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A shared destiny

CAIRO: Kuwait Times Editor-in-Chief Abd Al-Rahman Al-Alyan (right) meets interim Egyptian President Adly Al-Mansour yesterday.

Interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour expounds on Kuwait-Egypt relations, the forthcoming Arab Summit, the political situation in Egypt, the Palestinian and Syrian crises and other regional issues during a meeting with a Kuwaiti media delegation. SEE PAGES 2 & 3

Local FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Kuwait and Egypt: Ties that bind By Abd Al-Rahman Al-Alyan Kuwait Times Editor-in-Chief CAIRO: Interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour yesterday met a Kuwaiti media delegation comprising of editors-in-chief of Kuwaiti newspapers, the director of Kuwait Journalists Association and KUNA’s editor-inchief. Q: What are the most important issues to be discussed at the 25th Arab Summit due to be held in Kuwait on March 25, and do you expect the summit will succeed in realizing joint work and help clear tensions? A: Since 2000, when the summit is regularly held, it has been discussing various issues that affect the interests of Arab peoples from East to West. I personally believe that certain issues will be more dominant in this summit, such as the Palestinian issue in view of the efforts exerted by US Secretary of State John

Mansour meets the Kuwaiti media delegation.

Interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour welcomes Kuwait Times Editor-in-Chief Abd Al-Rahman Al-Alyan.

Kerry to come up with a suitable framework to resume serious peace negotiations that would lead to a real solution and allow Palestinians establish an independent state on lands occupied in 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital. It is also obvious that the summit will address the worsening Syrian crisis that has caused a disastrous humanitarian crisis. There is no way out of this crisis except by a political solution backed by both the international community and regional powers. Arabs will have a major role to play in reaching this solution and I would like to highlight that none of the parties will benefit from the ongoing armed conflict that will negatively affect everybody’s interests in and outside Syria. Fighting terrorism will surely be prioritized on this summit’s agenda after our Arab nations and people started suffering from blind terrorism that aims at intimidating our peoples and taking over our countries. Egypt

will be keen on inviting Arab sister countries to activate the Arab anti-terrorism agreement in order to eliminate terrorism and prevent terrorists from having any safe havens and spiritually or financially support them. Finally, I believe working on developing the mechanism of Arab cooperation must strongly addressed in view of the changes in both regional and international arenas, which leave us no choice but combine our efforts and coordinate our attitudes and policies to defend our joint interests as Arab peoples. Q: How do you view the role Kuwait, under leadership of HH the Amir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, can play in clearing tensions in Arab relations as well as enhancing Arab consolidation? A: We have great confidence in the wisdom and capability of Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad to use hosting the Arab summit to fulfill the Arab world’s leaders’ and peoples’ aspi-

rations towards a better future, facing the challenges and dangers surrounding us and supporting joint Arab frameworks. Q: In the aftermath of the Jan 25 and June 30 revolutions, what are the most important issues Egypt will bring to the summit? A: This summit is of significance because the Arab situations need a ‘wakeup call’. Crises are increasing in our lands. The Palestinian issue has still not reached a just solution. The dangerous situation in Syria has been having negative impacts within other Arab societies. Many regional and international countries care about the situation in Syria and some of them are calling for intervening. As Arabs, we have to and can solve our own problems once we decide to join efforts and utilize our potentials. Egypt carries these concerns to the summit and will make proposals to revive the active Arab role in protecting the region and achieve

Local FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

stability, just as Arab peoples expect their leaders to do. Our societies are overburdened with illiteracy and extremism and have been facing hateful terrorism that claims to be Islam-based while we all know that Islam is purely innocent from calling for violence, murder and the destruction our region has unfortunately been lately witnessing on a daily basis. There is also the need to declare the Middle East nuclear and WMD-free, which is a highly important topic in view of the fact that Israel is the only regional state that has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and has never subjected its nuclear facilities to IAEA inspection, which calls for special measures since such a situation creates a case of regional strategic imbalance and poses a threat of the spread of such weapons in an area that already has major security problems. All these topics will be discussed at the summit which we hope will effectively contribute in adopting Arab policies and moves to solve those issues and face the threats our societies are facing. Q: In view of the occasional terrorist attacks in Egypt and different international attitudes after the deposing of former president Mohamed Morsi, how do you view Egypt’s political, security, economic and touristic future? A: Egypt’s future will be determined by its own people. Their choices were clear at all phases including the recent referendum on the amended constitution. The Egyptian people will never put off its will because of some desperate acts of terrorism that will never stop life from going on. We fought a similar war against terror in the 1990s and it was not limited into Egypt. We fought it on behalf of the whole region. As of international attitudes, there are no differences in recognizing the Egyptian revolution’s legitimacy. Others’ interest in what is going on in Egypt is because of Egypt’s significance and its impact on the entire region. Q: When will you set a date for the presidential and parliamentary elections in Egypt and what will the interval between them be? A: We are moving with our roadmap and the first phase was the Egyptian people’s approval of the constitution. The Supreme Committee for the presidential elections will, within a few days, announce nominations for the elections and when the presidential elections will take place. Parliamentary elections will be then scheduled. Q: What about the Egyptian authorities’ efforts to settle the disagreement with Ethiopia over the Renaissance Dam Project? A: This topic poses a major challenge for both the Egyptian government and people because it is related to the Nile waters which provide over 90 percent of Egyptian water needs. Egypt has, more than once and at all levels, stressed that it does not mind and actually supports building developmental projects in the river source countries. It also expressed complete readiness to cooperate and provide expertise needed to support such projects. The main problem lies in some countries’ wish to build huge projects and dams without consulting estuary countries about the best methods to build and operate those dams, which is very dangerous because it means ignoring the interests of those countries including Egypt. The Nile is an international river and relations between countries that share it must be governed by international rules, laws and principles that apply to them as well as other countries sharing rivers worldwide. Dangerous developments have been taking place over the past months in view of the Ethiopians ignoring recommendations made

(From left) Head of Arab Media Forum Madhi Khamees, Kuwait Journalists Association Treasurer Adnan Al-Rashed, Al-Rai Editor-in-Chief Majed Al-Ali, Al-Nahar Editor-in-Chief Jawad Bukhamseen, Al-Anbaa Editor-in-Chief Yousef Al-Marzouq, Interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour, a presidential aide, KUNA Editor-in-Chief Saad Al-Ali, Deputy Chief of the Kuwaiti mission to Egypt Mohammad Al-Mohammad, KUNA’s Egypt Bureau Chief Mona Shishter and Kuwait Times Editor-in-Chief Abd Al-Rahman Al-Alyan pose for a group photo. by the international experts’ committee comprising experts from Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt and international experts assigned to assess the possible impacts on estuary countries, which called for conducting comprehensive environmental, water and socio-economic studies prior to building the dam. Ethiopia has been ignoring those recommendations and insists on carrying on with the dam’s construction. We hope that Ethiopia will realize how dangerous the situation is and that it is jeopardizing the interests of a whole people that have no other water resource but the Nile. So we repeatedly stressed that being neighbors and having joint history and interests necessitate that both countries open a frank, transparent and understanding dialogue to contain the crisis before it gets any worse. Q: How do you view the Iran-US rapprochement, especially after the recent agreement Iran reached with the 5+1 group on its nuclear program? A: We strongly support peaceful solutions of all conflicts, which is a matter of principle for us. Out of our belief that all regional countries have equal rights in terms of security, we called for clearing the region of nuclear weapons in 1974 and of all WMDs in 1990. It will surely pose a step forward towards achieving more stability if the agreement helps reduce the tensions and matches those principles. Q: In mid-March this year, the Syrian crisis entered its fourth year and has increased the sufferings of millions of Syrians while fighting goes on. What is Egypt’s attitude on this conflict, especially in view of failing to peacefully solve it in Geneva? A: We do emphasize our full solidarity with the Syrian people in their daily sufferings. Egypt’s attitude has been for reaching a political solution that would fulfill the Syrian people’s need for change and longing for freedom and democracy away from extremism and terrorism - a solution that protects all Syrians’ rights and the country’s sovereignty and unity. Co-existence among all Syrians is the key solution that might end this tragedy. I would like to point that this conflict will not be solved militarily. The more both sides believe they are capable of ending it by combat, the more destruction Syria will suffer. Syria needs huge Arab and international efforts and support in terms of reconstruction and this will not be achieved if this military conflict goes on, costing lives and destroying infrastructure on daily basis. Undoubtedly, the Geneva negotiations need to be resumed ASAP taking the agreed

upon Geneva Document signed on June 30, 2012 as a basis of the negotiations. In this regard, Egypt strongly supports the UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi who is spending valuable time, exerting endless efforts and utilizing his vast experience in handling the Syrian issue. What is needed now is to reach an agreement to end the crisis. The Security Council’s resolution number 2139 needs to be put into practice to end the Syrian people sufferings and reach suitable solutions. Q: How do you see the future of the peace process between Palestinians and Israel and do you support US efforts in this regard? A: Since the beginning, Egypt has supported US mediation between both sides on the basis that the negotiations lead to the establishment of a full-sovereign Palestinian state on territories within the 1967 borders that include the West Bank, Eastern Jerusalem and Gaza. US efforts have succeeded in having both sides take part in a new round of negotiations that is expected to end by the end of April. In this regard, I would like to express Egypt’s full support to the Palestinian leadership represented by President Mahmoud Abbas in its struggle towards making the independent Palestinian state a fact. Though the situation on the ground might call for some concern, the resumption of imposing de facto policies by building more settlements and tampering with holy sanctities in East Jerusalem and barging into the Al-Aqsa Mosque and assaulting worshippers pose great challenges to US mediators to force the Israeli side to respect the ongoing negotiations. Q: Egypt’s relations with the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas in the Gaza Strip has been greatly troubled since the toppling of President Mohamed Morsi. What is the expected future of such relations and is there any hope of bridging gaps between both sides? A: Egypt’s relation with the Palestinian cause has undoubtedly been a fundamental one and Egypt has sacrificed much blood and lives in this cause. Ever since Egypt took the lead for many reasons, it has been promoting the Palestinian issue through its strong bonds with various Palestinian groups, especially those in our geographic neighbor Gaza. Nothing proves Egypt’s involvement in many Palestinian dialogue rounds, before and after the division, than the Cairo Declaration issued in 2005 as a result of national Palestinian dialogue between president Abbas and representatives of 12 other

Palestinian groups. After the 2007 division, Egypt immediately hosted efforts aimed at ending the division between Fatah and Hamas to avoid its devastating effects on the whole national Palestinian project. However, we do emphasize that the Egyptian attitude over relations with various Palestinian groups stems from the following principles: First: Unity of Palestinian representation worldwide by PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people under the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas. Second: Presenting all needed support to translate the new legal status Palestinians gained through the UN’s historic resolution of accepting Palestine as a non-member (observer) state on November 29, 2012. Third: The importance of re-subjecting Gaza Strip and Hamas to the Palestinian legitimacy by ending the Palestinian division and reuniting with the West bank. Concerning Hamas and its relations with Egypt, we can say that instead of focusing on supporting the Palestinian national project and facing the occupation, the movement has committed several mistakes by interfering in Egypt’s domestic and political affairs and supporting a political group deemed as terrorist by the whole Egyptian people. We can generally say that bridging troubled waters between Egypt and Hamas requires the latter’s immediate halt of interfering in Egyptian domestic affairs and respecting the Egyptian people’s choices. Q: How do you assess Egyptian-Kuwaiti ties and both countries’ cooperation in various fields? A: Egyptian-Kuwaiti brotherly and historic relations go way back and are strongly exceptional. They have set role models of fraternity and unity of destiny amongst Arab brothers whose martyrs’ blood has mixed in war. And by the will of Allah, our relations will go on lighting paths of more cooperation and coordination amongst Arab states. Through several meetings with HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad, we agreed on the necessity to enhance our countries’ bilateral relations, especially in commercial, economic and investment fields. Kuwait is ranked fifth amongst foreign investors in Egypt and third amongst Arab ones. We will always boost and develop such investments and deal with any possible barriers. On this occasion, I would also like to renew the appreciation of Egypt’s people and government to Kuwait’s political and economic support since the June 30 revolution, which emphasizes both sides’ belief in their united destiny.

Local FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Conspiracy Theories KUWAIT: A luxury car in Union Jack colors is displayed at the Avenues Mall as part of the Great British Week that began yesterday. — Photo by Yasser AlZayyat (See Page 9)

Private laser issues By Badrya Darwish


rom a very young age, I have never heard of men interfering in women’s private affairs, such as what kind of epilator they use or how they groom their hair or any other part of their body. I rarely see or hear a man entering a beauty parlour to give instructions on how his wife removes her hair or does her pedicure. This is a woman’s job regardless if she is liberal or conservative. And this is the case all over the world. I have lived both in the United Kingdom and in the Arab world. I have never seen a man interfere in these affairs. Until now. A friend of mine recently called me and said she was in a beauty salon waiting at the reception for her turn. She overheard a large dispute between a few people. Naturally, she wanted to know what was going on and started listening and peeping to see the arguers. An Arab man was accompanying his wife for treatment. It looked like the treatment was laser hair removal from the private parts. This is the point that hooked my friend to the rest of the conversation. It seemed that the technician who was doing the treatment explained that the laser for the sensitive parts is effective only for dark, thick hair. At this point the man kept on asking about why the laser does not work on white hair and what other options exist to remove the white hair besides the conventional methods that women use around the world - waxing in all its shapes and forms. Be it the Arab traditional waxing known as sheera or the modern way of removing hair with strips of paper. Nowadays, there are hundreds of types of commercialized ways to remove hair. As a woman from the Middle East I could not tolerate the news and burst out laughing. Was the man’s major concern his wife’s bikini lines and beyond? Are there no more important issues he should worry about? Let his wife solve this problem on her own. Life is strange and has its own ways. Yesterday I met a woman who could not pay for school fees for her kids and her rent. Today my friend is telling me about a man who is worried about how the laser works on his wife’s private parts. What a passionate and caring husband! What do you think, ladies? Would you like to be accompanied to the beauty parlour by your partner? Have a nice weekend! @BadryaD

Local FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Students Art Competition ‘KUWAIT


Under the Patronage of His Excellency

Sheikh Salman Sabah Al Salem Al Hmoud Al Sabah Minister of Information and Minister of Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman will attend the closing ceremony of Students Art Competition


he student environment art competition is held under the sponsorship of Chevron, Zain and Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa. Adnan Saad, Kuwait Times Marketing Director and organizer of the competition said that the competition aimed to give students a chance to learn more about the nature of Kuwait. The competition was held for the first time in 1994. More than 80 schools representing almost 8,000 students participated in the competition this year. Such competitions are a lot more than great prizes and having fun; they allow participants to learn, show their skills, compare their results and share their talents with others. Art is the melody of life, the reflection of society and an important element for academic success. A drawing competition such as this is another avenue where our primary school participants can express their creativity outside of

the classroom. Through their drawings, our young participants are given opportunities to think out-of-the-box, exercise their imagination, and translate creative ideas into paper. Saad added, “I also see this competition as another platform for like-minded youths who are interested in art to mingle and share ideas. Their coming together generates synergy and dynamism, and can spur them to achieve greater peaks of excellence.” The process of selecting outstanding works of art out of nearly 8,000 participants was not an easy one. The selection will be eventually made by the judging panel, to whom we express deep gratitude for their decisions that were based on artistic and creative principles. “In my opinion, everyone is a winner because they let out honest expression of a beautiful and green Kuwait,” Saad concluded.

Available at The Sultan Centre & Carrefour

Local FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Home I am taking care of my daughter way better than a school. Your children can have extra time to enjoy life, and I act not just as a mother for my two kids but also a teacher.

schooling becoming a trend

By Ben Garcia


re you living on a tight budget but want to give your child the best education? If your answer is yes, then you might consider homeschooling -home education or home-based learning by parents or tutors rather than in the formal settings of public or private schools. Homeschooling, a legal option for parents in many countries around the world, is a rare occurrence in the Arab world. There is no ban on homeschooling in Kuwait. For expatriate parents in Kuwait, homeschooling is slowly gaining popularity, especially among Americans, Europeans and Filipinos. “The children of some Americans and Europeans are being homeschooled because they are frequent travelers and move a lot. Filipinos are not into it so much yet,” said Deese Tubale, the coordinator of parents of homeschooled children in Kuwait. She explained that the Philippines accepted this method only 10 years ago and is now accepted by the Department of Education in Manila. She herself is a product of homeschooling, when she did her master’s degree. “I thought of putting together a non-profit support group because it is important for parents and children who are now into homeschool-

Deese Tubale teaches her daughter at home. ing,” she said, adding that she does not get any monetary compensation for her services. Deese is a proud mother of two daughters aged 2 and 5. The eldest is now in KG 2 and is being homeschooled. “I enrolled by child in 2012 in online classes provided by a wellknown school in America. I want to be handson in everything for my kids, so my eldest is my first student,” she said. “I feel very proud because I am teaching my own child and every parent wants the best for their children. My time is flexible - I have sessions every day

from 10 am to noon or sometimes 1 pm; then sessions in the afternoon from 6 pm to 9 pm. I give her freedom to do whatever she likes in her free time. The time wasted on the road is now spent with her sister or sometimes painting,” she said. Deese’s house serves as a virtual classroom for her eldest as well as younger child. She had hundreds of school materials properly arranged and displayed. She has a study table complete with whiteboards, a piano in the corner and a place to play. “I set up a healthy environment for my child to learn. My objective in designing my house as a virtual school is to encourage her and develop her mental ability and boost her creativity,” she said. Education in Kuwait is free for citizens, but foreign students have to deal with exorbitant tuition fees charged by traditional private schools for expatriates. “I am paying three to five times lower than a traditional school. Besides, homeschooling your children is a really excellent choice. I don’t regret it because I am taking care of her way better than a school. Your children can have extra time to enjoy life, and I act not just as a mother for my two kids but also a teacher. We also visit playgrounds and allow her to interact with other kids. I also take her frequently to malls, and we watch movies that talk about life and reality. She likes animated movies with great messages. She is socially very active and an approachable four-year-old,” she said. In addition, Deese does not force her

daughter to wake up at 5 am to prepare for school. “Homeschooling is flexible, so I set a comfortable time to study and learn. If she’s studying in a formal school, she has no choice she has to rise early because she has to go to school and encounter traffic,” Deese reasoned. “Also in a traditional school, she has to bathe at an early hour, wear a uniform and forcibly eat breakfast. In homeschooling, none of these will be encountered. I start her class at 10 am so she has a sound sleep, and I stop at her convenience. I allow her to sleep again in the afternoon, then back at her study table at 6 pm,” she said. Textbooks and exams are from the online school providing the homeschooling. “I found the system very reliable and friendly. Now that homeschooling is available, I think I would highly recommend it to everyone.” Deese chose a US program because her daughter doesn’t understand Tagalog very well. When it comes to Filipino subjects, she is not that interested, so I decided on the American curriculum. She will learn the Filipino language eventually, but for now she is okay with the US-based school, and I found it very advanced compared to its peers,” Deese mentioned. Deese is the founder of the Filipino Homeschoolers Kuwait Group - a group of parents currently homeschooling her children. The group was founded last month and currently has at least 10 Filipino members. For more information, visit —

Local FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Innocence lost By Nawara Fattahova


oy abandoned in orphanage and children born out of wedlock in a jail ward reveal the plight of unmarried mothers and expat deportees in Kuwait. An Egyptian child from an Indonesian mother and Egyptian father who were both deported has been living at the Social Care Home (SCH) for seven years. According to reports, Osama, who was renamed Abdullah by officials at the SCH, still lives at the orphanage. His father who had committed a financial crime was caught and imprisoned. After serving his sentence, the man was deported to Egypt, his native country. The Indonesian mother, who was resident in Kuwait on a dependant visa, remained in the country after the deportation of her spouse. After her visa expired and she failed to renew it because her husband was not in the country, she took a job in a beauty salon. During a ministry inspection one day, the woman was arrested and was immediately deported to her home country, according to news reports. After the deportation of both parents, the one-year-old child was placed at the SCH. An official from SCH blamed the parents for not taking their child with them and said that the government will cooperate with the respective embassies and would simplify the procedures of returning the child to his parents. Procedures not followed PR Director of the Ministry of Interior Col Adel Al-Hashash noted that the correct deportation procedures were not followed. “Usually when an expat is deported for any reason, his family members who are his dependants and are residing in the country on family visas will be deported along with him. If for any reason they were not deported with him at the same time, they will follow him as soon as possible,” he told Kuwait Times. Hashash expressed surprise as to why the wife and son of the deportee were not deported along with him or why the

son was not deported with his mother. “Maybe the father and the mother didn’t admit having a child,” surmised Hashash. According to an official from the SCH who preferred to remain anonymous, Abdullah has been staying at the SCH for about seven years. “He entered the orphanage as a child of unknown parents, so he is treated like the rest of the kids in the facility. He goes to an Arabic school, and he will stay at the orphanage until he turns 21 years old,” the official noted. According to him, based on official documents proving the parents of a child, the SCH will cooperate with the embassy or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to simplify handing over the child to his legal parents. “The documents Abdullah was registered with when entering the SCH states that his parents are unknown. Also, we didn’t receive any correspondence from any institution demanding to take him,” he added. The SCH only accepts children from unknown parents, with exceptions. “We only have two cases of abandoned kids from known parents and they are exceptions as these are humanitarian cases. We also accept children born from illicit pregnancies, or from a known mother who doesn’t want the child - in this case certain conditions apply, such as having birth certificate and a verdict from the court,” explained the official. Maj Naser Buslaib, Head of the Security Information Department of the Ministry of Interior noted that some single mothers are kept in a special section of the women’s prison for illicit pregnancies, without specifying their number or nationality. “If the single mother is a Kuwaiti, which is very rare, then she will stay here depending on the verdict issued from the court. If the mother is an expat, she will be deported along with her child. The Ministry of Interior is an executive institution and does not decide how long they stay,” he pointed out. Ward 10 Ward 10 is the “illicit pregnancy ward” at the Maternity Hospital in the Sabah medical zone. Women who deliver from illicit pregnancies are confined here. They are not allowed to leave and outsiders are not allowed to enter. An administrative

staff working at the hospital said currently there are about 10 mothers in this ward, mostly Asian maids. “Even if a pregnant married woman comes to the hospital without a marriage certificate, she will be placed in this ward till she brings the certificate. If the unmarried mother is a Kuwaiti national, the police will arrest the father and force him to marry her. If he denies and the DNA test proves he is not the father, then she as the rest of expat single mothers will go to jail until the court decides what will happen with her,” she stated. According to her, these mothers don’t stay for long periods at the hospital. “They usually stay for a few weeks and sometimes months until a ruling from the general prosecutor. After that, they are transferred to prison. They receive donations in the form of baby clothes, diapers and other items from charity groups and even from the staff of the hospital. I think they are doing fine,” she stated. The smell of burnt milk and stench welcomes visitors to the ward, which is open only for charity workers delivering diapers, food, clothes or toys to the women. In a room the size of an average office, 16 new mothers and mothers-to-be share a small sleeping space. A security guard unlocks the door to their room and escorts them to the bathroom. The women hailing from different countries including India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Indonesia and Ethiopia all look tired, overwhelmed and very afraid. The woman nearest to the door reaches her hand out while breastfeeding her newborn to grab a blanket to cover her. Another one shyly gets a toy for her baby in a cot in the corner and goes to sit beside him. After a quick chat with the nurse in charge, the women are ushered back into the room as the guest visit ends with the delivery of a few items earlier this summer. At that time, the majority of the 16 women locked in the ward were awaiting their jail sentences and deportation. Dirt and stuffiness as well as unwelcoming looks from the employees is the first sight of the jail-ward. Then come the looks of fear for their children, for their own future and the wait for their punishment.

Local FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

‘Great British Week’ off to a grand start By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: British Ambassador to Kuwait Frank Baker yesterday inaugurated the Great British Week, held from March 20 to April 3, 2014 under the patronage of HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. The event is a celebration of all that’s British and the historically close alliance between the UK and Kuwait. “The Great British Week is designed to emphasize the strong and historical bilateral relationship between the two countries, while exhibiting the best of Britain’s traditions and innovation,” said Baker during the opening ceremony yesterday at the Avenues mall. Events are planned over a period of two weeks and will showcase a range of activities from film festivals to concerts and academic lectures to an automotive showcase. “These events will highlight British vision in design, innovation, cuisine, music, film and technology. To commence the week, internationally renowned fashion designer Maria Grachvogel will hold a prestigious invitation-only fashion show at the Avenues in association with top British luxury department store Harvey Nichols,” added Baker. “I’m delighted to see the excitement already evident on social media amongst our Kuwaiti friends for the events we’re organizing. I’m certain that they will all be fantastic occasions and I’m looking forward to sharing in the atmosphere and enjoying the show,” he added. Mohammed Al-Shaya, Chairman of Mabanee Com expressed his happiness to host the Great British Week at the Avenues. “This event promotes British trade and culture along with fashion, food, creativity and innovation.

KUWAIT: British Ambassador to Kuwait Frank Baker opens the Great British Week yesterday at the Avenues Mall. He is flanked by Abdullah Bishara and Waleed Al-Shurian. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat British stores will also offer promotions. The Great British Week strongly reflects the long decades of close and influential relations between the UK and Kuwait,” he said. The embassy is also collaborating with the British Council, Bayt Lothan, Loyac and British schools amongst others, who are hosting a range of exciting activities to

coincide with the Great British Week including cricket matches, a children’s book event and a British-Kuwaiti philatelic and numismatic exhibition. The final event of the Great British Week will see a talk by former Prime Minister Sir John Major at Kuwait University, who will be speaking on the past, present and future of Kuwait-UK relations.

Ukrainian ambassador calls on Russia to end aggression Arab League urged to weigh in as Crimea boils By Chidi Emmanuel

KUWAIT: A vehicle caught fire on Tunis Street in Hawally yesterday. Firefighters controlled the blaze without casualties. — By Hanan Al-Saadoun

A life on the edge By Sunil Cherian


riday Times exclusively brings to our readers a story from the daily lives of mothers who are sandwiched between their duties as a wife, housekeeper, shopper, cook, errand runner and a mother between whatever jobs they are doing. A photo received from a citizen journalist in Egypt on March 20 speaks volumes on the plights of mothers. The photo shows two siblings standing on a windowsill apparently to escape the daily routine while their helpless mother, not fooled by her kids’ mischief and not panicky by the situation trying to make the kids return to the room. The mother knows the adverse effect of her screaming would cause and therefore seems to be calm, controlled and balanced. The photo was taken on Thursday morning when the two girls were spotted on the 3rd floor windowsill of a flat in 6th of October City, in Giza Governorate, 32 km outside Cairo, Egypt. The city hosts Egyptian students and students from the Gulf and Palestinian territories, who study at its private universities. Friday Times while paying honors to all mothers has good news to share: the kids on the windowsill safely returned to their mother’s hands.

KUWAIT: As the tension between Russia and Ukraine over Crimea simmers, Ukrainian Ambassador in Kuwait Dr Volodymyr Tolkach called on Moscow to respect international treaties and Ukrainian sovereignty. During a press conference at the Ukrainian Embassy yesterday, Tolkach rejected Moscow and Crimea’s assertions that they acted in ‘self defense’ to protect the Russian majority in the region. “Russians in Ukraine enjoy more freedom than anywhere in the region. There is no proof whatsoever of ethnic Russians killed in Crimea or in Southeastern Ukraine. More so, 95 percent of Ukrainians indicate Ukraine (and not Russia or the former Soviet Union) as their motherland. Moscow’s claim that it acted ‘to protect the Russian population in the Crimea’ is baseless. They (Russians) were not in any way under attack,” Tolkach insisted, as he rejected the Crimea referendum, which according to him was a ploy by Russia to annex and provoke tensions in the region. He underlined the importance of maintaining efforts towards a diplomatic and peaceful solution to the problem and urged Moscow to refrain from any steps that would endanger such principles. Meanwhile, a resolution adopted by the Ukraine’s parliament yesterday said “Kiev will never recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea and will press for the liberation of the strategic Black Sea peninsula. Ukraine will never cease to fight for the liberation of Crimea as long and painful as this can be,” said the resolution - an initiative of acting president Olexandr Turchynov. Echoing the Ukrainian new government’s stand, Tolkach said that Ukraine will never give up any part of its territory but insists on dialogue. He called on Russia to end its hostilities. As Kiev rallies international support, Moscow yesterday began a legal process required to make Crimea part of Russia, which according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, will be completed this week. On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty to bring the Ukrainian region into Russia and the upper house of parliament is expected to ratify it later today.

Russia, West face off Russia’s moves to annex the Black Sea peninsula have turned a bitter confrontation with Europe and the United States into the biggest crisis in East-West relations since the Cold War. Russia is under enormous pressure to deescalate the tension in the region with the Western countries raining sanction on Moscow over its annexation of the Crimea. On this note, the Ukrainian ambassador called on the international community including the Arab League - which will be having a summit in Kuwait next week - to pressurize Moscow to give up its land grab. “The Russian policy towards Ukraine does not only exterminate the bilateral international-legal basis, it also poses a threat to the global system of international treat. We call on the Arab League to join the international community for regional peace - and preserving the territorial sovereignty of a state,” Tolkach added.

KUWAIT: Ukrainian Ambassador to Kuwait Dr Volodymyr Tolkach speaks to journalists at the Ukrainian Embassy yesterday. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Cafe bombings push Iraq death toll to 46

Israel-Syria faceoff unlikely to escalate



Indian court convicts five gang rapists


This combo image released by the Australian Government’s Department of Defense show satellite images of objects in the Indian Ocean which may be from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 which disappeared en route to Beijing early on March 8. — AFP

‘Credible lead’ for missing plane Australia investigating potential debris SYDNEY: Aircraft and ships ploughed through bad weather yesterday in search of floating objects in remote seas off Australia that Malaysia’s government called a “credible lead” in the trans-continental hunt for a jetliner missing for 12 days. The large objects, which Australian officials said were spotted by satellite four days ago in one of the remotest parts of the globe, are the most promising lead in days as searchers scour a vast area for the lost plane with 239 people on board. Officials cautioned it could take several days to confirm if they were parts of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, and Malaysia’s government said the search would continue elsewhere despite the possible sighting in the southern Indian Ocean. The area where the objects were spotted is around 2,500 km southwest of Perth in western Australia. “Yesterday I said that we wanted to reduce the area of the search. We now have a credible lead,” Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters in Kuala

Lumpur. “There remains much work to be done to deploy the assets. This work will continue overnight.” Hishammuddin said the information on the objects received from Australia had been “corroborated to a certain extent” by other satellites, making it more credible than previous leads. The larger of the objects measured up to 24 meters (79 ft), long and appeared to be floating in water several thousand metres deep, Australian officials said. The second object was about five metres (16 feet) long. Arrows on the images pointed to two indistinct objects apparently bobbing in the water. “It’s credible enough to divert the research to this area on the basis it provides a promising lead to what might be wreckage from the debris field,” Royal Australian Air Force Air Commodore John McGarry told a news conference in Canberra. No confirmed wreckage from Flight MH370 has been found since it vanished from air traffic control screens off Malaysia’s east coast early on March 8, less than an hour after taking off from

Kuala Lumpur for Beijing. Another official in Malaysia said investigators were “hopeful but cautious” about the Australian discovery. The satellite images, provided by US company DigitalGlobe, are stamped with a record date of March 16, meaning that the possible debris could by now have drifted far from the original site. Australian officials said an aircraft had dropped a series of marker buoys in the area, which will provide information about currents to assist in calculating the latest location. The captain of the first Australian air force AP-3C Orion plane to return from the search area described the weather conditions as “extremely bad” with rough seas and high winds, and said there was no sign of any objects. “The weather conditions were such that we were unable to see for very much of the flight today but the other aircraft that are searching, they may have better conditions,” Royal Australian Air Force Flight Lieutenant Chris Birrer told reporters. At least one aircraft, a Royal New Zealand Air Force

Orion, was still in the search area, while other aircraft including a US Navy P-8 Poseidon were returning to Perth, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA). A Norwegian car carrier diverted from its journey from Madagascar to Melbourne to help with the search and had arrived in the area, the ship’s owner said. A Royal Australian Navy ship equipped to recover any objects was also en route, but was still “some days away”, Young said. Baffling mystery The fate of Flight MH370 has been baffling aviation experts for nearly two weeks. Investigators believe that someone with detailed knowledge of both the Boeing 777-200ER and commercial aviation navigation switched off the plane’s communications systems before diverting it thousands of miles off its scheduled course. Exhaustive background checks of the passengers and crew aboard have not yielded anything that might explain why. —Reuters

International FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Putin tests Obama’s foreign policy WASHINGTON: For President Barack Obama, Russia’s aggressive annexation of Crimea is testing central tenets of his foreign policy philosophy: his belief in the power of direct diplomacy, his preference for using economic sanctions as punishment and his inclination to proceed cautiously in order to avoid creating larger long-term problems. The question facing the White House now is whether actions that have done little to stop Russia from claiming Crimea are tough enough to stop further escalations by Moscow. And if they continue to prove insufficient, what else is Obama willing to do to change Vladimir Putin’s calculus? The menu of additional options appears limited. The White House says a military response is not being considered, and officials have so far resisted calls to supply Ukraine’s fledgling government with military equipment. Instead, the US is likely to focus on financial assistance to Ukraine and deepening economic sanctions against Russian officials whom the White House deems responsible for the crisis. White House spokesman Jay Carney vowed Wednesday that “more action will be taken.” He indicated that financial penalties could spread to the Russian arms sector, wealthy oligarchs and additional Kremlin officials.

And Vice President Joe Biden, trying to soothe concerns in nations on Russia’s borders, said in Lithuania that the US will respond to any aggression against its NATO allies. He declared, “We’re in this together with you.” But thus far, sanctions levied by both the US and the European Union have done little to deter Russian President Putin. Nor have Obama’s direct appeals to Putin in four lengthy phone calls or his efforts to isolate Russia internationally by rallying allies to suspend preparations for the economic summit Putin was scheduled to host this summer. “We have gotten ourselves backed into a pretty bad corner,” says Rosa Brooks, an international law professor at Georgetown University who served in the Pentagon during Obama’s first term. “Putin quite correctly calculated that there’s really not much we can do.” Almost every punishment or warning from the US has been followed by defiance from the Russian leader. Hours after the US and EU imposed their first round of asset freezes and other sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian officials, Putin formally recognized Crimea’s independence from Ukraine. The following day, he signed a treaty making Crimea Russian territory. “If you push a spring too hard, at some point it will spring back,” the Russian

leader said in a fiery speech Tuesday. “You always need to remember this.” The crisis in Crimea has become a flashpoint in a new dispute between East and West. Russia moved troops into the peninsula after Ukraine’s Kremlin-backed president fled the capital of Kiev amid rallies protesting his decision to abandon plans for deepening ties with Europe. On Sunday, voters in Crimea overwhelmingly cast ballots in favor of joining Russia. On Wednesday, Russian forces seized military installations across Crimea. The White House has decried Russia’s maneuvers as a violation of international law and does not recognize Moscow’s annexation of Crimea. Putin’s actions have opened Obama to fresh criticism from Republicans, who argue that the secondterm president, already politically weakened at home, now looks wobbly on the world stage. Republican Sens John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have called on Obama to provide military assistance to Ukraine in the form of small arms and ammunition, as well as non-lethal assistance to the government in Kiev. “The West must impose real costs on Russia for its aggression in Ukraine. By failing to do so, we only invite further aggression elsewhere,” the two senators said in a statement.

Other lawmakers, including Virginia Rep Eric Cantor have called on the US and its international partners to revoke Russia’s membership in the Group of Eight. Cantor, the No 2 Republican in the House, also urged the administration to increase energy exports to weaken what he called Russia’s “stranglehold” on oil and gas supplies to Ukraine and much of Europe. Administration officials privately acknowledge there is little chance Putin will give up Crimea, a strategically important peninsula that has long housed a Russian military base. Instead, the most pressing US concerns are now cooling tensions in Crimea, where both Ukraine and Russia have troops, and preventing Putin from pushing into areas of eastern Ukraine that have similarly pro-Russian populations. Secretary of State John Kerry said any further Russian incursion into eastern Ukraine would be a “major breach.” But he declined to give specifics on how the US would respond. Even as the US and Europe talk tough, there are practical concerns on both sides of the Atlantic that are likely to factor into future decisions about punishing Russia. European nations, including powerful Germany, have deep economic ties to Russia and fear Putin could retaliate financially if the EU ordered tougher sanctions. —AP

Yaalon disappointed over US ‘weakness’ Israeli Defense Minister Yaalon in hot water

GOLAN HEIGHTS: Israeli soldiers deployed on the border with Syria observe Syrian territory from Israeli side of the border near the Druze village of Majdal Shams in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights. — AFP

Israel-Syria faceoff unlikely to escalate JERUSALEM: Israel’s air strikes on Syria after a bomb targeted Israeli troops on the occupied Golan Heights was unlikely to spiral into full-scale confrontation, with each side preoccupied elsewhere, commentators said yesterday. Israeli warplanes attacked Syrian army positions early on Wednesday and the Jewish state issued a stark warning to Damascus just hours after a bomb wounded four Israeli soldiers on the Golan, one severely. Over the past year, Israel has reportedly carried out a series of raids on Syrian and Hezbollah targets but has not officially acknowledged them. In a rare departure, the Israel military issued a public statement acknowledging Wednesday’s strikes on Syrian army facilities. Damascus, meanwhile, said one soldier had been killed and seven more wounded in an act of “aggression” that endangered regional stability. But most commentators agreed that neither Israel nor the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad were seeking a faceoff as each was dealing with threats on other fronts. Assad has been tied up fighting a three-year civil war against rebels seeking his ouster, while Israel is occupied with the threats of rockets from Gaza in the south, powerful Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah on its northern flank and the perceived threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program. “Assad has no desire to get into a direct confrontation with Israel, which could bring about his end,” Syria expert Eyal Zisser told the Jerusalem Post. Although the targets in Wednesday’s raids were Syrian army, it appeared that the bomb was planted by militants from Damascus ally Hezbollah, pundits said. Syria has long provided arms and other aid to Hezbollah, and served as a conduit for Iranian military aid to the movement, which battled Israel to a bloody stalemate in a 2006 war. —AFP

JERUSALEM: Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon is in hot water again with the United States for caustic criticism of his country’s main ally that has put more strain on already testy relations with the Obama administration. And the hawkish former general, widely popular in Israel for being an apparent straight-shooter who does not shy from speaking bluntly on issues of war and peace, seems reluctant to beat a full retreat from his tough words toward Washington. Issuing statements voicing regret at any offence he might have caused, Yaalon has not backed away from the substance of a scathing personal attack in January on US Secretary of State John Kerry. In further criticism, Yaalon displayed deep disappointment with US President Barack Obama’s handling of burning world issues, and he has not retracted his accusation that the world’s strongest superpower is projecting weakness abroad. “Bogie does not take well to being corrected,” an exadviser, using Yaalon’s nickname, told Reuters. Asked what Yaalon might be up to by criticizing the United States, he said: “God knows. I hope he does.” In a show of US displeasure, Kerry - derided by Yaalon in January as “messianic” and “obsessive” in his pursuit of Israeli-Palestinian peace - phoned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday to complain about one of the strongest attacks ever by an Israeli defense minister on a top US official. Netanyahu, whose own relationship with Obama has been fraught with friction over how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program and peace efforts with the Palestinians, has shown little inclination, at least publicly, to rein in Yaalon. An Israeli official said the 63-year-old Yaalon, who was appointed to his post a year ago, was displaying his inexperience at top-flight government. “This is his first time in the major leagues and he has now screwed up twice,” the official said of Yaalon, a member of Netanyahu’s rightwing Likud party and, according to recent opinion polls, the most popular minister in his cabinet.

US ‘weakness’ The official saw no hidden domestic strategy in Yaalon’s comments, but thought it was a case of him speaking his mind, when he would have been better served saying nothing. At a closed-door lecture at Tel Aviv University on Monday, Yaalon, a former armed forces chief, said Israel could not rely on the United States to take the lead in confronting Iran over its nuclear activities. He also pointed to Ukraine’s crisis as an example of Washington “showing weakness”. Yaalon’s office later issued a statement saying no criticism or offence was intended towards Washington in his remarks on Monday, although it offered no apology. “The strategic ties between our countries have a supreme importance, as do our personal ties and mutual interests,” it said. While condemning Yaalon’s remarks as unconstructive, inaccurate and confusing, US officials signaled the discord would not have a long-term effect on relations with Israel. White House spokesman Jay Carney noted “an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security, and State Department spokeswomen Jen Psaki spoke of an “enduring partnership”. Yaalon has a record of breaking ranks over what he perceives as unreasonable risks. As armed forces chief of staff, his tenure was cut short after he opposed Israel’s plan to withdraw settlers and soldiers from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Some Israeli commentators noted that Yaalon voiced his criticism in private settings - an off-the-record briefing to journalists and the university lecture - and questioned whether he had been naive in thinking his remarks would not be leaked. A commentary in Israel’s best-selling newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, openly questioned Yaalon’s intelligence. “Let’s call this for what it is: either the defense minister knows something that we don’t or, how shall we put this delicately, he is simply a fool,” columnist Sima Kadmon wrote. “That is the only way to explain the behavior of the most important cabinet minister, whose remarks about the US administration are liable to be catastrophic for the most significant ... relationship that the State of Israel has today.”— Reuters

International FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Cafe bombings push Iraq death toll to 46 BAGHDAD: Late night bombings at a Baghdad cafe left 13 people dead, officials said yesterday, pushing the toll from a day of nationwide blasts, shootings and shellings to at least 46. The violence has been primarily driven by discontent in the minority Sunni Arab community, which alleges mistreatment at the hands of the Shiite-led government and security forces, and by the civil war raging in neighboring Syria. The coordinated bombings struck the cafe in the Washash area of western Baghdad at around 9:00 pm (2100 GMT) Wednesday, killing 13 people and wounding 40, according to a revised toll yesterday by security and medical officials. An initial roadside bombing near the cafe was followed by a suicide blast, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Violence elsewhere in and around the capital on Wednesday killed eight people, while four policemen were killed by a booby-trapped corpse north of Baghdad. Attacks in the restive provinces of Diyala, Nineveh and Kirkuk, also left six dead. In the mili-

tant-held city of Fallujah, meanwhile, shelling by government forces, as well as clashes in and around the city, killed 15 people and left 40 others wounded on Wednesday, according to Ahmed Shami, the chief doctor at the city’s main hospital. Fallujah has been outside government control since militants overran it and parts of nearby Ramadi, capital of the predominantly Sunni surrounding province of Anbar, in early January. Security forces have managed to wrest back control of Ramadi but a stalemate has persisted in Fallujah, which lies just a short drive from Baghdad. More than 300 people have been killed so far this month and upwards of 2,000 since the beginning of the year, according to AFP figures based on reports from security and medical sources. Analysts and diplomats have called for the Shiiteled authorities to do more to reach out to the disaffected Sunni minority, but with elections due to be held on April 30, political leaders have been loath to be seen to compromise. — AFP

EU sees big gaps in Iran nuclear talks Enrichment, Arak reactor at core of dispute VIENNA: Positions between Iran and world powers diverge widely in some areas but Iranian negotiators seem “very committed” to reach an agreement on the country’s disputed nuclear program, a senior EU official said in an email seen by Reuters yesterday. The brief email from Helga Schmid to senior officials of EU member states was written after a meeting between Iran and the United States, France, Germany, China, Russia and Britain in Vienna on Tuesday and Wednesday. Schmid is the deputy of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who is coordinating talks with Iran on behalf of the six nations. The negotiations are aimed at reaching a final settlement to a decade-old stand-off over Iran’s atomic activities, which Tehran says are peaceful but the West fears may be aimed at developing a nuclear weapons capability. In this week’s meeting, Iran and the powers locked horns over the future of a planned Iranian nuclear reactor that could yield plutonium for bombs, and the United States warned that “hard work” would be needed to overcome differences when the sides reconvene on April 7. This line was echoed in Schmid’s email. “Since we are at an early stage of the final and comprehensive negotiations, we still have a lot of work ahead of us. On some areas, positions differ widely,” it said. “However, the impression is that the Iranian negotiators remain very committed to reach a comprehensive solution within the agreed 6-month period,” Schmid added. She was referring to a late July deadline for a long-term deal agreed in an

interim accord struck in November. The meeting in Vienna was the second in a series that the six nations hope will produce a verifiable settlement, ensuring Iran’s nuclear program is oriented to peaceful purposes only, and lay to rest the risk of a new Middle East war. Iran happy about talks Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif characterized the latest round of negotiations as “very successful” in terms of clarifying the issues involved, the Iranian official news agency IRNA reported. “In terms of understanding and clarification, Vienna-2 was among our very successful round of talks ... extremely beneficial and constructive,” it quoted Zarif as saying. The two sides sought to spell out their positions on two of the thorniest issues: the level of uranium enrichment conducted in Iran, and its Arak heavy-water reactor that the West sees as a possible source of plutonium for bombs. The next meeting was then set for April 7-9, also in the Austrian capital. The over-arching goal is to transcend mutual mistrust and give the West confidence that Iran will not be able to produce atomic bombs while Tehran - in return - would win full relief from economic sanctions hamstringing the OPEC state’s economy. Iran denies that its declared civilian atomic energy program is a front for developing the means to make nuclear weapons. But its restrictions on UN inspections and Western intelligence about bomb-relevant research have raised concerns. — Reuters

International FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

French Socialists fears heavy mid-term losses Far right gains expected in town-hall vote

LONDON: Convicted mafia boss Domenico Rancadore with his face covered leaves Westminster Magistrates Court in London. — AFP

Child victims of Italy’s ‘men of dishonor’ ROME: The brutal murder of a threeyear-old boy in a mafia ambush in southern Italy shows that the so-called “code of honor” among members of organized crime groups is pure myth, according to experts. Domenico was shot dead along with his mother and her partner when the car they were travelling in was attacked by gunmen in Taranto on Monday, sparking reactions of horror in Italy. Two other children in the car apparently only survived because they played dead. Investigators said the woman-the widow of a murdered mafioso-had provided information which led to the arrest of several criminals while her partner, himself a convicted murderer, had been taking advantage of day releases from prison to try to regain control of the local drug market. Italy’s best-selling daily, the Corriere della Sera, described the toddler as one of a string of “defenseless victims of the men of dishonor”, such as three-year-old Coco, who was shot dead in the arms of his grandfather two months ago. Their murders follow other notorious deaths, such as Giuseppe, 13, who involuntarily witnessed the assassination of a trade unionist in 1948 and was murdered by an air injection while in hospital. Or 12year-old Giuseppe di Matteo, the son of a mafia turncoat, who was kidnapped in 1996 and kept in atrocious conditions for

two years before he was strangled and his body was dissolved in acid. “The idea that the mafia does not kill children is a historic lie... cultivated over a long period with care by the men of dishonor,” writes Goffredo Buccini in the Corriere. ‘Disorderly rise of killers’ Today, “the crisis which has pushed the old bosses to reinvent themselves, the disorderly rise of new killers, the use of drugs which burn souls and hearts, mean killers no longer have the time or possibility to hide their real faces”, he said. The fact that “children don’t get hurt is a myth, broken as early on as the post-war period,” said Francesco La Licata, mafia specialist with La Stampa daily. Giacomo di Gennaro, a sociologist specializing in organized crime and criminal law in Naples, told AFP the violence has got worse since the arrest of the big mafia bosses over the last 15 years. “These ‘men of honor’ used to forbid the killing of priests, women and children. Their control over the territory was so strong that it was not necessary. Today, the boundaries of territories change so quickly... all lines are crossed,” he said. He also brushed aside attempts to distinguish between the different branches of organized crime in Italy, from Costa Nostra in Sicily to the Camorra in the Naples region.—AFP

Bulgarian imam jailed SOFIA: A Bulgarian imam was sentenced Wednesday to one year in prison for spreading an anti-democratic ideology, inciting hatred and participating in an unregistered organization in Bulgaria. Ahmed Moussa Ahmed was tried in the southern city of Pazardzhik with 12 other Muslim leaders for involvement in the Al-Waqf Al-Islami group, which is financed by ultraconservative Saudis and suspected of links to Al-Qaeda. Bulgarian prosecutors accused them of promoting a radical ideology founded on “elements of Salafism” in mosques, conferences and cafe meetings between March 2008 and October 2010. The court in Pazardzhik also sentenced Ahmed to three years in prison for violating his probation, which was linked to another 2003 sentence for spreading radical Islam. Two other Muslim leaders were given respective suspended sentences of one year and 10 months in jail and three years probation. The 10 other defendants were found guilty and given fines ranging from 2,000 to 3,000 leva (1,000 to 1,500 euros). Begun in September 2012, the trial had angered leaders of Bulgaria’s Muslim community who had denounced being unfairly grouped as radicals. —AFP

PARIS: President Francois Hollande’s Socialists fear heavy mid-term losses that could jeopardize reforms and the far-right National Front is seen making major gains when voters elect mayors in towns and villages across France from Sunday. Mayors loom large in French social and political life and the two-round elections are often decided on personality or local issues. But dissatisfaction with Hollande’s rule and a string of legal intrigues involving opposition conservatives are seen hitting turnout and helping the anti-immigrant National Front (FN), which hopes to win outright in a record handful of towns. Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called on the opposition conservative UMP party to urge its voters to back Socialist candidates in towns where it stood no chance of election, promising the Socialists would do the same in a joint effort to keep the FN out. “Those who believe in the Republic must do everything to make sure no town ends up with an FN mayor,” he told Radio J. Heavy losses for Hollande’s Socialists could trigger a re-shuffle of his unpopular cabinet and encourage backbench attacks of new pro-business policies on which Hollande has called a mid-year vote of confidence in his government. “We have to watch out that these town hall votes don’t turn into a disaster,” said one minister on condition of anonymity. “The risk is that a big defeat weakens the grass roots of the Socialist Party ... our officials who end up as losers will turn on the leadership.” One Hollande aide forecast turnout of around 55 percent, about 10 points lower than normal. Acknowledging the failure of efforts to tackle unemployment above 10 percent with state-subsidized jobs, Hollande changed tack in January by announcing plans to cut a total 30 billion euros off French labour costs in a bid to encourage hiring. Sunday’s first-round of voting, with run-offs due a week later, will be the first electoral test of that policy change, which sits alongside public spending savings promised to Brussels to bring France’s deficit in line with European Union targets. The deficit is seen at 3.6 percent of output this year and aims to get below the 3 percent target next year. Eyes on Marseille Polls show the Socialists are favourite to hang on to Paris where the gaffe-prone efforts of the conservative candidate to lure so-called “bobo” (bourgeois-bohemian) voters have been widely derided on social media. But the right-wing incumbent in Marseille, the UMP’s JeanClaude Gaudin, looks set to win a new term in France’s second city as rival Socialist candidate Patrick Mennucci suffers from his links to an unpopular government. “Mennucci has committed a crucial mistake which is linking his campaign to the government and allowing us to tell voters: ‘if you want to punish the Hollande government, don’t vote for Mennucci’,” said Gaudin’s spokesman Yves Moraine. Further muddying the waters is the candidacy of Pape Diouf, a former president of the Olympique de Marseille football club who hopes to rally disaffected youths from tough neighborhoods against what he called a Socialist “machine”. The emergence under Marine Le Pen of the National Front as France’s third political force adds unpredictability with many of the March 30 run-offs set to be three-way contests. “The National Front is much less repulsive than it has been in recent years,” said Jean-Daniel Levy, an analyst with pollster Harris Interactive. “Voters are not looking for the most competent candidate, but the one who shares their feelings about the state of French society.” Pollsters identify half a dozen FN-run towns emerging after the vote - giving the party a chance to show it can be trusted with power two decades after attempts to run four towns in the 1990s revealed its lack of competence. “I am looking to build our presence here in the long term,” Marion MarÈchal-Le Pen, grand-daughter of FN founder Jean-Marie Le Pen and at 24 the youngest parliament deputy in modern French history, said of her campaign in the southern town of Sorgues, a former Communist bastion. The party is betting on wins in the

depressed north, which has suffered most from France’s industrial decline, and towns like Tarascon on its traditional southern hunting grounds, where Le Pen has thrown her weight behind a school teacher trying to break a 30-year centre-right rule. Polls show Valerie Laupies, 46, winning in the mediaeval town with 14 percent unemployment and heavy immigration from North African former colonies, where many residents said they no longer felt embarrassed to say they planned to vote for the National Front.— Reuters

Kansas, Arizona prevail in voter citizenship suit TOPEKA: Federal officials must help Kansas and Arizona enforce laws requiring new voters to document their US citizenship, a federal judge ruled Wednesday, in a decision that could encourage other Republican-led states to consider similar policies. US District Judge Eric Melgren in Wichita, Kan, ordered the US Election Assistance Commission to immediately modify a national voter registration form to add special instructions for Arizona and Kansas residents about their states’ proof-of-citizenship requirements. Both require new voters to provide a birth certificate, passport or other documentation to prove their US citizenship to election officials. The federal registration form requires only that prospective voters sign a statement declaring they are citizens. Kansas and Arizona asked the federal agency for state-specific modifications, but it refused. The states and their top elected officials Secretaries of State Kris Kobach of Kansas and Ken Bennett of Arizona, both conservative Republicans sued the agency last year. Most voters in both states register with state forms, but their officials said the availability of the federal form created a loophole in enforcement of proof-of-citizenship requirements. Supporters argue the requirements preclude voter fraud by preventing noncitizens from voting, particularly those in the country illegally. “This is a really big victory, not just for Kansas and Arizona but for all 50 states,” Kobach said. “Kansas has paved the way for all states to enact proof-of-citizenship requirements.” Arizona enacted its proof-of-citizenship requirement by voter initiative in 2004, and Alabama, Georgia and Kansas followed with similar laws. Kansas’ rule took effect last year. Critics of such laws view them as suppressing voter participation. They also said the federal National Voter Registration Act, enacted in the 1990s, was meant to simplify registration across the country and allowed federal officials to reject a modification of the national form. Jonathan Brater, legal counsel for the New York-based Brennan Center for Justice, said Melgren’s ruling, if it stands, would erode Congress’ power to protect voting rights. The center represented the national League of Women Voters and its Arizona and Kansas chapters, which intervened in the lawsuit. “There is a concern that other states could move to pass some of these misguided laws,” Brater said. “There can be a copycat effect.” Melgren said the US Constitution gives states the power to set voter qualifications, and Congress has not pre-empted it, even in enacting the 1990s law. The federal commission and the national League of Women Voters were reviewing the decision Wednesday and not saying whether they’d appeal to the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. But league President Elisabeth MacNamara said: “Our first impression is that it’s a harsh decision and it’s a decision that will harm voters.”—AP

International FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Xi heads to Europe as Ukrainian crisis rages BEIJING: China’s Xi Jinping embarks on his first European tour as president tomorrow, with the continent gripped by a diplomatic frenzy over Beijing ally Moscow’s absorption of Crimea from Ukraine. The four-country trip comes shortly after China lodged a rare abstention on a Western-backed UN Security Council resolution condemning the weekend’s Crimea referendum, rather than vetoing it along with Russia. While analysts say Xi is unlikely to speak out on Ukraine, they believe that China cannot remain a diplomatic bystander forever. Xi has visited Russia, Africa, the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and Central Asia since becoming president a year ago. He will first head to the Netherlands, followed by France, Germany and Belgium, along with the EU headquarters. President Vladimir Putin’s move in Crimea has seen harsh criticism and sanctions by members of the Group of Seven (G7) countries. Xi will hold summits with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, and will also meet Obama on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague on Monday and Tuesday. The three Western leaders are members of the G7, intensely involved in dealing with the response to the Crimea crisis, and are likely to discuss it in The Hague. But overseas trips by Chinese presidents and premiers are usually bland and highly scripted affairs, with an emphasis on the positive aspects of Beijing’s relations with the countries visited. Beijing generally tries to avoid taking positions on situations that do not directly affect it, said Thomas Koenig, London-based Asia & China program coordinator at the European Council on Foreign Relations. “I don’t think China’s going to make any big statements or anything” on Ukraine, he said. “But in general I think the sense among the Europeans as well is that China sooner or later will not be able to just be the non-interfering power” it has been, he added. Chinese vice foreign minister Li Baodong acknowledged the situation in Ukraine could come up in the meeting with Obama, but signaled Beijing’s likely position by reiterating its regular call for “calm and restraint”. “The visit will send out a strong signal to the entire European continent and the whole world that China values the role of Europe and we support European integration and we’re committed to deepening China-EU relations,” he said. National interests Xi will have to walk a tricky line in balancing his bilateral visits to Germany and France, and talks with the leaders of the broader EU. The 28-member EU is China’s biggest trading partner but ties have been strained at times, most recently last year by mutual dumping accusations over Chinese solar panels and European wine, in which interests of individual EU countries sometimes differed. “The eternal problem with the European Union, of course, is that there’s always going to be the supranational entity that is obviously advocating that we should all be doing everything together and that we’re working as a supranational entity rather than just being concerned with our national interests,” Koenig said. “But then, of course, national interests always win.” Xi’s visit to EU headquarters in Brussels on March 31 will be the first by a Chinese president, according to the EU, whereas in the past Chinese premiers have participated in Brussels summitry. The visit to France, meanwhile, is partially to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment in 1964 of diplomatic relations between Beijing and Paris. Xi is scheduled to make a major speech in Paris highlighting historical bonds such as the experiences of Communist Party luminaries Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping, who both studied in France. There was speculation earlier this year that China might seek to have Xi visit the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin to highlight how Germany has confronted its Nazi past as a way to embarrass Japan, which Beijing regularly calls on to express contrition for its invasion of China and atrocities committed during World War II. But Chinese vice commerce minister Wang Chao denied that. “The issue... did not come up during our preparations for this visit,” he said. — AFP

Libya vows to fight ‘scourge’ of terror Near-daily attacks continue unchecked TRIPOLI: The Libyan government yesterday vowed to fight terrorism, in its first acknowledgement that “terrorist groups” were behind dozens of attacks against security services and Westerners. Three years after a revolution toppled long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi and left the country awash with guns, near-daily attacks continue unchecked across Libya. “The nation finds itself in a confrontation with terrorist groups, and it falls upon the government to mobilize its military and security forces to fight this scourge,” the government said in a statement on its website. “There will be no place for terrorism in Libya... and Libyans must be prepared for such a battle in terms of caution, awareness and sacrifice,” said the statement. Eastern Libya has become a bastion of Islamist extremists, with authorities avoiding a full-blown confrontation with heavily armed former rebels pending the formation of a regular army and police force. The government indicated it would turn to “the national military force as it is of now” in its fight against terrorism, alluding to pro-government militias that battled Gaddafi’s regime in the 2011 uprising. The statement was published after a cabinet meeting held in the southern town of Ghat, two days after a car bomb at a military academy in the restive eastern city of Benghazi left at least seven soldiers dead. It also comes after parliament on Tuesday ousted prime minister Ali Zeidan over his failure to bring law and order to the country. The government said “the cities of Benghazi, Derna and Sirte and others are facing a terrorist war carried out by Libyan and foreign ele-

ments with hostile intentions.” Libyan authorities did not mention any particular group, but these cities are strongholds of extremists such as the jihadist group Ansar Al-Sharia, placed on the United States’ terror list in January. While experts regularly accuse extremist groups of carrying out attacks, authorities have not directly implicated the heavily armed outfits out of fear of retaliation. Ansar Al-Sharia is suspected of waging attacks against judges and security forces, but also of being behind attacks on Western interests such as an assault on the US mission in 2012 that killed the ambassador and three other Americans. There have also been a string of attacks and kidnappings targeting foreigners in the North African nation. A French engineer was shot dead in Benghazi on March 2 and a British man and a New Zealand woman were also found shot dead on a beach southwest of the capital in January. In December, an American teacher was killed in Benghazi, and two French guards were wounded in a car bombing outside France’s embassy in Tripoli last April 23. The government statement called on “the international community and in particular the United Nations to provide the necessary support to eradicate terrorism in Libyan cities”. Three years after the uprising, the government has come under increasing criticism from Libyans who accuse them of corruption and failing to provide security. Criminals roam the streets, and rival tribes shoot it out to settle long-standing disputes, while many ex-rebels have formed powerful militias rather than integrating into the regular armed forces and police. — AFP

CRIMEA: People enjoying a walk in Yalta, Crimea. The new authorities of the Peninsula announced the nationalization of Ukrainian resorts and hotels in Crimea. — AFP

Putin’s Crimea takeover sends shivers across ex-Soviet Union MOSCOW: It is December 2019 and Russian strongman Vladimir Putin is flying to Oslo to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his bold moves in standing up to the US and establishing a new world order. “Even in its sleep the world does not forget that Russia can turn the entire planet into radioactive ash, not only the United States,” reads a new satirical short story by Belarusian writer Sergei Ostrovtsov. The piece, titled “A Nobel for Putin”, was published online as waves of concern spread across countries of the former USSR over Moscow’s seizure of Ukraine’s peninsula of Crimea. Putin’s pledge to protect compatriots beyond his country’s borders and his readiness to revisit history has re-opened old wounds in the Baltic nations and even troubled the Kremlin’s traditional allies. Many of the post-Soviet countries have sizeable Russianspeaking populations and are struggling with festering territorial disputes and separatist claims of their own. “All the former Soviet countries have artificial borders,” said Konstantin Kalachev, head of the Political Expert Group. “A precedent for redrawing borders has been created.” Following an uprising that ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych last month, Putin sent troops to Russian-speaking Crimea, citing concern for compatriots. On Tuesday, he signed a treaty making the peninsula part of Russian territory, saying Nikita Khrushchev’s decision to give it to Ukraine

when it was part of the Soviet Union in 1954 was a mistake. Allies tense up The significance of Russia’s absorption of Crimea has not been lost on the fellow Slavic nation of Belarus whose cities of Gomel, Mogilyov and Vitebsk were once part of the republic of Soviet Russia under the USSR. Since the start of the crisis, the country’s authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko has been maneuvering to hedge his bets and remain on good terms with Moscow, agreeing to station additional Russian fighter jets in his country. But just like Ukraine, Belarus in 1994 signed the so-called Budapest memorandum, renouncing its military nuclear capability in exchange for security guarantees from Russia, the United States and Britain. “Where can we, poor Belarussians, hide from such a ‘friend?’,” said former Belarusian lawmaker and political analyst Andrei Klimov, referring to Russia. The attitude of even close allies within the former USSR has been of extreme caution. The energy-rich Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan acknowledged the results of the referendum in Crimea, where a majority of the population voted to split from Ukraine and join Russia, but President Nursultan Nazarbayev has not so far made any public comments on Moscow’s takeover of the peninsula. —AFP

International FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Election losses could strain Dutch coalition Rightist populist makes ‘fewer Moroccans’ offer AMSTERDAM: The parties of the Dutch ruling coalition received a stinging rebuke in local elections on Wednesday, after years of sluggish growth turned voters away from the two parties, which have stuck grimly to austerity since taking national office in 2012. Labor, junior partner to the pro-business Liberals, lost their position as largest party in Amsterdam after more than 60 years to the progressive liberal D66 party. In The Hague, seat of the Dutch government, Labor was pushed into third place, behind D66 and Geert Wilders’ populist Freedom Party. It also lost the industrial and maritime powerhouse of Rotterdam to Liveable Rotterdam, a rightist local party. “The government parties are being punished for austerity and for tax increases,” said Andre Krouwel, a political scientist at Amsterdam’s VU University, adding that the centre-left Labor Party’s losses in the country’s largest cities were “historic”. Long seen as a member of the euro zone core, its economy tightly bound to Europe’s German economic heartlands, the Netherlands has seen years of sluggish growth since the start of the financial crisis in 2008, lingering in recession even as, further up the Rhine river, Germany’s recovery gathered pace. The country lost one of three coveted triple A sovereign credit ratings in November, and dissatisfaction at continued high unemployment and depressed consumer confidence have turned voters in a country that once prided itself on its liberalism towards populist parties on the left and the right. A nascent economic recovery may have come too late for Labor, whose voters were always more grudging in their support for the coalition’s program of tax hikes and cuts in social spending in particular. Labor’s drubbing could fuel dissatisfaction within the party over the course to which it has signed up. “The results of our policies are coming in too slowly,” said party leader Diderik Samsom. But Mark Rutte, the Liberal prime minister, promised the coalition would not change course. “We must now make sure that there is growth in jobs,

and carry on with reforms to the labor and housing markets to make sure we emerge stronger from the economic crisis,” he told Dutch public television. National elections must be held before March 2017, by which time the two parties hope an improving economy will have lifted them in the polls. The local polls in some 400 municipalities have greater import than in previous years because key areas of social spending, including the politically sensitive fields of healthcare and benefits, are set to be decentralized, giving municipalities more power than they have ever had before. Wilders had been widely expected to top the poll in The Hague, but his advance in the polls will still boost his party’s morale ahead of European Parliament elections in late May. Fewer Moroccans While votes were being counted, Wilders, who claims Muslim immigrants are disproportionately responsible for crime and benefit fraud, rallied his supporters in The Hague, asking them if they wanted to see “more or fewer Moroccans in this city.” “Fewer, fewer, fewer,” the crowd chanted in reply to a smiling Wilders, who had told the audience he was exercising the “great good” of freedom of expression. “We’ll arrange that,” he replied. According to polls, the Freedom Party, which wants to quit the 28-member EU bloc, will become the largest Dutch party in the Brussels assembly. Elected in September 2012 on a platform of fiscal rectitude, the governing coalition has seen its popularity melt away as it pushed through successive rounds of cuts in a bid to bring the budget deficit below the EU’s 3 percent ceiling. If a national election were held today, the two parties would win just 35 seats in the 150member parliament, compared to the 79 they hold now, according to pollster Maurice De Hond, while Wilders’ breed of anti-EU populism would make the Freedom Party the largest single party, with 27 seats. — Reuters

BANGKOK: This file picture shows an anti-government protester shooting into a crowd of pro-government supporters with an automatic weapon hidden in a bag in the Lak Si area of Bangkok. — AFP

‘Popcorn gunman’ hired by Thailand’s protesters BANGKOK: A Thai gunman who gained national notoriety after opening fire at a political clash with an assault rifle in a popcorn bag said yesterday he had been hired by anti-government protesters. Images of the man, nicknamed the “popcorn gunman”, went viral after he was seen during a dramatic gunfight with government supporters in Bangkok on February 1 wearing a balaclava and bulletproof vest. He was hailed by some within the anti-government movement as a hero. Wiwat Yodprasit, who was arrested Wednesday and faces charges of attempted murder and possession of a gun, told reporters he had been trained to use the M16 rifle by the protesters’ private security guards. The 24-year-old said he was paid $9 a day to act as a guard for the movement, which is backed by the Bangkok-based establishment and wants to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. “The head of protest security gave me a M16 to use... I fired 20 bullets. I used the popcorn bag to keep the bullet casings from falling to the ground,” Wiwat told a press conference. The daytime clash broke out in the district of Lak Si after opposition demonstrators blocked ballot boxes from being delivered for a general election. Protest leaders have repeatedly denied that their guards or supporters carry weapons. Wiwat was arrested at a temple in the southern town of Surat Thani-the home town of firebrand protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban. His image has been widely used

by protesters as a symbol of defiance against the authorities and the rival pro-government “Red Shirts” movement. He was identified after police released a picture of him later removing his balaclava. Protest spokesman Akanat Promphan said Wiwat was being used by police as a “scapegoat”, without confirming whether he was a security guard for the movement. “He did not intend to hurt anyone but to protect innocent people,” Akanat said, adding the protesters will support his legal case. Authorities seized on Wiwat’s confession as further proof that anti-government demonstrators are armed. “Suthep has repeatedly said that his protest is peaceful. That is absolutely not true,” said Labor Minister Chalerm Yubumrung, who heads the government’s security response to the months-long crisis. Political violence, often targeting protesters with gunfire and grenade blasts, has left 23 people dead and hundreds wounded in recent months. The bloodshed has abated since protesters scaled down their rallies at the start of March and converged in a city centre park. On Tuesday Thailand ended a near two-month state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding areas, reflecting the improved security situation. Yingluck’s government, in a caretaker role following an incomplete February election, still faces a series of legal challenges that could lead to her removal from office. — AFP

Refugees in Nepal condemned to ‘hilly prison’ by visa fines KATHMANDU: Amir Hussain, a Rohingya Muslim, lost a dozen members of his family to sectarian violence in Myanmar last year. He fled to Nepal where the country’s policy on refugees has left him among hundreds trapped, jobless and mired in debt. He lives with his family in a tiny room in a house where walls have collapsed, water drips through holes in the roof and an open concrete stairwell is a potential deathtrap for his two young children. “If I go back to Burma (Myanmar), I will be killed,” he said. “When I came to Nepal, I felt safe but we found many problems.” Hundreds of desperate refugees are trapped in Nepal, told they must pay fines as high as $100,000 before they can be resettled to the West. Barred from working, many have spent years waiting for the government to let them leave. The biggest problem: that despite being offered new lives in the West by the UN’s refugee agency, most refugees-who number around 400 in the capital Kathmandu-have been trapped here for years by Nepal’s rules, which are decried by rights groups. Nepal is neither a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, nor has it established a clear legal framework to deal with asylum-seekers or refugees. The refugees are fined $5 for every day they overstay their 30-day tourist visa and the debt must be cleared before they leave. Many families have amassed tens of thousands of dollars in fines. The government does not waive the visa overstay fee even after the UNHCR has organized resettlement, which is usually to the United States or Canada. And since the government does not recognize their refugee status, they must find the money while being barred from working, leaving them in a perpetual limbo. ‘A hilly prison’ Nawid Ahmad, 42, from Lahore in Pakistan, has a fine of over $100,000 hanging over him and his family. He is a member of the Ahmadi sect of Islam, which is officially heretical in Pakistan. Ahmadis can face three years in jail just for saying the traditional Islamic greeting of “As-Salaam-Alaikum”. Their mosque in Lahore was bombed in 2010, killing around 80 people. Ahmad decided to leave in 2004 after he was shot four times-in the leg, chest and hip-in an unprovoked attack while out shopping. “I miss everything. My heart and soul is in Pakistan, but we could not stay,” he told AFP at his home in Kathmandu. He came with five younger brothers and they added wives and children. Most have already been granted asylum in the United States, but to leave they must find the enormous visa fee which is an impossible task. “This place is beautiful,” he added, gesturing towards the snowcapped Himalayas that lined the horizon. “But for us, it has become a hilly prison. We just wait and wait and wait.” Even more tragic is the case of the Somali community. Many came in 2007 when smugglers promised them a new life in the Italian city of “Naples”. “When we arrived here, the smuggler said it was just a stop-over. In the morning, he had disappeared,” said “Khalid”, who fled Mogadishu after his father, brother and sister were all killed by a rival clan. He requested that his real name not be used. He has been offered relocation to the US, and is looking for a loan shark to pay the $19,000 in visa fines he owes for his family, a tactic employed by many refugees desperate to leave. The loan could mean a long period of indentured servitude for Khalid, but he says: “I won’t hesitate. My children will get a better education and better life.” ‘Life is like a pendulum’ All are grateful for the peace and religious tolerance of Nepal. Although there is occasional discrimination-particularly against dark-skinned Somalis it is nothing compared to the brutal violence they faced at home. But the threat to life and limb has been replaced by a new, psychological torment that results from the long, idle days. “I have lost my golden years to this place,” said Asif Muneer, 42, who ran a furniture business in Lahore before coming here in 2004. Friday prayers have just finished and he sits with a group of Ahmadis in the rented home they have turned into a mosque. “Sometimes I lose my mind-I can’t sleep, can’t eat. Our life is like a pendulum, just swinging back and forth and never going anywhere,” he said. His fine has climbed to $39,000. The refugees survive on a meagre allowance from the UNHCR, which has lobbied the government for years over the visa fee issue. The government says it has twice waived overstay fees for “some four dozen” urban refugees. “However, we consider these people to be illegal immigrants, not refugees. —AFP

International FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

CIA-Senate spat complicates spying oversight WASHINGTON: The government’s top intelligence lawyers on Wednesday renewed assurances that Congress is adequately monitoring US surveillance programs. But it’s suddenly an awkward argument for the Obama administration, since the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee publicly accused the CIA of illegally monitoring its investigators as they carried out their oversight duties. Since disclosures about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, including the collection of phone records and emails of millions of US citizens, the administration has said they were approved and overseen by all three branches of the US government. The congressional intelligence committees are intended to keep the government’s secret activities in check. Those lawmakers are privy to classified details, and Americans rely on them to ensure that the intelligence community follows the law, that the intelligence collection doesn’t eviscerate civil liberties, and that the programs are effective in preventing threats to the US. “We’ve set the balance between public disclosure and the need for secrecy by empowering the congressional intelligence committees,” Robert Litt, general counsel of the office of

the director of national intelligence, said Wednesday. Litt was speaking to a privacy oversight panel that has been reviewing some of the more controversial spy programs revealed last year. But that balance is suspect amid complaints that the executive branch interferes with Congress. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee and a longtime supporter of the NSA surveillance programs, has accused the government of this type of interference. Feinstein said the CIA interfered with and then tried to intimidate a congressional investigation into the agency’s possible use of torture as it probed suspected terrorists after the Sept 11 attacks. “This is kind of a raw example of how things can go wrong in congressional oversight,” said David M Barrett, a Villanova University professor who has studied the history of Congress and the intelligence community. “Congressional oversight of intelligence is going to be imperfect. It always is.” Some lawmakers have said the allegations, if true, have constitutional implications by preventing Congress from carrying out its oversight duties - the same duties the Obama administration points to when it justifies the legality of its intelligence pro-

grams. When details of the NSA programs were disclosed last year by former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden, the Obama administration and other supporters said the programs were key to preventing terrorism. But justifying the effectiveness of a secret program proved difficult, because details are classified. “How can anybody except you people do that?” a member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, Patricia Wald, asked the government. The Obama administration’s answer: Congress. “I think the public record now indicates there is a fairly robust exchange between the executive branch and the legislative branch on a variety of programs. And so I think that’s where traditionally the evaluation has occurred,” NSA general counsel Rajesh De said. Privacy advocates have been critical of the congressional oversight of the NSA programs, raising concerns that lawmakers are too close to the administration, hindering objective and effective oversight of the secret programs. “Even when Congress tries to do some oversight, they’re thwarted by the administration,” said Michelle Richardson of the American Civil Liberties Union. “I don’t think the public has faith in congressional oversight anymore.”—AP

Multiple suicide attacks kill 10 Afghan policemen A major assault ahead of presidential election

MUMBAI: Indian forensic officials enter The Shakti Mills Area in Mumbai, the scene of a gang rape on a female photojournalist. — AFP

Indian court convicts 5 in Mumbai gang rapes NEW DELHI: An Indian court convicted five men yesterday for raping a photojournalist and a callcenter operator last summer inside an abandoned textile mill in the financial hub of Mumbai, cases that renewed calls to wipe out the scourge of sexual violence in India. The rapes happened about a month apart in the same abandoned mill in the Lower Parel section of Mumbai, where luxury malls and condominiums stand alongside sprawling slums. Three of the men were convicted in both cases. “(I) hope this verdict will act as a deterrent,” said Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil, saying the cases were tried in the “fastest possible time.” The men face 20 years to life in prison, prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said. Sentencing was expected on Friday. Two minors are being tried separately by a juvenile court. In the first case, a call-center operator was gang-raped on July 31 inside the abandoned textile mill. Nearly a month later, a 22-yearold photojournalist was on assignment with a male colleague when several men approached and offered to help them get permission to shoot photos in the abandoned mill. Once inside, the male colleague was beaten and tied up while the attackers took turns raping the woman.

The photojournalist stunned the nation after her attack by telling local media that “rape is not the end of life” - a groundbreaking statement given that many rape victims are often shunned by their families, fired from jobs or driven from their home villages. The women cannot be identified under Indian law. The men convicted of the crimes range in age from 19 to 26, according to the Press Trust of India news agency. In the weeks after the attack on the photojournalist, Mumbai police said the suspects had little to no education and lived in the slums near the abandoned mill. Both trials were held by a fast-track court in a country where the judiciary is notorious for delays. But rape cases have taken on a sense of urgency since December 2012, when a 23-year-old medical student was fatally gang-raped on a moving bus in New Delhi. Rape, rarely talked about in India’s deeply conservative society, became front-page news, with demands that police do more to protect women. Pledging to crack down, the federal government created fasttrack courts for rape cases, doubled prison terms for rape, and criminalized voyeurism and stalking. Four men have been sentenced to death in the New Delhi gang rape case. — AP

JALALABAD: Seven Taleban suicide attackers stormed a police station in the centre of Jalalabad city in eastern Afghanistan yesterday, killing 10 policemen in a major assault ahead of the presidential election. The target of the three-hour truck bomb and gun assault was a police station near the governor’s house in the city, which has been the scene of repeated militant attacks in recent years. The Taleban have vowed a campaign of violence to disrupt the election on April 5, and a spokesman for the insurgents claimed responsibility for the early-morning suicide strike which also left a civilian dead. “Ten policemen, including the district police chief, were killed and 14 police were wounded,” deputy interior minister Mohammad Ayoub Salangi said. “One civilian was also killed, and all seven attackers. Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the interior ministry, said one or two attackers had holed up in a small room inside the police station before they were finally killed by security forces. The attack began when a mini-truck loaded with explosives was detonated at the police station’s entrance, leaving debris littered across the surrounding streets as security forces cordoned off the scene. About 20 people had been treated for injuries at the city’s main hospital. The area of the attack includes the compound of the governor of Nangarhar province, of which Jalalabad is the capital, several other government buildings and the state-run television station. Taleban target elections Ten days ago Taleban leaders vowed to target the presidential election, urging

their fighters to attack polling staff, voters and security forces before the vote to choose a successor to President Hamid Karzai. On Tuesday a suicide bomber killed 16 people at a crowded market in the northern province of Faryab. There was no claim of responsibility for that attack. “(These attacks) are an attempt to disrupt the elections, an important political and historic event in the history of Afghanistan,” a government statement said, accusing the militants of receiving support from neighboring Pakistan. Previous Afghan elections have been badly marred by violence as the Islamist militants display their opposition to the US-backed polls. Another bloodstained election would damage claims by international donors that the expensive military and civilian intervention in Afghanistan since 2001 has made progress in establishing a functioning state system. NATO combat troops are withdrawing from the country after 13 years of fighting a fierce Islamist insurgency, which erupted when the Taleban were ousted from power after the 9/11 attacks on the United States. 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. The election frontrunners are Abdullah Abdullah, who came second in 2009, former foreign minister Zalmai Rassoul and former World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani. 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.— AFP

Business FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Japan passes record $937bn budget

Debt casts deepening shadow on Egypt’s economic recovery PAGE 21


MUNICH: A BMW car model ‘BMW i8’ is on display during BMW’s balance press conference. Car manufacturer BMW registered record numbers in sales, earnings and dividends for the 2013 business year. — AFP

Qatar to reschedule 15% of projects Cost could exceed budget by $80bn DOHA: Qatar is likely to reschedule about 15 percent of its planned building projects for coming years and go over budget, amid a push to complete preparations for the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament, sources familiar with government policy said. After it won the right to host the World Cup in 2010, the tiny nation, with a population of about 2.1 million, announced plans for a raft of projects that would transform it over the following 15 years. They include a new airport, roads, port facilities, railways, stadiums and other infrastructure. The government has not released a comprehensive, detailed schedule of its construction plans, but analysts estimate they will cost between $140 billion and $200 billion through the early 2020s, paid for with the country’s vast natural gas wealth. This is expected to provide a bonanza to the foreign construction firms that will do much of the work. But so far, contract awards and work on many projects have been slower to get started than the business community expected, apparently because of bureaucratic and planning problems. If they are not handled care-

fully, the projects could destabilize Qatar’s small economy, creating bottlenecks and driving up costs. A government source, declining to be named under briefing rules, acknowledged that Qatar faced pressures in pushing through the projects and would have to slow some, though he stressed that construction specifically for the World Cup would take priority and be completed on time. “About 15 percent of the projects will be rescheduled,” the government source told Reuters. “All projects associated directly with hosting the World Cup cannot be rescheduled since they have to finish by 2022. But there are others which can be moved.” The source did not give details. Qatari officials have declined to discuss changes to the construction schedule publicly. Earlier this week, the central bank governor said the government was expected to sign contracts for construction projects worth as much as $50 billion this year, but he did not elaborate. Yasser Al-Mulla, project manager at AlRayyan Precinct for the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, which is handling construction of tournament venues, said this week that all World Cup projects were on

track to be completed on time. Leadership A change in Qatar’s leadership may be partly responsible for a slower pace of construction. Last June, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, 33, took over from his father as emir. He has replaced some senior economic officials and in a policy speech last November, said he was particularly keen to prevent high inflation and corruption. Those purposes could be helped by implementing projects at a more measured pace than the original plans. Another factor is the sheer difficulty of assembling enough construction workers, materials and equipment from around the world. Qatar, the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, needs an additional 400,000 workers for its next phase of development, the government source said. Qatar is likely to face increasing competition for regional construction resources in the next few years from Saudi Arabia, which is accelerating a housing construction program, and the United Arab Emirates, where Dubai is preparing to host the 2020 World Expo. By delaying some projects, Qatar can ensure that

its own banks and companies have the capacity to handle a larger share of the contracts, limiting the extent to which it needs to rely on bigger foreign firms. A third factor appears to be cost. Qatar does not seem to face any difficulty financing its projects; the government’s budget surplus was $27.3 billion, or a huge 14.2 percent of gross domestic product, in the fiscal year to last March. Nevertheless, slowing some projects may save money, if it allows resources to be used more efficiently. “The final expenditure may never be made public and will be handled by the government,” Anthony Holmes, director of the London-based Institute for Infrastructure Studies, said at a conference in Doha on Wednesday. “But, if the performance conforms to global norms, the final cost may exceed the original budget by $80 billion or around 50 percent of one year’s GDP,” said Holmes, who has advised companies on World Cup-related projects. Qatar’s labor costs will probably rise because of publicity about deaths of migrant construction workers building World Cup infrastructure, the International Monetary Fund said in a report this month. — Reuters

Business FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Japan passes record $937bn budget TOKYO: Japan yesterday passed its biggestever budget, a $937 billion spending package aimed at propping up growth as consumers brace for the country’s first sales tax rise for over 15 years. “The most important policy of the Abe government has been and will be to restore a strong economy,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a news conference after the passage of the budget for the fiscal year beginning on April 1. “We will try to minimize the negative impact of the increase in the consumption tax.” A total of 136 lawmakers in the 242member upper house, controlled by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, voted for the package, against 102 opposition votes, a parliamentary spokesman said. Two lawmakers did not cast a vote, one seat is vacant and the house speaker only casts a ballot in a tie. The lower house last month approved the 95.88 trillion yen ($937.4 billion) budget. The new budget comes as Tokyo pushes for speedy implementation of a $50 billion stimulus package specially designed to protect Japan’s fragile economic recovery, as the sales tax rises to 8.0 percent from 5.0 percent on April 1 — the first increase since the late 1990s. The increase is seen as crucial to bringing down Japan’s eye-watering national debt, which is proportionately the worst among rich nations.

But there are fears it will derail Abe’s policy blitz, dubbed Abenomics, aimed at kick-starting the world’s third-largest economy after it suffered years of growth-denting deflation. “It is our national project to bring Japan out of deflation,” the premier said. “With the passage of the budget, we showed to people at home and abroad a strong determination on the part of our parliament to end deflation.” Abe swept to power in late 2012 on a ticket to rescue Japan’s long-lumbering economy. The budget-up from 92.61 trillion yen for the current fiscal year-is seen as key to paying for Japan’s snowballing health and social welfare costs. The rapidly ageing population is putting pressure on the public purse, while low birth rates are threatening to create a demographic time bomb for the heavily indebted nation. Japan’s projected primary balance deficitthe shortfall between what the government takes in and what it spends, apart from debtservicing-is expected to shrink by 5.2 trillion yen to 18.0 trillion yen. That means Japan’s national debt, now more than twice the size of the economy, will continue to rise but at a slower pace. Public spending projects are part of the proposed budget as well as plans to upgrade Japan’s defense forces, as China bulks up its military and fears remain over North Korea’s nuclear arms potential. — AFP

Mulberry boss Guillon quits LONDON: Bruno Guillon has quit as chief executive of British luxury brand Mulberry, bringing an end to a twoyear tenure marked by three profit warnings during an attempt to move upmarket that has failed to pay off. Under Guillon, Mulberry hiked prices in an effort to become more exclusive and win back customers who were upgrading to pricier brands. But, like others in the market, it has been taken by surprise by the arrival of aspirational brands at the lower end of the luxury range, such as Michael Kors. At the end of January, it was forced to cut profit forecasts for the third time in 18 months, after weak demand in South Korea and heavy discounting over Christmas in Britain which contributes 65 percent of sales. “The board agreed that it was now time to part company,” a source familiar with the situation told Reuters. Mulberry, which makes Bayswater and Alexa handbags that sell for up to 4,500 pounds, said Frenchman Guillon would leave immediately, without saying if he would receive any payoff. The warning wiped over 25 percent off Mulberry’s shares in January, a loss from which they are yet to recover. Analysts see little short-term benefit from Mulberry’s growth strategy that requires investment at a time of slowing sales. The firm’s efforts to become a global brand were also dealt a heavy blow last September when the highly-rated Emma Hill, creative director behind the Alexa and Del Rey bags, quit. Media reports suggested that Hill did not agree with the group’s strategy and she is still to be replaced. “Given all the profit warnings at Mulberry, it was debatable how long the core shareholders would keep faith with the embattled CEO and his strategy,” analyst Nick Bubb said. Mulberry said chairman Godfrey Davis, 64, would become executive chairman until a successor was found. During his 27 years at the group Davis has been finance chief and CEO. Shares in the firm, which is 56 percent owned by Singapore billionaires Christina Ong and Ong Beng Seng, rose 1.3 percent to 644.5p at 1028 GMT. Mulberry is not the only luxury firm to pursue more exclusive aspirations, larger rivals like Kering and LVMH, respective parents to Gucci and Louis Vuitton, have also been surprised by newcomers grabbing customers at the lower end of the market. — Reuters

TOKYO: LINE Corporation chief strategy and marketing officer Jun Masuda (letf), Toei Animation director Shinji Shimizu (center) and HIT Entertainment Limited president Bryce H Inoue (right) pose for a photo during a press preview for their new product, “LINE Kids Animation”, yesterday. LINE Corporation, offering an instant messaging application on smartphones and personal computers, announced they will start shortly the “LINE Kids Animation” service for children with a target age between one and six-year-olds.— AFP

Europe strikes deal to complete banking union No common euro-zone backstop foreseen for now BRUSSELS: European policymakers agreed yesterday to complete a banking union with an agency to shut failing euro-zone banks, but there will be no joint backstop for a fund to pay the costs of closures. The breakthrough ends an impasse with the European Parliament, which persuaded euro-zone countries to strengthen the scheme. It completes the second pillar of banking union, starting at the end of the year when the European Central Bank takes over as watchdog. The accord means that the ECB has the means to shut banks it decides are too weak to survive, reinforcing its role as supervisor as it prepares to run health checks on the still fragile sector. “Today’s compromise allows us to complete the architecture of banking union for the euro-zone,” said Michel Barnier, the European commissioner in charge of regulation. “The second pillar of banking union will allow bank crises to be managed more effectively,” he said, helping to bring “an end to the era of massive bailouts”. Thursday’s accord makes it harder for EU countries to challenge the ECB if it triggers bank closures, and establishes a common 55 billion euro back-up fund over eight years - quicker than planned but far longer than the ECB’s watchdog had hoped. But the new system, which Barnier conceded was not ‘perfect’, has shortcomings. For one, the ‘resolution’ fund is small and would, in the view of the ECB watchdog, be quickly spent. To remedy that the fund will be able to borrow, but euro zone governments will not club together to make it cheaper and easier for it to do so. The 18 zone countries do not intend to cover jointly the cost of dealing with individual bank failures, a central tenet of the original plan for banking union. Germany resisted pressure from Spain, France to make such a concession. Its finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble welcomed what he called “the clear participation of private creditors” - new rules forcing them to take losses - and that “the mutualized liability of participating member states remained ruled out”. Neither will there be any joint protection of deposits. Deadly embrace 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. The banking union, and the clean-up of banks’ books that will accompany it, is intended to restore their confidence in one another. It is also supposed to stop indebted states from shielding the banks that buy their bonds, treated in law as ‘risk-free’ despite Greece’s default in all but name. Under the deal reached, a fund made up by levies on banks will be built up over eight years, rather than 10 as originally foreseen. Forty percent of the fund will be shared among countries from the start and 60 percent after two years. It also envisages giving the European Central Bank the primary role in triggering the closure of a bank, limiting the scope for country ministers to challenge such a move. Mark Wall, Deutsche Bank’s chief euro-zone economist, said new rules to impose losses on the bondholders of troubled banks would reduce the burden on the fund but warned that its size was too modest. “A cross-European fund of the size of 55 billion raises some eyebrows in terms of scale,” he said. The fund will be able to borrow against future bank levies but will not be able to rely on the euro-zone bailout fund to raise credit. Critics say this means primary responsibility for problem lenders remained with their home countries and that the banking union will never live up to its name. “The key to the banking union is an authority with financial clout. They don’t have it so we don’t have a banking union,” said Paul De Grauwe of the London School of Economics. “The whole idea was to cut the deadly embrace between bank and sovereign. But if a banking crisis were to erupt again, it would be back to how it was in 2008 with every country on its own.” Carsten Brzeski, an economist with ING, said that while he believed the size of the fund to be irrelevant because it would only be used in the distant future, the decision-making process to shut a bank was too complicated and long-winded. The fragility and politicized nature of Europe’s banks has been highlighted by Austria’s Hypo Alpe Adria. Vienna will sponsor a bad bank to isolate roughly 18 billion euros of bad loans extended by the bank after Joerg Haider, the far-right politician who governed its home province, earlier ramped up its activities. Despite the impact on its national debt, many politicians feel Austria has little choice. Were banking union in place, this situation would be little different. — Reuters

Business FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Debt casts deepening shadow on Egypt’s economic recovery Limited political, economic room to cut budget deficit CAIRO/DUBAI: After Egypt’s new finance minister took office last month, one of his first acts was to downgrade the government’s assessment of its finances. Hany Kadry Dimian said this year’s budget gap would be about a third bigger than his predecessor estimated. He was acknowledging what may become the biggest threat to Egypt’s economic recovery after years of political turmoil: a rising public debt burden. Since Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was ousted last July, billions of dollars in aid from allied governments in the Gulf have eased most of Egypt’s pressing economic problems. Its currency has stabilized, fuel shortages are less severe and the government has resumed spending on economic development projects. Investors are celebrating; stocks have rocketed to levels last seen before the 2011 revolution while the yield on Egypt’s $1 billion sovereign bond due in 2020 hit 5.33 percent this week, its lowest level since December 2012 and down a whopping 5.8 percentage points since mid-2013. But Egypt’s state finances are still getting worse, and a Reuters analysis suggests they will continue deteriorating into the second half of the decade, at the very least. In that time, the ratio of public debt to gross domestic product may rise above 100 percent, a level viewed as potentially dangerous by many economists. In the worst case, the debt could become so large that servicing it eats up an ever-increasing share of government spending, creating a vicious circle. At a minimum, the debt could crowd out spending by the private sector, adding to Egypt’s political tensions by slowing job creation. “Egypt is spending more than it can borrow given the low gross domestic product growth rates,” said Moustafa Bassiouny, Cairo-based economist at Signet Institute. “It’s about having faith that you can repay... Egypt would have to grow around 5 or 6 percent in the next three years and that’s highly unlikely. It hasn’t yet reached a dangerous point, but it’s on a very dangerous trajectory.” Deficit Egypt’s state finances were unhealthy even before the revolution; the government ran budget deficits of around 8 percent of GDP in the years before 2011. The political turmoil has worsened the situation by more than halving the GDP growth rate, hurting tax revenues. With private investment weak because of political and economic risks, the government is having to try to revitalize the economy with state spending packages - further adding to the debt. Although Gulf aid is keeping Egypt afloat and more is expected in coming months and years, it is adding to the debt, not reducing it. Of $10.7 billion received since last July, $6 billion was lending which will need to be repaid rather than grants of cash or petroleum products. A simple spreadsheet model of Egypt’s public debt, created by Reuters, suggests it will be several years before the ratio of debt to GDP, which was 89.2 percent in the fiscal year to last June, levels off and starts to fall. Dimian said real GDP would grow about 2.3 percent this fiscal year. If the economy keeps growing at that speed, and other factors such as the budget balance and interest rate paid on the debt stay the same, the debt-to-GDP ratio will rise above 100 percent in the fiscal year to June 2017, the model shows. Relying entirely on faster economic growth to solve the problem doesn’t look feasible. Even if GDP growth jumped next fiscal year to 4.3 percent - Egypt’s average since 2000 - and stayed there, the debt-to-GDP ratio would keep rising through the end of this decade, though at a slower rate. That means state spending growth will have to be slowed and revenue growth accelerated in coming years. But the structure of spending makes cuts very difficult. Out of 717 billion ($103 billion) Egyptian pounds of projected state spending in the current fiscal year, 25.4 percent is earmarked for interest payments on the debt. While the government has succeeded over the past nine months in bringing down the average interest rate it pays, by conducting fresh borrowing at longer maturities and borrowing Gulf money at preferential rates, there may be little room for further such savings - at least while debt remains so high. The average yield on nine-month Treasury bills tumbled from almost 15 percent to around 11 percent in the months after Morsi’s ouster, but has stabilized in recent weeks.

Wataniya Telecom Sponsored Ghadi Project

Donations for the education of 1,233 Syrian refugee children are collected in cooperation with KRCS and NEST


ataniya Telecom, a member of Ooredoo Group, sponsored”Ghadi” Project which was an initiative taken by NEST aid group and Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS) in support of young volunteers from Kuwait. The project aimed at supporting the education of Syrian refugee children in Lebanon. “Ghadi”was Nest Kuwait’s great campaign that made it possible for everyone to participate in helping the education of Syrian refugee children who are truly in need. Wataniya Telecom strongly believes that education is a right for all children in the world and it wanted to open doors for people in Kuwait to take part in providing education to Syrian children while being in a tough situation away from home and school.

Wataniya Telecom is thankful to all the great efforts done to successfully collect donations for the education of 1,233 Syrian refugee children. It highly praised the efforts of Ghadi team including the young Kuwaiti volunteers saying that the company was pleased to support NEST’s project for that it goes in line with its commitment towards the society and is considered a major part of its corporate social responsibility. It is worth mentioning that Wataniya has recently announced its donation of KD 50,000 in fulfillment of the desire of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to collect donations for the relief of the Syrian people.

Business FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Small business unfazed by paid sick time NEW YORK: As more cities mandate paid sick days for workers, the reaction from many small businesses is a big, so what? New York City and two New Jersey cities, Jersey City and Newark, are the latest to require employers to give workers paid time off when they’re ill or to care for sick relatives. San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, DC, Portland, Ore. and Connecticut already had sick leave laws. Similar legislation elsewhere has been a bust because of opposition from business groups and some public officials. In Philadelphia, for instance, Mayor Michael Nutter has vetoed sick leave bills twice saying they threaten jobs and make the city less attractive to new business. The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce also lobbied against the laws because of worries that businesses would flee. And the National Federation of Independent Business says when you add government-mandated sick leave to the minimum wage increases that are happening in some states, it equals rising labor costs for small businesses. But preliminary research shows the laws

have little, if any, downside for profits. And many small businesses say they don’t find complying with the laws a burden. Many already gave employees paid sick time before the laws were passed. And having paid sick time makes employees happy. “If you’re sick and can’t make it into work, it gives you security,” says Leonardo Lima, who works for an electronics repair shop in New York. He was getting paid sick leave before the law was passed. Research in Connecticut, whose sick leave law went into effect in 2012, shows a minimal financial effect. A report released this month by the Center for Economic and Policy Research and the City University of New York’s Murphy Institute said many of the Connecticut businesses already had paid sick leave. Nearly 47 percent of 251 companies surveyed said the law hadn’t affected costs. Only 6.5 percent said costs rose 5 percent or more. And 60 percent said keeping records was somewhat or very easy. The think tank’s research tends to support paid time off for workers, including family and medical leave. — AP

Startup scene flourishes in US capital WASHINGTON: In a large warehouse-type office, software coders work on apps, as “angel” investors and mentors help budding entrepreneurs figure out strategy for their startups. This technology “incubator” called 1776 in downtown Washington has some 200 startup firms, and many more seeking to get in to the collaborative workspace which provides desks, connectivity, technical assistance and importantly, connections for those with a dream or a mobile app. A few years ago, the notion of Silicon Valley on the Potomac might have evoked ridicule. But the capital city in recent years has become home to thousands of entrepreneurs and a tech ecosystem supporting them. “The ingredients we need for startups are right in our backyard,” says Donna Harris, co-founder of 1776, which opened last April and quickly filled up. With 15,000 square feet (1,400 square meters) in the downtown K Street corridor, 1776 accepts about half those applying for membership in the tech incubator. “It’s not just capital that people need. They need connections,” Harris said. By some measures, the District of Columbia has a startup scene which is bursting at the seams. A survey last year by Fast Company magazine found the district had a higher number of venture-funded startups per capita than any of the 50 US states. PriceWaterhouseCoopers ranked the city in the top 10 for business investment in the fourth quarter, with more than half of the $300 million going into software and IT services. Startup scene ‘vibrant’ “The startup scene in DC is vibrant, it’s growing,” says Christopher Etesse, chief executive of FlatWorld Knowledge, a startup for digital textbooks and online educational services, which has grown to 32 people in the 1776 offices and is now preparing to move into its own offices. Etesse says Washington “has some of the best universities and deep technical talent,” and notes that “we’re able to attract that talent but we don’t have as much competition as New York City or Silicon Valley.” Mrim Boutla relocated to Washington from Indiana and moved into the 1776 for her e-learning and job placement startup saying the city “has both the nonprofit, the profit and government sectors that can interact and intersect in social innovation.” She said the shared workspace puts her in contact with “a great fellowship of changemakers” and “helps me stay energized in the lonely journey of being an entrepreneur.” — AFP

NEW YORK: In this file photo, activists hold signs during a rally at New York’s City Hall to call for immediate action on paid sick days legislation in light of the continued spread of the flu. — AP

Mine strike hits the micro, macro in S African economy Losses set to mount after strike ends RUSTENBURG: As South Africa’s biggest post-apartheid mine strike marks its eighth week yesterday, it is already denting growth and export earnings, and many of those affected are having to sell their most prized possessions to make ends meet. In an informal bar near the platinum belt city of Rustenburg, striking miner Oupa Majodina holds up his cell phone to show a photo of his pride and joy: his cattle. “I own 11, but I will have to sell some of them. What can I do? I need the cash,” he said glumly. No talks are scheduled between the two sides to the strike, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) and the world’s top platinum producers, Anglo American Platinum , Impala Platinum and Lonmin, and they remain poles apart on the issue of wages. That means the misery will only spread, making an even bigger headache for President Jacob Zuma and the ruling African National Congress on the run-in to May 7 general elections. The strike has hit about 40 percent of global production of the precious metal, which is used for catalytic converters in vehicles and is a key source of hard currency for South Africa. The companies have lost revenues of 9.2 billion rand ($850 million) and counting, according to an industry website that updates the losses like a Doomsday clock. “You will need to take that 9 billion rand out of the current account because it is almost all from exports,” said Mike Schussler, who runs economics consultancy This current account deficit is already a key weakness in South Africa’s economy, putting its rand currency under pressure. It grew in 2013 to 5.8 percent of gross domestic product, its widest since 2008. A wave of violent, wildcat strikes that erupted periodically in 2012, rooted in a turf war between AMCU and the

National Union of Mineworkers, cost platinum and gold producers over 16 billion rand that year, when the current account gap was 5.2 percent of GDP. With no resolution in sight, the cost of the present strike may exceed that, and the losses will continue to mount after it is over, as operations will take a long time to get back to full production. Job losses and shaft closures look highly likely. Terrible timing For the current account, the losses will be magnified as South Africa’s government embarks on a spending binge for big ticket items such as over 1,000 trains that will be imported from foreign companies like General Electric. “There will be huge pressure on the current account from the government’s infrastructure program. So this strike could hardly come at a worse time,” said Schussler. The impact on growth will also be significant. Africa’s largest economy is seen expanding at a sluggish pace of only around 2.5 percent per year, according to the latest Reuters poll of economists. “Roughly speaking, if you look at our GDP, which is 3.6 trillion rand, then that 9 billion rand is about a quarter of a percent off economic growth already,” said Schussler. Perhaps half a percent had been lost already, he added, if the 4 billion rand in lost employee wages and the effect on companies that supply and service the mines are added. “This means growth of 2 percent or lower,” Schussler said. Even operations not on strike, such as Aquarius Platinum’s, have not been able to capitalize on their rivals’ misfortunes as the strike has not had much impact on price. Spot platinum prices are little changed since the strikes began on Jan. 23 as traders bet that the availability of

above-ground stocks will cushion endusers from the impact. Cattle and caravans The lost wages have been felt immediately in the communities along the platinum belt northwest of Johannesburg. Patrick Tlou, 48, the owner of the Phomolong Tavern, where Majodina and a few other men were sitting in a circle on plastic chairs, said his trade was suffering. “Business is very down. It’s because of the strike. Many of my customers have gone home,” he said. Home for most miners is the villages they hail from in places such as Eastern Cape province, hundreds of miles away. This is where Majodina keeps his cattle. After sending money home for years to his family, he will now have to draw on his cows and kin to see him through the strike. “On April 1, I will go to the local Shoprite store and get 300 rand that my mother will send me out of her pension cheque. But normally I send money home,” he said. As for his cattle, it’s a buyer’s market as desperation sets in among miners, many of whom own livestock back in their rural homesteads. “If I say I want 6,000 rand for this animal, someone will say I only have 4,000 rand, and I will have to take it.” Elsewhere in Rustenburg, Ig Bronkhorst, owner of Campworld, which sells caravans and camping gear, said his business was also badly affected, though his typical client would be in a higher income bracket than the striking AMCU members, who are at the bottom of the mine wage scale. “My business is down at least 30 percent since the strike started. It goes wider than the guys working on the mine. It is also the contractors and the suppliers for the mines, and many of them are my customers,” he said. “People are bringing back caravans to sell because they need money,” he said. — Reuters

Opinion FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

RAS AL-AIN: A handout picture shows killed rebel fighters as pro-government forces enter the village of Ras Al-Ain. —AFP

Defying allies, Qatar unlikely to abandon favored Syrian rebels By Amena Bakr


atar’s backing for Syrian rebels widely regarded as jihadi militants might appear a diplomatic liability at a time when global alarm about Al-Qaeda is on the rebound. But that is not the way things are viewed in the Gulf Arab state, which is proud of its self-declared campaign to back the Arab Spring revolts against autocratic rule that began in 2011. The tiny but wealthy gas exporting country is under fierce pressure from some Gulf Arab neighbors to curb its support for Islamists of all stripes, principally the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and more radical rebel groups with Al-Qaeda ties in Syria. The two most powerful Gulf Arab states, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are incensed by Qatar’s hosting of Doha-based Youssef Al-Qaradawi, an influential pro-Brotherhood preacher whom they see as a potent political menace. They are also furious about Qatar’s use of its Al Jazeera broadcaster and Qatari television to promote Brotherhood views critical of other Gulf Arab states, and Al Jazeera’s air time for groups with Al-Qaeda ties in Syria. At a time when Sunni militants are resurgent in the Middle East and North Africa, and thousands of foreigners are fighting with AlQaeda aligned groups in Syria, many Gulf Arab officials perceive Qatar’s continued support of Islamists as reckless. But Qatar, a US ally, is signaling defiance. “The independence of Qatar’s foreign policy is simply non-negotiable,” Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Attiyah

said in a speech in Paris this month “Qatar is to take decisions, and follow a path, of its own.” In the case of Syria, diplomats and sources close to the government say it is unlikely to abandon groups that are among the toughest in fighting President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces, no matter the flak its policy takes from both allies and enemies. Qatar’s Syria policy matters not only because Doha remains a generous backer of the opposition but also because its dispute with other fundersnotably Riyadh and Western states- about who to back do little to heal months of violent rebel rifts. The infighting has undermined the rebels’ three-year-old fight against Assad and the prominence of hardline jihadi groups has made Western governments hesitant to back the rebellion. But Doha sees its friends in Syria as freedom fighters, not militants. Its official line is that Qatar supports only the moderate armed groups backed also by Saudi Arabia and the West. Playing with fire Qatar also rejects any suggestion it provides help to Al-Qaeda, seen in Washington as a diminished but still deadly foe. And yet fighters inside Syria, and diplomats and analysts in the region say Doha also provides help to groups that have coordinated tactically on the ground with Al-Qaeda affiliates and which share their ambition to create a strict Islamic state. An Arab diplomatic source said Qatar knew it was “playing with fire, but this is what Qatar does: They gain the confidence of powerful extremist groups which

they believe gives them a diplomatic edge over any other country.” A Gulf-based diplomat said Qatar was still backing Islamist groups in Syria, sending them financial aid and light weapons. “Let’s face it, the Islamist groups are the strongest on the ground in Syria right now, and Qatar believes that after Assad they’ll rise to power,” the diplomat added. An example is Ahrar al-Sham, which adheres to Islam’s ultra conservative Salafi tradition, has thousands of fighters and is part of the Islamic Front, an amalgam of six Islamist groups. The front was formed last November as a counter to the USbacked Supreme Military Council rebel leadership, depriving it of some of its main members. An Arab diplomat said the Front was created by Qatar and Turkey to try to check an increase in Saudi influence with the rebels detected in 2013. Rebel rifts “Qatar backs the Islamic Front and Ahrar Al-Sham is part of it, it is an important part of the Islamic Front so why would Qatar stop backing it?” an Islamic Front commander told Reuters by telephone on Tuesday from inside Syria. Diplomats say Saudi Arabia backs nationalist and Islamist groups that have no links to Al-Qaeda. With Saudi Arabia stepping up efforts to protect itself from jihadi influence at home and openly confronting Qatar’s policies, rebel rifts may now worsen. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Doha saying Qatar had interfered in their affairs, a reference to its support of Islamist

groups opposed to them. On the ground, the cleavage is visible. “Nothing has changed in Qatar’s support for the Islamic Front with all its factions, including Ahrar Al-Sham and Islam Army,” the Islamic Front commander said. Another Islamic Front commander said that Qatari financial backing continued, but at a lower level compared to four months ago. He said he did not know why. Volatile situation Admirers of Qatari policy say there is nothing sinister about backing groups like Ahrar Al-Sham. They note members of the Islamic Front including Ahrar Al-Sham have fought the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an Al-Qaeda splinter group that is the most hardline of all the Islamist forces in Syria. They say the group is fighting to replace Assad with Islamic rule rather than seeking to participate in a trans-national jihad against the West. Qatar’s ties to Islamists are also a source of US unease. Washington is a friend: Qatar plays host to the most important military base in the region, has close US commercial ties and for years has worked with Washington in mediating conflicts around the region. But US Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen, in a speech in Washington on March 4, cited press reports that the Qatari government is “supporting extremist groups operating in Syria” “To say the least, this threatens to aggravate an already volatile situation in a particularly dangerous and unwelcome manner,” he said. — Reuters

FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Gorilla mother Kumili holds her newborn at the zoo in Leipzig, Germany, Friday, March 14, 2014. The baby gorilla was born during the night between March 20 and 21, 2014 and its sex is still unknown. —AP

C a re e r s FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

How to say what your

resume doesn’t oor cover letters. As much as we despise them, they are a chance to make a case, to cover everything we can’t express in our resumes - which is a lot - and come across as real people to potential employers. Don’t throw together a cover letter in the hope that nobody will actually read it. To take advantage of its full potential, follow these steps. Below that, you’ll find advice on formatting, reviewing, and researching the letter as well as links to three free sample letters which you can copy and adapt to your needs.


just say that you look forward to interviewing for the position and discussing your qualifications further. Provide your contact information. Include your email address and your phone number so the hiring manager can get in touch with you. Mention that your resume or references are attached (if applicable). Thank the person for their time. End your cover letter with a respectful closing statement. “Best” or “Sincerely” are both classic options. Also, since you won’t be able to sign your email, finish the letter by typing your full name.

Write an email cover letter Include a salutation. There are a number of different kinds to choose from, and the greeting you choose will depend on how much information you have about the company. If you know the name of the hiring manager, your salutation should be something like “Dear [insert name]” followed by either a comma or a colon. Make sure to address the manager formally using their proper title (Mr, Ms, Dr, etc). If you don’t know the name of the hiring manager, consider addressing your letter “Dear Hiring Manager,” “Dear Recruiting Team,” or “Dear [insert company name] Team.” As a last resort, address the letter “To whom it may concern,” though we recommend avoiding this salutation, as it could come across as a template letter. Write the first paragraph of your letter. This is where you will mention the job for which you’re applying and how you found the job listing. It only needs to be 1 to 2 sentences in length. Write the body paragraphs of your letter. Most cover letters will only have 1 or 2 body paragraphs. You don’t want to overwhelm the hiring manager or use up a great deal of his or her time. Try to answer the following questions in your body paragraphs: Why am I a qualified candidate for this position? What work experience do I have that fits the job requirements in the company’s listing? Why do I want to work for this company specifically? Write the final paragraph of your letter. This will be where you wrap up and discuss how you will proceed with the application. Consider including the following: Reiterate in one sentence why you feel you’re a perfect fit for the position. Discuss what you’ll do next. If you plan on following up with the hiring manager in a week or two, include a specific date. Otherwise,

Write a paper cover letter Add a letterhead at the top of the letter. Your letterhead should include your full name, address, telephone number, and email address. Some guidelines to follow when creating your letterhead: Your name should be in bold 14- or 16-point font. Your address and other contact information should be in normal 12-point font.

write, “To Whom It May Concern:” or “Dear Sir or Madam”; however, it is always best to address a cover letter to a real person to make it look like you’re not sending form letters. State your purpose in the first paragraph. Tell the employer why you are writing to them in two or three sentences. State the position for which you are applying (or the one you would like to have should it become available). You don’t necessarily need to include how you became aware of the position unless it was through a mutual contact or recruiting programin which case you should make the most of the connection. If you are writing a letter of interest (also known as a prospecting or inquiry letter) in which you are asking about positions that might be available, specify why you are interested in working for the employer. Highlight the key words Outline your qualifications in the middle

Write a cover letter which employers will actually read The font of your letterhead does not need to be Arial or Times New Roman, like the rest of your letter, but it should be professional looking and easy to read. The most important thing to remember is to include up-to-date information so that you make it easy for the employer to contact you. You may want to include an extra line under the letterhead in order to create visual appeal and to separate the letterhead from the rest of the letter. Write the recipient’s name and address and the date below the letterhead. It doesn’t matter whether you put the date first or last, or how many blank lines you include between them, as long as it looks professional. From here on out, use 12-point Arial or Times New Roman throughout the entire letter, set your margins to one inch, and use single spacing. Be sure your font is black, and if you’re printing your letter out, use standard-sized paper (8 1/2” by 11”). Address the recipient. Be sure to refer to the recipient by his or her proper title (Mrs., Mr., Dr., etc.). If you’re not sure who the recipient is,

paragraph(s). Make sure to match them to the requirements of the position. If you are writing to inquire about open positions, tell the employer how you can contribute to their bottom line, not what you want to get out of the deal. To do this, use what you have researched about the employer’s background and history. Make your qualifications jump out at the reader by researching the company to which you are applying for a job and tailoring your letter accordingly. This will also be useful if you get an interview. Some questions to keep in mind as you write are: What is the employer’s mission? What do they promote as the one thing that sets them apart from their competitors? What kind of customer base does the employer have? Who is their target audience? What is the company’s history? Who founded it? How has the business evolved? What are the main highlights of the company’s performance over the past few years? Include a positive statement or question in the final paragraph that will motivate the

employer to contact you. Make this closing paragraph between two to four sentences. Direct the employer to your enclosed resume and make sure you specify that you’re available for an interview. Finish off by thanking the recruiter for their time and consideration, and welcome them to get in touch with you to continue the conversation. Write an appropriate closing. It’s a good idea to thank the reader for his or her time. After that, write “Sincerely,” “Respectfully,” or “Regards,” leave several spaces, and print your name. Add your signature. If you will be submitting your cover letter digitally, it’s a good idea to scan and add your signature, write it in with a digital writing pad, or make a digital signature stamp with appropriate software. Make a notation of the enclosures. If you enclose something, such as a resume, with a letter, you should indicate that the letter contains enclosures by making the notation “Enclosure” or “Enclosures” at the bottom of the letter. Review your cover letter Spell-check and proofread. If you have a spellcheck feature, use it. Some programs, such as Microsoft Word, also include a grammar check that you should use. Proofread your letter yourself. Some things to avoid are common misspellings. Writing in the passive voice. Own your accomplishments. Stay away from phrases like “This experience gave me the opportunity to...,” or worse, “these goals were met by me.” You don’t want to sound like everything happened to you or that it was done by some other entity. Make yourself the active subject of every sentence (e.g., “In this role, I developed/reinforced/learned/etc.”). However, this does not imply that every sentence should start with “I...” so vary your syntax accordingly. Colloquial (informal) writing. You want to sound professional and educated. Avoid all forms of slang, unnecessary abbreviations, and texting lingo. Read your letter aloud to hear how it reads. Do not rely on the spelling and grammar checks to catch mistakes. Consider asking a friend, or even two, to proofread your letter as well. If no one is available to help, another good strategy is to spend some time away from your final draft (a few hours or even a whole day) so that you can return to it with a fresh perspective. —

FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

In a



Love the convenience of a one-dish meal simmering on the stovetop? Then prepare one of these top-rated soup recipes for some no-fuss hearty comfort food. Potato Soup

Ingredients * 4 (6-ounce) red potatoes * 2 teaspoons olive oil * 1/2 cup pre-chopped onion * 1 1/4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth * 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour * 2 cups 1 percent low-fat milk, divided * 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream * 1/2 teaspoon salt * 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper * 1.5 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1/3 cup) * 4 teaspoons thinly sliced green onions

French Onion Soup

Preparation 1. Pierce potatoes with a fork. Microwave on HIGH 13 minutes or until tender. Cut in half; cool slightly. 2. While potatoes cook, heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; saute 3 minutes. Add broth. Combine flour and 1/2 cup milk; add to pan with 1 1/2 cups milk. Bring to a boil; stir often. Cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream, salt, and pepper. 3. Discard potato skins. Coarsely mash potatoes into soup. Top with cheese, green onions.

Broccoli and Cheese Soup

Ingredients * Cooking spray * 1 cup chopped onion * 2 garlic cloves, minced * 3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth * 1 (16-ounce) package broccoli florets * 2 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk * 1/3 cup all-purpose flour * 1/4 teaspoon black pepper * 8 ounces light processed cheese, cubed (such as Velveeta Light) Preparation 1. Heat a large nonstick saucepan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat.

Ingredients * 2 teaspoons olive oil * 4 cups thinly vertically sliced Walla Walla or other sweet onion * 4 cups thinly vertically sliced red onion * 1/2 teaspoon sugar * 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper * 1/4 teaspoon salt * 8 cups less-sodium beef broth * 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme * 8 (1-ounce) slices French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes * 8 (1-ounce) slices reduced-fat, reduced-sodium Swiss cheese (such as Alpine Lace) Preparation 1. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-

high heat. Add onions to pan; sautĂˆ for 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in sugar, pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat to medium; cook 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Increase heat to mediumhigh, and saute for 5 minutes or until onion is golden brown. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Add broth and thyme; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2 hours. 2. Preheat broiler. 3. Place bread in a single layer on a baking sheet; broil 2 minutes or until toasted, turning after 1 minute. 4. Place 8 ovenproof bowls on a jelly-roll pan. Ladle 1 cup soup into each bowl. Divide bread evenly among bowls; top each serving with 1 cheese slice. Broil 3 minutes or until cheese begins to brown.

Tomato Basil Soup

Add onion and garlic; saute 3 minutes or until tender. Add broth and broccoli. Bring broccoli mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; cook 10 minutes. 2. Combine milk and flour, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Add milk mixture to broccoli mixture. Cook 5 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Stir in pepper. Remove from heat; add cheese, stirring until cheese melts. 3. Place one-third of the soup in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Return pureed soup mixture to pan.

Ingredients * 4 cups chopped seeded peeled tomato (about 4 large) * 4 cups low-sodium tomato juice * 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves * 1 cup 1 percent low-fat milk * 1/4 teaspoon salt * 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper * 1/2 cup (4 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened * Basil leaves, thinly sliced (optional) * 8 (1/2-inch-thick) slices diagonally cut French bread baguette

Preparation 1. Bring tomato and juice to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes. 2. Place tomato mixture and basil in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Return pureed mixture to pan; stir in milk, salt, and pepper. Add cream cheese, stirring well with a whisk, and cook over medium heat until thick (about 5 minutes). Ladle soup into individual bowls; garnish with sliced basil, if desired. Serve with bread.

Health FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Get your

back! Top 10 back exercises for building width and thickness


ere is a great article that will educate you on the top 10 best back exercises for adding width and thickness. Using research from: personal experience, professional bodybuilders, fitness models and highly rated bodybuilding and fitness literature. LAT PULLDOWNS: We’ll start off the with Lat pull-down, probably the most widely known and popular exercise for the back. If performed correctly it can be a great exercise to improve back width and add some mass. It has been suggested through good research that grip width is not a major factor in promoting muscle contraction, and that performing the pull-down in front of your head is more effective than behind the head. It should be noted that the behind the head lat pull-down can potential course damage or strain to the rotary cuff if not performed with proper form and technique.

Safety precautions should be taken to protect the rotary cuff whilst doing this particular movement. Although you may not hurt your rotary cuff, there is potential to strain them if not well rested before an intense chest workout. This certain exercise hits the lats (latissimus dorsi) more than any other group of back muscles, which is responsible for adding more width to the back.

REVERSE GRIP BENT OVER ROWS: This exercise is a variation of the more commonly used bent over row, this exercise is used to target the lower latissimus dorsi. Since the lower lats are closer to the insertion point and further away from the middle of the muscle it won’t do much for overall back development. However, if used correctly it can be a great exercise to add variation to any workout program. It is normally used by people who are looking to build out their lower lats or add more strength. This movement is also easier for those who suffer from joint or shoulder injuries as it brings less stress to the shoulders as opposed to the pronated grip. To conclude, this exercise should be used to isolate the lower back and not a movement for overall back development. SEATED CABLE ROWS: The seated cable row has been proven to be a stable exercise in any bodybuilder’s workout routine. It is great for adding thickness to the lets, rhomboids and trapezius muscles. However due to the nature of the movement and the fact you’re seated there isn’t muscle activation to the abdominals, hips and lower back. DUMBBELL ROWS: When performed correctly, the dumbbell row is one of the most versatile movements one can do for back muscle

STANDING PULLDOWN: Unlike the Lat Pulldown, the standing pulldown isn’t very popular and is hardly exposed in bodybuilding or fitness publications. It’s not that the movement isn’t that effective it’s the fact it’s only meant to hit a certain small targeted area, unless you have great overall back development than it won’t be as beneficial to you. However it can still be used as part of any back workout, it would be more suited towards the end of a workout, when your muscles are already exhausted. This will produce the best benefits and burn from this particular movement. WEIGHTED PULL UPS: Time to go old school; the weighted pull up is easily one of the best back exercises that one can perform for back development. There are many variations of this exercise but they best one is with a pronated grip. The movement uses your own bodyweight as resistance but additional weight can be added with the use of a weight belt. The exercise utilizes every muscle in your back like no other exercise. This exercise is considered by many as the king of back exercise and has been proven over decades to be an exercise that is great for adding mass to the back.

growth. It should be considered by most as an addition to a back workout. The barbell row is typically intended to target the lats, rhomboids, lower trapezius and erector spinae. If the exercise is done correctly with the right form and technique then you should be able to feel the muscles between your shoulder blades being worked. UPRIGHT ROWS: The upright row is predominantly a shoulder workout but it also hit’s the trapezius muscles. This exercise can be used as

an addition to a back workout for hitting extra muscles and adding some diversity to your workout. It is best used on a split program or if you feel like giving your trapz an extra burn towards the end of a workout. It is best to perform this movement with a free barbell, as opposed to using machines. You will stimulate muscle contraction more efficiently performing it with the exercise with a barbell. DEADLIFTS: The deadlift, an exercise that should be present in any back workout designed for adding muscle. It’s simply one of the best movements a person can do. Not only does it hit more muscle than most movements it also has other benefits such as hitting core muscles. The deadlift is perfect for overall back development, strength and improving stabilization to your trunk, which in turn will help aid you on your other lifts. Just like the weighted pull ups, this exercise is tried and tested and there has yet been an alternative or substitute to show better results than the deadlift. Usually a great exercise for mid-late in a workout, better results are seen from deadlifts once other muscles have already been targeted and warmed up. BENT OVER BARBELL ROWS: A great exercise that should hit you upper back, traps, rhomboids and lats, this movement is a solid exercise and should be considered by most as a part of their back workout. Since traditionally it uses a pronated grip, the position in which you hold the bar is similar to the deadlift. If you’re using the right techniques you should have a slight bend in your knees, keeping your chest and head up, using good posture, whilst lowering your trunk to around 30 degrees. The weight should be high enough that you can hit a full range of motion whilst getting good contraction to the targeted muscles. A full range of motion should consist of a lock out on the descent and be raised as high as your lower abdominal. T-BAR ROWS: Another movement to add to the old school list of back exercises. In the days before “high-tech” equipment was available; the bodybuilders of the golden era would try lifting anything they could get their hands on in a fashion to improve muscular gains. One of the most affective and utilized movements was the T-bar row. This movement is great for hitting your back, especially to the; inner lats, mid to lower traps and the rhomboids. It will also hit your upper back, delts and trapezius. The T-bar row is one of the more superior back movements for adding mass and thickness to your back. —

Health FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Poor posture increases risk of

metabolic syndromes I

t’s the forgotten body part that needs the most attention. Your back muscles are essential for almost everything you do and neglecting them can lead to pain. “The problem is, what we do in life is generally done in front of us,” says Lee Boyce, a strength and conditioning coach and fitness writer based in Toronto. “That means that those mirror muscles (the ones we can see) get plenty of opportunities to be used - so much so that they typically get pulled tight, and not in a good way.” Neglecting certain muscles creates an imbalance. ”If there’s a poor balance of strength among muscles from one side of the joint to the other side, then the joint will suffer and chronic pain will begin,” Boyce says. And unless you work at a gym or deliver the mail, chances are you’re probably sitting at a desk all day. Studies have shown people who sit for over 11 hours a day are slowly killing themselves - literally. Poor posture also increases the risk of metabolic syndromes, heart attacks, strokes, and makes it uncomfortable to do everyday tasks. Exercises focusing on your back are one way to fix poor posture. Boyce has put together some of the most effective workouts and how to do each one. Remember, go at your own pace. If you feel uncomfortable with weights or repetitions, ask a trainer for help.

deadlift, and pull the weights to the sides of the torso. Be sure to pull the shoulders back first. Keep the head neutral and in line with the spine. This means you’ll be looking down towards your feet. Lat Pulldown Sit tall in a pulldown station and lean back a few inches. With the pulldown bar in hand, set the shoulders by lowering them as far parallel to the floor. Be sure not to bend the elbows more than about 10 degrees shy of straight. Control the descent for a better stimulation to the upper back. Trap Raise Lay chest down on a bench or ball. Secure your feet against a wall, machine or a pair of heavy dumbbells. Hold on to a pair of light dumbbells with the palms facing each other, and raise the arms up and outwards. You should be mimicking the letter “Y” at the top position, with the palms still facing each other. Be sure to pull the shoulders back before each rep, and look to feel the exercise working the upper back, not the shoulders or arms. Inverted Row Set up a bar in a squat cage (a type of gym equipment) at about waist level. Make sure it’s secure and then grab a shoulder-width overhand grip and hang underneath the bar. Your body should be face-up, and your feet can be planted on the floor with the knees at a 90 degree angle. The rest of your body should be flat - don’t let your hips sink towards the floor. In one pull, squeeze the chest right up to the bar level. Keep the elbows out and pinch your shoulder blades together. Remember to control your descent.

Pull-Up Hang off a bar with straight arms. Using an overhand grip, pull your body upwards until your face finishes above the bar level. Be sure to pull “chest first”, meaning the shoulders get pulled back so the chest moves up first. This will make the back muscles do the most work. And even though these may be tough at first, many gyms have assisted pull up machines as part of their equipment. Seated Row Sit tall with the knees slightly bent in a row station. With long arms, first pull the shoulders back, and then follow through by pulling the weight into your ribcage. Be sure to squeeze the upper back at the end. Bent Over Row Assume the same start position as the

down the back as possible, without bending the elbows. Next, pull the bar all the way to the collarbone, making sure the elbows stay tucked under the bar. Don’t let them flare out behind you! Return to the start position and repeat.

Reverse Fly In a bent over position, maintain an arched back and hold two dumbbells with the palms facing each other. Squeeze the upper back and pull the dumbbells up until the arms are

Why do I need to work out my back?


he amount of twisting, bending, flexing and rotating you do every day makes it a challenge to keep your back feeling healthy and happy. Even sitting can stress your back. Due to the high stress placed on your back and the high costs that come with back pain and injury, you should incorporate some back exercises into your daily fitness routine. Keeping your back functional can generally improve your quality of life and make it easier to keep exercising and working out at your best.

Build strength Back exercise benefits include increased strength in your back muscles. You have multiple muscle groups in your back: lats, traps, the core erector muscles along your spine

and many more. You use these muscles in many daily activities. The University of Maryland Medical Center explains that back strengthening exercises build the strength needed to support and keep your spine in its proper position. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) guide on back pain recommends including exercises such as back bridges, crunches and squats with your back supported against a wall. Increase flexibility Back exercises can also benefit you by increasing your flexibility. The NIH notes that stretching exercises both increase your range of motion and improve your muscular endurance. Keeping your back flexible enough to execute your daily activities with-

out stressing your back muscles makes it easier to maintain a healthy activity level. A full range of motion also allows you to work out without restricting your exercise choices because your back is too tight to perform the necessary movements. Relax your back and reduce pain A Harvard Health Publication article on back pain suggests that exercise is not only imperative in the healing but the prevention of back pain. The NIH also advises people that the best way to prevent back pain is through regularly exercising your back. At a minimum, the NIH advises exercising your back with a combination of stretching and flexibility exercises for 15 minutes, three days a week. —

Prone Superman Lie flat on your stomach, and keep the chin tucked in to ensure you don’t look up. Position the hands beside the head with the palms facing down. In one shot, pick as much of your body as possible off the ground arms, legs, head and chest - and hold for one full second. Slowly return to a rest position and repeat. Face Pull Set up the rope attachment at a cable station at eye level. Stand facing the ropes and grab hold of the ropes with the knuckles facing inwards (palms facing outward). Keeping the elbows out wide, pull the ropes to the face. Feel for the rear shoulders and mid traps to do the work. —


Running free:

A runner’s By Rose George


back to nature


oday I went for a run. I put on my £20 Nike wicking-fabric T-shirt and my £25 Nike wicking-fabric leggings, then my £25 compression socks and my £110 Brooks Ghost 6 shoes. I strapped on my £100 Garmin Forerunner 210 GPS watch, and zipped up my £40 Saucony high-vis orange windproof jacket. I inserted my iPhone into my armband, plugged in the headphones, then opened the door of my house in north Leeds and headed up Harrogate Road. I checked my watch every so often to see if I was keeping to my marathon pace; I stuck to the roads; and by doing what I was doing and wearing what I was wearing, I symbolized something that Richard Askwith doesn’t much like. He calls it “Big Running”, and he means the industrialization of an activity that should be free and natural. “How can running be an industry at all?” he wonders early on. “There’s no more need for a running industry than there is for a tree-climbing industry or a hide-and-seek industry.” He strengthens this with some impressive numbers: a low-end estimate of the value of the UK’s running retail industry is £425 million, and globally, running is worth twice as much as football. Twice as many people work in the sports industry in England as in agriculture, forestry and fishery combined. So what? Sport is good. But Askwith successfully skewers the excesses of Big Running, the people in the sports industry who get runners to fall for products by sprinkling them with technobabble fairydust, such as “stability cradle” or “motion control” or “over-pronation”. Soon, we meet a human version of Big Running: a man he sees on an evening run in the Peak District. Askwith has set off with no plan and no clue. He has run through holloways and ancient paths, and had a thoroughly enjoyable time. Then he sees a man in Day-Glo colors, grimacing in front of a post marked Trailblaze. And off his imagination runs, too: the other runner is the anti-runner, inserting his data into a device marketed by Trailblaze, a company that has since foundered, but whose legacy remains in every app and website that encourages you to share your latest 5K time, and lose yet more Twitter followers sick of your running updates. So Big Runner is on one side, and Askwith on the other. But it wasn’t always the case, as he demonstrates with his concept of the Seven Ages of Running. As an unfit and somewhat feckless young man, he went for a run and that was it. In the Second Age of Running, he became a pavement-pounding zealot, and in the Third, he chased peak performances. Pavement-pounders get short shrift: they are “conventional road-runners”, who seem to have sacrificed enjoyment for personal bests and interval splits. Askwith ran the roads and came out the other end, and decided next to volunteer to be chased by bloodhounds, supervised by the pleasingly taciturn kennelhandler Graham. After the dogs, he turned to the fells and their fell-runners, his Fourth Age of Running and the subject of his last book Feet in the Clouds, voted - at least by my run-

ning club - one of the best running books ever written. Slow Running I’ve read a few, from Murakami to the recent Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley. They all have the same problem: they run their course before the end. I began to wonder whether it is possible to write interestingly about something that is, after all, just putting one foot in front of the other, at a speed of your choice. What is compelling about running is what goes on along with it: inside or outside your head. The best writers about it are writing about something else: about being alive, in Askwith’s case, in predawn darkness in a Northamptonshire field; about being at peace with freezing rain and puddles and mud and bogs, rather than scared of them, and rather than putting up a barrier of weatherproof, waterproof health and safety against them. This is the Fifth Age of Running, though by now I’ve lost track. It’s also what he calls Slow Running, although it’s nothing to do with pace and everything to do with quality, as Slow Food is about valuing ingredients. In Slow Running, the ingredients are the outside world, and the runner’s focus turns from digital numbers and Big Running kit to muntjacs and mice; to the ghosts of night-time animals; to exactly how the wind is blowing. Askwith knows what he is doing and what he sounds like. He refers to his own “sneering”. He realises that not everyone can live in a village with easy access to the kind of countryside he has outside his door. And he exper-

iments with Big Running by taking part in one of the wildly popular obstacle races - Tough Mudder, Spartan Warrior, Warrior Dash - that are earning around £18m a year by appealing to people who want to spend a few hours crawling through mud and being electrocut-

ed. I agree with him that obstacle races are rather daft: I can get my kicks from my local woods easily enough and for less than a £100 entry fee. But I see why they are popular, and so does Askwith: they are safe danger in an era of sanitised, risk-free lifestyles. Also, they do look like fun. I’m less lured by the

Trevelyan manhunt, which Askwith also tries out. This is a secret running event in which men and women are hunted by other men and women, across the Scottish highlands. There is, I guess, a primal purity to it. I may have fallen for Big Running, but Askwith’s distaste for it is valid, as anyone who runs 20 miles then listens to people start comparing PBs, rather than exult in the power of their legs, or rave about the scenery, must surely agree. He offers a reminder that the simple act of running can return us simply but forcefully to a natural world which is just outside the door. And it doesn’t matter where the door is, because this book about running is really about waking up: of a morning, but also our senses, dulled by modern cossetting. Hence the lyrical and tactile descriptions of his morning runs with his dog, carefully skirting cattle and zigzagging through sheep, in his one concession to fancy kit, the bizarre footwear Vibram Five Fingers - shoes with individual toes his children call “froggy feet”. He wants us to notice the small, strange or beautiful things: a pile of rodent bones left by some animal hunter overnight; the unexpected pleasure of running in gales, in rain, in freezing cold (tip: run frozen fingers under cold water first, unless you want chilblains). When did humans start being scared of weather? Why must rain be escaped rather than enjoyed? Even with my Big Running gear and my Big Running habits, I finished Askwith’s book feeling an urgent need to run up the nearest fell, with no watch and no plan. Just me and my whistle, running free. —

Lifestyle FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Indian author

Khushwant Singh dies at 99 K

A customer buys books written by late Indian author and journalist Khushwant Singh at a bookstore in New Delhi.

‘South Park’ writer to take ‘Girl’s Trip’ with Malcolm D Lee, Universal

hushwant Singh, one of India’s best known writers who won fame for a searing book on partition of the subcontinent as well as his once-daring descriptions of sex, died yesterday aged 99. The country’s most prolific author, who died at his home in New Delhi after suffering breathing problems, had only recently stopped writing despite his advanced years, his son said. “He was having some breathing problems. He hadn’t been too unwell in his last few days and had only stopped writing recently. He was still reading newspapers and books... was mentally alert, and led a full life,” Rahul Singh told the NDTV news channel. Singh, nicknamed King Leer for his legendary roving eye, was a household name who wrote more than 100 books and countless newspaper columns, including one called “With Malice Towards One And All”. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called him “a gifted author, candid commentator and a dear friend” as tributes poured in for a great writer with an even greater sense of humor. “The world will always remember him as a lovable human being,” author and veteran BBC journalist Mark Tully said on NDTV. Fellow authors including Vikram Seth and former cricketers were among those who visited his Delhi home to pay their respects to a man hailed by President Pranab Mukherjee as a “fearless intellectual”, the Press Trust of India said. The art of relaxation In an interview with AFP in 2005, Singh described his passion for writing as compulsive. “I don’t know what to do with myself if I don’t write, I have lost the art of relaxation,” he said. Singh, a Sikh born on February 2, 1915 in what is now Pakistan, occupied India’s literary centre-stage for half a century with his novels. Some in his early decades scandalized India with their sexually explicit scenes. He is best remembered for his historical novel “Train to Pakistan”, which recounts the tragedy and bloodshed of the partition of the subcontinent in 1947 into India and Pakistan. Singh, who penned his books and columns on yellow legal pads, became a writer relatively late. Born into a well-off family, he initially practiced law in Lahore. But partition was the trigger for him to change professions. “I loathed the law. I thought I can’t waste my entire life living off other people’s quarrels,” he said. After coming to New Delhi, where his father became a prosperous property developer, he entered the diplomatic service in 1947 but soon tired of this and became a journalist and writer.

In this photograph taken early in 2004, Indian author Khushwant Singh poses in New Delhi.

The mortal remains of late Indian author and journalist Khushwant Singh is brought to a cremation centre in New Delhi yesterday. His philandering fame was mainly selfcultivated and he looked after his wife devotedly until she died of Alzheimer’s disease in her mid-80s. But a rakish reputation could still get him into trouble even late in life. In 2001 he triggered diplomatic uproar when he pecked the Pakistani High Commissioner’s (ambassador’s) teenage daughter on the cheek at a New Delhi party when tensions between India and Pakistan were high. The high commissioner was

recalled to Islamabad to explain what was seen in some Pakistani circles as a lapse in propriety. Singh, famous for his insouciance, had penned his epitaph before his death. “Here lies one who spared neither man nor God/Waste not your tears on him, he was a sod/Writing nasty things he regarded as great fun/Thank the Lord he is dead, this son of a gun.” Singh will be cremated in Delhi later Thursday. He is survived by his son, daughter and a niece. — AFP


niversal Pictures has hired “South Park” veteran Erica Rivinoja to write the screenplay for Malcolm D Lee’s comedy “Untitled Girls Trip Project,” the studio announced Wednesday. Will Packer (“Ride Along”) will produce the movie, while Lee will executive produce. Production is scheduled to start this summer in New Orleans. Rivinoja was a writer on Sony’s “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2.” On the TV side, Rivinoja has an overall deal with Sony and most recently was a co-executive producer on CBS’s “Bad Teacher.” She was previously a co-executive producer on NBC’s “Up All Night.” Prior to that, she worked on Comedy Central’s “South Park” for eleven seasons, working her way up the ranks from staff writer to producer. She shared in the show’s two Emmy wins in 2008 and 2009 for Outstanding Animated Program and two nominations in the same category in 2002 and 2010. Lee recently directed the hit dramedy “The Best Man Holiday” for Universal. Rivinoja is represented by UTA and attorney Ken Richman.— Reuters

India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) senior leader LK Advani pays tribute near the mortal remains of late writer and journalist Khushwant Singh at a cremation centre in New Delhi yesterday.

Lifestyle FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

New album for British WWII forces’ sweetheart Vera Lynn, 97


Members of the Rolling Stones board their plane at Perth Airport yesterday, after the suicide of Mick Jagger’s girlfriend LíWren Scott in New York on March 17. — AFP

ritish singer Vera Lynn, the “forces sweetheart” who helped keep up morale during World War II, celebrated her 97th birthday yesterday with the announcement of a new album of re-mastered songs. The album will include more than 40 songs from 1940-45, including her wartime anthem “We’ll Meet Again”, and some unreleased tracks uncovered by her daughter Virginia. It will be released on June 2 to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings four days later. A previous compilation in 2009, timed for the anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, reached number one, making Lynn, then 92, the oldest living singer to top the British album charts.”I think it’s wonderful that my songs are still enjoyed, especially if it encourages people to commemorate what happened 70 years ago,” Lynn said in a statement yesterday. “It’s moving for me to relive those days, and humbling to know that people still think of meafter all, it was simply my duty to keep singing.” — AFP

Stones leave Perth after Scott suicide


he Rolling Stones jetted out of Perth yesterday after the suicide of Mick Jagger’s girlfriend L’Wren Scott, with Keith Richards consoling his “soul brother” and vowing they will be back on stage soon. The band’s private plane, emblazoned with their trademark red tongue, took off around 0710 GMT. Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood were seen leaving their hotel while Richards was spotted walking up the jet’s steps. In their first comments since the former model, 49, was found hanged at her luxury New York apartment on Monday, the band said they were shocked and pulling together to help the lead singer, 70. “No-one saw this coming... Mick’s always been my soul brother and we love him. We’re thick as thieves and we’re all feeling for the man,” Richards, his songwriting partner for more than 50 years, said in a statement. “We really hate to disappoint our fans but we’ll see everyone really soon.” The Stones on Tuesday postponed their 14 On Fire tour of Australia and New Zealand. They were due to play a first gig in Perth on Wednesday and vowed to reschedule concerts in the city as well as Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Auckland. The flight plan for the band’s tour 767 lodged at Perth airport, listed Abu Dhabi as the final destination, according to media reports. Watts told Britain’s Daily Mail of Jagger: “He’s holding up, he’s okay. He’s not really well, he’s not really here. It was such a shock.” Wood said the entire band would be back on stage as soon as possible. “This is such terrible news and right now the important thing is that we are all pulling together to offer Mick our support and help him through this sad time,” he said. “Without a doubt we intend to be back out on that stage as soon as we can.” Watts added that it was an “awful time”, but also vowed to be back. “Needless to say we are all completely shocked but our first

thought is to support Mick at this awful time,” he said in the statement. “We intend to come back to Australia and New Zealand as soon as it proves possible.” In the original statement, none of the three mentioned Scott by name, but in a subsequent comment on their Facebook page Wood paid his respects to the designer’s family.

Struggling to understand On Wednesday, a coroner in New York confirmed that Scott had committed suicide by hanging. Jagger has not been seen in public since hearing the tragic news, but in a blog post on his website a day after Scott was found dead he described her as not only his lover but his best friend. “I will never forget her,” he wrote under a post entitled “L’Wren”, featuring a black and white photo of Scott. “I am still struggling to understand how my lover and best friend could end her life in this tragic way.” British media said Jagger was so distraught at the loss that he has barely slept and was being monitored by his entourage, including medical professionals and his daughters Elizabeth and Georgia May. It emerged that Scott’s fashion business had large debts at the time of her suicide, according to accounts filed in Britain. LS Fashion Ltd ran a loss of $5.9 million as of December 31, 2012, said the accounts, lodged with Britain’s Companies House last October and obtained by AFP. Scott’s body-hugging and figure-flattering dresses were loved by celebrities from Hollywood stars to US First Lady Michelle Obama. — AFP

In a file picture on October 22, 2009 taken Dame Vera Lynn poses for photographs in central London. —AP

FX network orders comedy starring Billy Crystal


illy Crystal has agreed to star in a new television series in which he’s paired with Josh Gad in a story about two comics in a generational clash. The series is called “The Comedians.” It’s set to air on the FX network next year. FX said Wednesday it has ordered 13 episodes. “The Comedians” is based on a format popular in Sweden and will look at a late-night television show on which egos and generations collide. The pilot episode was directed by Larry Charles, who worked on “Seinfeld” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Crystal has been well known for movie roles, a “Saturday Night Live” stint and repeated turns as Academy Awards host. But his last role in a regular TV series was on the 1970s ABC sitcom “Soap.”— AP

Album of discarded Johnny Cash songs comes out of vault


Johnny Cash

ohnny Cash helped define American country music with hits such as “I Walk the Line” and “A Boy Named Sue”, but in the early 1980s he recorded an album of songs his record label refused to release and is only now seeing the light of day. “Out Among The Stars”, which Cash, who died in 2003, recorded with legendary Nashville producer Billy Sherrill, will be released by Sony next week and includes duets with Cash’s late wife, June Carter Cash, and Waylon Jennings. The songs were never released in any form by Cash’s label, Columbia, now owned by Sony, and were only rediscovered in 2012 when Cash’s son, John Carter Cash, who has written extensively about his late parents, was cataloguing their archives. “Originally produced by Billy Sherrill in 1984 and a couple of songs in ‘81, they exhibited my father and showed his creativity in a period of his life when not as many people knew about this music,” Cash told Reuters on a recent trip to London. At the time “Out Among The Stars” was recorded, country music was moving away from the sound that made Cash popular towards the ‘countrypoli-

tan’ style championed by Garth Brooks. Cash also endured a difficult personal struggle with drug addiction and being dropped by Columbia in 1986. After he was let go by the label, “Out Among The Stars” remained in the vaults and was subsequently forgotten. “Something that specifically worked for Johnny Cash was not what Columbia was interested in at the time, sadly. I believe they made a bad mistake and they didn’t have the vision. However, you can look at it in different ways,” Cash said. “There was a string of Johnny Cash records that came out through that time period that weren’t getting attention. Perhaps if it had been released it wouldn’t have the same songs and it would have been just another record,” he added. “I don’t think he was jealous of the other artists who were succeeding at the time period. It was not time for Johnny Cash to stand out in the light because the world around just wasn’t as cool as he was.” ‘Figure of mystery’ The last decade has seen a resurgence in for-

tunes for the ‘Man in Black’, more than 10 years after his death. Much of this is due to the release of a series of “American” albums produced by Rick Rubin, the success of Cash’s cover of the Nine Inch Nails track “Hurt” and the global success of the biopic “Walk the Line” starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. Cash’s son also believes part of his father’s enduring popularity can be put down to his enigmatic personality. “He endures because he’s also a figure of mystery,” he said. Releasing the album was a not a simple decision for Cash, who said that he has to consider whether the album is individual and distinct enough to add to the Johnny Cash canon. “It’s a matter of integrity and spirit. You know, it’s something beautiful and it’s a personal connection with the family ... I think I would make a lot more people angry by not releasing this beautiful work than by putting it out,” he said.—Reuters

Lifestyle FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Rock and roll legend Roy Orbison is honored with a star posthumously on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, with family members, from left, sons Wesley, Alex, wife Barbara Orbison, and Roy Jr in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. — AP photos

This Dec 7, 1988 file photo shows singer and guitarist Roy Orbison, at a local night club where he was appearing in Boston, Mass.

This photo provided by Legacy Recordings shows the cover of the Roy Orbison album, “Mystery Girl - Deluxe.”

3 sons unite to create new Roy Orbison song


oy Orbison’s three sons are all musicians but never really got to play music with their dad - until now. Wesley, Roy Jr and Alex Orbison have helped create a new song by their father that will appear on the 25th anniversary reissue and expansion of Orbison’s final album, “Mystery Girl.” They found an old vocal track for a song called “The Way is Love” originally recorded on a boombox and were able to reclaim it using technology that had to be created to accomplish the work. They then added new instrumentation with the help of another son of a music legend, coproducer John Carter Cash. “It really brought us closer together in a lot of ways,” said Alex Orbison, 38, who contributed drums and backing vocals

to the track. “We were able to finish it up and get it out by Father’s Day, too, which was obviously special to us.” “Mystery Girl” will be re-released May 20 with “The Way is Love” one of nine previously unheard songs. Alex Orbison also directed a documentary. Orbison was going through a career renaissance at the time he released “Mystery Girl.” The “Oh, Pretty Woman” singer had just earned a new round of attention working with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty in The Travelling Wilburys and was excited about the new album. It included contributions from Lynne, Petty and most of his Heartbreakers, Bono and the Edge of U2, Elvis Costello and many other friends. His wife, Barbara, acted as his manager at the time and even sang

backup on the album. Wesley Orbison wrote a song as well. Sadly, though, he passed away two months before its release in February 1989 at age 52. His sons got to experience something of that excitement nearly a quarter of a century later. They weren’t able to record with their dad, but it most definitely was a family moment. “We all just wanted to not stop recording,” Alex Orbison said. “That was the first thing: ‘When are we going to do an Orbison Brothers record? We had so much fun. It was really too much fun.”— AP

‘Frozen’ princesses reclaim throne on top of Billboard album chart


he animated princesses of Disney hit “Frozen” reclaimed the top of the Billboard 200 album chart on Wednesday as the soundtrack to the juggernaut film beat new entries to No. 1. “Frozen,” which features the Oscar-winning track “Let It Go,” sold 99,000

copies in its 16th week on the chart and climbed from No. 3 last week, according to data from Nielsen SoundScan. “Frozen” was only one of four soundtracks to have clocked six weeks or more on the Billboard 200 chart since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991. The film, about a pair of Nordic princesses forced to save their kingdom from a never-ending winter, surpassed $1 billion at the worldwide box office. Country singer Luke Bryan came in at No. 2 with his new extended play album “Spring Break 6 - Like We Ain’t Never,” which sold 74,000 copies. Last week’s chart topper, “Master Mind” by rapper Rick Ross, dropped to No. 3 this week. Other new entries in the top 10 of this week’s best-selling 200 albums according to Billboard include soul singer Aloe Blacc’s “Lift Your Spirit,” which came in at No. 4. The singer gained prominence after lending his vocals to Swedish DJ Avicii’s hit dance anthem, “Wake Me Up.” Rockers 311 came in at No. 6 with “Stereolithic.” Record label Young Money Entertainment’s latest compilation “Rise of an Empire,” which features tracks by its artists including Nicki Minaj and Drake, notched No. 7. Country singer Sara Evans debuted at No. 9 with “Slow Me Down.” For the week ending Sunday, overall album sales totaled 4.6 million units, down 18 percent from the same week in 2013, Billboard said. — Reuters

Tyler, The Creator

Calling Tyler show a riot ‘inaccurate’


n attorney for Tyler, The Creator, says the Odd Future rapper did not incite a riot at a show during South By Southwest last week and would not deliberately put fans at risk. Perry Q. Minton says in the statement released yesterday morning that to describe the events that occurred on March 13 at the Scoot Inn in Austin, Texas, as a riot is “an unfortunate and inaccurate description of what occurred.”

Tyler was arrested Saturday at the airport as he left Austin after police issued a warrant. Police say he was charged with misdemeanor riot and alleged he incited a crowd of fans to storm the entrance to the club where he was performing. Minton said what police characterize as a riot was simply “benign, boisterous activity.” — AP

Lifestyle FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Lily Aldridge names clothes after friends


for a long time. She explained to Grazia magazine: “She’s got such great style. Very classic and elegant. We met through friends in LA a very long time ago and we’ve been friends forever. I used to steal things from her wardrobe when we were teenagers!” Meanwhile, the brunette stunner previously admitted that she would love to follow in the footsteps of former angels Gisele Bundchen, Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks and Alessandra Ambrosio by becoming an entrepreneur. She said earlier this month: “I’d love to launch my own label. A beauty line would be super fun, but I know that building my own company would be a lot of work.” — Bang Showbiz

ily Aldridge has named items in her collection after her friends. The Victoria’s Secret model has teamed up with Velvet for her second set for the Spring/Summer 2014 range, and she admits she wants to send her pals the pieces she’s designated to them. She explained: “I already have a few events where I know I’m going to wear it to and I’m going to send it to my friends. “You know, I named things after people and I can’t wait for everyone I’ve made it for to get their piece.” The 28-yearold beauty will also be sending an item to her friend Vanessa Traina, who she claims is her biggest style icon, because she loves her fashion sense and they’ve been pals


Fashion Week

Designer Diane von Furstenberg reacts during the presentation of her 20142015 autumn/ winter collection in Tokyo yesterday as part of Tokyo Fashion Week. — AFP photos

January Jones ‘afraid’ of plastic surgery

Fumika Goto


anuary Jones is “afraid” of having plastic surgery. The ‘Mad Men’ actress isn’t against people going under the knife to enhance their looks, and she might even have it done in the future, but she admits she couldn’t do it right now because she’s scared. She told online magazine Violet Grey: “Whatever helps a person feel beautiful and confident is fine with me. “I personally am afraid of the procedures that involve anaesthetic but ask me again in twenty years.” However, the 36-year-old star has found another way to keep herself looking younger, and it’s a little tip she picked up from her mother, by not over plucking her eyebrows because it structures the face. When asked what she’s learnt from her mother over the years, she explained: “She [my mother] always told me that if I kept making so many weird and ugly faces my face would eventually freeze that way. Luckily I found a job where funny and/or frozen faces are encouraged. “Also, to not over pluck your eyebrows, a strong brow makes you look younger.”

Lifestyle FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Diane von Furstenberg

Parker’s inspired by street style


Fumika Goto

arah Jessica Parker’s style is inspired by “women on the street”. The ‘Sex and the City’ actress was slammed last week after wearing stirrup tights to the launch of her new shoe collection, but she couldn’t see a problem with the quirky look. She said: “It’s been so cold in New York that bare legs seemed almost undoable... So I started wearing tights, then I saw a woman in Seattle wearing stirrups with a pump and thought, ‘Maybe I’ll start wearing them with a strap shoe.’ “I am often inspired by women on the street whose names I’ll never know.” However, despite being regarded a fashion icon to many women, the 48-year-old star admitted she is unsure if the look will take off. Speaking to Grazia magazine, she added: “I don’t know if they’ll catch on.” The unusual legwear, teamed with pointed strap shoes and a dress, saw one website claim the actress had worn “every ugly item of clothing she owns in one outfit”, and branded the tights a “disaster”. — Bang Showbiz

FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014




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Te c h n o l o g y FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Game Review: Titanfall (Xbox One)

Titanfall is the biggest game yet to hit Xbox One this year By Chris Wood


espawn Entertainment’s first-ever title is a complex and engaging first-person shooter that adds parkour wall-running and giant mech combat to the somewhat tired genre. Not only does the title have a lot riding on it, but with so many gameplay mechanics vying for position, the developer has given itself a significant balancing act to perform. Looks Let’s get this out of the way early on - it’s no secret that graphics aren’t Titanfall’s strong suit. The looks here aren’t bad by any means, and while they’re a definite step above last-gen standards, they lack some of that next-gen sheen that we’ve seen on games like Ryse: Son of Rome or Killzone: Shadowfall. While I didn’t have any real issue with the game’s 1408x792 resolution, it does suffer from the occasional dropped frame and there are noticeable screen tearing issues. Those stutters don’t significantly detract from the experience, but it’s a shame they weren’t ironed out before launch. It’s worth noting that Respawn has confirmed it will continue work on optimizing the game post-launch, targeting a final resolution of 1600x900 with FXAA or 1920x1080 with no anti-aliasing. Feel What Titanfall lacks in graphical fidelity, it absolutely makes up for in gameplay. The developer has taken established first-personshooter mechanics and expanded upon them significantly. The parkour wall-running, combined with excellent level design, adds significant verticality and speed to the gameplay, discouraging the routine route-running tactics preferred in flatter shooters. You can cross entire levels without touching the ground and reach most rooftops or ledges with ease. There’s a much greater sense of freedom in the game than we’ve grown used to in the genre, and it helps keep things fresh the longer you play. Calling down your Titan mixes up the gameplay even more, but amazingly, doesn’t disturb the balance of a match. Respawn has somehow managed to make Titans feel powerful without under-powering the on-foot pilots, meaning you still feel like you can take on one of the giant mechs on foot and stand a fighting chance, even if you usually don’t. The game’s 6 vs 6 setup is augmented by AI bots known as Grunts and Spectres. These lower-skill opponents not only help fill out the battlefields, but also make the game far more accessible and generally just more fun. The player controller pilots are still there to provide a genuine challenge (and you get a lot more points for taking them out), but the AI opponents make the player feel more powerful and more significant to the conflict. Variety Titanfall ships with a healthy 15 maps, and a slightly lean five game modes. I didn’t find myself wanting to skip a single map, with level design and environments varied and complex. The ability to climb on top of a structure, run along a wall or jetpack up to a second floor window makes moving around the lev-

els genuinely fun. The only downside of the complex gameplay/map design combination is the lack of destructible environments. It’s not a significant trade-off, given how negatively it would likely affect pilot movement and freedom if walls and structures could be brought down. That said, it’s a little jarring to see a giant mech charge down a street firing salvos of rockets, only to find the environment in perfect condition when the smoke clears. Some superficial damage would have been a nice touch. Of the game modes, Attrition (the standard team deathmatch), Hardpoint Domination (like Battlefield’s Conquest mode) and Capture the Flag are solid, with the Titan/Pilot

mechanics coming into play most significantly in the latter. Last Titan Standing is a surprisingly fun change of pace, though the game’s Pilot Hunter mode, where you only get points for killing Pilots, is the least fun of the bunch. The titles ships with a choice of three Titans - the heavy Ogre, zippy Stryder and middleman Atlas. All three options have distinctive feel and unique mechanics, with no particular model eclipsing the others. There’s less variety of weapon and add-on choices when compared to Call of Duty or Battlefield, but each selection feels distinct and useful. Once again, the theme here is focus and balance, with no one weapon or loadout overpowering the others. The game’s Smart Pistol is the most revolutionary of the bunch, auto-

targeting multiple enemies from the hip - it might just be the most fun sidearm in FPS history. ‘Campaign’ One of the biggest criticisms that the game has faced is its lack of a single-player campaign. In this reviewer’s opinion, that’s no bad thing. The developer hasn’t wasted its time on a short, flashy few hours of set pieces and bad story, instead spending its time on creating a focused and balanced multiplayer experience. I’ve never played the campaign on a shooter more than once though, and routinely fail to make it all the way through the the conclusion before getting hooked on the multiplayer component. That said, Respawn has included a “Multiplayer Campaign” mode with the release, and the results are mixed. This is basically a series of multiplayer matches on various modes with storyline layered over the top through voiceovers and brief set-pieces during matches. The mode isn’t a complete disaster, but the speed and intensity of the gameplay make it far too easy to miss what’s going on, and it’s a little difficult to care when you do. Wrap-up Respawn Entertainment has delivered a focused and well-balanced shooter that’s the most fun we’ve had in the genre for years. While the game isn’t perfect - the graphical hitches are a shame and the lack of a true campaign may be lamented by some - its multiplayer experience is simply the best available on next-gen systems at the moment. It’s a joy to play and easy to recommend to any fan of first-person-shooters. —


FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Aries (March 21-April 19)

Overindulgence last night could have left you feeling a little woozy today, Aries. You're may want to spend the day in bed, but the prospect of leaving tasks undone could cause you to push on anyway. That's a bad idea. Rest is just what you need. Don't force yourself to socialize, either. You need some time alone to recover and gather your resources so you can face the world with a clear head.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Plans for getting together with a group of close friends may have to be called off because of sudden unexpected events. This could have you feeling somewhat down, Taurus, especially if a romantic partner is involved. Try not to worry about it too much. You will be able to reschedule, and you could use the time alone anyway to relax and center yourself.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

A temporary separation from someone close to you could have you reflecting on the good times you've spent together, especially over the past few weeks. You're likely to talk with him or her on the phone. You're feeling a lot of warmth and affection toward everyone around you, but a little sad as well, particularly when you think of those far away. Call them up, Cancer! They'll be glad to hear from you.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

A temporary separation from someone close to you could have you reflecting on the good times you've spent together, especially over the past few weeks. You're likely to talk with him or her on the phone. You're feeling a lot of warmth and affection toward everyone around you, but a little sad as well, particularly when you think of those far away. Call them up, Cancer! They'll be glad to hear from you.

Leo (July 23-August 22)

Dreams with mixed messages might trouble your sleep tonight. One minute you'll be having a wonderful dream, and the next could be black and gloomy. Write them down, Leo. The message is probably more positive than it appears. Worries about money might plague you throughout the day, yet things probably aren't as bad as they seem. Make sure you learn the facts about your situation before allowing yourself to panic!

Virgo (August 23-September 22)

The special person in your life could be working too hard, causing strain for him or her and frustration for you. Their extra hours at work could interfere with your desire to enjoy quality time together. Your own worries could put a damper on your selfconfidence, Virgo. You might be wondering if you're doing everything that needs to be done. It might help to make a list and cross off each task you complete.

Libra (September 23-October 22)

Today you might try to continue or complete a creative project of some kind, but your imagination just isn't working the way it normally does. Also, overindulgence from last night could have you feeling a bit sluggish, which doesn't help the situation. Put your work aside before you give up on it completely, Libra. This is only a temporary situation. Your mind should be back to normal tomorrow.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21)

Today you might feel especially protective toward all those you love: children, family, friends, pets, and the special person in your life, Scorpio. Upsetting news might have you wondering about the future, but don't let it get you down. All should be well, so allow yourself to relax and enjoy your loved ones. Distract yourself by going to an exciting movie. That will help release tension and put you in a better frame of mind.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)

Today you could make the acquaintance of actors, musicians, or other performers, some of whom might be quite well known. Social occasions could bring valuable contacts your way, which you could make good use of later. You might be having so much fun out among the beautiful people that you really don't want to go home! Don't make it too late a night, however, Sagittarius. You'll need all your energy tomorrow!

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) Someone who lives far away, someone you haven't heard from for a long time, could give you a surprise phone call today. You'll be delighted and probably stay on the phone too long. You might need to run a few errands, but the weather could keep you indoors. Don't worry about it, Capricorn. You'll still have time to take care of other pressing matters. You should be feeling especially artistic right now. Be creative!

Aquarius (January 20- February 18)

Money could be a source of worry today, Aquarius. You might feel you've spent too much (who doesn't sometimes?) or perhaps some funds you were expecting have been held up. This is a delay and not a permanent situation (although it might seem that way). Too much worry could spoil your day, and you don't want that. If there's anything you can do to ease the situation, do it. Otherwise, hang in there.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Too much stress and strain over the past few days could cause you to clash with your partner. While not a disaster by any means, Pisces, this can put a damper on your day. It might be best if you took a few minutes to get away by yourself and let all your negativity fade away when no one's around. You'll feel better by the time you face your family, friends, and partner again.

COUNTRY CODES 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 Rep 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 Somalia 00252 South Africa 0027 South Korea 0082 Spain 0034 Sri Lanka 0094 Sudan 00249 Suriname 00597 Swaziland 00268 Sweden 0046 Switzerland 0041 Syria 00963 Taiwan 00886 Tanzania 00255 Thailand 0066 Toga 00228 Tonga 00676 Tokelau 00690 Trinidad 001868 Tunisia 00216 Turkey 0090 Tuvalu 00688 Uganda 00256 Ukraine 00380 United Arab Emirates00976

L e i s u re

FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Word Search

C R O S S W O R D 4 9 3

ACROSS 1. A unit of heat equal to the amount of heat required to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit at one atmosphere pressure. 4. The great hall in ancient Persian palaces. 11. A structure in which animals lay eggs or give birth to their young. 15. The network in the reticular formation that serves an alerting or arousal function. 16. Lean flesh of very large flatfish of Atlantic or Pacific. 17. English essayist (1775-1834). 18. Fermented alcoholic beverage similar to but heavier than beer. 19. The mountain peak that Noah's ark landed on as the waters of the great flood receded. 21. A member of an agricultural people in southeastern India. 23. A radioactive element of the actinide series. 25. A secondary or inferior position or status. 28. A member of a people native to the Philippines chiefly inhabiting central Luzon around and including Manila. 32. Noisy and mischievous merrymaking. 35. One of the most common of the five major classes of immunoglobulins. 36. Divulge information or secrets. 38. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind. 39. (informal) Being satisfactory or in satisfactory condition. 40. A historical region in central and northern Yugoslavia. 42. The residue that remains when something is burned. 45. (Christianity) The abode of Satan and the forces of evil. 46. The longer of the two telegraphic signals used in Morse code. 50. Someone who walks unsteadily as if about to fall. 53. Australian wild horse. 55. A state in the Rocky Mountains. 56. The 7th letter of the Greek alphabet. 59. Russian composer (1804-1857). 63. A woman of refinement. 65. Wild sheep of northern Africa. 67. Having an eye or eyes or eyelike feature especially as specified. 68. A family of Ural-Altaic languages. 70. A trivalent metallic element of the rare earth group. 71. West Indian tree having racemes of fragrant white flowers and yielding a durable timber and resinous juice. 73. A shape that sags. 74. Of or relating to Namibia or its people. 77. A local computer network for communication between computers. 78. The compass point that is one point east of due south. 79. A circle that rolls around (inside or outside) another circle. 80. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth.

of Jezebel (9th century BC). 5. A plane curve formed by the intersection of a right circular cone and a plane parallel to an element of the curve. 6. A flat wing-shaped process or winglike part of an organism. 7. English theoretical physicist who applied relativity theory to quantum mechanics and predicted the existence of antimatter and the positron (19021984). 8. Having the wind against the forward side of the sails. 9. Usually large hard-shelled seed. 10. A highly unstable radioactive element (the heaviest of the halogen series). 11. Operculate seasnail of coastal waters with a short spiral shell. 12. A feeling of strong eagerness (usually in favor of a person or cause). 13. Small deer of Japan with slightly forked antlers. 14. A unit of weight used in east Asia approximately equal to 1.3 ounces. 20. Largest crested screamer. 22. A constellation in the southern hemisphere near Telescopium and Norma. 24. Scottish philosopher of common sense who opposed the ideas of David Hume (1710-1796). 26. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 27. Title for the former hereditary monarch of Iran. 29. United by being of the same opinion. 30. The vertical triangular wall between the sloping ends of gable roof. 31. 36th President of the United States. 33. An Asian peninsula (off Manchuria) separating the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan. 34. The sound of (the chanter of) a bagpipe v 1. 37. The cry made by sheep. 41. Prohibited by law or by official or accepted rules. 43. A neutral middle vowel. 44. White crystalline compound used as a food additive to enhance flavor. 47. Very sad. 48. Using speech rather than writing. 49. A violent hot sand-laden wind on the deserts of Arabia and North Africa. 51. A soft cotton or worsted fabric with an open mesh. 52. The most common computer memory which can be used by programs to perform necessary tasks while the computer is on. 54. A silvery ductile metallic element found primarily in bauxite. 57. Of or related to a musical scale. 58. A condensed but memorable saying embodying some important fact of experience that is taken as true by many people. 60. City in Sudan. 61. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 62. A city in southern Turkey on the Seyhan River. 64. An Arabic speaking person who lives in Arabia or North Africa. 66. Having any of numerous bright or strong colors reminiscent of the color of blood or cherries or tomatoes or rubies. 69. A tight-fitting headdress. 72. Used of a single unit or thing. 75. Destruction of heart tissue resulting from obstruction of the blood supply to the heart muscle. 76. Being nine more than ninety.

Yesterdayʼs Solution

DOWN 1. (informal) Exceptionally good. 2. The basic unit of money in Western Samoa. 3. Employed in accomplishing something. 4. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband

Daily SuDoku

Yesterday’s Solution

Sports FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

No sweat as David checks into quarterfinals GEORGE TOWN: Top favourite Nicol David barely broke out of first gear as she cruised into the quarterfinals of the world women’s squash championships after a 11-6, 11-3, 11-4 win over Egyptian qualifier Heba El Torky. David’s all-action game was just too much for Torky to handle, as the top seed raced to a 7-0 lead in the first game before wrapping things up at 11-6. The seven-times world champion continued her relentless assault in the second game, forcing the Egyptian into numerous unforced errors to win 11-3 and kept the same tempo to clinch the third game 114. The world number one was well pleased with the victory she racked up in just 24 minutes. “Having a day

off gave me the chance to practise on the grass, and I was feeling the ball better and my movement was also fluid. It was a good performance from me today,” said the 30-year-old, who brought a 40-match unbeaten streak into the match. “I knew it was Heba’s first time in the second round of the world championships, and if given a chance she would take it. So I was happy to keep it tight and solid throughout the match.” David will take on Camille Serme in the last eight, and hopes to keep her good record against the Frenchwoman. “I want to make sure I take this form to the quarters and be focused, but no doubt she will be a tough customer and I am looking forward to the match.” David

also praised her fellow Penangite Low Wee Wern, who joined her in the next round after a 11-8, 11-3, 11-9 win over Canada’s Samantha Cornett. “It’s great that Low has also got through in convincing manner. We have two Penangites in the quarters and we’ll definitely be out to put on a good show tomorrow (Friday),” she said. There were no major upsets on the third day of the championships as England’s second seed Laura Massaro brushed aside compatriot Jenny Duncalf 119, 11-6, 11-4 to check into the last eight. Joining her was third seed Egyptian Raneem El Weleily, who overcame India’s Dipika Pallikal 11-7, 117, 11-1. — AFP

Major Leagues mine rich history in Australian opener SYDNEY: While your average Australian may be surprised to hear that the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers are kicking off the 2014 Major League Baseball season in Sydney, history shows that they really should be anything but. Although Australia is sports mad - cricket is the closest thing it has to a national religion - baseball these days exists almost exclusively as source material for teasing any visiting American foolish enough to mention sports in a pub. But America’s national pastime has actually been bringing together impressive crowds Down Under for more than 150 years, and not just of foreigners. “A correspondent requests us to call attention to the practice of a number of boys and young men who congregate in Mr. Wilkinson’s paddock... on Sunday afternoons, for playing at cricket, base-ball, making a great noise, and offending the eyes and ears of persons of moral and religious feeling,” Hobart’s Colonial Times newspaper wrote on September 22, 1855. The storied Sydney Cricket Ground, where the D-Backs and Dodgers will launch their seasons with back-to-back games tomorrow and Sunday, is itself home to more than 100 years of baseball lore. It was on those hallowed grounds that sporting goods tycoon Arthur Spalding kicked off his barnstorming 1888 Australian Tour with a game between his Chicago White Stockings and the All America’s, an All-Star team slapped together for the tour. The troupe was met triumphantly in Sydney Harbour by a flotilla swaddled in red, white and blue. More than 5,000 spectators turned to watch the ballclubs play in Sydney, which was a pretty good turnout by 19th century standards. Many baseball historians believe that the sport evolved from one of two British antecedents - either cricket or rounders - and Spalding may have picked Australia in the hope that lightning would strike twice, says Rick Burton, the David B. Falk Professor of Sport Management at Syracuse University. “If it could be done in the United States from England, it could be done in Australia,” he told Reuters. —Reuters

SYDNEY: Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig hits a two-run home run during their exhibition baseball game against Team Australia at the Sydney Cricket Gground in Sydney, yesterday. The Arizona Diamondbacks and the Dodgers open the Major League Baseball regular season with games tomorrow and Sunday. — AP

PRETORIA: South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius stands on the thirteenth day of his trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. — AFP

Pistorius to sell home to cover legal fees PRETORIA: Oscar Pistorius plans to sell the upmarket $460,000 Pretoria house where he shot dead his girlfriend last year to cover the legal fees for his murder trial, his lawyer said yesterday. “It has become necessary to sell Mr Pistorius’s home in the Silver Woods Country Estate in Pretoria in order for him to raise the necessary funds to cover his increasing legal costs,” the 27year-old’s lawyer Brian Webber said in a statement. “This is due to the unexpected extension of the trial beyond the initial threeweek period for which it was originally set down.” Estate agent Ansie Louw, who is handling the sale, told AFP the house will be sold in a closed bid, starting at five million rand ($460,000, 330,000 euro). The Paralympic athlete has been paying his own legal fees since he shot dead Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year, according to the statement. The costs-reportedly as high as $9,000 (6,700 euros) a day-are said to

include at least three full-time lawyers in court, ballistics and forensics experts as well as an American crime scene reconstruction company. Since the shooting Pistorius has been living at his uncle’s house in Pretoria. Prosecutors have charged the doubleamputee sprinter with intentionally killing 29-year-old Steenkamp after an argument, and are expected to wrap up their case early next week. Pistorius insists he fired four shots through a locked toilet door after mistaking the model for an intruder. The authorities turned the runner’s home in the gated community back over to him over a year ago and he had planned to keep it sealed until the trial finished. “He has been forced to revisit this decision,” according to Webber, who said the statement was meant to preempt media speculation about the sale. Properties Pistorius valued the house at five million rand during his bail application in February last year. At the time he also

owned two other houses with a combined value of 1.5 million rand in Pretoria and a vacant plot worth 1.6 million rand in Cape Town. All his properties together were worth 8.3 million rand, the sporting hero told the court. Pistorius earned worldwide fame as the “Blade Runner” for running on two carbon fibre blades, after both his legs were amputated below the knee when he was born without fibulae. He became the first double amputee to compete with able-bodied athletes at the London 2012 Olympics. But he has fallen on hard times since the shooting, and lost many of the endorsement deals that earned him some $510,000 a year. His trial opened on March 3, and witnesses have testified to hearing a woman’s terrified screams in the dead of night, followed by gunshots. A police ballistics expert said Thursday the first shot from Pistorius’s 9millimetre pistol shattered Steenkamp’s hip bone. She then fell over and was struck in the head by another bullet. The trial resumes Monday. — AFP

Sports FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Scott ties Bay Hill course record, leads by four shots

Former President of Barcelona Sports Club Juan Laborta (left).

Integrated information plan prepared for Police Sport By Abdellatif Sharaa KUWAIT: Director of Public Relations and Moral Guidance, Acting Director of Security Information Department at the Interior Ministry Colonel Adel Al-Hashash said an integrated information plan has been prepared for the first Police Sport and Security Conference to start next Sunday under the patronage of HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah at Regency Hotel. Al-Hashash said the conference that is being held for the first time in Kuwait in the presence of specialized people in fighting violence and disorder from the USIP which is headed by Lt. General Sheikh Ahmad AlNawaf, will confirm the ability of security and sports authorities to organize such events which is an important step in the field of pro-

Adel Al-Hashash

tecting fans and secure sports competitions. Al-Hashash, who is the head of the public relations unit of the security committee of the conference, said among the measures taken by the Interior Ministry to fight sports arenas violence is intensifying awareness campaigns in cooperation with all media which expressed full cooperation in this regard. He said the awareness campaign comes as an implementation of the directions of Deputy Premier, Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khalid and instructions of Undersecretary Lt General Suleiman Al-Fahad, who heads the Higher Security Committee for the conference. He added that there will be an integrated media center that will offer all information services to the conference guests, journalists, and media in order reflect the media role in limiting violence and the means of dealing with drawbacks in this regard. He said the Ministry of Interior is keen on the general image during the conference and that focus was placed on the security awareness and facilitating the job of the media and journalists in covering this event. Meanwhile former President of Barcelona Sports Club Juan Laborta expressed gratitude for the invitation he received from USIP to attend the conference, but he apologized due to prior commitments and the classic match between Barcelona and Real Madrid, which is on Sunday. Laborta thanked the conference organizers and USIP president Lt. General Sheikh Ahmad Al-Nawaf and wished the success and that they get the sought of results in finding solutions for the arena violence. He said that he visited Kuwait during the Late Mushari Al-Roudhan indoor soccer tournament and had good time among his Kuwaiti friends.

FLORIDA: Masters champion Adam Scott fired a 10-under-par 62 to tie the Bay Hill course record and grab the clubhouse lead in the opening round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida yesterday. Scott, in his final tournament before he defends his green jacket at the April 10-13 Masters, took advantage of his morning tee time at the Bay Hill course in Orlando. Wielding his long putter like a magic wand, the Australian mixed two eagles with seven birdies and a bogey to match his career low round on the PGA Tour. He led Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano by four strokes with half the field still on the course. “I’m really thrilled with the start today,” Scott, making his first Bay Hill start since 2009, told reporters. It’s maybe a little surprising. “I don’t know where it came from but the putter certainly got hot today. Today was just one of those days where the hole was a like a bucket.” World number two Scott is regarded by many as the best driver in the game, but his short game proved just as good on Thursday as he pulled away from the field. He drained putts from at least 20 feet on five occasions, including a 30-footer from off the green at the par-four 15th, where he threaded his ball between a couple of sprinkler heads. Confident start Scott began his round at the 10th, and made a confidence-boosting start by sinking a 20-foot birdie right off the bat. He got upand-down from a greenside bunker at the par-five 12th to go two under, before picking up further birdies at the 14th and 15th holes. An eagle at the par-five 16th, where he hit a mid-iron from 200 yards to 35 feet, took him to six under, while his lone bogey came at the par-four 18th, where he hit his tee shot left and also missed the green left with his second shot. But that proved a minor hiccup, as he roared back with a birdie at the par-four third, followed by a 20-foot eagle at the parfive fourth.

Further birdies at the par-five sixth and par-four seventh took him to 10 under. He missed a good birdie chance at his penultimate hole, before ending his day with a long two-putt par to match the course record held by Andy Bean and his boyhood idol Greg Norman. Scott is playing just his third tournament since mid-January. He has reduced his tournament schedule over the past couple of

ORLANDO: Adam Scott of Australia hits his tee shot on the 13th hole during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge yesterday in Orlando, Florida. — AFP

years in order to prepare for the majors in peace and quiet. The 33-year-old is the top-ranked player at Bay Hill in the absence of defending champion Tiger Woods, who withdrew from the event earlier this week with a bad back. Former Masters champion Bubba Watson withdrew from Bay Hill citing allergies following an opening-round 11-overpar 83 that included an 11 at the par-five sixth and a triple-bogey seven at the parfour 18th. — Reuters

TOKYO: South Africa head coach Neil Powell (R) answers questions beside captain Kyle Brown (L) during a press conference for the Rugby Sevens tournament in Tokyo. The Tokyo Sevens 2014, the sixth leg in the IRB Sevens World Series, will be held on March 22-23. — AFP

Sports FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Olympic champion Hoefl-Riesch announces retirement BERLIN: Germany’s triple Olympic champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch has announced her retirement following an injury-hit season that deprived her of the World Cup overall title but did win her the downhill crown in her final campaign. The alpine skiing legend, 29, took the decision following a crash last week during the downhill finals at Lenzerheide, Switzerland, which also scuppered her chances of winning the overall World Cup crystal globe. “It’s difficult for me, but I think I have made the right decision,” said the Garmisch-Partenkirchen native. “I gave everything this year to obtain my ultimate objective (Olympic gold). “The most beautiful dream came true again and now it is time to stop.” she added. A two-time world champion and one of the main attractions on the World Cup circuit along with her American rival and friend Lindsey Vonn, Hoefl-Riesch won her second super-combined gold medal at the Sochi Games as well as taking silver in the Super-G last month. After her maiden combined win at the Vancouver Olympics where she also added slalom gold, she leaves the sport with 27 World Cup wins, the 2011 overall World Cup crown and four world championship bronze medals. The complete skier, her first world title came in the 2009 slalom race at Val d’Isere, France before winning the super-combined in 2013 at Schladming, Austria. Of her 27 World Cup wins, 11 were in downhill and nine were slalom triumphs while she also picked up four super-combined victories and three Super-G wins. The only discipline she failed to have at least one victory was in the giant slalom. She also finished in the top three of the World Cup rankings over the past seven seasons and was heading for a second overall title this year before a crash on March 12 prematurely ended her campaign. She finished runner-up in the overall standings four times in 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014. One of the tallest women on the ciruit at 1.80 (5ft 11in), she made her World Cup debut in 2001 at the age of 16 following a glittering junior career that reaped her nine world junior championship medals, including five gold. The leading light in German skiing over the past decade, her younger sister Susanne is also a World Cup skier. She married her manager Marcus Hoefl in April, 2011. — AFP

MUNICH: Alfons Hoermann (R), President of the German Olympic Sports Association (DOSB) awards Germany’s alpine ski athlete, three-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time world champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch with the World Cup trophy during a press conference yesterday in Munich. — AFP

CHICAGO: Niklas Hjalmarsson #4 of the Chicago Blackhawks controls the puck as Jaden Schwartz #9 of the St. Louis Blues closes in at the United Center on March 19, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. —AFP

Blackhawks beat Blues 4-0 behind Crawford CHICAGO: Corey Crawford stopped 23 shots for his second shutout this season, backstopping the Blackhawks to a physical 4-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night that gave Chicago coach Joel Quenneville his 700th NHL win. It was a costly victory for the Blackhawks, though. Leading scorer Patrick Kane left the game at 7:56 of the second period, favoring his left leg as he headed to the dressing room following a collision with Brenden Morrow. Kane is expected to miss about three weeks, Quenneville said. Duncan Keith, Andrew Shaw, Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith scored as Chicago ended the leagueleading Blues’ nine-game point streak (8-01) and dealt St. Louis its first regulation loss against a Central Division opponent this season. The Blues entered 20-0-2 against division foes and hadn’t lost in regulation since a 1-0 defeat at Anaheim on Feb. 28. Quenneville, who previously guided St. Louis and Colorado, has the most wins of any active NHL coach and ranks third alltime behind Al Arbour and Scotty Bowman, now the Blackhawks’ senior adviser of hockey operations. Crawford earned his 10th career shutout in Chicago’s first win against the Blues this season after three losses. Kane, who has 29 goals and 40 assists in 68 games, assisted on Keith’s opening goal. St. Louis goalie Ryan Miller lost in regulation for the first time since joining the Blues following a trade from Buffalo on Feb. 28. Miller, now 71-1 with St. Louis, was replaced by Brian Elliott at 7:58 of the third period after allowing four goals on 27 shots. St. Louis needs one win to clinch a playoff spot for the 38th time in franchise history. Defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago entered the game tied with Colorado for second in the Central Division and fourth in the Western Conference.

The Blackhawks have struggled this season against their top rivals in the Central. Chicago entered Wednesday’s game with only one win and five points in eight games against St. Louis and Colorado. Keith scored the only goal in a physical first period on a power play with 58 seconds left. After taking Kane’s feed, Keith fired a drive from the top of the slot that zipped past Miller’s stick side just as Shaw provided a screen by cutting across the crease. The play got tighter and grittier in the second, and Chicago took a 2-0 lead thanks to Shaw’s goal on a deflection with 4:25 left in the period. Shaw’s goal capped a determined, physical flurry by Chicago. The Blackhawks were jamming the net when Patrick Sharp picked up a loose puck and fed back to Nick Leddy at the blue line. Leddy’s drive ticked off the shaft of Shaw’s stick and past Miller as Shaw battled for position in front of the net with Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk threw a loose rebound behind Crawford during a St. Louis power play in the final seconds of the second, but the puck slid across the crease and to the far boards. Kruger and Smith scored 2:15 apart in the third period to ice it for Chicago. Following a long lead pass from defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, Kruger took a quick feed from Peter Regin in the slot and beat Miller from just outside the crease at 5:20 to make it 3-0. Smith’s power-play goal at 7:35 extended Chicago’s lead to 4-0. He connected from the doorstep after taking a feed from Kris Versteeg behind the net after Miller stopped Leddy’s shot from the blue line. Lightning 5, Maple Leafs 3 Steven Stamkos scored a natural hattrick as the Tampa Bay Lightning stretched

their winning streak to four games with a victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Lightning Radko Gudas and Tyler Johnson had the other goal for Tampa Bay (38-247), which has their longest win streak since stringing together five in December. Phil Kessel, Nikolai Kulemin and defenseman Jake Gardiner had the goals for Toronto (36-27-8). Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop, who entered his start 2-4-0 with a 3.04 goalsagainst-average against the Leafs, made 37 saves in the win. Jets 5, Avalanche 4 (OT) The Winnipeg Jets kept their flickering playoff hopes alive with an overtime win over the Colorado Avalanche. Blake Wheeler scored his 24th goal of the season for the winning strike at 1:42 of the extra period. The win boosted the Jets’ record to 32-30-9, good for 73 points, four behind the eighth-placed Phoenix Coyotes in the Western Conference. In a back and forth affair, both teams scored two goals each in the first period and one each in the second and third. The loss was a second straight for the Avalanche (44-20-6). Canucks 2, Predators 0 Rookie call-up Nicklas Jensen scored his third goal in seven NHL games, leading the Vancouver Canucks in a win over the Nashville Predators. Jensen has three goals and two assists since being promoted from Utica of the American Hockey League on March 7, is rejuvenating the Canucks’ top line. Alex Burrows, who has also been red hot for Vancouver (32-30-10), left the game in the third period after being on the receiving end of a nasty slash to the hand area by Nashville (29-31-10) defenseman Shea Weber. — Agencies

Sports FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

India-Pakistan rivalry on show at World Twenty20 MIRPUR: Traditional rivals India and Pakistan kick-start the Super 10 stage of the World Twenty20 yesterday at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium. Grouped along with another former champion, the West Indies, powerful Australia and a qualifier from Group A of the ongoing preliminary stage, the two teams know it is only the beginning of a testing league competition in the tough Group 2. Pakistan has never beaten India in five meetings in the World Cup and three in the World Twenty20. Pakistan has also won only one of five T20s against India. But India captain Mahendra Singh Dhonis said yesterday that records don’t matter. “A lot of people talk about that (results in ICC world events) but everything depends on what we do on the field,” Dhoni said on the eve of the high-profile game. “In fact, the gap between teams is very narrow and the smaller sides too have the talent to upset top sides in this format.” India looks a little vulnerable with Dhoni missing the recent 50-over Asia Cup in which it lost to both Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Dhoni said it is only a matter of getting

some things right in time. “Our bowling is an area of concern and we also need to get good starts with our batting. If we have wickets in hand, we are always capable of scoring some 10-15 runs above par,” Dhoni said. The Indian spinners will have to make up for an inexperienced pace attack and it could well be a contest between India’s batting lineup, which has the likes of Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh and Dhoni, and Pakistan’s bowling, which boasts of pace bowler Umar Gul and off-spinner Saeed Ajmal among others. “They have some very good bowlers like Gul and Ajmal. They also have some good allrounders which makes things difficult for any opposition,” Dhoni said in reference to Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik and Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez. India has played only one Twenty20 international since December 2012 but Dhoni said he was relying on the experience of the cash-rich Indian Premier League for his team. “Our players have the experience of the IPL and also of the conditions here,” said Dhoni,

arguably the most successful captain in limited overs cricket, having led his team to victory in the 2007 World T20, 2011 World Cup and the 2013 Champions Trophy. Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez said his team would take inspiration from a recent victory in the Asia Cup against India but conceded that Dhoni’s return would bolster the Indian team. “Dhoni’s leadership is a key factor as he has done well over the past five-six years,” Hafeez said. “They’re a good batting side but having played in Bangladesh during the recent Asia Cup we have prepared well.” Hafeez said he was not worried about statistics concerning the teams and that this was not necessarily the all-important game fans on either side of the border make it out to be. “This is not the whole tournament. We have to do well as it is important to strike a good rhythm for the other matches ahead,” he said. Meanwhile, matches of Group 2, which consists of Sri Lanka, New Zealand, South Africa, England and a qualifier, commence in Chittagong tomorrow. — AP

Top seeds take centre stage at World Twenty20

CHITTAGONG: Nepal’s Subash Khakurel plays a shot as Afghanistan’s wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad, right, watches during their ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup match in Chittagong, Bangladesh, yesterday. — AP

Bangladesh progress in World Twenty20 despite loss to HK CHITTAGONG: Hosts Bangladesh crawled into the main draw of the World Twenty20 despite an embarrassing two-wicket defeat by Hong Kong in their final qualifying match in Chittagong yesterday. Skittled out for a paltry 108 in 16.3 overs, Bangladesh risked losing the super 10 stage berth to Nepal if Hong Kong could chase down the target in 13.1 overs. Their bowlers, however, ensured Bangladesh stayed afloat in the tournament but could not stop associate nation Hong Kong from achieving a memorable victory over their test playing rivals with two balls to spare. Bangladesh now join three former champions - India, Pakistan and West Indies - and Australia in Group Two where such sloppy play would invite humiliation. Put into bat, Bangladesh lost two wickets in the first over before Shakib Al Hasan (34) and Anamul Haq (26) steadied the ship. Cheered on by their passionate fans, the home side cruised to 85-3 in the 11th over before their spectacular collapse at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium. For Hong Kong, Nadeem Ahmed (4-21) and Nizakat Khan (3-19) wreaked havoc as Bangladesh folded for a below-par score. Hong Kong’s inexperience showed in their wobbly chase but Munir Dar (36) plundered 15 runs off a Farhad Reza over to turn the match on its head and Haseeb Amjad hit a six to score the winning run for them. Earlier, Nepal upset Afghanistan by nine runs in another Group A match for their second victory in the qualifiers. Put into bat, Subash Khakurel (56) and Sharad Vesawkar (37) helped Nepal to a competitive 141-5 before they returned to restrict Afghanistan to 132-8. — Agencies

DHAKA: The World Twenty20 steps up a gear today as cricket’s top eight sides enter the fray, with Pakistan seeking a historic win against India in the second round’s standout clash. Minnows of international cricket have been slogging it out in the expanded 16nation tournament, with two qualifying spots and a chance to join the big boys up for grabs from round one. In the Super-10 stage, Asian giants Pakistan and India will be joined in Group Two by the West Indies, Australia and one of the successful qualifiers. The other qualifier will join South Africa, Sri Lanka, England and New Zealand in Group One with two sides from each group advancing to the semi-finals. The identity of the two qualifiers from round one will be known just hours before Pakistan bid to defeat arch rivals India for the first time at the World Twenty20. “It has nothing to do with history,” Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez told a packed media conference in Dhaka yesterday. “Beating India will be important because a good start will give us momentum in the tournament. “I am glad we are playing India first up. We are all excited about this game. The morale is good because we beat them in the Asia Cup. But we have to be at our best to win.” Unpredictable format Pakistan qualified for the semi-finals in all four editions of the World Twenty20, winning the tournament in 2009 in England after being runners-up to India in the inaugural event in 2007. India, however, have not made the semi-finals since their title win despite the popularity of the T20 Indian Premier League over the last six years. Unpredictable format - For Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, previous results will be irrelevant when the teams take to the field at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium in the Bangladeshi capital on Friday evening. “Nothing of the past matters in this game,” he said, reminding critics that India lost just one game at the 2012 edition and yet failed to make the knock-out

rounds. “The matches to follow are as important as the one on Friday, but we are not looking beyond our first game yet.” True to the unpredictable nature of T20 cricket, there have been different champions each time. England won in 2010 and the West Indies triumphed in 2012, adding to the victories for India and Pakistan. Darren Sammy’s West Indies, who open the defence of their title on the back of a confidence-boosting T20 series win against England, boast one of the most destructive batsmen in world cricketopener Chris Gayle. Sri Lanka-the top-ranked T20 side-have prepared by spending more than six weeks in Bangladesh, winning bilateral contests in all three formats before taking the Asia Cup. Australia, hoping to add a first World

T20 title to their packed trophy cabinet, have opted for experience, bringing in 39year-old batsman Brad Hodge and 43year-old spinner Brad Hogg. But the Aussies will miss fearsome fast bowler Mitchell Johnson due to an infected toe, while England will be without the injured Joe Root and Ben Stokes. England are also missing batsman Kevin Pietersen, who was the star of their lone title triumph four years ago. England’s all-time leading run-scorer across all formats was controversially axed following a 5-0 Ashes series loss Down Under, even though he was their highest scorer. South Africa, starting a new era after the recent retirements of Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis, and New Zealand will also be strong contenders in the wide open tournament. The final is on April 6. — AFP

DHAKA: Pakistan cricketer Shahid Afridi (L), Umar Akmal (2nd L) and Umar Gul (R) stretch at a training session during the ICC World Twenty20 cricket tournament at The Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka yesteday. — AFP

Sports FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Villas-Boas aims to be Andre the Great

MOSCOW: Former Porto, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas yesterday set high ambitions on his first day of work as manager of Zenit St Petersburg, saying he wanted to build up the team just as Peter the Great had constructed the Russian city. Zenit have brought in Villas-Boas, 36, as manager in the hope he can take the side to European glory after sacking his predecessor Luciano Spalletti for failing to win more big silverware. Villas-Boas said his immediate aim for the rest of the season was to win the remaining nine matches in the Russian League and take the Russian title in a tight race with a resurgent Lokomotiv Moscow. “The first aim is victory in the championship,” said Villas-Boas, who will reportedly receive at least 8.5 million euros ($11.8 million) a season under his two year contract. The Saint Petersburg’s team owners, Russian state gas giant Gazprom, want him to make a real impact in the Champions League next season after the side went out of this season’s competition in a 4-5 aggregate defeat to Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday. “I want to do the same for your team as Peter the Great did for Saint Petersburg,” Villas-Boas told reporters in his first news conference, referring to the Russian Tsar who founded the former imperial capital in

1703. “It is a fantastic city,” said the multi-lingual coach, adding he would be learning Russian. Villas-Boas, as in his English management days, dressed impeccably in a designer suit and tie, spoke in Portuguese during the press conference but began with a cheery “Dobry Den” (Good Day) in Russian. The Jose Mourinho protege, who has been out of work since being sacked by Spurs last year, said he barely hesitated when he first received the Zenit offer last week. “I saw the big ambitions of the leadership in the shape of Gazprom,” Villas-Boas said in the news conference broadcast on Zenit’s TV channel. “I was happy to be invited as it is in line with my goals and my ambitions. I hope to achieve good results with Zenit,” he added. He said he was impressed with the “passion” of the team in the final away leg Wednesday of the tie against Borussia which Zenit won 2-1. ‘Achieve new heights’ Gazprom has showed its ambition with the purchase of Brazilian star Hulk and Belgium’s Axel Witsel for a reported 100 million euros-the biggest transfer buys in Russian football history-but they have yet to turn the team into world beaters. With Portuguese players, including defender Luis

Neto and midfielder Miguel Danny also in the Zenit side as well as Hulk, Gazprom will be hoping the Portuguese connection will be a huge plus. Villas-Boas managed Hulk at Porto while Witsel arrived from their great Lisbon rivals Benfica. The manager himself is on the road to redemption after his reputation slumped following his astonishing 2010-2011 season at Porto where he won the league, Portuguese Cup and the UEFA Europa League. His stints at Chelsea and Tottenham ended in disappointment and the sack after owners lost patience with a lack of success. But Zenit players expressed excitement at the new arrival. “The club have chosen a new way ahead with VillasBoas, who will help us to reach new heights and win new titles,” said Luis Neto. “Naturally I’m happy to work with a Portuguese coach but most of all I’m happy with the chance to work with one of Europe’s best managers. I hope that the luck will accompany us from now on.” Belgian international back Nicolas Lombaerts also said he believed that Zenit would earn a success under new manager. “We need to find our normal self,” he said. “Villas-Boas is a strong and experienced coach, who has won the Europa League. I hope that we will achieve new success. — AFP

Spurs win 11th straight, 125-109 over LA Lakers LOS ANGELES: Tony Parker scored 25 points, Kawhi Leonard added 22 points and 10 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs pulled away from the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night, winning 125-109 for their 11th consecutive victory. Danny Green scored 16 points and Tim Duncan had 12 points and 16 rebounds for the NBA-leading Spurs, who haven’t lost since Feb. 21 while winning 14 of 15. With their seventh straight victory over the Lakers dating to last season’s playoffs, the Spurs opened a 11/2-game lead over Indiana for the league’s best record. San Antonio leads Oklahoma City by two games atop the Western Conference. Pau Gasol had 22 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for Los Angeles. Xavier Henry scored 24 points in the Lakers’ sixth loss in seven games. Los Angeles has lost 20 of 26.

game-winner with 17.1 seconds left, stepping between two defenders and sinking a one-handed wrister. nDirk Nowitzki had 27 for Dallas. The Timberwolves (34-32) are 5 1/2 games behind theMavericks and the Memphis Grizzlies, who are tied for the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference. Grizzlies 96, Jazz 86 Zach Randolph scored 21 points and Marc Gasol added 20 to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to victory over the Utah Jazz. The Grizzlies (40-27) earned their eighth consecutive home win and their fifth straight victory over Utah at FedExForum. The Jazz (22-47) lost their sixth straight and fell to 8-28 on the road. Nuggets 118, Pistons 109 Aaron Brooks scored a season-high 27

points and dished out a career-high 17 assists, and the Denver Nuggets overcame the absence of two starters to beat the struggling Detroit Pistons. The game featured two ailing teams. Detroit (25-42) center Andre Drummond was out with a neck injury while the Nuggets were missing two of their best players. Guard Ty Lawson (sinus infection) and forward Wilson Chandler (hip) were out, leaving Denver (31-37) looking very much like a roster that lost eight of nine last month. Raptors 107, Pelicans 100 Former New Orleans point guard Greivis Vasquez scored five points in 37 seconds and DeMar DeRozan scored a game-high 31 points to lift the Toronto Raptors to victory over the Pelicans. Vasquez, traded in the offseason, broke a 94-94 tie with a patented floater on the right

Knicks 92, Pacers 86 The New York Knicks welcomed new president Phil Jackson by running their winning streak to seven games with a rousing victory over the Indiana Pacers. Jackson, who was named to the position on Tuesday, received a standing ovation from the Garden crowd during the game as Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks (28-40) on the court with 34 points and forward Amar’e Stoudemire added 21. Lance Stephenson had 21 points for the Pacers (50-18), who remained three games ahead of Miami for the lead in the Eastern Conference.

Bulls 102, 76ers 94 Jimmy Butler hit a tie-breaking three-pointer with 6:49 left and the Chicago Bulls pulled away to hand the Philadelphia 76ers their 22nd consecutive loss. The Sixers (15-53) are now four defeats away from equaling the NBA record of 26 in a row, established by the 201011 Cleveland Cavaliers. D.J. Augustin led Chicago (38-30) with 20 points. Nets 104, Bobcats 99 Led by Deron Williams, who scored a gamehigh 25 points, the Brooklyn Nets had six players score in double figures in a win over the Charlotte Bobcats. The Nets (35-31) won their season-best 10th straight game at Barclays Center. Al Jefferson had 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead theBobcats (33-36). Spurs 125, Lakers 109 Tony Parker scored 25 points and the San Antonio Spurs won their 11th in a row with a victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. The Spurs (51-16), who have the NBA’s best record, defeated the Lakers for the seventh consecutive time and the third time this season. The Lakers’ loss came on the heels of Los Angeles suffering its worst defeat (119-85) to the Spurs today. The Lakers dropped three straight and six of their last seven games Kawhi Leonard finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds for San Antonio. Xavier Henry had 24 to lead the Lakers (22-45) who have lost three straight.

Celtics 101, Heat 96 The Boston Celtics took advantage of LeBron James’ absence caused by back spasms by beating Miami 101-96 to end a five-game losing streak. The victory gave Boston (23-46) a 2-1 win in the season series after the teams split two games in Miami. Boston’s Avery Bradley scored 23 points, while Dwyane Wade led the Heat (4620) with 17 points, but he shot just 2-for-9 from the floor in the second half. Timberwolves 123, Mavericks 122 (OT) Desperate to remain relevant in the Western Conference playoff hunt, the Minnesota Timberwolves hung on for dear life in an overtime victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Kevin Love finished with a game-high 35 points and hit the

side of the lane with 1:58 left and continued a run that led Toronto (38-29) to victory. New Orleans (27-40), playing without forward Anthony Davis, who was sidelined with an upper respiratory infection, placed six players in double figures.

LOS ANGELES: Los Angeles Lakers center Robert Sacre, below, and San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard battle for a rebound during the second half of their NBA basketball game, Wednesday, in Los Angeles. The Spurs won 125-109. —AP

Suns 109, Magic 93 Goran Dragic scored 18 points, and guard Gerald Green hit three three -pointers during a 15-2 run to open the fourth quarter as the Phoenix Suns finally ran away from the Orlando Magic. Green finished with 14 points as Phoenix (39-29) collected 25 fast-break points to wear down the road-weary Magic (19-50). Orlando fell to an NBA worst 4-32 away from home this season. — Reuters

Sports FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

No plans for Bayern to party at Mainz

Photo of the day

Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) and Miikka Anttila (FIN) perform during FIA World Rally Championship 2014 in Leon, Mexico on March 6, 2014 —

Bruised United among familiar faces at Europe’s top table MANCHESTER: Manchester United will take their usual place at the top table of European soccer in the Champions League quarter-finals draw today but like an impoverished lord at a society dinner, they will hope no-one notices their moth-eaten garments. United will be among familiar faces when they go into the pot with defending champions Bayern Munich and the rest of Europe’s elite in the shape of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and Paris St Germain. But unlike other seasons in the past two decades when they have swaggered in with all the confidence of either champions or strong favourites, this season they are simply relieved to be just a part of the proceedings. And of course, the other guests know all too well that United are turning up as a team in transition with new manager David Moyes enduring a tough baptism after following the retired Alex Ferguson into the job. Wednesday’s spirited 3-0 Round of 16 second leg victory over Olympiakos gave United a 3-2 aggregate win over the Greek champions and a place in the last eight for the first time since 2011, which was also the last time they reached the final. Pressure eased The win, thanks to a first Champions League hat-trick from Dutchman Robin van Persie, relieved some of the pressure that has been building on Moyes. He has come under increasing criticism from pundits and fans alike following a series of poor results which has left them seventh in the Premier League table, a distant 18 points behind leaders Chelsea. Moyes said before Wednesday’s win he felt his job was safe and that the board were fully supportive of him, and after steering United into the last eight, he was relishing the challenge ahead but would not say this was a turning point. He told reporters: “It was a magnificent team performance. I don’t want to come out and say, ‘this is the moment’, but I hope it is. “We have been asked a similar question before and we have not shown it. This is a work in progress and it will take time to get it as we really want it. It is a big job. “I have got a lot of things I want to do but the players gave the crowd something after we lost to Liverpool (3-0 at home on

Sunday) and we are delighted to see Manchester United in the last eight of the Champions League. “We played very well and deserved our victory. I’m not feeling any pressure from inside the club... it’s coming from you lot (the media). “We know the job we have to do. It’s probably bigger than I thought when I first came to the club. “And if we go into the last eight as the underdogs, that suits me fine. We can be more than a match for anyone.” Midfield maestro While looking towards the future, Moyes showed he still has time for the past with the recall of Ryan Giggs to orchestrate the midfield, and the 40-year-old Welshman did not let him down. Giggs was making his 140th appearance in the competition, two shy of Raul’s all-time record, and he had a hand in two goals, and contributed a series of other telling passes as United took control. It was also noticeable that United played with a strong and effective spine down the middle. David De Gea had an outstanding game in goal, Phil Jones was authoritative alongside a rejuvenated Rio Ferdinand at the core of the defence and Wayne Rooney showed leadership qualities in attack. With Danny Welbeck cutting from one flank and Antonio Valencia, despite a huge swelling on his eye from an early collision, powering down the other, United looked more like the menacing Red Devils of old. Olympiakos, who held a 2-0 advantage from the first leg, threatened at times and one goal, even when they were 3-0 down, would have been enough for them to qualify, meaning United could never truly relax. In the end, United held firm to turn the tie around after coming from two goals down in the first leg to win on aggregate for the first time for 30 years. The victory keeps their season alive and a route open to next season’s Champions League, but the only way that United can realistically take part in the elite competition for a 19th successive season is by winning this year’s final in Lisbon. That, though, might just be too much of a tall order for the fading aristocrats at the moment. — Reuters

BERLIN: Winger Arjen Robben says Bayern Munich have no plans to celebrate at Mainz 05 tomorrow, even if they are confirmed champions with a record eight Bundesliga matches to spare. Bayern hold a massive 23-point lead in the Bundesliga and will be confirmed champions if they win at fifth-placed Mainz 05 and both rivals Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 lose tomorrow. No Bundesliga side has ever been crowned Champions as early as March and Bayern are set to beat their own record, set last season, of winning the title with six matches to spare. Bayern are unbeaten in their last 50 Bundesliga matches, dating back to October 2012, and have won all of their last 16 league matches. But with Bayern having reached the German Cup semifinals and the last eight of the Champions League, Robben insists the Bavarian giants have other priorities other than celebrating in Mainz if results go their way. “The party won’t last long, we still have too many games ahead of us,” said Robben in Thursday’s press conference. “This week has been reasonably quiet, but it won’t last. We have a game every two or three days coming up and the focus is on the Champions League.” Bayern are eager to become the first team to defend the Champions League title having won last May’s final 2-1 against German rivals Dortmund to become European champions for the fifth time. Robben has said Bayern will not be travelling to Mainz expecting to win the title as they need both Dortmund and Schalke to either lose or draw against mid-table Hanover 96 and bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig respectively. “I’m not assuming we’ll do it as early as tomorrow and it’s the same feeling in the team,” said Robben. “I don’t expect both Dortmund and Schalke will lose or draw.” Even if results do not go Bayern’s way on Saturday, Pep Guardiola’s side can still be confirmed league champions on Tuesday in their Bundesliga match at Hertha Berlin. “We will be champions, but exactly when is secondary,” said Bayern’s attacking midfielder Toni Kroos. It has long been just a matter of time before Bayern are confirmed German champions for the 24th time, but Robben says they need to keep winning to maintain their form for the Champions League with Bayern also bidding to become the first team to go through an entire Bundesliga season unbeaten. “We need to maintain the pace and rhythm to prepare us well for Europe,” said the Dutch winger. — AFP

Chelsea title hunt excites Lampard LONDON: Frank Lampard is glad to see Chelsea back at the top of the Premier League ahead of their crunch London derby against title rivals Arsenal tomorrow. Chelsea have fallen short in recent seasons but Jose Mourinho’s return to Stamford Bridge has injected new life into the team. “It’s great to be in this position,” Lampard said of Chelsea’s current top spot. Back in 2005, Mourinho guided the London club to their first championship in 50 years and they defended the title the following season. However The Blues have won just one Premier League since, in 2010 under Carlo Ancelotti. Chelsea won the 2012 Champions League and FA Cup, but finished the season 25 points adrift of winners Manchester City in sixth place. A year later they were 14 points behind Manchester United, finishing third, but won the Europa League. Mourinho, who returned to Stamford Bridge in preseason, says that Manchester City are still favourites as they have games in hand. But England midfielder Lampard, whose side suffered a setback with a shock 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa last weekend, was nevertheless buoyed by Chelsea being four points ahead of second-placed Liverpool. “We’ve had a couple of years, two or three years, off the pace, finishing short,” the England midfielder added. “It’s great to be back in the race and to feel that around the club, to feel we’re fighting for the title rather than fighting for fourth place. It feels good.” After reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a 3-1 aggregate defeat of Galatasaray, Chelsea face a London derby with Arsenal-who are looking for their first trophy in nine years. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, branded a “specialist in failure” by Mourinho last month, will take charge of his 1,000th game as Gunners boss this weekend. “They’ve got a lot of good players and quality,” Lampard said of Arsenal. “Every team has to break the mould some time. “We worry about ourselves, where we are at the minute. If we can win as many games as we can till the end of the season we’ll give ourselves a great chance. I am confident.” — AFP

FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Olympic champion Hoefl-Riesch announces retirement Page 44

MUNICH: Germany’s alpine ski athlete, three-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time world champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch reacts during a press conference yesterday in Munich, after receiving her World Cup trophy she couldn’t receive ealier as she was evacuated following an injury on the last race of the season. Ski racer Maria Hoefl-Riesch announced she’s resigning just three and a half weeks after the Olympic Games in Sochi. — AFP

21 Mar  

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