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MP warns of influx of Syria fighters

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Kuwait to delay vote on Gulf security pact Ghanem says agreement awaiting constitutional scrutiny By B Izzak

Sager succeeds Dabdoub at NBK KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait said yesterday it had appointed long-serving banker Isam Al-Sager as group chief executive, succeeding Ibrahim Dabdoub, who is retiring from the post after three decades. Sager became CEO of the bank’s Kuwait business in 2008 and was promoted to deputy group CEO in 2010. Dabdoub has close ties with policymakers in Kuwait and around the Gulf. He transformed NBK from a local lender into one of the Middle East’s biggest financial institutions, making the choice of his successor pivotal. “NBK will continue with its Isam Al-Sager current strategy strengthening its leading position both locally and regionally,” the bank said in a statement following its general assembly. The head of the bank’s Kuwait business, Shaikha Al-Bahar, has replaced Sager as deputy group CEO, it added. Dabdoub will remain as a consultant to the board of directors. The choice of Sager will not be a surprise to Kuwait’s banking community; his name had been mentioned privately as early as 2005 as part of succession plans at the bank, Kuwait’s largest. — Reuters

KUWAIT: National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem (right) and his Lebanese counterpart Nabih Berri give a press conference at the Assembly yesterday. Berri arrived in Kuwait the day before for an official visit as all parties in Lebanon succeeded in forming the new Lebanese government. Berri expressed his appreciation to the Kuwaiti leadership’s support to his country at all levels. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Unfastened seatbelts, mobile use targeted MoI denies KD 50 fines By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: Many drivers have been shocked by reports that spread through social media that the fines for not fastening seatbelts and using mobiles while driving is KD 50 for each offense. This came as a traffic campaign against these violations began in earnest yesterday. But according to Lt Col Nawaf AlHayan of the Traffic Department at the Ministry of Interior, these reports are just rumors. “Any proposal or suggestion of the ministry cannot be applied unless the draft law is approved by the National Assembly. So currently, the fines are still the same - KD 5 for not using the seat-

Max 20º Min 10º High Tide 00:46 & 13:58 Low Tide 07:44 & 19:50

belt and KD 10 for using mobile phones while driving. If the driver is using a headset and not holding the mobile in his hand, he won’t be ticketed. A motorist cannot concentrate on driving while using the phone to access social media and so on,” he told Kuwait Times. This camping focuses on direct fines. “The head of the traffic department recommended strict action against violating drivers by policemen who stop them on the road. This is due to the fast and immediate result of a ticket, which has a deterring effect on other drivers, while an indirect fine may register months after being committed and doesn’t have the same effect,” Hayan explained. Continued on Page13

KUWAIT: National Assembly Speaker Marzouq AlGhanem said yesterday that the Gulf security pact, which has become a focus of controversy in Kuwait in the past weeks, is not likely to be ratified by the Assembly this term and called on the government not to press for an immediate approval. Ghanem told a press conference that a majority of MPs - both supporters and opponents of the pact - have demanded to delay its ratification until they have seen the constitutional, legal and political opinions before making their decisions. The current Assembly term is expected to end by the end of June while the next term normally opens in the last week of October, which means that the pact is not expected to come up for debate until late this year or early next year. The pact was signed by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) interior ministers in Saudi Arabia in Nov 2012 and later approved by the GCC leaders at their summit in Bahrain in Dec 2012. The security agreement was specially modified to enable Kuwait to join after it refused to take part in an earlier pact introduced in 1994, saying it violated the constitution. Ratification by the Assembly is essential for the pact to become a law and effective. Ghanem said that from available indications, the security pact is not expected to be approved in its current form and he has asked the Assembly’s constitutional committee to conduct a legal study on the pact and Continued on Page 13

UAE expels 8 Kuwaiti students DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates have expelled eight Kuwaiti students from two universities for forming a union, collecting donations and holding unauthorized meetings, a higher education official said. The expulsion is a rare move against students from a fellow Gulf country. Kuwait’s Al-Rai newspaper speculated that the students were expelled due to suspected links to the Muslim Brotherhood which is banned in the UAE. The University of Sharjah and the University of Ajman have expelled the students for “violating the internal regulations of the universities,” the official from the ministry of higher education said late Saturday. The students were involved in “forming a student union with a permit from the administration at both universities, in addition to collecting donations and holding illegal gatherings in dormitories,” the state news agency WAM quoted the official as saying. “This represents a violation of UAE laws,” the unnamed official added, without disclosing the identities or the affiliations of the students. Al-Rai reported on Saturday that the students were told they were “no longer welcome” in the UAE “on the assumption that they belong to the Muslim Brotherhood or similar Continued on Page13

Saudi Net monitors focus on radicalism

Refineries at risk of more power woes KUWAIT/DUBAI: Kuwaiti oil refineries are at risk of more shutdowns because of an inadequate power supply system, which has blighted the oil producer during years of rapid demand growth and underinvestment. The exact cause of the power failure that shut down all three of the country’s oil refineries with a total capacity of around 930,000 barrels per day late last month is unclear. Officials have not discussed the specific cause publicly; officials at the electricity ministry were not available to comment. But the fact that three complexes the 460,000 bpd Mina Ahmadi, PAGE

270,000 bpd Mina Abdullah and 200,000 bpd Shuaiba refineries - were all knocked out at the same time suggests the fault lies with the state electricity supplier, not onsite electrical faults, analysts and industry officials said. “Power was cut from the source,” a spokesman for Kuwait National Petroleum Co told Reuters. Refiner y outages are common around the world, and last month’s incident was not the first time that three refineries were hit simultaneously. A substation shutdown last April caused major problems at three Continued on Page 13

S Koreans killed in Egypt bus bombing


Abbas: We won’t ‘flood Israel’

NAJAF: A rickshaw drives past a portrait of Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr yesterday in this shrine city in central Iraq, where Sadr settled few years ago after four years of self-imposed exile in Iran. — AFP

RAMALLAH: Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said yesterday he was not looking “to flood Israel” with returning Palestinian refugees, at a rare meeting with 250 Israeli students at his West Bank headquarters. He also said there was no need to “re-divide” Jerusalem in order to have a Palestinian capital in the Arab eastern sector, a central demand of the Palestinians in US-brokered peace talks relaunched last year that have shown little sign of progress. “Propaganda says Abu Mazen wants to flood Israel with five million refugees to

destroy the state of Israel,” he told the group at his Muqataa presidential compound in Ramallah, referring to himself by his nickname. “All we said is that we should put the refugee file on the table because it is an issue we must solve to end the conflict,” he told them, adding that any solution must be “just and agreed upon”. “But we will not seek to flood Israel with millions of refugees to change its social character. This is a lie,” said Abbas, who is himself a refugee. Continued on Page 13

Sadr quits politics NAJAF, Iraq: Powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr, leader of a major political movement and a key figure in postSaddam Iraq, has announced his exit from politics two months before elections. The decision, if confirmed as permanent, brings to a close a political career that began with his fierce opposition to the US military presence in Iraq, and has spanned more than a decade. “I announce my non-intervention in all political affairs and that there is no bloc that represents us from now on, nor any position inside or outside the government nor parliament,” Sadr said in a written statement received by AFP yesterday. Ahead of legislative elections in April,

Sadr’s movement currently holds six cabinet posts as well as 40 seats in the 325member parliament. He also said his movement’s political offices will be closed, but that others related to social welfare, media and education will remain open. It was not immediately clear if the move was temporary or permanent, with Sadrist officials saying they had been taken by surprise and could not clarify. One official from Sadr’s office told AFP that no one wanted to discuss the issue “because it was a surprise decision”. “I do not think it will be reversed... because it is a very strong decision,” the official added. Continued on Page13

RAMALLAH: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (top left) and Israeli Labor party lawmaker Hilik Bar (top second left) arrive for a meeting with a delegation of mostly Israeli university students and activists at his compound yesterday. — AP

Saudi woman named first chief editor RIYADH: For the first time in Saudi Arabia, a woman has been named editor-in-chief of a daily newspaper published in the kingdom. The English-language Saudi Gazette announced on its website that Somayya Jabarti will take the helm at the newspaper. Her predecessor Khaled Almaeena wrote yesterday that Jabarti has worked with him for almost 13 years and is a determined and dedicated journalist. He wrote yesterday in the Saudi Gazette that “it was not a question of gender but of merit that decidSomayya Jabarti ed and earned her this opportunity”. Jabarti was formerly deputy editor-inchief at the newspaper she now leads. There are only a handful of journalism degrees offered to women in the kingdom, and many ultraconservative clerics in Saudi Arabia argue that women should not work alongside men. — AP



Dr Jamal Al-Harby cuts the ribbon.

A cake is being cut on the occasion.

Dar Al-Shifa inaugurates 3T imaging machine By Abdellatif Sharaa KUWAIT: A 3 Tesla (3T) magnetic resonance imaging machine was inaugurated at Dar Al-Shifa hospital yesterday. It is the first of its kind in Kuwait. Health Ministry Assistant Undersecretary for Technical Affairs Dr Jamal Al-Harby represented Health Minister Dr Ali AlObaidi for the opening ceremony of the new unit. Harby told Kuwait Times that this is the only system in the private sector with 3T (Tesla is the unit measuring the strength of a magnetic field). He said this gives the patient an option if he wants to go to the private sector, as it helps in reducing the waiting time for appointments. He also pointed out that with this machine, the heart and arteries can be tested without the use of a dye. He also said that the machine allows for testing the brain’s functions. In his remarks, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Dar Al-Shifa Dr Yousuf Al-Zafri said “it is known that the most important pillar in any hospital is an efficient radiology division supported by competent staff and modern equipment, and we do have such a division, which was able to gain the recognition of the American radiology academy for the first time in the Middle East. He said the hospital administration brought in the Skyra MRI machine with the power of 3T that is installed in an elegant environment to make the patient more comfortable. Head of the Radiology Department at Dar Al-Shifa Dr Mohammad Ismail said as Dar Al-Shifa considers the quality of health services paramount and has always sought the use of the most modern medical technologies, it was decided that the highly advanced MRI unit

Dar Al-Shifa Hospital CMO Yousif Alzafiri will be introduced to add to the already available outstanding equipment. He said the Skyra system with 3T power, along with 64 channels of electronic coils, makes it a qualitative move in the private sector and one step further by Dar Al-Shifa hospital, placing it among the advanced medical centers of the world. Ismail said the Skyra 3T system has a very high resolution for the very small parts of the body, which allows for new applications that are not available in other systems such as the functional scan of the brain to discover the epilepsy points and spectrum analyses for brain, breast and prostate tumors. He added that the system examines the efficiency of the heart muscle very accurately, “making us see what others do not!” The guests then toured the MRI unit and learned more about the system’s functions and how results are being read during the examination.

Dr Ziyad Al-Alyan with a guest.

Dr Al-Harby with Dr Mohammad Ismail.

The new 3T MRI machine

Doctors and guests during the opening ceremony

New calls to guarantee rights of deportees

KUWAIT: Lebanese House Speaker Nabih Berri arrives at the National Assembly yesterday. Berri expressed his appreciation to the Kuwaiti leadership’s ongoing support to his country at all levels. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: A senior government official called for opening an office in order to ensure that expatriate labor forces who are deported out of Kuwait receive their rights in full before they leave. “Opening this office is necessary so that Kuwait avoids sharp criticism made by international human rights organizations,” said Hadi Al-Enizy, the Assistant Director at the Labor Relations Department in the ministry. Al-Enizy further referenced Human Rights Watch reports which pointed out the “random deportation of thousands without trial”. “The proposed office can contain representatives from the Deportation Department, Labor Relations Department and the Ministry of Justice in order to ensure that a worker receives his or her rights in full before they are deported,” he said in statements published by Al-Jarida yesterday.

The MSAL announced a plan in 2013 to deport 100,000 foreigners each year as part of a scheme to cut the country’s expatriate population by one million within a decade with hope of addressing the state’s demographic imbalance. Thousands of people were arrested in police crackdowns since April of last year against illegal residents, who are those with expired visas, facing criminal court cases or fugitives as well as those currently detained or reported for absconding. Kuwait is home to 2.7 million expatriates who make up 68 percent of the country’s 3.9 million population. Small businesses Meanwhile, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor is expected to announce decisions to allow small business owners to recruit labor

forces which is currently suspended in Kuwait, in a bid to encourage Kuwaiti youth’s contributions. This was reported by Al-Qabas yesterday which indicated that Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Hind Al-Subaih was scheduled to sign four decisions soon to support small and medium businesses of Kuwaiti young men and women. One of the decisions allows labor forces to transfer their visas to companies run by young Kuwaiti citizens. However, the rule stipulates hiring a maximum of five workers at the beginning, and allows workers to transfer to other employers after three years from coming to Kuwait. The steps were made to prevent taking advantage of the law in visa trafficking, according to the sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Saudi Internet monitors focus on radicalism RIYADH: Syria’s civil war has led to a new, greater threat of Islamist radicalism in Saudi Arabia that requires a more aggressive “war of ideology” on the Internet, says the man responsible for online monitoring in the kingdom. Remarks by the head of the Saudi Ideological Security Directorate (ISD) suggest that the unit, known for keeping tabs on liberal activists and women drivers as well as Islamist extremists, is turning its focus increasingly towards those using the Internet to recruit fighters for jihad abroad. This month King Abdullah decreed that any Saudi who goes overseas to fight faces jail terms of 3-20 years. Authorities believe 1,000-2,000 of the kingdom’s citizens have gone to Syria to join the war there. The decree also imposes punishment on Saudis who join, glorify or give moral or material support to groups described as terrorist or extremist, a list that has not yet been published. From an office near a firing range in a police academy in Riyadh, the ISD keeps tabs on “anything that might influence the stability of Saudi Arabia,” said its director, Abdulrahman Al-Hadlaq. That broad mandate includes peaceful political or human rights activists, he said. Several have been jailed over the past year on charges that included comments made online. “Our job is to counter radicalisation - either conservatives or liberals,” he told Reuters in an interview. The directorate monitors online activity, reports threats to the security services and partici-

pates on social media to rebut arguments of Islamist militants speaking in favour of jihad. Hadlaq justified the policy by saying most governments, including those in the West, monitor citizens online. The Saudi monitors are careful to distinguish between people who simply voice opinions and those who incite others to action, he said. Three years after the Arab uprisings and facing a bitter rivalry with Iran being played out on the battlefields of Syria, and in Bahrain, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon - Saudi Arabia’s rulers feel more threatened than ever. Saudi Arabia is one of the main sources of arms and cash for rebels fighting against Iran’s ally Bashar Al-Assad in Saudi Arabia. But it has increasingly been worried about a blowback at home as Al-Qaeda-linked fighters gain influence, much as Saudi Arabia faced a threat from returning fighters from Afghanistan and Iraq who killed hundreds in a bombing campaign before being crushed last decade. It is imperative that Saudi Arabia fight a “war of ideology” online, Hadlaq said. “If we don’t do this, terrorists will come back and the terrorism issue will come back.” “Before the problems in Syria started, the role of Qaeda and the radicals were declining,” Hadlaq said. “When the issue of Syria came and the guys started watching the brutality of the system there and the regime in Syria, we started noticing that radicalisation might come back.”

Saudi Eggs Saudi Arabia’s few liberal activists worry that they are targeted by the same body that deals with terrorism. Saudis are among the world’s biggest users of social media, using it to discuss political, religious and social issues that were once seen as taboo. Many quietly grumble about what they see as heavy-handed interference by the authorities. Comments counter to government policy are quickly attacked by what users have come to refer to as “Saudi eggs” - suspected government officials represented by the egg that Twitter uses as the default image for users without profile photos. Hadlaq said most of the people who argue on the government’s behalf online are “volunteers” and many are doing so without the help, guidance or even knowledge of the authorities. Those who argue against militant Islamists “are really doing a good job, posting and replying to those extremists,” he said. Government monitors use a guidebook and database of arguments to counter militant rhetoric online, he said. “We have a huge guide that is really a reference for us... We have a database and we use it to refute. For example if someone says ‘I can go (on jihad) without taking permission from my mother’, we have an answer for this,” he said. Riyadh has shared this database with Western governments, he added. Over the past three years, the government has stepped up its campaign against all groups that

challenge the authorities, including human rights and pro-democracy advocates who have been detained and imprisoned. Last year the political and human rights activists Mohammed Fahd Qahtani and Abdullah Al-Hamad were jailed for more than 10 years, partly because of social media posts, including one that called for the then interior minister, the late Prince Nayef, to be stripped of his job and charged with rights abuses. Blogger Hamza Kashgari was imprisoned for more than a year after posting tweets of a hypothetical conversation with Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), ruled as blasphemous. Among other possible targets, Hadlaq said, could be the Muslim Brotherhood, the pan-Arab Islamist group which came to power in Egypt after the 2011 revolution there until it was overthrown by the military last year. In a sign of rare Saudi political ferment in recent months, some Saudis have begun using as their online avatars a four-fingered salute adopted as symbol by the Brotherhood after protesters were killed in a Cairo square last year. “Followers of the Muslim Brotherhood would be considered illegal, because the laws here are really against any creation of a political group,” Hadlaq said. The Brotherhood had pushed “issues that are in contradiction with the Saudi policies”. Use of the four-fingered sign on the Internet was being watched, but for now was considered more of a sign of sympathy with slain protesters than proof of illegal support for the Brotherhood’s

aims, Hadlaq said. Rebutting Militants In addition to monitoring the Internet, the ISD is also responsible for running the kingdom’s rehabilitation program for militants, oversees an anti-militancy publicity campaign and works to counter radicalisation among clerics and teachers. When it is concerned about somebody online it passes the information to an investigative security branch. “Sometimes you will report an issue on someone that from monitoring him you think he is dangerous. Then in a few days or weeks you will be seeing him taken to court,” said Hadlaq. Hadlaq added he thought there were “tens” of Saudis now under investigation or in a legal process because of comments written on social media. Most people being watched in the kingdom are “sympathisers” rather than actively involved with radical groups, he said. The new decree imposing prison terms for those who go abroad to fight or are aligned with groups the government sees as extremist will make the ISD’s job easier, he added. “Now you have a special law that really prosecutes, or helps you prosecute, people in a very clear way. I think this is important. We already noticed (online extremism) declining.” He defended the government’s policy of viewing liberal activists, including those calling for women being allowed to drive, as potentially dangerous. —Reuters



China, GCC looking for ‘a win-win situation’ SIIS chief visits Kuwait By Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: Around 562,000 students returned to schools, 362,000 in government and 200,000 in private schools, after break yesterday. —Photos by Joseph Shagra

Saudi ambassador denies disagreements with Kuwait KUWAIT: The Saudi ambassador to Kuwait, Dr Abdul Aziz Al-Fayez denied any disagreements between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and stressed that both countries’ relations were historically strong and deep-rooted and that they were of the strongest bilateral relations between any two regional countries. Speaking on an interview with Kuwait Arabic daily, AL-Jarida, Al-Fayez also denied having any direct relations with Kuwaiti lawmakers and that the embassy would never inter fere in

Military, security cooperation KUWAIT: Deputy Chief of National Security Apparatus Sheikh Mishaal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah discussed with Bahrain’s National Guard Staff Director Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Al Khalifa cooperation and exchange of expertise in various realms of security and military. In a press statement, Sunday, Sheikh Mishaal Al-Ahmad said that the Bahraini and Kuwaiti security personnel are competent in dealing with any circumstance efficiently. On his part, the Bahraini top security official stressed the importance of continuing the exchange expertise and training, under the GCC umbrella, to maintain this level of proficiency. During the meeting, the two officials exchanged commemorative gifts. Meanwhile, Undersecretary of the National Guard Lieutenant General Nasser Abdullah Al-De’e and his Bahraini counterpart have signed a protocol in military and security cooperation where it provides the two sides an opportunity to get various military training every six months. The Bahraini delegation arrived in yesterday in the country for a few days visit. —KUNA

Kuwaiti domestic matters and concerns. Al-Fayez also said KSA’s embassy in Kuwait has not dealt with the dual citizens’ issue because it does not have information about them. Responding to a question about the Saudis whose house in Al-Zour were demolished, Al-Fayez stressed that the embassy was constantly contacting Kuwaiti relevant authorities on issuing municipality licenses to commence building alternative new houses in AlKhairan or the new Zour area for them.

KUWAIT: Because of globalization and the information revolution, the world is facing a much complicated, fast moving and integrated world, said Prof Yang Jiemian, President Emeritus of the Shanghai Institute for International Studies (SIIS) as he faced the media yesterday at the Chinese Embassy in Qurtuba. The SIIS is an important think-tank in China and a trusted institute for foreign relations and strategic studies. His team is currently in Kuwait on a three-day visit. As China and the GCC are getting closer in various areas of cooperation, according to Yang, the need for greater interaction and brainstorming is necessary to think ahead to provide assessments and recommendations. “We are an institute that recommends action - we are here to interact with our partners,” he said. On China’s relations with the GCC, Yang said the ties have always been based on a win-win situation. “China-GCC relations are on the rise, turning better and better each day. China being the rising country in east Asia, we have much more overlap in strategic interests and diplomatic activities. We may have differences in opinion but in some specific issues, we share the same goals - we want the Gulf region to be a stable, secure and prosperous region. We want the Gulf region not to be destructed by the turmoil around it, which is mostly aggravated by the West,” he added. Yang noted that the GCC stands out prominently both economically and politically. “ The GCC is becoming an even more important player - the East is on the rise, the West is in a difficult situation, and China and the GCC are looking for win-win cooperation. We have completed almost all the negotiations on a free trade agreement. We are waiting for the final important push so we could continue. The relationship is both challenging and opportune at the same time,” he underscored. With regards to the ongoing Syrian conflict, he said China’s position is clear on the issue, “We are not seeking our own personal interest alone - we have a very limited inter-

KUWAIT: Prof Yang Jiemian, President Emeritus of Shanghai Institute for International Studies, addressing a press conference at the Chinese embassy yesterday. —Photo by Joseph Shagra est in Syria. But what we want is for diplomacy to work based on what’s best for the greater population. China is a rising power, and we do not want to be controlled by any superpower and Russia. This reminds us the best way to understand each other is through direct contact and interaction, and not by London or New York,” he pointed out. Yang also announced the upcoming Shanghai summit in May, better known as CICA (Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building in Asia). “We are greatly honored to host this summit which is held every four years. We are proposing to the world greater economic cooperation, so we are active in various areas. We always want to have good relations with the world,” he added. Asked on how he sees the territorial dis-

putes with Asian neighbors, Yang jokingly stated that the more neighbors you have, the more troubles you will experience. “Since ancient times, we have treated these neighbors dearly, and since we have many neighbors, troubles and difficulties are natural and expected. The South China Sea, for at least 900 years, is known to our fishermen. They have been in this area for a long time and never created any conflict, but the US seems to emphasize that the issue in the South China Sea is a military one. The Chinese view is different - we want safety and security, but we also want to protect our own interests,” he said. Cui Jiangchun, Ambassador of China to Kuwait, welcomed the media and the Chinese delegation and thanked them for their support and cooperation.

MP warns of Syria fighters By A Saleh KUWAIT: A Shiite MP raised concern yesterday over the potential influx of thousands of fighters in Syria to Gulf states, including Kuwait, according to unconfirmed reports. “ This means that according to security sources, at least 20,000 fighters from Arab and Gulf state could have already taken the decision to move to Kuwait,” MP Saleh Ashour said in a statement yesterday. Ashour referenced the international pressure on non-Syrian fighters to abandon bat-

tles in the troubled Arab state. “The events on the field in Syria are changing fast,” the lawmaker said, “especially with more pressure put on non-Syrians to leave the conflict zone”. Ashour believes that the reports have dangerous indications that threaten the security situation not only in Kuwait, but the Gulf region in general. “ We are holding the Interior Ministry responsible to face these risks firmly,” he said. Bedoon servicemen In other news, MP Abdullah Al-Tamimi

announced that he has received confirmation from Defense Minister Sheikh Khalid Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah to allow bedoons who are children of Kuwaiti women to enroll in the military. Tamimi said that there is a “large number” of those who fit in this category and who have been waiting for an opportunity to be recruited in the military. “They will be enrolled in the Ministry of Defense by next week,” the lawmaker said. Military service increases bedoons’ chances of naturalization, and these chances are even more enhanced if the applicant’s mother is Kuwaiti.



Janitors save Asian woman from kidnappers in Fintas Couple in custody for public indecency KUWAIT: Four building keepers played the role of heroes to save a woman from a kidnapper who targeted her in Fintas recently. According to the police report, the Filipina woman was walking out of her workplace, a beauty salon in the area, when a man stopped his car near her and tried to force her inside his vehicle. The situation caught the attention of keepers of four apartment buildings in the area. The ‘harises’ responded to the woman’s calls for help, prompting the suspect to drive away. The four Egyptian nationals gave their testimonies - including the license plate number of the suspect’s car - to police who arrived at the scene in response to an emergency call. Investigations are ongoing to identify and arrest the kidnapper. Youth dead in snowstorm A Kuwaiti young man identified as the son of a senior Kuwait Fire Services Directorate official died in an accident that happened during a snowstorm in the United States recently. 26-yearold Abdullah Al-Amir, the oldest son of Colonel Khalil Al-Amir, the Public Relations Director at the KFSD, was involved in an accident in North Carolina where he studied engineering. The accident was caused by the snowstorm that is currently hitting the American East coast. Brigadier General Khalid Al-Turkait, the General Director of

the KFSD, confirmed the news to Al-Rai daily, saying that he received a call from Colonel Al-Amir from London where he accompanies his parents in a treatment trip. Abdullah Al-Amir’s younger brother had also died in an accident in the United States last year when he fell into a swimming pool. Fatal crash A driver was killed in an accident reported recently near Saad Al-Abdullah area. Paramedics arrived at the scene with police shortly after the accident was reported, but discovered that the Kuwaiti man had already succumbed to his injuries. Criminal investigators were summoned to examine the scene and transfer the body to the forensic department. A case was filed to investigate the circumstances behind the accident. Public indecency A couple faces public indecency charges after they were arrested in a ‘compromising position’ according to police. The arrest happened on Valentine’s Day when patrol police approached a sports-utility-vehicle that was parked in an isolated place. They found a man and a woman inside, and asked them to step outside the vehicle to be arrested for public indecency. Police searched the car for contrabands, but could not find anything

Arab cultural prizes for Kuwaitis KUWAIT: Kuwaiti cultural and literary circles are taking much pride in Kuwaitis nabbing key Arab prizes in these fields, in par ticular the recent naming of researcher Talal Al-Rumaidhi and novelist Sadaa Al-Daas as winners of the Arab League Educational, Cultural, and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) Prize for Creativity and Technical Invention. Former Kuwaiti Writers Association secretary general and Editor in Chief of the association’s Bayan magazine Saleh Al-Misbah said this is testimony to years of pioneering in the fields of cultural and literar y contribution in the State of Kuwait, and testimony to the standing of the association itself, half a century since its establishment. Encouraging Kuwaiti men of letters to compete for such prestigious prizes, he added the prizes would be awarded at a ceremony in Baghdad, this year’s Arab

Culture Capital, in a ceremony co-organized by the Iraqi Ministry of Culture later this month. Talal Al-Rumaidhi said he was most proud to represent his homeland and dedicated this honor to His Highness the Amir, His Highness the Crown Prince, as well as the Minister of Information whose suppor t is invaluable to all Kuwaiti talent. Al-Daas meanwhile said she was pleasantly surprised when she was named winner, “in view of the impressive level of competition ... and since winning required passing two levels; nomination by the concerned country’s national panel and the fine selection from the impressive entries across the Arab World. The Arab League Educational, Cultural, and Scientific Organization Prize for Creativity and Technical Invention names winners in 32 categories. —KUNA

aside from Valentine’s Day gifts. The Kuwaiti couple was taken to the Salmiya police station for further action. Fugitive at large Search is on for a fugitive who managed to escape during a police chase that took place Saturday in Jahra. Patrol officers went in the suspect’s pursuit after he ignored orders to pull over. The man was eventually forced to stop after his car broke down from multiple pavement hits, but managed to escape on foot when he threatened officers with a cleaver. Police found the suspect’s wallet inside the car, which included his civil ID. Police also discovered that the car that the Kuwaiti man was driving is reported stolen. Investigations are ongoing. Suicide attempt A domestic worker was hospitalized in a critical condition after he consumed poison in a bid to end his life, according to preliminary investigations. Paramedics and police arrived at the Kaifan house where a Kuwaiti man reported that his employee was badly sick. The 25-year-old Indian man was taken to the Amiri Hospital where he was diagnosed with blood poisoning. Investigations revealed that the man ingested pesticides in a suicide attempt. Investigations are ongoing.

UAE renews request to keep islands on UNSC agenda NEW YORK: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) late Saturday requested that the item relating to the question of the Iranian occupation of the Greater Tunb, the Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa - “three islands belonging to the United Arab Emirates” - be retained on the UN Security Council’s agenda for 2014. In a letter to the Secretary-General, UAE Ambassador Lana Zaki Nusseibeh said the item should remain on the Council’s agenda “until such time as the dispute is resolved by peaceful means through direct negotiations or through the International Court of Justice, thereby ensuring a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement of the issue and achieving peace, security and regional and international stability.” Governments that would like to keep an issue of interest to them on the Council’s agenda, have to notify the Secretary-General in writing every year before the end of February. If they fail to do so, the Council drops the item automatically from its agenda. —KUNA

KUWAIT: Three fire centers battled a fire that broke out in a carpentry shop in Farwaniya area yesterday. The unlicensed workshop is located in the basement of a building, and fire reached the first floor. Residents of the building were evacuated soon and the firemen prevented the fire from spreading to nearby areas. —By Hanan Al-Saadoun

Buoyant Gulf still has to watch its spending habits DUBAI: The modest pick-up in oil prices recently amounts to yet another reminder that consensus expectations will often be wrong, or at least misleading as a guide to the short-term outlook. Gold’s turnabout belongs in the same category of behaviour. That’s not only logical, as immediate market volatilities may well drown out the underlying fundamentals applying over time, but also to be expected if you consider the efficiency (even imperfect) of international, liquid markets in discounting anticipated factors. Once everyone is talking about the next big thing, it’s already ‘in the price’. Thus it is that both retail investors and jobbing journalists may cotton on to a trend that’s developed - in financial markets, anyway - just when it’s run its course. That said, it’s early days still in 2014 as to where oil prices are heading, and, in any case, what buoyancy there has been has hardly been transformational. For the Gulf’s producing and exporting countries there’s still enough basis for concern about likely receipts this year, and indeed into the longer term. China’s deleveraging banking and credit system is the latest, severe concern undermining hopes of sustained global recovery. Budget policies It’s on that sort of foundation that this column has touched on analytical attention to GCC governments’ budget policies. Many sources have testified that what are called ‘budget breakevens’ (ie, the level of oil prices in relation to spending commitments and revenue-raising precedents) have been on the rise, and expenditure plans would be susceptible to falling earnings. In principle, as Dr Florence Eid, Chief Economist of economic research and strategy firm Arabia Monitor, explains, “If over multiple successive years the breakeven price of oil is above the actual price, that would result in fiscal vulnerability, ceterus paribus.” If the current account were to widen too, that would “compounds vulnerabilities.” A report by economics think-tank CEBR recently described the multi-dimensional context in this regard. “Exceptionally strong population growth across the region, combined with industries which are traditionally capital, rather than labour, intensive has left governments facing difficulties in providing productive

employment for their workforce.” In the face of tension among a relatively youthful populace, state outlays have increased as a mollifying measure. “Many countries need to walk a tightrope - avoiding agitation, creating employment without excessive spending, and raising revenue.” That assessment was aimed at the Middle East region as a whole, but no-one need pretend that the essence of that stringency doesn’t apply in the Gulf to some degree as well. Readers might wonder, though, how budget stresses can really be a serious matter when funds appear flush in terms of the surpluses on the balance of payments with the rest of the world. Domestic finances surely should be able to rely on the GCC countries’ vast accumulations of capital and derived income, so that talk of budget deficits imposing burdens and constraints would seem alarmist. Or is that too simplistic a view? Significant pressure On the face of it, the favourable assumption is underlined by studies indicating that oil prices have a long way to drop yet to impose significant pressure on national accounts. Harking back to the IMF staff’s latest regional review (November), that made clear an opinion that “heightened risks” lay ahead, with financial balances weakening according to baseline projections of oil prices (see box, charts). Clearly, though, annual current account data and their track record ought to provide an ample cushion. “In the GCC, government spending is a main driver of growth, so the spillover, both economic and social, from a government having to cut back could be significant,” says Farouk Soussa, chief economist for the Middle East at Citi. “That said, the GCC does have significant cash reserves from which it can continue to finance spending even in a deficit, so the actual outlook in the event of an oil price decline is potentially more benign than suggested by looking at breakeven oil prices alone.” So perhaps it is stretching a point to suppose that Gulf governments may find their policies under a cloud through sunken oil prices. At the same time, such a scenario cannot be ruled out, especially as the world could yet be in for another deflationary shock. —Gulf News

minister accuses Islamic Society MANAMA: Minister of Justice Sheikh Khaled bin Ali Al-Khalifa accused AlWefaq Islamic Society yesterday of inciting violence, and “harboring saboteurs and terrorists.” Sheikh Khaled, also Minister of Islamic Affairs and Endowment, said leaders of the Society were playing a detrimental role in fuelling violence in Bahrain. “Al-Wefaq leaders condone terrorist groups which advocate violence as their mantra in words and acts,” he said in a statement. He recalled that AlWefaq secretary general had said that “complementary revolutionary work is worth praising, appreciating and commending.” Sheikh Khaled slammed Al-Wefaq leaders for “failing, once more, to condemn violence unequivocally, thus condoning terror, as usual, through the use of the false slogans in which they profess peacefulness and reform. —KUNA



KUWAIT: The raffle draw held on Thursday at Sears Farwaniya.

One of the contests held for the public at Sears store.

Khaled Jouma, Alfredo Cana, Mohammad Bin Ahmad — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Sears holding weeklong carnival By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: As part of the national celebrations and Hala February festival, Sears is holding a carnival at its outlets in Dajeej, Hawally and Abu Halifa for a week from Feb 15 to 21. The carnival includes contests and prizes for participants. “Our stores are participating in the Hala February festival. For each KD 5 spent in any of our stores, the customer will get a

coupon to enter the daily raffle draw for one Honda City car waiting for the lucky winner. The draw will be held in Sears Dajeej daily between Feb 15 and 21, at 7pm. In addition, we have other valuable prizes for winners every day,” Alfredo Cana, Store Manager of Sears Abu Halifa and Dadida Stores told Kuwait Times. “This celebration will highlight gift giving, music and art shows and family fun activities.

Concerted efforts needed to combat corruption KUWAIT: Head of the Anti-Corruption Authority Adviser Abdulrahman AlNimash said here yesterday that the decision of the Ministerial Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to establish a Committee of Heads of agencies responsible for protecting the integrity and anticorruption reflects sincere intentions and noble goals the GCC governments seek to achieve in this area. This came in a speech delivered by AlNimash at the opening of the two-day first meeting of heads of the agencies responsible for protecting the integrity and anticorruption in the GCC states currently being hosted by the authority. Al-Nimash added that this decision underscores the importance of unifying visions and efforts of the Gulf states to find an integrated system to enhance the integrity and anti-corruption to enable agencies concerned to track and trace the perpetrators of crimes of corruption and money used in such offenses in a way that spare the GCC states the dangers posed by these lesions. He added that the perpetrators of crimes of corruption and their collabora-

tors in government and private institutions spare no efforts in inventing tricks that enable them to reach their malicious goals, a matter which requires paying more attention to training and rehabilitation of national cadres working in the field of anti-corruption for the GCC countries. For his part, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani said in a similar speech that the conference reflects the great interest shown by the GCC to protect and promote the principle of transparency, integrity and anti-corruption in various fields. He noted that the forms of corruption in the developing and developed countries alike are more complex, comprehensive and influential, noting to the spread of the phenomenon of corruption money laundering. Al-Zayani said that corruption actions as a crime has taken a new and innovative patterns that differ from traditional crimes, which swept most of the world and has become a transnational crime requires concerted efforts at all national, regional and international levels to control it. — KUNA

In line with the Hala February celebrations, we currently have our end of season sale with up to 60 percent off and the new 2014 summer launch,” he added. All Sears branches offer the same promotions. “Every year we hold promotions and special offers along with the national celebrations, but this year we thought of expanding our activities and holding even bigger celebrations for more prizes. Furthermore, the

kids will have fun when visiting our stores, as we have various cartoon characters singing and dancing with them. Our stores are open daily from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm,” said Mohammad bin Ahmad, Sears Dajeej Store Manager. The daily raffle draw and the companying celebrations and activities are broadcast live on Kuwait TV. Customers can find Sears showrooms in Dajeej, Farwaniya, Kuwait Magic

Mall, Abu Halifa and Ibn Kaldoun St, Hawally and the soon to open store in The Boulevard, Salmiya. Sears is a US-based department store that carries a large range of consumer products and apparel. Sears was established in 1996 in Kuwait. The department stores carry a vast range of apparel for all ages and gender, cosmetics, home fashion, outdoor living, hardware, footwear and sporting goods.

Vehicle inspection without search warrant ‘illegal’ Policemen still commit violations KUWAIT: Despite repeated lawyers’ assertion that searching citizens and expatriates or their vehicles is illegal without having a search warrant from the public prosecutor’s office, and despite calls asking the Ministry of Interior to respect such legal procedures stipulated by law and the constitution, many security men still commit these violations. This makes many citizens and expatriates wonder about proper procedures to prevent being searched unless suspected or unless a search warrant is issued. In this regard, a number of lawyers stressed that such search attempts should be rejected and urged civilians to sue policemen who commit such violations. “The criminal procedure and trial law only allows security men to arrest and search civilians in certain cases and deems any other proceedings as acts of violations of the law,” said the deputy chairman of Kuwait Lawyers Society Wasmi Al-Wasmi, urging civilians to reject being searched at checkpoints unless policemen have proper search warrants. While urging the interior ministry to respect

legal and constitutional procedures, he also urged them to file complaints against policemen who do not comply and insist on searching them or treating them brutally. Lawyer Mohannad Al-Sayer stressed that traffic policemen are not entitled to search civilians’ vehicles forcefully and that the latter have every right to file complaints and hold violators legally accountable. Law professor Dr Jassim Al-Botai said that the law gives civilians many rights including only being searched by authorized and specialized security personnel. “Unauthorized searching foils any procedures even if those searched possess illegal items,” he underlined, noting that the law entitles civilians to sue security men for such actions. He also urged civilians not to respond violently in case of such violations because this would be considered a legally accountable assault against a public servant. Meanwhile, a security source at MoI’s legal affairs and monitoring and inspection departments seconded the story published by Al-Jarida last week

about the illegality of unauthorized searches. Notably, MoI’s security media had asked ministry lawyers to prepare a legal response to the story but they stressed that the story was correct and that any response might legally embarrass MoI. They also stressed that many security agents have been committing such mistakes while precautionary searching civilians and that this usually weakens many cases and some acquitted defendants have sued the ministry demanding compensation. Meanwhile, more than 59,000 tickets were issued during the first four hours since the Traffic General Department at the Interior Ministry launched campaigns against drivers who do not fasten the seatbelt or use their phones while driving. This was reported by Al-Qabas yesterday which quoted Maj Gen Abdulfattah Al-Ali, the Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs. The senior official said that 93 per cent of drivers in Kuwait do not put their seatbelts on regularly, and added as well that cell phones were the reason behind 73 percent of fatal accidents reported in Kuwait last year.



kuwait digest

Local Spotlight

What constitution are you talking about?

GCC security agreement

By Khalid Al-Awadhi

T By Muna Al-Fuzai




he proposed security agreement by the Gulf Cooperation Council members has been a matter of heated debate in Kuwait. Most political groups so far have been against it. Of course, all groups are looking at it from their own perspectives. The government seems stuck in the grey area in between as usual and most probably will act based on public reaction. In all cases, if the government and the National Assembly agree to pass it, others’ opinions would not matter. I believe in protecting Kuwait’s constitution although some of its articles are not relevant today. The constitution was put together in the ‘60s and it is about time to revise and evaluate its articles to provide people with more freedom of speech and rephrase some communist articles that force the government to take care of citizens from birth until death. It has become a donor and this is surely not acceptable or correct or healthy because we should encourage citizens to participate in building their community and develop their country. Oil Minister Ali Al-Omair said in media statements that the government will not refer anything that contradicts the constitution to the parliament. He said that “the Gulf agreement stresses the sovereignty of each member state”. Clearly, the government is in favor of this agreement. Key statements in this regard have to be made to calm the public while some of its articles need explanation. I think there is a need for pressure from the parliament to explain some of its articles, particularly the extradition of suspects and the definition of crimes. There is a need for public pressure to make sure the agreement is not endorsed. This article has been a matter of discussion and argument due to its contradiction with the Kuwaiti constitution, human rights and freedom. This article specifically should pass not to please others and I don’t think Kuwait’s government will dare to pass it, ignoring public opposition and rejection . A GCC official said that the agreement stipulates full cooperation between member states and mutual responsibilities to preserve their collective security and stability. No one argues the need to have mutual cooperation among the GCC - this is what the role of the GCC was from the time of its inception. The foreign affairs committee should not rush quickly in giving its approval to the agreement until further study. It should get clear answers to its key articles and then make a final decision. No one opposes cooperation, but we have a constitution we will fight for, and I do not accept anything that may contradict it.

In my view

Yemen running out of time By Abdulateef Al-Mulhim


nce known as the Happy Yemen (Yemen Saeed), it is more than just a country. It is one of the oldest centers of civilization. In recent years, Yemenis helped build their neighboring countries but somehow did not work for uplifting their own. Yemenis are hardworking people and have an astonishing ability to adapt to changing environments. It is mainly due to this quality that they can be found all across the world and praised for living in harmony with people from diverse cultural background. Ironically though, they fail to tolerate each other in their own country. Internal disputes and tribal rivalries have cost the country hundreds of thousands of lives and destroyed the already primitive infrastructure. In the not so distant future, it may become the world’s first country to run out of water. This writer feels that it is not just water; it is also running out of time. A bloody civil war between the south and north and tribal disputes have aggravated the situation. With a population of more than 20 million, Yemen is one of the most underdeveloped countries of the region with one of the highest birth rates. With few major cities such as Sanaa, Hudaidah and Aden, the majority of the people live in small towns and villages scattered across the country. Had it not been for the continuous fighting, Yemen could have been a prosperous country. Sadly though, it is because of the Yemenis that this country is

lagging behind in almost every sphere of life. So, who is going to save Yemen from its own people? The country was divided between the Ottoman and British empires in the early 20th century. Later the two sides emerged as independent countries only to get united in 1990 to form the modern republic of Yemen. Despite this union, the two sides always remained at loggerheads. Being one of the ancient centers of civilization, Yemen is home to many historical sites. If planned properly, it could become a great tourist attraction in the region that could help boost the economy of the country. Obviously for that to happen, it has to be politically stable. Yemen has been largely dependent on foreign aid. The neighboring Gulf countries and other Western states have been injecting billions of dollars into the Yemeni economy to keep it afloat. It, however, remains a mystery as to where those foreign funds evaporated. The description of Yemen will remain incomplete without the mention of qat. It is a flowering plant and is kind of a drug. A large number of Yemenis are addicted to it. The number of small arms perhaps exceeds the total population and the arms market in Yemen is often described as the largest open market in the world. You can buy any kind of weapon freely and openly. Poverty and a lack of good education has made Yemen an open ground for infiltrators. Al-Qaeda made its base after the US invasion of Afghanistan and became not a threat to itself but a threat to the world.

he Kuwaiti government defended the Gulf security pact in recent statements, as it assured that the agreement does not contradict Kuwait’s constitution and reiterated its commitment to adhering to the constitution’s articles. I personally do not know whether they are really talking about the Kuwaiti constitution or not, and what articles are they claiming to be committed to. The constitution, which was issued in 1962 after it was approved by then Amir Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah and members of the Constituent Assembly, states in its very first article that Kuwait is an independent and fully sovereign state. Article 30 of the constitution states that personal liberty is guaranteed, while article 34 stipulates that an accused person is innocent until proven guilty in a legal trial in which the necessary guarantees for the exercise of the right of defense are secured. Article 70 states in the meantime that ‘in no case may treaties include secret provisions contradicting those declared’. Meanwhile, article 181 says that ‘no provision of the constitution may be suspended except when Martial Law is in force and within the limits specified by the law’. Those are some articles which prove that the security pact clearly contradicts the Kuwaiti constitution, unlike what the government says. This also proves one thing - the government is not committed to adhere to the constitution’s articles as it claims. Maybe the government was talking about a constitution other than Kuwait’s. Even if that was the case, I never heard of any constitution that allows ‘foreign’ military vehicles and boats to enter our lands and seas in order to ‘pursue fugitives’ in clear violation of our national sovereignty. I have never heard of a constitution that bans Kuwaitis from speaking freely about a certain topic under the pretext that they might violate a ‘foreign’ country’s regulations and so that they avoid being prosecuted by authorities in the said country. There is no way the government could be talking about the constitution of Kuwait! In the end, I would like to send a short message to our constitutional experts, especially Dr Mohammad Al-Feeli and Dr Mohammad Al-Moqatei who recently stated that ratifying the Gulf security pact through an emergency decree would be ‘unwise’. To them I say this - why are you using vague terminology that does not reflect your true convictions, and at the same time leave the door open for anyone to take this obscurity to their advantage? —Al-Qabas

In my view

Rights violations in Iraq continue By Ramzy Baroud


hen they first put the electricity on me, I gasped; my body went rigid and the bag came off my head,” Israa Salah, a detained Iraqi woman told Human Rights Watch (HRW) in her heart-rending testimony. The US and Iraqi forces arrested Israa (not her real name) in 2010. She was tortured to the point of confessing to terrorist charges she didn’t commit. According to HRW’s “No One is Safe” - a 105-page report released on Feb 6 there are thousands of Iraqi women in jail being subjected to similar practices, held with no charges, beaten and raped. In Israa’s case, she received most degrading, but typical treatment. She was handcuffed, pushed down on her knees and kicked in the face until her jaw broke. And when she refused to sign the confession, it was then that electric wires were attached to her handcuffs. Welcome to the “liberated” Iraq, a budding “democracy,” which US officials rarely cease celebrating. There is no denial that the brutal policies of the Iraqi government under Nuri Al-Maliki is a continuation of the same policies of the US military administration, which ruled over Iraq from 2003 until the departure of US troops in December 2011. It is as if the torturers have read from the same handbook. In fact, they did. The torture and degrading treatment of Iraqi prisoners - men and women - in Abu Ghraib prison was not an isolated incident carried out by a few “bad apples.” Only the naive would buy into the “bad apples” theory, and not because of the sheer horrendousness and frequency of the abuse. Since the Abu Ghraib revelations early in 2004, many such stories emerged, backed by damning evidence, not only throughout Iraq, but in Afghanistan as well. The crimes were not only committed by the Americans, but the British as well, followed by the Iraqis, who were chosen to continue with the mission of “democratization.” “No One is Safe” presented some of the most harrowing evidence of the abuse of women by Iraq’s criminal “justice system.” The phenomenon of kidnapping, torturing, raping and executing women is so widespread that it seems shocking even by the standards of the country’s poor human rights record of the past. If such a reality were to exist in a different political context, the global outrage would have been so profound. Some in the “liberal” western media, supposedly compelled by women’s rights would have called for some measure of humanitarian intervention, war even. But in the case of today’s Iraq, the HRW report is likely to receive bits of coverage where the issue is significantly deluded, and eventually forgotten. In fact, the abuse of thousands of women - let alone tens of thousands of men - has already been discussed in a political vacuum. A buzzword that seems to emerge since the publication of the report is that the abuse confirms the “weaknesses” of the Iraqi judicial system. The challenge then becomes the matter of strengthening a weak system, perhaps through channeling more money, constructing larger facilities and providing better monitoring and training, likely carried out by US-led training of staff.

Mostly absent are the voices of women’s groups, intellectuals and feminists who seem to be constantly distressed by the traditional marriage practices in Yemen, for example, or the covering up of women’s faces in Afghanistan. There is little, if any, uproar and outrage, when brown women suffer at the hands of western men and women, or their cronies, as is the situation in Iraq. If the HRW report remerged in complete isolation from an equally harrowing political context created by the US invasion of Iraq, one could grudgingly excuse the relative silence. But it isn’t the case. The Abu Ghraib culture continues to be the very tactic by which Iraqis have been governed since March 2003. Years after the investigation of the Abu Ghraib abuses had begun, Maj Gen Antonio Taguba, who had conducted the inquiry, revealed that there were more than 2,000 unpublished photos documenting further abuse. “One picture shows an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner while another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee,” reported the Telegraph newspaper on May 2009. Maj Gen Taguba had then supported Obama’s decision not to publish the photos, not out of any moralistic reasoning, but simply because “the consequence would be to imperil our troops, the only protectors of our foreign policy, when we most need them, and British troops who are trying to build security in Afghanistan.” Of course, the British, the builders of security in Afghanistan, wrote their own history of infamy through an abuse campaign that never ceased since they had set foot in Afghanistan. Considering the charged political atmosphere in Iraq, the latest reported abuses are of course placed in their own unique context. Most of the abused women are Sunni and their freedom has been a major rallying cry for rebelling Sunni provinces in central and western Iraq. In Arab and Muslim culture, dishonoring one through occupation and the robbing of one’s land comes second to dishonoring women. The humiliation that millions of Iraqi Sunni feel cannot be explained by words and militancy is an unsurprising response to the government’s unrelenting policies of dehumanization, discrimination and violence. While post-US invasion Iraq was not a heaven for democracy and human rights, the “new Iraq” has solidified a culture of impunity that holds nothing sacred. In fact, dishonoring entire communities has been a tactic in Al-Maliki’s dirty war. Many women were “rounded up for alleged terrorist activities by male family members,” reported the Associated Press, citing the HRW report. “Iraqi security forces and officials act as if brutally abusing women will make the country safer,” said Joe Stork, deputy MENA director at HRW. It was the same logic that determined that through “shock and awe” Iraqis could be forced into submission. Neither theory proved accurate. The war and rebellion in Iraq will continue as long as those holding the key to that massive Iraqi prison understand that human rights must be respected as a precondition to a lasting peace.


Gaza bodyguards open first private security firm

Morsi’s lawyers stage walk-out Page 8

Page 8

JAKARTA: US Secretary of State John Kerry (right) tours the Istiqlal Mosque with Grand Imam KH Ali Mustafa Yaqub yesterday. (Inset) Kerry takes a selfie with a group of students before delivering a speech on climate change. —AP/AFP

Kerry visits largest mosque in SE Asia Kerry urges action on climate change JAKARTA: US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Southeast Asia’s largest mosque during his visit to Indonesia yesterday, paying tribute to Islam in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation. After removing his shoes outside the Istiqlal mosque in the heart of Jakarta, Kerry took a 20minute tour through the vast building accompanied by grand imam Kyai Al-Hajj Ali Mustafa Yaqub. Calling it an “extraordinary place”, the top US diplomat told Indonesian reporters: “I am very privileged to be here and I am grateful to the grand imam for allowing me to come.” He then said in Arabic “As-salaam alai-kum” (peace be

upon you), a greeting often used by Muslims around the world. The administration of US President Barack Obama has worked hard to try to repair relations with the Muslim world, which were badly frayed under the previous administration with the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Obama, who spent part of his childhood in Jakarta, also visited the mosque in 2010 when he travelled to the archipelago. The United States and other Western powers have often referred to Indonesia the world’s third biggest democracy-as a bridge to the Muslim world. Ninety percent of Indonesia’s 250 million people identify themselves as Muslims, and most practice a moderate form of Islam.

Fresh spying allegations But the two-day visit that began on a colorful note may be marred by fresh spying allegations that emerged yesterday in a New York Times report. The report said Australia offered intelligence to the US National Security Agency (NSA) to give Washington leverage during a trade dispute with Jakarta. The report, based on leaked documents by former NSA analyst Edward Snowden, said that the Australian Signals Directorate offered the NSA information “including communications between Indonesian officials and the American law firm” that was representing Jakarta in the trade dispute.

Kerry and Indonesian officials have not commented on the issue, and US State Department officials declined to comment. The secretary of state may have to answer questions, however, when he meets Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa. He will also hold a joint press conference with the minister today morning. Kerry was scheduled to meet President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono today afternoon. But a senior State Department official said the meeting had been cancelled because of the president’s “obligations related to the aftermath of the volcano”-referring to the Mount Kelud eruption in eastern Java Thursday that killed four people.

4 killed in Egypt bus blast CAIRO: A bomb tore through a bus carrying South Korean sightseers near an Egyptian border crossing with Israel yesterday, killing three tourists and their Egyptian driver, a senior official said. It was the first attack on tourists since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July sparked unrest and a spate of attacks across the country. The bomb exploded in the front part of the bus at Taba border crossing with Israel in south Sinai, the interior ministry said. South Sinai governor Khaled Fouda told AFP three of the dead were South Koreans, along with the Egyptian driver, and 13 were wounded in the attack. In Seoul, the South Korean foreign ministry confirmed the death of two of its nationals, saying they were members of a Christian church on tour. A doctor who had been waiting for a bus nearby witnessed the blast. “There were body parts and corpses. I saw the corpse of a man who appeared to be Korean, with a leg missing,” said Ahmed Ali, who runs a clinic in a neighbouring resort. The explosion blew off the front of the yellow bus and

tore out parts of the roof. The interior ministry said in a statement that the tourists had set off from Cairo and were waiting at the crossing to enter Israel when the explosion happened. The attack is likely to further damage Egypt’s foundering tourism industry. “Terrorism has no religion. The police and the army are working to eliminate it,” Fouda said. A spokesman for the Israel Airports Authority, which is responsible for border security, told AFP that the Taba crossing had been closed in the wake of the blast. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Tourism hit hard Scores of Egyptian policemen and soldiers have been killed in bombings in Sinai and the Nile Delta, but yesterday’s attack was the first to target tourists since Morsi’s overthrow. The unrest since last summer has severely hit tourism, a vital earner in Egypt which has been targeted sporadically by militants over the past two decades. The government’s census agency said the number of tourists was down in

Dec 2013 by almost 31 percent compared with the same month in 2012. Yesterday’s bombing came as a court in Cairo began trying Morsi and 35 codefendants on charges of espionage and collusion with militants to launch attacks in Egypt. The military-installed government has accused Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood of masterminding the attacks that have also targeted police headquarters in Cairo. The Brotherhood, now designated as a terrorist group, denies involvement in the bombings. The deadliest attacks have been claimed by the Sinaibased Ansar Beit al-Maqdis group, whose leadership is drawn from militant Bedouin who want an Islamist state in the peninsula. That group also took responsibility for downing a military helicopter in Sinai on January 25 using a heat-seeking shoulderfired missile. The attack prompted concerns that militants could use such weapons to target commercial flights to resorts in south Sinai. Between 2004 and 2006, scores of Egyptians and foreign tourists were killed in a spate of bombings in resorts in south Sinai.—AFP

Plane carrying 18 missing in Nepal KATHMANDU: Rescuers in Nepal scrambled yesterday to find a Nepal Airlines plane carrying 18 people that went missing in the country’s mountainous west, officials said. The plane with 15 passengers and three crew on board lost contact with air traffic controllers shortly after taking off from the popular tourist town of Pokhara, airline officials and police said. “The Nepal Airlines plane with 14 (adult) passengers took off from Pokhara airport at 1.30 pm and disappeared 15 minutes later,” Nepal police spokesman Ganesh KC told AFP. A total of 18 people were on board, the 14 adult passengers, plus one infant and three crew, an airline spokesman said. “One of the passengers is from Denmark,” spokesman Ram Hari Sharma told AFP. The rest of those on board are from Nepal. Heavy rain was hampering efforts to search for the plane, with two helicopters forced to turn back because of bad weather, Bimlesh Lal Karna, chief air traffic controller at the country’s largest airport in

Kathmandu, said. “The weather was not bad at the time the plane went missing... It worsened later on,” Karna told AFP. “Two helicopters that were sent from Pokhara returned due to bad weather,” he said. “We are sending another one from Kathmandu,” he added. The state-run carrier was travelling from Pokhara to the town of Jumla, 353 kilometers (220 miles) west of the capital Kathmandu, when air traffic controllers lost contact with the pilot. The incident again raises concerns about the Himalayan nation’s aviation sector, which has come under fire from international authorities after a series of fatal accidents. The European Union in December blacklisted all the country’s airlines and banned them from flying to the EU. Nepal, which counts tourism as a major contributor to its economy, has suffered a number of air crashes in recent years, which have usually been attributed to inexperienced pilots, poor management and maintenance.—AFP

At the mosque Kerry showed no signs of any diplomatic tension, smiling for the cameras after beating a giant drum that soared several feet above his head as the imam explained drums were once used as a call to prayer. Kerry signed a note to be placed in the mosque’s guestbook, reading: “It has been a special honor to visit this remarkable place of worship. “The amazing space and light and the extraordinary dome are the perfect way to welcome prayers. “We are all bound to one God and the Abrahamic faiths tie us... together in love for our fellow man and honor for the same God. May peace be with you.—AFP



Dozens feared killed by gunmen in Nigeria KANO: Gunmen suspected of being Boko Haram Islamists have reportedly k illed dozens of people, mostly Christians, in a village in northeast Nigeria, an official and local residents said yesterday. “They killed many, many people in the attack late Saturday. From the latest information I have gathered, more than 60 people have been killed,” the local government chairman, Maina Ularamu, told AFP. Ularamu, who spoke to AFP from the Nigerian capital Abuja, said the toll which he had gathered from residents of Izghe village in the troubled Borno

state still had to be verified. The residents of the village -populated by mostly Christians-had fled the scene of the carnage. “We suspect that the gunmen were members of Boko Haram. They have taken over the village,” Ularamu said. “They looted businesses and food stores and loaded all their spoils into vehicles owned by residents and fled into the bush.” The attack made hundreds of villagers homeless, he said, adding that he was about to return to the state capital Maiduguri to face the security and humanitarian challenges

created by the raid. A survivor of the attack, Barnabas Idi, a farmer, who said he scaled the fence of his house and crawled for about 40 minutes to safety, narrated to AFP his account of the raid. “The attackers came around 9:30 pm (2030 GMT) in six trucks and some motorcycles. They were dressed in military uniform. They asked men to assemble at a place, hacking and slaughtering them,” he said. Some of them went door-to-door looking for those in hiding in their houses. He said that he scaled over the fence of his house and “crawled on my

belly for 40 minutes until I was able to run to safety”. Izghe is about 140 kilometers (87 miles) from Maiduguri and Idi said that security agents were not present during the attack. Another resident who also survived the attack gave a similiar account of the raid. A military spokesman in the area, Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed Dole, told AFP he had not been briefed on the attack. Boko Haram militants early last week killed 43 people in the villages of Konduga and Wajirko, also in Borno state, in attacks that triggered the exodus of hundreds of villagers to

Maiduguri. Borno and the neighbouring states of Adamawa and Yobe have been under emergency rule since May last year in a bid to stop the Islamist rebellion, which has claimed thousands of lives since 2009. Attacks have continued in remote areas as well as in cities despite a military operation launched in the northeast when emergency rule was declared. President Goodluck Jonathan, who has voiced frustration with the progress of the operation, replaced his top militar y brass on January 16. —AFP

EU asks Turkey to contribute ANKARA: The European Union has asked Turkey to contribute to a military mission to help end sectarian unrest in the Central African Republic, a Turkish official said yesterday. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton wrote a letter to Ankara on Friday asking about the prospects of Turkish assistance, the official told AFP on condition of anonymity. The request came on the same day as the EU and France pledged to sharply increase troop deployments to the country amid mounting concern over spiralling Muslim-Christian violence that

has already left thousands dead. Ashton said the 28-nation bloc planned to double a previously agreed deployment of 500 troops, while France has pledged to send an additional 400 soldiers to its former colony, boosting its troop presence to 2,000. The Turkish official told AFP that the EU letter did not specifically ask for troops from Ankara but was seeking some kind of Turkish “contribution”. “We are evaluating what we can do,” the official said. European diplomats said troops from member nations could be deployed to Bangui

from next month. Many EU countries are willing to support France in the Central African Republic but are reluctant to get drawn into a bloody conflict between majority Christians and the Muslim community, sparked by a coup last March. Major EU powers such as Britain and Germany have refused to commit soldiers but have offered logistics support. Diplomats say efforts are focusing on smaller countries, adding that Georgia-anxious to cement good ties with the EUcould supply up to 100 troops while Estonia has offered 55. —AFP

Jihadists kill 4 near Tunisia TUNIS: Jihadists shot dead two people in a car they stopped at a roadblock near Roman ruins in Tunisia and two policemen who later sped to the scene, the interior ministry said yesterday. The killings occurred on Saturday night in the Jendouba area of western Tunisia near Bulla Regia, the site of historic Roman ruins, it said in a statement. Tunisia has been wracked by violence blamed on jihadist groups since the January 2011 Arab Spring revolution that ousted long-time dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. The statement said a National Guard patrol was sent to investigate reports that a civilian and a prison warden had been shot dead by an armed group at a roadblock set up by armed men in Jendouba. “On their arrival at the scene, four

terrorists opened fire,” killing two policemen and wounding another two, it said. Security operations were under way to track down the armed group, the ministr y said. The attack, it said, took place near the archaeological site of Bulla Regia, a former Roman city some 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Algerian border and 150 kilometers west of the capital Tunis. The site is notable for its characteristic villas which are constructed partly underground, as well as for its mosaics. Much of the violence in Tunisia is blamed on Ansar AlSharia, a jihadist outfit accused of having links to Al-Qaeda. The government insists Ansar Al-Sharia was behind the separate assassinations last year of two secular politi-

cians but the group never claimed responsibility for those or any other attacks. The assassinations came as Tunisia was grappling with the political transition after the 2011 uprising that toppled the autocratic regime of Ben Ali, and a surge in Islamist violence. The killings plunged Tunisia into a crisis from which it is only now emerging, with the adoption in Januar y of a new constitution after a government of independents took the oath to steer the country towards fresh elections. Also last year, around 20 members of the security forces were killed during operations targeting a group of Islamist militants in the Chaambi mountains on the border with Algeria. — AFP

CAIRO: In this file photo, then Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi waves to supporters after Friday prayers in the Farouk mosque. — AFP

Morsi’s lawyers stage walk-out Brotherhood accused of plotting with Hamas, Iran CAIRO: Lawyers for deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi withdrew in protest after he appeared in cour t yesterday on charges of conspiring with foreign groups to commit terrorist acts in Egypt. Morsi’s legal team protested they could not hear their client speak from inside a soundproof glass cage. The judge controls the microphone that allows defendants to be heard. The judge ordered a lawyer’s syndicate to assign 10 lawyers to defend Morsi at the trial’s next hearing on Feb 23. “My professional conscience will not permit me to these void proceedings,” lawyer Mohamed Salim Al-Awa told Reuters. In what they call “the biggest case of conspiracy in the history of Egypt”, prosecutors say Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood hatched a “terrorist plan” in 2005 involving the Palestinian Hamas group as well as Shiite Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah. Hamas has dismissed the charges as “fabrications and lies”. The Brotherhood also rejects the allegations, saying it is a peaceful organisation with no links to any violent groups. The Brotherhood accuses the army of staging a coup and reviving a dictatorship, an allegation the military denies. Islamic militant groups have

stepped up bombing and shooting attacks on security forces since Morsi’s fall, killing hundreds. In the latest attack in Sinai, an explosion on a tourist bus killed two Koreans and the Egyptian driver yesterday, security sources said. The Brotherhood propelled Morsi to election victory in 2012 but was driven underground after the army ousted the Islamist leader in July after mass protests against his rule. The state, which has declared the Brotherhood a terrorist group, has killed about 1,000 of its members on the streets and jailed thousands, including its top leaders. “Islamic Emirate” Egypt’s Western allies have exerted little pressure on Cairo to end what critics say are widespread human rights violations. Morsi is on trial in three cases and charged in two others. In the latest case, the prosecutor also charged Brotherhood leaders Mohamed Badie, Khairat El-Shater, Mahmoud Ezzat and others with crimes including committing acts of terrorism in Egypt and divulging military secrets to a foreign state. A total of 36 people are on trial. “What are you so afraid of? Are you afraid because you have no public support?” Morsi asked the panel of

judges. The prosecution has said the Brotherhood’s plan was to send “elements” to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip for militar y training by Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Upon their return to Egypt, they would join forces with militant groups in the Sinai Peninsula, the Egyptian territory that borders Israel to the east, it has alleged. After the 2011 uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, the Brotherhood exploited the chaos to carry out attacks on security forces in North Sinai and elsewhere, it said. The prosecutor said the plotters aimed to establish an “Islamic Emirate” in North Sinai if Morsi had not been declared president after the 2012 presidential election. He said Morsi’s presidential aides, including Essam El-Haddad, his national security adviser, had leaked secret reports to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah as a reward for their cooperation in the conspiracy. After crushing the Brotherhood at home, Egypt’s military rulers plan to undermine Hamas, senior Egyptian security officials and diplomats have told Reuters. The aim, which the officials said could take years to pull off, includes working with Hamas’s political rivals Fatah and supporting popular anti-Hamas activities in Gaza. — Reuters

Gaza bodyguards open first private security firm GAZA CITY: As hoards of excited fans scramble to reach Arab Idol winner Mohammed Assaf, they are pushed back by a group of tough-looking men in shades - the face of Gaza’s first private security firm. Guarding the young singer on a rare trip back to his hometown is the very first assignment for “Secure Land,” a newly-formed team of bodyguards whose mandate covers everything from minding VIPs, securing hotels and businesses to ensuring the safe delivery of cash in transit. “This is our first day on the job and we are securing Arab Idol star Mohammed Assaf,” Secure Land’s executive director Bilal Al-Arabid told AFP. “We have a team of 18 people protecting him, not including the drivers. This is our first mission protecting such a personality.” As Assaf drove up to Palestine University in a UN car, his Secure Land minders followed in their own vehicle, a white-and-red company logo plastered to the door: “Secure Land. We make it happen,” it reads, all in English. It’s a family business and Arabid’s father, Abdel Kader, serves as its chief executive. “We thought seriously about this service after we talked to institutions, companies and people, and found they accepted the idea because this sort of service is just not available in Gaza,” the father said. But getting a permit to operate such a business from the Hamas-run government was not easy - largely because none of the employees belong to any of Gaza’s many armed factions. “The permits for the business were late coming because of the ‘sensitivity’ of the issue,” he said, explaining it was the

first time that Hamas had allowed such a company to operate. In Gaza, Hamas does not allow private individuals except in special rare cases to carry arms - unless they are a card-carrying member of one of the factions. By taking over the protection of many civilian institutions, Secure Land can even help to “ease the burden” on the Hamas police and security forces, because such operations “demand a lot of manpower,” Arabid said. Martial arts Inside one of Gaza City’s handful of sports centers, dozens of sweaty men young and not so young - are put through their paces in various martial arts and other exercises to stay in shape for the job. “I used to serve in the Qatari

army and I do Taekwondo so this job is good for me,” said 40-year-old Hassan AlShourbaji from the northern Gaza town of Jabaliya, who serves as a group leader. “We have received high-quality training and we are experienced in martial arts, and I also have my personal experience with weapons due to my military training,” he told AFP. “This is the first company in the Gaza Strip that is not affected by security complications. It’s a private company and has no affiliation to any Palestinian faction,” he said. So far, the firm has 40 employees who have trained for two months to prepare for the job. As well as physical training they have also been instructed in the use of light weapons by a specialized trainer at a local shooting range. —AFP

GAZA CITY: Private guards from Gaza’s first private security company “Secure Land” train in Gaza City.— AFP



200 feared trapped in S African illegal gold mine JOHANNESBURG: At least 200 workers were feared trapped in an illegal gold mine in South Africa yesterday, in the second accident in the country’s mining industr y in as many weeks. Rescuers were using heavy duty equipment to try to clear a way out for the men stuck in the mine near Johannesburg, emergency services said. “We have got communication with about 30 trapped miners. They have told us that underneath them there’s 200 others,” Werner Vermaak , spokesman for private emergenc y operators ER24, told AFP. But he said he could not independ-

ently confirm the figure of 200, while local municipality officials could only confirm 30 trapped. The workers went down on Saturday into the mine, which has been dug illegally behind a cricket stadium in the Benoni district east of Johannesburg. They failed to come out after boulders fell and blocked their way, municipal rescuers said. “We are currently in the process of attempting to rescue them,” Roggers Mamaila of the Ekurhuleni municipality emergency services told AFP. A large boulder blocking the entrance to the shaft was removed using heavy duty excavation equipment, but smaller

rocks remained, making it impossible for the rescuers to go in and help bring out the miners. But food and water has been lowered in by rope. “They have been able to hand food and water to the illegal miners but to pull them out is proving very difficult due to the amount of rubble on the entrance,” said Vermaak. Police on patrol nearby discovered the men when a passer-by said he had heard voices of people screaming for help from underground. Public broadcaster SABC radio said the miners were trapped after allegedly being robbed of their gold by a rival gang on Saturday.

Accidents commonplace No investigation has yet been launched, police said. Accidents are commonplace in South Africa’s mines, which are the deepest in the world. At least eight miners were killed nearly two weeks ago after an earth tremor sparked an underground blaze at a Harmony Gold mine west of Johannesburg. In July 2009, nine workers were killed in a rock fall in a platinum mine. The same year, at least 82 people digging illegally in an disused gold mine shaft died when a fire broke out underground. Minerals Minister Susan Shabangu last week lashed out at the poor safety record at regulated min-

ing operations, where 14 deaths have been recorded in the first seven weeks of this year. “One death is one too many,” she said on Thursday. Throughout the 20th century, an estimated 69,000 people died in South Africa’s mining industry, according to a government-sponsored commission of inquiry. But the number of fatal accidents has fallen sharply in recent years. According to union figures, 112 people died in the mines in 2012. South Africa’s gold output has steadily decreased over the past 40 years, sliding from top global producer to world number six. It produced 167,235 kilograms of gold in 2012. —AFP

Spotlight on ex-first lady as Sarkozy seeks comeback Bruni brings global panache to brands: Experts

NEWHAVEN: Newhaven lighthouse is battered by waves as high winds from the latest winter storm continue on the south coast of England. —AFP

Britain braces for more floods after violent storm LONDON: Sodden communities along the River Thames braced for more floods yesterday, as Britain counted the cost of a storm that claimed several lives and left tens of thousands of homes without power. At least three people were killed in separate incidents in Ireland, Britain and the English Channel after violent winds and heavy rain swept in from the Atlantic on Friday. Pulling down power lines and disrupting transport networks across the region, the storm brought fresh misery to flood-hit communities in Britain, parts of which are suffering their wettest start to the year for 250 years. Prime Minister David Cameron warned on Saturday that the worst was not yet over as he visited the Thames-side village of Chertsey, west of London, to see how the military were helping bolster flood defenses. “What we do in the next 24 hours is vital because tragically the river levels will rise again. So every sand bag delivered, every house helped, every flood barrier put in place can make a big difference,” Cameron said. More than 3,000 members of the military are involved in the flood relief effort, according to the defense ministry, as the government seeks to counter criticism that it was too slow to respond to the crisis. Fourteen severe flood alerts warning of a risk to life were in place along the River Thames on Saturday night, with another two issued for the southwest of England, which has borne the brunt of two months of heavy rain. In a newspaper interview published yetserday, opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband blamed climate change for the run of bad weather, and urged government ministers to treat global warming as a “national security issue”. Cameron said last month that “I very much suspect” there is a link but said that either way, there should be more investment in flood defences.

Violent storm claims lives Friday’s violent storm pulled up trees, sent roofs flying off buildings, slammed waves into the coast and opened up a 20foot (six-metre) sink hole in a quiet street in Hemel Hempstead, north of London. A 49year-old taxi driver with three children was killed when a building collapsed onto her parked car in the centre of London, and her two passengers were injured, police said. Out on the English Channel, an 85-year-old man died after high winds sent a “freak wave” smashing through a window of a cruise ship off the coast of north-west France, the ship’s operator said. Massive waves were also whipped up in Portugal, flooding several seaside establishments, while heavy snow on the island of Madeira left passengers trapped in their cars. Star footballer Cristiano Ronaldo said on his Facebook page he had been unable to go home to wind-battered Madeira, where he was due to take his Ballon d’Or trophy to a local museum. Some 70,000 French homes were left without power as meteorologists registered winds of up to 150 kilometres per hour (90 miles per hour), though most of these had been reconnected by Saturday night. Meanwhile in Ireland, a 65-year-old man working for telecoms firm Eircom was killed in Cork on Saturday when he was trying to erect a fallen telephone pole which fell on his head, the RTE state broadcaster said. “Tragically these weather events have been hitting community and after community and doing that week after week,” a wind-swept Cameron said in Chertsey. “It has been very, very tough for people and my heart goes out to anyone whose been flooded and we’ll do everything we can to help people get back on their feet.” The prime minister has promised that money is “no object” in helping flood-hit communities, although Bank of England governor Mark Carney has warned the bad weather is likely to affect Britain’s fragile recovery from recession. —AFP

Collecting the dead in South Sudan’s Bor BOR: Beneath skies filled with vultures circling the ghost town of Bor in South Sudan’s Jonglei state, diggers are clearing more space for the bodies slowly filling the ground. Some have lain where they fell since December, when fighting broke out in the capital Juba, some 200 kilometres (130 miles) to the south. A stand-off between the country’s leader Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar quickly spread to Bor, where old ethnic, political and historical tensions were revived and countless people were killed. Now, limbs are melting under the sweltering sun, exposing bones that dry and twist like firewood. But one man is determined to count, despite the pervasive stench and mammoth task of clearing up what local and UN officials estimate are a few thousand bodies. “I was sick for three days, but I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t leave the bodies,” said Michael Mayen, a human rights lawyer turned self-appointed body collector whose tears and constant coughing have hardened into a resolve to bury as many people as he can. “We have to honor our people. We have to bury them.” Kitted only with one white cotton glove and rubber boots, Mayen has been dragging the dead off the streets of Bor, away from the jaws of feasting dogs and circles of sharp beaks. “We started collecting the bodies on January 27 and now we collected to this moment 2,007 bodies,” he said, standing at a site where 134 people have just been buried. More white body bags-some with alarmingly small contours-glint in the sun and line the streets. When shifted, they cause a smell so violent that resident

Joseph Mabyei snatches a fistful of herbs from the ground, spits and takes an alternate route to the nearby water point. “I smelt the bodies and I cried,” said Mabyei, who lost 30 friends and relatives in the fighting. “It makes me feel very bitter, having this rot in your nose.” War goes on Jonglei’s acting governor, Aquilla Lam, said that “maybe 60 percent of Bor has been cleared” and hope of salvaging more remains is crumbling. “ We don’t have equipment. We don’t have cars”, he said. For now, he is focused on taking out Machar’s rebel forces that are still fighting in three of South Sudan’s 10 states, even if a ceasefire is supposed to be in place and peace talks are ongoing in neighbouring Ethiopia. “We must defeat the enemy, bury them and clean our town.” Bor Commissioner Agot Alier said that teams are going house to house to find the bodies, but have only managed to check the main town and a site around 5 kilometres (3 miles) out. “We know that they will be in a very bad state and rotting,” he said, “but what can we do?” Mayen has been photographing bodies that could be identifiable to relatives who fled successive attacks on Bor by forces loyal to South Sudan’s army, and rebels joined by the White Army-a militia comprising thousands of youths known for marching into battle daubed in white ash. But many bodies have already been burnt beyond recognition, and are little more than a pile of ash left outside charred huts where only wire bed frames show former signs of life.—AFP

PARIS: As he quietly bides his time preparing a possible 2017 political comeback, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has a winning asset very much in the spotlight - his wife. Beaming from billboards, magazines and the stage, singer-songwriter and exsupermodel Carla Bruni has embraced her post-first lady life in a very public way, resuming her career while generating media buzz over the future plans of her husband. The role of France’s “first ladies” - and what they do once they no longer have that title has been a matter of comment after photos allegedly showing President Francois Hollande’s night-time visits to a mistress triggered the break-up of his relationship with long-time par tner Valerie Trier weiler. Meanwhile, the previous first lady, who married Sarkozy during his first year in office in 2008, still makes waves. Political watchers and brand analysts say 46-year-old brunette Bruni is still the perfect foil to Sarkozy, who jokes he is “the retired guy” since his May 2012 electoral defeat by Hollande. “First, she’s gorgeous, second, she’s classy, and third, she seems nice,” said Thomas Guenole, political scientist and author of “Nicolas Sarkozy, Chronicle of an Impossible Comeback?” Since Sarkozy’s defeat, Bruni has released her fourth album and launched a tour to promote it, while dipping her toe back into the high-glamour modelling world as the face of Italian jeweller Bulgari and with ads for Parrot Zik headphones. She’s been photographed in the front row at a Paris fashion show and even showed up

at a campaign stop for Sarkozy’s former spokeswoman, now running for his conservative camp as Paris mayor in March city hall elections.”Because Nicolas Sarkozy is planning a comeback, everyone is looking at it with a political eye, and not just a celebrityfocused one,” said Bertrand Chovet, managing director of the Interbrand agency in Paris. He said occasional Sarkozy appearances at Bruni’s concerts also “humanise” the ex-president, who shakes hands and signs autographs from conservative voters waving “Come Back” posters. Despite a post-defeat promise to leave politics for good, Sarkozy has since hinted he may return “out of duty”. He is the overwhelming favourite among right-wing voters to run for president in 2017 as the candidate of his fractious UMP party. In a poll last month he was picked as best candidate by 62 percent of right-leaning voters, compared to 14 percent for his closest challenger, ex-foreign minister Alain Juppe. Bruni’s agent did not respond to an interview request. Sarkozy’s office did not respond to a message seeking comment. Modern princess Bruni’s active career piqued the interest of a public used to first ladies who either devoted themselves to philanthropy or combined charitable work with low-profile political roles, as did Jacques Chirac’s wife Bernadette, a town councilor. Bruni also managed to avoid the public animosity suffered by Trierweiler, a journalist whose outspokenness jarred with the French, according to opinion

polls. Turin-born Bruni, who immigrated to France as a child, says politics do not interest her. She cultivated a domestic image in the 2012 presidential campaign, wearing slouchy sweaters with little makeup and talking about her favorite TV shows. Casting herself as the limelight-shunning spouse content to spend her evenings on the couch helped counteract Sarkozy’s image as a lover of Rolexes and yachts. For advertisers like Bulgari, Bruni provides a unique combination of political and artistic glamour. “She’s Italian, she’s cosmopolitan, she was the president’s wife, she’s hung out with the big guns not only in the artistic and music world but in the political milieu,” said Chovet. “All considered, she’s a princess of modern times.” Bulgari - which is owned by LVMH, whose chief executive was a witness at the Sarkozy-Bruni wedding - did not respond to interview requests. A spokeswoman for the headphone maker Parrot said it picked Bruni as its face not for her political associations but because she was “very free in her choices” and a bit “nonconformist.” Parrot said Bruni was not paid for the ad. Instead, the company donated to a music charity her foundation supports. The tough-talking Sarkozy had a polarizing image and is reviled by many French on the left. But that would not necessarily harm a luxury brand like Bulgari, because customers for its jewelry were probably on the right, said Guenole, the political scientist. “People who are really rich and vote left are extremely rare.” — Reuters

Ukraine protesters end Kiev occupation Oppn demands curbs on Yanukovich’s powers KIEV: Ukrainian anti-government protesters ended a two-month-old occupation of city hall in the capital Kiev yesterday to meet an amnesty offer aimed at easing a stand-off over President Viktor Yanukovich’s rule. The authorities, for their part, withdrew riot police from a flashpoint district of the city, near the Dynamo Kiev football stadium, where at least three protesters died in January in violence between ultra-radical activists and police. Despite the conciliatory moves on both sides, opposition leaders sought to keep up pressure on Yanukovich, telling a rally of supporters in Kiev’s Independence Square that he must abandon “dictatorial” powers and allow them to form a government which would be independent of him. But tension still simmered in the city ahead of a parliament session next Tuesday when Yanukovich may present his candidate for prime minister - a move that will show the extent to which he is ready to make further concessions to the opposition after 12 weeks of often ugly street confrontation. The unrest was sparked by Yanukovich in November when he spurned a free trade agreement long in the making with the European Union and opted for a $15 billion package of Russian credits and cheaper gas to shore up Ukraine’s ailing economy. The revolt spiralled into countrywide protests at perceived sleaze and corruption in the Yanukovich administration and has triggered a geopolitical tussle between East and West. As Russia beckons with a $15 billion aid package to plug holes in Ukraine’s heavily-indebted economy, the United States and its Western allies have urged him to move back towards an IMF-backed deal with Europe At least six people have been killed and hundreds of people police and protesters - injured in the bloodshed. As yesterday’s peaceful rally unfolded on Independence Square, attracting several thousand, young club-wielding masked men from the radical fringe of the protest movement were on patrol, looking for government agents known locally as “titushki”. A detail of about 40 young men, wearing black balaclavas and carrying shields that announced they were from the 14th “self-defense” unit, marched through crowds gathered near the Dynamo Kiev football stadium, Kiev’s unrest “front-line”. On Saturday, at the other end of the city, several men who protested against barricades in the city emerged with bloodied faces after clashes with local “self-defense” units. Against this background, Western governments have expressed fears of an escalation of conflict and breakdown of law and order unless Yanukovich meets opposition demands. Yesterday, former economy minister Arseny Yatseniuk repeated calls for constitutional changes that would strip Yanukovich of powers

KIEV: A man with a studded bat attends a mass rally yesterday. —AFP he has accumulated and allow for the formation of an opposition government that could lead the former Soviet republic to economic recovery. After protesters departed Kiev’s City Hall - which they had occupied since early December Yatseniuk called on Ukraine’s judicial authorities to live up to their promise and drop all criminal charges against protest activists. Amnesty deal Demonstrators had swept into the main municipal building as popular revolt took off against Yanukovich’s decision to ditch the EU trade pact in favor of a more immediately lucrative deal with Russia, Ukraine’s former Soviet master. Under an amnesty arrangement, Ukrainian authorities have offered to drop all criminal charges against activists who have been provisionally freed as long as municipal buildings are cleared of protesters and some main roads unblocked by Monday. “We want about 2,000 criminal cases to be dropped. If this does not happen, we will start a peaceful offensive,” Yatseniuk declared. Masked men in military fatigues and the demonstrators they had protected against riot police since midDecember filed out of Kiev city hall yesterday but threatened to return if authorities did not carry out the amnesty promise. Opposition deputies said protesters had similarly pulled out of municipal buildings in several areas of western Ukraine, a hotbed of opposition

to Yanukovich, and in one part of the southeast where the president has retained more support. Andriy, 45, commander of about 100 men in black balaclavas who filed out of City Hall, said the building was being cleared on the understanding that charges would be dropped against activists who had been earlier detained by police. Asked what he and his men would do if the authorities did not fulfill their promise, he replied: “Then we’ll come back.” Opposition sources said protesters had further agreed to ease blockages of traffic on a through road leading to government headquarters and parliament, but that barricades would largely remain in place. A pivotal decision in coming days will be who Yanukovich names as his candidate for prime minister to replace the Russian-born Mykola Azarov, whom he sacked on Jan 28 in an unsuccessful attempt to appease the protesters. He has until the end of the month to reach a decision although parliament speaker Volodymyr Rybak was quoted by Interfax on Friday as saying he thought Yanukovich might present his choice to parliament next Tuesday. His choice could decide more credit coming quickly on stream from Russia under the bailout package. But if he resists calls for constitutional change and names a hardliner the situation could turn explosive on the streets again. With the hryvnia under devaluation pressure, he has to find a new steward of the economy quickly. —Reuters



Deadlock on murder in loud music case

Michael Dunn

WASHINGTON: A Florida jury deadlocked yesterday on whether a white man accused of fatally shooting an unarmed black teen in an argument over loud music was guilty of murder. Jurors convicted Michael Dunn, 47, on three counts of attempted seconddegree murder for firing at a vehicle carrying four black teenagers in Nov 2012. One of the teens - Jordan Davis, 17 - was killed when he was struck by three of Dunn’s bullets. Duval County Judge Russell Healey declared a mistrial on the most serious charge - first degree or premeditated murder - for Davis’s death, though Dunn was found guilty on one count of firing a deadly weapon. The racially mixed 12-person jury could not agree on whether Dunn acted in self defense or deliberately attempted to kill the black teenager. In testimony Dunn said that he approached the teens, who were in a sports utility vehicle in a gas station parking lot, and asked them to turn down what he described as their loud “thug music”. The teens refused, and cursed him. Dunn said

that he feared for his life when one of the teenagers started to get out of the car and come toward him. Dunn pulled a pistol out of his glove box and opened fire. The software engineer testified that he kept firing as the car drove away, saying he was afraid that he or his fiancee - who had rushed out of the gas station shop when she heard the shots - might get hit by returning fire. Police found no evidence of a gun in the teens’ vehicle, and the three surviving teenagers testified that they never threatened Dunn. Dunn said that he only learned that he had shot and killed Davis after seeing a news alert on his phone once he got back to his hotel. Dunn, who fired 10 times at the car, faces a hefty jail term of at least 60 years. Sentencing is scheduled for March. The prosecutor, state attorney Angela Corey, said after the verdict that she plans to retry Dunn on the murder charge. Replay of Trayvon Martin? The closely-watched trial has drawn comparisons to the case of neighborhood watch

volunteer George Zimmerman, who was last year cleared of killing black teenager Trayvon Martin after claiming self-defense under Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law. The Dunn verdict also came days after a retired police officer who shot a man for texting in a Florida movie theater was ordered to be held in prison ahead of trial. Civil rights activist Al Sharpton joined other critics in decrying the “disappointing verdict”. Sharpton, an eminent voice in the uproar that resulted from the Martin case, said the Dunn verdict “clearly does not deal with the fact that a life was lost”. Dunn “was convicted of second-degree attempted murder. But he actually killed someone. I think this sends a chilling effect to anybody, particularly people of color,” Sharpton told MSNBC television. Davis’s father said Dunn’s expected long prison term means he will “learn that he must be remorseful for the killing of my son, that it was not just another day at the office”. “He was a good kid,” Ron Davis told reporters after the verdict. “There’s a lot of good kids

out there... And they should have a voice. They shouldn’t live in fear to walk around the streets worrying about if someone has a problem with somebody else, that if they get shot, it’s collateral damage.” Grassroots initiative Peace Day Philly, meanwhile, tweeted: “We #StandWithLucy, mother of Jordan Davis #DunnTrial - our children, ALL CHILDREN, are precious. Racism kills us all.” Unlike Zimmerman - who did not face charges for weeks after claiming selfdefense in the Martin shooting - Dunn was arrested and charged with murder the day after the shooting. Gun control advocates say cases like those seen in Florida are the inevitable by-product of relaxed local laws that allow individuals to carry firearms in virtually any setting. “Stand Your Ground laws put our children, families, and communities at risk,” said Moms Demand Action Founder Shannon Watts. “Children - like Jordan Davis - who may simply be in the wrong place at the wrong time are now more likely to die at the hands of the armed and angry. This is unacceptable.” —AFP

Fresh blast of snow hits Northeast Extra police officers, firefighters, paramedics deployed BOSTON: Another round of snow made its way through the Northeast and into New England on Saturday, dumping another heaping of snow on a region that continues to dig out from a previous storm. New England was expected to be hit hardest by the latest blast of winter weather. The National Weather Service called for 10 to 14 inches of snow in eastern Massachusetts and parts of

Rhode Island. At Boston’s Logan International Airport, some airlines canceled flights ahead of Saturday night’s storm and delays were expected. Eight to 10 inches was to fall in Connecticut along its Rhode Island border. At its peak, the storm was expected to dump snow at the rate of 3 inches per hour, meteorologist William Babcock. The weekend snowstorm comes on the heels of

an earlier storm that blanketed the East Coast with snow and ice, caused at least 25 deaths and left hundreds of thousands without power. Par ts of New York and Vermont ended up with more than 2 feet of snow. Early Saturday, Massachusetts Gov Deval Patrick urged drivers to stay off the roads for a 12-hour period beginning at 5 pm, saying, “It won’t be possible to keep up

EMIGSVILLE: Terry Schaefer of Manchester uses a snow blower attachment on his lawn tractor to clear the alley behind his house during a winter storm Thursday, Feb 13, 2014, in Emigsville, Pa. —AP

with the clearing of the roads.” The newest storm was expected to spawn blizzard conditions along the Massachusetts coastline, including Cape Ann, Hingham, Cape Cod and surrounding islands. “These areas could be seeing winds reaching up to 70 mph, blowing snow and creating extremely poor visibility,” Babcock said. “People should be preparing for deteriorating conditions.” Boston Mayor Mar tin Walsh announced that the city would deploy more than 600 snow plows, trucks and other equipment through Saturday evening to deal with the storm. He said additional police officers, firefighters and paramedics would be on hand throughout the storm to ensure public safety. Elsewhere, in Maine, forecasts called for 12 to 18 inches of snow in some areas beginning Saturday night. The weather service warned that heavy snow and strong winds could create hazardous driving conditions. As a result, a 45 mph speed restriction is in place for the entire Maine Turnpike. A winter storm warning was issued for southeastern New Hampshire through Sunday. Six to 10 inches of snow was expected. Far ther south, New York City ’s Central Park received 11/2 inches of new snow after getting nearly a foot of snow Thursday. In eastern Pennsylvania, from 2 to 5 inches fell before the storm moved out early Saturday evening. In Lancaster, the station WGAL-T V returned to the air a day after a portion of its station roof collapsed Friday. —AP

Legacy of US civil rights leaders source of fights WASHINGTON: Martin Luther King Jr’s daughter recently walked up to the pulpit of the Atlanta church where her father preached and, in a painful public display, dissociated herself from her brothers. She accused them of plotting to sell their father’s personal Bible and his Nobel Peace Prize - items she declared “sacred” and worth more than money. When it comes to fights like this, the Kings are not alone. Malcolm X’s daughters are suing to block a book deal, signed by one sister, to publish their father’s diary. Rosa Parks’ valuable mementos, including her Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal of Honor, have sat in a New York City warehouse for years because of a protracted battle over her estate. America’s greatest civil rights leaders may belong to the ages, but the fights among family, friends and outsiders over control of their earthly possessions seem never-ending. Unsavory as they may appear, fights like these are not unique, and are exacerbated by the moral heft of the leaders’ life work, and the fact that their belongings could be worth millions. With each court battle, civil rights historians worry about the negative impact such infighting might have on the legacy of the civil rights movement. Neither Malcolm X nor King, killed in 1965 and 1968, respectively, left wills, so there are no specifics about what they wanted done with their belongings. The strong widows who built legacies for them and who could enforce peace in the family through matriarchal fiat, also are gone: Betty Shabazz in 1997, Coretta Scott King in 2006. Not even a long life and careful planning are enough to quell disputes. Parks, who died in 2005 at age 92, stipulated in her will that her belongings go to a charitable foundation, the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development in Detroit. Parks had no children, but her nieces and nephews challenged her will, and this fight has left her valuable possession in limbo for nearly a decade. King, Parks and Malcolm X were not wealthy people in life, so their families have a right to be concerned about the financial value of their famous relatives’ legacy, said john a. powell, director at the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the

University of California, Berkeley. “Somebody is going to make money off their names,” powell said. “You just hope people do it with a certain amount of dignity.” Few would say that’s happened. Many point to the King family’s public feuds as evidence that it has not. “To be fighting over money and profit is to dishonor everything their father stood for,” said Deborah E. McDowell, director of the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies and Alice Griffin professor of English at the University of Virginia. Most families only have to deal with a parent’s estate once. But when the parent in question was a beloved historic figure, there regularly are new issues to address, said lawyers Andrew and Danielle Mayoras, who wrote a book about famous estate battles. “There can always be a new project that the family is approached with or a new item someone decides to sell,” said Andrew Mayoras, who specializes in probate matters. “So yes, for these families we do think it’s going to keep going on and on, sadly.” Many American families go through the same thing, said Danielle Mayoras, an estate attorney. “Sometimes they are fighting over the Christmas ornaments instead of diaries that might be very valuable, but oftentimes what we see is that it’s not the value of the item, it’s the sentimental attachment or the emotion that’s involved,” she said. Martin III, Dexter and Bernice King have fought in court for years, going after their father’s friends and fellow activists in addition to each other. The family has sent numerous cease-and-desist letters to stop various uses of King’s written work and image, and followed up with court action if they weren’t satisfied with the results. Last year, they sued Andrew Young, a King confidante who helped their father coordinate civil rights efforts throughout the South, over footage of King that shows up in a series produced by Young’s foundation. The King children acted in 2008 to block actor and singer Harry Belafonte from auctioning documents that their parents had given Belafonte years earlier, leading Belafonte to sue the younger Kings last year in hopes of deter-

mining legal ownership. Young has said the Kings’ lawsuit doesn’t bother him because the question of rightful ownership does need to be sorted out, especially because certain aspects of King’s legacy belong to him, too. Lawyers on both sides of the Belafonte lawsuit did not return telephone calls seeking comment; court papers indicate a settlement is being pursued. The King heirs even have used the courts to fight each other. In 2008, Bernice and Martin III sued Dexter, accusing him of acting improperly as head of their father’s estate. The three reached a private settlement in October 2009. Now they’re back in court again, with Martin III and Dexter suing Bernice over her possession of their father’s Bible and his 1964 Nobel Peace Prize medal. Both items are likely to gain value: The 50th anniversary of King’s Nobel Prize is later this year, and King’s personal Bible was used to swear in President Barack Obama during his second inauguration in 2013. Bernice King refused to turn them over, saying her brothers want to sell them, just as the three of them have sold other items that belonged to their father. “I take this strong position for my father because Daddy is not here to say himself, ‘My Bible and my medals are never to be sold not to an institution or even a person,’” she said during a news conference this month at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church. Her brothers, who run King’s estate, have not responded publicly to their sister’s complaints. It’s the same for Parks and Malcolm X. Because of infighting, a trove of Parks memorabilia - unseen writings from a young Parks, mementos from world leaders who honored her, and family artifacts - sits unsold at Guernsey’s auction house in New York, waiting for a buyer. Guernsey’s can’t sell the material piecemeal because, after much legal wrangling, a judge ordered it sold together. No museum, foundation or private collector has met the $10 million price for the entire collection, said Arlan Ettinger, president of Guernsey’s. Last year, the family of Malcolm X successfully blocked Chicago-based Third World Press from publishing diaries from his pilgrimage to Mecca and his travels across the Middle East and Africa in 1964.—AP

NEW YORK: Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton joins Melinda Gates in a discussion at New York University. —AFP

Time capsule from 1990s reignites Clinton wars WASHINGTON: America is getting a new look at an old version of Hillary Clinton, with a time capsule from the political maelstrom that tore through her life in the 1990s. The revelations are contained in notes of communications with Clinton when she was first lady, taken by her confidant Diane Blair, an Arkansas professor who died in 2000. The unflattering character sketch of Clinton is a far cry from the poised and popular operator she has since become and it is already fueling a pseudo political war as she deliberates over another White House run in 2016. The papers reveal Clinton to be “baffled and angry” at the ways of Washington, mystified by people out to “destroy” her husband’s administration, and furious at him for a chaotic first two years in office. Since losing the Democratic Party’s presidential nominating race to Barack Obama in 2008, Clinton has refashioned her image, serving him loyally as secretary of state and is again a big favorite to lead the Democratic ticket. But the Blair archive includes polling by Democrats in 1992 which found voters admired Clinton’s intelligence but saw her as “ruthless,” highlighting how divisive a figure she was in her White House years when she attracted fire by carving out a policy role as first lady. Marriage rocked The papers, first reported by the Washington Free Beacon website, offer a glimpse inside the Clinton marriage, rocked by president Bill Clinton’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Blair reveals that the first lady faulted her husband for a “huge personal lapse” but also branded Lewinsky a “narcissistic loony toon.” Some Republicans have made a tactical decision not to let the 1990s rest. Senator Rand Paul, a possible 2016 hopeful, has brought up Bill Clinton’s indiscretions in several recent interviews, lashing his “predatory” behavior. Paul appeared to be making a play for the Clintonhating Republican Party base and evangelical voters which he would need in a nominating race. However, should he convert a long-shot chance into the Republican nomination, he may find women voters-already a tough demographic for Republicans-blanch at him for reviving Clinton’s public embarrassment. Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus meanwhile said “everything is on the table” should Clinton win the Democratic nomination. “We’re going to have a truckload of opposition research,” he told MSNBC. “Some things may be old and some things may be new.”

But does raking up the scandals of the 1990s-which seem a lifetime ago in today’s Twitter-driven political game-make sense? “Clearly Republicans think it is a viable strategy,” said Costas Panagopoulos, who teaches the next generation of American campaign managers at Fordham University in New York, who was skeptical. Does record outpoint past reputation? “I am not convinced it will work. Hillary Clinton has been around long enough for people to know what they like about her, and what they do not like.” Complicating the Republican bid to negatively define Clinton’s character ahead of 2016 is her four-year tenure at the State Department, in which she built executive skills she lacked when losing to Obama in 2008. Though her resume is thin on big picture achievements, she was credited with key roles in the operation to kill Osama bin Laden, the Libya war and in the Iran sanctions program that is widely hailed for bringing Tehran to the negotiating table over its disputed nuclear program. “Nothing was better for the political career of Hillary Clinton than being secretary of state,” said Professor Bonnie Dow, a specialist in gender and politics at Vanderbilt University, Tennessee. With that in mind, Republicans are trying to turn the advantage of her State Department career into a liability-blaming her for the raid by extremists on the US consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi on September 11, 2012 in which four Americans were killed. So far, despite a political furor, there is no smoking gun to prove her guilt. Unless Republicans manage to undermine Clinton’s image early on, her 2016 prospects, if she runs, may rest in more fundamental questions. Can the former first lady, now 66, frame a compelling rationale for a 21st Century Clinton restoration in the White House? Can she avoid the pitfalls of a 2008 campaign team beset by backbiting and internal infighting? Will the wave of popularity Clinton has built survive her return to the vicious political arena? Can she recreate the winning public persona that only emerged when she was losing the 2008 clash with Obama? Can she master new technological tools targeting voters and splicing and dicing the electorate that Obama pioneered? And more fundamentally, will the Democratic nomination even be worth having, should Obama’s stumbling second term and a sluggish recovery boost Republican prospects? —AFP

CARACAS: A demonstrator throws stones at the National Bolivarian Police (BNP) after clashes broke out at an opposition protest on Saturday. Venezuelan security forces backed by water tanks, tear gas and rubber bullets dispersed groups of anti-government demonstrators who tried to block Caracas’ main highway Saturday evening. —AP



N Korea prison camp survivor awaits UN report with hope SEOUL: After a year of investigation, the United Nations is set to release a detailed report on human rights violations in North Korea that could pave the way for criminal prosecution in an international court. But defectors from the country who have provided first-hand testimony of atrocities are deeply sceptical the report, to be issued on Monday, will have any effect on the regime in Pyongyang. The UN Commission of Inquiry on human rights in North Korea was set up last March to begin building a case for possible criminal prosecution. Michael Kirby, who chairs the independent inquiry, said after preliminary findings last year that inmates in North Korea’s prison camps suffered “unspeakable atrocities”, comparable with Nazi abuses uncovered after World War 2. “The entire body of evidence gathered so far points to what appear to be large-scale patterns of systematic and gross human rights violations,” Kirby, a former justice of Australia’s top court, told the UN General Assembly’s human rights committee last October, adding

that Pyongyang had refused to cooperate with the inquiry. But any attempt to follow up the final report with prosecution will most likely be blocked by China. North Korea itself labels any attack on its human rights record as a US-led conspiracy. The preliminary report did not say what kind of prosecution might be considered. North Korea is not a member of the International Criminal Court, but the UN Security Council can ask the Haguebased court to investigate alleged abuses by non-signatories. China, the North’s major ally and main benefactor, stands ready to veto any attempt to mobilise the Security Council to open an investigation against Pyongyang. “In some respects I have been disappointed with the United Nations, although the UN is trying to resolve the issue” said Shin Dong-hyuk, a North Korean defector who has given the UN panel harrowing accounts of his life and escape from a prison camp. As a 13year-old, he informed a prison guard of a plot by his mother and brother to escape and both were executed, accord-

ing to a book on his life called “Escape from Camp 14”. “ The Human Rights Council, the biggest organization in the UN, has not solved any problems,” Shin said in an interview in Seoul ahead of the report’s release. More than 200,000 people are believed to be held in North Korean prison camps, according to independent estimates. The UN panel has worked to bring new attention to the allegations of horror at North Korea’s gulags with evidence and testimony from exiles, including camp survivors, in Seoul, Tokyo, London and Washington but has failed to gain access to North Korea. Shin said China continues to use North Korea as a tool to keep US influence in the region under control. “So far China has neglected Nor th Korea’s human rights issue and supported its dictatorship,” he said. Won’t bat an eyelid After more than two years in power, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shows no signs of changing the iron-fisted rule of his predecessors, forging ahead with a reign of terror and ordering the execu-

tion of his powerful uncle following a brutal public purge. “North Korea won’t bat an eyelid,” said Hwang Jae-ok, vice president of the Institute for Peace and Cooperation in Seoul, who has extensively studied Pyongyang’s human rights record. “It has built up a strong tolerance to sanctions and pressure.” The North has been under gradually tougher international and US sanctions since its first nuclear test in 2006. The sanctions have not stopped Kim, believed to be in his early 30s, from stepping up the nuclear and missile programs launched by his father and accomplishing what experts have said were notable successes that have turned the clock back on years of disarmament efforts led by Washington. Human rights activists hope the panel’s report work and the global attention it generates will seep back across North Korea. But Baek Kyung-yoon, a North Korean female army captain who fled to the South in 2000, said her former compatriots are unlikely to have the luxury of pondering about human rights or anticipating improvement. “Loyalty (to

the regime) is everything and it’s nonsense to discuss human rights there,” Baek said on Wednesday, ahead of the premiere of “ The Apostle: He Was Anointed By God”. The Korean-language film is based on her experience of ordering the torture of a man who possessed a few pages from the Bible. A US Christian missionary, Kenneth Bae, was sentenced last year to 15 years of hard labor after being convicted of state subversion. Pyongyang has abruptly rescinded a visit by a US special envoy to seek Bae’s release for a second time. Religious persecution is one of 11 areas of inquiry by the UN panel, which also include food deprivation, torture, executions and abductions. Despite his frustration with the lack of visible progress, Shin, who had a finger chopped off with a butcher knife by prison guards as a punishment, still hopes the United Nations can bring change in North Korea. “Personally the COI (Commission of Inquiry) is my last remaining hope. Even if there is little chance for change, I am betting everything I have.” —Reuters

12 die, flights grounded in Japan Hundreds of cars stuck

HANOI: Anti-China protesters wear red ribbons reading “People never forget” during an unofficial rally marking the 35th anniversary of the border war with China yesterday. — AFP

Anti-China activists mark 1979 border war HANOI: Vietnamese activists yesterday marked the 35th anniversary of a bloody border war with China, chanting slogans, singing patriotic songs and laying flowers at a temple in central Hanoi. The two communist countries are locked in long-standing territorial disputes over the Paracel and Spratly islands in the South China Sea, and often trade diplomatic barbs over oil exploration and fishing rights in the contested waters. Beijing’s increasingly assertive stance in the South China Sea has triggered public anger and rare protests in authoritarian Vietnam where the demonstrations are sometimes allowed to go ahead and on other occasions forcefully broken up. China invaded Vietnam’s northernmost provinces in February 1979, angered by Vietnam’s ouster of the Beijing-backed Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. The short but bloody conflict claimed tens of thousands of lives on both sides and ended with Chinese forces withdrawing and both Hanoi and Beijing claiming victory. Vietnamese troops remained in Cambodia until 1989. Although Vietnam fetes its military victories over the French and American armies, it has not arranged any official events to mark the China border war-much to the chagrin of veterans and activists. “Vietnamese leaders may have received pressure from China, so they don’t want to talk about that war. They seem to want to deny the past,” Nguyen Trong Vinh, a former Vietnamese ambassador to China, told

AFP. China has long been one of Vietnam’s largest trading partners, state media has said, with bilateral trade at more than $40 billion in 2012. Yesterday, around 100 activists tried to lay flowers at a statue of Ly Thai To-the founder of Hanoi and a nationalist figurehead-in the centre of the capital. But dozens of people had been at the monument since early morning, playing loud music and dancing, which prevented the protesters from holding their planned ceremony-in what activists said was a counter protest. “It was deliberate... they (authorities) hired many people,” economist Nguyen Quang A told AFP at the protest. Protesters, wearing red headbands and carrying white roses with black ribbons saying “the people will never forget”, then walked around the central Hoan Kiem lake. They laid their flowers and made brief speeches at the Ngoc Son Temple-a popular tourist destination-before peacefully dispersing. Plain clothed and uniformed police closely monitored the event but did not make any arrests. Nguyen Tien Gioi, who fought against the Chinese in Vietnam’s northern Lang Son, bemoaned the lack of official recognition for the conflict’s anniversary.”My comrades and I we feel sad and angry but what can we do? We still had to fight to protect our country,” the 57-year-old told AFP. There has been some coverage in Vietnam’s tightly controlled state media of the 35th anniversary of the China war but no reports on yesterday’s protest. —AFP

Search for Japanese divers missing near Bali stopped DENPASAR: Indonesian rescuers failed yesterday to find any trace of seven Japanese scuba divers who vanished off Bali two days ago, calling the search off until today as night fell. A rescue team has been combing the seas for five tourists and two instructors-all women-since Friday afternoon, when the women went missing during their third dive of the day near the islands of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida southeast of Bali. Rescue officials complained that the business which provided the boat and skipper, Yellow Scuba, could not be contacted and this was hampering the search. “We have not been able to contact Yellow Scuba. Usually we find out the details, like the colour of the wetsuits and their tubes,” Bali province search and rescue chief Didi Hamzar told reporters. “Without that detail, it’s very hard to know what you’re looking for.” Yellow Scuba did not answer calls from AFP. Hamzar said 15 official boats and a helicopter were being used

in the search. His agency earlier said around 100 people were involved, including the maritime police, navy, fishermen and Japanese and Indonesian diving instructors. “ This is the third day that we have searched for the divers. We combed an area of around 200 kilometers (125 miles),” Hamzar said. He said he had also sent search vessels towards the large island of Lombok to Bali’s east, in case the women were carried by a current that way. Yasue Katsunobu, Japan’s deputy consul general in Bali, said the boat’s skipper called the police after the women failed to resurface from a dive. The skipper said he was following the divers for some 20 minutes before a sudden downpour made the water cloudy, according to Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper. He moved his 10metre-long boat to a point some hundreds of metres away where the divers were expected to resurface at an agreed time, the report said.—AFP

TOKYO: A severe snowstorm sweeping across Japan has killed 12 people and left more than 1,650 injured, Japanese media reported yesterday, as the extreme weather sparked widespread transport chaos. At least a dozen people have died in snow-related incidents in seven prefectures after the storm broke records, with Tokyo blanketed in 27 centimeters of snow, according to Kyodo news agency. A further 2,150 people have been evacuated from their homes over fears the weight of the snow would cause their houses to collapse, public broadcaster NHK said. At least 800 cars are stuck on a hillside trunk road in Japan and other roads nearby after they were hit by the snowstorm, officials said yesterday. More than 100 flights were grounded Friday and Saturday and several major rail services were disrupted. The storm is now moving northward and is expected to strengthen by today, Japan’s meteorological agency said, warning of heavy snow, blizzards and avalanches as well as high waves in eastern and northern Japan. National Route 18 that runs through Gunma and Nagano prefectures north of Tokyo is partly closed as hundreds of cars are stuck due to heavy snow, a local official told AFP. The congestion extends for several kilometers, said the official in the ski resort of Karuizawa in Nagano prefecture. “We have opened up three community halls nearby for people who were inside the stuck cars, and are now preparing to offer hot meals,” he said. “Some drivers have run out of gasoline so they need temporary shelter.” Up to 250 cars are stuck on the road, the Asahi Shimbun reported. The temperature fell as low as minus 3.6 degrees Celsius (26 degree Fahrenheit) yester-

TOKYO: A family is seen playing with their dog in a snow covered field yesterday. — AFP day morning in Karuizawa, with accumulated snow about 90 centimeters (36 inches) deep, the weather agency said. Congestion extended for 30 kilometers (19 miles) on National Route 4 that runs through the northern prefectures of Fukushima and Miyagi, public broadcaster NHK reported. The transport ministry has started delivering emergency aid including water and portable toilets to drivers of

stuck cars, it said. Snow began falling Friday morning in the capital Tokyo and had piled up to 26 centimeters by early Saturday, a week after the heaviest snowfall in decades left 11 people dead and more than 1,200 injured across the nation. Most snow in the capital had melted thanks to rain late Saturday and sunshine yesterday. But forecasters predict more snow again in the region around Tokyo later this week. — AFP

Australia spying ‘for the benefit of friends’ SYDNEY: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said yesterday his government used intelligence material “for the benefit of our friends” and “to uphold our values” following fresh reports it spied on Indonesia. Relations between the neighbors plunged to their lowest ebb in years in November after reports that Australia tried to tap the phones of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and several top officials in 2009. Jakarta responded furiously to the claims, which were based on documents leaked by US intelligence fugitive Edward Snowden, recalling its ambassador and suspending cooperation with Australia on key areas including people-smuggling. Fresh claims published in the New York Times yesterday alleged Australian agencies spied on Indonesian officials during a trade dispute with the United States and offered to share back-room information with the Americans. Abbott refused to confirm the report, also based on Snowden-leaked material, that the Australian Signals Directorate listened in on trade talks between the Indonesians and their US lawyers and offered information gleaned to the US National Security Agency. “We never comment on operational intelligence matters, that has been the long-standing practice of all Australian governments of both political persuasions,” Abbott told reporters. However, Abbott observed that Australia did not “use anything that we gather as part of our ordinary security and intelligence operations to the detriment of other countries.” “We use it for the benefit of our friends. We use it to uphold our values,” he said. “We use it to protect our citizens and the citizens of other countries, and we certainly don’t use it for commercial purposes.” The latest leak comes as US Secretary of State John Kerry visits the Southeast Asian nation and as tensions simmer between Canberra and Jakarta over a hardline Australian military operation to turn peoplesmuggling boats back to Indonesia. The top secret 2013 document allegedly obtained by the New York Times did not say which trade dispute was monitored nor name the US law firm involved. Indonesia has been embroiled in trade disputes with the US over its exports of clove cigarettes and shrimp in recent years. Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Mary Natalegawa has reportedly said he will raise Australia’s asylum-seeker policies with Kerry, describing them as “against the values of humanity”. Australian warships strayed into Indonesian waters on several occasions during border patrol operations, testing ties, although Canberra insists the intrusion was inadvertent. Abbott said yesterday that Australia “deeply respects Indonesia’s sovereignty. “We want to work as close as possible with Indonesia to crack down on the scourge of people smuggling, which as we all know has cost this country dear,” he said. Australia’s conservative government has blasted Snowden, with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop lashing out at his “unprecedented treachery” and describing him as “no hero” in a speech in Washington in January. —AFP

ALICEGHAN: In this photograph, Afghan girl, Alysha walks amongst empty houses in Aliceghan, some 30 kilometers north of Kabul. — AFP

Afghan ghost towns are a symbol of lost hope ALICEGHAN: Aliceghan was supposed to be a haven for war-torn Afghanistan’s returning refugees and a symbol of resurgence after the dark years of the Taleban. Six years on, it has come to highlight the myriad obstacles facing development projects in the country and an exodus of residents has left it feeling like a ghost town. Located about an hour’s drive north of Kabul, the settlement was constructed on a stretch of dry, rocky land allocated by the government to house 1,100 families driven out of their homeland during more than four decades of conflict. Opened in 2008, it was financed by the Australian government to the tune of $7.2 million, while the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) took the lead in building homes, schools, roads and water tanks. Today, visitors are greeted by rows of abandoned homes and empty streets as most of its residents have been driven out by a lack of running water, electricity and high commuting costs to Kabul, the nearest city. Residents also complained of “culturally inappropriate” homes which lacked outer walls for privacy, meaning women were confined to their houses as a result. Many of those who left have returned to slums and shelters in the capital they once fled. “In the first year, there was work, people were constructing houses,” said 79-year-old Khoja Mohammad, who lived in Iran for 20 years but decided to return for what he hoped would be a better life.”But the following year when construction of houses was completed, people found themselves unemployed, so they started to leave. And now it is like a ghost town,” he added. He said there were only about 500 families left in Aliceghan and the number was decreasing. A failed plan Mohammad is one of the 5.7 million

Afghans who had fled the civil war in their country, but returned with great hopes of a better life after the US-led invasion that ousted the Taleban regime in 2001. He and his relatives live with another family-around 20 people in total spread across two small houses with four rooms. He says life is hard, especially this winter, with temperatures dropping to -20 degrees Celsius. In his home, blankets are piled up at the corner of a room that is transformed to bedroom at night. A car battery connected to a solar panel is placed on the edge of the window and used to light the room when it gets dark. “This is our only source of electricity,” Mohammad said. The township is one of the 60 scattered settlements across the country built for the returning refugees. But “there were some weaknesses in implementing the strategy” Islamuddin Jurat spokesman of ministry of refugees and repatriation told AFP. “The towns were built but lack of coordination between other key ministries such as power and energy and others to provide them basic needs of life made the plan a failure,” he said, adding that the government was only able to provide shelters for around 300,000 returnees. Antonia Paradela, a UNDP official, told AFP their plan to dig wells in the area has been delayed due to land disputes between the government and residents who claim that the land where the underground water source was located belonged to them. Barek Aub, a neighbouring township, is no better off. Women and children line up in front of the only school in the town with jugs and wheelbarrows to fetch water from the reservoir tanks at least twice a day. Each family is allowed only three barrels a day-enough only for cooking and drinking.—AFP



Cara Delevingne models The Cara Delevingne Collection created by Mulberry at London Fashion Week Autumn/ Winter 2014 yesterday at Claridges in London. — AP

Sadr quits politics Continued from Page 1 Sadr said the decision to leave politics was taken from the standpoint of Islamic law and of “preserving the honourable reputation of Sadr, especially of the two Sadr martyrs”, referring to his father and another relative who were killed during Saddam Hussein’s rule. The move also aims to “end all the corruptions that occurred or which are likely to occur” that would harm the Sadr reputation, he said. “He could be trying to distance himself from an unpopular electoral process where everyone is able to vote but discontent with the candidates is high,” said John Drake, a Britainbased analyst for risk consultancy AKE Group. “He could also be seeking to adopt a figurehead role, with influence rather than electoral endorsement,” Drake said. Sadr’s political career began with his fierce opposition to the presence of foreign troops in Iraq after the 2003 US-led invasion of the country that toppled Saddam. His rise was aided by the famed reputation of his father Mohammed Mohammed Sadiq, who was killed along with two of Moqtada’s brothers in 1999 by gunmen allegedly sent by Saddam, and another relative, Mohammed Baqir, who was

UAE expels 8 Kuwaiti students executed in 1980. Moqtada’s movement subsequently gained both seats in parliament and cabinet posts, and played the role of political kingmaker. Sadr’s widely-feared Mahdi Army militia also repeatedly battled American forces, and played a major role in the brutal sectarian conflict between Iraqi Sunnis and Shiites in which tens of thousands of people died. Sadr suspended the militia’s activities in 2008 following fierce battles with Iraqi and US security forces. US military commanders said Sadr’s action had been instrumental in helping bring about a significant decrease in Iraq violence. Both before and after the US military withdrawal in late 2011, Sadr was a sharp critic of Prime Minister Nouri AlMaliki, despite ultimately backing his selection as premier in both 2006 and 2010. In 2012, Sadr was among Iraqi politicians who called for Maliki to resign, referred to the premier as a “dictator” hungry for acclaim, and accused him of wanting to postpone or cancel elections. But Maliki ultimately weathered the crisis, and Sadr’s focus has increasingly shifted to religious studies in both Iran and Iraq that have taken him out of the country for extended periods of time. — AFP

Abbas: We won’t ‘flood Israel’ Continued from Page 1 Resolving the question of the right of return for Palestinian families who fled or were forced out of their homes during the war which accompanied Israel’s independence in 1948 is one of the most bitterly-disputed issues in the conflict. The Palestinians have always demanded that the Jewish state recognise their right of return to homes in modern-day Israel in keeping with UN General Assembly Resolution 194. But Israel rejects the idea, saying it would erode the country’s Jewish majority. It is, however, prepared for the refugees to live in a future Palestinian state. There are approximately five million registered Palestinian refugees, mostly descendants of the original 760,000 people who fled or were forced out in 1948. Most refugees now live in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip. ‘Leave Jerusalem open’ Abbas also stressed he did not want to “re-divide” Jerusalem, saying both peoples could live under their own authorities, which would be overseen by coordinating body. “We do not want to re-divide Jerusalem, (we want to) leave Jerusalem open,” he said. Israel captured east Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community, but the Palestinians want the eastern sector as capital of their promised state. “We will build a municipality in addition to the Israeli municipality and we have a superior body to coordinate between

them. What’s wrong with this?” Abbas said, winning a round of applause. “This is the beginning of coexistence, the beginning of real coexistence.” But he warned that Israel’s ongoing settlement building would complicate peace efforts. “How do you want me to make peace with you when you’re building here in Beit El (settlement) and saying ‘This is my land’? Where do you want us to build our Palestinian state?” he asked. “There is no other solution in this region but peace,” Abbas said, prompting another round of applause. “This solution will bring recognition for Israel from all Arab and Islamic countries.” The Israelis, most of them masters students in their 20s, were brought to Ramallah by an international grassroots movement called OneVoice that facilitates dialogue between the two sides in a bid to coax the political echelon towards a two-state solution. Laura Talinovsky, executive director of OneVoice Israel, said they had invited participants through Facebook, asking them to explain why they wanted to come. “We had over 1,000 people who wanted to come but we only had places for 250 students,” she said, describing the visit as “very fruitful and successful”. “I came to hear what president Abu Mazen has to say, and to show him and the Palestinians that there are young Israelis that believe in peace and want peace,” said 32-year-old Mizrahi, a student at Haifa University. “It was a big opportunity to be here and to see the president himself speaking,” said Hadar, a 21-year-old from Sderot near the Gaza border, who said it was her first time in Ramallah. “It was very exciting.” — AFP

Kuwait to delay vote on Gulf security pact Continued from Page 1 send the results to all MPs. Asked if the government insists on debating the agreement in the current term, Ghanem said the majority of MPs will vote to give the pact a sufficient time of debate, adding that “we have found that it is not the government that requested the agreement to be debated now”. Ghanem hoped that the delay in ratification will not embarrass Kuwait among the GCC states, adding that “our constitution and laws are red lines that cannot be undermined”. “It is not possible to accept anything that violates the constitution and laws whether it is a bill, an agreement or anything else because the Kuwaiti constitution is a red line that will not be subjected to political maneuvers,” Ghanem said. The speaker added that Kuwait is not isolating itself from the rest of the GCC states, adding ties must be viewed within the framework of the constitution. The announcement by the speaker came after stiff

opposition against the security pact by political groups, MPs and activists, many of whom claimed the pact breached the Kuwaiti constitution and other laws and would suppress freedoms in the country. A number of political groups have called for public rallies to denounce the agreement and to apply pressure on the government not to go ahead with the ratification process. The agreement was debated at a session last week by the Assembly’s foreign relations committee, which was briefed by the foreign, interior and justice ministers about the pact, insisting that it does not violate the constitution. Three of the five MPs making up the committee have publicly announced their opposition to the pact, which means it was not expected to pass through the panel, but reports claimed that the government has enough strength in the Assembly to ratify the pact. Ghanem however said that some of the views expressed against the pact contained some justified ideas and these must be discussed thoroughly.

Continued from Page 1 organizations”. Incidentally, the University of Sharjah had denied it has expelled any Kuwaiti students, while the University of Ajman was yet to release an official statement. But according to Al-Rai, the Ajman University for Science and Technology had contacted the Kuwaiti embassy requesting to terminate the studies of four Kuwaiti students. In Kuwait, president of the parliament’s educational committee MP Hmoud Al-Hamdan announced plans to discuss the issue during a meeting with Minister of Education Ahmad Al-Mulaifi. Meanwhile, MP Abdullah Al-Turaiji demanded intervention from the Foreign Ministry “to follow up with the UAE’s move to repatriate Kuwaiti students without clear justifications”. Turaiji also raised concerns that the incident signifies what might happen if Kuwait approves the

controversial Gulf security pact. MP Abdulkareem AlKandari also expressed concern over UAE’s actions, “especially that [MPs] are currently discussing the security agreement”. The National Union of Kuwaiti Students held the foreign and higher education ministries responsible for any case of passiveness “that puts the academic future of Kuwaiti students at risk”. The expulsion comes amid a UAE crackdown on Islamists over the past two years. Last month a court jailed 30 Emiratis and Egyptians up to five years for forming a Muslim Brotherhood cell. It is not clear if the students will have to leave the UAE which, along with Kuwait, is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council which grants GCC citizens unlimited residency in one another’s country. The other members of the GCC are Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. — Agencies

Unfastened seatbelts, mobile use targeted Continued from Page 1 Currently, 129 cameras are installed at traffic lights in all areas of Kuwait. “These cameras were originally monitoring traffic, but about two years ago, we started using them for ticketing as well. These cameras are connected to the operation room of the ministry 24 hours a day. When the staff monitoring these cameras observes a violation, he registers it against the driver. This is the indirect way of violations, while the direct way is through the police forces from various department that stop the vehi-

cle and ticket the driver directly. The ministry decided to increase the number of policemen for this mission and include plainclothes policemen,” stressed Hayan. Meanwhile, Hayan denied not checking sports cars at the Capital Traffic Department. “A special lane was set for sports vehicles, specifically Nissan GT, Nissan Z and Ford Mustang cars from 1992 and older. This is due to many cases where drivers have a different body on a chassis that does not belong to it and is usually damaged and repaired, which makes it dangerous if an accident occurs,” he concluded.

Refineries at risk of more power woes Continued from Page 1 neighbouring refineries in Texas, sparking a fire at one and briefly shutting multiple units at the largest US refinery in Port Arthur. But those refineries make up just 6 percent of total US capacity. Last month’s closures in Kuwait halted all fuel production in the country, and it was a week before all three of its refineries returned to normal. Kuwait, one of the world’s biggest crude oil producers, refines about a third of its crude production of 3 million bpd and exports around 660,000 bpd of those petroleum products, according to OPEC figures. Brownouts The Ministry of Electricity and Water is Kuwait’s sole supplier and manager of electricity supplies. Ultra-low electricity prices give residents little incentive to limit their use of air conditioning in one of the world’s hottest climates, helping make Kuwait the fourth biggest per capita energy consumer in the world, according to the World Bank. A study by CESI Middle East, a power sector consultancy, for the League of Arab States forecast annual growth in Kuwait’s peak demand of between 5 and 6 percent up to 2030. At the same time, despite its wealth, Kuwait has failed to modernise and expand its infrastructure or attract many foreign investors to do it, largely because of persistent political squabbling and dense bureaucracy. Contracts are often delayed or cancelled because of parliamentary pressure or changes of government. In the latest example, Kuwait’s parliament voted on Feb 5 to investigate a contract awarded to a GDF Suez-led consortium to build a 1,500-megawatt power generation and drinkable water complex. The Al-Zour complex had originally been expected to start supplying the country in 2014, a date which was pushed back to 2016. A shortage of natural gas to feed power plants also strains stability of electricity supplies, especially in summer when Kuwait relies on costly imports of liquefied natural gas shipped in from around the world to meet a seasonal demand surge. “Kuwait is perpetually in a state of electricity supply shortage and experiences frequent blackouts and brownouts each summer,” the US Energy Information Administration said in an analysis. “In the past decade, the development of Kuwait’s electricity sector has stalled because of political factors and lack of investment, despite average annual demand growth of 6 percent.” Many refineries in other countries have uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems that include onsite generators to keep control systems going when external supplies fail. Some

UPS facilities can even keep large parts of a refinery running. In Kuwait, however, “the refineries are 100 percent dependent on the national grid. They don’t have internal power generation and that’s why they are very prone to power loss,” a Kuwaiti industry source said, declining to be named because of the sensitivity of the subject. “It has happened before but it happened for a much shorter duration...Sometimes it happens for minutes, or a fraction of a minute even. But this time it took more than one hour. This made it very difficult to restart.” Although there are relatively small power cuts from time to time, the last major outage happened a year ago, and there was a big one about two years before that, the source said. Last month’s outage was most severe. “Imagine you are driving your car at 200 (kilometres per hour) and suddenly all the systems cut out - how can you control everything? It is very serious.” Management Relatively cool winter weather in Kuwait last month suggests a simple imbalance of power demand and supply may not have been the reason for the refinery outages, however. The industry source said the reason may have been a mistake in power flow management that temporarily kicked the refineries off the grid. Industry analysts said Kuwait’s ageing power distribution equipment might have been to blame. “In the case of important loads such as refineries, the grid should be endowed with a back-up distribution supply, so if there is a fault on a feeder, power will be supplied automatically through an alternative,” said Floris Schulze, head of CESI Middle East. “Prolonged out-of-services of oil refineries are often due to uncoordinated protection relays inside the plant causing a sudden load shedding, with consequent damage of the mechanical equipment and the chemical process.” The Al-Zour project is to include a 615,000 bpd oil refinery, planned since 2008 as a replacement for the ageing Shuaiba site. But completion has been delayed until at least 2018. Earlier this week, Kuwait approved multi-billion dollar bids from foreign companies to upgrade the Mina Ahmadi and Mina Abdullah refineries; contracts are expected to be signed in April and work should begin shortly afterwards. But it is not clear whether the $12 billion “Clean Fuels Project” includes back-up power supply systems - or whether it will go ahead on schedule, given the past record of projects in Kuwait. “The new (Al-Zour) refinery is the same story - it is being debated,” the Kuwaiti industry source said. “It will depend on the ministry, and the ministry insists that it will have sufficient capability to supply the new refinery and the clean fuels project.” — Reuters




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Iran, powers aim for final nuclear deal By Simon Strurdee


ran and world powers embark tomorrow on the Herculean task of transforming their interim nuclear deal into a long-term accord satisfying all sides and silencing talk of war for good. After a decade of failure and rising tensions, US President Barack Obama has put the chances of an agreement at “50-50”, while Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has predicted “difficult” discussions. Getting a deal could also help bear fruit in other areas, not least in the three-year-old Syrian civil war where Tehran has staunchly backed President Bashar al-Assad. The latest peace talks ended in acrimony in Geneva on Saturday. The scheduled three-day meeting in Vienna between Iran and the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany - the so-called P5+1 - is the first in what is expected to be a series of tricky encounters in the coming months. It comes after foreign ministers struck a breakthrough deal in Geneva on Nov 24 that saw Iran agree to curb - for six months - some of its nuclear activities in exchange for minor relief from painful sanctions. That agreement, which came into force on Jan 20, extends the theoretical “break-out time” needed by Iran - which denies seeking the bomb - to produce enough highly-enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon. In return Iran is due to get over the six months some $6-7 billion in sanctions relief, including $4.2 billion in assets frozen in overseas bank accounts. It was also promised no new sanctions. But Iran’s freeze is only temporary - although it can be extended - and the bulk of sanctions remain, continuing to deprive Iran of billions of dollars in oil revenues every week. Under the “comprehensive” deal now being sought, which the parties aim to conclude and commence implementing by November, the powers will want Iran to scale back its activities permanently. These might include closing the Fordo facility, slashing the number of centrifuges enriching uranium, cutting its stockpile of fissile material and altering a new reactor being built at Arak, diplomats say. This, plus tighter UN inspections, would not remove entirely Iran’s capability to get the bomb but it would make it substantially more difficult - “impossible”, according to Obama. Hard sell In exchange, Iran would see all UN Security Council, US and EU sanctions lifted, but it remains to be seen whether it will accept the conditions. Tehran has laid out a series of “red lines” including refusing to close down any nuclear facilities or to stop medium-level enrichment. Iranian negotiator Hamid Baeedinejad told IRNA Sunday that Arak, which Western countries fear could provide Iran with weapons-grade plutonium, would be “one of the most important and difficult subjects” in Vienna. He also said Tehran “will definitely not accept to be deprived from having the right to replace the existing centrifuges with the new and advanced ones”. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate whose election last year has helped thaw relations with the West, retains the backing of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei - for now. “I am not fully sure whether Khamenei himself is fully committed to this process yet,” Siavush Randjbar-Daemi, Iran and Middle East lecturer at Manchester University, told AFP. Negotiators also have to take into account hardliners in the United States and in Israel, the Middle East’s sole if undeclared nuclear power, and also Sunni Arab monarchies in the Gulf. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was sharply critical of last November’s accord, and Obama has had to fight hard to prevent Congress passing new sanctions on Iran. “I think both sides would be willing to make compromises,” Richard Dalton, the former British ambassador to Tehran now at think-tank Chatham House, told AFP. “The trouble is that both sides have hard men outside the negotiating room who have to be satisfied.” The Mehr news agency said that Zarif would meet on Monday evening with EU foreign policy chief and P5+1 chief negotiator Catherine Ashton for a working dinner. —AFP

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US political appointees draw fire By Nicolas Revise


foreign policy circles are complaining about the record number of political appointees, especially big donors to President Barack Obama, getting plum postings at embassies around the world. While the practice of thanking big presidential campaign donors with chief of mission postings is common in the United States, it is rarely used by other world powers. And Obama’s Democratic administration has stood out in this regard, after a series of gaffes by ambassador picks during Senate hearings were met with sarcasm by Republican critics and the press who said they were unqualified. According to the American Foreign Service Association, which counts 16,400 current and retired diplomats among its members, the number of political appointees serving ambassadorships has broken all records at 37 percent. In recent decades, the rate has been an average of 30 percent of posts going to people close to the president and 70 per-

cent to career diplomats. Worse, according to the professional organization that scrutinizes every diplomatic nomination, the rate reached 53 percent during Obama’s second term that began in January 2013. That’s far and above the rates of between 27 and 38 percent under the administrations of George W Bush, Bill Clinton, George HW Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. “It is a real concern for career diplomats,” AFSA president Robert Silverman told AFP. “We want a debate about qualifications, and not about political influence or donations.” The organization refuses to discuss specific cases but lists all the White House’s “political” appointees to head foreign missions, chief among them critical allies such as Britain, Canada, China, the European Union, Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia and the United Nations. Little diplomatic experience Max Baucus, who is set to soon replace Gary Locke as US ambassador to China, namely admitted to lawmakers during his confirma-

tion hearing: “I am no real expert on China.” Liberal comedian Jon Stewart, who is generally supportive of Obama’s policies, mocked Obama’s choices to travel to Argentina, Iceland and Norway for not having ever traveled there. “Is there a rule that ambassadors can’t have set foot in the country they’re going to ambassador? Would it ruin the surprise?” he quipped, noting all three of those picks had raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Obama’s campaign. Obama’s rival Republican National Committee then jumped on the bandwagon, releasing an “Ambassadors for Dummies” guide. Step 1 suggests to “bundle hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Obama campaign.” The guide then asks to “find the country of your appointment on a map” and “visit the country. For at least one day.” The rumblings began when million-dollar donations bundler and Chartwell Hotels chief executive George Tsunis, who raised about $1.3 million for Obama and the Democratic Party, testified at his hearing to be confirmed as

ambassador to Norway. In addition to admitting he never visited the Nordic country, Tsunis said the constitutional monarchy has a president and described the anti-immigration Progress Party, which is part of the ruling coalition, as being part of “fringe elements” that “spew their hatred” and have been denounced by the government. Noah Mamet, who raised more than half a million dollars for Obama, admitted he knew nothing about Argentina or even the Spanish language, despite being nominated to serve in Buenos Aires. The nominee for ambassador to Hungary, soap opera producer Colleen Bell, who helped collect $800,000 for the Obama campaign, could only repeat generalities about US strategic interests and priorities despite growing concern over some lawmakers’ positions toward Jews and other minorities. With the White House expressing continued confidence in the nominees, The Los Angeles Times asked: “The question is, how much confidence should the American people have in Obama’s judgment in ambassadors?”

Rare among allies Silverman noted that political appointees were a far less frequent occurrence among US allies. “The British have uniformly sent their career diplomats, the Japanese and the French (did), our top allies,” he added. “They have confidence that those are the types of people who will be most likely to do good for their countries in the US because they know the US well, they have the background working with Washington.” His group will present guidelines Feb 25 on the “necessary qualifications and qualities of a successful chief of mission” prepared by a group of 10 ambassadors representing eight administrations. The State Department, however, stands its ground. It insists that political campaign donations have nothing to do with diplomatic nominations. “Either giving or not giving money doesn’t affect either way. It doesn’t make you more or less qualified,” deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters this week. “ We believe all of our nominees are incredibly qualified.” —AFP

Are outsiders the answer, or the problem? By David Rohde


ver the last 10 days, Bosnia has experienced its largest social unrest in nearly 20 years. Thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets to assail the country’s political elite. “These are the most dramatic - and in some ways the most important - protests that have happened since the end of the war,” said Larisa Kurtovic, an expert on postwar Bosnia and professor at DePaul University. “It’s full of risk, lots of risk, but also possibility.” She hopes the demonstrations show that Bosnian citizens have finally turned against corrupt political parties that have ruled the country since a brutal 1992-1995 war killed 100,000 people. More broadly, the protests have reignited a debate about whether interventions by the international community are the solution in Bosnia - or part of the problem. European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton may visit Sarajevo next week amid calls from some in the 28-nation bloc to intervene. At the same time American, European and U.N. policymakers are wrestling with how - and whether - to act in Syria, the Central African Republic, the Ukraine and other conflicts. A 1995 American-led NATO intervention in Bosnia ended the killing but nationalist parties - Muslim, Serb and Croat alike - gained sweeping control of state-run enterprises, government jobs and the issuing of lucrative state contracts. These new political elites now function as mafialike economic syndicates, tightly controlling companies, cash and jobs. That has stunted the country’s economy and politics. Irrespective of how voters may feel about a party’s corruption or nationalist agenda, they are likely to choose the group that promises to secure them a livelihood. Kurtovic, the DePaul professor, said she hoped Bosnia’s government officials would realize that citizens are

now demanding both political reform and more social and economic justice. “What needs to change is the fundamental understanding among the political elites,” she said. “That the government is supposed to serve the citizens, that the citizens are not there to be milked for their taxes.” ‘We Are Watching’ Paddy Ashdown, a British politician who has long championed aggressive international action in Bosnia, said the international community should force Bosnia’s political parties to accept long-stalled reforms to the 1995 Dayton peace accords. Ashdown fired scores of local politicians when he served as the top international official in Bosnia from 2002 to 2006. “The international community has to act now,” Ashdown said

in a CNN interview Wednesday. “If they don’t act now, I greatly fear that a situation where secessionism will take hold could easily become unstoppable.” But Alida Vracic, a 35-year-old Bosnian who heads a Sarajevo think tank called Populari, said Ashdownstyle international activism is the problem in Bosnia. She and a younger generation of Bosnians argue that a large international role has allowed local politicians to escape accountability. “Paddy Ashdown acted as the ultimate boss, sacking politicians from office, 80 in a day, and not using domestic institutions that the international community had set up in the first place,” she said in an email. If EU officials had become gradually less assertive at the time, she said, “maybe, just maybe Bosnian politicians would

finally start making hard choices and compromises themselves.” Some older Bosnians who lived through the war agreed. But they cautioned that there are times when extremists - armed with power, wealth or weapons - will ignore the will of the majority and carry out sweeping abuses. In those situations, the threat of outside military force is needed. Hasan Nuhanovic, a 45-year-old Bosnian Muslim whose father, mother and brother were executed by Serb forces after the 1995 fall of the town of Srebrenica, said international pressure is still needed in Bosnia. Nuhanovic argued that only outside powers can stop long-running efforts by Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik and Bosnian Croat nationalists to block the emergence of a unified Bosnian state. “I think they should send some troops

Bosnian protestors hold placards depicting political party leaders (on the right, Bakir Izetbegovic, leader of ruling Bosniak Muslim Party, with the slogan reading “Talk To The Hand”) in Sarajevo on Saturday. —AFP

back to Bosnia,” Nuhanovic said in a telephone interview. “Just to send a message. ‘We are still here. We are watching.’” ‘Smart, Sophisticated Policies’ The debate reflects a sea change that has occurred in the international presence in Bosnia over the last decade. After President George W. Bush pulled American peacekeepers out in 2003 and Ashdown’s tenure ended in 2006, the European Union led by Germany and France - radically scaled back the international effort. A hands-off EU approach reduced the number of international peacekeepers to less than 1,000. EU officials say the smaller international presence forced Bosnians to finally hold their own leaders responsible for the country’s anemic state. Ashdown and others said the scaled-back international effort allowed nationalist parties and corruption to flourish. In the CNN interview, he warned that nationalists could manipulate the unrest - whatever demonstrators’ original intent and reignite ethnic divisions. “At the moment, its citizens are complaining about poverty and lack of movement and dysfunctionality of the state and corruption amongst politicians,” he said. But events “could move to something far worse very quickly.” Vracic, the younger Bosnian, argued for less international action. “The international community should have left Bosnia ages ago,” she wrote, “and remained present in small doses, with smart, sophisticated policies.” Experts agree that having the international community present in “small doses” in “smart, sophisticated” ways is the right approach. But they caution that it is maddeningly difficult to achieve. At the same time, simply ignoring instability is fraught. In an increasingly interconnected world, conflict and chaos quickly reverberate across borders and economies. —Reuters



Wilson: Mourinho ‘boring bully’ LONDON: Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is “disrespectful” and a “bully” for describing Arsene Wenger “a specialist in failure”, former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson said yesterday. Mourinho was hitting back at the Arsenal manager’s claims that the Portuguese coach was playing down Chelsea’s title credentials because of a “fear to fail”. “I think at it’s best it’s disrespectful, at it’s worst despicable,” Wilson told BBC Radio 5 Live. “I find him boring in the extreme.” Mourinho, who is in his second spell in charge of Chelsea having in rejoined the club in June, has wound up a number of Premier League managers this season, including West Ham’s Sam Allardyce and Manuel Pellegriniof Manchester City. “I think it’s personal,” continued Wilson, who made 308 appearances for Arsenal. “To say West Ham play 19th century football, to give Manuel Pellegrini the abuse he has. This is a weekend when we honor a gent — Tom Finney — I don’t like bullies.” Mourinho and Wenger have endured a fractious relationship since the Portuguese coach called Wenger a “voyeur” in 2005 after the Frenchman repeatedly spoke about Chelsea in the media. Wilson would like to see the end of the verbal sniping between the two and believes that Mourinho should model his behavior on former Liverpool manager Bill Shankly. “He (Mourinho) is a hugely talented, amazing manager but a self-publicist and it’s mainly inaccurate,” Wilson said. “I like people who have within them some humility as well,” he added. — Reuters

Folau inspired by Lomu

Sterling boosts WCup chances

MELBOURNE: All Blacks great Jonah Lomu has been giving Israel Folau tips on how to improve on his stunning debut season in rugby union, local media reported yesterday. Dual code international Folau, who went from Super Rugby debutant to Wallabies fixture with 10 tries in 2013, is readying for his second season with the New South Wales Waratahs in the southern hemisphere competition. “I spoke to Jonah a few weeks ago,” Folau told News Ltd media of the hulking winger, capped 63 times for New Zealand and who holds the record for number of World Cup tries scored (15). “We talk every now and then, and I feel very lucky to have a legend of the game as a mentor. “It’s an attitude thing, (Lomu) said. Normal human reaction for when everything is going well, you relax a bit. You’re happy so you cruise. “He says it’s now about attitude, and you wanting to do that (successful season) from year to year, and to take your game to the next level. “That’s a challenge in itself, after the success I had last year. But obviously it was my first, so I am a lot more hungry to improve my game. And I know I can.” Folau’s enthusiasm will be music to the ears of the embattled Australian Rugby Union, who have openly announced most of the five Australian teams in the tournament are struggling financially. —Reuters

LONDON: Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling’s outstanding form has made the teenager a strong contender for a place at this year’s World Cup finals in Brazil, said England manager Roy Hodgson. After making his debut away to Sweden in 2012, Sterling, 19, was left out by England and his club but since being restored to Liverpool’s first team he has again impressed Hodgson. “He lost his place for a while and wasn’t on the radar to quite the same extent,” said Hodgson. “Then I was very impressed with him in an England under-21 game and since he got back into the Liverpool team his form seems to be going up and up.” England seem certain to be without injured Arsenal winger Theo Walcott for the World Cup but Hodgson believes they are “awash” with potential replacements. As well as Sterling, he mentioned Walcott’s club mate Alex OxladeChamberlain, Aaron Lennon (Tottenham Hotspur), Adam Johnson (Sunderland), Wilfried Zaha (on loan to Cardiff City from Manchester United) and Nathan Redmond (Norwich City). Another youngster who has forced his way into contention is 18-year-old Southampton left back Luke Shaw, now challenging the more experienced pair of Ashley Cole, who has not been playing regularly for Chelsea, and Everton’s Leighton Baines. “I’m satisfied with the two left backs I’ve got but I also think that Luke Shaw is a player who could quite easily play for England today,” Hodgson said. The England manager, who has travelled to Brazil to inspect facilities in Manaus where his side start in Group D against Italy on June 14, is expected to name Sterling and Shaw in his squad for the friendly at home to Denmark on March 5. — Reuters

East win dunk contest NEW ORLEANS: John Wall soared over his own mascot as the East stomped on the West in the slam dunk contest at the NBA’s All-Star Saturday. Wall’s sensational slam finished off a clean sweep for the Washington Wizards star and his Eastern Conference teammates, Indiana’s Paul George and Toronto’s Terrence Ross, in the contest’s new battle format. Answering Sacramento rookie Ben McLemore’s dunk in which he leaped over Shaquille O’Neal seated in a king’s throne, Wall took the ball from over the head of the Wizards mascot, brought it between his legs and slammed down a reverse dunk. “It was only my second time doing it. My first time was on Thursday,” Wall said. “So I just felt comfortable with myself and I knew it was a dunk that hasn’t been done before.” Judges Dominique Wilkins, Magic Johnson and Julius Erving all gave the victory to Wall in his matchup, after previously voting for George over Golden State’s Harrison Barnes, and defending champion Ross over Portland’s Damian Lillard. SKILLS CHALLENGE Earlier, San Antonio’s Marco Belinelli won the 3-point contest, and Lillard and Utah rookie Trey Burke won the skills challenge to give the Western Conference two victories on the night. Miami’s Chris Bosh, Wilkins and WNBA star Swin Cash won the night’s first event for the East, the shooting stars contest. The NBA tried to jazz up All-Star Saturday for its return to New Orleans, with a number of tweaks to the format. The biggest was in the dunk contest, which was broken into two parts. The first was the freestyle portion, where the teams had 90 seconds to execute as many dunks as they could, before the three 1-on-1 matchups in the battle format. McLemore came out wearing a king’s robe and was trailed by O’Neal, a new minority owner of the Sacramento Kings. McLemore made it over O’Neal’s throne on his second attempt, and the 15-time All-Star center presented him with a crown. MELBOURNE: Karrie Webb of Australia kisses her winning trophy as she poses for photos during the Australian Women’s Golf Open at The Victoria Golf Club. — AP

Webb clinches Australian Open MELBOURNE: Karrie Webb won the Women’s Australian Open for the fifth time yesterday, shooting a 4-under 68 in the final round to beat Chella Choi by one stroke. Webb birdied the 18th hole to take the outright lead, then watched as Choi, who shot a course-record 62 on Saturday to take a share of the third-round lead, pushed a 10-foot putt wide of the hole at 18 to miss the chance for a playoff. Webb, who clinched her 40th LPGA title, finished at 12-under 276 overall. She previously won the Australian Open in 2000, 2002, 2007 and 2008. “I got off to a great start and I just did a great job mentally today,” Webb said. “I can’t think of another time when I held myself together as well as that.” The win marked a remarkable change of fortune for the No. 8-ranked Australian, who was disqualified from last week’s Australian Ladies Masters after signing an incorrect scorecard. She had been the defending champion at the event. Webb started five shots off the lead yesterday, but made six birdies and only two bogeys as the other leading challengers struggled in a strong wind on the Victoria Golf Club course. “I was happy to see the conditions were going to be a little tougher today,” Webb said. “I felt like that gave me a chance to make up some ground.” Choi had played 14 holes and was at 11

under when Webb finished her round, leaving the Australian with an anxious wait to see whether her score would hold up. But the South Korean, who had two eagles and six birdies in her record-setting third round, couldn’t make a birdie on the back nine yesterday. “When you’re on the course you feel like you have some control, but when you’re done you have no control and you just have to wait and see,” Webb said. “I actually thought once Chella had that putt on the last, I’ve played with her quite a bit and I was expecting that one to go in.” Choi was trying to win her first LPGA title. World No. 2 Suzann Pettersen of Norway faltered in her bid to take over the top ranking from South Korea’s Inbee Park. Pettersen, who started the day three shots off the pace in fourth place, needed to finish first or second to pass Park, but had three double bogeys in a final round 80 to drop back into a tie for 28th. Sixteen-yearold Lydia Ko of New Zealand, the world No. 4, was also unable to challenge Webb, struggling with her putt on the back nine and shooting a 73. She finished tied for third with American Paula Creamer (68) and Frenchwoman Karine Icher (71). Seventeen-year-old Australian amateur Minjee Lee, the co-overnight leader, had seven bogeys and a double bogey in an error-filled final round of 78. She finished in a share of 11th place. — AP

REAL KING Moments later, however, Wall was the real king. “The slam dunk has returned,” said Erving, one of the NBA’s most famed dunkers. Belinelli needed to win a tiebreaker in the 3-point contest to beat the Wizards’ Bradley Beal. Beal had made his final six shots, including two “money balls” worth two points each, to tie Belinelli’s final-round score of 19. The Italian then racked up an event-high score of 24 for the win. “I was a little bit nervous at the beginning and I think that I shot like two airballs,” Belinelli said. “But in the end I was focused. I really cared about this trophy.” Lillard and Burke beat the Eastern Conference tandem of Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo in the skills challenge, which consisted of dribbling around obstacles, passing to targets, and hitting shots from medium and close range. Bosh, meanwhile, hit a half-court shot to give his team victory in the shooting stars contest that opened All-Star Saturday. Each team had to hit shots from 10 feet from a right-side angle, the top of the key, 3-point range and half court, with the best time winning. — AP

NEW ORLEANS: Ben McLemore of the Sacramento Kings dunks the ball as he flies over former NBA player Shaquille O’Neal during the skills competition at the NBA All Star basketball game. — AP

Aiken maintains SA monopoly EAST LONDON: Thomas Aiken holed a long birdie on the first play-off hole yesterday to maintain a South African monopoly of the Africa Open. No foreigner has won the seven-year event with Englishman Oliver Fisher the latest to fall just short after finishing level with Aiken on 20under-par 264 at East London Golf Club. A wayward second shot by the Londoner at the first extra hole landed left of the green and his chip rolled past the pin, leaving him with a challenging 18th-hole par putt. But it proved irrelevant as Aiken saw his putt stay on course and it had just enough pace to

drop into the hole and give the Johannesburgborn star a third European Tour title. The 30-year-old, who is ranked 113 in the world, won the 2011 Spanish Open and the Avantha Masters in India last season. Aiken, who was four strokes off the pace entering the final round, said he was thrilled to finally win a European Tour event at home. “I have been waiting quite some time for this,” he said after receiving the trophy. “There is nothing like winning at home. “East London proves that a course need not be long to be testing,” he said of the shortest European Tour layout at 6,064 metres (6,632 yards).

“You have to think here rather than just get up on the tee and belt the ball. The bush provides a real obstacle. It is a strategic course and I love it.” Aiken follows an illustrious list of Africa Open champions with Major winners Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Retief Goosen among previous title-holders. Darren Fichardt was the lone former champion in action this year and finished joint fifth, two strokes behind Aiken and Fisher. A horrendous front-nine 43, including a five-over-par nine at the opening hole, put paid to the hopes of a maiden European triumph by overnight leader Argentine Emiliano Grillo. — AFP

McGirt seeking first win grabs two-shot lead PACIFIC PALISADES: Little known American William McGirt, seeking his first PGA Tour win, broke clear of a congested leaderboard to seize a two-shot lead in Saturday’s third round of the Northern Trust Open. Two strokes off the pace when the delayed second round was completed earlier in the day, the 34-year-old journeyman took advantage of several favourable pin positions with superb allround golf to fire a six-under-par 65. McGirt birdied five of his first six holes, then picked up three more shots in the first four holes after the turn on the way to a 12under total of 201 in the PGA Tour event at a firm and fast-running Riviera Country Club. “Played really solid, hit a lot of good iron shots and good putts,” McGirt told reporters

after mixing eight birdies with two bogeys on a day of hazy sunshine and occasional cloud cover. “Just one of those days you could see the line. “On the putting green, my stroke felt fast and I’ve been working hard trying to slow it down. Nothing felt good warming up, the putter didn’t feel good and the swing really didn’t feel good. “Maybe there’s something to it,” McGirt said with a broad grin. “I hit a lot of good shots and starting out, the hole looked like a washtub. All in all, it was pretty good all day.” George McNeill, a double winner on the US circuit, carded a 66 after eagling the parfive first to finish at 10 under, level with fellow American Charlie Beljan (68).

Two more Americans, left-hander Brian Harman (68) and Monday qualifier Jason Allred (67), were a further stroke back in a tie for fourth. PACKED LEADERBOARD Eleven players were within four strokes of McGir t ’s lead, including former Masters champions Bubba Watson (64) and Charl Schwartzel (68), multiple PGA Tour winner Dustin Johnson (69) and 2013 PGA Tour rookie of the year Jordan Spieth (67). “ This is what we strive to do, have a chance on Sunday,” American left-hander Watson said after piling up seven birdies in a bogey-free display to finish four off the pace. “I’m looking for the back nine tomorrow, hav-

ing a chance. “You don’t want to come to the back nine going, ‘Well, if I shoot 30, then I still don’t have a chance to win.’ I want that chance to win going into the back nine tomorrow.” South Korea’s Bae Sang-moon began the third round with a one-stroke advantage and he maintained that with a birdie at the parfour first before falling back with bogeys at the fourth and eighth. Five players held at least a share of the lead early on before McGirt stormed three strokes in front with birdies at the 10th, 11th and 13th, where he sank a 10-footer. Though McGirt recorded a three -putt bogey at the 15th to slip back to 12 under, he parred the last three holes to preserve his

two-stroke cushion atop a crowded leaderboard. McGirt, who has twice been a runnerup on the PGA Tour but had not made the cut at Riviera in his two previous starts, had a simple strategy in mind for Sunday’s final round. “It’s just 18 more holes and whatever is going to happen is going to happen,” the 34-year-old said. “All I can do is go out and play the best I can.” Asked to explain why he had flourished at Riviera this week after missing the cut in 2011 and 2013, McGirt replied: “The big thing is the golf course is playing much faster and getting some run and the ball can carry. “It’s probably 15 degrees warmer than I’ve played it here ... and so the ball is kind of chasing a little bit. That helps me out a bunch.” — Reuters



All sorts of trouble for Stewart-Haas at Daytona DAYTONA BEACH: Engine troubles during the day, wrecked cars at night. Stewart-Haas Racing found all sorts of trouble at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday. Tony Stewart, SHR’s owner and driver, and teammate Danica Patrick got the miserable day started with blown engines in pole practice for the Daytona 500. They will have to start at the back of the field in Thursday’s qualifying race and in the Feb. 23 Daytona 500. Things got worse in the Sprint Unlimited exhibition race a few hours later. Stewart, Patrick, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch were involved in a nine-car wreck in the race, knocking out three of the four SHR cars in the event that kicks off the NASCAR season. Harvick was able to return to the track but was well off the pace. “You hate to have that happen,” Stewart said. “That’s just part of it. Back at Daytona.” The melee started when Matt Kenseth turned in front of Joey Logano. Logano’s front bumper turned Kenseth’s car sideways, triggering the multi-car pileup. Patrick tried to weave her way through the obstacle course of wrecked cars, but her left-side tires got on the infield grass, turning her sideways. And as she tried to straighten out her No. 10 Chevrolet, her boyfriend, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., plowed into her. “I got hit by my boyfriend. What a

bummer,” Patrick said. “I was having fun and I felt like I was learning a lot. It was good to run with those guys. It would have been nice to get it to the end for the experience.” SHR has to hope the rest of the week improves from here. Stewart, Patrick and HScott Motorsports driver Bobby Labonte also had engine failures in practice, creating concern that Hendrick Motorsports might have issues. Stewart, Patrick and Labonte all lease engines from Hendrick, which also fields cars for Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne. Labonte’s engine went first. Stewart’s started smoking a bit later, followed about 10 minutes later by Patrick’s. “I was like, ‘Man, are we doing something?’” Patrick said. “It’s something that we are doing in our family here and we need to figure it out. “ Though Hendrick drivers had no engine problems, Johnson, Gordon, Earnhardt and Kahne seemed to be down on horsepower. The fastest Hendrick driver during the first practice was Gordon, who was 21st on the speed chart. “We feel like we understand what is happening,” Hendrick general manager Doug Duchardt said. “We will get the engines back over and tear them down from NASCAR. I think we will be able to confirm everything that is happening. “ — AP

DAYTONA BEACH: Danica Patrick (front center) slides through the infield as Tony Stewart (left) Jeff Gordon (24), Kurt Busch (41), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (17) and Matt Kenseth (right) crash on the front stretch during the NASCAR Sprint Unlimited auto race. — AP

McCullum ton stalls India’s victory push

DUBAI: An image made available by Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships yesterday, shows Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki posing for a photograph with penguins at the indoor snow park Ski Dubai. Wozniacki is taking part in the WTA Dubai Open that will start today. — AFP


Serena aims to dispel anxieties in Dubai DUBAI: Serena Williams’ bid to extend her phenomenal career into her 33rd year will take a tentative but crucial step forward when she unexpectedly lines up at the head of the field for the Dubai Open which starts today. Tennis’ iconic female had planned to give the popular and lucrative tournament a miss until a back injury at last month’s Australian Open altered the shape of her year. She needs to prove that it won’t alter the shape of her career either. Serena has already confounded countless predictions by recovering from a hematoma and a life-threatening pulmonary embolism, and improbably regaining the world number one ranking a year ago. But injuries at this age, especially back injuries, can be a cause for anxiety. She is however making a decent job of trying to dispel that. She twittered a message this week precisely designed to show how vigorous she feels she is. “Hit today with @pmouratoglou not sure if he will want to hit with me again cauz I’m Crazy intense on practice court,” it read, making a jokey reference to her French coach, Patrick Mouratoglou. But practice is one thing and hard matches on hard courts after an absence are quite another. Serena will be seeking reassurance about her fitness, and, almost as vital, match practice. Had she not accepted this last minute wild card and been prepared to travel to the Middle East she would have had gone two

months without competition. She withdrew from this week’s Qatar Open because of the bad back, declined on principle to play at Indian Wells, and was scheduled to appear next at Miami in mid-March. All that follows two months of the off-season. Without Dubai, Serena would have played only eight matches in four and a half months. Good as she is, that would have been risky if she aims to win big titles. The 32-yearold American has never won the title at Dubai and has not appeared there since 2009, where she lost to elder sister Venus Williams in the semi-finals. Venus has also taken a wild card into Dubai. Serena is seeded for a final with Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland which would be a repeat of the 2012 Wimbledon final. She could start against Ekaterina Makarova, the Russian who recently won the Pattaya title, and might have a semi-final with Petra Kvitova, the former Wimbledon champion against whom she recovered from 1-4 down in the final set to regain the world number one ranking after a two-year interval this time last year. Venus, who held a match point against Kvitova this week in nearby Doha and articulated an enduring ambition to win big matches, also starts against a Russian, Elena Vesnina. Her reward for winning would be a meeting with Angelique Kerber, the sixth seeded German, or Ana Ivanovic, the former world number one from Serbia who beat her in the Auckland final last month.

WELLINGTON: New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum stubbornly provided a glimmer of hope for his side on the third day of the second Test against India as he battled to his ninth test century to thwart the visitors’ push for a series-levelling victory yesterday. McCullum, troubled with what appeared to be injuries to his left shoulder and right elbow, blasted the only six of his innings over long on off Ishant Sharma to bring up the milestone about 45 minutes before the end of play. The 32-year-old McCullum was 114 not out at stumps having shared in an unbroken 158-run partnership with wicketkeeper BJ Watling (52) that guided the hosts to 252 for five and stalled India’s drive for victory at the Basin Reserve. “It was hard work out there,” McCullum told Radio Sport. “I thought they bowled brilliantly and at five for 90 (odd), things weren’t looking so good. “Thankfully BJ and I put together a partnership which was undefeated at the end of the day.” Corey Anderson was the only wicket to fall during the final two sessions, having joined McCullum at the resumption of play following the lunch break after New Zealand had slumped to 87 for four in the final over of the morning session. Anderson had tried to work Ravindra Jadeja into the leg-side only to get a leading edge and it ballooned back to the left-arm spinner. Anderson’s dismissal reduced the hosts to 94 for five and in danger of not seeing out a sun-drenched day, before Watling and McCullum dropped anchors and took their side through two sessions to ensure they would be back for a fourth day. The normally free -flowing McCullum faced 237 balls and had been batting for just under six hours while Watling was even more obdurate with his 52 coming from 208 deliveries. He had been at the crease for more than four hours. “It’s what the team required and as captain that’s what you try and achieve,” McCullum added. “You’re not always going to do it, but you have to try and work your game to the situation. “I was just pleased to get through to the end of the day with five down. We have got a lot more ground to cover tomorrow.” New Zealand had resumed the day on 24 for one, a deficit of 222 runs, and slumped further into the mire when Zaheer Khan grabbed two early wickets to put India firmly in charge of the match. The 35-year-old left-armer had the ball move slightly away off the seam to catch the thinnest of outside edges of both Kane Williamson (seven) and Hamish Rutherford (35) to reduce the hosts to 52 for three

WELLINGTON: New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum sweeps in front of India’s MS Dhoni on the third day of the second cricket Test at Basin Reserve yesterday. — AP

SCOREBOARD WELLINGTON: Scoreboard at the close of play on the third day of the second test between New Zealand and India at the Basin Reserve yesterday. New Zealand first innings 192 India first innings 438 New Zealand second innings (overnight 24-1) P. Fulton lbw b Khan 1 H. Rutherford c Dhoni b Khan 35 K. Williamson c Dhoni b Khan 7 T. Latham c Dhoni b Shami 29 B. McCullum not out 114

inside the first hour. Debutant Tom Latham was then dismissed by Mohammed Shami in the final over before lunch for 29, having avoided the dreaded pair in his first test when he punched Zaheer through point for two runs. India must win the match to level the two-test series after New Zealand won the first game at Eden

C. Anderson c & b Jadeja 2 BJ Watling not out 52 Extras: (b-2, lb-6, nb-4) 12 Total (for five wickets, 99 overs) 252 Fall of wickets: 1-1 2-27 3-52 4-87 5-94 Bowling (to date): I. Sharma 23-3-63-0 (nb-4), Khan 25-8-60-3, Shami 25-4-72-1, Jadeja 266-49-1 Previous result: New Zealand won the first test by 40 runs to lead the two-match series 1-0.

Park by 40 runs and McCullum said he felt while the visitors were still in the ascendancy the match could still turn the home side’s way. “Being five down was key for us,” he said. “If we had been six or seven down I think the test was over. “It was a big couple of hours at the end of the day there.” — Reuters

South Africa’s champions tag in danger CENTURION: South Africa entered their Test series against Australia as undisputed world champions in the five-day form of the game. But the crushing nature of their 281-run defeat in the first Test at SuperSport Park has raised the possibility that their era of dominance may be coming to an end. Irrespective of the result of the current threeTest series South Africa will remain on top of the International Cricket Council rankings — but they will need to raise their game in order to be regarded as champions in more than name only. Left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Johnson was the destroyer with match figures of 12 for 127. Johnson not only blasted through South Africa’s top order batting in both innings, he intimidated the hosts with fast, hostile short-pitched bowling. Hashim Amla and Ryan McLaren both took sickening blows on their helmets. Australian captain Michael Clarke had no doubt that it was a performance that would have been

noticed around the cricketing world. “I don’t know what South Africa are feeling at the moment,” said Clarke. “I do know there is not one cricket lover around the world that doesn’t know that Mitchell Johnson is bowling at 150ks and executing his skills better than any other bowler in the world.” But Clarke was wary of claiming that his team had dominance in the series. He insisted that South Africa had been tough opponents at Centurion — although there was not much evidence to back up his view — and said he expected Graeme Smith’s team to come out fighting in the second Test which starts in Port Elizabeth on Thursday. “I said when we left Australia that the greatest challenge this team faces is to have success away from home,” said Clarke. “That’s why this series is such a big challenge for us. We started well but we’ve got a lot of work to do. “There’s a lot of skill in that (South African) change room. I’m sure this next Test is going to be even tougher than what we just faced.”

SOUTH AFRICA WELL SHORT South African captain Graeme Smith acknowledged that his team had fallen well short. “There’s going to be a lot of criticism and fan emotion,” he said. “We didn’t live up to expectations and we deserve every bit that comes our way.” Smith and fellow opening batsman Alviro Petersen both fell cheaply to Johnson in both innings, exposing the rest of a batting line-up which is without the recently retired Jacques Kallis. Only AB de Villiers, who made 91 and 48, looked comfortable for extended periods against Johnson, although Amla played some good strokes in making 35 in the second innings. But it was not only South Africa’s batting that failed. The bowling was disappointing, with Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander failing to take advantage of a pitch which Clarke described as “quite nasty”, while De Villiers said some of South Africa’s fielding was “almost embarrassing”. There are not many options for the South

African selectors, although left-armer Wayne Parnell might replace fellow all-rounder Ryan McLaren. Petersen looked out of his depth against Johnson but there are no obvious replacements. South Africa might add an extra batsman, probably Dean Elgar, which would put left-arm spinner Robin Peterson’s place in jeopardy. Australia, meanwhile, are looking ahead. “They k now we’re here to play,” said coach Darren Lehmann. “But this game is finished. We need to adapt for the next game. It is a case of backing it up.” Smith denied that Johnson had destroyed South Africa’s confidence. “I doubt there is much mental scarring,” he said. “We’ve lost a game of cricket and we’ve been beaten comprehensively. “It’s important that we move away now. There are still two big Test matches left in this series and we need to make sure that we perform really well in the next one.” — AFP



Halep confirms class with crushing win over Kerber

Will Leer

Leer wins Wanamaker Mile NEW YORK: US champion Will Leer put on a brilliant closing kick to overtake Lawi Lalang and Nick Willis and win the featured Wanamaker Mile in a season leading time of three minutes, 52.47 seconds at Saturday’s Millrose Games. Leer, who also won the 3,000 meters at last year’s US indoor championships, was way back in the pack before making his move, charging to third place and then finishing with a stirring sprint to win the famed mile race. “I kind of just lost track of the laps, you couldn’t hear a split,” the bearded Leer said after victory in the 107th Millrose Games in front of a noisy crowd of about 5,000 at The Armory. “It was so loud in here, everybody was going nuts. I was moving up and then all of a sudden I heard ding, ding, ding, ding (for the bell lap) and I said ‘I gotta go, I’ve got a lot left.’” Lalang, of Kenya and the University of Arizona, held the lead until the last straightaway and finished second in 3:52.88 to set a US collegiate record. Two-time Olympian Willis of New Zealand tried to pass Lalang on the inside going down the stretch but was boxed in by the Kenyan and finished third in 3:53.02. “Will (Leer) ran a fantastic race,” said the gracious Willis. “I just got beaten by a much better runner on the day.” Missing from the race was world silver medalist Matthew Centrowitz, who withdrew due to an upper respiratory problem. CAIN PLEASED Rising teenage runner Mary Cain won the women’s mile in 4:27.73. Cain, who recently broke her world junior indoor

record for 1,000 meters, did not threaten any records after a slow early pace, but saw the race as another step in her development. “One thing that I struggle with a lot is competing, being in a pack, running with a lot of bodies,” said Cain, a local favorite who grew up in nearby Bronxville, New York. “I’m 17, still not really kind of used to it. So the goal today was to compete and race smart. That’s what I did and I’m really happy.” Also beaming was Bernard Lagat, winner of the Wanamaker mile a record eight times, who won the rarely run 2,000 meters in an event named in honor of Finnish great Paavo Nurmi, who set a world record at the distance at The Armory in 1925. Lagat, who set US records at 5,000 meters and two-miles at the previous two Millrose Games, clocked a time of 4:54.74, and said his victory was an homage to the great Nurmi. “He achieved so much,” said Lagat. “To even be mentioned in the same line as Paavo Nurmi, to me that is the greatest honor.” Another world leader for this season was set in the 1,000 meters by Frenchman Pierre-Ambroise Bosse, who won with a time of 2:17.63. American Wallace Spearmon was a noshow in the 300 metres after having travel problems on another snowy weekend in New York, but the husband and wife Eatons made it to Washington Heights and set personal bests. Olympic decathlon champion and world record holder Ashton Eaton cleared an indoor personal best 5.35 meters in the pole vault in finishing fourth. World heptathlon silver medallist Brianne Theisen Eaton finished fifth in the women’s 60 metres hurdles in 8.17 seconds for her best time. — Reuters

Lavillenie seeking new heights in pole vault PARIS: New pole vault world record holder Renaud Lavillenie said yesterday that he was aiming to leap even higher than the towering 6.16 metres he cleared the day before in Donetsk. Arriving back home in Paris to a hero’s welcome, the 27-year-old Frenchman said that he was having some difficulty taking in the extent of his achievement which broke Ukraine legend Sergei Bubka’s 21year-old world record. “I am never going to stop,” he said. “There is just no reason to stop fighting to better this record. “Bubka is not just an ordinary athlete. It is quite amazing.” “It’s certain, I am not going to clear 6.35 metres. Already to have done one (world record), it is already huge. “If in the years to come I can do one or two others, that would be extraordinary. “But there is also every chance that may never happen.” The slightly-built Lavillenie came through the aiport arrival gates hobbling on crutches having injured his left ankle in attempting to clear 6.21 metres after his record jump in Ukraine. He failed to complete the jump, injuring the ankle as he fell backwards. The fall resulted in a bad laceration on the inside of his foot that required a visit to hospital for 12 stiches to be inserted. Lavillenie said that at this stage he did not know if the injury would prevent him from defending his world indoors pole vault title in Sopot, Poland, from March 7-9. “I need to at least try to do something there,” he said. “It’s just the way I am.” Lavillenie said he would undergo some medical tests on the injur y in Paris today after which he would hold a news conference. THE NEW CZAR The reigning Olympic champion arrived home to an outpouring of praise from all quarters in a country where polevaulting is held in the loftiest esteem.

“The New Czar,” headlined L’Equipe newspaper saying his giant leap in Ukraine had been “a major landmark in the history of sport.” Bubka, who still holds the outdoor world record of 6.14m set in 1994, was on hand in Donetsk to congratulate the man who finally took away his world record mark. “A new era in the sport has arrived,” said the 50-year-old, who has forged a new career in sports administration and is a prominent member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). “ Today the winner is an Olympic champion, someone who already has tasted success several times. “We were anticipating this happening and we are delighted that it happened here in Donetsk. “I like this guy a lot. “I am sure that it is not the last time he will do this and that other stunning successes await him.” Countryman Jean Galfione, who won the 1996 Olympic gold medal, said that his record leap had been “remarkable” and that Lavillenie knew no limits. “Doing better than Bubka, it’s like going faster than Usain Bolt, having better stats than Michael Jordan. He has just dethroned a legend,” he said. “He isn’t the strongest, he isn’t the tallest, he isn’t the fastest. He clocks 11 seconds for 100 metres, nothing exceptional. But with a pole vault in his hands he becomes great.” Lavillenie, who has yet to win the world outdoor title having garnered two bronzes in 2009 and 2011 and silver last year, had arrived in Donetsk in prime form having broken his own personal record twice last month. At 27, the Frenchman has, barring injury, several years of top class vaulting ahead of him and he has already made it clear that he intends to compete “at least until 2020”, taking in the Summer Olympics of Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and Tokyo four years later. — AFP

DOHA: Simona Halep, the young Romanian whose dazzling form signalled her as the tour’s rising star, confirmed that impression yesterday as she collected the biggest prize of her career with an impressive 6-2, 6-3 victory over German Angelique Kerber in the Qatar Open. The 22-year-old seventh seed-who was winning her third WTA title-eased to victory over the 26year-old sixth seeded German, to add her to other impressive conquests this week the second and fourth seeds, Agnieszka Radwanska and Sara Errani. Once again the pace of Halep’s hitting, and her daring play, placed a more experienced and more highly rated opponent under such continuous pressure that she forced uncharacteristic errors. Only briefly did she falter, at the start of the second set when she went 1-2 down, but she quickly regained the momentum. At the end the tenacious and usually consistent Kerber concluded the onesided contest with a double fault. “I never believed I could win the tournament when I came here,” said Halep, who reached the world’s top ten for the first time only last month. “I had been competing indoors, but mentally I am very strong and I got the feel of the balls and the court here very well. I have to enjoy this now as the best moment of my life.” She could hardly have made a better start. She broke Kerber’s serve at once, bulleting ground strokes with the same rifling speed and accuracy as in her conquest of Radwanska yesterday, and bouncing around the court as though she owned it. Halep consolidated with a comfortable hold of serve, advancing to 3-1. She even summoned the outrageous good fortune to counter a Kerber net cord with a net cord of her own, opening up the court for another of her many winners. When Halep broke again and held again for 5-1 the match appeared to be heading for a rout. But Kerber knew that getting the first good strike into the rally was more than usually important against an opponent in such hot form and started to take more risks to do it. It helped her get into it more. Kerber held serve with a struggle but then, with a break-back point for 3-5, unaccountably failed to put a ball away

DOHA: Simona Halep of Romania kisses her trophy after winning the Qatar Open final tennis match against Angelique Kerber of Germany yesterday. — AFP from right on top of the net. Halep duly closed out the set and broke again at the start of the second, before her momentum subsided a little, allowing Kerber to break back. However a telling phase followed in the fifth game, when Halep’s pounding rhythm restored itself and Kerber was obliged to take even greater risks. Eventually, break point down again, she attempted a drop shot from so far back that Halep was able to make the kill with time for a thank you. Halep held for 4-2, and for 5-3, still launching early and powerful attacks at the slightest opportunity, pressuring a frustrated Kerber into her uncharac-

teristic anti-climactic double fault. And yet all might have been different. Few saw Halep’s opening encounter on an outside court in which she trailed 3-5 in the final set to Kaia Kanepi, the unseeded Estonian, before surviving in a frantic tie-break by seven points to five. Halep is already the only woman player to win at least one title on hard, clay and grass courts, and has now won seven of her last eight matches against top ten players. For the moment her reward is to climb just one place to world number nine. Few would now bet against her soon climbing again though, with Errani, Jelena Jankovic, and Petra Kvitova very much in her sights. — AFP

Injured Kovalchuk lifts Russia to shootout win SOCHI: Ilya Kovalchuk overcame a mid-match injury to score in a shootout and lift Russia to a dramatic 1-0 victory over Slovakia during the Sochi Games hockey tournament yesterday. It was the second shootout in as many days for the Russians who lost a heartbreaker 3-2 to the USA on Saturday. “Overall we’ve played well,” said Russian superstar Alex Ovechkin. “Everybody wants to beat Russia at home. It’s the Olympic Games and nobody wants to make mistakes.” Kovalchuk beat Slovakia goaltender Jan Laco with a backhand shot in close for the four-time world champion Russians who are seeking their first Olympic gold medal since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Kovalchuk had to leave the game halfway through the second period after he fell awkwardly while fighting for a loose puck with Slovak Richard Panik. He went to the dressing room for a brief period and received some treatment before returning to become the shootout star. Russia finished with two wins and a loss in Group A of the round robin and now advance to the qualification round. “Now we can’t lose, all the games could bring elimination,” Kovalchuk said. The shootout was reminiscent of four years ago in Vancouver when the late Pavol Demitra score the winning goal in a shootout for Slovakia as they beat the Russians 2-1. Demitra died in 2011 when a Yakovlev Yak-42 passenger aircraft, carrying the entire hockey team of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the Kontinental Hockey League. All the players were killed. Semyon Varlamov stopped both shots he faced in the shootout and had 27 saves overall. Alexander Radulov also scored for Russia in the shootout. Radulov took some heat for Saturday’s loss to the Americans after two penalties he received led to both USA goals in regulation time, but he was one of the Russian’s top offensive performers yesterday. Michal Handzus and Tomas Tatar failed on both

SOCHI: Russia forward Ilya Kovalchuk flips the puck past Slovakia goaltender Jan Laco to win a shootout during a men’s ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics. — AP their shootout attempts for Slovakia. Russian forward Pavel Datsyuk said they can get better. “We’re not happy about this game. We wanted to win it in regular time, not to go into shootouts or cause heart attacks,” he said. Laco was superb in goal as he finished with 36 saves. He also got some help from his posts. One of the Russians’ best scoring chances came at the five minute mark of the third as Alexander Semin tipped a point shot that hit the cross bar and also ricochetted off the right post and out of harm’s way. “When it hits

the post, it is not a goal,” said Laco. “We played well even though the last period was really hard. “It was a good game but we were still unsuccessful.” In other daytime matches yesterday, Phil Kessel scored three goals as the United States routed Slovenia 5-1 while Austria beat Norway 3-1. The victory powered the Americans into the quarter-finals of the tournament. “It’s not about me it’s about the win,” said Kessel, who plays in the NHL for the Toronto Maple Leafs. “We can still improve more and we have to get a lot better.” — AFP

More injuries on Extreme Park ROSA KHUTOR: Two of the first six riders in yesterday’s opening snowboard cross seeding run were taken away on stretchers after falling heavily, causing concern a day after Russian freestyle skier Maria Komissarova was seriously injured on the same course.Komissarova underwent more than six hours of spinal surgery at Krasnaya Polyana Hospital Number 8 on Saturday after breaking her back in a crash during training for the women’s ski cross at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park. The course for the snowboarding event has some different sections but many of the same jumps, twists and turns. Norwegian Helene Olafsen was the first rider out and after one jump turned 180 degrees before landing on her back and shoulder. There was a lengthy delay as she was tended to on the course but she appeared to be conscious as she was stretchered off the slope. “Helene has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee,” Norway Olympic team doctor Ellen Moen said in a new release. She also has an injury to the ligament on the inside of the same knee, and a meniscus injury. “She will most likely have to have an operation on the knee, but we cannot say anything more about it yet.” American Jacqueline Hernandez, who went out sixth, was the second faller, hitting the slope with a thud as she tried to land backwards and appearing to lose consciousness as she smashed her head into the snow. Again there was a delay as she received medical treatment but she had also recovered consciousness before she was taken away on the stretcher. The US team later said Hernandez had been treated in the medical tent where they ascertained she had suffered a concussion. She was withdrawn from the competition. Italy’s Michela Moioli later ruptured a cruciate ligament in her knee after a fall in the final and will return home to undergo surgery, the Italian Olympic Committee said on their website. —Reuters

SOCHI: Jorien ter Mors of the Netherlands skates her way to gold in the women’s 1,500meter speedskating race at the Adler Arena Skating Center during the 2014 Winter Olympics. — AP

Ter Mors leads Dutch sweep SOCHI: Jorien ter Mors of Netherlands won the women’s 1,500 metres speed skating title in an Olympic record time yesterday as the Dutch once again swept the medals at the Adler Arena. Ter Mors clocked one minute, 53.51 seconds in the ninth heat of 18 to leave the pre-race favourites an imposing time that few threatened to match. Defending champion Ireen Wust claimed silver to go with her 3,000m gold and Lotte Van Beek was delighted with bronze as the Dutch moved on to a record 16 speed skating medals in Sochi. It was also a third speed skating medal sweep in Sochi for the Dutch after the men completed the feat in the 500 and 5,000m.

Ter Mors, who finished fourth in the 1,500m short track, was left in tears after being confirmed the winner when Van Beek, skating in the final heat, failed to beat her time. Ter Mors’s compatriot Marrit Leenstra finished fourth and Russian Yuliya Skokova was the best-placed non-Dutchwoman in fifth, almost three seconds behind the gold medallist. The United States’s wait for a first speed skating medal of the Sochi games continued after Heather Richardson and Brittany Bowe finished seventh and 14th in their old skinsuits after the team ditched their Olympic ‘Mach 39’ ones on Saturday. —Reuters



Drama, anger and concrete as ski jump complex is built ROSA KHUTOR: When ski jumpers arrived for an international event at Russia’s new Olympic hill complex in December 2012, they found a construction site. “Sochi was very interesting because there was no snow, just a lot of mud and dirt ... we only jumped on the normal hill because the big hill was not ready with snow,” Austria’s Gregor Schlierenzauer recalled in an interview with Reuters. The RusSki Gorki jumps in the mountains above Sochi should have been straightforward to build yet turned into the most complex of all the projects at the Olympics, which are expected to have cost Russia more than $50 billion. Initially promised for 2011, the jumps were finished two years late and went almost seven times over budget as engineers realised the site was highly unstable. Two firms tried and failed to complete the task and in 2012, Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, stepped in. “Everyone knew that the project was suffering from significant delays and certain problems,” said Stanislav Kuznetsov, deputy chairman of the board at Sberbank. “The geology and the soil conditions are complicated. We as builders experienced enormous difficulties during the construction,” he told reporters. Engineers eventually had to sink 3,600 iron piles 24 metres into the ground and then drown the site in concrete. So what went wrong? PUTIN STEPS IN One man who knows is Norwegian expert Torgeir Nordby, who was hired by a local company in 2006 - even before Sochi won the Games - to advise them where to put a hill in the mountains. Nordby, who is still a consultant to the complex, scouted the area and pointed out a spot which would be ideal to minimise the winds that so bedevil the sport. The firm started construction work but quickly found out their exploratory probe had failed to spot an underground creek running right beneath the proposed site. “Probably this survey ... could have been more thorough,” Nordby said dryly. They moved the planned location of the jumps slightly, only to realise the soil in the area was so soft they would need to stabilise it. The first firm quit the project and was replaced by a company run by Akhmed Bilalov, a vice president of the Russian Olympic Committee. Nordby — who has been on the International Ski Federation’s jumping hill committee since 1988 — said the switch ate up valuable months and complained Bilalov had been too optimistic. “I think they underestimated the time needed to build a ski jump. I said from the very beginning ‘You need two years’ but he had promised Putin it would be built in one

year and be finished in September 2011,” he told Reuters. “I said this is impossible, because no matter how many workers you put on a ski jump, they can’t work shoulder to shoulder ... you need to do things in the right sequence.” Amid increasing construction delays and the embarrassing prospect the jumps might not be ready in time, Sberbank bought out Bilalov’s interests in 2012. Any doubts the jumps were in serious trouble vanished on Feb. 7, 2013, when President Vladimir Putin paid a visit. Putin, whose legacy depends on staging a successful Games, glowered as nervous officials revealed the project was two and a half years late and the budget had rocketed from 1.2 billion roubles ($34 million) to 8 billion. “1.2 billion turned into 8 billion? Well done. You’re working well,” he said sarcastically. Bilalov was fired from his Olympic committee position the next day and later fled Russia, saying he had been poisoned. CONCRETE AND WATER The project he helped build will not win any prizes for architectural beauty. Designers of ski jumps usually try to tuck them into hills to take advantage of the natural contours but the RusSki Gorki complex juts out from an artificial base. “There was no bedrock found in the area when construction started (so) all of the hill had to be elevated above the unstable terrain. The amount of concrete poured into the ground is enormous,” said Nikolai Petrov, competition manager for the ski jumping and Nordic Combined events. “It would be fair to say that two thirds of the venue is under the ground. This was necessary to stabilise the area.” Nordby says a complicating factor was the decision to make the Nordic Combined cross-country course an integral part of the jumping complex. This meant more construction and more concrete to keep the site stable. There are still challenges with underground water, which can be seen draining through metal pipes that pierce thick concrete supportive walls on the road up to the complex. Asked whether the jumps are in the right place, Nordby answered: “That’s a good question.” The normal and large hills are built to modern standards and feature such innovations as an automatic wind net designed to deflect the kinds of gusts that can mar competitions. “It is one of the best hills in the world. It has many competitive advantages - it can be used year round, it can store a large amount of water ... for making artificial snow,” Kuznetsov said proudly. Nordby has a more prosaic view. “It’s working fine, even though it doesn’t look that beautiful,” he said. —Reuters

KRASNAYA POLYANA: Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud makes a jump to win the gold medal in the men’s super-G at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. — AP

Jansrud plunders more gold ROSA KHUTOR: Special qualities are required to join the elite ranks of the so-called ‘Attacking Vikings’ and Kjetil Jansrud revealed them in abundance to plunder more gold for Norway in a gripping men’s Olympic super-G race yesterday. Just as Kjetil Andre Aamodt and Lasse Kjus, the original members, and Aksel Lund Svindal had done before him, the bearded 28-year-old raider from Stavanger risked all as he hurtled down a treacherous mountainside to claim Olympic glory. Norway have now won five of the eight gold medals awarded in Olympic super-G, an often unpredictable event producing the speeds of downhill but with white-knuckle turns thrown in just to make things a little more interesting. Jansrud got the taste for Rosa Khutor’s terrain in last week’s downhill when he earned a bronze and proved unbeatable on Sunday as a Norwegian man won the super-G at a fourth consecutive Games, following Aamodt (2002, 2006) and more illustrious team mate Svindal four years ago. No wonder Nor way ’s watching Prime Minister Erna Solberg was smiling so broadly in the finish area. “He’s a new idol now,” she told reporters. “It would have been great to have two on the podium but I think we should be grateful that

we have one and it’s a gold medal. Kjetil has done a great job at the Olympic Games.” Svindal was the man expected to lead the Norwegian assault in Sochi after winning three medals in Vancouver but has had his thunder stolen by Jansrud. LOWER SECTION Veteran Bode Miller was looking a likely winner down at the bottom when Jansrud, wearing bib No. 21., attacked, piling on the speed in the lower section of the course to slice half a second off the American’s time. “I didn’t have the best start but from 30 seconds down to the finish I just risked it,” Jansrud told reporters. “Super-G is a really difficult race. You just get a one-hour inspection and then have to roll at it. It’s tough but I can’t say it’s too tough today as I nailed it pretty good.” Jansrud, who underwent knee surgery last season, suffered a fright when late-starting American Andrew Weibrecht looked poised to snatch gold but finished 0.30 seconds slower despite being quickest on all the split times. “It got a little too exciting there for a while when Andrew was coming down,” Jansrud said. “My legs were jelly but I knew I had been really quick towards the end of the run.” “This is like a fairytale but I have a team that

Austria under fire in men’s team ski jump

KRASNAYA POLYANA: Volunteer Omprakash Mundra carries an Indian flag during a welcome ceremony for the Indian Olympic team at the Mountain Olympic Village at the 2014 Winter Olympics. — AP

Indian flag raised in Sochi after ban lifted SOCHI: India completed its return to the Olympic family yesterday when its flag was hoisted at the Sochi Games, five days after the International Olympic Committee lifted its suspension on the South Asian nation. India had been banned since December 2012 after elections at its Olympic association (IOA) saw a corruption-tainted official voted in as secretary general. The IOC lifted the ban on Feb. 11 following fresh elections last week, allowing it to be represented at the Olympics and bringing the total number of nations competing at Russia’s first Winter Games to 88. “Very, very emotional,” new IOA President N. Ramachandran, who is also heading the World Squash Federation, told Reuters Television. “For us after having been out of the IOC and the Olympic movement for 15 months to come back to it and to come back to it within two days of our elections, I just couldn’t believe it.” The Indian delegation arrived at the ceremony at the mountain athletes’ village amid loud cheers. “When the IOC lifted our ban in the midst of an Olympic event, it’s the first time it’s happened and I am truly grateful to the IOC President Thomas Bach ... for having lifted the ban within two days,” Ramachandran said. India’s three athletes had marched under the Olympic flag at the opening

ceremony but can now carry their own standard on Feb. 23 when the Games come to an end. REAL OLYMPICS “Well it’s like coming to the Olympics all over again so this is the real one,” said luger Shiva Keshavan, who has already competed. “Unfortunately my event is over but you know it is important that India is back and all of us are very happy about that. I hope something like this doesn’t happen again in the future,” Keshavan told Reuters after the small ceremony that also included a few visiting Indian fans. Two of the three athletes, including Keshavan, are currently Olympic scholarship holders. The world’s second most populous nation became the first to win readmission to the Olympic family during an ongoing Games. “All the Indians are very disappointed because you know we have had so much support from our own country, some people have come from so far ... and not to see the flag there, just because some people put their personal interest before was very disappointing.” “But now it’s time for a fresh start and I hope there is better days to come for winter sports,” he said. The final athlete to compete in Sochi is Alpine skier Himanshu Thakur, who will take part in the giant slalom. — Reuters

ROSA KHUTOR: Austria will be looking to extend their dominance in the men’s ski jumping team event today, but could well be toppled from their throne by in-form Slovenia. The alpine nation, boasting stars like Thomas Morgenstern, Gregor Schlierenzauer and Thomas Diethart, go into the event having won gold at the last two Olympics and at every world championship since 2005. At World Cup level however, they have struggled in the past two years. At the start of the season, they even finished a shocking fifth in Klingenthal-their worst result since 2004 — before coming back to third last month in Zakopane, Poland. Meanwhile Slovenia, assisted by World Cup number two Peter Prevc-already a double Olympic medallist after individual silver on the normal hill and bronze on the large hill-has coolly moved up to win the last three World Cup races. “We will try,” Prevc vowed after taking his second medal on Saturday, promising to remain focused. “There will be no celebrations, at least until today, then we will see.” Germany should never be discounted, with two second-place finishes this year, and Japan, buoyed by veteran Noriaki Kasai’s silver medal on Saturday, are also in the running for a podium finish. Winners of the mixed team event in Lillehammer in December and at last year’s world championships, they will have to do

without the women this time. But Kasai and his colleagues Taku Takeuchi, Daiki Ito and Reruhi Shimizu proved they were strong contenders, all finishing within the top 13 in Saturday’s large hill individual event. Whether double Olympic champion Kamil Stoch can help Poland to a win and pocket his third gold in Sochi, making the first ski jumping clean sweep since Finland’s Matti Nykanen in 1988, remains to be seen. “It will be difficult, really difficult because the level is really high right now. A lot of teams are jumping really well. We are going to do our best and see what happens,” Stoch said after winning his second gold on Saturday. “I really would like to have a third gold medal but it will be hard to win any medal.” Worryingly for Austria, triple Olympic champion Morgenstern finished a poor 40th on Saturday and failed to qualify for the final round, as did his teammate Diethart, who shot to stardom earlier this year when he won the prestigious Four Hills tournament. Morgenstern suffered two serious crashes in December and January and was long uncertain for the Games. But he remained confident ahead of the team event: “I’m looking forward to it, it is a new day, a new competition, with new conditions. We will see.” He and record World Cup winner Schlierenzauer, who has been struggling this season, were already part of the Olympic gold team in Vancouver 2010. The men’s ski jumping team event kicks of tomorrow. — AFP

works very hard, very professional coaches working 24 hours, a great technician. It’s not a coincidence.” While Kjus, Jansrud’s idol, paved the way for Norway to become a force in Alpine skiing and the Nordic disciplines it dominates with an Olympic gold in Lillehammer in 1994, the country’s latest speed merchant said Svindal drove him on. “He’s such a great athlete and he’s been dominating for the last two years,” he said. “He’s the one I fight with in training. First I’m faster, then he’s faster and we always try to push each other. “Somehow when we come to the Olympics we end up on the (super-G) podium and that’s impossible to describe.” Jansrud may not be finished yet either and is already looking at next week’s giant slalom. “I can let my shoulders go a bit then,” he said. Norway’s head coach Havard Tjorhom said a healthy rivalry was key, as well as a determination to continue the traditions started by Kjus and Aamodt. “We don’t have any secrets,” he said. “Both Kjus and Aamodt have been a huge inspiration for both of our guys and I think both Axel and Kjetil have been pushing each other further as well.” — Reuters

Olympics medals table SOCHI: Winter Olympics medals table yesterday (after four of four gold medal events; note men’s biathlon 15km mass start postponed to Monday due to fog):

Germany Netherlands Norway Switzerland Russia Canada United States Poland China Belarus Sweden Austria France Japan Czech Republic Slovenia South Korea Great Britain Slovakia Italy Finland Latvia Australia Croatia Kazakhstan Ukraine

Gold 7 5 5 5 4 4 4 4 3 3 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Silver 3 5 3 1 7 6 4 0 2 0 5 4 0 3 2 1 1 0 0 2 2 1 1 1 0 0

Bronze 2 7 6 1 5 4 8 0 0 1 2 1 4 1 1 3 1 1 0 3 0 2 1 0 1 1

Total 12 17 14 7 16 14 16 4 5 4 9 7 6 5 4 5 3 2 1 5 2 3 2 1 1 1

Ahn’s gold hard for Koreans to swallow SEOUL: Seeing Viktor Ahn draped in the Russian flag and crying tears of joy after winning short track gold for his adopted country has prompted an outpouring of fury in South Korea towards the country’s skating union (KSU). Ahn won three gold medals for South Korea at the 2006 Turin Games under the name Ahn Hyun-soo but after falling out with the KSU and being left out of the team for Vancouver he turned his back on his homeland and took Russian nationality. South Korean President Park Geun-hye has already ordered a government ministry to find out how one of the country’s top athletes ended up competing for a Winter Games rival. Simmering anger over the KSU’s role in his departure, and other coaching controversies, boiled over with Ahn’s win in the 1,000 metres at the Sochi Games on Saturday. The KSU website was shut down overnight due to heavy traffic as sports fans tried to vent

their anger on the site. South Korean sports pages and news sites lauded Ahn and lambasted the KSU yesterday. “The Return of the Emperor!” proclaimed the Hankook Ilbo, “Ahn is writing his own history,” said Sports Seoul. The Korean Economic daily said the storm caused by Ahn’s gold would shake up the KSU. Angry sports fans took to the Internet to call for the governing body to be disbanded and for an investigation into the reasons behind Ahn’s departure. ‘UNAVOIDABLE CHOICE’ “I am glad to see Ahn smiling but somebody has got to explain why he is holding a Russian flag,” a 32-year-old teacher was quoted as saying by local media. Another wrote on Facebook he could not belive how the KSU had “alienated an athlete whose athletic ability is rarely seen even in a span of 100 years.” There has been very little animosity directed towards Ahn since his nationality switch. A poll

conducted by Gallup Korea on 1,215 adults last November found 61 percent understood Ahn’s decision to become a naturalised Russian. “Given his situation, the decision to give up the citizenship of his mother country sounds like an unavoidable choice...” wrote 27-year-old Internet poster Will Kim. South Korea has been the traditional superpower of short track, winning 19 Olympic golds, but so far in Sochi the team have won just one silver and one bronze. After his win on Saturday, Ahn said he was right to leave Korea for the sake of his career. “I wanted to train in the best possible environment and I proved my decision was not wrong,” said Ahn, who is regarded as one of the greatest short track speed skaters of all time. He also hinted that he would lift the lid on the events that led him to leave his homeland in search of more Olympic gold “I will share everything I had in mind after Sochi is over,” said Ahn. — Reuters



Wolves roar back at Hertha to go fifth

MADRID: Real’s Jese Rodriguez scores his goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Getafe at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez stadium. — AP

Ronaldo-less Real join three-way tie at top MADRID: Real Madrid made light of the absence of the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo with a 3-0 win away at Getafe to move level with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga. It took the visitors just five minutes to make the breakthrough as Jese Rodriguez curled home his fifth goal in six games from Gareth Bale’s pass. Karim Benzema doubled Madrid’s advantage as he finished off Angel di Maria’s fine cross before the break and Luka Modric rounded off the scoring with an effort from outside the box midway through the second-half. All three sides at the top are now tied on 60 points with 14 games still to play. Ronaldo’s three-match suspension after being sent-off against Athletic Bilbao earlier this month has allowed Jese to get a continued run in the side and the Spaniard continued to make his case for a place in Vicente del Bosque’s World Cup squad with a precise finish into the far corner.

Despite being involved in the build-up to the goal, Bale didn’t enjoy his best afternoon as he slotted a wonderful chance wide after great work from Benzema and was shown a yellow card in the first-half. Carlo Ancelotti’s men were well in control, though, and made the game safe with a flowing counter-attack that ended with Di Maria’s cross being swept home by Benzema. Getafe started the second period the stronger as Madrid constantly gave the ball away cheaply, however the hosts couldn’t take advantage of a number of half chances and were punished when Modric added to Real’s lead 24 minutes from time. The Croatian midfielder has been his side’s most consistent performer since the start of the year, but hadn’t scored in La Liga this season until his low strike from 25 yards sneaked past Miguel Angel Moya. Defeat leaves Getafe still fighting for their lives as they remain without a league win since November and just four points above the relegation zone.— AFP

Spanish League results/standings Granada 1 (Piti 31) Real Betis 0; Getafe 0 Real Madrid 3 (Jese 5, Benzema 27, Modric 66). Playing later Athletic Bilbao v Espanyol, Sevilla v Valencia. Playing today Malaga v Real Sociedad

Played Saturday Atletico Madrid 3 (Raul Garcia 3, Diego Costa 4, Godin 74) Valladolid 0 Levante 1 (Barral 62) Almeria 0; Barcelona 6 (Adriano 2, Messi 36, 68, Sanchez 52, Pedro 56, Neymar 88) Rayo Vallecano 0; Villarreal 0 Celta Vigo 2 (Orellana 83, Nolito 90).

Spanish league table after yesterday’s two goals for, goals against, points): Barcelona 24 19 3 2 69 17 60 Real Madrid 24 19 3 2 68 24 60 Atletico 24 19 3 2 59 16 60 Bilbao 23 13 5 5 42 28 44 Villarreal 24 12 4 8 44 29 40 Sociedad 23 10 7 6 42 34 37 Levante 24 8 8 8 23 30 32 Sevilla 23 8 7 8 42 41 31 Valencia 23 9 4 10 36 35 31 Espanyol 23 8 5 10 26 29 29

early matches (played, won, drawn, lost, Celta Vigo Granada Elche Osasuna Getafe Almeria Malaga Valladolid Vallecano Real Betis

24 24 24 24 24 24 23 24 24 24

8 8 6 7 7 7 6 4 6 3

5 3 8 5 4 4 6 9 2 5

11 13 10 12 13 13 11 11 16 16

31 21 22 21 22 24 23 26 25 20

35 30 34 37 39 42 33 42 58 53

29 27 26 26 25 25 24 21 20 14

Arsenal’s Giroud says sorry for affair LONDON: Arsenal’s French striker Olivier Giroud issued an apology yesterday after a British tabloid newspaper alleged that he had an extra-marital affair. The Sun yesterday claimed that Giroud spent a night in a hotel with lingerie model Celia Kay prior to Arsenal’s 2-0 home win over Crystal Palace in the Premier League earlier this month. The article was accompanied by a photograph, reportedly taken by Kay, which apparently showed Giroud in his underpants in a hotel room. “I apologise to my wife, family and friends and my manager, team-mates and Arsenal fans,” Giroud wrote on his Twitter account. “I now have to fight for my family and for my club and obtain their forgiveness. Nothing else matters at the moment.” Giroud, 27, is Arsenal’s first-choice centreforward and is also a key player for the France national side. He was named on the substitutes bench for Arsenal’s 2-1 win at home to Liverpool in the FA Cup yesterday and came on as an 88th-minute substitute for Yaya Sanogo. Speaking after the game, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said that the club would

Arsenal’s French striker Olivier Giroud. address the matter behind closed doors. “He has made a statement and for the rest, we’ll deal with it internally,” he told journalists at the Emirates Stadium. “I don’t think there’s much more to add to that because I want to respect his privacy as well.”— AFP

Late penalty gives Algerians victory JOHANNESBURG: Algerians CS Constantine scored off a stoppage-time penalty to snatch a CAF Confederation Cup first round place this weekend. The goal gave the North Africans a 4-1 second-leg triumph over Nigeriens ASN Nigelec, who built a two-goal home advantage in the preliminary qualifier. Constantine advanced 4-3 on aggregate and now face Liberians Red Lions in the second-tier African club competition. It was a heart-breaking result for state electricity company club Nigelec, who must have believed they were going to cause an upset when Talato netted on 93 minutes. Although trailing 3-1 on the night, the visitors were ahead on the away-goal rule and Niger looked set for rare international club football celebrations. But Constantine won a penalty almost immediately and Yassin Bezzaz converted for one of the most dramatic successes in the 11-year Confederation Cup. An own goal plus strikes from Samir

Henaini and Abdelhakim Sameur gave the Algerians a 3-0 lead before Nigerien Boureima Katakore was red carded. Al-Ahly Tripoli, boasting five of the Libya side that surprisingly won the African Nations Championship in Cape Town this month, lost 1-0 to CO Bamako in Mali and were eliminated. After a 1-1 first-leg stalemate in TunisTripoli is considered unsafe for CAF fixturesthe return game was settled by a Yacouba Doumbia goal on 55 minutes. He nodded in a Waly Diabate cross as Bamako got on top following a hesitant firsthalf showing with Ahly looking the likelier team to score. The next opponents for Bamako will be 1998 African champions ASEC Mimosas, an Ivorian club who have fared poorly at international level in recent seasons.Giant Senegalese striker Mame Niang raised his goal tally to three from two outings as SuperSport United of South Africa overcame Gaborone United 1-0 in Botswana.—AFP

BERLIN: VfL Wolfsburg underlined their credentials for a place in Europe next season with a 2-1 win at Hertha Berlin yesterday to move up to fifth in the Bundesliga. Hertha, who could have replaced Wolves in the top six with a home win at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, drop to eighth despite taking the lead through a first-half strike from Norway’s Per Skjelbred. But Wolves roared back with a second-half header from defender Robin Knoche, then midfielder Daniel Caligiuri came off the bench to claim the 78th-minute winner. Earlier, Nuremberg stayed clear of the bottom three with a 1-0 win at Augsburg in the Bavaria derby. Swiss striker Josip Drmic claimed his fifth goal in four matches to hit the second-half winner. On Saturday, Bayern Munich warmed up for Wednesday’s Champions League last 16, first-leg clash at Arsenal by trouncing Freiburg 4-0 to stretch their Bundesliga lead to 16 points. Bayern coach Pep Guardiola-whose side extended their record unbeaten league run to 46 matches-rested several stars ahead of the clash with the Gunners in London, but still started with 10 internationals. Brazil centre-back Dante, Swiss winger Xerdan Shaqiri, with two goals, and Peru striker Claudio Pizarro all got on the scoresheet. The game ended on a sour note for Shaqiri, though, as he had to go off with a torn hamstring and misses the Arsenal game. LEVERKUSEN CRASH Meanwhile, second-placed Bayer Leverkusen, who host Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Tuesday, crashed to another home defeat when they lost 2-1 to Schalke 04. Having suffered a shock 1-0 extra-time defeat at home to second-division Kaiserslautern on Wednesday in the German Cup quarter-finals, Leverkusen stumbled to their fifth defeat in their last seven games. Fourth-placed Schalke took the lead when 19-year-old midfielder Leon Goretzka scored on 28 minutes before Royal Blues centre-back Felipe Santana netted a second-half own goal to restore parity. But Netherlands striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar headed Schalke’s winner from a freekick on 74 minutes to punish Leverkusen and leave the Royal Blues fourth in the table. Ex-Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk was dismissed as Hamburg coach after his side crashed to their eighth straight defeat with a 4-2 loss at bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig. Routed 5-0 by Bayern in the German Cup on Wednesday, Hamburg have now lost a club record seven successive league games. Braunschweig’s Democratic Republic of Congo-born Dominick Kumbela did the damage as he came off the bench to score a second-half hat-trick after some woeful goalkeeping from Hamburg’s Rene Adler. Having already won 1-0 at Eintracht Frankfurt in the German Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday, Borussia Dortmund enjoyed a 4-0 romp against Armin Veh’s side in the league to stay third.

Robin Knoche Gabon international Pierre -Emerick Aubameyang, who headed the winner at Frankfurt, was back to terrorise Eintracht with two goals in the opening 20 minutes. Poland striker Robert Lewandowski netted a penalty, while Serbia’s Milos Jojic, a January signing from Partizan Belgrade, then needed just 17 seconds to score his first Bundesliga goal on his Dortmund debut. Poland international Ludovic

Obraniak netted his first Bundesliga goal since joining from Bordeaux in January when he equalised two minutes from time to secure a 1-1 draw at home to Borussia Moenchegladbach. Hoffenheim enjoyed a 4-1 romp at home to VfB Stuttgart, while on Friday Mainz inched closer to a Europa League place next season with a 2-0 win over Hanover 96 to stay just outside the top six on goal difference. — AFP

German Bundesliga results/standings Augsburg 0 Nuremberg 1 (Drmic 65). Played Saturday Borussia Dortmund 4 (Aubameyang 10, 21, Lewandowski 47-pen, Jojic 68) Eintracht Frankfurt 0; Bayern Munich 4 (Dante 19, Shaqiri 34, 42, Pizarro 88) Freiburg 0; Werder Bremen 1 (Obraniak 88) Borussia

Moenchengladbach 1 (Raffael 6) Hoffenheim 4 (Schipplock 12, 66, Volland 49, Roberto Firmino 90+2-pen) VfB Stuttgart 1 (Ruediger 78); Eintracht Braunschweig 4 (Kumbela 51, 61, 85, Hochscheidt 90+3) Hamburg 2 (Lasogga 23, Ilicevic 76); Bayer Leverkusen 1 (Felipe Santana 66-og) Schalke 04 2 (Goretzka 28, Huntelaar 74).

German Bundesliga table after yesterday’s match (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points): Bayern Munich Leverkusen Dortmund Schalke 04 M’gladbach Wolfsburg Mainz 05 Hertha Berlin Augsburg

21 21 21 21 21 20 21 20 21

19 14 13 12 10 10 10 9 9

2 1 3 4 4 3 3 4 4

0 6 5 5 7 7 8 7 8

57 38 51 41 37 33 31 31 30

9 22 24 30 26 24 35 24 30

59 43 42 40 34 33 33 31 31

Hoffenheim Hanover 96 Eintracht Werder Bremen Nuremberg Stuttgart Freiburg Hamburg Braunschweig

21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21

6 7 5 5 3 5 4 4 4

7 3 6 6 11 4 6 4 3

8 11 10 10 7 12 11 13 14

44 29 24 25 25 34 20 35 15

44 37 38 46 36 45 40 51 39

25 24 21 21 20 19 18 16 15

Lille slip, Lyon march on PARIS: Lille’s bid for Champions League qualification from Ligue 1 faltered again yesterday as they only just scraped a 2-2 draw away to struggling Evian. Rene Girard’s side looked like genuine title challengers at the season’s halfway stage, but they have now taken just five points from six games in 2014 to lose touch on top two Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco and allow the sides behind them to close in. Lille fell behind at the Parc des Sports in Annecy when Kevin Berigaud headed home from Modou Sougou’s cross a quarter of an hour in. They soon drew level when 18-year-old Divock Origi cut in from the left wing and curled a shot from the edge of the box into the far corner of the net for his second goal in as many league games. Evian were back in front just after the hour mark, as Lille’s Pape Souare was penalised for handball inside the area and Cedric Mongongu stepped up to score from 12 yards. However, Lille rescued a draw - and denied Evian a first win in nine league games - thanks to a Ryan Mendes cross from the right-hand side that dropped into the net at the back post deep in stoppage time. The point does at least edge Evian three points clear of the relegation zone, while Lille are guaranteed to hold on to third spot, although Saint-Etienne can close to within a point of them by beating Marseille later yesterday. Earlier, Lyon boosted their own European hopes as they climbed provisionally into fifth with a 3-1 win at home against bottom side Ajaccio. Remi Garde’s side were looking to bounce back from their shock French Cup exit at the hands of second-tier Lens on Thursday, and goals from Gueida Fofana, Jimmy Briand and Bafetimbi Gomis saw them move to within five points of Lille. Lyon took the lead two minutes before the interval when Alexandre Lacazette found Fofana, who took a couple of touches to set himself up before curling a shot over Ochoa from 25 yards. They then increased their lead midway through the second period as Henri Bedimo broke into the box and cut the ball back for Briand to head home. Kenyan international Dennis Oliech got a goal back for Ajaccio but Lyon wrapped up the points when Gomis curled a delightful finish past Ochoa into the far corner of the net for his 10th of the campaign. OL have won five of their six Ligue 1 games in 2014 and now look like genuine contenders for a top-three finish, while Ajaccio remain

rooted to the foot of the table, nine points from safety. “We have played 11 games in five weeks. That’s a lot even if we still played with energy towards the end,” said Garde, whose side have a gruelling week ahead with a trip to Ukraine to face Chornormorets Odessa in the Europa League on Thursday before travelling to take on Lille next weekend. “We’re all looking forward to that tie and giving a good image of French football, but this game was our 42nd match of the season. “Odessa is a long way away and we need to

go there and back and then go to Lille next Sunday.” Elsewhere, PSG remain five points clear of Monaco at the top after both clubs won this weekend. Ezequiel Lavezzi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic were among the goals as PSG eased to a 3-0 win against Valenciennes on Friday to warm up for their Champions League last 16, first leg tie away to Bayer Leverkusen in Germany tomorrow. Monaco, meanwhile, had a brace from James Rodriguez to thank for a 2-0 victory away to Bastia in Corsica on Saturday. — AFP

FRANCE: Evian’s Ivoirian midfielder Djakaridja Kone (back right) vies with Lille’s Senegalese defender Pape Souare (left) during the French L1 football match. — AFP

Halep confirms class with crushing win over Kerber



Lille slip, Lyon march on


McCullum ton stalls India’s victory push

Page 16

LONDON: Arsenal’s goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski (lower left) stop Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge (center) getting through during their English FA Cup fifth round soccer match at Emirates Stadium. — AP

Gunners shoot down Liverpool LONDON: Arsenal knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup with a 2-1 win at the Emirates Stadium yesterday as they gained revenge for a humilating loss to their Premier League title rivals. Only eight days earlier Arsenal were beaten 5-1 by Liverpool at Anfield. But Arsene Wenger’s men-who haven’t won a major trophy since lifting the FA Cup in 2005 — turned the table at the Emirates Stadium. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gave the Gunners a 16th minute lead when he followed up after Steven Gerrard blocked Yaya Sanogo’s initial shot. Oxlade-Chamberlain turned provider in the 47th minute, outpacing Daniel Agger before a pull-back for Lukas Podoslki allowed the Germany star to fire them into a 2-0 lead. But Liverpool captain Gerrard ensured a nervous finish for the London club when he scored from the penalty spot in the 59th minute after Podolski fouled Luis Suarez. The Gunners will now face Everton in the quarter-finals after the Toffees beat Swansea 3-1 earlier yesterday. Everton manager Roberto Martinez, who won the Cup with Wigan last season, saw Lacina Traore, his loan transfer signing from Monaco in January, take just four minutes of his debut to give the Merseysiders the lead.

Jonathan de Guzman drew Swansea level in the 15th before second half substitute Steven Naismith put Everton in front againwith his fourth goal in six games-and then won the penalty from which Leighton Baines scored to put the result beyond doubt. However, there was a worrying moment for Everton when, shortly before full-time, Naismith went off with concussion after being caught in the head by Jordi Amat. The draw took place just after the final whistle, with Martinez’s attention turning towards the Emirates. “The draw hasn’t been too kind in terms of playing away from home, but we will embrace it and look forward to it,” Martinez told ITV Sport. As for Naismith, he added: “We are a little bit concerned by his concussion.” Naismith came on for Traore and Martinez was pleased with the striker’s display. “It’s important,” he said. “Lacina has been working very well. We needed to introduce him slowly. It was pleasing to see him on the pitch and see him scoring.” Yesterday’s other Cup tie saw third tier Sheffield United beat second-tier Nottingham Forest 3-1. United, managed by former Forest favourite Nigel Clough, could be involved in a derby quarter-final against Sheffield Wednesday if their city rivals beat

Charlton Athletic in a re-arranged match. Jamie Paterson headed Forest into an early lead before the on-loan Conor Coady drew the Blades level in the 66th minute. And Chris Porter then sparked scenes of near delirium amongst the Bramall Lane faithful with two goals right at the end of the match. He put them in front with a 90th minute penalty following Greg Halford’s hand-ball and then sealed victory in stoppage-time with a finish from close range. The last eight line-up also saw FA Cup holders Wigan paired against Manchester City in a repeat of last season’s final. Meanwhile, Arsenal’s German star Mesut Ozil has said he is relishing the challenge of facing Champions League holders Bayern Munich in Wednesday’s last 16, first leg clash at home. “I’m a guy who loves these games. I have huge respect for Bayern,” the 25-year-old attacking midfielder told German daily Bild. “They have got even better in comparison with last year, but we won’t hide from them. “Anything is possible over two games.” Having won the treble of Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup titles last season, Bayern travel to London on the back of a record 46-match unbeaten run in the Bundesliga with the return leg in Munich on March 11.

The Bavarian giants suffered a rare home defeat on their last Champions League outing when they were beaten 3-2 in Munich by Manchester City in last December’s final group match. Ozil, who was born in Gelsenkirchen, west Germany, will be up against several international team-mates when Pep Guardiola’s Bayern runs out at the Emirates Stadium. After an impressive start to his Gunners career following his arrival in London from Real Madrid last September, Ozil has been criticised for a recent dip in form, but says he is having to prove his maturity as a player. “I’m going through a test of character here,” he admitted. “I have so much self-confidence as a player that I am ready now to take the next step. “But first you have to get used to the intensity of the Premier League.” Aside from the Gunners’ quest for the Champions League and Premier League title-they are second a point behind Chelsea-Ozil’s personal goal is to win June’s World Cup in Brazil. “Anyone who has ever played at Real will always want to win titles,” said Ozil. “When you’ve prepared so hard and intensively for a World Cup as we have, then your goal isn’t to finish second or third.” —AFP

City get chance of Wigan revenge LONDON: Manchester City will have the chance to atone for last year’s FA Cup final defeat by Wigan Athletic after being drawn against the holders in yesterday’s quarterfinal draw. Wigan, now in the second tier Championship and managed by former City striker Uwe Rosler, will travel to Eastlands where Manuel Pellegrini’s men beat Premier League title rivals Chelsea 2-0 on Saturday. Wigan will be looking to claim another top flight scalp after beating Cardiff in the fifth round. Elsewhere in the last eight Arsenal will face Everton at the Emirates Stadium after a 2-1 win at home to the Toffees’ local rivals Liverpool. Earlier yesterday, Everton advanced into the quarterfinals with a 3-1 win over Swansea. There may be no Merseyside derby in this season’s FA Cup but a ‘Steel City’ derby remains a possibility. Third-tier Sheffield United, the lowest-ranked team left in the competition beat Nottingham Forest 3-1 on Sunday and they will now face Sheffield Wednesday provided their arch-rivals defeat Charlton Athletic in a fixture originally postponed because of a waterlogged pitch. Sunderland manager Gus Poyet could return to his former club Brighton provided the Seagulls defeat Hull today. The sixth round ties will be played on the weekend of March 8-9. —AFP

Juve pull clear of Roma MILAN: Champions Juventus dug deep against a spirited Chievo to beat the Serie A strugglers 3-1 in Turin and take their lead over Roma to 12 points yesterday. Roma sit second with a game in hand and will have a chance to bring the gap back to nine points at the Olympic Stadium later if they account for Sampdoria. Elsewhere, third-placed Napoli extended their lead over Fiorentina to six points with a 2-0 away win at struggling Sassuolo with goals from Blerim Dzemaili and Lorenzo Insigne coming in either half. Parma, meanwhile, turned on the class away to Atalanta to stun the Bergamo side 4-0, a result which moved Roberto Donadoni’s men up to sixth at the expense of Verona. Parma also have a game in hand, their encounter with Roma being rained off two weeks ago, and are now only three points behind fifth-placed Inter, who beat Fiorentina 2-1 on Saturday. For entertainment value, the Genoa v Udinese clash which finished 3-3 was hard to beat. Udinese took the lead three times

thanks to Dusan Basta, Bruno Fernandes and Luis Muriel only for Genoa to pull level three times thanks to Moussa Konate and an Alberto Gilardino double in the space of ten second-half minutes. Three players were sent off in a badtempered finish to Livorno’s 2-1 away win at Cagliari, which moved the visitors out of the relegation zone at the expense of Catania, who had pulled clear thanks to a 3-1 rout of Lazio earlier. Brazilian Emerson gave Livorno the lead just before the break with a wonderful strike from 35 metres which had echoes of Mario Balotelli’s winner for Milan against Bologna on Friday. A Paulinho penalty eight minutes after the restart gave the visitors a two-goal cushion until Nene struck for the hosts on 64 minutes. Cagliari suffered a blow when Daniele Conti saw red on 71 minutes for dissent, but he was soon followed by Livorno pair Federico Ceccherini, for a second bookable offence, and Marco Benassi after he was shown a straight red for a foul on Mauricio Pinilla. Juventus broke the deadlock in the

17th minute when winger Kwadwo Asamoah capped a one-two with Fernando Llorente with a left-foot strike from outside the area that left Michael Agazzi in the Chievo net with no chance. Juve coach Antonio Conte left Frenchman Paul Pogba on the bench and stand-in Claudio Marchisio made the most of his rare start to give Juve a 2-0 lead on the half-hour when he tapped home Agazzi’s rebound from Andrea Pirlo’s free kick. Juve were pegged back seven minutes after the restart when a defensive mix-up left Martin Caceres bundling the ball past Gianluigi Buffon and into his own net. But Juve soon restored their two-goal cushion, in textbook fashion, when Llorente, left unmarked in the Chievo box, headed Pirlo’s corner from the left past a flailing Agazzi as his defence looked on. At Sassuolo Dzemaili struck on the half-volley from the edge of the area to give Napoli a 37th minute opener after Marek Hamsik’s flick-on from a cutback at the left byline. — AFP

ITALY: Sassuolo’s Luca Marrone (right) vies for the ball with Napoli’s Dries Martens of Belgium, during their Serie A soccer match. — AP


Hopes on private sector as Libya economy slumps Page 22

Volatility in emerging markets won’t trigger crises: Expert


Page 23 UAE retailer named one of world’s fastest growing firms Page 26 Page 25

Malabar Gold & Diamonds launches its 109th global outlet

SINGAPORE: A Bombardier Q400 NexGen plane on static display at Singapore Airshow. Smaller passenger planes are increasingly in demand in Asia as budget carriers expand their reach to smaller cities in a deepening travel boom, industry executives say. —AFP

UAE bourses must unify back offices: ADX CEO ADX expects to introduce market makers this year ABU DHABI: Stock markets in the United Arab Emirates should unify their back office operations and processes for settlement and regulation, the chief executive of the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) said yesterday. Last year Abu Dhabi and neighboring Dubai hired banks to advise on a possible state-backed merger of the ADX with the Dubai Financial Market (DFM), which would be one of the biggest reforms in the UAE’s financial industry in recent years. Rashed Al-Baloushi, addressing a news conference at a financial event in the UAE capital, declined to comment on progress in the talks or say whether a merger was likely. But he said that if a merger did not happen, consolidat-

ing the exchanges’ back offices, which handle record-keeping and other administrative tasks, would be a good alternative. Other bourses in the Gulf Cooperation Council could unify their back offices with the UAE’s combined system later, he added. “It is a good step forward and very important for the stock markets. At ADX we will consider that point,” Baloushi said, citing the example of Cairo and Alexandria as well as European exchanges. Baloushi said the ADX was initiating the idea of combining back offices and was recommending it to all stake holders, including investors, listed companies and brokerages. He did not say when it might take effect; the DFM declined

to provide any immediate comment. Consolidating the back office operations of the ADX and the DFM could cut costs and, by creating a single framework for settling trades, make it easier for more foreign investors to enter the UAE, fund managers and analysts say. Because of political sensitivities and fast-changing valuations - the DFM’s shares rocketed 142 percent last year as trading volumes in Dubai’s market boomed - the two emirates could find it difficult to agree on a full merger. A partial consolidation might be much easier. “You can easily merge the back offices of Dubai and Abu Dhabi stock markets,” Jeffrey Singer, chief executive of the

Luxembourg bill for debut sukuk delayed LONDON: Luxembourg’s parliament could pass a bill as soon as two months from now to facilitate its first issue of sovereign sukuk, though an upcoming budget vote may delay approval for five months, a legislative official told Reuters. Last month, the Luxembourg government presented a bill to parliament to allow the securitisation of assets for a proposed sukuk worth 200 million euros ($275 million), part of efforts to boost the tiny state’s Islamic finance credentials. Such legislation could be passed in two to four months but lawmakers will focus on approving the 2014 budget which may shift the timetable, said Marc Hansen, a member of Luxembourg’s legislature, the Chamber of Deputies. “We are now waiting for the annual budget in March; this is now the top priority,” said Hansen, who serves as president of the Chamber’s finance and budget committee. “ The timeline is between two to five months.” Lawmakers are now studying the bill’s conformity to existing laws, while the actual structure and issuance of the sukuk depends on the finance ministry, Hansen added. The bill identifies three real estate assets to underpin the Islamic bond. AAA-rated Luxembourg could pip Britain’s ambitions to become the first Western country to issue a sovereign sukuk. Last year, Britain unveiled plans to sell a 200 million pound ($335 million) sukuk and it has mandated HSBC to advise on the deal, giving a “2014-2015” timeframe. Legal filings show Luxembourg’s sukuk would be denominated in euros and listed on an exchange, but such details are not final, said Hansen, a member of Prime Minister Xavier Bettel’s Democratic Party. “The plan is to discuss these - in my opinion euro will be a strong choice.” Luxembourg’s Stock Exchange was the first in Europe to list a sukuk in 2002; it has since listed 16 with three of them currently outstanding, said LSE secretary general Maurice Bauer. — Reuters

Dubai extends gains on UAE bourse merger bets MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS DUBAI: Dubai’s exchange extended gains yesterday as bets on the country’s two bourses merging boosted sentiment, while banks’ dividends helped lift Saudi Arabia in a mixed regional trend. Dubai’s measure climbed 2.2 percent, up for a second session, to reach its highest close in five years. The chief executive of the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) said on Sunday that stock markets in the United Arab Emirates should unify their back office operations and processes for settlement and regulation. The two exchanges have been discussing a merger since at least 2010, but talks appear to have advanced considerably in recent months. Last year Abu Dhabi and Dubai hired banks to advise on the possible merger, which would be one of the biggest reforms in the UAE’s financial industry in recent years. The price of DFM’s stock rose 7.4 percent on Sunday to 3.30 dirhams, its highest since September 2008. “We can see that the market has priced in the DFM merger, especially in the DFM stock itself, which broke the resistance level of 3.30 dirhams ($0.90),” said Hisham Khairy, head of trading on the institutional desk at MENA Corp. “The larger market will continue to test the resistance levels, but we have to wait and see how the stock will perform tomorrow in order to confirm the break and prove it has the strength to continue its climb.” Property firm Deyaar Development led trading, rising 8.1 percent to a three-week high after its board recommended loosening

share ownership restrictions to allow non-Gulf nationals to hold up to 25 percent of its shares. Deyaar also said its capital was “appropriate in light of its future plans for growth and expansion,” following last week’s statement that it would discuss capital restructuring and reduction. Abu Dhabi’s bourse was little changed, trading in a tight range since Monday’s 66-month high. In Saudi Arabia, the index gained 0.5 percent, up for a third consecutive session and reaching its highest level since August 2008. Heavyweight sectors of banking and petrochemical were the main support. Al Rajhi Bank climbed 0.7 percent after the Capital Market Authority approved the lender’s plan to increase its capital by 8 percent through a bonus share issue. Riyad Bank gained 0.5 percent, up almost 10 percent since Jan. 30 when it proposed to double its capital by giving one bonus share for each held. Samba Financial Group last month proposed one bonus share for every three held and has gained 5.9 percent since. It added 1.9 percent yesterday. “There is a dividend play, investors are taking note of that and going into blue chips,” said John Sfakianakis, chief investment strategist at Saudi investment firm MASIC. “There is also a fresh inflow of money, which is giving (the market) momentum.” Dividends, rather than earnings, have played a bigger role in boosting blue-chip stocks this year. — Reuters

DIFC Authority, which oversees Dubai’s financial centre, told reporters at the event. “When international investors look at the pool, they’ll see more companies, more scale and liquidity here.” Singer was formerly chief executive of NASDAQ Dubai, the smaller of Dubai’s two stock markets, which has already consolidated back office operations with the DFM. The ADX expects this year to introduce market makers, dealers which maintain trading liquidity by undertaking to buy or sell at specified prices at all times, Baloushi said, adding that the exchange was working closely with the UAE regulator to establish a legal framework for this. — Reuters

British banker who helped transform Dubai dies DUBAI: The British banker who helped transform Dubai into a financial powerhouse, serving as an advisor to its ruling sheikh, has died at the age of 92. William Duff, a Scot, came to Dubai after a stint as a banker in Kuwait and became financial advisor to the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al-Maktoum in 1960. At the time, the emirate’s population was about 50,000; it survived largely on fishing, herding and small-scale trade across the Gulf in wooden dhows. Duff set up the Dubai Customs Department and Department of Finance, helped to establish the emirate’s electric utility, and was later instrumental in creating the Jebel Ali Free Zone, which includes the biggest port in the Middle East. The emirate is William Duff now the region’s top financial centre, with a population above 2 million. An Oxford-educated Arabist and classical Arabic speaker, Duff navigated the inner circle of the ruling family in the days when his employer and other senior royals spoke little English. “He went to meet Shekih Rashid, and they got on straight away. They used to enjoy going on trips to Scotland together. It was more than a business relationship - it was a friendship as well,” said Duff’s daughter, Sheila Duff-Earles. Anthony Harris, a former British ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, said: “He really played a key role in the growth of the UAE. The drive was all Sheikh Rashid. But around Sheikh Rashid were these loyal servants, loyal in the sense that whatever ideas were outlined, they made it happen.” Duff retired in Dubai and will be buried there this week. — Reuters



Thai govt bank loan not enough to pay off rice program debt

Hopes on private sector as Libya economy slumps Oil output falls to 390,000 bpd TRIPOLI: Small businesses are prospering in Libya’s major cities even as the economy at large is being throttled because of security problems and industrial action which has shrunk lifeline oil revenues. Its financial woes combined with lawlessness has so far discouraged the return of multinationals, three years after the outbreak of an armed revolt which toppled long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Post-war reconstruction has been slow, with major infrastructure projects on the back-burner even as Libyans endure more and more frequent

with 1.5 million bpd before the strike. In early January, launch of production at Al-Sharara field in the south after protesters in the area lifted their blockade allowed the country’s total output to recover to 570,000 bpd. The oil sector accounts for 70 percent of GDP, 95 percent of state revenues and as much as 98 percent of Libyan exports. Only last week, protesters shut down oil and gas pipelines to the Millitah plant from Al-Wafa field in southwest Libya. Their action brought output back down to 460,000 bpd, National Oil

TRIPOLI: Libyan army soldiers stand guard in a petrol station in the capital Tripoli. Libya is immersed in an oil crisis unprecedented since the closure this summer of key oil sites, depriving the state of most of its revenue, three years after the revolution that toppled the regime of Muammar Gaddafi. —AFP power cuts, especially in the west of the country. Small businesses have been leading the way in post-Gaddafi Libya, with shops and boutiques in Tripoli and other cities boasting the latest in luxury brands. “These investments are thanks to partnerships with foreign investors,” said chamber of commerce chief Idriss Abdelhadi. Such joint ventures have “promoted investment in the private sector at a time when the oil crisis has slashed the state budget, not allowing spending on planned development projects,” he said. Economic experts, however, stress that trade and services play a secondary role in the overall Libyan economy, with only little value added. The oil crisis dates back to last July when striking workers and pro-autonomy demonstrators in eastern Libya began blockading the country’s main terminals. The action sent production shooting down to as low as 250,000 barrels per day, compared

Company spokesman Mohamed Al-Hrari said. Diversification The World Bank, in a report issued last month, stressed “the urgent need for economic diversification in order to ensure long-term financial and economic stability”. It called for reforms “to generate a vibrant private sector”, warning that “lack of access to financing, uncertainty in the legal environment and a fragile security situation” were key obstacles. Ahmed Belras Ali, director of Libya’s stock market, warned of “a climate of fear among businessmen”. “The stock market has lost an estimated 30 percent of its value because of falling share prices,” he said. Ali said hopes were pinned on the private sector, “which can serve as an engine of the economy, what with the current weakness of state structures”. Libya has lost more than $10 billion in revenues because of the crisis, according to esti-

mates from the oil ministry and the World Bank. Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has even warned that “the government could have difficulties paying salaries”. Revising its forecasts, the World Bank said a 2012 fiscal surplus is now expected to turn into a deficit of about five percent of GDP for 2013 and four percent this year. “The government has had to dig deeper into its large stock of foreign reserves, which stood at $124 billion at end 2012, to finance its budget deficits in 2013 and 2014,” it said. Meanwhile, Libya’s oil production has fallen to 390,000 barrels per day, some 70,000 bpd less than last week, as protests have partly blocked flows from the El Sharara oilfield, the state National Oil Corp (NOC) said yesterday. Armed groups, former rebels and tribes often shut down pipelines or occupy oilfields to make demands on the state as Libya tries to overcome instability nearly three years after a NATO-backed revolt toppled leader Muammar Gaddafi. National production is around 390,000 bpd, NOC spokesman Mohamed El Harari said. On Thursday output was 460,000 bpd. He said the El Sharara oilfield was below its capacity of 340,000 bpd because protesters partially shut down a pipeline near the western town of Zintan leading from the field to the port of Zawiya. “We hope the government will solve the problem soon,” he said. Output at the El Sharara field had been at 301,000 bpd on Wednesday. Harari said the El Wafa oilfield was again working normally after protesters had on Wednesday shut gas and oil pipelines from the field, which produces around 30,000 bpd of very light oil condensate. NOC has not published export figures recently but the state firm normally uses around 140,000 bpd of national production to feed refineries in Zawiya and Tobruk. The demands of protesters were not immediately clear. Tensions in the country are growing over the country’s interim General National Congress, whose mandate has officially ended, but whose members have extended its term to guarantee stability. Political blocks in the Congress are deadlocked over how to proceed with the fragile transition to democracy. Rival brigades of former rebels and militias are loosely aligned with competing factions within the Congress, with some demanding its dissolution and new elections, and others supporting its extension. Armed protesters led by a former antiGaddafi rebel have seized three oil ports in eastern Libya since August, cutting off around 600,000 bpd of export capacity, to demand more regional autonomy and a greater share of oil wealth. Negotiations to end that blockade have gone nowhere, and the government has warned it could resort to force to break the protest that has cost the state more than $7 billion in lost oil revenues. —Reuters

NACC panel has already brought formal corruption charges against 15 people involved in government-to-government rice deals. Those allegations prompted China to cancel a deal to buy 1.2 million tons of Thai rice. The rice program was a signature policy of Yingluck, who swept to power in 2011 with the help of millions of rural votes, but it could prove to be her government’s undoing. The government opened a tender to sell 400,000 tons of rice from state warehouses last week in an attempt to pay farmers. Eighteen exporters submitted bids to buy up to 460,000 tons, prompting the government to announce it would sell a further 500,000 tons from state warehouses next week due to over subscription. In sign of the enormity of the rice problem, traders told Reuters the two sales combined are unlikely to raise around 20 billion baht, a fraction of the 130 billion baht needed to pay farmers. The rice intervention scheme has helped fuel anti-government protests in Bangkok that began in November. The protests, which are still blocking parts of the city, have found much of their support from middle-class, urban taxpayers outraged at what they see as waste and corruption in the rice scheme. The commerce ministry said last week that it did not have the authority to extend the scheme beyond February as the caretaker government of Yingluck has been left with limited policy-making powers pending the outcome of a Feb. 2 election. Varathep Rattanakorn, a minister to the prime minister’s office, asked anti-government demonstrators to stop trying to make common cause with farmers who are protesting in Bangkok, although separately from the political demonstrations, and allow the government to try to resolve payment issues. “We must make a distinction between the pressing needs of farmers and the National Anti-Corruption Commission investigation into the rice pledging scheme,” said Varathep. —Reuters

BANGKOK: A loan given to the government bank operating a controversial and expensive rice program could temporarily ease pressure on Thailand’s prime minister, but it is a fraction of the sum needed to settle a 130 billion baht ($3.99 billion) debt owed to up to a million farmers. Thailand’s Government Savings Bank said yesterday it loaned 5 billion baht ($153.42 million) to the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), but stopped short of confirming whether the money would even be used to pay farmers for rice bought under the scheme. The program was operated through the stateowned BAAC and paid farmers well above the market rate for their rice, making it uncompetitive on world markets. As a result, the government has struggled to sell enough rice to fund the scheme, prompting thousands of farmers, many of whom have been waiting for their money for months, to take to the streets in protest. Thailand’s anti-graft body said it may also file corruption charges related to the program. “The Government Savings Bank has lent 5 billion baht to the BAAC, but we have no idea what the BAAC will use the money for. This is a normal interbank loan,” Worawit Chailimpamontri, president of the Government Savings Bank, told reporters, adding that the loan might raise concerns among the bank’s clients if used to fund the struggling program. Thai government officials and representatives from the BAAC were not available to comment. Hundreds of farmers continued to rally at the commerce ministry in Bangkok yesterday. The unrest has added to increasing pressure on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra who has been facing off against a Bangkok-based protest movement seeking to drive her from office for more than three months. In a further blow to the scheme and her party’s stability, Thailand’s anti-corruption agency is investigating the money-guzzling subsidy program. Thailand’s National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) said last week it expects to file formal charges later this month against Yingluck for her role in the rice scheme while an

Dubai’s Deyaar to allow up to 25% foreign ownership 9.8 percent yesterday morning after the plan was announced. The move is part of a trend by companies in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to review their foreign ownership caps before international index compiler MSCI raises those countries to emerging market status in May, which is expected to attract fresh foreign money. Union Properties, another Dubai property firm, is also seeking to increase its foreign ownership limit. Deyaar’s board also resolved that the company’s share capital is sufficient to meet future expansion and growth, the company said. —Reuters

DUBAI: Dubai property developer Deyaar said yesterday that it planned to allow foreigners to begin investing in its shares and hold up to 25 percent of its share capital. At present, nationals from Gulf Cooperation Council countries can own up to 49 percent of Deyaar’s shares; they currently hold 3.7 percent, bourse data shows. Foreigners from outside the GCC have been prohibited. The Deyaar board’s recommendation will be subjec t to approval by the company’s shareholders in an extraordinary general meeting to be held soon. Shares in the company jumped

Yemen gas price pressure mounts on France’s Total DUBAI: Pressure on French energy giant Total to pay more for liquefied natural gas that it ships from Yemen has intensified, with the state news agency reporting that the long-term deal is being probed by public prosecutors. Total’s leading role in building the $4.5 billion Yemen LNG export plant in 2005-09 made it the largest foreign investor in the country, which is one of the poorest in the Arab world. Since coming to power in 2012, the new government in Sanaa has complained that deals signed by officials under previous president Ali Abdullah Saleh undervalued the gas and deprived the state of desperately needed public funds. Last week, official news agency Saba quoted unnamed judicial sources as saying

the government’s Public Funds Prosecution service, which helps to track down corrupt public officials and retrieve funds from them, had started to probe the arrangement with Total. The investigation, which began two months ago, encompasses several Oil Ministry officials linked to the deal and Total officials in Yemen, Saba reported without elaborating. Contacted in France, Total did not respond to a request for comment. Yemen government officials were not available to comment on the Saba report. Stephane Michel, Middle East president of Total’s exploration and production division, met with Yemen’s oil minister Ahmed Dares in Sanaa last week to discuss altering prices of LNG sold to Total, Saba said with-

out giving details. Total is the biggest investor in Yemen’s gas export industry through its 40 percent shareholding in Yemen LNG; US-based Hunt Oil has 17 percent, state-run Yemen Gas Co 17 percent and Korea Gas Corp (Kogas) 6 percent. Before work on the LNG project began in 2005, Yemen LNG agreed on 20-year deals to sell 2.05 million tons per annum (mtpa) to South Korea, 2.55 mtpa to France’s GDF-Suez and 2.10 mtpa to Total. Kogas had a five-year renegotiation clause in its oil price-linked contract and last December agreed to a sharp price increase, to nearly $14 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) based on current oil prices from around $3, according to a

statement from Yemen’s cabinet. The contracts signed by Total and GDFSuez were structured differently; since the two Western firms intended to ship most of the LNG to the United States, their deals were linked to the US Henry Hub gas price index. In mid-2005 the US LNG price was around $7 per mmBtu, but by the time the Yemen facility loaded its first cargo in late 2009, U.S. gas prices had collapsed below $2, largely due to the US shale gas production boom. As a result, Yemen LNG agreed to let Total and GDF-Suez divert the cargoes to Asia, where prices have risen sharply over the last few years and are currently near $20 per mmBtu. Around 80 percent of

the gas sold by Yemen LNG to Total last year was shipped to Asia, the Yemeni company said. In a statement last week, Yemen LNG defended the contracts signed with all three companies, saying they were subject to scrutiny at the time by the oil ministry, reviewed by parliament and then formally approved by the government. Yemen LNG has estimated it will generate around $60 billion in revenues for the Yemeni government over the next 20 years. LNG has become important as a source of foreign currency for the country as frequent attacks on oil pipelines by militants and local tribesmen angry at the government cut oil exports. —Reuters

EXCHANGE RATES Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. 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

ASIAN COUNTRIES 2.761 4.557 2.687 2.161 2.855 224.320 36.514 3.637 6.299 8.680 0.271 0.273 GCC COUNTRIES 75.550 77.845 735.970 752.490 77.156

ARAB COUNTRIES Egyptian Pound - Cash 39.850 Egyptian Pound - Transfer 40.252 Yemen Riyal/for 1000 1.322 Tunisian Dinar 178.790 Jordanian Dinar 400.080 Lebanese Lira/for 1000 1.901 Syrian Lira 2.019 Morocco Dirham 35.400 EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 283.200 Euro 387.420 Sterling Pound 467.280 Canadian dollar 258.750 Turkish lira 128.120 Swiss Franc 316.780 Australian Dollar 257.430 US Dollar Buying 282.000 20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

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 259.84 259.85 320.83 390.36 282.45 468.11 2.82 3.636 4.544 2.160 2.842 2.684 76.97 751.77 40.57 401.99 734.55 78.00 75.45

SELL CASH 256.84 260.85 318.83 391.36 285.45 471.11 2.84 3.906 4.844 2.595 3.377 2.790 77.43 753.84 41.17 407.64 741.85 78.55 75.85

2.970 3.840 86.290 46.985 9.670 129.140

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

0.006426 0.000069 0.221482 0.020058 0.001889 0.009224 0.008397

0.006706 0.000075 0.227482 0.028558 0.002469 0.009404 0.008947

Bahrain Exchange Company

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

Arab 0.743279 0.036841 0.000078 0.000184 0.394439 1.0000000 0.000138 0.024381 0.001195 0.728123 0.076927 0.074737 0.002166 0.174872 0.126244 0.075973 0.001284

0.751279 0.039941 0.000079 0.000244 0.401939 1.0000000 0.000238 0.048381 0.001830 0.733803 0.078140 0.075437 0.002388 0.182872 0.133244 0.077122 0.001364

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

COUNTRY Belgian Franc British Pound Czech Korune Danish Krone Euro Norwegian Krone Romanian Leu Slovakia Swedish Krona Swiss Franc Turkish Lira

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

Selling Rate 282.400 260.100 473.465 387.985 316.820 745.670 76.865 78.415 76.175 397.985 40.511 2.156 4.548 2.691 3.628 6.287 693.629 3.770

Australian Dollar New Zealand Dollar

SELL CASH Europe 0.007346 0.466971 0.006060 0.047840 0.381553 0.042446 0.081557 0.008090 0.039820 0.310442 0.126244 Australasia 0.247306 0.230556

SELLDRAFT 0.008346 0.4675971 0.018040 0.052840 0.389053 0.047646 0.81557 0.018090 0.044820 0.320642 0.133244 0.258806 0.240056

Al Mulla Exchange Canadian Dollar US Dollars US Dollars Mint

America 0.252019 0.278550 0.279050

0.260519 0.282900 0.282900

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

Asia 0.003320 0.045219 0.034357 0.004253 0.000019 0.002692 0.003350 0.000255 0.081960 0.003070 0.002392

0.003920 0.048719 0.037107 0.004654 0.000025 0.002872 0.003350 0.000270 0.087960 0.003240 0.002672

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) 282.000 388.950 474.750 258.950 4.553 40.169 2.158 3.635 6.305 2.698 751.250 76.925 75.425



Merkel vetoes quick aid for Greece: Report BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has blocked a bid by her powerful finance minister to offer fresh aid to Greece ahead of European elections in May, Der Spiegel magazine reported yesterday. Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble had wanted to give the ailing Greek government a “demonstration of solidarity” by committing this spring to further support from Europe after the May 25 poll. “He sees the danger that without the prospect of further aid, radical parties in Greece could make big gains in the election,” leading the government in Athens to collapse, the magazine reported. However, it said Merkel’s own domestic political concerns led her to veto the move over fears that the eurosceptic Alternative for Germany (AfD) could benefit from a fresh debate about aid for Greece. The AfD, which wants to abandon the euro and return to the deutschmark, was formed last year and failed to win any seats in September’s general election. But it scored seven percent in a recent poll, far above the three-percent hurdle for seats in the European Parliament. The Eurogroup of euro-zone finance ministers, where Schaeuble represents Europe’s biggest economy, decided in November that Greece could apply for help in reducing its massive debt if it achieves a primary budget surplus. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said yesterday that Greece had registered a surplus of more than 1.5 billion euros ($2.05 billion), exceeding requirements for additional debt aid. However EU Economics Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said in an interview published yesterday that he opposed further help for Athens ahead of the European elections. He told Germany’s Welt am Sonntag that a debate about further debt relief for Greece could be discussed “over the summer or afterwards”. At the height of the euro-zone debt crisis, bankrupt Greece and other countries were forced to implement painful spending cuts in return for billions of euros in bailout aid from the EU and International Monetary Fund. Merkel and Schaeuble, as the chief champions of efforts to impose austerity, attracted the rage of citizens bearing the brunt of the measures. In addition to the European poll, Samaras faces risky local elections in May in which his conservative party’s main rivals, the anti-austerity leftist party Syriza, are poised to score major gains. —AFP

Volatility in emerging markets won’t trigger crises: Expert ‘Investment focus shifting to emerging world’ By Sajeev K Peter KUWAIT: The current volatility in emerging markets is unlikely to trigger a repeat of the 1994 or 1998 economic crises, said a top banker and investment specialist yesterday. “I believe the recent turmoil has been exaggerated. This is not an emerging world in huge debt to the rest of the world. In fact some of the currency adjustments have already improved the situation,” said Gary Dugan, Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer, Asia and Middle East at Coutts, in an interview with Kuwait Times. Brushing aside predictions made by some experts, Dugan said, “There is no systematic weakness in the emerging markets. There was a confluence of different factors that happened to come together at a time when the US Federal Reserve was embarking on its tapering of quantitative easing — and this has unnerved some investors,” he pointed out. “Today, the emerging markets appear to be weathering the recent storm, despite some selling by private investors. We’ve seen evidence of good appetite to add to emerging-market exposure in the recent bout of weakness, particularly in Asia and Russia. We continue to believe that all talk of a crisis is simply that - just talk,” Dugan said. According to Dugan, markets have become agitated by the slide in currencies of weak emerging economies, more-pronounced liquidity concerns in China and disappointing economic data from the US. However, he admitted the fact that some emerging market currencies are under pressure. “Argentina and Turkey have clear political problems that made currency depreciation inevitable. The weakness in the ruble is in part a reflection of the desire of the Russian central bank to let the ruble to float more freely in the

future,” he reasoned. In China the volatility and recent weakness of the economic data is a reflection of the absolute determination of the Chinese authorities to make structural changes in the economy. Opportunities The US economy is consolidating after strong gains in the third quarter, vulnerable emerging economies running current account deficits (importing more goods and services than they export) are struggling to attract the influx of capital needed to keep their currencies stable, and China is struggling to maintain order as it tackles problems in its financial sector. “But it’s not the end of the world. We believe investors should look for buying oppor tunities rather than sell now. Emerging-market equities performed very poorly over 2013, in the lead up to the current round of concerns, discounting much of the bad news already. The spread of emerging-market over safe-haven government bond yields (a premium reflecting higher risk) are at about two-thirds of their peaks seen in the mini-crisis last summer. And though the US economy appears to be consolidating, Europe and Japan continue to deliver good news,” he pointed out. Asked whether wealth managers should adjust their overall emerging markets exposure, he said, “they should view any tips as a buying opportunity. They, together with investors in general, should consider remaining committed to slowly evolving their strategic asset away from the developed markets that overburdened with debt and declining economies into the financially stronger, higher growth economies of the emerging world,” he explained. Dugan substantiated his argument with the support of a research report. “A recent research by Invesco showed that the MSCI

Emerging Markets returned 425.9 percent over 20 years. The message is simple: don’t try and time the market,” he said. I would suggest that around 20 percent of the overall equity exposure of an investor’s portfolio should be in emerging markets. However, this is merely a guide as

Gary Dugan, Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer, Asia and Middle East at Coutts. individual investor requirements will be very different, he added. According to him the frontier markets are fine. “The frontier markets offer limited liquidity and high volatility. For sure, many emerging markets are not going to show the same elevated growth witnessed in recent years but it will still be a multiple of developed market economic growth. Among the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China, the latter two are the most attractive. I also favor Taiwan, South Korea and Indonesia - avoiding Latin America, South Africa and Turkey,” he said.

Precious metal Dugan said gold has seen strong demand amid the sell-off in emerging markets, rising to a two-month high. “It is attractive as a hedge against exposure to emerging-market assets, acting as a stabilizer when emerging economies suffer wobbles,” he said. Recent events have shown that problems in individual countries can trigger fresh demand for gold: when the Turkish lira came under attack last year Turkish investors increased their holdings of gold considerably. “The fundamental reasons for holding gold haven’t changed, with the global economy still facing many risks, in particular developed economies’ heavy debt burdens. The ratio of government debt to gross domestic product is above 100 percent in the developed world. On IMF projections this is unlikely to ease and could worsen,” he said. In addition to sovereign debt risk, specific geopolitical risks remain in Asia, such as tensions on the Korean peninsula. Gold is one of the few assets that can provide a hedge against such risks. Indeed, the price fall and removal of short-term speculative positions should make gold more responsive to shifts in risk, particularly geopolitical and financial-system risk. — Gary Dugan, MD and CIO, Asia and Middle East at Coutts. With a vast experience in investment banking and wealth management, Dugan is responsible for the investment proposition for the bank, investment selection, strategic and tactical asset allocation, discretionary and advisory portfolio management. He held positions previously as GM and Chief Investment Officer of Private Banking at Emirates NBD, Managing Director and CIO at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and Managing Director and Head of Research and Investment Strategy at Barclays Wealth.

India poised to tighten spending in budget

TOKYO: Japan’s unions have started demanding wage hikes from cash-rich firms as annual pay talks get under way, setting up a rare showdown after years of dramafree labor relations.

Workers say strikes out in Japan TOKYO: Japan’s unions have started demanding wage hikes from cash-rich firms as annual pay talks get under way, setting up a rare showdown after years of drama-free labor relations. Unionists are questioning if usually quiescent workers should stick by a decades-long strategy of keeping the peace with their bosses and rarely going on strike, a strategy that has generated few pay rises. Japan’s auto sector is a key target, with all eyes on Toyota, the world’s biggest automaker, which has posted huge profits on the back of sharply weaker yen since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe swept to power in late 2012. Abe’s economic growth blitz, dubbed Abenomics, helped fatten Japan Inc.’s bottom line, and he has called for companies to pass on some of that profit to help consumers as they brace for an April sales tax hike. More cash in workers’ pockets would assist a fragile recovery, say observers, but many-including the International Monetary Fund-say there needs to be other, deeper reforms, including greater flexibility to cut staff. That is tough in Japan, where everyone from Abe to company chiefs know it would be a hard sell. Employees need a “safety net to make sure that they’re not left out in the street”, Sony boss Kazuo Hirai said last year. “Because they’ve made commitments to the companies and certainly deserve to be part of that safety net.” Japan’s annual labor talks are known as Shunto, or the “spring offensive”, but usually low-key, closed-door negotiations could easily end with few firms heeding Abe’s pay rise call, perhaps counting on workers’ reluctance to strike. It is a far cry from factory-shuttering labor disputes of Europe or the tens of thousands of striking South Korean railway workers who demonstrated for weeks on the streets of Seoul in December. ‘Zero strikes’ For decades, Japan has prided itself as a nation of labor peace, despite its 20-year economic decline, near-frozen wages and

increasingly unstable employment. “Let’s see, did I go on strike once? Let me think,” said Hajime, a 58-year-old media sector worker. “Oh yes! It was something like 30 years ago, it was the first and the last time. For people between 20 and 30 years of age, strikes and demonstrations are history. It’s not their present.” That rings true with Anan, a 21-year-old university student who can’t fathom the idea of a strike. “Here in Japan everybody is middle class, everybody can find a job...and not everybody is obsessed with moving up the social ladderso there’s no reason to be upset,” she said. With a low crime and unemployment rate, generous welfare benefits, relatively high wages and much narrower income inequality than many other developed nations, Japan has rarely been a place ripe for revolution. But that wasn’t always the case. After the war, about one million Japanese were homeless, one quarter of them in the shattered capital Tokyo. The Communist Party was a political force and half of all employees were unionized. Today, that number stands at just under 18 percent. By 1974, the country saw more than 5,000 strikes a year, involving about 3.6 million people. These days, a few dozen strikes by several thousand workers has been the norm. Japanese chief executives usually get a fraction of what their North American or European counterparts are paid, and sometimes take wage cuts in bad times. Mass layoffs are to be avoided, and closing a division often means shifting workers around the company-something Sony said it would try to do after announcing 5,000 jobs cuts this month. “Cooperation rather than confrontation has been a long tradition in the private sector,” said Koichi Nakano, a political science professor at Tokyo’s Sophia University. “There was this idea that what matters is not a person’s class but rather the nation’s survival. “Employers had to accommodate workers’ needs and employees sacrificed their class interest and would be patriotic workers for both the company and country. It was a powerful idea.”—AFP

MUMBAI: India’s finance minister is expected to tighten spending in an interim budget today and resist the temptation to announce a populist spending spree in a bid to stave off defeat at looming elections. Finance Minister P Chidambaram, of the embattled ruling Congress party, is expected to focus on fiscal consolidation in his budget speech to the Indian parliament, his final one before a national vote due by May. “There is no room for populism. He will have to stay focused on the current account deficit, fiscal deficit and inflation,” said Vivek Rajpal, an interest rates strategist at Nomura Singapore Limited. The government aims to limit the size of its fiscal deficit to 4.8 percent of gross domestic product for the current financial year, at a time when economic growth is at decade lows. It hopes to make good on its aim thanks to higherthan-expected non-tax revenues such as those from the recent auction of mobile phone spectrum licenses, for which companies bid around $10 billion. Arun Singh, senior economist with research firm Dun & Bradstreet, said international credit agencies would be looking closely at the state of India’s public finances. “When they have already warned of an adverse impact on India’s rating if this (deficit) figure worsens, the government really has no choice but to keep walking on a fiscal consolidation path,” Singh said. ‘Red line’ Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s administration has been widely criticized for its inability to stem corruption, boost growth and control India’s inflation, leading voters to deliver a string of defeats in recent state elections. In December, global ratings agency Fitch voiced concern that “a steeper political struggle to pull in more votes” might prompt the government to unleash a voter-pleasing spending spree before the polls due by May. However the finance minister has dismissed talk of pre-poll giveaways and termed the fiscal gap target for 2013-14 as a “red line”. Many economists, therefore, expect Chidambaram to announce an even lower fiscal deficit goal for the next financial year of around 4.2 percent to 4.3 percent of GDP, taking it closer to 3 percent by 2016-17. In last year’s February budget, the government hiked spending in education, health, agriculture and rural development, even though this did little to bring economic growth back on track. With its term nearly over, economists say it is unlikely the government can do anything dramatic to reignite the growth engine while balancing inflationary pressures-something the Reserve Bank of India has made a top priority, with three interest rate hikes since September. India’s economy grew by only 4.5 percent last year, far down from the near double -digit growth enjoyed in the past decade, and little improvement is expected this year. While cutting expenditure to lower the fiscal deficit is a standard procedure worldwide, rolling back the government’s presence can also hurt growth in a country with widespread poverty and scant infrastructure. “Development spending is bearing the brunt of any cuts,” wrote Anubhuti Sahay, senior economist with Standard Chartered Bank, in a note last week. “The government’s dependence on selling assets and channelling funds from one arm of the government to another calls into question the long-term sustainability of fiscal consolidation.” — AFP

Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram will present his budget today.

Spanish bank Bankia to be privatized in stages MADRID: Spain will sell its stake in bailed-out bank Bankia in stages over two or three years, its president said in an interview published yesterday. Bankia became the symbol of Spain’s financial crisis when it lost more than 19 billion euros ($26 billion) in 2012 and pushed the government to ask its euro-zone partners for 41 billion euros in rescue loans to shore up the entire banking system. Under the terms of the European Union’s 2012 bailout, the Spanish government has until 2017 to sell its 68 percent stake in Bankia. “It would be reasonable for the privatization process to be similar to what is being carried out with Lloyds. That is, that it be carried out in phases and take two or three years,” Bankia president Jose Ignacio Goirigolzarri said in an interview published in daily newspaper ABC. He was referring to the British government’s sale of six percent of Lloyds bank in September, five years after the state rescue of the lender. Earlier this month Lloyds, which is now 33percent owned by the British taxpayer, said it was preparing for a possible second sale. The

Spanish government will first put smaller stakes in Bankia up for sale, Goirigolzarri said. “The first stakes will be smaller than the following ones. We have to think of starting with between five and 10 percent,” he said. Bankia earlier this month reported a net profit of 509 million euros for 2013, after a catastrophic 19.2-billion-euro loss the previous year, and announced it had wrapped up a painful restructuring two years early. The results marked a dramatic turnaround for Spain’s fourth-largest bank by market value, which was born in 2010 from the merger of seven troubled savings banks. After listing on the Madrid stock exchange with great 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 eurozone 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. — AFP

Jobs, incomes, wages to be factored into BoE rate rise LONDON: The Bank of England will only start to increase interest rates when a range of measures suggest the economy is operating at closer to full capacity, central bank governor Mark Carney said in an interview broadcast yesterday. Last Wednesday the BoE said it would look at a broader range of measures of slack in the economy than just the unemployment rate when considering whether to raise borrowing costs, and that it was in no rush to raise rates. “The path of monetary policy, the path of inter-

est rates is going to be calibrated very carefully to ensure that only when we see sustainable growth in jobs, in incomes and in spending, will we make adjustments,” he told the BBC. “We can responsibly take our time and only adjust interest rates once more slack has been cut,” Carney said. The BoE said that in the runup to the publication of its economic forecasts, markets had been pricing in a first rise in interest rates in the second quarter of 2015, and that this was consistent with inflation just below the BoE’s 2 percent goal.—Reuters



Venezuela split by pro-and anti-Maduro protests CARACAS: Supporters and opponents of Venezuela’s leftist government staged rival rallies in Caracas yesterday amid spiraling discontent at the country’s stubborn inflation and shortage of basic goods. This was the 12th straight day of street protests, with no end in sight. Two anti-government protesters and a pro-Maduro demonstrator died in a rally Wednesday in violence that has raised alarm throughout Latin America. About 3,000 government opponents, mostly college students dressed in white and wrapped in Venezuelan flags, gathered in the affluent Caracas neighborhood of Chacao yesterday and fanned out into nearby streets. At least 23 people were wounded when riot police hurled tear gas canisters, fired buckshot and deployed water cannon at nightfall to break up an anti-government demonstration, Chacao Mayor Ramon Muchacho wrote in a Twitter message. Soldiers and police used force to break up a similar anti-government protest late Friday. “Before, we would not go out on the street because of violent crime,” said Isaac Castillo, 27, a student at the private Andres Bello university. “Now, we go out to protest-and they kill us.” “We young people have no faith, no hope. There are no jobs and even if we get one, it is not enough to make a decent living,” Castillo said. The protesters are angry over rampant crime, rising prices and a lack of essentials like toilet paper in a nation that sits on the world’s largest proven oil reserves. Protesters also demanded the release of some 100 students and other opposition activists, and an end to police repression. In the United States, dozens of activists, many of them youths, rallied in front of the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington waving banners with slogans like “SOS Venezuela,” “We say no to dictatorship” and “Venezuela is not alone.” Many wore clothing in the colors of the Venezuelan flag. A handful of pro-government demonstrators held banners at the embassy gates that read “We are with the Bolivarian revolution.” The depth of the unrest was underscored by Maduro’s decision to address a counter-rally, and by US Secretary of State John Kerry voicing alarm at the reported arrests. Kerry said in a statement that

reports of Venezuela’s leaders arresting scores of anti-government protesters would “have a chilling effect on citizens’ rights to express their grievances peacefully,” and he called for all parties to work together to resolve tensions. Maduro blames UribeSpeaking before thousands of supporters gathered in downtown Caracas, Maduro accused conservative former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe, whom he regards as a US ally and foe of Venezuela, of “funding and directing” the “fascist movements” he blames for the unrest. Maduro’s elected socialist government has also taken Colombian news channel NTN24 off the air, saying it was inciting antigovernment violence. In downtown Caracas, government supporters clad in the bright red that symbolizes the leftist movement of the late Hugo Chavez and Maduro, his handpicked successor, filled several plazas. Some protesters danced or performed aerobic exercises to the rhythmic beating of drums played by their fellow demonstrators. Others unfurled huge Venezuelan flags and pictures of Chavez and of South American liberation hero Simon Bolivar. Maduro says the anti-government protests signal the rumblings of a coup to depose him, and vowed to use force to prevent unauthorized street gatherings. The president has accused opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez-currently hiding from a government arrest warrant-of being one of the main protest supporters. The latest anti-government movement, backed by some of the country’s fractured opposition groups, poses the biggest challenge to Maduro since 2013 election, held after Chavez died of cancer. A nationwide security crackdown has followed the violence in a country where the economy has been battered by inflation of more than 50 percent. Seeking to quell the unrest, Maduro unveiled a 10-point plan to crack down on crime late Friday that includes disarming the population, increased police patrols and unspecified “clear rules for television.” Despite its oil wealth, Venezuela has severe economic problems and a deep divide between rich and poor. — AFP

CARACAS: Opposition demonstrators shout slogans against the National Bolivarian Police in Caracas yesterday. Venezuelan security forces backed by water tanks, tear gas and rubber bullets dispersed groups of anti-government demonstrators who tried to block Caracas’ main highway yesterday evening. — AP

Strike-hit Amplats says suing union in S Africa JOHANNESBURG: South African mining giant Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) yesterday said it was suing a trade union for damages and losses suffered over the past three-week work stoppage. “The company is suffering damages arising from the failure by AMCU (union) to maintain control of the strike,” Amplats spokeswoman Mpumi Sithole said. The world’s top platinum miner is seeking a payment of 591 million rands ($54 million, 40 million euros) for property damaged by striking members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) who it says have failed to adhere to picketing rules. The sum will also compensate for increased costs to pay security staff overtime and for losses due to “the loss of production that would have been possible if non-striking workers were not prevented from working.” The provisional damages claim comes to “about 591-million rand, although as AMCU’s wrongful conduct is continuing, the damages will continue to accrue,” she said. The case was filed with the High Court in Pretoria on Friday. AMCU secretary general Jeff Mpahlele said he was unaware of any litigation

against the union. Tens of thousands of platinum mining workers have downed tools since January 23 at Amplats, Impala Platinum (Implats) and Lonmin-the world’s top three producers of the mineral. The workers, who are demanding the doubling of their monthly wages to $1,125, have so far rejected an initial offer of least seven percent each of the next three years. The strike is costing Amplats about 100 million rand daily or 4,000 ounces a day of the metal that is used in products from catalytic converters to computer hard disks and dental fillings. The on-and-off government-mediated negotiations to end the pay dispute resume today Monday when the state arbitration body will meet separately with the union. But mining firms hold little hope of the job walk-out ending soon. “The likelihood of a protracted strike is increasing and we are pulling contingency plans to cover the next three months to make sure the business is still sustainable,” Implats spokesman Johan Theron said. Implats has others mines in the northern province of Mpumalanga and in Zimbabwe, the world’s third largest producer of platinum. — AFP

Austrian Airlines to resume Iran flights TEHRAN: Austrian Airlines announced yesterday it will resume flights to Iran in March after it stopped flying to the country early last year for what it said were commercial reasons. The airline confirmed local media reports that flights to Tehran would resume from March 11, attributing the decision, in a statement on its website, to the “current stability” in the country. Iran’s Arman daily quoted the deputy head of the Civil Aviation Organization, Mohammad Khoda Karami, as saying flights by Austrian Airlines “will be operated five times a week to Tehran”. The airline in its statement said it had ended flights to Tehran in January 2013 “for commercial reasons”. “These included the strong inflation of the Iranian currency, the rial, and the effects of the economic and political sanctions on the ground in Iran.”

Iran has been slapped by international sanctions over its disputed nuclear program which the West suspects of covering a nuclear weapons drive-allegations strongly denied by Tehran. The sanctions contributed to the nosedive last year of the Iranian rial, which however has begun to recover since the administration of relatively moderate President Hassan Rouhani clinched a historic nuclear deal with major world powers in November. Under the deal, Iran agreed to roll back parts of its nuclear program in exchange for modest sanctions relief and the return of billions of dollars in frozen Iranian assets. The Tehran government has been able to stabilize the currency, which now trades at around 30,000 to the dollar from a low of 40,000 last year. Only a handful of European carriers, such as Lufthansa, Alitalia and Aeroflot have continued operating in Iran. — AFP



UAE retailer named one of world’s fastest growing firms KUWAIT: UAE-based EMKE Group, which runs the Lulu chain of supermarkets, has been named among the fastest growing retailers in the world over a five-year period. The company, headed by Indian Yusuffali MA, was ranked 11th in a list of the biggest growing retail businesses published by Deloitte, which also listed the world’s 250 biggest names in the sector. Deloitte said the retailer averaged compound annual growth rate of more than 25 percent between 2007-12. It added that the group’s revenues in 2012 exceeded $4.5 billion. EMKE Group is the only entry in the global 250 list (ranked 197th), which was headed by US giant Wal-Mart whose revenues

in 2012 were put at $469 billion, followed by the UK’s Tesco. EMKE Group has said it plans to open 42 new Lulu Hypermarkets in the next two years. Yusuffali MA, who was ranked the 40th richest Indian on the planet with a fortune of $2.2bn, said despite numbering 104 stores in the Middle East his Abu Dhabi-based company had no signs of slowing down. It will open seven new hypermarkets in the UAE in 201415, six in Oman, four each in Qatar and Kuwait, three each in Bahrain and Egypt and 15 in Saudi Arabia. New markets were also being pursued in Malaysia, Indonesia, Iraq, Algeria, Morocco and Libya. To beef up its retail and exports business, the group was also investing heavily in developing a

logistics centre and cold storage facility in Kochi. Deloitte said that despite tough economic conditions, revenues for the world’s 250 largest retailers reached $4.3 trillion for the last fiscal year (June 2012 through June 2013). The average size of the top 250 retailers exceeded $17 billion according to the 2014 Global Powers of Retailing report from Deloitte. “The global retail industry got off to a difficult start in the last year,” said James Babb, clients and industries leader at Deloitte Middle East. “However, it is encouraging to see that the world’s leading retailers were able to plough on through the difficult period to reap the rewards of increased consumer spend. “This has served to provide a much needed boost to

global revenues with nearly 80 percent of the top 250 (199 companies) retailers posting an increase in retail revenue.” Emerging market retailers accounted for more than half (26) of the world’s 50 fastestgrowing retailers, Deloitte added. Babb added: “Latin American retailers led the way with 15 percent retail revenue growth followed by retailers in the Middle East/Africa region at 13.5 percent. Retailers are successfully adapting their strategies to adequately cater to the growing middle -class consumers in emerging economies where there is strong demand for consumer goods, ranging from cars and electronics to personal care products.”

EMKE Group Chairman Yusuffali MA

Yellen testimony fuels investors’ risk appetite NBK MONEY MARKETS REPORT

BERLIN: German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel from the Social Democrats and Chancellor Angela Merkel (from left) attend a session at the German parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Germany. — AP

Greek budget surplus topped 1.5bn euros in 2013: PM ATHENS: Greece in 2013 registered a budget surplus of more than 1.5 billion euros ($2.05 billion), exceeding requirements for additional debt aid, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said yesterday. “We have created a primary surplus in 2013 when the target was for 2014... it is over 1.5 billion euros,” Samaras told To Vima weekly in an interview. “Three times more than we originally calculated,” he said. A month earlier, Samaras had placed the primary surplus-a budget surplus not counting debt servicing costs-at around 500 million euros. It is the first time in over a decade that the country has registered a primary surplus. Greece hopes to utilize these savings in order to obtain assistance with its enormous debt from its international creditors later this year. Samaras has pledged to give most of the surplus back to those worst affected by four years of austerity cuts. Some European officials however have expressed skepticism over the scope of Greece’s surplus claims. EU data agency Eurostat is expected to formally announce the size of the surplus in April. Following a Eurogroup decision in

November, Greece can hope for help in reducing its massive debt if it achieves a primary surplus. The Greek economy is forecast to exit a six-year recession later this year, and the country is also expected to make its first medium-term debt sale since 2010, raising 1.5-2.0 billion euros in five-year bonds in the second half of the year. However, Samaras faces risky local elections in May in which his conservative party’s main rivals, the anti-austerity leftist party Syriza, are poised to score major gains. The Greek central bank has warned that electoral bickering could hurt the economic recovery. “The future course of the economy is subject to strong uncertainty,” Bank of Greece chief George Provopoulos told a parliament committee last month. Samaras has ruled out the prospect of also holding early national elections before his term expires in 2016, a denial he repeated on Sunday. However, it looks likely that early ballots will be required in 2015 to enable parliament to elect a new president. — AFP

Quirky IPOs make a splash in Hong Kong HONG KONG: Nightclubs with diamante toilets, luxury cemeteries and local restaurants have made a splash during their debuts on Hong Kong’s stock exchange, proving particularly popular among “mom and pop” investors squeezed out of more mainstream openings. Investing in unconventional companies can be something of a gamble. But recent soaring debuts in Hong Kong-known as initial public offerings (IPOs) show significant enthusiasm among ordinary investors hoping to make a quick return on the stock exchange’s less orthodox offerings, analysts say. In a city where betting is strictly limited to the horses and some soccer matches, and where the average punter often loses out to institutional investors in the more mainstream IPOs, quirky debuts offer everyday investors an exciting, if somewhat risky, opportunity to dabble on the city’s stock exchange. “Hong Kong, mainland China even more, are in the sort of gambling mentality. There is always somebody willing to take your money if you are willing to give it to them,” Doug Young, a Shanghai-based writer on capital markets and Chinese corporates, said. “People have an impression that the stock market is the place that you can get good return even though it’s not always the truth. It is the mindset of a newer market,” he added. Hong Kong was the world’s top IPO venue from 2009 to 2011, and while it has fallen away recently the New Year has started with a bang, especially for less orthodox companies. Fu Shou Yuan, the largest mainland Chinese funeral services provider, saw its December $215 million IPO oversubscribed by nearly 700 percent, while its shares have risen more than 40 percent since its debut to Friday’s close of HK$4.8. Cemeteries are big business in China, where the country’s growing middle classes are increasingly willing to spend large amounts on plots of lands for their loved ones when they depart. One cemetery managed by Fu Shou

Yuan is located in a scenic Shanghai location and boasts original landscaping, artistic tombstones and a mixture of classical Chinese and modern architecture, according to the cemetery’s website. Champagne and bling At the less morbid end of Hong Kong’s recent unorthodox IPO offerings is Magnum Entertainment, a nightclub operator that owns three venues in the city’s famously raucous Lan Kwai Fong entertainment district. On any given weekend night, the glitterati can be seen waiting in lines to access the kind of haunts where the bling flows as freely as the champagne. One Magnum club sports life-sized bronze bull statues on its outdoor terrace, while another is renowned for its diamante-encrusted washrooms. When Magnum listed in January it was a red hot item, raising HK$126 million ($16.25 million) for its IPO, and was 3,500 times oversubscribed, a record for the city. Its share price soared 90 percent on the first day. According to copies of the entertainment group’s IPO prospectus that were posted online, Magnum may have been aware some of its potential investors might not be entirely au fait with what a modern nightclub looks like. A club, the prospectus stated, is “filled with images of people moving in unison to the beat of synthesized remixed dance and electronic music spun out by a DJ perched upon an elevated stage”. Their bars, it added, sell drinks “generally known as alcoholic beverage served by glass and prepared by bartenders mixing different alcohol and ingredients”. Second-hand luxury handbag retailer Milan Station held the record for being the most oversubscribed IPO until Magnum toppled its crown early this year. The retailer grabbed 77 percent more than its IPO price of HK$1.67 on its trading debut in 2011, and was 2,000 times oversubscribed.— AFP

KUWAIT: The US dollar dropped against its major counterparts as comments from the Federal Reserve’s newly appointed Chairman, and the Bank of England eased market concerns and drove investors towards riskier assets. Stocks and Treasury yields climbed as Yellen, delivering her first public remarks as Fed chairperson, said financial-market turmoil does not pose a major risk to the outlook for the US economy and repeated the Fed’s statement that asset purchases are not on a “pre-set course.” The Dollar Index reached a high of 80.83 ahead of the comments. The index quickly dropped following the testimony, which initiated the risk on trade in the market pushing the USD lower against its major counterparts. The euro started the week at 1.3625. The common currency suffered a setback at midweek on dovish comments from European Central Bank Executive Board member Benoit Coeure who said that the idea of the ECB’s overnight deposit rate cutting into negative territory was “a very possible option”. The statement pushed the Euro to its week low 1.3561. However, the Euro gained traction on Friday as GDP figures from Germany and France beat market expectations and pushed the currency to reach a high of 1.3713 and close at 1.37XX. Similarly, the sterling pound surged against the greenback after the Bank of England upgraded its growth forecasts, issued new forward guidance, and hinted at rate hike in 2015. Towards the end of the week, he currency continued to benefit from the upbeat inflation report and reached a high of 1.6715 and then closed the week at 1.67XX. The Japanese yen opened the week at 102.61, the currency range traded for the most part of the week between 102.20 and 102.60. The USDJPY then dropped to a low of 101.65 amid a disappointing Retail sales figure and closed the week at 101.XX. The Australian dollar reached a one-month high as positive Chinese trade data eased concern about China’s economy. China’s trade performance overcame forecasts in January as import growth hit a six-month high, confounding market expectations and lifting the Aussie to a 1-month high of 0.9068. However, the Aussie fell sharply to reach a low of 0.8924 after an unexpectedly weak employment report, raising the possibility of another rate cut by the Reserve Bank of Australia. On Friday, the currency recouped most of its losses and closed the week at 0.90XX. Yellen testifies Federal Reser ve Chairman Janet Yellen pledged to maintain her predecessor’s policies by scaling back stimulus in “measured steps” and signaled that the bar is high for a change in that plan. Only a “notable change in the outlook” for the economy would prompt policy makers to slow the pace of tapering, Yellen stated during her testimony to the House Financial Services Committee. “It’s important for us to take our time to assess” the significance of recent reports showing payrolls expanded less than projected, she said. While growth has picked up, “the recovery in the labor market is far from complete,” Yellen said earlier in prepared remarks. “I am committed to achieving both parts of our dual mandate: helping the economy return to full

employment and returning inflation to 2% while ensuring that it does not run persistently above or below that level.” Retail sales Retail sales fell unexpectedly in January, and another gauge of consumer spending also slipped. Sales fell 0.4% last month, led by a drop in automobile sales. Sales fell by a revised 0.1% in December. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales would be unchanged in January after rising by a previously reported 0.2% in December. Stripping out automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, the so-called core sales fell 0.3% after rising by a downwardly revised 0.3 percent in December. Unemployment claims The number of Americans applying for jobless benefits rose higher than expectations in the market, underscoring the uneven progress in the labor market. Jobless claims increased by 8,000 to 339,000 from 331,000 in the prior period. Fewer dismissals are needed before hiring can accelerate and provide a bigger boost for consumer spending in the world’s largest economy. The US Reuters/Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index unexpectedly remained flat at 81.2 from the previous month, better than market expectations for a drop to 80.6. It signaling that Americans may need to spend for a longer period to accelerate growth and confidence. Industrial production drops Falling production of energy and capital goods curbed euro-zone industrial production more than expected in December, underlining the fragility of the area’s economic recovery. Industrial output in December 2013 fell 0.7% on the month, after a downwardly revised 1.6% rise in November. The decrease was driven mainly by a 2.1% fall in output of energy and capital goods, with production of non-durable consumer goods down 0.1% against November. French gross domestic product for the fourth quarter of 2013 surprised on the upside and so did GDP numbers from Germany for the same period. In France, fourth quarter GDP grew by

0.3% compared to expectations of a 0.2% growth. The German economy continued its moderate growth at the end of the year. In the fourth quarter of 2013, the gross domestic product rose 0.4% on the third quarter of 2013 after adjustment for price.. In the two previous quarters, too, the German economy had grown by 0.7% and 0.3%, respectively, following stagnation at the beginning of the year. Inflation closer to BoE’s target Sterling surged after the Bank of England upgraded its growth forecasts, issued new forward guidance, and hinted at rate hike in 2015. The BOE upwardly revised the final quarter of last year’s GDP growth to 0.9% from 0.7%. They also stated that the pace of expansion would be similar in Q1, while GDP estimates for the full year were raised to 3.4% from November’s 2.8% estimate. The central bank indicated that it expects the economic recovery to be “more entrenched and more broadly based”. On inflation, the BOE stated that “the existence of spare capacity in the economy is both wasteful and increases the risk that inflation will undershoot” the central bank’s 2% target in the mediumterm. The BOE forecasts inflation would ease to as low as 1.7% in the Q2 2015 before gradually accelerating to 1.9% going into the year 2016. Australia Australia’s unemployment rate climbed to the highest level in more than 10 years in January, that fuelled the expectation of a further rate cut sending the Aussie to its biggest drop in almost three weeks. The unemployment rate rose to 6% from 5.8%. the market was expecting an increase to 5.9%.Another measure showed that the number of people employed fell by 3,700. The softer-than-expected jobs report hindered expectations that the Reserve Bank of Australia will turn to tighter policy following a surge in property prices, rising building approvals and a forecast acceleration in growth and inflation. Kuwait Kuwaiti dinar at 0.28180. The USDKWD opened at 0.28180 yesterday morning.

Branson sounds warning over Qantas intervention SYDNEY: British tycoon Richard Branson sounded a warning in full-page newspaper ads yesterday about possible Australian government help for national carrier Qantas, urging business to “think twice” about investing in the country. Branson, whose Virgin Australia carrier is in direct competition with Qantas, lashed out at the conservative government in an open letter to the Australian public published in yesterday’s newspapers. Qantas has been lobbying the government to ease limits on foreign investment or provide state intervention to help shore up its bottom line as it battles record fuel costs and fierce competition from subsidized rivals. The Australian carrier claims a 49 percent foreign ownership cap under the terms of its privatization in 1995 leaves it at an unfair disadvantage to Virgin, which is majority-owned by state-backed Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand and Etihad. Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey last week described the cap as a “ball and chain around the leg” of Qantas, which he said was now confronting a

“3,000-pound gorilla”-widely interpreted as a reference to Virgin. Branson hit back, saying the description “would be flattering if it was not so laughable” and asking what that made Qantas, “which is four times our size”. “Should the Australian taxpayer be forced by the Australian government to prop up the Qantas group as federal Treasurer Joe Hockey is suggesting, business people worldwide should think twice about investing in Australia for fear of such intervention in their sectors,” said Branson. “Qantas has gone cap in hand to the government. If the government fill their hat it will severely damage competition in Australia.” In December Qantas said it was facing some of its toughest-ever challenges as it flagged a half-year loss of up to Aus$300 million ($269 million) and the axing of 1,000 jobs. The airline reports its interim first-half results later this month. Branson said Qantas already received most government travel spending and “should not be granted further special privileges over all its competitors”, noting that until Virgin arrived on the scene in 2000 Qantas “enjoyed a

virtual monopoly in most past of the Australian market”. The Virgin founder said he did not care what the government did with the Qantas foreign ownership cap. “What is most important is that the government doesn’t provide financial assistance to Qantas, enabling them to reinstate their monopoly,” he said. “It is not right for the industry and it will not benefit the Australian travelling public or the economy.” —AFP



Malabar Gold & Diamonds launches its 109th global outlet in Dajeej Amazing gifts on every purchase as inaugural promotion

KUWAIT: 109th showroom of Malabar Gold & Diamonds is being inaugurated by Shaikha Leena Abdul Aziz Elmashaan and Shaikha Mariam Ismaeel Jumaah Al-Ansari in the presence of Yusuffali M A - MD Lulu Group, Dr P A Ibrahim Haji - Co-Chairman Malabar Group, Shamlal Ahamed M P - Managing Director International Operations, K P Abdul Salam - Group Executive Director, Maayinkutty C Director, Abdul Majeed - Director and other directors on Saturday.

Al-Tijari announces winners of Najma Account winners

All-new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado steals spotlight at The Avenues KUWAIT: Yusuf A Alghanim & Sons Automotive, the exclusive distributor of Chevrolet vehicles in Kuwait, is currently displaying the newly launched all-new Chevrolet Silverado at The Avenues until February 19, 2014. The display attracted many shoppers and car enthusiasts who were curious to know more about the 2014 North American Truck of the year. A lot of people booked an appointment to test-drive and even booked the car to purchase on the spot. As the most popular and trusted pick-up truck in the countr y, the Silverado has enjoyed a rich history and strong following in Kuwait. Now, the 2014 Silverado has arrived, raising the bar with its exceptional interior and exterior design and powerful performance that is made for any terrain. After all the improvements and technological advancements, the All New 2014 Silverado has now become the most powerful, smartest and capable vehicle. Everything from Silverado’s interior and exterior styling to ergonomics and performance has been re-engineered. The new Silverado is stronger, smarter and more capable than ever. Silverado’s all-new interior is developed entirely around functionality. Designed to meet the needs of the driver, we intelligently integrated the smartest technologies into the interior, and the redesigned front seats are built for all-day comfort. Forward-opening doors provide easy access to a reimagined interior that provides more rear-seat legroom in Crew Cab and Double Cab models. The innovative MyLink infotainment system features keep you and your crew connected to the world and fully entertained wherever you go. Silverado is also available with the Bose sound system. Crafted from stain-resistant high-wear vinyl, cloth or leather appointments, Silverado’s seats are, harder wearing and more comfortable than ever. Having integrated controls within the steering wheel allows you to flip through the displays, activate the available heated steering wheel, change songs and activate the available voice controls without ever tak ing your hands off the wheel. Silverado’s new available 4.2-inch diagonal color- enhanced Driver Information Center (DIC ) offers improved gauge placement, making important information easy to comprehend at a glance. It displays your truck’s vital stats like oil life and transmission fluid temperature and can be navigated with steering-wheel controls. The All-New 2014 Silverado is equipped with three EcoTec3 engines, V-6 4.3L, with the most torque and highest towing rating of any standard V-6, V8

5.3L and an all-new 6.2L V-8, which is the segment’s most powerful engine. The increased power, torque and efficiency of the new EcoTec3 engine family resulted from an unprecedented level of computer analysis, including extensive computational flow dynamics, to optimize the burning of air and fuel in the cylinders. More than 10 million of hours of computational analysis went into the engine program. More than 6 million hours - about 685 years’ wor th - of analysis went into the advanced combustion system alone. The Max Trailering Package, offered with both V8 engines, offers class-leading trailering capacity of up to 5,323. New 7- and 4pin trailer connectors are included in this and every trailering package. When it comes to hooking up, the available Rear-Vision Camera System with dynamic grid lines makes it easier to back up to a trailer. On the road, Trailer Sway Control works with StabiliTrak to automatically apply the brakes or reduce engine power when the rocking of a swaying trailer is detected. Auto Grade Braking automatically downshifts the transmission to aid in going downhill. Tow/Haul mode always keeps the transmission in the right gear. Because the Silverado’s rugged nature, its safety features have become more comprehensive than ever. Alerts from the available Lane Depar ture Warning and Forward Collision Alert systems can be transmitted to the driver through vibrations in the Safety Alert Driver Seat. Vibrations correspond to the direction of the indicated alert, reducing reaction time in helping to avoid potential collisions. Audible warnings can also be selected, if desired. The large center screen also serves as your monitor for the available Rear-Vision Camera System. Its dynamic grid lines provide the perfect target. In addition to daily use, technologies like ABS, Hill Start Assist, StabiliTrak and Trailer Sway Control give Silverado’s brakes a workout. Our new Duralife brake rotors have been hardened with a special GMpatented process to provide long-lasting stopping power and rotors that can last up to twice as long as conventional brakes. Yusuf Ahmed Alghanim & Sons Automotive adds the finishing touch to the ownership experience with highquality after-sales services. With the world’s biggest and most advanced automotive service center, customers will never worr y about ser vice and maintenance needs. Visit Yusuf Ahmed Alghanim & Sons today and try out for yourself the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado.

KUWAIT: Malabar Gold & Diamonds, the leading jewelry retailer opened its 109th outlet globally in Lu&Lu Hypermarket, Dajeej, Kuwait on Saturday. The showroom was jointly inaugurated by Shaikha Leena Abdul Aziz Elmashaan and Shaikha Mariam Ismaeel Jumaah Al-Ansari in the presence of Yusuffali M A - MD Lulu Group, Dr P A Ibrahim Haji - Co-Chairman Malabar Group, Shamlal Ahamed M P - Managing Director International Operations, K P Abdul Salam - Group Executive Director, Maayinkutty C - Director, Abdul Majeed - Director, as well as other directors, media personnel and well-wishers. The Dajeej outlet is the brand’s third branch in Kuwait and features a fabulous array of traditional, contemporary and international designs in gold, platinum, diamonds and precious stones, to suit all tastes and budgets. The new outlet also displays their classy and trendy collection of branded jewelry; Era- Uncut Diamond Collection, Mine- Diamonds Unlimited, Ethnix Handcrafted Designer Jewelry, Divine - Indian Heritage Jewelry, Starlet - Kids Jewelry and Precia - Precious Gem Jewelry. To celebrate this occasion, Malabar Gold & Diamonds is offering amazing gifts on every purchase, including one-gram gold coin absolutely free with every purchase of diamond jewelry worth KD 400. Adding to customer’s delight, they also offer a free gold coin with every purchase of gold jewelry worth KD 250. All these offers are valid till 1st March 2014 at their outlet in Lu&Lu Hypermarket, Dajeej. At Malabar Gold and Diamonds, experienced and dedicated staff have a wealth of experience in the jewelry trade and are dedicated in assisting customers on a one-to-one basis; helping them choose the perfect pieces from their wide collection of exquisite fine jewelry. In Kuwait, the group already has outlets in Al-Rai and Souk Al-Watya.

KUWAIT: Commercial Bank of Kuwait held the Al-Najma Account daily draw yesterday. The draw was held under the supervision of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry represented by Abdulaziz Al-Ashkanani and Saquer Al-Manaie The winners of the Najma daily draw are: Khaled Saleh Ibrahim— KD 7000 l Sumeet Mehra and or Mukta Mehra — KD 7,000 l Khalid Humood Al-Jabri — KD 7,000 l Ehab Al-Sayed Abdul Raheem — KD 7,000 l Ghadanfar Ali Mohammed — KD 7000 The Commercial Bank of Kuwait announces the biggest daily draw in Kuwait with the launch of the new Najma account. Customers of the bank can now enjoy a KD 7,000 daily prize which is the highest in the country and another 4 mega prizes during the year worth KD 100,000 each on different occasions: The National Day, Eid Al-Fitr, Eid Al-Adha and on the 19th of June which is the date of the bank’s establishment. With a minimum balance of KD500, customers will be eligible for the daily draw

KUWAIT: Gulf Bank held its Al-Danah daily draws on February 9, 2014, announcing the names of its winners for the week of February 2 to February 6. The Al-Danah daily draws include draws each working day for two prizes of KD1000 per winner. The winners l (Sunday 02/02): Yahya Mohammed Yaseen, Ruqaya Mohammed Adnan Al-Hadad l (Monday 03/02): Shareefa Abdulaziz Sharaf Al-Sharaf, Shaymaa Jafaar Raja l (Tuesday 04/02): Meshal Nahar Ajeel Kredi, Salah Sayed Abdullah Sayed Mahmoud Al-Refaei l (Wednesday 05/02): Awatif Abduljabar Lateef, Hanan Jassem Mohammed Al-Ezezi l (Thursday 06/02): Abrar Mohammed Ali Al-Kandari, Hayat Allah Haji Agha Gulf Bank’s Al-Danah 2014 draw lineup includes daily draws (2 winners per working day each receive KD1000), as well as two additional prizes per quarter. Al Danah’s 1st Quarterly draw for 2014 will be held on 27 March (KD200,000, KD125,000, and KD25,000), 2nd Quarter - 26 June (KD250,000, KD125,000, and KD25,000), 3rd Quarter - 25 September (KD500,000, KD125,000, and KD25,000) and the final draw held on 8 January, 2015 announcing winners of KD50,000, KD250,000 and the Al-Danah millionaire. Gulf Bank’s Al-Danah allows customers to win cash prizes and simultaneously encourages them to save money. Chances increase the more money is deposited and the longer it is kept in the account. Al-Danah also offers a number of unique services including the Al-Danah Deposit Only ATM card which helps account holders deposit their money at their convenience; as well as the AlDanah calculator to help customers calculate their chances of becoming an Al-Danah winner. To be part of the Al-Danah draws, customers can visit one of Gulf Bank’s 56 branches, transfer on line, or call the Customer Contact Center on 1805805 for assistance and guidance. Customers can also log on to, to find out more about Al-Danah and who the winners are.

Burgan Bank announces winners of Yawmi account


provided that the money is in the account one week prior to the daily draw or 2 months prior to the mega draw. In addition, for each KD 25 a customer can get one chance for winning instead of KD 50. Commercial Bank of Kuwait takes this opportunity to congratulate all lucky winners and also extends appreciation to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry for their effective supervision of the draws which were conducted in an orderly and organized manner.

GDF Suez ‘astonished’ at Belgium press tax evasion reports BRUSSELS: French energy giant GDF Suez said yesterday it was “astonished” by Belgian press reports alleging it had tried to avoid paying local taxes. “GDF Suez is astonished by the published articles and formally contests their content,” the company said in a statement. It said it had no knowledge of a probe being carried out by Belgium’s Special Tax Inspectorate (ISI). “If such an inquiry were to be opened, then GDF Suez would, as normal, fully cooperate,” it added. The statement came in response to a report in the weekend edition of L’Echo business daily which alleged that GDF Suez had inflated the bill for gas it supplied to its Belgian

Gulf Bank winners of Al-Danah daily draws

unit by hundreds of millions of euros in 2012. The energy watchdog compiled the report in June last year, the newspaper said, and passed it onto several government officials, including those in charge of combating tax fraud and policing competition. L’Echo said the energy watchdog estimated GDF Suez overcharged its local unit by 500 million euros, eating up a large chunk of its profits and thereby cutting its tax bill. The newspaper added that some industry sources had reservations about the methodology used by the energy industry watchdog but that the involvement of the ISI, with its greater access to documents, should be able to resolve the issue. —AFP

KUWAIT: Burgan Bank announced yesterday the names of the lucky winners of its Yawmi account draw, each taking home a prize of KD 5,000. The lucky winners for the daily draws took home a cashprize of KD 5000 each, and they are: l 1. MEJBEL BANDAR MEJBEL KHALED l 2. HASSAN IBRAHIM ABDULLATIF ALKHALIL l 3. AHMAD SAAD MOHAMMAD ALSAHLAWI l 4. SOUAD RAMADAN HUSSAIN MULA ALI l 5. RANGWALA FAKHRUDDIN AHMED ALI With its new and enhanced features, the Yawmi Account has become more convenient, easier, and faster for customers to benefit from. Now, customers will be eligible to enter the draw after 48 hours only from opening the account. Customers are also required to deposit KD 100 or equivalent only to enter the daily draw, and the coupon value to enter the draw stands at KD 10. The newly designed Yawmi account has been launched to provide a highly innovative offering along with a higher frequency and incentive of winning for everyone. Today, the Yawmi account is a well understood product, where its popularity can be seen from the number of increasing account holders. Burgan Bank encourages everyone to open a Yawmi account and/or increase their deposit to maximize their chances to becoming a daily winner. The more customers deposit, the higher the chances they receive of winning the draw. Opening a Yawmi account is simple, customers are urged to visit their nearest Burgan Bank branch and receive all the details, or simply call the bank’s Call Center at 1804080 where customer service representatives will be delighted to assist with any questions on the Yawmi account or any of the bank’s products and services. Customers can also log on to Burgan Bank’s for further information.

KUWAIT: Dr Tsukimoto - Director R&D of Sakai, conducted a seminar at Crowne Plaza Hotel highlighting the salient features of the compactor and explained the higher capabilities of the machine while being economically viable. —Photos by Joseph Shagra

Sakai Heavy, Japan and Bahrah Trading launch innovative vibratory tire roller KUWAIT: Sakai Heavy Industries - Japan, with a history of manufacturing quality road construction machineries spanning around a century have introduced a first of its kind innovative vibratory tire roller that is poised to reform the conventional asphalt compaction techniques. Model GW750, that’s being launched is a 9-ton roller that can produce compaction equal to that of 25 ton conventional roller, thereby enhancing productivity, speed and quality of road top. Bahrah Trading Company (Al-Sayer Group), distributor for Sakai in Kuwait with specialists from Sakai held a site demonstration to provide an overview of the compaction quality the roller produced. Dr Tsukimoto - Director R&D of Sakai conducted a seminar at Crown Plaza Hotel highlighting the salient features of the compactor and explained the higher capabilities of the machine while being economically viable. The events were well attended by Senior officials from the Ministry of Public Works and leading construction companies Sakai also offers a wide variety of road construction both compact and heavy machines for applications covering soil compaction and hot mix asphalt compaction. Bahrah Trading Company is well positioned to support Sakai equipment which have been very popular in Kuwait by offering reliable after sales

support, that customers are accustomed with AlSayer Group of Companies. Technology A new method to compact hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) pavement was recently developed in Japan. This system consisted of a relatively small seven tire pneumatic tire roller that can be operated in the vibratory mode-a vibratory pneumatic tire VPT roller. It was previously found that the VPT roller could achieve the required level of density in a HMA mix using fewer roller passes and that the roller achieved a more uniform degree of density throughout the thickness of the HMA pavement layer. In 2005, three additional test sections were constructed to further evaluate the capabilities of the VPT roller. The first project was at the Bakersfield

Airport in California where the density achieved with the VPT roller was compared with the density obtained with a static pneumatic tire roller that weighed more than twice as much. The second trial was conducted in Georgia where various roller combinations were tested. It was determined that both the mainline pavement density and the longitudinal joint density were easily achieved when the VPT was included in the roller train. The third project was located in Japan where it was confirmed that the use of the VPT roller would provide for a uniform density distribution throughout the depth of the pavement layer. The combination of the kneading action of the pneumatic tires and the vibratory force applied through the pneumatic tires provides “the best of both worlds” regarding the compaction of HMA mixtures.



S Korea credit card firms punished for data leak SEOUL: South Korean regulators yesterday suspended some operations of three credit card firms as punishment for the unprecedented theft of financial data on more than 20 million people. The country’s largest-ever theft of personal financial data from KB Kookmin Bank, Lotte Card and NH Nonghyup Card involved more than 40 percent of the country’s 50 million population. The case provoked fury when revealed by prosecutors last month, with thousands flooding the firms’ branches for days to cancel credit cards or get new ones. The three credit card companies will be banned from issuing new credit cards for three months until May 16, the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) said yesterday. “ These firms neglected their prevent the leak of customers’ information and (to comply with) internal controls,” it said in a statement. Operations involving existing cardholders will be unaffected, the FSC said, adding each of the three firms will also be fined six million won ($5,640). The data was stolen by an employee from personal credit ratings firm Korea Credit Bureau who once worked as a temporary consultant at the three firms. He was arrested last month.

The stolen data included names, social security numbers, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, home addresses, credit card numbers and even personal credit ratings. Millions of affected customers have since cancelled cards or applied for new ones. Credit card usage is particularly high in South Korea, where the average adult has four or five cards. The three-month ban on accepting new customers is the heaviest state penalty in the South’s competitive credit card market, where customers often switch cards to get more benefits or rewards. Many major South Korean companies have seen customers’ data leaked in recent years, either by hacking attacks or their own employees. An employee of Citibank Korea was arrested last December for stealing the personal data on 34,000 customers. In 2012 two South Korean hackers were arrested for stealing data on 8.7 million customers at the nation’s secondbiggest mobile operator. In November 2011 Seoul’s top games developer Nexon saw the personal information on 13 million users of its popular online game MapleStory stolen by hackers. In July the same year, personal data from 35 million users of Cyworld-the South’s social networking site-was stolen by hackers. — AFP

Skype-type money swaps bad news for banks? TALLINN: Irked by high bank fees on international money transfers, two Estonian IT whizzes who helped engineer Skype and Paypal have hatched Transferwise, a global Internet platform coordinating currency swaps between individuals. “Hey, hidden fees. Your secret’s out,” taunts the site founded by Taavet H inrikus, 32, and par tner K risto Kaarmann, 33. Transferwise has been giving banks a run for their money since its 2011 launch, even attracting applause from tycoon Richard Branson, who sings its praises as a low cost business tool for start-ups. “They are dramatically lowering the cost of transferring money overseas, by effectively matching people and companies in different countries who want the opposite currency,” the Virgin billionaire said in a recent blog post. The marriage of IT ingenuity and financial savvy also garnered a prestigious 2013 World Summit Award (WSA), a United Nations-backed prize for outstanding web-based business innovations. Transfer wise offers international money transfers for a fee of just one British pound (1.2 euros, $1.6) for all transfers under £200 and 0.5 percent for everything above-a tenth of what banks typically charge. At that price, business is booming with the company processing around £1 million per day. While European rules specify that euro to euro transfers must be free of charge, banks fees on international money transfers between currencies range between three and six percent with exchange rates that routinely favour banks. The new platform boasts customers from across Europe and is most popular in Britain, France and Spain, mostly among working or retired expats plus small and medium-sized businesses looking to cut operating costs. It’s also eyeing expansion in Asia, Africa and the US, offering services for the Indian rupee, South African rand as well as US, Australian, Hong Kong and Singapore dollars. Co-founder Hinrikus was Skype’s director of strategy until 2008, where he joined as the first employee. Kaarmann worked as a consultant for banks with Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers

License-reader firm says new law curbs free speech Surveillance-technolgy industry is fighting back WASHINGTON: The surveillance industry is fighting back. A company that makes automated license plate readers sued Utah’s government Thursday over a new law there intended to protect drivers’ privacy. Digital Recognition Network Inc. of Fort Worth, which makes license-plate readers that rapidly scan the tags of passing vehicles, argues that a new state ban on license-plate scanning by private companies infringes on its free-speech rights to collect and disseminate the information it captures, and has effectively put it out of business there. The case is an early example of pushback as Congress and state legislatures consider proposals to rein in phone-records collection, drones and license-plate readers. At least 14 states are considering measures that would curb such collections. Republican state Sen. Todd Weiler, who sponsored the new law, said his proposal gained momentum after legislators discovered police were gathering widespread data from mobile license-plate readers. He said those cameras can be useful, such as recovering stolen cars, but he worried about the privacy implications when organizations store that data indefinitely. “It’s one thing to take a photo,” he said. “It’s another to take photos every 80th of a millisecond, and then store that data you can later be identified by.” The Texas company says it’s not a police agency - law enforcement already is exempt

from the ban under Utah’s new law - nor can it access in bulk federally protected driver data that personally identifies the letters and numbers it collects from license plates in public. The company said it only wants to find cars that have been stolen or repossessed, not to cull large swaths of data and incriminate people from their travel habits. “People tend to invoke privacy and suspend judgment and skepticism,” said Michael Carvin of Jones Day, a law firm representing the company and Vigilant Solutions Inc., a license-data network that shares information with authorities to find missing people. “We don’t track people,” he said. Restrictions Thursday’s lawsuit marks one of the first times surveillance-technology firms have invoked the First Amendment arguments to defend their businesses. The lawsuit, which asks a federal judge to put Utah’s law on hold, relies in part on the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling. It stripped away restrictions on corporate and union spending in elections on free-speech grounds. The company’s founder, Todd Hodnett, said the technology has helped recover more than 300,000 stolen cars in five years. Companies like Vigilant have lobbied the federal government recently on law-enforcement uses of license-plate-reader technology. Revelations about surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency have

before setting up TransferWise. Cashing-in on algorithms The idea took shape when Hinrikus found himself living in London and spending in pounds, but earning euros at his job with Skype at its headquarters in his native Estonia. Kaarmann, meanwhile was earning pounds in London, but paying a mortgage for his home in the Estonian capital Tallinn in euros. “We found that we had the opposite currency requirements, so we started to exchange it among ourselves at the ac tual mid-market rate -that ’s the exchange rate you see in the papers, not the inflated rate you’ll be offered by your bank,” Hinrikus told AFP. “Soon we realised we had saved a for tune by not moving the money across borders and that perhaps it could be a big business idea. A few years later TransferWise was born,” he added. A few algorithms later, they had come up with the programming to connect people with complementary currency needs. Hinrikus explains that a customer in Britain who wants to send money home to Estonia can put their pounds on a TransferWise account. The company then spots a customer in Estonia who wants to send an equivalent amount of money to the UK . Rather than actually sending the money across borders, TransferWise then simply pays it out to the desired recipient in each country, for the minimal fee. While concerns have been raised over the potential abuse of the system to launder money, TransferWise spokeswoman Huggins points out the service is certified by Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). “ This means that the business is subject to the same rules as commercial banks in the UK,” she explained. The half- dozen TransferWise investors read like a who’s who of IT venture capitalists. PayPal founder and Facebook’s first financier Peter Thiel is among them via his Valar Ventures company as is Xavier Niel, the founder of French communications provider Free. —AFP

driven a sustained debate since summer on the balance between privacy and government intrusion. Classified NSA documents, leaked to news organizations, showed the NSA was collecting telephone records, emails and video chats of millions of Americans who were not suspected of a crime. Some state legislatures have been unhappy with the speed Congress has pushed for reform. Their proposals include a Colorado law that would limit the retention of images from license-plate readers, an Oregon bill that would require “urgent circumstances” to obtain cellphone location data and a Delaware plan designed to enhance privacy protections for text messages. Republicans and Democrats have joined in proposing the measures, reflecting the unusual mix of political alliances formed since the NSA revelations. Establishment leadership has generally favored the programs, while conservative, limited-government advocates and liberal privacy supporters have opposed them. Catherine Crump, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said licenseplate readers pose substantial privacy risks because they can aggregate millions of license-plate hits. “That poses the possibility of charting people’s movements in great detail over time,” she said. She acknowledged that laws like Utah’s raise questions that should balance First Amendment rights, such as taking photos in public. — AP

Japan net retailer Rakuten to buy Viber for $900m

HONG KONG: Two men walk past a logo of Chinese computer giant Lenovo in Hong Kong. Lenovo Chairman Yang Yuanqing pledged on Friday to make the company the world’s third-biggest smartphone seller following an acquisition binge as the firm announced a 30 percent profit surge. — AFP

Top techs behind moviemaking get their star turn from Academy BEVERLY HILLS: From the inventors of the pneumatic car flipper to the software developers who replaced clay modeling with digital sculpture, dozens of behind-the-scenes cinematic innovators turned out on Saturday to receive recognition from the film industry. Two weeks before the Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences handed out its Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards for the visual effects behind groundbreaking films such as “Avatar”, “Life of Pi” and “Gravity”. While the Academy Awards on March 2 will reward films released in 2013, the yearly scientific and technical awards honor contributions to filmmaking for innovations that developed over years and even decades. This year, the Academy gave certificates or plaques to 52 individuals for 19 scientific and technical achievements, and two golden Oscar statuettes as well as a medal of commendation. Joshua Pines, who got his award for color correction technology, called it “the Winter Olympics for geeks”. One of the first awards of the night went to the men behind the pneumatic car flipper used in films including “Independence Day” and “Total Recall”. As films moved off movie sets and into real places such as downtown Los Angeles, they had to develop

a method to safely and reliably launch cars. “We had to know exactly where cars were going to land when we launched them,” said prize winner John Frazier. Awards were also given for the flying camera that can be programmed to whizz through a house with exact precision and for the Helicam miniature helicopter camera system. Hosted by actors Michael B. Jordan and Kristen Bell, star of mystery drama “Veronica Mars”, the ceremony saw many awards for digital filmmaking software, such as deep compositing, which allows image layering and gives depth to the final film. Innovators Another winner, Eric Veach, earned a scientific and engineering award for his research years ago that has helped transform computer graphics lighting used in films including “Gravity”. Veach said he was amazed that “some people had read my thesis and are using it to make movies”. Honorees also came from places beyond Hollywood, including Silicon Valley and New Zealand, the home of “Hobbit” director Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital visual effects company, the employer of several of the night’s winners. — Reuters

TOKYO: Japan’s Rakuten Inc. is buying Cyprusbased Viber Media, which operates a popular Internet phone application, for $900 million, fortifying the online retailer’s social networking footprint. The Tokyo-based company said Friday it sees Viber, with 280 million global users, as a key platform as people are moving from TVs and computers to mobile devices to consume and enjoy content. Rakuten, which competes with and Yahoo, has been successful with online shopping in Japan, where it is the top Internet retailer. But it is eager to expand in scope as well as outside Japan. Rakuten already has under its wing online scrapbook site Pinterest and Canadian e-book maker Kobo Inc. Rakuten founder and president Hiroshi Mikitani said Viber could also become a platform for games and instant messaging. That may be appealing for Rakuten’s online shoppers who want to communicate directly with online stores or other customers. Serkan Toto, a game consultant in Tokyo, noted the intense competition in chat-based services such as Line, which dominates in Japan, as well as WhatsApp, Facebook’s messenger and Kakao Talk. “I’m doubtful,” he said. “It will be an uphill battle.” Line, initially a hit with youngsters is becoming mainstream, increasingly used by teams within companies for its group-chat function, he said. Rakuten also announced its earnings for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31. Its profit doubled from 2012 to 43.5 billion yen ($427 million). Sales of 518.6 billion yen ($5.1 billion) were up nearly 30 percent from the previous year. The company said its cloud services and call services for smartphones were strong last year. Also boosting results were the Rakuten Ichiba shopping mall, its credit-card and travel services, as well as its professional baseball club Rakuten Eagles - the former team of pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, now a New York Yankee. — AP

YOKOHAMA: Models hold Pentax K-50 digital single lens mirrorless cameras at the Ricoh Imaging booth during “CP+2014,” camera and photo imaging show in Yokohama. (Right), a DJI employee shows off the company’s latest “Phantom 2” radio-controlled multicopter with small video camera at the DJI booth during the “CP+2014,” camera and photo imaging show in Yokohama on Thursday. The 4-day imaging exhibition started on February 13 with more than 80 companies participating. — AFP


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

Bedtime stories boosts language skills, confidence in children KUWAIT: Bedtime stories has always been a ritual in Norah’s family but little did her parents know that those 10 minutes paved the way for their child’s journey with reading along polishing her conversation skills. This claim is supported by an article published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) titled Reading Aloud to Children: The Evidence further stating that children are “likely to profit more from reading aloud than from toy play or other adult-child interactions.” In its quest to examine the effect of reading to children, KUNA questioned the parents of 20 preschoolers being read to while the children’s ages ranged from 2-5 years old. Six of the parents reported that they

read to their children every day, four of them said that they read to their children 2-3 times a week while 10 of them said that they shared a book with their children whenever they had time for it. The parents were asked if they were pointing at letters, characters in the story or both. Ten of the parents said that they were pointing at characters, eight of them were reported to be focusing on both letters and characters while only two of the parents said that they were pointing at letters only. When asked about it, English teacher at Under Four Preschool Academy (UFPA) Maria said that while reading, “brighter children were interested with letters” and were curious about the meaning of new words expressed in stories.

Moreover, when questioned about the elements that children surveyed were interested in while being read to such as characters, events, shapes, colors, and letters, the results varied from one child to another. Curious As for characters, 17 of the parent said that their children would either comment or inquire about characters in the story while in events 10 of the parents said that their children were interested in the plot and events taking place in the story. Teacher Maria added that saying that children would relate to a story discussed earlier in class and might as well act it out days later. Moreover, ten parents said that their

children were curious about letters which supports the claim made by the article published by MBJ stating that “During shared book reading, children learn to recognize letters, understand that print represents the spoken word.” Subjects were also interested in shapes as 10 of them were keen to comment on them during story-time and 8 of them were interested in colors. MBJ’s article mentioned that reading aloud to children could “stimulate more verbal interaction and therefore children’s language development.” KUNA tried to verify that statement by asking Haneen Al-Obaid a mother who’s keen on reading to her 5 year-old. AlObaid said that her son Hamad was “fond of” discussing the stories his mom

reads to him and relate everyday events to them.” Arabic teacher at UPSA Maryam said that there are distinctive differences between children who are being read to from others as they are more attentive to the plot, would discuss stories and ask questions as well as being creative and fast learners. She added that reading to children helps in child’s mental and intellectual growth and facilitates language learning process. Parents play a crucial role in teaching their kids to read through establishing a reading ritual; therefore familiarizing the child with the structure of the story as well as picking the stories that are age-appropriate and that helps boosting his confidence and self-esteem. — KUNA

New forms of neoracism arise in science research ‘Genome science can help medical practice’

ONTARIO: Tweed Inc. workers tend to medical marijuana plants at a new commercial operation set up inside a former Hershey’s chocolate factory in Smiths Falls, Ontario, an hour’s drive from Canada’s capital Ottawa.—AFP

Solitary confinement ravages the mind, but use widespread CHICAGO: Robert King sat, slept and ate every meal alone in a cramped cell at Louisiana’s notorious Angola prison for 29 long and lonely years. His eyesight failed from lack of stimulation, but King insists his resolve to fight the injustice of solitary confinement never did. The Black Panther movement member said he managed to stay sane through the strength of his political convictions. Many of the more than 80,000 prisoners currently held in solitary confinement in US prisons-and countless more around the world-are not as fortunate. The human mind is not built for the sensory and social isolation of solitary confinement, researchers said Friday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago. Depriving someone of visual stimulation, human interaction, sunlight or physical activity can change their brain structure in a matter of days-let alone decades-said University of Michigan neuroscientist Huda Akil. “Positive experience like touch actually activate positive things in our brains, including molecules we can measure that are like the fertilizers that make things growth,” Akil told reporters. Depriving people of these important stimulants can be toxic, she said, adding that “a lot of structures in the brain actually shrink.” About a third of US prisoners in solitary confinement suffer from mental illnesses, said Craig Haney, a psychology professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Plenty of prisoners who entered solitary without mental ailments end up developing them as a result of the severe conditions. Anxiety, depression and difficulties with impulse control are common. As are social phobias. The loneliness spurs some people to start hearing voices. “So much of who we are depends on social contact,” Haney said. “When you remove people from that social contact, they lose their sense of self.”

Solitary as control method A major psychological experiment was carried out in the 19th century when hundreds of thousands of prisoners were subjected to solitary confinement. The hope was that the isolation would rehabilitate prisoners by getting them to turn their thoughts inward and meet God. It soon became apparent that it actually drove many of them mad. The reason it is still so widely used is because it is seen as the easiest way to protect guards from violent prisoners. “You can either go for dynamic security where you do as much as you can to achieve low levels of violence by having a reasonably good culture,” said Peter Scharff Smith of the Danish Institute for Human Rights. Or, you can simply “give up” and stick prisoners in solitary. Corrections officials in the United States were fully aware of the harm that solitary confinement causes to individual prisoners when it became embraced on a wider scale beginning in the late 1970s, Haney said. “We did it anyway because prisons were becoming overcrowded, there was an influx of the mentally ill into the prisons and we had abandoned rehabilitation,” he explained. “So they embraced solitary as a form of control and they have forgotten how do it any other way-it is inertia.” King, who managed to win his freedom in 2001 after his conviction for a prison murder was overturned, continues to fight to free two other men known as the “Angola Three” who are approaching their fourth decade in solitary. “The psychological impact, it extends to this day,” King told reporters. But while he was crippled by the experience to the point where he still gets lost within a block or two of his home, King said he never cracked. “I said in my mind that even though I was in prison, I was not going to let prison get to me,” King said. “We spent our time fighting with the system in order to affect change.” — AFP

GREENLAND: Picture taken on August 28, 2008 showing a boat skimming through the melting ice in the Ilulissat fjord, on the western coast of Greenland. Some experts are concerned that global warming could be causing the spread of new diseases in the world’s oceans, and that the thawing of ice in the Arctic has removed a key barrier, allowing pathogens to move into new areas and infect vulnerable creatures. A parasite that is found in cats and can cause brain disease, blindness and miscarriage in people has been found for the first time in Arctic beluga whales. — AFP

CHICAGO: Advances in genetic sequencing are giving rise to a new era of scientific racism, despite decades of efforts to reverse attitudes used to justify the slave trade and Nazi theology, experts said. New forms of discrimination, known as neoracism, are taking hold in scientific research, spreading the belief that races exist and are different in terms of biology, behavior and culture, according to anthropologists who spoke at the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Chicago. “Genome science can help us a lot in the individualization of medical practice,” said Nina Jablonski, an anthropology professor at The Pennsylvania State University. But she warned that science could be “misused” to propagate the belief that people inherently have different abilities based on skin color or ethnic background. She cited new research urging that children be identified based on their genetically predetermined educational abilities and then put in separate schools that could be used to foster different kinds of learning. “We have heard this before and it is incredibly worrying,” she said, recalling the segregation era when blacks and whites were schooled separately and African Americans were considered inferior. A matter of distortion? “The educationalists who are proposing this

meant this in a positive way but it is something that could be easily distorted if it were implemented.” Many distinguished scientists in the United States recognize that race itself is not a biological variable, but they still buy into the notion that shared ancestry can impart certain biological characteristics, said Joseph Graves, an associate dean for research at the University of North Carolina. Published research has shown that blacks are more likely than whites to have a blood type that causes sickle cell disease and can protect against malaria, and are more likely to have a certain gene called APOL1, which protects against a parasite that causes sleeping sickness. While Graves did not dispute these findings, he said it is wrong to imply that genetic differences account for the vast health disparities between whites and blacks. “The assumption is that African ancestry predisposes one to greater disease and mortality profiles in the United States,” Graves said at the conference. “This is what I call the myth of the genetically sick African.” Instead, social factors are more likely to blame for poorer health among blacks in the United States, he said. “Americans continually conflate socially defined and biological conceptions of race,” Graves added. “Neoracism results in part from this confusion.” Another concern is the ancestry tests that are now commonly sold online, a trend

which feeds the notion that one’s ethnic heritage may indicate the state of one’s health, said Yolanda Moses, a cultural anthropologist at the University of California, describing these tests as “misleading.” Race and criminal justice Over the past decade, the expansion of DNA databases which include genetic profiles from people arrested-but not convicted of crimes-is also a concern, she said. “Genetics have a profound impact on race and the criminal justice system,” she said. Ironically, a new focus on race as a basis for genomics began when the National Institutes of Health-the world’s largest funder of researchmandated all its genetic studies to have as diverse a representation as possible, in an effort to eliminate health disparities and include more people of color in clinical trials. When the Human Genome Project first started in the 1980s, this was not the case. “We went from a world where genome mappers did not want to touch race with a 10-foot pole, to one in which projects and drugs could no longer survive without reframing their reason for being as a minority rights campaign,” said Catherine Bliss, assistant professor of sociology at the University of California, San Francisco. “What we have is an ethical and a fiscal pressure to racialize research and applications across the board,” she said. — AFP

Wolf hunt stand-off in Sweden heightens rural tensions KARLSTAD: Farmers and hunters in Sweden are crying foul over a wolf hunt ban which they say threatens their way of life and may lead to civil disobedience. “I think we could live with some wolves, but not as many as there are now. They’re getting too close to people,” Elsa Lund Magnussen said at her small sheep farm and abattoir outside Karlstad in south-central Sweden. She pointed through the driving snow to a wooded area a stone’s throw from her traditional red wooden house and sheds. “A wolf killed a moose calf just over there a week ago,” she said, shaking her head. “When you know a wolf can turn up on your land anytime, it changes your whole quality of life. You don’t dare let your dogs out in the yard ... and people say you need to take a rifle when you walk in the forest!” Wolf hunting is a sensitive issue in Sweden, as in other European countries where the carnivores were re-introduced in recent decades and enjoy protected status under EU conservation laws. The European Commission threatened the Nordic country with legal action in 2013 over a planned cull, later stopped by a Stockholm court. Then the wolf conflict worsened in January when the court blocked another planned cull of 30 wolves following an appeal by environmental groups on the grounds that it violated EU law. Now only strictly limited “protective hunts” are allowed in the event of wolves killing livestock or posing a clear threat. ‘I’m not a wolf hater’ The ruling came just a month after the government unveiled a new wildlife policy allowing the wolf population to be culled down to 270 from the current level of about 400. “Sweden has never had so many large predators as now,” Environment Minister Lena Ek said at the launch of the report, which said the country had a viable wolf population that needed curbing to “take into account people who live and work in areas with a concentration of predators”. Environmentalists rejected that claim, calling it a political decision taken on shaky scientific grounds. Their legal victory has angered many small farmers like Lund Magnussen who point to rising numbers of sheep attacked by wolves across the country-up from 292 in 2008 to 411 in 2012. “I’m not a wolf hater, but if my animals are attacked by wolves I will lose a lot of money and it could put me out of business,” she said, adding that totally fencing off wolves is impossible and far too costly. Another group who say they are paying too high a price for protecting wolves are Sweden’s hunters-about 500 of whom live in this part of Vaarmland county, including Gunnar Gloeersen, who organizes the local hunt outside Karlstad. “Of course wolves have to eat too, but the question is how much?” he asked. Gloeersen-who is also the national hunters’ association spokesman on predators-said wolves are decimating game stocks and injuring hunting dogs, which are essential for tracking moose over large areas. “There’s a limit to how much you can torment people. Dead wolves are going to start showing up,” he said with a shrug. “If democratic rules drawn up by parliament are not applied I’m convinced that illegal hunting will explode.” And there are some indications that that has already begun, with reports of a growing number of wolves with new mates-an indication that an existing mate was killed. Jan Bergstam, a burly environmental activist, believes hunters and farmers are exaggerating the wolf threat to get subsidies and because they are angry that the predators get in the way of hunting with dogs.—AFP

CHICAGO: Daniel Webster, director of the Center for Gun Policy and Research at Johns Hopkins University, speaks at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago yesterday about how new technologies may reduce gun violence in America. — AFP

Laws, childproof triggers may cut back on gun violence CHICAGO: Fatal gun violence can be reduced with laws that require background checks before purchasing firearms, as well as childproof trigger technologies that limit firing to the gun’s owner, scientists say. Experts are also studying new approaches that would take guns away from anyone served with a restraining order due to domestic violence, a controversial effort that was recently tried for the first time in California. The problem of gun violence in Americawhere shootings at schools, movie theatres and public places are a regular occurrence-is difficult to tackle because of a powerful gun lobby, Constitutional protections for the right to bear arms, and also the sheer number of weapons in circulation - about one for every person across the United States. “We have a heck of a lot of guns in this country - 310 million in private hands,” said Jeffrey Swanson, a professor of psychiatry at Duke University in North Carolina. People with mental illness are often implicated in mass shootings, even though they account for just five percent of all cases of violence against others, he told a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Therefore, other methods must be tried to keep guns out of the wrong hands. Childproof triggers One such approach is to add technology to guns that enable the trigger to be pulled only by its licensed user. Already, these “smart-trigger” technologies are being used in some European countries, and a task force convened by the US Department of Justice recently said the technology is ready for widespread use in the United States, where there are nearly 23,000 gun murders and more than 38,000 gun suicides per year. “This is the future, but it is also now,” said Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins

Center for Gun Policy and Research in Baltimore, Maryland. “I think it will be something that will reduce adolescent suicides, unintentional shooting of children, and also crimes that result from guns that are stolen,” Webster said. However, the technology is expensive for now, costing thousands of dollars per gun, though Webster said the hope is that costs would come down once smart triggers become widespread on the market. New Jersey last year became the first state to pass a law mandating that all new guns on the market must be equipped with childproof technology, beginning three years after smart guns are available. Weaker laws, more murders Researchers also discussed new findings about a state that relaxed its gun laws, and apparently led to a significant rise in homicides. In 2007, Missouri repealed its permit-topurchase (PTP) handgun law, which required people buying a handgun to verify with the local sheriff that they had passed a federally required background check. In the five years that followed, the state experienced a jump in its murder rate that was not seen in neighboring states, said the findings by Webster and colleagues, to be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Urban Health. That meant between 55 and 63 additional murders per year in Missouri, while the homicide rate in the rest of the country was going down, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “This study provides compelling confirmation that weaknesses in firearm laws lead to deaths from gun violence,” said Webster. Another pilot study carried out in northern California focused on identifying people with firearms who had been recently served with domestic violence restraining orders.—AFP

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


Details of castaway’s Marshalls arrival emerge MAJURO, Marshall Islands: Fresh details have emerged of castaway Jose Salvador Alvarenga’s first encounter with other people after months at sea - including how Marshall Islands residents communicated with him in broken Spanish learned from popular children’s television show Dora the Explorer. Until now, little has been known about the Salvadoran’s arrival on far-flung Ebon Atoll in the Marshall Islands, where he landed two weeks ago after setting sail from Mexico on a fishing trip in Dec 2012. Only a single telephone services the Pacific outpost. But Ebon Mayor Ione de Brum revealed to AFP that Alvarenga “managed to swim his boat ashore” on the night of Jan 29 after a 12,500-km journey. Exhausted, he fell asleep on a deserted beach to be awoken the next morning by roosters crowing. Unknown to the 37-year-old, he had washed up at the tip of Ebon, the southern-most atoll in the Marshalls. A US study at the University of Hawai’i of the prevailing wind and current conditions has supported his tale of survival, with a model tracing a remarkably narrow path across the Pacific to pass within 120 miles of Ebon. “He was at the tip of the island where it’s uninhabited, but from that vantage point he would easily see the single house on the neighbouring island across the pass,” said de Brum. The two coconut-forested coral islands are just a stone’s throw away and “people can yell back and forth between these two,” she said. Alvarenga did

just that after the sunrise let him see where he was. Holding a knife Amy Libokmeto and Russell Laijedrik, the only two residents on the tiny island of Eneaitok, said they heard shouting and spotted Alvarenga on the neighbouring atoll’s beach. They were likely the first humans he had seen for months. He left southern Mexico on what was supposed to be a one-day fishing expedition with a companion who, after weeks adrift, died of starvation and was tossed overboard. Alvarenga was frantically yelling in an incomprehensible language and waving his arms in the air while holding a knife, Libokmeto told AFP. “We weren’t scared, just surprised,” she said. “As we approached him, I used broken English and motioned to the knife and told him, ‘put away, put away’.” With long hair, a bushy beard and dressed only in his shredded underwear, Alvarenga immediately dropped the weapon. “He gave in to his weakened state and collapsed onto the beach,” Libokmeto said. It was obvious to the couple that he must have washed ashore. The entire atoll has fewer than 700 residents, most of whom are related by blood or marriage to Libokmeto and Laijedrik. They said they took him to their home, where Libokmeto prepared a bucket of fresh water so he could have his first proper wash in over a year, then gave him clothes to wear.

Spanish learned from ‘Dora’ Unable to communicate verbally as he spoke Spanish and they did not, the couple gave Alvarenga some paper and a black marker while Libokmeto whipped up pancakes, which the hungry man devoured. Laijedrik took his notes and crossed the reef to the main Ebon island, where he sent a young boy to get the local mayor de Brum and then retrieved Alvarenga’s boat. De Brum quickly rounded up the island’s health assistant, her chief of police and Ola Fjeldstad, a visiting Norwegian student anthropologist and the only other foreigner on Ebon. They grabbed some coconuts and bananas and rushed to meet the stranger, giving him a brief health check while checking his 24-foot boat, whose motor had long since died. “In the boat was a live bird tethered by its leg, bird scraps, bones, feathers and a small turtle shell,” de Brum said. The mayor discovered that her son had a few words of Spanish “learned from the ‘Dora the Explorer’ cartoon show his children used to watch”, and with the pictures Alvarenga drew a basic understanding of where he came from emerged. Alvarenga said he survived on a diet of raw bird flesh, turtle blood, his own urine, rainwater and dreams of eating his favourite food -tortillas. The turtle shell was used as a cup to drink. The castaway was starving, but it wasn’t just food he was hungry for. “He was so hungry to give us information he kept talking fast but we couldn’t understand him,” said the mayor, adding that she initially refused to

MAJURO: Jose Salvador Alvarenga of El Salvador attends a press conference on Feb 6, 2014. — AFP allow him to use the island’s phone. “He wanted to foreign affairs in the Marshalls capital Majuro. The contact his family but I was concerned because we Salvadoran remained on Ebon for five days until a were unsure of who he was, his motives or if he had government patrol boat took him to Majuro, from other friends (on ships nearby) that he would alert - where he eventually left for El Salvador and an I just did not know and did not want to risk it,” she emotional family reunion. He gifted his boat to Libokmeto and Laijedrik. It is now being used to said. Instead she contacted the police and ministry of carry cargo and passengers on Ebon. — AFP


W H AT ’ S O N AROUND KUWAIT Remal Sand Sculpting Festival The Remal International Festival is open at the Kuwait International Fairgrounds. 73 of the world’s best sand artists came to Kuwait and worked together to reimagine the stories of 1001 Nights and according to the organizers, the sand park will be the world’s largest. For a preview of what to expect, check out my previous post on this festival at Kuwait International Fairgrounds until April 26 from 12 noon. Proud 2 be Kuwaiti 2014 The P2BK 2014 event at the Kuwait International Fairgrounds Mubarak Al-Abdullah, Hawally and will end on February 25th. This year the set up is going to be similar to last years with an outdoor old souk that was built specifically to host this event. There will be a ton of Kuwaiti businesses participating including already established ones as well as new ones plus you have the Remal sand sculpting festival taking place alongside it as well. Bayt Lothan: Handcrafts Heritage 3 The 3rd annual Mawruthna Al Hirafi takes place from February 16th to the 18th from 5pm to 9pm at Bayt Lothan, Arabian Gulf Street, Kuwait City, Hawally Governorate, Kuwait, Salmiya, Kuwait. Mawruthna Al Hirafi is an event that takes you back in time and showcases traditional Kuwaiti craftsmen and their lifestyle. Live music will be hosted by a variety of famous Kuwaiti artists. Mapping Meetup 7 Mapping Meetup 7 is at 7 pm today 17th February. We can talk some more about public transport mapping, such as what the more enthusiastic ones among us have done in terms of collecting data and making maps in the past month :-) As always it is a chance to discuss any other matters relating to mapping in Kuwait, from new data sources, problems and useful industry contacts. See you there Location: Coffee Bean in Mahboula on the Coastal Road. Design Diwan: Pathways Through Art We are delighted to announce the details of our 3rd diwaniya, happening on Wednesday February 19th from 6-8pm at the Modern Art Museum, Kuwait City, Al Asimah, Kuwait. Our guest speaker is artist Amira Behbehani on the topic “Pathways Through Art,” a discussion of the role of the artist in modern society.


anadian Bilinguial School students volunteered in a cleaning campaign held recently at the Souq Sharq beach as part of a program organized by the Environmental Voluntary Foundation. The students also released Sha’am fish (finned black sea bream) into the Kuwait Bay during the campaign. The fish were presented by the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research.

AWARE diwaniya


WARE will hold a diwaniya on bedoon tents and desert customs. Modern day Kuwaitis are the descendants of several nomadic tribes and clans who ultimately settled on the coast of the Arabian Gulf during the 18th century to avoid the persistent drought of the desert. When they arrived at the coast, the clans built forts to protect themselves from other nomadic tribes who still traversed the desert. Until now, ethnic Kuwaitis are still struggling to maintain their cultural heritage in an increasingly complex society. One of the aspects in which they strive to maintain their culture is living in tents in Winter. Do you know how many types of tents exist? What is the different between tents of today and those of the past? In his 25-minute presentation, Maziad will answer all these questions and share a bedoon recipe on the screen.

Cinemagic: Upstream Color Thursday, February 20th 2014 at 7:30pm at CineMagic Kuwait Ltd, Salem Al Mubarak Street, Kuwait. Upstream Color. One of the most unique films of all time, adored by critics from all corners, a film that had audiences and critics discussing it to no end after its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. Shane Carruth, the man behind Primer which we screened last year, Directed, Produced, Wrote, Scored, Shot, Edited, and Starred in this utterly mad film. I won’t even try to explain the plot as it cannot be explained.

IPC Arabic courses

K’S PATH adoption drive at Pet Spa K’S PATH adoption drive taking place on Saturday 22nd of February from 4 to 7 pm at Pet Spa Al Rai. Come and meet the wonderful, adoptable dogs from K’S PATH. Cinemagic: The Act of Killing Saturday, February 22nd 2014 at 7:30 pm The Act Of Killing at CineMagic Kuwait Ltd, Salem Al Mubarak Street, Kuwait. One of the rawest and most intriguing films of the year, winning over 32 awards,and nominated for Best Documentary at this year’s Oscars, The Act of Killing is a terrifying but unmissable film. A documentary that challenges former Indonesian death squad leaders to reenact their real-life mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers. Guided Tour: House of Mirrors The House of Mirrors is home to the family of the late renowned artist, Khalifa Al-Qattan. His wife has spent vast amounts of time creating scenes on the walls, the floors & even the ceilings to showcase what can be done with broken pieces of mirror and glass when accompanied by an artists’ touch. Enjoy a cup of tea, an artful snack and a guided tour to view the splendors of this ‘bedazzled’ home. Cameras are welcome. February 24 @ 5 pm - 8 pm. Cinemagic: Beasts of the Southern Wild Thursday, February 28th 2014 at 7:30 pm at CineMagic Kuwait. Beasts Of The Southern Wild Winner of the Camera d’Or at The 2012 Cannes Film Festival and the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, along with 65 other worldwide awards, Beasts of the Southern Wild covers the tragedy of a Louisiana bayou cut off from the world by a levee as seen through the eyes of 6-yearold Hushpuppy. Her life is about to change as she is faced with both her hot tempered father and mother.

Art and Feast festival Kozhikode District Association Mahilavedi is organising Art & Feast Festival-2014, a full day program for ladies and children on 21st February 2014 at Indian Community School, Khaitan from 9.30 AM onwards. A variety of Arts & Cookery competitions with very attractive prizes for women of all ages aim to promote their talents. The festival will be inaugurated by Mrs. Gargy Jain, wife of Ambassador of India to Kuwait. The presence of the Master chef Mrs Jumanah Kadri who is reputed all over GCC as well as India for her unique and mouthwatering traditional and multinational cuisines, as a judge for the cooking competitions adds to the attraction of the event. The different competitions for ladies are organized as follows Cooking Competition (Pudding/Snacks-Ladies, either one or both) Hair Decoration (18 Years onwards-Ladies) Registration: Ladies of all Communities in Kuwait can participate in these competitions. Details of the competitions are available at our website The candidates can register online through our website or through the following Mobile numbers: 97896263, 97141673, 69391238 & 55839915. The registrations are open only for a limited number of candidates and hence hurry up to confirm your chance.



ashwant Sinha, India’s member of parliament and former External Affairs Minister and Finance Minister, during an interaction with a cross section of the Indian community members at the Indian Embassy auditorium. Ambassador Sunil Jain was also present during the session in which Sinha addressed some of the concerns voiced by the community members.

Contemporary Art


he exhibiting artists in this show provoke questions about the broader implications constituting contemporary women originating from the region referred to as the Arab. The aim of the show is not to engage in a discourse on the politics of gender rotating loudly through this area of the world; but rather this exhibition is interested in exploring the richness of the possibilities of creation itself. Meanwhile creation is immersed in the tensions between the sublime and the ordinary, the fine arts and the crafts.Yet, the female artists in this show are presenting the variations and disquieting relationships between technology and nature, space and perception, identity and image. Positioning the female as a conceptual entity of and for creation, the five Arab artists seek to reimagine and reinvent the traces of what it is to be a creator belonging to this part of the world; where religions and their prophets surfaced. The artists of “Stitching Cyborgs” present contemporary meditations to the female and its expanded cultural and technological body. In the works of Aya Haidar, the dramatic stitched shoes impose a rather melancholic atmosphere contemplating on the aftermath of labour; an afterimage of hardships on paths, perhaps, motherly. In the same maternal sense, the paintings of Emma Harake present a birthing of fantasy.

Washed colors and subtle line revealing the female figure as a creator of dreams. On the other hand, Deena Qabazard’s installation strikes the viewer with faces sliding as if almost melting from a human state into one belonging to the animal kingdom. Stuck in-between identities and creatures, the females in Qabazard’s work reject a static position but instead are in a condition of constant movement; caught in an ongoing situation of giving birth as it were. Zeina Hamady explains her rejection of her own nostalgia that which she describes as “my adamant belief that tradition and craft will undoubtedly save us all.” The artist presents her artwork on chunks of wood displayed as woven traces and flutters of relationships left behind: “In them I mourn the loss of home, of an identity given unto me that I have accidentally and purposefully shed all at once. Meanwhile and on the other end of the room, Rima Chahrour’s video announces in a computerized voice overlapping a human voice: “this blessed operation is carried out on my orders,” describing the force of billions of sisters sacrificing themselves to save the world. The black and white video screening the artist in a slow motion act delivers a message associated with the sublime role of creation; that belonging to females. Curated by Rima Chahrour and Abed Al Kadiri.



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

ake your opportunity to learn and improve your Arabic skills. The women section of Islam Presentation Committee will be conducting Arabic language course for nonArab ladies commencing from March 2, 2014. Basic and advanced level classes are available on Fridays and Saturdays. Islamic subjects and Quran classes are also presented in different languages. Classes are offered only once a week. Register now. For more information, call: Rawdah-22512257; Salmiya-25733263; Khaitan-24730137; Mangaf23720931; Jahra-24567714. IPC is offering Islamic courses in English for ladies only. Muslims and non-Muslims are welcome. Email: Tel: 22512257. Course




1) Tilawa Surah Al-Tawbah & Surah Yunis


5:30 - 7 pm

March 2, 2014

2) Science of Quran (Part 1)


7 - 8:30 pm

March 2, 2014

3) Tajweed 3


5:30 - 7 pm

March 4, 2014

4) Tafsir Surah Al-Noor (Part 1)


7 - 8:30 pm

March 4, 2014

Instructor: Sr Seinab Hassan Ashry. Place: IPC - Women section Al-Rawdah, Area 3, St 30, House 12, opp. 4th Ring Road.

British Embassy


ue to changes in the exchange rate between the Kuwaiti Dinar and Pound Sterling, the fees for UK Visas are set to increase, effective from Sunday, February 9, 2014 The increase in visa applications’ fees is made after carefully considering strict financial limits and is agreed with HM Treasury and the UK Parliament. All applications submitted from Sunday, February 9, 2014, must be accompanied by the correct fee. You can find our current fees in the table below. Current fees can also be viewed at A standard visit visa now costs KD 38. The Home Office is constantly working to Improve Visa fees from February 9, 2014 Category Visitor entry clearance up to 6 month, (Single and multiple entry) and Academic Visitor/Special visitor Long term visitor entry clearance up to 2 years Long term visitor entry clearance valid 2-5 years Long term visitor entry clearance up to 10 years Student Visitor English Language (6-11 months) Student Visa PBS Tier 4 DATV and Visitor in transit Commonwealth and Overseas Territories Vignette Transfer Settlement Certificate of entitlement to Right of Abode PBS Tier 1 PBS Tier Graduate Entrepreneur PBS Tier 2 PBS Tier 5 Medical Emergency Call out Mobile Biometrics (per hour or part thereof) Consular Rate of Exchange: £1=KD 0.470

visa services In Kuwait. This year Will see both the opening of a new Visa Application centre (March) and the introduction of the Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW) scheme. The EVW will allow Kuwaitis to travel to the UK without visas: it will be free of charge and is a quick and simple alternative to a visa application. Applicants will need to submit an EVW from online at least 48 hours before they are due to travel. This will do away with the need to provide biometric information, attend an appointment at a visa application centre, or hand in passports prior to travel. The EVW will be available for visits of up to six months. Fee in Pounds £80 £278 £511 £737 £144 £298 £54 £50 £105 £851 £278 £840 £298 £494 £200 £130 £130

Fee in Kuwaiti Dinar 38.000 131.000 240.000 346.000 68.000 140.000 26.000 24.000 49.000 400.000 131.000 395.000 140.000 232,000 94.000 61.000 61.000

Fees are subject to periodic review. They are charged to cover the cost of application, and visa fees are always non-refundable. Please remember to obtain and keep an official receipt from the cashier for all fees paid.


W H AT ’ S O N

Santa Cause event - Memac Ogilvy Team.

Santa Cause event- Edmond Moutran among Syrian refugee children and Memac Ogilvy team.

Memac Ogilvy brings smiles to Syrian refugee children


emac Ogilvy, one of the Middle East and North Africa’s top marketing communication agencies, succeeded in bringing joy through its Santa Cause initiative to more than 150 Syrian refugee children during a fun event at their school in Beirut. The agency joined hands with Jusoor, a non-governmental organization, to reach out to the Syrian Refugee Education Program. Santa Cause is an initiative created by Memac Ogilvy in December 2013 aiming to spread the spirit of joy to the most in need.

Santa took on the mission to raise funds acting as a miniature piggy-bank gnome. He flew out on a tour across Europe, Middle East and North Africa offices to collect donations, in hopes of offering the Syrian refugees a happier new year. Each office welcomed Santa for 2 days, allowed him to experience the positive vibes of the agency and the city. “This is a precious moment for us, citing our own employees contributing positively in helping the Syrian refugees and particularly the innocent devastated children” said Edmond Moutran,

CEO and Chairman of Memac Ogilvy. “It’s heartwarming to see that our efforts were met with gratitude and smiles. These toys are probably not a basic need but a significant relief for children who have lost their homes, or perhaps even their parents, siblings or relatives” added Moutran. Excitement, joy and happiness rang out as hundreds of toys found their way into the hands of more than 150 children who are part of the Syrian Refugee Education Program managed by Jusoor. Memac Ogilvy team spent a memorable fun day with the children where they succeeded

in drawing smiles on their innocent faces, in hopes of giving back a small piece of their stolen childhood. The event was a kick start phase prior to the educational program that will be executed by Jusoor during 2014 in other schools. Memac Ogilvy donations will include school equipments such as desks, stationary, books, sports clothes and meals. Jusoor, the beneficiary NGO, is represented by HaniJesri in Lebanon - a former Memac Ogilvy employee, who had left his job a year ago to join

the organization and dedicate his time to helping the Syrian refugees in Lebanon. “These children don’t have much. They had fled their homes and forcedly left their treasured belongings and toys behind” said Hani Jesri. “The children were so happy to hear that people cared enough about them to give them these gifts and spend joyful time with”, said Hani Jesri, “Big thanks goes to every member at Memac Ogilvy for their support in helping us to make a difference in the lives of these children and instilling hope in their tiny hearts” added Jesri.

—Photos by Yasser Al Zayyat

Kuwait’s newest landmark


ne of the most exciting examples of innovative architecture to emerge in Kuwait, the Arab Organizations Headquarters Building addresses its environment and questions design norms. Completed in 1994, the building serves as a modern, highly functional office building and a national landmark. By insisting that the interior decoration be accorded equal status to architecture, the poetry as well as vision was brought to the structure. The integral use of arts and crafts from across the region is central to the philosophy behind the building. The skilled craftsmanship of carved stone, zellige mosaics,

woven tapestries and beadwork mashrabiyas all add an undeniable aesthetic value to this unique structure. Unified by the vital underlying thread of Islam, these multinational crafts also provide a striking visual symbol of Arab unity in the Arab Organizations Headquarters Building. The building is a working museum, and a source of inspiration to visitors. From the giant Egyptian walnut entrance doors to the Moroccan tile water wall, from the Jordanian stone work and fragrant carved cedar of the Tunisian Room to the Syrian fountain of the Damascene Room, and in so many other exquisite examples of traditional and modern

Arabesque artistry, the building makes visionary use of its decor. The combination of modern steel, glass and concrete with mediaeval crafts stands as a triumph of Arab artistic creation. Home to four leading Pan-Arab organizations: the Arab Fund for Social and Economic Development, OAPEC (Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries), the Inter-Arab Investment Guarantee Corporation and the Arab Maritime Petroleum Transport Company, the building also functions as a museum. Thousands of visitors from around the world have come to Shuwaikh for a guided tour, drawn only by word of mouth.

Advisory to Indian nationals in Kuwait


he Embassy of India has been receiving often reports from the members of Indian community residing in Kuwait regarding thefts, robberies assaults and damages to their property etc. All such incidents

should be immediately reported to the local police station. In order to extend help the members of our community, please contact us with the following information so that the matter could also be taken up by the

Embassy with Kuwaiti authorities:(a) Brief details of the incident; (b) Civil ID of the affected member(s) and their passport details; (c) Contact telephone number

and the proof of residence of the person(s) affected; (d) Copy of FIR along with address of the Police station. 2. Please contact either Hend, Ambassador’s office at Telephone No. 22561276, Fax No. 22546958

(E-mail: OR or Balram Kumar Upadhyay, Counsellor (Consular and Chief Welfare Officer) on Telephone No. 22533125, Fax No.22573910 (Email:


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

My Family Tough Guy Or Chicken? Call The Midwife Stella New Tricks Him & Her My Family Me Too! Nuzzle & Scratch: Frock n Roll Boogie Beebies Garth And Bev The Large Family Me Too! Nuzzle & Scratch: Frock n Roll Boogie Beebies The World Of Stonehenge Beautiful People Blackadder The Third Walk On The Wild Side Doctors Casualty New Tricks The World Of Stonehenge Beautiful People Blackadder The Third Walk On The Wild Side Doctors Casualty New Tricks The Weakest Link Eastenders Doctors The World Of Stonehenge My Family Only Fools And Horses New Tricks Spooks Moone Boy Call The Midwife The Weakest Link Eastenders

00:05 Cash In The Attic 00:50 The Hairy Bikers: Mums Know Best 01:40 Come Dine With Me 02:30 Come Dine With Me: Supersized 04:05 Cash In The Attic 08:40 Bargain Hunt: Famous Finds 09:20 Celebrity MasterChef 10:15 Come Dine With Me: Supersized 11:50 The Hairy Bikers: Mums Know Best 12:40 Gok’s Clothes Roadshow 13:25 Celebrity Fantasy Homes 14:10 Antiques Roadshow 15:05 Homes Under The Hammer 15:55 Homes Under The Hammer 16:50 Bargain Hunt: Famous Finds 17:35 Cash In The Attic 18:20 Antiques Roadshow 19:15 DIY SOS: The Big Build 20:10 Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook: London 20:35 Come Dine With Me 21:30 Come Dine With Me 22:20 Antiques Roadshow 23:15 Bargain Hunt

00:05 Ice Cold Gold 00:55 You Have Been Warned 06:00 Mythbusters 07:00 One Car Too Far 07:50 Robson Green’s Extreme Fishing Challenge 08:40 Fast N’ Loud 09:30 Border Security 09:55 Auction Kings 10:20 Auction Hunters: Pawn Shop Edition 10:45 How Do They Do It? 11:10 How It’s Made 11:35 Fast N’ Loud 12:25 World’s Top 5 13:15 How It’s Made: Dream Cars 13:40 How It’s Made: Dream Cars 14:05 Border Security

14:30 Auction Kings 14:55 Auction Hunters: Pawn Shop Edition 15:20 Flying Wild Alaska 16:10 Fast N’ Loud 17:00 Ultimate Survival 17:50 Dirty Jobs 18:40 Car vs Wild 19:30 Sons Of Guns 20:20 How Do They Do It? 20:45 How It’s Made 21:10 Auction Kings 21:35 Auction Hunters: Pawn Shop Edition 22:00 Gold Rush 22:50 Gold Rush 23:40 Ice Cold Gold

00:40 Oddities 01:05 Oddities 01:30 Weird Connections 02:00 Prophets Of Science Fiction 06:15 The Gadget Show 06:40 Tech Toys 360 07:05 Weird Connections 07:35 Weird Connections 08:00 Europe’s Secret Earthquakes 08:50 How Tech Works 09:15 How Tech Works 09:40 The Gadget Show 10:05 Tech Toys 360 10:30 Creating Synthetic Life 11:25 Superships 12:20 Prototype This 13:10 Prophets Of Science Fiction 14:00 Ways To Save The Planet 14:50 Weird Connections 15:20 The Gadget Show 15:45 Tech Toys 360 16:10 Space Pioneer 17:00 Moon Machines 17:55 Prototype This 18:45 Superships 19:35 Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman 20:30 Man-Made Marvels China 21:20 Under New York 22:10 The Gadget Show 22:35 Tech Toys 360 23:00 Man-Made Marvels China 23:50 Under New York

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

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Austin And Ally Gravity Falls Jessie Good Luck Charlie Dog With A Blog Violetta Jessie Wolfblood Dog With A Blog Gravity Falls Shake It Up Austin & Ally A.N.T. Farm Good Luck Charlie Wizards Of Waverly Place Wizards Of Waverly Place


A miracle couldn’t save ‘Winter’s Tale’


iracles can happen,” says the trailer for “Winter’s Tale,” starring Colin Farrell and based on the 1983 novel of the same name. Fair enough. But not long into the actual movie, you’ll soon start to doubt that. Because you’ll realize that this movie truly needs a miracle to save it from ending up a soppy, syrupy mess. And, sorry to say, that miracle never comes. In (lukewarm) defense of screenwriter- director Ak iva Goldsman (“A Beautiful Mind”), it’s always tricky to adapt a popular novel. For one thing, people who’ve read it have preconceived notions of how things should be. And Mark Helprin’s novel is a long one, meaning the author had plenty of room and time to weave his tale, as subtly as he wanted. But Goldsman employs all the subtlety of a wrecking ball. From the beginning, we’re asked to relinquish all sense of logic and reason, and accept that impossible, unexplainable things are happening. That would all be fine, in a film made with wit and charm and a breezy sense of magic. It’s been done. But not here. The good news? Only this: Colin Farrell is hugely appealing, and his natural charm is almost enough to make you forget the silliness of the rest of it. Almost. The film begins, briefly, in the present day, to which it will later return. A man finds a box, which he hopes will give him some clues to who he is. Which he doesn’t know. But we don’t really know that yet.

00:15 Eat Street 00:45 Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled 02:35 Deadly Arts 03:30 Bondi Rescue 03:55 On Hannibal’s Trail 04:25 Banged Up Abroad 05:20 A World Apart 06:15 The Witch Doctor Will See You Now 07:10 Eat Street 07:35 Eat Street 08:05 Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled 09:00 When Vacations Attack 09:55 Deadly Arts 10:50 Bondi Rescue 11:15 On Hannibal’s Trail 11:45 Banged Up Abroad 12:40 A World Apart 13:35 The Witch Doctor Will See You Now 14:30 Eat Street 14:55 Eat Street 15:25 Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled 16:20 When Vacations Attack 17:15 Deadly Arts 18:10 Bondi Rescue 18:35 On Hannibal’s Trail 19:05 Banged Up Abroad 20:00 Deadly Arts 21:00 George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces 22:00 Somewhere In China 22:55 Earth Tripping 23:20 Maverick Chef 23:50 Eat Street

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

Secret Brazil Aerial Assasins Dragon’s Feast Hunter Hunted Africa’s Deadliest Brutal Killers Dragon’s Feast Hunter Hunted Africa’s Deadliest Dino Mania Kenny And Zoltan’s Venom Alien Crab Wild Case Files Hooked Grizzly Cauldron Hunter Hunted Africa’s Deadliest Prehistoric Predators Game of Lions Attack of the Big Cats Wild Case Files Grizzly Cauldron Hunter Hunted Africa’s Deadliest Prehistoric Predators Game of Lions Attack of the Big Cats

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Mega Factories Predator CSI Street Monkeys Salvage Code Red Cruise Ship Diaries Britain’s Greatest Machines


BEAUTIFUL CREATURES ON OSN MOVIES HD 06:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00

Salvage Code Red China’s Mystery Mummies Mega Factories Predator CSI Street Monkeys Salvage Code Red Cruise Ship Diaries Britain’s Greatest Machines

00:00 Web Therapy 00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 Saturday Night Live 02:30 Girls 03:00 The Cleveland Show 03:30 New Girl 04:00 Seinfeld 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 Seinfeld 06:00 Raising Hope 06:30 Friends 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:00 Seinfeld 08:30 Seinfeld 09:00 Arrested Development 09:30 2 Broke Girls 10:00 Two And A Half Men 10:30 Friends 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:00 Raising Hope 12:30 Seinfeld 13:00 Seinfeld 13:30 Friends 14:00 New Girl 14:30 2 Broke Girls 15:00 Two And A Half Men 15:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 16:30 Last Man Standing 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 Arrested Development 18:30 New Girl 19:00 2 Broke Girls 19:30 Trophy Wife 20:00 Whitney 20:30 Web Therapy 21:00 The Daily Show Global Edition 21:30 The Colbert Report Global Edition 22:00 Hello Ladies 22:30 Eastbound & Down 23:00 The Big C 23:30 Whitney

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C.S.I. Supernatural The Client List Franklin & Bash Suits C.S.I. Burn Notice Suits Franklin & Bash Emmerdale Coronation Street C.S.I. Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Betrayal Revenge The Blacklist Strike Back The Client List

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Grave Encounters Boogeyman Cherry Falls The Presence Shadow Conspiracy Soldiers Of Fortune Superman vs. The Elite The Da Vinci Code Soldiers Of Fortune The Apparition The Da Vinci Code Doom

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Boogeyman-18 Cherry Falls-18 The Presence-PG15 Shadow Conspiracy-PG15 Soldiers Of Fortune-PG15 Superman vs. The Elite-PG15 The Da Vinci Code-PG15 Soldiers Of Fortune-PG15 The Apparition-PG15 The Da Vinci Code-PG15 Doom-18 The Killing Jar-18

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Goon-18 Tough Guys-PG15 Spy Hard-PG15 The Animal-PG15 Falling Star-PG15 The Brothers Solomon-PG15 Spy Hard-PG15 A Kiss For Jed Wood-PG15 The Brothers Solomon-PG15 Ghostbusters-PG Ghostbusters II-PG Goon-18

01:00 Pop Star-PG15 03:00 Summer Coda-PG15 05:00 Good Day For It-PG15 07:00 Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight-PG15 09:00 Pop Star-PG15 11:00 Courage-PG15 13:00 Love Finds A Home-PG15 15:00 The Chateau Meroux-PG15 16:45 Here-PG15 19:00 Silver Linings Playbook-PG15 21:15 Passion-18 23:00 Broken-PG15

00:45 Sound Of My Voice-18 02:45 The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel-PG15 05:00 Murder On The Home Front 06:45 Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close-PG 09:00 The Entitled-PG15 10:45 The Music Never Stopped 12:30 New York Stories-PG15 14:45 Departures-PG15 17:00 The Music Never Stopped 19:00 The History Boys-PG15 21:00 Young Adult-PG15 22:45 Margaret-18

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Chernobyl Diaries-18 Beautiful Creatures-PG15 The Three Stooges-PG15 Of Two Minds-PG15 Bernie-PG15 Beautiful Creatures-PG15 Arbitrage-PG15 Klitschko-PG15 Bernie-PG15 Hyde Park On Hudson-PG15 Take This Waltz-18 Broken City-18

00:00 Age Of Heroes-PG15 02:00 Asterix And Obelix-PG15 04:00 3 Holiday Tails-PG 06:00 Fun Size-PG15 08:00 Today’s Special-PG15 10:00 Rise Of The Guardians-PG 12:00 The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants-PG15 14:00 Perfect Plan-PG15 16:00 Today’s Special-PG15 18:00 The Big Year-PG 20:00 Hope Springs-PG15 22:00 This Is 40-18

01:00 Live Cricket Test Match 09:00 Top 14 Highlights 09:30 Trans World Sport 10:30 Futbol Mundial 11:00 Live AFL Nab Challenge 14:00 Top 14 Highlights 14:30 Super Rugby 16:30 Super Rugby 18:30 Futbol Mundial 19:00 PGA European Tour Highlights 20:00 PGA Tour Highlights 21:00 ICC Cricket 360 21:30 Top 14 Highlights 22:00 Super Rugby

02:30 Trans World Sport 03:30 Super Rugby 05:30 WWE Experience 06:30 WWE This Week 07:00 Super Rugby 09:00 Super Rugby 11:00 WWE Bottom Line 12:00 Top 14 Highlights 12:30 Futbol Mundial 13:00 Champions Tour 15:00 NHL 17:00 WWE SmackDown 19:00 Top 14 21:00 Total Rugby 21:30 Futbol Mundial 22:00 PGA European Highlights 23:00 PGA European Tour


00:00 Chelsea Lately 00:30 Live From The Red Carpet 01:25 Style Star 02:20 THS 03:15 Extreme Close-Up 04:10 E! Investigates 05:05 The E! True Hollywood Story 06:00 THS 07:50 Style Star 08:20 E! News 09:15 Live From The Red Carpet 10:15 Married To Jonas 10:40 Chasing The Saturdays 11:10 Giuliana & Bill 12:05 E! News 13:05 Live From The Red Carpet 14:00 E!ES 14:30 Style Star 15:00 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 17:00 The Drama Queen 18:00 E! News 19:00 Live From The Red Carpet 20:00 Eric And Jessie: Game On 20:30 Eric And Jessie: Game On 21:00 Keeping Up With The Kardashians

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Killers Killers Born To Kill Evil Up Close Britain’s Darkest Taboos Frenemies Frenemies Born To Kill Curious & Unusual Deaths Snapped: Women Who Kill Snapped: Women Who Kill Martina Cole’s Lady Killers Beyond Scared Straight Born To Kill I Killed My BFF Martina Cole’s Lady Killers Born To Kill Curious & Unusual Deaths Private Crimes Homicide Hunter The First 48 The Devil You Know Beyond Scared Straight Private Crimes Born To Kill

Flashback to 1895. An immigrant couple with a baby is trying to enter the country, but they’re turned away due to illness. On the boat back home, they set their baby son afloat onto a tiny wooden boat, like Moses, so he can float back to the promised land. Now we get to 1916 (stay with us.) That boy’s grown up to be Peter Lake, who makes his way in New York as a petty thief. We learn he’s at odds with a former boss, Pearly Soames (played by Russell Crowe in an almost comically unpleasant, sinister performance.) Soames wants nothing more than to kill Peter - “and I want him to stay dead,” he says. At a key moment, that seems about to happen, but a snow-white horse shows up to save Peter and whisk him away. And then he meets Beverly (Jessica Brown Findlay from “Downton Abbey.”) The lovely young woman is the daughter of a newspaper magnate and is, alas, suffering from consumption. Peter breaks into her beautiful home to rob it, but soon she’s offered him a cup of tea. And they are falling in love. Can Peter save the dying Beverly through the force of his love? Has he been placed on earth in service of a higher plan? Will Soames be able to follow through on his goal of extinguishing Peter’s life, or lives? Readers of the book will be able to answer those questions. But here’s one they won’t be able to answer: What the heck is Will Smith doing in this movie? Smith doesn’t have too much screen time, but the scenes he does have are rather ludicrous. Again, it might all make more sense to fans of the book. But you shouldn’t have to have read the book to be able to see and enjoy the movie. “Winter’s Tale” opens on Valentine’s Day, at a time when you might have a softer spot for romantic fantasy than you ordinarily would. And there are some touching moments, courtesy of Farrell and Findlay. Farrell in particular knows how to deliver sentimental dialogue and make it sound less so. But to overcome the corniness of this movie? That would take magical powers that he doesn’t possess. “Winter’s Tale,” a Warner Bros. release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for “violence and some sensuality.” Running time: 118 minutes. One and a half stars out of four. — AP

Victoria Beckham wants to bring out a shoe line


he 39-year-old designer has expressed a keen interest in adding footwear to her growing empire and even reached out to volunteers at New York Fashion week to help her create the new collection. She said: “You know, I do want to start a shoe collection. If anybody here is a shoe designer, please do come and see me! I definitely think shoes is probably the next category that I’ll look at going into.” However, the mother-of-four- who has children Brooklyn, 14, Romeo, 11, Cruz, eight, and two-year-old daughter Harper with her husband David Beckham has acknowledged that it is a hard category to crack and appreciates that she would need to investigate her avenues before starting work on the line. She explained: “It’s quite a competitive category but I would love to go into it. I actually work with Manolo Blahnik on the shoes for my show every season and working with him is remarkable. “I think it’s very complicated, I wouldn’t just want to do a signature shoe-I’d have to make sure I’m working with the right factories, do a flat.” Meanwhile, the brunette beauty has also admitted she has plans to bring out menswear “at some point” in the future. — Bang Showbiz

Classifieds MONDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2014



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CHANGE OF NAME I, Mundayadankandy Puthiya Purayil Jaseel, holder of Indian Passport No. F9952543 residing at Kadeeja Manzil IX 223, Haji Metta, P.O. Kanhirode, VIA Koodali, Kannur, Kerala 670592, hereby change my name to Jaseel Ebrahim. 17-2-2014 SITUATION WANTED IT-Engineer young and energetic with bachelors degree in electronics & telecommunication, passed in first class (honors), and holding Master Degree in Business Administration, having working experience in India and abroad, holding Kuwait residence is looking for suitable employment. Contact: 96681344. (C 4643) 17-2-2014

ACCOMMODATION Sharing accommodation flat with African family, 1 room + special bathroom, price KD 100, Abu Alifah. 66971502. (C 4642) 16-2-2014 SITUATION VACANT Cook for Kuwaiti family, familiar with local dishes, preferably if knows to read English, transferable residence. 97577377. (C 4646) 16-2-2014 FOR SALE

family aged 25 executive in family business (engineering services co) needs compatriot up to 23 living in Kuwait. Email:

Fintas PO Box 1476 Code 51015. (C 4641) 16-4-2014

Mitsubishi Galant 2011, silver color, excellent condition, KD 2200. Mob: 66729295. (C 4644) Mitsubishi Lancer Ex 2013, white color, full options, km 19000, KD 2750. Tel: 50994848. (C 4645) 16-2-2014 MATRIMONIAL Pakistani Punjabi speaking male belonging to landlord

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


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Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (



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872 58 1079 673 773 741 617 473 501 481 252 646 238 304 1073 858 538 641 128 511 216 184 554 134 93 64 402 1081 218 283 62 648 331 361 120 571 351 636 171 230 403 308 461 220 301 60 860 205 1075 502 411


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stars CROSSWORD 462

STAR TRACK Aries (March 21-April 19) An emphasis on close relationships and a preoccupation with ideas of fairness and harmony are part of the mental cycle you have just begun. Facing and correcting any problems or misunderstandings surrounding a love relationship or family tensions can be successful today. Taking care of young children can be challenging but your attitude is a grateful one and you are pleased to find the creative talents that come forth. You may even consider that little children are much like the little flowers that need nurturing and care until they grow and have a show of beauty—blossom. A fun competition with friends may find you leaving them all behind in the dust. Your stamina has improved over the years and you are gaining in good health.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) This is a very public time and although it is a day that many people have at home, you are in a career that depends on your attendance this day. You enjoy working on this day of the week because you see lots of people that have their day to shop today. You have quite a following and enjoy chatting with the people you have come to know. You will discover that later this afternoon good luck brings you the needed resources for those special projects you have wanted to initiate. This doesn’t always mean money so don’t get too excited . . . It could be that helping hands are waiting for your guidance. If you are at home this evening, begin now to plot your path to accomplishing those repair jobs or building projects you have been putting off lately.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

ACROSS 1. A federal agency established to regulate the release of new foods and health-related products. 4. A meter that measures the flow of electrical current in amperes. 11. A lawman concerned with narcotics violations. 15. The sense organ for hearing and equilibrium. 16. Much-branched subshrub with silvery leaves and small white flowers of Texas and northern Mexico. 17. The largest continent with 60% of the earth's population. 18. (Babylonian) A demigod or first man. 20. Status with respect to the relations between people or groups. 21. (Babylonian) God of wisdom and agriculture and patron of scribes and schools. 22. A dissolute man in fashionable society. 25. An island off southern Alaska in the Gulf of Alaska. 28. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 31. Valuable timber tree of New Zealand yielding hard reddish wood used for furniture and bridges and wharves. 33. The provision of money temporarily (usually at interest). 35. An outer garment that has sleeves and covers the body from shoulder down. 36. Ctenophores lacking tentacles. 40. (Norse mythology) One of the Aesir known for his beauty and skill with bow and skis. 43. A person who mutilates or destroys or disfigures or cripples. 45. French philosopher who was a leading figure of the Enlightenment in France. 48. British informal term. 49. Ox of southeast Asia sometimes considered a domesticated breed of the gaur. 53. Half the width of an em. 54. A mature blood cell that contains hemoglobin to carry oxygen to the bodily tissues. 56. German mathematician (1804-1851). 59. Chief port of Yemen. 60. A hereditary ruler. 64. A group of Plains Indians formerly living in what is now North and South Dakota and Nebraska and Kansas and Arkansas and Louisiana and Oklahoma and Texas. 67. (of a young animal) Abandoned by its mother and raised by hand. 69. A ruler of the Inca Empire (or a member of his family). 70. (informal) Of the highest quality. 71. (Hinduism or Buddhism) A sacred word or syllable repeated in prayer or meditation. 74. So scary as to cause chills and shudders. 75. The federal agency that insures residential mortgages. 76. A large wardrobe or cabinet. 78. An ancient Assyrian city on the River Tigris and traditional capital of Assyria. 79. The fatty flesh of eel. 80. Provide commentary for a film, for example. 81. A small cake leavened with yeast. DOWN 1. An emotion experienced in anticipation of some specific pain or danger (usually accompanied by a desire to flee or fight). 2. An informal term for a father. 3. Any of various strong liquors distilled from the fermented sap of toddy palms or from fermented molasses. 4. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in

Turkey). 5. The 12th letter of the Greek alphabet. 6. New Zealand conifer. 7. A protective cloth covering for an injured eye. 8. Large brightly crested bird of Africa. 9. Any of various trees of the genus Ulmus. 10. A widely distributed system consisting of all the cells able to ingest bacteria or colloidal particles etc, except for certain white blood cells. 11. A walled city in southeastern China on the Gan Jiang. 12. (Hindu) A manner of sitting (as in the practice of Yoga). 13. A flowering shrub bearing currants or gooseberries. 14. Any taillike structure. 19. Large dark brown North American arboreal carnivorous mammal. 23. A yellow trivalent metallic element of the rare earth group. 24. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 26. A Russian river. 27. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 29. A member of one of the four divisions of the prehistoric Greeks. 30. A person whose head is bald. 32. An alloy of copper and zinc (and sometimes arsenic) used to imitate gold in cheap jewelry and for gilding. 34. A cry or noise made to express displeasure or contempt. 37. Type genus of the family Ulvaceae. 38. Lacking or deprive of the sense of hearing wholly or in part. 39. Type genus of the family Arcidae. 41. Agency of the United States government charged with mediating disputes between management and labor. 42. A highly unstable radioactive element (the heaviest of the halogen series). 44. A state in southeastern United States. 46. Worn or shabby from overuse or (of pages) from having corners turned down. 47. Free-swimming mostly freshwater flatworms. 50. A mechanism in a firearm that ejects the empty shell case after firing. 51. A connecting point at which several lines come together. 52. (British) A minicar used as a taxicab. 55. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 57. Minor or subordinate. 58. Conforming to an ultimate standard of perfection or excellence. 61. Squash bugs. 62. Of inferior or mixed breed. 63. Long-tailed arboreal mustelid of Central and South America. 65. A dull persistent (usually moderately intense) pain. 66. A strategically located monarchy on the southern and eastern coasts of the Arabian Peninsula. 68. A small narrow pointed missile that is thrown or shot. 72. A constellation in the southern hemisphere near Telescopium and Norma. 73. Resonance of protons to radiation in a magnetic field. 77. The branch of engineering science that studies the uses of electricity and the equipment for power generation and distribution and the control of machines and communication.


Sometimes the best action is no action. Another person may make negative comments but you will consider the source, do your best to smile and move forward. Most of the people you are around today have errands to run, places to go, and a great deal on their mind. You will be wise in taking advantage of this time to busy yourself with your own work, hobby or creative endeavors. Others value you for your independence and unique qualities and you will be pleased at the amount of work, fun or relaxing you can do in one afternoon. A young person needs your praise for the work he or she has accomplished and you are good to encourage. The evening will bring about a peaceful time to communicate and laugh with your loved ones.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) Gathering and exchanging information becomes a more important part of your life, a very educational experience. Neighbors or siblings have a big impact on your goals and make a big impression. A friend needs some help and you, along with a few others, are willing to do some extra work in order to bring about what is needed. You might take on an extra job or sell something that is no longer something that you use. Your success with this endeavor will come soon and everyone will be cheering; however, it will take some time. It is good to know that there is such a close bond between friends and this is a time you will always remember with much pride. Today is also a good time to set the pace for new patterns.

Leo (July 23-August 22) Your focus is usually on your ability to create. If you repress this, you can understandably become frustrated. No frustrations allowed today . . . Do whatever you can to keep your creative mind active. A little doodle here and there will help you get back on track. A little exercise will also help you mind return to that creative state. Consolidate and organize your affairs today. After your plans are on paper, you can take little steps toward a positive end. Frustrations are short-lived when there is a plan. Shopping for an unexpected special occasion and still arranging for plenty of time to eat dinner may take a little balancing act but you can do it. Moving furniture around, painting a room, preparing a space for your art or your friends could be on the agenda.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) Expressive is the mood for this day. Close relationships take on emotional depth, power and importance. After completing any chores or responsibilities, you may want to busy yourself through your art. A creative project has been on your mind and this is a good time to compose music, paint or sculpture an interesting subject. Affairs of the heart are fondly remembered. Set aside your art or other projects later for an evening out with your loved one. You are magnanimous as you find yourself visiting and chatting. Your first impression ratio is rated at one hundred percent today-you will meet a new friend. A sense of support and harmony makes this a happy time. Quick answers, great wit and a surplus of insights are yours.

Libra (September 23-October 22) Your family, home and those who give you nourishment have become more secure this year. You are able to dispense with some of the unessential and develop what is most basic in your environment. Continue to get rid of the stuff that does not benefit you—move forward. Give old magazines and paperback books to the library. You can always go to the library and find the book you want to read if you decide to read a particular book again or see a particular article. If possible, make one room in you home or apartment into a study, reading, art or computer room. This will be the room where you will be most creative or productive. Whether this means time to meditate or time to read, sew, create art, etc., schedule in regular times for your enjoyment.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) You may find yourself more talkative and easygoing than usual. An intriguing dialogue with an older person may take place. If your plans depend on other people, confirm, check and recheck your plans with them in order to make sure all are cooperative and accepting. Your attire and your attitude go together to make a good first impression at a social this afternoon. This social could involve some political interactions. Everything works together to show your remarkable skills. You will have a grasp for abstract and spiritual ideas as well as the ability to present or communicate these to others. People value you for your ability to make practical decisions. You have a natural sense of what the public wants at this time.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) Your inner resources and emotions are accented. You may be moved to appreciate and discover the beauty in your life and in those around you. There is a lot of encouragement from the people around you today. Your particular way of putting things together or making things work is the mark of perfection and you easily display this, especially when someone needs a helping hand. You may find yourself repairing and improving several things around your house or a friend’s house this afternoon. By taking on greater responsibilities, you become an inspiration to others. There is still time today for a family outing or for some quality interactions with loved ones. Fun times and family gatherings are the glue that keeps your relationships strong.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) Today is a day to create. There is high energy around your creative talents and you may be surprised, once your mind is focused along these lines, by just what you can accomplish. You could find yourself interested in the unconventional hobbies and other forms of self-expression that break from the norm. This afternoon you will enjoy and appreciate your ties to others. You seek and promote harmony between people. There is a need for change, a desire to break with outmoded patterns. Do not rock the boat on purpose; go with the changes gracefully. An evening out to relax and dream and hear another person’s dream is fun and well deserved. Challenge yourself to find some fun activities that do not drain the pocket book.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) This is a wonderful time to be with others. Lucky opportunities and good fortune come your way later today—if you look and reach out to grab them—perhaps the brass ring. Avoid power struggles in the home this afternoon and take things as they come; do not anticipate. An elderly relative may need your support this afternoon and this may be a good place to which to turn your attention. You can demonstrate your understanding and sensitivity to this person now. A strong urge for the social life may find you active later today. It would be enjoyable to spend time with old friends you have not seen in a while—you can become caught up with news from the old neighborhood. Being bright, witty and sociable is on the agenda all day.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) More people have been added to your list of friends now and you will enjoy the places to which they take you. You tend to lean toward rational conversations when you stop long enough to visit. Scientific subjects make for fun conversation today. You have fun flexing your mental muscles! Your personal life, ambitions and dreams are in focus. Your judgment in buying and selling are excellent. It is too bad that there are no stocks to manipulate. However, you could go garage-sale hopping or shop for white-sale items at a nearby mall. Make sure there are not so many things on the schedule today so that you accomplish what you want. A difficult relationship will enjoy a healing today, especially with some personal attention from you.

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


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Sama Safwan Abu Halaifa Danat Al-Sultan

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N Khaitan





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


Plastic Surgeons Dr. Mohammad Al-Khalaf


Dr. Khaled Hamadi

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Psychiatrists Dr. Esam Al-Ansari


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Gynaecologists & Obstetricians DrAdrian arbe


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2572-6666 ext 8321


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Soor Center Tel: 2290-1677 Fax: 2290 1688



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Rheumatologists: Dr. Adel Al-Awadi

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Internist, Chest & Heart DR.Mohammes Akkad

24555050 Ext 210

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


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

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

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



LIFESTYLE G o s s i p

Ora will ‘never’ quit singing R

ita Ora says she will “never” quit singing for acting. The ‘How We Do (Party)’ hitmaker recently filmed scenes for her role in the upcoming blockbuster ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, but she has no intention of completing a permanent switch to Hollywood. She told Ahlan!: “Singing is where it all began for me. I love it and without doing that first I would never have managed to get anything else. “I enjoy everything I do, but in five years time I will still be singing, that I promise you. I will never stop singing.” As well as her role in the erotic thriller, she has also appeared in the likes of ‘Fast & Furious 6’. The multi-talented star recently revealed she was “homeless” after leaving her flat due to her neighbors getting annoyed when she started to record her upcoming second album there. She said: “Do you want to know something funny? I’m actually homeless right now. “I had to leave my flat because the neighbors didn’t like me that much. I’d been recording my album there, which is not a really good idea. Long story short, I now live in my sister’s flat.”

Cumberbatch a ‘vaguely attractive’ otter Charlie Sheen engaged to Brett Rossi


he ‘Anger Management’ actor “got down on one knee” to propose to the adult film star yesterday and she has described him as her “soulmate” She told E! News: “Yes! We are engaged! He even was a gentleman and got down on one knee. I was not expecting it at all. “We had a beautiful Valentine’s day and he proposed to me early this morning after we watched the sun rise ... The ring is classic and beautiful, but I don’t have any photos to share just yet. “This is the happiest moment of both our lives. He’s my best friend and my soulmate.” The 48-year-old star took to Twitter

last month, claiming the pair had got married - although this seems to have been Charlie teasing his fans. He tweeted: “this is the house ware M Gorbachev R Reagan did some epic. it’s also where S and I GOT MARRIED! c #RumorMilUhPede. (sic)” ‘S’ is a nickname for Brett, 24, who also goes by the name Scottie. Now they are engaged, she could become his fourth wife, after Donna Peele, whom he wed between 1995 and 1996, Denise Richards who he married in 2002 and split from in 2006 and Brooke Mueller who was wed to Charlie from 2008 to 2011.

Stallone appears at the Broadway preview



enedict Cumberbatch looks like a “vaguely attractive” otter. The ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ star says he has a “weird face”, and joked it has certain animallike qualities despite many people being impressed. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, he joked: “[There is a] blessing of having a weird face, somewhere between an otter and something people find vaguely attractive. Or just an otter which is vaguely attractive.” Benedict also insisted he thinks his success has made him more attractive than his “face”, explaining he’s only just started turning up “on these ‘Hottie’ lists”. He added: “In all seriousness, I grew up with this face and it’s been in the industry for 10 years and now it’s getting on these ‘Hottie’ lists. “It doesn’t make any sense because I was nowhere near the thousandth hottest face when I started out. So, I know a lot of it’s projection, which is flattering about the work.” The 37-year-old actor doesn’t consider himself “a typical beauty”, joking his combination of “a long neck” and face typically means “inbreeding weirdness”. He said: “When I started out I said, ‘I know I’m not a typical beauty’, so basically I’ve got a long neck and a long face. “That’s usually some kind of inbreeding weirdness. So, I’ll run with that. I’ll wear some high collars and get on a horse or two. I’m fine with that, but not all the time. “Sometimes I’ll just get a collar in a 21st century drama and I’ll turn it up, as you probably

ylvester Stallone made a surprise appearance at the Broadway preview of ‘Rocky’. The action movie veteran - who starred in the film versions of the boxing saga - shocked audience members when he showed up at the stage version of his 1976 blockbuster. A source told New York Post newspaper’s Page Six column: “Stallone made a surprise appearance at the end of the show and even stepped into the ring.” He posed alongside actor Andy Karl - who plays the hero in the stage production - as ‘Saving Mr Banks’ star Tom Hanks led the audience in a ‘Rocky’ chant. Sylvester, 67, climbed into the ring at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York City to celebrate the first performance of the new musical. Recently, he paid tribute to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as the studio celebrate its 90th anniversary last month. He said: “Once upon a time this amazing studio employed the finest creative minds in showbusiness. “The most accomplished writers, actors, celebrated directors and producers found a home at MGM. I did and I was lucky enough to show up with this guy we called Rocky Balboa, and the character was born under the MGM banner. “We may have had the ‘Eye Of The Tiger’, but it was the lion that put us on the map and made it all happen.”

Simon Cowell to new baby: I’ve waited for you all my life


imon Cowell told his son he’d been waiting for him all his life. The new father whose partner Lauren Silverman gave birth to their son Eric on Friday - showed his sensitive side as he held his baby boy for the very first time. According to the Sunday People newspaper, Simon said: “I’ve waited all my life for you.” The ‘X Factor’ boss was very emotional after Eric’s arrival, and he was brought to “very happy tears” as he and Lauren welcomed their son into the world. A source said: “He is such a proud dad and they are completely obsessed. It was an incredible and emotional day for them both. “Simon was amazing and was by Lauren’s side the entire time. There were very happy tears from everyone, including Simon.” It is said the boy’s middle name is a tribute not only to Simon’s late father Eric Philip, but also Topshop boss Sir Philip Green. An insider told the Sunday Mirror newspaper: “Simon wanted to pay proper tribute to the influence of his late father in his life. Eric Philip is clearly a very proper and respectful tribute to the man. “But there’s no doubt he also wanted to pay some kind of tribute to another Philip who has been a major inspiration in his life, Sir Philip Green. “It’s tremendous he’s been able to pay respect to two different male role models with his baby son’s birth.”

Styles buys £2.8 painting H

arry Styles has invested in a £2.8 million painting. The ‘Story of My Life’ hitmaker has bought a picture by late Haitan-American artist Jean-Michele Basquiat in an auction last week, and it is said he thinks it will be a “good way to make money”. A source told the Daily Star Sunday newspaper: “Harry’s a big fan of art and sees it as a good way to make money. Rather than splurge, he thinks it’s a smart investment. “He already has a collection worth £150,000 but that’s nothing compared to this purchase.” However, despite spending a huge amount of money on the new piece, the One Direction heart throb is said to be “really smart” with his finances, and has been taking advice from Jay Z. The insider added: “Harry’s really smart when it comes to money. He wants to invest his cash and Jay Z advised him to buy art.” Meanwhile, Harry just enjoyed a quiet break with Gary Barlow and James Corden at James Bond author Ian Fleming’s old Goldeneye home. The late writer penned many of his 007 spy adventures at the Jamaican property, and the British trio took the chance to have a relaxing few days before a busy month professionally. A source previously said: “The boys had a great time together - full of lots of laughs and all very chilled.”

Beyonce doesn’t let her daughter eat sugar


he ‘Drunk in Love’ singer has Blue Ivy, two, with rapper husband Jay-Z and they are committed to her having as healthy a lifestyle as possible, which means cutting out unnecessary sweet treats. A source said: “She make sure Blue only eats healthy. She doesn’t get any white sugar unless it’s a birthday party or a special occasion.” For a treat, Beyonce is said to give the youngster fruit slices, and she is not allowed any prepackaged goods either. The source added to Us Weekly magazine: “Processed foods are a big no in their family.” In December last year, Beyonce and Jay took up a challenge to eat only vegan food for 22 days, which they broke only at Christmas. Explaining the challenge, Jay wrote on his blog: This all began a few months back when a good friend and vegan challenged me to embrace a ‘plant-based breakfast’ every day. It was surprisingly easier on me than I thought... “I don’t know what happens after Christmas. A semi-vegan, a full plant-based diet? Or just a spiritual and physical challenge? We’ll see... (sic)”

Lea Michele was a ‘ballsy little kid’


he 27-year-old actress - who plays singing sensation Rachel Berry in ‘Glee’ - admits she had no fear of anything when she was younger and proved that to her mother when she auditioned for a part in ‘Les Miserables’ at the age of eight. She said: “When I was eight and I auditioned for ‘Les Miserables’ [was when I realized I could sing]. My friend was auditioning and I wanted to too. Mum was like, ‘You can’t sing’, but I’d never tried! “After the audition I said, ‘I think they really like me’. She said if we ever hear from them again, it will be a miracle. I was a ballsy little kid. I felt no fear at all.” The brunette beauty has reportedly been branded a diva in the past by fellow celebrities and her co-stars but, although she insists the rumours are completely false, she claims she doesn’t care what other people think of her anymore. She told We Love Pop magazine: “I am a very outspoken person, and if something makes me uncomfortable, you will know that it makes me uncomfortable. But that’s as a far as it goes. I can assure that [diva rumours] aren’t real. It’s super frustrating sometimes, and I used to fight back, but now I feel like, ‘You can think what you want to think about me - that’s OK.” —Bang showbiz



LIFESTYLE F e a t u r e s


Johnny Depp honored at makeup and hair awards

n an awards season that seems to have a ceremony for every facet of filmmaking, the Make-up and Hair Stylists Guild awards returned after a 10-year hiatus with an award for Johnny Depp. The actor received the first ever distinguished artisan award for his work in films like “Edward Scissorhands,”“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “Alice in Wonderland.” Depp’s honor was presented by his long-time collaborator and makeup artist Joel Harlow, who is nominated for an Academy Award this year for makeup in “The Lone Ranger.” Depp also starred in the film. “This is a great honor, but glancing up at the screen I realize what a ridiculous thing I’ve done,” joked Depp while accepting his trophy after clips of his work were shown at Paramount Studios theatre on Saturday evening. “I mean seriously, why do they still give me jobs?” he added. “I’ve done a lot of things...I should probably apologize for a few, but I won’t.” Praising the work of the makeup artists who’ve helped him “find the root of each character,” the soft-spoken actor said he liked when his face was molded in “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” “I found, oddly, that I liked being encased in all of that stuff,” he said. “I try something different each time as an actor with the amazing help of makeup artists who have made my whole career.” Resembling the boozy party that is the Golden Globes rather than the formal Oscars, the makeup and hair stylists awards, which honors the best in the business from film to television, was a reunion for the behind-the-scenes

Actor Johnny Depp speaks after accepting the Distinguished Artisan Award at The Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards. —AP photos

Johnny Depp and make-up artist and presenter Joel Harlow are seen after Depp accepted the Distinguished Artisan Award.

artists. Squeals echoed throughout the auditorium as artists with multicolored hair and thick cat-eye style makeup hugged and kissed. “It’s our circle or little family’s time to celebrate,” said Harlow prior to the ceremony. As an ode to visual effects, a woman painted white and dressed in white stood in the lobby balancing a large headpiece made of flowers as she was lit by green lights. Host Tom Arnold later joked she looked “edible, like a big white cake.” There to present the award for best contemporary hair styling to the stylists for “Lee Daniels’ the Butler,” best supporting actress Oscar nominee June Squibb called the green lighting “wild.” Turns out she loves the color. She’s even asked Tadashi Shoji to make her a green dress for Oscar night. “I’ve seen a sketch and it’s wonderful!” she added. Some of the evening’s other awards went to Oscar nominees “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” for best special makeup effects and “Dallas Buyers Club” for best period and/or character makeup, while best contemporary hair styling in a television series went to “The Voice.” Makeup artist Dick Smith and hairstylist Gail Ryan received lifetime achievement awards. “Just have fun, that’s all this is about,” said Sue Cabral-Ebert, president of the Make-up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild. “It’s not brain surgery.”Could a gaffers and grips gala be next? “You should see the electrical staff’s awards,” joked Arnold. “It’s madness!” The Oscar ceremony will take place March 2. —AP

File photo, Posdnuos, left, and Dave of the hip hop group De La Soul, perform at the Sunset Strip Music Festival in West Hollywood, Calif. —AP

De La Soul give away catalog-for 25 hours


e La Soul is making it feel like 1989 all over again - for 25 hours. The influential hip-hop group released seven albums worth of material for free on its website for 25 hours starting Friday morning to celebrate the impending 25th anniversary of its classic debut album, “3 Feet High and Rising.” The group’s music, available through 11 am. EST Saturday, had become frustratingly hard to purchase through legal means. Demand appeared to be heavy enough midday Friday to overwhelm the group’s chosen download provider temporarily. And it wasn’t just listeners excited about the move. Folks in the music business were watching with fascination as well. “From a creative standpoint and a marketing standpoint, I think it’s terrific,” said Sophia Chang, a manager for GZA, Q-Tip and A Tribe Called Quest and former record label executive. “I think everybody’s talking about them. I think they’re all over social media. I think they remind people of how incredibly, incredibly influential and innovative that album was.” The group and its management did not respond to messages from The Associated Press. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Posdnuos said it’s been a “trying journey” to get the music cleared for release on iTunes and other similar services. “It’s been too long where our fans haven’t had access to everything,” he told the magazine. “This is our way of showing them how much we love them.” It’s also a

way to gather information on those fans: People who signed up for the free download had to provide an email address and subscribe to their email list. The group, consisting of Long Island, New York, high school friends Posdnuos, Trugoy the Dove and Pasemaster Mase, made their debut with “3 Feet High and Rising” with the help of producer Prince Paul in 1989. Known for hits like “Me, Myself and I,” “Buddy” and “Potholes in My Lawn,” they were heralded for their eclecticism. Unlike many of their contemporaries, not all their music was available for digital download or on streaming services. Al Branch, the general manager of The Blueprint Group, which oversees the careers of Lil Wayne and Drake among others, says he saw a day when a major act might attempt to reach a fan base in such a way out of frustration. Last year, Jay-Z debuted his album “Holy Grail” via Samsung after the electronics company purchased 1 million units and made them available to certain phone customers for free for a limited time. “I always knew as the world becomes more and more digital and smartphones come into play that this day was coming. It makes you think from the perspective, if you’re an artist, what’s more important?” he said. “Is it more important for you to sell albums or is it more important for you tokeep your brand afloat and tour and keep going hard?” —AP

Albanian Cultural Day held at TIES Center


lbanian Cultural Day was held last Thursday by the Albanian Embassy in Kuwait in cooperation with TIES Center (Center for Cross Cultural Dialogue). Many citizens attended the organized activities in the facilities of this center which included aPpower Point presentation and a video record “Discover Albania”, recitation of poems of the Albanian authors and parts of Hadith and Holy Quran by the school children of Albanian community in Kuwait, Albanian folk dance as well as offering of the Albanian traditional food. The visitors enjoyed and expressed their interest to know more about Albania as a Mediterranean country and possibly visit it in the near future.

A file picture taken on July 19, 2012 shows a man taking a picture of his meal with his mobile phone to share it on the “Food Reporters” network during his lunch in a restaurant in Paris. —AFP

French chefs rebel against ‘food porn’ photos T he next time you try to take a picture of your dinner in a posh French restaurant, don’t be surprised if an angry chef comes storming out of the kitchen. Fed up with patrons snapping photographs with their smartphones to post on social networks, several Michelin-starred French establishments are trying to crack down on socalled “food porn”. Food bloggers, and even some chefs, defend the pictures as free publicity, but for many the sharing has just gone too far. “There’s a time and a place for everything,” said Alexandre Gauthier, chef at La Grenouillere in the northern town of La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil. “We are trying to give our clients a break in their lives. For that, you need to turn off your mobile,” he said. Short of formally banning photographs in his restaurant, Gauthier has put an image of a camera with a strikethrough on his menu. “People just won’t disconnect anymore,” he told AFP. “Before they used to take photos of their family, of their grandmother, but now it’s photos of dishes,” he said. “It is gratifying, but we’re a restaurant without very much light, so they have to use a flash. And with each dish it’s ‘stop everything’, or the photo has to be retaken three times. “It’s Tweeted, liked, comments are made and replied to-by then the dish is cold.” Intellectual property Gilles Goujon, chef at the three-starred L’Auberge du Vieux Puits in the southern town of Fontjoncouse, said he is increasingly frustrated with the poor etiquette of amateur food photographers. He said food pictures “take away the surprise” of some of his

dishes and “take a bit of my intellectual property”. Not to mention that “a photo taken with a not-so-good smartphone is rarely good.”“It doesn’t give the best image of our work. It’s annoying,” he said. One blogger at his restaurant several months ago posted a complaint about the doneness of her pigeon, complete with a picture, but hadn’t cut the bird open. “You couldn’t even see how the pigeon was cooked!” said the still-fuming chef. “It’s complicated to ban it,” Goujon said. “I’m trying to find the right way to say it on the menu but haven’t found the proper formula so it doesn’t make people angry.” French chefs are hardly alone. There has been a growing backlash in the United States to intrusive photo-taking, with some top-tier restaurants banning photography. French food blogger Stephane Riss said critics of food photographs are overreacting. “For chefs, the more they are talked about, the better,” he said. “Photos boost visibility and revenues... It’s free publicity.” Riss even suggested that some chefs fear the scrutiny of photographs, which make a badly presented dish undeniable. “The chefs have to be in top form every day because if there is one mistake, it goes on the Internet,” he said. And not all chefs are so unwelcoming to the craze for food photos. David Toutain, whose eponymous Paris restaurant is a darling of the critics, said word of mouth on the Internet has been a boost to his career. “You have to live with the times,” he said. “Social networks helped at the start of my career and are helping me now. It’s advertising.” —AFP


lifestyle F A S H I O N

Celebrities pack front row at Fashion Week



elebrities, starlets and fashion’s elite packed the front row at London Fashion Week on Saturday, as the style event swung into its second day. London’s weather cleared up to everyone’s relief, though at least two shows made the wet outdoors their theme. Hunter, the maker of the fashionable set’s preferred rubber rain boots, pulled out all the stops with an impressively staged debut show that drew singer Jessie J, Anna Wintour and Stella McCartney to its front row. Across town, “Les Miserables” actress Samantha Barks joined singer Eliza Doolittle and other starlets at Julien Macdonald’s glamorous showcase. Here are the highlights from Saturday:

prints of leaves and vines, ditched a traditional runway and went for a square show space set up to look like a corner in the park for her Saturday show at London Fashion Week. That set the scene for a show inspired by “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” the classic musical and movie starring Catherine Deneuve. Models wearing sweet polka dot dresses, retro floral print tunics, preppy trouser suits and

Models present creations from the Hunter collection during the 2014 autumn / winter London Fashion Week in London. — AP/AFP photos

clunky mary-jane shoes wandered dreamily around as if in a living storybook, at times looking up at imagination rainclouds in the distance or daydreaming on the bench. Clear plastic umbrellas came out as the soundtrack and light effects simulated a rainstorm, interspersed whimsically with meows and barks. It was irresistibly fun, and the pet animal theme continued on printed sweaters and little cat and dog clutch bags. One model even hugged a sleepy black pooch. The show wrapped up as models paraded in shiny PVC printed trench coats to a closing song. What else? “Singin’ in the Rain,” of course.

Hunter makes a splash with debut show Watch out: The humble rubber rain boot has arrived with a big splash at the London fashion scene. Hunter, best known for those sturdy, no-nonsense wellies seen on trendy young attendees of music festivals like Glastonbury, debuted its clothing range in a basement space set up to look like a dark forest, complete with a watery runway and realistic looking birch trees. Models - both male and female - splashed down the catwalk in colorful raincoats and capes, shorts and miniskirts, belted trench coats and puffy winter jackets. Everyone, of course, sported Hunter boots that came in a range of colors and styles, including a heeled ankle-length version. Hunter had drummed up considerable publicity for the event, and its front row VIPs included Vogue editor Anna Wintour, singer Jessie J, as well as designer Stella McCartney. McCartney’s husband, Alasdhair Willis, was creative director of the show. Just to make sure it leaves an impression on guests, the brand closed with a little magic performance and a shower of playing cards. It was a cool touch, and entertaining to boot. Julien Macdonald: Sequins, feathers, sheer fishtails Is there such a thing as too many sequins? Julien Macdonald will tell you: Never. The flamboyant designer’s creations are almost always sparkly and ultra glamorous, and Saturday’s collection, staged at London’s imposing Royal Courts of Justice, was no different. Models wore skintight cocktail dresses and floor-length fishtail gowns in silver foil, gold lame, iridescent peacock and snake skin, all heavily encrusted in beading and sequins or intricately embroidered. The sparkly bits were often strategically placed, leaving swathes of flesh down the back and on the sides of the body covered only in the sheerest nude mesh. Starlets Samantha Barks, best known as Eponine in the movie “Les Miserables,” joined singer Eliza Doolittle and British model Abbey Clancy at the show’s front row. Mcdonald’s designs can be a little aging and a bit Las Vegas, especially the barely-there feathered numbers. But he knows his target client, and no one else at London Fashion Week can be counted on to deliver such showstopping gowns. Orla kiely show rains cats and dogs The wet weather at London Fashion Week may be driving fashionistas crazy, but Orla Kiely is here to remind us that a little indoor rain effect can be cute and romantic. Especially when it comes with a few cats and dogs. The Dublin-born designer, best known for her popular 60s-ish

Ruffles and romance at John Rocha As romantic destinations go, Iceland probably ranks pretty low down most lists. But John Rocha said his experiences of the North Atlantic island nation’s ever-changing light and natural wonders were the inspiration behind his latest womenswear collection, “There’s a certain part of the year when it’s all dark, and then it’s all bright. I love the transition and all the different textures there,” he said after the show. Rocha opened his showcase with a series of all-black outfits adorned with huge billowing clouds of ruffles, both worn as sculptural hats and as collars. The collection had many of Rocha’s trademarks: oversized ruffle flowers, voluminous layers of light chiffon and tulle, and lace or crochet fabrics so intricate they are more works of art than wardrobe items. The atmosphere was dark and dramatic, but there were lighter pieces too. A few of the see-through black organza ballgowns were embroidered with a sprinkling with colorful 3D flowers, as if the model had just rolled around in a flower bed and the petals had stuck to her dress. — AP


lifestyle F A S H I O N

John Rocha

Designer John Rocha walks with a model following a fashion show of his collection.

Orla Kiely

Anna Wintour attends the Reed Krakoff fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2014 in New York City. — AFP photos

Bossini unveils Spring Summer 2014 collection A

s the chilly dreary weather makes a quite exit it’s time to infuse your wardrobe with the latest trends and a pop of colour with the Bossini SS’14 collection. With no compromises on comfort the very stylish collection for men, women and kids is a haven of trends that range from florals, pastels to happy light denims and color chinos. With a hint of nautical and a dash of neons the collection is suited for a wide audience.

With dainty floral print tees and dresses women are spoilt for choice while paisley print pants give the perfect girl-next-door appeal. For women who love to experiment with fashion Bossini offers you neon shirts that can be teamed with equally bright bottoms. Flaunting a carefree attitude is the underlying principle of a Bossini girl and the best way to do the same is sport contemporary fit denims with

graphic print tees. For men this season, Bossini offers a range that takes inspiration from the world of sports. Key pieces include jerseys and tees that can be paired with funky colored denim three-fourths. The collection even offers styles and looks that can go from work to a casual night out with friends in a jiffy with semi casual shirts, blazers and chinos. With must have season colors like blue, brown and

ruby reds along with subdued classy shades of pink, orange and yellow the Bossini collection is a must-have in your new season wardrobe. So head to your nearest Bossini store located at Hawally (Al-Othman Centre), Fahaheel (Ajial Mall), Farwaniya (Mugathir Complex), Khaldiya Co-op , Qortuba Co-op and all Bossini in Centrepoint Stores to experience a whole lot of Spring Summer Collection !

Johnny Depp honored at makeup and hair awards



Chinese director Diao Yinan thanks his actors as he is awarded the Golden Bear for Best Film of the 64th Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin for his film ‘Bai Ri Yan Huo’ (Black Coal, Thin Ice).—AP Photos


Director Diao Yina, right, holds the Golden Bear for Best Film for the movie Black Coal, Thin Ice, as he stands with actress Gwei Lun Meiduring.

Dieterich Brueggemann, left, and Anna Brueggeman show the Silver Bear for Best Script for the movie Crossway after the award ceremony.

Director Ye Lou, right, and actress Zhang Lei receive Actress Haru Kuroki receives the Silver Bear as Best Guillaume Cailleau poses after awarded for the best the Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution Actress for the movie The Little House. short film. for cinematography at the movie Blind Massage.

Richard Linklater receives the Silver Bear for Best Producer Jean-Louis Livi, right, and actor Andre French filmmakers Jonathan Vinel and Caroline Poggi Director for the movie Boyhood. Dussollier show the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize for celebrate with the bear trophy after being awarded the a feature film that opens new perspectives. Golden Bear for Best Short Film (As long as shotguns).

‘Gravity,’ ‘12 Years a Slave’ up for UK film glory


an “American Hustle” or “12 Years a Slave” defy “Gravity”? David O Russell’s con-artist caper and Steve McQueen’s unflinching tale of slavery are hoping to unseat the sci-fi front-runner at yesterday’s British Academy Film Awards. Space thriller “Gravity” has 11 nominations, while “12 Years a Slave” and “American Hustle” each have 10 for Britain’s equivalent of the Oscars. the past few years, BAFTA wins have helped underdog films including “Slumdog Millionaire,”“The King’s Speech” and “The Artist” gain Oscars momentum. This year, bookmakers have made “12 Years a Slave,” which has a British director and a British star, Chiwetel Ejiofor, favorite to take home the best picture and best actor trophies. The prizes, known as BAFTAs, have become an

essential stop for many Hollywood stars ahead of the Academy Awards, held this year on March 2. Nominees Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Sandra Bullock were among those due to walk the red carpet before yesterday’s black-tie ceremony at London’s Royal Opera House. Prince William was due to add a royal touch to the showbiz glamour. This year’s best-picture nominees are: “12 Years a Slave”; “Gravity”; “American Hustle”; “Captain Phillips”; and “Philomena,” the story of an Irishwoman in search of the son she lost decades earlier. The separate category of best British film pits “Gravity,”“Philomena” and Mary Poppins story “Saving Mr Banks” against motor-racing drama “Rush,” biopic “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” and gritty parable “The Selfish Giant.”Helen

Mirren is to receive the British Academy Fellowship in honor of a career that has ranged from a hard-nosed detective in TV series “Prime Suspect” to Queen Elizabeth II in “The Queen.” Mirren, who won a best-actress Oscar for “The Queen,” said she had never expected to get the honor, whose previous recipients include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Elizabeth Taylor and Judi Dench. “I always imagined myself as a bit of an outsider, really, sort of the naughty girl,” Mirren said. Mirren, 68, is no stranger to awards, but she said the prospect of making Sunday’s acceptance speech was daunting. “You think, ‘My God, I’ve got to talk about my whole life,’” she said. “Not only my whole life - what movies mean, what movies mean to me, what they mean to all of us. And do it all in two minutes.”—AP

he 64th Berlin film festival wrapped up yesterday after a resounding triumph for Asian cinema at its gala awards ceremony, including the Golden Bear top prize for a Chinese noir mystery. “Bai Ri Yan Huo” (Black Coal, Thin Ice) by Diao Yinan about a washed-up ex-cop investigating a series of grisly murders took the highest honor late Saturday, as well as the Silver Bear best actor award for its star Liao Fan. “It’s really hard to believe that this dream has come true,” Diao said as he accepted the trophy, fighting back tears. It was the first Chinese film to win in Berlin since the unconventional love story “Tuya De Hunshi” (Tuya’s Marriage) by Wang Quan’an brought home the gold in 2007. In a remarkably strong showing for Asian contenders, the Berlinale, Europe’s first major film festival of the year, gave its best actress prize to Japan’s Haru Kuroki for her role as a discreet housemaid in wartime Tokyo in Yoji Yamada’s “The Little House” (Chiisai Ouchi). Yamada, 82, called the film a necessary reminder of war’s horrors for contemporary Japan. Wes Anderson’s historical caper “The Grand Budapest Hotel”offering a nostalgic look back at pre-World War II Europe-claimed the runner-up Silver Bear grand jury prize. The picture starring Ralph Fiennes had opened the Berlinale on February 6. German media reported widespread disappointment that the hot favorite to win the Golden Bear, US filmmaker Richard Linklater for his ambitious coming-of-age tale “Boyhood”, made over 12 years with the same actors, only claimed best director. But most called the prize for “Black Coal, Thin Ice” justified in a competition with few real standouts. “‘Bai Ri Yan Huo’ is a brilliant genre variation which knows how to selfconfidently update its Western prototypes and put them in new contexts,” news website Spiegel Online said. Berlin’s daily Der Tagesspiegel called the choice “respectable”. The film “is a bloody genre piece, a social portrait of the Chinese backwoods and a passionate drama all in one”, it said. “And it represents Chinese cinema, growing in aesthetic strength, that is successfully charting a new path between small films made below the censors’ radar and the bombastic hero epics in a booming domestic market.” Enthusiasm for Chinese cinema The second of three Chinese films in competition in Berlin, “Blind Massage” (Tui Na) featuring a cast made up in part of amateur blind actors, captured a Silver Bear prize for outstanding artistic contribution for cinematographer Zeng Jian. Best screenplay went to the German siblings Dietrich and Anna Brueggemann for their wrenching drama “Stations of the Cross” (Kreuzweg) about a teenager who makes the ultimate sacrifice for her fundamentalist Catholic family. Veteran French director Alain Resnais drew the Alfred Bauer Prize for work of particular innovation for his play-within-a-film “Life of Riley” (Aimer, boire et chanter). A nine-member jury led by US producer James Schamus (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) handed out the prizes at a theatre in the German capital. “Black Coal, Thin Ice” is set in the late 1990s in the frosty reaches of northern China and its murder mystery plot is told through enigmatic flashbacks. Liao said he put on 20 kilograms (44 pounds) to play the alcoholic suspended police officer who falls hard for a beautiful murder suspect (Gwei Lun Mei). Diao said his film, his third feature, bridged the gap between pure arthouse cinema and multiplex fare. “I finally did find the right way to combine a film which has a commercial aspect to it but which is nonetheless art, so that it’s possible to launch it in these terms,” he told reporters after the awards ceremony. Diao said Chinese films were gaining ground in Western cinemas thanks in part to their exposure at major festivals. “Every time we take our films abroad it seems that there is an ever greater enthusiasm for Chinese cinema,” he said. Whitest of whales The film has yet to be released in China but a state media report said it had received a government permit for screening with release possible in April or May. However some Chinese cinemagoers questioned whether political sensitivity might block its release at home, or at least result in deep cuts. China censors films it deems obscene or politically touchy. “The sensitivity of the theme and content of the film is high, so I don’t know whether it can be shown in China,” said a microblog posting under the name Jiade Changle. US movie news website Indiewire noted that buzz about the picture had been strong before its screening “on the possibility of the film becoming that whitest of whales: a crossover Chinese-language international hit”.—AFP In this Dec 8, 2013 file photo, the cast of ‘American Hustle,’ from left, Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner pose together during a photo call at the Crosby Street Hotel, in New York.—AP

17 Feb  

Kuwait Times

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