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No 113

December 2009

EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief HH Sayyid Tarik Bin Shabib Editor Mayank Singh Principal Correspondent Visvas Paul D Karra Correspondent Malcolm X Crasta DESIGN Art Director Sandesh S. Rangnekar Senior Designer M. Balagopalan Senior Photographer Rajesh Burman Photographer Sathyadas C. Narayanan Cover Design Chanjeet Singh Production Manager Govindaraj Ramesh MARKETING Group Advertising Manager Jacob George Advertising Manager Avi Titus Assistant Advertising Manager Jinu Mathew Varghese CORPORATE Chief Executive Sandeep Sehgal Executive Vice President Alpana Roy Vice President Ravi Raman Senior Business Support Executive Radha Kumar Distribution United Media Services LLC OER Presentations – Signature – Special report on Al Alawi & Co Published by United Press & Publishing LLC PO Box 3305, Ruwi, Postal Code - 112 Muscat, Sultanate of Oman Tel: (968) 24700896, Fax: (968) 24707939 Email: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. The publisher does not accept responsibility for any loss occasioned to any person or organisation acting or refraining as a result of material in this publication. OER accepts no responsibility for advertising content. Copyright © 2009 United Press & Publishing LLC Printed by Oman Printers Correspondence should be sent to: Oman Economic Review United Media Services PO Box 3305, Ruwi 112, Sultanate of Oman Fax: (968)24707939 Email: Website:


December 2009

Ma’salaama 2009, AHLAN 2010 imon Williams, chief economist, gulf markets, HSBC Bank Middle East, who was in town recently told me on the sidelines of an interview, “I would rather be at the end of 2009 and look forward to 2010, rather than being at the end of 2008 and look forward to 2009.” There would be few who would disagree with the statement. The year 2009 started on a note of trepidation – on January 20, oil prices hit a low of $33 per barrel, General Motors filed for bankruptcy in June and the MSM index hit an yearly low of 4,223 points on January 21, 2009. Contrast this with the way things have shaped up since then – oil prices recovered smartly to the high $70s; the US government bailed out GM under the Troubled Asset Relief Programme (TARP) saving jobs and giving the company a realistic chance of survival and the MSM touched a yearly high of 6,737 on September 27, 2009. In a nutshell, business confidence improved as the year progressed. Moving away from macroeconomics, the year saw numerous examples of individual triumph – Usain Bolt ran 100 mtrs in an unbelievable 9.58 seconds at the 12th IAAF World Championships, Steve Jobs took centrestage after a liver transplant and the US got its first African American president. Scientific discoveries like the AIDS vaccine and a $20 prosthetic leg hold hope for generations to come. In Oman, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said’s directives on women’s development, agriculture and road safety are sure to have a huge impact on the Sultanate’s socio-economic development. Our year end special issue takes a comprehensive look at 2009, through a Top 10 selection across categories. Our art director, Sandesh S. Rangnekar and senior designer, M Balagopalan worked tirelessly to create an issue that stands out for its design and visual magic. I would like to invite readers to send us their Top 10 listing, in case of any disagreement with our selection. Finally, on behalf of team OER, best wishes for a great year ahead.

Mayank Singh


‘Oman- A Nation on the Move’ unveiled

HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasir Al Bakri, Minister of Manpower (fourth from left) unveiling ‘Oman 1970-2009 – A Nation on the Move’. Also seen (L-R) Alpana Roy, Salman Al Balushi, Hilal Al Esry, Sandeep Sehgal and Fatma Al Araimi from UMS nited Press and Publishing (UPP) has released Oman - A Nation On the Move, a bi-lingual annual publication that commemorates the 39th National Day of Oman under the wise and visionary leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said. The fifth edition of this exclusive book is dedicated to His Majesty’s vision to create a modern country with state-of-theart technology and infrastructure to take Oman further ahead on the road to prosperity. The book was unveiled by His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah bin

Nasir Al Bakri, Minister of Manpower. On the occasion, HE said: “The fifth edition of Oman book is a wonderful effort. It showcases the excellent socio-economic development that has taken place in Oman. It also underlines the enhanced role of the private sector in taking the country forward. We are providing our support to the private sector in meeting their goals.” ‘Oman 1970-2009 - A Nation on the Move’ is divided into different sections based on various economic sectors like

The OER cover story on stock markets has come at the right time to enlighten investors and dispel the uncertainty of whether the world has turned around from the financial crisis which had gripped the economies of the world since the middle of 2008. By giving us a ring-side view of world-wide stock market happenings, you have done a good job. What makes interesting reading is the fact that there are so many lo4

December 2009

oil and gas, banking & finance, insurance, capital market, information & communication technologies, trade, industry, infrastructure, health, real estate, retail, agriculture & poultry etc. It describes the tremendous evolution the country has experienced over the years. It gives readers a glimpse of the past and the present indicating the solid future of this young nation. This book highlights the fact that the country has been growing from strength to strength. It keeps a central focus on the special measures taken by the government to meet the challenges as a result of the global recession. The book addresses how the policy of liberalisation and modernisation is paying rich dividends in the economic and social well-being of the Sultanate. Featuring the major achievements in prominent sectors, analyses by domain experts and messages from the senior ministry officials, Oman 1970-2009 is a ready reference point for information including important economic and social indicators in the Sultanate. Special copies of this book will be presented to senior dignitaries, corporate captains, heads and VIPs of the country and region. An eye catching design and life like photographs adds to the appeal of the book.

cal experts who are quoted in the story. And they have made relevant comments. The underlying theme of the story is that there is enough for everyone’s needs but not for everyone’s greed. Nabil Hussain Al Hail

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December 2009

75  Best Gadgets


Offic f ial Ti T ming Partner off the Formula One Te T am HANDCRAFTED IN SWITZERLAND.


Gallery Argan & Prima Gold: Qurum shopping area, Al Bustan Palace Hotel, Muscat City Centre, Qurum City Centre and Bareeq al Shatti. Telephone +968-24797786 / 24707347 Website:


NUMBERS The way ahead GCC economic forecasts Updated as of: 12/11/2009

Nominal GDP ($ billion)

Population (mn)









S. Arabia































































GCC economic forecasts Updated as of: 12/11/2009

Real GDP Growth (%)

S. Arabia

CPI Inflation (%, avg.)







































































GCC: breakeven budget** oil prices

GCC: Export revenues ($ billion)














$10/bbl increase in oil prices raises oil export revenues by‌









Breakeven oil price $/bbl based on 08 spending Breakeven oil price $/bbl Budgeted oil price $/bbl


December 2009



80 0




Source: BoFA Merrill Lynch Global Research estimates, National Official Data




Renault Always Gives You More. s,s(07$s3PEED#64!UTO!DAPTIVE!UTOMATIC4RANSMISSIONs!IRBAGS s!LLOY7HEELSs#RUISE#ONTROLWITH3PEED,IMITERs%URO.#!03TAR3AFETY2ATING s3ERVICE%VERY +M This offer is valid till 19-12-2009 *Conditions apply ** Whichever is earlier.


Will Windows 7 be a winner for Microsoft? Tariq Hilal Al-Barwani Founder and President

Sangeetha Sridhar Content Consultant ITA

Do you think that Microsoft has a winner on its hands with Windows 7? Definitely a yes from a “consumer” point of view as it stands today. Since I installed the operating system on my personal desktop till date I have faced no problems at all and have actually noticed that it is faster compared to previous versions of Windows, namely 95, ME, XP and Vista. Windows 7 is a makeover of the predecessor Windows Vista. It is indeed for the ones that want to experience next generation operation systems. Not many businesses I know have adopted “Vista”, but I trust “Windows 7” may get a thumbs up for the healthy start it has in store!

Windows 7 having set a few pre-order records, is receiving favourable user reviews soon after its release. Windows 7 highlights like superior auto-installation of drivers, enhanced user-interface, XP-mode, power management, shareable media groups, multiple-window aero-peek and advanced multi-touch hardware support are certainly compelling. Microsoft has addressed several user experience concerns, with a quicker and smoother Windows 7 which is less hungry on resources such as the memory. With XP’s 7 years longevity (despite Vista’s launch) ending in 2014, even for customers who resisted changing from XP to Vista, all roads lead to Windows 7.

In your view what went wrong with Vista? “Compatibility” is one major issue I would personally make a mention of when it comes to Vista. It took me months to get most of my devices to work seamlessly with the operating system. Many users complained about the same, and as a consequence, the product didn’t fly in my opinion. Nevertheless, the last “service packs” and updates to the operating system lessen the “wrong” image Vista got under its feather. Many organisations remained with “XP” and have not upgraded to “Vista”, and the proof is in the pudding.

Vista failed due to several issues like driver support glitches, application compatibility, usability challenges, battery power drain, heavy resource requirements, confusing set of flavours on roll out, bulky code, pricing strategy, performance letdown, etc. Windows XP SP2 was taken more passionately as a stable and secure platform with a rich plethora of supporting applications, forcing the Vista to face XP’s challenge. According to industry experts ‘Windows 7 appears to be the worthy successor to Windows XP that Vista never was’. Now Windows 7 users will look beyond the new taskbar and Aero Peek features, making performance comparisons with their faithful Windows XP.

Does Microsoft need to worry about the imminent entry of operating systems from rivals like Google? Certainly it does for being complacent would only make it loose the market share it enjoys today. Google is no longer only the search engine giant that many people know about, it is infact coming very fast and large with a number of solutions which will sooner or later be competing with most renowned solution providers. Microsoft needs to pull up it socks and keep up with the latest in order to remain competitive!


December 2009

Any prudent market leader will pay attention to competition with innovation and open-source. Microsoft’s wide market base, its loyal users and hardware vendor support are a tough fort for competitors to penetrate. Yet, the collective voice of people wanting a sleeker, stronger and user-friendly OS is getting louder than ever and it’s only a matter of time before such an OS hits the markets. Such OS needs to take the acid test of ‘resistance to change’ for quite some time to make a notable impact with businesses resisting change more than home users.


Solar power is the future of renewable energy

A recent conference on Solar Technology, highlighted the increasing need to invest in the different sources of renewable energy, particularly against the backdrop of waning conventional energy resources. Also present at the conference was HE Angelika Storz-Charkarji, the German Ambassador nergy experts believe that there is a huge potential to exploit power from renewable energy, especially solar power. Speaking at a Solar Technology Conference, His Highness Sayyid Tarik Bin Shabib Bin Taimur Al Said stated that when he was deciding on what to say on solar energy and renewable energy in general, the first question that came to his mind was how could one get people, government and businesses excited about this subject. “I believe that talking passionately about the subject and by showing governments and businesses how it can be good for them financially, ethically and by building reputation, it would be helpful. We happen to be living in an era when green issues are in vogue. Despite the financial crisis, there is still a great level of talk and investment in green issues,” he stated. Ursula Borak from the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology in Oman said that so far the German government had put great emphasis to the further increase of renewable energy. “And now I can say that the new government, more than before supports 14

December 2009

renewable energy. The promotion of the use of renewable energy in Germany since 1991 has resulted in the build-up of renewable energy that offers some of the world’s leading technology,” she stated. Berthold Breid, CEO, Renewable Energy AG said that if one wanted to develop a market, it was of course important to share ideas and knowledge about innovation. “It’s also important to develop the right political framework. It is important to have companies that dare to widen their business and who take a new direction with new products and services. It is also important to get financing. You need companies, financing, in-

novation and political framework,” he said. Speaking on Germany’s statistics, Breid said that Germany generates 15 per cent of electricity out of renewable. “The amount of energy generated through wind is more in 2008, then water power. There has also been an increase in electricity out of biomass. In Germany there is lot of greenery and hence you can use biomass for electricity generation,” he stated. Elaborating on photovoltaic Breid stated that there has been increasing use of photovoltaic. “Photovoltaic is the generation of electricity through sunlight. We use solar modules for that,” Breid noted.


L&T inaugurates Sohar manufacturing facility

The Indian infrastructure giant plans to generate about 15 per cent of its annual revenues from the Middle-East in the next 3-4 years &T Heavy Engineering inaugurated a high tech manufacturing facility in Sohar, on November 16, 2009. The new unit in the Sohar Industrial Port Company (SIPC) area will augment the existing modular fabrication facility, making it one of the largest integrated manufacturing complexes in the region catering to the hydrocarbon and power sectors. Larsen & Toubro Heavy Engineering LLC is a joint venture of The Zubair Corporation and Larsen & Toubro Limited, India. With this JV, L&T now operates four companies in the Sultanate, expanding its operations to cover sectors including construction, erection of transmission towers, modular fabrication and manufacture of critical equipment for process plants. The Sohar facility is a pioneering venture in the GCC region and L&T’s maiden venture in critical fabrication projects outside India. The facility has been constructed by L&T Oman LLC. Construction was completed in a record time and trial production has commenced.

State-of-the-art A succession of spectacular load outs in 2009, along with total revamp of Hurricane (RITA) damaged jack up rig FD-VII has affirmed its capabilities as a world class venture with a potential to launch the Sultanate as a major 16

December 2009

player in offshore fabrication industry. The yard is now fully geared up for fabrication & load out of a eight legged jacket weighing a colossal 10,000 metric tons. The jacket will be rolled on to a custom built barge for onward transportation to Mumbai High North offshore field of Oil & Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) The facility is spread over 300,000 sq metres and has a built-up area of 12,000 sq mtrs with an additional 100,000 sq mtrs available for future expansion. Since the facility is built on the sea front, extensive piling had to be done before the structure could be erected. The facility has been qualified by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for manufacture of code stamped equipment. It has also

secured ISO certifications. Says A M Naik, Chairman and Managing director L&T, “We plan to generate about 15 per cent of our annual revenues from the Middle-East in the next 3-4 years from the present 10 per cent as the company scales up its presence in the region.” The company has a presence in Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, among others and, subject to favourable conditions, may look at Iraq and even Yemen. The company, which has 15 divisions overall, generates about $800-850mn from the region, out of its total revenues of $8.5bn. “We plan to increase our footprint in the region manifold.” The company is committed to empower local people through employment generation.


Opening new vistas

The eGovernment Services Portal was launched on November 8, 2009 he official eGovernment Services portal, the nation’s flagship achievement, was launched on November 8, 2009, in the Garden Area at the Al Bustan Palace Hotel, under the umbrella of e.oman, Oman’s national IT Strategy. The launch was held under the patronage of HH Sayyid Haitham bin Tariq Al Said and was attended by HE Mohammed bin Nasser Al Khusaibi and board members of the Information Technology Authority (ITA); Dr Salem bin Sultan Al Ruzaiqi, ITA’s CEO and other distinguished guests. The Sultanate of Oman has embarked upon an ambitious journey in transforming Oman by empowering its people, through the e.oman Initiative, within the digital society. The goal includes a significant improvement in the quality of services the government provides to its citizens. It aims to create an effective government-community-citizen infrastructure that provides better public services to people. HE Khusaibi said, “The progressive development of eGovernment services bears witness to the aspirations, ambition and effort put forth to secure the desired national objective. This is especially relevant, as information technology has become the driving force behind economic advancement.” As the main entry point to the Government system and its services, the Official eGovernment Services Portal,, caters to all individuals in the Sultanate of Oman, and bridges the gap between government bodies and citizens, residents, visitors and the business sector. A key benefit of the portal, is that it can be accessed by anyone, from anywhere, and at anytime. Aiding in the trans18

December 2009

access the services that are most relevant to them. Through a multi-channel service delivery system, navigation is simplified to enable easy access to services within the portal. The portal also authenticates entry to other government services and permits access to their integrated services.

formation of Oman into a sustainable Knowledge Society, the Official eGovernment Services Portal uses digital technologies to improve the efficiency of internal processes and is designed to serve the public quickly, effectively, and in an interactive manner.

Customer focus This bilingual portal is designed on a customer-centric model, as it contents are structured by the daily events of life so that online visitors can easily

The portal is of use to both users and government entities alike. Users benefit by being able to access a number of government agencies at their convenience. Users have access to contact information, service procedures, processing fees, online payment options, and electronic forms to request for services within just a few clicks and can themselves keep track of their request status. On the other hand, government entities can share the user-related information and also certain common applications such as authentication and online payments. Integrated service delivery through a single window is possible for all government entities that are connected to the government network which is the fundamental backbone of the portal.


Painting contest to honour HM Technology to combat piracy in the high seas A sophisticated electronic early warning system aimed at combating soaring levels of piracy on the high seas has been developed by engineers at BAE Systems. The company is working in partnership with major ship owners, to assess commercial requirements in order to create the most effective solution to this increasing threat to maritime security. As a result, the team at BAE Systems has used its expertise in the defence, security and aerospace sectors to develop a suite of technology that enables a crew to detect a ship and identify suspicious activity at distances of up to 25km.

NHI’s English course At Radisson BLU The National Hospitality Institute (NHI) has recently completed 10 months of tailor-made hospitality English language training for 16 staff members of the Radisson BLU Hotel Muscat across all departments. This initiative taken by NHI has proven to be a very sought after training requirement in the hospitality industry here in Oman.

Nawras Mobile TV reintroduced Nawras reintroduced its Mobile TV service for customers who can now enjoy incredible value and great variety as they once again get more for their money with Nawras. Just 300 bzs gives a full 24-hours of entertainment, sports or news. Nawras is offering a total of 12 different national and international channels.

Leading Omani artist Saud Al Hunaini’s portrayal of a pleasant expression of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said won the top honours in the ‘Qaboos Oman’ painting contest hosted by BankMuscat in association with the Omani Society for Fine Arts on the occasion of the 39th National Day. Indian artists Heena Kothary and TC Suresh won the second and third prizes respectively depicting the royal grandeur of His Majesty the Sultan in their paintings. Fahad Abdullah Al Zadjali, Adham Ismail Hamdan Al Farsi and Nizar Khalid Al Mishrif were the other three artists among the six short-listed finalists who received consolation prizes while all participants received certificates of appreciation from the guest of honour.

Oman Mobile brings new Hayyak offers

As part of its continuous efforts to enhance interaction with its subscribers, and in order to add value to its services, Oman Mobile, the leading mobile telecom operator in the Sultanate of Oman, unveiled a new offer for new prepaid Hayyak subscribers. The 2 rial Hayyak starter kit would give subscribers 2 rial in free credit as well as 1 rial in local and international SMS messages. This new promotion is part the company’s recent offers that aim at enabling subscribers to enjoy making calls and send free SMS messages with a double added value. It is an opportunity for new customers to subscribe to Hayyak service and benefit from this refreshing offer which is valid until February 2, 2010. Oman Mobile, being the leading operator and owner of the largest market share in the Sultanate, aims to add double value to Hayyak subscribers through this new offer, with free credit and free SMS messages.

Prince Andrew visits Beach Games site His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, visited the construction site for the Asian Beach Games at Musannah under development by Oman Tourism Development and Investment Company (Omran). The Prince was received upon his arrival at the site by the Minister of Tourism, HE Dr Rajiha Bint Abdul Amir Bin Ali and the Minister of Sports Affairs, HE Ali Bin Masoud Al Sunaidy. Prince Andrew, is the United Kingdom’s Special Representative for International Trade and Investment. 20

December 2009

Youth Summit on urban development

The 1st Muscat Youth Summit will convene from December 7-9 at Al Nahda Resort & Spa to discuss about the shift from predominantly rural to mainly urban areas. Today, more than half the world’s population live in urban areas, and by 2030, city dwellers will make up roughly 60 percent of the globe’s population. According to His Highness Sayyid Faisal Al Said, CEO, Brand Oman Management Unit (BOMU) and creator of the 1st Muscat Youth Summit: “Cities are where we are at our best and worst. They’re home to many of mankind’s proudest achievements, but they’re also where our biggest challenges are to be faced.”

Distributor: Zawawi Trading Company L.L.C., P.O. Box 58, Postal Code 100, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman Tel No.: +968-24565346 / 24562077 Ext. 277/278/279; Fax No.: +968-24565501 / 24562747 Website:


NBO launches HIMAYATI life insurance

A’Saffa Poultry signs 26.25mn rial deal in Qatar Oman’s leading poultry producer, A’Saffa Poultry, has signed a deal with Hassad Food of Qatar to become a project manager on a 26.25mn rial investment in Qatar. When completed, the new project is anticipated to provide 20 per cent of Qatar’s demand for poultry and eggs. The deal for the new project was signed in Doha between Hassad Food and A’Saffa Poultry, and when operational it will have a capacity of 17,000 metric tones of chicken per annum and 90 million eggs.

Grand Hyatt listed as top hotel in Middle East Grand Hyatt Muscat was chosen by readers of Condé Nast Traveler as one of the “Top 15 Hotels in the Middle East”. The listing is part of the annual Readers Choice Awards 2009 edition and Grand Hyatt has attained the 14th place. Christoph K. Franzen, general manager of Grand Hyatt Muscat, feels very honoured that the hotel has been chosen by readers of Condé Nast Traveler in the Readers Choice Awards 2009.

National Bank of Oman (NBO) launched HIMAYATI, the most comprehensive Life Insurance Plan with critical illness benefits for NBO customers. HIMAYATI has been underwritten by AXA Insurance Gulf exclusively for National Bank of Oman customers. HIMAYATI is a pure term life insurance that combines life insurance cover and critical illness cover. The Life Protector Plan covers natural death, accidental death, and accidental permanent total disability. The Critical Illness Plan covers critical illness and a hospital cash benefit for covered critical illnesses. HIMAYATI Comprehensive Plan extends the benefits of both the Life Protector Plan and Critical Illness Plan combined together. Commenting at the launch, David Power, NBO’s General Manager – Retail Banking said: “This is a significant initiative for NBO that will help deepen our relationship with our customers by providing them with an innovative product designed to give them financial security. HIMAYATI will be available through our extensive network of branches and is simple to understand and easy to buy.”

Renaissance signs 9mn rial term loan

National Heaters launches new cable management system National Heaters Industries (NHI), has added to its ever growing product range, and is proud to announce the launch of their new cable management system ‘Trunking and Trays’. NHI is part of the Omzest Group of companies in Oman, and is the manufacturer of the famous ‘Hotex’ and ‘Coolex’ brands of water heaters and appliances that are a household name in the Sultanate.

PDO issues new book on Oman Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) published a new book entitled “Oman: Faces and Places”. The book includes more than 80 richly illustrated articles from PDO News which for more than 30 years was the company’s flagship publication until it was discontinued in 2002. “Today, PDO continues a long tradition of publishing books about the Sultanate aimed at the lay reader,” Managing Director John Malcolm said. 22

December 2009

Renaissance Services has signed term loan facilities of 5.75mn rial ($15mn) with Bank Sohar and 3.28mn rial ($8.5mn) with Bank Muscat. The term loan facility from Bank Sohar will be used to fund growth plans in the company’s Offshore Support Vessels (OSV) fleet and the term loan facility from Bank Muscat will be used in the expansion of the company’s existing Permanent Accommodation for Contractors (PAC) facilities. In light of the current financial environment the line of credit illustrates the company’s robust operations, assets and balance sheet, and reinforces the willingness of Omani banks to partner with Renaissance. The company’s policy has historically matched loans against its long term asset development which illustrates its cautious attitude on lending and reassurance. The continued support from Omani banks has helped the company to maintain the investments programme in its growth areas. During the last nine months Renaissance has invested over 57mn rial ($148mn) in assets corresponding to its growth areas in offshore services and building of facilities in the interior.

Adding the strength of steel to the Sultanate

Quality Billets, High strength reinforcement bars, Welded wire mesh, Epoxy coated rebars


Al Habib AWARDED ‘Superbrand’ status SQU recognised for active role in promoting IT literacy ICDL GCC Foundation, the governing body and certification authority of the International Computer Driving License (ICDL) programme in the Gulf region, recently presented Sultan Qaboos University’s Centre for Community Service and Continuing Education with an appreciation award for its outstanding contributions to the promotion of IT literacy in Oman. ICDL GCC Foundation had accredited the Centre to teach basic computer skills using the ICDL curriculum to students, faculty, staff and Omani citizens in 2005 in support of the ‘Digital Oman’ initiative. The Centre has over the years delivered the ICDL programme to around 3,000 members of the defense, government and education fields as well as individuals from various sectors of society.

Aramex introduces global distribution of SPL goods Aramex, the global logistics and transportation solutions provider, today announced that it has become the sole global distributor of Saudi Professional League (SPL) 2009-2010 merchandise. Fans ordering their favourite team-branded caps, jerseys, T-shirts and other merchandise on the SPL online store will receive them at their doorstep through Aramex’s global network. This service is offered for fans based anywhere in the world. The SPL, which was launched in 1966, is the most popular football competition held annually in Saudi Arabia.

Park Inn hotel wins JD Power Study ’09 Park Inn, Rezidor’s young mid market brand, has won the J D Power 2009 European Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study. The brand ranks highest in guest satisfaction in the midscale full service segment – and performs well in reservation, food and beverage, and costs and fees. Also Rezidor’s first class brand Radisson Blu Hotels & Resorts celebrates a success on the second rank of the study’s upper upscale segment.


December 2009

Al Habib real estate company was awarded ‘Superbrand’ status and will be presented with the award in a ‘Superbrands’ tribute event scheduled for late January 2010. In Oman, Superbrands shortlisted 743 brands from over 3,000 brands being sold. These were then rated by a well qualified independent and voluntary Superbrands Council through a demanding and meticulous evaluation process according to the specific programme criteria that ‘a Superbrand offers consumers significant emotional and/or physical advantages over its competitors which consumers want and recognise’. Of these 743 shortlisted brands, only 17 Omani brands were deemed ‘superbrands’ by the panel. Hayyan Al Lawati, Director of Al Habib commented: “I speak for everyone at Al Habib when I say how proud I am of this Superbrands award. We have worked hard to build a quality brand that consumers can trust and return to again and again, and it means a lot to us that our hard work has been recognised by such an esteemed programme as Superbrands. The award only serves to motivate us to maintain our excellent level of service to customers even further.”

MAZOON Mobile launchED

Jamil Ali Sultan Chairman of Mazoon Mobile is proud to announce the launch of Mazoon Mobile, the first ‘Class II’ licensed mobile company to operate on the 3G network. Mazoon Mobile comes with unique products and exciting services that differentiate it from its competitors. This will certainly position Mazoon Mobile as the favourite mobile provider in Oman. Mazoon Mobile will bring to the market creative ideas and promotions and will start by introducing the concept of ‘One Minute on You, One minute on US’. Here the customers pay for the first minute, and Mazoon Mobile pays for the second minute for the duration of the call.

BP Celebrates 100 years

The BP Lubricants Division celebrated BP’s 100 centenary with its Omani retail customers and Oman Oil Marketing Company, BP’s sole distributor for BP lubricants in Oman. On the occasion, BP launched the Visco Academy Awards, a new initiative designed to recognise the outstanding performance of its customers. “We are very proud of our heritage and history in the Middle East. BP’s success in Oman is a combination of experienced people, our trusted distributor Oman Oil Marketing Company and loyal customers,” Rick Capoccia, sales and business development manager, BP Mena Lubricants said. Commenting on the celebration, Mohammed Samir, regional marketing controller, BP Middle East Lubricants said, “The Middle East region is a key market for BP and the Visco Academy Awards is yet another way to demonstrate our commitment to our discerning trade partner.”


EXECUTIVE MOVEMENTS MCC hosts architecture exhibition National Bank of Oman (NBO) has promoted Khalfan Al Aufi – DGM - head of operational services to the position of general manager & Chief Operating Officer, with immediate effect. Khalfan joined the Bank in 1981 and his promotion is based upon his contribution and knowledge that he has acquired during his career with NBO. He has been employed in many different roles and capacities and has gained extensive experience in the branch network of NBO in different parts of the country. He was also employed as the country manager for NBO’s Egypt branch for four years. He later worked in correspondent banking, international financial Institutions, operations and lately as head of human resources. Al Habib & Co has appointed Mahmoud bin Abbas Al Sinan, general manager for administrative and human resources affairs at its construction division in Ghala. Al Habib is one of the leading real estate companies that work on a number of major projects such as the residential and commercial complex in Sohar for the Pension Fund of the Ministry of Defence. The company is also implementing a wide range of projects in Muscat and Salalah. The appointment of Mahmoud in this post reflects the company’s success in promoting Omanisation and helping nationals to occupy senior posts. Mahmoud, who started his new post on September 1, 2009, oversees the Omanisation policy of the company. Al Habib has always seeked to contribute to the economic growth in the Sultanate and to promote His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said’s vision for the nation. Mahmoud has 15 years experience in administration and human resources management. Previously, he worked for Al Anwar and Al Yousef as administrative manager. Later on, he jointed Al Awal Group for Logistics where he occupied the post of administration and human resources manager.


December 2009

Muscat City Centre (MCC) was the official host for the ‘Contemporary Architecture in Arabia’ exhibition that was held in cooperation with the German Embassy.

The exhibition included a vast array of contemporary architectural projects from German architects in Oman and the Gulf region. The ‘Contemporary Architecture in Arabia’ exhibition was inaugurated at Muscat City Centre by HE Angelika Storz-Chakarji, German Ambassador in Muscat and Mohammed Ali Al Barwani, Chairman of MB Holding Company. It is the fourth in a series of cultural events held this year under the German Embassy’s KULTUR@germany programme.

Shell Oman holds meet with investors

Shell Oman Marketing Company held its annual meeting with local investors. The meeting was attended by a number of investors, brokers, fund managers and media representatives and was part of the company’s communication programme with its shareholders and investors with the objective of engaging them on the current performance of the Company and the key challenges and issues that it faces. During the meeting, Faisal Al Hashar, managing director, Achilles Sklivaniotis, finance director, and Mohammed Al Farsi, GM - external affairs and business development, briefed the attendees on the company’s corporate strategy, year-todate business performance and highlights. Investors and shareholders were also briefed on the new marketing initiatives launched during the year.

Emergency road service launched by New India Assurance Company The New India Assurance Co, Oman, launched ‘Emergency Road Assistance Scheme’ on November 18, to mark the 39th National Day. The new scheme can be utilised automatically by all its comprehensive motor insurance policy holders of saloon cars or four-wheel drives that are less than five years old, at no extra premium. All the new comprehensive insurance policy holders would also get benefits of the scheme. Dr J Retnakumar, resident manager for the Oman Operations says, “in line with His Majesty’s concern on road safety, New India Assurance, as a responsible corporate citizen, once again is coming out with a programme for the motor vehicles users in the Sultanate of Oman. We have teamed with an expert firm, who has been providing identical services to various firms including insurance companies in other parts of the GCC countries, including UAE.” The salient features of this scheme are: Rent a car free for 24 hours in conjunction with an accident, free and unlimited emergency roadside assistance, free accident towing services, free mechanical breakdown towing service, free battery boosting, free flat tyre fixing, free fuel delivery, free off road assistance, free auto dealer service pick up and drop off, etc.

Cover Story

2009 The Year That Was

Artistic achievements to advancements in scientific communities; magical sports moments to notable quotes – the year threw up a mixed bag of the profound and the peculiar. We take a comprehensive look at the year gone by through a collection of the Top 10 lists across various categories in the following pages nn People Who Mattered nn Business Decisions nn Richest People in The World nn International Newsmakers nn Verbatim nn Farewell nn Scientific Discoveries nn Reading Maketh a Man nn Paintings nn Box Office Hits nn Desirable Cars nn Best Gadgets nn Chartbusters nn Games People Play nn Catwalk Queens Lists compiled by Mayank Singh, Visvas Paul D Karra and Malcolm X Crasta

People Who Mattered From giving momentum to the economy to winning laurels for the country, here is a list of the Top 10 newsmakers of the year in a random order HE Ahmed bin Abdulnabi Macki Minister of National Economy and Deputy Chairman of the Financial Affairs and Energy Resources Council Global financial markets crashed in October 2008 and hallowed institutions like Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, AIG fell like nine pins, forcing governments across the globe to step in as a lender of last resort. Oil prices slid to $31 per barrel in December 2008 and the contagion spread to the GCC region. As the new year rolled in, businesses waited with bated breath for Oman’s 2009 budget to see if the government will curtail public spending – a key driver of economic growth. H E Macki’s budget pegged government expenditure for 2009 at $6.4bn, a 11 per cent increase over the preceding year giving a resounding sense of confidence to businesses in the Sultanate. As the year comes to a close and the recession seems a thing of the past, budget 2009 stands out as the milestone that set Oman firmly on its road to sustained growth. 28

December 2009

HE Maqbool bin Ali Sultan Minister of Commerce and Industry HE Sultan’s imprint could be felt in various decisions impacting the Sultanate’s economy. From strengthening trade relations with countries like the US, Brazil and Iran to giving a fillip to the Muscat Securities Muscat. As the stock market hit a yearly low of 4223 points in January, he allayed investor fears and was a key player in bringing in a 150mn rials market stabilisation fund as the Chairman of the Capital Market Authority. As the Chairman of the Port of Sohar, he was instrumental in bringing in a $1.4mn project by Brazilian mining giant, Vale. In September HE Sultan signed three contracts worth 195mn rials ($200mn) for financing, dredging and constructing the 1,380 metre long, 25-metre deep jetty at the Port of Sohar.

HE Dr Mohammed bin Hamad al Rumhy Minister of Oil and Gas The Sultanate’s persistent enhanced oil recovery (EOR) efforts paid off in a big way in 2009 as Oman’s oil production went up after years of decline. Oil production in January-August 2009 stood at 802,300 barrels per day – 6.8 per cent higher than the corresponding period in 2008. HE Rumhy is already charting out the sectors way ahead – speaking to our sister publication Oil and Gas Review in November he said, “In the next five years our focus will be on offshore exploration... We are satisfied (with our progress), though we will continue to come up with new ideas.” Knowing HE Rumhy one can be rest assured about that.

Dr Salim Sultan al Ruzaiqi CEO, Information Technology Authority From launching the official eGovernment Services Portal to the e-purse, the ITA, under Dr Ruzaiqi has been at the forefront of fulfilling His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said’s vision of promoting a digital society. The eGovernment portal will serve as the main entry point to the government system and its services and caters to the needs of all individuals in the Sultanate. It will bridge the gap between government bodies and citizens, residents, visitors and the business sector. The e-purse promises to usher in a new era of cashless transactions in future.


December 2009

HH Sayyid Khalid Hamad Hamoud al Busaidi Chairman and President, Oman Football Association His vision for the beautiful game has the potential to take football in the Sultanate to a new level. HH Busaidi plans to convert the elite league into a professional league in accordance with FIFA and the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) guidelines. Plan are also underway to make clubs more astute commercially. Says HH Busaidi, “Our players are no different from Kaka, Ronaldo or Ronaldinho, it is just that these players were trained and groomed properly and their talent became an asset.” Companies like Nissan and OmanMobile have already bought into his vision and more will follow soon.

HH Sayyida Tanya al Said Founder and president of the Environment Society of Oman (ESO) She was one of the six winners of ‘Environment Personalities of the Year Awards’ given by the GCC this year. Having set up the ESO in 2004, HH Tanya has been a torchbearer of environment protection in Oman. The ESO has created awareness about the detrimental effects of plastic bags, littering and wastage of water in Oman. She has been working on promoting the use of solar energy for heating overhead water tanks on all new buildings, recycling plastic bags and bottles and conserving water by planting native plants (which require less water) by the roads.

Nabil al Busaidi First Arab to walk to the North Pole Omani adventurer Nabil Al Busaidi became the first Arab to walk to the magnetic North Pole in 2009. The 39-year-old was also part of the Oman North Pole Expedition team. Dragging 50kg of equipment on sledge including food, water and tent, Busaidi walked 650km over frozen sea in temperatures regularly nudging minus 40 degrees Celsius. “My name is Nabil al Busaidi, I am the son of Riadh and Salma al Busaidi and I am calling from the North Pole,” Nabil is quoted as saying as he proudly planted the Omani flag at the North Pole, he added, “I want Oman to be proud of my achievement, so today, my name is not Nabil, it is Shabab (the youth of) Oman.” We are well and truly proud of you ‘Nabs’. 30

December 2009

Oman Football Team Winners of the 19th Arabian Gulf Cup A nation held its breath as the finals of the 19th Arabian Gulf Cup went into penalty shootout’s. And as Oman scored the winning goal, the country exploded in rapturous celebrations. It was third time lucky for the Sultanate as they lifted the coveted Gulf Cup by defeating Saudi Arabia on January 17. For nearly two weeks, the whole of Oman was gripped by soccer fever, and when it mattered, the national team delivered, lifting the glittering cup. The Omani team was on a roll, beating one formidable opponent after another en route to their third consecutive final, where they came up against a strong and fighting Saudi Arabia. The valiant team worsted their fancied rivals 6-5 in a sudden death penalty shootout.

HH Sayyid Kais bin Tarik al Said For Oman’s First Green Golf Course His Highness Sayyid Kais’s dream of having a green golf course in the country came true when Muscat Hills Golf & Country Club launched Oman’s first championship grass golf course in May 2009. The opening of the first nine holes of the course marks a huge step forward in the development of the 250mn rials ($650mn) integrated project and for tourism in Oman. Once completed, the project will comprise the first 18-hole championship golf course with the potential of hosting a European PGA Tour event in 2011. The Golf Course has been delicately crafted around the natural Omani mountain ranges to produce the first course of its kind within the Middle East.

Mohsin al Busaidi First Arab to sail non-stop around the world As part of a wider project to help reignite Oman’s maritime heritage and inspire youngsters to take up sailing, Mohsin al Busaidi sailed non-stop around the world in 76 days in a 75-foot trimaran re-named Musandam. Busaidi was given a hero’s welcome when he reached Muscat on March 25. The Minister of Tourism, HE Dr Rajiha Bint Abdul Amir bin Ali said, “We are happy to see our crew and boat home safely. To have Mohsin accomplish this voyage and enter the history books is very exciting and I know young Omanis will be inspired by this. As Tourism Minister, I also see today as an opportunity for Oman to demonstrate how it is reigniting our maritime heritage.’ 32

December 2009

BUSINESS DECISIONS A lowdown of the laws and policies that had far-reaching consequences during the year Implementation of FTA with US The Oman-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which came into force on January 1, 2009 has opened up a plethora of opportunities for traders in Oman and the United States. With the implementation of the agreement, consumers in Oman can expect quality US products to become cheaper, especially in the automobile, electronic and IT-related sectors. In today’s challenging global environment, the FTA provides new opportunities and expanded horizons for economic development to Omani and to American businesses alike. The liberalisation will expand opportunities for exports of machinery, automobiles, optic and medical instruments, electrical machinery, and agricultural products such as vegetable oils, sugars, sweeteners and beverage bases.

Renewable energy The Authority for Electricity Regulation (AER) established in 2004 to regulate the electricity and related water sector appointed consultants to assist, review and approve the Sultanate’s first Renewable Energy Pilot Projects during the first half of this year. The consultancy firm, COWI, will assist with reviews and approval of renewable energy 34

December 2009

Telecom services in remote areas The Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) in its decision to provide telecom services in the remote areas of the Sultanate has invited bids from players who can provide basic telephone services and dial-up Internet access of at least 28 kilobytes per second in the beginning. The successful bidders would be provided a licence through the government’s Universal Service Obligation (USO) initiative and they are expected to roll out services 18 months after the award of licence. The licence, which would be awarded in March 2010, would be a pilot project to cover around 118 settlements. There are around 2000 settlements with a population of more than 150,000 in the Sultanate without fixed-line telephones. The south Al Batinah region has been selected as the first area for the pilot project. The USO initiative is part of the government’s move to liberalise the telecom sector of Oman.

pilot projects, which have been submitted by local and international investors following the publication of “Renewable Energy Study” in 2008. The study identified significant solar and wind energy potential in the Sultanate and recommended early implementation of small scale renewable energy pilot projects, initially in rural areas, to confirm the performance and efficiency of renewable technologies in local conditions. These pilot projects will be implemented in cooperation with Rural Areas Electricity Company.

Market stabilisation fund Oman’s Market Stabilisation Fund, set up with a capital of 150mn rials ($389.6mn) came into operation in February 2009. The fund started investing in local shares to stabilise the Muscat Securities Market, which had taken a hit reflecting the trends in the rest of the stock markets of the world during the 2008-2009 financial crisis. The fund, which was created in November 2008 and started operating in Februaury 2009, is 60 per cent owned by the government.

Brokerage in Oman and Regional Markets Online Trading

Royal directives The period between SeptemberNovember 2009 will be a watershed in the history of Oman as it was during these months that His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said gave a number of directives all of which are expected to have a great impact on the country’s socio-economic development. During the annual meet-the-people Royal Tour in the regions of Al Dhahirah and Al Batinah, His Majesty expressed his concern over road accidents, women’s development and the development of the agriculture sector.

Women’s development One million date trees His Majesty The Sultan also prioritised the agricultural sector through a Royal Directive to cultivate one million date palm trees in Al Dhahirah, Al Sharqiyah and Al Dakhiliyah regions. The directive indicates His Majesty’s deep understanding of the importance of date cultivation in Oman and its significance for food security in the Sultanate.

In response to His Majesty the Sultan’s directive and keenness to support women’s causes a threeday women’s symposium was held at the Royal Camp at Seih Al Makarim in Sohar in October. The outcome of this was the declaration of October 17 as Omani Woman’s Day. His Majesty also conferred two Royal Grants. The first was to establish permanent quarters for the Omani women associations in various parts of the Sultanate along with increased annual allocations to all these associations. The second grant allots annual scholarships at the higher educational institutions in the Sultanate to 500 female students. 36

December 2009

Immediately thereafter, the executive bodies identified the mechanisms, programmes and procedures. An amount of 42mn rials has been allocated for implementation of these recommendations. The allocation to the agricultural sector and its allied sectors in the Seventh Five-Year Plan (2006-2010) was amended as on December-end 2009 and was raised to 53mn rials as compared to the earlier 14mn rials, a jump of 279 per cent. Irrigation and water resources sector got 189mn rials from the original 99mn rials, an increase of 90.8 per cent. Allocations for dam projects was 147mn rials, aflaj and spa maintenance projects was 12mn rials and water projects related to dams and irrigation was revised to 30mn rials.

Road Accidents “What is happening on our roads has become a matter of concern to all. Inappropriate usage of vehicles on highways and roads by all sections of society has become annoying. Undoubtedly, due to the manner in which people get killed.” This statement by His Majesty on October 18, 2009 expressed his grave concern over the issue of road safety. The road accident statistics are indeed troubling. Till October 2009, there were 788 deaths and 5895 accidents as compared to 951 deaths and 6103 accidents respectively in the whole of 2008. During his speech to the citizens, His Majesty the Sultan urged everyone to make this issue the subject of talk with families. Road safety should be discussed and public awareness should be raised in order to limit the phenomenon of road accidents, which is a tax on the progress, growth and civilisation and modernisation of the country.

The Wave, Muscat. Anchored in Oman’s stability You may be impressed by our beautiful 18-hole Greg Norman designed golf course, our 6km of pristine beach and our 300-berth marina, not to mention our five-star Kempinski & Fairmont hotels. Howeever what’s even more important to us is that, with over 250 homes delivered, The Wave, Muscat is already becoming a vibrant, sustainable, international community. This, combined with the inherent economic stability of Oman, makes a home at The Wave, Muscat an investment in life for generations to come.

The Wave, Muscat. An investment in life.

The Wave, Muscat, is being developed through a joint venture comprising Waterfront Investments S.A.O.C. (representing the Government of the Sultanate of Oman), National Investment Funds Company (representing the Omani Pension Funds), and the UAE-based Majid Al Futtaim Group. +968 24 54 54 28 |

Nothing short of excellence here At Bank Sohar, we believe that our customers should receive nothing less than excellence in their banking services and nancial products. In an effort to cater to the varied needs of all of our customers, we are growing our network of branches and ATMs, expanding our offer of products, developing our alternative electronic channels and investing in continuous training for our staff. In today’s fast-paced world and ever-changing economy, one thing shall always remain constant: Bank Sohar’s commitment to excellence.

Oil & gas developments • HE Dr Mohammed bin Hamad bin Saif al Rumhy, Minister of Oil and Gas, signed an agreement with Halliburton Worldwide to establish Seismic Phase of Oman Oil and Data Repository. • MB Petroleum bought German company Koller • Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) inaugurated the region’s first integrated (Operations, Petroleum Engineering, Well Engineering etc) “virtual” oilfield operations. • Concession agreements signed with Epsilon Energy, Petronas, Petrotel, Harvest Natural Resources • Reliance and Oman Oil sign agreements

eGovernance Two important projects were launched in 2009, which are part of the eOman strategy and e-governance. E-PURSE: The Royal Oman Police (ROP) in association with BankMuscat and Information Technology Authority (ITA), launched the national e-Purse project in August. The e-Purse will revolutionise the mode of cash transactions and marks the beginning of a new era of cashless society in Oman. E-GOVT PORTAL: A new phase of government services was also revealed with the launch of the Official eGovernment Services Portal, the nation’s flagship achievement in November under the umbrella of e.oman, Oman’s national IT Strategy. As the main entry point to the Government system and its services, 40

December 2009

the Official eGovernment Services Portal,, caters to all individuals in Oman, and bridges the gap between government bodies and citizens, residents, visitors and the business sector.

H1N1 vaccine Oman became the first country in the region to receive the H1N1 vaccine in October when a shipment of 100,000 doses from the Swiss Novartis company arrived in the country. The Sultanate has contracts with Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline to buy a total of 2.6 million doses of the H1N1 virus vaccine, which should be sufficient to vaccinate all its residents. Phase one of vaccinations will target pilgrims and healthcare workers, while phases two, three and four will target basic service workers, pregnant women, and patients

suffering from chronic diseases, respectively. This will be followed by vaccinations of children and young people. The final phases will target healthy people over the age of 18, especially students.As of November 14, 2009, WHO statistics reveal that there have been around 3,829 cases of swine flu since the outbreak of the illness in Oman with 25 deaths.

Pelletisation plant The foundation stone for Brazilian conglomerate giant Vale’s iron ore pelletisation plant was laid in March at the Sohar Industrial Port Area. The $350mn project includes building the iron ore pellets plant with a production capacity of 9 million tons per annum. It also includes a distribution centre with handling capacity of 40 million tons per annum at the Sohar Industrial Port.

Six new airports The Sultanate of Oman, which is seeking to build new airports to boost the tourism industry, got a big boost through the 2009 budget. The overall plan is to develop six new airports and to upgrade the existing airports in Muscat and Salalah. The airports to come up at Sohar, Al Duqm and Ras Al Hadd airports will have a capacity of 500,000 passengers per year while Adam, Haima and Shaleem airports will be able to receive 250,000 passengers annually. The proposed $1.4bn new airport at Muscat International Airport would be completed by 2011 and will have a capacity to handle 12 million passengers annually while the development of Salalah Airport envisages an expansion of capacity to 1 million passengers by 2011. Bids for the construction of the airports were awarded in February, 2009.

richest people in the world Love them, hate them, but you just cannot ignore them. A list of the Top 10 ultra high networth individuals Rank




Net Worth ($bil)



William Gates III

United States



United States


Warren Buffett

United States



United States


Carlos Slim Helu & family






Lawrence Ellison

United States



United States


Ingvar Kamprad & family






Karl Albrecht






Mukesh Ambani






Lakshmi Mittal




United Kingdom


Theo Albrecht






Amancio Ortega




Spain Source: Forbes magazine


December 2009

INTERNATIONAL NEWSMAKERS A historic election result, the fastest man on earth and a CEO who came back from a liver transplant, the year gone by had all this and much more. A look at the events and personalities that made news across the globe

Barack Obama First African American President in US history ‘Change has come to America’, said Barack Obama addressing supporters in Chicago after defeating Republican John McCain. And one could not agree more. On January 20, 2009, he became the 44th President of the USA and the First African American President in US history. He also gained a chance to realign the country’s national landscape and to create a new governing ideology for the West. The historic victory raised hopes of a better world and his oath taking ceremony turned out to be one of the biggest spectacle’s of the year, watched by millions across the globe.

Rick Wagoner Ousted CEO of General Motors Rick Wagoner, CEO, General Motors was asked to step down by US President Barack Obama on March 27, 2009. Wagoner, 56, had headed GM since 2000, after first joining the company in 1977. The automobile major had earlier filed for bankruptcy and was bailed out by the US government. Wagoner had already pledged to cut a fifth of GM’s global workforce and close 14 factories. By forcing him to go, President Obama sent out a loud and clear message that it’s not enough. Fritz Henderson, the GM president and chief operating officer, replaced Wagoner as chief executive. 44

December 2009

Slumdog Millionaire Oscar sweep The rags-to-riches romance swept the Oscars, winning eight awards, including the prize for best picture in a Hollywood triumph for a movie that almost failed to get released. The low-budget production was a merger of India’s brisk Bollywood movie industry, which provided most of the cast and crew, and the global marketing reach of Hollywood, which turned the film into a commercial smash, said British director Danny Boyle. Slumdog Millionaire with a cast of unknowns and a Dickensian tale of an Indian orphan rising above his street-urchin roots started as an unlikely candidate for the sort of industry and audience recognition that it went on to garner worldwide.

Usain Bolt Fastest man on earth With a performance that defied the imagination, Usain Bolt set a new 100mtrs World record of 9.58 sec at the 12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin in August. The 22-year-old Jamaican knocked a mind-numbing 0.11 second from the 9.69 sec record he set at the Olympic Games in Beijing a year ago. One can only imagine where he’ll be and how fast he’ll run on August 16 of next year. “I was definitely ready for the World record and I did it,” Bolt said. “I didn’t think I could run a tenth (of a second) faster than my World record, but for me, anything is possible.”


December 2009

Angela Merkel Chancellor of Germany German Chancellor Angela Merkel won a second term in September 2009, along with the centerright majority that eluded her four years ago – nudging Europe’s biggest economic power to the right as it claws its way out of a deep recession. Merkel’s second four-year term is expected to be markedly different from her first, in which she presided over a middle-of-the-road government that was fractious but enjoyed a huge parliamentary majority. “My understanding was, and my understanding is, that I want to be the chancellor of all Germans,” she told supporters, adding that protecting and creating jobs “will be my highest aim.”

Abu Dhabi’s triumph Holds its first F1 race Going by the crowds that thronged the Yas Marina Circuit for the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November, one can safely say that there is a huge fan base for the Formula One sport in the region. The F1 race also gave the GCC the unique distinction of being the only region in the world which has two F1 races. Bahrain is the other country which holds the rights to host an F1. Abu Dhabi’s entry into the Formula One circuit with the hosting of the Grand Prix, has opened up more doors than one for the UAE. The country, which already has a huge following for motorsport, is sure to position itself as a major tourist destination now.

Steve Jobs CEO, Apple Inc Apple CEO Steve Jobs made a long awaited public appearance at a special event in San Francisco on September 9, 2009 after undergoing a liver transplant. Taking the stage for the first time since his medical leave he announced plans for new products like an iPod nano that records video. Jobs, had a liver transplant in spring from a young adult who died in a car accident. Looking thin and speaking quietly with a scratchy voice, the 54year-old CEO urged everyone to become organ donors. “I wouldn’t be here without such generosity,” Jobs said. 46

December 2009

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad President of Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared a “new beginning” for Iran on June 13, after he was declared victor in the presidential election, but as he spoke on national television violent demonstrations rolled through several areas of Tehran. An undeterred, Ahmadinejad, who campaigned as a champion of the working class, lauded the high turnout in the voting, which he described as free and fair. “There were two options,” he said, “Either to return to the old days or continue our leap forward towards high peaks . . . and progress. Fortunately, the people voted for that last option.” He added that the Iranian people had chosen a programme over personality, and promised to continue his policies “only with more energy.” He also attacked the foreign media’s coverage of the campaign, saying “they have launched the heaviest propaganda and psychological war against the Iranian nation.”

Brazil’s moment

Kim Clijsters

Wins Olympic bid for 2016

First mother in 29 years to win a grand slam crown

Rio de Janeiro was awarded the right to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee announced on October 2, 2009. The announcement brought tears to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva – “Our hour has arrived, it has arrived” he said. Nearly 50,000 spectators jumped and shouted in the carnival-like atmosphere on Rio’s Copacabana beach after hearing the announcement that Rio beat Chicago, Madrid and Tokyo. For Rio, a major appeal was bringing the Olympics to South America for the first time. Among the 10 major economies of the world, Brazil was the only country that had not received the Olympic and Paralympic Games. “For us, it will hardly be our last Olympics. For us, it will be an opportunity to be equal. It will increase self-esteem for Brazilians, will consolidate recent conquests and stimulate new advances.” said da Silva.

Appearing in her first grand slam tournament since retiring more than two years ago, Kim Clijsters stormed all the way through to the final at the US Open tennis championship and taking the title on September 13, 2009, repeating her success at Flushing Meadows four years ago. The delighted 26-year-old was able to celebrate with her young daughter, Jada – who was the very reason she gave up tennis in the first place. The toddler, who at 18 months is the spitting image of her Belgian mother, lapped up the limelight at the Arthur Ashe stadium as her mother showed off her trophy. “We tried to plan her naptime a little bit later so she could be here today. It’s the greatest feeling in the world, being a mother,” an overwhelmed Clijsters told the cheering crowds.


December 2009


From the profound to the flipant, these are our picks of the Top 10 quotes of the year “I don’t know anything about cars.” Edward Whitacre Jr., newly appointed chairman of GM, who added that “a business is a business, and I think I can learn”

“Shakespeare has too many lines.” “I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect. America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. America is not – and never will be at war with Islam.” Barack Obama in Cairo university

“I am deeply sorry and ashamed… I knew what I was doing was wrong, indeed criminal.” New York financier Bernard Madoff, who swindled investors and charities out of $65 billion 48

December 2009

“What’s up London?” Britney Spears addressing audience at her show in Manchester “I am an international leader, the dean of the Arab rulers, the king of kings of Africa, and the imam of Muslims. My status does not allow me to descent to a lower level.” Col. Gadaffi of Libya, at a meeting of Arab leaders in Qatar

James Bond star Daniel Craig, why he won’t be do the classics “The trouble with Twitter, the instantness of it, too many twits might make a twat.” David Cameron, British Conservative Party leader

“We’re going to have no paper, no printing plants, no unions. It’s going to be great.” Media mogul Rupert Murdoch, hailing prospect of electronic devices like Amazon Kindle displacing newspapers, a process he estimates will take about 20 years “’This is it’ really means this is it.” Michael Jackson announcing plans for a series of ‘final curtain call’ concerts, starring in London in July, his first major live performance in 12 years

“It’s Gordon… Gordon Ramsay?” Paris Hilton, asked to name Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown

A M Best “A” (Excellent) Financial Rating, A M Best Insurer Credit Rating “a” and Standard & Poor’s BBB+ (Stable) Financial Rating ISO9001:2000 certified, Investors in People (UK) certified, winner MRM Award (Finance Category)

FAREWELL People who will be missed in the coming years

Michael Joseph Jackson Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009), known as the King of Pop, was an American musician and one of the most commercially successful and influential entertainers of all time. His unique contributions to music and dance, along with a highly publicised personal life, made him a prominent figure in popular culture for over four decades. Alongside his brothers, he made his debut in 1964 as lead singer and youngest member of The Jackson 5, and began a successful solo career in 1971. His 1982 album Thriller remains the best-selling album of all time, with Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991), and History (1995) among the best selling. He is widely credited with having transformed the music video from a promotional tool into an art form, with videos for his songs Billie Jean, Beat It and Thriller making him the first African American artist to amass a strong crossover following on MTV. With stage performances and music videos, Jackson popularised a number of physically complicated dance techniques, such as the robot and the moonwalk. His distinctive musical sound, vocal style and choreography inspired numerous pop, rock, R&B and hip hop artists, while also breaking down cultural, racial and generational barriers. While preparing for the This Is It concert tour in 2009, Jackson died at the age of 50 after suffering from cardiac arrest. He reportedly had been administered drugs such as propofol and lorazepam, and his death was ruled a homicide by the Los Angeles County coroner. 50

December 2009

Walter Leland Cronkite, Jr Walter Leland Cronkite, Jr (November 4, 1916 – July 17, 2009) was an American broadcast journalist, best known as anchorman for the CBS Evening News for 19 years (1962–81). During the heyday of CBS News in the 1960s and 1970s, he was often cited as “the most trusted man in America” after being so named in an opinion poll. Although he reported many events from 1937 to 1981, including bombing in World War II, the Nuremberg trials, combat in the Vietnam War, the death of President John F Kennedy, Watergate, and the Iran Hostage Crisis, he was known for extensive TV coverage of the US space programme, from Project Mercury to the Moon landings (with co-host Wally Shirra), to the Space Shuttle. He was the only nonNASA recipient of a Moon-rock award. The Beatles’ first American TV broadcast was with Walter Cronkite.

Patrick Swazye Patrick Wayne Swayze (born August 18, 1952) was an American actor, dancer and singer-songwriter. He was bestknown for his roles as romantic hero in films like Dirty Dancing and Ghost and as Orry Main in the North and South television miniseries. He was named by People magazine as its “Sexiest Man Alive” in 1991. Swayze was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early 2008. He continued acting until 2009, when he became too ill to do so. On September 14, 2009 he died from the disease.

YS Rajasekhara Reddy Yeduguri Sandinti Rajasekhara Reddy (July, 8 1949 – September 2, 2009), popularly known as YSR, was the chief minister of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. He represented the Indian National Congress party. He was elected to the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Lok Sabha from the Kadapa constituency for four terms and to the Andhra Pradesh Assembly for five terms from the Pulivendula constituency. He also holds the record of not losing any election throughout his political career. In 2003 he undertook a threemonth-long paadayaatra, or walking tour, across several districts in Andhra Pradesh. He led his party to victory in the next general and assembly elections held in 2004. On 2 September 2009, a helicopter carrying Reddy went missing in the Nallamala forest area. His body was found one day later after his helicopter had crashed on top of Rudrakonda Hill, 40 nautical miles from Kurnool. 51

December 2009

Heath Ledger Heath Andrew Ledger (April 4, 1979 – Jan 22, 2009) was an Australian television and film actor. His work encompassed 19 films, including 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), The Patriot (2000), Monster’s Ball (2001), A Knight’s Tale (2001), Brokeback Mountain (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008). He died at the age of 28 on January 22, 2009 from an accidental “toxic combination of prescription drugs.” A few months before his death, Ledger had finished filming his penultimate performance, as the Joker in The Dark Knight. He was nominated and won awards for his portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and a Best Actor International Award at the 2008 Australian Film Institute Awards, for which he became the first actor to win an award posthumously.

Jade Cerisa Lorraine Goody Jade Cerisa Lorraine Goody (June, 5, 1981 – March, 22, 2009) was an English celebrity. She came into the public spotlight while appearing on the third series of the Channel 4 reality TV programme Big Brother in 2002, an appearance which led to her own TV programmes and the launch of her own products after her eviction. In January 2007, she was a housemate in Celebrity Big Brother. During the show she was accused of racist bullying against actress Shilpa Shetty. Following her eviction from the show, she admitted her actions had been wrong and she subsequently made many public apologies. She married Jack Tweed on February 22, 2009, despite having terminal cervical cancer and died, one month later, in the early hours of March 22, 2009

David Carradine David Carradine (born December 8, 1936) was a popular American character actor of stage, director, martial artist, spokesman and singer, who in his four decades of television is best known for his work in the 1970s television series, Kung Fu, the sequel of the 1990s television show, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, and more recently in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill. He appeared in more than 100 feature films and was nominated four times for a Golden Globe Award. On June 4, 2009, Carradine was found dead in his room at the Swissôtel Nai Lert Park Hotel on Wireless Road, near Sukhumvit Road, in central Bangkok, Thailand. 52

December 2009

Annelies Boogaerdt Annelies Boogaerdt was former Dutch Ambassador to Oman. Boogaerdt came to Oman in September 2003 and carved a special place in the hearts of many during her five-year tenure. Before she left Oman, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said had conferred Al Numan Order (First Class) on her, recognising her role in enhancing the bilateral relations between the Sultanate and her home country. During her 5-year term as Ambassador, Boogaerdt was instrumental in bringing a number of major projects to Oman from the Netherlands; besides being involved in the further development of Sohar Port, fellowships for Omani professionals, cooperation with UNICEF in field of HIV/Aids and illiteracy. She was also the dean of diplomatic corps. Boogaerdt was friendly and a real professional; she was diplomatic, down-to-earth but with the allure and status that suits an ambassador. She was patient and good at creating opportunities for people from various fields to meet each other.

Ted Kennedy Edward Moore “Ted” Kennedy (February 22, 1932 – August 25, 2009) was a United States Senator from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party. First elected in November 1962, he was elected nine times and served for 46 years in the US Senate. At the time of his death, he was the second most senior member of the Senate, and the fourth-longest-serving senator in US history. For many years the most prominent living member of the Kennedy family, he was the son of Joseph P Kennedy, Sr, the youngest brother of President John F Kennedy and Senator Robert F Kennedy, both victims of assassinations, and the father of Congressman Patrick J Kennedy.Kennedy was known for his oratorical skills; his 1968 eulogy for his brother Robert and his 1980 Democratic National Convention rallying cry for modern American liberalism were among his best-known speeches. He became known as “The Lion of the Senate” through his long tenure and influence.

Stephen Gately Stephen Patrick David Gately (born – March 17, 1976) was an Irish pop singer, songwriter and actor, who, with Ronan Keating, was one of two lead singers of the pop group Boyzone. With Boyzone, Gately had a record-breaking sixteen consecutive singles enter the top five of the UK Singles Chart. He was discovered dead at an apartment he owned with Cowles in Majorca, Spain on October 10, 2009. 53

December 2009

SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERIES The best innovations of the year The Handheld Ultrasound The medical instrument that most symbolises a doctor, the stethoscope, may be nearing its end as new technology makes the rounds in the medical field. Handheld ultrasound is the tool of choice for some doctors who think it’s time to replace the stethoscope, which has seen little change since a French physician invented it in the early 1800s. In a field where minutes can make the difference between life and death, the handheld ultrasound could improve the way medicine is practiced everywhere.

The $20 Knee Tens of thousands of amputees in the developing world wear an inexpensive prosthetic called the Jaipur Foot. But poor patients who lose a knee joint have few options: a titanium replacement can cost $10,000, and crude models don’t work very well. Now a team of Stanford engineering students has designed a knee that’s not only dirt cheap – just $20 – but also mimics the natural joint’s movements. Developed with the Jaipur Foot group, the JaipurKnee is made of self-lubricating, oilfilled nylon and is both flexible and stable, even on irregular terrain. The device is being tested in India; more than 300 people have been fitted so far.

The AIDS Vaccine

The Nissan Leaf

A vaccine is not exactly a novel invention, but one that’s designed to fight HIV certainly is. More than 20 years after the AIDS virus was identified, researchers have devised the first immunisation to protect people against HIV infection. A sixyear trial showed that the vaccine, which consists of two shots that given individually had failed to protect against HIV, is modestly effective, reducing infection in 31 per cent among those receiving the regimen versus those getting a placebo. But scientists are still trying to figure out how the vaccine decreases infection risk.

It’s not the world’s first electric car, but the Nissan Leaf, launched in August, is the first fully electric vehicle built for mass production for the global market. To help drivers shift their thinking from gas to green, Japan’s third largest automaker has about 30 partnerships worldwide focused on developing an infrastructure of battery-recharging stations to keep electric vehicles on the roads. The car’s top speed is more than 145 kmph, and its range is 160 kms on a full charge. When it moves, it makes a futuristic sound like the flying cars in Blade Runner. Nissan will produce 50,000 Leafs each year at its Oppama plant, southwest of Tokyo, starting in the fall of 2010.


December 2009

Vertical Farming

other so it acts just like the original. Still, atom-to-atom teleportation has major implications for creating supersecure, ultra-fast computers.

$10mn Lightbulb

Real estate might be good news for landlords but not for the world’s farmers, who have finite cropland to feed a growing global population. The answer: build up by farming vertically. Valcent, a company based in El Paso, Texas, is pioneering a hydroponicfarming system that grows plants in rotating rows, one on top of another. The rotation gives the plants the precise amount of light and nutrients they need, while the vertical stacking enables the use of far less water than conventional farming.

Teleportation Inching our reality ever closer to Star Trek’s, scientists at the University of Maryland’s Joint Quantum Institute successfully teleported data from one atom to another in a container a meter away. A landmark in the brain-bending field known as quantum information processing, the experiment doesn’t quite have the cool factor of body transportation; one atom merely transforms the

With the flick of a switch, Philips Electronics may have just dramatically lowered America’s electric bill. In September the Dutch electronics giant became the first to enter the US Department of Energy’s L Prize competition, which seeks an LED alternative to the common 60-watt bulb. If the domestic incandescent were replaced by LED bulbs, the US could save enough electricity per year to light 17.4 million households. If Philips wins the L Prize, it will claim a cash award and federal purchasing agreements worth about $10mn. Philips LED bulb emits the same amount of light as its incandescent equivalent.

Wooden Bones It’s odd to think of putting sticks of wood inside people as a revolutionary medical procedure, but that’s exactly what a group of Italian scientists are working on. They’re using wood – red oak, rattan and sipo work best – to create an artificial bone replacement called carbonated hydroxyapatite. Because of the sponginess of the wood, live bones are expected to grow into the structure faster than with traditional titanium or ceramic implants, decreasing the time it takes to mend a broken bone. The procedure isn’t quite ready for human testing, so sheep are currently testing the artificial bones. Researchers say that with the bone substitute, which takes approximately one week to process, they can create virtually any size or shape.

Smart Thermostat A couple of years ago, Seth FraderThompson was driving a Prius. Priuses have little screens on the dashboard that tell you what gas mileage you’re getting, in real time, as you drive. It crossed Frader-Thompson’s mind that houses should have something similar. So he built the EnergyHub Dashboard, a little device, with a screen, that can talk wirelessly to your furnace and your various appliances and let you know exactly how much electricity (or gas) each one is using and how much it’s costing you.

The Solar Shingle The Dow Chemical Co has developed a new roof shingle that doubles as a solar panel. The shingles, which can be incorporated into rooftops alongside traditional asphalt shingles, use low-cost thin-film cells of copper indium gallium diselenide. While Dow expects to profit greatly from the Powerhouse Solar Shingle – the company predicts it will bring in as much as $10bn in revenue by 2020 – there will be significant benefits for consumers too. The innovative shingle is expected to cost 10 per cent to 15 per cent less than traditional solar panels and will be cheaper and quicker to install.


December 2009

READING MAKETH A MAN If you are looking at the notable reads of the year here’s a lowdown on the best sellers of 2009

The concise 48 laws of power by Robert Greene

Screw it let’s do it by Richard Branson

The world is flat by Thomas L Friedman

Leadership Wisdom by Robin Sharma

Fooled by randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Freakonomics by Steven D levitt and Stephen J Dubner

Winning by Jack Welch

The one minute manager meets the monkey by Ken Blachard

Judgment by Noel M Tichy and Warren G Bennis

Rich dad poor dad by Robert Y Kiyosaki

Source: Turtle Bookshop 58

December 2009

L&T’s Heavy Engineering and Modular Fabrication Expertise

Now in Oman

Above: Facets of L&T’s capabilities at Sohar, Oman. Left: FCC Regenerator manufactured at L&T’s complex in Hazira, India.

L&T is recognized as one of the top five global manufacturing companies in the heavy engineering space. L&T’s track record covers equipment that meet international benchmarks of technological complexity, scale and speed of execution. This experience and expertise are now available for the first time for GCC from L&T's new facilities in Sohar, Oman - a high-tech ASME-approved workshop with ISO and OHSAS certifications, and a modular fabrication yard. The yard has already completed fabrication and load-out of two jackets and has undertaken re-conditioning of a drilling rig. With its proximity to the GCC, this manufacturing complex will strengthen L&T's relationship with the region's industry, and improve its delivery capabilities. L&T looks ahead to opportunities to serve the Gulf - from the Gulf itself.

Paintings A comprehensive list of the most expensive paintings in the world as of 2009, listed in order after accounting for inflation

No. 5, 1948 – $148.1mn No. 5, 1948 is a painting by Jackson Pollock, an American painter known for his contributions to the abstract expressionist movement. It was allegedly sold by David Geffen to David Martinez in 2006 for a record sum of $140mn.

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I – $142.8mn Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I by Gustav Klimt was completed in 1907. It was sold for $135mn to Ronald Lauder for his Neue Galerie in New York City in June 2006. It has been on display at the gallery since July 2006.


December 2009

Portrait of Dr. Gachet – $134.6mn Portrait of Dr. Gachet is one of the most revered paintings by Vincent van Gogh and fetched a record price of $82.5mn in 1990 when sold by the Siegfried Kramarsky family to Ryoei Saito at an auction in Christie’s, New York.

Bal du moulin de la Galette – $127.4mn Bal au moulin de la Galette, Montmartre was painted by French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir in 1876. In 1990, it was sold for $78mn at Sotheby’s in New York City to Ryoei Saito.

Portrait de l’artiste sans barbe – $93.5mn Van Gogh painted Portrait de l’artiste sans barbe (Self-Portrait without beard) just after he had shaved himself. The painting sold for $71.5mn in 1998 at Christie’s, New York.

Dora Maar au Chat – $100.7mn Dora Maar au Chat (Dora Maar with Cat) is a 1941 painting by Pablo Picasso. In 2006, this painting nearly doubled its presale estimate and fetched a record $95.2mn at auction at Sotheby’s on May 3, 2006. The buyer is still unknown.

Woman III – $145.4mn Woman III is a painting by Willem de Kooning. It is one of a series of six paintings by de Kooning done between 1951 and 1953. In November 2006, the painting was sold by David Geffen to billionaire Steven A. Cohen for $137.5mn. 61

December 2009

Garçon à la Pipe – $117.6mn Garçon à la Pipe (Boy with a Pipe) is a painting by Pablo Picasso. It was painted in 1905 when Picasso was 24 years old. On May 5, 2004 the painting was sold for $104.2mn at Sotheby’s auction in New York City. The buyer was never revealed.

Portrait of Joseph Roulin – $99.7mn Portrait of Joseph Roulin is a painting by Vincent van Gogh completed in 1889. It was sold to the Museum of Modern Art New York for $58mn plus exchange of some works during a private sale.

Irises - $101.2mn Irises is a painting by Vincent van Gogh. It was painted while he was living at the asylum at Saint Paul-de-Mausole in Saint-Rémy-deProvence, France in the last year before his death in 1890. In 1987, it was sold for $53.9mn dollars to Alan Bond. 62

December 2009

Box office Hits Looking at the top grossers at the box office makes one wonder whether acting talent is an overrated virtue Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Theatrical Release: June 24 Box Office: $402.07mn Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson Director: Michael Bay In Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, two years have passed since Sam and the Autobots saved the human race from invading decepticons. But a normal life will have to wait. With the help of an old adversary-turned-ally, the Autobots and the soldiers of NEST (team of Autobots and soldiers that hunt down remaining Decepticons on earth), Sam and Mikaela must uncover the secret history of the Transformers presence on earth and the sacrifices that have to be made to save it from an ancient threat‌ The Fallen.

Theatrical Release: July 15 Box Office: $ 301.70mn Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Tom Felton Director: David Yates In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Voldemort is tightening his grip on the wizarding worlds and Hogwarts is no longer the safe haven it once was. Harry suspects that dangers may even lie within the castle, but Dumbledore is more intent upon preparing him for the final battle that he knows is fast approaching. Meanwhile, the students are under attack from a very different adversary as teenage hormones rage across the ramparts. Love is in the air, but tragedy lies ahead and Hogwarts may never be the same again. 64

December 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


The Hangover

Theatrical Release: May 29 Box Office: $292.97mn Starring: Ed Asner, Jordan Nagai, Christopher Plummer, John Ratzenberger Director: Pete Docter

Theatrical Release: June 5 Box Office: $277.06mn Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha Director: Todd Phillips They planned a vegas bachelor party that they would never forget. Now they really need to remember what

Star Trek Carl Fredicksen, a retired balloon salesman, is part rascal, part dreamer who is ready for his last chance at high-flying excitement. Tying thousands of balloons to his house, Carl sets off to the lost world of his childhood dreams. Unbeknownst to Carl, Russell, an over-eager 8-year old Wildnerness Explorer who has never ventured beyond his backyard, is in the wrong place at the wrong time - Carl’s front porch! The world’s most unlikely duo reach new heights and meets fantastic friends like Dug, a dog with a special collar that allows him to speak, and Kevin, the rare 13-foot tall flightless bird. Stuck together in the wilds of the jungle, Carl realises that sometimes life’s biggest adventures aren’t the ones you set out for.

Theatrical Release: May 7 Box Office: $257.70mn Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Eric Bana, Bruce Greenwood Director: J.J. Abrams Star Trek is the story of a young crew’s maiden voyage onboard the USS Enterprise. In the midst of an incredible journey full of optimism,

went down! A baby? A tiger? Why is one of them missing a tooth? And most of all, where is the groom?! What the guys did while partying can’t compare to what they must do while sober in an outrageous caper that has them piecing together all the bad decisions from the night before – one hazy clue at a time. Director Todd Phillips and an all-aces comedy cast tie one on… Big time!

intrigue, comedy and cosmic peril, the new recruits must find a way to stop an evil being whose mission of vengeance threatens all mankind. The fate of the galaxy rests in the hands of bitter rivals born worlds apart. James Tiberius Kirk and Spock will need to forge an unlikely but powerful partnership, enabling them to lead their crew to boldly go where no one has gone before.


December 2009

Monsters vs Aliens Theatrical Release: March 27 Box Office: $198.33mn Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett, Seth Rogen Director: Conrad Vernon, Rob Letterman When Susan Murphy is unexpectedly clobbered by a meteor full of outer space gunk, she mysteriously grows

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Theatrical Release: July 1 Box Office: $196.51mn Starring: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah Director: Carlos Saldanha This time around, Manny and the herd discover a lost world of ferociously funny dinosaurs, including a cranky T-Rex who’s got a score to settle with Sid. Meanwhile, Scrat goes nuts over the beautiful Scratte, but is she trying to win his heart—or steal his acorn?


December 2009

to 49-feet-11-inches tall and is instantly labeled a “Monster” named Ginormica. The military jumps into action, and she is captured by General W R Monger and held in a secret government compound filled with other “monsters” like herself. This ragtag group consists of the brilliant but insect-headed Dr Cockroach PHD; the macho

half-ape-half-fish The Missing Link; the gelatinous and indestructible BOB.; and the 350-foot grub called Insectosaurus. Their confinement time is cut short however, when a mysterious alien robot lands on Earth and the motley crew of Monsters is called into action to save the world from imminent destruction.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine Theatrical Release: May 1 Box Office: $179.73mn Starring: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Dominic Monaghan Director: Gavin Hood Heroic Hugh Jackman breathes the fire into “Wolverine” with a vengeance! This pulse-pounding action thriller sinks razor-sharp adamantium claws into the

mysterious origins of Logan/ Wolverine: his epically violent and romantic past, his complex relationship with Victor Creed/ Sabretooth and the ominous Weapon X programme that unleashes his primal fury. Along the way, Wolverine also encounters legendary new mutants, including Deadpool and Gambit. You’ll go berserk for this deeper, darker, more-spectacularthan-ever chapter of the X-Men saga!

The Proposal Theatrical Release: June 19 Box Office: $163.90mn Starring: Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Malin Akerman, Craig T. Nelson Director: Anne Fletcher On the verge of being deported and losing the high-powered job she lives for, the controlling Margaret announces she’s engaged to her unsuspecting, put-upon assistant Andrew. After proposing a few demands of his own, the mismatched couple heads to Alaska, where they have four short days to convince his quirky family and a very skeptical immigration agent that their charade is real. Featuring a star-studded supporting cast, including Mary Steenburgen, Craig T Nelson and the delightfully inappropriate Betty White, this madcap comedy will have you saying “yes” to The Proposal again and again.

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Theatrical Release: May 22 Box Office: $177.11mn Starring: Ben Stiller, Amy Adams, Owen Wilson, Hank Azaria Director: Shawn Levy History is larger than life — and twice as funny — in this monumental comedy sequel. Ben Stiller stars as Larry Daley, a former night watchman at the Museum of Natural History, where the exhibits come alive after dark. This time around Larry’s nocturnal friends are being retired to the archives of the Smithsonian Institute, luring him back for a hilarious, all-out battle against a cranky Egyptian Pharaoh who plans to take over the museum... and the world! 67

December 2009

desirable cars These dreams on wheels are sure to take your breath away Lamborghini Revent贸n Roadster How do you make one of the most desirable cars in the world even more desirable? Easy, you get rid of the roof and that is just what Lamborghini have done with the Revent贸n. The 6.5 litre twelvecylinder generates 670hp, catapulting the Roadster from 0 to 100Km/h in 3.4 seconds and onwards to a top speed of 330 km/h. Like the previous Revent贸n, the roadster is not destined to remain a one-off. Less than 20 Lamborghini friends and collectors will be able to own this extraordinary car and, naturally, enjoy the incomparable pleasure of driving it at a paltry sum of just 1.1mn euro.

Mclaren-Mercedes SLR Stirling Moss Mercedes-Benz and McLaren are adding the crowning glory to the model family of their SLR super sports car, which ceased production at the end of May 2009, with a new, uncompromisingly spectacular car. There is neither a roof nor a windscreen to separate the driver and passenger from the outside world; they enjoy unadulterated high-speed excitement with all the attributes of a speedster. With 650 hp the SLR Stirling Moss accelerates its V8 supercharged engine from standstill to 100 km/h in less than 3.5 seconds, and has a top speed of 350 km/h. The exclusive SLR Stirling Moss rounds off the current SLR family and is limited to 75 units and is priced at 750,000 euros. 70

December 2009

Aston Martin One-77 The One-77 is Aston Martin’s definitive sports car, one that epitomises everything Aston Martin from technology, the hand-craftsmanship of the hand rolled aluminium panels to the attention to detail. A culmination of all the marque’s know-how, the One-77 delivers effortless beauty guaranteed to stir the senses with performance potential eclipsing any previous Aston Martin. The One-77’s magnificent power unit is an extreme evolution of the 6.0-litre V12 engines fitted to the DBS, DB9 and new V12 Vantage models. The targets were a power output of no less than 700bhp with a 10 per cent reduction in engine mass. Incredibly, the Aston Martin and Cosworth engineers achieved a mass reduction of some 25 per cent, and Aston Martin is confident of generating in excess of 700bhp. With a projected weight of 1,500kg the One77 will occupy the very highest echelons of road car performance. Top speed is confidently predicted to be in excess of 200mph, with a 0-60mph time in approximately 3.5sec. With a limited run of just 77 cars, prices are expected to be somewhere in and around $1.7mn.

Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Sang Bleu To date, over 250 of the planned 300 Bugatti Veyrons have been sold, and 215 of them have been delivered to customers around the world. In June 2009, Bugatti started production of the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport open-top roadster. Their production is limited to 150 units of which the first chassis numbers are reserved for existing Veyron owners. And if that wasn’t exclusive enough, to commemorate the companies 100th anniversary, Bugatti Automobiles presented another tribute to the marque’s legendary heritage on the “Sang Bleu”, an exclusive one-off Grand Sport model. It had been first exhibited at the Concours d’Elégance in Pebble Beach, California earlier this year, where it was immediately snapped up for 1.9mn euros. 71

December 2009

Lamborghini Murciélago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce The Murciélago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce is Lamborghini’s way of bidding farewell to the extraordinary super sports car. The Lp670-4 is even more powerful, lighter and faster than the Murciélago LP 640. With the output of the 6.5 litre V12 increased to 670 hp and a weight reduction of 100 kg, the Murciélago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce boasts a power-toweight ratio of 2.3 kg per hp. This catapults it from 0 to 100 km/h in a breathtaking 3.2 seconds and powers it on to a top speed of around 342 km/h. The Lp670-4 will be produced as a limited edition of only 350 units.

Ferrari 458 Italia While it’s true that every Ferrari is innovative by definition, it’s equally true that in the course of the Prancing Horse’s history, certain cars have marked a genuine departure from the current range. This is very much the case with the Ferrari 458 Italia, which is a massive leap forward from the company’s previous mid-rear engined sports cars. The new 4499 cc V8 is the first Ferrari direct injection engine to be mid-rear mounted. It delivers 570hp at 9,000 rpm and, with an outstanding power output of 127hp/litre. Maximum torque is 540 Nm at 6,000 rpm, over 80 per cent of which is available from 3,250 rpm. The 458 Italia is equipped with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission which increases performance whilst providing very smooth shifts even at full throttle. The 458 has a dry weight of 1,380 kg with a power-to-weight ratio of 2.42 kg/hp. The result can be summed up in to two simple statistics which together perfectly encapsulate the Ferrari 458 Italia’s exceptional performance: 0-100 km/h acceleration in under 3.4 seconds and a maximum speed in excess of 325 km/h. 72

December 2009

Mercedes SLS AMG The distinctive design of the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG dazzles with its passionate sportiness and reinterprets the breathtaking design of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, one of the most recognised design icons of the Mercedes-Benz brand. The new super sports car features an aluminium space frame body with gullwing doors; an AMG 6.3-litre, front-mid V8 engine with a top power of 571 hp, 650 Nm of torque, and dry sump lubrication; seven-speed dualclutch in a transaxle configuration; a sports chassis with aluminium double-wishbone suspension; and a kerb weight of 1,620 kilograms. It’s a combination that guarantees supreme handling dynamics and exceptional performance. The gullwing accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in 3.8 seconds and has a electronically limited top speed of 197mph!

McLaren MP4-12C Through a rich modern history, McLaren’s automotive division has already built the world’s most critically acclaimed supercar, the McLaren F1 (1993-1998) and the world’s bestselling luxury supercar, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren (2003-2009). McLaren Automotive now looks to the future with a new revolutionary sports car. The McLaren MP4-12C, is a high performance two-seat mid-engine model in the ‘core’ sports car market segment for cars costing between £125,000 and £175,000. The 12C is pure McLaren, featuring no carryover parts from any other car, and will be produced by McLaren in the UK. The McLaren MP4-12C is powered by a twin-turbocharged, 3.8 litre V8 engine – the ‘M838T’ developed specifically for the 12C. It features dual variable valve timing and produces around 600bhp and 600Nm of torque which drives the rear wheels through a McLarendeveloped seven speed Seamless Shift dual clutch gearbox (SSG). Unfortunately, we will only get to see it on the road much later when it goes on sale worldwide in early 2011. 73

December 2009

Porsche 911 GT3 RS Delivering even more engine power, lower weight and shorter transmission ratios, as well as upgraded body and suspension components than all previous GT3s, the new Porsche 911 GT3 RS sets the foundation for homologating the race version of the 911 GT3. The heart of the new, uncompromising GT3 RS is the power unit. The naturally-aspirated RS power unit now displaces 3.8 litres and delivers even more power, while revving up even faster to its 8500 rpm redline. It now delivers 450 horsepower, 15 horsepower’s more than its 911 GT3 counterpart, and comes exclusively with a six-speed manual gearbox optimised for short gearshift travel. The 2010 911 GT3 RS goes on sale in early spring of 2010.

Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Chevrolet’s goal with the new ZR1 was to show what an American supercar can deliver, at a price that trumps exotics that cost two, three or four times as much – and does so with exceptional driveability and to that end they have certainly succeeded. Its Supercharged 6.2L engine is rated at 638 hp and approximately 819 Nm of torque, enough to propel the ZR1 to 96km/h in just 3.4 seconds and onto a top speed of 330 km/h. All for the base price of just over $100,000.


December 2009


From USB drives to hybrid bicycles, when it comes to devices, miniaturisation seems to be the way ahead Kingston Data Traveler 300 Kingston Technology recently launched the world’s first 256GB USB flash drive, the DataTraveler 300. It allows users to carry around a whole digital world, from thousands of image files to a whole database of documents. Users will also benefit from quick transfer rates and the option to password protects their data. The DataTraveler 300 is ideal for netbook users who want to extend the limited capacity of their machines. It can also be used by business consumers who work with large databases, or even designers who need to transfer large graphic files from one place to another.

Onlive Feast your eyes on the next generation of home entertainment – the Onlive Service. OnLive is a revolutionary, on demand video game platform delivering the latest and most advanced games instantly, on any TV via a sleek, inexpensive MicroConsole, or on almost any PC or Mac by streaming it through the net. Even entry-level computers will play the highest performance games! The OnLive Game Service even supports a live community. A revolutionary user interface allows fans to watch thousands of live games in action, join in at any point, share their exploits with friends through social networking tools, or make Brag Clips to showcase their skills. 75

December 2009

Acer Aspirerevo and Nvidia Ion Presenting the Acer AspireRevo - the world’s first PC to feature NVIDIA ION graphics, which are 5-10x faster than typical integrated graphics. Despite being no larger than a typical hardcover book, the AspireRevo is a fully capable desktop with advanced graphics and impressive multimedia features. Equipped with NVIDIA ION graphics, the system features outstanding 1080p HD video with true-fidelity 7.1 audio, DirectX 10 graphics with advanced digital display connectivity, sharing digital photos, surfing the web, and other tasks consumers expect from full-size systems. It even supports Blu-ray movies.

Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium The Fatal1ty (No, this is not a typo. This is exactly how it is spelt) Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Professional Series has all extreme gamers square in its crosshairs. Once installed, you’ll hear realistic EAX5 (Environmental Audio Extensions) sound effects and 3D positional audio so accurate you can locate opponents by mere sound – even over normal headphones! And, as will all X-Fi models, you can enjoy hours of crystal clear music thanks to the Xtreme Fidelity audio technology which restores the detail and clarity to compressed music files like MP3s. Combine these features with accelerated audio and 64MB of X-RAM to boost your performance even further in games that support the feature and you end up with the ultimate PC audio experience.

ATI Eyefinity This unique AMD innovation gives PCs the ability to seamlessly connect up to six ultra high definition displays in a variety of portrait and landscape configurations giving viewers a stunning new perspective on their PC experience. ATI Eyefinity can be powered by just one AMD graphics card for up to 12 times 1080p high-definition resolution, which approaches eye-definition optical clarity.

ASUS Eee Keyboard ASUS Eee Keyboard is a newly innovative product by ASUS. Not just an ordinary keyboard, it is a fully functional PC with a 5-inch touch panel on the right side, which contains resolution of 800x480 pixels. It can be used as a home entertainment centre and an Internet access device via Wi-Fi. It features Windows XP Home, Intel Atom processor, 1GB RAM, SSD 32 GB hard disk, VGA port, LAN wire, built-in ports for USB, headphone, microphone and speakers. It also supports Bluetooth. 76

December 2009

Amazon Kindle 2 recently introduced Amazon Kindle 2, the new reading device that offers Kindle’s revolutionary wireless delivery of content in a new slim design with longer battery life, faster page turns, over seven times more storage, sharper images, and a new read-to-me feature. Kindle 2 is purpose-built for reading with a high-resolution 6-inch electronic paper display that looks and reads like real paper, which lets users read for hours without the eyestrain caused by reading on a backlit display. More than 230,000 books are now available in the Kindle Store, including 103 of 110 current New York Times Best Sellers and New Releases. Top magazines and newspapers plus more than 1,200 different blogs are also available.

Fujifilm Finepix Real 3d The “FinePix REAL 3D System” is the world’s first three dimensional digital imaging system that lets you enjoy three dimensional images without the need to wear special 3D glasses. The FinePix REAL 3D system incorporates a 3D digital camera “FinePix REAL 3D W1”, a 3D digital viewer “FinePix REAL 3D V1”, and 3D prints. To achieve a natural, 3D image, it was necessary to flawlessly layer together two images, so two Fujinon lenses were installed on the 3D W1. The “RP (Real Photo) Processor 3D” synchronises data passed to it by the two lenses and two CCD sensors, to determine shooting conditions to instantaneously blend this information into a single image.

Project Natal Unveiled for the first time, at this year’s E3, was “Project Natal,” a code name for a revolutionary new way to play, no controller required. Compatible with any Xbox 360 system, the “Project Natal” sensor is the world’s first to combine an RGB camera, depth sensor, multi-array microphone and custom processor running proprietary software all in one device. Unlike 2-D cameras and controllers, “Project Natal” tracks your full body movement in 3-D, while responding to commands, directions and even a shift of emotion in voice. In addition, unlike other devices, its sensor is not light-dependent. It can recognise you by looking at your face, and it doesn’t just react to key words but understands what you’re saying!

SANYO CY-SPK227 Until now, the frames of SANYO’s electric hybrid bicycles have been mostly made of steel or aluminum. With the new CY-SPK227 however, SANYO has created the world’s first commercially available power-assisted bicycle with a carbon composite frame manufactured with the same technology as used for F1 racecar bodies. It features a “Two-Wheel Drive System” where power is applied to both the front and back wheels, and a “Loop Charge Function” that recharges the battery during downhill coasting and deceleration, by switching the electric motor to a dynamo.


December 2009

chartbusters While music may be a subjective choice, you cannot dispute the popularity of these songs

Boom Boom Pow Album: The E.N.D Boom Boom Pow is a single by the Black Eyed Peas released as the lead single from their fifth studio album, The E.N.D. It topped the Billboard Hot 100, making it the group’s first US number-one single. It is the second longest-running single to stay atop the Hot 100 in 2009. The song sold over 4.3 million digital downloads in the US, becoming the group’s highestselling song in the US to date and it reached this threshold in just 23 weeks, faster than any other song in digital history. 78

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My Life Would Suck Without You Album: All I ever wanted “My Life Would Suck Without You” is a song performed by Kelly Clarkson. It is the first single from her fourth studio album, All I Ever Wanted. It is her second number-one single in the US, her second number-one in Canada and her first number-one in the United Kingdom. It debuted at No 97 on the Billboard Hot 100, setting the record for the furthest jump to No 1 in history.

New Divide Soundtrack for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen New Divide is a song by Linkin Park. The song is released as a single and was recorded specifically for Michael Bay’s film Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. The song serves as the film’s theme, and was released as a single on May 18, 2009. In the US, New Divide debuted at number six on the Billboard Hot 100, the band’s highest debut to date, and their highest peaking song since In the End. The single dropped sharply to number 39 the week after its release but resurfaced within the top 10 at number nine following the movie’s premiere. New Divide reached number one on both the Alternative Songs chart and the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. It has stayed at No 1 on Alternative for 12 weeks so far, making it their second longest running number one there. 79

December 2009

You Belong to Me Album: Fearless “You Belong With Me” is a song co-written and recorded by Taylor Swift. It is the third single from her second album, Fearless. This song also won the award for “Best Female Video” at the 2009 Video Music Awards. After the official full release, the song reentered the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No 2 so far, becoming her highest charting single. It was also the first song in over nine years to be in the top five of the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Country Songs charts simultaneously. The song also distinguished itself by being the first country song ever to top the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay since the list began incorporating Nielsen BDSmonitored data in 1990.

Halo Album: I Am… Sasha Fierce Halo is a song sung by American R&B singer Beyoncé. It was composed by Ryan Tedder and Evan Bogart for her third studio album, I Am… Sasha Fierce. In the US, the song was released on January 20, 2009 as the album’s fourth single. It also won Best Song at the 2009 MTV Europe Music Awards.

The Climb Soundtrack for Hannah Montana: The Movie The Climb is a song performed by American recording artist Miley Cyrus. The song was written by Jessi Alexander and Jon Mabe and produced by John Shanks. It was released as the lead single from the soundtrack for Hannah Montana: The Movie. The song debuted at No 48 on the Hot Country Songs chart on the chart week of March 14, 2009. It has since become her first solo Top 40 single on the country charts. On the chart week of March 21, 2009, it debuted at No 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 as the highest- debuting song of the week due to strong digital downloads and airplay, giving Cyrus her highest charting US single. It peaked at No 4. 80

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Use Somebody Album: Only by the Night Use Somebody is the second single from Only by the Night, the fourth studio album by Kings of Leon, released on December 8, 2008. The music video was premiered exclusively on the band’s MySpace page on November 4, 2008. The single received heavy airplay in Scandinavia, as well as the Ireland, UK and Australia, where it has remained at number one on the official Airplay Chart for six consecutive weeks. It was a huge success in the US, where it topped multiple airplay formats, and reached No 4 on the Hot 100 and the top of the Pop Songs chart. The song has also found great digital success, so far selling over 2.48 million digital downloads in the United States.

When love takes over Album: One Love When Love Takes Over is a song released under the name of French DJ David Guetta, featuring main vocals by singer Kelly Rowland. Recorded and composed by Guetta, Rowland, Miriam Nervo, Olivia Nervo, and Frédéric Riesterer, and mixed by Veronica Ferraro, for Guetta’s fourth studio album, One Love, the track was released digitally as the album’s lead single in May 2009. The track became a number one smash, topping charts in the UK, Ireland, Italy, Belgium (Wallonia), Switzerland, Slovakia, and Turkey and on the European Hot 100 Singles. It has charted within the top five of many other European countries, as well as in North America becoming Guetta’s second Hot 100 hit, following Love is Gone.

I Gotta Feeling Album: The E.N.D. I Gotta Feeling is another song by the group Black Eyed Peas and their second official single from their album The E.N.D. The song was first debuted at No 2 behind the group’s own Boom Boom Pow on the week of June 27, 2009, on both the Canadian and Billboard Hot 100 charts, making the group one of only 11 artists who have occupied the top two positions at the same time on the Billboard Hot 100. The song went on to replace Boom Boom Pow at No 1 on the US charts and eventually reach No 1 on twenty charts worldwide. It is also the longest-running No 1 single on the US Pop Charts, and the Canadian Hot 100.

Right Round Album: R.O.O.T.S Right Round is Flo Rida’s first single from his second studio album, R.O.O.T.S. The song reached number one in the US Canada, Australia, Ireland and the UK. It is heavily based around Dead or Alive’s 1984 single You Spin Me Round (Like a Record). The song debuted at No 74 on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at No 1 the week ending February 28, 2009, selling 636,000 digital copies in its first week. This was the biggest first-week sales in digital history. In its second week, the song sold an additional 460,000 downloads, topping the one million mark in paid downloads in just two weeks and becoming the fastest million-selling download ever. The song also became the fastest 2 millionselling download ever. After 11 weeks, the song topped the 3 million mark, becoming the fastest 3 million-selling download ever. Flo Rida is only the fourth lead artist to have two songs reach the 3 million download mark. 81

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GAMES PEOPLE PLAY The year saw the emergence of gaming as the highest grossing entertainment category in the US overtaking movies and music Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Developer: Naughty Dog Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Shooter Units Sold: 1.6 million System(s): PS3 Uncharted 2 is by far one of the best games we have played this year and maybe even one of the best ever.


December 2009

It is nearly prefect in every way with just a few, quite insignificant, flaws. It is a perfectly paced, action packed thrill ride from the beginning to the end. It is just the right length, has the best set piece moments, attention to detail, some of the best acting we have ever seen and it has an awesome multiplayer component to boot. Oh! And the fact that it is by far the best looking console game ever helps too.

Dragon Age: Origins Publisher: Electronic Arts Developer: BioWare Genre(s): Role-Playing Game Units Sold: 0.6 million (excluding PC sales) System(s): Xbox 360, PC, PS3 Dragon Age: Origins, the spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate, is not the kind of game that tries to impress you with its graphics. Instead it does so with its engaging story, intriguing cast of characters, meticulous attention to detail and the sheer scale of the game. Players take the role of a Grey Warden, one of the last of an ancient order of guardians, and as a rising evil threatens to destroy all life, has to unite the shattered lands and slay the corrupted dragon known as the Archdemon. If you love RPGs and have a lot, and we mean a lot, of time to spend, this is an adventure you should not miss.

Left 4 Dead 2 Publisher: Electronic Arts Developer: Valve Genre(s): First-Person Shooter, Action Units Sold: n/a System(s): Xbox 360, PC Seems like this is the year of great sequels and ‘Left 4 Dead 2’ is definitely no different. As with some of the other titles in this list, it is a worthy successor of the first part. Minor changes and tweaks to almost every aspect of the game, from graphics to level design, make all the difference. It also features a completely new setting, new infected (i.e zombies) to fight, new modes and a wider arsenal to mow down zombies with. All-in-all it a great follow-up to an already legendary title.

Batman: Arkham Asylum Publisher: Eidos Interactive / Warner Bros. Interactive Developer: Rocksteady Studios Genre(s): Action, Adventure Units Sold: 2.32 million (not including PC sales) System(s): Xbox 360, PC, PS3 In Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman finds himself trapped inside the confines of Gotham’s psychiatric hospital, Arkham Asylum. The Joker has set a trap for the Dark Knight and has conspired with the deranged inmates to eliminate Batman once and for all. Amazing voice acting, intense action and breathtaking graphics are just a small part of the experience. Factor in the presence of some of Gotham City’s most notorious villains and then add in an original story by Paul Dini and you end up with the best Batman game ever released. 83

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Modern Warfare 2 Publisher: Activision Developer: Infinity Ward Genre(s): First-Person Shooter Units Sold: 8.15 million (excluding PC sales) System(s): Xbox 360, PC, PS3 Infiniti ward has managed to pull it off again with MW2. Despite some criticisms about the game’s length, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the game is mindnumbingly good and it didn’t seem to hurt its sales either, having grossed $550mn in just five days (to put this into perspective just look at our top box office hits list). It does everything its predecessor did but has managed to somehow improve on every aspect ever so slightly. Fast-paced, action-packed, great visuals and with a huge fan following, (to make sure you aren’t too lonely online), MW2 is definitely a war worth fighting in.

Forza Motorsport 3 Publisher: Microsoft Developer: Turn 10 Studios Genre(s): Racing, Driving Units Sold: 1.11 million System(s): Xbox 360 Whether it’s an exotic sports car, a classic American muscle car or a hot Asian import, everyone has a dream car. Now you can drive that dream with Turn 10’s latest racing epic. “Forza Motorsport 3” unites the racing game genre, making it possible to experience the thrill of the world’s most exotic and exquisite cars and live the most realistic racing experience ever on a console with breathtaking HD graphics to boot.

Assassin’s Creed II Publisher: Ubisoft Developer: Ubisoft Montreal Genre(s): Action, Adventure Units Sold: N.A. System(s): Xbox 360, PC, PS3 Assassin’s Creed II is the follow-up to the title that became one of the fastest-selling new IPs in video game history. The highly anticipated title features a new hero, Ezio, and a new era, the Renaissance. The sequel retains the core game play experience that made the first opus a success and features new experiences that will surprise the players. On the whole the game’s epic story of vengeance and conspiracy is definitely one worth experiencing. 84

December 2009

Torchlight Publisher: Runic Games Developer: Runic Games Units Sold: N.A. Genre(s): Action, Role-Playing Game System(s): PC Runic Games’ development team features the same talent that brought the bar-setting, action RPGs, Diablo and Diablo II and they have not tried to hide that fact. Torchlight feels every bit a Diablo rip-off albeit with much better graphics. But the truth of the matter is that there is more to the game than meets the eye. Smart design choices and tons of loot make the game incredibly fun and addictive. While you may argue that there were better games released this year, at $20 none can match it from a fun-factor to price comparison.

Killzone 2 Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America Developer: Guerrilla Genre(s): First-Person Shooter Units Sold: 2.07 million System(s): PS3 Quite unlike the first game in the series, Sony Computer Entertainment America actually came through with their promises this time around. What resulted from theirs and Guerrilla’s, efforts was an insanely fast paced and also one of the best looking first-person shooters ever on the PS3. Killzone 2 is one hostile theatre of war where every bullet makes a dramatic impact!

Halo 3: ODST Publisher: Microsoft Developer: Bungie Software Genre(s): First-Person Shooter Units Sold: 3.38 million System(s): Xbox 360 Aside from the absence of Master Chief, “Halo 3: ODST” delivered on nearly all expectations of Halo fans and provided an enticing blend of freedom, lush visuals, captivating story and all the multiplayer goodness that we have come to expect. But it was the inclusion of all original “Halo 3” maps, as well as the “Legendary,” “Heroic,” and “Mythic” Map packs, for a total of 24 maps, that sealed it as one of this years best releases. 85

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CATWALK QUEENS Setting the ramp on fire pays. Check out our list for the highest paid models Gisele Bundchen Earnings: $25mn Gisele Caroline Bündchen was born on July 20, 1980 in Horizontina, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. In 1993, Bündchen joined a modelling course with her sisters Patrícia and Gabriela. The following year, Bündchen went to São Paulo on a school excursion and was discovered by a modelling agency in a shopping mall. She was subsequently selected for a national contest, Elite Look of the Year, in which she was placed second. Bündchen then came fourth in the world contest, held in Ibiza, Spain. In 1996, she moved to New York City to begin her modelling career, debuting at Fashion Week. Bündchen has been on more than 500 magazine covers throughout the world including W, Harper’s Bazaar, ELLE, Allure, international editions of Vogue, as well as style and lifestyle publications such as i-D, The Face, Arena, Citizen K, Flair, GQ, Esquire, and Marie Claire. She does some occasional acting and is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme. Not only is she currently the highest-paid model in the world but is also the sixteenth richest woman in the entertainment world, with an estimated $150mn fortune. 88

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Heidi Klum Earnings: $16mn Heidi was raised by her parents in Bergisch Gladbach, West Germany. She enrolled in a national modelling contest called “Model 92” and was voted the winner out of 25,000 contestants on April 29, 1992. She was offered a modelling contract worth $300,000 by Thomas Zeumer, CEO of Metropolitan Models, New York. She has since been on the cover of fashion magazines, including Vogue, ELLE and Marie Claire. She became known after appearing on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and for her work with Victoria’s Secret as an “Angel.” In addition to modelling, she has appeared in several TV shows and clothing lines designed by her, featured in the German mailorder catalog Otto. She also designed shoes for Birkenstock, jewellery for Mouawad and a clothing line for Jordache.

Kate Moss Earnings: $10mn Moss was discovered in 1988 at the age of 14 by Sarah Doukas, the founder of Storm Model Management, at JFK Airport in New York City, after a holiday in Jamaica. Moss’s career began when Corinne Day shot black-and-white photographs of her, styled by Melanie Ward, for British magazine The Face when she was 15, in a photo shoot titled “The Third Summer of Love”. Her career soon took off and she has since appeared on over 300 magazine covers and is known for her uncommonly short height for a fashion model, appearances in many advertising campaigns, her high-profile relationships and party lifestyle.

Adriana Lima Earnings: $8mn Adriana Francesca Lima born June 12, 1981 is a Brazilian model best known as a Victoria’s Secret Angel since 2000. At age 15, Lima finished first in Ford’s “Supermodel of Brazil” competition and took second place the following year in the Ford “Supermodel of the World” competition before signing with Elite Model Management in New York City to kick-start her career. She has since appeared in numerous international editions of Vogue and Marie Claire. As a runway model, she has walked the catwalks for designers such as Vera Wang, Christian Lacroix, Emanuel Ungaro, Giorgio Armani, Fendi, Ralph Lauren and Valentino, among others. She also appeared on the covers and in the editorials of other fashion magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, ELLE, GQ, Arena, Cosmopolitan, and Esquire. 89

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Alessandra Ambrosio Earnings: $6mn Alessandra Corine Ambrósio is a Brazilian model described by Tyra Banks as “The future of the modeling world.” She is best known for her work with Victoria’s Secret and was chosen as their first spokes model for Victoria’s Secret PINK line. Alessandra is currently one of Victoria’s Secret Angels and the former face for the UK company Next. Aside from modeling work, Ambrósio is also the National Ambassador for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Doutzen Kroes Earnings: $6mn Kroes was born in the town of Eastermar, in the Netherlands. Kroes has made the covers of Time, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Seventeen, Elle, Marie Claire, Glamour, W, Avantgarde, Dazed & Confused and Numéro. She also appeared regularly in the Victoria’s Secret catalogue and walked the runway of the company’s fashion show in 2005, 2006 and 2008. In August 2005, she was named spokes model for the Calvin Klein’s “Eternity” fragrance campaign. At the end of August 2008, Victoria’s Secret confirmed that Kroes was to be the newest Victoria’s Secret Angel and that Her first campaign as the brand’s newest Angel is “Supermodel Obsession”. 90

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Natalia Vodianova Earnings: $5.5mn Born in USSR, Natalia Vodianova grew up in a poor district of the city with her mother and two half sisters. She grew up helping her mother sell fruit on the street. At age 15, Vodianova enrolled in a modelling academy and by age 17, had moved to Paris, and signed with Viva Models. To date, Vodianova has walked in more 175 runway shows for US and European based designers’ ready-towear and haute couture collections, has appeared in editorial spreads in fashion magazines worldwide and has completed advertising campaigns for Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton, L’Oréal, David Yurman, Marc Jacobs, Pepe Jeans, Diane von Fürstenberg, Chanel and others. This year, she launched her collaboration with Etam, cohosted the Eurovision semi finals and appeared in countless magazines.

Miranda Kerr Earnings: $3mn Miranda May Kerr is an Australian model born on 20 April, 1983 in Sydney. Kerr entered modelling in her early teens after winning a 1997 Australian nationwide model search hosted by Dolly magazine and Impulse fragrances. But she is best known as the first Australian addition of the Victoria’s Secret Angles since mid2007. She was also the face of Australian fashion chain Portmans and David Jones Limited. Despite losing half a million, she is still estimated to be worth $3mn.

Carolyn Murphy Daria Werbowy Earnings: $4.5mn Daria is a Polish born model who has seen tremendous success in the fashion world. Werbowy holds the record for opening and closing the most shows in one season. To date, Werbowy’s clients have included Lancôme, Prada, Yves Saint Laurent, Pepe Jeans, Roberto Cavalli, Gucci, Hermès,Valentino, David Yurman, Missoni, Versace, Louis Vuitton and Chanel. In her first season, Fall/ Winter 2003, Werbowy captured two of the modelling world’s most coveted assignments: the cover of Vogue Italia, thrice (in July, August and October); and Prada’s Fall/ Winter ad campaign. Her earnings this year are valued at $4.5mn, up from $3.8mn last year. 92

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Earnings: $3mn Carolyn Murphy is an American model born in Florida on August 11, 1973. Mario Testino shot her for French Vogue, Missoni, Et Vous, and Gucci while studying at a University in Virginia. In 1994 she was hired for Prada and appeared in major magazines like Harpers Bazaar and Vogue. Anna Wintour had Steven Meisel shoot her for American Vogue in 1995 and he began to use her for campaigns like Dolce Gabbana, Max Mara, and Calvin Klein. In 2001 Estee Lauder signed her to an exclusive contract. Her first advertising campaign for the brand’s “Defining Beauty” began appearing in 2002. Since last year her wealth reportedly fell from $4.5mn to $3mn.


GOOD REGULATORY REGIME It is the Capital market authority’s mission to continue to enhance the efficiency and transparency of the financial market in the Sultanate of Oman

he financial market in the Sultanate of Oman has developed substantially since the inception of the first development plan by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said. Aimed at, amongst other things, globalising the economy, the development plan has resulted in the creation of a sophisticated securities market, the Muscat Securities Market (“MSM”), supervised by the Capital Market Authority (“CMA”).

The Muscat Securities Market and the Capital Market Authority: two independent authorities with distinct functions The MSM was set up pursuant to Royal Decree 53/88 (issued on 21 June 1988). Initially the regulatory and operational activities were both assumed by the MSM, but a decade after its formation the financial market was reformed to separate the regulatory function from the day-to-day operational activities of the market. Under the current regime, the operation of the stock market continues to be entrusted to the MSM, whereas the regulatory function has been allocated to the CMA since January 1999 by virtue of Royal Decree 80/98 issued on November 9, 1998. This brings the organisational structure of the Omani financial market in line with international standards. 94

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By Dr Caroline Bolle

The CMA is set up as an independent body and exercises its powers through executive regulations or administrative decisions. It is the CMA’s mission to continue to enhance the efficiency and transparency of the financial market in the Sultanate of Oman. The CMA appreciates that ensuring continued market efficiency and transparency is crucial in order to attract new funds to the Sultanate of Oman. The MSM has maintained its status as an independent body. The MSM stock exchange is the only regulated market for trading securities in the Sultanate of Oman. The principal stock index applied by the MSM is the MSM-30. The latter was established in 1992 and is composed of 30 companies selected from across all industries. The companies constituting the MSM-30 are wellperforming companies with substantial market capitalisation and high liquidity. In addition to the MSM-30, three further industry-focused indexes are used by the MSM, including the Banks & Investment Index, the Industry Index and the Service & Insurance Index. Each industry index comprises the top 30 companies in their relevant sector. Modernisation of the securities market has continued and in early 2008 the MSM partnered with Dow Jones to launch the Dow Jones MSM Index. The Dow Jones MSM Index is an indicator of the performance of financial products (such as exchange traded funds

and other investable products) that enables investors to participate in the performance of the Omani stock market. In August 2009 new indexes were launched in cooperation with Dow Jones Indexes measuring the performance of stocks listed in the Gulf Cooperation Council in which shares listed on the MSM are included.

The MSM boasts an active market for initial public offerings and rights issues The term initial public offering is typically used when a company first issues shares to the public. Rights issues then occur when an already listed company issues additional securities to its shareholders. The market for initial public offerings and rights issues in the Sultanate of Oman has seen some notable transactions and to date about 234 companies and 8 mutual funds have been admitted to listing on the MSM. There have also been 8 commercial bond issuances and 27 government bond issuances.

The requirement to publish a prospectus approved by the Capital Market Authority In all instances where securities are offered for public or private subscription a prospectus approved by the CMA must be published pursuant to the Capital Market Law promulgated by Royal Decree 80/98 as amended from time-to-time (“CML”). A prospectus is

an often lengthy document in which the issuer provides written disclosures. By disclosing all relevant information the issuer not only informs the prospective purchaser about the investment opportunity but also produces a record of all information disseminated to the public in connection with the issue that may become relevant if in the future disputes arise between the company and a dissatisfied investor. A prospectus must contain all material information that may assist potential investors to make an informed decision about whether or not to invest in the issuing company. Unlike the purchase of a tangible asset such as a house or a car (which a potential buyer can physically inspect), a security is an intangible asset the value of which depends on the performance of the company concerned and the assessment by the market of its prospects. It is with this in mind that securities laws require the issuer to inform prospective investors of all material information about the company to allow

them to make an informed investment decision with full knowledge of all material issues relating to the value of the security and the risks present. Preparation of the prospectus is perhaps the most important aspect of conducting a proper securities offering. Without doubt it demands a substantial commitment on the part of the company’s management to provide the requisite information for inclusion in the prospectus within the timeframes set by the CMA. However, the prospectus is ultimately the key marketing document that will attract shareholders to invest funds in the business and it may also become the main reference document to defend against potential litigation if in future a disgruntled investor initiates legal proceedings against the company. What information is material and needs to be disclosed in the prospectus depends on and varies according to the specifics of each company and the circumstances surrounding the proposed

securities offering. The administrative regulations of the CMA shed some light on the issue by prescribing a detailed list of minimum information that must be included in the prospectus (see Administrative Decision 12/2005 issued on 31 December 2005).

A prospectus must be published upon the public or private issuance of securities Having discussed the contents of the prospectus above, it is worth looking beyond the definitions of “Securities”, “Public Subscription” and “Private Subscription” in the CML to assess the full scope of the CML and the reach of the CMA. If in doubt, an issuer should always contact the CMA to discuss whether an offer is indeed an offer to the public or an invitation to a specified category subject to the prospectus requirements. The author is a Senior Associate, Al Alawi & Co., Advocates & Legal Consultants

Corporate and Commercial • Banking & Finance • Islamic Finance • Inward Investments in Oman • Dispute Resolution Corporate and Commercial Banking & Finance Islamic Finance • Inward inInfrastructure Oman • Dispute andInvestments Technology • andResolution projects • Maritime and Aviation ••Intellectual Property•• Telecommunications Property Telecommunications and Technology Infrastructure and projects • Maritime and Aviation • Intellectual • • • Capital Markets • Energy, Oil & Gas • Insurance Capital Markets Energy, Oil & Gas Insurance • • •


The Golden Bullet When you are handed the keys to a 911 Targa 4S for a day, you make sure every moment counts. That is exactly what Malcolm Xavier Crasta did to bring you this report


December 2009

here are a number of things that you can criticize a Porsche 911 for. The car may seem to be a bargain at first but don’t get too comfortable. Because while the car comes with decent equipment levels from the get go, a lot of kit that comes as standard on most cars of a similar price comes in as an extra cost options on the 911 and prices tend to go skyward fast. Moreover, maintaining a car such as this doesn’t come cheap either, but I guess most of you already knew that.

Then there are the back seats which, like in most 2+2 cars, are there for one of three reasons – either to seat very small children, to use as an extra luggage space or most likely to justify the car to your spouse as a four seater so that they would allow you to purchase it. There is also some wind noise present and suspension thud on rough surfaces and if you are used to regular paddle shifters on most cars the PDK steering shifters can take quite some getting used to. But the fact of the matter is, we really don’t care about any of this because the 911 is by far one of the best cars you will ever drive and for that we will forgive it for everything, except maybe for the odd steering mounted shifters. The car that we drove was a Nordic Gold Metallic 911 Targa 4S equipped with the new Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) gearbox, a 7-speed dual clutch system, and the Sport Chrono Package Plus (well get to this later in the review). From the outside the new car sticks with the 911’s tried and true design with not many changes between the older and newer version but the incredible combination of the colour and the Targa’s glass roof and the 44mm wider stance was all the car needed to stand out from the regular crowd, believe us when we say that this is one breathtaking car to look at.

SPECIFICATIONS FOR PORSCHE 911 TARGA 4S Engine – 3.8L 6-Cylinder Boxer Power – 385hp @ 6500rpm Torque – 420 Nm @ 4400 rpm Transmission – 7-speed PDK Dimensions (l x w x h) – 4435mm x 1852mm x 1300mm Acceleration (0-100km/h) – 4.5 secs

Inside, it is regular Porsche fare. Anyone who has used a Porsche before will be perfectly at home in the new car as well and for the remainder of us who haven’t it is not really that hard to get used to, just remember that the starter keyhole is on the left-hand side of the steering column like in every other Porsche. As for the seating itself, there is only one way to describe it – sheer perfection. The seats are comfortable, even for long journeys, the driving position is perfect and there is more than enough lateral support during corners, even with the standard seats. The dash itself is a great combination of simplicity and sportiness, especially with the rev counter taking the centre stage. The rest of the controls are de-

cently laid out and as you would expect from a German car the materials used are top-notch. On the road the Porsche is probably one of the best tools you can have at your disposal to have fun in. Just beyond the rear axel sits a thunderous 3.8l flat-6 that punches out 385hp@6500rpm and 420Nm@4,400rpm. Considering the load on the rear wheels during takeoff, the grip is immense. You will see 100kmph in just 4.9s and 160kmph in just 10.3s. But as we mentioned before the 911 we were driving was equipped with the Sport Chrono Package plus and Porsche’s PDK gearbox. Porsches new gearbox works in a similar fashion to the system found in VW and Audi but has been tuned and enhanced to shift gears as fast as is mechanically possible. The shifts are seamless and incredibly smooth but it is quite surprising why Porsche did not stick with the norm for the steering mounted shifters, it would have made the experience much more engaging than it already was. Depress the Sport button and the engine management system enhances engine and throttle response, the steering becomes more direct, the damping becomes harder and the gear shifts become shorter. And then if you plan on going completely bonkers there is the ‘Sport Plus’ button! Engage this and Launch Control is made available to you and shift times on the PDK are improved to be the fastest they can possibly be while at the same time optimising shift points. Combine the PDK and the Sport Plus package and the entire car changes – the 0-100kmph and 0-160kmph times are reduced significantly to 4.3s and 9.4s respectively and the handling reaches a level that is its own. Combine this with the incredible exhaust note and stunning feel of the steering and you end up with one of the most exhilarating cars you will ever drive. We have never seen a car that strikes such a balance between electronic assistance and driver control, it is just an incredible assault on your senses. 97

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New Packaging

Shell Oman Marketing Company, the manufacturers of Shell lubricants, has launched their new lubricants packaging to create a clearly defined range of lubricants products that suit the needs of both consumers and retailers. Shell lubricants customers including car drivers who use Shell Helix, and heavy-duty commercial vehicles using Shell Rimula will now benefit from the re-design.

Taking Refinement Everywhere Saud Bahwan Automotive launched the latest generation Land Cruiser Prado on November 2, 2009. The all new fourth generation Prado maintains the outstanding driveability, reliability and basic functionality of the earlier generations, even under the harshest driving conditions, while improving on the on and off-road performance. The vehicle boasts of many first time technologies like Multi Terrain Select with Multi Terrain Monitor, crawl control, Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. These and other safety features make the new Prado one of the safest vehicles on any driving terrain.

Performance x 4

Customers of Porsche Centre Oman witnessed the first appearance of the long-awaited Porsche Panamera. Its unveiling has heralded the arrival of one of the most anticipated models in performance motoring history. During the car reveal, guests were treated to a memorable audio visual tour of a vehicle that has set out to reshape the boundaries of performance motoring. Packed with true Porsche DNA and a wide range of innovative technologies including five world firsts in motoring, the Panamera combines the looks of a coupé, the opulence of a luxury car, four-seater space and Porsche’s distinctive driving dynamics.

Simplicity of a Ghost

a vision of simplicity – of taking the core values of Rolls-Royce and creating contemporary effortless luxury. Ghost has been engineered to ride and drive in peerless fashion. The chassis’ poise delivers a dynamically engaging experience for the driver, yet a serene, comfortable ride for passengers. Engine power is delivered in a manner which has become an engineering signature, seemingly effortlessly and endlessly. The latest in-car technology falls easily to hand while forming part of the background. Ghost embodies 21st-century Rolls-Royce: more than 100 years of engineering and design excellence expressed in modern and uncompromised style.

Looking to the Future

Al Jenaibi recently launched RollsRoyce’s latest model, the Ghost. It is 98

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The 2009 Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) GCC press conference recently hosted at the Habtoor Grand Resort & Spa, addressed future plans of environmental-friendly cars to international press and dealers. Top management of MMC Japan also presented the company’s 2009 perform-

ance and financial results. The press conference was attended by MCC President, Osamu Masuko and Yukio Okamoto, statutory auditor of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation in Japan. Atsuki Tofukuji, general manager of MCC Middle East Africa /Japan and Katsuya Onoda, president of Mitsubishi Motors Middle East & Africa FZE.

All-New Entry

The Automotive Division of Mohsin Haider Darwish has launched an entirely new range of cars from BYD Auto in the Sultanate of Oman. Launched from a totally new facility in Azaiba the range comprises of the F3 saloon, powered with a fuel efficient 1.6 litre Mitsubishi engine with MVV technology along with a 4 speed transmission for the automatic model and a 5 speed transmission for the manual, and the F6 saloon, powered by a 2.4 litre engine designed by Mitsubishi and equipped with tiptronic transmission. The F3 and F6 will be available from 3495 rials onwards and 5995 rials respectively.


Cerebral touch

Bobby Jones won everything in golf during his short career making him one of the undisputed legends of the game

obby Jones, the son of a lawyer, was born into a well to do family who had a summer house near the East Lakes GC, Atlanta. The young Jones played there from the age of five and soon demonstrated a natural talent. He became junior club champion when he was just nine. He never had a formal lesson yet his swing was so smooth and powerful that professionals would later emulate it. At the turn of the century, the Majors were considered to be the British and US Opens and Amateur Championships. Jones played his first major tournament, the US Amateur, when he was 14 and finished in the top 10. However, it was not until 1923 that he won his first Major, the US Open. By the time he retired from competitive golf in 1930, Jones won the Open three times, the British Amateur once, the US Open four times and the US Amateur four times. He is the only golfer to have won all the Majors in a single year in 1930. In all he won 13 national championships in eight years. In addition he played in every Walker Cup since it’s inauguration in 1922 until retirement.

Unlikely hero His talent was all the more unusual because he was not physically strong and had a nervous disposition. He chain smoked on the course, shied away from the gallery and sometimes couldn’t eat during competition time. Most people would imagine that such achievements would have necessitated a full time commitment to practice. 100

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his contribution to golf and the Open Championship, the R&A awarded him honorary membership in 1956. He was later made a freeman of St Andrews. Unfortunately in 1958, Jones became wheelchair bound due a spinal disease. When he died, a memorial service was held in his honour at St Andrews. His portrait hangs proudly in the R&A clubhouse. The USGA Museum has a room dedicated to his memory.

Major Championships Professional: 7 • U.S. Open: 1923, 1926, 1929, 1930 • British Open: 1926, 1927, 1930 Amateur: 6 • U.S. Amateur: 1924, 1925, 1927, 1928, 1930 • British Amateur: 1930 However, Jones only devoted three months of every year to golf. The remaining time was spent acquiring first class honours degrees in Law, English Literature and Mechanical Engineering - all from different universities. When he retired he set up his own law practice in Atlanta. Jones continued his involvement in golf after retiring. He made instructional films and contributed articles to golf magazines. He designed Augusta National and created the US Masters Championship in collaboration. However Jones cites playing the old course St Andrews as his most rewarding golfing experience. In recognition of

Jones won everything in golf and then he won it again. His career was short yet hugely successful. No one has achieved so much in such a short career. On that basis, he can be considered the greatest golfer ever. In addition, he competed only as an amateur and therefore demonstrated an unadulterated love for the game. Even today he sets the standard by which the greats are judged. Bobby Jones was among the first class of inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.


Reflecting cosmic polarity Breathing can be used to find a balance between the body and mind t is thought by many cultures that the process of breathing is the essence of being. A rhythmic process of expansion and contraction, breathing is one example of the polarity that we see in nature such as night and day, wake and sleep, seasonal growth and decay and ultimately life and death. In yoga, the breath is known as prana or a universal energy that can be used to find a balance between the body-mind, the consciousunconscious, and the sympatheticparasympathetic nervous system. Unlike other bodily functions, the breath is easily used to communicate between these systems, which gives us an excellent tool to help facilitate positive change. It is the only bodily function that we do both voluntarily and involuntarily. We can consciously use breathing to influence the involuntary (sympathetic nervous system) that regulates blood pressure, heart rate, circulation, digestion and many other bodily functions. Pranayama is a yoga practice that literally means the control of life or energy. It uses breathing techniques to change subtle energies within the body for health and well being. Breathing exercises can act as a bridge into those functions of the body of which we generally do not have conscious control.

Relieving stress During times of emotional stress our sympathetic nervous system is stimulated and effects a number of physical responses. Our heart rate rises, we perspire, our muscles get tense and our breathing becomes rapid and shallow. If this process happens over a long period of time, the nervous system becomes over stimulated leading to an imbalance that can effect our physical health resulting in inflammation, high blood pressure and muscle pain to name a few. Con-

sciously slowing our heart rate, decreasing perspiration and relaxing muscles is more difficult than simply slowing and deepening breathing. The breath can be used to directly influence these stressful changes causing a direct stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system resulting in relaxation and a reversal of the changes seen with the stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. We can see how our bodies do this naturally when we take a deep breath or sigh when a stress is relieved.

Breathing process can be trained Breathing can be trained for both positive and negative influences on health. Chronic stress can lead to a restriction of the connective and muscular tissue in the chest resulting in a decreased range of motions of the chest wall. Due to rapid shallow breathing, the chest does not expand as much as it would with slower deeper breaths and much of the air exchange occurs at the top of the lung tissue. This results in “chest� breathing. You can see if you are a chest breather by placing your right hand on your chest and your left hand on your abdomen. As you breathe, see which hand rises more. If your right hand rises more, you are a chest breather. If your left hand rises more, you are an abdomen breather.


December 2009



Second monthly draw of Bank Sohar held A lucky Bank Sohar customer and her family are celebrating after they became 100,000 rials richer by winning the second monthly big prize draw in the highly successful Al Mumayaz Savings Scheme Promotion. The winning customer was selected by His Excellency Shaikh Ahmed bin Salah bin Saud Al Mawali, the Wali of Suwaiq, following the official opening of Bank Sohar’s newest branch in Oman at Suwaiq in the presence of the bank’s Chief Executive Officer Dr Mohamed Abdulaziz Kalmoor, dignitaries and senior management.

Muscat Hills reopens championship golf course

The Muscat Hills Golf and Country Club has announced that the golf course will reopen to the public from the beginning of this month. In September, Muscat Hills first announced the temporary closure, from the second week of October, following a record breaking start to golf at the course that exceeded all expectations. Since opening in May, the course attracted thousands of golfers drawn to grass course play for the very first time in Oman. Also new to golf in Oman were the Yamaha golf carts with GPS technology. 104

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BankMuscat Corporate Communications wins award The powerful brand equity of BankMuscat, the leading financial services provider in the Sultanate, has won a rare distinction among the world’s best brands. The top honour was bestowed on BankMuscat during the recent World Brand Congress 2009 in Mumbai, attended by over 500 of the world’s branding and marketing elite. BankMuscat Corporate Communications was chosen for the prestigious Brand Leadership Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to building a successful global brand. The Brand Leadership Award winners included leading global brands such as IBM, Intel, Coca Cola, Motorola, Deloitte, TBWA and Nedbank. Mohammed Mubarak Al Hassani said: “BankMuscat Corporate Communications is honoured to receive this award which could not have been possible without the support from BankMuscat management which encourages the staff to excel in their respective fields.”

BankDhofar relaunches website with e-banking BankDhofar re-launched its website that will enable customers to navigate and access its newly launched e-banking services with ease. With the availability of advanced technology, banking has now become more convenient; customers can bank at anytime from anywhere. BankDhofar Online banking services will cater to retail as well as corporate customers in English and Arabic. “Till now most banks provide online banking in English only, BankDhofar has extended its online banking services in Arabic to cater better to those who prefer banking in Arabic,” said Zaid Abdullatif, Manager e-banking. With BankDhofar Online, retail customers will be able to access all their accounts, loans, deposits and credit cards; and also check past transactions for any 12 month period.

Yatch show all set for grand opening Abu Dhabi Yacht Show (ADYS), the Middle East’s premier luxury yacht show is all set for a spectacular show in its second edition. ADYS brings together industry heavyweights and yachting aficionados at an event created to open up the hitherto unexplored market for superyachts in one of the world’s wealthiest regions, and take advantage of the enormous regional investment in leisure marine infrastructure. Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nayhan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the show will exclusively feature superyachts and megayachts – sailing and motor yachts over 25 metres in length.

OER Signature is the Media Partner for this event.

OIFC adopts new directions in customer orientation Ever since its incorporation nearly 30 years ago, OIFC, the leading utility billing and debt factoring company, has been providing a host of utility-oriented services to customers all over Oman. With a network of 45 branches and a force of nearly 700 staff, OIFC is keeping pace with the needs of and growing homes and commercial infrastructure. OIFC has in place a sophisticated IT infrastructure that provides customers the facility to track dues, get duplicates where necessary, and pay anywhere in Oman. All this has entailed a continuing look at customer services, and OIFC has refurbished its staff training programmes many times over. The present effort is to infuse a new direction in customer orientation, and entails various levels of OIFC staff going through structured training in various aspects like IT and computer literacy and financial management. Nominees have also been identified for programmes in Eng-

lish proficiency and leadership. Over the last few days, OIFC has entered into training arrangements with the three leading training institutes in the Sultanate – National Training Institute, Infoline and Al Muheet Adminstrative Institute.

Canon, Genetco host ‘Alwan Oman’ The world leader in digital imaging and business solutions, Canon, along with Genetco, Canon’s Business Solutions Partner in Oman has announced the launch of its new additions to the imagepress series at its road show in Oman. The new range was showcased as part of the ‘Alwan Oman’ event at the Crown Plaza Hotel, Muscat. The event showcased a range of Canon Products, which will offer production print customers further reason to invest in digital technology to increase the breadth, attractiveness and profitability of their product offerings. Canon Middle East also showcased its

imagerunner range and various innovative document information management solutions at Alwan Oman.

Nawras awarded superbrand status Nawras was awarded ‘Superbrand Status’ following a closely guarded, rigorous selection process carried out by Oman Superbrands Council. The award is to be presented during the Superbrands Tribute event scheduled to take place soon. This prestigious title follows on from Nawras previously being named as best telecom brand in Oman. Nawras customers can once again be proud to see their choice of mobile services provider being critically evaluated and awarded top honours from an impressive third party. The prestigious Superbrands programme is constantly expanding and currently running in a total of 84 countries.


commandments for business failure Reading a book by the CEO of Coca Cola, one gets an inkling on how to avoid the pitfalls in decision making, says Ganesh Sundararaman


et me begin by saying that this is a mustread for any business head who thinks he knows all! Donald R Keough has a fascinating style of narration. The opening pages establish that for sure. As he takes us through the beginnings of the thought behind the entire book, Keough’s style is so simple and pleasantly narrative, that one begins to get a bit impatient about what business thoughts he’s going to talk about in the coming chapters. That his entire illustrative is based on his experiences as the president of the Coca Cola Company is immaterial. That he has drawn upon every bit he learnt from mistakes he might have made at Coke is.

The ten commandments for business failure Author: Donald R. Keough

His father had the guts to say “I won’t quit”. He made it as one of the most respected cattle traders of his time. But it’s interesting that Keough learnt so much from his father, just spending his spare time with him. If that demonstrates the learning processes that Keough went through, then his tenure as the president of Coke brings even the today organisations to a platform that might have been scoffed at by some gurus in the enterprise business. It would be unfair to any prospective reader of this highly interesting nar-

The publication featured in Browsing Corner is provided by Turtle’s Bookstore


December 2009

rative for any reviewer to go through each of the ten commandments. To appreciate how business leaders could place their egos above the organisation is amply evident in each of the chapters. Unless one goes through each circumstance as Keough aptly describes them, it would not be possible to appreciate the difference between those who work with contemporary business decision making methods, and the ones who work with fire in their belly. Taking the correct decision when opportunity strikes, the aftermath of a CEO’s stubbornness about his hunches, it’s all brought out in many of the commandments. In many chapters, Keough is having a merry bash at a lot of contemporary thinking. But the aspects that come out at the end as sure winners in the decision making game are those that relate to calculated risks, bringing the team together and ‘listen to a lot of approaches before you insist on your own.’ The end is intriguing. Keough signs off about great companies and smart people – “No matter what happens, they are never mired up in failure. They fall but always find ways to pick themselves up and move on…” How deliciously realistic and human can the boss get!

Cut out this coupon from OER and present it at Turtle’s Bookshop to claim 10% discount on the book featured in the December 2009 issue, or 5% discount on all other books* (except the Airport outlet). *This coupon cannot be combined with any other in-store promotions. Offer valid until February 28, 2010. Free one hour parking on purchases of RO5 or more.

BEYOND BOARDROOMS ukesh Luthra, the Chairman, of VLCC Health Care Limited, has always been working with and for women, infact he started his career in fashion buying products for many major labels, namely JC Penny and Macy’s, from India and elsewhere in Asia. “I used to live in the US and my employers felt that since I knew India and other Asian countries well I would do a better job. Whatever a fashion designer used to design, I would get that manufactured in Asia have them exported to the labels I worked for,” says Luthra. Vandana Luthra, his wife, started VLCC in 1989 and by 2000 she had seven centres up and running. The business gained traction and turned the business into a successful delivery process brand. Luthra joined her in 2000 and soon developed a business model with her. Together they started to wrap up between 35 to 40 centres per year and eventually had 245 centres in 75 cities in India and 13 in the Middle East. “We chose the Middle East because it has a high impact of diabetes and obesity and we believe that we could actually make a difference here,” says Luthra. “Our second centre in Oman opened recently and our second centre in Bahrain will open soon followed by Qatar, Kuwait and finally Saudi Arabia. By 2011 we plan to move into Egypt, Africa and North America,” he added.

Spreading its wings He setup the VLCC institute of Health and Beauty in 2000 with their own systems and a large R&D which created the syllabus. VLCC now has 51 institutes in 40 cities in India and their first international institute will be opening right here in Oman before the end of 2009. Due to the nature of his position, Luthra is always on the move travelling from one area to another which can be very stressful. He de-stresses by involving himself in physical activities such as playing cricket. He also enjoys watching cricket and comedy movies. 108

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Favourite music: Old Hindi songs with beautiful lyrics. Favourite books: Books on nutrition and healthcare Dream destination: Greece Favourite movies: Comedy movies Favourite food: French cuisine

Living Healthy

We caught up with Mukesh Luthra for a chat when he came down to Oman for the launch of the second VLCC centre. Malcolm Xavier Crasta reports Old Hindi songs with meaningful lyrics namely by Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh are his other abiding favourites. When asked about what would be his ideal day, he quipped “Lazing around, reading newspapers and magazines and seeing what is happening around the world.” Being a father of two daughters he keeps telling himself, “Daughters are daughters all their life and sons are sons only till they get a wife. So I be-

lieve that they will always be there for me and so I am pleased. And being a husband of a successful lady in business also feels good,” quite easily turning around the cliché, “behind every successful man is a woman.” Unfortunately, for a man who can’t live without work, all the travelling also prevents him from seeing his family often so he cherishes every minute spent with them. His last words – Eat well, be healthy and enjoy a long and happy life.

Oer - December 09  

Oer - December 09