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BURAIMI FIRE CLAIMS 6 LIVES

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THURSDAY | FEBRUARY 12, 2015 | RABEE AL THANI 22, 1436 AH
P19 ’’Ž‡ǡϐ‹”•–ϐ‹”™‹–Š…ƒ’‹–ƒŽ‹•ƒ–‹‘‘ˆ‘˜‡”̈́͹ͲͲ„
VOL. 34 NO. 90 | PAGES 32 | BAISAS 200
P31 ‡ƒ”‘ˆ‹••‹‰‘—–†”‹˜‡•‡–ƒ††‹…–‹‘‹ƒ’ƒ
P28 ‡‡™‘†‡”‘Šƒ’’›–‘„‡ƒǮ‹…‘ǯƒ–ͳ͹
Chief Executive Officer
DR IBRAHIM BIN AHMED AL KINDI
Editor-in-Chief
ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI
A 2-PAGE SPECIAL FOCUS ON ICC WORLD CUP
CRICKET FROM TODAY. SEE PAGES 25 AND 26
Oman Establishment for Press, Publication and Advertising
PO Box 974, Postal Code 100, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman
www.omanobserver.om
FOLLOW US ON:
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OMAN
VISION 2040
80.55 per cent
success rate in GED
National
priorities basis
for future
planning
MUSCAT: Dr Madeeha bint Ahmed al
Shaibaniyah, Minister of Education,
has approved the first term results of
the General Education Diploma (GED)
for the academic year 2014-2015 with
80.55 per cent success rate. A total of
451 cases of violations in the general
examination system have been reported
and the culprits were punished. The
results will be available from Friday from
8 pm through sending SMS including
seat number to 90200 for Omantel or
Ooredoo. Results will be also available
later on Oman Educational Portal.
INDUSTRIAL FIRES
Q LACK of safety awareness a major cause
in industrial fires.
Q IMPROPER storage of chemicals and
raw materials.
Q CARELESSNESS and lack of
professionalism among technicians.
Q CARE should be taken to install fire
ASIA
alarm systems
North Korea warns
South again
SEOUL: North Korea stepped up its
rhetoric against the South yesterday,
warning that its neighbour would face
a “most miserable end” if it joined the
United States in “a war of aggression”
against Pyongyang. The threat from the
North follows a series of North Korean
missile tests, reflecting escalating
military tensions on the divided
peninsula ahead of large-scale US-South
Korea military drills next month.
REPORT ON P6
REGION
Over 300 drowned
in boat tragedy
ROME: More than 300 migrants are
feared drowned after their overcrowded
dinghies sank in the Mediterranean,
triggering calls for the world to act after
the latest boat disaster on the perilous
crossing from Africa to Europe. The
victims were mainly from sub-Saharan
Africa who had left the coast of Libya at
the weekend in four small boats, the UN
refugee agency said. A total 29 Africans
believed to have sailed in the same fleet
perished from exposure as they tried to
reach Italy in rough seas.
REPORT ON P14
INSIDESTORIES
P7
MYANMAR CONSTITUTION
REFERENDUM THIS YEAR
P8
A GLIMMER OF JOY
IN CAPTIVITY!
P14
CONCORDIA CAPTAIN
PLEADS FOR MERCY
WEATHER TODAY
MUSCAT
MAX: 260C
MIN: 210C
SALALAH
MAX: 270C
MIN: 190C
SUNRISE 06.40 AM
PRAYER TIMINGS
FAJR: 05:22
DHUHR: 12:20
ASR: 15:35
MAGHRIB: 18:00
ISHA: 19:30
NIZWA
MAX: 310C
MIN: 130C
ALARMING RATE: One fire accident every 20 minutes in the Sultanate
BURAIMI FIRE CLAIMS 6 LIVES
STAFF REPORTER
MUSCAT
Feb. 11: Three fires were reported
every hour in Oman, and one every 20
minutes, according to the data provided
by National Centre for Statistics and
Information. The statistics reveal that in
2013, the number of fire accidents in the
country stood at 4,431 compared to the
2012 figure of 3,768.
Around 31.4 per cent of the fire
mishaps in 2013 happened in Al Batinah
Governorate.
In a major fire-related incident,
a plastic recycling plant was gutted
yesterday in Buraimi, which also
resulted in the loss of six lives, all Asians
who were completely charred to death.
The accident which also affected a
couple of nearby units took place in the
wee hours yesterday at 4.30 am. The
victims were reportedly sleeping inside
the plant.
According to a statement released by
the Public Authority for Civil Defence
and Ambulance (PACDA), the cause or
reasons behind the incident is still being
investigated.
The blaze which is believed to have
Six-fold rise in oil output
STAFF REPORTER
MUSCAT
caused an estimated RO 200,000 in
damage has completely gutted the plastic
recycling plant and spread to engulf
adjacent woodwork factories. There are
so far confirmed 6 fatalities of Asian
nationalities, said Lieutenant Colonel
Saif bin Khalfan al Zaidi, Director of
Civil Defence and Ambulance at Al
Buraimi Governorate.
TURN TO P5
Pipeline works
from today
KABEER YOUSUF
Feb. 11: Oil production at Petroleum
Development Oman’s (PDO) Nimr
oil field has increased six-fold from
2,800 barrels per day (bpd) in 2010
to 17,600 bpd in 2014, thanks to a
leading water-injection project.
This quantum leap in oil output
at the Nimr oilfield means that
43 million oil barrels from the
additional oil reserves can be
produced during the project’s
lifespan.
PDO Managing Director Raoul
Restucci said: “This is a good
example of how to create value and
it indicates to what can be achieved
through collective work, creative
thinking and efficient planning and
the application of excellent methods
in the management of oil wells
MUSCAT
Oil production at Nimr oil field hits 17,600 bpd.
and reservoirs.” The Nimr oil field
has achieved millions of dollars in
revenues through the reactivation of
an oil filed, the production of which
has dropped, by effectively applying
risk management methods.
The jump in production has
resulted from injecting huge
amounts of water to extract high-
Ukraine peace summit
starts in Belarus capital
MINSK:
Russian
President
Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian
President
Petro
Poroshenko
yesterday briefly shook hands at
the start of crunch peace talks in
Minsk, in footage shown live on
Russian state television.
The two leaders exchanged
a very brief handshake after
Poroshenko came up to Putin
without smiling, following the
start of the talks which also
include French President Francois
Hollande and German Chancellor
Angela Merkel.
Poroshenko and Putin sat down
for crunch talks with Merkel and
Hollande, Ukrainian government
spokesman Syatoslav Tsegolko said.
The talks hope to reach an
agreement on ending the conflict
in east Ukraine, which the West
and Ukraine accuse Putin of
masterminding and in which over
5,300 people have been killed.
The summit is being held in
neighbouring Belarus under a
Franco-German proposal to try to
halt the fighting.
Hopes for a breakthrough
appear slim and would depend
on Ukraine making most of the
concessions, with advancing rebels
unlikely to agree to halt and go
back to previous positions.
REPORT ON P12
viscosity oil.
On the other hand the
$600-million project has enabled 15
other oil fields at Nimr south of the
concession area to reopen oil wells
because the use of water which is
produced as a byproduct along with
oil has reduced the pressure in the
main production station.
Feb. 11: The Public Authority for
Electricity and Water (PAEW) has urged
both citizens and residents to use water
reasonably and to rationalise consumption
especially when almost a dozen areas in
the Governorate of Muscat will run short
of water from today till Saturday.
Supply will be affected as the authority is
implementing new pipelines of 1,600 mm
in various wilayats of Muscat to provide
better services to its customers and to
achieve clean drinking water distribution
to 98 per cent of the population by 2040.
The authority has earlier announced
that during pipeline works, water supply
will be stopped for three days starting from
today till Saturday
TURN TO P5
A DRIVERLESS VEHICLE
A woman looks at a driverless vehicle known as a Lutz ‘Pathfinder’ Pod during a photocall in
central London. Britain launched the first official trials of driverless cars yesterday, but said it
could be some years before driverless cars are a feature on the roads.
REPORT ON P5
MUSCAT: The Main Committee
for Oman Vision 2040 yesterday
held its second meeting under the
chairmanship of His Highness Sayyid
Haitham bin Tareq al Said, Minister of
Heritage and Culture and Chairman of
Oman Vision 2040 Committee.
The meeting discussed a number of
topics including the tasks of the office
of Oman Vision 2040 in preparing the
future vision, drafting it according
to wide social consensus. The future
vision should include socio-economic
reality and forecast the future in an
objective way. This vision will serve as
a basic reference for planning during
the coming two decades.
The committee members also
discussed the procedures related
to preparing and organising a
conference on Oman Vision 2040 with
international participation during
the second half of the 9th Five-Year
Development Plan.
The committee also agreed that
future national priorities should be
identified to be the basic reference for
discussions with parties concerned
and basic guidelines and restraints
while drafting future strategies.
They also agreed to develop a plan
for community outreach and propose
a branding identity for Oman Vision
2040.
The committee also agreed
to develop a coordination plan
for strategic and sectoral plans at
different public organisations to
ensure that they are consistent with
Oman Vision 2040.
The committee reviewed the report
related to assessing the existing Vision
2020, as well as the report on the
Sultanate’s experience in economic
diversification.
PHOTO ON P2
Deal signed
for light
ammunition
factory
MUSCAT: Mohammed bin Nasser
al Rasbi, Secretary-General of the
Ministry of Defence, Chairman of
the Board of Directors of Oman
Ammunition Production Company,
yesterday signed a contract with
Chaitanya
Khimji,
Managing
Director of Al Turki Enterprises, for
construction of light ammunition
factory which will be set up in the
Wilayat of Samayil.
The contract includes construction
of the main building, the factory and
various warehouses, which have been
designed as per world-class technical
standards and vocational HSE
requirements.
Oman Ammunition Production
Company was established in 2011 as
a joint stock company promoted by
the pension funds of the military and
security systems in response to Royal
orders of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos,
the Supreme Commander of the
Armed Forces.
The project, the first of its kind
in the Sultanate, will be one of the
strategic projects for supply of light
ammunitions for military and security
accessories. — ONA
PHOTO ON P3
2
OMAN OIL PRICE DECLINES 30 CENTS
T H U R S DAY l F E B R U A R Y 1 2 l 2 0 1 5
OMAN
Researcher offers
solution to ensure
fair bandwidth use
KAUSHALENDRA SINGH
SALALAH
Feb. 11: An Omani researcher has come
up with a solution for re-allocation of the
unutilised bandwidth to be used fairly
by all as well as performance model
for macro/micro cells network which
supports fast and slow mobility users. As
the cellular technology is becoming one
of the fastest growing forms of mobile
communications, Dr Zaid Zabanoot,
Dean, Salalah College of Applied
Sciences, has thrown ample light on
wireless network through his research
on ‘Resource management schemes in
wireless networks’.
Dr Zabanoot has done extensive
research on the topic to find that “the
bounds of an existing communication
network infrastructure have been
extended by cellular technology via
connecting mobile units to public
networks operated by the local exchange
or long distance carriers, in order to make
special features and functions specific
to both cellular and public networks
available to all users.” Global standards,
according to him, have been developed to
provide voice and data services anytime
and anywhere regardless of user mobility,
while satisfying their diverse quality of
service requirements.
Commenting on the motivation
behind doing the research and compiling
it into a book, Dr Zabanoot said:
“wireless network communication
systems have been experiencing a
dramatic and continuous growth in the
number of subscribers, thus placing
extra demands on system capacity. The
area has tremendous scope for research,
as something new is happening on daily
basis in the field.”
Oman’s IT standards, according to
Dr Zabanoot, are quite satisfactory. Still
he calls for more and more research
in the field to keep pace with global
developments. Offering solution to radio
co channel interference, Dr Zabanoot
says, “To avoid radio co channel
interference, the group or channels
assigned to one cell must be different
from the group of channels assigned to
its neighbouring cells.
However, the same group of channels
can be assigned to the two cells that are
far enough apart such that the radio cochannel interference between them is
within a tolerable limit.”
Dr Zabanoot outlines the objectives of
the research as “Developing an analytical
model for priority handover mechanisms
and optimise the number of channels
assigned to handover calls, with the aim
of minimising the drop probability under
given network scenarios.”
Wireless network
communication
systems have been
experiencing a
dramatic and continuous
growth in the number of
subscribers. The area has
tremendous scope for
research, as something new is
happening on daily basis
DR ZAID ZABANOOT
Dean, Salalah College of Applied Sciences
MSM GAINS 23.41 POINTS
Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME) said
that Oman oil price (April delivery) has
reached $55.59. The DME said that the
price of Oman oil declined 30 cents
from the price of Tuesday, which was
$55.89. The average price of Oman
oil (February Delivery 2015) has
stabilised at $61 and one cent, thus
$17.23 per barrel lower than January
delivery 2015.
Muscat Securities Market (MSM) general
index on Wednesday added 23.41 points,
comprising a rise by 0.35 per cent to close
at 6,655.21 points. The trading value stood
at RO 6.65 million, comprising a decline
by 19.64 per cent compared to the last
session, which stood at (RO 8.28 million).
The report released by MSM pointed out
that the market value rose by 0.35 per cent
to reach about RO 15.99 billion.
VISION 2040
IN BRIEF
Sultan Qaboos
award committee
meeting
Oman Vision 2040 Committee on Wednesday held its second meeting presided by His Highness Sayyid Haitham bin Tareq al
Said, Minister of Heritage and Culture and Chairman of Oman Vision 2040 Committee.
— ONA
3 drugs dealers arrested
CRIME: 3 people held for stealing valuables from cars in Salalah
MUSCAT: The department of
inquiries and criminal investigation
at Al Seeb police station arrested three
people aged between 25 and 27 years
on charges of robbery and impersonating
a police officer at Al Hail South district
in the Wilayat of Al Seeb, a Royal Oman
Police (ROP) official said.
In one case, the defendants posted
as police officers and assaulted 4 Asian
nationals and robbed them of cash. The
first accused was arrested and admitted
to committing 4 other robbery and
identity theft crimes.
The second accused was held from
his Al Khoudh house and the third one
was arrested in Al Khuwair.
All the defendants have criminal
records and they were convicted of
similar crimes.
They were remanded to custody
for investigation and the crime file has
been referred to the Public Prosecution
Department, the police official said.
The directorate of inquiries and
criminal investigation at the police
headquarters in Dhofar Governorate
arrested 3 Omani citizens for stealing
valuables from cars in Salalah, a Royal
Oman Police (ROP) official said.
The Al Saada police station in Salalah
has received several reports of stealing
valuable items from parked vehicles
after breaking the glass.
When interrogated the criminals
admitted to committing the crimes. The
Directorate for Combating Drugs and
Psychotropic Substances at the police
headquarters
in
Musandam
Governorate arrested 3 Omani citizens
on charges of drug possession and
trafficking, a Royal Oman Police (ROP)
official said.
The suspects were held at the Khasab
Port while delivering drugs and police
seized 41,680 psychotropic tablets, 1 kg
of hashish and two plastic bags filled
with heroin.
State Council Social Committee meets
MUSCAT: The Social Committee
at the State Council yesterday held
a meeting of the 4th annual sitting
of the 5th term under the chair of
honourable Dr Shaikha bint Salim al
Mesalmiyah, Head of the Committee.
The Committee hosted Najib bin Ali
al Rowas, Under-Secretary of the
Ministry of Environment and Climate
Affairs and Eng Ahmed bin Zahir al
Nabhani, Acting Assistant DirectorGeneral of Environmental Affairs.
The meeting reviewed the efforts
made by the Ministry of Environment
and
Climate
Affairs
towards
wastewater and protection of water
from pollution.
—ONA
MUSCAT: Sultan Qaboos Voluntary
Work Award Main Committee on
Wednesday held its first meeting
of the year at the Ministry of Social
Development HQs in Madinat Sultan
Qaboos under the chair of Shaikh
Mohammed bin Said al Kalbani,
Minister of Social Development and
Chairman of the Main Committee
for the Award.
The meeting discussed the
fourth version of the award and the
regional directorates celebrations
of the Voluntary Day which falls
on December 5th each year. The
meeting also discussed the minister’s
reception of the GCC humanitarian
work award at the celebration that
was held in Manama in recognition
of the Sultan Qaboos Voluntary
Work Award humanitarian role.
Oman in Eyes of
Photographers
opens today
MUSCAT:
Muscat
Festival
Competition
for
Photography
themed Oman in Eyes of
Photographers will be opened on
Thursday at the Photographic Society
of Oman, affiliated to the Sultan
Qaboos Higher Centre for Culture
and Science under the patronage of
Mohammed bin al Zubair, Adviser to
His Majesty the Sultan for Economic
Planning Affairs. The competition is
organised by the Cultural Committee
of Muscat Festival 2015, in
collaboration with the Photographic
Society of Oman with participation
of 60 photographers. During the
exhibition, award winners in the
competition will be announced and
honoured. The competition includes
pictures from Oman depicting the
natural, heritage, human and civilised
landmarks in the Sultanate. —ONA
TRAFFIC AWARENESS
Musannah air base organised an event to raise traffic
awareness on Wednesday.
— ONA
Qualifying camel race
of HM Cup kicks off
BARKA: The qualifying race for the final race of His Majesty
the Sultan’s Camel Race Cup kicked off at the race track in Al
Fulaij in the Wilayat of Barka on Wednesday.
The race is being organised by the Royal Court Affairs
(RCA), represented by the Royal Camel Corps.
The race included 10 rounds as 5 rounds were allocated
for Al Haja’ej, 4 rounds for Al Laqaya and 1 round for long Al
Ardhah.
— ONA
OMAN
T H U R S DAY
FEBRUARY 12 l 2015
AMMUNITION FACTORY AT SAMAYIL
Mohammed bin Nasser al Rasbi (right), Secretary-General of the Ministry of Defence, Chairman of the Board of Directors of
Oman Ammunition Production Company on Wednesday signed a contract with Chaitanya Khimji, Managing Director of Al
Turki Enterprises, for the construction works of the light ammunition factory that will be set up in Samayil.
— ONA
NBC inks agreements
to incubate 3 companies
established in 2013 by a group of
ambitious young entrepreneurs who
wanted to become a part of technical
revolution in the world.
The owners of the company decided
to take advantage of their specialties
and their passion and dedicate all
these energies in building a company
that specialises in mobile applications
development as well as websites
development, graphic designing, and
video and photography services.
Bouzganda aims at providing a
premium quality services using the
best of modern technologies available
through a qualified crew scientifically
and practically while maintaining
the highest level of security and
confidentiality of the solutions.
Village Food, represents an Omani
brand with a new concept of simplicity
in serving Italian food and a diverse
palate of tempting burgers, and fresh,
healthy and flavorful drinks.
The National Business Centre
will play a vital role in counselling
and guiding the three companies,
providing intensive training, coaching
and mentoring with the aspiration of
building entrepreneurial skills through
a cutting-edge environment that allows
entrepreneurs to flourish, network,
form partnerships, and have access to
business mentors.
NBC is an initiative launched
by the Public Establishment for
Industrial Estates (PEIE) at the
Knowledge Oasis Muscat (KOM) to
offer promising Omani entrepreneurs
a platform to develop their business
ideas and advance them into growing
ventures.
— ONA
Saudi General visits NDC, CSC
General Abdulrahman bin Saleh al Bunyan (left) with Major General Salim bin Musallam bin
Ali Qatan, NDC Commandant. — ONA
MUSCAT: General Abdulrahman bin Saleh
al Bunyan, Chief of the General Staff of
Saudi Arabia and his accompanying military
delegation visited the National Defence College
(NDC) on Wednesday.
Major Gen Salim bin Musallam bin Ali Qatan,
NDC Commandant and a number of officers
from the NDC Guidance Authority, welcomed
the guest and his accompanying delegation at
the college at Mu’askar Bait Al Falaj.
The visitors were briefed on the NDC,
its facilities and modern equipment that
contribute in achieving the NDC’s vision in
preparing national leadership cadres.
The guest and his accompanying delegation
viewed the NDC’s various halls that are
3
Tourism minister meets SME owners
MUSCAT: Ahmed bin Nasser al Mehrzi,
Minister of Tourism on Wednesday
met with a number of tourism SMEs
owners to discuss the challenges facing
them. During the meeting, which was
attended by a number of officials at the
ministry, the participants stressed the
importance of supporting the growth of
these enterprises.
The meeting came out with a number
MUSCAT: In line with its efforts to
present a premier platform to support
and develop Omani entrepreneurs,
the National Business Centre (NBC)
signed on Wednesday incubation
agreements with Classical Company
LLC, Bouzganda IT Solutions, and
Village Food.
Classical Company LLC specialises
in providing customised support and
services to all kinds of businesses in
Oman. Classical helps clients to plan
their business, choose suitable local
support
company,
incorporate
meetings, organise site visits, and select
a wide range of service providers in
Oman.
The company has a network of
products and services that can help
running and developing the business.
Bouzganda IT Solutions was
omandailyobserver
designed according to the latest specifications
and provided with the best educational
systems and multi-purpose electronic
networks. General al Bunyan also visited the
Command and Staff College (CSC).
Air Commodore Nasser bin Hamdoun al
Harthi, CSC Commandant and a number of
officers at the CSC Guidance Authority received
the guest.
The Saudi guest was briefed on the CSC, its
general curricula in rehabilitation and training,
its halls and classrooms that are provided with
modern information technologies.
The visit also included a tour to the
college’s various halls, classrooms and
scientific facilities. — ONA
of proposals and initiatives that help
tourism SMEs to grow and develop.
These proposals and initiatives,
which will be implemented in
coordination with respective agencies,
include considering the formation of
a committee of the respective agencies
involved in tourism sector to address
the challenges facing them.
The meeting follows a meeting
between the minister of tourism and
tourism SMEs owners at Saih Al
Shamikhat Decision Implementation
Assessment Symposium, which was held
recently at Sultan Qaboos University
(SQU). The Ministry coordinated
with the Public Authority for SMEs
Development and other organisations
to support and rehabilitate tourism
entrepreneurs in the Sultanate. — ONA
4
OMAN
omandailyobserver
T H U R S DAY
FEBRUARY 12 l 2015
KOM intersection cries Sultanate bags 2 awards for
for signal, speed radar e-government mobile apps
ACCIDENT SPOT: Rush hour traffic, speeding reason for mishaps
UDAYA SABARISH
MUSCAT
Feb 11: Lack of a traffic signal near
Knowledge Oasis Muscat intersection,
is leading to accidents claiming lives and
injuring many people.
With the growing number of vehicles
and the fast development of this area,
traffic congestion and delay have
become a common sight.
In 2009, tragic accidents in these
roads have claimed a number of
students’ lives and the plan for a traffic
signal would minimise these mishaps.
“Due to the higher rates of accidents
and traffic blocks, we can see policemen
on duty in the mornings,” a motorist
says.
Even if this move has reduced rash
drives and incursions, accidents still
take place.
Lack of speed radars on the main
road adjacent to this, usually lure the
drivers to zip at 150-170 km.
Speed breakers are not found
effective in this area.
There would also be few who are
unaware of the unexpected crossings
from KOM area, as, this road otherwise
would look totally deserted.
Thereby, both the exits from KOM
and SQU are found risky.
Besides speeding, the area faces
heavy traffic in the working days.
Speed breakers are not found effective near Knowledge Oasis Muscat intersection
Road leading to KOM from this
intersection is congested during rush
hours.
In the KOM campus itself, there two
big colleges and a few other offices and
there is only single road of entry and
exit.
Recently, few sub roads are also
coming up and more traffic is expected.
“Day by day, accidents do occur.
If some are minor others are major,” a
woman motorist, says.
Quoting a top official in ROP, media
had reported that in 2013, more than
600 drivers were caught by speed radars
for driving between speeds of 175
kilometres per hour (kmph) and 195
kmph in the Sultanate.
In 2014, 816 people died and 4,143
were injured in 5,768 road accidents
compared to 913 deaths and 10,802
injuries in 7,829 road accidents in 2013
in Oman.
According to the National Centre for
Information and Statistics (NCSI), the
number of those who suffered injuries
in road accidents has significantly
decreased by 61.6 per cent in 2014.
Steps initiated by Royal Oman Police
(ROP) like that of installing speed
radars, has played a significant role in
this.
Fresh Tanzanian goat meat
now available in Sultanate
ALI AHMED AL RIYAMI
MUSCAT
Feb. 11: Fresh Tanzanian meat is now
available at butcher shops and select retail
outlets in Oman. Adil bin Salim al Fairuz,
Chairman of the Al Fairuz Group, which
imports the meat through its group firm, in
a recent interview with the Observer, spoke
about their latest venture, where they will
be overseeing every aspect of the supply
chain — from the cattle farms, slaughter
house and processing plant in Tanzania,
to its air shipment here and finally on to
butchers and retail outlets — so as to ensure
the quality and freshness of the products.
He said, “We are the first company in
Oman to import and supply fresh meat
from Tanzania in large quantities and, as
we propose, on a regular basis...Oman has
a special relationship with East Africa,
especially with Zanzibar and Tanzania, which
has carried on from a very long time ago. This
is why we enjoy a similar cuisine culture and
this is why Tanzanian food is liked by Omanis
DUBAI: The Sultanate won two awards
for best e-government mobile services
during third e-Government Summit
which was held in Dubai. The event saw
more than 3,000 participants from 87
countries.
Information Technology Authority
(ITA ) received the best e-government
mobile services in social affairs category
for the donation portal for charitable
organisation applications. The Public
Authority for Consumer Protection
received the best e-government mobile
service in economy and trade category
for the smart phone guide application.
The donations for charitable
organisation application is one of the
leading projects promoted by ITA and
supported by the Ministry of Social
Development.
The portal is the first of its kind
e-portal
that
allows
donations
through bank cards. The number of
e-transactions processed by this portal
since its launch in 2008 till the end of
2014 stood at 43,942 worth of RO1.55
million. The consumer guide provides
excellent services for consumers by
following the prices and the quality of
certain products.
Consumers can also submit their
proposals and complains through this
guide.
— ONA
ARABIC SCHOLARS
GIFT OF ROOF
Ambassador to
Brunei meets
UNISSA president
here. “We also know that Tanzanian livestock
are fed and graze naturally, which is organic
style with all of the health benefits this entails.
We visited their big farms that have thousands
and thousands of livestock and talked to the
farmers who were in a position to maintain
a good supply at competitive prices...I hope
that this new venture will provide our Omani
brothers and fellow citizens good meat at a
good price.”
Commenting on the Halal aspect, he
pointed out, “It is 100 per cent halal. The
slaughter house is government owned but
totally under our management. So, from
the point of slaughter until it reaches our
customers in Oman, we guarantee, as the
owner of the Alkafeel Food Products, that
the animals are being slaughtered under the
provisions outlined in the Sharia (Islamic law)
and we have already obtained the approved
‘Halal certification’.
Deliveries have started in the Muscat and
Batinah regions, before expanding out to
other areas.
300 portable houses for the homeless Palestinian people in Gaza were completed and is ready for
shipment. — ONA
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: Shaikh
Ahmed bin Hashil al Maskari,
Sultanate’s ambassador to Brunei
Darussalam met with Dr.
Haji Norarfan Bin Haji Zainal,
President of the University Islam
Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA).
The meeting discussed the relations
between the Sultanate and Brunei
particularly in cultural and academic
fields. Shaikh alMaskari praised the
UNISSA and its role in disseminating
sciences of Arabic language, cultural
and Islamic studies in Brunei
Darussalam. UNISSA is due to benefit
from the grant provided by the Sultan
Qaboos College for teaching arabic to
non-native speakers.
The UNISSA President thanked
the Sultanate’s Embassy in Brunei for
providing funds for Arabic learning of
four students in the Sultanate for eight
weeks, starting from Thursday till 13,
April. He affirmed the university’s
keenness to enhance the academic
and cultural cooperation between
the university and its Omani
counterparts.
— ONA
20th Muscat International Book Fair to be held between February 25 and March 7
‘E-reading has complemented book sales’
KABEER YOUSUF
MUSCAT
Feb. 11: In the age of instant chats and
gizmos, reading habits among the
youth might have changed from hard
copy to online, but it has benefited
book sales, according to a leading
book distributor in the Sultnate.
“Children might be reading books
online and it could have been a blow
to the book sales. But sales of newer
titles as well as older ones is showing a
great surge in Oman”, Shauckath Ali,
MD of Al Bhaj Books, said.
Speaking after announcing their
participation at the 20th Muscat
International Book Fair (MIBF),
Ali said that many of the books in
different languages have run out of
stock as the demand is every high.
“We are sometimes not able to
cater to the needs of retailers as titles
are getting out of stock and that is
a clear indication that books are of
changed. E-reading helps boost the
sales because they are getting the
first glimpse of the title online, which
invoke a liking towards the same and
they end up buying”, he said.
The 20th Muscat International
Book Fair (MIBF) is scheduled
between February 25 and March 7,
at Oman International Exhibition
Centre in Seeb.
Acclaimed Malayalam writer K
R Meera has been chosen for this
year’s annual literary prize given
by Al Bhaj Books which consists of
Malayalam writer K R
Rs 25,000 (RO160 approx) and a
plaque, at a function to be held at the
Meera has been chosen
Al Massa Hall, Rex Road, Ruwi, on
for this year’s annual
February 28.
literary prize given by Al
Ravi DC, Chief Executive Officer
Bhaj which consists of Rs of DC Books, along with some other
dignitaries will attend the function.
25,000 and a plaque
She will also interact with the readers
great demand although there is a as part of the readers’ forum in Oman
talk that reading the medium has at 7pm in Foodland Restaurant on
February 27.
“It is an honour to have a literary
personality like K R Meera to be
present at our stall and interact with
visitors at Muscat International Book
Fair.
There will also be a ‘Meet The
Author’ programme at Al Bhaj Books
stall at the Exhibition Centre. Al
Bhaj Books strives to bridge the gap
between the present generation of
Keralites living in Oman and the rich
Indian literature,” said Shouckath Ali.
The previous winners of this
prestigious award are Benyamin and
M Mukundan, an ace writer in India
in the previous two years, respectively.
Award committee of the Oman
Literary Award comprised Shilin,
a reader, Shinoj Shamsudeen
(Chief Reporter, Media One
TV channel) and Kala Sidarthan
(Malayalam Department, Indian
School, Darsait).
T H U R S DAY
FEBRUARY 12 l 2015
OMAN/LATE NEWS
omandailyobserver
5
Buraimi fire claims six lives
3 die in
Suwaiq
mishap
FROM PAGE1
Earlier this week, it may be noted that five shops were gutted when a massive fire broke out in
one of the shops in Al Hail North.
According to PACDA, the building had housed a number of shops mostly car accessories
and decor shops. As many as three car accessories shops, a cafeteria and a restaurant were
reduced to ashes in the fire that broke out.
According to experts in the area of civil defence, lack of safety awareness is a major cause
in industrial fires in Oman. Improper storage of chemicals and raw materials has been among
the reasons for most fires in industrial areas.
An electrical expert told the Observer that careless and lack of professionalism among
technicians can lead to poorly connected electric wiring and connections that cause short
circuits. He also said that scientific guidelines are not followed when it comes to storage of
inflammable liquids.
He added that industrial units should take care to install fire alarm systems and guide the
staff on the importance of use emergency exits and fire extinguishers.
MUSCAT: Three people died when
the vehicle they were travelling
overturned in the Bidayah area in
Suwaiq on Wednesday. The accident
occurred when the driver of the heavy
truck lost the control, an official at the
Royal Oman Police said.
The official added that all three
victims were killed on the spot. Of
those, one is an Omani and two are
Asians.
On January 29, three people died
and 2 were injured when a taxi they
were travelling met with an accident
in Al Suwaiq. The driver’s mother,
wife and daughter died in the accident
while the man and his son were
injured
UK okays driverless cars testing
FUTURISTIC TRANSPORT: Officials say such vehicles would help boost road safety
LONDON: Britain gave the green light on
Wednesday for the testing of futuristic driverless
cars on public roads in a multi-million-pound
government scheme, with officials saying it would
help boost safety.
“We are launching officially four trials of semiautonomous vehicles, the first step on the route to
driverless technology,” Transport Minister Claire
Perry told AFP at the unveiling of a prototype
driverless car in Greenwich, southeast London.
“It’s very good for road safety. Right now 93 per
cent of accidents are caused by driver error. It also
has the opportunity to free up people’s time, to give
us extra time in our days. And the other opportunity
is to use the road capacity better.”
Under the project, the government has appointed
three consortia to develop four prototype driverless
vehicles. Greenwich is one of three driverless car
project centres funded by $28.9-million scheme.
The other projects are in Coventry and Milton
Keynes in central England, and in Bristol in the
southwest. Business Secretary Vince Cable said the
initiative would seek to ensure Britain is a world
leader in what was expected to be a £900-billion
industry by 2025.
“In order for this to work, there has to be public
acceptance, people to have complete confidence that
they’re safe and the regulation and the insurance
principles operates and so that is happening in
parallel with technological development,” Cable said.
—AFP A driverless vehicle known as a Meridian shuttle in central London on Wednesday.
— AFP
Pipeline works
from today
Tankers leave filling station in Ghubra
From P1
in areas including Al Khuwair (except Al Khuwair 25), Al
Qurum, MSQ, Hay al Sarooj, Madinat al Ilam, Ministries
and Embassies District, Watayyah, Wilayats of Bausher,
Muscat, Amerat and Muttrah.
“We advise people to take necessary precautionary
measures to avoid any water crisis during the three days
when regular water supply will be stopped and tankers are
kept in place to tackle this situation,” an official at the PAEW
told the Observer.
The PAEW has been implementing a number of water
projects that contribute to the upgrading of this vital sector
in the various governorates of the Sultanate in line with the
needs and plans of development taking place in the country.
“To achieve this vision, PAEW is constantly increasing water
production capacity in addition to raising the efficiency of
the existing water transmission pipelines,” he added.
The implementation of the current project includes
installing a new pipeline of diameter 1,600 mm to replace the
existing pipeline of diameter 600 mm, which was installed in
the seventies and has reported various cracks and leakages.
PAEW has also requested all citizens and residents in the
aforesaid areas to store sufficient water before February 12
for meeting the needs for the next 48 hours, in addition to
screening household connections to make sure that there is
no leakage of water.
6
FATAL TRAFFIC PILEUP
T H U R S DAY l F E B R U A R Y 1 2 l 2 0 1 5
FOR HAPPINESS AND PROSPERITY
Damaged vehicles are seen on Yeongjong
Bridge in Incheon. A traffic pileup
involving more than 100 vehicles on the
bridge on Wednesday killed at least two
people and injured more than 30 people,
according to local news reports. Incheon,
officially the Incheon Metropolitan City,
is a city located in northwestern South
Korea, bordering Seoul and Gyeonggi to
the east.
ASIA
US ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius,
his husband Clayton Bond and son
Tabo release three carps into the waters
at the banks of West Lake on Kitchen
God’s Day in Hanoi yesterday. According
to Vietnamese traditional customs,
Vietnamese people would release three
carps on the 23rd day of the last month of
the lunar calendar. — Reuters
N Korea warns South of ‘most miserable end’
SEOUL: North Korea stepped up
its rhetoric against the South on
Wednesday, warning that its neighbour
would face a “most miserable end” if it
joined the US in “a war of aggression”
against Pyongyang.
The threat follows a series of North
Korean missile tests, reflecting escalating
military tensions on the divided
peninsula ahead of large-scale US-South
Korea military drills next month.
“The South Korean authorities
will not be able to escape the most
miserable end if they persistently join
the US moves for a war of aggression,”
the North’s Committee for the
Peaceful Reunification of Korea said
in a statement published through state
media.
“If the South Korean warmongers
offer cannon fodder for a US war of
aggression against the DPRK (North
Korea), South Korea will also be the
target of our retaliatory strikes,” it said.
The North also has access to
“precision and diversified nuclear strike
means” designed to target the US in the
event of a war, the statement claimed.
On Sunday the North test-fired five
short-range missiles into the sea, the day
after it had trumpeted the test of a new
“ultra-precision” anti-ship cruise missile
under the watchful eye of leader Kim
Jong-Un.
Next month sees the launch of
annual joint exercises by the US and
South Korean military, which regularly
see North-South relations go into a
vertiginous tail-spin.
RHETORIC: Escalating missile tensions ahead of the military drills
South Korean army’s K-2 tanks fire during a live-fire drill in Yangpyeong, 60 km east of Seoul.
Pyongyang views the drills as
provocative rehearsals for invasion,
while Seoul and Washington insist they
are defensive in nature.
Last month, North Korea offered
to suspend any further nuclear tests if
this year’s joint exercises were cancelled
— a proposal the US State Department
described as a “non-starter”. North
Korea has conducted three nuclear tests
Xi says treasures friendship
with Vietnam, despite dispute
BEIJING: Chinese President Xi
Jinping on Wednesday told the head of
Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party he
treasured the two nations’ traditional
friendship, but disagreements needed
careful handling to ensure regional
stability amid an ugly dispute.
Communist parties rule both
countries and trade has swelled to $50
billion annually, but Vietnam has long
been suspicious of its giant neighbour,
especially over China’s increasingly
assertive claims to almost the entire
South China Sea.
Anti-Chinese violence flared in
Vietnam last year after a $1-billion
deepwater rig owned by China’s staterun CNOOC oil company was parked
240 km off the coast of Vietnam in the
South China Sea.
Since then, however, China has
sought to make amends with Vietnam,
including sending senior officials to
Hanoi.
“China’s party and government
have long set great store on China and
Vietnam’s traditional friendship, and..
are willing to promote the healthy
development of ties,” Xi told Nguyen
Phu Trong, General Secretary of
Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party,
China’s Foreign Ministry said.
Increasing mutual political trust,
deepening cooperation and resolving
disputes were in the interest of both
nations, and helped regional peace
and prosperity, Xi told Trong in his
telephone call.
Xi invited Trong to visit China
this year at his earliest convenience,
while Trong invited Xi to Vietnam, the
ministry added.
It made no mention of the South
China Sea.
China claims about 90 per cent of the
South China Sea, displaying its reach
on official maps with a so-called ninedash line that stretches deep into the
maritime heart of Southeast Asia.
The Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei
and Taiwan also have claims to parts of
the potentially energy-rich waters that
are crossed by key global shipping lanes.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama
— AFP
— most recently in February 2013 —
and its moratorium offer was seen in
Washington as an “implicit threat” to
carry out a fourth.
Last week the North’s top military
TRIAL
Key Thaksin ally
to face court over
2008 crackdown
BANGKOK: A top court has
ordered another key member of the
embattled Shinawatra family to face
trial, an official said on Wednesday,
as the wealthy but wildly divisive
clan become further snared in legal
challenges.
Somchai Wongsawat — brother-inlaw of deposed premiers Thaksin and
Yingluck Shinawatra — must appear
before the Supreme Court on May 11
to enter a plea on criminal charges of
abuse of power over a crackdown on a
2008 protest, a court official said.
He was prime minister at the time,
but lasted just 80 days before a court
removed him from office.
Somchai has been tipped for a
possible comeback as leader of the
battered Shinawatra-aligned Puea
Thai party, which was swept aside by
a coup last May shortly after Yingluck
was toppled by another court decision.
— AFP
US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken with Chinese Vice-President Li
Yuanchao before a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing
yesterday.
‘China’s party and
government have long
set great store on China
and Vietnam’s traditional
friendship, and are willing
to promote the healthy
development of ties,” Xi told
Nguyen Phu Trong
spoke to his Chinese counterpart Xi
Jinping, stressing his commitment to
reach an investment treaty that could
redefine bilateral trade ties.
Obama “reiterated his commitment
to pursue a high-standard and
comprehensive bilateral investment
treaty,” officials said describing the call.
“The President encouraged china to
continue its move toward consumption-
body ruled out resuming dialogue with
the “gangster-like” US, and vowed to
respond to any US aggression with
nuclear strikes and cyber warfare.
Meanwhile, a South Korean court
on Wednesday sentenced a coast guard
official to four years in prison for failing
to evacuate passengers from the sinking
Sewol ferry, the Yonhap news agency
reported.
A court in Gwangju said Kim
Kyoung-Il, who was in charge of leading
the rescue operation at the scene, failed
to order his staff to rescue people
trapped in the ferry.
More than 300 people, most of them
teenagers on a school trip, died when the
ship sank on April 16.
“Kim simply asked his subordinates
to rescue those who were readily visible
and failed to evacuate hundreds inside,”
Judge Lim Jeong-Yeop said, Yonhap
reported. “With such negligence, he has
scarred the families of the victims for
life.”
The court also found that Kim had
lied to reporters after the incident, saying
he had ordered passengers to evacuate.
Prosecutors had sought a prison
term of seven years for Kim. The ferry’s
captain was, in November, sentenced to
36 years in prison for gross negligence.
At the time he was cleared of the
murder charge for which the prosecutor
had sought the death sentence.
Prosecutors on Tuesday sought a
premeditated murder charge against
captain Lee Jun Seok and his crew, saying
they did nothing to prevent a high death
toll. The 14 crew members received
sentences between 5 and 30 years. A
decision by the appeals court in the city
of Gwanju was expected by April.
— Agencies
HK lawmakers urge
ban on bitcoin as scam
victims turn to police
HONG KONG: Hong Kong lawmakers
on Wednesday urged authorities to ban
bitcoin as more than 25 people flocked
to police headquarters to complain over
a scam involving the digital currency
that media estimate could have duped
investors of up to $387 million.
The government should clamp
down on bitcoin, said lawmakers
Leung Yiu-Chung and James To, who
accompanied the complainants, among
them Nepalese and mainland Chinese,
as well as Hong Kong citizens.
“The government should not just
stand aside,” Leung told reporters. “It’s
simply not enough to just ask people to
exercise caution when investing... it has
to ban the circulation of such virtual
currency in the market.”
His comments came in the wake of a
statement by the Hong Kong Monetary
Authority urging people “to exercise
extra caution when considering making
transactions or investments with
Bitcoin”. The company at the centre of
the scam, MyCoin, describes itself on
its website as a “leading global Bitcoin
trading platform and application
service provider”.
Telephone calls to MyCoin in Hong
Kong could not be connected on
Wednesday. Calls to its China customer
service line were not answered.
MyCoin promised clients a
return of HK$1 million ($128,966)
over a 4-month period, based on a
HK$400,000 investment that would
produce 90 bitcoins on maturity, the
South China Morning Post reported on
Monday.
It claimed to have 3,000 customers
investing an average of HK$1 million
each, the paper said. Investors said they
had been lured to the scheme by real
estate brokers, insurance agents, and
legal clerks.
— AFP
EASY WAY OUT OF FLOODS
— AFP
led growth and a market-determined
exchange rate,” they said.
The treaty is still a work in progress
but could make trade considerably
easier between the world’s two largest
economies.
Xi is among a host of Asian leaders
who will visit the White House later this
year.
The Chinese leader will come on
an official state visit, a symbolic move
that will see the red carpet rolled out,
with Chinese state news agency Xinhua
reporting that it will take place in
September.
On the back of a bilateral agreement
to curb climate change, Obama looked
ahead to reaching a multilateral
agreement at a major climate summit in
Paris in December.
But ties are not without problems.
Obama also “called for swift work to
narrow our differences on cyber issues.”
— Reuters
A mother uses a shopping cart to transport her child and groceries through a flooded parking lot at a mall in Kelapa Gading,
North Jakarta. Heavy seasonal rains this week have caused flooding in many parts of the nation’s capital.
— Reuters
SUBCONTINENT
T H U R S DAY
FEBRUARY 12 l 2015
omandailyobserver
7
Pakistan ‘probably’ knew Laden was hiding: ex-ISI chief
ISLAMABAD:
Pakistan’s
main
And the idea was that
intelligence agency probably knew
at the right time,
where Osama Bin Laden was hiding
and hoped to use him as a bargaining
his location would
chip before he was killed by US forces in
be revealed. And
2011, a former spymaster has said.
Lieutenant General Asad Durrani, the right time would have
who led the country’s Inter-Services been when you can get the
Intelligence (ISI) agency from 1990
to 1992, made the comments while necessary quid pro quo — if
speaking on Al Jazeera’s “Head to Head” you have someone like Laden,
interview show on Tuesday.
you are not going to simply
The al Qaeda chief was tracked down
after a 10-year manhunt to Abbottabad, hand him over to the US
a garrison town north of Islamabad
LT GEN ASAD DURRANI,
where Pakistan’s military academy is
Ex- Director-General, ISI
headquartered, sparking allegations
authorities were colluding with the
A Pakistani-government appointed those claims, but also did not rule out
terror group.
commission found nothing to support the possibility of “’plausibly deniable’
support” from current or former
officials. Asked whether it was possible
for Bin Laden to have lived in the town
without the powerful ISI’s knowledge,
Durrani said: “My assessment... was it is
quite possible that they (the ISI) did not
know, but it was more probable that they
did. “And the idea was that at the right
time, his location would be revealed.
And the right time would have been
when you can get the necessary quid pro
quo — if you have someone like Osama
Bin Laden, you are not going to simply
hand him over to the United States.”
Durrani, who emphasised that he
had no specific knowledge of the issue,
suggested Pakistan may have been
harbouring Bin Laden in the hope of
getting a bigger say in the future of
neighbouring Afghanistan, where USled forces officially ended a 13-year
combat mission at the end of 2014.
“The quid pro quo to my mind... (was)
you get your Osama Bin Laden, provided
that, now let’s agree, let’s agree on how
to bring the Afghan problem to an end,”
Durrani told Al Jazeera, according to a
transcript released by the broadcaster.
Pakistan was one of three countries
that officially recognised the Taliban
government which ruled Afghanistan
from 1996 to 2001, and is often accused
of continuing to provide covert support
for their current insurgency.
A leaked Pakistani government
report in 2013 said Bin Laden arrived
in Pakistan in the spring or summer of
2002 — after the 2001 US-led invasion
of Afghanistan — and settled in
Abbottabad in August 2005.
The report, which coined the term
“governance implosion syndrome” to
explain the extent of official failures to
detect him, said he was once stopped for
speeding and enjoyed wearing a cowboy
hat. Bin Laden was shot and killed
following a dramatic helicopter raid by
US special forces in the early hours of
May 2, 2011.
The ISI had previously helped the
CIA detain a number of high-ranking
suspects, including Ramzi Yousef,
one of the men who planned the 1993
World Trade Center bombing and
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged
mastermind of the September 11, 2001
attacks.
— AFP
Myanmar constitution
referendum this year
100 YEARS OF SACRIFICE
GREEN LIGHT: Critics say the 2008 constitution grants what
amounts to a veto for the military; Suu Kyi’ party may welcome move
Visitors look at pictures of General Aung San inside the theatre hall in parliament in NayPyiDaw on Wednesday. Celebrations
will mark a hundred years since the birth of Aung San, on Friday. Myanmar’s independence hero and father of opposition
leader Aung San Suu Kyi. General Aung San and eight other leaders were assassinated on July 19, 1947 just one year before
their cherished goal of independence from Britain was achieved.
— AFP
Nepal panels to probe war crimes
KATHMANDU: Nepal set up two
commissions on Tuesday to investigate
long-simmering allegations of human
rights abuses and disappearances during
the Himalayan nation’s decade-long
civil war, a government minister said.
State forces and Maoist rebels alike
have been accused of grave war-time
abuses, including unlawful killings,
arbitrary arrests, disappearances, rape
and torture, during the years of conflict
which ended under a 2006 peace
agreement.
Both sides pledged to look into
the crimes within six months after
signing the peace deal. But subsequent
governments failed to investigate the
accusations, fearing doing so would
derail a tenuous peace between
politicians and former rebels, leaving
alleged perpetrators to rise through the
military and political ranks.
“This matter had been entangled for
more than eight years,” Law Minister
Narahari Acharya told reporters on
Tuesday in Kathmandu after a cabinet
meeting during which the panels
were set up. Acharya said a Truth and
Reconciliation Commission, modelled
after the one set up in South Africa after
the end of apartheid, would investigate
abuses committed during the conflict.
A second panel, the Commission
on Enforced Disappearances, would
investigate the disappearances of more
than 1,300 people still missing eight
years after the end of the conflict.
Acharya said the panels had two years
to finish their work. Last month, New
York-based Human Rights Watch
condemned Nepal for failing to keep
promises of post-conflict justice and
accountability, saying political parties
were seemingly “intent on ensuring
ongoing impunity” for crimes. — AFP
YANGON:
Myanmar’s
president
has given the green light to hold a
referendum this year on amendments
to a military-drafted constitution, two
lawmakers said on Wednesday, a vote
that could be a political game-changer
in the fledgling democracy.
President Thein Sein gave his
approval late on Tuesday to hold the
plebiscite, which could take place as
early as May, ahead of a general election
due late this year that could see a
shakeup of a political system over which
the military effectively holds veto power.
A referendum is likely to be
welcomed by Nobel laureate Aung San
Suu Kyi, whose opposition National
League for Democracy (NLD) party has
been pushing to change a constitution
that it says grants too much political
power to the military, which ruled
Myanmar brutally from 1962-2011.
“Now that the law has been enacted,
the Election Commission is soon
expected to name a suitable date for
the referendum in May,” Thein Nyunt,
a lower house lawmaker, said. Upper
house representative Aye Maung also
confirmed the president had given
approval.
It is unclear, however, what possible
changes to the constitution would
be addressed in the vote. The NLD
submitted a petition with nearly five
million signatures last year calling
for a change to a clause that requires
more than 75 per cent house support
to amend the charter. Critics say the
2008 constitution grants what amounts
Buddhist monks and other people take part in a protest to demand the revocation
of the right of holders of temporary identification cards, known as white cards, to
vote, in Yangon.
— AFP
to a veto for the military, which has a
25 per cent quota of legislative seats for
unelected servicemen. The NLD has
criticised another clause that bars Suu
Kyi from becoming president because
her two sons are British citizens, a
chapter US President Barack Obama
said made “no sense”.
Suu Kyi’s late husband was British. The
issue of a vote on the charter has already
sparked controversy, with nationalists,
among them Buddhist monks, angered
at a February 2 decision by parliament
to grant Rohingya Muslims the right to
vote in a referendum, possibly paving
the way to allow them ballots in the
general election. About 300 people
rallied in Yangon on Wednesday to
demand the revocation of the right of
holders of temporary identification
cards, known as white cards, to vote in
the plebiscite, arguing many were illegal
aliens. Roughly two-thirds of the whitecard holders are Rohingya Muslims,
who are widely resented in the Buddhist
majority nation, where many people
consider them illegal immigrants from
Bangladesh.
—AFP
There is little to show, and most of that will not long survive our departure: Grenier
Afghanistan could become haven
for IS, warns former CIA officer
WASHINGTON: Afghanistan is in danger of
turning into a sanctuary once again for extremists
as the West withdraws troops and shifts its attention
elsewhere, a former senior CIA official warned on
Tuesday.
The country could even become a refuge for IS
extremists now waging war in Syria and Iraq, said
Robert Grenier, the former Central Intelligence
Agency station chief in Islamabad and author of a
new book.
His memoir, 88 Days to Kandahar, recounts his
harrowing experience helping to topple the Taliban
regime in Afghanistan in 2001 after the September
11 attacks
“I would say if anything the future threat of
an Afghan safe haven is maybe even greater than
it was back before 9/11,” Grenier said at an event
organised by the New America think tank.
The Afghan Taliban would not be ready to
rebuff its allies in the Pakistani Taliban or other
extremists — such as the IS — if they asked for
sanctuary, he said.
“There are groups within Pakistan that are
dedicated to attacking the regime in Islamabad.
They’re not going to go away,” he said. According
to Grenier, the Taliban tend to see things in blackand-white terms, looking at decisions through the
question: “Is it dictated by Islam or is it not?”
“And they won’t turn their back on people who
are ideologically allied with them across the border.
“Nor do I believe will they turn their backs on
international terrorists, if once again they come
back to the region in any significant numbers, as
I fear they will if their fortunes take a bad turn,”
he said.
Grenier’s book describes how US aircraft
missed taking out Taliban leader Mullah Omar by
“30 minutes” in 2001 and how Hamid Karzai was
nearly killed inadvertently in American bombing
raids. He also described a last-ditch bid to negotiate
a deal with the Taliban’s number two leader in the
days after 9/11, in which Grenier tried to persuade
his counterpart in a hotel in Pakistan to break with
Omar and stage a coup. The attempt failed.
The former CIA officer said he was skeptical
that attempts to broker peace talks with the Taliban
would succeed, as the insurgents still believe they
can topple the government and take back power
in Kabul. He also said the group was not suited
to political rule or taking part in parliamentary
politics.
Grenier, who rose to other senior posts in the
CIA before leaving in 2006, said his book tells the
story of how America quickly won what he calls
“the first American-Afghan war” in 2001, and
“how we lost, or at least certainly didn’t win, the
second American-Afghan war.”
And the book ends with a warning about “how
the errors of the past may yet be revisited when
once again we may be called upon to fight a third
American-Afghan war.”
With a small US-led force due to withdraw in
two years, Grenier said he fears that the United
States and other Western governments will fail to
funnel financial aid to Kabul after their soldiers
leave and abandon the Afghan government.
His book offers a very grim view of the legacy
of more than a decade of war against the Taliban
insurgents.
“For all the billions spent and lives lost, there is
little to show, and most of that will not long survive
our departure,” he writes.
— AFP
8
ANALYSIS
omandailyobserver
T H U R S DAY
FEBRUARY 12 l 2015
A RE-VISIT TO FREEDOM
OF EXPRESSION
SONIA AMBROSIO DE NELSON
[email protected]
T
he debate on freedom of expression is one of those issues that now and then are the
focus of much attention. It was remarkable the display of unity in favour of freedom
of expression after the attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris.
On the other hand there was a hollow silence on the use of a child as a live bomb
in Nigeria in the same week.
Freedom of expression as it is known today has its roots in the period of the
Enlightenment through the ideas of philosophers and political thinkers that inspired
the liberal revolutions of the 18th Century.
Liberal philosophers have emphasised the importance of freedom of expression,
in particular with relation to communication of information and opinions through
the press.
John Milton (1608-1674) is usually regarded as the founder of the claim for
freedom of expression.
Milton belonged to the bourgeoisie that demanded the setting up of rights for the
universal use of the invention of the time: the
technology of printing for the communication
Freedom of
of ideas and interests.
The concept of free media became part of expression as it is
a broader assertion and defence of freedom of known today has its
expression in general, with the media carrying
roots in the period of
special responsibilities to guard the public’s
right to know, as was later enshrined in Articles the Enlightenment
1 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human through the ideas
Rights (UN 1948).
of the 18th Century.
Although in principle this right is protected
by the signatory countries of the Declaration, Liberal philosophers
implementation practices of press freedom
have emphasied its
varies from country to country.
importance
For the most part, commercial and political
aspects contribute to the limitation of a free
press. The first control is the need to follow
market factors, so as to offer information in the form of entertainment.
The number of stories about celebrities has risen significantly.
The pressure to make profit or at least to keep a financial equilibrium coerce the
media to avoid controversial and sensitive issues. The second control is political.
The media are usually attached to a line of political philosophy.
In addition, creative measures to limit media freedom are also employed in the
form of national security laws, anti-terrorism acts and criminal defamation laws
among many other forms of regulations.
Another aspect is an ongoing argument that a well-informed citizen is able to
make wiser decisions, and therefore a free press helps to build a better society.
This claim falls short within the Asian context where press freedom is not a
priority; economic development is.
Despite advances in degrees of press freedom in parts of Asia, such as in South
Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan, the regimes in mainland China, Burma and
Vietnam, to mention a few, maintain strict control of the press.
In other countries, such as Singapore and Malaysia, in spite of the presence of a
number of democratic features, governments use stiff tactics to control the press.
Basically political and economic facets rule how media function. More to the
point, stories on the whereabouts of the kidnapped school girls in Nigeria slipped
away from the media. The use of children as live bomb doesn’t attract advertisements.
News on the millions of people displaced because of armed conflicts is gloomy;
as a result it is only just mentioned in the media. The rich nations’ electronic rubbish
shipped out to poorer countries never makes to the headlines.
These examples show that media’s short attention span is also harmful to a free
press. How does it happen? A serious problem is ignored, and then suddenly, it
becomes a crisis which needs a solution.
After a while when it becomes clear it will not be easily fixed, the media carry on
ignoring the problem.
This handout photo courtesy of the Daily Courier in Prescott, Arizona, shows Kayla Mueller in 2013 in Prescott, Arizona. — Reuters
Glimmer of joy in captivity!
K
At the time she was taken hostage, Mueller had been
ayla Mueller, who died as a hostage of IS fighters, took
strength during captivity in her faith in God and the love working along the Turkish-Syrian border, trying to
of her family, she wrote in a letter relatives released on help some of the thousands of refugees fleeing the Syrian
civil war.
Tuesday.
That conflict was but one of several where Mueller had
“I have been shown in darkness, light have learned that
even in prison, one can be free,” said a handwritten letter hoped to make a difference.
Since her graduation from Northern Arizona University
by Mueller which was smuggled out by fellow captives
in 2009, she dedicated her life to helping those in need
following their release by IS fighters.
The 26-year old humanitarian aid worker was driven by across the globe from India to Israel to Palestine.
In a birthday letter to her father in 2011, Mueller tried to
an unquenchable passion to help others, saying that service
to others brought her closer to God. In the letter released by explain the reason for her drive to serve others so selflessly.
“Some people find God in church. Some people find
her family after the White House confirmed her death, she
said she managed to find glimmers of joy, even in captivity. God in nature. Some people find God in love; I find God
“I have come to see that there is good in every situation, in suffering,” Mueller wrote, adding that her mission to
relieve suffering of the less fortunate was
sometimes we just have to look for it,”
her “life’s work.”
Mueller wrote in the letter received by her
Mueller was driven
Mueller was the last remaining
relatives in early 2014.
by an unquenchable American hostage known to be held by
“I pray each day that if nothing else,
the group, which has made a grisly ritual
you have felt a certain closeness surrender
passion to help
of killing a succession of hostages, then
to God as well have formed a bond of love
others, saying that
posting the brutal executions on the
support amongst one another,” she wrote
service brought her
Internet.
in the letter, secretly penned in snatches
Mueller’s relatives only last week
of time during her captivity.
closer to God, writes
revealed that she was in fact, being held
Mueller described the place where
ANDREW BEATTY
by IS, after having gone to extraordinary
she was being held as “a safe location,”
lengths to keep it secret during her oneand said she was “completely unharmed,
and-a-half year captivity.
healthy (put on weight in fact).”
After IS last week announced that Mueller had died as
She also revealed times of doubt and darkness, but also
a casualty of coalition bombing, her family continued to
resolve as she summoned the will to keep going.
“None of us could have known it would be this long but cling to the hope that she somehow had escaped death.
But over the weekend they received a “private message”
know I am also fighting from my side in the ways I am able,
I have a lot of fight left inside of me,” she wrote in her letter. from IS that allowed US intelligence services confirm her
death, the White House and the family said.
“I am not breaking down, I will not give in no matter
The family said they are buoyed by the knowledge of
how long it takes.”
The idealistic native of Prescott, Arizona, was captured how much good Mueller did during her short life.
“We are so proud of the person Kayla was and the work
by IS fighters in August 2013, while leaving a Doctors
that she did while she was here with us. She lived with
Without Borders hospital in Aleppo, Syria.
Her humanitarian service over the years included purpose, and we will work every day to honour her legacy,”
volunteer work at a women’s shelter in her hometown of they said in a statement in which they also offered prayers
“for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Syria.”
Prescott, as well as work at an HIV/Aids clinic.
Dilma Rousseff under pressure but impeachment seen unlikely
F
or the first time since a corruption scandal
erupted at Brazil’s state-run oil company
Petrobras last year, senior opposition
politicians are publicly floating the
possibility of impeaching President Dilma
Rousseff.
She does not face an immediate risk
of impeachment, leading opponents said,
but that could change if prosecutors find
evidence that Rousseff knew of or benefited
from the massive graft scheme.
Prosecutors say executives at Petroleo
Brasileiro SA, as Petrobras is formally
known, conspired with contractors to
skim billions of dollars for themselves and
political parties when Rousseff was the
company’s chairwoman from 2003 to 2010.
The scheme continued after she became
Brazil’s president in 2011.
Rousseff has conceded that graft took
place but emphatically denied that she
knew about it at the time.
She has urged a full investigation
and prosecutors have not presented any
evidence that she was complicit in the
scheme. However, a steady stream of
arrests and new revelations about the
misappropriated money, as well as a recent
sharp downturn in Brazil’s economy,
appear to have emboldened Rousseff ’s
opponents in Congress and elsewhere.
In a poll published over the weekend
that showed Rousseff ’s approval ratings
sinking to an all-time low, 77 per cent of
respondents said they believed she knew
about the corruption at Petrobras.
Antonio Carlos Mendes Thame,
a legislator and senior leader for the
opposition Brazilian Social Democracy
Party (PSDB), caused a storm last week
when he said in response to a question that
the party had “no qualms” about trying
to impeach Rousseff if evidence against
her mounted. Such talk is usually taboo
in Brazil, which saw president Fernando
Collor impeached for corruption in 1992
but since then has become one of Latin
America’s most stable democracies.
Brazil’s Congress is fragmented among
28 parties. So the PSDB or other parties
would likely struggle to gather the twothirds of votes necessary in the lower
chamber for a trial of Rousseff to then
begin in the Senate.
In interviews, legislators generally
downplayed the risk of impeachment, but
President Rousseff does
not face immediate risk of
impeachment, but that could
change if prosecutors find
evidence that she knew of or
benefited from graft scheme,
notes ANTHONY BOADLE
they also declined to rule it out.
They said they intend to see whether
the investigation yields new evidence that
Rousseff was involved or that dirty money
was used in her successful re-election
campaign last year.
“We have to wait for the investigations
by the police and prosecutors to go ahead
first, and the inquiries in Congress,” said
Cássio Cunha Lima, Senate leader for the
PSDB. Street protests calling for Rousseff ’s
impeachment first began to pop up in
Brazilian cities shortly after her re-election,
but most gathered only a few hundred
people and opposition leaders were careful
to distance themselves.
That began to change, however, as
revelations from the Petrobras investigation
became more specific and damning.
Last Thursday, police questioned the
treasurer of Rousseff ’s Workers’ Party, João
Vaccari, after a former Petrobras executive
alleged in a plea bargain statement that
Vaccari received up to $200 million in
bribes between 2003 and 2013. Vaccari has
denied wrongdoing.
A senior PSDB official said the party
“does not want” to impeach Rousseff
because it would be traumatic for the
country. But the official cited the Vaccari
case as a sign that prosecutors are unafraid
to pursue evidence against high-level
politicians.
Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff reacts during the sixth meeting of the National Council
for Industrial Development at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia on Monday. — Reuters
ANALYSIS
T H U R S DAY
FEBRUARY 12 l 2015
omandailyobserver
9
Global PR message on wartime past could misfire
A
push by Japan to correct perceived bias in accounts
of the country’s wartime past is creating a row that
risks muddling the positive message in a mammoth
public relations campaign to win friends abroad.
The PR campaign, which has a budget of over
half a billion dollars, comes as Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe aims to adopt a less apologetic stance
on Japan’s actions before and during World War
Two and ease the fetters imposed on defence policy
by Japan’s post-war, pacifist constitution. History is
hardly the sole focus of the PR programme.
Many of the funds will be used for soft-power
initiatives to cultivate “pro-Japan” foreigners, such
as supporting Japan studies at universities and
setting up “Japan House” centres to promote the
“Japan Brand”.
But the government is also targeting wartime
accounts by overseas textbook publishers and
others that it sees as incorrect and damaging to
Japan’s image. One such effort has already sparked
a backlash.
Nineteen historians from US universities have
written a letter of protest against a recent request
by the Japanese government to publisher McGraw
Hill Education to revise its account of “comfort
women.” The request was rejected.
“We stand with the many historians in Japan
and elsewhere who have worked to bring to light public diplomacy, Japan’s foreign ministry won
the facts about this and other atrocities of World a total 70 billion yen ($590 million) for strategic
War II. We practice and produce history to learn communications in an extra budget for 2014/15
from the past,” says the letter, a copy of which and the initial budget for the next year from April
was seen by Reuters and which will be carried — up from just 20 billion yen in the initial 2014/15
in the March edition of the American Historical budget. Many politicians and officials worry Japan
has been outmanoeuvred
Association’s newsletter.
by the aggressive public
“We therefore oppose the
diplomacy of regional rivals
efforts of states or special
Japan is targeting
China and South Korea.
interests to pressure publishers
wartime accounts by
“Many
countries
are
or historians to alter the results
overseas textbook
investing hugely in this field
of their research for political
purposes,” it added.
publishers that it sees as and we feel we were not
enough,” said a
Abe himself has signalled
incorrect and damaging investing
Japanese Foreign Ministry
support for the more aggressive
to its image. One such official.
PR push. “Being modest does
Conservatives
have
not receive recognition in the
effort has already
welcomed the bigger budget
international community, and
sparked a backlash,
but want priority placed on
we must argue points when
reports LINDA SIEG
correcting perceived errors
necessary,” he recently told a
about history.
parliamentary panel.
“When we see lots of
The effort comes at a touchy
time as Asia marks the 70th anniversary of World misunderstanding or prejudice against Japan’s
War Two’s end with bitter memories not yet laid history, we’d like to at least set the record straight,”
to rest, especially in China and North and South said Yoshiko Sakurai, a journalist and head of
the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals, a
Korea.
After a decade of shrinking spending on conservative think tank.
“We have already lost (the information war).
Now we have to recover,” she said in an interview.
Aware of the danger of a backlash, diplomats
seem to have mitigated pressure to make the “Japan
House” centres — to be set up first in London, Los
Angeles and Sao Paulo in late 2016 — beachheads
to market an official view of history.
Instead, the facilities could provide what
one bureaucrat called a “platform for balanced
discussion” on controversial topics, for example,
by sponsoring seminars.
Conservative politicians however want bolder
steps. “We are half-satisfied. By mobilising all
means, we must strengthen Japan’s information
strategy so that in a real sense, we can have (others)
properly understand what is good about Japan,”
said ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker
Yoshiaki Harada, who heads a party committee on
improving Japan’s communication strategy.
Experts said government efforts to seek
changes in historical accounts would be counterproductive, since it would keep the issue of Japan’s
wartime past in public focus.
“Dragging people into a long discussion about
history seems like they are going to brand Japan
with that atrocity in terms of its image,” said
Dartmouth College professor Jennifer Lind.
RESOURCE CURSE
KRISTIN PALITZA
M
Independent television producer Dan Ikpoyi in a production room at a television station in Lagos.
ineral prices have received a string of serious blows in past months. Iron
ore, coal, platinum, silver and copper took a significant tumble, the price
of gold has seen one of its sharpest dips ever, and oil prices have almost
halved in the past seven months.
Africa, with a population of 1.2 billion people, holds about a third of
the world’s mineral resources, according to the African Development
Bank (AfDB). The continent produces a tenth of the world’s oil and twothirds of its diamonds.
“The mining sector remains absolutely vital for Africa, even with the
sharp decline in prices,” former British prime minister Tony Blair told
about 7,000 delegates at the Mining Indaba, the world’s largest mining
conference held in Cape Town, South Africa, from February 9-12.
Of Africa’s 54 countries, 24 rely on a select few mineral products to
generate more than 75 per cent of their export earnings, the AfDB found.
In Botswana, for example, nearly 45 per cent of government revenues
come from mining, while natural resource exports account for 25 per
cent of revenues in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a report from the
International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) showed.
In the past decade, mining was a pretty safe bet for African economies:
Rising mineral prices coupled with strong demand for mineral resources,
especially from China and India, generated billions of dollars.
But in recent months, the outlook has turned gloomy. Commodity
prices fell substantially, fuelled by oversupply and fears over China
ramping up domestic production while reducing imports from Africa.
At the same time, input and production costs, including electricity
prices, have remained stubbornly high.
African economies are under increasing pressure because local power
grids are overstretched and unreliable, with power outages par for the
course in many nations.
International mining delegates experienced the unreliability of South
Africa’s electricity network first-hand this week, when hotels across Cape
Town went dark for several hours due to nationwide power cuts.
In brief the extractive industry is in trouble. For the continent’s top oil
producers — Nigeria, Angola, Libya, Sudan, Republic of Congo, Algeria,
Egypt and Equatorial Guinea — the picture is particularly bleak.
Chris Griffith, Chief Executive of South African mining giant Anglo
American Platinum, admitted the pressure caused by slowing global
demand is extraordinary.
When stock prices followed plummeting mineral prices, panic was
caused among mineral executives.
— Reuters
Nigeria vote delay wreaks havoc in the country
T
he band was booked, invitations had been
sent to 500 guests and two caterers hired
to prepare a range of local specialities,
including jollof rice and pounded yam.
Agnes Adedipe, a 28-year-old resident of
Nigeria’s largest city Lagos, thought her
March 28 wedding was coming together:
then national elections were postponed to
the same date.
“I am confused, angry and completely
lost,” she said.
Nigeria’s widely-criticised decision at
the weekend to postpone the polls by six
weeks because of violence by Boko Haram
has reverberated around the country. The
political uncertainty has further hurt an
economy already hit by low global oil
prices and led to warnings of a looming
constitutional crisis.
But that offered little comfort to
Adedipe, who sobbed as she contemplated
reorganising her wedding in just six
weeks. Election day in Nigeria — initially
scheduled for February 14 — is a public
holiday and movement is restricted because
of heightened tension and the prospect of
unrest. In short, it’s not an ideal day for a
500-person wedding and Adedipe will be
forced to reschedule.
“This postponement has ruined my
marriage plan,” she said.
The National Security Agency (NSA)
pushed for the vote delay on grounds that all
available military personnel were deploying
to the northeast to fight Boko Haram
insurgents and would not be able to provide
security on polling day.
Electoral commission chairman Attahiru
Jega insisted he was ready for February 14
but ultimately yielded to the NSA guidance,
leading to claims that he caved in to ruling
party pressure.
President Goodluck Jonathan was facing
a tough challenge from former military ruler
Muhammadu Buhari, prompting claims
that Jonathan loyalists desperately wanted
more time to revive his campaign.
Nigeria’s economy, the largest in
Africa and driven by crude exports, has
been hammered by the slide in global
oil prices and the election delay has only
made things worse. The naira currency hit
a record low yesterday (203.1 against the
dollar) leading to concern that an extended
period of political limbo will have wider
consequences.
Razia Khan, head of Africa research
at Standard Chartered, warned of
“additional uncertainty” caused by the
campaign extension and said needed policy
adjustments to cope with falling oil prices
could be delayed.
The stock market has also been depressed
by a political environment “riddled with
uncertainty and negativity”, added Gabriel
Ilori Akinyemi, Managing Director of
Valmon Securities in Lagos.
Buhari’s All Progressives Congress
(APC) party has fiercely criticised the
decision to delay the vote, highlighting clear
inconsistencies in the concerns expressed
by the NSA. Last month, the agency’s main
issue was difficulty in distributing voter
cards, while last week security concerns had
become the new focus.
The political uncertainty in
Nigeria has further hurt an
economy already hit by low
global oil prices and led
to warnings of a looming
constitutional crisis, reports
ADEROGBA OBISESAN
The Boko Haram conflict has been raging
for six years and while voting was always
going to be complicated in the group’s
northeastern stronghold, the military had
previously said nothing about problems
securing polling stations nationwide.
The APC said that “any further
postponement can only lead to a
constitutional crisis” and recalled the
damage done by a similar crisis following
1993 polls.
Nigerians had hoped that vote, which the
popular business tycoon Moshood Abiola
was on track to win, would end a long period
of devastating military rule.
Military ruler Ibrahim Babangida had
other ideas and cancelled the ballot counting,
which sparked months of uncertainty that
ultimately saw brutal army general Sani
Abacha take power for four years.
Lagos-based human rights lawyer Jiti
Ogunye said Saturday’s postponement
showed Nigerians that the supposedly
independent election body could be “forced
by the state to cow-tow and subvert the
democratic will of the citizenry”.
He voiced concern that public confidence
in elections would be further undermined as
March 28 approaches.
As she tries to salvage her wedding plans,
Adedipe may take comfort in the fact that
her fiance is also familiar with political
uncertainty, constitutional chaos and deadly
unrest. Her husband-to-be is currently
based in Ukraine.
Nigeria’s military pledged not to get
involved in party politics yesterday.
Defence spokesman Major-General
Chris Olukolade noted “the palpable tension
being generated ... with regards to the roles
of the Nigerian military in the ongoing
political activities and recent developments,
especially in relation to electioneering.”
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10
omandailyobserver
INDIA
T H U R S DAY
FEBRUARY 12 l 2015
Kejriwal rejects enhanced security cover
NEW STATUS: Full statehood for Delhi discussed with Home Minister Rajnath Singh
NEW DELHI: A day after registering a
landslide victory in the Delhi assembly
election, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief
Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday discussed
the issue of full statehood for Delhi with
Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
According to a report published
in IANS, the source said, “Through
newspapers, we came to know that he
(Kejriwal) will be given Z plus security.
But, he is a man of the masses and doesn’t
need any security.”
Kejriwal met Union Home Minister
Rajnath Singh around 3 pm on Thursday
and invited him to his swearing-in
ceremony.
“We raised the issue of statehood and
said that steps should be taken to work in
that direction,” Manish Sisodia said after
the meeting.
Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi
Party secured 67 out of 70 seats in Delhi.
He will take oath as the Chief Minister on
February 14.
Kejriwal, accompanied by party
leader Manish Sisodia, had about an halfhour meeting with the home minister at
the latter’s official residence.
“We have discussed various issues
with the home minister, including the
issue of full statehood for Delhi,” Sisodia
AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia during a meeting with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi.
told reporters.
He also said that the union minister
assured them of the central government’s
full support, saying that “the party line
would not come in between working of
the two governments”.
Earlier in the day, the AAP leaders
called on union urban development
minister Venkaiah Naidu at his office and
discussed various issues concerning the
national capital.
During this meeting, the issues
— IANS
related to granting of full statehood
to Delhi and granting land by Delhi
Development Authority (DDA) for
building schools, parking and play
grounds were discussed.
The AAP leaders also spoke about
regularisation of unauthorised colonies
in the city.
Kejriwal, to be sworn in as chief
minister on Saturday at the Ramlila
Ground for the second time, is scheduled
to meet President Pranab Mukherjee at
Rashtrapati Bhavan later on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the stunning victory of
AAP in Delhi polls has given the party’s
Kerala unit a much needed boost.
Jubilant local AAP supporters sported
white caps and brooms — the party’s
election — and broke into celebrations
late on Tuesday after the party’s stunning
victory in the Delhi polls.
State convenor of AAP, award
winning novelist and short story writer
Sarah Joseph who contested the Thrissur
Lok Sabha seat, said their slogan is ‘Now
Delhi, Next Kerala’ as they have a good
support base here.
“In five months time, all our
functionaries will be elected in a
democratic manner and will pave the way
for us to become a full-fledged political
party,” Joseph told media.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, AAP
had contested 15 out of the 20 seats and
secured 2.56 lakh votes or 1.43 per cent of
the total votes polled, with Joseph getting
close to 45,000 votes.
— IANS
National Games audit report President to open Udyanotsav 2015
in 45 days, says Kerala CM
T H I R U VA N A N T H A P U R A M :
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy
on Wednesday said the auditing of
accounts of the ongoing 35th National
Games will be ready in 45 days’ time.
Chandy added that the Local Fund
Audit Department would conduct the
audit once the Games end on Saturday.
“Each and every aspect would be
looked into,” Chandy said here after the
weekly cabinet meeting.
The organisers were dragged
in a controversy when movie star
Mohanlal’s music band Lalisom served
a poor performance during the opening
ceremony of the event.
Following a huge public outcry
against Mohanlal, he returned a sum of
Rs 1.63 crore given to him for the show.
Chandy along with his cabinet
colleague last week paid a visit to his
house to mollify him.
“I don’t think it was wrong for me
to visit him at his house. See, it was we
who pressurised him to conduct the
programme and he agreed. He was hurt
by the comments, so I felt I should go
and see him,” said Chandy.
Giving a thumbs up to the way the
event has been organised, Chandy said
there has not been a single complaint
from the athletes or officials regarding
facilities provided.
The chief minister also said that
the Games’ venues will be open to the
public after the competition ends.
“We will make special arrangements
to ensure the new infrastructure that
has been created for the Games will be
used by the public.
A plan will be chalked out once the
event ends,” added Chandy.
Chandy said the closing ceremony,
to be staged here, will be marked
with a fitting programme, but will not
exceed the total expenditure fixed for
the Games. “The audit report will show
everything,” added Chandy.
Meanwhile, the fourth edition of
the popular mass contact programme
(MCP) is expected to start rolling at all
district headquarters of Kerala shortly,
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said
on Wednesday.
The people residing in the state’s
14 districts can register complaints
regarding any issues they face, either at
his website or go to any Akshaya centre
(a one-stop shop for all IT needs that has
the support of the state IT department).
In the last MCP held in 2013, a
record 3.19 lakh complaints were
received by Chandy.
Replying to questions on the impact
of the third edition held in 2013,
Chandy said he had an interaction with
the district collectors on this.
— IANS
NEW DELHI: President Pranab
Mukherjee will declare open the annual
Udyanotsav (Garden Festival) 2015
at the Mughal Gardens in Rashtrapati
Bhavan here on Friday.
The main attraction of this year are
tulips.
“About 10,000 tulips in vivid
colours of red, orange and yellow
mixed with red, pink, purple and white
are expected to bloom in phases up
to March 10,” a Rashtrapati Bhavan
release said.
The garden also has 120 varieties of
roses, along with special roses like the including belami, black lady, double Mother Teresa, Raja Ram Mohan Roy,
green and black rose.
delight and Eiffel Tower.
John F Kennedy and Queen Elizabeth,”
There are 40 fragrant varieties,
“The gardens have roses named after added the statement.
— IANS
STRIKING BIZ DEALS
US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew with Anand Mahindra, Chairman and Managing Director of Mahindra and Mahindra Group,
during an interaction with Indian business leaders in Mumbai. Lew is on a two-day official visit.
— AFP
Majority of the designers feel, that instead of his dressing, the new CM should focus on delivering what was promised
As common as it gets: designers okay Kejriwal’s style
NEW DELHI: His “sloppy pants”, loose
untucked shirts and casual footwear
may not make a hip fashion statement,
but AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal, who
will take oath as Delhi chief minister
for the second time on Saturday after
another stunning electoral victory,
reflects the common Indian man
through his choice of dressing, Indian
designers say.
When IANS asked a few designers if
the ‘muffler man’, as he is called for his
muffler-wrapped look in winter, needs a
style check, a majority said he’s good as
he is — and that instead of his dressing,
he should focus on delivering what was
promised in the AAP manifesto.
Samant Chauhan, who promotes
Bhagalpuri silk and belongs to Bihar, is
an admirer of the politician as well as his
fashion.
“He’s setting a common man’s image
through his casual styling of loose shirt
and scarf (muffler).That’s what the
common man is about.
He should not change anything about
his dressing,” Chauhan said adding that
if at all Kejriwal wishes to add a formal
touch to his look, he must experiment
with waistcoats or Nehru jackets.
Designer Kiran Uttam Ghosh feels
that his dressing helps him better reach
out to his target — the ‘aam aadmi’, the
common man.
“I think Arvind Kejriwal dresses just
fine. His style is functional, individual
and suited to the people he wishes to
reach out to. It is in sync with his ‘aam
aadmi’ message.
He shouldn’t change a thing in his
look and should just work towards
better governance,” she said.
‘If he performs (well), his
shirt, pant and muffler
will be the new fashion!
Only performance can give
credibility to any fashion
statement he will
try to create’
Another fashion designer, Varija
Bajaj, agreed, and said that as Chief
Minister, he will have more to think of
than to focus on his clothes.
And she also believes that he can be
a trendsetter with his own fashion style.
“If he performs (well), his shirt, pant
and muffler will be the new fashion!
Only performance can give credibility
to any fashion statement he will try to
create.
If he performs, he will be a fashion
icon in himself, trust me,” Bajaj said.
However, she pointed out that if
something needs to be changed about
his style, it’s his “sloppy pants”.
“I would for sure wish he does away
with sloppy pants, as a code of conduct
for formal appearances.
A well tucked-in shirt with proper
fitting trousers along with formal shoes
is something basic that he can begin
with.
It will help in staying simple,
but formal enough to carry a Chief
Minister’s image,” she added.
Designer duo Rimple and Harpreet
Narula believe that in his capacity,
Kejriwal can promote textiles and
handlooms.
“As the newly elected CM, Kejriwal is
going to be the global face of Delhi for
the next five years.
We would love that he also adopts
various indigenous textiles as part of his
sartorial choices so as to promote the
dying crafts,” Rimple said.
Harpreet suggests lightweight kurtas
for summer season.
“Given how hot and humid the Delhi
summer gets, he can forgo the shirtpant style and opt for lightweight airy
kurtas in muted colours made in fabrics
such as cotton mals and Bhagalpuri silk
blends,” Harpreet said.
“As the muffler is now associated with
his inherent persona, Kejriwal can go
for light weight shawls and stoles done
in fabrics such as Chanderi cottons/silks
and Maheshwari cottons,” he added.
— IANS
IN BRIEF
AAP, Cong
get IT notice
over funding
NEW DELHI: The Income Tax
Department has served notice
on the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)
seeking an explanation on charges
of receiving funds from dubious
sources as alleged by a splinter
group — a charge that has already
been denied by the party.
A similar notice has also been
served on the Congress party, a
Congress spokesperson said.
The department, that functions
under the Central Board of Direct
Taxes(CBDT) of the ministry of
finance, has asked the party to
furnish its reply by February 16
— two days after Arvind Kejriwal
is scheduled to take oath as Delhi
chief minister following a stunning
win in the Febraury 7 Delhi
assembly polls.
The notice, addressed to the
Principal Officer Aam Aadmi
Party, said four companies had
transferred money to AAP and
“enquiries revealed that such
companies are not prima facie
genuine.
The companies and the
directors are not available at the
addresses mentioned in the bank
and government agencies”. The
notice was sent on February 9, a
day before the results of the Delhi
polls were announced.
The AAP, in a massive mandate,
won 67 out of 70 seats in the Delhi
assembly.
In the run-up to the elections,
union Finance Minister Arun
Jaitley had alleged that the AAP
was caught red-handed in receiving
dubious funds from companies
that did not have any business, and
accused its leadership of adopting
diversionary tactics to deflect
attention.
— IANS
Film, TV shoots
halt courtesy
labour strike in
Maharashtra
MUMBAI: Shooting of films and
TV shows came to a standstill here
on Wednesday after the Federation
of Western India Cine Employees
(FWICE) called for an indefinite
strike due to a conflict between
the recognised labour unions in
Bollywood and their rival group.
“Since today morning, there
were no shoots — be it films or
television.
Now the meeting with the
members of the union is going on
and accordingly a decision will be
taken,” an official from Mumbai’s
expansive Film City, said.
The ‘indefinite strike’ was
reportedly called after officers from
the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC)
police station arrested five FWICE
members on charges of assaulting
the Registrar of Trade Union on
Tuesday. However, they were
released on bail the same evening.
The Registrar is said to have
colluded with a rival trade union
faction, which is headed by
Gangeshwar Shrivastav, to lodge a
false police complaint.
Prem Singh Thakur, Chairman,
Film Studios Setting and Allied
Mazdoor Union, said: “Gangeshwar
Shrivastav has been giving a tough
time to all of us.
Yesterday, when we went to
the trade union office to present
our case, Gangeshwar was already
sitting there and he started abusing
us, which ended up in a fight.
“He then filed a false complaint
against us. Now it’s enough. We are
not going to tolerate this anymore.”
The strike was thus called
to “ensure that the matter is
taken seriously and reaches a
conclusion”.
Thakur
reiterated
that
Shrivastav and his associates
were expelled from FWICE on
charges of corruption and criminal
intimidation.
— IANS
INDIA
T H U R S DAY
FEBRUARY 12 l 2015
omandailyobserver
11
Clashes between protesters, forces in Valley
SRINAGAR: Clashes erupted between the
security forces and protesters on Wednesday
in some areas of the Kashmir Valley where
authorities had imposed restrictions to maintain
law and order on the death anniversary of JKLF
founder Maqbool Bhat.
Stone-pelting youths came out in Maisuma
area of Srinagar, marching towards city centre
Lal Chowk.
Security forces lobbed tear gas shells to
disperse the protesters, who were demanding
the mortal remains of Jammu and Kashmir
Liberation Front founder Maqbool Bhat, who
was hanged on this day in 1984 in Tihar Jail.
The youths also clashed with the security
forces in Papchan area of Bandipora district.
In north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, protests
erupted after news spread about the death of a
murder accused in police custody.
Police later clarified saying Nazir Ahmad
Mughal, 32, a murder accused had complained
of chest pain yesterday, following which he was
taken to the district hospital for treatment.
“The accused was treated at the hospital.
After some time, he went to the toilet from
where he managed to escape.”
“Search was immediately launched to arrest
the accused.
In the morning today (Wednesday), the
dead body of the accused was found near the
compound wall of the hospital.
A magisterial inquest has been ordered into
the incident,” a police spokesman said here.
A senior police officer said barring a few
incidents of stone-pelting at some places,
People continue to clash with the security personnel deployed in Palhallan area of Baramulla district following the death of a youth in a firing by the security
personnel in the area during protests on the death anniversary of Parliament attack yesterday.
— IANS
the overall law and order situation remained
peaceful in the Valley, where separatists had
called for a protest shutdown to observe the
death anniversary of the JKLF founder.
Authorities had imposed restrictions in parts
of Srinagar for the second day on Wednesday to
thwart separatist-called protests.
“As a preventive measure to maintain law and
order, restrictions remained in force in Khanyar,
Nowhatta, Rainawari, M R Gunj, Safa Kadal and
Shiv Sena wants repeat of
Delhi in Maharashtra
MUMBAI: The Shiv Sena on
Wednesday attacked its ally BJP and
asked the people of Maharashtra “to
take lessons” from the results of the
assembly poll in Delhi where Prime
Minister Narendra Modi’s “popularity”
and BJP chief Amit Shah’s “election
strategies were at stake but a virtual
non-entity” like Arvind Kejriwal
uprooted them.
“Delhi has embraced ‘Paanch Saal,
(Arvind) Kejriwal. The people of
Maharashtra must learn from this.
They should ponder and move ahead
in that direction, that is the outcome of
Delhi,” the Shiv Sena said in a sharp edit
in the party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ on
Wednesday, virtually asking the people
of the state to reject BJP.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led
by Arvind Kejriwal bagged 67 of the 70
assembly segments in Delhi, while the
BJP got just three seats in the results
that were announced on Tuesday.
The Congress failed to get even a
single seat.
The edit pointed out that the trend
started three months ago when the
Modi ‘wave’ was halted by Maharashtra,
but now the ‘tsunami’ has reached
Delhi.
The Delhi assembly results
proved that a ‘tsunami’ is
more powerful than a ‘wave’
and emphatically reiterated
Anna Hazare’s view that it
was “a debacle for Modi”
The Delhi assembly results proved
that a ‘tsunami’ is more powerful than
a ‘wave’ and emphatically reiterated
Gandhian Anna Hazare’s view that it
was “a debacle for Modi”, it said.
“The BJP leaders claim this is not
Modi’s defeat. Kejriwal has won —
then who has lost? After all, the entire
elections were carried out in Modi’s
name without the presence of any other
BJP leader,” the edit said.
Not accepting the contention
blaming BJP’s chief ministerial
candidate Kiran Bedi for the BJP rout,
the Saamana said all BJP leaders labelled
the AAP leader as ‘bhagoda’ (deserter)
during the campaign, but entire Delhi
solidly supported Kejriwal.
“You can’t win elections with
only promises and speeches. Modi’s
popularity and Shah’s election strategies
were at stake here, but a virtual nonentity like Kejriwal uprooted and threw
them away.
How was this possible?” the edit
asked.
It listed the reasons as: the
unemployed have still got no jobs,
inflation has not been curbed, people
without shelter continue to remain
homeless, and poll promises have not
been fulfilled.
Even the party workers were
unhappy that an outsider leader like
Bedi was thrust upon them and the
electorate, besides the totally negative
campaign against Kejriwal and
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi
which rebounded on the BJP. — IANS
Maisuma areas of the city,” a senior police officer
said.
Shops, public transport and other businesses
remained closed in Srinagar on Wednesday, and
attendance in banks, post offices and government
offices was thin.
Skeletal private transport services and threewheelers, however, plied on roads in uptown
Srinagar.
Inter-district public transport was also affected
because of the shutdown. All examinations
scheduled for the day were cancelled by Kashmir
University.
JKLF Chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik was
taken into preventive custody and some other
separatist leaders were placed under house arrest
in the city.
Meanwhile, the district magistrate of
Baramulla ordered a time-bound probe into the
death of a 24-year-old Farooq Ahmad Bhat, who
was killed in police firing in north Kashmir’s
Palhalan town on Monday.
Director General of Police K Rajendra
Kumar has assured that a thorough probe will be
conducted.
Meanwhile, One person was killed and several
others were feared missing after they were caught
in an avalanche on Wednesday in the ski resort of
Gulmarg in Kashmir, police said.
Bashir Ahmad Bakhshi, 28, a local resident
who acted as a guide for skiers was trapped in
the avalanche and died, senior police official Mir
Sohail said.
The local administration and police have
launched a search operation for skiers and local
people who may have been buried in the snow.
Sohail said locals had informed police that two
groups of people were out on the slopes when
the avalanche hit the area. The exact number of
— IANS
missing was unclear, Sohail said.
Saradha scam: Mitra
denied bail by higher court
KOLKATA:
West
Bengal
Transport
Minister Madan Mitra,
who is currently in
custody in the multicrore-rupee Saradha
chit fund scam, was on
Wednesday denied bail
by a court here.
Mitra moved the
higher court of South
24 Parganas district
and sessions judge
Samaresh Prasad Chowdhury seeking
bail, days after former Trinamool
Congress Rajya Sabha member and coaccused Srinjoy Bose was granted the
relief.
Pressing for his bail, Mitra’s counsel
Milon Mukherjee contended that
there was no direct evidence to prove
his complicity in the scam and also
questioned the way the Central Bureau
of Investigation (CBI) was probing the
scam.
“Mitra has been in custody since
December 12 but the CBI has not
given any direct evidence to suggest his
complicity.
Not a single depositor or witness has
deposed that they were induced to invest
in the Saradha group by Mitra,” said the
defence counsel.
The defence counsel
also questioned why
the CBI has not taken
any steps against the
SEBI or the RBI which
failed to check the
scam.
Opposing the bail
plea, CBI counsel K
Raghavcharyulu called
the accused minister
“Money Mitra” and
said he had “sold his
face” and allured poor people to invest
in the tainted company.
“Mitra’s nexus and complicity is
evident from the signboards in Saradha
offices that show him as the president of
the employees’ union. Not only that, as
an MLA he had assured the company
agents that he was there.
“The man who has sold his face to
dupe poor investors now cannot say he
is not guilty,” argued the CBI counsel.
The prosecution also urged the court
to take a strict view while considering
the bail plea as it involved an economic
offence with wide ramification to the
country’s economy.
“The agents were given an exorbitant
brokerage of 30 per cent which drove
them to hunt for more and more
depositors.
Delay in holding floor test was ‘spoiling the atmosphere’ and promoting ‘horse-trading’
Nitish meets president, seeks Bihar assembly session
NEW DELHI: JD-U leader Nitish Kumar on
Wednesday met President Pranab Mukherjee
and requested that Bihar Governor Keshri Nath
Tripathi be given instructions to take immediate
decision on calling a special session of the
legislative assembly to test his majority as he had
the support of 130 legislators.
The Janata Dal-United leader, who was
accompanied by Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam
Singh Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu
Prasad and Congress General Secretary C P
Joshi, said delay in the floor test was “spoiling
the atmosphere” in Bihar and promoting “horsetrading”.
The former Bihar chief minister was also
accompanied by legislators supporting him,
belonging to his own party, the RJD, the Congress
and the Communist Party of India.
Bihar is facing a political crisis following
the JD-U’s decision to elect Nitish Kumar as its
legislature party leader and expel chief minister
Jitan Ram Manjhi from the party.
Manjhi, who has refused to step down as chief
minister, has said the test of majority should
be conducted on the floor of the house. Nitish
Kumar, who has met the governor to convey that
Nitish Kumar and Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi
the majority support was with him, said there
should be an immediate decision on the issue.
“The governor is a nominee of the president.
We came to him with a prayer that the path
should be paved for formation of (alternative)
government in Bihar at the earliest. We requested
him to give directions for an immediate decision,”
he said.
Nitish Kumar said the Manjhi government
may be given a chance to prove its majority but
without delay.
“The president heard us patiently and said he
will look into it (our demand),” he said.
Nitish Kumar said the governor should not
wait till the budget session to be held later this
month. “The budget should of the government
which proves its majority. The governor’s address
should be of the government which proves its
majority,” he said.
“Not paving the way for formation of a
government is injustice. It is playing with
democracy,” Nitish Kumar added.
He said the BJP was feeling politically isolated
in Bihar and accused it of delaying a decision.
He said the BJP wanted dissolution of the
assembly and imposition of President’s Rule
ahead of the assembly elections to be held later
this year.
In the 243-member Bihar assembly, the JD-U
has 115 legislators — most of whom are reportedly
with Nitish Kumar.
It is backed by 24 legislators of the RJD, five
of the Congress, two independents and one from
the CPI. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has 88
legislators and is supported by three independents.
Nitish Kumar, who also gave a memorandum
to the president, said the media could count 130
legislators supporting him.
Lalu Prasad said the BJP had been limited to
three seats in the Delhi assembly “but wanted to
enter Bihar”.
JD-U President Sharad Yadav was also in the
delegation that was led by Mulayam Singh Yadav.
— IANS
VACCINATION CALL
Swine flu kills
over 400
this year
NEW DELHI: Swine flu has claimed
the lives of 407 people across India
this year, the health ministry said on
Wednesday.
During the period January 1 to
February 10, the total number of
H1N1 cases was 5,157 and the number
of deaths was 407, the ministry said in
a statement.
Most cases were from Delhi,
Gujarat,
Rajasthan,
Karnataka,
Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil
Nadu and Telangana, whereas the
deaths were largely from Maharashtra,
Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan
and Telangana.
The cases were discussed at a highlevel meeting chaired by union health
secretary B P Sharma.
It was attended by DirectorGeneral, Health Services (DGHS)
Jagdish Prasad, representatives of
leading government hospitals such
as Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital,
Safdurjung, AIIMS, and the Indian
Council of Medical Research (ICMR)
and the National Centre for Disease
Control (NCDC).
The meeting discussed the current
trends of morbidity and mortality, the
diagnostic and test algorithms being
followed, availability of diagnostic
kits and drugs, and other preventive
measures.
Based on advice given by experts,
it was decided that various health
institutions treating swine flu cases
be advised for vaccination against
influenza for the concerned health
workers in contact with patients, the
statement said.
To enhance the level of
preparedness, an additional 60,000
Oseltamivir medicines and 10,000
masks were being procured.
In addition, the NCDC has floated a
tender for additional 10,000 diagnostic
kits, it said.
Meanwhile, ten people have tested
positive for swine flu here, a health
department official said on Tuesday.
“So far there are 10 positive cases
in Kolkata. The tests are being run at
the National Institute of Cholera and
Enteric Diseases (NICED) facility in
Beleghata,” a Swasthya Bhavan source
said on conditions of anonymity.
Two women tested positive for
the H1N1 influenza virus in Kolkata
two days ago. Both were admitted in
private hospitals and the condition of
one, who recently visited Mumbai, was
critical.
“Out of the 10, three patients hail
from other states,” the source said here
yesterday.
12
LAW TO LIMIT IMMIGRATION
T H U R S DAY l F E B R U A R Y 1 2 l 2 0 1 5
WORLD
HSBC SCANDAL
British oppn
goes on
warpath
LONDON: British opposition leader
Ed Miliband went on the offensive
on Wednesday over an international
scandal involving London-based
HSBC bank, accusing Prime Minister
David Cameron of being soft on tax
avoidance.
Miliband attacked Cameron as “a
dodgy prime minister” and homed in
on Stephen Green, the former chief
executive and chairman of HSBC who
later became a trade minister under
Cameron and was made a Lord.
“Can the prime minister explain
the revolving door between Tory
party HQ and the Swiss branch of
HSBC?” Miliband asked in heated
exchanges during prime minister’s
question time, a weekly parliament
debate.
“Does the prime minister expect
us to believe that in the three years
Stephen Green was a minister, he
never had a conversation with him
about what was going on at HSBC?”
Labour party Miliband said.
The scandal over leaked files
revealing HSBC’s Swiss account
holders has erupted ahead of a general
election in May, sparking a furious
blame game between Cameron’s
Conservatives and Labour.
Cameron has hit back saying that
Labour was in power at the time the
files were first brought to the attention
of French tax authorities in 2007 and
accusing Labour of having close ties
to Green.
— AFP
Swiss President and Justice Minister
Simonetta Sommaruga during a news
conference on immigration after the
weekly meeting of the Federal Council in
Bern. The Swiss government proposed a
draft law to limit immigration following
a controversial popular vote, but said it
is seeking talks with the European Union
in order not to violate bilateral treaties
including free movement of people.
King Philippe of
Belgium and former
Olympic boxer
Wahhabi during the
King’s visit to the
project OpBoksen,
which aims to develop
social competencies
through sport, in
Genk.
LAST CHANCE: Top world leaders are meeting in Mink to thrash out a solution to Ukraine crisis
Peace summit begins amidst violence
MINSK/DONETSK: The leaders of
Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia
began a summit on solving the Ukraine
conflict in Minsk on Wednesday, which
was overshadowed by renewed violence.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko
said that the talks in the Belarusian capital
were the last chance to end the conflict.
“Either there is de-escalation, a ceasefire
and a withdrawal of heavy weapons, or the
situation gets out of control,” he said before
the talks began, according to the Interfax
news agency.
Poroshenko was about to discuss a
Franco-German peace initiative with
German Chancellor Angela Merkel,
French President Francois Hollande and
Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Also present were the top leaders of
the east Ukrainian separatists, Alexander
Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky.
They had travelled to Minsk to sign an
agreement if the talks are successful,
Andrei Purgin of the self-declared
Donetsk People’s Republic said.
Earlier on Wednesday, the so-called
Ukraine contact group had negotiated
details of the peace plan with envoys of the
separatists.
The results of the closed-door
talks were not made public. Merkel’s
spokesman Steffen Seibert said before
the Chancellor’s departure that “this trip
takes place is a glimmer of hope but not
more.” Poroshenko warned that he might
introduce martial law in Ukraine if the
summit does not bring peace.
“The summit will show whether we
manage to stop the aggressor by diplomatic
means or if we will switch to a different
regime,” he told a cabinet meeting in
Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko (R) welcomes Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and France’s President Francois
Kiev. He added that if the conflict further
Hollande during a meeting in Minsk.
Europe tests spaceplane in
push for reusable space tech
— Reuters
A Vega rocket lifting off from the ESA’s base in Kourou, French Guiana, bearing the Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle. — AFP
The Intermediate
eXperimental Vehicle lifted
off from ESA’s spaceport
following a 40-minute delay
caused by problems with
data transmission systems
A variety of materials ESA sought
to test, ranging from high-tech carbon
fibre to ordinary cork, shielded the craft
from temperatures that can typically
reach more than 1,600 degrees Celsius
during re-entry.
IXV used parachutes to slow down
and flaps and thrusters autonomously
steered it to splash down in the Pacific
Ocean about 100 minutes after the
launch.
There, flotation balloons kept it from
sinking while two Zodiac inflatable
boats raced to the landing site to secure
the spaceplane until it was recovered by
ship.
“It couldn’t have been better..
This will advance the frontiers of
knowledge,” ESA Director-General
Jean-Jacques Dordain said at the launch
site in French Guiana, in comments that
were broadcast on the Internet.
ESA has said it will present data
collected by the 300 pressure and
temperature sensors attached to IXV
around six weeks after the test flight.
IXV, which ESA says cost around
150 million euros ($169.70 million) in
design, development and related ground
support, is similar to Nasa’s space shuttle
orbiters, which were retired in 2011 after
30 years of missions, and to the Dream
Chaser spaceship being developed by
Sierra Nevada Corp.
Unlike those vehicles, however, the
ESA experimental spaceship is wingless.
The next step for ESA will be
development of a re-entry vehicle
dubbed “Pride”, which it says will be
similar to the US military’s X-37B
robotic space plane, though smaller and
cheaper and it will be able to land on a
runway.
— Reuters
escalates: “I, the government and the
parliament are ready to impose martial law
over the whole country.” Dozens of people
were reported killed in eastern Ukraine
on Wednesday, mainly due to shelling of
residential areas.
The separatists said that five civilians
were killed and eight injured when a rocket
exploded at a bus station in Donetsk.
The separatists blamed the Ukrainian
army, who denied responsibility. On
Tuesday, three rocket attacks hit the city of
Kramatorsk, where the Ukrainian military
operation is headquartered. The Security
Council in Kiev said on Wednesday
that 16 people were killed and 48 were
injured in the incident.
The leaders of France, Germany, Russia
and Ukraine were due to attend a peace
summit on Wednesday, with Ukraine’s
pro-Moscow separatists tightening the
pressure on Kiev by launching some of
the war’s worst fighting in an assault on a
government garrison.
The Kiev army said 19 of its soldiers
were killed in a day of pro-Russian
separatist assaults at a single location near
the railway hub of Debaltseve, some of the
worst losses it has reported in nine months
of war.
Rebels who tore up a five-month-old
truce in January are trying to encircle
government forces in Debaltseve, a
strategic location that would let them link
up their main strongholds.
Fighting has already killed more than
5,000 people, and Washington is now
openly talking of arming Ukraine to
defend itself from “Russian aggression”,
raising the prospect of a proxy war in the
heart of Europe between Cold War foes.
— Reuters
NEWS IN BRIEF
Polish farmers hit roads in protest
Cypriot ex-minister,
son jailed in over
arms kickbacks
FRANKFURT:
An
experimental
spaceplane successfully returned to
Earth on Wednesday after a 100-minute
test flight that the European Space
Agency (ESA) hopes will pave the way
for the continent’s first reusable space
transportation systems.
Reusable spaceplanes that can carry
out controlled landings on runways
rather than splashing down in the ocean
could help bring down costs. They
could also enable scientists to bring
back samples from celestial bodies
such as comets. ESA’s Intermediate
eXperimental Vehicle (IXV), which is
the size of a car, lifted off from ESA’s
spaceport in French Guiana aboard
a rocket at 1340 GMT, following a
40-minute delay caused by problems
with data transmission systems.
The spaceplane separated from the
rocket at an altitude of 348 kilometres
and coasted up to an altitude of 413
kilometres before descending back
towards Earth at a speed of 27,000
kilometres an hour (16,777 mph).
SOCIAL SKILLS THROUGH SPORT
ATHENS: Cyprus’s former interior
minister and his son were jailed in
Greece on Wednesday for helping a
leading Greek politician take millions
of euros in kickbacks from arms
deals, according to court officials and
documents.
Dinos Michaelides and his son
Michalis were found guilty of money
laundering and each sentenced to 15
years in prison, court officials said.
A Greek lawyer who was a former
Greek government adviser was jailed
for life for bribery, and his wife to 12
years for money laundering, they said.
According to the charge sheet,
the actions of the defendants had
facilitated payments by a Syrian-born
businessman to Akis Tsohatzopoulos,
a founding member of Greece’s
Socialist PASOK party who served as
defence minister from 1996 to 2001.
Those payments were linked to a
contract agreed by Tsohatzopoulos
during his time in office to supply
Greece with Russian made anti-aircraft
missiles, the court papers said.
All four had denied the charges
and their lawyers said they would
appeal. Tsohatzopoulos was jailed
in 2013 for tax fraud and taking
kickbacks for the arms deals.
Details of lavish spending that
emerged during his trial helped make
the corruption case a symbol of the
injustice felt by ordinary Greeks, who
have seen pensions and wages cut
during the economic crisis.
Michaelides, a centrist politician,
served as interior minister in two
Cypriot governments, the latest in the
late 1990s.
— Reuters
WARSAW: Hundreds of Polish farmers on
Wednesday tried to block roads with their
tractors to the capital Warsaw, demanding
government compensation for losses due
to a Russian embargo on EU agricultural
products.
Imposed in August, the embargo
covers imports of meats, fruits and
vegetables, fish, and dairy products from
Australia, Canada, the European Union,
Norway and the United States. The move
came in retaliation over a raft of Western
sanctions imposed on Russia following
its March 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s
Crimean peninsula and subsequent
meddling in eastern Ukraine. Poland is
asking the EU for around 26 million euros
($29 million) in compensation for the
losses its farmers incurred because of the
embargo. Protesting farmers are asking
for compensation for depressed diary and
pork prices but also for damages caused
by wild boar to their crops and livestock.
Before the sanctions, Russia absorbed
seven per cent of Polish agricultural
exports in 2013, with 86 per cent
going to fellow EU members, notably
neighbouring Germany, according to the
Polish agriculture ministry.
“I’m here to protest because pork
farming has become unprofitable,” said a
40-something pig farmer from the central
town of Lowicz who refused to reveal his
name.
— AFP
A PM BOPE paramilitary police elite unit helicopter overflies during a drill
simulating a BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) hijacking at Golfe Olimpico station in
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil yesterday, as part of the preparations for the Rio 2016
Olympic Games.
— AFP
AC/DC to tour N American stadiums with new drummer
NEW YORK: AC/DC on Wednesday
announced a tour of stadiums across
North America with a replacement for
drummer Phil Rudd, who is accused of
making death threats. The Australian
hard rock elders will open the tour of the
United States and Canada on August 22 at
the New England Patriots’ Gillette Stadium
near Boston, with the 13th and final date
on September 28 at Dodger Stadium in
Los Angeles.
AC/DC — who released a new album,
Rock or Bust, in November — previously
announced 25 dates in Europe starting on
May 5 in The Netherlands.
AC/DC on Sunday performed at the
Grammy Awards with Chris Slade — the
band’s drummer in the early 1990s —
replacing Rudd.
Slade earlier said on his Facebook
page that he would play with AC/DC
throughout the tour for “Rock or Bust.”
Rudd, who helped record Rock or
Bust, will go on trial in April on charges of
threatening to kill and drug possession
in New Zealand, where he has lived since
1983. He was also initially accused of
trying to hire a hitman, but the charge
was dropped after prosecutors cited
insufficient evidence.
— AFP
REGION
T H U R S DAY
FEBRUARY 12 l 2015
omandailyobserver
13
US, UK and France shut embassies in Yemen
AGAINST TAKEOVER: Thousands hold
protest marches against Houthi rule
SANAA: Yemenis in the central city
of Taiz and the capital Sanaa held the
largest protests yet against a takeover by
the Houthi group on Wednesday after
the United States, Britain and France
shut their embassies in Yemen over
security fears.
The Houthi movement has called its
seizure of power in Yemen a “revolution”
and says it wants to rid the country of
corruption and economic peril.
Yemen has long been at the forefront
of the US-led war against Al Qaeda
but the long-standing alliance between
Washington and Sanaa appears to have
ended for now.
On Tuesday, the United States
stopped work at its embassy and
withdrew its diplomatic staff, and
France and Britain followed suit on
Wednesday.
Employees of the German embassy
said its mission was also getting rid of
sensitive documents and would soon
close.
The Houthis, who overran Sanaa in
September and formally took power
last week, are stridently anti-American,
and chant “death to America” at rallies.
Their leader Abdel Malik al Houthi
has also blasted what he calls Western
meddling in Yemen.
“Recent unilateral actions disrupted
the political transition process in
Yemen, creating the risk that renewed
violence would threaten Yemenis and
the diplomatic community in Sanaa,”
US State Department spokesperson Jen
Psaki said.
But Houthi struck a conciliatory
tone in a televised speech on Tuesday.
“It is in the interest of every power,
domestic and foreign, to stabilise this
country,” he said.
But Houthi forces advanced far into
the south on Tuesday night, according
to local officials, continuing with their
of expansion of recent months which
has angered many and is raising fears of
an all-out civil war.
Leaders and tribesmen in the
southern and eastern regions, which
the group has yet to seize, are arming
themselves against their push.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
(AQAP), one of the global militant
group’s most powerful arms, has
repeatedly bombed and attacked Houthi
targets along with the tribesmen.
Other tribes from Yemen’s formerly
independent South, which has
clamoured for secession for almost a
decade, vowed on Wednesday to repel
any Houthi attack.
The Houthi forces are bolstered by
army units widely believed to maintain
Anti-Houthi protesters demonstrate to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the uprising that toppled former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Yemen’s
southwestern city of Taiz, yesterday. — Reuters
loyalty to ex-president Ali Abdullah
Saleh. Saleh and his former ruling party
have denied an attempt to settle old
scores and reassert its control over the
country through the Houthis.
Gunmen shot in the air and thrust
Houthi fighters, bedecked in tribal
robes and automatic rifles, were out daggers at hundreds of protesters
in force manning checkpoints and opposing their rule.
In Taiz, which the Houthis do
guarding government buildings they
not control, huge crowds of tens of
control in the capital.
thousands carried banners and chanted
slogans against the group. Opponents
of the Houthi group have decried the
takeover as a coup.
— Reuters
Rouhani says goal of nuclear Syrian air attacks kill nearly 200
talks is ‘win-win’ outcome
AMMAN: Syrian air force raids have
killed at least 183 people in insurgent
strongholds east of the capital in the
past 10 days, a monitoring group said
on Wednesday, in tit-for-tat bombing
after rebels fired dozens of rockets at
Damascus last week.
The bombs targeted the green belt
of Ghouta around the capital and
markets in the city of Douma, about 10
km northeast of central Damascus, the
Britain-based Syrian Observatory for
Human Rights said.
Syrian officials were not available to
comment.
Rockets fired on Tuesday from
President Hassan Rouhani waves to the crowd during a rally in Tehran’s Azadi Square to mark the 36th anniversary of the
Islamic Revolution and, right, schoolgirls show their palms bearing slogans reading: “I love you Iran” at the rally.
— AFP
BEIRUT: President Hassan Rouhani
said on Wednesday the goal of Iran’s
negotiations with world powers on its
nuclear programme was a “win-win”
outcome, a further signal that Tehran
could accept a compromise to defuse a
stand-off that has raised fears of war.
He said “win-win” would entail
Iran showing transparency in pursuing
peaceful nuclear energy in exchange
for a removal of “wrong, inhumane and
illegal” sanctions imposed on Iran over
suspicions of a covert nuclear bomb
agenda.
On Sunday, Iran’s highest authority,
religious Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei, hinted he could accept a deal
in which neither side got everything it
wanted and gave his strongest defence
yet of Rouhani’s decision to negotiate
with the West, a policy opposed by
powerful hardliners at home.
Khamenei, however, also warned it
would be better to have no agreement
with the powers than a bad one.
Rouhani has often been blasted by
hardliners for allegedly undermining
Iran’s national interests through pursuing
detente with the West.
In his speech on Wednesday
at ceremonies marking the 36th
anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution,
Rouhani emphasised that Khamenei has
backed the high-stakes diplomacy - an
attempt to quiet his hawkish critics.
“The same way that we defended
our independence on the battlefield, we
have and will continue to defend our
independence at the negotiating table,”
Rouhani said, according to the official
news agency IRNA.
“What we are after in the negotiations
is to reach a win-win mutual
understanding.”
The negotiations between Iran
and the United States, Russia, China,
France, Germany and Britain face an
initial deadline for a basic framework
agreement at the end of March, and a
June 30 deadline for a final settlement.
The broad goal of the negotiations
is to restrain Iran’s nuclear capacity to
remove any concerns it could be put
to developing bombs in return for the
lifting of sanctions that have ravaged the
Iranian economy.
Rouhani also addressed criticism
about Iran’s regional role. “If you want
peace and well-being to be in place in the
Middle East and you want terrorism to be
uprooted, then there’s no path other than
the presence of Iran,” he said, according
to Fars news agency. — Reuters
NATURE’S FURY
A high wave crashes into a damaged road, as high winds sweep through Lebanon during a storm by the seaside in Dbayeh,
north of Beirut, yesterday. — Reuters
Ghouta killed at least 10 people in
Damascus.
The group behind that attack said it
was in revenge for Syrian army bombing
of civilian areas.
On Tuesday many of the wounded
were taken from the rubble of flattened
buildings to medical centres, the
Observatory said.
One barrel bomb attack by Syrian
forces last Thursday in a Ghouta market
killed at least 40 people, the Observatory
said. Syrian President Bashar al Assad
said in an interview broadcast on
Tuesday that the Syrian air force did not
use barrel bombs, which are containers
packed with explosives and projectiles
that are dropped from helicopters.
Hezbollah fighting near Israeli
lines: Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Syrian
regime forces fighting dissidents in
southern Syria have advanced to the
edge of Israeli-occupied territory,
a monitor and state media said on
Wednesday.
“Regime troops and their Hezbollahled allies are advancing in the area
linking Daraa, Quneitra and Damascus
provinces,” close to the Israeli-occupied
Golan Heights, said the Syrian
Observatory for Human Rights.
— Agencies
Libyan
factions hold
UN-backed
peace talks
TRIPOLI: UN negotiators resumed
talks on Wednesday with delegates
from Libya’s warring factions, holding
separate meetings with rival parties in
the latest attempt to end the OPEC oil
producer’s political crisis and broker
a ceasefire.
Libya is caught up in a struggle
between
an
internationally
recognised government and a rival
administration set up in Tripoli after
an armed faction seized the capital
last summer.
Both are backed by brigades of
fighters who helped oust veteran
leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 but
have since turned against one another
in a complex conflict involving tribes,
former Gaddafi troops, militants and
federalist forces.
UN special envoy Bernardino
Leon met representatives of the rival
governments in the southern town of
Ghadames near the Algerian border.
Both governments operate their own
parliaments and armed forces in a
conflict Western powers fear will slide
into broader civil war.
“Separate meetings are being
held among the participants of
the UN-sponsored peace talks in
Ghadames,” said Abdulmenam al
Jarrai, a spokesman for the delegation
from the House of Representatives,
the
internationally
recognised
parliament.
The Twitter account of the UN
mission in Libya posted pictures
of Leon with the delegations and
confirmed the separate rounds of
talks.
— Reuters
Syrian refugees brave the cold and snow as they walk to a metro station in
Istanbul, Turkey, yesterday, at the start of a day’s begging.
— Reuters
Egypt court overturns
death sentences of 33
CAIRO: An Egyptian appeals court on
Wednesday overturned death sentences
of 33 alleged supporters of ousted
president Mohamed Mursi and ordered
a retrial.
A lower court in June condemned
to death 183 hardliners, including
the 33, for the alleged murder of two
policemen and attempted murder of
five others in the southern province of
Minya on August 14, 2013.
The defendants were found guilty of
committing the murders on the same
day that police killed hundreds of Mursi
backers in Cairo clashes.
The June verdict came after a speedy
mass trial and sparked an international
outcry, with the United Nations saying
such mass verdicts were “unprecedented
in recent history”.
On Tuesday, the Court of Cassation
overturned the death sentences of the
33 hardliners and life terms of three
others, and ordered their retrial, the
official Mena news agency and defence
lawyer Mohammed Tosson said.
The 36 defendants were in custody
and had appealed against the lower
court’s verdict, said Ossama El-Helw,
another defence lawyer.
Other co-defendants sentenced to
death had been tried in absentia as they
are on the run, and automatically face a
retrial if they surrender.
Among those tried in absentia
and sentenced to death last June was
Mohamed Badie, who heads Mursi’s
Brotherhood movement, although
he was in prison at the time of the
trial.
— AFP
14
omandailyobserver
EUROPE
T H U R S DAY
FEBRUARY 12 l 2015
PERILOUS CROSSING: Victims were migrants mainly from sub-Saharan Africa
IN BRIEF
300 feared drowned in new
Mediterranean boat tragedy
British police arrest man, two
women on suspicion of terrorism
ROME: More than 300 migrants were
feared drowned on Wednesday after
their overcrowded dinghies sank in the
Mediterranean, the latest boat disaster
on the perilous crossing from Africa to
Europe.
The victims were among migrants
mainly from sub-Saharan Africa who
had left the coast of Libya at the weekend
in four small boats, the UN refugee
agency said.
“This is a tragedy on an enormous
scale and a stark reminder that more
lives could be lost if those seeking safety
are left at the mercy of the sea,” UNHCR
Europe director Vincent Cochetel said in
a statement.
Details of the new disaster emerged
after nine survivors out of a group of
more than 200 packed into two dinghies
were rescued by the coastguard and taken
to the Italian island of Lampedusa — just
days after 29 perished in the same area.
“Nine were saved after four days at
sea. The other 203 were swallowed by the
waves,” UNHCR spokeswoman in Italy,
Carlotta Sami, said on Twitter.
The agency later said that reports
gathered by UNHCR from the Italian
coastguard and the survivors in
Lampedusa now suggest some 300
people are confirmed missing.
In the last year alone, several
thousand people have died trying to
cross from north Africa to Europe across
the Mediterranean, on what the United
Nations has described as the most
dangerous route in the world.
The IOM said the surviving migrants
from the latest disaster spoke French, so
probably came from west Africa.
“Because of the bad weather
LONDON: British police said on Wednesday they had arrested a man in northwest
England on suspicion of preparing acts of terrorism and were searching five
properties as part of their investigation.
“It is absolutely vital to stress — and I hope at the same time reassure the public
- that there is no current threat or evidence of an imminent attack,” said Detective
Chief Superintendent Tony Mole of the North West Counter Terrorism Unit
(NWCTU).
The NWCTU said the man, 31, was in police custody after he was arrested on
suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts
of terrorism. Searches at the five premises in St Helens and Liverpool would last
several hours and possibly days, police said.
In a separate development on Wednesday, officers from the West Midlands
Counter Terrorism Unit said they had arrested two women from Walsall in
connection with Syria-related offences.
One, aged 23, was held on suspicion of preparing for acts of terrorism and the
other, aged 33, is accused of failing to disclose information.
Britain raised its international terrorism threat level to “severe” last August,
meaning an attack is considered highly likely, and there have been dozens of arrests
since then.
— Reuters
Jail term for Belgian hardliners
Migrants who survived a shipwreck arrive at the Lampedusa harbour yesterday.
conditions, the two dinghies collapsed
and the people fell at sea. Many drowned,”
said the IOM spokesman in Italy, Flavio
Di Giacomo.
The
organisation’s
spokesman
in Geneva Joel Millman said that
information was coming in about
another stricken boat and warned that
the overall toll may reach as many as 350.
Di Giacomo said the latest victims
had left from a beach near Tripoli along
with another dinghy also carrying more
than 100 migrants plucked from their
distressed boat by the Italian coastguard
early on Monday.
The 29 who were found on Saturday
had died of exposure in horrific
conditions in international waters, in
what humanitarian organisations said
was an avoidable tragedy.
Their small boat was hopelessly
ill-equipped to cope with waves up to
eight metres high, gale-force winds and
torrential rain.
But doctors involved in the rescue
operation believe more would have
survived if they had been rescued by a
large military vessel rather than the small
patrol boats that were sent to their aid.
The latest deaths have highlighted
— Reuters
the limited means and scope of Triton,
an EU-run mission which took over in
November from the Italian navy’s Mare
Nostrum search and rescue operation.
Italy decided to scale back the mission
after its EU partners refused to share
running costs of around nine million
euros ($10 million) a month.
Triton, which comes under the
authority of the EU borders agency
Frontex, has a monthly budget of 2.9
million euros ($3.3 million) and its
patrols are generally restricted to the
territorial waters of EU member states.
— AFP
ANTWERP: A Belgian court sentenced the leader
of a hardliner group that sent fighters to Syria to a
12-year jail term on Wednesday and imprisoned
several other members in one of the largest cases
of its kind in Europe.
Fouad Belkacem, 32, the chief of the
Sharia4Belgium group, was convicted by a court in
the northern port city of Antwerp of radicalising,
recruiting and dispatching young men to fight war.
Forty-six members of the group originally faced
charges of belonging to a terrorist organisation,
but only eight were actually present during the
five-month trial, with one deemed medically unfit Ozana Rodrigues, the
mother of Brian De Mulder,
to stand trial.
The rest were believed to be either still in Syria, talks to the media after the
verdict is delivered in a trial
or dead.
of the group in Antwerp
Muslim convert Jejoen Bontinck, 19 — whose yesterday.
— Reuters
father brought him home from Syria in a celebrated
case and who later became a key prosecution witness — received a 40-month
suspended sentence.
“Belkacem is responsible for the radicalisation of young men to prepare them
for ... combat, which has at its core no place for democratic values,” the judge said
in his ruling.
“Sharia4Belgium recruited these young men for armed combat and organised
their departure for Syria.”
— AFP
Germany bids farewell to Weizsaecker
German honour guard soldiers carry the coffin of former President Richard von
Weizsaecker during a state funeral service at the Cathedral in Berlin yesterday.
— Reuters
BERLIN:
Germany held a state
funeral on Wednesday for Richard von
Weizsaecker, the president at the time
of reunification who helped the country
deal with its wartime past by saying it
had been “liberated” by the Nazis’ defeat.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was
due to dash to Belarus later in the day
for key Ukraine peace talks, was among
about 1,400 guests gathered at Berlin’s
Protestant Cathedral to bid farewell to
the ex-president.
Weizsaecker — who held the largely
ceremonial post for a decade, including
when East and West Germany reunited
in 1990, less than a year after the fall of
the Berlin Wall — died on January 31 at
the age of 94.
He is widely remembered for a
stirring speech in 1985 to mark the 40th
anniversary of the end of World War II
when he declared that Nazi Germany’s
capitulation on May 8, 1945 had been a
“day of liberation”.
Weizsaecker — who held the
largely ceremonial post for a
decade, including when East
and West Germany reunited
in 1990, less than a year
after the fall of the Berlin
Wall — died on January 31 at
the age of 94.
Current President Joachim Gauck
led tributes to Weizsaecker, whose coffin
was draped in the German flag at the
front of the cathedral, saying he was a
“great German” and had won “esteem
and sympathy” worldwide for Germany.
“German history shaped him,” Gauck
said, “and he himself left deep traces in
the history of our country.”
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter
Steinmeier said Weizsaecker had “given
the world new trust in our country”
at a time when Germany was moving
towards reunifying.
Born into an aristocratic family,
Weizsaecker, a member of Merkel’s
Christian Democratic Union, won a
seat in the Bundestag lower house of
parliament in 1969 after a career in
business and served as mayor of West
Berlin from 1981.
He was elevated to the German
presidency in 1984 and championed
reconciliation with the communist
East before winning a second term
a few months before the Berlin Wall
fell, later overseeing Germany’s joyous
reunification and the end of the Cold
War.
As a soldier during World War II, he
was wounded several times. After the
war assisted the lawyer at the US-run
Nuremberg trials defending his father,
Ernst, who had been a foreign ministry
official under the Nazis.
— AFP
All responsibility has been loaded on to me with no respect for the truth or for the memory of the victims: Schettino
Tearful Concordia skipper pleads for mercy
GROSETTO: Costa Concordia captain
Francesco Schettino broke down in tears
in court on Wednesday as he made an
emotional last-ditch appeal to judges to
clear him of causing the 2012 disaster.
Claiming to be the victim of a plot to
make him the scapegoat for a shipwreck
that claimed 32 lives, the 54-year-old
captain urged the three judges to acquit
him.
Schettino, who faces a 26-year prison
term if convicted on manslaughter and
other charges, said: “I have spent the last
three years in a media meat grinder.
“It is difficult to call what I have been
living through a life.
“All the responsibility has been loaded
on to me with no respect for the truth or
for the memory of the victims.”
Schettino then began to detail the
hounding and character assassination he
says he has been subjected to.
He was unable to complete his
remarks.
Criticising prosecutors who had
highlighted his lack of public remorse for
the victims, he said: “Pain does not have
to be shown in public,” before breaking
into loud sobs.
Apparently overcome with emotion,
he concluded by declaring “basta
(enough)” before slumping back down
into his seat.
The judges in what has been a
19-month trial with a single defendant
were due to retire on Wednesday to
consider a verdict.
That was expected to be delivered later
Wednesday or early Thursday.
Prosecutors have asked for Schettino to
be given a prison sentence of 26 years and
three months for multiple manslaughter,
causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship
with passengers and crew still on board.
He stands accused of recklessly
steering the giant cruise ship onto rocks
off the Tuscan island of Giglio with more
than 4,000 people on board, negligently
Captain of the Costa Concordia cruise
liner Francesco Schettino prepares to
read a speech during his trial in
Grosseto yesterday.
— Reuters
delaying an order to abandon ship
and then leaving the ship himself in a
cowardly and unprofessional manner.
Schettino blames his crew for the
collision, says the delayed evacuation may
have saved lives and insists he fell off the
tilting boat and was then ordered by its
owners not to go back onboard.
Summing up the case for conviction
on Tuesday, prosecutor Stefano Pizza
told the court there was a “tsunami of
evidence,” against the captain, whom he
had earlier described as “an idiot.”
The captain’s lead counsel, Domenico
Pepe, said he was confident the judges
would not find his client guilty of all the
charges. “I don’t expect a verdict until late
this evening or Thursday because there
are lots of questions to be examined and
checked,” Pepe said.”Until now the judges
have appeared very objective.”
The key to Schettino’s defence is the
assertion made in his final statement:
that he cannot be reasonably said to
be the only person responsible for the
deaths that occurred given the multiple
contributory factors.
His lawyers say a poorly-trained crew
was responsible for setting the ship on
its fatal course and that the practise of
passing close to shorelines to entertain
passengers was effectively company
policy.
Charts on board were not accurate
and, crucially, the Indonesian helmsman,
Jacob Rusli Bin, was unable to understand
an order from Schettino to change course
just before the collision, the defence
contends.
They also argue that it was not the
collision, but rather the chaos that ensued
due to the ship losing power that was the
direct cause of the deaths.
Schettino cannot be blamed for this
mechanical failure, they say.
Costa Crociere, the company that
owned the ship, sidestepped potential
criminal charges in 2013 by agreeing to
pay a one million euro ($1.10 million)
fine.
It is being sued by survivors, the
Tuscany region and Giglio island for
further damages.
— Reuters
ONLINE SECURITY
Dutch govt
website outage
caused by
cyber attack
AMSTERDAM: Cyber attackers
crippled the Dutch government’s
main websites for most of Tuesday
and back-up plans proved ineffective,
exposing the vulnerability of critical
infrastructure at a time of heightened
concern about online security.
The outage at 0900 GMT
lasted more than seven hours and
on Wednesday the government
confirmed it was a cyber attack.
The United States has beefed
up cybersecurity laws and created
an intelligence-gathering unit to
coordinate analysis of cyberthreats
after attacks against Sony Pictures
and Home Depot.
The outage affected most of the
central government’s major websites,
which provide information to the
public and the media, but phones
and emergency communication
channels remained online.
Other
websites,
including
GeenStijl.nl, a popular portal which
mocks politicians and religions, were
also hit by the “distributed denial
of service” (DDoS) attack, said
Rimbert Kloosterman, an official at
Government Information Service,
which runs the websites.
“Our people are investigating
the attack together with the people
from the National Centre for Cyber
Security,” he said.
The complexity and size of the
government’s many websites had
rendered the back-up useless, he
said.
Prolocation, the website host,
said the attack had been a “complex”
problem and that its phone lines had
also gone down.
“The initial symptoms pointed
first to a technical problem, but it
then emerged we were facing an
attack from the outside,” the company
said in a statement.
— Reuters
16
omandailyobserver
PANORAMA
T H U R S DAY
FEBRUARY 12 l 2015
Workers use cement to fill in part of a road that caved in, in Wuhan, Hubei province of China, yesterday. No one was injured
when the area of around 300 square metres caved in on Tuesday evening due to a fault in the construction of a subway line,
local media reported.
— Reuters
A worker makes red
lanterns as orders
hike ahead of the
Spring Festival, at a
workshop in Wenxian
county, Henan
province of China.
The Chinese Lunar
New Year on
February 19 will
welcome the Year of
the Sheep (also
known as the Year of
the Goat or Ram).
— Reuters
W A Thai teenager (R) browses
bouquets of roses ahead of
Valentine’s Day at a flower
market in Bangkok. People are
expected to spend $113
million on this year’s
Valentine’s Day, up by only
4.52 per cent from the
previous year, according to
the University of Thai
Chamber of Commerce
(UTCC). — AFP
An African gray crowned crane (Balearia regulorum) — an endangered species — and her twomonth old baby are seen at the Santa Fe zoo in Medellin, Antioquia department, Colombia.
The animal was taken from the farm of the late drug lord Pablo Escobar.
— AFP
Greek Presidential
Guards perform the Changing of
the Guard in front of the Tomb of the
Unknown Soldier outside the Greek
parliament in Athens. — AFP
An Alaskan sea otter is given a heart-shaped block of ice,
presented by his keeper, inside its enclosure in the
aquarium of an amusement park in Yokohama, Japan. The
event takes place once a day for park visitors until February
15 in celebration of Valentine’s Day on February 14. — AFP
A veterinarian checks a baby blue-and-yellow macaw (Ara
ararauna) at the Santa Fe zoo in Medellin, Antioquia
department, Colombia. Fourteen babies macaw, which
inhabit from Panama to northern Paraguay, were seized by
Colombian authorities from animal traffickers, in Santo
Domingo municipality, Antioquia department, which have
a black market value of between $1500 and $2700. — AFP
Riders are seen after a fall during the fourth stage of the 2015 Tour of Qatar, between al Thakhira and Mesaieed (165,5 kms)
yesterday. Dutch rider Niki Terpstra of the Etixx team retained the leader’s gold jersey of the Tour of Qatar after yesterday’s
fourth stage won by Norwegian Alexander Kristoff, the Katusha cyclist’s second success.
— AFP
A Pakistani policeman demonstrates a
skill during a special elite police
training course at a police training
centre in Nowshera, a district in the
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province,
yesterday.
— AP
A worker cleans a carnival float at the Grande Rio samba school, in preparation for
the annual carnival parade, in Rio de Janeiro. The Rio de Janeiro Carnival will be
held from February 13 to February 17.
— Reuters
THURSDAY | FEBRUARY 12, 2015 | RABEE AL THANI 22, 1436 AH
P20
P21
P19
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Bank Nizwa moots
United Fin merger
VINOD NAIR
MUSCAT
Google Earth
Pro now free
BERLIN: Google is making
its mapping service Google
Earth Pro available for free.
The programme used to cost
$400 a year, but now the
software can be downloaded
at no cost.
Google Earth Pro
supports all the functions
of the already free, basic
version of Google Earth, but
in addition it allows users to
print high-resolution images
and measure 3D buildings.
It’s also possible to record
High Defenition videos of
virtual sightseeing flights.
— dpa
Feb 11: Bank Nizwa has communicated to
United Finance via a letter of its interest to
explore the possibility of a strategic merger
between the two entities, according to an MSM
filing. This proposal is subject to both parties
agreeing to the terms of the arrangement
and obtaining the necessary approvals from
the respective shareholders and regulators.
The bank will update the market on any
developments on this matter.
United Finance too filed a statement saying
that it had received a communication from
Bank Nizwa proposing the possibility of a
strategic merger.
“The proposal from Bank Nizwa will be
considered by United Finance Company Board
of Directors in their next Board meeting and
further disclosure concerning this matter will
be made as and when there are developments
to report,” the company said. Kindly note, the
proposed arrangement is subject to the approval
of the Board of Directors, the shareholders of
the company and the Regulators.
According to Joice Mathew, senior manager,
research development, Uniited Securities, both
companies have a similar sizes of loan book
and if the merger happens in the first half, Bank
Nizwa’s loan book will be nearly doubled and
they will have access to higher margin assets.
United Finance made a profit of close to RO5
million last year while Bank Nizwa recorded
a substantial fall in losses at RO 7.7 million
for 2014. So if the merger goes through, Bank
Nizwa may reach break even sooner. But much
will depend on how much premium Bank
Nizwa will be ready to offer for the deal.” He
said talks about the deal was not discussed or
reported in public earlier.
Bank Nizwa, which started operations in
2013 as one of Oman’s two full-fledged Islamic
banks, has a market capitalisation of about $320
million, according to an agency data. United
Finance claims to be Oman’s largest non-bank
financial institution, and offers loans and leasing
services as well as corporate deposits. Its market
capitalisation is about $105 million.
UAE firm sets up Sohar Food Cluster Company
BUSINESS REPORTER
MUSCAT
Feb. 11: Sohar Port and Freezone has
entered into a new partnership with
UAE-based business conglomerate Essa
Al Ghurair Investment with the aim of
promoting value chain, food processing,
and logistics support within a growing
multibillion-dollar
regional
food
industry.
Essa Al Ghurair Investment will
lease a 93,000 square metre plot from
Sohar Port and Freezone until July 2043.
The creation of Sohar Food Cluster
Company will allow Essa Al Ghurair
Investments to focus on the development
of value chains, which will be ideal
considering the availability of dedicated
infrastructure and competitive prices at
Top officials of Sohar Port and Freezone and Essa Al Ghurair Investment at the
agreement signing ceremony.
Sohar Port; robust food demand in the
In addition to this agreement there
GCC, and strong financial projections will be a purchase of prevailing assets
for a number of identified industries and from Sohar Port and Freezone.
projects.
TO PAGE 19
18
omandailyobserver
OMAN
UAE firm sets up Sohar Food Cluster Company
FROM PAGE 17
The contract was signed by Sultan bin
Salem al Habsi, Chairman of Sohar Port
and Freezone; Andre Toet, CEO - Sohar
Port and Freezone; and Essa bin Abdullah
al Ghurair, Chairman of Essa Al Ghurair
Investment Company. Contracts were
signed at the Dubai World Trade Centre
during Gulfood 2015. As the world’s
largest food and hospitality show, the
signing provided a reminder of the role
both companies can play in reducing the
cost of getting food in and out of the Gulf.
“We are delighted to welcome Essa
Al Ghurair Investment and its Sohar
Food Cluster Company to Sohar. As part
of our agreement, Sohar Food Cluster
Company will have the option to
begin developing, either by themselves
or through joint ventures with
international companies, services and
industries that are linked to production,
initially at Sohar Flour Mill,” said Andre
Toet.
T H U R S DAY
FEBRUARY 12 l 2015
US company wins deal to build
pilot boats for Duqm Port
CONRAD PRABHU
MUSCAT
Feb. 11: US boat builder Kvichak
Marine Industries says it has won a
contract to manufacture and supply a
pair of all-weather pilot boats for Port
of Duqm Company.
The deal underscores efforts by
the port management to rampup its capabilities ahead of an
anticipated upsurge in commercial
traffic and cargo volumes linked to
the implementation of a number of
mega projects at the adjoining Special
Economic Zone (SEZ).
The 19-metre-long all-aluminium
boats will be manufactured at Kvichak
Marine’s Seattle-Washington facilities
based on designs provided by the
UK’s Camarc Design, one of Europe’s
leading small craft design firms
specialising in the design of seaworthy
high-speed craft.
According to Kvichak Marine,
the pilot boats will be capable of
operating in all kinds of weather,
including high winds and choppy sea
conditions characteristic of Oman’s
khareef season. Designed to operate
at top speeds of around 20 knots, the
boats can also be deployed as search
and rescue, as well as oil spill recovery
vessels.
Established in 1981, Kvichak
Marine is one of the premier
aluminium boat builders of the United
States specialising in the manufacture
of all kinds of aluminium workboats,
notably for law enforcement,
fire-fighting,
passenger
ferry
services, piloting and general
commercial use.
Delivery of the two boats is slated
sometime during the Spring of 2016
coinciding with a projected uptrend in
visits by ships laden with construction
material, project cargo, and other
merchandise destined for industries
scheduled for implementation at the
Duqm SEZ.
Construction work on a worldscale refinery complex with a capacity
to process 230,000 barrels per day
of heavy crude is due to kick off
Muscat Gases seeks
higher LPG allocation
BUSINESS REPORTER
MUSCAT
Feb. 11: Muscat Gases Company
SAOG posted a six per cent
drop in net profit after tax for
the year ended December 31,
2014, a decline it attributed to
competition and the increasingly
challenging LPG bulk supply market
environment.
Net profit after tax dipped to RO
1.363 million for 2014, down from
RO 1.443 million a year earlier.
Omar Ahmad Salim Qatan,
Chairman, said in the Directors’
Report that the decline was to a
number of factors, including the
increase in the average LPG Bulk
purchasing price, zero exports of
LPG and other gases in the wake of
a supply crunch from the source, and
severe competition in the domestic
LPG supply industry.
Revenues totaled RO 9.838 million
last year, mirroring the previous
year’s figure of RO 9.838 million.
He said the company is
implementing
new
strategic
projects in different locations
around the Sultanate aimed at
diversifying sources of income and
ensuring
sustainable
growth.
Besides, the company is continuing
to press the authorities concerned to
increase the allocation of LPG for its
customers.
The Board recommends a cash
dividend of 40 per cent for 2014.
(OEPPA Business Development
Dept)
during the latter half of 2016. Also
anticipated is a significant pick-up in
the quantities of oil and gas equipment
bound for the oilfield areas of Wusta
and Dhofar governorates especially as
a number of major upstream ventures
get underway.
Also expected to contribute to
shipping traffic is the imminent
launch of container operations for
the first time at the Port of Duqm.
The first ship laden with a modest
number of transshipment containers
is expected to call at Duqm during the
first quarter of this year.
(OEPPA Business Development
Dept)
Are you keen to
learn Arabic?
MUSCAT: Polyglot Institute
offers Arabic classes open to
all nationalities and welcomes
students
from
different
backgrounds and walks of life.
There are classes from beginners
up to advanced level developing
the four language skills: speaking,
listening, reading & writing.
Each Arabic course is 2 days a
week for 8 weeks. Come and join
our affordable and convenient
courses. Established in 1975,
Polyglot Institute is responsible
for pioneering vocational training
within the Sultanate, and this has
been recognised with the institute
getting classified as a Grade
‘A’ Institute by the Ministry of
Manpower.
For more information, contact
us on 24 66 66 66.
Countdown begins for
a new global school
MUSCAT: A new international school based on the highly
regarded International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum and
to which it will seek over time accreditation, will launch
in Muscat in September, enrolment for which will start on
February 15. It will set new standards for quality education
emphasising on creative problem solving, hands-on
projects, inquiry-based learning and community service. Al
Shomoukh International School at Al Hail will initially offer
courses from KG 1 to Grade 9 with English as the language
of instruction, adding a grade each year. Each class will be
no larger than 25 students. The courses will be administered
by highly qualified staff from the Middle East, New Zealand,
Australia, United Kingdom, Ireland and Europe after going
through a rigorous professional probation and appraisal.
Other than the IB curriculum, it will also offer the British
IGCSE, the US SATS and access to the Omani National
Curriculum and Graduation Certificate to ensure the
requirement for all students are catered for.
Mr Michael Bradley from Australia will be advising and
assisting in the development of the school as an Educational
Consultant. He has over ten year’s association with the
Middle East and has previously been Director of Chouiefat
Schools in Amman Jordan and Muscat.
OMAN/INTERNATIONAL
T H U R S DAY
FEBRUARY 12 l 2015
omandailyobserver
19
Apple, first firm
India property show opens on Feb 20
with capitalisation
of over $700 bn
MUSCAT: A two-day property show
titled Times International Property
Exhibition, the biggest-ever held in the
Sultanate of Oman, will begin in Muscat
on February 20. The show, to be held in
the Al Falaj Hotel, Ruwi it is Organised
by Arabian gate Expo and supported
by Times of India, India’s leading media
group.
The event will bring over 40 property
developers from various Indian cities
under one roof. The show will be open
from 10.30 am to 9 pm and entry is free.
Apart from developers, housing finance
companies and banks would offer home
loans for NRIs at competitive lending
rates with flexible terms.
The 2-day show will display a wide
range of options in real estate ranging
from apartments, developed plots to row
houses, penthouses, luxury apartments
and villas. More than 200 realty projects
from India to be presented at exhibition
visitors of the Sultanate. Reputed
property developers from India will
showcase their best housing projects to
bring the best value for money to the
customers.
A file picture of a property show held recently.
Property developers from cities
like Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai,
Coimbatore,Hyderabad, Kerala, Delhi,
Mumbai, Pune, Goa, Rajasthan etc. will
offer a variety of investment options to
choose. This is apart from developers
from tier III cities like Coimbatore,
Kochi, Pune, Karjat, Bhopal, Mangalore
and Mysore which are now increasingly
driving demand. A highlight of the event
is the investor conference with sessions
on NRI investment in real estate, market
BUSINESS ALERT
BankDhofar begins Branch Managers
Certification Programme
SAN FRANCISCO: Shares of tech
giant Apple surpassed $122, making the
firm the first company in world history
to exceed $700 billion in capitalisation
at the close of a trading day on Tuesday.
The
Cupertino,
California-based
company had exceeded $700 billion in
capitalisation on a previous occasion,
but this is the first time that it remained
above that level at tech end of trade.
Apple’s value at the close on Wall
Street stood at $710.7 billion.
Investors use stock market
capitalisation, which is calculated by
multiplying the price of one share at the
day’s market close by the total number
of outstanding shares, to determine the
value of a company.
The value of the firm is almost double
that of the three next largest companies
in the Standard & Poor’s 500.
Oil major ExxonMobil, the second
largest company in the world, is
valued at $385 billion, while Berkshire
Hathaway weighs in at $370 billion and
Microsoft at $349 billion.
Apple surpassed $600 billion in
capitalisation in August 2012, after
moving above $500 billion the previous
February. Most analysts believe that
Apple shares are headed still higher.
Some, like Ben Retizes with Barclays,
predict that the tech firm’s shares
will continue rising to the $150 level.
Optimism about Apple’s prospects
skyrocketed after the company
presented its new iPhone models last
September, a move that enabled the
company to take in record earnings of
$18 billion during Q4. — IANS
Poland’s dream of shale
gas riches begins to dim
WARSAW: Poland’s dream of becoming
a shale gas “El Dorado”, bringing
untold riches and assuring energy
independence, is turning into a mirage
as Western firms abandon prospecting
efforts, citing poor results. “We can no
longer talk of a new El Dorado,” said
Grazyna Piotrowska-Oliwa, a former
president of Poland’s PGNiG gas
utility. “The hopes and promises were
excessive,” she said, even though the
official results of the explorations have
yet to be published.
Optimistic estimates suggested
Poland could have up to 1.92 trillion
cubic metres (67.8 trillion cubic feet) of
exploitable shale gas deposits, fuelling
interest from top energy giants around
the world.
But
those
forecasts
were
“exaggerated”, and now “there’s
disappointment” in Poland, according to
analyst Grzegorz Kus of the consultancy
PwC. Leading Polish geology scholars
also say that the country’s shale
deposits are structured so differently
from those found in the United States
that extraction technologies developed
there cannot be applied in Poland.
US energy major Chevron was
the latest to pull the plug on shale gas
prospecting in Poland.
ExxonMobil, Marathon Oil and
Talisman Energy had led the exodus,
followed by French oil giant Total and
Italy’s Eni last year.
“It’s not a surprise and it’s not the
last withdrawal,” Kus said of Chevron.
“It turns out that this market is not as
interesting as it was thought to be.”
He attributed the retreat of global
oil giants to the disappointing results
of exploration, the drop in global fuel
prices, more interesting extraction
opportunities elsewhere in the world,
Polish bureaucracy and planned tax
hikes in Poland’s energy sector.
Fifteen firms are still in the game,
including US major ConocoPhillips,
PGNiG and Polish oil group PKN
Orlen.
— AFP
MUSCAT: In line with its operational strategy and vision to be the best bank
in customer experience, BankDhofar recently commenced a five-month Branch
Managers Certification programme in collaboration with the College of Banking
and Financial Studies (CBFS). The first comprehensive training and development
programme of its kind in the Sultanate comprises of customised subjects and
topics that aim to revamp the branches’ performance to meet and even exceed
the customers’ expectations.
Stressing on BankDhofar’s commitment to apply global banking standards and
best international HR practices, Hosam Qassim Al Jamali — Head of Learning
& Development, said: “We at BankDhofar have subscribed to the philosophy of
delivering the best customer experience. Our branches are considered the first
level of interaction with our customers; and hence, a window into BankDhofar
as a whole. This programme has been designed to suit BankDhofar’s specific
needs while keeping our customers and branches, and our presence in mind. We
aim at empowering our branches to deliver our vision and make our customers
feel like guests.”
More prizes, chances at Bank Sohar
Mumayaz savings scheme
BANK Sohar unveiled the latest edition of the Al Mumayaz Savings Scheme
for the year 2015 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel-Muscat. Following the resounding
success of last year’s campaign, and based on the overwhelming response from
customers, the Bank has comprehensively revamped the Al Mumayaz Savings
Scheme for the year 2015 to offer more chances, more winners and more prizes
with hourly, weekly, monthly, half yearly, year end and special Branch Draws.
Acting CEO of Bank Sohar, Rashad Ali Al Musafir, along with senior
management including R Narasimhan, DGM and Head of Retail Banking,
Munira Abdulnabi Macki, DGM of Human Resource and Corporate Support;
Salim Khamis Al Maskeri, Senior AGM of Branches; Mazin Mahmood Al Raisi,
AGM and Head of Marketing and Publicity; and Khamis Masoud Al Rahbi,
AGM of Branches, addressed journalists at the event.
Rashad Ali Al Musafir, highlighted the efforts by the Bank to develop the new
scheme with innovative features which directly benefit savers and encourage
people to develop a habit of saving to achieve future goals. “Our 2014 Al Mumayaz
Savings Scheme was one of our greatest success stories of last year; significantly
growing in popularity and earning itself a reputation as ‘the’ scheme of choice
with the greatest chance to win within the market. For 2015 we are building on
that success by not only increasing the number of prizes but also adding entirely
new branch-specific prizes as part of weekly and year-end draws,” he added.
Narasimhan highlighted the achievements of Bank Sohar’s retail business
and especially the Saving Scheme over the past year.
trends in select cities and multiple
investment options. Project level options
for both NRI and FDI investment would
be highlighted during the conference.
NRI advisory services would be made
available during the show.
Due to current market scenario and
impacting the overall sentiment of the
market, property prices have stabilised
in most of the micro markets across
major cities. With the result property
developers are offering flexible terms
for investment in residential projects
under various stages of implementation.
The timing is just appropriate for NRI
investors to enter the market. Moreover,
availability of property management
companies to take care of NRIs’
properties during their absence in India
has made NRI investment hassle-free in
multiple cities. Easier lending norms,
flexibility in repatriation with minimal
paperwork, fiscal sops etc. have all made
investment in Indian property market
a viable proposition both for retail and
institutional investors.
There are five countries participating
in International Property Expo. Among
them, India has the biggest pavilion with
more than 40 builders taking part such
as Godrej Properties, Falco Developers,
Shoba Developers, Hirannadani, Nest
Infratech, Heera Homes, MCB Realtors.
Leading banking institutions will
also be part of the Expo to support the
customers finance their dream home in
their home country.
The projects being showcased Ranges
from affordable to luxury and is priced
between RO 2,000 to RO 3,00,000.
Enjoy season of love with Khimji’s Watches
THE Valentine season is
finally here and there is no
better time of year to show
someone special how much
you love them. Giving gifts is one of the oldest and sweetest traditions and always
makes the season so much more meaningful. In this season of love, Khimji’s
Watches offers some of the world’s best designs to help you find the perfect gift
for your beloved.
Madhursinh Jesrani, General-Manager, Khimji’s Watches said: “On Valentine’s
Day, happy are those who successfully touch their loved ones heart with a perfect
gift. As the season of warm embraces and tender vows rolls around, Khimji’s
Watches delights in playing cupid and offering pieces that serve as the most
beautiful declarations of love”.
Khimji’s Watches offers a range of global designs from world’s best brands such
as Rolex, Cartier, Chopard, Piaget, Mikimoto, Girard Perregaux, Tudor, Oris,
Frederique Constant, Bell&Ross and Caran d’Ache. The showroom is located at
Way No. 3036, Building No. 2825, Al Ufouq Building, Shatti Al Qurum, Muscat.
Renault Captur set to capture the imagination
SUHAIL Bahwan Automobiles, the
exclusive importers and distributors
of Renault vehicles in Oman, unveiled
their first urban crossover recently
— The Renault Captur which is agile,
dynamic and elegant, both inside and
out. Drawing on Renault’s expertise,
it explores new territory in terms
of design, comfort, equipment and pleasure. It is a crossover packed with a
turbocharged engine for those occasional bursts of controlled fun. The engine
producing 120 BHP and 190 Nm of torque is mated to a 6-speed automatic
gearbox. Made in Spain, the Renault Captur stands out from the crowd by
delivering the best of three different worlds: The expressive styling and driving
position of an SUV, the cabin space and modular interior of an MPV and the
agility and driving enjoyment of a compact saloon car.
A SBA spokesperson said, “The Captur, Renault’s new urban crossover boasts
comfortable and attractive styling. It embodies a new kind of appeal thanks
to its powerful and seductive lines, along with the originality of the two-tone
paintwork resulting in an attractive contrast between the roof and pillars and
the rest of the bodywork. He further added: “Captur’s desirability is further
heightened by the freshness of the bright colours used in the interior and by its
removable seat covers.”
Toyota Land Cruiser remains unchallenged
SINCE its introduction, the Land Cruiser has built a reputation for toughness
and reliability, becoming the standard by
which other off-road vehicles are measured.
The Pride of the Land, 2015 Toyota Land
Cruiser has a heritage stretching 60+ years as
a symbol of strength, durability and reliability.
Rugged yet luxurious, the Land Cruiser delivers
high-end performance and advanced offroading capabilities. “Welcome to the lap of Luxury” seems an apt and a fitting
introduction to the 2015 Toyota Land Cruiser VXR Premium Edition. With its
premium, upmarket look, it stands head and shoulders above the crowd. It is a
indeed a prized, coveted possession, endorsing its owners superior taste.
The Premium Edition of the 2015 Toyota Land Cruiser is packed with many
new and updated features that include a chrome roof rail, grey coloured alloy
wheels, premium edition emblem, saddle tan leather seats and matt brown wood
finish panelling. It retains its classic lines, accentuating a dominating stance.
Built to last, for years, the Land Cruiser also offers a host of attractive features
that include classy silver colour garnish on the A/C vents, outside temperature
display, keyless entry and fog lamps, power windows, wood/leather steering
wheel, airbags, chrome garnish on outer mirrors, roof mounted rear seat
entertainment, navigation system and much more.
20
omandailyobserver
INTERNATIONAL
T H U R S DAY
FEBRUARY 12 l 2015
Asia shares mostly higher, eyes on Greece talks
HONG KONG: Asian equity markets
mostly rose on Wednesday and the euro
ticked up as hopes grew that Greece
will be able to convince its European
creditors to renegotiate the terms of its
bailout. Dealers were cheered by gains
in New York and Europe ahead of a key
meeting of euro zone finance minister
where Greek officials will present their
first concrete proposals for a new fouryear reform deal.
The euro edged up in Asia ahead of
the talks, fetching $1.1317 and 135.40
yen, against $1.1315 and 135.15 yen in
New York.
In share markets, Seoul rose 0.51 per
cent, or 9.84 points, to 1,945.70, and
Shanghai added 0.51 per cent, or 16.11
points, to end at 3,157.70, while in late
trade Singapore was 0.25 per cent higher
and Mumbai clocked up 0.52 per cent.
However, Sydney skidded 0.54 per
cent, or 31.5 points, to 5,769.1 and Hong
Kong closed 0.87 per cent, or 213.08
points, down at 24,315.02.
Tokyo was closed for a public holiday.
Greece’s combative leaders sparked
fears that Athens could default on its debt
repayments and exit the euro zone when
they vowed not to bow to German-led
pressure to complete an austerity-laden
agreement ahead of talks later in the day.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and
Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis are
seeking stop-gap financing with a view to
clinching a reform deal from September
1 as part of efforts to rewrite the terms of
Greece’s 240 billion euro ($270 billion)
bailout.
They are expected to offer a series
of measures in return, including lower
budget surplus targets and cutting debt
through a swap plan to replace its current
Oil prices rebound in
Asia after heavy selloff
Greece’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras (right) is applauded as the government got the confidence vote early on Wednesday.
Greece’s new leftist government fine-tuned a 10-point plan aimed at persuading its international creditors to reluctantly rethink
their bailout terms and prevent the country from going bust.
— AFP
EU-IMF bailout obligations.
Tsipras said on Tuesday he would
not request the final tranche of cash due
under the terms of its current bailout,
despite pressure from German Finance
Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.
“I want to repeat today, no matter how
much Schaeuble asks it, we are not going
to ask to extend the bailout,” Tsipras said.
However, Schaeuble said earlier in
the day that “it’s over” if Greece does not
want the final slice of aid, according to
Bloomberg News.
While the European leaders seem to
be at loggerheads, analysts said investors
were still confident a deal will be reached.
“The markets don’t see a Greek
exit as highly likely and certainly don’t
think there’s a really negative outcome
looming,” Mark Lister, head of private
wealth research at Craigs Investment
Partners Ltd, told Bloomberg News.
IBM sues Priceline over patents
SAN FRANCISCO: IBM is suing
Priceline over a set of patents that the
century-old technology firm says have
been vital to the relative newcomer’s
success. A lawsuit filed by New York
state-based IBM in US federal district
court accuses the travel and reservations
company of building its business model
on long-time patented IBM technology.
IBM said in the legal filing that it
turned to the court after three years of
fruitless efforts to negotiate licensing
fees with Priceline Group, which
operates priceline.com, opentable.com
and kayak.com.
The four patents at issue in the
case include technology involving
advertising, signing onto websites, and
tracking what shoppers are selecting,
according to the lawsuit.
IBM is asking the court to block
Priceline from using the patented
technology at its websites and to
pay royalties on billions of dollars in
revenue.
Priceline did not respond to an AFP
request for comment regarding the
lawsuit.
At its website, Priceline billed itself
as “the world leader in online travel
and related services.” The Connecticutbased company was founded in 1997.
— AFP
Chief Executive Elon Musk’s global expansion plans in doubt
Tesla CEO threatens firings
after dismal China sales
PARIS/DETROIT: Tesla Motors Chief
Executive Elon Musk is prepared to
fire overseas executives, people with
knowledge of the matter said, after weak
Chinese sales of the company’s luxury
electric cars cast doubt on his ambitious
global expansion plans.
Tesla sold about 120 cars in China
last month, one of the sources said, well
below the company’s aggressive targets.
Musk has previously said he expected
China sales could rival those in the
United States as early as 2015.
Two top China managers left the
company in 2014, Tesla said last year.
Musk indicated other country managers
who are not meeting targets may lose
their jobs, the sources said.
The persons, who spoke over the past
two weeks, were not willing to talk for
attribution because of the sensitivity of
the matter.
Tesla shares slumped 7 per cent on
January 13 after Musk said China sales
were “unexpectedly weak” during the
fourth quarter. “We’ll fix the China issue
and be in pretty good shape probably in
the middle of the year,” Musk added at
the time.
He was more blunt in an internal
email to managers in late January,
threatening to fire or demote country
managers if they are “not on a clear
path to positive long-term cash flow,”
according to two people who have seen
the email.
Reuters did not view the original
email, but was provided with a written
transcript of several key passages by
one of the sources. A second source
confirmed the authenticity of the email.
Tesla did not have an immediate
comment on Tuesday.
While Tesla sales in many overseas
markets from Europe to Asia have not
met expectations - and executives have
subsequently been fired or demoted results have fallen far short in China,
a key market for Musk’s expansion
strategy.
Musk has said Tesla plans to boost
annual production from a projected
50,000 cars this year to 500,000 by
2020, with the United States and China
as the company’s two largest markets.
In January, Musk made an even more
bullish projection that production
would reach “a few million” cars a year
by 2025.
But China sales have persistently
lagged expectations, triggering an
executive shuffle. The company in midDecember confirmed the departure
of China chief Veronica Wu. General
Manager Kingston Chang left Tesla last
March.
Musk in the internal e-mail said
under-performing company managers
in overseas markets “will be asked to
leave or assume a more junior role. This
has already happened in China and will
likely happen in some other countries,
too.”
Tesla began taking orders in China
in mid-2013 for its sole product, the
Model S sedan, and in January 2014 said
the Chinese version of the car would be
priced from around $121,000, including
duties and shipping costs. In an
interview at the time with Bloomberg,
Musk said Tesla sales in China might
equal those in the United States as early
as 2015.
Since then, however, Tesla has
encountered several speed bumps in
China, including the departures of the
two executives and the slower-thanexpected ramp-up of its retail network.
A year ago, Wu said China was expected
to contribute “30 to 35 percent” of Tesla’s
global sales growth in 2014.
Tesla may outline its planned
response to those setbacks as early as on
Wednesday, when Musk is scheduled to
present quarterly earnings to investors.
“China has been a big disappointment
and that’s bound to impact company
goals,” a person close to the company
said. “So they need to show that they are
taking some action to cut costs.”
Tesla’s Model S is one of the most
popular electric cars in the United
States, despite a starting price of more
than $70,000. Last year, Tesla sold an
estimated 18,700 cars in the United
States, according to Autodata.
Tesla managers received a pointed
message in Musk’s internal email.
Executives will answer for their
decisions to “retain any personnel
not involved in vehicle production,”
Musk said, citing finance, HR,
communications and IT as examples.
— Reuters
“There are still a lot of risks out there
but then again the world is growing
very slowly, interest rates are at zero and
central banks remain stimulatory, so
equities can still grind higher, just with
more volatility.”
New York shares rallied on hopes for
a positive outcome, helped by a surge in
Apple to a record high as well and upbeat
earnings results. The Dow climbed 0.79
per cent, the S&P 500 gained 1.07 per
BIZ BRIEF
Dutch ING declares
first dividend since
2008 crisis
THE HAGUE: Leading Dutch bank
ING said on Wednesday it planned
paying a dividend for the first time
since getting a state bailout in 2008,
despite posting a 64 per cent drop in
net profit for 2014.
The bank will pay out a final
2014 dividend of 12 euro cents per
share, for a total of 470 million euros
($531 million), it said in a statement,
adding that the plan was subject to
shareholders’ approval at a annual
general meeting in May.
The Amsterdam-based group
posted a net profit for 2014 of 1.251
billion euros, a 64 per cent drop from
3.545 billion euros the year before.
ING underwent extensive
restructuring after receiving a 10
billion euro rescue package from the
Dutch government in October 2008
during the height of the banking
crisis. It sold off a US-based retail
bank and its insurance businesses
in Canada, Australia, New Zealand,
Latin America and Asia as it sought
to pay back the loan, plus 3.0 billion
euros in interest. ING finished paying
back the state loan in November
last year, months ahead of a May
2015 deadline. As a result, ING chief
executive Ralph Hamers called 2014
a “successful and important year” for
ING.
— AFP
ARM beats Q4
expectations
LONDON: British chip designer ARM
Holdings posted a 25 per cent rise
in fourth-quarter profit, ahead of
expectations, helped by a strong
year end in companies licensing its
technology and growing royalty
revenues from customers such
as Apple. The company, whose
technology powers the iPhone
6, reported pretax profit of 118.9
million pounds on revenue of 225.9
million pounds, up 19 per cent. “We
anticipate that total group dollar
revenues for Q1 will be up about
10 per cent year on year, based
on strengthening royalty revenue
growth, and our expectation of the
profile of licence revenue through the
year,” the company said. — Reuters
SINGAPORE: Oil prices rebounded
in Asia on Wednesday following a
sharp decline in the previous session,
analysts said, as investors await a
weekly US stockpiles report later in
the day.
US benchmark West Texas
Intermediate (WTI) for March
delivery rose 44 cents to $50.46 a
barrel while Brent crude for March
rose 16 cents to $56.59 in afternoon
trade.
Nicholas Teo, market analyst at
CMC Markets in Singapore, said
the downbeat market outlook from
the International Energy Agency
had pushed both contracts down
between three and five per cent in the
previous session.
The IEA report points to a
“persistent global supply glut” for
crude, Teo said.
cent and the Nasdaq jumped 1.30 per
cent.
The dollar was also higher, buying
119.70 yen, compared with 119.44 yen.
Frankfurt and Paris surged more than
one per cent, while London edged up.
Athens soared nearly eight per cent.
Oil prices rebounded after suffering a
sell-off on Tuesday. US benchmark West
Texas Intermediate (WTI) for March
The agency said in its fiveyear forecast that prices will
recover slightly from current levels
by 2020 but remain considerably
below the $100-plus per barrel seen
in June.
The US Department of Energy’s
weekly petroleum report, due later
on Wednesday, is also expected to
show a 3.6 million barrel increase in
stockpiles, according to a Bloomberg
News poll.
Rising stockpiles indicate weaker
demand in the world’s biggest
economy and top oil consuming
nation.
Oil prices have been under
pressure for months, plunging about
60 per cent to just over $40 a barrel
between June and the end of January,
dragged down by a weak dollar and
abundant global supplies. — AFP
delivery rose 55 cents to $50.57 a barrel
while Brent crude for March rose 37
cents to $56.80 in afternoon trade.
Gold fetched $1,238.10 an ounce,
against $1,237.42 on Tuesday.
In other markets, Taipei rose 0.73
per cent, or 68.52 points, to 9,462.22.
Wellington was flat, edging up 5.09 points
to 5,789.19. Manila closed 0.48 per cent,
or 36.71 points, lower at 7,686.43. — AFP
Asiana to buy 25 Airbus A321-200 Neos
SEOUL: South Korea’s second-largest carrier Asiana Airlines on Wednesday
announced a $2.8 billion order for 25 planes from European maker Airbus
to meet rising regional demand, especially from China. The airline said the A321
Neos, worth a total of 3.1 trillion won ($2.8 billion), will be delivered between 2019
and 2025.
The fuel-efficient planes are capable of carrying 180 passengers and will be
introduced into the global market in 2016. Asiana said the order would complete the
modernisation of its overall fleet, following plans to introduce six A380 superjumbo
jets by 2016 and 30 mid-size A350s between 2017 and 2025. The new aircraft
will replace the company’s ageing A321-200s currently used on routes into China
and Southeast Asia. Compared with its bigger domestic rival, Korean Air, Asiana’s
operation has focused on short-haul routes.
The investment plan came as airline operators seek to capitalise on soaring
demand from China’s increasingly affluent population and attract more Asian
passengers travelling to the US and Europe. On Wednesday Asiana reported a net
profit of 62.7 billion won in 2014, a turnaround from a loss of 114.7 billion won a year
ago, helped by the weak yen and falling oil prices. It posted an operating profit of 98
billion won, against a loss of 11.2 billion won a year earlier. Annual sales last year rose
two per cent year-on-year to 5.84 trillion won.
— AFP
An employee works on a final assembly line for CRH380B, a high speed train
model, at China CNR’s Tangshan Railway Vehicle’s factory in Tangshan, Hebei
province, on Wednesday. China CNR, one of the country’s top trainmakers,
said it was interested in buying foreign rail-linked technologies as China
seeks to export its high-speed trains and rail expertise.
— Reuters
Singapore tourism suffers a decline
SINGAPORE: Singapore reported fewer international visitors last year, the first annual
fall since 2009, hurt by a stronger Singapore dollar and a drop in the number of
Chinese tourists amid slower regional tourism growth. International visitor arrivals fell
3 per cent last year to 15.1 million, missing the Singapore Tourism Board’s forecast of
an increase of 5 to 8 per cent from 2013.
However, visitors stayed longer and spent more, helping tourism receipts stay flat
at S$23.5 billion ($17.3 billion), according to preliminary estimates.
Singapore, which relies on tourism for about 4 per cent of its economic output, is
often a pitstop for travellers who combine it with trips to neighbouring countries.
But two mishaps involving Malaysian Airlines flights, political unrest in Thailand and
a new Chinese law that clamps down on ultra-cheap tour packages have taken their
toll. VIP volumes are also under pressure at Singapore’s two glitzy casinos, Las Vegas
Sands’ Marina Bay Sands and Genting Singapore’s Resorts World Sentosa, as China’s
corruption crackdown and economic slowdown reduce the number of wealthy players
at their tables. The STB did not give a forecast for 2015 on Wednesday, but said it would
not be able to meet a 10-year plan to grow visitor arrivals to 17 million this year due to
unforeseen circumstances such the 2008 global financial crisis.
— Reuters
PERSPECTIVE
T H U R S DAY
FEBRUARY 12 l 2015
FUTURE
omandailyobserver
21
TENSE
China’s Year of the Goat to bring economic slump
C
ommon
lore
predicts the goat
year of 2015 to
bring disharmony,
and the ruling
Communist
Party is bound to
continue its anti-corruption campaign
as it seeks to quell dissent and avoid
clashes.
But some astrologers also say that
the more moderate character of “yin
wood” in 2015 will help make it easier
for different parties to reach agreement
despite conflicting interests. That may
bode well for President Xi Jinping’s first
state visit to the United States, planned
for later this year.
The goat is the eighth member of
the 12-animal astrological cycle, and
symbolises peace and gentleness. Since
ancient times, Chinese people used its
wool to make calligraphy brushes and
warm clothing.
People born in the year of the goat are
said to be mild-mannered, kind, popular
and clever.
However, some think that such
people are too docile and passive, and
unlikely to become leaders in society.
This is why many prospective parents
in China are delaying plans to conceive
children this year, but rushed to give
birth in the previous year of the horse,
which is considered more auspicious.
The animals in the Chinese zodiac used to track the passage of time as well
as tell fortunes - are linked each year to
the ancient binary opposition of yin and
yang, and to one of the five elements of
metal, fire, wood, earth and water.
Each combination recurs every 60
years. According to the Chinese lunar
calendar, the new goat year begins on
February 19. This wood-goat year is the
32nd of the 60-year cycle.
The year will be presided over by As China enters the lunar
wood and earth, with the wood element Year of the Goat, economists
restraining earth’s fiery power.
expect it to slow after two
That combination makes the year
will be “comparatively less violent than decades of strong growth.
2014,” according to popular Hong Kongbased astrologer and feng shui master
“In 2015, the flexible and more
Raymond Lo.
moderate character of yin wood
represents compromising attitude,” Lo
said on his website. “As such, it will be
easier to arrive at solutions and make
treaties to resolve conflicts and struggles.
“The economic atmosphere will be
more stable and steady with less dramatic
fluctuations,” he said. That matches
forecasts made by the International
Monetary Fund in its World Economic
INVESTMENT
Outlook report released last month,
which did not foresee any dramatic
economic crises. It said world economies
would benefit from lower oil prices and
recovery in the US economy, but places
such as China, Russia, the euro zone and
Japan would see slower growth.
However, previous wood goat-years
were not all peaceful and uneventful.
In the 1895 wood-goat year, the
Japanese military victory over China
gave them control of Korea and Taiwan,
triggering
widespread
domestic
upheaval. It also worsened China’s
“century of humiliation,” a period of
imperialism by Western powers and
Japan between 1839 and 1949 that
included the burning of Beijing’s old
Summer Palace, the Sino-French War
and the British invasion of Tibet.
That violent history could mean
trouble between China and other
countries as the Middle Kingdom has
since returned to global prominence.
China and the US clashed recently
when Beijing slammed Washington for
including discussion on South China
Sea territorial disputes during President
Barack Obama’s visit to India.
China claims nearly the entire sea,
including several parts administered by
its South-East Asian neighbours. Japan
and China also have a long-standing
dispute involving the East China Sea.
Goats are also said to be reserved,
and prefer working privately rather than
being at the centre of attention. Rabbits
or horses make their best partners, but
they have to be patient because it takes
time and effort to get to know goats.
The artist Michelangelo and writer
Mark Twain were both goats. Actors
Chow Yun-Fat, Zhang Ziyi, Nicole
Kidman and Julia Roberts, as well as the
Empress Dowager Cixi, were all born in
goat years.
Married couples traditionally give
cash-filled red envelopes to children and
unmarried adults of the families they
visit over the 16-day Spring Festival.
Most children will be disappointed
this year if they open an envelope to find
it does not contain at least one red, 100yuan ($16) note.
— dpa
FORECAST
US businesses brace for oil investment downturn Cheaper oil won’t spur
JOHN KEMP
LONDON
Feb. 11: Oil and gas production is
fundamental to the US economy. The
sharp downturn in prices will have a
negative impact on business investment
in the short term before the positive
impact on consumer spending takes
over further down the line. Oil and gas
producers accounted for almost $1 in
every $8 of new business investment in
the US economy in 2013, according to
data published by the Census Bureau.
Businesses engaged in oil and gas
extraction invested $159 billion in
wells, structures and equipment in
2013, according to the Annual Capital
Expenditures Survey, the latest edition
of which was published on February 5.
Companies engaged in oil and gas
production support activities invested
a further $20 billion, taking the oil and
gas sector’s share of economy-wide new
investment to almost 13.5 per cent.
Back in 2003, oil and gas extraction
and support activities accounted for just
5.3 per cent of whole-economy business
capital expenditures.
Capital investment in oil and gas in
2013 was almost as large as the next three
biggest sectors combined: electricity
($86 billion), hospitals ($51 billion) and
wired telecoms, broadband and cable
suppliers ($49 billion). The figures for
2014 are likely to have been similar, at
least until oil prices plummeted in the
second half of the year.
Investment in oil and gas is often
under-rated by economists and
policymakers because it is associated
with climate change and pollution and
has none of the favourable connotations
of fashionable sectors like clean energy,
computers and the film industry.
Oil and gas production is also
concentrated in parts of the country
like Texas and North Dakota that are a
long way geographically and culturally
from the universities in California, the
Northeast and Chicago where most
prominent macro-economists are
employed.
But the oil and gas industry, and
its associated supply chain, support
an unusually large number of wellpaid jobs and the sudden slowdown in
spending as a result of the collapse in
Investment in oil and gas is often under-rated by
economists and policymakers because it is associated
with climate change and pollution and has none of the
favourable connotations of fashionable sectors like clean
energy, computers and the film industry
prices will have a measurable negative
effect on the economy. Oil and gas
producing industries directly employ
fewer than 500,000 individuals out of a
total nonfarm workforce of 140 million,
less than half of one per cent, according
to the Bureau of Labour Statistics.
Yet direct investment by the oil and gas
industry dwarfed capital expenditures
by the more iconic industries beloved
by economists and policymakers such
as motor manufacturing ($27 billion),
aerospace ($7 billion) and computer
systems design ($10 billion).
Oil and gas jobs are, moreover,
among the best-paid in the economy for
highly skilled and semi-skilled workers
as well as casual labour.
Average wages in the oil and gas
extraction sector, at nearly $160,000
in 2013, were almost three-times the
private sector average, according to the
Bureau of Economic Analysis. Even in
the support sector, average wages and
salaries were more than 50 per cent
higher than average.
Raw payroll statistics understate
the industry’s importance to the whole
economy in supporting a multitude
of other jobs in sectors ranging from
steelmaking (oil country tubular goods)
and heavy engineering (rig and pressure
pump construction) to transportation
(railroads, trucks and aviation) and
construction (pipelines and roads).
For example, North Dakota’s tiny
Sloulin Field International Airport
in Williston, right at the heart of the
Bakken shale oil play, boarded almost
100,000 passengers in 2013, up from
40,000 in 2012, and just 12,000 in 2008,
making it one of the fastest-growing
airports in the country.
Sloulin Field, which uses the code
ISN for reservations, ticketing and
baggage handling, has plans for a big
construction upgrade to handle the
increased numbers.
The number of passengers boarding
each year at all of North Dakota’s
airports increased by two-thirds
between 2008 and 2013, according
to Federal Aviation Administration
statistics, from under 700,000 to almost
1.2 million, supporting large numbers of
jobs for ground staff and flight crews.
On the railroads, surging crude
shipments from the Bakken have caused
severe congestion for grain and coal
shippers along the rail corridor through
the northern US states.
In response, Burlington NorthernSanta Fe, Warren Buffett’s railroad,
which owns most of the track in the
area, has announced plans to invest $1.5
billion in its Northern Region in 2015.
A big slice of that investment
programme will go to expand capacity
in North Dakota and surrounding
states by double tracking, installing
new sidings and introducing centralised
train control, the company said last
month (“BNSF’s 2015 $6 billion capital
plan” January 15).
Lots of other industries depend
on the oil and gas sector. In 2012,
shipments of drill pipe, well casings
and other oil country tubular goods
(OCTG) from US manufacturers were
valued at $6.5 billion, according to an
industry assessment filed with the US
Department of Commerce.
OCTG producers employed almost
7,500 workers at an average wage of $30
per hour, 20 per cent higher than the
average for the private sector as a whole.
With oil prices down by around 50
per cent since the middle of 2014, all
oil and gas producing companies have
announced deep cuts to their capital
budgets for 2015.
The number of rigs drilling for oil
has fallen by almost 30 per cent in less
than four months, according to oilfield
services company Baker Hughes.
Continental Resources, one of
the biggest drillers in the Bakken,
announced late last year it would cut
the number of rigs it uses from around
50 at the end of 2014 to 34 by the end
of March and to an average of just 31 in
2015.
If these cuts are mirrored across
the industry, rig counts and oil field
employment could fall by around 35-40
per cent in 2015 compared with 2014.
Mass layoffs have already been
announced by many exploration and
production companies as well as rig
contractors and are now rippling all the
way through the supply chain, to the
makers of drill pipe and suppliers of
fracking sand.
Ultimately, lower oil prices should
provide a net stimulus for the US
economy, since the country remains
a net oil importer by around 5 million
barrels per day.
— Reuters
world growth: Moody’s
PARIS: Low oil prices normally help grease the wheels of business and
spur global economic growth, but Moody’s said on Wednesday it would
not revise its forecasts for the G20, citing a variety of offsets to the expected
windfalls.
“For the G20 economies, we expect GDP growth of just under 3.0 per
cent each year in 2015 and 2016, unchanged from 2014 and from our
November 2014 Global Macro Outlook,” the credit ratings agency said in
its latest outlook report. “In the euro area, Japan and Brazil, and some
other net oil importers in the G20, the fall in oil prices takes place in an
unfavourable economic environment,” said Marie Diron, Moody’s senior
vice president for credit policy.
She pointed to high unemployment and new political uncertainty in
some euro zone countries, and to Brazil’s tightened monetary and fiscal
policy.
“In this context, a large part of the income gains from lower oil prices
is likely to be saved rather
than spent,” Diron wrote.
The Group of 20
includes the leading
industrialised
and
developing nations.
Moody’s forecasts
GDP growth of under 1.0
per cent in 2015 in the
euro zone and Japan.
The United States and
India “are among the main
beneficiaries (among G20
nations) from cheaper
oil as consumers and
companies spend part of
the gains in real income,”
Moody’s said.
The US-based agency
forecasts US GDP growth
of 3.2 per cent in 2015 and
2.8 per cent in 2016, while
it expects India’s economy
to grow by nearly 7.0 per
cent in 2016.
As for oil-producing G20 economies, the price slump will hit Russia
hard, worsening the effects of “a pre-existing downward trend in the
economy’s potential and the geopolitical crisis” surrounding Moscow’s
role in the Ukraine crisis, Diron said, predicting a “sharp recession” lasting
until 2017.
“In Saudi Arabia, higher fiscal spending will mitigate the negative
effects of lower oil prices and help to maintain positive growth,” she said.
The forecasts are based on an assumption that oil prices will stay at an
average of $55 a barrel for Brent in 2015.
Moody’s conclusions followed a warning on Tuesday by the International
Energy Agency, which said that the net impact of low oil prices “will be
more modest than might be expected” because of a lingering hangover
from the global economic crisis in 2008 and weak investment. — AFP
22
LEISURE
omandailyobserver
T H U R S DAY
FEBRUARY 12 l 2015
Online Editor’s Choice
CRYPTIC PUZZLE
CARTOONS
ADAM @ HOME
3 Concentrate on getting clear (5)
8 Letter to interpret for money (5)
10 As heard from the horse that jibbed
at the jump? (5)
11 Some unfair killjoys are apt to do so
(3)
12 Name I would term acceptable (5)
13 Always novelly linked with Amber
(7)
15 Stale yarns? (5)
18 Feathered, it may skim over the
water (3)
19 Strip of Dundee, possibly (6)
21 A lot like ten nil, maybe? (7)
22 Flier to ring in bed? (4)
23 For the present, fight wildly and
breathlessly (4)
24 Provoked to change gear, in the end
(7)
26 Natural need to get out of a
draught! (6)
29 Gosh — a French horn! (3)
31 Nominally, it’s wrong just taking a
half turn (5)
32 Unable to drive, you can still find
ample in a CD (7)
34 Sort of syrup for a soft-hearted man
(5)
35 Mean to get a first class figure (3)
36 An American bowler (5)
37 Go in for tree chopping around
November (5)
38 A team on the shelf? (5)
DOWN
1 Mythical giant circle in wrought
iron (5)
2 Pretend to discern? (4,3)
4 How Roma upset General Bradley
(4)
5 All together to a Man? (6)
6 Chair with four extra legs (5)
7 Looked to have led by an accidental
goal (5)
9 Being a bit of a terror, go wrong (3)
12 Being green, Victor ranted unwisely
(7)
14 Beethovenian vehicle? (3)
16 It’s shocking when you need half an
hour to get into cover (5)
17 Liquid asset in the theatre? (5)
by Brian Basset
CALVIN AND HOBBES
by Bill Watterson
GARFIELD
by Jim Davis
STONE SOUP
14
16
17
19
20
21
23
24
25
27
28
30
32
33
CR O SSW O R D
ACROSS
19 Disaster possibly cabled East? (7)
20 Sir Walter, who came before
Fitzgerald? (5)
21 Go and make a success out of a
musical work (3,2)
23 Land of the man in grey, perhaps
(7)
24 Notedly sassy writings? (6)
25 Leave an article somewhere in India
(3)
27 Conceals needing a bit of help on
certain days (5)
28 Dance with the odd bachelor (5)
30 Tough guys like me in a female’s
embrace (2-3)
32 Dressed like Charlie boy (4)
33 Finish up with some items of mine
(3)
3
8
10
11
12
EASY PUZZLE
ACROSS
Characteristic (5)
Hackneyed (5)
Stifled (5)
Humour (3)
Exclude (5)
13
15
18
19
21
22
23
24
26
29
31
32
34
35
36
37
38
1
2
4
5
6
7
9
12
YESTERDAY’S CRYPTIC
SOLUTIONS
ACROSS: 9, In-patient 10, Trip over
12, Darn 13, Strain 14, Put back 15,
On t-he men-d 17, Run’s short 18, TirAD-es 20, Lays on 21, It-ch(eese) 24,
Ans-were-d 26, Afforded 28, Tier 29,
R-a-go-ut 31, Post-er-s 34, Ag-reemen-t 36, Press-es on 38, G-Allan-t 39,
Mart-in 40, Bear 41, Four-star 42,
Eluci-date.
DOWN: 1, Finds out 2, Spirit 3, Restless 4, Strand 5, Sting-Ray 6, Ripping
off 7, Con-test 8, Legato 11, S-ketchy(acht) 16, En-do-ws 19, Range 20,
Lad(y) 22, There 23, P-rises 25, Real
estate 26, Art 27, St-range 30, Outsmart 31, Precious 32, Sun-dries 33,
Re-pairs 35, Roll-on 36, Porter 37,
See-saw.
Subtracted (7)
Donated (5)
Mountain pass (3)
Designate (6)
Mends (7)
Dry (4)
Yield (4)
Ate well (7)
Endured (6)
Transgression (3)
Pitchers (5)
Fundamental (7)
State (5)
Afflict (3)
Swear (5)
Smouldered (5)
Runs (5)
DOWN
Turret (5)
Lured (7)
Type of grass (4)
Pictures (6)
Italian city (5)
Brimless cap (5)
Chest bone (3)
Postponed (7)
YESTERDAY’S EASY SOLUTIONS
ACROSS: 9, Interrupt 10, Oilcloth
12, Twig 13, Action 14, Propose 15,
Great Dane 17, Agreement, 18, Thistle
20, Ransom 21, Warn 24, Tarragon
26, Sweaters 28, Used 29, Raffle 31,
Sandals 34, Bookmaker 36, Clubhouse
38, Neptune 39, Coasts 40, Stud 41,
Waitress 42, Tarantula.
DOWN: 1, Sit tight 2, Strive 3,
Purchase 4, Attire 5, Mountain 6,
All-purpose 7, Bloomer 8, Stroke 11,
Destiny 16, Tutors 19, Image 20, Run
22, Aorta 23, Stench 25, Goalkeeper
26, See 27, Husband 30, Forecast 31,
Saunters, 32, Speedway 33, Amounts
35, Orphan 36, Crafty 37, Untrue.
Hospitals
by Jan Eliot
Hospital. . . . . Board . . . . . . . Emergency
Royal . . . . . . . 24599000 . . . 24590491
Health Services Department
‘YO UR STARS ‘
Muttrah . . . . . . . 24797602
Quriyat . . . . . . . 24845001 . . . . 24845003
SQH, Salalah. . . 23211555 . . . . 23211151
Police. . . . . . . . . 24603988 . . . . 24603980
Al Nahda . . . . . . 24831255 . . . . 24837800
Ibn Sina. . . . . . . 24876322 . . . . 24877361
Nizwa. . . . . . . . . 25439361 . . . . 25425033
Al Rustaq. . . . . . 26875055 . . . . 26877186
Sumayil. . . . . . . 25350055 . . . . 25350022
Izki . . . . . . . . . . . 25340033 . . . . 25340033
IF IT’S YOUR
BIRTHDAY:
Look back at your
slow progress in
the past year and
be honest with
yourself. Admit
that with a little
more effort you
could have done
much better. Go
over the various
duties, which
you know you
have neglected
and make up our
mind to make this
a better year for
yourself. Only
you can live your
life.
Summit (3)
Elected (5)
At no time (5)
Sideboard (7)
List (5)
Wash out (5)
Half-man, half horse (7)
Rot (6)
Can (3)
Terrible (5)
Faith (5)
Servant (5)
US coin (4)
Lip (3)
Haima . . . . . . . . 23436013 . . . . 23436055
Sohar . . . . . . . . . 26840022 . . . . 26840099
Al Buraimi. . . . . 25650855 . . . . 25652319
Sur . . . . . . . . . . . 25440244 . . . . 25461373
Tanam . . . . . . . . 25499011 . . . . 25499033
Masirah . . . . . . . 25404018 . . . . 25404018
Ibra. . . . . . . . . . . 25470533 . . . . 25470535
Adam. . . . . . . . . 25434167 . . . . 25434055
Bidiya . . . . . . . . 25483535 . . . . 25483535
Ibri . . . . . . . . . . . 25491011 . . . . 25491990
Saham . . . . . . . . 26854427 . . . . 26855148
Khasab . . . . . . . 26830187 . . . . 26830187
Dibba. . . . . . . . . 26836443 . . . . 26836443
Burkha. . . . . . . . 26828397 . . . . 26828397
Sinaw. . . . . . . . . 25474338
AQUARIUS
PISCES
ARIES
TAURUS
GEMINI
CANCER
January 21February 19
February 20March 20
March 21April 20
April 21May 20
May 21June 21
June 22July 21
A person of the opposite sex
may be waiting for you to
make the first move before expressing a particular interest in
you.
To take your mind off a bad
habit you are trying to break it
may be necessary to change
your daily routine to shake up
your metabolism.
Don’t be unduly alarmed or
worried if an invited guest has
failed to arrive. You will soon
receive a perfectly satisfactory
apology and explanation.
You are a very good mixer and
popular with people and should
do well in a profession which
entails dealing with the public
and helping them with their
problems.
A casual acquaintance to whom
you recently showed a kindness
will respond with a gift beyond
your expectation. Receive it
gracefully.
With your ability to adapt yourself very quickly to changed
conditions you have no
cause for worry or fear about
your future.
LEO
VIRGO
LIBRA
SCORPIO
SAGITTARIUS
CAPRICORN
July 22August 21
August 22September 22
September 23October 22
October 23November 21
November 22December 21
December 22January 20
If you are taking a hobby as seriously as you are taking your regular job you may not be able to get
as much relaxation as your body
needs.
Although legal advice may not
be able to solve your problem
immediately it would at least
give you a clear picture of the
issues involved. You need not
worry over the Festive Season.
Stick to the details of a well
thought out plan and don’t spoil
it by making last minute changes. Give your idea time to mature before making it known to
everybody.
An unexpected encounter with
a former neighbour will renew
a very pleasant association of
years gone by and you will have
an enjoyable get together.
Someone close to you will
prove extremely irritating today and you will have difficulty
in controlling your temper and
your tongue.
You will receive a welcome
opportunity to take on a part
time job which will add to your
income without involving too
much of your spare time.
CLASSIFIEDS
T H U R S DAY
FEBRUARY 12 l 2 0 1 5
omandailyobserver
Situation Vacant
WANTED experienced
accountant with
administration
experience in
Aluminium, Glass sales.
Call to 99705023.
E-mail: remmaj2014@
gmail.com.
IT Helpdesk Engineer
(Omani Only) z‡”–‹ϐ‹‡†
candidates MCSE,
MCITP, A+. zHaving
Omani driving licence.
zUniversity graduate in
Information Technoloy
(IT) zMinimum of
3-5 years’ experience.
zUnderstanding of ITIL
principles zIn-depth
working knowledge of
front-end applications
based primarily on
Microsoft architectures.
(MS-Windows 7/8,
‹…”‘•‘ˆ–ˆϐ‹…‡—‹–‡ǡ
‘ƒ‹‰”‘ϐ‹Ž‡•ǡ
Drive Mappings,
Internet Explorer,
basic hardware issues,
desktops, laptops,
printers, outlook and
mobile devices both in
person and remotely
etc.). zOral and written
communication
skills. Contact: Global
Computer Services, PO
Box 875, PC 130, Azaiba,
Sultanate of Oman
Phone: +968 95297150,
+968 24503026.
[email protected]
com
·····
·····
PRIVATE bilingual
school at Muscat
needs a Specialist
and experienced
Teachers (Chemistry,
Physics, Maths,
English). Email:
cps20102011@
hotmail.com
93005900
·····
REQUIRED experienced
Indian Driver for
Sewage Tanker.
Contact: 95339249.
·····
SYRIAN Mashavi Cook
and Moroccan Lady
Cook for Qurum Beach
Hotel.24704994 or
99238012.
·····
Situation Wanted
SENIOR Mechanical
Power Engineer,
Egyptian, 7 years
experience in (oil &
‰ƒ•Ȍϐ‹‡Ž†•‘Ȁ‘ˆˆ
shore in Agiba
Petroleum Co.
94249022. E-mail:
[email protected]
com
·····
INDIAN male QA/QC
Engineer-Civil (BE,
ACQE) in Oman on
visit visa, overall 10
years of experience in
Š‹‰Š”‹•‡–‘™‡”ǡ‘ˆϐ‹…‡
building and
residential
construction project
in Qatar and UAE,
holding valid GCC
driving licence
00968 93958533,
e-mail: sheikhnavid@
yahoo.com
·····
INDIAN male with 6 years
experience in sales/
marketing & purchase/
accounts with Omani
driving licence looking
for a suitable job. Contact: PAKISTANI male, 26,
MBA with 1 year
98851980.
experience in accounts/
·····
Admin, 3 months
experience in FFC,
INDIAN female, age 24,
working knowledge with
with MBA-HR/BCom
Peachtree, quickbooks,
looking for job/visa
fluent in English, good
immediately, currently
working in Hyderabad as computer skills, on
an administrator. Contact: family visit till 2nd
March, seeks suitable
99861145.
position. Contact
·····
91795092,
e-mail: jameel6345@
INDIAN male, Video
gmail.com
Editor, excellent
knowledge of computers · · · · ·
including MS Office and
INDIAN IT prof, MCA 5+
computer software
yrs exp in Hardware,
namely Final Cut Pro,
Networking, PHP, CSS,
Adobe After Effects,
HTML, Java Script, Sql.
Photoshop &
NOC available, seeks
Combustion seeks
suitable job.
suitable job. Contact
97496998. E-mail:
94569289
[email protected]
·····
·····
Situation Wanted
24 YEARS Oman
experienced can handle
accounts upto
finalisation, banking,
preparation of job
costing receivable/
payable, age-wise
analysis and timely
follow-ups, preparation
of BRS and other
required MIS, having
Omani driving licence,
can join immediately.
Contact: 94070799
·····
CIVIL engineer
experience in Oman with
Omani driving licence
91102892
·····
TELECOMMUNICATION
Technician having 3
years exp in software
programming (PABX,
CCTV...) and marketing
looking for a job in
technical area or
HR, Admin, sales,
marketing. Contact:
91706132. E-mail:
[email protected]
·····
INDIAN male with
10-year Oman
experience in sales with
Omani driving licence
looking for sales/driving
job 95067844.
E-mail: sawood668@
gmail.com
·····
INDIAN male BE
mechanical engineer
with 3-month
…‡”–‹ϐ‹…ƒ–‡…‘—”•‡‹
QA/QC, pipeline and
NDT. In Oman on visit
visa, seeks suitable
placement. Contact
95803035, E-mail:
[email protected]
com
INDIAN male, 22 years,
BE Mechanical Engineer,
seeks suitable placement.
Contact: 95020044.
e-mail: sameemsm2009
@gmail.com
·····
BSC Civil Engineer (degree
4 years hons) with GCC
driving licence, about one
year Gulf experience seeks
suitable job. 93929310.
·····
CHEF with 7 years
experience in tandoor,
Chinese & Indian food,
available 95924771
·····
Car for Sale
PORSCHE Cayenne
S-2004, white colour,
158,000 km, RO 4,500/96417989.
·····
MERCEDES CT 55, 2001,
black colour, 122,000 km,
RO 2,900/- 96417989.
·····
MERCEDES S 55, 2001,
dark blue, 250,000
km, RO 1,900/96417989.
·····
LINCOLN Navigator
4WD, 1998, grey,
335,000 km, RO 1,600/96417989.
·····
Lost
KULSM Khatun has lost
Bangladeshi Passport No
W 0375871. Finder
please handover to ROP.
·····
MOHMMAD Abdulmanan
has lost Bangladeshi
Passport No AA 4946966.
Finder please handover
to ROP.
·····
23
SALE OF VEHICLE/EQUIPMENT
BIOLOGIST/
Microbiologist/
Lab Specialist/
Biochemist. For
managing lab referral
service. Must have
Omani driving licence.
Apply to: mubasu23@
gmail.com
·····
LOOKING to recruit
ƒ“—ƒŽ‹ϐ‹‡†Interior
Designer (preferably
female). Please forward
your CV to: idesigner.
[email protected]
·····
Tours
DOLPHIN
WATCHING TOUR.
Every Day 8 am
and 10 am. For
booking
94110088/
91162534. E-mail:
coraloceantours@
gmail.com Web:
www.
coraloceantours.
com.
·····
Leading construction company
in Oman intends to dispose
off their used vehicles and
equipment in ‘is where is’
…‘†‹–‹‘ǤŠ‡‹–‡•‹†‡–‹ϐ‹‡†
are presently located at their
Muscat Misfah Camp of the
company and will be offered
for inspection to the public
on 8, 9 and 10 February 2015
between 08:00 am to 12:00 pm
and 02:00 to 05:00 pm.
Interested parties may contact:
Tel.: (+968) 91372796
URGENTLY REQUIRED
Expatriate Heavy duty
drivers and Forklift
operators with PDO
licenses.
CONTACT: 99465358/99348352
Services
1. HOOPOE SMART
CARD SERVICES
2. AL FAHAD
TRANSLATION
SERVICES
STOP!!!
Good News to all our
dear customers: Our
PRO will visit your
‘ˆϐ‹…‡ȀŠ‘—•‡–‘…‘ŽŽ‡…–
documents for typing
or clearing and will
deliver the same on
completion.
Our services include
typing all forms
related to Ministry
of Manpower,
Immigration, e.g.,
visas, renewal of
visas, all services
related to Ministry of
Commerce & Industry,
e.g., reservation of
commercial names,
amendment of activities
of the company and
all services related to
Royal Oman Police;
Cancellation of
Visas at the Muscat
International Airport
for repatriation of
employees; Directorate
‡‡”ƒŽ‘ˆ”ƒˆϐ‹…Ǣƒ†
Oman Chamber of
Commerce & Industry.
Translation of legal
documents. Medical
reports, commercial
agency agreements,
literature, catalogues
(Languages: Arabic,
English, French,
Spanish & Italian)
Our Address: Ruwi,
Adjacent to Gulf
Transport Co. (GTC).
Telephones: 24793331
/24794286
GSM: 99231500
/96777170/ 95959838
Managed by: Salim
Khalfan al Hadi
(33 years of experience
in management)
·····
yPROPERTIES for sale
and rent
yBuildings cleaning
yDocuments
processing, clearance.
Contact Ali: 99830331,
Nasser: 99325183.
·····
1. AC
maintenance and
servicing.
2. Fridge,
washing machine
and dish washer
repairing.
3. Painting and
cleaning services.
4. Electrical,
plumbing and
carpentry work
97014234,
99447257,
24504281.
·····
SERVICE of
photocopier
(all brands),
sales of copier
& printers (new
& refurbished)
& rental of
photocopier.
93256831,
91712204,
91712203.
·····
Investment
HERE is the company
named ‘Oman
National Factory
for the Manufacture
of Rubber’. This
company is all set
with the papers and
all that stuff what
we need to launch.
I just need a good
partner to open this
company together.
E-mail: samiya2@
gmail.com Contact:
92491105,
99382802,
92354169 —
Abdullah al Saadi
·· · · · ·
LOOKING for an
investor for a fullequipped existing
medical complex as
soon as possible in
Wilayat of Haima,
Governorate of Al
Wusta. 92212557,
99242249.
·····
Tourism
For Sale/Rent
ARE you looking for
a voyage with your
family on a legacyboat, including
buffet? Only with RO
15/-. For more
info@
alainaintourism.
com 92808636.
ȍ͵
VILLAS for sale/
rents WADI
KABIR/AL
KHUWAIR),
ȋŠ‘’•Ȁ‘ˆϐ‹…‡•ˆ‘”
rent/ Al Khuwair)
(Flats for rent/
Wadi Kabir).
96596348.
·····
·····
Umrah/Haj
AL Hikmani for
HAJ and UMRAH
— With a host of
services including
the following:
Hiring luxurious
coaches,
arranging weekly
trips, preparing
visas for expats
at cost-effective
price, including
transport,
housing, meals
and visits to
shrine locations.
Land and air
trips weekly.
(99311310,
24566016,
99361982,
99707248,
99322124.
·····
Vehicle sale
TOYOTA Innova,
model 2012. Contact:
92282533.
·····
FREE
INFORMATION
ABOUT ISLAM
If you would like
to know more
about
Islam, please call:
Tel : 99425598,
96050000, 99353988,
99253818, 99341395,
99379133, For ladies:
99415818, 99321360,
99730723
Or visit: www.
islamfact.com
Announcement
AL Jawharah Al
Masyiah National
(Partnership)
registered at the
Commercial
Register of the
Commerce and
Industry Ministry
No 1173209 takes
to your attention
that it’s
transforming its
legal form from
Partnership
company to
Limited
Partnership
company as per
the article (13) bis
of the Commercial
Companies Law No
4/74 and its
amendments.
Those who are
objecting the
transformation
shall file reasons of
objection at the
Secretariat of the
Commercial
Register of the
Ministry of
Commerce and
Industry within 2
months of
publishing this
advertisement.
·····
Wanted
WANTED a
transporter for a
female student who
lives in Al Mawaleh
from and to Shatti al
Qurum School
99371313.
·····
Ȉ
Ȉ
Ȉ
Ȉ
Ȉ
Ȉ
ƒ”•ˆ‘”•ƒŽ‡
‘””‡–
‘„ƒ’’Ž‹…ƒ–‹‘
Šƒ”‹‰”‡•‹†‡…‡
”ƒ•’‘”–…ƒ”•
‡ƒŽ•–ƒ–‡ȋ•ƒŽ‡Ǧ
”‡–Ǧ‹˜‡•–‡–•
Ȉ ƒŒŒƒ†”ƒ
Ȉ •‡†ˆ—”‹–—”‡ˆ‘”•ƒŽ‡
Ȉ ƒ—…Š…‡”‡‘‹‡•‘ˆȋ”‡•–ƒ—”ƒ–•Ǧ
•Š‘’•Ǧ…Ž‹‹…•Ȍ
Ȉ ‘„ƒ†•
Ȉ ‡ƒ…Š‹‰†”‹˜‹‰
Ȉ ‘—•‡•…Ž‡ƒ‹‰Ǧ•‡”˜‹…‡•ƒ†’‡•–
…‘–”‘Ž
For information, please call:
99841230-95919344
92721879 - 99639264
Tel: 24649597, Fax: 24649590
BankMuscat account: 0397003776610011
Bank Dhofar account: 01040141195001
E-mail: [email protected]
THURSDAY l FEBRUARY 12, 2015 l RABEE AL THANI 22, 1436 AH
[email protected]
www.omanobserver.om
RENT A CAR
z Low Rates
z Wide Range of Cars
z Excellent Service
Contact:
Muscat 24489248,
24489648.
Salalah: 23296246.
E-mail: [email protected]
SPECIAL Rates on
New Cars & 4 WDs
RENTING & LEASING
Tours and Airport Transfer
Tel: 24582663
GSM: 95859497,
Fax: 24582664,
[email protected]
Supply
of
Pesticides,
Gel (Cockroaches),
Public Health
chemicals,
Agriculture
chemicals,
Snake repellent, Rodent
baits
and
other insect
repellent from
Agropharm
Ltd UK.
PROFESSIONALS
in Pest Control Service,
Bedbug Treatment, Rodent
Treatment, Snake Treatment
and Termite Treatment
(Pre and Post Construction).
Tel: 24787606 / 24787503
Fax: 24787607
INDUSTRIAL area
land in Rusayil,
5,000 Sq.mt and
building with 8
shops. Contact
95490842,
92702891.
·····
FOR sale restaurant/
Coffee shop equipment
3 X Casio cash registers
3 X 4 Insert bain maries
1 X Berjaya pastry chiller
1 X Berjaya display chiller
45 X Blue banquet chairs
16 X 4 Seater tables
150 Cups, saucers
25 X Coffee mugs
160 X Knives, forks, spoons
All new . 96470912/
96768838
3 BEDROOMS flat for
·····
TWO twin villas in Al
Khuwair 33. Total built
area 526m2.
RO 178,000 (for both).
Negotiable, from the
owner. 99414767.
Guest House
QURUM BEACH
HOTEL24564070.
·····
FLATS and
shops for rent
93009999.
·····
SHOP for rent, 200
sq m in Maabela
Industrial. Call:
97314122,
99349878.
·····
Good News
AYURVEDIC
Treatment,
slimming. Web
address: www.
siddhayur.com
92504980/
24475280.
·····
Sale and Buy
A 735 Sq M2 store
in Bausher, Al
Misfah Industrial
is offered for rent.
The premise is
built in accordance
to high standards.
A 3-5 year lease
contract is required
99332902,
99047584.
·····
VILLA in Bausher
(Al Awabi) consists
of majlis, 5
bedrooms, 5 toilets,
2 living rooms and
external kitchen
99364586.
·····
97102699.
FURNISHED offices for
rent in prime location
in Ruwi (Mumtaz) with
free electricity, water
and internet. For lease
long & short term
95950012,
99331181
·····
·····
OFFICE & Household
furniture and
electronics items.
99834373,
All Cartridges also available
on UNBEATABLE prices
AII HP, Epson, Canon,
Lexmark, Samsung
Cartridges also available
(ROP approved Grade A Workshop)
Ruwi: 24792-792
[email protected]
GOOD PRICE!!! GOOD PRICE!!!
For Rent
SAVILLS
For Rent
INDUSTRIAL land
in Misfah for rent.
93009999.
·····
QUALITY homes
for rent throughout
Capital Area Muscat.
Contact: 24692151.
savills.om
·····
NEW Villa for rent. In
Al Mawalleh 11, close
to Omantel Building,
5km from SQU and Al
Russail. Contact:
99338323.
·····
3 BEDROOM flat, family
only with 2 bathrooms
+ kitchen, provided
with Airconditions at Al
Khodh. Rent RO 280/month. 99385957
·····
COMPANY
accommodation on
lease available in Ghala
for long term from
March 2015. Facilities
— Total number of
rooms 30, total no of
bathrooms 16, 8 rooms
are bath attached, 8
common toilets and
bathrooms. This
accommodation can
accommodate 100
workers. Rent RO
4000/- per month. For
more information
please call
98826915,
95665522
·····
CLASSIFIED SECTION:
1510 Printer
RO 11.000 only
HP
Quality Repairs & Maintenance of all
types of Cars and Heavy vehicles
COMPUTER SUPPLIES
CLASSIFIED
SECTION
RUWI : 24785668
For Rent
·····
FOR sale Miscellanous
1 X Walker - brand new
1 X Ladies bicycle - brand new
1 X Bench press - brand new
Camera lenses
Surveyor’s equipment
Home theatre system .
96470912/
96768838
·····
+968 22094265
Ali99830331
Yoga Massage &
A BLACKSMITH
workshop with
equipment for sale.
The facility has 3
workers and situated
in Al Maabela
Industrial,
Street 7.
96353779.
For more information
contact our coordinators at
sale in Maabela South.
·····
·····
For back or neck pain / discomfort
due to injury, illness, stress or
computer overuse,
Let us help you restore your body
and Get you back on track.
P. O. Box: 565, Wadi Kabir,
Postal Code: 117,
SULTANATE OF OMAN
For Sale
AUTO REPAIR
CENTRE
Available on UNBEATABLE prices
E-mail: [email protected]
For Sale
al-haditha
centre
GOOD PRICE!!! GOOD PRICE!!!
GOOD PRICE!!! GOOD PRICE!!! GOOD PRICE!!!
al-haditha LLC
PEST CONTROL
OMAN CO. LLC.
GOOD PRICE!!! GOOD PRICE!!! GOOD PRICE!!!
Rent-A-Car
VILLAS for rent in Al
Khoudh! Three new
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Contact: 99898384.
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·····
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·····
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FOR RENT
A NEW villa with 14
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DIRECT: 24649595 — FAX : 24649590
THURSDAY | FEBRUARY 12, 2015 | RABEE AL THANI 22, 1436 AH
SHORT TAKES
Canadian Raonic
aces Rotterdam
winning debut
ROTTERDAM, Netherlands: Second
seed Milos Raonic secured a comeback
win in a successful debut at the ATP
Rotterdam World Tennis event, beating
Russian qualifier Alexander Kuznetsov
6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 7-5 on Tuesday.
Raonic hammered 19 aces — the last
on match points —to reach the second
round against the world number 88
challenger.
The Canadian lost the opening set in
a tie-breaker before steadying to earn
victory in just under two hours.
He next plays Italy’s Simone Bolelli.
“It can be tough to adapt to match
conditions, As a qualifier, Kuznetsov
already had two matches on this surface.
“I was behind, but I’m happy with
how I fought today. That’s the most
important thing for me,” said the seed,
who struck 46 winners.
Holder Tomas Berdych started with a
defeat of Tobias Kamke 6-1, 7-5, winning
with 11 aces in just under 90 minutes.
French eighth seed Gilles Simon
overcame a slow start to defeat
Portugal’s Joao Sousa 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.
The French number two, a semifinalist at the Ahoy Stadium in 2008 and
2013, was joined in the second round
by his compatriot Jeremy Chardy, who
advanced as another countryman Julien
Benneteau retired 3-3 with a leg injury.
Simon wore down the resistance of
Portugal’s Sousa in just under two-anda-half hours.
The Frenchman saved eight break
points and fired eight aces in a laboured
victory.
— AFP
Li Na seeks win
as Laureus sports
awards visit China
SHANGHAI: Recently retired Chinese
tennis star Li Na will enjoy home
court advantage as she vies for
sportswoman of the year when the
premier Laureus World Sports Awards
take place in China for the first time
in April.
Li Na will go up against another
tennis legend, Serena Williams, in a
six-woman field, organisers said on
Wednesday.
The holding of the awards
ceremony in the commercial hub
of Shanghai comes as Beijing bids
for the 2022 Winter Olympics, amid
rumours that China could even seek
to host the 2026 football World Cup.
Although China is a Summer
Olympics powerhouse, only three
Chinese athletes or teams have won
Laureus World Sports Awards: NBA
basketball star Yao Ming, hurdler Liu
Xiang and the Chinese Olympic team
for the 2008 Games -- which were
held in Beijing.
“I’m sure we are going to see more
(Chinese winners) in the years ahead.
Who knows? Could be this
year,” double Olympic champion
Edwin Moses told reporters as
the nominations for 2015 were
announced.
— AFP
Masakadza hits ton as Zimbabwe stun Lanka
SECOND DEFEAT: It was a second defeat in warm-up matches for former world champions Sri Lanka
WELLINGTON: Hamilton Masakadza
scored a run-a-ball century as
Zimbabwe stunned Sri Lanka with a
comprehensive seven-wicket victory in
a World Cup warm-up at Bert Sutcliffe
Oval on Wednesday.
It was a second defeat in warmup matches for the Sri Lankans, who
reached the final of the last two World
Cups and arrived Down Under with
hopes of a second title to go with their
1996 triumph.
Masakadza, who finished 117 not
out, shared an unbroken fourth wicket
partnership of 119 with Sean Williams
(51) to chase down the target of 280 and
claim a morale-boosting victory in the
university town of Lincoln, southwest of
Christchurch.
All rounder Masakadza has been
playing international cricket for 14 years
but has never before represented his
country at a World Cup with injury and
loss of form ruling him out of previous
tournaments.
On Wednesday, though, he showed
he was in fine form for his maiden
campaign when he outshone Sri Lankan
batting stalwarts Kumar Sangakkara and
Mahela Jayawardene with his biggest
score outside Zimbabwe.
The 31-year-old reached the
milestone with a single off spinner
Rangana Herath in the 41st over of the
innings before ushering his country
to victory with just under five overs to
spare. Masakadza hit his 117 off 119
balls with eight fours and three sixes but
it was Williams who scored the winning
runs with the four, his seventh, that
brought up his half century.
Sri Lanka won the toss and elected
to bat but while plenty of their batsmen
Masakadza, who finished
117 not out, shared an
unbroken fourth wicket
partnership of 119 with
Sean Williams (51) to chase
down the target of 280 and
claim a morale-boosting
victory in the university
town of Lincoln
Sri Lanka will have to pick
themselves up for a meeting
with co-hosts New Zealand
in Christchurch on Saturday
in the opening match of the
tournament
got starts, only Dimuth Karunaratne
(58) and all rounder Jeevan Mendis (51)
managing to get to the half century mark
and 279 for six was not an imposing
score.
Left-arm spinner Williams (3-35)
was the pick of the nine bowlers used by
Zimbabwe, who open the tournament
proper against neighbours South Africa
in Hamilton on Sunday.
Sri Lanka will have to pick themselves
up for a meeting with co-hosts New
Zealand in Christchurch on Saturday in
the opening match of the tournament.
— Reuters
BRIEF SCORES: Sri Lanka 279-8 in 50 overs
(Dimuth Karunaratne 58, Jeevan Mendis 51) lost
to Zimbabwe 281-3 in 45.2 overs (Hamilton
Masakadza 117 not out, Brendan Taylor 63,
Sean Williams 51 not out); Zimbabwe won by 7
wickets.
All-rounder Hamilton Masakadza has never before represented his country at a World Cup.
Kiwis ease past South Africa by 134 runs
Left-arm seamer Trent Boult
took three of the first four
wickets before he finished
with 5-51 from 9.2 overs,
while wily left-arm spinner
Daniel Vettori dismissed
world record holder de
Villiers for 24 and Wayne
Parnell for four to finish with
2-29 from seven overs
CHRISTCHURCH: New Zealand will
head into their opening cricket World
Cup encounter on Saturday oozing
confidence after they completed their
preparations with a 134-run victory
over South Africa on Wednesday.
Brendon McCullum’s side have
emerged as third favourites for the
February 14-March 29 tournament,
behind Australia and AB de Villiers’
side, after a run of good performances at
home over the last month.
Kane Williamson top scored for the
World Cup co-hosts with 66 from 53
balls while McCullum blasted 59 from
45 deliveries in their score of 331 for
eight off 50 overs.
New Zealand’s bowlers then ripped
through South Africa’s top order,
reducing them to 31-4 in the seventh
over and 62-6 in the 14th at Hagley Oval
in Christchurch before JP Duminy and
Vernon Philander combined for some
batting practice.
They put on 121 runs with Duminy
scoring 80, while pace bowler Philander
CASTLED
New Zealand’s Daniel Vettori is bowled out by Kyle Abbott of South Africa in Christchurch.
scored 57, but the pair seemed more
content to bat out the overs rather than
chase down the total and South Africa
were eventually dismissed for 197 in
44.2 overs.
Left-arm seamer Trent Boult took
three of the first four wickets before
he finished with 5-51 from 9.2 overs,
while wily left-arm spinner Daniel
Vettori dismissed world record holder
de Villiers for 24 and Wayne Parnell
for four to finish with 2-29 from seven
overs. Both sides, who were allowed to
use all 15 players in their squads, treated
the match as a final contested training
run, with South African spearhead Dale
Steyn not bowling at all.
New Zealand’s Tom Latham took
over the wicketkeeping gloves from
Luke Ronchi, who did bat in New
Zealand’s innings.
New Zealand will open the
— AFP
tournament at the same venue against
Sri Lanka on Saturday while South
Africa travel to Hamilton for their
opening clash against Zimbabwe on
Sunday.
— Reuters
BRIEF SCORES:New Zealand 331-8 in
50 overs (Kane Williamson 66, Brendon
McCullum 59) beat South Africa 197 all
out in 44.2 overs (JP Duminy 80, Vernon
Philander 57; Trent Boult 5-51);
New Zealand won by 134 runs
ICC warn
of sledging
crackdown
SYDNEY: The International Cricket
Council (ICC) has warned players
they face possible suspension if they
cross the line and misbehave at this
month’s World Cup.
ICC chief David Richardson said
match referees will be empowered to
crack down on aggressive sledging,
overzealous send-offs of dismissed
batsmen or on-field altercations that
could taint cricket’s global showpiece.
Richardson said players at the
World Cup have been put on notice
that the penalty for crossing the line
will be “a little bit more serious or
higher than before”.
“The crackdown has already
started,” Richardson said. “First
offence you’ll likely end up with a fine,
which no player likes.
“Repeat offence... some players
already sitting with some offences
behind their name, will be punished
with a suspension. “We’re not expecting
too much trouble. Hopefully, those
who get a little bit excited on occasions
will keep their calm.”
Volatile Australia batsman David
Warner is one player who faces a
suspension should he fall foul of
the umpires over the next six weeks
of the World Cup. Warner has
been twice found guilty of code-ofconduct breaches this season, having
exchanged words with India paceman
Varun Aaron in the first Adelaide Test
then demanded India’s Rohit Sharma
“speak English” in Melbourne. — AFP
T H U R S DAY F E B R U A R Y 1 2 l 2 0 1 5
26
FEBRUARY 14 TO MARCH 29
Misbah powers Pakistan past England
CAPTAIN COOL: The 40-year-old notched up five fours and two sixes in his 99-ball 91 not out
Pakistan’s Misbah-ul-Haq (centre) prepares to play a reverse sweep as England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler (left) and Joe Root look on at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
SYDNEY: Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq scored
a majestic 91 not out to lead Pakistan to a
thrilling four-wicket victory over England
in their final World Cup warm-up at Sydney
Cricket Ground on Wednesday.
The 40-year-old notched up five fours and
two sixes in his 99-ball knock, turning the
match in a fourth-wicket partnership of 133
with Umar Akmal.
Akmal fell for 65 to leave Sohaib Maqsood
(20) and then Shahid Afridi to help their
captain guide the 1992 world champions past
England’s total of 250 for eight with seven balls
to spare.
Afridi (eight not out) scored the winning
runs with successive fours but rode his luck
with the decisive second, which was almost
caught at mid-off.
Pakistan’s batting had been far from
convincing in their win over Bangladesh on
Monday and they will now head to Adelaide
to face reigning champions India in their
tournament opener on Sunday with renewed
confidence.
England’s bowling spearheads James
Anderson and Stuart Broad took a couple
of wickets apiece to keep the contest alive
until the last few overs but the English were
punished for anything loose.
Misbah brought up his half century with a
thumping six into the noisy band of Pakistan
fans packed into the members’ stand and
Akmal reached the milestone in the same
manner 10 overs later.
Ehsan Adil had earlier set the tone for a
fine Pakistan bowling performance in an
opening over which accounted for Moeen Ali
(4). Gary Ballance came in at number three
with a point to prove in his first game since
September after recovering from a fractured
finger, however, and he steadied the ship with
a well-crafted 57.
It was only after he had departed with an illexecuted slog sweep and out-of-sorts skipper
Eoin Morgan fell for a duck attempting a lap
— AFP
sweep to a full toss, however, that England
really got a grip on their innings.
Joe Root provided the adhesive with a
sparkling 85 off 89 balls and combined with
Chris Jordan (31 not out) to steer his side
towards a competitive tally.
England rested Ian Bell, Chris Woakes,
James Taylor and Steve Finn but all should
return when they open their World Cup
campaign against co-hosts Australia on
Saturday.
— Reuters
BRIEF SCORES: England 250-8 in 50 overs (Joe Root 85,
Gary Ballance 57) lost to Pakistan 252-6 in 48.5 overs
(Misbah-ul-Haq 91, Umar Akmal 65); Pakistan won by four
wickets
Daredevil Warner consults
psychologist over ‘brain snaps’
England’s Eoin Morgan attempts a ramp shot only to be caught by
Pakistan’s Younis Khan at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
— AFP
England skipper Morgan
in spotlight after duck
SYDNEY: England skipper Eoin
Morgan will go into the World Cup
desperately seeking form after
registering a third duck in his last
four innings in the four-wicket loss
to Pakistan in a warm-up match on
Wednesday.
Morgan assumed the captaincy
after Alastair Cook was dumped for
lack of form late last year but since
scoring 121 against Australia in a
tri-series match on January 16, has
scored zero, two, zero and zero runs.
While his Australian counterpart
Michael Clarke was making his
return from injury with an innings
of 64 in a victory over United Arab
Emirates in Melbourne, Morgan was
enjoying a less successful evening in
Sydney.
The 28-year-old did at least win
the toss and came to the crease with
his side 135 for three with the bright
late afternoon sun casting shadows
over the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Three balls later and he was
trudging back towards a members’
stand packed with jubilant Pakistan
fans having tried to lap sweep a Yasir
Shah delivery only to steer the ball
to Younus Khan in the slips.
The duck might not effect his
batting average — the warmup matches do not count as
internationals — but it will do
nothing for his confidence heading
into Saturday’s tournament opener
against Australia at the Melbourne
Cricket Ground.
Joe Root, who high-scored for
England with a sparkling 85 on
Wednesday, said no one in the
dressing room was concerned about
Morgan’s lack of runs.
“He scored a hundred not long
ago, he’s obviously a fine player, a
fine leader,” Root told reporters.
“One thing he’s always done, is
when the pressure’s on, put on big
performances and there’s no bigger
stage (than the World Cup).
“I’m sure he, as much as
everybody else in the squad, is
looking forward to getting out there
and putting on the show,” Root said.
— Reuters
SYDNEY: Daredevil Australian
opener David Warner said on
Wednesday he has consulted
with a psychologist to prevent the
“brain snaps” that have erupted
through his playing career.
Warner said he has worked
hard to eliminate rash strokes
and impulsive decision-making
ahead of his first-ever World Cup,
starting this weekend in Australia
and New Zealand.
“I’ve actually spoken to my
psychologist about it,” Warner
told Melbourne radio station
3AW.
“There are thoughts that go
into your head...you try and
premeditate, but those thought
processes in your head, you’ve
got to try and think ‘How do I nut
that out?’
“You’ve got to try and work
out when you’re out there in the
heat of the moment to actually be
relaxed, clear your mind and say
‘Right, just get off strike now’.
“That’s the process that I have
to think through now in my
head.”
Warner scored 163 runs
at 54.33 during the recently
completed one-day tri-series
against England and India,
including his third limited overs
century in the series opener.
He continued that form with a
blistering 104 from 83 deliveries
in a practice game against India at
the Adelaide Oval this week.
“I think I’ve had to learn how
to play (one-dayers) just like Test
match cricket... place it, try and
hit the gaps,” he said.
“I can get myself off to a good
start, I don’t really need to take it
INJURY
AUSTRALIA &
NEW ZEALAND
RECOVERY
Clarke among
the runs against
minnows UAE
MELBOURNE: Michael Clarke gave a pointer to his
recovery from recent hamstring surgery with a knock
of 64 in Australia’s World Cup warm-up game against
the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Melbourne on
Wednesday.
Clarke, captaining Australia for the first time since
the surgery almost two months ago, spent just over 90
minutes at the crease in a confidence-booster at the
Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The 33-year-old was promoted to opener to
maximise his time in the middle, and offered a sharp
chance on two after winning the toss.
He steadied and kept the scoreboard ticking over in
a 123-run partnership with Aaron Finch.
National selectors will now assess Clarke on
Thursday before considering the merits of an earlierthan-expected recall for Saturday’s World Cup opener
against England at the MCG.
“We’ll sum it up tomorrow, see how he pulls up
more than anything,” coach Darren Lehmann told Fox
Sports, issuing a guarded prognosis for when Clarke
will return.
“Probably the fielding is going to be the big thing.
“He’s been batting really well for the last couple of
weeks, so no dramas there.
“We’ll see how he goes in the field, but we’re really
pleased with that start and he’s been really confident.”
Finch said Clarke was desperate to play at the
World Cup.
“It’s
so ‘It’s so impressive
impressive to see to see how hard he
how hard he has has worked. But it’s
worked. But it’s a
home World Cup a home World Cup
and probably his and probably his
last opportunity at last opportunity at
winning a World
Cup, so he wants to winning a World
be a part of it,” said Cup, so he wants to
Finch.
be a part of it’
Clarke’s opening
partner
added:
“When we were out
there we ran a four and then a one back-to-back.
I said ‘that’ll be front-page news tomorrow, that’s
your fitness test right there’. He seemed fine.”
“I thought from his point of view it would have
been a great success. We’ll have to wait and see how he
pulls up. From what I saw at the other end he played
beautifully, his feet moved well, he hit the ball cleanly
and ran well.”
Chief selector Rod Marsh nominated February
21, when Australia face Bangladesh, as Clarke’s final
fitness deadline, with the skipper to be dropped from
the squad if he is not up to scratch by then.
Clarke was initially given little hope of making
the deadline, but he has exceeded expectations in his
recovery.
“He played really well,” Lehmann said of the side’s
top-scorer.
Lehmann and fellow selectors would have had
limited interest in Clarke’s eight boundaries, more so
his running between the wickets.
There was no sharp acceleration or turns, and the
right-hander looked to be running within himself at
times.
But Clarke managed an all-run four and followed it
up with a quick single, suggesting he is shaping up well
for the World Cup.
Australia eventually made 304-8 in 50 overs with
Finch adding 61 and Steve Smith, 59.
The United Arab Emirates were 116 all out in 30.1
overs to hand Australia a win by 188 runs.
— AFP
BRIEF SCORES: Australia 304-8 in 50 overs (Michael Clarke 64,
Aaron Finch 61, Steve Smith 59) beat United Arab Emirates 116 all
out in 30.1 overs; Australia won by 188 runs
Australia’s David Warner plays a shot against India in Adelaide. — AFP
to them. I’ve just started to learn
that and I’ve found my way now.
If the ball is still going to be there
and I want to hit it over the top,
by all means I’ll do that.
“But still in my mind I’m
saying to myself, ‘I can still score
at a strike rate of 100, even if I bat
properly’. I’ve now got that in my
head and now I can play the way I
want to play.”
Warner credited the influence
of Australia’s team psychologist
Michael Lloyd in improving the
mental side of his game.
“He’s helped me the last six
to 12 months about getting into
the right frame of mind to
prepare for a game and that starts
two or three days before a game,
just to prepare mentally,” Warner
said.
“It’s great to have him come
away with us and he’s a great tool
for not just me but for the guys to
use as well.”
— AFP
Australia’s Michael Clarke bats against the UAE in
Melbourne.
— AFP
SPORT
T H U R S DAY
FEBRUARY 12 l 2015
PREMIER LEAGUE
omandailyobserver
27
Balotelli finally ends goal drought
CLIMBING UP: Arsenal moved up to fourth place with a 2-1 victory against Leicester
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho reacts after his
team’s match against Aston Villa at Villa Park,
Birmingham on February 7.
— Reuters
FA showing
double standard,
says Mourinho
LONDON: Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea manager, has
accused the Football Association of double standards
having not taken action against Robin van Persie for
an elbow on James Tomkins.
The Blues boss remains without main striker Diego
Costa for the final game of his three-match suspension
against Everton on Wednesday.
Costa was banned for stamping on Liverpool’s
Emre Can and has questioned why other players do
not get the same treatment as his talisman.
Mourinho, who did not mention van Persie by
name, raised the inconsistency of the governing body’s
decision on Tuesday after the Manchester United
forward did not receive a violent conduct charge for
what West Ham defender Tomkins described as a
‘malicious’ act. Referee Mark Clattenburg awarded
a free-kick at Upton Park but failed to dish out any
further disciplinary action for the elbow to Tomkins’
face in the 1-1 draw on Sunday.
Mourinho also highlighted other incidents
including Manchester
City’s Yaya Toure ‘The same people
against Norwich last (the FA) who
season as well as his
suspended my
own player, Ramires,
who was banned player didn’t want
retrospectively
for to suspend a player
four games after an
elbow on Sunderland’s this weekend, and
a player could have
Sebastian Larsson.
Mourinho, who been suspended
made
an
elbow
gesture while he this weekend and
emphasised his point, he wasn’t. I’m still
said: “I need a little processing that
bit more time to
forget why my player information’
was suspended, to
understand why some
people are punished and others aren’t.
“I need a little bit more time to process that. I was
with lots of attention this weekend.
“The same people (the FA) who suspended my
player didn’t want to suspend a player this weekend,
and a player could have been suspended this weekend
and he wasn’t. I’m still processing that information.”
“Somebody who did this (makes the elbow gesture)
in the face of somebody, and nothing happened. I
know that if it was one of mine...
“Last season, the same thing happened when
Ramires was suspended and a Man City player (Toure)
kicked a player at Norwich who was on the floor and
nothing happened. I’m used to it.”
Mourinho also refused to comment on the news that
Leicester manager Nigel Pearson escaped punishment
for his touchline scuffle with Crystal Palace’s James
McArthur where he grabbed the Scotsman by the
throat. Mourinho added: “I have only thoughts about
myself, not about Nigel.”
Asked if he had done the same thing, he said: “No
comment.You know...”
CHELSEA IN DRIVING SEAT
Chelsea lie seven points clear of Manchester City
at the top of the table, but Mourinho is not getting
carried away. Mourinho said: “We are (in the driving
seat). But seven points with 14 matches to go...if it was
14 points with seven matches to go, you are almost,
almost, almost there.”
“But seven points with 14 matches to go, there is a
lot to play for. I’m just confident we can win tomorrow.
“We will go game after game, not think too far
ahead. We will think about tomorrow, try and be good
tomorrow, play well and try to win at home in front
of our supporters. Hoping for a good reception after
a good result.”
Mourinho said he did not believe former Chelsea
striker Romelu Lukaku had a point to prove on his
return to Stamford Bridge. “No. I think he proves every
weekend that he’s a good player. Nobody has doubts
at Chelsea that he’s a good player. He has nothing to
prove to us. We know he’s a good player.
“We know (Andre) Schurrle is a good player.
(Kevin) De Bruyne is a good player.(Juan) Mata is a
good player. But that’s football, that’s life, that’s the
market.”
— AFP
LONDON: Mario Balotelli finally scored his
first Premier League goal for Liverpool to seal
a dramatic 3-2 win over Tottenham, while
Arsenal moved up to fourth place with a 2-1
victory against Leicester on Tuesday.
Balotelli has endured a miserable time at
Anfield since his pre-season move from AC
Milan, but in his 13th league appearance for
the Reds he picked the perfect moment to
break his goal drought with an 83rd minute
winner after coming off the bench.
The Italian striker had only scored twice
previously for Liverpool, with his last coming
against Swansea in the League Cup in October.
Balotelli’s headline-grabbing intervention
provided a fitting finale to an entertaining
encounter which saw Liverpool lead through
Lazar Markovic’s 15th minute goal before
in-form Tottenham forward Harry Kane
continued his hot streak with a 26th minute
equaliser to take his goal tally for the season
to 23.
Just hours after the Premier League
announced a staggering 70 per cent increase
in the value of its British television rights for
the 2016-19 seasons, with Sky and BT Sports
paying a combined £5.1 billion ($7.8 billion,
6.9 billion euros) to show games, this was a
thriller to justify that huge outlay.
Steven Gerrard’s 53rd minute penalty,
awarded for Danny Rose’s trip on Daniel
Sturridge, restored Liverpool’s lead before
Mousa Dembele bundled in Kane’s cross eight
minutes later.
That set the stage for Balotelli, who
replaced Sturridge in the 74th minute and
netted nine minutes later when he tapped-in
Adam Lallana’s cross.
Brendan Rodgers’ side stay seventh
but move within one point of sixth placed
Tottenham in the battle to qualify for the
Champions League via a top-four finish.
“Mario Balotelli has been working hard in
training and for the last couple of weeks he’s
been ill so it’s great that he scored the winner,”
Liverpool assistant manager Colin Pascoe
said.
Arsenal stole a march on their top-four
rivals with an edgy success against bottom of
the table Leicester at the Emirates Stadium.
Leicester manager Nigel Pearson remained
in charge despite reports of his dismissal on
Sunday, 24 hours after he grabbed Crystal
Palace midfielder James McArthur around the
throat on the touchline during his side’s 1-0
defeat.
But it was his Arsenal counterpart Arsene
Wenger who was celebrating when French
defender Laurent Koscielny swept home from
Mesut Ozil’s corner in the 27th minute.
Theo Walcott doubled Arsenal’s lead in the
41st minute when he finished off the rebound
after Leicester goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer
had parried Ozil’s shot.
Leicester’s club record signing Andrej
Kramaric netted in the 61st minute with his
first goal since joining the Foxes, the £9 million
signing lashing home from a Riyad Mahrez
cross, but Arsenal survived late pressure to
climb above Manchester United, who can
Liverpool’s Mario Balotelli in action against Tottenham Hotspur at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool.
reclaim fourth with a win against Burnley on
Wednesday.
“We had some good moments in the game
and a good spirit. We dropped in the second
half and became a bit nervous. I’m surprised
Leicester are bottom of the league,” said
Wenger, who admitted he was concerned by
a late “muscular” injury to Wales midfielder
Aaron Ramsey.
QPR END AWAY WOE
QPR ended their Premier League record
run of 11 consecutive away defeats with a 2-0
win at Sunderland that lifted the managerless
Hoops out of the bottom three.
On a night when QPR chairman Tony
Fernandes hinted that the search for a
replacement for Harry Redknapp was reaching
its conclusion, with former Swansea chief
Michael Laudrup strongly linked with the
manager’s job, caretaker boss Chris Ramsey
oversaw a vital result at the Stadium of Light.
They took the lead for the first time in an
away game this season when Dutch midfielder
Leroy Fer met Matt Phillips’ cross with a
powerful header in the 17th minute.
Bobby Zamora increased QPR’s lead on the
stroke of half-time with a superb strike from
another Phillips cross.
Hull climbed out of the relegation zone at
Aston Villa’s expense with a crucial 2-0 win at
the KC Stadium.
Steve Bruce’s side had the worst record at
home in the league this season with just nine
points from 11 games.
But they made a perfect start when Dame
N’Doye picked out Nikica Jelavic in the 22nd
— AFP
minute and the Croatian striker fired in a shot
that took a big deflection off Ciaran Clark and
looped in.
With irate Villa fans holding up a banner
calling for boss Paul Lambert to be sacked,
their team fell further behind in the 74th
minute when N’Doye scored his first Hull goal
— AFP
after his initial effort was saved.
RESULTS
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
On Tuesday:
Arsenal 2 (Koscielny 27, Walcott 41) Leicester 1
(Kramaric 61)
Hull 2 (Jelavic 22, N’Doye 74) Aston Villa 0
Liverpool 3 (Markovic 15, Gerrard 53-pen, Balotelli 83)
Tottenham 2 (Kane 26, Dembele 61)
Sunderland 0 QPR 2 (Fer 17, Zamora 45)
Karlovic, Tomic advance at Memphis
MEMPHIS: Croatian fifth seed Ivo Karlovic
advanced to the second round of the ATP
Memphis Open on Tuesday, blasting 23 aces to
defeat Slovakian Lukas Lacko 7-6 (9/7), 6-3.
Karlovic, ranked 25th, had won their only
prior meeting in the first round at Wimbledon
in 2009. The big-serving 35-year-old will next
face US qualifier Austin Krajicek, who outlasted
Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin 6-2, 6-7 (3/7),
7-6 (10/8).
Also booking a date in the round of 16 was
Australian Bernard Tomic, who rallied to oust
Dutchman Igor Sijsling 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Tomic, a 22-year-old German-born Aussie
ranked 49th in the world, surrendered two
service breaks in the opening set but saved
5-of-6 break points over the final two sets while
breaking four times, three in the final set.
Tomic, who also won their first meeting last
month at Sydney, advanced to a matchup with
Ukranian fourth seed Alexandr Dolgopolov, who
received a first-round bye along with Japanese top
seed Kei Nishikori, South African second seed
Kevin Anderson and US third seed John Isner.
US qualifier Ryan Harrison reached a secondround matchup with Nishikori by defeating
Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/1).
PENG UPSET IN PATTAYA
China’s top ranked player Peng Shuai
tumbled out of the Thailand Pattaya Open in a
three set loss to Japan’s Misaki Doi, as two-time
champion Vera Zvonareva advanced to the third
round also at the expense of a Chinese player.
Top seeded Peng Shuai, a hot favourite in a
weak Pattaya field after making it to the last 16
Ivo Karlovic
at the Australian Open, went down 3-6, 6-2, 2-6
to Doi, the world number 104.
The unfancied left-hander stunned her
Chinese rival by taking the first set 6-3. She
stumbled in the second (2-6) but regained her
composure in the third, relying on her first serve
returns to see out the match with a final 6-2 set.
Zvonareva, who won back-to-back Pattaya
titles in 2009 and 2010, moved into the third
round with a hard fought 7-6, 6-3 win over
eight seed Shuai Zhang of China. The 30-yearold Russian is on something of a comeback trail,
after injury and poor form saw her drop from a
top-ten career high in 2010 to a current WTA
— AFP
ranking of 189th in the world.
ATP MEMPHIS RESULTS
First round
Bernard Tomic (AUS) bt Igor Sijsling (NED) 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
Ivo Karlovic (CRO x5) bt Lukas Lacko (SVK) 7-6 (9/7), 6-3
Ryan Harrison (USA) bt Malek Jaziri (TUN) 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/1)
Austin Krajicek (USA) bt Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 6-2, 6-7 (3/7),
7-6 (10/8)
Denis Kudla (USA) bt Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) 6-3, 6-4
Sam Groth (AUS) bt Lu Yen-Hsun (TPE) 6-4, 6-3
Sam Querrey (USA) bt Benjamin Becker (GER x7) 4-6, 6-2, 6-1
Steve Johnson (USA x6) bt Filip Krajinovic (SRB) 6-3, 6-3
PATTAYA OPEN WOMEN’S SINGLES
Round 2 results
Marina Erakovic (New Zealand) beat Yuliya Beygelzimer
(Ukraine) 6-1 6-1
Vera Zvonareva (Russia) beat 8-Zhang Shuai (China) 7-6(6) 6-3
7-Monica Puig (Puerto Rico) beat Romina Oprandi (Switzerland)
6-1 3-6 6-0
Misaki Doi (Japan) beat 1-Peng Shuai (China) 6-3 2-6 6-2
TESTING
TIMES
OFA board
to discuss
no-confidence
motion
MUSCAT: The Oman Football
Association (OFA) will discuss
the proposal of vote of noconfidence against the OFA
chairman by several clubs.
The OFA Chairman Sayyid
Khalid bin Hamad al Busaidy
will preside over the meeting.
The clubs had raised
the demand during an
extraordinary meeting of the
general assembly.
The meeting will discuss
topics including the Oman
national football team’s poor
performance at the recently
concluded Asian Cup in
Australia.
The board will also discuss
the invitation extended by
the Saudi Arabian Football
Association to hold a meeting
of the chairmen of GCC
football associations in Jeddah
to take a decision regarding the
upcoming GCC championship.
28
omandailyobserver
SPORT
T H U R S DAY
FEBRUARY 12 l 2015
Grizzlies trim Nets, spoil Hollins’ return
ALL-STAR
Korver to
replace Wade
on East
All-Star team
AGGRESSIVE: Spaniard Pau Gasol netted 26 points as Chicago Bulls thrashed Sacramento Kings
LOS ANGELES: Brooklyn Nets coach
Lionel Hollins received the love in his
return to Memphis, but his former team
spoiled the emotional occasion.
Zach Randolph scored 19 points,
Spaniard Marc Gasol added 14 with 11
rebounds Tuesday, and the Memphis
Grizzlies held off the visiting Nets 95-86.
“It was a little emotional with coach
Hollins coming in,” Grizzlies mentor
Dave Joerger said.”It was a great feeling
to have him back in the building. The
fans showed him a lot of love. It was a
good moment and I embraced it for the
most part but we had to go out there and
get the win.”
Before the contest, Hollins, who
coached the Grizzlies for parts of 7.5
seasons, received a standing ovation
from the FedExForum crowd after
a video tribute was beamed on the
overhead scoreboard.
“It was great, I enjoyed it from the
standpoint of the respect they showed
and the admiration from the work I’d
done here,” Hollins said. “It was an
emotional time and I appreciated it all
but I wanted to win the game.”
Courtney Lee added 15 points for
Memphis, (39-13) which led virtually
the entire game before surviving a late
run to post its 10th win in the last 11
games. “The video before the game was
well-deserved,” Gasol said.”We all know
how much he meant to us, not only as
players but also as men.
“Then the game started and we
wanted to beat him as much as anybody
else or maybe a little bit more.”
The Grizzlies quickly roared to a 3215 lead. The gap grew to 20 in the second
stanza before taking a 52-40 advantage
at halftime, led by Gasol’s 11 points and
10 more from Randolph.
Lee got going with 11 third-quarter
points, and a Randolph dunk pushed
the cushion to 73-51 with 2 minutes 47
seconds.
Brooklyn trailed by 19, with just over
five minutes remaining but stormed
to within 91-84, on a Deron Williams
basket with 1:17 remaining.
But that’s as close as they would get,
as Randolph’s layup off a broken play
with 37 seconds left sealed the win.
“You get a big lead and you kind of
pull off attack mode but you have to keep
your foot on it,” Lee said.”We continued
to execute, get stops and keep them from
getting too close. We took their biggest
hit and sustained it.”
Mason Plumlee had 15 points and 14
rebounds, Alan Anderson also netted 15
for Brooklyn (21-31) which committed
20 turnovers resulting in 21 Memphis
points en route to its third straight loss.
“The first quarter hurt us,” Hollins
said.”But we competed, we didn’t give up
and we made them earn the win.”
At Chicago, the Chicago Bulls
thrashed Sacramento Kings 104-86.
Spaniard Pau Gasol had 26 points with
16 rebounds, and Tony Snell netted a
career-high 24 off the bench, as the Bulls
(33-20) sent the visiting Kings to their
12th loss in the last 14 games.
Rudy Gay dropped in 24 points for
Sacramento (18-33), which reportedly
has a deal in place to hire veteran head
coach George Karl to replace Tyron
Corbin after this weekend’s NBA AllStar Game.
At Phoenix, the Houston Rockets
prevailed over Phoenix Suns 127-118.
League top gun James Harden fired in
half of his 40 points in the final frame,
to go along with 12 rebounds and nine
assists, carrying the visiting Rockets (3616) past the Suns for their seventh win
in nine games. Eric Bledsoe dropped
in 32 points to pace Phoenix (29-25),
outscored 39-29 in the fourth quarter en
route to its fifth loss in six games.
At Charlotte, the Detroit Pistons
thumped Charlotte Hornets 106-78.
Greg Monroe had 11 of his 23 points in
a decisive 29-14 third quarter along with
12 rebounds, and the visiting Pistons
(21-32) handed the Hornets a third
consecutive loss.
Earlier, Charlotte (22-30), acquired
veteran point guard Mo Williams
and Troy Daniels from Minnesota in
exchange for Gary Neal and a secondround draft pick in 2019.
— dpa
NEW YORK: Kyle Korver
(pictured), the Atlanta Hawks
guard on pace for a historic
season of shooting accuracy,
was named to replace injured
Dwyane Wade in Sunday’s 64th
NBA All-Star Game.
Korver was named to the elite
squad by NBA commissioner
Adam Silver after Wade said
earlier on Tuesday that he would
not play in the game due to a
nagging hamstring injury.
His addition to the lineup
gives the Hawks a recordmatching four All-Stars in the
same season, Korver joining
guard Jeff Teague and frontliners
Al Horford and Paul Millsap.
Korver is shooting 51.6 per
cent from the field, 52.8 per cent
from 3-point range and 92 per
cent from the free throw line.
No player in NBA history has
shot 50 per cent from the field
and beyond the 3-point arc and
90 per cent from the free throw
line. Korver, a 12-year veteran
averaging 12.9 points and 4.3
rebounds a game for the Hawks,
who own the best record in the
Eastern Conference at 43-10.
One month shy of his 34th
birthday, Korver becomes the
fourth-oldest player in NBA
history to make his All-Star
debut, trailing only New York’s
Nat Clifton in 1957, Minnesota’s
Sam Cassell in 2004 and Miami’s
Anthony Mason in 2001. — AFP
NBA RESULTS
Detroit bt Charlotte 106-78
Houston bt Phoenix 127-118
Chicago bt Sacramento 104-86
Memphis bt Brooklyn 95-86
Denver bt LA Lakers 106-96
GAME
Tarik Black of the Los Angeles Lakers (left) shoots under pressure from Denver Nuggets’ Jusuf Nurkic (centre) and Wilson
Chandler in Los Angeles, California. — AFP
Teen wonder Ko happy to be an ‘icon’ at 17
Lydia Ko competes in the Evian Championship in the French Alps town of Evianles-Bains on September 14, 2014.
— AFP
SINGAPORE: New Zealand teenager
Lydia Ko on Wednesday said she was
comfortable in the role of a female
sporting icon after becoming golf ’s
youngest ever world number one.
Seventeen-year-old Ko, who smashed
Tiger Woods’ record of reaching the top
ranking when he was 21, said comments
from aspiring golfers drove her to
become a better player.
She was speaking just after the Royal
and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews
admitted its first female members, a
breakthrough after 260 years of menonly membership.
“When I have kids or juniors come
up to me and say ‘Oh you’re my idol’
it makes me feel very proud,” she told
a teleconference ahead of next month’s
HSBC Women’s Champions.
“Hearing those things makes me feel
like I need to become a better player just
for them and hopefully just give more
opportunities for the goals that will lead
the LPGA.”
Britain’s Princess Anne and retired
greats Laura Davies and Annika
Sorenstam were among the first seven
women to join Scotland’s R&A, known
as the “home of golf ”.
“I think it’s great. Women’s golf is
getting much bigger, it just shows that a
lot of people are more interested in the
women’s game,” said Ko.
“It’s a great first step for women’s golf.
It’s great that the R&A did that.”
South Korean-born Ko, who won
her first professional event at the record
age of just 14, tops the rankings just a
year after turning pro and changing her
clubs, sponsor and coach.
This year she has ditched her
trademark glasses in favour of contact
lenses — and the switch did no harm
at all as she reached number one in the
first event of the season.
A share of second was enough to put
Ko on top of the rankings in Orlando
and she defended her position by
finishing tied seventh last week in the
Bahamas.
“I got in the habit of wearing my
glasses and lifting them up. It’s definitely
different,” she said of wearing contacts.
“In the Bahamas it rained on the first
day in the afternoon and to not have to
wipe the raindrops off my lens it was
pretty awesome, so that was probably
the first time I was happy it was raining.
“I’m getting used to contacts and
trying to use my sunglasses to keep the
wind off so they won’t dry. But it’s cool, I
like the change.”
A cautionary tale about life at number
one comes in the form of Taiwan’s Tseng
Yani, who spent two years at the top
until 2013 but then crumbled and is now
ranked at 90.
— AFP
International Maritime College Oman team to include students with zero race experience at Sail Arabia from February 15
Omani college’s student team relishing underdog status
MUSCAT: A team of students from
International Maritime College Oman
in Sohar are readying themselves to
take on the world’s sailing elite later this
month. Nine of the college team will
be comprised of by students from the
college, many of whom will have had
no prior racing experience, but that will
count for nothing when the first leg of
the race begins in Muscat on February
15, said skipper and department head,
Mathijs Steven.
“For most members of the IMCO
team it will be their very first race.
They have been put through a rigorous
training programme and have made great
progress and are happy to be underdogs,”
declared Steven.
“SATT 2015 will be a steep learning
curve for the students. Some of them have
already gone through a dip in confidence
as the reality of what they are about to do,
and who they are competing with starts
to sink in. But, they have pushed through
that and can’t wait to get started. The
energy is fantastic,” he continued.
With 25 years’ experience in sailing,
Mathijs Steven said that he is aware he
will be the figurehead of the team and that
he will need to draw on all of his years’ at
sea to guide his young team through the
challenge of one of the world’s toughest
sailing events. However, he remains
confident in the abilities of his team.
“For me, it is important that each step
from trim, tactics, and boat handling is
identified. However, if there is one thing
I have learned from racing it is that plans
tend to fall apart during the race so I
have to remain flexible and alert. The
team have also shown great ability, grit,
determination, and character,” he said.
Among the students taking part are
four Omanis, aged between 21 and 24
years old. The youngest student on the
team will be Indian first year student
‘SATT 2015 will be a steep
learning curve for the
students. Some of them have
already gone through a dip
in confidence as the reality
of what they are about to
do. But, they have pushed
through that and can’t wait
to get started’
Jaya Krishnan, who is training to be
deck officer. Meanwhile, two of their
team-mates will be 25-year-old marine
engineering students, Azamat Nazkeyev
and Nauryzbek Bekpembetov, both from
Kazakhstan. Speaking ahead of the race,
Azamat explained that the first time
he tried sailing was in September 2014
following a presentation by Oman Sail,
while for Nauryzbek, his first experience
sailing came a month after his compatriot,
during the college’s SATT team selection
process. “I am doing my best to fit training
into my schedule so I can be prepared to
represent the school and to give my best
for the team. Normally I try to swim 3
times a week and walk more, but in the
last few weeks it has been hard because of
the final examinations. Still I am proud to
have been selected,” said Nauryzbek.
“I don’t know how hard it will be
as I have never been at sea for 15 days.
The most I have been at sea is 14 hours,”
explained Azamat. “But I can imagine the
biggest challenge will be lack of sleep and
seasickness. I am just focused on being
fully rested and I hope I will be proud of
my SATT performance,” he continued.
More than 100 students tried out for
the SATT team and were initially briefed
by Mohsin al Busaidi, the first modern
Arab to sail non-stop around the world
in 2009. Following which, the group was
whittled down to 30, and then sixteen,
before a final team of nine students
were chosen. With the race just around
the corner, training has taken place and
students and staff alike are making their
final preparations for the 15 challenging
days they will encounter over the course
of the race.
“The challenge is one of the main
reasons we opened up SATT team
selection to students. It will be a good test
and preparation for the team’s maritime
education. As the only education and
training institute in the GCC to offer
diploma, degree, and short courses for
maritime, shipping, port transport, and
petrochemical process industries, we are
proud to be the first higher education
institution in Oman to take part in Sail
Arabia. We are excited for the race to
begin,” said Acting Deputy Dean of
Academic Affairs, Patrick Wells.
ENTERTAINMENT
T H U R S DAY
FEBRUARY 12 l 2015
omandailyobserver
29
TINSELTOWN
Sienna
Miller finds
peace in
motherhood
A
Comedy is about telling
the truth: Russell Peters
I DON’T THINK THERE’S
ANYTHING THAT I DO THAT
WOULD ‘HURT’ SOMEONE’S
FEELINGS. COMEDY IS
ABOUT TELLING THE
TRUTH AND PEOPLE CAN
TELL IF YOU’RE JUST
TRYING TO BE MEAN. THEY
CAN SENSE YOUR INTENT.
MY INTENT IS JUST TO
BE FUNNY. EVERYTHING
I TALK ABOUT IS REAL
AND BASED ON THINGS
THAT HAVE HAPPENED
TO ME OR MY FRIENDS.
THE AUDIENCE ALWAYS
KNOWS WHEN YOU’RE
LYING, SO NEVER LIE TO
THEM
Q SIDDHARTH JHA
C
omedy is about telling the truth in a
funny way, says world-famous standup comedian Russell Peters, ahead
of his multi-city tour in India, where
a group of humorists are currently
facing criticism for showcasing an
insult comedy show.
Peters, whose Almost Famous World Tour, will be
staged in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad
and Chennai, as part of the Stage42 Festival organised
by Only Much Louder, says he’s aware of the “growing
comedy scene” in India.
“It’s great that that’s happening. Unfortunately, I’m
not really familiar with all the guys that are doing it,”
Peters said in an email interaction.
Born in Toronto to Eric and Maureen Peters, the
funny man is of Anglo-Indian descent.
His late father lived in Mumbai and later migrated
to Canada.
Peters often features personal incidents and stories in
his comic acts, and says: “I don’t think there’s anything
that I do that would ‘hurt’ someone’s feelings”.
“Comedy is about telling the truth and people can
tell if you’re just trying to be mean. They can sense your
intent.
My intent is just to be funny.
“Everything I talk about is real and based on things
that have happened to me or my friends.
The audience always knows when you’re lying, so
never lie to them,” added the 44-year-old entertainer,
who has regaled comedy lovers across the globe.
When he started performing stage shows back in
1989, Peters was just 18 years old and says he started
doing stand-up comedy because he had always wanted
to it. And he does it well — considering the recordsetting attendance he draws with his shows.
But he says he didn’t choose to be a comedian “to set
records”.
“I started doing stand-up because I had to. It was a
calling.
If you’re doing stand-up for fame or to get rich,
you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. I’ve been doing
this for 26 years now,” he said.
For now, he’s upbeat about enthralling the “energetic”
Indian audience. “I love India. I’m not just saying that. It
makes me happy just to be there. There’s no other place
in the world that has the energy that India has. I live
in Malibu but would be very happy living in Bombay
(Mumbai),” Peters said.
He feels his Indian fans “are very smart and aware of
the world”.
“They have a good understanding of not just India
but the rest of the world as well.”
Peters is due to perform in the Delhi-NCR on
Valentine’s Day on February 14 at Expocentre Noida,
and then proceed to Hyderabad on February 17,
followed by Chennai on February 19, Bengaluru on
February 21, and in Mumbai on February 22 and 23.
When he’s not travelling and performing, the
humorist loves to spend time with his Crystianna, his
four-year-old daughter with his former wife Monica
Diaz, thanks to whom he has seen Oscar-winning
Hollywood animation film Frozen about “two thousand
times”.Otherwise, he has no time for films — whether
Hollywood or Bollywood.
“I don’t have time to watch Hollywood films, let
alone Bollywood films... I never grew up watching
Bollywood movies; it just wasn’t a thing in our house,”
he said. — IANS
CONTROVERSY
Films being targeted to get publicity: Aamir Khan
A
ctor Aamir Khan, whose
last movie PK got embroiled
in multiple controversies
before and after its release, feels that
films have now become soft targets
for publicity-hungry people.
PK, which portrays Aamir Khan
as an alien, raised questions about
religion and people’s blind faith in
godmen.
Aamir was present at the ‘Youth
For Governance’ event.
He was asked to share his
thoughts about controversial films
that go on to become hits.
He said: “When people like the
film, then it becomes a hit.
When we say ‘hit’, we mean
people like that film.
The only reason behind a
hit film is that how good you have
made it.
And if you have made a bad
movie, no matter how well you
market that film, it’s not going to do
well.”
Sharing his “theory on films”,
Aamir said: “No matter what you do,
you can’t make a bad film work.
And no matter what you do, you
can’t kill a good film.
It works both ways,” he added.
Aamir further said that the film
industry has now become a soft
target for people who want cheap
publicity.
“It is an unfortunate fact that
nowadays, every film seems to
have attracted some or the other
controversy.
There was a case of plagiarism
filed against Rajkumar Hirani for
PK. The person filing the case got
his name on the front page, which is
what he wanted.
So, it has now become easy to get
publicity,” the actor said.
Aamir also appealed to the
media to investigate such stories
appropriately when they appear,
instead of following them and
fanning them blindly.
ctress Sienna Miller says motherhood
has allowed her to find “peace”.
The 33-year-old, who has a twoyear-old daughter, Marlowe, with her fiancé
Tom Sturridge, feels that becoming a
parent has changed her outlook towards
life, reports femalefirst.co.uk. Asked
how she feels being a mother, Miller
told German magazine Myself: “It
brought me down to earth, I found
my peace. These are feelings I didn’t
know before.
I’m much more aware of
everything. I finally have something
steady in my life.”
Miller, 33, admits that
parenthood has stopped her from
partying a lot and has given her
the opportunity to focus on her
career and personal happiness.
“I don’t have the chance
any more to be a rebel. Either
I work or I take care of my
daughter. In between I’m just tired. My stormy times are behind me. I’m
calmer now and have settled down,” she added.
Gauahar gets ‘selective’ about work
B
ollywood actress Gauahar Khan,
who hogged limelight with her
dance performance in the song
“Jhalla walla” from Ishaqzaade, now
wants to do selective work.
Besides, she is open to doing more
dance numbers.
“Right now I am doing selective
work. I don’t want to do just a song.
People love me for my dance and I
hope that something great comes up,”
Gauahar said. “If I will get a really
interesting dance number, I
will definitely want to do it,”
added the successful model,
who had first showcased
her dancing prowess in
reality show Jhalak Dikhhla
Jaa. Meanwhile, the former Bigg Boss winner is also set to make her acting
debut with Rajeev Jhaveri’s film Fever.
Camps, groups not for me: Mallika
M
ost actors and film-makers
in tinseltown have a set
group of people they
often work with, but Mallika
Sherawat says she prefers to be
“independent”.
“These camps and groups are
not important for me. I want to
be an independent woman who
can take care of herself.
I have never been part of
any group and I’m happy
being who I am,” Mallika
said.
The actress, who has
been part of movies like
Khwahish, Murder and
Hisss, will soon be seen
in K V Bokadia’s Dirty Politics. She says she’s not too choosy about her work,
and that when she’s not acting, she is busy with her family. “I like to spend
time with my family when I am not working. I am also into fitness so I like to
that,” added the bold and beautiful Mallika.
Gautami Kapoor on married life
H
appy,
challenging
and
satisfying — this is how
actress Gautami Kapoor
describes her journey with husband
and actor Ram Kapoor. “My journey
with Ram has been great fun...Happy ,
challenging, satisfying. We are together
for almost 15 years now and I am so
proud that he has worked hard and
achieved all the success,” she said.
Their love blossomed on sets of a TV
show and they got married in 2003.
The couple has two children together.
While Valentine’s Day, February 14, is
inching closer, Gautami says that are
no special plans thanks to their busy
schedule. “No plans for this Valentine’s
Day as we both our working.
Ram has a film to finish and am busy
with the show shooting and promotions,” the actress said.
On the professional front, Gautami is headed back to TV fiction space
after a year with Star Plus’ show “Tere Sheher Mein”. Talking about the show,
she said: “My character, Sneha Mathur, is a strong, independent married
woman who loves and lives for her family.
30
LIFESTYLE
omandailyobserver
T H U R S DAY
FEBRUARY 12 l 2015
MOHAMMED AL BALUSHI
Oman and new
economic practices
THE ROAD TO SUCCESS: The life
of a photographer in Oman
Q ALEXANDRA HOEPFNER
A
hmed al Shukaili,
one of Oman’s most
accredited landscape
and people’s life
photographers who
has gained plenty of
recognition in exhibitions and awards,
led a free of charge seminar at MuscArt
on Monday evening.
Ahmed talked about the meaning
of success and his steep career path
as a photographer who is passionate
about his ever changing home country,
Oman.
Photography enthusiasts joined the
discussion about techniques as well as
finding inspiration and motivation in
creative ups and downs.
“Ahmed came across as such a
generous, loving, and gifted young man
who was genuinely willing to share
tips with the audience”, said seminar
participant Heather Ford.
Ahmed who recently won the most
prestigious award in the Sultanate, the
MuscArt, host of the evening,
“Sultan Qaboos Award for Culture,
Arts and Literature” assured everyone counts Ahmed al Shukaili as one of
there is more to come and there is no their friends and regular workshop
instructors. The next opportunity to
finish line on the road to success.
A firey sunset, picture taken
by Ahmed al Shukaili
learn from one of the best landscape February at Muscart.
photographers in the Sultanate will be
All details can be found on MuscArt’s
his upcoming workshop “Landscape website www.muscart.net.
Photography Round-Up” starting on 19
— Photos by Omer el Dirdiry
TALENT HUNT
ROHM is looking for ‘extras’ to cast in ‘Don Pasquale’
T
he Royal Opera House Muscat
is looking to cast ‘Extras’ for one
of its upcoming productions in
March 2015.
ROHM requires 12 men, 6 women
and 1 child (boy or girl) to take part
in Teatro Comunale di Bologna’s opera
production of ‘Don Pasquale’.
2 men: Age: 50 – 70 approx
Size: Average build
1 ‘Butler’ and 1 ‘Servant’ — the old
and slow servants of Don Pasquale.
These characters should be played by
more experienced actors and need to
be able to react to the music and words
of the opera and is involved in scenes
throughout the production.
10 men: Age: 20 – 50 approx
Size: Average build
Requirements: They have some
practical tasks (bringing props onto
stage, moving furniture, taking part
in scene changes and being involved
in chorus scenes) and play the roles of
Norina’s new servants and workers.
They are quite extravagant and full of
energy. The roles include:
1 ‘Hatter’ — athletic with
some acrobatic skills preferably; 1
‘Hairdresser’ — elegant and charming;
1 ‘Architect’ — no special requirements;
7 ‘Workers/Dishwashers’ — no special
requirements.
1 woman: Age: 50 — 70 approx
Size: Average build
1 ‘Nurse’ — the old nanny of Don
Pasquale. This character should be
played by a more experienced actress
and needs to be able to react to the music
and words of the opera and is involved
in scenes throughout the production.
5 women: Age: 20 — 50 approx
Size: Average build
Requirements: Involved only in Act
Three. They have some practical tasks
(bringing props onto stage and being
involved in chorus scenes) and play the
roles of Norina’s new, pretty servants
with funny, ironic and coquettish
characters. The roles include:
2 ‘Milliners’, later ‘Housemaids’;
1 ‘Florist’, later a ‘Housemaid’; 1
‘Lace maker’, later a ‘Housemaid’; 1
‘Housemaid’.
1 child (boy or girl): Age: 9 - 12
approx Size: Average build.
Requirements:
No
special
requirements with one easy and short
scene in Act One.
Schedule: (Subject to change).
You will need to be available for all
scheduled costume fittings, rehearsals
and performances as follows (NB. It
is very likely however that not all of
the Extras will be required for every
rehearsal, particularly the child)
If you would like to take part in
this production send a full length
photograph of yourself plus one headshot
photograph to [email protected]
om with a covering e-mail telling a little
about yourself (including your name,
age, height, clothing size and contact
telephone number) and why you would
like to be involved.
Successful applicants will be
informed by e-mail if they have been
selected and / or if an audition will be
required.
Applicants will need to be based
locally and be able to provide a copy of
an Omani ID card or Resident Card for
non-Omanis and also have an Omani
bank account.
Application closing date: Tuesday
26th February 2015
G
ulf economies, in which Oman is one, started to think about
alternative resources after oil prices declined constantly for the
last six months. The price seems to be a big issue and due to
the same some projects have been paused, in many countries. In Oman,
government officials are seeking different solutions to cover the deficit of
2015.
Since decades Gulf countries are well-known for producing oil and gas.
In Oman, in 1962, Petroleum Development Oman’s (PDO) exploration
activities culminated in achieving commercial discovery of oil in the Yibal
field, followed by giant discoveries in Natih and Fahud in 1963 and 1964
respectively as reported under research “Brief history of the oil and Gas
Sectors. In 1972, Sultanate produced 300 thousand barrels per day.
2015 might be one of the challenging years for Gulf countries in
general and Oman in particular, economically. Does this mean that these
governments are going to cut down a lot of projects, like what happened
from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s, where oil prices were low and
governments cut down projects? Will this also lead the GCC governments
to increase their tariffs? What good economic decisions can be made, now?
What are the other alternative resources beside oil, in Oman? Here
the economic thoughts, ideas, discussions, debates must apply. Have
economists thought about developing agriculture, tourism, education, and
fisheries fields? Has the government succeeded to provide and add skills to
their people to be fit in different sectors? Still, it is not too late to encourage
and support people to start working in the fields of agriculture, fisheries,
SMEs and other sectors. Though, such initiatives have been taken nicely,
but extra efforts are required. One of the best decision can be opening
private colleges where economics and political economics are taught and
practiced. There is no disagreement that, there are many good private
universities and colleges where business is being taught. Is that enough? It
is not, as economics is the backbone of countries’ development and without
it businesses will remain only business. A man with economic thought will
make country strong and a man with business thought and mind makes
himself strong financially. In such cases, the most important part of the
government is to educate its citizens.
Has Oman ever thought about knowledge based economy? What
makes government not to think in this area? There are many countries in
the world surviving without oil or with very little. According to the US
Energy Information Administration EIA, of the world’s 216 nations only
99 have any oil reserves and about 40 nations have proved reserves totaling
more than a tiny one billion barrels. Knowledge based economy is one
of the areas where the government need to show more investment and
interest.
Should all projects and staff training be stopped? It is not at all advisable
to stop all projects. Which projects or trainings to be stopped under such
economic crises? There is a proper study required upon each project. If the
project can generate money in near future without high risk, then it should
not be delayed or stopped.
Mostly, it was seen under such crises employees were not given
opportunities of trainings, seminars and workshops to attend. This is not
a good decision as from these trainings staff can come back with different
economic solutions.
HEALTH TIP
Eating seafood increases risk
of autoimmune disorder
E
xposure to mercury through seafood could increase the risk of autoimmune
disorders, especially among women of childbearing age, a study says.
Autoimmune disorders, which cause the body’s immune system to
attack healthy cells by mistake, predominately affect women.
“We do not have a very good sense of why people develop autoimmune
disorders,” said lead author Emily Somers, associate professor at the University of
Michigan Medical and Public Health Schools.
“In our study, exposure to mercury stood out as the main risk factor for
autoimmunity,” Somers added.
Autoimmune disease - which can include such conditions as inflammatory
bowel disease, lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple
sclerosis - is among the 10 leading causes of death among women, the study noted.
For the study, the researchers analysed data among women aged 16-49 from the
National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999-2004.
MYSTERY REVEALED
Physics of food shows secrets of popcorn
T
o most people, it may be just a fun food to
munch while watching a movie.
But to a couple of French investigators,
popcorn is a biomechanical enigma waiting to be
explained.
In an unusual study published on Wednesday,
engineers Emmanuel Virot and Alexandre
Ponomarenko carried out experiments into what
makes popcorn, well, pop.
Cameras recording at 2,900 frames per second
helped show what happened when a kernel of corn
strutted its stuff.
When the temperature reached 100 degrees Celsius
(180 degrees Fahrenheit), some of the moisture inside
the corn started to turn into steam, the researchers
found.
As the temperature rose to around 180 C (356
F), pressure built to around 10 bar, or 10 times the
atmosphere at sea level.
Unable to withstand the stress, the outer shell broke
open, causing a dramatic drop in pressure that forced
the kernel’s starchy innards to expand and protrude.
“We found that the critical temperature is about
180 C (356 F), regardless of the size or shape of the
grain,” said Virot, an aeronautical engineer at the elite
Ecole Polytechnique.
The first thing to emerge from the fractured shell
is a limb-shaped structure — a “leg” — that comes
into contact with the surface of the pan and starts to
compress under the heat.
Tensed and then released, the “leg” causes the corn
to leap up — a height ranging from a few millimetres
to centimetres (tenths of an inch to several inches) —
and emit a “pop” from the sudden release of water
vapour.
A few milliseconds later, the granules spewing
from inside expand to form a spongey flake.
Evolution from fracture to flake takes less than 90
milliseconds — 0.09 of a second.
The popcorn’s leap results from an intriguing
combination of thermodynamics and fracture
mechanics, rather than just the blast of pent-up gases.
“A piece of popcorn has a singular way of jumping,
midway between explosive plants such as impatiens,
and muscle-based animals such as human beings,” the
researchers said.
The study appears in a British journal, the Royal
Society Interface. — AFP
T H U R S DAY
FEBRUARY 12 l 2015
SPOTLIGHT
Fear of missing out
drives net
addiction
in Japan
HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS IN
JAPAN SPEND AN AVERAGE
OF SEVEN HOURS A DAY ON
THEIR MOBILE PHONES,
WITH NEARLY 10 PER CENT
OF THEM PUTTING IN AT
LEAST 15 HOURS
Japanese college student
using the internet on a
smart phone. — AFP
Q HARUMI OZAWA
F
or Japanese teenager Sumire, chatting
with friends while she sits in the bath or
even on the toilet is nothing out of the
ordinary. An ever-present smartphone
means she, like much of her generation,
is plugged in 24-7 — to the growing
concern of health professionals.
“I’m online from the moment I wake up until I go
to sleep, whenever I have time — even in class,” the
18-year-old, who gave only her first name, said.
“I’m always messaging friends on ‘Line’, even when
I’m in the bath. I guess I feel lonely if I’m not online,
sort of disconnected,” she said, referring to a Japanese
chat app used by about 90 per cent of high school
students here, according to a recent survey.
While Sumire acknowledges that she probably uses
her iPhone too much, she is far from alone in a country
where young people are frequently glued to a screen.
High school girls in Japan spend an average of
seven hours a day on their mobile phones, a survey
by information security firm Digital Arts revealed this
week, with nearly 10 per cent of them putting in at least
15 hours. Boys of the same age average just over four
hours mobile phone use a day, the research found.
The problem has become so grave a whole field of
medicine has developed to ween them off their digital
props.
“This is what we call the conformity type,”
psychiatrist and leading net addiction specialist
Takashi Sumioka said. “This type of obsession is
caused by the fear that they will get left out or bullied
in a group if they don’t reply quickly.”
Recent research by the Shanghai Mental Health
Center assessing brain scans of youths with technology
addiction showed it caused neurological changes
similar to those who have alcohol and cocaine
dependency.
‘Digital Detox’
Despite greater awareness of such pitfalls, the
potential for digital addiction has multiplied,
presenting a growing problem for today’s teenagers —
the so-called Generation Z — whose digital immersion
started early.
“More people now are addicted to using tablets,
rather than (desktop) computers,” psychiatrist
Sumioka said.
“They no longer need to lock themselves in a room,
because they carry smartphones with them. It’s more
difficult to see that someone has a problem.”
In a 2013 government survey conducted on some
2,600 young adults, 60 per cent of Japanese high school
students showed strong signs of digital addiction.
Authorities are now rolling out special technology
“fasting” camps to research what can be done to get the
plugged-in unhooked.
The number of people Sumioka treats for this
specific problem at his dedicated technology-addiction
facility also tripled between 2007 and 2013.
Sumioka, who treats patients with a therapy called
“digital detox”, says many patients arrive almost
unable to function without the comforting prop of a
smartphone or tablet to connect them to the online
world.
His treatment involves repeated Cognitive
Behavioural Therapy sessions aimed to alter the way
patients think about and respond to technology. He
also incrementally limits the time they can spend
connected.
“I have them write down daily timetables so
that they can see how much they are controlled by
smartphone and the Internet,” he added, warning it
usually takes at least six months for a recovery.
‘I never left my room’
In many ways, he says, the new trend of behaviour
mirrors how Japanese society as a whole works, where
the idea of harmony is prised.
“Japan is a society of conformity. This means in
other words people do not necessarily have their own
opinions but simply go with the flow of the group,”
Sumioka said.
Computer teacher and technology addiction
counsellor Miki Endo, said she frequently meets
people who are more comfortable communicating
online than in real life.
She began giving advice after watching a young
woman in her class transform when using an online
chat forum.
“She suddenly became like a different person,” Endo
recalled. “As soon as she got onto a message board, the
woman, usually a very quiet person, started talking
and laughing to herself.
“She seemed to forget that I was there, and didn’t
notice I was talking to her.” It is clear technology
addiction has evolved — less than a decade ago those
afflicted were mainly ‘gamers’ who locked themselves
away to play on their consoles. — AFP
TECHNOLOGY
In Japan, happiness is... wearable sensors?
I
standing, typing or nodding.
It also records who is talking to whom and for how
long, among other activities.
The data is then sent back to a base unit, which
calculates the happiness of the group as a whole by
comparing the patterns of activity with pre-determined
patterns from groups who report being... well, happy.
Hitachi says the idea behind the system is to help
employers find ways that can increase the group’s
happiness, thereby improving their productivity.
The system, which cannot be used to measure an
individual’s state of mind, will go on sale in Japan in
April, with each measuring tag costing 100,000 yen
($840) a year. — AFP
31
NIZAR AL MUSALMY
[email protected]
When oil price falls
S
ince that day when the oil price started to go down, the mother of
junior has been wondering why the prices of goods and services
have not dropped too. In her position as a domestic engineer, she
has been expecting to see a drop in prices of commodities because their
cost is directly or indirectly linked to petrol and diesel. She is accusing the
manufacturers and suppliers of being biased saying that when the cost of
goods sold rise; they increase the prices but when the cost of goods sold
drop they don’t even want to talk about it. Her anger is now compounded
by her husband’s proposal of wanting to cut the domestic budget.
Indeed in today’s situation where times are tough and money is
becoming scarce and yet life has to go on, the father of junior has to seek
his own means of survival. And because his income is somehow related to
the oil industry, he has decided to jot down some of the things to initiate
during the current situation of low oil price. As price of oil continue to
slump, he cannot help but to let the mother of junior feel the blow. She
has to seek all means of endurance. The oil industry teaches that life style
determines the expenditure. The faster you adjust it to suit the current
situation, the better. So she has to get into the mode of austerity measures.
This is when the lady – the mother of junior – thinks that her husband is
behaving insensibly. And quickly starts to complain arguing that failure to
bring the oil price up does not justify any domestic budget cuts. If prices
of commodities remain the same; how can one afford to cut the budget?
This is categorically unwise! She stated as if she has a degree in economics.
From now on, the mother of junior has to change her lifestyle. We have
to opt for home-cooked meals and avoid as much as possible eating out. I
know the mother of junior does not enjoy the business of stirring things in
a pan and getting her fingers burnt but cooking can come in handy when
things are really tight. I will have to convince her that not only will we be
saving money, but also creating a family bond because food cooked by the
wife’s hand is the most delicious a man can have.
Another money saving strategy will be on hiring manual labour. Why
spend money on paying someone to collect your rubbish yet you can
dump it yourself? Go an extra mile and make your garden. Not only will
you be cutting costs, but also toning up your muscles. You do not need a
plumber to fix a blocked sink when all it needs is a little pumping. Why
pay money for the simplest of things to be done. Instead of taking your car
to the washing bay, why don’t you wash it yourself? That gym membership
also needs to be looked at. The father of junior pays a lot every month and
rarely uses the facility. I think it is worthwhile cancelling the membership
and consider jogging home from work three times a week. It is free and the
results are the same. The next item on the list is to, as much as possible, stay
away from shopping malls. I know there is nothing exciting like going out
on a shopping spree at your much loved mall. Well, these current oil prices
call for sacrifice. Wandering around shopping malls can lead you into
unnecessary expenditures. If, for example, you have some notes or some
credit cards in your wallet, chances are that if you are at a mall, you will
be tempted to buy something and that something can be very expensive.
Oil prices are never predictable, where one can anticipate they would
start rising soon. So when it comes to surviving, people have to learn how
to economise to avoid agonising.
CRAFTSMANSHIP
Secrets behind historic
Indian sword revealed
ITS HIGH CARBON
CONTENT OF AT
LEAST ONE PER
CENT SHOWS IT IS
MADE OF WOOTZ
STEEL
A
A CREDIT-CARD SIZE
WEARABLE DEVICE IS
LOADED WITH SENSORS THAT
DETERMINE WHERE THE
WEARER IS AND WHETHER
HE OR SHE IS SITTING,
STANDING, TYPING OR
NODDING
t is a problem that has defeated generations
of philosophers, poets and painters, but one
Japanese company thinks it has come up with a
way of knowing for sure if people are happy.
Hitachi High Technologies, a subsidiary of ovensto-trains conglomerate Hitachi, says its new happiness
measuring device will let bosses know if they run a
happy office — or if their employees are secretly bored
at work.
The company has developed a credit-card size
wearable device loaded with sensors that determine
where the wearer is and whether he or she is sitting,
omandailyobserver
team of British and Italian
scientists have unearthed the
master craftsmanship behind
an ancient Indian sword.
The researchers studied a curved
single-edged sword called shamsheer
which was probably used in battles.
The 75-centimeter-long sword from
the Wallace Collection in London was
made in India in the late 18th or early
19th century.
The researchers determined that
the design of the sword is of Persian
origin, from where it spread
across Asia and eventually gave
rise to a family of similar
weapons called scimitars
being forged in various
Southeast
Asian
countries.
It
was
established that
the steel used
is quite pure.
Its
high
carbon content
of at least one per cent shows it is
made of wootz steel.
This type of crucible steel was
historically used in
India and Central
Asia to make highquality swords and
other prestige objects,
the study led by Eliza
Barzagli from the
University of Florence
in Italy, noted.
Its
band-like
pattern is caused when
a mixture of iron and
carbon crystalises into
cementite.
This forms when
craftsmen allow cast
pieces of metal (called
ingots) to cool down
very slowly, before being
forged carefully at low
temperatures.
The craftsman of this
particular sword allowed
the blade to cool in the air,
rather than plunging it into a
liquid of some sort.
Craftsmen often enhanced
the characteristic “watered silk”
pattern of wootz steel by doing
micro-etching on the surface.
Through overcleaning some of
these original ‘watered’ surfaces have
since been obscured, or removed
entirely, Barzagli explained.
Two different approaches were
used to examine the shamsheer: the
classical one (metallography) and a
non-destructive technique (neutron
diffraction).The study was published
in the journal Applied Physics A —
Materials Science & Processing.
THURSDAY | FEBRUARY 12, 2015 | RABEE AL THANI 22, 1436 AH
P29
P30
P31
Inside
‘Comedy is about telling the truth’ The life of a photographer in Oman Net addiction in Japan FOLLOW US ON:
www.omanobserver.om
[email protected]
Q LAURENCE BENHAMOU
F
GENERATION Z:
Born in digital age
THIS, IN A NUTSHELL,
IS THE LIFE OF THE
“GENERATION Z”
— INDEPENDENT,
STUBBORN, PRAGMATIC
AND ALWAYS IN A
RUSH. NUMBERING
AROUND TWO BILLION,
THESE YOUNGSTERS,
BORN AFTER 1995 AND
UNAWARE OF A WORLD
WITHOUT INTERNET,
LIVE A LIFE THAT SEEMS
A MILLION MILES
REMOVED FROM THE
HOPES, DREAMS AND
MORALS OF PREVIOUS
GENERATIONS
acebook? Of course. Books?
Definitely not. Video games?
For sure. Sport? No way.
Speed? Yes. Patience? Not so
much.
This, in a nutshell, is the
life of the “Generation Z” — independent,
stubborn, pragmatic and always in a rush.
Numbering around two billion, these
youngsters, born after 1995 and unaware of a
world without Internet, live a life that seems
a million miles removed from the hopes,
dreams and morals of previous generations.
They are so hooked into the digital world
that some academics have nicknamed them
“the mutants”.
Here are a few of the habits of Generation
Z:
Daily life
They want everything, everywhere and
immediately. They surf on two screens
simultaneously. They don’t mind paying
through the nose for the latest smart phone
but turn up their nose at paying for a film or
a song when you can get that for free online.
Aged 13 to 20, they get all the latest
trends from social media and find the
morals of their elders out-of-date.
Their fashions are those found worldwide
over the web: they watch American
blockbusters like “Hunger Games” or
“Divergent”, listen to Korean K-pop and,
when they dance, they “twerk”.
When they speak, their vocabulary is
peppered with acronyms, incomprehensible
to those not in the know. “Swag” is the new
“cool”.
And their new idols are Internet stars,
like PewDiePie, who has the world’s most
subscribed YouTube channel.
Their friends
People from Generation Z find it easier
to talk online than in person. Their friends
on social media are as important to them
as their friends in real life but sometimes
they do actually meet
up in person
with these
“virtual”
pals.
More
t h a n
eight out of
10 are hooked on
social networks and more
than half of them think that this is where
their real social life takes place.
They are on dating websites from the age
of 16 — sometimes before.
What they know
Even as young as they are, they have
already seen so many technologies become
obsolete. For this reason, they have become
the ultimate “self-educators”, learning how
to use new stuff via self-help videos on
YouTube.
As for the web, violence, porn, they’ve
already seen it all.
What they watch
According to US consultancy Sparks and
Honey, the average Generation Z-er spends
more than three hours a day in front of a
screen.
They live in constant “FOMO”, fear of
missing out. They can’t stand the idea of not
being in the loop when something new and
exciting comes out.
Facebook is their main poison, despite
its flagging popularity among some
Americans. Photos on Instagram, quick
messages on Snapchat. Twitter and Tumblr
are omnipresent.
But it’s not all passive: Generation Z
are also putting themselves out there on
YouTube or “Vlogging” (video blogging),
hoping to become the next “Fred” (Lucas
Cruikshank), who made his name at the
grand old age of 13.
Everyone surfs the web while watching
the TV and they think that everything is
possible with technology. But, they have a
short attention span and tend to skim-read
rather than read properly, which can lead to
difficulty at school.
Generation Z at work
This is a generation that wants to create
their own company — between 50 per cent
and 72 per cent want to run their own startup.
The idea of “business” brings up negative
responses: “complicated”, “brutal”, “a jungle”.
They believe success comes from their
“network” rather than from qualifications
and they prefer a flat organisation to a
hierarchy at work.
They want to succeed and achieve, with
76 per cent aiming to make their hobby
their job.
The future of Generation Z
These are children of the crisis and it
shows in their outlook. Most of them say
they are “stressed out” by what they see as a
bleak future, especially in terms of economy
and environment.
Given the same pay, 25 per cent of the
Generation Z in France would choose the
most “fun” company, 22 per cent the most
innovative and 21 per cent the most ethical.
But like any idealistic generation, they
want to change the world and love the
idea of volunteer work, which a quarter of
Americans in their late teens are already
doing. — AFP
WRONGLY ACCUSED
Don’t blame the sun for global warming
A
review of solar activity in the
past 400 years has shown that
the level of sun activity was not
very different in the 18th century as it is
now, suggesting that blaming the sun for
global warming is simply barking up the
wrong tree.
Counting sunspots over time helps
in knowing the activity of the sun.
The more spots that appear, the more
luminous the surrounding areas are,
and our star shines brighter.
“It has been a huge surprise to observe
that in the 18th century the levels of the
Sun’s activity were practically the same
as they are now,” said co-author Jose
Vaquero, researcher at the University of
Extremadura in Spain.
“A proper estimate of the past and
present activity of the Sun, our main
source of light and heat, is crucial in
understanding numerous phenomena
that occur on Earth, especially to
rule out the role of the Sun in global
warming,” Vaquero explained.
Scientists have been counting
sunspots since 1610 with small
telescopes.
The more intense peaks of the Sun’s
luminosity were produced in the 20th
century, which experts have called the
‘modern maximum’.
However, reviewing historical data,
the new research has verified that
there were also elevated values in other
periods.
The researchers used information
from the catalogue of sunspots from
the Observatory of the University of
Valencia, created between 1920 and
1928, and data from the Astronomical
Observatory of Madrid recorded
between 1876 and 1986.
The study appeared in the journal
Space Science Reviews.
IT HAS BEEN A
HUGE SURPRISE TO
OBSERVE THAT IN
THE 18TH CENTURY
THE LEVELS OF THE
SUN’S ACTIVITY WERE
PRACTICALLY THE
SAME AS THEY ARE
NOW
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