CR IP TI ON BS SU
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
‘Kuwaitis for Jerusalem’ day showcases rich heritage, culture
JAMADA ALAWWAL 29, 1435 AH
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Obama offers assurances to allies RIYADH: From the heart of Europe to the expanse of Saudi Arabia’s desert, US President Barack Obama’s weeklong overseas trip amounted to a reassurance tour for stalwart, but sometimes skeptical, American allies. At a time when Obama is grappling with crises and conflict in both Europe and the Middle East, the four-country swing also served as a reminder that even those longtime partners still need some personal attention from the president. Europe is a crucial linchpin in Obama’s efforts to rally the international community in opposition to Russia’s incursion in Ukraine, but the continent’s leaders have concerns about the impact tougher Western sanctions on Moscow could have on their own economy. Saudi Arabia has a hand in nearly every Middle East crisis consuming White House attention, including the Syrian civil war, nuclear negotiations with Iran and peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, but has grown anxious about Obama’s positioning in the region. Obama departed for Washington yesterday with much left unresolved on each of those matters. Still, officials said the president had made progress during his pilgrimage to Saudi King Abdullah’s desert oasis, as well as in his hours of conversations with European leaders. The president’s advisers were particularly bullish about his meeting in the Netherlands with allies from the Group of Seven leading industrial nations, which agreed to indefinitely suspend Russia from the larger Group of Eight. “There’s been a lot of movement in the last several days that suggest that Europe has been stirred to action by the events in Ukraine, and I think the president felt a degree of unity in that G7 meeting, in the EU session at NATO, and then with the individual leaders that he met with,” said Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser. Obama’s stops in the Netherlands and Belgium were scheduled long before Russia’s provocations in Ukraine but ended up being a well-timed opportunity for the president to discuss the crisis personally with Europe’s leaders. As Obama sought pledges that Europe would cooperate if tougher economic sanctions on Russia become necessary, he also recommitted American support for NATO, the trans-Atlantic military alliance. Continued on Page 13
Max 35º Min 18º High Tide 11:48 Low Tide 05:46 & 18:03
KUWAIT: Supreme Judiciary Council Chairman Faisal AlMershed said yesterday that women will not be employed as legal researchers “this year and for a limited period of time,” pending assessment of their performance in the public prosecution department. The chief justice, in a statement regarding employment of female legal researchers eligible to serve as prosecution attorneys, indicated that the council has taken into consideration the profession’s conditions, traditions and customs. This decision does not imply belittling the potentials and talents of women and is strictly based on considerations of convenience, he stressed. The Kuwaiti constitution stipulates, in its second provision, that Islamic sharia is a main source of legislation, Mershed said, noting Faisal Al-Mershed that the judicial laws do not include a clear text that prohibits women’s employment in the judiciary or public prosecution. Moreover, Islamic jurisprudence schools differ on assigning women to such leading and key posts. Although customs and traditions have stood against women’s employment as judges, the council last year opted to allow them to ser ve as judges, Mershed explained. Incidentally, the Justice Ministry published advertisements in newspapers last week seeking only men to apply for prosecutors’ jobs, a move that drew the ire of some MPs. — KUNA
Kuwait transfers top Brotherhood member to Egypt
RIYADH: US President Barack Obama presents Dr Maha Al-Muneef, founder and executive director of the National Family Safety Program, with the Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award yesterday. — AFP
CAIRO: Egyptian airport officials yesterday said a Brotherhood leader arrested in Kuwait at Cairo’s behest was extradited to Egypt for prosecution. Mohammed El-Qabouti is wanted for trial on suspicion he incited violence against authorities last summer. The handover of Qabouti is the first reported case of Cairo’s Gulf allies arresting and extraditing members of the Brotherhood to Egypt. Authorities reported his arrest in Kuwait earlier this month. — AP
Power cuts in 3 areas By A Saleh KUWAIT: A daily 5-hour electricity cut is scheduled in Ardiya, Daiya and Mubarakiya until Thursday in order to carry out scheduled maintenance operations at secondary transformers across the Farwaniya and Asima (Capital) governorates, the Ministry of Electricity and Water announced. Areas affected by the cut, from 7:00 am to noon, include blocks 1, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 11 of Ardiya, in addition to block 5 of Daiya where the Iraqi embassy is located, and some parts of Mubarakiya.
KUWAIT: Environment Public Authority (EPA) staff arrange candles to mark Earth Hour yesterday. — KUNA
Lights go off for global Earth Hour SINGAPORE: Lights went off in thousands of cities and towns across the world yesterday for the annual Earth Hour campaign, which is aiming to raise money via the Internet for local environmental projects. The Singapore-based campaign by conservation group WWF was boosted by Hollywood star power, with “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Jamie Foxx leading ceremonies at the city-state’s Marina Bay district. Comic-book hero Spider-Man is this year’s “ambassador” for Earth Hour in which 150 countries including Kuwait are taking part, according to organisers. The event was launched in Sydney in 2007. The Australian city’s Opera House and Harbour Bridge were among the first landmarks around the world to dim their lights for 60 minutes during yesterday’s event. An estimated 7,000 cities and
towns from New Zealand to New York are taking part at 8.30 pm local time. Hong Kong’s stunning waterfront skyline was unrecognisable yesterday evening, with the city’s tallest skyscraper, the International Commerce Centre, stripped of the vast light show usually wrapped around its 118 storeys. Blazing neon signs advertising some of the world’s largest brands were shut off, leaving the view of the heavily vertical southern Chinese city peppered only with tiny lights from buildings’ interiors. In the Indian capital of New Delhi, lights were turned off at major landmarks, including the India Gate. Earth Hour partnered with payments giant PayPal to allow donors to contribute to specific projects from Russia and India to Canada and Indonesia, using Asian fundraising site Crowdonomic. Continued on Page 13
Earthquake rattles jittery Los Angeles LOS ANGELES: A shallow 5.1-magnitude earthquake rocked the Los Angeles area Friday causing power cuts, gas leaks and bursting water mains, and stopping rides at Disneyland. While no injuries were reported, objects fell from shelves and furniture toppled over, according to photos posted on social media, while TV pictures showed a car flipped over by a rockslide. The quake, which hit at 9:10 pm (0410 GMT yesterday), was the biggest in the Los Angeles area for six years, since a 5.5-magnitude earthquake struck nearby Chino Hills in 2008. Friday’s quake came after one measuring 4.4 earlier this month. The quake’s epicenter was near La Habra, about 35 km southeast of downtown Los Angeles, and could be felt across the LA metropolitan area, including in Hollywood. Disneyland shut down rides as a precaution, according to NBC4 television. A Disneyland spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. Car alarms were reported to have been set off in some areas by the five-mile-deep quake, which was initially registered as 5.3 magnitude but later revised down. Continued on Page 13
SOUTH CHINA SEA: A China Coast Guard ship and a Philippine supply boat engage in a standoff as the Philippine boat attempts to reach the Second Thomas Shoal yesterday. — AFP
Philippines supply ship evades China blockade SOUTH CHINA SEA: A Philippine re-supply ship evaded a Chinese coastguard blockade in the South China Sea yesterday to reach Filipino soldiers based on a remote reef claimed by both countries, the military said. The dramatic, two-hour stand-off witnessed by the AFP was the latest in a rapid-fire series of escalations in a dispute between the two countries over their competing claims to waters and islands close to Philippine landmass. Yesterday’s incident took place at Second Thomas Shoal, where a small number of Filipino soldiers are stationed on a Navy vessel that was grounded there in 1999 to assert the Philippines’ sovereignty. The Philippine military said the ship, a fishing vessel with soldiers on board, completed its mission to deliver fresh supplies to the navy ship and rotate the
troops. “They were able to pass through. The Chinese coastguard vessel and the mission is a success,” Cherryl Tindog, a spokeswoman for the military’s western command, told AFP. “We have successfully re-supplied and rotated the troops.” An AFP reporter and photographer recorded the two-hour confrontation above calm turquoise waters while on board a Philippine military plane that circled above the area throughout. Four Chinese vessels had encircled Second Thomas Shoal as the Philippine vessel approached, according to the AFP reporter. Two of the vessels, with a “Chinese Coast Guard” written on the hulls, then chased the Philippine boat and tried to block it from reaching the shoal. Continued on Page 13
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
(From left) Lulwa Al-Mulla, President of the Women Cultural Social Society, Rima Khalidi, Ambassador Tahboub and Abdulaziz Al-Mulla are pictured during the event. —Photos by Joseph Al-Shagra
Kuwaiti photographer Faisal Al-Busairi (right) is showing the images from Palestine to the Palestinian Ambassador to Kuwait Rami Tahboub and his spouse Rima Khalidi (centre) during the Open Day.
Abdulaziz Al-Mulla, Chairman of The Kuwaitis for Jerusalem Committee, is seen opening the event held to show Palestine’s heritage and culture.
‘A Day of Kuwaitis for Jerusalem’ showcases rich heritage, culture Carnival aims to foster relations, bring people together By Velina Nacheva KUWAIT: An open day dedicated to the rich Palestinian heritage gathered Palestinians, Kuwaitis and residents of Kuwait with the dual aim to show the youth a glimpse of Palestinian culture and to raise awareness about the Palestinian issue. According to the organizers of the Open Day, The Kuwaitis for Jerusalem Committee (KJC), the purpose of the event is to foster relations between Kuwaitis and Palestinians and to remind the young generations of Palestinian culture. The Open Day was held on the premises of the Women Cultural Social Society in Khaldiya on Friday. Rami Tahboub, Palestinian ambassador to Kuwait, was in attendance at the event. He told Kuwait Times that such an event helps build bridges between the people from Palestine and Kuwait. This is the second such function organized by the committee that the ambassador has attended in the past two years. He stressed that the committee is very active in supporting Palestine in general and Jerusalem in particular. “I really appreciate what they do as Kuwaiti people and what the activists (volunteers in the committee) are doing for Palestine. This is something valuable for us. It also reflects the nature of the relations between Kuwait and Palestine, and the Kuwaiti people and the Palestinian people.” Taking the point further, he stressed that such an event is very important to strengthen the relations between Palestine and Kuwait. “It should be a very good example for other Arab people in establishing such committees for supporting Palestine. This is really needed in this very crucial time that the Palestinian cause is passing through, especially in Jerusalem where there is continuous aggression by Israeli settlers.” Lulwa Al-Mulla, President of the Women Cultural Social Society, explained that the aim of the annual carnival organized by the
Ambassador Tahboub and Rima Khalidi are pictured during the event. committee was to introduce young people to the rich Palestinian culture. Palestine in focus The annual family open day organized jointly by Kuwait Graduates Society and the Women Cultural Social Society featured a 3D movie called “A Tour in Jerusalem”, showing the AlAqsa mosque and an exhibition by Kuwaiti photographer Faisal Al-Busairi. The Palestinian Heritage Band performed a traditional folklore dance known as dabke. Waleed Al-Sibawi entertained attendees with traditional Palestinian songs. A Kuwaiti band also enchanted the audience with contemporary folklore music and dance. The carnival also featured folklore activities and entertainment for children, a talk by Dr Sulaiman Busita and Palestinian stories narrated by a storyteller. In addition, all attendees
The Palestinian Heritage Band is pictured performing a traditional folklore dance known as dabke.
Waleed Al-Sibawi entertains the audience at the event with Palestinian songs.
had a taste of Palestine’s rich culinary heritage, sampling special traditional Palestinian dishes. Some of the popular picks at the cuisine booth were munsaf (big round bread with grilled chicken and nuts), grapevine and Palestinian olive oil, zaatar and olives. A bazaar display showed the country’s traditional clothes, scarves and various souvenirs. A Kuwaiti collector also had a display of items that can no longer be found today, such as rotary telephones, radios, vintage Coca Cola glass bottles and many others. The series of images captured by the lens of Kuwaiti photographer Busairi were on view, depicting what he calls “the unfiltered reality in Palestine”. “My pictures are unfiltered. It is how I see things,” Busairi said, pointing at a few of his images. Asked about his experience in Palestine, he said, “The Palestinian people are resilient in everything that happens.” He
explained that when Palestinians are forced out of their homes and everything is destroyed, people like him feel great empathy. “You feel you could have done something. You become part of them and you want to make a difference,” he said. Khadija Madani, the driving force behind the event and a volunteer in the committee, explained that the event is put together to introduce the Palestinian culture to the young generation. The Committee The Kuwaitis for Jerusalem Committee, made up of volunteers, was founded in 2000 during the second intifada, but its roots go back to the first intifada in 1987. The committee supports many charity initiatives in Palestine where it finances various projects. According to Committee Chairman Abdulaziz
Al-Mulla, the committee was established to support projects in the fields of healthcare, education and others. Stressing that he had been privileged to visit Palestine twice, Mulla said that the committee works with Palestinian NGOs on the ground. “We make sure that the money is spent in the right way. We also go to see the projects that we support,” he said, adding that visiting Palestine is not easy. “Israelis don’t make it easy for Arabs to visit Palestine. They try to isolate Palestine from the Arabs.” Previously, the committee has supported the Palestinian Children Rescue Fund in Beit Jala and a program currently providing scholarships to 27 students. The committee also supported the renovation of a house for the elderly in Abu Dis village as well as projects for protecting the rights of disabled children in Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Ambassador Tahboub stopped to greet vendors at the event showcasing various items and food from Palestine.
Woman injured in police shooting KUWAIT: Following a recent shooting when a police officer from the royal family and another policeman chased two people who were beating a woman inside their vehicle from Salmiya to Al-Ghous street in Mubarak Al-Kabeer where one of them allegedly shot the woman in the head, the woman’s husband and his companion who were arrested over charges of shooting her
denied shooting the woman and justified his escape on the drugs the police found in the vehicle. The husband also stressed that it was the chasing police force that fired the bullet that hit his wife in the head, sending her to the ICU in a critical condition. However, Al-Rai daily learned that initial
examination of the bullet showed that it was a 9 mm caliber one like those used by the police and that the patrol policeman confessed that it was the police officer (the royal family member) who shot at the escaping vehicle and accidentally injured the woman. Both the officer and the policeman are in police custody for further investigations.
Qatar’s ‘Halal’ carnival turns into tourist attraction
KUWAIT: The Commercial Bank of Kuwait opened a pavilion at the 360 Mall as part of its ongoing cultural campaign ‘Ya Zain Turathna’. The pavilion is set up to represent a ‘miniature neighborhood’ of old Kuwait and contains several aspects that reflect Kuwaiti old customs and traditions. A live show of popular Kuwaiti games and songs are featured at the pavilion, said Amani Al-Waraa, the CBK’s Assistant General Manager of the Advertisement and Public Relations Department.
DOHA: Kuwaiti participants in “Halal Hal Qatar” cattle festival has praised organizers of the activity that brings to life some aspects of the popular Gulf heritage and past lifestyle. The carnival, organized by the Cultural Village Foundation (Katara), re-plays some pictures of the ancestors’ ways of living, customs and traditions. Jumaan Al-Sahloul, a Kuwaiti herder, said he is taking part in the festival with intention of enhancing the Gulf popular heritage, noting that it has increasingly drawn participants from various Gulf countries. Al-Sahloul is a contester in “Al-Mazaiyn,” a show of beauty for goats and sheep, where a prize is given to five winners. Hamad Al-Enaz, a Kuwaiti competing in “AlMazaiyn,” auctioning livestock, indicated some of the animals have been traded at very prices-a head may cost as high as KD 50,000 . Marzouq Al-Sewagh, also a competitor in the beauty contest, said the activity depicts the desert life in the old times. “The festival preserves the popular heritage and boosts the livestock wealth. His fellow citizen, Mohammad Bin Qurash AlAjmi, said diverse activities and products displayed at the festival ground have rendered it a
major tourist attraction. The festival includes displays of handcraft products, traditional food, pictures, popular games, classic and popular songs. Top winner is granted 100,000 riyal, secondrank winner gets 50,000 riyals, the third 30,000 riyals, fourth 15,000 riyals and the last 10,000 riyals. The carnival features “Al-Mazaiyn,” “Al-
Mazad” and Al-Izab: the latter is a display of a group of barns each containing different species of livestock, where visitors can examine closely. Also in the carnival, traditional old Qatari houses are presented to show how Qataris were living in the old times. Also there is the traditional market, which is containing the rest tents where the aromatic Arabic coffee is served. — KUNA
DOHA: Kuwaiti participants in “Halal Hal Qatar” cattle festival.
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
Panel votes on children allowance hikes today High cost to national budget By A Saleh KUWAIT: The parliament’s financial committee will discuss proposals to increase the children allowance this morning with Minister of Finance Anas Al-Saleh and Public Institution for Social Security representatives. The two sides will discuss proposals which the government rejects in general due to their high cost to the national budget. A memorandum that the government sent previously to the co m m i t te e s ays t h a t a p ro p o s a l to increase the monthly allowance from KD 50 to KD 75 for up to 3 children will cost KD 149 million annually, while a similar proposal for up to 4 children will cost KD 177 million per year. Meanwhile, the cost of a proposal to increase the allowance for up to 5 children reaches KD 195 million, while another proposal to increase the allowance to KD 65 for seven children will cost KD 127 million per year. But some committee members plan to vote on proposals that increase the allowance to a minimum of KD 75 per child, “whether the government approves it or not”, according to sources. “The government was given sufficient time to present alternatives but did not provide any,” said the sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The committee postponed discussion of the same issue last week when minister Saleh could not attend due to the government’s preparations for the Arab Summit. There is concern within the panel that the government could use a similar tactic to avoid discussing the issue today. Yet panel members can still pass the draft laws if the minister does not
attend the meeting, a step that some of t h e m s e e m co n f i d e n t w i l l h a p p e n , according to the sources. The parliament is set to vote on the proposal referred by the financial committee during Tuesday’s session. Committee chairman MP Faisal AlShaya had told Al-Rai daily on Friday that the proposal to increase the allowance to KD 75 for up to 5 children was probably the most ‘budget-friendly ’ in the long term despite being the costliest of proposals on the panel’s table. Al-Rai also quoted MP Hamdan Al-Azmi, who criticized the government for refusing prop o s a l s to i n c re a s e t h e c h i l d re n’s allowances under the pretext of its high costs “despite spending KD 88 million on hosting the 2-day Arab summit according to recent reports”. Azmi made another s t a te m e n t ye s te rd ay i n w h i c h h e slammed the ‘weak executive authority’, as well as its lack of long-term strategic planning, failure to diversify sources of income and attempts to collect taxes instead of boosting investment spending. Financing crisis In other news, the parliament’s housing committee meets today with Minister of Housing Affairs Yasser Abul in order to discuss statements he made earlier about a ‘financing crisis’ that the government faces in implementing housing projects. Committee chairman Faisal Al-Kandari c r i t i c i ze d t h e m i n i s te r ’s s t a te m e n t s, telling Al-Qabas yesterday that the current capital of the Saving and Credit Bank’s which finances housing loans has reached KD 3 billion. The committee will also discuss with the minister a proposal to allocate a sec-
ond parliament session to discuss the housing issue to follow up with developments on the issue since the first one was held in December, Kandari told Al-Jarida daily. Also yesterday, head of the parliament’s human resources committee MP Yaqoub Al-Sane said that a work team was formed to prepare a draft law which unifies payrolls in the public sector. The law would ‘achieve justice’ by giving similar salaries to employees with the same job classifications at all state depar tments, and it is expected to be ready in time to be debated in parliament before the end of the current term, Sane told AlWatan daily. KAC Hierarchy Kuwait Air ways is expec ted to see ‘major appointments’ in the upcoming few days af ter at least 25 employees received notice from management that they will be referred to retirement. The new appointments come after the board decided to eliminate the ‘chief executive officer’ position, according to sources. The sources added that K amel AlAwadhi, Chairman of the Operational Safet y O ffice, will be appointed as Assistant M anaging Direc tor for Operational Safet y and S ecurit y. Meanwhile, Sharifa Al-Ibrahim, the acting CEO, will be appointed as Assistant M anaging Direc tor for Financial and Administrative Affairs, while Ezzat AlAryan, the Ground Services Directorate Manager, will be appointed as Assistant Managing Director for Commercial Affairs. Also, Abdullah Al-Sharhan, the Engineering Directorate Manager, will be appointed as Assistant Managing Director for Engineering and Maintenance.
25,265 certificates for bedoons KUWAIT: Death and birth certificates issued for illegal residents (bedoons) reached 25,265 between early 2011 and March 19, a Ministry of Health official said yesterday. Salman Al-Haifi, the MoH’s assistant undersecretary, said 23,997 birth certificates were issued for this segment during this
period, in addition to 1,268 death certificates. In the first 100 days of the year 2014, up to 828 birth certificates and 26 death documents were issued. Issuance of these documents is in line with the Cabinet Resolution 409/2011 that provides these residents with a package of privileges and facil-
ities. The ministry adheres to the resolution stipulating usage of the term “non-Kuwaiti” in the nationality category, instead of “illegal resident.” The ministry is issuing the documents in coordination with the Central System for the Remedy of Status of Illegal Residents. — KUNA
KUWAIT: Health minister, Dr Ali Al-Obaidi yesterday launched a walkathon held at the Green Island as a festivity commemorating the World Kidney Day. The walkathon was held under the title ‘Let’s Fight Kidney Diseases Together!”
Kuwait donates $2m to UNRWA AMMAN: State of Kuwait has granted a $2 million donation to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) as part of the annual support from it the organization. This support aims to provide aid to the Palestinian people, alleviate their suffering and meet their needs, and it came in compliance with instructions by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah, Kuwaiti Ambassador to Jordan Dr. Hamad Saleh Al-Duaij said in a statement. The Kuwaiti ambassador handed the donation to UNRWA relations coordinator Maria Mohammadi, at their meeting yesterday at the headquarters of the Kuwaiti Embassy in Amman. Kuwaiti contributions to UNRWA aim to support the international relief and development organization and help UNRWA fulfill its responsibilities towards refugees, he said, stressing that Kuwait has never hesitateed to lend a hand of help to the Palestinian people. For her part, Mohammadi expressed in a statement appreciation of the international organization to the State of Kuwait’s leadership, government and people for the generous support to UNRWA. The UNRWA is very grateful for the annual contribution from the State of Kuwait, especially since Kuwait was and still the leader among Arab countries in support of the Organization, she added. She pointed to the generous contribution made by His Highness the Amir to the organization in 2009 during the Gaza crisis-worth $34 million and the $15 million support given in 2013 for Palestinian refugees in Syria. Kuwait renewed its support this year with the same value $15 million for Palestinian refugees who are suffering from repercussions of the Syrian crisis. —KUNA
Food producers told to reduce salt soon KUWAIT: The state is looking into the option of reducing salt from food products produced locally as part of efforts to prevent high blood pressure in Kuwait. The Ministry of Health hopes for a regulation that makes it mandatory for local food producers to reduce sodium from items like nuts, pickles, potato chips, etc as well as salt and fat from cheese, said Dr Nawal Al-Hamad, the Food Department Manager at the ministry. “Awareness alone about the importance of reducing salt is not enough... and a legislation that makes it mandatory for food producers to reduce salt from their products is necessary to protect consumers’ health,” Hamad told Al-Jarida daily yesterday. The nutrition specialist also called for changing the concept of subsidization in Kuwait “which is the only country in the world that provides 17 food items at subsidized prices”. “In return, Kuwait spends millions of dinars for treatment of chronic diseases,” she warned, adding that 80 percent of those patients suffer diabetes, heart diseases, cancer and other illnesses “that can be avoided through healthy diets”. Earlier this year, the MoH announced cooperation with the Kuwait Flour Mills Company to reduce salt in bread that the company produces by 20 percent.
Sharjah Capital of Islamic Culture celebrations open SHARJAH: Under the patronage of Sharjah Ruler Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammad Al-Qassemi, the Sharjah Capital of Islamic Culture 2014 celebrations kick off today featuring dignitaries, media personalities and artists from all over the world. The guests will be at hand to attend the premiere of the region’s biggest ever theatrical spectacular, ‘Clusters of Light’, which tells the story of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) from his birth to his death and clarifies the true essence of Islam. The Higher Organizing Committee and the Executive Committee for Sharjah’s Islamic Culture Capital 2014 celebrations have completed all arrange-
ments for the reception of the emirate’s guests, who will be accommodated in Sharjah’s leading hotels. More than 500 journalists, broadcasters and media executives from around the world, along with local media representatives, will report on the groundbreaking oratorio which will have its premiere show today at the new Open Al Majaz amphitheatre. An event to unveil the memorial for the Sharjah Capital of Islamic Culture opens the celebrations this evening, followed by the official opening of Al Majaz amphitheatre and the premier of the ‘Clusters of Light’ musical. The four subsequent performances will be held on March 31, April 1, 3, and 4.
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
LOCAL kuwait digest
In my view
My son wants to get married. I told him I have no objections, but don’t have children!!!
Summit and solidarity
By Mustafa Al-Sarraf
rabs, because of the Palestine occupation, were in solidarity in the ‘50s and ‘60s, and formed a force that confronted the Western Zionist colonization, and resolution 242 was issued despite the dominance of imperialist countries (America, France, Britain) in the UN Security Council. But with great regret, as the Palestinian issue was a reason to unify the Arab nation, it was also the reason for fragmenting it. Zionism and Western imperialism worked on diluting that decision by spreading differences in the Arab nation by siding with the Zionist occupier from the middle of the ‘60s and the arrival of the new conservatives under the umbrella of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that is influential in both the Republican and Democratic parties. They were generous with money and arms with Israel, surpassing all Arab countries combined. They sold technically inferior weapons to Arab countries to fight each other after splitting them and categorized them as moderate, which means that they succumbed to the Western influence and rogue countries referring those who opposed Israeli occupation. Then the Palestinian issue took a backseat in the Arab summits’ agendas from being the central issue that all Arabs were behind to becoming the issue of the Palestinian people alone. Four decades elapsed while Arabs are in disarray and weak while running after the illusion of peace with Israel to solve the Arab issue peacefully, and gave concessions one after the other that only added to their weakness and fragmentation, especially after Egypt veered away from Arab consensus during the Sadat era, and that led to most Arab countries succumbing to the Zionist influence. Yet, when the Zionists were kicked out of Lebanon in 2000, and the resistance prevented its occupation a second time in 2006, it revived the Arab nation which agreed upon the importance of the resistance instead of regular armies that are not armed at equal bases with Israeli enemy, so the only thing left for Arab countries is to restore their solidarity in order to regain their will and impose respect upon imperialist countries. This is so that it owns the independence of its decision in running its affairs, preserve its wealth and direct it towards real development programs instead of being extorted by Western countries that are enemies to the Arab nation as their deeds and conspiracies have become as clear as the sun. So the Kuwait summit and making the Palestinian cause the central issue will restore the Arab unity towards one issue and with that restore Arab unity and makes us get rid of the dissipation that was imposed on us by Zionism and Western imperialism by stirring disputes with military coups, sectarian strife and by brutal power, as they take advantage of our weakness and splits. The decisions of this conference will not succeed without serious work and with conviction that we must solve our problems and adopt the principal that what was taken by force will only be restored by force, whether moral or armed resistance if needed, and there is no aspect other than that of resistance instead of giving up and give concessions under the illusion of peace.
WANCE S’ ALLO VT D I K G N : GO RAISI OFFERS TO HIT C
By Labeed Abdal
Who said we have a govt? By Abdullatif Al-Duaij
he majority of those who believe that they are good observers of the local scene and have gained enough experience and knowledge of situations ongoing locally believe that the government and parliament are harmonious. Or that the government ‘controls’ the current parliament, does whatever it wants with it and passes through it laws and projects required for its policies. But the reality is completely different, because there is a huge difference between the disappearance of the opposition and between loyalty or complete harmony. The current parliament lacks ‘political’ opposition against the government. It also lacks complete loyalty from a majority that supports the government and allows it to force its vision on the parliament. And this is for a simple reason that is supposed to be obvious to whoever monitors the situation of the government here — the government itself lacks harmony among its members. To put it more clearly, the government does not have an actual program that all Cabinet members agree upon and work together to realize it. Not only does the government lack a clear program, but also a clear approach. While we do have
the outlines of the dream of turning Kuwait into a financial hub that are often mentioned in the government’s speech, there are no serious efforts to draw the policies and take the political, economic and social programs required to put Kuwait in that direction. The government does not even have a specific program that leads its way and draws the maps for the road it should take. Cabinets in Kuwait are often formed to adopt the same programs and plans of their predecessors. Since the 1960’s, cabinets and ministers adopted the same plans and programs of previous cabinets. We do have a Cabinet, but we do not have a government, and that is where the problem lies. The closest Cabinet that can be called a government was the one formed in the 1974 parliament’s term. It lasted for only four years, after which the great backwards movement came to wipe out everything it had achieved during its term. The lack of uproar from the opposition does not mean that the government and parliament share the same political and economic visions, as anyone who has been following up with both of their actions notices that they lack political vision. —Al-Qabas
uwait has recently hosted several regional and international conferences which, if we put aside the traffic problems they usually create, come to point out the important humanitarian role that the state plays and which the Kuwaiti leadership, government and people fully understand. Kuwait hosted two conferences to gather donations for the Syrian people in coordination with the United Nations. These humanitarian conferences aimed to help millions of Syrian refugees confirms Kuwait’s pivotal role in achieving peace and stopping armed struggles. The gathering of Arab and Gulf nations in Kuwait last week at the invitation of HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah reflects His Highness’ desire to end conflicts in the Arab World and achieve convergence
We cannot deny that large parts of the Arab world have been affected by public revolutions against dictatorships that suppressed the people’s will and freedom of speech. that helps realize positive results en route to ending pending issues. We cannot deny that large parts of the Arab world have been affected by public revolutions against dictatorships that suppressed the people’s will and freedom of speech. The Egyptian people’s revolution which ousted a dictator regime and then a president after both violated public rights set an example for the entire world. We definitely hope that Kuwait hosts successful Gulf, Arab and international conferences and manages to reconcile relations between conflicting countries in order to achieve peace for their people. The Internet and social networks provide a platform for people to express their opinion freely, which has proven critical to public revolutions and events in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Turkey, Ukraine and others. We hope that Arab nations find a similar platform in Kuwait for the better future of the Arab people.
in my view
How much are Arabs worth? By Ali Ibrahim
nswering the question, “How much is the Arab region worth?” points us to statistics from the World Bank which suggest that the Arab region’s combined GDP is $2.5 trillion. This figure reflects the volume of economic activity of Arab societies, whose entire population is estimated at approximately 362 million. Half of this GDP comes from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, who boast some of the region’s strongest economies. In fact, some GCC countries enjoy some of the highest average per capita income levels in the world. Based on these figures, the Arab world-whose collective GDP has jumped sharply in the past ten years-has outdone Southeast Asia, whose 11 countries have a collective GDP of approximately 2 trillion dollars. (At one point these countries were known as the “Asian tigers” due to the rapid economic growth they experienced.) The Arab world’s transformation is mainly due to the large increase in oil prices and oil export proceeds. These figures reflect the Arab region’s huge economic power. Nevertheless, it is very much less than many industrial economies such as Spain whose GDP is over $1.3 trillion and Germany whose GDP exceeds that of the entire Arab region by $1 trillion. At the end of the day, these are just figures and do not represent the full truth since economic activity is, after all, a human one: with both quantifiable and unquantifiable aspects. Some of the latter include soft power elements such as a country’s cultural and civilizational contributions. Even in economics there are some activities which are not amenable to statistics. In recent decades, a country’s strength has been measured mainly through the volume of its economic and commercial exchanges with the world and its ability to fulfil its population’s aspirations more so than its military power. This is a truth that has always been present in history but many have not given it the importance it deserves. According to some historians, Germany, which enthusiastically entered into World War I motivated by a national desire for hegemony, did not need to do so since at the time it boasted Europe’s most advanced and developed econo-
my. These historians argue that Germany’s economic power would have allowed it to dominate its neighbors without the need to fire a single bullet. However, the convictions at the time were different and the view was that it was the number of troops and weapons and control you had on the ground that really determined how much power you had. As a result, Germany entered a destructive war which it lost along with its allies and emerged bankrupt with unprecedented inflation rates. This postWorld War I state of affairs led to the eruption of World War II, which eventually produced a European order based on economic and commercial cooperation that proved beneficial for all. The presence of a vital economy that created a broad, educated middle class and built institutions instrumental to the development of the political sphere was key to the establishment and expansion of the Western democracies. The Arab region has not been unaware of the significance that development holds for occupying a position on the global map. This is evidenced by Kuwait’s hosting the first Arab Economic Summit in 2010 that tried to push forward the prioritization of economic cooperation and building a joint economic system as the way forward for progress-before 2011 brought the Arab Spring revolutions and their aftermath to the region. A large part of what happened-what the International Monetary Fund describes as the “Arab countries in transition”-was rooted in economic concerns primarily, as well as political demands, and was caused by failures to achieve comprehensive development-a particular cause of public anger. Moreover, a large part of the current fluid state of affairs and the turmoil and violence of the “transitional phases” in these countries is due to a failure in building proper institutions for the protection and development of society. In short, the Arab region is worth more than the statistics suggest-if it chooses the appropriate way for development in order to activate its latent economic and social capabilities. And it is this that will lay the firm foundation for political development.
‘Suckers’ of public funds By Dr Mohammad A Al-Mowatei
here are “suckers” of public funds exactly like bats. They include members of parliament, politicians, writers and media activists. There are also brokers and middlemen, and their role is to play the mercenaries for the corrupted influential, who are many. Those bats are carrying out one certain mission, which emanates from the idea of receiving money before the mission is done and after that. They practice political witticism, as well as media noise and illegal collusion, and exchange wrong information and false clouds. These types of bats aim at spoiling every project and destroying every initiative and dismantling any achievement and obstructing any steps towards success, once through doubting projects’ feasibilities, another by pre-accusations of initiatives and a third by personal attacks - even some of them reach the point of fighting success and achievement, because they do not have any role in making it. Or because their extortion failed in making them benefit financially from it, or because the influential who hired them did not reach their goal of monopolizing projects or feeding on them, they employ money, efforts, media and politics to destroy
the country by their deviated escalation, because they are on one side and the country’s interest is on the other, and they are the majority, with regret. We do not deny that the country is under corruption in many aspects that led to its backwardness, and its living in the circle of continued corrosion, which harmed most of its establishments extensively. Yet the most dangerous thing is role the public funds bats are playing, who must eat from every project and share in every budget and steal from every contract, otherwise they will play their destructive role for every project in the country, or by their political witticism in criticizing every achievement or their media noise to destroy every attempt for success, as long as they do not get the lion’s share in any of that. They succeeded in spreading the culture of their illegal methods, and many used them with good intentions or those hired to do so. People were unaware that these bats do not care about the people, and think that is limited to them. We must shed the light in dark spaces and corners, so that those bats do not find a place to build their nests in. —Al-Qabas
LOCAL SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
Call to lower Internet charges in Gulf region Affordable services will boost e-services DUBAI: A key organisation that promotes digital skills and cyber safety in the Gulf, has called for Internet charges to be reduced in the region to encourage a higher take-up of smart services. ICDL GCC Foundation said lower prices were important to broaden the adoption of Smar t Government ser vices, launched recently in a number of GCC states. “Lower Internet charges will undoubtedly promote the subscription of data packages by the masses, which is highly important for Smart and e-Services to reach out to each and every member of society,” the organisation said in a statement. ICDL has lauded the efforts undertaken by regional governments toward building an integrated digital system, which is accompanied with the aim to boost the Smar t Government’s e- and m-Services. It said regional governments have registered their highest levels of ICT investment in 2013, with Kuwait tak-
ing the lead at $28 billion followed by Saudi Arabia at $4.8 billion. Qatar and the UAE take third and fourth place with a total spending of $3 billion and $2.7 billion, respectively. But ICDL also pointed out that governments should take effective measures to bring down the high data service rates to make them more affordable for all Internet users. According to a recent study conducted by the ICDL GCC Foundation, the rates for data service in the GCC are still high in comparison to other countries and diverse among each other as well. According to the study, the rates of monthly mobile internet data for 1GB in Saudi Arabia starts from AED 23.5, AED 47.7 in Oman, AED 63.3 in Qatar, and AED 100 in the UAE. The mobile data packages in Kuwait start at AED 104.03/month for 6 GB while it is AED 195.35/month in Bahrain for an unlimited data. The foundations added that services for mobile data
packages and home broadband connections also command a higher price in the GCC when compared with the US and the UK. “ The GCC government must proactively work on long-term strategic objectives to establish public private partnerships that will eventually help to bring down telecommunication rates in the region. Better coordination and collaboration between government and Internet service providers will also help in bridging this gap,” said Jamil Ezzo, director general of ICDL GCC Foundation. He added: “The governments of the GCC have launched Smart and eServices for the benefits of its people and visitors. However, high telecommunication rates acts as a major obstacle for people to access to these services. There is a greater need for affordable telecom services so that people from all walks of life can have easier access to the Internet.” — Arabian Business
Kuwait hosts ANOC meetings KUWAIT: The Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), headed by its President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, started its meetings in Kuwait yesterday attended by several international sports officials, including IOC Thomas Bach. The body, which aims to build a bridge of communication between national Olympic federations and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) among other global organisations and provides solutions that serve the needs of athletes around the world, held several sub-committee meetings yesterday. These included the International Relations Committee, the Finance and Audit Commission and the Marketing and New Sources of Finance. The meetings, hosted by Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) which Sheikh Ahmad also heads, are of crucial importance to improv-
ing the functionality of ANOC in serving national Olympic committees and athletes around the world, International Relations Commission member and Algerian Olympic Committee chief Mustapha Berraf said. The official, who is also the Senior Vice President of the Association of the National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA), said that the International Relations Committee is one of the most impor tant as it forms a link between the committee and international sports and non-sports organisations. The meeting discussed means to improve ANOC’s relations with UNESCO, UNICEF, the IOC and other international sports federations. The commission is committed to searching for an appropriate groundwork for partnerships and constructive cooperation with these organisations in order to achieve its interests aimed at
improving the capabilities and role of Olympic bodies around the world, he noted. Berraf hailed the commitment of Sheikh Ahmad since the Kuwaiti sports official began assuming his responsibilities in April 2012, and his role in developing ANOC and in carrying out pledges he made after being voted in at the general assembly. The meeting was crucial and necessary, he added, as it “helped us think about our position on the future of ANOC and its role in spreading Olympic values and principles and serving the interests of national Olympic federations.” Reiterating these notions, head of the Spanish Olympic Committee Alejandro Blanco stressed the importance of these meetings for the future of ANOC and its role in spreading these values in the service of national Olympic bodies, sports and athletes. — KUNA
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
Man ‘kidnaps’ neighbor’s son to ‘teach him a lesson’ Woman causes accident after breakup KUWAIT: A man reported to police to that his car was stolen with his toddler inside, only to discover later that his neighbor had taken it from outside his house “to teach him a lesson”. The Kuwaiti man told Sulaibikhat police officers that he left his three-year-old son inside his car for three minutes after turning the engine on for heating, but found out after he came out of the house that his car was missing. Detectives soon found the car parked under a tree near the man’s house. They could not find the boy inside it, however. Minutes later, officers at the scene were approached by a man who said that the vehicle belonged to his neighbor, and that his
tionship. However, the two sides reconciled after the man said that the experience made him realize how much his girlfriend loved him. According to the police report, the incident took place at the Fahaheel Highway Friday morning when the man was driving an SUV and was hit from behind, which caused the vehicle to lose balance, turn over twice and then crash into a firefighter’s car who was on his way to work. The firefighter made an emergency call before helping the man out of his vehicle. He saw the female driver standing outside her car crying, thinking she was suffering a nervous breakdown after causing the accident. The man was taken to Adan Hospital in an
KUWAIT: A fire broke out in a pickup vehicle behind the vegetable market in Kabed, said security sources noting that Kabed firemen rushed to the scene and managed to control the fire to find out afterwards that the vehicle had been reported stolen. —By Hanan Al-Saadoun neighbor’s son is safe inside his house and playing with his kids. The man explained to police that he became angry when he came out of his house and found that his neighbor had left his toddler alone in the car with the engine running. At that point, he decided to take the car and make his neighbor believe that his son was kidnapped so that he can be taught a lesson. Police escorted the man to the police station with his neighbor’s son. They called his neighbor who came over, took his son and decided against pressing charges after seemingly learning his lesson. Police filed cases of police annoyance and filing a false report against the two men, nevertheless, and referred them for further questioning. Road accident A man was involved in an accident after his car was hit by his girlfriend who was chasing him after he told her that he wanted to end their rela-
ambulance and was soon discharged after he got his minor injuries treated. He and the female driver were taken to Riqqa police station where a case was filed. It was revealed that the two are romantically involved, and had a dispute during a private meeting before the incident took place. The girl drove behind the man after he left her, and hit his car accidently during the chase. The man did not press charges, and instead decided to keep his relationship after saying that the incident made him understand how much the girl loved him and did not wish to break up with her. Rapists caught Andalus detectives arrested three men who kidnapped a man in Riggae and raped him in the Jahra desert. The Filipino man had told local police that the suspects lured him to their car after he walked out of a restaurant after work. They drove to a remote location in Jahra, raped him at gunpoint and then dropped him off near
a house in the area. The man said that the suspects also stole his cell phone before escaping. Detective used the license plate number of the suspects’ car which the victim provided to identify its owner. The Saudi man was arrested and put under questioning, during which he admitted the crime and gave information of his two accomplices. The bedoon men were soon arrested and referred with the first suspect to the public prosecution. Fatal crash A man died and another was critically wounded after their car was involved in an accident on Salmi Highway Friday morning. Police and paramedics rushed to the scene in response to an emergency call reporting that a vehicle lost balance and overturned. The Saudi driver was pronounced dead at the scene, while his companion was rushed to Jahra Hospital and admitted in the intensive care unit in a critical condition. Criminal investigators transported the body to the forensic department after examining the scene. Investigations went underway to determine the circumstances behind the case. Attempted murder Fintas police are looking to summon an area man for questioning in attempted murder charges pressed by his ex-wife. The Kuwaiti woman told local police that her ex-husband tried to run her over outside a co-operative society branch in the area. She said that the Kuwaiti man saw her by coincidence after she had just finished shopping. A case was filed for investigations. Two deaths A middle-aged man was found dead in Khaitan for reasons that remain under investigations. Police and paramedics headed to an apartment in the area in response to an emergency call made at 7:00 am on Friday. The 49-year-old Indian man was pronounced dead in his bedroom before criminal investigators were called. The body was in rigor mortis which suggest that the man died hours before his death was discovered. The body was taken for an autopsy to determine the cause and time of death. In another incident, a man died from a cardiac arrest he suffered while having dinner inside a restaurant on Gulf Road Thursday night. An ambulance arrived at the scene in response to an emergency call made at 10:30 pm. Paramedics performed CPR in a bid to revive the 42-year-old Egyptian man’s pulse, but their attempts failed. They pronounced the man dead from circulatory collapse before calling criminal investigators. The body was taken to the forensic department and a case was filed.
NBK marks Earth Hour
NBK turns off lights to mark Earth Hour KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) will turn off its lights tomorrow to mark Earth Hour. Earth Hour is a global event designed to raise consciousness on the importance of environmental protection and energy efficiency and the need to take action on global warming. NBK will support the awareness campaign by switching off all non-essential lighting at its head office around Kuwait for a period of one hour between 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm. “NBK was the first bank in Kuwait to promote an environment awareness program that included conservation and protection of our environment. We are glad to participate as a way to raise awareness about the importance of conservation and the damage caused by global warming,” said Abdul Mohsen Al-Rushaid, NBK Public Relations Manager. NBK supports a variety of activities and initiatives to encourage greater awareness of energy conservation and environ-
Abdul Mohsen Al-Rushaid mental protection in Kuwait including beach clean ups, water and electricity conser vation awareness campaigns, under the ‘ Think Twice’ program and paper recycling.
Kuwaiti delegation visits Morocco TETOUAN, Morocco: A delegation of Kuwait’s Municipality, headed by Nayif Badr Al-Sour, has visited headquarters of municipal authority in Tetouan. Ahmad Abu Khabza, the head of ‘Al-Jamaa AlHadariyah’ in the city, said in a statement during the offices’ tour that the authority supervisies municipal affairs, utilities and other public services in the city. The head of the diwan, Mohammad Al-Khlouf, said all municipal services are available in the city,
indicating that the private sector is allowed to have a stake in some public enterprises. Tetouan is one of Morocco’s top tourist cities with diverse panoramic sightings, However, it lacks entertainment cities, thus investors have an opportunity to launch business in this particular sector, he added. The local municipal authorities maintain the city historic heritage. Its ancient fortress of seven gates had been built to protect it against invaders. —KUNA
Society examines Kuwait’s key environmental sites KUWAIT: A team of Kuwaiti Environment Protection Society is examining key environmental sites to study wild, animal and botanic wealth as well as geological and topographic nature of these locations. The continuing field examination of these locations by a team from the society programs’ department has shown that some wildlife spots in the country are rich in living creatures, as compared to such places in other regional countries, and although there
is little attention paid to them, they could be classified as tourist sites, said the department director, Jenan Bahzad, in a statement yesterday. Jal Al-Zor is one of the potentially most important tourist locations in Kuwait, with a location 150 meters above sea level. It is a lucrative place for scientists and photographers. Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Reserve is a distinctive feature of the region. The fenced 320sq-km reserve “contains treasures of the
desert,” as she put it, referring to abundant natural and wildlife potentials that exist in it. Bahzad said this lush reserve, with beaches stretching for 16 kms, has turned into an ideal habitat for settled or migrating birds as well as various species of animals, namely deer and foxen. It also hosts diverse trees, shrubs and plants. Other features of the reserve is the 25-m-deep Umm Al-Rumum Wadi. —KUNA
Kuwait supports UN resolution on accountability for Syrian violations GENEVA: Kuwait voted on Friday in favor of a UN Human Rights Council resolution stressing the need to ensure that all those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law or abuses of human rights in Syria to be held accountable. Kuwait supported this resolution through its membership of the UN Human Rights Council during the discussions and the preparation of this resolution. Another 31 countries voted in favour of the resolution, 11 abstained and four rejected, namely Russia, Cuba, Venezuela and Ghana. The resolution reaffirms that, in the context of an inclusive and credible dialogue, the Syrian people should determine the process and mechanisms to achieve justice, reconciliation, truth and accountability for gross violations and abuses of international law, as well as preparations and effective remedies for victims, taking into account the relevance of referrals to the appropriate international criminal justice mechanism under appropriate circumstances. The resolution demands that the Syrian authorities meet their responsibility to protect the Syrian population. At the same time, the resolution strongly condemns the use of chemical weapons and all indiscriminate methods of warfare in the Syrian Arab Republic, which is prohibited under international law, amounts to a serious crime and has a devastating impact on civilians, and in this regard calls upon the Syrian authorities to accelerate the complete and irreversible destruction of their chemical weapons programme and the removal of its chemical weapons in accordance with their obligations under the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons. Negotiated solution The resolution expresses its support for the efforts of the Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States to find a negotiated political solution to the Syrian crisis, and urges those countries with influence over the Syrian parties to take all measures to encourage the parties to negotiate constructively and on the basis of the call made in the Geneva communique for the formation of a transitional governing body. The resolution strongly condemns the intentional denial of humanitarian assistance to civilians, from whatever quarter, noting especially the responsibilities of the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic in this regard, and deplores the deteriorating humanitarian situation. The resolution also strongly condemns the use by the Syrian authorities of starvation of civilians as a method of combat, and further condemns the besiegement of civilians. Further strongly condemns all acts of violence directed against humanitarian actors, and demands that the Syrian authorities
promptly allow, and all other parties to the conflict not hinder, rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access for United Nations humanitarian agencies and their implementing partners, including across conflict lines and across borders, in order to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches people in need through the most direct routes. Financial support The resolution urges the international community, including all donors, to provide urgent financial support to enable the host countries to respond to the growing humanitarian needs of Syrian refugees, while emphasizing the principle of burden-sharing. The resolution welcomes the report of the commission of inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic and decides to extend the mandate of the commission of inquiry through to the 28th session of the Human Rights Council, and requests the commission to present a written report on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic during an interactive dialogue at the twentyseventh and the 28 sessions of the Council and to provide an oral update to the Council during an interactive dialogue at the 26th session. It demands that the Syrian authorities cooperate fully with the commission of inquiry, including by granting it immediate, full and unfettered access throughout the Syrian Arab Republic. At the same time the resolution calls upon all groups in the Syrian Arab Republic to refrain from retaliation and violence, including sexual violence and torture, and urges all parties to the conflict to prevent violations of international humanitarian law and human rights violations and abuses. It strongly condemns the continued gross, systematic and widespread violations of human rights and all violations of international humanitarian law by the Syrian authorities and affiliated militias, including those involving aerial bombardment of civilian areas, in particular the indiscriminate use of barrel bombs, ballistic missiles and cluster bombs, and other actions that may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity. The resolution expresses grave concern at the spread of extremism and extremist groups, and strongly condemns all human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law in the Syrian Arab Republic. It strongly condemns all violations and abuses committed against children, and urges all parties to comply with their obligations under international law and demands that all parties demilitarize medical facilities, schools and other civilian facilities, avoid establishing military positions in populated areas and desist from attacks directed against civilian objects. The resolution strongly condemns all violence against persons belonging to religious or ethnic groups, and calls upon all parties to fully respect international law.—KUNA
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
Mudslide death toll mounts; 90 missing
World Trade Center stunts trigger security concerns Page 8
Saudi women renew push for right to drive Obama urged to use female agent as driver in Saudi DUBAI: In the six months since Saudi activists renewed calls to defy the kingdom’s ban on female drivers, small numbers of women have gotten behind the wheel almost daily in what has become the country’s longest such campaign. Organizers are calling on more women to join in on Saturday, when President Barack Obama visits Riyadh. The activists say their longterm goal is not just to win Saudi females the freedom to drive, but to clear a path for broader democratic reforms. This week, 70 members of the US Congress signed a bipartisan letter to Obama urging him to raise critical human rights cases in Saudi Arabia and meet with female activists. So far the White House only announced plans for Obama to meet King Abdullah and US Embassy staff. Amnesty International urged the president to go even further and select a female Secret Service agent as his driver while in Saudi Arabia - a move that is highly unlikely, since Obama is coming to the kingdom for the first time since 2009 to repair strained relations between the US and its Arab ally. Since Oct 26, the first day of the renewed campaign, more than 100 women have gotten behind the wheel, said Eman Al-Nafjan, an organizer. So far, the government appears unwilling to launch a crackdown. While it is still uncommon to see women driving in Saudi Arabia, they have been sending videos and photos of themselves behind the wheel to the campaign’s organizers, who then upload the footage to YouTube almost daily. “It’s very hard to strategize in a place where political activism has no history,” Al-Nafjan said. “So our strategy is to keep marching on and to see if people join or not.” Naseema Al-Sada has driven in the eastern region of Qatif. She said public attitudes have changed in the past six months, as evidenced by the way the campaign is openly talked about in the Saudi media. “Women’s rights are no longer a taboo subject,” she said. In an opinion piece this week published by the Saudi-based Arab News website, columnist Sabria Jawhar wrote that Saudi society either accepts or is indifferent to women getting behind the wheel now. “If Oct 26 has taught us anything, the driving ban is a government position. I have said many times in this column that I and most of the women I know want the right to drive whether we actually get behind the
wheel or not,” she wrote. Activists say allowing women to drive will have a domino effect for civil rights in Saudi Arabia, where a strict interpretation of Islam known as Wahhabism is effectively the law of the land. Women must get permission from a male relative - usually a husband or father, but lacking those, a brother or son - to travel, get married, enroll in higher education or undergo certain surgical procedures. “And this is what scares people: That women will be out of the total control of men,” Al-Sada said. Though there is no law on the books that explicitly bars women from driving, the Interior Ministry, which oversees the traffic police in Saudi Arabia, will not issue driver’s licenses to women. So far, the ministry has warned that violators will be dealt with firmly. Police have also privately told the campaigners not to speak to the media, warned them not to drive and followed some around for days. Women caught driving have been forced to sign pledges not to do it again. If they are caught again, they are pressured to sign another pledge. A male relative is called to pick them up from a police station or on the side of the road. The men are then made to sign pledges they will not let the women drive. In one case, a woman’s car was confiscated and has not been returned to her since January. In another, writer and schoolteacher Tariq al-Mubarak was detained for several days and interrogated when police found out that the mobile phone number used by organizers was registered under his name. Still, the government response is more muted than in the past. During the first major protest, in 1990, around 50 women drove. They were jailed for a day, had their passports confiscated and lost their jobs. Their male relatives were also barred from traveling for six months. Then in June 2011, about 40 women got behind the wheel in a protest sparked when a woman was arrested after posting a video of herself driving. One woman was later arrested and sentenced to 10 lashes. The king overturned the sentence. Madeha Al-Ajroush, who was part of the first driving campaign more than two decades ago, said she wants Obama to address human rights while in Saudi Arabia. “We’re not oil; we’re also people,” Al-Ajroush said. “The humanity of Saudi Arabia needs to be looked at seriously.”— AP
Disquiet over Erdogan’s pharaonic megaprojects ISTANBUL: Osman Erkov’s farm sits pretty in a seaside village near Istanbul, but soon it will make way for one of Turkey’s many new megaprojects, billed the “world’s biggest airport”. “Look how beautiful it is, this landscape,” said the dairy farmer, looking across the Black Sea village of Yenikoy on the rural fringes of the sprawling megacity of over 15 million people. “Well, all that will disappear,” he said, gazing at the future site of Istanbul’s third airport, one of many grand projects of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who was once the city’s mayor. Erkov has worried about the future since surveyors showed up to map the wooded landscape which bulldozers are set to clear to build new runways and terminals within four years. “Here everyone lives off raising livestock,” he said. “What do we do now?” Fellow farmer Arif Akdemir said the state offered him compensation of 50 lira ($23/17 euros) per square meter, which he claims was a tenth of the market value. “They told us ‘take this money and start a new life somewhere else’. But what kind of life can you have with such a sum?” On Sunday, voters like Erkov and Akdemir will go to the polls in local elections that are seen as a crucial popularity test for Erdogan and the building boom under his rule that has changed the face of the city. ‘Airport, tunnels, bridges’ Since Erdogan took power 11 years ago, he has driven rapid economic growth and boosted Turkey’s image as a regional player, a record now tinged by street protests against him and a festering corruption scandal. Whatever his legacy will be, he has already left his mark on the skyline of Turkey’s cultural and commercial centre. Under the rule of Erdogan’s Islamicrooted Justice and Development Party, there has been a frenzy of construction in Istanbul, with new skyscrapers, highways and residential towers shooting out of the ground. To millions of Turks the modernization has been a source of national pride. A new train tunnel opened in October under the Bosphorus strait that divides the city’s European and Asian sides, and work has started on a second tunnel for road traffic. Other, far bolder plans include a “second Bosphorus”, a 40-kilometre canal that would cut through Istanbul’s European side to divert shipping, with new million-strong cities planned on its banks. Some critics have dubbed such
pharaonic visions “crazy projects”. Environmentalists are alarmed about the building boom, which also includes a new highway that will link the new airport to a third bridge over the Bosphorus. The plan will destroy more than 7,500 hectares of forest. “Here you have Istanbul’s last forest area and the water catchment area that supplies the city,” said Hakan Ganimgil of the Association for the Defense of the Northern Forest, who dubbed the plan an “environmental disaster”. Cultural heritage experts warn the highway will cut through eight archaeological sites, a frequent concern in the former Constantinople, seat of the Byzantine and then Ottoman empires. The government camp stands by the ambitious infrastructure drive. “We must pay attention to the environment, but we can’t stand idly by with our arms crossed,” said Cemal Demir, head of a think tank close to the AKP. “These projects will help create new jobs and give confidence to our people.” ‘Delusions of grandeur’ It was plans for another new developmentrazing the city’s small green space of Gezi park for an Ottoman-style museum and shopping complex-that last June sparked unprecedented protests against Erdogan. The local polls on Sunday will be the AKP’s first ballot box test since that unrest, and since a major corruption scandal broke in December, implicating Erdogan and his political and business allies. The tales of sleaze-based on leaked audio recordings that have spread on social mediapaint a murky picture of official bribes and backhanders, some for re-zoning of public lands. In many of the biggest projects, said urban planner Tuta Inal Cekic, “the common feature is government expropriation of public land for privatization in juicy real estate deals”. JeanFrancois Perouse, of the French Institute of Anatolian Studies, argued many of the projects are unnecessary as Istanbul’s urban growth has slowed. “This development model reveals delusions of grandeur that are hardly justifiable in the era of sustainable cities,” he said. The government says all criticism and graft probes are part of a foreign plot to stop the construction of Istanbul’s giant future airport. Erdogan has regularly told crowds at campaign events that “they want to stop us from building a new Turkey”. — AFP
RIYADH: Aziza Yousef drives a car yesterday as part of a campaign to defy Saudi Arabiaís ban on women driving. — AP
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
I N T E R N AT I O N A L
Loyalty to Erdogan lies deep in Turkey’s pious heartlands Residents point to development, see scandal as plot KONYA: If Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is fighting the toughest battle of his political career as corruption allegations swirl and elections approach, Turkey’s conservative Anatolian heartlands appear to have his back. Here, far from dividing his pious core supporters, the graft scandal and bitter power struggle with a US-based cleric have served only to stir more devotion to a man they see as Turkey’s greatest modern leader, delivering hospitals and schools and breaking the grip of secular elites over the past decade. The run-up to pivotal local elections today has been overshadowed by a corruption affair that has seen almost daily recordings published anonymously on social media claiming to show illicit dealings by Erdogan’s inner circle. One senior
(teacher) Fethullah is doing,” she said at an AK Party rally on Friday. “A flock of swines that stormed our spiritual gardens,” read one banner, referring to Gulen and his followers. Tens of thousands turned out for the rally, turning Konya into a sea of AK Party flags and colorful Muslim headscarves. Some wore masks of Erdogan’s face, while old men scaled trees for a sight of their hero, only to be bitterly disappointed when he cancelled after orders to rest his voice. Golden years The AK Party’s billboards praise their “ten golden years” in charge of Konya municipality, and opposition parties barely bother to campaign here. Thursday brought the release of a recording of top security officials dis-
KONYA: Supporters of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) wave flags during a campaign meeting in the Beysehir district of Konya province in central Turkey. — AFP official called the crisis “one of the biggest in Turkish history” and the government has responded by blocking Twitter and YouTube, drawing public anger and international condemnation. But in Konya, a conservative city that gave Erdogan’s AK Party 70 percent of the vote in a 2011 general election, many see the scandal as the prime minister does: part of a “dirty plot” to unseat him by ruthless and immoral political enemies. “Nothing but lies,” said 19-year-old Konya student Hatice Kubra, following the party line that US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former Erdogan ally whose followers say they number in the millions, was responsible. “Allah sees everything. Allah knows what Hoca
cussing possible military action in Syria. Among those bugged was Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, member of parliament for Konya. He received a rapturous welcome when he took to the stage to speak in Erdogan’s place. “Are you ready to give our prime minister an even bigger share of the vote this time Konya?” he asked to cheers. In this city, where shopping centres, smart residential blocks and industrial parks have developed around the tomb of Rumi, a revered 13th-century poet and Sufi mystic who inspired the forming of Turkey’s iconic whirling dervishes, there is a treasured sense of well-being, prosperity and upward mobility - ascribed to Erdogan’s vision and management. A population of observant Muslims
with strong business nous who for decades felt sidelined in a state run by secular elites and their chaotic coalition governments - feels their hour has come. “We have hospitals at our doors, doctors, picnic places, the fast train to Ankara,” said Leyla Eroglu, a 54-year-old mother of six, a huge banner of Erdogan’s face tied around her body. “Turkey before was horrible, constant fighting between right and left, we couldn’t live easily. Erdogan is our second Ataturk,” she said, referring to the modern republic’s revered founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, almost a century ago. Divided youth A wave of protests last summer in major cities against Erdogan’s domineering leadership style highlighted tension in Turkish society between a largely secular segment of the middle classes, mostly in Istanbul or on the tourist-orientated coastline, and religious conservatives such as those in Konya. The blocking of Twitter and YouTube in recent days were seen as further evidence of Erdogan’s authoritarian instincts, particular among a tech-savvy younger generation. But not all of Turkey’s youth are critical. “When I go to vote I will think about everything they have given me,” said 21year-old Cihat Ozer, in Konya’s gleaming and spacious municipality student centre opened in 2009, the year of the last local election. Back then the centre had just one university to cater for, providing free extra-curricular courses and laundry services, as well as a soup kitchen and 24-hour study rooms. Four more universities have since opened in the rapidly growing city. New wooden gazebos dot velvety lawns along the main avenues. Historic mosques have been restored, electricity is generated from waste, a new football stadium is being constructed, and an already impressive airport is being revamped and expanded. Ozer acknowledged fellow students sometimes grumbled about Erdogan’s more reactionary policies, although he defended the block on Twitter as the premier battles the graft scandal. The 30-year-old head of the AK Party youth wing, Ahmet Izi, pointed to a large framed photo por trait of Erdogan hanging in his office, showing a youthful looking prime minister at the time he took office in 2002. “Look at him now. He has become an old man. That is from working and working for this countr y,” he said, a message that seemed to resonate with the supporters as Friday’s rally. —Reuters
BAGHDAD: An Iraqi national flag flutters as followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr crowd a street during open air prayers in the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq. — AP
Parties jump the gun on Iraqi election campaign BAGHDAD: Despite the disarray caused by the sudden mass resignation of election chiefs ahead of next month’s polls, candidates for seats in the Iraqi parliament are pressing ahead with unofficial campaigning. Keeping the printing houses whirring, they have been putting up posters and distributing leaflets. But wary of breaking the rules, their early propaganda only obliquely refers to the polls, scheduled for April 30, or skirts election regulations by praising the security forces alongside party insignia. Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) has taken little action to curb such practices. Much is at stake as Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki bids for a third term at a time that violence has surged to its highest level since Iraq emerged from a brutal Sunni-Shiite sectarian war and as the country looks to ramp up oil production. But the mass resignation of IHEC’s board on Tuesday has sparked worries that the polls could have to be delayed, though all major parties insist the vote must be held on time. Despite the confusion, however, candidates have not taken their foot off the pedal. “ We have printed posters and campaign leaflets for around 15 candidates” so far, said the owner of the Abu Haidar printing
house, who only gave his nickname Abu Mohammed, for fear of losing other prospective clients. Abu Mohammed’s shop, which lies near Mutanabi street in the capital’s historic centre, was packed to the rafters with campaign posters and election paraphernalia. Each candidate has spent around $1,000 on campaign materials, and more election hopefuls are coming in, the shopowner said. He said customers included would-be lawmakers from major blocs including Maliki’s State of Law Alliance and the Ahrar list which was until recently linked to powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr. “Most of them have already started to distribute their electoral publicity material,” he said. Officially, IHEC says campaigning can only take place from April 1 to April 28. But it has not imposed penalties, instead resorting to calls for posters to be taken down. Those warnings have done little to stop blocs from pushing the envelope. The Citizens Bloc-formerly the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council, which is seen as close to Iran-has plastered massive billboards across Baghdad with the catchphrase: “Citizens Want...?” Individual candidates, meanwhile, have put up their own banners on which tribes praise one of their own as a would-be law-
Crunch test for Turkey’s Kurds in local elections DIYARBAKIR: Turkey’s Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, dogged by a graft scandal and street protests, faces another headache as today’s local elections near-rising discontent among the Kurdish minority. One year since the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) declared a historic ceasefire, frustration is growing about the slow pace of reforms among Kurds who make up one fifth of Turkey’s population. The peace process has stalled since September after the PKK accused the Erdogan government of failing to deliver on its promises, and militant voices have made clear patience is running out. In the Kurds’ symbolic capital, the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) is campaigning to strengthen its hold on the region in mayoral elections today. In the ancient city on the Tigris, Kurdish music blares from loudspeaker vans, and walls are covered with posters of veteran PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, who remains behind bars on a prison island off Istanbul. “The government has not been able to demonstrate a democratic spirit in the run-up to the elections,” said the BDP’s mayoral candidate Gultan Kisanak as dancers performed for the Kurdish New Year, Newroz. “Democracy starts at the local level,” she said. “I dream of a country where regional autonomy is established to serve the needs of the locals. If we emerge stronger, we don’t have to wait for the government to have our share of power.” ‘Father state behind us’ Among the Kurds’ key demands are constitutional changes to enshrine their basic civil rights, Kurdish-language education in public schools and a degree of regional autonomy with a parliament based in Diyarbakir. Ironically, the city polls will pit the Kurdish-grassroots BDP against the party that has been its main partner for peace, Erdogan’s Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP). Both sides have sought to gain credit for ending the armed conflict which cost more than 40,000 lives over three decades. The thaw started in late 2012, when Turkey’s spy agency started talks with Ocalan. In March last year he announced the ceasefire in a letter from Imrali Island where he has been serving a life sentence for treason since 1999. Erdogan’s government has since allowed Kurdish-language education in private schools and scrapped a ban on the use of the letters Q, W and X, which are used in Kurdish spelling but not in Turkish. Election campaigns can now be held in Kurdish, and tensions have generally eased. For the first time in years, people here will go to the ballot box in a violence-free environment. “A few years ago you would have been jailed for wearing this,” said jewelry shop assistant Baki Icoz, sporting a jersey that read “Kurdistan”. “The ‘father state’ is now behind us,” he said. Not everyone is so sure. Local hospital orderly Ruken Kaplan, 30, said “I’m glad that no-one is dying anymore. But what if the AKP gives up for some reason or falls from power? At the end of the day, it will be a Kurdish party that will protect my rights.” — AFP
maker. In Iraq, election hopefuls typically appeal to voters’ ethnic, sectarian and tribal background, rather than campaign on specific policies. Blocs walk thin line Maliki’s State of Law has put up posters of its own, which do not refer directly to the polls but rather show scenes such as a young girl holding an Iraqi flag or an elderly woman kissing a soldier on his helmet. “It is really just to hold the space on the billboards for our posters,” said Samira Al-Mussawi, a State of Law MP, referring to the bloc’s posters. “Even billboard places are being divided up for the election.” The efforts highlight the fine line many blocs are attempting to walk, before official campaigning kicks off. In the end, economics may have more of a greater role than the election commission in restricting the printing of publicity material. Several printing houses, including the one owned by Abu Mohammed, have been chastened by Iraq’s provincial elections held a year ago. They had printed posters and leaflets for candidates who promised to pay after the polls but later declined because their campaigns were unsuccessful. “This time,” he said, “we are refusing any delayed payments.”—AFP
World Trade Center stunts trigger security concerns NEW YORK: A team of daredevil parachutists and a lone teenager have triggered fears about lax security at New York’s rebuilt World Trade Center, an emblem of the city’s resilience and renewal after the horrors of 9/11. Within the space of a fortnight, revelations of repeated security breaches at what should be one of the most tightly guarded buildings in the United States have been met with incredulity by locals. The first breach took place at night on September 30 last year, when three basejumpers-one of whom worked on the site-accessed the tower before leaping off and descending to the streets of Manhattan. The second case, on March 16, saw a 16-year-old enthusiast slip through a fence and take an elevator to the 84th floor of the highly symbolic building. He then made his way up to the 104th floor, sneaking past a sleeping guard, before using a ladder to reach the spire at the top of the 541-meter construction. The guard caught napping was subsequently fired. The teenager was arrested and charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass. In the base-jumping case, four men-the three parachutists and a lookout were arrested and charged this week following a five-and-a-half month investigation. A video of the base-jumpers’ daring nighttime descent appeared online this week, quickly racking up more than a million views. One of the men arrested, 33-year-old Andrew Rossig, said breaching security at the site had required “no effort whatsoever.” “We just kind of walked in. It’s supposed to be the most secure building in the world,” he said. “God forbid it was somebody else getting in there with a real intention to harm New Yorkers.” No immunity for daredevils New York Police Commissioner William Bratton decried the stunt, however. “These men violated the law and placed themselves, as well as others, in danger,” he said as he announced the arrests. “Being a thrill-seeker does not give immunity from the law.” Security for One World Trade Center, which will become the tallest building in the United States when it opens in 2015, is now shared between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Durst Organization real estate company, which manages and leases the site, Durst communications chief Jordan Barowitz said. When the base-jumpers pulled off their stunt, the Port Authority was solely in charge of security, he emphasized. “We are in charge of the security inside the site since January. Outside, it’s Port Authority,” Barowitz said. “We are very concerned and we are working with the Port Authority to improve the security of the site,” he added. He did not reveal the number of personnel deployed to guard the tower, which has already leased 55 percent of its office space ahead of the opening. Port Authority spokesman Joseph Dunne said officials were continuing to “reassess” security practices at the site and were looking at ways of ensuring it was “as secure as possible.” —AFP
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
I N T E R N AT I O N A L Carlos Slim, TV rivals slam Mexico’s telecom reform MEXICO CITY: The telephone empire of billionaire Carlos Slim and Mexico’s dominant broadcaster never see eye to eye, but they now have a common enemy: the government’s telecommunications reform plan. President Enrique Pena Nieto’s administration introduced in the Senate this week legislation to implement the constitutional reform that passed in the Congress last year. The telecommunications overhaul is a major piece of Pena Nieto’s structural reform agenda, which includes historic changes in the energy sector, tax collection and education. But Televisa and Slim’s America Movil have each found something to complain about, while opposition parties accuse the government of watering down the legislation’s goal of opening up the sector to more competition. Televisa has a 70 percent share of the broadcast market, while Slim’s Telmex controls 80 percent of the fixed-line phone service and his Telcel company has 70 percent of the mobile phone industry. Deputy Communications Minister Jose Ignacio Peralta defended the government’s proposal on Friday. “What has changed in relation to the constitutional reform? Absolutely nothing,” he told reporters. “The fundamental goals remain firm.” America Movil, Latin America’s largest telephone company, published a full-page newspaper advertisement on Friday calling the bill a “confiscatory proposal” because it would require the firm to give away connection service to rivals for free. The reform would in theory help Slim fulfill his long-held desire to break into the television business, but America Movil charged that the legislation would “protect the main economic player in broadcasting.” Threat of legal action For its part, Televisa issued a statement saying the legislation contains “disproportionate” rules and warned that it could take legal action to block them. The reform created a new market regulator, the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT), which already imposed restrictions on American Movil and Televisa for controlling more than 50 percent of their sectors. The watchdog ordered the firms to make their infrastructure available to competitors via public offerings and barred them from acquiring exclusive broadcast rights for high-ratings events such as the Olympics and the World Cup. But the opposition says the government’s proposal would undermine the institute by placing many of its regulatory powers in the hands of the ministries of the interior, finance and communications. The conservative National Action Party (PAN) and the leftist Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) have called the legislation “inadmissible,” saying the centrist government’s proposal serves “political purposes.” —AFP
Mudslide death toll mounts; 90 missing Anguished relatives turn to the Internet ARLINGTON: The death toll from a mudslide that has left 90 people missing in Washington state appeared certain to climb nearly a week after the disaster, as anguished relatives turned to the Internet and word of mouth for scarce scraps of new information. At least 26 people were killed when a rain-soaked hillside collapsed without warning last Saturday, unleashing a towering wall of mud that flattened dozens of homes in a river valley near the rural town of Oso, about 55 miles northeast of Seattle. While fire officials directing search operations at the disaster site have spoken of making slow but steady progress in recovering remains of victims buried in the slide, the tally of the dead has changed little in recent days, even as the number of those listed as missing has held steady. The lag appears related to a methodical protocol being followed by Snohomish County emergency management officials and medical examiners. County authorities say coroners have so far examined and identified the remains of just 17 people, including an infant whose body was retrieved on Thursday, and they are the only ones counted so far in the official death toll. Remains of nine more individuals were previously reported to have been located in the square-mile heap of mud-caked debris and muck, but as of Friday they had been excluded from the formal tally of lives lost. County officials have insisted on revising that list only as each set of remains goes through the painstaking process of being examined and identified by coroners, leaving the public mostly in the dark about the retrieval of more bodies. The process has likely also been slowed by the condition of some of the remains, which according to rescue workers are not always being found intact. News of additional remains being located and recovered has been trickling out to family members of the missing and dead through word-of-mouth and other channels, however, thanks to community members working side-by-side with rescue teams in the search for more victims. Churches, fire stations Area churches and fire stations are also go-to venues for members of the community seeking updates, said Gail Moffett of Oso, who lives 2 miles from the disaster site and works at a hardware store in nearby Arlington. “I go home and talk to the source, because it’s family,” she said of the community network, including locally based rescue workers, she has tapped into for information. “They are all out there on the mudslide every day, going back and going back and going back, day after day after day, to make a difference and to help our people. And they just keep doing it and they come in at night and their butts dragging, covered in mud, and their faces are not the faces I knew last week,” she said. Authorities have also in some cases allowed victims’ relatives onto the disaster site as the remains of loved ones are recovered, and a moment of silence is observed, as occurred when the body of the infant was extricated on Thursday. In one tragic case, a volunteer member of the search team, Dayn Brunner, pulled the body of his own sister 36-year-old Summer Raffo, from the mud pile on Wednesday. She was driving through the area when the slide buried her in her car. Brunner, 42, took a day off to grieve and rest, then returned to the debris field on Friday to resume the search for more victims. An estimated 180 people lived in the path of the landslide. Now, nearly a week after the disaster, fears have grown that the final death toll could approach the 90 people still listed as missing or unaccounted for a figure authorities arrived at on Wednesday after winnowing a much larger list by about half. Authorities have said that some of those killed might never be found, and on Thursday braced the public for news - still yet to come - that the number of dead would increase substantially in the next 24 to 48 hours. Authorities have so far publicly identified five dead, while withholding the names of others listed as dead or missing. But about 40 people have been identified on a local blog site as potential landslide victims, including several members of one family. All of those discovered alive in the mud were rescued by helicopter within the first few hours after the landslide, and rescuers have found no further signs of life, officials said. Difficult phase Volunteer Bob Michajla, 66, taking a break from work combing through debris and clearing a stretch of road in the disaster zone, said the search was entering a more difficult phase. “ They found the easy bodies in the first few days. The rest of them are probably buried. That’s what I was told,” said Michajla, his face and fingers caked in mud. Local fire district chief Travis Hots said rain and wind sweeping the area on
WASHINGTON: A car sits in ruins in the aftermath of a mudslide and related flooding in Oso, Washington. — AFP
Friday was working against the round-the-clock search efforts. A flash flood alert was posted for the county, extending through the next three days. With hopes for finding any additional survivors continuing to fade while uncertainty over the fate of dozens more lingers on, the mood among the community has grown grimmer. “This is going to get harder and harder,” said Dan Rankin, mayor of nearby Darrington, as he choked back tears at a town hall meeting attended by hundreds of people on Thursday evening. “We need each other more and more.” Bernie Tamez, 39, said he was comfortable that officials were dealing with the community forthrightly, despite the dearth of tangible information. “They’re keeping us informed,” said Tamez, a machinist who took the week off to volunteer in Darrington where
he lives. Turned away from helping at the pile, he has instead helped out in the community kitchen that has been feeding a few hundred people each night before the town hall meeting. Meanwhile, residents like 45-year-old Larry Dwyer who escaped the slide marveled at their luck. “We were driving on that exact stretch two weeks ago. We were right there,” Dwyer said as he watched his three sons wave signs ushering motorists toward a food drive at an Arlington market on a rainy Thursday evening. “That’s why we’re out here right now. It’s a karma thing. When it’s not you, you give.” Authorities were investigating the cause of the mudslide. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources said it would review recent forestry activities in the area to determine whether they might have been a factor. — Reuters
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
I N T E R N AT I O N A L
20 years after, Rwanda genocide flame stirs memories NYARUBUYE: Rows of human skulls sit in glass cases near the red brick Catholic church here. Some are cracked in half; holes are punched in others. Hundreds of arm and leg bones lie nearby. To the left is a table of tools: rusty shovels, hoes, pipes, and a machete - the weapons of genocide. Down the hill 10 miles, thousands of Rwandans gathered under spittles of rain to watch the arrival of a small flame, symbolic fire traveling the country as Rwanda prepares to mark 20 years since ethnic Hutu extremists killed neighbors, friends and family during a three-month rampage of violence aimed at ethnic Tutsis and some moderate Hutus. Rwanda puts the death toll at 1,000,050. Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, speaking at a memorial event in London this week, called the genocide “the most brutally efficient killing spree in human history.” At the flame ceremony in nearby Kirehe on Thursday, Theopiste Mukanoheli told the crowd how as an 18-year-old she watched her neighbor dig a 10foot hole, a grave to cram bodies in. She was inside Nyarubuye Catholic Church when attackers threw in grenades, killing hundreds. Most of her close family died there, she said. Mike Nkuzumuwami, who helps look after the rebuilt red-brick church, says 35,000 people died in his hilltop community, a sea of green where tens of thousands of banana trees grow. He notes that one positive change the genocide has brought about is a near erasure of the Hutu-Tutsi divide, a principle directive of
NYARUBUYE: Mike Nkuzumuwami stands by the rows of human skulls and bones that form a memorial to those who died in the redbrick church that was the scene of a massacre during the 1994 genocide, and which he helps to look after, in the village of Nyarubuye, eastern Rwanda. — AP the Rwandan government, which wants Rwandans to see themselves as Rwandan, not an ethnic tribe. “After the killings no one has called me a Tutsi, and those Hutus involved in the genocide regret what they have done,” the 45-year-old said.
Ukraine’s Klitschko pulls out of election, backs ‘Chocolate King’ KIEV: Ukraine’s presidential election effectively became a two-horse race yesterday after boxerturned-politician Vitaly Klitschko pulled out and threw his weight behind confectionary oligarch Petro Poroshenko. Klitschko’s withdrawal sets up a May 25 contest between the man known as the ‘Chocolate King’ and former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko. Poroshenko, 48, confirmed his candidacy late on Friday. Several opinions polls already had him in the lead even before he said he would run to succeed ousted president Viktor Yanukovich. Poroshenko was an early and influential supporter of the ‘Maidan’ popular uprising that toppled Yanukovich in late February, three months after he spurned a deal on closer ties with the European Union and plunged the country of 46 million people into turmoil. Speaking yesterday, Poroshenko said the political forces that brought down Yanukovich must stick together to tackle the huge economic and security challenges facing Ukraine. “I’m convinced it would be a betrayal of Maidan if we were not united,” he told a meeting of Klitschko’s UDAR (Punch) party, Interfax news agency reported. “I’m convinced that today the volume and scale of the challenges facing the state ... demand this kind of unity.” Ukrainians will vote under the shadow of Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Black Sea Crimea peninsula. Like Tymoshenko, who announced her candidacy on Thursday, Poroshenko has promised to strengthen Ukraine’s armed forces and protect its borders, which the West fears are still under threat from a
possible Russian incursion into Russian-speaking regions of eastern Ukraine. “We need to build a new, efficient and modern Ukrainian army, which will defend the sovereignty and integrity of our country,” Poroshenko said late on Friday as he announced he would run for president. Billionaire businessman He officially submitted his candidacy to the election authorities in Kiev yesterday. The oligarch, whose net worth was estimated by Forbes at $1.3 billion, is the owner of Roshen, one of the world’s top twenty confectionary firms but which has borne the brunt of trade sanctions from Russia since last year. He is an experienced politician, having held several ministerial posts including a brief stint as economy minister under Yanukovich. A prominent backer of the 2004-05 Orange Revolution against the election fraud and sleaze of Ukraine’s post-Soviet establishment, Poroshenko campaigned for the role of prime minister in its wake, but lost out to Tymoshenko, who co-led the revolution. Klitschko urged his supporters to back Poroshenko, and announced he would run instead for mayor of the capital. So far, no other candidate is seen mounting a serious challenge to the two frontrunners. The parliamentary faction Party of Regions, Ukraine’s former ruling party, also announced its candidate yesterday. Deputies voted for Mykhailo Dobkin, a businessman and former governor of the eastern city of Kharkiv, who fiercely opposed the Maidan uprising. — Reuters
School groups visit the church, mass grave and museum of death. Near the skulls and bones are tables of dusty brown clothes, sandals, slippers and shoes. The younger generation does not understand the genocide, Nkumuwami said, and Rwanda’s aging pop-
ulation doesn’t want them to repeat it. As Nkuzumuwami spoke, 12-year-old Nikeyimana Obadia lingered nearby, eager to interact with visitors. The curious boy is growing up in a land of stick and mud homes, where children eat cassava and beans and are tasked with filling plastic jugs at the community watering hole. His family speaks of the genocide at times. He knows his grandfather died in it. “This is very bad. I hope everyone doesn’t do this because it’s easy to destroy life,” he said in a student’s English. At the Kwibuka 20 ceremony - a Rwandan word meaning remember - thousands of eyes gazed upward to watch a slickly-produced film showing the lesser scenes of genocide horror. A voice in English says the killing spree was a planned political campaign that came from an ideology called Hutu Power. Tutsis, the video says, were meant to be exterminated. Nsengiyomva Apollinaise, a local government official, says the flame ceremony that has traveled the country and will make its way to the capital, Kigali, on April 7, helps remind the country how far it has come. The video shows newer, happier scenes, too: economic prosperity and the calm face of President Paul Kagame. “This is something that happens every year, an event to help each Rwandan personally remember what happened, and examine the causes,” said Apollinaise, who said his parents and siblings died in the genocide. “And also to see the path to move forward on.”— AP
UK joins ‘gay club’ Gay couples marry for first time in Britain BRIGHTON: Gay couples across England and Wales said “I do” yesterday as a law authorizing same-sex marriage came into effect at midnight, the final stage in a long fight for equality. Following the first marriages amid a supposed race to wed, Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: “Congratulations to all same-sex couples getting married today - I wish you every possible happiness for the future.” The Conservative party leader also described the change as an “important moment for our country”, and a rainbow flag flew above government offices in London in celebration. While 15 countries have legalized gay marriage and another three allow it in some areas, homosexuals remain persecuted in many parts of the world. The Church of England, insisting weddings should take place only between a man and a woman, secured an exemption from the new law. In London, John Coffey, 52, and Bernardo Marti, 48, exchanged vows as the clock struck midnight, before being pronounced “husband and husband”. They were among several couples bidding to be first to take advantage of last year’s Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act. In Brighton on England’s south coast, Neil Allard and Andrew Wale exchanged vows and rings in the opulent splendor of the Royal Pavilion in front of about 100 guests. Wearing velvet-collared three-piece suits with white flowers in their buttonholes, the smiling couple of seven years hugged and kissed after sealing their marriage. “We are very happy this day has come finally. It’s very exciting,” said Wale, a 49-year-old theatre director. Campaigners have insisted that only the right to marry gives them full equality with heterosexual couples. Civil partnerships have been legal since 2005 and marriage brings no new rightsthe ability to adopt, for example, was introduced in 2002. “We didn’t want to get married until it was a marriage that my mum and dad could have,” said Teresa Millward, 37, who was marrying her long-term girlfriend yesterday. The gay marriage law is the final victory in a long battle stretching back to the decriminalization of homosexuality in England in 1967. Cameron backed the change despite strong opposition from members of his party and the Church of England, which has rejected the idea that clergy be allowed to bless couples in same-sex marriages. But Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the leader of the world’s 80 million Anglicans, said the Church had accepted the new law and would continue to demonstrate “the love of Christ for every human being”. Resistance elsewhere A poll for BBC radio said 20 percent of British adults would turn down an invitation to a same-sex wedding. However, the survey also found 68 percent agreed gay marriage should be permitted, with 26 percent opposing it. Peter McGraith and David Cabreza, who have been together for 17 years, also married shortly after midnight in front of friends and their two adopted sons in London.
They hope their wedding will send out a message to places like Nigeria, Uganda and Russia where the idea of gay marriage is a distant dream. “There’s a lot of gay men and lesbians around the world who are not invited to the party,” McGraith, a clothing designer, told AFP ahead of the big day. Same-sex couples who were married abroad are now recognized under the new law, although not everywhere in the United Kingdom. Scotland, which has devolved powers, is expected to introduce gay marriage later this year, while the British-controlled province of Northern Ireland remains deeply divided on the issue and has no plans to change the law there. — AFP
BRIGHTON: Nikki Pettit (left) and Tanya Ward pose for photographs after their wedding ceremony in Brighton, southern England yesterday. — AFP
Winds of change: Italians lose centuries-old grip on Vatican VATICAN CITY: A quiet revolution is afoot in the Vatican. With many of Pope Francis’s new appointments, control over the powerful city state is slipping, slowly but surely, from the centuries-old grip of the Italian hierarchy. Popes may come and go-and three in a row now have been nonItalian-but the inner workings of the opaque Vatican bureaucracy, the Curia, have traditionally been the province of Italian apparatchiks. Like Francis, his predecessors John Paul II and Benedict XVI found themselves in the midst of back-stabbing and turf wars in the Catholic Church’s corridors of power, but they had little appetite for disturbing the hornet’s nest. The world’s first Latin American pontiff however has had no such qualms, readily appointing fresh faces from diverse countries-including lay people and women-much to the chagrin of the old guard. Putting himself on what one commentator dubbed a “collision course with the Curia”, the Argentine has set up several international committees. The latest, created to root out paedophilia in the Catholic Church, includes only one Italian out of eight. The same is true of a body that he set up in April last year, just one month into his papacy, to advise him on reforming the Curia - his council of cardinals, nicknamed the G8. Foreign cardinals have been awarded prestigious posts, from the Australian George Pell-head of the new economy ministry-to Germany’s Reinhard Marx, who leads up a council tasked with overseeing the Vatican’s economic management. Marx is assisted by Britain’s Brian Ferme and Alfred Xuereb of Malta-who doubles as the pope’s very influential private secretary. “By entrusting delicate government tasks to hierarchies that are made up mainly of non-Italians who are not resident in Rome, the pope is putting himself on a collision course with the Curia’s tradition-
al power,” editorialist Ernesto Galli Della Loggia wrote in Italy’s leading daily Corriere della Sera. “What seems to emerge is a plan to concentrate (power) not in Rome, but in his person,” he said. ‘Secret wantonness’ Galli Della Loggia described what Francis is up against: “A certain shrewdness, an ability to mediate (and) impalpable but enduring influences” but also “ferocious ambition, corruption and careerism and, sometimes, secret wantonness”. Lay people and women-traditionally underrepresented in the leadership of the 1.2 billion-member Churchfigure increasingly in new committees. A body tasked with carrying out a detailed inquiry into the Vatican’s administration is made up of seven lay people, including a woman, while the new committee on paedophilia includes five lay people-four of whom are women-and just one cardinal. Perhaps the most eye-opening appointment to that panel was that of Marie Collins, an Irish survivor of sexual abuse by a chaplain and an outspoken campaigner for victims’ rights. What is more, instead of dictating the committee’s mandate, Francis is confident that “the members can draw on their own actual experiences to define the new organ’s remit themselves”, according to Marco Politi from Il Fatto Quotidiano. All this does not mean the pope is giving the Italians the cold shoulder: he has given at least two key posts-the secretary general of the bishops’ assembly and the prefect of the congregation for the clergy-to trusted Italian prelates. But those who longed for the 77-year-old to decentralize and diversify power at the highest levels of the Holy See hope Francis will continue as he has begun, ignoring the gnashing of teeth from the ousted old guard.— AFP
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
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Surge in crime near Mexico City raises alarm CUAUTITLAN IZCALLI: While murders have dropped across Mexico, a burst of violence has rattled the capital’s suburbs, with criminals dumping bodies on roadsides, kidnapping people in broad daylight and levying protection taxes. The crime surge in the State of Mexico, which wraps around the capital like a horseshoe, has challenged President Enrique Pena Nieto’s pledge to reduce the murders, kidnappings and extortion plaguing his nation. The state’s governor, Eruviel Avila, has described the crime wave as “rare and temporary,” the violent reaction of gangs dismantled by a police crackdown. Other officials say part of the problem may be linked to what Mexicans call the “cucaracha” effect, when sweeps against drug cartels in one state cause criminals to scurry like cockroaches to neighboring regions. This has again revived fears that the gangland violence seen elsewhere could infect Mexico City, which remains a relative oasis from such mayhem. “Part of the problem is this: The state of Mexico has eight borders,” the state’s public safety secretary, Rocio Alonso Rios said. “This has complicated the situation,” she said, noting that her state neighbors Michoacan, Guerrero and Morelos, all known for drug cartel violence. But security experts say the country’s most populous state has struggled with violence for a long time, even during Pena Nieto’s time as governor from 2005-2011. “It is the norm, and permanent,” said Alejandro Hope, a former intelligence official and security expert at the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness.
homicides in the first two months of the year, up from 303 in the same period last year, according to official figures. Kidnappings and extortion have also increased. The state government has responded by dismantling 14 kidnapping gangs and deploying state police to highways and cities, including 1,000 officers who man checkpoints in Cuautitlan Izcalli, just a half hour drive north of Mexico City. The suburb of 600,000 people has recorded 38 murders since January, the majority appearing with execution-style bullet wounds. “From January until nine days ago we had a constant problem of executions. Not one week passed without an execution,” Mayor Hector Karim Carvallo Delfin told AFP on Monday. “It was a very difficult issue; people were very afraid. This had never happened to us,” he said, blaming the problem on the infamous “cucaracha” effect. The mayor said bodies were abandoned in public view, some accompanied by letters signed with the words “Gulf Cartel,” a drug gang based in northeastern Mexico. Other signs were found in the city warning that the cartel was now in charge. But Carvallo Delfin said the gangland killings stopped a week ago, after authorities detained a band of 12 people accused of murder, kidnapping and drug dealing. The gang was rounded up last week after three of its members kidnapped a man near Cuautitlan Izcalli, leading to a daytime car chase with police and a shootout that left a 14-year-old girl and 50-year-old man dead, authorities said.
Weekly executions After more than 70,000 people died in drug-related violence under his predecessor’s six-year term, Pena Nieto has indicated that murders have dropped since he took power in December 2012. But Mexico State is bucking this downward trend. It has seen 374
Crime continues On a recent afternoon, some 20 state police officers checked buses and frisked passengers in a rough part of the city. “This is very good. We are full of criminals,” said Jose Rosas, a 61-year-old bag factory supervisor who has been robbed three times at gunpoint
IZCALLI, Mexico: Members of Mexico’s state police participate in a security operation in Cuautitlan Izcalli, Mexico state. — AFP since January. At a small grocery store up the road, stormed out of a car and opened fire, killing two peoshopkeeper Ismael Hernandez said a man walked in ple. Francisco Rivas, director of the National Citizens’ last month and threatened to end his “protection” Monitor, a civil society organization that tracks crime, unless he got paid. “Crime continues despite the said the problem could be worse because Mexico (state police) operation,” the 50-year-old said. Other State has underestimated its statistics in the past, towns around Mexico City, a metropolis of 20 million only to revise them later. For Rivas, the state must tackle the high level of corruption as part of its crimepeople, have witnessed similar brazen criminal acts. Milenio television broadcast dramatic security fighting efforts. “We are very worried because we camera footage of an attack on a karaoke bar in don’t see a plan to resolve the issue of impunity,” he Netzahualcoyotl last month, when five gunmen said.— AFP
Syrian army takes two villages near Lebanon DAMASCUS: Syrian government forces captured yesterday two villages near the border with Lebanon after clashes with opposition fighters, cutting a major supply route for weapons and fighters into Syria, state TV said. The report said the villages of Flita and Ras Maara fell into the hands of government forces early in the day. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed troops were inside the two villages and advancing, although it had no immediate word on whether they fell to government forces. The Observatory said government forces are backed by members of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group, which openly started taking part in Syria’s war last year against opposition forces. The villages were the latest targets of a government offensive in the rugged Qalamoun border region after troops captured the town of Yabroud earlier this month. Tens of thousands of Syrians fled into Lebanon since the Qalamoun offensive began in November. Flita, which is about 5 miles from the border with Lebanon, had been a major crossing point for rebels coming from across the border into Syria to fight President Bashar Assad’s forces. Syria’s mostly Sunni rebels draw supply, recruits and support from Sunni communities in Lebanon. Qalamoun holds strategic value for the government since it is crossed by the main
north-south highway that links the capital to government strongholds along the Mediterranean coast. The TV said the villages fell after government forces “wiped out the last remnants of armed terrorist groups and destroyed its weapons and tools they used in their crimes.” The Syrian government refers to rebels as “terrorists.” An activist based near Damascus who goes by the name of Abu Yazan al-Shami who is in touch with colleagues near Yabroud confirmed that government forces have captured parts of the two villages but are still facing resistance from rebels inside. “Fierce and difficult battles are taking place. It is a rugged area and both the regime and the rebels have gathered lots of fighters for this battle,” said al-Shami via Skype. He added that the main battle expected to follow Flita and Ras Maara will be the rebel-held town of Rankous in order for the government “to completely cut supplies from Lebanon into Qalamoun.” In the coastal province of Latakia, the Observatory reported that government warplanes struck areas that are witnessing clashes between rebels and troops. It said the fighting and the air raids are concentrating around the rebel-held areas of Kassab and Nabaain. Syrian troops have been trying for days to push back opposition fighters who over the past week made rare territorial gains in Assad’s ancestral heartland. — AP
SANAA: Yemeni protesters hold the Palestinian and Syrian flag and portraits of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad during a protest in front of the Palestinian embassy, to mark Land Day, in Sanaa yesterday. — AFP
BEKAA VALLEY: A general view shows tents housing Syrian refugees in the city of Arsal in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley. — AFP
Syrians brave life outside crammed Turkish camps Refugees say camps like ‘prison’, prefer life outside GAZIANTEP: Turned away three times since fleeing the bombardment of Syria’s second city Aleppo in January, mother of eight Faten Darwish has given up on getting her family into a refugee camp in southeast Turkey. Instead, the 33-year old lives with her husband and children in a dingy storage space made of breeze blocks with thin dirty mattresses lining the floor and just a single tap to wash from. Some of her young children shower at communal baths, she said. “We lost our house in the barrel bombings in a village near Aleppo. My husband got injured and now he roams the streets like a crazy man,” said Faten, struggling to make her miserable surroundings hospitable. The battle for Aleppo - just 50 km from the Turkish border - ebbs and flows but the Syrian military ramped up its offensive in December, pummeling civilian areas with the barrel bombs - oil drums packed with explosives and shrapnel that cause massive and indiscriminate destruction. Struggle to exist In six weeks, they killed more than 700 people, mostly civilians, and forced tens of thousands more from their homes. Many of them have joined the hundreds of thousands who have fled Syria since the civil war started three years ago. Aleppo continues to bear the brunt of the civil war, in which about 140,000 people have died. Almost two years after rebels grabbed half of the city, they are now on the defen-
sive, with government forces advancing on three sides. Turkey began building its refugee camps near the border in mid-2011, little knowing the war would last so long and bring such vast numbers of people, many of them women and children. More than 220,000 Syrians are living in the Turkish camps, but some three times that number struggle to exist outside them. Some try and eke out an existence around southeast Turkey, the country’s poorest region. Others have travelled as far as Istanbul, where groups of Syrians begging on street corners or amid roaring traffic, their passports outstretched, have become a sadly familiar sight. The number of officially registered Syrian refugees has hit 900,000 and no matter how quickly Turkey builds new camps it can never keep up with demand. It now has 22 camps in 10 provinces. Each time Faten tried to seek a place she was turned away. Some of her muddy-cheeked children now go out to sell biscuits to supplement the tiny income they get from charities. Most of that income goes towards the 150 lira ($67) monthly rent for the room, a sum contested by her landlord, 62-year-old Mehmet Gulsere. Leaning back on an old motorcycle outside, he said he just wanted to help and charges 75-100 lira a month. Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD) said some spaces were still available in the camps, adding: “New camps will be built if deemed necessary.”
Young Lebanese say ‘battle to stay is lost’ BEIRUT: In both war and peace, Lebanon has always seen many of its ambitious youth leave for better opportunities. More Lebanese live outside Lebanon than in it. But neighboring Syria’s civil war, bombs in Lebanon and an economic slowdown have eroded confidence in the country’s future and now even loyal patriots are scrambling to get out. Olga Hawwa, a 29-yearold working in advertising, says she has given up. Graduating in 2008, she has seen her peers
leave Lebanon one by one. “But I didn’t want to leave because I tried to make it here,” she said, sitting at a cafe in Beirut’s Hamra shopping district near her office. “I love Beirut. I love staying here; my family is here, my neighborhood, my friends. I think it’s a beautiful country and has a lot of potential.” Hawwa graduated at the right time, a lull in Lebanon’s rollercoaster ride of conflict and quasi-peace. From 2007 to 2010, the economy averaged
BEIRUT: Fighters from the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah movement carry the coffin of Ali Qaddur, a comrade killed in Syria, during his funeral in the capital Beirut yesterday. — AFP
yearly growth of 8 percent as the country saw relative stability. She progressed in her career and became an senior account manager for an advertising firm. Then came the war in neighboring Syria. A million Syrian refugees have entered the country of only four million and rebels have moved into border regions to take refuge from forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. Several graduates and young professionals told Reuters they were planning to leave because of the fallout from the war and that their circles of friends were shrinking by the month as their acquaintances abandoned Lebanon. The country’s own 1975-1990 civil war helped drive emigration that has left about two thirds of Lebanese living outside the country. “Historically, Lebanon has not been able to absorb the number of graduates and professionals. More so because of the circumstances in Lebanon, even after the civil war ... people kept leaving,” said Paul Tabar, Director of the Institute for Migration Studies at the Lebanese American University. “The young fresh graduates who have family connections would love to stay. This kind of feeling dissipates when the country goes through a crisis, like the current crisis.” Syrian deadly war Shi’ite Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon are fighting to help Assad crush revolt and the conflict has spilt back over Syria’s borders. Supporters of the Sunni Syrian rebels have
bombed Hezbollah-run districts of Lebanon and fired rockets into towns supportive of Hezbollah. Some frontier areas of Lebanon are now seeing open warfare between Hezbollah and rebel supporters. In a campaign to end the bombings, Lebanese posted pictures of themselves holding notes condemning the violence. “I don’t want to survive, I want to live,” one says. “Lebanon’s main export should NOT be its people,” says another. A third shows an airport lounge with a caption: “Our living room.” Hawwa stayed longer than many friends but has now had enough. “I feel I’ve reached a dead end with Lebanon. It’s not safe, we can’t walk around, you can’t leave Beirut and enjoy life,” she sighed. “You can’t go out at night and not worry that an explosion is going to happen ... or a war is going to break out.” And at work she sees a deterioration. “Our clients used to have money for advertising campaigns, for launching events. Now they have a very tight budget, if any.” “It’s become very frustrating because we end up doing the very, very basic PR work; press releases or interviews. Very boring stuff. There are amazing ideas that we would love to do here, but there is no money to do it. I’m not developing.” Hawwa left her job this month. She is heading for New York to look for opportunities there and then maybe to Dubai. She has a network; a cousin in New York, and other relatives in Boston, Switzerland, Canada, Brazil, Dubai and Saudi Arabia - Lebanese who went before her. — Reuters
But AFAD conceded the squeeze had worsened since the Aleppo bombing increased, swelling camp numbers by 8,000 since Jan 12. “If people come, we put up extra temporary tents but then we try to find them somewhere else,” said Mahmut Alagoz, director of Nizip container camp, admitting he did not know of any camps in the region where there was space. The 17,000 refugees in tents and containers at the Nizip camp, 30 minutes outside Turkey’s southern city of Gaziantep, have access to facilities such as hospitals, supermarkets and even a cinema. Children queue up for the simple, windowless classrooms where bookshelves neatly display rows of brand-new toys and books, beaming as cheerful staff usher them in. Like a prison But for all the attractiveness of such facilities, Syrian refugees in Turkey often choose the harsher conditions outside over the restrictions imposed on them by the camps, where they have to adhere to a curfew and are not allowed to work. “We didn’t want to go to the camps because we work in the field farming olives,” said a 39-year-old Turkmen Syrian who did not want to be named and lives in a muddy makeshift camp just outside Kilis. Zaki Haramoush, 48, whose family is one of six living in a basic pre-fabricated house in a field near Kilis where women cook on a fire outside, also shunned the camp. — Reuters
Militants attack Afghan election office in Kabul KABUL: Taleban militants attacked the main Afghan election commission’s headquarters yesterday in Kabul, firing on the compound with rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns from a house outside its perimeter wall, according to police. Dozens of employees and other people who had been inside the Independent Election Commission compound took cover in the basement, and no casualties were reported. But two warehouses were hit and set on fire, witnesses said. It’s the latest in a series of high-profile attacks that come as the Islamic militant movement steps up a campaign of violence to disrupt presidential elections, which are due to be held in a week. A spokesman for the Independent Election Commission said security already had been increased around the compound because an attack had been widely expected, and all IEC staff members were safe. He said the IEC leadership was away from the headquarters when the assault began. Explosions were heard when the attack started, according to the spokesman Noor Mohammed Noor, but he did not know what caused them. Kabul police chief Mohammad Zahir Zahir said three or four attackers were holed up in a neighboring house that had been empty when they occupied it. He said the house is about 800 meters (yards) away from the headquarters, which is inside a walled off compound guarded by a series of watch towers and checkpoints. — AP
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
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Thai protesters rally against Yingluck ahead of Senate vote Senate election could help to remove PM BANGKOK: Tens of thousands of Thai antigovernment protesters rallied across Bangkok yesterday in their latest bid to topple Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, a day before a crucial vote to elect a new Senate. Waving flags and blowing whistles, protesters marched from Lumpini Park in the business district of Bangkok, where protesters retreated to earlier this month, toward the city’s old quarter after a brief hiatus in anti-government rallies. “The rally has been largely peaceful and very disciplined. Protesters are now heading back to their base in the park after a series of symbolic ceremonies,” Paradorn Pattanathabutr, a security adviser to the prime minister said. “We expected the crowd to be around 50,000-strong but the number of protesters doesn’t look like it will exceed 30,000.” A grenade exploded as protesters passed the Foreign Ministry offices, but no one was hurt, police said. It was unclear who was responsible for the attack. Thailand has been in crisis since former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck’s brother, was ousted in a 2006 coup. The conflict broadly pits the Bangkok-based middle class and royalist establishment against the mostly poorer, rural supporters of the Shinawatras. Yesterday’s march is seen as a test of the anti-government movement’s popularity as the number of protesters has dwindled considerably in recent weeks. By mid-afternoon police put the crowd at around 20,000. Around 500 protesters from the Network of Students and People
BANGKOK: Thai anti-government protester holds protest placard during a rally at Parliament in Bangkok yesterday. — AFP for the Reform of Thailand, a splinter group of the main protest group, broke into the compound of Government House, a site largely abandoned by officials. Over the past five months, protesters have shut state offices and disrupted a Feb. 2 election which was nullified by a court on March 21, leaving Thailand in political limbo and Yingluck at the head of a caretaker government with limited powers. Election officials have said it will take at least three
months to organize a new election. Since the current round of protests kicked off in November, 23 people have been killed in sporadic political violence. Oppressive regime Protesters want political and electoral reforms before a new general election and to rid the country of Thaksin’s influence. “We will no longer accept this oppressive regime. They, Thaksin and Yingluck, are no
longer welcome in Thailand,” protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban told reporters as he led protesters who shouted “Yingluck, get out!”. Yingluck has dismissed calls by protesters to step down but faces several legal challenges that could lead to her removal. She has until tomorrow to defend herself before the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) for dereliction of duty over a rice-buying scheme that has run up huge losses. If the commission recommends her impeachment, she could be removed from office by the upper house Senate which may have an anti-Thaksin majority after an election for half its members. The vote is to elect 77 senators for the 150-seat Senate. The rest are appointed, and a government attempt to make it a fully elected body was one of the sparks that set off the latest unrest in November. The non-elected Senators are picked by judges and senior officials from agencies such as the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC ), members of an establishment whom government supporters see as viscerally anti-Thaksin. “Red shirt” supporters of Yinguck and Thaksin are sounding more militant under hardline new leaders and say they are prepared to take to the streets of Bangkok as moves to impeach Yingluck gather pace, increasing the risk of a confrontation. They plan a big rally, possibly in Bangkok, on April 5. At the height of the current protests more than 200,000 people took to the streets to demand Yingluck’s resignation. — Reuters
Suharto nostalgia grows as Indonesia prepares to vote KEMUSUK: Painted on the back of trucks and emblazoned across T-shirts, the smiling face of former Indonesian dictator Suharto has become a common sight across Java 16 years after his downfall. “How are you bro? Still better in my time, no?!” runs a phrase commonly printed alongside the late army general, toppled following more than three decades in power when the Asian financial crisis tore into Indonesia. As voters gear up for legislative elections next month and presidential polls in July, disillusionment is running high with the country’s chaotic democracy, notorious for money-grubbing politicians and weak decision-making, while Suharto nostalgia grows. Sympathizers have chosen to brush aside the glaring bad points of his regime, known as the “New Order” and widely regarded as one of the most brutal and corrupt of the 20th century. Vote-seeking politicians play up their links to Suharto, particularly from his former political vehicle Golkar, crowds flock to his tomb and a memorial has been set up in his birthplace in Kemusuk, in his heartland of main Java island. “I like him because when violence erupted, he just crushed it,” said Sumarah, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, during a recent visit to the memorial in central Java. “People lived in peace, there were no demonstrations like nowadays, which cost the economy a lot,” added the 46-year-old, referring to the frequent protests that are now part of daily life in the nation. Corruption, repression Suharto became president in 1967 when he was a young army general, shortly after putting down an attempted coup, and on the back of a bloody massacre of hundreds of thousands of alleged communists and sympathizers which was encouraged by the military. His long rule was marked by severe repression and colossal corruption-graft watchdog Transparency International ranks him as the most corrupt leader in history, estimating he embezzled between $15 and $35 billion during his rule. But a growing number look longingly at the Suharto era, praising him for bringing stability after Indonesia’s painful birth pangs that followed Dutch colonial rule and overseeing an economic boom. In a bustling market in Yogyakarta, central Java, T-shirts at a stall show a picture of Suharto next to the words “Don’t you miss that longgone era of food self-sufficiency and guaranteed security?” Such sentiments tap into discontent with surging inflation and among many young people struggling to find a job each year in the country of around 250 million people led by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. On weekends up to 2,000 people flock to the tomb of Suharto and his wife outside the Javanese city of Solo, which is set in manicured hills and packed with hawkers selling T-shirts and framed pictures of the couple. As well as the memorial in Kemusuk, where
his speeches are played on loudspeakers and a small museum displays photos from his life, there is talk of turning his house in the capital Jakarta into a museum. He spent the final years of his life there until his death in 2008 at the age of 86. Politicians, particularly from Golkar, which was used by Suharto to give his iron-fisted rule a semblance of democracy but which is now a fully-fledged party, believe they have a lot to gain from the nostalgia. “This will certainly benefit Golkar,” Aburizal Bakrie, the party’s presidential candidate, told the Jakarta Post newspaper in a recent interview. “The elite can say any type of negative things about the New Order, but (common) people wish to go back to that system.” The party, which is the second-biggest in parliament and in the ruling coalition, is also fielding one of Suharto’s daughters, Siti Hediati, as a parliamentary candidate at the April 9 polls. “The daughter of Yogyakarta, the daughter of (Suharto) - honest and to be trusted,” runs the slogan next to a smiling Hediati on campaign billboards, with a picture of her father in the background. “It was hoped the reform era would bring better conditions but that didn’t really happen,” Hediati said, adding increased interest in Suharto was “genuinely from the people” and not instigated by the family. ‘Orchestrated’ nostalgia However some believe the upsurge in nostalgia has been carefully orchestrated by those who want to see members of the Suharto clan return to power. Observers say the trend is due in part to the authorities’ failure to punish members of the old regime or establish a national process to come to terms with the past. AntiSuharto activist Fadjroel Rachman said Indonesia should emulate countries such as Argentina with its truth commission to investigate crimes committed during a dictatorship or Cambodia and its UN-backed tribunal trying leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime. He is among many who are horrified at the growing support for a dictator who relied heavily on the army to crush dissent and made hundreds of political prisoners. Agung Kurniawan, a Yogyakarta-based artist whose works were inspired by the brutality of Suharto’s regime, said he would fight any attempt by members of the dictator’s clan to return to power. “We will fight again, we will go back to the streets,” he said, referring to the huge protest movement that preceded Suharto’s 1998 resignation. Despite the nostalgia, Golkar and others trying to capitalize on it look set to be disappointed at the upcoming polls. The main opposition Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle is expected to dominate both elections, particularly after the recent nomination of popular Jakarta governor Joko Widodo as its presidential candidate. He has no links to the “New Order” and analysts say his popularity signals Indonesians are keen to move forward beyond the Suharto era, not back. — AFP
YOGYAKARTA: Siti Hediati, daughter of late Indonesian dictator Suharto, (framed portrait, back left) gestures in Yogyakarta, central Java island. — AFP
SITTWE: A Myanmar policeman sits at a kerb while his colleagues provide security at a road in Sittwe, Rakhine state in western Myanmar yesterday. — AFP
‘Rohingya’ term banned from Myanmar’s census SITTWE: Myanmar said yesterday that Muslims would not be allowed to register as “Rohingya” in its first census in three decades despite UN assurances, on the eve of a survey that has fanned sectarian tensions. The move came as Buddhists in an unrest-hit western state vowed to boycott the census over fears it could lead to official recognition for the Rohingya, viewed by the United Nations as among the world’s most persecuted minorities. “If a household wants to identify themselves as ‘Rohingya’, we will not register it,” government spokesman Ye Htut told reporters in Yangon. He said people could call themselves “Bengali”, a term used by the authorities who view most Rohingya as illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh. Foreign aid workers fled the restive western state of Rakhine this week after Buddhist mobs attacked their offices as tensions escalated in the run up to the census. An 11year-old girl was killed by a stray bullet after police fired warning shots to disperse angry crowds in the state capital Sittwe. Humanitarian workers in the region have come under increasing pressure from Buddhist nationalists who accuse them of bias in favor of local Muslims. The United Nations is pulling some 50 international and Myanmar staff from the region, while other major humanitarian groups are also removing their workers temporarily. Households across Sittwe were seen Saturday bearing
signs declaring: “This house is protesting against the census. Do not register”. Myanmar’s first census since 1983, which is set to begin today and last for 12 days, is backed by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and is aimed at plugging an information deficit in the former junta-run country. The population tally has come under fire for its inclusion of ethnic and religious questions, which critics say will further fan the flames of unrest and threaten fragile peace talks with minority rebel groups. Buddhist nationalists have reacted with fury to the fact that the questionnaire includes a section for people to self-identify their ethnicity, theoretically allowing the Rohingya to be registered as such and raising fears it could lead to political rights for the group. But government officials in the state have sought to assure them that the term will not be counted, according to local MP Aung Mya Kyaw. “They will only write down ‘Bengali’ because Rohingya doesn’t exist,” he said. Long-standing animosity between Buddhists and Muslims in Rakhine erupted into bloodshed in 2012, leaving dozens dead in clashes and around 140,000 people displaced. Muslims in remote parts of Rakhine have reported that the authorities have threatened local people with harsh penalties if they try to identify as Rohingya. The Rohingya are subject to a web of restrictions on travel, work and even marriage. — AFP
Girl talks to pope, then father freed LOS ANGELES: After a 10-year-old California girl traveled to the Vatican to plead with Pope Francis for help as her father faced deportation, the man was released yesterday on bond from immigration detention. Mario Vargas was freed from a detention facility in Louisiana after he posted $5,000 bond. A relative who saw the girl on television pleading with the pope during a public audience helped with the funding, said his wife, Lola Vargas. “When she left, her wish was that her father would be home,” she told The Associated Press in Spanish. “Thank God she is going to get her wish.” Mario Vargas’ release came after his daughter Jersey, of Panorama City, Calif, addressed the pope this week as part of a California delegation that traveled to urge the Vatican to prod President Barack Obama on immigration reform. The girl and a teenager went as part of the 16-member group to represent the American children of immigrant parents who are afraid their families will be divided by deportation. The president and the pontiff met for the first time Thursday. “I feel very happy and proud because I’m finally going to have my dad back and we’re going to be reunited,” Jersey told the AP late Friday before boarding a flight from Rome to Los Angeles. She said her father was also heading to Los Angeles, and that she hoped he would get there before her arrival. Nurse charged over UK poisoning deaths LONDON: A male nurse has been charged with the murder of three patients who were poisoned with contaminated medical products at a British hospital, police said yesterday. Eight patients died following the poisoning at Stepping Hill hospital in Stockport, near Manchester in northwest England, in June and July 2011. Victorino Chua, a 48-year-old father of two children, has been charged with murdering three of them-Tracey Arden, 44, Arnold Lancaster, 71, and Derek Weaver, 83. He has also been charged with one count of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, 22 counts of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent and eight offences of attempting to administer poison. Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood of Greater Manchester Police said: “Our thoughts continue to be with those people who were deliberately poisoned and their families. “From day one we made a commitment to those people, as well as the wider community, to thoroughly and robustly investigate what occurred. “In close to three years we have conducted many painstaking inquiries and engaged with numerous medical experts. We are now at a point where we have charged Victorino Chua with a number of very serious offences.” Over a million flee S Sudan violence JUBA: Over a million people in South Sudan have been forced from their homes during more than three months of ongoing fighting, with conditions continuing to worsen, the UN has warned. “In the 100 days since the start of the conflict in South Sudan, over one million people have fled their homes,” the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a report yesterday. Over 800,000 are displaced inside South Sudan, while almost 255,000 have fled as refugees to neighboring countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Sudan, the UN says. Violence erupted in South Sudan on December 15 between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and fighters loosely allied to former vice president Riek Machar. A ceasefire between government and rebels inked in January is in tatters with fighting ongoing. “Fighting between government and opposition forces has continued, especially in Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile state, where towns and rural areas have been ravaged by the violence,” the OCHA report added. The conflict has caused a “serious deterioration in the food security situation” with some 3.7 million people at high risk, it read. Peace talks in the Ethiopia capital have made little if any progress, with the two sides spending time squabbling in luxury hotels over who can attend negotiations.
Breakaway rebel leader vows to fight after Philippines pact MAGUINDANAO: A day after his former comrades in arms signed a treaty to end 42 years of bloodshed in the Philippines, an ageing Muslim guerrilla leader packing a rusty handgun vowed to fight on. “We want independence... through armed struggle,” Abu Missry Mama, spokesman and senior leader of the breakaway Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), told AFP on a visit to his rural stronghold in the south. Mama’s former comrades in the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed a peace treaty Thursday that is expected to see them gain power under a selfrule setup in the Catholic nation’s Muslim-populated southern areas. Mama, 62, is the public face of the BIFF, which split from the 10,000member MILF in 2008 amid a row on how best to advance the interests of the 10 million Filipino Muslims. The Muslim rebellion that began in 1972 left tens of thousands of people dead and consigned the area of the proposed autonomous region to brutal poverty and lawlessness. Wearing rubber flip-flops, horn-rimmed glasses and a colorful scarf atop a bronzed and craggy face, Mama casually rode a motorcycle Friday
through dirt roads bisecting green rice paddies. A rusty .45-calibre pistol was stuck in his holster as he led visitors to an empty schoolyard, about three-and-a-half hours’ drive from a major southern city. Fifteen similarly dressed guerrillas, carrying assault rifles, emerged from nowhere to stand guard as he spoke to AFP for half an hour. Nearby, a group of young men played basketball and residents sat by their windows or in front of their wood and straw huts in the late afternoon. “The MILF have their own way and we have mine too,” said Mama, who spoke fluent English and Filipino, the country’s official language. He said he fought for the MILF and was now the number-three leader of the BIFF under its founder Ameril Umrakato, who the military said has been incapacitated by illness. The BIFF founder was accused of leading his men in attacks across the south in 2008 that left more than 400 people dead and displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians. The farming region, more than a thousand kilometers south of Manila, is dotted by small military camps and checkpoints. Small military units and motorists have been frequent targets
of deadly BIFF attacks as the group sought to disrupt the peace process, somehow withstanding repeated government assaults against it. As he presided over the peace treaty signing in Manila on Thursday, President Benigno Aquino vowed that armed opponents of the pact “will be met with a firm response based on righteousness and justice”. After more than 50 of its members were killed in a major military operation in late January, the BIFF has about 460 guerrillas left, military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Ramon Zagala said. “We have diminished their threat but we are still monitoring them because of the possibility that they will continue to spurn the peace,” Zagala said, adding they were now led by a man named Mohiden Animbang, alias “Karialan”. Zagala said Mama was apparently an alias and the man was considered by the military as a BIFF spokesman. Mama said the BIFF would only consider peace talks if the government would allow the creation of a separate Muslim nation, something Aquino has ruled out. “There would be no condition in the talks. They just have to leave our homeland,” Mama said. — AFP
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
Philippines supply ship evades China... Continued from Page 1 The vessels appeared to get within a few hundred metres of each other, with one of the Chinese vessels sailing across the Filipino vessel’s bow twice. The supply vessel later managed to reach shallow waters around the shoal, where the Chinese ships, with much-larger displacements, could not follow without the risk of running aground. During the confrontation, the Chinese vessels radioed the Philippine boat and demanded that it leave the “Chinese territory”, local television stations reported, citing their journalists on board the Filipino boat. The Philippines foreign affairs department denounced the Chinese coastguard action. “We condemn the harassment by the Chinese coastguard of our civilian vessels which are on their way to Ayungin Shoal to resupply provisions to our personnel stationed there,” it said in a statement, using the Filipino name for the outcrop. “We demand that China cease taking actions that are a threat to our security.” The statement stressed that the Philippines had “sovereign rights and jurisdiction over” Second Thomas Shoal, insisting it was part of the country’s continental shelf. Calls by AFP to the Chinese embassy in Manila and its spokesman went unreturned yesterday. But China has repeatedly said it has sovereign rights over Second Thomas Shoal and the Philippines was illegally “occupying” it. China claims most of the South China Sea, even
waters and islets approaching its neighbours. Second Thomas Shoal is part of the Spratlys, a chain of islets and reefs that sit near key shipping lanes, are surrounded by rich fishing grounds and are also believed to lie atop huge oil and gas reserves. They are around 200 km from the western Philippine island of Palawan and about 1,100 km from the nearest major Chinese land mass. The Philippines grounded an old Navy ship, the BRP Sierra Madre, at Second Thomas Shoal in 1999, four years after China built structures on nearby, Filipino-claimed Mischief Reef. Filipino troops have kept a presence on the ship ever since. However, until this month, China had never sought to block the Philippines from re-supplying or rotating its soldiers there. China successfully turned away a Philippine resupply boat on March 9, forcing the Philippine military to airdrop supplies to the unit. Yesterday’s mission was the next attempt to reach the shoal. Although the military does not release figures on the number of soldiers stationed at Second Thomas Shoal, there are believed to be fewer than 10. Yesterday’s confrontation occurred a day before the Philippines was due to file its case with a United Nations tribunal to challenge China’s territorial claim to most of the South China Sea. The Philippines’ legal case has infuriated China, which has said it will not participate. China has also warned the Philippines that bilateral relations will suffer if it continues to pursue its appeal to the United Nations. — AFP
Obama offers assurances to allies Continued from Page 1 Those personal assurances from the president were welcomed by a continent that has developed something of an inferiority complex while watching Obama curry favor with Asia and get consumed by Mideast crises. Though Obama remains popular with the European public, he has also irked some leaders with what they’ve seen as slights to the European Union, the often unwieldy 28-nation bloc. A particular sticking point for Europe was the fact that Obama had never visited Brussels, the headquarters city of both the EU and NATO. Obama finally checked that box on this latest trip, using his stop in the Belgian city to deliver a speech urging Europe to take a leadership role in protecting Ukraine’s sovereignty against Russian provocations. “The policies of your government, the principles of your European Union, will make a critical difference in whether or not the international order that so many generations before you have strived to create continues to move forward, or whether it retreats,” he said, standing before a crowd of young people at the Palais des Beaux-Arts museum. After stopping in Rome for a highly anticipated meeting with Pope Francis, Obama headed to Saudi Arabia for a visit with the kingdom’s monarch. Despite the decades-long alliance between the US and the oilrich Gulf nation, Saudi’s royal family has grown skeptical of the president’s positioning in the region during a period of rapid and unpredictable change in the Arab world. Tensions with Saudi Arabia hit a high point last fall, when Obama pulled back plans to launch a military strike on Syria. That decision compounded Saudi frustration with what it sees as the White House’s tepid response to the more than three-year civil war that has ravaged Syria. Obama’s personal visit to the king’s desert compound was seen as a show of respect for the monarch’s concerns over Syria, as well as US nuclear talks with Iran. Senior US officials said the president and king had a frank discussion about their differences and emphasized the importance of Obama being able to make his case in person. Though there were no new agreements struck between the president and king, officials said the meeting may help their countries bridge their differences over Syria in particular. One potential breakthrough area could be over the Saudi’s request for US approval to send air defense systems to Saudi rebels, a step Obama is said to be considering, despite continued reservations. Obama also met a campaigner for the rights of women in the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom
before leaving yesterday morning. But despite appeals from US lawmakers, he did not raise any rights issues in his talks with King Abdullah late on Friday. The official insisted that did not mean Obama did not share “significant concerns”, merely that the conflict in Syria and Riyadh’s concerns about Washington’s diplomatic engagement with Tehran had left no time to discuss them. “We do have a lot of significant concerns about the human rights situation that have been ongoing with respect to women’s rights, with respect to religious freedom, with respect to free and open dialogue,” the official said. But “given the extent of time that they spent on Iran and Syria, they didn’t get to a number of issues and it wasn’t just human rights.” Rights Criticism But Obama’s focus on smoothing over the strains in the alliance to the exclusion of concerns over women’s rights and religious freedoms drew criticism from international watchdogs and from activists inside the kingdom. “President Obama’s visit offered a crucial opportunity to raise a series of human rights issues from discrimination against women to the repression of independent human rights activists and freedom of expression and assembly,” said Amnesty International’s Saudi researcher Sevag Kechichian. “His failure to publicly voice his concerns over the dire state of human rights in Saudi Arabia is disappointing and a real missed opportunity,” Kechichian told AFP. Obama’s meeting with Maha Al-Muneef, who was honoured by the US State Department earlier this month for her bravery in campaigning against domestic violence and child abuse, came as activists called for a new day of defiance of the kingdom’s unique and deeply controversial ban on women driving. A small number of women responded to the call, the latest in a campaign of defiance launched last October. “I drove my car for a while on Olaya Road in Riyadh,” activist Aziza Yousef told AFP, adding that she was one of several women who got behind the wheel across the country. Dozens of US lawmakers had called on Obama to publicly address Saudi Arabia’s “systematic human rights violations”, including the rights of women. Saudi activist Nasima Al-Sada expressed “disappointment” that Obama had met only Muneef and not a wider delegation of women activists. “We were hoping he would meet a delegation of female civil society activists to explain the situation of women and human rights in a better way,” she told AFP. She said the meeting with Muneef did “not send a real message of support for the rights of women” in Saudi Arabia. — Agencies
A man holding a Palestinian flag and a woman carrying an olive tree walk through rows of greenhouses on ‘Land Day’ during which people plant olive trees yesterday near the Israeli border in Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip. The Land Day’s annual demonstrations mark the deaths of six Arab Israeli protesters at the hands of Israeli police and troops during mass protests in 1976 against plans to confiscate Arab land in the northern Galilee region. — AFP
Lights go off for global Earth Hour Continued from Page 1 Earth Hour chief executive Andy Ridley said before the lights went off in Singapore that the event had moved beyond symbolism to concrete action. “If you want to get real social change you need to have symbolism,” he told AFP. “We are seeing some really big outcomes.” But it has drawn criticism, including from Danish political scientist Bjorn Lomborg who argues it does little for the real problem of global warming and diverts resources from other problems. “This celebration of darkness sends the wrong message, Lomborg said in a statement this week. “While more than a billion people across the globe make a symbol of foregoing non-essential electrical power for one hour a year, another 1.3 billion people across the developing world will continue to live without electricity as they do every other night of the year.” Projects under the “Earth Hour Blue” crowdfunding
scheme - which aim to raise more than $650,000 in total include a turtle centre in Italy and funding for forest rangers in Indonesia. Other projects include a $24,000 effort in the Philippines to bring fibreglass boat technology to coastal communities affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan in November last year. In Nepal, $100,000 is being sought for a program called “A Flame Called Hope” to provide access to biogas energy for 150 households in the Terai region, reducing the need for wood as fuel and helping protect the habitat of endangered wildlife, according to the Earth Hour website. “Spider-Man 2” star Garfield told journalists that he was a personal supporter of the Nepal project. “What they are doing is turning waste into energy, it’s like the cycle of life right there, if only everyone knew how simple it was,” he said. Earth Hour saw other landmarks including the Empire State Building in New York, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Kremlin in Moscow switch off their lights for an hour. — AFP
Earthquake rattles jittery Los Angeles Continued from Page 1 Hannah Hirzel, 17, who lives four miles from the epicenter, said: “I was home alone and I ran out of the house... I was sitting where my bookshelf fell, but I ran too quick.” The quake, which lasted up to half a minute, was preceded and followed by a number of smaller ones. The LA County Fire Department received reports of gas leaks and scattered damage, said spokesman Ed Pickett, while police in Fullerton, about fives miles from La Habra, reported several water main breaks, spokesman Jeff Stuart told KCAL 9 television. A rock slide took place in Carbon Canyon, about six miles from La Habra. Video showed a white car flipped over on its roof, apparently by the rock fall. The driver escaped with no major injuries, according to CBS 2 television. At Dodger Stadium, the quake briefly interrupted the baseball game between the LA Dodgers and the Angels. A power outage attributed to the quake cut electricity
supplies to nearly 2,000 customers in the La Mirada area, near La Habra, said a spokeswoman for the Southern California Edison utility company. California has long braced for the “Big One”. The western US state is on the so-called Ring of Fire, which circles the Pacific and has produced a number of devastating quakes including Japan’s March 2011 quake-tsunami, which killed thousands of people. Seismologists say a quake capable of causing widespread destruction is 99 percent certain to hit California in the next 30 years. A 6.7-magnitude earthquake in 1994 in Northridge, northwest of LA, left at least 60 people dead and caused an estimated $10 billion damage, while a 6.9 quake in San Francisco in 1989 claimed the lives of 67 people. USGS seismologist Robert Graves said southern California has had a relative “drought” of earthquakes over the last two decades, which might be ending. “We might be getting back to the more normal rate before the Northridge earthquake happened,” he said. “It means it was quiet, but it’s not quiet now.” — AFP
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
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Geopolitical games handicap jet hunt By Peter Apps and Tim Hepher
he search for flight MH370, the Malaysian jetliner that vanished over the South China Sea on March 8, has involved more than two dozen countries and 60 aircraft and ships but been bedevilled by regional rivalries. While Malaysia has been accused of a muddled response and poor communications, China has showcased its growing military clout and reach, while some involved in the operation say other countries have dragged their feet on disclosing details that might give away sensitive defence data. That has highlighted growing tensions in a region where the rise of China is fuelling an arms race, and where several countries including China, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines are engaged in territorial disputes, with the control of shipping lanes, fishing and potential hydrocarbon reserves at stake. The Malaysian Airline jet, which disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, was last officially detected hundreds of miles off course on the wrong side of the Malaysian peninsula. As mystery deepened over the fate of the Boeing 777 and its 239 passengers and crew, most of them Chinese, it became clear that highly classified military technology might hold the key. A reluctance to share sensitive data appeared to harden as the search area widened. “This is turning into a spy novel,” said an envoy from a Southeast Asian country, noting it was turning attention to areas and techniques few countries liked to publicly discuss. With the United States playing a relatively muted role in the sort of exercise that until recently it would have dominated, experts and officials say there was no real central coordination until the search for the plane was confined to the southern Indian Ocean, when Australia largely took charge. Part of the problem is that Asia has no NATO-style regional defence structure, though several countries have formal alliances with the United States. Commonwealth members Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia also have an arrangement with Britain to discuss defence matters in times of crisis. “There is ... a pressing need for regional security structures to take a few leaps forward,” said Air Vice Marshal Michael Harwood, a retired Royal Air Force pilot and former British defence attache in Washington. The risk, he said, was that the search instead became seen as a national “test of manhood” and driver of rivalry. Already, several governments have been openly competing in announcing findings and satellite images. Radar Poker Malaysia’s acting transpor t minister Hishammuddin Hussein, who is also the country’s defence minister, has defended the international effort to find the jet. “All countries involved are displaying unprecedented levels of cooperation, and that has not changed,” he said. But while Kuala Lumpur has been forced to reveal some of the limits and ranges of its air defences, the reluctance of Malaysia’s neighbours to release sensitive radar data may have obstructed the investigation for days. At an ambassadorial meeting in the ad hoc crisis centre at an airport hotel on March 16, Malaysia formally appealed to countries on the jet’s possible path for help, but in part met with polite stonewalling, two people close to the talks said. Some countries asked Malaysia to put its request in writing, triggering a flurry of diplomatic notes and high-level contacts. “It became a game of poker in which Malaysia handed out the cards at the table but couldn’t force others to show their hand,” a person from another country involved in the talks said. It was not until a week later that Malaysia announced a list of nations that had checked their archives. Beijing, meanwhile, was dramatically upping its game. Its ability to deploy forces deep into the southern hemisphere is particularly striking. Beijing has sent several deployments into southern waters in recent months, including warship visits to New Zealand and South America, while its icebreaker “Snow Dragon” helped rescue personnel from a trapped Russian icebreaker in the Antarctic late last year. “China are deploying because that’s what great powers do, and there must be a political expectation for them to (do so),” said one former Western military officer. “How well they do it, only the USA will currently know (through surveillance and signals intelligence), and time will tell.” —Reuters
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City on edge key to Ukraine future By Alastair Macdonald
enin looks out on Donetsk, unmoved, anthracite grey and steely eyed. But a century after his revolution, this Ukrainian industrial city of Porsches and poverty seethes around him. It is torn between its Soviet past, a corrupt and unhappy present and a future somewhere between Russia and the West. Below his plinth on Lenin Square, protesters bemoan the fall of a local boy made good, president Viktor Yanukovich. Some hope Russia may do for the Donbass coalfield what it did in Crimea - claim Russian-speaking borderlands for Moscow, bringing higher pensions, wages and a return to a Soviet comfort zone. But the Bolshevik leader stands today in the shadow cast by a new glass tower where Ukraine’s richest man, miner’s son Rinat Akhmetov, runs a $12-billion business empire and ponders his next move following the overthrow of former ally Yanukovich as leader of a country ranked as the most corrupt in Europe. Lenin’s chiselled words praise the region’s role in “building socialism”. But along the city’s main artery, sports cars roar past luxury stores, and the occasional beggar, along the route from an ageing steelworks to the space-age stadium that houses the multinational squad of Akhmetov’s soccer team, FC Shakhtar. Many locals, in a region where monthly pay averages less than $400, curse him and his ilk as parasites and crooks. Yet he is “more popular than we can imagine”, one Western diplomat said. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called Akhmetov a man “whose word counts round here” and left their meeting last week saying the businessman would help stifle separatism and support liberal reforms. After 23 years of independence, the paradoxes and interplay of money and politics in Ukraine, of corruption and democracy, of ties to Russia and the West, of a national history marked by regional and linguistic rivalries, are nowhere more evident than in this city of a million and its region, home to one Ukrainian in 10 and producing a fifth of the country’s industrial output. How Donetsk and the wider Don basin respond to the collapse of Yanukovich’s hold on national power and his flight to Russia from pro-Western protesters in distant Kiev will help determine whether the Ukrainian state holds together and whether it may finally offer most of its people prosperity and the rule of law. An election on May 25 to replace Yanukovich - all candidates should be known next week - may confirm Ukraine on the course set by its interim government, of ties to the European Union and IMF-prescribed market reforms, after the ousted leader triggered his downfall by shunning an EU deal in favour of Russian aid. Founded by a 19th-century Welsh engineer called Hughes who called it Yuzovka after himself, renamed Stalino as it drove the industrialisation of the Soviet Union, today’s Donetsk can shape the next stage of Ukraine’s slow emergence from totalitarian rule in the fraught space between Russia and the European Union. Paradox and Contrast Stand on Lenin Square, though, among the Russian tricolours and Soviet red flags, and the utter confusion of emotions unleashed by last month’s bloody events in the capital is clear. Denouncing wage cuts and the power of oligarchs who made fortunes in the murky years after the Soviet collapse in 1991, a permanent protest picket calls for the return of the ousted president. Yet Yanukovich’s 2010 election campaign was funded by Akhmetov and the president oversaw four years of stagnation as his own family became, by repute,
among the country’s richest. “He’s not the worst of them,” said pensioner Valentina Petrovna in justifying her support for the fallen leader during a rally by 3,000 people on Lenin Square last weekend. Voicing indignation that the opulence of Yanukovich’s home had been exposed to public scorn, she said the same treatment should be accorded other politicians notably arch-rival Yulia Tymoshenko and other enormously wealthy presidential contenders. “You have to have money to run for president,” she shrugged when asked if she might prefer a leader not from the superrich. Alexander Bukalov, a civil rights activist, said many in eastern Ukraine had got used to following strong leaders: “The oligarchs are powerful because it doesn’t offend people,” he said. “Yanukovich has left a void. Who will protect them now?” At the same time, he said, anger on the streets reflected a mix of frustrations among different groups of people all boiling over at once with living standards, with seemingly deadlocked politics in Kiev and with two decades of post-Soviet corruption. Support for Yanukovich, who four years
juggled a pro-Yanukovich banner, a cup of McDonald’s coffee and her “Donbass Communist” newspaper. “People in Kiev just want our money and don’t want to work.” A poll showed over half of easterners viewed the government in Kiev as illegitimate, compared to 10 percent in the west. Separatism Stalls A month ago, separatists briefly took over the Donetsk governor’s office, raising the Russian flag. The regional assembly voted to hold a Crimea-style referendum on autonomy. A Ukrainian nationalist was stabbed to death two weeks ago in a clash with anti-Kiev protesters on Lenin Square. But since then, despite Western warnings of Russian troops massing on Ukraine’s eastern borders, tension has eased. Moscow denies having ambitions to take territory beyond Crimea. Serhiy Taruta, the steel magnate named regional governor, has swept suspected separatist sympathisers from key posts in the police and other services and tightened frontier controls to keep out “political tourists” - Moscow agents. Assurances from the Western-backed Kiev government of rights to use Russian in
A Pro-Russian protester holds a placard reading “Donetsk region Russia” during a rally in front of the regional state administration building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on March 23, 2014. —AFP ago swept the heavily populated east to defeat Tymoshenko for the presidency, is now a minority view, even in Donetsk, where he rose from delinquent youth to governor. A poll early this month showed two thirds of people in eastern Ukraine approved of his removal. But if his downfall is little mourned, the aftermath of his overthrow at the hands of a protest movement spearheaded by club-wielding ultranationalists who battled with riot police has thrown divisions between Ukraine’s east and west into relief. “We were all against Yanukovich,” said Albert, a former policeman in Donetsk who now runs a small tourism business. “He was our plague. But the fascists and those people in the west have exploited the situation and now they’re coming for us.” That fear, reinforced by coverage on widely watched Russian state television, helped drive Crimeans to embrace annexation by President Vladimir Putin and calls in the east to seek Moscow’s protection from moves against the Russian language and toward free trade with the EU that could hurt eastern industry. “The Americans paid the fascists,” said a woman in a pink Italian puffer jacket as she
official contacts may ease concerns of people in the east, for most of whom Russia is the first language, even among the region’s 57-percent ethnic Ukrainian majority. Some activists in western Ukraine, where historic Austrian rather than Russian rule fostered a national identity around the Ukrainian language, have wanted to bind the new state together by suppressing Russian in favour of their related Slavic tongue. As important, however, in keeping the east loyal to Kiev may be promises of decentralisation, giving people - and their oligarch leaders - more control of local resources, as well as possibly security and judicial processes. Unlike in Crimea, where enthusiasm for Russian citizenship was widespread, few people in Donetsk express a strong desire to be ruled by Moscow. Instead they want more say over local affairs, especially now the Donetsk clan round Yanukovich no longer holds sway in Kiev. “We don’t want to be like Crimea. But we want a lot of autonomy,” said Denis Alexandrovich, 37, a Russian language teacher standing under Lenin’s statue. “I love Russia. I have family in Russia,” he said. “But I want to live in Ukraine. This is where my grandparents’ graves are.” The regional flag of Donetsk, a sun in the
blue and yellow of Ukraine rising over a black sea, flies over demonstrations. Since Soviet days, the main avenue has been named for the leader of the short-lived Donetsk Republic of 1918. Pride in the local work ethic is fierce; it was here Soviet propagandists found the miner Stakhanov and made “stakhanovite” a byword for hard toil. At the Donetsk State University of Management, where 19-year-old Rita and other students played down ethnic tensions and spoke of high hopes for founding their own businesses, unease at events in Kiev also revolved around concerns for the economy: “We’re not like Kiev. People here work and only protest at weekends,” said staff member Yelena Yudina, 36. Donetsk oligarchs harness such local particularism. Akhmetov and Taruta own the city’s two big soccer clubs, whose names mean Miner and Steelman respectively. Business magnates support local philanthropic causes and trumpet investment in the area, even if they also make headlines abroad, as Akhmetov did in 2011 when he paid over $200 million for the most expensive home in London. Corruption Clean-Up? Taruta says he has no doubt billionaires can lead a fair and democratic society and talks of curbing corruption to get investors “lining up” to put money into Donetsk. At the Donetsk Steel Works, DMZ, near the centre of a city dotted with pit winding gear and slag heaps, workers coming off shift as the hooter blew agreed their main hope was for investment - and an end to political upheaval. An EU diplomat, advocating Western economic aid to the east, said: “No one is keen for annexation by Russia if the local economic situation is all right.” Foreign investment may please the Donbass oligarchs but, for all that Western powers seem ready to prop up Ukraine against Russia, cash may come at a price of some reform in a system that has left Ukraine the most corrupt countr y in Europe, on a par with Nigeria in the Transparency International rankings. Pledges of a clean-up from a political elite formed by the very people who benefited from that system may sound hollow. Donetsk governor Taruta acknowledges there is a record of broken promises but said now was different. Some analysts argue the scare over Russian expansion and bloodshed on the streets may galvanise the elite into backing anti-graft, open-market reforms to stabilise Ukraine. A typical oligarch “has already made his fortune, by whatever means, the Western diplomat said. “Now he needs rules and a fight against corruption to keep what he has safe.” For human rights activist Bukalov, the ordinar y Ukrainian in the east may also be developing a “political maturity” after the initial shock at the fall of Yanukovich’s Donetsk “Family”. Describing the protests against Yanukovich on Kiev’s Maidan square as “for values, for freedom and respect” in contrast to counter-demonstrations in Donetsk as “all about wages”, Bukalov said time, and the loss of Crimea, had given easterners a chance to consider the benefits of sharing in a new start in Kiev. “Donetsk people are starting to think,” he said. “Yanukovich did more for democracy in Ukraine than anyone else. In opposing him, Ukrainians have learned to stand up for themselves.” But a positive scenario after the past month’s drama, in which the east and west of the country rally behind a new, clean political and economic system, will not develop overnight. On Lenin Square, a pensioner named Lyubov has heard too much fine talk before: “The oligarchs are there in their palaces and we work all our lives for nothing.” —Reuters
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
S P ORTS Kentucky tops Louisville INDIANAPOLIS: Nobody will accuse these Kentucky kids of being the fastest learners. Not this season. And certainly not during most of Friday night’s game against Louisville. But once again, late in the game with everything on the line, they figured things out just in time. Aaron Harrison hit a 3-pointer for the go-ahead score with 39 seconds left and Julius Randle made a pair of clutch free throws to lift the fantastic freshmen of Kentucky to a 74-69 victory over their in-state rivals. The eighth-seeded Wildcats (27-10) led for a grand total of 65 seconds in this Midwest Regional semifinal. They’ll play Michigan on Sunday for a trip to the Final Four. “I told them before the game, you’ll get punched in the mouth and you’re going to taste blood,” coach John Calipari said. “You can fight or you can brace yourself for the next shot. They fought.” Fourth-seeded and defending champion Louisville ends its season at 31-6. Few expected a run this deep for the Wildcats as this season played out and their five freshmen starters struggled to play a team game. But they’ve been learning slowly. They trailed by 13 midway through the first half, then by seven with 41/2 minutes left. Suddenly, things kicked in. Actually, it was a sophomore, Alex Poythress, who scored five points and blocked a Russ Smith layup attempt during a 7-0 run that tied the game at 66 with 2:11 left. “Alex Poythress won the game for us,” Calipari said. “We were begging him the whole game to start playing, and he played at the right time.”—AP
Fellaini denies spitting
Mickelson makes Open cut
LONDON: Marouane Fellaini has insisted he did not spit at Pablo Zabaleta during this week’s Manchester derby at Old Trafford. Following United’s 3-0 defeat on Tuesday, footage emerged on the YouTube website appearing to show midfielder Fellaini spitting near Zabaleta’s head while the City defender was on the turf following a clash between the pair. It is understood the Football Association are aware of the clip, with the governing body now deciding whether to charge Fellaini with misconduct. The FA are now due to request sharper footage from match broadcasters Sky before ruling on whether Fellaini should face disciplinary action, with a decision anticipated some time early next week. But United manager David Moyes, who signed Fellaini from former club Everton, said he’d discussed the incident with the Belgium international and that his player was adamant he’d done nothing wrong. “I’ve spoke with Marouane and he says it isn’t the case,” Moyes said. “We will work with the FA if that is what we have to do. Marouane is adamant that at no time did he do that (spit at Zabaleta). I don’t think it is completely conclusive, from what I’ve seen,” the Scottish boss added. Earlier this month, the FA banned Hull’s George Boyd for three matches after he spat at Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart. Moments before the alleged spitting incident, Fellaini was booked by match referee Michael Oliver on Tuesday for elbowing Argentinian fullback Zabaleta. —AFP
SAN ANTONIO: Phil Mickelson made the cut on the number in the Texas Open on Friday, blasting out of a greenside water hazard to 5 feet to set up a birdie on the final hole. Mickelson shot a 2-under 70 after opening with a 77 - his worst score of the season - on TPC San Antonio’s AT&T Oaks Course. Lefty was 11 strokes behind leader Steven Bowditch, the Australian who had a 67 to reach 8-under 136. Bowditch, ranked 339th in the world, holed out from 83 yards for an eagle on the par-4 12th. The 30-year-old topped the leaderboard at the end of a round for the first time in his PGA Tour career. “My wedge shots have been pretty good,” he said. “I was trying to hit (the one on No. 12) a little past the pin and hope it came back to a reasonable distance. Got lucky.” Chad Collins (66) and rookie Andrew Loupe (70) were a stroke back. Only two of the top 15 players on the leaderboard are in the top 100 of the world rankings. Sixthplace Kevin Na is 78th in the world and ninth-place Zach Johnson is 10th. Collins is 315th and Loupe 505th. No. 5-ranked Mickelson was in the stream that runs in front of the 18th green after attempting to reach the par 5 in two from 288 yards with a 3-wood. He pulled off his left shoe and rolled up that pants leg and gave it a shot with his foot in the water. —AP
Study: MMA brain injury risk higher than boxing ALBANY: About one-third of professional mixed martial arts matches end in knockout or technical knockout, indicating a higher incidence of brain trauma than boxing or other martial arts, according to a new study in the American Journal of Sports Medicine. University of Toronto researchers examined records and videos from 844 Ultimate Fighting Championship bouts from 2006 to 2012 for the study published this month. They found that 108 matches, or nearly 13 percent, ended in knockouts. Another 179 matches, or 21 percent, ended in technical knockouts, usually after a combatant was hit in the head five to 10 times in the last 10 seconds before the fight was stopped. “We’re taking the premise with this that what you see on TV is one thing, but to kind of add scientific rigor to document it objectively,” said Michael Hutchison, co-author and director of the concussion program at the university ’s MacIntosh Spor ts Medicine Clinic. With the technical knockouts, or TKOs, they reviewed videos and found “an increasing number of repetitive strikes to the head” during the last 30 seconds of a match, he said. Professional mixed mar tial ar ts includes elements of wrestling, judo, boxing and kickboxing inside an enclosure with fighters wearing small, fingerless gloves and no headgear. Officials from UFC, the sport’s major brand, seeking approval to stage bouts in New York have argued that mixed martial arts has evolved over 20 years with many safety regulations to protect fighters, including mandatory suspensions after concussions. They say it’s safer than boxing, with no histor y of deaths or traumatic brain injuries sustained in the ring. Lawrence Epstein, chief operating officer of UFC, called the Toronto study “somewhat flawed” and said a forthcoming study by researchers who have enrolled nearly 400 active and retired fighters will provide better insight. “By partnering with the Cleveland Clinic, one of the world’s leading medical research institutions, on advanced
studies aimed at not only preventing long-term brain injuries, but also identifying those predisposed to them, the UFC demonstrates true commitment to the safety of all professional athletes,” Epstein said. Preliminar y results from the Cleveland studies found athletes with higher exposure to head trauma based on a formula including number of fights, years fighting and fights per year - were likelier to score lower on cognitive testing. Researchers conducting the free, ongoing assessments of fighters’ brain health are examining factors like genetics, lifestyle or head trauma exposure and susceptibility to injury. The Toronto researchers, who examined UFC matches, found the time from a knockout blow - often a punch to the jaw - until matches were stopped averaged 3.5 seconds, with losers on average getting hit 2.6 more times to the head. With TKOs, they found that in the last 30 seconds before a match was stopped, the loser was hit on average 18.5 times, 92 percent of those to the head. Hutchison acknowledged that unlike the knockouts, which meet the criteria for brain concussions, they can’t definitively identify the particular injury from a TKO. Professional rules say that happens when a referee stops a fight because one competitor can no longer defend himself. “We can accurately suggest ... this can’t be good for their health,” he said. Citing data from other research, the study said the mixed martial arts head trauma rate also outpaces American football and hockey. The researchers proposed introducing rules like in boxing where a fighter gets a 10-second count and is evaluated after a knockdown. They also proposed more training to help referees identify fighters who are defenseless or have lost consciousness so they can stop fights more quickly. Most US states have legalized and regulated professional mixed martial arts, although some are silent on the matter. New York is the only state that prohibits such fights and longstanding efforts to get it legalized recently stalled again. —AP
SAN JOSE: In this April 20, 2013, file photo, Josh Thomson (top) punches Nate Diaz during the second round of a UFC lightweight mixed martial arts fight. —AP
COLUMBUS: Marc-Andre Fleury No. 29 of the Pittsburgh Penguins flips the puck past Mark Letestu No. 55 of the Columbus Blue Jackets during the second period. —AFP
Penguins clinch playoff spot COLUMBUS: Chris Kunitz and Beau Bennett scored goals 47 seconds apart midway through the third period and Marc-Andre Fleury made 35 saves as the Pittsburgh Penguins clinched an NHL playoff spot with a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday. James Wisniewski scored a power-play goal for Columbus with 3:06 left, but Pittsburgh hung on as Fleury made huge saves on Brandon Dubinsky and Cam Atkinson during a scrum in the final seconds. Curtis McElhinney, taking the place of the ill Sergei Bobrovsky, stopped the first 28 Penguins shots before Kunitz notched his 34th with 9:25 left. The Penguins are now at 99 points, moving closer to clinching the Metropolitan Division title. OILERS 4, DUCKS 3 Andrew Ference scored at 3:51 of overtime and Ben Scrivens stopped 48 shots as Edmonton pulled off an upset over Anaheim. Sam Gagner, Jordan Eberle and Oscar Klefbom also scored for the Oilers, who are in last place in the Western Conference. Edmonton ended a three-game skid. Nick Bonino, Patrick Maroon and Mathieu Perreault scored for the Ducks, who had a two-game winning streak come to an end and missed out on an opportunity to move into a tie for first in the Pacific Division with the San Jose Sharks. The Ducks remain one win short of tying their franchise record of 48 wins in a season, set in 2006-07 when they won the Stanley Cup.
FLYERS 4, MAPLE LEAFS 2 Vinny Lecavalier, Scott Hartnell, Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds scored goals, leading Philadelphia over Toronto. Toronto’s James van Riemsdyk scored 4 seconds into the second, matching an NHL record for fastest goal from the start of the period. But the Maple Leafs’ skid reached seven games. Lecavalier was dropped from a spot on the wing on the second line to his more natural center on the fourth line. But he also had the spot on the top power-play unit and scored in the first with Philadelphia holding a two-man advantage.
10 times since the NHL’s trade deadline on March 5 and four of them have been winners, including his goal with 7.8 seconds left in the second period. He also scored the shootout winner in Calgary’s 2-1 win at home over the San Jose Sharks on Monday. Joe Colborne, Mark Giordano and Kevin Westgarth also scored for the Flames, who tied a club record with their 45th one-goal game of the season. They improved their record to 22-17-8 in those one-goal matchups. Brad Richards had a goal and an assist for the Rangers, whose winning streak ended at five games.
FLAMES 4, RANGERS 3 Mike Cammalleri had a goal and an assist to lead Calgary over New York. Cammalleri has scored
SENATORS 5, BLACKHAWKS 3 Craig Anderson had 46 saves and Clarke MacArthur had a goal and two assists and
Ottawa beat Chicago. It was Anderson’s first game back since being injured March 10. Erik Condra, Cody Ceci, Milan Michalek and Kyle Turris also scored for the Senators. Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa and Brent Seabrook scored for Chicago. Antti Raanta made 24 saves. STARS 7, PREDATORS 3 Dallas had seven players score goals in a victory over Nashville. Alex Goligoski had three assists, tying his career high. Colton Sceviour, Trevor Daley and Ryan Garbutt each had a goal and an assist. After Nashville pulled within 5-3 in the third period on Eric Nystrom’s goal, Valeri Nichushkin and Cody Eakin scored 9 seconds apart for a 7-3 edge. Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen allowed three goals on 28 shots. —AP
NHL results/standings Philadelphia 4, Toronto 2; Pittsburgh 2, Columbus 1; Ottawa 5, Chicago Rangers 3; Edmonton 4, Anaheim 3 (OT). Western Conference Pacific Division Boston W L OTL GF GA PTS Montreal San Jose 47 19 9 230 181 103 Tampa Bay Anaheim 47 18 8 234 186 102 Detroit Los Angeles 43 25 6 185 157 92 Toronto Phoenix 36 26 12 205 209 84 Ottawa Florida Vancouver 34 30 11 183 201 79 Buffalo Calgary 31 36 7 189 217 69 Edmonton
St. Louis Chicago Colorado Minnesota Dallas Winnipeg Nashville
Central Division 50 16 7 42 18 15 46 21 6 37 26 11 35 27 11 33 32 9 32 32 11
184 244 61
238 247 224 183 210 206 186
164 196 200 188 210 216 226
107 99 98 85 81 75 75
3; Dallas 7, Nashville 3; Calgary 4, NY Eastern Conference Atlantic Division 50 17 6 42 26 7 40 24 9 33 26 14 36 31 8 30 29 14 27 39 8 20 45 8
233 195 217 195 218 210 178 139
153 188 195 209 235 246 240 218
106 91 89 80 80 74 62 48
Metropolitan Division Pittsburgh 47 22 5 228 184 99 NY Rangers 41 30 4 200 183 86 Philadelphia 39 27 7 210 206 85 Columbus 37 30 6 205 198 80 Washington 34 27 12 212 218 80 New Jersey 31 28 14 177 190 76 Carolina 32 32 9 184 205 73 NY Islanders 28 35 10 204 246 66 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L)
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
S P ORTS
Serena lifts Miami crown MIAMI: World number one Serena Williams won the Miami WTA title for the seventh time yesterday with a 7-5, 6-1 win over China’s Li Na. In a battle of the world’s top two players, the US superstar took her tally of WTA titles to 59 — including 17 Grand Slam triumphs. She added a second trophy in 2014 to the one she lifted in Brisbane in January. The 32-year-old Williams, who first played at Miami as a 16-year-old, was strangely subdued as she seemed to sleepwalk through the first half hour of the match. Trailing 4-2, she fought off three break points in the seventh game only to surrender her serve
first match point. Li, who won her second Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January, has now lost 10 straight matches against Williams. Her only victory in their 12 meetings was back in 2008. Meanwhile, on Friday, the Sony Open, one of tennis’s most prestigious events, was left devastated when both men’s semi-finals ended in walkovers on Friday sending world number one Rafa Nadal and number two Novak Djokovic through to the final without hitting a ball. Three-time champion Djokovic was first gifted a spot in today’s final when Japan’s Kei
KEY BISCAYNE: Serena Williams, of the United States, hugs the trophy as she poses for photos after defeating Li Na, of China, in the women’s final 7-5, 6-1 at the Sony Open Tennis tournament. —AP for a second time on a double fault. The seriousness of her situation woke Williams up. She won the next five games to take the set, saving a set point in the 10th game and hanging on to break Li in a 12th game that went to deuce six times. Although she delivered just three aces in a match that lated just under two hours, Williams’ serve steadily improved as the match wore on, as did the power and precision of her returns. She seized a 5-1 lead in the second set with a fierce backhand winner on her fifth break point of the game and wrapped up the contest on her
Nishikori withdrew with a groin injury. A few hours later the tournament was rocked again when seventh seeded Czech Tomas Berdych announced he was withdrawing due to gastroenteritis, handing Nadal a free pass. Thousands of tennis fans had arrived at the Crandon Park complex expecting a day of pulsating action but instead were left with two women’s doubles matches. When it was announced prior to the start of the night session that the Nadal/Berdych match would not be played the stadium erupted in an
angry chorus of boos, many showing their disgust by turning and heading for the exits. “Sorry for Kei. Sorry for Tomas. Sorry for the tournament. Especially sorry for the fans,” said Nadal about the double walkover. “It’s very unlucky, very unusual for something that can happen. “I cannot remember that (ever happening).” That would be because a double walkover in the semi-finals of an ATP Tour event is unprecedented in the professional era. The walkovers, however, left the Sony Open with a mouth-watering final featuring the world’s top two players, Nadal and Djokovic set to clash for the 40th time. Nadal leads the head-to-head 22-17 but has never lifted the Miami title despite reaching the final three times. “Only chance to win against Novak is play to the limit, play my best and hope that he is not going to have his best day,” said Nadal. “For me, I am going on court and trying my best. (It) doesn’t make any difference if it’s one tournament or another one. “For sure, Miami is a very important tournament that I never had the chance to win in the past. “It is my fourth final. It’s positive results. To be able to play four finals in one tournament is because you did well, and I am going to try to be ready for Sunday.” Berdych said that all seemed normal following his quarter-final win over Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov until he woke up Friday morning. “I just woke up with a pain in my stomach, just went for toilet and got really strong diarrhea,” said Berdych. “Since then, it starts to go on and on. More time, diarrhea and then also throwing up and stuff like that. “I lost so much of the liquid and all the possible energy I could have. “Came here. Tried to do as much as I could, see the doctors, receiving the IV and basically not with good results.” Nishikori had reached the last four after registering a pair of three-set upsets, defeating Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer in fourth round followed by a quarter-final win over Swiss 17-times grand slam winner Roger Federer. The Japan number one said that the groin had been bothering him for some time but it flared up against Federer in a match that ran late into an unusually cool evening in south Florida. Nishikori also retired during the Delray Beach tournament in February for a similar complaint. “I really felt the last match against Roger, the quarter-final,” he said. “It’s really sad, of course, semi-final in a big tournament. “Was really playing well and beating (Grigor) Dimitrov, David (Ferrer) and Roger (Federer). I was really excited to play here. “But unfortunately I couldn’t move side-to-side. Just tried to warm up today, but I couldn’t move.” The walkover was the second of the tournament for Djokovic, who had a free pass in the third round when Florian Mayer pulled out with a groin injury. Djokovic should be well rested for today’s final, not having played in four days and contested just three matches the entire tournament. “It’s such a big event, and from a player’s perspective, it’s never nice to have a walkover to go on to the finals without a fight,” said Djokovic. “Now the only thing I can think about is finals and focus on winning the title.” —Agencies
Asia fight back to share EurAsia Cup with Europe KUAL A LUMPUR: Asia rallied from a 5-0 whitewash on the opening day to share the inaugural EurAsia Cup with Europe with a strong per formance in yesterday ’s singles matches at the Ryder Cup-style event in Kuala Lumpur. Trailing 7-3 after Friday’s foursomes, the
Thongchai Jaidee-captained Asian team won six and halved two of the 10 singles matches to tie the scores at 10-10 for a share of the spoils. Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Hideto Tanihara of Japan were the last men on the course and both had a chance to wrap up the tie on the final hole but after missing
SUBANG: Miguel Angel Jimenez (left) of Spain and Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee (right) poses for the camera with the EurAsia trophy after both Team Asia and Euro drew during the third round of the EurAsia Cup golf tournament. —AP
tricky birdie putts, their match and the teams finished all-square. Thai duo Thongchai and K iradech Aphibarnrat and Indians Anirban Lahiri and Gaganjeet Bhullar, South Korea’s Kim Hyungsung and Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh all won their singles matches for Asia. “Every part of my team was unbelievable to come back, fantastic,” an elated Thongchai told reporters. “Everyone played really well. I think the match is unbelievable, it was a good finish. “To end on the last, and on the 18th hole, it’s fantastic. I have never seen a match like this. It’s very close and amazing. “We had a good draw and good pairings, I think that’s the key point.” Europe’s Spanish captain Miguel Angel Jimenez and Dutchman Joost Luiten were the only two winners for their team. Jimenez needed to dig deep to beat local favourite 23-year-old Nicholas Fung with a birdie on the 18th hole. “It’s an amazing day of golf,” the 50-year-old said. “It’s been very tough. At the end of the week, the European team did not win the tournament but the Asian team, they played very well. “As I said in the prize giving presentation, Asia, Europe, they both win, nobody loses.” Welshman Jamie Donaldson, who partnered Graeme McDowell to victory in the fourballs and foursomes, gave up a four-hole lead over Prayad Marksaeng and had to be satisfied with a half point. “I played so well at the star t,” said the unbeaten Donaldson, whose tally of two-anda-half points in the tournament was matched only by Jimenez. “I flushed it for nine holes and then I don’t know if the heat got to me a little bit, but I hit some shocking shots and gave him a few holes. “It was good to get a half in the end. It was important to hole that putt for the team and for my match, but I made it very difficult.” The tournament will return to Malaysia in 2016 but the course for the second running of the event has yet to be finalised. —Reuters
Photo of the day
A competitor performs at the Farm Jam in Winton, New Zealand. —www.redbullcontentpool.com
NBK takes customers to 2014 World Cup via Mobile Banking Application, with Visa KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) offers all its customers using NBK’s Mobile Banking Application the chance to win a trip for two to the 2014 FIFA World Cup. NBK is the only official nonhost retail banking partner of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Kuwait, in association with Visa, the official FIFA partner. In an exclusive campaign valid until April 30th 2014, customers are encouraged to enroll or re -enroll to NBK’s Mobile
Mazin Al Nahedh Banking Application in order to enter a draw to win a travel package for two to attend one of the games of the world’s biggest sporting extravaganza. The travel package includes two match tickets, round trip airline tickets, hotel accommodation for four nights, and transfer service for both winner and guest. NBK customers will also have one chance to enter this draw for every transactions made through NBK’s Mobile Banking application. The transactions include transferring funds, Credit Card and phone bill payments and payments to Ministry of Communications.
“NBK is keen on delivering superior value to its customers,” said Mazin Saad Al Nahedh, NBK General Manager, Consumer Banking Group. “NBK’s Mobile Banking application adopts the-state-ofthe-art banking technologies and standards with the objective of providing utmost convenience and ease to customers. Now, NBK customers can enjoy both convenient banking services and an exclusive chance to attend a 2014 FIFA World Cup(tm) match.” “We are privileged to be the first and only bank in Kuwait to reward our customers with this exclusive offer. FIFA World Cup(tm) is one of the world’s most popular sporting events. NBK and Visa Worldwide partnered to bring the thrill and enthusiasm of this event to Kuwait,” added Al Nahedh. In addition to this offer, NBK offers its Visa Cardholders as well as customers who transfer their salaries or student allowances to NBK a chance to win one of the 32 trips for two to attend the 2014 FIFA World Cup(tm) games in Brazil in association with Visa. NBK’s free Mobile Banking application for Android, Apple and BlackBerr y devices enables customers to easily and securely manage their financials anytime, anywhere as long as they are connected to the internet. NBK customers can download NBK Mobile Banking on nbk.com by logging into Watani Online or by downloading the application from the associate stores: Apple Store and Google Play Store and benefit from a wide range of banking services and products. Checking balances, transferring funds, Credit Card and phone bill payments, ordering checkbooks, requesting a printed account statement, branches and ATMs locater are all provided within the application.
Walsh stands tallest among New Zealand shot put giants WELLINGTON: World indoors bronze medallist Tom Walsh will snap back to reality next week but not before he has a few days to soak up the thrill of winning his ‘Goliath v Goliath’ shot put battle at the New Zealand athletics championships yesterday. The first clash in two years between Walsh and world junior record holder Jacko Gill had created such interest in New Zealand’s athletic championships, officials felt they were riding a wave of interest and anticipation not witnessed in the sport in the rugby-mad country since the 1970s. “You probably have to look back at the era of (John) Walker, (Dick) Quax and (Rod) Dixon to see something like this,” Athletics New Zealand spokesman Brett Addison told Reuters of the interest in the duo’s clash. “It has been quite a long time. “There have been some good little battles in the past but I don’t think we have had a contest between someone who is third in the world and someone who is a world junior record holder.” The battle between Walsh and Gill even relegated twice Olympic champion Valerie Adams to secondary billing, though the 29-year-old’s pulling power was no less diminished as a queue to get a photo and autograph after she won her 13th national shotput title stretched upwards of 80 metres. “I’m like the warmup game, the curtain raiser,”
Adams, a four-times world champion, said with a smile after she threw 20.46 metres to set the second best distance of the year and obliterate the small field of six competitors. “That’s cool. It’s great to have publicity and no matter what event it is it’s great for people to come out here and watch what we do. It’s hard to make it in this sport.” More than 5,000 people crammed into the small Newtown Park venue nestled in the hills underneath Wellington Zoo, with the crowd standing five deep next to the track-side fence to watch the clash between Walsh and Gill. It was Walsh, however, who captured his moment, hurling the 7.26kg metal shot out to 20.79 metres on his final throw to claim a New Zealand all-comers record and his fifth national title. VIDEO REVIEW The 22-year-old Walsh, who won bronze at the world indoor championships in Poland earlier this month and beat double Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski into fourth, almost fell foul of the judges on the throw when his foot seemed to touch the stop board. Walsh asked the officials to review video footage and he was given the benefit of the doubt, though his consistent series of throws, with three over 20 metres, had already sealed the title. —Reuters
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
S P ORTS
Spurs pound Nuggets
SEPANG: Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain takes a corner during the qualifying session ahead of the Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix. —AFP
Hamilton on Malaysian pole SEPANG: Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton made it two poles in two races after emerging unscathed from an incident-packed and rain-hit Malaysian Grand Prix qualifying yesterday. The Briton saw off Red Bull’s quadruple Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel by 0.055 of a second in a session with two red flags, grid penalties, a 50 minute rain delay and more downpours throughout that left drivers struggling for visibility. The pole was the 33rd of Hamilton’s career, equalling the British record held by the late Jim Clark since 1964, and was secured in a time of one minute 59.431 seconds. “I’m really happy with how well we’ve done over the weekend, but today was incredible, how heavy was the rain?” Hamilton told reporters. “It was tricky out there for everyone because at the end it was almost impossible to see. I couldn’t see where the track went, where the corners were, where to break. “I had to bail out of my final fast lap, so it was ver y close.” Vettel’s lap was an impressive turnaround for the German, who retired in Melbourne two weeks ago, after he was called back to the pits after only three laps of the first phase of qualifying with an energy store problem. The champion re-emerged after a reset of the system and became progressively competitive as the rain grew stronger and felt he could have taken pole had he been able to get in another lap in the final 15 minute session. “At the beginning of Q1 (the first phase), the heartbeat was rising very quickly when we realised there was an issue,” Vettel said. “Q3 was not perfect. I would have loved to have a second go. My first attempt, I felt there was time to gain here and there. “It was very close, too close. I should be on the good
side for tomorrow but it depends on how good the start is. I’m happy with the result.” ROSBERG STARTS THIRD Hamilton’s Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg, winner in Australia, will start from third place with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso joining him on the second row despite an earlier collision with Russian rookie Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso that required hurried repairs. Alonso was on the outside and turned into Kvyat with the incident reviewed by stewards, who opted against any penalty. “I didn’t see him coming, Obviously it was a little bit of an aggressive move on the outlap with that sort of visibility,” the double world champion Spaniard said. Force India’s Nico Hulkenburg finished seventh with McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen eighth as he and his team chopped and changed with intermediate and wet tyres throughout as they struggled to second guess the weather. Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne and McLaren’s Jenson Button rounded out the top 10 with Williams once again struggling despite some promising pre-season tests. Felipe Massa will start in 13th while Valtteri Bottas finished 15th but was demoted three places after stewards deemed the Finn blocked Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who qualified fifth, on a flying lap. “He was on his out-lap. I’ll have a word with him,” said the Australian driver, who was disqualified after finishing second in Melbourne because of a fuel flow issue. Lotus’s woes continued with Romain Grosjean complaining about his car after qualifying 15th, while team mate Pastor Maldonado failed to make it out of the first phase and will start in 17th. The first phase of qualifying ended 30 seconds early after Swede Marcus Ericsson lost control of his Caterham, hit the wall before flying back across the track leaving debris and almost hitting Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber. —Reuters
SAITAMA: Gold medalist Mao Asada of Japan (center) silver medalist Julia Lipnitskaia of Russia (left) and bronze medalist Carolina Kostner of Italy (right) pose for photographers with their medals during an awarding ceremony of the women’s figure skating event of the World Figure Skating Championships. —AP
Asada wins world crown SAITAMA: Japan’s Mao Asada won her third women’s world figure skating title yesterday before a roaring home crowd, springing back from a disappointing result at last month’s Sochi Olympics. Russia’s 15year-old European champion Julia Lipnitskaia finished second and Italian veteran and Olympic bronze medallist Carolina Kostner took third at the world championships in Saitama, near Tokyo. Asada, the 2008 and 2010 world champion, finished sixth in Sochi landing her trademark triple axel, fighting back from a disastrous 16th spot in the short programme. The 23-year-old, who broke her South Korean rival Kim Yu-Na’s world short programme record on Thursday, made a few minor jumping mistakes in the free skate of what could be the last competition of her career. But she excelled in other elements, hitting a maximum level-four in three spins and a step sequence to collect a table-topping 138.03 points. Her total of 216.69 points was her personal best, breaking the previous mark of 207.59 she set last November for Japan’s NHK Trophy. “I have regrets on the one mistake I made today but I think I could control myself and I have done what I have to do,” she said. “But overall I am very satisfied with my performance.” Asada, the only skater who regularly attempts the technically demanding but high-scoring triple axel in top competitions, under-rotated the 3.5-rotation jump in her opening element, skating to the
music of “Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor” by Sergei Rachmaninov. She also under-rotated her next jump, a triple flip, in a combination with a triple loop, and took a triple lutz off the wrong edge. But her graceful spins, steps and spirals were enough to send a sell-out crowd of 18,200 to their feet at the Super Arena which also saw men’s Olympic champion and compatriot Yuzuru Hanyu win his first world title overnight. Taking a one-year leave from university in her hometown of Nagoya, Asada has experienced a roller-coaster Olympic season. She won the US and Japanese Grand Prix events and the GP final. But she slipped to third spot at the nationals in December before the disaster in Sochi. Her resilience since Sochi has touched many skating stars including Russian legend Yevgeny Plushenko who called her a “real fighter” on Twitter. On Thursday, Asada scored 78.66 points to top the previous short programme world mark of 78.50 points scored by Kim when she beat the Japanese into second spot at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Kim and Russia’s Adelina Sotnikova, who stopped the Korean’s bid for back-to-back Olympic golds in Sochi amid controversy over the judging, both skipped the worlds. “The Olympics and worlds brought me happiness and also made me regret,” Asada said. “I went through so many emotions but after all it made me realise again how wonderful skating is.” —AFP
DENVER: Marco Belinelli scored 27 points and Tim Duncan had 20 as the San Antonio Spurs extended their winning streak to 16 games by beating the Denver Nuggets 133102 in the NBA on Friday. Reser ve Patty Mills had 16 points for the Spurs, who scored a season high in points. It’s their longest regular season win streak since reeling off 17 straight from Feb. 29 to March 31, 1996. San Antonio also maintained a three-game lead for the top playoff seed in the Western Conference. Randy Foye scored 20 for the Nuggets, who lost for the fourth time in five games. Kenneth Faried, struggling with an illness, finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds. HEAT 110, PISTONS 78 LeBron James had 17 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds to help Miami build a big lead, and then rested in the fourth quarter. It was James’ first triple-double of the season and No. 37 for his career. The banged-up Heat had little trouble with the Pistons even though they were without Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen and Greg Oden. Udonis Haslem scored 12 of his 17 points in the first quarter, when James already had seven assists. Chris Bosh scored 15 for Miami. Greg Monroe and Will Bynum each had 12 points for the Pistons.
PHOENIX: JR Smith No. 8 of the New York Knicks handles the ball guarded by Goran Dragic No. 1 of the Phoenix Suns during the first half of the NBA game. —AFP
WIZARDS 91, PACERS 78 John Wall scored 20 points as Washington avenged two of its biggest losses of the season. Marcin Gortat added 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Wizards, who dropped their first two games against the Pacers this season by a combined 47 points. Al Harrington added 12 points, including a personal 10-0 run in the second quarter. Indiana was due for a letdown two nights after a big win over Miami in a matchup of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers committed five turnovers in the first four minutes Friday and shot 35 percent overall. Paul George scored 19 points, and Lance Stephenson had 13 points and matched a career-high with 14 rebounds for the Pacers, who have lost a season-high four straight road games.
TRAIL BLAZERS 91, BULLS 74 Mo Williams scored 18 points to lead five players in double figures as Portland won on the road for a second straight night. Damian Lillard had 16 points for the Blazers, who won in Atlanta on Thursday after dropping the first three games of their road trip. Nicolas Batum and Robin Lopez had 13 points apiece. The Blazers got past the Bulls easily, despite a quiet night from All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge, who was playing just his second game after missing two weeks with a back injury. He had five points and 13 rebounds in 29 minutes. Carlos Boozer had 16 points and 12 rebounds in 24 minutes for Chicago. Joakim Noah added 11 points and 10 rebounds.
RAPTORS 105, CELTICS 103 Amir Johnson scored the winning basket with seven seconds remaining as Toronto clinched its first playoff berth in six seasons. DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points as the Raptors won for the 18th time in 24 home games. Terrence Ross had 17 points, Greivis Vasquez scored 15 and Jonas Valanciunas finished with 13. The Atlantic Division-leading Raptors last reached the playoffs in 2007-08, losing in five games to Orlando in the first round. This is their sixth playoff berth in 19 seasons. Jerryd Bayless scored 14 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter for Boston, which has dropped three straight and eight of nine. SUNS 112, KNICKS 88 Goran Dragic scored 32 points in 32 minutes as Phoenix routed New York for its season-high sixth victory in a row. Eric Bledsoe added 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists, Markieff Morris scored 16 and Miles Plumlee had 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Suns, who led by 22 at halftime and 32 in the third quarter. Carmelo Anthony scored 21, seven below his season average, and Amare Stoudemire 19 for the Knicks, blown out for the second time in three games on their five-game Western Conference road trip. Phoenix pulled a game ahead of idle Dallas for the eighth and final playoff berth in the West. The Knicks fell two games behind Atlanta for the eighth spot in the East.
score in double figures and shot 55 percent from the field. Luol Deng and Dion Waiters each scored 20 points for the Cavaliers, who had won three in a row.
season. Durant could have done more damage, but he sat for good with 1:25 left in the third quarter. Russell Westbrook had 18 points and six assists for the Thunder, who have won five of six. Ben McLemore scored 18 points and Travis Outlaw added 17 for the Kings.
WARRIORS 100, GRIZZLIES 93 Stephen Curry scored 33 points, including a tiebreaking 3-pointer, as Golden State used a closing run to beat Memphis. Klay Thompson added 14 points as the Warriors beat the Grizzlies at home for the first time in six meetings. Thompson had a pair of clinching free throws. Marreese Speights scored 15 and Jermaine O’Neal added 10 points for the Warriors, who moved two games ahead of the Grizzlies for the sixth playoff seed in the Western Conference. Zach Randolph scored 21 points for Memphis, which won eight of their previous 10 games. Mike Conley added 20 points. TIMBERWOLVES 143, LAKERS 107 Kevin Love had 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his second career triple-double, leading Minnesota to the easy win. Nikola Pekovic scored 26 points on 9-for-10 shooting in his first game back from an ankle injury and Kevin Martin scored 17 points for the Wolves, who led by 19 points in the first quarter, 37 in the second and 40 in the third. Steve Nash made a surprise appearance for the Lakers, picking up four points and six assists in 14 minutes of just his 12th game of the season.
PELICANS 102, JAZZ 95 Tyreke Evans had 22 points and a career-high 15 assists as the short-handed Pelicans overcame the loss of Anthony Davis to extend their winning streak to a season-high five games. Davis left in the first quarter with a left ankle injury, further depleting New Orleans’ already injur y-riddled roster. Anthony Morrow scored 20 points for New Orleans. Alexis Ajinca, playing extended minutes in Davis’ absence, had 10 rebounds, nine points and three blocks. Derrick Favors had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Jazz, who lost their third straight. The Pelicans played without guards Eric Gordon (left knee tendinitis) and Brian Rober ts (left knee bone bruise). MAGIC 110, BOBCATS 105 Nikola Vucevic had 24 points and 23 rebounds for Orlando, and Jameer Nelson scored five points in overtime. Aaron Afflalo, who finished with 17 points, sent the game into overtime with a 3-pointer with 7.6 seconds remaining as Orlando won its second straight. Nelson’s 3-pointer with 2:26 left in OT put the Magic ahead for good. Josh McRoberts had a careerhigh 24 points for Charlotte. Kemba Walker also scored 24 points and Al Jefferson added 20 points and eight rebounds. —AP
NETS 108, CAVALIERS 97 Paul Pierce scored 17 of his 22 points in a flawless first quarter as Brooklyn quickly pulled away in the second on the way to its 12th straight home victory. Joe Johnson added 14 points for the Nets, who played three straight overtime games on their just-completed road trip, losing the last two of them. They won at home for the 19th time in their last 21 games. The Nets had six players
THUNDER 94, KINGS 81 Kevin Durant scored 29 points to power Oklahoma City to the victory. Durant has scored at least 25 points in 37 consecutive games, the longest streak since Michael Jordan’s 40-game run for the Chicago Bulls during the 1986-87
NBA results/standings Orlando 110, Charlotte 105 (OT); Toronto 105, Boston 103; Washington 91, Indiana 78; Brooklyn 108, Cleveland 97; Miami 110, Detroit 78; Portland 91, Chicago 74; Minnesota 143, LA Lakers 107; New Orleans 102, Utah 95; Oklahoma City 94, Sacramento 81; San Antonio 133, Denver 102; Phoenix 112, NY Knicks 88; Golden State 100, Memphis 93. Eastern Conference Western Conference Atlantic Division Northwest Division W L PCT GB Oklahoma City 53 19 .736 Toronto 41 31 .569 Portland 47 27 .635 7 Brooklyn 38 33 .535 2.5 Minnesota 36 35 .507 16.5 NY Knicks 30 43 .411 11.5 Denver 32 41 .438 21.5 Boston 23 49 .319 18 Utah 23 50 .315 30.5 Philadelphia 15 57 .208 26
Indiana Chicago Cleveland Detroit Milwaukee
Central Division 52 21 .712 40 32 .556 29 45 .392 26 46 .361 14 58 .194
Miami Washington Charlotte Atlanta Orlando
Southeast Division 49 22 .690 37 35 .514 35 38 .479 31 40 .437 21 52 .288
11.5 23.5 25.5 37.5
12.5 15 18 29
LA Clippers Golden State Phoenix Sacramento LA Lakers
Pacific Division 51 22 .699 45 27 .625 44 29 .603 25 47 .347 24 48 .333
5.5 7 25.5 26.5
San Antonio Houston Memphis Dallas New Orleans
Southwest Division 56 16 .778 49 22 .690 43 29 .597 43 30 .589 32 40 .444
6.5 13 13.5 24
KUWAIT: The Commercial Bank of Kuwait sponsored the Al-Amal (Hope) Football Tournament for the Deaf, which was organized by Al-Amal School for Boys with Special Needs. Amani Al-Wara’a, the CBK’s Assistant General Manager of the Advertisement and Public Relations Department, was honored during the closing ceremony.
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
S P ORTS
Messi penalty propels Barcelona to the top
CHITTAGONG: England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler (left) watches as South Africa batsman AB de Villiers plays a shot during the ICC World Twenty20 tournament cricket match. —AFP
SA knock out England
SCOREBOARD CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh: Scoreboard of the World Twenty20 Super-10 Group one match between South Africa and England played at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury stadium yesterday. South Africa Hashim Amla c Hales b Broad 56 Q. de Kock st Buttler b Tredwell 29 AB de Villiers not out 69 JP Duminy run out 5 D. Miller c Ali b Jordan 19 A. Morkel b Bresnan 3 Extras: (b4, lb2, nb1, w8) 15 Total: (for five wkts; 20 overs) 196 Did not bat: Farhan Behardien, W. Parnell, D. Steyn, B. Hendricks, Imran Tahir. Fall of wickets: 1-90 (Amla), 2-98 (de Kock), 3120 (Duminy), 4-174 (Miller), 5-196 (Morkel). Bowling: Ali 2-0-17-0 (1w), Dernbach 3-0-440 (1nb, 3w), Bresnan 3-0-28-1, Jordan 3-0-30-1 (3w), Tredwell 3-0-25-1, Broad 4-0-33-1, Bopara 2-0-13-0 (1w)
England M. Lumb c Miller b Parnell 18 A. Hales c Miller b Parnell 38 Moeen Ali c de Kock b Parnell 10 E. Morgan c de Kock b Tahir 14 J. Buttler c Morkel b Tahir 34 R. Bopara c Miller b Steyn 31 C. Jordan c de Villiers b Hendricks 16 T. Bresnan not out 17 S. Broad not out 1 Extras: (lb4, nb1, w9) 14 Total: (for seven wkts; 20 overs) 193 Did not bat: J. Tredwell, J. Dernbach. Fall of wickets: 1-46 (Lumb), 2-73 (Hales), 3-73 (Ali), 4-105 (Morgan), 5-131 (Buttler), 6-167 (Jordan), 7-175 (Bopara) Bowling: Duminy 2-0-18-0 (1w), Morkel 2-019-0 (1nb, 1w), Hendricks 4-0-50-1 (2w), Steyn 4-0-44-1, Parnell 4-0-31-3 (3w), Tahir 4-0-27-2. Result: South Africa won by three runs.
CHITTAGONG: South Africa produced another clinical performance to beat England by three runs in Chittagong to advance to the World Twenty20 semi-finals yesterday. AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla hit half-centuries to anchor South Africa’s highest total of the tournament of 1965 before Wayne Parnell took 3-31 to keep England down to 193-7 at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury stadium. South Africa are the second team to qualify for the semis after 2007 champions India cruised to the last four from Group Two. The defeat-second in three Group One Super-10 matchessent 2010 champions England out of the semi-final race. Sri Lanka meet New Zealand in their last Group One match on Monday and the winners will join South Africa in the last four. Pakistan meet Bangladesh in a Group Two match in Dhaka on Sunday and if the 2009 champions beat the hosts their last match against title holders the West Indies will decide the last semi-final berth. England, who chased down a 190-run target against Sri Lanka on Thursday, failed to match that performance with Alex Hales (38), Jos Buttler (34) and Ravi Bopara (31) unable to benefit from good starts. Parnell, who was released from the squad for two days to attend a court hearing relating to drug charges in the 2012 Indian Premier League in Mumbai on Friday, dismissed Michael Lumb (18), Hales and Moeen Ali (10) to jolt England after they were off to a 46-run start by the fifth over. Hales hit six boundaries and a six off 22 balls but once he departed the target continued to climb on England with 45 needed off the last three overs and 22 off Dale Steyn’s final over. South Africa’s total was built around a swashbuckling 28ball 69 not out by De Villiers and a 37-ball 56 by Amla. De Villiers was ruthless in the final overs, taking 26 off Jade Dernbach’s 18th over and reached his fifty with a towering six off just 23 balls. In all he hit nine boundaries and three sixes to help South Africa during an innings stopped twice for floodlight failure. South Africa smashed 75 in the last five overs. Amla and Quinton de Kock (29) helped South Africa to 90 without loss in the 11th over with the former in a punishing mood. The bearded Amla hit six boundaries and two sixes before he was caught at deep mid-wicket off Stuart Broad. South Africa made two changes from the line-up which beat the Netherlands in their last game, with Farhan Behardien and Parnell in for regular skipper Faf Du Plessis-suspended for one match due to a slow over-rate-and Lonwabo Tsotsobe. New Zealand sent the Netherlands out of the tournament with a clinical six-wicket win earlier in the day. —AFP
NZ thump Netherlands
CHITTAGONG: New Zealand batsman Brendon McCullum plays a shot during the ICC World Twenty20 tournament cricket match against Netherlands. —AFP
SCOREBOARD CHITTAGONG: Scoreboard of the World Twenty20 Super-10 Group one match between New Zealand and the Netherlands played at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury stadium yesterday. The Netherlands S. Myburgh c Guptill b Boult 16 M. Swart st Ronchi b N. McCullum 26 W. Barresi c Ronchi b McClenaghan 4 P. Borren c Williamson b Mills 49 T. Cooper not out 40 B. Cooper not out 1 Extras: (b8, lb4, nb1, w2) 15 Total: (for four wkts; 20 overs) 151 Did not bat: van Beek, Mudassar Bukhari, T. van der Gugten, P. Seelaar, Ahsan Malik. Fall of wickets: 1-34 (Myburgh), 2-42 (Barresi), 3-81 (Swart), 4-141 (Borren) Bowling: Mills 3-0-20-1, Boult 4-0-25-1 (1nb), Anderson 2-0-19-0 (1w), N. McCullum 4-0-201, McClenaghan 4-0-29-1 (1w), Williamson 10-17-0, Neesham 2-0-9-0
New Zealand M. Guptill c Barresi b Gugten 9 K. Williamson c Barresi b van Beek 29 B. McCullum c Bukhari b Gugten 65 R. Taylor c Barresi b Gugten 18 C. Anderson not out 20 J. Neesham not out 7 Extras: (lb2, w2) 4 Total: (for four wkts; 19 overs) 152 Did not bat: L. Ronchi, N. McCullum, T. Boult, K. Mills, M. McClenaghan. Fall of wickets: 1-14 (Guptill), 2-56 ( Williamson), 3-88 ( Taylor), 4-134 (B. McCullum) Bowling: Swart 1-0-6-0 (1w), Gugten 4-0-303, Bukhari 4-0-31-0 (1w), Malik 4-0-43-0, Borren 2-0-10-0, Seelaar 2-0-16-0, van Beek 2-0-14-1 Result: New Zealand won by six wickets.
CHITTAGONG: Brendon McCullum hit a robust half-century to steer New Zealand to a comprehensive six-wicket win over the Netherlands in a World Twenty20 Super-10 game in Chittagong yesterday. McCullum hit a punishing 45-ball 65 with three sixes and four boundaries to make easy work of a 152-run target which New Zealand chased down in 19 overs. McCullum also became the first man to reach 2,000 runs in Twenty20 cricket when he cleared 21 in his 67th match. The victory gives New Zealand their second win in three games while the Netherlands, the only associate side to qualify for the second round, crashed out of the event with three defeats in as many games. McCullum added 42 for the second wicket with Kane Williamson (29) and another 46 for the fourth wicket with Corey Anderson who made an unbeaten 20. McCullum holed out in the 17th over off paceman Timm van der Gugten who took 3-30 in his four overs. But there was no support from any other Dutch bowler as New Zealand’s strong batting line-up was too good for them. South Africa play England in the other Group One game later Saturday. Both South Africa and Sri Lanka have two wins in three games while England have one win in two matches. “Definitely, Netherlands put up a really good fight,” said man-of-the-match McCullum. “There was a lot of talk about their game against Sri Lanka (Netherlands out for 39), but we had a lot of respect for them and we were focused.” The losing captain Peter Borren said McCullum made the chase easy. “Brendon got them through, but if we’d got him early something could have happened.” Earlier Borren made 49 and Tom Cooper an unbeaten 40 during their 60-run fourth wicket stand off just 35 balls to steer their team to 151-4 in 20 overs. Borren hit seven boundaries and a six off 35 balls to improve on his previous best T20 score of 38 not out made against Afghanistan at Sharjah last year. Cooper knocked two sixes and four boundaries off 23 balls to help his team add 43 in the last five overs. The Netherlands were off to a steady 34-run start with opener Stephan Myburgh hitting a boundary and a six before he holed out to paceman Trent Boult, who replaced Tim Southee in the team. New Zealand also brought in allrounder Jimmy Neesham for Colin Munro from the line-up which beat England yesterday. Michael Swart made a run-a-ball 26. The top two teams from both groups will qualify for the semi-finals. India have already qualified for the last four from Group Two. —AFP
MADRID: Barcelona rounded off a fine week to move top of La Liga as they overcame stiff resistance from local rivals Espanyol to win 1-0 thanks to a penalty from Lionel Messi. The Argentine scored the only goal of the game 14 minutes from time at Cornella El Prat after Javi Lopez was adjudged to have handled inside the area. Espanyol were then reduced to 10 men when goalkeeper Kiko Casilla saw a straight red card for blocking Messi’s goalbound effort with his hands outside the area. Victory moves Barca two points clear of Atletico Madrid and five ahead of Real Madrid with both sides from the capital in action later on Saturday against Athletic Bilbao and Rayo Vallecano respectively. Knowing his side would be in for a difficult afternoon, Barca boss Gerardo Martino named almost his strongest side despite Tuesday’s upcoming Champions League quarter-final clash with Atletico. Andres Iniesta was left on the bench after having to come off during Wednesday’s 3-0 won over Celta Vigo with a slight muscular problem, whilst Jose Manuel Pinto replaced the injured Victor Valdes in goal. The visitors started brightly and would have been in front had their star forwards been at their best as both Neymar and Messi wasted good headed chances when well placed inside the area. Neymar then missed a glorious opportunity on 19 minutes when he blazed Dani Alves’ cross over from point-blank range with an open goal to aim at. Pizzi was next to pass up a wonderful
chance as just two minutes later he fired over with just Pinto to beat from Sergio Garcia’s inviting cross. Javier Mascherano was lucky not to concede a penalty as he appeared to catch Javi Lopez with a stray arm as the Espanyol fullback broke into the box. Neymar came close to breaking the deadlock once more before the break as he prodded Jordi Alba’s through ball beyond Casilla but the ball rolled passed the far post. There was far less in the way of goalmouth action in the second-half, but Barca upped the pressure as Espanyol started to tire in the final 20 minutes and Gerard Pique struck the crossbar from Sergio Busquets’ flick-on. Moments later Martino’s men did get the all-important goal as Lopez handled whilst contesting a cross with Neymar at the far post and this time referee Clos Gomez did point to the spot. Messi stepped up and, just as in scoring twice from the spot in Barca’s 4-3 win over Real Madrid last weekend, showed no sign of nerves as he calmly slotted home his 36th goal of the season. Espanyol finished the game with 10 men as Casilla then saw red for handling outside the area as he blocked a lob from Messi that appeared to heading goalwards. Lopez ended an eventful afternoon by going in goal as the hosts had already made all three substitutions and made a fine save in stoppage time to prevent Alexis Sanchez doubling Barca’s lead. —AFP
CORNELLA: Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (center) vies with Espanyol’s Mexican defender Hector Alfredo Moreno (left) and Espanyol’s Uruguayan forward Christian Stuani (right) during the Spanish League football match. —AFP
Bayern held by Hoffenheim BERLIN: Champions Bayern Munich drew only their third Bundesliga match of the season yesterday when they were held 3-3 at home to Hoffenheim. Bayern were confirmed German league winners for the 24th time with a record seven games to spare after Tuesday’s 3-1 win at Hertha Berlin and after partying through the night in the capital, they suffered a slight hangover in Munich. Hoffenheim ended Bayern’s record run of 19 consecutive Bundesliga wins before Munich head to England for Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final at Manchester United. Bayern midfielder Thiago Alcantara will miss the Manchester match with a knee injury after limping off after only 25 minutes against Hoffenheim, who matched Freiburg and Bayer Leverkusen in holding Bayern to a league draw this season. A high-scoring tie was always on the cards between the league’s two highest scoring sides: Bayern’s 82 goals compared to Hoffenheim’s 63. This was the first time Bayern have leaked three goals in a Bundesliga match this season and having dropped just six points with three draws, they are bidding to become the first team to go through a Bundesliga season unbeaten. Bayern coach Pep Guardiola rested stars Arjen Robben, Mario Mandzukic, Philipp Lahm and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer from his starting line-up, but still fielded nine internationals. Veteran striker Claudio Pizarro scored twice, while Swiss wing Xherdan Shaqiri also got on the scoresheet in the first half after Hoffenheim took an early lead through striker Anthony Modeste.
Bosnia midfielder Sejad Salihovic curled in a 44th-minute free-kick to make it 3-2 at the break. Hoffenheim grabbed the crucial equaliser on 75 minutes when Brazilian leftwing Roberto Firmino darted onto a through ball and his shot beat both Bayern centreback Dante and goalkeeper Tom Starke. Despite the draw, Bayern still remain 22 points clear in the table and extended their record unbeaten Bundesliga run to 53 matches. Germany winger Marco Reus netted a hattrick as Borussia Dortmund fought back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at ten-man VfB Stuttgart. Dortmund face Real Madrid away on Wednesday in the Champions League quarter-finals and some woeful defending left them 2-0 down after just 20 minutes. Stuttgart midfielders Christian Gentner and Martin Harnik took advantage with the guests’ defence in disarray. Reus pulled one back with a superb finish on 30 minutes, then hit the equaliser when he converted a 68thminute penalty after Stuttgart Georg Niedermeier was shown a red-card for bringing down Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski in the area. Reus saved his best for last when he completed his hat-trick with a long-range shot which took a deflection off defender Daniel Schwaab on 83 minutes. Bayer Leverkusen hold onto fourth in the league despite drawing 1-1 at home to bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig as Sami Hyypia’s side struggle for form with one win in their last 11 games. Braunschweig took a shock lead through defender Ken Reichel just after the break before former Germany striker Stefan Kiessling slotted home a 53rd-minute penalty to spare Bayer’s blushes. —AFP
MUNICH: Bayern Munich’s German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger controls the ball during the German First Division Bundesliga football match against Hoffenheim. —AFP
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
S P ORTS
Arsenal keep City in check Arsenal 1
Man City 1
LONDON: Manchester United’s Juan Mata (right) and teammate Wayne Rooney celebrate after Marta scored against Aston Villa, during their English Premier League soccer match. —AP
Rooney, Mata chase away gloomy clouds Man United 4
Aston Villa 1
MANCHESTER: Wayne Rooney scored twice and Juan Mata claimed his first Manchester United goal to cheer under-fire manager David Moyes with a 4-1 victory over Aston Villa yesterday. A 13th-minute Ashley Westwood free-kick had shot Villa into an early lead, putting United at risk of succumbing to three consecutive home league defeats for the first time in 35 years. But after some nervous moments, goals from Rooney, Mata and Javier Hernandez ensured that United will go into Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against Bayern Munich with at least a degree of confidence. United were looking for a response to their 3-0 loss at home to Manchester City in the derby on Tuesday, but after Rafael da Silva tripped Gabriel Agbonlahor, Westwood swept home a magnificent free-kick to put Villa ahead. It was a potentially disastrous opening for Moyes, who, despite pre-match speculation surrounding his position, had been warmly welcomed by United’s fans. Moyes emerged to take his place in the dug-out ahead of the players and was greeted with a standing ovation from large sections of supporters. A few moments after kick-off, an aeroplane flew over Old Trafford trailing a banner that read ‘WRONG ONE - MOYES OUT’. But, once more, the United supporters actually turned on the publicity-hungry fans behind the stunt, booing the plane rather than their manager. If that support was welcome, what Moyes really required was an equaliser and, thankfully for the Scot, it came from Rooney with 20 minutes on the clock. Shinji Kagawa darted towards the area
West Brom 3
and picked out the unmarked England international with a neat, chipped cross, which Rooney expertly headed past Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan from 10 yards. The goal notably lifted manager, players and the crowd at Old Trafford and Mata laid the ball off for Rooney soon after for a fierce 20-yard shot that was bravely blocked by defender Ciaran Clark. Then Rooney turned provider, clipping over a dangerous free-kick that Nemanja Vidic headed just wide. Villa were playing without fear, as most visitors to Old Trafford are this season, but Mata and Rooney were always a threat and that combination helped United take the lead moments before the half-time whistle. After chasing onto Kagawa’s through ball, Mata was chopped down by Leandro Bacuna, prompting referee Martin Atkinson to point immediately to the spot. Rooney’s penalty kick was as clinical as his earlier header had been, with his right-foot shot easily beating the diving Guzan. Moyes brought Michael Carrick on for Rafael at the interval, presumably because of an injury to the Brazilian full-back. Carrick had to slot in at centre-back and he quickly justified his manager’s faith by making a last-ditch tackle to thwart Christian Benteke, who had just miskicked from six yards with the goal at his mercy. The Villa forward almost made amends minutes later as he rose to meet Marc Albrighton’s right-wing cross and placed a header inches over United goalkeeper David de Gea’s crossbar. Those misses proved costly as Mata scored United’s third after 57 minutes following a strong header into the area by Alexander Buttner. Marouane Fellaini miscontrolled the loose ball, but Mata pounced and buried a rightfoot snapshot past Guzan from a dozen yards. Benteke appealed unconvincingly for a penalty after contact from Vidic, and should have done better later as he failed to make telling contact with a long through ball. United continued to press, though, and after Guzan had repelled powerful attempts from substitute Adnan Januzaj and Rooney, the former crossed from the left for Hernandez to volley home in injury time. —AFP
Matches on TV (Local Timings)
Cardiff ease drop fears WEST BROMWICH: Cardiff City kept their hopes of avoiding relegation from the Premier League alive but drew West Bromwich Albion deeper into the dogfight at the foot of the table with a thrilling 3-3 draw at The Hawthorns yesterday. After finding themselves 2-0 down after just nine minutes to goals from Morgan Amalfitano and Graham Dorrans, the Bluebirds hit back through the in-form pair of Jordan Mutch and Steven Caulker. But three minutes into injury time, Thievy seemd to have sealed the points for the home side only for Mats Daehil to snatch a late point for Cardiff with an extra five minutes on the clock. Having found themselves drawn into the relegation battle in recent weeks, largely due to having drawn five and lost one of their last seven home games, the Baggies wasted no time in taking a grip on the match. West Brom raced into a 2-0 lead insde the first nine minutes, with Morgan Amalfitano rounding off a rapid breakaway with a long-range low rightfooted shot into the bottom left corner with less than two minutes on the clock. Amalfitano had a similar chance to double the score on six minutes but missed the target before Graham Dorrans made it 2-0 on eightand-a-half minutes when he drove home from Matej Vydra’s pass. Mutch dragged the Bluebirds back into it on the half-hour with a powerful shot from outside the area after being set up by Aron Gunnarsson. Then, with the game seeming to be heading for a low-key West Brom victory, Cardiff found an equaliser when Caulker headed home a well-flighted ball from Gary Medel with 18 minutes left. But all the thrills were to come deep in injury time, Thievy’s low left-foot shot again putting West Brom in the driving seat, only for Daehil to pop up and lash home Ben Turner’s pass for an invaluable point. —AFP
English Premier League Fulham v Everton 15:30 beIN SPORTS 1 beIN SPORTS 1 HD Liverpool v Tottenham 18:00 beIN SPORTS 1 beIN SPORTS 1 HD Italian Calcio League Sassuolo v AS Roma 13:30 beIN SPORTS 3 beIN SPORTS 3 HD Torino v Cagliari 16:00 beIN SPORTS 6 beIN SPORTS 6 HD Sampdoria v Fiorentina 16:00 beIN SPORTS 3 beIN SPORTS 3 HD Verona v Genoa 16:00 beIN SPORTS 8 beIN SPORTS HD 8 Napoli v Juventus 21:45 beIN SPORTS 3 beIN SPORTS 3 HD Spanish League Real Madrid v Vallecano beIN SPORTS 2 beIN SPORTS 2 HD Valladolid v Almeria beIN SPORTS 2 beIN SPORTS 2 HD Osasuna v Sociedad beIN SPORTS 2 beIN SPORTS 2 HD Valencia v Getafe beIN SPORTS 2 beIN SPORTS 2 HD French League Lille v Guingamp beIN SPORTS 5 beIN SPORTS 5 HD Lyonnais v Etienne beIN SPORTS 5 beIN SPORT
LONDON: Manchester City could not exploit an earlier defeat by Premier League leaders Chelsea and had to be content with a point from a 1-1 draw at Arsenal yesterday. The visitors looked on course for the summit after taking an 18thminute lead through David Silva, but Mathieu Flamini earned his side a share of the spoils early in the second half. City would have moved ahead of Chelsea, who had surprisingly lost 1-0 at Crystal Palace, and Liverpool, who are at home to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, had they won, but Chelsea remain at the summit for now. Manuel Pellegini’s side stay in third place, but will have two games in hand over their rivals once the Liverpool game is concluded, so their title destiny remains in their own hands. Arsenal’s title hopes continue to fade, however, as they find themselves still in fourth, five points behind Chelsea with only six games remaining. Arsenal made one change from the side that drew 2-2 at home to Swansea City on Tuesday due to a late Flamini own goal, with Lukas Podolski replacing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Unsurprisingly, City retained the same starting XI that had won 3-0 at Manchester United on the same night. City had scored early at Old Trafford and almost repeated the trick when Jesus Navas curled just wide in the third minute after the visitors had twice got in behind the home defence on the right flank. Kieran Gibbs was finding himself exposed on the left of the home defence, with Podolski offering little protection in front of him. Arsenal replied with a ball into the box from Santi Cazorla that saw Tomas Rosicky go down under Pablo Zabaleta’s challenge. The City defender had not got the ball, but referee Mike Dean awarded a goal-kick rather than the penalty Arsenal wanted. City then opened the scoring through Silva, who started and finished the counter-attack himself. The Spain midfielder brought the ball forward before slipping Edin Dzeko in on the left. The striker’s low shot cannoned back off goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny’s near post to Silva, who got enough of a touch to divert it into the net.
LONDON: Manchester City’s Spanish midfielder Jesus Navas (left) vies with Arsenal’s Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta during their English Premier League football match. —AFP Flamini put the ball in the City net straight after with an effort that bounced over City goalkeeper Joe Hart, but the Frenchman was one of two offside attackers when the cross came in so it did not count. The setback seemed to galvanise Arsenal, who continued to attack, and Yaya Toure was booked for tugging Rosicky to the ground, with Vincent Kompany also cautioned for a bodycheck on Mikel Arteta. The half then drifted into a war of attrition and ended with Rosicky
booked for a late challenge on Gael Clichy and Silva cautioned for catching Arteta. City almost doubled their lead early in the second half when Szczesny’s parry of a Navas cross hit Per Mertesacker and bounced just wide. But Arsenal then equalised in the 53rd minute through Flamini, whose first-time effort from Podolski’s leftwing cross beat Hart. It was not long before Podolski was presented with a great chance to fire Arsenal ahead, but Hart was able to
divert his low drive from the left of the box behind for a corner. City eventually recovered their poise and swapped Navas for James Milner after Szczesny had tipped over a long-range effort from Fernandinho. Szczesny did well to block from Toure in a scramble, before Dzeko’s follow-up was deflected behind. The final few minutes were tense, with both sides keen to carry on attacking, but not if it meant being caught on the counterattack, and it was no surprise that the game ended all square. —AFP
EPL results/standings Crystal Palace 1 (Terry 52-og) Chelsea 0; Manchester United 4 (Rooney 20, 45-pen, Mata 57, Hernandez 90) Aston Villa 1 (Westwood 13); Southampton 4 (Rodriguez 45, 89, Lambert 49, Lallana 70) Newcastle 0; Stoke 1 (Odemwingie 62) Hull 0; Swansea 3 (De Guzman 30, 38, Routledge 75) Norwich 0; West Brom 3 (Amalfitano 2, Dorrans 9, Thievy 90+4) Cardiff 3 (Mutch 30, Caulker 73, Daehli 90+5); Arsenal 1 (Flamini 53) Manchester City 1 (Silva 18).
English Premier League table after yesterday’s matches (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points): Chelsea Liverpool Man City Arsenal Everton Tottenham Man Utd S’ampton Newcastle Stoke West Ham Aston Villa
32 31 30 32 30 31 32 32 32 32 31 31
21 21 21 19 16 17 16 13 14 10 9 9
6 5 4 7 9 5 6 9 4 10 7 7
5 5 5 6 5 9 10 10 14 12 15 15
62 84 80 56 46 40 52 49 38 37 34 34
24 39 28 37 30 40 38 40 47 45 41 46
69 68 67 64 57 56 54 48 46 40 34 34
Swansea 32 8 9 15 45 48 33 Hull 32 9 6 17 33 40 33 Norwich 32 8 8 16 26 51 32 Crystal Palace31 9 4 18 20 39 31 West Brom 31 5 14 12 36 48 29 Cardiff 32 6 8 18 29 61 26 Sunderland 29 6 7 16 27 46 25 Fulham 31 7 3 21 30 70 24 Notes: top four teams qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League; fifth-place team qualifies for UEFA Europa League; bottom three teams relegated to Championship.
Saints thump Newcastle Southampton 4
Stoke winning form continues
STOKE-ON-TRENT: Peter Odemwingie scored for the third game running as Stoke City continued their impressive form with a 1-0 win over Hull City in the Premier League yesterday. The Nigeria international struck in the 62nd minute at the Britannia Stadium, seizing on a loose pass from Hull wing-back Ahmed Elmohamady before drilling home from the edge of the box. It was Stoke’s third successive win, taking Mark Hughes’s side to the 40-point mark synonymous with safety from relegation and leaving FA Cup semi-finalists Hull seven points above the bottom three in 14th place. Hull manager Steve Bruce fielded Steve Harper in goal after Allan McGregor damaged his kidneys in the 2-1 mid-week defeat at West Ham United, but opposite number Asmir Begovic was the first goalkeeper to be called into action. Hull striker Shane Long latched onto a long ball and teed up Tom Huddlestone, whose 25yard drive obliged Begovic to plunge to his right and touch the ball around the post for a corner. The visitors continued to press and in the 13th minute Liam Rosenior squandered a good chance to open the scoring, heading the ball over a gaping goal from Long’s right-wing cross. It was not until shortly before half-time that Stoke first threatened, but Marko Arnautovic’s tame low shot was comfortably saved by Harper. Harper had to save from Odemwingie early in the second half, before Begovic readjusted brilliantly to block a deflected effort from David Meyler at the other end, with Nikica Jelavic putting the rebound wide. Hull appeared to be taking control, but they had a hand in their own downfall as Stoke made the breakthrough with just under half-an-hour to play. Elmohamady’s ambitious crossfield pass went straight to Odemwingie, who tore through the Hull defence before beating Harper with a low shot. Odemwingie threatened to add a second with an overhead kick that flew wide, while Harper had to parry from Stephen Ireland. Hull’s best chance of an equaliser fell to Jelavic with 12 minutes remaining, but he missed his kick from Meyler’s knock-down. —AFP
SOUTHAMPTON: England international trio Jay Rodriguez, Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana all scored to give Southampton a thumping 4-0 win against Newcastle United at St Mary’s yesterday. Rodriguez’s two goals came either side of strikes from Lambert and Lallana to make it a miserable afternoon for visiting manager Alan Pardew, who was back after serving a three-game stadium ban following his head-butt on Hull City’s David Meyler recently. The win lifts Southampton above Newcastle into eighth place in the table but both clubs remain cut adrift from the fight for European places while also being well clear of the relegation zone. Indeed, so little was at stake on the field that most of the pre-match
attention was on two men who were not playing. Pardew was back after his stadium ban, but this was the first game of a four-match suspension from the touchline as he faced the club he managed in League One for a year before being sacked in 2010. Meanwhile, referee Andre Marriner was in charge a week after sending-off Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs instead of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in a clear case of mistaken identity in the Gunners’ 6-0 defeat to Chelsea. Southampton had lost just one of their last 20 home league games against Newcastle and they looked by far the hungrier of the two teams early on, with Rodriguez leading the way. Having shaken off a knock that made him a pre-game doubt, he missed three decent openings in the first half-hour, the best coming from a diving header that was palmed away by the diving Robert Elliot. Elliot, standing in for the injured Tim Krul, was called into action again to keep out a Lambert effort before Lallana headed wide when unmarked. Rodriguez then connected with
a Lambert knock-down only to be denied by a superb Elliot save but that duo combined again to get the opening goal right on half-time. Lambert sent a low pass across goal and Rodriguez this time couldn’t miss from point-blank range. The hosts doubled their lead four minutes after the restart when Lallana floated the ball in from the right, over Rodriguez who was standing in an offside position, and Lambert fired home his 10th in the league this season. With their top scorer Loic Remy still missing, Newcastle failed to score for the 10th time in their last 14 matches and the concession of two more goals in the final 20 minutes made this a miserable way to follow up Tuesday’s 3-0 home defeat to Everton. Lallana’s 70thminute strike was the pick of the day’s goals, as he picked up the ball 45 yards out and advanced before beating Elliot with a superb strike into the top corner. And Rodriguez scored his second of the game, and 15th in the league this season, as he cut inside Mike Williamson before finishing from close range to give Saints their biggest win of the season.—AFP
Guzman boosts Swansea’s survival bid Swansea 3
SWANSEA: Swansea climbed away from the relegation zone as Jonathan de Guzman’s double clinched a crucial 3-0 victory over fellow strugglers Norwich yesterday. De Guzman struck twice in quick succession late in the first half and Wayne Routledge added the third after the break to give Garry Monk’s side their first victory in 10 games in all competitions and end a six-match winless run in the Premier League. De Guzman had been controversially denied the chance for a
potential winner at Arsenal on Tuesday when referee Lee Probert blew for full-time in the 2-2 draw just as the Dutch midfielder was about to shoot. The Dutch international made up for that frustrating finale at the Liberty Stadium as the Swans leapfrogged Norwich and moved seven points clear of the relegation zone. Norwich’s seventh successive away defeat in all competitions left Chris Hughton’s team six points above the bottom three. Monk’s team monopolised possession in the early stages without making the most of their domination. Spanish striker Michu, back from injury recently, showed a little rust when he reached for Jonjo Shelvey’s cross and stabbed a shot well wide. But Norwich had only themselves to blame when the hosts broke the deadlock in the 30th minute. Shelvey’s cross was poor-
ly cleared to the edge of the area, where the unmarked de Guzman was waiting to lash a low strike past John Ruddy. De Guzman wasn’t finished yet and he capped an impressive move to double Swansea’s lead eight minutes later. Wilfried Bony was the instigator with a clever back-heeled pass that set de Guzman clear and the midfielder took full advantage to clip his shot over Ruddy from eight yards. The Canaries desperately needed an early goal in the second half and they almost got it when Robert Snodgrass’s effort from outside the area was headed off the line by Ashley Williams. Monk’s men responded with a sweeping attack which nearly culminated in a goal when de Guzman unselfishly played in Shelvey and the midfielder slipped his marker before shooting narrowly wide. —AFP
Serena lifts Miami crown
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
Rooney, Mata chase away gloomy clouds
Messi penalty propels Barcelona to the top
DUBAI: Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum (center-back) ruler of Dubai, gestures while standing behind his daughters Salma (center) and Al-Jalilia (center-bottom) holding the trophy after his horse African Story won the Dubai World Cup, the worldí’s richest horse race. — AFP
African Story wins $10m Dubai World Cup DUBAI: They came from Europe and Asia, from South Africa and neighboring Saudi Arabia, but the ruling Maktoum family dominated the $10 million Dubai World Cup over 2000 metres at Meydan racecourse. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai, saw horses in his colors finish first and third, courtesy of African Story and Cat O’Mountain respectively. And his brother, Sheikh Hamdan, saw his silks carried into second place by Mukhadram. African Story was a revelation, stalking frontrunning Mukhadram from the outset before sweeping past with 200 metres left to run. The horse who finished fifth in this race 12 months ago looked a different proposition this time, stopping the clock in a new track-record
time 2 mins 01.61 secs under jockey Silvestre De Sousa. African Story won by two and three-quarter lengths from Mukhadram, with Cat O’Mountain a further four and a quarter lengths adrift. Side Glance and Akeed Mofeed filled the next two places but Military Attack and Ruler Of The World, which were both expect to feature prominently, finished 10th and 12th respectively. Red Cadeaux, which chased home Animal Kingdom in the race 12 months ago, again ran well to finish sixth. Even though he had won the race five times previously, victory meant a lot to the winning trainer, Saeed Bin Suroor, who trains exclusively for Sheikh Mohammed and his family.
“I hadn’t trained the winner (of this race) for seven years and I felt a lot of pressure from a lot of people,” Bin Suroor said. “I thought African Story was the right horse for this race two years ago and I told that to the boss. He is a special horse and I am dedicating this victory to my mother. I am going to give her my winner’s trophy.” DE SOUSA’S BIGGEST VICTORY De Sousa, for his part, was celebrating his first winner in the world’s richest race. Originally from Brazil, he was retained to ride for Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin enterprise 14 months ago. This was the biggest victory of his career. “It’s so special to win this race,” an elated De
Sousa said. “It’s a dream come true; I’m over the moon. We had a bit of bad luck earlier in the evening but this has saved the night.” Mukhadram’s jockey, Paul Hanagan, briefly entertained hopes of victory when he asked his mount to accelerate on reaching the home straight. “For a moment I thought we’d stolen it but we were beaten by a very good horse on the night,” he said. African Story’s bid to win the Dubai World Cup came after a flurry of runners owned by the Al Maktoum family failed to meet expectations in the previous seven races for Thoroughbreds. In a cosmopolitan gathering of horses from around the globe, runners from Hong Kong and Japan won two races each, with horses
Terry gifts Palace win Crystal Palace 1
LONDON: Chelsea’s Premier League title hopes suffered a major blow after John Terry’s 52ndminute own goal condemned Jose Mourinho’s side to a 1-0 defeat at relegation-threatened Crystal Palace yesterday. The loss, Chelsea’s second successive away defeat, meant the league leaders were unable to increase the pressure on Manchester City and Liverpool, their nearest challengers. For Palace, a first win in six games moved Tony Pulis’s side five points clear of the bottom three and improved their chances of avoiding an immediate return to the Championship. Chelsea were unable to find a response after Terry had headed past Petr Cech from Joel Ward’s cross and Mourinho must now lift his side ahead of their Champions League quarterfinal first leg at Paris Saint-Germain. Mourinho had chosen to focus on the defeat at Aston Villa two weeks previously, and not last weekend’s comprehensive 6-0 defeat of Arsenal, in the build-up to this game, repeating his criticism of referee Chris Foy’s performance at Villa Park. The Chelsea manager admitted that he feared the loss could prove costly to his side’s
title hopes and acknowledged that they could not afford to slip up again against another team in the bottom half of the table. Perhaps with one eye on the midweek trip to Paris, Mourinho made a switch to a 4-3-3 formation, employing David Luiz, Nemanja Matic and Frank Lampard in a three-man midfield. The change appeared to unsettle the visitors and they struggled to find the fluency that marked the opening stages of the victories against Galatasaray and Arsenal that followed the loss at Villa. Against the Gunners, Chelsea had been 3-0 up inside 17 minutes. On this occasion, it took them the same period of time to create the first notable chance, with Cesar Azpilicueta finding his way to the byline and producing a low cross that Andre Schurrle directed wide. It was Palace, though, who responded more positively to that opportunity, with Pulis’s side offering more of a forward threat after withstanding Chelsea’s early pressure. Yannick Bolasie’s pace down the left was causing Branislav Ivanovic problems and the winger should have put Palace ahead in the 25th minute when he was picked out by Jason Puncheon’s right-wing cross. The DR Congo international had time to control the ball and finish, but his first touch was poor and he could only find the side-netting when he finally got his shot away. That should have been a warning for Chelsea, but the visitors seemed unable to move through the gears. And they survived two more scares before the break when Palace twice had strong appeals for a penalty turned down.
from Britain, Ireland and South Africa also getting in on the winning act. In the World Cup itself, the South African runner, Sanshaawes, reared up and caught a front foot in the gates of the stalls before the race started. He was unloaded and inspected by on-site veterinarians, who cleared him to run, but he could only finish seventh. As for African Story, he is unlikely to contest the major races in Europe when Bin Suroor transfers his string from Dubai to Newmarket next month. The seven-year-old is seen as a specialist runner on the synthetic surface at Meydan racecourse, where Jennifer Lopez closed proceedings with a live concert lasting 45 minutes. — AFP
‘Workers Cup’ for Qatar laborers
LONDON: Crystal Palace’s Mile Jedinak (right) tussles with Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic during their English Premier League soccer match at Selhurst Park. — AP Visiting centre-back Gary Cahill was involved in both incidents, appearing to catch Cameron Jerome late in the 28th minute and then halting Bolasie with a sliding tackle four minutes later. Referee Lee Mason deemed neither incident worthy of punishment, but it appeared that Pulis was offering a different view when he walked off the pitch with the match official at the interval. Mourinho clearly believed that his side had under-performed during the first period and replaced Luiz with Oscar at half-time. The early signs were that Chelsea would not repeat their first-half showing and they could
have been ahead four minutes after the restart had Terry not scuffed a clear chance from a Lampard corner. Once again, though, Palace’s response was impressive. Within a minute Jerome had sent a glancing header wide from a Bolasie cross when he should have done better. The miss was quickly forgotten, however, as Palace produced another left-wing cross, this time from Ward, that Terry diverted into his own net under pressure from Joe Ledley. Chelsea were stunned and their attempts to recover came to nought after Julian Speroni saved from Eden Hazard and Terry headed over. — AFP
DOHA: FIFA 2022 football World Cup host Qatar, criticised for the dire conditions of foreign laborers building facilities for the tournament, is holding a competition just for them, organisers said yesterday. And the manager of a public relations firm in Qatar said the tournament is aimed at deflating accusations that Doha is mistreating the migrants building the venues for the World Cup. “We care about the workers because they are the ones building the stadiums and facilities,” said Nasser Kuwari. Labor unions and rights campaigners say the migrant workers building the multi-million-dollar infrastructure for the World Cup facing difficult living and working conditions in energy-rich Qatar. Amnesty International has they were being treated like “animals,” and urged FIFA to press Qatar to improve the conditions of the laborers, most of them from South Asia. And a report by the International Trade Union Confederation said as many as 4,000 workers might die on building sites before the tournament kicks off. Qatar has dismissed that report as full of “factual errors” and published a list of guidelines aimed at protecting the rights of the expatriate workers. It is against this background that competition in the “Workers Cup” began this month for the second year running, as 24 teams started squaring off until two of them reach the April 25 finals seeking a grand prize of 18,000 riyals ($5,000/3,623 euros). The players, Asians and Africans mostly, are all migrant workers employed by construction companies, said Adil Ahmed, managing director of organisers QSports. “We wanted to bring a programme that the workers can actually call their own,” Ahmed told AFP. On Friday FIFA accepted “some responsibility” over the welfare of migrant workers but its president Sepp Blatter told a Zurich news conference the football federation was powerless to intervene. — AFP
Kuwait investment sector drives real estate sales Page 25
The Kuwait summit and its impact
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
Page 26 Kuwait companies eye listing on LSE
Kuwait trade surplus down to KD24.3bn in 2013 Page 22
Moody’s puts Russia on review for downgrade Ukraine weighs on economic outlook MOSCOW: Moody’s Investors Service placed Russia’s government bond rating of ‘Baa1’ on review for a downgrade as the conflict with Ukraine weighs on the country’s economic outlook. The credit rating agency said the crisis in Ukraine could significantly hurt investor sentiment and further weaken Russia’s medium-term growth prospects, which had already been lowered by the Russian authorities in 2013. Another driver underlying the review is the agency’s concern regarding Russia’s “rising susceptibility to political and financial event risk, primarily driven by the risk of further
escalation of hostilities,” Moody’s said. Russia’s seizure of Crimea earlier this month after the ousting of Ukraine’s pro-Moscow president following mass protests has triggered the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War. “The rating agency believes that the current crisis could significantly dampen investor sentiment for several years to come by adding to existing deterrents to investment posed by Russia’s weak rule of law and high levels of corruption,” Moody’s said in a statement. “This could further damage the country’s economic outlook given its large investment
needs. It could also further constrain its ability to diversify the economy away from overreliance on oil and gas,” the agency said. Moody’s said it acknowledges Russia’s large foreign-currency reserves and limited external debt repayments and the current strength of the government’s balance sheet. But it noted that “wider economic sanctions and potential countermeasures by Russia could, were they to materialize, erode those financial buffers.” Earlier this month, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings revised their outlooks for Russia to negative, saying they were concerned
about the potential impact of EU and US sanctions on Russia’s economy and business environment. The United States and other Western states have sought to isolate Russia diplomatically and charge it an economic price for the annexation of Crimea. Targeted US and EU visa bans and asset freezes against senior Russian and Crimean officials, with the threat of tougher economic sanctions to come if Putin goes any further, have accelerated capital flight from Russia. During its ratings review, Moody’s said it will seek to obtain greater clarity on the extent to which the current crisis will
exacerbate the country’s growth challenges as well as the resilience of Russia’s economy, public finances and external position if the crisis worsens. Russia’s economy is already in trouble, with growth slowing to under 2 percent, inflation up and investment levels stagnant around 20 percent, well below necessary levels. Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said capital outflows could total around $100 billion this year, and would slow economic growth for full-year 2014 to well below earlier forecasts of 2.5 percent.— Reuters
The new ‘silk road’ FRANKFURT: It is one of the world’s longest railways an approximately 11,000-kilometre “modern-day silk road” that traverses Russia and Kazakhstan to link a megacity in the heart of China with a key commercial hub in western Germany. Yesterday, as part of his landmark visit to Germany, Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to visit the last stop on the “Yuxinou” rail line, an industrial feat that promises to revolutionize transport between Europe and Asia. Duisburg is a steel-making town of around half a million on the confluence of the Rhine and Ruhr rivers that boasts the world’s biggest inland port and is one of Germany’s most important transport and commercial hubs. Despite the vast distances between them, it takes just 16 days for trains crammed with laptops and electronics to travel to Duisburg from Chongqing, a sprawling metropolitan symbol of rising China with a population of more than 30 million. Xi is scheduled to welcome a freight train yesterday afternoon as it completes a journey that has taken it through Central Asia, Russia, Belarus and Poland. Set up in 2011 by a group of rail companies, the Yuxinou is just 2,000 km short of the world’s longest rail line that links Germany to Shanghai. It has shaved more than 20 days off the sea route. The route is particularly useful for Chongqing-home to vast car-parts and IT factories-since it lies 1,500 km from
China’s main seaports. “The value of this rail link, known in China as the ‘new silk road’, is more than just symbolic,” the spokesman of the port of Duisburg, Julian Boecker, said. “It has found itself a position in the market and now operates up to three weekly services,” he said. But one of the biggest challenges will be to boost traffic in both directions to make it more profitable. It is not uncommon for the Yuxinou trains, which can transport as many as 50 containers, to be full when they arrive in Duisburg but empty when they return to China. “At the moment, the amount of goods travelling from China to Europe is much larger than the other way round. That’s a problem,” said Maria Leenen, director of market research group SCI Verkehr. Alternative to sea transport It was sea transport which gradually supplanted the historic Silk Road trade route linking Asia with Europe centuries ago. Sea transport still accounts for more than 95 percent of goods trading between the two regions, said Burkhard Lemper of the logistics consultants ISL. Rail’s share of the market remains tiny, and for now, the Yuxinou link only compliments existing transport systems. But “rail is twice as fast as sea transport and twice as cheap as air freight,” said Erich Staake, head of the company that operates the Duisburg port. — AFP
TAIPEI: Demonstrators with a sign that reads “supporting the trade pact with China is good for Taiwan’s future” rally to ask the opposing students occupying the legislature to retreat and return the government building to its normal working schedule in Taipei yesterday. — AP
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
Kuwait trade surplus down to KD24.3bn in 2013 NBK ECONOMIC REPORT KUWAIT: Recent data show that Kuwait’s trade surplus edged down to KD 24.3 billion in 2013, from a record KD 25.7 billion in 2012. The surplus - estimated at around 48 percent of 2013 GDP - was pushed down by lower oil export receipts during the year. Nevertheless, the surplus is still the second-highest on record, and extremely large by international standards. Though figures for the current account position have not yet been released, we expect it to have recorded another stellar year on the back of strong trade data. A current account surplus of up to 40 percent of GDP for 2013 seems likely. Oil exports edged down to KD 30.8 billion in 2013, some 3 percent lower than a year earlier. This was due to lower oil prices, as oil markets eased in 2013 on the back of surging non-OPEC supplies and modest growth in global demand. Kuwait export crude prices averaged $105 per barrel during the year, some $4 (4 percent) lower than in 2012. Meanwhile, non-oil exports climbed to a record KD 1.9 billion - though still account for only 6 percent of total
exports. These were mainly driven by higher exports of ethylene products, which were up by a large 16 percent y/y. Ethylene products’ contribution to nonoil exports has risen significantly over the past few years, from 12 percent in 2008 to some 40 percent by 2013 - partly related to capacity expansion in Kuwait’s petrochemical sector.
Russia’s Lukoil begins output from Iraq oilfield BASRA: Russia’s Lukoil began commercial production from one of the world’s largest untapped oilfields in Iraq yesterday, as the country raises output to record levels. Production from the giant West Qurna-2 is eventually expected to reach 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd), from an initial 120,000 bpd. The field is one of several that form the backbone of Iraq’s plans to revive its oil sector and lift the economy after decades of sanctions and war. At a ceremony to inaugurate the field, Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi said output from West Qurna-2 would enable Iraq to reach a production target of 4 million bpd by the end of the year. Output from Iraq, already the secondlargest producer in OPEC, averaged 3.5 million bpd in February. The launch of West Qurna-2, with recoverable reserves estimated at around 14 billion barrels, will allow Lukoil, which holds a 75-percent stake in the field, to more than double its overseas output. “The start of production at West Qurna-2 is strategically important for LUKOIL,” said CEO Vagit Alekperov in a statement.
Russia’s no 2 oil producer saw its production rise 1.1 percent last year and is aiming for a 1.5 percent rise this year with the boost from West Qurna-2. The world’s leading oil companies have been expanding other giant fields in Iraq’s south - Rumaila led by BP, West Qurna-1 run by Exxon and Zubair operated by Eni since 2010 when they signed a series of service contracts with Baghdad. That revival, now into its fifth year, prompted Iraq to set an export target of 3.4 million bpd for 2014, including 400,000 bpd from the Kurdistan region, implying output of 4 million bpd, including oil used domestically. Oil experts still see that as optimistic, but growth is returning thanks to the expanded capacity at southern export terminals and further rises from the fields of Majnoon, led by Shell and Halfaya, where PetroChina is the operator. Kurdistan has also agreed to contribute 100,000 bpd as of April 1 in a move to resolve a dispute with the Baghdad government over exports of oil from the autonomous region. — Reuters
S Iraq oil exports 2.48m bpd in March, new field to open BASRA: Oil exports from southern Iraq have averaged 2.48 million barrels per day (bpd) so far in March, a senior official said yesterday, as Russia’s Lukoil prepared to begin production from the country’s second-largest field. Production in the south has averaged 2.5 million bpd so far this month, and should rise to 2.65 million following the inauguration of the giant West Qurna-2 oilfield, Dhiya Jaafar, the head of Iraq’s South Oil Company, also said. Lukoil is due to start pumping crude on Saturday from West
Qurna-2, considered the world’s secondlargest untapped deposit, with initial output of 120,000 bpd, eventually rising to 1.2 million bpd. The launch of West Qurna-2, with recoverable reserves estimated at around 14 billion barrels, will allow Lukoil, which holds a 75-percent stake in the field, to more than double its overseas output. For Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest producer, it is one of several key fields that will help lift the economy after decades of sanctions and war. — Reuters
Imports saw steady growth of around 9 percent in 2013, and reached an alltime high of KD 8.3 billion. Imports provide an important indicator of domestic economic activity. On one crude measure, the latest import figures could indicate stable growth in non-oil GDP in 2013 - for which data is not yet available. Within the non-oil economy, Kuwait’s
consumer sector has been an important growth driver; imports of consumer goods have grown at a faster rate than other types of imports in recent years. This year, we expect the trade balance to shrink further, though remain very large. Oil markets are expected to loosen in 2014, putting downward pressure on prices and reducing oil export receipts.
Meanwhile, the outlook for imports is mixed. A faster pace of execution of stalled government projects would provide a much-needed boost to the economy, while recent signs point to a slight softening in the consumer sector. Despite the latter, consumer spending should remain relatively strong, supporting growth in imports.
Mother’s Exhibition concludes with impressive participation KUWAIT: Last Saturday, 2nd Mother ’s Exhibition and Festival, organized by ExpoTag for Organization of Exhibitions & Conferences Co, under the auspices of Sheikha Fariha AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, director of the Kuwait Association for the Ideal Family, was closed. The event was held over a period of two days at the Safir International Hotel - Bneid AlGar. On this occasion, during its press statement, Expo Tag Company indicated that the Festival which was entitled (I Love You Mom) took care of the special needs of the mother. There were more than 35 participants that included (food companies, skin care and beauty products, children’s toys and products, health institutes and beauty centers, many chocolate products, international schools for training football, as well as mobile phone and electronics companies). It explained that the exhibition and festival witnessed an impressive turnout. The attendants interacted with the program of this annual event, which included encouraging children to make the nicest gifts for their mothers as well as different contests, including cooking for mothers on stage with their children. The program included distributing prizes to the participants and the audience and presenting certificates of appreciation for participating mothers. At the end of the festival, the organizing party, Expo Tag, honored the sponsors and participants in the event. Mrs. Dalia Wafai honored the platinum sponsors of the Mother’s Festival and Exhibition. These sponsors included Imad General Trading and Contracting (Al-Alali), Mohamed Nasser Al-Hajiri and Sons Company, Al-Sayer Refreshments Plant Company, Barwa Company, Royal Pharmacies Group, Al-Yusra Food Company, and Kuwait Dairy Company. Expo Tag also honored the golden sponsors of the exhibition which included Al-Dala Golden International Commercial Company, Safir International - Kuwait, Tijan International Dentistry Center, Al Kazemi International Food Industries Plant, Kuwait National Bakeries (Wafer) and Al-Marai Company - Kuwait. Additionally, ExpoTag honored the parties participating in the exhibition. These parties include: Imco International Medical Requirements Company, Kout Food Group (Pizza Hut), Walden General Trading Company, Premiere Jewel Academy (Everton), Al-Taham
Al-Mansi Healthy Food and Plant Products Company, Milopa Company, Ahlia Group for Food and Consumption Materials, Shahaleel Children’s Toys and Requirements, Boushehri Group (Acu Iva Septuna), Ifco Kuwait, Massad
Limited Company, Modern Technology Drink ing Water Bottling Company (Abraj Water), Kuwait Flour Mills and Bakeries Company, Small Mothers Volunteering Group, and Al-Sabih Commercial Institution.
EXCHANGE RATES Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. Japanese Yen Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Srilankan Rupees Nepali Rupees Singapore Dollar Hongkong Dollar Bangladesh Taka Philippine Peso Thai Baht Irani Riyal transfer Irani Riyal cash Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham
ASIAN COUNTRIES 2.757 4.653 2.888 2.158 2.915 222.710 36.396 3.631 6.250 8.712 0.271 0.273 GCC COUNTRIES 75.337 77.625 733.890 750.370 76.938
ARAB COUNTRIES Egyptian Pound - Cash 39.695 Egyptian Pound - Transfer 40.134 Yemen Riyal/for 1000 1.318 Tunisian Dinar 179.640 Jordanian Dinar 398.950 Lebanese Lira/for 1000 1.895 Syrian Lira 2.014 Morocco Dirham 35.522 EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 282.400 Euro 390.980 Sterling Pound 466.950 Canadian dollar 252.370 Turkish lira 126.690 Swiss Franc 321.270 Australian Dollar 257.550 US Dollar Buying 281.200 20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram
GOLD 240.000 121.000 62.500
UAE Exchange Centre WLL COUNTRY SELL DRAFT Australian Dollar 259.98 Canadian Dollar 258.85 Swiss Franc 327.41 Euro 395.49 US Dollar 281.25 Sterling Pound 471.17 Japanese Yen 2.83 Bangladesh Taka 3.620 Indian Rupee 4.608 Sri Lankan Rupee 2.155 Nepali Rupee 2.888 Pakistani Rupee 2.758 UAE Dirhams 76.64 Bahraini Dinar 748.57 Egyptian Pound 40.40 Jordanian Dinar 400.29 Omani Riyal 731.43 Qatari Riyal 77.67 Saudi Riyal 75.13
SELL CASH 256.98 258.85 325.41 396.49 284.25 474.17 2.85 3.890 4.908 2.590 3.423 2.790 77.11 750.64 41.00 405.94 738.73 78.22 75.53
Syrian Pound Nepalese Rupees Malaysian Ringgit Chinese Yuan Renminbi Thai Bhat Turkish Lira
Selling Rate 282.100 259.115 469.305 389.690 318.405 750.835 76.780 78.365 75.700 397.560 40.430 2.156 4.702 2.875 3.626 6.200 692.895 3.760
0.000069 0.220941 0.020773 0.001867 0.009134 0.008345
0.000075 0.226941 0.029273 0.002447 0.009314 0.008895 Arab
Bahrain Exchange Company CURRENCY
Belgian Franc British Pound Czech Korune Danish Krone Euro Norwegian Krone Romanian Leu Slovakia Swedish Krona Swiss Franc Turkish Lira
Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd Rate for Transfer US Dollar Canadian Dollar Sterling Pound Euro Swiss Frank Bahrain Dinar UAE Dirhams Qatari Riyals Saudi Riyals Jordanian Dinar Egyptian Pound Sri Lankan Rupees Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Bangladesh Taka Philippines Pesso Cyprus pound Japanese Yen
Sierra Leone Singapore Dollar South African Rand Sri Lankan Rupee Taiwan Thai Baht
2.945 3.920 86.530 45.815 9.645 128.980
0.007338 0.463511 0.006025 0.047971 0.383198 0.043088 0.081470 0.008076 0.039555 0.312249 0.126402
0.008338 0.472511 0.018025 0.052971 0.391198 0.048288 0.81470 0.018076 0.044555 0.322449 0.133408
Australian Dollar New Zealand Dollar America Canadian Dollar US Dollars US Dollars Mint
Australasia 0.252949 0.238331
0.250233 0.278250 0.278750
0.258733 0.282600 0.282600
Bangladesh Taka Chinese Yuan Hong Kong Dollar Indian Rupee Indonesian Rupiah Japanese Yen Kenyan Shilling Korean Won Malaysian Ringgit Nepalese Rupee Pakistan Rupee Philippine Peso
0.003246 0.044297 0.034319 0.004375 0.000020 0.002668 0.003247 0.000254 0.082132 0.002940 0.002629 0.006391
Asia 0.003846 0.047797 0.037069 0.004776 0.000026 0.002848 0.003347 0.000269 0.08132 0.003110 0.002909 0.006671
Bahraini Dinar 0.742483 Egyptian Pound 0.036799 Iranian Riyal 0.000078 Iraqi Dinar 0.000181 Jordanian Dinar 0.394014 Kuwaiti Dinar 1.0000000 Lebanese Pound 0.000138 Moroccan Dirhams 0.023421 Nigerian Naira 0.001193 Omani Riyal 0.727344 Qatar Riyal 0.076845 Saudi Riyal 0.074657 Syrian Pound 0.001751 Tunisian Dinar 0.174395 Turkish Lira 0.126402 UAE Dirhams 0.075892 Yemeni Riyal 0.001282
0.750483 0.039899 0.000079 0.000241 0.401514 1.0000000 0.000238 0.047421 0.001828 0.733024 0.078058 0.075357 0.001971 0.182395 0.133402 0.077041 0.001362
Al Mulla Exchange Currency US Dollar Euro Pound Sterling Canadian Dollar Indian Rupee Egyptian Pound Sri Lankan Rupee Bangladesh Taka Philippines Peso Pakistan Rupee Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham Saudi Riyal *Rates are subject to change
Transfer Rate (Per 1000) 281.700 391.200 466.100 253.100 4.660 40.105 2.155 3.622 6.250 2.880 750.100 76.700 75.200
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
Kuwait companies eye listing on LSE Overseas listing to increase capital, raise profile By Sajeev K Peter
NEW YORK: This file photo shows the Citibank building in New York. Citigroup cannot raise its dividend or buy back its own stock because it needs better plans to cope with a severe recession, the Federal Reserve ruled.—AP
As US momentum stocks take beating, some sectors benefit NEW YORK: Investors in some of the past year’s hottest US stocks have been given a savage lesson in the risks of so-called “momentum trading”. A group of 24 such companies compiled by Credit Suisse has lost $63 billion in market value, or almost 19 percent, so far in March. One of them, streaming video service Netflix, has declined on 15 of the last 17 trading days, while another, online travel service Priceline, is on pace to for its worst month in nearly two years, while Twitter sank below its November first-day closing price for the first time. The sell off may well have further to go, investors warn. For one thing, the initial public offering market looks vulnerable after King Digital Entertainment, maker of the popular Candy Crush online game, cratered on its debut, losing 15 percent in its first day of trade on Wednesday, and another 2.7 percent on Thursday. If such raisings get pulled or pared back it will likely hurt the banks’ underwriting fees. But while it all stands as a warning to those who joined crowded trades in richly priced stocks, it is good news for short sellers who are prepared to bet against what they see as over-valued stocks, and for investors who spend their time searching for unrecognized gems trading at bargain-basement levels. It also indicates that the investing world may be returning to more normal rules, that includes sharper assessments of the risk in different sectors, now that the Federal Reserve’s bond-buying stimulus program is being reduced and there is less “easy money” sloshing around. “The weakness in momentum stocks does have an implication for the broader market,” said Joshua Brown, vice president of investments at Fusion Analytics in New York. “The best way to gauge general risk appetite is to look at momentum sectors.” Near record levels Investors and strategists stress that the pain in the momentum area is mostly isolated to that world. The wider stock market isn’t in the crosshairs - and some sectors are benefiting as money is switched. “It would normally be concerning to see this,” said Frank Gretz, market analyst at brokerage Wellington Shields & Co in New York. “Instead, other companies are stepping up and new leaders are emerging. Enough is holding together that I haven’t given up on the bull market even with the leadership coming down.” The S&P 500 is within a few percent of record levels and inflows into equity funds remain positive. Investors have moved into utilities, financials and telecom stocks. In Credit Suisse’s analysis of the 24 stocks, all but 1 of the companies derive at least 55 percent of their present value from their future growth prospects. Essentially, they’re big bets on the future, typical of biotech and IT names. Some of the stocks have unenviable characteristics. Servicenow and Incyte are characterized as “worst in class” by Credit Suisse’s proprietary analytical models - which means they’re considered low quality names with weak price momentum and pricey in value. Others, like Pandora Media, are considered “momentum traps,” that are expensive and lower-quality, but have strong momentum. But it’s far from certain that such names have a lot further to fall. The bull market has been resilient, and that has helped stocks like electric car maker Tesla Motors weather bouts of weakness as it did in the fall of 2013, when
its shares lost 40 percent before streaking again to new highs. John Hempton, chief investment officer of Bronte Capital, a small hedge fund based in Sydney, Australia - who is also a prominent short seller - said he was loath to say that momentum had “cracked.” “If you go back to dot-com, there were five times it cracked before it really cracked, and if you shorted each of those cracks, you got yourself carried out,” he said of the Internet stocks boom in the late 1990s and the bust beginning in 2000. He did say, however, that he has been shorting a number of biotechnology names. Other investors, too, have been reducing their presence in the sector as reflected by a nearly 14 percent slide in the Nasdaq Biotech index since late February. “We owned biotechs for the last year and had a wonderful ride. We sold them because valuations got stretched,” said David Kotok, chairman and chief investment officer at Cumberland Advisors. He isn’t ready to get back in yet. “Let’s induce some fear. Let’s correct some prices. Let people start to question what to do. Then there’s a reentry time,” he said.
KUWAIT: A number of Kuwaiti companies are showing interest in listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) exploring their growth opportunities globally, a top LSE official here said. Talking to Kuwait Times in an interview, Ibukun Adebayo, London Stock Exchange Group, CoHead, Emerging Markets and Primary Markets, said, “Many Kuwaiti companies are looking at the possibility of an overseas listing either to meet their immediate capital requirements or to raise their profile.” Adebayo, who arrived in Kuwait after attending the three-day World Exchanges Congress in Doha, met with many Kuwaiti businessmen and officials at the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE). “Kuwait has a distinct advantage in terms of growth opportunities and stability. Kuwaiti investors are aware of that and many have shown interest in raising their capital on the LSE,” he said. “We are offering businesses and companies in Kuwait the opportunity to use LSE as a complementary financing venue for advancing their equity story,” he stated. Talking about the discussions he had with KSE officials, Adebayo said they were ‘normal’ and centered primarily on admission and disclosure standards stock exchanges follow globally. “There are businesses in Kuwait which have a need to access capital outside of the current pool in Kuwait. For example, certain companies in oil and gas or real estate sectors may get a better understanding of their sector or their equity story due to the deep pool of knowledge in a market like London. Kuwaiti companies can avail of the potential and expertise for evaluation of opportunities in London,” he said. However, Adebayo made it clear that if a company is purely domestic in terms of its operations, those companies must be funded locally either by the local stock exchange or the bank-
ing system. “Only when the companies are going beyond the boundaries of Kuwait, then London becomes a proposition. Where the story is purely domestic, we as an exchange company, will encourage the company to remain domestic. We are very clear about that,” he stated. Adebayo said this year’s World Exchanges Congress in Doha shared new ideas and best
KUWAIT: Ibukun Adebayo, London Stock Exchange Group, Co -Head, Emerging Markets and Primary Markets. —Photo by Sajeev K Peter stock market practices across the globe. “We talked about how to align stock exchanges more closely for the benefit of companies, how to change the clearing and settlement systems to become more unified and how to improve the experience of investors and issuers in the light of emerging trends in new media and technology,” he said.
China Southern profit down 24%, as state airline earnings slump
Worries about newbies In the IPO market, investors have been fed a steady diet of new public offerings from companies yet to turn a profit. More than 50 IPOs have priced in 2014, and two-thirds of those are unprofitable, according to Renaissance Capital, an IPO investment advisor. King Digital is actually profitable but suffers from concerns that Candy Crush may be a fad. “Candy Crush is a reminder that the market sometimes gets frothy and that this is not free money,” said Sam Kendall, global head of equity capital markets at UBS. Hempton said he was less concerned about the technology names coming to market than the biotech shares. “Everything that I have seen [in tech] is at least plausible that it could earn money. People are still funding projects that are real bets,” he said. “In biotech at the moment, people are funding projects because they can sell them to the stock market.” The long view Activity from short-sellers indicate that many do not believe the correction in momentum names has fully shaken out the group’s excess. The 24 stocks identified by Credit Suisse have seen a slight increase in short bets in the last week, according to Markit. This group, on average, shows 18.8 percent of the shares available for borrowing being used for shorting, up 0.6 percentage points in the last week. However, some of the names have seen shorts shaken out by periods in which they rallied. In the early part of 2013, more than 24 percent of Tesla shares were being shorted. That’s been halved as the stock has rocketed higher, boosting its forward price-to-earnings ratio to 113. By most measures, shares are overvalued. But a fullscale retreat does not seem to be in the cards at this point. Scott Wallace, chief investment officer at Chicago-based hedge fund Shorepath Capital, has boosted his position in Facebook and is looking at biotechs more closely. “It’s periods like these when you should start to think about great long term franchises and start to add to them,” he said. “I had zero exposure to biotech going into this, and now I’m doing my homework on a few of them.” —Reuters
Emerging markets Adebayo, who is a specialist in emerging markets, admitted that there are a number of macro issues that affect the emerging markets. “We have everything from the policy paralysis in India to Crimean crisis in Russia to the pace of devaluation in Argentina. But, London investor base has always been good at discerning a macro story from the pure fundamentals of a company. Of course, the developments in the emerging markets have an effect. But it doesn’t mean that a company cannot raise money,” he explained. “Investors have the ability look at the pure fundamentals and growth prospects of the company they are investing in. That is what London does very well. The issues are relevant, but they don’t remove the opportunity for investment,” he added. “In the GCC, there seems to be stability and less risky growth. We have seen acute demand for GCC stock especially for Kuwaiti and UAE stocks, during issuances recently in London,” he said. According to him several GCC companies per form well on LSE after listing. Al-Noor Hospitals undertook the second largest international IPO on LSE in 2013 and raised $342 million. Damac Real Estate Development raised $400 million by issuing Global Depository Receipts in December, 2013. It is the first UAE property company to list in London and is the largest IPO by a Middle Eastern company in London since 2005. Similarly, Kuwait’s Action Hotels that joined AIM (Alternative Investment Market) in 2013, raised 30 million pounds. Abu Dhabi’s Gulf Marine Services raised $100 million in March 2014, took a premium listing on the Main Market which appreciated by 35 percent since listing. “The London investor base really likes the stability in the GCC. It is demonstrating that by buying stocks when they become available on the LSE,” Adebayo added.
Air Berlin denies financial problems FRANKFURT: Germany’s Air Berlin said yesterday it had enough money to run its business, denying claims by an investor rights group it was trying to hide its financial difficulties by twice delaying publication of its annual results. The airline, almost 30 percent owned by Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, on Wednesday postponed publication of its results for the second time in a week, saying it was in talks for a recapitalization to strengthen its finances. “The company has sufficient liquidity and also has additional flexibility through an undrawn shareholder loan,” Air Berlin said in an emailed statement
yesterday. Daily newspaper Berliner Zeitung quoted Michael Kunert, spokesman for investor rights group SdK, as saying he believed Air Berlin had breached financial disclosure rules. “Mr. Kunert’s claims are wrong, and we believe they are damaging to our business,” Air Berlin said, adding it would not rule out legal action against SdK. German financial watchdog BaFin was not immediately available for comment yesterday. Berliner Zeitung quoted a BaFin spokeswoman as saying German public limited companies had until the end of April to publish their financial results for the previous year. — Reuters
HONG KONG: China Southern Airlines, the country’s biggest airline by fleet size, said net profit for 2013 fell more than 20 percent, the latest Chinese carrier to be hit by a weak economy and stiff competition. Net profit was 1.99 billion yuan ($320 million), down 24.2 percent from the previous year’s 2.62 billion yuan, with revenue also one percent lower at 98.55 billion yuan, it said in a statement filed late Friday to the Hong Kong stock exchange. The Guangzhou-based airline is one of the three state-owned airlines hit by double-digit net profit drops for 2013, with Air China seeing a 32 percent fall, at 3.32 billion yuan, compared to 2012. Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines also saw 2013 net profit slid by 25 percent to 2.38 billion yuan compared to the previous year. “In 2013, the overall global economy was still on the basic trend of slow recovery, the risk of a deterioration of the economy was not completely removed,” China Southern said in the statement. Despite a higher demand for air travel in China, other travel alternatives including express railways and high oil prices contributed to lower profits for the airline, it said. China’s aviation market will enter “an era of full competition”, the airline said of 2014, citing moves to open up the industry. “Low-priced flights will become more popular, and airlines with low-cost structure will have rapid development,” it said, adding that there would be less room for growth for the “traditional business market”. Both China Eastern Airlines and Air China cited similar challenges when they reported their 2013 net profit, saying intensified competition and sluggish recovery in the world economy were to blame for the drop in earnings. “The aviation industry will continue to face serious challenges such as intensifying competition, dwindling resources, and rising operating costs,” Air China said of 2014 in a Tuesday statement. China Southern launched its new Boeing 787 jets on daily flights between Guangzhou and Vancouver last month The airline reported a 19 percent decrease in net profits for the first half of 2013 due to a slowdown in domestic demand. —AFP
Industry hampering oil train safety: US govt BILLINGS, Montana: US transportation officials rebuked the oil industry Friday for not giving up information regulators say they need to gauge the danger of moving crude by rail, after several accidents highlighted the explosive properties of fuel from the booming oil shale fields on the Northern Plains. Department of Transportation officials told The Associated Press they have received only limited data on the characteristics of oil from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana despite requests lodged by Secretary Anthony Foxx more than two months ago. “The overall and ongoing lack of cooperation is disappointing, slows progress and certainly raises concerns,” the agency said in a statement. “We still lack data we requested and that energy stakeholders agreed to produce within 30 days.” The DOT said “a handful of individual companies” have offered the information being sought but would not provide specifics. Representatives from the American Petroleum Institute refuted the foot-dragging accusation. “We’d like to know what information they’re not getting so we can give it to them,” said API spokesman Eric Wohlschlegel. API president Jack Gerard said oil companies have been encouraged by the group to share what they know. He said there’s more data to come, but added that API does not serve as an industry “library” so it would come from multiple
sources. There have been at least four major accidents involving trains carrying crude from the Bakken since production began to boom in 2008. Among them was a derailment last July that killed 47 people and torched a large section of downtown Lac-Megantic, Quebec. The combustibility of the crude in LacMegantic was comparable to gasoline, according to Canadian investigators. Other accidents with explosions have occurred after derailments of oil trains in Alabama, North Dakota and Oklahoma. The string of accidents led regulators to warn emergency responders and the public in January that Bakken oil - a light, sweet crude that has high amounts of natural gases and other volatile compounds - could be more dangerous than many conventional crudes. Some crudes from elsewhere in North America and around the globe share similar volatile properties. But the Bakken fuel is the first to be moved in North America in modern times in such massive quantities by rail. That’s exposed a new set of safety concerns, including a well-known defect in tens of thousands of rail cars that leads them to rupture in accidents. Mile-long oil trains can carry 3 million gallons of crude per shipment. The number of carloads delivered by major US railroads has surged astronomically: from 9,344 delivered in 2008 to
434,000 carloads last year. The shipments are delivered to refineries across the US and Canada, including in the Pacific Northwest, California, and the East and Gulf Coasts. Unlike most hazardous materials produced by chemical plants or other manufacturing sources, crude oil is not refined before being loaded onto trains. As a result, its properties can vary greatly among shipments. Three companies were hit with proposed penalties totaling $93,000 in February for misclassifying oil from the Bakken as less dangerous. The North Dakota Petroleum Council on Friday announced it has contracted with an engineering consulting firm to study Bakken crude oil in an attempt to resolve the federal government’s concerns. The council represents more than 500 companies operating in the Midwest and Rocky Mountains. Spokeswoman Tessa Sandstrom said oil samples will be collected for study from 18 locations across the Williston Basin of North Dakota and Montana, which includes the Bakken. Through the petroleum institute, the industry also has pledged to work with the government to come up with new standards for testing the oil to make sure it’s being handled properly when loaded onto trains. That process is expected to take several more months, and will be driven in part by what’s learned regarding volatility. Cynthia Quarterman, head of the
The photo provided by Surete du Quebec via the Canadian Press, shows wrecked oil tankers and debris from a runaway train in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada. US transportation officials say the oil industry is not giving up needed information needed to gauge the danger of moving crude by rail. — AP But there were signs the government’s Transportation Department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration, testified patience was wearing thin in recent weeks. In a before Congress as recently as late February that March 10 interview with The Associated Press, the industry had been working closely and shar- Quarterman raised the prospect the governing information with regulators. ment was ready to go it alone if necessary.— AP
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
As China lists big businesses in HK, investors query credentials CITIC Pacific shares fall amid asset deal skepticism HONG KONG: China’s move to list one of its biggest state-run conglomerates in Hong Kong has left some investors questioning whether Beijing’s choice is about improving corporate management and welcoming foreign investors or cementing its own control. CITIC Group Corp, China’s state-run flagship investment company, is to transfer its main operating assets to its majority-owned, Hong Kong-listed industrial conglomerate CITIC Pacific Ltd. The deal, valued at $42 billion, comes just a few months after China’s Communist Party promised to promote use of free markets to bolster growth in the world’s secondbiggest economy. The day after welcoming a deal that folds huge assets from steel to property companies into their firm, CITIC Pacific’s minority investors were more sceptical, sending the stock lower. CITIC Pacific plans to pay for the biggest injection of assets into a listed company in Hong Kong’s history with an unspecified combination of new shares for existing holders and cash. Rather than relinquishing control, in the short term CITIC Group could raise its stake in CITIC Pacific from 57.51 percent to close to 90 percent, according to Breakingviews calculations. While it’s unclear whether or when CITIC Group might ultimately reduce its holding, the transaction highlights the complexities that China may face in convincing markets that it can successfully open up more stateowned assets to foreign investors. “If you go to market with confusing messages, lack of clarity about structures, you can often put a big chunk of investors off side,” said Sydney-based Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital,
which manages $120 billion. “Then it’s much harder to retain them,” said Oliver, whose fund has exposure to Hong Kong and China shares. After rising more than 13 percent on Thursday on the back of the deal announcement, partly on short-covering, CITIC Pacific shares slid to the bottom of the pack on Friday. The stock was down 5 percent at 0801 GMT, making it the worst performer in the benchmark Hang Seng Index, up 1.1 percent. As CITIC Pacific slipped, some investors also questioned whether the new assets it is receiving will revive confidence in a company hammered in recent years after miscalculating the huge cost of developing a mine in Western Australia. In October 2008, the stock lost half its value in one day after sour bets on the direction of the Australian dollar resulted in nearly $2 billion of losses. “Early gains were driven by the excitement of the deal, people have become more down to the earth again as they need to see how well the assets will be in future,” said Ben Kwong, chief operating officer of regional brokerage KGI Asia. Biggest conglomerate In the deal, CITIC Group said it would transfer the assets of its main operating arm, CITIC Ltd, to the Hong Kong-listed company. CITIC Ltd made a net profit of 34 billion yuan ($5.5 billion) net profit in 2013. It had a total equity of about 225 billion yuan ($36.2 billion) at the end of 2013, while its debt level wasn’t disclosed in the Wednesday filing announcing the deal. Its array of assets stretches from gold mining in Central Asia, to oil in Kazakhstan and the Beijing Guoan Football Club. The company also makes
hydropower equipment, owns China’s only platinum import and export company and biggest manganese ore miner, and overseas a small empire of office and residential property spanning Shenzhen to Dalian. About 79 percent of its 2013 profit came from the financial sector, through stakes in companies like China CITIC Bank Corp , according to estimates from Jefferies analysts. While the deal means investors in CITIC Pacific will get their first exposure to financial services assets, China’s banks have struggled of late, under the weight of mounting bad debt. “CITIC Pacific will be a stronger company through a much enlarged shareholders’ equity, broader range of businesses and deeper managerial skills,” CITIC Pacific said. “These will enhance its competitiveness and ability to capture the economic growth opportunities in China.” The company hasn’t indicated exactly how it will finance the deal. In a statement on Thursday, credit rating agency Moody’s said it “expects that CITIC Pacific will fund the acquisition mainly by equity through issuing new shares to CITIC Group.” Moody’s placed its ratings on CITIC Pacific under review for an upgrade, reflecting its expectation that “the proposed acquisition will greatly increase CITIC Pacific’s scale and enhance its credit profile.” Last November, Moody’s had cut CITIC Pacific’s rating to Ba2, two notches below investment grade, citing lingering risks associated with its Sino Iron project. SOE reforms How the CITIC deal fares will be closely watched by those looking for evidence that China can implement the reforms it says it wants to make. Last
November China’s Communist Party said the government was prepared to advance state-owned company restructuring and promote further use of markets to bolster its economy as its slows after the blistering growth of the last decade. Beijing also said it would transform qualified government-owned conglomerates into state investment companies. In one of the first developments, Sinopec, Asia’s biggest oil refiner, said last month that it would sell up to 30 percent of its marketing arm, which owns more than 30,000 petrol stations, in a 300 billion yuan ($48.31 billion) asset restructuring. The sale may take place in the third quarter of this year, company chairman Fu Chengyu said earlier week. “It is absolutely essential that these SOEs get restructured. They represent an incredibly inefficient part of the Chinese economy,” said Singaporebased Peter Elston, head of Asia Pacific Strategy and Asset Allocation at Aberdeen Asset Management Asia. “What we seen so far really just the tip of what needs to happen. It’s encouraging to see some restructuring taking place, but an awful lot more needs to happen, before we can have the confidence to increase investment into China,” he added. Hong Kong remains the leading market for Chinarelated companies, which have raised more than US$375 billion from equity share sales in the enclave since 1993. “Hong Kong is always a ‘testing ground’ for China’s reforms and has the ability to help Chinese companies to extend their overseas business,” KC Chan, Hong Kong’s acting financial secretary, told Reuters. — Reuters
Active trading buoys KSE stocks BAYAN WEEKLY MARKET REPORT KUWAIT: Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) ended last week in the green zone. The Price Index closed at 7,584.76 points, up by 0.36 percent from the week before closing, the Weighted Index increased by 2.81 percent after closing at 486.69 points, whereas the KSX-15 Index closed at 1,193.87 points up by 4.19 percent. Furthermore, last week’s average daily turnover increased by 4.37 percent, compared to the preceding week, reaching KD 32.89 million, whereas trading volume average was 190.44 million shares, recording decrease of 23.04 percent. Kuwait stock market indicators were able to realize gain for the second consecutive week, supported by the active purchasing and collection operations performed on many listed stocks, headed by the leading and operational stocks that continued to grow, and reflected on the market indices, especially KSX-15, which reached its highest closing level since its inception in May 2012. In addition, the stock market initiated last week’s trading with mixed performance, as the Price Index declined affected by the profit collection operations performed on the small-cap stocks, which realized different gains in earlier sessions, however, the Weighted Index and KSX-15 Index were able to realize gains supported by the purchasing power that targeted many blue-chip stocks, especially in Banking sector. Moreover, the stock market witnessed recovery in most of the traded stocks, which positively impacted the Price Index, that was able to compensate its earlier loss. Also, the blue-chip stocks, headed by the Banking sector, continued to support the other two indices among an improvement in the trading activity, especially the value, where the three indices ended the week in the green zone. For the annual performance, the price index ended last week recording 0.47 percent annual profit compared to its closing in 2013, while the weighted index increased by 7.47 percent, and the KSX-15 recorded 11.74 percent growth. Sectors’ indices Eight of KSE’s sectors ended last week in the green zone, while the other four recorded declines. The Banking sector headed the gainers list as its index grew by 3.61 percent to end the week’s activity at 1,112.92 points. The Consumer services sector was second on the gainer’s list, which index increased by 2.82 percent, closing at 1,110.15 points, followed by the Consumer Goods, as its index closed at 1,262.63 points at an increase of 0.91 percent. The Financial Services was the least growing sector as its index closed at 1,090.47 points
with a 0.23 percent increase. On the other hand, the Insurance sector headed the losers list as its index down by 1.36 percent to end the week’s activity at 1,128.38 points. Follow by Real Estate as its index down by 1.19 percent to end the week’s activity at 1,358.28 points. The Telecommunications the least declining sec-
tor as its index closed at 865.10 points with a 0.37 percent decrease. Sectors’ activity The Financial Services sector dominated total trade volume during last week with 347.73 million shares changing hands, representing 36.52 percent of the total market trad-
ing volume. The Real Estate sector was second in terms of trading volume as the sector’s traded shares were 29.61 percent of last week’s total trading volume, with a total of 281.92 million shares. On the other hand, the Banking sector’s stocks were the highest traded in terms of value; with a turnover of KD 53.69 million or
32.65 percent of last week’s total market trading value. The Financial Services sector took the second place as the sector’s last week turnover was KD 35.98 million represented 21.88 percent of the total market trading value. — Prepared by the Studies & Research Department , Bayan Investment Co.
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
Kuwait investment sector drives real estate sales NBK ECONOMIC REPORT KUWAIT: Real estate data for February show sales totaling KD 266 million, up 22 percent y/y. Although solid, sales were likely negatively affected by the short nature of the month of February, including the National Day public holidays. After accounting for this, underlying performance may therefore have been stronger. Sales growth in the residential and investment sectors remained good, while the more unpredictable commercial sector saw negative growth y/y. Sales in the residential sector reached KD 137 million in February, a 32 percent y/y increase. Although there was a 7 percent y/y decline in the number of transactions to 344, this was more than offset by a rise in the average transaction value. The latter increased 40 percent y/y to KD 399,000. It is worth noting that despite strong year-on-year increases, price levels have been volatile over the past couple of months. But - especially given the seasonal factors mentioned above - it is too soon to conclude that the market is experiencing a sustained cooling off. In terms of location, 32 percent of transactions were in Mubarak Al-Kabeer governorate, mostly plots in Abu Fateera and Funaitees areas. Another 30 percent went to Al-Ahmedi gover-
norate. Sales of land plots - as opposed to finished buildings - accounted for 60 percent of all residential transactions in February. Sales in the investment sector stood at KD 120 million in February, up 29 percent y/y, but down 15 percent m/m. The m/m decline in sales was driven by a lower number of transactions - perhaps attributable to seasonal effects. But overall, interest in the sector continues
to hold up well. Sales levels remain solid from a historical perspective and average price levels per m2 have recovered strongly after a dip in Q4 last year. The sector has long been viewed as a viable alternative to the stock market for investing. Whole buildings made up more than half of all transactions in the investment sector - the majority in Mahbola. Individual apartments came in second,
accounting for 35 percent of transactions, followed by plots with a 13 percent share. Sales in the commercial sector dropped 60 percent to KD 8.4 million in February, from KD 21 million a year earlier. Just three transactions were recorded in the sector with one complex in Hawalli selling for KD 4.8 million. Sales in this sector are often uneven monthto-month. While 2013 was an excep-
tional year for the sector, part of this may have come from purchases by government-held portfolios. Away from sales, Kuwait Credit Bank approved KD 23 million in loans in February, down 5 percent from a year earlier. The past year has nevertheless been a very active year for the bank. The slowdown in the past couple of months could be linked to a slowdown in the distribution of government plots.
Stakes are high for Cuba foreign investment law Forex shortfall seen major hurdle in growth
LISBON: Two girls chat on the doorstep of a launderette as protestors march by during a demonstration Friday in Lisbon. The demonstration against the government’s austerity measures was called by the youth section of Portugal’s main workers union CGTP, General Confederation of Portuguese Workers. —AP
India’s external debts stood at $426bn in 2013 NEW DELHI: India’s external debt stood at $426.0 billion at the end of December 2013, registering an increase of $21.1 billion, a statistical report compiled by India’s Finance ministry stated yesterday. “At end-December 2013, India’s total external debt stock stood at $426.0 billion, recording an increase of $21.1 billion which is an increase of 5.2 per cent,” the report stated. The report stated that rise in external debt during the period was due to long-term debt particularly Non Resident Indian (NRI) deposits. The long-term debt stood at $333.3 billion at end-December 2013, showing an increase of 8.1 per cent over the end-March 2013 level, while short-
term debt decreased by 4.1 per cent to $92.7 billion, the report stated. “Short-term debt accounted for 21.8 per cent of India’s total external debt, while the remaining (78.2 per cent) was long-term debt. Component-wise, commercial borrowings accounted for 31.5 per cent of the total external debt, followed by NRI deposits (23.2 per cent) and multilateral debt (12.3 per cent), “ it added. The report stated that Government’s (Sovereign) external debt stood at USD 76.4 billion, (17.9 per cent of total external debt) at end-December 2013 as against $81.7 billion (20.2 per cent) at end-March 2013. —KUNA
Duke Energy seeks to keep records from regulators CHARLOTTE, NC: Worried about getting a fair shake from investigators, Duke Energy is asking a judge to shield its records from North Carolina regulators and environmental groups while a federal criminal probe is ongoing. In a court motion, a defense lawyer for Duke argued that turning over records demanded as part of state lawsuits over the company’s coal ash dumps could hurt the investigation’s integrity, especially if the documents were to become public. Federal prosecutors have issued at least 23 subpoenas as part of a widening criminal probe triggered by the Feb 2 spill at Duke’s plant in Eden, which coated 70 miles of the Dan River in toxic sludge. Duke has received two of the subpoenas, which order the company to provide reams of documents to a grand jury that has convened in Raleigh. Federal investigators are looking at whether the company received preferential treatment from the state environmental agency. Duke has nearly three dozen other ash pits spread out at 14 coal fired power plants across the state. “Duke Energy strongly denies that it has in any way knowingly violated any law or committed any crime,” says the company’s motion, filed last week. “The government of the United States has the right to investigate the matters involved in these cases and Duke Energy intends to cooperate fully in that investigation so that it may receive a fair and unbiased assessment of its actions. This cannot occur if the proceedings of the grand jury and material provided to it are made a part of discovery in these cases.” Duke spokesman Tom Williams said Friday that the motion speaks for itself. The state court cases at issue deal with environmental violations at Duke plants near Charlotte and Asheville. Working on the behalf of a coalition of citizens groups, the Southern Environmental Law Center tried to use the US Clean Water Act to sue Duke last year in federal court over groundwater pollution leeching from its coal
ash dumps. The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources instead used its authority to issue violations and take the case to state court, quickly negotiating a settlement that would have fined Duke $99,111 with no requirement that the $50 billion company clean up its pollution. The citizens groups protested, calling it a “sweetheart deal” intended to protect Duke from possibly harsher federal penalties. The agency asked a judge to dismiss that agreement last week, saying it now intends to move forward in court. The citizens groups have intervened in the case, meaning they will have access to documents Duke would provide. In its motion, Duke said it wants to keep the records under wraps to “preserve the integrity” of the federal grand jury investigation. “Absent such a limitation, grand jury materials could be produced to parties or entities that are not entitled to such materials,” adding that documents could be “publicized and disseminated through the media.” If that happened, the company’s lawyers claim “the ability of Duke Energy to receive a fair and unbiased investigation into its action would be irrevocably compromised.” Frank Holleman, senior staff attorney with the environmental law group, said Duke’s motion is a stalling tactic. “They are using the fact that they are caught up in a federal criminal investigation related to their coal ash storage as an excuse to try to postpone the enforcement of the law against them,” he said. “It’s exactly backward from how you think the law would operate.” State environmental agency spokesman Jamie Kritzer said he couldn’t comment on the investigation. In the last month, state regulators have issued nine environmental violations against Duke because of the spill and issues at other plants. The latest was Friday for a crack in a dam at a coal ash dump in Moncure, where regulators say Duke illegally pumped 61 million gallons of contaminated water into the Cape Fear River.—AP
HAVANA: Cuban authorities are on the verge of enacting a new foreign investment law considered one of the most vital building blocks of President Raul Castro’s effort to reform the country’s struggling economy. The law was considered so important that an extraordinary session of parliament had been scheduled for yesterday so the matter doesn’t wait several months until the regular summer session. Foreign investment in the Communist-run country has lagged behind expectations in recent years, and the shortfall is seen as a major reason for disappointing economic growth. Analysts say that officials must show they are truly committed to easing the way for foreign firms if this latest attempt to lure overseas capital is to succeed. “It’s really about (creating) a business climate in which business feels government at senior levels has an unambiguously favorable attitude toward foreign investors,” said Richard Feinberg, a professor of international political economy at the University of California, San Diego. “That’s the best guarantee.” “If this law gives the right signals,” Feinberg said, “it would be a major step forward in the economic reforms.” Cuba isn’t the easiest place for a foreign businessperson to make a buck. Labor taxes are high, there is no open bidding for projects, the approval process is opaque and cumbersome and the government has been reluctant to let outsiders have majority ownership. Companies often find themselves negotiating multimillion-dollar deals with government officials who earn tiny salaries, and some say payoffs are an unfortunate part of doing business in Cuba. At the same time, a crackdown on graft in recent years, including the jailing of Canadian, Chilean, Czech, English and French citizens, has sent a chill through the foreign business community. Then there’s the 52-year-old US embargo, which bars most American trade with the island and effectively obliges many foreign companies to choose between doing business with Cuba or the United States. There’s no sign the embargo will be lifted anytime soon, but observers say Cuba can make itself more attractive to investors by doing things like making approvals more transparent, easing payroll taxes, enabling direct hiring of local employees and relaxing rules that require foreign companies to purchase a certain amount of local inputs. Few concrete details have been made public, but this week official media gave some hints of what the draft law looks like. The newspaper Juventud Rebelde said the law will allow foreign participation in “all sectors” except health and
MARIEL: Workers landscape the area near a new port under construction in Mariel, Cuba. Cuban authorities are on the verge of enacting a new foreign investment law considered one of the most vital building blocks of President Raul Castro’s effort to reform the country’s struggling economy. —AP education. Cuba will permit foreign investment not only through joint partnerships with the government, but also by “international economic association contract, or business of completely foreign capital.” Juventud Rebelde said most companies would be taxed at 15 percent of profits, half what they pay under current rules, and will be exempt from paying for the first eight years of operation. Investors apparently will not see their personal income taxed. Duties may be higher for operations that exploit natural resources, such as nickel and fossil fuels. Such rules would be similar to slightly more favorable ones already in place for a special economic development zone at Mariel, a massive port project west of Havana that was formally inaugurated in January. Officials are also talking of guarantees that the property of foreign companies and individuals will not be nationalized as happened after the 1959 Cuban Revolution, except in cases of national interest and only with due compensation. In a recent report prepared for the online publication Cuba Standard, which closely follows Cuban business news, former Cuban Central Bank economist Pavel Vidal noted that
foreign investment has remained flat since Castro’s economic reforms began, about 20 percent below forecast on average. GDP grew just 2.7 percent last year, low for a developing nation and again short of expectations. Meanwhile, Cuba’s financial present is heavily dependent on the billions of dollars in oil it gets from petro-ally Venezuela. The socialist-run South American nation is experiencing its own economic woes these days, rocked for months by violent protests amid calls by some in the opposition for President Nicolas Maduro to resign. Vidal said the new law could help stimulate investment by limiting government officials’ discretion in decision-making on approvals, ending a longstanding tendency to green-light only large scale investment and allowing investment in Cuba’s emerging privately owned businesses and independent cooperatives. “The new foreign investment law is the last opportunity for the reform to come close to the growth goals planned through 2016,” wrote Vidal, who is currently a professor at Javeriana University in Cali, Colombia. “At the same time, it will help diversify the island’s international relations, as well as reduce vulnerability due to its links with Venezuela.” — AP
Biden calls for hike in US minimum wage
S&P downgrades Target to ‘A’ following q4 results
WASHINGTON: US Vice President Joe Biden yesterday called for Americans to back President Barack Obama’s push to raise the federal minimum wage, intensifying debate ahead of mid-term congressional elections in November. Obama unveiled a proposal to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 (7.35 euros) an hour in his State of the Union address in January as he set about closing income disparity-an increasingly important theme in US politics. But rival Republicans have long argued that raising the minimum wage would hurt the economy and employment because it would prompt small businesses to tighten belts and lay off some workers. “There’s no reason in the world why an American working 40 hours a week has to live in poverty,” Biden said in a weekly address in place of Obama, who is in Saudi Arabia. “But right now a worker earning the federal minimum wage makes about $14,500 a year. And you all know that’s incredibly hard for an individual to live on, let alone raise a family on. “But if we raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, that same worker will be making $20,200 a yearand with existing tax credits would earn enough to bring that family or a family of four out of poverty. “Not only would it put more hard-earned money into the pockets of 28 million Americans, moving millions of them out of poverty, it’s also good for business.” In January, Obama urged Congress to raise the federal minimum wage. A congressional watchdog says that it could lift 900,000 people above the poverty line but may cost half a million jobs. — AFP
NEW YORK: Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services lowered its rating on Target Corp following weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter results that were dragged down by a massive data breach and a disappointing foray into Canada. The rating agency said Friday that it lowered its ratings one notch down to “A” from “A+.” The rating is still four grades above speculative or junk status. S&P says the outlook is still “Stable,” implying further changes are not imminent. “The downgrade reflects our expectations for limited recovery of credit metrics given continued operating losses at the Canadian division as well as potential costs related to the data breach,” said S&P’s credit analyst Ana Lai. The move comes more than a month after the nation’s second-largest discounter reported its fourth-quarter profit fell 46 percent on a revenue decline of 5.3 percent as the breach scared off customers worried about the safety of their personal data. Target expects business to be muted for some time: It issued a profit outlook for the current quarter and full year that missed Wall Street estimates because it faces hefty costs related to the breach. S&P noted that it expected that the breach will have a “somewhat lingering effect on customer traffic at least through the first half of fiscal 2014, but this should moderate over time.” It said that while the costs related to the breach are difficult to forecast, it believes these expenses could be “significant but manageable given Target’s good cash flow generation.” The ratings agency expects that Target’s performance at its Canadian stores should improve this year as the retailer ramps up the new stores and resolves its out-of-stock issues. Last year, Target made its first foray outside the US in Canada with 124 stores, but sales were below expectations and it reported a hefty loss for the division in the first year. Target’s shares were unchanged at $59.98 in afterhours trading Friday after rising 24 cents in regular trading. The stock is down about 12 percent in the past 12 months. — AP
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
The Kuwait summit and its impact KUWAIT: In one year, four summits were held in Kuwait. Prior to any summit, any observer knows in advance the content of its final communique. It ends with a set of financial commitments, a number of agreements that are never implemented, and a long rhetorical preamble that commends the host country and guests, as well and enumerates the painstaking effort in achieving achievements on paper. In last week’s conference in Kuwait, the final statement listed all the foregoing and reiterated what was mentioned in the previous summits, such as the emphasis of the centrality of the Palestinian Cause, the support to states bordering with Israel, the Arab identify of the UAE islands and one of the Comoros islands, and the assertion that all this could not have been accomplished without the tireless efforts and sincere cooperation among the leaders. All of that is irrelevant to reality. Eventually, the Arab situation at large is no different from that in the Gulf. A month before the December 2013 GCC Summit, there was debate about the probability of political unity among its member states. Two months later, things ended with three GCC members withdrawing their ambassadors from a fourth member state. The media, which advocates unity, changed into one declaring war. What is happening is wrong. Kuwait has its deep problems which require its officials to dedicate their full time to remedy them first. Still, there are others who believe that holding summits even without benefit is viewed as achievement and gain for Kuwait. While these summits are a fertile ground for corruption and corruptors in Kuwait, people in Kuwait suffer from security measures and traffic paralysis and sometimes disruption of business, so much so that many of them think of fleeing the country during these summits. That is another cost. The right of hospitality dictates that Kuwait takes the initiative to provide grants and loans to governments that are corrupt in most cases, which is a commitment and additional cost without return, and sometimes negative returns. In fact, these costs and efforts are increasingly spent without impact. With each conference, representation is downgraded until it becomes meaningless. Some of the leaders attend only the opening session out of courtesy; not only this, but conditions are imposed on what to discuss and what not to, to the extent that anything valuable and meaningful is excluded, such as the inter-Arab conflicts or the GCC conflicts which were excluded from the agenda of this last Summit. Nevertheless, the title of the 25th Arab summit remained: “The Solidarity Summit for the Future,” which is inconsistent with reality. We reiterate that all previous summits, whether eco-
AL-SHALL WEEKLY ECONOMIC REPORT nomic, Arab-African, GCC and the Arab achieved nothing significant. In fact, conditions thereafter became worse. The recent Summit statement and its results are no exception. And if Kuwait believes it is able to play this big role, it is supposed to provide a successful model to address its problems first, but it has not. It should stop this obsession with holding conferences to reduce costs, close one corruption channel, and save people the hassle. The Ukrainian crisis and the Gulf crisis Russia has achieved most of the short-term goals in Ukraine crisis and the West was miserably unable to stop the accelerated annexation of Crimea to Russia. The crisis created concern from Russia’s repetition of cutting off all border provinces populated by a Russian majority from the remains of the Soviet Union, not only in Ukraine but in all other countries, such as Moldova in the future and previously in Georgia. G7 leaders met after excluded Russia in a symbolic motion, and discussed possibilities of an economic reaction. In the short term at least, however, they are aware of the fragile European economy and they know that Europe depends by almost 40 percent on Russian oil and gas. The size of trade with Russia is led by Germany, the leader and the treasury of the euro zone, followed by Italy. The trade exchange of the two countries alone with Russia is worth some $130 billion. There are Western companies in Russia and Russian funds in bonds and deposits in Western banks. Despite the threat of the G7 Summit and the Western leaders, they know that the efficacy of their measures in the short-term is not significant and its maximum goal is to mitigate damage. But they also know that in the medium to long terms, they will deal a severe blow to Russia’s political ambition and will seriously influence its economy and cause it great damage. Therefore, it is expected during these two terms that Russia will have reduced flow of direct investments and a substantial reduction in the mutual trade dependence, especially in energy. And reduced political support, direct and indirect, to president Putin’s opponents, both provinces and individuals. In the GCC crisis, it started from the end by three countries withdrawing their ambassadors from a fourth country in the same cooperation organization. Western countries did not act like this with Russia, neither did the GCC countries with Syria. GCC economies are global and sell all their commodities-oil and gas-to the world beyond their region
and import their needs from there. Their regional trade forms no more than 5.4 percent of their total trade. No intergovernment investments are among them, no labor transfer, no economic pact among themselves like the customs union, or the common market or the unified currency. All of them own sovereign wealth funds estimated at about $2 trillion; all have marine outlets, all own advanced aviation fleets, all of them can survive, as long as oil and gas are sold, without real need for any of the neighbors. In the GCC conflict, the wrath appears to be big but without any cards in the hands of one party to translate this fury to a penalty against the other party. Therefore, the dose of emotions may increase, fueled by directed media, without translating that anger to a material that can put an end to the conflict and disagreement. This will be very detrimental to the credibility of the GCC as an organization. Between the West and Russia there is a measurement tool, namely, the interests of the people, which may check and curtail the probable extent of damage. But in the case of GCC countries, afflicting a tangible mutual harm is not only impossible, but also because people have nothing to do with what is happening. They, after all, were not invited to the weddings of the GCC organization; neither are they a party in its anger and political wars. Thus, it is difficult to predict the outcome of the dispute, for it could end tomorrow or it could beyond the foreseeable future. KFH financial results FY 2013 Kuwait Finance House (KFH) announced results of its financial operations for the ending 31 December, 2013 which indicate the bank achieved net profits -after deducting due taxation- scored KD 149.1 million, a rise by KD 25.7 million, or 20.9 percent, (KD 123.3 million in 2012). When we discount the non-controlling interests, the profit for the shareholders scored KD 115.9 million (KD 87.7 million in 2012), a 32.2 percent rise, what equals KD 28.2 million. The main reason for this rise is the increase in operation incomes by a value higher than the rise in total expenditures. In details, operational incomes increased by KD 67.4 million to KD 996.2 million, (KD 928.8 million in 2012) as a result of the increase in the item of investment incomes by KD 17.1 million, to KD 246.4 million (KD 229.3 million in 2012) due to the rise in profits from selling properties by KD 42.9 million to KD 131.6 million (KD 88.7 million in 2012). Similarly, item of a share in the results of associate companies and joint ventures increased by KD 9.3 million to KD 10.9 million (KD 1.6 million in 2012). Item of fees and commissions incomes rose by KD 7 million to KD 79.7 million (KD 72.7 million in 2012). But item of financing income retreated by about KD 2.2 million to KD 571.4 million (KD 573.5 million in 2012). On the other hand, total operational expenses and estimated distribution to depositors increased by KD 66.6 million, but lower than the rise in total operational revenues, i.e. from KD 617.5 million in 2012 to KD 550.9 million now.
The item of distributions estimated to depositors increased by KD 874 thousand, 0.5 percent, to KD 172 million (KD 171.1 million in 2012). Item of staff costs rose by KD 34.7 million, 25.8 percent, to KD 169.3 million (KD 134.6 million in 2012). Likewise, item of general and administrative expenses increased by 25.1 percent, to KD 139.3 million (KD 111.3 million in 2012). Item of financing cost increased by KD 3.9 million to KD 63 million (KD 59.1 million in 2012). The item of impairment for lower value dropped by KD 27.5 million, 11 percent, to KD 223.8 million (KD 251.4 million in 2012). Consequently, net profit margin to the total income increased to 26.1 percent (21.5 percent in 2012). KFH total assets increased by KD 1.436 billion, 9.8 percent, to KD 16.140 billion (KD 14.703 billion in 2012). Item of short term murabahat increased by KD 1.246 billion, 105.1 percent, to KD 2.432 billion (15.1 percent of total assets) versus KD 1.186 billion in 2012 (8.1 percent of total assets). Item of cash and balances with banks and financial institutions increased by KD 256.2 million and scored KD 1.070 billion (6.6 percent of total assets) versus KD 814.3 million in the end of 2012 (5.5 percent of total assets), as a result of the rise in the item of current accounts at banks and financial institutions by KD 192.3 million to KD 384.3 million (KD 192 million in 2012). Item of receivable value dropped by KD 152.6 million, 2.3 percent, to KD 6.500 billion, or 40.3 percent of total assets, compared to KD 6.653 billion in the end of 2012 (45.2 percent of total assets). Figures indicate that the bank liabilities (non-equities) increased by KD 952.3 million, 7.7 percent, to KD 13.335 billion (KD 12.383 billion in the end of 2012). Item of depositor’s accounts increased to KD 10.104 billion, (75.8 percent of total liabilities excluding equities), 7.6 percent increase, equal to KD 711.3 million (KD 9.393 billion in 2012), equal to (75.9 percent of total liabilities excluding equities). Results of analyzing financial statements indicate that all KFH profitability indexes increased. Average return on equities relevant to the bank shareholder index (ROE) rose to 7.6 percent (6.7 percent in 2012). Average return on assets index (ROA) increased slightly to 1 percent (0.9 percent in 2012). Average return on the bank capital index (ROC) also increased to 44.2 percent (44.1 percent in 2012). KFH management announced intentions to distribute cash profits by 13 percent of the per share par value,13 fils per share, and 13 percent bonus shares compared with 10 percent cash and 10 percent bonus shares in 2012. The cash yield per share scored 1.6 percent on the closing price recorded on 31/12/2013 which is 800 fils per share (1.2 percent on the closing price recorded on 31/12/2012) in the amount of 810 fils per share. Weekly performance of KSE The performance of Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) for the last week was mixed, where the traded value index and the general index showed an increase. While the traded volume index and the number of transactions index showed a decreased, AlShall Index (value weighted) closed at 497.2 points at the closing of last Thursday, showing an increase of 18.7 points or about 3.9 percent compared to the end of the previous week, and an increase of 42.5 points or about 9.3 percent compared to the end of 2013.
Peugeot (Al-Shaya & Al-Sagar) hosts exciting test drive event KUWAIT: Kuwait Automotive Imports Co WLL (Al-Shaya & AlSagar), the authorized distributor for Peugeot vehicles in Kuwait since 1969, held Alshaya & Alsagar Carnival - an exclusive test drive event at Marina Crescent on 21 Mar. The carnival marked the 78th anniversary of Kuwait Automotive Imports Co WLL (Al-Shaya & Al-Sagar). At the fullday event, a range of flagship models of Peugeot cars were displayed and prospects had the chance to register, test drive any preferred model and enter a fabulous raffle draw on Alshaya Cards worth total KD 500. Apart from the chance to win Alshaya Card, all test drivers received valuable gifts. From early morning till the late hours of the evening the crowd was entertained by DJ, MC and break dancers. “The test drive event included the most popular models of Peugeot cars”, mentioned Mr Ashish Tandon, General Manager of Al-Shaya & Al-Sagar. “The test drivers had the opportunity for “Motion & Emotion” experience with each of our models and see for themselves how unique and outstanding each model is.” The models available for test drive at the event included the recently launched sedan Peugeot 408 and the exciting sports coupe RCZ. Peugeot sales consultants were available to give visitors detailed information about each vehicle and the latest offers. Peugeot currently offers Highest Trade-in and 5 years Warranty, unlimited mileage on its range of passenger vehicles.
With history of 200 years Peugeot is renowned for its expertise in making cars. Peugeot saloons are considered benchmarks in terms of road handling and engine technology. Throughout its history Peugeot has many successes in international rallies. Recently PEUGEOT has chosen Novak Djokovic, a
worldwide tennis icon, as its international ambassador. KAICO (Al-Shaya & Al-Sagar) was established in 1936 and is jointly owned by Al-Shaya and Al-Sagar families with 78 years of collective automotive experience in marketing, sales, parts and service and has integrated all its operations to maximize
market penetration. KAICO is also the exclusive distributor in Kuwait for numerous other automotive brands including Mazda, Geely, Michelin, Mobil, BF Goodrich, Eicher, Baw. KAICO’s business activities also cover a leasing and tender division and Used Cars.
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
Microsoft’s Office apps for iPad ushers in new era SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft has released an iPad version of its popular Office software suite, a breakthrough heralding a new era under a CEO who promises to focus more on the devices that people are using instead of trying to protect the company ’s lucrative Windows franchise. Thursday’s unveiling of the much-anticipated iPad apps for Microsoft’s bundle of word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software comes nearly four years after Apple Inc. released the tablet computer that has contributed to a steady decline in sales of desktop and laptop machines running on the Windows operating system. Microsoft’s decision to relent to persistent demands to make its top-selling software application available on the world’s most popular tablet comes seven weeks after the Redmond, Wash., company anointed Sayta Nadella as its CEO after being led for 14 years by Steve Ballmer. The change in command gives Microsoft Corp an opportunity to prove it’s a more nimble company adapting to evolution of computing instead of clinging to its old ways. Nadella, who has been working at Microsoft for 22 years, emphasized that he felt rejuvenated since taking over as CEO. “You see things from a fresh set of eyes and fresh perspective,” Nadella told a crowd of reporters gathered in San Francisco for his first major public appearance as CEO. Investors seem to have liked what they have seen so far.
Microsoft’s stock slipped 43 cents to close Thursday at $39.36, but the shares are still up by 8 percent since Nadella took over. The stock lost about one-third of its value under Ballmer’s reign. The Office app for the iPad represents a major step in the right direction for Microsoft, said FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives. “They finally looked in the mirror and realized they needed to go with the crowd in terms of iPads,” Ives said. Like several other analysts, Ives thinks the Office app for the iPad could generate an additional $1 billion in revenue for Microsoft. Although the Office app is free to anyone who wants to read Office’s Word, Excel and PowerPoint programs on the iPad, it will require a subscription to Microsoft’s Office 365 to create and edit documents on the device. The Office 365 subscriptions cost $70 or $100 annually, with the lower price placing more restrictions on the number and types of devices that can be used. The Office 365 subscriptions also have been required to use Office apps built for the iPhone and Android phones last summer, so many iPad owners many already have one. But millions of other people with iPads probably haven’t had a reason to buy an Office 365 until Thursday. Nearly 200 million iPads had been sold through the end of 2013, meaning about 5 percent of those device owners would have to pay for a $100 annual subscription to generate an additional $1 billion in revenue.
Microsoft hasn’t said how many Office 365 subscribers it already has, but Nomura analyst Rick Sherlund estimates the number at anywhere between 14 million to 24 million. He estimates that the annual subscription revenue is running at about $2.5 billion. Office has long been one of Microsoft’s gold mines. In the company’s last fiscal year ended June 30, the business division that is anchored by Office posted an operating profit of $16.2 billion on revenue of $24.7 billion. The availability of an Office app also could encourage more people to buy an iPad. That, in turn, could siphon more sales away from laptops running on Windows, which also generates billions in licensing fees for Microsoft each year. This year, Gartner Inc. expects 271 million tablets to be sold, including those running on Windows and Android, versus a total of 277 million desktop and laptop computers. By the end of 2015, tablets should be outselling PCs by a wide margin, Gartner said. Microsoft hasn’t made Office apps for Android tablets yet, though the company has previously said those will be coming. Last year, Office apps for Android phones came out a month after the iPhone versions debuted. “We are taking great focus and great care that Office on every device shines through,” Nadella said. That marks a change in sentiment for Microsoft. Even as it became clear iPad was reshaping computing, Ballmer
SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft General Manager Julia White gestures while talking about the Office 365 app during a press briefing in San Francisco. —AP steadfastly resisted making an Office app for the device. He had been hoping that most of the 1 billion worldwide Office users would decide to buy Windows tablets instead of the iPad, but there was little evidence that was happening in significant numbers. Sales of Microsoft’s own Windows tablet, Surface, turned out to be a huge letdown. The Office app for the iPad has so many features designed for the device that Microsoft clearly was working on its
design while Ballmer was still CEO, said Forrester Research analyst Rob Koplowitz. But it didn’t hit the market until Nadella took over and that could signal a “sea change,” Koplowitz said. “I am hoping we are seeing something different in terms of how Microsoft operates as a company.” Nadella promised to show off more pieces of his “innovation agenda” for Windows next week at a software developers conference in San Francisco.—AP
Smartphone app helps alcoholics stay sober App includes panic button, sounds alert
Zuckerberg on spending spree Visionary or looney? NEW YORK: Facebook’s latest multibillion dollar acquisition of virtual reality headset maker Oculus is prompting some people to wonder if CEO Mark Zuckerberg is already living in an alternate reality. Longtime technology analyst Roger Kay wonders whether Zuckerberg “is nuts” for agreeing to pay $2 billion for Oculus less than five weeks after inking a deal to buy WhatsApp for $19 billion. Oculus, which got its start on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter, doesn’t have a consumer product on the market, just the promise of bulky virtual reality goggles that have generated huge buzz in the video gaming community. Zuckerberg, for his part, sees long-term implications in the technology, for communication, entertainment and beyond. He was right about mobile, and he’s created the world’s biggest online social network. Looney or visionary? “Mobile is the platform of today and now we’re starting to also get ready for the platforms of tomorrow. To me, by far the most exciting future platform is around vision or modifying what you see to create augmented and immersive experiences,” Zuckerberg said on a conference call Tuesday discussing the deal. “Today’s acquisition is a long-term bet on the future of computing. I believe Oculus can be one of the platforms of this future.” Facebook’s investors seem to think Oculus’s promise is too far off. The Menlo Park, Calif.-based social networking company’s stock fell 7 percent on Wednesday to close at $60.38. Beyond sticker shock, the WhatsApp and Oculus deals - along with the Facebook’s spurned offer to buy SnapChat for $3 billion- have raised questions about Facebook’s ability to innovate on its own. Some of the company’s most high-profile products, such as the SnapChat-like Poke, the messaging service Facebook Messenger and Home, have flopped. The jury’s still out on Paper, a stand-alone app that lets users read news, Facebook feeds and more. “Facebook I don’t think has the best innovation strategy,” says Gartner analyst Brian Blau. “So far it’s been ‘move fast and break things.’ Move fast is good, but break thinks, may not be.” Blau calls the Oculus acquisition “kind of out of left field.” “We have always thought about experience as a focus of virtual reality,” he says. “Certainly it can be social, but we have not thought about it as a core social experience.” That’s not to say it can’t work. There were questions about Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram back when it offered $1 billion for the photosharing app (the final purchase price was $715 million) in April 2012 -and Instagram
“turned out fine,” Blau points out. Facebook said Tuesday that Instagram has 200 million users, up from 30 million at the time it agreed to buy the company. As the former CEO and co-founder of MySpace, Chris DeWolfe has learned the hard way that Zuckerberg knows what he is doing. MySpace once reigned as the Internet’s largest social network only to be eclipsed by Facebook as Zuckerberg constantly tweaked the service and added more compelling features. Now, DeWolfe runs a mobile game company called SGN and has been impressed by Facebook’s ability to target smartphone ads at the people most likely to be attracted to SGN’s pastimes, which include “Cookie Jam” and “Bingo Blingo.” Although he has no idea what Zuckerberg will do with Oculus, DeWolfe figures Facebook’s $154 billion market value gave him the flexibility to wager on a technology that could break new ground. “Given Facebook’s size, this deal doesn’t seem that weird to me,” DeWolfe said. Oculus is a horizontal acquisition for Facebook, which means it lets the company expand into a new space, rather than grow its core business. It’s a strategy employed by Amazon.com Inc., whose businesses range from online retail to video streaming to tablets, and Google Inc., which recently bought high-tech thermostat and smokedetector maker Nest Labs for $3.2 billion. Like Facebook, Google is led by a CEO, Larry Page, who has vowed to make huge investments building or buying technology that might not pay off for years. Page can do pretty much as he pleases, too, as long as he gains the support of fellow cofounder Sergey Brin and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt. The trio collectively controls enough votes to overrule the rest of Google’s shareholders. Google has made more than 230 acquisitions since going public nearly a decade ago, but most of those deals have been relatively small for a company that now generates more than $50 billion in annual revenue. A few of the deals have been large enough for some investors to wonder whether Google’s brain trust had lost its senses. When Google bought YouTube in 2006 for $1.76 billion in stock, some analysts questioned whether the company had paid far too much for a video site with virtually no revenue and a huge stack of potentially expensive legal claims for copyright infringement. But that deal is now widely viewed as a brilliant move. YouTube has productive relationships with most movie and television studios and sells billions of dollars in video advertising while amassing a worldwide audience of more than 1 billion people.—AP
CHICAGO: A smartphone app for recovering alcoholics that includes a panic button and sounds an alert when they get too close to taverns helped keep some on the wagon, researchers who developed the tool found. The sober app studied joins a host of others that serve as electronic shoulder angels, featuring a variety of options for trying to prevent alcoholics and drug addicts from relapsing. Adults released from in-patient alcoholism treatment centers who got free sober smartphones reported fewer drinking days and more overall abstinence than those who got the usual follow-up support. The results were based on patients’ selfreporting on whether they resumed drinking, a potential limitation. Still, addiction experts say the immediacy of smartphone-based help could make them a useful tool in fighting relapse. Mark Wiitala, 32, took part in the study and says the app helped save his life. He said the most helpful feature allowed him to connect to a network of peers who’d gone through the same recovery program. The app made them immediately accessible for an encouraging text or phone call when he needed an emotional boost. “It’s an absolutely amazing tool,” said Wiitala, of Middlesex County, Mass. He said he’s continued to use it even though the study ended. The study was published online Wednesday in JAMA Psychiatry. It involved 271 adults followed for a year after in-patient treatment for alcoholism at one of several US centers in the Midwest and Northeast. They were randomly assigned to get a sober smartphone app for eight months plus usual follow-up treatment typically referral to a self-help group - or usual follow-up alone. The app includes a feature asking periodic questions by text or voicemail about how patients are doing. If enough answers seem worrisome, the system automatically notifies a counselor who can then offer help. The panic button can be programmed to notify peers who are nearest to the patient when the button is pushed. It also offers links to relaxation techniques to calm the patient while wait-
ing for help. “We’ve been told that makes a big difference,” said David Gustafson, the lead author and director of the Center for Health
WISCONSIN: This screen grab shows the ACHESS app. The app, developed for recovering alcoholics, includes a panic button and sounds an alert when they get too close to taverns. — AP
Enhancement Systems Studies at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He’s among developers of the app, nicknamed A-CHESS after the center. Gustafson said it is being commercially developed and is not yet available. Differences in abstinence from drinking between the two groups didn’t show up until late in the study. At eight months, 78 percent of the smartphone users reported no drinking within the previous 30 days, versus 67 percent of the other patients. At 12 months, those numbers increased slightly in the smartphone group and decreased slightly in the others. Smartphone patients also had fewer “risky” drinking days per month than the others. The study average was almost 11/2 days for the smartphone group versus almost three days for the others. Risky drinking was defined as having more than four drinks over two hours for men and more than three drinks for women. One drink was a 12-ounce bottle of beer, 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5-ounce shot of liquor. The results for smartphone users were comparable to what has been seen with standard follow-up counseling or anti-addiction medication, said Daniel Falk a scientist-administrator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which helped pay for the study. He noted that alcohol abuse affects about 18 million Americans and that only about 25 percent who get treatment are able to remain abstinent for at least a year afterward. Scientists are looking at new ways to try to improve those statistics. “There is increasing excitement regarding technology-based tools in substance use treatment, prevention and education,” said Dr. Gail Basch, director of the addiction medicine program at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Basch, who wasn’t involved in the study, said proven methods for helping prevent relapse include patient monitoring and support from family and peers. “A stand-alone mobile app may not be the answer, but one can see how it could fit in nicely,” she said. “A realtime tool, as well as reminders throughout the day, could be very helpful for a recovering brain.”— AP
Encryption companies rise; anxiety over data mounts NEW YORK: Investors are pumping millions of dollars into encryption as unease about data security drives a rising need for ways to keep unwanted eyes away from personal and corporate information. Major data breaches at Target and other retailers that have made data security a boardroom issue at companies large and small. And stunning revelations of widespread snooping by US intelligence agencies have also rattled companies and the public. For venture capital, that has opened up a new area of growth in the tech business. In February, Google Ventures led a $25.5 million round of venture funding for Atlanta-based Ionic Security, a three-year old company that works in encryption, which scrambles data before it is shipped or stored. Other encryption companies, including Toronto-based PerspecSys and San Jose, California-based CipherCloud, have announced major fundings. The funding rush could hearken a “golden age” of encryption, as one expert puts it. But the industry also faces barriers to a tool that until recently was not a hot commodity. Concerns about encryption range from practical challenges, such as the difficulty users have to search their encoded data, to government opposition towards encryption. “People are afraid of it because they don’t understand it,” John Kindervag, a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research But he called the wider use of encryption “inevitable, because there’s no other way to solve the problem.” Kindervag said the industry is between one and two years away from “some big revolutions” in the field. “It just needs to happen.” But Venky Ganesan, a managing director with
venture capital firm Menlo Ventures, believes major advances are further off.”Encryption slows down,” Ganesan said. “Just imagine if every room in your house was locked and you had to open and close it every time you go in. You would be frustrated.” Another problem is “the government is sensitive,” said Ganesan. “They don’t want encryption technology to be open so that anybody can use it, because their goal is to make sure they can always get access to the information.” He said governments have frequently insisted that they be given a master key to decrypt files, Ganesan said. Snowden seal of approval The need for better encryption vaulted to the top of the tech industry’s agenda earlier this month by fugitive intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who last year exposed the massive spying capabilities of the US National Security Agency. Snowden urged industry leaders to make a “moral commitment” to safeguard customer data by integrating encryption into devices in a user-friendly way. The NSA and foreign intelligence services are “setting fire to the future of the Internet,” Snowden said via video from Russia. “You guys are the firefighters and we need you to help fix things.”Recent data security scandals underscore the new vulnerabilities as organizations process unprecedented amounts of data that are analyzed, shipped, stored in “the cloud”-offsite commercial servers-and accessed remotely by mobile technology. It’s a far cry from the days when security focused on safeguarding a stolen laptop. “It’s on every corpora-
tion’s and every government’s mind how they protect their data and their intellectual property,” said William Bowmer, a technology stock specialist at Barclays. Wall Street appears ready to commit more money to security companies as well. Shares of FireEye, which reportedly alerted Target to breaches in its security network even though the company did not take action, have more than tripled from the September 2013 IPO price of $20. Industry insiders see some encryption firms as possibilities for entering the market: Voltage Security, SafeNet, Protegrity and Vormetric Data Security. Voltage chief executive Sathvik Krishnamurthy described the market for encryption as “thriving and growing” and said the perception of government opposition to encryption is outdated. Encryption can be integrated into policies that incorporate the lessons of the Snowden revelations with the need to protect national security, Krishnamurthy said. Spying by authorities “has been going on forever,” he said. “In any society where you think you’ve had privacy, you’ve been grossly mistaken. It’s just a question of the degree to which you were clueless about Big Brother actually looking at everything you were doing.” He called the NSA’s sweep of data “really over the top.” “Did we have to spy on Angel Merkel’s emails? No.” But the biggest problem with the NSA program was the lack of disclosure, Krishnamurthy said. Disclosure by the government of its program “will normalize the line over which we would no longer cross,” he said. “If you have to answer for your actions, then you are more likely to be reasonable in your actions.”— AFP
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
H E A LT H & S C I E N C E
Newfound pink world lurks at solar system fringes LOS ANGELES: Peering into the far reaches of the solar system, astronomers have spied a pink frozen world 71/2 billion miles from the sun. It’s the second such object to be discovered in a region of space beyond Pluto long considered a celestial wasteland. Until now, the lone known resident in this part of the solar system was an oddball dwarf planet spotted in 2003 named Sedna after the mythological Inuit goddess who created the sea creatures of the Arctic. The latest discovery shows “Sedna is not a freak. We can have confidence that there is a new population to explore,” Yale University senior research scientist David Rabinowitz said in an email. He was one of Sedna’s discoverers, but had no role in the new find detailed in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature. For years, astronomers hunted in vain for other Sednas in the little-studied fringes of the solar system. The new object, 2012 VP113, was tracked using a new camera on a ground telescope in Chile by
Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., and Chad Trujillo of the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii. Trujillo was part of the team that found Sedna. Red and shiny Like Sedna, VP is also a dwarf planet. It’s jokingly nicknamed “Biden” after Vice President Joe Biden because of the object’s initials. It measures about 280 miles across, or half the diameter of Sedna. It’s bone-chilling cold with a temperature of around minus 430 degrees Fahrenheit. Unlike red and shiny Sedna, the newfound object is more pink and much fainter, which made it hard to detect. By contrast, Earth is about 7,900 miles across and located 93 million miles from the sun. Sedna and VP reside in what’s known as the inner Oort cloud in the outer edge of the solar system where some comets such as the sun-diving Comet ISON are thought to originate. ISON broke apart last year after brushing too close to the sun.
“Finding Sedna so far away seemed odd and potentially a fluke. But this one is beginning to make it look like that might be a typical place for objects to be. Not at all what I would have guessed,” Mike Brown, an astronomer at the California Institute of Technology, said in an email. Brown, self-proclaimed “Pluto killer,” led the Sedna team, but was not part of the new discovery. Far from being deserted, Sheppard and Trujillo estimate there are probably thousands of similar objects in the inner Oort cloud. “These objects are not unique. There’s a huge number out there,” Sheppard said. Third farthest object Not all of them will be visible to telescopes because they’re so far away and it takes a long time for them to swing by the sun. Sedna and VP were spotted at their closest approach to the sun, which allowed light from the sun to hit the objects and bounce back to observatories on Earth.
VP is currently the third farthest object in the solar system after dwarf planet Eris and Sedna, but it has an eccentric, elongated orbit that can take it out to 42 billion miles from the sun. Sedna can loop out as far as 84 billion miles from the sun at its farthest point. Now that Sedna has company - and likely lots of them - scientists are searching for more objects in an effort to learn how they and the solar system formed and evolved. In a separate discovery published in Nature, a team led by Felipe Braga-Ribas of the National Observatory in Brazil found a pair of rings around an asteroid-like interloper in the outer system named Chariklo. While not as dazzling as Saturn’s rings, it’s the first time rings have been discovered outside of the four gas giants - Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. How little Chariklo got its rings remains a mystery, but scientists think they may have formed from debris from a violent collision. — AP
Pakistan to vaccinate 750,000 children in troubled northwest Ninth phase of a push to eradicate polio PESHAWAR: Pakistani health teams will today launch a drive to vaccinate some 750,000 children in the troubled northwest, with thousands of police guarding against attacks by militants who claim the polio campaign is a front for spying. The campaign in Peshawar district, which covers Peshawar city and dozens of towns and villages, is the ninth phase of a push to eradicate polio in Pakistan, which along with Nigeria and Afghanistan are the only countries where the disease remains endemic. The World Health Organization has warned that Peshawar is the world’s “largest reservoir” of polio. “At least 750,000 children will be administered the vaccine in Peshawar district where 335,000 houses have been identified for the pur-
MUMBAI: Chaotic traffic in one of the streets in Mumbai.
New gadgets hope to hush Mumbai’s incessant honking MUMBAI: A handful of fed-up residents in one of the world’s noisiest cities have taken on a daunting challenge: persuading Indian drivers to stop honking their car horns. Non-stop beeping has become the dominant soundtrack to Mumbai as clattering rickshaws, public buses, clapped-out taxis, weaving motorbikes and private cars fight for space on the traffic-clogged roads. Now two separate teams in the city have come up with devices aimed at instilling some peace: one by forcing overzealous horn-users to open their wallets, and another by simply attacking drivers’ consciences. “People blow their horns just for no sake,” said Jayraj Salgaonkar, who with a group of engineers has developed the ‘Oren horn usage meter’ (the name ‘Oren’ derives from local pronunciation of the word ‘horn’). The meter does not prevent the horn from working but instead allows for a limited amount of honking, after which it causes the vehicle’s tail-lights to flash and alert the traffic police, who could then issue a fine. The driver gets green, amber and red-light warnings over his honk allowance and can top up his meter “like a pre-paid phone card”, said Salgaonkar. He is in talks with local authorities to get the device mandated city-wide. “I have invested money and time and emotion,” he told AFP, relating his years of exasperation with the city’s cacophony. “People take pride in honking their horn. There’s an ego trip over having a car. Until you make people pay for their usage of the horn, it’s not going to work,” said the publisher turned honk activist, who is hoping that the potential revenues brought by the system will help persuade authorities to
adopt it. The second invention, also vying for official sanction, less publicly castigates the honkers. ‘Project Bleep’ involves a little red button on the dashboard that beeps and flashes with a frowning face, “to make the driver conscious that he just honked and make him deliberate why he did it,” said Mayur Tekchandaney, one of its creators. “Mostly it’s habitual. The driver doesn’t realise he’s doing it.” After testing the device on 30 drivers over six months, Tekchandaney and his team at Mumbai design firm Briefcase found an average 61 percent reduction in honking.“The benefit is to other people on the road, society in general. It creates a nuisance for the driver,” said Tekchandaney. Health worry Their goal may sound ambitious in a country where honking is so pervasive that foreign car makers, such as Audi and Volkswagen, fit their Indian vehicles with stronger, longer-life horns. Nationwide, the messages “Horn OK Please” or “Blow Horn” are colourfully painted on the back of most trucks and lorries, encouraging drivers to make their presence audibly known as they overtake. And the noise is only set to increase as more vehicles pile into denselypacked Mumbai, where the middle-class is growing and whose shoddy infrastructure and crowded trains do little to encourage the use of public transport. There are now about 900,000 cars, 10,000 buses and two million two-wheelers plying the roads of the financial capital with a population of some 12 million, according to local transport expert Ashok Datar.—AFP
pose,” campaign organiser Yunus Zaheer told AFP yesterday. The campaign, which started early February, will continue until the end of April. Vaccinators go door-to-door every Sunday across Peshawar district to administer drops to children for various diseases including polio, tuberculosis, tetanus, pneumonia, whooping cough, measles and hepatitis. Zaheer said more than 6,200 teams comprising 12,500 workers have been set up to administer the vaccines, adding 6,700 police officials would be deployed on security duty during the campaign. He said the campaign is likely to be extended to other districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province later. A senior local administration official, Zaheer-
Chinese superstar faced shark fin resistance WASHINGTON: Chinese basketball superstar Yao Ming said Friday that he was shocked by protests when he spoke out against eating shark fin, but credits his campaign with helping the species rebound. On a return visit to the United States, the retired Houston Rocket said he had “all good memories” from his NBA days, even when he endured taunts by Shaquille O’Neal. But Yao said that he was stung when he spoke out against eating shark fin soup, a luxury food for China’s elite. Demand has decimated the shark population with tens of millions killed each year, generally by slicing off the animals’ fins while they are still alive. “The first letter to me was pretty sharp. That was actually the first protest letter directed to me. Maybe my team got a few already but put it on the side,” Yao told a forum at the Brookings Institution. “It was a shock for me,” Yao said. But Yao said it was important to be patient and credited his efforts with cutting by half the Chinese demand for shark fin. China’s government last year announced a ban on serving shark fin and other wild animal products at official functions. Since returning to China, the seven-foot-six (229-centimeter) center has bought his former team-incidentally called the Shanghai Sharks. He said he planned to stay active on animal conservation. Yao said he was also using his name and fortune to start after-school sports programs for Chinese children, voicing concern that youngsters were overloaded with classwork that affected their physical and mental health.—AFP
CLOVIS: Peanut butter is disposed of Friday at the dump in Clovis. Nearly a million jars of peanut butter are being dumped at a New Mexico landfill to expedite the sale of a bankrupt peanut-processing plant that was at the heart of a 2012 salmonella outbreak and nationwide recall. —AP
ul-Islam, also confirmed the details of the campaign. According to the WHO, Pakistan recorded 91 cases of polio last year, up from 58 in 2012. Pakistan’s failure to defeat polio stands in stark contrast to its neighbour and great rival India, which recently celebrated the eradication of the disease three years after its last case. Some 56 people including health workers and police officials providing security have been killed in militant attacks on polio vaccination teams in Pakistan since December 2012. Militant groups such as the Pakistani Taliban oppose the immunisation drive, saying it is a cover for US spying. Violence, and the threat of it, have badly hampered the campaign to stamp out polio in Pakistan.— AFP
Many preteens in US have high cholesterol NEW YORK: There’s fresh evidence that a lot of young people in the US could be headed for heart trouble. A large study of preteens in Texas found that about one-third of them had borderline or high cholesterol when tested during routine physical exams. The results seem to support recent guidelines that call for every child to have a cholesterol test between 9 and 11 - the ages of the 13,000 youths in this study. Many doctors and adults have balked at screening all children that young, but researchers say studies like this may convince them it’s worthwhile. “A concerning number of children” are at risk of heart problems later in life, and more needs to be done to prevent this at an earlier age, said Dr. Thomas Seery of Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine. He led the study, which will be presented at an American College of Cardiology conference in Washington this weekend. Estimates are that by the fourth grade, 10 to 13 percent of U.S. children will have high cholesterol. Half of them will go on to have it as adults, raising their risk for heart attacks, strokes and other problems. High cholesterol rarely causes symptoms in kids. Many genes and inherited conditions also cause high cholesterol but not obesity, so it can be missed especially in youths who are slim or athletic. The new study involved children having routine physicals from January 2010 to July 2011 at the largest pediatric primary care network in the
nation, more than 45 clinics in the Houston area. One-third were Hispanic, about one-third were white, and 18 percent were black. About onethird were obese. Unhealthy total cholesterol levels were found in 34 percent. LDL or “bad cholesterol” was borderline or too high in 46 percent, and HDL or “good” cholesterol was borderline or too low in 44 percent. Just over half had normal triglycerides, another type of fat in the blood. Boys were more likely than girls to have higher total cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides, Seery said. Hispanics were more likely to have higher cholesterol and triglycerides. “I would hope that data like these would get the attention of general pediatricians,” because many cases of disease are being missed now, said Dr. Elaine Urbina, director of preventive cardiology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She was on the expert panel appointed by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute that wrote the screening guidelines issued in 2011 and endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. They call for screening everyone between age 9 to 11 and again 17 to 21. “Very few people know their entire family history,” and many forms of high cholesterol occur in people who are not obese, so screening is needed to catch more cases, she said. High cholesterol doesn’t necessarily mean the child needs medicines like statin drugs, she said. The guidelines stress diet and lifestyle changes as the first step. — AP
PORTALES: The peanut butter production line at Sunland Inc’s peanut plant in Portales. Nearly a million jars of peanut butter are being dumped at a New Mexico landfill. — AP
Million jars of peanut butter dumped in New Mexico ALBUQUERQUE: Nearly a million jars of peanut butter were dumped at a New Mexico landfill this week to expedite the sale of a bankrupt peanut-processing plant that was at the heart of a 2012 salmonella outbreak and nationwide recall. Bankruptcy trustee Clarke Coll said he had no other choice after Costco Wholesale refused to take shipment of the Sunland Inc. product and declined requests to let it be donated to food banks or repackaged or sold to brokers who provide food to institutions like prisons. “We considered all options,” Coll said. “They didn’t agree.” MelindaJoy Pattison, executive director of the Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico, on Friday called the dumping of the peanut butter “horrendous.” She said as long as there was nothing wrong with the peanut butter, her operation would have found a way to store it, remove the labels and distribute it to the people who depend on the food bank. “Those trucks carrying it to the dump went right by the front door of my food bank,” she said. “It wasn’t like it would
have been out of the way.” Pattison said peanut butter is a major source of protein and a staple for hungry people. Her food bank places single-serve peanut butter cups in packages it gives to children whose parents rely on its services. “For it to just be deliberately thrown away is disappointing,” she said. Extensive testing Costco officials did not return telephone calls seeking comment. But court filings indicate the product was made with $2.8 million worth of Valencia peanuts owned by Costco and had been sitting in the warehouse since the company shut down and filed for bankruptcy last fall. After extensive testing, Costco agreed to a court order authorizing the trustee to sell it the peanut butter. But after getting eight loads, Costco rejected it as “not merchantable” because of leaky peanut oil. Coll said “all parties agreed there’s nothing wrong with
the peanut butter from a health and safety issue,” but court records show that on a March 19 conference call Costco said “it would not agree to any disposition ... other than destruction.” So instead of selling or donating the peanut butter, with a value estimated at $2.6 million, the estate paid about $60,000 to haul the 950,000 jars of nut butter - or about 25 tons - to the Curry County landfill in Clovis, where public works director Clint Bunch says it “will go in with our regular waste and covered with dirt.” The last of 58 truckloads was expected Friday, the same day Golden Boy Foods of Canada was to close on its $26 million purchase of the plant. Rescued food Sunland made peanut butter under a number of different labels for retailers like Costco, Kroger and Trader Joe’s, along with products under its own name. But the plant was shut down in September 2012 after its products were
linked to 41 salmonella cases in 20 states. It later reopened for about five months, but shut down last October after the company’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. Sunland processed Valencia peanuts, a sweet variety of peanut unique to the region and preferred for natural butters because it is flavorful without additives. Sonya Warwick, spokeswoman for New Mexico’s largest food bank, declined to comment directly on the situation, but she noted that rescued food accounted for 74 percent of what Roadrunner Food Bank distributed across New Mexico last year. “Our fleet picks up rescued food from hundreds of locations weekly and brings it back to the food bank,” she said. “Before distributing it, volunteers help label, sort or repack it for distribution to partner agencies across the state. “Access to rescued food allows us to provide a more well-rounded and balanced meal to New Mexicans experiencing hunger.” — AP
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
H E A LT H & S C I E N C E
White House plan targets methane emissions WASHINGTON: The White House announced a wideranging plan Friday aimed at cutting methane emissions from oil and gas drilling, landfills and other sources, part of President Barack Obama’s strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. The White House plan, which could lead to several new regulations on energy production and waste management, comes amid concerns about increased methane emissions resulting from an ongoing boom in drilling for oil and natural gas. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas released by landfills, cattle and leaks from oil and gas production. It is 21 times more potent at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, the most abundant global warming gas, although it doesn’t stay in the air as long. Methane emissions make up about 9 percent of US greenhouse gas emissions, according to government estimates. Experts say methane leaks can be controlled by fixes such as better gaskets, maintenance and monitoring. Such fixes are also thought to be cost-effective, since the industry ends up with more product to sell. In the booming Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana, huge amounts of methane and other gases are burned off, or flared, during oil production, wasting millions of dollars and contributing to air pollution.
Updated stand The White House said the Environmental Protection Agency will study how methane is released during oil and gas drilling and decide by the end of the year whether to develop new regulations for methane emissions. If imposed, the regulations would be completed by the end of 2016, just before Obama leaves office. The White House also said the Interior Department will propose updated standards to reduce venting and flaring of methane from oil and gas production on public lands. Next month, the Bureau of Land Management will begin a rule-making process to require the capture and sale of methane waste produced by coal mines on lands leased by the federal government. This summer, the EPA will propose updated standards to reduce methane from new landfills and consider whether to impose new standards for existing landfills. In June, the Agriculture Department and other agencies will release a strategy for voluntary steps to reduce methane emissions from cattle, with the goal of cutting dairy sector greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020. Environmental groups praised the White House plan, although they noted that many details remain incomplete.
“The important thing is they charted a specific pathway forward, which we think should lead and will lead to additional standards for (reducing) methane leakage,” said David Doniger, director of the climate and clean air program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group. “A federal strategy to reduce venting, flaring and leaks of natural gas is good for the environment and good for national energy security,” said Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund. Chilling effect Industry groups reacted warily. While they support continued efforts to reduce methane emissions, officials cautioned against new regulations. “Additional regulations are not necessary and could have a chilling effect on the American energy renaissance, our economy and our national security,” said Howard Feldman, director of regulatory and scientific affairs for the American Petroleum Institute, the oil and gas industry’s chief lobbying group. “Smart, cost-effective investments in system modernization can continue, and accelerate, the trend in decreasing natural gas emissions,” said Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of the American Gas Association, which represents more than 200 local energy companies.
The White House plan comes amid conflicting estimates about how much methane is produced by oil and gas production. The EPA said in a report last spring said that tighter pollution controls instituted by the oil and gas industry resulted in an average annual decrease of 41.6 million metric tons of methane emissions from 1990 through 2010, or more than 850 million metric tons overall. The figure is about a 20 percent reduction from previous estimates. A University of Texas study published in September largely agreed with those findings, but another study published in November said government methane estimates are off by as much as 50 percent below actual methane emissions. The debate over methane emissions comes as oil and gas drilling has expanded across the country amid improvements in drilling techniques that have allowed energy companies access to previously untapped areas. Much of the increase is due to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a drilling process that injects sand, water and chemicals to break apart rock and free the gas inside. Improved technology has spurred a nationwide drilling boom but also has raised widespread concerns that fracking could lead to groundwater contamination and even ear thquakes. — AP
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
W H AT ’ S O N
Prof Fiannaca at the French booth.
(From left) Professor Joseph Fiannaca, Ambassador Christian Nakhle, President Nizar Hamzeh, Francois Brossard, and Dr Rawda Awwad are pictured.
French Ambassador visits AUK La Francophonie International Week celebrated
n the occasion ofthe International Week of La Francophonie, the Department of Arabic and Foreign Languages at the American University of Kuwait (AUK) invited the French Ambassador to Kuwait, Christian Nakhle, along with the embassy’s Cultural Counselor, Francois Brossard to launch an exhibition of scrapbooks created by students from a French class of Professor Joseph Fiannaca, AUK Senior Instructor of French Language and Literature. The exhibition took place at the AUK Library, and was attended by Dr Rawda Awwad, Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Asma Al-Kanan, Director of the AUK Library. Upon their arrival to AUK, the Ambassador and Cultural Counselor met with AUK President Dr Nizar Hamzeh, and Dr Awwad, where they discussed possible collaboration opportunities, including the possibility of offering a French Minor at the University. During the meeting, the Embassy expressed its commitment to provide support should the minor be created. Following the meeting with the President, Dr Awwad accompanied the visitors in a tour in the AUK Library where AlKanan showed them the collection of French resources available to the AUK community prior to launching the students’ exhibition. The exhibition showcased scrapbooks creat-
The ambassador visited the French class.
ed by students from Professor Fiannaca’s Intermediate French class as a final class project. The project required the students to construct scrapbooks based on characters they created who spend one month in a French language institute in a city in France. Each student was required to select a different city and institute, conduct research on them, and create diary entries and postcards to family and friends, among other scrapbook staples. “The purpose of this project and such assignments was to give our students the opportunity to express their personal and artistic skills, as well as their French reading and writing skills,” said Professor Fiannaca. As part of their visit, the Ambassador and Cultural Counselor were invited to attend one of Professor Fiannaca’s classes. During the session, they interacted with the students and informed them about the variety of activities organized by the French Institute of Kuwait, and finally take some time to participate in a quiz on La Francophonie. The International Organization of La Francophoniere presents one of the biggest linguistic zones in the world which organizes political activities and actions of multilateral cooperation that benefit French-speaking populations. This year, the International Week of La Francophonie coincided with AUK’s own annual International Week.
NBK welcomes The Australian College students on banking familiarization tour
ational Bank of Kuwait (NBK) welcomed a group of students from The Australian College of Kuwait (ACK) at the bank’s head office in a banking familiarization tour. NBK Public Relations team took the visiting group of students on a tour of the bank’s various departments, including the main banking hall. NBK
staff then presented to the students a brief lecture on the importance of saving, the services that NBK provides to its customers, the multibenefits of Al-Azraq and Al-Shabab accounts and the importance of Public Relations within the banking sector. At the end of the visit, the students expressed their gratitude for having
the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the banking industry. As part of its corporate social responsibility program, NBK regularly hosts students on field trips from both public and private schools in Kuwait and provides them with information about the banking industry and career opportunities.
Warba Bank’s team visits Warba Island Bangladesh community holds football tournament
angladesh community in association with the Bangladesh Embassy in Kuwait organized Independence Day Cup Football and Ha-Do-Do Tournament 2014 at Nadi Al-Naser Stadium [beside the 6th Ring Road close to national stadium] at 2:00 pm on Friday, March 21, 2014. The final match of Ha-Do-Do was held with lots of enthusiasm among the players and the community people present at the playground. The Bangladeshi traditional national game [Ha-Do-Do] took place between Narail Club and Jenaidah Club. Narail Club emerged as the champions of the tournament with a score of 21-5. The final match of the football tournament took place at the stadium between the Bangladesh Shapla and the Nobabgonj Club. Bangladesh Shapla won the match 3-1. Major General Mohammad Ashab Uddin, the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Kuwait was present at the tournament venue as the
chief guest. He enjoyed the games and presented prizes to the champions. Brig Gen Mohammad Nasimul Gani, Defence Attache, SM Mahbubul Alam, Counsellor (Political) and Head of Chancery, KM Ali Reza, First Secretary (Labour), MA Jalil, First Secretary, and Mohammad Sakawat Hossian Patwary, Sonali Bank Representative (SBR) were also present at the tournament venue to enjoy the matches. A large number of Bangladeshi community people in Kuwait witnessed and enjoyed the matches with a very joyous and cheerful mood. The tournament took place in a very friendly and congenial atmosphere. It enhanced integrity and solidarity among the Bangladesh community people in Kuwait. It was very interactive and engaging. It symbolizes an extraordinary cohesiveness and bondage with unique fellow-feeling within the community. It was a successful and meaningful arrangement with the patronization of Bangladesh Embassy in Kuwait.
s part of its social activities organized to underline its responsibility for preserving the environment, Warba Bank organized a visit for its voluntary youth team to Warba Island. The visiting team, inclusive of Retail Banking staff, organized a clean-up campaign on the island and planted a number of trees, with a view to preserve the environment and protect Kuwait’s natural landmarks against pollution. This visit falls within the activities of Warba Bank’s Call Centre voluntary team, and aims to strengthen the social partnership and patriotism, in addition to raising environmental awareness. Warba
Bank’s team also expressed their appreciation for the coast guard’s efforts in ensuring the security and protection of all Kuwaiti coasts. On behalf of Warba Bank’s Management and the entire staff, the Call Centre team offered sincere thanks and gratitude to the Coast Guards Department, represented by Major General Sheikh Mohammad Al-Yousef AlSabah, the Ministry of Interior’s Assistant Undersecretary for Border Security Affairs, and all the officers and officials, for their warm reception and generous hospitality towards Warba Bank team during the visit.
W H AT â€™ S O N
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
Jamaican Day is a splash of color in Kuwait
he Jamaican Day was held on Friday, March 28, 2014 at Movenpick Hotel-Bidaa and was sponsored by Vision Academy for Advanced Natural Talent. The event included Jamaican cuisine and Jamaican dancing. A DJ and live band was also present. Visitors enjoyed themselves at the Jamaican tourism booth which gave them a chance to win a trip to Jamaica. Other activities included limbo dancing, tugof-war, treasure hunt, face painting, domino tournament, fashion show and make-up and fun and games. Vaant also perfomed at the event. â€”Photos by Joseph Shagra
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
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World Without End
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Good Morning America Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show 24 Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Castle Made In Jersey Live Good Morning America 24 Castle Made In Jersey 24 Castle Made In Jersey Rescue Me Nip/Tuck
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The Corruptor-18 Sudden Death-PG15 Lords Of Dogtown-PG15 Sins Expiation-PG15 Special Ops-PG15 Broken Path-PG15 Excess Baggage-PG15 Special Ops-PG15 The Last Stand-PG15 Excess Baggage-PG15 Mafia-18 The Last Stand-PG15
00:00 Revenge Of The Nerds II: Nerds In Paradise-PG15 02:00 That’s What She Said-18 04:00 Spy Hard-PG15 06:00 10 Things I Hate About YouPG15 08:00 Dark Shadows-PG15 10:00 I Think I Do-PG15 12:00 Spy Hard-PG15 14:00 The Big Year-PG 16:00 I Think I Do-PG15 18:00 The Brothers Solomon-PG15 20:00 Ted-18 22:00 Revenge Of The Nerds II: Nerds In Paradise-PG15
01:45 The Trial-PG15 03:30 Oh Christmas Tree-PG 05:00 The Chateau Meroux-PG15 07:00 Resistance-PG15 09:00 The Trial-PG15 11:00 The Good Doctor-PG15 13:00 You Got Served: Beat The World-PG15 15:00 The Key Man-PG15 17:00 The Iron Lady-PG15 18:45 Silver Linings Playbook-PG15 21:00 Passion-18 23:00 This Must Be The Place-18
01:00 The Samaritan-18 03:00 Seeking Justice-PG15 05:00 Nobody Walks-PG15 07:00 Planet Of The Apes (1968)PG15 09:00 Last Dance-PG15 11:00 The Music Never StoppedPG15 13:00 Katy Perry The Movie: Part Of Me-PG 14:45 The Lady-PG15 17:00 The Music Never StoppedPG15 19:00 The Grey-18 21:00 London-18 23:00 We Need To Talk About Kevin-18
01:15 Drift-PG15 03:30 Olympus Has Fallen-PG15
05:30 Now Is Good-PG15 07:15 Girl In Progress-PG15 09:00 Midnight In Paris-PG15 11:00 Olympus Has Fallen-PG15 13:00 Magic Journey To AfricaPG15 15:00 The Odd Life Of Timothy Green-PG 17:00 Midnight In Paris-PG15 19:00 Red Dawn-PG15 21:00 The Bling Ring-18 23:00 The Campaign-18
01:00 The Missing Lynx 02:45 The Legend Of Sarila 04:30 Free Birds 06:00 Olentzero Christmas Tale 08:00 Emperor’s Secret 09:45 Sky Force 11:15 Mrs. Doubtfire 13:30 The Legend Of Sarila 15:00 The Fantastic Adventure Of The Ugly Duckling 16:30 The Elf Who Stole Christmas 18:00 Sky Force 20:00 The Water Horse: Legend Of The Deep 22:00 The Fantastic Adventure Of The Ugly Duckling 23:30 The Elf Who Stole Christmas
00:00 Knuckle-PG15 02:00 Gambit-PG15 04:00 Snowflake , The White Gorilla-PG 06:00 Dating Coach-PG15 08:00 The Greatest Movie Ever Sold-PG15 10:00 Charlotte’s Web-PG 12:00 Gambit-PG15 14:00 Barnyard-PG 16:00 The Greatest Movie Ever Sold-PG15 17:45 Iron Man 3-PG15 20:00 Killing Them Softly-18 22:00 The Possession-PG15
01:00 NRL Premiership 03:00 NRL Premiership 05:00 NRL Full Time 05:30 Futbol Mundial 06:00 Trans World Sport 07:00 Trans World Sport 08:00 LV Cup 10:00 Golfing World 11:00 World Golf Championship Highlights 12:00 Super Rugby 14:00 Super Rugby 16:00 NRL Premiership 18:00 World Golf Championship Highlights 19:00 Golfing World 20:00 PGA European Tour Weekly 20:30 Inside The PGA Tour 21:00 Trans World Sport 22:00 LV Cup
00:00 Golfing World 01:00 Premier League Darts 04:00 LV Cup 06:30 NRL Full Time 07:00 NRL Premiership 09:00 NRL Full Time 09:30 Dubai World Cup Carnival 13:00 Trans World Sport 14:00 Golfing World 15:00 World Golf Championships Highlights 16:00 Snooker 19:00 NHL 21:00 HSBC Sevens World Series 23:00 HSBC Sevens World Series Highlights 23:30 PGA European Tour Weekly
onsumer groups and tech advocates have been voicing concern about the growing threats to net neutrality, but Hollywood - especially independent filmmakers and distributors - have plenty of reason to worry about the walls and toll booths being erected to discriminate between Internet content. Soon after Netflix reached a deal with Comcast to directly access its broadband network and thus make its service faster for the cable company’s customers, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings ripped into the “arbitrary tax” that the cable network forced his company to pay. He asked readers of a post on the streaming service’s site to “imagine the plight of smaller services today and in the future,” and looking downstream, there are plenty of outlets that specialize in independent film that have become endangered before they are established or even launch. “If we want to directly sell movies off our site, like Louis CK does, the challenges that I then have is, what price do I have to pay to make sure that my information is delivered at the speed and is as high quality as it can be?” Ted Hope, a veteran indie film producer (“21 Grams,” “Adventureland”) who now runs the independent distributor Fandor, told TheWrap. “To get information faster, big pocketed entities like Netflix go and make deals with Comcast, but small companies don’t have that option.” Fandor operates on a revenue-splitting model, allowing filmmakers to sell their work directly to consumers by using the site as a platform. It is one of many services that operates in this sort of fashion; an ever-growing list also includes Vimeo, Joost, Indiefix and even large companies like Hulu, which has not struck a deal similar to that which Netflix grudgingly made with Comcast. Platforms, in this case, could either ultimately be forced to pay for special access to the pipes - and thus pass along the cost to either the consumer or the filmmaker - or fall behind. “The independents are now looking at the smaller companies who are competing not only with Comcast, but also with Netflix, and don’t have the money to pay for preferred carriage, and are not going to pay for co-located interconnection,” Jean Prewitt, the CEO and President of the Independent Film and Television Alliance (IFTA), told TheWrap. “And those are increasingly going to be the services that a lot of our members are going to be looking to as their way onto the internet. Or, our members are looking themselves to put forward their own service in which they aggregate content of a particular genre or type and try to put forward.” In theory, having just a handful of content distributors equipped with the fastest connections could be okay for independent filmmakers, but monopolization and market share have already constricted the free flow of movies, and that would only get worse. The struggle of independent distributors and platforms is intimately connected with the fate of independent filmmakers because outlets like Netflix and iTunes (which may also reach a deal with Comcast), as well as the cable companies’ own VOD offerings, are so tightly curated. This, even before the courts struck down the FCC’s Net Neutrality principles in January. ‘Unlimited capacity’ pursued “If you do not have films that have been theatrically released in the United States, or have a very strong, quite obvious niche audience, it’s very difficult to get on the major VOD services,” Prewitt said. “That’s true for a couple of reasons, but it’s complicated by the fact that none of the big services really are putting out there unlimited capacity.” The fact that distributors and platforms don’t release their VOD profits only adds to the problem, as it’s hard to tell which movie is a surprise hit and discourages discovery. The potential merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable could only serve to exacerbate that problem. The IFTA, which is on the record as pro-open Internet, hasn’t released an official position on that pending marriage, but is wary of its potential consequences. “Increasingly independents have to go through one or more levels of aggregator, because no one coming down the line, starting at a Comcast, Time Warner or Fox, wants to deal with a company that only has one or two films to offer at a time,” Prewitt said. “So they say go find someone else to package that together, and in many cases that’s In Demand, which is commonly owned. In Demand chooses what it wants to put forward, and that’s not everything, and In Demand won’t deal with smaller distributors, so you have to go to another aggregator. And every one of those layers leads to cherry picking, costs and delay.” Simply put: If you weren’t in theaters or don’t have a star, you’ve got way less of a shot of getting of one of the big VOD systems. And if broadband providers price smaller VOD systems out of business or at least put them at a technical disadvantage, you’re either out of luck getting distribution or paying a bigger share of your profit to one of the big name platforms if they do happen to accept your film. “I care about net neutrality because I’ve got to try to get my movies out in a good way, any way I can,” Daniela Taplin Lundberg, a veteran indie producer (“The Kids Are All Right”) and partner at Red Crown Productions, said. “I want audiences to be viewing the content that I’ve slaved over through any platform. Whether that’s Hulu, YouTube, Netflix, iTunes, I want them to be able to view it in the same way, with the best quality. That being said, that doesn’t feel the way the tide is turning.” At the moment, Lundberg says, the uncertainty around which VOD services will carry her films and the financial boom or bust that will cause - doesn’t have much impact on many of the projects she chooses to produce, especially micro-budget features; you can only shave a budget down so far. But, with pre-sales on distribution making up quite a bit of a film’s financing these days, and theaters showing fewer and fewer independent films, there’s more pressure on VOD. If there’s no guarantee that a movie will make it onto a VOD system, no one will want to buy its home entertainment rights - and that means a film just may not get made in the first place. — Reuters
Classifieds SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
Kuwait SHARQIA-1 SABOTAGE (DIG) SABOTAGE (DIG) DIVERGENT (DIG) SABOTAGE (DIG) DIVERGENT (DIG) SABOTAGE (DIG)
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SHARQIA-2 MINUSCULE: VALLEY OF THE LOST ANTS (DIG) NEED FOR SPEED (DIG-3D) 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE (DIG-3D) NEED FOR SPEED (DIG-3D) NEED FOR SPEED (DIG-3D) CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (DIG-3D) NEED FOR SPEED (DIG-3D) SHARQIA-3 NON-STOP (DIG) BLOOD TIES (DIG) NON-STOP (DIG) BLOOD TIES (DIG) BLOOD TIES (DIG) NON-STOP (DIG)
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MUHALAB-1 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE (DIG) NON-STOP (DIG) BLOOD TIES (DIG) NON-STOP (DIG) BLOOD TIES (DIG) CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (DIG)
12:30 PM 2:30 PM 4:45 PM 7:00 PM 9:30 PM 9:30 PM
MUHALAB-2 NEED FOR SPEED (DIG) NEED FOR SPEED (DIG) LEGEND (DIG) (Telugu) LAMO AKHZA (DIG) (Arabic) NEED FOR SPEED (DIG)
2:00 PM 4:30 PM 4:30 PM 7:45 PM 9:45 PM
MUHALAB-3 SABOTAGE (DIG) DIVERGENT (DIG) SABOTAGE (DIG) DIVERGENT (DIG) SABOTAGE (DIG)
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FANAR-1 NON-STOP (DIG) MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN (DIG) NON-STOP (DIG) FACTORY GIRL (DIG) (Arabic) FACTORY GIRL (DIG) (Arabic) NON-STOP (DIG)
1:30 PM 4:00 PM 6:00 PM 8:15 PM 10:15 PM 12:15 AM
FANAR-3 SABOTAGE (DIG) SABOTAGE (DIG) DIVERGENT (DIG) SABOTAGE (DIG) DIVERGENT (DIG) SABOTAGE (DIG)
1:00 PM 3:00 PM 5:00 PM 7:45 PM 9:45 PM 12:30 AM
FANAR-4 NEED FOR SPEED (DIG) 2:15 PM 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE (DIG) 4:45 PM NEED FOR SPEED (DIG) 6:45 PM NEED FOR SPEED (DIG) 9:15 PM CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (DIG3D) 9:15 PM NEED FOR SPEED (DIG) 11:45 PM
KNCC PROGRAMME FROM THURSDAY TO WEDNESDAY (27/03/2014 TO 02/04/2014) FANAR-5 BLOOD TIES (DIG) HAUNT (DIG) THE DOUBLE (DIG) BLOOD TIES (DIG) NO WED BLOOD TIES (DIG) NO WED BLOOD TIES (DIG) NO SUN+TUE+WED CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (DIG) CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (DIG)
1:45 PM 4:00 PM 6:00 PM 8:00 PM 10:30 PM 12:45 AM 8:00 PM 10:45 PM
MARINA-1 NON-STOP (DIG) BLOOD TIES (DIG) NON-STOP (DIG) BLOOD TIES (DIG) NON-STOP (DIG) BLOOD TIES (DIG) NO SUN+TUE+WED
12:30 PM 2:45 PM 5:00 PM 7:15 PM 9:30 PM 11:45 PM
MARINA-2 SABOTAGE (DIG) DIVERGENT (DIG) SABOTAGE (DIG) DIVERGENT (DIG) SABOTAGE (DIG) CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (DIG) DIVERGENT (DIG) NO SUN+TUE+WED
12:45 PM 2:45 PM 5:45 PM 7:45 PM 10:30 PM 10:30 PM 12:30 AM
MARINA-3 NEED FOR SPEED (DIG-3D) NEED FOR SPEED (DIG-3D) FACTORY GIRL (DIG) (Arabic) NEED FOR SPEED (DIG-3D) NEED FOR SPEED (DIG-3D) CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (DIG-3D) NEED FOR SPEED (DIG-3D) AVENUES-1 MINUSCULE: VALLEY OF THE LOST ANTS (DIG) 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE (DIG) LEGEND (DIG) (Telugu) 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE (DIG) LEGEND (DIG) (Telugu) LEGEND (DIG) (Telugu) 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE (DIG)
12:30 PM 3:00 PM 5:30 PM 7:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:00 PM 12:45 AM
2:00 PM 4:00 PM 4:00 PM 7:00 PM 7:00 PM 10:00 PM 1:00 AM
AVENUES-2 FACTORY GIRL (DIG) (Arabic) FACTORY GIRL (DIG) (Arabic) FACTORY GIRL (DIG) (Arabic) FACTORY GIRL (DIG) (Arabic) FACTORY GIRL (DIG) (Arabic) FACTORY GIRL (DIG) (Arabic) NO SUN+TUE+WED
2:15 PM 4:30 PM 6:45 PM 9:00 PM 11:15 PM 1:15 AM
AVENUES-3 NON-STOP (DIG) NON-STOP (DIG) 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE (DIG) NON-STOP (DIG) NON-STOP (DIG) NON-STOP (DIG) NO SUN+TUE+WED
1:15 PM 3:30 PM 5:45 PM 8:00 PM 10:15 PM 12:30 AM
AVENUES-4 DIVERGENT (DIG)
DIVERGENT (DIG) NON-STOP (DIG) DIVERGENT (DIG) NON-STOP (DIG) CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (DIG) WED CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (DIG) 360ยบ- 1 DIVERGENT (DIG) DIVERGENT (DIG) DIVERGENT (DIG) NO WED DIVERGENT (DIG) NO SUN+TUE+WED CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (DIG) CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (DIG) 360ยบ- 2 FACTORY GIRL (DIG) (Arabic) FACTORY GIRL (DIG) (Arabic) FACTORY GIRL (DIG) (Arabic) FACTORY GIRL (DIG) (Arabic) FACTORY GIRL (DIG) (Arabic) FACTORY GIRL (DIG) (Arabic)
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360ยบ- 3 BLOOD TIES (DIG) BLOOD TIES (DIG) BLOOD TIES (DIG) BLOOD TIES (DIG) BLOOD TIES (DIG) AL-KOUT.1 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE (DIG) NEED FOR SPEED (DIG) NEED FOR SPEED (DIG) 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE (DIG) NEED FOR SPEED (DIG) CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (DIG) NEED FOR SPEED (DIG)
9:30 PM 12:05 AM
AL-KOUT.2 DIVERGENT (DIG) FACTORY GIRL (DIG) (Arabic) DIVERGENT (DIG) FACTORY GIRL (DIG) (Arabic) DIVERGENT (DIG)
2:00 PM 4:45 PM 7:00 PM 9:45 PM 11:45 PM
AL-KOUT.3 NON-STOP (DIG) NON-STOP (DIG) SABOTAGE (DIG) NON-STOP (DIG) SABOTAGE (DIG) SABOTAGE (DIG)
1:45 PM 4:00 PM 6:15 PM 8:15 PM 10:30 PM 12:30 AM
AL-KOUT.4 BLOOD TIES (DIG) BLOOD TIES (DIG) HAUNT (DIG) BLOOD TIES (DIG) BLOOD TIES (DIG) HAUNT (DIG)
1:00 PM 3:30 PM 5:45 PM 7:45 PM 10:00 PM 12:15 AM
BAIRAQ-1 SABOTAGE (DIG) NEED FOR SPEED (DIG-3D) SABOTAGE (DIG) NEED FOR SPEED (DIG-3D)
1:15 PM 3:15 PM 5:45 PM 7:45 PM
2:15 PM 4:30 PM 6:45 PM 9:00 PM 11:15 PM 12:30 PM 2:30 PM 5:00 PM 7:30 PM 9:30 PM
SITUATION VACANT Lady Indian physiotherapist B.PT, M.Sc (UK) 4 years experience, transferable visa, ready to join. Please call 99651572. (C 4677) 27-3-2014 MATRIMONIAL Marriage proposal for Marathomite girl 26 years B/B in Kuwait (Ms) well placed in Kuwait. Proposals from Marthomite boys qualified and well placed in Kuwait or GCC countries. Email: email@example.com (C 4678) 27-3-2014
ACCOMMODATION Abraq-Khaitan bed space/sharing room available for decent Goan/Indian bachelor in two bedroom flat, beside the main road and bus stop. Near police station roundabout, from 1st May with kitchen and internet facility. Contact: 97523316 / 24745162. (C 4676) 27-3-2014
FOR SALE Doctor selling Mitsubishi Gallant model 2013, done only 14000 km, like new, 4 cyl, for KD 3250 only (new KD 5400) & Jaguar X 2.50 model 2002, done only 83000 km, very good, leather seats for KD 950 only. Tel: 66572082. (C 4679) 29-3-2014
THE PUBLIC AUTHORITY FOR CIVIL INFORMATION Automated enquiry aboutthe Civil ID card is
1889988 Prayer timings
CHANGE OF NAME I have changed my name Abbas holding Indian Passport No. Z1922769 issued at Kuwait to Abbas Mashrak for all purposes. 158, Kharol Colony, Fatehpura, Udaipur (Raj.) (C 4675) 25-4-2013
Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (www.kuwait-airport.com.kw)
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Flt 1084 574 539 642 637 858 620 211 853 305 576 267 067 7694 612 1076 416 077 544 792 170 069 157 412 8632 206 053 302 512 1086 382 352 332 855 362 125 284 665 301 055 1070 341 213 404 6507 165 065 561 071 871 528 610 766 742 672 1078
Arrival Flights on Sunday 30/3/2014 Route Doha Mumbai Cairo Amman Dammam Istanbul Addis Ababa Bahrain Dubai Abu Dhabi Kochi/Abu Dhabi Beirut Dubai Manila Cairo Doha Jeddah Dubai Cairo Luxembourg Bahrain Dubai London Manila/Bangkok Doha Islamabad Dubai Mumbai Riyadh Doha Delhi Kochi Trivandrum Dubai Colombo Sharjah Dhaka Shiraz Abu Dhabi Dubai Doha Latakia Bahrain Beirut Shiraz Dubai Dubai Sohag Dubai Dubai Ahwaz Cairo Istanbul Dammam Dubai Doha
Time 00:05 00:10 00:30 01:05 01:10 01:30 01:45 01:55 02:25 02:30 02:35 02:50 03:05 03:10 03:15 03:25 04:00 04:15 04:20 05:05 05:10 05:50 06:35 06:45 06:50 07:40 07:45 07:50 07:55 07:55 07:55 08:10 08:15 08:25 08:45 08:50 08:50 09:25 09:30 09:35 10:00 10:15 10:40 10:55 11:00 11:50 11:55 12:00 12:35 12:45 12:50 13:00 13:10 13:30 13:40 13:45
FDB GFA SVA FDB ABY RJA FDB QTR JZR ETD FDB UAE SVA UAL GFA JZR JZR FDB JZR KAC RBG QTR KAC KAC FDB KAC AXB ABY GFA KAC KAC KAC MSR JAI KAC OMA KAC FDB AFG MEA DLH KAC KAC KLM FDB ALK UAE KAC QTR ETD GFA JZR FDB AIC UAL JZR BBC
057 221 500 081 127 640 051 1072 787 303 073 857 510 982 215 481 177 075 777 542 553 1080 786 166 063 618 393 129 217 774 502 674 606 572 102 647 562 061 415 402 636 1784 514 417 079 229 859 172 1074 307 219 135 059 981 981 185 043
Dubai Bahrain Jeddah Dubai Sharjah Amman Dubai Doha Riyadh Abu Dhabi Dubai Dubai Riyadh IAD Bahrain Istanbul Dubai Dubai Jeddah Cairo Alexandria Doha Jeddah Paris/Rome Dubai Doha Kozhikode Sharjah Bahrain Riyadh Beirut Dubai Luxor Mumbai New York/London Muscat Amman Dubai Kabul Beirut Frankfurt Jeddah Tehran Amsterdam Dubai Colombo Dubai Frankfurt Doha Abu Dhabi Bahrain Bahrain Dubai Chennai/Hyderabad/Ahmedabad Bahrain Dubai Dhaka
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Airlines UAL AIC AXB JAI DLH ETH PGT UAE FDB MSR ETD QTR CEB FDB AFG QTR JZR JAI FDB RJA GFA JZR CLX QTR BAW FDB KAC QTR SVA KAC ABY JZR UAE KAC ETD FDB IRA KAC QTR SYR KAC GFA KAC MEA IRC JZR KAC FDB JZR KAC JZR FDB IRC MSR THY UAE
Departure Flights on Sunday 30/3/2014 Flt Route 981 IAD 976 Goa/Chennai 490 Mangalore/Kochi 573 Mumbai 637 Frankfurt 621 Addis Ababa 859 Istanbul 854 Dubai 068 Dubai 613 Cairo 306 Abu Dhabi 1077 Doha 7695 Manila 078 Dubai 416 Kabul 1085 Doha 560 Sohag 575 Abu Dhabi/Kochi 070 Dubai 643 Amman 212 Bahrain 164 Dubai 792 Hanoi 8632 Lahore/Doha 156 London 054 Dubai 171 Frankfurt 1087 Doha 513 Riyadh 671 Dubai 126 Sharjah 480 Istanbul 856 Dubai 117 New York 302 Abu Dhabi 056 Dubai 664 Shiraz 741 Dammam 1071 Doha 342 Latakia 541 Cairo 214 Bahrain 501 Beirut 405 Beirut 6508 Shiraz 776 Jeddah 103 London 066 Dubai 786 Riyadh 785 Jeddah 176 Dubai 072 Dubai 529 Ahwaz 611 Cairo 767 Istanbul 872 Dubai
DIAL161 FOR AIRPORT INFORMATION
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FDB KAC QTR KAC GFA KAC KAC FDB SVA KAC ABY KAC FDB RJA JZR QTR FDB JZR ETD UAE SVA GFA JZR FDB UAL JZR JZR RBG QTR FDB ABY GFA AXB MSR KAC JAI FDB KAC OMA DLH AFG MEA FDB DHX KLM ETD ALK UAE KAC QTR FDB KAC GFA KAC KAC KAC KAC
058 561 1079 673 222 617 1783 082 503 773 128 513 052 641 266 1073 074 538 304 858 511 216 184 076 982 238 134 554 1081 064 120 218 394 619 283 571 062 361 648 636 415 403 080 171 417 308 230 860 343 1075 060 301 220 351 205 411 415
Dubai Amman Doha Dubai Bahrain Doha Jeddah Dubai Madinah/Jeddah Riyadh Sharjah Tehran Dubai Amman Beirut Doha Dubai Cairo Abu Dhabi Dubai Riyadh Bahrain Dubai Dubai Bahrain Amman Bahrain Alexandria Doha Dubai Sharjah Bahrain Kozhikode Alexandria Dhaka Mumbai Dubai Colombo Muscat Dammam Jeddah Beirut Dubai Bahrain Dammam/Amsterdam Abu Dhabi Colombo Dubai Chennai Doha Dubai Mumbai Bahrain Kochi Islamabad Bangkok/Manila Kuala Lumpur/Jakarta
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stars CROSSWORD 502
STAR TRACK Aries (March 21-April 19) Today you may find yourself working for a half day or just to finish up a project in the workplace. Your logic is good and you have built a reputation for thinking quickly, on your feet, so to speak. You can walk into most any room and gain respect for obtaining whatever information is needed. A profession as a spy, detective or researcher is quite possible for you. You are confident in whatever position you hold. You are emotionally stable and other people sense this about you. Create some goals now for an exciting year ahead. You will find your circle of friends enlarging this year. Your part in this activity is to just sit back and enjoy the parade. Friends want to show you a good time tonight. Happy birthday!
Taurus (April 20-May 20) You intuitively know that things are looking upward! You are entering a phase of emotional directness and focus-one marked by forceful and powerful feelings. Do not spread yourself too thin or you will just slow yourself down-you are independent. You are satisfied by meeting your obligations. Creative and pleasurable interests are high. Get serious about travel plans and include your loved one in your future plans. Spontaneity is the special word for you. These are great days for doubling your money! Take a chance on a business venture-you are likely to find positive results. Investment opportunities can be found in the fields of nursery care for children, restaurants, home decorating and furnishings for vacation accommodations.
Gemini (May 21-June 20)
ACROSS 1. A potent estrogen used in medicine and in feed for livestock and poultry. 4. A flat tortilla with various fillings piled on it. 11. A metric unit of weight equal to one thousandth of a kilogram. 15. A mature blood cell that contains hemoglobin to carry oxygen to the bodily tissues. 16. Brownish Old World bunting often eaten as a delicacy. 17. Type genus of the Ranidae. 18. (Welsh) Lord of Annwfn (the other world. 20. Have confidence or faith in. 21. A group of more than 800 islands (100 inhabited) in the southwestern Pacific. 22. A Chadic language spoken in northern Nigeria and closely related to Hausa. 24. South American wood sorrel cultivated for its edible tubers. 26. Offering fun and gaiety. 27. Manufactured in standard sizes to be shipped and assembled elsewhere. 29. Sour or bitter in taste. 30. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 32. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 36. A legal document codifying the result of deliberations of a committee or society or legislative body. 38. A telegram sent abroad. 42. God of wealth and love. 44. (astronomy) The angular distance of a celestial point measured westward along the celestial equator from the zenith crossing. 47. Someone who engages in arbitrage (who purchases securities in one market for immediate resale in another in the hope of profiting from the price differential). 48. A master's degree in business. 49. Deep-rooted coarse-textured plant native to the Mediterranean region having blue flowers and pinnately compound leaves. 51. Concerning those not members of the clergy. 53. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group. 55. Japanese stringed instrument resembling a banjo with a long neck and a fretted fingerboard and a rectangular soundbox. 56. The regulation of weights and measures of articles offered for sale. 59. African tree having an exceedingly thick trunk and fruit that resembles a gourd and has an edible pulp called monkey bread. 61. The universal time coordinated time when a transmission is sent from Earth to a spacecraft or other celestial body. 62. The site of an archeological exploration. 63. A town and port in northwestern Israel in the eastern Mediterranean. 67. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 71. United States physiologist (born in Germany) who did research on parthenogenesis (1859-1924). 72. The airforce of Great Britain. 77. A run that is the result of the batter's performance. 78. The 7th letter of the Greek alphabet. 79. Any of two families of large herbivorous aquatic mammals with paddle-shaped tails and flipper-like forelimbs and no hind limbs. 80. A metric unit of volume or capacity equal to 10 liters. 81. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 82. (architecture) A slender upright spire at
the top of a buttress of tower. 83. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. DOWN 1. Lacking in liveliness or charm or surprise. 2. A Spanish river. 3. The skin that covers the top of the head. 4. A unit of weight equivalent to 1000 kilograms. 5. A state in northwestern United States on the Pacific. 6. Any of a number of tiny parallel grooves such as. 7. Having a toe or toes of a specified kind. 8. (prefix) Indicating difference or variation. 9. Childcare during the day while parents work. 10. An associate degree in nursing. 11. An African amulet. 12. The seventh month of the Moslem calendar. 13. A blue dye obtained from plants or made synthetically. 14. An independent group of closely related Chadic languages spoken in the area between the Biu-Mandara and East Chadic languages. 19. A person who is under the protection or in the custody of another. 23. A radioactive transuranic element. 25. (informal) Of the highest quality. 28. A small cake leavened with yeast. 31. Tropical trees having papery leaves and large fruit. 33. A silvery ductile metallic element found primarily in bauxite. 34. With rapid movements. 35. Cause to ripen. 37. A sock with a separation for the big toe. 39. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 40. Leafless East Indian vine. 41. The Jewish rite of circumcision performed on a male child on the eighth day of his life. 43. Before noon. 45. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 46. Relating to or characteristic of a tribe. 50. Having or making equal angles. 52. A large and densely populated urban area. 54. The region of the body of a vertebrate between the thorax and the pelvis. 57. A lustrous gray strong metallic element resembling titanium. 58. The square of a body of any size of type. 60. An island in the Aegean Sea in the Saronic Gulf. 64. British filmmaker (born in Hungary) (18931956). 65. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 66. A promontory in northern Morocco opposite the Rock of Gibraltar. 68. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 69. Acquire or gain knowledge or skills. 70. Fastener consisting of a resinous composition that is plastic when warm. 73. At a great distance in time or space or degree. 74. Apparent power to perceive things that are not present to the senses. 75. Denoting a quantity consisting of 12 items or units. 76. The compass point midway between northeast and east.
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
It could be important to do some serious thinking about your work or career just now, particularly if you feel it is inadequate. Plan before you act and have clearly defined objectives; you will find success. Find ways in which to merge your spiritual life into every other aspect of your life. This will give you encouragement. Turn your intuitive eye onto what is and what is not beneficial at this time. Take more time to build stamina in your life; climb stairs. You are able to enjoy and value your own life situation. A friend or loved one gets special attention from you this afternoon. It is your turn to encourage this person and help with gaining a focus on his or her future independence. An engagement or birth may soon be in the forecast.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) Your attitude toward your health will make a big difference in how you feel physically. A strong intention to change things may be met with oppositiondo not push, you will find a compromise. You are entering a phase of emotional directness and impulsiveness-one that is marked by forceful and powerful feelings. However, you have the energies working in your favor if you pace yourself and take plenty of time to think through your argument or methods of persuasion. Your taste in art and appreciation in general are heightened. Perhaps this is a good time to select furnishings, colors, etc. You may also prefer to just sit back and enjoy what you have-to live life. Young people and a special loved one will be plotting to surprise you this evening.
Leo (July 23-August 22) As most of us, you can occasionally want to rest your energies-perhaps in procrastination. However, putting your resources to work now will show successful results. Act quickly. You and others will see your achievements today. You aim to find the middle way and you strive for balance. Take time to enjoy the results of your labor later this day when you really can step back and take a break. This afternoon is an excellent time to solidify existing friendships while gaining the affections of acquaintances. Seize the chance when it comes! Any domestic needs should be carried out successfully as well. The need to have a support system is important this evening. Careful, you must realize that friends will have opinions.
Virgo (August 23-September 22) You have a clear understanding of your position in the world, as well as the people you care about now. Life’s problems seem manageable. This is a great time, when good fortune and plain old luck surrounds you. It is easy for you to make correct decisions, find the right path and move forward where career and success are concerned. The support you need is available. You must realize that friends and relatives rely on you as much as you depend on them. You may see a turning point in your outlook on life and relationships now. Some sort of extra support or recognition is given to you at this time. If you seek a contented home life, you will enjoy contentment. Take a trip this evening to a romantic settingromance is in the air.
WORD SEARCH PUZZLE
Libra (September 23-October 22) An outgoing and very expressive time will begin for you soon. You could miss out on some of the fun if you keep working overtime, so . . . Give yourself a break from your usual hard work. A special project that is connected with your home may have your attention. You may decide that working on the addition to your home or looking for a new home may be where you are most interested. Make it a point to search your feelings before making any major decisions concerning loved ones now. Harmony and beauty are deeply satisfying and time alone with loved ones is beneficial. A love relationship will become closer and more meaningful now. Perhaps a healing or an agreement can be reached. This evening there is time to relax and refurbish your energies.
Scorpio (October 23-November 21) You are action oriented, creative, enthusiastic and ready to accomplish what is set before you now. New projects move quickly and problems have little staying power with you on board to do the problem solving. Work has been steady but you may be tempted to take on a part-time job in order to have some extra finances for an upcoming trip, special date, etc. Time away from your living surroundings is a good thing this afternoon. Visitors to your household later today may consist of family or old friends. Perhaps some tourist attraction that you and your family have always wanted to see or experience is at the forefront of your mind. Plans are forming for some great new adventure; write down your ideas and get feedback from the others.
Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) This is a good time to do research. Take your time and take clear notes. A friend may try to sway you from your path today, but stay true to yourself by doing what is necessary to move forward and complete your task. Stay focused but do not be afraid to share your compassionate nature with others. If you ask your highest most inner self those questions that boggle your mind, you will be able to find the answers you needespecially when least expected. This brings you back time and time again to discover the new and what seems impossible. This afternoon is a good time for tennis, golf or bicycle riding with a friend. While you are out you may catch a glimpse of some beautiful blossoms. A vase of flowers are a welcome sight on a table.
Capricorn (December 22-January 19) A naturally strong urge to be powerful and in control may cause you to draw on some extra energy and plan your future with more determination. One does not have to be manipulative to be in control but one does have to become aware and in tune with the possibilities so as to take charge of the future, and in today’s case, the future is yours. Take notes and dream big; adjustments can be made as you move along life’s highway. A business relationship is on solid ground and expanding your business or interests may be something worth considering at this time. Appreciation to others should come easily at this time and can do positive things for your disposition. This evening, fate shines on you-love is in the air!
Aquarius (January 20- February 18) Your reckless side is showing today. You may be tempted to abandon your practical, businesslike persona for a chance at some off-the-wall activity. Considering this may be a day off for you, you may gather your friends and entertain each other. A little off-road ride or a good movie can be enjoyed by you and your friends. A few new ideas are floating around for a new invention or adventure and there is much talk about the times when you can gather once again. A freshly mowed yard, a fresh bag of charcoal and some steaks thawing just for you to cook will be a little difficult to ignore this evening. A summer vegetable garden is a good idea and worthy of your planning talents. Take some time to enjoy your loved ones this evening.
Pisces (February 19-March 20)
You are a virtual dynamo of energy today. You love to be totally absorbed with what you are doing and hate idle moments-unless, of course, you can be totally absorbed for recreation or relaxation purposes. Just standing around tends to create some very negative thinking. You are pleased with your professional progress and spend much of your day humming, whistling and happily involved in household duties or chores. Your love life is intensified and your independence is balancing out nicely. Attending a spectator sport this afternoon will be fun. This is a great time to be with friends. This could mean a basketball, baseball or hockey game for you and you become completely absorbed by trying to shout over to your favorite players.
Yesterday’s Solution Daily SuDoku
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
i n f o r m at i o n For labor-related inquiries and complaints: Call MSAL hotline 128 GOVERNORATE Sabah Hospital
Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital
Ibn Sina Hospital
Sama Safwan Abu Halaifa Danat Al-Sultan
Fahaeel Makka St Abu Halaifa-Coastal Rd Mahboula Block 1, Coastal Rd
23915883 23715414 23726558
Modern Jahra Madina Munawara
Jahra-Block 3 Lot 1 Jahra-Block 92
Ahlam Khaldiya Coop
Fahad Al-Salem St Khaldiya Coop
New Shifa Ferdous Coop Modern Safwan
Farwaniya Block 40 Ferdous Coop Old Kheitan Block 11
24734000 24881201 24726638
Tariq Hana Ikhlas Hawally & Rawdha Ghadeer Kindy Ibn Al-Nafis Mishrif Coop Salwa Coop
Salmiya-Hamad Mubarak St Salmiya-Amman St Hawally-Beirut St Hawally & Rawdha Coop Jabriya-Block 1A Jabriya-Block 3B Salmiya-Hamad Mubarak St Mishrif Coop Salwa Coop
25726265 25647075 22625999 22564549 25340559 25326554 25721264 25380581 25628241
PRIVATE CLINICS Ophthalmologists Dr. Abidallah Al-Mansoor 25622444 Dr. Samy Al-Rabeea 25752222 Dr. Masoma Habeeb 25321171 Dr. Mubarak Al-Ajmy 25739999 Dr. Mohsen Abel 25757700 Dr Adnan Hasan Alwayl 25732223 Dr. Abdallah Al-Baghly 25732223 Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) Dr. Ahmed Fouad Mouner 24555050 Ext 510 Dr. Abdallah Al-Ali 25644660 Dr. Abd Al-Hameed Al-Taweel 25646478 Dr. Sanad Al-Fathalah 25311996 Dr. Mohammad Al-Daaory 25731988 Dr. Ismail Al-Fodary 22620166 Dr. Mahmoud Al-Booz 25651426 General Practitioners Dr. Mohamme Y Majidi 24555050 Ext 123 Dr. Yousef Al-Omar 24719312 Dr. Tarek Al-Mikhazeem 23926920 Dr. Kathem Maarafi 25730465 Dr. Abdallah Ahmad Eyadah 25655528 Dr. Nabeel Al-Ayoobi 24577781 Dr. Dina Abidallah Al-Refae 25333501 Urologists Dr. Ali Naser Al-Serfy 22641534 Dr. Fawzi Taher Abul 22639955 Dr. Khaleel Abidallah Al-Awadi 22616660 Dr. Adel Al-Hunayan FRCS (C) 25313120 Dr. Leons Joseph 66703427 Psychologists /Psychotherapists
Plastic Surgeons Dr. Mohammad Al-Khalaf
Dr. Khaled Hamadi
Dr. Abdal-Redha Lari
Dr. Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rashed
Dr. Abdel Quttainah
Family Doctor Dr Divya Damodar
Psychiatrists Dr. Esam Al-Ansari
Dr Eisa M. Al-Balhan
Gynaecologists & Obstetricians DrAdrian arbe
Dr. Verginia s.Marin
2572-6666 ext 8321
Dr. Zahra Qabazard
Dr. Sohail Qamar
Dr. Snaa Maaroof
Dr. Pradip Gujare
Dr. Zacharias Mathew
(1) Ear, Nose and Throat (2) Plastic Surgeon Dr. Abdul Mohsin Jafar, FRCS (Canada)
Dr. Fozeya Ali Al-Qatan
Dr. Majeda Khalefa Aliytami
Dr. Shamah Al-Matar
Dr. Ahmad Al-Khooly
Dr. Anesah Al-Rasheed
Dr. Abidallah Al-Amer
Dr. Faysal Al-Fozan
Dr. Abdallateef Al-Katrash
Dr. Abidallah Al-Duweisan
Dr. Bader Al-Ansari
General Surgeons Dr. Amer Zawaz Al-Amer
Dr. Mohammad Yousef Basher
Internists, Chest & Heart Dr. Adnan Ebil Dr. Latefa Al-Duweisan
Dr. Nadem Al-Ghabra
Dr. Mobarak Aldoub
Dr Nasser Behbehani
Soor Center Tel: 2290-1677 Fax: 2290 1688
Dr. Mousa Khadada
Dr. Sohal Najem Al-Shemeri
Dr. Jasem Mola Hassan
Gastrologists Dr. Sami Aman
Dr. Mohammad Al-Shamaly
Dr. Foad Abidallah Al-Ali
Kaizen center 25716707
Dr. Ahmad Al-Ansari 25658888 Dr. Kamal Al-Shomr 25329924 Physiotherapists & VD Dr. Deyaa Shehab
Dr. Musaed Faraj Khamees
Rheumatologists: Dr. Adel Al-Awadi
Dr Anil Thomas
Dr. Salem soso
Dr. Abd Al-Naser Al-Othman
Dr. Khaled Al-Jarallah
Internist, Chest & Heart DR.Mohammes Akkad
24555050 Ext 210
Dr. Mohammad Zubaid MB, ChB, FRCPC, PACC Assistant Professor Of Medicine Head, Division of Cardiology Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital Consultant Cardiologist Dr. Farida Al-Habib MD, PH.D, FACC Inaya German Medical Center Te: 2575077 Fax: 25723123
William Schuilenberg, RPC 2290-1677 Zaina Al Zabin, M.Sc. 2290-1677
Afghanistan 0093 Albania 00355 Algeria 00213 Andorra 00376 Angola 00244 Anguilla 001264 Antiga 001268 Argentina 0054 Armenia 00374 Australia 0061 Austria 0043 Bahamas 001242 Bahrain 00973 Bangladesh 00880 Barbados 001246 Belarus 00375 Belgium 0032 Belize 00501 Benin 00229 Bermuda 001441 Bhutan 00975 Bolivia 00591 Bosnia 00387 Botswana 00267 Brazil 0055 Brunei 00673 Bulgaria 00359 Burkina 00226 Burundi 00257 Cambodia 00855 Cameroon 00237 Canada 001 Cape Verde 00238 Cayman Islands 001345 Central African 00236 Chad 00235 Chile 0056 China 0086 Colombia 0057 Comoros 00269 Congo 00242 Cook Islands 00682 Costa Rica 00506 Croatia 00385 Cuba 0053 Cyprus 00357 Cyprus (Northern) 0090392 Czech Republic 00420 Denmark 0045 Diego Garcia 00246 Djibouti 00253 Dominica 001767 Dominican Republic 001809 Ecuador 00593 Egypt 0020 El Salvador 00503 England (UK) 0044 Equatorial Guinea 00240 Eritrea 00291 Estonia 00372 Ethiopia 00251 Falkland Islands 00500 Faroe Islands 00298 Fiji 00679 Finland 00358 France 0033 French Guiana 00594 French Polynesia 00689 Gabon 00241 Gambia 00220 Georgia 00995 Germany 0049 Ghana 00233 Gibraltar 00350 Greece 0030 Greenland 00299 Grenada 001473 Guadeloupe 00590 Guam 001671 Guatemala 00502 Guinea 00224 Guyana 00592 Haiti 00509 Holland (Netherlands) 0031 Honduras 00504 Hong Kong 00852 Hungary 0036 Ibiza (Spain) 0034 Iceland 00354 India 0091 Indian Ocean 00873 Indonesia 0062
Iran 0098 Iraq 00964 Ireland 00353 Italy 0039 Ivory Coast 00225 Jamaica 001876 Japan 0081 Jordan 00962 Kazakhstan 007 Kenya 00254 Kiribati 00686 Kuwait 00965 Kyrgyzstan 00996 Laos 00856 Latvia 00371 Lebanon 00961 Liberia 00231 Libya 00218 Lithuania 00370 Luxembourg 00352 Macau 00853 Macedonia 00389 Madagascar 00261 Majorca 0034 Malawi 00265 Malaysia 0060 Maldives 00960 Mali 00223 Malta 00356 Marshall Islands 00692 Martinique 00596 Mauritania 00222 Mauritius 00230 Mayotte 00269 Mexico 0052 Micronesia 00691 Moldova 00373 Monaco 00377 Mongolia 00976 Montserrat 001664 Morocco 00212 Mozambique 00258 Myanmar (Burma) 0095 Namibia 00264 Nepal 00977 Netherlands (Holland) 0031 Netherlands Antilles 00599 New Caledonia 00687 New Zealand 0064 Nicaragua 00505 Nigar 00227 Nigeria 00234 Niue 00683 Norfolk Island 00672 Northern Ireland (UK) 0044 North Korea 00850 Norway 0047 Oman 00968 Pakistan 0092 Palau 00680 Panama 00507 Papua New Guinea 00675 Paraguay 00595 Peru 0051 Philippines 0063 Poland 0048 Portugal 00351 Puerto Rico 001787 Qatar 00974 Romania 0040 Russian Federation 007 Rwanda 00250 Saint Helena 00290 Saint Kitts 001869 Saint Lucia 001758 Saint Pierre 00508 Saint Vincent 001784 Samoa US 00684 Samoa West 00685 San Marino 00378 Sao Tone 00239 Saudi Arabia 00966 Scotland (UK) 0044 Senegal 00221 Seychelles 00284 Sierra Leone 00232 Singapore 0065 Slovakia 00421 Slovenia 00386 Solomon Islands 00677
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
lifestyle G o s s i p
‘Top Gun 2’ is expected soon
he legendary Hollywood producer is working on a sequel to the classic 1986 fighter pilot movie - which starred Tom Cruise - and is hopeful it will go into production soon, with the actor reprising his role as Maverick. He told The Huffington Post: “We’ve been trying to get that movie made for 30 years, and I think we’re getting closer and closer. “Don [Simpson] and I tried to develop something, we didn’t succeed. [Tom] Cruise took over, and he tried to develop something, and he didn’t succeed. Now we’re back at it.” Jerry added
it was the director of the original movie, Tony Scott, who came up with the current storyline before he passed away in 2012. He added: “The concept is, basically, are the pilots obsolete because of drones Cruise is going to show them that they’re not obsolete. They’re here to stay. “It’s just getting to the starting place. Fortunately for Tom, he’s very busy, so you have to find a slot he can fit into and get a budget that [studio] Paramount feels they can make the picture.” So far no director or estimated release date for the project has been set. — Bangshowbiz
chat-up lines are ‘stupid and immature’
he Spanish lothario has been in an on/off relationship with tennis player Anna Kournikova since 2001, but says if he did need to break the ice with a lady he’d rely on his boyish charm. He told website MailOnline: “My lines tend to be kind of stupid and immature. If a girl can laugh at a joke then I always think that’s cool. That’s fun, it’s a good opener.” The 38-year-old ‘Hero’ star also had some tips on male hygiene, advising anybody with a hairy back to get their clippers out. He added: “If you have a hairy back, shave it; brush your teeth; fake tan I’m not so much into. Not too much hair I guess - I shave everywhere. I’m kidding, I don’t shave everywhere... But most places you do try to trim.” Enrique also told how now he’s in his 30s he finds it a little harder to keep in shape, although when he’s on tour, his energetic live show ensures he burns off plenty of energy. He added: “One of the things I’ve noticed, when you turn 30 and up, you’ve gotta watch a little bit more what you eat. But in my case, going on tour, two hours on stage, you actually lose a lot of calories, which is good. I notice when I’m not on tour I’m not in as good shape. It helps me like a workout. “When it comes down to the gym or anything that’s cardio, like running on the treadmill, I’m very lazy. What I like to do more is sports. Whether it’s surfing or paying racquetball with my friends, you sweat a lot and I like that better.”
Christina Aguilera is expecting a girl
Nick Cannon gifts Mariah Carey
he ‘Fighter’ singer and her fiance, Matthew Rutler, are having a daughter according to JustJared.com, which will be their first child together. The girl will be a sibling to Max, Christina’s six-year-old son with ex-husband Jordan Bratman. The singer is currently in Malaysia, where she performed for fans writing on twitter following the show: “Ain’t no other fans... Thank you Malaysia for all the love & support! XoXtina (sic)” Christina, 33, announced she was expecting in February, a week after Matthew had proposed and is said to be over the moon with the pregnancy, with one source saying: “It wasn’t expected, but it also wasn’t unwelcome. They are all very excited though! Christina loves being a mom.” Production assistant Matthew met the blonde beauty on the set of movie ‘Burlesque’ in 2010 while she was going through her divorce, and had been planning to propose long before Christina got pregnant, even starting to design her engagement ring more than a year ago. He popped the question in the backyard of their new home in Los Angeles, which is still under construction, on Valentine’s Day. Christina was said to be completely “shocked” by Matthew’s romantic sunset proposal, for which he wore a suit and filled a gazebo with candles and red roses, before taking her to celebrate with friends and family.
a diamond bracelet
he ‘America’s Got Talent’ presenter surprised his wife with an expensive-looking cuff decorated with sparkling butterflies to celebrate her 44th birthday. She took to Twitter to write: “Nick surprised me for 3/27 with a stellar diamond bracelet encrusted with 3 floating butterflies!” The singer and her doting husband are seen grinning ear-to-ear as she shows off her new jewelry in the accompanying photo. Mariah was clearly delighted with the special gift and was thrilled to be having “family time” with Nick and their two-year-old twins Moroccan and Monroe together. She added: “I’m just happy he’s here!!!! #familytime #festivity @NickCannon.” The ‘Honey’ singer marked the occasion at the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, Florida, where she tucked into a giant cake and Disney-themed sweet treats. Butterflies have a special symbolic meaning to Mariah, whose sixth studio album was named after her personal ballad ‘Butterfly’, which is about the end of her marriage to her reportedly controlling ex-husband, Tommy Mottola.
wants a sibling for North
he reality TV star is set to marry Kanye West in France this spring and then they are rumored to be trying for a brother or sister for nine-month-old North. A source told Yahoo! Celebrity: “She wants to start trying by the end of the year - even though she hated being pregnant. “She’s so besotted with North that she says she’s totally forgotten the awfulness of being pregnant and how much she struggled.” The 33-year-old - who has sisters Khloe and Kourtney, brother Rob and half sisters Kendall and Kylie - is said to be keen for her daughter to have a sibling close to her in age. The insider added: “Kim has such a big family that she feels it’s really important there isn’t a huge age gap between North and her siblings. “She’s got her body back and loves being slim and voluptuous, but she’s going to relish it for a few more months and then try for another child after the wedding, even on honeymoon. “Kim says it’ll be the most romantic thing ever and that’s what they’ve been talking about a lot.” Kim and Kanye’s wedding is set to be a star studded affair, with a guest list thought to include chat show legend Oprah Winfrey, TV host Ryan Seacrest - who produces Kim’s reality show, ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ - actor Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, as well as close friends Beyonce and Jay Z. The wedding will be filmed for ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’, although Beyonce reportedly doesn’t want to feature on the program. The wedding will be Kanye’s first and Kim’s third marriage, after she tied the knot when she was 20 to music producer Damon Thomas for four years and later married basketball player Kris Humphries, in 2011, a union which lasted just 72 days.
Solange Knowles feels ‘far older’ than 27
he singer thinks marrying Daniel Smith - the father of her nine-year-old son Julez - when she was just 17 and separating less than four years later gave her an “insane amount” of perspective and says her experiences have made her wiser. She said: “In a lot of ways, emotionally and mentally, I feel far older than 27. Just going through a marriage and a divorce - which I essentially did by 21 - will give you an insane amount of perspective on life.” Despite their split, Solange still gets on well with her ex-husband. She told America’s Harper’s Bazaar magazine: “We co-parent really well. I’m able to say, ‘I need to finish this album, can you step up and take care of the boy?’ “ The ‘Losing You’ singer released her first album when she was 16 years old, and despite her older sister Beyonce being a successful member of Destiny’s Child, she insists her family were never keen on her following in her sibling’s footsteps. She said: “My parents constantly tried to talk me out of being an artist. They had gone through the whole journey with my sister and just wanted me to have a normal teenage life.” And Solange - who is in a relationship with video director Alan Ferguson - admits she doesn’t want her son to be a performer. She said: “It’s certainly not what I have in mind for him, I’m constantly trying to push him to work at the UN, or be a diplomat. I try to convince him by explaining that he wouldn’t have to wait in lines at the airport, and that he can park anywhere.”
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
lifestyle G o s s i p
Gwyneth Paltrow wants to ‘have fun’
he couple announced their separation this week after 10 years of marriage, and it is said the ‘Iron Man 3’ actress is “ready” for another relationship, wanting to enjoy herself rather than get down over the break-up. An source told The Sun newspaper: “She is ready to have another boyfriend. She’s very much about having fun.” The blonde beauty - who has children Apple, nine, and Moses, seven, with the Coldplay singer - has also used her Goop website’s online newsletter to thank fans for their support during this tough time. She wrote: “CM and I in deep gratitude for the support of so many.” The couple described their break-up as an “unconscious coupling”, and made the announcement earlier this week as they insisted they were “closer” than ever. They said: “It is with hearts full of sadness that we have decided to separate. “We have been working hard for well over a year, some of it together, some of it separated, to see what might have been possible between us, and we have come to the conclusion that while we love each other very much we will remain separate. “We are, however, and always will be a family, and in many ways we are closer than we have ever been.”
Courteney Cox wants another child
he 49-year-old actress - who will celebrate her 50th birthday in June - already has nine-year-old daughter Coco with ex-husband David Arquette, but now that she’s fallen for Snow Patrol star Johnny McDaid, she’s said to thinking about trying for another child. A source said: “For years Courteney said that she didn’t want another baby and that Coco was perfect so she couldn’t see why she’d put herself through the trauma of having another child. “Now she’s met Johnny, she feels that having a baby together would be an amazing way to put a seal on their relationship.” Meanwhile, her friends are worried that she’s feeling broody because she’s approaching her landmark birthday, and as she found it difficult to conceive with David - who is expecting a child with his girlfriend Christina McLarty - during their marriage, they’re concerned she could put herself under too much stress. The source told Britain’s Closer magazine: “Courteney’s told pals she’s considering seeing a fertility doctor in LA to find out if she can try for a second baby. “Her friends wonder if it’s because her 50th birthday is coming up. They don’t want her to put herself at any unnecessary risk but she’s reassured them that she’d never make a snap decision about something as important as this.”
Jay Z, Beyonce heading to Brazil for the World Cup
he couple are planning to head to Rio in June for the tournament because they think there will be a great “party atmosphere” and have enlisted the advice of their friend David Beckham to boost their knowledge of the contest. A source said: “Jay and Beyonce don’t really take an interest in football. “But they love the idea of the party atmosphere that will surround Rio during the tournament. “They’re both pals with David and Jay has been asking him for advice on which games will be the best. “He admits he doesn’t have a clue when it comes to football, but David has been telling him which games he thinks will have the biggest buzz. “He’s even promised to organize VIP tickets for them for some big games.” Beyonce, 32, and Jay, 44, will be joined on their trip by two-year-old daughter Blue Ivy because the ‘99 Problems’ hitmaker thinks it will be a good family bonding experience. The source added to the Daily Star newspaper: “They’re taking Blue Ivy with them to make it extra special. “Jay thinks that it will be good for them to have some quality time together as a family and Blue will be fascinated by the colors and buzz of Rio. “They are both so excited about the trip now. Both Jay and BeyoncÈ think that attending the World Cup in Brazil is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “They think it’s going to be like the Rio Carnival multiplied by about a hundred.”
hopes to inspire his son
he 37-year-old actor, who split from his wife of three years Miranda Kerr in October, admits being a father to their three-year-old Flynn is his top priority. The ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ star told E! News: “I can only hope that I always instill him with all of the ideas of living your dream, of actually understanding that life is a cyclical thing and when you give, you receive.” Orlando participated in the We Day California conference on Wednesday along with Selena Gomez, Seth Rogen and Magic Johnson, to inspire young people to take action and affect change. The ‘Lord of the Rings’ actor has been romantically linked with actresses Margot Robbie, Nora Arnezeder and Condola Rashad since splitting from Australian supermodel Miranda. Devoted parents, the former couple are regularly spotted together in New York City with their son and previously insisted they would always consider each other “family” and there were no hard feelings. Miranda said: “We love each other as family, forever.” Orlando also revealed in the past that he tries not to spend too much time away from Flynn. He said: “I won’t spend more than two or three weeks away from him.”
hoards old clothes and make-up
he ‘Horrible Bosses 2’ actress admits she finds it hard to let go of her old beauty products and even has clothes she wore twenty years ago when starring in 90s sitcom ‘Friends’. She said: “I’ve had make-up in my drawer for 10 years that I should probably get rid of. I just cleaned out my make-up drawer. I mean, I do get new mascaras and things like that. But I also have this weird thing [about saving]. “Like even my jeans from my 20s that I can’t get rid of. They’re high-waisted and short. I thought it was awesome. I still have red loafers from ‘Friends’! I can’t get rid of them. I have a nostalgia about them.” Jennifer - who is engaged to Justin Theroux - is known for her natural beauty and she frequently foregoes make-up when altogether in the summer. She added to People magazine: “Summertime I wear the least amount, if any, make-up. I use a great moisturizer ... if anything, I put a little concealer here and there, a little rose on my cheeks, dust with bronzer. That’s summertime. And it’s good not to over-moisturize, because it clogs your pores.”
to receive Fashion Icon Award
ihanna is to be given the Fashion Icon Award by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). The ‘Umbrella’ singer will be celebrated at the 2014 Fashion Awards Ceremony for her risque outfits and constantly evolving style. Steven Kolb, CEO of the CFDA said: “We are proud to present Rihanna with the CFDA Fashion Icon Award for her impact on the industry as fashion’s most exciting ambassador in recent memory.” As well as modeling designer wear, Rihanna has actively been involved in fashion, designing a range for British clothing chain River Island. She was also recently at Paris fashion week, where she was spotted at shows by Lanvin, Chanel, Dior, Comme des Garcons, Givenchy and Stella McCartney. Rihanna, 26, has previously acknowledged the huge role fashion and style have played in helping build her career. She said: “It’s not all down to my voice. There’s people with way more talent than I when it comes to singing. Bigger voices.’’
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
In this photo, four Stradivarius violins are played on stage during a rehearsal at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. — AP photos
In this photo, three Stradivarius violins are seen.
Xiang “Angelo” Yu plays the 1666 “Serdet,” the earliest known existing Stradivarius violin, nearly 350 years old.
Los Angeles festival offers Stradivarius violins X
iang “Angelo” Yu is holding the nearly 350-year-old Stradivarius violin casually by the neck and explaining why he’d like a little more time to make its acquaintance. “It’s always an adventure,” says Yu, 25, who has played six or seven Stradivarius violins over his career. “I only have one or two days to get used to it. Feels like a wild horse - you never know what’s coming.” The violins of Antonio Stradivari, arguably the most famous instruments ever created, have an almost mystical reputation for beauty and heavenly tone. This week eight of them have been brought together in the City of Angels. “Strad Fest LA” is a four-day series of performances culminating with a Saturday charity concert. “I think we’re really giving a gift to Los Angeles,” said Margaret Batjer, concertmaster of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. “To gather this many instruments under one roof, to be played night after night, is an extraordinary event.” Yu called it a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For the festival, he’s playing the 1666 “Serdet,” the earliest known existing Stradivarius violin. “Somehow I feel like every violin has its individual soul, that when I press down my fingers I could feel
the soul of that violin itself,” he said before a Thursday rehearsal. “It’s one of the most extraordinary and expensive and beautiful instruments,” said violinist Chee-Yun, holding a 1714 “Leonora Jackson.” “The minute I started playing a note on it, I felt like I was floating in the air. It’s like a dream come true. It’s beautiful.” Philippe Quint held the 1708 “Ruby.” “Growing up, my dream was always to be able to time travel,” he said. “And a couple of years ago I realized that I’ve had this time machine in my hands my whole life. These violins have traveled for centuries and have been in the hands of some of the most incredible violinists.” “When I play on this instrument, the sound has so much depth and mystery and history,” he said. Stradivari created violins, guitars, cellos and other stringed instruments in his workshop in Cremona, Italy. About 650 survive today and they can sell for millions of dollars. Playing one is like a ‘relationship’ The violins are revered as extraordinary (despite some experiments where listeners have been unable to distinguish
them from less-renowned instruments). Researchers have offered innumerable suggestions to explain the rich, resonant tones of the best Stradivarius violins. “There was a certain magic that happened in Cremona, in northern Italy at that time,” Batjer said. “And people argue all the time: Was it the weather, was it the climate, was it the conditions, was it the wood, was it the craftsmanship? It’s probably a combination of all of those things.” Throughout his lifetime, Stradivari kept experimenting, changing and refining his instruments, and each has a different voice. Playing one is “like getting into a relationship. You respond to each other” in a process that can take months or even years, said Cho-Liang Lin, holding the 1715 “Titian.” “The violin will become part of your voice and at the same time, you’re learning what the violin can do. And you probe further and further,” he said. “The violin kind of responds in kind, and that’s a lovely thing. It’s almost like a marriage except that the divorce procedure’s a little easier.” The violins being played at “Strad Fest LA” include some from Stradivari’s so-called “Golden Period” in the 1700s and the 1720 “Red Mendelssohn,” whose whereabouts were unknown for 200
This photo shows Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique in Twentieth Century Fox and Marvel’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” — AP photos
years. That violin, with its distinctive color, is believed to have inspired the 1998 movie “The Red Violin.” Some of the performers own the violins, while others have been loaned. Pasadena businessman and philanthropist Jerry Kohl bought the 1716 “Milstein” that Batjer played eight years ago for a sum he won’t disclose. Most of the time, the Stradivarius lives in vaults. Kohl only loans it out 10 or 15 times a year so that the instrument won’t take a beating. Kohl hopes it will be around for another 300 years. “It’s like your child,” he said. “After a while, you know you can hear the difference. Last night they played five violins. I could close my eyes and tell you which one was mine.” — AP
Cameron Diaz talks new film, Paltrow breakup
This 1975 comic book cover image shows “Giant-Size X-Men, v1 #1.”
‘X-Men’ preview shows abilities of new mutants
Portugal Fashion Week
n the first few minutes of a new “X-Men: Days of Future Past” clip, some X-Men attempt to battle ruthless metal monsters using their special abilities. It’s the first appearance for some of the mutants - Blink, Sunspot, Warpath and Bishop. A few don’t make it out alive. The clip was unveiled Thursday at CinemaCon in Las Vegas and introduced by Jim Gianopulos, chairman and CEO of 20th Century Fox, to theater owners. The seventh installment of the Marvel franchise, due May 23, brings back two-time “X-Men” director Bryan Singer, as the younger selves of XMen Professor Charles Xavier (played by James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) join forces with their older selves (Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen) to fight species across two time periods. Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Storm (Halle Berry) and many of the other X-Men also appear. Among those featured in the “X-Men: Days of Future Past” clip, Ellen Page plays Shadowcat, Shawn Ashmore is Iceman, Bingbing Fan is new-
bie Blink (she can teleport herself ), Adan Canto is Sunspot (he can store and convert solar energy), Booboo Stewart is Warpath (he has superhuman strength and his body can regenerate quickly) and Omar Sy is Bishop (he is able to release absorbed biokinetic energy). With appearances by Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Shailene Woodley, Fox also previewed “The Other Woman” and “The Fault of Our Stars.” There to introduce summer release “The Fault of Our Stars,” based on John Green’s best-selling tear-jerker about two young people (Woodley and her “Divergent” co-star Ansel Elgort) with cancer who fall in love, Woodley said the film “rewrote the way I look at every breath.” The studio also touted the upcoming “Rio 2,” with a showgirl-accompanied performance of the film’s song “Rio Rio” by rapper B.o.B. and Ester Dean, as well as “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” to release in June. In the “Apes” footage shown, the advancement of the apes, one of the climactic moments in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” is once again highlighted. One ape yells, “Apes
A folk group performs on the catwalk during the presentation of Portuguese designer TMCollection at the Portugal Fashion Fall/Winter 2014/2015 week in Porto, Portugal. — AP
together, strong!” The material to gain the largest cheers from the audience was one of the studio’s 2015 teasers, the Colin Firth and Samuel L Jacksonstarring “The Secret Service.” In it, Firth plays an agent who trains a young man to become part of his team. An early clip showed Firth as a suitwearing, umbrella-toting, fierce fighting agent a new, entertaining look for him. The presentation was capped by “New Girl” stars Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr, who come down the Colosseum aisles at the Caesars Palace dressed as police officers shouting “Don’t worry, we’re fake cops” through megaphones to promote their buddy comedy where they play pretend police officers in “Let’s Be Cops.” — AP
Models display creations by Portuguese designer TMCollection.
f you count yourself among those who’ve never been cheated on, Cameron Diaz has these words of wisdom: It will happen, or it’s already happened and you just don’t know it. The actress gave her perspective on relationships as she and Leslie Mann promoted their new comedy, “The Other Woman,” at CinemaCon, the annual convention of movie exhibitors. The two ladies joked around with each other as they talked about the film, in which Diaz discovers her boyfriend is actually married to Mann and the pair team up to seek revenge. In real life, Diaz insists that everyone has been the victim of a cheating partner. “At some point in your life everybody has been cheated on,” she said. “I’m not saying that the relationship you’re in currently, you’re going to get cheated on, but eventually or maybe in the past it’s happened.” And if you think you’re the exception to the rule, Diaz has news for you: “You’ve never been cheated on? You’ve never been cheated on ever? Really? Really, nothing? Oh good. Well, guess what? You may not know that you’ve
been cheated on.” The 41-year-old actress also weighed in on the “conscious uncoupling” of her friends Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin. The actress and musician were married in 2003 and have two children. They announced their split on Tuesday in a message on the actress’s blog titled “Conscious Uncoupling.” Diaz says they’re handling divorce the right way “because everybody is interested and they are giving them the truth.” She added: “They’re being very honest about their relationship which is that they are really great friends, they’re amazing parents and they’re just consciously deciding that a part of their life is not going to be spent the way it’s been for the last 11 years, which I think is ...”“Eleven years is a long time. That’s a long time. It makes sense,” added Mann.” The Other Woman” opens in US theaters on April 25. — AP
Leslie Mann (left) and Cameron Diaz, cast members in “The Other Woman,” pose together at the 20th Century Fox presentation at CinemaCon 2014 in Las Vegas. — AP
Models showcase Portuguese designer Diogo Miranda’s creations.
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
Prehistoric animal bones are displayed.
Roman busts are displayed.
Spain’s archeological museum to open after 6-year renovation
The sculpture “Lady of Elche” is seen.
pain’s National Archaeological Museum reopens to the public on Tuesday after a massive six-year overhaul that aims to offer a stateof-the-art space for its collection of ancient artifacts. The redesign of one of Madrid’s largest museums, housing items from prehistoric times until the 19th century, began in 2008 and cost 65.2 million euros ($89.8 million). It has incorporated new audiovisual displays, maps and graphic panels to give greater context to the objects on display, which include Greek vases, Roman mosaics and ancient sacred artifacts. The collection is spread around two interior courtyards now bathed in natural light thanks to new larger windows. In the first room visitors will be greeted be two giant walls of images projected onto 350 small screens. “The idea is to tell the history of the people who lived in the geographical area we now call Spain,” said museum director Andres Carretero Perez. “We did not want to create an exhibition for scholars, we wanted it to be accessible for the greatest number of people and not be dry like history books.” A total of 13,000 objects are on display in 40 rooms in a neoclassical building, in the heart of Madrid, which the museum shares with the National Library. “All of these objects are important because they were chosen from the 1.25 million objects that are stored at the museum,” said Perez.
‘The Lady of Elche’ One of the star attractions is a celebrated CeltoIberian bust from the fifth century BC known as “The Lady of Elche” depicting the bust of a woman wearing elaborate headgear. The bust was found by chance in 1897 near Elche in southeastern Spain and bought by a French archeological connoisseur who sent it to France where it was displayed at the Louvre museum. The French government returned it to Spain in 1941 under a deal reached with Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. The museum also features a reconstruction of Spain’s Altamira Caves and their prehistoric wall paintings of bison, horses, deer and animalheaded humans. The room housing a replica of the remains of 3.2-million-year old female hominid known as “Lucy” features videos that show what life was like during the period when she lived. The fossilized remains were discovered in 1974 in Ethiopia by US scientist Donald Johanson and they are considered one of the world’s most significant archeological finds. “The idea is not to see everything all at once. To see everything you would need two full days,” said Perez. The museum was founded in 1867 to save and study archaeological objects collected by Spain’s monarchs. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will officially reinaugurate the museum tomorrow. The doors will open to the general public the following day. Tickets cost three euros but entry will be free until April 20 to cel-
ebrate the redesign. Museum officials hope the revamp will double its previous annual visitor numbers of 200,000-250,000 people. The museum is now also fully accessible for the disabled, with ramps and elevators for wheelchairs, commentaries in Braille and replicas of objects on display available for the blind to touch. — AFP
A man walks past a wall of pictures at the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid. — AFP photos
Action, special effects help Hollywood in China
Models present designs from the L’Wren Scott Fall 2012 collection during Fashion Week in New York in these file photos. — AP photos
Singer Mick Jagger (left) and L’Wren Scott are seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art gala benefit in New York.
Designer award named for L’Wren Scott
and Amber, a child who had a brain tumor and who participated in The Art of Elysium’s fashion workshops for hospitalized kids. The venture was announced Thursday by the New York company that handled the 49-year-old designer’s public relations, PR Consulting. Meanwhile, various media
outlets reported that Scott’s will left her $8 million Manhattan condo and her other personal possessions to her boyfriend, Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger. — AP
China Fashion Week
n award honoring emerging fashion designers has been named for L’Wren Scott. The award was created by The Art of Elysium, an organization that brings the arts to hospitalized children. The L’Wren Scott Amber Award honors both Scott, who committed suicide on March 17,
Models parade creations from “Georgette By Georgette Qu Collection” designed by Qiao Qi during the bi-annual China Fashion Week in Beijing. — AFP photos
aptain America and Spiderman are seeking to dominate the Chinese box office in the coming weeks, proving that US patriotic superheroes can overcome China’s leeriness of foreign films if they promise big money. Chinese authorities, wary of outside cultural influences and competition, restrict the number of foreign movies shown in the mainland’s cinemas to 34 each year. Such big Hollywood blockbusters with action, adventure and special effects tend to be Hollywood’s most successful imports to China. Only a handful of this year’s Oscar winners have been shown so far in mainland China, including the 3-D space odyssey “Gravity,” highlighting how visual spectacle translates better than dialogue-driven drama. Oscar Best Picture “12 Years A Slave” and the other leading Oscar nomination movie “American Hustle,” which in the end went home empty-handed, haven’t been shown here. “The American movies that have succeeded in this market in a big way typically have special effects, lend themselves to 3D and are emotionally satisfying stories,” said Doug Belgrad, president of Columbia Pictures, in an interview in Beijing. “I think we’re all learning about the Chinese marketplace, it’s growing so quickly and probably the demographic make-up of the audience is changing, but it seems like there’s a young audience, romance seems to work pretty well here, adventure heroes, I think those are ingredients that work well.” Hollywood is keen to get a big slice of China’s movie market, which is now the world’s second biggest after the United States. Movies increasingly contain China elements to appeal to the audience, such as “Gravity’s” inclusion of a Chinese space station and the casting of actress Fan Bingbing in a Chinese version of “Iron Man 3.” At a news conference in Beijing this week to promote “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,”
which is scheduled for release in mainland China on May 4, two days after its US release, the movie’s producer was asked whether the audience could expect to see female characters from China in sequels. “Emphatically yes, you will see that,” responded Matt Tomach, explaining that “China’s an enormous part of the moviegoing world and our community.” Zhao Zhiyong, an official at Beijing city’s bureau of press, publication, radio, film and television, said that for a foreign film to be successful in China, it should have a story line that is “touching and can arouse empathy.” ‘Rah-rah America kind of movies’ “The film has to be able to produce strong emotion in Chinese viewers, and this is related to cultural understanding. This doesn’t mean that the film has to feature Chinese actors or actresses, rather it should know what Chinese are interested in,” said Zhao in an interview Thursday. China’s authoritarian government strictly controls print media, television, radio and the Internet. Movies have to clear censorship, and those that fail don’t necessarily know why, although China censors according to political sensitivities and cuts excessively sexual and violent material. One surprise approval last year was Quentin Tarantino’s violent slave-revenge movie “Django Unchained,” which debuted only to be pulled on opening day for unspecified “technical reasons.” After undergoing an edit, it returned a month later.—AP
Actress Scarlett Johansson (center) waves as she arrives at a publicity event ahead of the April release of the movie “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” next to Samuel L Jackson (left) and Chris Evans in Beijing, China. — AP
Los Angeles festival offers Stradivarius violins
SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
This undated photo provided by the Museum of the City of New York shows tile vaulting by the Gustavino company in New York’s old City Hall Subway Station. — AP photos
A section of New York’s Cathedral of Saint John the Divine shows vaulted tile work from the Gustavino company featuring a spiral stair.
Look up: Tile artists’ work hidden in plain view
he domes and arched ceilings - each arrayed with tiles in herringbone and basket-weave patterns - are hidden in plain sight. Millions of people walk under them every day at the Oyster Bar at Grand Central Terminal, New York’s St John the Divine, the Boston Public Library, the San Diego Museum of Man and hundreds of other places. But Rafael Guastavino and his son Rafael Jr, the makers of these sweeping tiled vaults that provide both decoration and structure, have mostly been forgotten, in part because credit went to the architects who commissioned them. A new exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York tells the story of the master masons who, between the late 1800s and the time their company closed in 1962, created vaults, domes and other tile work in 1,000 buildings in 42 states. “Palaces for the People: Guastavino and the Art of Structural Tile” focuses on their 250 commissions in New York - the most of any other city where their work is found. The Guastavinos arrived in New York from Barcelona in the late 19th century and patented a thin-tile vaulting technique based on a 500-year-old Spanish building method that was lightweight, extremely strong, selfsupporting and fireproof. Fires were a great concern in the late 19th century as many buildings were made of wood. Their method of interlocking and layering thin clay tiles with quick-drying mortar in decorative patterns revolutionized architectural design. It created grand palatial interiors, such as the delightful Elephant Room at the Bronx Zoo and New York’s City Hall subway station, an ornate subterranean cathedral of glazed green, ivory and brown tiles now shuttered and only viewable through the window of a passing train. Instead of using heavy stone, they used a particularly thin ceramic tile that is similar to brick that can be glazed in different colors, said John Ochsendorf, the exhibition’s co-curator and a professor of architecture at MIT and author of “Guastavino Vaulting: The Art of Structural Tile.”“I think of them as Gothic master masons in the great Gothic tradition where it took a century to build a cathedral,” except they worked on 100 buildings simultaneously since the light tiles allowed them to work at a quick pace, Ochsendorf said. “At the simplest level they’re builders. But they’re also acting as architects, as engineers and interior decorators choosing patterns of tiles, color and schemes,” added Ochsendorf. “The vault is ... their great contribution to American architecture. It is a fusion
In this file photo, tiled and vaulted ceilings designed by the Gustavino company forms decor for the Oyster Bar restaurant in New York’s Grand Central Terminal. of art and technology that engineers still struggle to understand.” A replica in the show built by some of Ochsendorf’s students “is our best guess at how they would have built a vault like this.” Kevin Faerkin, general manager of the famous Oyster Bar, called it “an inspiring, an incredible environment to work in.” He said the first thing a lot of customers say even before they sit down “is how great the space is. They are struck by the grandeur of the ceiling.” The Guastavinos’ big break - the one that launched their careers and allowed them to start their own company - came in 1889 when the architectural firm McKim, Mead and White hired them to build a set of vaults above the main entrance of Boston
Public Library. Today, 600 Guastavino-adorned buildings in 36 states still stand, magnificent structures such as the Ellis Island Registry Hall, the Boathouse in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, Riverside Church and the Washington National Cathedral in DC. Ochsendorf is convinced there are other Guastavino projects waiting to be discovered. To that end, the museum has created a crowdsourcing site - http://palacesforthepeople.com/ - to help uncover them. — AP
A spiral staircase features tile work.
The underside of a staircase at Columbia University’s St Paul’s Chapel in New York with Guastavino tiles.
A vaulted arcade designed and tiled by the Guastavino company to serve as a public market at New York’s Queensboro Bridge.