BUSINESS | Page 1 SPORT | Page 1 INDEX QATAR 2 – 7, 28 8, 10 REGION ARAB WORLD 10 – 12 INTERNATIONAL 13 – 25 26, 27 COMMENT BUSINESS 1 – 7, 13 – 16 CLASSIFIED 8 – 13 SPORTS 1 – 12 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will arrive in Doha today. HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani will discuss bilateral relations with the Palestinian President and the latest developments of the Palestinian issue. Minister hails national curriculum framework The Saudi government yesterday said it hopes a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers can bolster Middle East peace and end interference in Arab affairs. A statement after the weekly cabinet meeting chaired by King Salman said Saudi Arabia “hopes the agreement will reinforce security and stability in the region and the world”. But it insisted security hinged on “the respect of the principle of good neighbourly relations and non-interference in Arab affairs,” said the Saudi Press Agency. The statement was issued on the 12th day of Saudi-led air strikes against Shia rebels in Yemen who Riyadh says are backed by Iran. Page 8 +2.80 +5.70% TUESDAY Vol. XXXVI No. 9685 April 7, 2015 Jumada II 18, 1436 AH www. gulf-times.com 2 Riyals The project delivery of the 4.1sq km Ras Bufontas special economic zone will occur in phases QATAR | Education Iran deal must ensure Arab security: Saudi 51.94 -31.92 -0.27% in Palestinian President due in Doha today REGION | Politics 11,731.64 +159.55 +0.90% d QATAR | Visit There is a chance of light rain at some places today, the Qatar Meteorology Department has forecast. Slight dust is forecast both inshore and offshore, while strong wind and high seas could be expected offshore. The minimum and maximum temperatures will be 22 and 35C, respectively. 17,922.74 Investors to receive Ras Bufontas land by 2016 In brief Chance of light rain forecast NYMEX he R is bl TA 978 A 1 Q since Dust-covered towers QATAR | Weather QE Latest Figures GULF TIMES HE the Minister of Education and Higher Education, and the Secretary-General of the Supreme Education Council (SEC) Dr Mohamed Abdul Wahed Ali al-Hammadi praised the general framework of the national curriculum for Qatar, which was developed by a national team of education experts. In this context, the minister suggested developing an implementation plan in order to achieve the goals, objectives, principles and values contained in the national framework, and to become a road map of the educational work in the future, and enhance the harmony of all the components of the educational system especially the agencies and institutions involved in education, evaluation and quality assurance. DOW JONES pu Industrial sector growth to attract more investments to Qatar Prince Ali vows to end Blatter’s reign at FIFA By Peter Alagos Business Reporter M Many buildings in Qatar are covered with a layer of dust following a sandstorm that lashed the country last Wednesday. Dusty weather has prevailed, though in a milder form, over the subsequent days. The forecast for today is slight dust and chance of light rain. Picture shows buildings in Doha’s West Bay area yesterday. PICTURE: Shemeer Rasheed Al Rayyan Stadium design to be revealed on April 22 T he Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) will reveal the new design for Al Rayyan Stadium at a special ceremony on April 22 at Ali bin Abdullah Fort in Al Rayyan. The redesigned Al Rayyan Stadium will be the fifth proposed host venue for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar to be unveiled by the SC. Al Rayyan Sports Club’s new stadium will accommodate 40,000 spectators in tournament mode, with capacity being reduced to 20,000 in legacy mode and those additional seats being sent to nations in need of sporting infrastructure. The precinct surrounding the stadium will also include a range of facilities which will cater to the needs of the people of Al Rayyan. Yousef al-Musleh, Al Rayyan Stadium Project Manager at the SC, said: “Al Rayyan Sports Club is closely linked with Qatar’s football history and is one of the most popular clubs in Qatar. That is why we have chosen Ali bin Abdullah Fort - one of Al Rayyan’s historic land- Ali bin Abdullah Fort in Al Rayyan marks - to host the design launch of Al Rayyan Stadium. “The launch of the future home of Al Rayyan Sports Club will highlight the legacy it will leave for the club and its fans, as well as the city and its people after 2022.” The deconstruction of the previous Al Rayyan Stadium was completed in March 2015. In line with the SC’s commitment to sustainability, at least 90% of the materials are going to be reused to build the new stadium on the same site, in addition to other sports facilities. The design launch coincides with more positive news for Al Rayyan fans this week, as their club was promoted back into the first division. anateq, Qatar’s developer and operator of special economic zones, is expecting to hand over land in its Ras Bufontas project to local and international investors by the ﬁrst quarter of 2016, Manateq CEO Fahad Rashid al-Kaabi told Gulf Times. The project delivery of the 4.1sq km Ras Bufontas special economic zone will occur in phases with phase one operations expected to start in 2017, he explained. The land for the ﬁrst and second development phases would be delivered to investors in the ﬁrst quarter of 2016, but Manateq will start receiving applications for land allocation from investors by June or July this year. “We will be happy to receive all the requirements from both local and international investors before handing over the land to them in the ﬁrst quarter of 2016,” said al-Kaabi, on the sidelines of the launching of the “Invest in Qatar Forum” yesterday at the Gulf Organisation for Industrial Consulting (GOIC) headquarters. “The economic zone projects in Qatar contribute highly in attracting local and international investments from various sectors, which helps boost the industrial sector and in achieving economic growth, diversification, competitiveness, and job opportunities” Al-Kaabi stated that Manateq’s participation in the GOIC-initiated “Invest in Qatar Forum,” to be held on April 27-28 at the St Regis Doha, would help the company tap potential investors and encourage them to locate in Qatar’s special economic zones. “The forum is a very important event, which is why almost everybody is trying to participate in order to create business opportunities in the near future, especially for the industrial sector. “We decided to participate in this forum to encourage local and international investors to bring their businesses to Qatar, and inform them of the necessary regulations and requirements needed to invest in the country, especially in the economic zones being run by Manateq,” al-Kaabi stressed. The world-scale Ras Bufontas was Manateq CEO Fahad Rashid al-Kaabi during the launching of the “Invest in Qatar Forum” yesterday. the ﬁrst special economic zone to be developed by Manateq. Its proximity to the Hamad International Airport makes it an ideal location for Qatar’s advanced technology and logistics businesses. The zone will consist of facilities and services that are ideal for clean manufacturing, supply chain and service activities in high value added sectors such as information and communications technology (ICT), electronics, alternative energy, healthcare, building systems, and aviation. It would also provide opportunities for third party and specialised logistics, including air freight, perishable and product distribution. For light industrial, the Ras Bufontas will be ideal for product warehousing and office based service activity. In addition, Ras Bufontas will incorporate residential and commercial sectors, including a global marketplace offering showrooms and wholesale and retail space for duty-free shopping. The total project area is divided into ICT, 1.4%; healthcare, 0.3%; energy and environment, 0.5%; logistics, 0.3%; global warehouse, 0.5%; and high-tech, 0.3%. Aside from Ras Bufontas, Manateq also has two other special economic zones under its wing: the 33.52sq km Um Alhoul, which broke ground last month, and the 48sq km Al Karaana, the largest of the three zones. “The economic zone projects in Qatar contribute highly in attracting local and international investments from various sectors, which helps boost the industrial sector and in achieving economic growth, diversiﬁcation, competitiveness, and job opportunities,” al-Kaabi stressed. Business page 1 Delays in clearing foodstuff trucks lead to price rise P rices of many essential food items, in particular dried stuff, including pulses and grams, have started shooting up in recent weeks in the local market, it is learnt. Traders attribute the rising prices to the “inordinate delay” in clearing trucks carrying such items at the country’s land border at Abu Samra. Speaking to Gulf Times yesterday, some of the representatives of foodstuff suppliers said “several trucks carrying foodstuff from across the border are held up for long intervals, mostly between three and eight days and sometimes even more at the border check post.” In sharp contrast, a goods truck could return to the UAE in three days after unloading the supplies in Kuwait, it is found. More than 90% of the foodstuffs are believed to be reaching Qatar through Abu Samra from either the UAE or Saudi Arabia. “Truck operators from Dubai are no longer keen on transporting goods to the country by road owing to the chances of being held up at the Abu Samra border for long periods,” a supplier said. Local traders said a 15kg bag of Masoor Dal, which used to be supplied at prices between QR50-55 some two months ago now costs at least QR10- File photo of trucks coming to Qatar from other countries are seen parked in the Truck Park, Barwa Al Baraha, in the Industrial Area. PICTURE: Shemeer Rasheed 15 more. Similarly, at retail groceries Masoor Dal now costs about QR7-7.50 a kilo. A month ago, the maximum retail price was QR6/kilo. Toor Dal costs about QR9/kilo at retail outlets while it was at least QR1 less a month ago, a supplier said. Suppliers fear that the retail price may go up further in the months ahead. Inquiries found that while trucks from Dubai used to levy around QR2,600 plus mandatory border charges for transporting goods to Qatar, they are now demanding between QR4,500 and QR4,750/per journey. “As a result, we are forced to effect hike in the retail rates of most foodstuff,” said a supplier on the Street 38 of the Industrial Area. Importers point out that they have no option other than depending mainly on Dubai for food imports as there is no facility in Qatar to house large vessels, carrying such goods. They said importing dried foodstuff through air cargo would lead to higher retail prices and hence they are relying mostly on ships coming to Dubai from different import destinations. Some of the retailers said it is next to impossible presently to procure goods locally as most suppliers are running out of stocks owing to the delay in truck clearance at the land border. 2 Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 QATAR Darfur peace process discussed In brief Condolences conveyed Finance Minister leads team to Kuwait meetings HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Ahmed bin Abdullah bin Zaid al-Mahmoud holding talks with the adviser at the Supreme Council of Decentralised Governance in Sudan Brigadier Bakhit Abdul Karim Abdullah Jumaa (Dabajo) in Doha yesterday. Brigadier Bakhit is also the chairman of the Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement and member of the Sudanese Supreme Committee for the Follow up of Peace in Darfur. During the meeting they discussed the peace process in Darfur and progress towards the implementation of the Doha agreement signed between the Justice and Equality Movement and reviewed steps for turning the movement into a political party in accordance with the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur. HE Sheikh Thani bin Hamad al-Thani conveyed the condolences of HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and HH the Deputy Emir Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad al-Thani to the Representative of the President of the UAE Ahmed Khalifa al-Suwaidi on the death of his wife Mouza bint Abdullah bin Ahmed Khalaf al-Otaiba, in Abu Dhabi yesterday. HMC holds workshop on future of autism services T o commemorate World Autism Awareness Month, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) recently organised activities to show support for children and families affected by autism and highlight the need to provide a better quality and more socially integrated way of life through the development of collaborative services. HMC actively participated in the ‘Autism Speaks: Light it Blue’ initiative by illuminating its major hospital buildings in blue for two nights to show support for local autistic children and their families. Also, HMC in partnership with Sick Kids, the Hospital for Sick Children - Canada, recently led a multi-organisation workshop, focusing on the future of autism services in Qatar. It is hoped that the outcomes of the workshop, entitled: ‘Autism Services for Children in Qatar: Challenges, Opportunities and the Way Forward,’ will contribute to the development of a national plan for autism care in the country. The workshop was organised to coincide with World Autism Awareness Day by Dr Haitham El Bashir, senior consultant and head of Children Rehabilitation at HMC, in collaboration with HMC’s Office for Corpo- Dr Haitham El Bashir Women’s Hospital of HMC lit up in blue for autism. rate Child Health.The workshop brought together international and local expertise, including collaborators from Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and the Sick Kids Hospital, Canada, alongside representatives from numerous healthcare, education and rehabilitation services from across Qatar. Local autism groups and parents of children with autism also attended on the day. Dr El Bashir said his depart- ment receives over 200 children with autism yearly and that various medical and rehabilitation services are offered by HMC to children of all ages. The services include occupational and speech therapy, special education, family education and psychiatric services, as well as rehabilitation and treatment interventions. In discussing the public perception of autism, Dr Bashir explained that it is often misinterpreted as bad behaviour in children and the condition is generally misunderstood; it carries a social stigma. Raising public understanding should be a key part of any future plan. He added: “Autism is usually evident in the early years of a child’s life, before the age of three. Parents who are concerned that their children are displaying signs of autism should seek medical advice, as early detection is linked to better outcomes.” WISH lends support to World Health Day T he World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), a global initiative of Qatar Foundation (QF), is lending its support to the World Health Organisation’s ‘World Health Day’, taking place today. World Health Day is a global awareness day celebrated every year providing a vital platform for drawing attention to major global health concerns. This year highlights the signiﬁcance of food safety, aiming to prevent the many illnesses and suffering that can result from consuming contaminated and ill-prepared food. Over 200 diseases are caused by unsafe food containing harmful bacteria, parasites, viruses, chemical substances and is linked to the deaths of some 2 million people annually, mostly children. Changes in food production, distribution and consumption; the environment; new and emerging pathogens; and antimicrobial resistance all pose challenges to food safety systems. WISH is spearheaded by Qatar Foundation to inspire and diffuse healthcare innovation and best practice. It remains closely aligned to the vision and mission of QF to unlock human potential and reinforces Qatar’s pioneering role as an emerging centre for healthcare innovation. Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) was a focus of research undertaken by WISH and presented in Qatar in 2013. An area of huge medical concern as growing numbers of bacterial and viral infections are now resistant to antimicrobial drugs. Al-Rumaihi meets Scottish minister HE the Assistant Foreign Minister for Foreign Affairs Mohamed bin Abdullah al-Rumaihi met Scotland’s Minister of European and International Development Hamza Yousaf who is currently visiting Qatar. They discussed bilateral relations and means of developing them, and exchanged views on matters of mutual concern. Prof the Lord Darzi of Denham, executive chair of WISH and director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College of London, said: “WISH and our community of health experts believe that good health is an essential human right and a cornerstone of sustainable development and global security. Our WISH policy reports provide recommendations for policymakers to implement much needed change in how global healthcare is ﬁnanced and delivered.” Sidra to host conference on breast cancer immunotherapy S idra Medical and Research Center (Sidra) announced yesterday that it will be hosting the ﬁrst international conference on breast cancer immunotherapy on April 13 and 14. Led by international and local experts, the Breast Cancer Immunotherapy Conference (BRECIS) will focus on immunobiology and immunotherapeutic developments in breast cancer. It is being held in partnership with the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC), the leading society in the ﬁeld. “We are proud to bring the world’s top researchers in breast cancer immunotherapy to Doha, several of whom are going to present their exciting data on recent ﬁndings as well as discuss the ﬁrst clinical trials demonstrating the use of immunotherapy in breast cancer,” said Davide Bedognetti, director of Tumor Biology, Immunology and Therapy Section, Sidra. “In view of recent successes of immunotherapy in cancers such as melanoma and kidney cancer, breast cancer immunotherapy is becoming a key focus for cancer researchers around the world, including here at Sidra.” Immunotherapy uses a person’s own immune system to kill cancer cells by stimulating the immune system. It is currently considered a groundbreaking treatment for cancer. While immunotherapy has been effectively used in the treatment of melanoma and prostate cancer, it is still considered highly experimental in breast cancer treatment. Other topics on the agenda at BRECIS include the genetic risk factors of breast cancer in Arab populations; breast cancer control in Qatar; the prognostic and predictive role of immune biomarkers of re- Dr Davide Bedognetti sponse to cancer immunotherapy; and the description of novel immunotherapeutic approaches. Breast cancer represents almost 30% of all cancer cases diagnosed in Qatari women, and is the most common cancer in the country. While the incidence of breast cancer in GCC countries is lower than in countries such as US and Europe, it is rising fast. Recent ﬁndings indicate that there is a unique pattern of the disease amongst the Arab population. “The research team at Sidra is actively studying the immunobiology of breast cancer with the ultimate goal of developing more effective and personalised treatment. Along with other teams across the world, we are interested in understanding why and how immunotherapy works in some patients and not in others,” concluded Dr Bedognetti. BRECIS will feature experts from Sidra, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), WeillCornell Medical College in Qatar, Qatar Computing Research Institute, along with researchers from prestigious institutions such as John Hopkins University, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Heidelberg University, Jackson Laboratory, New York University and the University of Washington. Katara launches art exhibition Katara, the Cultural Village Foundation, has launched “Fingers that love arts” exhibition at the headquarters of Qatar Photographic Society (QPS) with the participation of 10 Qatari female artists. The exhibition is considered the outcome of a workshop that was conducted by the Girl’s Creativity Centre in co-operation with QPS. The 10 artists have each contributed two paintings. Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti, the general manager of Katara, pointed out that the exhibition clearly displays the development of the techniques of such Qatari artists.In the meantime, the participating artists were honoured at the opening ceremony of the exhibition. HE the Minister of Finance Ali Sherif al-Emadi will lead a highlevel Qatari delegation to the joint annual meetings of Arab financial institutions which open in Kuwait today. The high-level delegation includes HE Governor of Qatar Central Bank Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al-Thani. Arab finance and economy ministers and governors of central banks along with Arab funds and financial institutions will participate in the two-day meetings which are a follow-up to meetings that had addressed many important issues and topics. The five Arab institutions are the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Arab Monetary Fund, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, the Arab Authority for Agricultural Investment and Development, and the Arab Investment and Export Credit Guarantee Corporation. Advisory Council holds meeting The Advisory Council held yesterday its weekly meeting presided over by Speaker HE Mohamed bin Mubarak alKhulaifi. The council discussed a report by the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee on the commercial companies law and decided to send its recommendations to the Cabinet. Meanwhile, Advisory Council’s Financial and Economic Affairs Committee met under its Rapporteur Mohamed Ajaj alKubaisi yesterday. The committee resumed its study of a draft law on the issuance of a law regulating tenders. The committee decided to invite Finance Ministry officials to attend its next meeting to give a briefing on the Ministry’s views on the draft law. The Advisory Council’s Cultural and Information Affairs Committee also met yesterday under its acting rapporteur Hadi Said al-Khayareen. The committee resumed its study on a draft law regulating private schools and decided to continue study a future meeting. Qatar-Comoros ties reviewed President of the Comoros Iklil Zanin met Qatar’s ambassador to Moroni Mubarak bin Abdurrahman al-Nasr yesterday. Talks dealt with bilateral relations and means of developing them. Ambassador al-Nasr also attended the inauguration of the Dr Hussein Abdou, speaker of the federal parliament. Serbian minister meets Qatar envoy Serbian Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Rasim Ljajic met Qatar’s ambassador in Belgrade Sheikh Mubarak bin Fahad al-Thani. They discussed bilateral relations and means of enhancing them especially in the economic and trade fields. Farm worker wins compensation The Court of Cassation has directed a farm owner to pay a compensation of QR25,500 to a worker who had been arbitrarily dismissed from work, local Arabic daily Arrayah has reported. The worker had filed a lawsuit requesting that he be paid a sum of QR41,500 as end-of-service dues and compensation for arbitrary termination, the daily adds. In his lawsuit, the worker said he was working in a farm owned by the defendant, who failed to pay his dues. A Primary Court had directed the employer to pay a sum of QR25,500 in addition to bearing the cost of an air ticket. The plaintiff appealed against this judgment, but the Court of Cassation rejected the plea and confirmed the verdict of the Primary Court. Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 3 QATAR Qatar, Georgia sign cultural co-operation pact QNA Doha Q HE the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Abdullah Saleh Mubarak al-Khulaifi holding talks with Nepalese Minister of Labour and Employment Tek Bahadur Gurung in Kathmandu yesterday. Qatar, Nepal discuss ways to boost labour sector relations QNA Kathmandu H E the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Abdullah Saleh Mubarak al-Khulaiﬁ briefed Nepalese Minister of Labour and Employment Tek Bahadur Gurung on the latest legisla- tion by the Qatar to guarantee the rights of Nepalese workers. During the talks which took place in Kathmandu yesterday, they also discussed co-operation between Qatar and Nepal in the labour sector. Minister al-Khulaiﬁ highlighted Qatar’s keenness on the stability of Nepalese workers and praised their role in the development in the country. Al-Khulaiﬁ also met Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and Nepal’s President Ram Baran Yadav. During the two separate meetings, relations between Qatar and Nepal and means of developing them were discussed. atar yesterday signed a cultural co-operation agreement with Georgia providing for the enhancement and support of cultural relations between the two countries through the exchange of expertise and visits between intellectuals and innovators. HE the Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage Dr Hamad bin Abdul Aziz al-Kuwari and the Georgian Minister of Culture and Monument Protection Michael Giorgadze signed the agreement. The agreement provides for the organising Qatari activities and cultural weeks in Georgia and Georgian cultural weeks in Qatar. The activities feature movie and theatre shows, book fairs, manuscripts and visual arts exhibitions, as well as folkloric shows, music and poetry nights, intellectual symposiums and workshops in all ﬁelds of innovation. HE the Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage Dr Hamad bin Abdul Aziz al-Kuwari and the Georgian Minister of Culture and Monument Protection Michael Giorgadze signing the agreement. ‘Teach Me’ campaign kicks off Msheireb Properties supports green building conference Q atar Green Building Council (QGBC), a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), has welcomed Msheireb Properties as the official platinum sponsor for its upcoming inaugural Qatar Green Building Conference. The conference, taking place at Qatar National Convention Centre on April 27 and 28, will support QF’s commitment to promote green best practice and environmentally sustainable infrastructure towards the successful long-term delivery of Qatar National Vision 2030, according to a statement. Msheireb Properties, a real es- tate development company, is a subsidiary of Qatar Foundation, The Qatar Green Building Conference is committed to bridging the gap between theory and practical implementation of sustainability efforts. It will address major environmental challenges around multiple themes, including future sustainable cities, Passivhaus in the Middle East and North Africa region and measuring carbon footprints. Meshal al-Shamari, director of QGBC, said: “We are delighted to have Msheireb Properties join us as our latest and foremost sponsor for our upcoming conference. Leading national and international organisations’ overwhelming support for the inaugural Qatar Green Building Conference is indicative of the wider interest and care for sustainability and a greener Qatar.” “Partnering with QGBC was a natural fit for us and we are proud to be affiliated with organisations that serve to elevate industry standards and raise the benchmark for best practice regionally and internationally” “These organisations are joining an expansive network of QGBC stakeholders who actively further the sustainable develop- ment goals set out in Qatar National Vision 2030.” Abdulla Hassan al-Mehshadi, CEO of Msheireb Properties, said: “Msheireb Properties believes in a culture of partnership. We are fundamentally collaborative in our approach to business as experience has taught us that only through working in collaboration with leading organisations here at home, and around the globe, can we truly foster knowledge transfer around topics that are close to our heart such as sustainability and innovation in design and construction. “Partnering with QGBC was a natural ﬁt for us and we are proud to be affiliated with or- ganisations that serve to elevate industry standards and raise the benchmark for best practice regionally and internationally.” Qatar Green Building Conference is supported by several other organisations, including Vodafone Group Qatar, Construction Development Company and tiered sponsors Astad Project Management as the ofﬁcial gold sponsor, Qatar Electricity and Water Company as silver sponsor and Qatar Cool as bronze sponsor. Those interested in being a part of the conference, which is free to attend, should register on the conference website at www. qgbcconference.com ‘Teach Me’ global campaign that aims to spread awareness on providing 58mn children with no access to primary education was launched yesterday in Doha. Educate A Child (EAC), a programme of Education Above All (EAA), and Qatar Charity (QC) announced the launch. It draws attention to the issue of millions of children worldwide who are denied basic primary education because of poverty, conflict, natural disaster, and discrimination. Launched in 2012, EAC aims breakthrough in providing quality primary education to such children. Through EAC supported programming, children overcome barriers to educational access and retention, EAA said. The joint campaign follows the Memorandum of Understanding QC and EAA signed in 2014. The EAC is a global initiative that HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser launched to support out-of-school children worldwide. EAA Deputy CEO Fahad al-Sulaiti said, “We hope that this joint initiative with Qatar Charity will be a step towards making a difference to out-ofschool children.” The one-year campaign, will focus on fundraising for educational projects and activities, in countries where children suffer from hard and extreme conditions. 4 Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 QATAR QDF announces 10% discount to UnionPay cardholders Q atar Duty Free (QDF) has announced that UnionPay cardholders will beneﬁt from a 10% discount when they shop at QDF in Hamad International Airport (HIA) until July 20. Passengers who are holders of a UnionPay card can claim their discount on a variety of products across QDF’s portfolio of more than 70 stores located within the airport’s 25,000sqm duty-free shopping area. “Following our extremely popular Chinese New Year promotion at Hamad International Airport, we are delighted to continue our support for our Chinese clientele by offering UnionPay cardholders a 10% discount until July 20,” said Keith Hunter, senior vice president of QDF. “China is an extremely important market for us and we are pleased to recognise this by offering something back to our Chinese passengers in the form of this exciting promotion.” “As China becomes the world’s second largest source for global tourism, we are catering to the ever-increasing individual and in-depth tours that have become more popular to continuously enrich our global cardholder privilege system,” said Dong Li, chief branding officer of UnionPay International. “Airport duty-free shops are must- visit shopping sites for many during their travels, and we wish to provide our cardholders with better card-using experiences at airports around the world by rolling out the latest privilege programme.” This promotion, which is titled “Travel Your Way – Enjoy the World Your Way”, will beneﬁt passengers ﬂying to or through HIA from destinations such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Passengers from these three destinations generate a signiﬁcant percentage of an- nual sales at HIA and QDF is proud to partner with UnionPay International and offer something back to these dedicated customers, according to a statement. At HIA, QDF offers 40,000sqm of combined retail, food and beverage facilities. More than 70 retail outlets offer a selection of designer labels, fashion, electronics, gourmet foods and more. In addition, more than 30 cafés and restaurants offer a selection of global and local cuisine. Safari Hypermarket begins promotion T he “10, 20, 30” shopping promotion got under way at Safari Hypermarket yesterday. Customers can avail of the promotion at Safari Mall Abu Hamour, Safari Hypermarket Salwa Road and Safari Shopping Complex Umm Salal Mohamed. The promotion includes a wide range of combo offers on products such as food, household items, car accessories, stationery and cosmetics, among others. The hypermarket has also lined up a number of en- tertainment activities for shoppers. A road show from tomorrow until April 10, led by famous Voice of Kerala radio presenter Reji Mannel, will be one of the attractions. A set of game shows, question-answer sessions and entertainment shows by artistes from Tunes Doha are also lined up at Safari Mall Abu Hamour from 6pm to 10pm to attract shoppers. Besides, visitors can enter a Nissan Patrol lucky draw on every QR50 purchase they make. 6 Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 QATAR QMIC presents Connected Vehicles platform at testing event in Helmond T he Qatar Mobility Innovations Centre (QMIC) has successfully participated in this year’s Co-operative Mobility Services (CMS) Interoperability Testing event, for the fourth consecutive year. The event was organised by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), in partnership with ERTICO-ITS Europe, in March hosted by TASS International in Helmond, the Netherlands. Nearly 100 experts from over 40 organisations from all over the world, came together to test the interoperability of the vehicle-tovehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) systems known also as Connected Vehicles. Connected Vehicles will change intelligent transportation as we know it by enabling wireless commu- nication among vehicles and infrastructure in a seamless manner and using a common standard or language. This will enable the realisation of next generation Road Safety Systems and is considered a key enabler for future autonomous and self-driving vehicles. Studies by the US Department of Transportation show that Connected Vehicles, if fully implemented, could mitigate up to 80% of road accidents. In the past, the main focus has been on how to survive accidents; Connected Vehicles aims to avoid them completely, as well as enhancing our daily driving experience, as a whole. Dr Adnan Abu-Dayya, chief executive officer, QMIC, said, “Connected Vehicle (V2X) technologies represent a key element of QMIC’s leading and integrated road safety innovations portfolio. It nicely complements our leading Masarak traffic and telematics platform and our Salamtek distracted driving solutions. Our successful participation in the recent plugtests event solidiﬁes our regional leadership position in this emerging area.” The QMIC team was led by Dr Hamid Menouar, product manager of the Connected Vehicle programme and R&D expert represented QMIC in this event. QMIC’s Connected Vehicles platform has been successfully tested against platforms of other international organisations who participated in the event which helps QMIC to put its platform at a competitive international position. In addition, this intensive testing also provides an early chance to validate the conform- Connected Vehicles platform on display at QMIC. ance against the ﬁrst release of the ETSI TC ITS standards. The ETSI TC ITS standards have matured signiﬁcantly allowing more complex features to be tested in this year CMS Plugtests. To demonstrate the level of progress and maturity of standards, the total number of planned test cases reached 340 this year compared to 49 test cases last year. There was also a notable growth in participants this year. Migrants to the UK to pay health surcharge N ationals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA), coming to the UK for longer than six months, are now required to pay a health surcharge when they make their immigration application, the British embassy in Doha said in a statement yesterday. Migrants coming to work, study or join family members currently receive free medical treatment under the UK’s National Health System (NHS) in the same way as a permanent resident. The changes, which came into effect yesterday, will ensure that migrants make an appropriate ﬁnancial contribution to the cost of their NHS care, according to the statement. Non-EEA nationals visiting the UK on a tourist visa or any other visit visa will not be required to pay the health surcharge, but will continue to be fully liable for the costs of any NHS treatment at the point they receive it. The surcharge also does not apply to those making applications for settlement and those who are not subject to UK immigration control such as accredited diplomats and their dependants, who will continue to enjoy free access to the NHS. The health surcharge will be £200 per year and £150 per year for students, payable up-front and for the total period of time for which they are given permission to stay in the UK. In setting the surcharge levels, the UK government has considered the wide range of free health services available to migrants alongside the valuable contribution they make and the need to ensure that the UK remains attractive to the brightest and the best from around the world, the statement points out. The money collected by the UK Home Office will be passed to the health departments in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. “The surcharge levels are lower than the cost of medical insurance required in some of our competitor nations and, for overseas students, the surcharge represents only 1% of the total cost of studying in the UK for a three-year undergraduate course,” the statement adds. Having paid the surcharge, migrants will have the same access to the NHS as a UK permanent resident while their stay in the UK is lawful. The surcharge will apply to immigration applications where payment is made on or after April 6 and is made at the same time as the immigration application. Mozaic TV launches new OSN packages O oredoo has announced the launch of three new OSN packages on its Mozaic TV service. Ooredoo’s newly launched packages - OSN Premier Plus HD, OSN Entertainment Extra and OSN Family - have been designed to fulﬁl the entertainment needs of every family member in the home and include a comprehensive range of channels, according to a statement. The OSN Premier Plus HD package includes movie channels such as OSN Movies HD, OSN Movies Action and OSN Movies Comedy, plus a strong Arabic language channel line-up, including OSN Yahala HD, OSN Yahala, Shabab and OSN Yahala Drama, and a wide range of sports, factual and entertainment channels. The new channels will bring a variety of international programming and up-to-date Arabic content to Qatar, offering viewers more choice on Ooredoo’s network, the statement adds. OSN Premier Plus HD leads the trio with over 80 channels, half of them available in HD quality for QR310 a month. For children, the bundle also includes family favourites such as Nickelodeon, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Jim Jam and Nick JR. Next Generation Mozaic TV packages start from QR250 per month and offer a large range of content in HD picture quality in Qatar, with on-demand features, including Pause and Record Live TV and a Catch-up TV facility, so viewers can see programmes they have already missed. The expansion of Mozaic TV’s OSN packages comes as the latest in a series of moves to enhance the user experience and broaden viewers’ choices, the statement points out. Last year, Mozaic TV signed a content deal with GMA to offer Filipinos in Qatar access to the latest Pinoy news, public affairs and entertainment programmes, as well as a multi-year deal with The Walt Disney Company. Customers who do not already have Mozaic TV can enjoy free installation and free Mozaic TV equipment when they subscribe. Customers with Mozaic TV need to press the blue button on their remote control to subscribe to one of the new OSN packages. Weather turns normal for ﬁshing By Ramesh Mathew Staff Reporter M ost of the ﬁshermen who were forced to stay away from the sea for the last ﬁve days owing to adverse weather conditions will resume ﬁshing from today. A group of ﬁshermen told Gulf Times that almost 95% of their boats remained berthed along the ﬁshing harbours in Doha, Wakrah, Dukhan, Ruwais and Al Khor since Wednesday when an unprecedented sandstorm lashed Qatar. “The latest forecast from the meteorology department is that weather would be somewhat normal in the coming days and no caution is served speciﬁcally for the ﬁshermen,” said a ﬁsherman. The authorities had clamped a restriction of a maximum of three trips per month per ﬁshing vessel, in view of the onset of the breeding season. A ﬁshing boat cannot stay in the sea for more than four days during each trip, according to the directive. Free recall for Honda City and Jazz The Ministry of Economy and Commerce has launched a free recall campaign for the Honda City and Jazz manufactured in 2004 to repair a defect in their front passenger airbag. The campaign is conducted in association with Domasco, Honda vehicles dealer in Qatar. 8 Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 REGION Saudi policeman killed in shootout A Saudi policeman was killed in a gunfight with “terrorists” in a town populated by minority Shias in the east of the kingdom, the interior ministry said. Three other policemen as well as a Saudi and a foreign resident were wounded in the incident on Sunday in Awamiya, according to a ministry statement published by the official SPA news agency. It did not identify the foreigner. The shootout erupted when police forces launched a raid on several hideouts in the town based on “evidence they were being used by terrorists”, it said. During the search, they came under fire from a nearby building. The police responded and arrested four Saudis suspected of involvement. They seized automatic weapons, ammunition, and communication devices, the ministry said. Awamiya, just west of Dammam city on the Gulf coast, has been the scene of clashes between security forces and protesters from Saudi Arabia’s Shia Muslim minority. Protests erupted in Eastern Province in February 2011 after an outbreak of violence between Shia pilgrims and religious police in the holy city of Madinah in western Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of exploiting the Shias to incite unrest. Obama reassures Israel on Iran deal AFP New York U S President Barack Obama has said that a weakened Israel would be a “fundamental failure of my presidency”, affirming solidarity with the long-time ally despite recent differences over the Iran nuclear deal. Obama said while Israel has reason to be concerned about Iran, he defended the framework agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme that negotiators drew up last week. Obama made the comments to The New York Times in a 45-minute video interview on Saturday that was posted on Sunday. “I would consider it a failure on my part, a fundamental failure of my presidency, if on my watch or as a consequence of work that I’ve done, Israel was rendered more vulnerable,” Obama said. He said he would consider it “not just a strategic failure, I think that would a moral failure,” adding that no disagreements between Israel and the United States can break their bond. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly denounced the agreement between Tehran and world powers as a bad deal, arguing it will leave Iran with a large nuclear infrastructure. The two leaders have also clashed over the Middle East peace process, with Israel opposing the creation of a Palestinian state, while the White House is seeking a “two state” solution to the conﬂict. “Even in the midst of the disagreements that I have had with Prime Minister Netanyahu both on Iran as well as on the Palestinian issue, I have been consistent saying that our de- Obama: sending a “very clear message to the Iranians”. fence of Israel is unshakable,” Obama said. The US president also defended the Iran nuclear deal, which paves the way for Tehran to curtail its nuclear activity in exchange for relief from punishing economic sanctions. “There is no formula, there is no option, to prevent Iran from getting a new weapon that will be more effective than the diplomatic initiative and framework that we put forward, and that’s demonstrable,” he told the newspaper. But Obama said Israel was “right to be concerned” about Iran, and sent a strong message to enemies of Israel. “What we will be doing as we enter into this deal is sending a very clear message to the Iranians and to the entire region that if anyone messes with Israel, America will be there,” he said. On the Iranian negotiations, Obama said that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is “a pretty tough read” and “deeply suspicious of the West”. But Obama added: “He does realise that the sanctions regime we put together was weakening Iran over the long term, and that if in fact he wanted to see Iran enter into the commu- nity of nations, there would have to be changes.” Washington made clear yesterday that it would only agree to sanctions on Iran being phased out gradually as Tehran complies with a ﬁnal deal to curb its nuclear programme. “You can’t start talking about relieving sanctions until we’ve reached agreements about how we’re going to shut down every pathway they have to a nuclear weapon,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said at a news brieﬁng. “It has never been our position that all of the sanctions against Iran should be removed from Day One,” he said. The White House is working aggressively to convince US lawmakers and other critics to embrace the framework agreement reached on Thursday between Iran, the United States and ﬁve other major powers. The framework was a major step toward a ﬁnal deal but did not include an agreement on the timing and scope of sanctions relief. Many other issues also must be hammered out before the end-of-June deadline for a ﬁnal accord. Iran’s top negotiators have interpreted the outline differently, saying sanctions relief would not occur in phases but would be lifted immediately once a nuclear accord is signed. Earnest said Washington would want to see sustained compliance by Iran as it begins to lift sanctions. He said Iran would be more likely to comply if its leaders knew economic sanctions would be reapplied if they violated the agreement. The United States could foresee a point at which sanctions could be dismantled, but only after “sustained compliance over a long period of time”, Earnest said. Israel minister proposes nuclear accord changes Agencies Jerusalem I srael’s intelligence minister yesterday proposed terms for a ﬁnal nuclear accord with Iran which he said would be an improvement on the outline drawn up last week. Yuval Steinitz told journalists that US President Barack Obama’s pledge to back Israel’s security was appreciated, but it did not outweigh the potential threat of a nuclear-armed Iran. “If Iran will produce nuclear weapons, this is an existential threat to Israel,” Steinitz said. “Nobody can tell us that backing and assistance are enough to completely resist or to neutralise such a threat”. Steinitz proposed that the emerging deal between Iran and world powers should incorporate a total halt to research and development on a new generation of centrifuges, a cut in the number of existing centrifuges and closure of the Fordow facility for enrichment of uranium. He also proposed that Tehran detail its past nuclear arms research and allow international inspectors to make spot checks “anywhere, anytime”. If such terms were accepted, Steinitz said, “it will not be a good agreement but it will be a more reasonable agreement.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government ﬁercely oppose the draft agreement announced on Thursday after marathon talks in Switzerland. “Israel will not accept an agreement which allows a country that vows to annihilate us to develop nuclear weapons, period,” Netanyahu said in response. Steinitz said that since Thursday’s announcement officials have studied the proposals carefully. “A comprehensive analysis of the Lausanne framework reveals the extent of the irresponsible concessions given to Iran and makes clear how dangerous the framework is for Israel, the region and the entire world,” he said. “We are going to do an additional effort to convince the US administration, to convince Congress, to convince Britain and France and Russia not to sign this bad deal, or at least to dramatically change it and ﬁx it.” Steinitz said Israel preferred a diplomatic solution to the issue but it re- Russia sees ‘no reasons’ for arms race An interim agreement between six world powers and Iran on Tehran’s nuclear programme will not lead to a new arms race, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in remarks published yesterday. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that a final agreement based on the terms reached in the Swiss city of Lausanne would threaten his country’s survival and increase the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. But Lavrov, whose country took part in the talks in Lausanne, said: “There are no reasons for an arms race.” “Iran will be the most checked and in- 28 men and women sentenced over ‘sin’ party aboard yacht in Dubai Twenty-eight men and women have been fined or jailed for attending an alcohol-fuelled sex party on a yacht in Dubai, reports said yesterday. The Court of Misdemeanours sentenced two men and three women to one year each in prison for having sex outside of marriage, Khaleej Times reported. According to the 7 Days newspaper, the two men were policemen. All the defendants were fined 2,000 dirhams each for “getting together while unrelated in a way that would lure them into committing acts of sin”, the Khaleej Times said. served the right to take military action against Iran if necessary. “It’s still on the table, it’s going to remain on the table,” he said. “It’s our right and duty to decide how to defend ourselves, especially if our national security and even very existence are under threat.” zThe leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah said yesterday that the framework nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers rules out the spectre of regional war. “There is no doubt that the Iranian nuclear deal will be big and important to the region,” Hassan Nasrallah said in an interview with Syria’s Al Ikhbariya television. “The agreement, God willing, rules out the spectre of regional war and world war,” he said. Nine were fined an additional 2,000 dirhams each for consuming alcohol without a licence at the party on the yacht anchored in Dubai Marina in October, according to the newspaper. Police raided the party after a tipoff and seized about 110 bottles of alcohol as well as bedsheets and other evidence for forensic tests, it said. The 15 men, aged between 21 and 43, were from the UAE, Iran and the Comoros, while the women, aged between 20 and 36, were from the UAE, Yemen, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Morocco. spected country if the principles agreed in Lausanne are transferred into the language of practical agreements,” he said in an interview with Dmitry Kiselyov, head of state news organisation Rossiya Segodnya. In excerpts of the interview published by Russia’s RIA news agency, Lavrov blamed the United States and Europe for delays in securing the framework deal last week. He also said the lifting of sanctions would help Russia because it would allow Iran to pay in full for deals with Russia’s nuclear agency, Rosatom. 10 Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 REGION/ARAB WORLD UN warns of humanitarian disaster due to conﬂict Reuters Dubai Y Supporters of the separatist Southern Movement stand on a tank in Aden yesterday. Yemen clashes kill more than 140 as aid delayed The Red Cross has appealed for an immediate truce to facilitate aid deliveries and has called for all land, air and sea routes to be immediately opened AFP Aden F ierce clashes raged yesterday between rebels and loyalists in southern Yemen, leaving more than 140 dead in 24 hours, as the Red Cross faced delays to urgently needed aid deliveries. Relief workers have warned of a dire situation in the impoverished state, where a Saudi-led coalition is waging an air war on the Iran-backed Houthi Shia rebels. The bloodiest ﬁghting occurred between rebels and loyalists of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in the main southern city of Aden, officials said. More than a third of those slain in the past 24 hours - 53 - were killed as rebels tried to seize a port in the city, which sits on an extinct volcano jutting out into the sea. At least 19 Houthis and 15 pro-Hadi militiamen were killed overnight in the town of Daleh, north of Aden, officials said, and seven other people died in the southern province of Abyan. Pro-Hadi ﬁghters have laid siege in Abyan to the base of a renegade army brigade loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is accused of backing the Houthis. Ten rebels were killed in coalition air strikes that hit Al Anad airbase near Abyan and a military camp in Lahj, while many more died in Shabwa province. Hadi, considered by the UN to be Yemen’s legitimate leader, took refuge in Aden in February after the Houthis, who hail from the mountainous north, seized power in Sanaa. Hadi ﬂed to Saudi Arabia last month as rebels advanced on his southern stronghold, prompting the military campaign by the Saudi-led coalition, now in its 12th day. Yemen, strategically located near key shipping routes, is sinking deeper into a multi-sided civil conﬂict. The ﬁghting has drawn in an array of armed groups including the Houthis, pro-Hadi militia, army units loyal to Saleh, southern separatists, Sunni tribes and Al Qaeda militants. The Red Cross has appealed for an immediate truce to facilitate aid deliveries and has called for all land, air and sea routes to be immediately opened to allow the delivery of 48 tonnes of medical supplies the organisation has ready to treat up to 3,000 wounded. The situation is particularly dire in Aden, where some neighbourhoods have had no electricity or water in days. The Red Cross has been trying to ﬂy emergency supplies into Sanaa but the plane is still stuck on the tarmac. “We have a cargo plane with medical supplies which is ready to go,” said Sitara Jabeen, a spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross. “We have the permission for this plane but we have logistical problems for the landing. There are less and less planes landing in Yemen. We are trying to solve the logistic problems,” she said. The Red Cross is also trying to deploy a team of surgeons to Aden, but says it is still awaiting authorisations from all sides in the ﬁghting. But the spokesman of the Saudi-led coalition, General Ahmed Assiri, said the Red Cross had evacuated 11 staff members from Sanaa airport. It was unclear if they were to be redeployed elsewhere in Yemen or replaced. Russia has urged the UN Security Council to push for a humanitarian pause in the strikes. On Monday an Indian vessel evacuated 450 people from the western Hodeida port, while 100 others boarded a Chinese vessel to safety. France evacuated 63 foreigners from the eastern port of Balhaf. Jordan said it had evacuated almost 300 nationals since the conﬂict began and an AFP photographer said three Indian aircraft and one Russian plane landed yesterday in Sanaa to evacuate their citizens. Pakistan said it had been asked by Saudi Arabia to contribute aircraft, ships and ground troops to Operation Decisive Storm. Despite close ties with Riyadh, Pakistan has so far held back from joining the offensive, saying it does not want to get involved in any conflict that would inflame sectarian tensions. Iran has strongly criticised the intervention in Yemen and has rejected accusations of arming the Houthis. Its foreign minister, Mohamed Javad Zarif, is due to visit Islamabad tomorrow to discuss the situation. In Riyadh, the Saudi cabinet reiterated the kingdom “is not seeking war” and that the offensive was to “rescue a neighbouring country... and its legitimate authority”. Pilot, trainee killed in crash A Jordanian pilot and an Iraqi trainee were killed when a light training aircraft crashed during a routine military excercise yesterday, the Jordanian army said. A T67 “Firefly aircraft crashed Monday morning, killing a Jordanian lieutenant colonel and his Iraqi trainee, during a routine training excercise” said Colonel Mamdouh al-Amiri, spokesman for the Jordanian military. He said the crash occurred over Jordanian soil but did not elaborate on the cause of the accident or its location. The Jordanian military regularly trains Iraqi pilots as part of defence agreements between the two countries, Amiri said. Local media reported that the crash took place some 70 to 90km north of the capital Amman. In September, Jordan joined the US-led coalition of Arab and Western countries carrying out air strikes against the Islamic State group, which controls large parts of Iraq and Syria. In February, it extended air strikes against IS to Iraq after the group released a video of downed F-16 pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh being burned alive. emen’s conflict is driving an already impoverished country towards humanitarian disaster, displacing tens of thousands of families and exposing many more to the threat of disease and malnutrition, the United Nations children’s agency Unicef said yesterday. The Arabian Peninsula’s poorest state has endured years of unrest, but nearly two weeks of war between rebel Houthi fighters and pro-government forces has put millions of people in danger. Unicef’s Yemen representative Julien Harneis said “many, many children” had been killed in the fighting. Hospitals have been shelled and schools taken over by combatants. Fuel shortages threaten to disrupt child immunisation programmes - which need vaccines to be kept refrigerated and government cash handouts to the poorest third of the population have been suspended. At the same time the cost of water has risen, as generators pumping the water become more expensive to run, and prices of increasingly scarce food have gone up as people’s incomes fall. The huge displacement of people, with families fleeing the worst-hit cities, also means deteriorating hygiene and sanitation conditions and possible spread of disease. “We are rushing to a humanitarian disaster,” Harneis said. Unicef and the International Committee of the Red Cross are both trying to fly aid shipments into Yemen today to start addressing the dire conditions, but say they have struggled to find planes which will fly into the conflict zone. “Our main focus is going to be water and sanitation, and medical (aid),” Harneis said by telephone from Jordan. Unicef said at least 62 children were killed in the last week of March in Yemen. Harneis said the figure was likely now to be “much, much worse”. In part that may be because of the large proportion of children fighting in the ranks of Yemen’s many armed factions. Harneis said child recruitment was widespread. “All of those more tribal type groups ... up to a third of them are children.” On Thursday, the United Nations put the overall death toll from two weeks of fighting in Yemen at more than 500. Scores more have died since then, including 60 people killed on Sunday in fighting for the port district of Mualla in the southern city of Aden, residents and eyewitnesses said. Central Aden has endured some of the worst of the conflict, with residents complaining that water and electricity have been cut off in some neighbourhoods for days. A Reuters correspondent in the city saw a refuse truck yesterday ferrying around 10 corpses, piled on top of each other, towards one of the city’s hospitals. In the Houthi-controlled capital, Sanaa, residents have also been caught up in the fighting. A local rights group said 29 civilians were killed in an air strike near the airport on the first day of the Saudi-led campaign. In the longer term, the fighting threatens to reverse steps in health and education which Yemen made despite political turmoil since 2011 street protests, inspired by the broader Arab uprisings, and tribal and provincial unrest. “We’re expecting a real peak in malnutrition,” Harneis said. Yemen is just one of a handful of Arab countries including Syria, Iraq and Libya which show many signs of failed statehood, as armed insurgencies erode central authority. But even before the latest conflict, it was more fragile than others. “It doesn’t have the oil resources of Iraq. It didn’t have the infrastructure of Syria. So it’s already a very vulnerable society,” Harneis said. “On top of this you are adding a layer of intense conflict in the south and bombardment and destruction of the infrastructure in the north.” 12 Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 ARAB WORLD Security Council demands aid access to Yarmuk AFP United Nations T he UN Security Council yesterday demanded humanitarian aid access to help thousands of refugees trapped in Syria’s Yarmuk camp after it was partly seized by the Islamic State group. The 15-member council called “for the protection of civilians in the camp for ensuring a humanitarian access to the area including by providing life-saving assistance”, said Jordan’s ambassador Dina Kawar, who chairs the council this month. IS ﬁghters have captured large swaths of the Palestinian refugee camp near Damascus in an offensive launched on April 1 and hundreds of families have been evacuated. Kawar said the council expressed deep concern over the “grave situation” for the 18,000 refugees in the camp and demanded safe passage for the evacuation of civilians. The council is ready to consider “further measures to provide necessary assistance”, said Kawar, but she did not provide details. The council received a report from Pierre Krahenbuhl, of the Unrwa relief agency for Palestinian refugees, who described the situation in the camp as “more desperate than ever”. Krahenbuhl told reporters that he appealed to countries with inﬂuence in Syria to act “for civilian lives to be spared and for humani- tarian access to be given.” IS militants ﬁrst attacked the camp, just 7km from central Damascus, on Wednesday. A Palestinian official said in Ramallah yesterday a delegation was heading to Damascus for talks on helping residents in the camp. Ahmed Majdalani, an official with the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), said the delegation would focus its efforts on providing security and assistance to the camp. “We will discuss with a number of Syrian officials securing the relief corridor opened yesterday to deliver humanitarian aid and getting civilians out so they won’t become human shields for the terrorist Daesh group,” he said, using an Arabic acronym for IS. The delegation will also hold meetings with various Palestinian factions to discuss how to counter IS threats, said Majdalani, who is heading the group. Majdalani accused IS militants of “seeking to control the whole camp” and to use it “as a spring- board for attacks on the Syrian capital Damascus because of its strategic location”. He said the visit comes after talks with officials in several Arab countries. “We have an Arab and international plan to stop the violence perpetrated against our people,” Majdalani said. In a statement, the PLO called for “all sides to immediately agree to protect the camp from efforts to turn it into a battleﬁeld”. It also called for civilians to have access to relief corridors and to humanitarian and medical assistance. Since the militant advance began, regime forces have pounded the camp with shells and barrel bombs, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group. Dozens of Hamas and Islamic Jihad supporters meanwhile protested in Gaza yesterday to demand an end to the violence in Yarmuk. Syria talks in Moscow start with hopes of progress low Despite seemingly positive noises over the conflict there seems little prospect of any breakthrough at the talks AFP Moscow T alks on ending the war in Syria began yesterday in Moscow but the absence of key opposition groups meant there was little hope of progress in resolving the conﬂict. Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar al-Jaafari, is heading the government delegation for the meetings with members of the domestic “tolerated” opposition, the National Co-ordination Committee for Democratic Change (NCCDC). But the main Western-backed exiled Syrian opposition National Coalition stayed away, and another leading domestic opposition activist remains under a travel ban from Damascus. The discussions, which run until April 9, are expected to focus on humanitarian issues and plans for future talks, while also serving as a way for Russia, a main backer of the Syrian regime, to build its profile as a potential mediator in the conflict. A source in the Syrian government delegation said the opposition would spend yesterday and today meeting with Russian mediators before the two sides sit down together tomorrow. “The main idea this time is to agree on a precise agenda for further negotiations,” the source said. Russia’s Foreign Minister Ser- gei Lavrov played down hopes for any breakthrough saying Moscow was disappointed by the decision of the National Coalition not to attend. “We are not setting any ﬁnal deadlines given that so much blood has been shed in Syria and that there have been so many false starts in this process,” Lavrov said. The talks follow a similar round of meetings between the government and officially tolerated opposition in Moscow in late January that failed to make any concrete progress towards resolving the deep-rooted conﬂict. The meeting is the ﬁrst since some of the key international players in the crisis thrashed out an outline deal over Iran’s nuclear programme and US Secretary of State John Kerry refused to rule out speaking to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. But despite the seemingly positive noises over the conﬂict there seemed little prospect of any breakthrough at the Moscow talks. Ahead of the meeting a source close to the Syrian government delegation said the delegations “will only discuss ‘soft’ subjects on which agreement might be found”. “You cannot say that these consultations will have any major results,” Russian Middle East expert Boris Dolgov said. “It is just one step, albeit important, on the path towards stopping the crisis in Syria.” Dolgov said that by hosting the talks Moscow was looking to boost its standing as a potential mediator while also seeking to curb the threat that radical groups such as Islamic State pose to its national security. The opposition National Coalition, however, accusing Russia of seeking to use the talks to bolster Assad, has declined to attend, and ﬁnds itself increasingly sidelined by powerful regional actors. Another opposition ﬁgure Louay Hussein, who heads the Building the Syrian State party, said Damascus barred him from attending the meeting by refusing to lift a travel ban imposed following his release on bail in February after three months in jail. Most of Syria’s opposition in exile has made it clear that Assad must step down in any deal to end the conﬂict that began with demonstrations against his rule in March 2011. An Arab diplomat following the developments said that one proposal now being ﬂoated would see Assad stay in power for two or three more years to prepare a transition, particularly given Russian and US fears about the consequences if his regime collapsed suddenly. “This solution would allow all the parties to save face,” one opposition member involved in the discussions said. The window for any such agreement is fairly small, with Washington reportedly insisting that any deal be signed before campaigning for the 2016 presidential election begins in earnest in the autumn. “Washington is ready to let Moscow hold as many meetings as it needs, but any deal must be signed... before the autumn, otherwise it will be too late,” the opposition member said. Two Syrians die from H1N1 swine flu Two Syrians died of H1N1 swine flu last month and six others were suspected of carrying the infection, Syria’s state news agency Sana said yesterday. The World Health Organisation has warned that the collapse of Syria’s health system during its four-year civil war has led to the spread of disease. Typhoid, hepatitis and the polio virus have taken hold in the country. Sana said the two men were from the southern province of Sweida, where government forces and rebels have clashed. Their deaths were reported by the head of the Communicable and Chronic Diseases Department in Sweida, it said. Electric cables and Islamist flags hang over a street dominated by Islamist factions in the refugee camp of Ain al-Helweh, near the southern Lebanese city of Sidon. Lebanon camp turns into safe haven for extremists AFP Ain al-Helweh, Lebanon L ebanon’s Ain al-Helweh camp has long provided a stable, if destitute, bolthole for Palestinian refugees, some of whom have lived within its walls since ﬂeeing their homes more than six decades ago. But the war in neighbouring Syria has transformed parts of the southern camp into a safe haven for jihadists travelling to ﬁght there, creating districts where even Palestinian security forces fear to tread and raising tensions among residents. In Taware district, the black ﬂag of the Islamic State extremist group ﬂutters in the wind. A photograph of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who has proclaimed a “caliphate” in parts of Iraq and Syria, is plastered on the walls of a small kiosk, alongside a picture of slain Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. Abu Hajer, a Palestinian from Ain al-Helweh who ﬁghts with Al Qaeda affiliate Al Nusra Front in Syria, uses the camp as a rearbase in between ﬁghting. “The ﬁrst time, I spent three months in Syria, then I went back to the camp after I was wounded,” he told AFP by Skype from Syria. “This is how it is every time, I go and I come back,” the man in his twenties said. Wanted by Lebanese security forces, he crosses government checkpoints at Ain al-Helweh’s entrances with a fake ID and “small adjustments to my appearance”, like shaving his long beard. “It’s jihad in the path of Allah, who I hope will end my ﬁghting with the martyrdom that I love,” he said. Lebanon’s security forces say at least 46 men have left Ain al-Helweh to ﬁght in Syria’s four-year war, in addition to a number who “come and go”. Major General Mounir al-Maqdah, head of Palestinian security forces in Lebanon, said many of the ﬁghters were no older than 17. “They’re from a new generation that is very reckless,” he said. Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps offer few employment opportunities. Lebanese law bars their residents from several professions. Under a decades-old agreement, state security forces do not enter the camps, leaving them under the control of Palestinian militant groups. But even they are afraid of entering the three neighbourhoods of Ain al-Helweh that have come under the control of extremist groups. One of these groups, Shabab al-Muslim (the Muslim Youth), was established in Ain al-Helweh as hardliners rose to prominence in Syria. It includes militants accused of bombings and assassinations in Lebanon. Jamal Hamad, a cleric and leading official in Shabab al-Muslim, called the group a “mosaic” of jihadists. “There’s empathy in the camp with jihadist groups... There’s empathy with Al Nusra Front, and there’s some empathy with the Islamic State group,” Hamad said. He said neither group had an “official” presence in the camp, but supporters were galvanised by sectarian rhetoric. “It’s alright for the Shia Muslims to come from Lebanon to ﬁght in Syria, and it’s not alright for Sunnis to empathise with the Sunni people being killed,” complained Hamad. Syria’s conﬂict began in March 2011 with anti-government protests but spiralled into an armed conﬂict that has killed more than 215,000 people. The Sunni-led opposition has signiﬁcant support among Sunnis in Lebanon, while President Bashar al-Assad’s government is backed by Lebanon’s Shia Hezbollah movement, which has dispatched forces to Syria to bolster his regime. More than 61,000 Palestinian refugees live in Ain al-Helweh, including 6,000 who recently ﬂed the war in Syria. The rundown alleyways are ﬁlled with potholes, and electricity wires dangle perilously above residents’ heads. Posters of Palestinian leaders adorn the walls, and armed men patrol the streets. At the camp’s entrance, Lebanese soldiers search all those entering and leaving, with female officers searching women wearing the veil. The rise of jihadists in Ain alHelweh has worried camp authorities, who are stepping up cooperation with the army. They want to prevent a repeat of the 2007 battles between Lebanon’s army and Palestinian Islamists in the northern Nahr al-Bared refugee camp that left dozens dead. “There’s an understanding with the army that the issue of wanted persons will be resolved calmly,” said Maqdah. Palestinian security official General Sobhi Abu Arab played down the concerns, insisting only “a minority” of residents were involved in the conﬂict in Syria. He said many of those had returned because “they weren’t convinced by what they were doing.” Insurgents kidnap then release 300 Kurds Agencies Beirut I slamist insurgents have released 300 Kurdish men in the country’s north who were taken captive on Sunday, a Kurdish official said yesterday. Nawaf Khalil, a spokesman for the Kurdish PYD party in Europe, said by phone that the “men were released by the Islamist militant groups who were holding them”. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, which tracks the conﬂict from Britain, also said the Kurds had been released. However, it said around 200 had been held, taken at several checkpoints over the past two days. Khalil and another Kurdish official reported earlier yesterday that the men were taken on Sunday evening. Idris Nassan, an official in the Kobani canton, said they were kidnapped by Al Qaeda’s official Syrian wing, Al Nusra Front, as they were travelling from the town of Afrin, which is under Kurdish control, to the cities of Aleppo and the capital Damascus. “They left women and children but they kidnapped 300 men and young people,” he said. “They captured them in Tuqad village, 20km west of Aleppo and then they moved them to Al Dana town in Idlib province,” he said. Al Nusra Front was part of an alliance of militant groups that captured Idlib city last month. Al Nusra has not claimed the kidnapping. Syrian state media did not report the incident. Kurdish militia and Islamist militants have fought territorial disputes in Syria during the four-year civil war. Some hardline Syrian Islamist militants consider Kurds heretics. The Observatory also reported yesterday that insurgents from Jaish alMujahideen had traded 25 kidnapped women and children in exchange for one of their commanders. The incident is not the ﬁrst mass kidnapping in Syria, where large groups of Kurds and Christians have been held, mostly by Al Nusra’s extremist rival, the Islamic State group. IS ﬁghters are accused of kidnapping over 200 Assyrian Christians from Hasakeh province, and last year held more than 150 Kurdish schoolchildren kidnapped in Aleppo province. Al Nusra has also been implicated in kidnappings. It has been accused of holding journalists and aid workers and in 2013 kidnapped a group of 13 nuns who were later released in a prisoner exchange. More than 215,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conﬂict began in March 2011 with anti-regime protests that spiralled into a bloody civil war after a government crackdown. 14 Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 AMERICAS Canada glaciers to shrink by 70% by 2100: study AFP Paris T he glaciers of western Canada, one of the world’s most picturesque mountain regions, are likely to largely melt away over just three generations, scientists said yesterday. By 2100, the glaciers of Alberta and British Columbia are set to shrink by 75% in area compared to 2005 levels, and by 70% in volume, according to predictions. But in two out of the three regions that were studied, the decline could be even more dramatic – over 90%. The loss will hit many sectors, from agriculture, forestry and tourism to ecosystems and water quality, the investigators warned. The study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, was headed by Garry Clarke, a professor at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. “The disappearance of (the) glaciers ... will be a sad loss for those who are touched by the beauty of Canada’s mountain landscapes,” Clarke told AFP. “When the glaciers have gone, we lose the important services they provide: a buffer against hot, dry spells in late summer that keeps headwater streams ﬂowing and cool, and sustains cool-water aquatic species.” The team used a computer model that combined four well-known scenarios for global warming this century, with data about three glacier-covered regions and dynamics of ice melt. Even at the lowest projected warming, most of the glaciers are essentially doomed, according to their forecast. “Few glaciers will remain in the Interior and Rockies regions, but maritime glaciers, in particular those in northwestern British Columbia, will survive in a diminished state,” the investigators said. The study’s four warming scenarios, called Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP), are those used by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Under RCP 2.6, the lowest scenario, global average temperatures over this century are likely to rise by 0.3-1.7 degrees Celsius (0.5-3.1° Fahrenheit). Under RCP 8.5, the highest scenario, which is based on current trends in carbon emissions, warming would be in the approximate range of 2.6-4.8°C. For the Interior and Rockies regions, glaciers would lose more than 90% of their volume and area compared to 2005 levels, in all scenarios except for RCP 2.6. The Coast region, more resistant, would see 75% area loss and 70% volume loss, with a margin of error of 10%. The regions studied by Clarke’s team cover 26,700sq km (10,308sq miles) – an area almost the size of Belgium and bigger than the glacial Himalayas, and with an ice volume of 2,980 cubic kilometres (715 cubic miles). Climate scientists say they have a good overall view of how glaciers respond to global warming, but the picture at regional level is far more prone to error. One concern is that computer models at this scale are usually based on very broad assumptions – they presume, for instance, that above a certain altitude, a glacier will be stable, whereas lo- cal topography and the physics of ice dynamics could mean it is in fact vulnerable. The new model seeks to overcome this, using 3-D simulation to a resolution of just 200m and taking into account factors that delay or accelerate glacier melt. Run-off from the melting ice will peak between 2020 and 2040, the study said, pointing to another risk. Mountain glaciers currently contribute about 0.7mm in sea level rise each year, roughly equivalent to the combined runoff from the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica, according to the IPCC. By 2100, the IPCC says, moun- Accused Boston bomber ‘wanted to punish’ US tain glaciers could raise sea levels by 39cm. UN members have set a goal of limiting warming to 2°C over pre-industrial levels, and have set a conference in Paris in December as the place to seal a pact to achieve this. The RCP scenarios do not include warming up to the start of the 20th century from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. “Glaciers respond to climate, not weather, and their shrinkage signals that climate change is real and its consequences are serious,” said Clarke. “It is not too late for good behaviour to be rewarded, but the longer we delay the worse things get.” Jeb Bush marked ‘Hispanic’ on Florida voter form Reuters Boston Reuters Washington A ikely Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush, who was popular among Spanish-speaking voters while Florida governor, marked himself as “Hispanic” on a 2009 voter registration application, the New York Times reported. The newspaper posted a fuzzy copy of the form, which it said it obtained from the Miami-Dade County Elections Department. The circle marked “Hispanic” was checked. The next circle said “White, not Hispanic” and was not checked. “My mistake! Don’t think I’ve fooled anyone!” Bush wrote on Twitter yesterday, responding to a message from his son calling him an “honorary” Latino. A Bush spokeswoman said it was unclear how the error was made. “The governor’s family certainly got a good laugh out of it,” spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said. “He is not Hispanic.” Carolina Lopez, a spokeswoman for the county elections department, did not immediately return calls from Reuters. The brother of former president George W Bush and son of former president George HW Bush, Bush is exploring a presidential bid and is considered a front runner in the crowded ﬁeld of possible Republican candidates. He was born in Texas. ccused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev “wanted to punish America” when he killed three people and injured 264 with a pair of homemade bombs at the 2013 race, a federal prosecutor said yesterday. In closing arguments before a jury decides whether Tsarnaev, 21, is guilty of the April 25 bombing and of fatally shooting a police officer three days later, Assistant US Attorney Aloke Chakravarty described the attack as deliberate and extremist. “The defendant thought that his values were more important than the people around him. He wanted to awake the mujahedeen, the holy warriors,” Chakravarty said. “He wanted to terrorise this country. He wanted to punish America for what it was doing to his people.” Tsarnaev, an ethnic Chechen who moved to the United States about a decade before the attack, could be sentenced to death if the jury that heard 16 days of testimony against him ﬁnds him guilty. His lawyers opened the trial a month ago with a blunt admission, that “it was him” who carried out the attack. But they contended that Tsarnaev did so not out of his own ideological anger but out of a sense of subservience to his older brother, L This handout image, courtesy of the US Department of Justice/US Attorney’s Office – District of Massachusetts, presented to jurors on March 23, shows Dzhokhar Tsarnaev entered as evidence in the Boston Marathon bombing trial. Members of Tsarnaev’s legal defence team walk pass death-penalty protesters on the way to the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse before the beginning of closing arguments in the Boston Marathon Bombing case. 26-year-old Tamerlan, who prosecutors say was his partner in the attack. Chakravarty took that argument head on yesterday, describing Tsarnaev’s reading of Al Qaeda’s Inspire magazine. “These were political choices,” he said of Tsarnaev’s actions. “He was making a statement, ‘an eye for an eye’.” Tamerlan died early on April 19, 2013, following a gunﬁght with police that ended when Dzhokhar sped off in a car, run- ning his brother over in the process. Dzhokhar later found a hiding spot in a boat in a backyard, where he wrote a note suggesting the attack was an act of retribution for US military campaigns in Muslim-dominated countries. Tsarnaev’s attorneys will deliver their closing argument later. Yesterday’s closing statements could be a preview of the arguments each side plans to make during the next phase of the trial, when the same jury will hear a fresh round of witness testimony before determining whether to sentence Tsarnaev to life in prison without possibility of parole, or to death. Yesterday the jury viewed video of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev standing with a backpack in the crowd at the marathon’s ﬁnish line minutes before the blasts that killed restaurant manager Krystle Campbell, 29, Chinese exchange student Lingzi Lu, 23, Rolling Stone magazine apologises, retracts college ‘gang rape expose’ AFP Washington R olling Stone magazine has withdrawn and apologised for a discredited story about a gang rape on a US college campus, publishing a review of the debacle that found “avoidable” failures in basic journalism practices. An 8,000-word report into the article by the Columbia Journalism Review found lapses in journalism standards at the pop-culture magazine from start to ﬁnish of the purported expose on rape which prompted a police investigation and sparked public outcry when ﬁrst published in November. Investigators probing the allegations said last month they found no evidence to support the explosive claims of a violent gang rape at a college fraternity in Virginia. Questions were raised almost immediately after the article was published and Rolling Stone had all but retracted its story after apologising in December. The magazine that has a reputation for its investigative work said it was wrong to have trusted the alleged victim’s version of what happened in September 2012 at a University of Virginia frat house. Despite the shrinking editorial staff at Rolling Stone, the Virginia fraternity chapter to sue Rolling Stone The University of Virginia fraternity chapter at the centre of Rolling Stone magazine’s retracted article A Rape on Campus said yesterday that it planned to sue the magazine for what it called “reckless” reporting that hurt its reputation. The chapter of Phi Kappa Psi said in a statement that it would pursue all available legal action, a day after a team from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism concluded that the magazine failed to follow basic journalistic safeguards in publishing the story. “Clearly our fraternity and its members have been defamed, but more importantly we fear this entire episode may prompt some victims to remain in the shadows, fearful to confront their attackers,” Stephen Scipione, the president of the fraternity chapter in Charlottesville, Virginia, said in a statement. Rolling Stone did not immediately respond to requests from Reuters for comment. The magazine is owned by Jann Wenner, who founded it in 1967 primarily to cover music and culture. review found the failures for the article were ones of judgment and not due to a shortage of resources. The article’s reporting is “a story of journalistic failure that was avoidable. The failure encompassed reporting, editing, editorial supervision and factchecking”, the review said. Journalists at Rolling Stone failed to identify problems and discuss them at the magazine, according to the review. The author of the article, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, issued an apology on Sunday, saying that she “did not go far enough” to verify the story, according to US media. The controversial article at- tempted to show a dramatic example of sexual assault on a college campus and the struggles victims face afterwards, a problem at universities across the United States. But reporters and editors were so focused on publishing the harrowing example that “basic, even routine” reporting standards were not followed, according to the report. They also failed to fully check claims made by the alleged victim, who was not identiﬁed in the story, it added. With the publication of the harsh review of the handling of the article on its website, Rolling Stone said it has officially retracted the controversial story. “This report was painful reading, to me personally and to all of us at Rolling Stone,” a note from Rolling Stone managing editor Will Dana said at the top of the review. Despite the sharp criticism of those involved in the story, Dana told the New York Times that no one would be ﬁred. “Dana said that the report was punishment enough for those involved,” the newspaper wrote. The report “was not the result of patterns in the work of these people”, he told the newspaper. Published on November 19, the story prompted protests and the suspension of fraternities at the college and sparked a national debate about sexual violence on US campuses. Police in Charlottesville, Virginia said last month that the purported victim, whom Rolling Stone called “Jackie”, had met several times with investigators, but did not discuss the alleged gang rape. The city’s police chief stated that the case would be suspended, not closed, leaving the door open to further investigation if other evidence emerged. Dozens of US colleges are under federal investigation over their handling of sexual violence complaints, and the problem of sexual assault at college is one President Barack Obama has highlighted. and eight-year-old Martin Richard. Tsarnaev is also accused of the fatal shooting of Massachusetts of Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier, 26. Richard’s parents, William and Denise; dancer Heather Abbott, who lost both legs in the blast, and former Boston police commissioner Ed Davis were among the people in the courtroom for closing arguments. The defendant sat quietly in court yesterday, dressed in a white shirt, dark jacket and no tie. He did not speak. But if he is found guilty, he may testify during the sentenc- ing phase of his trial, legal experts said. The surveillance video viewed by the jury shows a bomb, which the defendant is charged with leaving in front of the Forum restaurant near the ﬁnish line, going off with a blinding ﬂash, killing Richard and Lu. The jury also saw video taken by a man injured in the blast. The graphic video captures the chaos of the immediate aftermath, with one responder yelling that he was worried about the possibility of an additional blast and another voice screaming: “We’re on ﬁre here. We’re on ﬁre.” Hit to the head of state US President Barack Obama gets hit on the head by a rebound while playing basketball yesterday as part of the annual Easter Egg Roll event at the White House in Washington. US man accused in global online child sex exploitation case A federal grand jury has handed down new child sexual exploitation charges against a California man who investigators now suspect obtained sexually explicit images of more than 300 underage victims from the United States and worldwide. Blake Robert Johnston, 41, of Martinez, was charged in October 2014 with traveling to another state with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said yesterday. New charges lodged against him last week by a grand jury in Oakland include transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, online coercion, sexual exploitation involving a minor, and production of child pornography, it said. A study of Johnston’s computers and mobile devices led to the identification of 31 possible underage victims in 12 states and overseas, the ICE said in a statement, including three underage girls who allegedly had physical contact with him. “Based on the analysis ... investigators now estimate there could be more than 300 other potential underage victims in this case, both domestically and worldwide,” it said. The ICE said it is working with authorities in foreign countries including Australia, Ireland and Britain. Investigators believe Johnston used multiple mobile applications to communicate with underage victims, including Kik, Skype, Omegle, ooVoo and Facebook, the ICE said. Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 15 ASEAN Phuket tourism hit Malaysians arrest 17 for terror plot AFP Kuala Lumpur M A Thai street vendor waits for customers at Patong beach in Phuket, one of Asia’s premier resort islands. The rouble’s sharp decline is exacting a toll on Southeast Asian tourism as Russians think twice about doubling their budgets for their next beach holiday in Vietnam, Thailand or Cambodia. Aussies on death row lose their last appeal The Indonesians are likely to carry out the sentence at any time now AFP Jakarta A n Indonesian court yesterday dismissed an appeal by two Australian drug smugglers facing imminent execution, and the country’s legal chief said the pair have now exhausted all legal attempts to avoid the ﬁring squad. Following the ruling lawyers for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran vowed to take the case to the constitutional court — but Indonesia’s attorney-general accused the legal team of “playing with justice” and said the move would not delay the executions. In its ruling yesterday the state administrative court in Jakarta upheld a decision that it does not have the authority to hear a challenge to president Joko Widodo’s rejection of the Australians’ pleas for clemency. Chan and Sukumaran, the ringleaders of the so-called “Bali Nine” drug trafficking gang, were sentenced to death in 2006 for trying to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia. Widodo recently rejected their mercy pleas, typically the ﬁnal chance to avoid execution. They are expected to be executed soon along with other drug convicts, Judge Ujang Abdullah listens as the verdict on two Australian convicts is read out. including foreigners from France, Brazil, the Philippines, Nigeria and Ghana. Jakarta has said it will wait for all legal appeals to be resolved before putting the group to death at the same time. Some other convicts have lodged Supreme Court appeals, which could take weeks to resolve. The Australians’ legal team has mounted several attempts to halt the executions. In the latest, they called for the State Administrative Court to hear an appeal against Widodo’s clemency rejection, saying that he failed to properly assess their rehabilitation or give reasons for his decision. The court refused to accept the application in February, and the Australians’ lawyers appealed that decision. At a hearing yesterday presiding judge Ujang Abdullah upheld the original decision that the court does not have jurisdiction to rule on the matter. After the decision, a lawyer for the Australians, Leonard Aritonang, told reporters they respected the ruling but added: “This is not over yet.” He said lawyers would ﬁle an application to the constitutional court to review the laws relating to presidential clemency. “We are still hopeful... they are part of a successful rehabilitation programme,” he said, referring to the claim from the men’s supporters that they have been successfully rehabilitated during years in prison. “It’s a shame that they have to die in the end. What encourages us to keep going through all the options is that, although they have been convicted, in this country every person has the right to life and to defend his life.” However, authorities have repeatedly insisted that a death row convict’s ﬁnal chance to avoid the ﬁring squad is through presidential clemency and that further appeals are futile. Asked about the planned challenge to the constitutional court, attorney General Muhamad Prasetyo said there would be no more delays to the executions. “The legal process is already done,” he said. “This proves that they are simply trying to buy time. We can say they are playing with justice.” Jakarta originally planned to carry out the executions in February, but following an international outcry agreed to let legal appeals run their course. A Filipina among the group recently lost an appeal to the supreme court, while a Frenchman and Ghanaian last week lodged appeals with the court. Australia, Indonesia’s neighbour and traditionally a key ally, has mounted a sustained diplomatic campaign to try to stop its citizens being put to death, while France and Brazil have also stepped up diplomatic pressure on Jakarta. But Widodo, who has taken a hard line against drugs offenders, has not been swayed. He has vowed there will no mercy for traffickers, saying Indonesia is facing an “emergency” due to rising narcotics use. Jakarta in January put to death six drugs offenders including ﬁve foreigners, sparking a diplomatic storm as Brazil and the Netherlands — whose citizens were among those executed — recalled their ambassadors. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in February refused to accept the credentials of the new Indonesian ambassador. A second Brazilian, Rodrigo Gularte — whose family say he is mentally ill — is scheduled to be put to death in the next batch of drugs offenders. Indonesia resumed executions in 2013 after a ﬁve-year hiatus. It did not put anyone to death in 2014. Russian premier in Vietnam alaysia’s police chief said yesterday that 17 people, including two who recently returned from Syria, had been arrested on suspicion of plotting terror attacks in the capital Kuala Lumpur. Authorities in the Muslimmajority country have expressed increasing alarm over the threat of Muslim militancy in the wake of the Islamic State (IS) group’s bloody jihad in Syria and Iraq. “Seventeen people were planning terror activities in Kuala Lumpur. Two of them had recently returned from Syria,” national police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said in a Twitter post. Khalid said the arrests took place Sunday. No other details, including the suspects’ nationalities or speciﬁcs of the alleged plot, were mentioned. AFP was not immediately able to reach anti-terrorism officials for comment. The tough-talking Khalid was also quoted by local media saying he “will never allow Malaysia to be a transit point or hideout for any terror groups”. Malaysia has traditionally observed a moderate form of Islam, and authorities keep a tight lid on militancy. But the government has increasingly warned that Malaysian recruits to the IS cause could return home with the group’s radical ideology. Police said in January they had arrested a total of 120 people with suspected IS group links or sympathies, or who had sought to travel to Syria or Iraq. They also said 67 Malaysians were known at the time to have gone abroad to join IS jihadists, and that ﬁve had died ﬁghting for the movement.Last week, the government introduced a new antiterrorism bill to counter any potential threat. The bill allows authorities to detain terrorism suspects for potentially unlimited periods without trial, according to its critics. The political opposition, legal organisations, Human Rights Watch, and others have urged the government to withdraw the proposed new law, calling it oppressive. The law “would reintroduce indeﬁnite detention without trial or judicial review and violate due process rights in the name of preventing terrorism,” Human Rights Watch’s deputy Asia director Phil Robertson said in a statement. The subject of security laws is controversial in Malaysia, whose government is frequently accused of using them to silence political opponents. A previous draconian internal security law that allowed detention without trial — and was repeatedly used against opposition politicians — was scrapped in 2012 amid public pressure for political reform. Last August, police said they had foiled an IS-inspired plot to bomb pubs, discos and a Malaysian brewery of Danish beer producer Carlsberg, arresting more than a dozen people. A string of other suspected IS-related arrests have been announced since then. But the opposition complains the authoritarian regime has shared no details of its claimed arrests, nor did it consult the opposition on the anti-terror legislation. TV station apologises for smoking report DPA Hanoi A Vietnam television station issued an apology and suspended a production team for a broadcast that showed students in school uniforms smoking shisha pipes, local media reported yesterday. The production team neglected to blur the identities of the young persons during the feature report that aired Friday, managers of state-controlled VTC said in a broadcast the following evening. Shisha pipes, also known as hookahs, have long, ﬂexible tubes that connect to containers in which the smoke of strongly ﬂavoured tobacco or other substances is cooled as it passes through water. Concerns have been raised in Vietnam about the health risks of shisha smoking, with shisha tobacco readily available in many shops that sell tea and coffee. VTC operates under the auspices of the state’s ministry of information and communications. Vietnamese law does not restrict advertising of shisha tobacco, which is only considered illegal if it was illicitly imported. Thai resort island cancels all parties DPA Bangkok T he Thai island of Koh Phangan has cancelled all parties except its famous Full Moon Party, a report said late Sunday. Koh Phangan has banned all other festivals on the island, including the Dark Moon Party, the Half-Moon Party and the Jungle Party. Authorities cited local complaints over noise and rowdiness as the major reasons for the cancellations, according to Post Today newspaper. The governor of Surat Thani province ordered the ban and said that violators would face legal action. There have been bans before, but those were eventually rescinded. The Full Moon Party will continue due to its popularity with tourists, said Wannee Thaipanich, president of the Koh Phangan Tourism Promotion Association. That party generates more than 7bn baht per year ($216) for the local economy, the newspaper report said. Six killed as bus collides with lorry Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev reviews the guard of honour with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung during a ceremony at the presidential palace in Hanoi yesterday. Medvedev is in Hanoi on a three-day visit to Vietnam. Six people were killed and 26 others injured when a bus carrying a wedding party hit a lorry in Indonesia’s Aceh province, media reports said yesterday. The bus was overtaking another vehicle when it collided with the lorry in Bireuen district on Sunday, Tempo.co news website said. The dead victims include two toddlers, the report said. The groom and the bride are not believed to be among the victims. 16 Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 AUSTRALASIA/EAST ASIA REVIEW OUTCRY PUBLIC OPPOSITION OUT OF CONTROL WARNING South Korea leader mulls salvaging sunken ferry Taiwan reviews military discipline after scandals Japan ponders increasing nuclear power generation Forest fire rages on in southern China province N Korea declares no-sail zone, may launch missile South Korean President Park Geun-Hye yesterday promised to consider raising the Sewol ferry that sank a year ago with the loss of more than 300 lives, in response to an emotional protest by victims’ relatives. “I will actively consider salvaging the ship after accepting the opinions of relatives of those still missing and experts,” Park’s official website quoted her as saying during a meeting with senior aides. The official response to the disaster was widely criticised for being slow, unco-ordinated and unfocused, and prompted President Park to vow a complete overhaul of national safety standards. More than 50 people have been put on trial on charges linked to the disaster. Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou has ordered a thorough review of military discipline after scandals that sparked a public outcry. Meetings at military units this week will review current codes of conduct on issues ranging from visits to military bases, the use of smartphones in bases, the prevention of sexual abuse and the management of firearms, the defence ministry said. “President Ma has asked the defence ministry to adopt concrete measures to tighten the discipline of the military so as to restore the public’s faith in it,” Ma’s spokesman Charles Chen said. Taiwan’s armed forces have been cut to about 215,000, but are still relatively large for a population of 23mn. Japan is considering boosting the proportion of nuclear energy to 22% of the electricity generation in 2030 despite public opposition. The Industry Ministry is also considering more than doubling the proportion of renewable energy such as solar and wind power to up to 25% in 2030, from 10.7% in 2013, the Nikkei business daily reported. All 48 nuclear reactors remain offline since the 2011 triple core meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant that was triggered by a huge earthquake and tsunami. Regulators have so far green-lighted the restart of four nuclear reactors - two in central Japan and two in Kyushu - under updated regulations. A forest fire raged yesterday in southern China’s Guangxi autonomous region for the second day, reports cited local authorities as saying. The blaze broke out in a forest in the Youjiang district of Baise City Sunday evening, according to the official Xinhua news agency. The fire had drawn dangerously close to a petrol station due to strong wind but firefighters were able to extinguish it near the station by Sunday evening. The burned area of the forest reached up to 20 hectares as of yesterday afternoon, according to Xinhua. More than 50 firefighters were working to put out the blaze. The report gave no details of the cause of the fire. North Korea has declared a no-sail zone for its ships off its east coast, South Korean media reported yesterday, suggesting more missile launches are possible before the US defence chief visits Seoul this week. It was not clear if the latest warning for ships to stay clear of an area off the Korean peninsula’s east coast was a direct indication of an imminent missile launch. “There are no signs of peculiar movements,” South Korean defence ministry deputy spokesman Na Seung-yong told a media briefing in Seoul. He said a no-sail warning had not been sent to Seoul or the International Maritime Organisation. S Korea slams new Japanese history books Reuters Seoul S outh Korea yesterday condemned Japan’s approval of textbooks that it said distorted history by claiming disputed islands, summoning Japan’s ambassador and warning that the approval was a sign Japan was prepared to repeat its colonial wartime past. The strongly worded protest came just over two weeks after the foreign ministers of the neighbours and China pledged to improve ties and overcome tension over history and territory, and to try to work for a summit meeting of their leaders soon. South Korea’s foreign ministry said the book approval was “yet another provocation that distorts, reduces, and omits clear historic facts to strengthen its unjust claims to what is clearly our territory”. “The Japanese government is in effect saying it will repeat its mistakes of the past when it injects distorted historical view and territorial claims based on that to a generation of Japanese who are growing up,” it said in a statement. South Korea controls the disputed islands, called Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese, which have been the focus of a long dispute. South Korea sees Japan’s claims as stemming from its colonial past. Japan colonised the Korean peninsula from 1910 until Japan’s World War II defeat in 1945. Koreans remember Japanese rule with bitterness, saying many people were conscripted into forced labour and women were forced into military brothels. Flight of fancy! Top Chinese official to visit Tokyo this week A senior official from China’s National People’s Congress will be in Tokyo this week, Japan’s lower house said yesterday, the highest-profile Chinese visitor since 2012 as a thaw in relations sets in. Ji Bingxuan, a vice-chairman of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, will lead a delegation from the Chinese parliament from tomorrow through Saturday, a parliamentary spokeswoman said. The visit is the latest sign that relations between Asia’s two biggest powers are getting back on an even keel after three years of squabbling over their bitter shared history and the ownership of disputed islands. Japan and China held security talks last month, their first such dialogue since January 2011. Tokyo and Beijing are at loggerheads over the sovereignty of an island chain South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said Japan’s education ministry had approved the geography textbooks that made a direct territorial claim over the islands. Japanese Education Minister Hakubun Shimomura said all textbooks would have references to the islands as being part of Japan’s territory. “It’s only natural that we want to teach children correctly about their country’s territory,” he told reporters in Tokyo. Japan’s ties with South Korea and China have long been marred over what South Korea and China see as Japanese leaders’ reluctance to atone for its wartime past. in the East China Sea that Japan administers as the Senkakus, but China claims as the Diaoyus. Relations soured in 2012 when the Japanese government nationalised some of the islands. Beijing subsequently halted most high-level contacts with Tokyo, and ships and planes from the two sides have shadow-boxed in the area ever since. The diplomatic ice was broken last November when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping shared a frosty handshake on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. This week’s delegation was invited by Japan’s House of Representatives, the lower house of parliament. Ji is expected to hold talks with lower house speaker Nobutaka Machimura during the stay, the spokeswoman said. But Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has tried to ease tension. Japan and China also have a dispute over East China Sea islands known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China. Japan-China ties remain cool despite Abe meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping for the ﬁrst time last November. South Korean President Park Geun-hye has yet to have a two-way summit with Abe. Leaders of the three countries have not met for what had been an annual three-way summit since May 2012 but their foreign ministers met last month, raising hope for better relations between the economic powers. Centenarian swims to a world record AFP Tokyo A A Japan Masters Swimming Association handout photo of Mieko Nagaoka celebrating her win in Matsuyama, Ehime prefecture. 100-year-old Japanese woman has become the world’s ﬁrst centenarian to complete a 1,500m freestyle swim, 20 years after she took up the sport. Mieko Nagaoka took just under an hour and 16 minutes to ﬁnish the race as the sole competitor in the 100-104-year-old category at a short course pool in Ehime, western Japan, on Saturday. “I want to swim until I turn 105 if I can live that long,” the sprightly Nagaoka told Kyodo News. Her achievement is expected to be recognised by Guinness World Records, the agency reported. Admirable though it is, Nagaoka’s time is a little off the global pace; 18-year-old American Katie Ledecky holds the women’s world record for the 1,500m freestyle, having clocked just 15 minutes 28.36 seconds. Nagaoka, who published a book last year entitled ‘I’m 100 years old and the world’s best active swimmer’, is no stranger to the 1,500m race, having completed the distance at the age of 99 in an Olympic-sized pool. Nagaoka only took up swimming when she hit 80, one of the growing number of elderly Japanese who are enjoying longer and healthier lives as the country ages. There were nearly 59,000 centenarians in Japan in September last year, government ﬁgures show - which means 46 out of every 100,000 people is 100 or over. Among them are several who remain physically active long after many people have given up the ghost. They include sprinter Hidekichi Miyazaki, who was 103 when he bagged the world record for the 100-metre dash in the 100-104 age category, clocking up a respectable 29.83 seconds. His late-blooming athletic prowess has seen him dubbed ‘Golden Bolt’ - a reference to Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. Kite enthusiasts take part in an international kite festival in southwest China’s municipality of Chongqing, where teams from 13 countries are showing off their kites and their flying skills. Opposition grows over plans to ditch Union Jack from Paciﬁc ﬂags By Cheryl Norrie, DPA Wellington N ew Zealand Prime Minister John Key and Fijian leader Voreqe Bainimarama are calling for their nations to adopt new ﬂags, saying the current designs reﬂect their colonial past rather than their current identities. Fiji’s pale blue ﬂag with a union jack in one corner and a coat of arms featuring bananas, sugar cane, a lion and a dove, was adopted when the country gained independence from Britain in 1970. Bainimarama has announced that the country will begin ﬂying a new ﬂag at Independence Day celebrations on October 10. “The shield on our ﬂag has the British lion and the cross of St George - a British patron saint. What does this have to do with us?” Bainimarama said. Citizens of both countries have been invited to submit designs for new ﬂags to national committees. In Fiji, which has had four military coups since 1987, the parliamentary opposition has branded the decision to change the ﬂag undemocratic and is calling for a referendum on the issue. Opposition legislator Ratu Isoa Tikoca says the symbols on the current ﬂag reﬂect Britain’s historic contribution to Fiji’s development. “What symbols can we use that would truthfully reﬂect our history of military takeovers? Should we include guns, handcuffs (and) truncheons?” The New Zealand government has set in motion plans for a NZ$26mn (US$19.7mn) two-stage referendum to change the country’s flag. Voters will be asked late this year to select their favourite alternative from a shortlist of three or four designs, and to then choose between the preferred design and the current ﬂag, which features the Union Jack and the stars of the Southern Cross, in an April 2016 referendum. Prime Minister Key says he favours changing to a ﬂag featuring a silver fern, a motif which features on the kit of national rugby team the All Blacks. But military veterans have voiced strenuous opposition to changing the ﬂag under which they served, particularly as they begin commemorating the centenary of World War I. “In World War I alone, 59,000 New Zealanders were either killed or wounded under that ﬂag and the connection to that is very powerful and to have it just cast away, quite frankly on a whim, is crazy,” said David Moger, chief executive of the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association. “People say you serve the ideals, not the ﬂag. Well actually the ﬂag is what you wear, the ﬂag is what is draped over the coffins when they are brought home, the ﬂag is the ﬁnal symbol that is placed over the coffin at the ﬁnal resting.” Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop mentioned the strong connection that her country’s military had with the ﬂag when she told the BBC last year that the government had no plans to change it. “It’s not an issue that actually draws much attention in Australia,” she said. Moger said adopting a new ﬂag is also not much of an issue in New Zea- land, with a 2014 poll ﬁnding 72% of people opposed to change. Key has distanced the debate over the ﬂag from any move towards New Zealand becoming a republic, and royalists are staying out of the debate. “We have members on both sides of the ﬂag issue,” said Sean Palmer, chairman of Monarchy New Zealand. Of the 15 countries outside Britain over which Queen Elizabeth reigns as constitutional monarch, only three have the Union Jack on their ﬂag: Australia, New Zealand and the tiny island nation of Tuvalu. Lobby group Change the New Zealand Flag is campaigning for a design that better reﬂects the nation’s multicultural society, and one which is more easily distinguished from the Australian ﬂag. “The current ﬂag simply represents people who are of British descent and that becomes problematic when you look at the fact that we are a multicultural society,” spokesman Lewis Holden said. He said he personally favours a design featuring the silver fern and the stars of the Southern Cross constellation. Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser designed a ﬂag for the country when he became a New Zealand citizen in 1983, featuring a Maori koru design of unfurling fern frond, but Holden said he has not heard many people advocating its adoption. “A lot of people have had their (favourite designs) made up into actual ﬂags and they are out there ﬂying them, so it is going to be an interesting couple of years because you will see more and more of those alternative ﬂags ﬂying around the place.” Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 17 BRITAIN Ukip leader battling for his future at elections AFP London R arely photographed without a drink in hand, Nigel Farage has turned the UK Independence Party into a national force but is battling for his future at the May 7 election. Anti-Brussels and anti-political correctness, Farage reminds Ukip’s base of older, white, blue collar voters of a bygone era when the economy felt stronger, immigration was lower and Britain was great. The charismatic 51-year-old, who once compared ex-European Council president Herman Van Rompuy to a “damp rag”, led Ukip to victory in last year’s European elections and third place in opinion polls before May’s vote. Once dismissed by Prime Minister David Cameron as a party of “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”, Ukip is now defending two House of Commons seats and looks set to take thousands of votes nationwide from the main parties. But while his “people’s army” looks likely to win a handful of seats nationally, this is unlikely to be enough for them to call the shots over a referendum on Britain leaving the European Union. And Farage, a former commodities trader, says he will step down as party leader if he does not win his own seat in the seaside constituency of South Thanet. Farage was born in 1964 to an affluent family in Kent, southeast England. His father was a stockbroker and an alcoholic and his parents divorced when he was ﬁve. He was educated at one of England’s top private schools, Dulwich College, where he says his headmaster saw him as “bloody-minded and difficult”. Rather than attending university, he followed his father into the City of London, where he says that 12-hour boozy lunches were the norm. Having supported the Conservatives since his school days, he joined Ukip in 1993 as a founder member and was elected to the European Parliament in 1999, aged 35. Farage became Ukip’s leader in 2006 before standing down in 2009 and then being re-elected the following year, when Ukip’s ascent really began. He has survived a string of personal misfortunes - a serious car accident, testicular cancer and a plane crash as he was campaigning during the 2010 general election. Farage is married to a German woman and has four children. His interests include cricket and ﬁshing. Despite his wealthy background, he prides himself on keeping up with the concerns of ordinary people in the “pubs, coffee mornings and yes, even the golf clubs of Britain”. Labour asks Scotland not to turn to SNP out of anger Guardian News and Media London T he Scottish Labour leader urged voters not to abandon his party out of anger and protest but imagine the positive change an Ed Miliband government could bring. Jim Murphy claimed disaffected former supporters are being lured into supporting the Scottish National party on a wave of apathy and a rise in cynicism. Faced by a continuing surge in SNP support, leaving Labour trailing heavily in the polls, Murphy launched a new pledge card promising a Labour government will produce substantive change, at an event in his East Renfrewshire constituency. “We can vote out of anger, as a protest, or we can vote with hope, for change,” Murphy said. “It is easy to ride a wave of anti-political feeling, to tell scunnered (weary) voters that they are all the same.” Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader, will hope to build on her acclaimed performance in last week’s leaders’ debate with the launch of a new policy for pensioners, which SNP MPs would press for at Westminster. With the polls suggesting the SNP could win more than 40 of Scotland’s 59 seats - potentially making it as the third largest group at Westminster, Sturgeon campaigned in the LibDem target seat of East Dunbartonshire outside Glasgow, currently held by the junior employment minister, Jo Swinson. Sturgeon said: “Our pensioners have contributed hugely to society, and are entitled to get a fair deal in their retirement in return. “A strong team of SNP MPs holding the balance of power will ensure that the contribution older people have made throughout their lives is recognised - and will deliver a new and better deal for pensioners in Scotland.” Murphy, insisting that another Labour government with Gor- don Brown as prime minister and Alistair Darling as Chancellor would have been quite different than the ﬁve years just seen under David Cameron, agreed Scots are desperate for change. He added: “We know Scotland cannot afford another ﬁve years of Tory government. But anyone can tell you what is wrong. This election can’t just be about that. It has to be about how we put it right, who has the best plan, and who is best placed to deliver that change.” The Labour pledge card - a further repeat of the device ﬁrst introduced by Tony Blair’s new Labour in 1997, will offer 10 policy promises that will effectively serve as a mini manifesto. It will offer: • An extra 1,000 nurses paid for by the mansion tax • More powers for the Scottish parliament, particularly on beneﬁts • A guaranteed job or training for young people • A £1,600 grant for young people without a job, training or college place • Raising the minimum wage to over £8 • Guaranteeing the Treasury’s Barnett formula to support public spending • Increasing the poor-student bursary by £1,000 • No tuition fees for Scottish students • Banning zero-hours contracts • £175mn to help end dependence on foodbanks. Murphy has struggled to close a substantial 17-point gap at national level between the SNP and Labour despite unveiling a series of heavily funded new policies, including one that Scotland will see more than £1bn in extra public spending if Labour wins. But Labour is hoping that these pledges will help the party match and overtake SNP support in its 40 constituencies, where polling by ComRes for ITV last week suggested the gap between the two parties was much closer, at six points. Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon joins residents for tea at the Westerton Care Home in Glasgow, Scotland, yesterday. ‘Disenchanted’ Tory candidate joins Ukip Reuters London O ne of Prime Minister David Cameron’s parliamentary candidates yesterday said he had fallen out with the Conservatives and was switching his support to the anti-EU UK Independence Party (Ukip) before a May 7 election. The move by Mike Whitehead, until last week the Conservative candidate for the seat of Hull West in northern England, is a morale boost for Ukip, whose support in some opinion polls has dipped after a series of racism and sexism scandals. Ukip, which wants an immediate British withdrawal from the EU and sharply lower immigration, hailed the switch as a “hammer blow” to the Conservatives, who said they had sacked Whitehead last week over an internal party disagreement. His defection is unlikely to cause a political upset, however, as the area is comfortably held by the opposition Labour Party, and neither the Conservatives nor Ukip are expected to win it. Whitehead, who is also a sitting Conservative local councillor, said he had changed parties after becoming disenchanted with local Conservative politicians. “I believe as a member of Ukip, I will be able to speak up for the residents,” he said in a statement. “The Conservative Party at national level has declined to get involved in what it sees as a remote internal squabble.” Seeking to cast itself as a challenger to Cameron’s party in southern England and to Labour in northern England, Ukip said B ritain faces a crisis of political leadership because voters believe that party leaders across the board are failing to understand how the world is changing “in the blink of an eye”, a leading member of the shadow cabinet has warned. As political parties say they are encountering high numbers of undecided voters on the doorstep, the shadow social care minister, Liz Kendall, said that voters believe “politicians don’t understand it, don’t get it”. In an interview with the Guardian, Kendall said: “There are lots of people who are undecided. People are worried about the future. They don’t feel conﬁdent about their incomes, or their kids’ chances or their public services. They are worried about what is going to happen and they are looking for a positive message that they can do better and the country can do better. “There are so many people who are undecided because they see the world changing so fast, because they think politicians don’t understand it, don’t get it, don’t mean what they say.” Kendall, 43, who was elected to parliament in 2010 as MP for Leicester West, has been marked out as a future modernising leadership candidate for the Labour party, after some thoughtful interventions in which she called for a major devolution of power. “The reason we want to devolve power is I believe it as a matter of principle: people should have as much power and control over their lives as they can,” she says. But such thinking often fails to strike a chord on the doorstep as Kendall encounters a challenge faced, she believes, by politicians of all stripes: unease about the future and therefore uncertainty about the political class as a whole. In a day of campaigning in East Anglia, Kendall met a series of undecided voters in the marginal seat of Norwich North - a classic aspirational seat which easily fell into the hands of New Labour in 1997 but which slipped from the party in a 2009 by-election. In a tour of a modern housing development, where each property had its own special features and many boasted the sort of conservatories identiﬁed by New Labour as a sign of a classic aspirational voter, Kendall repeatedly heard one word: undecided. One woman, whose 20-year-old son works on a zero hours’ contract, parroted Ed Miliband’s thinking on the controversial contracts. But then the voter said was undecided about how she would vote on May 7. Kendall understands why people are so unsure. She told the Guardian: “When you can see companies moving jobs, change in the blink of an eye people rightly know what on earth can any politician do to address that.” But the shadow cabinet minister believes that Labour understands this challenge and is responding in two key ways that will pay off on May 7. The party is engaging in conversations with voters, rather than blitzing areas as it did under New Labour, and it is fashioning policies to rebalance the economy.” for Cameron to get re-elected. Farage predicted on Sunday that several lawmakers from Cameron’s party would join Ukip’s ranks if the prime minister renewed a coalition with the pro-EU Liberal Democrats after next month’s election. Two Conservative lawmakers defected to Ukip last year, causing Cameron political embarrassment. Whitehead will not become Ukip’s parliamentary candidate for the Hull seat because the party already has one there, but he will seek re-election as a councillor for Ukip. Labour attacks Tories over tax plan Voters believe politicians ‘don’t understand them’ Guardian News and Media London Whitehead’s defection proved its strategy was working. “His move to Ukip just underlines that today, the real party of opposition to Labour in the north is Ukip. It is another hammer blow to Tory pretensions in the north of England,” said Nigel Farage, Ukip’s leader. Labour said the move was “another huge blow for David Cameron’s authority.” Though Britain’s ﬁrst-pastthe post electoral system means Ukip is unlikely to win more than a handful of seats, its popularity threatens to split the right-wing vote in particular, making it harder Agencies London L Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg and Liberal Democrat candidate Ed Davey hammer in an election banner while campaigning in Surbiton, Kingston on Thames yesterday. Campaigning is under way by the political parties ahead of the forthcoming general election on May 7. abour has accused Conservatives of planning a secret tax cut for millionaires after the general election, as the two parties traded blows on the eighth day of campaigning. Prime Minister David Cameron hailed the ﬁrst day of the tax year as “money-back Monday”, as changes including a married couples’ tax break, a rise in the state pension and an increase to £10,600 in income tax thresholds put more cash in voters’ wallets. But Labour insisted that voters have lost an average £1,100 each due to tax and beneﬁt changes under the coalition, as “millions are paying more while millionaires pay less”. Speaking in Leeds, shadow chancellor Ed Balls predicted that a Conservative government would hike VAT - something Cameron has explicitly ruled out - and cut the top rate of income tax for earnings over £150,000 from 45p to 40p. But Treasury Minister David Gauke hit back with an accusation that Labour has a secret plan to boost revenues by dragging more workers into the 40p higher rate of income tax and increasing national insurance contributions. Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg blasted Labour’s policies as “economically illiterate”, but also warned that Chancellor George Osborne was “a very dangerous man” because of his plan to balance the books by spending cuts alone. Cameron and Osborne, who cut the top rate of income tax from 50p to 45p in his 2012 Budget, each refused to rule out a further cut to 40p in comments on Sunday. They are expected to come under further pressure on the issue during campaigning. Balls said: “We know that is their secret plan - another big tax cut for millionaires. “How can it be fair when families here in Leeds and across the country are struggling and £1,100 a year worse-off? “How can it be fair to have a tax cut for the very richest when our NHS is in crisis and going backwards?” 18 Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 BRITAIN CRIME POLLUTION ACHIEVEMENT LAW AND ORDER OFFBEAT Man dies after stabbing at house Hundreds of razors found dumped in Thames river Mills races to a ski world record Man arrested after Toys R Us rampage People forced to flee house as family dog starts fire A man has died after being attacked at a house in Greater Manchester. The 52-year-old suffered stab wounds and died in hospital, shortly after police were called yesterday to the house on Claybank Street, Heywood, Greater Manchester following reports two people had been assaulted. A 37-year-old woman who was also at the house suffered facial injuries. Enquiries to trace the offender are ongoing, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said. Detective chief inspector John Harris of GMP, said: “A man has tragically been killed and we are working hard to locate the offender.” Thames river users have been urged to take care after more than 500 razor blades were found dumped in the water. The discovery, made by a member of the public on the foreshore in the Isleworth area of west London, came as a group of schoolchildren were taking part in a wildlife project nearby. While most of the blades have now been collected there may be some still out there, Jon Beckett from the Port of London Authority warned. “We are advising river users and members of the public generally to take extra care when they are near the foreshore of the Thames in this area.” Model-turned-entrepreneur Heather Mills has claimed a new title - the fastest disabled woman on skis. Mills, who lost the lower half of her left leg and crushed her pelvis after she was knocked down by a police motorcycle in 1993, set the new world record last week in the Alpine resort of Vars cheered on by a tight-knit team of supporters. The 47-year-old told Hello! Magazine she was “amazingly proud” after she hurtled down the French mountain at 103.6mph. Mills carried a good luck charm from her 11-year-old daughter Beatrice - a small heart-shaped pebble, saying: “She found it on one holiday in Long Island and she gave it to me as a charm to keep me safe.” A man who allegedly crashed his car and then ran naked through a toy shop with a cricket bat has been detained by police. The incident happened at about 2.35pm on Sunday at the Toys R Us store in Kingsway West, Dundee. A female sustained a facial injury during the disturbance and required medical attention. Police confirmed the man was in “a state of undress” at the time and are also investigating a collision outside the premises prior to the incident. Police Scotland said: “Anyone who remembers seeing anything suspicious in or around the store is asked to contact Police Scotland immediately.” A family dog sparked a huge fire at his owners’ home by turning on the cooker. Leo, a Staffordshire-Boxer cross, managed to burn down the kitchen after switching on the hob at the house in Peckham, south London. The owner’s son and his girlfriend were forced to flee the house and rescued Leo in the process. Following an investigation, London Fire Brigade yesterday announced that the blaze started when Leo jumped up to the cooker and flicked a knob on the front, which controls the hob. A child’s car booster seat which was resting on the hob then caught fire. Two fire crews were called to the blaze and it took them 30 minutes to get it under control. Superbugs could kill 80,000, says govt Basking in the sunshine Prince Harry in Australia for spell with military Agencies London U p to 80,000 people could die in an outbreak of a drug-resistant infection because of new superbugs, a government forecast has warned. The report estimates that a total of 200,000 people would be expected to be infected by a widespread bacterial blood infection that could not be treated effectively with existing drugs. Over the next two decades the number of infections complicated by superbugs are expected to rise signiﬁcantly, according to a Cabinet Office document. The National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies, which provides guidance on potential threats such as terror, ﬂu and natural disasters, notes that routine medical treatments could become “high-risk” because of the growing resistance to antibiotics. The report states: “ An increasingly serious issue is the development and spread of AMR (anti-microbial resistance), which occurs when drugs are no longer effective in treating infections caused by microorganisms. “Without effective antibiotics, even minor surgery and routine operations could become high-risk procedures, leading to increased duration of illness and ultimately premature mortality. “Much of modern medicine (for example, organ transplantation, bowel surgery and some cancer treatments) may become unsafe due to the risk of infection. “In addition, inﬂuenza pandemics would become more serious without effective treatments.” The assessment, which was published on March 27, continues: “The numbers of infections complicated by AMR are expected to increase markedly over the next 20 years. If a widespread outbreak were to occur, we could expect around 200,000 people to be affected by a bacterial blood infection that could not be treated effectively with existing drugs, and around 80,000 of these people might die”. AFP Canberra P Two women take a selfie under cherry blossom in St James’s Park, central London, yesterday as England basks in higher-than-expected temperatures on Easter Monday. Asbestos exposure risk at schools highlighted Agencies London P arents should be aware that children can still be exposed to asbestos in schools, a union has warned. Many teachers do not know whether their school contains the substance - which can cause a slow-developing cancer, mesothelioma. Recent ﬁgures obtained through freedom of information requests suggest that around 86% of school building contain asbestos, according to the National Union of Teachers (NUT) with those built between 1945 and 1975 most likely to be affected. A small-scale poll conducted by the union found that 44% of members questioned said they do not know if their school or college contains asbestos - often found in ceiling and ﬂoor tiles, or window and door frames, while 46% said they had been told that it does and about 10% said they had been told that it did not. One teacher said the first they knew about the substance in their classroom was when a caretaker came in with a pot and paintbrush and said he was sealing the asbestos panels. Another said: “Someone drilled a hole in (the asbestos) to put a clock up.” Figures suggest that between 200 and 300 former schoolchildren die of mesothelioma each year, along with rising number of teachers, NUT deputy general secretary Kevin Courtney said. He added that 22 teachers died from the disease in 2012, up from three in 1980. Sarah Lyons, the NUT’s lead on asbestos, said that questions over asbestos in schools should be asked, particularly because children are more vulnerable as they have more life ahead of them. “Mesothelioma is a cancer that develops over a long period of time, 30 to 60 years, so the younger you are when you’re exposed, the more at risk you are.” Asked if parents should ask their schools about the issue, she agreed that they should. “As a union we are equally concerned for children as we are for teachers and support staff, but the dangers for children are more acute because they’ve got more life ahead of them. Lyons added that the issue has always been a concern, but added: “The asbestos that’s in our schools now is getting older and older, so it’s deteriorating and if it’s in a poor condition then it’s in a more dangerous state.” The poll also found that 20% of teachers were aware that children are more at risk than adults, due to the long latency period for developing mesothelioma. The NUT poll questioned 201 members in March. rince Harry reported for duty with the Australian army yesterday to begin an “authentic” experience featuring bush patrols and indigenous engagement, as he prepares to retire from the British military. Hundreds of well-wishers turned out to see the 30-yearold prince at the National War Memorial in Canberra - the one scheduled public event of his visit - before he met with the head of the Australian Defence Force (ADF), Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin. Wearing a white dress uniform, he reported for duty at Duntroon Military College, delivering a letter to Binskin from Queen Elizabeth II in which she wrote her grandson would “beneﬁt greatly from spending time with the Australian diggers”. After jetting in from Sydney, Prince Harry arrived to cheers from the crowd of some 1,000 people at the war memorial in Canberra where he laid a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and toured galleries on World War I and Afghanistan. The energetic royal then waved off the option of an umbrella and spent time greeting the crowd outside despite drizzling rain. As some chanted “Harry, Harry, Harry”, the prince made his way around the barricades, and spoke to a ginger-haired child with a poster reading “Redheads Rule”. “He said that I was fabulous in making the sign and it’s awesome to be a redhead,” a delighted Ethan Toscan, 12, told Gearing up for the race Prince Harry reacts after shaking hands with kids holding up a sign reading ‘Red Heads Rule’ during a visit to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra yesterday. Australian Associated Press. “I’m over the moon - it’s just wow! I got to shake his hand!” During his time Down Under, Captain Wales, as he is known in the British army, will be embedded with Australian army units and regiments in Sydney, Darwin and Perth. “He is expected to take part in a range of unit-based activities and training exercises,” the Australian Defence Force said in a statement announcing his arrival last week. “These will include urban training exercises, regional bush patrols, ﬂight simulation and aviation activities, joint ﬁre exercises and indigenous engagement activities.” The prince, who has ﬂown Apache helicopters for Britain, has reportedly also asked to ﬂy choppers in Australia. A defence official has said checks would need to be carried out ﬁrst. Building on Prince Harry’s interest in veterans affairs, oppor- Ex-US envoy warns over defence cuts Reuters London C The Oxford Men’s rowing team pass under Putney Bridge as they take part in a training session on the Thames river in London yesterday. tunities to meet with wounded, injured and ill service personnel will also be provided while in Australia. The Australian military said it hopes to provide the prince with “an authentic military experience in the Australian army”, adding that it will include routine activities, such as physical training, ﬁrst aid training and pack marches. The Australian army attachment comes as Prince Harry, a graduate from the elite Sandhurst military academy who served twice in Afghanistan, has announced his departure from the British Army. “After a decade of service, moving on from the army has been a really tough decision,” he said last month, revealing he will quit in June. “The experiences I have had over the last 10 years will stay with me for the rest of my life. For that I will always be hugely grateful.” uts to Britain’s defence spending are emboldening Washington’s adversaries on the global stage, John Bolton, former US ambassador to the United Nations, said in a newspaper article yesterday, calling for a sharp rise in London’s military capabilities. Britain, traditionally a staunch US ally, is in the process of reducing its armed forces by around a sixth to help cut a large budget deﬁcit. The reforms will leave the army with 82,000 soldiers in 2018, its smallest size since the Napoleonic Wars, and down from 102,000 in 2010. Ahead of an election on May 7, Prime Minister David Cameron and the opposition Labour Party have refused to guarantee London will continue to spend 2% of its gross domestic product on defence. Bolton, who served as UN ambassador in the Republican administration of then president George W Bush, said Brit- ain’s stance risked hurting the US. “Our mutual adversaries immediately assume, all too accurately, that a weakened Britain reﬂects a weakened America, and they are emboldened,” Bolton wrote in the Daily Telegraph newspaper. Citing the direction of Russia and China and the situation in the Middle East, Bolton said Britain’s defence cuts and proposed cuts “could not come at a worse time, politically and militarily.” Bolton’s intervention is the latest in a series of warnings from US politicians and military ﬁgures. Senior former and serving British military commanders have made similar pleas. Cameron has rejected US criticism in the past, saying the country is engaged in a “massive” investment programme that will deliver new aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, destroyers and frigates. A spokeswoman at the ministry of defence said she could not comment because it was a political matter. Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 19 EUROPE Poland plans six towers at border Poland will build six watchtowers to survey its 200km border with the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, the police said yesterday. The six towers will be up to 50m high and ready in June for round-the-clock surveillance, the spokeswoman for Poland’s border police told the PAP news agency. They will cost more than 14mn zloty (€3.7mn, $3.8mn), Miroslawa Aleksandrowicz said, adding that 75% of the amount would come from an EU fund for external borders. Kaliningrad is near the Baltic Sea, sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania, both EU members. Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaite said last month that Russia had sent nuclear-capable Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad, which could “reach even Berlin”. Russia’s seizure and annexation of Crimea, support for separatists in eastern Ukraine and steppedup military drills have caused unease in the Baltic states and Poland, which lay behind the Iron Curtain a quarter of a century ago. More than 3mn Russians and an equal number of Poles passed through border posts to heavily militarised Kaliningrad last year. Russia expands defences in Arctic Russia is expanding its military presence in the Arctic by stationing surface-to-air missile systems, Major-General Kirill Makarov told local media yesterday. MiG-31 fighter jets will also be deployed in the mineral-rich region, along with a new radar station on the island of Novaya Zemlya in the Arctic Ocean, he said. The Russian military has increased its foothold in the farnorth in recent years as Moscow has made claims to large swathes of the Arctic seabed with the aim of securing lucrative oil and gas rights. The Arctic has become more navigable due to melting sea ice, which has led to contesting territorial claims from countries. Blast at Microsoft offices in Athens A small bomb exploded outside the Athens offices of software giant Microsoft yesterday, causing damage but no injuries, the Athens News Agency said. No group claimed responsibility for the early morning incident, which damaged the building’s entrance. It is the second time in three years that Microsoft’s offices in the Greek capital have been targeted. In 2012, the anarchist group calling itself Informal Anarchist Federation International Revolutionary Front, drove a minivan packed with explosives into the entrance. Turkey blocks Twitter, Facebook and YouTube AFP/Reuters Istanbul T urkey has blocked access to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube over the publication of images of a Turkish prosecutor killed by leftist militants during a hostage stand-off last week. The online sites were inaccessible for many users in Turkey, with the Hurriyet newspaper saying that service providers got an order from prosecutors to block those three Internet giants as well as other websites. The authorities had set a deadline of four hours for the offending content to be removed. Tayfur Acarer, head of country’s telecommunications authority (TIB), told Hurriyet that only Facebook had complied with the deadline and access to the social network was restored accordingly. YouTube.com ran the text of a court ruling on its site, saying an “administration measure” had been implemented by TIB. The ban on Twitter was later lifted after Twitter complied with Turkey’s request to remove the photographs. “Twitter has agreed to shut down accounts and remove images relating to last week’s hostage-taking. The website will reopen to access very shortly,” a senior official said. “Users across Turkey will be able to access the site within the hour.” Hurriyet said the order blocked a total of 166 websites which published the images, including those three. Publication of any material related to the hostage stand-off amounted to “terrorist propaganda” inciting people to “hatred and violence” and disturbing the public order, the court ruling read. The ban was widely circumvented as well as mocked by many of Turkey’s almost 12mn Twitter users, with one user named @BinaShah writing: “Come Turkey, and disconnect (possible new tourism slogan).” Twitter also wrote on its @ policy account: “We are aware of reports of interruption of our service in #Turkey and we are working to restore access for our This file picture taken on March 21 last year shows an error message when access to Twitter was blocked. users as soon as possible. The hashtag #TwitterisblockedinTurkey quickly made it to Twitter’s top world trending topics. Prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz and his two captors linked to the Marxist Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) were killed after a shootout at a courthouse in Istanbul last Tuesday. The DHKP-C had published pictures showing one of the militants – his face concealed by a scarf with the group’s red and yellow insignia – holding a gun to the hostage’s head in the prosecutor’s offices. The images were circulated on social media while the siege was going on and were published by several Turkish newspapers as well as news websites. A day after the stand-off, Turkish prosecutors launched a probe into four newspapers for disseminating “terrorist propaganda” after they published the controversial images. Turkey’s presidential spokes- man Ibrahim Kalin said yesterday that the bans were “to do with the publishing of the prosecutor’s picture”, describing it as “unacceptable”. “What happened in the aftermath is as sad as the incident itself ... There is no such freedom anywhere in the world,” he told a news conference in Ankara. Kalin said that a prosecutor had demanded the block because some media organisations had acted “as if they were spreading terrorist propaganda” in sharing the images of the hostage-taking. “This has to do with the publishing of the prosecutor’s picture. What happened in the aftermath is as grim as the incident itself,” Kalin said. “The demand from the prosecutor’s office is that this image not be used anywhere in electronic platforms.” “The wife and children of prosecutor Kiraz have been deeply upset. The images are everywhere,” the Turkish official earlier said. Reuters Vatican City P Francis: (The victims of attacks) are our martyrs of today, and they are many. ope Francis has called on the world to give tangible help to persecuted Christians, highlighting the plight of people he described as modern “martyrs” after nearly 150 people were killed by Islamist militants in Kenya. Addressing crowds in bright sunshine at Saint Peter’s Square in the Vatican after four days of special Easter services, the Pontiff listed the evils inﬂicted on people for their faith and exhorted the international community to act. “These are our martyrs of today, and they are many. We can say that there are more of them now than there were in the early centuries. I hope the international community does not look on, mute and inert, at such an unacceptable crime,” Francis said. In Kenya on Thursday, gunmen from the Al Qaeda-aligned group Shebaab targeted Christians for execution after storming the Garissa University College campus, some 200km (120 miles) from the Somali border. Kenyan churches have responded to the attack by hiring armed guards, as the massacre resonated throughout the church’s weekend commemoration of Jesus’s cruciﬁxion. Francis has expressed alarm about the targeting of Christians for their faith, and decried incidents including the decapitation Germany to boost embassy security Reuters Berlin T he German government plans to spend millions of euros on boosting security at its embassies and consulates in crisis regions to provide greater protection from the threat of attacks by militants, Spiegel Online reported yesterday. It cited an internal paper from the foreign ministry as saying that the security situation for German representations abroad had recently worsened. The document also said that the situation in Iraq was “dramatically” coming to a head European Parliament member Marietje Schaake of the Netherlands took to Twitter to condemn the ban as “another disproportionate response restricting press freedom”. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had caused controversy after he revealed that he had personally denied accreditation to the funeral of Kiraz for media organisations who had used the and also mentioned the consulate in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan region. The German foreign ministry did not give any immediate comment when contacted by Reuters. Spiegel Online cited the document as saying that increasing dangers meant that it was necessary to adjust security arrangements and that the country’s representative offices abroad urgently needed improved protection. It said new threats, such as attacks where suicide bombers clear the way to well-secured buildings and are then followed by armed groups and attacks using unmanned drones, had been identiﬁed as additional challenges that required immediate action. An advisory mission from the foreign ministry should quickly review the safety of embassies, it said. The Spiegel Online article said that the foreign ministry had also asked the police and the BKA federal crime bureau to come up with measures to provide protection from potential drone attacks. The investment programme to increase security is already underway in some locations, the article said. It said the German embassy in Baghdad was being remodelled and ﬁtted with improved protection at a cost of €12mn ($13.20mn), while the consulate in Erbil was getting a more robust exterior wall. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is also planning to provide greater protection for employees when they are out and about in crisis areas, the article said, adding that new armoured vehicles for the most dangerous areas, such as Kabul and Erbil, would be paid for out of an investment fund worth around €200mn. The report also said that the foreign ministry wanted to invest millions of euros in new technology to provide improved encryption for electronic communications. image of the captive prosecutor. “Freedom of the press is as important as mourning and respect. Freedom of the press is as important as not playing into the hands of terrorist propaganda,” the prime minister said. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have been repeatedly criticised for using court orders to block critical websites, topping a Google table for content removal requests. Last year the search engine also accused Turkey of intercepting its Internet domain, redirecting users to other sites. The government blocked Twitter and YouTube in March 2014 after they were used to spread a torrent of audio record- ings implicating Erdogan – then premier – and his inner circle in an alleged corruption scandal. Turkey’s parliament last month approved legislation to tighten the government’s control over the Internet by allowing it to block websites without prior judicial authorisation, sparking outrage both at home and abroad. Erdogan has also made no secret of his disdain for social networks, comparing them to a “murderer’s knife” and once famously vowing to “eradicate” Twitter. Turkey ﬁled over ﬁve times more content-removal requests to Twitter than any other country in the second half of 2014, data published in February by the micro-blogging site showed. Head of Turkish grid operator resigns after massive power cut The head of Turkey’s national grid operator has resigned after a crippling nationwide power cut, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said yesterday, blaming the company for having taken “too many risks”. “We have found out that five power distribution lines as well as the lines between the east and the west were disabled within microseconds,” Yildiz told a news conference in Ankara a week after Turkey’s worst power outage in 15 years. He added that human error in addition to a technical fault had caused the blackout and that Kemal Yildir had resigned “after holding himself responsible”. Several of the company’s staff have also been sacked, the minister said, adding that “our friends might have taken too many risks”. Pope calls on world to defend Christians Spain’s PM Rajoy seeks re-election Spain’s conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said yesterday that he will seek reelection in this year’s national polls. “I’d like to be a candidate again and try and become prime minister again,” Rajoy told public radio RNE. This is the first time Rajoy – the head of the governing Popular Party who has been in power since 2011 – clearly stated he would be running in November’s general election. Erdogan: has famously vowed to ‘eradicate’ Twitter. of 21 Egyptian Copts in Libya in February. During yesterday’s address, the Pope called for “concrete participation and tangible help to defend and protect our brothers and sisters who are persecuted, exiled, killed, beheaded, solely because they are Christians”. The leader of the world’s 1.2bn Catholics has said the international community would be justiﬁed in using military force as a last resort to stop “unjust aggression” perpetrated by Islamic State militants. The Vatican’s official preacher, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, said on Friday that there was a “disturbing indifference” among world institutions and in public opinion to the killing of Christians. Lufthansa was ‘not obligated’ to report Lubitz’s depression Lufthansa said yesterday that it was not required to inform German aviation authorities about Andreas Lubitz’s former depression because he qualified as a pilot before stricter reporting rules went into effect in 2013. Lubitz, a co-pilot at Lufthansa’s budget division Germanwings, is believed to have deliberately crashed his Germanwings plane into the French Alps and killed 150 people. The question of what Lufthansa knew about any psychiatric problems may be a factor in its liability in the crash. The Luftfahrtbundesamt (LBA), the relevant German authority, on Sunday said that it had “no information at all” before the crash about Lubitz’s depression. The power company’s chief Yildir had told reporters after his resignation that his staff had acted without his authority, causing what he described as an accident. The day-long cut – the worst since the earthquake of 1999 – deprived most of the country of electricity last Tuesday, hitting some 50 provinces of the country’s 81 provinces, from the Greek border to those in the southeast neighbouring Iran and Iraq. The power cut halted metro services in Turkey’s major cities, including Istanbul and the capital Ankara, created huge traffic jams and inflicted losses on businesses. The authorities had said all possible causes were under investigation, including terrorism. Ukraine far-right leader appointed military adviser AFP Kiev T he controversial leader of Ukraine’s ultra-nationalist Pravy Sektor paramilitary group, which is ﬁghting pro-Russian rebels alongside government troops, was made an army adviser yesterday as Kiev seeks to tighten its control over volunteer ﬁghters. Dmytro Yarosh, 43, a hate ﬁgure in Moscow who was elected to Ukraine’s parliament last year, was named adviser to the army chief of staff Viktor Muzhenko, the defence ministry said. “Dmytro Yarosh will act as a link between the volunteer battalions and the General Staff,” armed forces spokesman Oleksiy Mazepa told AFP. “We want to achieve full unity in the struggle against the enemy, because now our aim is the co-operation and integration of volunteer battalions in the armed forces.” Dozens of Ukraine militia groups have been ﬁghting on both sides of the frontline since the war began a year ago this week, with those loyal to the government more or less under Kiev’s control. Pravy Sektor, or Right Sector, are highly-trained and known for their tough discipline and ban on drinking alcohol. The group dates back to the street ﬁghts of the Maidan protests in Kiev and has sent units to some of the hottest ﬂashpoints on the frontline in Ukraine’s year-long war. Yarosh is widely reviled in the separatist east and Russian media as a far-right bogeyman and is wanted by the authorities in Moscow on an international warrant for “incitement to terrorism”. He was injured in January in ﬁghting around Donetsk airport, which ﬁnally fell to the separatists after months of combat. A spokesman for the nationalist hardliner told AFP that Pravy Sektor would remain “autonomous” from government control but would now receive funds from the defence ministry. “Our combatants will be well-armed from now on as up until now equipment was supplied by volunteers,” said Artem Skoropadskiy. Pravy Sektor, which includes a political party that was founded in March last year as well as its military battalions, “is nationalist not fascist”, Yarosh told AFP in an interview. It rose to prominence during the Maidan protests and claims roots in the controversial legacy of Ukraine’s World War II nationalists, who have been accused of collaboration with the Nazis. 20 Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 INDIA ALLEGATION CRIME INVESTIGATION ANNIVERSARY CONTROVERSY Fraudsters misusing my name, says Hazare Four held for killing ex-gangster in Gurgaon Fabindia store manager gets anticipatory bail Modi greets BJP on party’s foundation day Congress condemns remarks by minister’s wife Social activist Anna Hazare yesterday blew the whistle on what he termed as “fraudsters” misusing his name for personal gains. “I have got many complaints about some people misrepresenting themselves as my workers and cheating the people...,” Hazare said in a statement. Claiming to be part of the anti-corruption movement, these elements contend that they have been appointed on various state, district or sub-district committees as Hazare’s representatives, the 77-year-old leader said. “I wish to inform the public that since the past two years, all committees of the anti-corruption movement have been dissolved and nobody has been nominated to any official government committees,” Hazare said. A 21-year-old gangster has been arrested in Gurgaon along with his three accomplices for killing one of their former gang members who had become a rival. Police said yesterday that Akash Yadav, 21, who had also gunned down his schoolmate in Gurgaon nearly eight years ago, was arrested for another murder along with his accomplices. Yadav alias Ashu, Manish alias Goga, Manjeet alias Monu and Ashok alias Mental, all in the age group of 19-25, have been arrested for killing Manish alias Bihari on March 24. Bihari,23, once used to be a friend of the main accused Yadav. But he turned Yadav’s rival and was allegedly shot dead by Yadav and his accomplices. A Goa court yesterday granted anticipatory bail to Chaitrali Sawant, manager of a Fabindia outlet, where federal minister Smriti Irani on Friday found a CCTV camera suspiciously placed near the trial room. Sawant has been missing since a local Bharatiya Janata Party legislator, on the instructions of Irani, filed a First Information Report blaming Fabindia for setting up the intrusive CCTV. While granting Sawant anticipatory bail, the Judicial Magistrate First Class in Mapusa town asked her to co-operate with the investigation. Four junior employees of the Fabindia store were arrested on Friday and released on bail the following day, even as the company - while denying any wrongdoing issued an apology to the minister. More than 10 months after he led the Bharatiya Janata Party to a sweeping election victory, Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday greeted party activists on its 35th birth anniversary. “On the BJP’s ‘Sthapana Diwas’, my greetings to all the BJP ‘karyakartas’ and well-wishers,” the prime minister said in a tweet. “BJP’s phenomenal growth is due to the efforts and hard work of generations of selfless ‘karyakartas’ who devoted their lives to our nation,” he said. The BJP, which now rules the country, would “leave no stone unturned to fulfil people’s aspirations and create an India that is strong, developed and inclusive,” Modi added. The Congress yesterday criticised the wife of Goa cabinet minister for her comments that Western culture causes rape and imploring Hindus not to send their children to convents. The comments were made by Lata Dhavalikar, wife of Minister for Factories and Boilers Deepak Dhavalikar of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, which is a part of the alliance government headed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). “This is a clear attempt to divide the state and country on religious lines. Linking rape to the Western culture and exhorting parents against sending their wards to convent schools reveals a sick mentality,” Congress spokesperson Durgadas Kamat said. CBI seeks details of Trinamool accounts Many nurses in Yemen not ready to come back: minister IANS Kolkata T he Central Bureau of Investigation, probing the multi-billion rupee Saradha chit fund scam, has sent a notice seeking details of the accounts of West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress. In the notice addressed to Trinamool general secretary Subrata Bakshi, the CBI has sought details about the party’s income and expenditure since 2010, asking him to reply within seven days. Trinamool secretary general Partha Chatterjee said the party would reply after receiving the notice. “Every day we get thousands of letters and we reply to those which we ﬁnd are worthy of a reply. If we come across such a notice and it deserves a reply we will do that,” Chatterjee said iterating the party’s stand that the CBI was working at the behest of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The notice comes days after the Trinamool got a phone call from the agency, prompting the party to cry foul. “The CBI has lost all credibility. It is acting at the behest of a political party before the civic elections. We announced a protest programme against the land bill on April 8. Shortly after that, the CBI called up our office,” Chatterjee had said on April 2, the day it got the phone call. The agency had earlier sent the notice to sidelined Trinamool leader Mukul Roy who was the general secretary of the party before his eventual removal from the post in February. Roy, a Trinamool Rajya Sabha member, had reportedly asked the CBI to contact Bakshi over the issue as he was no more the general secretary. On March 18, Bakshi wrote to Roy asking for documents and statements relating to the party’s communications with the state and central election panels and original copies of the party’s audited accounts among other documents. Replying to Bakshi’s letter, Roy on April 3 gave details of the party’s audited accounts from 2005 to 2014. Kerala urges central government to ensure that all flights that come into Mumbai are re-directed to Kochi Agencies Thiruvananthapuram V A woman evacuated from Yemen hugs her son after arriving at the Mumbai international airport yesterday. Motorcycle rider beaten to death in Delhi road rage IANS New Delhi A motorcyclist was beaten to death by ﬁve people in a case of road rage even as his sons, who witnessed the incident, unsuccessfully tried to get police to intervene. One of the accused was arrested yesterday. Shahnawaz, a resident of Mata Sundari Road in central Delhi, was returning home from a family function with his two sons, when his motorcycle was hit by a car near Turkman Gate in Daryaganj, police said. The incident took place around 11.30pm on Sunday. Shahnawaz owned an electrical shop on Mata Sundari Road while his parents lived near Turkman Gate in the old quarter of Delhi, barely a few metres from the scene of the accident. Alleging police inaction, nearly 300 members of Shahnawaz’s family, relatives and neighbours, sat on protest on the busy road demanding action against the ac- cused, who they alleged were local builders. Soon after the incident, the family members and relatives gathered and protested against the authorities. They also set on ﬁre some vehicles near the home of the accused in Turkman Gate area hours after the incident. Fearing escalation of tension yesterday, police stepped up security in the area. Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi said one person has been arrested. “Mohamed Wasim has been arrested and the hunt for the other four is on,” he told reporters. The ﬁve men were in the car which slightly bumped into Shahnawaz’s bike from the side on Sunday night. Witnesses said the driver of the car told Shahnawaz to move his bike, but when he said he was unable to do so due to heavy traffic, a heated argument ensued. The car’s occupants then came out and started beating him. Shahnawaz’s sons Fahad, 13 and Kaif, 9, who were riding pillion, tried to rescue their father but were pushed aside and also attacked. They pleaded with other motorists for help but no one came to their rescue. Seeing their father being beaten up, the two rushed to the police post situated across the road. The family alleged that the boys pleaded with two policemen there to help but to no avail. The children then went running to their grandparents’ house and told them about the incident. The victim’s 50-year-old mother Noorjahan said by the time the family reached the spot, it was too late. The family members rushed the heavily bleeding Shahnawaz, who was lying on the road, to the nearby Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Hospital where he was declared dead. The accused had ﬂed by that time. Crying bitterly, Noorjahan said: “I fed him food minutes before they killed him... those cruel people killed my son. They should be arrested soon.” ery few Kerala nurses in violence-hit Yemen want to return to India, a minister said here yesterday. “There are 45 Kerala nurses working in Yemen’s Mabar area. I got a call from them. They said only 10 are willing to return,” Minister for Diaspora K C Joseph said. Joseph was speaking after a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy with representatives of those who have returned from Yemen. “Our request to all Keralites in Yemen is that they should use the evacuation arrangements and return. Things could change for the worse and later things might become difficult,” Joseph said. Joseph said he had spoken to Indian ambassador in Yemen on Sunday night about the situation in that country. “Every day there are four ﬂights that evacuate Indians from Sanaa airport to Djibouti. And from there Indians are being ﬂown to Mumbai and Kochi. “We have now requested the central government to see that all ﬂights that come into Mumbai be re-directed to Kochi,” said Joseph. “They are returning after a lot of hardships. These ﬂights should at least be extended to Kochi so that they are not distressed further,” the minister said. Film shoot Some organisations in Yemen, mainly hospitals, are refusing to return the passports and allow employees to leave. Indian diplomatic mission in Yemen is in touch with these employers and ensure their release. Joseph said 180 nurses struck in Al Kuwait University Hospital of Sanaa had appealed to the chief minister for immediate evacuation. They said their passports were with the hospital authorities and they had not received their salary for over three months. “They do not have any money to even reach the airport.” The minister denied reports that Saudi Arabia had given a ﬁve-day deadline for Indians to leave as the humanitarian crisis was worsening. Yesterday a batch of 574 people was evacuated from Yemen’s capital Sanaa by Air India, and the massive co-ordinated efforts launched by various ministries, including the external affairs ministry, got a pat on the back from Prime Minister Narendra Modi who took to Twitter to express his appreciation. External affairs ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin tweeted: “Exceeding previous efforts. Evacuation by Air India today from Sanaa was highest thus far. 574 persons head from Yemen to Djibouti.” India has evacuated over 3,000 of its nationals from Yemen so far by air and sea. India also received requests from 23 countries, including Bangladesh, France, Germany, US and Sri Lanka, to help evacuate their citizens from strifetorn Yemen, which is witnessing continuing ﬁghting between Police hunt for terror suspects in Telangana IANS Hyderabad P Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, face covered in a hood, waves towards fans as he leaves after finishing the on-location shoot for a film in Mumbai yesterday. the Shia Houthi rebels and the Saudi Arabia-led coalition of 10 nations, which has launched air strikes in the country. Prime Minister Modi in a series of tweets praised the repatriation efforts as well as that of his two ministers, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh. “Salute the services of our civilian & defence officials & organisations in helping evacuate our citizens from Yemen. Continue your efforts! “Seamless co-operation between organisations- MEA, Navy, Air Force, Air India, Shipping, Railways & State Govts greatly helped in rescue work.” “Colleagues @SushmaSwaraj & @Gen_VKSingh (who has been on the ground for days), have coordinated evacuation efforts in an exemplary manner.” He said the evacuation efforts in Yemen “reﬂect willingness to serve our people & readiness to help others in distress, which is India’s ethos.” “I am also glad that India has rescued several non-Indian citizens from Yemen,” the prime minister said. Swaraj also tweeted: “Twenty three countries have requested India to evacuate their citizens from Yemen.” On Sunday, Swaraj tweeted that India would evacuate all Indian nationals from Yemen. “Nobody will be left behind for want of travel documents.” She also said all Indian nationals have been evacuated from the southern Yemeni port of Aden. “The evacuation from Aden is complete - thanks to Indian Navy.” olice in Telangana yesterday continued combing operations for one more terror suspect believed to be holed up in Nalgonda district, where two operatives of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) were killed in a gunﬁght on Saturday. Six police teams and personnel of the elite anti-Maoist force Greyhounds are participating in the large-scale operations at different places in Nalgonda districts and also a part of neighbouring Warangal district. Armed policemen were seen checking vehicles on the roads and frisking people at different places especially around Arvapally where the two assailants were thought to be hiding after gunning down two policemen at Suryapet town on April 2. The attackers were killed in a gunﬁght with police on April 4 at Janakipuram. A policeman was killed and two officers were injured. Police suspect that a third suspect may still be hiding in the area. The suspicion grew stronger after Delhi-Hyderabad AP Express train ticket was found on the body of one of the two SIMI operatives. The ticket indicates that a suspect reached Hyderabad by the train on April 2. Police were trying to ﬁnd out if a third suspect joined the two a day after the ﬁring at Suryapet. It is not clear if the same suspect was killed in the gunﬁght or he is still at large. Since two suspects were seen carrying laptops and other articles at Suryapet and only two mobile phones were found on the bodies on Saturday, investigators are also trying to ﬁnd out if they managed to hand over the items to the third suspect. Officials of the Intelligence Bureau and National Investigation Agency (NIA) have also joined the probe. The Telangana government had initially denied that the assailants had any links with terrorists but the police have conﬁrmed that they were indeed operatives of SIMI. Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 21 INDIA India can never become a tax haven: Jaitley IANS New Delhi I ndia will neither promote tax terrorism nor can it become a tax haven, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said yesterday, pledging a fair compliance window to those with ill-gotten money overseas to come clean, and a moderate tax regime to obviate such practices. Addressing the annual session of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the ﬁnance minister also promised to introduce a bill on pan-India goods and services tax in the ensuing parliament session and a recast of laws that were preventing decision-making process in bureaucracy. “A very reasonable compliance window will come for those who indulged in such misadventure in the past” In the speech that addressed a host of issues pertaining to the corporate sector, as also some of the contemporary matters faced by his government, Jaitley conceded that the present Companies Act was posing irritants and that the previous law proposed on land acquisition was antirural India. “We’re not a tax haven. We don’t expect to be one. India isn’t so vulnerable that every demand is termed tax terrorism,” Jaitley said with his comments coming in the wake of tax notices served on foreign funds for periods before 2012-13 and on companies for acquisition deals made overseas. On the issue of black mon- ey stashed by Indians abroad, the ﬁnance minister said even though the Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill of 2015 had been tabled by him in the Lok Sabha last month, there was room for changes and welcomed suggestions on it. “A very reasonable compliance window will come for those who indulged in such misadventure in the past.” The new bill calls for 300% penalty on the amount of black money abroad along with rigorous imprisonment of up to 10 years for perpetrators. At the same time, the bill also has some amnesty provisions to bring such money back from abroad, allowing people to declare such assets within a prescribed time period, pay tax on it and retain the remaining amount. It provides for tax to be charged at 30% of the undisclosed assets outside India and also a penalty of 100% of such tax, taking the effective rate of tax and penalty to 60%, leaving room for people to retain 40% of such declared assets. Jaitley said India has also agreed to become a signatory to the US global tax evasion law Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act of 2010 - that seeks to deal with evasion by its nationals wherein authorities and institutions on both sides will share information on money laundering. The minister also spoke about the proposed new bill to facilitate acquisition of land for development and said the one proposed in 2013 by the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was clearly anti-rural India. India can lead world in climate battle: PM Modi launches new air quality index, which will enable people to track the quality of air they breathe AFP New Delhi P rime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday suggested the country’s “age-old traditions” could be used to ease its choking smog, as he launched a new air quality index for the world’s most polluted capital. Modi proposed making every Sunday “bicycle day” and switching off street lights during a full moon, amid growing public concern over the impact of air pollution on the health of India’s 1.2bn people. “There can be green solutions in our age-old traditions,” he said in a speech at a conference of environmental policymakers in New Delhi. “What if our city governments... decided not to switch on the street lights during a full moon?” he said. “It is only a small thing, but you can imagine how much energy could be saved and emissions could be cut if all the street lights were switched off during a full moon.” The government said the new index would initially cover 10 cities - Delhi, Agra, Kanpur, Lucknow, Varanasi, Faridabad, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad - each of which would have monitoring stations with Air Quality Index display boards. The government is under in- Militants kill three cops AFP Srinagar S uspected rebels shot and killed three unarmed police officers yesterday after ambushing their vehicle in Jammu and Kashmir, shortly after a separate incident left another officer critically injured, ofﬁcials said. The police officers were travelling to Amshipora village, 60km south of the main city of Srinagar, to probe a local land dispute when the ambush occurred. The militants, dressed in army fatigues, ﬁrst released unharmed two civilians who were travelling in the vehicle along with the driver before ﬁring on the officers, Inspector General of Police Javid Gillani said. “They (police officers) were going for an investigation when their vehicle was ambushed. All the three were killed. They were unarmed,” Gillani said. Police and the army have launched a hunt for the militants, whose attack came an hour after another police ofﬁcer was shot and injured in a separate incident further north. After boarding the bus travelling on a highway in Pattan, the suspected rebels noticed the officer, who was from a special counter-insurgency group of the state police force, was among those onboard. The rebels tried to hijack the bus before abandoning the move and shooting the officer, a police officer said on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to media. “The militants fled after shooting the police officer when the bus stopped in a traffic jam,” the officer said. Several rebel groups have been ﬁghting Indian forces since 1989 which has left tens of thousands dead, mostly civilians. Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives a sapling from Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar during the inauguration of the Environment and Forest Ministers conference in New Delhi yesterday. tense pressure to act after the World Health Organisation last year declared New Delhi the world’s most polluted capital. At least 3,000 people die prematurely every year in the city because of air pollution, according to a joint study by Boston-based Health Effects Institute and Delhi’s Energy Resources Institute. Modi also signalled that India would not bow to foreign pressure on tackling climate change, ahead of UN-led talks late this year in Paris on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. “The world guides us on climate change and we follow them? The world sets the parameters and we follow them? It AI pilots grounded over ﬁght in cockpit AFP New Delhi S tate-run carrier Air India has grounded two of its pilots after a ﬁght erupted between the pair just before takeoff, reports said yesterday. The co-pilot allegedly assaulted the captain inside the cockpit as they were preparing the passenger plane for takeoff from the tourist city of Jaipur to New Delhi on Sunday night, the Hindustan Times newspaper said. The co-pilot was irritated by his superior’s request to write down critical information for the ﬂight, such as the number of passengers on board, take-off weight and fuel uptake, the Times Of India reported. “The co-pilot took offence at this and reportedly beat up the captain,” the newspaper said, quoting unnamed sources. “In the larger interest of the airline the commander decided to go ahead with the ﬂight and ﬂew to Delhi,” the daily added. The airline denied any violence took place, saying there was only a verbal argument between the pair, according to the Press Trust of India. “There were only heated exchanges between the commander and co-pilot over some issue. We have already derostered the two pilots pending an enquiry,” an Air India spokesman told the news agency. The carrier could not be reached for comment. Air India - which has not reported an annual proﬁt since 2007 - has been hit by a string of technical glitches and other embarrassing incidents, including staff turning up late for ﬂights. is not like that... India can lead the world,” he said. Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said the new index could drive efforts to ease air pollution. But he gave little indication of what the government would do except to promise new rules on disposing of construction waste. The dust from India’s thousands of industrial and construction sites adds to the fumes from millions of vehicles to create the toxic cocktail that city-dwellers breathe. Many experts were unimpressed. “Monitoring pollution is not a solution to stop pollution,” said ecologist Vandana Shiva, adding Modi’s campaign to attract foreign companies to manufacture in India would only exacerbate the problem. “It’s like ﬁnding a very sick person and instead of treating him, you hand him a thermometer. You have to take strict policy action, not launch symbolic measures.” Greenpeace welcomed the new index but said it had expected the government “to address the issue with more rigour and responsibility.” “Delhi is facing a public health emergency and an air quality index needs to be matched with actionable plans on how to bring the pollution levels down,” said campaigner Aishwarya Madineni in a statement. “This is merely (a) band-aid on a wound that needs stitches, the bleeding is going to continue.” A WHO study of 1,600 cities released last year showed Delhi had the world’s highest annual average concentration of small airborne particles known as PM2.5 - higher even than Beijing. These extremely ﬁne particles of less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter are linked with increased rates of chronic bronchitis, lung cancer and heart disease as they penetrate deep into the lungs and can pass into the bloodstream. India disputed the WHO’s assertion, but has conceded that air pollution in the capital is comparable with that of Beijing. An air quality index compiled by the US embassy in Delhi yesterday registered a PM2.5 reading of 175, which is considered unhealthy. The reading from the US embassy in Beijing was just 53, which is considered moderate. A new government website for the index, which will provide colour-coded air quality rankings ranging from “good” to “severe,” went live yesterday morning, but could not be accessed. Officials said it had likely collapsed under high demand. The aim is for the index to eventually cover 66 cities. The government gave few details about the new rules on construction waste. Delhi generates up to 4,000 tonnes of construction debris every day, according to a 2014 study by the Centre for Science and Environment. 22 Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 LATIN AMERICA Search continues for missing workers in Mexico oil rig ﬁre Agencies Campeche M exico’s state-run energy ﬁrm Pemex says it is still searching for three workers who went missing after a ﬁre at an offshore oil platform. Four people were killed in last Wednesday’s ﬁre, the cause of which is unknown, BBC.com reported. More than 300 workers had to be evacuated from the rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Daily production in the area fell from 650,000 barrels to 430,000 barrels, a company ofﬁcial said, losing Pemex close to $10m (£6.7m) a day. Pemex’s director of exploration and production said it was difficult to restore production because of the large number of pipelines which had been affected. The ﬁre broke out at the Abkatun A-Permanente complex in the Campeche Sound. One survivor described how workers had “jumped into the sea out of desperation and panic”. It took eight ﬁreﬁghting boats to quell the blaze. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said there would be a thorough investigation into what had caused the ﬁre. Pemex said that while the accident had caused some oil to run off into the sea, a “considerable oil spill” had been averted. In 1979, a blowout at a Pemex well in the Campeche Sound led to one of the worst oil spills in history. It took Pemex more than nine months to stop the leak, during which time the oil travelled as far as the Texas shoreline. Uruguay expresses concern over rights abuses in Venezuela Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa has called on Caracas to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit its prisons and report on conditions there AFP Montevideo U A dummy of US President Barack Obama is burnt as the “Burning of Judas”, during an Easter celebration, at El Valle shantytown in Caracas, Venezuela. Mexico’s Easter tradition gets a political colour AFP Mexico City D uring Holy Week in Mexico there are always processions and prayers, traditionally observed by worshippers across the country. But lesser-known traditions also persist, such as burning Judas ﬁgures as a means of overcoming evil. Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, gets what’s coming to him in this bit of faithinspired Easter street theatre: giant papier mache Judas ﬁgures — they can cost as much as $4,000 to make — are hung over crowds who light giant sparklers that hiss and crackle as the bad guy goes down in ﬂames. “This has been handed down from generation to generation,” said Leonardo Linares at the capital’s Sonora marketplace, among a clutch of Judas ﬁgures getting ready to be torched. “This really is where you learn tradition, we have kept it up all this time because we have seen everything that this art has brought, felt it being handed from parents to children.” One quirky Mexican twist: what started as a symbol of rage against a biblical traitor has expanded to the political realm. Anybody who is particularly unpopular could be in line, such as President Enrique Pena Nieto. A figure in his likeness disappeared into flames before cheering crowds at this weekend’s Easter celebrations. “If people don’t like them, if they did something wrong, they’ll be here,” said Leonardo’s son, Luis Pablo Linares, warning that it’s open season for anyone deemed roast-worthy. The 24-year-old has been making Judas figures for sacrifice his whole life. Pena Nieto has come under fire over his wife’s purchase of a mansion from a government contractor. His finance minister also bought a house from the same contractor, which has won lucrative government projects. Others have criticised his response in the case of 43 missing students in Iguala presumed dead. Though Pena Nieto’s followers might not approve of his Judas-style torching at this Easter tradition, his detractors consider it a healthy way to vent frustrations. In Venezuela, meanwhile, similar anger was on show as President Nicolas Maduro and US President Barack Obama made this year’s cut as Judases worthy of a burning. The towering figures made of cloth, cardboard and old clothes were labelled traitors by revellers. “You burn a traitor. And we decided in this case to burn Obama for his infamous decree against our sovereignty and freedom,” said housewife Gladys Bolivar, 63. The US president on March 9 called Venezuela’s political situation an extraordinary threat to US security. Maduro has said the animosity is a sign the US wants to invade to get control of the world’s largest proven crude oil reserves. The Venezuelan president, also torched, is facing rockbottom approval ratings as the country’s mostly state-run economy continues to tank. Shortages are common, and inflation is the region’s highest. ruguay expressed concern yesterday over the human rights situation in Venezuela, citing reports of torture, arbitrary detentions and an authorisation for the military to use lethal weapons against protesters. Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa called on Venezuela to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit its prisons and report on conditions there. Nin’s comments on a local radio show come just days before an April 10-11 Summit of the Americas in Panama expected to focus in part on the situation in Venezuela under leftist President Nicolas Maduro. At least 43 people were killed in protests that swept Venezuela last year amid growing public discontent over widespread shortages of basic goods, soaring inﬂation and rampant crime. Maduro has angrily rejected criticism of his government’s arrests of top opposition leaders and its use of other hard-line tactics to squelch the protests, while blaming the country’s mounting economic woes on a USbacked campaign against his government. Uruguay currently holds the presidency of Unasur, a regional security bloc that has made intermittent attempts to foster a political dialogue in Venezuela but has so far refrained from criticising the Maduro government. Nin said, however, a recent Amnesty International report on Venezuela detailing the shooting deaths of demonstrators by police and pro-government groups, torture and sexual abuse of detainees, and arbitrary detentions was “enormously concerning.” He expressed particular concern over a defence ministry measure authorising the armed forces to use ﬁrearms or other lethal weapons to suppress protests. “Clearly it is excessive,” he said. Nin likened the human rights situation in Venezuela to that in Uruguay 30 years ago under a military dictatorship that launched a campaign of repression against the political left after taking power in 1973. “We had to go to the world to ask for help,” Nin said, noting that human rights is the one issue where the principle of noninterference in another country’s internal affairs does not apply. “This is why we ask that the International Red Cross go into Venezuela’s jails and draw up a report,” he said. The foreign minister said such a Red Cross mission had been proposed to Maduro at a recent Unasur summit in Quito and “the response was silence.” “We will continue insisting on this,” he said. Brazil gets new education minister Brazil’s new Education Minister Renato Janine Ribeiro delivers a speech during his inauguration, at Planalto Palace in Brasilia yesterday. Ribeiro took up the post replacing Cid Gomes. Cuba says Obama’s steps to ease embargo ‘insufficient’ AFP Havana C People observe the “Burning of Judas”, during Holy Week, at the La Merced neighbourhood in Mexico City. uba’s trade minister said yesterday that US President Barack Obama’s moves to ease the ﬁve-decade embargo on the communist island are “incomplete and insufficient.” With Obama heading toward a potentially historic meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro this week, Trade and Foreign Investment Minister Rodrigo Malmierca criticised the US leader’s limited steps to ease the crippling trade and ﬁnancial embargo the US has maintained on Cuba since 1962. After the old Cold War foes announced a historic rapprochement on December 17, Obama loosened several components of the embargo, allowing more travel from the US to Cuba, raising the limit on cash remittances to the island and easing restrictions on certain kinds of trade, among other measures. “The measures Obama ordered are incomplete and insufficient, and do not change the essence of this unilateral measure taken by the US government against Cuba,” Malmierca told state newspaper Granma. He said the measures were a “step in the right direction” but did not go far enough toward ending the embargo. Obama “has vast prerogatives — far beyond the measures approved last January — that he could use to make substantive steps toward normalising bilateral relations,” he said. He called on Washington to allow Havana to use dollars for international transactions and clear the way for Cuban exports to the US beyond the small quantities of rum and cigars that Obama allowed travellers to bring back from the island. “Beyond traditional goods like rum and tobacco, there are others of excellent quality that can be included in this possible exchange, such as biotechnology products,” he said. Obama and Castro will cross paths at the Summit of the Americas in Panama on Friday and Saturday, which could yield the ﬁrst substantive meeting between US and Cuban leaders in half a century. The two men shook hands brieﬂy at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela in South Africa in December 2013. To lift the full embargo, which Havana says has cost it $100bn, Obama would need the blessing of the Republican-controlled Congress. Toll in Chile ﬂoods rises to 26 AFP Santiago T he death toll from ﬂash ﬂoods that devastated Chile’s normally arid north has risen to 26 and could increase further, with another 120 people still missing, officials said. The Atacama region and the neighbouring city of Antofagasta were deluged by heavy rains on March 24 that swept away thousands of homes, leaving thick layers of muck and tens of thousands of devastated residents in their wake. The National Emergency Office said in its latest update Sunday night that more than 2,500 people remained in emergency shelters, with more than 6,000 homes badly damaged and more than 2,000 completely destroyed. Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 23 PAKISTAN/AFGHANISTAN AGREEMENT CRIME SURVEY MILITANCY Pakistan, China may sign prisoner exchange treaty Transgender gang-raped, two killed in Pakistan WWF to assess Indus River dolphin populations Nine killed by bombs targeting Afghan police Pakistan and China are likely to sign a prisoner exchange treaty enabling both the countries to transfer convicted prisoners on a reciprocal basis. Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to arrive in Islamabad this week to sign several bilateral agreements. The accord for the exchange of prisoners would be signed by the two countries during the visit of the Chinese president, officials who prepared the draft of the proposed “Exchange of Prisoners Agreement” said. “We have already sent the final draft of the treaty to the foreign affairs ministry,” a senior officer of the interior ministry said. Armed men in northwest Pakistan abducted and gang-raped a transgender person yesterday after killing two others in a pre-dawn incident, police said. The incident took place in the Yar Hussain neighbourhood of Swabi district, where a group of transgenders was returning home after performing a music and dance show at a wedding party. Sajjad Khan, district police chief of Swabi in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said the men were waiting for them in a field and tried to abduct all of them but they refused. “The attackers opened fire after the refusal. One transgender and one drummer died on the spot while another was wounded,” Khan said. “The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWFPakistan) is set to embark upon an extensive survey to assess Indus River dolphin populations,” said project co-ordinator Uzma Noureen yesterday. She said the Indus River dolphin was a threatened river cetaceans living in five sub-populations in a 1,000km stretch of the river’s main channel. She said an in-depth survey was a regular practice taken up every five years since 2001. The last survey was completed in 2011. She said in 2001, 2006 and 2011, the dolphin population was recorded at 1,200, 1,600, and 1,452, respectively. At least nine people were killed yesterday in two separate roadside bombings targeting Afghan police vehicles, highlighting an uptick in attacks against security forces before the Taliban’s expected spring offensive. In the deadlier of the attacks, four policemen and two civilians were killed when a bomb ripped through a Ford Ranger pickup truck north of Kabul. “Today morning a police patrol vehicle hit a roadside bomb blast in Qarabagh district near Kabul city, killing six people,” General Mohammad Farid Afzali, Kabul police criminal investigation chief, said. The interior ministry confirmed the attack and blamed it on the “enemies of Afghanistan”. Saudi seeks Pak jets, ships and troops Pakistani politicians debate joining Saudi coalition in Yemen; Riyadh asked Islamabad to join its coalition against mostly Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen Reuters Islamabad S audi Arabia has asked Pakistan for military aircraft, warships and soldiers, Pakistani Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said yesterday, at the start of a parliamentary debate on whether Pakistan should get involved in a Saudi-led campaign in Yemen. Saudi Arabia has asked Pakistan to join a Saudi-led military coalition that began conducting air strikes last month against largely Shia Houthi forces in Yemen. Sharif has hedged his bets. He has repeatedly said he will defend any threat to Saudi Arabia’s “territorial integrity” without deﬁning what threat, or what action. “Saudi Arabia has asked for combat planes, warships and soldiers,” Asif said, without specifying where Saudi wanted them deployed. Arif Raﬁq, a Washingtonbased adjunct scholar with the Middle East Institute, said earlier Pakistan was hoping to satisfy Saudi expectations at a “minimal” level. “They’re unlikely to be part of any meaningful action inside Yemen,” he told Reuters. “Maybe they will reinforce the border.” Sharif owes the Saudis. Endemic tax dodging means Pakistan needs regular injections of foreign cash to avoid economic meltdown. Last year, the Saudis gave Pakistan $1.5bn. Saudi Arabia also sheltered Sharif after he was overthrown in a 1999 military coup. But joining the Saudi-led coalition could inﬂame a sectarian conﬂict at home where about a ﬁfth of the population is Shia and attacks on Shias are increasing, further destabilising the nuclear-armed nation of 180mn people. Pakistani intervention would probably also anger Shia power Iran, which shares a long and porous border in a region roiling with its own separatist insurgency. Pakistan’s other main borders are with arch enemy India and Afghanistan, where Pakistani troops are conducting anti-militant operations. The Iranian foreign minister will visit Pakistan this week. In the debate yesterday, Aitzaz Ahsan, Senate leader of opposition, demanded Sharif clarify his comments. “What does [defence minister] Khawaja Asif mean by the violation of sovereignty of Saudi Arabia and the strong response from Pakistan?” he asked. “If the government wants to send troops to Yemen or Saudi Arabia, what will their exact mandate be?” The session also saw stormy scenes as a major opposition party, the Pakistan Tehreek-eInsaf, ended a seven-month long boycott of parliament. PTI boycotted parliament and occupied part of the capital during months-long street protests last year over alleged election rigging. They are ﬁrmly opposed to sending troops. Pakistan has a long record of contributing troops to UN peacekeeping missions but public opinion seems largely against intervention in any Saudi-led action in Yemen. “Pakistan is not Saudi Arabia’s handmaiden, doing its bidding at the ﬂick of a wrist,” the Express Tribune said in an editorial. Many analysts say the military, which has ruled Pakistan for more than half its existence since independence, has the ﬁnal call. The generals have been silent. Pakistan has nearly 1.5mn active soldiers and reserves, but about a third of those are tied up with operations along the Afghan border. The bulk of the remaining forces face off with nuclear-armed India. Others are executing the government’s new counter-terrorism plan. Even though Saudi Arabia is a “special friend” of both the government and the military, Pakistani intervention in Yemen might be unwise, said retired Major General Mahmud Ali Dur- IS militants kill 3 soldiers in ﬁrst Pakistan attack DPA Islamabad G unmen linked with the Islamic State militant group killed three soldiers, officials said yesterday, in the ﬁrst attack in Pakistan by the jihadists, based in Syria and Iraq. Several dozen gunmen armed with grenades and assault riﬂes attacked an army convoy in the Orakzai tribal district on Saturday night, military officials told dpa on the condition of anonymity. A soldier was killed in the battle and two more succumbed to their injuries at a hospital later, the officials said. A spokesman for the Islamic State group claimed responsibility and said it would continue targeting the military. “We killed the soldiers, seized ammunition and torched army vehicles,” Shahidullah Shahid said. “We will continue that.” It was the ﬁrst known attack in Pakistan by the Islamic State group, which controls large areas of Syria and Iraq. The group has been seeking inﬂuence in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the region that was dominated by Al Qaeda and the Taliban for more than a decade. A spokesman for the group said this year that Haﬁz Saeed Khan, a disgruntled leader of Pakistani Taliban in Orakzai, was leader of the group for the region. ARMS HAUL Afghan Border Police display bullets which were recovered from suspected militants in Helmand province yesterday. Afghan Border Police seized explosives and other materials after a clash with the militants. Pakistan devising its own wish-list over Yemen issue Internews Islamabad A Pakistani Defence Minister Khawaja Asif speaks on the phone as he leaves parliament after the start of a special parliamentary debate on whether to join the Saudi-led military intervention against Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen in Islamabad yesterday. fter senior Saudi officials in Riyadh requested a high-powered Pakistani delegation both ‘material and manpower’ to tackle Houthi rebels attempting to gain control of Yemen, the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is mulling over what to ask Saudi Arabia in return. The request was made during a two-day visit that ended on April 1. Pakistan’s wish list would be shared with Saudi authorities in the next round of talks, sources privy to the development said. While the top civil-military leadership of Pakistan is said to have decided joining the regional alliance along with Turkey to support the Saudi-led Operation Decisive Storm, the Nawaz-led government is trying to work out how the country could beneﬁt from the alliance. On a day-long visit to Turkey on Friday as part of his consultations with the brotherly countries on the Yemen conﬂict, Nawaz and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu said they were willing to work together for a peaceful resolution of the crisis. Sources said both the premiers also discussed the possible outcomes of their decision to join the Saudi-led military operation. Saudi Arabia, the biggest buyer of Al-Khalid tanks, which were jointly developed by Pakistan and China, would be offered more materials for sale, said the sources. The Pakistan Air Force is also expected to negotiate a deal on combat aircraft JF-17 Thunder. Regarding the Saudi request of gaining control of a swathe of land in Yemen and holding it until peace is restored in the country, the sources said the civilmilitary leadership has decided to join the military operation and not to take control of any single area. Regarding the Special Services Group’s support to Saudi forces, the sources said the duration of their deployment would be for a short span, between two and three years, adding that if their services are required for a longer period of time, relevant conditions would be incorporated in the draft that Pakistan would put before the Saudi authorities. About economic beneﬁts for the country, the sources said the Pakistani authorities were interested in receiving sureties from Saudi Arabia at the forum of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) on some important issues. They said that if Pakistan joins the Saudi forces, then the GCC should ensure that when Pakistan feels threatened by India, then the GCC would not only slap restrictions on Indian employees working in the region but also support Pakistan on many fronts. 67 Pakistanis from Yemen reach Karachi Pakistani opposition leader and head of the Tehreek-i-Insaf political party Imran Khan talks to media after the start of a special parliamentary debate on whether to join the Saudi-led military intervention against Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen in Islamabad yesterday. would be foolhardy. “Either way, it is an absolutely terrible choice to be made for Pakistan.” A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) aircraft carrying 67 Pakistanis stranded in Yemen’s capital city of Sanaa landed at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport yesterday. Flight PK-7006 first landed at Islamabad airport with a total 137 evacuees earlier on Sunday night, Geo News reported adding that 70 people got off at Islamabad. Two Canadian and two Sudanese nationals were also on board. Minister for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Abdul Qadir Baloch and Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Aviation Shujaat Azeem, besides foreign ministry officials, received the returning Pakistani nationals. Before the Houthi takeover of Sana’a in September 2014, there were about 3,000 Pakistanis living in different parts of Yemen, the Pakistani foreign office said. Over 500 Pakistanis were flown back to Pakistan on March 31. Yemen has been mired in deep political conflict since 2011. The situation worsened when Shia Houthis rebels seized power in February this year and President AbdRabbu Mansour Hadi fled subsequently to Aden. rani, a former national security adviser. “If it was to defend Saudi Arabia against aggression, in spite of our commitments, I think we would stretch to sending troops,” he said. “To send our troops to a third country - I think that 10 killed as jets bomb Tirah valley Over 3,200 schools issued notices for poor security IANS Islamabad Internews Peshawar A he police inspected 4,058 educational institutions in the provincial capital of Peshawar under the National Action Plan and issued notices to 3,239 others for inadequate security, an official said. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police has been directed to inspect the security arrangements in and around public and private sector educational institutions to avoid Army Public School-like attack in future. Special committees of the representatives of police, district administration and Education Department have been constituted to visit schools, colleges and universities in their areas. “The police have inspected 1,280 educational institutions in t least 10 suspected militants were killed and many others injured when the Pakistan Army’s jet ﬁghters launched an air strike in the northwest tribal area of Khyber Agency on Sunday. The jets pounded ﬁve militant hideouts in Tirah valley, along the Afghanistan border, Radio Pakistan reported. In September 2014, the army had announced an armed offensive “Operation Khyber 1” against militants which successfully came to an end this month. Now the military is carrying out “Operation Khyber 2” in the area and Sunday’s offensive was part of it. T the limits of city, 1,080 in cantonment and 1,698 schools, colleges and universities in the rural areas. “Over 1,200 of these institutions in city, 967 in cantonment and 974 in rural areas were issued notices to improve security,” Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Operations Peshawar, Mian Saeed Ahmad said. The KP Police bosses had ordered to appoint additional station house officers in all the urban police stations for inspection of schools. Schools management were also directed to enhance security on their own to avoid any APS-like attack. As many as 150 people, including 135 kids, were killed in the worst attack in the history of the country on APS on December 16 last year. Thousands of schools have raised the height of their boundary walls and others erected barbed wires on the directives of the policemen. Majority of the public and private sector schools, however, have failed to adopt standard security measures as directed by the government following the APS attack. “The police have inspected 1,280 educational institutions in the limits of city, 1,080 in cantonment and 1,698 schools, colleges and universities in the rural areas” There were still hundreds of schools, almost all the in the public sector in remote districts that don’t have boundary walls and are more prone to attacks. Apart from buildings, thousands of buses and vans transporting millions of children from and to schools are more vulnerable for having no security arrangements. Several buses and vans carrying schoolchildren were attacked in the past years. The provincial government has announced to allow teachers in the public and private sector schools to carry guns for security. Eight women teachers of a government college were imparted one-day training in weapon handling at the Malik Saad Shaheed Police Lines as part of improving their self-defence skills. The decision had to be taken back after it was widely criticised for having negative impact on education of millions of kids all over the province. The government had to issue directives not to train other female teachers since it earned widespread criticism. 24 Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 PHILIPPINES Sultanate of Sulu ﬂays govt over report on Sabah Manila Times Mindanao T US and Filipino soldiers during a joint mock beachfront assault on the shore of Ulugan Bay on Palawan island. US, Philippines set for larger war games American involvement may be critical in deterring Chinese expansion Both police, rebels ‘violated ceaseﬁre’ AFP Manila T he United States and the Philippines will double the size of their annual war games this month, with some exercises to be staged close to a South China Sea ﬂashpoint, the Filipino military said yesterday. The 10-day exercises between the longtime allies will be held as fears grow in the Philippines that China is seeking to take control of the strategically vital and resource-rich sea. Nearly 12,000 soldiers will be involved in this year’s edition in several locations in the Philippines, including a naval station directly facing the disputed waters, military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Harold Cabunoc said. That number, which includes 6,600 American troops, compares with a total of 5,500 soldiers who participated in last year’s Balikatan (shoulder-to-shoulder) exercises, Cabunoc said. He emphasised the expanded war games highlighted the deepening military alliance between the Philippines and its former colonial ruler. “The higher strength of Balikatan 2015 for this year only reﬂects the Philippines’ and the United States’ growing commitment to enhance our capability to conduct joint military and non-military activities,” Cabunoc told AFP. He said the decision to expand the numbers involved in the games was not directed at China, which claims nearly all of the South China Sea, even waters and reefs close to Southeast Asian nations and far from its nearest major landmass. However, part of the exercises will be held from Zambales naval base, which is he Sultanate of Sulu has criticised the Philippine government for reportedly offering to downgrade its claim over Sabah (North Borneo) in exchange for Malaysia’s support for its legal battle against China over the disputed islands in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) before the United Nations (UN). Abraham Idjirani, spokesman for the Sultanate of Sulu, told The Manila Times that the Philippine government cannot treat the Sabah claim as “bargaining chip” with Malaysia to gain support to resolve its territorial conﬂict with China. “There is the United Nations where the Philippine government had taken already a step,” Idjirani said in an interview over the weekend. According to Idjirani, both countries [the Philippines and Malaysia] cannot extinguish the proprietary ownership and authority of the Sultanate of Sulu legally recognised by Malaysia by continuing to pay the annual rental payment to the Sultan of Sulu and his heirs. Vera Files, in an article published on March 30, claimed that the department of foreign affairs (DFA), through the note verbale, has offered to downgrade its claim to Sabah in exchange for Malaysia’s support for its case against China before the United Nations. The DFA, however, denied the report, saying what the note included were only clariﬁcations on Malaysia’s maritime claims to the disputed territories in the South China Sea. According to Idjirani, the note verbale are acts of serious betrayal to the Muslims in the Sulu archipelago and the nation. “Corollarily, Malacanang and the department of foreign affairs must be the ﬁrst to show the people that it observe the “rule of law” since the Sultanate of Sulu already withdrew in 1989 and the 1962 special authority given to the Philippine government,” he said. The Sultanate of Sulu also asked the Aquino government to explain to the Filipino people the motives aside from making the Sabah claim a “sacriﬁcial lamb” in order to get the concurrence of Malaysia to support the country’s territorial conﬂict with China. Meanwhile, the Sultanate of Sulu also said that it will reject the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which aims to create a new autonomous region in Mindanao, because it believes that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) would drop the sultanate’s Sabah claim in exchange for Malaysia’s support for a Bangsamoro government. Malaysia also acts as an international mediator between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the MILF for the creation of a Bangsamoro government. Reuters Manila M Children watch the USS Peleliu as it arrives in Subic Bay. located 220km east of Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea.The shoal is a rich ﬁshing ground within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone but has been controlled by China since 2012. The Balikatan exercises, which start on April 20, will also be held on the central island of Panay, Palawan in the southwest and a former American airbase north of Manila. Cabunoc said the exercises involved maritime security and disaster response drills, as well as civic projects. Spokespeople for the US and Chinese embassies in Manila were unavailable for comment yesterday. The Philippines has repeatedly protested at China’s increasingly assertive actions in the South China Sea and has sought closer military ties with the United States in an effort to counter it. The US and Philippines signed an agreement last year that will allow a larger American military presence in the Philippines. However it has not yet been implemented, as the supreme court is hearing challenges to it from anti-US groups. Aside from the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have competing claims to parts of the South China Sea. According to the Manila Times. in the Command Post Exercise (CPX) event, the scenario will focus on Marine Security (MARSEC) with Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise (CALFEX) to demonstrate the capability of the AFP National Maneuver Force. Selected US and ADF staff mem- bers will form a Joint Liaison Group (JLG) to support the capability development at each staff. Field Training Exercises (FTX) which involves the Philippine Army (PA), Philippine Air Force (PAF), Philippine Navy (PN), Philippine Marine Corps (PMC), AFP Special Operations Force (SOF), United States Army (USAR), United States Air Force (USAF), US Navy (USN), US Marine Crops (USMC), and US SOF will be held in Crow Valley Gunnery Range (CVGR) in Tarlac, Basa Air Base, Floridablanca and Clark Air Base in Pampanga, Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, Marine Base Gregorio Lim in Ternate, Cavite, Naval Base Heracleo Alano in Sangley Point, Cavite and at Naval Station Leovigildo Gantiouqui in San Antonio, Zambales. alaysian-led peace monitors have found that both the Philippine police and Muslim rebels were at fault for violating a ceaseﬁre in a January clash in which 65 people were killed, the government’s chief negotiator said yesterday. Forty-four police commandos, 17 rebels and four civilians were killed in the January 25 clash that has put at risk a peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front after lawmakers suspended work on a law creating an autonomous area for Muslims. The bungled police operation has also become president Benigno Aquino’s biggest political crisis with opinion polls showing sliding popularity ratings over his handling of the affair. “Both sides appeared to have accountability,” government negotiator Miriam Ferrer told reporters a day after the 60-member International Monitoring Team (IMT) reported its ﬁndings on truce violations. The government had said the clash was a mistake which occurred as police hunted for two wanted Islamist militants. The rebels said they acted in self-defence when police entered their zone. Both the police and guerrilla leaders had no immediate comment on the IMT report. Malaysia has brokered peace talks between the Philippine government and the MILF to end a 45-year conﬂict that has killed 120,000 people, displaced 2mn and stunted growth in one of the resourcerich regions in the Philippines. Aquino has called for the peace process to go ahead and has urged legislators to push on with the law granting Muslims autonomy in part of the south of the largely Christian country. “The peace deal remains, it is still in effect despite the incident,” Ferrer said. Ferrer said the monitors found that the police violated the truce when they ﬁred the ﬁrst shot and for not coordinating their mission with the rebels. Four sleeping rebels had been summarily executed, she said, citing the IMT report. The rebels had violated the truce when they pursued the police and for endangering civilian lives, she said. Defence official ‘brains’ behind chopper deal Manila Times Makati A senior official of the department of national defence (DND) who attempted to rush the delivery of 21 refurbished UH-1 helicopters from a “favoured” American bidder by getting the US Air Force into the picture has been named as the brains behind the controversial deal. The DND official got the US Air Force involved on the pretext that the aircraft will be used for relief and rehabilitation operations in areas devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda in November 2013, a source told The Manila Times. The source, who wanted to be identiﬁed as “Joey”, claimed that DND undersecretary Fernando Manalo was the “author” of the deal because he knew from the very start that Rice Aircraft Serv- ices was going to acquire the helicopters from Germany. The source added that although a notice dated March 25, 2015 showed that eight units were delivered, only seven were actually shipped. “Only seven units have been turned over to PAF. Defence secretary Gazmin is working for the delivery of another unit because the more units that are paid, the bigger the commission,” the source said. In a letter dated November 27, 2013 and addressed to the US secretary of state through the US ambassador in Manila, Manalo reiterated his request “to have the most number of helicopters delivered at the soonest possible time to augment the air assets being used in the relief and rehabilitation efforts for the victims of the recent super typhoon that struck the provinces in the Central Philippines”. Manalo signed the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Manila Times, in his capacity as chairman of the special bids and awards committee 1. The letter was shown to colonel Rocky L Carter, chief of the Joint US Military Assistance Group (Jusmag) based in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City. Interestingly, Manalo kept mentioning that the deliveries would involve “UH-1H” choppers. The negotiated contract, sealed with Rice Aircraft Services Inc. (RASI) and its Canadian partner, Eagle Copters Ltd, was for the delivery of “UH-1D” helicopters that were manufactured by the defunct Dornier of Germany. “In the letter dated November 15, 2013, this department requested for [sic] your assistance in facilitating the immediate delivery of available refurbished UH-1H helicopters, through the US Air Force, in the event that the declared lowest calculated responsive bidder will be from any of the four US companies who signiﬁed to compete for the project,” Manalo said. The DND official who, according to informed sources had a previous engagement with RASI involving a Philippine Air Force helicopter bearing “tail number 122”, followed up his “presumptive” letter with the information that “On November 21, 2013, the Joint Venture of US Companies (RASI) and Eagle Copters Limited was declared as the Single Calculated Bidder during the bid opening of 21 refurbished helicopters.” “With the said declaration, this department will negotiate with RASI and Eagle Copters Limited to expedite the processing of the documents and the helicopters due for delivery,” Manlao told the US officials. “In this regard, we are reafﬁrming our request for your support for the speedy delivery of the UH-1H helicopters. These aircraft are very much needed in alleviating the sufferings of our typhoon victims as well as in delivering the basic services to speed up the recovery of the typhoon-devastated areas,” he said. The DND official got the US Air Force involved on the pretext that the aircraft will be used for relief and rehabilitation operations in areas devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda in November 2013 The P1.26bn negotiated deal with RASI was sealed in late December 2013, or a month after Manalo sent his request to US ofﬁcials. Despite the DND official’s attempts to have the helicopters delivered early, the aircraft were shipped in mid-2014. So far, nine helicopters have been paid for but only two could actually ﬂy. These two, however, have issues concerning safety and capability. Gazmin “partially terminated” the contract with RASI on March 25 and gave the company seven days to justify why the deal should not be fully terminated. The DND is yet to issue an ofﬁcial statement on the fate of the controversial deal that began in 2012, when Gazmin attempted to secure the approval of the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) to acquire the 21 helicopters through a negotiated contract. The GPPB, under Executive Order 645, should approve a negotiated deal as an alternative form of procurement for projects worth P500mn and above. The board, through a resolution issued on October 25, 2012, only approved negotiated deals for the procurement of 10 attack helicopters and three naval helicopters. The same resolution affirmed the GPPB’s earlier decision dismissing the request of the DND to acquire the 21 Hueys through negotiation. Last week, budget secretary Florencio Abad said he will look into the details of the GPPB deliberations concerning the Hueys. Abad heads the GPPB, the highest policy-making body in government procurement as mandated by Republic Act (RA) 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act and Executive Order (EO) 645. DND insiders said officials may have violated RA 9184 and EO 645 when they insisted on acquiring the helicopters despite repeated warnings by the GPPB in 2012. A source of The Manila Times at DND claimed that the officials involved in the procurement of the helicopters were reviewing taped SBAC deliberations on the deal that may be subpoenaed by the lawmakers once congressional inquiry into the controversy is launched before the end of April. Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 25 SRI LANKA/BANGLADESH/NEPAL Jamaat man loses ﬁnal plea against hanging AFP Dhaka A Bangladeshi Islamist leader lost his ﬁnal appeal yesterday against a death sentence for overseeing a massacre during the 1971 independence war, sparking protests by his supporters that left one dead. Mohammed Kamaruzzaman, the third most senior ﬁgure in the Jamaat-e-Islami party, could now be hanged within days or even hours for the slaughter at the so-called “Village of Widows”. His lawyer Shishir Manir said authorities have asked Kamaruzzaman’s family to meet him at Dhaka’s main jail later yesterday “on an emergency basis”. “It seems the authorities are making preparations to execute him,” Manir said. In the southern coastal town of Noakhali, police opened ﬁre on around a dozen Jamaat supporters after they took to the streets to protest at the court’s decision. “We ﬁred in self-defence after they hurled rocks at us,” local police chief Anwar Hossain said, adding that the protester was killed during the live ﬁring and another was injured. Supreme Court Chief Justice S K Sinha ruled that a review petition ﬁled by Kamaruzzaman’s lawyers had been dismissed and a death sentence passed in 2013 should stand. The 62-year-old’s only chance of avoiding the gallows will be if he is granted clemency by President Abdul Hamid. But analysts say the prospect of clemency is remote because the ruling effectively conﬁrms allegations that he was one of the chief organisers of a proPakistan militia which killed thousands of people. Law Minister Anisul Huq Mohammed Kamaruzzaman told reporters that Kamaruzzaman “will be executed as soon as possible” if he refuses to seek presidential clemency. Kamaruzzaman would be only the second Islamist so far to be hanged for war crimes, even though several are under sentence of death. Another Jamaat leader, Abdul Quader Molla, was executed in December 2013, just hours after his review petition was rejected by the Supreme Court. A controversial domestic war crimes tribunal convicted Kamaruzzaman in May 2013 on charges of torture, abduction and mass killings in his role as a leader of the Al-Badr militia during the war. The conﬂict led to the creation of an independent Bangladesh from what was then East Pakistan. Prosecutors said Kamaruzzaman presided over the massacre of at least 120 unarmed farmers who were lined up and gunned down in the remote northern village of Sohagpur. Three women who lost their husbands testiﬁed against him in one of the most emotive of all the war crimes trials. Testimony challenged -Kamaruzzaman’s lawyers had tried to convince the Supreme Court there were “serious discrepancies” in the witness testimonies. Jamaat, the country’s largest Islamist party, is an ally of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), whose leader Khaleda Zia is trying to topple Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s secular government. Jamaat’s members have been accused of being behind a number of deadly ﬁrebomb attacks since the start of the year, including on buses. The party branded the ruling a “government conspiracy to murder” its leader and called a nationwide strike today and tomorrow in protest. Jamaat and the BNP have previously charged that the war crimes trials are mainly aimed at silencing Hasina’s opponents rather than delivering justice. Hasina’s government says the trials — which lack any international oversight — are needed to heal the wounds of the conﬂict. Widows and relatives of the Sohagpur victims welcomed the verdict, along with secular activists. “Our only demand is that he is executed in the quickest possible time. There should be no mercy for him,” said Mohammad Jalal Uddin, a Sohagpur farmer who lost seven members of his extended family in the killing. “I’ve spoken to the widows. Thirty-two of them are still alive. They are very happy hearing the news of the verdict,” said Uddin, who leads a charity supporting the widows. Bangladesh suffered its deadliest chapter of political violence in 2013 after the war crimes court handed down a series of death sentences on Jamaat leaders for their role in the 1971 conﬂict. Hasina, whose late father was regarded as the leader of the independence movement, says 3mn people were killed in the war, although independent experts put the death toll much lower. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, top right, and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, top centre, witness the signing of an agreement in Islamabad yesterday. Lanka, Pakistan sign N-deal AFP Islamabad S ri Lanka and Pakistan signed six agreements including one on atomic energy yesterday, the two countries’ leaders said, as the strategically important island looks to build its ﬁrst nuclear plant. Details of the agreement were not immediately available but it comes after Sri Lanka signed a pact with India in February to build its atomic energy infrastructure, including training of personnel. Sri Lanka’s new president Maithripala Sirisena swept to power in January, ending a decade of rule by Mahinda Rajapakse, and has moved to reduce China’s inﬂuence in his country, which had irked India. His arrival in Pakistan on Sunday for a three-day state visit has been watched by observers for clues over any further changes in Colombo’s foreign policy. Pakistan and Sri Lanka have traditionally enjoyed strong ties, particularly over defence, with Islamabad providing military assistance during the war By Mizan Rahman Dhaka B angladeshi actress Naznin Akhter Happy’s allegation of rape against cricketer Rubel Hossain was not proved by the forensic test done in this connection at Tejgaon Victim Support Centre, according to a probe report. Halima Khatun, an inspector at Tejgaon Victim Support Centre, submitted the probe report to the chief metropolitan magistrate’s court in Dhaka yesterday. The next hearing on the case is scheduled for April 13. The report mentioned that the allegation of rape against Hossain has not been proved by the forensic test, Hossain’s lawyer told reporters after the submission of the report. He also noted that Hossain is expected to ﬁle a petition for acquitting him of the charge brought against him by appearing before the court in person on April 13. On December 13 last year, actress Happy ﬁled the case against Hossain under the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act 2000. The High Court (HC) on December 15 granted Hossain Storm death toll rises to 41 IANS Colombo Reuters Dhaka T T DEMAND FOR RELEASE OF TAMIL ACTIVISTS: Relatives of Tamil activists hold placards demanding the release of their loved ones held in detention without trial for long periods during a demonstration in Colombo yesterday. Sri Lanka’s government is yet to deliver on promises to free hundreds of Tamils incarcerated by the previous administration using tough anti-terror laws. between the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamil community after the war ended in 2009. Lands previously held by the military and political prisoners have already been released. However, the new government remains under international pressure to credibly investigate allegations of war crimes and thousands of people who were reported co-operation,” he added. Pakistan currently has three operational nuclear plants generating a total of around 740MW of power and has begun work on two more, including a 2,200 megawatt station to be built with Chinese technical assistance on the Arabian Sea coast at Paradise Beach, 40km (25 miles) west of Karachi. Earlier Sharif had spoken of his desire to improve trade and economic relations. Sirisena will also meet Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain during his visit and is due to leave today. Rape charge against cricketer found false Govt to set up welfare centre for thousands of war widows he Sri Lankan government will set up a welfare centre to assist thousands of women widowed due to the country’s three-decadelong war, the Prime Minister’s Office said yesterday. The National Centre for the improvement of the Households headed by women will be set up in Kilinochchi, the former stronghold of Tamil Tiger militants, the PMO said in a statement, Xinhua news agency reported. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe initiated the decision on a request made by the people of the country’s Northern Province to establish the centre in the area since many women, who lost their husbands, live in that region. “In the north alone, there are nearly 50,000 families that are headed by women. They are made destitute due to their inability to provide food, accommodation and educational needs to their children,” the statement said. The new government came into power in January pledging to promote reconciliation against Tamil Tiger guerrillas that ended in 2009. Speaking at a press conference with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Sirisena said: “At critical moments in our post-independent histories we have stood in solidarity with each other,” adding he was “profoundly grateful for the strong support in the ﬁght against terrorism” by Pakistan. “We discussed regional and international agreements and signed six agreements in the ﬁelds of disaster management, sports, shipping, atomic energy ... and in narcotics and academic missing during the war. In 2014, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) initiated a probe into the allegations. The preliminary report will be presented in September. he death toll from high winds and heavy rain lashing northern Bangladesh rose to 41 after police and officials reported 17 more deaths in the past two days in storm damage, police and officials said yesterday. Most of the deaths were in the north, 19 of them in the Bogra district, 230km (145 miles) from Dhaka, said Shaﬁqur Reza Biswas, Bogra’s chief district administrator. The main causes of death were collapsing walls, falling trees, boats capsizing, lightning and electrocution, officials said. More than 200 people were injured while thousands of mud houses were damaged. Officials said the storm also hit other parts of the country and could spread further. “They died mostly after they were hit by falling trees or collapsed houses and walls,” he said, adding that authorities have sent emergency relief to thousands of villagers. In neighbouring Rajshahi district, at least ﬁve people were killed and 27 injured as the storm hit a large stretch of low-lying land, another administrator said. an anticipatory bail for four weeks as he surrendered to it seeking bail. On January 6, the HC summarily dismissed a writ petition ﬁled by Happy seeking the removal of the pacer from the Bangladesh National Cricket team squad. On January 8, a metropolitan magistrate court here sent the national cricketer to jail on his surrender, rejecting his bail plea in the rape case. On January 11, responding to a fresh bail plea ﬁled by the accused, acting metropolitan session’s judge K M Imrul Kayes granted him the bail until sub- Rubel Hossain mission of the police report on the case. According to the ﬁrst information report (FIR) submitted by the actress to the police, Hossain had been involved in physical relationship with the actress for eight months. It also said Hossain had promised to marry her and thus developed the physical relationship. As Hossain reportedly backtracked, Happy ﬁled the case alleging that the cricketer raped her several times at his ﬂat. Hossain was ﬁrst picked for the national team in 2008. Rally against SC verdict Chairman of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) Pushpa Kamal Dahal, also known as Prachanda, centre, along with senior leaders of various Maoist parties, takes part in a protest rally in Kathmandu yesterday. According to the local media reports, Maoist parties took out a rally against the Supreme Court verdict that disallowed providing mass amnesty to those facing accusations for crimes during civil war. Almost a decade has passed since the end of a civil war that pitted Maoist guerillas against the state and killed more than 17,000 people. Nepal’s political parties have repeatedly missed deadlines to write the new republic’s first constitution. At the heart of the dispute is disagreement over creating new provinces based on ethnicity, a move backed by the former rebels. 26 Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 COMMENT Chairman: Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Attiyah Editor-in-Chief : Darwish S Ahmed Production Editor: C P Ravindran P.O.Box 2888 Doha, Qatar [email protected] Telephone 44350478 (news), 44466404 (sport), 44466636 (home delivery) Fax 44350474 GULF TIMES Bold decision by Tiger to play Masters Tiger Woods’ decision to return to competition at this week’s Masters after a two-month break is unquestionably a bold one, considering his recent run of troubles. The former world number one has been woefully out of form in his only two tournament appearances this year and, though he feels he is now ready to compete again, he will face a daunting test on the fast, sloping greens at Augusta National. Yes, Woods is a four-times champion at the Masters and he knows the famed par-72 course as well as anyone else in the ﬁeld, so he will certainly enjoy a huge comfort factor on his return to the year’s opening major. On the downside, though, his short game has been pathetic in his last two competitive starts, prompting several pundits to say he is suffering from the chipping ‘yips’. If Woods does indeed have the yips, which is an involuntary movement of the muscles, then Augusta National would be one of the most challenging venues for him to make a PGA Tour comeback. In January, Woods played in only his second event in ﬁve months—at the Phoenix Open—after enduring back problems for much of last year. What followed shocked the golﬁng world as a player once revered for his sublime short game struggled badly with his chipping, hitting shots fat or thin while occasionally resorting to a putter or a bump-and-run approach instead. He ended up posting the highest score of his professional career, an 11-over-par 82, to miss the cut by nine shots at the Phoenix Open, then withdrew from the Farmers Insurance Open the following week after 11 holes because of tightness in his back. Woods then announced on his website that he would return to the PGA Tour only when he felt he was “tournament-ready”, a decision he ﬁnally reached on Friday after playing his second practice round at Augusta National in four days. However, “tournament-ready” is a far cry from, “I only tee it up if I believe I can win,” which was the Woods mantra during his glory days from 1997 to 2008 as he piled up 14 major victories. Woods, whose ranking has plummeted to 104th, has a remarkable record at Augusta National with 13 top-10s in his last 17 Masters starts, and he tied for fourth there in 2010 after not playing competitive golf for ﬁve months. He took an indeﬁnite break from the game in late 2009, as his private life spectacularly unravelled, to try to repair his marriage amid revelations about his extra-marital affairs. Yet that 2010 Masters performance came after he had triumphed six times on the PGA Tour the previous year before going on to clinch victory at the Australian Masters in mid-November. Heading into the this year’s Masters is a very different story with Woods withdrawing twice and missing three cuts in just six starts on the US circuit over the past 12 months. His only ﬁnish was 69th place at the 2014 British Open. Woods has such an aura about him that writing him off completely would be a complete mistake. The fact that he has made the decision means he still feels reasonably conﬁdent. Making the cut would be certainly an achievement with anything above that a bonus. But what if he goes on to win the Masters for the ﬁfth time? That certainly will have the world singing paeans to him again. Rifts, public pressure push Greek PM into tightrope act Greek PM refuses to budge on red lines like pensions, layoffs; lenders say confusion over govt position on key issues By Deepa Babington and Renee Maltezou/Reuters Athens F irst it was for sale, then the deal was scrapped, then the sell-off was back on and now it is to be a joint venture, or maybe not. Few issues sum up the confusion of leftist Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s first two months in office better than the bewildering saga of the country’s biggest port, Piraeus, a bastion of militant trade unionists. His government’s ﬁrst declaration in January was to say the asset sale - a key part of Greece’s privatisation programme agreed with international creditors - had been cancelled. Athens then appeared to change heart: on a trip last month to China, which is a bidder and already runs part of the port, the deputy prime minister said the sale would go ahead. Three days later, the economy minister appeared on television to insist the sale remained halted and that a joint venture would be agreed instead. The same day, Greece sent its lenders a list of reforms that cited the Piraeus port sale as among the privatisations going ahead. Whether the port is actually open for bidders is anybody’s guess. Indeed, it is not clear if the government itself knows, given the multitude of contradictory statements that has come to characterise Tsipras’s administration. The message is equally confused in talks with foreign creditors that affect the ﬁnancial survival of the cash- starved Greek state, one European diplomat involved in talks said. “It is as cacophonic as it seems,” the diplomat said. Inability to agree - much less implement - a common line on privatisations underscores the challenges Tsipras faces to convince lenders his government is committed to reform and worthy of ﬁnancial aid. With Athens weeks away from running out of cash, Tsipras has called for an “honest compromise” and held a series of fence-mending meetings with European leaders that have helped lower the tone of acrimony with the eurozone and IMF. But the novice prime minister has to juggle divergent voices within his own Syriza party and has little room to offer major concessions without undermining support from the public, his party’s far-left ﬂank and his rightwing coalition partner. Losing any of the three could bring a government collapse. As if to underscore the point, Panagiotis Lafazanis, the outspoken head of Syriza’s far-left faction, warned this weekend that any retreat from anti-austerity and anti-bailout preelection promises would be suicidal. “The government will stand ﬁrm on its pledges in the face of vile blackmail and disorienting dilemmas not because of party pressure but because such a retreat would be a real ‘Waterloo’ for the government,” Lafazanis, who is energy minister, told the Agora newspaper, invoking the fall of French Emperor Napoleon. In an early sign of dissent, about 30 out of 149 Syriza lawmakers voiced doubts at a closed-door meeting about a Feb. 20 agreement with lenders that averted a banking collapse, though only a handful opposed it in the end, Syriza officials say. A fresh impasse with lenders and internal rifts are spurring media speculation that Tsipras may have to call early elections or a referendum to avoid caving to lenders’ demands, though his government denies any such plan. Even as Greece teeters closer to the ﬁnancial abyss, there is scant public debate about what might come next. Almost no one publicly advocates defaulting on Greece’s 240bn euro debt to the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund. Polls show Tsipras enjoys support from a stunning 78% of Greeks, but that could quickly evaporate if austerity-weary voters see him reneging on the pledges that won him election to end painful spending cuts but stay in the eurozone. Keeping the public on side is important for Tsipras, who often refers to his “popular mandate” as the key weapon the pro-bailout opposition lacks. Addressing parliament last week, he deﬁned the government’s red lines as avoiding pension cuts and mass layoffs, reversing labour market deregulation and retaining state control in key asset sales. He appealed for opposition support to defy lenders. “These are our red lines. I want to make clear we won’t back down no matter how much they blackmail us or put pressure on us,” Tsipras said. “These are not just Syriza’s red lines but the red lines of the Greek people, and of Greece during tough negotiations which we all believe will be effective.” Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has gone further, saying Athens has made clear how far it can go with its latest reforms list that focuses on cracking down on evasion and blocking early retirement, and that it is up to the lenders now. “We won’t condemn the country to long-term asphyxiation as previous governments did,” he told Monday’s Naftemporiki daily. “The real question is, what does the other side propose? The negotiations will come closer to a conclusion when there is an answer to this question.” Flip-ﬂopping on issues such as Piraeus has undermined trust with foreign lenders and bred confusion over who is in control and what the government’s position is, sources close to the talks said. Some paint a picture of a chaotic state stumbling towards bankruptcy. One source close to talks said foreign negotiators faced a quandary because lower-level officials would say they did not have the authority to talk about policy while senior ﬁgures spoke only in broad terms without the ﬁgures to underpin their arguments: “In the end you don’t know who is in charge.” The appearance of two different technical negotiators Giorgos Chouliarakis and economics professor Nikos Theoharakis in talks with lenders has fuelled speculation of a tug of war within the cabinet. The former is said to be close to Deputy Prime Minister Yannis Dragasakis, the latter to Varoufakis. The government denies any such rift between the officials. Varoufakis has been at the centre of speculation since he dropped out of sight after weeks of whirlwind travel and sharp-tongued attacks on austerity and the European Central Bank that made him a media darling but infuriated EU and IMF lenders. After staying home during Tsipras’s key trips to Brussels and Berlin, the outspoken economist reappeared in Washington on Sunday to reassure IMF chief Christine Lagarde that Athens would repay an IMF instalment on time this week. Despite the cacophony, some Syriza officials privately say the leftist party is proud of a tradition of letting members debate openly and that ultimately the party line will hold. The government has also become more vocal in underlining that it is not split on core issues like negotiations with lenders. “The Greek delegation is one, tight like a ﬁst, and acts united in line with the government’s commitments to the people,” the ﬁnance ministry said in a statement. Woods has a remarkable record at Augusta National with 13 top-10s in his last 17 starts To Advertise [email protected] Display Telephone 44466621 Fax 44418811 Classified Telephone 44466609 Fax 44418811 Subscription [email protected] 2014 Gulf Times. All rights reserved A zero-sum game of Indian corruption The zero-rupee notes currently circulating may shame a few bribe-taking bureaucrats, but will they really make a dent on Indian corruption? By Craig Jeffrey New Delhi M oney talks, especially in the bustle of an Indian bazaar. But what would you do if someone thrust a note in your hand that on close inspection turned out to be worth nothing at all? Astonishingly, but for good reason, there are now millions of zero-rupee notes in circulation in India. But what on earth is the point of a zero-rupee note? What are they used for? Who printed them and what do they mean? In fact, these apparently frivolous notes turn out to be a key weapon in the ﬁght against corruption. Anti-corruption is a major enterprise in India today. In 2009 the social reformer Anna Hazare spearheaded a huge anti-corruption movement across the country. Hazare called on the Indian government to introduce a lokpal - a type of public ombudsman committee - with the legal power to investigate government corruption. There have also been numerous village-level and regional movements, using public interest legislation and the 2005 Right to Information Act to counter corruption where it occurs. But campaigners are also getting creative. In 2007 an NGO called 5th Pillar came up with the idea of printing bank notes with a value of zero . They look a lot like the 50-rupee notes: They carry a picture of Gandhi and are a similar colour. But they are, literally, not worth the paper that they’re printed on. When an official demands a bribe, a citizen can present the zero-rupee note as payment. The note carries the warning: “I promise neither to accept nor give a bribe.” In theory, officials will be compelled to reﬂect on their actions when presented with the note, and they will be shamed into recognising the illegality of their demand. The NGO’s website carries numerous examples of where this tactic has been effective: even hardened bribe-takers are sometimes persuaded to change their practices. By August 2014 there were reputed to be 2.5mn zero-rupee notes in circulation. So successful has the note been that it is now being adopted in places as diverse as Nepal, Ghana, Benin, Mexico and Yemen. But will this initiative bring about real change? During the past 20 years I have been carrying out research in the state of Uttar Pradesh, where corruption is intense, varied and entrenched. Most of my friends say that the zero-rupee note movement will have little effect, “Corruption is corruption,” they say, “no one will be put off by getting a zero-rupee note.” In the past two decades senior officials have appropriated vast sums in Uttar Pradesh, and more broadly in India, in everything from second-generation mobile phones and cricket’s Indian Premier League to rural healthcare. According to some estimates, the opportunity costs of corruption in terms of lost investment growth and jobs are $50bn in India every year. At the ground level, bribery is a daily ritual for many Indians. Government bureaucrats demand payment for providing services that should be free. They embezzle money earmarked for development projects. And police officers routinely demand “tips” - known euphemistically as “money for water and tea”. A portion of the money collected on the ground is passed up through state hierarchies and on to politicians, who use the funds to ﬁnance elections. In this system, it is very difficult to avoid becoming corrupt. Many anti-corruption organisations themselves become corrupt. Just a few days ago the AAP - the Aam Aadmi, or “Common Man”, party - a motley assortment of activists and intellectuals vigorously opposed to corruption - became mired in rumours of favouritism and power-grabbing . Corruption may actually be getting worse. Economic growth in Uttar Pradesh has led to spiralling corruption. Rising inequality has increased frustration, especially among low-ranking government officials and the unemployed. People are more pragmatic now than they were in the 1990s. “It is all right to be corrupt,” they sometimes say. “As long as you avoid fraud.” “Corruption” refers to the ordinary system of kickbacks and bribes; “fraud” is where an official takes a bribe and still does not act. Zero-rupee notes may be having an effect, however marginal. But Salman Rushdie’s aphorism remains as true as ever: “Indian democracy: one man, one bribe”. - Guardian News & Media Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 27 COMMENT Relearning to love the bomb The NPT has been the single most crucial factor in limiting the world’s nuclear-armed states to the current nine, rather than the 20-30 widely feared a generation ago By Gareth Evans Washington, DC T he shocking thing about nuclear weapons is that they seem to have lost their power to shock. While the nuclear deal that was just reached with Iran in Lausanne might suggest otherwise and is very good news, that effort should not obscure the bad news elsewhere. The momentum toward a nuclear-weapon-free world driven by US President Barack Obama’s landmark 2009 speech in Prague, having faltered for the last few years, has now gone into sharp reverse. When Russia annexed Crimea last year, President Vladimir Putin announced his readiness to put Russian nuclear forces on alert, and even signalled plans to “surprise the West with our new developments in offensive nuclear weapons.” The world barely stirred. Meanwhile, China and India are steadily increasing the size of their nuclear arsenals, and Pakistan is doing so even faster, even spelling out plans to combine battleﬁeld nukes with conventional weapons. Again, the world shrugs. For its part, the US plans to spend $355bn upgrading and modernising its vast nuclear arsenal over the next 10 years. Far from moving toward disarmament, the intention seems to be to maintain and enhance every component of America’s current land, sea, and airborne nuclear capability. There was more amusement than alarm at a conference of 800 nuclear specialists in Washington, DC, in March, when a senior Air Force general, eerily channelling George C. Scott in “Dr. Strangelove,” offered a nostrils-bared defence of “an ability to allow no adversary to have sanctuary anywhere in the world.” Spooked by Russia’s incursions into Ukraine, North Korea’s erratic intransigence, and China’s new foreign-policy assertiveness, US allies and partners in East Asia and Europe have rushed back to unthinking embrace of Cold War assumptions about the deterrent utility of nuclear weapons and their central importance in security policy. As my colleagues and I put it in our book-length report Nuclear Weapons: The State of Play 2015, launched in Geneva, Vienna, and Washington in February: “On the evidence of the size of their weapons arsenals, ﬁssile material stocks, force modernisation plans, stated doctrine and known deployment practices, all nine nuclear-armed states foresee indeﬁnite retention of nuclear weapons and a continuing role for them in their security policies.” All of this has serious implications for the ﬁve-year review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), scheduled to begin in New York in late April. The NPT has been the single most crucial factor in limiting the world’s nuclear-armed states to the current nine, rather than the 2030 widely feared a generation ago. But its credibility now hangs by a thread. The NPT, after all, is based on a bargain: states that do not possess nuclear weapons promise not to acquire them, in exchange for a pledge by those that do to move seriously toward eliminating their arsenals. And recent developments have once again jeopardised that bargain, with many states again asking why, if the US, Russia, and others need nuclear weapons, they do not. Given such sentiments, it will prove almost impossible at the review conference to build a consensus in favour of further necessary strengthening of the non-proliferation regime, with improved safeguards, export controls, security disciplines, and sanctions against withdrawal from the treaty. The irrationality of such resistance is not likely to weaken it. Not all the news is bleak. Aside from the Iran negotiations, other arms control co-operation is continuing, including between the US and Russia over the New START treaty to reduce strategic deployments, and over chemical weapons in Syria. Despite lack of any visible progress toward ridding the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction, the signs are encouraging that Egypt and others in the region want to keep trying, and will not use the issue of a WMD-free zone to blow up the review conference, as had been feared. Most encouraging of all, a major Getting most seats doesn’t mean you win new international movement is gathering pace to focus policy attention on the horriﬁc humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, and to create the conditions for a treaty to ban them once and for all. Since 2012, major conferences have been hosted by Norway, Mexico, and Austria, and more than 155 states have pledged support for appropriate action, with only the nuclear-armed states and their allies and partners dragging their feet. The nuclear-armed states will not sign on any time soon to any treaty that bans the use of their weapons under all circumstances. They will resist even more strongly the outright elimination of their weapons, given that the world is probably still decades away from devising sufficient veriﬁcation and enforcement measures. But if the NPT review conference is not to end in tears, with all the accompanying risks for world order that failure would entail, the ﬁve nucleararmed states that are NPT signatories can and must be prepared to bring more to the table than they have so far. Baby steps – improving their transparency in reporting, or agreeing on the meaning of technical terms like “strategic,” “deployed,” and “reserve” – will not begin to satisfy the many NPT countries that have been appalled by the recent re-emergence of Cold War mindsets and behaviour. The nuclear-armed states can and should make serious commitments to dramatic further reductions in the size of their arsenals; hold the number of weapons physically deployed and ready for immediate launch to an absolute minimum; and change their strategic doctrines to limit the role and salience of nuclear weapons, ideally by committing to “no ﬁrst use.” Most important, they should agree on indicative target dates – from ﬁve to 15 years – for achieving all of these initial objectives. Deadlines have been indispensable for achieving sustainable-development and carbonreduction goals: saving the world from the threat of nuclear annihilation is hardly a less urgent and important objective. - Project Syndicate zGareth Evans was Foreign Minister of Australia 1988-96, co-chaired the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament 2009, and is co-author of Nuclear Weapons: The State of Play 2015. Weather report Three-day forecast TODAY By Tim Bale London I magine this. It’s Sunday 18 June 1815 near a little-known place called Waterloo. Battle lines are drawn when word comes down the line that Napoleon Bonaparte is to be declared the winner without a shot being ﬁred. He, after all, has about 73,000 soldiers at his disposal, making his army larger than the one commanded by Wellington, who can only boast 68,000 (a sizeable proportion of whom aren’t even British). Never mind that Blucher’s Prussian force, supporting Wellington, is some 50,000-strong. The French, as the largest single contingent, have every right to run the show. Absurd, no? Yet, if we fast forward 200 years, this is exactly the argument that’s being made to support the idea that, should the Tories emerge as the largest party in another hung parliament after May 7, they are somehow entitled to govern the UK for another ﬁve years or, at the very least, to get ﬁrst go at trying to form a coalition or a minority administration. This might be the common wisdom. But it is nonsense, nonetheless. As Napoleon found to his cost, you may have more troops than your nemesis; but if he’s managed to put together an alliance that outnumbers you then you will end up the loser, even if, to quote Wellington, it turns out to be a damned nice thing - the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life”. Numbers count. Of course they do. But when it comes to forming David Cameron (left), Ed Miliband governments, physics always trumps maths. Who gets to govern depends on what force they exert within the system, singly and collectively. Clearly, having large numbers of MPs helps. But so too does being (to use the political science jargon) pivotal capable of deciding, by virtue of your ability as a party to jump either way, which one of a number of potential combinations can actually govern. That is why, even though they underplayed their hand woefully in the ensuing negotiations, the Lib Dems were actually in a very powerful position in 2010, especially once they’d decided they wanted to be in government rather than merely support one from the outside. That is also why the Lib Dems (along with, if the polls are correct, the SNP and also the DUP) may well be in an equally (if not more) powerful position in 2015 - even if, this time around, they end up with only half the seats they won then. But, some purists will cry, what about the constitution? Wasn’t Stanley Baldwin, with 258 MPs, allowed to “face the House” in 1924 before giving way (after losing a conﬁdence vote) to a minority Labour government, led by Ramsay MacDonald, with just 191 MPs? Well yes, but what of it? For one thing, Baldwin was playing a highly sophisticated game, having already made up his mind that it would be in the long-term interests of the country, as well as the Conservative party, to allow “the Socialists” their first crack at government under controlled conditions. For another, it was all a very long time ago - a precedent, maybe, but hardly a convention that can bind 21stcentury politicians. To think that those same politicians will be bound by the civil service’s cabinet manual is equally absurd. The manual is not holy writ. It can suggest but it cannot prescribe. Ultimately (to use the polsci jargon just one more time) it’s a case of freestyle bargaining. Coming out of the election with more MPs than any other party doesn’t grant you any special rights, even if you’re the sitting prime minister. Those outraged by all this may come up with one last argument, namely that the UK’s proverbial sense of fair play will be offended if the party with the most seats doesn’t get to govern, or at least get first go. But why, either inherently or rhetorically, would that be any less fair than handing power to a party with what would still be less than half of the seats in the House of Commons and only just over a third of the votes in the country? Right now, those most determined to create a self-fulﬁlling prophecy (or at least a degree of momentum) in favour of the largest single party are Conservatives - presumably because they believe they will be that party. It is perfectly possible, however, that Labour will ﬁnish just ahead of the Tories - and perfectly possible, as the result of choices made by the “minor” parties, that Ed Miliband might nevertheless be unable to wrest the keys to No 10 from David Cameron’s patrician grasp. The UK’s ﬁrst-past-the-post electoral system, it seems, is no longer able to prevent either its party system or its parliament from looking more European. So we need to realise, as they do on the continent, that sometimes those who “win” elections can still end up on the losing side. -Guardian News & Media High: 34 C Low : 23 C Strong wind and high seas at first WEDNESDAY High: 33 C Low : 23 C P Cloudy THURSDAY High: 33 C Low : 25 C Sunny Fishermen’s forecast OFFSHORE DOHA Wind: NW 06-16 KT Waves: 2-4 Feet INSHORE DOHA Wind: NW-NE 05-15/23 KT Waves: 1-2/3 Feet Around the region Abu Dhabi Baghdad Dubai Kuwait City Manama Muscat Riyadh Tehran Weather today Sunny Sunny Sunny M Sunny M Sunny Sunny P Cloudy Sunny Max/min 31/22 35/18 34/23 37/22 28/23 35/25 34/21 25/15 Weather tomorrow Sunny Sunny Sunny P Cloudy P Cloudy Sunny M Sunny Sunny Max/min 33/23 37/19 33/23 37/23 29/23 35/26 37/22 26/15 Weather tomorrow Showers M Sunny S T Storms Cloudy Sunny Sunny S T Storms S T Storms S Showers Showers T Storms Sunny P Cloudy P Cloudy M Sunny Sunny S Showers Sunny P Cloudy M Sunny S T Storms M Cloudy Cloudy Max/min 13/08 23/19 32/27 11/04 38/17 31/17 32/24 33/24 23/18 09/06 31/24 37/22 17/07 32/23 12/00 32/19 08/04 18/06 23/16 14/01 32/26 20/14 11/04 Live issues All it takes is a little better to win big By Ahmed al-Akber Dubai I t is said that experts believed that the human body was not capable of running a one-minute mile. It was dangerous and simply impossible. In the 1940’s the record was brought to 4:01, where it stood for nine years. Had the human body reached its limit? Most people had believed so, so there it remained for nearly a decade. Then along came Roger Bannister in 1954 who broke the record at 3:59.4. While that was an amazing feat at the time, what was even more incredible was that the four-minute mile was broken again six weeks later. And then more and more people started breaking the four-minute mile, until it became routine. Now even athletic high-schoolers break the four-minute mile all the time – it’s not that big of a deal. What has changed? The human body certainly hasn’t. It’s the human mindset that has. You see, once you believe you can achieve something with a level of intensity that makes it certain within your own mind, then opportunities open up that help you achieve it. What goals do you have that currently seem unachievable that you wish to achieve? Does your business want to achieve something great but is being held back due to negative mindsets? Imagine breaking through your own four-minute mile, whatever challenge it may be. It sounds daunting now, but imagine how easy it will seem once you’ve actually achieved it. If something seems too difficult to achieve, or if your mindset is not in the right place, use the following techniques: 1) Visualise achieving success. Repeated experiments have shown that visualisation physically changes the way your brain is wired, leading you to be better prepared for the event you are visualising. 2) Emulate other successful people that have done what you want to achieve. They can show you how to do it quicker and with less effort. Pay them for the advice if you have to, but this is a must if you want to achieve big goals. 3) Change a little at a time. A successful plastic surgeon once commented that the difference between a woman that is ugly and one that is beautiful is only 2mm. Small changes can make a big difference. Affecting even small change now can have a big impact in the long run. Look for that lowhanging fruit in your own business or your life that can be easily turned into successes in the long run. zAhmed al-Akber is the managing director of ACK Solutions, a ﬁrm that helps companies to improve their marketing and sales results by offering more effective ways attracting customers and signiﬁcantly better products and services. Ahmed has worked internationally in marketing, sales, and strategic planning at companies such as the Coca-Cola Company, Philip Morris International and Dell. Questions or comments can be sent to Ahmed on ahmed@ acksolutions.com Around the world Athens Beirut Bangkok Berlin Cairo Cape Town Colombo Dhaka Hong Kong Istanbul Jakarta Karachi London Manila Moscow New Delhi New York Paris Sao Paulo Seoul Singapore Sydney Tokyo Weather today Sunny Sunny P Cloudy M Cloudy Sunny Sunny S T Storms S T Storms Cloudy S Showers T Storms Sunny P Cloudy M Sunny M Cloudy P Cloudy Rain Sunny S Showers P Cloudy T Storms M Sunny Rain Max/min 18/09 24/16 36/28 13/06 36/17 29/16 31/24 33/24 26/17 09/06 30/24 34/21 18/08 33/23 09/-1 29/18 16/07 17/04 19/14 13/01 33/26 23/12 12/05 28 Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 QATAR Traditional architecture in focus at Souq Waqif exhibition The ‘Souq Waqif’ exhibition featuring the works of Qatari artist Dr Nadia al-Mudahkah has opened at Souq Waqif Arts Centre. The launch was attended by a number of dignitaries, artists, critics and art lovers, including prominent Qatari entrepreneur HE Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani and celebrated artist Yousef Ahmed, among others. The exhibition will continue for a month and includes 21 paintings inspired by the traditional Qatari architecture, with a focus on the various perspectives of Souq Waqif. Dr al-Mudahkah said she would display the paintings in Belgium in May. Qatari artists in fashion collaboration C ontinuing the legacy of Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture and Fashion Exchange, top Qatari artists Amal al-Aathem and Noor Abuissa have joined forces with Belfastbased UK label, Art On Fashion, to create a Ready to Wear women’s collection and luxury scarves. The collaboration, which will use the artists’ creations as digital prints, is to be launched this summer in Qatar through leading high-end retailers. Plans are under way to create exclusive designs for each of the retailers to provide greater options and convenience for customers who want to own “unique wearable art”. The collection is being designed by a team in the UK led by Celine Magill, creative director and founder of Art on Fashion. The Ready to Wear collection will feature the art of Amal while the scarves are exclusively designed by Noor. Describing the women in Qatar as sophisticated buyers accustomed to the best quality products and brands, Magill said the clothes will be produced in Europe with the scarves printed and manufactured in Italy. “We have received a fantastic response from popular retailers who are eagerly waiting for the collections and will select their preferred designs,” Magill stated. Amal, one of the most prominent Qatari artists, has won critical acclaim internationally through exhibitions of her work in the region and different parts of the world, including her recent exhibition at the Istanbul Art Fair. The collection will feature her art from Moon Dialogue, Woman’s Journey and Faces, among others, where the central focus is on spirituality and women. “As a Qatari artist, it is inspiring to creatively merge the east and the west and what a more beautiful way than to create beautiful and stylish clothes for all women,” Amal said. “This art collaboration transcends boundaries and sends a powerful message that we can unite through our shared passions… in this case, art and fashion.” Noor, considered the rising star on the Qatari art scene, recently exhibited at the Al Riwaq Gallery as part of Qatar Brazil 2014 Year of Culture. She graduated from Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design with a BA in Fine Art. She has created her artistic Noor Abuissa language by adapting Islamic geometric design into contemporary art. Noor subsequently applies it in painting, sculpture and furniture design to respectively Amal al-Aathem highlight its most unique values: power of colour, simplicity in form and undeniable beauty. “Islamic geometric design, when fused with contemporary colour schemes, becomes relatable to an international audience. The collaboration with Art On Fashion allows such a large audience to own and wear a piece of our culture,” Noor said. Fashion Exchange was the platform for dialogue and collaboration between Qatari and UK fashion designers during the Year of Culture in 2013 featuring emerging Qatari designers Wadha al-Hajri, Fathea al-Jaber, Elham al-Ansari and Hessa alMannai alongside Philip Treacy, Asprey, Nicholas Kirkwood, Emilia Wickstead, Stephen Jones, the late L’Wren Scott and royal jewellers Robinson Pelham. Safiya al-Hajjari, head of Strategic Cultural Projects at Qatar Museums, described the Years of Culture as a fantastic way to encourage greater cultural understanding and facilitate creative collaborations between Qatar and the participating countries. “We are very pleased to see these collaborations developing into successful commercial endeavours,” she added. Martin Hope, director of the British Council in Qatar, said: “These partnerships are a great example that we can achieve successful results and better cultural understanding through a common platform. “Fashion Exchange was one of the popular elements during Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture both in London and Doha. British Council is proud to have supported these partnerships and see them come to fruition as commercial alliances.” Students of Military College attend forum A Sheikh Thani bin Saud al-Thani with students of Ahmed Bin Mohamed Military College. group of 47 students of Ahmed Bin Mohamed Military College were introduced to new legislations in commercial arbitration in Qatar during a forum organised by Qatar International Centre for Conciliation and Arbitration (QICCA) at Qatar Chamber (QC). The students were informed about the role of QICCA and QC in the business community in the country. Sheikh Thani bin Saud alThani, deputy chairman of Qatar Lawyers Association and QICCA board member, said the Qatari arbitration law will be issued soon as an independent and comprehensive legislation covering all the issues and topics related to commercial arbitration. He pointed out that the draft law has been endorsed by the cabinet and waiting to be approved by HH the Emir. Sheikh Thani expected that this law will usher in a new phase that supports and promotes commercial arbitration in the country. RUPEE GAINS 30 PAISE | Page 14 APRIL 24 MEETING | Page 3 Greece eyes deal with lenders India stock index up 244 points Tuesday, April 7, 2015 Jumada II 18, 1436 AH FORBES MIDDLE EAST RANKING: Page 16 GULF TIMES BUSINESS Combined fortunes of Arab world’s richest 100 top $174bn Qatar’s oil prices average $83.6/b until March in fiscal 2014/15 By Pratap John Chief Business Reporter Qatar’s oil price averaged $83.6 a barrel in the financial year 2014/15 up to March, official data show. Qatar’s budgeted average oil price was $65 a barrel in 2014/15, which indicates that the country has generated a budget surplus so far in the financial year despite the slump in global oil price. Qatar’s budget year has been changed to a calendar year, starting from 2016 in place of April-March, hitherto. Law No 2 (2015) on public finance stipu- lates that fiscal 2014/15 will be extended until December, 2015, “prior to harmonisation” of the fiscal year with calendar year from January 2016. Consequently, the next nine months (until December, 2015) would be considered as an extension of the 2014/15 budget, and that the current fiscal year would cover a period of 21 months. At the beginning of the current financial year (April 2014), the Qatari oil fetched an average $106.03 per barrel. The average price in the following months is as follows; May ($107.25), June ($109.75), July ($107.54), August ($102.45), September ($95.95), October ($85.70), November ($75.28), December ($59.25), January, 2015 ($44.60), February ($54.80) and March ($54.38). Although Qatar has recorded budget surplus so far in the current financial year, it remains to be seen whether this pace can be maintained. This is because the oil price currently remains lower than the budgeted average of $65 a barrel. The government has already made it clear that the budgeted average oil price in the remaining nine months of the extended financial year (until December) would remain at $65 per barrel. The pro-rata extension of expenditure for the coming nine months, despite the dip in energy prices in global markets, demonstrates the government’s commitment to continue executing its extensive development programme. The government announced that it would allocate QR65.6bn for major projects during the next nine months. The total allocations for major projects during the 21-month fiscal period will thus reach QR153.1bn. Recently, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Qatar’s budget outlook appears “sustainable” as the country has “accumulated” substantial financial buffers and “started budget reforms” al- ready before the oil prices began to fall. But IMF mission chief (Qatar) Martin Sommer suggested that the country’s policymakers need to consider additional saving measures over the medium term to make sure that Qatar saves sufficient resources for future generations. IMF has cautioned that lower oil prices could finally catch up with Qatar and lead to a substantial deterioration of the country’s fiscal and external balances. In a recent interview with Gulf Times, Sommer said Qatar’s GDP growth would remain strong in the near term. Growth could accelerate to about 7% this year as public investments gather pace and the Barzan field begins natural gas production. “Lower oil prices should not have much impact on growth this year because budget spending will not be affected in the near term. Next year, growth could still be robust at 6.5%,” Sommer said. But, Sommer said it was useful to keep in mind that these high growth rates were driven by big public investments and a strong inflow of foreign workers. “Both are temporary factors. The effect of lower oil prices will also be felt over time. As a result, Qatari GDP growth could slow down to around 4% over the medium term,” the IMF economist said. UAE, Bahrain Islamic banks expanding product range Bloomberg Dubai T GOIC secretary-general Abdulaziz bin Hamad al-Ageel (3rd from left) speaks during the launch of the “Invest in Qatar Forum.” PICTURE: Thajudheen Industrial sector growth to attract more investments to Qatar: GOIC By Peter Alagos Business Reporter “ Remarkable growth” in Qatar’s industrial sector is expected to attract more investments to the country, in addition to the construction boom and key infrastructure mega-projects driven by the country’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2022, a Gulf Organisation for Industrial Consulting (GOIC) official said. GOIC secretary-general Abdulaziz bin Hamad al-Ageel made the statement during the announcement of the launching of the “Invest in Qatar Forum” slated on April 27 and 28 at the Saint Regis Hotel in Doha. “This event aims to bring in more investors to Qatar by introducing key investment opportunities in various sectors. The upcoming forum would be the ﬁrst edition, and we plan to hold it on an annual basis,” al-Ageel told Gulf Times on the sidelines of the event. He explained that the forum will focus on Qatar’s “broad investment space” and opportunities in the following areas: pharmaceuticals, food, green building materials, recycling, petrochemicals, and aluminium. “Qatar has strong, promising, and encouraging economic prospects in the coming years, and by focusing on investment opportunities, this forum would help strengthen the country’s level of competitiveness in the region and abroad,” al-Ageel stressed. Al-Ageel said the value of local investments in joint industrial projects was $29.2bn or 35.4% of the total cumulative investments in manufacturing industries. Cumulative investments of joint Gulf factories were valued at $2bn or 2.4% of the total industrial investments, while Arab non-Gulf investment shares were valued at $141.5mn only, he also said. “Moreover, joint foreign industrial ventures were valued at $16.4bn in 2014 or 20% of the total investments in manufacturing industries,” al-Ageel added. Al-Ageel said the forum is supported Qatar could consider levying 5% VAT and broaden CIT ambit: IMF By Santhosh V Perumal Business Reporter Q atar could consider levying 5% value added tax (VAT) and broaden the ambit of corporate income tax (CIT) by including domestic and the Gulf companies, which together have the potential to enhance the non-oil gross domestic product (GDP) by 3.5%, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). “In such a macro-ﬁscal environment as in Qatar, a low rate, for example 5%, VAT could be considered,” IMF said in its Article IV consultation report on Qatar. The suggested 5% VAT is estimated to yield 1.5% of non-hydrocarbon GDP, it said. A broad-based consumption tax such as VAT would not only raise revenue proceeds at a low efficiency cost but also ensure that its equity implications would be “relatively insigniﬁcant” and tax administration would receive a signiﬁcant and positive boost. VAT is generally viewed as the most stable revenue source, which has the least detrimental effects on investments, the report said. However, IMF said, the progress in this area depends on how soon VAT frameworks are agreed within the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), which are committed to implement a VAT in the medium term. The GCC policy framework sets out the basic parameters under which countries are to develop their VAT, including for intra-GCC trade, but considerable ﬂexibility is left to countries in the policy and administrative design of their national VAT. Each country is expected to enact its own VAT legislation. Highlighting the need for parallel efforts to raise non-oil revenues to strengthen sustainability and intergenerational equity; the Breton Woods institution said a broader coverage of (10%) CIT could be achieved by including Qatari (and GCC) companies, which would be seen as more equitable by foreign investors. “In addition, a broadened CIT, if applied to unincorporated companies, could provide some progressivity in taxation and would lessen the need to introduce a general income tax on individuals,” it said, adding this measure is estimated to yield 2% of non-hydrocarbon GDP. Stressing that fees and charges for government-provided services should not be seen as a substitute for taxes; IMF said if fees are lower than the cost of government goods and services (other than public goods and services), raising those fees would be a welcome step. Raising fees for revenue generating purposes could, however, become a complex and inefficient process, it, however, cautioned. Highlighting several relevant shortcomings of such a move, it said fees not only distort supply and demand by encouraging government to keep supplying goods and services it is not efficient at producing but they are also inequitable and not transparent. Besides, fees are generally more expensive to administer. by the Ministry of Energy and Industry and other partners such as QNB, Manateq, Qatar Development Bank (QDB), and Qatar Industrial Manufacturing Company (QIMC). He also explained that the forum is part of GOIC’s mandate and role in helping expand and form development opportunities for GCC industries. “The event is not only limited to GCC industries but it is open to other countries like China, Turkey, Germany, among others. We are looking forward to initiate match-making sessions between these countries and investors from the GCC,” al-Ageel emphasised. In a speech, QIMC CEO Abdul Rahman al-Ansari said, “There are a lot of opportunities in the manufacturing industry that can be invested in the region, speciﬁcally in the ﬁeld of aluminium. The Gulf region is seeking to focus on the industry and take advantage of promising opportunities in this sector.” Aside from attracting more investors, al-Ansari also emphasised the importance of sustainable development, especially the value of recycling. “We need to take advantage of existing technologies in recycling in order to overcome issues related to environmental protection. The government sector should increase its awareness campaign on the importance of using ‘green’ materials, especially in the building and construction industry,” al-Ansari said. he only two central banks in the Gulf with products that allow Islamic lenders to make short-term investments are expanding their offerings as demand for cash-management tools rises. Bahrain’s central bank started a seven-day Islamic deposit facility last month, and the United Arab Emirates broadened the range of collateral Shariahcompliant lenders can use for overnight lending effective April 1. “You can’t ignore Islamic banks within the region and the central banks have to regulate these practices,” Hatim El Tahir, director of the Islamic ﬁnance group at Deloitte & Touche, said by phone from Bahrain on Sunday. “Islamic banks have been calling for” these tools, he said. Forty years after Dubai Islamic Bank, the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council’s ﬁrst Shariah-compliant lender, opened in the UAE, banks that comply with the religion’s ban on interest have fewer short-term liquidity-management tools than their conventional counterparts. The UAE’s Shariah-compliant banks are growing more than twice as fast as conventional lenders, Ernst & Young estimates, and Bahrain is home to the largest number of Islamic lenders in the region. 2 Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 BUSINESS QSE snaps 2-day bull run on sell pressure in transport, industrials, banking stocks By Santhosh V Perumal Business Reporter S elling pressure – especially in the transport, industrials and banking equities – yesterday dragged the Qatar Stock Exchange, after two days of bullish run. The Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) institutions sought to book profits, driving the 20-stock Qatar Index down 0.27% to 11,731.64 points as trade volumes also fell. Micro cap stocks witnessed the maximum selling pressure in the bourse, which is down 4.51% year-to-date. The index that tracks Shariah-principled stocks was seen melting bit faster than the other indices in the market, where realty and banking stocks accounted for more than 64% of the total trading volume. Market capitalisation fell 0.29% or about QR2bn to QR633.79bn with micro, mid and large cap stocks losing 1.36%, 0.48% and 0.42% respectively; while small caps were up 0.18%. The Total Return Index shed 0.27% to 18,230.05 points, All Share Index by 0.26% to 3,137.99 points and Al Rayan Islamic Index by 0.28% to 4,315.06 points. Transport stocks shrank 0.75%, industrials (0.65%), banks and ﬁnancial services (0.49%) and consumer goods (0.22%); whereas telecom gained 0.71%, real estate (0.66%) and insurance (0.45%). About 67% of the stocks were in the red with major losers being Industries Qatar, Aamal Company, Gulf International Services, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, Qatar Islamic Bank, Commercial Bank, International Islamic, Alijarah Holding, Barwa and Nakilat; even as Ooredoo, Ezdan Holding and Mazaya Qatar bucked the trend. The GCC institutions turned net sellers to the tune of QR2.54mn against net buyers of QR19.15mn the previous day. Local retail investors’ net proﬁt booking sunk to QR4.81mn compared to QR7.63mn on Sunday. The GCC individual investors’ net The QSE’s market capitalisation fell 0.29% or about QR2bn to QR633.79bn with micro, mid and large cap stocks losing 1.36%, 0.48% and 0.42% respectively; while small caps were up 0.18% yesterday. selling weakened to QR0.68mn against QR1.51mn on April 5. Non-Qatari institutions’ net proﬁt booking sunk to QR1.5mn compared to QR1.77mn the previous day. However, domestic institutions turned net buyers to the extent of QR4.35mn compared with net sellers of QR8.29mn on Sunday. Non-Qatari individual investors’ net buying strengthened to QR5.17mn against QR0.03mn on April 5. Total trade volume fell 10% to 6.15mn shares, value by 24% to QR200.27mn and transactions by 5% to 3,744. The insurance sector’s trade volume plummeted 76% to 0.1mn equities, value by 74% to QR4.77mn and deals by 68% to 64. The transport sector saw its trade volume plunge 47% to 0.1mn stocks and value by 17% to QR6.28mn, while transactions gained 12% to 112. There was 43% decline in the indus- trials sector’s trade volume to 0.65mn shares, 47% in value to QR37.1mn and 23% in deals to 874. The banks and ﬁnancial services sector reported 24% slippage in trade volume to 1.22mn equities and 19% in value to QR56.93mn but on 4% rise in transactions to 1,026. The telecom sector’s trade volume tanked 16% to 0.66mn stocks, while value expanded 48% to QR18.22mn and deals by 5% to 500. However, the consumer goods sector witnessed 28% surge in trade volume to 0.68mn shares and value by less than 1% to QR19.09mn, even as transactions were down 5% to 353. The real estate sector saw its trade volume add 27% to 2.74mn equities but on 6% fall in value to QR57.88mn. Deals gained 14% to 815. In the debt market, there was no trading of treasury bills and government bonds. Al Watania plans stock market float Reuters Dubai Saudi Arabia’s Al Watania Poultry, one of the largest producers of chickens in the Middle East, has invited banks to pitch for the financial adviser role on its stock market flotation, three sources aware of the matter said yesterday. Bankers will make formal presentations to the company this month and Al Watania will decide on who will advise it on its Saudi listing by the end of May, according to one of the sources. Al Watania couldn’t be reached for comment. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity as the information isn’t public. Based in the Qassim region in the centre of the kingdom, Al Watania produces 1mn eggs and 575,000 chickens per day which are sold in Saudi and six other countries in the region, according to its website. Its chairman is Sulaiman bin Abdulaziz al-Rajhi, who helped found Al Rajhi Bank and served as its chairman until November 2014. He continues to be the largest individual shareholder in the Islamic bank, through his endowment fund, with 14.79%, according to bourse data. Food firms in the kingdom are attracting significant interest from investors, who see the sector as a way to tap into the growing wealth of a predominantly young local population. Private equity firms TPG Capital and Abraaj have agreed to buy a majority stake in the Kudu fast-food chain, L Capital Asia bought a stake in gourmet date firm Bateel, while Levant Capital and The Rohatyn Group have appointed Moelis to advise them on the sale of a controlling stake in Al Raya Supermarkets. Middle East Paper Company and Saudi Company for Tools and Hardware (Saco) are both selling shares to the public in April. Property ﬁrms buoy Dubai as Saudi rallies and Egypt slides Delay in US rate hike pleases Dubai property investors; Damac continues sharp rise after London project news; oil rebound only boosts Saudi slightly; low Saudi turnover shows market technically weak; poor March PMI adds to pressure on Egypt Reuters Dubai R eal estate-related shares led Dubai’s stock market higher yesterday while Saudi Arabia rose modestly because of higher oil prices. Heavy proﬁt-taking, fuelled by weak economic data, continued to weigh on Egypt. The Dubai stock index climbed 1.2%, buoyed in part by last week’s poor US jobs data, which appeared to reduce chances that the US Federal Reserve would hike interest rates anytime soon. Gulf economies will probably imitate US monetary policy because of their currency pegs, and a delay to tightening is positive for the interest rate-sensitive real estate ﬁrms which are weighted heavily in Dubai. Union Properties climbed 7.9%, Deyar rose 4.4% and the biggest property ﬁrm, Emaar, added 1.7%. Damac, which surged 8.0% on Sunday after saying it would consider taking an equity stake in a project to build a 50-storey mixed-use tower in central London — its entry into Britain’s property market — added a further 6.6%. Saudi Arabia’s stock market rebounded, although it closed well off its highs and turnover was the lowest since November, suggesting the market remains technically weak. The stock index had sunk 1.7% on Sunday because of the prospect of lower oil prices after world powers reached a preliminary nuclear deal with Iran, which could lead to a lifting of sanctions on Tehran and more Iranian oil supplied to the market. Brent oil plunged nearly 4.0% on Thursday. Brent rebounded 3.3% to $56.75 a barrel yesterday, encouraging cautious buying-back of Saudi stocks. Saudi Basic Industries, the biggest petro- chemical ﬁrm, rose 1.2%. Egypt’s index, which tumbled 3.2% on Sunday as a three-week spate of heavy proﬁttaking continued, fell a further 1.2% yesterday. The Egyptian index has plunged 15% from February’s multi-year peak and is down 4.7% year-to-date, though it is still up 25% from the end of 2013. One reason for the pull-back has been disappointing economic data; the non-oil private sector shrank in March for the third month in a row, though at a slower pace than the previous month’s contraction, a purchasing managers’ survey showed on Sunday. Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding was the most heavily traded stock yesterday after shareholders approved proposals including plans for the company to expand into new sectors such as power, transport and logistics. The stock ended ﬂat at 1.04 Egyptian pounds. Elsewhere, the Kuwait index inched up 0.1% to 6,213 points, the Oman index edged up 0.2% to 6,297 points and the Bahrain index climbed 0.6% to 1,441 points. Almarai upbeat on growth after 12% profit rise Reuters Dubai Saudi Arabia’s Almarai, the Gulf’s largest dairy firm, said yesterday it expected to continue its profit growth in coming quarters after reporting a 12% rise in first-quarter net profit on higher sales. The company made a profit of 306.5mn riyals ($81.7mn) in the three months to March 31, up from 273.6mn riyals in the year-earlier period, it said in a statement. The profit was above a forecast from AlJazira Capital but below one from NCB Capital. They had expected the dairy firm to make a net profit of 297.5mn riyals and 323mn riyals respectively. Its earnings were boosted by an 11.7% year-on-year increase in first-quarter sales, which rose to 3.04bn riyals helped by strong growth in its poultry and dairy and juice segments. “Barring unforeseen events, the company should continue its profitable growth for the next quarters,” Almarai said in the earnings statement. The firm said it spent 969.4mn riyals in the first quarter on expanding its business, including improving its production capabilities, distribution, and the number of places it operates. It did not provide a comparative figure. Food companies in the kingdom are attracting significant interest from investors, which see the sector as a way to tap into the growing wealth of a young local population. Bank of America-Merrill Lynch said in an April 2 note Almarai was strongly placed to benefit from the higher growth rates in the healthy foods category in the Middle East and North Africa region, highlighting it as one of its two top picks in the health and wellbeing sector. The company said on March 26 it had received a 250mn riyal payment from an insurer in compensation for a fire at one of its bakeries, which would be booked in its firstquarter earnings. It did not state in yesterday’s earnings statement if the payment had been booked. Almarai in February hired a new chief executive after the previous CEO resigned to become Saudi Arabia’s agriculture minister. Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 3 BUSINESS Greece eyes deal with lenders on April 24 Minister says will not accept terms that suffocate economy; has not considered quitting; German conservative says Greece ‘wasting time’ Reuters London A Reuters, AFP Athens G reece must reach an outline funding agreement with its lenders at a meeting of eurozone ﬁnance ministers on April 24, its ﬁnance minister told a Greek newspaper yesterday. “At the Eurogroup (meeting) of April 24 there must be a preliminary conclusion (of the talks), as per the Eurogroup accord on February 20,” Yanis Varoufakis told daily Naftemporiki. Greece offered a new package of reforms last week in the hope of unlocking remaining funds from its bailout programme, but its EU and IMF lenders have yet to sign up to the proposals. Gerda Hasselfeldt, a senior member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative allies in Bavaria, was quoted in a separate newspaper interview as saying Athens had “wasted precious time” since Germany’s Bundestag lower house approved an extension of Greece’s bailout in February. She told Die Welt the question of a third aid programme for Greece did not arise, adding: “If the (Greek) plans are not made more concrete, I don’t see any leeway there.” Athens has not received bailout aid since August last year and has been hard pressed to cover payments amid a cash crunch, resorting to measures such as borrowing from state entities to tide it over. A source with knowledge of the issue told Reuters last month that Greece had enough funds to last it until April 20. Varoufakis said on Sunday following a meeting with International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde that Greece intended to meet all obligations to all its creditors, moving to quell fears of a possible default ahead of a 450mn IMF euro loan repayment later this week. He told Naftemporiki the new leftist-led government, confronted with a liquidity squeeze, wanted negotiations to be concluded “as soon as possible” but would not accept terms that suf- Battered by euro’s swings, European ﬁrms unpick global production model Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis is surrounded by members of the media as he comments on the “informal discussions” he had just concluded with the IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, in Washington on Sunday. Varoufakis said the meeting was “fruitful and productive”. focated the economy. “We are not going to condemn the country, as previous governments did, to a long-term asphyxiation,” Varoufakis told the paper, suggesting the EU/IMF lenders had treated the previous conservative-led government more leniently. “The negotiations will end when we reach an honourable agreement, which will give the Greek economy the prospect of real stabilisation and substantive growth,” Varoufakis said. Asked whether he had thought of quitting the job, said: “Not for one minute.” IMF chief Christine Lagarde said late on Sunday that Varoufakis had pledged to make the payment on time in a meeting Washington. “Minister Varoufakis and I exchanged views on current developments and we both agreed that effective co-operation is in everyone’s interest,” Lagarde said in a statement. “We noted that continuing uncertainty is not in Greece’s interest and I welcomed conﬁrmation by the minister that payment owing to the Fund would be forthcoming on April 9th.” Announced barely a day in advance, Varoufakis’ meeting with Lagarde had added to speculation that Greece and its new hard-left government was finding it increasingly difficult to raise money to pay its debts. A Greek government source yesterday acknowledged that “the crucial phase in which relations between Greece and its creditors ﬁnd themselves” made such a meeting necessary. However, the source downplayed more serious concerns. “An initial high-level meeting between the new government’s ﬁnance minister and the IMF director was expected,” the source said. There was speculation ahead of the visit that Athens might fail to meet the instalment if forced to choose between paying the IMF and paying government workers. Athens though wants the IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Bank to recast their massive ﬁnancial aid to the country as it tries to turn its economy around. Last month, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had warned German Chancellor An- Bristol-Myers to invest in uniQure Bristol-Myers Squibb Co said it would invest in Dutch biotech uniQure, joining other big drug makers who have moved to gain a foothold in the promising gene therapy market. UniQure’s shares jumped more than 55% yesterday after Bristol-Myers said it would pick up a 4.9% stake in the company. UniQure’s gene therapy drug, Glyberan, went on sale last year priced at €1.1mn. Glyberan fights the ultra-rare genetic disease lipoprotein lipase deficiency, which clogs the blood with fat. Investor interest in the field of gene therapy has grown in the past 18 months, with Bluebird Bio Inc, uniQure and Spark Therapeutics all staging successful floats on the Nasdaq. Bayer struck a gene therapy deal with Dimension Therapeutics in June, while France’s Sanofi has a long-standing tie-up with Oxford BioMedica. Bristol-Myers will invest about $100mn in uniQure, including $33.84 per share, or at least $32mn in total, for a 4.9% stake, the companies said. The purchase price per share is at a 48% premium to uniQure’s on Thursday close and values the company at about $595.4mn, based on its outstanding shares as of February 9, according to Thomson Reuters calculations. Bristol-Myers will acquire an additional 5% stake in the Amsterdam-based company before December 31 at a 10% premium. The companies will collaborate on 10 targets, including uniQure’s proprietary gene therapy program for congestive heart failure, S100A1. gela Merkel in a letter that Athens would not be able to service its debt without more ﬁnancial help from the European Union. Varoufakis’ ministry however reiterated after his meeting with Lagarde that the Greek government intended to meet all its ﬁnancial obligations. It also called the meeting “productive” and said it was held in a “particularly positive atmosphere.” Greece has not received the remaining funds in its €240bn European Union-IMF rescue package as Brussels has demanded to ﬁrst approve Greece’s revised reform plan. Lagarde said she appreciated Varoufakis’ commitment to continued talks on its economic plan in Brussels — which were to resume later yesterday — and to supporting the work of lenders’ technical teams reviewing Greece’s progress. “The Fund remains committed to work together with the authorities to help Greece return to a sustainable path of growth and employment,” Lagarde added. Varoufakis was also due to meet US Treasury officials later yesterday as well as Caroline Atkinson, an aide to President Barack Obama. Athens is betting on this week’s Euro Working Group meetings to give it some relief from its creditors. Eurozone deputy ﬁnance ministers will meet on April 8 and 9 in an attempt to reach an agreement on the Greek reforms needed to unlock the last tranche of its bailout package. While the tone has been more conciliatory in recent days, differences persist and time is not on Athens’ side. Beyond the IMF payment, “there is a liquidity problem and the discussions must lead to the end of water torture,” Labor Minister Panos Skourletis told Greek radio yesterday. Since 2010, Athens has received two successive loans from the EU and the IMF totalling €240bn in exchange for tough austerity measures and sweeping economic reforms. The government that took power in January however has engaged in difficult negotiations with European leaders to continue receiving support while easing the austerity requirements in order to boost economic growth. Cyprus lets eurozone’s first capital controls go Reuters Nicosia Cyprus freed capital flows yesterday, ending two years of controls that set an unwanted precedent for the eurozone at the height of the bloc’s debt crisis. The Mediterranean nation became the first and, to date, the only eurozone member to impose controls, acting to stem a flight of capital from its banks in March 2013. But with an incremental relaxation over the past 18 months, banks reported no unusual activity yesterday. “It was just an ordinary day. Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary was noted,” said a source at lender Hellenic Bank. Bank of Cyprus also said activity was normal. The last controls to go were regulatory approval to move more than €1mn ($1.1mn) out of the country, and a traveller’s limit of €10,000 per trip. “The controls that were in place until this week were sufficiently loose to have been essentially non-binding,” said Sofronis Clerides, associate professor of Economics at the University of Cyprus. Announcing the abolition of controls last week, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said banks were largely immune to the troubles of neighbouring Greece, still struggling to unlock remaining funds from its bailout programme. One condition imposed by international lenders on Cyprus for €10bn in aid was severing its long-time banking links with Greece in 2013. “The Cypriot government has — quite rightly — made a point of distancing itself from Greece,” said Clerides, who said financial ties had been reduced significantly. “The complete abolition of capital controls is another step in that direction. The Cypriot government is taking a calculated gamble that the removal of capital controls reduces the possibility of contagion from Greece should things deteriorate there,” he said. Bank of Cyprus was forced to seize a portion of clients’ uninsured deposits and convert it into equity to recapitalise in 2013, while the second-largest bank at the time, Laiki, was wound down. Yet months later, Bank of Cyprus and Hellenic successfully raised capital from international investors. “The economic damage from the restructuring of the financial sector did not prove as severe as initially feared,” Michalis Florentiades, chief economist and head of investment research at online forex broker xm.com, told Reuters. dramatic fall in the euro has created an opportunity for European manufacturers to enjoy cheap production costs at the bases from which they can supply world markets. But after months of sharp shifts in foreign currencies, many of these companies are simultaneously reworking strategy in the hope that by the time of the next sudden tilt they will be operating in more diverse local markets around the world. Sweden’s Volvo Cars is one such ﬁrm embracing regionalisation. Last month it announced plans to build a $500mn plant in the US, looking past the dollar’s current strength to build in a longerterm protection. “We’re eliminating shortterm currency ﬂuctuations, which are never good for longterm commitment to customers in different regions, and we’re creating a natural hedge,” explained Volvo chief executive Hakan Samuelsson. “Natural hedges” occur when a business’s structure protects it from exchange rate volatility, such as when suppliers, factories and customers operate in the same currency. That kind of model is typical for makers of perishable food and drinks that need production bases close to their delivery addresses, but it’s less common for manufacturers of more durable goods like automobiles, electronics or clothing that often prioritise cheap labour and economies of scale — at least until recently. In recent months their model has been challenged by big moves in the euro and the dollar as the European Union and the US’ economic outlooks diverged sharply. Last October the US Federal Reserve announced it would halt the massive bond-buying programme launched ﬁve years ago to prop up its battered ﬁnancial system, because an economic recovery was on track. But in January the European Central Bank kicked off its own programme of socalled quantitative easing in an attempt to revitalise the zone’s moribund economy. As a result the dollar and euro currencies sharply diverged too, and in the last nine months the cost of hedging against fu- ture volatility between them has roughly tripled. While that means far more players in the $5tn a day market have been actively guarding against swings in currencies, it also shows it is three times more expensive to do so. “When an exchange rate is particularly volatile it can become too expensive to hedge ﬁnancially,” said Brandon Leigh, chief ﬁnancial officer of soap manufacturer PZ Cussons. Cussons’ biggest market is Nigeria, where the naira has lost 18% of its value over the past nine months as a result of a plunge in crude oil prices that hammered Africa’s biggest oil producer. Thus, while “natural” hedging has long been popular in some areas of business, “clearly with more volatility in FX markets it makes even more sense now than ever,” said Robert Waldschmidt, a consumer goods equity analyst at Liberum. British online fashion retailer Asos, which has been hurt by the strong pound, said this month it had decided to start sourcing garments for the euro zone in euros and those for the US in dollars. “Our ultimate aim here is to capture the maximum natural hedge available to the business,” said Asos chief operating officer Nick Beighton. “Our panacea would be to match currency receipts, currency outﬂows, hold product in that currency and price in that currency.” Sourcing locally has other beneﬁts, especially in emerging markets like Africa, where using local suppliers can fuel economic development — and buying power — of the communities in which manufacturers operate. Food and drink makers including Nestle, SABMiller and Unilever have all worked to develop local suppliers, which also helps to secure supply and make products more affordable. Nestle Russia CEO Maurizio Patarnello cited local sourcing as part of the reason his business was only minimally impacted by last year’s ban on imports of many Western goods in retaliation for sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine. “Of course there are certain things that we will never be able to localise, like coffee or cocoa,” Patarnello told reporters last month. “For the rest, there is a continuous effort to develop new suppliers.” 4 Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 BUSINESS Ventas buys Ardent for $1.75bn to expand hospital business Reuters New York Ventas Inc, a healthcare real estate investment trust, is buying Ardent Medical Services Inc for $1.75bn to expand its hospitals business at a time when more Americans are seeking healthcare services under the Affordable Care Act. Ventas’ shares rose as much as 6% yesterday after the company also said it would spin off its portfolio of skilled nursing facilities. Privately held Ardent runs 14 hospitals in the US, with most of them in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico - states where enrolments in federal health insurance programmes have been high. US hospitals are getting a stronger-than-expected benefit from an influx of low-income patients whose bills are paid by the government’s Medicaid programme. The $1tn US hospital market is also benefiting from increasing emergency room visits and an ageing population, Ventas said in a statement. Ventas said the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission has recommended a 3.25% increase in Medicare reimbursement rates to service providers for acute-care services for fiscal year 2016. Nashville, Tennessee-based Ardent’s 10 hospitals in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico are expected to account for 6% of Ventas’ net operating income after the acquisition, Chief Executive Debra Cafaro said on a call. While New Mexico expanded its Medicaid offering to include Affordable Care Act health benefits, Texas and Oklahoma have seen higher enrolments even without the expansion. Under the deal, Ventas will split Ardent’s real estate portfolio from its hospital operations, and sell the hospitals to a new company owned by Ardent’s management and other equity sources. Ventas will retain up to 9.9% of the new company. The deal is expected to add 8-10 cents to Ventas’ funds from operations per share in the first year after the transaction closes. The deal is expected to close in mid-2015. Ventas, which owns senior housing Vivendi offers $275mn for Orange’s Dailymotion Reuters Paris O il futures climbed more than $1 a barrel yesterday, after Saudi Arabia raised its prices for crude sales to Asia for the second month running, signalling improved demand in the region. International benchmark Brent regained ground after tumbling as much as 5% on Thursday when Iran reached a preliminary deal on its nuclear programme with six world powers. More Iranian oil could enter global markets if that is followed by a comprehensive deal by June. But expectations of an immediate increase in supply have been tempered as analysts warned a ramp-up in exports could take months and would likely not happen before 2016. International benchmark Brent regained ground after tumbling as much as 5% on Thursday when Iran reached a preliminary deal on its nuclear programme with six world powers A sign hangs outside the headquarters of Vivendi in Paris. The firm has made a $275.80mn offer for French online video group. of the site to Yahoo but the French government scuppered the deal over concerns about a promising start-up getting snapped up by a US giant. Dailymotion counts 128mn unique visitors per month compared with 1bn for Google’s YouTube, and achieves less than 100mn euros ($110mn) in annual sales. Vivendi is currently facing pressure from US hedge fund P Schoenfeld Asset Management to increase the company’s planned payout to shareholders from a €35bn cash pile amassed from a series of disposals. Record gasoline output to curb biggest US oil glut in 80 years Bloomberg Houston Refiners are poised to make gasoline at a record pace this year, keeping the biggest US crude glut in more than 80 years from overflowing storage. They’re enjoying the best margins in two years as they finish seasonal maintenance of their plants before the summer driving season. They’ll increase output to meet consumer demand and they’ve added more than 100,000 barrels a day of capacity since last summer, when they processed the most oil on record. Booming crude production expanded inventories this year by 86mn barrels to 471mn, the highest level since 1930. Analysts from Bank of America Corp to Goldman Sachs Group Inc have said storage space may run out. What looks like an oversupply to banks is turning into an all-you-caneat buffet for those making gasoline and diesel fuel. “A lot of the excess crude we’ve been sitting on is going to get chewed up quickly,” Sam Davis, an analyst for energy consulting company Wood Mackenzie Ltd, said in Houston April 2. “We’re Oil price rises over $1 after Saudi’s price hike to Asia Reuters London V ivendi has made a €250mn ($275.80mn) offer for French online video group Dailymotion, owned by telecoms group Orange, Le Monde reported yesterday. The Le Monde report followed a statement from Hong Kong conglomerate PCCW that it had ended talks to form an alliance with Dailymotion, citing the French government’s desire to see the video-sharing site remain in European hands. “The French government’s preferred search for a European solution discourages international companies’ participation,” PCCW said in a statement explaining its decision. Vivendi declined to comment and no one at Dailymotion was immediately available to comment. Le Monde said Vivendi’s offer would be discussed at a board meeting today. “Vivendi’s ambition is to make Dailymotion a world size player,” Le Monde quoted an unidentified source as saying. Orange has been looking for a partner for over a year to help Dailymotion expand internationally to try to compete with much larger rival Google’s YouTube. The French government, Orange’s biggest shareholder with a 25% stake, said on Monday it was never hostile to the talks but had asked Dailymotion to not enter into exclusive discussions with PCCW before contacting all interested parties. “Orange pursues discussions and works towards submitting to the board in due time solutions that are being considered,” France’s economy ministry said. Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said last Thursday that Orange should look at all offers for Dailymotion as France was seeking to promote a strong European digital sector. In 2013, Orange was in talks to sell all or part communities, medical office buildings and hospitals, also said it would spin off its portfolio of skilled nursing facilities. The spinoff, which is expected to be completed in the second half of 2015, will create one of two healthcare real estate investment trusts focused on running skilled nursing facilities. The other company is Ensign Group Inc, which spun off its real estate business to focus on running skilled nursing facilities. going to move from a stock build to a stock draw.” Goldman Sachs and Bank of America have said storage builds are increasing the risk of breaching storage capacity, sending prices tumbling. West Texas Intermediate oil, the US benchmark, already has lost more than half its value since June as growing US shale production led to a global oversupply. WTI for May delivery added $1.17 to $50.31 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 7:56am local time. Inventories surged as US output rose 71% over the past five years as drillers used techniques like horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to tap previously inaccessible oil in shale rock layers. In Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for WTI futures, supplies have more than tripled since early October to a record 58.9mn barrels. Last July, refiners processed 16.5mn barrels of crude a day, the highest level in monthly Energy Department data going back to 1961. Refining margins in March have averaged $28.09 a barrel, the most since March 2013. Refiners typically schedule maintenance shutdowns in the spring and fall, reducing oil demand during that time. US refiners increased crude runs by an average 1.1mn barrels a day in April through July over the past five years. During that period, US crude inventories have fallen an average of 24.7mn barrels from the end of May through September. Companies like Enterprise Products Partners LP and TransCanada Corp have increased pipeline capacity from Cushing to the Gulf Coast to more than 1.5mn barrels a day from nothing at the beginning of 2012. Shippers may use more of that space in April after differentials between crudes on the Gulf Coast and Cushing widened to the highest level since January 2014. Light Louisiana Sweet averaged a $6.60 premium to WTI in March, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Uncommitted shippers would have to pay between $5.11 and $6.58 a barrel to ship on pipelines from Cushing to St James, Louisiana, where LLS is priced, according to regulatory filings. Higher refinery runs and pipeline flows might not be enough to reduce inventories in Cushing, said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston. WTI is in a contango market structure, with futures contracts for April 2016 selling for $10.84 a barrel more than April 2015 when that contract expired on March 20. That encourages traders to keep crude in Cushing to profit on the trade, Lipow said. “There’s an incentive to fill up Cushing and hold it there,” he said. Kinder Morgan Inc planned to run its 50,000-barrel-a-day Houston splitter at full rates by the end of March, company spokeswoman Melissa Ruiz said last month. Another unit of the same size is scheduled to come online later this summer. A splitter processes an ultra-light form of crude known as condensate that is plentiful in shale regions. Delek US Holdings Inc and Marathon Petroleum Corp are expanding the capacity of refineries to run domestic crude. MDU Resources Inc and Calumet Specialty Products Partners LP plan to start up a new 20,000-barrel-a-day refinery in North Dakota in the second quarter. “There are a few incremental expansions that are going to help out and everyone else should be running full out, margins are saying to do that,” said John Auers, executive vice president at Dallas-based energy consultant Turner Mason & Co “That will help drain Cushing.” Oil traders work in the crude oil futures pit at the New York Mercantile Exchange. Booming crude production expanded inventories this year by 86mn barrels to 471mn, the highest level since 1930. “While clearly a bearish headline, a ﬁnal deal and full lifting of sanctions still faces a number of obstacles,” Morgan Stanley analysts said in a note. “Even if a ﬁnal deal is reached, we do not expect any physical market impact before 2016,” the analysts said. Brent crude for May delivery touched a high of $56.90 a barrel and was up $1.24 from Thursday at $56.19 by 1304 GMT. US crude for May delivery was $1 higher at $50.14 a barrel, after earlier touching $50.97. There was no trading in either Brent or US crude futures on Friday as markets were closed for the start of the Easter holiday. The world’s top exporter Saudi Arabia kept output steady and cut its official selling prices (OSPs) sharply late last year in a ﬁght for market share during a global supply glut. Its ability to raise prices for April and May suggests its strategy is working, although competition has kept its ﬂagship Arab Light at a discount to Oman/Dubai quotes, analysts said. It is unclear exactly when sanctions on Iran would be lifted if a deal is reached in June. Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammed Javad Zarif, said on Saturday that UN sanctions would be lifted immediately after a deal, but the US released a fact sheet on Thursday saying that sanctions would be lifted as Iran demonstrates compliance with the terms of a deal. “Both sides will describe the deal differently,” said Olivier Jakob of Swiss-based consultancy Petromatrix. “What has been agreed will fall in between,” he said. Despite the sanctions on Iran, China’s imports from the Opec producer are set to rise from August as a Chinese state trader has signed a deal with the National Iranian Oil Company to buy more condensate. Concerns over ﬁghting in Yemen also supported prices, as ﬁghting between a Saudibacked coalition and Shi’ite Houthi forces continued in the port city of Aden, which overlooks a major shipping lane between Europe and the Arab Gulf. Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 5 BUSINESS Once over $12tn, world’s reserves now shrinking Bloomberg Beijing/London T he decade-long surge in foreign-currency reserves held by the world’s central banks is coming to an end. Global reserves declined to $11.6tn in March from a record $12.03tn in August 2014, halting a ﬁve-fold increase that began in 2004, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. While the drop may be overstated because the strengthening dollar reduced the value of other reserve currencies such as the euro, it still underlines a shift after central banks – with most of them located in developing nations like China and Russia – added an average $824bn to reserves each year over the past decade. Beyond being emblematic of the dollar’s return to its role as the world’s undisputed dominant currency, the drop in reserves has several potential implications for global markets. It could make it harder for emerging-market countries to boost their money supply and shore up faltering economic growth; it could add to declines in the euro; and it could damp demand for US Treasury bonds. “It’s a big challenge for emerging markets,” Stephen Jen, a former International Monetary Fund economist who’s co-founder of SLJ Macro Partners in London, said by phone. They “now need more stimulus. The seed has been sowed for future volatility,” he said. Stripping out the effect from foreign-exchange ﬂuctuations, Credit Suisse Group AG estimates that developing countries, which hold about twothirds of global reserves, spent a net $54bn of this stash in the fourth quarter, the most since the global ﬁnancial crisis in 2008. China, the world’s largest reserve holder, together with commodity producers contributed to most of the declines, as central banks sold dollars to offset capital outﬂows and shore up their currencies. A Bloomberg gauge of emerging-market currencies has lost 15% against the dollar over the past year. China cut its stockpile to $3.8tn in December from a peak of $4tn in June, central bank data show. Russia’s supply tumbled 25% over the past year to $361bn in March, while Saudi Arabia, the third-largest holder after China and Japan, has burned through $10bn in reserves since August to $721bn. The trend is likely to continue as oil prices stay low and growth in emerging markets remains weak, reducing the dollar inﬂows that central banks used to build reserves, according to Deutsche Bank AG. Such a development is detrimental to the euro, which had benefited from purchases in re- The euro has declined against 29 of 31 major currencies this year as the European Central Bank stepped up monetary stimulus to avert deflation. cent years by central banks seeking to diversify their reserves, according to George Saravelos, co-head of foreign-exchange research at Deutsche Bank. The euro’s share of global reserves dropped to 22% in 2014, the lowest since 2002, while the dollar’s rose to a ﬁve-year high of 63%, the International Monetary Fund reported on March 31. “The Middle East and China stand out as two regions that are likely to face ongoing pressures to run down reserves over the next few years,” Saravelos wrote in a note. The central banks there “need to sell euros,” he said. The euro has declined against 29 of 31 major currencies this year as the European Central Bank stepped up monetary stimulus to avert deﬂation. The currency tumbled to a 12-year low of $1.0458 on March 16, before rebounding to $1.0990 at 8:14 am yesterday in New York. Central banks in emerging nations started to build up reserves in the wake of the Asian ﬁnancial crisis in the late 1990s to safeguard their markets for periods when access to foreign capital dries up. They also bought dollars to limit appreciation in their own exchange rates, quadrupling reserves from 2003 and boosting their holdings of US Treasuries to $4.1tn from $934bn, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The reserve accumulation adds money supply to the ﬁnancial system – each dollar purchase creates a corresponding amount of new local currency – and helps stimulate the economy. An- nual monetary base in China and Russia grew at an average 17% in the decade through 2013, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The expansion rate tumbled to 6% last year. While central banks have other ways of pumping cash into the banking system, such moves without the backing of increased foreign reserves could end up weakening their currencies further – an outcome they may want to avoid. “The swing in global foreign exchange reserves is one key measure of the global liquidity tap being turned on and off,” Albert Edwards, a global strategist at Societe Generale SA, wrote in a note on March 6. “When a regime of loose money suddenly ends,” emerging-market asset prices “are usually one of the ﬁrst casualties,” he said. China sets sights on IMF’s special currency club Dow Jones Beijing Groucho Marx once famously said he didn’t want to belong to any club that would accept him as a member. China clearly holds a different view. For China’s policymakers, if there’s a club, they probably don’t want to pass up the chance to join it – from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum and the Caribbean Development Bank to the Group of 77 and the Zangger Committee. When that’s just not enough, Beijing looks to start its own clubs – such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, or more recently, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Beijing now has its eyes on yet another elite grouping – the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights – an exclusive collection of global currencies that form a special reserve asset. Every five years the International Monetary Fund is supposed to review the composition of the basket, which is currently comprised of the dollar, the euro, the yen and the pound sterling. Chinese officials have been pressing their case that the yuan ought to be part of this arrangement. They see inclusion in the SDR as something that would expand the yuan’s role as a currency for international trade and investment. Beijing hopes that ultimately the yuan will be a reserve currency that rivals the dollar, and it has become more open about stating its ambitions of late. The yuan has already taken on an expanded role in global trade. Rajan credibility on inﬂation wins over UBS Bloomberg Mumbai W Rajan: Winning investors’ trust. hatever India’s central bank governor does with monetary policy today, global investors look likely to give him the beneﬁt of the doubt. Overseas funds poured a record $26.9bn into rupee-denominated debt in the ﬁscal year ended March 31, data compiled by Bloomberg show. BNP Paribas Wealth Management credits Raghuram Rajan with lowering inﬂation expectations, while UBS Global Asset Management says the Reserve Bank of India has built more credibility under him. JPMorgan Asset Management lauds Rajan for curbing swings in India’s currency. Since taking office in September 2013, Rajan has won investors’ trust by leading the rupee’s turnaround from unprecedented lows, slowing what was then Asia’s fastest consumer inflation and building record foreign reserves to shield local markets from external shocks. The former International Monetary Fund chief economist cut benchmark interest rates twice this year, adding to the allure of bonds. “The central bank under Rajan has built in a lot of conﬁdence among investors and his presence has been a very big positive for Indian markets,” Nandkumar Surti, chief executive officer at the local unit of JPMorgan Asset in Mumbai, said in a March 30 phone interview. “If you can reasonably look at the inﬂation trajectory going forward, you can also possibly look into what the central bank’s action will be. For Tuesday, there’s a 50-50 probability of a rate cut.” While 19 of 24 economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect Rajan to leave the repurchase rate unchanged at 7.50%, ﬁve expect a cut to 7.25%, adding to similar reductions in January and March. Rajan started easing policy as plunging crude oil prices improved the nation’s trade balance and slowed consumer-price gains to 5.37% in February from as high as 8.60% in January 2014. He was also encouraged by the government’s resolve to narrow the ﬁscal deﬁcit to an eight-year low. “Declining inﬂation, improved current account, stable-to- improving ﬁscal deﬁcit provide a better picture than previously,” Ashley Perrott, the Singaporebased head of pan- Asia ﬁxed income at UBS Global Asset, said in a April 1 phone interview. “Also, the RBI has built pretty solid credibility.” He is overweight on Indian government bonds. Global funds added $6.8bn to their holdings of Indian debt in the January-March period, the secondbest on record. Sovereign bonds capped a ﬁfth quarterly advance on March 31, with the 10-year yield dropping 12 basis points, or 0.12 percentage point, to 7.74%. The rupee gained 0.9% in the period to 62.4975 a dollar, ending three quarters of losses. The yield fell three basis points to 7.71% as of 9:30 am in Mumbai yesterday, the lowest since March 5, while the rupee gained 0.5% to 62.2050 a dollar. Local debt and currency markets were shut on April 1-3. The rupee has rebounded 10% from a record low of 68.8450 in August 2013 as Rajan took steps to boost the supply of dollars, including a concessional currencyswap facility for banks, and raised the benchmark rate three times to rein in inﬂation. India’s foreignexchange reserves climbed to an unprecedented $341bn as of March 27. Rajan also got India’s government to formally agree on an inﬂation target with the central bank this year, the biggest revamp of the RBI’s mandate in its 80year history. “Because of a clear and more credible central bank, inﬂation expectations in India are coming down for the ﬁrst time in a long time,” Stefan Hofer, chief investment strategist in Asia for BNP Paribas Wealth, a private bank with the equivalent of $335bn in assets at the end of 2014, said at a March 25 brieﬁng in Hong Kong. He sees a further 25 to 50 basispoint reduction in the benchmark rate in 2015 and predicts rupee will strengthen to 60 a dollar in 12 months. An increase in US borrowing costs poses a risk to capital ﬂows into India and will limit the RBI’s room to cut rates this year, Raj Kothari, a ﬁxed-income trader at Sun Global Investments Ltd in London, said in a March 31 phone interview. The rupee’s plunge to a record in 2013 was triggered by capital outﬂows in the wake of the Federal Reserve’s signal to end its unprecedented monetary stimulus. IMF chief Christine Lagarde said on March 17 a strengthening dollar and normalisation of US monetary policy pose a challenge for India’s economy. The Fed last month indicated it will raise borrowing costs at a relatively slow pace. India’s foreign-exchange reserves and ﬁscal position make it better prepared for the Fed, Rajan said on March 18. Bond risk in India has declined in the last 12 months. Credit-default swaps insuring the notes of State Bank of India, a proxy for the sovereign, against non-payment for ﬁve years slumped 66 basis points in the period to 156 as of March 31, according to data provider CMA. “We continue to stay with our overall positive view on rupeedenominated government bonds and credit,” Neeraj Seth, the Singapore-based head of the Asian credit team of BlackRock Inc, the world’s largest asset manager, said in an April 2 interview. “We believe that the RBI’s monetary policy will be guided by inﬂation data and trajectory in India over the coming months and quarters, with potential for one or two more cuts in rest of the year.” 6 Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 BUSINESS SAUDI ARABIA Company Name QATAR Company Name Zad Holding Co Widam Food Co Vodafone Qatar United Development Co Salam International Investme Qatar & Oman Investment Co Qatar Navigation Qatar National Cement Co Qatar National Bank Qatar Islamic Insurance Qatar Industrial Manufactur Qatar International Islamic Qatari Investors Group Qatar Islamic Bank Qatar Gas Transport(Nakilat) Qatar General Insurance & Re Qatar German Co For Medical Qatar Fuel Co Qatar Electricity & Water Co Qatar Cinema & Film Distrib Qatar Insurance Co Ooredoo Qsc National Leasing Mazaya Qatar Real Estate Dev Mesaieed Petrochemical Holdi Al Meera Consumer Goods Co Medicare Group Mannai Corporation Qsc Masraf Al Rayan Al Khalij Commercial Bank Industries Qatar Islamic Holding Group Gulf Warehousing Company Gulf International Services Ezdan Holding Group Doha Insurance Co Doha Bank Qsc Dlala Holding Commercial Bank Of Qatar Qsc Barwa Real Estate Co Al Khaleej Takaful Group Aamal Co Lt Price 89.10 58.80 17.73 21.30 13.34 14.42 97.50 120.10 191.00 79.50 45.35 79.00 40.70 99.20 22.46 57.50 11.10 181.70 191.20 41.15 78.50 100.50 21.41 18.60 26.70 211.00 141.00 107.60 47.85 20.08 140.70 115.70 60.90 95.10 15.80 26.10 51.00 36.50 56.00 45.00 42.80 15.24 % Chg -6.99 0.00 -0.06 0.00 -0.07 -0.35 -0.81 0.92 0.00 -0.13 -0.33 -0.63 0.00 -1.20 -0.84 0.52 0.36 0.11 -0.42 -7.63 0.64 1.01 -1.11 0.27 -1.29 -0.38 0.00 2.38 -0.62 -0.35 -0.85 -0.86 -0.16 -1.35 1.28 0.00 -0.97 -3.95 -0.53 -0.33 -1.38 -1.10 Volume 6,689 579,483 305,829 378,561 8,287 50,471 27,369 14,722 6,855 418 78,168 7,135 74,325 47,418 1,601 228,506 22,001 3,706 199 4,126 78,899 173,883 192,088 277,835 18,953 20,379 91,532 210,864 136,469 41,093 13,094 4,431 83,331 1,826,833 3,596 8,788 348,946 156,568 415,961 86,249 116,403 SAUDI ARABIA Company Name Saudi Hollandi Bank Al-Ahsa Development Co. Al-Baha Development & Invest Ace Arabia Cooperative Insur Allied Cooperative Insurance Arriyadh Development Company Fitaihi Holding Group Arabia Insurance Cooperative Alabdullatif Industrial Inv Al-Ahlia Cooperative Insuran Al Alamiya Cooperative Insur Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Dev Al Babtain Power & Telecommu Bank Albilad Alujain Corporation (Alco) Aldrees Petroleum And Transp Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair & C Alinma Bank Alinma Tokio Marine Al Khaleej Training And Educ Abdullah A.M. Al-Khodari Son Allianz Saudi Fransi Coopera Almarai Co Saudi Integrated Telecom Co Alsorayai Group Al Tayyar Travel Group Amana Cooperative Insurance Anaam International Holding Abdullah Al Othaim Markets Arabian Pipes Co Advanced Petrochemicals Co Al Rajhi Co For Co-Operative Arabian Cement Arab National Bank Ash-Sharqiyah Development Co United Wire Factories Compan Astra Industrial Group Alahli Takaful Co Aseer Trading Tourism & Manu Axa Cooperative Insurance Basic Chemical Industries Bishah Agriculture Bank Al-Jazira Banque Saudi Fransi United International Transpo Bupa Arabia For Cooperative Buruj Cooperative Insurance Saudi Airlines Catering Co Methanol Chemicals Co City Cement Co Eastern Province Cement Co Etihad Atheeb Telecommunicat Etihad Etisalat Co Emaar Economic City Saudi Enaya Cooperative Insu United Electronics Co Falcom Saudi Equity Etf Filing & Packing Materials M Wafrah For Industry And Deve Falcom Petrochemical Etf Gulf General Cooperative Ins Jazan Development Co Gulf Union Cooperative Insur Halwani Bros Co Hail Cement Herfy Food Services Co Al Jouf Agriculture Developm Jarir Marketing Co Jabal Omar Development Co Al Jouf Cement Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co Knowledge Economic City Kingdom Holding Co Saudi Arabian Mining Co Malath Cooperative & Reinsur Makkah Construction & Devepl Mediterranean & Gulf Insuran Middle East Specialized Cabl Mohammad Al Mojil Group Co Mouwasat Medical Services Co The National Agriculture Dev Najran Cement Co Nama Chemicals Co National Gypsum National Gas & Industrializa National Industrialization C Maadaniyah National Shipping Co Of/The National Petrochemical Co Rabigh Refining And Petroche Al Qassim Agricultural Co Qassim Cement/The Red Sea Housing Services Co Saudi Research And Marketing Riyad Bank Al Rajhi Bank Saudi Arabian Amiantit Co Lt Price 41.00 13.85 13.50 72.47 28.31 20.79 22.98 17.93 36.98 13.74 63.35 8.15 42.02 43.69 19.11 57.50 94.20 21.39 52.16 59.50 28.21 53.79 85.27 24.30 18.06 99.44 14.00 26.94 104.57 19.13 42.10 24.94 72.37 32.70 67.74 31.71 30.77 60.75 24.14 19.12 35.86 69.75 26.60 34.10 70.43 175.55 31.79 167.53 12.04 22.84 48.61 6.15 36.79 12.35 27.68 99.90 30.10 46.64 33.02 25.60 29.15 13.87 17.27 80.16 21.91 112.59 40.86 213.57 76.02 15.00 10.45 20.48 19.88 37.43 29.39 98.74 57.74 14.23 12.55 124.50 33.90 24.69 10.39 27.04 30.30 22.69 30.01 40.00 23.69 20.47 12.88 89.07 39.51 16.81 16.83 56.50 11.95 % Chg -0.63 0.07 0.00 2.20 1.40 1.02 -0.61 2.28 -0.35 1.18 3.02 -0.24 0.10 -1.20 0.05 0.40 -0.30 0.52 0.97 1.62 -0.39 0.43 -0.22 0.00 0.17 3.05 9.98 -0.26 1.01 -0.57 2.48 -0.44 -4.68 0.43 -0.51 0.38 0.69 1.18 -0.70 0.26 -0.58 0.00 -0.41 0.92 1.25 0.76 -4.22 3.81 -0.08 1.42 -0.74 0.16 -0.27 -0.64 3.48 3.42 1.01 -0.87 0.33 0.00 1.85 0.00 1.35 3.30 0.05 2.35 1.41 -1.13 0.11 0.33 0.00 0.05 -0.35 1.91 9.54 0.10 3.03 0.07 0.00 0.81 0.00 -0.16 0.10 -1.28 -0.33 0.62 -0.43 1.50 4.55 0.00 1.82 0.71 3.32 -1.12 0.36 0.61 0.34 Volume 112,887 1,255,346 375,694 1,574,680 576,545 202,706 1,211,800 251,544 829,789 537,603 28,451,857 160,013 1,233,590 613,039 171,923 172,010 20,873,803 169,359 164,472 463,953 289,206 291,190 246,936 550,575 933,138 315,304 106,057 709,318 865,179 247,973 376,008 14,201 474,283 519,122 1,296,529 319,767 975,358 927,411 341,259 1,032,589 826,091 83,046 38,064 602,052 231,983 6,765,989 1,821,574 208,467 1,370,595 5,202,701 6,254,320 1,376,531 79,985 213,488 251,890 435,573 1,130,498 440,765 807,555 54,539 235,130 22,897 237,640 85,003 582,771 8,745,032 8,179,856 5,575,901 229,247 6,286,002 7,165,091 140,889 1,484,996 2,022,211 48,918 868,859 454,420 1,135,337 431,201 47,184 1,201,552 509,339 607,484 498,062 1,288,951 2,279,591 75,797 178,754 588,384 3,099,263 2,431,327 1,775,945 Saudi British Bank Sabb Takaful Saudi Basic Industries Corp Saudi Cement Sasco Saudia Dairy & Foodstuff Co Saudi Arabian Fertilizer Co Al Sagr Co-Operative Insuran Saudi Advanced Industries Saudi Arabian Coop Ins Co Salama Cooperative Insurance Samba Financial Group Sanad Cooperative Insurance Saudi Public Transport Co Saudi Arabia Refineries Co Hsbc Amanah Saudi 20 Etf Saudi Re For Cooperative Rei Savola Saudi Cable Co Saudi Chemical Company Saudi Ceramic Co Saudi Electricity Co Saudi Fisheries Al-Hassan G.I. Shaker Co Dur Hospitality Co Arabian Shield Cooperative Saudi Investment Bank/The Saudi Industrial Development Saudi Industrial Export Co KUWAIT Lt Price 32.70 32.76 80.03 87.67 27.51 120.64 149.75 30.44 20.62 47.48 25.32 25.09 15.23 27.71 53.89 29.60 10.96 68.20 10.10 68.12 103.68 16.92 25.11 75.05 33.01 35.77 23.87 16.94 47.22 % Chg -0.24 0.37 0.93 0.61 0.62 1.38 1.54 2.04 1.88 -0.11 1.44 0.48 0.00 -2.43 -0.24 0.00 0.74 -1.26 0.00 0.18 0.76 0.89 0.56 -0.79 0.43 6.02 0.59 -0.35 -0.82 Volume 87,127 348,138 3,538,280 178,563 541,332 15,268 209,577 991,801 1,081,555 472,595 219,389 770,875 5,097,085 161,834 2,124,828 194,291 119,035 240,093 2,330,867 315,161 569,713 91,501 576,007 39,866 700,214 241,600 KUWAIT Company Name Securities Group Co Viva Kuwait Telecom Co Sultan Center Food Products Kuwait Foundry Co Sak Kuwait Financial Centre Sak Ajial Real Estate Entmt Gulf Glass Manuf Co -Kscc Kuwait Finance & Investment National Industries Co Ksc Kuwait Real Estate Holding C Securities House/The Boubyan Petrochemicals Co Al Ahli Bank Of Kuwait Ahli United Bank (Almutahed) National Bank Of Kuwait Commercial Bank Of Kuwait Kuwait International Bank Gulf Bank Al-Massaleh Real Estate Co Al Arabiya Real Estate Co Kuwait Remal Real Estate Co Alkout Industrial Projects C A’ayan Real Estate Co Investors Holding Group Co.K Markaz Real Estate Fund Al-Mazaya Holding Co Al-Madar Finance & Invt Co Gulf Petroleum Investment Mabanee Co Sakc City Group Inovest Co Bsc Kuwait Gypsum Manufacturing Al-Deera Holding Co Alshamel International Hold Mena Real Estate Co National Slaughter House Amar Finance & Leasing Co United Projects Group Kscc National Consumer Holding Co Amwal International Investme Jeeran Holdings Equipment Holding Co K.S.C.C Nafais Holding Safwan Trading & Contracting Arkan Al Kuwait Real Estate Gulf Finance House Ec Energy House Holding Co Kscc Kuwait Slaughter House Co Kuwait Co For Process Plant Al Maidan Dental Clinic Co K National Ranges Company Kuwait Pipes Indus & Oil Ser Al-Themar Real International Al Ahleia Insurance Co Sak Wethaq Takaful Insurance Co Salbookh Trading Co K.S.C.C Aqar Real Estate Investments Hayat Communications Kuwait Packing Materials Mfg Soor Fuel Marketing Co Ksc Alargan International Real Burgan Co For Well Drilling Kuwait Resorts Co Kscc Oula Fuel Marketing Co Palms Agro Production Co Ikarus Petroleum Industries Mubarrad Transport Co Al Mowasat Health Care Co Shuaiba Industrial Co Kuwait Invest Co Holding Hits Telecom Holding First Takaful Insurance Co Kuwaiti Syrian Holding Co National Cleaning Company Eyas For High & Technical Ed United Real Estate Company Agility Kuwait & Middle East Fin Inv Fujairah Cement Industries Livestock Transport & Tradng International Resorts Co National Industries Grp Hold Marine Services Co Warba Insurance Co Kuwait United Poultry Co First Dubai Real Estate Deve Al Arabi Group Holding Co Kuwait Hotels Co Mobile Telecommunications Co Al Safat Real Estate Co Tamdeen Real Estate Co Ksc Al Mudon Intl Real Estate Co Kuwait Cement Co Ksc Sharjah Cement & Indus Devel Kuwait Portland Cement Co Educational Holding Group Bahrain Kuwait Insurance Kuwait China Investment Co Kuwait Investment Co Burgan Bank Kuwait Projects Co Holdings Al Madina For Finance And In Kuwait Insurance Co Al Masaken Intl Real Estate Intl Financial Advisors First Investment Co Kscc Al Mal Investment Company Bayan Investment Co Kscc Egypt Kuwait Holding Co Sae Coast Investment Development Privatization Holding Compan Kuwait Medical Services Co Injazzat Real State Company Kuwait Cable Vision Sak Sanam Real Estate Co Kscc Ithmaar Bank Bsc Aviation Lease And Finance C Arzan Financial Group For Fi Ajwan Gulf Real Estate Co Manafae Investment Co Kuwait Business Town Real Es Future Kid Entertainment And Specialities Group Holding C Abyaar Real Eastate Developm Dar Al Thuraya Real Estate C Lt Price 110.00 850.00 89.00 280.00 100.00 210.00 580.00 55.00 216.00 28.00 64.00 570.00 370.00 590.00 810.00 600.00 244.00 275.00 78.00 39.00 55.00 560.00 93.00 31.00 1.54 114.00 18.50 77.00 1,000.00 445.00 63.00 110.00 9.00 0.00 29.00 152.00 55.00 740.00 128.00 31.00 48.00 88.00 87.00 0.00 116.00 17.00 93.00 230.00 260.00 0.00 29.00 0.00 90.00 480.00 44.00 136.00 80.00 57.00 380.00 130.00 172.00 152.00 96.00 126.00 106.00 142.00 84.00 0.00 300.00 0.00 30.00 0.00 27.00 51.00 270.00 90.00 760.00 44.50 72.00 104.00 32.50 188.00 108.00 116.00 200.00 64.00 140.00 0.00 470.00 19.00 465.00 55.00 360.00 91.00 1,360.00 170.00 0.00 56.00 136.00 450.00 640.00 39.50 280.00 71.00 33.00 82.00 31.00 51.00 198.00 51.00 60.00 80.00 68.00 24.50 55.00 44.00 212.00 49.00 32.50 64.00 33.50 93.00 120.00 31.50 0.00 % Chg -6.78 -1.16 -4.30 0.00 -1.96 0.00 0.00 1.85 0.00 0.00 0.00 -3.39 -1.33 0.00 0.00 -3.23 0.00 -1.79 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 -1.06 6.90 0.00 1.79 5.71 0.00 0.00 0.00 -3.08 0.00 0.00 0.00 -4.92 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 -5.88 6.02 -1.14 0.00 0.00 3.03 4.49 0.00 -1.89 0.00 7.41 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.49 0.00 5.56 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 -1.56 0.00 1.43 2.44 0.00 5.26 0.00 1.69 0.00 -1.82 0.00 0.00 -5.26 0.00 4.71 0.00 -1.89 3.17 0.00 0.00 -1.69 -1.96 3.23 1.45 0.00 -1.05 -2.56 0.00 0.00 -1.37 -2.15 -2.86 0.00 0.00 -1.75 0.00 -1.10 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.43 0.00 -1.20 3.33 2.00 0.00 2.00 0.00 0.00 1.49 -9.26 0.00 -1.12 -2.75 -1.01 0.00 0.00 1.52 -5.10 0.00 0.00 0.00 Volume 743 1,868,943 40,000 31 315 52,000 241 10,000 4,833 50,000 753,429 21,796 79,684 34,221 1,972,295 12,191,422 69,789 1,005,047 11 9,959 965,031 10 16,932 19,965,446 426,500 277,519 393,318 26,102 10,005 4,356 21,001 5,729,600 2,500 4 48,500 6,770 100 2,500 25,000 572,700 107,934 10,199 14,486,771 2,000 20,010 20,950 17,792,394 20,000 89,334 10,260 82,239 2,571,600 96,051 1 45,587 10 1,100 30,000 34,601 4,890 26,000 5,000 51,808 2,991,542 787,075 2,995,980 5,000 21,007 154,393 19,635 10 146,860 129,608 185,800 70 288 388,148 2,154,378 130,362 264,410 358,062 5,087 1,433,211 54,000 254,830 10,622 50,000 585,408 11,422 960,886 536,000 5,427,450 38,808 1,000 1,503,394 1,597,031 867,099 948,500 5,000 2,406,273 1,645,500 20,000 47,000 11,074 100,000 560,398 344,269 50,750 591,500 50 706,900 144 20,000 653,000 - Company Name Al-Dar National Real Estate Kgl Logistics Company Kscc Combined Group Contracting Zima Holding Co Ksc Qurain Holding Co Boubyan Intl Industries Hold Gulf Investment House Boubyan Bank K.S.C Ahli United Bank B.S.C Al-Safat Tec Holding Co Al-Eid Food Co Qurain Petrochemical Industr Advanced Technology Co Ekttitab Holding Co S.A.K.C Kout Food Group Ksc Real Estate Trade Centers Co Acico Industries Co Kscc Kipco Asset Management Co National Petroleum Services Alimtiaz Investment Co Kscc Ras Al Khaimah White Cement Kuwait Reinsurance Co Ksc Kuwait & Gulf Link Transport Human Soft Holding Co Ksc Automated Systems Co Metal & Recycling Co Gulf Franchising Holding Co Al-Enma’a Real Estate Co National Mobile Telecommuni Al Bareeq Holding Co Kscc Housing Finance Co Sak Al Salam Group Holding Co United Foodstuff Industries Al Aman Investment Company Mashaer Holdings Co Ksc Manazel Holding Mushrif Trading & Contractin Tijara And Real Estate Inves Kuwait Building Materials Jazeera Airways Co Ksc Commercial Real Estate Co Future Communications Co National International Co Taameer Real Estate Invest C Gulf Cement Co Heavy Engineering And Ship B Refrigeration Industries & S National Real Estate Co Al Safat Energy Holding Comp Kuwait National Cinema Co Danah Alsafat Foodstuff Co Independent Petroleum Group Kuwait Real Estate Co Ksc Salhia Real Estate Co Ksc Gulf Cable & Electrical Ind Al Nawadi Holding Co Ksc Kuwait Finance House Gulf North Africa Holding Co Hilal Cement Co OMAN Lt Price 23.00 84.00 890.00 85.00 12.50 51.00 46.50 410.00 222.00 50.00 0.00 196.00 0.00 38.50 850.00 31.50 335.00 108.00 590.00 81.00 124.00 194.00 52.00 630.00 450.00 88.00 49.00 65.00 1,420.00 0.00 0.00 57.00 0.00 71.00 110.00 37.50 52.00 55.00 390.00 510.00 89.00 136.00 59.00 32.50 88.00 124.00 345.00 118.00 15.00 1,060.00 79.00 410.00 68.00 370.00 620.00 108.00 670.00 35.00 162.00 % Chg 4.55 -1.18 0.00 0.00 0.00 -7.27 0.00 -2.38 -0.89 0.00 0.00 -1.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.25 7.19 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.12 0.00 0.00 -2.99 1.43 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 2.90 0.00 -1.32 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.72 3.17 -1.12 -4.62 6.15 -3.28 0.00 3.92 0.00 0.00 -1.45 1.37 -1.59 0.00 0.00 1.45 0.00 Volume 1,676,800 463,350 14,651 1 4,975 3,264,845 997,606 953,236 210,600 21,001 59,964 2,048,068 35,913 1,500 7,000 1,800 3,000 1,389,999 25,440 40,000 213,026 260 5,000 121,000 71,250 1,795,520 2,103 2,924,093 66,700 1,080 1,189,545 1,507,680 274,000 1,009 18,899 165,742 50,000 180,724 210 380,900 10 75,000 1,558 3,424,414 1,644 10,000 2,705 1,847,354 20 2,976 10,000 3,969,034 133,315 10,000 OMAN Company Name Voltamp Energy Saog United Finance Co United Power Co United Power/Energy Co- Pref Al Madina Investment Co Taageer Finance Salalah Port Services A’saffa Foods Saog Sohar Poultry Shell Oman Marketing Shell Oman Marketing - Pref Smn Power Holding Saog Al Shurooq Inv Ser Al Sharqiya Invest Holding Sohar Power Co Salalah Beach Resort Saog Salalah Mills Co Sahara Hospitality Renaissance Services Saog Raysut Cement Co Port Service Corporation Packaging Co Ltd Oman United Insurance Co Oman Textile Holding Co Saog Oman Telecommunications Co Sweets Of Oman Oman Orix Leasing Co. Oman Refreshment Co Oman Packaging Oman Oil Marketing Company 0Man Oil Marketing Co-Pref Oman National Investment Co Oman National Engineering An Oman National Dairy Products Ominvest Oman Medical Projects Oman Ceramic Com Oman Intl Marketing Oman Investment & Finance Hsbc Bank Oman Oman Hotels & Tourism Co Oman Holding International Oman Fiber Optics Oman Flour Mills Oman Filters Industry Oman Fisheries Co Oman Education & Training In Oman & Emirates Inv(Om)50% Oman & Emirates Inv(Emir)50% Oman Europe Foods Industries Oman Cement Co Oman Chlorine Oman Chromite Oman Cables Industry Oman Agricultural Dev Omani Qatari Telecommunicati National Securities Oman Foods International Soa National Pharmaceutical-Rts National Pharmaceutical National Packaging Fac National Mineral Water National Hospitality Institu National Gas Co National Finance Co National Detergents/The National Carpet Factory National Bank Of Oman Saog National Biscuit Industries National Real Estate Develop Natl Aluminium Products Muscat Thread Mills Co Muscat Insurance Company Modern Poultry Farms Muscat National Holding Musandam Marketing & Invest Al Maha Petroleum Products M Muscat Gases Company Saog Majan Glass Company Muscat Finance Al Kamil Power Co Interior Hotels Hotels Management Co Interna Al-Hassan Engineering Co Gulf Stone Gulf Mushroom Company Gulf Invest. Serv. Pref-Shar Gulf Investments Services Gulf International Chemicals Gulf Hotels (Oman) Co Ltd Global Fin Investment Galfar Engineering&Contract Galfar Engineering -Prefer Financial Services Co. Flexible Ind Packages Lt Price 0.39 0.12 1.96 1.00 0.00 0.15 0.65 0.86 0.21 2.00 1.05 0.66 1.04 0.15 0.37 1.38 1.50 2.45 0.39 1.67 0.28 0.48 0.31 0.27 1.70 1.35 0.14 2.50 0.26 2.23 0.25 0.43 0.28 0.00 0.46 0.00 0.45 0.52 0.23 0.00 0.24 0.00 5.25 0.51 0.00 0.06 0.14 0.12 0.00 1.00 0.47 0.53 3.64 1.88 1.45 0.00 0.17 0.48 0.00 0.10 0.00 0.06 2.05 0.41 0.15 0.70 0.00 0.29 3.75 0.00 0.33 0.12 0.00 0.00 1.86 0.00 2.15 0.83 0.24 0.14 0.31 0.00 1.25 0.12 0.11 0.39 0.15 0.15 0.23 10.50 0.12 0.14 0.39 0.17 0.00 % Chg 0.00 0.83 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.66 -1.58 0.00 0.33 0.00 4.32 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 3.37 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.45 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.67 0.00 -0.82 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.50 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.88 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.36 -1.71 0.00 8.77 -2.84 0.00 0.00 0.00 Volume 500 395,000 50,300 5,350 22,027 2,001,868 2,000 44,656 111,844 1,215,058 85,573 864,223 3,000 12,861 35,000 4,319,360 425,110 4,525,156 276,047 - Company Name Financial Corp/The Dhofar Tourism Dhofar Poultry Aloula Co Dhofar Intl Development Dhofar Insurance Dhofar University Dhofar Power Co Dhofar Power Co-Pfd Dhofar Fisheries & Food Indu Dhofar Cattlefeed Al Batinah Dev & Inv Dhofar Beverages Co Computer Stationery Inds Construction Materials Ind Cement & Gypsum Pro Marine Bander Al-Rowdha Bank Sohar Bankmuscat Saog Bank Dhofar Saog Al Batinah Hotels Majan College Areej Vegetable Oils Al Jazeera Steel Products Co Al Sallan Food Industry Acwa Power Barka Saog Al-Omaniya Financial Service Taghleef Industries Saog Gulf Plastic Industries Co Al Jazeera Services Al Jazerah Services -Pfd Al-Fajar Al-Alamia Co Ahli Bank Abrasives Manufacturing Co S Al-Batinah Intl Saog Lt Price 0.13 0.49 0.18 0.53 0.49 0.23 1.47 0.00 0.00 1.28 0.18 0.15 0.26 0.28 0.04 0.00 0.00 0.19 0.53 0.29 1.13 0.50 5.51 0.30 0.00 0.84 0.32 0.00 0.39 0.34 0.55 0.75 0.21 0.05 0.00 % Chg 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 6.25 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 -0.53 0.38 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 2.40 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 Volume 1,122,958 179,555 527,750 34,000 1,845 63,100 - UAE Company Name National Takaful Company Waha Capital Pjsc Union Insurance Co Union National Bank/Abu Dhab United Insurance Company Union Cement Co United Arab Bank Pjsc Abu Dhabi National Takaful C Abu Dhabi National Energy Co #N/A Invalid Security Sorouh Real Estate Company Sharjah Insurance Company Sharjah Cement & Indus Devel Ras Al Khaima Poultry Ras Al Khaimah White Cement Rak Properties Ras Al-Khaimah National Insu Ras Al Khaimah Ceramics Ras Al Khaimah Cement Co National Bank Of Ras Al-Khai Ooredoo Qsc Umm Al Qaiwain Cement Indust Oman & Emirates Inv(Emir)50% National Marine Dredging Co National Corp Tourism & Hote Sharjah Islamic Bank National Bank Of Umm Al Qaiw National Bank Of Fujairah National Bank Of Abu Dhabi Methaq Takaful Insurance #N/A Invalid Security Gulf Pharmaceutical Industri Invest Bank Insurance House Gulf Medical Projects Gulf Livestock Co Green Crescent Insurance Co Gulf Cement Co Foodco Holding Finance House First Gulf Bank Fujairah Cement Industries Fujairah Building Industries Emirates Telecom Corporation Eshraq Properties Co Pjsc Emirates Insurance Co. (Psc) Emirates Driving Company Al Dhafra Insurance Co. P.S. Dana Gas Commercial Bank Internationa Bank Of Sharjah Abu Dhabi Natl Co For Buildi Al Wathba National Insurance Intl Fish Farming Co Pjsc Arkan Building Materials Co Aldar Properties Pjsc Al Ain Ahlia Ins. Co. Al Khazna Insurance Co Agthia Group Pjsc Al Fujairah National Insuran Abu Dhabi Ship Building Co Abu Dhabi National Insurance Abu Dhabi National Hotels Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank Abu Dhabi Aviation Lt Price 0.75 2.57 1.00 5.98 2.00 1.25 5.70 5.50 0.77 0.00 0.00 3.85 1.18 1.45 1.29 0.68 3.60 3.80 0.83 7.95 100.00 1.20 1.20 6.90 5.40 1.70 2.95 5.01 12.00 0.72 0.00 2.80 3.05 0.81 1.96 3.00 0.64 1.13 3.70 3.13 14.95 1.35 1.45 11.25 0.75 7.50 4.90 5.27 0.44 2.25 1.77 0.65 5.35 5.75 1.35 2.53 60.00 0.42 7.19 300.00 1.58 5.85 2.35 5.30 6.77 2.95 % Chg 0.00 -1.15 0.00 0.50 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 -0.84 0.00 0.00 1.49 0.00 -2.56 0.00 -0.63 -9.09 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.69 4.35 0.00 2.94 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 2.73 -8.64 -0.63 -0.33 0.00 0.00 0.45 1.35 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 14.80 4.12 0.00 0.00 15.00 12.50 0.40 0.00 -6.67 0.28 0.00 -0.63 0.00 0.00 1.92 -2.17 0.00 Volume 1,611,194 1,008,662 83,447 77,620 18,689,191 1,082,700 510,318 700 571,788 5,027,647 1,366,308 17,633 290,434 369 478,477 1,889,177 28,059,070 16,122,385 6,000 498 62,000 11,905 71,800 11,126,065 3,000,000 94,257 240,000 37,932 2,122,782 759,642 - BAHRAIN Company Name United Paper Industries Bsc United Gulf Investment Corp United Gulf Bank United Finance Co Trafco Group Bsc Takaful International Co Taib Bank -$Us Securities & Investment Co Seef Properties #N/A Invalid Security Al-Salam Bank Delmon Poultry Co National Hotels Co National Bank Of Bahrain Nass Corp Bsc Khaleeji Commercial Bank Ithmaar Bank Bsc Investcorp Bank -$Us Inovest Co Bsc Intl Investment Group-Kuwait Gulf Monetary Group Global Investment House Kpsc Gulf Finance House Ec Bahrain Family Leisure Co Esterad Investment Co B.S.C. Bahrain Duty Free Complex Bahrain Car Park Co Bahrain Cinema Co Bahrain Tourism Co Bahraini Saudi Bank/The Bahrain National Holding Bankmuscat Saog Bmmi Bsc Bmb Investment Bank Bahrain Kuwait Insurance Bahrain Islamic Bank Gulf Hotel Group B.S.C Bahrain Flour Mills Co Bahrain Commercial Facilitie Bbk Bsc Bahrain Telecom Co Bahrain Ship Repair & Engin Albaraka Banking Group Banader Hotels Co Ahli United Bank B.S.C Lt Price 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.20 0.09 0.00 0.00 0.20 0.00 0.12 0.00 0.00 0.82 0.17 0.05 0.15 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.22 0.87 ` 1.62 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.80 0.00 0.67 0.15 0.87 0.00 0.77 0.44 0.33 2.00 0.83 0.06 0.74 % Chg 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 9.52 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 2.50 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.92 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.86 0.00 0.00 0.00 8.93 1.37 Volume 60,000 28,062 15,000 30,000 25,750 20,000 570,582 164,923 13,251 4,500 20,000 2,488,190 10,000 2,742 114,000 37,000 32,000 11,000 10,498 2,000 30,602 25,000 50,000 LATEST MARKET CLOSING FIGURES Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 7 BUSINESS DJIA WORLD INDICES Company Name Apple Inc Exxon Mobil Corp Microsoft Corp Johnson & Johnson Wal-Mart Stores Inc General Electric Co Jpmorgan Chase & Co Procter & Gamble Co/The Pfizer Inc Verizon Communications Inc Chevron Corp Walt Disney Co/The Coca-Cola Co/The Merck & Co. Inc. Visa Inc-Class A Shares Intl Business Machines Corp Home Depot Inc Intel Corp Cisco Systems Inc Unitedhealth Group Inc United Technologies Corp Boeing Co/The 3M Co Mcdonald’s Corp Goldman Sachs Group Inc Nike Inc -Cl B American Express Co Du Pont (E.I.) De Nemours Caterpillar Inc Travelers Cos Inc/The Lt Price 127.10 85.35 41.10 99.28 81.19 25.30 60.52 82.85 34.55 49.74 106.99 106.09 41.48 56.97 65.38 161.57 115.23 31.03 27.10 117.87 118.30 150.43 165.17 96.62 191.73 100.29 79.60 71.63 81.50 108.29 % Chg 1.42 1.25 2.01 -0.36 0.57 1.42 0.00 0.51 0.48 0.55 1.62 0.08 1.97 -0.23 0.14 0.70 0.60 0.71 -0.13 0.43 0.99 0.77 1.46 0.82 0.09 0.63 -0.13 0.33 1.57 0.51 19,578,670 3,808,329 13,500,190 3,127,438 2,306,866 15,200,165 4,757,634 2,187,604 5,950,813 5,306,562 2,101,777 1,230,503 6,845,898 3,605,983 1,554,050 1,104,513 1,093,729 7,543,550 8,399,274 901,268 1,136,476 1,523,257 873,676 1,684,440 956,289 790,546 1,253,384 1,752,788 1,907,677 368,881 FTSE 100 Company Name Wpp Plc Wolseley Plc Wm Morrison Supermarkets Whitbread Plc Weir Group Plc/The Vodafone Group Plc United Utilities Group Plc Unilever Plc Tui Ag-Di Travis Perkins Plc Tesco Plc Taylor Wimpey Plc Standard Life Plc Standard Chartered Plc St James’s Place Plc Sse Plc Sports Direct International Smiths Group Plc Smith & Nephew Plc Sky Plc Shire Plc Severn Trent Plc Schroders Plc Sainsbury (J) Plc Sage Group Plc/The Sabmiller Plc Rsa Insurance Group Plc Royal Mail Plc Royal Dutch Shell Plc-B Shs Royal Dutch Shell Plc-A Shs Royal Bank Of Scotland Group Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc Rio Tinto Plc Reed Elsevier Plc Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc Randgold Resources Ltd Prudential Plc Persimmon Plc Pearson Plc Old Mutual Plc Next Plc National Grid Plc Mondi Plc Meggitt Plc Marks & Spencer Group Plc London Stock Exchange Group Lloyds Banking Group Plc Legal & General Group Plc Land Securities Group Plc Kingfisher Plc Johnson Matthey Plc Itv Plc Intu Properties Plc Intl Consolidated Airline-Di Intertek Group Plc Intercontinental Hotels Grou Imperial Tobacco Group Plc Hsbc Holdings Plc Hikma Pharmaceuticals Plc Hargreaves Lansdown Plc Hammerson Plc Glencore Plc Glaxosmithkline Plc Gkn Plc G4s Plc Friends Life Group Ltd Fresnillo Plc Experian Plc Easyjet Plc Dixons Carphone Plc Direct Line Insurance Group Diageo Plc Crh Plc Compass Group Plc Coca-Cola Hbc Ag-Cdi Centrica Plc Carnival Plc Capita Plc Burberry Group Plc Bunzl Plc Bt Group Plc British Land Co Plc British American Tobacco Plc Bp Plc Bhp Billiton Plc Bg Group Plc Barratt Developments Plc Barclays Plc Bae Systems Plc Babcock Intl Group Plc Aviva Plc Astrazeneca Plc Associated British Foods Plc Ashtead Group Plc Arm Holdings Plc Antofagasta Plc Anglo American Plc Aggreko Plc Admiral Group Plc Aberdeen Asset Mgmt Plc 3I Group Plc #N/A Invalid Security Lt Price 1,539.00 4,019.00 195.70 5,255.00 1,737.00 222.20 938.00 2,856.00 1,213.00 1,964.00 244.30 153.20 480.00 1,076.50 956.00 1,508.00 620.00 1,116.00 1,147.00 997.00 5,160.00 2,097.00 3,223.00 260.40 469.90 3,616.00 428.20 442.40 2,126.50 2,024.50 349.60 943.50 2,751.00 1,156.00 5,832.00 4,790.00 1,679.50 1,650.00 1,436.00 227.40 7,055.00 876.90 1,306.00 550.50 554.00 2,484.00 79.08 281.20 1,259.00 362.80 3,395.00 251.00 349.70 598.50 2,529.00 2,626.00 3,131.00 582.30 2,195.00 1,162.00 667.50 280.75 1,569.50 360.70 298.80 423.50 691.50 1,130.00 1,844.00 416.10 319.60 1,890.50 1,762.00 1,183.00 1,279.00 253.20 3,310.00 1,115.00 1,715.00 1,855.00 442.90 838.50 3,577.00 442.85 1,431.50 852.90 523.00 254.75 524.50 985.00 553.00 4,645.00 2,866.00 1,082.00 1,099.00 718.00 997.00 1,568.00 1,551.00 464.90 484.20 0.00 % Chg 1.72 0.70 0.31 0.57 2.48 0.98 -0.16 1.53 0.17 0.31 0.43 -0.20 0.52 -0.51 1.32 0.33 -0.08 -0.09 1.33 1.01 -1.90 0.62 0.47 0.89 0.23 1.29 0.38 0.71 -0.26 -0.32 1.22 -0.68 -0.40 0.35 0.47 -0.23 0.27 0.18 -0.49 0.98 0.79 -0.18 0.54 0.36 4.43 1.51 -0.39 0.25 0.32 -1.41 0.24 -0.36 0.06 -0.25 0.64 -0.61 2.82 0.64 3.00 0.00 -0.07 -1.18 0.26 0.53 0.50 0.79 -1.21 0.80 -1.50 1.51 0.66 1.18 0.97 0.94 4.66 -0.63 1.60 0.00 -0.92 0.82 0.34 0.12 1.09 0.17 -2.62 0.18 0.38 2.19 0.10 -0.40 0.73 0.10 1.78 -0.46 0.37 -2.11 -1.92 1.10 0.71 0.19 1.42 0.00 Volume 3,352,515 479,401 6,254,489 302,992 941,806 42,690,525 1,468,075 1,884,275 446,138 400,301 20,514,959 14,107,671 5,848,085 5,558,860 826,382 2,439,217 1,209,891 1,372,560 2,775,407 2,260,876 2,272,426 595,748 270,765 5,633,516 1,441,801 1,491,291 3,219,288 1,400,834 3,479,449 2,819,298 8,928,286 4,994,210 5,609,194 4,403,793 1,021,428 652,852 2,606,552 969,235 2,640,163 7,273,531 322,211 5,807,357 990,218 1,441,607 17,553,938 860,736 99,901,518 9,710,634 1,284,548 10,729,220 375,617 19,978,759 1,244,048 5,444,644 265,972 568,395 5,145,656 21,648,644 477,099 702,359 2,173,674 25,864,106 5,346,846 3,497,068 2,220,597 3,709,912 1,396,893 1,708,400 996,131 2,624,682 3,480,340 3,292,802 1,655,579 2,476,576 746,784 9,725,911 746,678 1,553,316 1,524,324 571,651 15,847,806 1,771,991 2,238,426 20,899,148 7,614,690 9,752,150 3,499,842 38,046,988 5,645,016 1,195,092 8,961,867 1,546,086 584,916 1,732,839 2,802,093 2,317,060 7,662,642 710,441 429,165 2,768,100 1,056,077 - TOKYO Company Name Inpex Corp Daiwa House Industry Co Ltd Sekisui House Ltd Kirin Holdings Co Ltd Japan Tobacco Inc Seven & I Holdings Co Ltd Toray Industries Inc Asahi Kasei Corp Sumitomo Chemical Co Ltd Shin-Etsu Chemical Co Ltd Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Kao Corp Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd Astellas Pharma Inc Eisai Co Ltd Daiichi Sankyo Co Ltd Fujifilm Holdings Corp Shiseido Co Ltd Jx Holdings Inc Lt Price 1,328.00 2,424.50 1,757.50 1,614.00 3,881.50 5,107.00 992.60 1,144.00 616.00 7,617.00 713.90 6,088.00 5,935.00 1,956.00 8,371.00 1,867.00 4,399.50 2,260.00 463.90 % Chg 1.30 0.02 -1.10 0.81 -0.28 0.83 -0.64 -1.29 0.00 -1.09 0.37 -0.33 0.03 0.08 0.61 -0.24 -0.28 0.67 0.04 Indices Volume Volume 3,806,600 1,170,600 2,785,800 1,804,700 1,437,200 1,862,300 4,004,000 2,595,000 4,804,000 1,473,600 5,463,900 816,600 1,119,100 3,953,600 1,604,600 1,360,100 2,160,300 1,234,400 8,027,500 Lt Price Change Dow Jones Indus. Avg S&P 500 Index Nasdaq Composite Index S&P/Tsx Composite Index Mexico Bolsa Index Brazil Bovespa Stock Idx Ftse 100 Index Cac 40 Index Dax Index Ibex 35 Tr 17,893.32 2,081.40 4,915.57 15,137.88 44,655.23 53,951.43 6,833.46 5,074.14 11,967.39 11,634.00 +130.08 +14.44 +28.64 +111.26 +452.29 +828.41 +23.96 +11.92 -33.99 +64.20 Nikkei 225 Japan Topix Hang Seng Index All Ordinaries Indx Nzx All Index Bse Sensex 30 Index Nse S&P Cnx Nifty Index Straits Times Index Karachi All Share Index Jakarta Composite Index 19,397.98 1,560.71 25,275.64 5,869.74 1,152.07 28,504.46 8,659.90 3,452.91 22,498.51 5,480.03 -37.10 -3.45 +192.89 +36.83 -1.26 +244.32 +73.65 -0.84 +228.48 +23.63 TOKYO Company Name Bridgestone Corp Asahi Glass Co Ltd Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Meta Sumitomo Metal Industries Kobe Steel Ltd Jfe Holdings Inc Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd Sumitomo Electric Industries Smc Corp Komatsu Ltd Kubota Corp Daikin Industries Ltd Hitachi Ltd Toshiba Corp Mitsubishi Electric Corp Nidec Corp Nec Corp Fujitsu Ltd Panasonic Corp Sharp Corp Sony Corp Tdk Corp Keyence Corp Denso Corp Fanuc Corp Rohm Co Ltd Kyocera Corp Murata Manufacturing Co Ltd Nitto Denko Corp Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nissan Motor Co Ltd Toyota Motor Corp Honda Motor Co Ltd Suzuki Motor Corp Nikon Corp Hoya Corp Canon Inc Ricoh Co Ltd Dai Nippon Printing Co Ltd Nintendo Co Ltd Itochu Corp Marubeni Corp Mitsui & Co Ltd Tokyo Electron Ltd Sumitomo Corp Mitsubishi Corp Aeon Co Ltd Mitsubishi Ufj Financial Gro Resona Holdings Inc Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdin Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Gr Bank Of Yokohama Ltd/The Mizuho Financial Group Inc Orix Corp Daiwa Securities Group Inc Nomura Holdings Inc Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Holdin Ms&Ad Insurance Group Holdin Dai-Ichi Life Insurance Tokio Marine Holdings Inc T&D Holdings Inc Mitsui Fudosan Co Ltd Mitsubishi Estate Co Ltd Sumitomo Realty & Developmen East Japan Railway Co West Japan Railway Co Central Japan Railway Co Ana Holdings Inc Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Kddi Corp Ntt Docomo Inc Tokyo Electric Power Co Inc Chubu Electric Power Co Inc Kansai Electric Power Co Inc Tohoku Electric Power Co Inc Kyushu Electric Power Co Inc Tokyo Gas Co Ltd Secom Co Ltd Yamada Denki Co Ltd Fast Retailing Co Ltd Softbank Corp Lt Price 5,000.00 778.00 294.10 0.00 220.00 2,638.00 1,740.50 1,565.00 36,510.00 2,413.50 1,961.00 8,101.00 825.60 487.40 1,454.00 8,116.00 361.00 840.90 1,575.50 245.00 3,482.50 8,560.00 65,620.00 5,436.00 26,430.00 8,230.00 6,585.00 17,105.00 7,906.00 663.30 1,209.00 8,333.00 4,036.00 3,645.00 1,632.00 4,905.00 4,445.50 1,310.00 1,180.50 18,655.00 1,275.00 689.90 1,566.00 8,204.00 1,286.00 2,406.50 1,363.00 764.60 601.40 498.40 4,617.00 719.70 212.10 1,728.50 951.70 715.10 3,787.00 3,405.50 1,797.50 4,638.50 1,694.50 3,619.50 2,833.50 4,504.00 10,135.00 6,496.00 22,520.00 327.20 7,498.00 2,835.00 2,128.00 457.00 1,423.00 1,131.00 1,338.00 1,119.00 781.90 8,125.00 490.00 47,300.00 6,975.00 % Chg 0.00 -0.51 -0.41 0.00 -1.35 -0.94 0.40 0.13 -0.53 -0.84 -1.11 -0.77 -0.70 -4.88 -0.92 -0.95 -0.82 2.77 0.64 6.06 0.94 -0.81 0.08 -0.91 -0.88 -1.08 0.38 0.62 0.71 -0.57 -1.63 -1.10 1.01 -0.60 -0.37 0.52 1.00 -0.19 -0.17 2.25 0.12 -0.72 -1.29 -1.01 -1.23 -0.56 -0.15 -0.88 -0.69 -0.40 -0.67 0.46 -0.84 -0.66 -0.96 -0.68 -1.28 -1.00 -1.13 -0.39 -1.17 -1.16 -1.10 -0.29 -0.49 -0.23 -0.62 0.12 -0.62 1.07 0.00 0.44 -0.84 -0.62 -1.40 -1.15 0.26 0.18 1.03 -0.65 0.14 Volume 2,095,600 1,959,000 23,310,000 8,855,000 1,522,400 1,552,000 1,781,000 109,300 2,749,700 2,534,000 620,800 12,957,000 91,098,000 3,622,000 986,300 20,641,000 11,196,000 5,441,500 44,662,000 9,107,400 577,200 153,900 787,400 522,500 499,600 843,700 753,000 884,200 6,258,000 4,850,000 4,461,700 4,629,900 1,275,500 2,011,900 1,024,500 3,940,700 1,776,700 765,000 821,700 3,008,300 4,686,600 9,078,100 421,100 2,495,200 3,042,700 2,453,900 35,853,300 8,169,300 8,985,000 3,624,900 3,961,000 66,964,800 3,193,200 6,403,000 12,390,400 583,200 600,600 4,003,000 1,371,300 1,601,600 2,294,000 2,658,000 2,182,000 388,200 361,200 184,900 10,093,000 984,700 4,243,500 2,393,700 6,453,700 651,100 2,622,400 955,600 1,645,700 3,502,000 377,300 2,898,800 465,200 3,720,200 SENSEX Company Name Zee Entertainment Enterprise Yes Bank Ltd Wipro Ltd Ultratech Cement Ltd Tech Mahindra Ltd Tata Steel Ltd Tata Power Co Ltd Tata Motors Ltd Tata Consultancy Svcs Ltd Sun Pharmaceutical Indus State Bank Of India Sesa Sterlite Ltd Reliance Industries Ltd Punjab National Bank Power Grid Corp Of India Ltd Oil & Natural Gas Corp Ltd Ntpc Ltd Nmdc Ltd Maruti Suzuki India Ltd Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd Lupin Ltd Larsen & Toubro Ltd Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd Itc Ltd Infosys Ltd Indusind Bank Ltd Idfc Ltd Idea Cellular Ltd Icici Bank Ltd Housing Development Finance Hindustan Unilever Ltd Hindalco Industries Ltd Hero Motocorp Ltd Hdfc Bank Limited Hcl Technologies Ltd Grasim Industries Ltd Gail India Ltd Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Coal India Ltd Cipla Ltd Cairn India Ltd Bharti Airtel Ltd Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd Bharat Heavy Electricals Bank Of Baroda Bajaj Auto Ltd Axis Bank Ltd Asian Paints Ltd Ambuja Cements Ltd Acc Ltd Lt Price 338.20 845.90 621.15 2,892.55 643.35 318.10 77.25 568.15 2,547.30 1,169.30 274.65 191.50 824.65 148.65 147.95 317.25 152.10 128.05 3,628.95 1,242.65 2,088.25 1,757.90 1,397.60 341.00 2,178.20 914.95 175.40 193.55 321.25 1,330.60 907.95 134.70 2,672.70 1,031.95 932.05 3,698.10 399.90 3,677.85 360.75 735.65 221.20 400.80 802.10 235.10 168.50 2,036.40 569.05 824.50 261.50 1,617.40 % Chg -0.78 -0.22 -1.90 0.31 1.68 -1.71 -0.32 1.65 0.18 8.15 0.44 0.71 -1.36 -2.17 1.02 3.52 2.94 -0.47 -0.43 3.37 2.49 1.36 2.69 2.57 0.20 -1.11 1.56 2.06 -0.59 -0.48 2.77 1.89 0.63 -0.13 -0.94 0.11 3.92 4.08 -0.62 3.67 3.68 -0.37 -0.26 1.91 -0.24 0.82 -0.11 0.34 0.48 1.99 Volume 1,156,296 2,580,487 1,570,484 143,414 6,439,483 4,261,650 5,015,919 6,101,570 844,760 5,153,405 14,175,956 2,422,287 3,038,973 5,498,807 3,579,879 4,009,590 3,754,683 2,855,052 284,719 1,151,070 934,826 1,994,293 1,191,691 13,371,147 1,993,497 612,037 4,961,469 8,442,526 10,372,019 2,140,766 1,563,269 5,946,007 378,884 1,866,978 4,416,378 33,408 921,620 461,409 1,319,564 2,864,382 2,229,418 4,651,725 936,907 5,480,321 4,133,418 313,583 4,790,652 746,054 2,324,468 349,130 Box Inc, an online data storage provider, had the biggest IPO in the latest quarter, raising $201.2mn. It began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on January 22. Venture-backed US IPOs hit lowest levels in two years Reuters New York U S initial public offerings by venture-backed companies fell to a two-year low in the ﬁrst quarter of 2015, according to data from the National Venture Capital Association and Thomson Reuters. About 17 venture-backed companies raised $1.43bn in the three months ended March, compared with 37 that raised $3.40bn in the same period a year earlier, according to the report. The last time the number fell below 20 was in the ﬁrst quarter of 2013, when eight venture-backed companies raised $716.9mn. Box Inc, an online data storage provider, had the biggest IPO in the latest quarter, raising $201.2mn. It began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on January 22. Life sciences companies dominated the IPO market, with 13 of the 17 offer- ings coming from the sector. The average amount raised was $84.3mn, down from $92mn in the ﬁrst quarter of 2014. Among venture-backed mergers and acquisitions, only 16 of the 86 during the quarter reported deal size. The average deal size was $128.1mn, compared with $245.8mn a year earlier. Meanwhile, US stocks rose yesterday as expectations the Federal Reserve will push any interest rate increases further into the year offset concerns over faltering economic growth spurred by a surprisingly weak jobs report on Friday. Labour Department data showed US employers last month added 126,000 jobs, the lowest in more than a year and well below expectations. Yesterday, New York Fed President William Dudley said the central bank will need to determine whether that jobs report foreshadows a more substantial slowing in the labour market, adding he expects the path of rate hikes to be “relatively shallow.” HONG KONG HONG KONG Company Name Aluminum Corp Of China Ltd-H Bank Of East Asia Bank Of China Ltd-H Bank Of Communications Co-H Belle International Holdings Boc Hong Kong Holdings Ltd Cathay Pacific Airways Ck Hutchison Holdings Ltd China Coal Energy Co-H China Construction Bank-H China Life Insurance Co-H China Merchants Hldgs Intl China Mobile Ltd China Overseas Land & Invest China Petroleum & Chemical-H China Resources Enterprise China Resources Land Ltd China Resources Power Holdin China Shenhua Energy Co-H China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd Citic Ltd Clp Holdings Ltd Cnooc Ltd Cosco Pacific Ltd Esprit Holdings Ltd Fih Mobile Ltd Hang Lung Properties Ltd Hang Seng Bank Ltd Henderson Land Development “That’s why they took it as dovish,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment ofﬁcer at Wells Capital Management in Minneapolis, of the market reaction to Dudley’s words. “Traders are taking advantage of headlines to move the market around.” In other economic news, ISM data showed the pace of growth in the US services sector fell in March to its lowest level in three months, while a measure from Markit showed the sector expanded in March at its fastest pace since August. Investors are concerned that a recent spate of soft economic data, including jobs, factory activity and consumer spending, may point to more than a weather-related slowdown and could indicate a loss of momentum in the US economy. Still, the lacklustre data also eased some concerns over the US dollar continuing to strengthen and pressure the earnings of companies with international exposure. Lt Price 4.17 30.90 4.62 6.76 9.14 28.10 18.56 159.40 4.43 6.56 34.95 30.70 102.80 26.15 6.23 15.20 22.55 20.10 20.35 12.90 13.78 65.45 11.18 10.66 7.81 4.13 22.15 140.60 55.40 % Chg 4.77 0.00 1.09 0.60 2.01 0.36 0.11 0.13 2.07 1.08 0.58 1.15 1.38 1.16 0.65 -0.13 1.35 0.25 2.16 3.53 2.38 -0.98 1.27 2.90 -0.13 0.98 0.68 -0.28 -0.81 Volume 54,507,878 3,797,531 432,501,154 49,775,161 13,323,781 7,324,463 5,302,210 2,836,215 41,418,839 339,814,402 49,317,271 5,431,306 18,324,486 38,274,032 138,763,016 8,020,442 14,688,215 7,951,898 21,804,944 68,600,330 24,546,503 5,466,245 66,981,879 12,132,000 18,318,964 15,288,114 4,865,180 1,085,782 2,628,581 Company Name Hong Kong & China Gas Hong Kong Exchanges & Clear Hsbc Holdings Plc Hutchison Whampoa Ltd Ind & Comm Bk Of China-H Li & Fung Ltd Mtr Corp New World Development Petrochina Co Ltd-H Ping An Insurance Group Co-H Power Assets Holdings Ltd Sino Land Co Sun Hung Kai Properties Swire Pacific Ltd-A Tencent Holdings Ltd Wharf Holdings Ltd Lt Price 17.96 196.00 67.00 108.70 5.85 7.59 37.55 9.14 8.75 93.15 77.70 12.70 121.00 105.70 149.80 55.25 % Chg 0.56 0.26 0.68 0.28 1.56 -0.52 1.21 0.66 1.39 -1.38 -1.02 0.47 1.26 -0.47 1.22 1.38 Volume 7,787,767 9,075,569 15,083,394 2,877,217 434,091,342 17,012,949 5,663,855 23,171,292 86,819,597 27,549,484 3,115,487 2,109,822 3,665,809 2,000,898 14,679,077 5,025,502 GCC INDICES Indices Doha Securities Market Saudi Tadawul Kuwait Stocks Exchange Bahrain Stock Exchage Oman Stock Market Abudhabi Stock Market Dubai Financial Market Lt Price 11,731.64 8,618.63 6,213.34 1,441.37 6,297.46 4,553.72 3,710.54 Change -31.92 +28.93 +6.82 +8.58 +10.14 +11.56 +44.98 “Information contained herein is believed to be reliable and had been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. The accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. This publication is for providing information only and is not intended as an offer or solicitation for a purchase or sale of any of the financial instruments mentioned. Gulf Times and Doha Bank or any of their employees shall not be held accountable and will not accept any losses or liabilities for actions based on this data.” CURRENCIES DOLLAR QATAR RIYAL SAUDI RIYAL UAE DIRHAMS BAHRAINI DINAR KUWAITI DINAR Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 13 BUSINESS M&T to miss Hudson City deal deadline after delay Bloomberg New York M Steam rises from Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp’s Kimitsu works in Kimitsu City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan, and (right) the headquarters of Techint stands in Milan, Italy. A spat over control of Brazil’s second-largest steelmaker Usiminas is opening the door for minority shareholders such as billionaire Lirio Parisotto and Grupo BTG Pactual to gain a seat on the board, and possibly choose a chairman. Tokyo-to-Milan steelmaker spat opens door for Brazil tycoon Bloomberg Rio de Janeiro W hat started as an alliance to bring balance and direction to Brazil’s second-largest steelmaker has become a feud spanning three continents that’s diluting the company’s efforts to navigate a global commodities rout. On one side is Japan’s Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp, with more than 50 years’ experience quietly steering through the perilous waters of Brazil’s businesses elites. On the other is Techint, an Italian-Argentine group with the track record and motivation to return the company to proﬁtability and recoup an investment of almost $3bn. Just three years after Nippon and Techint agreed to jointly control Belo Horizonte, Brazil-based Usiminas, the union is in disarray. Dozens of lawyers and advisers are helping wage a battle for boardroom power that’s seen voting shares almost triple in the past six months, the world’s best steel-stock performance, even as non-voting shares slump along with the industry’s prospects. The spat is opening the door for minority shareholders such as billionaire Lirio Parisotto and Grupo BTG Pactual to gain a seat on the board, and possibly choose a chairman, at a meeting later yesterday. “When you have a crack in the controlling group, you are making space for minorities,” Ricardo Kim, an analyst for XP Investimentos in Sao Paulo, said by telephone. “It doesn’t resolve the issue because the two controllers are still ﬁghting.” Nippon’s involvement in Usiminas dates back to the late 1950s, when Brazil’s industrialisation push led the government of Juscelino Kubitschek to team up with Japan in a steel venture. The 2012 agreement with Techint, owned by the billionaire Rocca family, whereby the Italian group would name a chief executive officer and Nippon would propose a chairman, brought hopes of an operational U-turn as management focused on cutting costs, boosting efficiencies and selling assets. The stock had slumped to 6.57 reais on July 24, just six months after Techint paid 36 reais per voting share through subsidiaries including Ternium SA. The Italian group’s hands-on approach started to bear fruit and in the ﬁrst half of 2014 Usiminas posted its best earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation in four years, even with Brazilian economic growth grinding to a halt. Disharmony between the two controllers was unveiled in late September. In a heated board meeting that lasted several hours, Chairman Paulo Penido cast a tie-breaking vote to ﬁre CEO Julian Eguren and two other Techint-appointed officials over alleged ﬁnancial misconduct. The executives deny any wrongdoing and have since taken legal action against Penido seeking damages in a Sao Paulo court. Penido said in emailed comments that the dismissal followed board rules. The fate of the dismissed executives continues to be a stumbling block for reconciliation. When Techint’s Paolo Rocca met with Nippon CEO Kosei Shindo in Moscow in October during a World Steel Association conference, talks broke down after Rocca sought the reinstatement of the ﬁred trio, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identiﬁed. Ternium is challenging the dismissal in Brazilian courts. The premium of Usiminas voting shares over preferred stock, which don’t allow holders to cast a ballot on corporate policies, widened to a record 18.14 reais on March 24 as the controller battle heated up before Monday’s meeting. In the two years through June 2014 the shares traded at an average discount of 94 centavos, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The preferred shares average more than ﬁve times more trading volume than the voting stock, the data shows. Billionaire Andre Esteves’ Grupo BTG Pactual, Brazil’s only publicly traded investment bank, is also vying for inﬂuence at Usiminas, or Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais SA, after nominating Marco Antonio Bologna as its board candidate. BTG wants to contribute to the development of Usiminas and Bologna’s management experience will be decisive for that, the bank said in an e-mail response to questions. “In the last few months, BTG Pactual bought ordinary shares of Usiminas, directly and through an exclusive investment fund, with the goal of capturing their valuation potential,” the bank said. Both Usiminas and Techint declined to comment for this story. Nippon Steel didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment. Ternium scored a legal victory in late February when an appeals court judge in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais ruled in favour of reinstating Eguren as CEO. Two other judges in the case asked for more time to study the request and a crucial ruling is expected later this month. While people close to the companies don’t rule out a last-minute accord to present a consensus candidate for chairman in the assembly, the controllers were arguing over the meeting’s rules in ﬁlings on April 2. Parisotto, who is worth $1.6bn according to the Forbes billionaire ranking, has been put up as director by some minority shareholders after his Geracao L Par fund built a 5.2% stake in Usiminas preferred shares and 1% of voting stock. He didn’t reply to a request for comment sent by e-mail via an adviser. As of April 2, director Marcelo Gasparino was the only chairman candidate after a nomination by asset manager Tempo Capital Gestao de Recursos Ltda, Usiminas said in a ﬁling. Tempo also nominated Mauro Cunha, president of Brazil’s association of minority shareholders Amec, as board candidate. The controller dispute coincides with an adverse outlook for the steel industry in Brazil where a stagnating economy signals weak demand. “One thing is to be on a ship in the middle of a storm with someone controlling the ship and very different is being in the middle of the storm with no one in charge,” Artur Losnak, an analyst at Fator Corretora in Sao Paulo, said by telephone. “We will still have a lot of problems ahead.” &T Bank Corp said that regulators won’t be able to complete a review of its proposed acquisition of Hudson City Bancorp by April 30, and that the deal will miss its latest deadline. M&T was notiﬁed of the delay by the Federal Reserve late Friday, the Buffalo, New Yorkbased bank said yesterday in a statement. M&T said that it remains committed to the merger, while Hudson City said it needs time to review the deal. “Given the unexpected notice of delay over a holiday weekend, the board of Hudson City needs more time to understand the nature and timing of the delay and its potential impact on the transaction before the board can determine its course of action,” Denis Salamone, Hudson City’s chief executive officer, said yesterday in a separate statement. The lenders didn’t set a new deadline. The agreement, announced in 2012 for $3.7bn, has been repeatedly stalled amid a Federal Reserve review of M&T’s moneylaundering controls. The delay has exacerbated a slowdown in deal-making among the nation’s largest lenders. Both banks had taken steps in recent weeks to prepare for completion of the deal. Paramus, New Jersey-based Hudson City notiﬁed participants in its employee stock-ownership and incentive-bonus plans last month that a blackout period was expected to begin on April 21, limiting transactions involving the shares. M&T had notiﬁed Hudson City shareholders of a deadline to decide between stock and cash payment in the merger. The election process has been suspended, M&T said in Monday’s statement. “We continue to believe that M&T’s merger with Hudson City would be beneﬁcial to both institutions,” M&T CEO Robert G Wilmers said in the statement. 14 Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 BUSINESS Hedge funds increase bullish oil bets by most in 4 years Bloomberg New York Hedge funds increased bullish oil bets by the most in four years as negotiators worked overtime to reach a deal over Iran’s nuclear programme. Speculators boosted their net-long position in West Texas Intermediate crude by 21% in the seven days ended March 31, US Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show, the biggest percentage increase since March 2011. Short positions dropped by the most in three months. Iran and world powers extended talks past a March 31 deadline to reach a preliminary agreement that brings the Gulf nation closer to increasing oil exports. WTI rose 13% from a sixyear low in March as US production growth slowed and demand from refineries climbed, signalling stockpiles that have reached the highest since 1930 are poised to decline. “We’ll have to wait and see what really happens,” Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at the Price Futures Group in Chicago, said by phone on April 2. “Some of the bears started to throw in the towel because of the inability of the market to follow through to the downside, even with supplies continuing to build.” WTI futures gained 9 cents to $47.60 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange in the period covered by the CFTC report. Prices increased 2.7% to $50.46 a barrel at 9:16am yesterday. The agreement, which sets an outline for further negotiations over the next three months, will set a schedule for the Iran’s enrichment of uranium, limit it to a single site and allow international monitoring over the next quarter-century. The US and European Union will lift the economic sanctions that have crippled the Islamic Republic’s economy, once inspectors verify its compliance. “The Iran deal has probably already been priced in,” said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts. People realised that there will be no flood of Iranian oil into the market.” Crude inventories rose by 4.77mn barrels to 471.4mn as of March 27, Energy Information Administration data show. Stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for WTI contracts, climbed to a record 58.9mn. Production slipped for the first time in eight weeks, dropping 36,000 barrels a day after rising just 3,000 barrels the previous week. Net-long positions in WTI gained 28,410 to 163,367 futures and options in the week ended March 31, CFTC data showed. Short positions dropped 19,065, while longs gained 9,345. In other markets, bearish wagers on US ultra low sulfur diesel fell 915 to 25,983 contracts. The fuel climbed 0.7% to $1.7179 a gallon in the report week.Net-short bets on US natural gas doubled to 70,353, the most in data compiled by Bloomberg going back to 2010. The measure includes an index of four contracts adjusted to futures equivalents. Nymex natural gas dropped 5.2% to $2.64 permn British thermal units during the report week. Bullish bets on gasoline declined 12% to 24,185 contracts. Futures declined 1.1% to $1.78 a gallon. The US average retail price of regular gasoline slipped 0.4 cent to $2.395 a gallon on April 3, the lowest since February 26, according to Heathrow, Florida-based AAA, the nation’s biggest motoring group. US refineries used 15.7mn barrels a day of crude, up 615,000 from a month earlier. Plants are set to boost rates further as seasonal maintenance ends. “People are expecting stronger demand,” Lynch said. Japanese stocks dip after weak US data Virtu Financial expects $2.6bn valuation in IPO Reuters New York E lectronic trading ﬁrm Virtu Financial is expecting a valuation of up to $2.6bn in its initial public offering, a year after the company postponed its ﬁrst attempt to go public amid a furore over high-frequency trading. Virtu Financial said yesterday its offering of 16.5mn Class A shares is expected to be priced at between $17 and $19 per share, raising up to $314mn. The company is a market-maker in equities, ﬁxed income, currencies and commodities. It earns money through “spreads” – the difference between what buyers and sellers are willing to pay or accept in a trade. Virtu Financial’s decision to postpone the IPO last year followed the release of Michael Lewis’ book “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt”, which questioned whether markets were rigged in favour of high-frequency traders. The company also caused a stir when it revealed last year that it had only one day of trading losses in ﬁve years. The detail was meant to show the ﬁrm’s proﬁtability but critics of high-frequency trading pointed to it as a sign that high-speed traders have unfair advantages. Founder Vincent Viola, a former chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange, will control the company after the offering though his ownership of Class D shares, which have more voting power than ordinary shares. The company’s revenue rose 8.8% to $723mn in 2014, while net income rose 4.3% to $190mn, the company said in a ﬁling. Virtu Financial’s competitors include large broker-dealers such as Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Citigroup, as well as niche players such as Citadel, KCG Holdings, Timber Hill and Wolverine Trading. The US Securities and Exchange Commission proposed last month that high-speed stock trading ﬁrms that execute transactions away from exchanges should be subject to greater regulatory oversight. Apart from Virtu Financial, the plan is expected to affect ﬁrms such as Jump Trading and Tradebot. The SEC intensiﬁed its review of high frequency traders following the “ﬂash crash” in 2010, in which the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 700 points before rebounding sharply. Goldman Sachs Group Inc, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Sandler O’Neill + Partners LP are among the underwriters for Virtu Financial’s offering. Sensex climbs 244 points; rupee gains 30 paise Bloomberg Mumbai I ndian stocks rose yesterday, sending the benchmark index to more than a two-week high, as property developers and healthcare companies climbed amid speculation the central bank may cut reserve requirements at its policy meeting today. DLF increased the most in three weeks, driving up a gauge of real-estate companies by the most in three months. Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, the most valuable drugmaker, and Aurobindo Pharma surged to records. Oil & Natural Gas Corp had the biggest jump in ﬁve months as Brent crude rose. The S&P BSE Sensex gained 0.9% or 244.32 points to 28,504.46, after changing direction at least 12 times in the ﬁrst half of the session. While 30 of the 34 economists surveyed by Bloomberg see the Reserve Bank of India holding the cash reserve ratio, one expects a 25 basis point cut and three expect a 50 basis points reduction. “Stocks rallied on speculation of a cut in the CRR,” said Rikesh Parikh, vice president at Motilal Oswal Securities in Mumbai. A reduction “could release liquidity, boosting real estate, infrastructure and ﬁnancial stocks,” he said. State Bank of India, the largest lender, last month said the central bank must cut reserve requirements to help bring down loan rates as two rounds of monetary easing have failed to lower funding costs. The bank estimates a half percentage point reduction in the reserve ratio, which has been 4% since February 2013, will free Rs457bn ($7.3bn) for lending. SBI’s base rate, below which it can’t give loans, has been at 10% since November 2013 even as the central bank cut its main rate by 50 basis points to 7.5 this year. DLF jumped the most since March 13. Housing Development & Infrastructure surged 24%, the most since May 2009 and Unitech rallied 8.3%. Sun Pharmaceutical surged 8.2%, taking this year’s gains to 41%, the most on the Sensex. Aurobindo Pharma rallied 6.2% and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories added 4.1%. Foreigners bought a net $183.2mn of shares on March 31 and April 1, taking this year’s inﬂows to $6.1bn, the most among eight Asian markets tracked by Bloomberg. The market was shut on Thursday and Friday for holidays. The Sensex has gained 3.7% this year and trades at 15.9 times projected 12-month earnings, compared with the MSCI Emerging Markets Index’s multiple of 12.1. Meanwhile, the rupee ended higher by another 30 paise to 62.19 against the American currency yesterday on sustained selling of dollars by banks and exporters on hopes of foreign capital inﬂows in view of strong equity market. The local currency has now gained 48 paise or 0.77 per cent in the last two sessions. A weaker-than-expected US jobs data released last week has led to investors expecting a delay in the rate hike by the Federal Reserve, hoping foreign funds to continue invest. AFP Tokyo A view of the Bombay Stock Exchange. Indian stocks yesterday rose to more than a two-week high amid speculation the central bank may cut reserve requirements at its policy meeting today. T okyo shares ended lower yesterday while the yen climbed against the dollar following a worse than expected US jobs report seen as making an early US rate rise more unlikely. Oil prices rose on expectations that any new exports from Iran would not likely come on the market for some time, despite the initial nuclear agreement. With several major markets shut for public holidays and Wall Street closed on Friday, trading was thin with few catalysts to spur business. Tokyo fell 0.19%, or 37.10 points, to 19,397.98 and Seoul was ﬂat, edging up 1.01 points to close at 2,046.43. Shanghai, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Taipei, Sydney and Wellington were closed. The dollar fell to 119.03 yen yesterday from 119.62 yen in Tokyo on Friday, while the euro climbed to $1.0971 from $1.0879. The single currency was at 130.57 yen from 130.16 yen. Oil prices rose because Tehran’s nuclear deal with the West has still to be ﬁnalised, meaning sanctions will stay in place for now. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate was up $1.21 cents at $50.35 while Brent added $1.17 to $56.12. Oil was also supported by news that major producer Saudi Arabia raised prices for all May sales to Asia, saying demand was improving. However, Sanjeev Gupta, who heads the Asia-Paciﬁc Oil and Gas practice at professional services ﬁrm EY, said prices are likely to resume their downtrend as traders digest the impact of the agreement between Iran and the US-led western powers. “We anticipate stronger negative reactions to the benchmark prices this week,” Gupta said. Gold fetched $1,219.54 against $1,200.50 late Friday. In other markets, Manila closed 0.76%, or 60.65 points, higher at 8,053.74; Jakarta ended up 0.43%, or 23.63 points, at 5,480.03; Kuala Lumpur gained 8.42 points, or 0.46%, to close at 1,842.94 and Singapore fell 0.02%, or 0.84 points, to 3,452.91. Big oil firms bracing for worst quaterly results Dow Jones New York Exxon Mobil’s cash flow fell to its lowest level since the financial crisis in 2009 as oil prices plunged to about half of its 2014 peak. The world’s big oil companies and their investors are bracing for some of the worst quarterly financial results in recent memory as the first three months of the year closed with oil trading at about half of its 2014 peak. The final quarter of 2014 was bad enough. British giant BP announced its biggest quarterly loss since the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Exxon Mobil Corp’s cash flow fell to its lowest level since the midst of the financial crisis in 2009. The year-end carnage was for a three-month period in which a barrel of oil traded at $77. In the latest quarter, the Brent international oil benchmark averaged $55.13 a barrel. “It’s going to be ugly,” said Jason Gammel, an analyst at Jefferies. “It’s going to be a really bad quarter.” Most of the world’s biggest oil companies have already slashed spending, with many of them cutting jobs. Underscoring the severity of the oil-price pressure, they have also turned to investors to help them preserve cash. Eni SpA of Italy cut its dividend in March, a dramatic move within a group of companies that holds as almost sacred the ability to maintain steady payments to shareholders. Royal Dutch Shell and French giant Total recently said they would offer investors the option to receive their dividend in shares, a move that could bolster the companies’ cash holdings. In February, Exxon said to cut costs it would reduce first-quarter spending on share buybacks by two-thirds from the preceding quarter to $1bn. Chevron has suspended its buyback program altogether. After a quarter of even lower oil prices, Big Oil is likely to continue to impose measures of austerity and negotiate better deals with contractors. Consultancy Wood Mackenzie estimates that by next year exploration costs will be driven down by about a third compared with 2014. Companies are also working to cut operating costs, said Andrew Mackenzie, chief executive of BHP Billiton Ltd, the Anglo-Australian mining giant that also has a sizable oil-and-gas arm. “It’s going to be tightening the supply chain and sharing the pain,” Mackenzie said in a recent interview. Some cost cutting may show up when oil companies start reporting results later this month, providing some relief. BP and Shell are among the first big companies to report first-quarter earnings, on April 28 and April 30, respectively. “I think you’ll find that when BP and Shell report results there will be quite a sharp revenue drop, but costs will have also fallen,” said Paul Mumford, a senior fund manager at Cavendish Asset management, which holds small stakes in both companies. BP, Shell and Exxon referred questions to previous statements about how they are managing the weaker price environment. Chevron also noted previously announced plans to cut costs, reduce spending and pursue assets sales, while adding that it remains confident of its long-term business plans and its ability to manage the downturn. Spending cuts are a Catch-22 for oil companies caught in a relentless race to replace the oil reserves they draw down every year. Reduce exploration spending too much, and companies run the risk of failing to line up new supplies to bolster their oil reserves, a closely watched metric for energy investors. And if they cut development costs too deeply, production suffers, affecting cash flow. The pressure is acute. Chevron chairman and chief executive John Watson told analysts in March that the company’s negative returns for shareholders in 2014 were “unacceptable” and outlined “significant cost-reduction programs under way.” The company is rebidding contracts and negotiating reductions with suppliers, even as it works toward production growth of 20% by 2017. To meet their substantial costs amid the price drop and fall in cash flow, companies have been piling on debt in recent months. According to Morgan Stanley, large integrated oil companies led by Exxon, Total, Chevron and BP raised $31bn in debt in the first two months of the year, beating the previous quarterly record of $28bn amassed at the height of the financial crisis in early 2009. Loading up on debt isn’t necessarily a problem in the short term. Big integrated oil companies generate billions of dollars in cash each year and have substantial refining and trading arms that provide some cover in a low-price environment. Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 15 BUSINESS Residential and commercial buildings are seen in Jakarta. Indonesia’s new-home prices climbed 5.7% in the first quarter from a year earlier, following a 6.3% gain in the final quarter of last year, according to a February survey by the nation’s central bank. Indonesia ‘best place to buy’ property shares Bloomberg Jakarta F alling interest rates, an expanding population and a government-sponsored building boom are turning Indonesia into the world’s favourite place to buy property stocks. Developers on the Jakarta stock exchange, including PT Lippo Cikarang and PT Alam Sutera Realty, have the highest average analyst ratings among global peers and the most buy recommendations of any industry group in Indonesia, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Jakarta Construction, Property & Real Estate Index has advanced 25% over the past 12 months, twice as much as the nation’s benchmark index. Indonesia’s central bank cut borrowing costs in February for the first time in three years, improving the outlook for Southeast Asia’s largest economy as President Joko Widodo seeks to lift growth to 7%. Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund and Indonesia’s state pension system are both increasing investments in the nation’s property market as Widodo boosts infrastructure spending and the world’s fourth-biggest population keeps expanding. “We are overweight on the property sector and continue to be positive,” said Arief Wana, a director at PT Ashmore Asset Management Indonesia in Jakarta, which oversees the equivalent of $690mn, including the nation’s top-performing equity fund in 2014. The firm added Alam Sutera to the top five holdings of its Dana Progresif Nusantara fund in December. The Jakarta property gauge rose 0.1% yesterday. Alam Sutera gained 0.8% while Lippo Cikarang rose 0.4%. The average consensus rating on Indonesian property companies with at least five analyst recommendations is 4.32, on a scale where 5 equates to a unanimous buy rating. That compares with 4.13 in the US and 4.1 in China. Shares in the Jakarta property index will probably climb 14% over the next 12 months, according to price targets compiled by Bloomberg. The gauge is valued at about 13.9 times estimated earnings. That’s an 11% discount versus the broader Jakarta Composite Index, compared with an average premium of 11% since Bloomberg began tracking the data in 2006. Indonesia’s new-home prices probably climbed 5.7% in the first quarter from a year earlier, following a 6.3% gain in the final quarter of last year, according to a February survey by the nation’s central bank. Property companies will be beneficiaries of Widodo’s infrastructure spending plans, estimated at $433bn through 2019, CLSA Ltd wrote in a March 31 report. They’re also among the biggest winners from the central bank’s interest-rate cut as financing costs fall, according to Ashmore’s Wana. “This is the best time to be in the property business in Indonesia,” Rainier Gunawan, a principal for re- altor Ray White Indonesia in Jakarta, said in an interview.A rising supply of property may weigh on the market, according to Jones Lang LaSalle Inc, a Chicago-based property brokerage. About 1,500 new condominium units may open up in 2015, subduing rents, while office vacancy rates will probably rise into “double-digit territory” in 2015 as more than 260,000 square metres (2.8mn square feet) of GradeA office space enters the market, the firm estimates. Indonesia’s property stocks still have room to rally, according to Steven Gunawan, an analyst at PT Batavia Prosperindo Sekuritas in Jakarta. His buy recommendations include Alam Sutera. GIC Pte, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and a partner agreed in November to invest $500mn Mizuho to hire 200 RBS staff Bloomberg Tokyo M izuho Financial Group plans to hire as many as 200 people from Royal Bank of Scotland Group in the US as part of its deal to buy loans from the British lender, a person with knowledge of the matter said. Japan’s third-biggest bank by market value is in talks to take on 130 to 200 employees from RBS’s US unit, including ﬁxed-income and loan staff members, the person said, asking not to be named because the discussions are private. Mizuho said in February that it will buy the loans for about $3bn to gain access to corporate clients in North America. The portfolio consists of $36.5bn of loan commitments to about 200 investment-grade companies, of which $3.2bn has been drawn. The transaction underscores an expansion abroad by Japan’s biggest lenders as a declining population and near record-low interest rates hamper loan income at home. RBS, which was bailed out by the UK government during the global ﬁnancial crisis, is shrinking its global footprint to focus on consumer banking in its home market following seven years of losses. Mizuho has started negotiations with the RBS employees and the number it will hire depends on the outcome of the talks, the person said. Riichirou Tanaka, a Tokyo-based spokesman for Mizuho, declined to comment, as did Atsuko Yoshitsugu, a spokeswoman for RBS in Tokyo. Reuters reported details of the recruitment plans earlier. Mizuho could hire RBS staff including loan officers and debt capital markets bankers, Shuji Matsuura, a deputy general manager in the international coordination division, told reporters when the Japanese bank announced the deal to buy the loans on February 26. That agreement allowed RBS and Mizuho to explore the transfer of capabilities such as coverage banking as well as debt capital markets and syndication, the Edinburgh-based bank said in a statement in February. Purchasing the loans and hiring RBS employees give Mizuho a way to expand in the US after Chief Executive Officer Yasuhiro Sato in property projects in Indonesia, focusing on Jakarta’s central business district. BPJS Ketenagakerjaan, Indonesia’s state pension fund, said last month it plans to increase its investment in affordable housing by fivefold to fulfil demand from low-income workers. The population of Jakarta is forecast by the government to climb to 12.5mn by 2030, from about 9.7mn now. The urban growth rate in Indonesia, which has a total population of around 250mn, is the third-fastest among emerging Asian economies after Thailand and China, according to the World Bank. “The size of our population, combined with the urbanization rate, will keep demand for property strong,” Batavia’s Gunawan said. Toshiba drops most in a year on plan to probe accounting ﬂaws Bloomberg Tokyo T A pedestrian walks past the logo for Mizuho Bank in Tokyo. Japan’s third-biggest bank by market value is in talks to take on 130 to 200 employees from RBS’s US unit. said in December that buying a regional bank there wouldn’t be viable. Mizuho is among the top 20 bond underwriters and syndicated loan arrangers in the country this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The lender follows larger peer Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group in developing its US business. Mitsubishi UFJ in- tegrated its US operations under a single holding company last year as it seeks to become a top10 bank there. It’s also Morgan Stanley’s largest shareholder. oshiba Corp fell the most in more than a year after the company said it would appoint a committee to investigate possible problems with its accounting. The maker of nuclear reactors, chips, appliances and electronics dropped 4.9%, the most since January 31, to close at ¥487 in Tokyo. Toshiba will form a panel to examine the “reasonableness of estimates” when using the percentage-of-completion accounting method for some projects, it said on Friday after the market closed. The effect on earnings hasn’t been determined, according to the Tokyo-based company’s statement. “The announcement doesn’t give us a good impression of Toshiba,” said Yukihiko Shimada, an analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. “A sense of uncertainty will spread about the credibility of the company’s accounting.” Toshiba got about 11% of operating income from its power and social infrastructure business in the year started April 1, 2013. The investigation will take about a month, the company said. “Some items in the accounting method for work completed needed to be re-examined,” Naomi Furuya, a spokeswoman for Toshiba, said on Friday. “This was discovered in March in a routine accounting survey.” She declined to give further details. New foreign trade policy and India’s competitiveness By Amit Kapoor New Delhi The Indian government, on first day of fiscal 2015-16, released the foreign trade policy (FTP) that will run till March 31, 2020. Overall the regime has been revamped and the policy calls for the “enhancement of the entire trade ecosystem”. The FTP will help boost India’s export sector and more importantly improve competitiveness with respect to peers over the next five years. The success of the policy will depend on strengthening linkages between the FTP and other programmes of the government like Make in India, Digital India and Skills India. Some if its distinct points are worthy of mention. First, there is an integrated look at the trade policy. The FTP acknowledges that trade cannot be formulated and implemented by a single department or government. For a successful FTP and implementation, mainstreaming the state governments will hold the key. The policy thus talks about taking a “whole of government” approach and working with state governments to increase competitiveness. The approach in this is to rationalise non-essential imports and promote exports that will help build resilience and competitiveness. Second, the government has set an ambitious goal, part of which is to increase exports over the next five years – to $900bn from the 2013-14 levels of $465.9bn thereby almost doubling these over the next five years. The plan is also to increase India’s share in world exports from 2% to 3.5%. Achieving export competitiveness is aimed at assuming a position of leadership in the international trade discourse. It augurs well, but much will depend on the implementation capability of government and business. Third, the focus is on bettering the trade ecosystem. This includes simplifying administrative procedures and reducing transaction costs for business and government alike. Towards this, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) is already providing a facility of online filing of various applications under FTP by the exporters/importers. Such steps are aimed at promoting ease of doing business for export promotion and will further bolster trade performance. Fourth, the policy distinctly focuses on a market strategy and a product strategy for trade. The market strategy includes bettering India’s present engagement with the key economies of the world and strengthening the trading engagement over the next five years. These include the Indo-US, Indo-European, Sino-Indian, Indo-East Asian, Indo- Australian and Indo-New Zealand, Indo-South Asian, Indo–WANA (West Asia & North Africa), Indo–Latin American & Caribbean, IndoCIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) and finally, Indo-African trade engagements. The strategy will help provide respite against the two megaregional trading agreements (MRTA) of which India is not a part. The product strategy seeks a movement up the value chain for a variety of goods and services. In the context of the manufacturing sector, in particular, the engineering goods, electronics and pharmaceutical sectors, the removal of regulatory hurdles along key economic markets will hold the key. Other sectors that feature prominently for exports are the labour intensive areas that include leather, textiles, gems and jewellery, agriculture, plantation crops, marine products and iron ore exports. The strategy here is to increase realisations by focusing on valueaddition and producing goods that are environmentally friendly. Another product strategy entails leveraging the MSME sector by focusing on hi-tech products. The policy also talks about the “India” branding that will aid in greater value realisation in export markets. These steps are again are well intentioned, but results will finally depend on swiftness and agility in engagement and implementation. Fifth, the policy also brings in some institutional changes like merging the earlier export promotion schemes under two plans – namely MEIS (Merchandise Exports from India Scheme and SEIS (Services Exports from India Scheme). The MEIS aims at exports of specified goods to specified markets. The rate of rewards ranges from 2-5%. The SEIS is for an increase of notified services, and select services will be given rewards of 3-5%. SEIS shall apply to “service providers located in India” instead of “Indian service providers”. Another institutional change in line with the WTO agreement on trade facilitation is the proposal to set up a National Committee on Trade Facilitation for easing customs procedures and reducing transaction costs for traders. Also, being set up is the Centre for Research in International Trade for strengthening India’s research capabilities in the area of international trade. These are great steps for developing research capability and preparedness to deal with foreign trade challenges. All these points are crucial for boosting India’s export competitiveness. Subsidies alone cannot and should not be the basis for achieving export competitiveness. Removal of infrastructure bottlenecks, reduction in high transaction costs, and simplification of procedures will hold the key to enhancing export competitiveness from an internal country’s perspective. Also, business sectors will have to focus on better value and better quality as defining features to become globally competitive. With respect to the external sector, leveraging trade relationships, especially since we are not part of two out of the three-major MRTAs, will hold the key. The fact that the commerce secretary is out to Tehran for a two-day visit which began yesterday speaks of the quick movement on the part of Indian government to strengthen bilateral ties. More such visits will be necessary to secure and strengthen trading relationships that will aid in meeting the target that the FTP envisages. Ultimately, success in meeting the target will depend on some good luck and lots of hard and smart work, taking into account the challenges and opportunities that emerge out of the changing global trade scenario. Amit Kapoor is chairman at the Institute for Competitiveness and Editor of Thinkers. The views expressed are personal. Tuesday, April 7, 2015 BUSINESS GULF TIMES Combined fortunes of Arab world’s richest 100 top $174bn in ’15 D espite plunging oil prices, the world’s top 100 Arab tycoons have continued to build their fortunes, amassing a combined wealth of $174.37bn, a $8.3bn increase on 2014, according to Forbes Middle East. The number of billionaires has risen too; some 49 feature this time around — four more than last year — with shared wealth of $155.1bn, up $7.4bn on the previous year. In fact, some 56 of the 100 billionaires and millionaires in this year’s list recorded an increase in their overall wealth and the 15 newcomers to the 2015-list indicate that there is more to come. But while prosperity is rising, in many respects, this year’s list of affluent Arabs also represents certain continuity, serving as a reminder of the dominance of an elite group now synonymous with success. Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al-Saud tops the ranking yet again, with an estimated fortune of $22.6bn, while Joseph Safra occupies second spot with $17.3bn. The top 10 this year also hint at the continued strength of family ties, with members of the UAE’s Al Ghurair family and Egypt’s Mansour and Sawiris clans all retaining top spots. Entries from the UAE and Egypt rank alongside business moguls from a total of 12 Arab countries. Saudi Arabia tops the list where both volume of entries and total wealth are concerned, accounting for 41 out of the top 100 fortune-fuelled names. But Forbes Middle East’s ranking does more than showcase wealth; it provides insight into the lay of the business land as well as the sectors, industries and geographies that make it tick. For instance, its research reveals that Saudi wealth this year stems overwhelmingly from the retail sector, with some 14 names that include the kingdom’s biggest gainers for 2015: Fawaz, Abdul Majeed and Salman Alhokair, who have accrued an estimated $1.4bn each from their string of shopping centres and apparel brands. Retail of a more delicate nature is the focus of Forbes Middle East’s English edition cover this time around, with newcomer to the list, Robert Mouawad, shedding light on a legacy of jewelry and watchmaking prowess. The Lebanese diamond connoisseur has also diversiﬁed into real estate and holds estimated wealth of $1.5bn. Meanwhile, another Lebanese family steals the limelight, with Mohamed Hariri, CEO and chairman of BankMed featuring on the cover of the Arabic edition. Hariri is not ranked this year, but four of his family members make the list, with combined wealth of $6bn. Forbes Middle East’s top 100 richest Arabs builds on Forbes US’ recent billionaires list, which features a total of 1,826 names with an aggregate net worth of $7.05tn. In the Middle East, amidst all the talk of gainers and indeed losers — 23 Arab names have witnessed a drop this year too — dollars by the billion are falling through the cracks in a region where privacy reigns. While cognizant that the ranking represents only the tip of the Arab iceberg, in the name of transparency and fairness, Forbes Middle East has considered only publicly held shares recorded as of February 13. 2015. Where appropriate, audited documents and other official, veriﬁable information available in the public domain, or received directly from the source, have also been considered. Al-Abdulla: Continued success. Qaiser: Proud achievements. Ezdan Mall celebrates 2nd anniversary with ‘retail excellence awards’ Ezdan Mall has announced the celebration of its second anniversary with the staging of the “Ezdan Mall Retail Excellence Awards 2014,” the company said in a statement. During the gala dinner, Ezdan Mall will distribute awards to top-performing brands based on the retailers’ sales density. The award categories include ‘Best retail group 2014’, ‘Best retail store’, and ‘Best retail brand’ for different categories such as footwear, children, ladies, and restaurant and food court outlets. It will also include the Best Performing Anchor Stores award, which is based on footfall contribution to the mall. Moreover, the event will include external organisations that will receive a special award from the management for best community programmes such as Best Social Responsibility Islamic Initiative and Best Educational Initiative. Ezdan Holding Group Deputy CEO Nasser Mohamed alAbdulla said the anniversary celebration is a continuation of the successful and dedicated work the mall has achieved in two years. “The mall managed to achieve a prominent position in Qatar’s shopping malls industry within a short period. The awards ceremony aims to encourage all brands to achieve advanced rank in the retail business” alAbdulla stressed. Ezdan Shopping Malls general manager Malik Qaiser said, “We are proud of what we have achieved in the last two years, and we would like to celebrate it with our retailers, who created the perfect brand mix with their performance, offerings, and contributions.” “We were able to create a unique shopping experience for our guests by offering high standards of services. Ezdan Mall also constantly improves the shopping experience of guests based on their feedback on social media platforms,” Qaiser added. In 2014, Ezdan Mall achieved 99% occupancy rate through tenant mix planning where brands are selected to cater to the target segment. Also, the mall’s average sales density for the same period was $530 per square foot or a 40% increase over the previous year. The mall also introduced more than 65 new brands out of 152 stores in the Qatari market, creating new shopping choices and “redefining luxury” through guest service approach. With 14 restaurants and coffee shops, Ezdan Mall offers a wide variety of food selections from Sushi Minto and Wagamama for the Japanese cuisine; steaks and burgers from Buffalo’s, Fuddruckers, Chili’s, and Johnny Rockets; and international food at Linas, Turkish food in Mado, Indian cuisine from Royal Tandoor, and Pakistani dishes from Zoaq. GCC petchem production up 4.5% in 2014: GPCA P etrochemicals production in the GCC rose by 4.5% in 2014, the second highest growth region in the world, shows a Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) report. Regional growth in chemicals production is largely attributed to a surge in plastic production, which grew by 6% in 2014, nearly twice the worldwide average, GPCA said in its annual report 2014. Meanwhile, global production of chemicals rose by 2.8% last year, a similar ﬁgure from 2013. “This development is tes- tament to that the ambitious growth plans of the Arabian Gulf’s chemicals industry is based on solid fundamentals,” said Dr Abdulwahab al-Sadoun, GPCA secretary-general. “The region has grown nearly 60% over the global average, an achievement that is made all the more signiﬁcant when you consider that this progress was made despite continuing economic uncertainty in Europe and recent slowdown in China.” In Qatar, major developments were focused on research and development: Qapco, a joint venture by Industries Qatar and Total, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Materia to study the development of next generation petrochemicals from the country’s existing feedstock. Furthermore, Qapco also partnered with local and international universities on more than a dozen projects in the ﬁeld of polymers and advanced materials. “While production growth is certainly a positive development, GCC chemicals producers must not rest on their laurels. The petrochemicals sector is tied into global economic trends and demographic demand, meaning that we in the Arabian Gulf could be affected by developments from around the world,” al-Sadoun said. “However, what we are seeing in the GCC is that local producers are not only growing but evolving differentiated products — Qapco, for example, signalling that national companies are looking into developing more than just commodities and towards high- value petrochemical products.” Now in its 9th edition, the annual report provides an overview of the major developments of the GCC petrochemicals indus- try from across the region. Published by the GPCA, it represents a key facet of the thought leadership activities of the association, which has grown from 60 members in 2006 to 240 now. “Along with advocacy and networking, the GPCA has grown into a body that provides consistent, reliable and transparent information about the region’s petrochemicals industry. With this report, we hope to provide a snapshot of developments within the last year, in a way that makes sense to both seasoned insiders, as well as casual readers,” al-Sadoun added. A view of the Ezdan Mall facade in Doha. Al-Raisi and Proctor with the Commercial Bank team after winning the prestigious “Best retail bank in Qatar” award at The Asian Banker’s Excellence in Retail Financial Services 2015 Awards ceremony, held in Singapore. Commercial Bank wins ‘Best retail bank in Qatar’ award C ommercial Bank has won the prestigious “Best retail bank in Qatar” award at The Asian Banker’s Excellence in Retail Financial Services 2015 Awards ceremony, held in Singapore. Commercial Bank was crowned “Best retail bank in Qatar” based on its wideranging achievements over the past three years and ambitious plans for 2015. The Asian Banker is an authoritative provider of strategic business intelligence to the Asian ﬁnancial services community. Applicants for the award were subject to a rigorous three-month evaluation process involving 37 differ- ent criteria, with judging conducted by prominent global bankers, consultants and academics. Commercial Bank CEO Abdulla Saleh al-Raisi said, “We are delighted to receive this award conﬁrming Commercial Bank’s position as the leading retail bank in Qatar and our commitment to our valued customers. Commercial Bank is proud to be a Qatari bank serving Qatari and expatriate customers. “It is an honour to be recognised by international organisations for our market leading and innovative retail products and services that meet the needs of our customers. I would also like to extend my gratitude to the Board for their continuous support, especially during this year in which we celebrate our 40th anniversary.” Commercial Bank executive general manager & chief, Consumer & Private Banking, Dean Proctor, who received the award said, “Commercial Bank has continued to lead the market in customer service, innovation and product offerings, together with launching exciting initiatives for our customers such as exclusive partnerships with Manchester United and IKEA. This award is a result of the dedication and commitment of my Commercial Bank colleagues and it was a proud moment to collect the award their behalf. “Most importantly, I would like to extend sincere thanks to all our Commercial Bank customers; your patronage is highly valued and we will continue to strive to serve your needs with distinction at all times.” Creating a positive customer experience and delivering exceptional customer service remains central to Commercial Bank who are constantly introducing solutions and services to both sustain and upgrade the level of service provided to the bank’s valued personal customers. Commercial Bank’s Internet and Mobile Banking services are regularly upgraded with new and easy to use functionality to enable customers to bank round-the-clock, and the bank’s ﬁrst-to-market “Life in Qatar” proposition has provided thousands of newto-Qatar customers with an easy online account opening process and useful information for relocating. Commercial Bank’s already comprehensive rewards programme for cardholders has been enhanced with the introduction of ‘FlyMiles’ and more recently enabled customer redemption online. This ﬁnancial quarter, Commercial Bank is set to launch “highly attractive” customer offers across a whole range of products including personal and vehicle loans and mortgages, and the bank’s “Life in Qatar” proposition has recently been enhanced through an exclusive partnership with Ooredoo. Commercial Bank is currently rolling out ﬁrst-to-market and technologically advanced mobile point of sale devices, which will greatly assist small and medium sized businesses with card payments, and during this dividend period, the bank continues to offer highly competitive products and rates to savings customers. TENNIS | Page 6 FOOTBALL | Page 2 Clay season may be a short-term fix for Nadal Mathieu the hero as Barca edge past Celta GOLF Tuesday, April 7, 2015 Jumada II 18, 1436 AH Rory and Tiger get Masters sessions with Augusta ace GULF TIMES SPORT Page 5 Prince Ali vows to end Blatter’s reign at FIFA AFP Cairo F Qatar handball team poses with Qatar Handball Association President Ahmad Mohamed al-Shaabi (centre) after winning gold at the 2nd GCC Beach Games at Gharafa court in Doha yesterday. GCC BEACH GAMES QATAR CLINCH HANDBALL GOLD Hosts outplayed Bahrain 18-12, 15-12 for their fourth successive win in the event By Sports reporter Doha H Qatar team celebrate their victory. aving gone into the match assured of gold medal, Qatar‘s handball team signed off in style by beating Bahrain to seal their supremacy at the 2nd GCC Beach Games yesterday. At the Gharafa court, Qatar outplayed Bahrain 18-12, 15-12 for their fourth successive win in the event blazing ahead of the rest of the ﬁeld with eight points. Oman beat Bahrain in another match to clinch silver, while Bahrain, which lost all their four matches, had to be content with bronze. There was no doubt that Qatar’s handball team is in a different league in the region. They have made a series of achievements at the continental and international levels in recent years. Qatar came third in the World Championship held in Brazil last year, and the fourth in the World Games held in Colombia in 2013. They are also Asian champions in the last two editions of the Asian Beach Games held in Haiyang, China in 2012 and in Phuket, Thailand in 2014. Sheikh Sultan bin Humaid al-Hossaini, the Chairman of Handball Organizing Committee at the GCC handed over the gold medals to Qatar team. Despite being guaranteed a gold medal regardless of the result of their match against Bahrain, Qatar did not let their guard down yesterday. The hosts jumped into 12-8 lead in the ﬁrst half and were in control of the match throughout. If not for some splendid saves from Bahraini goalkeeper Mohsen Yafei the scored could have been much bigger. In the second half, the teams were on even keel at 4-4 but Qatar went ahead and scored three points on the trot to take a 10-4 lead. Bahrain did make a comeback to reduce the deﬁcit to 12-10 but the hosts scored back-to-back to win the set and the match. Qatar Handball Association General Secretary Mohammed Jaber al-Mulla praised the team and said the results showed the nation’s dominance in handball. “I congratulate the team for their wonderful performance. This achievement conﬁrms the superiority of our handball team in various competitions. This result is due to combined effort of everyone involved, including player and officials. We hope to achieve more in the forthcoming tournaments, especially in next month’s Asian Championship in Oman, in which want to qualify for the World Cup,” Mulla said. In the sailing competition which began yesterday at Katara Beach, Zakarixa al-Wahabi of Oman jumped into lead after three rounds in Optimist Class. Abdullah al-Bishr of UAE was second and Oman’s Marwan al-Jabri third. Qatar’s Ghanim K al-Sewaidi was in fourth spot. In Laser 4.7 Class, Oman’s sailor Khamis al-Wahaibi was in top position, ahead of Hamza al-Ali of UAE and Abdulrahman Ajinah of Qatar. In Laser Radial Class, Bahrain’s Jassim Showaiter took an early lead. Qatar’s Faris al-Bakri was close second, followed by Saeed al-Zaidi of UAE. In the football competition at Al Gharafa Club, Qatar was languishing at the bottom of the table after the hosts lost 0-3 to Oman yesterday. UAE continued to top the table with two wins from as many matches. Oman is at second place. In another match yesterday, Kuwait thrashed Bahrain 6-1 and to be in the standings. IFA presidential candidate Prince Ali bin alHussein accused Sepp Blatter of turning the presidency into a personal fiefdom as he unveiled his manifesto for the role yesterday. Ali, FIFA vice-president for Asia, told AFP in a phone call from Cairo, where he is attending the Confederation of African Football congress, that an unfair system of patronage had taken root under Blatter. “National associations have to feel that it’s not a matter of an executive president going and supporting national associations on an ad hoc basis, but that they have their rights, they own this association and that they should get the support they need across the board in a case-by-case fashion,” said the Jordanian royal. Ali, Dutch football federation chief Michel van Praag and former Portugal winger Luis Figo are all vying to unseat 79-year-old Blatter, who will seek a fifth term in office in the May 29 election in Zurich. Ali’s manifesto contains several thinly veiled swipes at Blatter, including claims national associations have become dependent on his “personal approval” and a charge that World Cup revenues have been distributed “at the whim of the FIFA president”. He also warns that “drastic action” is required to restore the world governing body’s credibility. When he launched his campaign in February, Ali spoke of a “culture of intimidation” within FIFA and he believes the fear of losing favour may yet influence national association representatives when they vote in the election. “Obviously there is that fear. I have to be honest about that,” he said. “The reason being is that many national associations around the world really depend specifically on FIFA funding, even though I don’t believe it’s where it should be in any case. “Their fear is that there may be punishments in that respect even down to confederations levels, where all of a sudden things are not going very well for them.” Ali, president of the Jordanian Football Association, added: “When it comes down to the election, we also need to discuss with the electoral committee how things are conducted, that it’s a proper, secret ballot. “I do have my concerns about the system that’s in place right now, where possibly people could know who the voter is at the end of the day.” Figo’s manifesto included proposals to increase the size of the World Cup to up to 48 teams, but Ali, 39, believes that all stakeholders should be consulted before any changes are brought in. “I’m a bit surprised because promises are being made to increase the number of participating countries in the World Cup and at the same time, in 2022, to shorten the actual time of the World Cup,” he said. “To me it doesn’t seem like there’s a practical study of how things should be done and we owe it to the whole footballing world to do things in a responsible manner.” The 14-page manifesto outlines Ali’s vision for a “virtuous circle of development, football and commercial success supported by a FIFA that is a service organisation and a model of good governance”. His proposals include increased investment in women’s and youth football, as well as a pledge that every member association will have “a national stadium worthy of that title”. He also wants to overhaul FIFA’s international ranking system, describing it as “flawed”, and calls for “a full and open debate” on the introduction of video technology. Blatter is the overwhelming favourite to win the election, but Ali said he was not yet thinking of withdrawing from the race in order to throw his support behind Van Praag or Figo. “I can’t predict what will happen before May 29 and I’m just focused on national associations, on talking to them, on learning from them and if I’m elected president, on delivering on the promises made,” he said. 2 Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 FOOTBALL FOCUS Rayo next in firing line for free-scoring Real AFP Madrid R eal Madrid continue their pursuit of Barcelona in the La Liga title race away to Rayo Vallecano tomorrow, fresh from a 9-1 thrashing of Granada. Cristiano Ronaldo registered a ﬁvegoal haul for the ﬁrst time in his distinguished career as Madrid bounced back from losing a potentially-decisive clash against Barcelona before the international break. Moreover, coach Carlo Ancelotti has almost a fully ﬁt squad to choose from for the ﬁrst time in ﬁve months with centre-back Pepe the only doubt for the trip across Madrid. Playmaker Isco is available once more after missing out through suspension against Granada, but Ancelotti insisted he is reluctant to make too many changes after such a stunning return to form. “The team is very fresh. Resting players for the sake of it doesn’t make sense. The players will rest when they are tired and there is a risk of injury,” said the Italian. “We are in great form. We have never been in this physical shape before, especially at this time last season.” Rayo come into the game in ﬁne form themselves on the back of three victories to take them into the top half of the table. Manucho was the match winner for Paco Jemez’s men in a 2-1 win at Eibar on Friday and the former Manchester United striker is conﬁdent of springing a surprise against their city rivals. “With the enthusiasm we have in the team and how we are playing at the moment, we think we can beat Madrid,” he said. Rayo’s main threat will be a wellknown one to Madrid fans as former Real youth product Alberto Bueno’s 16 La Liga goals have made him the highest scoring Spaniard in the division. Barca maintained their stranglehold on the title race in less dramatic fashion with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Celta Vigo on Sunday to remain four points clear at the top of the table. Cristiano Ronaldo, who struck five goals in Real Madrid's 9-1 rout of Granada on Sunday, would be the one to watch when his side takes on Rayo Vallecano tomorrow. (AFP) However, the Catalans will be conﬁdent of a more comfortable evening at home to managerless Almeria. The Andalusians sacked Juan Ignacio Martinez at the weekend after a 4-1 defeat to Levante left them in the relegation zone with Miguel Rivera set to take temporary charge, just as he did in a 4-1 defeat to Real Madrid earlier in the season after Francisco had been ﬁred. Champions Atletico Madrid can strengthen their position in third and move to within six points of the leaders when they host David Moyes’s Real Sociedad at the Vicente Calderon today. Atletico lead Valencia by a point in the race to secure automatic qualiﬁcation for the Champions League next season, but will face a stern test in a Sociedad side that has lost just once in their last eight La Liga games. However, in contrast to Ancelotti, Atletico boss Diego Simeone said he plans to use every resource available to him with a Champions League quarter-ﬁnal between the two Madrid giants just a week away. “It doesn’t matter if it is 10, 20 or 60 minutes, the important thing is to do well when you get your chance because we think we have a strong squad,” said the LA LIGA ‘Celta were better in the first half, but the important thing is we took the three points’ Barcelona's French defender Jeremy Mathieu celebrates after scoring against Celta de Vigo in their Spanish league match at the Balaidos stadium in Vigo on Sunday. (AFP) A late 1-0 win on Sunday at midtable Celta Vigo maintained Barcelona’s four-point lead atop the Spanish Liga. Barca needed a goal 16 minutes from time from defender Jeremy Mathieu— who headed in a free-kick from supersub Xavi—to break the spirited resistance of well-drilled Celta. The hosts were the better team in the ﬁrst half but were foiled by Barca goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, then had two good penalty claims turned down. Barca took control in the second half and should have gone ahead when Neymar had a goal disallowed for what looked like a non-existent offside. Celta had midﬁelder Fabian Orellana sent off three minutes from time for unsporting behaviour. Fixtures (all times GMT) Playing Today: Atletico Madrid vs Real Sociedad (1800), Levante vs Sevilla (2000), Eibar vs Malaga (2000) Playing Tomorrow: Barcelona vs Almeria (1800), Deportivo la Coruna vs Cordoba (1800), Granada vs Celta Vigo (2000), Rayo Vallecano vs Real Madrid (2000) Playing on Thursday: Athletic Bilbao vs Valencia (1800), Elche vs Getafe (2000), Villarreal vs Espanyol (2000) CAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Mathieu the hero as leaders Barca scrape past Celta DPA Madrid Argentine. “When you get to this stage of the season, when there are a lot of games, we have to have internal competition and enthusiasm between the players for the minutes that the coach gives you.” Valencia slipped back to fourth after being held to a 0-0 draw by Villarreal on Sunday and face another tricky ﬁxture when they travel to Athletic Bilbao on Thursday. Fifth-placed Sevilla could be level with Los Che by the time they kick off in the Basque country as the Europa League holders now trail Valencia by just three points and they visit Levante today. “It was a very complicated match. Things are always difficult after the break for the international matches,” Mathieu said. “Celta were better than us in the ﬁrst half, but the important thing is that we took the three points. It was wonderful to score the winning goal.” Celta striker Nolito said: “We really should have taken the lead in the ﬁrst half, then it would have been a very different game. “We let them off the hook, and against a team of their quality that is something that you just cannot do.” Barcelona’s outlay of 20 million euros ($22 million) on Mathieu last July prompted plenty of criticism but the France centre-back has been worth his weight in gold in the La Liga leaders’ last two outings. After scoring the opener in Barca’s 2-1 win over second-placed Real Madrid in the ‘Clasico’ two weeks ago, it was Mathieu again who scored the only goal in Sunday's laboured win. Mathieu, who was signed to strengthen a defence that repeatedly let the club down last season, also put in an accomplished performance alongside Gerard Pique at the back as Barca kept their 16th clean sheet in 29 La Liga games this term. “I scored two important goals, I am pleased,” Mathieu said. “Sometimes you have to suffer when you win,” added the 31-year-old, who joined Barca after a ﬁve-year stint at Valencia. “It was a very tough match. After the international break it’s more difficult as your rhythm always drops a bit.” Luis Enrique’s side are also through to the last eight of the Champions League to face Paris St Germain and will play Athletic Bilbao in the King’s Cup ﬁnal at the end of May. Victory in all three competitions would match the club’s unprecedented treble in 2009 under Pep Guardiola. “It could be that we are fresher because a lot of players (in the squad) are used here,” Mathieu said. “That is very important for the ﬁnal stages of the season. We are on the right track and now we have to think about the next match.” Barca have La Liga games at home to Almeria and away at Sevilla before they play at PSG in their quarter-ﬁnal, ﬁrst leg on April 15. Sunday's win left Barca with 71 points from 29 games, four more than secondplace Real, who earlier crushed hapless Granada 9-1 as Cristiano Ronaldo notched the ﬁrst ﬁve-goal match of his illustrious career. Real are ﬁve points above third-place Atletico Madrid, who beat bottom team Cordoba 2-0 Saturday. Valencia are a point below Atletico in fourth place, after a disappointing 0-0 draw at home to sixth-place Villarreal. Also on Sunday, midtable Getafe beat struggling Deportivo Coruna 2-1. Humiliation for Nigerian and SA clubs AFP Durban A disastrous weekend for Nigerian and South African clubs in the CAF Champions League ended with all four representatives eliminated at the last-32 stage. Nigerians Kano Pillars fell to Moroccans Moghreb Tetouan despite a 2-1 second-leg victory through a late Rabiu Ali goal. Tetouan took a four-goal advantage into the return match and Mouhcine Iajour was the star of the tie, scoring a hat-trick in Morocco and another goal in Nigeria. Two-time champions Enyimba clung to a one-goal ﬁrst-leg lead against Egyptians Smouha in Mediterranean port Alexandria until ﬁve minutes from time. But relentless pressure on a Nigerian outﬁt reduced to 10 men by the red-carding of Kingsley Sokari eventually told and they conceded two late goals. Hani Al-Egeizi converted a penalty and Hermann Kouao snatched the tie-clinching second goal in the ﬁnal minute for the Champions League newcomers. Early exits are becoming uncomfortably common for both clubs with Pillars making a preliminary-round departure last year and Enyimba joining them on the 2014 scrapheap after the last-32 stage. South Africans Mamelodi Sundowns were also unable to defend a one-goal advantage on foreign soil, as they crumbled 3-1 at Democratic Republic of Congo giants TP Mazembe. Goals from Zambian Rainford Kalaba, Tanzanian Mbwana Samata and Ivorian Roger Assale gave Mazembe control just before the hour mark in Lubumbashi. And the nationalities of the scorers illustrated the multicountry make-up of a Congolese side bankrolled by mining mag- nate Moise Katumbi. Substitute Percy Tau scored six minutes from time for Sundowns, another club led by a mining billionaire. Emerging Nigerian star Ighodaro Osaguona bagged a brace to earn Moroccans Raja Casablanca a 2-0 home win over Soweto outﬁt Kaizer Chiefs. Tall, thin and sporting a mohican haircut, Osaguona punished the tiring South Africans with a goal after 87 minutes and added another four minutes into stoppage time. Early exits are becoming uncomfortably common for both clubs with Pillars making a preliminaryround departure last year and Enyimba joining them on the 2014 scrapheap after the last-32 stage A 50,000-plus ﬂag-waving, singing crowd in the Stade Mohamed V created a wonderful atmosphere, but there was little goalmouth action during a cagey clash. Osaguona also scored the only ﬁrst-leg goal and is joint leading Champions League scorer this season with Iajour on ﬁve. Ghanaians Asante Kotoko disappointed for the second successive season, losing 2-1 at home to Algerians El-Eulma after forcing a goalless ﬁrst-leg draw. Having struggled to fund the trip to Congo Brazzaville, Kenyans Gor Mahia bowed out after a second 1-0 loss to AC Leopards with Cesaire Gandze scoring in both legs. Zambians Zesco United offered brave resistance against Guineans Kaloum in Bamako before losing a penalty shootout when Jackson Mwanza ﬁred his spot-kick wide. Both Cameroonian clubs fell with Cosmos Baﬁa and Coton Sport suffering two-goal defeats away to Tunisians Esperance and Congolese Sanga Balende respectively. African football body accepts CAS ruling on Morocco ban DPA Berlin T he Confederation of African Football (CAF) has accepted the lifting of a ban on the Moroccan football federation competing in the next two African Cup of Nations tournaments following a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). CAF said in a statement on Sunday it was “committed to implementing the decisions and will comply with this ruling despite the contradictions observed in the CAS decision.” The CAS on Thursday granted an appeal by the Moroccan federation, which had been banned by CAF for failing to organize the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. Morocco had wanted the tournament to be postponed following the Ebola epidemic in some West African countries. The event in January and February went ahead in Equatorial Guinea. In its decision on Thursday, the Lausanne-based CAS said its panel upheld the appeal by the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) “in a large proportion”. The ruling means Morocco will be able to take part in the 2017 and 2019 tournaments. “The sanctions imposed by the CAF on the FRMF have been set aside, with the exception of the fine, which is however reduced to $50,000 (from 1 million),” a statement said. Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 3 FOOTBALL LIGUE 1 ANNOUNCEMENT PSG rally to down spirited Marseille, reclaim top spot ‘We’ll savour the victory but we paid an expensive price because we lost two players. That is a problem but we are very happy to have won here at Marseille’ PSG’s Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic (left) vies with Marseille’s French defender Benjamin Mendy, during their French L1 match in Marseille on Sunday. (AFP) QSL helps lucky fans travel the world By Sports Reporter Doha Q atar Stars League, the highest professional league in Qatari football, has awarded 10 lucky winners with one million Qmiles each, courtesy of Qatar Airways. The competition is part of the Qatar Stars League Football Rewards loyalty programme which encourages everyone in Qatar to attend their favourite team’s matches and rewards fans with once in a lifetime prizes in partnership with Qatar Airways plus discounts from other partners around Qatar. The 10 winners of one million Qmiles each are: season card holders Meethale Aslam, Mark Mead, Marilyn Lilly and Ghanim Alhamadi; Al Sadd fans Hassen Alkhayat and Samseer Arakkal; Qatar Sports Club fans Amine Elidrissi and Michael Scallon; Merilee Patrick, an Al Wakrah fan; and ﬁnally Muharrem Dayioglu, an Umm Salal fan. Each winner attended a number of games during the competition and hail from countries around the world including Qatar, Canada, India, Malaysia, Morocco, Turkey and the United Kingdom. Khalifa Saleh al-Haroon, Executive Director of Marketing & Communications, said: “This promotion was a big success and I am delighted that our lucky winners can now travel the world with Qatar Airways! “The Qatar Stars League is going from strength to strength and initiatives such as Football Rewards play an important part in inspiring the next generation of football fans in Qatar to support a local team. We look forward to launching many more great opportunities like this in the future, so watch this space!” Launched earlier this year, the competition was open to anyone purchasing a ticket online at tickets.qsl.com.qa and attending a match between February and March. As well as the chance to win Qmiles, winners of the fantastic opportunity to ﬂy out with a friend on Qatar Airways to an FC Barcelona match at Camp Nou in Barcelona were announced earlier this month. Qmiles winner Merilee Patrick receives her prize from Meshaal Abdulaziz al-Emadi, Head of Corporate Sponsorship, QSL. ITALIAN CUP Juve, Lazio face uphill SF battles at Fiorentina, Napoli AFP Paris P aris Saint-Germain must now be considered favourites to win a third consecutive Ligue 1 title after coming from behind to beat ﬁerce enemies Marseille 3-2 in ‘Le Classique’ at the Stade Velodrome on Sunday. Marseille held a 2-1 lead at the interval thanks to Andre-Pierre Gignac’s brace either side of a Blaise Matuidi beauty, but two goals in the ﬁrst six minutes of the second half swung the match decisively in the capital club’s favour. Marquinhos equalised and then Jeremy Morel’s own-goal in the 51st minute allowed PSG to claim a seventh consecutive victory against OM in all competitions as Laurent Blanc’s side moved back to the top of the table, a point above Lyon. “Unfortunately tonight (Sunday), we lost two players which is worrying for the upcoming matches,” Matuidi told Canal Plus tv in reference to injuries picked up by David Luiz and Thiago Motta. “Overall, we played a great match but it wasn’t easy against a good Marseille team, but I think the best team won. “It’s up to us to ﬁght to the end and we’ll do everything to win a maximum of trophies,” added Matuidi with PSG in the hunt for the league title, Champions League, French Cup and League Cup. PSG coach Laurent Blanc was happy with the win but disappointed with the injuries. “We’ll savour the victory but we paid an expensive price because we lost two players. That is a problem but we are very happy to have won here at Marseille,” said the former Bordeaux and France coach. “To have won is a very, very good job done tonight (Sunday). “(Blaise) Matuidi was amazing with his physical game and he worked hard this week to try and score a goal because we were winding him up a bit. He hasn’t had much success in front of goal,” added the former Marseille defender. Marseille are now ﬁve points off top spot in third, which will surely prove fatal to their title chances. Not only that, but Bielsa’s team—who had Andre Ayew red-carded after the ﬁnal whistle—are hanging onto the third and ﬁnal Champions League qualifying berth, with fourth-placed Monaco only three points behind with a game in hand. There was an intimidating environment for Paris, whose team bus was struck by missiles—including a golf ball that smashed a window—en route to the ground. It was Marseille who opened the scoring on the half-hour mark, Gignac switching the play to Dimitri Payet on the right and then outmuscling Marquinhos to head home his team-mate’s cross at the back post. When Paris lost David Luiz to a hamstring injury, it looked like it would not be their night, but Matuidi silenced the Velodrome in the 35th minute with a magniﬁcent curling strike into the far top corner of the net on his weaker right foot. However, Marseille reclaimed the lead two minutes before the interval. Alaixys Romao hounded Pastore out of possession in midﬁeld and suddenly Gignac found himself through on goal with just Salvatore Sirigu to beat. His ﬁnish for his 18th goal of the season was cool, and the home support greeted the half-time whistle as though they had won the game. But PSG drew level on 49 minutes, Marquinhos ﬁring into the roof of the net after a Zlatan Ibrahimovic free-kick struck Rod Fanni inside the box and broke to the Brazilian defender. And two minutes after that they scored again, Morel turning a Pastore ball from the left into his own net under pressure from Ibrahimovic. They are in pole position with seven games of the season remaining, although they saw Thiago Motta limp off injured late on and Lyon remain very much in contention after winning 3-1 at Guingamp on Saturday. Monaco came from behind to draw 1-1 with Saint-Etienne on Friday, and while they have a game in hand to play against Montpellier today, their sole focus now is on securing a top-three ﬁnish. Elsewhere on Sunday, an injury-time goal by substitute Nicolas Maurice-Belay gave Bordeaux a 2-1 home victory against relegation-threatened Lens. Mariano had given Bordeaux the lead only for Pablo Chavarria to equalise for the visitors, who are bottom. Caen moved six points clear of the relegation zone after coming from behind to win 2-1 at Nantes. Alejandro Bedoya put the Canaries ahead early on but Emiliano Sala levelled with a penalty 10 minutes from time and a Thomas Lemar free-kick evaded everyone to end up in the net in stoppage time as the Normandy side claimed a ﬁrst win in four. DPA Rome J uventus are sailing smoothly towards a fourth straight Serie A title, but face a big hurdle in the Italian Cup when they visit Fiorentina today in the return of the semi-ﬁnals. La Viola’s Egyptian ace Mohamed Salah scored a brace to seal a 2-1 win in the ﬁrst leg on March 5 at the Juventus Stadium, where the Bianconeri had last crashed 2-0 to Bayern Munich in April 2013. Salah, 22, has scored seven goals since arriving on loan from Chelsea in early February as part of a deal that brought Fiorentina 33 million euros (36.2 million dollars) for the sale of Juan Cuadrado. His latest goal on Saturday helped Fiorentina beat Sampdoria 2-0 to go fourth in the Serie A, but coach Vincenzo Montella has told his team that nothing is achieved yet. “Now, however, we must be clever in not stopping and celebrating. We are still competing on three fronts and it is good to see what is happening in a moment when the team is growing,” he said. Juve also won 2-0, against Empoli, to stay 14 points clear of second-place Roma with nine games left. Now they also hope to stay alive in the cup despite the uphill battle of having to win in Florence. Trophy holders Napoli, who beat Fiorentina in last year’s ﬁnal, host Lazio after a 1-1 draw in Rome, and are also still alive in the Europa League where they face Germany’s Wolfsburg. The Naples side lost 1-0 against Roma Saturday to slip in sixth position and out of the Europa League zone. The mood could not be brighter at Lazio after a 3-1 win at Cagliari kept the Rome side third, one point behind Roma and six ahead of Fiorentina. GERMAN CUP Bayern face difficult Bayer trip in quarters DPA Berlin B undesliga leaders Bayern Munich face a difﬁcult quarter-ﬁnal trip to Bayer Leverkusen tomorrow as they aim to remain on course towards a record third straight German Cup title. Pep Guardiola’s men are coming off a 1-0 Bundesliga victory at Borussia Dortmund, a result that did not help Dortmund’s ambitions of getting a place in Europe via the league. However, the German Cup title on May 30 in Berlin brings with it a Europa League berth, and Dortmund will not want that hope end today at home against Hoffenheim. The last eight in a German Cup season with not too many upsets include the top four in the Bundesliga, as number two Wolfsburg meet Freiburg and third-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach visit third-division leaders Arminia Bielefeld in the other games. Number four Leverkusen beat Munich in their last German Cup duel, 4-2 in the 2009 quarters, but have won only two the next 12 league matches against mighty Bayern. Munich were delighted with the win in Dortmund thanks to an unusual defense-ﬁrst game plan in the absence of Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and David Alaba. They will now hope to have Bastian Schweinsteiger ﬁt from an ankle problem in tomorrow's game. “Winning is a boost. We’ll have to see if we can carry the momentum with us to Leverkusen,” goalkeeper Manuel Neuer said. Forward Robert Lewandowski who scored the winner against his former team Saturday, said: “It’s a crucial month, every game matters. We want to win them all.” Munich are closing in on a third straight domestic double as they rank 10 points clear atop the Bundesliga. Another treble as in 2013 is also not out of the question as they are in the Champions League quarters where they meet Porto. The Champions League decider is also in Berlin’s Olympic stadium, a week after the German Cup ﬁnal. But Leverkusen like their chances as well after a 4-0 demolition of SV Hamburg. “It doesn’t hurt to go into such a game knowing about your strengths. We are in good shape. And we can even beat Bayern if we are in top form,” coach Roger Schmidt said. Dortmund, meanwhile, must end a scoring drought of almost four hours on home ground if they want to advance over Hoffenheim. “We can still achieve a lot in the cup. This is the competition where we have played our best football so far. We want to continue doing this,” left-back Marcel Schmelzer said. Hoffenheim on Saturday crashed 4-1 at home against Moenchengladbach who for their part are big favourites in Bielefeld although the hosts have knocked out Bundesliga clubs Hertha Berlin and Werder Bremen in the past two rounds. German Cup QF fixtures Playing Today: Wolfsburg v Freiburg, Dortmund v Hoffenheim Playing Tomorrow: Arminia Bielefeld v Borussia Moenchengladbach, Bayer Leverkusen v Bayern Munich Dortmund target Europa spot via Cup triumph Borussia Dortmund aim to win this season’s German Cup to keep alive their hopes of European competition next season ahead of today’s quarter-final against Hoffenheim. Borussia’s 1-0 league defeat at home to Bayern on Saturday left them 10th in the table and effectively ended their hopes of a fifth year in the Champions League next season. Jurgen Klopp’s side are now 15 points from qualifying with a top four finish following a dire set of results earlier in the season which left them bottom of the Bundesliga in February. But the 2012 German Cup winners could yet claim a Europa League berth, either by winning this year’s final at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium or a top six finish in the Bundesliga table. “The German Cup game is now very important for us. Going to Berlin is still a major goal for the season,” said Dortmund’s director of sport Michael Zorc. “And although it is still far away, it is of course a way to get back into international competition.” Dortmund have to rediscover their scoring touch at home after failing to claim a single goal in any of their last three games at Borussia’s Westfalenstadion in all competitions. “We can give ourselves a big boost for the rest of the season with a good result and performance against Hoffenheim,” said Germany midfielder Sven Bender. But Dortmund will need to improve on their Bayern defeat which left captain Mats Hummels ruing their “inefficiency” after failing to convert their 15 chances as Bayern’s ex-Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski headed the winner against his former club. Holders Bayern have fresh injury woes for the key tie of the round in Leverkusen with Germany star Bastian Schweinsteiger the latest on their casualty list. Bayern are already missing a trio of injured stars in David Alaba, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery. The German Cup semi-finals will be played on April 28 and 29 with the final in Berlin on May 30. Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 5 GOLF SPOTLIGHT Rory and Tiger get Masters sessions with Augusta ace ‘I’m playing in the Masters. I’ve worked a lot on my game and I’m looking forward to competing’ AFP Augusta T op-ranked Rory McIlroy and 14-time major winner Tiger Woods, each seeking a milestone Masters victory next Sunday, appear to have a key advisor in common—Augusta National ace Jeff Knox. Should either golf superstar capture the green jacket next weekend, McIlroy to complete a career Grand Slam and win his third major in a row or Woods for a ﬁfth time to end a seven-year major win drought, he might just owe some thanks to 51-year-old Knox, who set the Augusta National members course record of 61 in 2003. McIlroy was famously outplayed by non-competing marker Knox in last year’s Masters third round, the Northern Ireland star shooting 71 to Knox’s 70. And Woods played his practice round Friday at Augusta National with Knox, according to a Golf Channel report Sunday, just before announcing that he would play in the Masters, ending a layoff that began February 5 when he withdrew after 11 holes at Torrey Pines. Woods, 39, has been nagged by back injuries for much of the past year, his quest simply to complete 72 holes becoming a soap opera sideshow. “I’m playing in the Masters,” Woods said. “I’ve worked a lot on my game and I’m looking forward to competing.” McIlroy, 25, has won last year’s British Open and PGA Championship and has established himself as the world’s top player, but yearns for the only major crown to have eluded him. “It’s a matter of being prepared and not over-thinking it,” McIlroy said. Knox, already the envy of the golf world for his role as a marker if an odd number of players make the Masters cut, was deeply praised last year by McIlroy. “Jeff is a great player,” McIlroy said at the time. “He obviously knows this place so well and gets it round. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone putt the greens as well as he does. He was really impressive. He played like Top-ranked Rory McIlroy (right) and 14-time major winner Tiger Woods are seeking a milestone Masters victory next Sunday. he should have been playing in the Masters.” Rory picks Knox’s brain McIlroy said that he planned to seek out Knox last month when he visited Augusta National for practice rounds. “Playing with Jeff, it was a treat for me to see how he played the course, see someone that has played it a lot more than me,” McIlroy said six weeks ago. “Even though everyone said, ‘Oh, you got beat by an amateur,’ not many amateurs can shoot 71 off the Masters tee at Augusta. A lot did come out of it. I picked his brain a little bit on the way around ... it did turn into quite a positive for me.” Australian Jason Day hopes to ﬁnd positives after near misses, the two-time US Open runnerup having come second at the 2011 Masters and shared third two years ago. “Preparation is huge on this golf course and I try to do as much of it as I can,” Day said. “All I’m trying to do is tune up a few things and tune them up while it is still early.” Reigning US Open champion USLPGA Martin Kaymer of Germany was among those who arrived at Magnolia Lane early to watch the Drive, Chip and Putt youth skills contest ﬁnals Sunday at Augusta National. “You can see the passion,” Kaymer said. “Last year they inspired me a little bit. They got me ﬁred up. There’s a natural untouched beauty about the passion. We play this every week. Sometimes we forget.” No bigger field since ’66 This year’s Masters ﬁeld of 99, including 54 non-US players, equals the 2011 lineup for the largest since 103 players teed off in 1966. The Masters record of 109 players competed in 1962. Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said in 2011 that 99 starters is “difficult” and “a borderline to be able to present the kind of competition that we want.” “There is a maximum number of competitors for which we can give the experience that we want them to have and do it in a way that’s manageable - 100 pushes that limit quite signiﬁcantly.” PGA Lincicome wins first major J.B. Holmes wins of year in extra holes Houston Open in three-way playoff B L AFP California rittany Lincicome claimed her second major championship by parring the third playoff hole at the ANA Inspiration tournament Sunday to defeat fellow American Stacy Lewis. Lincicome hit a brilliant approach shot on the ﬁnal extra hole then tapped in to take the ﬁrst major championship of the 2015 LPGA Tour season and snap an almost four-year winless drought. “Super emotional right now,” Lincicome said. “I am standing here shaking like a leaf. It is over and I am still shaking. It is just how nerves get to you.” Lincicome also won this event in 2009 for her only other major title. She set the table for both victories by making an eagle on the 72nd hole of the tournaments at the Mission Hills Country Club. Lincicome shot a three-under 69 in the ﬁnal round to ﬁnish tied with Lewis at nine-under 279. Lewis made a furious charge of her own coming from behind on the back nine to chase down Brittany Lincicome poses with the Dinah Shore Trophy after winning the ANA Inspiration on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club on Sunday in Rancho Mirage, California. and surpass third-round leader South Korean rookie Kim SeiYoung. Lewis shot a two-under 70 Sunday. Morgan Pressel ﬁnished solo third at eight-under par while Kim tied for fourth with two others at seven-under, two shots back of the leaders. Lincicome and Lewis returned to the tee on the par-ﬁve 18th for the playoff, not once, but three times. ‘Super easy’ “Gosh, we played that hole so many times,” said Lincicome, whose last win came at the 2011 Canadian Open. “The ﬁrst time we played that hole, it was fairly easy, except that I was so far out of this tournament, that I never had a chance. “So, hitting that ﬁve-iron into the hole the ﬁrst time, was super easy.” Lewis, who was in the ﬁnal group, missed a birdie putt to win on the ﬁnal hole of regulation. Both missed the fairway with their tee shots on the ﬁrst playoff hole, and reached the green with their third. Lincicome two-putted for her par, then watched as Lewis’ birdie effort slid by the edge. It was the same story on the second playoff hole. Both players reached the green in three with Lewis ﬁve feet closer and on the same line. Lincicome’s putt narrowly missed on the left edge. Lewis, who won this event four years ago, also just missed her birdie try on the same side. “It’s getting a little colder and it’s a little bit into the wind out there and the only club I could have hit was three-wood and that was going to go over the green, and my wedges have been so good all week that I was kind of hoping I could wedge it up there close and make the birdie then, but I didn’t,” said the longhitting Lincicome about why she didn’t go for the green in two on the second extra hole. The third time around both players laid up with their second shots, but Lewis’ ball landed in a divot. She came up short of the green with her approach then Lincicome dropped her approach inside 10 feet. Lewis then bungled her chip shot. Reuters Humble, Texas ong-hitting J.B. Holmes completed a perfect Masters tune-up when he won the Houston Open in a three-way playoff on Sunday. Holmes came from six strokes behind in the ﬁnal round with a sizzling eightunder-par 64 that included nine birdies in the ﬁrst 12 holes at the Golf Club of Houston in Humble. Three hours after posting a 16-under 272 total, he made a tap-in par at the second extra hole, the par-four 18th, to outlast fellow American Johnson Wagner, who missed a ﬁve-foot par putt. Overnight leader Jordan Spieth was eliminated at the ﬁrst extra hole. Holmes collected $1.188mn for his fourth PGA Tour victory. The 33-year-old had already qualiﬁed for the Masters, the ﬁrst major of the year starting on Thursday. He has played the J.B. Holmes congratulates his caddie after winning the Shell Houston Open at the Golf Club of Houston on the second hole of a playoff on Sunday in Humble, Texas. tournament once. “It was just a great day for me and it ended good too,” Holmes told reporters. “I didn’t tee off expecting to win today. It’s a nice surprise. I started out with ﬁve birdies. After that I thought I had a chance.” Wagner, who played on a sponsor exemption, needed to win to punch his ticket to Augusta, and he gave himself a chance when he sank a 25-foot putt at the 72nd hole to join the playoff. “Birdieing 18 to even get into the playoff was pretty incredible,” he said. “I’m pretty bummed right now, but a lot of good stuff going on.” Spieth missed a chance to enter the Masters as the world number two, but remained the hottest player in the game, after ﬁnishing ﬁrst, second and second in his past three starts. 6 Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 SPORT FOCUS CYCLING Kristoff looking to emulate Norwegian great Hoshovd Clay season may be a short-term fix for Rafa’s slump AFP Oudenaarde, Belgium A Now ranked 5th, success at French Open is vital for Nadal to restore his confidence By Ben Rothenberg The Guardian R afael Nadal (pictured) is heading back to the terrain on which he is most comfortable, but with a shakier foundation than he has had in a decade. A scan of yesterday’s rankings tell the story in one bare fact: the once unstoppable Nadal is now ranked ﬁfth in the world. Nadal has long been at his best in the spring European clay court swing, dominating from Monte Carlo in April to the French Open in June. But despite winning his ninth French Open title, Nadal’s performance in that stretch last year was the second-worst of his career since his ﬁrst French Open title in 2005, earning 3,870 ranking points. With time missed due to various injuries and illnesses, as well as a multitude of stunning losses to players against whom he would normally dominate, Nadal sputtered, and earned only 1,385 ranking points in the nine-month stretch after the 2014 French Open. That total is tied for just 22nd in the ATP over the time period, and gives Nadal little cushion as he heads back onto the clay. After a quarter-ﬁnal loss at Indian Wells and a third-round loss in Miami, Nadal has fallen to No 5 in this week’s ATP rankings, his worst in two years, having been passed by Andy Murray and supplanted in the top four by Kei Nishikori. Perhaps more tellingly, he is less than 200 points ahead of No6 Milos Raonic; Nadal has not been ranked outside the top-ﬁve since before winning his ﬁrst French Open title, almost 10 years ago. Nadal, rarely enamored with his own greatness even at the height of his career, has acknowledged his recent slide bluntly. At Indian Wells in early March, thenthird-ranked Rafael Nadal was asked what it meant that he, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Murray once again occupied the top-four spots in the ATP rankings. “I’m not going to be in the top four soon,” he replied, smiling. “No worries. That’s going to change. I defend a lot of points until Roland Garros, so it’s a big chance that I will be out of that top four. But I hope to be back.” But as relaxed as he’s been about his slide in the abstract, Nadal on-court has been uncharacteristically tense and unsteady this year. As he feels his body and game regaining strength, his mental toughness has lagged behind. “It’s not the question of tennis,” Nadal said after his third round loss in Miami. “The thing is the question of being enough relaxed to play well on court. One month ago or one month and a half ago, I didn’t have the game. Today my game in general improved since a month and a half. But at the same time, still playing with too much nerves for a lot of moments, in important moments, still playing with a little bit of anxious on that moments.” Nadal admits that these more frequent mental struggles are something foreign to his game. “It’s something that didn’t happen a lot during my career,” he said. “I have been able to be under control, control my emotions during, let’s say, 90 percent, 95 percent of my matches of my career. It’s something that today is being tougher to be under self-control. But I am going to ﬁx it. I don’t know if in one week, in six months, or in one year, but I am going to do it.” Clay would seem to be the obvious elixir for what ails Nadal, having been the undisputed king of the surface for a decade now. But with Djokovic having swept the three biggest tournaments of the year so far, and more intent than ever to capture an elusive ﬁrst French Open title, he may ﬁnd this his most challenging clay swing yet. But Nadal’s struggles may also make life more difficult for Djokovic; if he is not ranked inside the top-four, Nadal could face Djokovic at the French Open as early as the quarter-ﬁnals (Djokovic is 0-6 against Nadal at the tournament). Having said that, Nadal and Djokovic are separated by less than a year in age, but appear now as players at starkly different stages of their careers. Nadal, 28, has been winning major titles for nearly a decade, at least one a year. He won his ﬁrst as an 18-year-old superhuman force of torque and muscle never seen before in the sport, and the years have put inevitable wear and tear on a powerful engine. It was always difficult to imagine Nadal could sustain himself with such a high octane for so long. Djokovic, 27, started out in tennis all too mortal, felled by asthma and other frailties which undercut his chances of reaching the sport’s pantheon. But time has only made him stronger, vulcanizing his rubber physique and establishing him as the undisputed No 1 in the world. Both men have now spent exactly 141 weeks at the top spot in the rankings, but it’s easy to believe now that Nadal’s count may never increase while Djokovic might just be getting started. Nadal’s conﬁdence will improve as his results do, but it’s hard to see him matching the yearround, uninterrupted excellence of his younger, healthier days in order to ascend over the peaking Serb. Having said that, facing Nadal on clay is still an awesome proposition. “Hopefully the clay helps,” said Nadal. “It’s obvious that if I am able to win my matches on clay, to feel my game conﬁdent there, then the doubts are less.” Considering the absurdity of the double-digit French Open haul he is hoping to achieve this year, he has kept the stakes at this moment of his career ﬁrmly in perspective. “I don’t have nothing to lose,” he said. “At this point of my career I won enough things to say I don’t need to win more. “But I want to do it. I want to keep competing well. I want to keep having the feeling that I can be competing for every tournament I gonna play, and I have the motivation to do it. Obviously clay is [the] surface that I had some success on, and I hope to be ready for it again.” lexander Kristoff humbly played down comparisons with compatriot Thor Hushovd after making history by becoming the ﬁrst Norwegian to win the Tour of Flanders. It was Kristoff ’s second victory in a ‘Monument’ race following success at Milan San-Remo last year and he is rapidly making a name for himself as both a sprinter and a Classics specialist. It was his third straight top ﬁve ﬁnish in Flanders while he won Milan-San Remo last year, was second this year and eighth in 2013. He also won two stages at last year’s Tour de France and took bronze in the Olympic road race in 2012. But he says he has a long way to go to overtake Hushovd, who in 2010 was the ﬁrst ever Scandinavian to win the World Championships road race. “Now I have won two ‘Monuments’ so I’m getting closer, but he delivered for many years,” said Kristoff, who rides for Russian outﬁt Katusha. “If I keep putting results together, maybe I will get closer.” Hushovd retired at the end of last year at 36 years of age having set a number of records for a Scandinavian cyclist: He was the ﬁrst winner of the World Championships in 2010 and won a record number of Grand Tour stages — 14, including 10 at the Tour de France. He was also the ﬁrst Norwegian to wear the Tour’s fabled yellow jersey in 2006, wearing it again in 2010. Hushovd, though, was a specialist sprinter, as well as a handy time-triallist, and never won a Monument race. The closest he came was a second place ﬁnish at Paris-Roubaix in 2010, although he ﬁnished third the previous year and was twice third at Milan-San Remo— ironically his greatest successes coming in the same two races that favour Kristoff. Hushovd did win the GentWevelgem cobbled classic in 2006 and the semi-classic Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2009. But Kristoff, 27, wants to concentrate more on the Classics, believing that will help him extend his ability to win big races. “I wanted to be good in the Classics and not only a sprinter,” he said. “To win Flanders is proof that I’m good in the Classics. This is where I can make results. As you get older, you get slower and maybe sprinting will be more difficult, but at the Classics maybe I’ll get better because you can handle long distances better.” The key to success in a race like Flanders, which is 264km long and tackles 19 short but brutal and often cobbled climbs, is to go on the attack, according to Kristoff. “In Flanders you must have an attacking mind because usually it is a small group coming into the ﬁnish,” he said. “I saw this in the last years and I was already set for this.” Next up comes Paris-Roubaix on Sunday but Kristoff says he doesn’t have the same feeling for the third of the Monuments— the other two being Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Tour of Lombardy—as he does the ﬁrst two. “I struggle more on the ﬂat cobbles. I’ve only ﬁnished it three times but I’ll try to ﬁnish in the top 10,” he said. Team Katusha rider Alexander Kristoff of Norway celebrates his win in the Tour of Flanders on Sunday. (Reuters) RUGBY Abendanon sends England World Cup reminder AFP Paris N ick Abendanon’s outstanding form for Clermont in Top 14 and European Champions Cup action has sent out a timely reminder to England coach Stuart Lancaster ahead of this year’s World Cup. The 28-year-old South African-born full-back won two caps for England, against the country of his birth and France, way back in 2007. His performances for Bath, with whom he played more than 200 matches over eight seasons between 2005-14, and subsequent ﬂeet-footed form for Clermont have led many pundits to ask why he hasn’t featured more. After helping Clermont to a 37-5 rout of Northampton in the European Champions Cup quarter-ﬁnal on Saturday - his try-scoring performance winning him the man-of-the-match accolade, Abendanon admitted to feeling aggrieved at his lack of international honours. “There’s been no communication so I’ve just got to keep working here and if Clermont keep playing well then maybe I’ll be called up to the World Cup training squad but we’ll see,” Abendanon said. “Deep down I’m still upset that over the last 10 years I’ve only had two caps and I’ve always wanted to play more for England.” But Abendanon faces an uphill struggle, not only because of the form of incumbent Mike Brown and favoured deputy Alex Goode, but also because Lancaster selects players solely plying their trade in the English Premiership. “It’s about timing, Mike Brown has been in great form for the last six or seven years and Alex Goode has also got that utility that England like - Browny never seems to get injured either!” Abendanon told Sky Sports. “At times it is waiting for an injury or an opportunity. It helps when you play in a winning team and unfortunately when I was at Bath we were in the middle of the pack for a few seasons. “I’m not really worrying about England. If I keep playing well there may be dispensation but that’s not at the front of my mind at all. “In the back of my head I’ve always wanted to play more for England. To maybe get that opportunity for a World Cup in England would be a dream come true.” Certainly Abendanon’s stand-out performance against the runaway English Premiership leaders lit up social media, with many questioning whether he might be left to one side like Toulon ﬂanker and reigning European player of the year Steffon Armitage. [email protected]_abendanon staking a claim that he could, like @Magicsteffo7, be a potential wild card for higher honours later this season?!?” Toulon’s Spring- Nick Abendanon won two caps for England, against South Africa, which is the country of his birth, and France, way back in 2007. bok winger Bryan Habana tweeted. Ex-England full-back Iain Balshaw, who also sparkled when he joined Biarritz, responded to Habana: “No doubt. That “playing abroad” policy is a load of b******* !!” Abendanon, however, insisted he had no regrets over his move to France, saying he was relishing the freedom he was being given in the Clermont side. “This is one of the reasons why I have come to one of the best clubs in Europe, to play in the big games here - it’s an incredible experience,” he said. “Our coaches have basically said ‘if you’re on the front foot, you have the licence to play, you’ve got the licence to do whatever you want’. That suits me down to a tee because my ﬁrst instinct is to attack with the ball.” Clermont coach Franck Azema was full of praise for Abendanon after the Northampton rout. “He mixes up his game very well,” he said of the full-back. “The ﬁrst two times he touched the ball he kicked! “He’s very determined in everything he does and his teammates know how to respond around him, to adapt themselves to his angles of running.” Clermont hooker Benjamin Kayser is one of the handful of French players in a team that featured eight nationalities against Northampton, and he said the likes of Abendanon and Wales centre Jonathan Davies were playing their best rugby at the club. “The club has been doing great for the last few years, targeting some great players,” said Kayser. “And players like Jonathan Davies and Nick Abendanon, everyone knows they’re great players, but they’ve applied themselves properly here.” Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 7 SPORT MIAMI MASTERS WTA RANKINGS Djoko out to make most of his moment ‘...this cannot go forever. There is going to be eventually a change of generations’ Williams extends lead, Suarez Navarro in top 10 DPA Berlin into the top 10 for the ﬁrst time in 10th place thanks to reaching the Miami ﬁnal, up from 12th. S WTA top 10 1. Serena Williams (USA) 9,981 2. Maria Sharapova (RUS) 7,890 3. Simona Halep (ROU) 7,571 4. Petra Kvitova (CZE) 6,060 5. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 4,675 6. Ana Ivanovic (SER) 4,200 7. Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) 4,122 8. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 3,420 9. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 3,385 10. Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) 3,340 erena Williams (pictured below) increased her lead in the women’s tennis rankings issued yesterday by the WTA in the wake of an eighth Miami title and rival Maria Sharapova eliminated in the ﬁrst round of that Masters event in Florida. Williams has 9,981 points to Sharapova’s 7,890, with Simona Halep third on 7,571. Carla Suarez Navarro broke Japanese centenarian notches up world swim record Novak Djokovic poses at Crandon Park after winning the Miami Open final against Andy Murray on Sunday. (AFP) AFP Miami N ovak Djokovic, entering the 141st week of his career at number one in the world and fresh off a milestone ﬁfth Miami Masters title, just wants to keep up the pace as long as he can. “I’m trying to enjoy the moment and also utilize this time of my career. I’m feeling conﬁdent and physically ﬁt,” Djokovic said Sunday after a gritty threeset triumph over Andy Murray in the Miami ﬁnal. “I’m trying to use that. That’s what I’m thinking about right now,” added the 27-year-old Serb, who goes into the European claycourt season highlighted by the French Open having won the three biggest tournaments of the ﬁrst quarter of the year: the Australian Open and both the Indian Wells and Miami Masters. “I am aware that this cannot go forever,” Djokovic said. “There is going to be eventually a change of generations, some players that are going to start playing better and be stronger. “But until that time comes, I’m going to try to stay as long as I can on the top and ﬁght for the biggest titles.” With 4,000 points separating him from Federer at number two in the world, Djokovic is poised to ﬁnish at number one in the world for the fourth time in ﬁve years. His 22nd ATP Masters victory is just one short of Roger Federer’s 23 on a list led by Rafael Nadal’s 27. Djokovic became the ﬁrst player to sweep the back-to-back titles at Indian Wells and Miami for a third time. It’s the kind of achievement that he says fuels his ambition. “Of course I do pay attention of that,” he said. “Any kind of achievement that goes into history books I’m hugely proud of and I appreciate it very much, because I work hard for it and I do cherish it.” Djokovic’s victory in Melbourne was his eighth Grand Slam triumph and his ﬁrst since becoming a father and husband last year. He says having a family had added a new dimension to his successes on court. CALMNESS AND SELF-BELIEF A rigorous ﬁtness regime allows him to play at a high level tournament after tournament, while coach Boris Becker has helped him hone his mental game. He needed all of his physical reserves in punishing heat and humidity against Murray. But after a second-set dip in his energy level he roared back for a 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 6-0 triumph—his seventh straight win against the Scot. “I managed to, again, rely on the energy supply that I have in my legs and my ﬁtness to basically hold on and make it all the way through the match (to) play the third set the way I have played, like I haven’t really been exhausted too much even though we played over two and a half hours.” But ﬁtness isn’t everything, Djokovic said, especially on the game’s biggest stages. “Obviously tennis is an individual and very complex sport,” he said. “It requires a right balance between the physical preparation and mental strength and emotional, I would say, calmness and self-belief. “You kind of holistically need to approach it and be at your top.” Tokyo: A 100-year-old Japanese woman has become the world’s first centenarian to complete a 1,500-metre freestyle swim, 20 years after she took up the sport. Mieko Nagaoka took just under an hour and 16 minutes to finish the race as the sole competitor in the 100-104-year-old category at a short course pool in Ehime, western Japan, on Saturday. “I want to swim until I turn 105 if I can live that long,” the sprightly Nagaoka told Kyodo News. Her achievement is expected to be recognised by Guinness World Records, the agency reported. Admirable though it is, Nagaoka’s time is a little off the global pace; 18-year-old American Katie Ledecky holds the women’s world record for the 1,500-metre freestyle, having clocked just 15 minutes 28.36 seconds. Nagaoka, who published a book last year entitled ‘I’m 100 years old and the world’s best active swimmer’, is no stranger to the 1,500-metre race, having completed the distance at the age of 99 in an Olympic-sized pool. Nagaoka only took up swimming when she hit 80, one of the growing number of elderly Japanese who are enjoying longer and healthier lives as the country ages. There were nearly 59,000 centenarians in Japan in September last year, government figures show—which means 46 out of every 100,000 people is 100 or over. Among them are several who remain physically active long after many people have given up the ghost. They include sprinter Hidekichi Miyazaki, who was 103 when he bagged the world record for the 100-metre dash in the 100-104 age category, clocking up a respectable 29.83 seconds. His late-blooming athletic prowess has seen him dubbed “Golden Bolt”—a reference to Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. BOTTOMLINE Murray must work harder if he is ever to end Djokovic torture By Kevin Mitchell The Guardian N othing in tennis matters more to Andy Murray than beating Novak Djokovic, although seeing off Tomas Berdych comes close. So a 10th defeat by the world No1 in 11 matches on the court a short drive from his second home, in Miami, surely leaves a scar that will take some healing. For the second time in their past three matches Djokovic - in great shape to do the Grand Slam this year - did not allow Murray a game in the concluding set. The ﬁnish of the Miami Open was a nightmarish re-run of the Australian Open ﬁnal, when the Serb also shut out the Scot. That four-setter, which Murray knows he could have won, took three hours and 39 minutes; this championship decider lasted two hours and 46 minutes, and the ﬁrst two sets also could have gone either way before the dispiriting denouement. The champion celebrated his 7-6, 4-6, 6-0 victory on Sunday as humbly as was required. Murray also honoured his obligations. “I’d like to congratulate Novak,” he said courtside, but if anyone detected gritted teeth they probably would have not been far from the actuality. “I have to keep working hard and hope it will come.” Well, yes. But there is no denying the gap in ATP points and titles. Djokovic, 8-2 up in majors, is more Andy Murray’s (left) Miami Open final loss was his 10th in 11 matches against Novak Djokovic. (AFP) than 8,000 points clear of Murray in the rankings, with Roger Federer, rising 34, closest and a good 3,000-plus behind the champ. Rafael Nadal left Florida mentally shot and clearly there is something amiss with the Spaniard, who is sliding south in the rankings at a worrying clip, also trailing by a conﬁdence-squashing 8,000-plus points. Murray, though, has much of his career in front of him. And he positively hungers for vic- tory over the rival he knows better than he does any of his contemporaries, because their lives and their careers have run along such uncanny parallel lines since they met in the south of France when 11 years old. And, given their talent, they mostly only meet at the end of tournaments; every encounter is signiﬁcant. On Saturday in his home town, Dunblane, Murray marries his long-time partner Kim Sears. In a little over a month he turns 28; Djokovic, who married his long-time partner Jelena Ristic after winning Wimbledon last year, will celebrate his 28th birthday exactly a week after Murray. They are umbilically linked, a blessing as much as a curse, because such propinquity serves up constant comparison. Whatever the public pretence by Djokovic that theirs is a relationship of mutual warmth, however, they are what Murray so aptly described a couple of years ago as no more than “professional friends”. While there were many moments to savour in this ﬁnal - some of Murray’s recovery work from behind the baseline deﬁed description - consistency eluded him. His smash was a liability, his propensity to squander easy winners disturbing. No other player brings so much of both the best and the worst out of Murray. It is difficult to gauge the psychic damage Djokovic has inﬂicted on Murray over the years. In winning 18 of 25 encounters overall Djokovic has always prevailed if he has won the ﬁrst set, a statistic so chilling in its baldness it is impossible to ignore the debate as to why it should be so. One reason the discussion fascinates seasoned observers is that Murray cannot hide his suffering; he is a psychoanalyst’s delight, a tightrope walker wearing greased shoes. In a weird ﬁrst set Murray won eight more points on Djokovic’s ﬁrst serve, 13, than when receiving his second - which is utterly perverse: blowing the easier chances after grinding it out at the ﬁrst time of asking. That, surely, is a concentration problem. “So much good tennis,” his old coach Miles Maclagan said on Sky. Really? How about so many blown opportunities at key moments, or how to make life unnecessarily difficult for yourself? Djokovic, forever the Serbian panther, stretched his elastic body almost as much as Murray’s patience. This was more about Murray losing it than Djokovic grabbing the game by the throat. When Murray dumped a backhand into the net in the tie-break to hand Djokovic the ﬁrst set, the Scot suddenly had the weight of their past on his shoulders. The torture continued, of course, in the second set. Murray, favoured by the serving cycle, had to save four break points to hold from 15-40 and hold a 2-1 lead and struggled to shed the impression of vulnerability that was giving Djokovic heart. The ﬁrst time they met in Miami - in the semiﬁnal eight years ago - Djokovic allowed Murray one game in the ﬁrst set, none in the second. As the loser said on Sunday night, he still has work to do. Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 9 BASEBALL MLB OPENING DAY Wainwright, Cardinals spoil Lester’s Cubs debut ‘If you allow him to establish his rhythm and what he’s trying to do, then it’s going to be a long day’ By Mark Gonzales Chicago Tribune (TNS) O pening night at Wrigley Field started promisingly Sunday with the unveiling of the new video board and a tribute to the late Ernie Banks. But fans went home disappointed after a 3-0 loss to the rival Cardinals that the Cubs and newcomer Jon Lester can use as a learning tool. Lester showed signs of rust, and the woes that plagued the Cubs in 2014 resurfaced. As for Lester, 31, whom the Cubs signed to a six-year, $155 million contract in December, there will be plenty of chances to redeem himself after coping with a “dead arm” two and a half weeks ago. Lester seemed to warm up for longer than usual during the Cubs’ lengthy pregame ceremony. But he didn’t use that as an excuse for lasting only 41/3 innings and 89 pitches, regretting that he couldn’t give the fans a better showing. “I feel my warm-up was good,” Lester said. “I felt I was in a good spot with good rhythm and good shape to my pitches -- stuff that I look for in my warm-up. I don’t look at the location or results so much. But the rhythm and tempo was good in the pen. “I didn’t carry it over too much into the game for whatever reason.” Lester threw 84 pitches in a minorleague game on Thursday but hadn’t pitched against major-leaguers since March 16. “It’s still getting the ball down in the zone, regardless of who you’re pitching against,” said Lester, who allowed eight hits. “I didn’t do that. I’ll get back at it on Tuesday. The biggest thing is getting that (arm) angle. It was there at times. I threw some cutters that weren’t really good, really ﬂat that can’t happen. We’ll make the adjustment and get back to work in the next one.” Manager Joe Maddon also took note of the fact that Lester didn’t keep Cardinals baserunners close, which allowed them to advance from ﬁrst to third base twice on singles and steal three bases. “I’m sure people are going to talk about that a little bit,” Maddon said. “It’s up to us to make sure it’s not a problem. Jon worked diligently in camp working against that. I believe in Jon Lester.” Lester also was victimized by a lack of run support as the Cubs, who ranked 14th in the league with a .223 batting average with runners in scoring position last season, were 0-for-13 in that situation against ace Adam Wainwright and three relievers. “(Wainwright) is so good,” Lester said. “You don’t get to him early, it’s like a lot of the great pitchers. If you allow him to establish his rhythm and what he’s trying to do, then it’s going to be a Players lineup during introductions before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals on the Opening Day game in Chicago on Sunday. (UPI) St. Louis Cardinals’ Matt Holliday hits an RBI single. (USA Today Sports) long day. We made him work at times. We had some chances, but that’s what makes him so good. He’s able to combat that and make pitches and keep us blanked.” After Tommy La Stella hit a single in the third, Wainwright retired 12 of the ﬁnal 14 batters he faced. The Cubs had their share of ﬁelding issues as Jorge Soler bobbled a single by Matt Holliday in right that allowed Jason Heyward to score easily with the ﬁrst run in the ﬁrst. Maddon’s “Respect 90” slogan also was put to the test in the second when Mike Olt didn’t run all the way to ﬁrst base after striking out and was tagged out by All-Star catcher Yadier Molina. St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright in action during the MLB game against Chicago Cubs. (UPI) BOTTOMLINE Pirates know the importance of getting off to fast start this season By Rob Biertempfel The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (TNS) F inishing two games behind the St. Louis Cardinals kept the Pirates from winning the NL Central crown last year. Two wins cost them a chance to host the ﬁve-game division series instead of being thrust into the winner-take-all wild-card game. Those two extra wins could have come at any point during the six-month season. It might have been easiest to ﬁnd them in April, the only month in which the Pirates had a losing record. Coming off their breakthrough 2013 season, the Pirates were full of conﬁdence coming out of spring training last year. But they staggered through April, going 10-16 against a slate of division opponents. They lost eight of the ﬁnal 10 games before ﬂipping the calendar to May. That stretch included a pair of 1-3 series against the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers. “We would never have anticipated that we’d struggle as much in April as we did,” second baseman Neil Walker said. “Maybe we set expectations too high and thought it was going to be easy. We just didn’t play real well. It was a Pittsburgh Pirates fell short by two wins against St Louis Cardinals from winning the NL Central Crown. wake-up call for us.” The last time the Pirates had winning April records in consecutive seasons was 1990-92. They ended up with 95- plus victories and won the NL East in each of those three years. In 2013, the Pirates went 15-12 in April. They wound up winning 94 games and reached the playoffs for the ﬁrst time in two decades. “For us, that was bigger than big -it was historic,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “But if you want to become elite, you have to continue to do it. We’ve got to continue to be hungry.” It took the Pirates until June last year to rediscover their appetite and surge toward the top of the division standings. This season, they realize the importance of getting off to a strong start. “It felt like (spring training) camp was different this year,” shortstop Jordy Mercer said. “There are more expectations now. “We know we’ve still got a lot of work to do. We haven’t won the division yet, and that’s huge for us. That’s more important than anything, and that’s what our camp was all about. We want to win the division, get to that ﬁve-game (division) series and see what can happen.” This year’s April schedule does not seem especially daunting. Thirteen of 22 games are against NL Central foes. Their only opponent that had a winning record last year is the Detroit Tigers, who play a three-game set at PNC Park. “This is when we start creating separation,” pitcher Jeff Locke said. “You’ve got to do it early. You hear people talk about meaningful games in late August and September. Well, opening day is pretty meaningful. The second game is pretty meaningful. They all count the same in the end.” Padres acquire Kimbrel, Upton Jr from Braves The San Diego Padres made another move to improve their roster ahead of their season opener when they acquired closer Craig Kimbrel (pictured above) and Melvin Upton Jr. in a trade with the Atlanta Braves on Sunday. The Padres sent outfielders Carlos Quentin and Cameron Maybin, two minor leaguers and a draft pick in exchange. San Diego have already landed power-hitters Matt Kemp, Wil Myers and Justin Upton, Melvin’s brother, along with catcher Derek Norris and third baseman Will Middlebrooks. Ace pitcher James Shields also arrived from Kansas City. Kimbrel is a four-time National League All Star who saved 186 games in five seasons for the Braves. San Diego are set to begin the season on Monday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. 10 Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 CRICKET SPOTLIGHT Ballance eager to impress and get critics off Moores’ back With an Ashes series looming on the horizon this summer, a victory against the West Indies is important for England By Chris Stocks in Basseterre The Guardian I f any member of England’s touring party in the Caribbean can be forgiven for having a World Cup hangover it is Gary Ballance. The 25-year-old batsman was parachuted into the team, at the key position of No3 no less, on the eve of the team’s opening match of the tournament against Australia in the bear pit of the MCG. It would have been a tough ask of anyone, let alone a relative international rookie who had only just overcome a fractured ﬁnger. Ballance duly bombed, his sequence of scores reading 10, 10, 10 and six before he was dropped for the penultimate group match against Bangladesh in Adelaide, where defeat consigned England to the most ignominious of early World Cup exits. However, a new tour promises a fresh start and Ballance can console himself with a remarkable set of statistics in Test cricket. The Zimbabwean-born batsman averages 60.75 across eight matches and has three centuries and three ﬁfties to his name. So the reasons for optimism are there and he is keen to play them up. “It’s been a tough winter but you have to move on,” Ballance said. “Test cricket has gone well for me, so I have to look at what I did well last summer and take that into this series. We’re obviously disappointed with how the World Cup went but you can’t really dwell on it too much. You have to learn from what you did badly and try to get better. That’s what we’re doing. It’s a change of format and we’ve won our last three Tests so you have to take those positives into this series. We have to look at last summer, when we beat India, and produce the same kind of cricket in this series.” The position of Peter Moores, England’s coach, has come into sharp focus following the World Cup. With an Ashes series looming on the horizon this summer, Moores knows victory against West Indies is paramount to preserve his own position. England start their tour in earnest on Monday with the ﬁrst of two two-day matches against a St Kitts & Nevis Invitation XI at Warner Park. With conﬁdence in short supply, a good start will be essential for both Moores and Alastair Cook, the Test captain, who can now be thankful for being stripped of the one-day captaincy on the eve of England’s departure for the World Cup. Ballance owes Moores much, the Lancastrian’s faith in putting the Yorkshire batsman at three in England’s Test order being repaid with a series of outstanding performances during last summer’s 3-1 series win against India. “For me he’s been brilliant,” said Ballance after being asked about the speculation over the coach’s future. “Since I started working with him I’ve scored a few runs in Test cricket so I’ve “It’s been a tough winter but you have to move on. Test cricket has gone well for me, so I have to look at what I did well last summer and take that into this series. We’re obviously disappointed with how the World Cup went but you can’t really dwell on it too much. You have to learn from what you did badly and try to get better. That’s what we’re doing ” Gary Ballance averages 60.75 across eight matches and has three centuries and three fifties to his name. (Reuters) only got good things to say about him. He’s been brilliant with me and everyone else – he’s been very good. He’s deﬁnitely helped me on a personal level and in a team sense he’s been good.” The team are behind him too, despite the awkward persona Moores transmits in public. “Yes, from what I’ve seen then yes, deﬁnitely,” he said. “Everyone’s behind him and everyone’s behind Cooky and we’re focusing on winning this series and not looking too far ahead.” Colin Graves, who takes over as chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board next month, has written off West Indies as ‚“mediocre” and threatened “inquiries” if Moores’ team do not beat them. It is, perhaps unsurprisingly, not a view shared by anyone in the England camp, many of whom still remember the 1-0 defeat here in 2009. “Well, I don’t think they’re a pushover,” Ballance said. “They’ve got some quality players in FOCUS their bowling attack and with the bat so we’re not taking them lightly. We’ve worked hard the last few days and we go in with conﬁdence from the last series but we’re going to have to start well and put in a good performance at the start of the Test series. You can’t dwell on the past or look too far ahead. You’ve got to look at the next game and do what you can to win that.” Despite the trauma of this winter, England should still have enough to win the Test series, which starts in Antigua on Monday. “You could say that,” Ballance said, “but it’s also in the West Indies, it’s their home series and they had a good result last time here against us. If we start well and get on the front foot early on we can look to win that ﬁrst game and push on from there.” So no inquiry will be needed then? “Let’s hope not,” replied Ballance, who perhaps captured the sentiment of everyone who has an interest in the health of English cricket. ROUND-UP Pietersen hits out at Graham Bailey not expecting to Gooch’s role in 1982 rebel tour be full-time ODI captain IANS Melbourne Chris Stocks The Guardian A E ngland are doing their best to move on from their embarrassing World Cup campaign but even the Atlantic is not wide enough to get away from the Kevin Pietersen soap opera. While Peter Moores and his team were preparing for their opening warm-up match of the Caribbean tour in St Kitts, Pietersen’s latest social media row was breaking, this time the exiled batsman laying into England’s former batting coach Graham Gooch. Gooch’s crime in Pietersen’s eyes was to give an interview in which he deigned to suggest England needed to win their three-Test series against West Indies to banish talk of you-know-who. Pietersen’s response, via Twitter, saw him call out Gooch – still England’s leading runscorer in Tests – for captaining a rebel tour of apartheid South Africa in 1982. “Graham Gooch – you captained a rebel tour of SA, got banned & then returned to the England team. I don’t think I’ve done anything as bad!” Pietersen tweeted, perhaps forgetting his spite-ridden book released last October that was the most spectacular example of bridge burning one is likely to see. He later added that, “He [Gooch] should be saying there is always a way back!!!” Pietersen has been given hope of an unlikely international recall by Colin Graves, the incoming chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board. Graves, speaking in March, more than two months before taking office, said England “can’t ignore” Pietersen if he scores a mountain of runs in county cricket. It is understood Pietersen has since spoken to both Graves and Tom Harrison, the ECB’s new chief executive, about a possible recall. Moores has also privately told Graves and Kevin Pietersen (left) and Graham Gooch. Harrison he could work with Pietersen again despite the pair’s spectacular falling out in 2009, which saw the batsman lose his job as captain and Moores sacked in his ﬁrst incarnation as coach. In response to these positive signals, Pietersen has re-signed for Surrey this summer and committed to playing ﬁrst-class cricket for the ﬁrst time since in 16 months. The prospect of a second integration remains remote but it is a possibility. It is perhaps why the 34-year-old is so touchy about the subject, his response to Gooch’s comments an overreaction in anyone’s book. Gooch, speaking to the BBC, had said of Pietersen: “He is box office and still good enough – it is whether he has the will and appetite to go to these places and turn it on for Surrey. “Ever since he was disposed of by England, I think him and his media team have wiped the ﬂoor with the ECB. He has won the media PR battle, his name is up in lights and he is looked at as the saviour of English cricket. We need to get our cricket right. Alastair Cook needs to lead from the front – he has had three months off and is refreshed and has been working hard. “It is a great media story to get Kevin back in but I think if he doesn’t get a call-up he will be off to the Caribbean Premier League midsummer.” ustralia middle-order batsman George Bailey, who has skippered the One-Day International (ODI) team more than anybody else over the past two years, yesterday said he’s not expecting to be handed the captaincy on a permanent basis. The 32-year-old’s last appearance was in the World Cup opener against England on February 14, where he scored an important 55 with the bat as Australia won by 111 runs. Michael Clarke - the then regular skipper - returned to the side after the England game to guide them to a ﬁfth World Cup title. However, Clarke’s retirement from ODIs has not only opened the door for Bailey to resume his place in Australia’s middle order, it’s also raised the possibility that he will take on the captaincy full-time. But with Test captain-in-waiting Steve Smith having secured his place at the No 3 batting position in the side, Bailey is expecting to be overlooked as captain for Australia’s next ODI assignment, against England in September. “If I wasn’t in the team for this last six weeks then I can’t imagine I would (be skipper),” Bailey was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au. “I would love to remain part of (the team). I certainly feel like I’ve got a number of good years of cricket left in me, and hopefully a number of them are in Australian colours.” LANKAN PACER WELEGEDARA EQUALS T20 WORLD RECORD Sri Lanka fast bowler Chanaka Welegedara equalled the world record for the most economical four-over spell in the short history of Twenty20 cricket. Playing for Tamil Union in Sri Lanka’s domestic league, Welegedara ﬁnished with incredible ﬁgures of four wickets for two runs from four overs which included two maidens. The left-arm pacer equals the record set by South African Chris Morris last year, who took George Bailey 2/2 from four overs with three maidens while playing for Highveld Lions against Cape Cobras, reports Cricket Australia (CA). Defending 142, Tamil Union -- captained by Welegedara -- routed the Sinhalese Sports Club for just 97 to secure the win with 4.3 overs to spare. Welegedara ﬁrst removed Minod Bhanuka halfway through the ﬁfth over of the innings and then bowled Thilina Kandamby two balls later. He got rid off Sachithra Senanayake with the ﬁrst ball of his next over before trapping Charith Jayampathi leg before with the fourth ball of the 11th over. The 34-year-old has played 21 Tests and 10 One-Day Internationals (ODI) for Sri Lanka and played his only two T20 Internationals back in 2010. List of the most economical four-over spells in T20 cricket: Chanaka Welegedara 4-2-2-4; Chris Morris 4-3-2-2; Zulfiqar Babar 4-2-3-2; Shoaib Malik 4-2-3-1 Sunil Narine 4-1-3-0. Gulf Times Tuesday, April 7, 2015 11 IPL FOCUS SPOTLIGHT Rajasthan geared up for another royal show In the last edition, Royals finished fifth and are hungry to improve upon that Hussey wants to emulate Dhoni’s composure IANS Chennai F ormer Australia and current Chennai Super Kings (CSK) batsman Michael Hussey said yesterday that he would love to have captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s composure at the end of the innings. “I would like his power (laughs). I would love to have his composure at the end of the innings. Dhoni is just fantastic to bat with at the end of the innings because he is so cool and he has got it all planned out,” Hussey told IPLT20.com. “While I sometimes get nervous thinking, ‘Oh we’re falling behind the rate’, he is very positive all the time saying, ‘No need to worry, we are right on target’ very assured and very conﬁdent throughout,” he said. After a season with Mumbai Indians, the 39-year-old is now back with Chennai, a team he has had immense success with in the Indian Premier League (IPL) over the years. “It is amazing to be back here. I have a lot of great friends here and so many incredible memories,” Hussey said. The former Australian middle-order batsman said he hasn’t had a speciﬁc chat with the CSK management yet but whatever role is set for him, he is happy to accept it. “I haven’t had a speciﬁc chat with the management about that yet but whatever role they set for me, I am happy to play it. I know it will be in accordance with my own skills and in which I can serve the team the best,” he said. Speaking on the calm coachcaptain pair of Stephen Fleming Rajasthan Royals mentor Rahul Dravid and skipper Shane Watson (right). IANS Ahmedabad R ajasthan Royals, who won the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) title, have always been a side that punches above its weight and it will not be any different in the eighth edition that gets underway tomorrow. Rajasthan boasted of some of the smallest proﬁles of cricketers but went on to clinch the title in 2008 under spin legend Shane Warne’s mercurial leadership. Since then, even though they are yet to capture their second title, they have always played the game with the ﬁghting spirit coupled with the ability to surprise - features that are hallmark of the outﬁt’s mentor Rahul Dravid. Dravid, along with head coach Paddy Upton have made utilization of talent a key agenda and in the process they have created stars out of the blue - Ajinya Rahane, Stuart Binny, Sanju Samson and Pravin Tambe being the prime examples. The team has struggled in the second, third, fourth and ﬁfth editions of the tournament. But in 2013, Dravid inspired the team to a play-off berth that enabled them to play in the 2013 champions League T20 where they ended up being the runners-up. In the last edition, they ﬁnished ﬁfth place and this time they must be hungry to improve upon that. However, off-ﬁeld issues have often marred them. IPL’s murkiest scandal the alleged spot ﬁxing by three Rajasthan players -Ankit Chavan, S.Sreesanth and Ajit Chandila shamed them. It followed with the team’s co-owner Raj Kundra being found guilty of betting on IPL matches when the Supreme Court announced its landmark judgment in January. Moreover, due to the ongoing legal tangle between now axed Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) president Lalit Modi and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the team will not be able to enjoy its home advantage of playing at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium (SMS) in Jaipur. They have one of the best records of winning maximum number of home matches but now they won’t have that advantage. Last year, they played their home matches at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad. This year along with Ahmedabad, the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai will host some of their home matches, denuding the “home” advantage to a greater extent. Going by the players in the team, Rajasthan possess a weaker collection of Indian players than other franchises. Ace Australian all-rounder Shane Watson will captain the side and will have his compatriot Steven Smith as his deputy. No IPL side had as many representatives in Australia’s World Cup-winning squad as Rajasthan - skipper Watson, Smith and James Faulkner and they will be crucial for the Royals. Ajinkya Rahane, Kerala’s wicketkeeper-batsman protege Sanju Samson, Karun Nair, Watson and Smith are expected to score much of the runs. A strong core of Indian all-rounders like Stuart Binny, Rajat Bhatia and Abhishek Nayar will provide stability to the squad. In this year’s auction, they bagged South African medium pacers Chris Morris and Rusty Theron. Apart from the duo, New Zealand’s World Cupper Tim Southee, Australian Ben Cutting and Dhawal Kulkarni are other pace bowling options. These ﬁve pacers along with Watson, Faulkner and Binny make Rajasthan a strong bowling line-up. Last year’s ﬁnd — leg-spinner Pravin Tambe, 40, will be the leading spinner. Going by the arsenal they possess and a shrewd and thinking management behind them, Rajasthan must be hungry to emulate 2008 heroics. THE SQUAD: Indian Players: Abhishek Nayar, Ajinkya Rahane, Ankit Nagendra Sharma, Deepak Hooda, Dhawal Kulkarni, Dishant Yagnik (wicketkeeper), Karun Nair, Pravin Tambe, Rahul Tewatia, Rajat Bhatia, Sanju Samson (wicketkeeper), Barinder Singh Saran, Dinesh Salunkhe, Sagar Trivedi, Pardeep Sahu, Stuart Binny, Vikramjeet Malik. Foreign signings: Shane Watson (captain), Ben Cutting, James Faulkner, Steven Smith, Tim Southee, Chris Morris, Juan Theron. and Dhoni, Hussey said: “They both have very astute cricketing brains and they think very clearly under pressure. As far as their relationship goes, it is very good for them and the team because it is very open and honest. They communicate very clearly with each other and the players.” Since retiring, Hussey has taken up commentary of late and said the experience has given him a different perspective of the game. “It has made me realize how hard the game is to play. From a commentator’s point of view, the game looks so easy from up there. There is no pressure and no expectations up there. In the commentary box you do get a better view and can see some things on the ﬁeld that you wouldn’t as a player. But most of the action happens between the 22 yards and from up there you cannot feel it,” he added. Hussey also took up mentoring role during the World Cup with the South African team and said he was something looking it as a career option in the long run. “Yes, possibly. I really enjoyed that role. It was a great opportunity to be invited into the South African dressing room. And I learnt a lot. I learnt so much watching some of their guys prepare and listening to the things they talked about in the team meetings. It was a real eyeopener for me. It is deﬁnitely something I would consider doing in the long run. I enjoy building up rapport with players and building relationships based on cricket. I love understanding different players’ and teams’ philosophies on cricket and passing on some of mine as well,” the Australian said. After a season with Mumbai Indians, Michael Hussey is now back with Chennai. TEAM SCHEDULE Home matches in Ahmedabad: vs Mumbai Indians (April 14), Chennai Super Kings (April 19), Kings XI Punjab (April 21), Royal Challengers Bangalore (April 24), Royal Challengers Bangalore (May 13), Chennai Super Kings (May 16), In Mumbai: vs Delhi Daredevils (May 3), Sunrisers Hyderabad (May 7), Kolkata Knight Riders (May 16). Away matches: vs Kings XI Punjab (April 10), Delhi Daredevils (April 12), Chennai Sunrisers Hyderabad (April 16), Kolkata Knight Riders (April 26), Royal Challengers Bangalore (April 29), Mumbai Indians (May 1), Chennai Super Kings (May 10). IPL RECORD 2008-champions; 2009-6th; 2010-7th; 2011-6th; 2012-7th; 2013-play-offs; 2014-5th. ROUND-UP Spinners will play key role in IPL, says Daredevils’ Tahir IANS New Delhi S outh African leggie Imran Tahir, who will turn up in Delhi Daredevils colours this season in the Indian Premier League (IPL), believes spinners have a key role to play in the Twenty20 tournament which starts tomorrow. “It’s hard obviously, especially T20 cricket. But we have a key role to play. There is still a lot we bring to the table. Having variety is very important. If you don’t have variations you are not going to survive, especially in India as the Indian players are so good against spin,” Tahir was quoted as saying by iplt20.com. Tahir said he needs to adjust quickly to the conditions after the 50-over World Cup which just got over at the Antipodes. “I have to adjust to the conditions very quickly. It’s big difference from T20 to 50-over cricket. (But) if you back yourself, you can do well,” said Tahir. The 36-year-old feels the T20 format is a big challenge for spinners but added that tweakers with courage and a strong will can be successful. “A lot of left-arm spinners from India have had a lot of success (in T20s). All type of spin- ners have a big role to play. T20 is a good challenge but you need to go there with a big heart and that’s the only thing I can say about it,” said the South African. “It’s not like you are going to give ﬂight to the ball and the batsman is going to defend. If you give ﬂight then it is going to go for six here. Even in Test cricket, you can’t be a classical spinner like you were 20 years ago. So your pace needs to be very good for all the formats.” of things giving a few tips to the youngsters and the bowlers at the net. Akram then went on to inspect the Eden strip and was joined by South African great Jacques Kallis. Gambhir too joined in the act and seemed satisﬁed with the wicket after spending a few minutes near it. The Mumbai Indians practice session was, however, hampered by rain which made the team go indoors for their training. NARINE TAKES PART IN KKR NET SESSION Member of Parliament Rajeev Shukla was appointed the new chairman of the Indian Premier League (IPL) Governing Council, a Board of Control for Cricket in India release said. Shukla resigned from the post of IPL chairman in June, 2013, following a scandal over corruption and spot-ﬁxing in the tournament. Shukla, a former senior vice-president of the BCCI, had lost in the recent Board election. He replaces Ranjib Biswal who was the interim chairman of the council. Biswal conducted the 2014 IPL in collaboration with former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, who was appointed as the BCCI interim president by the Supreme Court of India. Former India captain Sourav Ganguly and current team director Ravi Shastri were also named in the governing council. SHUKLA RETURNS AS IPL CHAIRMAN A day after being cleared by the Board of Control for Cricket in India of suspect bowling action, Kolkata Knight Rider’s spinner Sunil Narine bowled for close to 40 minutes in the net session held at the Eden Gardens yesterday. The West Indies spinner bowled with his usual run-up to the KKR batsman who found it quite difficult to pick him in the nets too. All the members of the squad were present at the practice along with skipper and left-handed opener Gautam Gambhir who batted for 45 minutes, belting away a few from right-arm pacer Morne Morkel. The latter used his height to good effect digging in a few short ones every now and then. Bowling coach Wasim Akram was in the thick Imran Tahir feels the T20 format is a big challenge for spinners. Tuesday, April 7, 2015 SPORT GULF TIMES GLOBAL CHAMPIONS TOUR Bassem makes Qatar proud with 2nd place finish in Miami ‘This has been a glorious start for the season which is the best possible preparation for the World Cup in Las Vegas’ HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad al-Thani applauds Qatar’s Bassem Hassan Mohamed after he finished second in the Global Champions Tour of Miami Beach Grand Prix in Miami on Sunday. Agencies Miami Q atar’s Bassem Hassan Mohamed came up with a sterling performance to ﬁnish a grand second behind World number one Scott Brash in the Global Champions Tour of Miami Beach Grand Prix in Miami. Course designer Uliano Vezzani played it out perfectly with his testing course seeing only twelve of the forty six starters achieving a clear in the ﬁrst round. Having cut the ﬁeld down by almost a quarter in terms of those coming forward for the second round carrying zero penalties it was then only a third of those that managed to achieve yet another clear and guarantee a third and ﬁnal jump off. The arena looked absolutely stunning with Miami beach as its backdrop and packed on every side with spectators, many of whom were still in their beachwear, enjoying the incredible competition that was being played out before them. Also in attendance were HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad al-Thani, Qatar Equestrian Federation president Hamad bin Abdulrahman al-Attiyah and many Qatari supporters. As the ﬁrst of the four riders came forward for this four-way ﬁght which would ﬁnalise how the $600,000 prize fund was going to be awarded the atmosphere was electric. Qatar’s Bassem Hassan Mohamed astride Palloubet D Halong set the standard with a clear round stopping the clock at 39.74 seconds. Having put the pressure on from the outset the three to follow knew that they not only had to jump clear but also be fast if they were to claim the lead that had been set. Roger Yves Bost and Nippon D’Elle set off through the start making it obvious that they were going to cut as many corners as they could, however a turn back to a vertical was just a stride too tight for Nippon D’Elle who put in a stop resulting in four penalties being accrued plus a time fault when they stopped the clock at 47.33 seconds. Reigning GCT title holder for the second consecutive year, Brash came into the arena with the incredible Hello Sanctos on whom he won a Team Gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Having jumped brilliant clears in the ﬁrst two rounds, Sanctos looked incredibly fresh and pleased to be back competing having enjoyed a rest recently. Making the enormous fences look effortless he stepped up the pace as he twisted his way around the course to leave all the fences standing just over a second faster than Bassem in a time of 38.57 seconds. Qatar’s Sheikh Ali bin Khalid al-Thani and Concordija had earlier ﬁnished second in the American Invitational, a ﬁve star event to make it a double delight for Qatar. QEF president Hamad bin Abdulrahman al-Attiyah was delighted with the success of the Qatari riders at the global event. “My congratulations to Bassem and Sheikh Ali for their impressive performances in a ﬁeld that had the world’s best riders taking part. This has all been possible due to the support of HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and the directions of HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad al-Thani.” “This has been a glorious start for the season which is the best possible preparation for the World Cup in Las Vegas. The Qatar team has been doing well and we are conﬁdent that they will bring more Laurels to the country.” Bassem Hassan Mohamed in action during the Global Champions Tour of Miami Beach Grand Prix in Miami. Qatar’s Bassem Hassan Mohamed (L), Scott Brash (C) celebrate on the podium. Sheikh Ali bin Khalid al-Thani in action during the American Invitational, a five star event. He finished second in the event. SPOTLIGHT QFA opens tickets sales for Emir Cup Final By Sports Reporter Doha Q atar Football Association (QFA) yetserday opened online tickets sales for HH The Emir Cup 2015 ﬁnal match. The tickets are avaialiable online on QFA website www.qfa.com.qa The online tickets are officially made available to the public yesterday so the fans can purchase the tickets before the prestigious championship kicks off on April 24 at Al Arabi Stadium. Commenting on the launching the online ticket sales, Hamad Abdullah al-Kuwari, Director of Marketing and Communications at QFA said: “It is our pleasure to announce the release of the ﬁrst batch of tickets for the ﬁnal match of the Emir Cup on our website. We are releasing the online ticket sales for the ﬁnal match well in advance to allow the fans to buy their tickets at an early stage and not have to wait until the last minute. “Our aim is to save our fans the time consuming process of going to the malls to buy their tickets like they previously did in the past years.” He added: “Our interest in the tournament is increasing year after year, especially since this tournament is a celebration that has a great sentimental value for QFA, fans, participating teams, sponsors, and local organisations. “We are focusing all our efforts on provid- ing a unique championship at all levels.” It is worth mentioning that the Emir Cup is the last tournament of the season and is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the country. The ﬁnal match will take place on May 23 and will be held at Al Gharafa Stadium. The Emir Cup will be played from from April 24 to May 23 and matches are played in ﬁve stadia — Al Arabi Stadium, Qatar Sports Club, Lekhwiya Stadium, Al Sadd Stadium and Al Gharafa Stadium.