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Kuwait’s public libraries abandoned

Another Bush run for White House? Jeb may be up for it

150 FILS NO: 16109 40 PAGES

Gulf Bank names Cesar González-Bueno as CEO




Chelsea cruise past Galatasaray into last eight



Saudi FM demands Qatar change policy to end spat Panel backs Kuwait govt policy on dispute

Max 29º Min 14º High Tide 01:22 & 13:31 Low Tide 07:42 & 20:07

By B Izzak and Agencies conspiracy theories

What’s in a name?

By Badrya Darwish


hat’s with names? Why are countries so worried about baby names? Saudi Arabia lately published a list of names that the kingdom has prohibited people from using, around 50 names or more. But it’s not only Saudi that’s banning names. Democratic and advanced nations in the West are also doing it. For instance, Germany banned a Turkish couple from naming their baby Osama bin Laden. With this, I fully agree because it is so stupid to call your son after such a controversial figure. Because you never know in which country your son will end up in the future and may cause him harm and discrimination for nothing. But Germany also banned ordinary names like Miatt, Stompie, Woodstock and Grammophon. That’s Germany’s business. But Iceland went too far. Instead of banning, they have a list of approved names for boys and another list for girls and you have to follow them. If you choose a name not on the list, you are out. I find that ridiculous. A girl was named Blaer, which has a beautiful meaning ‘light breeze’ (which we need badly sometimes in our long summers), but the Icelanders tried to ban the breeze. Other countries are also banning names. For instance, Tom is banned in Portugal though I have no idea why. Bless the Japanese for denying parents the option of naming their child Akuma, which means devil. I also second that. And no one can forget the child Talula Does The Hula from Hawaii, blocked by the authorities in New Zealand. Also, enterprising parents in China wanted to name their child @ but were stopped. But seriously speaking, names make a lot of difference on the personality of children and this is what some parents do not realize. They choose bizarre or funny names and they think it’s cool but they don’t know the psychology of the child himself and what he will feel when he’s older and he’s teased and mocked by other kids only because of his name. I’m serious about this because the parents of a good friend of mine gave him a funny name and that affected his life. He’s a grown up man with children. When he reached adulthood, he changed his name to something more common but in his official documents, the old name remains. And he told me that he wishes he could change that as he doesn’t want his kids to face the same embarrassment he faced in school. In fact, our Prophet (PBUH) advised people to give their children good and nice names and also allowed that if a child has a name that is harmful, to change the name. There are a lot of stories from the Prophet’s (PBUH) time that he himself changed children’s names to avoid them being embarrassed and mistreated. But some countries are not doing it for the children’s sake or to save them embarrassment. You have a feeling some countries are doing it simply for politics. After all, what’s in a name, as Juliet said in Shakespeare’s famous play ‘Romeo and Juliet’.

MANILA: Students stand next to a giant mural featuring missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 displayed on the grounds of their school in Manila’s financial district of Makati yesterday. — AFP

Area of plane search now size of Australia KUALA LUMPUR: An international land and sea search for a missing Malaysian jetliner is covering an area the size of Australia, authorities said yesterday, but police and intelligence agencies have yet to establish a clear motive to explain its disappearance. Investigators are convinced that someone with deep knowledge of the Boeing 777-200ER and commercial navigation diverted Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, carrying 12 crew and 227 mainly Chinese passengers,

Emergency drills today KUWAIT: According to media reports, an emergency response exercise will take place today between 8:30 am and 12 pm in the vicinity of Highway 40 and Road 208. Various emergency response elements will be involved in the exercise. Emergency vehicles, military aircraft and emergency siren activations should be expected during this period.

Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov ‘dead’ MOSCOW: Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov, whose Caucasus Emirate group claimed responsibility for a string of deadly attacks in Russia over the last years, has been killed, a pro-insurgency website said yesterday. “The leadership of the Caucasus Emirate officially announces the martyrdom of Emir Dokku Abu Usman,” the Kavkaz Center website said, using the Arabised nomde-guerre of Umarov. It gave no details of how he was said to have been killed and there was no confirmation from the Russian authorities who are usually keen to rapidly boast of the “liquidation” of top Caucasus mili-

Doku Umarov

US closes Syrian embassy WASHINGTON: The Obama administration ordered the Syrian government yesterday to suspend its diplomatic and consular missions in the United States, requiring all personnel who are not legal US residents to leave the country. The order, three years after the start of Syria’s bloody civil war, essentially shutters the Syrian embassy in Washington and its honorary consulates in Troy, Michigan, and Houston, Texas. It comes in response to a decision by President Bashar Al-Assad’s government to suspend consular services for Syrians living in the US. “We have determined it is unaccept-

perhaps thousands of miles off its scheduled course from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. But intensive background checks of everyone aboard have so far failed to find anyone with a known political or criminal motive to hijack or deliberately crash the plane, Western security sources and Chinese authorities said. Malaysian Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told a news Continued on Page 13

RIYADH/KUWAIT: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said a dispute with Qatar over Gulf security would not be solved unless Doha changed its policy, Saudi media reported yesterday, the kingdom’s first public comment since pulling its ambassador from the Gulf state. In an unprecedented move within the Gulf Cooperation Council of allied hereditary monarchies, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Qatar on March 5, accusing Doha of failing to abide by an accord not to interfere in each others’ internal affairs. “If the policy of the country that has caused the crisis (Qatar) has been revised, there will be a breakthrough,” Prince Saud Al-Faisal said, according to the Saudiowned Al-Hayat newspaper. The minister added, in response to a question from the newspaper, that there will be “no American mediation to put an end to the crisis”. US President Barack Obama is expected to visit Riyadh at the end of March. In Kuwait, the National Assembly’s foreign relations committee said yesterday it backs the government’s official policy towards the dispute. The statement came after Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah briefed the committee on the latest developments regarding the issue. The minister declined to make any statement after the meeting. But head of the committee MP Ali Al-Rashed said in a written statement that the minister explained to the panel the consequences of the row and the latest developments. Continued on Page13

able for individuals appointed by that regime to conduct diplomatic or consular operations in the United States,” US special envoy to Syria Daniel Rubenstein said in a statement. However, Rubenstein said the US wants to continue diplomatic relations with Damascus, “as an expression of our longstanding ties with the Syrian people, an interest that will endure long after Bashar Assad leaves power”. “The United States will continue to assist those seeking change in Syria, to help end the slaughter, and to resolve the crisis through negotiations - for the benefit of the Syrian people,” Rubenstein said.— AP

tants. “Foreign media periodically publish information about the liquidation of Doku Umarov but the Russian special services at this moment do not have such information and will not comment on it,” the National Anti-Terror Committee said in a statement to the state RIA Novosti news agency. But Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who is backed by Moscow, wrote on his Instagram microblog: “ The terrorist mouthpiece reports that Doku Umarov is dead!” “Umarov was killed in a security operation, which I wrote about earlier ... Now it is confirmed by the rats themselves,” he wrote. Kavkaz Center published a statement saying that the Caucasus Emirate had appointed a militant named as Sheikh Ali Abu Mukhammad as its new chief. The website also posted a video said to be of the bearded militant confirming the death of Umarov and outlining his leadership strategy for the Caucasus Emirate, which wants to impose an Islamic state across the mainly Muslim Northern Caucasus. Ali Abu Mukhammad was shown in battle fatigues at an undisclosed location Continued on Page 13

VIENNA: Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the European Union, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attend the first day of the second round of P5+1 talks with Iran at the UN headquarters yesterday. — AFP

Iran, powers meet in shadow of Ukraine VIENNA: Russia, the United States and other world powers put their sharp differences over Ukraine to one side yesterday as they held their latest nuclear talks with Iran in Vienna. The gathering is the second in a series of meetings aiming to transform by July a November interim deal into a lasting accord that resolves for good the decade-

old standoff and removes the threat of war. So far, despite disagreements over the Syria conflict and other issues, the six powers have shown a united front over Iran, but events in Ukraine in recent weeks have precipitated the worst crisis in East-West relations since the Cold War. Continued on Page13



Salwa Pulic Library

Kids section at Salwa Library

List of categories of foreign books

Shelves with kids’ books at Salwa Library

The abandonment of Kuwait’s public libraries By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: Tucked into staid buildings and marked with small signs are some of the most useful yet least visited places in Kuwait - local public libraries. Unbeknownst to

Empty desks at Salwa Library. — Photos by Jamie Etheridge

most people, there are 27 public libraries in Kuwait. Though the majority are stocked with Arabic texts, there are English language books including books for children in most of the public libraries. Almost all of the local libraries are located next to or near the co-ops in residential areas. Of the 27 libraries, two are for women only (in Rumaithiya and Sabah AlSalem) and three are under renovation. Most are open from 8 am to 1:30 pm in the morning and in the evening from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm on weekdays, but are closed on Fridays and Saturdays. Sadly, visitors at these public libraries are limited. On an average day, Khaldiya library saw only five visitors including this reporter. In Jahra, the public library receives on average only two to three visitors per day. In general, the libraries have separate visiting days, so the Khaldiya library has three days for women and two days for men. But in Jahra, due to the low number of visitors, segregated visiting days have been canceled. The Abdulaziz Al-Sarawi Public Library in Khaldiya next to the co-op is very well equipped. “The library is located on the second floor, and has a capacity of more than 50 readers. On the ground floor there is a special section for kids with books in both Arabic and English. There is also a seminar hall with computers, which can be booked free of charge, and is usually used by voluntary groups for lectures or gatherings,” library rector Hamad Al-Rasheedi told Kuwait Times. The library is open to any visitor regardless of age or nationality. “Visitors are not limited to residents of Khaldiya, but logically the people who live nearby will mostly visit this library. Women visitors are more than men, and the majority are university students, and few high school students. After the great boom of technology, especially smartphones, everybody is using the phone rather than reading a book. There are a few older

men coming to the library to read newspapers,” Rasheedi said. Arabic books are in most demand though most public libraries in Kuwait also have a small selection of English titles. At the Khaldiya library, there are about 23,000 Arabic books and around 3,000 English books. “The most requested books are on Kuwait history and after that religious books. Readers can also borrow books and take them home to keep for up to two weeks, and in this case they have to pay KD 5 for each book as a deposit, which is refunded when they return the books. So if they borrow four books, they will pay KD 20. We don’t keep their IDs, we just take their information,” Rasheedi explained. Despite their convenient location near co-ops and large open spaces, Kuwait’s public libraries are all but abandoned these days. “We closed the kids section we used to have due to the low number of visitors,” explained Hamad Al-Shimmeri, head librarian in Jahra. “Our library is the only one that was not robbed by Iraqi soldiers during the invasion in 1990, so we have very old books here. These are not even good for reading but kept as a memory that they resisted the invasion,” he pointed out. The most demanded books in this library are poetry books, and the visitors are usually school students. “We have about 18,000 Arabic books and only about 150 English books. We receive books along with magazines and periodicals on a weekly basis. The number of books per month is about 10 to 15 books. We are open Sunday to Thursday from 7:30 am to 1:30 pm, and from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm,” Shimmeri added. In Salwa, the public library is in block 6 next to Burger King. It doesn’t have a huge selection of English language books, but it does have a nice, open kids area. Working hours are from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm, and from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

Public libraries in Kuwait Jaber Al-Ali Jahra Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh Jabriya Hawally Khaldiya Qurtuba Daiya Rumaithiya (women) Salwa Shamiya Sabah Al-Salem (women) Sulaibikhat Ardiya Abdullah Al-Salem Farwaniya Kaifan Adaliya Oyoun (Jahra) Fahaheel Firdous Faiha Qadsiya Adan Qurain Bayan Hadiya Yarmouk Salam (South Surrah) Abdullah Al-Mubarak Andalus

23830610 24550827 24318509 25323061/2/3 (under renovation) 24813331 25317168 22515686 25610399 25667093 24818343 (under renovation) 25528952 24870953 24892466 22548878 24720570 24815724 22515197 24580724 23913810 24892499 22540898 22515298 (under renovation) 25420812 25432872 25390376 23967615 25316634/7/8 (new) (new) (new)

Kuwait committed to democracy, stability GENEVA: Kuwait is committed to democracy and the preservation of personal freedoms and charts a course of development buoyed by measured growth, peace, and stability, said Kuwait’s Speaker of the Parliament Marzouq Al-Ghanim, addressing the 130th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) General Assembly meeting here yesterday. He congratulated the IPU on its 125th anniversary, noting its role in laying down the foundations for universal values of peace, democracy, and human rights. He urged the IPU to look after nascent democracies, saying they were like babies that required help and nurturing until they could stand on their own. Turning to the Arab-Israeli conflict, he told his audience that it was incumbent on them as lawmakers to universally deplore the aggression perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinian people and the perpetual attempts of the Israelis to violate the sanctity of the Dome of the Rock or the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Furthermore, he underlined strongly “the need to bring peace to Syria and afterwards democracy and the rule of law,” cautioning at the same time that continuing chaos and instability in one area of the region was liable to infect the entire region as a whole. He added “Besides spotlighting the catastrophic side effects of the crisis in Syria, more emphasis is needed to show the enormity of the conditions of the displaced within Syria and those who are currently refugees languishing in countries neighboring that country.” He further said that the plight of the refugees was constituting a huge financial, social, and security burden on these neighboring countries. In that regard, he urged joint efforts by regional and international organizations, such as the UN and its subsidiaries, to address the problem of the refugees.

KUWAIT: Night-time views of the Salmiya area yesterday.

He stressed the fact that Kuwait’s hosting of the two donor countries conferences was vividly indicative of Kuwait’s care for the well-being of the people of Syria who were at this juncture in history experiencing difficult times. —- KUNA

Syrian embassy in Abu Dhabi assigned for citizens in Kuwait KUWAIT: More than 142,000 Syrians in Kuwait will have to conduct their affairs through their country’s embassy in Abu Dhabi starting from April 1, 2014 when the Syrian embassy in Kuwait will no longer accept transactions. This announcement came Monday on the Syrian Foreign Ministry’s website, which also announced that the affairs of Syrian citizens in Saudi Arabia will be handled at the Syrian embassy in Manama from the same date. No word on the reason behind the newest measures have been released so far, or clarifications about the mechanism for transactions and whether they can be carried out through mail.

KUWAIT: Essa Al-Kandari (front row, fifth from left) with Kuwait Airways officials at the KAC building yesterday.

KAC-Airbus deal ‘historic’ KUWAIT: Kuwait Airways staff are required to exert joint efforts in order to help the company regain its status as one of the best airlines in the region and the world, a top government official said yesterday. Minister of Communications Essa Al-Kandari made those statements at the Kuwait Airways headquarters building yesterday, in his first official visit after the cabinet assigned him to take responsibility over the national carrier.

Al-Kandari also described the recent deal to renew the KAC fleet as ‘a historical event’ and “the beginning of a new phase for the national carrier of the State of Kuwait”. Al-Kandari met a team of senior KAC officials led by Chairperson and Managing Director Rasha Al-Roumi and CEO Sharifa Ibrahim. He reiterated the Kuwaiti government’s ‘full support’ for the recent deal signed with European aircraft maker Airbus, as well as efforts ‘and teamwork’ of the KAC staff.


MP proposes one car per expat, no fuel subsidies Efforts to address traffic problem KUWAIT: A lawmaker is preparing a bill including regulations which he says can help address the traffic problem in Kuwait, based on restricting expatriates’ freedom of car ownership and transportation. The proposal that MP Kamel AlAwadhi spoke about to Al-Rai daily calls for banning expatriates from owning more than one car, while removing fuel subsidies for expatriates. The lawmaker also proposes restrictions on Kuwaiti drivers, including fees paid for every extra vehicle aside from those owned by the parents, children and a single driver’s use. He also proposes disallowing domestic workers from having a driving license or car. The propos-

al also calls for establishing two kinds of taxi companies - one that works on demand and another that operates roaming taxis “that are not allowed to ply main roads”. Awadhi added that his proposals are based on a survey covering ‘different samples’ from the Kuwait community that does not include members of the executive and legislative authorities. Meanwhile, Interior Ministry Undersecretary, Chairman of the Preparatory Security Committee for the 25th Arab League Summit Lt Gen Suleiman Al-Fahad chaired a meeting of committee members including assistant undersecretaries, executive security commanders, representatives of the Amiri Guard, National Guard

and Kuwait Fire Services Directorate. General Al-Fahad said the supreme political leadership, of HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad, HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf AlAhmad and HH the Premier Sheikh Jaber AlMubarak provided all that is necessary to ensure the summit success. Assistant undersecretary for general security, general field commander Maj Gen Mahmoud AlDousary gave a detailed account on the work mechanism of the committee just before the arrival of delegations until their departure to ensure their safety. He said there is continued cooperation and coordination between all sectors and allied authorities.

Fire at Mina Abdullah tire scrap yard By Hanan Al-Sadoun KUWAIT: A fire broke out at a scrap yard in Mina Abdullah yesterday. Firefighters put out the fire that broke out at a used tires scrap yard in Mina Abdullah early yesterday, said a fire department official. Acting Deputy Director General of Kuwait Fire Service Directorate Col Jamal AlBelaihees said the fire was extinguished by personnel of four fire stations, adding that the fire zone had been isolated from a neighboring used tires area to prevent the blaze

from spreading further. The fire spread 300 square meters, he said, noting that the firemen continued to completely control the blaze by burying the burnt tires, in cooperation with Kuwait Municipality personnel. Regarding recent increase in used tires’ fires, he said Directorate officials had met with Ahmadi Governor to discuss the issue, including removing and cleaning used tires stored areas in Mina Abdullah. The colonel also called on all citizens and residents to follow the directions of firemen for their own safety.

KUWAIT: Firemen in action after fire broke out at a used tires scrapyard in Mina Abdullah yesterday. — By Hanan Al-Saadoun

Court cancels withdrawing citizen’s passport for insulting Assad KUWAIT: The interior ministry is contesting an administrative court ruling cancelling MoI’s decision to withdraw a citizen’s passport and banning him from travelling, said legal sources. The citizen’s attorney, lawyer Mohammed AlFailakawi, said that his client had travelled to Syria in 2010 to get married to a Syrian and on

his way to Damascus airport, a Syrian taxi driver claimed that he insulted Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and the Syrian security, for which he was jailed and tortured for a while. “On returning to Kuwait, he was summoned by the Criminal Investigations Department where he was interrogated, his passport was

withdrawn and he was banned from travelling,” explained the lawyer, demanding cancelling the travel ban and returning his client’s passport because he was not accused of harming Kuwait’s reputation. The lawyer also argued that his client was psychologically disturbed and could not be legally accountable for his actions.

Imams told to avoid politics

KUWAIT: Drugs Control General Department arrested an Asian with 20,000 illicit tablets and 30 grams of shabu. The arrest was made following information about the Asian selling and dropping the drugs in places agreed upon with addicts. The confiscated drugs were found in his home and he confessed the drugs were for sale. — By Hanan Al-Saadoun

KUWAIT: A senior government official urged local imams to avoid discussing political issues “due to the challenges and problems sweeping through the region”, either during the weekly Friday sermon or any other time inside Kuwait. Dr Nayef Al-Ajmi, Minister of Justice and Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, made these statements during a gathering Monday with expatriate imams in Kuwait. He added that the Awqaf Ministry is working on a new structural system that regulates the imam’s job, which has long been abandoned by Kuwaiti imams - who make around 9 percent of the total number of imams working in nearly 1,400 mosques around Kuwait according to the ministry’s statistics - due to the poor pay. “We are not here to sell empty promises, but we seek to elevate the imam’s job and give it top priority,” Ajmi said while addressing the imams. Ajmi also discussed fatwas (religious edicts) that imams often issue regarding personal issues. “There are issues that cannot be resolved properly through personal fatwas because it pertains with conflicts between different parties such as financial cases and those pertaining with personal statuses,” he said. “Imams should not issue fatwas related to cases of divorce, but refer them instead to the fatwa department in the ministry which passes judgment after listening to both parties,” he added.




in my view

In my view

Planet of Arabs

The peaceful solution

By Basma Alsaleem


By Labeed Abdal



everal media outlets around the world are currently discussing the Middle East peace process, and the chance of United States Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to succeed in putting together a framework for steps to achieve peace in accordance with US President Barack Obama’s desire to find a final solution. Everyone who has been following up with the over 75-year-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict realizes that there has never been an actual progress achieved between the two sides during the historical crisis, especially with the lack of a clear picture regarding the future of pending issues such as borders, security, Palestinian prisoners and refugees, Jewish settlements and the situation of Jerusalem. Nevertheless, most observers agree that a solution can never come from the continuation of conflicts, fighting, and indifference towards goodwill efforts that pro-

An international resolution that recognizes the establishment of two independent states living side by side with each other. mote lasting peace in the region. The current situation, in light of the lack of progress, call for further commitment to a group of principles, including: An international resolution that recognizes the establishment of two independent states living side by side with each other. This objective requires actual guarantees and backing from the international community, based on equality and sovereignty for both countries in commitment to international resolutions on that regard and in support of the principle of negotiations as the way to find a lasting peaceful solution. In the meantime, equality is required to be achieved between the two sides on the table of negotiation throughout the entire negotiation period. Furthermore, both sides are required to show seriousness and commitment to honor their side of the undertakings to achieve positive results. On the other hand, more violations to international resolutions on that regard, and going further against peace mediators’ wishes and demands give the implication that there is a desire to prolong the conflict, reach no solutions and continue running in circles which is something that no one wishes to see happening.

kuwait digest

No compromise with security By Khalid Ahmad Al-Tarrah


he catastrophic information that was revealed by MP Kamel Al-Awadhi about the number of vehicles and nationalities of its owners stirs fear and horror, as 7,000 expatriates own 40,000 cars, while four citizens own 4,328 vehicles! I can almost confirm that this is administrative laxity, if we try to make it lighter and not say it is corruption. The interior ministry, and the traffic department and technical inspection in particular bear the entire responsibility as well as legal and parliamentary accountability. Maj Gen Abdelfattah Al-Ali attempted by taking the initiative to introduce some solutions and impose the law, but he alone cannot right the flipped over matters in the ministry. The situation needs strict decisions from Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khalid Al-Sabah. It also calls for investigating the situation at the concerned departments and question all those who have anything to do with this scary situation, as the number of cars registered in the name of expats and the number of cars in the name of four citizens warn about a security catastrophe, and that the

It is irresponsible and unrealistic for any official at the interior ministry to study this information and let it pass without initiating an investigation before sending the statistics to Awadhi. interior ministry apparatus is penetrated from inside and outside! It is irresponsible and unrealistic for any official at the interior ministry to study this information and let it pass without initiating an investigation before sending the statistics to Awadhi. The interior ministry seems to be a spectator, waiting for the comments of the MP, media and columnists. There is no doubt that parliamentary questions have a role in uncovering deviations wherever they may be, and shed light on the laxity of some state apparatuses. Yet there are some security matters that should not be taken lightly, as information such as this must be viewed as corruption indicators and warnings. I recall a press conference by Gov Abdallah Al-Fares when he said that most roaming taxi companies are owned by interior ministry officers! This led to unlimited disappointment from officers of various ranks, but for those who know him realize that the security of the country for him cannot be compromised, as the safety of the country and its people comes first. —Al-Qabas

kuwait digest

We only have 89 years to go By Mudaffar Abdullah


e are experiencing two kinds of corruption. The first is a soft one that lies in squandering public funds, turning blind eyes to the state treasury’s overdue sums, losing hundreds of lawsuits and unwarranted showering of money on public servants. The second kind, however, is the conventional one that lies in theft and forgeries where bandits are well known to the public but unknown to the judiciary. Neither the current Cabinet nor former ones really realize the danger this imposes on state security. It even fails to realize a more imminent danger in its inability to achieve something that would help diversify the sources of national income in order to reduce extreme reliance on oil revenue as the sole one. According to the international credit rating agency Moody’s, Kuwait’s financial status is good. Yet, the second part of the report highlights that Kuwait’s rating was greatly supported by its huge oil revenues, which is the real danger we are facing! Moody’s also estimated Kuwait’s oil resources to dry

out in 89 years, which is a period during which international and regional stability cannot be guaranteed to last for long in view of the current radical changes taking place, the significance of changes in US polices towards interfering in each and every spot worldwide, what the US, Iran and Israel can agree on concerning the nuclear issue and the consequences of all that on the Gulf region. Local dangers to Kuwait security is not less threatening than foreign ones. They are the product of our work, the way we run our oil revenues and being lenient with soft and conventional corruption. What even multiplies and intensifies those dangers is that the government does not realize this and has not so far acted to protect the state. It always opts for money-oriented solutions rather than reasonable ones which was evident in the way it handled strikes by costing the state budget millions that later on turned into monthly burdens to be deposited in employees’ bank accounts. Guys, Moody’s says we only have 89 years to go, so may Allah protect us! —Al-Jarida

kuwait digest

Are we really good readers? By Saad Al-Dosari


here is an interesting debate that usually accompanies the Riyadh Book Fair currently taking place in the Saudi capital; are we Arabs really good readers? Those who go for the answer “yes, we are good readers” mostly build their opinion based on the number of visitors at the fair and sales figures. In the last fair held in 2013, there were more than two million visitors and recorded sales that touched the 71 million rial (around $19 million). There is also the hype and ideological debates that go hand in hand with each and every book fair. Banned books, publishers booths closed overnight, writers harassed during their books signing, and calls to stop this and close that are all usual news during the fair. It is about all and everything except celebrating reading and glorifying the value of books that should be the main purpose of any book fair. For that, I am one of those who believe that, “We are not good readers at all.” and my argument is very simple, you cannot find the effects of reading on the people out there in the society. A nation of readers is a nation that values discussions, appreciates differences, and does not limit free and critical thinking. I am afraid we do not score very high in all of the above! Number of visitors and sales figures can never tell that out there, in the homes and on the streets, there are people who love books - competing to finish one to start another. Actually, if it means anything, then it means that there are people who buy books, and never read them. Do not be surprised, it is a modern phenomenon, and the Japanese have a term for it: Tsundoku. Roughly speaking, it is a description of the tendency to buy books, piling them around without reading them and with time, they turn into nothing but another piece of decoration, like a chair, or a table. The impulses to buy books could stem from different reasons other than the desire to read them. A deep need to validate oneself, to feel that you are not isolated, you are an intel-

lectual who buys books, you belong, you are current, you did not miss the talk of the town. It is a good topic for conversation as well; I’ve been to the book fair and bought a number of books. And let’s admit it, books look good standing side by side on the shelves in one’s living room. It gives the illusion that this house is a house of readers. There are many reasons why books, nowadays, are failing to claim their deserved position amongst the various interests of the society. For a lot of us, they are the harsh reminders of the dull schoolbooks. Dedicating a time to read is like getting back in history to the days of teachers and their innovative ways of punishments! Add to that, we lived in a culture of “hearing” rather than “reading.” The phrase “you better listen” is literal in a lot of occasions. We have grown up in a culture where truth was somehow monopolized; there are those who know better than you, and you better listen to them. In a culture like that, the impulse to discover, the urge to read and engage in a learning journey is diminished and frowned upon. Even as kids, bedtime stories was never part of our rituals, learning to respect books was not part of our education. Do you remember the last days before the summer vacation outside your school, the torn books and papers flying all over the street? And then came TV and social media to add insult to the injury. It is not that people are not reading anymore, but they are under the illusion that they are actually ... reading! The bits and pieces they are collecting from a tweet here, or a Facebook update over there, made them fall in the trap of feeling that they are current, they know, they can engage in intellectual discussions in 144 characters or less! Reading is not a hobby but a habit. It is where you learn, you dream, you live, love, and die. It is where you travel and come back in mere seconds, where you meet your own fears and demons, where you embrace the light and live under the sun. You do all that by actually reading and learning from what you read, not by merely visiting a book fair and buying a couple of books.

kuwait digest

Kuwait wealth distribution By Dr Hassan Abbas


hat is the difference between having a rich meal of subaiti (black seabream) fish at Souk AlMubarakiya, and learning how to fish for subaiti in Kuwaiti waters? It appears that lawmakers cannot tell the difference between two obvious facts, do not want to seize the opportunity and insist to watch as the opportunity goes away. First of all, I would like to thank MP Yaqoub Al-Sane for his proposed amendment to ëcontrolí foreignersí recruitment in favor of providing more job opportunities for Kuwaiti labor forces, as well as a proposal that stipulates monthly pay for Kuwaitis in the unemployment line six months after they file a job application. I would also like to thank MP Khalil Al-Saleh for his draft law concerning end of service indemnity, MP Askar Al-Enezi, former MP Saadoun Al-Otaibi and others. They and others are concerned only about salaries, allowances, gifts and increases to housing loans, wedding loans, children allowances, treatment trips, etc. Everything is about the money, as if Kuwait is inhabited by livestock, not human beings. Dear MPs, the country and society have many concerns and worries - each of which has its own method of treatment. Let us discuss the main issue of MPsí concern, which is wealth distribution. If we put personal goals aside and focus only on the harmful effects of wealth distribution, we

find that MPsí draft laws have good and bad sides. The good aspect is the happiness that people feel when they receive extra benefits that they do not even have to work for. On the other hand, the bad aspect of these draft laws is the fact that they create a consumer and dependant generation that becomes a burden on the state and society. They also create economic diseases such as inflation and unemployment, as well as a society filled with arrogance that does not understand the meaning of belonging and patriotism. The worst part about MPsí proposals is that regardless of how much they help people, they fail to eliminate the real problem which is the limited sources of income and economic capabilities. How long can the state continue spending? Even if the number of expatriates is reduced and oil prices increase, one day will come when the state would be unable to meet the demands of MPsí generous draft laws. I know that MPs are not very concerned about creating responsible generations. But assuming I am wrong, then parliamentarians are better focusing their efforts on diversifying sources of income, increasing pay based on employeesí competency and productivity, supporting small projects, improving education and eliminating corruption and crime. That would have better results than draft laws that have no output other than earning public support. —Al-Rai

quietly lost soul, that’s how I can describe my very poor self as I grieve for all the time I wasted overthinking, overstressing and irritating myself. Sounds a little gloomy, huh? Well, it is what it is, unless you’re strong enough to go against your destined misery and rebel against your fate. I’m a natural born fighter, I’d give my very last breath fighting for what I believe in - it’s a double-edged weapon, though. Being a girl in my world is a curse. And by “my world,” I meant the vile society I live in, where you cannot even trust your very own blood. It’s simply toxic-it spreads all over your body like an incurable disease. It gets the best of you without you even realizing you’re slowly losing your own identity. “Who am I?” I shockingly ask myself. “You’re my new victim,” slyly answers the society. As known, the truth is always ugly, no matter how much you prettify it. It slightly slaughters your neck as you unwillingly receive it. The ugly truth I’m about to tell is terribly and horrifyingly destroying a lot of people. Our very big world looks like a filthy, old prison where all forms of brutality are happily performed. We - free minded people - are the maltreated prisoners of this culture, where everything and anything is automatically forbidden. If you ever ask any Muslim what Islam is, he will directly tell you about our traditional and cultural rules rather than religious rules. The problem with our society is that they mix manmade rules with God-made ones, so as a natural result, people will blindly follow the cruel and inhuman manmade rules. They kill, steal, rape and imprison free spirits under the name of religion. What kind of religion that allows a man to unjustly dominate a woman and scorn her? Don’t mask your demonic rules under the name of religion. Who do you think you are? A God? An angel? A sinless, pure creature? Well, wake up! You’re none of those; you are a sinner, you are a human-being, you are one creature of the Creator’s countless creations. You men have a pair of legs, so do women. You men have a pair of arms, so do women. You men have a brain, so do women. Different genital organs won’t ever make you any better. Wake up and stop throwing us in the corner of the world; stop making them look down on us. Stop these thousands of years of mind-slavery and blind following. I believe in the existence of God, but I also believe in demonic humans. What are those, you wonder, huh? Let me tell you, these are devious demons in human bodies. They prettify their very ugly cruelness and make us follow them unwillingly. The uptight, closed and retarded mentality of some Arabs created rules to destroy all meanings of humanity, to bury the life of others just so they can indulge their hateful lusts. They’re scared of women taking over the world, so they won’t have to feel any kind of loss of their fancy manhood. They buried their daughters alive in fear of shame. They still do honor-killings of their own girls who committed “traditionally” unforgivable mistakes. Wait a minute, you furious father... have you ever talked to you daughter about what she’s going through? Have you ever listened to her during her hard times openly without having to threaten her? Have you ever hugged her and told her you love her and happy to have her? No... You’re just a cold man trying to keep a meaningless thing clean so that when another cruel man marries that meaningless thing, you won’t have to be ashamed of a single mistake. Don’t forget that your daughter needs love, affection and attention. She needs your loving arms to hold her tightly when she feels scared or insecure. Your daughter is a human being - she was created to make mistakes, to stumble and fall, to learn and to build the world. Now why do you want to bury all those beautiful things? I sadly can’t change the world, but at least I am brave enough to narrate the little story behind the cruelness of the Arab society. Oh, I am a marginalized Arab...

kuwait digest

Birth control in Kuwait By Abdullatif Al-Duaij


s the idea of birth control in Kuwait illogical and unnecessary? Does it really contradict the general circumstances of the society here? The dominant argument suggests so, and indicates that there are no financial reasons that require controlling births in a rich country like Kuwait. Add that to people’s culture and dominance of religious orientations, and we can say that promoting the idea of birth control in Kuwait is a lost debate. On the other hand, I believe that the current circumstances and requirements makes the idea of birth control in Kuwait to be an inevitable option. And this includes the financial circumstances, regardless of the state’s wealth and luxury, which are subject to the requirements, circumstances and even the guidance of others. After all, we have taught ourselves to live off others’ efforts and needs. Even if we assume that we have contributions in scientific production and human civilization, the education requirements in this era does not only require birth control, but also limiting the number of children to one or two per family.

On the other hand, I believe that the current circumstances and requirements makes the idea of birth control in Kuwait to be an inevitable option. That number is what parents can properly raise nowadays, even with a lot of time to dedicate on raising their children. Preparing a generation capable of keeping up with the fast-paced developments of modern societies requires longer time, more effort and larger wallets. And there is a general agreement that Kuwait’s schools cannot bear this responsibility due to the fact that teachers require training to become more aware of the challenges pointed out above, and the fact that more births means more pressure on overcrowded schools. This is not mentioning the problems and challenges that Kuwait faces to meet citizens’ needs. All services suffer because of the growing demand. And while we are capable of paying as long as oil prices are going up, we have to remember that reducing demand on services remains a relatively easier option now. —Al-Qabas



Kuwaiti photographer wins award DUBAI: Kuwaiti photographer Ali Al-Zaidi has won the first place in the third session of the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award (HIPA) which concluded late on Monday. Al-Zaidi said that he had won in the competition’s special category entitled “creating the future”, expressing his happiness that his work won among over 38,000 photos contributed by 26,000 photographers from 156 countries. Al-Zaidi who was the only Arab winner in the competition, as well as the youngest of all participants, hoped Kuwaiti authorities would provide photographers with more attention, noting that there are many extremely talented photographers in the country. His winning photo was taken in a classroom of a poor neighborhood in Rajasthan,

Zain organizes annual Umrah trip for employees

India, to showcase the tough life these people suffer through poverty and their seek of education against all odds. Veteran Kuwaiti photographer Anwar AlHasawi said he was pleased to have been invited to the competition’s ending ceremony, with the participation of over 100 international media figures. The ceremony was attended by the Crown Prince of Dubai and the Award’s Patron Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, and the event’s speech was given by the Award’s Secretary General Ali Bin Thaleth, who announced the title of the upcoming fourth session of the competition entitled “life is colors.” Moreover, the ceremony also included an exhibition showcasing the photography works of Sheikh Hamdan and the winning photographers of each category. KUWAIT: Some of the Zain employees who performed Umrah recently.

Arab summit of high importance: Arab League Palestinian issue tops agenda CAIRO: Upcoming Arab summit to be held in Kuwait on March 25 and 26 is of high significance, as it comes during a period of critical developments and challenges in the Arab region, Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Al-Araby said. Al-Araby said Palestinian cause will be at the top of the summit’s agenda, being the central issue for the Arabs. The Syrian crisis is also a top priority file, as the country will suffer a real collapse in case the current regime and opposition fail to reach an agreement, he added. Al-Araby will present a report during the coming summit tackling issue of the Arab League Charter that was drafted in 1944, in order to cope with the current circumstances, considering the major developments on regional and international arenas. The summit will also discuss means to boost economic relations between Arab nations through establishing small and medium projects, besides allowance of free movement of capitals between member countries, he said. It will also tackle establishment of a rail network, connecting the Arab countries, as well as supporting the private sector to contribute to improvement of the Arab economy, he said. Egypt will present an initiative for activating the Arab agreement of fighting terrorism, he said. The Arab League meeting will also discuss key issues like supporting “joint Arab action,” exerting further efforts to make the Middle East region free of mass destruction weapons, besides launching a

joint Arab initiative in the field of energy, especially new and renewable energy, he added. Al-Araby said the Nile water issue needs highprofile negotiations between Nile Basin countries, pointing out that he is not aware of any contacts tacking place between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia related to the construction of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. There is a number of international agreements that prohibit causing harm to any of the Nile Basin countries, and state the need for solving any conflicts between them through peaceful means, he affirmed. Major role Meanwhile, a number of prominent Lebanese media figures have stressed the importance of the role played by Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in the rearrangement and restoration of the Arab house. “It is a good fortune to the Arab leaders the Arab summit is convened in Kuwait especially in these critical situations”, they said. They hoped Kuwait, through its wisdom, statesmanship of its leadership and its long experience, to be able to restore and revive friendliness in the framework of the Arab family, considering that makes the next summit at new crossroads that is hoped to restore harmony and trying to mitigate the differences between Arab brothers. Rajih Al-Khouri, a writer and journalist in ‘Annahar’ newspaper said it would be fortunate for

the Arabs in these difficult circumstances that Kuwait hosts the 25th Arab summit as the current Arab situation is witnessing a series of internal disputes between Arab brothers which increases weakness in the Arab arena. He added that His Highness the Amir of Kuwait has always been, along his long history since he was foreign minister, careful on the restoration of interArab relations and reconciliation among them as well as creating an atmosphere of togetherness and cooperation between the Arab brothers. He pointed out that Kuwait is considered a ‘protector haven’ at this stage, saying that Kuwait had in the past hosted numerous international and regional summits and helped Lebanon in many occasions. For his part, political analyst and columnist Ali Hamadeh from ‘Annahar’ said this summit is gaining great importance especially as it comes at a critical stage where the Arab region is witnessing internal crises and strained relations between some Arab countries, as well as the repercussions of the Arab Spring. Hamadeh said Kuwait has been playing a leading and advanced role in support of the Syrian people who suffer greatly because of the crisis, which entered its fourth year, in addition to the conference that were held for the sake of assisting the displaced Syrian refugees. He stressed the importance of convening the Arab summit in Kuwait due to the ability of Kuwait to communicate with all parties concerned of the Syrian crisis.—KUNA

KUWAIT: Zain, the leading telecommunications company in Kuwait, recently organized the annual Umrah trip for employees and their families to visit the Sacred House in Makkah and the Holy Mosque in Madina. This activity forms part of a number of religious and social initiatives conducted under the auspices of Zain’s employee-based social responsibility program, and reflects the company’s enthusiasm to support and enhance the spiritual lives of its staff. Zain was keen to engage its employees and their families in this spiritual trip, in which the total number of people who participated reached around 150. Employees and their relatives were sent on an all-inclusive trip to Mecca to perform their Omrah rituals, as well as Madina to visit the Holy Mosque. The travelers were accompanied by honorary participation of Sheikh Badr Al Hajraf, who described the importance of the religious spirit of Omrah through seminars and lectures. The trip was not only restricted to visits to the Holy Mosques, but also included a visit to Prophet Mohammed’s Museum in Madina, coupled with several other activities that included both cultural and religious competitions in which all employees and their families participated.



Suspect reenacts brutal murder, expresses regret Family denies maid abuse KUWAIT: An Ethiopian housemaid who killed her employer’s daughter on Sunday in Sulaibikhat was remanded in custody at the Criminal Evidence Department where she was taken from the Criminal Investigations Department Monday morning to reenact the crime. Security sources quoted by Al-Anbaa yesterday indicated that Rabiya Mahmoud was transferred under tightened security measures in order to avoid possible interaction with angry civilians. Meanwhile, the sources who claim knowledge of the investigations said that the woman ‘expressed regret’ during questioning on Monday “after realizing that she had killed a young woman over trivial conflicts that could have been tackled by requesting to leave the country” The family of Seham Al-Shemmari, who was stabbed four times in her bedroom on Sunday at dawn and pronounced dead later at the hospital, denied allegations that the housemaid was mistreated by the victim or any other family member. The suspect had claimed shortly after turning herself over to Sulaibikhat police Sunday morning that the victim used to treat her badly. However, the family members said during questioning on Monday that those accusations were incorrect,

and insisted that the maid received good treatment from all members of the family. The family also indicated that they never noticed anything that would indicate that the housemaid was upset or angry prior to committing the crime. It still unknown whether the Ethiopian embassy will assign a lawyer to defend the suspect, or she will be defended by a court appointed attorney. ‘Painful and sad’ Meanwhile, Ethiopia’s ambassador to Kuwait Mohammed Gudeta expressed condolences to the victim’s family for the ‘painful and sad incident’, and added that criminal acts are ‘individual actions’ that should not be generalized. Gudeta was approached by Al-Watan daily who asked him about speculations spreading in Kuwait that the increasing crime rate among the Ethiopian community reflects violence in areas in their home country. “These allegations are untrue,” Gudeta said “The Ethiopian people are peaceful and reject violence by nature. Security problems and violations can come from citizens of any country in the world, and it is unfair to generalize this character-

istic to around 73,000 Ethiopians living in Kuwait,” he added. Gudeta also confirmed that his country had stopped sending domestic helpers to work in Kuwait since November “due to the problems facing labor forces currently”. The Interior Ministry in Kuwait issued a ban on recruiting Ethiopian domestic helpers officially on Feb 16, 2014, citing ‘official statistics’ for the increase in the crime rate among the Ethiopian community. A senior Foreign Ministry official said that Kuwait gave an explanation at the time to the Ethiopian government. “The Kuwaiti government explained to its Ethiopian counterparts when Addis Ababa inquired about stopping the issuance of visas at the Kuwaiti embassy that the decision came as a result of problems pertaining with breaking the law, visa procedures and increasing crime rate,” said Hamad Al-Meshaan, the Director of the Africa Department at the Foreign Ministry. And while reiterating the ministry’s commitment to “protect the interests of citizens and expatriates”, Al-Meshaan urged the public to avoid passing judgments on the entire Ethiopian community.

Calls for govt ‘geo-info’ system KUWAIT: Sheikh Ahmad AlAbdullah Al-Sabah, the group head of geographic information systems’ users, has called for setting up such a network in the public sector. Civil associations should take part in enacting legislations “that concern the society, so that such a task would not be restricted to the two (legislative and executive) authorities, said Sheikh Ahmad AlAbdullah in a statement he made at “the second informatics diwan,” held by Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Informatics Award, late on Monday. This call is intended to ensure enactment of “realistic and applicable laws, “ he opined. The group, which had organized seven conventions, planned an eighth conference, expected to

group 500 officials from North Africa and the Middle east. Sheikh Ahmad Al-Abdullah pointed out that his call for such a network is necessary to guide 60 percent of the population, using the advanced electronic media and communication means. It is very much necessary for it contributes to making sound decisions and help centralize data and information of the government departments. Sheikh Ahmad Al-Abdullah also indicated that the establishment of such a system would help in trimming bureaucracy, noting “less bureaucratic measures make transparency proportion higher.” “We also need to educate the officials and citizens about necessity of such networks. The media can play a role in promotion of

such education for sake of sparing effort and boosting our practical life.” For his part, Director General of the Central Agency for Information Technology (CAIT) Abdul-Latif AlSyraye’, indicated that 56 governmental departments are linked to the network that contains geographical information. Infrastructure of such an electronic service is available and some departments have begun to depend largely on it-namely Kuwait Municipality and Ministry of Finance, Al-Suraye’ said. The electronic gateway project provides 850 governmental services, and fees are paid via the network reach as higher as KD 15 million. Compelling the government departments to use this electronic infrastructure constitutes a

major step, he said, cautioning that some legislations are also necessary to attain this objective. Meanwhile, the municipal assistant undersecretary, Walid Al-Jassem, touched on the aspired transformation of the basic data infrastructure into a geographic data system, noting that the municipality posted an integrated map on the internet, namely its website. “However, the problem lies in citizens’ non-interaction with this website,” he clarified. Kuwait Municipality has won three excellence awards, one granted by His Highness Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah. Moreover, it has proven to be ahead of other governmental authorities in dealing and making use of electronic and online services. —KUNA

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Dive Team concluded a cleaning campaign at the Miskan Island, which included removing 40 tons of harmful waste. The sixday operation was carried out successfully in cooperation with the Kuwait Municipality, Customs General Department, Kuwait Fire Services Directorate and the state’s committee to remove violations on state property. Miskan Island, located between the Failaka Island and Ras Al-Subbiya, has a total area of 344,000 square meters and a 2.5 km coastline.

KUWAIT: A partial view of the audience.

Live webcast session at Dasman Diabetes Institute KUWAIT: The Healthcare Planning and Development Department at Dasman Diabetes Institute, which was founded by Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences, coordinated the first live webcast session for the Joslin University International Programme on Thursday. The session was live from Boston with Dr Richard Beaser, executive director, Continuing Medical Education at

Joslin Diabetes Center and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Dr Nuha A. El Sayed, Director - International Training Programs, Joslin Diabetes Center Associate Director - International Initiatives at Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians Endocrinology, to further discuss diabetes treatment cases. They went over difficult cases and common

errors and challenges in insulin and oral medications. 61 physicians registered in the program attended from the primary and secondary healthcare services. Attendees enjoyed the session a lot and hope the next will be longer. Holding such activities is in accordance with the mission of the Institute to promote awareness amongst the healthcare professionals.

Motorcyclist dies in Gulf Road accident KUWAIT: A motorcyclist was killed while a woman was critically wounded in an accident at the Gulf Road Monday morning. Paramedics and police arrived at the scene in response to an emergency call reporting an accident between a motorcycle and a sports utility vehicle at the traffic light near the Marina Mall. The motorcyclist, a 29-year-old Kuwaiti, was in a very critical condition when medical staff arrived, but succumbed to his injuries soon after reaching Mubarak Hospital. A 31-year-old Syrian woman was taken out of the SUV and rushed to Mubarak Hospital with serious injuries. Preliminary investigations indicate that the accident happened when either the SUV or motorcycle jumped the red traffic light, and detectives are working on determining who it was. Murder threat A domestic worker was arrested in Sulaibikhat after her employer accused her of threatening his family with a knife. The woman, an Ethiopian national, denied the accusations as she was reprimanded in custody while police finish hearing testimonies of the house residents. The Kuwaiti employer had told officers who headed to his house in response to an emergency call that the maid became violent following a conflict with another domestic helper over taking care of a senior citizen living in the same house. Investigations are ongoing. Amghara suicide A man committed suicide in his residence in Amghara according to police investigations. Officers had arrived to the scene in response to an emergency call made by the building janitor, who said that a tenant was found dead inside his room. They found the Indian national’s body hanging from a rope tied to the ceiling fan, before criminal investigators were summoned. Preliminary investigations indicated that the man hanged himself, and investigations are ongoing to determine his motives.

Jahra assault Two people were hospitalized, one in a critical condition, after they were assaulted in Jahra by a group of men for reasons that remain under investigations. One of the men, who sustained minor injuries, told police from his bed at Jahra Hospital that the suspects pulled their sports utility vehicle over near him and his friend while they were walking in the area, and then beat them up before escaping. He could not provide reasons for the attack, but was able to identify one of the attackers. Police could not question the other victim who was admitted in the intensive care unit. Investigations are ongoing to find the suspect and arrest him for questioning. Body found A middle-aged man was found dead in Khaitan, and preliminary investigations indicate that he likely passed away from natural causes. Paramedics and police arrived to a building in the area Sunday afternoon in response to an emergency call, and found the 50-year-old Egyptian man’s body inside his apartment. The criminal investigations’ report indicates that the man had died several days prior to the discovery as his body was in rigor mortis. A case filed at the area’s police is pending an autopsy report from the forensic department where the body was taken after criminal investigators finished examining the scene. Afterschool fight A man arrived to pick up his son from school Monday afternoon, but found the 10-year-old boy in the middle of a fight with another schoolmate of the same age. Instead of putting the situation under control, the man went on to beat his son’s foe, as well as the kid’s older brother who came minutes later to investigate. The two boys told their mother when she came to pick them up after school, and the woman headed to the police station to press charges against the man who had left with his son by the time she arrived. The incident reportedly happened outside a Qairawan school where the three children study. Local police are looking to identify and summon the man who is accused of physically assaulting two children.


Iraq bill sparks fury over child marriage Page 8

Russia defies sanctions, moves to take Crimea Page 10

ALEPPO: The bodies of two Syrian children lie in the rubble of a residential building reportedly hit by an explosives-filled barrel dropped by a government forces helicopter yesterday. — AFP

In Syrian spillover, hostilities swell in Lebanon After Yabrud capture, Syria army advances west BEIRUT: Gunmen from Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group and local Shiite residents tightened their chokehold on a Sunni town near the Syrian border yesterday, sparking concerns the standoff would cut off aid to thousands of Syrian refugees stranded in the area. The stranglehold on the eastern Lebanese town of Arsal is the latest spillover of Syria’s civil war into its smaller neighbor. The conflict, particularly the Syrian army’s seizure of the town of Yabroud that served as a strategically important rebel stronghold, has inflamed sectarian tensions in Lebanon. The town is located just across the border from Lebanon. The violence included a Syrian laborer who was found stabbed near a construction site in the central Lebanese mountains, Lebanon’s state-run news agency reported. The man’s blood was used to write the words “Revenge for Yabroud, and for Syria’s honor,” the NNA said. It wasn’t clear what the man’s involvement was - if any - in the Yabroud battle and no other details were immediately available. Over the weekend, gunmen closed off Arsal’s only road to the rest of Lebanon by erecting a sandbagged checkpoint manned by Hezbollah gunmen and

Shiites from a string of surrounding towns. The move came after the area’s Shiites blamed Arsal for rocket fire toward their villages in recent days and a car bombing that killed three people. Yesterday, Shiite gunmen opened fire at vehicles from Arsal that tried to drive up toward the checkpoint, said the town’s deputy mayor, Ahmad Fliti. The shooting heightened despair within Arsal, a town of 40,000 Lebanese and 52,000 Syrian refugees for whom the road is a vital lifeline. Another 200 Syrian families have arrived in Arsal over the past few days, fleeing fighting as Syrian troops seized Yabroud, said Lisa Abu Khaled of the UN’s refugee agency. “Everybody needs help. They need blankets and food. But we are currently facing a ticking bomb of contagious illnesses, a ticking bomb of hunger and a ticking bomb of people,” said Fliti. Lebanese aid organizations distributed a three-day emergency food supply to the neediest refugees on Monday, said UN official Abu Khaled, but she stressed that tens of thousands more had to rely on dwindling stocks within the town. “Assistance will definitely be hindered without the reopening of the road. What is avail-

able in Arsal won’t be enough,” Abu Khaled said. In Syria, Prime Minister Wael Al-Halqi estimated the cost of the Syrian war, now in its fourth year, had amounted to $30.1 billion, or 4.7 trillion Syrian pounds. In an interview to the pro-government Al-Baath newspaper, Al-Halqi gave no further details on how the amount was calculated, also yesterday, rebels fired mortars at the capital Damascus, killing five civilians, the Syrian state-run news agency SANA said. Army advances west Meanwhile, the Syrian army has taken a several hills southwest of the former rebel stronghold of Yabrud as they seek to secure territory between there and the Lebanese border, a security source said yesterday. On Sunday, backed by fighters from Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah and local militia, they seized Yabrud after a month of shelling and air strikes. They are now moving to secure the area along the nearby border with Lebanon, which has been a key supply route for the opposition, allowing them to transport fighters and weapons. “The army is heading in the direction of Ras Al-Ain,”

which is close to the border, the source in Damascus told AFP after taking the hills between there and Yabrud. They also plan to seize the villages of Rankus, south of Yabrud, and Flita and Ras Al-Maara, to its northwest. Elsewhere, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said regime planes bombed the northern city of Aleppo, killing at least four people, including two children, in the Shaar district. The violence in Aleppo came as Marcell Shehwaro, a prominent female activist detained a day earlier by rebels for refusing to wear the Islamic headscarf, was released. The Army of Mujahedeen, which had detained Shehwaro and her friend Mohammad Khalili, issued a statement “apologising in the strongest terms” for the arrests. Nearby, the Britain-based Observatory said troops battled Islamist opposition forces, including the Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Nusra Front, leaving at least seven people dead on the two sides. In the Damascus area, five people were killed by opposition mortar fire in several districts, state news agency SANA reported. Four people were killed in the Jaramana suburb, southeast of the capital, and another in the city itself, SANA said. — Agencies



Egypt policeman gets 10-year jail sentence CAIRO: An Egyptian court jailed a police officer for 10 years yesterday over the deaths of 37 Islamist prisoners, who suffocated from tear gas in a police van, a judicial source said. The sentence was the toughest verdict yet against police since a deadly crackdown was launched on supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi. The incident occurred when the tear gas was fired into the van as Islamists were being taken to a prison near Cairo on August 18. Three other police officers linked to the case were each handed one year suspended sentences, the source said. The four officers were sentenced for manslaughter after the prosecution’s investigation revealed that they were reckless and lacked prudence in dealing with the situation, the sources added. The incident occurred during the peak of the crackdown against supporters of Morsi, who was ousted by the army last July. The interior ministry said at the time that police fired tear gas when the inmates rioted as they were being transferred to Abu Zaabal prison. The Islamist Anti-Coup

Alliance, which is pressing for the reinstatement of Morsi, had accused police of killing the prisoners as they were being moved. “They were reportedly assassinated in their truck with live ammunition and tear gas fired from windows,” the alliance said. State news agency MENA had said trucks carrying more than 600 prisoners came under attack by armed men, and a “number of prisoners” were killed in ensuing clashes. The verdict was passed after the court heard testimony from seven wounded prisoners. The court also heard from a justice ministry expert, who said the vans used had a capacity of only 24 people, while they were packed with 45 that day. The incident came just four days after security forces stormed two sit-ins of Morsi supporters in Cairo in which hundreds were killed. Since then, security forces have been continued a crackdown on them. Amnesty International says more than 1,400 people have been killed in the crackdown, and thousands arrested. It has repeatedly blamed the security forces for using excessive force against Islamist protesters. Yesterday’s verdict may be appealed. — AFP

Amnesty condemns ‘shameful’ Cyprus treatment of migrants NICOSIA: Amnesty International yesterday condemned what it termed the “shameful” treatment of migrants and asylum-seekers in Cyprus, saying they were being detained in prison-like conditions for extended periods awaiting deportation. Refugees from the conflict in Syria and women separated from young children figure among those detained in the EU member state, it said in a report. “By detaining scores of people for months at a time, Cyprus is displaying a chilling lack of compassion and a complete disregard for its international obligations,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali, Amnesty’s head of refugee and migrants’ rights. “It is shameful to think that within the EU people who have committed no crime are being held in harsh prison-like conditions for prolonged periods, in some cases for up to 18 months or longer,” he said. Amnesty cited two cases of foreign women detained and forcibly separated from their young children, one a toddler of 19 months and the other aged three, who were handed over to social services. The women, longtime residents of Cyprus and married to EU citizens, told Amnesty that the separation had had “devastating effects on their children”. “There can be no excuse for separating a woman who has committed no crime from her children. The treatment of migrants in Cyprus at the moment is degrading and unnecessary,” said Elsayed-Ali. Cyprus ombudsman Eliza Savvidou has also criticized the detention of migrant mothers of

young children, while children’s rights commissioner Leda Koursoumba has campaigned against separating migrant families. Koursoumba says the authorities have a legal obligation to ensure the child is properly cared for while the parent is in custody. Amnesty said at least one person at the island’s main immigration detention centre, Menoyia, had been held for 22 consecutive months-in violation of an EU maximum of 18 months-awaiting deportation. Menogia is “a prison in all but name. Behind a double metal fence... detainees are forced to live in cramped conditions and only allowed outside the building for 2.5 hours each day,” said Elsayed-Ali. He said: “Cypriot authorities, seemingly eager to portray themselves as taking a tough stance on immigration, have displayed a ruthless and arbitrary attitude to locking up migrants. “The fact that EU laws allow people who have not committed a criminal offence to be effectively imprisoned for up to 18 months is appalling.” During a visit earlier this month, Amnesty said it found nine Syrian refugees were among those held at Menoyia, including at least one who had applied for asylum. “It is incomprehensible that the Cypriot authorities are detaining Syrian nationals in Menoyia when it is Cyprus’s official policy not to return Syrians to Syria,” said Elsayed-Ali. “We can only conclude that the detention of Syrian nationals is intended to send a message to other Syrians that they are not welcome in Cyprus.” — AFP

Iraq bill sparks fury over child marriage Secular activists, draft law’s backers face off BAGHDAD: A bill before Iraq’s parliament that opponents say legalizes child marriage and marital rape has sparked controversy ahead of elections as secular activists face off against the draft law’s backers. The bill, the Jaafari Personal Status Law, sets out rules to do with inheritance, marriage and divorce. Supporters of the draft, named after a Shiite Muslim school of jurisprudence, say it simply regulates practices already existing in day-to-day life. Opponents say the bill represents a step back for women’s rights in Iraq, and worry that it could further fray already fragile sectarian ties between the country’s various communities amid heightened violence ahead of April parliamentary polls. Critics point in particular to a clause of Article 147 in the bill which allows for girls to divorce at the age of nine, meaning they could conceivably marry even earlier, and another article which would require a wife to have sex with her husband whenever he demands. Other clauses have been ridiculed for their specificity, from the conditions under which mothers must breastfeed their children to how many nights a polygamous man must spend with each wife and how he may use additional nights. But the part of the bill that has provoked by far the most anger has been the one regarding the marriage and divorce of young girls in Iraq, where a quarter of women are married before the age of 18, according to a 2013 study by the Washington-based Population Reference Bureau. Analysts have, however, dismissed the bill as politicking, and say it is highly unlikely to make it through Iraq’s Council of Representatives. ‘Violation of children’s rights’ “The draft law is a humanitarian crime and a violation of children’s rights,” said Hanaa Edwar, a well-known activist and head of the charity Al-Amal (‘Hope’ in Arabic). “It turns women into tools for sexual enjoyment. ... It deletes all their rights.” Edwar’s criticism has been echoed by a wide variety of opponents, ranging from domestic foes to New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) and even the UN envoy to Iraq who said the bill “can contribute to the fragmentation of the national identity.” “The bill will reverse the gains made to protect and advance women and girls’ rights that are protected by the constitution,” Nickolay Mladenov said in a statement this month. It has also

BAGHDAD: An Iraqi woman walks with her fully veiled daughter in Baghdad yesterday. A bill before Iraq’s parliament that opponents say legalizes child marriage and marital rape has sparked controversy ahead of elections as secular activists face off against the draft law’s backers. — AFP

faced opposition from religious leaders, with Bashir Najafi, one of Shiite Islam’s most senior clerics, issuing a fatwa this month saying the bill has several “legal and doctrinal” problems which “no scholar can agree with”. The bill’s defenders, however, say the new law would not strike down Iraq’s current Personal Status Law, lauded as one of the most progressive in the region. They also point to the country’s constitution as giving them the freedom to legally regulate personal status within the Shiite Muslim community. “The idea of the law is that each religion regulates and organizes its personal status depending on what it believes,” said Ammar Toma, a Shiite MP from the Fadhila party which is the bill’s principal backer. Toma said the law would modernize age-old practices of looking to local leaders for rulings on marital disputes, arguing that “instead of keeping the matters of marriage in that old style, the law moves the issues to state institutions and brings a system of modernity.” Women’s dignity, rights Justice Minister Hassan al-Shammari, also a

member of Fadhila, has meanwhile argued that the law contains other articles which provide “basic guarantees for maintaining women’s dignity and rights”. The fierce debate may, however, turn out to be moot, with analysts predicting that the bill is unlikely to be passed before legislative elections next month, if at all. Indeed, according to a senior government official who declined to be named, one of the main reasons it was endorsed by cabinet was because Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, a Shiite, did not want to be criticized for failing to back a demand from within the majority community ahead of the polls. Maliki could also be looking to leave open the possibility of a post-election alliance between his State of Law coalition and Fadhila, as no single party is expected to win a majority in parliament on its own. “There is a political dimension to this draft,” said Ihsan AlShammari, a professor of politics at Baghdad University. “Everyone is looking to win votes and wants to appeal to their base,” he said. “Submitting this bill-at this moment-is for political and electoral reasons.” — AFP

Serbia nets alleged Balkan drug boss BELGRADE: Alleged Balkan drug boss Darko Saric, one of the most wanted figures in the crime-riddled region, surrendered to Serbian police yesterday as a dragnet involving the CIA closed in on him in Latin America, Serbian authorities said. Serbia’s government said the 43-year-old had set no conditions for his surrender, other than to see his wife, son and daughter for 30 minutes at Podgorica airport in neighboring Montenegro en route from an unspecified third country to Belgrade. Saric, a Serbian citizen of Montenegrin origin, faces 13 indictments including the trafficking of 5.7 tons of cocaine from South America to Europe and laundering of 22 million euros in Serbia. After almost five years on the run, Serbia said it had located Saric moving within four Latin American countries and that, having realised his arrest may be imminent, he had offered to surrender. “On February 24, his lawyer contacted the Serbian government and offered his unconditional surrender, which we accepted,” Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic told a televised cabinet session. He said Serbian and Montenegrin security officers had been in the third country, and that Saric was escorted to Montenegro and then on to Belgrade. “Our huge efforts have borne fruit,” Vucic said, adding that particular gratitude was owed to the CIA. Television pictures showed a handcuffed Saric emerging from a Serbian plane in Belgrade in jeans and a white shirt and stepping into a police vehicle. The breakthrough came two days

BELGRADE: Darko Saric is escorted from a government jet, in Belgrade, Serbia, following his arrest in Montenegro. — AP after a parliamentary election won in heading to western Europe. All former Yugoslav republics have a landslide by Vucic’s centre-right Progressive Party thanks, in large since set their sights on joining the part, to Vucic’s role as leader of a pop- European Union, alongside members ular campaign against crime and cor- Slovenia and Croatia, and face presruption. It follows the arrest last year sure to tackle organized crime as a in Serbia’s former Kosovo province of condition of integration. Police first Naser Kelmendi, blacklisted by the accused Saric of being a narco-boss United States on suspicion of traffick- after more than two tons of cocaine was seized in 2009 on a boat off the ing drugs to Europe. Organized crime flourished during Uruguayan coast in an international the Balkan wars in the 1990s as social- police operation codenamed Balkan ist Yugoslavia fell apart, spawning Warrior. Serbian authorities have sophisticated crime networks that since issued the 13 indictments exploited poorly policed borders, a against him and seized millions of glut of cheap firearms and a political euros wor th of assets, including and security establishment riddled apartments, hotels and businesses. with corruption. The region is a well- Saric has not commented on the alleknown transit route for illicit drugs gations. — Reuters

Somali Islamists attack hotel in central region MOGADISHU: Somali Islamist militants drove a car bomb at a hotel in a town in central Somalia that was being used by African Union and Somali military forces, a resident and the militant group said. The Al-Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab movement said its raid on Monday claimed many lives, but poor communications in that region made it difficult to verify numbers. The insurgent strike followed an attack on a military convoy near the capital Mogadishu, also on Monday, which killed four Somali soldiers, an army captain said. Somalia’s African Union peacekeeping force AMISOM, now bigger after Ethiopian troops joined this year, has launched an offensive to clear territory still held by Al Shabaab. The Islamists have responded with more guerrilla assaults and have threatened attacks on contributors to the African force, such as Kenya and Uganda. Both those nations have warned of threats and

Kenya detained two would-be bombers this week. Hussein Nur, a resident in Somalia’s central Bulobarde town, said a car bomb exploded late on Monday at the Camalow hotel, then troops and militants fought for several hours. His line cut before he could provide further details. AMISOM could not immediately be reached for comment. “First, a mujahid (holy warrior) with a car bomb entered the hotel, followed by two well-armed fighters who sprayed bullets,” said Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, Al Shabaab’s military operation spokesman said yesterday. He said 32 soldiers were killed. In the past, al Shabaab has exaggerated numbers while officials have downplayed losses. Al Shabaab, which is seeking to impose its version of Islamic law, was driven out of bases in the capital more than two years ago, but has continued to control swathes of countryside and smaller towns, which it uses as launchpads to strike. —Reuters



Qaeda suspect nabbed near US-Canada border Muslim convert heading for Syrian Jihad

KHOGYANI: Afghan security personnel present a burqa-clad resident they say is a Taleban fighter to the media at the Afghan National Army headquarters in Khogyani District near Jalalabad yesterday. — AFP

Suicide attack kills 16 in north Afghanistan MAZAR-I-SHARIF: A suicide bomber killed at least 16 people at a crowded market in northern Afghanistan yesterday, officials said, despite a tightening of security for presidential elections less than three weeks away. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack in Maimanah city, the capital of remote Faryab province which borders Turkmenistan and has a mixed population of Uzbek, Turkmen and Pashtun ethnic groups. A week ago Taleban insurgent leaders vowed to target the presidential election, urging their fighters to attack polling staff, voters and security forces before the April 5 vote to choose a successor to Hamid Karzai. “It was a suicide bombing in the middle of Maimanah city during the Tuesday bazaar,” provincial governor Mohammadullah Batash said. “The blast happened on the main roundabout, which was very crowded. The bomber used a three-wheeler packed with explosives.” Abdul Ali Haleem, the provincial health director, said 16 people had died and 40 were treated for injuries, among them a pregnant woman and two children aged six and seven. Northern Afghanistan is generally more peaceful than the south and east but Islamist insurgents, rival militias and criminal gangs are active in some districts. Six Afghan employees of the aid group ACTED working on rural development projects were shot dead in Faryab in December by suspected Taleban gunmen. Rising poll violence The United Nations envoy to Kabul warned on Monday that election-related violence was on the rise in Afghanistan, where NATO combat troops are withdrawing after 13 years of fighting a fierce Islamist insurgency. “Security will have a major impact on these polls,” Jan Kubis said in an address to the UN Security

Council in New York, adding he was “gravely disturbed” by the Taleban threat to unleash “a campaign of terror”. Previous Afghan elections have been badly marred by violence, with 31 civilians and 26 soldiers and police killed on polling day alone in 2009 as the Islamist militants demonstrated their opposition to the USbacked polls. Another bloodstained election would damage claims by international donors that the hugely expensive military and civilian intervention since 2001 has made progress in establishing a functioning state system. Karzai, who is barred from serving a third term in office, has consistently said Afghanistan will hold a safe and clean election, despite previous violence and allegations of massive fraud when he won the last poll five years ago. “We should try our best for a transparent, free and secure election,” he told parliament on Saturday. Yesterday he condemned the Faryab bombing as a “terrorist attack” plotted by foreigners. The election front-runners are Abdullah Abdullah, who came second in 2009, former foreign minister Zalmai Rassoul and former World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani. Unidentified men shot dead two of Abdullah’s aides in the western city of Herat in early February. The next president will face a testing new era as the Afghan army and police take on the Taleban without the assistance of 53,000 NATO combat troops. Karzai yesterday nominated Yunus Qanooni to replace VicePresident Marshal Mohammad Qasim Fahim, who died 10 days ago of natural causes. Qanooni, like the late Fahim, is an ethnic Tajik, and he may play a key role in deal-making after the election results. Rassoul and Ghani are seen as competing for the Pashtun vote, which is the largest ethnic bloc, while Abdullah draws widespread Tajik support. — AFP

Vietnam, Japan boost strategic partnership KUWAIT: President Truong Tan Sang of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is on a state-level visit to Japan - an important strategic partner of Hanoi in the Northeastern Asia region (from 16/3 to 19/3/2014). This historic visit is made right after the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relation between the two countries, profoundly consolidating the friendship between the two peoples who have many cultural, historical and social commonalities. Despite the fact that the official diplomatic relation have just been 40 years long, the historical connections the two nations was initiated in the 8th century. During the 16th 17th centuries and especially in the first decades of the 20th century, the trading, cultural and political interactions had contributed significantly to Vietnam - Japan relation. That fact has become a crucial basis for the sound development of the relation between the two countries nowadays. After four decades, the economic and trading relations between Hanoi and Tokyo have appeared to be the field that most dynamically developed. Japan remains to be the biggest ODA and FDI provider to Vietnam and recently became the third biggest trading partner of Vietnam. Meanwhile, Japan stands among the best destinations for the Vietnamese oversea students, trainees and apprentice. While the bilateral relation felt into a decline of friendliness from 1979 to 1991 due to the misunderstanding regarding some regional issues, the two nations have now

indeed reached a much deeper trust, and consented to establish the “Strategic Partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia”. Multilateral forums such as those in the UN, APEC, IPU, EAS, ARF, ADMM Plus... have improved the mutual understanding and trust between the two nations, as well as consolidating their positions on regional and international stages. It is the mutual understanding and trust that cement the two strategic partners. Vietnam, with a history of defeating many empires in the world, now has become an active nation, which quickly got up from the ruins of war and obtained many achievements to create its own place and role among the international community. Japan, similarly, is a country which has always come back strongly after each severe suffering and unyieldingly overcome any hardship to move ahead. These commonalities, along with the mutual trust and the commitments from the leaders of the both sides, are making hopes among the international community about an Asia of prosperity and peace. The statement by President Truong Tan Sang in front of Japan’s Parliament, “Being innovative and creative to get adapted to a changing world is the indispensible choice of all nations and peoples, and Japan and Vietnam are not of exception. Vietnam welcomes and continues to trust in the success of Japan”, expresses Vietnam’s strong commitment of engaging to its strategic partner in this eventful Asia.

High court weighs judge’s bias in Arizona death case WASHINGTON: A dispute between an Arizona judge and the man she sentenced to death for killing a librarian has been on the agenda at each of the 15 private meetings Supreme Court justices have held since late September to consider new cases. It’s not clear why the court so far has been unable to decide what to do with the case of convicted killer Richard Hurles and his claim that Judge Ruth Hilliard was biased against him and should not have presided over his trial or sentencing. The dispute’s roots are in the judge’s denial of a second lawyer to help in Hurles’ capital defense and her defense of that ruling in subsequent judicial proceedings. The case is again before the justices for their scheduled meeting Friday. A jury convicted Hurles and Hilliard sentenced him to death for killing librarian Kay Blanton in Buckeye, Ariz, just west of Phoenix, in 1992. Hurles attempted to rape Blanton, stabbed her 37 times and kicked her so hard it tore her liver, the jury found. Arizona courts and a federal trial judge upheld Hurles’ death sentence. But then a panel of federal appellate judges sided with Hurles by a 2-1 vote and ordered a lower court to evaluate whether Hilliard’s actions before the trial showed she could not fairly preside in the case. The decision by the panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco was written by Judge Dorothy Nelson and joined by Judge Harry Pregerson, both appointees of President Jimmy Carter. Judge Sandra Ikuta, an appointee of President George W. Bush, wrote a lengthy dissent. The 9th Circuit has a history of questioning death sentences, and the Supreme Court has a history of chastising the circuit for second-guessing state trial and appellate courts. But until the justices render a decision, it is impossible to know what has triggered their interest and caused the delay. Hilliard’s decision to deny Hurles a second court-appointed lawyer triggered legal wrangling that led to court filings in the judge’s name defending her actions. Hurles’ lawyers said the documents, along with improper communication between the judge and the attorney general’s office, raised questions about her impartiality. “As a result, Hurles was sentenced to death, not by a

neutral arbiter, but by an adversary,” the lawyers said. The state said the appeals court should have deferred to the prior court ruling. Hilliard has since retired from the bench. She declined to comment on the case. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was still celebrating her 81st birthday Saturday when a prominent liberal legal scholar issued the newest call for her retirement. Writing on the Los Angeles Times website, Erwin Chemerinsky looked at the potential for Republicans winning control of the Senate in the November elections and said only Ginsburg’s prompt retirement when the court finishes its business in early summer can “ensure that a Democratic president will be able to choose a successor who shares her views and values.” Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California at Irvine law school, said the stakes are immense and voiced fears a new Republican majority might refuse to confirm any nominee if Ginsburg waits until next year. A GOPled Senate might prefer to take a chance on a Republican winning the presidency in 2016, he said. Ginsburg’s retirement this year would give President Barack Obama time to name her replacement with Democrats running the Senate and likely to vote for confirmation, he said. “A great deal turns on who picks Ginsburg’s successor,” Chemerinsky said. A new conservative justice in Ginsburg’s place would threaten abortion rights, gay marriage and the health care law, among other issues on which the court has been split along ideological lines, he said. For the same reasons, Chemerinsky said Justice Stephen Breyer, just shy of his 76th birthday, also should consider retirement. If you think you’ve heard this before, you’re right. In 2011, Harvard Law School’s Randall Kennedy looked ahead to a possible Obama defeat in 2012 and said the only way to forestall disaster for liberals was for Ginsburg and Breyer to retire with enough time for Obama to appoint their successors. Ginsburg has spoken often on this topic. In her most recent comments last summer, she said she will do the job as long as she feels up to it. She said she was in good health, and showing no effects from earlier bouts with colorectal and pancreatic cancer. —AP

SEATTLE: A California man who prosecutors say was on his way to Syria to join an Al-Qaeda splinter group was arrested on Monday near the US-Canada border in Washington state on a terrorism charge, federal officials said. The US Department of Justice said in a statement that 20-year-old Nicholas Teausant, an American-born convert to Islam, had planned to cross into Canada and travel on to Syria to join Islamist militants. A criminal complaint outlining the accusations against Teausant said he wanted to join an Al-Qaeda splinter group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which it said was also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. “My designs have me staying there (in Syria) and being on every news station in the world,” the criminal complaint quoted Teausant as telling a paid FBI informant last month. “I’m going to be a commander and I’m going to be on the front of every single newspaper in the country,” he said. “Like I want my face on FBI’s top 12 most wanted. Because that means I’m doing something right.” The complaint said Teausant planned to join the group to engage in jihad, or Islamic holy struggle, and to fight the Western-backed Free Syrian Army, which is battling the government of President Bashar Al-Assad in Syria’s civil war. ISIL, a small but powerful force that emerged from the Sunni Islamist insurgency in neighboring Iraq and has attracted many foreign militants to its ranks, opposes the Assad government but has also fought rival rebel factions. Teausant also spoke of wanting to target the subway system in Los Angeles on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, according to the US complaint, but discontinued his involvement over fears authorities had caught wind of it. Teausant was arrested near the border in Blaine, Washington, on a charge of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. He faces a maximum of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted. American convert He joins a small number of American converts to Islam who have been accused of taking up arms, or attempting to do so, in the name of religion. Among the most famous of those was John Walker Lindh, who was captured in Afghanistan and has been in a US prison since 2002 for aiding the Taleban. Still, the phenomenon of Islamic converts turning to militancy is relatively rare, particularly in the United States where the Muslim population is more integrated than in many parts of Europe, said David Rapoport, a retired political science professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. “My impression is that when you have a convert who seems to suddenly decide he’s going to fight, he was likely hostile from the start,” said Rapoport, also co-editor of Terrorism and Political Violence, an academic journal. Teausant showed little emotion in a brief court appearance in Seattle on Monday as his lawyer asked that his case be transferred to California, a request granted by the judge. Teausant was ordered to remain in custody pending his transfer to California. A student at San Joaquin Delta Community College in Stockton, California, Teausant was also a member of the US Army National Guard, enlisting in 2012. But as of December, he was in the process of being released from the National Guard, where he held the rank of private, because he “did not meet the minimum qualifications to continue,” according to the

complaint. He had not gone through basic US combat training. Teausant told the FBI informant that he had training in marksmanship, mapping and physical agility, and that he had a “very serious military side.” He also told the informant that he doesn’t “get squirmy” at the sight of blood and at one point said he would kill his mother, whom he described as a nonbeliever, if she interfered with his plans. When the informant told him that if he decided not to proceed with his plans, the pair could still be friends, Teausant said he had made up his mind, according to the complaint. “I prayed about it like you said. My resolve is pretty clean cut,” the complaint quoted Teausant as saying.— Reuters

Venezuelan unrest death toll mounts CARACAS: A Venezuela National Guard captain died on Monday after being shot in the head during a demonstration, the military said, the 29th fatality in six weeks of clashes between protesters and security forces. General Padrino Lopez, head of the armed forces’ strategic operational command, said the captain was shot late on Sunday at a street barricade set up by demonstrators in the central city of Maracay, in Aragua state. “He was another victim of terrorist violence,” Lopez said on Twitter, calling for an end to the confrontations. “Our armed forces don’t repress peaceful protests, they protect them.” Since early February, students and hardline opposition leaders have been calling supporters onto the streets to protest against President Nicolas Maduro and his socialist government. The demonstrators are demanding political change and an end to high inflation, shortages of basic foods and one of the worst rates of violent crime in the world. The protests, however, show no signs of toppling Maduro, a 51-year-old former bus driver who narrowly won an election in April 2013 to replace his late friend and mentor, Hugo Chavez. Tareck El Aissami, governor of Aragua state and a member of the ruling Socialist Party, said authorities arrested a “Chinese mercenary” near where the National Guard captain was killed. Aissami said an “arsenal” was found in the man’s home, and showed video of hundreds of rounds of different calibers. He gave the man’s Venezuelan identity card number, but did not elaborate further. The government has often talked of alleged assassination plans, but rarely provides many details. In the western border state of Tachira, which has been hardest hit by the violence, residents rebuilt some barricades overnight on streets that the authorities had cleared. In Puerto Ordaz, in the south of the country, Reuters witnesses said riot police clashed with hundreds of students. At least two government-owned vehicles were burnt by protesters.—Reuters



Submit or leave: Ukrainian soldiers under siege

KHERSON: A Ukrainian border guard patrols the road on the administrative border of Crimea and Ukraine not far the village of Strilkove in the Kherson region. —AFP

PEREVALNE: Russian soldiers dig trenches and set up mortars on a hillside overlooking the Ukrainian military base of Perevalne in Crimea. Inside, soldiers loyal to Kiev are facing a painful dilemma-desert and submit to the new authorities or leave the peninsula. Crimea’s separatist parliament this week ordered the “dissolution” of these military units in Crimea as part of a declared nationalization of Ukrainian state property. The bases have been under siege since February from pro-Russian civilians and thousands of Russian soldiers without national insignia. Crimea’s parliament speaker Volodymyr Konstantynov has ordered the Ukrainian military to “serve in Crimea and swear allegiance to the republic or continue to serve outside the borders of Crimea in the Ukrainian army”. Thousands of Ukrainian military are based on the peninsula-Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday estimated their number at 22,000 — who have been forced to watch listlessly as Russian forces cement their siege. Ukrainian authorities on Monday reiterated there was no question of their troops leaving the peninsula but have excluded the

possibility of attacking the Russian forces. Reports of an agreement between Russian and Ukrainian commanders on the partial lifting of the siege until Friday to allow supplies did not appear to be reflected on the ground in Perevalne-a base 25 kilometers south of Crimea’s main city, Simferopol. Outside the gates, around 15 Russian soldiers in camouflage could be seen near an armored personnel carrier, lines of barbed wire and cement blocks to prevent access. The siege has been getting more organized by the day-with heated tents, toilets and transmission equipment now set up near the base. Defend without shooting Pro-Russian civilians in front of the gates were more aggressive than ever, insulting and threatening foreign journalists and trying to take a camera from an AFP reporter. Three Ukrainian soldiers observed the scene. At the immense base of Sevastopol, home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, just two ships are flying the blue and yellow colors of Ukrainecompared with around 20 Russian flags. The Ukrainian ships have distanced themselves

from the dockside to make an assault more difficult, and three marines with bulletproof vests and helmets could be seen standing guard. Russian vessels and giant cisterns linked by chains block access to the port. “We are prisoners of the political situation and of the port,” said Pavlo, an officer. “Until the politicians decide the situation between themselves, we will be hostages here,” he said, explaining that he had been ordered to defend the ship without firing a shot. “We have an agreement with the Russians that everything stays calm until March 21, and after that as well I hope,” he said. “After that we don’t know, only Moscow and Kiev know. We’re here, we’re not getting off the ship. We’re military men, we’re waiting for our orders,” he said. In Sevastopol and Simferopol, special offices have been set up inside the recruitment centers of the Ukrainian army-now under Crimean controlfor the soldiers and sailors of Kiev who want to defect. A day after the referendum, Crimea’s prime minister Sergiy Aksyonov said that 500 Ukrainian military in Sevastopol had already joined Crimea’s forces-soon to be the Russian army. —AFP

Putin defies sanctions, moves to take Crimea Ukraine PM offers reassurance on NATO, militias MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin, defying Ukrainian protests and Western sanctions, told parliament yesterday that Russia will move forward with procedures to annex Ukraine’s Crimean region. Putin signed an order “to approve the draft treaty between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Crimea on adopting the Republic of Crimea into the Russian Federation”. The order indicated the president would sign the treaty with Crimea’s Russian-installed leader, who is in Moscow to request incorporation into Russia, but it gave no date. The move followed a disputed referendum in Crimea on Sunday,

Russians. Russian politicians dismissed the sanctions as insignificant and a badge of honor. The State Duma, or lower house, adopted a statement urging Washington and Brussels to extend the visa ban and asset freeze to all its members. Leonid Slutsky, one of the lawmakers on the sanctions list, hailed Crimea’s decision as historic. “Today we see justice and truth reborn,” he said. Japan joined the mild Western sanctions yesterday, announcing the suspension of talks with Russia on investment promotion and visa liberalization. Putin was to address a special joint session of the Russian parliament on the Crimea issue yes-

Russia’s state property agency said it may postpone major privatization deals until the second half of the year. US President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on 11 Russians and Ukrainians blamed for the military seizure of Crimea, including Yanukovich, and Vladislav Surkov and Sergei Glazyev, two aides to Putin. Putin himself, suspected in the West of trying to resurrect as much as possible of the former Soviet Union under Russian leadership, was not on the blacklist. Amid fears that Russia might move into eastern Ukraine, Obama warned that “further provocations” would

MOSCOW: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (2nd right), Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov (left), Crimean parliament speaker Vladimir Konstantinov (2nd left) and Alexei Chaly, Sevastopol’s new de facto mayor (right), join hands after signing a treaty on the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula becoming part of Russia in the Kremlin yesterday. —AFP staged under Russian military occupation, in which a Soviet-style 97 percent of voters were declared to have voted to return to Russian rule, after 60 years as part of Ukraine. By pressing ahead with steps to dismember Ukraine against its will, Putin raised the stakes in the most serious East-West crisis since the end of the Cold War. But Ukraine’s interim prime minister, Arseniy Yatseniuk, sought to reassure Moscow on two key areas of concern, saying in a televised address delivered in Russian that Kiev was not seeking to join NATO, the US-led military alliance, and would act to disarm Ukrainian nationalist militias. On Monday, the United States and the European Union imposed personal sanctions on a handful of officials from Russia and Ukraine accused of involvement in Moscow’s military seizure of the Black Sea peninsula, most of whose 2 million residents are ethnic

terday. Russian forces took control of Crimea in late February following the toppling of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich after deadly clashes between riot police and protesters trying to overturn his decision to spurn a trade and cooperation deal with the EU and seek closer ties with Russia. Sanctions Despite strongly worded condemnations of the Crimean referendum, Western nations were cautious in their first practical steps against Moscow, seeking to leave the door open for a diplomatic solution. Russian stocks and the rouble rallied strongly on Monday as investors noted the initial sanctions did not target businesses or executives. But shares gave up early gains yesterday and the rouble fell 0.6 percent against the dollar and the euro. In a sign of the negative impact of the crisis on the investment climate,

only increase Russia’s isolation and exact a greater toll on its economy. A senior US official said Obama’s order cleared the way to sanction people associated with the arms industry and to target “the personal wealth of cronies” of the Russian leadership. EU foreign ministers agreed to subject 21 Russian and Ukrainian officials to visa restrictions and asset freezes. There were only three names in common on the US and European lists - Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov, Crimean parliament Speaker Vladimir Konstantinov and Slutsky, chairman of the Duma’s committee on the Russian-led Commonwealth of Independent States, or CIS, grouping former Soviet republics. The US list targeted higher-profile Russian officials close to Putin while the EU went for mid-ranking officials and military commanders more directly involved on the ground. Washington

and Brussels said more measures could follow in the coming days if Russia formally annexes Crimea. The EU also said its leaders would sign the political part of an association agreement with Ukraine on Friday, in a gesture of support for the fragile coalition brought to power by last month’s uprising. The accord does not include any commitment to eventual EU membership, on which the bloc’s members are divided. Highlighting rifts in the EU, member state Austria offered yesterday to mediate between Moscow and the West. Chancellor Werner Faymann said Vienna’s military neutrality made it an “honest broker”, while Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said he felt understanding for both sides in the conflict. Moscow time Putin has declared that Russia has the right to defend, by military force if necessary, Russian citizens and Russian speakers living in former Soviet republics, raising concerns that Moscow may intervene elsewhere. Putin has repeatedly accused the new leadership in Kiev of failing to protect Russian-speakers from violent Ukrainian nationalists. Ukraine’s government has accused Moscow of staging provocations in Russian-speaking regions of eastern Ukraine to justify military intervention. In a symbolic gesture, Askyonov announced on Twitter that Crimea would switch to Moscow time from March 30, putting it two hours ahead of the rest of Ukraine. In the Crimean capital Simferopol, the local government and businesses set about preparing for the switch to Russian rule. Members of volunteer security groups, who had helped local police and Russian forces keep order in the referendum run-up, handed in their red armbands on the central Lenin Square, where a statue of the founder of the Soviet Union still stands. Banks scrambled to introduce the rouble as an official currency alongside the Ukrainian hryvnia, although the switch could take place at the end of the month after March pensions and salaries are cleared, banking sources said. Members of the pan-European Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe were meeting again in Vienna to discuss the prospects for sending a monitoring mission to Ukraine. An OSCE spokeswoman tweeted that there was no consensus yet, and all 57 members would have to agree on a detailed mandate. Diplomats said Russia had been blocking this. One said Moscow wanted any reference to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine removed from the text. —Reuters

Biden in East Europe to reassure US allies WARSAW: US Vice President Joe Biden landed in Warsaw yesterday on a mission to reassure allies in eastern Europe that Washington understands their anxieties about Russia’s actions in Ukraine and will protect them if needed, officials said. The countries have become increasingly nervous that they could be next in line to face aggression from Russia after President Vladimir Putin’s interventions to annex Ukraine’s Crimea region. On the two-day mission, Biden plans to discuss ways to help the region become less dependent on Russian oil and gas and limit Moscow’s ability to use its energy supplies for political leverage, a senior administration official said. He will also talk about new ways NATO and the United States could support their allies, building on US participation last week in war games in Poland and increased fighter jet patrols in the Baltics. “He

will be talking about further steps that the United States can take and that NATO can take as an alliance to further ensure the security of Poland and the Baltics and other NATO alliances,” the official told reporters travelling with Biden. “They’ll discuss energy security, and including in that, longterm diversification of energy supply, so that energy can’t be used as a political tool,” the official said, citing shale gas and nuclear power as two areas for discussion. The United States is poised to become a major exporter of liquefied natural gas in coming years, making inroads into a market that Russia currently dominates. Natural gas importers from around the world have urged the Obama administration to speed up approvals of additional export facilities so they can become less reliant on Russia. Yesterday,

Biden is scheduled to meet with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and President Bronislaw Komorowski. He will also hold talks with Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who is in Warsaw on an official visit. Today in Vilnius, Biden will meet with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite and Latvian President Andris Berzins. NATO’s top military commander, US Air Force General Philip Breedlove, also is slated to meet with chiefs of defence in central and eastern Europe to discuss security issues this week, the official said. Biden’s trip will serve to underscore to the leaders, as well as to countries like the Czech Republic and Hungary, that “we’ve got their back,” said Julianne Smith, a former deputy national security adviser to Biden, in an interview before the trip. The message is also aimed partly at Russia. —Reuters

SIMFEROPOL: The mother and wife of Reshat Ametov follow the coffin of Reshat Ametov during his funeral ceremony in Simferopol yesterday. Crimean Tatar Reshat Ametov, who had been protesting against Russian troops in the Black Sea peninsula has been found dead, days after he was seen being hauled away by men in military-style jackets. —AFP

Crimean Tatars fret BELOGORSK: Among the voices drowned out by victory celebrations across Crimea as it voted to leave Ukraine and join Russia were those of the Tatars, a minority group for whom the prospect of a return to Moscow rule brings only fear and uncertainty. The Sunni Muslims, who are of Turkic origin, consider Crimea their home, and their deportation to Central Asia by Soviet forces during World War Two and earlier suppression by Josef Stalin meant they were far more comfortable with Ukraine. Now they face being dragged into modern-day Russia against their will, despite their boycott of Sunday’s referendum in which 97 percent of voters in the Russian-majority region were said to have rejected Kiev. Tatars account for 12 percent of the Black Sea peninsula’s population of two million people and their protest was not enough to change the outcome of a vote that has brought East-West relations to their lowest ebb since the Cold War. “Why do I not want to be a part of Russia?” asked Mustafa Asaba, a regional leader of Crimean Tatars. “Russia’s government is unpredictable, because at its head sits a dictator,” he said, referring to President Vladimir Putin who has masterminded the annexation of Crimea and alarmed Europe and the United States in the process. Asaba, wearing a traditional black wool hat, said he feared pro-Russian agitators in Crimea would resort to “provocation” to chip away at Tatars’ identity, by curtailing their language, culture and religion. “We have always enjoyed freedom of expression ... and I think that if they oppress us, we will resist,” he told Reuters at a friend’s home in the windswept town of Belogorsk, 50 km east of the Crimean capital Simferopol. “There will be trials and prisons. Nothing good will come of it.” The stocky 58-year-old was born in Uzbekistan, where his family was banished in the 1944 deportation - punishment for Tatars who joined special Nazi units and fought the Soviets. Many also served in the Red Army, but when Soviet troops retook the Black Sea peninsula, Stalin punished the entire Tatar population by loading them into railway cattle cars to spend a life in exile. Many died from disease or starvation, and Tatars were only allowed back to Crimea in the 1980s under Mikhail Gorbachev. Hard times Crimean Tatars, who have not been afraid to express their views during the crisis, draw on the hardships of the past to steel themselves for what they expect will be hard times ahead. “If the worst-case scenario comes about (joining Russia) - and we still hope it will not happen - I think our people have been through worse times, including deportation and living under curfew in Uzbekistan,” Asaba said. He believed only a small number of Tatars would leave Crimea now that it looks destined to become part of Russia - a process that has yet to be formally completed. “I think 95 percent of Tatars will stay here under whatever conditions, because Crimea is our homeland. There is no other.” The brave face cannot hide genuine fear among Tatars that Russian rule could mean cur-

tailed freedoms. In a shop at the end of a potholed, dirt road in Belogorsk lined with modest bungalows, manager Niyara, who did not want to give her surname, said people had been stockpiling food. “People are really worried,” she said. “I have a child, and I myself am scared.” Niyara fears that Russian Crimeans may now try to seize back property from Tatars that they believe is theirs. “A lot of our houses are unregistered, and Russian regulations on that kind of thing are very, very strict.” Crimea has been under the control of Russian troops for weeks, since Moscow sent in thousands of soldiers ostensibly to protect Russians against what it says are “fascists” in Kiev who overthrew the Moscow-backed President Viktor Yanukovich. Ukraine’s interim government and Western leaders dismiss that justification as nonsense. The military buildup, and formation of unarmed volunteer groups who have taken on low-level security tasks, coincides with an increase in physical and verbal threats against Tatars. Like Tatars, Russian nationalists have long memories, and recall to this day that the Crimean Khanate which Tatars ruled from the 15th to the 18th century was notorious for enslaving Christian Slavs and selling them on in the Ottoman Empire. The sizeable Tatar community in Belogorsk has organized unarmed patrols to check for military hardware stationed in the area or anything unusual that may pose a danger. Refat Chubarov, a Crimean Tatar leader who led the campaign to boycott the referendum, told reporters on Monday that the fate of several dozen Tatars remained unknown after they had disappeared in the last week. Disappearances in Crimea in the last month have also been reported among human rights activists, individuals linked to the “Maidan” protests in Kiev that toppled Yanukovich and journalists. The body of one Tatar in his 30s, named by Chubarov as Reshat Ametov, was found this week after he disappeared on March 3, and Chubarov said he had died violently. His funeral will be held on Tuesday. Authorities reach out Crimea’s pro-Russian authorities have said they will guarantee Tatar representation in the local government and give the community proper land ownership rights and financial aid. Both Chubarov and Asaba have also discussed establishing some form of autonomy for Tatars in Crimea, although the talks are in their infancy. Sergei Aksyonov, the leader of Crimea’s separatist authorities whose election Kiev does not recognize, said in a recent interview that money available to Tatars would be doubled this year. “There are no ethnic or religious conflicts and we will never allow that,” Aksyonov said. Unsurprisingly, Tatars regard Aksyonov with deep suspicion. “Aksyonov is unreliable, he’s a separatist,” said Lenura Asanova, an elderly Tatar woman in Belogorsk. “Russia stands behind him.” Asaba warned Putin that his aggressive move on Crimea could backfire. “In five years’ time, the same Maidan will happen in Russia,” he said. “That is why he is afraid. A year ago no-one thought anyone could overthrow Viktor Yanukovich. No-one.” —Reuters



Secretive Beijing demands transparency over missing jet BEIJING: China’s strident calls for Malaysia to divulge all it knows about flight MH370 are in stark contrast to its own history of secretiveness when calamities have struck, such as after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, ana-

lysts say. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday asked Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to provide details about the missing flight “in a timely, accurate and comprehensive manner”, the official Xinhua news

agency reported. The call followed more than a week’s worth of scathing editorials in China’s state-run media demanding greater openness from Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia Airlines. “Unless transparency is ensured, the

AT SEA: A China coast guard vessel numbered 2506 (top) sails along the Japan coast guard ship Katori in the continuous zone of Japan’s territorial waters off the disputed East China Sea islands called Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyutai in Chinese. A big problem for China is its bad blood with virtually all of its neighbors, many of whom are key players in the search of missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777. —AP

huge international search operation can never be as fruitful as we hope and expect,” Xinhua wrote in one of several commentaries. “When faced with catastrophe, honesty is human beings’ best solution to finding a chance to prevent tragedies happening again,” Xinhua continued. But when foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei confirmed Tuesday that Beijing had begun searching for the missing plane in Chinese territoryafter stonewalling 24 hours earlier-he declined to give details. When did China begin searching its own territory? Which government agencies were involved? Were any searches being conducted in the restive western regions of Tibet and Xinjiang, where satellite data suggests the aircraft could have flown? Hong responded only that “in accordance with the request of the Malaysian side, we have mobilized satellites and radar for search in the northern corridor inside the territory of China”. Similarly, China’s ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang told Xinhua that inquiries had found no evidence of terrorist intent among the 153 Chinese passengers on board. But Huang declined to go any further, noting that since a criminal investigation was underway, “the probe into the incident’s cause is not

suitable to be conducted in a highprofile way”. Controlling information Chinese media have been instructed to follow Xinhua’s lead in reporting the incident, according to insiders-a regular occurrence. The International Federation of Journalists said in a statement: “It is deeply regrettable that Chinese authorities continue to use methods such as these to control the flow of muchneeded information, particularly for those desperately awaiting updates on the investigation.” Even when Beijing last week released satellite photographs of three floating objects it said could have been related to the missing flight, the move was met with scepticism, as authorities offered no explanation for the images being made public three days after being taken. Beijing’s reticence is not surprising, analysts say, noting that for the countries taking part in the search, geopolitical sensitivities are as much at play as humanitarian considerations. The initial operations in the South China Sea were “a peacetime test of many of the military functions that would be critical in the event of a conflict”, James Brown, a military fellow at the Lowy Institute for

Malaysia under scrutiny Missing plane mystery drags on KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia vehemently denies mishandling crucial information on the fate of missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370, but questions persist as to whether early missteps and secrecy contributed to the disappearance of a huge passenger plane on a clear night. Foreign media reports, especially those in China’s state media, have accused the Malaysian authorities of incompetence, misleading the public and exacerbating the suffering of the relatives of those missing. Twothirds of the passengers on the Boeing-777 that effectively vanished 11 days ago were Chinese nationals. The Malaysian government has pleaded for patience and understanding, arguing it has no choice but to hold back information that has not been painstakingly verified. Critics say the lack of progress in the search for the plane is symptomatic of an inefficient ruling elite unused to tough questioning. “The Malaysian leadership is not used to being held to account on anything,” Michael Barr, an Asian politics expert at Flinders University in Australia said. “They are more used to controlling the press and silencing critics,” he said. The authoritarian Barisan Nasional government has been in power since independence from colonial rulers Britain in 1957.It has overseen decades of growth that have seen Malaysia emerge as Southeast Asia’s third largest economy, posting a healthy GDP expansion of 4.7 percent last year. But analysts say unchallenged power has also bred apathy and inefficiency. The stumbles over the missing plane search show that the government “lacks the ability to handle many technical matters with assurance and to communicate its purposes globally with clarity and agility,” said Clive

Kessler, emeritus professor of sociology and anthropology at the University of New South Wales. Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim who, along with right groups, has routinely accused the government of civil liberties abuses and corruption, was even more scathing. “The mysterious disappearance of MH370 reflects not only an incompetent regime ruling the country but an irresponsible government,” Anwar told AFP. He was speaking in response to speculation that the captain of this airliner-a member of Anwar’s party-may have been driven by political motives to

sabotage the plane. Anwar said he was “disgusted” by what he saw as an attempt to smear the pilot, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, and somehow implicate the opposition leadership in the March 8 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Military gaffe? Among the most glaring questions being asked is why the Malaysian military failed to react to the aircraft re-routing across the Malay peninsula shortly after it dropped out of civilian radar contact. Malaysian officials said military radars had picked up the plane-travelling unidentified on

an unscheduled route — but no action was taken as it did not appear “hostile”. They also said it had taken time to verify that the radar blip being tracked was indeed MH370 because its main automated signalling systems had been disabled. The military “clearly knew more about what happened to MH370 than any other Malaysian agency,” said David Learmount, safety and operations editor of aviation industry magazine Flightglobal. “But the authorities do not seem to have tapped into this expertise, and the military may have been slow to volunteer it.” Daily press briefings by

MANILA: An armed US marine patrols next to seahawk helicopters on the deck of 7th Fleet command ship, USS Blue Ridge shortly after arriving at the international port in Manila yesterday. US vice admiral Robert Thomas Jr (not pictured) commander of the Seventh Fleet told reporters, the US has sent a P-8 Poseidon plane and P-3C Orion surveillance plane as the search for the missing Malaysian airlines plane flight MH 370 has expanded into the southern Indian Ocean. —AFP

Xi urges officials to ‘sweat’ corruption out of system BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping urged rural officials yesterday to make “spicy” efforts to “sweat” corruption out of their systems, state news agency Xinhua reported, as he pressed on with his campaign to crack down on deep-rooted graft. “The weapons of criticism and self-criticism should be well-wielded, with some spice to make every party official blush and sweat a little,” Xi said during a visit to a rural area in central China’s Henan province called Lankao, Xinhua said. Each member of the ruling Communist Party’s elite inner core, the Politburo Standing Committee, has been allocated a county where they oversee anti-graft efforts, and Xi has been given Lankao, Xinhua said. “Party officials are required to check and report their own problems and mistakes while summarizing the flaws of their colleagues to disciplinary supervisors,” Xinhua said. Xi said rural areas were crucial to the party, as development can only happen with the good quality and competence of officials there. He also urged officials to “reduce unnecessary social activities and keep healthy work and life styles”. Xi launched a crackdown on corruption soon after becoming the party’s head in late 2012, seeking to win back public confidence in the face of a seemingly endless stream of scandals. The party has sought to curtail everything from bribery and gift-giving to lavish banquets, aiming to assuage public anger over graft and extravagance by some officials. However, the party has shown no sign of wanting to set up an independent body to fight graft, and it has not gone after any really senior officials. —Reuters

government, aviation and security officials have been tainted by contradictory statements that have created confusion and frustration. In the latest example on Monday, Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya revealed information on the crucial sequence of events in the plane’s cockpit before it veered off course that totally contradicted the version provided the previous day by Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein. Angry relatives Earlier examples included discrepancies about the number and ethnicities of passengers using stolen passports, and whether some passengers booked on the flight had failed to board or not. At a meeting with airline officials in Beijing on Monday, relatives of the Chinese passengers accused Prime Minister Najib Razak and his ministers of “talking nonsense” and intentionally masking negative details about the search effort. Premier Li Keqiang also entered the fray, asking Najib to provide more details about the missing flight “in a timely, accurate and comprehensive manner.” Cleary annoyed by the constant criticism, Hishammuddin, a cousin of Najib’s, reacted angrily when a foreign journalist suggested Malaysia should apologise for its handling of the crisis. “I think it is very irresponsible of you to say that,” he shot back. Stressing the “unprecedented” nature of the mystery surrounding the airliner’s disappearance, Hishammuddin said the authorities would not be bullied into behaving irresponsibly. If the government disseminates information before it has been properly verified “the people who are going to suffer the most are these very families that we are trying to protect,” he said. —AFP

Latest information on missing aircraft The unprecedented hunt for a missing Malaysia Airlines jet is continuing 10 days after it vanished. A summary of the latest information on the search for the plane and the investigation into what happened: The investigation Chinese authorities say they have checked into the background of all Chinese nationals on board the missing Boeing 777 jetliner but have uncovered no links to terrorism or any evidence to suggest they were involved in hijacking, according to Huang Huikang, the Chinese ambassador in Kuala Lumpur. The finding dampens speculation that Uighur separatists in China’s far western Xinjiang province might have been involved with plane’s disappearance. Of the 239 passengers and crew aboard when the plane disappeared on March 8, 154 were Chinese. For now, Malaysian authorities believe someone on board the flight intentionally switched off two vital pieces of communication equipment and deliberately diverted the aircraft. That could only have been done by the pilots - either willingly or forced - or someone on board with considerable flying experience. Malaysian police are investigating the two pilots and ground engineers, and analyzing a flight simulator seized from the pilot’s home. Investigators are also checking backgrounds, including those of ground crew who could have come into contact with the plane, to see if links to terrorists, personal problems or psychological issues could be factors. The hunt China says it has begun using satellites to scan its ter-

ritory for the missing plane after satellite data indicated the jet’s last position could be anywhere along two sections of a vast arc stretching from Central Asia to the southern reaches of the Indian Ocean. China also sent naval ships that had been in the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean. Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that the search area in the northern and southern “corridors” totals 2.24 million square nautical miles (nearly 3 million square miles), or 7.7 million square kilometers. That’s about the size of Australia. Twenty-six countries are involved in the hunt. Given the shift to the much wider search area, the US Navy says that it will use long-range naval aircraft to look for the plane, and send its destroyer, the USS Kidd, back to normal duties. Australia is leading the search efforts in the southern Indian Ocean. The northern search corridor includes countries with busy airspace that likely would have noticed an unidentified aircraft in their territory. China, India and Pakistan are among the nations that say they have seen no sign of the plane. The questions Beyond the question of where the plane is, many unknowns remain. Investigators are also considering: If the two pilots were involved in the disappearance, were they working together or alone, or with one or more of the passengers or crew? Did they fly the plane under duress or of their own will? Did one or more of the passengers manage to break into the cockpit or use the threat of violence to gain entry and then seize the plane? And what possible motive could there be for diverting the jet? —AP

International Policy in Sydney said. The militaries in question will have been “closely watching each other’s performance, and wary of exposing any vulnerabilities-to each other, and to their own domestic political audiences”, he added. But Beijing also has a long record of covering up any incidents that could be seen as embarrassments for the ruling Chinese Communist Party, tightly restricting information and blocking any attempts at independent verification. Arrests instead of answers Chinese campaigners questioning whether corruption was to blame for thousands of children being killed as their schools collapsed in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake were met not with answers, but with beatings and arrests. Three years later, after 39 people were killed and nearly 200 injured in a deadly high-speed train crash near the eastern city of Wenzhou, authorities triggered a national outcry when they ordered the wreckage be buried in order to “protect the country’s technological secrets”. More recently, state-controlled media were ordered not to publish independent reports on a fiery October crash in Tiananmen Square or this month’s mass stabbing attack at Kunming train station. —AFP


in brief

Road crashes leave 55 dead in Nigeria KANO: Fifty-five people were killed and 10 were injured in two separate road crashes in northern Nigeria, the country’s road safety body said Monday. “We have recorded 55 deaths in two road crashes on Sunday and Monday due to speeding and reckless overtaking,” said Yusuf Sani, Nigerian Road Safety spokesman for Yobe state. A multiple crash involving three vehicles on Monday killed 35 people, including 19 church members on their way back from the southern city of Lagos where they attended a religious meeting. “All the 19 members of Redeem Christian Church of God who were travelling in one bus were burnt beyond recognition as the bus caught fire on collision with the other two vehicles which also burst in flames shortly afterwards,” he said. “The victims in the other two vehicles were returning from a wedding.” The spokesman blamed the collision, which occurred on the Potiskum-Maiduguri highway, on speeding. On Sunday, 20 traders returning from a local market were killed when the open van they were in collided with an articulated truck, Sani said, attributing the accident to “reckless overtaking”. Sixteen of the 20 victims were girls who had been selling wares, he added. Australia police dig for ‘multiple’ baby graves BRISBANE: Police in Australia began digging up a rural property yesterday searching for what reports said were “multiple babies” in secret graves. Officers swooped on a house near Gin Gin, 370 kilometers northwest of Brisbane, after a tip-off that children were born in secret and their bodies hidden on the property by the same family in the 1990s and early 2000s. “I can confirm we are conducting investigations into information received regarding allegations a number of child births have been concealed on the property,” said cold case homicide Detective Inspector Mick Dowie. “We will be interviewing a number of persons who may also be able to assist with our investigations over the coming days.” He would not say how many children might have been born and buried there although the Brisbane Courier-Mail newspaper referred to “multiple babies in secret graves”. “There’s one family involved,” Dowie added, without saying whether they were cooperating with police. “You can draw your own conclusions from the fact that we’re doing an excavation.” Given the potential remains are more than a decade old and tiny, he said the excavation process was “meticulous”. “The scientific examination and excavation is a meticulous and time consuming process,” Dowie said in a later statement after a day of searching. “Some items have been seized, however no skeletal remains have been located or any items that in isolation provide evidence that could corroborate the information we are investigating.” 1 dead, 8 missing after ships collide off Japan TOKYO: One Chinese crew member was killed and eight others were missing after two cargo ships collided at the mouth of Tokyo Bay yesterday, Japan’s coastguard said. The Panamanianflagged Beagle III, a 12,630-ton vessel carrying steel coil, sank after colliding with the South Korean-registered Pegasus Prime in the Uraga waterway. Twelve of the 20 Chinese crew aboard Beagle III were rescued but one of them was later confirmed to be dead, a coastguard official said. “We are continuing to search for the eight others still missing” he added. The Japanese coastguard had sent two helicopters and one plane as well as 17 patrol ships to the site. The crew of the 7,406-ton Pegasus Prime-six South Koreans and eight people from Myanmar-were mostly unhurt, but two Koreans sustained minor injuries when they tried to lower a lifeboat, the Japanese official said. The sea was not believed to be rough at the time of the collision, according to the coastguard. Tokyo Bay is Japan’s busiest waterway with some 500 ships passing through daily. Thieves steal part of Pompeii fresco ROME: Thieves have stolen part of an ancient fresco from Pompeii, breaking in to a closed area of the UNESCO World Heritage landmark and chipping off a portrait of a Greek deity. A custodian doing rounds last week discovered “the removal of a part of a fresco in the House of Neptune,” where a depiction of the goddess Artemis had been “chiseled off with a metallic object,” the Roman site’s curator department said in a statement yesterday. Police have launched an investigation into the theft of the 20 centimeter wide fragment, which occurred in an area closed to the public, leaving a glaring white slash in the pink-toned fresco, where a second Greek character now stands forlornly alone. The discovery sparked outrage in Italy, with Il Messaggero describing it as “a shame for the country”, made doubly embarrassing by the recent appointment of a new “super-superintendent” for the site. The theft comes on the back of a series of collapses in the long-neglected ruins near Naples, which have drawn international concern. The Temple of Venus and walls of a tomb were damaged earlier this month after heavy rains, prompting the European Union to urge Italy to “take care of Pompeii, because it is emblematic not only for Europe but also for the world.” In response, Italy said it would unblock some two million euros ($2.8 million) to help oil the wheels of a major EU-backed project to restore the site.



Caution tape surrounds the charred wreckage of a news helicopter and two vehicles after the chopper crashed into a city street near the Space Needle yesterday in Seattle. Two people were killed and another was critically injured, according to the Seattle Fire Department. — AP

Iran, powers meet in shadow of Ukraine Continued from Page 1 Following Sunday’s secession referendum in Crimea slammed as a sham by the White House and the European Union - Brussels and Washington on Monday issued sanctions against a handful of Russian officials. Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty claiming Crimea as Russian territory and said the Black Sea peninsula has always been “in the hearts” of his compatriots. Despite the tensions, a spokesman for Catherine Ashton, the powers’ chief negotiator and EU foreign policy chief, said he had seen “no negative effect” on the Iran talks, with the six “still united”. But Mark Fitzpatrick, a former US State Department official now at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, said the unfolding crisis made him “even more pessimistic”. “The Russians will... be less likely to make sacrifices for the sake of unity over the Iran issues,” Fitzpatrick told AFP. The Iranians, he said, “now have more reason to wait out the six powers”. Even before the Ukraine crisis erupted, Putin was reported to be discussing a major deal with Tehran whereby Moscow would get Iranian oil in exchange for money, goods and help in building new nuclear reactors. This would undermine Washington’s efforts to cut off Iran’s main source of revenue - a strategy which the US credits with forcing Tehran to the negotiating table in the first place. Mark Hibbs from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said this “huge barter deal” is a “carrot Moscow can dangle constructively to wrestle more concessions from Iran”. “Or it can move forward unilaterally and

damage the negotiation,” Hibbs told AFP. “Up to Putin to choose.” Even without the spat over Ukraine, agreeing a lasting deal will be tough for Iran and the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany, known as the P5+1. Under November’s agreement, Iran froze key parts of its nuclear program in return for minor sanctions relief and a promise of no new sanctions for six months. Although it could be extended, the deal is currently due to expire on July 20. The six powers now want Iran to reduce permanently - or at least for a long time - the scope of its nuclear activities in order to make it extremely difficult for Tehran to develop nuclear weapons. This would likely include Iran slashing the number of centrifuges enriching uranium - which can be used for peaceful purposes but also in a bomb, if highly purified - and allowing tougher UN inspections. In addition, Iran might have to change the new reactor being built at Arak to a kind that makes the extraction of plutonium - the alternative to uranium for a bomb - much more difficult. But even though in return Iran would see sanctions lifted, it remains far from certain whether ultra-conservative elements in Tehran around supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei would accept such limitations. Any deal that leaves some of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure intact would also be a hard sell to US conservatives and to Israel, the Middle East’s sole if undeclared nuclear power. “The final agreement will fall short of both sides’ ideals,” said Ali Vaez, Iran expert at the International Crisis Group. The talks in Vienna were due to continue late yesterday and were expected to last into today. -— AFP

Saudi FM demands Qatar change policy... Continued from Page 1 “The foreign relations committee backs the official government policy in attempting to bridge the gap and mediate between the Gulf states,” Rashed said in the statement. He said the position the foreign minister is trying to forge under directions from HH the Amir fulfills the desire and aspirations of the Kuwaiti people to bring the Gulf states closer and repair the damage in their relations. Rashed said that the committee understands the implications and reasons that led the three nations to recall their ambassadors from Doha, “but in the end we hope these disputes are resolved quickly” because GCC states are facing major regional challenges that they must unite to confront effectively. Kuwait and Oman did not recall their ambassadors from Qatar. The issue is likely to be raised at the Arab summit which Kuwait is scheduled to host on March 25-26. Commentators say the three states are angry at fellow Council member Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist movement whose ideology challenges the principle of conservative dynastic rule long dominant in the Gulf. They particularly resent the way Doha has sheltered prominent Brotherhood preacher Youssef AlQaradawi, a critic of Saudi and UAE authorities, and given him regular air time on its pan-Arab satellite channel Al Jazeera, and on Qatari state television. Saudi Arabia at a March 5 meeting of the GCC demanded that Doha shut down Al-Jazeera, an informed source said. Riyadh at the meeting also called for the closure of two think-tanks based in Qatar, the Brookings Doha Centre and the Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies. Last week, Qatar dismissed demands by the three fellow Gulf states for changes to its foreign policy, calling its independence “non-

negotiable”. The US-aligned GCC, formed in 1981 and also including Kuwait and Oman, has generally presented a united front at times of threat ranging from Iranian revolution on the other side of the Gulf to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. Detained bedoons on hunger strike In another development, the Assembly’s legal and legislative committee yesterday rejected a draft law calling to amend the administrative court law to allow it to look into citizenship disputes. At present, the government has the sole authority in deciding nationality issues. Three bedoon activists meanwhile began an indefinite hunger strike late Monday in protest against the court’s decision to renew their detention. Abdullah Attallah (arrested Feb 19) and brothers Abdulhakim and Abdulnasser AlFadhli (arrested Feb 24) had their detention renewed on Monday. They are under interrogation for insulting the Amir, instigating bedoons to demonstrate and violating Kuwaiti law. The three were among eight bedoons arrested during several days of protests last month to press for citizenship and other basic rights. The other five were detained for more than two weeks before they were freed on bail. In a related development, Rashed sent a number of questions to Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah about formulating a government’s policy or plan to resolve the issue of around 110,000 bedoons. Rashed asked if the government has devised a comprehensive plan to resolve the issue, and if not, why. He also asked if the government has considered the timeframe required to resolve the problem. He also said that the head of the bedoons committee has long said that over 34,000 bedoons qualify for Kuwaiti citizenship and asked the premier why the government has failed to do anything about them.

Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov ‘dead’ Continued from Page 1 with a gun behind him resting on a rock. He spoke in a mixture of Arabic and heavily-accented Russian. His origins and citizenship were not made clear. “I want to inform you that our brother (Doku Umarov) has left this world,” he said. “Our condolences to his family and the Muslim world.” “His soul is with the green birds in paradise,” he added. Ali Abu Mukhammad said he did not consider himself worthy of the duty but had taken it on after being asked “by the brothers”. “I will take on the responsibility myself,” he said, saying the “jihad” by the Caucasus Emirate group would continue. Umarov became head of the guerrilla movement in Chechnya in June 2006 after its previous leader Abdul-Khalim Saidullayev was killed by the Russian military. He was known as an ally of notorious rebel chief Shamil Basayev, who claimed responsibility for dozens of attacks, including the 2004 Beslan school hostage crisis in which more than 330 people were

killed, many of them children. Basayev was killed by Russian forces in July 2006. The predominantly Muslim region declared independence from Moscow after the Soviet collapse in 1991 and then fought two bloody wars with the federal government before Moscow finally re-established control. Umarov served as secretary of Chechnya’s national security council from 1997 to 1998, during a shor t-lived period between the two wars when Moscow tolerated the region’s autonomy. As head of the Caucasus Emirate he claimed responsibility for numerous atrocities inside and outside the Caucasus. The Caucasus Emirate took responsibility for an attack on a Moscow-Saint Petersburg train in 2009 that left 27 dead. It claimed the Moscow metro suicide bombings of 2010 and the 2011 suicide attack on Domodedovo airport that left dozens dead. Like other rebel leaders, Umarov’s death has been proclaimed several times by the Russian authorities. He was first declared killed in August 2000 during a special operation by Russian forces. — AFP

Area of plane search now size of Australia Continued from Page 1 conference the “unique, unprecedented” search covered a total area of 2.24 million nautical miles (7.68 million sq km), from central Asia to the southern Indian Ocean. Flight MH370 vanished from civilian air traffic control screens off Malaysia’s east coast less than an hour after take-off early on March 8. Investigators piecing together patchy data from military radar and satellites believe that someone turned off the aircraft’s identifying transponder and ACARS system, which transmits maintenance data, and turned west, recrossing the Malay Peninsula and following a commercial aviation route towards India. Malaysian officials have backtracked on the exact sequence of events. They are now unsure whether the ACARS system was shut down before or after the last radio message was heard from the cockpit - but said that did not make a material difference. “This does not change our belief, as stated, that up until the point at which it left military primary radar coverage, the aircraft’s movements were consistent with deliberate action by someone on the plane,” said Hishammuddin. “That remains the position of the investigating team.” China’s ambassador to Malaysia said his country had investigated its nationals aboard the flight and could rule out their involvement. US and European security sources said efforts by various governments to investigate the backgrounds of everyone on the flight had not, as of Monday, turned up links to militant groups or anything else that could explain the jet’s disappearance. Malaysian police investigations have also failed to turn up any red flags on 53year-old Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the captain, or co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27. Accounts of their lives portray them as sociable, well-balanced and happy. Neither fits the profile of a loner or extremist with a motive for suicide or hijacking. “I’ve never seen him lose his temper. It’s difficult to believe any of the speculation made against him,” said Peter Chong, a friend of Zaharie, describing him as highly disciplined and conscientious. The New York Times cited senior US officials as saying that the first turn back to the west was likely programmed

into the aircraft’s flight computer, rather than being executed manually, by someone knowledgeable about aircraft systems. Malaysia Airlines Chief Executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya told yesterday’s daily news conference that that was “speculation”. Malaysian officials said on Monday that suicide by the pilot or co-pilot was a line of inquiry, although they stressed that it was only one of the possibilities under investigation. Police have searched their homes in middle-class suburbs of Kuala Lumpur close to the airport. Among the items taken for examination was a flight simulator Zaharie had built in his home. A senior police officer with direct knowledge of the investigation said the programs from the pilot’s simulator included Indian Ocean runways in the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Diego Garcia and southern India, although he added that US and European runways also featured. “Generally these flight simulators show hundreds or even thousands of runways,” the officer said. “What we are trying to see is what were the runways that were frequently used.” Thailand said yesterday a re-examination of its military radar data had picked up the plane re-tracing its route across Peninsular Malaysia. The Thai military had previously said it had not detected any sign of the plane. What happened next is less certain. The plane may have flown for another six hours or more after dropping off Malaysian military radar about 200 miles northwest of Penang Island. But the satellite signals that provide the only clues were not intended to work as locators. The best they can do is place the plane in one of two broad arcs - one stretching from Laos up to the Caspian, the other from west of Indonesia down to the Indian Ocean off Australia - when the last signal was picked up. China, which, with Kazakhstan, is leading the search in the northern corridor, said yesterday it had deployed 21 satellites to scour its territory. Australia, which is leading the southernmost leg of the search, said it had shrunk its search field based on satellite tracking data and analysis of weather and currents, but that it still covered 600,000 sq km. “A needle in a haystack remains a good analogy,” John Young, general manager of the emergency response division of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), told reporters. — Reuters




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‘Yes’ camp has much ground to make up By Denis Hiault


upporters of Scotland breaking away from the United Kingdom are making up some ground but with six months to go until the independence referendum, it is not enough, analysts say. Armed with the slogan “Better Together”, the three main London-based parties - the Conservatives of Prime Minister David Cameron, their Liberal Democrat coalition partners, and the opposition Labour party - have formed an improbable but resolute alliance to push the “no” vote. British Prime Minister David Cameron engaged in a game of call my bluff by accepting to hold a referendum on Sept 18, convinced of being able to dash the separatist hopes of Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond. In early March, 39.3 percent of voters were in the “yes” camp, 47.6 percent backed the “no” vote and 13.1 percent were undecided, according to the Survation polling group who surveyed 1,002 people. “Winning from here for Alex Salmond would be an astonishing achievement,” said Michael Marra from the University of Dundee, who helped run the poll. John Curtice, professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde, told AFP: “Something has happened - not necessarily a great deal. The ‘yes’ side is quite a long way behind.” For three decades, support for independence has been stuck at around a third of the Scottish electorate, but the gap has closed slightly since the turn of the year, Curtice noted. Taking an average of polls since mid-2013, the “yes” vote has clawed back two to three percentage points. “The Survation poll is interesting because it gives you a trend towards a ‘yes’, but they are still losing,” said Peter Lynch, Curtice’s colleague at Strathclyde. Salmond places great store on the fact that the gap is narrowing Scots, he insist, will reject “Project Fear” in favour of the “hope, aspiration and progress offered by a ‘yes’ vote.” ‘Black Gold’ and Whisky The 59-year-old leader of the Scottish National Party, who won an absolute majority in the devolved Scottish Parliament in 2011, has published a 670-page manifesto foreseeing an independent country of 5.3 million inhabitants, rivalling Switzerland, Finland or Norway in size. Salmond says its economy would be based on North Sea oil and gas and premium Scotch whisky and it would be a member of the European Union and NATO. The nuclear submarines currently based in Scotland would go and it would keep the pound as the currency and Queen Elizabeth II as monarch. The sometimes lacklustre “no” campaign took flight in February, when Britain’s finance minister George Osborne warned that Scotland would have to choose between the pound and independence. European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso inflicted another blow when he said it would be “difficult, if not impossible” for an independent Scotland to join the EU. The heads of finance and energy giants including Royal Dutch Shell and BP have expressed their clear preference for the status quo, warning that they might have to reduce their activities in an independent Scotland, citing above all potential difficulties with tax. Salmond dismissed “the most negative campaign in modern political history” and retorted that he had a “plan B, C, D, E and F” to keep the pound. Salmond might have a point - “the detached super-rich elite telling you how to vote is not a great strategy” for the “no” campaign, said Peter Lynch. Lynch believes voters have more down-toearth motivations, based on their jobs, education and public services. “People want to know, will they be better off or will they be worse off?” Lynch said. Salmond has picked up votes over the years by promising a “fairer” country based on the Scandinavian model, in contrast to the “aristocrats” running the government in London. ‘Devolution Plus’ Cameron hit back last week, playing his trump card. “A vote for ‘no’ is not a vote for ‘no change’,” he said, promising greater devolution of powers to Scotland, especially in tax policy. Such a move would not be “a consolation prize” for Salmond if Scotland rejects independence, “but because it is the right thing to do”. Labour and the Lib Dems would take similar measures if they come to power in the 2015 general election. “The more they commit themselves before September 18, the more it will be difficult for them to row back,” Curtice said. Scotland’s government can currently only set policy in the areas of health, education, justice and planning. A host of other items would have to divided up in the event of a ‘divorce’, ranging from oil revenues to the two pandas lent to Edinburgh Zoo by China. —AFP

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Cold War reflexes return to Europe By Paul Taylor


he Cold War is back. Russia’s military seizure of Crimea and preparations for a possible annexation of the southern Ukrainian province have revived fears, calculations and reflexes that had been rusting away since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Whether the crisis triggered by President Vladimir Putin’s attempt to prevent Ukraine, a strategic former Soviet republic, turning to the West, becomes a turning point in international relations like the 2001 Al Qaeda attacks on the United States or the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, is not yet certain. There are still some steps to play out. But policymakers and strategic analysts are thinking through the consequences of a potentially prolonged East-West tug-of-war. And states in the middle such as Germany and Poland are starting to weigh uncomfortable adjustments to their policy. The standoff is already posing tricky questions about the balance between sanctions and diplomacy, setting loyalty tests for allies and raising the risk of spillover to other conflicts and of possible proxy wars. “Welcome to Cold War Two,” Russian analyst Dmitri Trenin of the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace declared in an article for Foreign Policy magazine. “The recent developments have effectively put an end to the interregnum of partnership and cooperation between the West and Russia that generally prevailed in the quarter-century after the Cold War,” he said. Trenin is not alone in seeing the struggle for Ukraine as the biggest game-changer in

European security since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. While no one imagines the superpowers returning to a hair-trigger nuclear confrontation or a bloc-against-bloc military buildup - for starters, Russia no longer has a bloc - the knock-on implications for other security problems, and for the world economy, are significant. Frozen conflicts in Moldova, Georgia and Azerbaijan, all “near abroad” postSoviet states, could be reactivated. In Berlin, policymakers worry that Russia could raise the stakes by stopping cooperation with the West over Iran’s nuclear program, the civil war in Syria, security in Afghanistan and managing North Korea’s unpredictable leader. Any one of those could make life more uncomfortable for the United States and its European and Asian allies by destabilising the Middle East and southern Asia or raising tension on the Korean peninsula. ‘This is the Big One’ The realisation that Germany, Europe’s central power, has no special influence with Russia when the geopolitical chips are down, and that Chancellor Angela Merkel has been unable to sway Putin despite their common languages, has concentrated minds. In hindsight, Russia’s 2008 military intervention in breakaway regions of Georgia was a dry run. It had less global impact partly because an erratic Georgian leader fired the first shots, but also because it barely changed the status quo. “Ukraine is different. It’s on the fault line and it’s too big,” says Constanze Stelzenmueller, senior transatlantic fellow with the German Marshall Fund think-tank, who led a recent major study on Germany’s new foreign and

security policy. “Now we are entering a systemic competition. That’s why I think the Cold War analogy is accurate. If you’re in Berlin, that’s the way it feels. This is the big one.” Despite its strong economic interests in Russia, where 6,200 German companies do business, and its dependency on Russian natural gas for 40 percent of supplies, Stelzenmueller expects Germany to “surprise on the upside by being firm”. Moscow is only Berlin’s 11th trade partner, below Poland. Germany’s main trade body said last week a trade conflict between the two would hurt German business but it would be life-threatening for a stagnant Russian economy. As former Hong Kong governor Chris Patten observes, while almost every European household owns goods made in China, few if any have anything produced in Russia, except gas and vodka. Central European economies could be severely disrupted if Moscow played with the gas taps, but stocks are high, winter is over and Russia needs the revenue. Going Neutral? In Cold War One, hawks in the United States and western Europe fretted that then West Germany could turn neutral in its pursuit of detente with the Soviet Union and its east European allies, including communist East Germany. That never happened. Bonn remained firmly anchored in the Western political and military camp. But there were some epic transatlantic battles along the way. They included a 1982 clash with the United States over a German-Soviet gas pipeline deal which the Reagan administration feared would make West Germany dangerously dependent on Moscow.

The Germans stood their ground. The pipeline was built and is one reason why Germany remains so hooked on Russian energy. That dispute - just a year after a Moscowinspired military crackdown in Poland - may have lessons for any new Cold War. A year later, Bonn withstood mass protests and threats from Moscow to deploy US medium-range nuclear missiles on its soil in response to Soviet SS-20 rockets pointed at the West. That led eventually to a negotiated end to the EastWest arms race. Then as now, a perceived Russian threat ultimately united Europeans and the United States, despite public misgivings reflected today in opinion polls showing neither Germans nor Americans are keen to get tough with Russia. Then as now, both Moscow and the West turned to China to try to tip the balance. Then as now, US strategists traded charges of appeasement and warmongering as they argued over the right policy mix between containing Russia and taking its interests into account. If Putin moves to annex Crimea, Europeans may soon have to contemplate awkward sacrifices to show their resolve. For France, this could mean suspending a contract to sell helicopter carriers to Russia. For Britain, closing its mansions and bank vaults to magnates close to Putin. For Germany, initiating gradual steps to reduce dependency on Russian gas. It will take Cold War-style determination for any of that to happen. Maintaining EU unity if the going gets tough, with states in southern Europe such as Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria closer to Moscow, could prove a challenge. —Reuters

Another Bush run for the White House? By Gabriel Debenedetti and Richard Cowan


y all appearances, former Florida governor Jeb Bush is a man on a mission. His itinerary for the next several weeks includes stops in Tennessee, New Mexico and Nevada to appear with Republican candidates in this fall’s elections or help them raise money for their campaigns. And then he speaks at a dinner ahead of a Republican Jewish Coalition meeting featuring several potential Republican presidential contenders at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. The hotel is owned by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who gave over $100 million to Republican candidates in 2012. So what, exactly, is Jeb Bush up to? Could Bush, 61, the son of a US president and the brother of another, quietly be laying the groundwork for a historic attempt to become the third member of his family to occupy the White House? When Bush is asked if he will run in 2016, he deflects, saying he will decide by the end of this year based on family considerations and whether he thinks he can run “joyfully”. Bush’s spokeswoman, Kristy Campbell, declined to comment. But several other people close to him say that now more than ever, there are signs he might look past several potential hurdles - including polls that suggest Americans are not exactly enthralled with the idea of another President Bush - and seriously consider stepping into the fray. At this point in previous election cycles when his name has surfaced, Bush has told friends, staffers and fellow Florida politicians that he would not run. However, he “has not given anyone the wave-off at this point” for 2016, said a Washington-based Republican strategist familiar with Bush’s discussions about the presidency. To the contrary, this strategist said, Bush has in place an “inner circle” of fewer than a dozen people who are in regular contact with him weighing the pros and cons of running. “They are at the beginning of a very serious conversation.” A former Bush campaign aide who remains in contact with the former governor said this year’s speculation is more warranted than that in previous years: “He’s really giving it true consideration. Possibly if you’d asked two years ago, we’d say, ‘Oh gosh, I don’t think he’d do this.’ But I think he’s giving it a real, serious look now.” Former Republican senator Mel Martinez of Florida, who was secretary of housing and urban development during the presidency of Bush’s brother, George W Bush, said that in Jeb Bush’s south Florida there is a growing belief among political observers that he is leaning toward joining what promises to be a crowded field of Republican presidential contenders. Republican strategists said that Bush - whose eight years as Florida’s governor ended in January 2007 - could change the dynamic of the Republican nomination battle and provide a defining moment for a party struggling with a divide between conservative Tea Party activists and more moderate members of the Republican establishment. There are no declared candidates yet, but the race for the Republican nomination appears to be shaping up as a contest largely among staunch conservatives favored by the Tea Party

movement, such as Texas Senator Ted Cruz, libertarian Republican Rand Paul and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. A more moderate potential candidate, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, has been caught up in a political scandal that has made some Wall Street donors nervous about his prospects. A campaign by Bush, a face of the party establishment, could challenge arguments of Tea Party activists and others on the right who see losses by John McCain and Mitt Romney in the last two presidential elections as reasons the party should nominate a more strictly conservative candidate. For big-money Republican donors, strategist Matt Mackowiak said, Bush would represent a marquee name in US politics that could attract the support beyond the far-right Republican base that will be needed to win a general election. He could also bring enough star power to vie against former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who officials in both parties expect to run and win the Democratic presidential nomination. Bush is the donor class’ first

This Jan 29, 2014 file photo shows former Florida Gov Jeb Bush speaking in Hollywood, Florida. —AP choice in his home state, said Florida Bankers Association president and Romney campaign bundler Alex Sanchez. ‘Jeb is the Exception’ For pundits, political observers and history lovers, the prospect of a Bush-Clinton battle for the White House would be a dream matchup: A showdown between two branches of America’s political royalty. Recent early polls have suggested that if he were to run, Jeb Bush would be weighed down by Americans’ lingering attitudes toward his brother, who left office in Jan 2009 as one of the least popular presidents in US history. In a Washington Post/ABC News poll this month, nearly half of the voters surveyed said they “definitely would not” vote for Jeb Bush in 2016 - a level of disapproval matched only by Romney.

Even Bush’s mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, has been lukewarm about the notion of another son running for president. “There’s no question in my mind that Jeb is the best qualified person to run for president, but I hope he won’t, because he’ll get all my enemies, all his brother’s,” Barbara Bush, wife of George H W Bush, told C-SPAN in January. She softened her stance in an interview with Fox News this month, saying that “maybe it’s OK” if Jeb were to run. For a Republican Party desperate to broaden its appeal among the nation’s fast-growing and Democratic-leaning Hispanic population, a figure like Jeb Bush could be significant. He speaks Spanish and his wife, Columba, was born in Mexico. Bush - who won 61 percent of Florida’s Hispanic vote in his 1998 governor’s race, according to exit polls - has backed legal status, but not full citizenship, for undocumented immigrants. This compromise drew conservative fire when Bush’ promoted his book “Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution” in 2013. As governor, he also stressed using standardized test scores as metrics of school and teacher performances, an emphasis at the center of a nationwide debate in US education. Bush, who runs an education foundation, has also promoted the idea of allowing parents and students a choice of which public school to attend. Bush headlined a Republican National Committee fundraising lunch in southern California in February and spoke to a group of New York-area business leaders less than two weeks later. He also appeared in a US Chamber of Commerce advertisement for the Republican candidate in a Florida special congressional election, and campaigned with his son, George P Bush, who is running for Texas Land Commissioner. In the coming weeks Bush will raise money for or appear with a slate of Republicans up for re-election in 2014: Senator Lamar Alexander and Governor Bill Haslam in Tennessee, Governor Susana Martinez in New Mexico and Governor Brian Sandoval in Nevada. Some Bush allies reject the idea that his recent activity reflects a building desire to run for president. “People who know a lot aren’t talking, and the people who are talking don’t know. He’s made clear he’s going to be deliberate and methodical in the way he goes about this,” said former Florida congressman Tom Feeney, who ran for lieutenant governor on a ticket with Bush in 1994 and remains close with him. Several Republican strategists and Bush loyalists said it would take less time for Bush to organize a full-scale campaign team than it would for someone like Walker or Cruz, thanks to his family’s experience and connections. They also dismissed concerns that Bush would have trouble running a modern campaign, given that he has not run for office since 2002 - before the age of Twitter and the Tea Party. “Jeb is the exception,” said Mackowiak. “The time it takes to build a national finance operation for one of those other candidates? He only has to spend a fraction of that to get his together. ... The clock is ticking for him, it’s just ticking more slowly.” —Reuters



Villas-Boas to take over as Zenit coach

McCalman banned for two weeks for tip tackle

Lawyers work to free jailed boxer Molina

MOSCOW: Former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur coach Andre Villas-Boas will take over Russian side Zenit St Petersburg this week after agreeing a two-season contract, the club said yesterday. The Portuguese will replace Luciano Spalletti who was sacked this month. Caretaker Sergey Semak will be in charge of the team today for the Champions League round of 16 return leg at Borussia Dortmund. “Zenit has agreed terms on a contract with new head coach Andre Villas-Boas,” the club said in a statement. “The contract will be signed and Villas-Boas will be presented in St Petersburg as Zenit’s new head coach on March 20.” “Mr Villas-Boas’s contract begins in March, 2014 and is valid for two seasons.” The 36-year-old was sacked by Tottenham in December. Zenit, who managed just one win in the competition this season, including the group stage, lost the first leg to Dortmund 4-2 at home. Villas-Boas will bump into a few familiar faces when he joins Zenit. Brazilian forward Hulk played under him when he was head coach of Porto and defender Luis Neto and midfielder Danny are both Portuguese internationals. — Reuters

MELBOURNE: Wallabies backrower Ben McCalman’s birthday celebrations were soured yesterday when he received a two-week ban for a dangerous tackle in the Super Rugby competition. The inspirational Western Force number eight was cited for a spear, or ‘tip’, tackle on Otago Highlanders prop Kame Hames in the 73rd minute of his team’s 31-29 victory in Dunedin on Saturday. Judicial officer Nicholas Davidson accepted a guilty plea from the 29-test backrower and acknowledged his clean record in downgrading his ban from four weeks. “I considered that the potential for harm was significant as the tackled player was lifted high off the ground and tipped forcefully with no attempt to arrest or mitigate his fall,” Davidson said in media release yesterday. McCalman, who turned 26 yesterday, will miss only the Chiefs match in Perth on Saturday as the Force have a bye the following weekend. His suspension will be viewed dimly by coach Michael Foley after the perennially struggling team notched their second win in a row with victory against the Highlanders, their first successive wins in three years having given them rare momentum heading into the weekend. Force are 2-2 in the season against the double defending champion Chiefs, who are undefeated. — Reuters

LAS VEGAS: The promoter for jailed boxer Carlos Molina says attorneys in Wisconsin, Nevada and California are working to free the title-holding fighter following his arrest earlier this month in Las Vegas. Molina remained jailed Monday. He was arrested March 4 on a January 2007 warrant issued in Wisconsin accusing him of failing to register as a sex offender. The 30-year-old Molina was born in Mexico, and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in California say he was previously deported in 2006. ICE says the boxer could face additional immigration proceedings. Promoter Leon Margules says an April 8 extradition hearing is scheduled in Las Vegas on the Wisconsin warrant. Molina missed a scheduled March 8 fight to defend his IBF light middleweight title against Jermall Charlo in Las Vegas. — AP

Bruins tame Wild BOSTON: Jarome Iginla scored two goals, Tuukka Rask stopped 33 shots as the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Bruins extended their winning streak to nine games with a 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild on Monday. The Bruins increased their conference lead to five points over idle second-place Pittsburgh by posting their longest winning streak since a 10-game run in November 2011. Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith also scored for Boston, which beat the Wild at home for the first time after losing the first six meetings. The Bruins are 3-10 overall against the Wild, who began play in the 2000-01 season. Jason Pominville had the only goal for Minnesota, which lost for the fifth time in six games. Darcy Kuemper made 25 saves. BLUES 3, JETS 1 David Backes scored twice, and Ryan Miller made 16 saves in another win as St. Louis beat Winnipeg. The Blues are 7-0-1 since Miller was acquired by trade from Buffalo. St. Louis has won three straight and eight of nine. Western Conference-leading St. Louis has an NHL-best 101 points. It is the sixth time in franchise history that the Blues have reached 100 points. Backes has 23 goals this season. Brendan Morrow added a goal, and Jay Bouwmeester had two assists in the Blues’ win. Eric O’Dell had the lone goal for Winnipeg, and Al Montoya made 23 saves.

Nicol David plays a return in this file photo.


David looks to lift Malaysian spirits KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s world number one Nicol David warned competition was now tougher than ever as she sets out to defend her title at the world women’s championships on her home island of Penang. The peerless David, who has won a record seven world titles and has held the top ranking since 2006, is the hot favourite to lift the trophy for the eighth time. The 30-year-old can help boost Malaysian spirits after the disappearance of flight Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 with 239 passengers on board nine days ago caused widespread shock. David has made a turbo-charged start to the year, winning back-to-back titles at the Tournament of Champions and Cleveland Classic in January and February. But despite being the overwhelming favorite in Penang, she said it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep her challengers at bay. “There is not much separating the top 10 players and the gap is certainly getting closer,” David said. “Anyone in the top 10 is capable of ousting each other, so I have to be on top of my game as everyone will be out to get me.”

The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the Asian Games in South Korea and the world team championships are also on David’s 2014 schedule in what is shaping up as a busy year. “I am 30 now and the sport is ver y demanding,” she said. “I have to pay extra attention to my preparation and recovery for each match and I can’t push my body too much compared to when I was younger. “Having said that, I still aim to compete at the highest level for at the least the next five years.” The top seed and defending champion will open her account against England’s Emma Beddoes in a draw which appears to have given her a favourable route to the final. Should she make the title match on Saturday, her biggest rival Laura Massaro of England, the second seed, will hope to lie in wait. Massaro’s main obstacle in the bottom half of the draw looks to be third seed Raneem El Weleily of Egypt. David’s last world title win came at the expense of Massaro back in 2012. The pocket-sized champion will be joined by compatriots Low Wee Wern and wildcard entry Vanessa Raj in the main draw. — AFP

LIGHTNING 4, CANUCKS 3 Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Palat both had a goal and an assist to lead Tampa Bay past Vancouver. Valtteri Filppula and Tom Pyatt also scored for the Lightning, who moved into a second-place tie with Montreal - with one game at hand - in the Atlantic Division. Ben Bishop extended his single-season team record with his 32nd win. Alexandre Burrows scored two goals, and Jannik Hansen added a short-handed tally for the Canucks. After Pyatt scored midway through the third period, the Canucks got within one on goals by Burrows at 11:44 and Hansen at 15:16. COYOTES 4, KINGS 3 Keith Yandle scored the tying goal midway through the third period and Jeff Halpern netted the winner with 3:05 left, leading Phoenix over Los Angeles. Rob Klinkhammer and Mikkel Boedker scored 63 seconds apart in the first period for the Coyotes, who handed the Kings their third straight loss and took over sole possession of eighth place in the Western Conference. Mike Smith made 36 saves. Marian Gaborik, defenseman Alec Martinez and rookie Tanner Pearson scored for the Kings, who were without captain Dustin Brown for a second straight game because of a lower body injury. Jonathan Quick stopped 23 shots for Los Angeles, which fell to 21-1 when leading after two periods. The Kings outshot Phoenix 15-2 in the second period, turning a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead. — AP

Ecclestone: Teams may pay price for quieter F1 LONDON: A commotion about Formula One’s new quieter cars could hit the sport’s revenues and lead to teams getting less money if promoters take legal action, commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone said on Monday. Australian Grand Prix Corporation chairman Ron Walker said after Sunday’s season-opener that he was not happy with the reduced decibels and Formula One was “clearly in breach of contract”. “It’s not what we paid for. It’s going to change,” Walker told the Melbourne Age newspaper, adding that he had spoken to a ‘horrified’ Ecclestone about it. “It will be an issue for promoters all around the world.” Ecclestone told Reuters in a telephone interview that Walker was “probably going a bit over the top with what he’s saying” but added that the Australian was not alone in his concern. “I’ve had one or two promoters get in touch with me today and they said how unhappy they are,” said the 83-year-old billionaire. “I spoke to (Ferrari president) Luca di Montezemolo just now and Luca said he’s never had as many emails on his desk complaining and saying this isn’t Formula One.” Formula One ditched the old and raucous 2.4 litre V8 engines at the end of last season and replaced them with less fuel-thirsty and more muted 1.6 litre V6 turbo power units with expensive and complicated energy recovery

systems. Ecclestone has long been a critic of the change and has warned repeatedly that the sport risked losing a key ingredient for the paying public by turning down the volume that was such a big part of the show. “I’m disappointed that I was right when I said what was going to happen. I’m sorry that it’s happened,” he said. STRAWBERRY JAM Asked whether promoters might see an opportunity to renegotiate their contracts downwards as a result, Ecclestone acknowledged that might become an issue. “It’s not (a concern) at the moment but it could well be,” he said. “If the promoters say ‘Listen, this ain’t what I bought and I ain’t going to pay for it or I don’t want to pay as much’ or whatever, then it is a concern. “We give the teams a percentage of the revenue we receive. So if we are receiving less revenue, whatever the case may be, certainly the teams wouldn’t get as much. So it’s going to cost them,” he added. The Briton, who has seen the global glamour sport go through numerous engine eras from V12 to V10 and V8, questioned whether promoters like Walker could win their argument in any court of law, however. “I don’t know whether he has (got a point),” he said of Walker’s comments about a breach of contract.

“Let’s assume he hasn’t got a point as far as the legal side is going. Then you have to look at it from a moral side. If you went into the supermarket today and bought some strawberry jam and you got peanut butter you’d probably be a bit pissed off. “It’s good quality peanut butter, but he’s saying it isn’t what he bought,” added Ecclestone. “Whether the contract describes what he’d bought, the strawberry jam with so many strawberries, I don’t know. I doubt it. I think he bought the FIA Formula One world championship. Which is what he’s got.” Germany’s Nico Rosberg won Sunday’s race for a dominant Mercedes while quadruple world champion compatriot Sebastian Vettel, who won the last nine races of 2013 for Red Bull, retired early on with engine trouble. Despite dire predictions of no cars finishing the race, so uncertain was their reliability, 13 of the 22 drivers were classified in the final results. “I am surprised that as many cars finished. I didn’t think the racing was super,” said Ecclestone of what he had seen. “What was good from the public’s point of view I suppose was that we didn’t suddenly see Sebastian disappear into the night. Whether we are going to see (Mercedes’ Lewis) Hamilton or the other one (Rosberg) do that, I don’t know. “I’ve got to suspect that we will.” — Reuters

Jarome Iginla of Boston Bruins in action in this file photo.

NHL results/standings Boston 4, Minnesota 1; Tampa Bay 4, Vancouver 3; St. Louis 3, Winnipeg 1; Phoenix 4, Los Angeles 3. Western Conference Eastern Conference Atlantic Division Pacific Division Boston 46 17 5 219 147 97 W L OTL GF GA PTS Tampa Bay 37 24 7 198 178 81 Anaheim 45 16 7 218 172 97 Montreal 37 25 7 174 174 81 San Jose 45 17 7 214 165 97 Toronto 36 25 8 203 211 80 Los Angeles 38 25 6 168 148 82 Detroit 30 24 13 175 188 73 Ottawa 28 26 13 190 221 69 Phoenix 33 25 11 192 196 77 Florida 25 35 8 169 221 58 Vancouver 31 30 10 170 194 72 Buffalo 19 41 8 132 202 46 Calgary 27 34 7 165 202 61 Metropolitan Division Edmonton 24 36 9 171 224 57 Pittsburgh 44 19 4 209 167 92 Philadelphia 35 25 7 192 193 77 Central Division Columbus 35 26 6 195 184 76 NY Rangers 36 29 4 177 170 76 St. Louis 47 14 7 226 152 101 Washington 32 27 10 201 207 74 44 19 5 209 181 93 Colorado New Jersey 29 26 13 166 176 71 Chicago 39 15 14 231 179 92 Carolina 29 30 9 169 194 67 Minnesota 35 23 10 165 168 80 NY Islanders 26 34 9 195 233 61 Dallas 32 24 11 193 192 75 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in Winnipeg 31 30 9 194 204 71 the loss column (L). Nashville 29 29 10 164 201 68

Hotbed of college hoops rest in heartland: Self LAWRENCE: Bill Self was born in Edmond, Okla. He played basketball at Oklahoma State, and cut his teeth in the coaching profession at Kansas. He built up programs at Oral Roberts and Tulsa, and is now leading the Jayhawks in their pursuit of another national championship. More than just about anybody, Self appreciates the rise of hoops in the heartland. All three of the Sunflower State’s programs are back in the NCAA tournament this year, and all are ninth seeds or better, led by No. 1 seed Wichita State. There are three schools from Oklahoma in the dance. Two from Nebraska. Two more made it from Iowa. Saint Louis is in the field, too. Not a bad showing from America’s breadbasket, those sparsely populated “flyover states” that are supposed to be lean on talent and generate little buzz from folks on the coasts. “Hopefully we’ll pull for each other,” Self said, “but it is interesting.” In some ways it makes sense. The epicenter of college basketball, many argue, resides in Lawrence at the school where James Naismith and Phog Allen were not only coaches but also the game’s inventor and pioneer. The Jayhawks play home games in Allen Fieldhouse, of course, a bastion of basketball situated at the base of a hill on Naismith Drive. But in many ways, the success of schools such as Tulsa and Saint Louis makes little sense. They don’t have the strong tradition of Kansas. They don’t have fertile recruiting grounds such as Chicago or the Dallas Metroplex in their own back-

yards. All they have are coaches willing to grind, fans every bit as zealous as those of Duke and Kentucky, and players often overlooked by those college basketball blue-bloods who arrive on campus with a chip on their shoulders. The result? Turn on the tournament this week and you’ll see Oklahoma against North Dakota State in a second-round game. Wichita State and Kansas State could meet in the third round, as could Nebraska and Creighton, a tantalizing matchup that just might generate as much interest in the state as Cornhusker football does on an autumn Saturday. “If we’re going to go and play and Nebraska is going to the NCAA tournament, why not go to the same place,” asked Bluejays coach Greg McDermott. “I think it’s going to be a great deal of fun.” McDermott’s son, Doug, is the odds-on favorite for national player of the year. Those teams from the heartland? They’re not short on talent, even if they often have to get creative — and go to great lengths — to land some of it. Kansas star Andrew Wiggins is a freshman of the year candidate and potential No. 1 draft pick. So is the Jayhawks’ Joel Embiid, who will miss the first part of the tournament with a back injury. Oklahoma State features a dynamic guard in Marcus Smart. Iowa State has Canadian forward Melvin Ejim, the Big 12 player of the year. Iowa’s Roy Devyn Marble and Oklahoma’s Cameron Clark are game-changers. Kansas State has a talented freshman in its own right, Marcus Foster. —AP



Nadal, Federer bring box-office boost to Miami MIAMI: After missing last year’s Sony Open, both world number one Rafa Nadal and 17-times grand slam winner Roger Federer return to South Beach this week along with their box office punch. There will be no shortage of tennis glitterati around Miami for the next fortnight with 19 of the top 20 men’s and women’s players in action at Crandon Park but perhaps none more welcome than Federer and Nadal as their absence last year left a hole that could not be filled. Nadal and Federer are box office gold for any tournament and with the Spaniard missing due to a knee injury and the Swiss maestro on an extended break last year’s attendance dropped 5.5 percent to 308,000. “Anytime you have two stars the size of Roger and Rafa, guys who are bigger than the sport, bigger than tennis, missing it hurts,” tournament

director Adam Barrett told Reuters on Monday. “These guys are superstars, they draw crowds whether they are at the airport, a hotel or walking through a mall. “Anywhere they go they are going to bring additional crowds both tennis and nontennis folks.” With a promising weather forecast and lineup that includes world number one Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, defending men’s champion Andy Murray and three-time winner Novak Djokovic the Sony Open could set record ticket sales this year. “A lot of it has to do with how the draw unfolds,” Barrett said about a possible attendance record. “A lot of years when you set record attendance you get intriguing matches. “Every year you wait, you let it unfold, we will be close to records every year. The only thing that really takes records out of the equa-

tion is rain.” The women’s main draw gets underway with first-round matches on Tuesday while the men’s main draw begins today. After a first-round bye, Nadal will open action against the winner of Dutchman Robin Haase and Australian Lleyton Hewitt, who will be chasing his 600th career win. Third-seeded Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka along with big hitters Canadian Milos Raonic and American John Isner lurk as danger men. But it is the bottom half of the draw where the real intrigue lies with world number two Djokovic, fresh off a win at Indian Wells, two-time winner Federer and holder Murray all eager to add another Miami title to their resumes. For Murray, who maintains a residence in Miami, the Sony Open will be a bit of a home game but his

road back to the final is a daunting one with a possible last-eight clash with Djokovic and a semi-final meeting with a re-energised fifth seed Federer, coming off a runner-up finish in Indian Wells. Williams, a six-time winner in Miami, will open her title defence in the second round against either Italian Francesca Schiavone or Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova. Fourth seed Sharapova is on the same side of the draw as Williams along with inform Italian Flavia Pennetta, who is carrying the momentum from her victory at Indian Wells. The other side of the draw features second-seeded Australian Open champion Li Na of China, third seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, the 2012 champion and runner-up at Indian Wells, and Venus Williams, who has three Sony titles in her trophy case. —Reuters

Defending champ Murray seeks stability in Miami

PRETORIA: South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius has tears running down his face on the twelfth day of his trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at the North Gauteng High Court. — AFP

Pistorius trial: Defense alleges police errors PRETORIA: Police photographs of the bloodspattered scene where Oscar Pistorius shot dead his girlfriend indicate that evidence was moved around in violation of procedure during the investigation of the killing, the athlete’s chief defense lawyer said yesterday. Warrant officer Bennie van Staden, a police photographer, took hundreds of photos of the scene, including of blood stains, bullet casings, a gun and a cricket bat found inside Pistorius’ bathroom in the hours after the double-amputee Olympic runner shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp before dawn on Feb. 14 last year. Lawyer Barry Roux has challenged previous police witnesses, seeking to uncover contradictions and reported mishaps to support his argument that officers bungled the investigation, an allegation made by Pistorius at the start of the trial when he pleaded not guilty to murder in Steenkamp’s killing. In a sometimes painstaking process yesterday, Roux minutely examined many photos taken by van Staden and another police officer and pointed out that objects at the crime scene had been moved and were in different positions in photos. Roux also used time of day records on the images to show that the two policemen taking photographs were in the same room at points, even though van Staden testified he was working alone. Roux compared photos of the bloody bathroom scene taken by van Staden with photos in the bathroom taken by another policeman, identified as a Col. Motha. Both were in the bathroom at that time, according to the times shown on the images. “You did not see Col. Motha?” Roux asked van Staden, who replied he did not. “How big is this bathroom?” Roux said. Maybe missing the hint of sarcasm in Roux’s question, van Staden said the bathroom was approximately four meters by four meters. Pistorius, 27, is charged with premeditated murder for killing Steenkamp, 29. He denies murder and says he shot his girlfriend accidentally, thinking she was an intruder in a toilet cubicle in the bathroom, and says that

he struck the toilet door with a cricket bat to get to Steenkamp after realizing what he had done. Prosecutors charge that Pistorius killed Steenkamp after an argument. Pistorius’ lawyer also asked van Staden to explain differences in photographs of the 9 mm pistol that Pistorius used to shoot Steenkamp through a closed toilet door, and of a cricket bat that the Paralympian used to hit the door. “It seems there was movement of the bat” in the interval between two photographs taken by van Staden, Roux said. “It seems like that,” van Staden conceded. The police photographer also acknowledged that two photographs of the gun indicated that a mat underneath it could have been shifted. Roux said one photo also differed from the other because it showed a wooden splinter on the gun handle. Two other photos of objects on the bedroom floor next to Pistorius’ bed showed tissues, what was identified as a CD or disc and a remote control were in different positions. Van Staden said he did not know who moved them, but he remembered the disc was previously under the bed. “How does it happen that there’s such a great disturbance of that scene?” Roux asked. Roux was trying to build a picture of a cluttered and confused crime scene with many officers working on it and possibly contaminating the evidence. Van Staden has said he also took nine photographs of Pistorius soon after the shooting, with the athlete seen in some of the images standing in blood-stained prosthetic legs and wearing blood-soaked shorts in the garage of his home. Van Staden’s testimony yesterday was delayed by over an hour to give the policeman time to collect photo records and discs at the defense’s request. Van Staden had said he would have to retrieve photo records from office administration, but then said Tuesday he had forgotten that he was actually in possession of the master copies of the shooting scene photographs. — AP

US tour to stay in China SINGAPORE: America’s PGA Tour has pledged to stay in China for the long haul after taking the bold step of setting up a domestic circuit offering players a new route to golf’s top level, including the Olympic Games. In a move which could have a big impact on Chinese golf, and even the sport’s future, the newly established PGA Tour China will roll out 12 events this year with plans to steadily expand. Professionals will be able to earn their way onto America’s Tour, the “gateway” to the world-leading PGA Tour, through their prize money, and pick up world ranking points which are needed to reach the Olympics. The initiative could help China make good on its promise after already producing youngsters of the calibre of Guan Tianlang, who caused a sensation by making the cut at last year’s Masters aged just 14. As for the PGA, it gains a foothold in the world’s most populous nation, which with its vast potential market is considered a key strategic priority for many sports bodies. PGA Tour vice president Greg Gilligan, the body’s managing director for Greater China, said the tour had plans to expand to Hong Kong, Taipei and Macau, and perhaps even further afield in Asia if successful in China. “We’re making a longterm commitment to this partnership and to the development of golf in China, broadly speaking,” he told AFP by phone from Beijing. “Our money-list players can graduate from this to the,” he

added. “It’s a stepping-stone where players can continue to hone their competitive skills and graduate from one tour to the next.” The tour, similar to PGA development circuits in Canada and Latin America, is already underway with its second qualifying event-with international as well as Chinese players-being held this week. Prize money of RMB 12 million ($200,000) will be on offer at each tournament, as well as world ranking points. Only the top-ranked players from each country will qualify when golf returns to the Olympics in 2016. “China loves all things Olympics, particularly all things successful in the Olympics,” Gilligan said. “So yes, I would imagine that that was one element our partners at the China Golf Association... and the Chinese officialdom considered as part of the attraction.” Despite growing interest in golf and a mushrooming number of courses, plus some world-class international tournaments, previous domestic tours in China have struggled. Players have also been slow to emerge and the current golf rankings feature only six Chinese men in the top 1,000, and none among the leading 100. By comparison, Japan has 63 players in the top 1,000, South Korea has 67, Thailand has 25 and India has 12. The PGA Tour had been considered late to make a move in Asia, and it wasn’t until last year that it held its first fully sanctioned event in the region, the CIMB Classic in Malaysia. —AFP

MIAMI: Andy Murray will have to solve the problem of his patchy play quickly if he hopes to defend his Miami ATP Masters title against a star-studded field. Murray departed Miami last year ranked second in the world after a razor-thin victory over David Ferrer in the final gave him his second Sony Open title. He went on to claim an emotional second Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, but the 26-yearold has yet to reach a final since having back surgery in September and is currently ranked sixth in the world. The Scot was at a loss to explain a third-set collapse against big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic in the fourth round at the Indian Wells Masters last week and admitted his confidence was at low ebb. That will put him at a distinct disadvantage against the likes of world number one Rafael Nadal, who returns to Miami after skipping last year’s tournament to rest his troublesome knees. World number two Novak Djokovic also arrives in Florida brimming with confidence, having secured his first title of 2014 with a triumph over a revitalized Roger Federer in the Indian Wells final on Sunday. “It was the first final I played this year,” Djokovic noted. “It was necessary for my confidence and hopefully I can carry that into Miami and the rest of the season.” Djokovic was especially pleased that he came through some tough three-set matches, including rallying from a set down against Croatian Marin Cilic in the fourth round and Federer in the championship contest. Getting through the tense encounters quelled the doubts he’d felt upon arriving Stateside for the two big hardcourt tournaments without a title for the first time in years. Djokovic avenged a loss to Federer in the semi-finals at Dubai in February, but said the Swiss great was clearly a force to be reckoned with now that he has put his injury-marred 2013 campaign behind him.

Andy Murray celebrates in this file photo. “Roger is playing at a ver y high level,” Djokovic said. “He has more depth on his shots, especially from the backhand side. He gives himself an opportunity to finish with the forehand. He serves well. He just played better than he did in the last 13, 14 months.” Federer, who had fallen to eighth in the world, heads into Miami back at number five. He too is returning to Key Biscayne after skipping the tournament last year, and after winning the title in Dubai and reaching the final in Indian Wells in back-to-back events the 17-time Grand Slam champion left himself some wiggle room with regard to playing another tournament so soon. “I will see how I feel over there,” Federer said shortly after the Indian Wells final. “Most likely, yes, I will play.” Women’s world number one Serena Williams returns to defend the title she won last year with a victory over Maria Sharapova in the final. Women’s first-round play begins on Tuesday,

but the 32 men’s and women’s seeds all have first-round byes. Williams, owner of 17 Grand Slam titles and a record six Miami trophies, will no doubt be eager to get back on track after her season-opening triumph in Brisbane was followed by a fourth-round loss at the Australian Open and a semi-final loss to France’s Alize Cornet at Dubai in February. Sharapova will try to bounce back from a third-round loss to Italian qualifier Camila Giorgi at Indian Wells. The Russian reached her fifth Miami final last year, but has never won the title. China’s Australian Open champion Li Na arrives in Florida after a semi-final defeat to eventual champion Flavia Pennetta in Indian Wells. Li struggled with her serve in the California desert thanks to a change in her mechanics, but said she hoped to have the problems ironed out. “Nothing to worry about,” Li said. “Should be OK in next tournament.” — AFP

Ireland, England eye WCup after dramatic Six Nations LONDON: Ireland deservedly won the Six Nations but it was World Cup hosts England who had arguably even greater cause for optimism looking ahead to the 2015 global jamboree. The Irish gave retiring centre great Brian O’Driscoll a fairytale farewell with a dramatic 22-20 win against France in Paris on Saturday that saw them take the title in the final match of the Championship. But it is not results against each other that will determine whether Europe’s finest can lift the World Cup but how they perform against the southern hemisphere giants of defending champions New Zealand, South Africa and Australia. And it is here a youthful England side, who might have enjoyed a Grand Slam but for a frantic final five minutes during an opening defeat by France, could have the edge. They, unlike their Home Nations rivals, know what it is to beat the All Blacks, and they will travel to New Zealand for a post-season tour buoyed by the emergence of a world-class second row pairing in Joe Launchbury and Courtney Lawes. Meanwhile half-backs Owen Farrell and Danny Care were increasingly assured in a back division where full-back Mike Brown excelled in both attack and defence. England, the lone European winners of the World Cup, can take heart from recalling that Clive Woodward’s global champions didn’t complete the

Grand Slam until months before they triumphed at the 2003 edition. ‘NEXT YEAR IS OUR YEAR’ In the end a 52-11 hammering of Italy in Rome wasn’t enough for England to snatch the title on points difference from Ireland and captain Chris Robshaw promised it would be a spur to better things. “We made a vow to each other in Rome on Saturday that next year is going to be our year,” said the Harlequins flanker in the Daily Telegraph. “We desperately want to take the next step in 2015 and win the Six Nations Championship. “Then our sights will be set on the World Cup.”Ireland have never got beyond the quarter-finals of a World Cup but that could change next year. Their new coach, Joe Schmidt, won the Six Nations at his first attempt and the way in which they tactically overwhelmed two-time defending champions Wales 26-3 was a testament to the New Zealander’s astute planning. The spine of the Ireland side looks sound, with full-back Rob Kearney, half-backs Jonathan Sexton and Conor Murray, back-row Peter O’Mahony and prop Cian Healy all impressing during this Six Nations. O’Driscoll will leave big boots to fill but Ireland flanker Chris Henry said: “I think we have to capitalise on this now in terms of the World Cup. “There’s no telling how far this team can go.” For Wales, away losses to both Ireland and World Cup

pool rivals England denied them the chance of a record third successive outright Six Nations title. A lack of direction behind the scrum was a problem in both their defeats, with neither Rhys Priestland nor Dan Biggar convincing at fly-half. Wales, who’ve suffered 18 straight losses at the hands of the southern hemisphere “big three” are now set to tour South Africa without both injured captain Sam Warburton and star full-back Leigh Halfpenny. “The two games we lost, both teams kicked more than we did, particularly Ireland who played a lot of onepass rugby and tried to negate a lot of our strengths,” said Wales coach Warren Gatland. France, so often lacklustre, gave glimpses of class against England and Ireland with wing Yoann Huget impressive. That suggested their enduring issue was the somewhat erratic team selection of coach Philippe Saint-Andre. “Of course we can win the World Cup,” said Saint-Andre, whose predecessor Marc Lievremont guided France to an 8-7 defeat by hosts New Zealand in the 2011 final. “We are a young team and working really hard to iron out some things that aren’t right but we are getting there.” For bottom of the table Italy, who lost all five matches this Six Nations it was yet another gruelling tournament. Scotland, last-minute winners over Italy, had an otherwise dire Six Nations, culminating in a record 51-3 defeat by Wales in Cardiff where fullback Stuart Hogg was sent off. — AFP

DUBLIN: Ireland’s rugby captain Paul O’Connell (left) poses for pictures with fans as he holds the Six Nations trophy upon arrival at Dublin International airport in this file photo. — AFP



Afghanistan send Hong Kong packing from World Twenty-20 CHITTAGONG: Mohammad Shahzad and Shafiqullah Shafiq hit aggressive half-centuries to help Afghanistan beat Hong Kong by seven wickets in the World Twenty20 tournament in Chittagong yesterday. Shahzad notched up a fiery 53-ball 68 while Shafiq smashed a career-best 50 not out off

well-timed boundary to complete his maiden fifty and seal the win. Shahzad had his full share of luck. Sloppy Hong Kong fielding gave him two lives, on 25 and 64. And when he was finally dismissed in the 16th over with 38 still needed, the Afghans were far from home. But Shafiq

CHITTAGONG: Afghanistan batsman Mohammad Shahzad acknowledges the crowd after scoring fifty runs during their ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup match against Hong Kong. — AP just 24 balls to help Afghanistan reach their 154-run target with 12 balls to spare in the Group A match. Shahzad, who was in miserable form in the preceding Asia Cup and was out for nought in the first game against Bangladesh, hit three sixes and six boundaries in a chancy knock. Shafiq completed the task with a

hit three sixes off paceman Aizaz Ahmed’s 17th over to reduce the target to 11 runs. Hong Kong had lost their first match to Nepal and a second defeat means they are out of the tournament. Afghanistan, who went down to hosts Bangladesh in their first game, earned a lifeline with yesterday’s win as they try

to get through to the next round. Shahzad said he was happy to contribute after his recent loss of form. “I didn’t play well in the last few matches so the coach told me to take my time,” he said. “Everybody supported me. It was a good fifty for me and it was a good win for us. In T20, everything is possible. We need to see the result of the next match and hopefully we can make it to the next round.” Hong Kong, who chose to bat, got off to a disastrous start when they lost opener Irfan Ahmed to the first ball of the match, bowled by left-arm paceman Shapoor Zadran who finished with 2-27. It was left to Mark Chapman (38), Waqas Barkat (32) and Jamie Atkinson (31) to put the innings back on track with some sensible batting. Barkat and Chapman added 60 for the third wicket and at 102-3 in the 14th over, Hong Kong should have put together a higher total then their 153-8. But spinners Mohammad Nabi (2-27) and Hamza Hotak (2-32) put the brakes on Hong Kong’s progress. The top team from each of the two preliminary groups will join the eight seeded teams in the Super-10 stage, starting March 21. Ireland and the Netherlands won their opening matches in Group B on Monday. Brief scores: Hong Kong 153-8 in 20 overs (M. Chapman 38, Waqas Barkat 32, Jamie Atkinson 31; Shapoor Zadran 2-27, Mohammad Nabi 2-27; Hamza Hotak 2-32) Afghanistan 154-3 in 18 overs (Mohammad Shahzad 68, Shafiqullah Shafiq 51 not out). Afghanistan won by seven wickets. —AFP

Kuwait welcomes Indian Master Blaster Sehwag KUWAIT: Kuwait extends its open arms in welcoming the legendr y Virendra Sehwag, the charismatic cricketer from India who is on a private visit to Kuwait. This mega event sponsored by City Clinic, a pioneer medical Institution has the full-fledged support and patronage of Kuwait Cricket, the official governing body of cricket in Kuwait. Anything said about Sehwag would be less as there is an air of expectancy when Virender Sehwag takes guard. For the millions of his fans across the globe and even perhaps for the opposition the thrill is continuous as the excitement of the previous delivery fuses with that of the next as his fearless and flamboyant stroke play amplifies the glorious uncertainties of cricket. Just about anything can happen! As Cricinfo states on his page, the bowlers must fancy their chances against someone like Sehwag. It is just that he fancies the bowlers more! His phenomenal international record is simply mind boggling for one who makes a mockery of traditional batting technique. Two triple centuries in Tests and a double in an ODI means this is no ordinary talent. Add to that his Test match 319 against South Africa in Chennai in 2008, was made at a better than a run a ball. He would have climbed another unprecedented peak if he had made a third triple which he missed by 7 runs against Sri Lanka. The 219 he made against West Indies at Indore in a 2011 ODI series was smacked at an incredible whack rate of almost 150! It stands as the highest individual score to date. It is for his genius for striking the cricket ball so hard and so consistently that he will be considered an all-time great. Therefore Kuwait will be proud to host this Great Indian sportsman. His presence will encourage the local

Filip Polc performs in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on January 13, 2014. —

Pacers overcome 76ers INDIANAPOLIS: Lance Stephenson scored 25 points as the Indiana Pacers came back from an early deficit to beat Philadelphia 99-90 on Monday, handing the 76ers their franchiserecord 21st straight loss. Paul George had 24 points for the Pacers, who staked the Sixers to a 15-6 lead before taking the lead and pulling away. George Hill scored 11 points, Ian Mahinmi had 10 and David West grabbed 12 rebounds. Thaddeus Young had 23 points to lead the Sixers, who tied the Detroit Pistons for the sixth-longest losing streak in NBA history. The Pistons lost 21 straight bridging the 1979-80 and 1980-81 seasons. The Cleveland Cavaliers set the NBA record for consecutive losses with 26, in the 2010-11 season. The Sixers haven’t won since Jan. 29 at Boston. Evan Turner, now with the Pacers, hit the winning shot in that 95-94 win by Philadelphia. Turner, traded to Indiana with Lavoy Allen on Feb. 20 for Danny Granger and a draft pick, had four points and seven rebounds against his former team Monday. HAWKS 97, BOBCATS 83 Paul Millsap scored 28 points as the Atlanta Hawks ended the Charlotte Bobcats’ eight-game home winning streak. It was Atlanta’s 11th straight win over Charlotte. The Hawks have won four straight, pulling within 1 1/2 games of the Bobcats for the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Kemba Walker led the Bobcats with 20 points. Al Jefferson, who was selected the Eastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday, had 16 points and 12 rebounds for his 30th double-double of the season but was just 6 of 15 from the field.

Indian master blaster Virender Sehwag players to embrace his brand of care- immensely successful, respected and free batsmanship which is often the entertaining opener. Kuwait began as preferred style of play here. There is a sporadic performer on the internaalso an element of uncomplicated- tional stage and has gradually been ness to Virender Sehwag’s game that recognized as a cricketing nation. often draws accolades which also can Now, the tiny oil rich nation stands on be an inspiration. How often have we the threshold of creating a credible heard the experts say ‘Keep it simple’ cricketing reputation. Welcome to Kuwait, Virender and who else can be an embodiment Sehwag. We cricket lovers admire your of that very phrase? Kuwait Cricket can draw inspiration sporting character and we look forfrom and chalk a career path similar to ward to emulating your free spirited Mr. Sehwag’s. He started off as an willow wielding in our endeavor to irregular middle order hard-hitter and place ourselves favorably in this exhilgradually cemented his place as an arating world of cricket.

Bangladesh thump Nepal CHITTAGONG: Bangladesh put in a clinical performance to defeat newcomers Nepal by eight wickets in the World Twenty20 in Chittagong yesterday. The hosts, who fielded after winning the toss, kept Nepal down to 126-5 in their 20 overs before reaching the modest target in 15.3 overs. Opener Anamul Haque scored a

Photo of the day

33-ball 42 with five boundaries and two sixes and shared an opening stand of 63 with Tamim Iqbal (30). Shakib Al Hasan hit four sixes in his 37 not out and Sabbir Rahman made 21 not out complete the chase. Nepal’s modest score was built around a polished 35-ball 41 by skipper Paras Khadka and a 43-ball 40 by Sharad Vesawkar who shared a 85-run

CHITTAGONG: Nepal’s Shakti Gauchan misses a catch during their ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup match against Bangladesh. — AP

NETS 108, SUNS 95 Deron Williams scored 28 points and even dunked for the first time this season, leading the Brooklyn Nets past the Phoenix Suns and extending their home winning streak to nine. Williams shot 11 of 13 from the field and looks all the way back after ankle problems wrecked his first half of the season. He was two points off his season high and rose above the rim to throw down a dunk that finished off a fourth-quarter fast break started by Andrei Kirilenko’s steal. Joe Johnson added 19 points for the Nets, on their longest home winning streak since winning nine straight from March 15-April 6, 2006. Markieff Morris scored 18 points and Gerald Green 17 for the Suns, who were seeking a perfect three-game trip against Atlantic Division teams after winning at Boston and Toronto. THUNDER 97, BULLS 85 Kevin Durant finished with 35

points and 12 rebounds as the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Chicago Bulls. Russell Westbrook added 17 points after sitting out the previous day to rest his surgically repaired knee, and the Thunder rebounded from their most lopsided loss of the season. They went on a 13point run after the Bulls scored eight straight early in the fourth to cut the lead to one and pulled this one out after falling by 23 at home to Dallas on Sunday. Durant ran his streak of games with 25 or more points to 32, the longest in the NBA since Michael

MAVERICKS 94, CELTICS 89 Dirk Nowitzki led another balanced scoring effort with 19 points as the Dallas Mavericks opened a clubrecord eight-game homestand by holding on for a victor y over the Boston Celtics. The Celtics trailed by double digits twice in the second half before getting within one in the final minute but couldn’t avoid an 0-15 finish on the road against the Western Conference. The Mavericks followed their first win in more than two years over possible first-round playoff foe Oklahoma

NBA results/standings Atlanta 97, Charlotte 83; Indiana 99, Philadelphia 90; Brooklyn 108, Phoenix 95; Oklahoma City 97, Chicago 85; Houston 124, Utah 86; Dallas 94, Boston 89; Denver 110, LA Clippers 100. Western Conference Eastern Conference Northwest Division Atlantic Division W L PCT GB Oklahoma City49 18 .731 Toronto 37 28 .569 43 24 .642 6 Portland Brooklyn 34 31 .523 3 Minnesota 33 32 .508 15 NY Knicks 27 40 .403 11 Denver 30 37 .448 19 Boston 22 46 .324 16.5 Utah 22 46 .324 27.5 Philadelphia 15 52 .224 23 Pacific Division Central Division LA Clippers 48 21 .696 Indiana 50 17 .746 Golden State 42 26 .618 5.5 Chicago 37 30 .552 13 Phoenix 38 29 .567 9 Cleveland 26 41 .388 24 Sacramento 23 44 .343 24 Detroit 25 41 .379 24.5 LA Lakers 22 44 .333 24.5 Milwaukee 13 54 .194 37 Southwest Division Southeast Division San Antonio 50 16 .758 Miami 45 19 .703 45 22 .672 5.5 Houston Washington 35 31 .530 11 Dallas 41 27 .603 10 Charlotte 33 35 .485 14 Memphis 39 27 .591 11 Atlanta 30 35 .462 15.5 Orlando 19 48 .284 27.5 New Orleans 27 39 .409 23

Jordan did it in 40 in a row during the 1986-87 season. He also chipped in with five assists. Chicago’s Joakim Noah, who’s been hearing “MVP!” chants lately, shot 2 of 8 but finished with nine points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.

City by taking their third straight to get a season-high 14 games over .500. Jerryd Bayless had 19 points and Kris Humphries matched a season high with 14 rebounds for the Celtics, who lost their fifth straight game and 12th in the past 15.

ROCKETS 124, JAZZ 86 Terrence Jones scored 30 points as the Houston Rockets ended a threegame skid with their most lopsided victory of the season. Dwight Howard was out with an ankle strain, leaving the Rockets without him for the first time this season. But they still had no problem handling the Utah Jazz, who have lost five in a row and have one of the worst records in the Western Conference. Houston led 92-69 entering the fourth, and the big advantage allowed an overworked James Harden, who had played more than 43 minutes in three of the previous four games, to rest a bit as he watched the fourth quarter from the bench. Harden finished with 15 points. Derrick Favors had 15 points for the Jazz a night after scoring a career-high 28.

NUGGETS 110, CLIPPERS 100 Reserve JJ Hickson had 21 points and Ty Lawson scored eight of his 19 in a late fourth-quarter run, helping the Denver Nuggets end the Los Angeles Clippers’ 11-game winning streak. The Clippers’ streak was tied for second-longest in franchise history. Their longest, 17 in a row last season, also was snapped by Denver at Pepsi Center. Kenneth Faried added 18 points and 16 rebounds in a duel in the paint against Blake Griffin, who finished with 26 points and 12 boards. Down 98-96 with 4:21 remaining, Lawson hit a 3-point to give the Nuggets a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. It was part of a 14-2 run to close out the game. The Clippers didn’t score again after DeAndre Jordan’s dunk at 3:31. — AP

stand for the fourth wicket. But the experienced pair failed to speed up things in the final overs against some tight Bangladeshi bowling. Paceman Al-Amin Hossain was the pick of the home bowlers with 217 in four overs. The second straight win puts Bangladesh in a strong position to qualify for the Super-10 stage from Group A. They now play Hong Kong in their last match while Nepal meet Afghanistan. Afghanistan and Nepal have one win in two games while Hong Kong crashed out of the event with two defeats in as many games. Afghanistan beat Hong Kong by seven wickets earlier yesterday. Ireland and the Netherlands won their first matches in Group B on Monday. Two teams from each group will qualify for the Super-10 stage, starting from March 21. The final will be played on April 6 in Dhaka. Brief Scores: Nepal 126-5 in 20 overs (P. Khadka 41, S. Vesawkar 40; Al-Amin Hossain 2-17) Bangladesh 132-2 in 15.3 overs (Anamul Haque 42, Shakib Al Hasan 37 not out). Bangladesh won by eight wickets. — AFP

INDIANAPOLIS: Philadelphia 76ers guard Michael Carter-Williams (center) pulls down a rebound in front of Indiana Pacers center Ian Mahinmi (second from left) during the second half of an NBA basketball game. — AP



Ronaldo and Romario go at it again in Brazil SAO PAULO: In the latest chapter of a spat between past Brazil football greats, Ronaldo is publicly criticizing former teammate Romario for making another attack on him, this time over an alleged broken promise to provide free tickets for people with disabilities during the World Cup. Romario, now an outspoken lawmaker, is blaming Ronaldo for making the promise and not coming through with it. Ronaldo, a member of the local World Cup organizing committee, says it was the Brazilian football federation that failed to fulfill their pledge. Ronaldo on Monday lamented another attack by his former teammate, saying it’s not clear why Romario continues to take shots at him. “It’s lamentable to see Romario once again coming out to publicly say that I’m responsible for

things that are out of my hands,” Ronaldo said in a statement published on his social media accounts. “Opportunism or ignorance, I don’t know. What I do know is that instead of wasting time and energy trying to disparage me, the congressman should dedicate himself to challenging the right people/institutions. We would all benefit from that.” Ronaldo said the promise to donate 32,000 World Cup tickets to people with disabilities was made by the Brazilian football federation, not by him. “I’m not a politician, I don’t represent (the federation), I don’t promise what I can’t fulfill,” Ronaldo said, adding that he is sure that Romario knows the promise was made by the entity and not by him. On Friday, Romario posted a photo where he is standing by Ronaldo after a press conference held to announce the free tickets at the federation’s

WASPISH MOOD The Chelsea manager was in generally waspish mood on Monday, perhaps as a reaction to his team’s controversial 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa on Saturday.

Mourinho was sent to the stands in stoppage time and also had Ramires, for a horrible two-footed lunge, and fellow Brazil midfielder Willian, for two bookable offences, sent off. The Portuguese refused to talk too much about the Villa match for fear of bringing the game into disrepute and said he had no interest in accepting counterpart Roberto Mancini’s offer to treat him to dinner in the event Galatasaray knock Chelsea out. “I don’t do things because I win or I lose,” said Mourinho. “After matches what I have in my mind to do, I do, it doesn’t matter if I win or lose. “Some coaches say if we win tomorrow it’s a free day for the players, with me it’s not. With me it’s a free day when I think it’s a free day. “After the game tomorrow I don’t have in my plans a meal with somebody who has the same job as I have and the only thing we have in common is we are both football managers, nothing else.” Mourinho was not happy to be questioned about Ramires’s sending-off at Villa Park. “Don’t you have other things to ask about that game other than Ramires’s tackle in minute 92?,” the Chelsea manager replied. “Do you think in that game the most important thing to happen was Ramires’s tackle? In that case I don’t want to answer. “We cannot have a reaction to what happened at Villa Park because if we have a reaction it will bring the game into disrepute. We just close our mouths and keep going.” Mourinho suggested the challenge from Ramires was built on frustration. “I feel that what happened in minute 92 was a consequence of the other 91 minutes we played before that,” he said. “I’m sorry if I’m wrong or you don’t agree with me but if you want to ask you should ask what led to that tackle, not about the tackle. “Ask about what makes that tackle happen. That is my opinion,” said Mourinho. — Reuters

and improve conditions for Brazilians with disabilities. He has been attacking World Cup organizers and Brazilian authorities since he took office in 2010, criticizing FIFA’s influence in Brazil and the costs of hosting the tournament. He always made it clear that he was not fond of Ronaldo’s decision to join the local organizing committee. Ronaldo reiterated on Monday that he is a volunteer on the organizing committee and is not being paid. Former Brazil striker Bebeto is also a member of the local committee. Romario, who has also been at odds with Brazil great Pele in the past, led Brazil to the World Cup title in 1994, when Ronaldo was a young reserve in the squad. Ronaldo played in three other World Cups after that, winning the title in 2002 and becoming the tournament’s leading scorer with 15 goals. — AP

Qatar WCup organizers: We adhered to ethics rules

Drogba will rejoin Chelsea family one day - Mourinho LONDON: Didier Drogba will be a part of the Chelsea family again one day, manager Jose Mourinho predicted on the eve of yesterday’s Champions League last-16 second leg against Galatasaray. Mourinho told reporters the 36-yearold Galatasaray striker was such an important part of Chelsea’s history that it was inevitable that he would be a Stamford Bridge employee again at some point in the future. Drogba’s contract expires at the end of the season and media reports have linked him with a role as player-coach at the London club. At a separate news conference earlier, the Ivorian also said he would like to return to Chelsea one day. “He is one of the most important players in the history of this club. All we Chelsea supporters agree with that,” said Mourinho who goes into the home second leg with an advantage after drawing the opening match in Istanbul 1-1. “We don’t say he is the most important because it’s not fair for other people who were at the same level and were of the same generation. “His return has to happen one day, when I don’t know. As a player, as a coach, as an ambassador, next year, in four or five years, 10 years, I don’t know,” added Mourinho. “But when a person gives so much to a club and a club represents so much to a person, as in this case, I think he has to be back one day.” The Portuguese said it was not the right time to discuss a possible Drogba return. “We know he is a free agent at the end of the season but this is not the right moment to speak about this,” said Mourinho. “Is he the same player at 36 that he was at 26? I think nobody is but he’s one of the best strikers in the world, that’s for sure.”

headquarters three years ago. He wrote: “This photo was taken in 2011, when Ronaldo publicly promised the tickets for people with disabilities. So far, nothing!!!” Ronaldo said he was there to support the cause, just like Romario. He said he also hopes that the federation comes through with its promise, and told Romario to go talk to federation officials to find out what happened. “I’m anxiously waiting for answers, like everybody else,” Ronaldo said. “If you need my support, please at least be more polite next time.” Ronaldo added: “It doesn’t make sense to insist publicly in this ‘rivalry,’ which doesn’t exist from my side.” The Brazilian football federation could not be immediately contacted for comment. Romario has a daughter with a disability, and one of his main causes in Congress has been to try

LONDON: Organizers of the 2022 World Cup distanced themselves yesterday from allegations of corruption involving two former high-ranking FIFA officials that raised new questions about Qatar’s winning bid for the tournament. British newspaper The Daily Telegraph alleged yesterday it has evidence that former FIFA vice president Jack Warner of Trinidad & Tobago and his family were paid almost $2 million from a company controlled by Mohamed Bin Hammam, a Qatari who used to be an executive committee member of world football’s governing body. According to documents seen by the newspaper, a note from one of Warner’s companies, Jamad, to Bin Hammam’s firm, Kemco, requested $1.2 million for work carried out between 2005 and 2010. The note was dated Dec. 15, 2010, two weeks after Qatar was awarded the World Cup. The payment was made in 2011. Payments totaling $750,000 were paid to Warner’s sons and a further $400,000 to one of his employees, the Telegraph alleged. The transactions were processed via a bank in New York and have come to the attention of the FBI, which the newspaper alleged is investigating Warner and his links to the Qatar bid. Qatari organizers said yesterday the bid “strictly adhered to FIFA’s bidding regulations in compliance with their code of ethics.” “The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy and the individuals involved in the 2022 Bid Committee are unaware of any allegations surrounding business dealings between private individuals,” the statement said. FIFA said it had no comment on the allegations. “In principle, any evidence of potential wrongdoing can be submitted to the investigatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee of FIFA for further investigation,” it said in a statement. The latest allegations will bring fresh scrutiny on the 2010 vote, which currently is under investigation by FIFA’s independent ethics prosecutor, and has put Warner and Bin Hammam - two of the most controversial figures in FIFA’s recent history - back in the spotlight. Warner and Bin Hammam are no longer FIFA members. They were caught up in a corruption scandal surrounding Bin Hammam’s failed campaign for the FIFA presidency in 2011. Qatar defeated bids from the United States, Japan, South Korea and Australia to host the World Cup, allowing FIFA to take the 2022 tournament to a new country. The decision has been marred by persistent allegations that the voting process was flawed as well as concerns over the sweltering summer heat in the

PORT-OF-SPAIN: In this Thursday, June 2, 2011 file photo, suspended FIFA executive Jack Warner gestures during a news conference held shortly after his arrival at the airport in Portof-Spain, in his native Trinidad and Tobago. — AP tiny Gulf nation, where temperatures can hit 120 degrees F (49 C). FIFA is expected to move the tournament from its traditional June-July period to the winter months, with the exact dates yet to be finalized. Concerns have also been raised about the working conditions, poor living standards and non-payment of wages for people helping to build the stadiums for the World Cup. As then-president of the CONCACAF regional body, which includes the US Soccer Federation, Warner would have been expected to lead efforts within FIFA’s ruling board to help the American bid win the 2022 contest. Qatar defeated the American bid 14-8 in the final round of secret balloting by 22 FIFA board members. Two of the then 24-man board were suspended after being implicated in a cash-for-votes sting by British newspaper The Sunday Times. Warner resigned from football duties, including his 28-year membership of FIFA’s board, in June 2011 to avoid investigation in a bribery scandal linked to Bin Hammam’s campaign for FIFA president. The Qatari

AVC - Kuwait

official launched his challenge against FIFA President Sepp Blatter three months after helping his country secure the World Cup. Bin Hammam withdrew his presidential candidacy just days before the vote after being suspended by FIFA’s ethics committee. He was implicated in offering Caribbean football federations $40,000 each in cash at a May 2011 campaign meeting organized by Warner in Trinidad. The World Cup bid contests for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments are being investigated by Michael Garcia, a former U.S. Attorney who was appointed as FIFA’s independent ethics prosecutor in July 2012. Garcia and his investigation team have been conducting interviews worldwide with officials from the 2018-2022 bid nations and FIFA executive committee members. Russia is to host the 2018 World Cup. Garcia is expected to submit a report later this year to FIFA’s independent ethics judge, Joachim Eckert, who can recommend possible sanctions. Blatter has said the World Cup cannot be taken away from Qatar or Russia. — AP

Santos United

AVC - Kuwait and Santos United in final KUWAIT: In perfect climatic conditions AVC Kuwait and Santos United sailed into the finals of the inaugural edition of the ‘’KIFF Presidents’ Cup 2014’’ winning their semifinals matches with ease on match day 5 played at the Al Sabah Hospital grounds in Kuwait on March 14. The first semifinal saw tournament favorites AVC - Kuwait taking on inform Indian Strikers. AVC started the match with pace and scored the first goal through Agnel Martin in the 8 minute of the first half. Goaded by the lead they upped the tempo further and consolidated the lead when Agnelo Martin once again found the net to make it 2-0. Stung by the reverse Indian Strikers came back strongly in the game and reduced the margin beating AVC goalkeeper Blesson with a perfect finish. Searching for the equalizer Indian Strikers further piled more pressure on AVC’s defense and missed easy opportunities. The second half started with AVC once again dominating the proceedings and further consolidated their lead when Agnelo Martin found the net from a corner and completed his hat trick. Anthony who had earlier missed scoring chances found the fourth for AVC with a superb finish. Indian Strikers never gave up and scored the second in the dying minutes of the game. The game finished 4-2 in favor of AVC which became the first team to enter the finals of the inaugural KIFF Presidents’ Cup 2014. Agnelo Martin was rightly adjudged the Man of the Match for his hat trick which was given away by Francis

Fernandes, President of IFRA. The match proceedings were conducted by Sarto with Julio and Christopher on the lines. The second semifinal match was between YRC Rising Stars and Santos United. The inform Santos United started the match with pace and took the lead when Rising Stars defender scored an own goal upon pressure from the opposition. This early goal put Rising Stars on the defensive and could not strike a

rhythm. Santos consolidated the lead when Tiago’s perfect free kick was headed in by Alfred. The second half saw Rising Stars piling pressure on Santos but their defense held firm. Santos further consolidated their lead when Anthony Rego scored to put it beyond Rising Stars. The third goal woke Rising Stars who put immense pressure again on Santos defense and reduced the margin through Kenny.

Man of the Match Agnelo Martin Of Avc

Any hopes of a comeback were extinguished when James of Santos scored a classic goal striking a powerful shot from the top of the box which flew in the top corner to make 4-1 for Santos and helped his team to march in the finals of the Presidents’ Cup 2014 to meet AVC - Kuwait in a mouth watering clash. Alfred of Santos United was declared the Man of the Match and the award was given away by Shyam Kumar, Hon. KIFF Treasurer

and President of Kerala Challengers. The match was officiated by Nicholas with Alvaro and Sarto on the lines. The final is scheduled on March 28 with kick off at 8.30 am sharp. At 6.45 am prior to the finals KIFF will conduct an open tie-breaker tournament and entries will be accepted on the spot. On March 21, Santos United will conduct the 7-a-side football tournament starting at 6.45am.

Man of the Match Alfred Of Santos United



United try to salvage season GERMANY: Dortmund head coach Juergen Klopp talks to the media at a press conference prior to today’s UEFA Champions League second leg knock out soccer match against Zenit. — AP

Klopp keeping cool ahead of Zenit clash GERMANY: Borussia Dortmund’s notoriously hot-tempered coach Juergen Klopp has barred fans from watching the team train this week as he seeks a calm lead-up to the side’s Champions League Round of 16 second leg tie against Zenit St Petersburg today. Klopp was banished to the stands for dissent in a 2-1 loss to Borussia Moenchengladbach on Saturday as Dortmund lost their fourth league game of the season on the weekend prior to a Champions League match. He should cut a more passive figure this week, however, as Dortmund go into the return leg with Zenit as overwhelming favorites to advance to the quarter-finals following their convincing 4-2 victory in Russia last month. Klopp was quick to play down his latest indiscretion on Saturday, saying he had done nothing wrong when he questioned the referee over a decision. “When you have 80,000 fans in an emotional state and only one person does not understand it then you are out,” said the coach, who was also sent off in a Champions League group stage match at the start of the season. “I only shouted ‘why are you not calling it?’ although I did it with my by now world famous facial expression,” he told reporters. Klopp’s dismissal could be seen as an unwanted distraction but his players appear determined to maintain their focus on the main target of the season with the Bundesliga title destined to remain in Munich. “ Today, we have the next big game and we do not believe we are through yet,” defender Marcel Schmelzer said. “St Petersburg will demand everything from us.” INJURY CONCERNS Klopp has had to contend with a host of injuries since the start of the season and

Wednesday’s game will continue the trend as several key players miss out, including Sven Bender, Jakub Blaszczykowski and Ilkay Guendogan. There is some good news, however, after Robert Lewandowski returned to action on Saturday and has been ruled fit to face the Russians. Playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan is also expected to return despite missing Saturday’s game but Marco Reus remains a doubt. “We have reached a point where we can compensate for any absences and still play good football,” Klopp said. Zenit have bigger concerns, going into the match under the guidance of new coach Sergey Semak, who replaced Luciano Spalletti earlier this month. The 38-year-old has been handed a caretaker role at the club, though he lost his first game in charge, a 1-0 defeat to CSKA Moscow last week. Defender Cristian Ansaldi and forward Andrei Arshavin missed the loss against the reigning Russian Premier League champions through injury and the side go into this week’s match on a dreadful run of form in Europe’s elite club tournament. Zenit have failed to win any of their last four games in the Champions League, qualifying for the Round of 16 with a solitary win in the group stage. “Ahead of the Dortmund game, we need to stay united. This is a time when we have to demonstrate that we are united,” keeper Yuri Lodygin told reporters. “This concerns the game and everything surrounding it. We need to make sure that we support one another. “It is never easy when a head coach leaves, but we have already had time to reflect on this. We need to make sure that we answer questions about our mental state going into the game. Everything else is fine.”— Reuters

Yoga by Numbers works to bring poses to the people BOW: Combine Twister, paint-by-numbers and the ancient Hindu practice of breath control, meditation and poses, and you get Yoga by Numbers. The approach - complete with a numbered mat - was designed by a Boston woman whose own health scare inspired her to put yoga in reach for people with physical limitations, tight schedules or other roadblocks to traditional practice. The oversized yoga mat is dotted with big, numbered circles that look like the target in a rifle scope. The accompanying DVD gives true yoga beginners - those who wouldn’t know an up-dog from a Chihuahua - a step-by-step roadmap to learn the poses at their own pace. Elizabeth Morrow was an athlete, a skier and soccer player who, two years ago, found herself hospitalized with a right lung full of blood clots, the lower lobe completely collapsed. When she was strong enough to start exercising again, she found even the easiest of yoga classes too taxing. She didn’t have the stamina for an hour, couldn’t hold the poses the way the instructor wanted. So, the 32-year-old started thinking of ways to make it easier, more convenient and even more fundamental than the myriad DVDs already on the market. “I was thinking about a paint-by-number kit where you don’t need to be Picasso or van Gogh, you just follow what they tell you and you’ll come out with something,” she said. “I just wanted something that felt really accessible and doable for people. The image of the mat just popped into my head: ‘Wow, I can do yoga by numbers as well.’” The DVD tells users exactly which circle to put their hands and feet in and allows for advancement to more challenging poses. Yoga by Numbers has been compared to Twister, the popular game with giant colored circles, spinning wheel and crazy, cross-limbed poses. But Morrow’s cool with that, even when it comes from critics. “I think it’s awesome when they have that reaction because to me, that means they get it and they know how to use it,” said Morrow, a certified yoga instructor. Morrow has sold to people who live far from a yoga studio, those with tight schedules who need to squeeze in practice whenever they can, and people with health conditions. The National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine reports that recent studies of people with chronic low-back pain suggest yoga can help reduce pain and improve function. Other research shows regular practice might reduce heart rate, blood pressure and stress and may help relieve anxiety and depression. “People who are older are using it because the DVD really focuses you on not contorting yourself into Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatics,” Morrow said. She demonstrated the mat recently

at her parent’s house in Bow, NH, about an hour north of Boston. The latest “Yoga in America” study, released by Yoga Journal, reported 20.4 million Americans practiced yoga in 2012, compared to 15.8 million in 2008. They spent $10.3 billion on classes and products, up from $5.7 billion the earlier survey. Janet Lark teaches yoga in Ogden, Iowa, and had a bad experience with a poorly cut, astringent-smelling mat, so she started doing some research. She came upon Morrow’s mat and was struck by how simple it was for novices. “It truly was a ‘Duh! Why didn’t anyone think of that sooner?’ moment,” she said. “It is fantastic to notice how quickly the clients start to focus on

BOW: In this March 7, 2014 photo, Elizabeth Morrow poses on her specially designed Yoga by Numbers mat in Bow, NH. The mat gives true yoga beginners a step-by-step roadmap to learn poses at their own pace. — AP making sure they are properly aligned.” Morrow, who worked in the nonprofit sector for several years, also hears from purists who pooh-pooh the mats as a gimmick. “My response is that this is not a mandate,” she said. “I think that if you’re already practicing yoga and it works for you, that’s great and I’m really excited for you. I’m interested in hearing from people for whom the system doesn’t work.” A spokeswoman for the nonprofit Yoga Alliance, which represents teachers, schools and studios, said the ideal situation is to learn from a master teacher in private classes, but time and cost can be barriers. “Any tool that helps people practice yoga is a good thing,” said Katie Desmond. “And so we applaud Elizabeth’s ingenuity in spreading the power of yoga by helping to make the process of learning yoga as a beginner more accessible.” —AP

MANCHESTER: If history was the only deciding factor then Manchester United would be highly fancied to overturn their 2-0 first leg defeat against Olympiakos and reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League today. But the reality for manager David Moyes and his stuttering team is that present form, rather than past successes, will have a far bigger influence at Old Trafford. United’s unimpressive season reached a new low on Sunday when they were crushed 3-0 at home by bitter rivals Liverpool, a result that left last season’s champions seventh in the Premier League with just a remote possibility of a topfour finish. Their only realistic hope of competing alongside Europe’s elite next season would now appear to be by somehow winning the competition for a fourth time in May, starting by knocking Olympiakos out on Wednesday. “The players are well aware of what it means on Wednesday and what we have got to do,” Moyes said. “We’ve got something to go for so hopefully we can do that.” Misfiring United, who last failed to qualify for the Champions League 18 years ago, have no guarantees at all of achieving their aim against the Greeks who have just won their domestic title for the fourth successive season, the 16th time in 18 campaigns they have ended as champions and the 41st in all. Their head-to-head record, and the Greek side’s woeful record on the road against English clubs, does offer hope. Until Olympiakos triumphed in Athens on Feb. 25, United had won all four of the previous matches between the clubs. They have also won all five matches they have played against Greek clubs at home while Olympiakos have lost all 11 of the matches they have played in England. That sorry sequence began with a 4-0 loss at West Ham United in the old European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965 and has continued since with subsequent defeats at Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool (twice), Newcastle United, Chelsea, Manchester United (twice) and Arsenal (three times). But they arrive at Old Trafford buoyed by a comprehensive title victory, even if Sunday’s 2-0 win over Panthrakikos was achieved behind closed doors.

LONDON: Manchester United’s manager David Moyes (centre left) trains with his team including striker Wayne Rooney (centre) at Carrington training ground. Manchester United will play Olympiakos in a Champions League last 16 second leg soccer match today. — AP DOMESTIC SUPERIORITY While United have been in the unfamiliar position of looking up at the leading pack in the Premier League, the Piraeus club have been head and shoulders above their domestic rivals this season. Spanish coach Michel is not getting carried away with their chances of reaching the last eight for the first time since 1999. “We aim to do what we always do and that is concentrate on our own game,” he said. “We know our opponents very well and we know that 2-0 is not a serious advantage. We need to score to make sure we make it difficult for them as we know that United have a strong desire to turn the tie around.” Michel has to choose between former Argentina forward Javier Saviola, who missed the first leg due to injury and who would make his 100th appearance in European club competition, and Paraguayan Nelson Valdez for the lone

attacking role in place of Nigerian striker Michael Olaitan. Olaitan was kept in hospital for a week following his dramatic collapse during the Athens derby against Panathinaikos on March 2 due to viral myocarditis, but although he has no serious condition he is not yet ready for action. Defensive midfielder Ivan Marcano is also expected to be fit after being rested over the weekend. “Michael will be missed because against United he was amazing,” said Michel. Among those United will be keeping a close eye on is 21-year-old Joel Campbell, the Costa Rican international who is on loan from Arsenal. He scored an excellent goal to seal the 2-0 win in Athens and caused the creaky United defence problems with his pace and movement. Moyes could shake up his team following Sunday’s defeat with Nani, Javier Hernandez and Jonny Evans all training again af ter injuries. — Reuters

Bilbao held at Villarreal MADRID: Athletic Bilbao missed a chance to tighten their grip on Spain’s fourth Champions League qualification place when they had to come from behind to rescue a 1-1 draw at 10man Villarreal in La Liga on Monday. Villarreal goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo saved Aritz Aduriz ’s 40th-minute penalty at the Madrigal before teenager Oliver Torres slipped the ball across goal for Tomas Pina to fire the home side ahead two minutes into the second half. The match turned when Villarreal defender Gabriel earned a second yellow card and was sent off in the 66th minute and Aduriz atoned for his penalty miss with a fine headed equaliser seven minutes from time. With 10 games left, Bilbao have 52 points in fourth, six ahead of Basque rivals Real Sociedad, who are fifth on 46 points thanks to Sunday’s 1-0 win at home to Valencia. Promoted Villarreal, who have impressed on their return to the top flight, have 45 points in sixth, one ahead of seventh-placed

Sevilla. “The penalty was a bit of a blow but we managed to regroup after their goal and get the draw,” Aduriz said in an interview with Spanish television broadcaster Cuatro. “We started to dominate towards the end and we are more or less satisfied. “There is still a long way to go and we have to take things step by step.” Villarreal midfielder Torres, on loan from Atletico Madrid, told Cuatro: “The penalty save gave us a bit of a boost and we came out strongly in the second half. “We managed to get ahead on the scoreboard but the sending off changed things and you really notice when you have a man less against such a good team,” added the 19-yearold. “We got a point but we are disappointed because we wanted the win.” Real Madrid are three clear at the top on 70 points af ter they won 1-0 at M alaga on Saturday. Atletico Madrid are second on 67 thanks to their 1-0 success at home to Espanyol and champions Barcelona, who play

at Real on Sunday in the “Clasico”, are a point fur ther back in third af ter they thrashed Osasuna 7-0 on Sunday. — Reuters

Today’s matches on TV UEFA Champions League Dortmund v Zenit beIN SPORTS 2 HD beIN SPORTS 4 HD beIN SPORTS 14 HD


Man United v Olympiakos beIN SPORTS 1 HD beIN SPORTS 3 HD beIN SPORTS 13 HD beIN SPORTS 11 HD


Conference to focus on violence in soccer By Abdellatif Sharaa KUWAIT: International referee Saad Kameel said that President of Kuwait and international police unions Lt Col Sheikh Ahmad Al-Nawaf plays a major role in serving sports. He said the latest example is the organization of the international sports and security conference in Kuwait under the patronage of HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. Kameel said Kuwait did not previously host such conferences and this shows the efforts Sheikh Ahmad Al-Nawaf exerts at the international level, especially as the number of member countries in the USIP reached more than 50. He said for the conference to be patronized by the Amir shows the extent of interest in sports and rejecting violence and chaos in stadiums. He said the influence of the USIP became apparent since Abdelhamid Hajji became president, adding that the uniformed services are the most important around the world. Karam: Administrations to blame Kuwaiti coach Mohammad Karam said sports should be distanced from wrongdoings at Kuwaiti stadiums lately, while stressing the role of the local media to guide players to practice violence-free sports. Karam blamed administrators for violence in the first place, and accused them of not playing their role in educating players. He claimed administrators are playing negative roles by encouraging wrongdoings. Karam said the administrative element in the sports unions and clubs is the negative aspect Kuwait sport is suffering from, as the management of teams is given to persons that are far from sports action, and athletes do not

have a sporting spirit. There are several elements that may cause violence inside sports arenas, starting with fans when they resort to ill-mannered chants and shouting insults at players, while trying to instigate violence between fans, thinking that their club is the best in the world. Players themselves may be a contributing reason due to their behaviour while playing, and this could be a main factor leading to violence by zealous fans as they make signs against referees and refuse to receive prizes or sometimes attack the referee in front of the fans. Referees themselves may become the spark that starts the explosion of

Kuwait coach Mohammad Karam violence, besides being the most attacked by players or fans, and are considered scapegoats by losing teams. Sometimes it is the administrators who cause violence, because they have become one of the factors of fanaticism, creating violence and chaos in arenas by withdrawing from some matches or making instigating statements to the press towards other teams. Sometimes differences exist

between members of the same team and matches become an opportunity to take revenge. Coaches are also not exempt from being a cause of violence because of their continued objections to referee decisions, and they get thrown out of matches. Recent examples of such violence is what happened in Turkey on Feb 25, 2014 when at least two Chelsea supporters were stabbed in clashes around Istanbul’s Taksim Square on the eve of the first leg of the club’s Champions League knockout tie against Galatasaray. Trouble reportedly flared after a bar frequented by English fans was targeted in a city that has been on high alert over political and social unrest in recent weeks. There had been clashes between fans of Galatasaray and Besiktas before their derby. Chelsea had issued warnings to their fans prior to travelling to Turkey. Meanwhile on Feb 3, 2014, angry Brazilian fans broke into a World Cup training centre and assaulted players and staff in an attack that highlighted the security concerns facing teams in this year’s tournament. About 100 Corinthians supporters used wire cutters to breach the perimeter mesh around a coaching area in Sao Paulo which will be used by the Iranian national side in June - so they could berate their team’s players for recent poor form. No one was seriously injured, but the invading fans grabbed and throttled striker Paolo Guerrero, who scored the winner against Chelsea in the 2012 Club World Cup final. “They tried to strangle the player who scored the most important goal in our club’s history. We didn’t deserve this,” club president Mario Gobbi said on Sunday. According to local media, the fans refused to leave for two hours

Kuwaiti referee Saad Kameel and also manhandled the coach Mano Menezes, striker Emerson Sheik and Alexandre Pato, a former AC Milan forward and the club’s most expensive signing last year.

Defending champ Murray seeks stability in Miami



United try to salvage season


Qatar WCup organizers: We adhered to ethics rules Page 18

MADRID: Real Madrid players celebrate after scoring their third goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match against Schalke. — AFP

Real cruise into last eight MADRID: Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Real Madrid cruised into the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a 9-2 aggregate victory over Schalke thanks to a 3-1 win at the Santiago Bernabeu yesterday. However, victory came at a cost for Los Blancos as promising forward Jese Rodriguez suffered a suspected cruciate ligament injury early on in the game. Ronaldo put Real ahead on the night when he swept home Gareth Bale’s low cross on 21 minutes, but Tim Hoogland’s deflected effort brought the visitors level before half-time. It took until 16 minutes from time for Ronaldo to put Madrid back in front as he collected a loose ball from Bale and stormed forward to drill low into the net for his 13th Champions League goal of the season. And Bale was the creator once more for his

side’s third moments later when he squared for Alvaro Morata to fire home after Ronaldo had struck the bar. Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti had named a weakened side with one eye on Sunday’s crucial La Liga clash against Barcelona. However, the Italian was forced to introduce Bale inside the first 10 minutes when Jese had to be stretchered off after appearing to suffer a serious knee injury as he challenged for the ball with Sead Kolasinac on the right. Bale replaced the Spanish under-21 international and injected plenty of pace into Madrid’s play for the rest of the half. The Welshman teed up Ronaldo for the opener as he received Morata’s pass and squared for the Portuguese to tap into an empty net. Morata should have doubled his side’s advan-

tage six minutes later after a wonderful run and cross by Bale, but he skewed horribly wide with just Ralf Fahrmann to beat. Against the run of play, Schalke were back on level terms just after the half hour mark when Hoogland wandered forward from right-back and saw his shot deflect off Sergio Ramos and past the flat-footed Iker Casillas. Fahrmann then made a hattrick of saves to keep his side from going in behind at the break as he denied Isco, Morata and Nacho. And the Bundesliga side could even have been in front at the break as former Real striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar slotted the ball inches past the far post from Max Meyer’s through ball. Fahrmann was a busy man in the second period too as he made a fantastic save to turn a Ronaldo header over before denying Isco from close range.

Ronaldo did finally put the hosts back in front as he drove at the Schalke defence before firing low past the helpless Fahrmann. And Morata got the confidence boast he needed two minutes later when Bale unselfishly squared after Ronaldo had struck the bar. Ronaldo came within inches of his hat-trick and equalling Lionel Messi’s record of 14 Champions League goals in a season again seven minutes from time, but he had to settle for just a double on the night as his low left-footed effort came back off the post and rebounded to safety. Meanwhile, Real Madrid defender Alvaro Arbeloa will be sidelined for nearly two months by a knee injury that could cost the right back a spot on Spain’s World Cup roster. Arbeloa said his right knee is worse than he

Chelsea ruins Drogba’s return LONDON: Chelsea ruined Didier Drogba’s return to Stamford Bridge as the Blues swept into the Champions League quarter-finals with a 2-0 victory over Galatasaray yesterday. Jose Mourinho’s side refused to be distracted by Galatasaray striker Drogba’s emotional first appearance at Stamford Bridge since his exit in 2012 and goals from Samuel Eto’o and Gary Cahill killed the last 16, second leg clash before halftime. The 3-1 aggregate victory booked Chelsea’s spot in Friday’s quarter-final draw and eased the sense of angst around the club following Saturday’s acrimonious 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa, which saw Mourinho and Blues midfielders Willian and Ramires all sent off. While Drogba will cherish the outpouring of affection which greeted him before kick-off, the Ivorian won’t look back so fondly on the match itself as Galatasaray, who had battled to a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Istanbul last month, bowed out with a barely a whimper. Blues legend Drogba, who scored Chelsea’s winning penalty in the 2012 Champions League final against Bayern Munich, was presented with a silver boot during the warm-ups and received a tremendous reception from his former fans. The 36-year-old made a point of seeking out Mourinho just before kick-off and planted a kiss on his old manager’s cheek.

But that was the end of Drogba’s headline act as another veteran striker seized the spotlight. Eto’o could have been forgiven for being a little miffed when Mourinho made a jibe about his age in public recently, but if the Cameroon star’s feelings were hurt he hasn’t let it linger. The 33-year-old has been Chelsea’s only reliable striker this season and once again proved he is still a serious force in the twilight of his career by opening the scoring in the fourth minute. Eden Hazard was the catalyst as the Belgian showed superb technique to control the ball and spin away from his marker before slipping a pass to Oscar on the right edge of the Galatasaray penalty area. Oscar quickly picked out Eto’o’s run and the forward exploited the opportunity in ruthless fashion, taking one touch before driving a low shot into the far corner past Fernando Muslera’s weak attempted save. Eto’o 10th goal of the season prompted an immediate response from Drogba, who tried an ambitious overhead kick from the edge of the area that looped well over the crossbar. Frank Lampard should have doubled the lead midway through the half, but the Chelsea midfielder couldn’t beat Muslera after more bewitching approach play from Hazard and Oscar. Lampard almost made amends when he picked out John Terry with a fine inswinging free-kick, only for the Chelsea

thought “but if everything goes well, I’ll be out from six-to-eight weeks.” The 31-year-old has been a regular for Spain since it won the 2008 European Championship, but was left out of coach Vicente del Bosque’s last roster. “Hopefully I make it back in time to play in the Champions League final if Madrid make it and the World Cup if I’m picked,” Arbeloa said. Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said Friday that Dani Carvajal will take over for Arbeloa, who has one goal from 28 appearances for the Spanish leaders. “Arbeloa’s absence is a big loss for us,” Ancelotti said. “We’ve worked with Nacho (Fernandez) at the position in case Carvajal gets injured. Nacho is a quality player who can play that role, as can Sergio Ramos as a last option.” — Agencies

Moyes dismisses job speculation

LONDON: Chelsea’s English defender John Terry (top) heads the ball over Galatasaray’s Ivorian forward Didier Drogba during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match. — AFP captain to volley over from close-range. Mancini tried to bury the hatchet with Galatasaray had lost just one of their long-time rival Mourinho on Monday by previous 23 games in all competitions, claiming he would go for dinner with the but Drogba was unable to make any Portuguese if Galatasaray won. impact and his woeful free-kick, which But Mourinho had declined the invitacrashed into a banner reading ‘Drogba tion and there was never any chance of Legend’ high behind Petr Cech’s goal, Mancini making him pay for that snub as perfectly summed up a dismal display Chelsea cruised through the second half. from Roberto Mancini’s side. Willian tested Muslera with a stinging And it got even worse for the Turks drive and the Galatasaray goalkeeper three minutes before half-time when kept the scoreline respectable with good Chelsea effectively ended the tie. Terry stops to deny Hazard and Fernando showed more desire than his markers as Torres in the closing stages. he rose highest to meet a corner and Drogba’s frustration boiled over when powered in a header that Muslera could he was booked for fouling Cesar only parry to Cahill, who gleefully Azpilicueta, but Chelsea’s fans kept thumped into the net from close-range. singing his name until the end. — AFP

MANCHESTER: Manchester United manager David Moyes on Tuesday brushed off suggestions that his position is under threat ahead of a crunch Champions League game against Olympiakos today. “My future has not changed one bit,” he told reporters at Old Trafford who pressed him about United’s struggles this season. “We know we have put ourselves in a poor position, but we have belief,” added Moyes. Trailing 2-0 to the Greek side in the last 16, United must become only the sixth team to overturn a deficit of two goals or more in the competition’s knockout phase to go through. Since Moyes took over this season, United have also struggled to get a qualifying place for next season’s Champions League. They are now 12 points below the top four in the Premier League after Sunday’s 3-0 loss at home to Liverpool. They are out of both domestic cup competitions. The team’s travails prompted reports in British newspapers on Tuesday that Moyes could be at risk if United are eliminated by Olympiakos. Some newspapers said he has three games to turn around United’s fortunes. But Moyes insisted that his position is secure. “I have a great job, and I know the direction I want to go in. We know we have put ourselves in a poor position, but we have belief.” Asked if he had been given assurances by the United hierarchy that there is no threat, Moyes replied: “The biggest assurance is that they let me get on with the job. “They never discuss it (his future). We talk about the future, we make big plans going forward. That is why they gave me a six-year contract. This is not a club that works on a short-term vision; it is a long-term one.” United’s supporters continued to provide vocal backing to the team during the chastening loss to Liverpool and Moyes remains confident that he is capable of restoring their team to former glories. “I actually think they have seen some defeats they wouldn’t have expected and they have stuck with the team throughout,” said the former Everton manager. “They have seen great success here in the past and will see great success again in the future. This club is the biggest club in the world. It might not feel it today, but it will rise again.” — AFP


Oil bullish in February on supply side worries Page 22

Troika reaches debt accord with Greece


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Britain awaits fresh austerity budget

Ferrari Land to be developed in Spain

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SEVASTOPOL: People queue to withdraw their deposits from automated teller machines outside a Ukrainian PrivatBank office in Sevastopol yesterday. (Inset) A Crimean resident holds Ukrainian Hryvnia money next to a money exchange office. —AFP

US inflation muted, housing starts fall Drop in gasoline prices offsets rise in food costs WASHINGTON: US consumer inflation was muted in February and housing starts fell for a third straight month in February, but the weak data probably will not dissuade the Federal Reserve from dialing back its monetary stimulus. The Labor Department said its Consumer Price Index nudged up 0.1 percent as a decline in gasoline prices offset an increase in the cost of food. It had ticked up 0.1 percent in January and last month’s gain was in line with economists’ expectations. In the 12 months through February, consumer prices increased 1.1 percent, slowing from a 1.6 percent rise in January. The February increase was the smallest rise since October last year. Stripping out the volatile energy and food components, the so-called core CPI also rose 0.1 percent for a third straight month. In the 12 months through February, core CPI rose 1.6 percent after advancing by the same margin in January. “The underlying trend shows there is not a lot of inflation. The Fed has to acknowledge that the transitory factors are more entrenched since inflation has run below their target for about two years,” said Michael Hanson, a senior economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York. Consumer inflation is running below the Fed’s 2 percent target. The low level of inflation gives the US central bank scope to keep interest rates near zero for some time. A num-

ber of Fed officials have indicated they are comfortable with market expectations for the first increase in interest rates occurring sometime around the middle of next year. With job growth accelerating and industrial production and consumer spending strengthening, economists expect the Fed to announce another $10 billion reduction to its monthly bond purchases when policymakers end a two-day meeting today. Last month, food prices rose 0.4 percent, the largest increase since September 2011. That accounted for more than half of the increase in the CPI last month. There were big increases in the prices of meat, fish, poultry, eggs, vegetables and fruits. Gasoline prices declined for a second month, helping to offset sharp gains in the price of heating oil and natural gas. Within the core CPI, a 0.2 percent rise in the cost of shelter was the major contributor to the jump in the index. There were also increases in medical care, recreation and new vehicle prices. Prices for tobacco, used cars and trucks, apparel and household furnishings and operations fell. In a separate report, the Commerce Department said yesterday housing starts slipped 0.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 907,000 units. Groundbreaking fell 11.2 percent in January. While severe winter weather likely constrained building activity last month, housing

has lost momentum after a run-up in mortgage rate last summer. High house prices and a lack of properties on the market are also holding back the sector. Economists polled by Reuters had expected starts to rise to a 910,000-unit rate last month. Groundbreaking plunged 37.5 percent in the Northeast last month, indicating unusually cold temperatures continued to dampen housing activity. That was the biggest drop in more than two years and pushed starts in the Northeast to their lowest level since November 2012. Starts also fell 5.5 percent in the West, which was unaffected by bad weather. The weather explanation for the weak housing data was challenged by a 7.3 percent rise in starts in the South and a 34.5 percent jump in the Midwest. A repor t on Monday showed home builders were a bit optimistic in March but downbeat about sales over the next six months. Builders were also worried about shortages of lots and skilled labor, and rising prices for materials. Groundbreaking for single-family homes, the largest segment of the market, rose 0.3 percent to a 583,000-unit pace last month. Starts for the volatile multifamily homes segment fell 1.2 percent to a 324,000-unit rate. Permits to build homes increased 7.7 percent in February to a 1.02 million-unit pace. Permits for single-family homes fell 1.8 percent. Multifamily sector permits surged 24.3 percent. — Reuters

Gulf Bank appoints César González-Bueno as CEO KUWAIT: Gulf Bank announced yesterday the appointment of César GonzálezBueno as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective from 16th March 2014, following the approval by the Central Bank of Kuwait. Omar Kutayba Alghanim, Chairman of Gulf Bank said: “We are very pleased to welcome César González-Bueno as Gulf Bank’s new Chief Executive Officer. I believe he will help us to take Gulf Bank to the next level of development. His experience as CEO with Novagalicia Banco and before that as Regional Head of ING, and as a member of ING’s global management team as well as his prior broader financial expertise with institutions such as McKinsey, amongst others, will add new energy and dynamism to the Bank’s growth. I, the Board and the whole management team at Gulf Bank are very much looking forward to César joining us and working with him to drive Gulf Bank forward.” González-Bueno is a Spanish citizen and has lived, studied and worked in Europe and the USA. He worked for

Dubai jumps on Emaar, oil weighs on Saudi MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS DUBAI: Dubai’s Emaar Properties broke major chart resistance to lift the emirate’s stock market index yesterday for a third straight session, while most Gulf markets rose as global jitters over the Ukraine crisis partially eased. Emaar jumped 5.4 percent to 9.75 dirhams in its heaviest trading volume since April 2012, confirming a break above 9.16-9.20 dirhams, the February and March highs. Shares in Emaar have been gaining since the company at the weekend announced a higher 2013 dividend and a plan to list its shopping mall unit. They were boosted further on Tuesday when Emaar chairman Mohamed Alabbar was quoted as saying in a magazine interview that the unit would list in both Dubai and London, and aimed to do so before endJune. The stock faces another barrier at 9.75 dirhams and then at 10.50, according to NBAD Securities. “Any break over 10.60 dirhams shall ignite further buying towards 12/15 dirhams in the long term,” the brokerage said in a note. Many analysts have fair-value estimates for Emaar above 10.00 dirhams. MubasherTrade Research said yesterday it had added the stock back to its list of

regional favorites, and that the retail unit’s listing would effectively lift the firm’s net asset value by around 30 percent to 12 dirhams per share. Dubai’s index gained 2.7 percent to 4,234 points. It faces technical resistance at 4,242-4,255 points, the March and February peaks. Other property-related stocks in Dubai also gained, including construction firm Arabtec which rose 2.5 percent as investors bet on strong financial results and a generous profit distribution before its yesterday’s board meeting. The firm said later yesterday that its fourth-quarter income had more than tripled to 122 million dirhams ($33.2 million), and proposed a 10 percent cash dividend for 2013 along with a 30 percent bonus share issue. It paid no dividend for 2012. Analysts had on average expected a fourth-quarter profit of 79.50 million dirhams. Adu Dhabi, Qatar In Abu Dhabi, the index gained 0.5 percent largely on the back of the banking sector. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank , which said last week that it would continue a share buy-back, climbed 1.5 percent. In

Qatar, Commercial Bank of Qatar jumped 16.4 percent after announcing a 20 percent cash dividend and a bonus share issue late on Monday. Qatar’s index added 0.2 percent, aided also by Gulf International Services, which rose sharply for a second straight day. The stock gained 7.1 percent, although the company has not recently made major announcements of fresh news, and traders said the motive for the buying was not clear. Kuwait’s Noor Financial Investment Co, which dropped 4.8 percent on Monday after Pakistan’s central bank blocked the sale of its stake in Karachi-based Meezan Bank , shed another 1.7 percent. But the overall Kuwaiti index gained 0.7 percent. Saudi Arabia’s bourse was the lone loser in the Gulf, down 0.4 percent on above-average volume. “I think it could be related to oil prices,” said Sebastien Henin, portfolio manager at The National Investor. Brent crude lost more than $2 a barrel on Monday as investors bet the Ukraine crisis, which has so far prompted only minor Western sanctions against Russia, would not interrupt Russian oil supplies. Saudi Arabia’s petrochemical sector index lost 0.6 percent.— Reuters

González-Bueno Novagalicia since 2011 and spent 13 years at ING Bank. Prior to that he held positions at Citibank, Morgan Stanley and Argentaria as well as the Boston Consulting Group and Mckinsey & Co. He holds a double degree in law and business administration from Madrid University and an MBA from The Yale School of Management in the USA.

Arabtec triples net profit DUBAI: Net profits at Dubai builder Arabtec more than tripled in the final three months of last year, underpinned by an increasing backlog of work and growth in its key markets in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, the company said yesterday. The contractor, in which Abu Dhabi state fund Aabar is a key stakeholder, said it made a net profit of 122 million dirhams ($33 million) in the quarter, compared with 32 million dirhams in the corresponding period of 2012, on revenue up 39 percent at 2.3 billion dirhams. The contractor, which went through a major management shake-up last year backed by Aabar, has won a series of contracts in the region recently including high-profile projects such as the development of Abu Dhabi’s main airport and building of a Louvre museum and a contract to build 1 million homes in Egypt. “Since the start of 2014, our company’s subsidiaries have been selected to execute a series of new projects, with a total value of 180 billion dirhams, which gives us visibility on our earnings growth for many years to come,” Hasan Ismaik, the chief executive of Arabtec said in a statement. The company said its backlog of work in 2013 increased by 22 percent over the previous year to 24.1 billion dirhams. Arabtec also proposed a cash dividend of 0.1 dirhams per share plus bonus shares worth 30 percent of its share capital. The company gave no dividend for 2012. Full-year net profit rose to 377 million dirhams from 139 million dirhams in 2012.— Reuters



Oil bullish in February on supply side worries

Turkey leaves rates on hold, eyes inflation been hit by a corruption scandal engulfing the government since mid-December and by concerns about cuts to the US stimulus program which has flooded Turkey and other emerging markets with cheap cash. Tensions over Ukraine have also added to pressure. The central bank stunned investors by hiking rates by some 500 basis points at an emergency meeting on Jan. 28 after the lira hit a record low of 2.39 to the dollar the previous day. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has been a vocal opponent of higher borrowing costs, seeing them as a threat to growth ahead of elections beginning with municipal polls on March 30, and the central bank’s move stunned investors concerned about the extent of its independence. 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. — Reuters

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s central bank kept interest rates on hold yesterday after a huge emergency hike in January helped stabilize the lira, shying away from further tightening for fear of hitting growth as an election cycle begins. 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 14 economists in a Reuters poll. It said it would maintain its tight policy stance until there is a significant improvement in the outlook for inflation, to which it said upward risks remained significant. The central bank’s monthly survey of business leaders and economists showed on March 15 that they expect inflation to stand at 7.98 percent on average, well above the bank’s 6.6 percent forecast and its 5 percent medium-term target. The lira was trading at 2.22 against the dollar by 1210 GMT, little changed from just before the rate decision. The lira has

Emaar plans Dubai, London listing for retail unit DUBAI: Dubai’s Emaar Properties plans to list its shopping malls and retail unit in both Dubai and London, the company’s chairman Mohamed Alabbar was quoted as saying yesterday. “This will be a dual listing. We are a Dubai company so we have to be in Dubai, but we will list in London. I would like to do this quickly and am shooting for before Ramadan,” Arabian Business magazine quoted Alabbar as saying in an interview. The Muslim holy month of Ramadan will start near the end of June this year. In Dubai, the listing will occur on Nasdaq Dubai, the smaller of the emirate’s two stock exchanges, Alabbar confirmed. On Saturday, Dubai’s largest listed proper-

ty developer said it would list 25 percent of its shopping malls and retail unit in a public offer expected to raise between 8 and 9 billion dirhams ($2.18-$2.45 billion). Alabbar has also said Emaar is preparing for a public offer by its wholly-owned Egyptian unit, Emaar Misr, and will consider listing other units such as its hotels business. “Today I can’t see other segments, but then someday we might say should Downtown be a separate listed company?” he was quoted as saying by Arabian Business, referring to one of Emaar’s flagship developments in Dubai. “It all depends on the financials and the value it will bring for our shareholders.

Iran oil exports show steady increase as Asia buys more With January and February loadings - for February and March arrivals - also holding above 1 million bpd, according to the document seen by Reuters this week, exports look set to breach the cap for the first quarter of the year, allowing up to three weeks for shipments to China, Japan and South Korea. China lifted 502,500 bpd in February, again taking its purchases back to pre-sanctions levels, and rivalling the 564,536 bpd that the nation’s refiners received in January. In comparison, China imported 428,840 bpd of Iranian oil for all of 2013, according to customs data. China’s February import numbers are not due out until later this week. China’s total oil imports from Iran may rise in 2014 as state-run trader Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp is negotiating a new condensate contract, Reuters has reported. India lifted 304,286 bpd of crude in February, according to the loading data. Iran’s second-biggest client imported 412,000 bpd in January and averaged 195,600 bpd in arrivals in 2013. Government sources in India have said refiners must cut their Iranian oil imports by nearly two-thirds from the first quarter after the United States asked it to hold the shipments at end-2013 levels. South Korea loaded 214,286 bpd in February, mostly for March arrival dates. February arrivals from Iran, meanwhile, doubled from a year earlier as refiners hiked purchases ahead of maintenance shutdowns starting from March. Japan loaded 140,000 bpd in February, according to the program seen by Reuters. It purchased 210,517 bpd from Iran in January and reduced imports by 6.4 percent to 177,414 bpd in 2013, marking its lowest daily crude imports from Iran in more than 30 years. Japan’s February import numbers are due later this month. — Reuters

TOKYO: Iran exported more crude than allowed under Western sanctions for at least a fourth straight month in February, as ship loading data obtained by Reuters showed top clients again bought more than 1 million barrels per day (bpd) of Tehran’s oil. The rise in sales to Iran’s main clients, mostly in Asia and including Turkey, comes after an agreement that eased some of the sanctions aimed at the OPEC member’s nuclear program. The November deal also freed up $4.2 billion in oil payments to Tehran, but it does not allow for shipments to increase. To ensure sanctions are not breached, Washington could put more pressure on Iranian crude buyers to slash purchases in coming months to keep the average volume capped at the 1-million-bpd mark, less than half pre-2012 levels. In total, February crude loadings by Iran’s top four buyers China, India, Japan and South Korea - rose to 1.16 million bpd versus 994,669 bpd lifted in January, according to a loading plan seen by Reuters. Adding in oil lifted by Turkey - which came in at 105,824 bpd in January and 117,857 bpd in February - Tehran’s exports have busted the sanctions limits at least since November. The loading volumes exclude condensate, a light oil, that Iran exports to China and other consumers. Ever since the 2012 sanctions were imposed, five buyers - China, India, South Korea, Japan and Turkey - have bought nearly all of Iranian crude exports. Breaching ceiling The intake of Iranian oil by Asian buyers alone has topped 960,000 bpd since November, government and industry data has shown, and adding in an average 100,000 bpd of crude for Turkey, the exports have breached 1 million bpd at least since then.

NBK ECONOMIC REPORT KUWAIT: Oil prices edged higher in February on the back of supply disruptions, particularly within OPEC, in addition to geopolitical tensions. Oil market fundamentals are expected to ease in 2014 despite an improved global outlook. The large projected increase in non-OPEC supplies should provide downward pressure on prices. Global oil demand growth is forecast to grow by 1.3 mbpd this year, similar to that seen in 2013. Crude oil prices edged higher in February, regaining some lost ground from the previous month. After dropping to a 7-month low of $100 pb early in the month, the price of Kuwait Export Crude (KEC) climbed back up to $106 pb by February 19th. Brent crude prices also trended higher, rising by $4 to $111pb. Both crudes, however, averaged only $1 higher than in January. The price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) - the main US crude benchmark - saw steeper gains, rising from $96 pb at the start of the month to a 4-month high of $104 pb. Its average price for the month was $6 higher than its January average. In effect, WTI’s discount to Brent narrowed significantly, from $16 in mid-January to just $6 by the end of February. Supply disruptions and geopolitical tensions have kept oil markets relatively tight - against expectations. Most notable have been output outages within OPEC; continued insurgency in Libya has seen production collapse by more than 1 million barrels per day (mbpd) from its post-war high of 1.5 mbpd, while logistical constraints and political issues in Iraq have seen output fall back to below 3.0 mbpd - after peaking at 3.2 mbpd last year. On the geopolitical front, the recent crisis in the Ukraine and the consequent Russian military intervention have caused oil prices to spike in early March amid fears of disruptions to energy supplies. Moreover, global oil demand - especially from developed economies - has been robust. US demand, in particular, has been supported by unusually cold weather and declining oil stocks - new pipeline capacity has allowed more oil to flow from the oil stocks at Cushing. These factors have supported the stronger gains seen in WTI prices in recent weeks. Nevertheless, upcoming seasonal maintenance at oil refineries, typically running through March and April, should see reduced crude demand from refiners. Going forward, oil markets are expected to ease slightly on expectations of large increases in nonOPEC supplies. Coupled with a possible recovery in OPEC production, prices could begin to come under increasing downward pressure through 2014. World demand outlook With the improving global economy - the IMF is now estimating growth of 3.7 percent in 2014 analysts are similarly projecting global oil demand to expand this year, albeit at a slower rate. The International Energy Agency (IEA) sees demand rising by 1.3 mbpd this year to approximately 92.6 mbpd, an increase of 1.4 percent over last year. This rate is similar to last year’s. (Chart 3.) All demand growth is projected to come from non-OECD economies, however, while OECD demand is expected to fall by some 0.1 mbpd mainly due to lingering economic weakness in OECD Europe. Indeed, oil demand from non-OECD economies is

projected to finally overtake demand from OECD economies during the first half of 2014. Supply outlook Crude output of the OPEC-11 (excluding Iraq) increased for the second consecutive month, rising by 0.417 mbpd to a 4-month high of 28.1 mbpd, according to data provided by ‘direct communication’ between OPEC and national sources. This was led primarily by a recovery in output from both Libya and Nigeria, of 280 kbpd and 215 kbpd, respectively. Production in Libya more than doubled to around 0.5 mbpd in the month, after protesters agreed to lift a blockade that had shut-in production at the country’s key western fields for several months. However, output is expected to have slumped once again in February following a resurgence of unrest that is causing a shut-in of the

Sharara field in the west. Meanwhile, Kuwait’s production remained relatively stable at around 2.9 mbpd. Total OPEC production (including Iraq) also increased in January, to almost 31 mbpd. (Chart 4.) This comes despite major disruptions to Iraqi output, which, after rising to a 4-month high in December, dropped by some 154 kbpd to 2.8 mbpd. Weather delays and maintenance work at southern export terminals have forced output shutdowns due to a lack of sufficient storage capacity. Saudi Arabia reduced output only slightly during the month, although a recovery in Libyan or Iraqi production could force the kingdom to make more significant cuts in output over the next few months. Non-OPEC oil supplies are projected to increase by around 1.9 mbpd in 2014, of which 200 kbpd is expected to come from OPEC natural gas liquids (not subject to quotas). This should come mainly from large increases in North American production.

Mumtalakat plans no bonds in 2014 MANAMA: Bahraini sovereign fund Mumtalakat has no current plans to tap the debt capital markets in 2014 and will pay off a small loan facility due later in the year, its chief executive said yesterday. One of the smaller sovereign wealth funds in the Gulf region, Mumtalakat had $7.1 billion of assets under management at the end of September. It holds stakes in 40 firms in the kingdom’s non-oil sector, including Bahrain Telecommunications Co (Batelco) and Aluminium Bahrain (Alba). It signed a $250 million revolving credit facility last year and $75

million of that deal will mature in August. It will be paid off and not renewed, CEO Mahmood AlKooheji said in an email in response to questions from Reuters. Mumtalakat’s next significant debt maturity is not until June 2015, when a $750 million bond comes due, Kooheji said. “We remain actively engaged with developments in the global capital markets and bank markets. While we do not currently have specific plans for material financing activity this year, we will remain opportunistic in our approach.” The $750 million bond, issued in June 2010,

was Mumtalakat’s debut bond offering. Since then, it has printed two small sukuk issues denominated in Malaysian ringgit. Mumtalakat, set up in 2006, has a budget of 150 million dinars ($397.9 million) to spend in 2014 on investments as the fund pursues a more aggressive stance after being hamstrung by losses at Gulf Air in previous years, Kooheji told Reuters in January. Traditionally focused on Bahrain, Mumtalakat is eyeing investments worldwide and hopes to complete some acquisitions in the ICT (information and communications technology) space. — Reuters

EXCHANGE RATES Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. ASIAN COUNTRIES Japanese Yen Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Srilankan Rupees Nepali Rupees Singapore Dollar Hongkong Dollar Bangladesh Taka Philippine Peso Thai Baht Irani Riyal transfer Irani Riyal cash

2.767 4.627 2.845 2.156 2.898 223.510 36.295 3.620 6.319 8.788 0.271 0.273 GCC COUNTRIES

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

75.190 77.474 732.460 748.900 76.788

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

39.700 40.054 1.316 180.380 398.180 1.892 2.010 35.904

EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 281.850 Euro 394.030 Sterling Pound 470.270 Canadian dollar 255.990 Turkish lira 127.520 Swiss Franc 323.970 Australian Dollar 256.770 US Dollar Buying 280.650 GOLD 20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

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 259.05 257.62 326.02 394.72 281.40 473.05 2.78 3.622 4.607 2.157 2.894 2.788 76.68 748.97 40.42 400.50 731.82 77.71 75.17

SELL CASH 256.05 258.62 324.02 395.72 284.40 476.05 2.80 3.892 4.907 2.592 3.429 2.790 77.15 751.04 41.02 406.15 739.12 78.26 75.57

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

Selling Rate 281.600 256.780 469.735 392.935 322.445 743.555 76.645 78.195 75.960 396.855 40.400 2.154 4.606 2.843 3.617 6.298 691.665 3.775 2.955 3.845

Malaysian Ringgit Chinese Yuan Renminbi Thai Bhat Turkish Lira

86.715 46.210 9.715 127.465

Singapore Dollar South African Rand Sri Lankan Rupee Taiwan Thai Baht

0.219253 0.020310 0.001863 0.009172 0.008386

0.225253 0.028810 0.002443 0.009352 0.008936

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 0.741157 0.036730 0.000078 0.000181 0.393305 1.0000000 0.000138 0.024277 0.001190 0.726044 0.076707 0.074523 0.002159 0.175514 0.124144 0.075755 0.001280

0.749157 0.039830 0.000079 0.000241 0.400805 1.0000000 0.000238 0.048277 0.001825 0.731724 0.077920 0.075223 0.002379 0.183514 0.131144 0.0769904 0.001360

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

Australian Dollar New Zealand Dollar

Canadian Dollar US Dollars US Dollars Mint

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

SELL CASH Europe 0.007324 0.461665 0.006287 0.048370 0.385855 0.043043 0.086558 0.008052 0.039987 0.315866 0.124144

SELLDRAFT 0.008324 0.470665 0.018287 0.053370 0.393855 0.048243 0.86558 0.018052 0.044987 0.326066 0.131144

Australasia 0.246609 0.234186

0.258109 0.243686

America 0.248471 0.277750 0.278250

0.256971 0.282100 0.282100

Asia 0.003289 0.044742 0.034203 0.004367 0.000020 0.002691 0.003254 0.000253 0.081979 0.002934 0.002652 0.006351 0.000069

0.003889 0.048242 0.036953 0.004768 0.000026 0.002871 0.003254 0.000268 0.087979 0.003104 0.002832 0.006631 0.000075

Al Mulla Exchange CurrencyTransfer 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

Rate (Per 1000) 281.300 392.700 469.200 256.050 4.602 40.050 2.153 3.618 6.295 2.850 749.000 76.600 75.150



Ukraine’s instability could benefit Kuwait By Francisco Quintana, Senior Economist at Asiya Investments


ow important is Ukraine for Kuwait? In a nutshell, not really. The Ukraine-Russia crisis has been in the media spotlight in the last few weeks, and potential implications of an increase in tension in the Black Sea have been the focus of numerous analyses. However, its impact on the Gulf region is unclear. Ukraine plays a marginal role for the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC): trade exchanges are minimal and investment flows are almost non-existent. In 2012, Ukrainian exports to Kuwait amounted to only $10 million. Even compared to its peers in the Gulf, commercial ties between the two countries are insignificant, representing around 1 percent of Ukraine’s exports to the GCC. Kuwait’s exports to Ukraine were even smaller, worth only around $200,000. The rest of the region also has weak links with the former Soviet republic. Exchanges between Ukraine and the GCC have been historically small. On average, only 2 percent of Ukrainian exports went to the GCC over the last decade, while Ukraine was the destination of 0.02 percent of the Gulf’s exports. GCC countries run a structural deficit with Ukraine because the key export commodity of the region, oil, is largely irrelevant to Ukraine, which relies on Russia to cover its energy needs.

Even at the global level, Ukraine’s relevance is limited. The country only accounts for 0.2 percent of global GDP. A collapse of its financial system or a default in its debt repayments would not pose a systemic threat to the world’s economy, given that the country only accounts for 3 percent of emerging markets’ debt, and 0.1 percent of international bank claims. Ukraine’s external public debt accounts for around $10 billion, and the European Union has already pledged financial support for $15 billion, reducing the likelihood of a default. On the other hand, Ukraine matters as an agricultural exporter, being the world’s 3rd largest exporter of corn, with 16 percent of total, and the 6th global exporter of wheat. A collapse of its economy could impact food prices and that is why futures of both products have risen sharply in the last few days. The real relevance of the country lies in its role as an energy distribution hub. 20 percent of Russian gas is exported as LNG to Japan and South Korea. The rest, around 80 percent, is exported as dry gas to Europe and half of those exports go through Ukraine. A third of European natural gas consumption comes from Russia. Europe is therefore where the blow of a Ukrainian breakdown would be felt first. Germany in particular uses up a quarter of all Russian gas, but Turkey (19 percent) and Italy (9 percent) are also heavily exposed. If

they need to start buying natural gas in the spot market, rising energy costs are likely to translate into rising manufacturing costs and headline inflation. Elsewhere, the current instability will also put pressure on energy prices. Up until now the rise has been moderate, with a 10 percent rise in natural gas prices since December, which is benefiting other natural gas exporters like Canada, Algeria or Qatar along with Russia itself. Impact of sanctions If the conflict escalates and Russia receives trade sanctions, Gulf countries would probably benefit, at least in its first phase, given that Russia and the GCC compete in the same market as energy exporters. Russia is one of the largest oil producers in the world (around 11 million barrels per day-bpd-) and the second largest exporter after Saudi Arabia, with more than 7 million bpd. Any disruption in Russian energy exports due to military conflict or sanctions would translate into higher oil prices and, consequently, larger fiscal surpluses for Kuwait and the rest of energy exporters in the GCC. Furthermore, Gulf countries, and in particular Saudi Arabia, would probably have to expand production to minimize the impact of a hypothetical Russian disruption. The increase in revenues for Saudi would come not only from rising prices but also from higher volumes. Again,

Europe is the largest destination of Russian oil and would have the most trouble finding an alternative provider. Global growth would decelerate as not even Saudi Arabia would be able to compensate a strong decline in Russian exports, but the GCC would be one of the few regions to benefit. Our base case scenario does not involve a fullyfledged conflict or embargo. The incentives to avoid an escalation of conflict are very high. Russia depends on oil and gas for 45-50 percent of its budget. The EU represents 50 percent of its trade, while Russia represents less than 10 percent of EU’s trade. Even if China takes a neutral stance, the impact in Russia would still be significant, as China represents only 10 percent of Russian exchanges. Similarly, the international community would prefer to avoid troubling Russia. Global corporate interests in the country are very large and it would require a long time for the sanctions to have an impact, as the country produces a large share of its own fuel and food. But the solution to the current conflict seems to be complex. Even though only the province of Crimea has a Russian majority, Russians still account for 30 percent of the total population of Ukraine. Instability will probably last for months and the likelihood of an accident sparking a military conflict remains high. However, as long as it does not spiral out of control, that is not such bad news for this region.

Troika reaches debt accord with Greece Decks cleared for next tranche of aid

BRUSSELS: Daniele Nouy, member of the Supervisory Board of the European Central Bank (ECB) talks during her hearing by the Economic Affairs Committee, at the EU Headquarters in Brussels yesterday. —AFP

Europe must prepare to shut ‘zombie’ banks: Watchdog BRUSSELS: Euro-zone countries must prepare to shut their failing “zombie” banks and quickly pool the money to do it, the bloc’s top regulator said yesterday, ahead of a warts-and-all investigation of its still-fragile financial system. Daniele Nouy’s comments, including her plea for countries to form a united front in solving the problem, give an early indication of how the bloc’s chief banking supervisor intends to tackle issues that show up in health checks this year. They may also influence talks between European lawmakers to finalize the second pillar of banking union - the launch of an agency to close bad banks and a fund to help cover the costs. This would go hand-inhand with European Central Bank supervision of the sector. “The banks that have to disappear are ... the zombie banks,” the ECB watchdog chief told lawmakers in the European Parliament, referring to banks that are so laden with bad loans that they are unable to give fresh credit. “I hope that action needed will be taken and we will not have any more zombie banks,” she said. Almost seven years since German small-business lender IKB became Europe’s first victim of the global financial crisis, the region is still struggling to lift its economy out of the doldrums and banks are taking much of the blame for not lending. Nouy, formerly a French regulator, warned that countries needed to do more to jointly back

a new fund to pay for the closure of zombie banks, in order for the wider scheme of controlling banks to work. Negotiators from the European Parliament and EU countries are trying to finalise a new regime along those lines this week. Nouy is now leading a 1,000-strong team sifting through tens of thousands of banks loan, health checks that economists see as the last chance to draw a line under the crisis. She said countries need to prepare to shut laggard banks and should club together in supporting a fund to pay for closures. “We need solid ... public backstops,” Nouy said. “Just like a fire brigade needs access to water... the SRM (Single Resolution Mechanism to cope with failed banks) needs access to a resolution fund.” This fund is due to be built up to roughly 55 billion euros ($76 billion) over a decade, using levies from banks. But it has shortcomings as it stands. It is small and will initially be made up of a patchwork of country funds without the government backing that would allow it top up borrowings more easily and cheaply. Nouy said barriers between national funds in the scheme should be broken down within five years rather than ten as planned, allowing countries to help each other if they faced a problem bank too big to cope with alone. —Reuters

Saudi switch to efficient power plants to save 550,000 b/d crude RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will save 200 million barrels a year of liquid fuel by switching its power stations to more efficient combined cycle turbines, the head of Saudi Electricity Co (SEC) said yesterday in a speech reported by state media. The report of Ziyad Alshiha’s speech did not give details on when the move towards more efficient turbines would be completed, or whether that fuel saving was compared with now or 2009, when SEC started converting its power stations. “Continuous collaboration ... has supported SEC efforts to transform most of its existing simple cycle units to combined cycle technology and also to use super critical boilers in steam power plants,” he said in the report carried by Saudi Press Agency. “SEC expects that these current and future plans, once completed, will save approximately 200 million barrels of fuel annually,” he added. The figure of 200 million barrels a year is equivalent to almost 550,000 barrels per day (bpd). A spokesman for SEC said he could not give any further details on the figures. The world’s top oil exporter annually burns a significant amount of its crude oil in electricity stations and its rising domestic power consumption has caused some analysts to warn this will eat into the amount

available for export. However, last year it reduced its summer fuel burn, when electricity demand is highest because of increased use of air conditioning, by 10 percent to 689,750 bpd, according to government data. That figure, achieved through increased gas supplies, better efficiency and cooler weather, was down from a record high of 763,250 million bpd during summer 2012. Saudi Arabia is by far the largest user of crude oil for power generation, with most other countries having abandoned oil-fired generation long ago in favor of gas, nuclear and renewable sources. However, state-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co (Saudi Aramco) has brought more gas fields on stream in recent years for use in power plants and the government has discussed introducing atomic and solar electricity. Alshiha added that SEC planned to spend 622 billion riyals ($166 billion) between now and 2023, adding 40,000 megawatts of installed generating capacity and expanding transmission and distribution networks. Saudi electricity use has risen by about 6 percent a year over the last decade, with summer peak demand more than doubling to over 48,000 megawatts in 2011 from 2002, according to the national electricity regulator. —Reuters

BRUSSELS: Greece’s international creditors have reached agreement with Athens on efforts to stabilize the crisis-hit country’s public finances, clearing the way for its next debt aid payment, EU sources said yesterday. Separately, a European Commission spokesman said “we have now agreed on all of the most important policy areas” of the program and a statement was expected later in the day. “The talks have been long because the subjects are difficult but we are now very close to a staff-level accord,” EU economic affairs spokesman Simon O’Connor said. The latest talks on Greece’s bailout program began in September but the government has baulked at demands for fresh austerity measures just as the economy is edging out of a deep six-year recession. The so-called Troika of creditors-the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund-wanted Athens to open up the economy further and to cut even more civil servants. The quarterly Troika audits determine whether Greece can get rescue funding, with the next tranche worth some 8.5 billion euros in all. There was also disagreement on how Greece should spend its first primary budget surplus in years-that is, a budget in surplus before counting debt servicing costs. Greece wants to divert most of the surplus, estimated at over 1.5 billion euros this year, to low-income pensioners, police and army officers. As the talks have dragged on, Troika officials have become more frustrated with Athens. “We will not force someone to accept financial aid, if they do not want to do so,” German

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said last week. The Troika first bailed out Greece in 2010 with a programme worth 110 billion euros ($153 billion).

When that failed to stabilize the economy, they agreed a much tougher second rescue in 2012 worth 130 billion euros, plus a private sector debt write-off of more than 100 billion euros. —AFP

ATHENS: Greek Prime minister Antonis Samaras (left) and Finance minister Yiannis Stournaras address the press at the Greek Finance ministry in Athens yesterday after Greece’s international creditors have reached agreement with Athens on efforts to stabilize the crisis-hit country’s public finances, clearing the way for its next debt aid payment. —AFP

China’s Jan-Feb FDI rises 10.4% BEIJING: Foreign direct investment (FDI) into China increased 10.4 percent year on year in the first two months of 2014, the government said yesterday, while the country’s outbound investment slumped. FDI, which excludes investment in financial sectors, totalled $19.31 billion cumulatively in January and February, the commerce ministry said in a statement. Foreign investors “remained confident in investment in China”, ministry spokesman Shen Danyang told reporters, but acknowledged that “international investment remained low and there were various development problems within the country”. He did not give specifics, but a string of data has indicated a slowdown in the world’s number two economy. Separately, Chinese overseas investment in the two months fell 37.2 percent yearon-year to $11.54 billion, the ministry said, with investment to Hong Kong and the European Union leading the decline. But Shen said that a high comparison base in the same period last year was behind the fall, mainly due to the close of China National Offshore Oil Corp.’s $15-billion takeover of Canada’s Nexen. “Therefore, overseas investment in the first two months last year spiked, which... made this year’s year-on-year comparison base very high,” he said. The January-February figure would have marked a 33.6 percent increase if the Nexen deal was excluded from the comparative data, he added. By far the greatest proportion of investment in China comes from a group of 10 Asian countries and regions including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand and Singapore. FDI from those economies rose 11.6 percent to $16.94 billion, the ministry said. US investors piled $711 million into the country during the period, up 43.3 percent. “Investment from the 10 Asian countries and the US maintained relatively fast growth,” the ministry said. Investment from South Korea soared 224 percent to $834 million, the ministry said, but did not give an explanation for the leap.

Workers moving steel cables in a steel market in Qingdao, in eastern China’s Shandong province. Foreign direct investment (FDI) into China increased 10.4 percent in the first two months of 2014 from last year, the government said yesterday. —AFP Investment from the European Union declined 13.8 percent to $1.05 billion. Of China’s outbound investment, 65.4 percent of the total, or $7.55 billion, went to Hong Kong, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the EU, Australia, the US, Russia and Japan. But the amount being invested in Hong Kong, the EU and ASEAN declined 62.9 percent, 11.6 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively. The Hong Kong decline was also related to the Nexen deal as part of the takeover funds went through the financial hub, Shen said. Investment in the US jumped 45.6 percent, while that to Australia gained 31 percent. Investment to Russia and Japan “at least doubled”, the ministry said, without providing amounts or specific percentage changes. —AFP

Lukoil hopeful of gas deal in Saudi ‘Empty Quarter’ KHOBAR: Russia’s Lukoil is negotiating a deal with the world’s top oil exporter Saudi Arabia to tap unconventional gas deposits in the kingdom’s “Empty Quarter” desert region, the company’s overseas unit said. Saudi Arabia has kept its vast oil reserves off-limits to foreigners, but needs natural gas to help cover domestic power demand and conserve oil for export. It invited investors a decade ago to find and produce gas in the Empty Quarter region in Saudi Arabia’s southeast, also known as Rub Al Khali. But foreign companies which formed joint ventures with state oil firm Saudi Aramco to look for conventional gas, including Lukoil, Royal Dutch Shell and Sinopec, have failed to find commercially viable deposits beneath the sea of sand dunes. So Saudi authorities are now seeking to focus the search on unconventional deposits - very deep, high-temperature reservoirs that would require more complex and expensive technologies to exploit. —Reuters



Asian shares rise as Crimea fears recede TOKYO: Asian shares rose yesterday and the yen remained well off recent highs as the threat of immediate military conflict in Ukraine receded, though caution ahead of this week’s US Federal Reserve policy meeting kept gains in check. European shares were poised for a steady start, with financial spreadbetter IG expecting Britain’s FTSE 100 to open 5 points higher, or up 0.1 percent; Germany’s DAX to open up 15 points, or 0.2 percent higher; and France’s CAC 40 to open flat. The United States and the European Union imposed sanctions, including asset freezes and travel bans, on a small group of officials from Russia and Ukraine after the weekend referendum overwhelmingly favored Crimea joining Russia. “In immediate focus is Russian president Putin’s speech later today. If he plays down an immediate annexation of Crimea by Russia, the dollar could gain further ground on unwinding of risk aversion,” said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief strategist at Praevidentia Strategy in Tokyo.

NEW YORK: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York City. Stocks soared over 180 points a day after Crimea, a region in Ukraine, voted to secede and join Russia. — AFP

Fed could tweak guidance “But an expression of desire for a swift annexation and retaliation against sanctions placed by the European Union and the United States will rekindle economic fears, driving US government bond yields lower and weighing on the dollar,” he said. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added about 0.4 percent. Japan’s Nikkei stock average ended up 0.9 percent, recovering from a six-week closing low hit yesterday. Short-covering was likely behind some of Tokyo’s gains, as the ratio of short-selling to overall sales in the Tokyo Stock Exchange hit a record high of 36.17 percent the previous day. On Wall Street on Monday, US stocks turned in a solid performance, with the S&P 500 adding about 1 percent.

For the time being, risk appetite improved as the likelihood of immediate military conflict faded, and market participants turned their attention back to the US economic outlook and the conclusion of the Fed’s two-day meeting today. The Fed is expected to continue to stick to reducing its monthly asset purchases by an additional $10 billion, and could also alter its forward guidance in its statement. Fed policymakers could adopt less specific language to describe conditions under which it might tighten policy, instead of the bank’s current threshold of a 6.5 percent unemployment rate for considering a rate rise. The rate now stands at 6.7 percent, though Fed officials are still signalling that rates need to stay low for some time to support the economy. The dollar’s gains against the yen unraveled in late Asian trading, and it edged down 0.1 percent to 101.63 yen, while the euro also slightly declined to 141.59 yen. But both currencies remained above their respective lows against the yen at 101.20 yen and 140.46 yen touched on Friday as tensions rose ahead of the weekend referendum. The euro edged up to $1.3931, within sight of a 2-1/2-year high around $1.3967 touched on Thursday. The single currency’s resilience was despite data on Monday showing a dip in eurozone inflation, the latest indicator to back the view that the European Central Bank needs to take further monetary steps to support growth. The improvement in risk sentiment took a toll on gold , which hit a six-month high on Monday before plunging more than 1 percent. It was last down about 0.4 percent at $1,360.80 per ounce, well shy of the previous session’s peak of $1,391.76. US crude edged down slightly to $98.04 a barrel, after falling on Monday, as expectations of growing petroleum stockpiles in the world’s biggest oil user duelled with fears that Ukraine tensions could worsen again. — Reuters

Oil steady above $106 as Russia worries ease LONDON: Brent crude steadied close to $106 a barrel yesterday, consolidating after losing more than $2 in the previous session as investors bet the Ukraine crisis would not interrupt Russian oil supplies. The North Sea crude oil benchmark was up 20 cents at $106.44 per barrel by 1030 GMT, after dropping $2.33 on Monday. The May Brent contract hit $106.16 a barrel that day, the lowest level for a front month since Feb 6. US crude climbed 15 cents to $98.23, after dropping 81 cents in the previous session. “The market no longer believes the Crimean situation is an issue,” said Carsten Fritsch, Commerzbank senior oil and commodities analyst in Frankfurt. “The crisis should ease.” Russian President Vladimir Putin, defying protests by Ukraine and Western sanctions, told parliament yesterday that Russia would move forward with procedures to annex Ukraine’s Crimean region. By pressing ahead with steps to dismember Ukraine against its will, Putin raised the stakes in the most serious East-West crisis since the end of the Cold War, a confrontation that markets worry could affect Russian energy exports to Europe. Europe bought 4.33 million barrels per day (bpd) of Russian oil last year, or 44 percent of OECD Europe’s net oil imports, according to the International Energy Agency. But the United States and Europe have shown no signs yet of wanting to raise the stakes in their confrontation with Russia, and sanctions imposed on Monday targeted Russian

and Crimea individuals, not broad trade. So oil market attention has turned instead to ample global supplies and worries about a weakening demand outlook. Oil prices have also been dampened by estimates that US commercial crude inventories rose last week by more than two million barrels. US crude inventories are expected to have risen by 2.8 million barrels on average, according to a preliminary Reuters poll taken ahead of weekly data reports set to be released yesterday and today. With one eye on the Ukraine crisis, the European Union has begun discussing the need to reduce its reliance on Russian energy, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Monday. Hague also said more names could be added to the sanctions list of 21 Russians and Ukrainians imposed by the EU, depending in part on how Russia reacted to Crimea’s application to join Russia following a weekend referendum. Oil prices found some support from worries about oil supply from the Middle East and North Africa. Oil production in Libya is below 250,000 bpd following a new protest, according to the state-owned National Oil Corp. “Supply issues should continue to support prices,” Fritsch at Commerzbank said. “If geopolitical risks were to disappear, prices could go lower, perhaps to around $100 per barrel. But as long as there are still outages and supply disruptions, (this) looks a good level for Brent for the moment.” —- Reuters

Gold edges down on firmer dollar LONDON: Gold prices edged lower yesterday, hovering below a six-month high hit in the previous session as the dollar inched up after anxiety over the Ukraine crisis ebbed for now and ahead of a US Federal Reserve policy meeting. Spot gold fell 0.3 percent an ounce to $1,362.80 by 1120 GMT, having rallied on Monday to a six-month high at $1,391.76 before investors started to cash in profits. US gold futures for April delivery fell as much as one percent to a session low of $1,358 an ounce, before trading at $1,362.70, down $10.20. It rallied to its strongest since September at $1,392.60 on Monday. “The market had positioned itself for a worst case scenario in Ukraine but that has not really materialized, we had sanctions introduced by Europe and the US and those are not going to really scare Mr Putin,” Saxo Bank senior manager Ole Hansen said. “As long as that is the kind of response that we are seeing, I think that the risk of an escalation in tensions in the area is probably reduced.” Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking region of Crimea voted overwhelmingly in a weekend referendum, condemned by Western states, in favour of joining Russia. The United States and European Union imposed personal sanctions on Monday on Russian and Crimean officials involved in the seizure of Crimea from Ukraine as Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree recognizing the region as a sovereign state. Gold has risen 13 percent this year and was headed for its biggest quarterly gain for at least seven years as mounting geopolitical tensions and fears over slowing economic growth spurred demand

for the metal as an insurance against risk. European shares slipped and the dollar rose 0.1 percent against a basket of currencies yesterday. Fed ahead Traders were now awaiting the twoday US Federal Reserve’s policy meeting starting later yesterday. Since the US central bank is already expected to stick to reducing its monthly asset purchases by an additional $10 billion, the impact of the decision on gold could be limited. A series of US economic data showing that growth has been hurt by severe cold weather in the first two months of the year had hit the dollar, in turn bolstering gold. A weaker US currency makes dollardenominated assets like gold cheaper for foreign investors. But better-than-expected US jobs and industrial output reports over the past week indicated the US economy was improving after a winter slowdown. “The US data has picked up a bit more recently, we have seen a better jobs report, so the case for tapering is reinforced and the big unknown tomorrow is the kind of wording that (Federal Reserve Chair) Janet Yellen will use,” Hansen said. The physical market saw some selling, with demand from top consumer China likely to be muted in coming weeks as domestic prices stayed at discounts to cash gold. Premiums for gold bars in Hong Kong were unchanged at $1 an ounce versus the spot London prices. In other precious metals, silver fell 0.6 percent to $21.01 an ounce. Platinum was down 0.7 percent to $1,449.00 an ounce and palladium lost 0.7 percent at $764.30 an ounce. — Reuters



Britain awaits fresh austerity budget before vote LONDON: Britain’s finance minister George Osborne has hinted at more austerity in the country’s annual budget due today that could also deliver sweeteners before a 2015 general election. Chancellor of the Exchequer Osborne is expected to keep the coalition government’s deficit-slashing policies firmly in place despite Britain’s economic recovery picking up speed also before this year’s referendum on Scottish independence. “We must not waver from our plan to reduce the budget deficit and deal with Britain’s debts,” Osborne wrote in British tabloid The Sun on Sunday. “The recovery is under way, but the single biggest risk would be to abandon the long-term economic plan that is working,” added Osborne, a member of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives which heads a coalition government compromising also the Liberal Democrats. The coalition has embarked upon a vast austerity drive since coming to power in 2010, two years after the start of the global financial crisis, in a bid to bring down a record deficit inherited from the

previous Labor government. Today’s budget is seen as firing the starting gun on a fierce election campaign that will pit the Conservatives against the Liberal Democrats and main opposition party Labor. “With little more than a year until the general election, the chancellor will be looking to hammer his message home to voters that the recovery is taking place, but that only a Conservative-led government can be trusted with the economy,” said analyst Philip Shaw at financial services firm Investec. “There are hopes in a number of quarters that Mr Osborne will signal tax cuts. This is not impossible, and of course it is politically inevitable that there will be some giveaways, but we expect a neutral budget overall.” Osborne on Sunday announced that the budget would include plans to extend until 2020 a scheme that helps people to join and move up the property ladder by offering governmentbacked loans for house purchases. The move, which boosted share prices of British

home builders on Monday, has been criticised by some experts amid fears that the Help to Buy scheme risks creating a fresh property bubble in London, where house prices are rising strongly. Last budget before Scottish vote Today’s budget is also the last before Scotland votes in a referendum on whether to become independent from the rest of Britain-a poll that has massive financial implications. All three of Britain’s main political parties have joined forces to campaign for a “no” vote at the September referendum. But First Minister Alex Salmond’s governing Scottish National Party is in the “yes” camp and has urged Scotland’s 5.3 million people to join him. Scotland has enjoyed increased autonomy since a 1997 referendum on devolution but the SNP now demands full independence. The fate of North Sea oil revenues is one of the biggest issues ahead of a referendum on September 18 that will decide whether Scotland will end its 300-year-old union with England.

Osborne has meanwhile warned that Scotland would have to leave the pound if it voted to become independent. Today meanwhile, the chancellor is expected to upgrade the government’s projections for Britain’s economic growth after it enjoyed 1.8-percent expansion last year-the fastest annual pace since before the 2008 financial crisis. The unemployment rate has meanwhile held close to the lowest level for almost five years. “Although the upgrade to growth could give the pound a boost, we expect it to be short-lived as the market already knows that the 2014 economic performance is likely to be stronger than initial forecasts,” said analyst Kathleen Brooks at trading site As Britain’s recovery gathers speed, markets increasingly expect the independent Bank of England to next year begin raising its key interest rate from a record-low level of 0.50 percent where it has stood for five years. Such a move could translate into rising loan and home loan repayments for borrowers just before the general election that is due in May next year. — AFP

Iceland’s euro dreams vanish with EU entry

TAIPEI: Participants line the pavement under placards during a protest against a trade agreement with former rival China, outside the Legislative Council in Taipei yesterday. Opposition has arisen against a deal between China and Taiwan signed in June, 2014 aimed at further opening trade in services between the two rivals. — AFP

BoE picks senior IMF official in shake-up LONDON: The Bank of England yesterday said it had appointed Nemat Shafik, a deputy to IMF chief Christine Lagarde, to a new role providing oversight of financial markets and banking. The appointment came as Governor Mark Carney looks to strengthen the BoE’s structure amid a review of its processes triggered by a probe into suspected rigging of foreign exchange markets, which caused the central bank to suspend a worker. The BoE previously stressed however that it had found no evidence that staff colluded in the alleged manipulation of the trades, 40 percent of which are conducted in London. A Bank of England statement said that Carney and British Finance Minister George Osborne had “agreed to appoint Dr Nemat Shafik as Deputy Governor of the Bank of

England responsible for Markets and Banking”, beginning in August. Shafik said she was “excited to be joining the Bank at such a critical time of institutional change”. She added that she looked forward to taking on what she called a “challenging new role” as the Bank seeks to “reform financial markets for the post-crisis world.” In a separate statement, Lagarde said: “The fact that she is leaving us to take up such an important post is testimony to her broad command of policy issues, her superb leadership and communications skills, and her global reputation.” Shafik, a national of Egypt, Britain and the United States, has overseen the Fund’s work on countries in Europe and the Middle East, including on financially bailed-out euro-zone members Greece and Portugal. — AFP

MUNICH: Autobodies of German carmaker BMW are seen at the company’s plant in Munich yesterday. German top-of-the-range carmaker BMW said on March 13 it achieved record sales and earnings and plans to pay an increased dividend to shareholders. — AFP

Crimea uncertainty sours German investor mood FRANKFURT: Uncertainty about the economic fallout from the crisis in Crimea pushed investor sentiment in Germany to its lowest level in seven months in March, a survey found yesterday. The widely watched investor confidence index calculated by the ZEW economic institute fell by 9.1 points to 46.6 points in March, its lowest level since August 2013, it said in a statement. It was the third straight monthly drop in a row and much steeper than analysts had been expecting. “In this month’s survey, the Crimea crisis is weighing on experts’ economic expectations for Germany,” said ZEW president Clemens Fuest. “Nevertheless, the indicator’s level suggests that the economic upswing is currently not at risk,” Fuest 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 1.3 points to 51.3 points in March, 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 market jitters caused by the Crimean crisis have predictably dampened German investor confidence,” said Berenberg Bank economist Christian Schulz. “Such big moves are not unusual, but the third successive

decline does hint that the combination of emerging market turbulences earlier this year and the stand-off between Russia and the West may have a mildly dampening impact on Germany’s investment climate,” Schulz said. “Beyond the probably minor impact of Western sanctions and potential Russian retaliation, this could hurt German growth a bit at least temporarily. However, it would take a much more serious crisis in Ukraine to derail the recovery in Germany and the euro-zone as a whole,” Schulz said, pointing to the rise in the current situation sub-index. Capital Economics economist Jonathan Loynes also felt that the drop in the March data “could prove to be just a blip.” “Although the index is by no means a perfect predictor of actual activity, at these levels it is certainly consistent with a further acceleration in (economic) growth,” Loynes said. “With other surveys ... also giving upbeat signals, the risks to our forecast of average German gross domestic product growth of 1.5 percent in 2014 may still lie to the upside.” ING DiBa economist Carsten Brzeski similarly pointed out that the ZEW index “does not have the best track record when it comes to predicting German economic activity. “However, in the absence of other guidance for the future path of the economy, today’s ZEW index sends two important messages: the presence of the German economy looks bright but the outlook is darkening,” Brzeski said. —AFP

REYKJAVIK: Iceland’s currency, the krona, was declared “dead” five years ago but it survived and with European Union membership ruled out for the foreseeable future it is likely to limp on. “The krona is dead. We need a new currency. The only serious option is the euro,” an Icelandic official told the British newspaper The Guardian in January 2009. Five years later, Iceland’s economy is still recovering from a crisis caused by its financial sector imploding when global financial markets seized up, and euro dreams are still a long way off. “I don’t think it will happen any time soon,” said economist Asgeir Jonsson at Reykjavik University. Two eurosceptic parties took power in the island nation of 320,000 people in 2013, forming a centreright coalition that has since decided to drop the bid for EU membership. The Icelandic krona was badly damaged by the financial crisis which swept the country in autumn 2008, causing it to lose almost a half its value-as well as its status as an internationally tradeable currency. And that damage has had long-lasting effects. The government brought in tough currency exchange restrictions to prevent a haemorrhage of cash out of the country, as recommended by the International Monetary Fund. Although the IMF is long gone, the capital controls are still there, with no plans to remove them. Iceland has little choice, according to local bank Arion, as foreign investors hold krona worth the equivalent of 70 percent of GDP, which they would most likely take out of the country at the first opportunity. If that were to happen the krona’s val-

ue would plummet, but the economy is paying a high price for propping up its tiny currency. Hampering growth The Iceland Chamber of Commerce estimates that capital controls cost an estimated 80 billion krona ($695 million, 500 million euros) in lost exports in 2013 — 4.4 percent of the country’s GDP. “Companies spend a lot of time thinking about the currency,” said Jonsson. The chief economist at the national chamber of commerce, Bjoern Brynjulfur Bjoernsson, said the currency issue was hampering growth. “An Icelandic company competing internationally can’t invest in projects abroad or take over foreign companies. If it is in a consolidating industry, it will often get left behind,” he said. Any firm that raises funds abroad must lodge them with the central bank, which gives permission to use them or not according to the company’s business plan. “In fact we have a central bank that is overseeing the international growth strategy for all Icelandic businesses. That is not a healthy situation,” said Bjoernsson. The country found itself in crisis for the opposite reason-without effective oversight Iceland’s banks had taken out massive cheap loans abroad, scooping up assets worth several times the island’s annual output. When international markets seized up, Iceland’s banks collapsed, and the country was forced to take a loan from the International Monetary Fund-the first by a western European country in more than two decades.

Households hit For the average Icelander, the lack of international confidence in the nation’s currency has meant more costly imports. Since 2008 the country has been hit by a whopping 7.2 percent average inflation rate, with salaries falling behind, increasing only 6.2 percent per year. And households have been doubly hit, with 80 percent of them struggling with heavy debt from inflation-linked mortgages. During the boom years Icelanders travelled abroad in droves —- 469,000 trips in 2007 — but today exchange rates make foreign spending appear incredibly extravagant and few have much affection for the national currency.Even the country’s most fervent EU opponents-the Federation of Icelandic Fishing Vessel Owners-are unhappy, although they believe the krona is overvalued. “There is no other nation in the world with fewer than a million people which has its independent monetary zone,” said Jonsson. “The currency market is not liquid and the krona is very volatile. It only takes four or five hedge funds to move the exchange rate.” A currency with a mere $14.6 billion (10.5 billion euros) money supply will remain a drop in the ocean of global finance but Iceland would appear to be stuck with the krona for some time to come.Even if the country were to take a rapid pro-EU turn, adopting the euro may still be a pipedream. “It is clear that the krona will be Iceland’s currency for at least the next five or ten years,” said Bjoernsson. “But if even if Iceland wanted to adopt the euro earlier than that, it wouldn’t be easy as we don’t fulfill the criteria, with a public debt at 90 percent of GDP.” — AFP

Cairn Energy puts share buy-back on hold LONDON: London-listed oil and gas explorer Cairn Energy has called a halt to a $300 million share buyback program until a review of its Indian income taxes is resolved, knocking its shares sharply lower yesterday. India’s tax authorities had contacted Cairn Energy in January to discuss income tax assessments dating back about seven years, making it the latest foreign firm to be embroiled in the country’s tax crackdown to try to cut its budget deficit. Other foreign multinational companies have also been targeted, including Anglo-Dutch oil major Shell, South Korea’s LG Electronics and France’s Capgemini. Cairn Energy said it would suspend its buy-back as of March 21 in the light of the tax review, the outcome of which it said would shape the company’s way forward beyond 2014. Cairn has completed about one third of the buy-back. “Throughout its history of operating in India, Cairn has been fully compliant with the tax legislation in force,” Cairn Energy Chief Executive Simon Thomson said on a conference call. “We intend to take whatever steps are necessary to protect our interests.” In January, India’s tax authority had requested further information on Cairn Energy’s 2006 income tax that pre-dated the flotation of its Cairn India business in 2007. The company was ordered not to sell its shares in Cairn India during the investigation, limiting the firm’s ability to raise cash from selling its 10 percent holding in Cairn India, valued at around $1 billion. “Whilst this shouldn’t be an issue in the near term, it may limit flexibility further down the line,” equity analysts at Liberum said. Cairn Energy ’s Chief Financial Officer Jann Brown said the company was in the process of compiling the information requested and would send it to the tax authority in April. Cairn Energy shares were the biggest faller among London’s FTSE 250 companies, down 11 percent at 1023 GMT. The oil and gas explorer also announced annual results yesterday, where it reported a higherthan-expected loss after tax of $556 million due to soaring costs for unsuccessful exploration in Morocco and the North Sea. The company’s costs for unsuccessful exploration rose 34 percent year on year to $213 million, which included $107 million spent on drilling offshore Morocco and $81 million in the Norwegian and UK parts of the North Sea. Cairn Energy said on Monday that it had plugged and abandoned a well in Morocco, a country whose offshore resources are tipped as one of this year’s promising exploration areas. The firm’s 2014 exploration program, which includes nine wells in places such as Senegal and Ireland, and the outcome of the Indian tax assessment will shape the company’s trajectory beyond this year. “Key risk is negative sentiment surrounding possible disappointing exploration results and an unresolved Indian Tax issue,” Mark Wilson, equity analyst at Jefferies, said. — Reuters

KABUL: An Afghan construction worker makes concrete tubes on the outskirts of Kabul yesterday. Afghanistan’s economy has improved significantly since the fall of the Taleban in 2001. — AFP

Currency market inches towards electronic fix LONDON: Work is moving forward on a new way for the foreign exchange market to set its “fixing” benchmarks, senior bankers say, after another week of revelations in the row over alleged market manipulation which has rocked the industry. While there are substantial barriers to altering the fixing system - which is used to price trillions of dollars’ worth of investments and deals - the bankers say it is increasingly clear that an electronic-based solution is feasible. This could seek to match off and then resolve automatically the huge volumes of orders put in around the fixing with minimal human intervention, making foul play more difficult. Many also expect the scandal to hasten the demise of voice-based trading, whose model of dealers and brokers talking on several phones to multiple clients and banks at once has been a defining image of the industry for decades. Participants in the world’s largest and least regulated financial market are scrambling to make trading more transparent and resistant to wrongdoing. In response to the perceived role of complicated derivatives in fuelling the financial crisis, regulators have sought to push as much of that market’s trading as possible onto exchanges. Banks and others involved in the more straight-forward cash foreign exchange want to head off any such aggressive push by regulators in their industry, which they say would bury them in red tape and push up costs. By coming up with a solution for the fixing, the industry hopes it can keep its bespoke, self-regulatory model which it says is a major factor in a steady fall in costs of currency trading for business. However, it also has a worried eye on investigations by regulators, not expected to conclude

until next year, and a G20 working group due to make proposals for reform in November. The manipulation row, which has seen more than 20 senior traders suspended or placed on leave, centers around charges that dealers from a handful of the biggest banks colluded to move currency rates. In a market worth $5.2 trillion a day, the “fixes” have long offered set times of the day when asset managers do a lot of business to give them an identical daily reference point for both the value of funds and foreign exchange conducted that day. That focused large volumes of transactions around a particular time of the day. That has been a headache for the banks, but also may have been an opportunity for a relatively small number of players executing the biggest fund orders to work together and share information to establish which way the market would swing ahead of time. The question now is how to change that system to eliminate that exposure to “human” corruption, no easy task in a market that is conducted in multiple locations, jurisdictions and platforms. Several senior industry figures, either in charge of or with a past running banks’ electronic operations, told Reuters it was impracticable for currency spot trading to be put on an exchange. But they say a solution to the fixing itself was less problematic. “There may be a service provider that would provide the means of doing fixing on a third party venue where people could put in orders to be matched on an electronic system and whatever is left over could be executed by an algorithm,” said the head of e-commerce with one of the banks being looked at in the probe. “There are platforms coming to us and offering us that kind of service. I—Reuters



Ferrari Land to be developed in Spain New Prancing Horse theme park for PortAventura resort


ortAventura Entertainment SAU, a subsidiary of Investindustrial, has signed a licensing agreement with Ferrari to build Ferrari Land, a new Prancing Horse theme park, inside the PortAventura resort and theme park outside Barcelona in Spain. Ferrari Land will cover 75,000 square meters and include a variety of new and exciting attractions for Prancing Horse enthusiasts of all ages, including Europe’s highest and fastest vertical accelerator. An opportunity for the whole family to experience and discover the world of Ferrari. More good news is that the first Ferrarithemed hotel is also to be built inside PortAventura and will be a luxury five-star establishment with 250 rooms, restaurants and a driving simulator. The project will involve an overall investment of 100 million euro and the Ferrari theme park itself officially opens in 2016. PortAventura already welcomes 4,000,000 visitors a year, of whom 50% come from outside Spain. Acquired in 2009 by Investindustrial, PortAventura has been going from strength to strength and is now the Mediterranean’s top amusement park as well as the second-ranked in Europe, thanks in large part to an investment of over 125 million euros spread over a four-year period in addition to the initial sum invested in

the purchase. Andrea C Bonomi, Senior Partner Investindustrial, explained the motivation behind the partnership with Ferrari thus: “PortAventura is one of the leaders in Europe’s tourism sector, while Ferrari is an iconic company that represents the very best of Made in Italy. The synergy between the two groups creates a powerful combination that means we can offer clients of both brands a unique experience. We are proud to be able to make this contribution to fostering the growth of the Ferrari brand and Made in Italy across the world. This partnership has been made possible by Investindustrial’s ongoing investment plan and the talents of the Italian management team brought in from Gardaland who have turned PortAventura into Europe’s best destination resort. Our recent collaboration with Cirque du Soleil, this new agreement with Ferrari and our partnership with KKR will help us expand PortAventura even further in the longer term. The agreement with Ferrari is another essential stage in our strategy of positioning PortAventura as one of the best family destination resorts in the world.” Andrea Perrone, CEO of Ferrari Brand, the Ferrari subsidiary company that manages the Prancing Horse’s brand-related activities, added: “After the success of Ferrari World in

Abu Dhabi, we received many, many requests to develop new amusement parks. We carefully sifted through the various proposals and decid-

ed to accept Investindustrial’s because it is a very solid plan developed by competent people that will bring the magic of Ferrari to Spain,

a nation where we have many supporters and enthusiasts, and to which large numbers of tourists flock each year, in part thanks to PortAventura. This new license further underscores our brand’s presence in this area. Ferrari Land will delight the whole family and not just Formula 1 fans. We will continue to evaluate other proposals for theme parks outside Europe at our leisure: the brand is our most important asset and we have to enhance its value without diluting it.” Sergio Feder, Executive President of PortAventura, also declared: “After our successful experience with Gardaland (Italy’s leading amusement park with almost 3.5 million visitors a year), we developed a long-term business development plan with Investindustrial to make PortAventura one of the best family destinations in Europe. Right from the start we have always been clear about our desire to develop the resort with high-profile international brands to ensure we achieve our target of around 5 million visitors a year. Ferrari was an obvious choice for this, not merely because of what the brand itself represents but also because of its experience with the Ferrari World Park at Abu Dhabi. It is also a source of great pride to us to be able to support such a worldfamous and internationally-respected brand.”

First Dubai achieves positive results, plans new projects

All-new 2014 Silverado benefits from 12.5m miles of durability testing KUWAIT: Each of those shiny new Silverados in Chevrolet dealerships benefits from 12.5 million miles of durability testing before the first customer ever receives the keys. From the scorching desert of Yuma, Ariz. to the sub-zero cold of Kapuskasing, Ontario, and the outdoor torture tests of General Motors’ Milford Proving Ground in Milford, Michigan, the all-new Silverado completed more than 4 million miles of combined vehicle durability testing. In addition, a fleet of test vehicles racked up 8.2 million miles of real-world mileage. Validation and durability testing pushed the trucks to their limits before they went into production in Silao, Mexico, Flint, Michigan, and Fort Wayne, Indiana. In many of the tests, the trucks are loaded to gross vehicle weight. While most customers do not drive fully loaded on a regular basis, these tests ensure the Silverado can withstand even the most demanding conditions. “It takes refinement and testing to build the strength that our customers expect and rely on from their trucks,” said Phillip Hubler, vehicle system engineer. “Our philosophy with the 2014 trucks was to improve what needed to be improved and leave alone what was already considered world class.” The trucks proved their mettle by traversing the Belgian blocks, splashing though the off-road-simulating grit trough, climbing and descending a 30 percent grade and driving at high speeds. Grit intrusion is a challenge for any off road vehicle. The grit trough test ensures

the trucks have enough sealing to protect bearings and key suspension points, while a trip along the dust road helps determine all seals are functioning properly and that dust does not contaminate the bearings or other moving parts. Some of the key durability improvements from the previous generation Silverado include: * A frame formed from high-strength steel to ensure it will not crack, even when loaded to full capacity * New four-wheel-disc brake system with Duralife(tm) brake rotors offer up to double the service life, along with braketuning revisions that improve pedal feel for more confident braking performance on any driving surface * Anti-chip coating on the lower body side for extra protection from stones or gravel The 2014 Silverado Light Duty pickups are available in seven distinct trim levels, from a Work Truck (WT) to the new premium level, High Country. Chevrolet care All customers who purchase the All New 2014 Chevrolet Silverado will receive the benefits of the Chevrolet Care program. Chevrolet Care is a high level customer service experience based on four pillars: To provide customers with the best in service pricing and cost transparency; booking service with same day delivery; quality service by certified technicians as well as a regional 3 year/100,000 km warranty and 24x7 regional roadside assistance.

DUBAI: First Dubai Real Estate Development Company yesterday morning held its Ordinary and Extraordinary General Assembly for the financial year ending on December 31, 2013, with the rate of attendance up to 90.81 percent, in the meeting room at the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The meeting was held in the presence of a number of the company’s shareholders and representatives of the local press and media. Abdul Aziz Bassem Al-Loughani, the Chairman of the Board of Directors, opened the General Assembly Meeting by reading the report of the Board, through which he stressed that the company had exerted strenuous efforts throughout the last year to achieve the interest of the company, its shareholders and customers. Al-Loughani pointed out the company’s positive financial results over the past year, after the completion, delivery and sale of a large number of real estate units in the Emirate of Dubai, including residential villas in “The Villa” Project in Dubai Land. The company succeeded in selling office spaces within “ The Business Avenue” Project in Jumeirah Lakes. Additionally, an occupancy rate surpassing 95 percent was achieved in the “Sky Gardens” Project in Dubai International Financial Centre. He stressed that First Dubai Company is moving ahead towards the preparation of a strategic plan through which it intends to develop new projects and engage in feasible investments, in light of the financial stability and real estate recovery, and due to the solid financial base of the company: it owns strong assets amounting to KD72.6m in 2013, compared to KD66.4m in the previous year. The total liabilities were KD13.8m in 2013 compared to KD15.2m in 2012. He said that the company holds tremendous assets which are intended to be developed in the near future, including residential and commercial land draft in “Shams Abu Dhabi”, located in Al Reem Island, which the company is studying the possibility of redeveloping with other investors. The company is also currently working on the development of middle-housing residential vouchers in the “Q-point” project, within Liwan Residential System in the Emirate of Dubai. Financial results Al-Loughani reviewed the company’s financial results, saying that First Dubai has succeeded in achieving a net profit that stood at KD 6.7m at the end of last year, with earnings per share up to 6.73fils, compared to 0.79fils in the same period last year. First Dubai Real Estate

(Treasury Shares) and how to use and dispose them. The members of the Board were discharged related to their legal actions for the fiscal year ending on December 31, 2013. The Assembly also appointed or re-appointed auditors of the company for the fiscal year ended on December 31, 2014, and authorized the Board of Directors to determine their remuneration.

Abdul Aziz Bassem Al-Loughani Development saw operating revenues amounting to KD5.3m in 2013, compared to KD2.76m in 2012, representing a 92 percent rise. The revenues of the sold projects surged 135 percentto KD 3.8m in 2013, compared to KD 1.6m in 2012. Ordinary General Assembly agenda The Ordinary General Assembly of First Dubai Real Estate Development Company listened to and approved the report of the Board of Directors for the financial year ending on December 31, 2013. They also listened to and approved the Auditor’s Report along with the financial statements for the fiscal year ending in that same period. First Dubai Assembly approved the Board of Directors to complete the transactions with the relevant parties. They also approved the recommendations of the Board to not distribute dividends for the fiscal year ending on December 31, 2013, and further approved remuneration of the members of the Board amounting to KD 40 thousand for the completed fiscal year. The Assembly also approved the Chairman or a member of the Board of Directors, to commercialize for the company or any activity practiced by the company, in accordance with article 228 of the Companies Act 2012 No. 25 and article 16 of the statute. They also authorized the Board to purchase or sell shares of the company, but not to exceed 10 percent of the number of its shares, in accordance with article 175 of the law 25 for the year 2012 and the instructions of the Capital Markets Authority which organize the shareholding corporate purchasing to its shares

Extraordinary assembly For their part, the Extraordinary General Assembly approved the amendment of article 13 and article 15 of the Statute, in such a manner that a five-member board of directors assumes the company management. A member of the board shall be required to personally be an owner or the person who represents him shall own a number of the company’s shares. The concerned person shall be responsible for similar acts towards the company, its creditors and shareholders. The articles (16) and (17) of the Statute which are concerned with the conditions of the Board membership were amended. The Assembly also approved the amendment of the article (19) of the Regulations to read as follows: ‘The Board of Directors shall appoint a Chief Executive Officer who shall be entrusted to manage the company, and the Board shall determine his allocations and powers to sign for the company . It may be illegal to combine between the post of Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. The Board of Directors shall also have a secretary to be appointed from among the members of the Board, the Executive Management or from abroad, based on a decision of the Board to take reports of the meetings which shall be signed by the Secretary and all the present members’. The Assembly has amended the following articles: article (20) concerned with the power to sign, article (21) pertaining to the meetings of the Board of Directors, which are held at least six times during one year in response to the invitation of its chairman, and article (22) of the Statute. Likewise, articles (24) and (25) pertaining to the powers and reward of the members of the Board of Directors have also been amended. In addition, the amendments related to the statute and included within the Extraordinary Assembly Agenda have all been ratified. After the ratification of the Agenda, the Chairman closed the Extraordinary General Assembly upon the acceptance of the attendees.

Obama hubs face uphill struggle to create jobs YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio: Along the banks of the Mahoning River in the struggling Ohio steel town of Youngstown sits a once-abandoned furniture warehouse that has been converted into a sleek new laboratory. Inside is a Silicon Valley-style workspace complete with open meeting areas and colorful stools. Several 3-D printers hum in the background, while engineers type computer codes that tell the machines how to create objects by layering materials. The lab, called America Makes, is the first in a series of socalled “manufacturing innovation hubs” that President Barack Obama has launched with the promise that they could revitalize America’s industrial sector and spur jobs growth in downtrodden communities like Youngstown. Seven more hubs are planned by the end of the year, including projects in Chicago, Detroit and Raleigh, North Carolina, that will follow the Youngstown model of bringing together businesses, non-

profits and universities to pursue technological breakthroughs. But after more than a year of operation, the Youngstown hub underscores the challenges facing Obama’s goal of ensuring “a steady stream of good jobs into the 21st century,” as he put it in remarks at a White House event last month. One of the biggest challenges is the nature of factory innovation itself, which often reduces, rather than bolsters, the need for workers who aren’t very skilled. That means the manufacturing initiative could help create jobs for people with highly specialized skills, such as engineers, but it may do far less to help people struggling to find work after the shuttering of local steel mills. Three-D printers, the focus of the Youngstown project, are an example of this. Once they are programmed and loaded with raw materials, they work their magic with nary a human hand. If they are ever widely adopt-

ed, researchers say a big reason will be that they use less labor than traditional manufacturing. “A lot of the equipment can be run automatically, so it is less labor demanding,” said Don Li, senior manager of process modeling at RTI International Metals, a Pittsburgh-based titanium manufacturer working on an America Makes project. Multiplier Former White House economic adviser Gene Sperling, who conceived the administration’s manufacturing initiative, said the White House was focused on the “spillover impact” from new manufacturing projects, which also create jobs at suppliers. “When you look at manufacturing and the jobs it provides in the supply chain and in communities, these are middle class, high-skill jobs,” he said. Research by Enrico Moretti, an economist at the University

of California, Berkeley, has found that each factory job on average supports 1.6 additional jobs outside manufacturing. A job in a high-tech industry can support even more outside employment because high wages for engineers and programmers can spur more spending at restaurants, stores and other businesses. When Obama first proposed the manufacturing initiative, he asked Congress for $1 billion for 15 centers but the request has gone nowhere amid Washington’s political gridlock so he is funding the projects through existing budgets. Ultimately, he would like to set up 45 centers around the country. The Department of Defense, which is contributing the federal funding to the Youngstown initiative, believes its demand for high-tech goods will help the broader economy, said Elana Broitman, acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for manufacturing and industrial base policy. —Reuters



Trash to treasure: Bicycle brings 3D printing to Taiwan streets TAIPEI: Cycling through the streets of Taiwan’s capital, staff from a design company turn discarded plastic cups and bottles into pieces of art on the spot with Mobile Fab - an ordinary bike kitted out with a computer and 3D printer. “We wanted to do something to bring both recycling and 3D printing closer to average people,” said Kamm Kai-yu, a co-founder of the Taipei-based company Fabraft. Festooned with pumps, wires, tubes and display panels, the Mobile Fab cuts the plastic into strips before grinding it into fine powder. The operators feed the powder into the 3D printer on the front of the bike, using it as the “ink” to create a small medallion they attach to a coloured light.

People who bring plastic items to the roving lab wait a couple of hours for the trash to be turned into art. The medallion is meant to attach to the spokes of a bike wheel but can be worn in any way the person pleases. It’s given free as long as the person provides the plastic. Almost any design can be printed but the medallion is the team’s standard output. One of the few limitations is that the printer can only use polypropylene, or No.5 plastic, due to the different melting points of various plastics. Kamm and three colleagues at Fabraft, all 20something graduates of design or art schools, are adherents of the “Maker” movement that brings a do-it-yourself spirit back to hardware after so much start-up attention was focused on software.

Motivational slogans including “Keep Calm and Make Things” and “Make What You Love, Love What You Make” adorn the walls of their garage-style workshop. “We built everything from scratch using designs and instructions freely available online,” said cofounder Matteo Chen. The software to manipulate the printer is also open-source and free to download, as are a number of designs. Taking Mobile Fab to the bustling streets of Taipei, Kamm and his colleagues said they have been bombarded with interest from curious bystanders - so much so that they plan to build a bigger version with more printing power. Other machines could be swapped with the 3D

printer, such as a laser cutter to perform similar onthe-spot design tasks. But it is Mobile Fab’s concept of combining environmental awareness with cutting-edge technology that has raised Fabraft’s profile in the ultra-competitive Taiwan tech scene. The contraption was partly funded by the government in line with efforts to foster homegrown talent as Taipei gets set to become the World Design Capital for 2016, an annual designation by the Montreal-based International Council of Societies of Industrial Design. Taiwan’s obsession with pearl-milk tea, a beverage sold in No.5 plastic cups all over the island, means there is a steady stream of “ink” for the Mobile Fab as it does its rounds.

Game makers to explore Alibaba, Weibo see advantages social issues at conference in US listing NEW YORK: In picking the US to launch initial public offerings rather than their home market, Chinese technology companies Alibaba and Weibo are opting for maximum visibility and access to capital. Alibaba, an e-commerce giant that blends elements of Google, eBay and Amazon, confirmed its plans Sunday to launch a US listing. US press reports have said the offering could be as big as $15 billion, which would make it the largest Chinese IPO ever and the biggest since Facebook’s in 2012. Weibo, considered the Chinese version of microblogging site Twitter, said Friday it planned a US offering to raise $500 million. A third Chinese technology company,, an online retailer and a smaller competitor of Alibaba, in January filed to launch its own IPO in the US for up to $1.5 billion. The listings have sent a charge through Wall Street, where new offerings through January and February are at their highest level since 2000, just before the Internet bubble burst, according to Renaissance Capital. Investors are “salivating” over Alibaba, the best known of three companies, said Mace Blicksilver, director of Marblehead Asset Management. For Alibaba, a New York listing allows it to avoid an offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, which balked at efforts by founders and senior management to retain control over the board by issuing dual classes of stock. But the US listing also means the company “will have access to the most liquid market in the world, where investors surely prefer to buy stock minted on Wall Street rather than in Hong Kong,” said Gregori Volokhine, president of Meeschaert Capital Markets. A US listing sends a message to investors that “we are international, even though most

of our business is in China,” said Jack Gold, president of the research firm J. Gold Associates. Gold said a US listing could also enable the companies to grow more easily. “The Internet these days is about growing by acquiring other companies,” Gold said. “It’s easier to pick up other companies while being US-listed than Chinese-listed.” Chinese IPOs’ poor record Scores of Chinese companies have gained US market listings in the past decade, the number of Chinese IPOs peaking in 2010 with 39 offerings, according to data from Dealogic. But they sank to just two in 2012, amid investor distrust after numerous accusations of fraud and other ills, which led to plunging share prices and forced delistings. Such problems were particularly acute in cases of “reverse mergers” in which Chinese companies bought publicly-traded but essentially defunct US companies, taking a backdoor route to a public listing. Blicksilver said investors are skeptical about small names, but that a big blue chip company like Alibaba will get the benefit of the doubt. “Certainly that’s been a problem in the past,” Gold said of the Chinese listings. “But there have been other Chinese companiesLenovo comes to mind-that have done OK in this regard. We’ll have to see.” “It certainly could be a problem, especially if you assume, as most assume, that the Chinese government has their hands in pretty much all the big companies over there.” Another flashpoint could be concerns about allowing Chinese Internet companies to benefit from open US markets at the same time that Beijing blocks Facebook, Twitter and other US giants to the massive Chinese market. — AFP

SAN FRANCISCO: The video game industry is taking itself more seriously. Besides the usual talk of polygons, virtual worlds and artificial intelligence at this week’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, there will also be planned discussions led by game makers about such socially conscious topics as designing for gamers with disabilities, battling depression at game studios and tackling hate speech in online game communities. The organizers of GDC, which kicks off Monday at the Moscone Center and continues through Friday, have expanded the conference’s advocacy-themed sessions with panels featuring such titles as “Beyond Graphics: Reaching the Visually Impaired Gamer,” “How to Subversively Queer Your Work” and “Women Don’t Want to Work in Games (and Other Myths).” “It’s something that in some way or another has always been part of the conference, but it’s something that we’ve found interest in genuinely continue to grow as the industry has become more diverse and inclusive,” said Simon Carless, executive vice president of UBM Tech Game Network, which organizes GDC and several other technology conventions. This year’s conference is expected to attract about 23,000 game developers and executives from across the globe. Carless and other GDC organizers, which includes an advocacy advisory committee made up of game designers, hope that examinations of racism, misogyny and homophobia in games aid the industry’s continued fight for wider cultural legitimacy. Rosalind Wiseman, author of the book “Queen Bees and Wannabes,” which inspired the Lindsay Lohan film “Mean Girls,” will be part of a Tuesday discussion about gaming and social hierarchies among boys. The panel will examine how the games that young men choose to play effect their popularity, as well as their social competence in moments of conflict. Annual workshop Other speakers will include Adam Orth, who left Microsoft Corp. last year after fiery Twitter

WASHINGTON: In this Wednesday, Dec 4, 2013, file photo, Tracey Anderson, 26, re-stocks X-Box sets on opening day of a new Wal-Mart on Georgia Avenue Northwest in Washington. Wal-Mart plans to expand its video game trade-in program to its stores, offering store credit for thousands of video games. — AP exchanges about “always-on” technology; Oculus Rift, which captured attendees’ attention Manveer Heir, a game maker who works on the at last year ’s conference. The exhibit “Mass Effect” sci-fi series, which features gay and “ALT.CTRL.GDC” will highlight 14 games that utilesbian characters; and Toshifumi Nakabayashi, lize such alternative control schemes, like a who organizes an annual game workshop to piano-powered version of the sidescroller “Canabalt” and a holographic display called support Fukushima disaster victims. Despite the refreshed focus on real-world Voxiebox. This year’s conference, the largest annual issues at the convention, how to view and interact with ever-changing virtual worlds will ulti- gathering of game creators outside the mately take center stage at GDC. PlayStation 4 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles in creator Sony Corp. is expected to tease its rendi- June, is the first since Sony and Microsoft respection of virtual reality technology during a tively released its PlayStation 4 and Xbox One Tuesday presentation called “Driving the Future consoles last year. Several sessions scheduled this year are dedicated to creating games for of Innovation at Sony Computer Entertainment.” Meanwhile, a handful of developers will be those systems, as well as more popular mobile showing off software using the VR goggles platforms. — AP

Web domain name revolution could hit trademark defence

TOKYO: Government officers use their computers during a cyber security drill in Tokyo yesterday. Japan held a government-wide cyber security drill in a bid to improve coordination among public agencies and major businesses. — AFP

New online platform to take on YouTube NEW YORK: Wonder PL, a new video platform for lifestyle content that launched on March 13, is taking direct aim at YouTube and Vimeo while hoping to capitalize on the soaring popularity of online video. Backed by Universal Music Group, Qualcomm Ventures, former Apple executive Pascal Cagni and a personal investment by Vice Media President Andrew Creighton, Wonder features topics from wellness to food to entertainment targeting women. Wonder if differentiating itself from YouTube by targeting professional content makers to use its platform for an annual fee. YouTube is free to anyone who wants to upload a video. “We want to be the Whole Foods of video,” said Sofia Fenichell, Wonder founder and CEO. “YouTube is Wal-Mart.” Wonder is going after brands and content creators such as the National Film Board of China and chef Tom Aikens. Wonder charges an annual fee of $300 for its members to use the platform to upload video. “We know everyone is going to produce more video,” Fenichell said.

While more people are uploading and consuming video, it is a crowded market. Google’s YouTube, which is ad-supported, has more than 1 billion unique users per month who watch more than 6 billion hours of video. IAC/Interactive Corp’s Vimeo provides a platform for professional users too. Anyone can post video to the Vimeo platform for free but it charges up to $199 for more comprehensive features like additional storage, support and the ability to sell video on demand. (Vimeo takes a 10 percent cut.) Vimeo has over 22 million registered members and reaches a global monthly audience of about 150 million. Fenichell said Wonder will depend on subscription revenue for now but could eventually start providing opportunities for sponsored content. People view videos on Wonder in an ad-free environment. “The industry currently trades a free or nominal membership fee in exchange for taking very high platform commissions,” she said. “We believe this is an unsustainable model for creators who need to generate value from their work.” — Reuters

GENEVA: The mass expansion of Internet domain names could cause havoc for the defence of trademarks in cyberspace, the UN’s intellectual property body warned on Monday. “We have this extraordinary expansion that is going on,” said Francis Gurry, head of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which oversees global rules against cybersquatting. “That is going to have an impact, which is likely to be significant, on trademark protection. The exact nature of the impact, we aren’t sure of at this stage, but it is likely to be significant and disruptive,” Gurry told reporters. “Trademark owners are very concerned about the impact that this expansion will have on branding systems,” he added. Opening the Internet to domain names that go far beyond classics such as .com, .org, .net, .gov, and .edu has been heralded by US-based Web overlords the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) as the biggest change to the Web since it was created. There have long been just 22 generic top-level domains (gTLDs), of which .com and .net comprise the lion’s share. But California-based ICANN has said that the snowballing of the Internet-with some two billion users around the world, half of them in Asia-makes new names essential. Around 1,400 new gTLDs are gradually being put up for grabs, with the first 160 already delegated to various Web registration firms. “The opportunity for misuse of trademarks expands exponentially,” said Gurry, noting that registering a domain name is a cheap, automatic procedure that takes a matter of seconds and does not have a filter to examine whether there is a trademark conflict. “That brings with it the attendant inconvenience of a much greater burden of surveillance on the part of trademark owners,” he said. In the initial mix, opened in January, are addresses ending in guru, bike, singles, as well as clothing, holdings, plumbing and ventures. Other generic terms on the horizon include .football, .flights, .cards and .bid. The first-ever non-Latin letter domains have also been approved, including the Chinese for “game”, the Arabic for “web” or “network,” or the Cyrillic for “online”. Concern over ‘side effect’ Gurry acknowledged that the expansion was meant to ease use of the fast-growing Internet. “So presumably, their reasons for expanding relate to improvement of navigational capacity on the Internet. What we’re concerned is the side effect of the impact that that has on branding systems that are used by consumers for their interaction with commerce,” he added. Trademark owners aggrieved by cybersquatting-the abusive registration of domain names, sometimes in order to sell them back to rights holders or draw consumers to rival products-have the option of turning to WIPO’s arbitration procedure. In 2013, 2,585 such cases were filed with WIPO, concerning a record 6,191 individual domain names. Under international rules, Web registration firms must void the registration of losers in WIPO cybersquatting cases. The UN body is already hearing its first case concerning a new gTLD, filed in February and pitting a German company against the Dutch registree of the still-inactive website Erik Wilbers, director or WIPO’s arbitration arm, said that the vast increase of gTLDs will mean that trademark holders would have to be “much more focused” in what they challenge. “You cannot keep shooting at everything that moves in an expanding domain name system,” he said. — AFP

TOKYO: The headquarters of Japan’s electronic commerce and Internet company Rakuten is seen in Tokyo yesterday. Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten is the world’s largest online marketplace for elephant ivory and whale meat products, an environmental campaign group said, saying that running the advertisements was akin to arming poachers. —AFP

Cybercriminals use fake MH370 websites, steal data SINGAPORE: Cybercriminals are exploiting the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines plane by luring users to websites purporting to offer the latest news in order to steal their personal information, an Internet security firm warned yesterday. Trend Micro urged Internet users to exercise caution when clicking on links shared on social media for news of flight MH370, which mysteriously vanished from the radar in the early hours of March 8 while on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. There is no trace of the aircraft or the 239 people on board, despite a massive international search. Trend Micro said its global network of research, service and support centres TrendLabs had spotted an executable file disguised as a video that, when clicked, allowed scammers to collect a user’s data, such as his or her IP address. “Given the heightened interest in the missing flight, it was only time (before)

cybercriminals used it to their advantage,” TrendLabs expert Paul Oliveria said in a statement. Another scam enticed Facebook users to click a link that leads to a page with the heading: “(BREAKING NEWS) Malaysia Plane Crash into Vietnam sea MH370 Malaysia Airlines is found!” When the link is clicked, users are taken to a fake page with a “ready to play” video. Further clicks will prompt the user to share the link before the video can be viewed. “Sharing the video, of course, helps cybercriminals spread their malicious link to other users,” Trend Micro said in a statement. After sharing, the user will be asked to verify his age by completing a ‘test’. The test was “nothing but another survey scam,” it said. Trend Micro added that cybercriminals have previously used tragedies such as last year ’s Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and the deadly bomb attack on the Boston Marathon to lure unsuspecting users to malicious websites. — AFP


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

Unease grows among US doctors over Indian drug quality WASHINGTON/NEW YORK: Some US doctors are becoming concerned about the quality of generic drugs supplied by Indian manufacturers following a flurry of recalls and import bans by the Food and Drug Administration. India supplies about 40 percent of generic and over-the-counter drugs used in the United States, making it the second-biggest supplier after Canada. In recent months, the FDA, citing quality control problems ranging from data manipulation to sanitation, has banned the importation of products from Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, Wockhardt Ltd and, most recently, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. “I’m just beginning to realize the gravity of the problem,” said Dr. Steven Nissen, head of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic. “It’s terrible and it is starting to get a lot of traction among physicians.” Indian drugmakers are by no means the only companies to recall products or be warned by the FDA about manufacturing problems. For instance, quality control failures at Johnson & Johnson forced the company to recall dozens of products over the past five years, ranging from artificial hips to children’s Tylenol. And last year, Germany’s Boehringer Ingelheim said it would shut down its U.S. contract manufacturing unit, Ben Venue Laboratories, after it was cited for repeated manufacturing violations that led to shortages of the cancer drug Doxil. India’s drugmakers, a $14 billion industry, reject any criticism that their products are inferior to drugs made in other countries. “We have heard doctors making generalized statements, without being specific on any product or company,” said D.G. Shah, Secretary General of the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, a trade group representing large Indian drugmakers. “This is a deliberate and serious campaign to malign the Indian generic industry.” If US doctors come across a medicine that does

not meet quality standards, they should report it to regulators, he said. “Doctors are not in a position to judge whether manufacturing processes are correct or not. That is the US FDA’s job.” Generic drugs account for nearly 85 percent of medicines prescribed in the United States and the government is relying on them to help rein in healthcare costs. “We are losing control over what people are swallowing,” said Dr. Harry Lever, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic who is trying raise awareness of the matter among U.S. lawmakers. “Now, when a patient comes in who is not doing well, the first thing I do is look at their drugs and find out who makes it.” Increasingly, Lever said, he is recommending patients seek out generic drugs from specific manufacturers outside India. “I’m tending to stay away from India,” he said. “There’s something wrong. Too many things are happening.” India doctors hit back Indian physicians do not share the concerns. “Our drugs are being sold in many countries and being accepted, so we have no issues,” said Narendra Saini, Secretary General of the Indian Medical Association, a voluntary body of 215,000 doctors. “How do I know that Western drugs are better than our drugs?” A 2012 report by India’s parliament alleged collusion between pharmaceutical firms and officials at the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), the country ’s drugs regulator, and described an agency that was both understaffed and underqualified. Saini said physicians trust that the CDSCO is taking care of the quality and the standard of the drugs made in India. “We very much trust those medicines,” he added.

Representatives of Ranbaxy, Sun and Wockhardt were not immediately available to comment. Dr Joel Zonszein, director of the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, said he is concerned about the quality of generic drugs in general, not just those from India. He cited, as an example, his experience with the diabetes drug metformin. “When patients open the bottle of medication it smells like dead fish,” he said. Zonszein did not know which company made the foul-smelling drug. Physicians do not have a say in which generic drug a patient receives, as that depends on which products are stocked by individual pharmacies. If a patient wants to avoid a certain manufacturer, he or she may have to change pharmacies. Doctors may specify that the branded version of a drug be dispensed, but insurance companies frequently refuse to pay for them. Dr Richard Kovacs, who heads a number of American College of Cardiology committees and sits on its board of trustees, said doctors may need to play a greater role monitoring the medications prescribed by their practices. “The average US cardiologist has been able to assume that the drugs were safe and effective. It now appears we need to be more vigilant as a profession, and assist the FDA by reporting cases where we are concerned about irregularities in the drugs supplied to our patients,” he said. Hard to keep up FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, who recently returned from her first official visit to India, is urging greater collaboration between the two countries. During her visit, the FDA and India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare signed a statement of intent to cooperate to prevent the distribution of unsafe drugs.

Shortly afterwards, India’s drug controller general, G.N. Singh, said in an interview that the country will follow its own quality standards. “The FDA may regulate its country, but it can’t regulate India on how India has to behave or how to deliver,” he said. Some companies seem to be responding to the FDA’s actions. Piyush Nahar, an analyst with Jefferies India Private Ltd who recently met with a number of Indian drugmakers, said in a recent report that most companies “have increased their investment” in compliance and some are considering investing in US or European facilities “to overcome challenges relating to both regulations and perceptions.” The array of recalls and warning letters can be dizzying. Ranbaxy recently recalled more than 64,000 bottles of a generic cholesterol-lowering drug after doses were mixed up in a bottle, and Sun began recalling 2,528 bottles of a diabetes drug after a bottle was found to contain an epilepsy treatment. Those mix-ups follow a recall in January by Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd of more than 58,000 bottles of its heartburn drug lansoprazole due to a microbial contamination. “It’s hard to be sure on a day-to-day basis with the array of medications that you have to be potentially aware of that there’s a specific problem with a specific medication from a specific generic manufacturer,” said Dr. Elliott Antman, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. The medical community is dependent on agencies such as the FDA, he added. “The bottom line for me is we have to make sure they have sufficient resources to do their job correctly.” To Dr. Jason Gaglia, a diabetes expert at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, the warning letters and import bans indicate the FDA is doing its job. “Is it scary? Yes. But to me it means the system is working,” he said. —Reuters

Europeans failing to tackle drug-resistant tuberculosis China halves TB rate in 20 years: Lancet LONDON: Cases of tuberculosis are falling in Europe but a failure to properly diagnose and treat dangerous drug-resistant strains of the contagious disease means it is far from under control, health experts said yesterday. Every day, almost 1,000 people across the 53 countries of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) European region fall sick with TB, and multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB pose a serious risk to the goal of eliminating it by 2050, the experts said. Data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the WHO’s regional office showed that drug-resistant TB strains affect at least 76,000 people in the region. But more than half are not properly diagnosed and only one in every three patients is successfully treated. At 25 percent, the treatment success rate for XDR TB patients is even lower. Treating even regular TB is a long process. Patients need to take a cocktail of antibiotics for six months and many fail to complete the treatment - fuelling growing drug resistance. “We must reach all patients, not only half of them and ‘half the way’”, said Zsuzsanna Jakab, the WHO’s regional director for Europe. She said there was now an urgent need for new anti-TB medicines with shorter and more effective treatment courses that patients would be more able and more likely to stick to. Often mistakenly seen as a disease of the past, TB has over the last decade developed into one of

the world’s most alarming public health threats with the emergence of drug-resistant or “superbug” strains that can’t be treated even with numerous drugs. Of all infectious diseases worldwide, only HIV the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS - kills more people. Once known as the “white plague” for its ability to render its victims skinny, pale and feverish, TB causes night sweats, persistent coughing, weight loss and blood in the phlegm or spit. It is spread through close contact. Drug-resistant TB is a manmade problem and has developed because regular TB patients were either being given the wrong medicines or the wrong doses, or because they were not completing their treatment. The WHO, which declared TB a global emergency in 1993, says up to 2 million people worldwide may be infected with drug-resistant strains by 2015. Marc Sprenger, director of the Stockholm based ECDC which monitors disease in the European Union, said treating regular and MDR TB successfully was the only way to stop more dangerous and more highly resistant strains from developing. “If we are not able to diagnose and treat patients with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis early and successfully, this not only puts patients’ lives at risk but also paves the way for XDR TB,” he said in a statement as the new data were published. The WHO European Region comprises 53 countries, with a population of nearly 900 million peo-

ple. The ECDC/WHO data showed an average annual 5.0 percent decline in TB incidence across the region over the last decade. New infections fall China has more than halved its tuberculosis rate in 20 years by scaling up steps to ensure patients take their antibiotics, The Lancet reported yesterday. The tally of new infections fell from 170 people per 100,000 of the population in 1990 to 59 per 100,000 in 2010 — a target reached five years ahead of schedule. A study attributes the success to China broadening access to a treatment called DOTS (for directly observed therapy, short-course) which entails healthworkers meticulously supervising patients until they complete a course of antibiotics to kill the TB germ. The microbe can thrive if a patient stops taking the drug too early, leaving behind a small colony of germs that can become antibiotic resistant and be transmitted to other people. “Huge improvements in TB treatment, driven by a major shift in treatment from hospitals to local public health centres implementing the DOTS strategy, were largely responsible for this success,” said study leader Yu Wang from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Beijing. During the 1990s, the DOTS programme expanded rapidly in China, from covering half of its population to all of it by 2000. —Agencies

Space rock craze hits South Korea after meteor shower

LONDON: Britain’s Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales (2-L) and Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall (L) are shown medical aparatus after officially opening the Chelsea Children’s hospital at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London yesterday. —AFP

British govt boosts childcare allowance to woo family voters LONDON: Britain’s coalition government unveiled a larger-than-expected scheme to help cut the cost of childcare for working parents yesterday in an appeal to voters squeezed by several years of stagnant wages and rising prices. The joint announcement by Prime Minister David Cameron, a Conservative, and his Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, comes on eve of Britain’s annual budget statement which will set the tone for a 2015 election campaign. Fiscal policy is expected to be key battleground in the run-up to the election that looks set to be a tight battle with Labour currently slightly ahead in opinion polls. “Tax free childcare is an important part of our long-term economic plan,” said Cameron. “It will help millions of hardpressed families with their childcare costs and provide financial security for the future.” By mid-to-late 2015 working parents with children under 12 will have 20 percent of their childcare costs paid for the govern-

ment. The first 10,000 pounds ($16,600) of childcare per year will be eligible for the scheme, meaning voters will receive an annual break of up to 2,000 pounds for each child. It had been expected that only 6,000 pounds of costs would be eligible for the scheme which is expected to benefit 1.9 million families. The opposition Labour party welcomed steps to help parents, but said the government action was “too little, too late”. Consultancy KPMG said the scheme could free up more workers and ultimately benefit the economy. The budget, to be delivered by Conservative finance minister George Osborne on Wednesday, is expected to give a sober analysis of the challenge that Britain still faces to get its finances and debt levels under control. The latest YouGov survey has Labour with 40 percent support, the Conservatives with 32 percent, the anti-European Union UK Independence Party (UKIP) with 11 percent, and the Liberal Democrats with 9 percent. —Reuters

SEOUL: A corner of South Korea is in the grip of a frenzied hunt for valuable space souvenirs, following a rare meteor shower there last week. Hundreds of people have been scouring hills and rice paddies for meteorites near the southeastern city of Jinju after the shower on March 9, some of them armed with GPS devices and metal detectors, according to media reports. “Media hype claiming that chrondites (a type of meteorite) could bring you a bonanza sparked the fever for space rocks,” an official from the Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea (CHAK) told AFP. Local greenhouse owners have put up signs warning off trespassers after the first large chunk of rock, weighing around nine kilograms (20 pounds), was found in a greenhouse near Jinju. A second piece weighing four kilograms was found by another local resident. Scientists confirmed that both rocks, found in the two days after the meteor shower, had come from space. A US meteorite-hunter has been handing out business cards in the local area, asking people to sell him any shards they find, the Korea JoongAng Daily said. Prime Minister Chung Hong-Won suggested the government should secure them for research or as a natural monument. The CHAK official said the agency would designate any meteorites found as cultural assets to stop them from being taken out of South Korea. Ownership of the meteorites remains a legally grey area because of the lack of relevant provisions in South Korean civil law, the official added. A space rock was last found on its soil in 1943, when the Korean peninsula was under Japan’s colonial rule. Meteor showers occur when hundreds of meteors-fragments of dust and rock that burn up as they pass through the Earth’s atmosphere-light up the sky in a spectacular display. Meteorites are meteors that do not burn up completely, surviving the fall to Earth. —AFP

Milupa Aptamil Junior wins GCC mothers vote of trust DUBAI: In a recognition that reinforces its commitment to standing by mothers to help them provide the best early nutrition for their toddlers., Milupa Aptamil Junior - a growing up milk for toddlers from Danone Nutricia a global leader in infant/toddler nutrition, was voted Product of the Year 2014 across the GCC in the ‘Child Nutrition’ category. This is the second consecutive year that Milupa Aptamil Junior has been voted to win this prestigious recognition, which reflects the brand’s growing eminence and the mothers’ endorsement of its worldclass formula. Milupa Aptamil Junior was among the leading brands across various categories which took the limelight at the Product of the Year - Gulf 2014 awards ceremony, held at the Meydan Beach Hotel, JBR in Dubai. The Product of the Year Awards, renowned worldwide across 42 countries, is an independent and prestigious award that recognizes excellence in quality and innovation and is the only one-of-its-kind voted 100% by consumers. To address toddler’s optimal growth requirements, Milupa Aptamil Junior Growing Up Milk - with Pronutra, is the only clinically proven growing up milk formula

to boost the child’s natural defenses and support their brain and visual development. Hani AlAita, Regional Marketing Manager at Danone Nutricia Middle East and Africa, the manufacturer of Milupa said: “It’s an honor to be continuously entrusted by mothers as number one for their most precious, their kids, as we continuously strive within Danone Nutricia to use the most advanced scientific research to bring the best early nutrition for infants/toddlers, given the importance of nutrition during the first three years of life” Tested with more than 700 toddlers in over 500 daycare settings around the world, results have shown how the toddlers who used Milupa Aptamil Junior demonstrated a better immune response with significant reduction in risk of infections, even in daycare settings which are optimal environments for transmission of infections. Milupa Aptamil Junior has access to around 300 scientists worldwide who are dedicated to research in science of breast milk and infant/ toddler nutrition, as well as a team of expert nutritionists, midwives and other healthcare professionals throughout the Middle East who are committed to providing the best support for infants/ toddler development.

TOKYO: Japan’s electronics giant Toshiba unveils the prototype model of a breath analyzer which can detect gases in exhaled breath to monitor health and diagnosis of disease at the company’s headquarters in Tokyo yesterday. The device using a gas analysis technology with a quantum cascade laser to trace gasses detected across the absorption spectrum is expecting to commercialize in 2015. —AFP

Toshiba unveils disease detecting breathalyser TOKYO: Japan’s Toshiba yesterday unveiled a breathalyser which it says can detect a wide range of diseases just 30 seconds after users blow into the machine. The device, about the size of a small dishwasher, has a nozzle in which users blow several times. It then analyses the puffs for traces of several gases which can signal the presence of several health problems including diabetes, stomach ailments and even the ordinary hangover. “A breath exhaled into the machine is

irradiated with an infrared laser, and then trace gases are detected” the company said in a statement. The gases include acetaldehyde, methane and acetone, all of which can point to the presence of various health problems. Toshiba said it would expand the number of gases-and diseases-that its machine can detect, with an eye to starting commercial production next year. The healthcare segment is a key unit for Toshiba, which is best known for its consumer electronics. —AFP

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


Astronomers discover echoes from expansion after Big Bang NEW YORK: Astronomers announced on Monday that they had discovered what many consider the holy grail of their field: ripples in the fabric of space-time that are echoes of the massive expansion of the universe that took place just after the Big Bang. Predicted by Albert Einstein nearly a century ago, the discovery of the ripples, called gravitational waves, would be a crowning achievement in one of the greatest triumphs of the human intellect: an understanding of how the universe began and evolved into the cornucopia of galaxies and stars, nebulae and vast stretches of nearly empty space that constitute the known universe. “This detection is cosmology’s missing link,” Marc Kamionkowski, a physicist of Johns Hopkins University and one of the researchers on the collaboration that made the finding, told reporters on Monday at a press conference at the Har vardSmithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Gravitational waves are feeble, primordial undulations that propagate across the cosmos at the speed of light. Astronomers have sought them for decades because they are the missing evidence for two theories. One is Einstein’s general theory of relativity, first published in 1915, which launched the modern era of research into the origins and evolution of the cosmos. The general

theory explains gravity as the deformation of space by massive bodies. Einstein posited that space is like a flimsy blanket, with embedded stars and planets causing it to curve rather than remain flat. Those curvatures of space are not stationary, Einstein said. Instead, they propagate like water in a lake or seismic waves in Earth’s crust and so are “gravitational waves” that “alternately squeeze space in one direction and stretch it in the other direction,” Jamie Bock, a physicist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and one of the lead scientists on the collaboration, told Reuters. The other, much more recent theory that predicted gravitational waves is called cosmic inflation. Developed in the 1980s, it starts with the well-accepted idea that the universe began in a Big Bang, an explosion of space-time, 13.8 billion years ago. An instant later, according to the theory, the infant cosmos expanded exponentially, inflating in size by 100 trillion trillion times. That made the cosmos remarkably uniform across vast expanses of space and also super-sized tiny fluctuations in gravity, producing gravitational waves. Although the theory of cosmic inflation received a great deal of experimental support, the failure to find the gravitational waves it predicted caused many cosmolo-

gists to hold off endorsing it. That may change after the announcement on Monday. “These results are not only a smoking gun for inflation, they also tell us when inflation took place and how powerful the process was,” Harvard University physicist Avi Loeb said in a statement. The strength of the gravitational waves’ signal is tied to how powerfully the universe expanded during the brief era of inflation. The measurements announced by the astronomers on Monday are nearly twice as large as cosmologists predicted for gravitational waves, suggesting a great deal more could be learned about how inflation worked. South Pole telescope The gravitational waves were detected by a radio telescope called BICEP2 (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization). The instrument, which scans the sky from the South Pole, examines what is called the cosmic microwave background, the extremely weak radiation that pervades the universe. Its discovery in 1964 by astronomers at Bell Labs in New Jersey was hailed as the best evidence to date that the universe began in an immensely hot explosion. The microwave background radiation, which has been bathing the universe since 380,000 years after the Big Bang, is a mere 3

degrees above absolute zero, having cooled to near non-existence from the immeasurably hot plasma that was the universe in the first fractions of a second of its existence. The background radiation is not precisely uniform. And like light, the relic radiation is polarized as the result of interacting with electrons and atoms in space. Computer models predicted a particular curl pattern in the background radiation that would match what would be expected with the universe’s inflation after the Big Bang. “It’s mind-boggling to go looking for something like this and actually find it,” Clem Pryke, a physicist at the University of Minnesota and another lead scientist on the collaboration, told reporters. “Theorists are forever sending the experimentalists on wild goose-chase missions. When we first saw hints of a signal we totally didn’t believe it.” It will be up to other teams of scientists, working with an array of Earth-based, balloon-launched and space telescopes, to verify the findings. “This is the smoking gun for inflation,” Kamionkowski said. But even if the results hold up, “we’ve learned only that inflation has sent us a telegram, encoded on gravitational waves and transcribed on the cosmic microwave background sky.” It will be essential, he added, “to follow through with more detailed and precise

measurements to infer fully what this telegram is telling us.” Quantum hints The detection of gravitational waves may help physicists realize a dream of Einstein’s that he died before achieving: unifying all the forces of nature. Three of the four forces have been unified, which means that physicists have shown that they are facets of the same basic force. But the fourth, Einstein’s beloved gravity, remains the odd man out: it seems to be a property of space rather than a consequence of subatomic, or quantum, particles as the other forces are. The three quantum-based forces are electromagnetism, the weak nuclear force (responsible for radioactivity) and the strong nuclear force (which glues together the protons and neutrons in atomic nuclei). Because cosmic inflation was powered by quantum effects, with the universe springing from a volume smaller than a subatomic particle, primordial gravitational waves were also created by quantum processes, cosmologists believe. If so, then by scrutinizing the gravitational waves that pervade today’s cosmos, scientists might finally show that all four forces of nature arise from a single uber-force, achieving Einstein’s dream. —Reuters


W H AT ’ S O N

Tulu Koota Kuwait Family Picnic 2014


ulu Koota Kuwait Family Picnic 2014 was held on 14th March 2014 at the Mishref garden, with great vigor and pomp and participation of a huge enthusiastic audience. The event was inaugurated with a unique concept of lighting the torch. The torch was lit by the first President of the Koota, Sudhakar Shetty and then carried forward to other ex-presidents finally reaching the present President Tharendra Shettigar who then lit the big torch declaring the event open. Children with balloons and pom-poms ran along with the torch bearers around the ground making the inauguration vibrant and colorful which was beautifully structured by Suresh Salian. The picnic, full of traditional games of Tulunadu, was very well coordinated by the Sports Secretary, Ronald D’Souza. It started off with popular rural game of marbles (goti) and then continued in rapid rotation all through the day. Tiny tots upto 2 years of age played passing the ball and picking the ball and giving the mother with ease, while 4-6 year old children competed in the clip race and zigzag race. Little bigger boys and girls played in kicking ball with balancing the cardboard, sack race and skipping race, while children above 10 played kutti donne, lagori, needle race and ring in the wicket.

Ladies enjoyed breaking the pot, tonka and shot put, while men relished pillow fighting, breaking the pot and shot put. The couples had real fun in exciting games of blind walk and couple relay, while the game of musical chair for the seniors was a feast to the eye. Competitive team games played for coveted trophies of throw ball, volleyball, kabbadi were keenly contested. Men and women came to register in large numbers for the teams and the games kept the audience fascinated and engrossed for an extensive length of time. Govinda and a game of housie were played while the audience settled after the games. The grand raffle draw that was held at the conclusion of the event continued to interest one and all with the exciting prizes after which the General Secretary, Satish Acharya gave out vote of thanks. The event was beautifully compered by Manoj Shetty, Ashwitha Shetty, Purander Manchi, Sushma Bangera, Harish Bhandary, Ramesh Bhandary and Suresh Salian. Banana Leaf organized a tasty breakfast and a scrumptious lunch was served by Avanti Palace. Lighting and sound was arranged by Anand Illuminations. The success of the event is owed to the whole hearted support of all the committee members, who toiled day and night to achieve their target.

McDonald’s Kuwait gears up for FIFA World Cup with football-themed tastes


cDonald’s Kuwait announced the launch of its third annual Tastes of the World campaign. Following overwhelming success in 2012 and 2013, McDonald’s will once again offer a limited time range of exotic sandwiches, this year inspired by favorite football destinations around the world beginning on March 15th 2014. With its unique and unexpected range of sandwiches, McDonald’s invites customers to experience all the delicious flavors they have come to expect from the brand, but this year with the added fanfare and flavor of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The campaign kicks off in exotic South America with The Brazilian. Customers can look forward to a crispy Halal chicken patty, punched up with a smoky kick of fire roasted pepper sauce, shredded fresh lettuce and a slice of Emmental cheese. The first of the sandwich line-up will be available until 4th April, 2014. Customers wondering about the other sandwiches will have to wait patiently until they are launched; McDonald’s is keeping their identities a closely-guarded secret. Adel Fahmy, Marketing Manager, McDonalds’ Kuwait commented: “Customers throughout the Middle East are not only known for their sophisticated palates, but also for being devoted football fans, which is why - for the first time ever in the Middle East - we’re excited to announce a football-themed Tastes of the World campaign in preparation for the highly anticipated 2014 FIFA World Cup Min June. We think it’s a winning combination of exciting new flavors, a love for the game of football, and the high quality products that McDonald’s has

always been known for.” On the sweeter side of the menu, McDonald’s also announced the launch of the limited time “Apple Cinnamon Sundae”, featuring real apple chunks and cinnamon, for those who want to end off their meal with a cool treat. McDonald’s is committed to serving the very best, and

never compromises on food quality. All products served at all McDonald’s restaurants in the Middle East are Halal, inspected and approved by local authorities and Halal officers at the countries of export, and customs officials at the port of entry. All meat used in McDonald’s restaurants can be traced back to a trusted supplier that shares its dedication to the highest quality standards.


seminar on the 14th of March, at the Indian central school Jleeb Shyouk. Dr Natesh Kumar - Chairman community welfare IDAK, along with a team of specialist doctors conducted oral screening of


he Australian College of Kuwait (ACK) participated in the Marine and Offshore Engineering Technology Conference (MOETC 2014), the first scientific conference organized by the Automotive and Marine Engineering Technology Department (AMET) of the College of Technological Studies at the Public Authority of Applied Education and Training (PAAET). ACK’s School of Engineering took part in the conference highlighting its Diploma and Bachelor’s Degree programs which combine a vocational and theoretical approach, a quality which distinguishes ACK from the rest. MOETC 2014 aimed at fostering ties between research entities, colleges and universities to strengthen the connection between them. Among its objectives, the conference covered several research topics related to the oil and marine sector and provided direct support to scientific research by bringing together knowledgeable researchers from all over the world.


IDAK, KKMA holds dental camp DAK (Indian Dentists Alliance KuwaitAffiliated to Kuwait Dental Association) supported the dental camp organized by Kuwait Kerala Muslim Association (KKMA), as a part of the Kidney Awareness

ACK participates in ‘MOETC 2014’ conference

many patients. The patients were educated on, how to maintain and improve their oral health. Those with dental problems were given oral health care products. They were further advised to seek necessary treat-

ment from their respective area clinics/hospitals. A large number of children were also screened during the camp. The dental camp was supported by GSK - oral care division.


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


W H AT ’ S O N

Hotel Missoni Kuwait kicks off BBQ Nights


s part of its new season for dining experiences Hotel Missoni Kuwait launched its first barbeque with a gathering of specially invited guests from media. Surrounded by the management team at the pool terrace, guests enjoyed a unique night, experiencing the delights of the culinary team and the refreshing weather of Kuwait at this time of the year. Located on the second floor of the property, the Hotel Missoni Kuwait’s pool terrace has an added dimension of spectacular views of the Arabian Gulf and the city lights of Kuwait, as well as comfortable seating representative of the hotel’s signature lifestyle experience. Hotel Missoni’s BBQ Nights run every Tuesday, from 7pm until 11pm and offer a wide selection of live cooking stations, different mezzah and assortment of international and Asian cuisines. Mirco Nocchetti, executive chef and his team worked on preparing special blends which goes well with the beef, chicken, and the freshest seafood while on the grill. A selection of salads, and pasta, and true authentic Italian desserts such as the world famous Tiramisu, Chocolate Fudge Cake, Fruit Tartlet, Mini baked cheesecakes, cream brulee, coconut cream brulee, fresh fruit cuts, Mahalbia with cherry on to and assortments of Arabic sweet and much more are also available for guests to enjoy.

Citibank Kuwait celebrates International Women’s Day


Group picture of the employees with the nutritionist Mira Khattar (seated second from left) and Reem Al Jallad (seated third from left) after the healthy eating seminar during International Women’s Day celebrations.

One of Citibank Kuwaitís employees is checking her glucose level.

One of Citibank Kuwaitís employees is checking his glucose level.

One of the Citibank Kuwaitís employees is checking her blood pressure level.

iti celebrated 2014 International Women’s Day with clients, communities and employees in 89 countries at over 230 events focused on connecting women in ways that inspire change to foster progress, both personally and professionally. Citi’s global celebration of International Women’s Day included activities ranging from art exhibitions to lectures with top scholars on the role of women in politics and business to a reception honoring women entrepreneurs in technology. In Kuwait, Citibank combined the Connecting Women. Inspiring Change. Making Progress theme with the Cardiovascular Diseases Global Campaign as these diseases are the number 1 killer in women around the world. To kick off the day, doctors from the Ministry of Health, and in coordination with the Kuwait Heart Foundation, gave a seminar on cardiovascular diseases and how to prevent them. After that, more than 47 employees did a general health checkup that included measuring their blood glucose level, cholesterol level, blood pressure and BMI index. Later in the day, two dietitians visited the branch and gave guidance to our female employees on how to prevent heart diseases problems by eating healthy and delicious food. The two nutritionists gave the ladies tips on how to make quick foods that are healthy and protect the heart and they brought samples of these foods. “Combining the IWD theme with the Cardiovascular Diseases awareness global campaign plays an important part in that it tackles the number one killer in women. Having said that, women cannot be efficient and productive if their health is not in good condition which is why we held our events today around raising awareness to these diseases and ways of avoiding them”, said Ozgur Kutay, General Manager, Citibank Kuwait. Citi has been in the Arab world for nearly 50 years and continues to view the region as critical to its global franchise. It is currently present in ten Arab countries including Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria.

Soorya India Festival on April 10


oorya Kuwait Chapter will present ‘Soorya India Festival 2014’ at 7 pm on April 10 at the Indian Community School Auditorium, Senior, Salmiya. This time, Soorya is coming up with a mix of three oldest dance forms of India - a Bharatanatyam recital by well-known danseuse Dakshina Vaidyanathan, a Mohiniyattam recital by exponent Aiswarya

Warrier and an Odissi performance by leading Odissi dancers Arupa Gayatri Panda and Pravat Kumar Swain. In addition, a solo fusion by Mridangam maestro Kuzhalmannam Ramakrishnan will also be presented. Indian Ambassador Sunil Jain will inaugurate the festival that aims to promote international integration through culture. Entry is free.

Embassy of Cuba Tourist Visa to Cuba


he visa to the Republic of Cuba is only for purposes of tourism (Tourist visa) issued for Kuwaiti citizens and foreign residents in Kuwait. It is valid for one single entrance into national territory for a 30-days trip and can be extend it for an additional 30 days at the office in the hotel where you have accommodations or at the immigration authority. Children must have their own Tourist Visa even if they are travelling under their parents’ passport(s). To obtain this visa in person at the Consulate, these documents are needed: Valid passport, return air ticket, accommodation in Cuba, payment required, travel insurance, one photo. Fill application form. The Embassy is located in Rawda, Block 3, Abu Hayan Al-Tawhedy St., House No. 74, opening hours from 8:30 am to 2 pm from Sunday till Thursday.

Observance of International Mother Language Day by BMC


angladesh Military Contingent (BMC) Command Headquarters observed International Mother Language Day with due respect and solemnity at Subhan Camp on 21 February 2014.

Special prayer was offered for the salvation of the departed souls of the shaheeds, who sacrificed their lives for the right of mother language in 1952 at Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Later wreath of flowers were laid ceremonially on the ‘Shaheed Minar’ of BMC Command Headquarters. The programme was attended by all available members of BMC and few invited guests.

Embassy of India


t has come to our notice that a fake website ( was in circulation for applying the Indian Visa for online visa seekers. Following points may be noted down: 1. It is compulsory to fill the visa application online. The proper website address is Once the online application is filled, the printout is taken for submitting to the outsource visa centre at BLS International Sharq and Fahaheel. In case of Special and diplomatic passports, the application has to be submitted to Embassy of India, Kuwait. 2. There is no provision of online payment of visa fee. So any website asking for visa fee by credit/debit card is fake website. The visa fee is actually deposited as cash in the outsourcing centre at BLS International Sharq and Fahaheel with the copy of online filled application. 3. Any such instances of fake website should be brought to the immediate notice of the Embassy of India by email ( or mobile to A.K. Srivastava (mob number 97229914).

CRYcket 2014 tournament


riends of CRY Club (FOCC) will hold 17th CRY (Child Rights & You) cricket tournament for children 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 compassion 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.

Korea scholarship announcement


he National Institute for International Education (NIIED) under the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea offers “2014 Global Korea Scholarship: Korean Government Scholarship Program for International Students for Graduate Courses (2014 Graduate GKS) to be conducted in Korea. This scholarship is for Master’s degree or PhD degree. As part of the 2014 Graduate GKS, the participants are provided with round-trip airfare, monthly stipend, tuition, medical insurance, settlement and repatriation allowances, etc. Applicants have until March 28, 2014 to submit their application. Please feel free to contact Chung (Consul of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea to the State of Kuwait) at 2537-8621/2/3/4/5 or send an email to for more information about the scholarships.


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Doctors Last Of The Summer Wine The Vicar Of Dibley Mistresses The Omid Djalili Show Stella Last Of The Summer Wine The Weakest Link Tweenies Balamory Nina And The Neurons Me Too! Tweenies Balamory Nina And The Neurons Me Too! The Weakest Link Last Of The Summer Wine The Vicar Of Dibley Eastenders Doctors Being Erica Upstairs Downstairs Stella The Weakest Link The Vicar Of Dibley Eastenders Doctors Being Erica Upstairs Downstairs The Weakest Link Eastenders Doctors Being Erica One Foot In The Grave The Omid Djalili Show Five Daughters Alan Carr: Chatty Man Extras Silk The Weakest Link

00:00 Homes Under The Hammer 00:55 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 01:40 Come Dine With Me 02:30 MasterChef 03:25 Chef At Home 04:10 Fantasy Homes By The Sea 04:55 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 05:40 Bargain Hunt 06:25 Come Dine With Me 07:15 Fantasy Homes By The Sea 08:00 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 08:45 Homes Under The Hammer 09:40 Bargain Hunt 10:25 Bill’s Kitchen: Notting Hill 10:50 Food & Drink 11:15 Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook: London 11:40 Come Dine With Me 12:30 Gok’s Clothes Roadshow 13:20 Fantasy Homes By The Sea 14:05 Antiques Roadshow 15:05 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 15:50 MasterChef 16:45 Bargain Hunt 17:30 Chef At Home 18:20 Antiques Roadshow 19:15 Homes Under The Hammer 20:10 Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook: London 20:35 Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook: London 21:00 The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook

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Dual Survival Survive That! Yukon Men You Have Been Warned Border Security Auction Kings Container Wars How Do They Do It? How It’s Made Sons Of Guns You Have Been Warned

07:50 North America 08:40 Fast N’ Loud 09:30 Border Security 09:55 Auction Kings 10:20 Container Wars 10:45 How Do They Do It? 11:10 How It’s Made 11:35 Dual Survival 12:25 Survive That! 13:15 Yukon Men 14:05 Border Security 14:30 Auction Kings 14:55 Container Wars 15:20 Finding Bigfoot 16:10 Fast N’ Loud 17:00 Ultimate Survival 17:50 Wheeler Dealers 18:40 You Have Been Warned 19:30 Sons Of Guns 20:20 How Do They Do It? 20:45 How Stuff’s Made 21:10 Auction Kings 21:35 Container Wars 22:00 Dynamo: Magician Impossible 22:50 The Big Brain Theory 23:40 Mythbusters

00:40 The Colony 01:30 Bang Goes The Theory 02:00 Food Factory 02:25 How Tech Works 02:50 Stuck With Hackett 03:15 Stuck With Hackett 03:45 Large Dangerous Rocket Ships 2011 04:35 Thunder Races 05:25 How The Universe Works 06:15 Food Factory 06:40 How Tech Works 07:05 X-Machines 08:00 Kings Of Construction 08:50 Mega Builders 09:40 Food Factory 10:05 How Tech Works 10:30 James May’s Man Lab 11:25 X-Machines 12:20 Thunder Races 13:10 How The Universe Works 14:00 Large Dangerous Rocket Ships 2011 14:50 Bang Goes The Theory 15:20 Food Factory 15:45 How Tech Works 16:10 Junkyard Wars 17:00 How The Universe Works 17:55 Thunder Races 18:45 X-Machines 19:35 James May’s Man Lab 20:30 Space Voyages 21:20 Scanning The Skies 22:10 Food Factory 22:35 How Tech Works 23:00 Space Voyages 23:50 Scanning The Skies

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

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A.N.T. Farm Dog With A Blog Suite Life On Deck Jessie That’s So Raven Hannah Montana Good Luck Charlie Austin & Ally A.N.T. Farm Jessie Dog With A Blog Good Luck Charlie Gravity Falls Austin & Ally Violetta Liv And Maddie Mako Mermaids Austin & Ally Jessie Dog With A Blog A.N.T. Farm Violetta Jessie Good Luck Charlie Dog With A Blog Gravity Falls Shake It Up Austin & Ally A.N.T. Farm Good Luck Charlie Wizards Of Waverly Place

00:00 Chelsea Lately 00:30 The Dance Scene 00:55 The Dance Scene 01:25 Style Star 01:50 Style Star 02:20 E!ES 03:15 Extreme Close-Up 03:40 Extreme Close-Up 04:10 THS 05:05 E!ES 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 THS 14:30 Style Star 15:00 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 17:00 The Wanted Life 17:30 Hello Ross 18:00 E! News 19:00 Fashion Police 20:00 Giuliana & Bill 21:00 The Drama Queen 22:00 Eric And Jessie: Game On 22:30 E! News 23:30 Chelsea Lately

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House Gift Emmerdale Coronation Street Holiday: Heaven On Earth Agatha Christie’s Marple House Guest In The Sun House Gift Holiday: Heaven On Earth Agatha Christie’s Marple House Guest In The Sun May The Best House Win Emmerdale Coronation Street House Gift House Guest In The Sun May The Best House Win Holiday: Heaven On Earth Agatha’s Christie’s Garden Endeavour May The Best House Win Coronation Street Agatha’s Christie’s Garden Endeavour Coronation Street Emmerdale May The Best House Win

Stooges drummer Scott Asheton dies at 64



00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 The Big C 02:00 South Park 03:30 Raising Hope 04:00 All Of Us 04:30 The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon 05:30 Better Off Ted 06:00 The War At Home 06:30 Arrested Development 07:00 Late Night With Seth Meyers 08:00 All Of Us 08:30 Better Off Ted 09:30 The Crazy Ones 10:00 Trophy Wife 10:30 Arrested Development 11:00 The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon 12:00 The War At Home 12:30 All Of Us 13:00 Better Off Ted 13:30 Arrested Development 14:00 Raising Hope 14:30 The Crazy Ones 15:00 Trophy Wife 15:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 16:30 The War At Home 17:00 Late Night With Seth Meyers 18:00 The Simpsons 19:00 The Mindy Project 19:30 Modern Family 20:00 The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Veep 22:30 South Park 23:00 Legit 23:30 Late Night With Seth Meyers

00:00 The Mob Doctor 01:00 Mistresses 02:00 The Killing 03:00 The Newsroom 04:00 Grey’s Anatomy 05:00 Once Upon A Time In Wonderland 06:00 The Mob Doctor 07:00 Last Resort 08:00 Switched At Birth 09:00 The Killing 10:00 Once Upon A Time In Wonderland 11:00 Grey’s Anatomy 12:00 Emmerdale 12:30 Coronation Street 13:00 The Ellen DeGeneres Show 14:00 Switched At Birth 15:00 The Mob Doctor 16:00 Emmerdale 16:30 Coronation Street 17:00 The Ellen DeGeneres Show 18:00 Switched At Birth 19:00 Twisted 20:00 Scandal 21:00 House Of Cards 22:00 American Horror Story: Coven 23:00 The Newsroom


00:15 Starship Troopers: Invasion18 02:00 15 Minutes-PG15 04:00 Metal Tornado-PG15 06:00 Jesse Stone: Benefit Of The Doubt-PG15 08:00 Arctic Blast-PG15 10:00 Romancing The Stone-PG15 12:00 Shadow Conspiracy-PG15 14:00 Arctic Blast-PG15 16:00 Dangerous Attraction-PG15 18:00 Shadow Conspiracy-PG15 20:00 Breaking Point-18 22:00 Arena-18

00:00 Grassroots-PG15 02:00 Detention-18 04:00 Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult-PG15 06:00 10 Things I Hate About You 08:00 My Dog’s Christmas Miracle 10:00 4 Wedding Planners-PG15 12:00 Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult-PG15 14:00 Asterix And Obelix-PG15 16:00 4 Wedding Planners-PG15 18:00 Spy Hard-PG15

01:30 Good Day For It-PG15 03:15 The Presence-PG15 05:00 Lying To Be Perfect-PG15 07:00 The First Grader-PG15 09:00 Good Day For It-PG15 10:45 Anna Karenina-PG15 13:00 Snow Flower And The Secret Fan-PG15 15:00 The Wild Hunt-PG15 17:00 Arbitrage-PG15 19:00 Now You See Me-PG15 21:00 Barney’s Version-18 23:00 Lawless-18

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Cleanskin-18 Beasts Of The Southern Wild Left To Die-PG15 Stealing Bess-PG15 Dreamgirls-PG15 Beasts Of The Southern Wild Night Falls On Manhattan Dirty Teacher-PG15 Dreamgirls-PG15 Extremities-18 Perfect Stranger-18 Schindler’s List-18

01:00 Machine Gun Preacher-18 03:15 Prosecuting Casey AnthonyPG15 05:00 Frankenweenie-PG 07:00 You Got Served: Beat The World-PG15 09:00 The Words-PG15 10:45 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey-PG 13:30 Carnage-PG15 15:00 Rise Of The Guardians-PG 17:00 The Words-PG15 18:45 Jack Reacher-PG15 21:00 21 & Over-18

01:15 Rainbow Valley Heroes 03:00 Snowflake , The White Gorilla 04:30 Luke And Lucy: The Texas Rangers 06:00 Rainbow Valley Heroes 08:00 Easter Egg Escapade 10:00 Jelly T 11:30 Big Top Scooby-Doo! 13:00 Snowflake , The White Gorilla 14:30 Angel’s Friends 16:00 American Girl: McKenna Shoots For The Stars 18:00 Jelly T 19:30 Oz The Great And Powerful 21:45 Angel’s Friends 23:15 American Girl: McKenna Shoots For The Stars

00:00 Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away-PG 02:00 Shark Night-PG15 04:00 3 Holiday Tails-PG 06:00 A View From Here-PG15 08:00 Brave-PG 10:00 The Runway-PG15 12:00 Shark Night-PG15 14:00 I Think I Do-PG15

16:00 Brave-PG 17:45 Life Of Pi-PG 20:00 House At The End Of The Street-PG15 22:00 Ruby Sparks-18

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Champions Tour Highlights NRL Full Time Futbol Mundial Super Rugby HSBC Sevens World Series Golfing World Champions Tour Highlights Super Rugby Snooker The Welsh Open HSBC Sevens World Series PGA European Tour Weekly Inside The PGA Tour Trans World Sport Super Rugby

00:00 Golfing World 01:00 Super Rugby 03:00 Dubai World Cup Carnival 06:30 Futbol Mundial 07:00 Snooker 10:00 NRL Premiership 12:00 AFL Premiership 14:30 AFL Premiership Preview 15:30 PGA European Tour Highlights 16:30 Futbol Mundial 17:00 Super Rugby 19:00 NHL 21:00 NRL Premiership 23:00 PGA European Tour Weekly 23:30 Inside The PGA Tour

00:00 ICC T20I World Cup 03:30 ICC Cricket 360 04:00 ICC T20I World Cup 07:30 ICC Cricket 360 08:00 ICC World T20 Highlights 09:00 ICC World T20 Highlights 10:00 ICC World T20 Highlights 11:00 ICC World T20 Highlights 12:00 ICC Cricket 360 12:30 Live ICC T20I World Cup 16:00 Champions League T20 Highlights 16:30 ICC Cricket 360 17:00 Live ICC T20I World Cup 20:30 ICC Cricket 360 21:00 ICC Under 19 World Cup 2014 Highlights 22:00 ICC T20I World Cup

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Duck Dynasty Duck Dynasty Storage Wars: New York Storage Wars: New York Storage Wars Storage Wars Storage Wars Texas Storage Wars Texas Duck Dynasty Duck Dynasty Storage Wars: New York Storage Wars: New York Pawn Stars Storage Wars Storage Wars Texas Counting Cars Storage Wars Texas Storage Wars Texas Ancient Aliens Storage Wars Texas Counting Cars Pawn Stars Pawn Stars Storage Wars Storage Wars Storage Wars Texas Storage Wars Texas Ancient Aliens Storage Wars Storage Wars Storage Wars Texas Storage Wars Texas Storage Wars Texas Storage Wars Texas Pawn Stars Pawn Stars

cott Asheton, drummer for the influential punk rock band the Stooges, has died. He was 64. His daughter, Leanna Asheton, confirmed Monday that her father died Saturday of a heart attack. She said her father “was as cool as they came. His wisdom guides us on.” Bandleader Iggy Pop posted on his Facebook page Sunday that he’s “never heard anyone play the drums with more meaning than Scott Asheton.” Asheton was part of the Stooges when they formed in 1967 in Ann Arbor, Mich. His older brother, Ron Asheton, who was the group’s guitarist, died in 2009. The Stooges released their self-titled debut in 1969. “He was like my brother,” Pop’s statement read of Scott. “He and Ron have left a huge legacy to the world. The Ashetons have always been and continue to be a second family to me. My thoughts are with his sister Kathy, his wife Liz and his daughter Leanna, who was the light of his life.” Asheton suffered from undisclosed illnesses in 2011 and was unable to perform at summer music festivals in Europe with the Stooges. “He was on a flight to England when all sorts of hell broke loose,” Pop told Rolling Stone in 2011. “Without proper medical attention right there he would have bought it. He got very, very good care from the British and all sorts of tests.”While the Stooges weren’t a commercial success, they went on to become one of the significant bands in punk music. Their raw sound helped inspire the first generation of punk musicians. The band influenced acts from Patti Smith to the Ramones to Sid Vicious. The group landed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. After recording three albums in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Stooges split and Pop went on to a successful solo career. The band reunited for 2007’s “The Weirdness” and “Ready to Die,” released last year. “It warms my heart to read how much he has inspired and the love and respect so many have for him and his music,” Leanna Asheton said in an email to The Associated Press late Monday. She remembered her father not only for his love of playing and listening to music, but for his humor and charm. She said they enjoyed going to gigs together in recent years, including Black Rebel Motorcycle Club in Detroit, which she said was his favorite and last show. Always rooting for the underdog, he also was a fan of poet and writer Charles Bukowski. His daughter said her father’s favorite Bukowski quote was, “What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.” Asheton was born on Aug. 16, 1949, in Washington, D.C. He played drums for other bands, including Sonic’s Rendezvous Band, the group led by former MC5 guitarist Fred “Sonic” Smith. Along with his wife and daughter, Ashton is survived by his stepsons Simon and Aaron, whom “he loved as his own,” his daughter said. — AP

The origins of SXSW’s favorite movie:

An Oscar, The Killers and Ron Perlman


on Perlman saw a glimpse of his future in Shawn Christensen’s “Curfew,” an award-winning short the former musician wrote, starred in and directed. “The short had me from the first frame all the way to the last,” Perlman told TheWrap last weekend at South by Southwest, where “Before I Disappear,” Christensen’s feature based on the short, premiered. “It was as perfect a film as I’d ever seen, and I’ve seen a few dozen films. It went from being ‘will you do this?’ to ‘What do I gotta do to work with this guy?” Perlman’s praise didn’t stop there, as the former star of “Sons of Anarchy” launched into a soliloquy about his new favorite director. He told TheWrap he “needed to be around the guy who made that film” because Christensen exhibited such vulnerability as an actor while also being ruthless enough to produce a movie. “I’m a junkie for being around filmmakers who are at the beginning before Hollywood has a chance to turn them into monsters and cynics,” Perlman said. Audiences shared Perlman’s enthusiasm, voting “Before I Disappear” the best narrative feature of the festival. Christensen smiled after listening to Perlman’s praise, admitting he is not good at taking compliments. Moments before, he let his co-star Fatima Ptacek, an energetic 14-year-old, answer questions on his behalf. She teased him, which seemed to put him at ease. Before pursuing a career in the film business, Christensen the frontman of a band called Stellastar, a New York-based rock group formed just as “The Strokes” were ushering in a new wave of quasi-punk. While on tour with The Killers - the now famous group was Stellastar’s opening act at the time Christensen came to a realization. “I could see this band was going to be huge, and I could see that we weren’t,” Christensen told TheWrap. A film buff who previously took acting classes with his “Before I Disappear” castmates Emmy Rossum and Paul Wesley, Christensen started writing scripts. That led to a series of shorts, and Christensen decided to turn “Curfew” into a feature after it received acclaim on the festival circuit and earned an Oscar for Best Live Action Short. Both the short and feature are about a guy who is about to kill himself when he gets a call from his sister, played by Rossum in the movie. The sister asks her brother (Christensen) to take care of her 11-year-old daughter. “He cancels his plans to end his life to babysit this precocious young niece of his,” Christensen told TheWrap, “It’s about them growing over the course of the night.” That summation belies the movie’s tone, which Christensen described as darkly comedic. Maintaining levity was very important to him. Perlman, verbose moments before, was less interested in explaining the premise. “It’s not a high-concept film,” Perlman said. “There is no plot to it. “It’s like trying to describe chocolate mousse to someone; you just gotta pick up the spoon and eat it.” — Reuters

Classifieds WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19, 2014


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Mr. Aju Alex son of Mr. Alex Thayil Mammen, resident of Madathil House, Amalloor, Manjadi PO., Thiruvalla, Kerala and Miss Jinimol Sunny daughter of Mr. Sunny Thazhon Mathai, resident of Thazhon House, PO Iringattiri, Karuvarakundu, Malappuram District, Kerala, both Indian nationals, presently residing in Kuwait, have given notice of intended marriage between them under the Foreign Marriage Act, 1969. If anyone has any objection to the proposed marriage, he/she may file the same with the undersigned according to the procedure laid down under the Act/Rule within thirty days from the date of publication of this notice. (S.K. Dudeja) Second Secretary (Consular) and Marriage Officer



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Chevrolet jeep - Trail Blazer - LS 2008, black color, Alghanim. Excellent condition. KM 127,000, KD 2,650. Mob: 50994848. (C 4669) 18-3-2014 2011 Toyota Camry, white exterior, mileage 76,000, price KD 3,450. Tel: 99883645. (C 4666)

Embassy of India, Kuwait. P.O.Box 1450-Safat-13015 Kuwait.

Joharbhai, holder of Passport No: K-3652329, hereby change my surname Bhabawala Husain Joharbhai. (C 4668) 17-3-2014 I, Taza, holder of Indian Passport No. K9682992 have changed my name to Murtaza Shabbir Husain Raswala, residing at Partapur, Rajasthan. (C 4663)

2013 Volvo SUV, brown exterior, mileage: 14,000, under warranty + 2 years, full insurance, price KD 10,300. Tel: 97227376. (C 4665)



I am looking for a job in accounts & finance, my expectation is between KD 650 to KD 1000 depending upon the position offered. I have transferable residency article no. 18 & also valid driving license. Kindly contact me by SMS with your email ID on this no. 66825635 to forward you my CV. (C 4667)

Housemaid required fulltime or part-time 6 - 3:30 pm in Farwaniya for 1 month who can take care of 2.5-year-old child and knows cooking, English speaking is a must, salary KD 120. Call: 97220933. (C 4670) 19-3-2014

No: 16109



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February 17, 2014

I am looking for a job in accounts & finance, my expectation is between KD 650 to KD 1000 depending upon the position offered. I have transferable residency article no. 18 & also valid driving license. Kindly contact me by SMS with your email ID on this no. 66825635 to forward you my CV. (C 4667) 16-3-2014

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CHANGE OF NAME I, Dahodwala Husain

Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (


Arrival Flights on Wednesday 19/3/2014 Flt Route 574 Mumbai 539 Cairo 772 Istanbul 1084 Doha 637 Dammam 858 Istanbul 620 Addis Ababa 211 Bahrain 764 Istanbul 853 Dubai 305 Abu Dhabi 576 Kochi/Abu Dhabi 643 Muscat 612 Cairo 1076 Doha 067 Dubai 770 Istanbul 170 Bahrain 069 Dubai 157 London 412 Manila/Bangkok 206 Islamabad 053 Dubai 1086 Doha 382 Delhi 302 Mumbai 352 Kochi 344 Chennai 855 Dubai 362 Colombo 284 Dhaka 125 Sharjah 1186 Tehran 301 Abu Dhabi 055 Dubai 1070 Doha 213 Beirut 213 Bahrain 603 Shiraz 157 Al Najaf/Baghdad 165 Dubai 404 Beirut 403 Asyut 871 Dubai 561 Sohag 610 Cairo 792 Luxembourg 826 Sanaa/Mukalla 522 Al Najaf 057 Dubai 1078 Doha

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Departure Flights on Wednesday 19/3/2014 Flt Route 981 IAD 982 Ahmedabad/Hyderabad/Chennai 573 Mumbai 637 Frankfurt 621 Addis Ababa 773 Istanbul 859 Istanbul 3718 Addis Ababa 854 Dubai 306 Abu Dhabi 644 Muscat 613 Cairo 1085 Doha 068 Dubai 1077 Doha 560 Sohag 070 Dubai 575 Abu Dhabi/Kochi 164 Dubai 765 Istanbul 212 Bahrain 771 Istanbul 537 Sharm el-Sheikh/Sohag 054 Dubai 156 London 1087 Doha 787 Jeddah 671 Dubai 126 Sharjah 789 Madinah 856 Dubai 117 New York 302 Abu Dhabi 521 Al Najaf 056 Dubai 1187 Tehran 175 Frankfurt/Geneva 1071 Doha 223 Dubai/Beirut 214 Bahrain 541 Cairo 602 Shiraz 356 Mashhad 158 Baghdad/Al Najaf 103 London 776 Jeddah 405 Beirut 785 Jeddah 406 Sohag 786 Riyadh 176 Dubai 611 Cairo 872 Dubai 480 Istanbul


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Mukalla/Sanaa Dubai Hanoi Doha Sharm el-Sheikh Dubai Jeddah Doha Madinah/Jeddah Bahrain Riyadh Madinah Taif Amman Abu Dhabi Doha Dubai Cairo Amman Sharjah Riyadh Bahrain Dubai Beirut Alexandria Bahrain Dubai Doha Bahrain Dhaka Dubai Muscat Trivandrum Sharjah Colombo Asyut Mumbai Kochi Alexandria Bahrain Colombo Alexandria Beirut Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi Riyadh Bahrain Mumbai Dubai Dubai Delhi Islamabad Doha Luxor Kuala Lumpur/Jakarta

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stars CROSSWORD 491

STAR TRACK Aries (March 21-April 19) Have confidence and carry an attitude of the accomplished individual you are! Look at all the odds you have overcome-be proud of yourself! Soon, you will get into the habit of walking tall. You may not appreciate tradition or someone older or in authority today, but you respect them. This attitude, in turn, will gain you respect. You could find that you are appreciated or valued for your feelings or your ability to act and get things done, regardless of how you feel. This is a time when you can expect a little boost as well as some extra support. A creative project connected with your career works out to your advantage. A colleague wants to know you better, as a friend. A game of chance is a good connection and will build the relationship.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) You are reserved today and may try to discourage communication with others so that you can concentrate. If deep concentration is important in your work, mark a time when you can stop for a break. This way, you are more likely to give forth your best effort all day long. You will find that co-workers respect your work and often comment on the results. Siblings and young people want to control your afternoon. Considering this could be a nice change of pace from your own work-you may want to welcome the promised laughter that is sure to come. If it is possible, a trip to the park, a movie or a shopping trip can be included. On the way home you may decide to pick up some favorite food to enjoy in a relaxed atmosphere. Life is good.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

ACROSS 1. Small rounded bread either plain or sweet. 4. A cut of pork ribs with much of the meat trimmed off. 12. A state-chartered savings bank owned by its depositors and managed by a board of trustees. 15. Leaf or strip from a leaf of the talipot palm used in India for writing paper. 16. Any lichen of the genus Lecanora. 17. A Turkish unit of weight equal to about 2.75 pounds. 18. Either of a pair of tubes conducting the egg from the ovary to the uterus. 20. (of complexion) Blemished by imperfections of the skin. 22. The capital of Lesotho. 26. Common black European thrush. 27. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind. 29. The capital of Nationalist China. 31. Produced by a manufacturing process. 32. Deeply moved. 36. Angular distance above the horizon (especially of a celestial object). 37. The specified day of the month. 39. Common black-and-gray Eurasian bird noted for thievery. 41. A member of the Siouan people formerly living in the Missouri river valley in NE Nebraska. 43. Spiritual leader of a Jewish congregation. 45. The use of nuclear magnetic resonance of protons to produce proton density images. 46. The square of a body of any size of type. 47. A small pellet fired from an air rifle or BB gun. 48. The 10th and last incarnation of Vishnu. 51. The capital and chief port of Qatar. 53. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 54. (prefix) In front of or before in space. 55. (Old Testament) In Judeo-Christian mythology. 58. An imaginary elephant that appears in a series of French books for children. 61. A period of time containing 365 (or 366) days. 62. Free and relaxed in manner. 65. United States screenwriter and filmmaker (born in 1944). 67. Before noon. 68. A silvery soft waxy metallic element of the alkali metal group. 69. A member of an Iroquoian people formerly living on the south shore of Lake Erie in northern Ohio and northwest Pennsylvania and western New York. 71. An anxiety disorder associated with serious traumatic events and characterized by such symptoms as guilt about surviving or reliving the trauma in dreams or numbness and lack of involvement with reality or recurrent thoughts and images. 74. Counting the number of white and red blood cells and the number of platelets in 1 cubic millimeter of blood. 76. Having a crew. 80. The corporate executive responsible for the operations of the firm. 81. Fill beyond capacity. 83. A workplace for the conduct of scientific research. 84. A condition (mostly in boys) characterized by behavioral and learning disorders. 85. Any collection in its entirety. 86. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. DOWN 1. A deep prolonged loud noise. 2. Type genus of the family Ulvaceae.

3. American educator (born in Canada) who invented the game of basketball (1861-1939). 4. Spoken as if with a thick tongue. 5. Beyond or deviating from the usual or expected. 6. A legal document codifying the result of deliberations of a committee or society or legislative body. 7. An intensely radioactive metallic element that occurs in minute amounts in uranium ores. 8. Either extremity of something that has length. 9. An artificial language for international use that rejects rejects all existing words and is based instead on an abstract analysis of ideas. 10. A heavy brittle metallic element of the platinum group. 11. Any of numerous local fertility and nature deities worshipped by ancient Semitic peoples. 12. An island northwest of Wales. 13. A brace that extends from the rear of the keel to support the rudderpost. 14. A Chadic language spoken in northern Nigeria. 19. Relatively deep or strong. 21. An employee who performs clerical work (e.g., keeps records or accounts). 23. A canvas or leather bag for carrying game (especially birds) killed by a hunter. 24. A landlocked mountainous republic in southeast central Asia north of Afghanistan. 25. The content of cognition. 28. An official prosecutor for a judicial district. 30. The mission in San Antonio where in 1836 Mexican forces under Santa Anna besieged and massacred American rebels who were fighting to make Texas independent of Mexico. 33. Someone whose business is advertising. 34. (obstetrics) The number of live-born children a woman has delivered. 35. Someone who intertwines (e.g. threads) or forms something by twisting or interlacing. 38. The basic unit of money in Bangladesh. 40. Being ten more than one hundred ninety. 42. A port city in southwestern Iran. 44. Divulge information or secrets. 49. Spread or diffuse through. 50. A flourish added after or under your signature (originally to protect against forgery). 52. An ugly evil-looking old woman. 56. (of reproduction) Not involving the fusion of male and female gametes reproduction". 57. A state in New England. 59. Surveying instrument consisting of the upper movable part of a theodolite including the telescope and its attachments. 60. A radioactive element of the actinide series. 63. To fix or set securely or deeply. 64. (archaic) The emperor of Japan. 66. An ancient upright stone slab bearing markings. 70. Make anew. 72. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 73. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 75. Payment due by the recipient on delivery. 77. (Irish) Mother of the ancient Irish gods. 78. A small lump or protuberance. 79. The starting place for each hole on a golf course. 82. A soft gray malleable metallic element that resembles tin but discolors on exposure to air.


There is a heightened artistic inspiration that may manifest itself in some creative work. This may mean you will be helping others rephrase or reorganize their project. A fun break during the noontime today may find you with your shoes off, enjoying a bubbling spring or experiencing the beauty of nature in some way. A sense of good cheer is contagious and all the people around you are better for having seen your smile. All of your relationships seem to be on solid ground. Expressing affection comes easily at this time and can do much for your disposition. This evening is a good time for writing on anything about which you feel deeply. You are more creative than usual and you may be inclined to write a little poetry.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) New sense of self, a more assertive personal style and a more dynamic approach to life are the hallmarks of the cycle that begins for you now. You lead the way on a project, for your originality is better than most. You are self-assertive and independent and many things that have been confusing to you will become clear. Travel and higher education are possible soon. Action, achievement and rapid progress toward your goals occur this whole week. General good feeling and a sense of support make this a happy time. You draw emotional sustenance and a sense of security from ideals, friends and art. To avoid discontent, initiate exciting new activities. A yearning for the stimulation of new ideas and ideals is emphasized now.

Leo (July 23-August 22) You may be busy juggling your time now but you could decrease the stress that comes with your business day by looking at your time as though it was money. There is a need for change, a desire to break away from old schedules and patterns and set new ones. You will succeed at what you set out to accomplish and you will find there is much about attitude. A new sense of self, a more assertive personal style and a more dynamic approach to life are the hallmarks of this time and it all begins now. Doubts fade into the background and reserve is more a thing of the past. It is time for action; your destiny is in your hands, rather than set apart. There is a chance to understand those around you and to have a special time with someone you love this evening.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) Luck is on your side today in almost everything you set out to accomplish. This is one of your best overall days and a good day for love. You are self-assertive and independent and many things that have been confusing to you will become clear and focused. Events in the workplace make it easy for you to be original, have breakthroughs and find solutions. Travel and higher education are possible and a great deal of time may be spent with a loved one in discussing the next vacation or adventure. Action, achievement and rapid progress toward your goals are possible this whole week. General good feeling and a sense of support and harmony make this a happy time. You draw emotional sustenance from friends and social involvement now.

Libra (September 23-October 22) There may be a lot of tension this morning. If this is not from any physical complaint, it could be that your time schedule has been thrown off a bitprogress seems slow or hard to achieve just now. Soon enough, schedules and projects and energies will regain their momentum, and move along at a more proper speed. Meanwhile, look to discover the benefits of any delays. Some things happen for the best, although they may not seem to be the best at the moment of unfolding. Your current situation may demand some reevaluation-things are never as simple or as difficult as they seem. Learning to go with the flow and inserting some flexibility into the day from time to time will create endurance for the long haul-or end results. You gain in positive thinking.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) A period of intellectual creativity has dawned in your life; expressing yourself with flair comes to mean a lot to you. If you are in advertising, creative writing, management, etc., you will find inventive ways to gain the attention and interest of the public. An increase in sales can be expected because of your inventiveness. Fun conversations during break time with co-worker friends may bring a little wager your way. Beating the odds through cleverness is appealing and may lead to an interest in all kinds of financial speculation. This afternoon you will have the opportunity to share some time with a young person. You may be called upon to encourage or instruct regarding educational problems. You are an incentive to others.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) A new sense of self, a more assertive personal style and a more dynamic approach to life are the hallmarks of the energies that begin for you now. Doubts fade into the background and reserve is more and more a thing of the past. Coworkers are helpful and you are intuitive-able to ask the right questions in order to make advancements in the workplace. This afternoon you seem ultrasensitive. You listen intently to someone else’s problems. If your intuitive side is channeled properly-and your sensitive side can merge with your intuitive side-you will quickly find answers for many of life’s quandaries. You will be rewarded for any community service you involve yourself with now. You might shop this evening for a special present.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) A new sense of self, a more confident and dynamic approach to life are the hallmarks of the cycle that begins for you now. Doubts fade into the background and reserve is more and more a thing of the past. It’s time for action; your destiny is in your hands rather than set apart. Full speed ahead is your motto now, for better or for worse! Be open to new ways of investing through insurance, stocks, coins, stamps, etc. Ideas and interaction with authority figures or older people may be in the forecast now. Working with-rather than against-the flow should be easy to do. You may enjoy a quiet evening with a book or some good music this evening. A trip to the library would be a good side trip before you settle down for the evening.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) This morning you may have to take a little time away from work in order to have your eyes tested or some other physical checkup. This afternoon you will be attentive to the business at hand. You could be most persuasive with others and persuasive in your communications. Clear decisions affecting others in the workplace could be made now. In your personal business, be wise in obligating long-term financial agreements-perhaps a new car. Stand by your ideas on how much you want to spend. With respect to investments-it may be time to firm up an offer of sales. You may want to wait until later this month before making another offer, especially if confusion or problems exist. There is a chance to have some special time with a loved one.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) The mountain looked magnificent with the fireball of a sun outlining the slopes and glistening on the snow. You know that extreme fun is either waiting to happen or dug into your memory so strongly that you have decided to return to the scene or to write about the event. If you are not near the mountain, you are planning or remembering an adventure that is just as thrilling. The topic of discussion from you and others around you is to talk about the most exciting adventure. If you are naturally a writer, you may decide a series of articles are appropriate. If you are an artist, the expression of your memories can be enjoyed through photography. Today is a good day and after the normal goals are completed, celebrations are enjoyed. Happy birthday!

Yesterday’s Solution Daily SuDoku

Yesterday’s Solution


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N Khaitan





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


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

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

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


lifestyle G O S S I P


receives Walk of Fame star


ate Winslet received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame yesterday. The 38-year-old actress was honored with the accolade hours after an earthquake shook the Los Angeles area, and admitted it had “frightened her quite a lot”. She added: “I had no idea that this was going to be such a well attended event.” Kate - whose husband Ned Rocknroll or three children Bear, three months, Mia, 13, and Joe, 10, were not in attendance for the ceremony - said being given a star was a “wonderful” moment she would always remember. She told the assembled crowd - which included her ‘Divergent’ co-star Shailene Woodley and fellow ‘Titanic’ actress Kathy Bates - at the Hollywood Boulevard: “Here I am this morning at the infamous corner of Hollywood and vine. “I believe that so many great young aspiring actors first stepped off the bus with

the hope of embarking on a film career from this very spot we all stand in today. “I feel very honored 20 years into my own career to be standing in such a poignant place and being celebrated in such a spectacular fashion. “It’s really, really wonderful to be here and to be given this award, this accolade, this wonderful moment in my life that I know I will never forget.” Meanwhile, Kathy, 65, made a joke about the ‘Reader’ actress’ star getting “dirty with poo”. She said:”You deserve to have stars strewn at your feet. “Even though stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame sometimes get a little dirty with a little poo or whatever, what will last is your wonderful beautiful films, characters that you’ve played that have stolen our hearts. “Nobody can ever poo on those.”

Williams to

Aaron Paul

collaborate with his dad

‘doesn’t deserve’ wife


obbie Williams is planning to collaborate with his dad. The 40-year-old singer, who invited his father Pete Conway to perform with him at London’s Palladium in November, is set to work with him again. According to The Sun newspaper, Pete said: “I loved doing the Palladium with him. It was great. I really enjoyed it. We’re going to do something together soon. It will be announced shortly - I just don’t know all the details yet.” Stars including Liam Payne from One Direction, singer Adele and comedian Alan Carr watched the pair duet at the show, which also saw the former Take That star perform songs from his album ‘Swings Both Ways’ and sing with Lily Allen. Robbie and his dad sung ‘Do Nothing Til You Hear It From Me’, and Pete hugged his son before he left the stage to rapturous applause. Meanwhile, Robbie “doesn’t want to upset” bandmate Gary Barlow by saying no to a Take That reunion. The ‘Let Me Entertain You’ hitmaker has reportedly suggested that they take things slow by working on material together along with fellow bandmates Mark Owen, Jason Orange and Howard Donald - for now, and then discussing a world tour at a later date. The source said: “He’s suggested recording together, seeing how that goes then embarking on a world tour in 2015.”


aron Paul doesn’t “deserve’ his wife. The ‘Breaking Bad’ actor insists he is a “good guy” who would never do anything to hurt spouse Lauren Parsekian - who he married last May - and is completely devoted to her. Speaking at the Cinema Society’s ‘Need for Speed’ screening in New York last week, asked if he is “breaking bad” in real life, he told the New York Post newspaper: “You mean, cheating and living a loose life? No. I’m a good guy. I wish more people knew me. “I’m in love. Happily married. My wonderful lady’s Lauren Parsekian. I don’t deserve her. We were friends before. We’ve been together five years. I’ll be faithful. I’m happy to be here and with her.” The 34-year-old actor loved working on ‘Need For Speed’ and was happy to get stuck into all the action scenes, as he found doing his own stunts exciting, rather than scary. He said: “This film’s big with car racing. I did 3?π/? months training. Sunrise to sunset. In racetracks north of LA. I tore up tires. Drank car oil. I wasn’t scared. I was excited. Did it all myself. No doubles. Nothing added post-filming. No fake stuff or green screen filled in with computer graphics. Me in the car with nerves jangling at triple-digit speeds. “Just for one big upturn action jumping over traffic, they put in a stuntman.”


named world’s best underwear model


avid Beckham has been named the world’s best underwear model. The retired soccer star, 38, has been crowned the champion by designer Tommy Hilfiger as he believes the hunky star can pull off the sexy look in minimal clothing. He told “I have seen all kinds of underwear models, but we all wish we looked like David Beckham at the

Simon Cowell buys rare car S

imon Cowell has splashed out $1 million on “the most beautiful car in the world. The music mogul ordered the superrare Eagle Speedster Jaguar after seeing it on UK TV show ‘Top Gear’ and is looking forward to having it shipped to the US so he can get behind the wheel. Tweeting a picture of his new black vehicle, Simon wrote: “I think this may be the most beautiful car in the world. It’s made by Eagle. Thank you Henry, Paul and the team.” The car - which is one of just three in the world - was a 1965 Jaguar E-Type but restoration company Eagle brought in expert engineers to improve the brakes, suspension and interior, as well as rebuilding the engine and giving it an aluminum body. Paul Brace, technical director at Eagle, said: “Simon got in


end of the day. He is like the underwear model of the century.” David first stripped down to his underwear in 2007 when he appeared alongside his fashion designer wife Victoria in the Emporio Armani campaign. In 2012, the star bared his toned physique once again when he launched his own bodywear line for the high-street retailer H&M and he has continued to provide the chain with collections ever since. However, David previously admitted his sons Brooklyn, 15, Romeo, 11, and Cruz, nine, get embarrassed when they see their father posing in his undergarments. He said last year: “They say ‘Oh my God daddy - not again’. They were like, ‘That’s really good, but everyone’s gonna see you in your pants.’ “

touch after seeing it on ‘Top Gear’.”It is one of three, is hand built and we’re delighted Simon has the car. “He was over the moon when he saw it and we’re looking forward to delivering it to him in the US where he can enjoy it in the sunshine.” Simon - who became a father for the first time last month when girlfriend Lauren Silverman gave birth to their son Eric - is an avid car enthusiast, and recently splashed out on a Caterham sportscar. However, to make way for the vehicle, he told his Bugatti Veyron, which he admitted to driving just a handful of times in the three years he owned it.

wants to launch a boy’s line


Kian Egan: One Direction could split


ian Egan thinks One Direction could split up because they don’t appear to have a close bond anymore. The former Westlife star thinks the band would be stupid to break up after band member Liam Payne admitted the group hadn’t seen each other for three months before the BRIT Awards in Februar y. Kian told The Sun Newspaper: “One Direction would be fools to throw it away, absolute fools - and I get the feeling they will. I watch them and they don’t seem to have this bond as tight as we had in Westlife - especially as they’ve only been together three or four years.” Westlife - who formed in 1998 - had their fair share of boy band troubles over the years, following the departure of singer Brian McFadden in 2004, and a short hiatus four years later. Despite their split in 2012, Kian, 33, insists the mutual respect between him and remaining band members - Nicky Byrne, Mark Feehily and Shane Filan

- helped them to continue as a fourpiece and enjoy their final years together. He added: “As we always said in Westlife, ‘There’s not one person in a band that’s bigger than the band’.”Respect each other and understand that it’s a unit, it’s not a bunch of individuals wanting to do what they want to do.” He said Liam, along with bandmates Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik and Niall Horan, should “try to pull together and look out for each other and protect each other and stand by each other’s side.” The ‘Midnight Memories’ hitmakers went on a break in December but headed to work again this week as they prepare for their ‘Where We Are’ stadium tour, which will kick off on April 25 in Bogota, Colombia.

im Kardashian is hoping to launch a boy’s line in the future. The 33-year-old reality TV star and her sisters Kourtney and Khloe have just released a collection, KardashianKids, for baby girls, but they admit their fashion ambitions don’t stop there as they’d eventually like to branch out and create stunning pieces for men. When asked by one of her fans if she has any plans to bring out a boys line, Kim replied: “We are hoping to in the future! Starting with a baby boy’s line (sic)”. Kim has been keen to create a line specifically for children after welcoming her daughter North into the world last June with her fiancÈ Kanye West, who is also a designer. Kim’s friend Lloyd Klein told New York Daily News previously: “I am sure she is going to come up with a line for babies.” Meanwhile, Kim, Kourtney and Khloe have been busy with their new Spring 2014 Kardashian Kollection for Lipsy, but would investigate the possibility of creating clothing for mothers-to-be in the future. Kim said previously: “We’re focusing on our current lines, including our new children’s range which hits stores this spring - but who knows, never say never!”



‘Divergent’ : Is it as good as ‘Hunger Games’?


ivergent” hits theaters Friday with the pre-release buzz positioning it as the successor to “The Hunger Games.” Those are heavy expectations, and based on initial reviews, the adaptation of Veronica Roth’s bestselling young adult novel labors under the weight. Many critics have yet to chime in on the film, so the consensus could shift, but initial reviews for the picture are unkind, with many arguing that the film suffers in comparison to other futuristic fables. Currently, the film holds a 17 percent “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. “Divergent” features rising star Shailene Woodley as Tris, a young woman who finds out that she will not fit into her dystopian society. It’s a view of the future in which people are cordoned-off based on their virtues and personality traits. The picture, directed by Neil Burger (“Limitless”), co-stars Kate Winslet and Theo James. The film may be reviewproof; box office tracking is strong for the picture and the film is widely expected to dominate theaters when it opens Friday. In TheWrap, Alonso Duralde groused that he suffered from a profound feeling of deja vu. The film’s premise and vision of an unforgiving future is cribbed from too many better movies and books, he argued. “When Shakespeare rejiggered ‘Pyramus and Thisbe,’ it was 80 or so years after its first translation into English,” Duralde wrote. “It’s a classier move than stealing from characters whose ink is barely dry on the page.” It’s all preamble, Variety’s Andrew Barker carped. The film exists as a launching pad for future sequels, instead of as a standalone movie. “...Divergent’s’ uncertain sense of setting, bloated plot, drab visual style and solid yet underwhelming lead turns from Shailene Woodley and Theo James don’t necessarily make the best case for series newcomers,” Barker wrote. “Fans of the books will turn out for what should be a very profitable opening weekend, but with future installments already on the release calendar, the film’s B.O. tea leaves will surely be read with care.” Forbes’ Scott Mendelson was more charitable, praising Woodley’s “terrific” lead performance and the film’s creation of a genuinely compelling heroine. Yet, he too faulted the picture for being exposition-laden. It’s all fore-

F e a t u r e s

play, he seemed to gripe. “Considering there are only three books in the series, spending nearly a full film on what amounts to an origin story is a little frustrating. In that sense, it’s less ‘Batman Begins’ and more Ridley Scott’s ‘Robin Hood,’” Mendelson wrote. Dull imagination It’s all a bit dull, lamented Screen International’s Tim Grierson in a tepid assessment of the picture’s demerits. “It’s not that ‘Divergent’ doesn’t have any provocative ideas,” he wrote. “Though somewhat generically executed, the film bemoans society’s encouragement of conformity and even works in a commentary about the evils of genocide. But because its thematic content mostly feels second-hand, ‘Divergent’ doesn’t stir the imagination.” Though many critics bemoaned the film’s similarity to “The Hunger Games” and “Ender’s Game,” others praised its performances and adherence to its source material. The Huffington Post’s Lisa Parkin said fans of the novel will love what Burger and company pulled off, while praising the casting of Woodley and James. “I think book fans and dystopia lovers alike will be thrilled with this adaptation,” she wrote. “The ‘Divergent’ movie truly captures the spirit, adventure and excitement of the book, and I cannot wait to see again once it’s out.” Todd Gilchrist was less caffeinated in his IndieWire review of the film, knocking it for being overly long. But he did credit it with being the second-best adaptation of a young adult favorite after “The Hunger Games.” “Using Veronica Roth’s dystopian future as the foundation for a story of self-actualization, Burger succeeds in aping the cool proficiency of its obvious cinematic predecessor, ‘The Hunger Games,’ unfortunately without elevating Roth’s concept to more than an effective if slightly overwrought academic exercise,” Gilchrist wrote. Of course, critics hated the “Twilight” films too, and audiences didn’t seem to care. Box office success can be the best revenge. — Reuters

Japanese college student Keiko Tsuji, 20, smiles after winning Miss Japan for the 2014 Miss Universe Beauty Pageant in Tokyo yesterday. Forty-three Japanese women took part in the beauty pageant. — AFP

Review: Minogue’s album goes way past 1st base


he latest offering from pop goddess Kylie Minogue is like a narcotic disco dream, slightly confused about the timespace continuum, yet very delightful. With her 12th studio album - her first after signing with Jay Z’s Roc Nation management - Minogue attempts to keep her crown in the dance kingdom - and succeeds - when she’s not trying too hard to upgrade to today’s trends. Australian wunderkind Sia, who has written for Rihanna, Beyonce and Britney Spears, co-executive produced this tiny gem of dance floor anthems and sex-crazed tunes. When three out of 11 tracks have the word “sex” in their titles, you know what the album is going for - the antechamber to the bedroom of music. Minogue excels on songs that are pure bubblegum fun. The Pharrell-penned springin-one’s step “I Was Gonna Cancel,” the vaguely familiar “Sexy Love,” the casually dance-induc-

ing “Feels So Good” and the beguilingly ‘80s throwback title track bring back a rash of dance memories from Minogue’s golden days circa 2001 with the addictive hits “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” and “Love at First Sight.” Sia’s writing contribution to the fun is the aggressively erotic “Sexercize,” a bass-heavy baller of a song that slithers all over your ears and proves that Minogue can deftly rap. Another laidback come-on is the enjoyable “Les Sex.” The bug in this sextra intoxicating party cocktail is the misguided attempt at a ballad: an irritating duet with Enrique Iglesias’ computer-flavored vocals on “Beautiful.” Just stick to what you do best, kids, separately. You can’t force love on a player of an album.-AP This CD cover image released by Warner Bros Records shows ‘Kiss Me Once,’ by Kylie Minogue. — AP

‘Blood Ties’ long and anemic G

This photo released by Summit Entertainment, LLC shows Zoe Kravitz, left, as Christina and Shailene Woodley as Beatrice ‘Tris’ Prior, in the film, ‘Divergent.’ The movie releases Friday, March 21, 2014. — AP

Judge orders singer Chris Brown to stay in jail


Los Angeles judge on Monday ordered R&B singer Chris Brown to remain in jail at least until a probation violation hearing next month after the judge expressed concern about his ability to stay out of trouble. Brown, 24, was arrested last Friday when he was dismissed from a Malibu, California, rehabilitation facility, triggering a violation of the singer’s courtordered treatment related to his 2009 assault of his then-girlfriend, the singer Rihanna. The singer’s probation violation hearing is scheduled for April 23 and is complicated by a misdemeanor assault case he faces in Washington, DC on April 17. Brown was dismissed from the rehab center for violating four

R&B singer Chris Brown, left, appears in Los Angeles Superior Court with his attorney Mark Geragos, on Monday, March 17, 2014. — AP in-house rules, including inappropriately touching a female client on the elbow, initially refusing a drug test and making a provocative statement, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James Brandlin said. Brown told a group session at the rehab center that “I am good at using guns and knives,” the judge said, reading from a report filed by the center, saying this was troubling. “I have concerns about his inability to stay out of trouble,”

Brandlin said before ordering Brown held without bail, departing from a pattern of giving Brown the benefit of the doubt as long as he remained in rehab. Brown, dressed in a bright orange jumpsuit after spending the weekend at Los Angeles County’s aging Men’s Central Jail, was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs as his mother Joyce Hawkins sobbed. “None of these things rises to the level, in my humble opinion, to be remanded into custody,” argued Brown’s attorney, Mark Geragos, whose request to have the singer change into a gray suit he had brought for him was denied. “He has the current prospect of sitting on ice for six weeks, which is longer than the standard probation violation,” Geragos added.

uillaume Canet’s attempt to do a Sidney Lumet flatlines in “Blood Ties”, an anemic drama about a family split, defined by one brother being a cop, the other a criminal. A remake of the 2008 French release “Les Liens du Sang” (“Rivals”), which co-starred Canet as the policeman, this version’s bloat only spotlights the more crucial problem of a lack of energy and internal turmoil in the main characters. The impressive cast makes this French-financed New York 1974-set production watchable but it’s too inert to catch on commercially. It takes Canet, who scored an international hit as a director in 2006 with “Tell No One,” 40 minutes longer to tell the same story than it did Jacques Maillot in the original, and there’s no reason for it, other than perhaps the ambition to make a quasi-epic fabric film thick with period atmosphere and character depth. The ‘70s recreation is reasonable but the characters never register beyond the surfaces of the scenes despite being equipped with long-festering resentments and grudges. When big, tough Chris (Clive Owen) is released after serving 12 years in prison for a revenge killing, he’s welcomed warmly by sister Marie (Lili Taylor), as a favorite son by his ailing dad (James Caan) and warily by younger brother Frank (Billy Crudup), an upstanding policeman who’s been prevailed upon to put him up. Chris toes the line for a while with a menial job at an auto shop, where he takes up with the comely accountant Natalie (Mila Kunis), adding insult to injury to his ex-wife Monica (Marion Cotillard), who’s now a hooker on drugs. For Frank’s part, he broke up with Vanessa (Zoe Saldana) some years back but seems irked by her relationship with brutish lowlife Scarfo (Matthias Schoenaerts). When the latter is thrown back in the slammer, Frank and Vanessa unpersuasively reunite, which promises trouble once Scarfo gets out. Nothing very dramatic happens in “Blood Ties” for nearly an hour, too long for what’s clearly announced at the outset as a criminal saga that will explode into action and violence at some point. For such pent-up emotions to register com-

pellingly onscreen requires actors who can externalize their internal pressure cooker personalities without necessarily verbalizing what ails them. At least in this instance, Crudup can’t convey what’s going on inside of him; Frank seems pained and annoyed by his father and brother but in a boringly victimized way. When Chris finally gives up the feeble pretense to going straight, his return to crime is heartlessly brutal. His second job, a successful heist, unintentionally puts Frank in an untenable position that severely tests his moral fiber and guts. Then it’s Chris who gets the chance to show what he’s really made of in the climactic sequence at crowded Grand Central Station that lacks the desired impact both because it seems so dramatically unlikely and because audience conviction in the relationships is lacking. Stunning women The unexpected casting of Owen as a Brooklyn gangster proves acceptable enough; the actor has the physical bearing to lord it over everyone else here and he makes the man’s callousness credible. Caan has some good moments as the dying dad who appreciates toughness over sensitivity, while Schoenaerts perhaps comes closest of the nationally diverse cast members to delivering as a hot-headed New York troublemaker. Having women as stunning and talented as Kunis, Saldana and Cotillard in the cast is an asset for obvious reasons and a liability in that it’s hard to believe the marginal guys in this working class world could manage such luck. “Blood Ties,” a Roadside Attractions release, is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for “violence, pervasive language, some sexual content and brief drug use.” Running time: 128 minutes. MPAA rating definition for R: Restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. — AP

Duet delayed The attorney had argued that extraditing Brown to Washington for his trial would been a long and costly process. He warned that the Washington case could be delayed if Brown was not able to attend. Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Mary Murray opposed Brown’s release. Her department has repeatedly asked the court to jail Brown for alleged violations of probation, including cutting corners on community service. Brown’s jailing is another mark on a growing rap sheet for the singer, who has so far been able to maintain wide popularity for his music despite a poor image that has included his beating of Rihanna on the eve of the 2009 Grammys and several altercations. The release of the singer’s upcoming duet, “Don’t Be Gone Too Long,” with 20-year-old Nickelodeon star Ariana Grande has also been delayed in the wake of Brown’s jailing, Grande said on Twitter on Monday. Brandlin had initially sentenced Brown to 90 days in the treatment program in November following his assault arrest in Washington where he allegedly punched and broke the nose of a man who was trying to get a picture with him.—Reuters

This image released by Roadside Attractions shows Matthias Schoenaerts, left, and Zoe Saldana in a scene from ‘Blood Ties.’—AP


lifestyle T r a v e l

takes off with its new business class Airline adds another milestone with its first business class flight DUBAI: Flydubai recorded another milestone yesterday with its first business class flight taking off. The airline announced the launch of the new service earlier in June this year based on customer demand. Passengers of flight FZ729 to Kiev’s Boryspil Airport, Ukraine were the first to experience the carrier’s new product offering. While flydubai offers its business class passengers a variety of customized services, including a dedicated Business Team, priority check-in and a fast track through immigration, it is in the air where the experience can be fully realized. The new business class cabin comprises 12 spacious and comfortable reclining seats, made of Italian leather and a seat pitch of 42 inches. A revolutionary in-flight

entertainment system comes with a high definition touch screen of 12.1 inches with a choice of 1,300 hours of non-stop entertainment. Business class passengers can enjoy a more personalized service from flydubai’s highly trained cabin crew members and an internationally inspired menu on flights. Flydubai received its first business class fitted aircraft in August. The airline has used this aircraft to train its dedicated business class cabin crew members as well as conduct focus groups with frequent flyers to get feedback and enhance the offering. Commenting on the airline’s launch of the service, Ghaith Al-Ghaith, flydubai’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We have conducted extensive focus groups with our

frequent flyers, and their feedback has been instrumental in making the business class experience the best that it can be. Passengers who got to be the first to sample the new service where very pleased with the spacious new cabin configuration, the variety of the menu and the high quality in-flight entertainment. We look forward to adding this product across more routes on our network as we receive more aircraft fitted with business class seats.” Flydubai’s network covers more than 65 destinations in 34 countries, many of which may have not had the option of business class before on any airline, making the service a pioneering feature in these markets. “ When we began to develop business class, we

focused on every detail of the passenger’s journey, making it convenient, comfortable and enjoyable, while keeping in mind our goal of connecting underserved markets,” added Al-Ghaith. We believe that the numerous offerings of business class create a complete package for our customers, which we hope they can enjoy time and time again.” Flydubai will gradually expand its business class services across its network. The airline will receive three new aircraft fitted with business class by the end of the year, along with retrofitting nine aircraft from its existing fleet of 31 aircraft.

flydubai means business

Airline introduces a business team for the business traveler “The journey leading to the moment you take off is just as important as the onboard experience itself. As a result, we have invested in a dedicated business team who will ensure that our business class passengers are well taken care of around the clock, enjoying an easier and faster journey on the ground.” Always ready To help passengers make the most out of their business class travel with flydubai, the dedicated business team will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on the telephone, at the airport or by SMS, which supports Arabic, English and Russian enquiries (+97156 644 8866). The team can assist in making or amending a booking as well as selecting seats, choosing meals, handling enquiries about the latest films onboard or checking in for a flight. Flydubai is also introducing an ‘On Demand’ service where business class passengers can SMS the business team to check in for a flight and ask for a ‘Call Back’ service. At the airport Business class passengers will be able to take advantage of flydubai’s priority check-in, conveniently located just 120 paces from the car park, as well as the new facilities at the recently upgraded and expanded Terminal 2 at Dubai International Airport. Assigned business team representatives will always be present at the terminal to assist with enquiries, priority luggage drop off, check-in and provide a fast-track through immigration, security and boarding. Business class passengers will have access to the ‘Marhaba lounge’ and later this year they will be able to relax in flydubai’s dedicated business class lounge before their flight. On arrival in Dubai, business class passengers will be shuttled in a dedicated bus to the arrivals and transfer area, where they can benefit from the fast-track service through immigration and priority baggage collection. “Our business class, which came as a result of our customer feedback, will offer leisure and especially business travelers a more personalized flying experience to a number of destinations across our network, including some that have never offered business class air travel before,” added Al-Ghaith. The airline took delivery of the first aircraft with a business class cabin in August 2013. All new aircraft due for delivery later this year will include business and economy classes. Its program to retrofit the existing fleet started in September. Flydubai aims to make travel more convenient for its passengers through services such as visa facilitation for select destinations, a user friendly mobile website, car hire and insurance services. Most recently, the airline has made holiday packages available to its passengers.

By Taleb Kanjo

flydubai business class a class by itself


ollowing the recent launch of its business class service, Dubai-based flydubai introduces its dedicated business team responsible for delivering what promises to be a more personal flying experience. The carrier will welcome its first business class passengers in October, marking the beginning of a new phase in the evolution of flydubai’s passenger offering. Commenting on the new premium service, Ghaith AlGhaith, flydubai’s CEO, said, “Since day one, flydubai has been committed to delivering a unique passenger experience; we have already differentiated ourselves through our existing product offering and therefore it’s the next logical step in the evolution of our business model.”


t was my first chance to experience flydubai’s business class on a commercial flight to Dubai. Significantly, flydubai has access to the Sheikh Saad General Aviation Terminal, which is only a short drive from the main international terminal, an accomplishment for the airline by standards. At the terminal, two business class check-in desks are clearly branded to the left of the entrance, which are joined by a couple of ‘Pearl Lounge’ counters to meet and assist. The lounge Immediately beyond the check-in counter, the doors part to reveal the spacious and modern ‘Pearl Lounge’. Seating is arranged in an L-shape around a central palm tree, with a TV beyond. Although I arrived a bit early for a short-haul flight, I made use of the time to catch up on mails in the cozy business centre which had two terminals and a splash of contemporary art. Free wi-fi is also available. The food - consisting of coffee, croissants and yogurts provided by the Regency Hotel - was quite invigorating and complemented by a choice of juices. Large billboard-style photos of Dubai lined the walls. In addition to Dubai, premium passengers will have access to 22 lounges across its network by the turn of the year. Boarding As I was told we would be invited to board, I wasn’t unduly worried that no one was moving five minutes before our scheduled departure. Then we were called and after passing a security check, we walked straight out onto the aircraft. It was hard to recall an easier boarding. The seat After taking my seat by the window, the stewardess presented a choice of fruit juices. The in-flight entertainment is excellent and crystal clear HD screen makes movie viewing a real pleasure. Which seat to choose? The Italian leather seat was very comfortable. I didn’t use the recline option, but you might appreciate it on longer flights. Eight of the 12 seats were occupied. The flight Breakfast comprised of a generous bowl of granola with yogurt and cherry preserve and the crew came around with a croissant basket and freshly brewed espresso coffee. On flights over 90 minutes, a hot meal is also served. Arrival Business class passengers board a separate bus on arrival and are fast-tracked at Terminal 2 immigration. I was out of the airport in less than 10 minutes, even with a quick stop in duty free. Verdict Undoubtedly, flydubai’s business class is a class by itself. The product and the services are impressive with very convenient lounge and terminal facilities. The airline has configured 14 aircraft with business class operating on 38 routes. From January, four of the eight daily flights on the Kuwait-Dubai route have a business class.


lifestyle F a s h i o n

Rolling Stones cancel Australian concert after L’Wren Scott death T

he Rolling Stones cancelled a concert in Australia, leaving their ‘Down Under’ tour in limbo yesterday, after lead singer Mick Jagger’s girlfriend L’Wren Scott was found dead in her Manhattan apartment. Scott, a fashion designer and former model, was found hanging from a scarf on Monday, police said, adding they were treating her death as suicide. Jagger, 70, said through a spokesperson he was “completely shocked and devastated”. The news of Scott’s death stunned friends, clients and fellow designers. Hollywood star Nicole Kidman, a friend of 25 years, was “heartbroken and in shock right now and unable to say anything,” her spokeswoman said. The Rolling Stones had been due to kick off a six-concert Australia and New Zealand leg of their world tour today in Perth in Western Australia. But the group’s Australian publicist yesterday said the concert would not be going ahead. Frontier Touring declined to comment on whether Jagger and other band members were planning to return to the United States or whether other Australian concerts would be affected. “No further information is available at this time, ticket holders are asked to hold on to their tickets until a further update is available,” Frontier Touring said in a statement yesterday. Jagger and bandmates Ronnie Wood, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts landed in Perth on Monday in their private jet, emblazoned with the famous tongue and lips logo. The aircraft remained on the tarmac. Jagger’s daughter, Georgia May Jagger, also cancelled aplanned appearance at Australia’s Melbourne Fashion Festival this week, according to local design house Camilla, for whom she was scheduled to model. A single bouquet of yellow daffodils was placed in front of the glass-fronted, high-rise building where Scott lived. Police cordoned off its entrance as swarms of media gathered across the street. Julie Bolder, of the city’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, said the office had not received the body nor begun work to determine the manner of death. “Given the timing, that individual will probably be examined tomorrow and if everything is straightforward, the cause and manner of death would be available by tomorrow,” she said.

In this photo taken on May 19, 2010 British singer of ‘The Rolling Stones’, Mick Jagger and US stylist L’Wren Scott arrive for the screening of ‘Stones in Exil’ presented as a special screening at the Quinzaine des Realisateurs during the 63rd Cannes Film Festival in Cannes.

This Feb 16, 2012 file photo shows designer L’Wren Scott, center, after her Fall 2012 collection was modeled during Fashion Week, in New York.

Fashion, music worlds stunned Scott was the second major fashion designer to die unexpectedly in recent years. British designer Alexander McQueen, who had suffered from depression, committed suicide in London in February 2010 at the age of 40. British fashion editor Isabella Blow also took her own life in 2007 at the age of 48. Scott’s death brought an outpouring of grief from celebrities who wore her designs or met Scott at social events. A spokeswoman for Kidman said she had been close friends with Scott for 25 years. “Nicole is heartbroken and in shock right now and

File photo shows US actress Sarah Jessica Parker wearing a L’Wren Scott dress at the gala premiere of ‘Did you hear about the Morgan’s’ in London.

File photo shows actress Sarah Jessica Parker in a L’Wren Scott dress at the 29th Annual ‘Night Of Stars’ in New York.

File photo shows actress Nicole Kidman wearing a L’Wren Scott dress at the 47th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas.

File photo shows actress and jury member Nicole Kidman wears an embroidered L’Wren Scott dress for the screening of the film ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes.

File photo shows actor Javier Bardem, left, and Penelope Cruz in a L’Wren Scott gown at the 83rd Academy Awards in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles.

File photo show US musician Keith Urban, left, and his wife actress Nicole Kidman wearing a L’Wren Scott gown at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

In this photo taken on May 2, 2011 designer L’Wren Scott and musician Mick Jagger attend the ‘Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty’ Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. — AP/AFP photos

unable to say anything,” the spokeswoman said in an email. “Devastated to have lost my friend,” tweeted rocker Bryan Adams. “Rest in peace my dear I’m gonna miss you. Condolences to all that were close to her.” Jagger’s first wife, Bianca, also expressed her grief on Twitter. “Heartbroken to learn of the loss of the lovely and talented L’Wren Scott. My thoughts and prayers are with her family,” she posted. American fashion designer Marc Jacobs said: “You’ll forever be missed.” The British Fashion Council described Scott as a woman who inspired many. “She will leave behind an exceptional legacy however we are so proud to have had her in our midst. At this sad time our thoughts are with her

friends and family,” it said in a statement. Scott was known for her lean sexy designs, especially the tight-fitting dresses favored by actresses. She canceled a planned show for her fashion label at London Fashion Week last month and decided to give private, intimate presentations instead. Her last collection was inspired by Japanese culture and featured embroidery and sleek lines: white below-the-knee dresses belted at the waist; red, black and white skirts, shorts and jackets; a bold yellow dress and pants. Scott, born Luann Bambrough, was raised in Utah by adoptive parents. The dark-haired beauty started her career

as a model in Paris before becoming a stylist and designer. Her love of fashion began when she made her own clothes as a teenager, according to her website. As a model in Paris, Scott became more interested in making clothes than modeling them. After moving to Los Angeles, she worked as a stylist and designed privately before creating her own collection. Scott collaborated with many in the fashion and beauty industry, including Lancome for her first makeup collection, and designed Italian-made shoes, handbags, eyewear and a small holiday collection for Banana Republic last year. — Reuters

File photo shows model Naomi Campbell wearing a gown by designer LíWren Scott the amfAR Cinema Against AIDS benefit at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, during the 63rd Cannes international film festival, in Cap d’Antibes, southern France.

File photo shows actress Nicole Kidman in a L’Wren Scott gown at the 2008 Glamour Women of the Year Awards at Carnegie Hall in New York.

File photo shows actress Amy Adams wearing a L’Wren Scott gown at the 83rd Academy Awards in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles.

File photo shows Jennifer Lawrence wearing a L’Wren Scott dress at the 16th Annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards in Los Angeles.

File photo shows Tina Fey wearing a L’Wren Scott dress at the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.

File photo shows director Madonna wearing a L’Wren Scott dress at the BFI London Film Festival gala screening of her film, ‘’WE.’ in London.

Rolling Stones cancel Australian concert after L’Wren Scott death



Indian Hindu devotees drenched in water and smeared with colors take part in ‘Huranga’ during Holi celebrations, the Hindu festival of colors at the Baldev Temple in Dauji, 180 kilometers (113 miles) south of New Delhi, India, yesterday. The Baldev Temple is known for a ritual where the women playfully hit men with whips made of cloth as men throw buckets of water mixed with orange dye. — AP

‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ lands in the Emirates


he American soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful” is taking the show on the road again, this time all the way to the money-soaked shores of the Arabian Peninsula. Cast members including Katherine Kelly Lang and Don Diamont began filming scenes Monday overlooking Dubai’s skyscraper-studded skyline. Among the sights they’re taking in are the city’s main man-made palm-shaped island and the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. The crew of the show, which celebrates its 27th anniversary on air next week, will continue filming down the coast in the United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi. Some scenes there are being shot at the Emirates Palace hotel, an opulent beachfront complex that is arguably the city’s swankiest place to sleep. It’s a popular stopover spot for visiting royalty and heads of state as well as deep-pocketed tourists stopping by to pick up a pricey souvenir from its gold bar vending machine.

‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ cast members Don Diamont, left, and Katherine Kelly Lang, right, film a scene on a balcony of the Atlantis, The Palm Hotel, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

“Daytime shows don’t typically get out on location, certainly not the way we have,” Diamont, who plays businessman Bill Spencer on the show, told The Associated Press during a break from filming. “I think for the fans it’s very entertaining to show these exotic locales.” “The Bold and the Beautiful” has filmed overseas before, including in Italy, Mexico and Australia. But executive producer and head writer Brad Bell says the UAE is the farthest the show has traveled from its Los Angeles base. Bell said he has long wanted to film in the Emirates because he is fascinated by the country’s rapid growth and over-the-top attractions like the Palm Jumeirah Island. They chose to go for it now because lead actress Lang wanted to

take part in last weekend’s Abu Dhabi International Triathlon. “I said ‘we’re going to load up the station wagon, get all the guys together and we’re going to shoot there.’ Because it’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Bell said. Cast members are shooting parts of nine episodes during just three days of filming in the Emirates, he said. International following In the show, Spencer takes Lang’s character, Brooke Logan, to the Emirates to get married. While the crew is reluctant to divulge too many details, things could go awry because her onand-off-again lover Ridge Forrester, played by Thorsten Kaye, is also in town for filming. Lang’s character has been married so many times on the show that even she can’t remember. “I don’t count anymore,” she said. “The Bold and the Beautiful” has a wide international following, and says it is seen by millions of viewers in more than 100 countries. It has been popular for years across the Arab world, though competition has grown as viewers tune in to increasingly popular Turkish soap operas and round-the-clock news and movie channels. Episodes of the soap opera air three times a day on the Dubai One satellite network. “Many people here come up, say how much they love the show,” Lang said. “I didn’t know how popular it was here.” For the Emirates, the three-day shoot is an opportunity to help develop the local entertainment industry. Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the country’s two biggest cities, have each been working to entice filmmakers to the country. A large part of 2011’s “Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol” was shot in Dubai. Scenes for the forthcoming “Fast & Furious 7” will be shot in Abu Dhabi in April. An Abu Dhabi governmentbacked media hub known as twofour54 is acting as the local producer and is helping with logistics for “The Bold and the Beautiful” shoot, according to its head of sales, Jamal al-Awadhi. The Abu Dhabi Film Commission is offering a 30 percent rebate on crew spending. Bell hopes the show’s Mideast foray changes viewers’ perceptions of the region. “I was just struck by how wonderfully open and welcoming everyone was. Just the beauty and extent of all there is to see here in Dubai, it’s something that the world needs to see,” he said. Episodes shot in the Emirates are expected to air in the US in late May. — AP

A woman takes care of a girl’s hair as others watch, on February 8, 2014, in Abidjan, during a gathering of the ‘Nappy de Babi’ group which promotes natural frizzy hair. — AFP photos

Return to African (hair) roots in Ivory Coast


emember the afro, the natural hairstyle forever synonymous with the “black is beautiful” movement championed by African-Americans in the 1960s? A group in Ivory Coast is trying to persuade black women to turn the page on their expensive hair-straighteners, extensions and wigs and go natural instead. Blending “natural” with “happy” to produce “Nappy”, the group calls itself Nappys de Babi-Babi being a nickname for Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s bustling economic capital. Founded more than two years ago, the support group now boasts some 2,400 members, meeting every two months in Abidjan’s trendy Cocody district to share advice, tips, and practical help about keeping their hair natural. Nappys de Babi bucks a deeply ingrained belief all across Africa that straight hair conforms best to an ideal of beauty. In Ivory Coast, most women were teenagers when they began renouncing their naturally kinky, frizzy hair. As a result, most do not know how to care for it and “make it beautiful”, says Miriam Diaby, one of Nappys de Babi’s founders. “Society frowns on ‘afro’ hair overflowing all over the place,” she said, lamenting that women have to opt for “conventional” styles involving straightening or using false hair in the form of extensions or wigs. The little knowledge on haircare is evident in some questions posed at the group’s meeting, with one participant asking: “How do I know if my hair is hydrated?” “Well, when they are stiff and dry, that means they aren’t hydrated at all,” replies Bibi Gagno, who created a motivational website, ‘Like a pariah’ The African sisters of the 1960s American “Black Is Beautiful” advocates need to emancipate themselves from the dominant white model, the Nappys say. “When I arrived in Abidjan (after growing up in the United States and Europe), I noticed, and it struck me, that all the advertising showed light-skinned women with long, smooth hair,” said Gagno. The fair skin-achieved in the Ivory Coast mainly through constant application of carcinogenic whitening products-is “synonymous to success”, the businesswoman said. Going against the grain is deemed provocative.

“People are uncomfortable about it. When they see you wearing natural hair, they look at you like you are a pariah, like there is a problem, when actually, it should be normal,” said Liliana Lambert. Lambert, a 27-year-old half European, who adorns her naturally frizzy hair with flowers, said people “want to touch such hair all the time” because they don’t know what it is like. “It’s just ignorance,” she said. The only Nappy-boy at the session, Ange-Dady Akre-Loba, a 28year-old stylist with mid-length locks, said men, too, get odd looks if they do not stick with the usual close-cropped style worn by Ivory Coast men. “From five centimeters (two inches), it is considered too long here... Many people would say I have a bit too much hair,” he said. Less conformist men are expected to “remain discreet”, said Akre-Loba, who let his own hair grow out during the post-electoral violence that rocked the country during 2010-2011. Leaving your home at the time was potentially dangerous and most of the barbers were closed anyway so the insecurity offered Akre-Loba the excuse to finally go natural, he said. He has since learnt to ignore what others think and “try to carry on regardless and to be myself”. — AFP

A young woman looks at her natural frizzy hair.

19th Mar  

Kuwait Times