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Ghanem conveys Amir’s message to Rouhani

Nine killed in bloodiest day of Kiev clashes


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Court orders return of Tabtabaei’s passport Oppn stages sit-in after KU scraps seminar By B Izzak

KUWAIT: (From left) Opposition former MPs Abdulmohsen Jamal, Musallam Al-Barrak and Khaled Al-Tahous attend a sit-in at Kuwait University to protest the cancellation of a seminar. — Photo by Fouad Al-Shaikh

Kuwait help sought to mend Saudi-Iranian ties BEIRUT: Lebanese parliament speaker Nabih Berri urged Kuwait to keep trying to build bridges between Iran and Saudi Arabia to encourage a rapprochement between two regional heavyweights backing opposite sides in Syria’s civil war. Wedged between three big regional powers - Shiite Iran, Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite-led Iraq at the northern end of the Gulf, Kuwait has tried to maintain good relations with all three in recent years. This makes Kuwait a potential gobetween in the intractable conflict between Syrian President Bashar AlAssad - whose strongest regional ally is Iran - and Saudi-backed Sunni rebels trying to overthrow him. Berri spoke during a visit to Kuwait two days after Lebanon formed a new government in a possible step towards curbing the sectarian violence that has spilled over into Lebanon from neighbouring Syria. “I requested that all the Gulf (Arab) countries and in particular (HH the) Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad play a mediating role between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Berri told the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai in the remarks published yesterday. “The Amir has worked and will work in this context, and he will try as much as possible to bring together the points of view,” Berri said, referring to Kuwait’s leader.

Sheikh Sabah was foreign minister for four decades before becoming Amir and is often described as one of the top diplomats in the Gulf region. He was dubbed the “dean of Arab diplomacy” for helping restore relations with Arab states that supported Saddam Hussein’s Iraq during the 1990-91 Gulf War when Kuwait was occupied by Iraqi forces. Iran has been a stout ally of Assad in his battle with a Sunni Muslim-led armed uprising bent on ending 44 years of his family’s rule. The Islamic Republic has provided military support and billions of dollars in economic aid to Assad, whose Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shiism which is dominant in Iran. Saudi Arabia, for its part, has provided funding and support to various rebel groups, including the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition and more radical Islamist factions. Berri is the highest ranking Shiite in Lebanese officialdom and an ally of Iran and Assad. His Amal movement is part of a Lebanese alliance including Hezbollah, a powerful Shiite militant movement that has sent fighters to aid Assad. “My larger goal on the topic of Iranian-Saudi rapprochement ... is for the benefit of Lebanon and of Syria,” said Berri. He blamed the breakdown of peace talks in Geneva last week on Iran’s exclusion Continued on Page 13

KUWAIT: The civil court ordered the Interior Ministry yesterday to immediately return the passport of former opposition MP Waleed Al-Tabtabaei which had been seized apparently to prevent the Islamist activist from travelling to Syria. The court ordered that the ruling must be implemented immediately, said his lawyer Adel Abdulhadi, who added that it was not allowed under the Kuwaiti constitution for the authorities to seize a passport without legal justification. Tabtabaei had travelled to Syria many times in a show of support for the Syrian revolution fighting to oust President Bashar Al-Assad. Over a month ago, he wrote on Twitter that his passport had been seized to prevent him from leaving the country. Meanwhile, students and opposition figures staged a sit-in at Kuwait University yesterday after it canceled a seminar that was scheduled to discuss the Gulf security pact a day earlier. “[The KU’s decision] is ultimate stupidity,” former parliament speaker Ahmad Al-Saadoun told reporters at the KU campus on Monday. He warned that passing the Gulf pact will

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be followed by government moves to pass more regional agreements that restrict freedoms in Kuwait. Saadoun was scheduled to attend the seminar organized by the KU Teachers Society, along with former MP Mohammad Al-Dallal, constitutional expert Dr Mohammed AlFeeli and other politicians. Liberal MP Rakan Al-Nisf said in a statement that the seminar’s cancelation “violates citizens’ freedoms and rights”. In another development, head of the National Assembly’s women committee MP Saleh Ashour said the panel decided yesterday to invite women societies and activists to review the main obstacles facing Kuwaiti women. The meeting will be held on March 2. Ashour said that the committee will discuss with the activists and organizations the top issues concerning Kuwaiti women to start debating them in the committee. The lawmaker said the panel discussed yesterday the main obstacles preventing achieving true equality between Kuwaiti men and women. The meeting also discussed the rights of Kuwaiti women married to foreigners, especially their rights to government housing and Continued on Page 13

Ethiopian maid ban confirmed By A Saleh & Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: Kuwait has stopped recruiting domestic helpers from Ethiopia starting from this week until further notice, Col Adel Al-Hashash, the General Director of the Interior Ministry’s Security Media and Public Relations Department, confirmed to Kuwait Times yesterday. It is unknown how this will immediately impact Kuwait’s Ethiopian community which was estimated at 74,000 - the majority of them domestic workers - as per the latest official figures from 2012. The Ethiopian embassy could not immediately be reached for comment yesterday. A decision to stop issuing article 20 visas for Ethiopian domestic helpers, including maids, drivers, gardeners, etc was issued by the General Depar tment of Immigration in the Interior Ministry sometime before the beginning of this week. A copy of the decision signed by the department’s general director Brig Gen Adnan AlKandari was circulated to immigration departments in Kuwait’s six governorates earlier this week. As per the decision, the ban includes both male and female workers. Last November, a local daily reported news that Ethiopian authorities banned local domestic workers to travel to Kuwait for work. “The ban is enforced until recruitment procedures as well as Continued on Page 13

KUWAIT: Bedoons demonstrate in Taima in Jahra yesterday where they blocked roads with burning tyres and stoned security forces. Riot police used teargas to disperse the demonstrators. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Experiment may lead to cure for paralysis PARIS: Scientists working on a paralysis cure said yesterday they had demonstrated how a monkey can use only its thoughts, transferred by electrodes, to manipulate a sleeping fellow primate’s arm to do its bidding. The lab experiment, in which a fully sedated Rhesus monkey’s hand moved a joystick to per-

form tasks at the other monkey’s command, was designed to simulate full paralysis - the brain completely disconnected from the muscle it seeks to control. “We demonstrate that a subject can control a paralyzed limb purely with its thoughts,” co-author Maryam Shanechi Continued on Page 13

Iraq blasts kill 49

The Australian navy’s HMAS Melbourne’s boarding party intercepts a dhow that was suspected of being used for illegal purposes off Oman yesterday. — AFP

Big cannabis bust off Oman SYDNEY: Australian and Pakistani navy ships have seized almost two tonnes of cannabis resin in a drug bust off Oman that officers described yesterday as a setback for

extremist groups. HMAS Melbourne and Pakistan’s PNS Alamgir joined forces to intercept and board a dhow east of Oman’s Masriah Island, where they found 1,951 kg of

cannabis resin hidden in a secret compartment in its fishing hold. Estimating the haul to have a street value of US$102 million, Melbourne Continued on Page 13

BAGHDAD/HILLA: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki defended his government’s counterterrorism strategy and vowed to defeat Al-Qaeda as bombs exploded in Baghdad and another Iraqi city yesterday, killing at least 49 people. Maliki said the battle against militancy in Iraq was part of a larger struggle emanating from the civil war in Syria that poses a threat to the wider Middle East and the entire world, and appealed for international support. “Iraq has defeated Al-Qaeda before, and we have a holistic strategy to defeat Al-Qaeda again,” Maliki wrote in an editorial published yesterday on the website of US international affairs journal Foreign Policy. “Because Al-Qaeda believes in blowing people up, not in winning people over, it can be beaten, must be beaten, and will be beaten.” Maliki said Iraq had begun discussions with US officials to resume training for its counterterrorism forces. Last year was Iraq’s bloodiest since sectarian violence began to abate in 2008. Sunni Islamist insurgents have been regaining ground in the country over the past year and in recent weeks overran several towns. Critics say Maliki’s own policies are at least partly to blame for reviving an insurgency that climaxed in 2006-07. Many in Iraq’s once-dominant Sunni minority feel they have been sidelined in the Shiite-led political order that took shape following the US-led invasion in 2003. Continued on Page 13

BAGHDAD: An Iraqi man helps his son who is headed to school at the site of a car bomb attack yesterday. — AP



PIC holds ceremony honoring new graduates KUWAIT: Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC) yesterday held its annual ceremony for graduating the sixth batch of qualified personnel to apply ‘Six Sigma’ methodology for the development of working methods. Chief Executive Officer of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) Nizar AlAdsani said in his speech that those working in the oil sector bears a heavy responsibility to keep the backbone of the countr y ’s economic wealth of oil and ensures its sustainability for future generations as enjoyed by today’s generation. Al-Adsani stressed that every affiliate oil company puts this responsibility in mind to achieve a common goal of developing the national workforce and improve its performance in support of the Kuwaiti economy and the

global energy supply. He pointed out that this task is not easy, but requires a lot of planning, data gathering, innovation and teamwork, and most importantly the workforce, “but we can make this task easier by having a clear roadmap and the use of methodologies and best practices, and this is achieved by the (6 Sigma) methodology that “will help us in the planning and implementation of those approaches and to achieve our vision and our common goals.” He added that the (6 Sigma) methodology was designed and implemented within the framework of the project which aims to foster teamwork, communication and management of these projects for future leaders. —KUNA

KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah received Monday at the Amiri Airport Chairman of Kuwait’s anti-corruption authority Justice Abdulrahman Al-Nemash and heads of authorities responsible for anti-corruption in the GCC on the occasion of holding their first meeting in Kuwait. The meeting was also attended by Deputy Minister of the Amiri Diwan Affairs Sheikh Ali Jarrah Al-Sabah and Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Dr Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani.

Salafists condemn Gulf security pact Lawyers describe agreement as ‘contractual’ KUWAIT: The Islamic Salafist Alliance joined political groups in Kuwait that announced their rejection to the Gulf security pact, indicating in a statement Monday that the agreement contains ‘ambiguous’ articles and are suspected to be in violation of the constitution. In an official statement made available to the press Monday, the Salafist alliance expressed reservation on some articles of the security pact “and suspicions of constitutional

violations that they carry”. Furthermore, it commended the parliament’s decision to put the pact on hold for further study, and called for similar steps with regards to laws “that affect public rights or funds”. The Gulf security pact was met by stiff opposition from political groups, MPs and activists in the past few weeks based on the notion that it breached the Kuwaiti constitution and other laws and would suppress free-

KUWAIT: Opposition leaders holding a protest at the Kuwait University yesterday.

doms in the country. Several 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. Meanwhile, two lawyers described a security pact signed by Gulf states as “contractual” that does not carry any obligatory intentions or breach the constitutions or laws of its signatories. The agreement, signed but not yet fully ratified by the six states of the Gulf Cooperation Council - Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates - is characterized by its “articulate and transparent language”, Kuwait University professor of law Fayez Al-Dhifeeri said in an interview with Kuwaiti state television. Its general provisions and main principles do not whatsoever conflict with any of the Vienna conventions and it emphasizes a “goodwill” nature, he underlined. The agreement is also “mindful of the laws and constitution of Kuwait as its application does not interfere with the laws of the land, and its application is currently left open for every nation to make its own interpretation.” On the diplomatic scale, it represents a positive step towards forming union amongst the six neighboring states, he added. Personal rights For her part, legal advisor at the Kuwait Foreign Ministry Tahani Al-Nasser said that “the agreement places an infrastructure for cooperation amongst these nations, and is a contractual agreement. “It does not place any obligations on the state, but states that each nation shall cooperate with one another only if called upon,” she added. The agreement also ensures the respect of national regulations of each country, which she said means that local laws-including personal confidentiality and personal rights granted by the constitutionwould be considered ahead of the unilateral agreement. Kuwait, she said, has signed many similar agreements in the judicial, legal and security fields, which included similar procedures. She went on to stress that the agreement is not unfamiliar, and at the same time, is not unconditional as it is being subject to specific standards with the formation of a local committee that will revise it and discuss it as needed.

Amir sponsors closing ceremony of national heritage festival KUWAIT: Under the auspices of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah the closing and award-presenting ceremony of the fourth national marine heritage festival was held late Monday at the fishermen’s diwaniyax in Watya. The ceremony was attended by a large number of public figures and sports people as well as Deputy Minister of Amiri Diwan Sheikh Ali Al-

Jarrah Al-Sabah. In his speech, Head of the festival organizing committee Sheikh Salem Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah welcomed all attendants and competitors who participated in the competition. “We thank all those who contributed to the success of the festival at the forefront of them His Highness the Amir,” Sheikh Salem added. He pointed out that over 300 athletes took part in the main three competitions. The

first ten athletes of each competition were declared winners and were subsequently qualified to participate in the fourth and most important grand contest, named after His Highness the Amir. The three of the thirty were declared winners of the Amir’s competition. Sheikh Ali AlJarrah presented the prizes to the winners and announced the conclusion of 2014’s edition of the marine festival. —KUNA

KUWAIT: Egypt’s Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Shaikh Ahmed Al-Tayyeb visiting the Zakat House yesterday. Al-Tayyeb arrived here on Monday on a three-day visit.

Al-Azhar grand imam visits Zakat House KUWAIT: Grand Imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar Shaikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb and his accompanying delegation paid a visit yesterday to Kuwait Zakat House to get acquainted with the House’s role in collecting and distributing alms as well as in serving needy people. Shaikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb and his accompanying delegation were welcomed at the Zakat House HQs by Minister of Justice and Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Nayef Al-Ajmi and Director General of the Zakat House Ibrahim Al-Saleh. In a speech on the occasion, Al-Ajmi cheered the visit of the Egyptian religious delegation which also included Egypt’s Mufti Shawqi Ibrahim and Minister of Awqaf Mohammed Gomaa.

Al-Ajmi shed light on Zakat House’s concept, establishment and mission inside and outside Kuwait. For his part, Shaikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb thanked Minister Al-Ajmi and Zakat House’s officials for their warm welcome. He pointed out that he is looking forward to transferring the very successful experiment of Zakat House to Egypt. He noted that the charitable activities of Zakat House branch in Egypt could be seen across Egypt. Zakat House built scores of mosques and educational institutions in different Egyptian cities. It also offers Egyptian and non-Egyptian poor students financial assistance to help them complete their study. — KUNA

Kuwait may start evening burials KUWAIT: Kuwait’s municipal council has requested a religious opinion on the possibility of going ahead with evening burials. The municipality council members last year agreed to a proposal by the chairman Muhalhal Al-Khalid to bury the dead in the evening in order to avoid the blistering heat in the country, particularly during the long summer months when temperatures exceed at times 50 degrees Celsius. However, the council members said

that the approval of the country’s religious establishment was needed to implement the proposal. “All the members of the Municipal Council said that the opinion of the religious leaders was needed,” Mohammad Al-Mijal, the adviser to the council’s legal and financial committee, told local Arabic daily Al-Rai. “They believe that it is very important to know the stance of the religious authority at the ministry of endowments on whether evening burials are allowed in Islam,” he said.

KU renames Faculty of Pharmacy degree

KUWAIT: The award-presenting ceremony of the fourth national marine heritage festival at the fishermen’s diwaniya in Watya yesterday. The ceremony was attended by a large number of public figures and sports people as well as Deputy Minister of Amiri Diwan Sheikh Ali AlJarrah Al-Sabah.

KUWAIT: The council of Kuwait University (KU) approved yesterday the suggestion of the Faculty of Pharmacy to change the title of its certificate from BSc in clinical pharmacy into doctor in pharmacy. During its meeting yesterday under the chairmanship of Minister of Education and Minister of Higher

Education Ahmad Al-Mulaifi, the council also approved the master programs of the faculties of dentistry and the administrative sciences, KU spokesman Faisal Maqseed told reporters. The meeting was attended by KU Rector Dr Abdullateef Al-Bader, the spokesman added. —KUNA



Iraqi MP wants estuary agreement annulled All articles ‘in favor of Kuwait’ By A Saleh KUWAIT: An Iraqi lawmaker made an appeal to her country’s supreme court to reject an agreement that the Iraqi government signed with Kuwait for regulating navigation at the joint Khor Abdullah. The narrow strip of water separates Kuwait’s Boubyan and Warba islands from Iraqi lands, and the agreement was signed in the aftermath of Kuwait’s decision to build a strategic port on its largest island. “All articles of the agreements are in favor of Kuwait and at the expense of Iraq’s national interest,” said MP Aliya Nusayyef from the Free Iraqiya Coalition. She added that the “ball is in Iraqi Supreme Court’s court” to reject the agreement “in order to compensate for at

least some of the losses suffered as a result of the failed negotiations between the Iraqi foreign ministry and Kuwait”. Nusayyef has been outspoken in criticizing Kuwait’s policies as well as the Iraqi government’s attempts to negotiate pending issues with its Kuwaiti counterpart in recent years. Shadadiya visit Members of the parliament’s educational committee are set to tour the Shadadiya university construction site tomorrow morning, accompanied by Minister of Education Ahmad Al-Mulaifi. The trip is organized in order to follow up with construction works that are set for completion in 2015. This would be the first trip for minister Mulaifi to the Shadadiya university site since he

returned to the Cabinet last month. Parliament Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem and a team of MPs had visited the site during former minister Nayef Al-Hajraf’s tenure. Clean fuel project Fluor Corporation announced yesterday that its joint venture team was selected by Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) as the preferred bidder to design, construct and commission the Mina Abdullah’s Package 2 Clean Fuels Project in southern Kuwait. Fluor expects to book its undisclosed portion of the project value in the company’s first quarter of 2014. For the lump-sum, turnkey project, Fluor will provide engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) services as well as the associated commissioning,

start-up and testing support. “This project will increase productivity at the facility while also delivering products that comply with state-of-the-art environmental standards,” said Taco de Haan, president of Fluor Energy & Chemicals for Europe, Africa and the Middle East. “We are proud to continue our decades-long legacy of executing EPC projects with KNPC in Kuwait. We look forward to working with our joint venture partners and KNPC to successfully deliver this critical project.” The Clean Fuels Project involves upgrading Kuwait’s Mina Abdullah and Mina Al-Ahmadi refineries in order to increase capacity. Fluor formed a joint venture with Daewoo Engineering & Construction and Hyundai Heavy Industries for the Clean Fuels Project.


in brief

No tolerance with violations KUWAIT: Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and Planning Hind Al-Subaih launched a package of rules and measures addressing failures in some ministry departments to organize the labor market. She also stressed that she would not tolerate any violations. Subaih underlined that she would not hesitate in holding any charity organization legally accountable if they deviate from their main goals, get involved in financial violations or commit serious violations that jeopardizes Kuwait’s charity image. Foreign aid KD 565m KUWAIT: Responding to a parliamentary inquiry filed by MP Abdul Rahman Al-Jeeran about Kuwait’s total aid to foreign countries in the past five years, namely those withdrawn from the state’s reserves, Finance Minister Anas Al-Saleh said that the total foreign aid for the fiscal year 2012-2013 was KD 565 million and denied withdrawing any funds from reserves without a law. Saleh stressed that according to article 146 of the constitution, any expenditure not included in the budget or in excess of budget appropriations as well as the transfer of any funds from one part of the budget to another must be effected by law. He also said that aid was usually either included in the budget or a special law was issued. Moreover, Saleh explained that the total foreign aid was KD 166 million in 2009-2009, KD 53 million in 2009-2010, KD 137 million in 2010-2011, KD 288 million in 2011-2012 and KD 565 million in 20122013. Fire, safety exhibition KUWAIT: Kuwait Fire Service Directorate will organize its third international fire and safety exhibition under the patronage of HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah from March 4-6 under the slogan “Responding to risks - the highest standard.” Director of administrative development and training Col Ghazi Al-Khalidi said there will be speakers from Kuwait and abroad on high rise buildings and environmental challenges, hazardous materials and specialized response and catastrophe management systems. He said more than 60 local and international companies are participating in the exhibition.

KUWAIT: On the occasion of the 3rd anniversary of the Feb 17 revolution the ambassador of Libya Mohamed Omeish hosted a reception at Regency Hotel, Futoh Ballroom on Monday. A number of dignitaries attended the function. — Photos by Joseph Shagra

Al-Ghanim reiterates support to political solution to Syrian crisis TEHRAN: Kuwait National Assembly Speaker and President of the Arab InterParliamentary Union Marzouq Al-Ghanim reiterated support to international efforts to find a political solution to the Syrian conflict which claimed the lives of over 140,000 people. Speaking at the Ninth session of the Parliamentary Union of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Member States (PUIC), Al-Ghanim expressed hopes that different Syrian parties would adopt dialogue to reach a solution to the deadly conflict that tore the Arab country apart. He recalled and applauded His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh

Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s initiative to host the first and second aid pledging conferences for Syria donors in 2013 and 2014. He added that Kuwait stands beside the Syrian people and its legitimate rights and aspirations. With regard to the Palestinian cause, the top Kuwaiti lawmaker regretted the remarkable retreat of the Palestinian issue on the international agenda despite the continuity of the illegal Israeli practices against Palestinian people and occupied territories. Al-Ghanim said that the PUIC meeting could serve as a platform to unite and

revive Muslim efforts to give a momentum to Palestinian struggle to defend their rights and to see the birth of their independent state. He also called for more efforts to be exerted to end Palestinian division. He stated that the Arab InterParliamentary Union has assigned him to visit the UN Security Council permanent states as a part of an Arab diplomat push to press the international community to intervene to stop Israeli aggressions against Palestinians. On Iran’s nuclear deal with the Group of 5+1, Al-Ghanim described the deal as an important step forward for confi-

dence-building. He expressed hopes the talks would end up with a comprehensive and final agreement that help achieve stability in the region. Meanwhile, Al-Ghanim underlined that Kuwait, under the leadership of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, has greatly contributed to the international efforts to build effective partnerships among world countries to uphold world security and stability. He also pointed out that Kuwait has put forward several initiatives to support sustainable developments across the globe. —KUNA

Petrochemicals factories KUWAIT: The Polyolefins executive at Kuwait’s Petrochemical Industries Co. (PIC), Abdurrasoul Ja’far recently said that PIC was in dire need for support from Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) in order to purchase new petrochemical factories. Ja’far also said that PIC has set a comprehensive futuristic strategy based on that of KPC’s concerning petrochemical industries in Kuwait. He added that in view of the growing demand for petrochemicals, PIC was heading to east Asian countries like India and Indonesia and that it also intends investing in rock gas in north America. Further, Ja’far said that PIC would build a petrochemicals factory abroad and buy already existing ones and that this requires getting enough support from KPC.

Kuwait, Senegal value cultural ties KUWAIT: The Kuwaiti Ambassador to Senegal Muhammad Fadhel Khalaf discussed with Senegalese Minister of Culture and Heritage AbdulAziz Mbaye means of boosting bilateral relations, said a statement issued by the Embassy of Kuwait in Senegal yesterday.. The Senegalese minister praised the cultural scene in Kuwait, noting that art, music, and literature were the greatest linchpin that bound the cultures of the world together. He apprised the Kuwaiti Ambassador with the latest preparations Senegal was undertaking to host the next Francophone summit toward the end of this year, and to which numerous heads of state and governments would be invited. Ambassador Khalaf lauded the recently-held Afro-Arab summit and Senegal’s role in promoting cultural events and literary forums that dovetailed with the aspirations of peoples of Africa and the Arab world in fostering good relations and lasting friendships. —KUNA

Kuwait, France sign agricultural, transport cooperation MoUs PARIS: Kuwait and France yesterday signed at the end of the 13th session of the Joint Ministerial Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation two memoranda of understanding on cooperation in the field of cooperation in the agricultural and transport fields. The Kuwaiti delegation was led by Finance Minister Anas Al-Saleh while the French side was headed by Minister of Foreign Trade Nicole Bricq. Al-Saleh said at a joint press conference with the French Minister at the conclusion of the meetings that the signing of the two memoranda of understanding between Kuwait and France in the field of transport and agriculture will enhance cooperation between the two countries. He added that the Kuwaiti side welcomes the contribution of French companies to the implementation of various infrastructure projects because of their expertise, capabilities and great credibility. He stressed that the Government of the State of Kuwait attaches great importance to deepen and strengthen economic cooperation in all fields with the French Republic as the latter is one of the main allies of Kuwait, describing both countries’ ties as “distinct and strategic”. Al-Saleh said the upcoming visit of French Prime Minister to Kuwait in response to the invitation of His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah will give “additional support and incentive”

to the competent authorities in both countries to follow up on those recommendations. He expressed the aspiration of the State of Kuwait to take advantage of French expertise in supporting small and medium enterprises as well as in attracting foreign direct investment as well as taking advantage of them in the area of privatization of governmentowned companies. High hopes Meanwhile, France has high hopes of increasing trade with Kuwait in the coming years and meeting Kuwaiti expectations in many areas, particularly in the transport, health and agri-food sectors, French Trade Minister Nicole Bricq said. Speaking after the 13th session of the Franco-Kuwaiti joint commission, Bricq stressed French interest in working with Kuwait and in intensifying contacts in the public and private sectors and in mixed partnerships of both areas. Answering questions from KUNA, the Trade Minister said that the joint commission met for the last time in 2009 and both sides agreed that more regular meetings “at least every two years” should be held with the aim of boosting trade between the two nations. “ The year 2013 was a good one for Franco-Kuwaiti trade,” Bricq indicated. “(Trade) amounted to Euros 1.8 billion (just over USD 2.4 billion) in both directions and this is a record that was not reached since

1984,” the French official said. But she underlined France was not going to be satisfied with that evolution alone and Bricq said “we have a margin for improvement and we can do much better and boost our economic relations to the excellent level of the diplomatic and political relations” between the two nations. Bricq said that France hopes to “double trade levels with Kuwait over the next three years.” In meetings with Kuwaiti Finance Minister Anas Al-Saleh and other Kuwaiti officials and members of the Kuwaiti Chamber of Commerce, Bricq revealed that the two sides had determined “priorities” for moving forward together. Multi-dimensional partnerships “Indeed, both ministers signed two intergovernmental agreements, one for transport and the other for agribusiness, which will be the benchmarks for future cooperation. A separate agreement on private-sector exchanges is being signed by the Kuwaiti Chamber of Commerce and the French Employers’ Union (MEDEF). Discussions have also taken place on “multi-dimensional financial partnerships”, which relate to the potential of investments in French companies by Kuwait. Bricq said that France was conscious of the fact that Kuwait “is a very aware and long-term investor” and France would be seeking to show it was “an attractive” target for such investments from the Gulf country.

Both sides are also examining the feasibility to work together on “export credit” markets, using Kuwaiti capital and French government guarantees in certain countries. Ideally, if there is agreement on projects, it would mean combining investment strategies in third-party countries. Thirdly, France is broaching the question of selectively combining certain “development financing” strategies of both National Development Agencies (KFAED and AFD), working together, notably but not exclusively on infrastructure projects in the “the southern Mediterranean area” such as the Maghreb and other Arab nations in the region. But the financial issues are only under embryonic discussion and the focus of the talks in the Commission was on the transport, agri-food and health sectors. “In the agri-food sector, our trade is weak and...the aim of the French side is to bolster the Kuwaiti efforts so that they are less dependent on outside (sources of food),” she said. Kuwait “should be more self-sufficient by developing local supply lines for cattle, crops and milk production,” she added. Bricq said that France had “perspectives developing cooperation with Kuwait, for example in the aeronautics domain, but we also had an exchange on land transportation and urban mobility.” The French Minister presented a case for her country’s expertise and experience in the conception-to-operation potential of a metro system for Kuwait city and France is “fully

mobilised” for this project. But a broader rail system was also discussed between the two sides. “We hope to have the same success in Kuwait as we have had with other (Gulf ) countries,” she stressed. “We made it known that we have the capability of putting forward a full tender that goes from engineering to operation” of the Metro system, Bricq indicated. Hospital modernisation The third priority discussed yesterday dealt with the health sector, where there exists already cooperation between the two nations, with France offering pharmaceutical services and products in Kuwait and also helping with treatments in France for Kuwaiti patients. Bricq that France has presented an offer of health cooperation when she visited Kuwait in March 2013. She said that offer covered the pharmacy sector, exchange of patients and global institutional cooperation. “What we would like to present to the world is a Franco-Kuwaiti project that would include the construction of a ‘French Hospital’ in Kuwait,” she noted. She said both sides had agreed on a study on the potential to modernise a hospital in Kuwait that would specialise in cancer treatment. “In France, treating cancer, we have obtained very significant results over the years, both in treating this worldwide scourge but also in getting remission in cancers.” —KUNA



Mais Alghanim receives The Service Hero 2013 Award for Best Customer Service

The representatives of companies winning with Service Hero team

Ghanem conveys Amir message to Rouhani

American Eagle receives The Service Hero 2013 Award for Best Customer Service.

Caribou Coffee receives The Service Hero 2013 Award for Best Customer Service.

Service Hero announces Kuwait’s top performing service providers KUWAIT: Service Hero announced Kuwait’s top performing companies, at the 2013 Customer Service Assessment Awards Ceremony, which took place at the Hotel Missoni - Kuwait, on Monday. The awards were based on a six-month voting drive that collected a record breaking 14,575 direct customer votes collected online. The 17 industry categories that were rated in the 2013 Customer Service Assessment included cafes, casual dining, car service, clothes, electronics, fast food, fine dining, home furniture, Islamic Banks, ISP, mobile operators, new car sale, private hospitals, regional Arab airlines, retail banks and supermarkets. Each industry category was measured across up to eight service dimensions, which are reliability, speed, product quality, staff quality, value for money, location, call center and website quality. The winner from each category: Café: Caribou Coffee

Care Service: Infiniti New Car Sale: Chevrolet Casual Dining: Mais Alghanim Clothes: American Eagle Electronics: Eureka Fast Food: McDonald’s Fine Dining: Sakura Japanese Restaurant - Crowne Plaza Home Furniture: IKEA Islamic Banks: Boubyan Bank Mobile Operators: VIVA Private Hospitals: Royale Hayat Hospital Regional Arab Airline: Emirates Retail Bank: National Bank of Kuwait Super Market: Lulu Hypermarket. Overall country winners of the Service Hero 2013 Award for Best Customer Service among 320 companies are: First place: Mais Alghanim, Golden winner for 2nd time Second place: Caribou Coffee, Silver

winner for 2nd time. Third place: American Eagle, Bronze winner for 2nd time. Fate n A b u - G h a z a l e h , S e r v i ce Hero President, said: “I would like to congratulate the winners of Kuwait’s 2013 Customer Service Assessment Awards and in specific, those that have been able to benefit from the index over the years and move to or maintain a leading position in its category. This year ’s exercise has witnessed a 3% increase in the publ i c ’s g e n e r a l s a t i s f a c t i o n l e ve l s across 320 reviewed companies, w h i c h i s co n s i d e re d a m a j o r achievement. I would also like to thank the companies and customers for having faith in the purpose of Ser vice Hero. Their par ticipation motivates us to continuously seek different ways to improve our service”. The guest speaker of the evening was Dr Forrest V. Morgeson, Director

of Research at American Customer Service Index (ACSI), and the most recent member of Ser vice Hero’s advisor y council. As Direc tor of Research, Dr. Morgeson is responsible for managing ACSI’s academic research, statistical analysis, and its international licensing program (Global CSITM). Dr. Morgeson will also present Service Hero with valuable guidance and recommendations, which would positively affect the index performance and in turn, its impact on the economy. “Our recent partnership with ACSI is the first step towards taking our services to the next level. By partnering with the leading customer service index, Service Hero will receive world class guidance and will conform to a global benchmark system that will allow Kuwait’s companies a comparison to other similar brands in different markets around the world,” added Abu-Ghazaleh

TEHRAN: National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem said he conveyed a message from HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani yesterday on bilateral ties and regional developments. Rouhani received Ghanem, also President of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union, at the convention center in Tehran, which was hosting a conference of the Parliamentary Union of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Member States (PUIC). Speaking to KUNA after the meeting, Ghanem said he and Rouhani discussed ways of further cementing bilateral relations, as well as regional and international developments. “We have discussed the situation in the region, and I have explained to the Iranian president that the people of Kuwaiti and the Gulf are following the Iranian-Western dialogue and wish for its success. “However, if the (nuclear) negotiations, God forbid, are derailed and Iran and the West enter a military confrontation phase, then Kuwait and the GCC countries should not be involved in this matter,” asserted Ghanem. Rouhani, he said, “assured me of Iran’s good intentions towards Kuwait and the GCC countries, and that people of the Gulf should not worr y of Iran’s intentions because Iran is a Muslim country and cannot carr y out any hostile act against Muslims.” Ghanem said he emphasized to Rouhani that solving some thorny issues would have positive impacts on relations between Iran and the GCC countries. These issues are the continental shelf between Iran and Kuwait, the three islands of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, he said. “I also wished that bilateral relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia improve. Solving these files will benefit

TEHRAN: Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem meets Iranian President Hassan Rouhani yesterday. —KUNA the region and paves way to stability.” Rouhani, said Ghanem, believed in the necessity of “ending all these files on just legal basis as soon as possible”. On Iran’s nuclear program, Ghanem said he explained to Rouhani that people of the Gulf were worried of the possible environmental impacts of the Iranian nuclear reactors close to the Arab Gulf countries. “We also encouraged Iran to join international nuclear treaties as an assurance sign for all people of the region,” he said. The speaker also said the international community should not adopt a double s tandard polic y with reg a rds to the nuclear file and that Israel should be subjected to all international nuclear treaties. —KUNA

Woman kills newborn baby in prison cell New probe into visa forgery KUWAIT: A woman held at the Salmiya police station was charged with murder after she reportedly killed her own baby minutes after she gave birth to him inside her cell. The incident, according to the police report, took place Sunday but was only discovered Monday morning when police discovered that the Ethiopian woman was bleeding heavily. They questioned her cellmates, one of whom eventually revealed that the woman had ‘selfaborted’ the night before, then suffocated the baby who was born alive, placed his body in a plastic bag and dumped it in the trash can. Police summoned criminal investigators who recovered the baby’s body and sent it to the forensic department. An autopsy confirmed the time of death to be Sunday night, and the cause of death to be asphyxia. Investigations with the woman revealed that she carried out the abortion so that her pregnancy, which was a result of an illegal relationship, was not discovered. She further threatened her cellmates with murder should they expose her secret. The

Adan school a role model in solar power use KUWAIT: The Education Ministry launched its first school that uses 80 percent of its power produced by solar power in Adan. The project, which is in cooperation with Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, was described as a source of pride by Education Minister Ahmad Al-Mulaifi. He said the project aims at reducing the electric load and consumption at schools in Mubarak Al-Kabeer education zone at peak hours. He said the project is part of the education ministry’s interest in scientific research and its developmental plans, and that it is keen to cooperate with KISR as a national establishment that knows the domestic situation very well. He said that the ministry previously cooperated with KISR on several projects including the national atlas of facilities and educational services that aim at supporting decision making at the Education Ministry. It also documents the educational structure in Kuwait in a scientific fashion using geographic information systems and satellite imagery. —Al-Watab

woman is currently at the Maternity Hospital under tight security, and police are waiting for her to be released so that she can face charges of murder, adultery, abortion and others. Visa forgery Investigations are ongoing to arrest suspects responsible for forging visas to allow foreigners to enter Kuwait illegally. The case was discovered at the Doha Service Department where a Kuwaiti man told staff members that he discovered that an Asian man was registered under his employment. After inspecting the documents that the man provided, the center’s staff discovered that they were issued through forgery as they carried forged stamps and signatures, and were made to look like as if they were issued from the center. Police were notified and a case was filed. Jealous wife A Farwaniya resident filed a case against a woman she accused of beating

her up because the attacker claims that the plaintiff was flirting with her husband. In her statements to local police, the Kuwaiti woman said that the suspect broke into her apartment in the area and physically assaulted her while screaming “what do you want from my husband?!”. The complainant insisted in the meantime that she only had a phone conversation with the suspect’s husband over workrelated matters. Police are working on summoning the attacker for questioning. Fugitive nabbed A fugitive was arrested after he was caught driving a car with no license plates in Sulaibiya. Patrol officers grew suspicious of the Kuwaiti man after he became nervous after he was pulled over. The man was placed under arrest after an identity check revealed that he is wanted for attempted murder charges pressed by his ex-wife a week before. The man was taken to the area’s police station for further action.



Gulf Forum for projects development kicks off Young people mainstay in building societies KUWAIT: Deliberations of the Gulf Forum for projects development kicked off here yesterday under the auspices of Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Sabah Al-Salem AlSabah. Nizar Al-Mudhaf, President of the Forum and Director General of YANOF Training and Consulting company said in a speech that the current session of the forum would address a key and important component to build a state that is the youth sector, which represents one of the activities adopted by the Gulf Forum for the development of projects.

He added that young people are the mainstay in building societies and the advancement of the states being a promising future and desired hope, stressing the need to strengthen the role of young people and their attention and give them the confidence and full responsibility and care to stimulate the potential they have through the adoption of their creative creations in order to enable them to lead the state’s developmental projects. He explained that the Forum contributes to the achievement of the supreme desire of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-

KD16m for fertilizer factories maintenance

KUWAIT: The ambassador of the Republic of Serbia Mihailo Brkic held a reception at Crowne Plaza hotel on the occasion of the National Day of his country on Sunday. A number of diplomats and other dignitaries attended it. —Photos by Joseph Shagra

National celebrations at 360, Avenues Malls KUWAIT: Kuwait News Agency takes part in Kuwait’s celebrations of the National and Independence Days as well as the ‘Hala February’ through a pavilion at 360 Mall as of today. The Agency’s participation in the threeday (Kuwait..with love) festivity, stems from the importance of the national celebrations in enhancing the meaning of belonging and loyalty to the homeland, and the significance of the participation of all segments of the society in such celebrations. The aim of the agency through this participation is to open channels of communication and create open and continuous

relationships with the community institutions and individuals alike, in addition to strengthening the presence of KUNA as an institution as well as forming positive public opinion and strengthening the confidence of the public and the community with the agency’s various programs and activities. Brochures will be distributed to the public, in addition to displaying archived images of the agency as well as its latest publications. The agency will also take part in another festivity at the Avenues Mall between Feb 22-24. —KUNA

KUWAIT: Interior Ministry Undersecretary Lt Gen Al-Ihad inspects work at the criminal security department yesterday.

KUWAIT: The fer tilizer division in Kuwait ’s Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC) has formed a task force to conduct comprehensive maintenance work on all its fertilizer-producing factories at a cost of KD 16 million, said yesterday director of operations at the division Hamad Al-Subaiei in a press statement. The maintenance work will keep the factories running at optimum condition till at least 2016, said AlSubaiei, who heads the task force and who added that maintenance will take 40 days and will involve 400 technicians and 3000 laborers. Regarding rumors about the possibility of having the fertilizer factories privatized or even closed, he said all he knew that the factories were working at full capacity, which is about one million tons of urea. The division also got half a million tons more from its stake in the Gulf Oil Bahrain. Both amounts were being marketed together at internationally-set prices pending a final decision to be made by the Supreme Petroleum Council as to the future of the division, he said. He further said that world demand for fertilizers was strong and that Kuwait exported the vast majority of its production in view of the fact that only 2-3 percent of its production was marketed locally. —KUNA

Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in his support for young people and this was marked by the establishment of the Ministry of State for Youth Affairs so as to enhance the role of youth in the development process and their active participation in the advancement of the country. Al-Mudhaf pointed out that the General Secretariat of the preparatory committees of the forum believed that holding this conference would ser ve the youth sector and young leaders in all fields, to comply with the directives of the state in achieving sustainable development goals. —KUNA

WHO chief praises Kuwait’s voluntary contributions GENEVA: Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Margaret Chan ex tolled here yesterday the efforts of the State of Kuwait in support of the organization with annual voluntary contribution worth $500,000. Chan said that Kuwait’s contributions are distinct and reflect the farsighted vision of the political leadership of the countr y in dealing with health issues with an international dimension. The UN official expressed deep appreciation to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah, Council of Ministers, Parliament and the Kuwaiti people for their warm hospitality while hosting the international conference for donors to support the humanitarian situation in Syria for two consecutive years. She also drew attention to the provident vision of the State of Kuwait and its political leadership in connecting all

UN organizations and also those working in the humanitarian field to deal with the painful Syrian crisis which has been continuing for three years, which also affects neighboring countries. At the same time, Chan praised the role played by the State of Kuwait in the encouragement of scientific research to serve different areas of health. For his part, Permanent Representative of the State of Kuwait to the United Nations and international organizations here, Ambassador Jamal Al-Ghunaim said that this amount is part of the contributions of the State of Kuwait to the many organizations with a humanitarian nature, which is part of its foreign diplomacy to serve humanity. He added that Chan has expressed great appreciation for the political leadership in the State of Kuwait to the great humanitarian role played for many years in support of health issues and related pressing problems. —KUNA


LOCAL kuwait digest

kuwait digest

Kuwait facing huge dangers

Fight human trafficking

Family fund

By Aziza Almufarej

By Dr Hamad Al-Asidan



o take a break from local politics and news about the Gulf security pact, I decided to write about a very serious issue that was highlighted by the local press recently but has sadly received little attention compared to political news. This topic has failed to grab MPs’ attention despite the fact that it dominated front pages of multiple newspapers. Maybe because they believe that it does not directly affect citizens’ lives, despite the fact that it is vitally importance given its connection with Kuwait’s foreign policy and reputation. The issue pertains with news about dozens of fake companies referred to the public prosecution, a headline repeated in the past few weeks. This news has many implications, one of which is that the licenses of these nonexistent companies are used to recruit thousands of laborers who end up in the category of ‘marginal labor forces’. These are workers who discover after arriving to Kuwait that the job they had signed for does not exist, and that they are left to fend for themselves.



lthough immigrants are European, and not from the forests of poor and backward countries, and although such a decision will bring many repercussions to the relationship between Switzerland and the European Union; and although the decision has an influence on the economy in that country and it may lose a lot because of it, Switzerland courageously - without regard to protests and condemnations - went ahead and cancelled the European treaty that guarantees the freedom of movement of individuals to curb the immigration of Europeans to Switzerland. Half the population approved this sovereign decision in solidarity with their government. We leave Switzerland to land in Kuwait to see the strangest of things done by the young and old. We come here and see those who are working contrary to the interests of Kuwait and its people with a surprising deliberate determination. One gets puzzled when hearing the stories of bringing immigrants to the country through selling visas and benefitting from visit visas, as if those people who do not have job opportunities will not harm Kuwait and will not commit various crimes. This trade in human beings became the tool of the worst greed and the way of every sinful, greedy person to get more and more money, and it is regretful that the state colludes with those traders be them sheikhs or otherwise, by not exposing them and publishing their names and punishing them for what they have done against Kuwait. We have been plagued since liberation with a bad type of citizens who accepted to become slaves of the dirham, dinar and dollar, and it is a group that is totally ready to threaten peace and security in its country for more money in its bank accounts. That group brought into Kuwait all types of people after receiving the price of that so the country was filled with thieves, drug addicts, liquor smugglers, prostitutes, opportunity hunters, beggars, swindlers and the poor. You can imagine the security situation in the country due to this, and despite the level of security in Kuwait being high, crimes of all types fill newspaper pages. I do not know what is the government waiting for to correct things, but this rise in the crime rate in Kuwait in an unprecedented manner must ring a bell to draw attention to what is going on in the country because of a group that is never satisfied with money, and disturbed the population structure because of its financial greed away from Kuwaitis’ interests. Kuwait is facing huge dangers that are threatening its safety and security. It only needs a spark to light a fire, and only the blind do not see this. So please act - the 1990 disaster was enough. —Al-Watan

kuwait digest

Credibility of political blocs By Dr Bader Al-Daihani


hings are getting clearer by the minute in the political arena, especially for those who had good intentions and thought that the one-vote parliament tailored by the government would represent public will as stipulated in the constitution. It was clear from the beginning that it would be a rubberstamp one meant to legalize the government’s unsuccessful policies. Opposing the government’s unilateral decision to change the electoral system was not out of intellectual luxury, political conflicts or opposing merely for the sake of opposing. It represented rejecting the one-sided disturbance of the political equation on which our democratic constitutional system is built that should have been developed by allowing more public participation in decision-making, achieving freedoms and protecting citizens’ constitutional rights. However, the GCC security agreement seems to end the controversy about the reason why the one-vote system ever exists and what role it is meant to play to achieve the motto made by the former finance minister Mustafa Al-Shamali when

he said ‘No voice should be louder than that of the government’. This means that the government will always have the upper hand despite the opposition of a few MPs and this is all because the rubber-stamp parliament is only a nominal one meant to act as a decoration without allowing its members to criticize the government nor issue press releases as they wish. They are only allowed to grill some ministers and then urge the government to fulfill its duties. This miserable political situation is the result of the government’s dominance of decisionmaking and marginalizing public will, which led to terrible retreats in development, the spread of various forms of corruption and unprecedented public irritation in addition to the government’s constant attempts to violate constitutional rights and abuse public freedoms. Furthermore, the credibility of political blocs who always claim to be defending constitutional rights is at stake and this calls for reviewing their previous support to the government’s individual decision-making. —Al-Jarida

This is an image of inhumanity that goes against Kuwaiti traditions and values of our religion that prohibit unlawful profit. The fake companies collect up to KD 1,000 from each worker they ‘recruit’, and force them to pay KD 500 every year to renew their visas. This is an image of inhumanity that goes against Kuwaiti traditions and values of our religion that prohibit unlawful profit. The fake companies collect up to KD 1,000 from each worker they ‘recruit’, and force them to pay KD 500 every year to renew their visas. What adds to damaging Kuwait’s reputation is news about the arrest and deportation of hundreds of illegal residents every week. The Interior Ministry perhaps does not know that deporting those illegals is an indirect service to owners of fake companies, who after that can use the ‘openings’ created to recruit more workers, sending the problem back to square one. The problem continues given the lack of radical solutions. Even when the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor blocks the fake company’s file, there are many cases by which this condition can be bypassed as proven by multiple reports. My message to MPs is this - legislative works include a political side as well, and your focus should not only be targeted towards the legislative and service sides. An MP has responsibilities when it comes to Kuwaiti policy. Therefore I urge MPs to pay attention to the human trafficking problem in order to tackle this crime and protect Kuwait’s international reputation. — Al-Rai

in my view

Did Arab leftists betray revolution? By Rima Majed


he traditional Arab left-wing parties were as surprised as the Arab dictatorial regimes by the popular uprisings that started in late 2010 and swept over the region. Ironically, most left-wing parties were caught unprepared for what has become an important revolutionary movement in the modern history of the world. The Arab revolutions forced the Left to redefine itself and its priorities. Questions of social and political liberation became pressing matters in the region. The Egyptian and Syrian revolutions, in particular, have played an important role in widening the divide among traditional leftist groups, while making way for a new generation of activists to emerge. Left-wing parties, labour movements and unions in the Arab world have generally followed one of two trajectories: Either giving in to the state and becoming completely coopted by its apparatus; or, facing harsh repression and being banned from political life. For example, both the Egyptian and the Syrian communist parties were banned under Gamal Abdel Nasser and the Baath regime (during the unification years) until they agreed to align themselves with the regimes. In Syria, the communist party was only allowed to operate after it accepted to be part of the National Progressive Front established in 1972 by Hafez al-Assad in the name of pluralism, but for the clear goal of controlling any political activism. This step has consolidated an ageold split within the Syrian communist party, with more radical members forming the “Syrian Communist Party (Political Bureau)” led by Riad Al-Turk. This opposition group has been fiercely repressed by Assad’s regime that has banned the organisation and put Turk in prison in 1980 for 18 years. Political oppression Therefore, the so-called “progressive”, “socialist” and “nationalist” regimes of the Arab world since the 1950s, have actively killed any serious prospect for the emergence of a radical leftist or working class movement through co-optation or repression. In 2011, the Arab uprisings have exploded and diffused for a mixture of reasons to do with deep socio-economic roots and clear political repression by brutal regimes. On the eve of the uprisings, the socio-economic indicators of the Arab world were alarming. In addition to political oppression by dictatorial regimes, a considerable number of people in the Arab world were struggling to survive. The neo-liberal policies that have started with Anwar Al-Sadat in Egypt reaching Syria in 2000 after the ascension of Bashar Al-Assad to power have clearly been beneficial for the ruling class and those around them; however this has happened at the expense of the big majority of the population that suffered from increasing inflation, rising costs of living, high unemployment rates (especially among the youth) and extreme poverty. In Syria for example, the percentage of those living under the poverty line ($1/per) rose from 11 percent in 2000 to 33 percent in 2010. With such socio-economic indicators, one would have expected the Left to organise and mobilise in demand of social justice; however this didn’t happen. The Arab uprisings detonated in a very random way and rapidly spread cross-nationally defying old concepts of national borders and nationalism and proving that people from different

parts of the Arab world (and the world at large with movements like Occupy and Indignados) could identify with each other on the ground of oppression and inequality. The Arab uprisings detonated in a very random way and rapidly spread cross-nationally defying old concepts of national borders and nationalism and proving that people from different part of the Arab world (and the world at large with movements like Occupy and Indignados) could identify with each other on the ground of oppression and inequality. However, the question remains: What role did the Left play in those uprisings? The answer varied, depending deeply on the level of absorption within the regimes prior to 2010. With the exception of Tunisia, where the General Labour Union played a crucial role in the revolution because it has historically been independent from the state, most other leftwing parties in the region have been marginalised and basically played no important role in the uprisings. Communist parties in Syria (Bakdash branch) and Lebanon for example have opposed the uprisings saying that “it is very clear that what has been taking place in Syria has been in accordance with the imperialist plans”. The traditional Left has been discredited by the popular movements in the streets because of their relationships with the old regimes. New forms of left-wing activism have, however, surfaced in the last few years such as the Revolutionary Socialists in Egypt, the Revolutionary Left Current in Syria and the Socialist Forum in Lebanon. Although these groups are still relatively young and do not have enough political leverage or popular support, their understanding of the Arab revolutions and their analysis of its developments show a long-awaited “political maturity” in the Arab Left. Whereas the traditional left-wing parties mostly adopt a Stalinist top-down approach focusing on a national liberation approach, the growing leftist movements in the region are clearly influenced by a Trotskyist approach believing in the power of popular grassroots movements and socialism from below. The main difference between those currents within the Arab Left today is that the traditional Left believes that priority should be given to national liberation; whereas younger leftist groups consider that the main focus should be on social liberation since no real independence can be reached under a capitalist and repressive system. Contrary to the traditional leftist parties that focus mainly on geo-politics (favouring Iran and Russia under the illusion that these countries are anti-imperialist forces) and external imperialist and Zionist threats, these new leftist movements prioritise activism against internal inequalities and repression without losing sight of the broader geo-political context and the fact that Israel is an occupier. The Arab revolutions should be understood as a longterm process of deep economic, social and political change that will undergo many ups and downs before it finally settles. During this process, many of the social taboos will be broken, many of the norms and values will change and many movements will grow, but at the same time, many lives will be lost, many people will suffer and entire cities can be demolished in an attempt by the brutal regimes to erase not just the present, but the past as well.


Sadr slams Iraqi govt, tyrant PM

Pakistan militant resurfaces, setting off alarm bells in New Delhi Page 12

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TABA LAND PORT: Tourists from India arrive in Egypt after crossing the Taba Land Port yesterday, two days after a tourist bus exploded in the Egyptian south Sinai resort town near the border with Israel. - AFP

Militants warn tourists to leave or face attack Threat raises fresh insurgency fears in Egypt CAIRO: A militant Islamist group has warned tourists to leave Egypt and threatened to attack any who stay in the country after Feb 20, raising the prospect of a new front in a fastgrowing insurgency. The Sinai-based Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis group, which claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed two South Korean tourists and an Egyptian on Sunday, made the statement on an affiliated Twitter account. “We recommend tourists to get out safely before the expiry of the deadline,” read the tweet, written in English. The warning has not appeared on jihadi websites but the Twitter account has been accurate in the past. Islamist militants have killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers since the army deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July, but Sunday’s attack on a tourist bus marks a strategic shift to soft targets that could devastate an economy already reeling from political turmoil. “ What Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis has announced,

threatening to target tourists in the coming period, puts new challenges in front of the Egyptian security apparatus and the state in general,” said Interior Ministry spokesman Hany Abdel Latif. He said these incidents had both domestic and international ramifications. Tourists scared The uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak in 2011 scared off many tourists, dealing a major blow to an industry that was a major employer and accounted for more than 10 percent of gross domestic product before the anti-Mubarak revolt. Visitors are down to a trickle since army chief Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi deposed Morsi, triggering a bloody political crisis. Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis, Egypt’s most active Islamist militant organization, has threatened to topple the interim government installed by Sisi. Ansar enjoys tacit support from at least some of the marginalized Bedouin community and smug-

glers in the Sinai. This has enabled them to survive several army offensives in the largely lawless peninsula. While security forces have crushed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis has become more brazen. The group has extended its reach beyond the Sinai to cities including Cairo, where they claimed responsibility for an assassination attempt on the interior minister. The latest tweet referred to a warning first issued on Feb 16 on the same Twitter account urging tourists to leave. “This statement, if genuine, would add tourism quite explicitly to the target set already outlined by Ansar, which includes security forces and economic interests of the state and the army,” said Anna Boyd, an analyst at London-based IHS Jane’s. An army source said that the latest militant attacks were a reaction to a military offensive which was hurting militants. “They are breathing their last breath,” he said. —Reuters

Supreme Court commutes death sentence for Rajiv Gandhi killers Court spares killers from hangman’s noose NEW DELHI: India’s Supreme Court yesterday spared three killers of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi from the hangman’s noose, citing delays in the case 23 years after his assassination by a Tamil suicide bomber. The top court headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam handed the three life in prison on the grounds that successive Indian presidents had taken 11 years to decide their pleas for mercy against execution. “We implore the government to render advice in a reasonable amount of time for taking a decision on mercy pleas,” Sathasivam told the court in announcing the judgment. A lawyer for the three men-Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan, all known by single nameshailed the judgment as “humane,” adding that they were now living in hope of one day being released from prison. “There is hope that the convicts will walk out of jail. The remission will be decided by the state government of Tamil Nadu,” Yug Chaudhary told NDTV outside the court. “It is time that the death penalty is abolished in this country,” he added. The decision comes after the Supreme Court issued a landmark judgment last month that places new restrictions on executing prisoners in the world’s biggest democracy. The top court then commuted the death sentences of 15 convicts, ruling that “inordinate and inexplicable” delays in carrying out a death sentence were grounds for commuting a sentence.

The three at the centre of yesterday’s ruling were members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a Sri Lankan-based separatist movement, which was wiped out by Sri Lankan forces in 2009. The men were convicted of plotting the May 21, 1991 murder of Gandhi by a female suicide bomber, but their appeal to the president in 2000 for clemency was only rejected in 2011. The Chennai High Court in the country’s south then stayed their executions, pending another round of appeals from lawyers and state politicians who opposed their hanging. The lengthy delay contrasts sharply with the execution of Kashmiri Muslim separatist Mohammed Afzal Guru last year over a deadly raid on the Indian parliament in 2001 that left 10 people dead. Successive governments in India have long been wary of upsetting the large Tamil population in the south where the trio’s case has become a cause celebre. India had an eight-year unofficial moratorium on carrying out the death penalty from 2004 to 2012, with only three people executed in the last decade. The delays have led to a build up of more than 400 prisoners on death row. Murder seen as retaliation Gandhi had become India’s youngest ever prime minister after his mother, former premier Indira Gandhi, was assassinated in October 1984. He

ruled until losing an election five years later. His widow Sonia is the president of the ruling Congress party and his son Rahul is the frontman for the party’s campaign in elections due by May. The shredded clothes and the shoes that Rajiv was wearing when he was killed while on an election tour in the south of the country remain on display in a museum in the Indian capital. Gandhi’s killing was seen as retaliation for a 1987 Indian government pact with the Sri Lankan government to disarm the guerrillas, who had been trained and armed by New Delhi in the early 1980s. After that pact, the LTTE fought Indian troops deployed to Sri Lanka by Rajiv Gandhi’s government to supervise the accord. India withdrew its troops after 32 months in which it lost 1,200 soldiers at the hands of the rebels. A relative of one of the killers, Perarivalan, reacted with joy to the news, saying “for the full family it is an emotional moment.” “Perarivalan ... when you see him, he is a totally good human being,” his aunt Nilaypapiya told NDT V in the southern city of Chennai. Amnesty International said yesterday’s decision piles pressure on the government to abolish the death penalty altogether. “India must now do away with the death penalty-a cruel, inconsistent and irreversible form of punishment that has no proven deterrent effect on crime,” senior researcher Divya Iyer said in a statement.—AFP



Iran, world powers seeking comprehensive nuclear deal VIENNA: Nuclear talks between Iran and world powers moved to the next level yesterday as negotiators began work on transforming an interim deal into an ambitious lasting accord. Expectations were not high, however, for the scheduled three-day Vienna meeting between Iran and the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany, the first in a likely series of tricky encounters. Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Monday he was “not optimistic” and that he expected the talks to “lead nowhere”-although he also said he was not against the negotiations. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, speaking after a dinner Monday with the chief negotiator for the six powers, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, was more upbeat. “We believe we can reach an agreement and we have come here with the political will to reach a final agreement,” Zarif was quoted by Iran’s ISNA news agency as saying, adding however that it “will take time”. “It is probably as likely that we won’t get an agreement as it is that we will,” said one senior US administration official. “But these negotiations are the best chance we have ever had.” Iran has long been suspected of seeking atomic weapons, despite its denials, and the US and Israel-widely assumed to have a formidable nuclear arsenal itself-have never ruled out mil-

itary action. Foreign ministers from the seven countries struck a deal in Geneva on November 24 that was widely hailed as an enormous breakthrough after a decade of failed diplomatic efforts and rising tensions. Under the accord, which took effect on January 20, Iran scaled back certain nuclear activities in exchange for minor relief from painful sanctions and a promise of no new sanctions. For the first time the West accepted Iran enriching uranium, a process producing nuclear fuel but potentially also material for a bomb, having previously demanded a total suspension. But the freeze only lasts until July 20 — although it can be extended-and experts say that success in Geneva came at the price of postponing discussions on the really difficult issues. “Geneva really was a stop gap, a bandaid solution that didn’t really heal the wounds,” Siavush Randjbar-Daemi, Iran and Middle East lecturer at Manchester University said. Comprehensive solution Under the “comprehensive” solution that the parties aim to sew up by November, the six powers want Iran to scale back permanently-or at least for a very long time-its nuclear program. This might include closing the underground Fordo facility, slashing the number of centrifuges enriching uranium, cutting the stockpile of fissile material and altering a new reactor

being built at Arak. This, plus much tighter UN inspections, would not remove entirely Iran’s capability to get the bomb but would make it substantially more difficult. In exchange, all UN Security Council, US and EU sanctions on Iran-which are costing it billions of dollars every week in lost oil revenues, wreaking havoc on the economy-would be lifted. But whether Iran will play along remains to be seen, having before the talks set out a number of “red lines” including not dismantling any facilities. Washington’s watching The senior diplomats in Vienna will be well aware that whatever they agree will need to be sold not only to other countries like Israel and the Sunni Gulf monarchies, but also back home. Obama has to contend with members of Congress threatening more sanctions and demanding-with Israel-that nothing short of a total dismantlement of Iran’s nuclear facilities will do. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, meanwhile, whose election in 2013 has helped thaw relations with the West, is already on thin ice with hardliners seeking to turn Khamenei against him. “The trouble is that both sides have hard men outside the negotiating room who have to be satisfied,” Richard Dalton, the former British ambassador to Tehran now at think-tank Chatham House said.—AFP

VIENNA: A general view shows representatives of Iran, the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France, Germany and the European Union as they attend the EU 5+1 Talks with Iran at the UN headquarters in Vienna, Austria yesterday. —AFP

BANGKOK: An injured protester is helped by medic team to an ambulance during a clash between police force and anti-government protesters yesterday in Bangkok.— AP

4 die; gun battles erupt in Thailand PM to face charges over rice scheme BANGKOK: Gun battles erupted between Thai police and anti-government protesters in Bangkok yesterday and four people were killed and dozens wounded as authorities made their most determined effort yet to clear demonstrators from the streets. In a day of tangled developments in Thailand’s longrunning political crisis, the country’s anti-corruption body announced it was filing charges against Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra relating to a rice subsidy scheme that has fuelled middleclass opposition to her government. The troubled rice scheme, already near collapse, suffered another blow when the Government Savings Bank (GSB) said it was scrapping a loan to a state farm bank that could have been used to prop the scheme up in the face of a revolt by depositors. The clashes were some of most intense between protesters and security forces since the campaign to unseat Yingluck began in November, and raised the prospect that the army might feel compelled to intervene if the bloodshed worsens. The protests are the latest installment of an eight-year political battle broadly pitting the Bangkok middle class and royalist establishment against the poorer, mostly rural supporters of Yingluck and her billionaire brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra. Reuters witnesses heard gunfire and saw police firing weapons in the Phan Fa Bridge area in the old quarter of the city. Police said they had come under fire from a sniper on a rooftop and M-79 grenades were also fired. The policeman was killed by a

gunshot and several were wounded by a grenade, security officials said. The Erawan Medical Center, which monitors hospitals, said on its website that three protesters had also been killed by gunfire. The centre said 64 people had been wounded. It did not provide a breakdown of how many of the wounded were police and how many were civilians. Security officials said earlier that 15,000 officers were involved in the operation, “Peace for Bangkok Mission”, to reclaim protest sites around central Bangkok’s Government House and other government offices in the north of the capital. Yingluck has been forced to abandon her offices in Government House by the protesters, led by a former deputy premier, Suthep Thaugsuban, who have also blocked major intersections since midJanuary. Police said they had arrested 183 people at two protest sites at the Energy Ministry, which had been cleared of protesters, and Phan Fa Bridge, and were detaining them for violating a state of emergency declared last month. Trouble started with clouds of teargas near Government House and soon police were crouching behind riot shields as officers clashed with protesters. It was not clear who had fired the teargas and the authorities blamed protesters. By the afternoon, police had largely withdrawn from protest sites and the streets were quiet. National Security Council Chief Paradorn Pattanathabutr said top officials were meeting to decide whether to continue the operation on Wednesday. There has been no move

against the biggest protest sites in the city’s commercial and shopping districts. Army stays aloof The protesters are trying to oust Yingluck, whom they view as a proxy for her elder brother Thaksin, a former telecoms tycoon-turned-premier, toppled by the army in a 2006 coup. The military has remained aloof from the latest crisis, but has a long history of intervening in politics, generally in support of the Bangkok establishment that includes the top brass, royal advisers and old-money families. “If enough people are killed then the arch-royalist grouping might pressure Yingluck to retreat from her pro-active approach towards Suthep,” said Paul Chambers, director of research at the Institute for South East Asian Studies in Chiang Mai. “I don’t think the military would carry out a coup, but they would ask Yingluck to back off from Suthep.” Among the protesters’ grievances is the rice subsidy scheme, a populist move to pay farmers an above-market price that has proved hugely expensive and run into funding problems. The National Anti-Corruption Commission announced an investigation last month, and yesterday said it was summoning Yingluck to hear charges against her on Feb 27. “Although she knew that many people had warned about corruption in the scheme, she still continued with it. That shows her intention to cause losses to the government so we have unanimously agreed to charge her,” Vicha Mahakhun, a member of the commission, said in a statement.—Reuters

South Sudan rebels seize oil-producing Upper Nile JUBA: South Sudanese rebels said they had seized control of the capital of oil-producing Upper Nile state yesterday, in an assault the government branded a flagrant breach of a ceasefire signed in January. The rebel strike was the first attack on a major town since the Jan 23 ceasefire deal, but the government denied rebels now controlled Malakal, which lies on the fringes of a key oil-producing area in the country’s northeastern corner. The clashes will fuel concerns over the security of South Sudan’s northern oil fields - an economic lifeline for the world’s newest state - and raise pressure on both camps to revive stalled peace talks in neighboring Ethiopia. Gathoth Gatkuoth, commander for rebel forces in Upper Nile who is a close ally of former vice president Riek Machar, told Reuters by telephone his forces struck Malakal on Tuesday morning and swiftly retook the dusty market town. Both camps have repeatedly accused the other of breaking the ceasefire accord. South Sudan on Tuesday voiced frustration at the lack of progress made deploying regional observers to flashpoint areas and said fighting continued in Malakal. “It is a flagrant violation of the cessation of hostilities agreement signed by both sides,” South Sudan’s Information Minister Michael Makuei said. “We have been calling on the envoys to expedite the establishment of the monitoring mechanism but nothing has happened so far.” Malakal lies about 140 km from Paloch, an oil complex where a key crude oil processing facility is situated. South Sudan says it has already been forced to cut oil production by a fifth to 200,000 barrels per day, all of which is pumped from Upper Nile. Rebel control of Malakal could raise concerns over its ability to maintain the rate of output. “All the oil from the fields around Upper Nile is

pumped to Paloch,” said Jacob Jok Dut, director of the Centre for Democracy and International Analysis who follows the oil industry closely. “If Malakal comes under rebel control, then definitely there will be tension in and around Upper Nile.” Peace talks stalled Oil accounts for 98 percent of government revenues. Oil firms in South Sudan, a country the size of France, include China National Petroleum Corp, India’s ONGC Videsh and Malaysia’s Petronas. Work in some fields has been suspended. Thousands of people have been killed and more than 800,000 have fled their homes since fighting began two months ago, triggered by a power struggle between President Kiir and Machar, his former deputy whom he sacked in July. Situated on 650 km north of the capital Juba on the banks of the White Nile, Malakal first fell to rebels after fighting broke out in mid-December before government forces recaptured it last month. The rebel move on Malakal may be aimed at strengthening its hand before a second round of peace talks in Ethiopia. An army spokesman in Juba said communication has been lost with the town and fighting continued in Malakal’s southern area. UN spokesman in South Sudan, Joe Contreras, said a UN camp in Malakal, where many of the displaced people had fled for protection, had been caught in the crossfire. Peace talks had been due to resume last week, but were held up by a rebel demand that four remaining political prisoners held by the government be released and the Ugandan military, which is supporting Kiir’s army, withdraw from South Sudan. Government officials privately acknowledge negotiations are unlikely to make progress until the senior political figures are freed. The government says the detainees tried to launch a coup.— Reuters

Sadr slams Iraqi govt, tyrant PM BAGHDAD: Powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr yesterday slammed Iraq’s government as corrupt and its leader as a “tyrant” while calling on citizens to vote, days after announcing his exit from politics. The televised speech seemed aimed at establishing the cleric, who leapt to prominence with his fierce criticism of the 2003 US-led invasion, as a figure above the everyday Iraqi political fray. “Politics became a door for injustice and carelessness, and the abuse and humiliation of the rule of a dictator and tyrant who controls the funds, so he loots them... and the cities, so he attacks them, and the sects, so he divides them,” Sadr said. He was apparently referring to Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, whom he has repeatedly criticized in the past. Sadr called on Iraqis to vote in parliamentary elections that are now a little more than two months away. Iraqis “must participate in these elections in a major way, so that the government does not fall into the hands of the dishonest,” Sadr said. He also reaffirmed his weekend announcement that he was separating himself from his powerful political movement, which holds dozens of parliamentary seats and six ministerial posts. “I will remain for all-not for the Sadrists only, for I dedicated myself to Iraq and to Islam,” Sadr said in comments indicating he still could play an influential role in Iraq’s political future. Sadr’s rise was aided by the reputations of two famed relatives-including his father, Mohammed Mohammed Sadiq Al-Sadrwho were killed during Saddam Hussein’s rule. Sadr was also the commander of the Mahdi Army, a widely-feared militia that battled US forces and played a key role in the brutal Sunni-Shiite sectarian conflict in which thousands of people were killed. He later suspended the militia’s activities and in recent years his 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



Vigilantes ‘rehabilitate’ gangsters in Mexico’s west LA NOPALERA: Under the watch of vigilantes, a pair of captured drug cartel henchmen mop the floors and cook in a dusty, sparsely furnished house in Mexico’s unruly west. The duo once worked as “hawks,” or lookouts, for the cult-like Knights Templar gang that terrorized Michoacan, but they are now in the hands of civilian defense militias that have ousted the cartel from several towns. The vigilantes, who are marking their one-year anniversary this month, came together to combat a cartel that they accused of murdering, kidnapping and extorting their populations in the lush agricultural state. The civilian militias now say they want to “rehabilitate” the less-virulent, low-ranking former members of the Knights Templar, because punishing all would be a tall task in a state where the cartel was so entrenched in society. The two young men held in La Nopalera, a town within the former gang-dominated municipality of Apatzingan, sleep on dirty mattresses in a ramshackle house they share with 10 vigilantes. “The order is to hold them for three months under my watch and simply convince them psychologically that they have to take the correct

path,” said a vigilante leader who goes by the name Comandante Patancha. “If they escape, they may not be pardoned,” said the mustachioed man. No better option If they change their ways, however, they can return home or join the self-defense force, which could earn them $450 a month, close to what they earned with the cartel. “If the Knights Templar were to catch us, they would kill us,” said Manuel, who gave a fake name for fear of being targeted by his former employers. “Now I don’t have a better option than to help the self-defenses,” the married, 25-yearold father of two said. Manuel and his cohort Carlos, who also gave a fake name, say they are much better off with the vigilantes, who feed them and do not tie them up. They even receive weapons training. When they worked for the cartel, they faced beatings and threats for underperformance. The cartel sees itself as a righteous order defending Michoacan, indoctrinating its recruits with pseudoreligious literature inspired by the Christian crusaders. Manuel and Carlos say they were captured

by federal police and then handed over to the vigilantes. The federal government has deployed almost 10,000 police and troops to Michoacan in a bid to curb the violence, and last month it struck a deal to legalize the growing vigilante movement. The government says it has captured more than 300 people linked to organized crime, but the authorities have yet to capture Knights Templar leader Servando “La Tuta” Gomez. Manuel says he joined the cartel because he was not earning enough picking limes in the Tierra Caliente (“Hot Land”) region, Mexico’s lime and avocado heartland. But Carlos admits that, like many of his friends in Apatzingan, he was allured by the gang life, partly because it made it easier to woo women. “You would see these armed guys walking around and nobody could say anything to them,” the svelte 20-year-old said. “You wanted to be like them.” Can’t banish all The Knights Templar gang once roamed Michoacan with impunity, riding in cars bearing their symbol, the Christian crusaders’ red cross.

Vigilantes have destroyed altars that had been built in honor of a Knights leader. Estanislao Beltran, the spokesman for the self-defense militias, said towns in Tierra Caliente were “in complete collusion with the Knights Templar.” “Are we going to capture and banish all of them? Are we going to create ghost towns? What are we going to do?” he wondered, adding that some towns have formed citizen assemblies to decide the fate of captured gang members. A vigilante in charge of a checkpoint in the town of Pinzandaro said the militias are getting help from members of a gang known as Los Viagras, who have broken away from the Knights Templar. Self-defense leaders have been accused of having been part of organized crime groups. Federal officials have said that some vigilantes who were detained last year admitted to getting support from the Knights Templar cartel’s enemy, the Jalisco New Generation gang. But vigilante leaders say the agreement with the government that legalizes their movement, which calls for militiamen to join “rural defense” forces under the army, will allow them to purge their ranks of any cartel infiltrators.— AFP

Venezuela expels three US diplomats, protests rumble American diplomats accused of conspiring against govt

President Barack Obama

NSA surveillance exposes political party divisions WASHINGTON: The debate about whether to continue the dragnet surveillance of Americans’ phone records is highlighting divisions within the Democratic and Republican parties that could transform the politics of national security. While some leading Democrats have been reluctant to condemn the National Security Agency’s tactics, a growing number of Republicans have begun to embrace a libertarian shift opposing the spy agency’s broad surveillance powers - a striking departure from the aggressive national security policies that have defined the Republican Party for generations. The lines are drawn but not in the traditional way. The Republican National Committee, leaders of the party’s libertarian wing like Kentucky Sen Rand Paul and liberals like Massachusetts Sen Elizabeth Warren are on one side of the debate. And Florida Republican Sen Marco Rubio, Democratic former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the House and Senate leadership are on the other side, defending the Obama administration’s surveillance programs as necessary to prevent terrorism. The split in each party could have practical and political consequences ahead of the 2014 congressional elections and the 2016 presidential contest. Congress may address government surveillance this spring in one of its last major moves before members head home to focus on the November elections. But if Congress puts off the surveillance debate to this time next year, it would resurface just as the presidential primary campaigns are beginning. Phone records At issue is the bulk collection of millions of Americans’ phone records, authorized under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. Details of the program were secret until June when a former NSA systems analyst, Edward Snowden, leaked classified documents that spelled out the monumental scope of the

government’s activities. The bulk collection provision in the law is set to expire on June 1, 2015, unless Congress acts to renew or change the program sooner. More than a decade after the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Americans have become less willing to support invasive surveillance tactics in the name of national security. Recent polls show a sharp decline in public support for the NSA programs created during the administration of Republican President George W Bush and continued under Democratic President Barack Obama. The Obama administration justifies the surveillance program, in part, by pointing to Congress’ continued approval and support. But the president also has called for some changes in an effort to win back public trust that would provide more privacy protections and transparency but not end the program completely. Clinton, the overwhelming Democratic favorite should she seek the presidency, has been virtually silent on the NSA debate for months. Last fall she called for a “full, comprehensive discussion” about the practices but also defended the surveillance: “From my own experience, the information-gathering and analyzing has proven very important and useful in a number of instances,” she said. A Clinton spokesman declined further comment last week. Paul, a prospective Republican presidential hopeful and favorite of the small government tea party movement, contrasted Clinton’s position with his own aggressive opposition to Bush-era intelligence programs, as polls suggest that a growing majority of Republicans - tea party supporters in particular - are deeply skeptical of the federal government. “I think in 2016 if you had a more liber tarian-leaning Republican, and you had someone like Hillary Clinton, I think you could actually completely transform where people think they are and what party people think they have allegiance for,” Paul said at a recent Washington conference. —AP

CARACAS: Venezuela gave three US diplomats 48 hours to leave the country on Monday, accusing them of conspiring against the government to incite protests that were the OPEC nation’s most serious violence since President Nicolas Maduro’s April election. Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said the three consular staff used visa visits to universities as cover for promoting studentlead protests. The demonstrations, which have energized the opposition but show few signs they can oust Maduro, continued on Monday with rowdy protests around Caracas and various provincial cities. On Wednesday, the protests turned deadly and three people were fatally shot. “They have been visiting universities with the pretext of granting visas,” said Jaua, who often faced off against police during his own days as a student demonstrator. “But that is a cover for making contacts with (student) leaders to offer them training and financing to create youth groups that generate violence,” he told reporters. The US State Department called the allegations “baseless and false,” adding that Washington supported free expression and peaceful assembly in Venezuela and around the world. Venezuela has routinely expelled US diplomats in recent years as the relationship between the two countries frayed during the 14-year rule of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez. Critics dismiss such moves as theatrics used in times of national commotion to distract from more serious issues. Protests rumble on Student demonstrators have vowed to stay in the street until Maduro resigns, though the 51year-old former bus driver has vowed not to cede even a “millimeter” of power. The Caracas protests have been limited to mostly upscale areas, and there has been little evidence that Venezuelans will join them en masse. Even so, thousands were out across the nation of 29 million people again on Monday. Police fired teargas at student protesters near the office of the Popular Will party, whose leader, Leopoldo Lopez, has been a main instigator of demonstrations. Party workers said armed men presumed to be military intelligence officers burst into their premises seeking national coordinator Carlos Vecchio. Vecchio’s current whereabouts were not clear. Videos sent to media by Popular Will, which could not be independently identified, showed men entering the premises waving guns and trying to kick down a door. The government has issued an arrest warrant for Lopez, a 42-year-old, US-educated hardline opposition leader, on charges including murder and terrorism. His whereabouts were unknown, though in an online video he promised to hand himself in on Tuesday and called on supporters to march with him to the Interior and Justice

CARACAS: Members of the National Guard clash with students holding an anti-government protest in front of opposition leader Leopolpo Lopez’s party’s headquarters in Caracas. — AFP Ministry. “Let’s all go dressed in white to one about violent acts by both sides have piled up place. Then, I will walk alone. I will not put any over six consecutive days of confrontations between police and demonstrators. Opposition Venezuelan’s life at risk,” he tweeted on Monday. In other demonstrations on Monday, students activists say some detained student demonstrablocked several avenues in affluent neighbor- tors have been tortured, while videos and photos hoods of Caracas. Elsewhere, protesting students circulating online show uniformed men firing on in the Andean city of San Cristobal burned tires, protesters. Maduro insists police have been while residents reported trouble in Merida and restrained in the face of provocation and attacks. The reporters’ trade union said 11 journalists on the island of Margarita. “I’m not sure we’re going to gain from this. But we have to do some- have been arrested, some of whom were beaten thing,” said dentistry student Rita Moreno, 19, and had their equipment stolen while covering among about 500 protesters in Caracas’ affluent the unrest. Venezuelan photographer Gabriel Osorio said that on Saturday troops hit him in the Altamira district. The Andean Development Corporation sus- head with a pistol, shot him with rubber bullets pended its popular annual marathon scheduled and broke one of his ribs. “I was working. I wasn’t for this weekend in Caracas. Venezuela’s highly throwing rocks,” Osorio told a local newspaper. “I traded global bonds, which fluctuate sharply on yelled ‘I’m with the press,’ but that actually civil unrest or political tension, remained near 18- seemed to be what triggered their attack.” Government leaders have denounced viomonth lows, though trading in US markets was generally light due to the President’s Day holiday. lence by demonstrators linked to opposition Bank of America said in a research note on marches, including vandalizing buildings and Monday that the protests were unlikely to result burning of trash along city avenues. Hooded proin a change of government, recommending that testers have gathered outside the headquarters investors take advantage of attractive yields on of state TV channel VTV for the past few nights, lighting fires in the streets and hurling stones bonds that mature in coming years. and Molotov cocktails. “If anyone thinks they’re going to halt the activities of (state TV), they’re Violence on both sides Only 13 students were still detained after sorely mistaken,” said the channel’s president, nearly 100 arrests in the past week. Complaints Yuri Pimentel. — Reuters

Japanese diver found dead off Bali; 5 rescued DENPASAR: The body of a Japanese scuba diver was found floating near a beach on the Indonesian resort island of Bali yesterday, a day after the astonishing rescue of five others in the group. The diver, almost unrecognizable after days in the water, was one of seven women who disappeared Friday after setting out on a diving expedition from Nusa Lembongan, just east of Bali. As days passed hopes faded that any of the women would be found alive in an area known for its stunning underwater beauty but also its strong and unpredictable currents. But fishermen found five of the women clinging to a coral reef in rough waters on Monday, some 20 kilometers from where they set off, and rescuers plucked them to safety in a helicopter and lifeboat. The news was greeted with delight in Japan. Hopes rose earlier the remaining two were also alive after villagers said they thought they had spotted them in the area where the others were rescued. But searches of the area turned up nothing and officials revealed in the evening that members of the public had found the body floating near Serangan beach, a popular surfing spot in south Bali. “We are convinced that the body belongs to one of the two missing Japanese divers, based on the diver’s characteristics,” Bali search and rescue chief Didi Hamzar said. “It is difficult to recognize the victim and she has lost some hair,” he said, adding she was still wearing a wetsuit and flippers. He said the body had been taken to a hospital in the Balinese capital Denpasar for an autopsy. He did not have any news on the seventh diver. Earlier in the day a helicopter and rescue boats had scoured the area around Manta Point, off Nusa Penida Island, where the other divers were rescued. Penida is next to Nusa Lembongan. —AFP



Protesters, police battle near Ukraine parliament Worst street violence since late January

MOSCOW: Russian opposition activist Sergei Udaltsov gestures in a court room prior to a hearing in the Bolotnaya square protest trial in Moscow yesterday. — AP

Russia opens trial of Putin’s foe Udaltsov MOSCOW: A Moscow court yesterday opened the trial of radical opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov on charges of using the funding of a Georgian politician to try to destabilize President Vladimir Putin’s rule. The high-profile case stems from bloody protests in Moscow involving tens of thousands of demonstrators on the eve of Putin’s swearing-in to a third presidential term in May 2012. The unrest led to hundreds of arrests and a crackdown on leaders of the youthdriven anti-Putin movement that emerged in response to tainted December 2011 parliamentary elections won narrowly by the ruling party. The 37-year-old Udaltsov and his co-defendant Leonid Razvozhayev both face up to 10 years in a high security penal colony on charges of fomenting mass unrest and “destabilizing the sociopolitical situation in the Russian Federation”. “I expect nothing good from this case,” Udaltsov’s attorney Violetta Volkova told reporters outside Moscow City Court. “Sergei is an absolutely peaceful politician,” said the lawyer. “The current political regime is thus tightening the screws on its political opponents.” Udaltsov enjoys only a narrow following in the protest movement and espouses strongly nationalist viewsincluding admiration for Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin-that play poorly in big cities such as Moscow where most of the opposition’s support is based. But Putin’s critics believe his case reflects the Kremlin’s broader use of both the courts and the pre-

dominantly government-owned media to quash dissenting views before they gain publicity or support. The charges against Udaltsov and Razvozhayev were filed in 2012 after NTV television-owned by state energy giant Gazprom-aired a propaganda film that billed itself as an expose of the crimes committed against Russia by leaders of that winter’s protests. One of the grainy blackand-white clips allegedly showed Udaltsov meeting with a Georgian tycoon and onetime lawmaker named Givi Targamadze and discussing ways to subvert the Russian leadership. Targamadze is an ally of former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili-a sworn foe of Putin who waged a brief 2008 war with Russia and is despised by Moscow’s political establishment for seeking closer ties with the West. State prosecutors accuse the two codefendants of plotting attacks against Russian railroads and public buildings with Targamadze’s financial help. Russia has issued an arrest warrant for Targamadze but Georgia has so far refused his extradition. Udaltsov-who has been under house arrest since February 2013 - has never denied having met or received money from Targamadze but has dismissed the charges against him as a “fabrication”. “I do not feel any guilt,” he told the Moscow opposition’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper ahead of yesterday’s hearing. “In my view, there is no proof that we did anything wrong or had any motive to organise unrest.”— AFP

KIEV: Several thousand anti-government protesters clashed with police near Ukraine’s parliament yesterday, torching vehicles and hurling stones in the worst violence to rock the capital Kiev in more than three weeks. Police replied by firing rubber bullets and stun and smoke grenades from trucks and from the tops of buildings, forcing the protesters back by about 100 meters. The renewed clashes piled more pressure on President Viktor Yanukovich to strike a deal with the opposition to reduce his presidential powers and defuse a 12-week crisis that has turned Kiev city centre into a fortified camp of resistance. Inside parliament, where opposition leaders brought proceedings to a halt by blocking the speaker’s tribune, opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko urged Yanukovich to take riot police off the streets to avert further “conflict in society”. “I am appealing to the president. Take the Berkut (riot police) and interior forces off the streets. Do this and it will provide a way out. It will be the decision of a real man,” the boxerturned-politician told reporters inside parliament. “We are not talking any more about hours but about minutes.” The protesters had marched to the parliament building to press the opposition leaders’ calls for Yanukovich to relinquish what they call his “dictatorial” powers and particularly his control of the economy and the security forces. But when they were blocked by a line of trucks about 100 meters from the building, they hurled stones at police, a Reuters witness said, and set three trucks ablaze with petrol bombs. Ukrainian television said five protesters had been hurt in the clashes. The report could not immediately be confirmed. As the clashes extended into early afternoon, protesters ransacked a nearby office of Yanukovich’s Party of the Regions. Yanukovich has been battling the opposition-led street protests since he walked away from a trade pact with the European Union in November and opted instead for forging closer economic ties with Russia, Ukraine’s Soviet-era master. The protests have since broadened into a revolt against perceived sleaze and corruption in the Yanukovich leadership. ‘We’re not for sale’ Opposition leaders are pressing him to accept curbs on his powers that would allow them to form an independent government to end the street unrest, now in its third month,

KIEV: Anti-government protesters throw rocks during clashes with police in front of the Ukrainian Parliament in Kiev yesterday. — AFP

and to save the economy from collapse. In what has become a geo-political tussle redolent of the Cold War, the United States and its Western allies are urging Yanukovich to turn back to Europe and the prospect of an IMFsupported recovery, while Russia accuses them of meddling. Yanukovich, who must soon name his choice for a new prime minister, got a boost on Monday when Moscow said it would give Kiev a fresh cash injection this week of $2 billion - part of a $15 billion aid package to shore up a heavily indebted economy. News of the fresh credit from Russia failed to cheer the currency market, where the troubled Ukrainian hryvnia fell by up to 1.6 percent against the dollar yesterday, Reuters trading system showed. It also failed to impress the protesters. “If all the money that today’s

authorities have stolen was returned we’d be able to help Russia with our money,” said 35year-old Serhiy Vashko. “We don’t need their money.” “We don’t need this money from Russia because it is not meant to help but to buy us. But we are not for sale. Can’t they see that this is simply a dirty bribe?,” said Valentin Sypko. Thousands of protesters have turned Kiev city centre and its main Independence Square into a fortified camp, surrounded by barricades of tyres, sandbags and barbed wire. They say they will not withdraw until Yanukovich has made real concessions. At least six people have died in the unrest, though there had been no violent clashes between radicals and riot police for more than three weeks until yesterday’s fresh outbreak.— Reuters

Christian militias invade 2nd city in Central Africa BERBERATI: The Christian extremists came in waves, first a small group, then larger and increasingly violent forces, until Berberati, the second city in the Central African Republic, had been completely invaded. Mayor Albert Nakombo described his town of some 50,000 people, located more than 600 kilometers southeast of the capital Bangui, as “peaceful up until now” and “proud of its tradition of hospitality”. The town was occupied for more than a year by mainly Muslim fighters of the Seleka rebellion who put Michel Djotodia in power last March and ran riot by attacking Christians. But Berberati was spared by the Seleka forces who had gone on to commit widespread atrocities elsewhere when Djotodia was forced to step down by his regional peers in January for failing to halt the violence. “There were a lot of them, but they left the town without doing any harm,” Nakombo said. “We gave a big sigh of relief.” Then, a few days after the ex-rebels pulled out, on Saturday February 8, the first “anti-balaka” (anti-machete) group of vengeful Christians arrived in town. “This phenomenon had never existed in our region,” the mayor said. Formed early in the 1990s in northwestern CAR to fight bands of robbers, anti-balaka militias forces took up arms again last summer to attack civilians of the Muslim minority, accused of siding with the Seleka fighters. Across the poor and landlocked country, a brutal surge of killings, mutilations, rapes and pillage has driven hundreds of thousands of people from their towns and villages. Entire Muslim communities have fled. ‘Sectarian cleansing’ Amid international warnings of “mass atrocities and sectarian cleansing”, summed up Friday in the words of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, African nations and France have deployed more than 7,000 troops, due to be backed by European Union peacekeepers. In Berberati, the anti-balaka came first from the north and then the east. “There were several hundred of them,” said Father Thomas Isaie, the priest at the Saint Basile church situated in the town’s main Muslim district, Loumi. “On the Monday, they started to search the homes of Muslims. I prevented them from getting hold of the mosque. I said ‘No, this is sacred.’ During the day, another wave arrived, armed, more threatening and more vindictive and they began systematic destruction,” the priest said. Isaie added that about 10 Muslims were killed, while other residents spoke of 15 dead. “What happened here was planned,” the mayor declared. Among the militiamen, there were many renegade soldiers of the Central African Armed Forces (FACA), who had been beaten last year by the Seleka, according to witnesses. Coming from the Bossangoa region to the northwest and also from neighboring Cameroon, these insurgents include supporters of ousted president Francois Bozize who ruled 2003-2013, said Mamadou Achirou, a representative of the Muslim community. More than 500 Muslims have taken refuge inside the bishop’s residence, protected by a few Congolese soldiers from the African Union’s MISCA peacekeeping force. Laundry lay on the grass to dry, men huddled under a frangipani tree to chat, and children laughed as the troops passed by. These people were brought to safety by Father Isaie, who said that more Muslims come to his church each day. “There are also many Christians who protect the Muslims, bringing them to the parish or taking them in.” ‘Prove they are Christians’ Last Wednesday, about 150 French paratroopers arrived in Berberati as a scout force before the deployment of other

units from France’s Operation Sangaris military mission and of more MISCA troops. “Sangaris is here but we need to take action,” Mayor Nakombo said. “These people who have invaded us are wandering around town and mocking the population. We must put an end to that.” “Now they say they want to cooperate with the authorities, but that’s a diversion,” argued Father Isaie, though he acknowledged that “most of the anti-balaka” withdrew from the town when the French troops arrived. “Looting and threats against Muslims are still taking place,” he added. “Parishioners are asking me for baptismal cards to prove that they are Christians. Are we going to accept that?” the priest asked on Sunday during a meeting attended by General Francisco Soriano, commander of Operation Sangaris. A few moments before the meeting, a hand grenade exploded at one entrance to Berberati, seriously wounding three people. “Be careful,” a nun named Sister Benedicte warned the French general. “In the districts, I listen to young unemployed people and youths who are suffering. Many support the anti-balaka.” “The population needs to understand that those people have not come to protect them,” Soriano replied. “They are here to help themselves and bring disaster. We must stop them. The Seleka have gone. We must not allow others to take their place.”— AFP

After twenty years, Russia and Estonia sign border treaty MOSCOW: Russia and Estonia signed a treaty setting out the position of their joint border yesterday after more than 20 years of wrangling that reflected tension between Moscow and the small Baltic state. The treaty must still be ratified by the parliaments of both Russia and Estonia, which has joined NATO and the EU since the 1991 Soviet collapse. Russia and Estonia have a frontier with operating border posts but animus that built up over decades of Soviet dominance hampered efforts to formalize it. “I am sure this will ... strengthen the atmosphere of trust and cooperation,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after signing the pact with Estonian counterpart Urmas Paet. Estonia was occupied by Soviet forces in 1940. They returned, after evicting German troops, in 1944 and Estonia remained part of the Soviet Union until 1991. Russia says Soviet forces liberated eastern Europe from Nazi Germany, and bristles at those who question its narrative of World War Two and the postwar era. The nations signed a border treaty in 2005 but Russia refused to ratify it after Estonian lawmakers adopted ratification documents that Moscow said could have led to demands for land or compensation. Ties remain tense. Russian officials have accused authorities in Estonia of condoning efforts to treat the Nazis as heroes and of discriminating against the Russian-speaking minority in the nation of 1.3 million - allegations that Estonia dismisses. — Reuters



Kerry in surprise Tunisia trip as Egypt ties fray TUNIS: US Secretary of State John Kerry made a brief, unannounced trip to Tunisia yesterday to back the transition to democracy in the North African country that spawned the Arab Spring. His visit came amid troubled relations between the United States and longtime ally Egypt over the military overthrow of the Islamist government elected there in the aftermath of the 2011 uprisings that shook the Arab world. Tunisia’s agreement earlier this year on a consensus government and a new constitution three years after the ouster of veteran dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has been hailed as a model by Western governments uncomfortable about events in Egypt. Kerry met President Moncef Marzouki and caretaker Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa, who formed a cabinet of independents in January after a monthslong political crisis ignited by the assassination of two secular politicians. “We are very impressed by the steps that you have been taking, by the rational, thoughtful approach to the transition,” Kerry told Marzouki. He congratulated Tunisia on its adoption last month of a new constitution that has

been widely hailed as the most progressive in the region, calling it a “big step”, and said he looked forward to elections planned for later this year. Before boarding the plane for France, his next stop, Kerry said the visit was intended to show Tunisians “that there are many, many countries and many people in the world who admire what people have been engaged in here”. The top US diplomat often refers in his speeches to the Tunisian fruit vendor who set himself alight in protest at his country’s lack of democracy. The shocking selfimmolation sparked the January 2011 revolution that toppled Ben Ali and ignited the Arab Spring uprisings across the region. “What is unique, or at least striking in particular about Tunisia, is the willingness of opposing sides to reach out and show some inclusiveness and cooperation,” a senior US official said, asking not to be named. Progress despite violence Tunisia’s new leaders have grappled with a surge in Islamist unrest, which saw the murder of two opposition politicians, Chokri Belaid and left-

ist MP Mohamed Brahmi. That sparked a crisis between the governing Ennahda party, a moderate Islamist movement, and its secular opponents, from which the country is only now emerging with the adoption of the new constitution. Ennahda, which won Tunisia’s first free elections in Oct 2011, stepped down in January under a hard-won agreement to end the crisis. That allowed Jomaa to form a cabinet tasked with leading the country to fresh elections. Despite the political progress, Islamist violence remains a threat, and the new leaders must also deal with persistent social unrest. More than 1,000 protesters gathered Monday in the town of Jendouba to condemn the weekend killings of four people by suspected jihadists. Kerry hailed the Tunisian security forces’ success in arresting militants and breaking up Islamist cells in recent weeks, in operations he described as “well planned and executed”. State Depar tment officials have also said Washington wants to work with the authorities to bring to justice those behind a 2012 attack on its

embassy and the American school in Tunis, after suspended jail terms were given to 20 suspects last year. “In our view there’s more that could be done both in terms of arrests and prosecutions”, a senior State Department official said. Washington has given some $400 million in assistance to Tunis since 2011. Kerry was also to upgrade ties during his visit, announcing that they would launch a strategic dialogue, a high-level forum for regular talks. Washington’s relations with Tunis contrast with those with Cairo, where army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi tilted squarely towards Moscow in a visit last week. Asked by journalists what lessons Egypt could learn from Tunisia, Kerry said he was “not going to advise General Sisi” at a press conference, but would talk to the Egyptian authorities personally in the coming days or weeks as part of a “continuing dialogue”. Kerry left Tunis for Paris for a meeting today with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas as the US seeks to hammer out an agreed framework to guide negotiations with Israel towards a peace treaty. — AFP

Pakistan militant resurfaces India raises alarm, fears of terror attacks NEW DELHI: The Pakistani Islamic hardliner blamed for an attack on India’s parliament that brought the nuclear rivals to the brink of war has resurfaced after years in seclusion, setting off alarm bells in New Delhi. Twice since the end of December, Indian authorities have issued an airport security alert, warning of an attempt by members of a Pakistanbased militant group called Jaish-e-Mohammad, or Army of Muhammad, to hijack a plane, with smaller airfields most at risk. Indian officials have said the alerts followed reports of increased activity by Maulana Masood Azhar, the leader of the outlawed militant group. Azhar was named by an Indian court as the prime suspect in a 2001 attack on India’s parliament aimed at taking top political leaders hostage. Fifteen people were killed, most of them security guards as well as the five men who stormed the complex. Tensions between the old enemies spiralled after the attack and up to a million troops were mobilised on both sides of the volatile border. Pakistan refused to hand over Azhar to India. The portly and bearded cleric has remained mostly confined to a compound in his home city of Bhawalpur in Pakistan’s Punjab province for years, but three weeks ago, he addressed supporters and said the time had come to resume jihad, or holy war, against India. “There are 313 fidayeen (fighters who are ready to die) in this gathering and if a call is given the number will go up to 3,000,” he told the rally held in the city of Muzaffarabad by telephone. A Reuters journalist who was present said a telephone was held next to a microphone which broadcast his comments to loudspeakers. Flags of Jaish, inscribed with the words “jihad”, fluttered in and around the venue of the gathering. Azhar spoke from an undisclosed location. Indian intelligence analysts have described Azhar’s resurgence as part of a change in tactics in Pakistan as US forces withdraw from Afghanistan this year, and as Islamabad tries to clamp down on Islamic insurgents who oppose the Pakistani government. The Indians say Pakistan’s military establishment is bringing militants like Azhar out of cold storage, with the promise of helping them fight India, while trying to stamp out the radicals they can’t control. Talat Masood, a retired Pakistani army general, said: “It is very dangerous that the Pakistani establishment is giving space to him. They are playing with fire and the fire will engulf them.”

Remains in control A former fighter for Jaish, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Azhar remained in command of the group, operating from his Bhawalpur base. “His speech via telephone should not be a surprise for people involved in jihad, he has been controlling the organization very actively,” the man said. The security alerts in India occurred just days before Azhar spoke. They were not publicized but two officials, one from the domestic Intelligence Bureau and the other from the Central Industrial Security Force, said authorities had increased checks on airport staffers to ensure nobody with forged passes gained access. Security had also been increased in Delhi’s suburban rail system, where commuters go through metal detectors, are patted down and have their bags checked in x-ray machines. Staff of the Central Industrial Security Force now work 10-hour shifts in the metro system, so there were more guards at any point. Azhar was arrested in Indian Kashmir in 1994 while travelling on a forged Portuguese passport. India freed him and two other jailed Pakistani militants in 1999 in return for 155 passengers held hostage in an Indian Airlines aircraft that was hijacked to southern Afghanistan. One of the other freed militants was British-born Omar Sheikh, a close associate of Azhar who was later convicted in the 2002 abduction and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. After his release, Azhar set up the Jaish to fight Indian forces in Kashmir, the Himalayan region claimed by both countries and the trigger for two of their three wars. India has long accused Pakistan’s powerful spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), of close links with hardline groups like Jaish. “Jaish has an obsession with India that transcends Kashmir. They had so many plans. Any reactivation of Masood Azhar is cause for deep concern,” said A K Doval, a former head of India’s Intelligence Bureau and one of the foremost experts on militant groups in South Asia. Other officials in India said the rally in Muzaffarabad and Azhar’s address wouldn’t have been possible without state clearance, a charge Pakistan strongly denies. “He addressed a rally, but steps will be taken to ensure he doesn’t do it again,” said Tasnim Aslam, spokeswoman for Pakistan’s foreign ministry. “It is not possible we would allow his group to cause terrorism elsewhere when it is banned for causing terrorism in Pakistan.” She said independent investigations had often shown that attacks in India were blamed on Pakistan but sometimes caused by domestic politics or rogue members of the Indian security services. “There’s a tendency in India to hyperventilate without finding out all the facts,” she said. Rana Banerji, a former special secretary at India’s main spy agency, the Research and Analysis Wing, and a leading expert on Pakistan, said Azhar could not have re-surfaced without approval from Pakistan’s intelligence agencies. “He has been allowed to exist in closely monitored conditions all these years on the premise he would keep his activities low key,” said Banerji. “But now that he has been allowed to emerge publicly suggests there is an attempt to allow them a platform for their malevolent energies,” he said. — Reuters


in brief

Man jumps to death from skyscraper in Hong Kong HONG KONG: A 33-year-old man plunged to his death yesterday from the roof of a 30-storey building in Hong Kong’s financial district that houses the Asia headquarters of banking giant JP Morgan. “At around 2pm... a man fell from the rooftop of the building. Police arrived and saw him unconscious. He was sent to the hospital where he was certified dead,” a police spokeswoman said. Several policemen had scrambled on to the roof of Chater House in the skyscraperpacked district in a bid to convince the man, surnamed Li, not to jump but failed, the South China Morning Post reported. The Apple Daily posted pictures on its website of the man in a dark-colored outfit, apparently standing at the edge of the roof. The SCMP identified the man as a forex trader with JP Morgan but a company spokeswoman refused to confirm whether he was an employee. “We are deeply saddened by this tragic incident in Chater House and the case is being investigated by the police. Our sympathies are with the family of the deceased person,” she said. Several banking giants have set up their headquarters in the southern Chinese city of seven million which promotes itself as the business gateway to the world’s secondlargest economy.

Nine die, 14 soldiers kidnapped in Yemen

ISLAMABAD: A supporter raises the portrait of former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf as they chant slogans outside a court in Islamabad yesterday. — AP

Musharraf in court for first ‘treason’ hearing ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s ex-ruler Pervez Musharraf became the first former army chief to appear in a national court yesterday in a treason case seen as a test of civilian rule over the country’s powerful army. The 70-yearold arrived in a heavily protected cavalcade of at least half a dozen vehicles wearing a dark blazer and appearing relaxed during a hearing that lasted only a few minutes. He sat in a witness box and stood briefly when addressed by the judge, but did not speak. Asked afterwards how he was feeling, he said that he was “good”. He faces treason charges, which can carry the death penalty, over his suspension of the constitution and imposition of a state of emergency in 2007 while he was president. He was first ordered to appear before the tribunal on December 24, but has missed repeated hearings since then due to bomb scares and health problems that saw him complain of a heart ailment. His defense lawyer Anwar Mansoor argued yesterday that judge Faisal Arab had not responded to a challenge to the court’s ability to try the former general, which Arab promised to decide on Friday. Musharraf has challenged the civilian court’s right to try a former army chief, saying he is entitled to be dealt with by a military tribunal. He has also accused Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, whom he ousted in a 1999 coup, of waging a “vendetta” and has asked for permission to go abroad for medical treatment, which has been refused. “We can call him again after deciding on the

jurisdiction issue,” judge Arab said after declaring that he intended to formally indict Musharraf. Sharif came to power after elections in May last year in the first transfer of power from one elected government to another after a full term. Pakistan has endured three military coups since independence from Britain in 1947. Other legal cases Musharraf has endured a torrid time since returning to Pakistan in March last year on an ill-fated mission to run in the general election. Almost as soon as he landed he was barred from contesting the vote and hit with a barrage of legal cases dating back to his 1999-2008 rule. The charges against him include the murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in December 2007. So far, nothing has come of rumors that a backroom deal would be struck to get Musharraf out of the country before trial, to avoid a destabilizing clash between the government and the powerful armed forces. There were tight security arrangements all around the National Library in Islamabad where the court has been holding hearings on the treason case. Musharraf’s cavalcade from a military hospital in neighboring Rawalpindi was flanked by police and paramilitaries with the lead vehicle equipped with a mounted machinegun. A wall of shipping containers had also been constructed around the library and jamming devices to prevent mobile phone signals were in operation, even inside the court. — AFP

South Korean roof collapse

kills 10 at college meeting GYEONGJU: Emergency staff worked through the night in snow and sleet to pull survivors from the debris of an auditorium whose roof collapsed under the weight of snow, killing 10 people and injuring 100, most of them recently enrolled freshmen of a South Korean university, officials said yesterday. The students had gathered at the auditorium of a holiday resort for a welcoming ceremony Monday night when the roof came crashing down, leaving twisted metal and debris of concrete and wood. Weather officials say the southeastern region saw the heaviest snowfall this month since measurements began three years ago. Bad weather hampered rescuers who had to reach the site outside the historic tourist city of Gyeongju on icy roads. Working all night, they extricated survivors, many of them injured, and rushed them on stretchers to waiting ambulances. Family members and friends of the dead gathered in a hospital morgue in the nearby city of Ulsan. Kim Pan-su fought back tears as he talked about his daughter, Kim Jin-sol, who was one of the dead. He said he had called his daughter’s friends when he couldn’t reach her. “Her friends said that she ... was safe but that she couldn’t escape. This is the only thing I was repeatedly told,” Kim said. “I felt that something was weird, so I went to the university ... I had just parked my car in the parking lot when they called the names of

people that died, including my daughter’s.” President Park Geun-hye ordered an investigation as well as safety checks of buildings near the country’s east coast, which has seen heavy snow this winter. The resort’s owner, Kolon Group, believes that snow likely caused the collapse but is examining more specific causes. About 560 students from Busan University of Foreign Studies had gath-

ered for a two-day freshman orientation at the Manua Ocean Resort when a crack appeared in the auditorium ceiling before the collapse. Nine students and another person were killed, two people were seriously injured and 103 lightly injured, said Jung Yoon-han, director of the disaster management department at the Ministr y of Security and Public Administration. —AP

ADEN: Nine people were killed yesterday in clashes between armed men and Yemeni soldiers in the southern city of Dalea, local residents and the Defense Ministry said, in escalating unrest in the province. The Defense Ministry’s website said four soldiers and one officer were killed in the clashes. Fourteen other soldiers were kidnapped by what it described as saboteurs after an attack by gunmen on a truck carrying food supplies. Local residents reported that four civilians, including a child, had also died in the clashes. The province is regarded as a stronghold for southern separatists demanding restoration of the former socialist state that merged with North Yemen in 1990.

India police kill 7 Maoist rebels MUMBAI: Indian police killed seven Maoists yesterday during an operation hailed as a victory for security forces in a rebel stronghold known as the “Red Corridor”. Police came under attack in a jungle area of Gadchiroli district in the western state of Maharashtra, sparking an exchange of fire between the two groups, said local police spokesman Dharmendra Joshi. “They came under fire in the early morning. There were no injuries sustained by police, and the identification of the dead bodies is going on,” Joshi said. “The combing operations of the area have intensified.” Gadchiroli police chief Mohammad Suvez Haque said officers believed a Maoist divisional commander was killed in the firing, after which weapons including an AK-47 and rifles were recovered from the rebels. “This is a great achievement for the police forces as Maoists have been involved in several violent activities in the Gadchiroli area for many years,” Haque said. The Maoists have become a potent insurgent force, demanding land and jobs for the poor and fighting for a communist society by toppling what they call India’s “semi-colonial, semi-feudal” form of rule.

Asylum seekers riot at PNG’s detention camp SYDNEY: An asylum seeker was killed and at least 77 injured in the second riot this week at a detention centre in Papua New Guinea (PNG) used to process asylum seekers, Australia’s Immigration Minister said yesterday. One person was in critical condition with a head injury and another sustained gunshot wounds during the clashes on a small island in impoverished Papua New Guinea. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says the riot began when detainees forced their way out of the centre, but refugee advocates insist it was sparked when Manus Island residents and police stormed the facility, attacking the asylum seekers. The facility is part of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s tough stance against asylum seekers but it has come under fire over human rights concerns. “Our sympathies are extended to the transferees - that person’s family and friends who would have been in the facility as well,” Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said in reference to the dead asylum seeker. “If people choose to remove themselves from that centre then they’re obviously putting themselves at much greater risk and in an environment where there is violent behavior,” he told reporters in the northern Australian city of Darwin.

Magnitude 6.5 quake strikes off Barbados

GYEONGJU: A general view shows the scene of a collapsed building at the Mauna Ocean Resort in Gyeongju, in South Korea’s south eastern Gyeongsang Province yesterday. —AFP

BRIDGETOWN: A magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck off the Caribbean island of Barbados yesterday morning, the US Geological Survey reported, causing no reported damage. The quake, which was originally reported as measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale, was 118 miles northeast of the capital Bridgetown at a depth of 10.5 miles. The quake, which struck shortly before dawn, did not immediately appear to have had any notable impact in Bridgetown, the island nation’s capital. There were no reports of damage in the island, nor any of aftershocks from the quake, which was also felt in St Lucia about 130 miles away. The USGS initially reported the quake had a 6.7 magnitude. Barbadians were advised by Judy Thomas, the director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency to “go on about your business as usual.” Most people on the road in the early dawn, or on their way to work in their cars, apparently felt nothing.



Big cannabis bust off Oman Continued from Page 1 commander Brian Schlegel said its seizure would help staunch funds going to extremist groups that rely on illegal drug shipments for income. “The 62 bags contain cannabis resin bricks, almost 4,000 bricks in total. Each brick is more than enough to buy an AK-47 or IED (improvised explosive device) components,” said Schlegel. “Removing the funding that

flows from the sale of these drugs has a direct impact on a terrorist organisation’s ability to buy weapons in the future.” The Melbourne is in the Indian Ocean on global anti-piracy operations and has intercepted nine suspected pirate vessels since leaving Australia in Aug 2013. During its mission, it has seized 543 kg of heroin estimated to be worth in excess of US$1 billion, including a 353 kg bust off the coast of Tanzania earlier this month. — AFP

Iraq blasts kill 49 Continued from Page 1

behind today’s attacks in Hilla to confuse the security forces and cause high casualties among civilians,” he said. “They are criminals and they never get enough of innocent blood.” Fourteen more people were killed in explosions in Baghdad. In one, a bomb inside a parked vehicle exploded near a bus station in the Bayaa district, killing five, the sources said. There were also blasts in the Amil, Ilam and Shurta districts. In northern Iraq, troops were fighting to wrest control of Sulaiman Pak from Sunni militants who took over parts of the town last Thursday and raised the black flag of the Islamic state in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) over it. At least four policemen were killed in Sulaiman Pak, 160 km north of Baghdad, when a mortar round fired by the army during clashes with militants yesterday struck the wrong target. ISIL is active in neighbouring Syria and seeks to establish a Sunni state spanning the border into Iraq: “The spillover from Syria is the most important factor in the upsurge of violence in Iraq over the past year,” Maliki said. The city of Fallujah in Iraq’s Sunni-dominated province of Anbar has been under siege by the army since early January, when militants, among them ISIL, overran it after security forces cleared a site where Sunnis were protesting against Maliki. Deteriorating security in Anbar has raised doubts that parliamentary elections can be held nationwide in April as scheduled. Maliki said he would not allow militants to “undermine (Iraq’s) emerging democratic institutions”. Sadr encouraged people to vote but said he himself would not take part or back any side. “All should widely participate in election in order not to let the government fall into untrustworthy and malicious hands.” — Reuters

A cyclist is silhouetted against the rising sun and reflected in a puddle in Hannover in northern Germany yesterday. — AP

Some fellow Shiites also accuse Maliki of amassing power and abusing it. Influential Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr, who announced his withdrawal from politics at the weekend, said Iraq was governed by “wolves thirsty for blood and money”, alluding to Maliki as a “dictator and tyrant”. Sadr, who led revolts against US forces in Iraq before their pullout and went on to become a major force in the government, said he had decided to retire in order to distance himself from a “failed, corrupt and unjust government”. “Whenever a Shiite, Sunni or Kurd objects to them, they accuse him of sectarianism or being a terrorist,” he said in his first speech since dissolving his movement on Saturday. In yesterday’s attacks, car bombs exploded in predominantly Shiite districts of Baghdad and the southern city of Hilla, police and medical sources said. No group immediately claimed responsibility for any of the attacks, but Shiites are a target for Sunni Islamist militants. At least 35 people were killed in seven car bomb explosions inside Hilla, 100 km south of Baghdad, and the nearby towns of Haswa, Mahaweel and Mussayab. A further 90 people were wounded. “I was sitting in my shop when suddenly a powerful blast smashed the front window,” said Ali Mousa, whose mini-market was near the site of one bomb in central Hilla. “I went out to see what happened and saw bodies on the ground and wounded people bleeding and shouting for help.” Hilla police chief, Major General Abbas Abid, blamed groups linked to Al-Qaeda. “Al-Qaeda terrorist groups stand

Kuwait help sought to mend Saudi-Iranian ...

Experiment may lead to cure for paralysis

Continued from Page 1 from the conference. “It would have been better to invite Iran to Geneva and to have Saudi-Iranian rapprochement,” he said. The United Nations rescinded its invitation to Iran to participate in the “Geneva 2” talks at the last minute under pressure from the opposition delegation, which threatened to withdraw altogether. Berri also called on Monday for

Lebanon’s presidential elections to be held before May 25 in accordance with constitutional procedures. Lebanon announced the formation of a new government on Saturday after a 10-month political deadlock during which spillover violence from Syria worsened internal stability. The small Mediterranean state has been struck by car bombs, rocket attacks and street fighting linked to the nearly threeyear conflict in Syria, where more than 140,000 people have been killed and millions displaced. — Reuters

Ethiopian maid ban confirmed Continued from Page 1 regulations that organize the work of recruitment offices and medical tests in Kuwait are reviewed,” Annahar reported, quoting Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor insiders. The number of Ethiopian domestic helpers increased in Kuwait from 2007 after Indonesia,

one of the main exporters of domestic workers to the Gulf region, stopped sending housemaids to work in Kuwait. Indonesia’s decision also resulted in a rapid increase in housemaid recruitment fees. The recent news is expected to have a similar and immediate effect on Kuwait’s domestic labor market - considered one of the largest in the Middle East.

Court orders return of Tabtabaei’s... Continued from Page 1 their children’s rights to jobs and Kuwaiti citizenship. The committee also reviewed proposals to reduce the retirement age for Kuwaiti women employees. Separately, Finance Minister Anas Al-Saleh said that Kuwait’s foreign aid in the five fiscal years ending 2012/2013 amounted to KD1.209 billion, adding that no funds were withdrawn from the general state reserve without a law. In response to a question by MP Abdulrahman Al-Jeeran, the minister said that foreign aid was as follows: In 2008/2009 KD 166 million, in 2009/2010 KD 53 million, 2010/2011 KD 137 million, 2011/2012 KD 288 million and KD 565 million in

2012/2013. MP Mohammad Tana Al-Enezi yesterday submitted a proposal calling to increase the annual increments for government employees to cope with the ever-increasing cost of living and high inflation. The lawmaker said it is illogical that the amount of annual increments for civil servants has not been changed since 1979 and some of them remain at KD 3, 4 or 5 which is not sufficient to offset the rising cost of living and inflation rate. Enezi said raising annual increments will benefit employees the most because these are given annually and without a prior announcement because other salary increases are announced and normally followed by an increase in prices by merchants.

Continued from Page 1 of Cornell University’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering told AFP of the study in the journal Nature Communications. The discovery “could have the potential to help paralyzed patients regain control of their own limbs”. In lab tests, a team of engineers and neuroscientists used electrodes to connect the brain of one monkey to the spinal cord of another via a computer that decoded and relayed the neural signals. The first monkey, dubbed the “master”, was placed in a special chair before a computer screen that showed a cursor and a green circle that alternated between two spots. The monkey’s head was restrained. The second animal, or “avatar”, was fully sedated in a separate enclosure its arm strapped to a 360-degree joystick with which to move the cursor and chase the circular target on the “master’s” screen. As the master thought of moving the cursor, its brain signals were decoded to determine which of the two targets it had in mind, and the data was relayed in real-time to the spinal cord of the sleeping avatar, whose arm manipulated the joystick accordingly. Every time the cursor hit its target, the master received a squirt of juice as reward. Previous research into so-called brain-machine interfaces (BMI) had shown people move computer cursors or even robotic arms using their thoughts. Shanechi and her team claim they are the first to give an animal control over the actual limb of another animal. The findings “provide a proof of concept that just by thinking, subjects can move an arm in two dimensions” even with no physiological connec tion between the brain and the muscle, she said. Paralysis can be caused by damage to the central nervous system, especially the spinal cord, by stroke or diseases

like Parkinson’s or an accident. Scientists are keen to find a way for paralysed people to move their own limbs in a natural way, but have found it difficult to read the brain signals that control the complex functioning of the muscles. Previous BMI research has allowed only repeated movements to the same target over and over again, or on a single line, said the study authors. What is different this time: Shanechi and her team decoded the brain signals the monkey directed at his on-screen target rather than trying to decipher the detailed step-by-step processes required to achieve the movement. The primate pair, interchangeably master and avatar, hit the target in about 84 percent of cases, the researchers said. Also new was the use of separate monkeys, which “more closely mimics true quadriplegia”, said coauthor Ziv Williams of the Harvard Medical School’s Center for Nervous System Repair. In connecting the brain and muscles of a singular animal, scientists can never be sure how much of the movement achieved is “confounded by possible sensory feedback of preserved muscle contractions”, he explained. Bernard Conway, head of biomedical engineering at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, commented that the research was “a key step forward” in identifying a paralysed subject’s intention or desire to perform a specific movement and translating that into action. University of Warwick biomedical engineering professor Christopher James added the findings had “profound implications... for controlling limbs in spinal cord injury, or controlling prosthetic limbs with limb amputees”. It was not clear how well the findings in sedated monkeys could be replicated in truly paralysed patients whose muscles have become weak with disuse. — AFP




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DPRK atrocities are exposed, but what next? By Jung Ha-Won


efectors and activists welcomed yesterday a UNmandated inquiry’s searing indictment of gross human rights abuses in North Korea, but analysts questioned the international community’s ability to act on its recommendations. Pyongyang’s grim rights record has already been well documented by specialist monitors. But the size, breadth and detail of the report compiled by the Commission of Inquiry (COI) on North Korea - and the UN imprimatur it carries - set it apart. Kim Young-Soon, one of the many defectors who provided harrowing testimony to the COI, said she was grateful to the commission for recording the “nightmares we went through” for posterity. “North Korea has not and will never admit the existence of prison camps and this report won’t change anything overnight,” Kim told AFP. “But that does not mean sitting back and doing nothing. We need to keep collecting testimony so that someday it can be used as undisputed evidence to punish those behind the atrocities,” she added. Now 77, Kim was a well-connected member of the North Korean elite in 1970, when she was suddenly dragged off to a labour camp as part of a purge of people who knew about the then-future leader Kim Jong-Il’s affair with a married actress. So began a nine-year ordeal in what Kim described to the COI as “the most hellish place in the world” where inmates worked from dawn to dusk, supplementing starvation rations with anything they could catch, including snakes, salamanders and rats. ‘My heart still aches’ Family contacts managed to get Kim released in 1979. In 2001, she bribed her way across the border with China and eventually made it to Seoul in 2003, where she works as a dance teacher and lectures on life in North Korea. “My heart still aches and I still wake up at night sweating just thinking about the prison camp I was in and family members I lost,” she said yesterday. The COI report detailed murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence in North Korea, which chairman Michael Kirby said carried echoes of the Nazi Holocaust. A key conclusion was that many of the violations “constitute crimes against humanity”. Hong Soon-Kyung, a defector who now heads the Seoul-based Committee for the Democratization of North Korea, told AFP that no report could truly reflect the brutality of the regime in the North. Although the COI’s findings were nothing new to those working on North Korean rights issues, Hong said their publication was a “very meaningful step” with a UN mandate that would help pressure Pyongyang and its few backers. North Korea refused to cooperate with the commission, claiming its evidence was “fabricated” by “hostile” forces. The COI panel said that North Korea’s leaders should be brought before an international court for a litany of crimes against humanity - a recommendation that many observers suggested was wishful thinking. Any substantive action on the part of the world community would require the participation of the North’s key ally China, which has made clear it opposes any move to refer the Pyongyang leadership to the International Criminal Court. Perpetual emergency Noted North Korea watcher Leonid Petrov said there was no simple solution in the current context of a diplomatically isolated, totalitarian state whose leadership is intent on survival at all costs. The issue of rights abuses “cannot be resolved unilaterally, nor swiftly, without transforming the political climate of the whole region”, said Petrov, a researcher at Australia National University. This would require, he argued, formally ending the Korean War - which concluded in 1953 with a ceasefire rather than a peace treaty - as well as diplomatic recognition of North Korea and the lifting of sanctions imposed for its nuclear program. Otherwise the North would remain in a “perpetual and assiduously cultivated state of emergency” in which human rights were sacrificed on the altar of regime survival. “Without the goodwill of regional policy makers to address the problem of the Korean War especially, the issue of human rights in Korea is unlikely to be resolved,” Petrov added. —AFP

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Europe at origin of US execution dilemma By Juergen Baetz


here’s one big reason the United States has a dearth of execution drugs so acute that some states are considering solutions such as firing squads and gas chambers: Europe won’t allow the drugs to be exported because of its fierce hostility to capital punishment. The phenomenon started nine years ago when the EU banned the export of products used for execution, citing its goal to be the “leading institutional actor and largest donor to the fight against the death penalty.” But beefed up European rules mean the results are being most strongly felt in the United States now, with shortages becoming chronic and gruesome executions making headlines. In Ohio last month, Dennis McGuire took 26 minutes to die after a previously untested mix of chemicals began flowing into his body, gasping repeatedly as he lay on a gurney. On Jan 9, Oklahoma inmate Michael Lee Wilson’s last words were: “I feel my whole body burning.” The dilemma again grabbed national attention this week when an Oklahoma pharmacy agreed Monday to refrain from supplying an execution drug to the Missouri Department of Corrections for an upcoming lethal injection. Death row inmate Michael Taylor’s had argued in a lawsuit that recent executions involving the drug pentobarbital would likely cause “inhumane pain” - and, ahead of a hearing set for Tuesday, The Apothecary Shoppe said it would not provide the drug. EU nations are notorious for disagreeing on just about everything when it comes to common policy, but they all strongly - and proudly agree on one thing: abolishing capital punishment. Europe saw totalitarian regimes abuse the death penalty as recently as the 20th century, and public opinion across the bloc is therefore staunchly opposed to it. The EU’s uncompromising stance has set off a cat-and-mouse game, with US corrections departments devising new ways to carry out lethal injections only to hit updated export restrictions within months. “Our political task is to push for an abolition of the death penalty, not facilitate its procedure,” said Barba Lochbihler, chairwoman of the European Parliament’s subcommittee on human rights. Europe’s tough stance has caused US states to start experimenting with new drug mixtures, even though convicts’ lawyers and activists argue they increase the risk of painful prolonged death and may violate the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. In an upcoming execution in Louisiana, the state is set to follow Ohio’s example in using the untested drug cocktail used in McGuire’s execution. It changed its execution protocol last week to use Ohio’s two-drug combination because it could no longer procure pentobarbital, a powerful sedative. The execution was scheduled for February, but was stayed pending a federal judge’s examination in April regarding whether the state can proceed with the plan to execute Christopher Sepulvado, convicted in the 1992 killing of his 6-year-old stepson. In 2010, Louisiana switched from the established three-drug protocol to a one-drug pentobarbital lethal injection, but eventually that drug

also became unavailable because of European pressure. “The lethal injection that they are using now in certain states has never been tested, verified, let alone been approved for executions,” said Maya Foa of Reprieve, a London-based charity fighting the death penalty. “This amounts to using humans as guinea pigs. No doctor would ever do that.” Ohio prosecutors counter that condemned inmates are not entitled to a pain-free execution under the Constitution. Even if the effect of the two drugs used by Ohio “presents some inherent risk of discomfort, that does not amount to cruel and unusual punishment,” Christopher Conomy, an assistant Ohio attorney

the country’s three firms selling sodium thiopental promised not to sell to US prison authorities. The EU then updated its export regulation in late 2011 to ban the sale of eight drugs - including pentobarbital and sodium thiopental - if the purpose is to use them in lethal injections. That produced a flurry of action in the United States. In May 2012 Missouri announced it would switch to using the anesthetic propofol, infamous for its role in Michael Jackson’s overdose death. But propofol, too, was manufactured in Europe, by Germany’s Fresenius Kabi. Missouri’s plan prompted an outcry across Europe and the EU threatened to restrict propofol exports.

Germany’s B Braun, immediately followed suit. In Oct 2012 Missouri Governor Jay Nixon expressed indignation, saying state and federal court systems, not European politicians, should decide death penalty policy. Still, a month later he backtracked and halted what was to have been the first US execution using propofol. Missouri and other states have since also resorted to custom-made batches of drugs, while refusing to divulge which pharmacy produced them - as in the case being heard yesterday. The secrecy has led to new lawsuits, not least after safety concerns over such drugs arose in 2012 after contaminated injections from a

In this June 18, 2010 file photo, the firing squad execution chamber at the Utah State Prison in Draper, Utah, is shown. general, argued in court documents last month. The US execution dilemma goes back to 2005, when the EU restricted exports of goods “for the purpose of capital punishment or for the purpose of torture.” That ban includes items such as electric chairs and lethal injection systems. Drug Shortage The drug shortage then started biting in 2010 when Hospira Inc, the sole US manufacturer of sodium thiopental, a sedative that is part of the normal three-drug mixture, stopped production. A few months later, Hospira dropped plans to produce it in Italy because the government there asked for guarantees that it would never be used in executions. States in 2011 switched to pentobarbital, but Denmark-based Lundbeck Inc, the drug’s only US-licensed maker, faced a public backlash and quickly said it would put the medication off-limits for capital punishment through a tightly controlled distribution system. Fearing for their reputation, the companies never wanted to see their drugs used in executions. As US authorities started looking for other sources, Britain went ahead and restricted exports of sodium thiopental and other drugs at the end of 2010. “This move underlines this government’s ... moral opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances,” Business Secretary Vince Cable said then. Germany’s government also urged pharmaceutical companies to stop exports, and

This May 13, 2011 file photo shows the gas chamber at the former Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City that is now a tourist attraction. —AP That in turn provoked a medical outcry in the US because propofol is used in about 95 percent of surgical procedures requiring an anesthetic, according to the American Society of Anesthesiologists. Fresenius Kabi, whose slogan is “caring for life”, swiftly moved amid a blitz of bad PR and EU threats to introduce a stringent distribution control to prevent sales to US prisons. Another manufacturer,

Massachusetts facility caused a meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people and sickened hundreds. Botched Executions An attorney for McGuire’s family supported the European position. “I think it’s right for the (pharmaceutical) companies to draw a line when people are using the drugs for the wrong purposes,” said Jon Paul Rion.

In principle, there are a number of painkillers, sedatives and paralyzing agents that can kill if administered in high doses. But switching drugs will invite new lawsuits and could involve drawn-out bureaucratic or legislative delays - in addition to doubts about how quickly and mercifully these drugs can kill. “Such botched executions go some way to debunking the myth that lethal injection is a humane way to kill someone,” said Reprieve’s Foa. When Europeans criticize the US, they frequently cite the inequality of healthcare and the continued use of capital punishment. Europe has seen autocratic or totalitarian regimes corrupting justice throughout the 20th century with people being executed for political reasons or without fair trial, resulting in strong opposition to the death penalty after World War II. Western Germany forbade capital punishment after the war, just as Italy did. France, which gave the world the word guillotine, decapitated only a few people after WW II amid increasing public opposition. “There will be no lasting peace either in the heart of individuals or in social customs until death is outlawed,” French Literature Nobel Prize winner Albert Camus wrote in 1957 in an influential essay. France’s last execution now dates back almost 40 years. In Eastern Europe, the death penalty was abolished after the collapse of the Soviet Union. An international AP poll in 2007 found that about 70 percent of those surveyed in the US favor the death penalty for people convicted of murder. In Germany, Italy and Spain only about 30 percent did so. Overall, experts say Europe’s judicial system is more oriented toward rehabilitation, not punishment. That is also reflected in drastically lower incarceration rates: Across the EU, about 130 people per 100,000 inhabitants are behind bars compared to 920 in the US, according to EU and US Justice Department figures. The death penalty has been abolished or suspended in all developed economies, except for the US and Japan. Execution rankings have routinely shown the US in the unusual company of China, Iran, Saudi-Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan. Vietnam has faced a similar dilemma to the United States, finding it difficult to import execution drugs from Europe since it switched from firing squads to lethal injection in 2011 on humanitarian grounds. The anti-capital punishment camp has also gained ground in the US. The number of US executions has declined in recent years - from a peak of 98 in 1999 to 39 last year. Some states have abolished the death penalty, and those that carry on find executions increasingly difficult to conduct because of the drug scarcity and doubts about how well they work. Public support for capital punishment also appears to be retreating. Last year, 60 percent of Americans polled said they favor the death penalty for convicted murderers, the lowest level measured since 1972, according to Gallup. To counter the drug shortages lawmakers in some death penalty states - Missouri, Virginia and Wyoming - are now considering bringing back execution methods such as firing squads, electrocutions and gas chambers. There are still about 3,000 inmates on death row. —AP


S P ORTS Priestland sticks with Scarlets

Changes to Scotland pack

LONDON: Wales outside-half Rhys Priestland gave Welsh regional rugby a boost yesterday by announcing he was extending his contract with the Scarlets. The 26-year-old had been linked with clubs in England and France, where several of his international team-mates are playing for Top 14 clubs, with full-back Leigh Halfpenny set to join them at the end of this season in a lucrative move to European champions Toulon. Priestland-in line to play for Wales against France in the Six Nations in Cardiff on Friday-however, has opted to stay put and follow the example of Scarlets team-mate Scott Williams and Ospreys and Wales lock Alun Wyn Jones, boh of whom recently committed themselves to staying in the Welsh club game. Capped 27 times by Wales, Priestland was a member of the 2012 Grand Slam-winning team and a year earlier helped his country reach the semi-finals of the World Cup. “I am really pleased to have secured my contract with the Scarlets going forward and to continue my commitment to rugby in Wales,” he said. “The Scarlets is where I’ve developed as a rugby player and have been supported since I first started playing, with some good coaches and experienced senior players helping me in my career. “It’s important to me to continue my commitment to a great rugby community, environment and team that I am proud to be a part of. “We have a very strong team ethic at the Scarlets, and it is good to belong to an environment that means a lot to me as an individual and has a real heritage and tradition as well.”! Simon Easterby, coach of the Llanelli-based Scarlets, added: “Rhys has become one of our most experienced players and has a lot to contribute to the region on and off the field. —AFP

SCOTLAND: Coach Scott Johnson has made three changes to Scotland’s pack for Saturday’s Six Nations match in Rome, with Scott Lawson, Richie Gray and Johnnie Beattie returning for the potential wooden-spoon decider. Lawson, capped 40 times, replaces Ross Ford at hooker, Gray moves into the second row in place of Tim Swinson and Beattie takes the place of David Denton at number eight. “We’ve made the changes to the pack with a view to improving the supply and quality of possession,” Johnson told the Scottish Rugby Union website ( “Italy are formidable opponents, especially in Rome, and Scotland’s matches against them in recent years have been a real arm wrestle.” Both sides are without a victory after two matches and determined to win in an attempt to avoid last place. Scotland lost their first match to Ireland 28-6 in Dublin, before being held scoreless in a meek 20-0 defeat by England at Murrayfield. “I was not involved against England but I think the guys were pretty down and they did not manage to show what they can do,” Gray said. “So I think this weekend it’s really about showing what we can do.” Greig Laidlaw will remain as captain in the continued absence of flanker Kelly Brown, who was dropped for the England match. Scotland have won the past two meetings with Italy in all competition but have not beaten them in Rome since 2006. — Reuters

Double boost for Everton LONDON: Everton have been handed a double boost with Steven Naismith expected to be fit for Saturday’s Premier League match at leaders Chelsea and fellow striker Romelu Lukaku available for the following week’s clash with West Ham United. Scottish international Naismith was forced off during Sunday’s FA Cup fifth round win over Swansea City because of concussion. “Stevie has reacted really well,” manager Roberto Martinez told the club website ( yesterday. “It was a little bit of a concern straight away when he had that delayed concussion. “Two hours after the game he was fine but for the next 24 hours it’s then important you’re in observation and we’re checking all the signs are right. “We’ve done that and Stevie is perfectly well. Over the next three or four days we’re going to keep an eye on how he is recovering but I would say Stevie will be fully fit for the weekend because he’s ready now to get back to work as normal.” Belgian international Lukaku, sixth-placed Everton’s top scorer this season with nine league goals, has been out with an ankle injury for three weeks but is targeting the West Ham match on March 1 for his return. The on-loan striker is unable to play against parent club Chelsea. “It helps in a way that he’s not available for this weekend because this game may have been a little bit too early for him,” Martinez added. —Reuters

Highs and lows of NCAA bubble teams

NEW ORLEANS: East Team’s LeBron James, of the Miami Heat (6) heads to the hoop during the NBA All Star basketball game in this file photo. — AP

LeBron: ‘At this point, I can’t’ see leaving Miami MIAMI: LeBron James cannot currently envision a scenario where he leaves the Miami Heat this summer, though he still plans to assess his needs and his future at the end of the season. James made the comments in a wideranging interview with NBA TV. The Heat star can choose to become a free agent after this season by exercising an option in the contract he signed when he arrived in Miami during the summer of 2010. Asked by interviewer Steve Smith if he can picture himself being anywhere else, James did not seem to hesitate before answering. “At this point, I can’t,” James said. “At this point, I can’t. We don’t know what can happen from now to July, so what I’ve been able to do this whole season to this point is just worry about what’s at hand and that’s winning another championship. And hopefully at the end of this year I can put myself in a position where I can hold that Larry O’Brien Trophy up once again and then I will assess what I have to do with my future after that.” James discussed several topics in the interview, including what his current sources of motivation are, ways he thinks his game can still improve, how he handles expectations, the struggles of his first season in Miami and his background growing up in Akron, Ohio. Some of his most telling comments

revolved around the fallout that came after the Heat lost to Dallas in the 2011 NBA Finals. James has often told the story about how he spent the next two weeks in near isolation, completely overcome by the disappointment of losing the title series. In the interview, James also revealed how he started to get past that loss, saying that Heat guard Dwyane Wade - with whom he clashed at times over roles on the team in that first season - urged him to join him in the Bahamas for a getaway. “ We had some great conversations there,” James said. “D-Wade was like, ‘Man, in order for us to be great you have to be the guy.’” James said he was slightly taken aback by that. “We’re talking about Wade County here,” James said, referring to what Miami-Dade County starting calling itself in Wade’s honor. “We’re talking about the man who won a championship here, who’s been a six-time All-Star, you want me to take the keys? And he said, ‘Absolutely.’” With that, James said he left the villain role he played with that season in the Bahamas, came home and went into the gym to get started on the next season. The Heat have won two NBA titles since. “I don’t play for what people expect for me to do anymore,” James said. “I want to be the greatest of all time and that’s just my mindset.” — AP

TEMPE: With college basketball’s regular season winding down, the bubble for the NCAA tournament has become, teams moving in and out almost on a nightly basis. One team that’s moved its way out of the bubble’s reach, at least for now, is Arizona State. The Sun Devils had made themselves a viable NCAA candidate over the past few weeks, winning five of six games since being blown out by then-top-ranked Arizona. Arizona State gave its bracket bid a boost by beating the Wildcats in a rematch last Friday, pulling out a that’ll-get-some-attention, doubleovertime win over the No. 2 team in the country. “That is huge for our resume, for our goals of (playing in a) postseason tournament,” said Sun Devils center Jordan Bachynski, who sealed the victory by blocking T.J. McConnell’s runner with 6 seconds left. The victory gave Arizona State 19 wins, eight Pac-12 wins and bumped its RPI rating up to No. 29. Of course, that only helps the Sun Devils at the moment. Should they stumble down the stretch, they could easily end up back on the bubble, maybe even watch it pop. And there are plenty of opportunities for a letdown; Arizona State has one of the toughest closing schedules in college basketball, its final six games against teams with an RPI of 94th or better. “I don’t know if relief is the right word, because if we don’t take care of business over the next couple weeks, we won’t get to the tournament,” Bachynski said. “We can’t let this win get to our head.” Should the Sun Devils take care of business, they’ll be in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2009. A few other teams helped their causes over the weekend and some made it harder on themselves. We run down a few teams on the rise and a few that have fallen in the first installment of what will be a weekly look at teams on the bubble as the season winds down to the NCAA tournament: MOVING UP Nebraska. The Cornhuskers were well off the radar after opening the Big Ten with four straight losses. Nebraska (14-10, 6-6 Big 12) has put itself into the NCAA tournament conversation over the past month, winning six of eight, including Sunday’s road victory over then-No. 9 Michigan State. The Cornhuskers still have some work to do, but have at least made their way into the bubble. Baylor. The Bears (17-9, 5-8 Big 12) faced a potential bubble -busting game against Oklahoma State on Monday night and won. They certainly needed it after freefalling from the top 10 to 4-8 in the Big 12. There’s still work to do, but the overtime win over the Cowboys should give them a big boost. Minnesota: Three straight Big Ten losses hurt the Gophers’ chances, but they are still in decent shape after beating Indiana and getting back to their defensive ways in Sunday’s 54-48 win over Northwestern. The Gophers also have victories over Ohio State and Wisconsin, along with a solid RPI of 33. Minnesota (17-9) is under .500 the Big Ten so far (6-7), but a strong finish in one of the nation’s tougher conferences could get them into the bracket. St. John’s. An 0-5 start in the Big East should have been it for the Red Storm. A recent surge,

EAST LANSING: Nebraska’s Tai Webster (0) and Michigan State’s Gary Harris chase the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in this file photo. — AP one punctuated by Sunday ’s win over already has 10 losses, including Sunday’s ugly Georgetown has them back in the NCAA picture. 22-point setback to St. John’s, a team it beat by St. John’s (17-9, 7-6) has won five straight and 17 earlier this season. The Hoyas are No. 58 in eight of nine, but may need to avoid any late- the RPI and have a tough closing schedule. LSU. Another team having a roller coaster season letdowns without any marquee preseaseason, the Tigers (15-9, 6-6 SEC) have fallen son victories to speak of. back to the edge of the NCAA bubble. When LSU knocked off Kentucky on Jan. 28 and followed FALLING BACK Southern Methodist. The Mustangs were with a victory over Arkansas, its bracket chances ranked in The Associated Press poll for the first looked decent. Since then, the Tigers have lost three of four, time since 1985 when they debuted at No. 23 on Feb. 10. SMU (20-6, 9-4 AAC) fell right out of the including a not-so-great loss at Texas A&M. LSU poll with a loss to last-place Temple and already is No. 72 in the RPI and still has to face Kentucky, has a shaky road loss to South Florida. The Florida and Georgia. Oklahoma State. The Mustangs are still in decent shape with wins Cowboys were on the wrong end of the game over UConn, Memphis and Cincinnati, but could against Baylor, but it goes deeper than one find themselves on the outside looking in with game. Oklahoma State (16-10, 4-9) has lost seven straight - four with Marcus Smart and all another tough-on-the-eyes loss. Georgetown. The Hoyas have some good three he was suspended for after an altercation wins in their pocket, including Michigan State, with a Texas Tech fan. Smart returns this weekKansas State and VCU. Still, Georgetown is hov- end and the Cowboys need their winning ways ering around .500 in the Big East (6-7) and to come with him. —AP

Greipel wins Tour of Oman stage MUSCAT: Andre Greipel of Germany won a sprint finish to take the first stage of the Tour of Oman cycle race in Muscat yesterday. Greipel, who became the first rider to don the leader’s red jersey, edged ahead of Australia’s Leigh Howard and Nicola Ruffoni of Italy crossing the finishing line at Nassen

Garden. Greipel, who rides for the Lotto team, has got his season off to a fine start with two stage wins in Australia, in the Tour Down Under, and another in last week’s Tour of Qatar. “This proves I’ve lost none of my edge when it comes to speed, but it also shows the team is very strong, the guys all

OMAN: Germany’s Andre Greipel of Lotto Belisol team celebrates on the podium after winning the first stage of the 2014 cycling Oman Tour yesterday. — AFP

worked hard and no one but us deserved to win today,” he said. Greipel did have a moment of doubt in the final run-in as as he found himself trailing a rapid breakaway, but the team came to his rescue. “It was an awkward moment but Lars Bak put in the work to get me back to the front,” Greipel added. For Tour de France winner Chris Froome, the race favourite, things do not really begin in earnest until Thursday with the first of the climbs. In the meantime, the sprinters have another day in the limelight on Wednesday with a 139 kilometre ride on the flat from Al Bustan to Quriyat. Froome said his success last year had made him more relaxed coming into the Tour of Oman, which he won last year. “There’s less pressure because I’m not here to gain experience as a leader,” the 28-year-old Kenyan-born Briton said. “It was critical last year but this year I feel more relaxed but I’m still motivated,” he added. Froome said his winter training in South Africa meant he was “acclimatised already to the heat”. Asked the inevitable questions about doping, Froome acknowledged it would “take a little more time” for people to regain confidence in the sport. “I think it’s going to take a few consecutive Tour wins that aren’t ruined by doping cases,” he said. — AFP

OMAN: Cyclists ride past a mosque during the first stage of the Tour of Oman, 168.5 km from al-Suwaiq Fort to Al-Naseem Park in the North Batna province, north of the capital Muscat. —AFP



SA ponder team balance ahead of second Test CAPE TOWN: Whether to stick with an all-rounder at number seven or play an extra batsman to counter Australia’s fiery bowling attack is the vexed question for South Africa ahead of the second test at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth starting tomorrow. The Australians were clearly superior in all three disciplines in their crushing 281-run victory in the first test in Pretoria last week, the excellent Ashes form of fast bowler Mitchell Johnson repeated at SuperSport Park as he literally hurt the South African batsmen with 12 wickets and numerous body blows. One of those was to the side of the head of all-rounder Ryan McLaren, who has subsequently been ruled out of the second test with concussion meaning there will be at least one change to the Proteas line-up.

It is possible McLaren might have lost his position in any event as South Africa admit they are considering replacing an all-rounder with a seventh batsman in Dean Elgar. Aside from AB de Villiers’ 91 and 48, the top six South African batsmen managed just 57 runs in the first innings in Pretoria and 68 in the second. The left-handed Elgar’s test career, which started with a pair of ducks on debut against Australia in Perth in 2012 when he was bagged both times by Johnson, has been mediocre with a single unbeaten century against New Zealand and a next highest score of 27 in nine innings. Having chosen not to call up a replacement for McLaren to their test squad, Elgar is the only specialist batsman available for selection. “There (has been) debate around playing an

extra batter,” Proteas convener of selectors Andrew Hudson told reporters. “Australia went in battingheavy, relying on their three seamers and their spinner, which they did successfully. “We need to consider putting in a batter at seven. Then we can go in with the three quicks and Robbie P (Peterson).” Should they opt for another all-round option then Wayne Parnell will get the nod on his home ground, the left-arm quick unlucky to lose out to McLaren in the first Test. Australia, who have not lost a test series in South Africa since 1970, also have a selection poser in the lead-up to the Port Elizabeth game if allrounder Shane Watson returns to fitness in time. Watson exacerbated a persistent calf injury on the eve of the first test and watched from the stands as new two players both made significant

contributions to Australia’s cause in Pretoria. Shaun Marsh scored a century in his first test appearance in two years while debutante Alex Doolan came within 11 runs of a debut test ton as Australia dominated their hosts to bat them inside four days. “Obviously we’ll have to see what the wicket is like; whether we need the extra bowling option. You’d like him to bowl,” Australia coach Darren Lehman said on Monday, suggesting Watson would not be selected for his batting alone. “Firstly we’ve got to get him fit, and then we’ll see what happens from there. He’s pretty close; he was running on Sunday, but at the end of the day we’ve got to get him fit and ready to play test cricket at this level.” The third and final Test will be played in Cape Town from March 1. — Reuters

NZ clinch series victory after McCullum triple ton

Adam Gilchrist

Gilchrist to join Warne in Lord’s bicentenary match LONDON: Adam Gilchrist will be behind the stumps to fellow Australia great Shane Warne one more time after his involvement in the Lord’s bicentenary match was confirmed yesterday. Gilchrist will be a member of the Rest of the World team captained by Warne that will play Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the owners of Lord’s, in a one-day match on July 5 celebrating the London ground’s 200th anniversary. “I’m privileged to have been asked to play in this match on such an exciting occasion,” Gilchrist said in a statement issued yesterday. “Lord’s is a wonderful place to play cricket and I’m really looking forward to helping celebrate its bicentenary in this match. “There are going to be a lot of familiar faces around and it’ll be a lot of fun to play alongside a couple of old teammates too.” Meanwhile former Australia fast bowler Shaun Tait and New Zealand spinner Daniel Vettori have also been added to the line-up of leading players taking part. India hero Sachin Tendulkar will captain a MCC side that also includes his long-time international colleague and Rahul Dravid. Their fellow India batsman Yuvraj Singh, is also set to play in the fixture at the ‘home of cricket’ as is West Indies’ mainstay Shivnarine Chanderpaul. The 42-year-old Gilchrist, who played two Tests and six One Day Internationals at Lord’s, averaged over 40 at the ground during a career in which he took over 900 dismissals in

396 international matches. Left-arm spinner Vettori secured a coveted place on the Lord’s honours board by taking five for 69 against England in a Test in 2008. He also holds the record for the best ODI figures at Lord’s, with five for 30 against West Indies in 2004. MCC president and former England captain Mike Gatting said: “The teams for this match are really taking shape now, and everyone both inside and outside MCC is really looking forward to Saturday 5th July. “The prospect of watching Gilchrist keeping to Warne again is one that’s sure to whet the appetite of any cricket fan, and the talent on show at this match will be fitting of the occasion.” “It’s testament to the standing MCC has around the cricketing world that players like Adam, Shaun and Daniel want to come and celebrate the bicentenary of the current Lord’s Ground with the club, and there are more big names to come.” As a player, top-order batsman Gatting was involved in a similar, star-studded, match in 1987 when he scored 179 for MCC against the Rest of the World in a five-day fixture marking the 200th anniversary of the club. MCC, founded in 1787, moved to its present site in the northwest London suburb of St John’s Wood in 1814, with the ground owned by entrepreneur Thomas Lord-hence its name. Although it is more than 40 years since MCC ceased to run English cricket, it retains worldwide responsibility for the game’s ‘Laws’, as cricket’s rules are known. — AFP

Serena defeats Ekaterina Dubai Open DUBAI: Women’s world number one Serena Williams eased into the third round of the WTA Dubai Open yesterday in her first match back since injuring her back at the Australian Open beating Ekaterina Makarova 7-6 (10/8), 6-0. The 32-year-ols American had a decent tussle in the first set having to save two set points against the world number 24 from Russia before settling into her groove to romp through the second set. Williams, who took a last moment wild card into this tournament, began gingerly and took about an hour before she hit the ball with anything like her usual authority. Once she started to do that, she prevailed more quickly, finishing the match feeling more hopeful that it might have been the right decision to compete again for the first time in four weeks. “It was really difficult at first and I was a little bit frustrated,” Williams admitted. “I have been practising and this wasn’t what I had been practising. “I was making a lot of errors I don’t usually make, and my serve was not popping. But I stayed positive, and the second set was better. The body felt all right.” She trailed 1-3 in the first set, broke back, trailed 3-5, broke back again, and found herself in trouble when she was down 4-6 in the tie-break, with two set points against her. At that stage Williams was far from her real self. But Williams is nothing if not a fighter. She saved one set point with a drop shot, quite a rarity for her, which opened up the court for a forehand pass, and regained parity with an excellent

backhand pass down the line. Her backhand ground strokes seemed the more secure and it was these which enabled her to manoeuvre Makarova into errors which caused the Russian’s excellent chance to slip away. After Makarova counter-hit a ball long to lose that first set, the pattern changed utterly. Williams broke serve immediately in the second set and the match turned into a rout. “I’m just happy to win because she is a good player. But I am going to have to play better if I am going to do better here,” said Williams, who has never won this tournament. Williams has a day off during which she will learn whether she next plays Jelena Jankovic, the former world number one from Serbia who criticised the legend’s behaviour after losing to her in the final of the WTA (season-end) Championships, or Lucie Safarova, the in-form world number 28 from the Czech republic. Williams earlier described the injury which had prevented her from making her scheduled return to the tour last week in Doha as “just really rib issues.” She reckoned that it was “kind of hard to describe, hard to explain, it’s kind of tedious to explain - ver y technical,” completing the description with a grin. Earlier her elder sister Venus Williams learned that her second round opponent will be Ana Ivanovic, the former world number one from Serbia, who saved a match point to sur vive 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) against Angelique Kerber, the sixth seeded German. — AFP

DUBAI: Russian tennis player Ekaterina Makarova returns the ball to Serena Williams of the US during their match in the second day of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. —AFP

WELLINGTON: New Zealand recorded their first Test series victory over India since 2002 when the second match ended in a draw yesterday after Brendon McCullum had become the first New Zealander to score a test triple century. Captain McCullum’s 302 anchored New Zealand’s record 680 for eight declared, setting the visitors the impossible task of scoring 435 runs in 67 overs to achieve the victory they needed after the hosts won the first test at Eden Park by 40 runs. New Zealand had India in trouble early in their second innings with the sniff of an unlikely victory in their nostrils but once Virat Kohli knuckled down to record his sixth test century, McCullum and Mahendra Singh Dhoni decided to call the game off with 15 overs remaining. Tim Southee took two wickets after lunch to reduce India to 54 for three before Kohli (105 not out) and Rohit Sharma (31 not out) batted out the remainder of the day ’s play to take their side through to 166 for three. “Without being disrespectful I probably didn’t know the magnitude of it (scoring 300) until the last 24 hours,” McCullum said. “I watched Martin Crowe score his 299 and thought it would have been an amazing feat if he scored 300 but probably didn’t quite understand how much it meant to the whole country. “I think in terms of New Zealand cricket and moving forward for this team, we have finally broken that 300 barrier and hopefully some of these guys will continue to break that.” TENSE ATMOSPHERE McCullum resumed with debutant Jimmy Neesham (67 overnight), as the queues formed outside the ground to see what many in the small crowd hoped would be history in the making. He scored his first run of the day when he pushed an Ishant Sharma delivery wide of mid-off and strolled through for a single, which was warmly applauded, and pulled the bowler to the midwicket fence for his first boundary. Ishant caused a collective intake of breath when he comprehensively beat McCullum on 293, though the batsman did not get a nick. Neesham, however, was not getting caught up in the emotion as the tension ramped up with every delivery, every over that McCullum was still at the crease being applauded. The 23-year-old temporarily stole his captain’s thunder with his first test century when he tucked Ishant off his hip for two runs. Neesham’s century came from 123 balls, including 15 boundaries, and was greeted with a massive cheer from the crowd as he raised his arms and celebrated. McCullum then reached the milestone many had been waiting for when he dabbed Zaheer Khan behind square for his 32nd four and received a sustained round of applause that went on for more than a minute, while his father Stu jumped to his feet in celebration. The 32-year-old’s innings lasted just two more balls when he feathered a catch off Zaheer to Dhoni. His triple century was the 28th in test cricket and the New Zealand skipper became the 24th player to score one. Brian Lara, Virender Sehwag, Chris Gayle and Don Bradman all struck two triple tons. McCullum scored 535 runs in the two-match series, having also scored 224 in the first

WELLINGTON: A team photo of New Zealand players after winning the Test series during day five of the 2nd International Test cricket match between New Zealand and India. — AFP

SCOREBOARD WELLINGTON: Scoreboard at the end of the second test between New Zealand and India at Wellington’s Basin Reserve yesterday. New Zealand first innings 192 India first innings 438 New Zealand second innings (overnight 571-6) 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 c Dhoni b Khan 302 C. Anderson c & b Jadeja 2 BJ Watling lbw b Shami 124 J. Neesham not out 137 T. Southee c Pujara b Khan 11 N. Wagner not out 2 Extras: (b-9, lb-12, nb-7, w-2) 30 Total (for eight wickets dec., 210 overs) 680 Fall of wickets: 1-1 2-27 3-52 4-87 5-94 6-446 7-625 8-639 game in Auckland. Neesham was 137 not out when McCullum declared at New Zealand’s highest Test score, surpassing the 671-4 they scored against Sri Lanka in 1991 at the same ground. “As a cricket fan, I think he batted really well and he was given good company by Watling,” Dhoni told

Bowling: I. Sharma 45-4-164-0 (nb-6), Khan 5113-170-5 (w-2), Shami 43-6-149-2, Jadeja 5211-115-1, R. Sharma 11-0-40-0, Kohli 6-1-13-0 (nb-1), Dhoni 1-0-5-0, Dhawan 1-0-3-0. India second innings M. Vijay c Anderson b Southee 7 S. Dhawan lbw b Boult 2 C. Pujara c Watling b Southee 17 V. Kohli not out 105 R. Sharma not out 31 Extras: (nb-2, w-2) 4 Total (for three wickets, 52 overs) 166 Fall of wickets: 1-10 2-10 3-54 Bowling: Boult 16-5-47-1 (nb-1), Southee 163-50-2, Wagner 11-3-38-0, Neesham 5-0-25-0 (w-2, nb-1), Anderson 4-1-6-0 . Result: match drawn. reporters of McCullum’s innings. “Playing 500-odd deliveries itself is very tough, you know. Just forget the amount of runs he scored. “Playing the amount of deliveries and just to keep going... I think he batted really well and I think it was one of the good innings that we were able to see.” — Reuters

McCullum shows growing maturity with triple-ton WELLINGTON: Brendon McCullum showed his growing maturity and desire to stamp his mark on New Zealand with an inspirational triple-century that salvaged the second Test against India and sealed a 1-0 series win yesterday. The 32-year-old’s 302 at Wellington’s Basin Reserve capped a golden summer for the New Zealand captain, who has tormented India for 535 runs in just two tests after guiding his team to a comprehensive 2-0 series win over West Indies. Having long oozed confidence and bristled with aggression at the crease, it was precisely those qualities that McCullum shelved as he rescued New Zealand from a seemingly hopeless position at 94-5 on day three at the Basin Reserve. Suppressing his natural attacking instincts deep within his wiry, 1.70 metre frame, McCullum played with restraint and discretion, waiting until he was on the brink of his first 100 before belting a six to bring up the milestone. Burning with desire to save the test and win the series, McCullum batted for 775 minutes - the most by a New Zealand batsman in an innings after combining with wicketkeeper BJ Watling for a test record sixth wicket partnership of 352. “I guess you always want to lead from the front as a captain and I haven’t always done that, but that’s what the desire is,” McCullum told reporters after the second test ended in a draw on Tuesday. “The hardest time to lead the team is when you’re not scoring runs and when your character and the kind of person and leader you are outweighs your own form. “The team needs the captain to be a strong leader and person who enjoys other people’s success as well and that’s what I try to do. “When I wasn’t scoring many runs, knowing if I kept working hard and kept faith in my own game at some point I would be able to score those runs and that makes leading a whole lot easier.” The triple-century represents the apex of McCullum’s captaincy which was born in controversy and questioned after a disastrous tour of South Africa. A clumsy leadership change saw

WELLINGTON: New Zealand’s captain Brendon McCullum poses with the trophy after his team series win over India on the final day of the second Test. — AP McCullum handed the reins of both the one-day and test teams late in 2012, after predecessor Ross Taylor relinquished both in disgust after coach Mike Hesson felt McCullum was a better fit for what he wanted to achieve. With Taylor, then New Zealand’s top batsman, pulling out of the South Africa tour and the rancour still overshadowing the team, McCullum’s first series in charge ended in humiliation in both tests, including their dismissal for 45 in the first match in Cape Town. The team rebounded to win the one-day series and McCullum later oversaw New Zealand’s return to respectability with a drawn home series against England, which the hosts largely dominated. BRASH WICKETKEEPER Blessed with a superb eye and quick hands, McCullum emerged as a brash wicketkeeper in his 2004 test debut against South Africa and

announced himself with an entertaining 96 against England at Lord’s later the same year. His attacking mindset in limited overs matches made him an immediate target for big-spending Twenty20 teams, particularly in India, where he proved his worth to the new Premier League competition by smashing a century in the first game of the inaugural tournament. A one -day international innings against Bangladesh at Queenstown in 2007 epitomised his approach. Needing just 94 runs to win the game, McCullum smashed 80 from 28 balls, including nine fours and six sixes. The game ended after just six overs of New Zealand’s allotted 50 and television commentators joked that McCullum had booked an afternoon tee time at a local golf club. Respect in the test arena came slower, but after his first centuries against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, McCullum underlined his quality with 115 against India in Napier in 2009, and has haunted the same opponents with runs ever since. His unwavering confidence has not always been embraced, being at odds with the often reserved New Zealand psyche. His demands to move up the batting order from number seven where he struck his first five test centuries were seen as a demonstration of player power that had dogged the team and his three-year period as an opener ended in 2013 with mixed results. Though having pledged never to change his natural game, McCullum’s ascendancy to the captaincy has seen a change in attitude. Three times in the home summer, New Zealand have needed the right-hander to stick around and occupy the crease. He has delivered each time, with a century against West Indies followed by a double and a triple against India. McCullum’s mountain of runs sealed New Zealand’s first test series win against India since 2002, giving the captain another good reason to swagger. — Reuters



Vanessa-Mae gives little to Olympics KRASNAYA POLYANA: Don’t give up the day job, Vanessa-Mae. The Sochi Games were good to the diva of violin classical pop. She now gets to call herself an Olympian having survived - the word “compete” isn’t really applicable - the giant slalom. After gingerly completing both runs, she applied some lipstick, checked her look in a pocket mirror, strapped on a watch from a sponsor, pushed up her coat sleeve to make sure it was visible on her wrist, and then went out to bathe in the attention of the world’s media.She laughed for the microphones. She said how “really cool” it all was. She slipped in how she plans to celebrate her Olympic participation by donating “a heap of money” to animal charities. And the whole while, a man who followed along at her side - he wouldn’t say who he was - made sure she was holding a branded pair of skis when speaking to camera and that the manufacturer’s name was clearly visible. All in all, it looked like a pretty fruitful day for Vanessa-Mae Inc. And, if you’re Vanessa-Mae, an absolute hoot. “The Olympics is like the greatest show on Earth and to just share the same snow, to be able to slide

down the same snow that the elite skiers carve down is just an honor and a privilege,” she said. “So, you know, when I get to even train with some of them for like two runs, sometimes I’m already a little bit like, ‘Ooh, that’s so cool!’ So imagine to be in the same race as them.” BEST OF BEST But what do the Olympic Games get in return? From a competitive standpoint, absolutely nothing. When Tina Maze hit the slope, you knew that you were watching the best of the best. Bullying the slalom course, aggressively thwacking past the gates, the Slovenian embodied the Olympic motto - “Faster, Higher, Stronger” - as she raced to gold. Top competitors hate to lose. They sulk. They beat themselves up. They cry. They vow they’ll do better next time. But Vanessa-Mae didn’t seem to care that she was last of the 67 finishers, that she was short on style and slowest of those who finished in both runs. Or that her combined time for both was 50 seconds slower than Maze’s. That is an eternity in ski racing. The margin between Maze’s gold and Anna Fenninger’s sil-

ver was just 0.07 seconds. “I expected to be last but, you know, at the end of the day the Olympics is a great opportunity,” Vanessa-Mae said after her first run. “My main purpose for being here was to really have a good time, to improve my skiing in a very, very short amount of time.” In which case, why not just take ski lessons like other mere mortals? Using the Olympics to improve one’s parallel turns cheapens them, mocking the idea that the games are the pinnacle of sport. Other competitors were plenty supportive of Vanessa-Mae. “That’s part of the Olympic Games to have so many people competing and so (many) different countries,” said Swiss racer Dominique Gisin, who tied for the gold with Maze in downhill and finished 10th in giant slalom. “Yesterday I saw an athlete from Togo. Yeah, that’s cool, I think. That’s the amazing part of the Olympics Games, to give all of the people from all over the world a chance to compete.” Well, yes. But it’s preferable that Olympians at least look like they’re giving it their all. Vanessa-Mae is entitled to be at the Sochi Games. She took part in European races to qualify, making the January deadline only narrowly, “by my chihuahua’s whisker,” as she put it.

“I think I slightly underestimated how much work goes into being an athlete,” she said. She also is fortunate that her father is from Thailand, which enabled her to compete under the Thai flag and with his surname, Vanakorn. Had she been born Swiss. EXOTIC NATIONS Austrian or from any other skiing power, she wouldn’t have made their Olympic teams, because those countries have young kids who ski steep slopes better and more aggressively than Vanessa-Mae did. “I was lucky that the Olympics, you know, allow exotic nations, for people like me who have day jobs, we can still manage to qualify for the Olympics,” Vanessa-Mae said. So here she is, staying in the Olympic village, rubbing shoulders with the best. “It’s been really chill, you know? You’re just sharing a table with some guy who just won gold and some girl who just won gold. I mean they are gods and goddesses.” As for herself, Vanessa-Mae said: “I’m a hobby skier.” In which case, stick with the violin. Leave competitive skiing and the Olympics to those who really take them seriously. — AP

Bergsma knocks off Kramer in 10,000m

MOSCOW: Russian Julia Lipnitskaia waves to journalists upon her arrival in the Sheremetyevo airport, outside Moscow yesterday. — AP


Russia look to Lipnitskaia for third figure skating gold SOCHI: Teen sensation Julia Lipnitskaia will be looking to lift the deflated spirits of home fans after Yevgeny Plushenko’s shock withdrawal from the Olympics in the women’s event starting today. More history beckons for the 15-yearold who became the youngest female figure skater in 78 years to win a gold amid wild celebrations after their team success at the Iceberg Skating Palace just over a week ago. She could become not only the first Russian to win the women’s title but also the first individual skater to win two gold medals at the same Olympics. It would be a third title for Russia after Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov pairs’ success, in which they led a 1-2 ahead of Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov. Plushenko’s withdrawal before the men’s event meant that the Sochi Games was the first time since Sarajevo 1984 that the USSR or post-Soviet Russia won no medals in the men’s event. A bronze in the ice dance on Monday following a stunning display by Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov helped appease the crowd who would like nothing better than to conclude figure skating at the Games the way they started with a gold. Standing in her way are Olympic champion Kim Yu-Na of South Korea, bidding to become just the third woman to win consecutive titles, and Japan’s Mao Asada, runner-up four years ago in Vancouver. “I heard a lot about Julia Lipnitskaia. She just debuted in the senior level, but this is my last Olympic Games. I think the experience here is different for both of us,” said Kim. The South Korean’s world record scores across the board in her stunning performance in Vancouver four years ago still stand. But the 23-year-old’s season has been hampered by a foot injury, and she missed

the Grand Prix series. “No-one can get a sense of what Yu-Na can bring to the table but she’s still excellent and in excellent shape so you can really not count her out,” said US champion Gracie Gold. The United States, the most successful country in women’s figure skating with seven gold, finished off the podium for the first time in 46 years in Vancouver. Gold, Ashley Wagner and 15-year-old newcomer Polina Edmunds will be bidding to rectify that. Italy’s Carolina Kostner, a former world champion, is also a challenger if the 27-year-old can manage to stay on her feet unlike her two previous Games in Turin 2006 and Vancouver 2010. Lipnitskaia won silver behind Asada, 23, at the ISU Grand Prix final in Japan in December. However Asada, Kostner, Wagner and Gold were all left trailing in her wake in the team event. As Lipnitskaia returned to Moscow to focus on her training, the American women, winners of team bronze, were honing their skills on the ice in Austria and Germany. Asada and the Japanese women headed to Armenia, after finishing fifth in the team event. “I wasn’t strong enough mentally in the team event,” said Asada, but insisted she wasn’t even looking at her rivals. “After Vancouver every year there are new athletes and new skaters. It’s my own competition that I’m focusing on.” Asada, the first woman to land the triple Axel three times at one event in Vancouver, said she was not planning to attempt three in Sochi. “I will attempt the triple axel once in the short and once in the free. There is some risk involved with the axel but I want to do it. “I did it twice in Vancouver (in the free) but I’m only doing it once in Sochi. I just don’t feel like I need to do it twice. The short programme takes place today with the free skate final the following day. — AFP

‘Exotic’ skiers defy the odds to take to slopes ROSA KHUTOR: They cross the finish line well behind the favorites, but for a whole group of ski racers from Brazil, Togo or the US Virgin Islands, making it to the bottom is like winning. Little funding, few results to show for their efforts and even fewer fans: These girls have none of the support enjoyed by stars such as Mikaela Shiffrin, Anna Fenninger or Maria Hoefl-Riesch. But they all shared the same emotions as they filed past dozens of journalists from around the world after the women’s giant slalom yesterday-happiness at being at the Olympics, awe at competing with their idols and hope that they could inspire youngsters to follow their lead. “That was way more exciting than I thought it would be, I just feel so happy to be here. I’m really overwhelmed,” said Jasmine Campbell, competing at the Olympics for the first time for the US Virgin Islands. Alessia Afi Dipol looks and sounds like an Italian, but yesterday she raced for the west African country of Togo. “It’s an honor for me because Sochi is the first Olympic Winter Games for Togo. It has been really fun,” she said. The bubbly 18-year-old used to compete for India but switched to Togo-where her father owns a sports clothing factory-after

India was suspended from the Games movement due to corruption allegations. One better-known athlete competingalthough more renowned for her success as a violinist than for her skiing ability-was Vanessa Mae, racing under the name Vanessa Vanakorn for Thailand. The Singapore-born British former child prodigy finished last of those who made it down both runs. Unlike several competitors who switched allegiance because they could not qualify for their own national teams, Sophia Ralli hails from and trains in Greece. “It’s big for us to be here,” said the 25year-old from Naousa, near Thessaloniki. “We are not so good skiers because we don’t have snow all year round in Greece so we try to make the best of it.” STARSTRUCK Many were more than a little starstruck at the thought of competing with the likes of Tina Maze of Slovenia, who won yesterday’s race-her second gold of the Games. “It’s a little bit strange because until yesterday I watched them on TV and now I’m here with them,” said Dipol. “They are the stars, they’re in the World Cup, they’re my idols from when I was young,” added Portugal’s Swiss-born Camille Dias. —AP

SOCHI: Jorrit Bergsma wouldn’t go along with the storyline. This was supposed to be about Sven Kramer’s redemption, the place where the world’s greatest distance skater finally made up for his incredible blunder four year ago. Instead, Kramer was dealt another crushing disappointment. With a stunner of a finishing kick, Bergsma upset his favored countryman to win speedskating Olympic gold in the 10,000 meters yesterday with the fastest time ever at sea level. “I understand that people really wanted to see Sven win here,” Bergsma said. “But I skate for myself. I came here to win gold. I wasn’t going to give away the gold for Sven’s story.” Kramer gave away a sure gold at the 2010 Vancouver Games with a botched lane change. This time, he simply got beat by - almost inevitably at the Sochi Games - a fellow Dutchman. Bergsma’s time of 12 minutes, 44.45 seconds was less than 3 seconds off Kramer’s world record, set at high altitude in 2007, and shattered the Olympic record of 12:58.55 by South Korea’s Lee Seung-hoon four years ago. Kramer settled for silver in 12:49.02. The bronze went to 37-year-old Bob de Jong, the oldest speedskating medalist in 86 years. “This is really bitter, because I never took this into account,” Kramer said. “Turns out, I simply was not good enough.” While the order of finish didn’t go as expected, the guys on the podium were no surprise at all. It was another orange sweep, the fourth 1-2-3 finish for the Netherlands at Adler Arena, its speedskating medal haul climbing to 19 out of a possible 27. Bergsma’s last five laps were all under 30 seconds, a pace Kramer simply couldn’t match skating in the final pair with Lee. “I was doing 29-second laps and was able to hold on to those late in the race,” Bergsma said. Kramer had already captured his second straight 5,000 gold in Sochi, but he really wanted to make up for the 10,000 victory that got away in Vancouver. During a routine crossover on the backstretch, Kramer’s coach, Gerard Kemkers, absent-mindedly directed him to the wrong lane. The skater dutifully followed the instructions, leading to a disqualification. Lee took the gold, even though his time was 4 seconds slower than Kramer’s. “Four years ago was tougher than this. Here I was beaten by someone better,” Kramer said. “I have to accept this, however tough it is.” Smooth and relaxed in the early laps, Kramer was grimacing in a desperate search for more speed the closer he got to the end. His lap times climbed steadily higher. When the bell rang for the final trip around the oval, Bergsma already was celebrating in the infield. “He kept matching me for a long time,”

SOCHI: Gold medallist Jorrit Bergsma competes in the men’s 10,000-meter speedskating race at the Adler Arena Skating Center during the 2014 Winter Olympics. — AP Bergsma said. “Then I realized he couldn’t hold on to those laps.” On his cool-down lap, Kramer stopped to shake hands with his countryman. But he could barely muster a smile on the medal podium and didn’t hang around long for the victory parade, leaving the arena to Bergsma and De Jong. In recent days, Kramer said he’s been bothered by problems with his thigh and back. He needed to be at his absolute best to beat Bergsma. “Those are facts and absolutely no excuse,” Kramer said. “It cost too much effort to skate effortlessly. I had to fight too hard to get into a rhythm and could not really get there.” In his fifth Olympics, De Jong won his fourth 10,000 medal with a time of 13:07.19. He’s now got two bronzes to go along with a gold and a silver, becoming the first male skater to claim medals at four different Winter Games. The only older skater to win an Olympic medal was 38-year-old Julius Skutnabb, a silver medalist in the 5,000 at the 1928 Winter Games. “I thought I could go a lot faster,” De Jong said. “The conditions were much tougher than I thought.” Lee faded badly over the final laps, finishing fourth in 13:11.68.

There have only been 10 medal sweeps in all of Olympic speedskating history - four of them produced in Sochi by the amazing Dutch. They have crushed the previous record for overall medals at one games (13 by the East Germans in 1988) and tied another mark on Tuesday with their sixth victory in nine events, matching the Soviet Union’s six golds at the Squaw Valley Games in 1960. Bergsma was feted on Twitter by his fiance, American speedskater Heather Richardson. “GOLD in the 10k for my amazing fiance,” she wrote, “so happy for him!!!!” As expected, the American speedskaters went another day without a medal. Seventeen-year-old Emery Lehman of Oak Park, Ill., finished 10th - more than 44 seconds off the winning pace. The high school senior got sick in a bucket labeled “Vomit Bin” after he was done with the 25-lap race. Patrick Meek of Chicago, who got into the 14-man field as an alternate, was 11th. In the middle of his news conference, Bergsma got a congratulatory call from the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte. “That was kind of special,” Bergsma said. So was his race. — AP

Ski aces in three-way battle for giant slalom ROSA KHUTOR: US ski star Ted Ligety and French tyro Alexis Pinturault will get a second chance at Olympic glory in today’s giant slalom, but with Austrian hot shot Marcel Hirscher now in play. Ligety and Pinturault were widely expected to win the super-combined event last week but in typical Olympic fashion, forecasts were thrown up in the air and neither landed anywhere near the podium. Now the two skiers, ranked third and second in World Cup giant slalom rankings, could make good for Friday’s debacle. But they will face a fresh-faced Hirscher, who only flew into Sochi on Sunday and has had a few more days to rest and train quietly in Austria, away from any Olympic hype. The 24-year-old currently leads World Cup rankings and won the crystal globe in 2012. Still, Ligety, as reigning world champion and winner of last year’s crystal globe, looks like the one to beat on the slopes of Rosa Khutor. His giant slalom prowess has earned him praise from his closest rivals, including an admiring Hirscher, and he has topped the podium in three out of six races this season. The cool American-already Olympic champion in Turin in 2006, although in super-combined-has also shown he thrives on the pressure of big events, pocketing no less than three gold medals at world championships last year. “I’m just going to push hard today, I know where my skiing can be and this season I’ve had lots of ups and downs in other races and results, but still put together fast runs in giant slalom. “There are a lot of guys who can be fast for sure, but myself, Hirscher and Pinturault are going to be the tougher guys to beat,” he predicted. Pinturault, 22, is still chasing his first medal at big events but has been strong all season in this discipline. HUNGRY FOR TITLE And already after the super-combined, where he skied out in the slalom part, he showed he was hungry for a title. “Now it is up to me to bounce back. I have to do it, as any champion is able to do.”

KRASNAYA POLYANA: United States’ Ted Ligety makes a jump in this file photo. (Inset) Alexis Pinturault — AP Two-time overall World Cup winner Hirscher said he was as ready as he could be to get his first ever Olympic medals. “I’m really relaxed. I’ve trained really well during these last two weeks. “Whatever you can try we’ve done it and there’s nothing more we can do right now.” The world silver-medallist in giant slalom was also adamant he would not allow a result like four years ago in Vancouver. “It’s just full attack. I hope I never get a fourth place at Olympics again!” Aside from the top three, France’s Thomas Fanara could make it on to the podium. But with Olympics throwing up several unexpected names so far, Norway’s in-form Kjetil Jansrud could also complete a Sochi treble after downhill bronze and super-G gold. In 2010, he won silver in the giant slalom. Jansrud’s teammate Aksel Lund Svindal will miss the race on the other hand, preferring to head home and rest following allergy problems. The Norwegian ace hoped to repeat the feat

from four years ago when he won three Olympic medals, including downhill gold, but leaves Sochi without a single podium. Germany’s Felix Neureuther also looked unlikely to compete today after a car accident last week on his way to take his flight for Sochi. The 29-year-old suffered mild whiplash and bruising in the crash and had to cut short training on Monday. — AFP



Maze strikes double gold ROSA KHUTOR: Slovenia’s Tina Maze bagged her second alpine skiing gold of the Sochi Olympics yesterday when she won a thrilling women’s giant slalom from Austrian arch-rival Anna Fenninger. In tricky weather conditions that included heavy snow, torrential rain and fog, the 30-yearold Slovenian clocked a combined total of 2min 36.87sec over the two runs in Rosa Khutor. Maze, who’d had to share downhill gold with Switzerland’s Dominique Gisin last week after a first-ever Winter Olympic alpine dead heat, had it all to do on her second run. The Slovene set the fastest time down the first run, meaning she started last of the top 30 racers in running order for the second descent. Maze had seen fourth-placed Fenninger, who was also looking for a second gold after winning Saturday’s super-G, storm into the lead, which changed hands seven times in a dramatic climax to the event. Starting with an 0.85sec lead over the Austrian, Maze’s deficit was slowly eroded away in the increasingly slushy conditions, but she hung on through to the finish line to sneak home by just seven-hundredths of a second. FOCUSED “I can live with that!” Maze said. “This season I’d focused on the Olympics. I was ready for this, it’s what I came here to do. “It was tough for me to keep the same rhythm as last year in the World Cup. but I knew I was going to show my best here, it’s great. The rest of the season doesn’t matter.” Fenninger was also left satisfied despite missing out on gold by the smallest of margins. “My second run was really cool,” said the 24year-old. “After the first run I knew in the start I would have to take a lot of risk and I did and I’m really happy that that was enough for a medal.” Defending champion Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany took bronze, a further 0.20sec adrift, to make up for the absence of teammate Maria Hoefl-Riesch, who was a late withdrawal, the

super-combined winner complaining of ‘flu-like conditions. “I can hardly believe it,” said a stunned Rebensburg. “I was quite far down in the first run but I knew I could go looking for a bit more. “I’m still not firing on all cylinders but I got a medal and that’s essential.” Rebensburg laid down the fastest second run as three of just four racers to get within a second of Maze’s leading first run, Sweden’s World Cup giant slalom leader Jessica Lindell-Vikarby, Italian Nadia Fanchini and American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin, all fell out of contention. REMARKABLE GAMES Shiffrin, 18, ended up fifth at 0.50sec, just behind Fanchini (+0.38sec), and will now continue her bid to become the youngest American to win an Olympic gold medal in alpine skiing in her preferred slalom on Friday. It has been a remarkable Games for Maze, further confirming that her hard-nosed decision to switch coaches to Mauro Pini just a month before the Olympics was paying off. Last year’s overall World Cup winner and a triple-medallist at the Schladming world championships, Maze had been left stunned with her poor performances at the start of the season. But her form in Sochi has rebounded and she is yet to finish lower than seventh in a race on the Rosa Khutor slopes. “You don’t normally change coaches in mid-season,” said Maze. “But I had that opportunity, so why not if it could work out better for me?” The giant slalom also saw the debut of violin virtuoso Vanessa Mae, who became Thailand’s first ever female skier at the Olympics. The 35year-old Singapore-born British former child prodigy, racing for the country from which her natural father hails, finished in 67th and last place, with a time of 3min 26.97sec, a massive 50.10sec off Maze. Her hesitant, conservative style of skiing was a marked difference to that of the elite skiers, but at least, she finished the race-unlike 22 of the initial 89 racers who failed to make it down over the two legs. — AFP

SOCHI: Russia goaltender Sergei Bobrovski clears the puck away from Norway forward Per-Age Skroder as Russia defenseman Andrei Markov helps defend in the third period of a men’s ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics. — AP

Russia crush Norway 4-0 SOCHI: Alexander Radulov scored twice as Russia beat Norway 4-0 to reach the quarterfinals of the Olympic ice hockey tournament yesterday but the hosts’ NHL stars once again failed to shine. Sergei Bobrovski stopped 22 shots for the shutout and Pavel Datsyuk had three assists for the Russians, who will face Finland on Wednesday for a spot in the semi-finals. Russia is desperate to win gold on their home soil after crashing out of the Vancouver Games in the quarters four years ago. Radulov redeemed himself with his two goals and an assist Tuesday in front of a crowd of 11,423 at the Bolshoi Ice Dome. Radulov, who plays for CSKA Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League, took two penalties on Saturday which led to two American goals. The USA won the match 3-2 in a shootout thriller that helped them finish atop of Group A of the preliminary round and forced Russia to have to play an extra game in the qualification round. FIRING BLANKS Ilya Kovalchuk, of St. Petersburg, and Ak Bars

Kazan forward Alexi Tereshenko also scored for Russia as they got all their goals from KHL players while their NHL stars continue to fire blanks. The Russia-Norway game was one of four qualifying matches on Tuesday that will determine the final eight teams of the tournament. The Russians have a quick turnaround before facing the 2006 silver medallist Finns in less than 24 hours for a spot in the semis. “It is do or die right now. Everybody is ready for tomorrow,” said star forward Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin finished with four shots on goal but no points in over 16 minutes of playing time but says he is not worried about his lack of scoring in this tournament. “I’m trying to score, otherwise I am doing simple things for the team,” Ovechkin said. “When we are leading we don’t have score, we have to protect the lead.” He says he is waiting for moments when he can show his offensive skills but they just haven’t come yet. “The most important thing is the team,” he said. “It is not about personal stats. We are here to win the gold. It is not about winning some scoring titles.”

IMPROVING Ovechkin is not the only Russian who isn’t scoring. Four goals in a game is the second most for Russia this tournament. He said they are improving each game but still need to work on getting the puck out of their own zone quicker.” We started well. We took some shots and put pressure on their defence,” he said. “And we had a few mistakes especially when our defence had the puck. We forwards didn’t move our feet and we stopped on the blueline. And then we made some changes and it worked.” Norway’s Patrick Thoresen said the Russians have some glaring weaknesses that they are going to have to correct if they want to get to the Olympic podium. “They need to be more compact in their defensive unit,” said Thoresen, who used to play in the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers. “If they can come together as a team then they certainly have the confidence to go through. “But I am not so sure to be honest. They are allowing so many chances in front of the goal.” In the earlier game yesterday, Slovenia blanked Austria 4-0 and will face Sweden today. — AFP

USA-1 lead in bobsled SOCHI: Women’s giant slalom gold medal winner Sloveniaís Tina Maze of Slovenia poses for photographers on the podium at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics yesterday. — AP

Belarus celebrates best ever Games SOCHI: The ex-Soviet state of Belarus, once described as Europe’s last dictatorship, is celebrating the best Olympic Games in its history at Sochi 2014 in a gold rush led by a sharp-shooting and glamorous female biathlete. Belarus, which until these Games had only won a single medal at a Winter Olympics, has now won five gold medals in Sochi with three from the skiing and shooting prowess of its star biathlete Darya Domracheva. It also scored an unprecedented double in the freestyle aerials at Sochi, with Alla Tsuper taking the women’s event and Anton Kushnir the men’s. “ These Olympics can be called the Belarussian Games. We have left many world giants on our wake,” Belarus’ state First Channel television said. The reasons for the success lie

SOCHI: Belarus’ Darya Domracheva, the gold medalist in the women’s biathlon 12.5K mass start, smiles while holding her medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics. — AP partly in the aggressive athlete selection policy of the Belarussian federations-every single one of its medallists were either born in, or initially performed for, Russia or Ukraine. The performance is also likely the result of the hands-on support from sports-mad strongman President Alexander Lukashenko, who has ruled the ex-Soviet state for almost two decades and was once accused by Washington of running Europe’s last dictatorship. MERCURIAL STYLE In typically mercurial style, Lukashenko reacted to Domracheva’s third gold in the women’s mass start Monday night by immediately giving her the country’s highest honour, Hero of Belarus. The award-which stems from the USSR’s top award Hero of the USSR-is given out only extremely rarely and Domracheva joins a roll of honour of just 10 other such “Heroes”, only four of whom are still alive.

“Modern history does not know similar great deeds,” Lukashenko told Domracheva in a congratulatory telegram. Lukashenko had already showed his admiration for “Dasha” Domracheva by personally congratulating her in Sochi on her first gold in the pursuit race. Donning a tracksuit that looked like it dated from the Soviet-era, Lukashenko hugged Domracheva while his extra-marital son Kolyawho he once took to visit the pope-presented her with flowers, official pictures showed. The presidential newspaper Soviet Belarus said after Domracheva’s third gold: “The race showed once again that the mechanism of the Belarussian team is working ideally. Dasha literally flew above the wet Sochi snow.” The successes of the team at Sochi have boosted Belarus at a time of economic hardship for the nation of 9.5 million with many Belarussians posting admiring comments about the exploits of Domracheva. Some pro-opposition voices on social media, however, have dug up claims that she is a serving officer with the Belarussian security service, which is still known by its Soviet acronym KGB. Such a position in this country would be nothing extraordinary for a top sportsperson in a sport involving shooting. Several top Belarus biathlon officials are serving KGB officers. However independent Belarussian newspaper Nasha Niva said this week there was no proof for the claims and “no-one has ever seen any documents.” POOR FACILITIES Domracheva was born in Minsk but moved at an early age with her parents to Siberia, where she started biathlon and country skiing and made her first appearances at junior international level for Russia. Her talent was spotted by Belarussian coaches who invited her onto the national team. Her success has caused much debate in Russia where many are angry such a superb athlete was allowed to slip through the system. Meanwhile the aerials gold medallists Tsuper and Kushnir were both born not in Belarus but in Ukraine’s northwestern Rivne region. Several top Ukrainian winter sports athletes have moved to Russia or Belarus due to the poor facilities at home, like gold medal winning Russian pairs skater Tatiana Volosozhar. Belarus’ other medallist Nadezhda Skardino who took bronze in the individual was born in Russia but then switched allegiance to Belarus due to lack of opportunity. Russian sports daily Sovietsky Sport said it was time to stop lamenting the fact that “Dasha” was not Russian and admire her achievement as the first female biathlete to win three biathlon golds at a single Winter Olympics. “What she did, no-one else in history has managed to do,” it said. — AFP

KRASNAYA POLYANA: An American track star is two runs from Olympic history. No, not her. Lauryn Williams, who had never pushed a bobsled or even sat inside one until just six months ago, and teammate Elana Meyers lead in USA-1 at the halfway point of women’s Olympic bobsled. They completed two drives down the Sanki Sliding Center track in 1 minute, 54.89 seconds on Tuesday to lead Canada’s Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse. The Canadians, trying to win their second straight Olympic title, trail by 0.23 seconds heading into Wednesday’s final two runs. USA-3’s Jamie Greubel and Aja Evans are in third, 0.56 back. Williams, a two-time sprint medalist in the Summer Olympics, is attempting to become just the second athlete to win gold medals in both the Winter and Summer Games. Lolo Jones, on the other hand, wants just one. The former hurdler is 11th with teammate Jazmine Fenlator in USA-3, 1.84 seconds behind Meyers and Williams. It’s not the result Jones had hoped for after switching to bobsled to pursue her dream of winning a medal after ballyhooed failures on the track in Beijing and London. She’s on an icy track at these games, and to this point, it’s been as slippery as the dry ones she once ran in the summer. “Everything went as expected,” Jones said. “We knew we would have to fight. We knew it would be four tough runs.” So far, this Olympic competition has been no different than most during this past World Cup season, with Meyers and Humphries dunking it out for first. Humphries edged Myers for the overall championship by one point. But the stakes are much higher in Sochi, and although the two are close friends after training and even roomed together last summer, Meyers and Humphries are going hard for gold. Humphries celebrated her triumph in 2010 on her home track in Whistler by adding a tattoo of her gold medal to the many on her chiseled body. She’s considered her artistic options if she wins again, but Humphries has to catch Meyers first. Humphries and Moyse were first on the track Tuesday and made a clean trip, staying in the middle and keeping away from any bumps that might slow them down. They finished in 57.39 seconds, but the pair barely had time to acknowledge they had set a track record when Meyers and Williams lowered it. USA-1’s first heat wasn’t pretty, but it was fast: a 57.26-second descent that moved them ahead of the Canadians. The Americans stretched their lead by one-tenth of a second on their second run. Greubel, of Newtown, Pa., and Evans, of Chicago, can’t be overlooked. The pair had two speedy trips down the track, which is covered and wasn’t affected by daylong downpours in this new ski resort area northeast of Sochi. Williams, of Rochester, Pa., won a silver medal in the 100 meters in 2006, and she received gold as a member of the 4x100 meter relay team in London. She’s attempting to join Eddie Eagan, who won gold in boxing in 1920 in Antwerp and in four-man bobsled in Lake Placid in 1932, as the only winner of gold in both Winter and

KRASNAYA POLYANA: The team from the United States USA-1, piloted by Elana Meyers with brakeman Lauryn Williams, speed down the track during the women’s bobsled competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics. — AP Summer Games. Meyers, of Douglasville, Ga., and Williams got off to a shaky start in their first days on the mountain. Meyers crashed her BMW-built sled on their initial training run, and Williams was late applying the brakes the following day and the pair smashed into a wall near the finish, damaging the front end of the carbon-fibered sliding machine. Mechanics worked hard to get USA-1 up and running, and the sled seemed to handle perfectly on Tuesday, surviving her pinball-like first run. The US team arrived in Russia early to get acclimated to their surroundings and “ The Wolfpack,” as they call themselves, brought some drama with them. Jones’ selection over Katie Eberling and Emily Azevedo was criticized by some who believed coaches were influenced by the track star’s celebrity. Regardless, Jones got the nod, but was then was paired with Fenlator in USA-3, the weakest of the sleek American sleds. For Jones, these games are another shot at Olympic glory. The Des Moines, Iowa, native had to bulk up for bobsled, eating up to 9,000 calories per day to add 20 pounds of muscle so she could help power the 400-plus-pound sled from the starting gate without losing any of her world-class speed. Williams’ promotion into USA-1 wasn’t without controversy and risk. She and Meyers only raced once together in a World Cup event, placing second in Lake Placid, N.Y. Williams’ inexperience could be a problem, but Meyers said her blazing speed makes up for time not spent on the track. “It’s not really taking a chance when you have one of the fastest women in the world behind you,” Meyers said after a practice run. And right now, Williams has USA-1 out front. — AP

Olympics medals table SOCHI, Russia: Winter Olympics medals table yesterday (after six of seven gold medal events):

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

Gold Silver Bronze Total 8 3 4 15 7 4 7 18 6 6 8 20 5 8 6 19 5 4 10 19 5 2 1 8 5 0 1 6 4 8 4 16 4 0 0 4 3 2 1 6 3 1 4 8 2 6 1 9 2 5 2 9 2 1 3 6 2 1 1 4 1 3 2 6 1 3 2 6 1 0 1 2 1 0 0 1 0 2 4 6 0 2 1 3 0 2 0 2 0 1 2 3 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 1



Curitiba’s honor saved as it earns reprieve from FIFA BRAZIL: Curitiba won a last-minute reprieve from FIFA yesterday, retaining its status as a World Cup finals venue despite construction work delays, FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke said. FIFA judged that work on the stadium, which will host four games in the finals that start in Brazil in June have made enough progress to warrant being retained. It had previously missed a series of deadlinesFIFA dropped an initial deadline of December 31 for all 12 venues after six failed to meet the date. A double fatality at Sao Paulo, which will stage the opening game, put that venue’s pre-event tests back until mid-April. In addition, there have been three construction deaths at Manaus in the Amazon region and one at Brasilia. But it has been the Curitiba delays which have posed FIFA a severe headache to the extent Valcke threatened to scrap it from the list altogether. Yesterday, he confirmed the stadium had done enough to stay on board, heading off a potential legal minefield of challenges from the city, which had faced claims from hotels losing weeks of fan business. “Yes, Curitiba will remain as one of the 12

host cities,” said Valcke, who confirmed news to that effect posted on his website just minutes before he spoke. “That shows I’m not really responsible for the Twitter account,” he joked. FIFA assessor Charles Botta had earlier completed the world body’s latest appraisal of the Arena da Baixada site which has been beset by delays that had increasingly caused concern after costs rose almost threefold from an initial $60 million. The city was one of six which saw action when the continent-sized nation first hosted the tournament back in 1950. Just prior to Valcke’s announcement, Curitiba prefect Gustavo Fruet had already let slip on Twitter that the venue would not be dropped. “Total confidence! The meeting with the FIFA team has finished and it is retaining the stadium,” Fruet tweeted. If the axe had fallen on Curitiba, it would have been a humiliating blow to the football-mad nation, which has also been trumpeting its economic progress over the past few years. Work on Curitiba has been even slower than on the other 11 venues, which two months ago won an extended deadline from FIFA to finish the work.

Many Brazilians believe the cost of hosting the tournament has come at the expense of public services and there have been protests which came to a head at last year’s World Cup finals dress rehearsal the Confederations Cup. There are fears that those were just a foretaste of what is to come in June when the finals take place. Curitiba residents are angry at what they say is a lack of transparency on spending. The stadium was due initially to cost 130 million Reais ($65 million). The stadium’s owners Atletico Paranaense initially hoped to fund the venue privately themselves but costs have mushroomed to 320 million reais, forcing local authorities to step in and organise bank loans worth some $30 million. Local protesters called a march for Tuesday afternoon to slam the rising costs and use of public funds. Some protesters have marched under the slogan ‘There Will Be No Cup’-and in Curitiba that wish came close to being granted. Deputy sports minister Luis Fernandes insisted that the stadium was “beautiful” and that lessons had been learned. But he insisted that Brazil would

as a whole benefit from the investments being made in all 12 host cities. FIFA president Sepp Blatter recently chided Brazil for not starting preparations quickly enough and said it was further behind than any other host in his four decades with football’s world body. The decision over Curitiba has overshadowed the arrival of the coaches of the 32 qualifying nations in the southern city of Florianapolis for a pre-World Cup seminar which will allow them to discuss logistics and assess facilities. Yesterday ’s decision vindicated Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff ’s insistence when she met Blatter in Zurich last month that Curitiba would make it. The highest profile match at the stadium, now 91 percent complete, according to Atletico Paranaense, will be Australia versus reigning champions Spain on June 23. After his January visit, Valcke had said bluntly: “We cannot organise a match without a stadium, this has reached a critical point.” But local organzizers redoubled their efforts and have now been rewarded. — AFP

Balotelli tired of critics as Atletico approach MILAN: AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli hit out at his critics a day before the struggling Serie A giants host in-form Atletico Madrid. Balotelli made partial amends for a string of mediocre performances for Clarence Seedorf’s side with a stunning long-range strike which sealed a late 1-0 win against Bologna on Friday. It came in timely fashion, only days ahead of the first leg of a Champions League last 16 tie against Diego Simeone’s Spanish title chasers. Balotelli hopes it has silenced his detractors for a game for which Milan, going on recent statistics, are the underdogs. “I criticise myself enough, so when I hear it coming from other people I get really fed up,” the 23-year-old told media yesterday. Atletico, who are pushing Barcelona and Real Madrid for command of La Liga, are firm favourites for a win that would boost their quarter-final chances ahead of the return leg at the Vicente Calderon in a for tnight. However, Today’s matches on TV UEFA Champions League AC Milan v Atletico 2HD - 5HD,14HD


Arsenal v Bayern 3HD, 11HD


Balotelli says he is spurred on by the chance to make partial amends for Italy’s last final defeat at a major international tournament. A brace from the Italy striker in the semi-final of Euro 2012 against Germany set up a final against Spain, who went on to rout the Azzurri 4-0. Balotelli admits the ‘Rioja’ are a tough nut to crack but added: “Their national side is a little difficult to beat, but maybe we can start (avenging) by beating a Spanish club side. “Games like tomorrow’s are different, but the objective remains the same, like having the determination to win and helping the team reach that objective.” Seedorf, meanwhile, admitted earlier this week that Atletico will be formidable opponents. But the Dutchman, the only player to have won Europe’s most prestigious club trophy with three different clubs-Ajax, Real Madrid and twice with Milan-is relishing the challenge. “I hope tomorrow we will reap what we have sown over the past weeks,” said the 37-year-old. To discerning fans of the Rossoneri, however, that could sound ominous. Seedorf took charge of the ailing Italian giants following the sacking of former handler Massimiliano Allegri in early January when they were languishing below mid-table. And after three wins in five league games and a quarterfinal exit from the Italian Cup at the hands of Udinese, the jury remains out on the Dutchman who spent 10 successladen years at the club. — AFP

Hull grab late draw in FA Cup fifth round LONDON: Yannick Sagbo kept Hull City in the FA Cup with a late strike in their 11 fifth-round draw at second tier Brighton & Hove Albion to prevent an upset on Monday. The pair now face a replay at Premier League Hull next Monday with Brighton looking to set up a quarter-final clash at home to Sunderland and their ex-manager Gus Poyet. Hull boss Steve Bruce also used to manage Sunderland. Championship promotion hopefuls Brighton went ahead when Argentine Leonardo Ulloa started and finished an incisive move after half an hour but

Ivory Coast striker Sagbo’s smart control and shot five minutes from time levelled matters. Poyet left Brighton last June after a clash with the board and in October joined top flight strugglers Sunderland, who are already through to next month’s last eight. H u l l, w i t h o u t c u p - t i e d s t r i k e r s Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic, hit the woodwork twice and now face the burden of an extra game as they try to stay out of the relegation zone, which they are three points above with 12 games left. — Reuters

BRIGHTON: Hull City’s Ivorian striker Yannick Sagbo (left) is surrounded by Brighton & Hove Albion players during the English FA Cup fifth round football match. — AFP

ITALY: Atletico Madrid players attend a training session ahead of today’s Champions League, round of 16, first leg soccer match against AC Milan. — AP

Seedorf looking to lift Milan MADRID: Clarence Seedorf will need to tap into all the experience he gained as the only player to win the Champions League with three different clubs if his AC Milan side are to get past Atletico Madrid into the quarter-finals. Milan host the Spanish club, who are riding high in La Liga, for their last 16, first leg today, when Seedorf will make his coaching debut in Europe’s elite club competition after taking over last month from Massimiliano Allegri. The 37-year-old former Netherlands midfielder won the Champions League once with Ajax Amsterdam and once with Real Madrid before a decade playing at Milan yielded two more continental titles. However, the seven-times European champions have fallen on hard times and sit ninth in Serie A, 31 points behind leaders Juventus, and Seedorf has taken on the task of lifting them out of their slump and reviving past glories. “The match against Atletico will be a great chance to take a big step forward,” Seedorf said after Milan won 1-0 at home to Bologna on Friday. “We’ll play our game as Milan always have something extra in the Champions League,” he added. “I’m confident that the stadium will be full as it was in the old days with a great atmosphere. The fans and the stadium will give the players what they need.” Seedorf will be going head to head with a man he

knows well from his playing days, Atletico’s Argentine coach Diego Simeone, who had stints at Italian clubs including Inter Milan and Lazio and Spanish sides Atletico and Sevilla. Simeone, 43, has transformed the Madrid side into genuine contenders in Spain and Europe since taking over at the end of 2011 and they are joint top of La Liga with heavyweights Barcelona and Real Madrid. They were one of only three teams undefeated in the Champions League group stage, winning five and drawing one, and are unbeaten in their last four away games in Europe. “Atletico seem like an Italian or Argentine team since Simeone arrived, they are extremely tough,” Demetrio Albertini, a former Milan and Italy midfielder who also had a brief loan spell at Atletico, said in an interview with Spanish sports daily As published on Monday. “Above all they are a balanced team and the coach has imposed a very well defined style and character,” he added. “Atletico have an advantage, they are the favourites as their position in the (Spanish) league suggests. “But let’s not forget one thing. The Champions League is Milan’s home. They have won seven European titles and the history is there.” LESS DAMAGE Seedorf will need time to fix what has been ail-

ing Milan in recent seasons but has already said he wants his players to exert more control. “You need time to create your style of play and a bit of luck too,” he said on Friday. “It’s in the club’s DNA to have control of the game. If you’re in control, the adversary can do less damage. “I ask the players to stick together and to show fighting spirit to get out of the difficult situation that we find ourselves in.” Atletico have stumbled in recent weeks, suffering a surprise defeat at Almeria in La Liga and being eliminated from the King’s Cup by city rivals Real. They returned to winning ways at the weekend with a 3-0 league win at home to Real Valladolid. Simeone bolstered his squad with last month’s signing of Brazilian playmaker Diego and believes he has enough depth to compete successfully on two fronts. “We have a very competitive team now,” he said after the Valladolid game. “When I felt we had to keep the ball I brought him (Diego)on and things became easier and the game was basically over. “We won in two ways today: playing more directly at the start and then closing the game down with more possession.” The return leg is at Atletico’s Calderon stadium on March 11. — Reuters

Arsenal wary of Bayern LONDON: Arsenal will be out to show they have learnt the lessons of last season’s painful home defeat by Bayern Munich when the sides meet again in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie in London today. Holders Bayern were utterly dominant in 3-1 victory at the Emirates Stadium, and although Arsenal went on to salvage pride with a 2-0 win in Munich in the return leg, it was not enough to prevent the Gunners going out of the competition in the round of 16 for the third consecutive season. They face a daunting task to avoid making it four years in a row, however, with the Bayern juggernaut showing little sign of slowing under Pep Guardiola, who led Barcelona to victory over Arsenal at this stage in the 2010-11 season. Despite recent wobbles, Arsenal are a sterner proposition this time as they mount their first serious Premier League challenge for years, and should be boosted by a 2-1 FA Cup victory over Liverpool, eight days after the same opponents thrashed them 5-1. TWO PERFECT GAMES German defender Per Mertesacker acknowledged that it would take “two perfect games” for Arsenal to progress, but that it was important not to show Bayern too much respect. “We have to go for two perfect games against them,” he told reporters. “We know we can beat them now, so maybe mentally we are in a better condition than last year. “We respected them too much in the first leg then, so it was too easy for them. “Maybe we have learned something from those lessons and will do better this time. “Now we have another chance and an opportunity to beat the champions. We want to achieve something exceptional this season, so we have to beat the best. “That is not only Manchester City and Chelsea, that is Bayern Munich in the Champions League.” Midfielder Mikel Arteta is suspended after being sent off in the group stage loss to Napoli, while Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna, who remained on the bench against Liverpool, Kieran Gibbs and Santi Cazorla, who were second half substitutes and Tomas Rosicky, who was rested, were expected to return.

LONDON: Arsenal’s German players Lukas Podolski (left), Mesut Ozil (centre) and Serge Gnabry walk to the pitch during a training session at the club’s training ground. Arsenal will play against Bayern Munich in a Champions League match today. — AP BAYERN DOMINANT Bayern’s domestic dominance shows no sign of slowing, with Saturday’s 4-0 win over Freiburg coming despite Jerome Boateng, David Alaba, Thiago and Mario Goetze being rested. Their Bundesliga winning streak is 13 matches and victory extended their unbeaten run to 46. Their only loss in this season’s Champions League group stage came at home to Manchester City, with qualification already assured. They will be without France winger Franck Ribery, who is suffering with a buttock injury, and his potential replacement Xherdan Shaqiri, who scored twice against Freiburg, is also out with a thigh strain. Despite the comprehensive nature of last season’s victory in London, where early goals by Toni Kroos and Thomas Mueller put the visitors 2-0 up after only 21 minutes, Bayern captain Philipp Lahm remained wary of Arsenal.

“That game is a warning sign to us,” Lahm said. “We had been very good in London, we thought nothing can happen to us in the return leg. All of a sudden you are 2-0 down and there are still some minutes to play. It shows that things can go really quickly in the Champions League. We will have that in the back of our minds.” Lahm said he kept a close eye on Arsenal given their strong German contingent of Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski, as well as uncapped youngster Serge Gnabry. “They’re fighting for the championship, that’s not a coincidence: I believe they have developed as a team. They’ve become much stronger, the squad is more balanced,” he said. “And they still play the way Arsenal always play. They want to have the ball, they like playing it short, and they have outstanding individuals.” The return leg in Germany will be played on March 11. — Reuters

Serena defeats Ekaterin in Dubai



Arsenal wary of Bayern


Curitiba’s honor saved as it earns reprieve from FIFA

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LONDON: Manchester City’s Alvaro Negredo (center) fights for the ball with Barcelona’s Sergi Roberto (left) and Cesc Fabregas (right) during their Champions League first knock out round soccer match at the Etihad Stadium. — AP

Barcelona take control over City MANCHESTER: Goals by Lionel Messi and Dani Alves saw Barcelona take control of their Champions League last 16 tie against Manchester City with a 2-0 win in yesterday’s first leg. Knockout-phase debutants City matched Barcelona in the first half at the Etihad Stadium, but the game changed early in the second period when Martin Demichelis was sent off following a lastman foul on Messi. The Argentine scored from the ensuing penalty in the 54th minute, taking his tally of goals in this season’s competition to seven. Despite being a man down, City continued to threaten, but in the final minute Alves ran through to score, leaving Barcelona firmly in the driving seat ahead of the return leg on March 12. While Neymar started on the bench for Barcelona after his recent return from injury, City manager Manuel Pellegrini deployed a pragmatic 4-4-1-1 formation, with Alvaro Negredo playing as a lone striker. Both managers had emphasised the importance of possession before the game and in that domain

the visitors quickly stamped their authority, immediately trading passes with their usual hypnotic fluidity. There was no penetration to their passing, however, and when City began to probe, they found fissures in the Barca defence. A pass from David Silva freed Negredo, who eluded Gerard Pique before lifting the ball over Victor Valdes from a tight angle, but there were no City players up in support. Barca goalkeeper Valdes was then given a moment of discomfort when Vincent Kompany got his head to a free-kick from Silva, sparking a goalmouth scramble that was cut short when Negredo was penalised for an infringement. Negredo hit a snapshot straight at Valdes, before Barca came to life, with Messi firing over from the edge of the box and Xavi extending City goalkeeper Joe Hart with a rasping 25-yard drive. It was an encouraging first half for the home side, but eight minutes into the second period the balance of the tie suddenly shifted in Barcelona’s favour.

Leading CL scorers Leading Champions League scorers after yesterday’s last 16 first leg matches: 10 goals: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris SG) 9 goals: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 7 goals: Lionel Messi (Barcelona) 6 goals: Sergio Ag¸ero (Manchester City) 5 goals: Alvaro Negredo (Manchester City), Arturo Vidal (Juventus) 4 goals: Edinson Cavani (Paris SG), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid), Gonzalo Higuain (Naples), Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund)

Ibrahimovic double puts PSG on verge of quarters

Rooney poised to sign new Man United deal — report LONDON: Wayne Rooney is this week expected to sign a new contract that would keep the England striker at Manchester United until the end of the 2018-2019 season, local media reported. The 28-year-old could seal his Old Trafford future as early as today or tomorrow, the Press Association said. Media speculation about Rooney’s future at the English Premier League giants has swirled since Chelsea attempted to lure him away before the start of the current season. But despite United’s troubles under new manager David Moyes-which sees them in the unfamiliar position of seventh, 15 points off the pace set by Chelsea-Rooney is thought to be settled at Old Trafford. Earlier this month, Rooney insisted he was “focusing on the football” amid a flurry of rumours about negotiations over his contract, which expires at the end of next season. However, he conceded it is his ambition to beat Bobby Charlton’s goal-scoring record for the club. Charlton amassed 249 goals for United and Rooney currently has 208. “It is a great aim for myself to try and get Sir Bobby’s record, both at club and international level,” said Rooney, who trails Charlton’s record of 49 England goals by 11. “It is something which I would like to do. If I can do that, I would be really proud, because it has stood for a long time.” Rooney made his professional debut at the age of 16 at Everton under Moyes and has spoken out in defence of the embattled manager, who has struggled in his first season to emulate the success enjoyed by United legend Alex Ferguson. “David Moyes is a fantastic manager,” Rooney said last week. “I worked with him at Everton and for a number of months at United. He’s done everything he can, but it’s the players that have to do better and hopefully we can do that.” — AFP

Andres Iniesta’s pass put Messi through on goal and Demichelis, sliding in from behind, brought the Argentine down. The offence occurred right on the edge of the box, but referee Jonas Eriksson awarded a penalty and after Demichelis had trudged off, Messi planted the spot-kick past Hart. Pellegrini sent on Joleon Lescott and Samir Nasri in place of Aleksandar Kolarov and Jesus Navas, and Nasri quickly had a sight of goal, only for Pique to block. Alves teed up Xavi to shoot over and then drilled narrowly wide after a one-two with Alexis Sanchez as Barca threatened to twist the knife, while Neymar’s introduction seemed to presage further bad news for City. Instead, the hosts continued to push, with Valdes plunging to his right to repel a volley from Silva in the 77th minute. Barca had the final say, however, with Alves gathering a pass from Neymar and tucking the ball between Hart’s legs in the final minute to further tighten the Catalans’ grip on the tie. —AFP

GERMANY: PSG’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates his side’s third goal during a Champions League round of the last 16 first leg soccer match against Bayer Leverkusen. — AP

LEVERKUSEN: Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice to leave Paris Saint-Germain on course for the Champions League quarter-finals after their 4-0 win at ten-man Bayer Leverkusen in yesterday’s last 16, first-leg clash. Leverkusen, second only to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, suffered their third straight home defeat as Laurent Blanc’s PSG were rarely troubled at the BayArena with Ibrahimovic the architect of the victory with two goals in three first-half minutes. Left winger Blaise Matuidi put PSG ahead with barely two minutes gone before Ibrahimovic netted a penalty, then added a second when he unleashed a thunderbolt of a shot to make it 3-0 at the break. Replacement Yohan Cabaye then added PSG’s fourth just before the final whistle. It meant 32-year-old Ibrahimovic replaced Cristiano Ronaldo as the competition’s top-scorer with 10 goals in six Champions League games this season after the Swedish star also netted four in the 5-0 rout of RSC Anderlecht in Belgium last October. Bayer were reduced to ten men when Ibrahimovic’s marker Emir Spahic was sent off for a second yellow, and the subsequent red, for the final half an hour. Sami Hyypia-coached Leverkusen now face an unenviable task to try and salvage something from the return leg in Paris on March 12. The French league leaders took an almost immediate lead when Leverkusen captain Simon Rolfes lost possession in midfield, Matuidi fed Ibrahimovic out the flank and the Swedish striker’s pass found Marco Verratti in space. The Italian right winger put a superbly timed ball in

behind the Leverkusen defence which Matuidi slotted home. It could have 2-0 after ten minutes as Ibrahimovic’s shot cannoned off Roberto Hilbert’s torso, with the rightback the last defence with the hosts’ back four in disarray. Having lost their last two home games, Leverkusen started to find their rhythm after the initial setback with striker Stefan Kiessling heading over from a free-kick on 19 minutes during a rare forage into the PSG half. With just over 60 percent possession, it seemed only a matter of time before PSG added a second and Ibrahimovic struck with two goals in three minutes. The first came when referee Viktor Kassai spotted Spahic pulling down Ibrahimovic in the area, booked the defender and awarded the spot-kick, despite furious protests from the Bayer defence. Ibrahimovic slotted the penalty on 39 minutes and then gave the guests a commanding lead with a fantastic shot from just outside the area. Matuidi found Ibrahimovic on the edge of the box and the Swedish star rifled a spectacular first time shot into the top right corner. Hyypia reacted at half-time by taking off left winger Son Heung-Min for 17-year-old Julian Brandt and swapping captain Rolfes for Stefan Reinartz. The hosts fortunes did not improve as Spahic, who had already been shown a yellow for the foul which led to Ibrahimovic’s penalty, was booked again for holding back right-wing Lucas and sent off on 59 minutes. Matuidi’s replacement Cabaye then added the fourth on 88 minutes with PSG players lining up to score as the Leverkusen defence once again breached. — AFP


Turkey keeps rates on hold as hike helps lira Page 22 German investor sentiment slips Page 23


BoJ holds off fresh monetary easing

United Real Estate posts net profits of KD 11.2m for 2013 Page 26

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PARIS: People look at pieces of fabric during PremiereVision, the world’s premier fabric show at the exhibition hall in Villepinte, north of Paris, yesterday. The show, which runs until tomorrow, gather 700 weavers from 28 countries. — AFP

KIPCO reports KD 40.1m net profit for 2013 ‘Double digit growth achieved thanks to solid performance across Group’ KUWAIT: KIPCO - the Kuwait Projects Company - has announced a net profit of KD 40.1 million ($142.2 million), or 29.31 fils ($10.4 cents) per share for the year ended 31 December, 2013 an increase of 27 per cent on the KD 31.6 million ($112.4 million), or 23.28 fils ($8.3 cents) per share, reported in 2012. KIPCO’s Board of Directors is recommending a cash dividend of 20 per cent (20 fils per share) and a 5 per cent stock dividend, subject to approval by the company ’s General Assembly and regulatory authorities. KIPCO’s fourth quarter profit (for the three months ended December 31, 2013) came to KD 14 million ($50 million), an increase of

75 per cent on the KD 8 million ($28.4 million) profit achieved in the same period of 2012. KIPCO’s total revenues from continuing operations in 2013 increased 28 per cent to KD 513 million ($1.8 billion) compared to the KD 402 million ($ 1.4 billion) reported in 2012. KIPCO’s consolidated assets increased in 2013 to KD 8.6 billion ($ 30.5 billion) from KD 7.2 billion ($ 25.6 billion) in 2012. Faisal Al-Ayyar, KIPCO’s Vice Chairman, said the company’s 2013 results reflect solid performance across all of the company’s core sectors: “We achieved the double digit growth we promised our shareholders at last year ’s

Shafafiyah Investor’s Forum thanks to the solid performance of our companies throughout the year. The 2013 results mark KIPCO’s twenty-second consecutive year of profitability. The very positive performance trends in all our core sectors - including banking, media, real estate and insurance- were evident in the growth and profitability of our companies during 2013. In particular, our broadcast company, OSN, continued to deliver strong improvement in revenue and profit, and subscriber numbers are now close to the one million mark. We believe that all signs point to an economic recovery that will allow KIPCO to continue its growth trend in the coming years.”

Egypt hits 5-year high on election law talk MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS

KIPCO’s Vice Chairman Faisal Al-Ayyar

NBK Bahrain reports net profits of $114m in 2013 MANAMA: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) - Bahrain, a member of NBK Group, reported net profits of $114 million (BHD 42.9 million) for the year 2013 compared with $92 million (BHD 34.6 million) in 2012, a growth of 24 percent year-on-year (y-o-y). NBK Bahrain’s total assets increased by 41 percent y-o-y to $7.75 billion as of end of December 2013, compared with $5.5 billion as of end of December 2012. Shareholders’ Equity increased by 17 percent y-o-y to $746 million from $636 million a year ago. Customers’ deposits were up 114 percent y-o-y to $4.5 billion at the end of 2013, compared with $2.1 billion at the end of 2012. Ibrahim S Dabdoub, NBK Group CEO said: “NBK Bahrain’s performance remains solid given the challenging operating environment. This performance is a clear evidence that our regional expansion strategy is successful and rewarding despite the challenges in the region. Our strategy is built on a culture of prudence and strict risk management practices, which continues to serve us

Ibrahim S Dabdoub well in all times.” Dabdoub added: “We are successfully strengthening our position regionally. Our strategic initiative has become a main pillar on which we will build future growth. We expect the contribution of our international operations to the Group’s profitability to continue growing.” Ali Fardan, NBK Bahrain General Manager, said: “This strong performance attests to the solid foundations

Ali Fardan on which the bank was built. NBK Bahrain has been able to sail through the storm unscathed, as we have consistently focused on our core business and ways to diversify sources of income. The quality of our assets is beyond reproach. Meanwhile, we continue to grow our operations and develop new products to serve our corporate and retail customers.” NBK has been present in Bahrain

since 1977 and enjoys strong and historical relationships with the major Bahraini and international companies. NBK has the widest banking presence with around 170 branches worldwide. NBK’s international presence spans many of the world’s leading financial centers including London, Paris, Geneva, New York and Singapore, as well as China (Shanghai). Meanwhile, regional coverage extends to Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Turkey. NBK continues to enjoy collectively the highest ratings among all banks in the Middle East from the three international rating agencies Moody’s, Fitch Ratings and Standard and Poor’s. The Bank’s ratings are supported by its high capitalization, prudent lending policies, and its disciplined approach to risk management, in addition to its highly recognized and very stable management team. NBK was also named among Global Finance’s list of the 50 safest banks in the world for the eighth consecutive time.

DUBAI: Egypt’s bourse surged to a five-year high after a local newspaper reported that discussions over a new presidential election law would begin today, while Dubai’s shares fell in profit-taking after mixed earnings reports. Cairo’s Al-Ahram said an administrative court, under the mandate of the 2014 constitution, would start discussions on the draft law. It may also give details of potential presidential candidates and the timeframe of the elections. “People are excited about the elections, they are building positions in anticipation of presidential elec tion law,” said Mohamed Radwan, director of international sales at Pharos Securities in Cairo. Construction- and proper tyrelated shares led the trading. Palm Hills Development Co rose 3.9 percent and Egyptian Resorts jumped 4.7 percent. Cairo’s benchmark index rose 1.9 percent to 7,721 points, its highest level since September 2008. It broke above the April 2010 intraday peak of 7,693 points but will need a weekly close above the level to confirm a breakout from the resistance. The market was little affected by Sunday’s bombing of a tourist bus in Sinai and this resilience is also supporting investor confidence, Radwan added. In Dubai, shares in Air Arabia tumbled 4.8 percent to a two-week low after the budget carrier posted a profit of 94 million dirhams, which came in slightly below estimates. It also proposed a 7.25 percent cash dividend that’s only mar-

ginally above the previous year’s 7 percent dividend. “Investors were expecting higher dividends on Air Arabia and this is a market that looks for dividends,” said Ali Adou, portfolio manager at The National Investor. Telecommunications operator Du dropped 5.6 percent, despite posting estimate-beating earnings. Du’s fourth-quarter profit fell to 570 million dirhams from 994 million dirhams a year earlier when the company wrote back some tax provisions. Builder Arabtec Holding fell 2.4 percent after brokerage EFG Hermes cut the stock’s rating to ‘sell’ citing concerns about the firm’s ability to increase execution significantly after building up a large project backlog. Emaar Properties escaped the selling pressure and rose 3.4 percent to its highest level since September 2008 after it posted a 48 percent surge in quarterly profit, handily beating estimates. Dubai’s index lost 1.1 percent, slipping off Monday ’s five -year high. “The overall market has had a nice run but fundamentally, it’s becoming overstretched. Fresh money won’t come in if valuations are high,” Adou said. Analysts and investors have been calling for a correction on Dubai’s market with heavy retail activity spurring small-cap stocks in speculative buying. Elsewhere, Qatar’s measure slipped 0.3 percent, also slipping off Monday’s five -year high. Saudi Arabia’s index climbed 0.2 percent. Banking shares supported gains with the sector’s index up 0.3 percent. — Reuters



Du looks to buoyant UAE economy for future growth 2013 profit 1.99bn dirhams DUBAI: Du, the United Arab Emirates’ second biggest telecoms operator, expects further growth in the business due to a buoyant local economy, its chief executive said after reporting a rise in revenue and a better than expected fourth-quarter profit yesterday. Du expanded rapidly after ending Etisalat’s domestic monopoly in 2007 to claim 46.4 percent of mobile subscribers as of Sept. 30, the most recently available data. However, the Dubai-based firm’s market share by revenues is more modest, at 29.2 percent in the third quarter, with Etisalat still having the bulk of the business with corporate customers and wealthy individuals. As a result du’s profit for 2013 was little changed at 1.99 billion dirhams ($542 million), up from 1.98 billion dirhams in 2012, a bourse filing on Tuesday showed. However, Chief Executive Osman Sultan said the company would still benefit from overall growth in the UAE’s booming economy. Economists polled by Reuters estimate the country’s gross domestic product increased by 4.3 percent in 2013 and predict it will expand by the same rate in 2014 and 2015. “We believe being in the service sector we’re in a good position to profit from this

momentum,” said Sultan. Yet he warned the UAE telecoms market was becoming more competitive and du’s share of new business was less than it had been during its start-up phase. “We used to get the lion’s share,” said Sultan. Du’s fourth-quarter profit fell 43 percent to 570 million dirhams from 994 million dirhams a year earlier when the company wrote back some tax provisions, according to Reuters calculations. Analysts polled by Reuters had on average forecast du would make a quarterly profit of 487.9 million dirhams. Foreign expansion As to prospects for du expanding abroad Sultan said a move was possible eventually but that “we’re not looking at any specific opportunity now - we’re keeping the door open”. Du previously considered and then decided against bidding for a virtual operator license in Saudi Arabia. The company also faces a higher tax bill - UAE telecom operators are taxed via royalties paid on licenses issued by the federal government, with du paying 183.5 million dirhams more in royalties in 2013 compared with a year earlier. The government announced a new formula

ATHENS: A Greek riot policeman pushes a protesting school guard trying to take part in a sit-down protest on a busy road outside the Ministry of Administration Reform during a rally in Athens yesterday. Hundreds of school guards, who have been suspended on reduced pay pending transfer to other public sector jobs or dismissal, took part in the protest. —AP

Malaysia Airlines posts Q4 loss, sees tough times

Turkey keeps rates on hold as hike helps lira ISTANBUL: Turkey’s central bank kept interest rates on hold yesterday after hiking them sharply last month to help stabilize the lira, shying away from further tightening for fear of hitting growth ahead of elections next month. The bank kept its overnight lending rate at 12 percent, its one-week repo rate at 10 percent, and its overnight borrowing rate at 8 percent, as predicted by all 16 economists in a Reuters poll. It said it would maintain its tight stance until there is a significant improvement in the outlook for inflation, which it expects to remain above its 5 percent target for some time. “Having hiked interest rates in an extremely aggressive and somewhat panic-stricken manner last month, Turkey’s central bank is taking a muchneeded breather and is hoping its much stronger anti-inflationary stance will be enough to establish credibility,” said Nicholas Spiro, head of Londonbased Spiro Sovereign Strategy. “While a lot hinges on market sentiment towards emerging markets, concerns are already shifting from the current account deficit to the bleaker prospects for growth. The politics of Turkish monetary policy are taking centre stage,” he said. The bank stunned investors by hiking rates by some 500 basis points at an emergency meeting on Jan. 28, initially sending the lira sharply higher from record lows and helping short-circuit a vicious cycle of selling in emerging markets. The move, which bolstered the bank’s credibility in the eyes of investors, had been opposed by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. Bent on maintaining economic growth ahead of an election cycle starting with local polls next month, the prime minister has

in December 2012 that includes a levy on revenue as well as profit and steadily increases the level of taxation on du to eventually reach parity with the longer-established Etisalat. Du’s mobile data revenue increased 34 percent to 2.36 billion dirhams in 2013, with data now accounting for 28 percent of this, up from 23 percent a year earlier. Sultan said he hoped this would top 30 percent in 2014. Annual revenue rose 9.7 percent to 10.8 billion dirhams. Of this, 8.37 billion dirhams was from mobile, while fixed line services accounted for 1.68 billion dirhams, up 3.4 percent from a year earlier. Fixed line provides a greater gross profit margin, but du has been hamstrung by its failure to agree a network infrastructure sharing deal with Etisalat more than four years since talks began. Both companies are ultimately majority-owned by government institutions. Such a deal would open up fixed services to competition. Currently both firms offer fixedline broadband, phone and television packages in the UAE, but not in the same districts, with du largely confined to the newer areas of Dubai. “We are disappointed that this is taking more time than we anticipated. We look at this as an important track for our future growth,” said Sultan. —Reuters

been a vocal opponent of higher borrowing costs. Turbulence ahead The bank had for months been struggling to defend the lira by burning through its currency reserves and trying to squeeze up borrowing costs on the margins without resorting to outright rate hikes, a battle it was clearly losing. The lira was trading at 2.1810 against the dollar by 1234 GMT, largely unchanged from just before the rate decision. It remains comfortably off the record low of 2.39 hit on Jan 27. But economic storm clouds are gathering and the lira could come under renewed pressure in the coming months, with a potentially turbulent election period ahead and Turkey’s huge trade shortfall leaving it one of the most vulnerable emerging markets to the winding back of US monetary stimulus. Data last week showed the current account deficit widened more sharply than thought in December, with the gap for 2013 expected to reach around 8 percent of GDP. The central bank’s survey of businessmen and economists meanwhile showed inflation expectations continue to deteriorate, with CPI seen rising 7.92 percent at year-end, well above its own forecast of 6.6 percent. “This alone will likely to prevent central bank from tuning down its hawkish bias anytime soon,” said Erkin Isik, a strategist at TEB-BNP Paribas. The main Istanbul share index fell 0.51 percent to 65,261.89 points, underperforming the wider emerging markets index .MSCIEF, which fell 0.20 percent. The yield on the 10-year benchmark bond was little changed at 10.25 percent from 10.24 percent on Monday. —Reuters

“Going into 2014, Malaysia Airlines expects the business environment to remain challenging with high fuel prices, volatile foreign exchange and intense competition impacting yield from both existing as well as new entrants into the market,” it said. The carrier said its capacity increased by 17 percent last year and it carried 27 percent more passengers than a year earlier but its profit margin was depressed by increasing competition as Middle Eastern and European carriers expanded into Asia. Revenue rose 10 percent from a year earlier to 15.1 billion ringgit ($4.6 billion) in 2013 but operating costs also surged 10 percent due to higher fuel prices and the weaker ringgit. Malaysia Airlines said it will focus on cutting costs and building traffic and revenue. “Many airlines are investing heavily in new aircraft and new products and services. This has resulted in a significant increase in capacity and aggressive competition in fares and value proposition to attract and keep market share,” it said. —AP

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines said yesterday it suffered its fourth straight quarterly loss in the three months ending in December, and warned of tougher times ahead as its full-year loss expanded nearly three-fold from the previous year. The bigger loss in 2013 may throw Malaysia Airlines off track from its plan to become profitable by the end of 2014. The flag carrier said it recorded a net loss of 343 million ringgit ($104 million) in the quarter, compared to a 51.4 million ringgit profit a year earlier. It blamed a declining ringgit, unrealized foreign exchange losses and higher operating and finance costs. For the full year, losses ballooned to 1.17 billion ringgit ($354 million), nearly three times larger than the 433 million ringgit loss in 2012. “The full-year performance of making a bigger loss in 2013 compared to 2012 demonstrates the challenges brought on by intensifying competition leading to lower yields for all players,” it said in a statement.

Import ban to have limited impact on Egypt’s GB Auto GB Auto, which made around 14 percent of its revenue from two and threewheelers in the third quarter, said last week that the ban would have an adverse impact on the company. But on Tuesday it said the effect on this year’s profits would be minimal. “Stock on hand of both products, strong pricing power across all product lines, recovery in commercial vehicles segment and new business will cushion the impact of the ban on the import of motorcycles and three-wheelers,” it said. “We are certain that organic growth, new business ventures and cost control initiatives will allow us to deliver the same profitability in FY14 as we had originally planned, even as our top line falls slightly short,” Chief Executive Raouf Ghabbour said in a statement. GB Auto shares were up 5 percent at 38.9 Egyptian pounds at 0900 GMT yesterday. —Reuters

CAIRO: A proposed one-year ban on the import of motorbikes and three-wheeler ‘tuk-tuks’ to Egypt will have limited impact on GB Auto’s 2014 profits, the company said yesterday. GB Auto is the Egyptian distributor of tuk-tuks and motorbikes made by India’s Bajaj. The Egyptian cabinet last week gave authority to the finance ministry to temporarily ban the import of tuk-tuks, fully assembled motorbikes and their components. Cabinet spokesman Hany Salah told an Egyptian TV channel last week that the proposed ban was aimed at restoring “discipline and order” to the streets. There has been an increase in the number of unregistered motorcycles and tuktuks in the country. Some have been used by militants in attacks against security forces.


in brief

Doha Insurance gets nod for rights issue DUBAI: Qatar’s Doha Insurance said yesterday it had received shareholder approval for a capital increase worth 436.7 million riyals ($119.9 million) aimed at strengthening its ability to work at home and abroad. The insurer said the plan - which will nearly double its capital to 500 million riyals - had been approved at a meeting on Monday and would see 24,260,000 new shares offered to shareholders at a price of 18 riyals per share. The offer price is a substantial discount to the 27.55 riyals closing price on Monday. Rights issues in Qatar and across the Gulf region are usually offered at steep discounts. Shareholders will be allowed to subscribe for nine new shares for every ten they currently own, yesterday’s statement to the Qatar bourse said. Doha Insurance said last month it had received regulatory approval for the rights issue, which would increase financial solvency and further improve its credit rating, which would allow it to compete for mega projects both locally and internationally. Abu Dhabi January inflation down to 2.1% ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi Statistics Centre released the following January consumer price data for the Gulf Arab emirate yesterday. Housing and utility costs, which account for almost 38 percent of consumer expenses, rose 1.5 percent year-on-year. Last November, Abu Dhabi scrapped a 5 percent cap on annual rent increases, opening up a property sector where many tenants were paying below-market rents. Analysts polled by Reuters in January forecast average inflation in the United Arab Emirates federation would rise to 2.5 percent in 2014 and 2.7 percent in 2015, from 1.1 percent in 2013. Spain exceeds target in bill auction MADRID: Spain easily raised more funds from debt markets yesterday, slightly more than expected, with yields on T-bills down amid strong demand from investors. The Treasury sold 4.524 billion euros ($6.2 billion dollars) of three- and 12-month bills compared with a target range of between 3.5-4.5 billion euros, the Bank of Spain said. Demand outstripped supply by 3.2 times, the central bank added in a statement. The maximum rate of return of 0.39 percent for investors on the six-month bills, and of 0.628 percent on the 12month bills, was the lowest since the Treasury began issuing the bills in 1987, the economy ministry said in a statement.

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 2.781 4.560 2.690 2.157 2.855 225.010 36.426 3.628 6.343 8.739 0.271 0.273 GCC COUNTRIES 75.363 77.653 731.150 750.630 76.965

ARAB COUNTRIES Egyptian Pound - Cash 39.550 Egyptian Pound - Transfer 40.148 Yemen Riyal/for 1000 1.318 Tunisian Dinar 178.970 Jordanian Dinar 399.100 Lebanese Lira/for 1000 1.896 Syrian Lira 2.014 Morocco Dirham 35.313 EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 282.500 Euro 388.860 Sterling Pound 475.730 Canadian dollar 258.460 Turkish lira 129.990 Swiss Franc 318.850 Australian Dollar 256.790 US Dollar Buying 281.300 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 259.95 261.74 321.50 390.89 282.05 475.96 2.81 3.630 4.540 2.157 2.847 2.696 76.86 750.70 40.51 401.43 733.51 77.89 75.34

SELL CASH 256.95 262.74 319.50 391.89 285.05 478.96 2.83 3.900 4.840 2.592 3.382 2.790 77.32 752.77 41.11 407.08 740.81 78.44 75.74

2.971 3.841 86.290 46.985 9.670 129.143

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

0.006426 0.000069 0.220504 0.019997 0.001888 0.009207 0.008383

0.006706 0.000075 0.226504 0.028497 0.002459 0.009387 0.008933

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 0.000183 0.394439 1.0000000 0.000138 0.024381 0.001195 0.728123 0.076927 0.074737 0.002166 0.175160 0.125659 0.075973 0.001284

0.751279 0.039941 0.000079 0.000243 0.401939 1.0000000 0.000238 0.048381 0.001830 0.733803 0.078140 0.075437 0.002386 0.183160 0.132659 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 282.400 260.100 473.890 388.410 317.425 745.670 76.865 78.415 76.175 397.985 40.511 2.157 4.554 2.690 3.628 6.327 693.629 3.776

Australian Dollar New Zealand Dollar

SELL CASH Europe 0.007346 0.465787 0.006111 0.047812 0.381638 0.042405 0.086063 0.008090 0.039674 0.310017 0.125659 Australasia 0.247334 0.229400

SELLDRAFT 0.008346 0.474787 0.018111 0.052812 0.389138 0.047605 0.86063 0.018090 0.044674 0.320217 0.132659 0.258834 0.238900

Al Mulla Exchange Canadian Dollar US Dollars US Dollars Mint

America 0.252254 0.278550 0.279050

0.260754 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 0.034354 0.004268 0.000019 0.002668 0.003269 0.000255 0.081960 0.003070 0.002392

0.003920 0.048719 0.037104 0.004668 0.000025 0.002848 0.003269 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) 282.000 388.850 471.850 259.050 4.545 40.165 2.155 3.634 6.338 2.693 751.150 76.850 75.350



German investor sentiment slips: ZEW

FRANKFURT: Investment sentiment in Germany slipped in February as uncertainty about the US and emerging economies came to the fore, but the German recovery remains intact, data showed yesterday. The widely watched investor confidence index calculated by the ZEW economic institute fell by 6.0 points to 55.7 points in February, ZEW said in a statement. “The cautious expectations in this month’s survey are likely to be caused by some uncertainties which came to the fore recently,” said ZEW president Clemens Fuest. Weak employment figures as well as some softer leading indicators

had sparked concern in the US that the current economic upswing could lose momentum, he said. Volatile capital markets in some emerging economies reflected uncertainty regarding their economic prospects in the medium term. Nevertheless, “this month’s decline in economic expectations must not be overstated,” Fuest insisted. “The majority of surveyed financial market experts remain optimistic,” he said. For the survey, ZEW questions analysts and institutional investors about their current assessment of the economic situation in Germany, as well as their expectations for the coming months. The

sub-index measuring financial market players’ view of the current economic situation in Germany rose by 8.8 points to 50.0 points in February, its highest level since August 2011. A frequent criticism of the ZEW index is that it can be volatile and is therefore not particularly reliable. The latest ZEW reading “gave mixed signals, suggesting that whilst the economic situation is improving slowly, investors are losing some optimism about the future,” said Capital Economics economist Paul Hollingsworth. But Berenberg Bank economist Christian Schulz believed “the latest

decline does not point to a change in direction of the economic trajectory yet. “The negative factors should remain temporary,” he insisted. ING DiBa economist Carsten Brzeski agreed. “The ZEW index has not the best track record when it comes to predicting German economic activity. However, over the last years, the current assessment component has become a rather good leading indicator for GDP growth. “In this regard, today’s sharp increase of the current assessment component is good news for the economy. The economy should gain further momentum in the first months of the year,” Brzeski said.

Natixis economist Johannes Gareis similarly believed the drop in the index this month “must not be overstated.” The rise in the ZEW sub-index of current assessment “is in line with Germany’s robust economic development and investors’ strong expectations in second half of last year,” Gareis said. “So, while some uncertainties stemming from volatile capital markets in emerging may have contributed to a decline in the ZEW’s headline indicator, the take away message from February’s ZEW survey is that German investors and analysts remain overtly optimistic,” the expert concluded. — AFP

Gulf ties could aid Islamic finance industry in Italy KIA seen investing $685m in Italian firms

BRUSSELS: Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos Jurado (right) talks with Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg (center) and Danish Finance Minister Margrethe Vestager, prior to the start of the EU finance ministers meeting at the European Council building in Brussels yesterday.—AP

Temasek seeks to sell $3.1bn stake in Thailand’s Shin Corp to SingTel SINGAPORE/HONG KONG: Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings Pvt Ltd is seeking to sell its $3.1 billion stake in Thai telecom company Shin Corp and has approached its SingTel unit as a possible buyer, people familiar with the matter said. Heralding an overhaul of its telecom assets, Temasek held talks with SingTel late last year about selling the 41.6 percent of Shin Corp it owns through a subsidiary, the people said. They declined to be identified as the information is not public. Talks over a stake in the company that controls the biggest Thai mobile telecoms operator and was bought from the family of ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra have since stalled amid political tensions in Thailand, the people said. SingTel, formally known as Singapore Telecommunications Co, is 52 percent-owned by Temasek. The move by Temasek, which oversees $170 billion in assets, is in line with its plans to consolidate portfolio companies in industry groupings. This would be its first move toward bringing its telecoms assets under one roof, analysts said, potentially creating a regional giant. The Temasek stake in Shin Corp is worth $3.1 billion by current market value. Shin Corp’s shares now trade more than 50 percent above the price paid in 2006 by a Temasek-led consortium, that included Chinese-Thai businessman Surin Upatkoon, when it bought 96 percent of the Thai firm for a total of $3.8 billion. “At a fair price such a deal would make sense for SingTel,” Chris Lane, senior analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein in Hong Kong who covers Asia-Pacific telecommunications. Thai market leader Shin Corp owns 40.5 percent of Thailand’s biggest mobile telecoms company, Advanced Info Service Pcl. SingTel already has a 23 percent stake in AIS: Adding the Shin Corp stake would cement its position in a bigger market and offset sluggish growth in mature economies where it’s also present, like Australia. “SingTel executives are involved in the day-to-day operations of the company,” said Bernstein analyst Lane. “Buying the stake from Temasek avoids the possibility of another ‘telco’ securing a significant interest in AIS.” Other Temasek telecoms holdings apart from SingTel include an indirectly owned stake of about 3 percent in Indian mobile carrier Bharti Airtel Ltd, as per a filing from last August, worth close to $600 million at current market prices. It also controls the wholly owned Singapore Technologies Telemedia - a communications business that houses assets like broadband networks in Malaysia and the Philippines and is valued by Temasek at $2.7 billion as of last March. Temasek’s telecoms strategy mirrors what it has tried to do in other business segments -

with varying degrees of success.Last year its financial services portfolio company DBS Group Holdings Ltd made a bid for Bank Danamon Indonesia Tbk , but it failed to get approval from Indonesian regulator. The future of its 18 percent stake in Londonbased bank Standard Chartered PLC is a constant source of speculation for bankers, who have previously suggested merging Standard Chartered with DBS. Political stalemate The slowdown in Shin Corp deal talks makes it the second potential transaction in Thailand to be put on the back burner due to political stalemate. ING Groep’s planned sale of a 31 percent stake in TMB Bank Pcl has also hit roadblocks, Reuters previously reported. Shin Corp occupies a position of symbolic importance in Thailand. Along with Thai investors, Temasek and Surin Upatkoon bought the 96 percent Shin Corp holding in 2006 through a vehicle known as Cedar Holdings Ltd. While Cedar has since sold most of its ownership, Temasek remains a Shin Corp shareholder through a subsidiary called Aspen. The change in its ownership triggered accusations of insider trading and tax evasion as the family of then Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and others involved received $1.9 billion tax-free. Thaksin insisted at the time that the sale satisfied all the rules in a country where share sales conducted through the stock market are not taxed. Protests in Bangkok followed, ultimately leading to a coup that ousted Thaksin. Thailand is one of 25 countries in which SingTel operates, with more than 500 million subscribers in total and more than three-quarters of its core earnings coming from outside Singapore. The company had a cash flow of S$2.5 billion at the end of December. “Given the buyer is SingTel, which wants to expand business in Thailand, the deal is quite positive for Shin Corp and AIS in particular,” said Chatchai Jindarat, telecoms analyst at Maybank Kim Eng Securities in Bangkok. SingTel has been seeking to overhaul a portfolio of telecoms investments that include stakes in Bharti Airtel - help separately from Temasek’s Australia’s Optus, Globe Telecom Inc in the Philippines and Indonesia’s PT Telkomsel. Last year, it unsuccessfully tried to sell the Australian satellite business. A spokesman for Temasek declined to comment on the talks, but added, “We are a long-term investor in Asia including in ASEAN.” A Shin Corp official in Bangkok declined to comment, while a SingTel spokeswoman also declined comment. SingTel shares closed 0.6 percent lower yesterday, while the benchmark Strait Times index ended little changed. Shin Corp shares fell nearly 2 percent, while the Bangkok index was 0.5 percent lower. —Reuters

Bankers and academics in Italy are stepping up efforts to develop Islamic finance in the country, a campaign which could benefit from growing economic links between Gulf countries and the euro-zone’s third largest economy. Islamic finance has so far made only marginal progress in continental Europe, mainly in France and Germany. But Italy is seeking trade and investment with wealthy Gulf Arab states as a way to grow out of its debt problems. Kuwait’s sovereign wealth fund announced this month that it would invest 500 million euros ($685 million) in Italian companies in coordination with the Italian government’s own strategic investment fund. Italy made a similar deal with Qatar last year. Italy’s trade ties with the Gulf are booming; its exports to the United Arab Emirates hit 5.5 billion euros in 2012, a 16.7 percent rise from 2011, government data shows. Only about 2 percent of Italy’s population of 61 million are Muslim. But the hope is that as Gulf companies and investors increase their activities in Italy, Islamic finance - which follows religious principles such as bans on interest payments and pure monetary speculation - will follow. Italian firms raising loans could use Islamic structures to attract sharia-compliant banks from the Gulf, for example. Italian bonds and equities could become attractive to Islamic funds if they were certified as sharia-compliant. “I think the development of sharia-compliant products is an important opportunity for Italy - it might become one of the drivers to get finally out of the economic crisis,” said Enrico Giustiniani, analyst at Banca Finnat Euramerica in Rome. “There is quite a big interest from Islamic funds and Islamic institutional investors to invest in Italy, especially in this period with many companies on sale.” Index Banca Finnat has gone as far as designing a hypothetical index of sharia-compliant stocks, which features some of the country’s bestknown luxury brands, Giustiniani said. “A specific index still does not exist, but the interest is very high. The luxury sector is a brand required by foreign institutional investors and it is a very important growth driver for our country.” Gulf investors have already shown considerable interest in Italy’s luxury good firms; in 2012, for example, Italian fashion brand Valentino was bought by Qatar’s royal family. Fondazione Istud, a Milan-based business school, plans to establish an Islamic finance position this year, intended as a venue for industry research and to develop proposals aimed at Italian decision makers.

ROME: Protestors bang on metal barrels during a demonstration in downtown Rome’s Piazza del Popolo yesterday. Artisans and merchants from all over Italy arrived in Rome to demand that Parliament the new government in the midst of being formed make an urgent breakthrough in economic policy after the economic crisis shut down more than 372,000 businesses in 2013.—AFP This would be the first structured attempt to provide industry information and influence legislation, Marella Caramazza, director-general of Fondazione Istud, told Reuters. “Certainly regulators and practitioners seem to demonstrate a general interest on this subject in our nation, but at the same time tend to have a very conservative approach. “At this stage, we are trying to involve stakeholders and gather funds at different levels, in order to begin with the activities,” Caramazza added. Regulations These activities should include a review of existing regulations, mainly those covering real estate registration taxes, said Hatem Abou Said, representative in Italy of Bahrain’s Al Baraka Banking Group (ABG). Tax rules are particularly important for Islamic finance because many of its asset-based transactions are vulnerable to double taxation under conventional accounting methods; addressing such barriers could lure Islamic banks to the market. Currently, however, only broad discussions are taking place with Italian policy makers and no specific agenda is in place, said Francesca

Venezuela gears for more dueling protests CARACAS: Venezuela braced yesterday for more dueling protests by supporters and opponents of President Nicolas Maduro, as his government gave three US diplomats two days to leave the country. The United States denied as baseless Venezuela’s allegations that the three diplomats were trying to organize protests. Leopoldo Lopez, an opposition leader facing an arrest warrant, said he would take part in yesterday’s rally. Tension is likely to brim throughout the day because both rallies, unlike previous ones, are scheduled to take part in the same part of Caracas. Maduro is grappling with angry student protests that began in the interior of the oil-rich country and boiled over last week in street clashes in Caracas that left three dead. Students and other opponents of Maduro are angry about living conditions-rampant crime, dismal job prospects, high inflation and other woes-in the country with the world’s

biggest proven oil reserves. The main opposition leader, Henrique Capriles, governor of the northern state of Miranda and defeated by Maduro in last year’s election to succeed the late Hugo Chavez, said he would take part in the rally, even though he did not agree with the students’ strategy. He says now is not the time to try force Maduro’s exit. “We may have differences but we feel solidarity,” Capriles said. Lopez’s People’s Will Party released a video which it said showed armed men wearing helmets breaking down a door to get into its headquarters. Shortly after Lopez said he would take part in the anti-government rally, Maduro called one by employees of the state-run oil company in the same area of Caracas. Foreign Minister Elias Jaua identified the Americans declared “persona non grata” as Breeann Marie McCusker, Jeffrey Gordon Elsen and Kristofer Lee Clark, all said to be second secretaries at the US embassy.

Taiwan GDP set to rise 2.82% in 2014 TAIPEI: Taiwan forecast GDP will rise by 2.82 percent in 2014 yesterday, putting the country on course to enjoy its biggest growth figure in three years. Authorities adjusted the figure upward by 0.23 percent points from its earlier estimate of 2.59 percent outlined in November, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics said. The revised forecast growth figure was the highest since 2011 when the economy posted a rise of 4.19 percent, it said. The GDP of the export-reliant economy has been buoyed by stable economic recovery of the industrialized countries and improved domestic consumption. Despite the upgrade, the predicted growth momentum-mainly from the

export sector-would not be robust, the agency said. Full-year exports in 2014 were forecast at $315.6 billion, a rise of 3.33 percent, which the agency said “would be still lower than the global trade growth forecast”. According to the prediction of International Monetary Fund, the world’s trade volume was forecast to rise 4.5 percent this year, up from 2.7 percent last year. The Taiwanese government agency also adjusted upward the GDP growth for the three months to December to 2.95 percent year-on-year, up from the 2.92 percent estimated. But the GDP growth for 2013 was downgraded by 0.08 percentage points to 2.11 percent. — AFP

Brigandi, president of COMEDIT, the ItalianMediterranean and Gulf Countries Chamber of Commerce. While political and legislative hurdles remain, Italy’s central bank is no stranger to Islamic finance as it monitors the sector on a regular basis, though it does not have a specific group studying Islamic finance, said a central bank spokesman. Its research department has conducted formal studies, held seminars on Islamic finance as far back as 2009, and last year co-hosted a forum with the Malaysian-based Islamic Financial Services Board, one of the industry’s standard setting bodies. Rony Hamaui, chief executive of Milan-based Mediofactoring, a fully owned subsidiary of Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy’s biggest retail bank, said his and other Italian companies had explored Islamic financing options in the past but did not do deals, partly because of a lack of regulatory support in Italy. However, deals could start to materialise perhaps involving Italian firms overseas even without government support, as companies increasingly seek to broaden their funding sources, Hamaui said. “Liquidity is becoming a more and more important problem in Europe.” —Reuters

Students shout slogans against Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro during a march to Venezuelan Telecommunications Regulator Office or CONATEL in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Feb 17, 2014. The students, who’ve spent the past week on the streets alternating between peaceful protests by day and battles with police at night, marched on Monday to Venezuela’s telecom regulator to demand it lift all restrictions on the media’s coverage of the unfolding political crisis. —AP

Jaua charged that the embassy had sent “operatives” to universities to train and finance youth organizations “through which the violence in Venezuela is promoted.” State Depar tment spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Washington had not yet been formally notified of the Venezuelan action, and rejected the accusations made against the diplomats. “The allegations that the United States is helping to organize protesters in Venezuela is baseless and false,” she said. The expulsions were first announced Sunday night in a speech by Maduro. He accused the diplomats of meeting with student protest leaders under the guise of offering them visas. “Let them go conspire in Washington,” he said. Inflation worries Venezuelan officials have charged that student leaders received training in Mexico and the foreign ministry on Sunday accused Washington of seeking to “legitimize attempts to destabilize” the government. The protests flared up on February 4 when students at a university in the western state of Tachira staged a demonstration against rampant crime after a student was raped. Violence after an anti-government rally last Wednesday left three people dead. Since then, as the protests spread to other cities, student grievances have expanded to demands that the government release jailed protesters. They have also drawn attention to soaring inflation and shortages of many basic goods. Protests in Caracas last week were the biggest against the government since Maduro took office in April, succeeding Chavez. On Monday, opposition protesters marched peacefully to headquar ters of the National Telecommunications Commission to protest censorship. Tense US-Venezuela ties Venezuela’s relations with Washington, long strained under Chavez, have remained sour and distrustful under Maduro, who has hewed to his predecessor’s socialist policies. In late September, Maduro kicked out three other US diplomats, on accusations of conspiring with government opponents. The two countries have had no ambassadors since 2010.— AFP



Asian shares mixed, Tokyo surges on BoJ HONG KONG: Asian shares were mixed yesterday, but Tokyo surged 3.13 percent after the Bank of Japan expanded its lending scheme to stimulate borrowing, while holding off on fresh easing measures. After a day of gains, Asia’s markets had no cues from Wall Street which was closed for the Presidents’ Day holiday. Tokyo’s Nikkei-225 index soared 450.13 points to 14,843.24, while Seoul was flat, edging up 0.03 percent, or 0.55 points, to 1,946.91 and Sydney gained 0.18 percent, or 9.9 points, to 5,292.8.

Shanghai fell on profit-taking, losing 0.77 percent, or 16.35 points, to end at 2,119.07, while Hong Kong edged up 0.23 percent, with the benchmark Hang Seng index adding 51.78 points to 22,587.72. The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China’s second exchange, slipped 0.41 percent, or 4.77 points, to 1,155.62. “The (China) market may resume its uptrend in the coming sessions as there’s ample liquidity... we are unlikely to see an inflow of IPOs (initial public offerings) until March,” Capital Securities analyst Amy Lin

told Dow Jones Newswires. Investors were earlier gripped by worries over tight liquidity conditions as a flood of IPOs in January diverted funds from the secondary market. All eyes were on the Bank of Japan’s governor Haruhiko Kuroda’s postmeeting comments for signs of future policy moves, after weak Japanese growth data for the final quarter of 2013 worsened fears about the impact of an April sales tax rise. While the world’s number three economy grew 1.6 percent over 2013 — its best performance in three years-it slowed to 0.3 per-

cent in the October-December quarter, presenting a major challenge for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s bid to kickstart growth after almost two decades of deflation. The BoJ said it had decided to double the sum of loan schemes to banks in a bid to stimulate lending to firms and to finance growth-stoking projects such as environmental research and natural resources development. In an afternoon press briefing, Kuroda said policymakers had “significantly boosted the capacity of our enginethis is like we put on new tyres to make the

most of that engine”. Expanding the loans schemes was “nothing huge, but it is the first significant change of policy since the (Bank of Japan) started on its massive easing cycle last April”, said Chris Tedder, research analyst at in Sydney. On currency markets, the yen tumbled after the BoJ announcement as the greenback fetched 102.37 yen, surging from below the 102-yen level earlier yesterday. The euro bought $1.3717 against $1.3695 in London late Monday, while rising to 140.49 yen from 139.42 yen. —AFP

TOKYO: A businessman uses his mobile phone before a share prices board in Tokyo yesterday. Japan’s share prices jumped 450.13 points to close at 14,843.24 points at the Tokyo Stock Exchange, after the Bank of Japan held off expanding its asset-buying program, but said it would boost some lending schemes to stimulate borrowing. —AFP

Gold snaps 3-day rally on profit taking SINGAPORE: Gold drifted lower yesterday as traders took profits from recent gains, but the safe-haven metal held not far off 3-1/2 month highs due to a weaker US dollar and concerns over global economic growth. Bullion is up 10 percent this year - after losing nearly a third of its value in 2013 - as outflows from gold-backed funds slow and equities weaken due to emerging market jitters. Gold gained for three straight sessions through Monday, following weak US economic data that also boosted silver. Spot gold slipped 0.8 percent to $1,317.31 by 0732 GMT, after hitting $1,332.10 earlier in the session - its highest since Oct 31. Silver also fell but wasn’t too far from a 3-1/2 month high of $21.96 hit on Monday. “Both gold and silver have good momentum, so expect the dips to be shallow and supported,” said one Hong Kong-based precious metals trader. “Realistically expect a pullback that will run into good buying before the next move higher.” The trader said some investors began selling after prices pushed through Monday’s highs. Buying will return between $1,305 and $1,318, he said. Asian shares mostly eased

after solid gains in recent sessions, while the dollar was near six-week lows against a basket of currencies. Investors have been seeking shelter in gold after a string of US data showed the world’s largest economy had been hit by cold weather and fears of slowing growth in China. Gold is often seen as an alternative investment to risky assets such as stocks and is considered a haven during times of economic uncertainty. In the physical markets, Indian Finance Minister P Chidambaram said on Monday he will look into relaxing gold imports curbs, but won’t let the country’s current account deficit balloon. To reduce its trade deficit, India introduced import restrictions last year that have slashed official imports of the metal, although smuggling has increased. In China, premiums of 99.99 percent purity gold on the Shanghai Gold Exchange eased to about $4 an ounce from Monday’s $7 as buyers took a breather after the price rally. Data from the World Gold Council showed that global gold demand fell 15 percent in 2013 as huge outflows from physically backed investment funds outweighed record consumer demand. —Reuters

Oil rises above $109, US cold supports LONDON: Oil held around $109 a barrel yesterday, supported by robust demand for heating fuel in top consumer the United States and supply disruptions in Libya. As well as the cold spell, oil drew support from a weak US dollar, which was near a six-week low against a basket of major currencies, supporting commodities such as oil that are priced in dollars. Brent crude was trading at $109.06 a barrel, down 12 cents, by 1008 GMT. US crude was up 36 cents at $100.66. There was no settlement on Monday as US markets were shut for the Presidents Day holiday. The US chill “is likely to keep heating demand at a high level and spark a further decline in the already severely diminished stocks of heating oil and natural gas”, said Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. Supply disruptions were also supporting prices, particularly Brent. Libya’s oil production has dropped to 390,000 barrels per day, some 70,000 bpd less than last week, as protests disrupted flows from a large oilfield, El Sharara. “Even

though Libya’s ongoing supply shortfalls are mostly priced in by the market, the news that El Sharara flows were partly blocked by protesters following several threats earlier last week still underpinned Brent prices,” said Andrey Kryuchenkov, an analyst at VTB Capital in London. Prices drew support last week from an International Energy Agency report showing that inventories in the developed world had posted their steepest quarterly decline since 1999 in the last three months of 2013. Reports on US oil inventories will be released later this week. On Tuesday, Iran and six world powers will hold talks on a long-term deal for Tehran to limit its nuclear program and the West to ease international sanctions. Progress in resolving the decadelong dispute would weigh on oil prices as the lifting of sanctions would allow the OPEC producer to expor t more crude and add to global supply. Both Iran and the United States have played down expectations of reaching an agreement. —Reuters



Japan’s Abe faces challenge to broaden recovery TOKYO: Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has ticked off the easy items on his to-do list for economic revival. Flashy indicators show that factories are churning out more cars and electronics. Corporate profits are up. Stock prices have surged 30 percent in the past year. Despite his brash declaration that “Japan is back” in a speech last September to the New York Stock Exchange, Abe faces a thornier challenge in ensuring that his “Abenomics” recovery spreads beyond boardrooms to the Japanese people. Over the past two decades Japan’s system of salaried jobs with full benefits has crumbled as companies struggled to stay afloat in cut-throat global markets, shifting much of their manufacturing overseas. Steady jobs in manufacturing and finance that moved abroad or became obsolete were replaced by lowpaying service jobs such as clerking in convenience stores and delivery work, especially for workers under 40. About 40 percent of Japan’s workers, or triple the figure of just 30 years ago, are employed under part-time or nonregular contracts that pay far less than “salaryman” type jobs of the past. That hollowing out is undercutting the domestic demand that powers nearly three-quarters of business activity with-

in Japan, compounding the effects of a shrinking and aging population. “Up to now, it’s all been a minus,” said retiree Takeshi Onodera, when asked about Abenomics. “I don’t see any signs it’s made a difference.” ‘It hasn’t reached us’ Economic growth picked up modestly last year to 1.6 percent but fell short of expectations in the fourth quarter, prompting the Bank of Japan to Tuesday top up its already plentiful stimulus. Onodera’s pessimism is shared by some experts. They say the social and economic forces at play in Japan for more than a generation, are too powerful to be overcome by Abe’s prescription of big government spending, lavish monetary easing, a weak yen and dismantling barriers to competition. Japan’s median household income of 3.8 million yen ($38,700) in 2012 was down from 4.5 million yen in 1997. Today’s workers are worse off than their parents and their incomes continued to fall in 2013 even as the initial successes of Abe’s policies rolled in. On top of that, living costs are rising as Abe’s weak yen policy that favors Japan’s exporters pushes up the cost of imported fuel and other goods. Employers are reluctant to

Building a gateway to the future

By Sunil Veetil, Regional Head of Payments and Cash Management, HSBC Middle East and North Africa


any would argue that the 1970s was the decade of innovation. It was in these years that the world saw the first handheld mobile phones, and Sony launched its first Walkman - transforming how, when and where we listen to music. At the same time, IBM began developing floppy disks for commercial use that quickly began to transform how we work and conduct business. It was this decade that sowed the seeds of internet banking and electronic webbased platforms, which created a gateway to the future. Fast forward to the 1980s, and banks began offering online services to customers. However, the limited number of internet users and the costs associated with online banking hampered growth. As a result, internet banking did not take off in earnest until late in the 1990s. Having access to this service in the privacy of the home became a fact of life, and soon a necessity, for millions of households around the world. It was at this point that electronic banking began to grow rapidly. It was not only individuals who were affected. It is easy to under-value the impact these platforms and electronic banking have had on the corporate world, and the manner in which they have revolutionized the cash management industry. Businesses across all sectors now have to manage thousands of payments every week - often across international borders. In the UAE alone, we estimate that approximately 31200* cross border payments were processed every day in 2013. Businesses slow to adapt to the changing e-payment landscape face significant challenges both today and in the future. Without adopting one of the many electronic platforms available, businesses are unlikely to benefit from the efficiency gains offered and may suffer delays in payments that may in turn harm relationships with suppliers. Manual operations are prone to human error and often exacerbate problems such as idle cash in the bank, while working with several banks without a central management system is becoming increasingly challenging. Embracing electronic payments does not need to be costly or complex. Irrespective of a company’s financial model, using even the most basic of web-based platforms can address most of the critical issues that challenge corporate treasurers today. These include setting up centralized back office functions, ensuring precise reporting and accurate financial forecasting. Although the use of web-based platforms is evolving and becoming more advanced in the Asia Pacific region, Europe and the US, adoption of these platforms, even at a basic level, is still at an early stage in the Middle East. In fact, it was only as little as two years ago when relying on manually produced excel spreadsheets or making payments by cheque was the preferred way of doing business amongst corpo-

raise wages, a measure vital for an enduring recovery. Japanese consumers will take another hit in April when sales tax is raised to 8 percent from 5 percent to help bridge the government’s yawning budget deficit. “Our parents just saved money in the bank without really thinking about it. For us, it’s really difficult to save money,” said Hideo Sone, a 40-year-old machinery factory worker. “We want to buy a house but it looks like repaying the money before retirement might be difficult,” said his wife, Natsuko. Many younger workers stuck in part-time or temporary jobs, with no benefits, only manage by living with their parents, said Seiichi Inagaki, a visiting professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. “It is unavoidable for them that the poverty rate will rise,” said Inagaki, a former welfare ministry official. Speaking in parliament this month, Abe acknowledged that rising company profits haven’t gone into wages but insisted increases are inevitable as the economy picks up. Flat or declining incomes were bearable until recently because the stagnation that followed the bursting of Japan’s bubble economy in the early 1990s was characterized by falling prices, or deflation. Now, costs are

rising, with consumer prices up last year for the first time in half a decade. Many companies are balking at Abe’s calls for higher wages, which they can ill afford. Some that have profited from the weaker yen are promising modest wage hikes for upcoming spring labor talks, but many other businesses, especially the smaller ones that employ a majority of Japanese, are being squeezed by higher costs for imported components and energy. “Business and political circles do want to revive our economy, but without giving labor a bigger share of the economic pie obviously it won’t happen,” said Kenji Utsunomiya, a two-time candidate for Tokyo governor. As Abe’s government weighs corporate and broader public interests, industry appears to have the upper hand. Despite the famed efficiency of its automakers and other manufacturers, Japan ranks 20th out of 20 among the world’s richest economies in terms of how productive its workers are. So the government plans to designate some areas of the country as “special zones” for reforming labor laws and restrictions that Abe says are hindering innovation and competition. But proposals to make it easier to fire permanent employees and for exempt-

ing companies from giving white-collar workers overtime pay worry labor advocates. “I’m especially concerned about the idea of special economic zones. They seem to be aiming for a situation in which companies can fire and hire people with really very little constraint,” said Noriko Hama, a professor at Kyoto’s Doshisha University. With government finances strained by Japan’s record-busting national debt, the country’s already Spartan social safety net is being cut further. Japan’s unemployment rate is low compared with Europe and the US, but welfare rolls have risen to record levels as single parents and growing numbers of seniors lacking enough pension income seek help. To counter rising costs, monthly payments were cut by up to 10 percent last August, and further reductions are planned. Toshio Hirota, 72, is feeling the squeeze as government cuts support payments for his wife and two young stepchildren. Plans to cut corporate taxes to encourage companies to raise wages, step up innovation and boost investments don’t sit well with him. “The money is just going to the big companies, and they’re just moving the jobs overseas,” said Hirota. “We are not feeling any benefit from this.”—AFP

BoJ holds off fresh monetary easing Lending moves like slapping on ‘new car tyres’

rations in this region. Despite the fact that these old-fashioned methods are still in use, there has been a visible shift in recent years. Middle East based businesses are also seizing the opportunity to leap frog from previous web based software to innovative mobile technology. If we look at our own statistics, as at 30 September 2013 over USD 900 million of payments were authorized on HSBCnet mobile in the region, since its launch in November 2011. We have also seen a push to automate from Government owned entities and Government departments. This, in turn, continues to encourage the private sector to move in the same direction. Understandably, using such platforms brings its own set of issues to the table. Guaranteeing security has been at the forefront of these concerns. Failure is not an option and ensuring the availability of secure services is the top priority of financial institutions. Financial back-office data is sensitive material and customers need to be sure about the security of their data. Nevertheless, simple actions and logical thinking can eliminate many of the risks involved. These include ensuring that files are encrypted, implementing a matrix of authorization requirements starting from the earliest point of transactions, and preparing a contingency plan in the event that something does go wrong. Though these measures should not be overlooked, let’s not forget that the banks’ responsibility to provide businesses with effective and secure platforms is critical. The level of security offered, combined with greater control over processes and the prospect of significantly improving overall management of working capital, is precisely why so many businesses sign up for these platforms in the first place. As technology in this space continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how businesses must adapt in order to thrive in today’s increasingly interconnected economy. One thing is certain, when we look back on this period of history it will be characterized as the decade that saw the final frontier of e-banking fall by the wayside. *Source: Based on calculations from SWIFT Report 2012 numbers and 2013 GDP growth rate projected by the UAE Ministry of Economy.

Finnish Finance Minister Jutta Urpilainen (left) speaks with Italian minister of Economy and Finance Fabrizio Saccomanni prior to an Economic and Financial Affairs Council yesterday at the European Union headquarters in Brussels. — AFP

TOKYO: The Bank of Japan yesterday held off fresh monetary easing measures but said it would tweak a loans scheme to stimulate borrowing, a move that sent Tokyo shares surging. Policymakers kept the existing massive easing program in place after a two-day meeting, while moving to fire up bank lending to firms and consumers, which BoJ chief Haruhiko Kuroda likened to slapping new tyres on a car. We have “significantly boosted the capacity of our engine-this is like we put on new tyres to make the most of that engine”, he told reporters. All eyes were on Kuroda’s post-meeting comments for signs of future policy moves, after weak Japanese growth data for the final quarter of 2013 worsened fears about the impact of an April sales tax rise. Expanding the loans schemes was “nothing huge, but it is the first significant change of policy since the bank started on its massive easing cycle last April”, said Chris Tedder, research analyst at in Sydney. The yen tumbled after the announcement, pushing the Nikkei stock index 3.13 percent higher as the greenback fetched 102.55 yen, surging from below the 102yen level earlier yesterday. Analysts widely expect the BoJ to expand its asset-buying plan later this year to counter any slowdown from the tax increase. That would likely weigh on the yen, a plus for Japanese exporters, as the US Federal Reserve rolls back its own stimulus program. The new data showed Japan’s economy expanded by 1.6 percent over last year, but it slowed to 0.3 percent in the October-December quarter, presenting a major challenge for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his bid to reverse almost two decades of deflation. “These data reinforced investor expectations that the Bank of Japan will need to step up its (easing) program at some point,” National Australia Bank said. Kuroda unveiled the vast asset-buying scheme-which aims to boost the money supply and, in turn, stoke growth-as part of the broader plan by Abe to reinvigorate the world’s third-largest economy and eradicate years of falling prices, which have held back consumer spending and business investment. Recent data showed consumer prices logged

TOKYO: Governor of the Bank of Japan (BoJ) Haruhiko Kuroda answers a question during a press conference at the company headquarter in Tokyo yesterday. Wrapping up a two-day policy meeting, the BoJ said it would keep its massive easing program in place, while tweaking a loan scheme to banks in a bid to stimulate lending to firms and consumers. — AFP their first annual rise for five years in 2013. But rising prices have largely been driven up by higher fuel bills after the Fukushima atomic crisis, not by surging demand for everyday goods which power the economy as a whole-although there has been an uptick in spending before the tax rise. David Beim, a finance professor at New York’s Columbia University, cast doubt on whether the BoJ’s attempts to pump money into the financial system through reserve-rich Japanese banks was having much of an impact. “What is in theory supposed to happen is that, as the central bank expands its balance sheet, the commercial banks expand theirs, thereby expanding the money supply... which stimulates the real economy,” he said in an email to AFP. “But when commercial banks already have massive excess reserves, this does not happen.” In January Kuroda said he was still confident the bank’s two-

percent inflation target would be reached sometime next year-despite growing skepticism among analysts and even some BoJ board members. The sales tax hike-to 8.0 percent from 5.0 percent-is seen as crucial to bringing down Japan’s eye-watering national debt, but it has also raised fears that it will derail Tokyo’s attempt to kickstart growth. The BoJ on Monday announced it would double the amount of funds available to commercial banks under a pair of loan schemes, saying it hoped to “further promote financial institutions’ actions as well as stimulate firms’ and households’ demand for credit”. Among other measures was an extension of the timeline for a program aimed at promoting development in parts of the country hammered by the quake-tsunami disaster almost three years ago.—AFP

UK car dealer Pendragon sees profit rise LONDON: British car dealer Pendragon said yesterday it expected another strong year in 2014, reporting a rise in profits boosted by customers using easily available credit to buy cars. The company said an 18 percent increase in new car sales and a boost to its highly profitable aftersales business helped push fullyear 2013 pre-tax profits to 38.9 million pounds ($65 million), up 14 percent. CEO Trevor Finn told Reuters that more than 70 percent of Pendragon’s new cars were bought using some form of credit. “You can buy a car that’s more reliable, more fuel-efficient, lower cost of operation and for a monthly payment that was probably similar to what you were paying on the previous car,” he said. In a bid to shift stock since the car market suffered from 2008, British carmakers and dealers have pushed cheap financing deals and discounts, sometimes selling at a loss. The firm, which runs over 250 retail outlets and trades under the names Stratstone, Evans Halshaw and Quicks, also said that a 22 percent rise in website visits helped boost sales as customers perused online before buying in person. “Our used car sales have grown by 49 percent over the last five years and that’s as a function of the internet becoming much more prevalent in people’s minds when

they’re looking,” Finn told Reuters. Expansion The firm also said it was confident that 2014 would be another year of good performance in line with expectations. Overall industry figures showed Britons bucked a fall in car sales in Germany and France by buying 2.265 million new cars in 2013, the highest number since 2007 and an 11 percent rise on the year, spurred on by record low interest rates. Pendragon revenue stood at 3.85 billion pounds in 2013, up 6 percent and the firm said its total dividend of 0.4p per share in 2013 was 300 percent higher on last year. The company also said it had hit its target of having debt to underlying core earnings on a ratio of 1.5 times 18 months early on June 30 2013. The ratio stood at 1.2 times at the end of December. Although the firm said it wanted to return money to shareholders and maintain a ratio between 1.0 and 1.5, Finn said the firm was looking at ways to expand in parts of Britain where it currently does not trade. “We don’t have any representation in Bristol, Ipswich, Norwich. There’s quite a few cities where we don’t have some footprint and if the right opportunity came in those markets, we’d take it.” —Reuters

British inflation undershoots target LONDON: British inflation fell below the Bank of England’s target for the first time in over four years last month, reinforcing the bank’s message that there is no rush to raise interest rates. Consumer prices rose 1.9 percent on the year in January, slowing from December’s rate of 2.0 percent, making it the smallest increase since November 2009, the Office for National Statistics said. Economists polled by Reuters had expected it to stay at 2.0 percent, although the lower rate of inflation fitted with the BoE’s latest forecasts showing it would dip to around 1.7 percent by March. “ With sterling remaining strong, pushing down impor t costs, energy and commodity prices remaining well behaved and wage pressures limited, inflation is likely to remain soft for several months,” said ING economist James Knightley. “We do expect to see an uptick later this year with a strengthening labor market likely prompting a gradual rise in wages ... but it is not going to be troubling for the BoE.” Before

December last year, annual inflation exceeded the Bank of England’s 2 percent target every month since December 2009, eroding the spending power of households and making the fall in living standards a big political issue ahead of next year’s elections. In a rare comment after inflation figures, Prime Minister David Cameron said the decline showed the government’s long-term economic plan was working. Last Wednesday the BoE said it was in no rush to hike rates and that it would look for a range of measures to show less slack in Britain’s labor market before it tightens policy. Tuesday’s figures are likely to reinforce that position, despite house price figures released alongside the consumer inflation numbers that showed the annual rate of house price growth had returned to October’s three-year high. The central bank has said it will use measures other than raising rates to tame house prices if they threaten to get out of control. —Reuters



United Real Estate posts net profits of KD 11.2m for 2013

Lexus registers steady growth in Mideast luxury segment Sales rise 19 percent in 2013 DUBAI: Lexus yesterday announced a steady increase in Middle East sales in 2013 with a +19 percent rise to sell 37,284 vehicles in the luxury segment. With its focus on leading edge innovation and design in line with its brand campaign theme of “Amazing in Motion”, Lexus continues its impressive ascent to rank among the top in the luxury car segment across the region. Nobuyuki Negishi, Chief Representative of Middle East & North Africa Representative Office, Toyota Motor Corporation said, “Our emphasis on design excellence has been a significant factor in the overall look and feel of our cars with a deep commitment to world class design and this has helped us maintain our growth momentum in the luxury segment. Building on the three main pillars of aggressive design, dynamic performance, and advanced environmental and safety technologies, we have made consistent, innovative progress and seen strong customer acceptance of our new design philosophy.” Leading the charge for the sedan range, the Lexus IS made its mark on luxury car buyers in the region with an

impressive +63 percent growth in sales with 1,864 units. With its contemporary and elegant design, advanced driving dynamics and innovative technology, the IS is a distinctive and premium sports sedan which provides a truly responsive vehicle as a natural extension of its driver. The fun-todrive capability of the new generation 2014 Lexus IS comes alive in its performance with its agile handling capability. The finely-tuned front and rear suspensions also assist the driver with an accurate steering response and an excellent grip. Engine variants offered include: a 2.5 Liter V6 providing 204HP, and a 3.5 Liter V6 delivering an emphatic 312HP. With a total of 3,000 improvements, the LS is the most refined Lexus saloon ever built and has made a significant impact on luxury car buyers to register a +55 percent increase in sales during 2013 with 2,171 units. With the Lexus LFA as a reference point during its development, the 2014 Lexus LS has been further refined to deliver an even greater performance. A more agile platform has been achieved with laser welding and an innovatively bonded body structure that also adds strength and lightness for a

stable, smoother ride. Acceleration, seamless shifting, control and fuel efficiency is easily adjusted by the turn of the Drive Mode Select dial which offers four distinct driving styles. The thrilling drive of the Lexus LS is now even more engaging in the F SPORT model. In the SUV category, sales of the Lexus GX grew by +63 percent with 1,060 units during 2013. The Lexus GX remains a rarity among luxury SUVs, a full-capability model with exceptional off-road prowess, yet with on-road handling and ride quality that epitomize the Lexus brand. The bold design with a large spindle grille coupled with revolutionary driving dynamics takes the styling of luxury to a new high level. The Lexus GX is a premium luxury family commuter during the week that easily transforms to a trail-driving 4x4 on the weekend, with room for up to seven. Such a contrast of functions is made possible by a combination of rugged body-onframe construction and an advanced standard Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS), which helps to significantly reduce body lean without needing stiffer springs and dampers.

KUWAIT: United Real Estate Company (URC), one of the MENA region’s leading real estate developers announced yesterday that is has achieved a net profit of KD 11.2 million for the year ending December 31st 2013. The company’s operational profits increased by 94 percent compared to the same period in 2012. Following URC’s board approval of the financial earnings for the fiscal year of 2013, a recommended cash dividend of 8 percent will distributed to the company’s shareholders subject to the approval of the general assembly meeting. URC’s Chairman, Tariq Tariq Mohammed Mohammed AbdulSalam said, AbdulSalam “URC has succeeded in achieving its strategic objectives. The company sold a number of assets, which eventually helped achieve a stronger better output while easing the financial restrictions that were associated with some of these assets.” “The company has also succeeded in its leasing operations, where it successfully completed the leasing process of its Salalah Gardens Mall in Salalah Oman, which was inaugurated in November last year. Moreover, the Engineer Mohammed Ahmed Al-Saqqaf company also succeeded in issuing bonds that are valued at KD 60 million which was oversubscribed by 50 percent. The five-year bond was rated investment grade of BBB- with a positive outlook by credit rating agency, Capital Intelligence.” Moreover, URC’s CEO, Engineer Mohammed Ahmed AlSaqqaf added, “We are very proud of the results. The company’s executive management team has been focused on improving our operational performance. Our results during the past year are evident of that success, which clearly indicate a significant rise of 30 percent in our profits compared to last year. Furthermore, our operational profits jumped by 94 percent when compared to the same period in 2012. The company continues to relay its efforts and focus on a number of its major projects that include Abdali Mall in Jordan, Raouche View at 1090 in Lebanon and Aswar Residences in Egypt.” Tariq Mohammed AbdulSalam thanks the executive management team and all URC colleagues for their hard work along with the shareholders for their continued support.

Falken launches new flagship tire AZENIS FK453 KUWAIT: Falken Tire, a high performance tire choice for driving enthusiasts has announced launch of its new strongest and quietest ultra high performance tire - the AZENIS FK453, which is currently on sale in Kuwait. The next generation AZENIS FK453isFalken’s new flagship tire and it is the most advanced and ultimate high performance tire to date which replaces the AZENIS FK452, revered by many car enthusiasts for its blend of performance and affordability. The AZENIS FK453 is the latest generation of Falken¥s steadfast Ultra High Performance tire, available in a wide array of diameters from 17-inch to 22-inch and along with wide range of tire widths - making this tire a versatile, resourceful, dynamic, and powerful offering. The AZENIS FK453 will be available in a total of 61 sizes to fit sports and performance cars such as Jaguar XFR, Jaguar FX, BMW Z4, Mercedes Benz SL65, Nissan 370Z, Audi TT, Lincoln MKT, Lexus IS, Hyundai Genesis, Infinity G37, Porsche Boxster, Porsche Cayman, Porsche 911 Carrera, Porsche 911 Turbo, Mitsubishi Eclipse, and Volkswagen GTI. Takashi Adachi, Managing Director of Falken’s Middle East Office talking about this new product quoted “The AZENIS FK453 takes ultra-high performance to a new level delivering exceptional maneuverability, control and grip through significant improvements in handling and reductions in road noise. Falken has incorporated advanced technologies, the competitive personality of motorsports and the legacy of the AZENIS FK453’s predecessors to create a benchmark of maximum performance on the roads.” Falken’s acclaimed engineering teams have developed the AZENIS FK453 specification, and have tested them on various road conditions and proving grounds. The engineers also gained feedback from Falken’s racing drivers who have tested the tires using a variety of cars; resulting in a design that incorporates a more warp resistant casing and additional nylon-reinforced cover ply to increase high-speed stability. This construction is complemented by a rounder tire shoulder, optimizing pressure deployment on the tread area. The AZENIS FK453 provides added confidence behind the wheel, through its three central tread grooves and staggered sipes design which is integrated into the first tread bar on the tire shoulder. The unique tread

design helps in reduction of hydro-planning and deflects the water more effectively than most of the conventional tread patterns. In contrast to its predecessors, AZENIS FK453’s dry handling ability has been enhanced by 25 percent whilst handling ability on wet surfaces has been enhanced by 30 percent, delivering useful gains in control for lane changes and higher speed cornering. A combination of tread pattern and compound changes has led to 8 percent reduction in braking distance on wet surfaces. The AZENIS 453’s tread has a silica enriched compound that offers a superior traction and grip for those seeking ultra-high performance on both dry & wet roads. The asymmetric tread pattern of AZENIS FK453 with large outside shoulder blocks not only enhances the cornering grip but also provides a better braking traction. Also, the multiple nylon-reinforced layers allow for better high-speed stability, an important asset based on the driver¥s exacting demands. AZENIS FK453 also features the latest developments in noise absorption technology. To achieve the lower noise levels now expected by consumers, even those using low profile tires, Falken introduced phase-shifted tread bars. The rounder shoulder contributes to the significantly lower rolling resistance and passby noise. Honed by Falken’s Global Motorsports Development teams, AZENIS FK453 has already made its international motorsport debut. Falken’s UK drift team is using the AZENIS FK453 tire in a bid to retain the championship. Similarly Kuwait’s drift enthusiasts and teams are already sporting these tires during their competitions and performances. Suresh, President of KAPICO Group’s global tire business said, “Al-Ghannam Tires Center Co, the exclusive and principal channel partner for Falken in Kuwait is very excited to welcome Falken’s newest summer ultra-high performance tire in AZENIS FK453.” He further quoted “AZENIS FK453 is a winner; it sports an aggressive tread design that is going to give you excellent cornering power and better stability in straight line acceleration. It offers a quiet and comfortable ride whether you are driving on the highway or around the town. If you are driving a high-end sports car, this AZENIS FK453 is an excellent option. The AZENIS FK453 line is expected to dominate the replacement tire market for the sports cars and ultra-luxury coupes and sedans.”

Gulf Bank opens new training center ‘Durrat Al-Khaleej’ in Al-Zahra The bank puts human capital at forefront KUWAIT: Gulf Bank announced that it has officially opened its new training center ‘Durrat Al-Khaleej’ located in its Al Zahra branch. Gulf Bank’s Chairman, Omar Kutayba Alghanim, Salma Al-Hajjaj, General Manager Human Resources, along with senior executives from the Bank’s management were joined by invited guests, Fawzi Al-Majdali, Secretary General - Manpower and Government Restructuring Program (MGRP), Dr Yaqoub Al-Refaei, Director - Institute of Banking Studies in Kuwait, Dr Bassam Al-Feeli and Sumaya Al-Jassim Kuwait Foundation of Advancement of Science (KFAS), all of whom congratulated Alghanim and the Bank’s management on this occasion and commended them for their commitment to the training and development of the Bank’s workforce. Gulf Bank’s Chairman, Omar Kutayba Alghanim, gave a brief speech to welcome the Bank’s guests and reiterated the importance of human capital investment. He further emphasized the Bank’s policy of being a meritocracy and performance based organization and through the new training center being able to equip staff with the skills and competencies to help them advance in their careers. He went on to thank the team for the work they are doing to support and advance the Kuwaiti workforce. Through this new training center, current and new employees will receive new training modules and cours-

es, all displayed on Smart Boards using Apple TV. In addition, the Bank has also replaced paper training material with iPads, giving trainees the latest in technological advances in their training. Gulf Bank is the first Bank in Kuwait to use Smart Boards to display its training modules and courses and the first Bank to provide iPads to all its trainees. The facility’s computer lab has been equipped with the latest desktop computers in addition to equipping the training facilities with cameras to provide visual and audible tools to monitor progress from the Bank’s Head Office. Salma Al-Hajjaj, General Manager - Human Resources at Gulf Bank said: “We are very proud to have this training center for our employees. It’s a great milestone for the Bank and the HR department and underlines how committed we are to ensuring we have the best qualified employees in the banking sector. Gulf Bank is known as an organization that is committed to nurturing Kuwaiti talent, as well as a financial institution that provides the best banking products and services in Kuwait. This is something we are very proud of and aim to build as we grow. “At Gulf Bank we believe that our human capital is our most valuable asset and therefore we strive to create a culture that nurtures talent and creates career opportunities for our people. We value teamwork and empow-

erment and we will continue to focus on these aspects as we work with our employees in developing their knowledge and abilities.” The Bank also places great emphasis on training and development of its employees through its Learning and Development department, which produces a range of tailor-made packages and training programs as part of its policy of investing in encouraging staff expertise. In 2013, Gulf Bank conducted 125 training courses, training 1377 newly recruited employees, as well as numerous courses at middle and senior management level focusing on both technical and leadership competencies with strong emphasis on corporate governance and compliance. As one of Kuwait’s leading employers and recruiters, Gulf Bank has always placed its human capital at the forefront, focusing on opening up opportunities to young Kuwaitis, creating meaningful roles and challenges for Kuwait’s youth that allows them to build a career, and in doing so, to contribute to the country’s economic progress. To find out more about Gulf Bank’s new training center, visit any one of Gulf Bank’s 57 branches, or call the Customer Contact Center on 1805805. Information is also available on the Bank’s bilingual website at

Oman Air sees sharp increase in inflight connectivity usage in 2013 KUWAIT: The number of passengers using inflight connectivity on Oman Air’s OnAir-equipped Airbus A330s has increased dramatically in the past year, as has the volume of data exchanged. The airline has seven A330s fitted with both Mobile OnAir and Internet OnAir. From 2012 to 2013, the number of Oman Air’s passengers logging on to the OnAir networks increased by 45 percent, and 85 percent more data was used. Oman Air has worked on increasing usage by implementing a series of creative new marketing initiatives. These have included a promotion allowing passengers to use Frequent Flyer miles to purchase Wi-Fi codes, as well as offering free vouchers to First and Business class passengers in three or four different periods

throughout the year. The airline has also included a promotional advertising campaign and a clip about Mobile OnAir before every film. OnAir predicts that Oman Air will see a doubling of Wi-Fi usage in 2014, thanks to its innovative approach to marketing and providing passengers with value-added services around connectivity. The usage figures show that when passengers know about the service, there is a great demand for it. It also shows that OnAir connectivity can meet both customer expectations and increasing demand. “Having been the first airline in the world to offer both services, Oman Air has now been providing Mobile OnAir and Internet OnAir for over four years. We also have plans for adding the

services to more aircraft, as our fleet grows over the next few years,” said Andrew Walsh, Chief Officer Service Delivery at Oman Air. “Our customers have warmly welcomed the services and, thanks to our creative and proactive approach to marketing onboard connectivity, we have seen a big growth in passenger usage in 2013. We actively encourage passengers to use Mobile OnAir and Internet OnAir and we are confident that both will continue to meet service expectations.” Oman Air has opted for OnAir because it is the only provider offering consistent global coverage. OnAir has a unique network of regulatory authorizations from over 100 countries and more than 350 roaming agree-

ments with mobile network operators. These are complemented by Inmarsat SwiftBroadband, the only satellite network specifically designed to provide worldwide coverage. “We are always excited to see passengers making the most of the services we provide. It’s clear that Oman Air, having pioneered full onboard connectivity, has used several appealing marketing initiatives to encourage users to connect to the inflight GSM and Wi-Fi,” said Ian Dawkins, OnAir CEO. “The usage numbers show passengers are using the service again and again, so they must recognise that it more than lives up to its reputation. Passengers now expect to fly in a connected aircraft, making inflight connectivity a must-have.”



HP execs aware of Autonomy’s loss-making hardware sales PALO ALTO: Hewlett-Packard Co’s senior executives were aware of certain Autonomy Corp accounting practices months before a whistleblower flagged them, prompting HP to write down the value of Autonomy, the Financial Times reported, citing email records. Palo Alto, California-based HP has said it was a victim for having paid $11.1 billion to buy Autonomy in 2011. It took

a writedown of $8.8 billion in November 2012, accusing Autonomy officials of accounting fraud. Autonomy’s practice of selling hardware to clients at a loss had been documented by auditors and a report was provided to HP after it bought the British software maker, the FT said. HP executives were included in communications about Autonomy’s hardware sales before the whistleblower

brought the transactions to light, the FT said, citing several emails. ( In an October 2011 email that HP Chief Executive Meg Whitman was copied on, Autonomy cited difficulties it was having in selling HP hardware, the newspaper reported. However, HP said that while it eventually learned about the hardware sales, it knew nothing of

the alleged accounting improprieties until the whistleblower came forward, the FT said. Autonomy’s former Chief Executive Mike Lynch said in a statement that the emails and documents cited by the FT showed Autonomy had been open with its auditors, Deloitte. Deloitte told the newspaper it “categorically denies any knowledge of any accounting improprieties or misrepre-

sentations in Autonomy’s financial statements”. Lynch said: “Meg Whitman accused Autonomy of ‘active concealment’ but these revelations prove we were open and transparent with our auditors who continue to stand by the accounts.” HP could not be immediately reached for comment by Reuters outside of regular business hours. —Reuters

Philippines’ top court upholds ‘cyber libel’ law Cybercrime in its many forms continuing and escalating

TOKYO: A woman (L) tries to walk through the prototype model of an automatic ticket gate with a built-in explosive detection device, developed by Japan’s Hitachi and Nippon Signal at Tokyo Metro’s Kasumigaseki subway station in Tokyo yesterday. Hitachi and Nippon Signal started a field test of the world’s first ticket gate which collects minute particles affixed to smart cards, enabling it to detect bombs within three seconds. It is possible to inspect 1,200 passengers an hour. — AFP

MANILA: The Philippines’ top court ruled yesterday that a cybercrime law penalising online libel is constitutional, disappointing critics who argue it could curb Internet freedom in one of Asia’s most freewheeling democracies. The Cybercrime Protection Law was passed in 2012 to stamp out online scourges such as fraud, identity theft, spamming and child pornography, but its implementation was suspended after coming under challenge from various groups. The Supreme Court said however that the section which penalises cyber libel “is not unconstitutional”, spokesman Theodore Te said, adding that only the sender of the material faced prosecution and not the recipient. The court also upheld provisions penalising cyber-squatting, computer fraud, identity theft and gaining illegal access through a computer, he said. Opponents of the law could still file a motion for reconsideration, Te added. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the Supreme Court decision was “timely” as the government needed it to deal with the growing number of cybercrime cases. “In the intervening period when the (law was suspended), cybercrime in its many forms was continuing and even escalating,” she said. “A clear legal framework is necessary to protect citizens and balance the state’s duties.” But Neri Colmenares, a congressman who was among those who challenged the law, said they may appeal. “The government should not be the prosecutor of stained reputations,” Colmenares said, branding it a “draconian law”. “No one should go to prison just for expressing oneself, specially on the Internet, where people express their frustration with government,” he said. President Benigno Aquino signed the law in

MANILA: Filipino youths gather at an Internet cafe in Manila yesterday. The Philippine Supreme Court ruled yesterday that a controversial cybercrime law penalising online libel is constitutional, amid claims it is intended to curb Internet freedom in one of Asia’s most freewheeling democracies. — AFP 2012 but opponents quickly said it gave the government wide powers to curb Internet freedom due to provisions that impose heavy prison terms for online libel. The law also gives the state power to shut down websites and monitor online activities, in a country where major protests have been organised through Facebook and Twitter. The Supreme Court yesterday “partially granted the relief” sought by the law’s opponents, when it ruled as unlawful a provision giving the Justice Department powers to shut down websites or record Internet traffic data in real time.

But Terry Ridon, a congressman representing the youth sector in parliament, said they were unhappy with the ruling and vowed to challenge it. While the high court entertains appeals, it rarely reverses decisions. “The fight against eMartial Law is far from over. We call on everyone to up the ante and once again show our collective dissent against this repressive law,” Ridon said. “While the high court reportedly aimed to strike a balance between the protection of civil liberties and government control, we still believe that the law is potent enough to impede our freedom of expression,” he added. —AFP

First bitcoin ATMs to open soon in Seattle, Austin SEATTLE: Robocoin said yesterday that later this month it will install the first automated teller machines in the United States that let users buy and sell bitcoin, the latest step into the mainstream for the digital currency. The kiosks, to be installed in Seattle, and Austin, Texas, are similar to ATMs but have scanners to read government-issued identification such as a driver’s license or a passport to confirm users’ identities. The ATMs will allow people to swap bitcoin for cash, or deposit cash to buy more bitcoin by transferring funds to or from a virtual wallet on their smartphones. Bitcoin was launched in 2008 and is traded within a global network of computers. It is not backed by a single company or government and has no assets behind it, but its release is tightly controlled, mimicking a central banking system’s control over

the minting of money. Robocoin, based in Las Vegas, installed its first bitcoin ATM in Vancouver last fall and will also star t operating one in Calgar y, Alber ta, later this month. Robocoin also is planning to install ATMs in Asia and Europe. A bitcoin is currently worth about $636, but its value has fluctuated widely as the currency’s visibility has increased. Last September, a bitcoin was worth around $150. By late December the value was near the $1,000 mark. Users can buy products and services online on sites including or in a handful of stores. The currency’s reputation took a hit last week when two of its best known exchanges suspended withdrawals. One of them, Slovenia-based Bitstamp, said Friday it planned to allow redemptions to resume. —Reuters

Sony says PlayStation 4 sales exceed 5.3 mn TOKYO: Japan’s Sony said yesterday it has sold more than 5.3 million PlayStation 4 consoles three months after its release, as the firm battles Microsoft and Nintendo in the lucrative games sector. The eagerly-awaited PlayStation, which sold more than one million units in just one day after its November 15 debut in North America, easily cleared a worldwide target of 5.0 million units before

March. The initial target was reached even before it is released in its home market of Japan on Februar y 22. PS4 sales were nearly double that of Microsoft’s Xbox One console in the US market last month, Sony said last week, citing figures released by industry tracker NPD Group. Rival Nintendo launched its new Wii U console late last year. It took more than a year for the video game giant to sell 5.86 million units.—AFP

TOKYO: This file picture taken on February 1, 2014 shows Sony’s PlayStation 4 video game consoles, which will be launched in Japan on February 22, displayed at the “Try! PlayStation 4! -2.22-” event at Ginza Sony building in Tokyo. Global sales of the PlayStation 4, launched in North America, South America and Europe end of last year, topped 5.3 million units as of February 8, Sony Computer Entertainment announced yesterday. — AFP

TOKYO: A Fujitsu employee demonstrates the company’s new technology, glove-style wearable device which can read NFC tag to display the information onto a head mounted display and input six-keys, (up, down, left, right, clock-wise and anti-clock-wise truns) using gestures during its press preview in Tokyo yesterday. The device can display information such as the operation manuals as well as input operation logs without distabing operation steps. — AFP

Lighter engines a headache for satellite launcher Ariane PARIS: Arianespace rockets excel at lifting the heaviest payloads into space, but a new technology allowing for lighter satellites is causing another big bang for an already fast-changing industry. The number one commercial launch operator, Arianespace is under intense pressure from a new slate of lower-priced rivals, including US start-up Space X. But now lighter-load electric propulsion used by satellites once in space is also attacking the company’s hold on the business. Also known as ion or plasma engines, in 2012 US aerospace giant Boeing was the first to commercially offer a satellite engine that uses electricity from solar panels for thrust. Most satellite makers followed suit in 2013. While the thrust is weaker than chemical propelled engines, thus taking months instead of weeks to move a satellite after its launch to its final orbit, it uses much less propellant. This can cut a satellite’s launch weight by half, allowing it to be lifted by less powerful rockets, thus lowering costs and creating an opportunity for rivals. To counter the threat by upstart Space X and other new competitors from India and Japan, the 20 nations that are part of the European Space Agency decided in November 2012 to develop a more powerful launcher and start studies on a second one. The first is an update of their heavy-lift rocket, the Ariane 5, and should come on line by

2018. The Ariane 5 ME, for midlife evolution, would increase the lift capacity of what is already the biggest commercial rocket to just over 11 tonnes from 10 tonnes. Simultaneously, at the insistence of France, they began planning for a sleeker Ariane 6 to be ready around 2020 that would be capable of launching 6 tonnes. In order to be profitable, the Ariane 5 series must carry two heavy satellites, which can entail delays. By cutting launch costs, the Ariane 6 makes single satellite launches financially possibile. Either-or, not both But France’s position has changed and is causing divisions with its ESA partners. A report by France’s national auditor released last week disclosed that Paris now wants to drop the Ariane 5 ME to keep down development costs and push forward with Ariane 6. The alternative option of “pursuing the two programmes, according to a calendar still to be worked out ... risks a delay to Ariane 6 to a later date-towards 2025,” the auditor said. Continuing with the Ariane 5 ME is clearly the preference of Berlin, France’s top partner in the ESA. “The German position is that we should continue with the Ariane 5 ME to get it onto the market as quick as possible and reflect on what the future launcher should be,” the head of Germany’s DLR space agency, Johann-Dietrich Woerner, told

AFP. “It won’t be possible to finance both programmes 100 percent at the same time. We still need to decide if we move forward with Ariane 6,” he said. While the necessity of launching two satellites is a constraint, it also reduces fixed costs, he said. Arianespace itself feels the Ariane 5 ME is well adapted for electric propulsion satellites, the first of which Space X is scheduled to launch at the end of this year. After conducting a market study about electronic propulsion satellites, Arianespace believes “there will be a lot of small and mediumsized satellites, and no longer the domination of big satellites that we have seen these last years,” said chief executive Stephane Israel. With a capacity to lift a payload of more than 11 tonnes, the Ariane 5 ME will prove advantageous in that it can lift multiple satellites. “You can even put three satellites in an ME, a big one and two small ones,” Israel told AFP. And Ariane 6, also powerful enough to lift two small satellites, will provide an “ultra-competitive” launch offer for customers, he said. But the question remains whether a market exists for Ariane 6 in its current form. And if smaller satellites prevail, it will also find itself with the same disadvantage as Ariane 5 of launching in pairs. And it will be too big for medium-sized satellites, according to France’s national auditor, which will be better served by the Russian Soyuz rockets used by Arianespace for that segment.—AFP


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

First biomarker could help boys at risk of major depression LONDON: British brain scientists have identified the first biomarker, or biological signpost, for clinical depression and say it could help find boys in particular who are at risk of developing the debilitating mental illness. In a study in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science (PNAS) journal, the team found that teenage boys who have a combination of depressive symptoms and raised levels of the stress hormone cortisol are up to 14 times more likely to develop major depression than those who show neither trait. The findings suggest teenagers could in future be screened for such signals, and those at highest risk could be helped to develop the kind of coping strategies and “brain fitness” to help them avoid becoming depressive. “We’re very bad about looking after our mental health, and yet the problems

of mental health are extremely common,” said Barbara Sahakian, a Cambridge University professor of Clinical neuropsychology who worked on the study. “Depression is one of the greatest global burdens of disease it’s a much bigger problem than heart disease or cancer and it’s much more expensive.” Depression affects around 350 million people worldwide and at its worst can blight patients’ lives for decades, affecting their relationships, work and ability to function. It can also lead to suicide, which alone leads to a million deaths a year. “Depression is a terrible illness,” said Ian Goodyer, a child and adolescent psychiatrist who led the research team. “(And) we now have a very real way of identifying those teenage boys most likely to develop clinical depression.” He said armed with such knowledge, doctors and other carers could target

prevention strategies at depression-vulnerable boys and “hopefully help reduce their risk of serious episodes of depression and their consequences in adult life”. According to the World Health Organisation, prevention programmes including boosting cognitive, problemsolving and social skills in children - have been shown to reduce depression, and earlier intervention is more effective. Depression triggers Different factors are thought to influence the development of depression, including genetics, brain chemistry, lifestyle and upbringing. Key triggers for the condition can include stressful life events, medical illness and alcohol abuse. For their study, Goodyear ’s team measured levels of cortisol in saliva from two large separate groups of teenagers.

The first group of 660 provided samples on four school mornings within a week and then again 12 months later. A second group of 1,198 teenagers gave samples over three school mornings. Using self-reports, collected over 12 months, of any symptoms of depression - such as feeling sad or anxious - and combining them with the cortisol results, the researchers then divided the teenagers into four sub-groups ranging from those with normal levels of cortisol and low symptoms of depression in Group 1 through to those teenagers with more cortisol and high symptoms of depression in Group 4. Tracking the teenagers for three years, the team found that those in Group 4 were on average seven times more likely than those in Group 1, and two to three times more likely than in the other two groups, to develop clinical

depression. Further analysis showed that boys in Group 4 were 14 times more likely to develop clinical depression than those in Group 1, and two to four times more likely to develop it than either of the other two groups. Commenting on the findings, John Williams, head of neuroscience and mental at the Wellcome Trust charity which helped fund the study, noted that depression is “incredibly costly to society” and cited a 2011 European College of Neuropsychopharmacology report that said mood disorders cost Europe alone more than 110 billion euros ($150 bln) a year. “We desperately need ways to identify people at high risk of depression early so we can potentially prevent its onset and treat it early to reduce its burden. In this context, (this) study... is a landmark in the field,” he said. — Reuters

Marijuana aids kids with seizures, worries doctors Parents relocate so children can get treated

ARTIC: This handout photo provided by The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows Arctic sea ice in 2013. The Arctic isn’t nearly as bright and white as it used to be because of more ice melting in the ocean, and that’s turning out to be a global problem, a new study says. With more dark, open water in the summer, less of the sun’s heat is reflected back into space. So the entire Earth is absorbing more heat than expected, according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. —AP

Arctic getting darker, making Earth warmer WASHINGTON: The Arctic isn’t nearly as bright and white as it used to be because of more ice melting in the ocean, and that’s turning out to be a global problem, a new study says. With more dark, open water in the summer, less of the sun’s heat is reflected back into space. So the entire Earth is absorbing more heat than expected, according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. That extra absorbed energy is so big that it measures about one-quarter of the entire heat-trapping effect of carbon dioxide, said the study’s lead author, Ian Eisenman, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California. The Arctic grew 8 percent darker between 1979 and 2011, Eisenman found, measuring how much sunlight is reflected back into space. “Basically, it means more warming,” Eisenman said in an interview. The North Pole region is an ocean that mostly is crusted at the top with ice that shrinks in the summer and grows back in

the fall. At its peak melt in September, the ice has shrunk on average by nearly 35,000 square miles - about the size of Maine - per year since 1979. Snow-covered ice reflects several times more heat than dark, open ocean, which replaces the ice when it melts, Eisenman said. As more summer sunlight dumps into the ocean, the water gets warmer, and it takes longer fo ice to form again in the fall, Jason Box of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland said in an email. He was not part of the study. While earlier studies used computer models, Eisenman said his is the first to use satellite measurements to gauge sunlight reflection and to take into account cloud cover. The results show the darkening is as much as two to three times bigger than previous estimates, he said. Box and University of Colorado ice scientist Waleed Abdalati, who was not part of the research, called the work important in understanding how much heat is getting trapped on Earth. — AP

‘Game changing’ Japanese stem-cell study questioned TOKYO: A Japanese research institute yesterday said it was probing its own study that promised a ‘game changer’ way to create stem cells, a feat hailed as revolutionary for the fast-developing field. The findings, published by Japanese researcher Haruko Obokata and American partners in a January edition of the British journal Nature, outlined a simple and lowtech approach in the quest to grow transplant tissue in the lab. But the national institute Riken said yesterday it had started an investigation over “questions” about the methodology and input data of the study, appointing several in-house and outside experts to pore over the revolutionary report. Obokata works for the institute. At issue are allegations that the researchers used erroneous image data for the high-profile article, local media reported. “The experts have already started hearings for the researchers involved in the articles,” an institute spokesman said yesterday, but declined to give further details.

But for the moment the institute is standing by the results-a spokesman insisted the “findings themselves are unassailable.” Stem cells are primitive cells that, as they grow, differentiate into the various specialised cells that make up the different organs-the brain, the heart, kidney and so on. The goal is to create stem cells in the lab and nudge them to grow into these differentiated cells, thus replenishing organs damaged by disease or accident. The researchers’ groundbreaking findings said that white blood cells in newborn mice were returned to a versatile state by incubating them in a solution with high acidity for 25 minutes, followed by a five minute spin in a centrifuge and a sevenday spell of immersion in a growth culture. Called stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP) cells, the innovation breaks new ground. Until now, only plant cells, and not mammal cells, have been found to reprogramme back to a youthful state through simple environmental factors. —AFP

JIANGSU: This picture taken on December 10, 2013 shows a baby crib and an infant incubator inside a baby safe haven in Nanjing, east China’s Jiangsu province. China will provide safe havens for parents to abandon unwanted children across most of the country, despite debate on whether they could see more babies dumped, state media reported. —AFP

COLORADO SPRINGS: The doctors were out of ideas to help 5-year-old Charlotte Figi. Suffering from a rare genetic disorder, she had as many as 300 grand mal seizures a week, used a wheelchair, went into repeated cardiac arrest and could barely speak. As a last resort, her mother began calling medical marijuana shops. Two years later, Charlotte is largely seizure-free and able to walk, talk and feed herself after taking oil infused with a special pot strain. Her recovery has inspired both a name for the strain of marijuana she takes that is bred not to make users high Charlotte’s Web - and an influx of families with seizure-stricken children to Colorado from states that ban the drug. “She can walk, talk; she ate chili in the car,” her mother, Paige Figi, said as her dark-haired daughter strolled through a cavernous greenhouse full of marijuana plants that will later be broken down into their anti-seizure components and mixed with olive oil so patients can consume them. “So I’ll fight for whoever wants this.” Doctors warn there is no proof that Charlotte’s Web is effective, or even safe. In the frenzy to find the drug, there have been reports of non-authorized suppliers offering bogus strains of Charlotte’s Web. In one case, a doctor said, parents were told they could replicate the strain by cooking marijuana in butter. Their child went into heavy seizures. “We don’t have any peer-reviewed, published literature to support it,” Dr Larry Wolk, the state health department’s chief medical officer, said of Charlotte’s Web. Still, more than 100 families have relocated since Charlotte’s story first began spreading last summer, according to Figi and her husband and the five brothers who grow the drug and sell it at cost through a nonprofit. The relocated families have formed a close-knit group in Colorado Springs, the law-and-order town where the dispensary selling the drug is located. They meet for lunch, support sessions and hikes. “It’s the most hope lots of us have ever had,” said Holli Brown, whose 9-year-old daughter, Sydni, began speaking in sentences and laughing since moving to Colorado from Kansas City and taking the marijuana strain. Amy Brooks-Kayal, vice president of the American Epilepsy Society, warned that a few miraculous stories may not mean anything epileptic seizures come and go for no apparent reason - and scientists do not know what sort of damage Charlotte’s Web could be doing to young brains. Possibilities “Until we have that information, as physicians, we can’t follow our first creed, which is do no harm,” she said, suggesting that parents relocate so their children can get treated at one of the nation’s 28 top-tier pediatric epilepsy centers rather than move to Colorado. However, the society urges more study of pot’s possibilities. The families using Charlotte’s Web, as well as the brothers who grow it, say they want the drug rigorously tested, and their efforts to ensure its purity have won them praise from skeptics like Wolk. For many, Charlotte’s story was something they couldn’t ignore. Charlotte is a twin, but her sister, Chase, doesn’t have Dravet’s syndrome, which kills kids before they reach adulthood. In early 2012, it seemed Charlotte would be added to that grim roster. Her vital signs flat-lined three times, leading her parents to begin preparing for her death. They even signed an order for doctors not to take heroic measures to save her life again should she go into cardiac arrest. Her father, Matt, a former Green Beret who took a job as a contractor working in Afghanistan, started looking online for ways to help his daughter and thought they should give pot a try. But there was a danger: Marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, THC, can trigger seizures. The drug also contains another chemical known as CBD that may have seizure-fighting properties. In October, the Food and Drug Administration approved testing a British pharmaceutical firm’s marijuana-derived drug that is CBD-based and has all its THC removed. Few dispensaries stock CBD-heavy weed that doesn’t get you high. Then Paige Figi found Joel Stanley. One of 11 siblings raised by a single mother and their grandmother in Oklahoma, Stanley and four of his brothers had found themselves in the medical marijuana business after moving to Colorado. Almost as an experiment, they bred a low-THC, high-CBD plant after hearing it could fight tumors. Stanley went to the Figis’ house with reservations about giving pot to a child. “But she had done her homework,” Stanley said of Paige Figi. “She wasn’t a pot activist or a hippy, just a conservative mom.” Now, Stanley and his brothers provide the marijuana to nearly 300 patients and have a waiting list of 2,000. The CBD is extracted by a chemist who once worked for drug giant Pfizer, mixed with olive oil so it can be ingested through the mouth or the

COLORADO: In this Feb. 7, 2014 photo, Aileen Burger sits on her couch near her four-year-old daughter Elizabeth, left, who suffers from severe epilepsy and is receiving experimental treatment with a special strain of medical marijuana, which she takes orally as drops of oil, at home in Colorado Springs, Colo. After years of nearly losing their daughter while trying and failing with dozens of mainstream treatments, Burger and her husband moved from the east coast to Colorado, where they say they have had luck with Charlotte’s Web, a proprietary strain of marijuana. — AP feeding tube that many sufferers from childhood epilepsy use, then sent to a third-party lab to test its purity. Legalizing Charlotte takes the medication twice a day. “A year ago, she could only say one word,” her father said. “Now she says complete sentences.” The recovery of Charlotte and other kids has inspired the Figis and others to travel the country, pushing for medical marijuana laws or statutes that would allow high-CBD, low-THC pot strains. Donald Burger recently urged a New York state legislative panel to legalize medical marijuana while his wife, Aileen, was in the family’s new rental house in Colorado Springs, giving Charlotte’s Web to their daughter Elizabeth, 4. The family only relocated to Colorado after neurologists told them Elizabeth’s best hope - brain surgery - could only

stop some of her seizures. “It’s a very big strain being away from the rest of our family,” Aileen Burger said recently while waiting for her husband to return from a trip to sell their Long Island house. “But she doesn’t have to have pieces of her brain removed.” Ray Mirazabegian, an optician in Glendale, California, brought Charlotte’s Web to his state, where medical marijuana is legal. He convinced the Stanley brothers to give him some seeds he could use to treat his 9-year-old daughter Emily, who spent her days slumped on the couch. Now, she’s running, jumping and talking. Mirazabegian is cloning the Charlotte’s Web seeds and has opened the California branch of the Stanleys’ foundation. Mirazabegian has begun to distribute the strain to 25 families and has a waiting list of 400. It includes, he said, families willing to move from Japan and the Philippines. — AP

Trader stress hormones ‘may exacerbate market crises’ LONDON: Financial markets may be more vulnerable to traders’ stress levels than previously thought, according to a scientific study which found that high levels of the stress hormone cortisol can induce risk aversion. The findings, which turns on its head the assumption that traders appetite for risk-taking remains constant throughout market up and downs, suggests stress could in fact make them more cautious, exacerbating financial crises just at a time when risk-taking is needed to support crashing markets. In a study of City of London traders and of the effect of cortisol on behaviour, researchers led by Dr John Coates - a former Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank derivatives trader turned neuroscientist - said this tendency towards caution could be an “under-appreciated” cause of market instability. Coates also said the finding could alter our understanding of risk - since up until now, financial and economic models have largely rested on the assumption that traders’ personal risk preferences are consistent throughout the market cycle. “Any trader knows that their body is taken on a roller coaster ride by the markets. What we haven’t known until this study was that these physiological changes - the sub-clinical levels of stress of which we are only dimly aware - are actually altering our ability to take risks,” said Coates, now a researcher in neuroscience and finance at Cambridge University. “It’s frightening to realise that no one in the financial world - not the traders, not the risk managers, not the central bankers - knows that these subterranean shifts in risk appetite are taking place.” Coates team based this study on the findings of previous research conducted with traders in the City of London, which found that cortisol levels rose by 68 percent over a two week period when market volatility increased. Cortisol levels Combining that field work with a laboratory

study, they gave hydrocortisone, the pharmaceutical form of cortisol, to 36 male and female volunteers aged between 20 and 36 over eight days to test the effects of raised cortisol on financial risk-taking. The volunteers’ cortisol levels were upped by 69 percent - almost exactly the levels seen in the traders. They were then asked to undertake a series of financial risk-taking tasks with real monetary pay-offs, designed to measure their risk appetite and the probability judgment driving their risk taking. In a report of their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal, Coates’ team found that initial spikes in cortisol had little effect on behaviour. But chronically high and sustained levels, as seen in traders in the field study, led to a dramatic drop in willingness to take risks, with the “risk premium” - the amount of extra risk someone will tolerate for the possibility of higher return - falling by 44 percent. “Many influential models in economics, finance and neurobiology assume risk preferences are a stable trait, but we find they are not,” the researchers wrote. The team noted that during the credit crisis of 2007 to 2009, volatility in US equities spiked from 12 percent to more than 70 percent. They argued that such historically high levels of uncertainty could have caused cortisol levels to rise far higher and for longer than this study analysed, and therefore that chronic stress may have reduced risk taking just when the economy needed it most when markets were crashing and needed traders and investors to buy risky assets. “Traders, risk managers, and central banks cannot hope to manage risk if they do not understand that the drivers of risk taking lurk deep in our bodies,” Coates said. “Risk managers who fail to understand this will have as little success.” —Reuters


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

Oklahoma pharmacy responds to Missouri execution drug suit OKLAHOMA CITY: An Oklahoma pharmacy has submitted a sealed response to a Missouri death row inmate’s lawsuit accusing it of illegally providing Missouri with a made-to-order drug to be

KANSAS CITY: In this handout photo from the Missouri Correctional offices, Michael Anthony Taylor of Kansas City is shown. The Apothecary Shoppe, of Tulsa, submitted a sealed response to Taylor’s lawsuit accusing it of illegally providing Missouri with a madeto-order drug to be used in his lethal injection. —AP

used in his lethal injection. The Apothecary Shoppe, of Tulsa, filed its response to Michael Taylor’s lawsuit last week after getting permission from US District Judge Terrence Kern to keep its response sealed. The company has not acknowledged that it supplies a compounded version of pentobarbital to Missouri for use in lethal injections, as Taylor alleges, and says it can’t because of a Missouri law requiring the identities of those on the state’s execution team to be kept confidential. “It’s based on Missouri law,” was all that one of the pharmacy’s attorneys, Michael Lewis, would say about the case when reached by phone Monday. Kern issued a temporary injunction barring the pharmacy from selling the compounded drug to Missouri, if it has been doing so. He scheduled a hearing for Tuesday to weigh arguments about whether the pharmacy’s response should remain sealed. The hearing will remain closed to the public pending a ruling on the matter. Taylor, 47, is scheduled to die on Feb. 26. He pleaded guilty to abducting, raping and stabbing to death a 15-year-old Kansas City girl in 1989. In his lawsuit, Taylor alleges that Missouri corrections officials turned to The Apothecary Shoppe to supply compounded pentobarbital because the only licensed manufacturer of the drug refuses to provide it for lethal injections. That company, Illinois-based Akorn Inc., agreed to that condition when it bought the exclusive

rights to the drug in January 2012 from a Danish company that had produced it under the trade name Nembutal. Taylor contends that several recent executions in which compounded pentobarbital was used showed it would likely cause him “severe, unnecessary, lingering and ultimately inhumane pain.” Within 20 seconds of receiving his lethal injection on Jan. 9 at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, 38-year-old Michael Lee Wilson said: “I feel my whole body burning.” This statement describes “a sensation consistent with receipt of contaminated pentobarbital,” Taylor alleges. The lawsuit also cites the Oct. 15, 2012, execution in South Dakota of Eric Robert. Robert, 50 cleared his throat, gasped for air and then snored after receiving the lethal injection, which included compounded pentobarbital. His skin turned a purplish hue and his heart continued to beat for 10 minutes after he stopped breathing, the lawsuit contends. It took 20 minutes for authorities to finally declare Robert dead. “These events are consistent with receipt of a contaminated or sub-potent compounded drug,” the lawsuit says. Taylor’s lawsuit questions whether the Tulsa pharmacy can legally produce and deliver compounded pentobarbital. It says the pharmacy is not registered as a drug manufacturer with the US Food & Drug Administration and alleges that it violates federal law each time it delivers the drug across state lines to Missouri corrections officials. — AP

China city closes poultry markets to stop bird flu BEIJING: The major city of Guangzhou in southern China closed its live poultry markets on Saturday for two weeks to halt the spread of the H7N9 strain of bird flu. The closure lasts through Feb. 28 “to strengthen work to control the spread of the H7N9 flu,” the city government said in a one-sentence announcement on its microblog account. Guangzhou is the capital of Guangdong province, one of the hardest-hit areas in China’s latest bird flu outbreak. Some 65 cases and 13 deaths have been reported by the provincial health bureau. The latest was a 78-year-old man who died Feb. 14 in Guangzhou. The virus is hard to catch and most cases have been linked to contact with poultry. Nationwide, there have been at least 32 deaths, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. The health ministry said 127 cases were reported nationwide in January. One market in Guangzhou, Jiangcun, is one of China’s busiest, with more than 60,000 birds per day sold there last year, according to Xinhua. The market closures add to disease-control measures that have included

the mass slaughter of chickens and other poultry on the Chinese mainland and in Hong Kong. Shanghai in China’s east imposed a three-month moratorium on live poultry sales in January. Zhejiang province south of Shanghai has suspended poultry trading. Also in January, Hong Kong suspended sales of live poultry and imports from the mainland. The World Health Organization says there is no evidence of sustained human-tohuman transmission but has recommended close monitoring due to the unpredictable behavior of flu viruses. In January, authorities confirmed a second human case of H10N8, a separate bird flu strain known to affect humans. In the first case, a 73-year-old woman died in December. Chinese live poultry suppliers are losing more than 1 billion yuan ($150 million) per month, Xinhua said, citing Chen Yingfeng, president of the Guangdong Poultry Industry Association.During China’s last bird flu outbreak in April 2012, producers lost 70 billion yuan ($11 billion), Cheng was quoted as saying. — AP



Zain draws national celebrations smiles on the faces of patients

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.


ain, the leading telecommunications company in Kuwait, announced that its Corporate Communications and Relations team alongside volunteers from the company have visited children’s units in hospitals to share the joys of the National celebrations with them, in line with Zain’s Corporate Social Responsibility program. The company’s volunteers visited the children during this patriotic time of year to distribute gifts and celebrate the occasion in a family atmosphere full of joy and happiness. The company’s volunteers visited the children in Zain, NBK and Ibn Sina hospitals, where Zain expressed its heartfelt appreciation to all the parties involved in organizing the visits including hospital staff, officials, and the volunteers themselves, who all helped draw a smile on the faces of the children. Zain highlighted that the purpose of undertaking the annual hospital visits during February is part of the company’s commitment to celebrating the Kuwaiti people’s much adored National celebrations. As a responsible telecommunications company, Zain looks to improve the lives of the people within the communities it serves. It is worth mentioning that Zain also planning to arrange a recreational day for individuals with special needs during the national holidays. The event will be hosted at Zain’s World for Children facility located at the 6th Ring Road behind 360 Mall, and numerous surprises will be organized to enlighten the participant’s experience with several activities organized including competitions, prizes, and gifts.

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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

State Audit Bureau open day


he Khairan Resort hosted guests of the State Audit Bureau in an open day organized by the Touristic Enterprises Company in cooperation with the SAB’s public relations department. The guests were in Kuwait to participate in the 23rd Meeting of the INTOSAI Working Group on IT Audit (WGITA), which took place earlier this month.

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 6year-old 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.



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YMCA conducts second interchurch quiz


MCA Kuwait conducted the second interchurch Bible quiz competition at Light House, Kuwait City. The program was inaugurated by Rev N. C. Mathew (Vicar of St Peter’s Knanaya Church). 14 churches participated and 6 of them entered the final round. After a tough competition, Assemblies of God Kuwait, won the first prize Mariam Ever rolling Trophy, Brethren Believers Assembly got second prize Dr A.T. Varghese Ever Rolling Trophy and St Peter’s CSI Church won the third prize Mathew Eapen Ever Rolling Trophy. Rev Chacko Thomas (Vicar of St Peter’s MarThoma Church), Rev. Samji K. Sam (Vicar of St Peter’s CSI Church) distributed trophies & mementos to the winning teams. Babu Johnson (president) presided the function, Parimanam Manoj (gen. secretary) welcomed the guests and Biji Samuel (Convener) proposed vote of thanks. The quiz was conducted on the basis of questions from the book of Acts, Numbers, Joshua, Luke & Revelation. Quiz Master E.M. Jacob, Joy Panicker & Varghese Mathew conducted the quiz section with the technical support of Pramod George, Tijo C. Sunny, Biju George, Joji P.George. Br Reji Kurian served as the coordinator of quiz team & technical team. Biju Vellor compered the program.


W H AT ’ S O N

GUST celebrates National & Liberation days with week-long festivities

TIES centre Quran Quotes and Tafseer class by Hassan T. Bwambale on Monday February 24, 2014. After reading Quranic verses aloud and explaining them very briefly, Hassan will explain the various connotations of some words and phrases to show the literary beauty and miracle of the Quran. The class will involve an open discussion in a casual, relaxed setting with the aim of reflecting and pondering verses from the Noble Quran, as well as learning how to recite them. On February 24, 2014, we will concentrate on Surat Ad-Duha (The forenoon - After Sunrise). All those interested are welcome on Monday February 24, 2014 at 7 pm. 2- The TIES Center is glad to announce that a new batch of Arabic classes will begin on Sunday, March 16, 2014 till Thursday April 24, 2014. We are offering classes for all levels, from beginner to advanced. Our classes are specially tailored to meet the needs and requirements of expats living in Kuwait. The classes are intended for all expats who wish to learn Arabic. Whether you want to learn Arabic for business, basic communication, or simply as a hobby, the TIES Center is an ideal choice. Throughout the course, the students will learn how to read, write and speak Arabic in a friendly, relaxed and welcoming environment. TIES Arabic program highlights: Lessons are step by step with a well-structured curriculum. l Lessons build confidence for speaking, listening, reading, and writing. l Lessons combine language learning with cultural insights. l Lessons are specially tailored for expats living in Kuwait. l Lessons offer an opportunity to interact with other Westerners, who are taking the courses. For more information or registration, please call 25231015/6 or log onto: l


he Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST) kicked off a weeklong celebration of the Kuwait National and Liberation days with a grand opening ceremony that gathered a crowd of students, staff and faculty to the center of campus. The festivities were to honor Kuwait’s history and future with the signing of the national anthem, university-wide patriotic decorations, a week filled with seminars, lectures and galleries depicting and discussing important

milestones of the country, as well as a sense of pride and community by encompassing not only the Office of Student Life but all the GUST student clubs and the Student Association in the organization of the celebrations. The week kicked off with a grand opening ceremony which included the raising of the flag and a harmonious and patriotic singing of the Kuwait national anthem with only the voices of the GUST student club members.

Next was a surprise skit performance organized by one of the student clubs, and finally a presentation by Sheikh Eng. Sabah Al-Naser Soud Al-Sabah recounting stories of the Kuwait invasion and its liberation. The GUST community thoroughly enjoyed the grand opening. The entire campus was decorated in flags, and signage reminiscent of old Kuwait. For the entire week, many surprises and events were surfaced taking the community through

all aspects of Kuwait, its culture, its history and its pride. This included, but not limited to, a traditional Kuwaiti folklore dance group which surprised the students with short impromptu performance and a Faker Werbah segment along with a large never-ending Kuwaiti flag in the center of campus where students, faculty and staff got the chance to write their wishes and show their love for Kuwait. GUST wishes the State of Kuwait security, prosperity and development.

Cinemagic: The Act of Killing


aturday, 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.

Stage set for ‘Keli 2014’


he stage is set for ‘Keli 2014’, a two-day theatre festival of Gulf Malayali Diaspora, on Feb 25 and 26 at Khaitan Indian Community School Auditorium. The festival is held under the aegis of Kuwait Chapter of Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi (KSNA), a Kerala Government body. Three renowned theatre personalities from Kerala-Dr P V Krishnan Nair, T M Abraham and Santhoshkumar-will adjudge the five plays taking part in the competition. On Day 1 (Feb 25), two plays will be staged starting at 4.30pm. First play to be staged is ‘Amme Mappu’ by Kalpak Kuwait followed by ‘Pashu’ by Nirbhaya Theatre. On day two, three plays will be presented from 4pm onwards. They are ‘Oru Kottukaranum Kure Thullakkarum’ by Thanima Kuwait, ‘Ushna Mekhalayile Penkutty’ by Future Eye Theatre and ‘Randam Bhavam’ by Kala Kuwait. Entry will be free on both days. All art lovers are welcome.

NCCAL hosts Iranian blind art fair


he National Council of Culture, Arts and Letters announced hosting an exhibition for blind Iranian female artists, starting from March 2, 2014. The event takes place at the Ahmad Al-Adwani Hall in Abdullah Al-Salem, and lasts through March 6, 2014. It is set to inaugurate at 7 pm, while visiting hours are announced on two periods, the first from 9 am to 12 pm, and the second from 5 pm to 9 pm. The exhibition, titled ‘Beauty in our Eyes’, is organized in cooperation with the cultural attaché in the Iranian embassy in Kuwait.

Safat Home’s event merges traditions of the past with modern innovations


afat Home is proud of inspiring its customers by continuously helping them create an elegantly comfortable family home. Soon, Safat Home will offer a new, wide range of products that were chosen due to their innovative touch and fresh take on interior design. The new products will be introduced during a unique event that will take place during February 20 - 28, 2014 among other activities and promotions on home furniture and accessories from valuable, worldrenowned brands. The event’s invitees will enjoy a 15% discount on the new items that include traditional and modern dhurries that come in various designs and colors, kilims and other tufted rugs

handmade by Indian artisans. The discount also includes a high quality collection of solid acacia and sheesham wood furniture, block-printed handmade pure cotton cloths, handcarved rugs, stone tables, outdoor arches and much more magnificent and unique home accessories that, due to being handmade, are exclusive to every customer who buys the oneof-a-kind pieces. The new items are distinguished by their natural, culturally-rich look that is enriched with its professionally modern, smooth feel. The event will also include items from the Parisian Maison et Objet such as classic, handmade wool carpets, throw cushions and pouffe chairs, bed linens in traditional colors and prints

as well as fashion forward hues including blue, fuchsia and purple shades, all of which come with matching quilts, throws cushions and curtains. Other items include embroidered, patchwork and block printed cushions and pouffe chairs that perfectly complement a home’s warm interior feel or give a modern interior space a colorfully ethnic edge. Natural products included in the timeless collection comprised pure cotton bed and table linens, cotton fabrics and other materials that used wool, jute, cotton and hemp. Apart from being recognized by its high quality products and exceptional prices that have proven to appeal to individuals from all parts of the world, Safat Home is also com-

mitted to distinguishing itself amongst its local competitors in the Kuwaiti market. Displayed in global exhibitions, the featured practical home furniture and accessories suit all tastes and lifestyles with its range of classical and modern styles that are derived from Indian heritage. Safat Home’s diverse range carries more than 35 brands that include products offered at reasonable prices so as to please every individual’s personal taste and lifestyle. In addition to the new global products, the company is also proud of the fact that 95% of them are exclusive to Safat Home. The list of brands that are part of Safat Home is gradually increasing. New items are included in Safat Home’s showroom on a

CRYcket 2014 tournament


riends of CRY Club (FOCC) will hold 17th CRY (Child Rights & You) cricket tournament for children will be held at the GC grounds at Fahaheel Sports Club on Friday, 27th Mar 2014 from 6:30 am to 6 pm. The one day “CRYcket” tournament participated by children under 14 (born on or after 01.01.2000), is a very popular annual family event. The children are grouped into teams in two age categories and play softball cricket while spectators, parents and well-wishers enjoy a carnival atmosphere. 12 teams each are set to participate in the

Under-12 and Under-14 divisions initially in four groups in round robin fashion leading to 4 winners who will clash in the semifinals. The 7-over matches will be played simultaneously on two playgrounds. Apart from the winners’ trophies, medals and certificates from CRY-India will be given to each player. Experienced umpires will control the games assisted by official scorers. The teams will play in recognition of a much felt need among less fortunate children in the Indian subcontinent and will carry the message of com-

passion towards them. They will spread awareness of the work done by CRY, an international organization, that believes that every child is entitled to basic rights of survival, protection, development, education and participation. For details & game rules, visit the FOCC website or contact: Kuwait City 22437684 Abu Halifa: 66204295 Hawalli: 99300257 Fahaheel: 99364073 Ahmadi: 23985216 / 99578073 Jleeb Shuyoukh - 97226589 Salmiya: 66810338.

weekly basis. Safat Home welcomes you at its showroom every day from 9:30 am until 12 midnight. You can enjoy Safat Home’s refreshing shopping experience and outstanding services by visiting Safat Home’s showroom beside Alghanim’s service center from 9 am until 10 pm on weekdays and from 2 PM until 10 PM on Fridays. Shop at Safat Home by visiting its online store or by calling Safat Home and ordering which products you need by phone. The items you order will be delivered to you free of charge wherever you are in Kuwait. You may also enjoy Safat Home’s complimentary professional installation service that furthers your convenient experience with Safat Home.



00:15 Doctors 00:45 Last Of The Summer Wine 01:15 The Vicar Of Dibley 01:45 Life On Mars 02:35 Absolutely Fabulous 03:10 Stella 03:55 Last Of The Summer Wine 04:25 The Vicar Of Dibley 05:00 Me Too! 05:20 Nuzzle & Scratch: Frock n Roll 05:40 Boogie Beebies 05:55 Garth And Bev 06:05 The Large Family 06:15 Me Too! 06:35 Nuzzle & Scratch: Frock n Roll 06:55 Boogie Beebies 07:10 Garth And Bev 07:20 The Large Family 07:30 The Weakest Link 08:15 Last Of The Summer Wine 08:45 The Vicar Of Dibley 09:15 Eastenders 09:45 Doctors 10:15 Famous, Rich & In The Slums 11:10 Call The Midwife 12:00 The Weakest Link 12:45 Last Of The Summer Wine 13:15 The Vicar Of Dibley 13:45 Eastenders 14:15 Doctors 14:40 Famous, Rich & In The Slums 15:35 Call The Midwife 16:25 The Weakest Link 17:10 Eastenders 17:40 Doctors 18:10 Famous, Rich & In The Slums 19:00 One Foot In The Grave 19:30 The Impressions Show With Culshaw... 20:00 Stella 20:45 Alan Carr: Chatty Man 21:20 The Office Specials

00:00 Homes Under The Hammer 00:55 Come Dine With Me 01:45 Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook: London 02:10 MasterChef Australia 03:25 Celebrity Fantasy Homes 04:10 Cash In The Attic 05:00 Bargain Hunt 05:45 Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook: London 06:10 Bill’s Kitchen: Notting Hill 06:40 Gok’s Clothes Roadshow 07:30 Celebrity Fantasy Homes 08:15 Cash In The Attic 09:05 Homes Under The Hammer 10:00 Celebrity MasterChef 10:25 Bill’s Kitchen: Notting Hill 10:55 Food & Drink 11:20 Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook: London 11:50 Come Dine With Me 12:40 Gok’s Clothes Roadshow 13:25 Celebrity Fantasy Homes 14:10 Antiques Roadshow 15:05 Homes Under The Hammer 16:45 Bargain Hunt 17:30 Cash In The Attic 18:20 Antiques Roadshow

00:05 Bear Grylls: Extreme... 00:30 Manhunt 01:20 Survive That! 02:10 Bear Grylls: Extreme... 03:00 Car vs Wild 03:50 Border Security 04:15 Auction Kings 04:40 Auction Hunters: Pawn Shop Edition 05:05 How Do They Do It? 05:30 How It’s Made 06:00 Sons Of Guns 07:00 Car vs Wild 07:50 Alaska: The Last Frontier 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 Manhunt 12:25 Survive That! 13:15 Bear Grylls: Extreme... 14:05 Border Security 14:30 Auction Kings 14:55 Auction Hunters: Pawn Shop Edition 15:20 Finding Bigfoot 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

00:40 Time Warp 01:30 Weird Connections 02:00 The Gadget Show 02:25 Tech Toys 360 02:50 Unchained Reaction 03:45 Punkin Chunkin 2010 04:35 Prototype This 05:25 Moon Machines 06:15 The Gadget Show 06:40 Tech Toys 360 07:05 Superships 08:00 Under New York 08:50 Man-Made Marvels China 09:40 The Gadget Show 10:05 Tech Toys 360 10:30 Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman 11:25 Superships 12:20 Prototype This 13:10 Moon Machines 14:00 Punkin Chunkin 2010 14:50 Weird Connections 15:20 The Gadget Show 15:45 Tech Toys 360 16:10 Unchained Reaction 17:00 Moon Machines 17:55 Prototype This 18:45 Superships 19:35 Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman 20:30 Alien Encounters 21:20 Deadliest Space Weather 22:10 The Gadget Show

DISNEY CHANNEL 00:00 The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody 00:20 The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody 00:45 Sonny With A Chance 01:05 Sonny With A Chance 01:30 Suite Life On Deck 01:50 Suite Life On Deck 02:15 Wizards Of Waverly Place 02:35 Wizards Of Waverly Place 03:00 The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody 03:20 The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody 03:45 Sonny With A Chance 04:05 Sonny With A Chance 04:30 Suite Life On Deck 04:50 Suite Life On Deck 05:15 Wizards Of Waverly Place 05:35 Wizards Of Waverly Place 06:00 Austin & Ally 06:25 Dog With A Blog 06:45 A.N.T. Farm 07:10 A.N.T. Farm 07:35 Wolfblood 07:55 Gravity Falls 08:20 My Babysitter’s A Vampire 08:45 Jessie 09:05 Good Luck Charlie 09:30 Shake It Up 09:55 Austin And Ally 10:15 A.N.T. Farm 10:40 Dog With A Blog 11:05 Suite Life On Deck 11:25 My Babysitter’s A Vampire 11:50 That’s So Raven 12:15 Hannah Montana 12:35 Shake It Up 13:00 Good Luck Charlie 13:25 Austin & Ally 13:45 A.N.T. Farm 14:10 Jessie 14:35 Dog With A Blog 15:00 Wolfblood 15:25 Gravity Falls 15:50 Good Luck Charlie

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

Violetta A.N.T. Farm Mako Mermaids Mako Mermaids 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

Fallon takes helm of ‘Tonight Show’, brings it back to New York


00:15 Street Food Around the World 00:45 David Rocco’s Amalfi Getaway 01:10 Eat Street 02:05 Bondi Rescue 02:35 Eat Street 03:30 Bondi Rescue 03:55 Delinquent Gourmet 04:25 Warrior Road Trip 05:20 Deadliest Journeys 05:45 On Hannibal’s Trail 06:15 One Man & His Campervan 06:40 Delinquent Gourmet 07:10 My Sri Lanka With Peter Kuruvita 07:35 Street Food Around the World 08:05 David Rocco’s Amalfi Getaway 08:30 Eat Street 09:00 Bondi Rescue 09:55 Eat Street 10:50 Bondi Rescue 11:15 Delinquent Gourmet 11:45 Warrior Road Trip 12:40 Deadliest Journeys 13:05 First Ascent 13:35 One Man & His Campervan 14:00 Delinquent Gourmet 14:30 My Sri Lanka With Peter Kuruvita 14:55 Street Food Around the World 15:25 David Rocco’s Amalfi Getaway 15:50 Eat Street 16:20 Bondi Rescue 17:15 Eat Street 17:40 Eat Street 18:10 Bondi Rescue 18:35 Delinquent Gourmet 19:05 Kung Fu Quest 20:00 Eat Street 20:30 Eat Street 21:00 Bondi Rescue 21:30 Bondi Rescue 22:00 George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces 22:55 Mega Food 23:50 Bondi Rescue

00:00 Great Migrations 01:00 None of the Above Street Genius) 01:30 None of the Above Street Genius) 02:00 Superhuman 03:00 Air Crash Investigation 04:00 The Border 05:00 Ape Man 06:00 Air Crash Investigation 07:00 Master of Disaster 08:00 Great Migrations 09:00 None of the Above Street Genius) 09:30 None of the Above Street Genius) 10:00 Superhuman 11:00 Air Crash Investigation 12:00 The Border 13:00 Ape Man 14:00 Air Crash Investigation 15:00 Master of Disaster 16:00 Great Migrations 17:00 None of the Above Street Genius) 17:30 None of the Above Street Genius)




immy Fallon took the reins of the long-running “Tonight Show” on Monday, bringing NBC’s late night talk show flagship back to Manhattan after an absence of more than 40 years, being welcomed on set by a host of top stars, including Robert De Niro, Mike Tyson and Lady Gaga. The surprise appearances, also made by Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan, Mariah Carey, Lindsay Lohan, Joan Rivers, former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Sarah Jessica Parker, Joe Namath and Stephen Colbert, were among the highlights of Fallon’s “Tonight Show” debut, following the departure this month of long-serving host Jay Leno.

In this photo provided by NBC, Jimmy Fallon appears with Stephen Colbert, right, during his ‘The Tonight Show’ debut on Monday in New York. — AP

MY OWN LOVE SONG ON OSN MOVIES HD 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00

00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 Modern Family 02:00 Modern Family 02:30 Girls 03:00 The Cleveland Show 03:30 Melissa & Joey 04:00 Seinfeld 04:30 The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon 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 The Simpsons 09:30 The Crazy Ones 10:00 Trophy Wife 10:30 Friends 11:00 The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon 12:00 Two And A Half Men 12:30 Seinfeld 13:00 Seinfeld 13:30 Friends 14:00 Melissa & Joey 14:30 The Crazy Ones 15:00 Trophy Wife 15:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 16:30 Two And A Half Men 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 The Simpsons 18:30 How To Live With Your Parents 19:00 The Mindy Project 19:30 Hot In Cleveland 20:00 The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Modern Family 22:30 Modern Family 23:00 The Big C 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 12:30 13:00 15:00 16:00 16:30 17:00 19:00 20:00 22:00 Coven 23:00


Animal Impact World’s Toughest Fixes Racing To America Naked Science World’s Toughest Fixes My Brilliant Brain

C.S.I. Mistresses The Killing The Client List Grey’s Anatomy The Fosters C.S.I. The Killing The Fosters Grey’s Anatomy Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show C.S.I. Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Twisted Scandal American Horror Story: The Client List

00:00 Legendary Amazons 02:00 Piranha 3DD 04:00 How I Spent My Summer Vacation 06:00 Nick Of Time 08:00 Skyline 10:00 The Speed Of Thought 12:00 Virtuosity 14:00 Last Man Standing 16:00 The Speed Of Thought 18:00 Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part Two 20:00 Last Man Standing 22:00 Sultanes Del Sur

00:00 Piranha 3DD-R 02:00 How I Spent My Summer Vacation-PG15 04:00 Nick Of Time-PG15 06:00 Skyline-PG15 08:00 The Speed Of Thought-PG15 10:00 Virtuosity-PG15 12:00 Last Man Standing-PG15 14:00 The Speed Of Thought-PG15 16:00 Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part Two-PG15 18:00 Last Man Standing-PG15 20:00 Sultanes Del Sur-PG15

00:00 A Very Harold And Kumar Christmas-18 02:00 The Sitter-18 04:00 Blame It On The Bellboy 06:00 Scrooged-PG15 08:00 A Thousand Words-PG15 10:00 The Runway-PG15 12:00 Blame It On The BellboyPG15 14:00 Shrek The Third-FAM 16:00 The Runway-PG15 18:00 White Chicks-PG15

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The Good Doctor-PG15 Beware The Gonzo-PG15 Resistance-PG15 Taken Back: Finding HaleyThe Good Doctor-PG15 A Kiss At Midnight-PG15 Another Harvest Moon-PG15 The First Grader-PG15 The Wild Girl-PG15 Red Lights-PG15 On The Road-R Little Birds-18

01:00 Suicide Shop-PG15 03:00 London-18 05:00 Wind Chill-PG15 07:00 Bobby Fischer Against The World-PG15 09:00 The Crucible-PG15 11:00 Mystery, Alaska-PG15 13:00 Jack The Bear-PG15 14:45 Snow Flower And The Secret Fan-PG15 16:30 Mystery, Alaska-PG15 18:30 Marley-PG15 21:00 The Forgotten-PG15 22:45 Left To Die-PG15

01:00 Jeff, Who Lives At Home 03:00 Love Will Keep Us Together 05:00 The Odd Life Of Timothy Green-PG 07:00 Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days-PG 09:00 Beastly-PG15 11:00 My Own Love Song-PG15 13:00 The Iron Lady-PG15 15:00 Girl In Progress-PG15 17:00 Beastly-PG15 19:00 Parker-PG15 21:00 Fire With Fire-18 23:00 Ted-18

00:00 Hit List-PG15 02:00 Steel Magnolias-PG15 04:00 Charlotte’s Web-PG 06:00 Arthur 3: And The War Of Two Worlds-PG 08:00 Gnomeo & Juliet-PG 10:00 Dead Lines-PG15 12:00 Steel Magnolias-PG15 14:00 From Prada To Nada-PG15 16:00 Gnomeo & Juliet-PG 17:45 Oz The Great And Powerful 20:00 Gangster Squad-18 22:00 The Man With The Iron Fists

01:30 Top 14 Highlights 02:00 PGA European Tour Highlights 03:00 PGA Tour Highlights 04:00 HSBC Sevens World Series 07:00 Futbol Mundial 07:30 Top 14 Highlights 08:00 PGA European Tour Highlights 09:00 PGA Tour Highlights 10:00 Champions Tour Highlights 11:00 Live AFL Nab Challenge 14:00 Futbol Mundial 14:30 Premier League Darts 18:00 Top 14 Highlights 18:30 HSBC Sevens World Series Highlights 19:00 PGA European Tour Weekly 19:30 Inside The PGA Tour

00:30 01:30 02:30 03:30 07:00 09:00 12:00 12:30 14:30 16:30 17:00 19:00 19:30 20:00 21:00 22:00

LPGA Tour Highlights Golfing World Trans World Sport Premier League Darts Super Rugby HSBC Sevens World Series Futbol Mundial Super Rugby Top 14 WWE This Week NHL Futbol Mundial WWE This Week Trans World Sport WWE Bottom Line Snooker

00:00 Chelsea Lately 00:30 The Dance Scene 01:25 Style Star 02:20 THS 03:15 Extreme Close-Up 03:40 Extreme Close-Up 04:10 The E! True Hollywood Story 05:05 THS 06:00 THS 07:50 Style Star 08:20 Fashion Police 09:15 Scouted 10:15 Married To Jonas 10:40 Chasing The Saturdays 11:10 The Drama Queen 12:05 Fashion Police 13:05 Extreme Close-Up 13:35 E!ES 14:30 Style Star 15:00 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 17:00 The Wanted Life 18:00 E! News 19:00 Fashion Police 20:00 Giuliana & Bill 21:00 The Drama Queen 22:00 Party On 22:30 E! News

00:00 00:30 01:30 02:30 03:30 04:30 05:30 06:00 07:00 08:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 17:30 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 22:30 23:30

Frenemies Fatal Vows The First 48 My Ghost Story Frenemies Fatal Vows Private Crimes Beyond Scared Straight The First 48 Curious & Unusual Deaths Fatal Vows Beyond Scared Straight Evil Up Close Deadly Wives Fatal Vows Born To Kill Curious & Unusual Deaths Private Crimes Homicide Hunter The First 48 The Devil You Know Beyond Scared Straight Private Crimes Evil Up Close My Ghost Story

The slew of unannounced walk-ons followed Fallon’s remark that someone owed him $100 after betting he would never host the “Tonight Show,” at which point De Niro and others strode on stage one after another, each plunking bills onto his desk until finally Colbert showered him with a bucket of pennies. Actor Will Smith and Irish band U2 were the Brooklyn-born Fallon’s first official, previously announced guests as the former “Saturday Night Live” comic launched the show’s widely anticipated return to Manhattan’s Rockefeller Center. Fallon’s stepping into one of the most visible roles in television marked NBC’s second attempt to imbue the competitive late-night landscape on US television with a more youthful vibe by appealing to the coveted 18-to-34 year-old demographic. “I’m Jimmy Fallon and I’ll be your host-for now,” Fallon told the audience in the new multi-million dollar studio where such beloved “Tonight” veterans Johnny Carson and Jack Paar once presided. It was one of a handful of references to the show’s recent troubled history. Leno was initially replaced by Conan O’Brien in 2009, but he returned months later in a public relations debacle for the network. He also paid tribute to the show’s previous hosts by name, being sure to mention Leno twice-once before, and once after, O’Brien. “If you guys let me stick around long enough, maybe I’ll get the hang of it,” joked Fallon, who wore an understated gray suit, white shirt and blue tie for his first show. New York setting embraced From the outset, the New York “Tonight Show” boldly embraced its new home. Brooklyn-raised director Spike Lee shot a new opening, a stirring series of black-and-white night shots that gave way to colorful depictions of such iconic locations as Radio City Music Hall, Grand Central Terminal and Rockefeller Center. The new set, with a dramatic Manhattan skyline backdrop, befit its Rockefeller Center location. And when it came time for U2 to perform its new single, “Invisible,” the band took to 30 Rock’s rooftop at sunset. Scores of fans rocked to the beat with such New York landmarks as the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and Times Square providing a glittering backdrop. Even Mother Nature cooperated, with crystal clear skies and a burnished sunset over New Jersey on a cold, winter dusk. But in other ways, Fallon’s “Tonight Show” hewed to tradition. An opening monologue featured topical issues- chiefly the Olympics, which also happen to be airing on NBC- and a chat with Smith touched on the actor’s recent adventures skydiving, and more on the Olympics. “I think I could win a gold medal in the things with the broom,” Smith laughed, referring to the curling competition. Earlier Smith and Fallon per formed a dance routine together on “ The Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancing.” When the four members of U2 joined Fallon for a chat after their rousing al fresco performance, Fallon, 39, asked “Was that the highest you’ve ever been?” Earlier, Fallon introduced what seemed likely to become a regular feature, “ Tonight Show Superlatives,” in which photos- in this case, again, Olympic athletes-were paired with “most likely to,” high school yearbook-style captions. —Reuters

JK Rowling publishing 2nd Cormoran strike adventure


K Rowling is reviving private detective Cormoran Strike and his plucky young assistant, RobinEllacott for another mystery adventure, “The Silkworm.” As with her previous Strike novel, the follow-up will be published under the “Harry Potter” writer’s pseudonym, Robert Galbraith. It centers on a novelist who is brutally murdered after writing a manuscript featuring poison pen depictions of almost everyone he knows. “If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives - meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced,” a description of the book reads. It is the second Strike book. His first adventure, “The Cuckoo’s Calling” became a best-seller after it came to light that Rowling was behind the book. In promotional material for Galbraith’s alleged debut, he was described as “a former plainclothes Royal Military Police investigator who had left in 2003 to work in the civilian security industry.” An attorney for Rowling who leaked the news of “The Cuckoo’s Calling’s” authorship was fined 1,000 pounds ($1,650) last month and received a written warning from the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Little, Brown, will publish “The Silkworm” on June 24, 2014. Fret not Potter fans, Rowling hasn’t abandoned the world of wizardry for that of mystery. Warner Bros, which produced the hit films based on the Potter novels, is planning a film series inspired by the boy wizard’s Hogwarts textbook “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” Rowling will write the screenplay. — Reuters

Classifieds WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2014





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Toyota Yaris, model 2013, mileage 3,500 white exterior, price KD 2,550. Phone: 99240654. (C 4649) 19-2-2014


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Sharing accommodation available for Pakistani bachelor in 2B/bath apartment in Khaitan, rent KD 90. Contact: 96618664. (C 4648) 18-2-2014

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Sharing accommodation flat with African family, 1 room + special bathroom, price KD 100, Abu Alifah. 66971502. (C 4642) 16-2-2014


Nissan Pathfinder 2003 model, good condition. Call 97277135. Cooker with bottle and regulator, washing machine, tumble dryer condenser, microwave mirror four door wardrobe, queen size bed mattress as new, sofa and lounge chairs coffee tables, desk and office chair TV 42” LCD dining table and four chairs side board bookcase, chopping block mobile. Ph: 94400865. (C 4647) 18-2-2014 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 ACCOMMODATION

employment. Contact: 96681344. (C 4643) 17-2-2014

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



Automated enquiry aboutthe Civil ID card is

Pakistani Punjabi speaking male belonging to landlord family aged 25 executive in family business (engineering services co) needs compatriot up to 23 living in Kuwait. Email:

1889988 112 12:30 PM 3:00 PM 5:00 PM 7:00 PM 9:30 PM 11:30 PM

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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

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

SITUATION VACANT Cook for Kuwaiti family, familiar with local dishes, preferably if knows to read English, transferable residence. 97577377. (C 4646) 16-2-2014

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s ta rs CROSSWORD 464

STAR TRACK Aries (March 21-April 19) Today and tomorrow are good times to obtain a loan, if this is a concern. This could involve all matters of subjects such as business accounts, apparel, investments, etc. Problems are valued for the lessons they represent. Perceiving problems as obstacles could mean a loss of money. You have an enhanced appreciation for responsibilities and duty. Ambition and achievement can be tough taskmasters. You will win rewards, recognition and authority through hard work and knowing the score; otherwise, you may find that someone hungrier and with more savvy could overtake you. Some people make large demands on your time and energies just now—make a determined effort to balance your activities each day.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) Work responsibilities will come first today and may find you working a bit of overtime this afternoon. Difficulties, blocks and all manner of hot spots may be discovered. This could mean playing a go-between for a couple of people at work that cannot see eye to eye. You will be smart in allowing a higher-up to feel he or she solved the problem. Although this time can be intense at work, you will actually be able to look back on this juncture and see that there was much progress. Many people you come into contact with now, unlike the past, will be in your life for some time to come. Be wise and listen to your inner voice when it comes to spending large amounts of money. A love affair or love relationship may be able to grow more meaningful now.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

ACROSS 1. 10 grams. 4. An incorrect deal. 11. South American armadillo with three bands of bony plates. 15. (Irish) Mother of the ancient Irish gods. 16. A substance that produces a fragrant odor when burned. 17. A quantity of no importance. 18. The state of being unsure of something. 19. Occupy in an agreeable, entertaining or pleasant fashion. 20. An unforeseen obstacle. 21. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 22. (Japan) Ritual suicide by self-disembowelment on a sword. 25. A unit of surface area equal to 100 square meters. 27. Music in three-four time for dancing a jig. 28. A former agency (from 1946 to 1974) that was responsible for research into atomic energy and its peacetime uses in the United States. 30. A small tent used as a dressing room beside the sea or a swimming pool. 33. A soft white precious univalent metallic element having the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of any metal. 35. Made of fir or pine. 38. An Arabic speaking person who lives in Arabia or North Africa. 39. A seat for one person, with a support for the back. 41. Offering fun and gaiety. 42. A deep bow. 45. A state in New England. 46. Goddess of criminal rashness and its punishment. 48. A soft heavy toxic malleable metallic element. 49. 100 puls equal 1 afghani. 50. Seed of a pea plant. 52. Not normal. 55. An early French settler in the Maritimes. 57. A Chadic language spoken in northern Nigeria. 58. Aircraft landing in bad weather in which the pilot is talked down by ground control using precision approach radar. 59. Relating to or near the radius. 61. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind. 63. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 64. Half the width of an em. 65. The basic unit of money in Western Samoa. 67. A public promotion of some product or service. 69. Singing jazz. 74. Having a woven pattern. 78. An accidental happening. 81. An indehiscent fruit derived from a single ovary having one or many seeds within a fleshy wall or pericarp. 82. The compass point that is one point south of due west. 83. Having or resembling a stinger or barb. 85. A rotating disk shaped to convert circular into linear motion. 86. How long something has existed. 87. A town in southeastern New Mexico on the Pecos River near the Mexican border. 88. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth.

DOWN 1. An informal term for a father. 2. Small buffalo of the Celebes having small straight horns. 3. Wild ox of mountainous areas of eastern India. 4. Ox of southeast Asia sometimes considered a domesticated breed of the gaur. 5. Not out. 6. A mark left by the healing of injured tissue. 7. Large bottle with a short narrow neck. 8. (Babylonian) Any of a group of powerful earth spirits or genii. 9. The slender spear of the Bantu-speaking people of Africa. 10. A facial expression of contempt or scorn. 11. The part of the nervous system of vertebrates that controls involuntary actions of the smooth muscles and heart and glands. 12. Hypothetical remedy for all ills or diseases. 13. The sixth month of the civil year. 14. A feeling of intense anger. 23. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 24. A state in midwestern United States. 26. A small cake leavened with yeast. 29. A person who puts finishing edges on a garment. 31. A river that rises in northern Colombia and flows generally eastward to the Orinoco in central Venezuela. 32. A narrative song with a recurrent refrain. 34. The father of your father or mother. 36. Wool of the alpaca. 37. 1 species. 40. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 43. Relating to or having the characteristics of bees. 44. The food served and eaten at one time. 47. 100 toea equal 1 kina. 51. An associate degree in nursing. 53. Any of numerous local fertility and nature deities worshipped by ancient Semitic peoples. 54. 1/1000 gram. 56. Having relatively few calories. 60. A leisurely walk (usually in some public place). 62. Fallow deer. 66. A purgative made from the leaves of aloe. 68. The capital and largest city of Bangladesh. 70. Open-heart surgery in which the rib cage is opened and a section of a blood vessel is grafted from the aorta to the coronary artery to bypass the blocked section of the coronary artery and improve the blood supply to the heart. 71. A domed or vaulted recess or projection on a building especially the east end of a church. 72. Any of various minerals consisting of hydrous silicates of aluminum or potassium etc. that crystallize in forms that allow perfect cleavage into very thin leaves. 73. An Asian river between China and Russia. 75. In bed. 76. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 77. God of love and erotic desire. 79. An enclosed space. 80. Tag the base runner to get him out. 84. A hard gray lustrous metallic element that is highly corrosion-resistant.


Check and recheck your bank statement today in order to catch any mistakes you or the bank may have made. You get through the challenges today without too much of a problem. You can work up the ladder of success and achieve whatever you want to achieve. Owning your own business is not out of the question. Be sure you choose a business partner that you feel will follow through on what that person says will be done. Check out his or her bookkeeping skills. You will be able to finish your home project now. Through the end of this month much can be accomplished in many areas of your life. Money will come to you through a government program or an older person. Make an effort to practice relaxation, especially before bed.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) It is important that you keep working on the current projects. Someone is watching and evaluating your development. It is a good thing that this workday is conducive to completing projects. It is a good day to get things accomplished. You have good eye-hand coordination and a sustained effort makes any task run well. A proposition to make money may be as good as it seems—check it out first. Always better to be safe than sorry! Expect a sense of support and goodwill from those around you. You may be visiting with friends this evening. An old friend from school or from another neighborhood may be in town, and talks of old times and catching up with each other’s latest adventure fill the afternoon and evening.

Leo (July 23-August 22) An authority figure will probably help you with some information that you can use to help increase your income. This person may also remind you that the sky is the limit when you set your mind toward the goal. There are energies and people working in your favor now to help you make some positive changes in your life. Good surprises are in sight. New breakthroughs regarding some confusing problems are also possible this afternoon. Take what you hear with a grain of salt and stay clear of arguments. If you feel someone is wrong and you think that person will not listen—he or she will find out soon enough. Some people do not like changes but you may be elated over some new discoveries—do not let anyone hijack your emotional thermometer.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) Loyalty is the number one asset that higher-ups appreciate about you. There is a lot of work to be done and you are the one that can do it. Think as a manager and allocate some of the work so that a time schedule can be created. You will see some excellent opportunities for advancement with your company. You could write your ideas down as a proposal and submit it to higher channels. You may find yourself looking for a little romance this afternoon or at least enjoying some emotional release. You can appreciate feelings and movement. You may want to just get out and walk or exercise. There is optimism and patience when it comes to love. If you are bored, try walking quickly backwards—for exercise. Put more smiles in your day.

Libra (September 23-October 22) Fuzzy thinking could lead to some misleading ideas. Be aware that there is a lot of nervous energy this morning. Arguments are possible with an authority figure. Do you prefer that you be right or happy until you are asked your opinion, this is a great time to show your helpfulness through the art of listening. Respect, status and achievement are central goals that you will find achievable. Staying as close as possible to your own work is most important today. This afternoon music seems to take a turn your way and you find yourself with more music in your life. It is interesting that when you pick relationships and pets, not only behavior and looks but also voice is an important factor. Enjoy the musical investigation that happens all afternoon.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) Your emotions may be high some of the time and melancholy at other times this day. The fun comes in communicating clear thoughts among a group of people that may have never been where you have been. Poetry may be better understood; however, curiously enough, this is a very productive day. You are on the right track at work and you may find yourself working into the late hours. You are so close to the end of a project or success of a business that your hard work will soon be visible. Stay objective and retain your sense of humor. This will save you and others from discouragement and slowdowns. This evening you can work on some stress relief techniques, especially laughter. Create lighthearted times for yourself and others.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) This is a time for coming to grips with your shadow and for taking control of the forces within you that slow your progress of success. Learning that your own self is the only thing one truly can control is probably the biggest step up the ladder of life. Perhaps also, looking at your career may give you insight to your life path. It is time to share your special talents and trust that your uniqueness will work to your advantage. A meeting with someone older or in authority may take place later today, but all will go well. Financial opportunities are again available to you. Pay attention to this opportunity, ask questions and invest. There is a chance to understand those around you and to have a special time with someone you love this evening.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) You will be able to express your understanding of a very touchy subject today. You are able to cut through the red tape and get at what is beneath and behind. Be wise with your investments and a little more frugal with your generosity. Sometimes it is better to lend a helping hand instead of money to a charity. A friend will show loyalty and see you beaming from ear to ear. Considerate and friendly communications will enhance a love relationship. It could be time to review your goals. Create a goal in your mind, see it, feel it, smell it and enjoy the image of rewards; now you’re beginning to focus and create! Remember, the goal is for your progress, not in manipulating another person to your way of thinking. Success is in the future.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) There is a lot of energy available for disciplined work, but push too hard and you could break something. It’s important to gather all the facts necessary to give you a realistic idea of how work is progressing. The openness and honesty that has been the hallmark of your relationship with a friend may be threatened. If an event raises your body’s thermostat, deep breathing should normalize your mood. Even though you have been thinking of real estate, this is not a time for action. Social relationships are a special focus this evening. You will be listening and concerning yourself with the life style and problems of others just now—you may need your mental strength as well as a dose of healthy patience. It may be time to adjust your friendships.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) Recognize the signs of stress and do what you can to take on a mindset that is much more productive. Your thoughts may move toward ways in which you can improve your working conditions so as not to put stress on family life. This may take the decision to speak up and be heard. Stay within the rules and keep practical, not emotional—you will find continued support and acceptance. You will have to let some of your outside activities and interests go for now. There are outside forces or temptations interfering with your productivity. After today, your energy quota will gently return and you will be able to accomplish much more in a day than is possible now. You will find that this evening is a good time for romance.

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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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Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital


Chest Hospital


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Physiotherapy Hospital






Sama Safwan Abu Halaifa Danat Al-Sultan

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

23915883 23715414 23726558


Modern Jahra Madina Munawara

Jahra-Block 3 Lot 1 Jahra-Block 92

24575518 24566622


Ahlam Khaldiya Coop

Fahad Al-Salem St Khaldiya Coop

22436184 24833967


New Shifa Ferdous Coop Modern Safwan

Farwaniya Block 40 Ferdous Coop Old Kheitan Block 11

24734000 24881201 24726638

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

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

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Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh








Kaizen center


















Abdullah Salem




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Ayoun Al-Qibla










Maidan Hawally






W Hawally






New Jahra


West Jahra


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North Jleeb








N Khaitan





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


Plastic Surgeons Dr. Mohammad Al-Khalaf


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Family Doctor Dr Divya Damodar


Psychiatrists Dr. Esam Al-Ansari


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Gynaecologists & Obstetricians DrAdrian arbe


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



Dr. Fozeya Ali Al-Qatan


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Dr. Abidallah Al-Amer


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Dr. Abidallah Al-Duweisan


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General Surgeons Dr. Amer Zawaz Al-Amer


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

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Gastrologists Dr. Sami Aman


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


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Rheumatologists: Dr. Adel Al-Awadi

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Dr. Salem soso

Dr. Abd Al-Naser Al-Othman


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Internist, Chest & Heart DR.Mohammes Akkad

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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


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LIFESTYLE G o s s i p

Pattinson doesn’t like being famous R

obert Pattinson reportedly doesn’t like being famous. The 27-year-old actor - who was catapulted to the spotlight in the ‘Twilight’ films as vampire Edward Cullen alongside his ex-girlfriend Kristen Stewart - isn’t a fan of his celebrity status and gets agitated by the attention he receives. A source told “The cost of fame is the thing he and Kristen used to complain about all day and that hasn’t changed at all for him.” Pattinson is hoping to get involved in other aspects of filmmaking and is considering stepping behind the camera instead of fronting another film. The source added: “[He] is looking at a whole new approach to his future and is even considering going to theatre school to focus more on getting behind the camera. “Rob’s been talking to a lot of independent filmmakers and- the last thing he wants to do is act in another blockbuster. He would like to direct a movie one day.” Pattinson is set to hit the big screen in 2014’s ‘The Rover’ and ‘Maps to the Stars’ which are in postproduction and is currently filming ‘Queen of the Desert’ and ‘Life’.

Bradley Cooper: Suki Waterhouse is ‘the one’ B

radley Cooper says Suki Waterhouse is “the one”. The 39-year-old actor - who has dated actresses Zoe Saldana and Renee Zellweger and was previously married to Jennifer Esposito - hit it off with the 22-year-old model after they met at the ELLE Style Awards last February and he thinks the blonde beauty is perfect for him. He said: “She’s wonderful, the one for me. It feels great.” Bradley’s mum Gloria is “backing” the couple - who were seen cozying up to one another at the EE BAFTA Awards at the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden on Sunday - to get married and her initial worries about their age gap have “vanished”. A source told The Sun newspaper: “Gloria’s been

really won over by Suki. “She’s backing Bradley all the way if he wants to tie the knot with her. “She thinks Suki is great for him and, although initially a little concerned about the 17-year age gap, that vanished as soon as she saw them together.” Bradley is eager to settle down and start a family with Suki but she has confided in her best friends Cara Delevingne and Georgia May Jagger that she is worried she is too young. A source previously said: “Suki’s been texting Cara saying that Bradley wants a wedding before he’s 40, but she’s worried she’s still too young, even though she’s besotted with him. “Cara and Georgia May [Jagger] have told her to go with it and let it happen.”

Pharrell Williams: I respect women


harrell Williams insists he respects women because he knows their “importance”. The 40-yearold singer-and-producer collaborated with Robin Thicke and rapper T.I last year on the worldwide smash hit ‘Blurred Lines’ but the song’s X-rated video which featured naked women - attracted criticism for being sexist and misogynistic. Pharrell refutes the accusations and insists he loves all women and believes they will soon overtake men as the most powerful gender. Speaking about the inspiration behind his new album, he said: “My muse for it was women. I love them ... because I know their importance. If women wanted to shut down this country, economically, they could just not go to work and the UK would be finished. “And there’s going to be a huge shift ... There will be a time when women get paid as much as men. There will be a time when, like, 75 percent of our world leaders will be women.” The ‘Happy’ hitmaker also compared the infamous ‘Blurred Lines’ video to how naked women are depicted in works of art.

Moss attends Prince’s intimate show in London


ate Moss was among the stars who attended Prince’s intimate show in London. The 40-year-old supermodel turned up at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London to watch the ‘Purple Rain’ hitmaker and his new allfemale band 3RDEYEGIRL perform the latest show on their ‘Hit & Run’ tour. Kate was joined at the gig by her husband Jamie Hince and several other famous faces were in the audience, including Noel Gallagher, Adele, Rita Ora, Cara Delevingne, Nile Rodgers and Stephen Fry. The 55-year-old musician played a different set compared to the tracks he has been playing at his various secret guerilla gigs across London this month. He opened with his hit ‘Diamonds and Pearls’ before playing funk versions of ‘Take Me With U’ and ‘Raspberry Beret’. Other highlights included renditions of ‘The Most Beautiful Girl in the World’ and ‘How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore’ and last song ‘Purple Rain’. Prince then followed his first set with another to ensure fans who had been queuing for hours outside got a chance to see their idol in the 140 capacity venue. Rita took to her Twitter account during the gig, simply stating: “Prince... speechless.” Prince played at King’s Place last Friday evening before performing a double gig at Koko in Camden, North West London, on Sunday. He has also confirmed he’ll play two secret shows in Manchester this week and, although no dates or venues have been confirmed.

Victoria Beckham: School was tough


ictoria Beckham “wouldn’t wish” her schooldays on anyone. The 39-year-old fashion designer admits she wept when she received a British Fashion Award two years ago because she couldn’t believe how much her life has changed since she was bullied for being “different”. She said: “I had come such a long way. I didn’t go to a private school; it was a public school. It was not a very nice school. “[I was bullied because I was] different from all the other children at the school. I really wouldn’t wish it on any kid, because it’s horrible.” Victoria - who has children Brooklyn, 14, Romeo, 10, Cruz, eight, and Harper, two, with husband David - credits her former Spice Girls bandmates for helping her overcome her problems and become more confident. Speaking to the new edition of Allure magazine, she said: “I think what gave me confidence in myself was meeting the other girls. We always said we were all like rejects in our own way. We had to work hard, and they helped me accept me for who I was.” And the British star also admitted to having “purchased” her breasts, though she has now had the implants removed. Looking at an old photograph, she said: “I don’t have them anymore. I think I may have purchased them.”

Example named as Britain’s Coolest Man


xample has been named Britain’s Coolest Man 2014. The ‘Kickstarts’ rapper beat a number of celebrities including David Beckham, Idris Elba and Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner to the title, after fans praised his straight talking attitude and his down-toearth personality in the annual poll conducted by Zoo magazine. Example said: “I haven’t won an award for anything, so it might as well be the best award in the country. I’ve been around in this game for eight years and I’m on my fifth album, and I’ve toured the world, and had 19 top 40s, and I’ve never been nominated or won . So it’s just great this could be the first one.” Hot on the 31-yearold rapper’s heels was Idris Elba - who received praise last year for his starring role in ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom - and British snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan, placing second and third respectively. Meanwhile, Prince Harry was knocked down to fourth place, after coming second last

year, while ‘Sherlock’ actor Benedict Cumberbatch stole a spot in the top five. Last year’s winner, Carl Froch, failed to make the top 20. Zoo Magazine’s Top 20 Coolest Men in Britain 2014: 1. Example 2. Idris Elba 3. Ronnie O’Sullivan 4. Prince Harry 5. Benedict Cumberbatch 6. Guy Martin 7. Dapper Laughs 8. Tom Daley 9. Michael Bisping 10. Alex Turner 11. Tom Hardy 12. David Beckham 13. Jack Whitehall 14. Jason Statham 15. Noel Gallagher 16. Keith Lemon 17. Professor Green 18. David Haye 19. Russell Howard 20. Boris Johnson —Bang Showbiz

Stone ‘hated’ curves


haron Stone “wanted to die” when she put on weight in her 20s. The 55-year-old actress gained 45lbs as a side effect from medication she was given after an accident and admitted she hated the attention her newly-curvaceous figure received from men. She said: “When I was 20, after my horseback-riding accident, I was given cortisone shots and I gained a lot of weight from that, like 45 pounds. “I looked a little like Anna Nicole Smith, with a tiny waist, big boobs, and a big butt. Everywhere I went, men went insane over my va-va-voom body. I just wanted to die and I became an introvert.” The ‘Alpha Dog’ actress - who has three adopted sons, Roan, 13, Laird, eight, and Quinn, seven - also admitted she has struggled with getting older and has “cried and cried” over the way she has changed with time. She told the new edition of Shape magazine: “There was a point in my 40s when I went into the bathroom with a bottle of wine, locked the door, and said, ‘I’m not coming out until I can totally accept the way I look right now.’ “I examined my face in the magnifying mirror, and I looked at my body, and I cried and cried and cried .?.?. I thought, ‘I’d like to age like a dancer.’ I want to keep my body in shape like that.”

Bullock skipped BAFTAs for sick son


andra Bullock missed the BAFTA Awards because her son was ill. The 49-yearold star - who was nominated for Best Actress - had been due to walk the red carpet at London’s Royal Opera House on Sunday but skipped the ceremony to care for three-year-old Louis, the New York Post newspaper reports. Meanwhile, ‘Gravity’ director Alfonso Cuaron has revealed he bonded with Sandra over their marriage splits, and thinks their shared struggled helped get to to the “emotional core” of the movie. The filmmaker - who picked up the Best Director BAFTA - told The Daily Beast: “When [me and Sandra] met for the first time, we didn’t talk about space or technology or any of that. We just talked about adversity-and not even in the context of the film, but in the context of our lives. In an abstract way. “We’d happened to be going through a process of adversities and we were trying to make sense out of them. It created a very interesting bond between the two of us, and a common understanding of what we were looking for. “A lot of work was on fine-tuning the screenplay to really try to get into the emotional core of every single one of these scenes, and that common understanding that we had on the subject was very important.” Alfonso split from second wife Annalisa Bugliani in 2008 while Sandra filed for divorce from Jesse James in April 2010 following reports he had cheated on her.





M o v i e s

Cyrus stages scandalous Clinton - Lewinsky moment during concert


nhale for the chief, eh, Miley Cyrus? “Wrecking Ball” chanteuse Cyrus brought a patriotic flare to her concert in Vancouver over the weekend, donning a red, white and blue costume while prancing with Mount Rushmore and the Statue of Liberty. Oh, and she also paid apparent homage to the Monica Lewinsky scandal by dropping to her knees in front of a guy wearing a Bill Clinton mask. The historical moment came during a rendition of Cyrus’ hit “Party in the USA,” so there was at least a solid thematic grounding for the spectacle. During the performance, Cyrus also did a little booty-shaking in front of a dancer dressed as the Liberty Bell. Insert your own “crack” joke here. Happy Presidents’ Day, everyone. —Reuters

Singers/Songwriters Brothers Osborne John Osborne and TJ Osborne perform during the 5th annual Country Music Is Love concert to benefit City of Hope at The Listening Room Cafe in Nashville, Tennessee. —AFP

David O Russell weaves Oscar pattern from his own reinvention F

the most out of his players and who has helped turn Lawrence and Cooper from Hollywood headliners into serious dramatic actors, and his staunchest supporters. “The man who made my career what it is,” Lawrence, 23, said accepting the Golden Globe award last month for her supporting role as the loopy housewife in “American Hustle,” a year after she won her best actress Oscar for “Silver Linings.” The film also won best ensemble cast at the Screen Actors Guild awards, the top honor of their peers. “He is an actor’s director ... he is the embodiment of it,” Cooper said of Russell while accepting the prize. “He’s the reason why all of us wanted to become actors when we were children.”

or the aspiring actor and actress who sits at home during awards season fantasizing that they too could be feted as an Oscar nominee or Golden Globe winner there is a simple recipe: get cast in a film by David O Russell. The director of romance “Silver Linings Playbook” and boxing drama “The Fighter” has helped the likes of Jennifer Lawrence and Christian Bale score some of Hollywood’s biggest prizes, and this year has coaxed performances worthy of four Oscar nods from the stars of his crime caper “American Hustle.” If an “American Hustle” actor - which could be Lawrence, Bale, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper - takes home a statuette on March 2, it would be the third consecutive Russell film to have an actor win Hollywood’s top honors. “I feel great pride,” the 55-year-old director said of his actors’ Oscar nominations. “I feel that I delivered to them because I aspire to deliver a role to them that is special, and I’m going to ask them to do things they’ve never done before and take risks they’ve never taken,” he added. Russell, who is easily identified by his uniform of dark three-piece suits and black-rimmed glasses, has himself been nominated for five Oscars and this year is up for best director and best original screenplay. “American Hustle,” like his previous two films, also earned a best picture nomination. But the transformation of Russell over his past three films into a surefire Hollywood director came together like the self-reinvention tales of his cast of characters, which have ranged from downtrodden boxers to con artists and the mentally ill. “Sometimes fate deals you a hand where you’ve been undone for the better,” the director said. “I think I did that a little bit.” ‘Actor’s director’ Russell’s career appeared to stall after his 2004 comedy “I Heart Huckabees” did poorly at the box office, and his public reputation took a hit with stories of butting heads sometimes literally - and furious on-set arguments with his stars. “Certainly there have been people who have made flops and come back from them before,” said Andrew O’Hehir, a film critic and senior writer for “But David’s reputation was of somebody who not merely was this auteurist, independent filmmaker who

US director David O Russell arrives for the British Academy Film Awards 2014 After Party at the Grosvenor Hotel, in central London, Sunday. —AP wanted to do everything his own way, but was also a jerk and was difficult to work with,” he added. There is also no contemporary filmmaker with a trajectory quite like Russell, who went six years between “Huckabees” and the release of his career-reviving “The Fighter,” O’Hehir said. Now, Russell has made himself into a director who gets

‘On the front line’ Stuck in so-called director’s jail and struggling to get work, Russell points to the upheaval in his personal life - his divorce in 2007, and the effort and energy it took raising a son suffering from bipolar disorder - as one of the pivotal moments in turning around his career. “By the time I’d come back, I think I saw more clearly the kind of people that had been right under my nose my whole life that I had enormous fascination with and affection for, making cinema about these people,” Russell said. “I didn’t see that 10 or 12 years ago ... 20 years ago when I first started. It was really after going through some trials with my own life, my son and having some projects that didn’t come out well.” Russell said he now tries to foster a warm and loose environment on set, often playing music, as the brisk schedule of film production can be a pressure cooker for all involved. Screenwriter Eric Warren Singer, who co-wrote “American Hustle,” said the director’s on-set style could be described as a companion to his actors. “No other director in the world works like David,” Singer said. “He’s an alchemist. ... Most directors will lay back. David is right up on the front line with his actors and in the scene with them in a way. There are no rules with him.” Russell likes to call the challenge of eliciting top-notch performances from actors a task of “braiding” a character’s story with its on-screen portrayal. “If you do a braid or a weave, you have to be balanced,” he said. “You have to find just the right measure of each character to care and blend them.” —Reuters

Miley Cyrus performs during the opening show of the Bangerz Tour in Vancouver, Canada. —AP

Jazz Festival to celebrate George Duke


inger Al Jarreau and bassist Stanley Clarke will celebrate the legacy of their friend and musical partner George Duke on the opening day of the 36th annual Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl. The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, which is presenting the festival for the first time, announced the lineup for the June 14-15 event on Monday. George Benson and fellow smooth jazz guitarist Earl Klugh will headline the closing concert. Saturday’s concert will pay tribute to Duke, the keyboardist, singer, composer and producer who headlined George Duke last year’s Playboy opener and was a frequent participant in the Los Angeles area’s biggest jazz event. Duke, 67, died of leukemia last August shortly after releasing his chart-topping contemporary jazz CD “Dreamweaver,” which included a straight-ahead acoustic jazz track featuring Clarke. Jarreau first performed with Duke in the house band at San Francisco’s Half Note Club in the late ‘60s and the keyboardist was featured on the singer’s 1981 album “Breakin’ Away.” Clarke and Duke recorded three groove-oriented albums together, including 1981’s “Clarke/Duke Project” with the R&B hit single “Sweet Baby.” Comedian George Lopez said he’s “thrilled” to be hosting the Playboy festival again after taking over from long-time emcee Bill Cosby last year. —AP

Rockers in the sacristy: Book recounts St Francis’ famous fans


hat do Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger’s daughter, Carlos Santana and Patti Smith have in common? It’s not only rock and roll: all of them are fans of a saint who lived 800 years ago. St Francis of Assisi, known worldwide for his simple spirituality, his closeness to the poor, his love of nature and his preaching of peace, has some unlikely admirers. Father Enzo Fortunato, the spokesman and public face of the convent complex in Assisi where the Francis is buried, has written a new book on the people who have been influenced by the teachings of the gentle saint who gave up his worldly goods. “Vado da Francesco” (I am going to Francis), takes the reader on a historical trip through accounts of the visitors to the basilica in the past few decades. They include popes who sought solace in prayer and politicians who sought picture opportunities. But they also include artists and rockers, most of whom came and went quietly, sometimes even secretly. On October 6, 2006, for example, the monks reopened the upper basilica, scene of the famous 13th century frescoes by Giotto depicting scenes from the life of St. Francis, for a nocturnal visit by Bruce Springsteen. Springsteen, who was playing in nearby Perugia, badly wanted to visit the basilica but feared the media and the public would have spoiled the place’s spiritual nature if he visited during the day, Fortunato explains in the 179-page book. So, in one of the few times in its history, the basilica was reopened and its lights turned on at about 10:30 pm for Springsteen and his group,

the Seeger Sessions Band. Springsteen wrote in the guest book: “This basilica has the colours of the Resurrection,” which Fortunato calls “an almost theological, masterful synthesis” of what the basilica is about. ‘The boss’ and the saint As Springsteen was leaving Fortunato mentioned that the saint’s tomb was on the other side of a wall but they could not go in because it was nearly midnight. Springsteen stopped in his tracks, turned in the direction of the tomb and bowed his head in respect. The book also reproduces a letter by Jade Jagger, Mick Jagger’s daughter, telling the monks that she named her

Bruce Springsteen

own daughter Assisi because “for me he (Francis) was always the first environmentalist and hippy and was a true inspiration to me from my early years.” Another rocker who thinks Francis rocks is Carlos Santana. On July 20, 2011, he was playing at the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia. Between songs he told his audience that he felt a “feeling of love (in Umbria) because in this place long time ago was a gentleman named Francis of Assisi”. But perhaps the most surreal visit to Assisi by a rocker came on July 25, 2012, when Patti Smith, the “godmother of punk,” meditated before St. Francis’s tomb and even helped restore a fresco by Giotto. “When I think of St Francis I don’t think of religion, I don’t think of any rules and regulations,” she said that day after a visit of several hours to the convent complex which included a frugal lunch with the monks. St Francis inspired “Constantine’s Dream”, one track of Smith’s 2012 album Banga. “I think of his love of nature. I think of his absolute love of life and I think any human being can relate to that ... If you approach St Francis with love, you receive love in return,” Smith, 67, said. Of course, rockers are not the only famous people who have gone to Assisi and Fortunato paints vignettes of about 50 visits. When Iraqi Foreign Minister Tareq Aziz, a Christian, visited on the eve of the Iraq war in 2003, his bodyguards wanted to bring their machine guns into the refectory where Aziz ate with the monks. The monks said ‘no,’ and the guns stayed outside. — Reuters

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II speaks with Joan Collins, at a Reception for the Dramatic Arts, at Buckingham Palace, London. —AP

Queen hosts British film royalty at palace


ueen Elizabeth II hosted the cream of British cinema at Buckingham Palace on Monday, a day after her grandson starred at the Bafta’s, the highlight of the industry’s calendar. Guests included director Mike Leigh, actors Roger Moore, Joan Collins and Alan Rickman and writers Tom Stoppard and Alan Bennett. Director Steve McQueen, whose latest film “12 Years a Slave” won best film at Sunday’s awards, was also present along with John Hurt, Michael Sheen, Ralph Fiennes, Angela Lansbury and Helena Bonham Carter. The Duchess of Cambridge, wearing a red Alexander McQueen dress, welcomed

guests, and chatted with veteran actress Helen Mirren, who received a Bafta Fellowship from Prince William, Kate’s husband, a day earlier. Pulp Fiction star Uma Thurman said meeting the Queen had been “overwhelming” while Mirren explained how she was “genuinely always astounded by her aura”. The Queen hosted the event in her capacity as the patron of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (Rada). Rada students performed songs from the musical “Oh! What A Lovely War” and former pupils of the respected school enacted a scene from George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion”. —AFP


lifestyle F A S H I O N

Models, led by Cara Delevingne present creations from designer Burberry Prorsum.

Bradley Cooper visits

London Fashion Week Day 4


ondon Fashion Week saw its starriest and most hectic day yet Monday, as Hollywood celebrities turned up at big-ticket shows and rubbed shoulders with fashion’s elite on the front rows. Singer Harry Styles and actors Bradley Cooper and Naomie Harris dropped in at Burberry Prorsum, which led a schedule that included back-to-back catwalk action at Christopher Kane, Erdem, Issa and Tom Ford among others. Here are highlights from Day 4: Bradley Cooper supports model girlfriend Cooper gave the fashion week some high wattage star power when he showed up at Burberry, where his girlfriend, Suki Waterhouse, was modeling the autumn and winter collection for the luxury label. He squeezed in next to US Vogue editor Anna Wintour, and the two were pictured chatting and joking together. A few hours and an outfit change later, Cooper was spotted on the front row at Tom Ford, this time with Waterhouse next to him. The pair kept a low profile, deliberately turning their backs to prying cameras. That wasn’t too difficult. The show space at Ford, set up like a nightclub, was so dark that they could have gone unnoticed. Tom Ford ‘Knocks Off’ Jay Z Tom Ford may be best known for his razor-sharp suits and slinky womenswear, but the designer showed a humorous side Monday with a catwalk collection that played on his own fame and rapper Jay Z. The designer’s catwalk, unveiled at London Fashion Week, featured sequined football jerseys emblazoned with the giant white letters “TOM FORD 61.” That’s a playful reference to Jay Z, who recorded a song called “Tom Ford” and wore a similar jersey - with-

out the sequins - at his shows. Versions of that jersey are now sold online, independent of the luxury design label. (61 refers to Ford’s year of birth.) “I just took the knock off from online, and knocked it off,” Ford told The Associated Press after the show, which also featured black and red velvet dresses, sporty hoodies and animal print separates worn with high-heel boots. Ford said the collection was about “modest luxury” and updates on 1960s shapes and the styles women wear in the American West, where he grew up. “The first dress was actually the same dress that Navajo Indian women have been wearing since the 1920s and still wear,” he said, referring to a black velvet dress that opened the show. Burberry draws big a-list crowd with luxury display Harry Styles and Naomie Harris were among those joining Cooper at the front row at Burberry, Britain’s most successful fashion house and host to the week’s glitziest show. The label showcased dozens of new variations of Burberry’s bestselling trench coat, with the standout styles in putty-colored leather, hand-painted with floral designs. There was plenty of warm outerwear to choose from, including painted shearling jackets, blanket coats and wool ponchos in bold geometric prints, and heavy blanket scarves embroidered with initials. When customers buy those scarves, they are encouraged to have their own initials added. That personal touch and emphasis on individual craftsmanship comes at a hefty price: A sheepskin trench coat straight from the runway could set you back 6,000 pounds ($10,000.) Designer Christopher Bailey said he wanted the collection to be “very sophisticated, and with a slight nuance of sexiness.” “It was absolutely beautiful,” said Harris. “So vibrant, classic with such a modern twist, and that’s what I love, because I’m personally quite classic in

Tom Ford

US actor Bradley Cooper, center, is photographed arriving for the Burberry Prorsum autumn/winter 2014 London Fashion Week show.

British model Suki Waterhouse, centre left, and her boyfriend US actor Bradley ºCooper, centre right, watch the show by Tom Ford during London Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2014. — AP/AFP photos my taste but always wanting to jazz it up with something modern as well.” Other familiar faces on the front row included movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, singer Tinie Tempah, Topshop boss Philip Green, TV presenter Cat Deeley and celebrity photographer Mario Testino. Mannish, feminine, cool: Christopher Kane has it all Christopher Kane opened his show with tough and mannish all black outfits, and ended with little dresses that couldn’t be more delicate. The designer, one of London’s favorites, offered many more looks in between. There were black plasticlooking dresses trimmed with cream fur, all-black outfits made trendy with neon green or yellow accents, sporty puffer jackets and ladylike pale pink wool coats. If that’s not enough, he added clever and surprising touches that would make anyone who wears his clothes a talking point. Memorable designs included cocktail dresses that came with sculptural ‘sleeves’ made of stiff ribbons that looped around the arms, or made of countless layers of thin parchment-like fabric, so that they fan out like the pages of a book as the models moved. Kane’s creativity could be too quirky and weird for many women, but this

time everything was wearable. “I really liked the fur, the black, pink, coffee white,” said stylist Caroline Sieber. “It was very chic.” An ornate dollhouse at Erdem Designer Erdem Moralioglu’s new collection was set in an industrial warehouselike building, but guests were transported to the most decadent dollhouse once the show came on and the dresses came out. Models wore highly ornate dresses in black, gold, and metallic jewel tones, all in rich fabrics like velvet and silks and decorated with lace, intricate floral embroidery, and laser cut-outs. There were also Chinoiserie prints, and beaded and jeweled numbers. Erdem’s clothes are known for their femininity, but the look on Monday avoided being too “done” by pairing the ornateness with modern boxy shapes and short, playful skirts. — AP


lifestyle F A S H I O N

Models present autumn/winter 2014-2015 collection creations by Leandro Cano on the last day of Madrid Fashion Week in Madrid yesterday. — AFP


Madrid Fashion Week

British actress Naomie Harris and British Singer Tinie Tempah attend the Burberry Prorsum Show.

One Direction’s Harry Styles attend the Burberry Prorsum Show.

Tom Ford

Herida de gato (HDG)

Miguel Marinero

Queen hosts British film royalty at palace



Agatha Ruiz de la Prada curtsies on the catwalk after presenting her autumn/winter 2014-2015 collection during Madrid Fashion Week in Madrid.—AFP

Florida artist smashes $1m vase in

Miami museum A

n artist is facing a criminal charge after police say he smashed a $1 million vase at Miami’s new art museum to protest what he called its favoritism for international rather than local art. Maximo Caminero, 51, was charged with criminal mischief after Sunday’s incident at the Perez Art Museum Miami. According to a Miami Police Department arrest affidavit, a security guard told officers that Caminero picked up a colored vase by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei. When told to put it down, the security guard said Caminero smashed it on the floor. A police affidavit says Caminero told officers he broke the vase to protest the museum’s lack of local artist displays and because “the museum only displayed international artists’ art.” Caminero, a painter who lives in Miami, declined comment when reached by telephone Monday. He said he will have an afternoon news conference today. “I’m going to answer all the questions,” he said.

The police affidavit lists the value of the vase as $1 million, quoting the museum’s security officials. Criminal mischief can be a third-

$1,000. Caminero had a recent showing at the JF Gallery in West Palm Beach that offered patrons a chance to meet him and “view a

This file shows works by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei displayed October 2, 2012 at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC.—AFP degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison when the property damaged is worth more than

sampling of the work from his 30year career as an artist.” According to PAMM’s web site,

the vase is one of more than a dozen that are part of a floor installation. Each vase is partially painted in bright colors. Behind the installation are a series of three black-and-white photos showing Ai holding a vase and then letting it drop to the ground, smashing into pieces. The Ai Weiwei: According to What? Exhibit runs through March 16 at the museum. Museum officials confirmed the incident in a Monday email, and noted that an upcoming show will feature a local artist, Miami’s Edouard Duval-CarriÈ. The Haitian-born artist’s show, beginning March 13, is titled “Imagined Landscapes.” A sculptor, designer and documentary-maker, Ai has irked Beijing by using his art and online profile to draw attention to injustices in China and the need for greater transparency and rule of law. He was detained for 81 days in 2011 during crackdown on dissent, after his release in June 2011, Ai’s design firm was slapped with a $2.4 million tax bill, which he fought unsuccessfully in the Chinese courts.—AFP

A bib for adults to craft and wear W

ho knew that a bib would get so much adult wear? The bib necklace - often giant, sometimes sparkly - started hanging around a lot of necks a few years ago, and it’s still here. Of course, some women would rather craft than buy theirs. From buttons to lace, here are a few examples: Jenny Chapman of Chowchilla, Calif, has turned her love of buttons into expressive necklaces. “Buttons are so fun,”

Photos shows a bib necklace that uses craftstore charms enameled by Carly J Cais, who blogs about her DIY fashion style at Chic Steals.—AP photos

says Chapman, who scours thrift stores and eBay for them. “When you get them and there’s a big jar and you have no idea what you’re going to find it’s like a treasure hunt.” She sews each button to a slightly larger disk of black felt and then glues them to a sheet of felt with felt glue, available at craft stores. She allows the ensemble to dry and then cuts around the buttons to create the bib. After that, it’s just attaching bails - necklace hardware - at the bib’s top two corners to connect an organza chain. “You really don’t need to know anything to make it yourself,” says Chapman. “The most timeconsuming part is figuring out the buttons, but that’s fun.” Find Chapman’s Bubble Button Bib necklaces at her shop, Jenny’s Trinket Shoppe. Carly J Cais of Portland, Ore., makes clever enamel jewelry using craft store supplies and something new: Martha Stewart Crafts Jewelry Enamel and Enamel Activator. The enamel paint lets you color metal jewelry pieces in two steps, far easier than traditional enameling, which involves kiln-drying the pieces. “You get the glossy sheen of enamel without all the hassle,” says Cais. “It looks like stuff you could buy in the store but still I made it myself.” First, clean the metal charms with alcohol. Then mix the paint (there are 10 colors) with the enamel activator and let it sit 2 to 3 minutes to thicken before applying it with a toothpick to the charm. Allow the pieces to dry 24 hours to harden, and then assemble charms and filler pieces onto larger filigree squares for support. Attach two jewelry toggles and a chain to the upper corners of the piece for wearing. Detailed instructions with photos for the DIY Enamel Spring Flower Bib Necklace are at Cais’ blog, Chic Steals. More bib-crafting ideas pour out of Marianne Canada, host of’s web series Weekday

Photos show Chapman’s “bubble button bib” necklace, which she sells at Jenny’s Trinket Shoppe online at Etsy. Crafternoon: Spray paint a large, graphic piece of lace, let it dry, and then attach jump rings and a chain for hanging. Using an Exacto knife, cut out a graphic shape from leather or a lightweight sheet of balsam wood, then attach jump rings and a chain. Roll fabric rosettes and attach them - with beads, lace, buttons or whatever suits your fancy - onto sturdy backing, such as heavy felt or leather. Finish with jump rings and a chain. Some of these ideas are pictured at Pinterest, the online images “pinning” board. While the bib and its relative - the collar necklace - have been trendy for years, they have staying power, says Canada. She looks at the fashion world, where necklines often incorporate rhinestones or other “blingy” accents. “It’s such a nice way to update the more basic items in your wardrobe,” says Canada. Making it yourself lowers the cost and carries bragging rights, too “being able to say, ‘Ohhhh, you like that? I made it,” she says.—AP

Malaysia tops survey of ‘halal holidays’ for Muslims


$200 billion by 2020, he added. Japan alaysia is the world’s friendwas in 40th place among the 60 liest destination for Muslim ranked, but its score is 10 notches up travelers, according to a surfrom 50th place last year-the biggest vey released yesterday, but Japan has improvement overall. “Japan has defishown most improvement as it ramps nitely been the most active destination up efforts to cash in on a growing marduring the last year to focus on this ket. Malaysia was followed by the segment of travelers,” Bahardeen told United Arab Emirates, Turkey, AFP. Indonesia and Saudi Arabia in this “It has launched a number of initiayear’s rankings for “halal” friendly holitives-from awareness programs to the day destinations released by local industry to releasing the Muslim Singapore-based Muslim travel specialist Crescentrating. The survey evaluates countries in terms of their attentiveness to the needs of Muslim travelers, including the presence and accessibility of halal restaurants with meat slaughtered to Islamic standards, and the provision of prayer rooms at airports, shopping malls and hotels. Guests read newspapers in a hotel lobby in downtown “An increasing Kuala Lumpur. number of destinatravel guide to Japan.” Some airports tions are now keen on tapping into and hotels in Japan have also started this segment and adapting their servoffering halal food and prayer rooms, ices to take into account the unique he said. Singapore placed sixth in the faith-based needs of Muslim travelers,” global rankings, and was the only nonsaid Crescentrating chief executive Muslim country in the top 10, followed Fazal Bahardeen. For largely Muslim by Morocco, Jordan, Qatar and Tunisia. Malaysia, Bahardeen said the country’s The tiny island state touts its manIslamic Tourism Centre has “continued made attractions, a vast array of local to educate the industry on how to food and reputation for cleanliness and cater to the Muslim travelers”. “There order to travelers, and “does better than are now more and more hotel kitchens even some of the Muslim countries” in with halal certification, an increasing number of hotels are also now catering enticing those who follow the Islamic faith, Bahardeen said. Italy, Belgium, to the specific needs of Muslim travelIreland and Mexico were the bottom ers,” he added. four countries in the rankings, as they One hotel even has separate timhad “not really focused” on the possibiliings for the use of gym and swimming ties of the Muslim market, he added. pools for males and females requiring The top ten in order were: Malaysia, privacy, he said. Bahardeen said the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Indonesia, Muslim travel market was estimated to Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Morocco, be worth $140 billion last year, Jordan, Qatar and Tunisia.—AFP accounting for almost 13 percent of the global total. It is expected to rise to

File photo taken in 2010 shows Muslims preparing to offer Friday prayers at the Jameh Masjid in Kuala Lumpur. —AFP photos

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