pledged the commitment of Gulf Cooperation Council states towards providing the support necessary for development and stability in the country. Kuwait has so far provided 35 loans to Yemen worth a collective KD 129 million for various development projects. Another $162.6 million has been provided by Kuwait — from the KFAED and the government — in the form of 20 grants.

Swine flu cases dealt with in ‘professional manner’ Workshop on non-communicable diseases GCC meteorology meeting in Kuwait KUWAIT: The fifth meeting of the GCC Standing Committee on Meteorology and Climate Change kicked off here yesterday with participation of GCC Assistant Secretar y-General for Human and Environment Affairs Dr Abdulla bin Uqla Al-Hashim and heads of GCC national meteorology facilities. The two-day meeting is to discuss a number of issues including effects of dust storms on the climate in GCC states, implementing a memorandum of understanding on climate-related issues between GCC states and China, and the possibility of adopting a Kuwaiti proposal for the establishment of a unified GCC center for tracking weather changes in the region. For his part, Mohammad Karam Johar, Director of Meteorology at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation in Kuwait, chairman of the meeting, indicated that the committee was up to the responsibility as it adopted the principle of moving toward limiting disasters dangers that is based on scientific studies, and keep away from fighting natural disasters as it always comes late. Also, Dr Al-Hashim called for focusing on specific projects that are viable for implementation in order for GCC countries to benefit from, stressing that outcomes of the projects must be institutional and futuristic. In addition, the participants agreed to forming a working group, including Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, to review the statute of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in order for GCC countries to benefit from WMO’s vital projects. — KUNA

KUWAIT: A number of positive swine flu cases were reported by a Health Ministry official here yesterday. These cases are receiving treatment “according to preventative and precautionar y programmes,” Assistant Undersecretary for General Healthcare Qais Al-Dowairi told reporters on the fringes of a workshop for non-communicable disease surveyors. Swine flu infection is usually simple, but can sometimes get complicated due to the existence of a concomitant, or secondary, illness, he suggested. It is flu season, and it is quite common that the cases have been detected, he said, adding that the cases will be dealt with in an “utterly professional manner.” The workshop is being held in preparation for surveys that will be taking place according to the directions of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Political Declaration of the High-level Meeting of the UN General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases. Non-communicable diseases have become more common globally due to the abundance of certain habits and behavior patterns like obesity, smoking and high blood pressure and cholesterol, he explained. Around 60 percent of deaths as a result of these diseases are due to the aforementioned habits. The local surveys will focus on specific age groups ranging from 18 to 65. These people will be handed comprehensive questionnaires in order to take a closer look at their social habits, including negative habits such as smoking, unhealthy diets and irregular behaviour

patterns. These questionnaires will be accompanied by blood tests revealing blood sugar, saturated fat and cholesterol levels. The surveys could take from three to six months, and will reveal an accurate picture of the level of spread of threatening factors amongst all age groups in the country, he concluded. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has reported two deaths as a result of swine flu. WHO said one of the cases is of a 54year-old male in Saudi Arabia who died on Jan 14. He was working in the health sector. The second case was in Jordan of a 58-year-old male who became ill on Dec 31 and died on Jan 23, after traveling to Britain from Nov 12 until Dec 25, 2013. The WHO report indicated that the second patient who died because of the infection was with visitors from Kuwait in the period between Dec 25 and Dec 31, 2013. Health authorities in Jordan are still following the cases and those who came in contact with the victim. Meanwhile, the report did not indicate any contacts between health ministries in Jordan and Kuwait to follow up those who were in contact with the Jordanian victim. WHO report emphasized the importance of fighting infection and the importance of health ministries’ vigilance. It said that one should avoid coming in contact with animals or visit farms. The source said the infectious diseases hospital receives two to three cases each month suspected of having swine flu, and when proven, they receive Tamiflu treatment which is something normal. Swine flu infects the breathing system, and has similar symptoms to regular flu such as high fever, fatigue, muscular pain, throat congestion, headache and coughing.

KUWAIT: A National Guard delegation headed by commander of organization and manpower Brig Fahad Eid Nasser visited the corruption fighting authority yesterday. The delegation highlighted the National Guard’s achievements in the field of transparency and fighting financial and administrative corruption, which qualified it for Kuwait Transparency Award.

Stage set for Arabian Horse Festival KUWAIT: The Third International Arabian Horse Festival 2014 will kick off here on Thursday, with a remarkable participation from 13 Arab and foreign countries, the festival’s organizing committee said yesterday. The committee is exerting all possible efforts to guarantee the success of this event, which is patronized by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, head of the committee, Dr Sheikh Ali Nasser Al-Ali Al-Sabah, said. More than 500 Arab horses coming from a total of 13 countries are to take part in this festival, including the United States, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Poland, Italy, Belgium, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait, he said. This high turnout is due to the good reputation of this festival, besides the support of His Highness the Amir, he affirmed. He praised the cooperation between the organizing committee and the horse breeders in receiving the horses coming from the participating countries at the festival’s headquarters in the Hunting and

Equestrian Club. He also expressed thanks to the local authorities for facilitating the entry of horses to the country, especially those coming from far places like Europe and United States to participate in the event. The festival will witness two competitions; the first is for the beauty of straight Egyptian Arabian horses, to be held for the first two days of the festival, while the third and fourth days will be on the competition of the beauty of open breed horses. The committee brought 12 international neutral judges, approved by the European Conference of Arab Horse Organizations (ECAHO), he added. The committee increased the value of cash prizes for winners of the first five positions in each category of the festival, he said. This year, the three best Kuwaiti horse stalls achieving distinguished results in the festival will be honored by the organizing committee, to encourage them from breeding the best and most beautiful horses. —KUNA

Local banks start applying ‘Basel3’ standards KUWAIT: Banking sources said risk management departments in local banks began operating according to new rules by the Central Bank on the capital sufficiency standard (Basel 3), which includes a bunch of advanced reforms according to the international standards issued by the Basel Committee for Banking Supervision. Other sources said the new changes need professional risk managements to be able to go along with these changes that are considered accurate and highly professional. They said that there are banks that will call specialized foreign experts in the next few days to study the

financial situation and each bank’s ability to apply the new changes during the designated period. As for allocating precautionary capital retainers, and others for economic fluctuations, sources said the new applications will not protect banks against losses in the event of a fresh global economic crisis - rather it will set an accepted limit for the bank and its shareholders for those losses. Most banks were applying “Basel 2” standards, but this did not protect them against the derivatives crises among others. About the two new standards for liq-

uidity - a liquidity standard for the short term and a liquidity standard for long term - the sources said that despite the fact that liquidity levels in banks are good currently compared with banks in the region, the new standards need a long time to be applied because those standards have special calculations and must agree with the complete financial situation of the bank, and this is a complicated process that cannot be conducted easily. Sources said the Central Bank will meet with each bank separately to get to know their situation and the ability to apply the new standards, bearing in mind that there

are possibilities to liquidate shares and real estate in the coming period, because for each asset in the banks, there is a risk weight in the capital sufficiency standard, and the Central Bank is supposed to work on changing these risk weights. This may cause a problem for some banks to deal with those assets, especially the capacity sufficiency standard. The sources said the Central Bank understands some cases at the banks, and expects weights will be applied gradually in the long run, and estimated the period to be five years which is enough time not to cause shocks in the sector.



KUWAIT: His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah inaugurating new headquarters of the Ministry of Interior in Subhan.

Crown Prince inaugurates new Interior HQ KUWAIT: His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah yesterday inaugurated new headquarters of the Ministry of Interior (Nawaf Al-Ahmad Headquarters) in Subhan. His Highness the Crown Prince motorcade arrived at the celebration venue to a welcome by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khaled Al-Hamad AlSabah, Interior Undersecretary Sulaiman Fahad Al-Fahad, assistant undersecretaries, senior police officers and ministry officials. Also upon His Highness Sheikh Nawaf’s arrival, the National Anthem was played, the building memorial plaque was uncovered and the red ribbon was cut, signaling official opening of the building. Following readings of Quranic verses, His Highness the Crown Prince addressed a statement, conveying greetings and congratulations of His Highness the Amir on the occasion of inaugurating the new main building of the Ministry of Interior. “It is worth mentioning on this occasion to affirm that the political leadership spared no effort for securing all support for accomplishing construction of this aloft complex, with high standards worthy of the ministry and its personnel,” His Highness the Crown Prince stated, also congratulating the ministry officers and personnel for this major accomplishment.

Sheikh Nawaf recalled the times when he served as minister of interior noting that the ministry modernization had started at that time, upgrading the equipment, services, namely police tasks, “for sake of realizing law sovereignty, enforcing security and order across our homeland, so dear Kuwait may remain an oasis of security, safety and stability.” He addressed greetings to the minister of interior, the former undersecretaries, namely Ghazi Al-Omar, underlining

his devotion and sincere efforts in the service. He congratulated the new Interior Undersecretary, Sulaiman Fahad Al-Fahad, and finally urged the personnel to work in coordination with the fellow personnel in the armed forces and the National Guards for protecting Kuwait round the clock, under leadership of the “guardian of our renaissance His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces,

may Allah protect him.” Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khaled AlHamad Al-Sabah also made an address on the occasion, expressing gratitude to His Highness the Crown Prince for patronizing the celebration. The inaugural ceremony of the new MoI headquarters has coincided with the 53rd anniversary of the National Day, the 23rd anniversary of Kuwait’s Liberation and the

eighth anniversary of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad’s proclamation as the Amir of the State of Kuwait. He praised His Highness the Crown Prince, name of whom was given to the new ministry headquarters, for his continuing contributions to the development of the national police and the security forces, pledging to follow his steps in bolstering the national security to the level as aspired by His Highness the Amir. — KUNA

Kuwait to reopen foreign labor recruitment soon Ministry working on executive regulations KUWAIT: While Kuwait plans to reopen the door for companies to recruit foreign labor forces freely, there is a serious consideration to limit the duration of visit visas and make them nonrenewable until better regulations to tackle visa trafficking are introduced. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor announced two weeks ago that transferring visit visas to work permits in the private sector was suspended for one month in order to introduce better regulations to organize the operation, amid complaints that it has flaws that allow violations including visa trafficking and issuance of visas illegally. The ministry has closed foreign labor recruitment multiple times in the past few years in a bid to curb the state’s increasing demographic imbalance, with exception given to companies that have contracts signed with the government to carry out developmental projects. There is currently a shortlist of nearly 50 job categories for which employers can receive permission to recruit foreign labor forces.

KUWAIT: Ahmadi Governor Sheikh Dr Ibrahim Al-Duaij Al-Sabah attended the opening of second gallery of Indian artist Vivek Belman, in Jabriya recently. The Indian ambassador to Kuwait Sunil Jain attended the event. The gallery is open every day from 10am to 8pm at the Dar Al-Saied in Jabriya, Block 12.

New investigation On Sunday, a senior MSAL official announced that the door to recruiting labor forces from outside Kuwait “for every activity and without exceptions” will be reopened in the near future, explaining at the same time that the ministry is currently working on the executive regulations that will be followed. “An announcement for the time and mechanism of reopening work permits’ issuance is pending a report from the committee that was formed to study best ways to transfer commercial visit visas to work permits in the pri-

vate sector,” said Jamal Al-Dousary, who is the Assistant Undersecretary for the Labor Sector. Meanwhile, Dousary urged companies who have contracts with the government to “take advantage of the exception” that they have and apply for work permits instead of recruiting laborers on visit visas. He also announced in a statement carried by Al-Qabas yesterday that an investigation will be opened over reports that revealed a lack of discipline in labor departments, including the Capital Labor Department where cleaning workers were reportedly assigned to stamp official papers. Separately, AlAnbaa daily reported yesterday that the Interior Ministry is expected to announce a decision ‘within hours’ that bans immigration departments around Kuwait from renewing commercial visit visas. The visa is currently valid for one month with an option to be renewed for an additional month. But according to sources quoted in the report, the decree makes the one-month visa nonrenewable, and allows those who entered Kuwait most recently to apply for a 15-day extension. The decree is set to be released by Maj Gen Sheikh Faisal Al-Nawaf Al-Sabah, the Assistant Undersecretary for Citizenship and Passports Affairs, and will become effective as of March 1, 2014, said the sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Human trafficking Regarding the reason behind this step, the sources said that it comes as part of efforts to address “loopholes that were taken advantage of recently”. “The new procedures come after several cases were detected in which commercial licenses were used in visa trafficking,” the sources

Instagram, major marketing medium KUWAIT: The goal of some blog and Instagram users goes beyond the traditional purpose of social networking as Instagram, in particular, has become a major marketing platform. Bloggers and “Instagrammers” have been broadly advertising and marketing on their accounts both inside and outside of Kuwait due to the emergence of a new phenomenon where companies and agencies offer them to buy or sponsor their accounts in return for the promotion of their products. On the contrary, some bloggers and Instagrammers refuse to sell their accounts so that they can moderate them themselves where they depend on providing information for their followers for free as the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is working on controlling such a market since it is

not subject to the law. Any Instagram user can simply browse this fast photo sharing application’s pages to find accounts of young Kuwaitis with various interests, narrating their everyday experiences through pictures. Several companies and agencies turn to this method of marketing and advertising as it only takes a few clicks away from launching and promoting businesses into cyberspace to reach the public. The interaction process among bloggers, Instagrammers and owners of international brands turned into a beneficial relationship where the popular blogger or Instagrammer makes money by promoting the brand owners’ products such as clothes, accessories, foods, homemade crafts, as well as the promotion of tourism and art

exhibitions. Blogger Sundus Al-Qattan whose followers exceeded 600,000 said that her experience began since the beginning of Instagram’s launch with the encouragement of her sisters, relatives and friends who suggested she tries this application. She said that she initially encountered negative criticism from her followers, but later on, when the Kuwaiti and even the Gulf societies accepted this phenomenon, she started getting positive, interactive and supportive comments. Al-Qattan added she currently is not sponsored by any company despite the offers she had received, because she wants to manage her account by herself without receiving any commercial profit. For her part, Instagrammer Mariam Dashti said her Instagram experience began

by chance and without prior planning, and that is when she posted personal pictures on the application to be surprised by the positive reaction of many Instagram users, some of which invited her to attend significant events. She added she received encouragement from her family, especially her father, her husband and friends and that he has over 45,000 followers on her personal account. Instagram significantly refreshes the local market as “small businesses owners use it for the promotion of their projects,” Dashti noted. Hamad Al-Ali said he had a blog, which he had to shut down in order to create a Twitter and Instagram accounts due to these two social networking medium’s popularity.—KUNA

said. They added that Sheikh Faisal is “seriously considering” making hotel reservations a mandatory condition to obtain a visit visa. Visa trafficking is a form of human trafficking in which workers are brought by work permits issued illegally through loopholes found in the sponsorship or ‘kafala’ system that organizes the affairs of the country’s expatriate labor force. Victims of visa traffickers are mostly low-wage workers who come from Southeast Asia, North Africa and other countries seeking work in the oil-rich Gulf region. Once they reach Kuwait, a worker is left with no physical job and becomes prone to hard labor, mistreatment and extortion by asking large amounts of money to renew their expired visas. In other news, Al-Jarida quoted MSAL insiders who expressed optimism that Kuwait’s ranking will be improved in the International Labor Organization’s report when it comes to human rights. Kuwait is currently ranked in the last of three possible categories for countries that pay little attention to honoring human rights, but the sources said that there are several factors that help the Gulf state improve by one stage by the time the next ILO report is released in May. According to the sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the factors include passing a law against human trafficking that was approved in the parliament last year, as well as a law to establish a labor public authority which will serve as a replacement for the sponsorship system. Other factors include building a shelter for domestic helpers with a capacity of 700 runaways, as well as the government’s announcement of plans to naturalize 4,000 bedoons this year, the sources added.


LOCAL kuwait digest

Stands, views of Sheikh Salem

February spring

In my view

Will ‘framework’ deal pay off?

By Ahmad Al-Sarraf

By Hassan Barari



any were those who were impressed with Sheikh Salem Abdulaziz Al-Sabah when he resigned from his prestigious post as Central Bank governor. His resignation indicated at the time the man’s commitment and his clear stand towards many government decisions, and his objection to several financial government decisions, especially those related to the huge squandering by hiking salaries, which lacked wisdom, and all including those whose salaries were increased will pay the price later in the form of inflation and high prices in every field. Yet, this admiration faded away when Sheikh Salem accepted an appointment in a government whose premier’s decisions he previously rejected, and accepted the finance portfolio, which is the area he previously complained about because of its bad decisions. Yet others found his appointment as a good omen, and that he was appointed or came to reform what he previously complained from, or what he was unable to reform when he was receiving orders from the finance minister, and that the country will witness a halt to unjustified spending during his term. Yet, the man surprised us, or maybe disappointed us, when he spent most of his time in the finance ministry,

Yet, the man surprised us, or maybe disappointed us, when he spent most of his time in the finance ministry, which controls all financial and economic systems, but was not able to achieve a single reform. which controls all financial and economic systems, but was not able to achieve a single reform. Then the Cabinet reshuffle came around, and there was not any sign from Sheikh Salem that he was in seclusion, other than a short news item that he will accept the post and cited health reasons for this! And here again, he was surprising, like the rest of surprises that the latest government was full of, when his name was not mentioned in the latest formation! Then the shock came, in which Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah warned during an interview against economic risks if the government’s abnormal spending continues, and the accelerating spending which will cause a shakeup in the country’s financial status in the near future, and the significant deficit that it will lead to. He called for rationalizing subsidies and limiting it to those in real need, and keep spending at its current levels. He said the accumulated deficit from 2016 until 2030 will reach nearly KD 100 billion. The question here - why didn’t he stipulate before entering the ministry that his duty was to correct what he believes is wrong? And why did he not present any reform initiative, while he was the most important minister in the Cabinet? What did His Excellency do when he was minister of the ministry that is concerned with the state’s budget and its financial health? Why did he accept the post to start with, as he knew that whoever took this post cannot do anything in the presence of a “shadow government”? Why did he not resign from the ministry, as he had a strong personality and will to resign his post as Central Bank governor when he discovered his total inability? We are here not to attack the man, because he may have his reasons - rather to explain the extent of failure that we have reached. If our financial issues - which are easier to solve - are this bad, then what is the situation with more complicated issues? —Al-Qabas

kuwait digest

KAC privatization: Lessons learned By Mohammed Al-Moqatei


ixty years ago or in 1954 to be specific, the Kuwait Airways Corporation was established as an initiative by a group of Kuwaiti businessmen. It started as a private company and, as Kuwait’s national carrier, received government support since the beginning of the establishment procedures. KAC is considered one of the oldest airlines in the Arab world and the entire world. In 1965, the government bought the company’s entire shares to become wholly owned by the state. But after 10 years of success as a private company, KAC began its sudden decline as it was burdened with government obligations such as the so-called ‘sovereign lines’ or flights to countries or cities without economic feasibility. Add to that the government’s routine and the social burden of employment, the KAC continued its downward spiral until its losses reached KD 90 million, and with an old fleet of 17 planes that ranks it among the smallest worldwide.

It is ironic that on its 60th anniversary, KAC returns back to its starting point by law number 22/2013 which transformed it back into a private company. It is ironic that on its 60th anniversary, KAC returns back to its starting point by law number 22/2013 which transformed it back into a private company. The 50 years experience of government ownership exposed the error of putting companies or institutions with commercial activity under the control of state departments that lack the capability of coping with commercial requirements and achieving success in this field. After the parliament completed the KAC privatization two weeks ago, the process of refurbishing KAC has become complete. Now, KAC is required to achieve three key issues immediately - speed up the process of upgrading the KAC fleet, abandon ‘sovereignty lines’ that waste funds and increase losses (reducing excessive labor forces is also required), and operating aircraft economically with an average of 14 to 15 hours a day. Once these issues are taken care of, KAC can return back to making profits ahead of selling it to a strategic investor while being financially and operationally recovered. —Al-Qabas


kuwait digest

Need urgent decisions By Abdullatif Al-Duaij


here is a traditional Kuwaiti saying about what to do with a sinking boat. It says that while the boat is sinking, put your weight (or any other weight) on its edge so that it sinks faster when there is be no hope in saving whatever is on board. The saying is a metaphor for when there would be nothing you can do to improve a bad situation. I believe that it applies to the country’s situation right now, or at least this is what the ‘guardians’ believe. The guardians are of course the members of the parliament and Cabinet, who work silently on speeding up the sinking process by approving populist laws. The government bashfully warns, but the alerts are eventually met with deaf ears. On the other hand there are MPs who seek to enforce grants, and employees who work to obtain allowances and pay increases. Eventually, the government yields or fakes objection as it gives approval for what it had warned against. I believe that immediate decisions, which follow revolutionary ones, are required not only to limit spending, but also to create additional sources of income other than oil revenues. Limiting spending alone is not enough; it would be like a painkiller

that does not cure the actual problem. We need urgent decisions because the boat has already began sinking, and ‘began’ is in past tense. We should already have the solutions to address today’s crises and deal with tomorrow’s calamities. Meanwhile, revolutionary decisions are needed because we do not have time for fruitless debate, and also because current national institutions are going to disapprove them anyway since they all support going towards more spending. Or in other words, put weight on the sinking boat’s edge. The government alone is responsible for saving the situation, because time is already up and we already have wasted the period allowed for appeal and warning. Meanwhile, more debate means spending more money that we do not own, and facing greater challenges tomorrow compared to what we are supposed to face today. To opposition and ‘nationalistic’ activists, please save us the trouble of listening to what you have to say. The situation cannot tolerate anymore waiting, nor is it tolerable anymore. It is better to allow the corrupt individuals to steal some of the public funds, according to your own words, rather than spending it all uncontrollably. —Al-Qabas

in my view

Be open to differences By Saad Dosari


e do not really see what is out there, we only see what we want to see, we selectively process what we want to perceive, we program our lives, tune our emotions, to the frequency we want to catch. In general, that is normal. We are different no matter how we thought we are the same. What is not normal is when we think that what is different is anomalous, unnatural and untrue that it needs to be fixed to be like us, like the way we want to see and do things. These thoughts came to me while I was watching a former Saudi official talking about one of our cities. With his overexcitement about the city and the unequivocal persistence that its rising small neighbor is nothing, a shell without a soul, a sand castle waiting for the next wave to wipe it out, you cannot help but to wonder, is he really seeing what we are all seeing, or I would assume, most of us at least do? The reality is, this guy is not alone. We all have such kinds of prejudice and strong beliefs toward certain things. It is happening in our personal lives the same way it is happening in our professional transactions. We grow up with certain views about ourselves and about the world we live in. A lot of us tend to get attached to these views, believing that they are the truth, the unique, unchallenged facts of life. Let us take an example: Women. Because some of us have grown up believing that women are delicate and should be guarded around the hour, protected behind walls and doors, he or she cannot relate to or understand discussions about allowing women to work, or allowing them to drive. Such discussions encompass weird concepts that are strange to his or her world; to the angle where he or she believes is the only angle to look into the universe. And of course, that is also applicable to the other extreme, those who lived in an open society with no walls or red lines; they cannot seem to understand the concept of a woman deciding to cover her hair in

public based on a personal belief. Let us take a professional example; those who worked under a system for so long, cannot have the courage to challenge it no matter how obsolete it becomes. The rhythm of bureaucracy becomes the only music they could hear and dance to. They cannot think creatively, they cannot think out of the box, they actually love the box so much that they want to replace it or go out of it. Blindness to differences is the common ground where such problems stand on and grow. The narrow angle where we see the world through becomes the only scale we can use to weight and judge matters. The harsh reality is, a society cannot grow healthy and productive, unless it is open to differences, or better yet, appreciating differences. Look around you, from the ideology-based struggles, to rumors and personal attacks on social media sites, to political or religion-related turmoil, at the heart of them all, there is a prejudice stemmed out of differences. Naturally, based on our own upbringing values and beliefs, we take matters at face value. Few are those who think beyond what had always been presented to them. Psychologists call this “the power of framing.” When we get use to a certain frame of mind, of same explanations and concepts, of sanctified customs and traditions, it is hard to break loose. The society where the most are submitting to the same frame of mind is a society imprisoned to history and default. The way out is to encourage critical thinking and to respect differences. The new world is communication-based, groups of different backgrounds and beliefs are interacting and working together to take the humanity forward, if you are not ready to join them, to work with them, and at the same time, respecting their differences, you better fall behind, waving goodbyes to the advancing convoys toward the future.

o jump-start peace talks between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Israeli government, US Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to unveil a framework deal in the weeks to come. The expected deal will be the basis for negotiation over a final status issues and is hoped to lead to a fully-fledged peace treaty between Palestine and Israel. To be sure, the contents of the framework have been leaked. In his meeting with the American Jewish leaders, Martian Indyk, the American special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, said that the objective would be to conclude a peace treaty by the end of the year. Indyk referred to what is considered necessary concessions for a fair and lasting deal. The framework deal is expected to include: A phased Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank with special security arrangements in the Jordan Valley; a capital for the demilitarized Palestinian state in East Jerusalem; the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state; compensations for Palestinians and Jewish refugees; keeping some 80 percent of settlers under Israeli sovereignty. Implicit in the framework deal is no return to Palestinian refugees. For many Palestinians, this specification will be hard to swallow. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will find it extremely difficult to accept in advance writing off the right of return for millions of the Palestinians before the start of the talks. Thus far, the Palestinian response is negative. President Abbas made it perfectly clear that he would not accept a deal that deprives the Palestinians from the right of return. Additionally, he is opposed to the idea of not having full sovereignty over the Jordan Valley. On the other hand, Netanyahu is having difficulties in accepting all terms of the framework deal. But there are two points that could make it less difficult for him to be onboard. First, the deal talks about the compensation for

To be sure, the contents of the framework have been leaked. In his meeting with the American Jewish leaders, Martian Indyk, the American special envoy for the IsraeliPalestinian negotiations, said that the objective would be to conclude a peace treaty by the end of the year. the Jewish refugees who fled the Arab countries in the wake of the establishment of the state of Israel and the continuation of the state of war with the Arab countries. The American inclusion of this term is designed to create a supportive constituency within Israel that could push the government to accept the deal. Second, the Palestinian side is to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state. This is not a small step for the Palestinians to take. Just a few weeks ago, Netanyahu told Israeli audience that the reason for the continuation of the conflict was that the Arab side has rejected to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state. Therefore, this stipulation in the framework will make it difficult for Netanyahu to reject the deal. That said, the element of the framework is hotly debated in Israel and some intra-governmental differences have surfaced. By the same token, the Palestinians have been debating the framework in order to figure out how to deal with this proposal. Now, it is obvious that the Palestinian leader is in a dilemma. If he accepts that framework, he will face enormous Palestinian opposition and he will go down to history as a “sell out.” Nevertheless, if he turns down the framework deal, he will be blamed for the failure of Kerry’s effort. What makes matter worse for the Palestinian side is that even accepting the framework deal will not automatically lead to an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. It can only be a means for extracting enormous concessions from the Palestinians without real quid pro quo. Long time observers of the Arab-Israeli conflict argue that the framework can only keep the negotiations on for yet another year without real success. It seems that the Palestinian side has been taken off guard. President Abbas should have sought national reconciliation long ago. Hamas is not expected to agree to this “humiliating” deal. If anything, the policy of excluding Hamas while seeking a deal with Israel has been exposed. Earlier on, Abbas and his Fatah movement thought that a deal with Israel could enhance their status at the expense of Hamas. According to this logic, Hamas would be seen as a futile and unrealistic movement whereas Fatah would be seen as an achiever! Abbas’ possible acceptance of this deal will hardly project him as an achiever.

in my view

Catching up with technology By Abdullateef Al-Mulhim


t is said that at the beginning of the last century, an American man committed a capital crime and was sentenced to life in prison. The prison wasn’t in the close proximity of any town. So, the security wasn’t as tight as many other prisons. After spending 5 years in the prison, he decided to escape because he had nothing to lose. So, he thought of an escape plan with one of his trusted friends. All he needed from his friend was to leave a car at a pre-designated location and he would take care of the rest. The prisoner’s friend visited him on D-Day and gave him a sketch of the getaway car’s location. Later on, the prisoner was able to escape and was able to locate the car. But, he stood by the car for a long time and the prison guards realized that he escaped. A search team was sent to look for him and caught him near the car and brought him back to his cell and the guards were puzzled why he just didn’t drive away. Well, he didn’t know how to start the car even though he was known to be one the most experienced drivers. As a matter of fact, the prisoner went to jail at a time when cars were started by a handle attached to the front of the automobiles. And during the years he was in jail, the car key was invented and the crank handle simply became a thing of the

past. His friend assumed he knew of the new invention, which is called the ignition key. Well, I read about this little story a long time ago but can a similar thing happen to others these days with the new changes in the automobile industry? The answer is yes, it can. It happened to a friend of mine just this past week in the American capital, Washington. Before my friend’s arrival to Dulles International Airport, he reserved an SUV at Avis. But his flight was delayed due to heavy snowfall on Jan 23. Upon his arrival all SUVs had been taken. This is a normal thing at American airports. Many visitors would switch their small cars for bigger cars for safety reasons during snowstorms. When my friend arrived at Avis, the agent politely apologized and offered him another car (a top brand in the industry) as compensation. My friend was glad and took that car. But this friend had never owned or even drove that car before. Because of his rush to drive away after the delayed flight, he didn’t have time to familiarize himself with the many gadgets the car had to offer. My friend drove the car from the rental company lot and immediately stopped at the red light next to the rental company with little skid because of the icy road. The front of his car was in the middle of the intersection. And all of a sudden, the

engine just quit. He panicked of why did the engine stop running and was more panicked when he saw a police car next to him signaling him to back up a little to clear the intersection. In America, when a policeman tells you to stop or move, you just do it. But my friend couldn’t move because the engine was not running and didn’t know why and pushed the ignition button. My friend rolled down his window and the policeman did the same. So, my friend took out the clearly known red and white rental agreement and told the policeman that he just rented the car and the car just stalled. The policeman smiled and lit up his flashing warning lights and got out of the car to help my friend. They contacted the rental company’s office. At the end, it turned out that my friend didn’t need any help. Some types of cars of a particular brand are designed to shut the engine when the car stops to save fuel and it would start again the minute you press the gas paddle or raise your foot from the brake. Ten years ago, car keys started to disappear. Cars now are started by a keyless system. And short time ago we saw cars that parked on their own. This parking system saved many people from embarrassing moments. And finally, few months ago, we saw the introduction of cars that do not need a driver.



World Cancer Day aims to raise collective voices Exact causes remain unknown KUWAIT: Nations prepare for World Cancer Day today as the hope to combat and limit the impacts of one of the most deadly diseases facing humanity lives on. World Cancer Day was founded by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) in 2008. Its primary aim is to significantly reduce suffering and death caused by the disease by 2020. This year, World Cancer Day aims to “raise our collective voices in the name of improving general knowledge around cancer and dismissing misconceptions about the disease,” said a website dedicated to the annual event. On this, the event focuses on five notions amongst people it views are “myths” about the disease, namely “we don’t need to talk about Cancer, there are no signs or symptoms, there is nothing I can do about cancer and I don’t have the right to cancer care.” “From a global level, we are focusing our messaging on the four myths above. In addition to being in-line with our global advocacy goals, these overarching myths leave a lot of flexibility for members, partners and supporters to adapt and expand on for their own needs.” Oncology Consultant at Kuwait’s Ministry of Health Khaled Al-Saleh

says that the exact causes of cancer remain unknown, however, certain factors aid its development like smoking - which is linked to lung and mouth cancer - and exposure to radioactive rays - linked to the cancers of the thyroid, blood and breast (in women). A study by the Kuwait Cancer Control Center (KCCC) reveals that one of the most abundant cancers in the country amongst men is colon cancer (14pct), followed by prostate cancer (13pct). Amongst women, breast cancer occupies a staggering 40 pct, followed by a meagre 9pct of thyroid cancer patients, the tumor specialist added. The average of cancer incidence in Kuwait of 117 cases for every 100,000 people, or 0.117pct, is considered mid-scale according to international studies conducted in 2008, he said. This number is similar across other neighbouring Gulf Cooperation Council states. “Cancer patients need to be aware that this disease is not deadly anymore, but has become a chronic disease, as the chances of finding a cure in some cases is more than 90pct. For a collective average of all cases, it represents a 50-60pct chance,” he said. “Scientists hope to reach a cure

success rate of 70pct over the next few years,” he added. He stressed the importance of letting people know of this information. “There is not a single strain of cancer it has dozens that differ in their response and curing methods some cures are immediate, while others are difficult.” Cancer is one of the diseases that not only affects the patient but adds mental trauma amongst their family as a whole, he explained, and this is due to the inaccurate information given about the ailment. “It has become imperative that doctors educate the patient and their family, through painting an accurate positive picture on the situation.” He emphasised that mental support is crucial at this stage. However, the Ministry of Health is undertaking huge efforts aimed at spreading awareness on the disease, through campaigns like Cancer Awareness Nation, or CAN. The campaign offers a daily hotline for enquiries, booklets and visual awareness advertisements on TVs across the country’s public hospitals and medical centres. It also trains local doctors on the need to help people gain a better understanding of the disease, said Al-Saleh. —KUNA

Awareness campaign against obesity KUWAIT: Director of the health wellbeing division of the Ministry of Health Dr Abeer Al-Baho affirmed yesterday that the ministry scaled up the efforts to curb “the worrying rates” of obesity. “The ratio of fat people to the population in Kuwait is the world’s second highest only after the United States,” she said in a press conference on the launching of the second awareness campaign on this problem, between Feb 5 and 7. “An estimated 48 percent of Kuwaiti women and 36.6 of men are overweight while the world average rate is only one person out of six,” Dr Al-Baho said, citing statistics of the World Health Organizations (WHO). The prevalence rate of obesity

worldwide has increased by 10 percent since 1980. Obesity has become the fifth cause of death, claiming the lives of some 2.8 million adult people annually, according to WHO estimates. “The Ministry of Health, realizing the seriousness of the problem and its impacts on the public health, has launched a range of joint programs with government and non-government organizations on the local and the Gulf levels with a view to sharing experience in the domains of awareness, prevention and treatment of obesity,” she pointed out. Dr Al-Baho noted that the main cause of the problem is the gap between high number of consumed calories and low number of burnt ones. On his part, Qotaiba Saleh Al-

Bassam, director of the public relations division of Boubyan Bank, said the bank picked children’s overweight as theme of this year ’s campaign against obesity. “ The bank has been active in shouldering its social responsibility in the recent years and contributed to a range of public health awareness campaigns on such problems as diabetes, blood pressure and obesity,” he added. Meanwhile, Ahmad Al-Ibrahim, head of the second campaign against obesity, said the activities of this year’s event include a healthcare show where specialized companies and clinics will showcase their latest contributions to the improvement of public health. —KUNA

KUWAIT: His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah received Health Minister Dr Ali Saad Al-Obaidi and Dr Hassan Meshleh Al-Shimmiri at Bayan Palace yesterday. Al-Shimmiri is the recent recipient of a prize for academic excellence in relation to his research work in medical and health fields.

KPC interested in social activities KUWAIT: Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) is keen to have presence in the Kuwaiti society and to broaden the scope of social activities, Managing Director of the KPC for Corporate Relations and Information Technology Ali Al-Obaid said here yesterday. The KPC seeks to attend various youth activities which reflect the skills and talents of Kuwaiti young people in all fields and allow them to promote themselves, Al-Obaid said in news remarks. He highly commended the seventh version of the national forum “Proud to be Kuwaiti”, which was recently held under the sponsorship of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. He said the KPC’s pavilion in the forum has managed to promote the development of oil industry in Kuwait, which constitutes the backbone of the Kuwaiti national economy, pioneering strategic projects and the KPC’s social responsibility efforts. He lauded the forum as a good gathering for the best Kuwaiti small-sized enterprises and creative and skilled people. — KUNA



KUWAIT: Stores and advertisements supervisory officials carried out a campaign in Jahra markets to check all types of linceses and make sure they are valid. The campaign resulted in issuing 25 citations. — Photos by Hanan Al-Saadoun

Woman killed in Salmiya police chase accident Drunk officers in police custody KUWAIT: A woman was killed and a taxi driver was injured during an accident on Sunday while police were chasing a drug addict who was driving a patrol vehicle. The incident took place at the Second Ring Road where patrol officers pulled over a sports car carrying two people. Police placed the driver under arrest after an identity check revealed that he was wanted for drug-related charges. But the man, who was reportedly inebriated at the time, clashed with the officers and managed to drive away with the patrol vehicle while the second suspect escaped in the sports car. Backup police soon arrived and went in pursuit of the suspect who crashed into a taxi during his escape. Paramedics arrived at the scene after the policemen called for an ambulance, then rushed the taxi driver and his passenger to the hospital. The Filipina was pronounced dead soon after arriving at the medical facility. Meanwhile, police were able to locate the stolen patrol vehicle in Firdous, but discovered by the time they arrived at the site that the suspect had disappeared. In the meantime, police were able to arrest his accomplice who remains under investigations to reveal the suspect’s whereabouts. Homicide investigation A homicide investigation was opened to determine the circumstances behind the death of a middle-aged man whose body was found in Salmiya. Police and paramedics headed to a street in the area following an emergency call reporting the discovery of a motionless man on the pavement. The victim, identified as an Iranian national, was pronounced dead at the scene before criminal investigators were called. A homicide investigation was ordered after evidence of foul play was found at the scene. The

body was taken to the forensic department for an autopsy to reveal the time and cause of death. Investigations are ongoing. Drunk officers Two policemen face charges after they were caught drunk and with possession of alcohol and drugs, according to a police report filed in Mubarak Al-Kabeer. Patrol officers had approached a car that was stopped in a yard behind the Qurain polyclinic, and discovered that the two men inside were heavily intoxicated. After checking their identities, police discovered that the two were their comrades, as one of them is employed at the State Security Department and the other in the Inspection and Control Department. An imported liquor bottle as well as 20 drug pills and a plastic bag containing an unspecified drug were found in the suspects’ possession. They were taken to the Criminal Investigations Department for further action. Teens arrested Two teenagers were arrested on several mugging charges reported in Hawally recently. Two patrol officers were surveying Sharhabeel Road in the area when people stopped them and said that there were two men who were mugging pedestrians at knifepoint. The two, a 19-year-old Egyptian and 17-year-old Palestinian, were caught red-handed while attacking a Sri Lankan national. They were taken to the Nugra police station for further action. Robbery foiled A search is underway for two suspects who ran over a man after they failed to rob him in Ardiya Sunday. The victim, a Kuwaiti in his twenties, received treatment for minor head injuries

at Farwaniya Hospital following the incident. In his statements to police, the man said that the suspects tried to steal his money at knifepoint as soon as he walked away from an ATM after withdrawing KD 250. The man showed resistance and managed to run away, but the suspects followed him with their car, ran him over and drove away according to his testimonies. A case was filed for investigations. Sexual assault A domestic worker filed a case with Hawally police in which she accused a domestic labor recruitment office employee of sexual assault. In her statements to police, the Asian woman said that the suspect, also Asian, raped her when the two were alone in the office and after she refused to comply with his sexual demands. Police are looking to summon the man for questioning. Drug overdose Two men were hospitalized in a coma induced by a drug overdose in two separate cases reported on Monday. The first case was reported in side a camp in Mutlaa where a Kuwaiti man passed out after a drug overdose. The 43-year-old arrived at Jahra Hospital in a critical condition while police are waiting for his condition to stabilize in order to question him over the source of the drugs. The second incident was reported at Adan Hospital where a Kuwaiti man arrived in a comatose state, before a medical test revealed that he abused an unidentified substance. His brother soon arrived to the hospital, but denied knowledge of the reason why the man was in a state of coma. A blood sample was taken to the Criminal Evidence Department to identify the substance that the man abused.

Kuwait rebuffs terrorism in Egypt CAIRO: Kuwaiti Ambassador to Egypt, Salem Al-Zamanan, has affirmed Kuwait’s rejection and condemnation of terrorist attacks targeting the nation. Ambassador Al-Zamanan, addressing a seminar about the Egyptian-Kuwaiti ties, held late on Sunday, re-affirmed Kuwait’s support for Egypt with regard of the “measures that have been taken concerning the future road map.” The State of Kuwait condemns all forms of violence and terrorism that have recently targeted Egypt, he said, affirming the nation ability to uproot terrorism. Egypt’s success in taking first steps of the “future map,” namely voting on the new constitution, reflects the government resolve to press ahead on the path

Man dies in accident By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: A Syrian expatriate fell to his death from a truck in Farwaniya area yesterday. Meanwhile, a young man was critically injured when his ATV flipped over. When the hospital called the youth’s father to come and see his son, he said he was busy.

• A Filipina told Salmiya police that •

while she was in a lift, a man kissed her and touched her. Charges were filed. An Asian told Ahmadi police that two persons robbed him of KD 125 at gunpoint as they claimed they were detectives.

Stage set for Painting Smiles 2 exhibition KUWAIT: EQUATE Petrochemical Company and Kuwait Blind Association (KBA) extended an invitation to all members of the Kuwaiti society to attend the Painting Smiles 2 exhibition from Feb 5 to 8 to support persons with special needs, in particular the blind. Speaking on the occasion, EQUATE VP for Technical Services and head of EQUATE CSR Program Mohammad Al Benali said, “EQUATE and KBA are pleased to invite all members of the Kuwaiti society to Painting Smiles 2 exhibition that will include artworks developed by KBA’s members, as well as several children and young individuals, nationals and expats, throughout Kuwait, with all proceeds from the exhibition being dedicated to KBA. This campaign is an extension to a previous campaign launched during 2012 in cooperation with the Kuwait Association for the Care of Children in Hospital (KACCH). EQUATE continuously works, through all activities, to embody its ‘Partners in Success’ tagline with all relevant stakeholders, especially in Kuwait, to apply sustainability principles at every level.” On his part, KBA Chairman Fayez Al-Azmi said, “ This partnership between EQUATE and KBA represents a great initiative to create community awareness about blind persons and the different skills they possess, such as having the ability to develop artworks. Visually impaired individuals are an integral part of the society, thus they have the same rights and duties as all other persons. In addition, I urgeall individuals and organizations in Kuwait to follow the footsteps of EQUATE in supporting the blind to implement the principle of social integration which constitutes a cornerstone for many activities by KBA. In conclusion, I would like to express utmost appreciation and gratitude to EQUATE for this campaign and its integral role in supporting KBA at several levels.” With the slogan “Because We Care,” this campaign emphasizes

the significance of supporting blind individuals in Kuwait through a partnership between KBA’s members and all functions at EQUATE to truly make Painting Smiles 2 a reality. Upon the conclusion of the campaign, an exhibition will be held from Feb 5 to 8 at 360 Mall. Since its inception in 1972 as a public society, Kuwait Blind Association (KBA) plays a critical role in supporting blind individuals in the State of Kuwait through various community and cultural activities. In addition to overcoming arising challenges that face blind individuals, KBA also continues to strengthen bonds with relevant Arab and international organizations. Established in 1995, EQUATE is an international joint venture between Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC), The Dow Chemical Company (Dow), Boubyan Petrochemical Company (BPC) and Qurain Petrochemical Industries Company (QPIC). Commencing production in 1997, EQUATE is the single operator of a fully integrated world-scale manufacturing facility producing over 5 million tons annually of high-quality petrochemical products which are marketed throughout the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe. In recognition of its sustainability achievements, EQUATE has earned several prestigious honors, including His Highness the Amir Award for the Best Plant in Kuwait; The Gold Award in Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) for Gulf private sector companies; The Award for Best Gulf Company in Recruiting Nationals; Arabian Business Best CSR Company Award; Oil & Gas (O&G) Middle East CSR Award; O&G Best Implemented Environmental Program of the Year; Middle East Chemical Week (MECW ) Plant of the Year Award; as well as Kuwait’s CSR Award in the Industrial and Oil Sector. In addition, EQUATE has received the Highly Commended Best Community Program Award during the First Middle East CSR Award Summit.

for stability, progress and prosperity, he said. The Kuwaiti diplomat re-affirmed Kuwait’s support for the Egyptian people for realizing their aspirations. The State of Kuwait respects states’ sovereignty and abstains from meddling in countries’ internal affairs, ambassador Al-Zamanan added, noting the deeprooted and historic ties between the two countries. Dr. Abdul-Malek Al-Tamimi, a history professor who teaches at Kuwait University, also addressed the gathering, underscoring Egypt’s major role for safeguarding the Arab nation security, noting Egypt has remained a cultural minaret for the other Arab peoples. — KUNA

Call for inclusion of women rights in school curricula CAIRO: A workshop organized by the Arab Parliament called on Arab countries to teach students from their first years in schools how to respect women rights and to address negative stereotypes about women in arts and media. The workshop, themed “Political Rights of Arab Women,” underlined the need to include women rights in the curricula of all grades. The participants urged Arab states to ratify international and regional conventions relating to women rights and gender equality. They underlined the importance of developing religious discourse to cope with the noble women right principles enshrined by religions. They recommended that Arab states have to thoroughly study the best practices examples of women empowerment in the Arab region with a view to making the best use of them. They urged Arab governments and NGOs to organize awareness campaigns to educate women and men about their rights and the importance of women role in society building.They called for the development of educational systems to help increase women participation in political life. The workshop recommended that laws have to protect women rights to occupy senior posts at executive and legislative bodies. It stressed the need to encourage Arab women to join political organizations, trade unions and civil society organizations.

Kuwaiti students on KFAED trip visit Kandy KANDY: On the second day of an educational trip organized for high-achieving Kuwaiti students by Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED), the program shifted from the capital Colombo to the City of Kandy. Head of the Education Ministry’s delegation accompanying the students is Director of Educational Extra-curricular Activities in Hawally Educational Zone Mansour Al-Daihani. Al-Daihani said yesterday, that this visit is an opportunity for the students to enrich their cultural experience and get a closer glimpse of another culture. A most important element to be stressed in extra-curricular activities is bolstering students’ self-reliance along with providing information, he noted. He said the students had on this visit researched and collected information about the country, which is a good habit wherever one happens to be going. The official remarked that visiting and getting information on projects Kuwait is supporting is just as important as seeing a country’s sites and getting a glimpse of its culture for the students. This enables them to get a true sense of the place their homeland carved for its self. Expressing satisfaction with the visit program, Al-Daihani said the Ministry of Education feels that such gestures towards high-achievers encourage peers to work harder. Supervisor of School Activities in Mubarak Al-Kabeer Educational Zone Jalal Behbehani for his part remarked the visit is an opportunity for cultural interaction and an opportunity to see the role KFAED is playing in brotherly and developing nations. He urged all students to work hard since their success is the best means to repay their country for its care to provide them with the suitable educational environment. “It is a means to prove and show how much loyalty and love they have for their homeland.” KFAED organizes an annual trip for highachieving high school students, in line with its social development and social accountability initiatives.—KUNA


Iran FM confident of deal by six month deadline Page 8 TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2014

Baghdad attacks kill 27 BAGHDAD: A series of attacks in and around Baghdad, including a spate of car bombs, killed 16 people yesterday as Iraqi forces pressed an assault against militant-held areas of Anbar province. The latest bloodshed comes amid a surge in violence that left more than 1,000 people dead last month, the worst such figure in nearly six years, as security forces grapple with near-daily attacks and protracted battles with anti-government fighters. Foreign leaders have urged the Shiite-led government to do more to reach out to the disaffected Sunni Arab minority in a bid to undercut support for militants but with parliamentary polls looming in less than three months, Iraqi premier Nuri al-Maliki has taken a hard line. Despite officials insisting operations against militants, including those affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group, are having an impact, the bloodshed has continued unabated. In and around the capital yesterday, four car bombs killed 12 people while authorities said they found the dumped bodies of three men and a woman. All were shot in the head and they appear to have been tortured. Seven people were killed in two separate car bombsone of which was detonated by a suicide attacker-in the town of Mahmudiyah, just south of the capital, while five others were killed by vehicles rigged with explosives in the Baghdad neighbourhoods of Baladiyat and Hurriyah. Corpses found abandoned The assassinations in particular harken back to Iraq’s brutal Sunni-Shiite sectarian war which raged from 2006 to 2007, when corpses were often found abandoned on the streets, with the victims’ bodies bearing signs of torture. Violence has surged across Iraq in recent months, with more than 1,000 people killed nationwide last month, the highest such figure since April 2008, according to government data. Shootings have largely targeted security forces and civil servants, while bombings have ripped through both Sunni and Shiite areas, striking markets, commercial streets, cafes and other areas where civilians congregate. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the latest set of attacks, but Sunni militant groups including ISIL have previously mounted coordinated bombing campaigns in the capital targeting civilians and security forces. ISIL has also been involved in fighting security forces in Anbar province, a mostly-Sunni desert region bordering Syria where militants have for weeks held parts of Ramadi and all of Fallujah, which lies on Baghdad’s doorstep. Yesterday, soldiers, police and pro-government armed tribesmen were pressing a joint operation against militantheld areas of Ramadi, with a security official and an AFP journalist reporting that pro-government forces held most of a crucial neighbourhood in the centre of the city. Security forces were dismantling dozens of roadside bombs planted across the Malaab district, and were making slow progress in other parts of Ramadi without the benefit of aerial cover due to bad weather. On Saturday the defence ministry announced that warplanes and artillery had hit a neighbourhood of northern Fallujah, a rare military operation inside the city itself, with a security official adding that an assault on the city was imminent. 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 bastion of militants following the 2003 US-led invasion, were among their bloodiest since the Vietnam War. Along with ISIL, other militant groups and anti-government tribes have battled forces loyal to the central government. 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. —AFP

Suicide bomber wounds two in south Beirut BEIRUT: A suicide bomber detonated an explosive belt inside a minibus south of the Lebanese capital Beirut yesterday, wounding two people, medical and government officials said. “A man wearing an explosive belt boarded a public minibus in Choueifat and blew himself up,” Interior Minister Mar wan Charbel told Lebanon’s Mayadeen television channel. The blast is the fifth to hit Lebanon this year, and comes after at least four people were killed on Saturday in a suicide bombing in the eastern town of Hermel. Footage from the scene broadcast on television showed the mangled remains of a vehicle surrounded by shards of glass and other objects strewn across the road. Red Cross communications director Ayad Monzer told AFP: “The bomber was killed, and two others were injured-a man, who is in critical condition, and a woman with moderate injuries.” Ali Mcheik said on LBC television that his brother was the man injured in the blast and had been driving the bus. “When the bomber got on, he noticed that his stomach area looked bulky and asked him about it, then the bomber detonated his explosives,” he said. He told the channel that his brother Hussein Mcheik was undergoing surgery in a nearby hospital after surviving the attack. Choueifat lies south of Beirut, not far from the suburbs of the city, which have been targeted in multiple bomb attacks in past months. It is home to a mixed Christian and Druze population. Previous blasts have largely targeted areas sympathetic to Lebanon’s powerful Shiite group Hezbollah, which has dispatched fighters to battle alongside the Syrian regime against a Sunni-dominated uprising. Jihadist groups believed to be linked to those fighting in Syria have claimed responsibility for most of the attacks, saying they will continue for as long as Hezbollah battles in Syria. But while the attacks have apparently targeted Hezbollah, the victims have been civilians. —AFP

BAGHDAD: Civilians inspect their damaged house at the site of a car bombing in the Hurriyah neighborhood of northern Baghdad, Iraq, yesterday. Iraqi officials say car bombings in and near Baghdad have killed and wounded scores of people. —AP



More parties back Algeria’s Bouteflika for new term ALGIERS: More than two dozen Algerian political parties have given their support for a fourth term for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has yet to announce whether he will run again just two months before the election. Bouteflika, 76, suffered a stroke early last year before returning to work amid speculation over his ability to seek re-election in Algeria, a key gas supplier to Europe and a US partner against Islamist militants in North Africa. Allies in the ruling FLN party say Bouteflika is their only candidate as the man who helped bring stability to Algeria after a civil war in the 1990s. But the deadline to officially register his candidacy is March 4, according to electoral law. The list of Bouteflika’s backers for reelection expanded this week, and now

includes two ruling parties FLN and RND, 26 smaller parties led by transport minister Amar Ghoul, most of the country’s unions, and Rabah Brahimi, of the FDL party. Most of those are political movements already allied with the FLN, a signal Bouteflika’s backers may be strengthening their position before his official announcement. Should he announce he will run again, Bouteflika, who has governed Algeria since 1999, will almost certainly win due to the FLN nationalist party’s dominant role and his backing from the party’s machinery and its allies. Opposition parties are still weak and most Algerians have little appetite for upheaval after the civil war with Islamist militants that killed around 200,000 in

the 1990s. “I will vote for him dead or alive because he has done so much for the country,” FDL’s Brahimi told a TV programme in comments, that surprised Algerians. Bouteflika returned home few weeks ago from a visit to a Paris hospital for check-ups, fuelling speculation he may be preparing to step side and pass on to a successor, such as his current Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal. The Algerian leader who has made few public appearances since returning after his stroke, met for two hours on Sunday with the new Tunisian Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa, according to state news agency APS. Curbing the generals? If he steps aside or cannot run, his suc-

cessor to run for election will likely be chosen in backroom negotiations between Algeria’s political elite and military intelligence who have governed behind-thescenes since 1962 independence. A possible handover of power by Bouteflika has raised uncertainty in Algeria at a turbulent time for North Africa, with Egypt and Libya still struggling through transitions after uprisings ousted veteran autocrats in 2011. One source from Bouteflika’s inner circle told Reuters on Monday that “the apparatus has been set in motion”, to confirm that the aging leader will run despite a poor health. But observers say the head of the DRS military intelligence, Mohamed Mediene, who long played a kingmaker role in the internal struggles of Algerian politics, is no

longer in such a strong position to counter Bouteflika. Sources say Bouteflika’s camp has moved to reduce the influence of the DRS by sacking or transferring top intelligence generals in recent months, to curb Mediene. One of Bouteflika’s campaign slogans is: “Civilian state versus military state.” Observers also pointed to some of the first openly critical comments about the DRS chief from FLN party leader Amar Saidani yesterday as a signal of Bouteflika’s push to curtail Mediene’s influence over Algerian politics. “He is no longer in a position to say yes or no to Bouteflika’s candidacy in the next presidential election,” Saidani said, adding that the DRS chief “should have resigned after a series of failures”. —Reuters

Israeli ministers lash out at Kerry over boycott remark Israel facing growing campaign of delegitimization JERUSALEM: US Secretary of State John Kerry came under further attack yesterday by Israeli hawks who accuse him of manipulating the threat of an economic boycott to pressure Israel into peace concessions. The latest war of words between the two allies erupted Saturday after Kerry warned that Israel was facing a growing campaign of delegitimization which would likely worsen if peace talks with the Palestinians collapsed. Washington’s top diplomat also referred to “talk of boycotts” of Israel. 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. Hardliners in the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were quick to lash out at Kerry. One described his remarks as “offensive” and another accused him of working “to amplify” the boycott threat, prompting a terse statement from Washington urging Kerry’s critics

to get their facts straight. But there was no sign they were backing down yesterday. “It is sad to see that the US administration does not understand the reality of the Middle East and exerts pressure on the wrong side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” said Gilad Erdan, Minister for Home Front Defence and a close associate of Netanyahu. “I would have liked John Kerry to explain to (Palestinian president) Mahmud Abbas what is likely to happen if he continues to refuse to make peace,” he told public radio. Housing Minister Uri Ariel of the far-right Jewish Home party, which opposes a two-state solution to the conflict, told army radio that in raising the threat of a boycott, Kerry was not being “an honest broker” in the negotiations. ‘Threats to boycott Israel will fail’ Since January 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. Netanyahu has called “hypocritical” the EU’s firm position against Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law. On Sunday the prime minister took an indirect swipe at Kerry, saying attempts to boycott Israel were “immoral and unjust” and that he would not

bow to pressure in the negotiations. “No pressure will cause me to concede the vital interests of the State of Israel, especially the security of Israel’s citizens. For both of these reasons, threats to boycott the State of Israel will not achieve their goal.” Earlier Sunday, Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz lashed out at Kerry, calling his remarks “offensive, unfair and intolerable,” and said Israel would could not be expected “to negotiate with a gun at its head while it discusses issues critical to its diplomatic and security interests.” And on Saturday, Economy Minister and Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett said Israel would not “give its country up over economic threats” and that it expected its allies “to stand by our side in the face of the anti-Semitic boycott attempts, not amplify them.” But US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki hit back saying Kerry had demonstrated “staunch opposition to boycotts” and his remarks in Munich had merely “described some wellknown and previously stated facts about what is at stake for both sides if this process fails.” “His only reference to a boycott was a description of actions undertaken by others that he has always opposed,” she said, suggesting his critics make efforts to “accurately portray his record and statements.” —AFP

Palestinians flee hunger and hell of besieged Syria camp DAMASCUS: Khulud Shehab’s withered hands push two of her children out of Yarmuk in southern Damascus, anxious to flee the hell and hunger of the Palestinian refugee camp as fast as possible. For seven months, the Syrian army has imposed a punishing siege on the camp to try to force out rebels holed up inside. Khulud and her family are among the lucky few to be allowed to leave, after a deal was struck following months of negotiations between Syrian authorities and Palestinian factions in Yarmuk. “Just look at them. You can imagine what it’s like inside,” Khulud tells an AFP journalist, displaying her cracked hands. “It’s disastrous. People are literally dying of hunger,” says the slight and dark-eyed mother. “We were boiling herbs and bits of cactus we found in the fields near our house,” to eat and sur-

vive, she adds. Amid the crush of leaving Yarmuk, Khulud has lost track of her husband and one of her daughters as the family negotiated streets strewn with the rubble of buildings destroyed in months of fierce fighting. The camp began as a home for Palestinian refugees in the 1950s, but Yarmuk evolved over the decades into a bustling residential and commercial district, home to some 150,000 Palestinians as well as Syrians. It became a war zone when rebels who took up arms against President Bashar al-Assad moved in and won the support of some Palestinian groups in the fight against regime forces. The violence forced tens of thousands of residents to flee but an estimated 18,000 remained trapped inside Yarmuk after the army imposed a total blockade

ALEPPO: Children exit a building after an alleged air strike by Syrian government forces on the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on January 3, 2014. —AFP

on the camp last June. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group based in Britain, says at least 88 people have died from hunger or lack of medical care since the blockade began. After months of negotiations a deal was reached in late December between a committee of local rebels and 14 Palestinian factions inside Yarmuk to allow longdenied food into the camp. Crowds gather for food parcels Despite some false starts, aid began entering Yarmuk in January and some of the trapped residents were allowed to leave for humanitarian reasons. “Seeing the road open like this is the best thing that has happened to me in a long time,” says Khulud. “I’m overjoyed to be able to leave, and I hope that the others will be able to follow.” The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, first distributed aid in the camp on January 18 and then again from Thursday to Sunday. UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said at least 3,709 food parcels have entered Yarmuk since January 18, with large crowds gathering at distribution points. Palestine Liberation Organisation official Anwar Abdul Hadi said at least 450 people have been allowed to leave-mainly women, children and elderly men. “Letting civilians leave eases the suffering of residents,” he tells AFP, hoping that more will follow. Umm Alaa, five children in tow, is among those overwhelmed with relief. “I don’t know where I’m going to go, but I absolutely wanted to get out, even if I had to sleep in the street,” she says. Her first priority was to get to the paediatric hospital in Damascus’s Mazzeh district to seek treatment for a son suffering from acute malnutrition and who has developed muscular dystrophy. ‘Humanitarian cases only’ Sheikh Mohamed al-Omari, head of the reconciliation committee that arranged the December deal, says only humanitarian cases were able to leave. Palestinians already outside the camp had to submit a request to the committee on behalf of their relatives trapped inside. “We contact a doctor in the camp who can judge which cases are most urgent,” Omari says. Gunshots ring out as Umm Alaa, Khulud and others leave Yarmuk and Palestinian Red Crescent (PRC) ambulances enter to evacuate those too ill to walk. At the Batikha roundabout, 15 Red Crescent volunteers hand out sesame seed biscuits and water to those staggering out of Yarmuk and write down their names. PRC doctor Atef Ibrahim says that all of those who are ill will be transferred to Jaffa hospital in Mazzeh, adding that most are children suffering from dehydration, pregnant woman and diabetics. Outside Yarmuk a huddle of relatives stands waiting for loved ones. Among them is Afaf Shehabi, looking out for her daughter Aala alAidi and her grandson aged two. Aala and the child walk out alone. She is now a widow, her husband killed by shellfire. —AFP

SANAA: A vehicle belonging to the French embassy is seen at the site of an explosion, near former president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s house which is metres away from the French embassy in Sanaa yesterday. A mortar shell was fired overnight in the direction of the French embassy in Yemen, while a car bomb exploded metres away in Sanaa’s diplomatic quarter, a police source said. —AFP

Second Westerner seized, blasts hit Yemeni capital SANAA: Gunmen abducted a Westerner identified by a police source as a British oil worker in Sanaa yesterday, hours after three explosions shook the Yemeni capital, underscoring the transitional government’s feeble grip on security. The kidnapping followed that of a German by Yemeni tribesmen who said on Sunday they had seized him two days earlier to press the authorities to free jailed relatives. A police source said two roadside bombs exploded near the Defence Ministry and Central Bank on Sunday night, while a mortar bomb landed in a district that houses the French embassy and the home of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Four people were wounded in the mortar blast, which damaged three buildings and destroyed two cars, witnesses said. One resident reported hearing gunfire after the explosions, but details were sketchy. In December, a suicide bomb and gun attack near the Defence Ministry killed 52 people. Yemen, which neighbours oil giant Saudi Arabia and is home to an ambitious al Qaeda offshoot, has long wrestled with instability, internal conflicts and poor governance. Mass protests in 2011 eventually forced Saleh to end his more than three decades in power, but a political transition process has yet to calm a rebellion by Shi’ite Muslims in the north and a secessionist movement in the south. The Shi’ite Houthi rebels who had carved out a northern fiefdom before

Saleh’s fall have clashed in recent months with hardline Sunni Muslim Salafis and Hashid tribal rivals. Elsewhere, attacks blamed on al Qaedalinked militants have grown bolder, raising fears of a total security breakdown in Yemen, a nation mired in corruption that has aggravated poverty. In yesterday’s kidnapping, four armed men forced the Westerner out of his car and into a waiting vehicle in Sanaa’s upscale Hadda district, witnesses said. A police source said a report of the abduction identified the victim as a Briton. The source said the man worked for an oil services company. The British embassy in Sanaa and the Foreign Office in London had no immediate comment. It was not immediately clear if Islamist militants or tribesmen, who often use foreign hostages as bargaining chips to pursue demands against the government, were behind the attack. Efforts to stabilise Yemen hang on the post-Saleh transition and a national reconciliation conference that ended last month. Political factions have extended interim President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s term by another year to give him more time to turn Yemen into a federal state as agreed at the reconciliation talks to try to accommodate southern demands for more autonomy. Hadi will also oversee the drafting of a new constitution that will form the basis of elections slated for next year. —Reuters

Iran FM confident of deal by six month deadline BERLIN: Iran’s foreign minister said yesterday he is confident that his country will be able to forge a final agreement with world powers on its nuclear program by July 20. Mohammad Javad Zarif said a deal can be reached within the six-month deadline set when Iran agreed to halt its most sensitive uranium enrichment activities in return for an easing of Western sanctions. “We need to use the six months that we have in order to reach an agreement, because if we lose these six months the public momentum will swing to the other side,” Zarif told an audience at the German Council on Fore i gn R e l a t i ons, a t hi nk t a nk i n Berlin. “I believe that we can do it by July 20th,” he said, adding that Iran, the five permanent Security Council members and Germany have agreed to hold high-level meetings once a month between now and then, plus expert meetings in between. The next round of nuc l e a r t a l ks w i l l t a ke p l a ce i n Vienna on Feb. 18. Iran feels that even the perception it might be seeking nuclear weapons which Tehran strongly denies - poses a threat to its security because other powers in the region might want to match such a capability, Zarif said. He also warned of rising extremism in the Middle East, fueled by the conflict in Syria, where Iran has sided with the government of Bashar Assad. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states have backed some of the Sunni militant groups

MUNICH: In this Feb. 2, 2014 file picture Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif listens during a panel discussion at the 50th Security Conference on security policy in Munich, Germany. —AP fighting against Assad. Iran would be prepared to use its influence with Damascus to bring about a ceasefire and the withdrawal of foreign fighters, if others used their influence on other combatants with the same goal, said Zarif. “If you can persuade them to stop fighting we can persuade them to stop fighting and end the bloodshed,” he said. But Zarif quashed any notion that Iran might be about to drop its ally in Damascus. “ The illusion that Assad could be removed has been fed to the international community for the past two years and the illusion has resulted in 150,000 dead,” he said. —AP



El Salvador ex-rebel strongly placed to win run-off SAN SALVADOR: A former Marxist guerrilla leader is in a strong position to win El Salvador’s presidential election in a run-off against his right-wing rival after falling just shy of an outright win in the first round of voting on Sunday. Salvador Sanchez Ceren, a top leader of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) rebel army during El Salvador’s civil war, won 48.9 percent of votes in the first round, just short of 50 percent needed to avoid a run-off. He will now face off on March 9 against Norman Quijano, the conservative former mayor of San Salvador, who won 38.95 percent of the vote and wants to deploy the army to fight powerful street gangs. The FMLN turned into a political party at the end of El Salvador’s 12-year civil war in 1992, and it won power at the last election in 2009. Sanchez Ceren was vice-president in the government and his campaign was helped by its popular welfare policies, including pensions and free school supplies. “We won the first round ... we are sure that in the second round we will win by more than 10 points,” the 69year-old Sanchez Ceren told cheering

Mom, friend arrested in daughter’s death NAPA: Police arrested a 23-year-old woman and her boyfriend who were sought in connection with the death of her 3-year-old daughter, after someone recognized the couple at a restaurant and tipped off authorities. Sara Krueger and Scott Warner, 26, became subjects of an intense search in the San Francisco Bay Area after officers conducting a welfare check at Krueger’s Napa apartment found the child’s body in her bed on Saturday, Lt. Debbie Peecook said. A few hours earlier, witnesses had seen Krueger and Warner leaving the apartment with luggage, police said. Someone who spotted the couple at a restaurant near a Bay Area Rapid Transit station Sunday in the city of El Cerrito alerted police, and BART officers detained them, Peecook said. BART police Lt. Gil Lopez said they were detained without incident at the station in El Cerrito, about 30 miles south of Napa. They were questioned and booked on suspicion of murder with special circumstances and assault on a child resulting in death. Peecook said she didn’t know whether they have retained an attorney. The child, whose name was not released, showed signs of having been sexually assaulted and blunt force trauma, investigators said. Her biological father, who is serving time at San Quentin State Prison, was notified of her death. The property manager at Krueger’s apartment building told the Napa Valley Register ( ) that in recent months, police visited the mother’s residence for several disturbances, including late-night noise, slamming doors and neighbors reporting possible physical abuse of the child. Warner “moved in about 10 months ago, and it all went downhill from there,” Elizabeth Chechourka said. “Management sent a letter to them about 2 1/2 weeks ago saying, ‘The authorities know about you, and you need to shape up or you’re gonna lose your housing,’” she added. Peecook said Napa officers had made several welfare checks at Krueger’s home, most recently last week, but none of the visits resulted in an arrest. She said she didn’t know whether Napa County Child Protective Services had visited the apartment in response to any neighbors’ complaints. A family friend who often baby-sat the girl was baffled by news of the girl’s death and her mother’s arrest.—AP

supporters on Sunday night. “We are going to work in the coming days to further unite,” he added. “We are going to build new understandings, new alliances.” Sanchez Ceren appears to be in a very strong position ahead of the run-off. The third-place candidate Antonio Saca, who was president from 2004 until 2009, had about 11.4 percent support. After he left office, Saca broke away from Quijano’s Nationalist Republican Alliance (Arena) party. It is unclear whether he will throw his support behind Sanchez Ceren in the runoff or who his supporters will back. The Universidad Centroamericana estimates that while most of Saca’s supporters would likely opt for Quijano in a run-off, around 25 percent would go with Sanchez Ceren, giving him enough for victory. A Sanchez Ceren presidency would boost the influence of Venezuela’s socialist government as he has said he will seek to join the South American oil giant’s Petrocaribe oil bloc, which furnishes allies, often leftists, with cheap energy. Poverty, violence More than two decades after the end

of the civil war, El Salvador remains deeply divided between left and right and the rise of violent street gangs has been spurred by persistent poverty and sluggish economic growth. The country is more reliant on money sent home by migrants working in the United States than any other country in Central America. Those remittances make up nearly 20 percent of gross domestic product. Quijano’s main campaign pledge has been to deploy the army against the street gangs. Sanchez Ceren opposes the idea and is instead promising to forge a political pact to end the gridlock that has kept a divided Congress from carrying out reforms to tackle crime and weak economic growth. He also promises to fight tax evasion and eliminate loopholes while introducing tax incentives to boost investment in key industries, such as energy, and to renovate the capital’s airport and improve port facilities. He was a rural teacher before the civil war but joined the FMLN and became one of its leading commanders as it fought a series of U.S.-backed conservative governments. About 75,000 people

were killed in the 12-year conflict. The FMLN has steadily won more supporters as it has toned down some of its more radical left-wing policies and it won power in 2009 when it put up a popular journalist, Mauricio Funes, as its candidate. Unlike most FMLN leaders,

Funes had no role in the civil war. Sanchez Ceren’s candidacy was seen by some as a risky move but he has stressed his desire for national agreements with the other parties and named a popular moderate as his candidate for vice president. — Reuters

SAN SALVADOR: In this Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014 photo, San Salvador Mayor Norman Quijano, presidential candidate of the Nationalist Republican Alliance party, ARENA, poses for a selfie with supporters as he campaigns in San Salvador, El Salvador. — AP

Surprise contender in Costa Rica presidential vote ‘People want a responsible change’ SAN JOSE: Centrist Luis Guillermo Solis took a surprise lead in Costa Rica’s presidential election Sunday, and will now face a ruling party candidate in a run-off vote in April. Long considered the “Switzerland of Central America” for its peaceful and stable democracy, Costa Rica has seen a string of corruption scandals during the administration of outgoing president Laura Chinchilla, the country’s first female president. The scandals, combined with a sharp and growing income disparity between the haves and the have-nots, seriously hurt the official candidate. With 76 percent of the ballots counted, Solis-a historian by training and candidate for the Citizen Acton Party (PAC) — won 30.8 percent of the vote, narrowly ahead of Johnny Araya from the ruling rightwing National Liberation Party (PLN), who had 29.6 percent. In third place with 17 percent was the man everyone thought would be in the run-off, leftist candidate Jose Maria Villalta. “We are going to win because we are a people that has decided to change!” a euphoric Solis told thousands of cheering supporters gathered at his campaign headquarters. “A wave has risen like a great tsunami sweeping away traditional politics forever,” he said. Solis has never held political office and was largely unknown until months ago, though he has worked in several PLN administrations and once served as ambassador to Panama. In early January, polls showed that Solis had only fivepercent support among voters. His party, formed to fight corruption and support of better income distribution, is just 13 years old. Solis’s stunning rise was as surprising as the collapse of Villalta, who pre-vote polls showed as having a chance at bringing the political left to power in this conservative Catholic country for the first time. Villalta had emerged as the leading anti-corruption, antiestablishment candidate until he faced a barrage of attacks from Araya, who portrayed him as a pro-gay marriage communist. Villalta even faced death threats on the campaign trail, local media reported. Chinchilla-era scandals weigh down Araya While the 55 year-old Solis benefitted from Villalta’s drop, Araya-a 56 year-old long time mayor of the capital San Jose-was dragged down by his association with Chinchilla and eight years of PLN government. “There is no doubt that the results show that we have not yet given enough clear signs to the people that we want ... a responsible change in Costa Rica,” a chasten Araya told reporters. Chinchilla is leaving office as Costa Rica’s least popular president in 20 years. Earlier in the day Araya appeared certain that he would win 40 percent of the vote, the minimum needed to avoid a second round. If Solis wins the April 6 run-off, it would be the first time in 50 years that a member of neither of the two leading parties-the PLN or the Social Christian party (PUSC) — is in power. “I came to vote with the hope that there is change,” said housewife Iris Rodriguez, 45, who called on the next government to “think a little about the poor.” The next president, who will take office on May 8, will have to deal with a split congress and will need to be a skilled negotiator, said sociologist Manuel Rojas. “He will not be able to govern only with his party as has been done in the past,” Rojas said. — AFP

SAN JOSE: A vendor sells newspapers in the streets of San Jose yesterday a day after Costa Rica held presidential elections. Centrist Luis Guillermo Solis, candidate for the Citizen Acton Party (PAC), took a surprise lead in Costa Rica’s presidential election Sunday, and will now face Johnny Araya from the ruling right-wing National Liberation Party (PLN), in a run-off vote in April. — AFP

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S African opposition implosion hands ANC momentum JOHANNESBURG: A freshly inked merger deal between South Africa’s opposition parties has imploded just months before a general election, handing the beleaguered ANC ruling party a lifeline yesterday. Days after centrist parties announced that black consciousness stalwar t Mamphela Ramphele would be their joint presidential candidate, the agreement was buried in a slew of personal recriminations and political point-scoring. The deal would have created a unified front against the might of the African National Congress, which has won every fully democratic election in South Africa by a landslide. The opposi-

tion is not expected to win the vote, but their more modest aim of pushing the ANC under 60 percent and wresting control of key provinces now appears to hang in the balance. Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille -who had described Ramphele’s appointment as a “gamechanging moment” in South African politics-struggled to limit the fallout. “It was a risk and in politics one has to be prepared to take calculated risks,” she said, amid calls for her to resign. “I am the leader. I have to take responsibility,” she added. In Ramphele, the DA-which has large white support-appeared to believe it

had found a leader who could neutralise ANC allegations of racism and tap into deep voter unease. The death of former ANC leader Nelson Mandela and the upcoming 20th anniversary of democracy have only served to underscore the ruling party’s failings. Around one in three workers has no job or has stopped looking, many South Africans live without water or other basic ser vices and inequality has increased since the end of apartheid. Ramphele, a former partner of slain South African hero Steve Biko, launched her own political platform, Agang SA, a year ago, but has struggled to garner funds and support in a crowded field.

She appeared unrepentant Monday and willing to inflict maximum damage against a party she will now battle at the polls. “Some people cannot or will not transcend party politics. We see people trapped in old-style race-based politics,” she said. “The last week has demonstrated that, for some, this new way of thinking about our future will be hard to achieve right now.” The spat appears to have been about whether Ramphele’s party would have continued to exist or be subsumed by the much larger DA. Whatever the cause, South African pundits were scathing in their analysis of the out-

come. The “debacle necessitates that some serious questions be asked of DA leader Helen Zille, and of the party more generally,” wrote Gareth van Onselen in Business Day. “It badly mishandled the whole affair and, as a result, its 2014 election campaign is floundering badly, as it lurches from crisis to another.” R amphele said her par t y would continue to contest the elec tion. “There are millions of South Africans who will never vote for the DA, but they want a home, which Agang SA will give them,” she said. The elections are expected to take place in the first half of this year, although no date has yet been set.—AFP

Ukraine opposition wants constitutional change Tortured militant leaves Ukraine

MOSCOW: Police officers evacuate children from a Moscow school yesterday. An armed teenager burst into his Moscow school yesterday and killed a teacher and policeman before being taken into custody, investigators said. None of the children who were in School No. 263 were hurt, said Karina Sabitova, a police spokeswoman at the scene. — AP

Student kills 2 in Moscow school hostage crisis MOSCOW: An armed student yesterday briefly took 20 teenagers hostage in a Moscow school and killed a policeman and a teacher before being detained amid security jitters ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games. Police said a student armed with a gun forced a security guard to lead him to a specific classroom in the school on the northern outskirts of Moscow and then locked himself inside with about 20 teenage pupils and the class teacher. He then opened fire through a window at scores of police who had rushed to the scene. Security officials said the student made no demands and did not conduct negotiations with officials during the broad daylight raid. ìHe killed a policeman and wounded another,î Russian interior ministry spokesman Andrei Pilipchuk told the staterun Vesti-24 news channel. ìHe also killed the teacher.î The Russian interior ministry said the hostage-taker had been detained during a police raid on the school and that all the students were now safe and unharmed. ìNone of the students have been harmed,î Pilipchuk told Vesti 24. ìThey are all alive and well.î Police said the hostagetaker was one of the schoolís upper-class students but did not release his name. Schools in Russia usually house children from first to 11th grades. Live footage showed a group of children running from the school and an emergencies ministry police helicopter hovering overhead. Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev and Russiaís power ful Investigative Committee chief Alexander

Bastrykin both immediately rushed to the scene of a crisis that underscored the security problems facing Russia as it prepares to host the Winter Games in Sochi on Friday. Security has been a prime concern for President Vladimir Putinóhis personal and political prestige linked closely to the Gameís successóbecause Sochi rests near the volatile North Caucasus region where Russia has been battling an Islamic insurgency for most of the past two decades. Islamists who want to carve out their own state in southern Russia have vowed to stage deadly attacks during the Games that would undermine Putin and show that he lacks control over the vast country. Russia has been on heightened alert ever since succesive-day late December suicide strikes in the southern Russian city of Volgograd killed 34 people at a railway station and on a trolleybus. The attack was later claimed by two young men from Russiaís North Caucasus in a video message that promised more attacks. Security analysts believe that Sochi itself will be relatively safe both for athletes and visitors because of the extraordinary security precautions that have been taken at the Black Sea resort port. Russia has deployed 37,000 security personnel around Sochi and is also patrolling the Black Sea for possible signs of an attack. But analysts point out that the extra security measures being taken around the Olympic host city may leave other parts of the country exposed. Many of the foreign visitors arriving for the Games will enter Russia through Moscow before travelling on to Sochi. —AFP

Strong quake hits western Greek isle of Kefalonia ATHENS: A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of between 5.7 and 6.1 hit the western Greek island of Kefalonia before dawn yesterday, sending panicked residents into the streets just over a week after a similar quake damaged hundreds of buildings across the island. Sixteen people were treated for minor injuries at the hospital in Lixouri, the island’s second largest town and the one closest to the epicenter, hospital director Nikos Markatos said. Local residents calling in to early morning radio and television news shows reported damaged roads and cuts to the power and water supply in some areas. Kefalonia Mayor Alexandros Parisis said the port in Lixouri had been damaged, and images after first light showed part of the pier had crumbled into the sea. Problems were also reported on the road between Lixouri and the main part of the island. Earthquakes have been rattling this island constantly for the past week, after a 5.9-magnitude temblor struck the area on Jan. 26, damaging homes and slightly injuring seven people. Since then, thousands of residents have been spending nights with relatives or in ships sent for that reason. Schools on the island have been shut for the past week, and had not been scheduled to reopen until Wednesday, said Deputy Mayor Evangelos Kekatos. Authorities urged the islanders to remain calm and not approach any buildings that appeared damaged. An eight-member rescue team with a sniffer dog was heading to the island as a precautionary measure, the fire department said, while Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias and the ministry’s secretary general

were also heading to Kefalonia to coordinate civil protection efforts, authorities said. The Athens Geodynamic Institute registered the pre-dawn quake, which struck just after 5 a.m. local time, with a magnitude of 5.7 and an epicenter 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) northwest of the island’s capital of Argostoli. The U.S. Geological Survey registered a 6.1-magnitude. It is common for institutes to register different figures. The intense seismic activity has reawakened memories of the devastating 1953 quakes on Kefalonia and neighboring Zakinthos, when a 7.2-magnitude temblor struck three days after a 6.4 quake, killing hundreds, injuring thousands and destroying nearly all the buildings on the islands. Seismologists said more aftershocks were to be expected on the Ionian island, which lies in a highly seismically active region. Several registered in the initial hours after Monday’s quake. “The whole area has been activated ... we are all on alert,” said Maria Sahpazi, head of the Geodynamic Institute, adding that Monday morning’s quake appeared to be a strong aftershock of the Jan. 26 temblor. “We expect more aftershocks, which will be of this size or smaller,” she said. Yesterday’s quake was felt across parts of the western Greek mainland and as far away as the Greek capital, Athens, nearly 300 kilometers (186 miles) to the west. Kefalonia’s mayor and seismologists urged people on the island to leave their houses temporarily. Christos Kyrakatos, a resident of one of Kefalonia’s villages, told Greek television that at least one person in his village had been taken away by ambulance after being injured by falling objects in his home. —AP

KIEV: Leaders of the anti-government protests that have gripped Ukraine’s capital for more than two months say they will seek constitutional changes that will weaken the president’s powers. The changes are expected to be discussed in a Tuesday parliament session that comes as Ukraine’s political crisis wades through a stalemate. Protesters are refusing to leave their encampment in downtown Kiev or vacate buildings they occupy, but radicals who clashed violently with police last month are holding to an uneasy truce. Opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk yesterday said constitutional change would “cancel the dictatorial powers of the president and transfer the right of governing the countr y to the Ukrainian people.” Justice Minister Olena Lukash said last week that officials were preparing measures for constitutional change, but did not give details. Another protest leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, said Monday that the opposition also will push in parliament for a blanket amnesty for more than 100 people arrested in the protests. Parliament last week offered amnesty to some on the condition that protesters leave many of the buildings they occupy, but the opposition disdained that move, saying authorities were essentially using the arrested as hostages. Protesters are also demanding President Viktor Yanukovych’s resignation and early elections. Yanukovych, who returned to work Monday after a brief sick leave, has shown no sign of accepting either of those demands. In addition, the issue that set off the protests remains: Yanukovych’s shelving in November of an agreement to deepen Ukraine’s ties with the European Union. Violent police actions against demonstrations against that decision galvanized anger over a wide range of grievances against his rule and the protests grew markedly, sometimes attracting crowds of more than 100,000. Yanukovych backed off the EU deal because of concerns that the bloc was not offering a sufficient cushion for the trade that Ukraine would likely lose with Russia, which wants the country to be part of a Moscow-led trade alliance. After shelving the EU agreement, Yanukovych obtained a $15 billion aid package from Russia, further angering protesters who resent Russia’s long dominance of Ukraine. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is expected in Ukraine this week. Her spokeswoman, Maja Kocijancic, said Monday that the EU is considering new financial measures to sup-

KIEV: Activists of Democratic Alliance party and other activists of Euromaidan take part in a rally in front of the Deutsche Bank of Ukraine office in Kiev yesterday. Protesters call the German Bank to stop collaboration with the banks and with the companies owned by the President Viktor Yanukovych’s family. — AFP port Ukraine’s troubled economy, but that the country’s political crisis must be resolved before any assistance can be granted. US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland also is to visit Ukraine this week to push for a resolution of the tensions. ‘Crucified’ The opposition claims beatings and abuse of protesters are widespread. A prominent Ukrainian protester, whose account of torture has shocked Europe, left Ukraine for treatment in Lithuania on Sunday. Dmytro Bulatov, 35, said he was “crucified” by his unidentified captors before being released in a forest last week. Ukrainian authorities have cast doubt on the veracity of his story and Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara dismissed his injuries as “a scratch” before retracting the comment.

The case has been highlighted by the opposition as an example of what it says is a “secret repression” against protesters in which pro-government vigilantes have been employed. Yanukovych has offered the opposition a series of concessions including the scrapping of hugely controversial anti-protest laws. But the protest leaders are calling for a constitutional overhaul to take away the sweeping powers that Yanukovych has accumulated during his rule and give more weight to the government and parliament. They also want the immediate and unconditional release of activists detained during the demonstrations and for Yanukovych to announce early elections. According to official figures, four people-two protesters and two policemen-were killed at the height of the clashes last month that turned parts of central Kiev into a veritable war zone. — Agencies

Turkish police murder trial opens amid tight security KAYSERI: Four policemen went on trial in Turkey amid heavy security yesterday, accused of beating to death a 19-year-old student in huge anti-government protests that rocked the country last June. The high-profile court case comes as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan battles his biggest crisis in 11 years in power, which has hit the economy and is threatening the strongman’s presidential ambitions. Some 2,000 riot police were deployed in the central city of Kayseri for the start of the trial, roads around the courthouse were blocked and demonstrations banned for “security” reasons. Activists said several buses carrying demonstrators were prevented from entering the city. Several hundred people made it through, however, marching, waving flags, carrying banners and calling for justice. Ali Ismail Korkmaz died after being pummelled

with baseball bats and truncheons in the western city of Eskisehir on June 2, one of six people to perish as three weeks of protests convulsed the country of 76 million. The brutal attack was recorded by security cameras and the young man, wearing a “World Peace” T-shirt, suffered a brain haemorrhage and died after 38 days in a coma. The trial opened in a packed courtroom with the student’s tearful mother Emel Korkmaz clutching a photo of her son and shrieking at the eight defendants, four of whom are plain-clothes police. “I sent my son to Eskisehir to study and he gets delivered back to me in a coffin. We are here to demand justice, nothing but justice,” she said. The dead student’s brother is a lawyer, and around 300 of his colleagues were in Kayseri on Monday, plus 50 working on the case, seeking to turn it into a

KAYSERI: Thousands of people holding placards reading ”we are here for Ali Ismail and for justice” gather in Kayseri yesterday, outside a local courthouse where four of Turkish riot police stand trial for allegedly beating to death Ali Ismail Korkmaz, a 19-year-old student during an anti-government protest last June. — AFP

damning trial of the government as a whole. The defendants, five of whom have been in custody since last year, are charged with crimes including premeditated murder and prosecutors yesterday called for sentences between 10 years and life behind bars. More than 8,000 people were injured, the Turkish Medical Association says, during the protests in June that began as a peaceful sit-in against plans to build on a Istanbul park. Erdogan called the demonstrators “vandals” and a heavy-handed police response saw tear gas, plastic bullets and even live ammunition used. Amnesty International said there were “gross human rights violations” and German Chancellor Angela Merkel-hosting Erdogan in Berlin this Tuesday-at the time called the police response “much too harsh”. Apart from a trial that began last year of a policeman-facing five years for allegedly shooting dead a demonstrator, cases of police facing justice over the unrest have been rare. The first case involving demonstrators, meanwhile, is expected soon, with 255 of the several thousand arrested expected to be tried in a first wave, some on “terrorism” charges. ‘Dirty’ conspiracy Erdogan, 59, is now battling even bigger problems since a corruption scandal erupted in December implicating members of his inner circle and their families. He has responded by sacking hundreds of police and prosecutors and accusing supporters of Fethullah Gulen, a friend-turned-foe Islamic preacher exiled in the United States, of waging a “dirty” conspiracy to topple his government. Erdogan is co-founder of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), the Islamic-rooted movement that has dominated politics since 2002, presiding over a booming economy and rising living standards. But for critics, his handling of last June’s protests and the graft scandal have revealed something rotten about Erdogan’s Turkey, once hailed as a model Muslim democracy and emerging economy.—AFP



Controversial Japan mayor to seek new mandate TOKYO: The controversial mayor of Japan’s second city of Osaka said yesterday he is resigning to seek re-election in a bid to prove he has public support for his plans to reform local government. Toru Hashimoto, who caused an international stir last year when he said women forced into sexual slavery by Japan’s imperial army served a “neces-

sary” purpose, said he wanted to face the voters. “I am stepping down from the mayoral post, and I will run in a fresh mayoral election,” he said at a press conference in Osaka. Hashimoto, who doubles as co-head of the Japan Restoration Party, has long championed a plan to merge the prefectural and municipal governments of

Osaka, claiming it would cut out unnecessary layers of bureaucracy. But a panel made up of representatives of the Osaka prefectural government and Osaka municipal government on Friday rejected plans to speed up the integration, prompting his decision to go over their heads to the electorate. “If it is the will of voters, I will leave

the world of politics without hesitation,” Hashimoto told a party convention at the weekend, adding that a renewal of his mandate would prove the public was behind the plan. Rivals have dismissed the move as self-indulgent and said they have no intention of fielding candidates. “It is a ridiculous scheme to call an election just because the discussion is

not going the way he wants it to,” the Yomiuri Shimbun daily quoted a senior member of the New Komeito party as saying. “He is like a child screaming.” Even if Hashimoto is re-elected, there will be no legal avenue for pushing through his plan, although commentators say he would likely argue he had public opinion on his side. — AFP

New Indonesian volcanic eruption halts search K ARO: A volcano in western Indonesia that killed 15 people in a weekend eruption shot hot ash and rocks high into the air again yesterday, halting a search for any more victims. Before they stopped their search, a rescue team found the charred wreckage of motorcycles buried under ash which they believe had been carrying some of those killed by Mount Sinabung’s

eruption on Saturday. The weekend eruption was the first to claim any lives since Sinabung on Sumatra island rumbled back to life in September after lying dormant for several years, and sent vast clouds cascading down its slopes. Yesterday Sinabung, which of ten erupts numerous times a day, spewed clouds of hot ash and rocks up to

PAYUNG: Indonesian soldiers ride a vehicle to search victims following Mount Sinabung’s eruption in Payung village, yesterday. The rumbling volcano in western Indonesia unleashed fresh clouds of searing gas, killing more than a dozen of people.—AP

2,500 metres (8,200 feet) into the air, the national disaster agency said. “For the safety of the rescuers we decided to temporarily halt the search operation at midday,” local rescue agency chief Rochmali, who goes by one name, told AFP. There were no reports of new casualties from the latest eruption. He added that rescuers had yet to see any signs of life during their search on Monday and did not believe anyone else was still missing. However he said the team had found the wreck age of eight motorbikes believed to have been carr ying 14 of those k illed in Saturday ’s eruption. The bikes were inside the five -k ilometre (three-mile) danger zone, an area decreed by the authorities that was supposed to be off-limits, he added. Rochmali said officials were considering a permanent halt to the search and would decide later yesterday. The weekend eruption blanketed the countr yside surrounding the volcano with grey ash. Most of the victims-who were mainly local tourists and included four high-school students-died instantly when they were cloaked in clouds of hot gas and ash. Sinabung is one of 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a belt of seismic activity running around the basin of the Pacific Ocean. The country’s most active volcano, Mount Merapi in central Java, killed more than 350 people in a series of eruptions in 2010. — AFP

NEW DELHI: Indian disabled people hold placards as they assemble at India Gate during a protest in New Delhi yesterday. Thousands of disabled people protested in the Indian capital, demanding parliament pass long-awaited legislation that gives them equal rights including to education and employment. — AFP

India’s disabled protest to demand equal rights ‘We have been waiting since independence’ NEW DELHI: Thousands of disabled people protested in the Indian capital yesterday, demanding parliament pass long-awaited legislation that gives them equal rights including to education and employment. Thousands with intellectual or physical impairments gathered to support the bill drafted for the country’s 40-90 million disabled people, who have long been among the most excluded and stigmatised in society. “We have been waiting since independence for this, some of us even longer,” National Association of the Deaf president Zorin Singha said of the country’s estimated 18 million deaf people. “This bill will change everything for us,” he told AFP, sitting in front of India Gate among a crowd of supporters waving placards that read, “We want our rights, not your charity”. Indian political boss Sonia Gandhi has pledged to push for the bill’s passing when the national parliament sits

this week for the final session before her ruling Congress party faces general elections due by May. But its introduction and passage through the chaotic and often dysfunctional parliament is uncertain, with 126 other bills already pending in the parliament which is set for a 16day session. Singha singled out the right to education as a highlight of the bill, which will guarantee that disabled students are entitled to teachers trained to meet their needs. “Basically my school taught me nothing at all. The school had no teachers for deaf students and there were no alternatives. They just kept tr ying to force me to speak even though they knew I was deaf,” Singha said. Some disabled groups have opposed the bill, which would replace one from 1995. They say the latest draft has been watered down, and for example does not define people with psychosocial problems as disabled.

But Mohammed Umar, who contracted polio when he was three and walks with crutches, said the bill would increase the chances of disabled people finding jobs. “We are pushed into the margins of society. People won’t give us jobs, even our own families consider us a burden and this is especially so in rural areas,” said Umar from Jais city in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh state. The bill, modelled on the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, raises the quota of government jobs reserved for people with disabilities from three to five percent. It also makes private companies accountable for creating a disabled-friendly environment for employees and visitors. A World Bank study in 2007 said people with disabilities were among the most marginalised in Indian society, and 50 percent of people surveyed for the study saw disability as a “curse of God.” — AFP



Australia probes detention of asylum-seeker children SYDNEY: Australia’s human rights watchdog launched an inquiry yesterday into the detention of more than 1,000 children under punitive government policies that banish asylum-seekers arriving by boat to remote Pacific camps. Gillian Triggs, president of the Australian Human Rights Commission, said the probe would examine the impact of mandatory detention on more than 1,000 asylum-seeker children being held in immigration facilities in Australia and more than 100 on far-flung Nauru. “These are children that, among other things, have been denied freedom of movement, many of whom are spending important developmental years of their lives living behind wire in highly stressful environments,” said Triggs. The inquiry will examine whether Australia is in breach of international child protection obligations and meas-

ure progress on the issue over the past decade. A similar investigation was held in 2004 into the then-government’s “Pacific Solution” of detaining asylumseekers arriving by boat on Nauru and Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island-a policy aimed at deterring dangerous people-smuggling journeys from Indonesia. Hundreds of asylum-seekers have died attempting the voyage in recent years. The harsh Pacific detention policy was revived last year by former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd, who made it tougher still by mandating that anyone who arrived in Australia by boat would be permanently settled in PNG or Nauru. The number of children held in immigration detention dropped markedly following public outcry over the 2004 inquiry’s findings, though Triggs was pragmatic on whether such a backlash would be seen again.

“The political circumstances are perhaps different today, the public has in some respect become used to the idea that we keep children in detention. So maybe it would be optimistic to imagine that we’d have quite the same impact this time around,” she said. ‘Self harm and extreme anxiety’ The previous inquiry’s report found mandatory detention of children was “fundamentally inconsistent” with Australia’s international human rights obligations and minors locked up for long periods of time were at “high risk of serious mental harm”. During their time in detention-an average of almost two years-children were exposed to hunger strikes and violent acts of self-harm as well as wild riots which were contained with tear gas and water cannon, the report found.

There were self-harm incidents including attempted hangings and lipsewings among juvenile detainees and some were diagnosed with depression or post-traumatic stress disorder after their release. Education provided to children in detention fell “significantly short” of community standards and there were broad-ranging health concerns including the extreme climate at remote facilities, overcrowding and unsanitary conditions. Triggs said there were an “unprecedented” number of children in detention under the current regime compared with the 700 seen 10 years ago, and the conservative government of Prime Minister Tony Abbott had offered “minimal cooperation” on the issue. “In particular, we’d like to understand more about the mental health of these children. The instances of self-harm, how

they’re being treated when they’re manifesting conditions of extreme anxiety,” she said. “I’d also like to understand how they’re being assessed to be sent offshore to Nauru. Why some are being sent, why some are not.” Immigration Minister Scott Morrison rejected Triggs’ claim that the government had been uncooperative, and said there were so many children in detention because of border security “failures” by the Rudd government, which was voted out in September. “There were over 1,000 children held in detention when we came to office... because over 50,000 people turned up on illegal boats on Labor’s watch,” he said. Morrison said the government would cooperate with the inquiry and any recommendations would “be treated with respect and considered”. — AFP

Thai protesters head for downtown Bangkok No election results announced

TOKYO: Jesus Posada (L), President of the Spanish Lower House, shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the start of talks at Abe’s official residence in Tokyo yesterday. — AFP

Malaysian court jails man who raped minor KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian court yesterday sentenced a man to 12 years in jail for raping a 12-year-old whom he later married, as an activist urged the Muslimmajority nation to ban all child marriages. The district court in Sabah state on Borneo island found former restaurant manager Riduan Masmud, 41, guilty of raping the girl in February last year, his lawyer Ram Singh said. The father-of-four was charged with rape shortly after the act, but in May last year told the court that he had married the girl. The case caused an outcry and prosecutors continued to pursue the rape charge. “The court says even though the marriage is still valid, he is guilty” of rape, Ram told AFP, adding he would appeal the verdict. Riduan was also sentenced to a fine and two strokes of the cane. The court deferred the sentence pending appeal.

Ram said Riduan was also facing bribery charges in a separate court for paying the girl’s father 5,000 ringgit ($1,500) to give his consent to the marriage. Child marriages are not uncommon in the conservative Southeast Asian country. Some 60 percent of Malaysia’s 28 million people are Muslim. Girls below the age of 16 must obtain the permission of Islamic courts, which regulate civil matters for Muslims. But activists say such permission is too readily granted. Ivy Josiah, executive director of Women’s Aid Organisation, said Malaysia should make 18 the legal age for marriage for all. “It’s not the end of the story. We keep hearing of isolated cases (of child marriages) but enough to raise concern,” she told AFP. Muslims are allowed to have up to four wives in Malaysia. Riduan’s children from his first wife are aged three to 18, Ram said. — AFP

China says no cover-ups using secrecy as excuse BEIJING: China has unveiled new rules telling officials not to cover up what should be publicly available information using the excuse it is a state secret, in what state media said was a move towards greater government transparency. China has notoriously vague state secret laws, covering everything from the number of people executed every year to industry databases and even pollution figures, and information can be retroactively labelled a state secret. The issue received international attention in 2009 when an Australian citizen and three Chinese colleagues working for mining giant Rio Tinto were detained for stealing state secrets during the course of tense iron ore negotiations. But the government has come under pressure from its own people to be more open, especially on sensitive issues like the environment, which have no obvious implications for national security. The new rules, carried by the official Xinhua news agency late on Sunday,

mandate that government departments “must not define as a state secret information which by law ought to be public”. Xinhua said that the move, due to come into force on March 1, was “an effort to boost government transparency”. However, in keeping with the vague nature of state secrecy laws, the rules offer no explanation for what public information will be covered that cannot be called a state secret. The rules also state that “the scope of what is secret should be adjusted in a timely manner according to changes in the situation”. Officials who discover that state secrets have been compromised will have to report the problem within 24 hours and will be punished if they cover up the leak or fail to report it, Xinhua said. Chinese officials, particularly at the local level, often seek to invoke secrecy laws to prevent embarrassing problems that could lead to punishment, such as police brutality or pollution, from being reported to more senior officials. —Reuters

TUNIS: Tunisian Foreign Affairs minister Mongi Hamdi speaks as he meets with Indian External Affairs Minister yesterday in Tunis. — AFP

BANGKOK: Thai anti-government protesters who have been camped out in north Bangkok packed their tents and marched downtown yesterday as they consolidated efforts to topple Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, a day after a disrupted general election. Some joined protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban on foot and others followed in cars and six-wheel trucks as Thailand’s long-running political conflict showed no sign of ending. Others surrounded a government office in north Bangkok where Yingluck and two senior ministers had been holding a meeting and cut through a barbed-wire fence. They did not enter the building and it was unclear if Yingluck was still inside. The protesters closed camps at two of the seven big intersections that they have blockaded since mid-January, at Victory Monument and Lat Phrao, and were heading for the fringes of the central oasis of Lumpini Park. A third camp run by an allied group at a big government administrative complex may also be closed. Suthep said on Sunday this was being done out of safety concerns, but it could also be because their numbers are dwindling. Reuters put the number of marchers at about 3,000, with hundreds surrounding the government office. “Suthep’s movement is now crumbling, but it still has powerful unseen backers,” said Chris Baker, a historian and prominent Thailand scholar. “Backdoor negotiations are needed because both sides will avoid any direct confrontation in public view. The business lobby should revive its efforts to play the intermediary role.” Suthep’s supporters on the route showed no sign of crumbling, waving flags and handing over money. The demonstrators blocked balloting in a fifth of the country’s constituencies on Sunday, saying Yingluck must resign and make way for an appointed “people’s council” to overhaul a political system they say has been taken hostage by her billionaire brother and former premier, Thaksin Shinawatra. The election, boycotted by the main opposition party, is almost certain to return Yingluck to power and, with voting passing off peacefully across the north and northeast, Yingluck’s supporters will no doubt claim a legitimate mandate. But the vote is unlikely to change the dysfunctional status quo in a country popular with tourists and investors yet blighted by eight years of polarisation and turmoil, pitting the Bangkokbased middle class and royalist establishment against the mostly poor, rural supporters of the Shinawatras.

BANGKOK: Thai anti-government protesters hold bank notes prior ton donating them to protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban during a rally in Bangkok yesterday. Thai anti-government protesters vowed yesterday to press on with street rallies aimed at ousting Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra after a disrupted election failed to cut a path through the kingdom’s political crisis. — AFP CARETAKER The election was peaceful, apart from a few scuffles, with no repeat of the chaos seen the previous day, when supporters and opponents of Yingluck clashed in north Bangkok. Seven people were wounded by gunshots or explosions. The protesters have rallied in Bangkok since November to try to oust Yingluck. They wanted electoral rules rewritten before any election and have vowed to keep up the protests. “I’m confident this election won’t lead to the formation of a new government,” Suthep told supporters late on Sunday. Giving provisional data on Monday, the Election Commission said 20.4 million people cast their vote on Sunday, just under 46 percent of the 44.6 million eligible voters in 68 of 77 provinces. In the other nine provinces, no voting was possible. Voting was disrupted in 18 percent of constituencies, 67 out of 375, the Commission said, revising data given Sunday. It is unclear when voting will be held there and it could be weeks before parliamentary seats are filled, so Yingluck will remain a caretaker premier with no policy authority, unable to approve any new government spending. “Having gone through more than two months of protests, the election will strengthen

Yingluck’s position, but her troubles are not over yet,” said Kan Yuanyong, director of the Siam Intelligence Unit think tank. “We’ll see a continuation of the conflict, the standoff remains and the likelihood of more violence could increase.” The Election Commission said it expected legal challenges as early as Monday to try to invalidate the poll and attack the legitimacy of the government The protesters say former telecoms tycoon Thaksin has subverted a fragile democracy with populist politics such as subsidies, cheap loans and healthcare to woo the poor and guarantee victory for his parties in every election since 2001. Thaksin’s critics also accuse him of disrespecting Thailand’s revered monarchy, which he denies. Thaksin has lived abroad since 2008 to avoid a jail term for a graft conviction he says was politically motivated. Critics say Yingluck is merely a stand-in for him. Thaksin’s supporters accuse the military and the establishment, including the judiciary, of colluding over the years to oust his governments. The military, which has staged numerous coups since Thailand became a constitutional monarchy in 1932, overthrew Thaksin in 2006 but has stayed aloof this time.—Reuters

North, S Korea to hold talks on family reunions SEOUL: The two Koreas moved a step closer yesterday to resuming reunions for families separated by the Korean War, although final agreement could be derailed by a row over South Korea-US military drills. After weeks of back-and-forth, and a period of silence from North Korea, the two rivals finally settled on a date for preparatory talks to set up a reunion event at the North’s Mount Kumgang resort. Pyongyang on Monday offered talks on February 5 or 6, and Seoul’s Unification Ministry said it had chosen the Wednesday. The working-level meeting will be held at the border truce village of Panmunjom where the armistice ending the 1950-53 conflict was signed. “We welcome that the North has finally come forward to discuss the reunion,” Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Eui-Do told reporters. “Given the urgency of the matter, we will make preparations to hold the reunion as soon as possible,” Kim said. The “urgency” refers to the fact that, 60 years after the war ended, many of those who experienced the division of their families have died, and most of those that survive are in advanced old age. In a surprise move that coincided with a series of other apparently conciliatory gestures, North Korea offered last month to host a reunion event and asked South Korea to pick the dates. Seoul quickly proposed February 17-21, but given the time that has since elapsed that schedule now looks optimistic. The reunion programme began in 2000 following an historic inter-Korean summit. Sporadic events since then have seen around 17,000 relatives briefly reunited. If the Mount Kumgang gathering goes ahead, it would be the first reunion since 2010 when the programme was suspended following the North’s shelling of a South Korean border island. ‘Hostility’ A reunion with around 100 people from each

side had been planned last September but Pyongyang cancelled at the last minute, citing unspecified South Korean “hostility”. There are concerns it may do the same this time around, given Pyongyang’s strident demands that South Korea cancel annual military exercises with the United States that are scheduled to kick off at the end of February. Seoul has made it clear the annual drills, which are routinely condemned by the North as provocative rehearsals for invasion, will go ahead. Last year, Washington put on a show of military might for the exercises, deploying nuclear-capable stealth bombers and an attack submarine in response to sabre-rattling by North Korea. US military officials have indicated the drill will be scaled back this year-with no aircraft carrier and no strategic bombers-in an apparent effort to mollify Pyongyang. South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported that US Secretary of State John Kerry may add a Seoul trip to his itinerary when he visits China later this month for talks that will include the thorny issue of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme. “I will be in China in two weeks working on the North Korean issue, working with Korea, Japan, reunification...,” Kerry told a security conference in Munich on Saturday. The North has played hawk and dove in recent weeks, one day threatening the South with an “unimaginable holocaust” if the joint drills go ahead, and the next announcing a unilateral moratorium on cross-border verbal mud-slinging and proposing trust-building measures on the disputed maritime border. Seoul has branded the conciliatory gestures “deceptive” and many in South Korea are sceptical that the North will allow the proposed reunion to go ahead. Jeung Young-Tae, an analyst at the Korea Institute for National Unification, said the families

should avoid getting their hopes up a second time. “They will need to be patient given the potential obstacles down the road, and considering past actions by the North,” said Jeung, who accused Pyongyang of using the reunion offer as a bargaining chip.—AFP

MOUNT KUMGANG: This file photo taken on November 5, 2010 shows South Korean Jung Soon-Ae (top L) and her daughter Choi Gyung-Ok (R) waving to their North Korean relative (bottom) as they bid farewell after a separated family reunion meeting at the Mount Kumgang resort on the North’s southeastern coast, near the border. —AFP



Iranian youths play with snow in the Tochal mountain, just north of Tehran, yesterday. — AFP

UAE says ‘no disputes’ with Qatar Continued from Page 1 condition is “stable and assuring,” said WAM, citing Sheikh Mohammed. Abu Dhabi summoned Doha’s envoy on Sunday to protest against “insults” to the UAE made by Egypt-born cleric Yusef Al-Qaradawi, who is based in Qatar. The spat was the first of its kind by a member of the six-nation 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. Qaradawi staunchly backs 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 weekly Friday prayers sermon in Doha last month, Qaradawi lashed out at the UAE, accusing it 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 Al-Attiyah 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”. 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 ambassador. — Agencies

Qaeda breaks link with Syrian group Continued from Page 1 Al-Qaeda’s ideology but not linked to it by organization. The announcement sharpens a dispute raging the past year between Al-Qaeda’s central leadership and the faction known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which was created last year by the head of Al-Qaeda’s branch in Iraq, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. He formed the group to expand his operations into neighboring Syria in defiance of direct orders by Zawahiri not to do so and to stick to operations within Iraq. Now, the break is likely to spark a competition for resources and fighters between the two sides in what has become a civil war within a civil war as Syria’s rebels fight against President Bashar Al-Assad. The past year, Islamic State - known by the initials ISIL - has taken over swaths of territory in Syria, particularly in the east. It has increasingly clashed with other factions, particularly an umbrella group called the Islamic Front and with Jabhat al-Nusra, or the Nusra Front, the group that Zawahiri declared last year to be Al-Qaeda’s true representative in Syria. That fighting has accelerated the past month. On Saturday, a double suicide bombing killed a senior commander in the Tahwid Brigade and an ambush elsewhere on the same day killed a commander of another faction, Suqour Al-Sham. Both groups are part of the Islamic Front, and many blamed the Islamic State for the killings. Since Jan 3, more than 1,700 people have been killed in fighting between Islamic State and other factions. Powerful force At the same time, the Islamic State’s leader Baghdadi has brought his group back to the forefront in his homeland Iraq. The past month, his fighters rose up and virtually took over main cities of Iraq’s western Anbar province, and they continue to hold out against sieges by Iraqi government troops. His group has sought to present itself as the voice of that country’s Sunni minority against the Shiite-led government. That has made Baghdadi a powerful force in the jihadi movement. Rival Islamic factions in Syria accuse him of trying to take over their movement in that country. Even his choice of the group’s name, Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, was seen as a declaration that his force was the only real Islamic movement in the country. In yesterday’s statement, Al-Qaeda’s general command announced it has “no connection” with the Islamic State, underlined that the group “is not a branch of the Al-Qaeda organization,” and said Al-Qaeda “is not responsible for its actions”. Al-Qaeda did not condone the group’s creation “and in fact ordered it to stop,” the statement said. It also condemned the infighting among Islamic groups, saying, “We distance ourselves from the sedition taking place among the mujahedeen factions (in Syria) and of the forbidden bloodshed by any faction.” It warned that mujahedeen,

or holy warriors, must recognize the “enormity of the catastrophe” caused by “this sedition”. The authenticity of the statement could not independently be verified but it was posted on websites commonly used by Al-Qaeda. Charles Lister of the Brookings Doha Center said the AlQaeda statement reflected its “attempt to definitively reassert some level of authority over the jihad in Syria.” As tensions rose between the Islamic State and other groups, AlQaeda’s central leadership “failed to take a genuinely commanding line,” until the fighting forced it to act, he said in emailed comments. However, he doubted the Islamic State would back down, saying its attacks on rival factions “have been aimed at weakening opponents’ key strategic strongpoints and command and control”. That is likely to mean further fighting with other jihadi factions. Capt. Islam Alloush, a military spokesman for the Islamic Front, said Al-Qaeda’s announcement came late but praised it for isolating the Islamic State. “This faction is without cover or cosponsor. It has been totally stripped after Al-Qaeda and the people abandoned it,” Allouch told AP. But the announcement also pointed to larger splits among the jihadi movement. Numerous militant groups sprung up in the turmoil since the Arab Spring uprisings began in late 2010, from Algeria and Mali to Libya and Egypt to Syria and Yemen. Most of them show a degree of respect to Al-Qaeda, but the central leadership has little control over them. Al-Qaeda’s leadership focuses on trying to direct its declared branches in North Africa, Yemen, Syria, Somalia and - until now - Iraq, while issuing statements offering advice to others. Several jihadi ideologues had lined up in support of Baghdadi’s Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, particularly Abu Mundhir Al-Shanqiti, an influential sheikh believed to be from Mauritania. The divisions were immediately clear from comments reacting to Al-Qaeda’s new statement on Islamic militant websites. Participants in the sites’ web forums quickly weighed in on both sides of the dispute. The participants, generally supporters of the jihadi movement, are registered by username pseudonyms but their views are believed to reflect the wide variety of sentiments within the movement. Supporters of the Al-Qaeda statement denounced the Islamic State for defying the leadership and attacking its rivals. “Its mistakes have been getting worse day after day, and the (Al-Qaeda) leadership tried to advise and direct them,” one participant, by the username Ahmed bin Ali, wrote. “But our brothers in the Islamic State listen to no one, no matter who.” But Islamic State supporters angrily said AlQaeda’s leadership was turning its back on a powerful group fighting for the cause. “The Al-Qaeda that we loved and prayed to God to make victorious died with the death of Sheik Osama (bin Laden),” one by the username Muslim2000 wrote. “God as my witness, Al-Qaeda did not do right by this mujahed group. Instead, it stood with its enemies.” — AP

Oil strike looms as talks break down Continued from Page 1 The minister is expected to explain to the National Assembly at the start of the regular session today the details of the dispute and any contingency plan prepared by the oil ministry in order to face the strike. Several MPs have criticized the trade unions on the grounds that their salaries are highly inflated while others backed the workers’ demands. In another development, MP Yacoub Al-Sane urged the government yesterday to scrap the Al-Zour North power and water desalination plant contract and refer the issue to the public prosecution for an investigation. The lawmaker said that the $2.6 billion contract was awarded to a local-international consortium although the process involved a number of serious violations, including allowing the winners to change their bid after submitting it. Sane said that the contract was first

awarded on the basis of a 2010 law which was amended two years later to change some of the rules. He warned that the contract will lead to the squandering of huge amounts of public funds. The lawmaker based some of his conclusions on the findings of an investigation committee formed to probe the deal. Sane called for referring the entire contract to a technical committee to study the violations committed in the awarding process and then refer the issue to the public prosecution to conduct a legal investigation into the suspected violations. The Assembly is also expected to discuss the grilling filed by MP Adel Al-Khorafi against Electricity and Water and Public Works Minister Abdulaziz Al-Ibrahim over allegations of mismanagement and squandering of public funds. Based on available indications, the minister is highly expected to demand a two-week delay in the debate of the grilling.

Heavy snow blankets Iran TEHRAN: The heaviest snowstorm in five decades has blanketed provinces in northern Iran, cutting power supplies and trapping villagers, Iranian media reported yesterday. The storm is “unprecedented for the past 50 years, with two metres of snow falling since Friday,” a Mazandaran provincial official said, quoted by the media. “Our main problems are (the provision of ) power and water, which have been cut off due to the heavy snow,” he said. According to officials, around 500,000 people in northern Iran have been left without electricity and gas since Saturday. Iran’s Red Crescent head, Pir Hossein

Kolivand, said teams have in the past four days rescued around 11,000 people caught in the heavy snow. Sevennine people have been hospitalised, official IRNA news agency reported. “Some 3800 people have also been settled in emergency shelters,” he added. In Tehran, temperatures plunged to -7 C on Saturday, making it the capital’s coldest night of the year, while other provinces experienced temperatures as low as -18 C. Some schools in northern Tehran were closed yesterday because of the weather. New snow storms were expected from yesterday night in the southwest of the country. — AFP

King orders punishing Saudi jihadist fighters RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will jail for 3-20 years any citizen who fights in conflicts abroad, according to a royal decree released yesterday, in an apparent move to deter Saudis from joining rebels in Syria and then posing a security risk once they return home. The decree by King Abdullah also said Saudis who join, endorse or give moral or material aid to groups it classifies as terrorist or extremist organisations, whether inside or outside the country, would face prison sentences of between five and 30 years. Saudi Arabia’s Islamic religious authorities have previously spoken out against Saudis joining Islamist militants involved in Syria’s civil war, but the Interior Ministry estimates that around 1,200 Saudis have gone there nonetheless. The decree underscored concern about young Saudis hardened by battle against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad coming home to target the ruling Al-Saud royal family - as happened after earlier wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Saudi Arabia is the world’s No. 1 oil exporter and a mainstay ally of the United States in the Middle East. “(Saudi leaders) have to be concerned about Syria. They’re probably mindful about what happened in Afghanistan and the people who went there and later came back to cause problems,” said Robert Jordan, US ambassador to Riyadh from 2001-03. Major General Mansour Turki, Saudi Arabia’s security spokesman, told Reuters on Sunday that 200-300 citizens had returned from Syria and would be put through the kingdom’s rehabilitation program for militants. The announcement came quickly on the heels of the publication on Friday of a new anti-terrorism law that has been condemned by rights activists as a tool to stifle dissent. The new decree said a committee would be set up to determine which groups would be outlawed, but it could help Riyadh target two movements it sees as particularly dangerous - Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah. “Syria is probably the main factor at play here. But as this decree comes on the heels of the new counterterrorism law it could also presage prosecutions for Saudis accused of glorifying movements elsewhere, potentially including Hezbollah or even the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood,” said Jane Kinninmont, senior research fellow at Chatham House in London. Riyadh fears the Brotherhood, which espouses a conservative Sunni doctrine that challenges the Saudi principle of dynastic rule, has tried to build support inside

the kingdom since its rise to power in Egypt via a free election in 2012 and subsequent overthrow by the army following mass unrest. When Brotherhood supporters protested against Egypt’s military-backed government last summer following the overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, it branded the unrest as “terrorism” and sedition. Saudi authorities have also accused Hezbollah of acting as an Iranian proxy throughout the Middle East and last year joined other Gulf Arab countries in calling for sanctions against it. Riyadh has accused Iran of supporting protests among its Shiite minority in Eastern Province. The anti-terrorism law published in Riyadh’s official gazette on Friday says terrorist crimes include any act that “disturbs public order, shakes the security of society, or subjects its national unity to danger, or obstructs the primary system of rule or harms the reputation of the state”. Over the past decade Saudi Arabia has imprisoned thousands of people convicted of working with Al-Qaeda after the Sunni Islamist militant group staged attacks inside the kingdom from 2003-06 that killed hundreds. Political change Rights groups have said some of those Riyadh imprisoned on those charges had merely called for political change in a peaceful manner, a charge the government has repeatedly denied. In the past year Saudi authorities have also been criticised by international rights groups for jailing several prominent activists on charges ranging from setting up an illegal organisation to damaging the reputation of the country. When an earlier draft of the new law was made public by rights group Amnesty International in 2011, Saudi Arabia said it was revising the text to make it less severe. The new law applies to both Saudis and foreigners inside and outside the kingdom, and allows the authorities to hold suspects incommunicado for up to 90 days, or for longer periods with the approval of a special criminal court. A spokesman for the Shoura Council said in 2011 the law would be made compatible with sharia (Islamic law) and would not violate citizens’ rights or existing statutes. Saudi human rights activist Walid Abu al-Khair criticised the law, saying it was intended to “combat peaceful demands”. “It shapes a first-rate threat to all activists and it is meant to strangle freedom of expression,” Abu al-Khair told Reuters. — Agencies

Pacific castaway is back in civilisation Continued from Page 1 interpreter for Marshall Islands authorities, that he was originally from El Salvador but had been living in Mexico for 15 years before his epic voyage. “He said he is a shrimp and shark fisherman,” Armbruster said Monday in Majuro minutes after talking to him. “He looked better than one would expect.” And foreign ministry officials said he told them during a debriefing that he was a 37-year-old whose full name was Jose Salvador Albarengo. He said he lived in Tapachula, near the Mexican border with Guatemala, and worked for a company named Camoronera Dela Costa. Albarengo said he was on a shark-fishing expedition with a youth named Xiquel when strong winds blew them off course and they became lost. Albarengo said the boy, described as 15- to 18-years old, died a few weeks into the ordeal because he could not eat raw bird meat. The surviving fisherman was found disorientated and clad only in ragged underpants last Thursday, after his 24-foot (7.3-m) fibreglass boat floated onto a reef at Ebon Atoll, the southernmost cluster of coral islands in the Marshalls. Unable to speak English, he communicated to his rescuers through pictures and gestures that he had survived the 12,500-km odyssey by eating turtles,

birds and fish and drinking turtle blood when there was no rain. Marshall Islands immigration chief Damien Jacklick said authorities were still gathering information and the foreign affairs department planned to contact overseas officials to arrange his repatriation. “With the help of the US ambassador, we were able to obtain information on his family members in El Salvador and the United States,” he told AFP. “We hope this information will help us track down his family.” Medics plan to give Albarengo a thorough check before he is interviewed by detectives. He spoke briefly to a Spanish interpreter via a faltering radio link over the weekend while still at Ebon Atoll and said he was keen to return home. “I feel bad,” he said of his physical and mental state. “I am so far away. I don’t know where I am or what happened.” Stories of survival in the vast Pacific are not uncommon. In 2006 three Mexicans made international headlines when they were discovered drifting, also in a small fibreglass boat near the Marshall Islands, nine months after setting out on a shark-fishing expedition. They survived on a diet of rainwater, raw fish and seabirds, with their hopes kept alive by reading the Bible. Castaways from Kiribati, to the south, frequently find land in the Marshall Islands after ordeals of weeks or months at sea in small boats. —AFP




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Army loyalties divided on Ukraine protests By Oleksandr Savochenko, Olga Nedbaeva


krainian President Viktor Yanukovych is unlikely to move the army against protesters despite opposition warnings about an imminent intervention - mainly because the loyalty of rank and file soldiers could be in doubt, analysts said. “The core of the army is made up of young people who grew up in an independent Ukraine,” said Valentyn Badrak, director of the Research Centre for the Army, Demilitarisation and Disarmament in Kiev. “They are members of a younger generation that feels very close to the aspirations of the Maidan,” or Independence Square in the centre of Kiev, the epicentre of Ukraine’s protest movement, Badrak told AFP. “The high command is made up mostly of officers and generals who grew up in Soviet times and they have a certain discipline, they are ready to obey any order,” he said. But lower ranks “feel the financial and social difficulties” in Ukraine, he said. The opposition has been warning for weeks that Yanukovych could be preparing to impose emergency rule by calling the army into the streets, prompting international concern. The prospect appeared to become more concrete last Friday when the army asked Yanukovych to take “urgent measures” to end a two-month crisis that has claimed at least four lives and left parts of central Kiev looking like a war zone. The 63-year-old president has battled protests sparked by his decision to ditch key economic and political agreements with the European Union. The pro-EU protest movement has turned into an all-out drive to oust Yanukovych. ‘In a pitiful state’ Since the country’s 1991 independence from the Soviet Union, the army has always remained neutral. The military remained above the fray during the pro-democracy 2004 “Orange Revolution” which brought pro-Western opposition

Seahawks’ total team effort stops Broncos By Larry Fine


eattle’s “Legion of Boom” secondary made the noise this season as poster boys for the Seahawks’ league-best defense, but it took a team effort to send the high powered Denver Broncos crashing in Super Bowl 48. Sunday’s 43-8 trouncing at MetLife Stadium was one of the most lopsided ever in a Super Bowl and came against a Peyton Manning-led offense that had set an NFL record for points in a season. Linebacker Malcolm Smith ran off with the Most Valuable Player award by running all the way into the end zone with a second-quarter, 69-yard interception to break open the game. Cliff Avril set up that pick by getting in Peyton Manning’s face with his pass rush, and fellow defensive lineman Chris Clemons had a sack and forced two fumbles. The defensive backfield certainly weighed in. Bone bruising hits on Broncos receivers coming across the middle by safety Kam Chancellor seemed to make them jittery, safety Earl Thomas led with six solo tackles while trash-talking secondary mate and fellow Pro Bowler Richard Sherman

was largely avoided by Manning’s passes. It was a performance worthy of some of the greatest defensive teams in NFL lore, up there with the work of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ “Steel Curtain”, the 1985 Chicago Bears with William “Refrigerator” Perry, and the Ray Lewis-led Baltimore Ravens of 2000. Do not discount the Seattle offense, either. Secondyear quarterback Russell Wilson showed poise beyond his years in orchestrating a rocksteady attack, scrambling to first downs and tossing two touchdown passes, hitting Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse. With Denver focused on stopping the run, limiting Marshawn Lynch to 39 yards on 15 carries, Wilson relied more on his arm and completed 18 of 25 passes for 206 yards with no interceptions. And Percy Harvin completed the team picture by racing 87 yards for a touchdown with the second-half kickoff to put an exclamation mark on the rout with a special team’s splash. “I think as a team, everything - from the special teams to the offense to the defense, I feel like everybody was clicking,” said linebacker Bobby Wagner, who led Seattle with

10 tackles. “We peaked at the right time.” Breaking Away Despite thoroughly outplaying the Broncos in the first quarter, outgaining them by 148 yards to 11, Seattle failed to score touchdowns with their opportunities and led by just 8-0. That is when the Seattle pass rush ratcheted up the pressure and made Manning shuffle his feet, roll outside the pocket and hurry his passes. The opportunistic Seahawks were quick to capitalize. First, the hard-hitting Chancellor corraled an overthrow pass for an interception and this time Wilson drove Seattle to pay dirt with Lynch doing the honors by bulling his way in from the one yard. Then came Avril’s determined rush and hit on Manning’s throwing arm that produced the lollipop gobbled up by Smith. In the third quarter, cornerback Byron Maxwell stripped the ball from Demaryius Thomas after a 23-yard catch and linebacker Smith was the man on the spot again as he recovered the fumble to set up a touchdown throw by Wilson. The Seahawks did not work their magic with tricks. They played their usual game on defense and dared

Manning to beat them and he could not. “The thing that I was most impressed about is that we played the style and fashion that we’re accustomed to,” said Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. “We’re fast, we’re physical and we played the game on our terms.” The motley crew of overlooked players that populate a Seattle defense whipped into a high-energy force by head coach Pete Carroll, was the story of the game. “We’re a bunch of misfits in some ways,” said Sherman, who was carted off the field in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury. “Fifth round, Kam Chancellor. Sixth round, Byron Maxwell. Fifth round, Richard Sherman. Fourth-round, K J Wright. Undrafted, Michael Bennett.” Sherman rattled off other names - Avril, Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane as other players that have gone overlooked. “It’s not just the Legion of Boom back’s a great linebacking corps, a great D-line who gets a lot of pressure. I think they deserve the respect.” They should have won the respect of football followers that watched them stop five-time Most Valuable Player Manning and the Broncos in their tracks. —Reuters

Limbo looms for Thailand after polls By Kelly Macnamara

T An activist of a Ukrainian student organization installs a golden toilet yesterday on a pedestal where a statue of Lenin used to stand before it was ripped down by protesters in Kiev. —AFP leaders to power in a confrontation over an election that was fraudulently won by Yanukovych. Badrak said imposing emergency rule “will be virtually impossible” because of low morale in a country in which military spending has been a low priority. “The army is in a pitiful state. An officer with the rank of lieutenant colonel earns as much as a cashier at a supermarket” - or around Ä300 ($405) a month, he said. “And spending keeps going down,” he added. Sergiy Zgurets, another military expert, said the army’s call on Yanukovych was only “a show of loyalty” to the president. In fact “the military is divided”, he said. The Ukrainian military’s chief-of-staff, General Volodymyr Zamana, struck a more conciliatory tone on Saturday saying that “no one has the right to use the armed forces to limit the rights of citizens”. Defence Minister Pavlo Lebedev also said that “a crushing majority of 87 percent” of the army supported Yanukovych a statement that points to at least some dissent. “That means 13 percent of the army do not support hardline methods and military action to end the protests,” former defence minister Anatoliy Grytsenko, who is now an opposition politician, told AFP. “Even taking into account the pressure from the ‘tsar’, this is a good result,” he said. Grytsenko also said that a telegram has been going round army units asking them to pledge loyalty to Yanukovych. “I know that despite the difficulty of the situation there are honest officers in the armed forces who are not signing it. I also know of some cases in which the high command is sacking them.” —AFP

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hailand’s protest-plagued elections have ushered in a new chapter of political uncertainty that experts say leaves the embattled government increasingly vulnerable to court intervention or a military coup. Millions were denied the opportunity to cast ballots on Sunday, with blockades by protesters seeking to prevent the re-election of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra causing the closure of some 10 percent of polling stations. Hundreds of anti-government demonstrators took to the streets again on Monday for a new protest march through the capital although their numbers were down sharply compared with before the election. Election officials said that nearly 46 percent of eligible voters had cast ballots in an election boycotted by the main opposition party. But facing possible vote reruns in nearly a fifth of constituencies, they dampened expectations of a quick result. That has raised the spectre of weeks of uncertainty in a country where the military and the judiciary have a history of reshaping the political landscape. Without enough MPs to convene the legislature, even if Yingluck wins she will remain in a caretaker role with limited power over government policy until elections are held in the problem areas. “She will be untenable as a caretaker who doesn’t have the authority to really run the country,” said Thitinan Pongsudhirak, director of the Institute of Security and International Studies at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University, adding that Yingluck would become “more vulnerable to some kind of ouster”. “The longer Yingluck is a weakening caretaker prime minister the greater the likelihood that we will see a decision from the independent agencies to break the deadlock,” he said. Such bodies include the Election Commission and the National Anti-Corruption Commission, which is investigating Yingluck for possible neglect of duty over a controversial rice subsidy scheme. If found guilty she could face impeachment. Loved and loathed Thailand has appeared trapped in a feedback loop of street unrest and political upheaval since a military coup deposed Yingluck’s brother Thaksin from power more than seven years ago. The billionaire tycoon-turned-politician has lived abroad to avoid a jail term for graft since 2008, but his absence has failed to heal the nation’s divisions. The former premier and his allies have won every democratic vote since 2001, riding a wave of popularity in his north and northeastern heartlands for policies like cheap healthcare and rice subsidy schemes.

But Thaksin’s electoral strength and leadership style has been decried as tyrannical and corrupt by his foes, backed by the kingdom’s powerful establishment forces. Yingluck’s Labour Minister Chalerm Yubamrung predicted Monday that Puea Thai would claim at least 265 out of 500 seats in the lower house. The main opposition Democrat Party - which has not won an elected majority in some two decades refused to take part in Sunday’s election, instead throwing its support behind protesters

sor at the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies at Japan’s Kyoto University. Fears of protracted civil violence The political uncertainty hanging over one of Southeast Asia’s biggest economies, coupled with recent political violence that has left at least 10 dead, have dented investor confidence and caused tourists to shy away. “Foreign investors are increasingly worried about the mounting political risks in Thailand, with no political solu-

the largely pro-Thaksin “Red Shirts” against a Democrat-led government in 2010 sparked clashes and a bloody military crackdown that left more than 90 people dead. The latest rallies were initially sparked by an attempted amnesty that could have allowed Thaksin to return. But they morphed into an attempt to replace the government with an unelected “people’s council” to run the country and implement vaguely-defined reforms before elections in a year or more. Thailand-based scholar and author David

A newly graduated Thai student from Rangsit University poses for a photographer next to a group of riot policemen guarding a road near the office of the permanent secretary for defense during a rally by anti-government protesters yesterday in Bangkok. —AP largely made up of the Bangkok middle classes and southerners. The party on Sunday said it was preparing to petition the Constitutional Court to annul the election. Such a move “could prolong the protests on the streets of Bangkok and create a situation leading to intervention from the military or the judges,” said Pavin Chachavalpongpun, associate profes-

tion in sight,” said Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist at IHS Global Insight, which has cut its Thai economic growth forecast to 3.2 percent for 2014, from 3.9 percent previously. He said the seemingly intractable political divisions heightened fears over “protracted violent civil unrest” coupled with “a gradual erosion of Thailand’s previously sound macroeconomic environment”. The unrest is the worst since mass protests by

Streckfuss said the opposition missed an opportunity to demonstrate the level of support for their campaign with a tally of ‘no’ votes. He said demonstrators were aiming to help create the pretext for the military to step in to remove Yingluck, but were likely to “underestimate” the backlash from the Red Shirts. “Sooner or later there is going to be a very sharp response.” —AFP


S P ORTS Police probe Walcott attack LONDON: Police said yesterday they were looking for three men accused of pelting Arsenal’s Theo Walcott with coins during last month’s north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur. The 24-year-old England winger came under attack as he was carried off on a stretcher after injuring his knee during the FA Cup tie at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium on January 4. Stewards and ambulance staff were also hit by the coins, in a confrontation that saw Walcott make a “2-0” gesture with his hands in retaliation, referring to the scoreline. His knee injury means he will be out of action for six months and so miss going to this year’s World Cup in Brazil with England. Yesterday saw London’s Metropolitan Police Force release indistinct pictures of the three men suspected of throwing the coins. “During the match, an Arsenal player on a stretcher, medical staff carrying him and stewards were struck by coins and other missiles thrown at them from a section of the crowd occupied by Tottenham fans,” a force spokesman said. “The player and stewards received minor injuries as a result. Officers from the Metropolitan Police launched an investigation and have now identified three men they would like to contact.” Police are also investigating anti-Semitic twitter posts, which referred to the Holocaust, that were posted after the match. Tottenham in particular are known for having Jewish supporters, although Arsenal too draw plenty of Jewish fans from north London’s sizeable Jewish community. —AFP

Horgmo breaks collarbone

7-year rule not set in stone SOCHI: An International Olympic Committee rule that forces a sport to wait seven years before it can potentially become part of the Games programme is “more or less obsolete,” IOC President Thomas Bach said yesterday. Bach, who took over from Jacques Rogge in September, is eager to revamp the organisation, change the bidding process for candidate cities and refresh the sports programme. The fact that the seven-year rule was included in the Olympic Charter should not pose a problems, the German told reporters. “I know that the Olympic Charter is not set in stone, we have to evolve, adapt to modern times,” said Bach, who has given hope to baseball and softball to be included in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The two sports, hugely popular in Japan, missed the cut for inclusion in the 2020 and 2024 Games but the IOC session is set to discuss possible Charter changes in Sochi this week. “I personally would be very much in favor (of changing the rule),” said Bach. “The seven-year rule is more or less obsolete. If the IOC, organising committees and international federations agree then the seven-year rule must not be applied. —Reuters

SOCHI: Norway snowboarding medal hope Torstein Horgmo broke his collarbone in a practice run at Sochi yesterday and is out of the Olympics. Horgmo’s injury comes amid mounting safety concerns over the Winter Games course. “It was on the first rail element it happened,” team coach Per-Iver Grimsrud said. “He was doing a switch hardway, backside 270. He landed wrong on the rail, and then he fell into the stairs to the side.” “It was the worst fall I’ve seen,” Austrian snowboarder Anna Gasser told Norway’s TV2. “He landed with his back straight on the rail, and they had to put in rods to stabilize his back before he was brought down on a stretcher.” Horgmo was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where the broken collarbone was confirmed. “It is of course very sad that this happened. Falling is part of our sport, but the timing is terribly bad,” Horgmo said in a statement. “Now I just want to recover quickly, get back on the board and have fun again.” A winner of the X Games in Big Air in 2013, 26-year-old Horgmo was one of Norway’s big medal hopes for the Sochi Games before his fall, and his accident further raises concerns over the course at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park. Irish snowboarder Seamus O’Connor had earlier in the day described the course as “pretty dangerous” and urged his fellow competitors to speak up about it. “They overbuilt the jumps because they were anticipating that the snow would melt. At the moment the riders are not happy. The rails up top are too close,” he told reporters after his training runs. “It’s pretty dangerous at the moment. I think it’s definitely going to be a problem for the women, it’s pretty gnarly for them. —Reuters

Capitals clip Red Wings WASHINGTON: Alex Ovechkin scored his NHLleading 39th goal on a power play 2:37 into overtime, and the Washington Capitals beat the Detroit Red Wings 6-5 Sunday to earn a split of a home-and-home set and tighten up things in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference. Ovechkin’s one-timer from the left circle was no match for goaltender Jimmy Howard, who had only three teammates on the ice with him after Brendan Smith was sent off for tripping 1:26 into the extra period. Joel Ward had two goals and an assist, and Jason Chimera, John Carlson and Troy Brouwer also scored for the Capitals, who got a touchdown’s worth of goals in their fifth consecutive Super Bowl Sunday home matinee. Michal Neuvirth made 25 saves. Washington lost in a shootout at Detroit on Friday. The Capitals and Red Wings are tied at 59 points, in the middle of a six-team pack in which two points separate eighth place from 13th place in the East. Washington had lost seven of nine and three in a row at home. Gustav Nyquist had his first career hat trick and added an assist, and Tomas Tatar and Justin Abdelkader also scored for the Red Wings, who at least managed to score away from home after getting shut out in their past three road games. Jimmy Howard stopped 22 shots for Detroit. Ward has 17 goals, matching his career high for a season. He’s become the unlikely No. 2 scorer on the Capitals, well behind Ovechkin. The pair are a little closer after a scoring change from Friday’s game, with Ovechkin’s game-tying goal in the waning seconds was credited instead to Ward after a day-after scoring change. JETS 2, CANADIENS 1 Michael Frolik scored in the third period to give Winnipeg a victory over Montreal. Tobias Enstrom also scored for the Jets and Al Montoya stopped 30 shots. Brian Gionta scored for Montreal. Carey Price, playing his second game in as many days, made 33 saves. Frolik scored the winner just over a minute into the third. After a Winnipeg dump-in, Price mishandled the puck outside his crease and lost possession to Andrew Ladd. The Jets’ captain found a streaking Frolik in front of the net, and Price couldn’t make it back in time to stop the shot. The Jets have won eight of 10 since Paul Maurice took over as head coach on Jan. 12. —AP

DETROIT: Washington Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin (8) breaks away from Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser (65) and right wing Daniel Alfredsson (11) of Sweden during the first period of an NHL hockey game. —AP

NHL results/standings Washington 6, Detroit 5 (OT); Winnipeg 2, Montreal 1. 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

Chicago St. Louis Colorado Minnesota Dallas Nashville Winnipeg

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 27 25 5 161

GA 139 134 122 147 164 173 194

PTS 85 76 66 63 62 49 42

158 125 142 144 160 172 166

80 79 75 65 59 59 59

Stadler wins in Phoenix

NINTH FATHER-SON COMBINATION Stadler and his father Craig, who won the 1982 Masters along with 12 other PGA Tour titles, became the ninth father-son

combination to triumph on the U.S. circuit. Watson held a two-shot lead overnight but was quickly caught at the top by the fast-starting Stadler who sank birdie putts from 10 and 26 feet at the par-four first and second. Though Watson missed his birdie attempt from eight feet at the second, he and Stadler recorded two-putt birdies at the par-five third to get to 16 under. Watson immediately regained a onestroke advantage after hitting a superb tee shot to five feet at the par-three fourth and knocking in the putt. However, the American left-hander succumbed to a two-shot swing at the parfour ninth where he bogeyed after finding a bunker with his approach and Stadler birdied from three feet to move one stroke clear. Out in four-under 31, Stadler then tumbled out of the lead with a double at the 11th where his tee shot ended up in the desert with his ball perched on a cactus and he three-putted from long range. Watson did well to salvage par at the long 15th after driving into water but bogeyed the par-three 16th, where he found a bunker off the tee, to slip back into a tie for the lead with Stadler and DeLaet. Both Stadler and Watson birdied the par-four 17th after driving the green to edge a stroke clear and it seemed a playoff was likely as they headed for the 18th tee. Watson appeared to be in trouble after hitting his tee shot into the right rough and overshooting the green with his second but he did well to hit his third to five feet before missing the putt for par. Stadler, ideally placed in the right fairway off the tee, struck a superb approach to 10 feet and though he failed to sink his birdie attempt, a closing par was good enough to clinch a one-stroke victory. —Reuters

119 137 176 139 158 176 174 161

73 69 66 64 60 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 Washington 25 22 9 164 172 59 New Jersey 23 21 12 132 140 58 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).

Olympic great Thorpe in rehab

SCOTTSDALE: Kevin Stadler smiles as he poses for photographers with the championship trophy after winning the Phoenix Open golf tournament. —AP

PHOENIX: Burly American Kevin Stadler overhauled playing partner Bubba Watson, then survived a mix of the good, bad and ugly after the turn to win his first PGA Tour title by one shot at the Phoenix Open in Scottsdale, Arizona on Sunday. Two strokes behind the pacesetting Watson overnight, Stadler birdied his first three holes before recovering from a double-bogey at the 11th on the way to a three-under-par 68 for a 16-under total of 268 at the TPC Scottsdale. Stadler narrowly missed a birdie attempt from 10 feet at the par-four 18th, then watched nervously as Watson missed a five-footer for par that would have forced a playoff. Watson, seeking his first PGA Tour victory since his breakthrough major win at the 2012 Masters, had to settle for a closing 71 and a share of second place at 15 under with Canadian Graham DeLaet (65). Stadler expressed relief and delight after clinching his maiden title on the U.S. circuit on his 239th start, earning a spot at the Masters in April where he will compete along with his father Craig, a former champion at Augusta National. “It wasn’t pretty,” Stadler, 33, told Golf Channel after a final round that included five birdies and his double at the par-four 11th. “I was walking all over the shop. I hit a lot of good shots and a lot of kind of ugly shots but thankfully it all worked out. “It feels fantastic. Obviously I would have liked to make that (birdie) putt there (on 18) and win that way but it’s been a long time coming, so I’ll take it any way I can get it.”

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division Boston 35 16 3 164 Tampa Bay 32 18 5 162 Toronto 30 21 6 170 Montreal 29 21 6 137 Detroit 24 19 12 144 Ottawa 24 21 10 158 Florida 21 27 7 133 Buffalo 15 31 8 105

NEW DELHI: Tiger Woods (center) arrives at the Indira Gandhi International airport in New Delhi, India. Woods arrived yesterday on his first visit to India to play an exhibition with a top business executive. —AP

Woods in India for exhibition round NEW DELHI: Tiger Woods arrived in New Delhi yesterday for his first visit to India, where he will play a round with special guests at a private event organised by a motorcycle company. The world number one arrived from the United Arab Emirates where he had competed in the Dubai Desert Classic, and was whisked from the VIP area at the airport under tight security. Woods is expected to play an 18-hole round with special invitees at the heavily guarded Delhi Golf Club today morning, an event that is closed to the public and the media. “I am afraid this is a strictly private affair,” a club official told AFP. “Even regular members will not be allowed in unless they have been invited.” The 14-time Major winner will play alongside Hero Motors boss Pawan Munjal and his guests that include two renowned Indian golfers, Shiv Kapur and Arjun Atwal. Kapur, a member of the upscale Delhi

Golf Club, is a regular on the European and Asian tour. Atwal is a long-time friend and PGA Tour colleague of Woods. Media reports speculated that Woods could be earning an appearance fee worth a sevenfigure dollar sum for his short trip. Despite the public and media being excluded from the event, Kapur said Woods’s presence would boost golf’s image in the cricket-mad nation. “Tiger’s visit to India is going to make a huge impact and there is a big buzz already not only in Delhi but the whole country,” Kapur said on the sidelines of the Dubai Desert Classic last week. “I know the members at my club are very excited and there is going to be people climbing all over the walls just to get a glimpse of Tiger. “As everyone knows, cricket dominates sport in India. So for at least one day the world’s top golfer is going to steal all the attention away from the Sachin Tendulkars and Virender Sehwags.” —AFP

SYDNEY: The manager of Olympic swimming great Ian Thorpe says the five-time gold medalist is in rehab after being found disoriented on a Sydney street early yesterday morning by police responding to a call from residents. James Erskine told the Australian Associated Press that Thorpe was affected by a combination of antidepressants and the painkillers he was taking for a shoulder injury. Police spoke to Thorpe after residents near his parents’ home in Panania in Sydney’s southwest reported a man allegedly breaking into a van. He was taken to Sydney’s Bankstown Hospital for assessment and was later transferred to a rehab facility. “He is in rehab for depression,” AAP quoted Erskine as saying. Erskine said Thorpe had thought he was sitting in his friend’s car. “The owner of the car basically called the police and the police came,” he said. “They realized it was Ian Thorpe. They realized he was disoriented.” Erskine said Thorpe, 31, had been taking antidepressants and medication for his shoulder but had not been drinking alcohol. “He hadn’t had a drink,” he said. “He had zero alcohol in him.” Police said no official complaint has been made and no further police action is anticipated. Thorpe, who is currently living in Switzerland, has been staying with his parents over Christmas. Erskine’s admission that Thorpe is in rehab comes only days after Thorpe’s management company denied reports he checked into a rehab facility while battling depression and alcohol abuse. News Corporation, quoting friends of Thorpe, said he had been injured in a fall at his parents’ home and was taken to hospital. Reports said Thorpe checked into a rehab facility, but later checked out and returned to his parent’s home. Thorpe’s management company, SEL, later issued a statement denying the reports. “Ian is not in rehab,” a SEL representative said Friday. “Ian was in hospital for an operation on his shoulder and is pleased to let his friends and fans know that he is now out of hospital and on the mend.” In his autobiography, published last year, Thorpe said “not even my family is aware that I’ve spent a lot of my life battling what I can only describe as crippling depression.” Thorpe, known to fans as Thorpedo, was a freestyle specialist and one of the greatest swimmers of his generation. He won three gold and two silver medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics the most medals won by any individual competitor at those games - and two more golds at the 2004 Athens Olympics. He also won 11 world championships gold medals, including six at the 2001 championships at Fukuoka, Japan. When he won his first world championships gold at the age of 14 in Perth in 1998, he was the youngest-ever individual male world champion. —AP



Sports at Sochi Olympics

KRASNAYA POLYANA: Russian biathlete Glazyrina Ekaterina trains at Laura Cross-country Ski & Biathlon Center ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics. —AP ALPINE SKIING THE BASICS After missing the first three Winter Olympics, Alpine skiing joined the program in 1936. Ten gold medals will be awarded in Sochi, five for men and five for women downhill, slalom, giant slalom, super giant slalom (usually called super-G) and super combined. STARS TO WATCH With Lindsey Vonn out injured, the 18-year-old American many call “The Next Lindsey Vonn,” Mikaela Shiffrin, will attract plenty of attention as the favorite to win the slalom. Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany, a double gold medalist at the 2010 Vancouver Games, and Lara Gut of Switzerland, who’ll be making her Olympic debut, could dominate other races. Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway already enjoys rock-star status in Europe, while 36-year-old Bode Miller, owner of five Olympic medals, and Ted Ligety, who won three titles at last year’s world championships, will also be ones to watch from the US team. DID YOU KNOW? Austria has won a record 105 Alpine skiing medals at the Olympics, nearly twice as many as any other country. Switzerland ranks second with 56, followed by France with 43 and the United States with 39. BIATHLON THE BASICS Like several other sports, biathlon has military origins with the combination of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting first becoming a common exercise for winter troops in northern countries during the second half of the 19th century. That also helps explain why countries like Norway, Russia and Sweden are still dominant. Biathlon has one of the busiest schedules on the Olympic program, with four individual events for both men and women, along with a relay. New for this year is a mixed relay.

events, and its two biggest stars are Petter Northug and Marit Bjoergen. Northug has struggled with illness this season, however, and his form is in question. Bjoergen won three golds in Vancouver in 2010 and could well repeat that feat in Sochi if she again gets the better of main rival Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland. Three-time overall World Cup winner Dario Cologna has only recently returned from an ankle injury but should still be a contender. DID YOU KNOW? The most successful Winter Olympian of all time was a cross-country skier. Bjoern Daehlie of Norway won eight Olympic gold medals between 1992 and 1998, along with four silvers. He nearly won a ninth gold, but surprisingly lost a sprint finish to Silvio Fauner of Italy in the men’s 4x10-kilometer relay at the 1994 Lillehammer Games, stunning the home crowd.

SOCHI: Jonathan Kuck of the US practices during a test race at Adler Arena Skating Center at the 2014 Winter Olympics. —AP

STARS TO WATCH Defending moguls champion Alex Bilodeau’s toughest competition could come from Canadian teammate Mikael Kingsbury. Hannah Kearney of the United States is the defending women’s champion. Victor Oehling Norberg of Sweden is a consistent top10 finisher in skicross but still looking for that first victory of the season. DID YOU KNOW? Freestyle skiing dates back more than 100 years with records of skiers performing somersaults on skis at the start of the 20th century in Norway, Italy and Austria. The first professional competitions were in 1971, and it entered the Olympic program in 1992.

CURLING THE BASICS Two gold medals will be awarded, one for men and one for women. Ten teams are in both tournaments. They all play each other once in the round-robin stage, with four advancing to the semifinals.

MEN’S HOCKEY THE BASICS About 150 jetlagged NHL players join their European counterparts in a frenetic 12-team, 12-day tournament for hockey supremacy. Nobody has time for practice or team-building with three quick opening-round games before the knockout portion begins, but Canada, Russia, Sweden, Finland and the United States all have their eyes on gold.

STARS TO WATCH Margaretha Sigfridsson of Sweden and Eve Muirhead of Britain have been engaged in a battle for supremacy in women’s curling for the past 12 months. Muirhead is the world champion and Sigfridsson the European champion - and the Olympics can be viewed as the decider. Brad Jacobs is the star attraction in

STARS TO WATCH Reigning NHL MVP Alex Ovechkin and fellow stars Evgeni Malkin and Pavel Datsyuk are under extraordinary home-country pressure to lead the Russians to their first gold medals since the Unified Team’s 1992 win in Albertville. Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby also is back for more Olympic magic after scoring the gold-

a bit lower at the Sochi Olympics. Steering is done by subtle shifts of the body, and the start is critical. Lugers wear gloves with tiny spikes attached to the finger pads, using them to dig into the ice to gain momentum, before settling into position for the ride. STARS TO WATCH Germany, Germany, Germany. Felix Loch is the reigning Olympic champion and is favored to repeat in the men’s race, and teammate Natalie Geisenberger has been nearly unbeatable on the World Cup circuit to earn her Sochi-favorite status. The Germans also dominate in doubles luge. DID YOU KNOW? The Olympic luge program is growing in Sochi with the addition of a team relay. One man, one woman and one doubles team will compose each nation’s team, and they’ll go one after another - with one slider slapping a pad to trigger the clock and tell the next teammate it’s time to start their run. NORDIC COMBINED THE BASICS With ski jumping and cross-country skiing, it’s the sole male-only sport left at the Winter Olympics. Three gold medals will be awarded, off the normal and large hills with 10-kilometer ski races for each, and a team event from the large hill which includes a 4x5-kilometer cross-country race. STARS TO WATCH Eric Frenzel of Germany comes into Sochi with a

BOBSLED THE BASICS It looks simple, but it’s incredibly intricate to get a sled going and keep it upright for the ride down the track. Everyone sprints while pushing the sled on ice, then hops inside, at which point the driver is typically the only one with his or her head up for the rest of the trip. One wrong move, and that sled could tumble on its side easily. STARS TO WATCH Steven Holcomb of the United States was the top driver on the men’s World Cup circuit this winter, while Kaillie Humphries of Canada took the women’s overall title. Both won gold at the 2010 Vancouver Games and might again this year. The U.S. has two Olympic track athletes on the women’s team, with gold medalist Lauryn Williams and Lolo Jones qualifying as push athletes. DID YOU KNOW? BMW doesn’t just make fast cars. Their sled-building business will be on full display in Sochi, with Germans, Americans and Canadians - all medal favorites - among the nations racing in their sleds. And while those sleds bear the same logo, there’s some significant set-up and technological differences depending on which nation’s flag is affixed. CROSS-COUNTRY THE BASICS: Cross-country skiing is one of the original Winter Olympic sports, on the program since the 1924 Chamonix Games. Only two men’s events were held then, though; now it’s a total of 10 men’s and women’s races - ranging from the explosive individual sprint to the grueling endurance test of the men’s 50-kilometer race. Events are held in either the classical style or freestyle depending on the format, with the skiathlon a combination of both. STARS TO WATCH: Norway usually dominates the cross-country skiing

STARS TO WATCH “Kid Ballerina” Sara Takahashi of Japan, who says her ballet training helps her maintain balance during jumps, is the women’s favorite. Her biggest competitors are American teenager Sarah Hendrickson, the world champion who is coming off right knee surgery in August, and Lindsey Van, the sport’s first world champion and Hendrickson’s teammate. DID YOU KNOW? The International Olympic Committee fought for years to keep women from ski jumping at the Olympics, with suggestions their event wasn’t competitive enough and that their bodies weren’t strong enough to take the strain of jumps, affecting their ability to have children. SNOWBOARDING THE BASICS Five events: Halfpipe, snowboardcross, parallel giant slalom and two new ones - slopestyle and parallel slalom. Slopestyle is a ride down a hill with steeply angled jumps, rails and little bumps called “jibs.” Parallel slalom is racing - a shortened version of parallel giant slalom event that’s been on the program since snowboarding was introduced in 1998. STARS TO WATCH A certain rider named Shaun White, who is going for his third straight halfpipe gold and trying to win in slopestyle, as well. Another rider to watch will be Torah Bright of Australia, the defending Olympic halfpipe champion who will compete in halfpipe, slopestyle and snowboardcross.

STARS TO WATCH Martin Fourcade of France has been the top men’s biathlete in the last two years, winning three world championship titles in 2012 and the overall World Cup last season, and he is expected to add his first Olympic gold in Sochi. Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway could well add to his two golds from Vancouver, as well. On the women’s side, expect Tora Berger of Norway and Darya Domracheva of Belarus to grab at least a couple of medals each. DID YOU KNOW? One of the all-time greats will be competing in the biathlon events in Sochi as Ole Einar Bjoerndalen aims to cap his storied career by making Olympic history. The 40-year-old Norwegian has six Olympic golds from previous games and needs two more to equal the Winter Games record. While Bjoerndalen hasn’t won an individual World Cup race in two years, Norway is one of the favorites in both the men’s and mixed relay meaning he could well get there.

SKI JUMPING THE BASICS Women will compete for the first time in a sport the men have had to themselves since 1924. Four gold medals will be awarded overall, the large hill, the normal hill and a team event for the men. The women will compete only on the normal hill.

DID YOU KNOW? Mark McMorris of Canada is largely considered White’s top challenger in slopestyle but he broke a rib competing in the Winter X Games. He’s expected to be OK in time for Sochi. LONG TRACK SPEEDSKATING THE BASICS All races are held in pairs using two lanes on the track. At the back straightaway, the skaters switch lanes, allowing them both to cover the same distance per lap. When both skaters emerge from the corner at the same time, the skater in the inside lane has to let the outer lane pass in front of them. The men and women each compete in five individual events, and the team pursuit.

SOCHI: Figure skater Patrick Chan of Canada in action during a training session prior to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Iceberg Skating Palace. —AFP men’s curling, although the spotlight is often stolen by the Norwegian team, with its funky wardrobe. DID YOU KNOW? Canada, the stronghold of world curling, has won a medal in every men’s and women’s tournament since the sport returned to the Olympic program in 1998. FIGURE SKATING THE BASICS To the familiar medal events of men’s and women’s singles, pairs and ice dance, the IOC is adding a team competition. Ten countries will take part, combining the scores of their entries in the four disciplines. STARS TO WATCH Yuna Kim of South Korea seeks to repeat - she’d be only the third woman to win two straight gold medals. A foot injury forced her out of the Grand Prix series, though. Three-time world champion Patrick Chan is the favorite on the men’s side, but was upset by Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan at the Grand Prix Final. DID YOU KNOW? Russian or Soviet skaters have won seven of the 10 gold medals in the event, but Canadian ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir will be on hand to defend their titles. FREESTYLE SKIING THE BASICS There are the old-school events - moguls and aerials - and the newcomers - halfpipe and slopestyle. There’s also skicross. Moguls are judged on a skier’s ability to get down the bumps quickly and smoothly, while also taking off for two jumps that each count for 12.5 percent of the score. Aerials skiers pack multiple flips and twists into a jump that sends them soaring up to 50 feet off a steeply angled ramp. Ski halfpipe and slopestyle are new events, though they’ll look very much like the snowboard version.

winning overtime goal in Vancouver. DID YOU KNOW? The NHL stars are back for their fifth consecutive Olympics since Nagano, but this might be your last chance to see them on the podium for a while. NHL owners are making serious noise about keeping the league in session in 2018 during the Pyeongchang Olympics, citing the time difference to South Korea and lost revenue. WOMEN’S HOCKEY THE BASICS In order to boost competition in a sport that has been dominated by Canada and the United States, the Olympic women’s hockey format was changed this year. The round-robin features a guaranteed grudge match between the North Americans, and a chance for them to earn a bye through to the semifinals. The preliminary round will be played at the puck-shaped Shayba Arena, and the medal round at the larger Bolshoy Ice Dome. STARS TO WATCH Finland goalie Noora Raty was 41-0 at the University of Minnesota, leading her team to a second straight college championship. Hayley Wickenheiser of Canada is going for her fourth gold medal, and she is already the leading scorer in Olympic women’s hockey history with 16 goals and 29 assists; she also won a silver medal when the Americans won the gold in the sport’s inaugural Winter Games in 1998. DID YOU KNOW? US forward Amanda Kessel is the sister of Toronto Maple Leafs star Phil Kessel, who will be in Sochi for the American men’s team. LUGE THE BASICS Sliders race feet-first down the track, sometimes going as fast as 90 mph, though the speeds should be

big lead in the World Cup standings, having also won the Nordic Combined Triple in January, a new format that added the results of three competitions on one weekend. The Americans have a strong team, with 2010 individual large hill gold medalist and team silver medalist Billy Demong back, and 37-year-old Todd Lodwick competing in his sixth Olympics. DID YOU KNOW? The starting places in the cross-country race are determined by the finishes in the ski jump competition, with generally a 10-point lead in jumping providing a one-minute start in the ski race. That format is known as the Gundersen Method. SKELETON THE BASICS Sometimes called “headfirst luge,” but it really has hardly anything in common with the feet-first racing sport. The sleds are simple, with racers usually grabbing a handle with one arm as they take off running at the start. They then flop onto the sled - it sort of looks like an oversized cookie sheet - and have their chin just barely off the surface of the ice as they speed down the chute. STARS TO WATCH Martins Dukurs of Latvia is a huge favorite to win the men’s title. In the women’s race, the gold-medal battle figures to come down to Noelle Pikus-Pace of the United States and Lizzy Yarnold of Britain. Dukurs’ top competition might be his own brother, Tomass. Pikus-Pace was fourth in Vancouver, and Yarnold rents a flat nowadays from Amy Williams - who won skeleton gold for Britain four years ago. DID YOU KNOW? The sport has roots in the 1800s and was in the Olympic program in 1928, then again in 1948. But it wasn’t back as a medal sport until 2002, and now attracts sliders from nations that don’t even have home tracks on which to train.

STARS TO WATCH Shani Davis of the United States will try to become the first male skater to win the same event at three straight Olympics in the 1,000 meters. Sven Kramer of the Netherlands is looking for redemption in the 10,000, having lost a gold medal four years ago in Vancouver after being disqualified when his coach directed him to the wrong lane during the race. On the women’s side, Ireen Wust of the Netherlands is a favorite to medal in the 1,500 and 3,000. Claudia Pechstein of Germany will turn 42 during the Olympics, her sixth. She owns nine career medals and will try for a 10th in the 5,000. DID YOU KNOW? The clap skate revolutionized the sport in the mid-1990s, helping lower world records considerably. The skates are hinged to the front of the boot and detach from the heel, allowing a more natural range of movement. The blades are about 1 millimeter thick and come in lengths from 13 to 18 centimeters. SHORT TRACK SPEEDSKATING THE BASICS Usually between four and six skaters compete on an oval ice rink using a mass start. Men and women compete in the same events: 500 meters, 1,000, 1,500, and the relays (3,000 for women and 5,000 for men). It’s often called roller derby on ice and there are several rules that, if broken, result in disqualification. STARS TO WATCH Viktor Ahn is a medal favorite in all three individual men’s events. Born Ahn Hyun-soo in South Korea, Ahn became a Russian citizen in 2011. Wang Meng, China’s most decorated Winter Olympian, is out with a broken ankle on the women’s side. South Korea’s women’s team could dominate, led by Shim Suk-hee. DID YOU KNOW? The most common reason for disqualification is impeding, which involves pushing, blocking or otherwise causing an impediment for another skater. —AP



Celtics end losing streak

DURHAM: Notre Dame’s Natalie Achonwa (11) and Duke’s Oderah Chidom chase the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game. —AP

Irish women rout Duke DURHAM: Notre Dame has made itself right at home - both in the ACC and especially at hostile Cameron Indoor Stadium. The second-ranked Fighting Irish turned the realigned league’s game of the year into yet another blowout, routing thirdranked Duke 88-67 on Sunday while giving the Blue Devils their first ACC loss at home since 2008. Kayla McBride had 23 points and 11 rebounds, Jewell Loyd scored 17 points and Lindsay Allen and Natalie Achonwa had 15 apiece. “ We’re going to have some tough games like that going down the road,” McBride said. “We’re in a new conference, new environments. I just think it’s a good challenge for us.” This one wasn’t much of a challenge at all. Notre Dame (21-0, 8-0) made it look easy in its first visit to Cameron as an ACC member: The Irish never trailed, shot nearly 62 percent and held Duke to a seasonworst 39 percent shooting and claimed sole possession of first place by bringing a decisive end to the Blue Devils’ 42-game winning streak in home conference games. “It’s a good win for us in February,” coach Muffet McGraw said. “We’ve got a tough stretch in front of us, and we’re not the type of team that likes to rest. We’re ready for Florida State (Thursday night’s opponent) by the time we get off the plane.” Tricia Liston scored 23 points and singlehandedly prevented Duke (21-2, 8-1) from being blown out by halftime. Notre Dame became the first ACC team to beat the Blue Devils at Cameron since Maryland did it in seventh-year coach Joanne P. McCallie’s first season. “From our standpoint, we didn’t shoot the ball well,” McCallie said. “We didn’t really move the ball. Everybody tried to do a little too much on their own, and that’s not a good recipe for executing and having a little bit better offense.” The Blue Devils threatened to get back in the game early in the second half, pulling to 49-44 on Richa Jackson’s putback with 151/2 minutes left. That’s when Notre Dame got hot, scoring on six straight trips downcourt. With Loyd hitting twice from close range and Michaela Mabrey making two outside

jumpers, the Irish reeled off nine straight points during a 13-2 run. Achonwa’s free throw with 12:18 left gave Notre Dame its largest lead to that point, 62-46. “We never got the stops we needed,” McCallie said. “Ever.” In winning this rematch of a 2013 NCAA tournament regional final, the Irish extended their school-record road winning streak to 31 and joined No. 1 Connecticut as the only teams to beat the Blue Devils at Cameron since 2008. They moved two wins from the best start in program history. “You have three seniors who have been to Final Fours, back to back to back, and they have great leadership,” Loyd said. “And then you go to the bench and you have a Hall of Fame coach. ... It helps a lot when you have that combo.” Jackson and Alexis Jones added 16 points each for Duke, which fell to 46-3 in home conference games under McCallie and have lost 11 straight games to teams ranked either No. 1 or No. 2. Center Elizabeth Williams, plagued all day by foul trouble, finished with two points on 0-for-4 shooting and failed to block a shot - ending her ACC-record streak of 91 straight games with at least one rejection. “I’m sure I’ll see a combination of passes missed into her and, at times, her being taken out by (Achonwa) when it comes down to watching film,” McCallie said. This marquee matchup in the new-look ACC matched the nation’s top two shooting teams and the highest-scoring teams in the conference. Notre Dame entered shooting 51.4 percent and averaging 87.3 points while Duke shoots 51.1 percent and scores 84.4 points per game. The Irish continued to shoot that well in this one. The Blue Devils didn’t. McBride, who had 14 points at halftime, was called “the best guard in the country” by McGraw. She helped Notre Dame lead by 14 in the first half after forcing Duke to miss 19 of its first 29 shots and reeling off 11 straight points to push its lead into double figures for the first time. Allen capped that burst with a layup that made it 37-23 with just under 5 minutes before the break. Liston hit six shots in the half - or, one fewer than the rest of her teammates combined. —AP

UTAH: In this Oct. 25, 2013, photo, Jazmine Fenlator (right) and Lolo Jones look up after coming to a stop after racing in the US women’s bobsled team Olympic trials in Park City. —AP

Jones back at Olympics, savoring the moment SOCHI: Lolo Jones is telling the story about how she became a bobsledder, her words becoming difficult to decipher she tries to keep herself from crying. So she wraps the tale up quickly, her eyes welling with tears as she shouts the four words: “They had my back.” Of all the words Jones said yesterday, they might have been the most telling. It’s no secret that she wasn’t going to win popularity contests with her US track and field teammates, especially after enjoying some spoils of fame despite failing to win a hurdles medal in either the Beijing Games of 2008 or the London Olympics four years later. As a hurdler, she was always alone, often feeling unwanted. As a bobsledder, she’s never alone - her teammates go just about anywhere she does. And despite some faux complaining from her about that, it’s clear Jones is enjoying her trip to the Sochi Games more than anyone would have guessed when she showed up in Lake Placid, NY, for a tryout in the fall of 2012. “From the first week they accepted me, they embraced me, they lifted me up, and I think it was what I needed to not only be a

bobsled athlete but return back to track with my head held high and proud of the things I have achieved in that sport,” Jones said. “So I really am grateful for them. I’m almost about to cry because they really gave me a fresh start, for sure.” Jones is one of three brakemen on the women’s team, and US officials plan to announce this week the driver-pusher pairings for the competition. Drama tends to find Jones at any Olympics, and this one is no exception, with some members of the national team questioning why she was selected over such experienced pushers as Emily Azevedo and Katie Eberling - both of whom openly aired their frustrations about not making the squad. Once Jones was picked to the team, conspiracy theories started coming out. NBC played a role, some said. Others felt the US Olympic Committee hoped to capitalize on Jones’ popularity. (For the record, American officials not just deny, but laugh at those notions.) Azevedo was quoted as saying Jones’ Twitter followers - 377,293 of them as of yesterday - helped make her a more attractive candidate to the selection committee. —AP

BOSTON: Rajon Rondo had season highs with 19 points and 10 assists as the Boston Celtics ended a four-game losing streak with a 96-89 win over the Orlando Magic on Sunday. Jared Sullinger scored seven of his 21 points in the fourth quarter for the Celtics, who let a 12point lead slip to one in the final period before pulling away at the end. Brandon Bass had 19 points and nine rebounds and Avery Bradley scored 17 in his return after missing five games with a sprained ankle. Jeff Green was the only Boston starter not to score in double figures as the Celtics won for the third time in four games against the Magic, who have lost four of five. Arron Afflalo had 18 points and Nikola Vucevic finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Magic, who lost their 11th straight road game. Glen Davis had 15 points, Tobias Harris scored 13 and Victor Oladipo had 12 points as all five Orlando starters scored in double figures. The only game on the NBA schedule Sunday featured two of the league’s bottom teams. Boston entered Sunday winless in six games since Rondo’s return last month after missing nearly a year with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. His season highs were 13 points and eight assists before going 9 of 10 from the floor Sunday and adding six rebounds. Meanwhile, the Indiana Pacers announced Saturday that they signed free agent center Andrew Bynum to a contract for the rest of the season. The team did not release terms of the deal. Bynum, 26 will join the Pacers, who have the best record in the Eastern Conference at 35-10, sometime next week and serve as a backup to All-Star center Roy Hibbert. The Pacers had an open roster spot and $2.1 million left of their midlevel exception, according to ESPN. But they are about $1.8 million

BOSTON: Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (9) looks for an opening around Orlando Magic guard E’Twaun Moore (55) as Celtics center Kris Humphries (43) applies pressure in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game. —AP below the luxury-tax threshold and president of basketball operations Larry Bird has said the team does not want to pay the luxury tax. Bynum played in 24 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this season and averaged 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds before he was traded to the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 7 because of issues that led to a team suspension. The 7-footer was then waived by the Bulls in a salary-saving move. Meanwhile, Adam Silver officially took over as NBA commissioner on Saturday. The NBA

announced Silver as its fifth commissioner with a photo on Twitter of Silver holding a basketball and shaking hands with outgoing commissioner David Stern. It included a caption that read: “It’s official: Adam Silver succeeds David Stern as NBA Commissioner.” Stern retired exactly 30 years to the day he began his stint as the NBA’s longest-tenured and most successful commissioner. Silver joined the NBA as Stern’s assistant in 1992 and became deputy commissioner in 2006. —Agencies

SOCHI: The Bolshoy Ice Dome is reflected on the roof of a car during final preparations for the 2014 Winter Olympics. —AP

Ladies first in Sochi’s Black Sea bubble SOCHI: Kim Yu-Na, Sara Takanashi and Mikaela Shiffrin have the task of dragging the Winter Olympics out of Sochi’s Black Sea bubble and transforming a spectacle so long bullied by its brash summer cousin. With the Russian resort under security lockdown, and with $50 billion (37bln euros) lavished on the February 7-23 showpiece, the likes of figure skater Kim, ski jumper Takanashi and teenage slalom queen Shiffrin are set to be headline-makers. Their grace and power will undoubtedly overshadow even Ole Einar Bjoerndalen. He’s the 40year-old Norwegian biathlete who has 11 medals stretching back to 1994 and needs just one more to join compatriot Bjorn Daehlie as the most decorated winter Olympian of all time. The fact that biathlon struggles to be TV-friendly is symptomatic of the Winter Olympics’ struggles to break out of its core markets-there will be around 3,000 competitors at Sochi compared to 10,500 who took part in London’s Summer Olympics. At least Kim has the advantage of figure skating’s wider exposure. The 23-year-old South Korean world champion is the defending gold medallist from Vancouver in 2010, although she heads to Sochi slowly building her form after suffering a right foot injury. “I’m in good shape,” said Kim, as she bids to become just the third woman to win back-to-back Olympic figure skating titles and the first since Germany’s Katarina Witt in 1984 and 1988. Kim will quit after Sochi, as will her Japanese rival Mao Asada, the 2008 and 2010 world champion and silver medallist at Vancouver. Japan failed to win a single gold four years ago, but in 17-year-old Takanashi, they should bury that statistic as women’s ski jumping makes its historic bow at the Games. Takanashi has already captured 10 of 13 World Cup rounds this season, finding time to also win the world junior title last month. Host of new arrivals Her major rival, Sarah Hendrickson of the United States, is taking part but the 19-year-old is still finding her way back after suffering a cruciate ligament injury in a fall in August. Women’s ski jumping is not the only new arrival in Russia. In all, 12 more golds will be won this time thanks to the addition to the Games programme of, for example, a team event in figure skating as well as slopestyle as the X-Games complexion of freestyle and snowboarding becomes even more important to the portfolio. However, the Sochi debut of the spectacular slopestyle has been far from smooth with Norway’s gold medal favourite Torstein Horgmo hospitalised after crashing on a course widely condemned as too dangerous. “The riders need to speak up about the conditions,” said Ireland snowboarder Seamus O’Connor. In Alpine skiing, the United States will look to shrug

off the injury-enforced absence of Lindsey Vonn by pinning their hopes on 18-year-old slalom queen Shiffrin, the world champion and winner of last year’s World Cup crystal globe. Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal looks unstoppable in the downhill and Super-G while Austria’s Marcel Hirscher is the World Cup leader in slalom, giant slalom and overall this season. However, the erratic talents of Bode Miller, now 36, and with five Olympic medals to his credit, may have an impact as should American compatriot Ted Ligety in the technical events. Japan will look to Yuzuru Hanyu, Tatsuki Machida and Daisuke Takahashi, the 2010 Vancouver bronze medallist, to challenge Canada’s Patrick Chan, the triple world champion, for the men’s figure skating title. But former champion Yevgeny Plushenko, the 2006 Turin gold medallist, will thrive on home support after controversially winning selection. The raw power of ice hockey superpowers Canada, the defending champions, and old rivals the United States, should again see them into the

gold medal match-up. Whoever gets there, a host of NHL stars such as Canada’s Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin of Russia, will light up the competition. Ovechkin will be cheered on by tennis star fiancee Maria Kirilenko battling for flashbulb space with Russian rival Maria Sharapova, who is at the Games as a presenter for US broadcaster NBC, showcasing segments of her childhood home town. One star certain to be missing is China’s most decorated winter Olympian, Wang Meng. The 28year-old speedskater has a broken ankle and will miss the opportunity to add to her four gold career haul. That will be a bitter blow for China, as she took three of the national team’s five gold medals at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. Away from the serious medal contenders, many eyes will be on the return to the Games of the Jamaican bobsleigh team looking to summon the spirit of their 1998 Olympic show which inspired the Hollywood movie, “Cool Runnings”. —AFP

Russians enjoy taste of Olympic snow ROSA KHUTOR: Stray dogs settle in the morning sun, the smells of nearby boiled corn on the cob and wood-grilled lamb skewers waft upwards, and the gondola serving the Gornaya Karusel kicks into action. A steady stream of skiers, snowboarders and simple tourists weave their way through the mishmash of newly-built faux-Italianate accommodation blocks to board the French-made bubble-car and ride up the mountain for an Olympic experience. While the Black sea resort of Sochi has the name rights for the Winter Olympics, many of the mountain events, including the blue-riband alpine skiing, will take place on the Western Caucaus range in southwestern Russia as Rosa Khutor. A day’s lift pass for nearby mountain resort Gornaya Karusel costs 1,600 rubles (34 euros), with equipment hire coming in at 1,200. Rough hessian sellotaped across the seats, the battered eight-seater gondola heads up from an altitude of 540 metres, free of charge for those who wish just to ascend to the first station and pose for photos above the valley. Crossing a raging river and the new tracks of the specially-constructed Olympic train, the gondola moves over a snow-covered, low-lying forest of ivyclad oaks, sycamores and birches, large stone-laden tracks already hewn from the ground in expectation of the spring thaw. The gondola car boasts a large sticker from one of the Winter Olympics’ main sponsors, but also features the traditional warnings in English, French, German and Italian about the dangers of smoking

or keeping the doors open. The temperature drops as skiers change gondolas to go higher, the oaks making way for 30-metrehigh snow-clad pines, the 2,200-metre peak of Gornaya Carusel offering a spectacular vist. Dropping sharply down to the Gorki valley on one side, there is a cloud-covered valley giving way to the Black Sea on the other, and then further views eastwards towards Rosa Khutor. “This is a dedication to all the skiers out today,” a gruff-sounding DJ bellows over the ubiquitous tannoy, as Bryan Adams and other American soft rock and country music are piped out for the enjoyment of all skiers. With security and organisational demands meaning the Gornaya Karusel area is not completely open, the lifts are still painfully slow on the handful of slopes available, although the snow is fantastic. “Proximity to the Black Sea and the mountains, what more could you want? I want to buy a house here!” said Yefgevny, a retired Russian teacher who will be working as a volunteer in the coastal city of Sochi. The chairlifts taking skiers and a large percentage of snowboarders into and out of a beautiful sun-kissed bowl were overseen by a begoggled Russian soldier, binoculars resting on his camouflaged chest, as he stood by his lonely portakabin. But there was a welcome nearby restaurant. Mulled hot wine, Irish coffee, soups and hearty dishes were largely affordable for all, although there was also Dom Perignon champagne on the wine list at an eye-watering 34,700 rubles (732 euros). —AFP



What did the WCup do for you, Bafana? CAPE TOWN: In two or 10, or even 20 years’ time a visitor to South Africa might turn to a football fan and ask: “So, what did that 2010 World Cup do for you?” The South African, with vuvuzela (remember them?) gripped proudly in one hand, could cite increased investment in the country. He or she could maybe say there are more tourists coming than ever before. And, with a satisfied blast on the vuvuzela point out that South Africa has the best

State Stadium on their way to beating former world champion France. A dysfunctional France team, maybe, but South Africa also almost beat Mexico in an exhilarating opening game. No one doubted the hosts belonged at the World Cup. Now, South Africa is nowhere - not even among the 31 teams that qualified for this year’s World Cup in Brazil. Well, not exactly nowhere. It is on FIFA’s radar for an investigation into match-fixing allegations. And it is still in the news at home -

DURBAN: In this file photo taken Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013, South Africa’s goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune (right) celebrates with fellow goalkeepers Wayne Sandilands (left) and Senzo Meyiwa after a draw with Morocco to advance to the quarterfinals of the African Cup of Nations. Now South Africa is nowhere — not even among the 31 teams that qualified for this year’s World Cup in Brazil. —AP stadiums in Africa. “Look at our Soccer City and our Cape Town Stadium.” No doubt about that. All valid points, and thanks FIFA. But for now perhaps the most important thing is still lacking. The thing that really makes football followers proud - a winning national team. Nearly four years ago, South Africa was the center of the football world. Its players bowed out of the World Cup group stage with a bang not a whimper, dancing and singing their way into Free

for the wrong reasons. Sports minister Fikile Mbalula last month called the national side “a bunch of losers” and “useless, unbearable individuals” after early elimination on home soil from the lower-level African Nations Championship. The stark reality for the plastic horn-wielding fans from the big city of Johannesburg down to the shores of Cape Town is that Africa has settled into a football rhythm and South Africa can’t keep up, no matter how good its stadiums.

The same five African teams that made the last World Cup - Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and Algeria - qualified again. South Africa, with no hosting rights to save it this time, couldn’t even win a place in Africa’s 10-team final World Cup playoffs, beaten out by Ethiopia, no less. The last time South Africa qualified for a major tournament it didn’t host was 2008. It only returned to the African Cup in 2013 because no one else could fill in for troubled Libya at a moment’s notice. There are other countries who haven’t repeated for Brazil: Denmark, New Zealand, North Korea, Paraguay, Serbia and Slovenia. But none of those have the richest football leagues and best facilities on their continents. South Africa does. The South African team of today plays without its best player after former captain Steven Pienaar gave up internationals to concentrate on his club career with Everton in the Premier League. The national team is now a compact side drawn mainly from the domestic league, with a sprinkle of Europe-based talent. So, do fans want too much from their team? Did the World Cup produce unrealistic expectations? A friendly win over Spain in November - a Spain containing the likes of Andres Iniesta, Xabi Alonso, David Villa and others - says no. It was a game that screamed - louder than the vuvuzelas at Soccer City - of South Africa’s potential. What’s missing is a little stability. South Africa hasn’t had that in the four years since frantic World Cup preparations were followed by even more frantic attempts to live up to a new reputation. South African football needs to take a deep breath. Salvation may lie again with former World Cup head organizer Danny Jordaan, now South African Football Association president. Jordaan has delivered before, those six shiny new World Cup stadiums built and finished on time despite all the doubters. Fans now want to talk more about goals and wins - like Bernard Parker’s delightful chip over Victor Valdes and the glorious 1-0 victory over the world and European champion - and less about how many people their Soccer City can hold. Even if it is a very nice stadium. —AP

United must win all matches to reach Europe — Smalling

ITALY: Juventus forward Fernando Llorente, of Spain, challenges the ball with Inter Milan defender Saphir Taider during a Serie A soccer match. —AP

Juve add to Inter woes ITALY: Juventus made light work of bitter rivals Inter Milan on Sunday, winning 3-1 to increase their Serie A lead to nine points after AS Roma were washed out and Napoli blundered to a 3-0 defeat at Atalanta. Stephan Lichtsteiner, Giorgio Chiellini and Arturo Vidal put Juventus three goals up in less than an hour against Inter, who have won only once in 10 games since Indonesian business tycoon Erick Thohir took over as president in November. Second-placed Roma’s match at home to Parma was called off after only eight minutes when incessant heavy rain left the pitch water-logged. German Denis took advantage of shocking defending to score twice for Atalanta in a 3-0 win over Rafael Benitez’s inconsistent Napoli who also gifted Maxi Moralez the other goal. Third-placed Napoli have made a habit of dropping points against midtable opposition and had drawn their previous two games. Lazio won 2-0 at Chievo in their first match without Brazilian midfielder Hernanes, who joined Inter in the transfer window, and bottom club Catania came from behind three times to hold Livorno 3-3 after a six-goal second half. Swiss midfielder Innocent Emeghara scored twice and Paulinho converted a penalty for Livorno while Argentine trio Gonzalo Bergessio, Pablo Barrientos and Sergio Almiron replied for the Sicilians in a match featuring two teams in the bottom three. Sassuolo, also in the drop zone, gave new coach Alberto Malesani a losing start, going down 2-1 at home to Verona. Juventus, who have won all 11 home games in Serie A this season, have 59 points and moved nine clear of Roma to stay firmly on course for a third successive title. Napoli are a further six points behind Roma while Inter dropped to sixth, below promoted Verona. SMOKE BOMBS Inter said their team bus was pelted

with eggs and stones on the way to the Juventus stadium, cracking a window although causing no injuries. “I prefer to think about the game,” coach Walter Mazzarri told a touchline reporter before kickoff. Carlos Tevez had already forced a brilliant save from Samir Handanovic when Andrea Pirlo curled an exquisite ball over the Inter defence and Lichtsteiner scored with a diving header. Chiellini scored from close range two minutes after the break and Chilean midfielder Vidal fired home a loose ball eight minutes later before Rolando made the score more respectable by pulling one back following a corner. Inter striker Rodrigo Palacio missed two excellent chances which could have turned the game. The Argentine blasted high and wide when he had a clear run on goal in the first half and headed over the crossbar late in the game when a second Inter goal would have had tested Juve’s nerves. Benitez surprisingly started with forwards Gonzalo Higuain and Marek Hamsik on the bench and the decision back-fired in a dismal first half in gloomy Bergamo, where home fans entertained themselves by repeatedly letting off smoke bombs behind the goal. Atalanta went ahead two minutes after halftime when Blerim Dzemail gave the ball away and Denis scored with a low, powerful shot which was badly misjudged by Pepe Reina. Higuain came on for Napoli and quickly forced Andrea Consigli to make his first save of the game just after the hour, only to see Atalanta score again almost immediately. Napoli midfielder Gokhan Inler, on the edge of the penalty area, made a complete hash of a clearance which went straight to Denis who fired past Reina. Moralez added the third in the 70th minute after Federico Fernandez slipped, allowing him to slot the ball past Reina. —Reuters

LONDON: Manchester United must win their 14 remaining Premier League matches to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League, according to defender Chris Smalling. The champions remain marooned in seventh place, seven points off fourth-placed Liverpool and England’s final spot for Europe’s premier club competition, following Saturday’s 2-1 defeat by Stoke City. Their first league loss to Stoke since 1984 was their eighth of the season and came despite United being able to start Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata together for the first time. The Old Trafford club last missed out on Champions League qualification 19 years ago. “Each point that we drop makes it difficult for ourselves,” Smalling told the club’s website ( yesterday. “We can only take the next game as it comes, and other teams will drop points as well, but we need to stop dropping points. We need to put pressure on other teams. “We’ve got Fulham and then Arsenal so we’ve got some big games. We’re back at Old Trafford next week and hopefully the fans will get right behind us and that will lead us into the Arsenal game.” Although the arrival of Mata from Chelsea and the return of Rooney and Van Persie from injury briefly raised spirits at Old Trafford, United still have injury problems, with Rio Ferdinand and Nani among players still sidelined. They also lost defenders Phil Jones and Jonny Evans during the Stoke match, with the former suffering concussion and the latter a calf problem. “We don’t really talk (about the Champions League) but we all know if anything that’s the minimum we need to aim for,” Smalling said. “If we can get on a good run, we’ve got the players - obviously we lost a couple on Saturday, but we’ve got a week now until we next play so hopefully we can patch them up and get as many bodies out there as we can.” —Reuters

PSG ready for pivotal phase PARIS: Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc admitted yesterday that his team are moving into ‘money time’ as they begin a busy month of February with a League Cup semi-final at Nantes today. The month ahead will be crucial to PSG’s season, with the Ligue 1 leaders travelling to face Bayer Leverkusen in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie and also going to title rivals Monaco on Sunday. But first they will look to get the better of a Nantes side who lost 5-0 at the Parc des Princes in Ligue 1 last month and clinch their place in the final at the Stade de France. “We are coming up to the money time, so we need to perform,” said Blanc, who said the focus for now is solely on winning Tuesday’s semi-final. “We are trying to concentrate fully on this tie. The most important thing in a Cup is to get to the next round, especially as the next game will be at the Stade de France.” Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani will miss the game at the Stade de la Beaujoire with a thigh injury which is expected to keep him out for three weeks, but Yohan Cabaye could start for the three-time winners after coming off the bench to make his debut in Friday’s 2-0 league win against Bordeaux. “Cavani will start running again soon but we didn’t want to aggravate it so we will not take any risks. We have a big squad and we need to use it when there are injuries,” added Blanc. “As for Cabaye, I think he is ready to play. Physically he is fine. He has blended naturally into the squad. If I need to use him I won’t hesitate.” The second semi-final on Wednesday sees Lyon play host to second-tier Troyes at the Stade de Gerland as they continue their quest for success on four fronts this season. —AFP

SPAIN: Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal (left) reacts with Athletic Bilbao’s players during their Spanish League soccer match. —AP

Real held by Bilbao, Ronaldo sees red BARCELONA: Atletico Madrid took advantage of Barcelona’s slip-up to go top of La Liga with a 4-0 victory over Real Sociedad as Real Madrid drew 1-1 at Athletic Bilbao and Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off on Sunday. Ronaldo was dismissed with 15 minutes left in a hard-fought clash with Bilbao for pushing Carlos Gurpegui in the face and getting involved in a confrontation with Ander Iturraspe. Real were looking to move up to second with their sixth successive league win and Jese put them ahead after 65 minutes before substitute Ibai Gomez responded for the Basque side. “It is difficult to judge, the pictures suggest it was all a bit exaggerated,” Real coach Carlo Ancelotti told a news conference of the Ronaldo red card. “It was a good game played at a high tempo and we did well in the second half. It could have been different after we went ahead but then they scored a great equaliser. Overall I am happy.” Atletico moved three points clear of Barcelona with victory over Sociedad at the Calderon where fans gave an emotional send-off to former coach and player Luis Aragones who died on Saturday. Real remained third, behind Barca, who lost at home to Valencia on Saturday, on goal difference. After a cagey opening David Villa put Atletico ahead on 38 minutes before going off injured and secondhalf goals to Diego Costa, Joao Miranda and Diego sealed the win. There was a poignant minute’s silence before kickoff for Aragones, the coach of Spain’s Euro-2008 winning side, and who put in place the tactics and mentality that helped them win the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012. Aragones, who died on Saturday, played for Atletico for over a decade during the 1960s and early 1970s as well as coaching the side on four separate occasions. “From above he will be wearing the red and white and be happy with our effort,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone told a news

conference. “It was difficult game despite the result and the goals at the end. Real Sociedad caused problems for us despite not having good chances to score. It doesn’t bother me to defend but we were finding it tough to attack and create openings.” LITTLE ROOM Mario Suarez was fit to play his first game after almost three months out for Atletico who were frustrated by a Sociedad side that packed the midfield and gave them little room to build play. A mistake by full back Carlos Martinez allowed in Costa who slipped the ball back for Villa to side-foot home from close range. Villa pulled up holding his leg minutes later and had to be replaced by Raul Garcia. After the break Sociedad showed more attacking intent but Garcia set up Costa to finish clinically and Miranda headed home a corner with the visitors’ resistance broken. New signing Diego, having come on as a substitute, was also on target three minutes from the end. Real began against Bilbao with the inform Jese on the right wing and Gareth Bale still not fully fit from a calf injury. The visitors made a good start as both Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria went close with efforts and Athletic looked shaky at the back. Gradually Athletic came back into the game and began to put pressure on the Real defence with Aritz Aduriz turning well but missing the target from the edge of the area. Jese got the breakthrough when he slid home a Ronaldo pass but Gomez equalised with a fine strike from the edge of area which nestled into the corner. Ronaldo then lost his temper as he clashed with Gurpegui and Iturraspe and was given his marching orders. Earlier on Sunday, Christian Herrera gave Elche a 1-0 win over Almeria and a Ruben Castro double gave bottom side Real Betis a 2-0 victory against Espanyol. —Reuters


Atletico riding high before Real clash King’s Cup semi-final MADRID: Three points clear at the top of La Liga, a shrewd-looking signing in the bag and soaring optimism among their fans, Atletico Madrid are on could nine ahead of tomorrow’s King’s Cup semi-final clash against Real. One of Spanish soccer’s poorer relations, under inspirational coach Diego Simeone, Atletico are mounting a genuine challenge this term to bitter city rivals Real and Barcelona, the world’s two richest clubs by income. A former Argentina midfielder who played for Atletico when they won a La Liga and Cup double in 1996, Simeone has moulded his unpretentious but talented and hard-working squad into a formidable unit. They were further boosted on Friday by the return of Diego on loan until the end of the season. The Brazilian playmaker helped Atletico win the Europa League in 2012 during another loan stint and came off the bench to score in Sunday’s 4-0 league win at home to Real Sociedad. The thumping victory on an emotional night for the Atletico faithful, who paid tribute to club great and former Spain coach Luis Aragones before kickoff following his death at the weekend, put them three clear of Barca after the champions were beaten at home to Valencia on Saturday. Real also slipped up and were held to a 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao on Sunday when top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off after clashing with Carlos Gurpegui and Ander Iturraspe. The stage is set for Atletico to inflict more Cup pain on their detested neighbors, who they beat 2-1 in last year’s final held at Real’s own Bernabeu stadium. It was the first time they had got the better of Real in 14 years in any competition and they built on that success with a 1-0 La Liga win, again at the Bernabeu, at the end of September. “We have the players to compete,” Simeone told a news conference after the Sociedad game. “Diego’s arrival will give us what you saw tonight,” added the 43-year-old. “A player with attacking ability, personality, aggression in his play. Whenever he gets the ball dangerous things can happen.”

MADRID: Atletico’s Diego Costa scores takes a shot at goal in this file photo. —AP One of the doubts surrounding Atletico was that possibly they did not have enough depth in their squad to challenge on three fronts. They are also through to the last 16 of the Champions League, where they will play struggling Italian side AC Milan. However, the capture of Diego as well as the recovery from injury of defensive midfielder Mario Suarez have come at just the right time and will allow Simeone more freedom to rotate his players and keep them fresher. Real, meanwhile, will be seething after losing ground on Atletico and squandering a chance to climb above Barcelona into second on Sunday. Barca lost at Bilbao’s new San Mames stadium in La Liga in December and Real also struggled to cope with the intensity of the Basque club’s players. Ronaldo should be available to face Atletico in the Cup as he will serve the suspension that comes with his red card in La Liga, while coach Carlo Ancelotti also hopes to have record signing Gareth Bale back from injury. On the other side of the draw, record winners Barca host Sociedad on Wednesday after suffering their first home defeat of the season against Valencia. —Reuters



B’desh seek revival after first Test flop GulfRun 9 winners honored KUWAIT: GulfRun hosted a ceremony to award the winners of the GulfRun 9 race that took place at the Bahrain International Circuit on January 23-24, 2014. At the ceremony held on February 2nd, 2014, GulfRun trophies were presented to the winners in the presence of the title sponsor Wataniya Telecom in addition to other GulfRun sponsors. Ahmed Al Mudhaf, GulfRun Co-Founder said: “GulfRun 9 was an exceptional race due to the returning drivers being a lot more experienced and skilled than in previous years, plus several exquisite new cars joined this year, and impressive new racers.” Al Mudhaf also added, “We have ensured that all participating drivers experienced the thrills of speeding while being in a safe and secure environment with the help of qualified trainers and instructors from the Bahrain International Circuit.” The top three participants of each car class Street, Super and Unlimited were awarded with the GulfRun trophy as they achieved the best lap times in the different competitions (Quartermile, Circuit Champion and Autocross). Ahmed Al-Fahed,

1. 2. 3.

Ahmad Fahed Al Fahad Bader Al Sarraf Azzam Al Otaibi

1. 2. 3.

Ebraheem Al Abdulla Munther Al Wagayan Azzam Al Otaibi

1. 2. 3.

Sami Haidar Ahmed Al Kandari Tamer Al Shawa

Ebrahim Al Abdullah and Sami Haidar, succeeded in reaching first place in the Circuit Champion Category whilst Fahad Al Shammari, Manaf Al Otaibi and Nawaf Salman drove their cars to the limit and ranked first in the Quartermile category. Moreover, Anas Kanawati, with his Mitsubishi EVO was declared winner of the Autocross category. Furthermore, Al Mudhaf also stated “We are looking forward to celebrating GulfRun’s 10th year next year which would not have been possible without the support of our sponsors and we would like to extend our gratitude towards Kuwait’s private sector, which acknowledges the important role sports plays amongst Kuwait’s youth.” Title Sponsor is Wataniya Telecom; Platinum Sponsors are Algida, Transcrate, Jashanmal, Hydrotek Engineering Co, and Arabian Construction Co. Gold Sponsors are Slider Station, Al Sawan Co, Bayan Dental, Seven Friday and Moto Care. Supporting sponsors are Sirbb Circuit and 360 Mall. Dealer Sponsors are Fouad Alghanim & Sons Automotive Co, and Abdul Rahman Bisher & Zaid Alkazemi.

Final Race Standing: Circuit Champion in Street Class Mercedes C63 Black series BMW M3 Caterham Super Class Porsche GT3RS Porsche GT3RS Caterham Unlimited Class Chevrolet Z06 Mitsubishi Evo Nissan GTR

1. 2. 3.

Fahad Al Shammari Mahmoud Al Ghanim Ahmad Al Sabah

Quarter mile Street Class BMW M5 Audi RS6 Audi S7

1. 2. 3.

Manaf Al Otaibi Zaid Al Sager Hussain Thiyab

Super Class Audi R8-V10 Audi R8 V10 Mitsubishi Evo

1. 2. 3.

Nawaf Salman Tamer Al Shawa Bader Al Rayes

1. 2. 3.

Anas Kanawati Mohammed Al Awadhi Hussain Thiyab

Unlimited Class Porsche 997 turbo Nissan GTr Porsche turbo Autocross Mitsubishi Evo Honda S200 Mistubishi Evo

30 Points 17points 16 points 30 Points 16 Points 14 Points 30 Points 24 Points 17 Points

CHITTAGONG: Bangladesh are looking for an all-round improvement as they try to bounce back from a massive defeat in the first Test against Sri Lanka when the second and final match starts today. The hosts were annihilated by an innings and 248 runs inside four days in Dhaka last week, having been bowled out for 232 and 250 in good batting conditions in which Sri Lanka piled up 730-6. Mahela Jayawardene led the way with an unbeaten doublecentury and two others scored hundreds as Bangladesh conceded their highest Test total in another moralesapping loss. Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan said his team-mates had put the setback behind them and looked forward to playing a good Test on a good pitch at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury stadium in Chittagong. “Everyone was a bit down and sad after the loss in Dhaka, but they are fine now and focused on the next match,” Shakib said. “Matches can go bad, but coming back is very important. “We have come back from situations like these before, so we have that experience. But we have to improve in all aspects, especially the fielding.” Shakib said each of the high-scoring Sri Lankan batsmen, including Jayawardene, were let off in the field through dropped catches or missed stumpings. “Had we grasped those opportunities, they may not have scored more than 500 runs,” he said. “And there is plenty of difference between 500 and 700.”Bangladesh could play an additional slow bowler in either left-armer Abdur Razzaq or off-spinner Mohammad

CHITTAGONG: Sri Lankan cricketer Mahela Jayawardene stretches during a training session at The Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium. —AFP Mahmudullah to back up Shakib and Sohag Gazi on a wicket that could take turn as the match progresses. Sri Lanka were dealt a blow as two key bowlers were ruled out of the Test due to injuries and ordered to return home to recuperate. Frontline left-arm spinner Rangana Herath suffered a recurring knee

injury and seamer Shaminda Eranga picked up a thigh injury during the first Test. A statement from Sri Lanka Cricket said the duo will be replaced by Thisara Perera and Kusal Perera, who are expected to arrive before the toss today. Sri Lankan veteran Kumar

Sangakkara expected another matchwinning performance by his team, but refused to take victory for granted. “We’re pretty much used to Bangladesh putting up a good fight,” said Sangakkara. “They pushed us in the series in Sri Lanka and we walked away with a one-all draw in the onedayers. “We won’t expect anything less than that from them here. The earlier game may have been easier than we thought it would be, but we expect it to be different here.” Sri Lanka have won 14 of their 15 Tests against Bangladesh, eight of them by an innings margin, and drawn the other. On their previous tour in 2008-09, Sri Lanka won the first Test in Dhaka by 107 runs and the second in Chittagong by 465 runs. Bangladesh, who languish at the bottom of the Test rankings at number 10 — lower than unfancied Zimbabwe-have lost 68 of their 82 Tests since gaining full status in 2000. They have won four Tests, two each against Zimbabwe and the West Indies. Bangladesh (from)- Mushfiqur Rahim (capt), Tamim Iqbal, Marshall Ayub, Shakib Al Hasan, Nasir Hossain, Mominul Haque, Shamsur Rahman, Mohammad Mahmudullah, Imrul Kayes, Abdur Razzak, Sohag Gazi, Robiul Islam, Rubel Hossain, Al-Amin Hossain. Sri Lanka (from) - Angelo Mathews (capt), Dinesh Chandimal, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Kithuruwan Vithanage, Kusal Perera, Dilruwan Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Thisara Perera, Vishwa Fernando, Ajantha Mendis. —AFP

Warne to ‘think about’ England coaching job SYDNEY: Australian bowling great Shane Warne, so often the cause of England’s demise, offered yesterday to think about reviving the old enemy as the country’s next coach. As England players flew home in the early hours following a final defeat in Sydney, Warne took to Twitter in answer to calls for him to apply for the role. “To my English followers, I’m flattered that you would like me to consider the England job,” Warne tweeted.”All I can say is-I will think about it!!!” The comment could of course be a wind-up from the 44-year-old who, at the end of January, was named as spin consultant ahead of Australia’s World Twenty20 campaign starting in Bangladesh in March. Cricket Australia said Warne would support head coach Darren Lehmann, providing specialist training for the squad’s spinners. And Warne later made it clear Australia remained his number one concern. “Re Eng job, I know it’s created a bit of interest hahaha,” he wrote. “I’m flattered to be considered, but my priorities, as always, are with the Aussies.” The England job has been vacant since Andy Flower quit a week ago after losing the Ashes 5-0 on a disastrous tour Down Under. Warne, who retired in 2007 with a then world-

record 708 Test wickets, tormented England during his celebrated career, including a 1994 hat-trick, but was also well-known for his off-field antics. Melbourne’s Herald Sun urged Warne to think again about his offer. “You should be dismissing hare-brained ideas like that

without a second thought,” it said on its website. “Surely you wouldn’t coach the Poms mate??” tweeted former batsman and colleague Michael Slater. England’s one-day coach Ashley Giles is among the favourites to take over from Flower. —AFP

Zimbabwe cricketers agree to end strike HARARE: Zimbabwe’s cricketers have agreed to end their boycott over unpaid wages and are returning to training after being promised money by next week, coach Andy Waller said yesterday. Waller told The Associated Press that the national squad will gather on Tuesday for fielding practice and fitness tests after striking for two months over unpaid wages and bonuses and refusing to play domestic games. The Zimbabwe cricket board’s financial problems also resulted in recent tours by Sri Lanka and Afghanistan being canceled, but the board has reportedly secured a $3-million loan from the International Cricket Council. Waller said the players were guaranteed payment by next Monday. Zimbabwe Cricket’s leadership met with senior players and a players’ representative on Friday.

“Obviously I’m relieved that at least we can get on with the core business. We are starting training tomorrow (Tuesday) as a squad,” Waller said. Zimbabwe is due to compete at the World Twenty20 next month, with its first game against Ireland on March 17. “We lost quite a substantial amount of time that we could have used to work on a few areas, but we’ve still got six weeks, which can give us plenty of time to prepare,” Waller said. Zimbabwe cricket has been troubled by offfield issues for at least a decade, partly because of the southern African country’s economic meltdown. Players also threatened to strike ahead of a home series against Pakistan last year before deciding to play and beating Pakistan in a test for the first time in 15 years. —AP

OSN Cricket Cup inaugurated in style Sulaibiya ground launched with soothing facelift

KUWAIT: Kuwait Cricket (KC), the sole official cricket controlling body of Kuwait managing the cricket affairs locally and internationally and operating under the auspices of Kuwait Olympic Committee, relaunched their Sulaibiya’s turf cricket ground, following a dramatic and beautiful facelift, with lush green outfield. This was followed by the inauguration of the OSN Cricket Cup. The event was attended by cricket loving luminaries, particularly the Ambassador of Great Britain, HE Frank Baker as the chief guest together with the Ambassadors of Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Malta, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Dy. Chief of Mission of India to Kuwait. HE Syed Abrar Hussain of Pakistan could not attend as he was preparing to leave Kuwait but sent his best wishes along with Arif Butt, President Pakistan Business Council, Hafiz Mohammed Shabbier, Member Overseas Pakistanis Advisory Council - OPAC (by Govt of Pakistan), Anjum Masood, Principal International School of Pakistan and Mrs. Zareena Ghulam Principle, Pakistan School and College, Salmiya. Jeff de Lange, Chairman KC Council welcomed the guests. Haider Farman, the Gen. Secretary of the KC Board appraised the audience about the major activities of KC and the role played by KC in promoting cricket amongst Kuwaitis and expatriates alike. He thanked the KC President, Sheikh Dhari Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah for always motivating and encouraging the Board and the Council at all levels. Farman further said that it was a great achievement for Kuwait Cricket, which was established in 1996, to have been given status of full member by ACC and Associate Member by ICC in 2005. Since then Kuwait has organised 12 international tournaments successfully so far. He added that KC would soon have another turf cricket ground of their own at Sabahiya, amidst cheers from the cricketers. Asad Baig, Director General of KC briefed the guests about the major changes made to the Sulaibiya grounds, which included laying of the turf pitch, carpet grassing of the field and surrounding area, landscaping, boring of a dedicated water well, construction of water storage tank, pumping station with fully automated irrigation system

etc. Added to this for the comfort of the players and the spectators are player’s dugouts and seating arrangements. Iqbal Vanoo, the Director of Senior Domestic Cricket conducted then invited the guests to the cricket pitch for the official inauguration of the ground. Ambassador Frank Baker firmly struck the ball bowled by Ambassador Maj. Gen. Mohd. Ashab Uddin of Bangladesh, amidst applause from the spectators. All the ambassadors took turns in bowling or batting applauded by the spectators for their sportsmanship. Following this, Ambassador Frank Baker, in his inauguration speech recounted the number of KC events that he has attended and enjoyed being there. He said that he was delighted to see the progress made by Kuwait under Kuwait Cricket and wished KC all success in future growth of the game in Kuwait. The OSN Cricket Cup-2014 was then inaugurated with the traditional cake cutting by Ambassador Frank Baker and Mahdi Al-Juma, GM of OSN, who were joined by all other ambassadors and VIP guests. This occasion was made memorable by felicitating Iqbal Sikander, ACC’s Development Officer who had been assigned to Kuwait from 2002 till date. Iqbal is a well known international cricketer, who had the honor of being a

member of the World Cup winning Pakistan team under Imran Khan in 1992. Jeff de Lange gave a brief introduction of Iqbal Sikander and thanked him for his dedicated services and support to Kuwait Cricket. Haider Farman then presented him a memento in appreciation of his long association and services to Kuwait Cricket. Haider Farman presented mementoes to commemorate this multi-event occasion, to HE Frank Baker, British Ambassador to Kuwait, HE Dr. Assadullah Hanif Balkhi, Ambassador of Afghanistan, HE Robert Tyson, Australian Ambassador, HE Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ashab

Uddin, Ambassador of Bangladesh, HE Patrick Cole, Ambassador of Malta, HE Madhuban Paudel, Ambassador of Nepal, HE Delarey Van Tonder, Ambassador of South Africa, HE CAHM Wijayratne, Ambassador of Sri Lanka, Subhashis Goldar, Deputy Chief Of MissionEmbassy of India. Hafiz Shabbir collected the memento on behalf of Pakistan. Haider also presented a memento to Mahdi Al-Juma, General Manager of OSN as Kuwait Cricket’s formal thanks for sponsoring the tournament. To complete the celebration, the KCS League and Under-16 Schoolboys tournament final presentations were also held. Ambassador

Frank Baker and Haider Farman gave the winners’ cup to captain of Future Stars, Irfan, and Runners Up cup to captain of Petrofac, Nadeem Malik. Emad Jassam gave Player of the Final award to Faizan and Player of the Tournament award to Irfan of Future Stars. Major General Syed Mubarak gave winner trophy to Future Stars captain, Mohd. Waseef and M/S. Malabar Gold and Diamonds, the sponsor gave runners up cup to International School of Pakistan captain, Farooq Shehzad. To conclude the ceremony, Jeff De Lange gave the vote of thanks, thanking the ambassadors, the VIP guests, the sponsors, OSN GM, Local Media, KTV 2 and KTV Sports, Radio Kuwait, Al-Hafiz-Media Partners, VOOC, Indians in Kuwait, Kuwait Up2date, Hala Pakistan, Foto Nine, Nawa-e-Waqt, Radio Kuwait, Paigham Risala, Hasan Photographer, Board & Council Members especially Tahir Khan, Amanullah Palekar, Riaz Choudhry, Murali Kutticode, Mehboob Khan, Iqbal Rajporker, Naeem Jan, Arjuna Amaratunga, and all the volunteers Mahmoud Ayub, Sheikh Aejaz, DG Karunathilaka, Shoeb Syed, Jerald Pinto, Umesh Roy, who worked day and night to make the event successful. He specially thanked Kuwait Olympic Committee, Asian Cricket Council and International Cricket Council for their patronage and support to Kuwait Cricket.

Stadler wins in Phoenix

Celtics end losing streak




What did the World Cup do for you, Bafana?

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EAST RUTHERFORD: Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson (3) looks to pass under pressure from Denver Broncos Danny Trevathan (59) during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game. — AP

Seahawks crush Broncos to win Super Bowl EAST RUTHERFORD: The Seattle Seahawks’ mantra all season was to make each day a championship day. They made Super Bowl Sunday the best day of all with one of the greatest performances in an NFL title game - sparked by a defense that ranks among the best ever. The Seahawks won their first Super Bowl crown in overpowering fashion, punishing Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos 43-8. That masterful defense, the NFL’s stingiest, never let the five-time Most Valuable Player get going, disarming the highest-scoring offense in league history. “The only way we could say we were the best defense was to take down the best offense,” linebacker Bobby Wagner said. Seattle (16-3) was too quick, too physical and just too good for Denver, and that was true in all areas. What was hyped as a classic matchup between an unstoppable offense and a miserly defense turned into a rout. “We been relentless all season,” quarterback Russell Wilson said. “Having that mentality of having a championship day every day. At the end of the day, you want to play your best football and that is what we did today.” Punctuating Seattle’s dominance were a 69-yard interception return touchdown by linebacker Malcolm Smith to make it 22-0, and Percy Harvin’s

sensational 87-yard kickoff runback to open the second half. Smith was the game’s MVP, the first defender in 11 years to win the award. When the Seahawks, up by 29 points, forced a Denver punt early in the third quarter, the 12th Man - and there were legions of them in MetLife Stadium began chanting “L-O-B, L-O-B.” As in Legion of Boom, the Seahawks hard-hitting defensive secondary line, part of young team with an average age of 26 years, 138 days. “This is an amazing team. Took us four years to get to this point but they never have taken a step sideways,” coach Pete Carroll said. “These guys would not take anything but winning this ballgame.” The loss by the Broncos again raised questions about Manning’s ability to win the biggest games. He is 11-12 in the postseason, 1-2 in Super Bowls. After the game, he brushed off questions about his legacy. “Certainly to finish this way is very disappointing,” he said. He never looked comfortable against a defense some will begin comparing to the 1985 Bears and 2000 Ravens - other NFL champions who had runaway Super Bowl victories. Seattle forced four turnovers; Denver had 26 all season. The Seahawks looked comfortable and at ease, and not just their defense, which lost All-Pro cornerback Richard

EAST RUTHERFORD: The Lombardi Trophy is raised during celebrations after the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game. —AP Sherman to a high ankle sprain in the fourth quarter. He celebrated on crutches. “I hope we etched out names in the history books,” Sherman said. Wilson, who has an NFL-record 28 wins in his first two pro seasons, including playoffs, had a 23-yard TD pass to Jermaine Kearse late in the third quarter to make it 36-0. Wilson also hit Doug Baldwin for a 10-yard score in the final period in what

Smith earns MVP honors NEW YORK: Three words raced through Seattle Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith’s mind as he streaked toward the end zone in the Super Bowl, returning his interception of a pass by Peyton Manning: “Don’t get caught.” That, Smith explained yesterday at a news conference, would be the “typical thoughts a defensive player (would have) with the ball.” And he heeded his own advice, going 69 yards for a touchdown on that play. He added a fumble recovery later and earned MVP honors as Seattle beat Manning’s Denver Broncos 43-8 for the Seahawks’ first NFL championship. At no moment during Sunday’s action did Smith think he would take home the award. His teammates did. “Even during the game,” Smith recalled, “guys were like, ‘You might be MVP.’ And I was like, ‘No way. No way. Not me.’ But to be here, it’s just pretty cool.” Smith is not one of those players who long ago seemed destined to wind up getting the keys to a new vehicle the day after the Super Bowl, a sponsor’s prize for the big game’s best player. Coming out of college at Southern California - where he was coached by the Seahawks’ current boss, Pete Carroll - Smith wasn’t invited to the NFL combine, where top prospects are measured and evaluated. Then, when the 2011 draft rolled

around, he wasn’t taken until the seventh round, the 242nd player chosen. Seems to fit right in with the Seahawks, more than a third of whom weren’t even drafted at all. “He didn’t like it, but he had to go in the seventh round. He’s proven otherwise, just like a lot of other guys in our program,” Carroll said. “I think it was extraordinary last night to see Jermaine Kearse score a touchdown, and Doug Baldwin score a touchdown, and Malcolm gets in the end zone and scoops up another fumble,” he continued. “Guys that are not the heralded guys coming in competed in our program and found a way to contribute in enormous ways.” By way of explaining in a euphoric locker room Sunday night why he was an appropriate choice for an MVP from these Seahawks, Smith said: “I’m just fortunate to be a part of it, fortunate to get opportunities. I’m happy to be amongst a bunch of guys that play with attitudes and chips on their shoulders. I’m happy to represent that.” He went on: “You might have been overlooked. You might feel like you can make plays and never got the opportunity.” Truth is, the Seahawks were the lucky ones. Because even though Smith was not supposed to be a starter this season, a player with zero interceptions in his first two years in the league, he always was ready when called upon. Pegged mainly as a special teams guy, Smith earned notice with his speed and ability to handle both outside linebacker slots. When Bruce Irvin was suspended for four games in May for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, it was Smith who filled in as a starter. When Bobby Wagner was sidelined, and KJ Wright slid over to middle linebacker, Smith got another opportunity to start. And when Wright broke his right foot late in the season, guess who Seattle called upon: Yep, Smith, of course. Then suddenly, on Sunday, there he was at the Super Bowl, in the right place and right time, as usual. — AP

had become one of the most lopsided Super Bowls. For the fifth time in six meetings between the NFL’s No. 1 offense and defense, the D dominated. “It’s all about making history,” All-Pro safety Earl Thomas said. “This was a dominant performance from top to bottom.” Denver fell to 2-5 in Super Bowls, and by the end many of Manning’s passes resembled the “ducks” Sherman said the All-Pro quarterback sometimes threw. The victory was particularly sweet for

Carroll, who was fired in 1994 by the Jets, led the Patriots for three seasons and again was canned. After a short stint out of coaching, he took over at Southern California and won two national titles. But he always felt there was unfinished business in the NFL. Carroll finished that business by lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy, four years after taking charge in Seattle and eight years after the Seahawks lost in their only previous Super Bowl to Pittsburgh. No Super Bowl had been played outdoors in a cold-weather city before - not that the Big Apple was anything close to frozen Sunday, with a 49-degree temperature at kickoff. Things went sour for Manning and the Broncos from the very first scrimmage play, and by halftime they were down 22-0 - their biggest deficit of the season and the only time they didn’t score in a half. On that first play for the Broncos, Manning stepped up toward the line just as center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball. It flew past his incredulous quarterback into the end zone, where Knowshon Moreno dived on it for a safety. A mere 12 seconds in, Seattle led 2-0 with the quickest score in Super Bowl history, beating Chicago’s Devin Hester’s kickoff return to open the 2007 game against Manning’s Colts. That one ended much better for

Manning as Indianapolis won the championship. This one was a fiasco throughout. Steven Hauschka, who missed only 2 of 40 field goals entering the game, made a 31-yarder for 5-0 and a 33-yarder for 8-0 after Doug Baldwin toasted 15year veteran cornerback Champ Bailey, in his first Super Bowl, for 37 yards on third down. Then the Seahawks began scoring touchdowns. Manning’s third-down pass to Julius Thomas sailed way too high and directly to safety Kam Chancellor, giving the Seahawks the ball at Denver’s 37. Harvin, finally healthy after a virtually wasted first season in Seattle, sparked the short drive with a 15-yard burst, and a third-down pass interference call on Tony Carter gave Seattle the ball at the 1. Marshawn Lynch scored to make it 15-0. Then Smith, with a play emblematic of the best defense the NFL has seen in years, made his second huge play in two weeks. Cliff Avril got to Manning’s arm as he was throwing, the ball fluttered directly to Smith, who took off down the left sideline for a 69-yard interception TD. Manning trudged to the sideline, a look of disgust on his face. That look didn’t improve when, after a drive to the Seattle 19, his fourth-down pass was tipped by Chris Clemons and fell harmlessly to the Meadowlands turf. So did Denver’s reputation as an unstoppable force. — AP

Quotes from Super Bowl EAST RUTHERFORD: A selection of quotes from Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks: lll Seattle linebacker Malcolm Smith, the game’s Most Valuable Player: “I always imagined myself making great plays but I never thought about being the MVP. I was just happy to be on the field.” lll Seattle coach Pete Carroll: “This is an amazing team. These guys started a long time ago - it took four years to get to this point. They’ve never taken a step sideways or backwards from going forward to make this team the way it is now.” lll Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman: “I think (the world) learned how complete of a team we are, (and) how complete our defense is. It’s not just the Legion of Boom back there.” lll Seattle defensive end Red Bryant: “A bunch of nobodies. Inexperienced. Ain’t never been there. You see what misfits get you. You see what overachievers get you.” lll Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson: “At the beginning of the season I told our guys, ‘Hey, why not us?’ We had the talent. We had the coaching.” lll Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner: “I think as a

team, everything - from the special teams to the offense to the defense, I feel like everybody was clicking. We peaked at the right time.” lll Denver quarterback Peyton Manning: “I think we played a great football team. We needed to play really well in order to win and we didn’t come anywhere close to that.” lll Denver coach John Fox: “At the end of an NFL season, there is one happy camper and that’s the Seattle Seahawks tonight.” lll Denver defensive tackle, Terrance Knighton: “Their defense made plays, ours didn’t. They created turnovers, they scored on defense, they dominated special teams, and we got down too early and we couldn’t do anything to get back in the game.” lll Denver vice president of football operations John Elway: “It’s one of those nights. I give them credit on the defensive side, but we just can’t make the mistakes that we made, especially against a good football team.” lll Denver wide receiver Wes Welker - “It hurts no matter what. It’s never easy. It’s a cruel game sometimes, you just have to roll with it.” —Reuters


China, France drag on manufacturing revival Page 22 French business delegation in landmark Iran visit Page 23


Diamond Pin award for Abdullah Ali, GM of Volkswagen Page 26 Page 25

‘Time is short’ for Congress to raise debt limit: Lew

MANILA: A lion (right) and dragon (center) dance is performed in front of a display board showing stock activity as officials of the Philippine Stock Exchange (right) watch during Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in Manila’s financial district yesterday. Philippine share prices closed 0.43 percent lower yesterday, mirroring lacklustre trading across Asia, dealers said. — AFP

US manufacturing growth slows New orders post largest decline in 33 years NEW YORK: US manufacturing activity slowed sharply in January on the back of the biggest drop in new orders in years, suggesting the economy had lost steam at the start of 2014. The economic picture was also darkened by other data yesterday spending on construction projects barely rose in December. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of national factory activity fell to 51.3 last month, its lowest level since May 2013, from a recently revised 56.5 in December. “This offers a sobering glimpse on the weakening in growth in recent months, confirming the souring tone in other important economic indicators,” said Millan Mulraine, deputy chief economist at TD Securities in New

York. US stocks extended losses on the data, while prices for US Treasury debt rose. The dollar fell against a basket of currencies. January’s ISM figure was also well below the median forecast of 56 in a Reuters poll of economists, missing even the lowest estimate of 54.2. Readings above 50 indicate expansion. But some of the weakness could be weather-related. “Nevertheless, to the extent that much of this weakening in growth momentum has been due to the cold weather conditions nationally, we expect this slowdown to prove temporary and look for a meaningful rebound in activity in the coming months as the weather-effects dissipate,” Mulraine added.

The January reading, which marked a second straight month of slowing growth from November’s recent peak reading of 57, which had been the highest since April 2011, indicated manufacturing was cooling off from its strong growth in the fourth quarter. The biggest red flag in the ISM report was the huge drop in the forward-looking new orders index, which fell to 51.2 from 64.4 in December. That 13.2-point drop was the largest monthly decline in the key component since December 1980. Indicators of employment, production and inventory growth also declined from December. At 52.3, the employment reading was the weakest since June and well below December’s 18-month high of 55.8. In a

Yellen takes over Fed as Bernanke departs

UAE sees strong growth, plays down inflation ABU DHABI: The United Arab Emirates’ economy is likely to grow at a robust clip of up to 5 percent this year, government officials said yesterday, playing down warnings by private economists that a sharp rebound in the property market may propel inflation. Activity in the world’s No. 3 crude oil exporter picked up over the past year with Dubai rents and house prices soaring by over 20 percent on expectations of a string of mega projects. “I am conservative so I would put it (2014 growth) between 4.5 percent and 5 percent,” UAE Economy Minister Sultan bin Saeed Al-Mansouri told reporters. “It will depend of course on oil prices because we predict oil prices to go down,” he said after the first joint outlook presentation by Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the federal government. That is broadly in line with the International Monetary Fund, which raised last week its 2014 UAE growth prediction to 4.5 percent, the same level as it estimated for 2013, but warned of a potential property bubble. In oil-powered Abu Dhabi, which accounts for 65 percent of the $390 billion UAE economy, real GDP growth is likely to slow to 6.7 percent this year from 7.4 percent in 2013. “The acceleration in manufacturing, construction, tourism and trade will be the key engines of Abu Dhabi growth as they will be the main beneficiaries of government investment,” said Shorooq AlZaabi, head of development indicators at the emirate’s Department of Economic Development. She also predicted Abu Dhabi’s oil production would rise steadily to 3.1 million bpd in 2017 from 2.7 million in 2013. However, oil prices are likely to fall moderately, to $95 a barrel in 2017 from $109 last year. Abu Dhabi has earmarked 330 billion

dirhams ($90 billion) in investments to fund projects from 2013-17, including a railway, port, museums, petrochemicals and other industries. Dubai growth In debt-laden Dubai, GDP growth could quicken to over 5 percent in 2015 from 4.7 percent this year as the emirate starts gearing up for hosting the Expo 2020 exhibition. “The star sectors driving growth will be transportation, trade, tourism and logistics,” said Mohamad Lahouel, chief economist at the Dubai Department of Economic Development. But with solid growth and soaring rents, UAE inflation may shoot above 4 percent this year, levels unseen since a record 12.3 percent in 2008, just before Dubai’s property crash. A surge of inflation could be tricky for the UAE to contain because its dirham currency is pegged to the US dollar, making it hard for the central bank to tighten policy while US interest rates remain very low. “The main reason is rents. The second reason is capacity. If the output gap has more or less disappeared ... then that inevitably leads to higher inflation,” said Marios Maratheftis, regional head of research at Standard Chartered. “So if there is a surprise for us for the UAE in 2014 it should not be on the growth front, it should be on the inflation side,” he told the same event. Signs of rising price pressures have already showed up in the government data, although analysts have said some of the rent increases appeared not being captured by official figures. Average inflation in the UAE accelerated to 1.1 percent in 2013, the highest rate since 2009, from 0.7 percent in 2012, which was the lowest level since 1990. — Reuters

separate report, the Commerce Department said construction spending rose 0.1 percent in December after advancing 0.8 percent the prior month. While private construction spending increased 1.0 percent to a five year high, outlays on public construction projects tumbled 2.3 percent. That was the biggest drop in a year and reflected the drag from weak state and local government spending. The government’s advance fourth-quarter gross domestic product last week showed residential investment falling for the first time in three years and spending on non-residential structures falling for the first time since the first quarter of last year. — Reuters

WASHINGTON: Janet Yellen is sworn in as Federal Reserve Board Chair in Washington yesterday. — AP

WASHINGTON: Respected economist Janet Yellen was sworn in yesterday as the first woman chair of the Federal Reserve, taking on the burden of winding down the Fed’s stimulus without spurring more turmoil. Yellen inherits the mantle of the world’s most powerful central banker from Ben Bernanke, who guided the US and the global financial system through its deepest crisis since the 1930s during his eight years in the job. Nominated to the job last October by President Barack Obama, she will serve a four-year term concurrent to her ongoing 14 year term on the Fed’s board of governors. The respected economist has worked closely with Bernanke during her three-plus years as Fed vice-chair, and is not expected to depart from his policies aimed at helping lower still-high unemployment levels as long as inflation remains tamed. Yellen, 67, has served in a number of positions in the Fed, including head of its San Francisco branch, and also has held academic positions at Harvard University and University of California at Berkeley.—AFP

UAE shares mixed in downbeat Gulf trend MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS DUBAI: Markets in United Arab Emirates were mixed yesterday with Dubai’s measure halting a three-session drop while most other Gulf shares retreated and Egypt’s measure slipped off a fouryear high. Dubai’s index gained 0.5 percent after a choppy session as profit-taking proved shortterm but technicals remain weak. It failed to make a clear break above 3,807 points, the 50 percent retracement of its 2008 peak after touching an intra-day high of 3,855 on Jan 29. “The market is clearly facing selling from big hands and it will continue for a while because distribution generally lasts a full quarter,” said Firas Al-Zghaibi, financial markets strategist at brokerage firm MENA Corp. Market volumes surged in January to the highest level since September, but the index gains slowed down - a sign that big investors were selling to retail traders. “Volatility is expected this month - the market is overbought

on weekly and monthly basis, which makes it vulnerable to correction and signals that the market will become riskier,” Al Zghaibi said. “The uptrend, however, may continue - there is still momentum in stocks. Most likely, the index will search for a top between 4,100 4,400,” he added. Contractor Arabtec rose 2.3 percent to its highest since September 2008 and extending gains since it won a $6.1 billion contract awarded by Abu Dhabi state fund Aabar. Abu Dhabi’s index slipped 0.3 percent from Sunday’s five-year peak. Banks led losses with National Bank of Abu Dhabi down 3.5 percent. Egypt’s benchmark index slipped 0.4 percent, easing off Sunday’s four-year high, as investors booked profits in mid-and small-cap stocks. Egyptian Resorts dropped 5.2 percent and Palm Hill Developments Company fell 2.2 percent yesterday. Investors remain positive on the market despite uncertainty over a cabinet

reshuffle. Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi has said the reshuffle will include the defence ministry, an Egyptian newspaper said on Saturday, in the clearest sign yet that Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi plans to stand for president. People are waiting for a clear announcement from Sisi for his presidency bid. “At the moment, the market is mainly retail-driven,” said Islam Batrawy, Cairo-based head of MENA equity sales at NBK Capital. “There is a possibility the market could see a minor correction, but the main underlying catalyst remains the presidential election.” In Doha, Qatar National Bank, the region’s largest lender by market value, fell 2.5 percent after going ex-dividend on a 70 percent cash dividend. The bank dragged down the measure which slipped 0.3 percent to its lowest since Jan 20.Bourses in Saudi Arabia’s and Kuwait also dipped 0.3 percent each. — Reuters



Petronet to lease out half of Dahej LNG capacity from 2017 NEW DELHI: India’s Petronet LNG will lease out almost half of the capacity at its Dahej liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal to state companies from 2017 as prices for the high-cost fuel have cut demand, its head of finance told Reuters yesterday. LNG has only made tiny inroads into India, because the government sets low prices for domestic output, deterring buyers of the fuel and discouraging investment in LNG infrastructure even though the country faces massive energy shortages.Petronet, the country ’s biggest LNG importer, and GAIL , India’s largest gas pipeline company, both operate their LNG facilities below capacity. Petronet has now signed 20-year deals to lease a total 6 million tons of the Dahej terminal’s annual capacity from 2017 to GAIL, Indian Oil Corp, Bharat Petroleum Corp and the GSPC Group in western Gujarat state. It will also lease 1.25 mtpa of capacity to GSPC from April this year for 20 years once a second jetty at the terminal is operating, likely in March 2014, he said. “As a terminal operator, it gives me assurance ... that irrespective of price our terminal will operate at full capacity,” RK Garg said. The contracts are on a use or pay basis, meaning the state companies will have to pay even if they don’t use the facility. State-run firms see a potential rise in LNG imports to meet the local demand as the country struggles to arrest a decline in its local output. Gas demand in the country is expected to rise to 473 million cubic metres a day (mmscmd)

Egypt sells 2-year and 4-year bonds CAIRO: Egypt sold 6 billion pounds of bonds at an auction yesterday, including new two-year and four-year maturities that will help to diversify the structure of its debt. The central bank said it accepted bids worth 2 billion Egyptian pounds for the two-year bonds, 2 billion pounds for the four-year bonds and 2 billion pounds for an issue of seven-year bonds, selling the entire amounts it had offered. The bonds will be issued yesterday. The twoyear bonds were priced at an average yield of 11.903 percent and the four-year bonds yielded 12.742 percent. Egypt does not have similarlydated paper outstanding but it paid an average yield of 12.74 percent for three-year bonds and 13.03 percent for five-year bonds at an auction on Jan 27. The average yield of 14.053 percent for the seven-year bonds auctioned yesterday was slightly higher than the 14.012 percent paid when the bonds were last sold on Jan 20. “It’s part of activating the bonds market, and changing the yield curve,” said Khalil El Bawab, head of fixed income at EFG Hermes. “Issuing the longer-term debt is basically to cover the budget deficit and the huge stimulus package.” Egypt has said it plans to launch a 30 billion Egyptian pound ($4.3 billion) stimulus package early this year to boost tepid growth. The country’s budget deficit was 89.4 billion Egyptian pounds or 4.4 percent of economic output in the first half of this fiscal year, slightly less than in same period a year before. Egypt aims to bring the deficit down to 10 percent of gross domestic product at the end of this fiscal year ending on June 30 from around 14 percent for full-year 2012-13. — Reuters

by 2016/17, up from 286 mmscmd in 2012/13, when domestic output and LNG arrivals were only able to meet about 50 percent of the demand. In the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2013, only about a quarter of the available supply came from LNG. India’s domestic gas prices are currently set about $4.20 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), against benchmark Asian LNG prices of about $19/mmBtu. Petronet’s Dahej terminal in western India now has a capacity of 10 million tons per annum (mtpa), but that will be expanded by 50 percent by end-2016, Garg said. The company has approval to raise the capacity to 20 mtpa if required, he added. Petronet currently takes 7.5 mtpa of LNG from Qatar’s RasGas under a long-term contract and buys the remaining 2.5 mtpa under spot and short term deals as needed. In the most recent December quarter Petronet regassified about 12 percent less LNG than a year ago, as demand for the high-priced fuel declined. The quantity Petronet buys through spot or short term deals will fall to 1.25 mtpa in the 2013/14 fiscal year, when the first deal with GSPC goes into effect, Garg said. When Petronet has completed the Dahej expansion and when all the lease deals are in force in 2017, the amount it takes on spot or short-term deals will fall to just 0.25 mtpa, he said. Petronet will continue using half of the Dahej terminal’s capacity to take LNG from Qatar. Petronet also operates a 5 mtpa terminal at Kochi in southern India. — Reuters

Oman’s National Gas Co CEO held by prosecutor MUSCAT: The chief executive of Oman’s National Gas Co SAOG has been detained by the public prosecutor for questioning in relation to a widespread corruption probe involving the oil industry, a source in the prosecutor’s office said yesterday. The company said in a brief statement to the bourse that its board of directors had met on Sunday to discuss the detention of its chief executive, but did not give details. It said it had written to the prosecutor seeking information. National Gas Co’s website names its chief executive as Goutam Sen. The source, who declined to be named, said the detention was related to a widespread corruption probe involving Oman’s oil industry and related sectors. Company spokesmen could not be contacted to comment. Omani leader Sultan Qaboos has been pursuing an anti-corruption campaign in an effort to stem public anger about graft, which was one of the reasons behind mass protests in several Omani cities in 2011. More than 20 government officials and private executives have gone on trial on charges of offering or accepting bribes in exchange for contracts, mostly in infrastructure projects. Last month two executives of Oman’s Galfar Engineering were handed jail terms and ordered to pay fines by an Omani court. National Gas Co’s profile on the stock exchange website lists its activity as “filling and marketing liquid petroleum gas” and gives its total number of employees as 170. The firm posted group sales of 34.69 million rials ($90.1 million) in 2012, according to its financial statements. — Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR: A shopper shops for fruits at a stall in Ampang, in the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur yesterday. As the government seeks to cut fuel and other subsidies to tackle debt, Malaysians have complained about price increases. Inflation stood at 3.2 percent year-onyear in December, up from 2.9 percent year-on-year in November. — AFP

China, France drag on manufacturing revival EU factories have best month since mid-2011 LONDON/BEIJING: Manufacturers around the world enjoyed a solid start to the year as order books swelled, surveys showed yesterday, though a struggle for growth in China and a downturn in France took the shine off the overall picture. Euro-zone factories had their best month since mid-2011 and, with unemployment near record highs, increased headcount for the first time in two years. They were led by a sharp pick-up in Germany and a revival among the states on the region’s periphery. But France, the bloc’s second biggest economy, remained a drag on the region. “The major area of uncertainty over the last few years has been the euro area, but the latest PMI numbers tend to confirm (it)... is on a gentle recovery path with the periphery gaining encouraging momentum as well,” said Philip Shaw at Investec. “The latest numbers on China, and the UK, are a little less positive but there is nothing that would signal any major concerns about those economies from today’s surveys.” Growth in China’s service sector growth slowed to a five-year low, putting the focus on concerns of an slowdown in Asia’s economic powerhouse - a factor behind the selloff that has hit emerging markets in the past two weeks. The rate of expansion in activity in US factories probably also slowed last month, figures due later are expected to show, echoing earlier data from Britain that suggested a swift upturn in factory activity there eased slightly. Markit’s final euro-zone Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 54.0 last month, pipping an earlier flash reading of 53.9 and comfortably ahead of December’s 52.7. The last time it was higher was in May 2011. A reading above 50 indicates growth. The sub-index measuring output, which feeds into a composite. PMI due today and seen as a good guide to broader economic growth, rose to 56.7 from December’s 54.9, in line with a flash estimate and its highest since April 2011. Germany’s PMI jumped to a 32-month high but while France’s rose to a 23-month peak, it held firmly below the breakeven 50mark. Factories increased headcount to meet demand, providing some cheer to policymakers after data on Friday showed unemployment across the bloc held near a record high of 12 percent for the third month running in December. However, manufacturers were unable to raise prices last month as fast as they did in December, possibly stoking fears of deflation in the region after consumer price inflation dropped unexpectedly in January. Braking China Recent numbers from China have painted a subdued picture of developments there. The Markit/HSBC manufacturing PMI fell to a six-month low of 49.5 in January, suggesting the overall factory sector contracted from December. A similar government measure also fell to a six-month low, although it indicated the sector was still expanding modestly. A government PMI on the services sector fell to 53.4 in January, firmly in expansion territory but still the index’s lowest level since December 2008. That run of data provided further reminders for markets of the pressures on the world’s top emerging market economy as Beijing tries to push major reforms without tamping down growth too much. China’s government wants to reduce a heavy reliance on the investments and exports that have fuelled breakneck economic

growth in the past three decades in favor of consumption and services, which it thinks will provide lower but more sustainable growth. Barclays analysts, referring to manufacturing, said they estimated the seasonal impact of Lunar New Year holidays was minimal on China’s factory sector. “In our view, much of the decline reflects (a) downbeat demand outlook and suggests continued softening in growth momentum,” Jian Chang and Jerry Peng said in a note. Other PMIs yesterday showed Indian manufacturing running at its strongest pace since March 2013 and in South Korea the sector was expanding at its fastest in eight months. An Indonesian PMI showed a slight pick-up in factory activity. Last week, a Japanese PMI rose to its highest level in nearly eight years as new orders expanded at their fastest pace on record - a sign of strong domestic demand before prices rise with an increase in a domestic sales tax due in April. — Reuters

Cold cuts gas and power to Iran homes, industry DUBAI: Cold and snow have cut off power to more than 480,000 homes in northern Iran, reduced feed stocks for petrochemical plants and led to a drop in gas supply pressure in some cities, the energy ministry news service said yesterday. Low temperatures have spread across much of Iran over the past few days, and heavy snow has cut power to well over a million people near the Caspian Sea coast of northern Iran. Soaring demand for heating has also slashed supplies of gas to petrochemical plants on the Gulf coast of southern Iran, forcing operators to fall back on their stocks in storage to meet demand, the Shana news service said. “Petrochemical plants have stored enough products so the market is faced with no problem,” Abbas She’ri Moqqadam, head of the state -run National Petrochemical Company, told Shana. Iran has huge gas reserves and exports small quantities to Turkey, but it has been unable to increase production quickly enough to meet its own voracious appetite for fuel. Northern Iran relies heavily on gas imports from Turkmenistan, especially for heating in winter. Rescue teams have been sent to help people trapped in towns in Mazandaran province, the director of power supplies in the region bordering the Caspian Sea told Shana. It was not clear whether the fall in gas pressure in the region was due to lower supplies or a spike in demand. — Reuters

EXCHANGE RATES Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. ASIAN COUNTRIES 2.743 4.555 2.686 2.162 2.853 222.950 36.474 3.636 6.270 8.626 0.271 0.273

Japanese Yen Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Srilankan Rupees Nepali Rupees Singapore Dollar Hongkong Dollar Bangladesh Taka Philippine Peso Thai Baht Irani Riyal transfer Irani Riyal cash Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

GCC COUNTRIES 75.537 77.931 735.840 752.360 77.142

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

ARAB COUNTRIES 39.600 40.250 1.321 176.200 400.010 1.900 2.018 35.394

US Dollar Transfer Euro Sterling Pound Canadian dollar Turkish lira Swiss Franc Australian Dollar US Dollar Buying 20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES 283.150 387.920 470.600 254.750 130.960 315.660 250.160 281.950 GOLD 240.000 121.000 62.500

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

SELL DRAFT 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

SELL CASH 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

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

Selling Rate 283.600 261.685 466.275 386.095 311.250 748.845 77.190 78.745 76.495 399.680 40.678 2.168 4.607 2.687 3.643 6.276 696.580 3.715

Syrian Pound Nepalese Rupees Malaysian Ringgit Chinese Yuan Renminbi Thai Bhat Turkish Lira

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

2.985 3.880 86.870 47.290 9.625 127.300

0.006522 0.000069 0.218808 0.019872 0.001894 0.009223 0.008314

Bahrain Exchange Company CURRENCY 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

BUY Europe 0.007360 0.462133 0.006027 0.047689 0.380685 0.042077 0.085006 0.008113 0.039947 0.307729 0.124159

SELL 0.008360 0.471133 0.018027 0.052689 0.388185 0.047277 0.85006 0.018113 0.044947 0.317929 0.131159

Australasia 0.240697 0.227727

0.252197 0.237227

America 0.248318 0.279050 0.279550

0.256818 0.283400 0.283400

Asia 0.003511 0.045458 0.034383 0.004163 0.000018 0.002655 0.003282 0.000254 0.082376 0.003075 0.002425

0.004111 0.048958 0.037133 0.004564 0.000024 0.002835 0.003282 0.000269 0.088376 0.003245 0.002705

Arab 0.744605 0.037193 0.000078 0.000184 0.395147 1.0000000 0.000138 0.024445 0.001198 0.729422 0.077064 0.074870 0.002170 0.171256 0.124159 0.076109 0.001286

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

0.006802 0.000075 0.224808 0.028372 0.002474 0.009403 0.008864

0.752605 0.040293 0.000080 0.000244 0.402647 1.0000000 0.000238 0.048445 0.001833 0.735102 0.078277 0.075570 0.002390 0.179256 0.131159 0.077258 0.001366

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

Transfer Rate (Per 1000) 282.600 388.650 470.250 255.000 4.528 40.246 2.159 3.635 6.260 2.685 752.450 77.000 75.500



French business delegation in landmark Iran visit Hopes rise on reviving economic ties

CAPE TOWN: Delegates walk between venues on the first day of the 20th Annual Investing in Africa Mining Indaba yesterday at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in Cape Town. This event is billed as the world’s largest conference dealing with mining investment, and Africa’s biggest mining conference. — AFP

India hopes to raise $1.8bn in mobile spectrum sale NEW DELHI: India’s cash-strapped government hoped yesterday it would be third time lucky as it began an auction of mobile licenses to try to raise money and increase investment in the struggling sector. Authorities were obliged to hold the auction after the Supreme Court in February 2012 cancelled 122 mobile licenses due to a scandal-tainted bidding process, creating turmoil in the sector and a major political scandal for the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The court order that the licenses be resold prompted many players to exit the sector, nursing hefty losses. The auction, which the government hopes will raise at least 113 billion rupees ($1.8 billion) to help bridge its fiscal deficit, marked the third attempt in 18 months to sell second-generation or 2G spectrum which is used to provide basic voice and data services. “We’re very confident these auctions are going to be successful and we’re very confident all the spectrum to be auctioned will be sold,” Telecom Secretary M F Farooqui said before the auction opened. Among the eight operators taking part were market leaders Bharti Airtel, the Indian unit of Britain’s Vodafone, the Indian arm of Norway-based Telenor and Reliance Jio, the mobile unit of Reliance Industries controlled by India’s wealthiest man Mukesh Ambani. The government was forced to scrap two earlier auctions — in March 2013 and in November 2012 — to sell the two frequency bands of 900 MHz and 1800 MHz after companies boycotted the sales, com-

plaining opening prices were too costly. To stage this sale, the government cut the floor price by 53 percent for the 900 MHz band from the March price and by 26 percent for the 1800 MHz band. It also later said the annual spectrum usage charge should be capped at five percent of revenue, abandoning a previous three-to-eight percent range. The auction was expected to last about a week. Bharti Airtel and Vodafone must also purchase airwave space to keep operating in some key cities such as Mumbai and New Delhi as their licenses are expiring. Investment house UBS said in a note it expected “rational bidding”, given the financial state of the sector and “the availability of sufficient spectrum in the auction.” Telecommunications Minister Kapil Sibal said the government was only interested in getting investment for the sector, seen as a major development tool as more people gain access to phone services and the Internet, and there would be no “big winners” or “big losers”. The $1.8 billion which the government hopes to raise is a far cry from 2010 when carriers spent $25 billion to buy fast third-generation (3G) airwaves, when euphoria about the sector was at its height. India’s telecom sector was a market star before fierce tariff competition pushed call rates down to among the world’s lowest and bruising corruption allegations took the sheen off. But the number of major telecoms players has fallen, with just three firms Bharti, Vodafone and Relianceaccounting for nearly three-quarters of revenues. — AFP

TEHRAN: A large French business delegation arrived in Iran yesterday hoping to revive economic ties amid the easing of Western sanctions following a landmark agreement over Tehran’s disputed nuclear program. The 107-member French investor team is the largest European business delegation in over 30 years. They met private Iranian business leaders yesterday and are to attend an IranianFrench business conference today. Executives from some of France’s biggest companies, including energy giants Total, telecoms group Orange, power company GDF Suez, carmaker Renault and engineering firm Alstom are just part of the delegation on the three-day visit. Semiofficial Fars news agency said other economic sectors such as information technology and hotel groups, as well as financial, banking and investment, water, aviation, cement, food industry, shipping, insurance and pharmaceutical companies are also represented in the delegation. The visit follows similar delegations from the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, South Korea and other countries that have flocked to Iran recently to explore new trade opportunities after Iran reached a historic deal with world powers in Geneva on Nov 24. Under the six-month interim deal, Iran halt-

ed its most sensitive uranium enrichment activities in return for an easing of Western sanctions over its controversial nuclear program. Iran stopped enriching uranium to 20 percent, which is just steps away from weapons-grade, and started neutralizing its stockpile of it on Jan. 20 to meet its obligations under the historic accord. The US and the EU simultaneously announced the lifting of sanctions on petrochemical products, insurance, gold and other precious metals, as well as the auto industry and parts and services for passenger planes. They also plan to release $4.2 billion Iranian assets of oil revenues blocked overseas, in 8 installments over a period of six months. The first installment of $550 was provided to Iran on Feb. 1, according to Iranian officials. Long-term projects Iran’s state TV said the French business leaders met Iranian president ’s chief of staff, Mohammad Nahavandian, an economist who also heads Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Mines. He urged French business leaders to look at long-term projects in Iran. “At negotiations, look long-term, not short-term. Whoever looks long-term in Iran will be the winner,” the semiofficial ISNA news agency quoted him as saying. “Iran is not only a market

of 75 million people. It’s the gate to Central Asia, a market of 350 million people.” Iran’s economy, battered by years of sanctions, has been showing signs of recovery since the nuclear deal, a shift toward market-friendly policy, and practical measures including the sanctions relief. The easing of sanctions may help Peugeot, Europe’s No 2 automaker, which saw its profits hurt by the sanctions. Peugeot sold more than 450,000 cars annually in Iran before the sanctions, while Renault sold more than 100,000 cars there in 2011 before pulling out. Sanctions knocked Iran’s automobile production down by 72 percent last year compared to 2011, when it produced some 1.6 million cars. The relief now allows French companies to resume auto parts sales to Iran’s biggest carmakers. Mahdi Aboutalebi, a senior Iranian trade official, said it was a “strategic mistake” by Peugeot to pull out of Iran in 2011 because it lost a great market but now is trying to retake its share that may not happen easily because other automakers, including those from South Korea, took its place. Iranian media have claimed that American companies are also negotiating with senior Iranian officials through their representatives in other countries. — AP

Turkey’s rate hike to squeeze banks’ profits, says Moody’s ISTANBUL: Turkey’s sharp interest rate hike will squeeze the profitability of its banking sector through higher funding costs and worsen the quality of bank assets, ratings agency Moody’s said yesterday. Last week Turkey’s central bank dramatically hiked all its key interest rates at an emergency midnight policy meeting as it fought to defend the country’s crumbling currency. For months, the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party had publicly discouraged a rate hike, wary of its impact on growth in the run-up to local elections in March. “CBRT’s (the central bank) measures will constrain banks’ revenue generation and profitability,” Moody’s said in a sector comment. “We expect that downside risks to Turkey’s economic growth from the sharp monetary tightening will harm the credit quality of existing loans and limit opportunities for lending growth,” it said. Unsecured consumer loans and loans to small and medium-sized enterprises are most vulnerable because of their short terms and floating interest rates, the ratings agency said. Moody’s said Turkish banks’

profitability indicators have been among the strongest since 2008 versus selected regional and global peers but still the recent rate moves were likely to negatively affect their asset quality. The agency cited a structural mismatch in loan maturities in the banking sector; with the banking system funded by short-term deposits maturing within three months versus assets with longer-term maturities. “Because of the structural maturity mismatch, banks’ margins will contract from the sudden increase in funding costs,” Moody’s said. Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci downplayed the risks on economic growth because of the rates hikes. He said yesterday he did not see any risk to the 4 percent end-year growth target. Moody’s also said lira depreciation will affect borrowers’ ability to repay loans, as around half of corporate lending is denominated in foreign currency. Istanbul’s banking stocks index, which is heavily weighted in the main index, hit a 52-week low last Wednesday, the first day of trading after the rates hikes. —Reuters

Turkish lira sinks further ISTANBUL: Turkey’s embattled lira currency extended recent losses yesterday after accelerating inflation stoked concerns about the emerging economy as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan battles a political crisis. By 1:00 pm (1100 GMT), the lira was down 0.13 percent against the dollar at 2.26 lira, and off 0.18 percent at 3.06 lira. The Istanbul stock exchange was up 0.07 percent at 61,900.22. The Turkish statistics office (TUIK) said yesterday that consumer prices rose 1.72 percent in January, more than the market estimate of 1.61 percent, with annual inflation at 7.48 percent. The lira has fallen by about 30 percent against the dollar and the euro since the start of 2013, including by around 10 percent since mid-December. This is due to the US Federal Reserve reducing stimulus measures, hitting many emerging markets, but also to a political crisis in Turkey sparked by a corruption scandal in December.—AFP



Euro dogged by ECB talk, EM selloff LONDON: Growing pressure for more policy easing in the euro-zone pinned the euro near a 10-week low yesterday while persistent tension in emerging markets drove Hungary’s forint to a 10-month trough and weighed on global stocks. Stock markets in Europe reflected the weak appetite for riskier assets as they slid 0.6 percent, following shares in Asia. MSCI’s global index posted its largest monthly decline in January since May 2012. Emerging markets lost 6.6 percent for their worst January since 2009. “It is a global macro question and global risk sentiment is really at stake here,” said John Hardy, head of FX strategy at Saxo bank in Copenhagen. “There are a lot of event risks this week and it just feels like markets are trying to figure out where they are.” The week ahead provides a raft of global business surveys and jobs data from the United States to offer a clearer view on the global

economy, while the European Central Bank (ECB) might well consider easing policy at its meeting on Thursday. The prospect of an ECB move weighed on the euro yesterday, pinning it near 10-week lows at $1.3490 following a break of major support at $1.3506. A fall in euro-zone inflation to 0.7 percent last month - far below the ECB’s target of just under 2 percent - has raised the specter of deflation in the bloc, and with tumbling emerging market currencies threatening to compound the problem, calls are increasing on the bank to take action. The pressure on the shared currency was eased slightly by data showing euro zone factories enjoyed their strongest month since mid-2011 in January and the first growth in Greek manufacturing activity since August 2009. But reports that the euro-zone is preparing for more debt relief for Greece reheated ten-

sions in the currency bloc’s debt market. “It feels like the euro it is breaking here,” Hardy added. “If the ECB doesn’t reverse that break I am looking towards $1.32 for an intermediate area and then $1.30.” Baht bounces, forint vulnerable Emerging markets will also be high on the 24-member ECB Governing Council’s agenda. If the stampede out of developing markets forces the euro higher again, that could drive euro zone inflation unacceptably low. The Thai baht bounced yesterday after peaceful elections over the weekend triggered short-covering, but the South Korean won had its worst day in 7-1/2 months, leading losses among Asian currencies on stress in emerging markets. In China, the official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) dipped to 50.5 in January from

December’s 51, in line with market expectations. A separate survey of the service sector also showed a moderation in growth. Back in emerging Europe, there were signs Hungary was being dragged deeper into the troubles as its forint currency nudged to a 10-month low, though a jump in January PMI data curbed the pressure. Many see Hungary, with its high debt levels and unorthodox economic policies, as the most vulnerable in emerging Europe to the reversal in sentiment. Turkey’s lira, another flashpoint in the latest upheaval, found relative calm after a drastic official interest rate rise last week. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei again led share market losses as a fresh 2 percent drop took it to lows not seen since mid-November. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan eased 0.3 percent, while Seoul’s KOSPI

lost 1 percent. US stock futures, however, pointed to a modest 0.1 percent dip. Flight to safety Among assets traditionally perceived as relatively safe, the yen rose to 101.87 yen in European trading to leave it hovering at a near two-month high, while the yields on benchmark 10-year US Treasury note dropped to 2.66 percent to near levels not seen since midNovember. But gold failed has actually lost ground over the past week to stand at $1,244.19 an ounce yesterday. Brent oil was off 2 cents at $106.38 a barrel, having suffered its biggest monthly loss in four months. US crude eased 21 cents to $97.28. “Brent is suffering from the emerging market turmoil that is spreading across most markets,” said Tetsu Emori, a commodity fund manager at Astmax Investment. — Reuters

TOKYO: Pedestrians look at a share price display board in Tokyo yesterday. Japan’s share prices fell 295.40 points to close at 14,619.13 points at the Tokyo Stock Exchange, following a tumble on Wall Street stoked by jitters over emerging markets and disappointing earnings reports from several US firms. — AFP

Brent hits 2-wk low at $106 on China LONDON: Brent crude dropped to a twoweek low yesterday at $106 a barrel as weak factory data from China stoked concerns about demand growth, but fresh violence in Iraq and Syria limited losses. China’s factory growth eased to an expected six-month low in January, hurt by weaker local and foreign demand and by worries of a wide slowdown across emerging markets. That weighed across most markets such as Asian shares and base metals as investors found a new reason to sell high-risk assets. Brent crude slipped 47 cents to $105.93 a barrel by 1102 GMT. US oil dropped 27 cents to $97.22. Emerging market stocks and currencies have dropped in the past weeks as investors have cut their financial bets in developing nations in anticipation that the United States will continue to back away from a less easy monetary policy. “For a long time, oil prices managed to defy the turmoil in the emerging economies and the falling equity markets. Now their resistance appears to have been broken,” said a Commerzbank research note. The slowdown in emerging nations may cap

gains in oil demand growth, which has been driven primarily by China over the past decade while consumption in the West, often called the OECD (The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) nations, slowed, Barclays said in a note. While the West is improving, it may not help overshadow the slowdown in emerging nations, Barclays added. The potential impact of political tensions on oil supplies are meanwhile expected to keep a floor under prices. In Iraq, the army intensified its shelling of Falluja in preparation for a ground assault to regain control of the city, which has been under the control of militants for a month. In Syria, military helicopters dropped more improvised “barrel bombs” on the northern city of Aleppo, a monitoring group said, bringing the death toll to at least 83 people in the latest episode of a campaign that many consider a war crime. Syria is not vital in terms of oil shipments, but markets have been worried that the crisis there could spill across the Middle East to engulf major exporters. — Reuters

Gold slightly up on softer dollar, stocks LONDON: Gold inched up yesterday, gaining support from a weaker dollar and lower equity markets as tensions in emerging markets persist, but the absence of leading buyer China for the Lunar New Year holiday kept prices in check. Emerging markets, economic growth in the United States and the Federal Reserve’s move to taper stimulus are likely to remain the main drivers in the short term, analysts said. “The big issue right now is emerging markets troubles, which drew gold prices up over the past few weeks and if the immediate risk coming from that subsides, prices could gold a little bit lower,” BofA Merrill Lynch analyst Michael Widmer said. Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,246.30 an ounce by 1054 GMT. Bullion snapped five weeks of advances last week, falling 2 percent, but posted a 3.2 percent gain in January, the first monthly increase in five, due to weakness in global equities gripped by concerns over emerging economies. US gold futures for February delivery rose 0.5 percent at $1,245.80 an ounce. European shares slipped, hurt by data showing China’s economy losing momentum, while growing pressure for another policy easing in Europe shoved the euro to 10-week lows. The dollar index, which recorded its best monthly gain in 8 months in January, was down 0.2 percent against a basket of currencies. The United States releases its manufacturing purchasing managers’ index report yesterday to gauge the strength of the economy, while the focus will be Friday’s US nonfarm payrolls report. “I think one of the concerns that we have for the emerging markets is the

impact on advanced nations, but strong US data makes people a little bit less willing to increase their exposure to gold,” Widmer said. “There is a lot of data this week and if you get strength there, that’s supportive for the dollar.” As a gauge of investor interest, hedge funds and money managers raised their net long positions in gold futures and options for a fifth consecutive week, and slashed their long positions in silver in the week to Jan. 28, data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed on Friday. China on vacation Markets in China, the world’s biggest buyer of bullion, are closed until Friday, while Hong Kong, a major trading hub, is shut yesterday. Shanghai premiums for gold bars over the London spot price had fallen to $4 an ounce just before the holiday from over $20 at the beginning of the month, indicating a drop in buying interest. “Seasonality shows that the ShanghaiLondon price differential, a key measure of the strength of Chinese domestic demand, is likely to remain weak over the next two weeks,” said ANZ in a note. Sales of the US Mint’s American Eagle gold coins fell 40 percent year-on-year in January, typically the busiest month of the year, as uncertainty over bullion prices continued to dampen interest from collectors. Spot silver rose 0.5 percent to $19.17 an ounce, while palladium gained 0.8 percent to $706.50 an ounce. Platinum rose 1 percent to $1,387.75 an ounce. Wage talks between South Africa’s AMCU union and the top three platinum producers are set to continue this week. — Reuters



After rocky January, markets eye data, CBs LONDON: This week will go a long way to determining whether the uncertainty hanging over the world economy and markets fades after a rocky January or lasts further into the year. A raft of global business surveys, jobs data from the United States and central bank meetings in Europe should offer a clearer view on how well the global economy is faring at the start of 2014. Most economists have been expecting a better 12 months after three years of slowing global growth, but the recent turmoil in emerging markets has given them pause for thought. MSCI’s global index posted its largest monthly decline since May 2012 in January, sliding 4 percent. Emerging markets were down 6.6 percent for the month - their worst January since 2009 - after another turbulent day on Friday, when the Russian rouble slid and bond yields rose sharply across the board. “Markets in the major economies will continue to be subject to trends in

emerging markets (this) week, both in terms of overall currency and stock market sentiment,” said Philip Shaw, chief economist at Investec. First up are purchasing managers’ indexes (PMIs), which survey thousands of businesses worldwide. While the PMIs from Europe and the United States are expected to show more growth, particular attention will be paid to those from China. “There are  potential flashpoints in the form of various Chinese PMI indices - signs of a slowdown in the pace of economic activity in China would result in the risk-off lights starting to flash again.” The other key data will be Friday’s jobs report from the United States. The world’s No.1 economy added the fewest workers in nearly three years in December - just 74,000 non-farm jobs although the consensus of economists polled by Reuters points to a rebound in January. Still, there could be potential for another nasty surprise. “As if fore-

casting the monthly change in nonfarm payrolls were not hard enough, the outlook for January payrolls is clouded by poor weather, difficult seasonal adjustment, annual benchmark revisions, and methodology changes,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida. CBs in focus Fears about emerging economies intensified after Turkey, South Africa and India failed to halt a wholesale capital flight by raising their interest rates. The Federal Reserve’s decision to withdraw more of its monetary stimulus and weak Chinese data added to the concerns. With Turkey and South Africa’s hikes in particular aimed at countering steep currency depreciations, the pressure is on other emerging central banks to follow suit. “One of the underlying issues is that the market believes that real rates are just too low in emerging markets in an environment of falling liq-

uidity provision,” said Ishitaa Sharma, global markets analyst at Citi, in a note to clients. “Given that the Fed is likely going to continue tapering according to schedule, the market is likely going to continue to demand higher real interest rates from at least the more vulnerable emerging markets.” India’s central bank governor, Raghuram Rajan, last week criticized what he called a breakdown in global monetary coordination, saying developed countries could not wash their hands of the turmoil their actions caused in emerging markets. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi will have a chance to address the emerging market worries after the central bank’s policy decision on Thursday. Euro-zone inflation fell to 0.7 percent in January, putting the ECB under further pressure to meet its target of keeping inflation below but close to 2 percent. “ This outcome clearly raises the chances of ECB policy action,” said Nick

Matthews, economist at Nomura, who raised the prospect of more interest rate cuts to record lows. “While we recognize that the probability of further easing has risen significantly, on balance we believe that the ECB might want to accumulate a bit more information before taking such a decision.” The Bank of England, also meeting on Thursday, is not expected to announce any change to interest rates, although there is a small chance it might make a statement to clarify its forward guidance. More likely, though, it will wait until its quarterly inflation report next week to reveal how it will conduct forward guidance from here. Looking further ahead, Bank of Japan policymakers meet next week to set monetary policy. The sharp selloff in emerging markets plays into the hands of those at the BoJ who fear the pick-up in expor ts is lacklustre and so may require extra monetary stimulus sooner rather than later. — Reuters

UK issues warnings to 2 bankers over rates ICE starts work as new administrator for Libor

HONG KONG: Apartment buildings are seen clustered together in Hong Kong’s Kowloon district yesterday. Home prices in the southern Chinese city have risen by 120 percent since 2008, and by more than 30 percent from their previous peak in 1997, with prices in the luxury market being pushed up by wealthy buyers from mainland China. —AFP

Egypt’s quick-fix minimum wage hike fails to calm workers AL-SAFF, Egypt: When Egypt announced plans for a minimum wage late last year, the government hoped to lift living standards and calm street turmoil that has helped topple two presidents in three years. Although one in four Egyptians lives below a poverty line of $1.65 a day, many workers say the 1,200 Egyptian pound ($170) minimum wage introduced in January is too little too late in a nation whose rulers have long favored the elite over the poor. “Some people spend half that on their pet dogs every day,” said Ibrahim Hussein, who earns 800 pounds a month as a private security guard, barely enough to support his three children. Flush with more than $12 billion in aid from Gulf Arab states, the army-backed government is using some of the cash to defuse unsatisfied demands for reform and social justice. Many Egyptians backed the army’s overthrow of President Mohammad Morsi in July and the ensuing crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood in which about 1,000 of his supporters were killed. And many are mesmerised by Field Marshal Abdel Fatah alSisi, the army chief who ousted Egypt’s first freely elected leader after mass protests against his rule. Sisi is soon expected to announce he will run for president - and win. But once the euphoria fades, Sisi in his turn could face what some have dubbed the revolution of the hungry unless eradicating poverty and social ills becomes a higher priority. “Setting the minimum wage is a first step in the path to social justice... The government must not forget or stop at the minimum wage only,” said campaigner Ashraf Al-Taalabi. “If the people do not feel they have social justice there will be a third revolution to achieve that goal.” Corruption, cronyism and stark inequalities in wealth fuelled the 2011 revolt that overthrew autocratic President Hosni Mubarak, when labour unions joined vast crowds demanding “bread, freedom and justice” for the nation of 85 million. Discontent Three years later, impoverished cities like Al-Saff, 60 km (37 miles) south of Cairo, still await signs of a fairer deal. Many queue for

hours each day to buy state-subsidized bread in slums disfigured by garbage and raw sewage, while the rich and powerful inhabit luxury villas in gated communities. “The minimum salary should be 3,000 pounds,” said Sayed Hussein, a physics teacher who sells rice and noodles at night to supplement his income. “If it doesn’t get resolved, we will all take to the streets. If this continues I will suffocate.” The minimum wage applies to 4.9 million public employees and will cost the state an extra 18 billion pounds a year, swelling a budget deficit set to hit around 200 billion pounds this year. But the government has presented no long-term plans to boost revenue to correct the fiscal imbalance, analysts say, instead pinning its hopes on two stimulus packages of $4.3 billion each. These rely indirectly on Gulf aid, so if Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait become less generous, that could force spending cuts, risking a backlash in the streets. Egyptians depend on food and energy subsidies which account for a quarter of all state spending. Successive governments have hesitated to cut the subsidies for fear of public anger, mindful of the 1977 bread riots that challenged President Anwar Sadat. Bread shortages also provoked unrest under Mubarak in 2008. As well as subsidies and the minimum wage rise, budget strains include a new constitutional obligation to allocate some six percent of spending on education, health and research. Longing for change Moheb Malik, an economist at Prime Securities, said the government would struggle to meet its financing needs. “There will have to be a cut somewhere and they can’t cut wages,” he said. “That leaves the subsidies, which are huge.” The government hopes the wage rise will appeal to people like Ali Abdelmegid, 33, who works 16 hours - school bureaucrat by day, truck driver by night without escaping poverty. Like others he wants the government to tackle entrenched social inequality, not just throw some money at problems.— Reuters

LONDON: Britain’s financial watchdog has issued its first warning notices of proposed action against two bankers for their part in alleged manipulation of benchmark interest rates. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) did not name the people, stating only that it gave a warning notice to a submitter of benchmark interest rates for failings over a period of more than two years, and another warning to a manager at a bank for failings over more than three years. The warnings, issued in November but only published yesterday, relate to the London Interbank Offered Rate or Libor and its continental European counterpart Euribor. A number of banks have been fined $6 billion by European, British and US regulators for manipulating Libor and Euribor, which are used to price around $400 trillion worth of products worldwide, from derivatives to home loans. The rates are compiled by banks submitting quotes of rates they believe they could borrow money at from another bank. Banks were found to have rigged them to show the bank was not in financial difficulty during the financial crisis or to make derivatives contracts based on them profitable. This is the first time the FCA has issued warnings since it was given the power to do so. In the past, the UK financial watchdog would only

make its enforcement proceedings public once an individual or company was punished. The FCA’s ability to issue early warnings has raised concerns that a firm or individual would be permanently tarnished even if a case were subsequently dropped. Rob Moulton, a financial services partner at law firm Ashurst, said the aim was to warn the public early of any potential problems with financial products. Moulton said the case involving the two bankers was different as it was not directly related to a consumer product. “It looks to me that the only benefit to saying these warning notices have been issued is to the regulator, that they are being active,” Moulton said. “The use of this power is for the pursuit of the regulatory agenda rather than for public protection,” Moulton added. Regulators in Britain have been criticized by members of parliament for being slow to bring individuals to book for their part in rigging Libor as regulatory investigations have widened to include possible manipulation of currency benchmarks. The FCA is likely to take many months before it reaches final decisions on the two individuals, who can challenge them in an independent FCA committee and later in court. The FCA accused the first individual, a manager at a bank, of being personally aware and condoning traders

making requests to submitters to manipulate submissions. The watchdog accused the manager of facilitating others’ attempts to manipulate interest rate benchmarks and of being aware of the conflict of interest in certain submitters also trading derivative products referenced to an interest rate benchmark. It accused the second individual of making interest rate benchmark submissions which took into account requests made by traders to benefit their positions. The second individual is also accused of colluding with an interdealer broker and with traders at another bank that submitted quotes for compiling interest rate benchmarks. The second individual also took into account interest rate derivative positions on the bank’s trading book for which the individual was responsible when it came to making submissions, the watchdog said. Separately, Britain’s finance ministry said international exchange ICE became the independent administrator for Libor yesterday after the British Bankers’ Association was stripped of the role because some of its members have been fined for rigging the benchmark. “Reforming Libor and rebuilding the reputation of this crucial global benchmark is crucial to restoring people’s trust in financial services,” junior finance minister Sajid Javid said. — Reuters

‘Time is short’ for Congress to raise debt limit: Lew WASHINGTON: US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew warned yesterday that the United States will exhaust its borrowing authority on Friday without action by Congress to lift the debt limit. “ Time is short. Congress needs to act to extend the nation’s borrowing authority, and it needs to act now,” Lew said in to prepared remarks at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington think tank. “In just a matter of days, the temporary suspension of the debt limit will end, and the Treasury Department will have to start using extraordinary measures so the government can continue to meet its obligations,” he said. Lew noted that the automatic reinstatement of the cap on borrowing after February 7 comes at the beginning of tax filing season, when tax refunds cause net cash outflows “that deplete borrowing capacity very quickly.” “We now forecast that we are likely to exhaust these measures by the end of this month.” On the February 7 deadline the borrowing cap will be locked at the total amount borrowed at that date. US debt currently stands at $17.3 trillion. The Treasury chief welcomed recent congressional compromises that finally delivered a government budget after political stalemate over the issue forced a 16-day partial government shutdown in October. But he warned Congress against waiting to raise the debt limit at the 11th hour, highlighting that a delay can jeopardize the credibility of the world’s largest economy and roil financial mar-

kets. He noted that in last year’s political gridlock, consumer and business confidence dropped and investors “publicly questioned whether it was too risky to hold certain types of US government debt.” “It is important to remember that increasing the debt limit is Congress’s responsibility, and Congress’s alone. That is because only Congress has the power to extend the nation’s borrowing authority. No Congress in the history of the United States has failed to meet this responsibility.” The Treasury chief criticized a push by some lawmakers to tie spending cuts to increasing the Treasury’s borrowing authority, noting that “raising the debt limit has nothing to do with new spending. “It is about fulfilling spending obligations that Congress has already made and paying bills that have already been incurred.” Opposition Republican lawmakers are considering policy riders to a debt ceiling bill that would help reduce the debt. President Barack Obama’s Democratic administration has stood steadfastly against the attachment of any conditions to the debt action. Lew pressed Congress to avoid a self-inflicted wound to the US economy as it enters 2014 with momentum from robust strength in the 2013 fourth quarter. “This can and should be a breakthrough year for our economy,” he said. “Congress should act quickly to resolve the debt limit without unnecessary delays or political posturing that could snowball into a manufactured crisis that the American people so clearly want us to avoid.” —AFP

WASHINGTON: Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew delivers keynote remarks and answers questions during an event about the federal debt limit at the Bipartisan Policy Center yesterday in Washington, DC. —AFP

Bankia returns to profit in 2013 after rescue

ATHENS: A demonstrator holds a banner reading ‘your house goes on auction? they cut your electricity or water? call the solidarity group’ during a protest outside a tax office in central Athens against auctions of homes, high taxes and foreclosures yesterday. — AFP

MADRID: After dragging Spain’s financial sector to the brink of disaster, Bankia reported yesterday a resounding return to profit in 2013 and said it had finished a painful restructuring two years early. Bankia, saved from bankruptcy in 2012 with an injection of 18 billion euros ($24 billion) in euro-zone rescue loans, reported a net profit of 509 million euros in 2013, after a catastrophic 19.2-billion-euro loss the previous year. Spain’s fourth-largest bank by market value, Bankia said it managed to boost profit even as net banking income fell by 19.7 percent to 2.567 billion euros in 2013. It marks a dramatic turnaround for the lender, which was born in 2010 from the merger of seven troubled savings banks.

After listing on the Madrid stock exchange with fanfare in July 2011, Bankia had to be nationalized less than a year later, in May 2012, to save it from collapse as bad loans and losses spiralled. Spain then turned to its euro-zone partners for 41 billion euros in rescue loans to shore up the entire banking system. Bankia has had to shut more than 1,000 branches and shed thousands of staff in a restructuring. In December, however, it regained its place in the IBEX-35 index of top listed companies on the Madrid stock exchange. “These results confirm that we are meeting the commitments we announced to the market and we are ahead of the targets set in our 2012-2015 strategic plan,” Bankia president Jose Ignacio Goirigolzarri said.

“We have completed the restructuring-two years earlier than forecast-and we have regained our commercial strength, improving productivity levels,” he said in a statement. The bank said its balance sheet had been strengthened, with the share of rocksolid core capital surging to 11.88 percent of all capital at the end of 2013 from 5.16 percent a year earlier. But Bankia remained bogged down by risky loans extended during Spain’s decade-long property boom, which imploded in 2008. Non-performing loans rose to 14.7 percent of all credits at the end of 2013 from 13.0 percent a year earlier. The banking group as a whole, BFABankia, reported a 2013 net profit of 818 million euros, after suffering a loss of 21.24 billion euros the previous year. — AFP



Challenger continues to excite car lovers KUWAIT: With record sales last year, including the best sales months since the reintroduction of the Challenger in 2008, the Dodge brand’s performance icon continues to deliver exactly what muscle car enthusiasts want - a powerful and efficient engine lineup and iconic muscle-car design, all executed with quality and precision. Award-winning powertrain lineup The Dodge Challenger SE’s standard award-winning 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 engine features a cold-air induction system and dual exhausts from the headers back to the exhaust tips for maximum output. The result is 305 track-ready hp at 6,350 rpm and a responsive 268 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,800 rpm. The engine’s torque exceeds 90% of its peak value from 1,800 to 6,400 rpm, which provides outstanding drivability and responsiveness. Thanks to its all-aluminium design, the 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 engine, linked to a five-speed AutoStick automatic transmission, provides the Dodge Challenger with a 52/48 front-to-rear weight distribution for improved balance and handling. For the performance enthusiast, the 2014 Dodge Challenger R/T features the legendary 5.7-litre HEMI(r) V8 engine, again linked to a five-speed AutoStick automatic transmission, which delivers

up to 375 hp and 410 lb.-ft. of torque and gets up to 25 miles per gallon (9.41 L/100km) and includes innovative Fuel Saver Technology to seamlessly transition to high-fuel-economy four-cylinder mode when less power is needed and V8 mode when more power is in demand. For even more control, steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters and Sport Mode are included.

display with a 30gb hard drive for additional storage. Uconnect media centres also offer a single navigation option with clean and crisp graphics. Uconnect radios enable Dodge Challenger passengers to create a personalised in-vehicle media experience with its available USB port with iPod control, auxiliary jack for MP3 player input and DVD playback (in Park).

More than 45 safety and security features The Dodge Challenger features more than 45 safety and security features, including the addition of ParkSense rear park assist system standard on the Challenger R/T. Dodge Challenger also features standard ESC, with Chrysler Group’s proprietary Ready Alert Braking and Rain Brake Support safety features to improve overall vehicle handling and performance both on and off the track. In addition, standard front-row reactive head restraints, standard full-length side-curtain air bags and standard front seatmounted side -thorax air bags offer enhanced occupant protection to passengers in the event of a collision.

Segment-exclusive cruising for up to five adults To make long cruises more comfortable, the Dodge Challenger features highly cushioned and comfortably contoured seating, while maintaining large bolsters to hold passengers in place during performance driving. Dodge Challenger offers exceptional rear seating for a two-door coupe, achieving best-in-class rear headroom (37.4 inches / 949.96 mm) and legroom (32.6 inches / 828.04 mm) compared with its competition. With class-exclusive seating for five, coupled with bestin-class cargo space (16.2 cu. ft.), the Dodge Challenger is the segment’s best day-to-day pony-car choice, offering maximum comfort and functionality to go with its legendary iconic styling and sought-after performance. About Chrysler Group LLC: Chrysler Group LLC, formed in 2009 from a global

Easy-to-use Uconnect (r) systems The innovative Uconnect radios integrate a 6.5-inch (165.1 mm) touchscreen

strategic alliance with Fiat Group, produces Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram and Mopar brand vehicles and products. With the resources, technology and worldwide distribution network required to compete on a global scale, the alliance builds on Chrysler’s culture of innovation - first established by Walter P Chrysler in 1925 - and Fiat’s complementary technology - from a company whose heritage dates back to 1899. Headquartered in

Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA, Chrysler Group’s product line-up features some of the world’s most recognizable vehicles, including the Chrysler 300, Jeep(r) Wrangler, Dodge Charger and Ram trucks. Fiat will contribute world-class technology, platforms and powertrains for small- and medium-size cars, allowing Chrysler Group to offer an expanded product line-up including environmentally friendly vehicles.

Wataniya launches Kuwait’s best prepaid student offer KUWAIT: Wataniya Telecom, the first private telecom operator in Kuwait, provides its customers with the best prepaid student offer in the country. Students of top seven universities in Kuwait can now enjoy the incredible offer from Wataniya which comes with special call rates and a free internet pack. This offer was created to provide young people with more value and give them a means to stay connected to their University friends’ at the most affordable rates. Students can now make calls at only 10/fils per minute. In addition, they will receive 200 MB of free internet every month for 12 months. This amazing call rate is valid for students of the same university or college who have purchased this special prepaid offer. The offer is available for students of Arab Open University, Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST ), The American

University of Kuwait (AUK), American University of Middle East (AUM), Australian College of Kuwait (ACK), American College of Middle East and last but not the least, Kuwait University. In order to enjoy these exclusive perks, students must do a recharge of KD 1 after activation of the line and every month they must keep their lines recharged with a total of KD 3 month. The offer will then be valid for 12 months from the date of activation of the promotion. Students can purchase this offer on the campus of the above mentioned universities or they can visit the following branches Airport, Avenues Mall, Marina Mall, Bairaq Mall, Farwaniya, 360 Mall or Shaha Branch with a copy of a valid Student ID which is to be submitted along with their application form.

RAK dept of Civil Aviation inks deal with Air Arabia RAS AL-KHAIMA: Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), Ras Al-Khaimah announced yesterday that it has signed a strategic partnership with Air Arabia, enabling the airline to become the Emirate’s designated carrier operating services from Ras Al-Khaimah International Airport. Connecting Ras AlKhaimah to several destinations in the region, the major new collaboration is set to witness a significant increase in the number of destinations accessible to residents of Ras Al-Khaimah and neighboring Northern Emirates. The launch of partnership between the low-cost pioneer and the Department of Civil Aviation, RAK is expected to support Ras Al-Khaimah’s standing as an attractive tourist destination, while acting as a key catalyst for the further economic development of the Emirate. The development also means that Air Arabia now becomes the official carrier of Ras Al-Khaimah Emirate. Describing the partnership as a “unique collaboration,” Engr Sheikh Salem Bin Sultan Al-Qasimi, Chairman, Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), Ras Al-Khaimahsaid: “Today’s announcement is a natural step in the next stage of Ras Al-Khaimah’s aviation development, driven by the Emirate’s steady economy, expanding population, growing industrial activity, and tourism. We are delighted to be entering into a strategic agreement with an extremely successful airline and are confident about the benefits this partnership will bring to the Emirate of Ras Al-Khaimah.” He added: “As Ras Al-Khaimah continues to position itself as an attractive tourist des-

tination, we are confident that this partnership will help us achieve our long-term goals, benefiting from Air Arabia’s operational track record, impressive network and management expertise.” Adel Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer of Air Arabia said: “Joining hands with DCA, Ras Al-Khaimah in this new partnership aims at further developing the aviation industry in the northern Emirates and support Ras Al-Khaimah’s ambitious economic plans. The Emirate’s tourism sector is witnessing a strong and steady growth and we are optimistic that this will continue to grow in the years to come.” Ali continued: “The major collaboration is a true reflection of the strength of the UAE aviation infrastructure and potential growth. Furthermore, we are extremely confident that the launch of Air Arabia’s operations in Ras Al-Khaimah Airport will further transform the travel and tourism sectors in the Emirate as well as provide customers with great accessibility and value for money air travel.” Established in October 2003, Air Arabia PJSC, listed on the Dubai Financial Market, currently operates services to 90 destinations covering the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and the Indian Subcontinent from three operating hubs in Sharjah, UAE; Alexandria, Egypt; and Casablanca, Morocco. The Department of Civil Aviation, Ras Al-Khaimah is responsible for operation and regulation of the air transport system in Ras Al-Khaimah. The DCA was established in 1974 to support the Emirate’s economic and social development.

Diamond Pin award for Abdullah Ali, GM of Volkswagen, Kuwait Ali honored for exceptional achievements KUWAIT: Behbehani Motors Company, the exclusive dealer of Volkswagen vehicles in Kuwait, has attained yet another remarkable achievement to add to its historic record of accomplishments. In recognition of his exceptional achievements Volkswagen Germany has awarded Abdullah Ali, General Manager of Volkswagen Behbehani, the illustrious Diamond Pin award, a select honor only handed out to a limited number of people around the world. Yanz Outermark, Global Market Director of Volkswagen Germany presented the award to Ali during a ceremony held especially for the occasion at the Volkswagen factory in Germany. Volkswagen awards the Diamond Pin to appreciate and reward individuals for outstanding achievements within the network of its international partners, which is measured according to specific guidelines, including the level of service provided, loyalty, standards of linked institutions, sales volume and revenue, organization, professionalism in applying expertise, as well as the level and quality of the work, analysis, setting targets, cost reduction, monitoring, employee training and use of the latest technological solutions. Each year, Volkswagen Germany chooses the winners of the Diamond Pin from all over the world. Commenting on the commemoration, Ali said: “ This award honors the effor ts of Behbehani Motors Company, especially the Sales Team and Aftersales Service Team for their hard work in offering the best service to customers with very high standards, in addition to providing all Volkswagen models to the Kuwait market in an amazing showroom and exceptional service center.”

“What has helped us to achieve this honor is the impressive development seen throughout the Volkswagen lineup of vehicles, as well as the many new vehicles now being offered to customers to meet their requests, which is reflected by the great demand for Volkswagen vehicles witnessed in Kuwait. We are confident that we will achieve even further remarkable records in the coming years, especially with the new models and engines that will be launched in the near future.” Abdullah Ali added: “We are delighted for Behbehani Motors Company to achieve the highest position amongst Volkswagen agents in the Middle East in recent years as a

result of the investments and expansions the company has made in order to serve its customers better and provide for all their needs, a distinctive mark of the Volkswagen brand in Kuwait.” Behbehani Motors Company strives to maintain and develop even further the level of services offered to customers, at both the Sales and Aftersales Service levels, and it endeavors to meet all the needs and expectations of its customers. As part of this commitment, Volkswagen Behbehani has expanded and advanced its Aftersales Service Center and employed Technicians and Administrators with a high level of efficiency and knowledgeable experience.



Canon highlights importance of employee engagement DUBAI: Canon Middle East, a world leader in imaging solutions, joined forces with Canon Emirates for a two day annual kick-off meeting in Dubai, to review last year’s business accomplishments and challenges against achieving regional and global objectives for 2014. Under the theme of ‘Realization,’ Canon is focusing heavily on employee engagement as senior management renew and refresh the organization’s approach to business in the region to further realize business goals. Creativity will continue to be at the core of all company activities and to reinforce the entrepreneurial culture in the workplace, inspirational group workshops will be introduced for employees to brainstorm. The kick-off meeting follows the highly successful 2013 Par tner Conference which brought together over 100 partners from 45 countries in the Middle East, North, West and East Africa region. Building on the company’s mission to become closer to its customers, par ticipants were guided through Canon’s business strategies,

Annual kickoff meeting in Dubai

objectives and latest innovations for 2014. The three day conference also involved sharing best practices and oppor tunities to capitalize on an increased demand for imaging solutions. The Canon Middle East kick-off event, held at the JW Marriott Marquis and The Address Montgomerie Dubai, included a celebrator y dinner for employees’ and their families as a token of appreciation for their contribution to the success of the company in the region. A series of fun group activities took place under the theme of ‘Renew, Refresh and Realize,’ to encourage a fresh outlook on the year ahead and the discovery of new opportunities. The night concluded with a silent auction where all proceeds were donated to charity as part of Canon’s CSR initiatives in the region, to give back to the communities in which the organization operates. Anurag Agrawal, Canon Middle East Managing Director, said: “Last year was of course challenging as we continually strive to innovate in the market, but the commitment of our team is unrivalled

and we continue to maintain our position as a world leader of imaging solutions. I have no doubt that we will achieve our growth goals in 2014 with the continued support and enthusiasm of our Canon family. “Our kick-off event is a conference that I look for ward to ever y year because it gives me the opportunity to embrace a new direction with my col-

leagues. Realization is a theme that I find speaks to the renewed and refreshed energy Canon is bringing to its employees, customers and the local community. We look forward to leveraging new opportunities with innovative imaging technology while driving the business forward in the Middle East.” In 2014 Canon will be diversifying

the product offering to meet the demands of fast growing businesses. With the number of internet users in the MENA region on the rise, enhanced digital marketing and mobile commerce are key drivers for the company. Managed Print Solutions (MPS) also remains a key growth sector for Canon as customers look to benefit from cost saving and energy conscious solutions.

Cisco predicts 2014’s disruptive trends First-ever Technology Radar study

PARIS: General manager of French mobile operator Bouygues Telecom, Olivier Roussat (left) and French mobile operator SFR general manager Jean-Yves Charlier (right) take part in a press conference in Paris yesterday. Bouygues Telecom and SFR announced they agreed to share a part of their mobile networks. —AFP

Mobile Asia holds key to Facebook’s future growth MUMBAI: As Facebook celebrates its 10th birthday, one of its biggest challenges is to tap the mobile market in emerging Asian economies, where it can drive expansion after growth in the West tapers off. India is expected to overtake the United States as the country with most Facebook users in 2014, with its total number forecast to surge beyond the 150 million mark from the current 93 million level. But despite its rapid growth in parts of Asia, experts say Facebook cannot afford to be complacent and locally-tailored competitors are threatening to steal its thunder in countries such as Indonesia. With Internet penetration still relatively low in Asia’s emerging economies, many people’s first online experience comes when they log on with a mobile phone. Kevin D’Souza, Facebook India’s head of growth and mobile partnerships, says the key to success in emerging markets therefore depends on encouraging access via basic mobiles known as “feature phones”. “We’re already seeing the majority of users sign up to Facebook on mobile devices,” D’Souza said. “A large chunk of mobile phone users in India are feature phone users, and with low price points, these devices are becoming the first Internet connected device many people will own.” He said more than 100 million people globally are now using the “Facebook for Every Phone” app specifically for non-smartphones and many of the next billion users Facebook hopes to attract are expected to do the same. Preloaded The Nokia Asha 501 feature phone now comes preloaded with Facebook, while India’s telecom giant Bharti Airtel announced last month that it would offer free Facebook access in nine local languages to prepaid customers. In India, more than 40 percent of the 1.2 billion population have cell phones but barely five percent are smartphone users, according to estimates by consultancy Analysys Mason. Nevertheless, researchers at eMarketer predict India will reach 152.4 million Facebook users this year, surpassing the 151.1 million forecast for the US. The growing importance of mobile Internet access was demonstrated with Facebook’s strong earnings released last week. Advertising revenue surged to $2.34 billion in the quarter, up 76 percent over the past year, and more than 53 percent of that figure was mobile advertising revenue-up from 23 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. “2013 was the year we turned our business into a mobile business,” said boss Mark Zuckerberg, who began the company as a student a decade ago, since when it has swelled to attract 1.23 billion active users worldwide. Aakrit Vaish, a founder of mobile company Haptik, said it was not just the sheer population size that made India such a big Facebook player. “Culturally in our country we have always been, for better or worse, very inquiring about other people’s lives,” he said. He believes an additional benefit for Facebook in India has been the prominence of English speaking among the urban elite, who were the first to get access to the social network. The same is true of the Philippines, where more than one in three people are on Facebook according to marketing agency We Are Social whose data shows the country spending more hours per day on social media than anywhere else in Asia. Facebook has overtaken mobile text messaging as a key communication tool, also embraced by Philippine politicians and activists-President Benigno Aquino’s Facebook page has more than three million “likes”. Protesters last year used the network to vent anger over the misuse of state funds by lawmakers, snow-

The ‘Facebook’ logo is reflected in a young Indian woman’s sunglasses as she browses on a tablet in Bangalore. As Facebook celebrates its 10th birthday, one of its biggest challenges is to tap the mobile market in emerging Asian economies, where it can drive expansion after growth in the West tapers off. — AFP

balling into a mass rally in Manila in August. Tailoring content But experts say that Facebook’s dominance in some Asian markets faces a threat from competitors who are adapting to local tastes. With Facebook banned from China since 2009, Indonesia has the second largest number of users in Asia, with around 65 million. But youngsters are also active on Indonesian-made social media such as Kaskus, while US-based social network FourSquare and China’s WeChat have launched popular Indonesian versions of their platforms. “Nothing works better than making something local,” market research firm Roy Morgan Asia director Debnath Guharoy said. “It has the vernacular, the slang. Anyone who does that successfully will get a lot of traction.” MindTalk, a colourful Indonesian forum set up in 2012 which groups users by interests such as sport, celebrity and travel, has attracted around 500,000 users and is growing by about 10 percent each month. “Facebook’s Indonesian user base will keep growing as more people get online, but young people will probably spend less time on it because there are so many alternatives,” said Rama Mamuaya, founder of the Indonesian tech blog DailySocial. Indian student Dewika Bhagwat, 17, said she used to avidly post updates on the computers at school, but now she and her friends have smartphones, they prefer to keep in touch via the instant messaging service WhatsApp. “Because all our parents have opened Facebook accounts, it’s not that fun anymore,” she said. — AFP

KUWAIT: Cisco yesterday unveiled the findings of its first ever Technology Radar study, highlighting the key trends set to redefine businesses and life across the Middle East in 2014. Based on intelligence gathered by over 70 global technology “scouts”, Cisco’s pioneering study focuses on trends independent of current product roadmaps or business unit priorities. According to Cisco, the key trends set to make a mark in 2014 include Context Aware Computing, Machineto-Machine Connections, Browser Based Video & Collaboration, Video Mega Trends, Building the Next Internet with new Architectures, Security and Mobile Device Management. Driving all of these is the Internet of Everything (IoE) - the interconnections of people, processes, data, and things - which Cisco believes represents a $19 trillion opportunity, globally, over the next decade ($14.4 trillion in the private sector and $4.6 trillion in the public sector). By 2020, Cisco reports that the growth of connected “things” will reach 212 billion. “IT organizations across the Middle East need to prepare for the Internet of Everything (IoE), and what we are now seeing is the emergence of an Application Economy where the focus will no longer be simply on the hardware, but also on supporting a larger number of applications on all connected devices,” said Tarek Ghoul, General Manager, Cisco Gulf, Levant and Pakistan. “Big changes now need to take place to make sense of exponentially increasing and varied types of data coming in from devices ranging from smartphone applications to information generated a city’s infrastructure.” The Middle East is already wellpoised to reap the benefits of this shift, with the region’s IT spend projected to grow 7.3 percent from 2013 to $32 billion in 2014, according to IT research firm the IDC. Cisco also reports that the Middle East and Africa is set to post the world’s strongest mobile data traffic growth

for at 77 percent CAGR to 2017. A new era, a new context One of the key findings of the report is the potential of context aware computing to fundamentally change how we interact with our devices. In the future, devices will learn about you, your day, where you are and where you’re going. “Context is a disruption because it completely

Tarek Ghoul redefines the users’ experience and the way an IT system is built. We’re seeing a change from any content for any people at anytime and anywhere, to the right information to the right person at the right time, at the right place and in the right way,” said Ghoul. Connections driving value Another notable observation from the study states that, in the Application Economy, practically everything - roads, jet-engine parts, shoes, refrigerators, soil, and supermarket shelves - will have cheap, tiny sensors that generate terabytes of data that can be sifted for key insights. By 2022, Cisco predicts that person-to-machine and person-toperson combined connections will constitute 55 per cent of the total IoE value at stake, whereas machine-tomachine connections make up the remaining 45 per cent. Home and workplace transformed One of the major benefits of immi-

nent new Internet architectures is the power of browser-based video and collaboration, where a new common standard can enhance employee productivity by integrating audio-visual conferences, text notepads, and whiteboards into a real-time Webbased multimedia space. “If we want to change the way people communicate and take it to the next level, we are going to need the simple, ubiquitous and rapid deployment that the web platform can provide,” explained Ghoul. “We need the browsers to use new standards, open source strategies and partnerships. At Cisco we changed the communication by driving the evolution of Voice over Internet Protocol ( VoIP), and we are now changing the web to include interactive collaboration.” Video Mega Trends will similarly transform digital imaging, with ultra HD video enhancing the viewing experience on televisions, smartphones, augmented reality glasses, tablets, and camera-equipped devices. Both trends are set to have a significant impact on everything from healthcare and education to office connectivity and security. Redefining the Network In order to cope with the explosion of connections, the Cisco Technology Radar concludes that technology labs are now developing new Internet architectures to replace the current IP-based Internet. Named Data Networking (NDN) has the most potential to disrupt, and would allow information to be communicated by names rather than host addresses. This represents a radical departure from the way the Internet works today. Early stage software-defined networking (SDN) models, meanwhile, have attempted to address the challenge by focusing on network virtualisation and overlay scenarios, but without true integration across physical and virtual dimensions, they have so far been handicapped by lack of transparency and visibility.

At 10 years old, Facebook copes with growing pains NEW YORK: As Facebook celebrates its 10th anniversary, the world’s biggest social network is finding its path as a maturing company, adapting to an aging user base. The company created in a Harvard dorm room in 2004 has established itself as a phenomenon, securing its place in the world of the technology giants. “Facebook has made the world much smaller, much more interactive,” said Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry. “Facebook started the social revolution but it may not be able to control it.” In its short history, Facebook has become a part of daily life for more than a billion people around the globe. Co-founder Mark Zuckerberg described the mission as “making the world more open and connected,” and some say he has accomplished just that. “More than 20 percent of all time spent on the Internet is spent on Facebook,” says Lou Kerner, founder of the Social Internet Fund. Yet in some ways, Facebook could be the victim of its own success. Its initial core base of teens and university students has expanded, and Facebook is now widely used by people in all age groups. Facebook says it has a global total of 1.23 billion monthly active users, including 945 million who use the social network on a mobile device. But some analysts note that Facebook has to shift strategy for an aging user base. An iStrategyLabs study of US Facebook users found a 25 percent drop in the number of users in the 13-17 age group, along with an 80 percent jump in the number of users over 55. “People joke that for the teen, Facebook isn’t cool when your mom is on it,” Kerner said. “I think it’s not even your mom any more, now it’s also your grandmother.” The research firm Social Bakers says its data shows teens are a big and still-growing part of Facebook. “The 18-24 year-old age group is still the largest,” said the group’s Ben Harper. “Our data shows the growth of audience and interactions on

Facebook, and while teens are undoubtedly using multiple platforms (as we all are), they are also sticking with Facebook.” In the United States, Facebook is used by 71 percent of all adults who are on the Internet, or 57 percent of the adult population, according to the Pew Research Center. Pew found that while Facebook is used by 89 percent of online adults in the 18-29 age group, it is also used by 60 percent in the 50-64 age category and 45 percent of those over 65. Facebook is maturing as a company as well. It had a calamitous initial public offering in May 2012 plagued by technical glitches, and saw its share price slump by half, but has been on a roll for the past year, with its stock hitting record highs. Facebook has reassured its investors it can generate advertising revenue, particularly in the mobile segment used by an increasing number of members. Facebook reported its profit for the full year 2013 jumped to $1.5 billion from just $53 million in 2012, and revenues increased to $7.87 billion from $5.1 billion. According to the research firm eMarketer, Facebook has become the second-largest recipient of digital advertising spending behind Google, and is particularly strong in mobile ads. “Facebook appears the best way to play the social Internet,” Morgan Stanley analysts said in a note to clients, preferring Facebook to the up-and-coming network Twitter. Some analysts point out that Facebook’s appeal to grownups is a big part of maturation, and represents the key to generating revenue and profit. “Advertisers place promotional content on Facebook for one reason only-to generate sales,” said analysts at the research firm Trefis. “The vast majority of purchases made online come from users of ages 25 and above. One study suggests it is as high as 85 percent. With these figures in mind, the decline in users ages 13-24 becomes almost irrelevant.” — AFP


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

US abortions fall to 40-year low WASHINGTON: The number of abortions performed in the United States has dropped to the lowest level in 40 years, a study said yesterday, pointing to more contraception use rather than increased restrictions on access to the procedure. In 2011, an estimated 16.9 abortions were carried out per 1,000 women aged between 15 and 44 — 1.1 million in absolute terms. It was lowest number since 1973, when the figure stood at 16.3 per 1,000, the Guttmacher Institute found. Between 2008 and 2011, the abortion rate fell by 13 percent, as procedures were performed increasingly earlier in

pregnancy. The study noted that during that same period, the number of abortion providers fell by just four percent and clinics offering the service by just one percent. The number of abortions had reached a peak in 1981, with 29.3 terminations for every 1,000 women. “With abortion rates falling in almost all states, our study did not find evidence that the national decline in abortions during this period was the result of new state abortion restrictions,” said Rachel Jones, lead author of the study. “We also found no evidence that the decline was linked to a drop in the num-

ber of abortion providers during this period.” Instead, the drop coincided with a steep dip in the numbers of overall pregnancy and birth rates. “Contraceptive use improved during this period, as more women and couples were using highly effective long-acting reversible contraceptive methods,” Jones said. The devastating economic recession had also prompted many women and couples to delay pregnancy or childbearing. Since early 2011, many US states have implemented laws making it harder for women to seek abortion-with 205 new restrictions enacted between 2011 and

2013, more than the entire decade before. “As we monitor trends in abortion going forward, it is critical that we also monitor whether these state restrictions are preventing women who need abortion services from accessing them,” said Guttmacher Institute official Elizabeth Nash. The study was based on analysis from a census of all known abortion providers in the United States and will appear in the March 2014 issue of the Guttmacher Institute’s “Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health.” Anti-abortion activists welcomed the

reported dip in the numbers, insisting it validated their campaigning. “That abortion rates and numbers continue to decline is heartening because it shows that women are rejecting the idea of abortion as the answer to an unexpected pregnancy,” said Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life group. “Overall, this latest report from Guttmacher shows the long-term efforts of the right-to-life movement to educate the country about the humanity of the unborn child and to enact laws that help mothers and their children are having a tremendous impact.” —AFP

Steroid use high among gay, bisexual teen boys Help to fend off bullies

BARAHPUR: Indian forest guard Deepak Shukla draws pugmarks on a glass in the forest near the village of Barahpur village in Bijnor District some 120kms north-east of New Delhi on February 2, 2014. —AFP

Tiger hunters on stakeout for ‘hungry’ man-eater BIJNOR: As he trains his .458 Winchester Magnum rifle on a tethered goat he is using as bait, tiger-hunter Nawab Shafat Ali Khan whispers that it is only a matter of time before his real prey reappears. “Now is a very dangerous time. The next human attack could happen anytime,” said the 55year-old, who is leading a major tiger hunt on the outskirts of India’s Jim Corbett National Park. “This particular man-eater is hungry. It’s been a week since its last human kill.” Since December 29, the same tiger is believed to have killed eight people living near the national park which covers 521 square kilometers (208 square miles) in the northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The spree has terrorized villagers and prompted officials to call on Khan to stop the toll rising further. While tiger-hunting is illegal in Uttarakhand, the Uttar Pradesh state government has licensed Khan and five other hunters to either capture or kill their prey. India is home to half the world’s dwindling tiger population which now stands at 3,000. Although attacks are rare, a loss of their natural habitat has brought man and beast into closer proximity. Some 200 tigers live in Jim Corbett park but locals say this is the first time they can remember one of them attacking villagers. Stakeout hut Speaking on Sunday from inside a stakeout hut that he has built in the middle of an open field, Khan said his team was firmly on the tiger’s trail. “This is where a tiger left its footprints late on Saturday evening,” he told an AFP reporter. Khan got the call from the authorities in Uttar Pradesh last month while he was on another hunt in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. That tiger was subsequently shot dead. The hunters employ a variety of tricks to lure their prey, including traps and the goat bait. Forest officials even ride on elephants to follow its trail through the dense forest, armed with tranquiliser guns. The villagers are desperate for a quick result. Anand Saini, whose brother Devendra was the tiger’s most recent victim on January 26, said everyone was living in fear. “It is for the first time ever that we have become conscious of the fact we have so many tigers close to us in the forest,” he told AFP from his home in the district of

Bijnor. “The children in the village are now being asked not to venture too far out, particularly early in the morning or after sunset. “Even the farmers who used to sleep in the fields to prevent animals like deer or cheetal from destroying their crops are staying home at night.” Devendra was dragged to his death while erecting a fence around his farm. “It all happened so fast, we didn’t even realise what had happened,” said his 16-year-old son Krishna. “When we looked in his direction he wasn’t there.” Bloodied jacket A search party soon came across his bloodied jacket before finding his body some 200 meters inside the forest that surrounds the village. His stomach and parts of his thigh were missing while there was a cluster of pugmarks around his body. Rohtash Saini (no relation), who lives in a neighboring village, said it was the first time residents there had been attacked. “There have been instances of them taking away our cattle but this has really shocked us,” he said. “We’ve stopped venturing too far out and hope the government catches it as quickly as possible.” Half a century ago, India was home to around 40,000 tigers. Development and poaching have helped cut numbers to around 1,700. In Jim Corbett park, the population has stabilized but the success of the conservation efforts has had a knock-on effect. “As your tiger numbers within parks increase, they have nowhere else to go, they need to disperse out,” said Joseph Vattakaven, tigers coordinator at the WWF-India wildlife group. “As the tiger tries to traverse the territory, they will come into conflict with peoplenot always trying to kill people, but when a tiger is surrounded by people conflict is inevitable.” Even though there are around 200 tigers in the park, forestry officials say the pugmarks indicate a single animal is behind all the deaths. Kamlesh Kumar, a ranger in a forested area of Uttar Pradesh where three people have died, said the killer was female and around three years old. Kumar said the ban on hunting in Uttarakhand and the need to ensure the right tiger is targeted made for “a tense and complicated situation”. “It is possible that there is more than one tiger moving across our area so we have to clearly identify the killer,” he said. — AFP

Obamacare computers not yet equipped to fix errors WASHINGTON: The website is not yet equipped to handle appeals by thousands of people seeking to correct errors the system made when they were signing up for the new federal healthcare law, the Washington Post reported yesterday. The newspaper, citing sources familiar with the situation, said appeals by about 22,000 people were sitting untouched in a government computer. “And an unknown number of consumers who are trying to get help through less formal means - by calling the health-care marketplace directly - are told that’s computer system is not yet allowing federal workers to go into enrollment records and change them,” according to the Post. It added that the Obama administration had not made public the problem with the appeals system. Despite efforts by legal advocates to press the White House on the situation, “there is no indication that infrastructure ... necessary for conducting informal reviews and fair hearings has even been created, let alone become operational,” attorneys for the National Health Law Program were

quoted as saying in a December letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, which oversees The Post quoted two knowledgeable people as saying it was unclear when the appeals process would become available. Consumers concerns The system is designed to allow people filing appeals to do so by computer, phone or mail. But only mail is currently available, the newspaper said. Asked to comment, a CMS spokesman said: “As we work to fully implement the appeals system, CMS is working directly with consumers to address concerns they have raised through this process. “We have found that the appeals filed are largely related to previous system errors, most of which have since been fixed. We are inviting those consumers back to where they can reset and successfully finish their applications without needing to complete the appeals process,” Aaron Albright said in an email. “We are also working to ensure that consumers who wish to continue with their appeal are able to do so,” he said.—Reuters

CHICAGO: Gay and bisexual teen boys use illicit steroids at a rate almost six times higher than do straight kids, a “dramatic disparity” that points up a need to reach out to this group, researchers say. Reasons for the differences are unclear. The study authors said it’s possible gay and bi boys feel more pressure to achieve a bulked-up “ideal” male physique, or that they think muscle-building steroids will help them fend off bullies. Overall, 21 percent of gay or bisexual boys said they had ever used steroids, versus 4 percent of straight boys. The difference was similar among those who reported moderate use - taking steroid pills or injections up to 40 times: 8 percent of gay or bi teens reported that amount, versus less than 2 percent of straight boys. The heaviest use - 40 or more times - was reported by 4 percent of gays or bi boys, compared with less than 1 percent of straight teens. The study is billed as the first to examine the problem; previous research has found similar disparities for other substance abuse. “It’s a bit sad that we saw such a large health disparity,” especially among the most frequent steroid users, said co-author Aaron Blashill, a psychologist and scientist with the Fenway Institute, the research arm of a Boston health center that treats gays and lesbians. “Given the dramatic disparity ... it would seem that this is a population in which greater attention is needed,” the authors said. Their research was released yesterday in the journal Pediatrics. Body image issues The nationally representative study is an analysis of government surveys from 2005 and 2007. It involved 17,250 teen boys aged 16 on average; almost 4 percent - 635 boys - were gay or bisexual. Blashill said it’s likely more recent data would show the disparities persist. Dr. Rob Garofalo, adolescent medicine chief at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, said the differences aren’t surprising, since it is known that gay youth often have “body image issues.” But he said, “It is still shocking. These are dramatically high rates.” The Food and Drug Administration issued a consumer update in November warning that

NEW YORK: A file photo shows steroids purchased through the mail by undercover law enforcement officials. —AP teens and steroids are “a dangerous combo,” citing government data showing that about 5 percent of high school boys and 2 percent of high school girls use steroids - more than a half-million kids. Steroids include synthetic versions of the male hormone testosterone. Users take them to promote muscle growth, strength and endurance. Side effects can include heart and liver problems, high blood pressure, acne and aggressive behavior. With their still-maturing bodies, teens face a heightened risk for problems that may be permanent, the FDA update. Steroids are legally available only by prescription. There are few FDA-approved uses, including replacement of hormones in men who have

unusually low levels. Potential signs of abuse include mood swings, speedy muscle growth and even breast development in boys. Garofalo said some of his gay and bi patients have admitted using steroids. Those patients sometimes have acne, high blood pressure, anxiety, or aggression related to steroid use, but those symptoms usually go away when the drug use stops, he said. Kids are often less open about using steroids than about drinking or smoking marijuana, but the study helps raise awareness and the results suggest it’s a topic physicians should be raising with their patients, especially gay and bi kids, Garofalo said. —AP

Cancer cases set to rise by half by 2030: UN PARIS: New cases of cancer will rise by half by 2030, reaching 21.6 million per year compared to 14 million in 2012, the UN said yesterday in a global analysis of the scourge. Cancer deaths, meanwhile, will likely rise from 8.2 million to 13 million per year as the world’s population grows and ages and more people adopt risky lifestyle habits, said the report compiled by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). It took aim at Big Tobacco, saying its sales drive was “inextricably linked” to a likely surge in lung cancer. Released on the eve of World Cancer Day, the report was compiled by more than 250 scientists from over 40 countries. It is the first such overview in six years. World Health Organisation (WHO) Director General Margaret Chan, whose agency oversees the IARC, said the overall impact from cancer would “unquestionably” hit developing countries the hardest. These nations are already grappling with povertyassociated cancers caused by infection or disease, she said. Added to that will be cancers blamed on more affluent lifestyles-high tobacco and alcohol use, eating processed foods and not exercising enough. IARC director Christopher Wild said the focus should be on prevention. “The particularly heavy burden projected to fall on low- and middle-income countries makes it implausible to treat our way out of cancer, even the highest-income countries will struggle to cope with the spiralling costs of treatment and care,” he said. Cancer overtook heart disease as the number one cause of death in the world in 2011. New cases will likely rise to 19.3 million in 2025, with 11.4 million deaths, said Wild. By 2035, new cases would number about 24 million per year. The report found a slight gender bias: 53 percent of cancer cases and 57 percent of deaths were among men. In men, cancer most often attacked the lungs (16.7 percent) followed by the prostate (15 percent), colorectum (10 percent), stomach (8.5 percent), and liver (7.5 percent). For women, cancer was most common in the breast (25.2 percent), colorectum (9.2 percent), lung (8.7 percent), cervix (7.9 percent) and stomach (4.8 percent). There were also regional imbalances: more than 60 percent of the world’s cancer cases and 70 percent of deaths occurred in Africa, Asia and Central and South America, said the World Cancer Report. Measured as a proportion of the population, however, high-income countries in North America and western Europe as well as Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, had higher figures. Cancers of the breast, colorectum and prostate were more typical of the industrialised world, said the report, and those of the liver, stomach and oesophagus more common in low-income countries.—AFP

SYDNEY: Three dead minke whales lie on the deck of the Japanese whaling vessel Nisshin Maru in the Southern Ocean. Anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd said it caught up with all five of Japan’s whaling vessels yesterday and found evidence of whale kills on one. —AP

Japanese whalers, protesters clash off Antarctica SYDNEY: A Japanese whaling ship and an anti-whaling protest boat collided in the remote, icy seas off Antarctica, with both sides yesterday blaming each other for the crash. No one was injured, though both ships received minor damage in Sunday’s collision - the latest drama in an annual battle between the conservationists and the whalers. Sea Shepherd, which each year tries to harass the whaling fleet into ending its hunt, said they were the victims of a lengthy attack by the whalers. The protest group said the whaling vessels spent hours dragging steel cables across the bows of the Sea Shepherd’s ships in a bid to damage the rudders and propellers. Japan’s Yushin Maru No. 3 then struck Sea Shepherd’s Bob Barker when it crossed too closely in front of the protest ship, damaging its bow and anchor, said Peter Hammarstedt, captain of the Bob Barker. “It was an unprovoked attack and they did so ruthlessly,” Hammarstedt told The Associated Press by satellite phone from the Bob Barker, named after the famous “The Price is Right” game show host who donated millions of dollars to the group. Japan, meanwhile, says Sea Shepherd is to

blame. The Tokyo-based Institute of Cetacean Research, which sponsors the annual whale hunt, said in a statement that protesters on board two inflatable boats from the Bob Barker dropped ropes in front of the bow of the Yushin Maru, which became entangled in the ship’s propeller. The Bob Barker then drew too close to the Yushin Maru No. 3, colliding with its stern and damaging the whaling ship’s hull and railing, the institute said. Legitimate activity “Our research whaling is a legitimate activity allowed under the international treaty. Sea Shepherd’s violent sabotage against it, which is threatening the lives of the Japanese crewmembers and causing damage to our ships and equipment, cannot be tolerated,” Japan’s Fisheries Agency said in a statement. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s top government spokesman, said Japan has urged the Netherlands, where the activists’ ships are registered, to take “effective” measures to prevent a recurrence. Australia’s Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt on Monday ordered an investigation into the collision.—AP

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


Fight to protect caregivers in US NEW YORK: If you don’t get a job because you’re a woman, or you get fired because you’re black, or you get transferred to the night shift because you’re gay, there’s a law for that. But if you’re punished at work because you need time to take your child to the doctor or talk to your confused elderly mother, you might be out of luck. In most places around the country, there’s no specific safeguard against employment discrimination based on a worker’s status as a caregiver. Connecticut and the District of Columbia are exceptions. Legislation that would change that is pending in New York City and California, but business interests have objected. At a recent hearing on the New York City bill, Dena Adams testified that she lost her job at a nonprofit organization when she was switched from a regular day shift to irregular night hours, couldn’t get nighttime child care and didn’t want to leave her 11-year-old daughter alone. She offered to work weekends and holidays, then requested a consistent night schedule and finally asked if she could bring her 11-year-old daughter to work with her. She was turned down every time, she said, though other workers were given hours that allowed them to go to school. “I said, ‘Oh, no, no, no, something is not right here,’” she told a City

Council committee. “That’s when I realized, you know what, this is discrimination.” But there was no law against it, and Adams had to look for another job. Demographic trends Proponents say various demographic trends have fed the problem and created the need for new laws: more single-parent households, more households with both parents working and more elderly people who need family care. “In previous generations, there was this concept of the stay-at-home parent a mother - who would be available to deal with all the domestic responsibilities,” said Phoebe Taubman, senior staff attorney at A Better Balance, a legal organization that helps workers meet the demands of work and family. “Now both parents are working, work hours are longer than ever, schedules are unpredictable, overtime is frequent and there’s just no way to be everywhere and do everything for everybody.” The Center for WorkLifeLaw at the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law said in 2012 that only a few states and a few dozen localities have laws that go beyond the federal Family Medical Leave Act. That law is limited to serious

health conditions, employers with 50 or more workers and employees with a year on the job. Connecticut and the District of Columbia protect all workers with “caregiver responsibilities,” while Alaska, New Jersey and Oregon protect workers with child care but not elder care responsibilities, the center said. It found 67 local ordinances, most of which covered only child care. A bill in the California Legislature would cover those who provide “medical or supervisory care” to children, spouses or parents, but the state Chamber of Commerce claims it’s too vague and “a job killer” and has successfully opposed it for several years. In a letter to the Legislature last year, the chamber said the bill would “dramatically increase the amount of frivolous litigation.” It said medical care could be interpreted as “administering over the counter medication once a day.” And it said there are enough existing protections. Among the California bill’s proponents is Derek Tisinger, who claims he was denied a promotion in the Bakersfield Fire Department because he had sole custody of three children. The department had earlier made it difficult for him to take time off for child care, he said, “although they bent over

backward to make sure the guys on the softball team could play softball.” He lost a lawsuit on appeal - the city denies he was passed over because of child care issues - and now campaigns for a new law. Equal treatment The New York City bill would add “caregiver status” to race, religion, disability and other forbidden reasons for employers to discriminate. It defines a caregiver as someone who provides ongoing care to children or to others “in a dependent relationship” who suffer from a disability. It calls on employers to make “reasonable accommodation” to caregivers. “It could be as simple as the need to take a few phone calls during the day,” said City Councilwoman Deborah Rose, whose committee is considering the bill. “It doesn’t say people with caregiving responsibilities get to come in late or leave early,” said Robin Devaux, managing director of the WorkLifeLaw center. “What it says is if you let Joe leave early for his golf game, then you also need to let Mary leave early to care for her father. It’s simply asking for equal treatment.” At the New York City hearing, a slew of examples was alleged, including a mother who was fired when she returned from

NEW YORK: Caregiver Dena Adams, left, accompanied by attorney Phoebe Taubman, testifies before the New York City Council Civil Rights Committee. —AP her second maternity leave; she claimed Manhattan borough president, said she she was told she was incapable of doing plans to reintroduce it. “Years ago, you know, before everythe work because she had “multiple small thing was so corporate, there was maybe children.” Backers say the city’s previous adminis- more human kindness between an tration opposed the bill as bad for job employer and the workers,” she said. “A lot growth and they’re hoping for more sup- of our growth is in corporate retail, chain port from Mayor Bill de Blasio. Gale stores, and they don’t have that personal Brewer, who was the main backer of the touch. So we have to mandate it legislabill in the City Council and is now tively.” —AP


W H AT ’ S O N Announcements TIES Center - Where cultures meet IES Center cordially invites all those interested to the following events: 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 today 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

Marina Hotel Kuwait participates in Horeca Kuwait 2014



Nabil Hammoud - General Manager Marina Hotel, Ziad Boujaber - Director of Sales & Marketing and Tony Tannous - Director of Banquet are seen along with the winning team.

arina Hotel Kuwait recently participated in the Horeca Kuwait 2014 exhibition for Hospitality and Food for third consecutive year. The culinary competition, which was organized for chefs, attracted a large number of participants from across the leading hotels in Kuwait, food and beverage sector, as well as food companies that participated in the exhibition. The three day event saw the participation of five chefs from Marina Hotel Kuwait who attended the different categories with great interest and enthusiasm. The participating chef’s were Chef Wael Alkhlif -Executive Sous Chef, Chef Niroshan Sanjeewa Makawita Liyanage -Junior Sous Chef, Chef Dinidu Kumara Silva Murukkuwadura -Chef De Partie, Chef Joseph Kashoo - Chef De Partie and Edirimunige Jagath Kumara De Silva -Commi 1. The chefs won 3 gold medals in mezza and sushi categories and 2 silver medals in the food basket competition. Nabil Hammoud, General Manager of Marina Hotel Kuwait said - “We consider HORECA to be an important event and a platform for business opportunities. This is the third consecutive year for the hotel to participate in this exhibition, in which it is considered the ideal setting for us to showcase our chef’s talents who continue to take part in such competitions with pleasure. We pride ourselves on the skills of our professional chefs.” A multi disciplinary three day event, the HORECA exhibition attracted a large number of visitors. HORECA Kuwait is a comprehensive event covering the hospitality, catering and food industry sectors in Kuwait and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). It is organized by the Leaders Group for Consulting & Development in cooperation with Hospitality Services of Lebanon.

OICC Kuwait marks Gandhi anniversary


verseas Indian Cultural Congress, Kuwait commemorated Mahatmaji on 30 Jan at Hi Dine auditorium, Abbassiya. Chairman M A Hilal lightened the traditional lamp and all the gathered paid the flowers of homage. OICC Kuwait Convenor Verghese Puthukulangara presided over the function. Global committee member Abey Varicad, Joseph Thankachan, Chacko Georgekutty, Kochappalli Vijayabhanu, Samuel Chacko Kaattoor Kalikkal, Hameed Keloth, Rajiv Naduvilemuri, Punnoose Maappila, Iqbal Kuttamangalam, Manoj Channappetta,Varghese Joseph Maraman, Binoy Chandran expressed their homage on Gandhian ideology. Program Convener Krishnan Kadalundi welcomed the audience and Thomas Kuruvila rendered the vote of thanks.

SRCC delegation meets Indian ambassador


almiya Residence Coordination Committee which is formed to cooperate on issues of common concerns of Salmiya residents and to make cooperation among the community, met with Ambassador of India Sunil Jain. The delegation explained the activities of the committee. It extends support to the residents especially in registering the cases in police station against the atrocities they face. The bilingual volunteers accompany the residents which is effective at police station to register the cases. They persuade residents to register the issues in the police station as this is the basic step, and make follow-up within its limits. With the support of Embassy, SRCC maintain good rapport with the concerned officers. Through coordinated efforts some kind of progress has been made in bringing down the atrocities, thanks to the great support of authorities and cooperation of residents. The Ambassador promised all the possible support from the embassy side, and commented on the coordinated efforts between the community and Indian Embassy for the wellbeing of all. DCM Shubashis Goldar, Counsellor and Chief Welfare Officer Balram Kumar Upadhyay also attended the meeting. SRCC was represented by Chairman Vijay Karayil, General Convener Basheer Batha, Mukhtar Maroof, Harjinder Singh, Mahaboob Nadmmal, Ali Rashidi and Faizal.

PGA announces 2014 goalkeeping coaching course


he PGA in association with Everton FC, sponsored by Porsche Centre Kuwait, Behbehani Motors Company is pleased to announce the 2014 specialist goalkeeping coaching course which is available to all aspiring young goalkeepers aged from 8 to 18 years of age. School team, Kuwait Football Clubs, Academies or simply beginner level are all invited to attend and develop their goalkeeping technique, agility, handling, shot stopping and distribution skills under the guidance of Academy Director Mike Finn and Specialist GK Coach Junior. The sessions take place at Bayan Block 7, next to Abdullah Al-Rujaib High School every Sunday evening from 5 to 6:30 pm. The Everton Girls Football team sponsored by Porsche Centre Kuwait, Behbehani Motors Company, have added an extra day to their weekly coaching program and now train on Sundays and Tuesdays at Bayan, Block 7, next to Abdullah AlRujaib High School. Under the expert guidance of ex professional Arsenal Ladies FC player, Coach Carly, the girls are developing individual techniques and team play in readiness for their 2014 fixture program. In their first friendly fixture of 2014 the Everton Girls played the ladies from American University of Kuwait losing a thrilling match very narrowly by 7 goals to 6 which was a terrific achievement against much older and more experienced opposition. All girls interested in learning, improving and playing football in this all girls group aged from 9 to 18 years are invited to attend for free trial sessions on Sundays or Tuesdays from 5-6:30pm.

UCCAAK celebrates 4th anniversary


C College Aluva Alumni Association of Kuwait (UCCAAK) celebrated 4th anniversary on Friday, January 31, 2014 at Indian Public School Salmiya. The meeting started with silent prayer at 7:00 pm by paying tribute to Jassim, Girija, followed by national anthem. The public meeting was inaugurated by the Chief Guest Prof Chacko Mathew, Vice Dean for Research and training, Kuwait University by lighting the traditional lamp, followed by cake cutting ceremony by our senior most member of UC College Alumni in Kuwait, Mary Mathews. The anniver-

sary meeting was felicitated by Thomas Jacob well known journalist and Editorial Director of Malayalam Manorama, and M Mathews, the Industrialist, Entrepreneur and Managing Director of Safeena Trading & Contracting Company. Dr. Sunila Kurien, Joint Secretary welcomed the gathering, Cyriac George gave presidential speech. Bobby Paul, General secretary presented the annual report. The meeting was well anchored by Nikhila Thomas. The program was well organized by the program co-coordinator Bipin

Madhavan and Balakrishnan Mallya. Yesudas Xavior the food convener, treasurer Jimmy Paul, Prakash, Asif Pedikkat, Chacko Thomas served as subcommittee conveners. Cultural programs by children of UC College Alumni ,the performance of singers and other artist with their budding talents gave added color and attraction to the event. Flowery Jimmy and Sajiev Mathew who is leaving Kuwait for good to India were honored during the function. A delicious dinner was served and Balakrishnan Mallya, proposed the vote of thanks.



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(Left) Prof Chacko Mathew, Vice- Dean of Kuwait University inaugurating the 4th anniversary celebrations. Cyriac George, President of the Association, Thomas Jacob, Editorial Director-Malayala Manorama, M Mathews, Managing Director of Sefeena Trading and Contracting Company, Dr. Sunila Kurian, Joint Secretary of the Association and Bobby Paul, General Secretary of the Association are seen. (Right) Mary Mathews (Molly), the senior most Alumnus of UC College Aluva Kuwait is cutting the anniversary cake.

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


Awareness Day for Rheumatic disease a huge success in Kuwait


he awareness day on rheumatoid arthritis disease organised by the Kuwait Association of Rheumatology on February 1, 2014 at the 360 Mall in Kuwait was hailed as a big success following the strong and positive response from the huge crowd that gathered at the venue. With an aim raising further awareness about the disease to as many people as possible, the one-day event held from 3 to 7 pm, which was open to the public, clearly achieved such goal as participants expressed positive reviews on the event and went home better informed about the subject. Aside from the huge crowd, also present were officials and representatives of the Ministry of Health of Kuwait as well as corporate sponsors who were likewise all praises on the success of the event. A brief program ushered in the event as the presence of officials and VIPs from the Ministry of Health, the association and the sponsors were acknowledged. Following a brief message from the minister, Prof Adel Al-Awadhi, MD, FRCPC, FACP, FACR; Professor of Medicine and Rheumatology; Consultant Physician and Rheumatologist Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University; Head of

Rheumatic Disease Unit, Amiri Hospital; and President of Kuwait Association of Rheumatology also delivered his speech. Due to the significance of the event, strong support also came from some of the biggest names in pharmaceutical and healthcare industry, such as Newbridge Pharmaceuticals - a first-in-class, venturebacked specialty therapeutics company; Abbvie - a global biopharmaceutical company; Roche - a pioneering innovator of products and services in healthcare; and Pfizer the world’s largest research-based pharmaceutical company. After the brief opening ceremony, participants were then guided into special areas for the public to get general information about rheumatoid arthritis disease. There, they also learned how the disease can be discovered and get early treatment. Another area focused on patients already inflicted with rheumatoid arthritis disease, where experts provided further information on how to control their disease in a better way. Being a fun-filled yet highly educational and informative event, a special area was also designated for kids. There was also a photo wall and four major raffle draws with valuable gifts for lucky participants. “We are

extremely delighted that such an important event that is aimed at further educating the public about rheumatoid arthritis disease received such a tremendous response from the public,” Prof Adel Al-Awadhi said. “At the same time, the success of this event would not have been made possible without the full support and assistance of the Ministry of Health of Kuwait as well as our generous

sponsors. “This kind of events must be sustained in order to reach out to even more people in Kuwait,” he added. “Thus, with the unwavering commitment of the association towards such endeavour, and encouraged by the strong and continued support and assistance from the government of Kuwait, specifically through the Ministry of Health, as well as the sponsors, we are definitely looking forward to organising and holding another one soon.” Rheumatoid arthritis happens to around one per cent of the adult population, and more common to women on a ratio of 3:1. Further study shows that 90 per cent of patients inflicted with the disease have developed some form of disability within two decades of onset if they do not receive proper medical treatment. As an inflammatory, autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis is a condition whereby the body starts attacking its joints causing pain, inflammation and joint stiffness especially in the morning. In the longterm, this disease causes damage to the cartilage, tendons and ligaments, and can even wear away the ends of bones thereby causing joint deformity and disability.

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 nnnnnnn

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

MACE Alumni conducts Sargotsav 2014


ar AthanasiusCollege of Engineering - MACE, Alumni Association, Kuwait Chapter conducted Sargotsav 2014 - Kuwait Engineers Forum’s inter Alumnae children’s arts festival on January 23, 24 2014 at Carmel School. Sargotsav is conducted annually by MACEAA- one of the constituent alumnae of KEF and this was the 10th edition. Sargotsav is a platform that provides opportunity to sharpen artistic talents of children of various Engineering colleges’ Alumni Associations coming under KEF fraternity. Over 400 children participated in various individual and group events

such as Elocution, Painting, Essay writing, Fancy Dress, Music ,Dance, Drama etc. Sargotsav 2014 souvenir was released on the occasion. The Second Secretary of Indian Embassy J S Dangi made his presence as chief guest during the closing ceremony. MACEAA Chairman Mr. Abdul Sageer made his presidential address and KEF General Convener Suresh Krishnan delivered felicitation speech. Winners of all events were given certificates and trophies. Diya Ann Varghese of MACE, Pooja Renjith of KEA and Niharika Suresh of NIT won the most coveted award “Sargaprathiba” for their overall performances in

Senior, Junior and Sub-Junior categories respectively. Prestigious Sargotsav trophy got lifted by MACEAA for their overall performance after an electrifying contest with other Alumni teams. Online registration of participants, Introduction of new events and live global broadcasting of the event were the key highlights of the 10th edition of Sargotsav. General Convener Georgi Mathai congratulated all the winners and thanked all the alumni associations, parents and children for their support which made the sargotsav-2014 a successful and a memorable event for all attendees.

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:



00:30 The Weakest Link 01:15 Live At The Apollo 02:00 Alan Carr: Chatty Man 02:45 Him & Her 03:15 Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle 03:50 Moone Boy 04:15 The Weakest Link 05:00 Me Too! 05:20 Nina And The Neurons: In The Lab 05:35 Bobinogs 05:45 Jackanory Junior 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 Jackanory Junior 07:15 Garth And Bev 07:25 Poetry Pie 07:30 Little Prairie Dogs 07:40 Tough Guy Or Chicken? 08:30 A Farmer’s Life For Me 09:20 The Weakest Link 10:05 My Family 10:35 As Time Goes By 11:05 One Foot In The Grave 11:35 The Weakest Link 12:20 Tough Guy Or Chicken? 13:10 A Farmer’s Life For Me 14:00 Doctors 14:30 Doctors 15:00 Doctors 15:30 Doctors 16:00 Doctors 16:30 The Weakest Link 17:15 Monty Halls’ Island Escapes 18:05 Tess Of The D’urbervilles 19:00 Last Of The Summer Wine 19:30 My Family 20:00 Stella 20:45 New Tricks 21:35 Friday Night Dinner 22:00 Live At The Apollo 22:45 Him & Her 23:15 The Weakest Link

00:10 Cash In The Attic 00:55 Phil Spencer - Secret Agent 01:45 Phil Spencer - Secret Agent 02:35 Fat & Fatter 03:25 Bargain Hunt 04:10 Bargain Hunt 04:55 Fantasy Homes Down Under 05:40 Fantasy Homes Down Under 06:25 Fantasy Homes Down Under 07:10 Fantasy Homes Down Under 08:00 Cash In The Attic 08:45 Fantasy Homes Down Under 09:30 Design Rules 09:55 Design Rules 10:20 Rhodes Across The Caribbean 11:05 Rhodes Across The Caribbean 11:50 The Hairy Bikers Ride Again 12:20 Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook: London 12:45 MasterChef 13:40 MasterChef 14:35 Fat & Fatter 15:30 Bargain Hunt: Famous Finds 16:15 Bargain Hunt: Famous Finds 17:00 Bargain Hunt: Famous Finds 17:45 Bargain Hunt: Famous Finds 18:30 Bargain Hunt: Famous Finds 19:15 Bargain Hunt: Famous Finds 20:00 The Hairy Bikers: Mums Know Best 20:55 Come Dine With Me: Supersized 22:30 Antiques Roadshow 23:20 Bargain Hunt: Famous Finds

00:30 Gangland 01:30 Psychic Kids 02:30 Psychic Kids

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

09:15 How Tech Works 09:40 The Gadget Show 10:05 The Tech Show 10:30 Scrapheap Challenge 11:25 Scrapheap Challenge 12:20 Scrapheap Challenge 13:10 Scrapheap Challenge 14:00 Scrapheap Challenge 14:50 Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger 15:20 The Gadget Show 15:45 The Tech Show 16:10 Strangest Weather On Earth 16:35 Strangest Weather On Earth 17:00 Europe’s Secret Earthquakes 17:55 Ways To Save The Planet 18:45 How The Earth Works 19:35 Unchained Reaction 20:30 How Tech Works 20:55 How Tech Works 21:20 How The Earth Works 22:10 The Gadget Show 22:35 The Tech Show 23:00 How Tech Works 23:25 How Tech Works 23:50 How The Earth Works

Psychic Kids My Ghost Story The Haunting Of Psychic Kids Curious & Unusual Deaths Curious & Unusual Deaths Curious & Unusual Deaths Curious & Unusual Deaths Curious & Unusual Deaths Curious & Unusual Deaths Curious & Unusual Deaths Snapped: Women Who Kill Snapped: Women Who Kill Snapped: Women Who Kill Snapped: Women Who Kill Snapped: Women Who Kill Snapped: Women Who Kill Snapped: Women Who Kill Snapped: Women Who Kill Deadly Wives I Killed My BFF I Killed My BFF Martina Cole’s Lady Killers Snapped: Women Who Kill Snapped: Women Who Kill Snapped: Women Who Kill Curious & Unusual Deaths Killers Britain’s Darkest Taboos

00:05 Alien Mysteries 00:55 The Unexplained Files 01:45 Weird Or What? 02:35 How It’s Made 03:00 How It’s Made 03:25 How It’s Made 03:50 How It’s Made 04:15 How It’s Made 04:40 How Do They Do It? 05:05 How Do They Do It? 05:30 How Do They Do It? 06:00 How Do They Do It? 06:30 How Do They Do It? 07:00 Fast N’ Loud 07:50 World’s Top 5 08:40 How It‘s Made: Dream Cars 09:05 How It’s Made: Dream Cars 09:30 Gold Rush - South America 10:20 Gold Fever 11:10 Ice Cold Gold 12:00 Destroyed In Seconds 12:25 Destroyed In Seconds 12:50 Destroyed In Seconds 13:15 Destroyed In Seconds 13:40 How It’s Made 14:05 How It’s Made 14:30 How It’s Made 14:55 How It’s Made 15:20 How It’s Made 15:45 Auction Kings 16:10 Auction Kings 16:35 Auction Kings 17:00 Auction Kings 17:25 Auction Kings 17:50 Border Security 18:15 Border Security - Series Specials 18:40 Border Security - Series Specials 19:05 Border Security - Series Specials 19:30 Border Security - Series Specials 19:55 Mythbusters 20:45 What Happened Next? 21:10 What Happened Next? 21:35 Head Games 22:25 Gold Rush - South America 23:15 Gold Fever

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

Deadly Devotion I Married A Mobster I Married A Mobster Serial Killers Disappeared Killer Kids Deadly Devotion I Married A Mobster I Married A Mobster Serial Killers I Almost Got Away With It Stalked: Someone’s Watching Stalked: Someone’s Watching Stalked: Someone’s Watching Stalked: Someone’s Watching Dr G: Medical Examiner Dr G: Medical Examiner Dr G: Medical Examiner Dr G: Medical Examiner On The Case With Paula Zahn On The Case With Paula Zahn True Crime With Aphrodite

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00:40 The Colony 01:30 Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger 02:00 Mega World 02:50 Futurecar 03:45 Futurecar 04:35 Futurecar 05:25 Futurecar 06:15 The Gadget Show 06:40 The Tech Show 07:05 How Does That Work? 07:35 How Does That Work? 08:00 How The Earth Works 08:50 How Tech Works

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The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody Jonas Jonas Suite Life On Deck Suite Life On Deck Wizards Of Waverly Place Wizards Of Waverly Place The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody Jonas Jonas Suite Life On Deck Suite Life On Deck Wizards Of Waverly Place Wizards Of Waverly Place Austin And Ally Dog With A Blog A.N.T. Farm A.N.T. Farm That’s So Raven Shake It Up Good Luck Charlie Dog With A Blog Gravity Falls Wolfblood My Babysitter’s A Vampire A.N.T. Farm Ratatouille

Billy Bathgate-18 Graystone-PG15 Battleship-PG15 Nick Of Time-PG15 Killer Mountain-PG15 Darkman-PG15 Meteor Storm-PG15 Killer Mountain-PG15 The Fog-PG15 Meteor Storm-PG15 Starship Troopers: Invasion-18 Commando-18

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Peep World-18 Baseketball-18 The Great Outdoors-PG15 The First Wives Club-PG The Ringer-PG15 Stop! Or My Mom Will ShootThe Great Outdoors-PG15 My Dog’s Christmas MiracleStop! Or My Mom Will ShootConeheads-PG Tough Guys-PG15 American Cowslip-18

RINGER ON OSN MOVIES COMEDY HD  12:25 12:35 13:00 Fairies 13:25 Fairies 13:50 Fairies 14:15 Fairies 14:40 Fairies 15:10 Fairies 15:35 Fairies 16:00 Fairies 16:25 Fairies 16:50 17:10 17:20 17:45 18:10 18:30 18:55 19:20 19:40 20:05 20:30 20:50 21:15 21:40 22:00 22:25 22:50 23:10 23:35

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00:00 Chelsea Lately 00:30 The Dance Scene 00:55 The Dance Scene 01:25 20 Acts Of Love Gone Wrong 03:15 THS 04:10 E! Investigates 05:05 Extreme Close-Up 05:30 Extreme Close-Up 06:00 THS 07:50 Style Star 08:20 E! News 09:15 Scouted 10:15 Eric And Jessie: Game On 10:40 Eric And Jessie: Game On 11:10 Married To Jonas 11:35 Married To Jonas 12:05 E! News 13:05 Giuliana & Bill 14:05 Giuliana & Bill 15:00 Giuliana & Bill 16:00 Giuliana & Bill 17:00 Giuliana & Bill 18:00 E! News 19:00 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 20:00 The Drama Queen 21:00 The Drama Queen 22:00 Eric And Jessie: Game On 22:30 Eric And Jessie: Game On 23:00 Party On 23:30 Chelsea Lately


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True Crime With Aphrodite



20:00 Meteor Storm 22:00 Starship Troopers: Invasion

00:15 Deadliest Journeys 00:45 The Witch Doctor Will See You Now 01:40 Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled 02:35 The Real Man’s Road Trip 03:30 David Rocco‚Äôs Dolce Vita 03:55 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 04:25 Eat Street 04:50 Bondi Rescue 05:20 Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled 06:15 Street Food Around The World 06:40 David Rocco’s Amalfi Getaway 07:10 Bondi Rescue 07:35 Bondi Rescue 08:05 When Vacations Attack 09:00 Kimchi Chronicles

09:25 Street Food Around The World 09:55 Street Food Around the World 10:20 Deadliest Journeys 10:50 A World Apart 11:45 Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled 12:40 Bondi Rescue 13:05 Bondi Rescue 13:35 Extreme Tourist Afghanistan 14:30 Eat Street 14:55 Bondi Rescue 15:25 Banged Up Abroad 16:20 Don’t Tell My Mother 17:15 Banged Up Abroad 18:10 Street Food Around the World 18:35 Deadliest Journeys 19:05 Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled 20:00 Street Food Around The World 20:30 David Rocco’s Amalfi Getaway 21:00 Bondi Rescue 21:30 Bondi Rescue 22:00 Scam City 22:55 Street Food Around the World 23:20 Eat Street

00:30 Brain Games 01:00 Wild Russia 02:00 Untamed Americas 03:00 Big, Bigger, Biggest 04:00 World’s Toughest Fixes 05:00 World’s Toughest Fixes 06:00 Animal Mega Moves 07:00 The Best Job In The World 07:30 Wild Scotland: The Western Isles 08:30 Brain Games 09:00 Wild Russia 10:00 Untamed Americas 11:00 Alaska Wing Men 12:00 The Two Million Year Old Boy 13:00 That Shouldn’t Fly 14:00 Wild Russia 15:00 Lords of War 15:30 Wild Scotland: The Western Isles 16:30 Nat Geo’s Most Amazing Photos 17:00 Adventure Wanted 18:00 Aftermath 19:00 Salvage Code Red 20:00 Aftermath 21:00 Prehistoric Predators 22:00 Salvage Code Red 23:00 Megacities

00:20 World’s Weirdest Brains And Babies 01:10 Outback Wrangler 02:00 Swamp Men 02:50 World’s Weirdest Extreme Body Parts 03:45 How Big Can It Get 04:40 Brilliant Beasts 05:35 Unlikely Animal Friends 06:30 Animal Intervention 07:25 Caught In The Act 08:20 Fish Tank Kings 09:15 Expedition Wild 10:10 Animal Mega Moves 11:05 Animal Mega Moves 12:00 Shark Men 12:55 The Invaders 13:50 World’s Weirdest: Animal Taboo 14:45 Secrets Of The King Cobra 15:40 Wild Scotland: The Western Isles 16:35 Wild Scotland: The Western Isles 17:30 Secret Brazil 18:25 Animal Mega Moves 19:20 Shark Men 20:10 The Invaders 21:00 World’s Weirdest: Animal Taboo 21:50 Secrets Of The King Cobra

22:40 Wild Scotland: The Western Isles 23:30 Wild Scotland: The Western Isles

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 Baby Daddy 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 That Mitchell And Webb Look 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 Baby Daddy 14:30 That Mitchell And Webb Look 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 Two And A Half Men 20:00 Whitney 20:30 Web Therapy 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Saturday Night Live 23:00 Don’t Trust The B In Apartment 23 23:30 Whitney

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C.S.I. New York Helix Banshee House Of Cards The Glades Almost Human C.S.I. New York Burn Notice Made In Jersey Almost Human Helix The Glades Emmerdale Coronation Street Made In Jersey C.S.I. New York Emmerdale Coronation Street Made In Jersey Franklin & Bash Suits Supernatural House Of Cards

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House Of The Rising Sun Billy Bathgate Graystone Battleship Nick Of Time Killer Mountain Darkman Meteor Storm Killer Mountain The Fog

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

7 Days In Havana-18 The Daughter-18 A Kiss Before Dying-PG15 Stealing Bess-PG15 Dreamgirls-PG15 Teenage Paparazzo-PG15 Encounter With DangerThe Perfect Man-PG Teenage Paparazzo-PG15 Nobody Walks-PG15 Being John Malkovich-PG15 Route Irish-PG15

01:00 Drift-PG15 03:00 The Host-PG15 05:15 Tinker Bell And The Secret Of The Wings-FAM 07:00 Bobby Fischer Against The World-PG15 09:00 You Got Served: Beat The World-PG15 11:00 The Wishing Well-PG15 13:00 A Christmas Kiss-PG15 15:00 Wild Card-PG15 17:00 You Got Served: Beat The World-PG15 19:00 The Impossible-PG15 21:00 Pitch Perfect-PG15 23:00 Side Effects-18

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I Think I Do-PG15 Love’s Kitchen-PG15 A Cat In Paris-PG Surf’s Up-PG Today’s Special-PG15 Nacho Libre-PG Love’s Kitchen-PG15 3 Holiday Tails-PG Today’s Special-PG15 The Expendables 2-PG15 Butter-18 Age Of Heroes-PG15

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Trans World Sport NFL Game Day Snooker Futbol Mundial PGA Tour PGA European Tour Weekly Live PGA European Tour Live LV Cup Futbol Mundial ICC Cricket 360 Trans World Sport Inside The PGA Tour PGA European Tour Weekly Live PGA Tour Inside The PGA Tour Live PGA Tour

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Futbol Mundial NFL Game Day ICC Cricket 360 PGA European Tour Weekly PGA European Tour Trans World Sport Futbol Mundial NFL Game Day NHL ICC Cricket 360 Live Cricket Twenty20 Futbol Mundial HSBC Sevens World Series LV Cup NFL Game Day Live NHL

Fran Drescher feels Broadway ‘butterflies’


ran Drescher recently turned a corner in her life. She’s gotten a new pet, a new man and a new job - on Broadway. The Emmy Award-nominated former star of “The Nanny” is making her Broadway debut today as the wicked stepmother in “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella,” a step she knows is outside her comfort zone. “People should always push themselves to feel the butterflies in the stomach, to get nervous, to learn something you didn’t know before,” the 56-year-old says. Drescher takes over from Tony Award-winner Harriet Harris on Tuesday night for a 10-week engagement through April 13 at the Broadway Theatre. Cinderella is also switching, from Tony-nominated Laura Osnes to “Call Me Maybe” Canadian pop star Carly Rae Jepsen. “Canadians are such sweet people, aren’t they? They have no edge,” the nasally voiced Drescher jokes before a full day of fittings, choreography and rehearsals. Her phone has been blowing up with excited texts and emails from friends about her next move. She might be nervous but Drescher - a survivor of uterine cancer - puts it in perspective. “I’m a victim of a violent crime - I was raped at gunpoint. I’m a cancer survivor. I went through a very painful divorce. Life hands you blows. No one leaves this planet unscathed. But, as they say, that which doesn’t kill us makes us strong,” she says. “No one’s going to die if I flub a line. I’ll try my best, I’ll give my all and I’ll do it with great love and passion.” Drescher on Broadway shouldn’t be such an unusual concept: A native of New York, her parents took her often to see shows and she recalls “Godspell” changing her life. She likes to see as many shows as she can and caught “August: Osage County” three times and “Jersey Boys” twice. She made her stage debut at The Pasadena Playhouse in Ronald Ribman’s “Rug Merchants of Chaos.” She was in Neil LaBute’s “Some Girl(s),” “The Exonerated” and Nora Ephron’s “Love, Loss, and What I Wore” off-Broadway. She also was in a 2008 production of “Camelot” at Lincoln Center with the New York Philharmonic. Her love of the stage is even embedded in her most famous work, “The Nanny.” She and the show’s creators decided to make Nanny Fine’s boss, Mr Sheffield, a theater producer. “We wanted to support Broadway,” she says. “If we were going to plant Miss Fine in New York, somehow Broadway should be threaded through that.” The traditional fairy tale she’s about to enter has been given a makeover by Douglas Carter Beane, who has turned the musical into a charming, witty story updated for a new generation. Drescher promises to make the part of the stepmother her own, modeling her on Cruella De Vil from “101 Dalmatians” and Miranda Priestly from “The Devil Wears Prada.” “My version of the wicked stepmother is going to be very self-absorbed, very confident, very much a diva in her own mind, very glamorous and beautiful,” she says. Tony-winning producer Robyn Goodman has been impressed by what she’s seen of Drescher. “She’s going to bring sexiness and a kind of humor that’s different than anything else on the stage,” Goodman says. “She makes me laugh. She just makes me laugh.” Drescher is coming off a rough personal and professional patch, but things are looking up. —AP

Classifieds TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2014


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


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stars CROSSWORD 449

STAR TRACK Aries (March 21-April 19) ARIES There is success in teamwork today. You may be sought after to co-lead a team in order to get a particular order completed as quickly as possible. Your management and directional abilities are in high focus. Ideas of group cooperation and communion or mass images could further your career. You are good at encouraging swift, positive responses. This afternoon you may find a disagreement can be heard and because you are a good listener, the party complaining will come up with the obvious answer. Taxes, investments, and other financial ties or obligations grab your attention this evening and as you work on your own taxes a family member may need your help with accounts and taxes. Relax this evening with soft music or perhaps . . . Bubbles.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) Although you may resent the continued long hours at this time, your patience and perseverance is paying off. The positive aspects promised you this year are gathering forces. A continued nose-to-the-grindstone attitude will work in your best interest at this time. This is the month of advancement in business. A social event this evening reveals you at your most elegant. You may find the words for a poem or short story this evening. You will have a grasp for spiritual ideas and the ability to present or communicate these to others. Your inner resources and emotions are accented. Expect a sense of support and goodwill from those around you. Your talents captivate a loved one this evening. You may be entertaining more than one person soon.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

ACROSS 1. (computer science) A kind of computer architecture that has a large number of instructions hard coded into the cpu chip. 5. Scandinavian liquor usually flavored with caraway seeds. 12. A castrated tomcat. 15. A member of a North American Indian people speaking one of the Hokan language. 16. A city in southeastern Spain. 17. Fish eggs or egg-filled ovary. 18. In the Roman calendar. 19. American professional baseball player who hit more home runs than Babe Ruth (born in 1934). 20. All the plant and animal life of a particular region. 21. A daughter of your brother or sister. 23. The civil and religious leader of a Muslim state. 25. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 26. A port city in southwestern Turkey on the Gulf of Antalya. 28. Capital of Armenia. 31. An Indian side dish of yogurt and chopped cucumbers and spices. 33. The most common computer memory which can be used by programs to perform necessary tasks while the computer is on. 36. An association of nations dedicated to economic and political cooperation in southeastern Asia. 39. An organization of countries formed in 1961 to agree on a common policy for the sale of petroleum. 41. (Old Testament) In Judeo-Christian mythology. 43. The shorter of the two telegraphic signals used in Morse code. 45. The subject matter of a conversation or discussion. 46. (zoology) Pertaining to alulae. 49. Mild yellow Dutch cheese made in balls. 51. Belonging to or on behalf of a specified person (especially yourself). 52. A tricycle (usually propelled by pedalling). 53. Vasoconstrictor (trade names Privine and Sudafed) used in nasal sprays to treat symptoms of nasal congestion and in eyedrops to treat eye irritation. 56. (of experimental animals) Raised under sterile conditions. 59. Regarded with deep or rapturous love (especially as if for a god). 61. A special loved one. 65. (informal) Exceptionally good. 68. With the mouth wide open as in wonder or awe. 70. Fallow deer. 71. Goods (or wreckage) on the sea bed that is attached to a buoy so that it can be recovered. 74. Fear resulting from the awareness of danger. 76. A vessel (usually cylindrical) with a wide mouth and without handles. 77. (Babylonian) The sky god. 78. A commercial airplane that carries passengers. 80. How long something has existed. 81. The cry made by sheep. 82. Beaten or overcome. 83. A piece of furniture that provides a place to sleep.

DOWN 1. A communist nation that covers a vast territory in eastern Asia. 2. A nonmetallic element belonging to the halogens. 3. The sport of shooting at clay pigeons that are hurled upward in such a way as to simulate the flight of a bird. 4. Dried bark of the cascara buckthorn used as a laxative. 5. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 6. A small volcanic island in Indonesia between Java and Sumatra. 7. A Spanish unit of length (about a yard) having different values in different localities. 8. Small arboreal tropical American insectivorous lizards with the ability to change skin color. 9. (Norse mythology) Race of ancient gods sometimes in conflict with the Aesir. 10. A state in the Rocky Mountains. 11. The bill in a restaurant. 12. An utterance expressing pain or disapproval. 13. A tiny or scarcely detectable amount. 14. Massive plantigrade carnivorous or omnivorous mammals with long shaggy coats and strong claws. 22. A feeling of strong eagerness (usually in favor of a person or cause). 24. Nonresinous wood of a fir tree. 27. A Loloish language. 29. A state in the eastern United States. 30. A woman hired to suckle a child of someone else. 32. A domed or vaulted recess or projection on a building especially the east end of a church. 34. Tall perennial herb of tropical Asia with dark green leaves. 35. Make improvements or corrections to. 37. A pure form of finely ground silica. 38. A short composition for a solo instrument. 40. A deep opening in the earth's surface. 42. Lacking or deprive of the sense of hearing wholly or in part. 44. Athenian lawmaker whose code of laws prescribed death for almost every offense (circa 7th century BC). 47. The number of lines in a piece of printed material. 48. Harsh or corrosive in tone. 50. A victim who is murdered. 54. Mature female of mammals of which the male is called `buck'. 55. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind. 57. Provide with choice or abundant food or drink. 58. A port city in southwestern Turkey on the Gulf of Antalya. 60. An intensely radioactive metallic element that occurs in minute amounts in uranium ores. 62. The seventh month of the Moslem calendar. 63. An iconic mental representation. 64. Worn or shabby from overuse or (of pages) from having corners turned down. 66. Type genus of the Ranidae. 67. Largest known toad species. 69. The noise made by a short puff of steam (as from an engine). 72. A coenzyme derived from the B vitamin nicotinic acid. 73. Small cubes with 1 to 6 spots on the faces. 75. A machine-readable version of a standard dictionary. 79. A substance produced by the hypothalamus that is capable of accelerating the secretion of a given hormone by the anterior pituitary gland.


Ideas and technologies that change the way people live—not just one person, but many—are a major new focus in your life. You will not sit by and watch, while others work. You are becoming more and more interested in learning ways in which you can expand your knowledge. This is a time for new accomplishments, during which insights and breakthroughs in organization and determination are in order. There is a revolution within the established order—new ideas and ways to do and use things become clear. You may find yourself involved in an exercise program, either in a group or by a videotape in your home. There could be friction today and tomorrow with those you love. It might be a good idea to stay out of their way for now.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) If you need advice, no matter what the subject matter, today and tomorrow would be the best times to seek such help. There is a need to be appreciated for your hard work and to be the center of attention as well. This may just be for recognition of your work. Most of us need recognition in order to continue our work with a sustained quality. You are appreciated but you may not hear their praises just now. Just keep on doing your good work. This also includes the work you do for the good of humanity as well as your own personal achievements. Your own inner need for change and growth may be threatened by someone older or by circumstances.

Leo (July 23-August 22) This is a rewarding day. A loan can be approved, complaints or misunderstandings will be corrected and positive energy will boost your morale. Travel, educational or legal plans look good. The only obstacles may be your own inner fears or doubts. You may be able to convey your message to others with only a few words. Poetry and art may be possible now. Be aware that you need to separate business from pleasure. Make every effort to do so. There is optimism, faith and a tendency to take chances at the deepest emotional levels at this time. Romance can be enjoyable if you leave the little complaints out of the picture. This can be an expansive, creative and even romantic phase, a time you will look back on with pride.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) You are full of wit and ready for a day with or without challenges. A good attitude works in your favor as others value you for your independence and unique qualities. As long as you keep up the momentum, you should be able to reach your objective. You are given an excellent opportunity to expand your work experience. This is a wonderful time to repay anything that you owe to others, in the form of money, goods or other obligations. You might feel love or value for an older person and inspire some healing attitudes that have been long overdue. If you feel your emotions may be moving in unacceptable directions this afternoon, reestablish your priorities. By the end of this month emotions will calm. Do not sign any legal documents this afternoon.

Word Search

Libra (September 23-October 22) If you refuse to become involved in a negative conversation with a troublemaker today, there can be no problems. Choose today to be open to another way of seeing a difficult person or situation. The word this day in the workplace is flexible— this will bring you success. You will be very shrewd when it comes to money. Deep thoughts will lead to stunning insights, which in turn will help you along the road to profit. You could be a financial wizard! Opportunities for mending any emotional drifts among family members are positive now and can successfully be accomplished through your positive attitude. Phone calls, letters and long conversations over a cup of tea can be very enlightening. Being more in touch gives you a sense of belonging.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) There is a lot of energy for achieving whatever you set out to accomplish. Depending on your quality of rest the prior day, you could be annoying or pleasant to others at this time. If there are troubles with communication, back off for a while and watch things develop; then you can give your opinions or suggestions. Keep your positive side up because there are many good opportunities to express yourself. You are in a great mood of self-enjoyment this afternoon and can appreciate your own achievements. You could come up with new and interesting solutions. It is almost as thought there is a little magic somewhere between your ears. The flirtations of someone new may be flattering but wisely ignored today. A visitor comes with good news.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) You will see results from your hard work today. This can be an expansive, creative and even a romantic phase, a time you will look back on with pride and fondness. Taking care of the necessary underpinnings of life—health, work and such— becomes a greater importance now. This is a highly successful day! The work and responsibility factor of your life is running well. Allow your consciousness to expand into a more sensitive space as you leave work this afternoon. Integrate your spiritual growth with the everyday energies you are receiving now. You may find that your mental and physical health and overall attitude change—in most cases are very positive. Patience, your humor will prevail as you care for a new animal or young person tonight.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) Everyone seems to be a bit sluggish today. Go ahead and dive into your work this morning, perhaps you will be able to finish some old projects while others are busy. Your skills in the workplace are considerable. Your analytical abilities are way above average and your sixth sense where business is concerned is very good. You could find that you are appreciated for your ability to respond quickly to difficulties and get things done. You come up with a new invention for a co-worker this afternoon. This makes work move along at a faster pace and you might look to have some supervisor’s attention to this matter. There is an opportunity for you to show off one of your special talents this evening. Singing is always an option.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) This is one of your best days this month. You may enjoy probing into your inner workings or some good solid gossip. You appear perhaps more refined than usual and now would be a good time to apply for a job, or otherwise make yourself known. A difference of opinion may occur between you and a co-worker today. Never fear, you are able to stabilize the situation and create an opportunity for the other person to feel good about expressing an opinion. Others value you for your ability to make practical decisions concerning group issues. You have a natural sense of what the public wants. Remember what it took to get positive results and refer to the process when you have days that seem negative. Enjoy the company of loved ones tonight.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) Networking through social affairs can be quite successful. You may want to plan a get-together with co-workers in order to build firm relationships. Obtaining and exchanging information takes on a definite significance. This is a good day for practical ideas and planning. You may receive special attention regarding your particular achievements as well. People will find your sense of humor in fine form, particularly if you have to make a speech. Some of the on-job stress has lessened and this afternoon, although there is still work to be done, you may exhibit quite a bit of wit. Some news surrounding a new investment may come to your attention, but you would be wise to listen to the whole story and read the fine print before making any decisions.

Yesterday’s Solution

Yesterday’s Solution

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Yesterday’s Solution


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


Amiri Hospital


Maternity Hospital


Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital


Chest Hospital


Farwaniya Hospital


Adan Hospital


Ibn Sina Hospital


Al-Razi Hospital


Physiotherapy Hospital






Sama Safwan Abu Halaifa Danat Al-Sultan

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

23915883 23715414 23726558


Modern Jahra Madina Munawara

Jahra-Block 3 Lot 1 Jahra-Block 92

24575518 24566622


Ahlam Khaldiya Coop

Fahad Al-Salem St Khaldiya Coop

22436184 24833967


New Shifa Ferdous Coop Modern Safwan

Farwaniya Block 40 Ferdous Coop Old Kheitan Block 11

24734000 24881201 24726638

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

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

25726265 25647075 22625999 22564549 25340559 25326554 25721264 25380581 25628241






















Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh








Kaizen center


















Abdullah Salem




Industrial Shuwaikh






Bneid Al-Gar






Ayoun Al-Qibla










Maidan Hawally






W Hawally






New Jahra


West Jahra


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North Jleeb








N Khaitan





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


Plastic Surgeons Dr. Mohammad Al-Khalaf


Dr. Khaled Hamadi

Dr. Abdal-Redha Lari


Dr. Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rashed

Dr. Abdel Quttainah


Family Doctor Dr Divya Damodar


Psychiatrists Dr. Esam Al-Ansari


Dr Eisa M. Al-Balhan


Gynaecologists & Obstetricians DrAdrian arbe


Dr. Verginia s.Marin

2572-6666 ext 8321


25665898 25340300

Dr. Zahra Qabazard


Dr. Sohail Qamar


Dr. Snaa Maaroof


Dr. Pradip Gujare


Dr. Zacharias Mathew


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



Dr. Fozeya Ali Al-Qatan


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Dr. Abidallah Al-Amer


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General Surgeons Dr. Amer Zawaz Al-Amer


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

22666300 25728004

Dr. Nadem Al-Ghabra


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Dr Nasser Behbehani


Soor Center Tel: 2290-1677 Fax: 2290 1688



Dr. Mousa Khadada


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Gastrologists Dr. Sami Aman


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Kaizen center 25716707


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


Dr. Musaed Faraj Khamees


Rheumatologists: Dr. Adel Al-Awadi

Dr Anil Thomas

Dr. Salem soso

Dr. Abd Al-Naser Al-Othman


Dr. Khaled Al-Jarallah


Internist, Chest & Heart DR.Mohammes Akkad

24555050 Ext 210

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


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

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

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


lifestyle G o s s i p

Bobbi Kristina Brown wants a ‘fairytale’ second wedding


hitney Houston’s daughter secretly married her fiance Nick Gordon earlier this month, despite controversy over their unconventional relationship since Nick was raised as her brother when the late superstar took him into her home 12 years ago. The couple now hope to prove the skeptics wrong when they celebrate their commitment to one another for a second time with a big wedding later this year. Bobbi told The Sun newspaper: “The criticism of our relationship only made us stronger. It lit a fire under our butt. We are officially married now but our wedding was just very low-key. But I can say that we’re planning a big wedding later this year. “It’s going to be very royal, classic and beautiful - just a phenomenal ceremony. We’re going for the full fairytale.” The 20-year-old aspiring singer says Whitney’s death from an overdose in February 2012 brought her and Nick together and she thinks the ‘I Will Always Love

You’ hit-maker would have been excited about the big day. She added: “Losing mum brought us together. Nick has been there for me - he’s my backbone. If my mother could see me now she would just be so incredibly happy. I can just see her she’d be running around fussing about the wedding.” Meanwhile, Nick, 24, silenced critics by insisting he will never break his vow to Whitney to protect her daughter. He gushed: “I looked at Krissi like a little sister, she looked at me like an older brother. Whitney taught me how to be a man, how to respect women. I owe everything to her. “She made me promise several times to look after Krissi. And I will never break that promise.”

Justin Bieber shows off

skateboarding stunts


‘huge crush’ on Prince Harry

Lindsay Lohan has a

ustin Bieber showed off his “skateboarding stunts” at an exclusive Super Bowl party. The 19-year-old singer arrived after 3am on Sunday morning and performed tricks for guests at the Leather & Laces party at the Liberty Theatre, New York which was hosted by Victoria’s Secret models Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio. A source told the New York Post newspaper: “Justin came with two handlers and asked party organizers if he could skate at the party. “Bieber left his cabana to skate through the Leather & Laces party and show off some of his skateboarding stunts. “As he skated back to his cabana area he took photos with other guests.”

Miley Cyrus doesn’t know where her engagement ring is


he ‘Wrecking Ball’ singer split from fiance Liam Hemsworth in September last year and claims she doesn’t know where the 3.5-carat Neil Lane sparkler he proposed with - estimated to be worth $100,000 - is currently located. Asked about its whereabouts, Miley replied: “Don’t know. Think it’s in the shower.” Speaking more seriously, the 21-year-old star added she and Liam, 24, are still on good terms and in contact with each other. She added to LOVE magazine: “We still talk and communicate. I was with him since I was 16 and nothing’s ever going to make that go away. I’ve known this guy all that time and if it doesn’t work out I can still smile and love him and he can love me and that’s great, that’s the way to be.” Miley and Liam met on the

set of romantic drama film ‘The Last Song’ in 2010 and got engaged when she was just 19. Following their split he told her to keep the ring. A source said: “[He] wants Miley to keep the ring. He wouldn’t ask for it back. Liam told Miley to keep it and do with it what she wanted. He told her to keep it as a memento of their love affair. “When Liam bought that ring, he truly believed he would be spending the rest of his life with her. Now he realizes they are both just too young to be ready for such a big commitment.”

Justin is said to be seen skateboarding through Times Square after 4 am. The ‘Confident’ hitmaker recently made headlines after getting himself into trouble. He is facing legal problems in Toronto for allegedly assaulting a limo driver, he allegedly egged a neighbor’s house in Los Angeles and was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), resisting arrest and driving without a license in Miami.


he ‘Mean Girls’ actress is a big fan of the party loving British royal and thinks if they were to meet, sparks would fly. A source told National Enquirer magazine: “Lindsay has always had a huge crush on Prince Harry. She drools over him whenever he’s on TV and goes on and on about how physically perfect he is, how much she loves his accent, and what an amazing match they would be between the sheets. She’s like, ‘if I could just get to meet him one time, I know he’d go for me.” Lindsay, 27, was in London at the beginning of 2014, but flew back to the US to attend the Sundance Film Festival recently, although she’s planning on heading back to the British capital soon, to resume her hunt for Harry, who is currently dating society girl Cressida Bonas. The source added: “She’s convinced Harry will eventually fall for her charms. The way she sees it, they’re both cut from the same cloth. “She really wants to have him as one of her bedpost notches and she’ll do almost anything to make it happen.”

Kristen Stewart mortified by childhood outfits


risten Stewart is still embarrassed about an outfit she wore when she was 11. The ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ star still smarts when she thinks about her styling at the premiere of 2002’s ‘Panic Room’ - one of her early movies - which consisted of a long black trench coat over a green dress and blocky trainers. She told the UK edition of Marie Claire magazine: “My biggest fashion regret? I think the pictures that they took at the premiere of ‘Panic Room’. “It’s like a popular image to show from when I was younger, you know, like, ‘She was a kid!’ And I look at that and I’m like, ‘Oh... my... gosh.’ “It shouldn’t be embarrassing because I was so young. But it doesn’t even matter how young you are, you’re just so, so embarrassed.” Kristen, now 23, admits she was “completely goofy” as a child, and even hates her hair in the pictures. She added” “I had like these baby hairs and I was being weird about them, so I was like, ‘I’m just gonna cut them off.’ And I had like these little things like poking out from under my hair and behind my ears, and a ridiculous outfit. “I did not know how to get dressed up at that age at all, I didn’t even know what I liked. I was just like completely... a goofy kid.” Kristen is now more confident in her looks, and said last week she one day wants to shave and tattoo her head, as well as wishing she could sport more tomboy haircuts.


lifestyle G o s s i p

Is David Beckham mansion shopping?


avid Beckham will view Matt Damon’s £11.5 million Florida mansion. The former soccer star is looking for a base in America for his wife Victoria and children Brooklyn, 14, Romeo, 11, Cruz, eight, and Harper, two, since he has plans to set up a new Major League football team. A source told The Sun newspaper: “David’s advisers have lined up several properties for him to view and Matt’s is one of the best available. “He’s going to be spending a lot of time here and needs a base big enough for him, Victoria and all the kids.” David will be flying to Miami today after attending last night’s Super Bowl - where the Seattle Seahawks won, defeating the Denver Broncos - in New Jersey. Matt’s home has seven bedrooms, a pool and rooftop terrace, a wine cellar, and a cinema. The luxurious

property is in the same neighborhood as the homes of a number of other A-Listers including Bee Gees’ Barry Gibb and US baseball star Alex Rodriguez. David and his famous spouse recently bought a £31 million home in West London and spent £1 million on security making sure the property had state-of-the art entry systems and a special panic room. A source previously said: “They will have a panic room, a 24-hour, 60-camera CCTV system they can check from anywhere in the world, and fingerprint-recognition entry phones.”

Lauren Conrad serves healthy snacks at Super Bowl party

Lily Allen


he former ‘Laguna Beach’ star intends to watch the NFL showpiece game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos at the Metlife Stadium in New Jersey on Sunday but she won’t be bingeing out on traditional game day food like chicken wings and chips. Lauren took part in a Twitter Q&A for Us Weekly magazine and when asked by one user on the social networking website if she had any tips for throwing a Super Bowl party, she replied: “I love a healthy version of Super Bowl snacks. I make yummy cauliflower baked in hot sauce in lieu of hot wings ... I also make a pitcher of light #malibuislandspiced cocktails for everyone. Yum! (sic)” Lauren was also quizzed on how she keeps up her fitness regime in the cold winter months when many people struggle to get out and exercise. However, the 27-year-old beauty has an ingenious way of beating the winter blues - she just doesn’t leave California. When posed the question “what do you do to stay fit in the winter?” Lauren said: “Luckily California is nice year round so my routine doesn’t change much. Gym, Hiking and watching what I eat ( and drink) (sic)”

used to starve before photo shoots

Jared Leto is ‘amazed’ by his Oscar nomination


he musician-and-actor was excited when he was offered the role of Rayon, a transgender woman with HIV, alongside Matthew McConaughey in ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ - which has gone on to receive six Academy Award nominations and already won a host of accolades. Jared - who put his acting career on hold for over six years to release music with his band Thirty Seconds To Mars - is in the running for the Best Supporting Actor prize and he admits the acclaim he is receiving for the role proves he was right to end his film hiatus for the project. In an interview on UK station BBC Radio 1, he said: “It took six years for this to come to me. I wasn’t looking to make a film but I ended up reading the script and fell in love (with it). I don’t want to sound like a jerk right now but someone told me yesterday that I’ve won over 30 awards for it already. I didn’t even know there were 30 awards to win. The big ones were the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards recently.” Referring to his Oscar nomination, he added: “I feel like this is insane and amazing - I feel like the luckiest person in the world. It’s a really special story and I feel proud to be a part of it.” Jared, 42, had to dress as a woman and lose weight for his portrayal of Rayon and his transformation was so stark he didn’t think audiences would even recognize him on screen. He said: “It’s pretty crazy. I play a transgender woman. A lot of people wouldn’t recognize me in the role. He added jokily: “As soon as you saw those legs you went, ‘Jared - it’s Jared.’”


he ‘Smile’ hitmaker - who has daughters Ethel, two, and 13-month-old Marnie with her husband Sam Cooper - has previously admitted to suffering from an eating disorder and has confessed she would avoid eating food before a big magazine or music video shoot in the past. Lily has conquered any insecurities she may have had about her figure and now embraces her body for what it is. In a revealing interview in the new UK issue of ELLE magazine, she said: “I felt quite brave shooting the ‘Hard out Here’ video. In all my past videos and photo shoots I’ve starved myself for days to get into what I felt was a good enough shape. But in this one, I was wearing leggings! “And a skin-tight Tshirt and a bra over the top - you can see the bulge! It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but I felt very strongly that I wanted to do that. Because I’m a woman now, and I have two babies, and I don’t want to hide it.” Lily refuses to confirm to the

Cameron Diaz is still friends with her ex-boyfriends


he 41-year-old actress is pleased her former lovers, which include Justin Timberlake, Matt Dillon and Alex Rodriguez, have “invested” in her in the same way she does with them and her friends such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Drew Barrymore. She said: “I’m still friends with my ex-boyfriends, too. I feel like all my relationships are strong - friends, family. I’ve invested in my people and they’re invested in me.” Though the ‘Annie’ actress is envied for her slim, toned figure, she admits she used to dream of being curvier. Speaking to the new edition of Self magazine, she said: “I spent a lot of time wishing I was more voluptuous, but eventually I realized it’s not who I am. Why punish myself for something I’m not?” The blonde beauty says life is “awesome” and her key to happiness is to live in the moment and not plan ahead. She said: “I don’t look forward like that. I never have. Look back at my very first big press junket for a movie, and in one interview I was asked, ‘Where do you see yourself in 10 years?’ And I said, ‘I don’t know. Happy, hopefully.’ “I’m not going to say that I don’t worry about the future or the past. But the things I’m most successful at in my life are the things that I’m totally present in. The more I realize that’s what makes me happy, the more I’m able to live in the moment. It’s like, ‘This is where I’m at. Here I am. And I’m happy. This is awesome!’ “ — Bangshowbiz

perception of what a pop star should be or what a woman should look like and won’t compromise spending time with her children for the sake of a toned stomach. The 28-year-old singer explained: “I could be skinny if I wanted to, by exercising a lot, and I just don’t have the time right now. Every second I’m not working I’m spending with my children. For me to take another extra hour and a half out of my day to get thin, I’m not doing it. “Without being the ‘I love my body, because my body gave me my children’ clichÈ. It’s hard. It’s hard to go back to being a pop star. Beyonce touches upon it in ‘Pretty Hurts’, on her new album. It’s difficult to keep up and try to be perfect.”



These photos show two stallions fighting during a traditional Chinese New Year†horse†fighting competition for the Year of the Horse at the Miao Minority village of Tiantou in Guangxi province. — AFP photos

China horses fight in Lunar New Year battles H ooves clash in mid-air, a stallion bites his opponent while delighted spectators cheer wildly-in southern China some saw in the Year of the Horse by watching the animals fight. For the residents of Tiantou, a remote village in the Guangxi region, the 500-year-old tradition which pits male horses against

each other in a fight over a female was the only way to kick off the Lunar New Year. “Without horse fighting it wouldn’t feel like a new year,” said Pan Jianming, whose horse Little Black reared-up on its hind legs and bit its opponent’s neck to scoop victory in a competition this weekend. “He stood up and hit the other horse straight away,” Pan, a 31-year-old air conditioner repairman, said. “If he likes the female horse, it doesn’t matter how much pain he’s in, he won’t run away,” he added, his black and white shirt stained with blood which dripped from a gash on his horse’s nose. “We have medicine to treat his injuries, and he will gradually get better,” added Pan, who claimed a champion’s prize of 500 yuan ($80). Fifteen animals fought in bouts, which saw horses jump into the air with their front hooves spinning before crashing down on their opponents and biting their head or neck, sometimes drawing hair and blood.

‘Horrific spectacle’ Horse fighting competitions held by the Miao - an ethnic group living in mountain areas of Southern China and Southeast Asia-date back more than five centuries, according to locals. The first battle is said to have been held to settle a dispute between two brothers who both hoped to marry the same woman. But the fights, held in dozens of small mountain villages in Southern China every year with prizes of up to 10,000

yuan, have been condemned by animal rights groups. In 2010, Hong-Kong based Animals Asia called horse-fighting a “horrific spectacle”, accusing the scraps of causing “abuse and suffering to animals in the name of entertainment”. The stallions are encouraged to fight by the presence of a female horse, who is kept meters away from the clashing pairs by a villager armed with little more than a stick. The horse which successfully defends its position close to the female is declared the winner. Animals Asia has said the female horses are sometimes “induced into season through the injection of hormones”. In Tiantou, hundreds of spectators gathered just meters away from the battling equines-without any barriers separating them from the action. The animals squared up to each other like boxers before unleashing a flurry of backwards-directed kicks and bites. Most did not appear to sustain any visible injuries. Onlookers scrambled to escape when pairs of bucking mares periodically galloped towards them. Others shouted: “Fight, Fight!” as the animals clashed but most insisted the contest was not cruel. “Sometimes the horses will be injured but it won’t be very serious, they have thick skin,” said Di Zhai, a 16year-old spectator. ‘You need a good horse for fighting’ Some travelers from Chinese cities, which have seen a rise in concern for animal welfare in recent

years alongside a growth in pet-ownership, seemed more concerned. “It’s horrible to see the horses get injured, I don’t like to watch,” said 14-year-old Ma Jiasui, who had travelled to the village from a nearby province as part of a tourist group. However, she added: “It’s the Year of the Horse, and my surname means horse, so its special to see horse fighting this year.” The contests are held year-round but peak following the start of the Lunar New Year-the most important annual festival in China, which fell on Friday. “Now there are more horse fighting competitions than ever,” said Jia Yingcai, the head of a local horse fighting association. Zhou Tingyi, a 63-year-old who presided over the competition with a white plastic megaphone, said: “We used to hold horse fights just once a year but now we do it more often. Because this is the year of the horse, we are even more happy.” “You need a good horse for fighting, it needs to be fat, it needs to have more energy,” he added. Horse breeders said that the ideal age for an equine pugilist was between four and eight years. Most animals do farm work when not fighting. “Horse fighting is just for fun,” said Pan Yinghong, who held his horse with a rope as animals neighed and whinnied. The competitions are also about “glory”, he added. “If I win, people will think of me as a horse king, and it’s also good for attracting women.” — AFP

Philip Seymour Hoffman leaves extraordinary legacy


e was only 46, busy as ever and secure in his standing as one of the world’s greatest actors. There were no dissenters about the gifts and achievements of Philip Seymour Hoffman, whose death Sunday in New York brought a stunning halt to his extraordinary and unpredictable career. An Oscar winner and multiple nominee, Hoffman could take on any character with almost unnerving authority, whether the religious leader in command of his every word in “The Master,” a trembling mess in “Boogie Nights,” or the witty, theatrical Truman Capote in “Capote.” Fearless in his choices, encyclopedic in his preparation, he was a Shakespearean performer in modern dress, bringing depth and variety to charlatans, slackers, curmudgeons and loners. “Hearing that Philip Seymour Hoffman passed away came as much as a shock to me as to anyone else I’d imagine,” says Anton Corbijn, director of “A Most Wanted Man,” one of two films (the other being “In God’s Pocket”) starring Hoffman that premiered last month at the Sundance Film Festival. He was not only the most gifted actor I ever worked with,” Corbijn added, “...he had also become an incredibly inspiring and supportive friend.” Friends, peers, family members and his countless fans were in grief after Hoffman was found in his Greenwich Village apartment with what law enforcement officials said was a syringe in his arm. The two officials told The Associated Press that glassine envelopes containing what was believed to be heroin were also found with Hoffman. Those items are being tested. The law enforcement officials, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak about evidence found at the scene, said the cause of death was believed to be a drug overdose. Police will only say the investigation is continuing. An autopsy is planned for Monday, according to medical examiner spokeswoman Julie Bolcer. Besides his Oscar win for “Capote,” the stage-trained Hoffman received four Academy Awards nominations and several nominations for theater awards, including three Tonys. He was equally acclaimed and productive, often appearing in at least two to three films a year, while managing an active life in the theater. He had been thriving for more than 20 years and no one doubted that a long, compelling run awaited him. Unconventional good looks Like Laurence Olivier or Meryl Streep, his appeal was not

In this photo, Philip Seymour Hoffman poses for a portrait at The Collective and Gibson Lounge Powered by CEG, during the Sundance Film Festival, in Park City, Utah.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman (left) and Amy Ryan are shown in a scene from, “Jack Goes Boating.” — AP photos

bound by age or appearance or personality. He was not an actor whom audiences turned to for youth and romance. Heavy set with a lumpy build and limp, receding blond hair, he was a character actor with the power to play the lead, in movies that screened in both art houses and multiplexes. “No words for this. He was too great and we’re too shattered,” said Mike Nichols, who directed Hoffman in “Charlie Wilson’s War” and on stage in “Death of a Salesman.” Hoffman spoke candidly over the years about past struggles with drug addiction. After 23 years sober, he admitted in interviews last year to falling off the wagon and developing a heroin problem that led to a stint in rehab. The law enforcement officials said Hoffman’s body was discovered in a bathroom at his Greenwich Village apartment by a friend who made the 911 call and his assistant. Late Sunday, crime-scene technicians carrying brown paper bags went in and out of Hoffman’s building as officers held back a growing crowd of onlookers. Hoffman’s family called the news “tragic and sudden.” “We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone,” the family said in a

statement. With a range and discipline more common among British performers than Americans, Hoffman was convincing whether comic or dramatic, loathsome or sympathetic, powerless or diabolical. In one of his earliest movie roles, he played a spoiled prep school student in “Scent of a Woman” in 1992. A breakthrough came for him as a gay member of a porno film crew in “Boogie Nights,” one of several movies directed by Paul Thomas Anderson that Hoffman would eventually appear in. He played comic, off-kilter characters in “Along Came Polly” and “The Big Lebowski.” He bantered unforgettably with Laura Linney as squabbling siblings in “The Savages.” He was grumpy and idealistic as rock critic Lester Bangs in “Almost Famous.” He was grumpy and cynical as baseball manager Art Howe in “Moneyball.”

In this file photo, Philip Seymour Hoffman as Tuman Capote, a one-of-a-kind author sent to Kansas to pen an article about the brutal murder of a family in a small Kansas town that sent shockwaves through the nation in “Capote.”

reunited the actor with Anderson. He also received a 2009 supporting nomination for “Doubt,” as a priest who comes under suspicion because of his relationship with a boy, and a best supporting actor nomination for “Charlie Wilson’s War,” as a CIA officer. Many younger moviegoers know him as the scheming Plutarch Heavensbee in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and he was reprising that role in the two-part sequel, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay,” for which his work was mostly completed. The films are scheduled for November 2014 and November 2015 releases. Just weeks ago, Showtime announced Hoffman would star in “Happyish,” a new comedy series about a middleaged man’s pursuit of happiness. Born in 1967 in Fairport, NY, Hoffman was an athletic boy, but a neck injury sustained while wrestling ended any hopes for a career in sports. He soon became interested in acting, mesmerized at 12 by a local production of Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons.” He studied theater as a teenager with the New York State Summer School of the Arts and the Circle in the Square Theatre. He then majored in drama at New York University. In his Oscar acceptance speech for “Capote,” he thanked his mother for raising him and his three siblings alone, and for taking him to his first play. Hoffman’s parents divorced when he was 9. On Broadway, he took on some of the stage’s most ambitious parts - Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman,” Jamie in “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” and both leads in “True West.” All three performances were Tony nominated. Last year, Hoffman crossed to the other side of the footlights to direct Bob Glaudini’s “A Family for All Occasions” for the Labyrinth Theatre Company, where he formerly served as co-artistic director. Hoffman has also directed “Jesus Hopped the A Train” and “Our Lady of 121st Street” for the company and received Drama Desk Award nominations for both productions. Hoffman is survived by his partner of 15 years, Mimi O’Donnell, and their three children. — AP

‘Happyish’ Hoffman In “The Master,” he was nominated for a 2013 Academy Award for best supporting actor for his role as the charismatic, controlling leader of a religious movement. The film, partly inspired by the life of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard,

This photo provided by Twentieth Century Fox shows Philip Seymour Hoffman (left) and Laura Linney in a scene from “The Savages.”

Flowers are seen outside the home of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sunday, Feb 2, 2014, in New York.



Majesty 121: The true super-yacht

Majesty 121 is the largest boat to be ever displayed at the Kuwait Yacht Show.

By Nawara Fattahova


t’s a smooth sail for yacht lovers who can enjoy the Kuwait Yacht Show held at the Marina Crescent from February 3-7. Different yachts and boats are on display and most of them are for sale. The Gulf Craft Company is one of the participants at this show and is displaying the biggest yacht: the Majesty 121, worth KD 1.6 million. “The Majesty 121 is a true super-yacht, from the immaculate exterior styling and no-compromise naval engineering to the exquisite interior workmanship. This yacht offers a five-bedroom layout with owners’ suite either on the lower or main deck, a semi-raised pilot house and accommodation for up to seven crew members,” Mohammed H Al-Shaali told the Kuwait Times.

Mohammed Al-Shaali With more than 32 years of experience in the field, Gulf Craft is providing the best quality of yachts sold over the world. “We manufacture different kinds of yachts in various sizes to meet all demands. We have small fishing boats, cruise boats, pleasure boats and many others which go up to 155 feet. We have four factories: three in the UAE and one in the Maldives. Gulf Craft has 45 dealers around the world. We ranked at 10th this year in the list of super-yacht manufacturers in the world, which is a great achievement for UAE and Arab countries, as we are the only Arab country in this list,” he added. Kuwait is known for marine activities and sea sports, which makes it a good market for yachts and boats. “Kuwait is an important market for us, and we participate in the Kuwait Yacht Show every year since it started. In fact, it’s the second best market for us after the Emirati market in the region. The huge number of visitors at this show and its continuity proves the interest of the visitors in these products. This year we are participating with four yachts and seven boats. This the first

time we are participating with a yacht the size of Majesty 121, as the most demanded yachts here are medium-size due to space limitations. Before the Kuwait Yacht Show, we used to hold our own yacht show here, and today we are a part of this show,” explained Al-Shaali. “Al-Boom Marine is our local agent in Kuwait, who provides complete after-sale services and maintenance through their various workshops in addition to providing spare parts. Having a local agent is very important to our customers to ensure they don’t face any problems. Almost 80 percent of the yachts and boats in Kuwait are from our company. Our customers are members of the royal family, businessmen, and so on and we have products for all. Our customers have become our friends and maintaining good relations is very important as they are buying yachts for their personal use and need to trust our quality,” he further said. The factories of Gulf Craft manufacture the body of the yacht or boat and the interiors. “The body is made from fiberglass which doesn’t have an age limit, as this material lasts for long time and can be maintained. We also manufacture the interiors from the best natural materials like leather. We deal with special weather conditions like humidity, high temperatures and salt water so the material should be weather-resistant, high quality, and durable and this makes a difference to the price. We provide materials that require less care and maintenance,” stressed Al-Shaali. Engines and electronic equipment available on the yacht like televisions, refrigerators, ovens, and others are imported from different brands. “Our engines are from Germany, power generators and AC system are from the US and so on. The piloting systems and equipment are also provided from the best suppliers in the field. The good quality products need less maintenance or replacement,” he concluded.

Silvercraft 36 HT

Kuwait Yacht Show hosts largest-ever super-yacht


ulf Craft, one of the world’s top 10 super-yacht building shipyards, is once again taking part at the Kuwait Yacht Show, which runs from February 2-7 at Marina Crescent, Kuwait. Erwin Bamps, Chief Operating officer at Gulf Craft says the Kuwait Yacht Show offers a valuable opportunity for the company to connect with one of its largest customer bases in the Gulf, which is second only to the UAE. “It’s very encouraging to see a regular yacht show presence being developed in Kuwait which underscores the continuing keenness of the market on boating and yachting as a popular leisure activity,” said Bamps. “Kuwait has always welcomed new models from Gulf Craft due to the clients’ appreciation for innovation and their trust in our brand due to our long history in the market. Our local dealer, Al-Boom Marine is a very well respected dealer in Kuwait and offers a full scale service for boats and yachts of Gulf Craft,” added Bamps. “Kuwait is our second largest market in the Gulf and we have enjoyed great loyalty and patronage from our clients in Kuwait. This is an ideal opportunity to get closer to a key cus-

Meeting room inside Majesty 121

tomer base that has helped grow our business to a dominating position in the country, the region and internationally,” he concluded. A clear market leader, Gulf Craft is showcasing a strong line-up of craft from across its range of yachts, including the Majesty 121, Majesty 63 and Majesty 56. The Majesty 121 is the largest craft to ever be displayed at the Kuwait Yacht Show and it is the first time Gulf Craft brings a super-yacht of this size to Kuwait. Along with the Majesty Yachts brand, other models from the Oryx sport yachts and cruisers and Silvercraft fishing boats are also on display. Home to roughly one-fifth of the GCC’s boats - a significantly high share given the country’s size and coastline relative to its neighbors - Kuwait has historically possessed a seafaring culture with fishing, cruising and onboard socializing a common leisure pursuit among Kuwaiti nationals. In terms of market maturity, Kuwaiti ranks alongside the UAE as Kuwaitis have a great understanding and appreciation of a boating lifestyle, and demand continues to be strong for a broad range of craft.

The control room of Majesty 121

OSN launches ‘Live More’ CSR campaign to encourage healthier lifestyles


SN, the region’s leading pay-TV network, is strengthening efforts to support the community with the launch of ‘Live More,’ its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative, aimed at encouraging families in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to adopt healthier lifestyles. A survey conducted by OSN, found that only six percent of the region participates in exercise, despite 36 percent being worried about serious health issues such as cancer and diabetes. Research also revealed that more than 80 percent of respondents were concerned about their well-being and wanted companies to play an active role in educating and creating awareness on leading a well balanced lifestyle. The above findings are in-line with international reports that suggest the Arab world faces some of the highest health risks especially obesity and diabetes. Recent reports reveal that one in nine people in the MENA region are diabetic, according to the International Diabetes Federation, while a recent UN report shows rising obesity rates in the GCC and ranks the region as being among the world’s most overweight populations. The World Health Organisation has also identified UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Egypt, and Jordan, with the highest rates of obesity, with the prevalence of obesity in the region ranging from 74 to 86 percent in women, and 69 to 77 percent in

men. ‘OSN Live More’ aims to raise awareness on the importance of a leading a well-balanced lifestyle and how simple day-to-day changes can make a big difference to people’s overall health and wellbeing. David Butorac, Chief Executive Officer, OSN, said: “OSN is committed to giving back to the communities that we serve in. As the most popular medium of entertainment, television has the opportunity to make a positive impact on people’s lives. An important initiative for OSN, we are leveraging the extensive reach of our network to educate and encourage families to be more aware and make smart health choices.” OSN Live More kicks off with an on-air awareness campaign which includes a series of English and Arabic infomercials that aim to educate viewers on the importance of getting more active. Onair promos will be refreshed regularly, engaging and encouraging viewers to make positive health changes. OSN Live More is also endorsed by some of the Arab world’s leading celebrities including Ahmed Fahmi (singer, actor and Arab Idol presenter), Noor Khattab (TV personality and sports trainer), Hassan Al Raddad (lead actor of the popular drama Adam w Jameela), Reem Al Baroudi (One of Egypt’s favorite drama actress), and Emmy Samir Ghanim (Egyptian actress, star of Heba Rigl Al Ghorab - Ugly Betty) who share personal health tips focusing on the big impact of small lifestyle changes.

Ahmed Fahmi Hamad Malik, Chief Marketing Officer, OSN, added: “Our CSR strategy was developed after detailed research and a subscriber survey that polled nearly 900 respondents across the region. Over 80% of those polled said that their own and their families health was the most important to them. This consumer insight and research led to the development of OSN Live More.

Hassan Raddad “Phase 1 is currently on air and the feedback is overwhelming. We are extremely pleased to see the positive reaction and look forward to developing the initiative further. Through OSN Live More, we want to encourage individuals, especially the youth, to get more active and do the small things that make a big difference in the long term.” OSN Live More kicks off with the launch of an

Emmy Samir Ghanem exclusive health show, Live Your Life a Different Way, hosted by the Arab world’s foremost sports instructor, Captain Nour Khattab who teams up with renowned health nutritionist, Dr. Sharifa Abu Al-Fotooh, to share secrets on better living. The show features celebrity guest appearances including Shakel Tani and Tamer Hosny, from Saturday to Wednesday at 22:00 KSA on OSN Ya Hala!HD.

Kuwait Yacht Show hosts largest-ever super-yacht



Bruno Mars performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show at MetLife Stadium on February 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. — AP/AFP photos

Bruno Mars delivers red hot set at Super


The Red Hot Chili Peppers perform.

Kelly Rowland performs during the Super Bowl.

Queen Latifah sings “America the Beautiful” prior to start of Super Bowl.

nybody worried about how Bruno Mars would do on one of the world’s largest stages had obviously never seen the young star perform live. That all changed Sunday night when tens of millions got their first chance to see why he’s one of the most exciting live acts of his generation. Mars, 28, took his high-powered live show to Super Bowl halftime, creating what felt like an intimate show in the arena in East Rutherford, NJ, and supersizing it in what has become a defining moment for those who preceded him on the list of halftime performers in the big game. The Grammy Award-winning singer eliminated any doubters from the second he appeared on screen in a skinny tie and gold jacket almost as dazzling as his smile. He played a deep-groove drum solo while rolling across the field on a raised, motorized platform, then joined his smoking-hot live band for a series of energetically executed hits that were clearly not lip-synced. He then seamlessly integrated the Red Hot Chili Peppers into his set. “There were a lot of doubters and my man delivered,” Fox commentator Howie Long said after the performance. Hard to disagree. There were no flubs, no negative moments that will live on at the water cooler Monday morning. And while you can argue about the entertainment value of watching shirtless Chili Peppers gambol about the stage, the 50-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famers managed to match Mars’ energy in a brief appearance that was no less memorable. Mars trades in shared memories, taking the

best of acts that have come before like the infectiousness of Sting and The Police, or the groove of James Brown, and updating them with lyrics and sounds that capture the freshness of the current moment. He opened by displaying the beauty of his high tenor with the sing-a-long-inviting “Locked Out of Heaven” and “Treasure” before transitioning to “Runaway Baby.” That song, with its Brown-flavored beat, allowed the Hawaiian-born singer to dance in homage to “Soul Brother Number One,” complete with an impressive gymnastics-style split as part of his moves. He broke down the band to silence and killed the lights for a moment, allowing the crowd’s screams to be heard at home, before transitioning to the Chili Peppers and the funky “Give It Away.” The Chili Peppers, which included singer Anthony Kiedis and bassist Flea sans shirts in temperatures that hovered in the 40s, powered through the song, then joined Mars and his Hooligans in a quick few bars from Black Sabbath. Mars and his eight-piece band, The Hooligans, were dressed from head-to-toe in custom-made clothes from Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane. Fox cut to video segments of soldiers around the world dedicating the next song to loved ones before going back to Mars. He appeared alone on a small stage in the center of the field where he sang the ballad “Just the Way You Are” with the stands full of lights and the sky aflame with the biggest fireworks display in NFL Super Bowl history.

Opera singer Renee Fleming sings the national anthem.


It was a powerful moment and compared favorably to past performances by stars like Prince and Bruce Springsteen. There was never a dull moment. That’s about all you can ask, especially in a game that was full of them. Meanwhile, you can expect more music from Queen Latifah. The entertainer, who sang “America the Beautiful” at Sunday’s Super Bowl, says she’s working on new music, and she’ll use her talk show to promote it. “I’m already working on stuff with that,” she said of the new music. “I can kind of interweave that with the talk show. ...It’s time to jack another day at the show, give the interviews a break for one day and just perform and rock the crowd. So, I have the best platform to do it.” “The Queen Latifah Show” launched last year. The rapper-singer, whose hits include “U.N.I.T.Y.,” last released music in 2009 with “Persona.” She said performing at the opening of the Super Bowl was historic and comes with great responsibility. “Anybody who takes it as a joke ... to me, I don’t know if they really get it,” she said backstage after her performance. “This is moment where for a change we all can.. come together and (have) a sense of pride, and not really worry about anything else”. — AP

4th Feb  

Kuwait Times

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