BUSINESS | Page 1 INDEX QATAR 2 вЂ“ 7, 24 REGION ARAB WORLD 8 7, 8 INTERNATIONAL 10 вЂ“ 21 22, 23 COMMENT BUSINESS 1 вЂ“ 5, 11, 12 CLASSIFIED 5 вЂ“ 13 SPORTS 1 вЂ“ 12 Rahane, Kohli tons as India close in on Aussies Page 8 MONDAY Vol. XXXV No. 9586 December 29, 2014 Rabia I 7, 1436 AH www. gulf-times.com 2 Riyals T Hundreds trapped on burning Italian ferry A crude bomb exploded outside a busy restaurant in IndiaвЂ™s high-tech capital of Bengaluru yesterday, killing a woman and wounding a man, police said. The low-intensity blast occurred in the centre of Bengaluru packed with yesterday evening crowds, prompting a security alert in other Indian cities. -1.11 -1.99% By Ramesh Mathew Staff Reporter EUROPE | Drama at sea Woman killed in Bengaluru blast 54.73 +182.47 +1.46% in Police in Bahrain arrested the head of the banned Shia opposition movement Al-Wefaq yesterday after he had been called in for questioning, his party said. After Sheikh Ali SalmanвЂ™s party announced his arrest, clashes broke out between security forces and hundreds of Al-Wefaq supporters gathered at his house in the Shia village of Bilad alQadim near Manama, witnesses said. Police used tear gas and birdshot to disperse the crowds protesting against SalmanвЂ™s arrest, the witnesses said. There was no immediate news of casualties. INDIA | Security 12,631.42 +23.50 +0.13% d Bahrain detains opposition chief US President Barack Obama saluted yesterday the вЂњmilestoneвЂќ end of NatoвЂ™s combat mission in Afghanistan, but warned the country remains вЂњa dangerous place.вЂќ A low-key ceremony in Kabul marked the formal end of NatoвЂ™s war after 13 years of conflict that have left the country in the grip of worsening insurgent violence. As of January 1, the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) combat mission, will be replaced by a Nato вЂњtraining and supportвЂќ mission. Obama called the ceremony вЂњa milestone for our country.вЂќ Page 19 18,053.71 he R is bl TA 978 A 1 Q since REGION | Politics Obama salutes end of Nato combat mission NYMEX Licensing of healthcare practitioners set to grow InIn brief Brief AFGHANISTAN | Conflict QE Latest Figures GULF TIMES Italian and Greek helicopter crews prepared to work through the night to airlift passengers in pairs off a burning ferry adrift in the Adriatic Sea, battling darkness and bad weather that hampered rescue efforts by other ships throughout yesterday. Helicopters were plucking passengers off the Italian-flagged Norman Atlantic and transferring them to a nearby vessel, after a dramatic day that began when a fire broke out on its lower deck in the early hours. A Greek government official said one man had died but there were no other confirmed reports of casualties among almost 500 passengers and crew and as night fell, Greek authorities said 156 people were clear of the danger zone. Page 15 DOW JONES pu Saudi seeks to open bourse to foreigners SPORT | Page 1 Two members from the Indonesian NavyвЂ™s Tactical Commanding Operator help with the search for AirAsia flight QZ8501 on board a CN235 aircraft over Karimun Java in the Java Sea yesterday. Search halted for missing AirAsia jet as night falls Reuters Jakarta I ndonesia called off until п¬Ѓrst light a search for an AirAsia plane carrying 162 people from IndonesiaвЂ™s Surabaya to Singapore, which went missing yesterday just after pilots requested a change in course to avoid bad weather. There was no distress call issued by Flight QZ8501, operated by Indonesian AirAsia, 49% owned by Malaysiabased budget carrier AirAsia, which has had no crashes since it started п¬‚ying in 2002. Singapore said it would send two planes to join the search for the missing Airbus A320-200 early today, while the US, Malaysia, Britain, South Korea, Australia and India offered help, from planes and navy boats to experts and investigators. вЂњWe are deeply shocked and saddened by this incident,вЂќ said Sunu Widyatmoko, CEO of AirAsia Indonesia. вЂњWe are co-operating with the relevant authorities to the fullest extent to determine the cause of this incident.вЂќ On board were 155 Indonesians, three South Koreans and one each from Singapore, Malaysia and Britain, plus a French pilot. The pilot вЂњwas requesting deviation due to en-route weather before com- munication with the aircraft was lostвЂќ, the airline said. The pilots were experienced and the plane last underwent maintenance in mid-November, it said. The aircraft had accumulated about 23,000 п¬‚ight hours in some 13,600 п¬‚ights, according to Airbus. QZ8501 fell out of contact with Jakarta air traffic control at 6:17am (2317 GMT Saturday). It was roughly halfway between Surabaya and Singapore when it went missing in bad weather, somewhere from Tanjung Pandan on IndonesiaвЂ™s Belitung island to Pontianak, in West Kalimantan, Borneo. Malaysia AirAsia chief Tony Fernandes went to Surabaya to update dozens of relatives of passengers who waited anxiously. The carrier swapped its distinctive bright red logo for a grey background on its website and social media accounts. вЂњThis is my worst nightmare,вЂќ Fernandes said on Twitter. вЂњBut thereвЂ™s no stoppingвЂќ, he said of the search. The incident caps a disastrous year for Malaysia-affiliated airlines. Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 went missing on March 8 on a trip from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board and has not been found. On July 17, the same airlineвЂ™s Flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. Page 11 he number of healthcare practitionersвЂ™ licences in Qatar is expected to grow at the rate of 27% annually for the next п¬Ѓve years, contributing to a cumulative growth of 140%, it was announced yesterday. вЂњThe number of healthcare practitionersвЂ™ licences has increased by 40% from 2012 to 2014,вЂќ said Dr Jamal Rashid al-Khanji, acting CEO of Qatar Council for Healthcare Practitioners (QCHP). Qatar has close to 16,560 licensed healthcare practitioners at the end of this year compared to 12,335 in 2012, he explained. Official statistics prove that Qatar has a 22,460 healthcare professionals now against 15,135 two years ago (2012). However, only 16,560 have registered with the QCHP and been issued licences, said Dr alKhanji. вЂњOwing to the growing needs of the country in view of the continuous growth in population, the government is expecting the п¬Ѓgure to grow at an average minimum rate of 27% per year,вЂќ he reiterated. While brieп¬Ѓng journalists on the initiatives of the QCHP to put in place a a better system to cope with the growing requirements of the countryвЂ™s population, Dr al-Khanji said the council was working in tandem with a major global IT solutions provider to ensure better customer satisfaction through the enhancement of the present electronic system for registration and licensing. With the introduction of a new Dr Jamal Rashid al-Khanji speaking about the new systems at the QCHP yesterday. PICTURE: Jayaram electronic accreditation management system, the QCHP hopes to ensure that the registration and licensing of all healthcare practitioners in the countryвЂ™s private sector would be completed by the end of the year. In the next two phases, which would be carried out in the next two years, the process of registration and licensing of all practitioners working in semigovernment and government would be completed in line with the goals and objectives of the Qatar National Health Strategy, said the QCHP official. The council also hopes to educate all Continuous Medical Education and Continuous Professional Development (CPD) providers about the accreditation policies as early as possible. Dr al-Khanji said a technical support health desk has been allocated to receive any technical level inquiries concerning registration/licensing electronic system. An electronic accreditation management system, which is linked to the QCHPвЂ™s Registration Department, has been set up to receive and manage applications for accreditation, submission of documents by healthcare practitioners, and also to providing information about all accredited CPD providers and communicate with all stakeholders, it was informed. Considering patient safety as a top priority, the council has developed and implemented an electronic complaint handling system at its ofп¬Ѓce. This is besides a safety alert system, that integrates with other systems already functioning within the QCHP, Dr al-Khanji added. Page 4 E-system to issue sick leave certificates The Qatar Council for Healthcare Practitioners (QCHP) has launched an innovative electronic system (e-Jaza) to regulate the issue of sick leaves. This will be implemented in the private healthcare sector from next month, Dr Rashid al-Khanji, acting CEO of QCHP, said yesterday. Once the system is put in place, the manual sick leave certificates will not be accepted by employers, he explained. All healthcare practitioners across the country are being told to start using the e-Jaza system as early as possible. The official also informed that in the pilot phase so far, 149 e-Jazas have already been issued by different institutions and more and more practitioners are currently making use of the new system. Iraqi forces launch offensive on IS AFP Baghdad I raqi forces backed by Sunni tribes advanced into the town of Dhuluiyah north of Baghdad yesterday in a new attempt to push out Islamic State group militants, officials said. In October, Iraqi forces retook most of Dhuluiyah from IS, but the militants later launched a counter-offensive and were able to seize ground they had lost. A Sunni tribe in the south of the town, 90km (55 miles) north of the capital, had been holding out against relentless attacks for nearly six months. Iraqi forces launched their latest offensive on Friday, attacking militantsвЂ™ positions on several fronts and capturing a string of villages south of Dhuluiyah, military officials said. Yesterday the troops п¬Ѓnally entered from the north backed by the air force, and seized the airport just outside the town. вЂњThe armed forces have entered Dhuluiyah... they are reinforcing their positions,вЂќ an army officer said. He said soldiers were still facing some pockets of resistance from snipers and were treading carefully to avoid landmines sown by the militants. A policeman who took part in the offensive conп¬Ѓrmed that the airport just north of the town had been captured. Iraqi forces are trying to tighten the noose around the militants, he said. Dhuluiyah is strategically located on roads linking the eastern province of Diyala to Salaheddin province in the north. Page 9 SEC official proposes Indian community school By Joseph Varghese Staff Reporter T he Qatar government is willing to provide a purpose-built facility, free of rent, if the Indian embassy sets up a community school to overcome the shortage of school spaces, a senior official at the Supreme Education Council (SEC) has said. Hamad Mohamed al-Ghali, director of Private School at SEC, pointed out to Gulf Times yesterday that many expatriate communities had their own community schools in Qatar. вЂњBut, unfortunately, the largest community in the country, still has no community school. A community school will help in solving some of the pressing admission worries of the Indian community.вЂќ The official clariп¬Ѓed that вЂњthe school should be under the supervision of the Indian embassy and not under any individuals. If there is an agreement between the Qatar and Indian governments, a purpose-built building will be provided free of rent for the purpose.вЂќ Al-Ghali said that the authorities concerned could send in a request to the Ministry of Education, specifying the needs. вЂњOnce the request is received, the government will take an appropriate decision. This will help in solving some of the admission worries and the new school will be able to provide affordable education to the students of the community.вЂќ He also reiterated that all the schools in the country are provided water and electricity, free of cost. The director stressed that many new schools had been opened to accommodate more students. He also disclosed that in view of the shortage of seats in higher classes, the SEC would look at the latest п¬Ѓgures of the students in each school. вЂњBy January 15, we will release a list of schools that can admit more children in preparatory as well as in sec- ondary classes. This, we hope, will solve the admission problems, if there are any.вЂќ When asked about the rising expenses in renting out school buildings, al-Ghali replied that the SEC also revises the fees of the schools regularly. вЂњWe had given fee hike for several schools last year in view of the rising expenditure. In addition, all schools get free electricity and water.вЂќ 2 Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 QATAR PM meets Yemeni official EsвЂ™hailSat selects SpaceX to launch second satellite E HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani holding talks with Yemeni Human Rights Minister Izz al-Deen Said al-Asbahi in Doha yesterday. They reviewed matters of mutual concern. Qatar and Yemen sign MoU on human rights QNA Doha Q atar National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) and the Yemini Ministry of Human Rights yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on co-operation in the areas of human rights. The MoU was signed by NHRC Chairman Dr Ali bin Smaikh and the Yemeni Human Rights Minister Izz al-Deen al-Asbahi. It covered many areas of co-operation between the two parties, including issues related to the development of the human rights system and strategies and action plans of each party. It also took into account the development of future relations between the two sides and the dissemination of concepts of each party pertaining to the support and protection of human rights and the development of a bi- lateral framework so that each party would beneп¬Ѓt from the technical and institutional expertise of the other party. The memorandum stated that priority should be given to activities aimed at strengthening co-operation to develop the support and protection of human rights systems and the associated skills which are related to the institutional development of human rights (governmental and non-governmental), the development of plans and strategies, implementation of human rights and support for capacity building. It also dealt with the exchange of experiences in the п¬Ѓeld of human rights and support programmes and activities for human rights education, co-operation in providing consultancy and research, supporting and strengthening co-operation in the п¬Ѓght against trafficking in human beings and other priority areas. sвЂ™hailSat - Qatar Satellite Company - has announced that following international consultation, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has been selected to launch the companyвЂ™s second satellite - EsвЂ™hail 2 - in the fourth quarter of 2016 on board a Falcon 9 rocket. EsвЂ™hail 2 is currently under construction by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation in Japan. A high-performance satellite with Ku-band and Kaband capabilities, EsвЂ™hail 2 will be positioned at the 26 degrees East hotspot position to provide TV distribution and government services to strategic stakeholders and commercial customers who value broadcasting and communications independence, interference resilience, quality of service and wide geographical coverage, according to a statement. The EsвЂ™hail 2 satellite is scheduled to launch in the fourth quarter of 2016 from SpaceXвЂ™s Launch Complex 40 at the Air Force Station, Cape Canaveral, Florida, US. Ali al-Kuwari, CEO of EsвЂ™hailSat, said: вЂњWe are delighted to have selected SpaceX to launch our second satellite. Now a proven GTO launcher, SpaceX was able to meet our special technical requirements and most importantly to meet the time-critical mission to launch EsвЂ™hail 2 at the end of 2016. Securing the launch of EsвЂ™hail 2 marks another key milestone in QatarвЂ™s satellite programme and we look forward to working with SpaceX on this important mission.вЂќ вЂњSpaceX is pleased to have been selected to provide launch services for EsвЂ™hailSatвЂ™s growing п¬‚eet EsвЂ™hail 2 is scheduled to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2016 on board a Falcon 9 rocket. of satellites,вЂќ said Gwynne Shotwell, president and COO of SpaceX. вЂњThe two companies worked closely together to develop a launch solution that enhances the capabilities for the EsвЂ™hail 2 mission; SpaceX is proud to partner with EsвЂ™hailSat and we look forward to their successful launch.вЂќ EsвЂ™hail 1, QatarвЂ™s п¬Ѓrst satellite, entered commercial service on Qatar National Day in 2013. Through its existing and planned satellites, EsвЂ™hailSat will broadcast diversiп¬Ѓed and high-quality premium content with anti-jamming capabilities across the Mena region. Al Jazeera and beIN SPORTS are already using EsвЂ™hail 1 capacity for high-deп¬Ѓnition broadcasting of their premium channels. Ooredoo Algeria marks major milestone O oredoo Algeria yesterday conп¬Ѓrmed it has reached the milestone of 3.5mn 3G customers in 25 provinces within the п¬Ѓrst year of the launch of the service. OoredooвЂ™s 3G network has been ranked as the fastest network in North Africa in 2014 by the official Network Quality Benchmark. Ooredoo Algeria also became one of the п¬Ѓrst operators in the world to achieve network throughput of 63MB per second, and the п¬Ѓrst operator in Africa to deploy 400G ultra-broadband mobile access network in 2014. OoredooвЂ™s achievements were conп¬Ѓrmed this month when the company received the вЂњBest Telecom Operator in AfricaвЂќ from the African Telecom People Awards 2014; вЂњBest African Telecom OperatorвЂќ at the Telecom Review awards; and a вЂњBronze Stevie AwardвЂќ for New Products and Services at the 11th International Business Awards. вЂњAcross our footprint, OoredooвЂ™s companies are taking the lead in providing data services that enrich our customersвЂ™ livesвЂќ Dr Nasser Maraп¬Ѓh, Group CEO, Ooredoo, said: вЂњAcross our footprint, OoredooвЂ™s companies are taking the lead in providing data services that enrich our customersвЂ™ lives.вЂќ Joseph Ged, CEO of Ooredoo Algeria, said: вЂњOoredoo rose to meet the challenges and conп¬Ѓrmed the tremendous potential of the Algerian market by registering 3.5mn 3G customers in less than a year, exceeding all expectations.вЂќ In January 2015, OoredooвЂ™s 3G network will be extended to 32 provinces, covering 80% of AlgeriaвЂ™s population. Ooredoo has invested more than $2bn in its network enhancement programme and intends to accelerate its ambitious investment plan to consolidate its technological leadership and make mobile data available to all Algerians. Ooredoo is a leading international communications company delivering mobile, п¬Ѓxed, broadband Internet and corporate East managed services across the Middle, North Africa and Southeast Asia. Ooredoo has a presence in markets such as Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Algeria, Tunisia, Iraq, Palestine, the Maldives and Indonesia. The company was named вЂњBest Mobile Operator of the YearвЂќ at the World Communication Awards 2013. The company reported revenues of $9.3bn in 2013 and had a consolidated global customer base of more than 95mn people as of December 31, 2013. Environmental awareness programme The department of environmental awareness at the Ministry of Environment has concluded its awareness programme for 2014 held at various local schools during November and December. The programme included a number of workshop at these schools to teach students on how to maintain their local environment. Gulf Times Monday, December 29 , 2014 4 QATAR Stage set for Katara awards ceremony US envoy visits Katara Katara, the Cultural Village, will hold an award ceremony tomorrow to announce the winners of the formative arts and photography contests, organised on the sidelines of the 4th Katara Dhows festival, held during November 18-22. The award committee had received 23 works of art from artists hailing from Qatar, Kuwait, Algeria, Egypt, Pakistan and other countries. In the photography contest the committee received 1,695 photos from 306 participants. Five winners were selected in each contest and they will be announced tomorrow. The US ambassador to Qatar, Dana Shell Smith, toured Katara, the Cultural Village. Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti, general manager of Katara, briefed her on the activities and services. The envoy expressed her admiration for Katara. She is seen receiving a memento from Dr al-Sulaiti. QCHP set to do Upsurge in Qatar Cool production away with paper Q By Ramesh Mathew Staff Reporter T he Qatar Council for Healthcare Practitioners (QCHP) will do away with paper and turn to electronic methods in its day-to-day operations from January 2015 as part of its efforts to promote sustainability and to be more eco-friendly. The initiative will help save a large quantity of resources and reduce costs by nearly 96% from the prevailing manual methods, said Dr Jamal Rashid al-Khanji, acting CEO of QCHP, yesterday. The QCHP, he said, will continue to issuing the physical medical licence cards along with the electronic version for the next one month, starting from the New Year. After the one-month period is over the paper system will be done away with completely and electronic licensing would become the order of the day, said Dr al-Khanji. Upon expiry of a healthcare practitionerвЂ™s licence, the word вЂњexpiredвЂќ will appear against his or her name on the electronic system, which the QCHP official said would ensure credibility and transparency in dealing with patients and the public. Further, evaluation certiп¬Ѓcates, training and examination letters will also be issued electronically by the QCHP. Also, the council will issue police clearance letters to those con- cerned as part of an agreement signed recently between the QCHP and the Ministry of Interior (MoI). Dr al-Khanji also observed that there has been a massive fall in the number of customers visiting the CouncilвЂ™s counters owing to the introduction of some new electronic processes in recent years. While there were 11,650 counter customers in 2012, the number has come down to 2,600 so far this year. Compared to the previous year, the п¬Ѓgures came down by 58% in 2012, and the last two years saw the numbers falling approximately by 30% and 13% respectively, he said. This is because of such practices as the implementation of the online veriп¬Ѓcation, publishing the guidelines on the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) website, and enhancement of the registration/licensing electronic system. Similarly there has been a considerable fall in customer service transactions such as payment, replying to queries, radiation (at health centres) and answering incoming mails etc between September and December this year, it was told. While there were 1,400 payment transactions in September, the п¬Ѓgure came down to 400 this month. Similarly, the counter staff had to attend to nearly 440 queries in September. The latest п¬Ѓgure showed only 150 such queries had to be attended to this month. atar District Cooling Company (Qatar Cool) has announced that there has been a surge in the production of tonnes of refrigeration (TR) over the past 12 months. In a statement, the company has said its three plants have had a combined increase of 12% in the production of district cooling energy since 2013. Qatar Cool owns and operates two district cooling plants in West Bay district with a combined capacity of 67,000TR. Plant 1, which was inaugurated in 2006, has seen a 6% increase in production while plant 2, inaugurated in 2009, has seen a 13% rise. The Pearl-Qatar plant, which is the largest in the world, saw an increase of 15% over the past 12 months. Ahmad Shehadeh, chief п¬Ѓnancial officer and acting CEO of Qatar Cool, said: вЂњWe anticipate seeing an increase in demand over the next few years as our third plant in West Bay district becomes operational. With district cooling being increasingly recognised for its eco-friendliness and low cost when com- pared to conventional air-conditioning, the demand for Qatar CoolвЂ™s district cooling solutions have risen signiп¬Ѓcantly in Qatar and aligns with the countryвЂ™s National Vision 2030.вЂќ Meanwhile, the International District Energy Association (IDEA) has recognised Qatar Cool for its вЂњoutstanding contributionвЂќ to the reduction of regional CO2 emissions - about 125,000 tonnes of CO2 - through the deployment of highly efficient district cooling services in the Gulf region, the statement adds. The area of planted trees required to absorb such an amount of CO2 is 2.7sqkm - the equivalent of around 400 football п¬Ѓelds. Qatar Cool is preparing to open its third plant in West Bay district to meet the growing demand for district cooling. It will be capable of providing nearly 40,000TR of cooling to commercial and residential towers in the district. Qatar Cool is already experiencing a rapidly growing waiting list for its services, once the plant becomes operational in 2016, the Registration for falcon festival ends R egistration for the 6th Qatar International Festival of Falcons and Hunting 2015 concluded yesterday evening at Katara, the Cultural Village Foundation. Until yesterday afternoon the number of applicants amounted to more than 600. Besides, all the birds that would take part at the festival contests have undergone medical check-up. Most participating falconers expressed their high expectation for this new version of the festival scheduled from January 1-31 at Sabkhat Marmy, Mesaieed (the Sealine area). For instance, Bakhit Salim, a Qatari falconer aged 71 years old and considered the oldest among the contestants, said that he is happy to take part in the festival and he has been practising the sport for 60 years without a stop. He considered the festival as a good opportunity for the younger generations to acquire more experience in the sport. Participants waiting for registration at Katara. MEC panelвЂ™s approval mandatory for hike in price of goods, services Thirty different types of products and services, including food and non-food goods and services, require a committeeвЂ™s approval for price increase, local Arabic daily Al Watan has reported. The committee for fixing prices was formed in June 2011 and holds regular meetings to follow up on local market conditions and study complaints by consumers in this regard and requests by companies and service providers to increase prices. As stated on the website of the Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC), the list of such goods and services includes milk and dairy products, types of red meat, chicken, vegetables, fish and seafood, cooking oil, ghee, rice, sugar, tea, coffee, eggs, canned and frozen foods and wheat flour, according to the report. Non-food goods and services include transport, vehicles and their spare parts, childrenвЂ™s supplies, personal supplies, building materials, clothes, stationery and materials, the daily further notes. The list also includes services such as those provided by restaurants, cafeterias, labour recruitment offices, vehicle agencies, electric firms, beauty salons, tailoring shops, vehicle servicing and washing and laundries, the report adds. Doha to host Gulf Traffic Week The Directorate General of Traffic has started making preparations for the Gulf Traffic Week, which will be hosted in Doha in March, local Arabic daily Arrayah has reported. Sources have told the daily that there are plans to conduct various events and activities at the Darb Al Saai grounds on the occasion, including free driving tests for visitors as well as free eye tests and driving training, the daily states. The Gulf Traffic Week activities will also include contests and distribution of prizes, the sources point out, adding that awareness leaflets will be distributed for the benefit of road users by informing them about traffic rules, according to the report. The first edition of the Gulf Traffic Week was held way back in 1984. Renovated fish yard on the Corniche Doha Municipality is making final preparations to open a renovated fish sales yard along the Corniche, local Arabic daily Al Sharq has reported. It has already equipped the place with shades that vendors can use while selling fresh catch from the sea. There are also wooden stands that provide fishermen with ample space to display their catch. statement further notes. Qatar Cool has won multiple international awards, including the Best District Cooling System in the World award 2014 from IDEA. It was also recognised by KahramaaвЂ™s Tarsheed, a national campaign to improve water and energy efficiency, for its energy conservation efforts in industrial buildings in Qatar. Most recently, Qatar Cool was awarded the Best District Cooling Utility Provider of the Year and Marketing Initiative of the Year award at the Climate Control Awards in Dubai. Man builds house on wrong plot, files lawsuit against civic authorities The Court of First Instance (Administrative Circuit) is considering a case in which a national has built a house on a plot of land belonging to another Qatari due to an error by a survey technician, local Arabic daily Arrayah has reported. The person who constructed the house filed a lawsuit against the municipal authorities demanding compensation for the error as well as a construction completion certificate and permission for electricity and water connection, the daily adds. The plaintiff said the land delivered to him was adjacent to his actual plot and that he did not have the financial means to replace the new house with another. He also argued that the house in which he was currently staying with his family was in a poor state and requested the court to order the municipal authorities to give him a construction completion certificate so that he could get electricity and water connection - even on a temporary basis until the lawsuit is decided, according to the report. Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 5 QATAR QICвЂ™s nine Qatari employees complete professional course Q atar Insurance Company (QIC) has conferred certiп¬Ѓcates to nine Qatari employees, who completed the п¬Ѓrst course of Qatar Finance and Business AcademyвЂ™s (QFBAвЂ™s) professional training programme. The QFBAвЂ™s training programme was speciп¬Ѓcally designed for QICвЂ™s Qatari employees across п¬Ѓnance, legal, and retail departments. Ali al-Fadala, senior group president and CEO, QIC, said: вЂњThis initiative is aligned with QICвЂ™s statement of values to enhance and develop soft skills of its employees. We organised this course to strengthen and enhance communication, negotiation, selling, and customer service skills for our Qatari employees.вЂќ Al-Fadala said the course also empowers Qatari employees by providing them with вЂњunparalleled and long-termвЂќ career development opportunities across the organisation. вЂњThe course helped the attendees to be competent and better equipped to face the highly-dynamic Qatari insurance market. Not only that, but this initiative also supports our drive towards Qatarisation and exempliп¬Ѓes the managementвЂ™s efforts in transforming QIC to be the choicest workplace for skilled and competent Qataris,вЂќ added al-Fadala, who awarded the certiп¬Ѓcates in the presence of QFBA officials. The п¬Ѓrst course, which ran from November 9 to December 21, was a combination of lectures, discussions, and workshop sessions aimed at delivering pragmatic and innovative solutions with a special focus on insurance. It also aims to impart knowledge and increase the participantsвЂ™ cognisance of insurance according to the relevance and demand of their respective job proп¬Ѓles. The training also helped employees enhance their customer service delivery standards. Weekly assessments, which were held in between, helped to monitor, evaluate, and assess the progress of the attendees, who responded well to the various modules of the course. QIC employees who completed the first course in finance, legal, and retail departments. Indian community pledges support for Environment Day programmes A HE Ahmad al-Hemaidi, centre, with Indian community members. memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Qatar and India on environmental co-operation will be signed soon, the Minister of Environment HE Ahmad Amer Mohamed al-Humaidi said yesterday. Speaking to a delegation of Indian community leaders in Qatar, the minister said that the MoU will be ratiп¬Ѓed in the coming days. The Indian community leaders pledged their support for the environmental activities in connection with Qatar National Environmental Day on February 26 and the minister assured full support for all the initiatives and asked for a report on certain school projects for implementing them in other schools in Qatar. Indian Cultural Centre (ICC) president Girish Kumar, vice president Seenu Pillai, general secretary Divakar Poojary and other managing committee members attended the meeting while Muhsen Zayed al-Khayarin, director, public relations and communications, Sara M Abdelrahman and Dileep Kumar V Pushpangadhan, environment liaison officers, represented the ministry. Indian community will conduct a plethora of events in connection with National Environment Day, including awareness programmes and competitions on environmental challenges and beach clean-up drive. ICC will also conduct several programmes for its affiliate organisation for six weeks from the п¬Ѓrst week of January with a grand п¬Ѓnale target of вЂ�Ambassador Rolling TrophyвЂ™ on February 26. ICC has 96 affiliated organisations. Another event will be Project 5S, (School Students Struggle for Sustainability and to Save Environment), a school-based programme on environment challenges. This will be an inter-school competition among Indian schools in Qatar conducted by the Qatar Chapter of the Institution of Engineers (IIE Qatar Chapter) on February 20, and the grand п¬Ѓnale will be on February 26. IIE Qatar Chapter will also engage in Wakra beach clean-up drive in February. 6 Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 QATAR Affluent Qataris prefer вЂ�quality experiencesвЂ™ over luxury items N ew research conducted among high net worth individuals in Qatar has revealed that nearly three quarters (72%) prefer to spend money on quality experiences rather than owning yet more luxury items. The research, commissioned by Heathrow AirportвЂ™s VIP Service, revealed that a desire for more privacy and saving time in which to relax were the main motivations for choosing to spend money on experiences rather than acquiring more possessions. Some 91% of affluent individuals favouring experience said privacy was a key factor, while nearly a п¬Ѓfth (19%) said gaining time was also important. Preferring experiences over owning more possessions is a growing trend among the affluent across the GCC and is particularly pronounced in Qatar, the UAE and Bahrain. By contrast, in Kuwait, only half (50%) of the afп¬‚uent prefer experiences to more possessions. The research showed that age played a role in favouring experiences over items; over a third of affluent people in Qatar (38%) said their attitude had changed over the last 10 years and quality VIP Service is available to first class and business class travellers flying on any airline to or from Heathrow. experiences had become more important since they reached key milestones such as having children or achieving a long- aspired senior position at work. The research also found that occupation played a part in determining how important ex- perience was to an individual. Those working in п¬Ѓnance, banking and professional services were most likely to state a pref- erence for private, luxury experiences, compared to those working in healthcare who were among the least likely to opt for experience over possessions. Chris Annetts, HeathrowвЂ™s Commercial Services director, said: вЂњWe know from working closely with people from Qatar just how important quality experiences are to people from this region, especially when travelling. Our personal shoppers at Heathrow Airport work with Qatari passengers every day; so we know that they have a love of stylish, beautiful items. But this research shows that in our increasingly hectic lives, the QUвЂ™s college celebrates renewal of accreditation Q atar UniversityвЂ™s College of Business and Economics (QU-CBE) has celebrated the renewal of its accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Making the announcement yesterday, CBE dean Dr Nitham Hindi recalled that the college was п¬Ѓrst awarded accreditation status in December 2009, placing it among the list of elite business schools around the world. вЂњAACSB accreditation is the hallmark of excellence in business education, and has been earned by less than 5% of the worldвЂ™s business schools,вЂќ he explained. QU is one of nine out of 450 universities in the Middle East that have achieved this status, Dr Hindi said, adding: вЂњThe college is proud to be one of these nine universities, and the only and п¬Ѓrst-ever business school with an AACSB-ac- credited business degree whose language of instruction is Arabic.вЂќ The renewal is another highlight in the collegeвЂ™s accomplishments which last year saw the establishment of a dedicated Centre of Entrepreneurship, Business Incubator, and Commercial Bank Chair. The п¬Ѓnal AACSB decision on December 22 followed a continuous improvement review based on 21 standards, as well as a rigorous CBE selfstudy and onsite visits by the AACSB team, Dr Hindi said. He also noted that since its initial accreditation in 2009, and without compromising quality, the college made tremendous strides in the number of enrolled students, faculty, and academic programmes. вЂњStudent enrolment jumped from about 1,300 in 2010 to close to 4,700 students in 2014, with more than 75% Qataris, and the number of faculty increased from 36 to 102 during the same periodвЂќ, he said, adding that the college also established the MasterвЂ™s in Accounting in 2011. In line with the requirements of its accredited status, the college continued its efforts of re-evaluation of its programmes and its academic and research goals. Activities included the launch of its Strategic Plan 2013-2016, and the expansion of its MBA programme with two new concentrations in business analytics, and entrepreneurship. Planned new graduate programmes include MA chance to enjoy private, exclusive experiences that help us save time is important.вЂќ Heathrow AirportвЂ™s VIP Service is available to п¬Ѓrst class and business class travellers п¬‚ying on any airline to or from Heathrow. The service includes a personal lounge where both checkin and security are taken care of and a luxury limousine that delivers the passenger directly to the steps of the departing п¬‚ight. For those arriving at Heathrow, the service includes collection from the aircraft and transportation directly to the exclusive suite where luggage is delivered. Al Khaliji highlights private banking sector at QU A Dr Nitham Hindi: вЂњAACSB accreditation is the hallmark of excellence in business education.вЂќ programmes in п¬Ѓnance, marketing and innovation, and business entrepreneurship to meet the new and emerging trends in the business environment in Qatar. Under development are two research centres - one in Islamic Finance, the other in Business Excellence - that will support the planned graduate programmes as well as enhance existing ones. Other strategic areas of mention included ongoing improvement of administrative efficiency, building a community service culture, launching an Arabic Curriculum Plan, establishing specialised learning zones and emphasising entrepreneurship in the curriculum. The college also established accreditation and assessment offices, and appointed an associate dean for graduate studies and research, and an associate dean for business relations and engagement, Dr Hindi said. Commenting on the renewal of accreditation, QU president Prof Sheikha Abdulla al-Mi- snad said: вЂњCongratulations to the college on this signiп¬Ѓcant achievement. The renewal of accreditation is particularly signiп¬Ѓcant this year as it attests not only to the quality of the educational programmes offered by CBE but also to the collegeвЂ™s commitment to ensuring that studentsвЂ™ proп¬Ѓciency in both Arabic and English heightens their readiness for the internationalised business and п¬Ѓnance sector in Qatar. I applaud the efforts of the dean, faculty, staff and students in contributing to this achievement.вЂќ Dr Hindi added: вЂњWe at the college are proud of this achievement which is a stamp of recognition of the quality of our programmes and our teaching and learning environment. We will continue to assess and re-evaluate our plans with the aim to providing our students and faculty with optimum opportunities to achieve international standards of excellence and so advance the CollegeвЂ™s proп¬Ѓle in Qatar, the region, and beyond.вЂќ l Khalij Commercial Bank (Al Khaliji)вЂ™s head of Private Banking Arfat Qayyum has addressed students of Qatar University (QU)вЂ™s College of Business and Economics during a discussion that focused on private banking and its role in QatarвЂ™s banking sector. This initiative, for the second time this year, comes as part of Al KhalijiвЂ™s corporate social responsibility programme and in line with the bankвЂ™s efforts to support the human development pillar of Qatar National Vision 2030, according to a statement. Having representatives from Al Khaliji at QU delivers practical and hands-on expertise to the class-room environment, the statement adds. While addressing the students, Qayyum explained the products and solutions of private banking, onshore and offshore wealth management, factors inп¬‚uencing private banking clients as well as the factors inп¬‚uencing QatarвЂ™s private banking market. The students also discussed a short case study related to the market. The session was concluded by presenting Al KhalijiвЂ™s approach to private banking, an area that the bank is actively pursuing in view of opportunities in wealth management and structured п¬Ѓnance. Since 2007, Al Khaliji has been building its premium and private banking business in a highly competitive market and has made its footprint on the industry, the statement further notes. Al Khaliji was recently honoured as the Best Private Bank in Qatar by the 2014 Global Private Banking Awards organised by вЂ�The BankerвЂ™ magazine in conjunction with вЂ�Professional Wealth ManagementвЂ™ magazine. Symposium on molecular cancer research M olecular cancer research was the focus of the recent 2014 Qatar University Life Sciences Symposium (QULSS), an annual forum organised by the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS). Researchers, experts, and scientists from Qatar and countries such as The Netherlands, the US, France, Italy, Spain, Bahrain and the UAE attended the symposium. The two-day forumвЂ™s agenda was divided into four sessions covering epigenetics and cancer; complementary alternative medicines for cancer prevention and treatment; cancer drug discovery: molecular approaches; and environment and cancer. It also featured an exhibition of nine posters of undergraduate, graduate, postgraduate, and post- Dr Eiman Mustafawi addressing the forum. doctorate students on topics including breast cancer cell line, hydrocarbon degrading bacterial strains for bioremediation of petroleum pollution, and fungal population and aп¬‚atoxin contamination. Keynote speaker at the forum, director of the Cancer Genomics Centre of The Netherlands Genomics Initiative and the Centre for Biomedical Genetics, and chairperson of the division of biomedical genetics of the University Medical Centre Utrecht Prof Johannes Bos gave a presentation entitled: вЂњTargeting the Ras pathway for personalised cancer treatment.вЂќ He observed that Ras genes mutations play a role in 50% of all tumours, especially in colon, lung and pancreatic cancer. In her remarks, CAS dean Dr Eiman Mustafawi said: вЂњThis year we are focusing on the growing global issue of cancer, a disease that affects people across the world and accounts for around 10% of all deaths in Qatar. QatarвЂ™s National Cancer Research Strategy emphasises the importance of developing a programme of translated cancer research, and the importance of prioritising and co-ordinating cancer research activities in Qatar. вЂњBy hosting this interna- tional symposium, the College of Arts and Sciences is supporting this national strategy by bringing in speakers of the highest calibre from around the world to disseminate research and create new connections and collaborations.вЂќ Chair of the QULSS-2014 organising committee Dr Samir Jaoua described the symposium as a unique opportunity to address the molecular cancer research and exchange ideas that enhance cancer treatments. вЂњThis event shows QUвЂ™s commitment in offering high quality research to serve the community in line with QatarвЂ™s growth and national vision to become a knowledgebased economy.вЂќ DBES head Dr Fatima alNaemi noted that cancer research is one of the pillars of Qatar National Vision 2030. Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 QATAR Techno Blue opens 10th Samsung showroom By Peter Alagos Business Reporter T echno Blue, a leading distributor of electronic products, opened its 10th Samsung showroom in Doha yesterday in line with its mission to widen customer reach and expand its footprint in Qatar. The latest showroom reп¬‚ects the companyвЂ™s vision to provide premium products and services to consumers along вЂњeasily accessibleвЂќ locations in Qatar, Techno Blue chairman Nabil Abu Issa said. Located near the White Palace Intersection along Al Rayyan Road and Sheikh Suhaim bin Hamad Street, the showroom was designed to meet SamsungвЂ™s global standards, which allows customers to understand the technology behind the products before making any purchases, he explained. Issa said plans have been laid for opening Techno BlueвЂ™s next premium outlet, including relevant agreements with important soon-to-open malls that would host more stores. He said the Al Sadd showroom features the latest television sets, premium appliances, cameras, mobile phones, and tablets, as well as electronics accessories. It also showcases Beats headphones, La Germania and Russell Hobbs domestic appliances, and Remington personal care products. Ashraf AR Abu Issa, chairman of Abu Issa Holding, which owns Techno Blue, said saturating the market with satellite stores is one of the ways the company addresses proximity and traffic issues. вЂњWith heavy vehicular movement as among the main issues raised by customers, we want to spare them from the hassle of being stuck in traffic just to get to our stores,вЂќ Issa told Gulf Times on the sidelines of the event. He also noted that the new showroom sits on prime real estate, the site of future big-ticket projects, which includes the construction of a 7-star hotel and other developments. вЂњThis site will soon become a very important area, which explains the road widening and other ongoing expansion works. If we would wait for two or three years, we might miss out on many opportunities because this space will be more expen- sive in the future,вЂќ he said. вЂњSamsung is very much involved in this showroom; they have supplied all the furniture and they want to make sure that it is up to global standards and most importantly because they love the location.вЂќ Asked why the company has chosen to distribute Samsung, Issa explained the South Korean electronics company is a leader in research and development (R&D) technologies. He also stressed that SamsungвЂ™s efforts in improving its R&D side reп¬‚ects Techno BlueвЂ™s vision of keeping ahead of the market. вЂњAs local partner, we should also be aligned with SamsungвЂ™s efforts to be ahead of the market. Theirs is a worldwide evolution in electronics and we want to show more willingness to work with a brand like this,вЂќ Issa said. At the same time, Issa lauded government efforts to engage more with the private sector to diversify the economy. вЂњPerforming better in the market is a byproduct of increased government support. They share our vision and support the direction that the private sector is taking,вЂќ he said. Abu Issa Holding chairman Ashraf AR Abu Issa (right) and Samsung Gulf Electronics (SGE) Qatar president Ricky Yoon jointly cut a ribbon during the opening of Techno BlueвЂ™s 10th showroom in Al Sadd. Looking on are (from left) SGE Egypt president Ismail Yoon and Techno Blue chairman Nabil Abu Issa. An interior view of the new Samsung showroom. 7 8 Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 REGION/ARAB WORLD Protests as opposition leader held in Bahrain Witnesses say police use teargas and birdshot to disperse crowds protesting against Sheikh Ali SalmanвЂ™s arrest AFP Manama P olice in Bahrain arrested the head of the banned Shia opposition movement Al Wefaq yesterday after he had been called in for questioning, the group said. After Sheikh Ali SalmanвЂ™s group announced his arrest, clashes broke out between security forces and hundreds of Al Wefaq supporters gathered at his house in the Shia village of Bilad al-Qadim near Manama, witnesses said. Police used teargas and birdshot to disperse the crowds protesting against SalmanвЂ™s arrest, the witnesses said. There was no immediate news of casualties. Salman had been summoned to the criminal investigation department yesterday morning and questioned about вЂњviolating certain aspects of the lawвЂќ, an interior ministry statement said earlier. It provided no further details. Al WefaqвЂ™s statement said Salman was arrested after a lengthy interrogation at the ministry by police. His lawyer, Abdullah al-Shamlan, tweeted that Salman had been accused of вЂњinciting hatred against the regime and calling for its overthrow by forceвЂќ. He said he had not been allowed to attend his clientвЂ™s questioning. Shamlan said the Al Wefaq chief was also accused of вЂњinsulting the judiciary and the executive branchвЂќ, of вЂњsectarian incitementвЂќ, of вЂњspreading false news likely to cause panic and undermine securityвЂќ and вЂњparticipation in events detrimental to the economyвЂќ. Al Wefaq demanded the immediate release of its leader, calling his detention вЂњa dangerous adventure that will complicate the political situation in BahrainвЂќ. It said he had been detained for more than 10 hours вЂњfor the sake of investigation for false accusations against himвЂќ. The statement denounced the security forces for erecting barricades outside several Shia villages, mainly on roads leading to the Al Wefaq headquarters in a Manama suburb. Salman, 49, secured a new four-year term as Al Wefaq chief at its general congress on Friday. The same day thousands of Sh- ias protested along a road linking two of their villages near Manama to call for the dismissal of parliament and the government. In July, the justice ministry sued Al Wefaq, demanding that it rectify its вЂњillegal status following the annulment of four general assemblies for lack of a quorum and the non-commitment to the public and transparency requirements for holding themвЂќ. The Manama administrative court slapped Al Wefaq with the ban on October 28 and gave it three months to hold an assembly to elect its leadership. The ruling came after Al Wefaq announced it was boycotting a parliamentary election in November. Al Wefaq, which withdrew its lawmakers from parliament in protest, condemned the vote as a вЂњfarceвЂќ. It has called for an elected prime minister who is independent from the ruling royal family. In 2011 the authorities quelled a month-long pro-democracy protest led by the opposition, but protests continue in Shia villages outside the capital. At least 89 people are estimated to have been killed in clashes with security forces, and hundreds have been arrested and put on trial since the uprising. Palestinian children wait on a bus at Erez crossing in Beit Hanoun in the north of the Gaza Strip yesterday, before being prevented by Hamas from entering Israeli territory. Hamas bars war orphans from making trip to Israel AFP Gaza H amas yesterday prevented dozens of children orphaned during its 50-day war with Israel from entering Israeli territory in a pre-arranged trip, organisers and officials said. The week-long visit was planned for 37 children whose parents were killed by Israel in the Gaza Strip in July and August this year. It was organised by an Israeli kibbutz group and local Arab-Israeli officials. Kibbutz Movement spokes- man Yoel Marshak said the trip was supposed to allow the Palestinian children, aged between 12 and 15, вЂњto circulate and learn about Israeli children their ageвЂќ. The group had been due to visit several Israeli kibbutzim close to the Gaza Strip and travel to Ramallah in the occupied West Bank to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Marshak said. вЂњThe Shin Bet (security service) had given the green light for the children and their п¬Ѓve minders to enter Israel,вЂќ he added. But Hamas, which has controlled Gaza since 2007, said the trip was cancelled as the children would have вЂњhad to visit settlements and occupied townsвЂќ. The Islamist movementвЂ™s interior ministry said the visit was forbidden in order to protect the children from вЂњthe politics of normalisationвЂќ with Israel. Hamas security officers turned the 37 orphans away from the Erez border crossing with Israel yesterday. Nearly 2,200 Palestinians were killed during the July-August war, mostly civilians, and 73 on the Israeli side, most of them soldiers. In a separate incident at the Erez crossing, three Palestin- ians were slightly wounded by Israeli п¬Ѓre during clashes, the Gaza health ministry said. Some 300 demonstrators had gathered near the crossing at the behest of political movements demanding to lift the blockade imposed by Israel on the coastal Palestinian enclave. Some of the protesters began throwing stones at Israeli forces beyond the border, who eventually responded with live rounds, a military spokeswoman said. The Erez crossing was later closed from Gaza into Israel, but remained partially opened in the other direction, the Israeli and Palestinian sources said. Palestinian ministers heading to Gaza today AFP Ramallah E Protesters, holding placards with an image of Al Wefaq secretary general Sheikh Ali Salman, shout slogans as they gather outside SalmanвЂ™s home in the village of Bilad al-Qadim yesterday. ight Palestinian unity government ministers are to travel to Gaza from its West Bank base today for only the second time since its formation in June, a minister said. The government was the fruit of an April reconciliation deal between the Islamist Hamas movement and the Fatah organisation of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. But Abbas has repeatedly complained that Hamas has prevented it asserting its authority in Gaza, where the Islamists have been dominant since ousting Fatah loyalists in 2007. The eight ministers are travelling to Gaza to вЂњcarry out their dutiesвЂќ, Labour Minister Mamun Abu Shahla said. He said security concerns sparked by a spate of bombings targeting the property of Fatah officials in Gaza early last month had prevented them from doing so sooner. Abu Shahla said that Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, who cancelled a planned visit to Gaza in the wake of the bombings, would not accompany the ministers. вЂњHis duties have kept him in Ramallah where he is continuing talks with an Arab state which is soon going to disburse a large sum for the reconstruction of Gaza,вЂќ the minister said. He did not specify which country was offering the aid to rebuild the territory, which was devastated by a 50-day summer war between Israel and Hamas. The eight ministers who are travelling to Gaza from the West Bank town of Ramallah are the ministers of health, education, social affairs and local government, and the heads of the water, power and environment agencies, who have ministerial rank. The unity government has only met once in GazaвЂ”on October 9 ahead of a major donorsвЂ™ conference for the territory. Before its formation in June, Hamas and Fatah led rival administrations in Gaza and the West Bank. General is unhurt in deadly Yemen blast AFP Sanaa A Yemeni general escaped unscathed yesterday in a bombing that killed his driver in the southern city of Aden, one of his bodyguards said. вЂњGeneral Farej al-Atiqi, commander of the 31st armoured battalion, was unhurt when a device that had been hidden in his car exploded,вЂќ the man said. But the blast in the Khor Maksar district of the port city killed AtiqiвЂ™s driver and wounded two other bodyguards, he added, and blamed Al Qaeda for the attack. The bomb was detonated by remote control, the bodyguard said. Members of the security forces in Yemen are often the targets of attacks blamed on Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which the United States regards as the deadliest branch of the global extremist network. AQAP has exploited the weakened central authorities in Yemen since the 2012 departure of president Ali Abdullah Saleh following a year-long popular uprising. The militant groupвЂ™s presence is strongest in the south and southeast of the impoverished country, but it has also launched attacks in the capital itself. Iran military adviser killed in Iraq A senior Iranian military officer has been killed while advising Iraqi troops in their fight against the Islamic State group, IranвЂ™s Revolutionary Guards said yesterday. вЂњBrigadier General Hamid Taghavi was martyred during a mission to advise the army and Iraqi volunteers... in the city of Samarra,вЂќ north of Baghdad, said a statement from the elite Iranian military force. His funeral will be held today in Tehran, it added. Iran has sent military advisers to Iraq to help train and equip army troops and allied militias in their counter-offensive against IS, which seized large areas of the country in a June assault. It has also armed Kurdish forces in northern Iraq. Iran is not participating in a US-led coalition conducting air strikes against IS positions in Iraq and Syria. Iranian media have reported the deaths of several military personnel in both Iraq and Syria this year. Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 9 ARAB WORLD IS executed nearly 2,000 in 6 months, says monitor Agencies Beirut T Friends and relatives of the pro-democracy activists react yesterday in Cairo after the court ruling. 23 Egypt activistsвЂ™ jail terms cut to two years An appeals court reduces the jail terms of young activists convicted of violating a law banning protests without a permit AFP Cairo A n Egyptian appeals court yesterday reduced the jail sentences for 23 pro-democracy activists found guilty of taking part in an unlicensed protest from three years to two, their lawyers said. The defendants were accused of holding an illegal protest on June 21 calling for the release of detainees and the annulment of a law that bans all but police-sanctioned demonstrations. They were also accused of vandalism during the rally near the presidential palace in Cairo and sentenced in October to three years behind bars. The appeals court cut their sentences to two years in jail yesterday, said defence lawyer Ragia Omran. The activists each have to pay a п¬Ѓne of 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($1,400) when released and will be placed under police supervision for two years, another defence lawyer, Khalid Ali, said. вЂњIf their fathers were generals they would have been acquitted,вЂќ said Ali, in reference to the recent acquittals of police officers accused of violence. вЂњThis verdict is harsh and unfair. The court relied on the prosecutionвЂ™s investigation and has not taken into account the lack of evidence against the ac- Policeman shot dead in Alexandria Gunmen killed a policeman and wounded three others in a drive-by attack on a patrol in EgyptвЂ™s second city Alexandria yesterday, a security official told AFP. вЂњArmed men aboard a minibus opened fire on them and then made off,вЂќ the official said. Scores of policemen and soldiers have been killed in bombings and shootings since the Egyptian military deposed Islamist president Mohamed Mursi in July last year. Most of the attacks have been in the Sinai Peninsula, the deadliest of them claimed by Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, a militant group that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State organisation. Libya п¬Ѓghting destroys two daysвЂ™ oil production Reuters Benghazi A п¬Ѓre caused by п¬Ѓghting at one of LibyaвЂ™s main export terminals has destroyed more than two days of the countryвЂ™s oil production, officials said yesterday, as clashes escalated between factions battling for control of the Opec member nation. A missile hit an oil storage tank last week at the port of Al Sidra during п¬Ѓghting between forces allied to LibyaвЂ™s two competing governments and the resulting blaze has destroyed 800,000 barrels of crude, the National Oil Corporation said. In an apparent response to the attack on Al Sidra, forces loyal to LibyaвЂ™s recognised governmentвЂ”now based in the east after being forced to п¬‚ee Tripoli in the summerвЂ”staged air strikes on targets in the western city of Misrata yesterday. The raids were the п¬Ѓrst such attacks on a city allied to the militia group that seized Tripoli, and whose forces have been trying to take the eastern oil ports from the internationally recognised government, officials and residents said. Libya has been engulfed in п¬Ѓghting between the two sides, each with its own government and parliament and each anxious to secure a share of AfricaвЂ™s largest oil reserves. The internationally recognised Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni has been forced to run a rump state in the east since the Libya Dawn group took control of Tripoli in August, setting up a rival government and parliament. An NOC spokesman said three oil storage tanks at Al Sidra were still on fire yesterday, while firefighters had managed to extinguish the blaze at three other tanks Al Sidra and the adjacent Ras Lanuf terminal have been closed since a force allied to Libya Dawn moved east from the capital two weeks ago in an attempt to seize the facilities. An NOC spokesman said three oil storage tanks at Al Sidra were still on п¬Ѓre yesterday, while п¬Ѓreп¬Ѓghters had managed to extinguish the blaze at three other tanks. LibyaвЂ™s total oil production stands at 385,000 barrels per day, the NOC said. NOC added that natural gas exports from its Mellitah joint venture with Ital- ian energy giant Eni have fallen to 60% of the western portвЂ™s capacity. NOC says п¬Ѓghting and the shutdown of gas п¬Ѓelds linked to Al Sidra have forced it to use some of MellitahвЂ™s output for domestic consumption. Mohamed El Hejazi, spokesman for armed forces loyal to Prime Minister Thinni, said his air force had attacked MisrataвЂ™s port, an air force academy near the airport and LibyaвЂ™s biggest steel plant, which is located in the city. Ismail Shukri, spokesman for forces allied to Libya Dawn, conп¬Ѓrmed that air strikes had taken place but said they caused no damage. вЂњThe airport at Misrata is still working normally. A п¬‚ight has just taken off,вЂќ he said. Misrata, 200km east of Tripoli, is linked to Libya Dawn and home to a major sea port and free trade zone. The city had so far escaped the п¬Ѓghting that has threatened to break up Libya. Since Muammar Gaddaп¬Ѓ was ousted in 2011, Libya has failed to attain stability. Former rebel brigades which once fought side by side have now turned on each other, aligning themselves with rival political factions in a scramble for control. Four die of bird п¬‚u in Libya: minister AFP Benghazi F our people have died of bird п¬‚u in Libya in recent days, the health minister of the countryвЂ™s internationally recognised government said. Rida al-Awkali said a п¬Ѓfth person suspected of having contracted the virus is currently in hospital in the far eastern city of Tobruk. Three of the victims died in the capital Tripoli, while the fourth died in Tobruk, he added, without saying which strain of the disease they caught. Tobruk is across the border from Egypt where at least eight people have died of bird п¬‚u this year, according to health authorities in Cairo. Awkali said that he would visit Tobruk and then travel on to Egypt to meet experts from the World Health Organisation which closely monitors the various strains of avian inп¬‚uenza. The H5N1 strain of bird п¬‚u has killed more than 400 people, mainly in Southeast Asia, since п¬Ѓrst appearing in 2003. Another strain, H7N9, has claimed more than 170 lives since emerging in 2013. cused,вЂќ he added. The rights activists include Yara Sallam and Sanaa Seif, described by Amnesty International as вЂњprisoners of conscienceвЂќ. Relatives of the defendants were not allowed to attend yesterdayвЂ™s hearing. Amal Mahrus, the mother of one detainee, said the verdict was unfair. вЂњThe revolutionaries are all in prison, the corrupt and the thieves are all free,вЂќ she said outside the courtroom. YesterdayвЂ™s sentence can still be appealed at the Court of Cassation, the countryвЂ™s highest tribunal. he Islamic State militant group has killed 1,878 people in Syria during the past six months, the majority of them civilians, a British-based Syrian monitoring organisation said yesterday. Islamic State (IS) also killed 120 of its own members, most of them foreign п¬Ѓghters trying to return home, in the last two months, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The militant group has taken vast parts of Iraq and Syria and declared a caliphate in territory under its control in June. Since then it has fought the Syrian and Iraqi governments, other insurgents and Kurdish forces. Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Syrian monitoring group, said IS killed 1,175 civilians, including eight women and four children. He said 930 of the civilians were members of the Sheitaat, a Sunni Muslim tribe from eastern Syria which fought IS for control of two oilп¬Ѓelds in August. IS has publicised beheadings and stoning of many people in areas it controls in Syria and Iraq. These are for actions such as adultery, homosexuality, stealing and blasphemy. The group, an offshoot of Al Qaeda, has also released videos of executions of captured enemy п¬Ѓghters, activists and journalists. It beheaded two US journalists, and one American and two British aid workers this year in attempts to put pressure on a US-led international coalition, which has been bombing its п¬Ѓghters in Syria since September. Abdel Rahman, who gathers information from all sides of the Syrian conп¬‚ict, said that IS had also executed 502 soldiers п¬Ѓghting for President Bashar al-Assad and 81 anti-Assad insurgents. He said that 116 foreign п¬Ѓghters who had joined IS but later wanted to return home were executed in the Syrian provinces of Deir al-Zor, Raqqa and Hassakeh since November. Four other IS п¬Ѓghters were killed on other charges, Abdel Rahman said. The overwhelming number of the groupвЂ™s victims have been from the Syrian population. Despite giving a breakdown, the Observatory believes the number killed by IS to be far higher, given that many have disappeared and remain unaccounted for. The group often records such killings on video and posts footage on the Internet, which experts say is meant to sow fear among civilians and rival groups, as well as to attract new recruits. More than 200,000 people have been killed in the Syrian civil war, which started when AssadвЂ™s forces cracked down on peaceful pro-democracy protests in 2011. 10 Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 AMERICAS Journalists of US-aided radio are questioned AFP Azerbaijan P Protesters, demanding justice for Akai Gurley, march towards New York Police DepartmentвЂ™s (NYPD) 75th Precinct from the site of his shooting death in Brooklyn. Protest at funeral wrong: NYPD chief olice in Azerbaijan have detained a dozen journalists working for USfunded Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty amid an ongoing crackdown on the outlet that Washington and rights groups decry. The Baku offices of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty were sealed on Friday after prosecutors and armed police conп¬Ѓscated equipment and computers during a raid. The US state department said it was вЂњdeeply disturbedвЂќ by the action, and called on Azerbaijan to respect its вЂњinternational commitment to protecting media freedomвЂќ. Ramping up pressure on the organisationвЂ™s Azerbaijan station, Radio Azadliq, police descended upon the homes of its journalists Saturday and took many in for interrogation. вЂњPolice have forcibly taken away around 12 of our journalists to undergo questioning in the prosecutorвЂ™s office,вЂќ the stationвЂ™s director, Kenan Aliyev, told AFP from Radio Free Europe/Radio LibertyвЂ™s headquarters in Prague. вЂњOne of them has been forcibly dragged out from his home in front of his children wearing just his pyjamas,вЂќ he said yesterday. He added the heavy crimes unit of the prosecutorвЂ™s office was handling the case, noting even the bureauвЂ™s cleaner had been summoned for questioning. Aliyev said the forcible seizure was unnecessary, and apparently aimed at intimidating his journalists. вЂњWhatвЂ™s happening is part of the Azerbaijani authoritiesвЂ™ ongoing raid of the free press.вЂќ A lawyer for the radio station has been stripped of his right to defend the journalists, and must now submit to questioning as a witness himself, said Aliyev. вЂњNearly all of the journalists have been questioned without a lawyer present.вЂќ Citing prosecutors, Aliyev said that the clampdown on the station was linked to a probe into the work of foreign-funded non-governmental organisations in the energy-rich country. вЂњRadio Liberty is the last island of freedom in Azerbaijan,вЂќ he said. Rights groups say Azerbaijani authorities have been clamping down on opponents since the election of President Ilham Aliyev to a third term last year. Aliyev, 53, came to power in 2003 amid controversial balloting following the death of his father Heydar Aliyev, a former KGB officer and Communist-era leader who ruled newly independent Azerbaijan with an iron п¬Ѓst since 1993. Police unions may have overplayed their hands by insulting the mayor Ex-president Bush to stay in hospital AFP New York N ew YorkвЂ™s police commissioner Bill Bratton said yesterday it was вЂњvery inappropriateвЂќ for officers outside the funeral of slain cop Rafael Ramos to turn their backs in protest as the mayor spoke. вЂњThat funeral was held to honour Ofп¬Ѓcer Ramos, and to bring politics, to bring issues into that event, I think was very inappropriate, and I do not support it,вЂќ Bratton told CBS talk show Face the Nation. вЂњHe is the mayor of New York. He was there representing the citizens of New York to express their remorse and their regret at that death,вЂќ he added. вЂњAt the same time, it is reп¬‚ective, unfortunately, of the feelings of some of our officers.вЂќ Protests sparked by police killings of unarmed black men have drawn race relations and policing into the national spotlight, with some accusing police of using excessive force against blacks. But the protests have also sparked anger from some police officers. They say some officials have been too sympathetic and accuse them of inciting violence against law enforcement officers. New York mayor Bill de Blasio spoke publicly about the counsel he gave to his biracial son to take extra care when dealing with police. Some police representatives went as far as connecting the statement to the recent double murder of Ramos and his partner. Bratton defended de Blasio. вЂњThis is a mayor that cares very deeply about New York City police officers, cares Reuters Houston D Protesters, demanding justice for Akai Gurley, turn their backs towards the New York Police DepartmentвЂ™s 75th Precinct. very deeply about the divide in this city at this time and is working very hard to heal that divide,вЂќ he said. In a separate interview Sunday on NBCвЂ™s Meet the Press, Bratton said the mistrust of police officers by minorities needed to be addressed. вЂњThereвЂ™s no denying that among the black community there are those concerns,вЂќ Bratton said. вЂњIt has to be part of the dialogue,вЂќ the commissioner said, adding that it wasnвЂ™t simply a race issue. The debate is also about poverty, class divides and unemployment, he said. вЂњWe are the tip of the iceberg at the moment.вЂќ Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani also criticised the protest at the funeral. вЂњDoesnвЂ™t matter if you like the mayor or you donвЂ™t like the mayor; you have to respect the mayorвЂ™s position,вЂќ he told CBS. However, he said de Blasio should apologise for his comments. вЂњHe created an impression with the police that he was on the side of the protesters,вЂќ said the former mayor, who argued that some of the demonstrators took their rhetoric too far. octors in Houston will keep former US president George H W Bush in the hospital through the weekend since his bout with shortness of breath, though doctors вЂњhave begun discussing dates for his dischargeвЂќ, his office said Saturday. Bush, 90, was taken by ambulance to Houston Methodist Hospital on Tuesday night and admitted for observation after experiencing breathing difficulties earlier that evening, according to his spokesman, Jim McGrath. There has been no word on whether the nationвЂ™s 41st president is suffering from any particular ailment. McGrath said on Wednesday that BushвЂ™s prognosis was positive and that he was being kept hospitalised as a precaution. On Thursday, Bush received a Christmas Day visit from his wife, Barbara, as well as his son Neil and daughter-in-law Maria Bush and was described as being in вЂњgreat spiritsвЂќ. вЂњPresident BushвЂ™s condition has improved to the point that doctors have begun discussing dates for his discharge. He will remain at the Houston Methodist Hospital through the weekend for further observation,вЂќ McGrath said in an updated message on Saturday. Bush, who was president from 1989 to 1993, was admitted to the same hospital in November 2012 for treatment of bronchitis and related ailments. He was so ill at one point that he was believed to be near death, but he ultimately recovered and was allowed to go home after seven weeks. The former Republican president suffers from ParkinsonвЂ™s disease and cannot use his legs. But he celebrated his 90th birthday on June 12 by skydiving near Kennebunkport, Maine, with the ArmyвЂ™s Golden Knight parachute team. His eldest son, former president George W. Bush, this year published a bestselling book about his father titled 41 - A Portrait of My Father. The Interview now available on iTunes Reuters New York A pple Inc said its iTunes store is now carrying Sony CorpвЂ™s The Interview, the п¬Ѓlm that angered North Korea and triggered a cyberattack against the studio. вЂњWeвЂ™re pleased to offer The Interview for rental or purchase on the iTunes Store,вЂќ Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said in a statement. The movie, steeped in gross-out humor depicting the travails of two journalists who get enlisted to assassinate North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, costs $14.99 to buy and $5.99 to rent on iTunes, according to the website. Apple was one of the later tech companies to sign on to carrying the п¬Ѓlm via video-on-de- mand, and waited four days after competitors п¬Ѓrst released it on their digital video platforms on Dec 24. Sony Pictures released the movie online via Google IncвЂ™s YouTube and Google Play, Microsoft CorpвЂ™s Xbox gaming console and a Sony dedicated website п¬Ѓrst made the movie available last week after large movie theater chains refused to screen the comedy following threats of violence from hackers who opposed the п¬Ѓlm.The movie was also shown in 331 mostly independent theaters, which helped generate more than $1 million in sales on Christmas day. Until Sony discloses the online revenues, it will be hard to know if the studio will come anywhere near recouping the $44mn it cost to make the п¬Ѓlm, plus the $30mn-$40mn that some estimate was spent on marketing the п¬Ѓlm and its stars, Seth Rogen and James Franco. Moviegoers pose in a photo booth at a theatre in Richardson City, near Dallas, Texas. Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 11 ASEAN Flamboyant AirAsia boss confronts п¬Ѓrst major crisis Malaysia pledges more п¬‚ood aid AFP Kuala Lumpur M AFP Pengkalan Chepa M alaysia yesterday pledged more funds to help over 160,000 people hit by the countryвЂ™s worst п¬‚ooding in decades, as forecasters warned fresh rain could hamper efforts to relieve thousands left stranded by the waters. At least 24 killed The worst flooding in Malaysia in more than a decade has killed 10 people and forced nearly 160,000 from their homes and more rain is expected, authorities said yesterday. Among the casualties, five were in the worst-hit state of Kelantan, in northeastern peninsular Malaysia. Over the border in southern Thailand, 14 people have been killed in the floods that began in mid-December. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak toured some of the worst-hit areas this weekend, following his return from a vacation in Hawaii on Friday. Prime Minister Najib Razak announced an additional 500mn ringgit ($143mn) after touring parts of Kelantan state Saturday, which along with northeastern Terengganu and Pahang regions has been worst hit by the deluge. вЂњThe country is in desperate need of more helicopters,вЂќ deputy transport minister Aziz Kaprawi said yesterday, as rescue agencies warned that shortages of fuel and clean Local residents walk through floodwaters in Chempaka, near Kota Bahru , Malaysia yesterday. water were hampering search efforts. The worst flooding in 30 years has devastated much of northern Malaysia, with some 8,000 people thought to have been left stranded across the impoverished Kelantan state, where 17 areas have been cut off by the rising waters. From the air, state capital Kota Bharu appeared like a vast, muddy lake and left largely without power. Locals said many people had turned to looting because of a lack of fresh food and water supplies. Weather forecasters yesterday warned that much of Malaysia will see more storms in the next three days. вЂњWe expect another surge in heavy rain followed by strong winds brought by the seasonal northeast monsoon, which usually continues till March,вЂќ a meteorological department official said. вЂњIt is going to take time for the flood waters to subside.вЂќ Anger has been mounting across Malaysia at what is seen as the governmentвЂ™s slow response to the crisis. Truck drivers are complaining of diesel shortages as many petrol stations have been submerged while at relief centres, workers are struggling to cope without enough clean water and in the face of unsanitary conditions. Prime Minister Najib has faced a storm of criticism after being pictured playing golf with US President Barack Obama during the storms. The premier yesterday defended his вЂњgolf diplomacyвЂќ, with the Sunday Star newspaper quoting him as saying вЂњit is hard for me to turn... downвЂќ a personal invitation by the US head of state. The government has since stepped up its response to the crisis, pledging the extra 500mn ringgit to help cope with the crisis on top of 50mn ringgit already allocated. But victims of the flooding said that still wouldnвЂ™t be enough. For those stuck in electronics п¬ЃrmsвЂ™ вЂ�forced labourвЂ™ there is no escape alaysian mogul Tony Fernandes, who transformed a п¬‚oundering carrier into AsiaвЂ™s biggest budget airline, faces his п¬Ѓrst major crisis after an AirAsia plane went missing yesterday with 162 people on board. AirAsia is credited with starting a revolution in the skies of Southeast Asia and has seen spectacular growth under FernandesвЂ™ low-cost, low-overheads model despite intense competition. The ebullient tycoon is one of AsiaвЂ™s most visible entrepreneurs, carving out an image that has seen him frequently compared to colourful Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson. Fernandes maintained an image of calm yesterday even as his company plunged into its п¬Ѓrst major crisis after an AirAsia passenger jet went missing in bad weather en route from Indonesia to Singapore. вЂњThank you for all your thoughts and prayers. We must stay strong,вЂќ he tweeted as he left for Surabaya, where most of the passengers are from. вЂњMy only thought (sic) are with the passengers and my crew.вЂќ This incident caps a disastrous year for Malaysian aviation which saw beleaguered rival Malaysia Airlines suffer two air tragedies in rapid succession. A former record industry executive who acquired the thenfailing airline in 2001, Fernandes is ranked 28th on the Forbes list of MalaysiaвЂ™s richest with an estimated net worth of $650mn. The tycoon, a п¬‚amboyant spirit in AsiaвЂ™s staid business world who favours blue jeans and caps over power suits, has made a habit of defying naysayers. He took over loss-making Air- Director of AirAsia Tony Fernandes (centre), President Director AirAsia Indonesia Sunu Widiatmoko (right) and the head of Surabaya search and rescue agency Hernanto at a press conference in Surabaya, East Java yesterday. Asia shortly after the September 11 attacks in the US sent the global aviation industry into a tailspin, and was given little chance of succeeding. He bought the airline, its two aircraft, and 40mn ringgit ($13.4mn) in debt for the token sum of one ringgit, mortgaging his house to pour money into the carrier. But with his motto вЂњNow everyone can п¬‚yвЂќ, he turned it into a growing force in the aviation industry, with proп¬Ѓts mounting and its route system expanding worldwide. Fernandes, who is of IndianPortuguese descent and married with two children, struck a deal with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone in 2011 for a majority stake in Premiership football team Queens Park Rangers. Endau Analytics aviation analyst Shukor Yusof said his entrepreneurial spirit would survive yesterdayвЂ™s apparent tragedy. вЂњThis incident will not dampen FernandesвЂ™ business spirit. This is such an unfortunate in- cident. AirAsia remains a strong budget carrier. I think the people will rally behind AirAsia,вЂќ he said. The airline, which now has more than 120 A320s and is one of the biggest customers for the European aircraft maker Airbus, is expecting nearly 360 new aircraft to be delivered by 2026. AirAsia, which has some of the lowest unit costs in the world, has raked in business awards and accolades over the years, while expanding aggressively. In 2013 it was ranked as Asia and the worldвЂ™s best low-cost airline for the fifth time in a row. After yesterdayвЂ™s apparent disaster, AirAsia swiftly replaced its distinctive bright red logo on its social media pages with a grey background. Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared on a regular flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March with 239 passengers and crew, and in July, MH17 was shot down over troubled Ukraine killing all 298 on board. AFP Telok Panglima Garang T oiling 12 hours a day in a Malaysian electronics factory amid broken promises on wages and working conditions, Manu dreams of returning to his poor Nepal village but is restrained by invisible shackles. His passport has been illegally conп¬Ѓscated by his employers at the Japanese-owned plant on Kuala LumpurвЂ™s gritty outskirts, and he is struggling to pay off recruitment fees he owes them. He faces additional п¬Ѓnes if he leaves. Labour activists say such abuses are rife in MalaysiaвЂ™s electronics manufacturing sector, a vital link in a global supply chain producing components for major brands like Apple, HewlettPackard, Sony and Samsung. Electronics account for one-third of the countryвЂ™s exports. But at least one-third вЂ” possibly many more вЂ” of MalaysiaвЂ™s 350,000 electronics workers face indentured servitude similar to вЂњmodern-day slavery,вЂќ a study released in September by US-based fair-labour group Verite said. вЂњWhen I talk to my father on the phone, I tell him I canвЂ™t take this anymore,вЂќ said Manu, a pseudonym to protect against employer reprisals. Up to 60% of MalaysiaвЂ™s electronics workers are estimated to be vulnerable foreigners from impoverished countries, and Verite said 94% of foreign labourers it surveyed had their passports seized. вЂњThe problems are both more severe and more numerous than we anticipated,вЂќ Verite CEO Dan Viederman said. Nearly 36mn people worldwide are trapped in forced labour, Australiabased Walk Free Foundation said in November, an issue generating increasing global concern. In early December, world religious leaders from various faiths, including Pope Francis, signed a declaration pledging efforts to end slavery and human trafficking by 2020. ManuвЂ™s ordeal began in 2009 when he paid an employment agent in Nepal around $1,300 -- a large sum there -to arrange work on an assembly line for electronic capacitors used in a range of products. He feels it has been a litany of deception. Manu takes home about $320 monthly -- a п¬Ѓgure which is one-third less than the amount he says he was promised -- following a range of vague deductions and other costs not previously disclosed. MTUCвЂ™s secretary-general Gopal Krishnan answering questions during his interview at his office in Subang, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. He feels pressured to work overtime almost daily, even when sick and claimed supervisors direct ailing workers to a speciп¬Ѓc clinic that refuses to authorise medical leave. вЂњWhen I was very sick with high fever for п¬Ѓve days, the doctor still said I was okay to work,вЂќ said Manu. The promise of free board has not materialised, and some workers live in a single factory-arranged room with up to 15 others, and one toilet. Some said they had worked more than six months without rest. But quitting, applying for leave, or complaining can trigger illegal п¬Ѓnes. вЂњI want to tell (Indonesian President Joko Widodo) to build more factories and be successful, so that Indonesians donвЂ™t need to come and work in Malaysia,вЂќ said an Indonesian worker at the factory. The factoryвЂ™s operators declined AFP requests for comment. Interviewees asked that the factory not be identiп¬Ѓed, fearing retaliation. Activists said a key exploitative factor is that many workers are paid and managed by third-party agents, leaving labourers in a grey area that prevents them seeking recourse from factory owners. Following VeriteвЂ™s report, HewlettPackard said it would closely monitor suppliers to ensure they directly hire workers themselves and employ no forced labour. Labour unrest is rare in Malaysia but recent incidents have sparked concern. In August, Nepali workers went on strike at a factory run by JCY HDD Technology, a Malaysian manufacturer for US hard-drive and data-storage giants Western Digital and Seagate, among others. They claimed a worker had died after slow and inadequate treatment for chest pains, blaming the factory, said the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC), a labour advocacy group. Days later, 20 suspected strike leaders were transferred to another JCY factory, where some claimed they were physically abused, it added. вЂњIt was a form of punishment (for the strike),вЂќ said MTUC secretarygeneral Gopal Krishnam. Anger boiled over, with hundreds rioting and authorities detaining dozens of workers. Fifteen were sentenced to more than a year in jail, and a number of others deported, a Malaysian official has said. The company was cleared of wrongdoing. MalaysiaвЂ™s economy is a magnet for migrants from Indonesia, Myanmar and Bangladesh. An estimated 6mn foreign migrants, most of them illegal, work in factories, plantations, restaurants, and other jobs largely shunned by more-affluent Malaysians. But there are perennial reports of worker abuse and lack of protection from authorities. The US State DepartmentвЂ™s annual human-trafficking report demoted Malaysia in June to its lowest rung over forced labour, leaving it open to possible economic sanctions. VeriteвЂ™s report was commissioned by the US Labour Department. The electronics sector вЂњis facing the single biggest threat to its survival,вЂќ opposition lawmaker Sim Tze Tzin said recently in calling for government action. Authorities declined repeated AFP requests for comment, but the trade ministry said this month Malaysia opposes forced labour. It said it would investigate the allegations and was liaising with US ofп¬Ѓcials to вЂњregister our concernвЂќ, but also said VeriteвЂ™s report was misleading. 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Chen, now 63, who led the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to power in 2000 after 50 years of Kuomintang rule, is serving a 20-year sentence for corruption. He was convicted of money-laundering and bribery related to his eight-year presidency and was sentenced to life in prison in 2009, a term reduced after appeals. Chen was transferred to a prison hospital in April last year after being diagnosed with severe depression, suspected ParkinsonвЂ™s disease and other conditions. He attempted suicide in June last year, trying to hang himself with a towel in a bathroom of the prison hospital. Since then his supporters have stepped up their campaign for his early release. His former deputy, Annette Lu, 70, started her hunger strike Sunday in a tent in central Taipei. вЂњChen had served more than six years (of his sentence) and now he has been diagnosed with various diseases and is growing thin. He is in a critical condition,вЂќ Lu told reporters. вЂњSince 2011, the justice ministry has repeatedly denied the applications for his medical parole, a move which has violated the prison law despite his deteriorating health condition.вЂќ Lu was joined by around 30 friends and politicians at her tent outside a national museum while dozens of pro-independence activists chanted slogans. A medical team assigned by legal authorities will today evaluate ChenвЂ™s physical and mental condition. Chen and his family were accused of laundering millions of dollars by sending political donations and secret diplomatic funds abroad, and of taking kickbacks on government contracts. The ex-leader insists that the charges against him are part of a politically motivated vendetta by the current Kuomintang government, in retaliation for his eight years in power when he promoted the idea of Taiwan declaring its independence from China. Tokyo plans law to speed up overseas deployment of troops AFP Tokyo J apan plans to draw up a law to speed the deployment of troops overseas for peacekeeping operations and to support allies, reports said yesterday, in a move that could strain relations with neighbours wary about JapanвЂ™s wartime history. Prime Minister Shinzo AbeвЂ™s government and his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) plan to draw bills early next year aimed at facilitating administrative processes Aussie foreign dept says no victims in floods Agencies Sydney S evere п¬‚ooding in parts of Thailand and Malaysia has not killed or injured any Australians, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said. The п¬‚oods, which have killed at least п¬Ѓve people and displaced more than 120,000, are the worst to hit the region in decades, Sydney Morning Herald reported. вЂњHeavy rainfall and subsequent п¬‚ooding in north-east Malaysia and southern Thailand has caused disruption and inconvenience for many thousands of people,вЂќ a DFAT spokesperson said. вЂњOur thoughts are with the family and friends of those who have been killed and injured, and those that have been displaced. вЂњAt this time there have been no reports of Australians being killed or injured. Any Australians in п¬‚ood-affected areas should follow instructions issued by local authorities. Yesterday, DFAT updated travel advice on the Smartraveller website, advising travellers to check with their tour operators on travel conditions and follow the latest weather forecasts. to deploy Japanese troops abroad, the leading business daily Nikkei and other media reported. The move would overwrite the past practice of ad-hoc legislation each time Japanese Self-Defence Forces were deployed abroad, except in UN peacekeeping operations and in emergencies in JapanвЂ™s neighbourhood вЂ” cases for which Japan already has permanent laws. The bills would govern the dispatch of Japanese troops overseas in logistical support of multinational forces or key ally the US. WinterвЂ™s winged visitors A group of white-naped cranes in Cheorwon-gun county, Gangwon province, South Korea yesterday. Several hundred of the birds, which breed in northern Mongolia and China, migrate to wintering grounds in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea which has become a nearly untouched nature refuge. HK raises bird п¬‚u alert level as woman critical AFP Hong Kong H ong Kong hospitals raised alert levels yesterday as a woman diagnosed with the deadly H7N9 avian п¬‚u virus was in a critical condition. The 68-year-old woman was hospitalised on December 25 after returning from the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen almost two weeks earlier, although it has not been conп¬Ѓrmed where or how she contracted the virus. Ten people had previously been diagnosed with H7N9 in Hong Kong, including three who died. All had contracted the virus in mainland China, according to Hong KongвЂ™s Centre for Health Protection (CHP). The outbreak, which п¬Ѓrst emerged on the mainland in February 2013, has reignited fears that a bird п¬‚u virus could mutate to become easily transmissible between people, threatening to trigger a pandemic. In response to the new case -- the cityвЂ™s п¬Ѓrst since early 2014 -- Hong Kong announced it was raising its response level in hospitals to вЂњseriousвЂќ from вЂњalert,вЂќ with extra precautions implemented in hospitals from yesterday. The rules include limitations on visiting hours and compulsory surgical masks for those visiting patients. There are three response levels with вЂњemergencyвЂќ the most serious. The Hong Kong government reduced the level from вЂњseriousвЂќ to вЂњalertвЂќ in June, after a drop in cases. Health minister Ko Wingman said late Saturday that the woman had been with two friends in Shenzhen, where she had eaten вЂњhome-cooked chicken,вЂќ although she is not believed to have had contact with live poultry at markets. She remained in a critical condition in intensive care yesterday, hospital authorities said. Hong Kong slaughtered 20,000 chickens in January after the virus was found in poultry imported from the southern Chinese province of Guangdong. A four-month ban on live poultry imports from mainland China was then imposed to guard against the disease. Ko said the new response level would not affect the import of South Korea nuclear operator says cyber attacks continue, reactors safe Reuters Seoul Japan lifts evacuation advisory near N-plant DPA Tokyo S outh KoreaвЂ™s nuclear power operator said yesterday that cyber attacks on non-critical operations at the companyвЂ™s headquarters are continuing but the countryвЂ™s nuclear power plants are operating safely and are secure from attack. Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co Ltd has been intensifying its cyber security, President and CEO Cho Seok said. He gave no details of the continued cyber attacks or the companyвЂ™s response, citing security reasons. вЂњWe cannot let cyber attacks stop nuclear power operation,вЂќ Cho told a news brieп¬Ѓng. He added that a closed network used for reactor operations was inaccessible from external communication lines and impervious to cyber attacks. вЂњWe will continue operating nuclear plants safely against any attempted foul play, including cyber attacks,вЂќ Cho said. вЂњCyber attacks on KHNPвЂ™s (headquarters) operations and administration are still continuing now,вЂќ he added. KHNP, part of state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp , said last Monday that its com- poultry for the time being, as вЂњrapid testingвЂќ had been introduced to check birds for the disease. вЂњWe will closely monitor the situation... then decide the appropriate measures,вЂќ he said. Hong Kong is particularly alert to the spread of viruses after an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) swept through the city in 2003, killing 299 people and infecting around 1,800. There have been 469 cases of H7N9 in mainland China since 2013, according to Hong KongвЂ™s CHP. J Cho Seok, head of South KoreaвЂ™s state-run Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co (KHNP), holds a press conference in Seoul yesterday, over hackersвЂ™ recent cyber attacks on the nuke power station operator and a toxic gas leak that killed three workers last week. puter systems had been hacked but only non-critical data had been stolen and reactor operations were not at risk. Cho apologised for concerns that had been raised by the cyber attack and data leaks but said the nuclear plants themselves had not been affected. South Korea has 23 nuclear reactors which supply one-third of its electricity. Three are currently offline for routine maintenance or awaiting a licence extension. The operator and the government since last Wednesday have been running emergency teams on stand-by until the end of the year as a precaution in case of any attempted cyber attacks on nuclear plants, after a hacker demanded the shutdown of three reactors by last Thursday and in Twitter messages threatened вЂњdestructionвЂќ if the demand was not met. South Korean prosecutors are also seeking the co-operation of Chinese authorities in an investigation into the cyber attack, after tracing multiple Internet addresses to a Chinese city near North Korea. They have not ruled out possible involvement of North Korea in the attack. Pyongyang denied any role in the cyber attacks, calling such suggestions part of a вЂњsmear campaignвЂќ by unpopular South Korean leaders. North Korea remains technically at war with the South. apan yesterday lifted an evacuation advisory in areas near a stricken nuclear power plant in the north-eastern region, despite opposition. The move affects 152 households in the вЂњhot spotвЂќ of Minamisoma city, where relatively higher radiation levels were found following a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March 2011. Residents had been advised to leave their homes in the areas outside the no-go zone around the plant since June 2011. The governmentвЂ™s latest decision means all the advisories were lifted outside the no-go zone. Leaders of the residentsвЂ™ group in Minamisoma met government officials in Tokyo on Friday, urging them to repeal the decision. Yoichi Ozawa, one of the leaders, said the government ignored their opinions and that its decision was unilateral. In October, when government officials met many residents in the city, all of them were against the move, saying levels of radiation are still high, the group said. Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 13 BRITAIN OBITUARY LEVY FASHION SOCIETY PEOPLE Harry Potter actor David Ryall dead at 79 Tory council parking fines blasted John Galliano to launch collection in London Festive season вЂ�busy time for marriage counsellorsвЂ™ Spiderman surprise boy Jayden dies Actor David Ryall, who will be remembered for playing Elphias Doge in the Harry Potter Deathly Hallows film, died on Christmas Day aged 79. Daughter Charlie Ryall said: вЂњPlease take a moment to remember his huge five-decade-spanning career outside of the more well-known TV & film. Not just Harry Potter.вЂќ Ryall replaced Peter Cartwright as Doge in 2010вЂ™s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, an ally of Hogwarts headmaster Professor Albus Dumbledore. Ryall, who joined the National Theatre in 1962 on leaving LondonвЂ™s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, appeared in the 2004 Around the World in 80 Days; Truly, Madly, Deeply in 1990 and The Elephant Man in 1980. Residents in Tory-controlled boroughs and councils are being clobbered with record parking charges and fines, Labour has claimed. The opposition said the Conservatives had failed to tackle the rising bill despite Communities Secretary Eric Pickles labelling the charges a вЂњshopping taxвЂќ. Labour said freedom of information requests, responded to by 214 of 326 English councils, suggested the total bill reached ВЈ1.38bn in 2013-14, up from ВЈ1.32bn the year before. Based on the data received, Labour said the average charge and fine bill per resident in a Tory authority was ВЈ31.69, 41% more than the average Labour council figure of ВЈ22.50. British fashion designer John Galliano has caused outrage in the Paris fashion industry with a timing decision. Galliano joined Maison Martin Margiela this year as creative designer and heвЂ™s planning to present his first collection for the house on January 12 in London. That means he will be showing ahead of the haute couture Paris Fashion Week at the end of the same month. The organisation Chambre Syndicale, which is responsible for organising the fashion week in France, has decided to strike GallianoвЂ™s show from its spring calendar, according to media reports. Galliano was fired by his previous employer Christian Dior in 2011 after an antiSemitic tirade uttered in a Paris bar became public. Notions of the perfect couple, the perfect family and the perfect Christmas вЂњbecome this big pressure cooker that just explodesвЂќ at this time of year, BritainвЂ™s leading marriage guidance service said. The charity Relate said it was expecting a spike in demand for counselling sessions because the festive season had become a вЂњreally difficult time.вЂќ вЂњPeople are thinking about their lives, their relationships, and they kind of want to go into the New Year fresh,вЂќ Relate spokeswoman Priscilla Sim said. вЂњItвЂ™s kind of like, you have three choices: You either stay as things are, you leave the relationship or you try and change.вЂќ A terminally ill boy who became an internet star when his father dressed up as Spiderman to surprise him on his fifth birthday has died, his family confirmed. Jayden Wilson, from Basingstoke in Hampshire, was given a year to live in September 2013 when he was diagnosed with cancer. A video of a stunned Jayden being greeted by the comic book character went viral and has been viewed nearly 9mn times on YouTube. JaydenвЂ™s father Mike Wilson said his son died peacefully in his bed on Christmas Eve. Writing on the Hope For Jayden Facebook page, he said: вЂњ Jayden fought an amazing battle. By unfortunately late on Christmas Eve, Jayden died peacefully in his sleep.вЂќ Govt вЂ�has created a crisis in school placesвЂ™ вЂ�Social supermarketвЂ™ opened Agencies London T he government has created a вЂњcrisisвЂќ in school places, Labour has claimed after publishing statistics showing more than 80% of free schools did not п¬Ѓll every desk. Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt said freedom of information requests revealed free schools had a fraction of the pupil numbers they had planned for because they opened in areas where there were already enough places. He claimed the scheme ignored areas where there was pressure on places. Hunt said: вЂњDavid Cameron has created a crisis in school places, diverting millions away from children in areas with a shortage of school places in order to open pet project free schools in areas where there are already enough places. вЂњThis is affecting standards in schools, with class sizes soaring, pupils being taught in makeshift temporary classrooms, and children having to travel further and further to get to school. вЂњUnlike David Cameron, Labour has the right priorities for driving up school standards. We will prioritise new school places in areas where there are shortages, have rigorous local oversight of schools and ensure that all teachers have or are working towards qualiп¬Ѓed teacher status.вЂќ LabourвЂ™s research found seven mainstream secondary free schools were full on opening, and only two mainstream primaries. The opposition highlighted the Discovery School in Newcastle, which opened with only a third of its planned pupil numbers, and the Harris Academy in Tottenham, which opened with 58 pupils when it planned for 240. It said the Trinity Academy in Lambeth opened with 15 pupils when it had planned to admit 120. Overall, Labour said that of the 69 free schools that answered the freedom of information request, there were 2,564 unп¬Ѓlled places at the start of this school year. Guardian News and Media London L Rosie Boycott at LondonвЂ™s first community shop in West Norwood for people on a low income. Young people вЂ�do not support UkipвЂ™ Agencies London T he UK Independence Party (Ukip) has failed to win the support of young people - with a new poll showing п¬Ѓrst-time voters are strongly pro-European and six times more likely to choose the Greens among less-established parties. Nigel Farage was by some distance the least popular leader among the 502 17-22-year-olds asked about their political opinions and 2015 intentions by Survation for The Observer. It found Labour enjoyed an eight-point lead over the Tories among the age group when it came to MayвЂ™s general election, ahead by 26% to 18%. With support for the Liberal Democrats Labour set for a bloodbath in Scotland elections: poll as low as 4% in the wake of the partyвЂ™s tuition fee U-turn, a signiп¬Ѓcant 17% intend to back a party outside of the three main Westminster parties. But of those, almost seven in 10 (69%) intend to give their support to the Green Party with only 16% plumping for Ukip - the anti-Europe party unattractive to a group who believe the UK is better off being a member of the EU by 62% to 15%. They would vote in a referendum to remain a member state by 67% to 19%. And they are unimpressed by Farage with only 13% saying they thought he was doing a good job to 64% disagreeing - a negative net rating of 51%, worse even than Nick Clegg. Prime Minister David Cameron enjoyed a -6% score, Labour leader Ed Miliband -18% and LibDem Deputy Prime Minister Clegg -44%. More than 3mn people will be eligible to cast a vote in a Westminster election for the п¬Ѓrst time in 2015. The poll suggests they trust the Conservatives to run the economy over Labour by 28% to 19% - though 29% have no conп¬Ѓdence in neither. Only a slim majority (55%) of LabourвЂ™s voters have faith in Miliband and shadow chancellor Ed Balls ability to look after the countryвЂ™s books. They were split by 33% to 27% over whether the economy was in a bad or a good state and almost as many (33%) said the previous Labour administration was responsible for it as did the Tory/Lib Dem coalition (38%). Survation interviewed 503 17-22 years olds online from December 18 to 22. abour is on course for a bloodbath in Scotland in 2015, according to a special Guardian/ICM online poll. The Scottish National party, which took only 20% of the vote in the 2010 general election, has subsequently more than doubled its vote to reach a commanding 43% of the prospective poll next May. Scottish Labour, which secured a very strong 42% in Gordon BrownвЂ™s homeland last time around, has since tumbled by 16 points to just 26%. The Conservatives sink from 2010вЂ™s 17% to 13%, while the great bulk of the 19% share that the Liberal Democrats scored last time around is wiped out as they fall by 13 points to 6%. On a uniform swing, these results - which are reinforced by a recent Survation poll for the Daily Record - would entirely redraw the political map. LabourвЂ™s band of 41 Scottish MPs would be reduced to a parliamentary rump of just 10 members, underlining that the Scottish partyвЂ™s newly elected leader, Jim Murphy, has a mountain to climb. The SNP, meanwhile, would storm ahead from the mere six MPs it returned in 2010 to take a crushing majority of 45 of ScotlandвЂ™s 59 constituencies. The LibDems, who currently hold 11 seats, would lose all but three, and the Tories would continue to languish with the single seat they currently hold. Such dramatic Labour losses north of the border could easily offset the gains Ed Miliband hopes to make in England and Wales and potentially put Downing Street beyond his reach next year. But a unique analysis, conducted for the Guardian by professor John Curtice, of Strathclyde University, suggests that the crude assumption of a uniform swing could actually be understating the catastrophe facing the party. By breaking ICMвЂ™s data into four different categories of seat, Curtice reveals LabourвЂ™s decline is sharpest in those supposedly heartland seats where it previously trounced the SNP by more than 25 points. Whereas LabourвЂ™s Scotlandwide vote drops by 16 points, it falls by 22 points in these constituencies while the SNP surges by 26 points. That combination is sufficient to wipe out majorities that were always assumed to be impregnable, and Scottish LabourвЂ™s Westminster caucus is left shrivelling to just three MPs. вЂњWe are prospectively looking at the collapse of citadels that have always been Labour since the 1920s,вЂќ said Curtice. вЂњThat will seem incredible to some in England, but to those of us who paid close attention to Alex SalmondвЂ™s 2011 landslide at Holyrood, it would merely be the next chapter in the political transformation of a nation.вЂќ He added: вЂњIt is becoming clear that the independence referendum has reset all the dials. Previously rock-solid Labour seats in Glasgow voted yes in the referendum, and this now appears to be giving rise to a particular surge of nationalist sentiment in those parts of Scotland where it was once assumed that the SNP couldnвЂ™t reach.вЂќ With the nationalists also advancing by 20-plus points in the more competitive Liberal Democrat and Labour-held seats, they are on course to capture all the more obvious targets, securing a total of 53 seats under this more reп¬Ѓned projection. The LibDems are again reduced to three and the Conservatives are wiped out entirely. Curtice cautions that the polling samples are small for some categories of seat, but nonetheless believes there is enough evidence to conclude that the SNP is вЂњon the march in heartland Labour seats, and - if anything - to a greater extent than elsewhereвЂќ. ICM tested Scottish votersвЂ™ attitudes on a range of speciп¬Ѓc policy questions, which only conп¬Ѓrmed the propitious mood for the new SNP leader and First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, as well as for her predecessor, Salmond, who is seeking to make a high proп¬Ѓle return from Holyrood to Westminster in May. Only 13% of voters worry that the proposals of the all-party Smith commission on devolution, which include full Scottish control of income tax rates and bands, go too far. Twenty-six percent believe that Smith got the balance вЂњabout rightвЂќ, whereas 30% believe the plans do not devolve enough. One speciп¬Ѓc complaint of the nationalists about the plans is that London would retain control of corporation tax, something which Labour believes is necessary to avoid a cross-border race to the bottom in the rates paid by companies. But, by 53% to 23%, the voters are on the SNPвЂ™s side, saying that Scotland should be free to set its own corporation taxes. Laws п¬‚ays Osborne spending plans Agencies London G Laws and Osborne: gloves off eorge OsborneвЂ™s postelection deп¬Ѓcit reduction plans are a вЂњsuicide noteвЂќ for the Tories - the chancellorвЂ™s former Liberal Democrat deputy David Laws said. In the latest skirmish of the governing coalition partiesвЂ™ battle to offer voters a distinct pitch at the ballot box in May, the schools minister said the scale of proposed austerity was a вЂњhuge policy and strategic blunderвЂќ. Laws - who as chief secretary in 2010 was a keen enforcer of deep spending cuts - spoke out after his successor in the role, Danny Alexander, accused Osborne of seeking the вЂњwilful destructionвЂќ of public services. They are the latest of a string of senior LibDems to warn of dire consequences for the UK if the Conservatives are allowed to implement proposals to go beyond balancing the books to running a surplus and making tax cuts. вЂњIt is easy to talk about balanc- ing the books by cutting spending and not raising peopleвЂ™s taxes and of course that sounds popular,вЂќ Laws told the Sunday Times. вЂњBut when you look at what the consequences are for the armed forces, police and education you realise it is a very extreme, rightwing strategy that may appeal to marginal, Tory-Ukip swing voters but will not appeal to the majority of people who vote Conservative in my constituency.вЂќ He went on: вЂњThis will be seen to be a very extreme and very right-wing suicide note because all those people who care about the education service, about the police, about the armed forces ... will see that the plans they have put forward are hugely damaging and dangerous.вЂќ It was taken as a nod to Michael FootвЂ™s 1983 left-wing Labour manifesto which was ridiculed by then shadow minister Gerald Kaufman as вЂњthe longest suicide note in historyвЂќ. вЂњIn order to deliver this scale of savings you are talking about having to п¬Ѓnd cuts in the unprotected budget of around a quarter in the next parliament,вЂќ Laws said. 14 Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 BRITAIN Almost 7,000 properties to be sacriп¬Ѓced to rising seas After the floods: one year on, memories continue to haunt residents Guardian News and Media London A lmost 7,000 homes and buildings will be sacriп¬Ѓced to the rising seas around England and Wales over the next century, according to an unpublished Environment Agency (EA) analysis seen by the Guardian. Over 800 of the properties will be lost to coastal erosion within the next 20 years. The properties, worth well over ВЈ1bn, will be allowed to fall into the sea because the cost of protecting them would be far greater. But there is no compensation scheme for homeowners to enable them to move to a safer location. In December 2013, a huge tidal surge п¬‚ooded 1,400 homes along the east coast and saw numerous homes tumble into the ocean. Earlier this month, the Environment Secretary, Liz Truss, visited Lowestoft on the anniversary of the surge, which п¬‚ooded the town. вЂњLast winterвЂ™s storms saw the eastern seaboard overwhelmed,вЂќ said coastal community campaigner Chris Blunkell, who lives on the North Kent coast at Whitstable. вЂњIf government wonвЂ™t defend all people living on the coast, then it must make sure that they can move elsewhere, and that means compensating them for their loss. ItвЂ™s wrong that the costs of climate change should be borne by the most vulnerable.вЂќ Coastal erosion expert Professor Rob Duck, at Dundee University, said: вЂњIt is a very difficult issue, but we canвЂ™t defend everything at all costs. There are just not the resources to do it and keep on doing it. But it is not just about money, often people have lived in places for generations and there is a lot of history and memories.вЂќ The local authority in which most homes are expected to be lost in the next 20 years is Cornwall, with 76. Cornwall also tops the list for homes lost in 50 years, with 132. Looking 100 years ahead, six local authorities are expected to lose more than 200 homes each: Great Yarmouth (293), Southampton (280), Cornwall (273), North Norfolk (237), East Riding of Yorkshire (204) and Scarborough (203). Duck said the east coast from Yorkshire down to Essex is вЂњsoft and vulnerableвЂќ and that the stronger storms and rising sea level being driven by climate change will increase their vulnerability. A recent EA document stated: вЂњIt is widely accepted that (climate change) will lead to an acceleration of coastal erosion due to more aggressive marine conditions.вЂќ The EA analysis assumes that funding for shoreline management plans - a mix of holding the line and managed retreat - is maintained. Without this, the number of properties lost within 100 years would increase tenfold to over 74,000. The central estimate for properties lost even with continued coastal defence is 7,000, but the EA analysis found there is a 5% chance this could rise to almost 9,000 if the weather was particularly extreme. Currently, the department of environment, food and rural affairs (Defra) states that вЂњthere are more than 200 homes at risk of complete loss to coastal erosion in the next 20 yearsвЂќ. But the newly revealed EA analysis puts the number at 295, and at 430 in the extreme case. вЂњIt is not feasible or affordable to protect every household now or in the long term, especially given the likely consequences of sea level rise,вЂќ said the EA and Defra, in a recent response to enquiries from Friends of the Earth. The EA and Defra added: вЂњThere is no statutory recourse to compensation for property lost or damaged due to coastal change.вЂќ вЂњCompensating coastal communities affected by climate change is simply a matter of social justice,вЂќ said Friends of the EarthвЂ™s Guy Shrubsole. вЂњAt the moment, the government is dumping these costs on individual households and vulnerable communities.вЂќ вЂњDuring last yearвЂ™s tidal surge, the biggest since 1953, some people on the east coast were evacuated from their homes and given a biscuit in the church hall,вЂќ said Blunkell. вЂњYet Londoners could sleep easy protected by the Thames Barrier. A biscuit for some and a barrier for others is unjust, and such injustice will grow with rising sea levels.вЂќ A Defra spokeswoman said: вЂњWe are spending more than ВЈ3.2bn over the course of this parliament on п¬‚ood management and protection from coastal erosion - half a billion more than in the previous parliament.вЂќ Icy conditions A woman walks dogs wearing jackets during icy conditions in Newtown Linford, central England, yesterday Illegal drugs sales soar as gangs exploit Net market Gangs using smartphone apps and social media to sell erectile dysfunction drugs and slimming pills at low risk and high profit Guardian News and Media London T he rise of social media and greater Internet access through smartphones are behind a massive upsurge in illicit sales of drugs, according to the chief enforcement official at BritainвЂ™s medicines regulator. Criminal gangs have become adept at using smartphone apps and social media to sell lifestyle drugs to a mass market of potential buyers at minimal risk and cost, said Alastair Jeffrey, head of enforcement at the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). This year, he said the MHRA had seized 1.2mn doses of illegally supplied erectile dysfunction drugs, 383,000 slimming products and 331,000 doses of sleeping pills, tranquillisers and antidepressants - mostly origi- nating from China and India. For the п¬Ѓrst time, the MHRA pursued YouTube accounts and removed 18,671 videos that directed viewers to websites offering illicit drugs. Many gangs operate through websites that claim to be bona п¬Ѓde online pharmacies. They focus on medicines that people might be reluctant to discuss with their GP or pharmacist, such as Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs, as well as slimming pills and hair loss treatments. Sales of anabolic steroids for bodybuilders and cognitive enhancers, some of which have not been tested in humans, are also booming. вЂњThis is something we are looking at now in a serious way. There is a phenomenal market out there,вЂќ said Jeffrey, a former detective chief superintendent who ran the MetвЂ™s child abuse investigation command. вЂњSmartphones have allowed people greater access to the Internet, and all of a sudden this accessibility, combined with social media, has made a signiп¬Ѓcant difference in how criminals reach consumers.вЂќ Criminals have moved into the area of prescription drugs and similar treatments because the profits to be made far outweigh those to be made from narcotics such as cocaine, heroin and cannabis. The risks are lower, too, with jail sentences for handling unlicensed or fake medications a fraction of those doled out for dealing in class A substances. Bernard Leroy, director of the International Institute of Research Against Counterfeit Medicines in Paris, said gangs that sold counterfeit drugs stood to make в‚¬200-в‚¬500 for every single euro invested. In 2010, the World Customs Organisation estimated that the global market for counterfeit drugs was worth $200bn (ВЈ130bn), putting it ahead of prostitution. The combined heroin and cocaine markets are worth $160bn. About half of the drugs sold on the internet are counterfeits, according to the World Health Organisation. Criminal groups use a number of different approaches to make money from prescription drugs. Probe launched into London rail chaos Agencies London A n investigation has been launched after thousands of passengersвЂ™ Christmas travel plans were plunged into chaos when engineering works overran. Police were brought in to control re-routed crowds as trains in and out of two of LondonвЂ™s busiest rail hubs - KingвЂ™s Cross and Paddington - were cancelled on Saturday. Passengers branded the situation a вЂњdisgraceвЂќ while Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin demanded answers from rail bosses. Network Rail said it was вЂњdeeply sorryвЂќ for the disruption while the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) promised an investigation into the debacle. Services at KingвЂ™s Cross station were back to normal yesterday. As pressure mounted on Network Rail, Robin Gisby, managing director of network operations, apologised for the mayhem. He said: вЂњIвЂ™m deeply sorry for the delays, upset and upheaval caused to passengers impacted by our overrunning improvement work outside KingвЂ™s Cross. вЂњWeвЂ™ve had an army of 11,000 engineers out over Christmas Day and Boxing Day at 2,000 locations nationwide. Over 90% have been completed and handed back to-time but I realise this is no consolation for the thousands affected.вЂќ He said Network Rail would pay compensation to train operators, but would not be drawn on whether affected customers will be in line for pay-outs. His comments came after a day where thousands of travellers were hit by delays and cancellations, or crammed into вЂњdangerously overcrowdedвЂќ carriages. KingвЂ™s CrossвЂ™ normally busy concourse was almost deserted as trains were scrapped or redirected to Finsbury Park. But the north London station was quickly overwhelmed by the sheer number of passengers and also temporarily closed, leaving passengers queuing in the freezing cold for around two hours. Police were called to deal with the crowds, which stretched some 300 metres along the side of the station along Seven Sisters Road. Metal barriers were also erected to avoid people getting crushed. George Hallam, a semi-retired economics lecturer from Lewisham, was among the crowds waiting to get on a train at Finsbury Park. He said: вЂњAny civil engineering contractor would have realised probably weeks ago that they were going to overrun and they must have realised they would be п¬Ѓned. вЂњThey could have solved that by putting on more resources, more people, more machines - but if the cost of that is more than the п¬Ѓne then they would choose to pay the п¬Ѓne.вЂќ Fake pills can be made from scratch from various powders, including harmful ones, and sold on. They can be laced with a small amount of the drugвЂ™s active ingredient to ensure they pass chemical tests. Other gangs obtain discarded out-of-date drugs and repackage them with fresh dates, or buy cheap generic drugs and resell them after replacing the labels and packaging to make them look like topbrand medicines. In Britain, the MHRA works with internet domain registries, credit card companies, Interpol and sites such as YouTube, Amazon and eBay to identify rogue traders, take down their websites and close their accounts. Raids organised with the MHRA have found drugs ready for shipment stored in appalling conditions. вЂњIn many cases they are not stored properly at all. We have had cases where there have been mouse and rat droppings around the blister packs. These people are not interested in sanitary conditions, they are in it for the money,вЂќ said Jeffrey. Besides the obvious risks of taking medicines made from rat poison and other substitutes used by gangs, there are also dangers in taking medicines without proper consultation. вЂњThere are deп¬Ѓnitely health risks because a patient might have a condition that means they should not take a certain drug. The problem we have is identifying people who are victims because they donвЂ™t say вЂ�I bought sildenaп¬Ѓl on the Internet and suddenly got heart palpitationsвЂ™,вЂќ Jeffrey added. Leroy said the European commission had compounded the problem by allowing e-pharmacies to operate online. This had led maп¬Ѓa groups, mainly from former Soviet Union states, to set up websites that duped visitors into thinking they were registered European e-pharmacies, he said. вЂњWe are in a situation where internet usage is growing so fast that we are at risk of losing control,вЂќ Leroy told the Guardian. вЂњThis will become a major issue for public health in coming years. People are more and more focused on obtaining these medicines and people are going to the internet for them.вЂќ Govt allows online access to wills archive AFP London S Patrick McLoughlin: demands answers from rail bosses. ome 41mn British wills dating back to 1858, including those of Winston Churchill and Princess Diana, were made available in an online database. The governmentвЂ™s full archive of wills from England and Wales, stretching back more than 150 years, has been put on the probatesearch.service.gov. uk website. It includes the wills of World War II prime minister Churchill; novelist Charles Dickens; Diana, princess of Wales; childrenвЂ™s writer A A Milne; codebreaker Alan Turing; writer George Orwell and author Beatrix Potter. The digital copies of the wills cost ВЈ10 but basic details for some of them are available online. вЂњThis fascinating project provides us with insights into the ordinary and extraordinary people who helped shape this country, and the rest of the world,вЂќ said Courts Minister Shailesh Vara. вЂњIt is a fantastic resource not only for family historians but also for anyone with an interest in social history or famous п¬Ѓgures.вЂќ Previously the archives had only been publicly available to search in person. In ChurchillвЂ™s will he gave ВЈ304,044 - worth more than ВЈ5.1mn nowadays - to his family. When Dickens died in 1870 he left a will written in cursive script that laid out highly speciп¬Ѓc directions for his funeral. вЂњI emphatically direct that I be buried in an inexpensive, unostentatious, and strictly private manner,вЂќ he wrote, adding that mourners must not wear scarves, cloaks, long hatbands, вЂњor other such revolting absurdityвЂќ. Orwell, who died in 1950, insisted that his archive of papers be preserved, while economist John Maynard Keynes, who died four years earlier, wanted most of his papers destroyed. Milne, who wrote вЂњWinnie The PoohвЂќ, gave shares of his future royalties and copyright to his favourite London club and Westminster School when he died in 1956. Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 15 EUROPE Rescuers race to save people from burning ferry off Greece There is hope for the passengers with several rescue ships on the spot AFP Rome R escuers battled in the dark yesterday to save more than 300 trapped passengers from a burning Italian ferry as coastguards reported the п¬Ѓrst death in the high-seas drama. As darkness fell, teams from Greece, Italy and Albania who had coped with gale-force winds and billowing smoke earlier in the day, pressed on with efforts to retrieve more passengers. The Italian coastguard conп¬Ѓrmed the п¬Ѓrst death in the disaster, saying it had plucked a manвЂ™s body from the water around the ferry. The unnamed victim, a Greek national, was being transferred to the Italian port of Brindisi on a patrol boat. Greek officials said a Greek woman who had been in the same part of the stricken вЂ�Norman AtlanticвЂ™ as the deceased man had been rescued. The blaze on the ferry was said to have started on the car deck when the vessel was some 44 nautical miles northwest of the Greek island of Corfu. In an update at 1630 GMT, the Italian navy said 317 of the 478 passengers and crew were still The car ferry Norman Atlantic burns in waters off Greece. Right: A person rescued from the Norman Atlantic vessel arrives at the Antonio Perrino hospital in Brindisi. aboard the ferry. Desperate passengers pleaded by mobile phone live on TV to be saved from the vessel which was travelling from the Greek port of Patras to Ancona in Italy. вЂњI cannot breathe, we are all going to burn like ratsвЂ”God save us,вЂќ cried one of the shipвЂ™s cooks in a call to his wife, she told journalists. As a п¬‚otilla of rescue vessels arrived from Greece, Italy and Albania, Greek army Super Puma helicopters winched passengers two by two from the bridge to the Italian ship, Europa, which is coordinating the rescue. A Greek journalist aboard the ship said rescuers were also trying to attach rope ladders to the ferry so passengers could climb down onto tug boats. A Greek army helicopter made repeated attempts to save two passengers who fell from an escape chute and were at the mercy of six-metre waves. Their fate was unknown. Greek Marine Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis said an attempt would be made to tow the vessel. Italian navy spokesman Riccardo Rizzotto said the weather is вЂњso bad we need an extraordinary level of support, which is effectively what is being put in placeвЂќ. He also said a 58-year-old man had been airlifted to Italy suffering from hypothermia. Freezing passengers huddled on the top deck and bridge of the ship told of their terror in calls to Greek television stations. вЂњWe are on the top deck, we are soaked, we are cold and we are coughing from the smoke. There are women, children and old people,вЂќ passenger Giorgos Styliaras told Mega TV. Another told the station that вЂњour shoes were meltingвЂќ from the heat of the п¬Ѓre when they were mustered in the shipвЂ™s reception area. Haulage company boss Giannis Mylonas, who was in contact with three of his drivers on the vessel, said there were between 20 and 25 tanker trucks п¬Ѓlled with olive oil on board. The captain of the ferry was named as 62-year-old Italian Argilio Giacomazzi. вЂњI canвЂ™t wait to give him a hug,вЂќ his daughter Guilia told ANSA news agency. Vessels close to the ANEK Lines ferry rushed to give assistance after picking up its distress signal at 0200 GMT, the Greek coast guard said. The Greek maritime ministry said 268 of the passengers were Greek, with the crew made up of 22 Italians and 34 Greeks. But the rest of the passengers were made up of 54 Turks, 44 Italians, 22 Albanians, 18 Germans, 10 Swiss, nine French, and Russian, Austrian, British and Dutch nationals. Among those rescued and evacuated to hospitals near Lecce on ItalyвЂ™s southwestern heel were a two-year-old Swiss boy, his four-year-old sister and their seven months pregnant mother, according to Italian media. Two children aged 11 and 12 were reported to have been evacuated while their respective parents were still on the boat. The Norman Atlantic left the Greek port of Patras at 1530 GMT on Saturday and made a stop at Igoumenitsa, before heading to the Italian port of Ancona when the п¬Ѓre took hold. The car deck of the Italianп¬‚agged ferry was believed to have been holding 195 vehicles when the п¬Ѓre broke out. According to rescued passengers, the intense heat rapidly affected the rest of the ship. However, passengers stranded on the ship later seemed to be more worried by the storm, telling Greek TV the п¬‚ames were subsiding. The shipвЂ™s Greek operators ANEK Lines did not say how the п¬Ѓre started. Editor of Russian magazine faces jail AFP Moscow T Traffic bound for French Alpine ski resorts moves slowly along the highway in the direction of MoГ»tiers from Albertville. Heavy snow brings chaos to Europe, skiers rejoice AFP Paris H eavy snowfall brought both chaos and joy across Europe, with some 15,000 people stranded overnight yesterday in the French Alps while skiers revelled in the fresh powder blanketing slopes. A winter storm left thousands of Britons without power, sent trucks sliding across icy highways in Germany and caused airport delays and traffic disruptions across the region. In the Savoie region in the French Alps roads were iced over or buried under snow, creating havoc for holidaymakers rushing to and from ski resorts for their end-of-year vacations. Savoie authorities said nearly 15,000 people had been housed in emergency shelters, while others were forced to spend the night in their cars. вЂњIt took us 10 hours to go 130km,вЂќ said Kevin Clavel who was stuck in his car with four passengers. On the п¬‚ip side the abundant snowfall has created idyllic conditions for skiers and resorts who have anxiously been watching bare slopes as temperatures remained unseasonably warm in recent weeks. But the heavy snows also brought the threat of avalanches, and one person died yesterday after being buried in a torrent of snow in the southern French Alps. Icy conditions also caused the death of a 27-year-old man whose car slid into a ravine in the Belledonne mountain range. FranceвЂ™s interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve urged drivers вЂњto exercise the utmost cautionвЂќ and asked those who could delay their trips to do so. The storm also hit Britain where more than 100,000 homes were left without power. In Germany heavy snowfall was also welcomed in the Alps, and turned the picturesque Black Forest region into a winter wonderland where children delighted in building the seasonвЂ™s п¬Ѓrst snowmen.Police, however, reported dozens of weather-related accidents on Autobahn highways and country roads, with trucks sliding across icy lanes and creating a 20km traffic jam near the western city of Stuttgart. The countryвЂ™s biggest airport, Frankfurt, cancelled 20 of yesterdayвЂ™s more than 900 scheduled п¬‚ights and reported widespread delays as runways had to be cleared of snow and jets de-iced. As temperatures plunged in Italy, more than half the country was covered in snow, to the delight of ski resort operators from the Alps down to the lesserknown mountains of Abruzzo, east of Rome. The cold snap is expected to dig in across Europe into the New Year, with temperatures in Britain likely to drop as low as - 10 degrees Celsius next week. Despite the chaos, the arrival of fresh white powder was a boon to European ski resorts which had been unable to fully open during the key holiday season. вЂњWhat joy! It is a gift from the sky,вЂќ said Gilbert Blanc-Tailleur of the Courchevel ski resort in the French Alps. вЂњSnow is coming. Winter is п¬Ѓnally here!вЂќ said the La Bresse ski station in the eastern Vosges mountains on its website. In Austria ski resort operators also breathed a sigh of relief as much of the country was blanketed in white. The Oesterreich daily declared the ski season saved on Saturday, headlining with: вЂњHurray! The snow is here.вЂќ Meanwhile in France, winds also wreaked havoc, with storms packing gusts of up to 160kph forcing the temporary closure on Saturday of FranceвЂ™s port of Calais on the English Channel and the suspension of car ferries to and from Britain. A few kilometres outside the industrial northern city, thousands of illegal migrants living in makeshift camps struggled through a second night of freezing temperatures. вЂњThe conditions outside are hellish,вЂќ said David Lacour, the director of SolidвЂ™R, which is running a care centre to help migrants survive the cold. вЂњThe storm blew away a lot of tentsвЂ”some now have nothing.вЂќ he editor-in-chief of RussiaвЂ™s top opposition magazine, The New Times, has been accused of disobeying traffic police and faces up to 15 days in jail amid ever-shrinking tolerance for dissent.Writing on Twitter, Yevgenia Albats said a court would hear her case tomorrow. вЂњOver what?вЂќ she said in a tweet late Saturday. вЂњOver nothing.вЂќ Reached by AFP yesterday, Albats declined to comment. She said earlier that traffic police had stopped her car on a busy Moscow street on Saturday and requested to see her identiп¬Ѓcation. She said she had complied but had nevertheless been accused of disobeying police. вЂњI have not violated a single law,вЂќ Albats said on the popular Echo of Moscow radio where she also hosts a show. She indicated her case may be politically motivated but declined to elaborate. Albats would be represented in court by her lawyer, she said.A spokesman for Moscow police conп¬Ѓrmed to AFP that Albats had committed an administrative offence but declined to provide further details. Disobeying police or other representatives of the Russian authorities is punishable by a п¬Ѓne or up to 15 days in jail. State-controlled television channel NTV aired what it said was вЂњexclusiveвЂќ footage showing the journalistвЂ™s exchange with a traffic policeman. The channel, which has been behind a number of smear campaigns against anti-Kremlin п¬Ѓgures, said that Albats was returning from a вЂњparty at a Georgian restaurantвЂќ. NTV said she initially refused to pull over and police were forced to give chase, adding that the editor then bickered with officers. With a relatively small print run, the weekly magazine known for its searing covers and uncompromising anti-Kremlin stance, punches above its weight. Along with the opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta, Internet TV channel Dozhd and a handful of other outlets, the magazine has served as a safety valve of sorts, giving Kremlin critics a platform to air their views. Tensions are mounting in Russia as international isolation is growing and the country is sliding into a full-blown crisis under the pressure from falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. The patriotic euphoria triggered by the seizure of Crimea from Ukraine in March is ebbing as concerns over shrinking salaries and savings take centre stage. Polls shows that most Russians support Putin while a minority disagrees with his policies, claiming the country is hurtling towards political and economic catastrophe. The raging tensions with Ukraine and the West has left Russian society hugely polarised, with critics accusing the Kremlin of using national television to whip up aggression and hatred towards dissenters. Authorities are further tightening the screws against key members of the beleaguered protest movement while anti-opposition activists are hounding them with ever-growing impunity. In an episode broadcast on television, proKremlin activists last week distributed condoms featuring the images of prominent Putin critics including Alexei Navalny and Mikhail Khodorkovsky.In an eyebrow-raising statement that made many cringe, Putin in 2011 compared the white ribbons opposition supporters pinned to their lapels as a symbol of protest to condoms. Hackers вЂ�copied German ministerвЂ™s thumbprintвЂ™ DPA Hamburg M embers of the Chaos Computer Club said Saturday they had copied the thumbprint of German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen. Jan Krissler, speaking in Hamburg at the clubвЂ™s 31st annual convention, said he planned to publish an image of the thumbprint soon on the Internet. Krissler said making the copy didnвЂ™t require an object that von der LeyenвЂ™s thumb had touched. Instead a commercially available software called VeriFinger was used along with a photograph of her right thumb taken at close range during a news conference in October. Krissler showed a partial image of the defence ministerвЂ™s thumbprint, saying he was able to complete the missing parts of the image using photographs taken from other angles. The German news website Zeit Online п¬Ѓrst reported on research Krissler and fellow hacker Tobias Fiebig have conducted at the Technical University of Berlin into weaknesses in biometric security systems. It was a repeat of something Krissler did in 2008 when he published a п¬Ѓngerprint belonging to Wolfgang Schaeuble, who was GermanyвЂ™s interior minister at the time. Biometrics that require a userвЂ™s п¬Ѓngerprint or an iris scan are being used more and more in security systems. Krissler has shown how many of these systems can be outsmarted. One example is a facial recognition device that is fooled by a photograph of the personвЂ™s face. Another is a fake п¬Ѓngerprint that Kissler says can dupe the iPhone п¬Ѓngerprint sensor. 16 Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 INDIA Tamil Nadu Roundup Walk for unity Education is key to ending child labour, says Satyarthi By Umaima Shafiq Police search for orphanage officials over childrenвЂ™s abuse Police are on the lookout for the trustees of a private orphanage who abandoned 33 children fearing legal trouble in Kanyakumari. The children from the 30-yearold old Sarojini New Life Centre were brought in a car and left on the WCC road. They showed physical bruises caused by hot iron, beatings and starvation. Police sent them back to their guardians in Tirunelveli, Ramanathapuram and other districts. The matter came to light when neighbours informed the police about the childrenвЂ™s plight. The district administration has sealed the orphanage and also inspected several others for similar discrepancies. Kanyakumari has 88 orphanages of which only one is government owned, the others are run by private trusts. Meanwhile, ten boys including a murder accused, escaped from a juvenile remand home at Kellys in Chennai. One of the boys hit a warden with a tube light injuring his hands and the others escaped in the confusion. Police have launched a manhunt. Our children cannot stay trapped in workplaces, says Nobel Peace Prize winner IANS New Delhi N Bank issues notice to RajiniвЂ™s wife over loan The Chennai branch of Export Import Bank of India has issued a notice to Tamil film star RajinikanthвЂ™s wife Latha over non-payment of loans taken for his previous film Kochadaiyaan. Latha reportedly stood guarantor for a loan issued to Mediaone Global Entertainment, who were co-producers of the film. She had been asked to pay Rs220mn in July 2014. The bank has also taken possession of LathaвЂ™s property in Kanchipuram. A Mediaone spokesman said, вЂњWe have been negotiating with the banks from December and will pay before March 31, 2015.вЂќ Kochadaiyaan produced by RajiniвЂ™s daughter Saundarya, was delayed for three years and bombed at the box office because the fans were disappointed by an animated portrayal of their icon. Five killed in Salem road crash Five people were killed and six injured when a Salem-bound lorry collided with a bus and a scooter at Sandhiyur on the Tiruchi-Namakkal highway last week. The lorry driver reportedly jumped a median hitting the bus and smashing its front portion. The scooter rider was caught between the two vehicles and dragged for some distance. In another incident, a lorry driver was killed and six others injured when his vehicle rammed into a government bus on the Tiruchi-Pudukottai highway. Kumaresan was overtaking another truck when a bus coming in the opposite direction swerved and hit a nearby wall injuring its passengers. Police blamed the lorry drivers for not taking sleep breaks and driving continuously. Storyteller dies aged 83 Popular Tamil dramatist and master storyteller Koothapiran alias Nagapattinam Vittal Iyer Natarajan died of heart attack in Hyderabad last week. He was 83 and is survived by wife and two sons. Born at Chidambaram in coastal Cuddalore district, Koothapiran adopted his pen name on his wifeвЂ™s advice. He moved to Chennai in 1947 and trained as a theatre artiste. He joined the All India Radio and began conducting childrenвЂ™s programmes. He soon coordinated Siruvar Solai, a popular storytelling session that was aired for three decades earning him the nickname of Vannoli Anna. Besides this he has authored 20 childrenвЂ™s books and novels and acted in about 6,500 plays. His funeral was held in Chennai. abolition of child labour in all its forms. Children canвЂ™t remain trapped in workplaces, mines, and in bonded labour.вЂќ Satyarthi termed the problem of child labour in the country as вЂњserious.вЂќ Members of the Akhila Bharatiya Ekta Manch (all India unity front) participate in a вЂ�Walk for BengaluruвЂ™ in the southern city yesterday. obel laureate Kailash Satyarthi has said child labour in India is a вЂњseriousвЂќ problem, and felt the delay in enacting and enforcing a ban on all its forms is akin to вЂњdestroying childhoodвЂќ as our вЂњchildren cannot remain trapped in workplaces.вЂќ But in the same breath he sounded optimistic that the scourge would become history during his lifetime and the key, he said, was вЂњquality education.вЂќ вЂњOne canвЂ™t say for sure how many children work as labourers, but there is a general consensus that there are about 5mn trapped in this unlawful activity,вЂќ the Delhi-based child rights advocate said. вЂњWe canвЂ™t say with conп¬Ѓdence that India is on the path of progress. So education is the key. Quality education has a direct link with substantial economic growth. An educated workforce and growth require good quality education,вЂќ said Satyarthi, who founded the Bachpan Bachao Andolan (save childhood movement). Satyarthi, 60, who shared this yearвЂ™s Nobel Peace Prize with Pakistani child rights activist Malala Yousafzai, was happy that the government was concerned about the issue and was laying a special emphasis on education. However, вЂњquality education is impossible without the total вЂњOne canвЂ™t say for sure how many children work as labourers, but there is a general consensus that there are about 5mn trapped in this unlawful activityвЂќ Firm in his stand on the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment bill, 2012, which has been stuck in parliament for over two years, Satyarthi said: вЂњThe delay in enacting and enforcing such progressive laws means destroying childhood of millions of children.вЂќ вЂњI have been urging the government to pass the amendment bill. It prohibits all forms of child labour up to age 14 and prohibits hazardous child labour till the age of 18,вЂќ said Satyarthi, who is also a cofounder of the Global March Against Child Labour that is active in 144 countries. Stressing on the need for banning child labour, Satyrathi said over 70 countries have passed the international law to combat the worst forms of child labour.вЂќ вЂњThis awareness has become part of the corporate social responsibility as well. They canвЂ™t ignore the issue of child labour any more. It has emerged as a huge issue in talk and practice. The trend is positive,вЂќ Satyarthi said. Narrating his journey of struggle, he said: вЂњMy biggest achievement so far is that I made child labour an issue in India and globally. But it was never easy for me three decades ago when child labour was a non-issue and people wouldnвЂ™t take me seriously.вЂќ вЂњI would then be reminded of Mahatma GandhiвЂ™s words. He had once said, вЂ�First they ignore, then they laugh, then they п¬Ѓght, and then they п¬Ѓnally winвЂ™. So I wonвЂ™t claim that I have won the battle, the war is very big. But I am sure that in my lifetime, I will see the end of child labour,вЂќ said Satyarthi. вЂњGenerations to come will read in history books that there was an evil called child labour in India. вЂњItвЂ™s not just my optimism but based on concrete evidence and trends. Globally, 15 years ago, there were some 260mn child labourers. It has come down to 168mn now. The trend is clear,вЂќ he said. In SatyarthiвЂ™s opinion, the Nobel Peace Prize is a potent signal to all the child rights activists across the world that the award belongs to all of them. On his experience sharing the honour with the Pakistani girl, Satyarthi said: вЂњIt was more like family bonding as a daughter and a father. She said I was like her aboo (father).вЂќ With several interests in common to discuss, they agreed, in principle, вЂњto push forward our common agenda, especially the education of girls.вЂќ RSS open to re-conversion of willing Goan Catholics IANS Panaji I n the midst of a nationwide row over the issue of re-conversion, a senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh official said the organisation was willing to facilitate the вЂ�Ghar WapsiвЂ™ (re-conversion) of those willing Goan Catholics, whose ancestors were forcibly converted during the colonial Portuguese era. Speaking to a select group of journalists in Goa, on the sidelines of a training camp for RSS volunteers, Sharad Kunte, who heads the rightwing organisa- tionвЂ™s intellectual wing for the western region, also said that the RSS was not actively seeking to re-convert people, but only serving as a facilitator or guide to those who wanted to come back into their original religious fold. вЂњIf they want to come back, we are ready to welcome them...вЂќ Kunte said, when asked about the RSS position on Hindus who had been converted by the Portuguese centuries earlier. He spoke about GoaвЂ™s colonial past and the conversions to Catholicism, which had taken place under the erstwhile Portuguese rule. вЂњItвЂ™s like this, the Portuguese had forcibly converted thousands of Hindus. They (those converted) are not around now, but I think their later generations are...вЂќ Kunte said, adding that even if present day Catholics in Goa did not wish to reconvert the RSS had no issues with it. Goa was a Portuguese colony for more than 450 years until it was liberated in 1961 by the Indian army. In the earlier part of the Portuguese regime, a large number of Goans were converted, often by force by Catholic missionaries, according to documented historical texts. Goa has a population of 1.5mn Will resolve all differences, says KeralaвЂ™s Congress chief IANS Thiruvananthapuram A fter hitting a low for an adamant stand over KeralaвЂ™s tweaked liquor policy, state Congress president V M Sudheeran yesterday said differences of opinion in the party was nothing new and that he would go forward by resolving all issues. вЂњThe Congress party has always discussed and debated issues that affect people and differences of opinion on such issues are bound to come up and it is quite natural,вЂќ he said. вЂњOn some issues, the solution comes easy while on others it takes time. What has happened in the party here (over liquor policy) recently is nothing personal,вЂќ Sudheeran said at the anniversary celebrations of the Congress at the partyвЂ™s state headquarters here. He said he would go forward by resolving all issues within the party. The amended liquor policy came out last week. According to it, 418 bars that have not been opened in this п¬Ѓscal year can be converted into wine and beer parlours and it was decided to revoke the decision to make all Sundays non-liquor or dry days. When the policy was unveiled in August, there was a huge public outcry as the people felt that it was not practical because under the new policy more than 700 bars would not be allowed to serve liquor and Sundays will be dry days. Sudheeran was miffed when Chief Minister Oommen Chandy decided to tweak the liquor policy to make it more practical. Chandy got the full support of the stateвЂ™s ruling United Democratic Front (UDF). Sudheeran, opposing the changes, even went to the extent of saying that the state government was forced to tweak the liquor policy because of вЂњexternal inп¬‚uences.вЂќ He became a loner within the CongressвЂ™s state unit after he found that 31 of the 39 Congress legislators assembled at the residence of Chandy last week and pledged full support to the chief ministerвЂ™s approach. Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala speaking at the Congress anniversary event said Chandy and Sudheeran should stand united and it would give a major boost to the fortunes of the party in the state. вЂњIt is the responsibility of each and every leader in the party to see that unity is maintained because that is what the people expect. Every leader should work on the positives that they have in them and that will beneп¬Ѓt the party only,вЂќ Chennithala said. out of which more than 26% are Catholics. Kunte said that the RSSвЂ™s вЂ�Ghar WapsiвЂ™ programme had nothing to do with converting people by force. вЂњFor those who want to come back (to their original religion), we are only showing them the way,вЂќ Kunte added. Kunte was speaking to reporters after conducting a session on Saturday at the training camp which was attended by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and Goa legislative assembly Speaker Rajendra Arlekar, among others A nationwide controversy erupted recently after a few rightwing Hindu organisations, some of which owe allegiance to the RSS, organised re-conversion programmes in some north Indian states to re-convert nonHindus to Hinduism. The opposition, which had stalled the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha for several days over the issue, has accused the Hindu organisations of offering money as well as government perks to those who reconverted or were potential re-converts. Meanwhile, Congress leader defended peopleвЂ™s right to practice their religion and propagate it, and said many organisations have been engaged in sectarian- ism since the countryвЂ™s partition despite the fact that Hinduism has nothing to do with religion. Speaking on the occasion of 130th Foundation Day of the Congress party, he favoured peopleвЂ™s right to practice personal religious faith and propagate his religion. вЂњEquality of all religions is our constitutional heritage. Every person has the fundamental right to practice his religion and propagate about it. But the way efforts are being made to divide the country in the name of Hindutva and religion, it can only keep alive politics not the country,вЂќ the Congress general secretary said. Foundation day Congress activists take a pledge during a programme organised to mark the foundation day of the party in Patna yesterday. Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 17 INDIA ROBBERY CRIME MYSTERY INVESTIGATION CULTURE Two held with 35 stolen mobile phones in Delhi Man who beheaded son arrested in Bengal Human skulls found in Manipur school complex Minister accused in scam taken back to jail Over 60,000 visit Kochi Biennale Two people were arrested with 35 stolen high-end mobile phones which they were planning to sell in Nepal, New Delhi police said yesterday. Vipin Kumar, 42, and Sudhir, 38, were arrested from Anand Vihar in east Delhi, on Saturday. Thirty-five mobile phones were recovered from them, the police said. Vipin Kumar told police he would buy stolen mobile phones from petty criminals in Jama Masjid area. He would then contact Sudhir, a shopkeeper in Uttrakhand, to sell such phones in Nepal and Uttarakhand. вЂњBefore selling the mobile phones, they used to get IMEI (International Mobile Station Equipment Identity) number changed, so that these phones may not be traced during surveillance,вЂќ the police said. A man who was on the run after beheading his infant son in West BengalвЂ™s West Midnapore district has been arrested, police said yesterday. The incident took place in Mathurahati village near Kharagpur earlier this month when Biswajit Rana decapitated his one-and-a-halfyear-old son and threw the body in a ditch. вЂњWe arrested Rana yesterday night and presented him before a court today which remanded him in police custody,вЂќ an official said. According to a complaint filed by the mother, Rana suspected the child to be illegitimate and following an argument, he snatched the baby from her and went away. The childвЂ™s decapitated body was found in the ditch on December 20. Eight human skulls were recovered from an abandoned Manipur school complex where paramilitary forces had set up a base camp during the 1980s, a police official said yesterday. вЂњThe skulls were extracted from the Tombisana High School complex (in Imphal West district) during digging work on Friday and Saturday,вЂќ the official said. He said police had launched an investigation. The skulls have been sent for forensic test. Police suspect the skulls were believed to be of people aged between 17 and 40 years. NGOs and civic groups have urged Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh to order a judicial inquiry. They have demanded DNA tests of the skulls. West Bengal Transport and Sports Minister Madan Mitra, who was arrested in connection with the multi-billion rupee Saradha scam, was yesterday brought to the Alipore Jail after being discharged from a hospital. вЂњHe was brought to the Alipore correctional home in the morning,вЂќ a jail official said. Mitra who was arrested on December 12 for his alleged complicity in the scam, was admitted to a government-run hospital after he complained of chest pain on December 19. A medical board on Saturday decided to discharge after his examinations failed to reveal anything significant. вЂњHe was admitted with problems related to cardiology, and tests so far have not revealed anything significant,вЂќ the hospital said. More than 60,000 people have so far visited the second edition of the Kochi Biennale, which features 100 artworks by 94 artists from India and abroad, after its opening on December 13, organisers said yesterday. Kerala Culture Minister K C Joseph who visited the event yesterday said he was wonderstruck by the pieces of art on display and remarked that the government and society were obliged to keep it going. вЂњRemarkable installations have been put up with the limited facilities here. I congratulate them for it. What the government can do, we will do. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has already suggested that it was important to support the biennale,вЂќ said Joseph. IIT Delhi director quits amid controversy IANS New Delhi T he head of Indian Institute of Technology Delhi said he had resigned amid controversies over matters involving cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy. The government, however, sought to dispel reports that it had pressed R K Shevgaonkar to quit. вЂњI have resigned,вЂќ Shevgaonkar told reporters on the sidelines of an event here but refused to give details. A media report alleging government pressure as a reason for ShevgaonkarвЂ™s resignation evoked a clariп¬Ѓcation from the human resource development ministry which termed the news item as вЂњfactually inaccurate and incorrect.вЂќ Tendulkar and Swamy also slammed the report. The report had said that Tendulkar was reportedly keen on setting up a cricket academy at the IIT ground but the cricketer denied it. вЂњI am appalled to read the stories that suggest some land has been asked from IIT-D for academy in my name,вЂќ Tendulkar said in a tweet. вЂњI have not even planned any academy neither do I want any piece of land for any purpose.вЂќ вЂњWish that basic facts are checked from me before publishing such п¬Ѓction using my name,вЂќ he added. Swamy said he was serving a legal notice on a newspaper after it reported that one of the reasons for the IIT directorвЂ™s exit was pressure allegedly mounted by the central government on the institute to pay him back dues. The news item said that Swamy, whose services as a professor were terminated in 1992 and later reinstated following a court order, had been demanding his salary dues during the period with 18% interest which both the IIT and the ministry had initially rejected. It also said that Shevgoankar was against any out-of-court settlement on the issue. Swamy said in a tweet that his lawyer friend was вЂњpreparing a Contempt of Court petition against IIT Delhi Director and one BoG (Board of Governor) member.вЂќ He alleged Shevgoankar had resigned as he was involved in a controversy over a decision to set up an institution on the lines of IIT Delhi in Mauritius. In its clariп¬Ѓcation, the ministry dismissed the report that the IIT director had resigned owing to government pressure. It said that ShevgaonkarвЂ™s resignation had been forwarded on December 26 by the IIT Delhi chairman to the вЂњappointing authorityвЂќ for a decision. It also said that the decision will have to go to President Pranab Mukherjee for his approval as he is a Visitor to IIT Delhi. The ministry also said there was no request from Tendulkar вЂњfor ground of IIT for running a cricket academy nor any instruction from the ministry to provide the sameвЂќ and the ministry has not forwarded SwamyвЂ™s request to IIT Delhi вЂњnor given any direction to make payment of arrears.вЂќ It said the views of the department of personnel and training and п¬Ѓnance ministry have been sought in the matter. вЂњThe news item reported is factually inaccurate and incorrect and unnecessarily drags the ministry into issues where no direction has been issued by the ministry,вЂќ it added. Swamy told Times Now news channel that the director does not come in the picture and the matter of arrears was between the government and the board of governors of IIT. вЂњThe government would give the money and the board of governors would give me the cheque. That was it. In the meantime, the director was found to have, in 2011, gone quietly to Mauritius and set up an institute in the name of an affiliate of IIT Delhi,вЂќ he claimed. An explanation was asked from the director, and, вЂњin order to hide the facts that would certainly lead to termination of his directorship, he did it to make a political capital out of it,вЂќ he alleged. Jharkhand Governor Syed Ahmed congratulates Raghuwar Das after he was sworn in as the chief minister in Ranchi yesterday. Jharkhand gets its п¬Ѓrst non-tribal CM Das was elected the BJP legislature party leader on Friday after the party won 37 seats in the 81-member assembly IANS Ranchi V eteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Raghubar Das yesterday took oath as JharkhandвЂ™s 10th chief minister, the п¬Ѓrst nontribal to occupy the post. The 60-year-old Das, who will head a two-party coalition, received thunderous applause from thousands of supporters as he arrived to be sworn in. But the crowds thronging the Morabadi football ground here were disappointed as Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not attend the function as he could not leave Delhi due to bad weather. A thick fog in northern India also prevented Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah, party veteran L K Advani and Home Minister Rajnath Singh from making it to Ranchi. Governor Syed Ahmad administered the oath of office and secrecy to Das and four ministers - three from the BJP and one from the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU). The BJP ministers are Neelkanth Singh Munda, C P Singh and Louis Marandi, who defeated outgoing chief minister Hemant Soren in Dumka. The AJSU representative in the ministry is Chandra Prakash Chaudhary. This is п¬Ѓrst time a non-tribal will lead the government in Jharkhand. All previous nine chief ministers were tribals. A п¬Ѓve-time legislator, Das was elected the BJP legislature party leader on Friday after the BJP won 37 seats in the 81-member assembly. The AJSU got п¬Ѓve seats to give the two parties a majority in the assembly. Das joined the BJP in 1980, the year it was formed following the break-up of the Janata Party. He has been the Jharkhand BJP president twice. Das, a law graduate, was elected a legislator for the first time in 1995 from Jamshedpur east to the then Bihar state assembly. When Jharkhand was carved out from Bihar in 2000, he became labour minister in Babulal MarandiвЂ™s government. He was a minister in Arjun MundaвЂ™s government too. After the 2009 assembly polls, Das became the deputy chief minister in the Shibu Soren government. Jharkhand has become the eighth state to come under the BJP rule. The party is a part of ruling alliance in two other states - Punjab and Andhra Pradesh. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh told reporters: вЂњIt is the happiest moment that a BJP government has been formed in Jharkhand. Now the state will develop. Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand were created together (in 2000).вЂќ The BJP is also determined to snatch the Hindi heartland states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar as well as hilly Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. According to BJP sources, the party is hopeful that its victory in all these states will translate into a higher number of MPs in the Rajya Sabha in two years. The government is now in a minority in the upper house of parliament. According to data available with the BJP, the party now has 1,058 legislators across the country. This is more than the 949 of the Congress, In- Curfew relaxed in violence-hit areas Cold wave continues unabated, UP toll 125 IANS New Delhi I t was a bone-chilling day across northern India yesterday, as Jammu and KashmirвЂ™s Leh recorded its coldest temperature at minus 17 degrees Celsius and Delhi saw the seasonвЂ™s coldest day at 2.6 degrees. While seven people died in Bihar, the toll due to the extreme cold in Uttar Pradesh rose to 125, officials said. Dense fog in Delhi brought down visibility below 50m and delayed 78 trains and 73 п¬‚ights. Road traffic was also hit due to the dense fog. вЂњIt was literally impossible to drive my bike in the fog. I was unable to see beyond 10m. ItвЂ™s a bone-chilling day,вЂќ said Ram Kishore. YesterdayвЂ™s maximum temperature was 18.3 degrees Celsius. Leh town yesterday recorded its coldest overnight temperature at minus 17 degrees. Srinagar saw a low of minus 4.7 degrees, Jammu 3.8 degrees. Kargil was the second coldest place in Jammu and Kashmir at minus 15.2 degrees, followed by Pahalgam (minus 7.6) and Gulmarg (minus 3.7). Water bodies in and around Srinagar were frozen, and people could be seen burning п¬Ѓres around water taps to de-freeze them. Highly slippery conditions prevented motorists from taking to the roads. Rajasthan continued to shiver yesterday, as temperatures dipped up to п¬Ѓve degrees below normal and dense fog affected both train and п¬‚ight services. Churu recorded a minimum temperature of 1.4 degrees, while Mount Abu, the only hill station in the desert state, shivered at 2.4 degrees. Dense fog and cold wave conditions continued unabated in Uttar Pradesh. At least 25 people died since Saturday, taking the toll due to the extreme cold to 125. Regional Met director J P Gupta said the state would be enveloped in dense fog on New YearвЂ™s Eve and foggy conditions would prevail for the next few days. Agra was the coldest place in the state with 2.8 degrees Celsius followed by Shahjahanpur (3.2), Kanpur (3.6) and Lucknow (4.9). diaвЂ™s oldest political party. This is the п¬Ѓrst time the BJP has more legislators than the Congress. Modi could not attend the swearing-in ceremony due to a thick fog in Delhi which reduced visibility to less than 50m. Many in the crowd expressed unhappiness at not seeing Modi on the dais. вЂњWe voted the BJP to power in the name of the prime minister. Bad weather turned out to be the villain,вЂќ moaned Naveen, a resident of Ranchi who attended the ceremony. Among the VIPs who attended the event were Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, central ministers M Venkaiah Naidu and Nitin Gadkari, and former chief ministers Arjun Munda of the BJP, Hemant Soren of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, and Babulal Marandi of the Jharkhand Viks Morcha-P. A cycle rickshaw passes by trucks on a cold and foggy morning in New Delhi yesterday. Curfew was relaxed for a few hours yesterday in AssamвЂ™s violence-hit districts where the death toll in ethnic violence now officially stands at 75, officials said. Tension persisted in Kokrajhar and Sonitpur districts in particular which accounted for most killings, Home Secretary Pratik Hajela said. Hajela added that the army and other security forces had intensified their operations against Bodo militants who massacred unarmed adivasis on December 23 in three districts, inviting retaliatory violence. The security crackdown is taking place along the border with Bhutan. вЂњWe hope the situation will improve soon,вЂќ Hajela said. The army has deployed 66 columns for the operation. The central government has sent 50 companies of paramilitary forces to Assam. Another official said the district administrations yesterday relaxed the curfew imposed after the violence for a few hours but said the night curfew will continue. 18 Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 LATIN AMERICA In CubaвЂ™s sea of classic cars, the truly valuable are elusive Reuters Havana L uis Abel Bango spent seven years searching for his dream car, a 1957 Chevy Bel Air. He п¬Ѓnally found it on CubaвЂ™s far western tip, buying it off the original owner for $7,000. вЂњI went everywhere looking for what I wanted. Out in the provinces, central Cuba. I had to Venezuela ice-cream store shuts over milk shortage agnosis and new paint job. Around 60,000 vintage cars have run on CubaвЂ™s roads since before the 1959 revolution led by Fidel Castro, but п¬Ѓnding a collectible of value is a challenge. For every hidden gem, there are thousands of beaten up clunkers, largely stripped of their original parts. Cuba and the United States agreed last week to restore diplomatic ties that were cut off af- go to the end of the island to п¬Ѓnd this one,вЂќ Bango said. The black-and-white fourdoor had been kept intact by the original owner, complete with all the chrome bits such as the rocket-like hood ornaments that give a вЂ™57 Chevy its style and make it a collectorsвЂ™ favourite. вЂњThe whole package was nearly complete,вЂќ said Bango, although he still needed take the car apart for a complete di- ter the revolution, when the tail п¬Ѓn was still a recent innovation in automotive design. Under the rapprochement, US President Barack Obama plans to remove economic sanctions imposed against the communistrun island. In a land of chronic shortages made worse by those sanctions, Cubans kept the prerevolution cars on the road, using makeshift parts and considerable ingenuity. Charity run A n ice-cream store listed in the Guinness World Records book for its 863 different п¬‚avours has become the latest victim of VenezuelaвЂ™s economic crisis. вЂњWe are closed during the season due to shortage of milk,вЂќ the famous Coromoto ice-cream store in the highland town of Merida announced on its Facebook page. Locals conп¬Ѓrmed that the shop, hugely popular among tourists for its exotic and strange п¬‚avours had been closed since Christmas Eve. A sign on the door asked customersвЂ™ forgiveness вЂњfor not attending you due to the lack of milk.вЂќ Venezuelans have been suffering acute shortages of basic goods, from toilet-paper to spare tyres, all year due to an economic slowdown, the highest inп¬‚ation in the Americas, and the impact of strict currency controls. President Nicolas MaduroвЂ™s socialist government says foes in VenezuelaвЂ™s opposition and wealthy elite are exacerbating economic problems by hoarding and price-gouging in what he terms an вЂњeconomic warвЂќ against him. Reuters Havana C Four rescued from stranded boat A woman and child participates in a 5km Santa Claus Run in La Paz, Bolivia, yesterday. The Bolivians who participated donated a gift for poor children of the city. Petrobras hit with US class action suit Reuters Brasilia B razilвЂ™s state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA and some of its executives were hit with a US class action lawsuit by investors in $98bn of the companyвЂ™s securities over an alleged kickback and bribery scheme. Petrobras has already been sued by several US investors who bought American Depositary Receipts sold by the company in New York. The latest case was п¬Ѓled on December 24 in ManhattanвЂ™s federal court by the Labaton Sucharow law п¬Ѓrm on behalf of the city of Providence, Rhode Island, which invested in Petrobras. The lawsuit proposes to cover $98bn of securities Petrobras sold since 2010, and any judgment or settlement would beneп¬Ѓt the investors who purchased those securities. Allegations include that the company made material misstatements about the value of its assets in bond offering documents. Such an allegation does not require proof that misstatements were made knowingly, and allows plaintiffs to name as defendants the Brazilian and international banks that managed the sale of those bonds. Unlike the previous class actions by ADR holders, the latest lawsuit also names as defendants Petrobras executives, including chief executive Maria das Gracas Foster. In Rio de Janeiro, a Petrobras spokeswoman said the company had not received a citation from the reported class action suit п¬Ѓled on Christmas Eve. On the Sao Paulo stock market, PetrobrasвЂ™ shares fell 4.5% last week, pummelled by MoodyвЂ™s placing its credit rating on review for a possible downgrade and news of the latest US class action suit. So far 39 people have been indicted on charges that in- clude corruption, money laundering and racketeering in the Petrobras graft scheme that allegedly funnelled money to political parties, including Rousseff вЂ™s WorkerвЂ™s Party and its allies in Congress. The case has shaken the government of President Dilma Rousseff, who served as chair of the Petrobras board for seven years until 2010. She has denied any knowledge of the scheme. On Monday, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said there was no evidence that Petrobras senior management was involved in the graft scandal. According to the Brazilian Federal Police the group under investigation moved more than $3.9bn (ВЈ2.5bn) in what police describe as вЂњatypicalвЂќ п¬Ѓnancial transactions. Brazilian courts have blocked around $270m in assets belonging to various suspects. Federal agents revealed contracts worth $22bn are regarded as suspicious. tive, would turn off any purist. Convertible roofs are often replaced with sheets of plastic and many original motors have been replaced with diesel engines because they are cheaper to run. вЂњWhat you see are a lot of cars that are just kind of rolling hulks held together with duct tape and chicken wire,вЂќ said Lance Lambert, host of US television show Vintage Vehicles. Alejando Torres, a Cuban me- chanic, bought a вЂ™57 Chevy with only 74,000 miles on it from its original owner 10 years ago. In what would be shocking in the US, he put in a Mitsubishi diesel engine because the old gas guzzlers are just too expensive to run. Torres said he has turned down $50,000 for it, although in the US the listed value on that car in excellent condition is $28,100. Mystery over 53 inmates to be released by Cuba continues Reuters Caracas Argentina and Chile joined forces to rescue four people who were trapped after their Polish-flagged vessel got stuck on King George island on the edge of Antarctica, ChileвЂ™s navy said. The yacht вЂњhad run aground with four people aboard on the north side of King George island without anyoneвЂ™s life being endangered or any fuel spill,вЂќ a navy statement said. Polish officials at their Arctowski base in Antarctica reported the problem to Chilean officials, who then informed their Argentine counterparts. Still, American collectors who envision a wave of classic cars coming onto the market will need to temper their expectations. Even if the US completely lifted its trade embargo, a 2010 Cuban law bans cars being taken off the island. More importantly, most of the vintage cars, the backbone of urban transit, have suffered heavily on pothole-п¬Ѓlled roads and the repairs, although inven- ubaвЂ™s most prominent dissidents say they have been kept in the dark by US officials over a list of 53 political prisoners who will be released from jail as part of a deal to end decades of hostility between the US and Cuba. For years, dissident leaders have told the US which opponents of CubaвЂ™s communist government were being jailed or harassed, but they say they were not consulted when the list of prisoners to be freed was drawn up or even told who is on it. The lack of information has stoked concern and frustration among the dissidents, who worry that the secret list is п¬‚awed and that genuine political prisoners who should be on it will be left to languish. вЂњWeвЂ™re concerned because we donвЂ™t agree with the silence, because we have a right to know who they are. Who are they?вЂќ said Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White dissident group, which marches in Havana on Sundays to demand the release of prisoners. вЂњThere are not just 53 political prisoners, there are more, and we are concerned that the US list might have common criminals on it,вЂќ she said in Havana. US officials have so far been tight-lipped about how the list of 53 was assembled and who was consulted inside Cuba. It also is not clear if some prisoners were kept off the list because the Cuban government refused to release them. A US official said Washington had asked Cuba to release a Shootout probe speciп¬Ѓc group of people jailed on charges related to their political activities, but declined to answer further questions. Neither the US nor the Cuban governments have said when the prisoners would be released. Cuba declined to comment on why more details have not been publicly released. The dissident Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation, which keeps track of activists in the different opposition groups, counted in June a total of 114 political prisoners, although it includes 12 who are on parole after being released from jail plus several others who have since been released. The groupвЂ™s veteran leader Elizondo Sanchez, says at least 80 peaceful dissidents are on that list, including some whose only crime was to demonstrate or scribble anti-government graffiti. Others include soldiers who deserted with their weapons, former government officials, people who tried to hijack an airplane to the US and eight militants jailed for entering Cuba from the US and trying to start revolts. US President Barack Obama announced a new era in USCuba relations on December 17, saying they would restore diplomatic ties broken more than п¬Ѓve decades ago and he would begin to unravel economic sanctions that were aimed at forcing the communists from power. US officials said that Cuba agreed as part of the deal to release 53 people that Washington considered political prisoners. Some dissidents say that, so far, none of the 53 have been named Third priest killed in troubled Mexico state Tribune News Service Mexico City F A vigilante (white cap) embraces family members before leaving to voluntarily co-operate in a shootout investigation in La Ruana, Michoacan. Authorities said a shootout on December 16 between rival vigilantes in MexicoвЂ™s western Michoacan state left 11 dead, in the clearest sign yet of renewed unrest in an area President Enrique Pena NietoвЂ™s government said had been pacified. and no one has been freed since the deal was announced. Reuters spoke with п¬Ѓve of the most inп¬‚uential dissident leaders in Cuba - Sanchez and Soler as well as Jose Daniel Ferrer, Martha Beatriz Roque and Guillermo Farinas. All said US officials have been in contact with them but have given them no information about the 53 prisoners. Ferrer, leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) dissident group, said he has been in close contact with deeply concerned relatives and that some inmates have called from prison to see if they are likely to be released. The wife of one prisoner called Ferrer late on Friday. вЂњShe asked me if I thought her husband would be among those to be freed, and I told her the same thing I told other families: We donвЂ™t have any certainty and no clues to reach a conclusion about who they are,вЂќ Ferrer said. UNPACU describes 42 of its activists as political prisoners. Cuba says it has no political prisoners but, announcing the deal with the US, President Raul Castro said his government would be releasing some inmates who were of interest to the USs. It has said nothing else about them since. Within Cuba, one who has generated popular interest is hip-hop artist Angel Yunier Remon, alias вЂњThe Critic,вЂќ who had actively demonstrated against the government. He has been in prison since his arrest in March 2013 after a confrontation with police and pro-government demonstrators. Prosecutors are seeking an eight-year prison sentence, SanchezвЂ™s commission says. or the third time this year in the violent Mexican state of Guerrero, a Roman Catholic priest has been abducted and killed, prompting a vehement reproach of government authorities by the church leadership. The body of Father Gregorio Lopez Gorostieta was discovered on Christmas Day, a bullet to the head; he had been seized by gunmen yesterday, church and judicial officials said. вЂњEnough already of so many murders, so many hatreds, so much crime.... Enough of injustice and corruption,вЂќ the bishop overseeing Lopez GorostietaвЂ™s dioceses, Maximo Martinez, said in a statement. вЂњWe are all brothers and not slaves.вЂќ The priests worked in Guerrero state, where 43 college students were abducted and presumed killed. The remains of only one of the students has been identiп¬Ѓed. Federal police and military launched a security operation in the region after the students disappeared, but kidnappings, highway robberies and other violence remain common, the church said. The body of another priest, Father John Ssenyondo, originally of Uganda, was found in September in a clandestine grave, one of dozens unearthed in Guerrero when authorities began searching for the missing students. He had been intercepted by gunmen in late April and vanished. There were reports that the motive for his killing might have been his refusal to perform a wedding for drug traffickers, something that often gets rigorous clerics into trouble. Also in September, the body of Father Ascension Acuna Osorio was found battered and п¬‚oating in a river in Guerrero. The Conference of Mexican Bishops issued a demand that the authorities п¬Ѓnd those behind the killings вЂњand the many other crimesвЂќ terrifying Mexicans. The church for many years generally kept to the sidelines of drug-trafficking and violence, and even on occasion turned a blind eye to criminals and accepted money to build chapels. Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 19 PAKISTAN/AFGHANISTAN Pak anti-terror courts too busy trying politicians Internews Islamabad A t least 10 cases pending with the anti-terrorism courts (ATCs) of Pakistani cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi are against вЂ�terroristsвЂ™ such as politicos Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri and a host of other politicians and members of parliament. Court officials say that the total current caseload of the ATCs in Rawalpindi and Islamabad is 130. But of these, only 20 cases - a mere 15% - deal with actual incidents of terrorism. At least 90 cases are currently pend- ing before the two Rawalpindi ATCs, of which 12 are related to incidents of terrorism, while two are registered against politicians. The rest of the cases, court officials say, are related to crimes such as kidnapping, aerial п¬Ѓring, manhandling of government officials and other matters. The most high-proп¬Ѓle cases pending with the ATC are those registered against the leaders of the two protesting parties that descended upon Islamabad in August of this year. At least eight FIRs have been registered in Islamabad against politicians from KhanвЂ™s PTI, QadriвЂ™s PAT and other parties where police in- serted sections of the Anti- Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997. However, no sections of the ATA are included in the cases п¬Ѓled against the government at the request of PTI and PAT leaders over the Aug 30 violence on Constitution Avenue. Khan and Qadri were also declared proclaimed offenders by the Islamabad ATC in September, in the matter of the attack on Senior Superintendent of Police Asmatullah Junejo. Another major case pending before the ATC deals with the attack on Parliament House. Here too, the Islamabad ATC has issued non-bailable warrants for the arrest of politico Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, PTI leaders Mehmood Qureshi, Jahangir Tareen, Asad Umar, Shaukat Yousafzai, Shafqat Mehmood, Arif Alvi and PAT leaders Raheeq Abbasi and Assef Ahmed. вЂњThis has happened a number of times in the past and those matters were referred back to ordinary courtsвЂќ The Rawalpindi ATC has also declared Qadri a proclaimed offender for an alleged attack on police officials near airport and for taking policemen hostage near the Lillah interchange on the M2 Motorway. Cases dealing with actual incidents of terrorism include the Nato containers attack case, the murder of police officer Raja Saqlain and the Ashura clashes of 2013. In the Islamabad ATC, only eight cases currently pending deal with incidents of terrorism, including the Mumbai attacks, the Bhara Kahu Imambargah attack and the attack on the district courts in Sector F-8. However, one of the most prominent terrorism-related cases currently pending before the Rawalpindi ATC is the Benazir Bhutto assassination case. Here, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has implicated Nato ends its 13-year war in Afghanistan AFP Kabul N US General John Campbell (centre), commander of Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), folds the flag of the ISAF during the change of mission ceremony in Kabul, yesterday. ual handover of responsibility to the 350,000-strong Afghan forces, who have been in charge of nationwide security since last year. But recent bloodshed has undermined claims that the insurgency is weakening and has highlighted fears that the international intervention has failed as Afghanistan faces spiralling violence. The United Nations says that civilian casualties hit a record high in 2014, jumping by 19% with 3,188 civilians killed by the end of November. AfghanвЂ™s police and army have also suffered a grim death toll, with fatalities soaring to more than 4,600 in the п¬Ѓrst 10 months of 2014 - far higher than all ISAF deaths since 2001. вЂњThe US and Nato mission was an absolute failure as todayвЂ™s ceremony shows,вЂќ Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said. вЂњThey are п¬‚eeing from Afghanistan. They have not reached their goals in defeating the Afghan mujahideen.вЂќ US and Afghan commanders insist the national security forces can hold the line against the Taliban despite concerns of a repeat of Iraq, where an American-trained army virtually collapsed in the face of a jihadist onslaught. вЂњOur sons and daughters of ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces) are in the lead, п¬Ѓghting to protect security interests. God willing, they will prevail,вЂќ national security adviser Mohmed Hanif Atmar said at the ceremony. Since 2001, billions of dollars of aid have been spent in Afghanistan on new schools, hospitals, roads and promoting womenвЂ™s rights, but corruption has been endemic and progress limited even in the cities. This yearвЂ™s presidential election, which was meant to be the keystone legacy of the development effort, was marred by fraud and a prolonged stand-off between the two poll rivals that fanned further unrest. Ashraf Ghani eventually emerged as the new president in a power-sharing deal with Abdullah Abdullah. But their вЂњunity governmentвЂќ has failed to appoint any new ministers three months after taking power. Ghani hopes to bring peace to Afghanistan after decades of conп¬‚ict, saying he is open to talks with any insurgent group. Hamid Karzai, president from 2001 until 2014, opened preliminary contacts with the Taliban but they collapsed acrimoniously last year. The US will continue to provide some air support for the Afghan military, and may extend operations if required to prevent rapid Taliban advances. вЂњIn just a few days, our combat mission in Afghanistan will be over,вЂќ US President Barack Obama said in his Christmas Day address. вЂњOur longest war will come to a responsible end.вЂќ Recent insurgent targets in Kabul have included foreign guesthouses, diplomatic convoys and Afghan army buses. In such matters, the ATC judge can order the deletion of the terrorism-related offence from the FIR. вЂњThis has happened a number of times in the past and those matters were referred back to ordinary courts,вЂќ he added. Syed Tayyab, a police special prosecutor, admitted that there were lacunas in the investigation process. But he maintains that after police register an FIR, it is the responsibility of the prosecutor to examine the nature of the offences and ensure that only cases related to heinous offences and incidents of terrorism be п¬Ѓled before the ATC. Schools asked to prepare emergency evacuation plan Internews Islamabad T US-led mission in Afghanistan ends combat role; thousands of foreign troops remain ato formally ended its war in Afghanistan yesterday, holding a low-key ceremony in Kabul after 13 years of conп¬‚ict that have left the country in the grip of worsening insurgent violence. The event was arranged in secret due to the threat of Taliban strikes in the Afghan capital, which has been hit by repeated suicide bombings and gun attacks over recent years. вЂњTogether... we have lifted the Afghan people out of the darkness of despair and given them hope for the future,вЂќ Nato commander US General John Campbell told assembled soldiers. вЂњYouвЂ™ve made Afghanistan stronger and our countries safer.вЂќ On January 1, the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) combat mission, which has suffered 3,485 military deaths since 2001, will be replaced by a Nato вЂњtraining and supportвЂќ mission. About 12,500 foreign troops staying in Afghanistan will not be involved in direct п¬Ѓghting, but will assist the Afghan army and police in their battle against the Taliban, who ruled from 1996 until 2001. When numbers peaked in 2011, about 130,000 troops from 50 nations were part of the Nato military alliance. вЂњI hope you take great pride in the positive impact youвЂ™ve made and will continue to make upon the Afghan people,вЂќ Campbell said in a speech released by ISAF on Twitter as live broadcasts were banned for security reasons. Campbell folded up the ISAF п¬‚ag and unveiled the п¬‚ag of the new mission, named Resolute Support. YesterdayвЂ™s ceremony вЂ” held in a sports hall at Nato headquarters вЂ” completed the grad- former president retired General Pervez Musharraf as one of the accused. Legal experts are of the opinion that by distracting the ATCs with litigation not relating to actual incidents of terrorism, actual terroristsвЂ™ trials have been delayed. They attribute this chieп¬‚y to the incompetence of the investigation officers concerned. Abdul Qayyum, a lawyer who deals with the terrorism-related cases, says that investigation ofп¬Ѓcers sometimes accept bribes parties in exchange for inserting terrorism-related offences in FIRs registered against their rivals. he educational institutions in Pakistani capital Islamabad have been asked by the city police to prepare an evacuation plan for their students and faculty members in case of an emergency. The step has been taken keeping in view the prevailing security situation in the country, a police officer said here yesterday on the condition of anonymity. He said the police had offered assistance to the administrations of the educational institutions in preparing the evacuation plan. Some of the schools visited by a team of police were also told to make alterations in their buildings to facilitate the emergency evacuation plan, he added. In some of the institutions, there were no separate emergency exits. After meeting the representatives of the institutes, separate standard operating procedures (SOPs) were prepared for the administrations, students and the security guards of the institutions. According to the SOP, the administration of each institute would carry out an evacuation drill for the students, faculty members and staff every month. If the exercise is not possible every month, it should be arranged at least once in three months. The emergency exits should always remain clear. Fire and emergency equipment should also be installed in the buildings and the students should be informed when there is an emergency. Besides, CCTV cameras should also be installed inside and outside the buildings. The walls of the school buildings should be raised up to eight feet on which barbed wire should be installed to further increase the height by about two feet. The administration or the principal concerned should also brief the students and staff on the prevailing situation on a weekly basis. The school administrations were also asked to arrange lectures by religious scholars to educate the students on the differences between jihad and the acts of terrorism. The administrations will issue security cards to the students, teachers and guards and staff members. The ID cards would carry the photograph and the endorsement seal and monogram of the institute. The educational institutions would have to get prior permission from the district administration before conducting any function or programme. Walk-through gates will also be installed at the entry gates where watchmen or guards will be deployed with metal detectors. The drivers of the vehicles giving pick-and-drop service to the students should search their vehicles before allowing students to board. Carts, unconcerned vehicles and taxis should not be parked near the buildings. The SOP for the students stated that they should not talk to anyone about the evacuation plan, emergency exit, the location of their schools or colleges, school timings and teachers. They should wear their identity cards and inform the administration if they spot any suspect and suspicious activity around their institution. The students should not make any contact with strangers and unconcerned people while going to school or returning home. They should also avoid jumping the walls of their educational institutions. The students should also ensure that no person should embark their vehicles along with them. The students should also be asked to avoid going outside the school during halftime, and also not to assemble outside the building. During free period, the students should also remain inside the classrooms and avoid going outside and gathering in the veranda, lawns and playgrounds. They should avoid discussing political, sectarian or religious issues. 15 committees to execute PakistanвЂ™s new counter-terror plan Internews Islamabad T o ensure the implementation of the new National Action Plan (NAP) to counter terrorism and extremism, the Pakistan government has formed 15 committees to deal with proposals given in the plan. The committees include ministers, senior government officials and top army and intelligence officials such as the directors general of the InterServices Intelligence (ISI) and Military Operations (MO). The following are the committees and their tasks and members. Umbrella Committee: This will be headed by Sharif himself and will supervise the overall implementation of the plan and include the federal ministers for interior, п¬Ѓnance, planning, information, defence, States and Frontier Regions, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor and the PMвЂ™s adviser on foreign affairs. Committee on Militias: The interior minister heads this committee, which will deal with the issue of eliminating armed militias from the country. Committee on Hate Speech: This will be headed by the interior minister and tasked with making recommendations on how to counter hate speech and extremist material. Committee on Proscribed Organisations: This will be headed by the interior minister and tasked with stopping the re-emergence of proscribed organisations by other names and frameworks. Committee on Counter Terrorism: This will be head- ed by the interior minister and tasked with ensuring the deployment of a dedicated counter-terrorism force by May 31, 2015. Members will include the ministers for п¬Ѓnance and defence, the chief of MO, the secretaries of п¬Ѓnance, interior and the Nacta co-ordinator. Committee on Religious Persecution: This will be headed by the interior minister and tasked with recommending steps to counter persecution of religious minorities. Members will include the minister and secretary for religious affairs, the interior secretary, all provincial police chiefs and the police chiefs of GB, AJK and Islamabad, as well as all home and Auqaf department secretaries and the Nacta co-ordinator. Committee on Madrassas: This will be led by the interior minister and tasked with the registration and regulation of over 30,000 madrassas. Members will include the minister and secretary for religious affairs, the state minister for education and all home and Auqaf department secretaries. Committee on Terror on the Internet: This will be led by the interior minister and tasked with recommending steps for dismantling terroristsвЂ™ communication networks online and suggest tangible measures against the abuse of internet and social media for terrorism. Other members will be announced later. Committee on Karachi: This will be led by the interior minister and tasked with dealing with the Karachi law and order situation. Members include the Sindh chief minister and gover- nor and the chiefs of the Rangers and city police. Committee on Punjab: This will be led by the interior minister and tasked with checking militancy in parts of Punjab. Members include chiefs of ISI and IB, provincial home secretary and police chief. Committee on Sectarianism: This will be led by the interior minister and tasked with making recommendations dealing with sectarian terrorism. Members will include the chief of IB, all provincial police officers, home secretaries and heads of counter terrorism departments as well as the interior secretary and Nacta co-ordinator. Committee on Afghan Refugees: This will be led by the interior minister and tasked with making policy guidelines to deal with Afghan refugees. Mem- bers will include the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor, minister for states and frontier regions, and the chief of National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra). Committee on Terror Financing: This will be led by the п¬Ѓnance minister and tasked with making recommendations on choking terroristsвЂ™ п¬Ѓnancial networks and terrorist organisations. Committee on Media Curbs: This will be led by the information minister Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid and tasked with making recommendations on banning the gloriп¬Ѓcation of terrorism and terrorist organisations through print and electronic media. Committee on Fata Reforms and IDPsвЂ™ Return: This will be led by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor and tasked with making recommendations on administrative and development reforms in the tribal areas with an immediate focus on return of IDPs. Members will include the ministers of п¬Ѓnance, planning & development and states & frontier regions, economic affairs secretary, Corps Commander 11 Corps Peshawar and Fata chief secretary. Committee on Justice System Reforms: This will be led by the information minister and tasked with making recommendations on how to reform the criminal justice system and strengthen counter-terrorism departments. Members will include the interior secretary, federal and provincial law secretaries, and chiefs of ISI and IB. 20 Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 PHILIPPINES Campaign against use of firecrackers Drilon seeks inquiry into traffic chaos By Jefferson Antiporda Manila Times A n 11-hour ride to Baguio City has riled Senate President Franklin Drilon so much, that he now wants an inquiry into the capability of tollway operators to maintain the smooth flow of vehicular traffic in their respective areas. Drilon said it took him more than 11 hours to travel from Manila to Baguio City last week and he blamed the delay on the long rows of vehicles near toll booths. вЂњIt is the first time that it took me this long to travel to Baguio, and this is despite the existence of three major tollway systems,вЂќ Drilon said in a radio interview aired over dzBB. The senate president was referring to the NLEX (North Luzon Expressway), SCTEX Group to challenge train fare hike in court Animal lovers and other advocates make noise with their paper horns as they urge the public to refrain from using firecrackers to welcome the New Year, in Manila yesterday. Animal rights advocates are encouraging the public to use alternative noise-makers rather than loud firecrackers which can hurt and traumatise animals during the New Year revelry, a statement from the group said. Cebu Paciп¬Ѓc, agency face probe over п¬‚ight delays By Reina Tolentino Manila Times L awmakers yesterday called for an investigation of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) and Cebu Pacific for the flight cancellations and delays suffered by travellers during the Christmas holidays. On Saturday, Cebu Pacific offered a refund to passengers affected by flight cancellations and delays between December 23 and January 5, after chaos erupted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)вЂ™s Terminal 3. But Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna party-list said the refund is not enough because it was just a ploy вЂњto pacify complaining passengers.вЂќ вЂњWhat should be done is to impose sanctions on airlines that foul up,вЂќ he added. вЂњWhile it is good that the CAB will start their investigation to get to some of the details of the continued inconvenience of airline passengers, I think that the CAB should also be probed for not doing its duty to regulate these airlines and protect airline passengers,вЂќ Colmenares said. Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento of Western Samar, vice chairman of the House Committee on Transportation, said CAB should investigate Cebu Paciп¬Ѓc to п¬Ѓnd out if the airline is complying with the air passenger bill of rights. He added that the aeronautics board should вЂњsubmit recommendations to improve the carrierвЂ™s ground service as a template to all the players in the industry.вЂќ Colmenares said he will п¬Ѓle a resolution seeking an investigation when Congress resumes its session on January 5. He noted that in a privileged speech that he delivered on December 16, he decried excessive air fares, delays and dismal service of airline companies as well as CAB for failing to protect passengers. Colmenares said his bill will address queues, delayed and cancelled п¬‚ights, overbooking as well as вЂњexpensiveвЂќ rebooking fees and penalties. He also noted that when cancelling or changing schedules, the airlines do not give refunds to passengers. вЂњAnother problem particularly for Cebu Pacific passengers is that they offer a deceptively low initial base fare but in the end the fare shoots up due to big tax and surcharges that are even higher than that of Philippine Airlines (PAL). They also charge passengers (Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway) and the TPLEX (TarlacPangasinan-La Union Expressway) that supposedly would allow motorists to travel faster. Drilon sees the failure of tollway operators to come up with an efficient way to collect tolls from motorists as the reason behind the long lines of vehicles. He said the senate should look into the inefficiencies of toll road operators, and п¬Ѓnd out if operators have some plans on how to avoid traffic jams caused by slow toll collection. The senate chief said he wants to know if it is possible for toll operators to come up with a onetime toll payment in order to prevent delays. At present, motorists who use the three tollways will have to pass thru three different toll boots (NLEX, SCTEX and TPLEX). Class 1 vehicles will have to shell out a total of P654 from Balintawak to Carmen exit in Rosales, Pangasinan. with a web administration fee that is ridiculous,вЂќ the lawmaker added. In many instances, he said, airlines do not use the passenger tube even if passengers have paid for its use, thus making it difficult for the elderly and the sick as they have to go down the tarmac. вЂњIt would be better if the committee on transportation would just call for a motu propio hearing to probe these issues during the break but if not, then I hope that it would immediately be scheduled on the resumption of sessions so that these airlines would improve their services,вЂќ Colmenares added. By Reina Tolentino Manila Times A s the Palace stood п¬Ѓrm on its decision to increase fares of the Light Rail Transit 1, LRT 2 and Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT 3), opposition group Bayan Muna said it will question the decision before the Supreme Court. The group warned that it has no choice but to launch protest actions if the fare adjustment, which will take effect on January 5, is implemented. вЂњIt just goes to show that the Aquino administration favours the profit of big businessmen rather than the interest of the people,вЂќ Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares said in a text message to Manila Times. вЂњIf the executive would still push through with this fare hike, then we have no choice but to launch protest actions and go to the Supreme Court to stop it,вЂќ Colmenares added. The group earlier sought a probe in connection with the fare hike, saying they are not against development or the extension of the rail systems but against вЂњpassing government irresponsibility and corporate greed not to mention corrupt practices onto hapless commuters.вЂќ Storm alert in Visayas, Mindanao Fourteen provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao were under storm alert as Tropical Depression Seniang approaches, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) reported. Storm Signal Number 1 was raised in Leyte, Bohol, Siquijor, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Dinagat, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Davao Norte, Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, Camiguin Island, Misamis Oriental, and Bukidnon, Pagasa said.Seniang is expected to come ashore near Tandag, Surigao del Sur today morning with 45 kilometre-per-hour winds, Manila Times reported. The storm will bring moderate to occasionally heavy rains to the affected areas that could last for two to three hours, Pagasa said.Residents in low-lying and mountainous areas as well as Eastern Visayas and the rest of Mindanao especially Caraga Region, were alerted to possible flashfloods and landslides. Aquino faced tough times from fund critics during year By Joel M Sy Egco Manila Times T he controversies surrounding the Disbursement Acceleration Programme (DAP), the вЂњselective justiceвЂќ on the alleged misuse of lawmakersвЂ™ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), the corruption issue involving suspended Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima and the traffic congestion at the Port of Manila were among the toughest challenges that President Benigno Aquino faced in 2014, according to a Palace spokesman. In an interview with Manila Times, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said the DAP topped these challenges because it even dragged down the presidentвЂ™s ratings. вЂњThe Supreme Court (SC) ruling on the (DAP) was one of the most difficult challenges for the president in 2014. This also brought on the presidentвЂ™s lowest performance and trust ratings since mid-2010,вЂќ he explained. Coloma was referring to the downtrend in AquinoвЂ™s ratings since the SC ruling. He noted that in the fourth quarter, however, the numbers rebounded. The High TribunalвЂ™s decision declaring the DAP unconstitutional can also be blamed for the uncertainty in government spending, which slowed down the countryвЂ™s economic growth. This newspaper earlier reported that the SC was bound to uphold its earlier decision and junk the motion for reconsideration п¬Ѓled by the Office of the Solicitor General. The voting on the matter, however, was deferred until the resumption of en banc sessions in January. Besides the DAP, Coloma said President Aquino was also affected by the negative public opinion brought by his supposed defence of the PNP chief, who was ordered suspended for six months by the Office of the Ombudsman over a contract he signed with a delivery п¬Ѓrm. вЂњIn regaining his lofty approval ratings in the fourth quarter, the president also overcame criticism on how he responded to negative publicity surrounding PNP director general Alan Purisima,вЂќ Coloma said. вЂњThere were also attempts to discredit the administration on account of alleged вЂ�selective justiceвЂ™ in the investigation and prosecution of legislators said to be involved in anomalies related to the disbursement of PDAF or вЂ�pork barrelвЂ™ funds but these were eventually hurdled, too. The serious port congestion in Manila was addressed through a broad-based, multi-stakeholder approach,вЂќ he added. On the other hand, Coloma said among the governmentвЂ™s greatest achievements in 2014 was the sharp drop in unemployment, which meant that nearly 2mn people found new jobs. вЂњBefore the end of the year, the DOLE (Department of Labour and Employment) reported that unemployment has been reduced to 6% from 6.4%, on the back of the creation of more than 1.6mn new jobs,вЂќ he noted. Coloma said the countryвЂ™s investment grade ratings were affirmed during the year and the deleterious effects of the disasters, including Super Ty- President Benigno Aquino has survived tough challenges during the year. phoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in 2013, were overcome by the middle of 2014. вЂњThe president sailed through the mid-point of his six-year tenure with п¬‚ying colours. The extensive European and US tour he conducted also contributed signiп¬Ѓcantly to building goodwill for the Philippines as well as enhanced support for its rules-based approach to the peaceful resolution of the South China Sea maritime entitlements dispute. Asean centrality and the adoption of a legally binding Code of ConductвЂ”issues which the presi- dent almost single-handedly advocated until late 2012вЂ”have gained traction and broad-based acceptance among regional leaders,вЂќ he added. Despite the challenges facing the administration in its last years in power, the Palace official was op- timistic that Aquino will deliver in 2015 on the promises he made during the campaign and his last four years in office. вЂњIn 2015, President Aquino wants to demonstrate the full fruition of the promises he made to the people in terms of making them believe that it is possible to dream and realise a better future for themselves and their country,вЂќ Coloma said. вЂњHe believes that the foundations for inclusive growth have been established, especially in terms of sound macroeconomic fundamentals that have earned the country investment grade ratings. Hence, there has been a significant change in the countryвЂ™s image from being the вЂ�sick man of AsiaвЂ™ to being вЂ�AsiaвЂ™s rising star,вЂ™вЂќ he added. Among AquinoвЂ™s top priorities in 2015 are the enactment of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, the visit of Pope Francis in January and the hosting of the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation Summit. вЂњHe (Aquino) is determined to implement the key programmes and reforms that will ensure sustainability of the gains already achieved in terms of reducing poverty; increasing social protection (universal education and health care, socialided shelter); mitigating the ill-effects of calamities and drastic climate change; and delivering justice for all without fear or favour,вЂќ Coloma said. вЂњBy actions and deeds, the president has led the way in showing that government has the political will to do the right things and do things right,вЂќ he added. Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 21 SRI LANKA/BANGLADESH/NEPAL Lanka Muslim party quits govt ahead of snap polls Rauf Hakeem announces his resignation as justice minister and says he would now work for the victory of opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena in the January 8 election AFP Colombo S ri LankaвЂ™s main Muslim party yesterday quit the government and pledged support to the opposition in a move seen as the biggest setback yet to President Mahinda RajapakseвЂ™s re-election bid. The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader Rauf Hakeem also announced his own resignation as justice minister and said he would now work for the victory of Maithripala Sirisena, the opposition candidate in the January 8 election. Hakeem said they left the government because of festering differences over a 2010 law that lifted the two-term limit on the presidency and gave Ra- japakse wide powers over the police, the judiciary and the civil service. вЂњGood governance is the main issue for us,вЂќ Hakeem told reporters. вЂњWe are guilty of compliance (in voting for the 2010 statute), but now we want to redress the situation.вЂќ There was no immediate comment from the government. But a ruling party source said the defection of the Muslim party was the biggest blow to their campaign. Muslims, the second largest minority in the island after Hindu Tamils, account for about 10% of the electorate and could emerge as king-makers in JanuaryвЂ™s presidential election if the majority Sinhalese are split down the middle. Both Rajapakse and Sirisena are members of the majority Sinhala Buddhist community. Hakeem becomes the second Muslim minister to quit RajapakseвЂ™s government after industry and commerce minister Rishad Bathiudeen resigned. Sirisena himself defected to the opposition last month af- Rescue mission ter giving up his portfolio as minister of health. The main Buddhist party of monks quit the government before SirisenaвЂ™s defection and has since supported his bid to topple President Rajapakse, who came to power in 2005 and is South AsiaвЂ™s longest serving leader. The Tamil National Alliance, the main party representing Hindu Tamils, has not formally pledged support to either of the two main Sinhalese candidates, but has strongly hinted that it will support Sirisena. That would make it even more difficult for Rajapakse to win an election which he called two years ahead of schedule. However, Rajapakse has received the support of a radical outп¬Ѓt known as the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), or Buddhist Force, which has been accused of instigating religious hate attacks in the past two years. The BBS has formed an alliance with MyanmarвЂ™s 969 Movement, a Buddhist group linked to anti-Muslim riots in that country. Rauf Hakeem speaking during a press conference in Colombo yesterday. By Mizan Rahman Dhaka C Sri Lankan army personnel engaged in rescue missions in the flooded Vanni area in Polonnaruwa, 229kms from Colombo. Reports state that at least 21 have died and thousands of people have been displaced due to the rains and heavy floods in many areas of the island. IANS Dhaka O China seeks free trade accord with Bangladesh hina yesterday proposed a free trade agreement (FTA) with Bangladesh to boost trade ties further between the two countries. Foreign Minister Mahmood Ali led the 19-member Bangladesh side while his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi headed a 13-member China team at a meeting that reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations. вЂњChina wants to start negotiation on FTA. WeвЂ™ll explore the proposal,вЂќ foreign secretary Shahidul Haque said, adding that no decision has been taken yet whether Bangladesh will start the negotiation right now. He said the Chinese side expressed satisfaction over the process of establishing an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) for Chinese investors. вЂњThey think thereвЂ™ll be a solid decision next year on the matter, and hoped that itвЂ™ll take off,вЂќ said the foreign secretary. KhaledaвЂ™s BNP calls nationwide strike today Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Dhaka yesterday. He said the Chinese side indicated that they are considering a big investment in the economic zone. Haque said Bangladesh proposed rail and road connectivity through Chittgaong-CoxвЂ™s Bazar-Myanmar-Kunming. вЂњOur foreign minister proposed it, and the Chinese side responded positively, especially on the road connectivity,вЂќ he added. On Bangladesh-ChinaIndia-Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor, the Chinese side appreciated BangladeshвЂ™s role, said the foreign secretary. Responding to a question, the foreign secretary said China reiterated its interest for building a deep seaport but Bangladesh is still considering all the proposals and new locations are in the discussion, too. He said Bangladesh proposed hosting the foreign ofп¬Ѓce consultation (FOC) next year. The Chinese foreign minister appreciated BangladeshвЂ™s socioeconomic advancement under Prime Minister Sheikh HasinaвЂ™s leadership saying it is a role model of other developing countries. Apart from trade, investment and infrastructure development issues, people-topeople contact, cooperation in defence, maritime and energy and other areas like agriculture and climate change were also discussed in the three-hour bilateral meeting that continued during the lunch time too. There were substantive discussions on all issues on the agenda, the foreign secretary said, adding that there will be lots of programmes next year to commemorate the 40th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and China. State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam and Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque were present at the meeting. Representatives from relevant ministries and foreign ministry officials also took part in the meeting. Wang Yi arrived in Dhaka on Saturday evening and met President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. He will also have a meeting with BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia during his stay in Dhaka. pposition parties in Bangladesh, led by former prime minister Khaleda ZiaвЂ™s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), have called a countrywide dawn-to-dusk strike today, media reports said. The strike has been planned to protest against the denial of permission for BNPвЂ™s rally in Gazipur and to demand the release of BNP leaders, including Goyeshwar Chandra Roy, bdnews24.com reported. BangladeshвЂ™s opposition alliance, meanwhile, enforced a day-long strike in Gazipur after the local administration disallowed any gathering at Khaleda ZiaвЂ™s proposed rally venue in the town on Saturday. The BNP-led alliance had boycotted the January 5 general election and has since been pressing for a snap election. TodayвЂ™s strike will be its second this year, after it had enforced a shutdown protesting against the 16th constitutional amendment. The BNP blamed the government for thwarting its Gazipur rally and вЂњimplicatingвЂќ their leaders in вЂњfalse casesвЂќ and allege that the government was trying to keep Khaleda Zia away from politics by implicating her in false cases. The party also condemned the cases п¬Ѓled over the December 24 clashes at Bakshibazar between the BNP and Bangladesh Chhatra League activists, in which a number of BNP leaders including Roy have been accused. Police had arrested the BNP leader and a court had sent him on a three-day remand. Meanwhile, accusing the government of resorting to enforced disappearance and repressive acts to perpetuate its illegal rule, BNP spokesman Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir yesterday said the current вЂ�illegalвЂ™ prime minister must be made accountable for every extrajudicial killing and incident of enforced disappearance in the future. вЂњWeвЂ™re holding the current illegal government responsible for committing crimes against humanity by resorting to enforced disappearances. Their men have forcefully and unlawfully picked up our boys and men,вЂќ he said. He renewed the BNPвЂ™s allegation that the government during their movement before the January 5 elections unlawfully killed 310 opposition leaders and activists and made 65 others disappeared. вЂњThe seven-murder incident in Narayanganj city has proved the government has committed these killings and enforced disappearances using members of elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and other law enforcement agencies,вЂќ he added. Nepal capital loses ancient taps to construction AFP Kathmandu F rom early morning, housewives carrying buckets and brass pots queue in the back streets of NepalвЂ™s capital for the free water pumped from a network of ancient stone spouts. A lifeline in a city with erratic government supplies and expensive private alternatives, KathmanduвЂ™s intricately carved communal spouts have survived invasions and earthquakes. But the centuries-old water taps are now suffering from a much more modern threat, the rapid development of the chaotic capital, to the despair of thousands of KathmanduвЂ™s residents who depend on them. вЂњWe donвЂ™t have the luxury of buying water for everyday use ... I donвЂ™t know what I will do if this stone spout dries up,вЂќ motherof-three Namita Maharjan, 34, said as she waited to collect water near her home. The population of sprawling Kathmandu has expanded by 60% in a decade, according to NepalвЂ™s 2011 census, with some 2.5mn people requiring 350mn litres of water per day. But the struggling cityвЂ™s government is only able to meet about half that demand and private companies charge up to $11 for 1,000 litres (264 gallons) an unaffordable price for many residents - making the free taps a critical part of KathmanduвЂ™s infrastructure. For Maharjan, whose husband earns just $150-200 a month, the threat of losing her neighbourhood spout вЂ” which she describes as a вЂњblessingвЂќ вЂ” is terrifying. Already more than half of the valleyвЂ™s 389 spouts have fallen into disrepair, according to a 2006 survey by the Kathmandu-based NGO, Forum for Urban Water and Sanitation (NGOFUWS). More are expected to dry up as unregulated construction blocks underground water channels, which has prompted some residents to dig their own tube wells indiscriminately. Hotels, construction п¬Ѓrms and private industries are also digging their own wells, which has caused an alarming dip in the groundwater table. Between 1995 and 2013, levels fell by an average of 2.5m (98 inches) per year, according to government п¬Ѓgures. вЂњUnplanned urbanisation and over-extraction of groundwater is crushing the ancient supply system of the spouts,вЂќ says NGOFUWS secretary Anil Sthapit. The spouts dotted throughout Kathmandu date back to the sixth century when the city, now a traffic-clogged concrete jungle, was home to hundreds of temples. A prince belonging to the Licchavi dynasty built the taps, known as вЂњdhunge dharaвЂќ in Nepali, in a bid to provide clean drinking water to citizens. The spouts, adorned with carvings of Hindu and Buddhist deities, were often built near the myriad of temples, and continue to play a key role in religious rituals today. вЂњWater from the spouts is considered very pure... daily rituals in many temples begin with an offering of water to the gods,вЂќ says Sandhya Khanal, who is currently pursuing a PhD focused on the history of the stone taps. вЂњDespite this, they are allowed to disappear.вЂќ Once the heart of the neighbourhood, where women gathered to gossip, the last tap built in Kathmandu, the gold-plated A view of the Sundhara Spout (known as the вЂњgolden spoutвЂќ in Nepali), part of a dried up ancient water system in Kathmandu. Sundhara, or вЂњgolden spoutвЂќ, was cherished by the poor. But it began to run dry in 2003 soon after builders dug the foundations for one of KathmanduвЂ™s п¬Ѓrst malls, blocking the underground channels that fed the tap. вЂњLow-income communities depend most on the spouts because the water is free. When the tap dries up, it directly affects the poor,вЂќ NGOFUWS campaigner Sthapit said. вЂњThe rich have alternatives, the poor donвЂ™t.вЂќ NGOFUWS is attempting to raise groundwater levels and revive worn-out taps by promoting rainwater harvesting and running public awareness programmes to keep the spouts clean. But Sthapit said the government has done little to preserve the still functioning ones. вЂњWe are doing what we can, but enforcing building construction rules so that underground canals arenвЂ™t destroyed ... is beyond our jurisdiction,вЂќ he said. In the past, communal govern- ing bodies called вЂњguthisвЂќ supervised maintenance of the spouts, but most are no long active today, leaving the government in charge. The government itself has placed the blame back on residents, while bemoaning its own lack of resources. вЂњStone spouts are important cultural sites that need to be conserved,вЂќ said Shriju Pradhan, chief of the governmentвЂ™s heritage division. вЂњThe local community is not pro-active in protecting the spouts...and unfortunately we donвЂ™t have enough resources or the expertise to conserve them,вЂќ Pradhan said. Housewives Shanti Nakarmi and Pramila Lama have little sympathy, as they fret over their local spout on the fringes of the cityвЂ™s iconic Durbar Square, which is offering less and less water each month. вЂњWe sweep the courtyard occasionally and try to keep it clean. What more can we do... (when) we donвЂ™t know where the water source or channels are,вЂќ Nakarmi said. Lama added: вЂњIf the government cannot give us water, the least it can do is save what our ancestors left us.вЂќ 22 Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 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@example.com Telephone 44350478 (news), 44466404 (sport), 44466636 (home delivery) Fax 44350474 GULF TIMES Ashghal streets ahead but motorists call for adequate signboards Upholding the motto, вЂ�Qatar Deserves the Best,вЂ™ the Public Works Authority, Ashghal, has embarked on an ambitious programme to upgrade the infrastructure in the country. Ashghal is responsible for the planning, design, procurement, construction, delivery, and asset management of all infrastructure projects and public buildings in Qatar. AshghalвЂ™s key responsibilities include governing the design, construction, and management of major projects including roads, drainage and buildings such as public buildings, schools and hospitals. Adhering to the Qatar National Vision 2030, the Ashghal contributes to the economic and social development of Qatar, with projects worth over QR100bn to be delivered within the next п¬Ѓve to seven years. Two road projects, opened recently to traffic, are the F-Ring Road and the East Industrial Street, aimed at alleviating congestion at some key areas in the country, especially in and around Doha. The F Ring Road is intended to ease traffic п¬‚ow to Hamad International Airport (HIA) and many other locations in Doha вЂ“ particularly between Al Thumama Area and its surroundings, and the Airport Street apart from enhancing connectivity between HIA and both Al Wakrah and the Industrial Area. However, as some Qatari nationals have pointed out through local Arabic daily Arrayah, there seems to be more traffic signals than required on the F-Ring Road, which according to them is likely to aggravate congestion, especially on the routes leading to Al Wakrah and HIA. They said that it is incorrect that the F-Ring Road is completely opened as claimed by Ashghal as barriers are placed at the intersection of Barwa-Mesaimeer which force motorists to take a diversion suddenly in order to avoid collision with these barriers. Nationals suggested Ashghal should have used bridges and tunnels instead of a large number of traffic signals. Qatari national Hassan al-Imadi lamented the вЂњabsence of future vision when the projects such as the F-Ring Road are planned and executed.вЂќ He believed that congestion will be aggravated when the new projects in Al Wakrah, such as Al Wakrah market and the games city, are completed. Another Qatari citizen, Abdullah Mohamed, complained about a lack of adequate signboards to guide motorists. While coming from HIA to Doha, some motorists pointed out that the F-Ring Road abruptly ends in the vicinity of the Religious Complex, forcing road users to take a U-turn and an unnecessary detour to connect to the Main Industrial Street or to proceed to the city. Notwithstanding the drawbacks, Ashghal ought to be commended for constructing a world-class eight-lane 7.2km carriageway, with four lanes in each direction, in addition to a two-lane service road on both sides of the main road and all other facilities. The East Industrial Street is also a commendable project, but Ashghal should have ensured that the diversions from the 3km mainline road to streets of Doha Industrial Area were also opened simultaneously or adequate signboards installed to inform motorists about the absence of the same. As a result, motorists coming from Al Forousiya Street, are unaware that they should proceed to the main interchange in the area if they want to reach any of the streets from 10 to 33. Instead, most take the underpass and end up with no option but to travel to the end of the newly opened street, which is also congested at the joining point with the Main Industrial Area Road. Urgent remedial action is needed in this regard too. Projects worth over QR100bn to be delivered within the next five to seven years To Advertise firstname.lastname@example.org Display Telephone 44466621 Fax 44418811 Classified Telephone 44466609 Fax 44418811 Subscription email@example.com 2014 Gulf Times. All rights reserved NapaвЂ™s surprise fault line triggers earthquake study The Napa County area is becoming a laboratory for scientists trying to better understand how faults work and the damage they can create By Rong-Gong Lin II and Rosanna Xia Napa, California W hen a magnitude-6.0 earthquake hit CaliforniaвЂ™s wine country this summer, scientists rushed to California Highway Patrol helicopters to survey the scene. The results were surprising. The earthquake tore up to the surface, producing a 9-mile-long scar that sliced through vineyards, asphalt and even homes. A buried earthquake fault had awoken along a trail never before documented or mapped by scientists, stunning homeowners who found houses spun off their foundations and broken, with one side of the home higher than the other. It marked the п¬Ѓrst time since the 1971 Sylmar earthquake that a temblor in California has caused surface rupture in a residential area. Now, the Napa County area is becoming a laboratory for scientists trying to better understand how faults work and the damage they can create. вЂњWe are going to be taking a really hard look now,вЂќ said state geologist John Parrish. вЂњEveryone should always be aware of where all of these faults are when theyвЂ™re building.вЂќ Homeowners in one Napa neighbourhood said they had no idea they lived on top of an earthquake fault. The closest, previously mapped fault was farther away and considered by state officials to be too old to be active, last rupturing more than 11,000 years ago. But inactive faults can awaken. And faults can exist even if there are no clues. Evidence of recent movement can be washed away, or, as in the case of this section of Browns Valley, buried deep underneath soil deposits eroding from the mountains. And scientists often have limited access to dig trenches and study possible faults in areas п¬Ѓlled with homes that were built decades ago. Scientists had their suspicions that a fault could be buried in this area of Napa, but held back from mapping it because there was not enough evidence. вЂњWe canвЂ™t go around just doing it on a gut feeling,вЂќ Parrish said. вЂњWe draw the lines with the best information that we have available.вЂќ So it took an earthquake to answer questions scientists and homeowners didnвЂ™t even know they had. The fault began moving directly underneath the home of Tim and Ann Whitlock around 3:20am on Aug. 24, a Sunday. They awoke to the earthquake fault Scott Whitlock walks over a stretch of buckled sidewalk while helping his parents move out of their earthquake-damaged home on Aug. 24, 2014 in Napa, California. rupturing, as one block of earth pushed past another. Suddenly, what was once a solid foundation fractured in two. It sounded like one big explosion. The western half of the house moved 9 inches to the north. The eastern half jumped, and ended up more than half an inch higher than the western half. вЂњAnn and I just grabbed each other and screamed,вЂќ said Tim Whitlock, a veteran of the Vietnam War who served 33 years in the US Air Force and 28 years as an American Airlines pilot. вЂњIt was one of those things when you have no control whatsoever. And youвЂ™re shaking. And youвЂ™re thinking at any moment, the house could come apart and п¬‚atten. ThatвЂ™s a terrifying thing,вЂќ Whitlock said. The damage was so bad that the city of Napa ordered the Whitlocks out of their house. But neighbouring homes suffered virtually no structural damage, underscoring how different it could be if the home is just a few feet away from the fault. There were only shattered dishes and fallen shelves at the home of next-door neighbor Dolores Hibbert, 86, she said. Bill Bolton, 70, who shares his backyard with the Whitlocks, saw the fault split their backyard fence but skirt into his side yard, avoiding his home before heading into the street, rupturing a water pipe and splitting apart another neighborвЂ™s lawn. Said Whitlock: вЂњEverywhere to the east and west, they got the rumble. And we got the damage.вЂќ Evidence is now emerging that the fault system that caused the earthquake had perhaps three to four large quakes before this one, said Tim Dawson, an engineering geologist for the California Geological Survey. The agency has begun to officially map and zone this section of the West Napa fault, which could restrict or limit future construction in the areas where scientists pinpoint the fault. The fault kept moving even after the earthquake and aftershocks stopped, further complicating the regionвЂ™s recovery. ItвЂ™s the п¬Ѓrst time this phenomenon has been observed extensively in a highly populated area in California. The fault movement was easy to see on Highway 12, where the double yellow line in the middle of the road grew farther apart from each other in the hours and days after the earthquake. Scientists drove a truck up and down the Napa Valley, using lasers to measure the вЂњafterslipвЂќ shifting roadways and vineyards. The work led to an afterslip forecast - the п¬Ѓrst of its kind. The earth could move between 2 and 6 inches in the next several years, said Ken Hudnut, a geophysicist for the US Geological Survey. Scientists will be updating the forecast in February. Scientists hope such a prediction would help homeowners strategise about repairs, and it could prove useful in future quakes. A good prediction could tell a train commuter system or water utility to hold off on immediate repairs because of anticipated fault movement, or plan for multiple repair jobs over several years. The predictions already could help the 20 or so owners who now know their homes are on top of the newly ruptured Napa fault. It may come too late for those who have already completed repairs, but could be helpful for those who havenвЂ™t begun. A 2-inch movement probably wouldnвЂ™t cause more damage, but a 6-inch movement might require new п¬Ѓxes later on. The city of Napa has already allowed some homeowners to begin repairs after rigorous underground investigation. The city has been recommending homeowners to, when possible, completely move their new foundation away from the fault. But if they canвЂ™t, because the property is too small, the city has been requiring much stronger, enhanced foundations that can survive some movement, said Rick Tooker, head of NapaвЂ™s community development programme. As of December, more than 160 buildings were still red-tagged, or severely damaged, and more than 1,640 yellow-tagged, or moderately damaged. The city has issued about 980 earthquake repair permits, with many homeowners still waiting to see whether they can get some federal help for the repairs, Tooker said. Whitlock said he was a little surprised that the city had allowed him to begin repairs to his house, which involved raising the home by 6ft to put in a new, stronger foundation. вЂњBut if they said I had to move, who would buy it? ... WeвЂ™re just hoping it doesnвЂ™t happen under our footsteps again,вЂќ said Whitlock, who had to withdraw from his retirement savings to help pay for the repairs, expected to cost about $400,000. вЂњHopefully, it will hold together while weвЂ™re still around.вЂќ Parrish, the state geologist, said itвЂ™s risky to rebuild any structure across the surface trace of an active earthquake fault. He said stronger foundations havenвЂ™t been proven to prevent structural damage in the future, because вЂњthere is no way to predict the amount of surface rupture movement, and thus it is impossible to build (within reasonable costs) a foundation that will accommodate an unknown amount of rupture,вЂќ he said in an email. The uncertainty has caused some to seek a home elsewhere. вЂњWe will be moving,вЂќ said Edward Mays, 85, a former US Marine and retired land surveyor for the East Bay Municipal Utility District, who lives across the way from the Whitlocks. His home was pushed off its foundation; his garage п¬‚oor split by a giant crack. вЂњThey say weвЂ™re right on the fault line, and at our age, itвЂ™s ridiculous to try to put a whole lot of money into redoing it.вЂќ вЂ“ Tribune News Service Liberals rise, but at a cost to Democratic Party By David Lightman Washington T he Democratic left is rising, and itвЂ™s unclear whether that will help the embattled party prosper or sink. Ideology-driven movements and candidates tend to seize the spotlight in party presidential nomination contests, and so far, the left has the momentum. Its anointed candidates, though, have a problem: Being too closely identiп¬Ѓed with a partyвЂ™s ideological wing usually means general election trouble. A preview of the good and bad times ahead surfaced in recent weeks. The DemocratsвЂ™ progressive wing this month led a strong but ultimately unsuccessful push to strip from the congressional budget bill provisions easing restrictions on п¬Ѓnancial institutions. Activists have launched an energetic effort to boost Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts for president, but Warren says she isnвЂ™t running. Polls show signiп¬Ѓcant disenchantment with mainstream Democrats, but mainstream icon Hillary Clinton retains a huge lead among Democrats for the 2016 presidential nomination. Progressives interpret all this differently, saying it helps create awareness of their mission. вЂњWe want to unrig the playing п¬Ѓeld. We want people to not feel the п¬Ѓx is in on every level,вЂќ said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. They paint even the recent setbacks as detours on their path to progress. The December McClatchy-Marist poll found that in the 2016 Democratic nomination contest, Clinton won 62% support from Democrats, while Warren got 9%. Among liberals, Warren rose to only 11%, while ClintonвЂ™s number doesnвЂ™t move. Liberals read the poll differently. They see 38% of voters who are considering an alternative to Clinton. They also note that liberals are uneasy - 48% said they disapproved of the job congressional Democrats are doing, compared with 45% who approved. MoveOn.org Political Action launched a petition drive Dec. 10 promoting a Warren candidacy and has more than 100,000 signatures. вЂњThis moment was made for Senator Warren,вЂќ said Ilya Sheyman, the groupвЂ™s director. Democracy for America, a progressive Democratic political action committee, donated $250,000 to the draft-Warren effort. Warren is вЂњDemocratsвЂ™ most powerful voice in the п¬Ѓght against income inequality,вЂќ said Charles Chamberlain, the groupвЂ™s executive director. Warren п¬Ѓrst gained public notice while a Harvard University law professor advocating a consumer п¬Ѓnancial protection bureau. The DoddFrank п¬Ѓnancial regulatory overhaul of 2010 established the agency, and Warren won a Senate seat two years later. The 2014 budget bill eased some of the restrictions imposed on п¬Ѓnancial institutions in the Dodd-Frank measure. Warren was outraged and helped rally congressional Democrats against the change. But the outcome was also a cautionary tale, because the budget measure passed with a bipartisan majority and the provision intact. Nor are liberal initiatives likely to get much legislative traction next year. The liberalsвЂ™ Social Security expansion, for example, would be funded by lifting income caps on taxes. Currently, once oneвЂ™s income tops $113,700, he or she pays no more Social Security taxes this year. Such measures have little chance in a House of Representatives where Republicans will control 247 of the 435 seats, the partyвЂ™s biggest majority since 1931. In the Senate, where it usually takes 60 votes to get much done, Republicans will control 54 of the 100 seats. Democrats also face the kind of civil war between liberals and center-left stalwarts likely to rage not only in Congress but also throughout the 2016 presidential primary season. Centrists want the party to provide economic incentives for people to succeed, relying less on wealth redistribution through higher taxes or guaranteed incomes. Nor do they see mobilising voter outrage as a useful general election strategy. вЂњAmericans donвЂ™t want angry, defensive п¬Ѓgures running for president,вЂќ said Will Marshall, president of the centrist Progressive Policy Institute. In more conservative states, Democrats donвЂ™t share the liberal views. The more the left deп¬Ѓnes the party, say centrists, the more Democrats will suffer in the South and perhaps elsewhere. Party officials are taking a hard look at the future. A Democratic National Committee panel is undertaking a top-to-bottom analysis of the party, with a preliminary report due in February. вЂњWeвЂ™re not presupposing or pre-concluding what is wrong,вЂќ said party Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Centrists and liberals do agree on this much: The key to Democratic success is convincing middle-class voters that the party understands them and wants to help. вЂњThe п¬Ѓrst thing the party has to do is stand for something, and the primary focus needs to be an economic agenda,вЂќ said Roger Hickey, co-director of the Campaign for AmericaвЂ™s Future, a liberal group. That could be tough, said Republican pollster Ed Goeas. The middle class agrees вЂњthe rich are getting richer,вЂќ he said, вЂњbut they think the poor get all the (government) beneп¬Ѓts.вЂќ The partyвЂ™s image is already tainted, moderates argue. They point to Democratic losses across the South this year, as former South Carolina Gov. James Hodges, a Democrat, warned that the party needs to break away from its reputation as liberaldriven. вЂњIf Democratic candidates in the South had the coattails of JFK and FDR today, weвЂ™d still have lost,вЂќ he said. вЂ“ Tribune News Service Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 23 COMMENT вЂ�Break up CitigroupвЂ™ campaign From the perspective of anyone seeking the nomination of either of AmericaвЂ™s political parties, here is an issue that cuts across partisan lines By Simon Johnson Washington, DC A mericaвЂ™s presidential campaign is already well underway. The election is not until November 2016, and very few candidates have formally thrown their hats into the ring, but the competition to promote and develop ideas вЂ“ both behind closed doors and publicly вЂ“ is in fully swing. Earlier this month, Citigroup took advantage of this formative political moment by seizing an opportunity to score a tactical victory вЂ“ but one that amounts to a strategic blunder. Using legislative language apparently drafted by CitiвЂ™s own lobbyists, the п¬Ѓrm successfully pressed for the repeal of some of the 2010 Dodd-Frank п¬Ѓnancial reforms. The provision was then passed after it was attached to a last-minute spending bill вЂ“ a tactic that ensured very little debate in the House of Representatives and none at all in the Senate. At a stroke, Citi executives demonstrated both their continued political clout in Washington and their continued desire to take on excessive amounts of п¬Ѓnancial risk (which is what this particular legal change permits). Lobbying to be allowed to load up on risk is exactly what Citi did during the 1990s and 2000s under presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush вЂ“ with catastrophic consequences for the broader economy in 2007-09. As a result, breaking up Citigroup is under serious consideration as a potential campaign theme. For example, in a powerful speech вЂ“ watched online more than a halfmillion times вЂ“ Senator Elizabeth Warren responded uncompromisingly to the megabanksвЂ™ latest display of muscle: вЂњLetвЂ™s pass something вЂ“ anything вЂ“ that would help break up these giant banks.вЂќ Defenders of the megabanks вЂ“ Citi, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley вЂ“ dismiss Warren as an avatar of left-wing populism. But this is a serious misconception; in fact, Warren is attracting a great deal of support from the centre and the right. Senator David Vitter of Louisiana is the most prominent Republican member of Congress in favour of limiting the size and power of the biggest banks, but there are others who lean in a similar direction. Similarly, the vice chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Thomas Hoenig, a political independent, consistently warns about the dangers associated with megabanks. And former FDIC Chair Sheila Bair, a Republican from Kansas, argues strongly for additional measures to rein in the biggest banks. From the perspective of anyone seeking the nomination of either of AmericaвЂ™s political parties, here is an issue that cuts across partisan lines. вЂњBreak up CitigroupвЂќ is a concrete and powerful idea that would move the п¬Ѓnancial system in the right direction. It is not a panacea, but the coalition that can break up Citi can also put in place other measures to make the п¬Ѓnancial system safer вЂ“ including more effective consumer protection, greater transparency in markets, and higher capital requirements for major banks. From the left, the emphasis has been on the megabanksвЂ™ abuse of power and the great rip-off of the the recent вЂњCitigroup AmendmentвЂќ implies: Bankers get rich whether they win or lose, because the US taxpayer foots the bill when their risky bets fail. Potential Republican presidential candidates have hesitated to take up this issue in public вЂ“ perhaps feeling that it will inhibit their ability to raise money from Wall Street. Among the Democrats, however, the opportunity seems to be much more compelling; indeed, avoiding a confrontation with Wall Street might actually create problems for a candidate (as Hillary Clinton may well п¬Ѓnd out). The Progressive Change Institute is currently running вЂњThe Big Ideas Project,вЂќ whereby people can vote on what they regard as the most important policy proposals. Three of the top ten ideas under вЂњEconomy & JobsвЂќ are about imposing greater constraints on the big banks вЂ“ and there is a sharp upward trend in support for Break Up Citigroup (full disclosure: I suggested this item for the website). This idea would play well in the Democratic primary elections (which start in early 2016). And, because it forms the basis for responsible policies, it would attract support from centrists. And voters on the right like proposals that offer a credible way to end the favouritism вЂ“ if not outright corruption вЂ“ that has come to deп¬Ѓne the relationship between the top levels of government and Wall Street. вЂњBreak up Citigroup, end dangerous government subsidies, and bring back the market.вЂќ The US presidential candidate who says this in 2016 вЂ“ and says it most convincingly вЂ“ has a good chance of winning it all. - Project Syndicate middle class. From the right, the stress is on the hazards of crony capitalism, owing to the massive implicit government subsidies that these banks Noncitizens voting? ItвЂ™s only fair receive. But both left and right agree on the fundamental asymmetry that zSimon Johnson is a professor at MITвЂ™s Sloan School of Management and the co-author of White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt, And Why It Matters To You. Weather report Three-day forecast TODAY By Ron Hayduk Los Angeles T he contemporary immigrant rights movement has commanded attention through civil disobedience, student walkouts and intensive lobbying. But thereвЂ™s another tactic increasing immigrant clout by allowing all noncitizens to vote - that also deserves serious consideration. Many Americans understandably question why immigrants should be able to vote before they become US citizens. They know citizenship is required for federal elections, and they attested to their status when they registered. But what most donвЂ™t know is that the right to vote in this country has never been intrinsically tied to citizenship. And even now, in a few jurisdictions and on some issues, noncitizens have a limited right to vote. As it turns out, voting by noncitizens is as old as the Republic. From 1776 until 1926 in 40 states and federal territories, residents who werenвЂ™t citizens could vote in local, state and sometimes federal elections. They also have held public office; Indiana and Louisiana elected noncitizen aldermen and coroners, for example. In a country where вЂњno taxation without representationвЂќ was the rallying cry for revolution, and where government theoretically rests вЂњon the consent of the governed,вЂќ allowing all residents to vote only makes sense. Today, immigrants here legally and illegally work in every sector of the economy. They own homes and businesses, attend colleges and send children to schools. They pay billions According to the US Census Bureau, more than 22mn adults in the US are barred from voting because they lack US citizenship. in taxes each year, and make countless social and cultural contributions to their communities. They are subject to all the laws that govern citizens, serve in the military and even die defending the US But most are without formal political voice. Their numbers are staggering. According to the US Census Bureau, more than 22mn adults in the US are barred from voting because they lack US citizenship. In some districts and in some whole cities and towns - noncitizens make up 25% to 50% of voting-age residents. In Los Angeles they make up more than one-third of the voting-age population; in New York City, they are 22% of adults. Such levels of political exclusion approximate the exclusion of women prior to 1920, African Americans before the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and 18-year-olds prior to 1971. Sadly, America knows all too well what can occur when groups donвЂ™t have a formal political voice: discriminatory public policy and private practices - in employment, housing, education, healthcare, welfare and criminal justice. Noncitizens suffer social and economic inequities, in part, because policymakers can ignore their interests. The vote is a proven mechanism to keep government responsive and accountable to all. But why donвЂ™t they just become citizens? Most immigrants want to, but the average time it takes for the naturalisation process is eight years and sometimes longer. ThatвЂ™s a long time to go without a vote. Besides, many who are here legally are barred from pursuing citizenship by the terms of their visas; they are students or green card holders who are nonetheless members of their community who deserve a voice in its policies. And, of course, those who are here illegally, who overstayed a visa or never had one have no practical pathway to citizenship. But do noncitizens possess sufficient knowledge of our political system to vote responsibly? If political knowledge was a criterion for voting, many US citizens would be out of luck, as public surveys regularly show. Moreover, as it is, a citizen can move from New York to Los Angles and register and vote within 30 days, even if he or she doesnвЂ™t know a thing about the candidates or ballot proposals. So why should literacy tests or restrictive residency requirements be able to disenfranchise noncitizen voters? There are now a handful of US jurisdictions where noncitizens have a right to vote in some elections. In six towns in Maryland since the 1990s, all residents (except felons serving sentences or those judged mentally incompetent by a court) can vote in local elections. Chicago permits all noncitizen parents of schoolchildren to vote in local school council elections. In California, all parents can participate in вЂњparent triggerвЂќ votes to change the administration of their childrenвЂ™s schools. Next year, the New York City Council will take up a bill - which has broad political support - that would allow noncitizens lawfully residing in the US to vote in local elections. In March, Burlington, Vermont voters will decide on a similar ballot proposition to let legal permanent residents vote in local elections. The District of Columbia has a similar bill pending. The right to vote helps keep our democracy inclusive and fair, and resident voting is the next logical step toward creating a truly universal franchise. It is what AmericaвЂ™s past and future as an immigrant nation requires. Noncitizen voting is the suffrage movement of our time. вЂ“ Tribune News Service High: 29 C Low: 18 C Slight dust and some clouds TUESDAY High: 25 C Low : 17 C Clear WEDNESDAY High: 23 C Low : 17 C Clear FishermenвЂ™s forecast OFFSHORE DOHA Wind: NW 05-15/20 KT Waves: 2-4/6 Feet INSHORE DOHA Wind: NW 03-10 KT Waves: 1-2 Feet Around the region Abu Dhabi Baghdad Dubai Kuwait City Manama Muscat Riyadh Tehran Weather today Clear Clear P Cloudy Clear Clear Clear Clear Clear Max/min 27/18 19/08 25/18 24/10 24/18 27/18 28/12 11/00 Weather tomorrow Clear P Cloudy Clear Clear Clear Clear Clear Clear Max/min 26/18 19/08 26/18 23/08 22/17 27/17 25/11 11/00 Weather tomorrow C Rain Clear Clear S Showers Clear P Cloudy T Storms M Cloudy Clear Snow C Storms Clear Fog M Cloudy Cloudy Clear P Cloudy P Cloudy T Storms Clear C Storms Clear Clear Max/min 06/04 19/12 32/19 -1/-1 21/09 28/19 27/25 21/16 18/14 03/02 32/26 26/12 03/00 28/23 -12/-18 18/08 01/-4 04/00 31/22 04/-5 31/24 30/18 12/02 zRon Hayduk, a professor of political science at Queens College, City University of New York, is the author of вЂњDemocracy for All: Restoring Immigrant Voting Rights in the US.вЂќ He wrote this for the Los Angeles Times. Live Issues A вЂ�newвЂ™ dwarf galaxy in our own backyard By Amina Khan Los Angeles A stronomers searching the sky with NasaвЂ™s Hubble Space Telescope have discovered an odd little dwarf galaxy in our very own backyard - a mere 7mn light years away. The п¬Ѓndings, described in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, add a new member to the more than 50 galaxies in our Local Group (part of the Laniakea supercluster), which includes Andromeda and our own Milky Way. While only just recently discovered using HubbleвЂ™s Advanced Camera for Surveys, the galaxy known as KKs3 has been around a long while. Astronomers led by Igor Karachentsev of the Special Astrophysical Observatory in Karachai-Cherkessia, Russia, showed that some 74% of KKs3вЂ™s star mass was formed in the universeвЂ™s early years, at least 12bn years ago. Most of the tiny galaxyвЂ™s stars are old and dim, making it a fascinating fossil that could help astronomers understand what ancient galactic environments looked like. Carrying just 23mn solar massesвЂ™ worth of star-stuff, KKs3 holds just one ten-thousandth of the stellar mass of the Milky Way. As a dwarf spheroidal galaxy, it lacks any distinctive spiral arms. The dwarf spheroidal galaxies that are found near massive galaxies are typically poor in gas and dust, because theyвЂ™ve been stripped out by the gravitational pull of their much more massive neighbours (such as the Andromeda galaxy). But KKs3 is far away from the thieving gravitational tug of a neighbouring galaxy - and yet, for some reason, it also seems to be missing hydrogen gas. KKs3, in that way, is a much rarer breed, called an isolated dwarf spheroidal galaxy. These isolated dwarf spheroidal galaxies are really hard to п¬Ѓnd, in part because theyвЂ™re missing those tell-tale nebulae full of hydrogen gas that could have helped feed star formation. In fact, the only other one found in the Local Group, KKR 25, was found by the same research group way back in 1999. KKs3 seems to have an interesting life history that could shed light on the strange processes that formed it. Though most of its stars are 12bn years old or older, there appear to have been two smaller periods of star-formation around 5bn years ago and even more recently, around 2bn years ago or less. Given that these isolated dwarf spheroidal galaxies are so hard to п¬Ѓnd, there could be many more of these fascinating galactic fossils just hanging out in the darkness of our own intergalactic neighbourhood, just waiting to be found, the authors wrote. вЂњSince the detection of such objects is difficult, the number of them within (32.6mn light years) may be considerable,вЂќ the study authors wrote. Future space telescopes, including NASAвЂ™s James Webb Space Telescope set for launch in 2018, could help hunt down more of these mysterious objects in the heavens. вЂ“ Tribune News Service 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 Clear Clear P Cloudy P Cloudy Clear P Cloudy C Storms P Cloudy Clear Rain T Storms Clear P Cloudy M Cloudy M Cloudy Clear P Cloudy P Cloudy C Storms C Rain T Storms Clear Rain Max/min 15/06 19/13 32/19 -1/-5 21/08 29/19 27/25 25/16 18/14 13/02 31/26 27/12 04/-1 29/22 -12/-14 18/06 05/-2 05/01 32/21 06/-2 28/24 31/20 06/03 24 Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 QATAR Kahramaa annual business meet reviews plans for 2015-2019 Q atar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa) recently held the annual business planning forum under the theme вЂњTransformation towards Business ExcellenceвЂќ. The forum chaired by Kahramaa president Essa bin Hilal al-Kuwari was held to review department plans for the next п¬Ѓve years, 2015-2019. The two-day meeting was attended by directors, managers and heads of different sections. It reviewed and discussed department plans and projects for 2015-2019 and compared it to the period ending this year. The strategic meeting sets a road map to meet electricity and water challenges within the development the State witnesses and achieve business excellence through the strategic transformation. While hailing the corporationвЂ™s achievements in the last п¬Ѓve years, al-Kuwari highlighted the п¬Ѓnancial and technical performance in 2014 where it managed to meet the electricity and water demand based on the highest international quality standards. Al-Kuwari said вЂњthe forum comes within the various challenges the electricity and water Senior officials at the annual business planning forum of Kahramaa. sector faces. Kahramaa has to be ready to transform these challenges into opportunities through long-term strategic planning to achieve the objectives of Qatar National Vision 2030вЂќ. Kahramaa started the strategic development at the begin- ning of 2014 by approving the new update of its corporate mission, vision and values. The corporationвЂ™s plan for 2015-2019 includes giant water reservoirs for increasing strategic storage and Phase VII of the electricity network expansion. As for customers, Kahramaa plans to transform into a smart corporation by 2015-2016. Besides, 2015 will witness the con- struction of the п¬Ѓrst solar plant for electricity generation on the Kahramaa premises, to be followed by other plants. Participants of the Qatargas forum with officials. Qatargas organises forum for national graduates Q atargas recently organised the annual Qatarisation Forum for its national graduates. Two separate sessions were held for those based in Ras Laffan and Doha. Coaches assigned to guide and mentor the national graduates during their individual development phase also participated in the forum. This yearвЂ™s forum was held under the theme вЂњCoaching National GraduatesвЂќ. The forum gave nationals and coaches an opportunity to share their experiences and challenges in Qatargas. Coaches and national graduates who have moved into established positions shared their experiences and success stories and also encouraged the new national graduates to take advantage of the learning opportunities provided by Qatargas and to take ownership of their development. The forum also focused on enhancing communication and feedback between the coaches and national graduates to have a better understanding of each otherвЂ™s roles and responsibilities. As part of the forum, the group activity this year was facilitated by young nationals from the Learning & Devel- opment Focus Group. They chose the вЂњStart, Stop, ContinueвЂќ model to facilitate communication between the nationals and coaches. The focus group plays an active role in discussing issues and concerns with national graduates and in communicating these regularly to the Qatarisation and National Development Division. At the forum, the Learning & Development Focus Group members who completed their term (2012-2014) were recognised for their outstanding efforts and contribution to the national graduate community. The forum is one of several platforms providing an opportunity for Qatari national graduates to engage in open discussions with the head of Qatarisation and National Development to ask questions or raise concerns and suggestions related to their training and development programmes. The annual Qatarisation Forum reп¬‚ects the commitment of the Qatarisation and National Development Division and the Learning & Development Department to the continuous development of its national workforce. PHCC trains Hayyak staff on use of sign language P rimary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) has organised, in collaboration with the Qatari Centre of Social Cultural for the Deaf, a training course for PHCC staff from the Hayyak team on using sign language in preparation for the launch of new services targeted at the deaf and mute group. The corporation will also provide intensive training for a number of receptionists and customer services employees on visual instant conversation techniques using sign language in the future, in line with a timeline set on the instructions of Dr Maryam Abdul Malik, managing director of PHCC. Dr Mohamed al-Kilani, head of the Non-Clinical Training Department at PHCC, said: вЂњThis course stems from PHCCвЂ™s vision and mission, which aim to provide integrated and comprehensive services to all segments of the society by training PHCC staff to use sign language in order to be able to receive and communicate with people with disability. вЂњThe PHCC Workforce Training Department is keen on delivering such courses, which are part of an integrated plan towards establishing a comprehensive staff development programme, in addition to raising awareness about the importance of effective communication with all stakeholders, Participants of the course with officials. especially those with disabilities, to meet their needs. Amani Ibraheem, training coordinator at PHCC, added: вЂњThe training courseвЂ™s duration is four hours a day, spread over a period of four days and attended by 40 employees from the Hayyak service divided into two groups. вЂњThe п¬Ѓrst group attended the course from December 14 to 17 and the second group from December 21 to 24. The course covered topics such as speciп¬Ѓcations, standards and means of disability, with the ultimate goal of the course being to teach the Hayyak service staff how to use sign language in order to receive disabled people and communicate with them.вЂќ One of the Hayyak employ- ees demonstrated an example of providing help to a patient with hearing disability who fainted and felt dizzy. The Hayyak employee explained the patientвЂ™s case to the doctor and immediately interpreted the medical diagnosis provided by the doctor to the patient by using sign language. Representatives of the Qa- tari Centre of Social Cultural for the Deaf - board member Abdul Rahman al-Suwaidi and director of Public Relations Meshal Dad Allah - expressed satisfaction at the performance demonstrated by the trainees, which contributes to facilitating communication at health centres with people suffering from hearing disabilities. The course concluded with the distribution of certiп¬Ѓcates of appreciation to participants and supervisers by the Workforce Training Department. In addition, the training instructors were honoured by PHCC as the corporation presented certiп¬Ѓcates of appreciation to lecturers Najee Mohamed Zakarneh and Maysam Bader. HACKER ATTACK | Page 2 OIL SLUMP | Page 4 Sony restores service for PS4 console Bahrain sukuk battered Monday, December 29, 2014 Rabia I 7, 1436 AH GULF TIMES MARKET CAPITALISATION UP 1.67% : Page 12 Qatar stocks gain 1.46% on local buying support BUSINESS Saudi may open bourse to foreigners in April вЂ™15 Bloomberg Riyadh S audi Arabia is seeking to open its $509bn stock exchange to foreign investors in April, according to three people briefed on the countryвЂ™s plans. The Capital Market Authority informed brokers and fund managers of the timeline in London last month, two of the people said, asking not to be identiп¬Ѓed as the meeting was private. Saudi Arabia isnвЂ™t planning signiп¬Ѓcant changes to draft rules published in August, the people said. The country announced in July that it would open the market in the п¬Ѓrst half of 2015. The worldвЂ™s biggest oil exporter is removing barriers to one of the worldвЂ™s most-restricted major stock exchanges as it pursues a $130bn spending plan to boost non-energy industries. Opening the market may prompt MSCI to include the bourse in its emerging market gauge by 2017, luring as much as $40bn of foreign cash, Schroders said in July. A spokesman for the CMA said yesterday the regulator continues to expect the market to open to foreign investors in the п¬Ѓrst half of next year, though no speciп¬Ѓc date has been set. The Saudi Stock Exchange is the largest equity market in the Middle East. Investors from outside the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council arenвЂ™t allowed to buy shares directly and have to access the market through equity swaps and exchange-traded funds. Under the August draft regulations, foreign investors with a minimum of 18.75bn riyals ($5bn) of assets under management and at least п¬Ѓve yearsвЂ™ experience in the business will be eligible to trade Saudi stocks. The regulator said it may reduce the minimum for those assets to 11.25bn riyals. The Riyadh-based regulator may also cap foreign ownership of a single stock at 49%, according to the draft rules. Qualiп¬Ѓed foreign investors, or QFIs, would face a 5% ownership limit in a single stock, and a 20% ceiling for all QFIs and approved QFI clients combined, it said. The QFIsвЂ™ holdings may not exceed 10% of the marketвЂ™s value, including interests under swaps, according to the draft rules. Saudi ArabiaвЂ™s Tadawul All Share Index advanced 1.1% at 1.25pm in Riyadh. Traders look at electronic information screens inside the offices of the Tadawul All Share Index in Riyadh. The Capital Market Authority expects the market to open to foreign investors in the first half of next year, a CMA spokesman said yesterday. Islamic Bank of Britain is now Al Rayan Bank Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), the UKвЂ™s only wholly Shariah-compliant retail bank, will hereafter be known as Al Rayan Bank. The change signifies the beginning of a new chapter for the lender as the European subsidiary of Masraf Al Rayan, the second largest bank in Qatar by market value. Al Rayan BankвЂ™s activities will continue to be monitored by an independent Shariah supervisory committee and a dedicated Shariah compliance officer. It will continue to operate as a UK regulated bank, and customersвЂ™ deposits will remain protected by the financial services compensation scheme. Communications regarding the anticipated rebranding activity from IBB to Al Rayan Bank began in October 2014, and shareholder approval has now formalised the change. As a result, the bank has introduced new Al Rayan Bank logo and brand identity which are being implemented across its website, literature, branches and other materials. вЂњAfter 10 years as Islamic Bank of Britain and IBB, the bank has The Al Rayan Bank logo. The lender will continue to operate as a UK-regulated bank, and customersвЂ™ deposits will remain protected by the financial services compensation scheme. changed its name to Al Rayan Bank, mirroring its strong and successful parent, Masraf Al Rayan,вЂќ Sultan Choudhury, CEO of Al Rayan Bank, said. Al Rayan Bank received a ВЈ100mn capital investment from its new parent company in January 2014, which has enabled it to significantly boost its capabilities and resources. To support the increased focus on corporate and real estate finance, Al Rayan Bank will develop its presence in London, where its commercial and Gulf Cooperation Council operations will be based. Arab Dairy takeover bid deadline extended Reuters Cairo E gyptвЂ™s п¬Ѓnancial regulator has extended until January 15 the deadline for bids to acquire Arab Dairy, which is at the centre of a takeover battle involving EuropeвЂ™s biggest dairy group, Lactalis. The extension allows rivals to make counteroffers as a bidding war for Arab Dairy intensiп¬Ѓes. Lactalis offered 66 Egyptian pounds ($9.2) per share in November, topping at least two rival bids for the Egyptian cheesemaker. Saudi ArabiaвЂ™s Arrow Food Distribution and п¬Ѓnancial п¬Ѓrm Pioneers Holdings, which already owns 25% of Arab Dairy, are among the other bidders. DenmarkвЂ™s Arla Foods decided to drop its bid this month after conducting due diligence. Sheikh Faisal: Active role. Largest pipes and cast unit in Qatar starts production Qatar has commenced production from its largest pipes and cast unit, a joint venture of Aamal Company and Saudi Arabia-based Lokma Group, as part of its strategies to support the growing demand in infrastructure upgrade in Qatar as well as the wider Gulf region. The QR200mn Advanced Pipes and Cast Company (APC) commenced production from its newly constructed, state-ofthe-art factory in Mesaieed. It specialises in the manufacture of concrete pipe products to supply infrastructure and pipeline projects in Qatar and across the region. The factory is considered the largest in Qatar with a built-up area of 85,000 sqm and has an annual production capacity of 450,000 tonnes. It will produce a range of infrastructure and construction products including jacking pipes, reinforced concrete pipes, circular precast concrete manholes and precast concrete box culverts, which is considered a new product that will be manufactured in Qatar for the first time. вЂњAamal is committed to playing an active role in the diversification of the industrial base in Qatar. With such a large number of projects underway dedicated to upgrading the infrastructure in Qatar and the region, we expect to see significant continuation of growth in demand for the specialised concrete and other pipes which APC is now able to meet,вЂќ its chairman Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani said. In line with its strategy for diversification into new, high growth revenue streams, Aamal anticipates significant demand for its new concrete pipe products driven by their wide range of applications to QatarвЂ™s rapid infrastructure development including sewage, drinking water, raw water and irrigation, drainage, hydro power, thermal power cooling and industrial uses, in addition to use in highway and railway projects. Established as a 50:50 joint venture between Aamal and a Saudi Arabian subsidiary of the Lokma Group, APC will manufacture reinforced concrete pipes using the most up-to-date technologies. Asserting its constant endeavour to adhere to best practice environmental and safety standards and that APC has obtained ISO 14001 and 18001 certificates; Tarek M El Sayed, managing director of Aamal Company, said вЂњthis is another important milestone for Aamal as we further diversify into new, high growth revenue streams.вЂќ вЂњI am positive that APC will add great value to the market and help in the development of the infrastructure in the country. Our depth of experience in the pipes industry will ensure that APC is considered a benchmark in terms of quality, best practice and commitment,вЂќ according to Ahmed Lokma, chairman of Lokma Group. 2 Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 BUSINESS GoogleвЂ™s YouTube goes beyond cat videos with The Interview Bloomberg San Francisco A signage is displayed at the Sony Pictures Entertainment studios in Culver City, California. Sony Corp restored service for the PS4 game console on its PlayStation Network for Microsoft on December 26, while it briefly returned online on Saturday for the PS3 and PS Vita game consoles. Sony restores PS4 service on PlayStation network Bloomberg New York S ony Corp restored service for the PS4 game console on its PlayStation Network, according to a company statement on its website yesterday in Tokyo. The recovery came three days after SonyвЂ™s online gaming operation and Microsoft CorpвЂ™s Xbox Live were hit by connection failures on Christmas Day. Service was restored for Microsoft on December 26, while the PlayStation Network brieп¬‚y returned online on Saturday for the PS3 and PS Vita game consoles. Sony said on Saturday some users were experiencing difficulty logging into the network. Hackers calling themselves Lizard Squad claimed responsibility for the disruptions. The game networks were attacked on the same day Sony released The Interview online and in independent theatres, after major US cinema chains decided not to show the movie following hacking incidents at the companyвЂ™s п¬Ѓlm and TV studio last month. A different group called Guardians of Peace claimed responsibility for inп¬Ѓltrating Sony Pictures EntertainmentвЂ™s servers, destroying data, exposing Hollywood secrets and forcing the studio temporarily to cancel the п¬ЃlmвЂ™s release. вЂњItвЂ™s not yet clear whether itвЂ™s just an outage of the PlayStation Network or if some personal data has been stolen too,вЂќ Hideki Yasuda, a Tokyo-based analyst at Ace Research Institute, said on December 25. Lizard Squad, which took credit for an attack on Sony earlier this year, said on its Twitter account that it was behind the incidents. The group said it would вЂњstop hittingвЂќ the services if users called attention to the hack by retweeting its statements. The Interview, a comedy about a п¬Ѓctional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, was shown in more than 300 locations on Christmas Day without incident, and was also available for rent and purchase at the Xbox store, a Sony website and Google Play, among others. It topped the charts of the Xbox store and YouTubeвЂ™s movie store. The limited release brought in more than $1mn in ticket sales on Christmas Day, Sony Pictures said. US President Barack Obama blamed North Korea for orchestrating the attacks against Sony Pictures and vowed to respond. North Korea has said it doesnвЂ™t know the identity of the hackers claiming responsibility for breaking into SonyвЂ™s computer network. North Korea blamed the US for an Internet outage it experienced, calling Obama вЂњreckless in words and deedsвЂќ and charging him with forcing the release of the movie. вЂњUS Presi- Colombia to grow faster than peers even as oil tumbles Bloomberg Bogota ColombiaвЂ™s diversified economy will enable it to grow faster than most Latin American countries next year, even after oil prices slumped, Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas said. Oil accounts for just 16% of the central governmentвЂ™s revenue, Cardenas said in a phone interview from Antioquia province. вЂњColombia is much less fiscally dependent on oil than other oil exporting countries and the reason is that Colombia has a much more diversified source of tax revenue,вЂќ Cardenas said.вЂњIn a nutshell, what we will have next year is a much more balanced growth across sectors of the economy.вЂќ The government lowered its 2015 growth forecast to 4.2% from 4.8% this week, while maintaining its 4.7% target for this year. The reduction came after the price of crude, which accounts for about 55% of exports, fell 48% in the past six months. Investors should differentiate Colombia from other oil exporting countries that are more dependent on oil revenue, Cardenas said. The peso has weakened 15% in the past three months to 2,367.35 per dollar, making it the worst performing emerging market currency after the Russian rouble. Yields on ColombiaвЂ™s benchmark peso bonds due 2024 have increased 46 basis points, or 0.46 percentage point, to 7.15%, according to data from the central bank. President Juan Manuel Santos said earlier this week that the country is prepared for a 9tn-peso ($3.8bn) shortfall in 2015 due to lower oil prices. The government is aiming to reduce its structural deficit to 1.9% of gross domestic product by 2018, from 2.3% this year. A tax bill approved this year by Congress will allow the Andean nation to have the вЂњnecessary revenue to keep public investment at the current levels and at the same time comply with the fiscal rule despite the reduction in oil prices,вЂќ Cardenas said. вЂњThis is crucial, this is what makes Colombia different,вЂќ he said. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expect ColombiaвЂ™s GDP to grow 4.3% next year, compared to 3.4% in Mexico, 2.9% in Chile and 0.9% for Brazil. Only Peru, with an estimated 4.8% expansion, is forecast to grow more among major Latin American countries. The manufacturing industry will lead growth in 2015 with a 4% expansion as it benefits from the weaker peso, faster US growth and strong domestic demand, Cardenas said. Financial services, tourism, telecommunications and transport will also post вЂњrobustвЂќ growth, he said. dent Obama is the chief culprit,вЂќ the National Defence Commission said in a statement carried yesterday by the NorthвЂ™s official Korean Central News Agency. When Sony Pictures said it would withdraw the п¬Ѓlm, вЂњObama urged it to unconditionally screen the movie,вЂќ the statement said. Satoshi Nakajima, a spokesman for SonyвЂ™s games unit, said the company was investigating whether the attack on the PlayStation Network was related to the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack. E-mail and voice-mail messages to David Dennis, a spokesman for Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, werenвЂ™t returned. By streaming the comedy via the Web, Microsoft and Sony took the risk of provoking denial-of-service hacking attacks. The hackers had warned that they intended to target the companies with such incidents on Christmas Day. Denial-of-service assaults can be difficult to deп¬‚ect, even if a company has ample warning theyвЂ™re coming, because theyвЂ™re executed by thousands of hacked computers performing normal yet database-intensive activities, such as running searches or downloading videos, all at the same time. Cybercriminals targeted Sony in 2011 after it sued a young researcher when he exposed security vulnerabilities in the PlayStation 3 console. The 2011 hack involved the theft of personal data on 77mn PSN users. вЂњLast time the network was down for a month and PS4 sales were little affected,вЂќ Ace ResearchвЂ™s Yasuda said. вЂњA network outage wonвЂ™t prevent people from buying the PS4. And this time it comes after the peak shopping season, too.вЂќ Sony shares fell 0.3% to ВҐ2,550.5 at the close on December 26 in Tokyo, compared with a 0.4% advance by JapanвЂ™s benchmark Topix index. GoogleвЂ™s agreement to show Sony CorpвЂ™s The Interview gave its YouTube video-streaming website a chance to show that itвЂ™s more than just a destination for amusing cat videos. The controversial movie, available on Christmas day on Google Play and YouTube Movies for $5.99 to rent and $14.99 to own, topped the charts on YouTubeвЂ™s movie store. The Interview added to a growing collection of films offered by Google that include Divergent and The Lego Movie, and is part of its drive to bolster premium content to compete with AppleвЂ™s music and video library. Google, which runs the most popular Internet-search engine, is also seeking to keep users coming to its Web properties as digital rivals such as Netflix and Hulu draw more Internet traffic. The Interview gave Google the chance to prove to a wider audience that it can sell premium content, according to James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research. вЂњGoogle has needed a way to show love to studios for a long time and this will do it,вЂќ McQuivey said in an interview. вЂњMost people donвЂ™t think ofвЂќ YouTube вЂњas a distribution platform for feature film. It might get a film up there after itвЂ™s been out for a year or two, so this is a good move.вЂќ The online rollout marked the highest-profile feature film to debut on the Internet and followed SonyвЂ™s last-minute efforts to get the movie out. Hackers linked to North Korea launched a cyber-attack on the studioвЂ™s computers last month and threatened violence if the film вЂ” a satire starring Seth Rogen and James Franco with a plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un вЂ” was shown. In response to the warning, major theatre chains cancelled the filmвЂ™s debut on Christmas Day. The Web debut of The Interview, also available Microsoft CorpвЂ™s Xbox video console and a site owned by Sony, may be whatвЂ™s needed for film-watchers such as Debbie Reed, 62, in Newton, New Jersey, to give YouTubeвЂ™s pay service a try. The retiree said sheвЂ™s more accustomed to watching YouTube videos for knitting and other crafts. вЂњI didnвЂ™t know you can do it from YouTube вЂ” itвЂ™s usually Netflix or Apple,вЂќ Reed said. вЂњItвЂ™ll be interesting to find out what all of this hype has been about.вЂќ The unconventional rollout of The Interview gave the simultaneous theatrical and online release its first big test. Typically, such debuts have been reserved for smaller films, such as independent movies that may not have enough widespread appeal to warrant a big theatrical marketing budget, according to Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at Rentrak, a marketresearch firm that tracks the movie business. More than 300 theatres вЂ” many of them independent вЂ” rallied around the US to show the film beginning December 25. The film took more than $1mn in ticket sales on the first day. Previously, low-profile releases such as 2011вЂ™s Margin Call, which starred Kevin Spacey, and 2012вЂ™s Arbitrage and вЂњBacheloretteвЂќ were released simultaneously via video-ondemand services and in movie theatres. вЂњWeвЂ™ve seen some successes for VOD on the same day as the theatrical release, but itвЂ™s always been for smaller movies,вЂќ Dergarabedian said. While Google may see increased attention for its video services, itвЂ™s also another example of the Mountain View, California-based company taking a stand on political grounds. вЂњAfter discussing all the issues, Sony and Google agreed that we could not sit on the sidelines and allow a handful of people to determine the limits of free speech in another country,вЂќ David Drummond, GoogleвЂ™s senior vice president of corporate development and chief legal officer, wrote in a blog post. More than 6bn hours of video are watched on the YouTube service each month, reaching more US adults of ages 18-34 each month than any cable network, according to the companyвЂ™s website. Google bought YouTube in 2006 for $1.3bn, seeking to add more user-generated video content. вЂњKnowing GoogleвЂ™s mantra regarding access to information, I would assume the primary motivator is providing the public with an opportunity to see the film,вЂќ said Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Robert W Baird & Co in San Francisco. The companies that streamed the comedy via the Web took the risk of provoking denial-ofservice hacking attacks. Xbox Live and SonyвЂ™s PlayStation Network, Internet services that video gamers use to play online, were both hit by connection failures, with the hackers Lizard Squad claiming responsibility. The group had threatened disruptions on Christmas Day. The Interview garnered a rating of 54% on the Rotten Tomatoes website, and Peter Travers, a reviewer for Rolling Stone, said that while the movie was вЂњstupidвЂќ and in вЂњbad taste,вЂќ it was also вЂњkiller funny.вЂќ Goldman Sachs may seek remedies on Banco Espirito Santo decision Bloomberg Lisbon G oldman Sachs Group said yesterday it may challenge the Bank of PortugalвЂ™s decision not to transfer Banco Espirito SantoвЂ™s debt to a special-purpose vehicle to Novo Banco, the bank that emerged from the breakup of Lisbon-based Banco Espirito Santo. Oak Finance Luxembourg was set up by New York-based Goldman Sachs to raise funds for Banco Espirito Santo in July, said Fiona Laffan, a spokeswoman for Goldman Sachs in London. The Bank of PortugalвЂ™s Resolution Fund bailed out the bank on August 3. вЂњOn August 11, 2014, a senior representative of the Bank of Portugal explicitly conп¬Ѓrmed to us in writing the transfer of these obligations,вЂќ Laffan wrote in an e-mailed statement. вЂњIn addition, Novo Banco also conп¬Ѓrmed in writing that Oak Finance had been transferred as one of its liabilities.вЂќ Novo Banco said in a December 23 regulatory п¬Ѓling that the Bank of Portugal had decided not to transfer the Oak Finance liability to Novo Banco, adding that this decision boosted Novo BancoвЂ™s reserves by в‚¬548.3mn ($668mn). After Banco Espirito SantoвЂ™s в‚¬4.9bn rescue, the central bank moved the lenderвЂ™s deposit-taking operations and most of its assets to Novo Banco Junior creditors stayed with the old bank, After Banco Espirito SantoвЂ™s в‚¬4.9bn rescue, the central bank moved the lenderвЂ™s deposit-taking operations and most of its assets to Novo Banco Junior creditors stayed with the old bank, which is getting no state money, until it can be shut down. which is getting no state money, until it can be shut down. вЂњThe Bank of PortugalвЂ™s unexpected public announcement earlier this week to retroactively return these obligations contravenes market expectations and damages multiple investors, including pension funds, who were offered these investments in reliance on these prior representations,вЂќ Laffan said. вЂњAbsent the Central BankвЂ™s reconsidering its position in light of the damage it will be causing to our clients and п¬Ѓnancial markets, we plan on pursuing all appropriate remedies.вЂќ Spokesmen at the Bank of Portugal and Novo Banco didnвЂ™t respond to calls seeking comment. Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 3 BUSINESS Dubai Investments plans $2.7bn property projects NCB proposes H2 dividend of 0.65 riyal Bloomberg Dubai Chairman of the board of directors of National Commercial Bank (NCB) Mansour al-Maiman signs during the listing ceremony at the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) in Riyadh on November 12. NCB proposed a dividend of 0.65 riyal per share for the second half of 2014, it said in a bourse statement yesterday. The bank, the countryвЂ™s largest, listed on the Riyadh bourse after the largest-ever initial public offer of shares in the Arab world. Dubai Investments plans 10bn dirhams ($2.7bn) of real-estate projects in the next five years as it seeks to benefit from resurgent property demand. Developments include Mirdiff Hills, a 2.5bn dirham project in Dubai that will include 1,500 homes, a 230-room hotel, shops and 200,000 square-feet of office space, chief executive officer Khalid bin Kalban said in an interview. The companyвЂ™s Dubai Investment Real Estate Co unit will start tendering for the development in the next two months, he said. Dubai Investments, whose largest shareholder is state-owned Investment Corp of Dubai (ICD), is seeking to profit from a market recovery in the emirate after one of the worldвЂ™s worst property crashes during the financial crisis in 2008. Local developers are reviving projects amid a surge in prices and new measures such as limiting mortgages and a doubling of transaction fees which have helped stabilise the market. вЂњWe donвЂ™t think there will be need to borrowвЂќ for Mirdiff Hills, bin Kalban said. вЂњWeвЂ™ll be able to sell the project easily because of its size, location and components.вЂќ Still, the company may need bank or debt-market funding for a 7bn-dirham project planned in Dubai Investment Park. The 13mn square-feet village with homes, shops, offices and hotels, may require the company to raise cash either through loans, Islamic bonds or by seeking investors to take a stake in the project, according to bin Kalban. вЂњWe are talking to a major investor to come on board and help,вЂќ he said. вЂњThey will either pay us rental or take over the project within a certain number of years. вЂ�вЂ�We are discussing seriously the option of rent to own with them.вЂ™вЂ™ Work started two weeks ago on an 800mndirham business park in Fujairah, bin Kalban said. The park will include a 220room hotel, 200,000 square feet of offices, 150,000 square feet of retail space and some apartments. ItвЂ™s set for completion within two and half years, he said. Al Taif Investment, a 60%-owned unit of Dubai Investments and developer of the business park, secured a 300mn dirham loan from Al-Hilal Bank for the project. Dubai Investments is also in talks with owners of several unfinished buildings within Dubai Investment Park to take over and complete the stalled construction, he said, without naming them. Saudi budget assuming $80 crude price is seen as belief in the rebound Bloomberg Kuwait City S audi ArabiaвЂ™s 2015 budget is probably assuming an oil price of $80 a barrel, and will be seen as a sign of conп¬Ѓdence in the market, according to a former economic adviser to the countryвЂ™s government. The assumption is down from $103 a barrel for this year, John Sfakianakis, who used to be chief economic adviser to Saudi ArabiaвЂ™s Ministry of Finance, said by phone after the budget was announced on Thursday. The worldвЂ™s biggest crude exporter set 2015 spending at 860bn riyals ($229bn) with revenue falling to 715bn riyals from 1.046tn riyals in 2014, the Finance Ministry said. Oil, which has slumped 47% this year to $60.23 a barrel in London, accounted for 89% of its 2014 revenue. Brent crude tumbled into a bear market this year as the US pumped the most oil in more than three decades, leading the UAE Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei to urge producers from outside the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries to trim output. Iraq, the secondbiggest producer in Opec, said last week its 2015 budget is based on $60 oil. вЂњEveryone was expecting to see a budget built on a price around $60 but that would have sent a negative message to the oil market,вЂќ Sfakianakis said from Riyadh. вЂњWith a п¬Ѓscal break even price of $80 a barrel, the government is sending a message to the market that we are expecting to see a rebound in oil prices.вЂќ Sfakianakis is Middle East director at London- based Ashmore Group. A handout illustration of the Fujairah Business Park released to the media yesterday. The park will include a 220-room hotel, 200,000 square feet of offices, 150,000 square feet of retail space and some apartments. ItвЂ™s set for completion within two and half years. UAEвЂ™s Marka to buy retail outfit from Dubai World for $60mn Saudi Arabia is confident that crude prices will rebound with global economic growth boosting demand as high-cost producers cut back, Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on December 21. вЂњIвЂ™m 100% sure prices will go up, they have no other direction but to go up.вЂќ cording to data compiled by Bloomberg. Iraq, the second-biggest producer, was pumping 3.35mn barrels. OpecвЂ™s decision to maintain output at its November 27 meeting in Vienna fanned speculation that Saudi Arabia and other members want North American shale drillers and other producers outside the group to be the п¬Ѓrst to cut production. Saudi Arabia and Iran this month cut the official price levels of their main light crude grades for sale to Asia to the lowest in at least 14 years. Saudi Arabia is conп¬Ѓdent that crude prices will rebound with global economic growth boosting demand as high-cost producers cut back, Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on December 21. вЂњIвЂ™m 100% sure prices will go up, they have no other direction but to go up.вЂќ US stockpiles climbed 7.27mn barrels in the week ended December 19 as imports surged, according to the Energy Information Administration. Saudi Arabia has 265bn barrels of oil reserves, with production of 9.65mn bpd in November, ac- Lower oil price вЂ�double-edged swordвЂ™ for Egypt Reuters Cairo T he fall in global oil prices will cut EgyptвЂ™s fuel subsidy bill but could hit the п¬Ѓnances of oil-exporting Gulf allies who have showered it with billions of dollars in aid. Oil has dropped dramatically over the past six months, with Brent crude trading at $60.87 a barrel on December 23, down 47% from this yearвЂ™s peak just over $115 in June. If it stays at that level, the government expects to save 30bn Egyptian pounds ($4.2bn) on fuel subsidies for its 86mn people in the 2014-15 п¬Ѓscal year. But that is less than half the total Gulf aid it received in the last п¬Ѓscal year alone. вЂњThis is a double-edged sword,вЂќ said Justin Dargin, a Middle East energy expert at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. вЂњIf oil prices remain low, it is likely that its Gulf patrons will be forced to reduce some of their funding.вЂќ Turmoil sparked by the 2011 uprising that overthrew veteran leader Hosni Mubarak has battered EgyptвЂ™s economy. Cash and oil products worth $10.6bn arrived from the Gulf in 2013-14, bolstering the economy and giving Cairo space to reform the subsidy system that had turned it from energy exporter into net importer in recent years. Gulf allies are also set to play an important role at an international conference in March, where Egypt hopes to attract billions of dollars in investment. Ashish Khanna, lead energy specialist at the World Bank in Cairo, said Egypt stood to beneп¬Ѓt overall from oilвЂ™s decline and would save upwards of 20bn pounds even if prices nudge back closer to $80. Marka, a retailing and restaurants start-up, has agreed to buy a sporting goods retail firm from state-owned conglomerate Dubai World for 220mn dirhams ($60mn), in a move that will make Marka operationally profitable in 2015, it said yesterday. The acquisition of Retailcorp, a subsidiary of Dubai WorldвЂ™s investment unit Istithmar World, will be funded by the MarkaвЂ™s own funds and bank facilities, said the UAE- based company, which listed in Dubai earlier this year. The deal will give Marka a network of 15 sporting goods outlets across the UAE, and Marka aims to expand the chain across the country and the region, it added. Dubai World, which signed a $25bn debt restructuring agreement in 2011 after it was hit hard by the global financial crisis, has gradually been selling off assets to help it meet the terms of the restructuring. 4 Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 BUSINESS Bahrain sukuk battered amid oil drop Bloomberg Dubai T umbling oil prices are battering BahrainвЂ™s Shariahcompliant bonds. The Gulf nationвЂ™s dollar-denominated sukuk that mature in 2018 have dropped 1.3% since the end of September, compared with an average 0.8% gain for more than 30 Islamic sovereign dollar bonds tracked by Bloomberg. Only the п¬Ѓve-year $1bn sukuk issued by Pakistan have performed worse. The decline underscores how oilвЂ™s 45% slide since last year is hurting a country where Standard & PoorвЂ™s estimates crude accounts for 65% of п¬Ѓscal revenue and yet has oil reserves that are less than 0.1% of neighbouring Saudi ArabiaвЂ™s. The retreat threatens to jeopardise some of the $30bn of infrastructure projects the government is planning to sustain economic growth, according to Commerzbank. вЂњBahrain is a bit more sensitive because they donвЂ™t have a lot in reserves as Saudi or others to keep supporting their projects,вЂќ Apostolos Bantis, a credit analyst at Commerzbank in Dubai, said by phone on December 17. вЂњThey will have to cut costs and stop some of the projects theyвЂ™re working on.вЂќ Low oil prices will вЂњexacerbateвЂќ structural weaknesses in BahrainвЂ™s public п¬Ѓnances and may lead to a 10% decline in government revenue next year, S&P said in a December 12 report, revising the countryвЂ™s debt outlook to negative from stable. Bahrain requires an average oil price of about $120 a barrel to balance its budget, according to S&P. The smallest crude oil producer in the Gulf, Bahrain witnessed some unrest in the region amid turmoil triggered by revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. Last month the island state held parliamentary elections. вЂњMany of the newly elected members of the parliament are not seen as bu- reaucrats as they are not former government officials and come from different backgrounds, which means they come fresh to the role with no added baggage,вЂќ Hassan Jarrar, chief executive officer of Standard Chartered Bahrain said in an e-mail on December 3. The new government can be вЂњa forceвЂќ in moving infrastructure plans forward, he said. Bahrain plans to invest вЂњup to $30bnвЂќ in public projects over the coming years across a range of industries including transport, housing, manufacturing, energy, healthcare and education, according Jarmo Kotilaine, a chief economist at the Manama-based Bahrain Economic Development Board who projects growth of more than 4% in 2014. вЂњMounting infrastructure spending is an important driver while even the oil sector has surprised on the upside,вЂќ he said by e-mail on December 21. Among its plans, Bahrain is spending $743mn for three power plants, $82mn on a 120-bed oncology centre and constructing more than 4,000 residential homes. The yield on BahrainвЂ™s 2018 Islamic notes jumped 54 basis points to 2.7% in the quarter through December 19, compared with an average 17 basis-point increase to 4.4% for Middle East sukuk, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co indexes. Bahrain and Oman will be the countries in the Gulf Co-operation Council most susceptible to lower oil prices, MoodyвЂ™s Investors Service said in its report this month. Bahrain has reserve assets of about $5.4bn, including gold and foreign currencies, compared with $745bn for Saudi Arabia, government data show. Its deп¬Ѓcit may widen to more than 7% of gross domestic product next year, MoodyвЂ™s said. вЂњRunning a deп¬Ѓcit for one year is not a big deal and manageable,вЂќ Bantis said. вЂњBut if they keep running deп¬Ѓcits then they will be in big trouble.вЂќ An oil pump operates in the Awali oil field in Bahrain (file). The country requires an average oil price of about $120 a barrel to balance its budget, according to S&P. With oil slumping, GCC seen turning to Islamic bonds Bloomberg Dubai T he almost 50% plunge in oil this year is set to unleash a wave of Islamic bond sales as Gulf Co-operation Council nations seek to compensate for slumping revenues. Sukuk issuance across the region in 2015 will surpass this yearвЂ™s $14.8bn, according to Emad Mostaque at Ecstrat Ltd. The 2014 п¬Ѓgure is the lowest in three years, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The Gulf states may sell sukuk to help meet planned expenditure, including to fund infrastructure projects at home, said John Sfakianakis, Middle East Director at Ashmore Group. With Saudi Arabia and Qatar planning more than $700bn of spending during the next seven years, boosting sales of sukuk will help compensate for oil prices that are about 25% below the $80 a barrel the International Monetary Fund says governments in the region need to balance their budgets. The six-nation GCC includes four members of Opec, which supplies 40% of the worldвЂ™s oil. вЂњThere will have to be a balance between spending and debt issuance in order to cover for a lot of the capital and current expenditures,вЂќ Sfakianakis said by phone from Riyadh on December 16. вЂњItвЂ™s reasonable to expect sovereign debt issuance to increaseвЂќ. Brent crude, used as a benchmark for more than half the worldвЂ™s oil, may decline to $50 a barrel in 2015, according to a Bloomberg survey of 17 analysts. Islamic bonds from Bahrain and Oman are seen the GCC, which comply most susceptible to lower oil with the ban on interprices and are likely to issue est, account for more than a quarter of all sovereign debt to finance sales in a market worth their fiscal deficits about $310bn, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Dubai, Qatar and Bahrain are regular issuers. вЂњSovereigns in the GCC may increasingly rely on sukuk as a means to support government funding at a time of decreasing oil revenue,вЂќ Jonathan Fried, capital markets partner at law п¬Ѓrm Linklaters in Dubai, said in an e-mail on December 16. Linklaters advised the Luxembourg government on its debut sukuk sale earlier this year. вЂњThere is an evergrowing demand for sukuk products in the GCC.вЂќ That hasnвЂ™t stopped yields climbing as oil prices collapsed. The yield on Shariah-compliant bonds from the Middle East jumped 14 basis points last week, the steepest increase since August last year, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co indexes. That compares with a 22 basis-point decline in the benchmark 10-year Treasury. вЂњIn the short term, I donвЂ™t think there will be any noticeable impact on any of the governmentsвЂ™ strategies,вЂќ Thomas Christie, the head of п¬Ѓxed income at Prometheus Capital Finance Ltd, a Dubai-based investment advisory company, said by phone on December 15. вЂњIf the oil price continues in the downward trend, in the long term, in the next п¬Ѓve years,вЂќ there may be an impact to sales, he said. Bahrain and Oman will be most susceptible to lower oil prices and are likely to issue sovereign debt to п¬Ѓnance their п¬Ѓscal deп¬Ѓcits, according to a MoodyвЂ™s Investors Service report last week. The ratings agency said earlier this year the sovereign sukuk market will reach about $30bn globally in 2014, and it expects growth to continue in 2015. Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Co, the countryвЂ™s sovereign wealth fund, sold a $600mn sukuk last month. OmanвЂ™s Central Bank head Hamud Sangur al-Zadjali said in October the country may sell 200mn rials ($519mn) of Islamic bonds next year, its debut sale. While вЂњless resilientвЂќ GCC states with fewer п¬Ѓscal buffers like Bahrain and Oman are likely to issue, вЂњall of them should see an increase in sovereign debt issuance over the next year or two,вЂќ AshmoreвЂ™s Sfakianakis said. Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 5 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 82.20 65.50 17.10 24.30 16.50 15.30 96.70 133.00 212.00 80.30 44.50 84.30 44.00 105.60 23.50 52.40 10.19 207.90 191.50 45.20 90.10 121.00 21.65 20.48 31.15 207.00 121.90 110.00 46.95 22.11 175.50 118.60 58.00 96.80 15.90 30.90 57.80 48.75 68.70 47.30 51.40 12.48 % Chg 0.24 5.65 5.56 2.97 7.14 9.29 1.47 0.76 0.24 2.82 0.00 0.96 4.76 1.34 1.34 5.43 7.15 1.91 0.00 7.62 0.11 1.00 9.45 8.25 4.88 1.47 0.74 4.17 0.21 1.19 1.45 9.92 6.03 0.00 6.00 3.00 1.23 7.26 1.93 0.00 0.78 9.96 Volume 21,095 146,385 2,744,441 1,325,807 1,208,694 940,719 213,773 23,567 40,055 172,510 68,236 219,345 113,030 98,235 660,852 2,700 577,340 26,636 26,409 460 22,132 96,805 642,627 4,767,664 640,342 117,792 92,038 13,379 1,081,778 15,100 113,670 93,722 718,920 5,085,426 8,343 136,490 168,761 113,513 4,353,720 47,727 1,059,871 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 Al Abdullatif 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 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 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 Cement 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 Al Mouwasat Medical Services 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 48.50 16.89 13.50 54.34 23.43 21.65 22.39 18.88 37.27 16.12 113.34 9.36 30.57 49.45 18.87 55.99 103.59 21.98 40.99 63.89 36.89 38.86 80.08 24.30 17.87 127.84 15.15 31.37 112.21 21.20 44.17 41.60 82.22 31.00 81.93 36.88 34.54 44.41 26.48 34.64 32.86 69.75 30.00 32.27 71.55 177.33 35.83 190.00 12.85 24.39 56.92 6.93 48.53 13.75 29.22 86.56 30.90 50.77 38.12 27.90 28.92 15.49 19.67 85.70 23.46 104.34 44.91 192.36 54.39 16.11 12.02 18.92 19.99 33.02 32.70 79.52 52.05 25.06 12.55 133.33 32.26 29.08 11.65 26.60 33.67 27.02 33.90 35.06 23.11 19.25 12.89 94.53 39.59 16.20 18.10 55.17 14.10 % Chg 0.37 5.17 0.00 5.00 4.41 2.07 1.31 7.58 2.31 5.98 1.91 3.20 3.66 -0.42 6.13 3.11 1.32 -0.99 2.58 4.63 0.44 5.68 3.29 0.00 3.35 6.36 9.78 2.55 3.42 9.90 0.14 1.64 1.82 -0.35 3.28 1.68 5.89 3.52 5.92 7.81 4.22 0.00 -0.13 -0.74 2.26 2.81 4.04 1.20 1.50 0.58 1.64 1.91 2.08 1.93 4.28 0.69 0.00 3.11 3.78 0.00 3.40 4.80 4.24 0.55 2.49 0.96 4.64 0.71 -0.09 0.50 0.84 4.30 -6.06 7.52 9.95 0.66 9.21 2.92 0.00 2.97 4.81 0.10 4.11 3.30 1.78 2.04 5.12 3.18 1.58 2.94 5.48 0.83 2.62 9.76 -0.39 1.66 1.29 Volume 124,578 2,657,568 129,997 892,119 1,375,015 557,559 1,414,747 203,819 2,540,282 95,031 34,312,794 1,049,904 446,862 2,010,658 700,365 242,512 29,271,221 398,695 396,718 7,071,981 455,340 754,744 1,712,827 692,002 285,713 735,588 270,660 1,858,571 1,008,118 716,677 271,791 652,278 918,682 432,327 2,406,535 250,735 1,494,248 824,817 245,391 3,895,495 963,419 177,792 204,938 582,579 136,613 2,306,987 625,668 147,030 5,684,361 6,012,523 4,829,371 1,733,689 296,564 882,682 1,144,583 1,248,422 1,630,140 1,153,951 13,950 1,447,416 123,630 487,622 121,716 1,280,125 3,014,595 7,237,106 3,252,701 3,596,196 17,783,540 14,430,634 49,274 2,241,558 8,288,857 83,957 1,157,467 297,572 4,608,362 1,106,763 239,787 3,377,217 2,045,921 2,351,028 336,234 3,242,280 4,024,210 67,584 353,810 222,033 1,414,767 5,554,657 5,139,871 Saudi British Bank Sabb Takaful Saudi Basic Industries Corp Saudi Cement Sasco Saudi 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 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 58.84 33.13 88.81 101.60 27.81 122.28 147.72 30.75 21.79 37.90 27.39 41.88 15.23 27.83 55.32 29.10 9.99 82.38 10.07 63.40 111.93 15.85 31.03 66.73 31.64 40.88 26.90 16.76 43.98 % Chg 3.59 1.97 0.41 -0.59 6.67 0.32 0.53 3.26 6.71 9.76 5.92 -1.34 0.00 2.88 2.07 0.00 4.06 2.25 3.39 -0.13 2.05 -0.31 2.41 1.21 6.39 5.25 -0.59 3.84 3.34 Volume 253,027 816,287 3,490,146 264,450 3,297,585 131,591 225,336 976,110 4,541,137 679,254 509,268 1,234,994 3,379,454 766,003 5,966,101 438,045 2,183,226 166,593 588,674 4,101,426 884,436 553,230 564,881 552,122 353,788 5,264,445 1,378,775 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 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 AвЂ™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 Pearl Of Kuwait Real Estate 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 Lt Price 112.00 610.00 94.00 320.00 116.00 216.00 480.00 60.00 212.00 38.00 82.00 640.00 415.00 650.00 900.00 620.00 265.00 295.00 70.00 45.50 69.00 0.00 92.00 36.00 1.52 128.00 38.00 89.00 980.00 430.00 70.00 0.00 15.50 0.00 42.50 150.00 61.00 770.00 89.00 36.00 70.00 110.00 88.00 0.00 110.00 27.00 87.00 0.00 248.00 0.00 36.00 0.00 90.00 485.00 60.00 89.00 90.00 68.00 405.00 140.00 176.00 208.00 94.00 144.00 100.00 154.00 66.00 184.00 246.00 0.00 35.00 0.00 14.50 72.00 0.00 104.00 760.00 43.50 78.00 146.00 44.00 196.00 118.00 12.50 118.00 180.00 77.00 162.00 170.00 550.00 26.50 460.00 72.00 385.00 94.00 1,340.00 164.00 0.00 54.00 142.00 485.00 700.00 31.50 290.00 67.00 45.00 0.00 35.50 66.00 212.00 63.00 56.00 0.00 70.00 36.50 62.00 50.00 255.00 55.00 44.50 55.00 39.50 114.00 120.00 37.00 % Chg 1.82 8.93 5.62 0.00 3.57 0.00 0.00 1.69 0.00 7.04 0.00 1.59 0.00 0.00 1.12 0.00 1.92 1.72 2.94 4.60 7.81 0.00 0.00 7.46 0.00 1.59 5.56 1.14 1.03 6.17 1.45 0.00 6.90 0.00 3.66 0.00 -1.61 0.00 5.95 1.41 1.45 -3.51 1.15 0.00 0.00 0.00 -3.33 0.00 -0.80 0.00 7.46 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 3.49 0.00 3.03 0.00 -1.41 0.00 0.00 5.62 0.00 0.00 -1.28 3.13 0.00 0.82 0.00 7.69 0.00 0.00 5.88 0.00 0.00 0.00 -3.33 0.00 1.39 4.76 5.38 0.00 -7.41 7.27 0.00 6.94 2.53 3.66 0.00 10.42 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.89 1.43 0.00 0.00 6.78 0.00 1.52 5.88 0.00 5.97 0.00 1.92 3.28 7.69 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 3.09 0.00 3.77 5.95 0.00 6.76 0.00 -6.25 5.71 Volume 1,481 7,267,800 170,322 77,060 6,548 41,400 150 59,991 1,050 46,000 3,535,673 2,538 121,000 39,245 805,455 1,500 574,400 1,218,585 6,510 2,895,566 3,936,767 1,006,892 652,891 2,859,056 172,950 3,406,694 200,100 1,006 1,829,000 34,847,980 2,640,684 13,001 210,000 2,000 8,500 1,360,147 53,250 2,004,550 302,100 24,214 35,839,569 41,000 29,950 8,650,626 973,333 5,000 10,000 359,505 15,000 449,932 1 113,840 1,200 4,989 413,328 47,524 10 184,773 3,796,546 10,000 40,000 14,414,938 1,167,743 2,688,057 172,745 2,833,823 100,010 1,212,910 100 1,290,480 3,023,745 10,000 470,605 2,500 51,000 1,675,915 19,589 10,000 3,475,419 25,900,225 12,587 4,130,227 3,000 536,500 16,291 5,000 289,466 70,904 95,000 1,410,000 4,861,750 5,880 98,346 4,215,662 6,742,491 8,784,996 863,698 7,107,131 4,094,007 125,000 5,900 642,978 14,011,869 1,800 1,024,068 3,470,050 280,000 8,544,722 500 175,210 14,878,512 Company Name Dar Al Thuraya Real Estate C 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 Al-Qurain Petrochemicals Co 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-EnmaвЂ™a Real Estate Co National Mobile Telecommuni Al Bareeq Holding Co Kscc Union Real Estate Co 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 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 OMAN Lt Price 0.00 27.00 108.00 920.00 108.00 19.00 69.00 61.00 395.00 238.00 60.00 0.00 196.00 0.00 45.00 840.00 36.00 300.00 102.00 0.00 63.00 126.00 200.00 64.00 385.00 410.00 82.00 55.00 79.00 1,400.00 0.00 150.00 17.50 64.00 242.00 77.00 158.00 47.50 68.00 60.00 0.00 435.00 95.00 128.00 60.00 37.00 99.00 140.00 335.00 136.00 26.50 1,100.00 81.00 410.00 77.00 370.00 710.00 120.00 740.00 % Chg 0.00 10.20 3.85 1.10 -1.82 5.56 2.99 5.17 -2.47 0.00 -1.64 0.00 -1.01 0.00 2.27 0.00 7.46 0.00 5.15 0.00 3.28 0.00 0.00 6.67 0.00 1.23 0.00 1.85 1.28 2.94 0.00 0.00 0.00 3.23 0.00 -2.53 3.95 5.56 7.94 5.26 0.00 4.82 1.06 0.00 7.14 5.71 1.02 -4.11 0.00 1.49 8.16 -8.33 1.25 0.00 1.32 -1.33 1.43 -1.64 0.00 Volume 38,112,938 719,250 33,247 5,100 7,475,151 616,520 8,228,025 12,353,472 721,000 194,895 386,120 5,111,326 50,000 629,774 146,800 10,000 5,329,082 3,878 750 1,589,760 13,943 5,000 106,350 209,500 450,417 12,705 22,993 4,680,763 3,179,008 5,000 938,804 175,343 5,861,845 718,947 855,170 278,222 926,168 31,600 491,600 3,263,810 1,334,206 100,099 100 597,449 25,536,574 2,000 1,527,057 14,500 2,688,608 13,000 125,540 214,451 1,297,694 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 AвЂ™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 0.38 0.14 1.17 1.00 0.00 0.15 0.65 0.74 0.21 2.00 1.05 0.66 1.04 0.15 0.37 1.38 1.49 2.45 0.50 1.69 0.34 0.48 0.33 0.30 1.71 1.35 0.15 2.45 0.26 2.24 0.25 0.33 0.31 0.00 0.41 0.00 0.45 0.52 0.21 0.00 0.23 0.00 5.51 0.59 0.02 0.08 0.14 0.14 0.00 1.00 0.52 0.56 3.64 1.91 1.45 0.00 0.16 0.52 0.00 0.10 0.00 0.06 2.05 0.60 0.14 0.70 0.00 0.33 3.75 0.00 0.32 0.16 0.00 0.00 1.86 0.00 2.30 0.83 0.25 0.15 0.31 0.00 1.25 0.11 0.08 0.43 0.15 0.16 0.16 10.50 0.12 0.16 0.43 0.16 0.00 % Chg 0.00 5.11 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 3.13 0.00 5.63 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.81 0.00 0.00 0.00 -1.80 0.00 -0.58 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 -4.12 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.42 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 -1.32 0.00 0.70 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 5.28 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 3.21 -0.62 0.00 0.84 8.72 0.00 0.00 0.00 Volume 4,000 70,000 200,000 3,000 27,072 1,846,063 7,110 300,000 206,000 1,000 1,000 695,500 4,630 394,679 50,921 154,635 200 2,386,276 1,600 101,699 2,406,530 65,336 26,000 23,944 326,000 182,000 3,600 195,880 4,441,611 116,440 33,300 254,080 - 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 0.53 0.21 1.47 0.00 0.00 1.28 0.18 0.14 0.26 0.25 0.04 0.00 0.00 0.23 0.62 0.34 1.13 0.50 5.51 0.36 0.00 0.83 0.33 0.00 0.39 0.35 0.55 0.75 0.23 0.05 0.00 % Chg 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 5.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.55 0.00 0.00 0.00 5.41 0.00 0.00 -0.87 0.00 1.81 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 -2.36 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 -0.43 0.00 0.00 Volume 10,000 5,346 15,000 25,967 84,526 322,139 59,000 155,766 111,700 841,000 22,000 1,395,385 - 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 Abu Dhabi National Takaful C Abu Dhabi National Energy Co Sudan Telecommunications Co$ 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 Ind-Julp 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 1.02 2.88 1.12 5.87 2.00 1.18 6.51 6.30 0.81 0.71 0.00 3.90 1.05 1.27 1.55 0.82 3.78 3.00 1.08 8.75 125.00 1.40 1.17 6.90 4.97 1.88 3.75 4.25 13.95 0.87 0.00 2.95 2.50 1.00 2.00 2.70 0.81 1.30 3.80 3.89 17.25 1.35 1.45 11.05 0.92 6.80 5.00 7.70 0.52 1.75 2.00 0.82 5.35 5.31 1.27 2.81 55.00 0.48 5.95 300.00 1.70 6.05 3.70 5.99 7.05 3.00 % Chg 0.00 1.41 0.00 -0.34 0.00 1.72 0.00 0.00 -3.57 4.41 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 2.50 0.00 0.00 10.20 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 -1.05 0.00 0.00 1.09 7.41 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 5.56 0.00 2.07 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 4.00 0.00 -4.76 1.23 0.00 0.00 1.60 2.93 0.00 0.00 6.25 0.00 -5.03 0.00 5.71 8.12 -0.14 0.00 Volume 4,261,940 1,190,000 63,000 130,948 526,318 622,368 38,182,152 474,620 1,147,792 272,013 212,505 860,482 7,673,543 9,000 20,000 230,837 2,844,537 192,029,925 28,838,404 930,000 20,000 48,952 31,088,357 25,000 13,828 162,376 3,596,339 1,236,707 - 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 -$Us Securities & Investment Co Seef Properties Sudan Telecommunications Co$ 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 Kscc 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 0.39 0.00 0.22 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.19 0.00 0.14 0.00 0.00 0.85 0.17 0.04 0.17 0.00 0.21 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.20 0.84 ` 1.55 0.22 0.00 0.43 0.00 0.83 0.00 0.00 0.15 0.84 0.40 0.00 0.46 0.33 0.00 0.78 0.00 0.79 % Chg 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.06 0.00 9.30 0.00 0.00 -2.86 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 -2.26 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 -0.60 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.23 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 Volume 10,742 30,000 69,950 571,008 64,603 80,000 459,571 1,151,381 30,000 9,087 3,700 2,911 50,000 5,000 50,000 22,000 22,390 4,851 36,207 58,187 7,000 95,180 LATEST MARKET CLOSING FIGURES Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 11 BUSINESS Mizuho cautious on outlook in 2015 Bloomberg Tokyo M izuho Financial Group, set to become the biggest underwriter of Japanese corporate bonds in 2014, is cautious on the outlook for next year as yields approaching zero% put off investors. Mizuho overtook Nomura Holdings earlier this month, managing 22.5% of ВҐ7.32tn ($61bn) in sales excluding selfled issues, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Deals decreased 3.3% from a year earlier. Billionaire Masayoshi SonвЂ™s SoftBank Corp issued ВҐ1.1tn in notes to individuals this year to help fund acquisitions, accounting for 13% of total offerings. The Bank of JapanвЂ™s increased bond buying since October has pushed average corporate yields to a record low 0.27% and four-year sovereign debt yields below zero, forcing top-rated issuers to offer extra premiums. Company notes are at risk of falling again next year if investors and sellers arenвЂ™t capable of п¬Ѓnding mutually-acceptable terms, according to Mizuho. вЂњWhile it is going to be much more difficult than before under these very low interest rates, п¬Ѓnding exactly the point that is satisfactory to both investors and issuers is going to be important,вЂќ Satoru Yamaguchi, a senior executive at Mizuho Securities Co, a unit of JapanвЂ™s third-largest bank, said in an interview. вЂњWith interest rates falling so far, weвЂ™ve hit a point in Japan where it is like вЂ�where do we go from here?вЂ™вЂќ Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co, a joint- venture of Morgan Stanley and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial The head offices of Mizuho Financial Group and Mizuho Bank in Tokyo. Mizuho Financial Group is cautious on the outlook for next year as yields approaching 0% put off investors. Group, JapanвЂ™s biggest bank, ranked third at 18.8% of deals, while Daiwa Securities Group was fourth at 16.7%. Nomura, which underwrote 21.7% of this yearвЂ™s total, was the leader from 2011 to 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. MizuhoвЂ™s lead over Nomura is even greater when group company note offerings are included. Mizuho Financial, the holding com- pany, and Mizuho Bank, the largest banking unit, sold ВҐ520bn in debt this year, second only to SoftBank in terms of issuances. Four-year Japanese government bond yields were at minus 0.02% last week, and yields as long as seven years were less than 0.1%. With the BoJ offering deposit-taking institutions an interest rate of 0.1% on excess funds placed with it, that level has become a п¬‚oor for pricing regardless of previous credit spread levels. No corporate bond issuer has offered less than that this year. Companies with high debt scores such as Sekisui House, graded AA by Japan Credit Rating Agency, and Nissan MotorвЂ™s auto credit subsidiary both sold three-year bonds at 0.11% last month. The two, which have offered yield premiums of less than 10 basis points in previous sales, are in effect compensating investors for disappearing base interest rates by offering higher spreads than that. вЂњHigher-rated issuers such as government agencies and municipalities are being forced to price bonds regardless of spreads,вЂќ said Masanori Azuma, the head of the debt capital markets department in Tokyo at Nomura Securities Co, JapanвЂ™s biggest brokerage. вЂњSales that should really be discussed in terms of spreads are now being restricted by absolute yield levels when priced because of the effects of monetary policy.вЂќ The city of Kobe, rated AA by JapanвЂ™s Rating & Investment Information, sold five-year notes on December 11 at 0.101%, showing that investors are chasing even 1/10 of a basis point more than the BoJвЂ™s deposit rate for lenders. If the bond market moves too far to pricing terms favourable to issuers, investors wonвЂ™t buy, and if investors demand too much, issuers will turn to bank loans, according to MizuhoвЂ™s Yamaguchi. Issuers are likely to sell more 10-year notes as they still give positive yields, with better-rated borrowers offering debt as long as 20 years, he said. Companies arenвЂ™t taking on unneeded debt even at current levels and have plentiful cash, according to NomuraвЂ™s Azuma. That will probably cap sales next year, he said. вЂњWith the exception of government bonds, weвЂ™re not likely to see much of an increase in sales next year,вЂќ said MizuhoвЂ™s Yamaguchi. Japan to вЂ�steadily reduceвЂ™ new bond issue next year JapanвЂ™s government said it would вЂњsteadily reduceвЂќ new government bond issuance for the next fiscal year from that planned for the current year ending in March 2015 in a bid to curb runaway public debt. In a draft budget outline submitted to the top economic council, Tokyo also pledged to вЂњdo its utmostвЂќ to meet its goal of halving the countryвЂ™s primary budget deficit in the next fiscal year. The outline, to be endorsed by the cabinet by year-end, highlighted the delicate balance Prime Minister Shinzo Abe must strike in reviving the economy while reining in public debt. JapanвЂ™s public debt tops twice the size of its economy, by far the worst in the developed world. In a show of AbeвЂ™s resolve to keep JapanвЂ™s public finances from deteriorating further, the government will lower new bond issuance for the next fiscal year for a third straight year. Based on the budget outline, the government is expected to draft an annual budget for the next fiscal year in January. In the draft outline, the government reiterated its pledge to bring the primary balance, excluding new bond sales and debt servicing, into the black by the fiscal year to March 2021. вЂњWe will create a positive cycle between economic revival and fiscal consolidation by achieving a strong economy to boost tax revenue while accelerating efforts to curb spending without making any sector sacrosanct,вЂќ it said. Monday, December 29, 2014 BUSINESS GULF TIMES Oil fall may hit GCC construction market Qatar stocks gain 1.46% on local buy support By Santhosh V Perumal Business Reporter A By Santhosh V Perumal Business Reporter T he Qatar Stock Exchange yesterday opened the week on a stronger note, lifted by real estate, consumer goods, industrials and telecom stocks. Local retail investorsвЂ™ buying interests led the 20-stock Qatar Index (based on price data) gain for the third consecutive session by 1.46% to 12,631.42 points as volumes also rose. There was an across the board buying вЂ“ particularly in the real estate, consumer goods, industrials, telecom and transport counters вЂ“ in the bourse, which is up 21.69% year-todate. Market capitalisation rose 1.67% or more than QR11bn to QR690.66bn with micro, mid, small and large equities gaining 3.87%, 1.3%, 0.94% and 0.9% respectively. The index that tracks Shariah-principled stocks was seem gaining faster than the other indices in the market, where trade was highly skewed towards realty and banks, which alone accounted for more than 68% of the total trade volume. The Total Return Index gained 1.46% to 18,839.65 points, All Share Index by 1.72% to 3,218.26 points and Al Rayan Islamic Index by 2.24% to 4,269.84 points. Real estate stocks appreciated 3.96%, consumer goods (2.24%), industrials (2.09%), telecom (2.04%), transport (1.87%), insurance (1.29%) banks and п¬Ѓnancial services (0.63%). More than 90% of the stocks extended gains with major movers being Mazaya Qatar, Ezdan, Aamal Company, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, Industries Qatar, Vodafone Qatar, Widam Food, Salam International Investment, Gulf Warehousing, Qatar Islamic Bank, Commercial Bank, Doha Bank and Alijarah Holding. Qatari retail investors turned net buyers to the tune of QR16.14mn compared with net sellers of QR99.37mn the previous trading day. Domestic institutionsвЂ™ net buying weakened to QR13.88mn against QR89.89mn last Thursday. Non-Qatari individual investorsвЂ™ net buying fell to QR4.45mn compared to QR12.39mn on December 25. Foreign institutionsвЂ™ net proп¬Ѓt booking surged to QR34.47mn against QR3.01mn the previous trading day. Total trade volume rose 23% to 28.02mn shares, while value was down 4% to QR872.7mn. Transactions gained 23% to 10,612. The consumer goods sectorвЂ™s trade volume tripled to 2.19mn equities, value surged 77% to QR77.44mn and deals by 82% to 1,079. The transport sectorвЂ™s trade volume more than doubled to 1.59mn stocks, value gained 70% to QR76.99mn and transactions by 74% to 661. The telecom sector witnessed 41% surge in trade volume to 2.84mn shares, The Qatar Stock Exchange yesterday opened the week on a stronger note, lifted by real estate, consumer goods, industrials and telecom stocks. value by 50% to QR58.44mn and deals by 74% to 999. The industrials sectorвЂ™s trade volume grew 39% to 2.06mn equities but value shrank 34% to QR70.24mn. Transactions rose 26% to 1,434. The banks and п¬Ѓnancial services sector reported 20% expansion in trade volume to 3.55mn stocks but on 22% fall in value to QR150.64mn and 19% in deals to 1,712. The real estate sectorвЂ™s trade volume rose 6% to 15.53mn shares, while value fell 10% to QR420.32mn. Transactions soared 23% to 4,465. However, the insurance sectorвЂ™s trade volume was down 7% to 0.25mn shares but value rose 2% to QR18.64mn and transactions by 21% to 262. In the debt market, there was no trading of treasury bills and government bonds. Gulf bourses rise despite weakness in oil prices Reuters Dubai Gulf stock markets rose yesterday despite oilвЂ™s weakness as Saudi ArabiaвЂ™s plan to maintain government spending at a high level boosted investor confidence. The Saudi government released a 2015 state budget last Thursday that provides for a 0.6% increase in spending from this yearвЂ™s plan. That cheered the retail investors who dominate Gulf stock markets; they had feared falling oil revenues would trigger spending cuts across the region. The new mood of optimism in the Gulf helped investors largely ignore the fresh decline in the price of Brent crude oil, which closed below $60 a barrel on Friday. The main Saudi index rose 1.2% in active trade as most sectors gained. Saudi Arabian Mining Co (MaвЂ™aden) surged 7.8% to 33.10 riyals, continuing the leg up which started late last week when Riyad Capital lifted its price target for the stock to 49riyals from 46riyals. But National Commercial Bank, the kingdomвЂ™s biggest lender, lost 1.2% after proposing a dividend of 0.65 riyal per share for the second half of 2014. DubaiвЂ™s index jumped 2.6% to 3,987 points as most stocks gained. The benchmark rose briefly above the psychologically important 4,000 point mark but then gave up some of its gains. Shares in retail start-up Marka surged QNB wins two awards from Ethos Integrated Solutions Korea-Qatar business networking meet today Q T NB has won the вЂњBest Customer Experience вЂ“ Overall Bank in QatarвЂќ and вЂњBest Customer Experience вЂ“ Overall Branch in QatarвЂќ awards from Ethos Integrated Solutions during the 10th Annual Customer Experience Benchmarking Index ceremony held in Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai. QNB Group GM Retail Heba al-Tamimi said, вЂњThese prestigious awards reп¬‚ect our commitment to deliver the highest level of customer service. We continue to п¬Ѓnding innovative, creative and compelling new ways to engage with customers in a fast and efficient way.вЂќ The Customer Experience Benchmarking Index 2014 (CEBI 2014) is an extensive customer experience benchmarking study in the GCC, which aims to provide the retail banking industry with a methodology of benchmarking their products and services against the competition to drive constant improvement. Ethos Integrated Solutions uses professional researchers to focus on real life scenarios of a prospective customer using the bank and exchange house QNB bagged two new awards from Ethos Integrated Solutions during the 10th Annual Customer Experience Benchmarking Index ceremony. services by visiting and testing the service provided in its customer delivery channels namely branches, call centre, and online. The studies, which were conducted between May and November 2014, were based on evaluating four key variables of service provision: reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy. QNB Group currently op- erates in 26 countries across three continents. The bank was recently recognised as вЂњBest Bank in The Middle EastвЂќ by Euromoney Magazine. It also received the вЂњBest Bank in QatarвЂќ and вЂњBest Bank in the Middle East 2014вЂќ awards from the Banker Magazine. QNB maintains its recognition as вЂњOne of the WorldвЂ™s Top 50 Safest BanksвЂќ by the Global Finance Magazine. he South Korean embassy, in co-operation with the Qatar Chamber (QC), will host the Korea-Qatar business networking meeting today at the St Regis Hotel Doha. In a statement, the embassy said the meeting is part of the 40th anniversary celebrations that commemorates the establishing of relations between South Korea and Qatar. The meeting is expected to be attended by prominent leaders from the Qatari business community, including QC vice chairman Mohamed bin Towar al-Kuwari and Qatar Stock Exchange CEO Rashid bin Ali alMansoori. The event is also expected to gather executives of several top businesses, trade organisations and companies, as well as members of the Korean and Qatari business community here, the embassy added. Aside from anniversary celebrations, the embassy noted that the event aims to promote bilateral business relations, serve as a platform to further develop stronger economic ties, and encourage networking between Korean and Qatari businessmen. 12.0% after it said it had agreed to buy sporting goods retail firm Retailcorp from Dubai World for over 220mn dirhams ($60mn). The move will make Marka, which listed this year, operationally profitable in 2015, it said. Abu DhabiвЂ™s index rose 1.3% on the back of blue chips such as National Bank of Abu Dhabu and First Gulf Bank, up 1.1 and 2.1% respectively. Outside the Gulf, EgyptвЂ™s bourse moved little as key stocks were mixed and Commercial International Bank , the biggest listed entity, was flat. Trading volume remained low. Elsewhere, Oman index added 0.04% to 6,436 points, Kuwait index climbed 1.5% to 6,679 points and Bahrain index edged up 0.1% to 1,415 points. prolonged period of weakened oil prices is likely to hit the construction market in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) region, whose economies by and large depend on petrodollars, according to a study. вЂњIf oil prices remain subdued for an extended period, government п¬Ѓnances could be strained, which may lower the prospects of the (construction) sector in the longer term,вЂќ Global Investment House said in a report. Over the past few months, oil prices in the global markets have tumbled with Brent currently trading at $60 per barrel, down from more than $100 in June 2014. To counter the strong supply potential from the Western countries, Opec (Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) is still maintaining status quo on the supplies. вЂњEven as low oil prices are a concern for government spending, the near term impact is expected to be minimal due to the strong fundamentals of most GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council) nations, including historic п¬Ѓscal surpluses and low external debt,вЂќ the report said. The value of new construction projects to be awarded in 2014 is expected to rise to about $180bn (2013: $156bn), the highest in the last six years. Moreover, low debt in most GCC countries, historic п¬Ѓscal surpluses, and diversiп¬Ѓcation measures could underpin government spending for the construction sector in the near term. However, budgets may be trimmed in the long term if oil prices remain subdued for an extended period (considering they are already slightly below п¬Ѓscal breakeven levels), it said. The GCCвЂ™s construction industry continued to expand in third quarter (Q3) of 2014 with a 4.8% year-on-year (y-o-y) growth in order backlog. However, the sectorвЂ™s proп¬Ѓts, following an uptrend for four consecutive quarters, started falling in the second quarter (Q2) of 2014 and declined 21.4% y-o-y to $35mn in Q3, 2014. The construction sectorвЂ™s gross margin stood at 10.8% in Q3, 2014, down from 11.4% in Q3, 2013. On a quarter-to-quarter basis, gross margin contracted from 11.3% in Q2, 2014. Finding that operating margin contracted to 3.1% in Q3, 2014 from 4.4% in Q3, 2013; Global said вЂњthis trend supports our view that the sector would continue to record margin decline in the near term (due to high construction costs and stiff competition), before starting to improve.вЂќ Citi Qatar holds 2nd Bourse Game Seminar C iti Qatar has recently held its second Bourse Game Seminar here, which aims to train local treasury, п¬Ѓnance, and investment officers from corporate and government entities in the country. The п¬Ѓve-day seminar was an intensive introduction to money markets and foreign exchange, which utilises practical learning techniques and promotes a stimulating learning environment. The Doha version of the seminar featured 18 trainees from more than eight major corporations and covered main money market and foreign exchange topics, including structure of rates, FX swaps, and interbank dealing while trainees spent hours on a simulated trading п¬‚oor learning the п¬Ѓner points of foreign exchange trading. вЂњBourse MasterвЂќ Theodore Leventis, who has been running the Bourse Games for both Citi staff and customers for the last 35 years in more than 70 countries around the world, conducted the seminar. During the seminar, the trading п¬‚oor was busy as teams representing п¬Ѓctitious banks held foreign exchange trading and money market activities with вЂњtradersвЂќ in discussions over hedging and investment strategies. The seminar was concluded with the awarding of prizes for the top three вЂњbanksвЂќ and certiп¬Ѓcates for all attendees. Citi Qatar CEO Carmen Haddad said, вЂњThe Bourse Game is part of CitiвЂ™s mission to answer to clientsвЂ™ needs. It reп¬‚ects our commitment to training local professionals and teaching them hands-on skills to develop a more insightful understanding of investment opportunity as well as risk and the way markets work on a global scale.вЂќ Citi has been present in the Middle East and North Africa since 1955 and offers full scale corporate and investment banking services in Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, and Pakistan. CitiвЂ™s institutional capabilities in the region include treasury and trade solutions, corporate and investment banking, capital markets origination, global markets, and Islamic banking. Participants in the Bourse Game with members of the Citi Qatar team and Theodore Leventis. FOOTBALL | Page 4 NBA | Page 8 Shot-shy Chelsea run aground at Southampton Lowry outplays Paul, Raptors easily beat Clippers Monday, December 29, 2014 Rabia I 7, 1436 AH SPOTLIGHT BeckhamвЂ™s dream of stadium in Miami still not a reality GULF TIMES SPORT Page 7 THIRD TEST Rahane, Kohli hit tons as India close in on Australia Kohli savages the Australian bowlers, particularly Johnson, for his third ton of the series, while Rahane hits his best score SCORECARD Ajinkya Rahane (left) and Virat Kohli led IndiaвЂ™s fight with both scoring an attacking century and added 262 runs for the fourth wicket against Australia in the third Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground yesterday. (AFP) AFP Melbourne I ndia counter-punched their way back into the third Test on the back of centuries from Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane in a record stand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground yesterday. Kohli savaged the Australian bowlers, particularly Mitchell Johnson, for his third ton of the series, while Rahane hit his highest Test score of 147. The pair piled on 262 runs for the fourth wicket, a record for the fourth wicket by any pair at the MCG. It eclipsed Michael Clarke and Shane WatsonвЂ™s 194 against Sri Lanka two years ago. Kohli was out in the last over of the day, brilliantly snapped up by Brad Haddin off Johnson for 169 in 380 minutes off 272 balls with 18 fours. At the close India were 462 for eight, trailing by 68 runs with two days remaining. Mohammed Shami was nine not out. вЂњIвЂ™m very proud of the way we played. We backed ourselves throughout. IвЂ™m not disappointed at all (at getting out in the last over),вЂќ Kohli told the reporters. Australia paceman Ryan Harris said early wickets on the fourth day would be crucial. вЂњNow that weвЂ™ve got eight wickets down the quicker we get them in the morning the better, and hopefully have a bit of lead and bat and see where we go from there,вЂќ he said. The last time India put on a 250- plus stand in an overseas Test was the 353 by Sachin Tendulkar and V.V.S. Laxman for the fourth wicket in Sydney in 2004. Rahane was п¬Ѓnally out leg before wicket to Nathan Lyon for 147 in the 108th over. He batted for four hours and faced 171 balls with 21 fours. The pair were particularly severe on Johnson, with Kohli crunching three fours off one over and Rahane repeating the dose in JohnsonвЂ™s subsequent over. The last time Johnson (1-133) had been punished as severely was 0-104 against England at the Gabba in 2010. Rahane raised his highest Test score with a cross-bat four off Johnson, bettering his 118 against New Zealand in Wellington in February. Their running between the wickets was impressive as was their array and placement of shots to neuter the Australian attack. IndiaвЂ™s cause was aided by a poor day in the п¬Ѓeld for Australia, with three dropped catches. Lyon bungled a regulation twohanded head-high chance off his own bowling when Rahane was on 70 and Watson put down Kohli (88) at п¬Ѓrst slip off Johnson. Substitute п¬Ѓelder Peter Siddle made it three with a dropped two-handed chance off Lokesh Rahul. But the debutant was out off LyonвЂ™s next ball, caught by Josh Hazlewood for three. вЂњI donвЂ™t remember the last time IвЂ™ve seen them be inconsistent in the п¬Ѓeld. They have very high standards with slip catching and ground п¬Ѓelding,вЂќ Kohli said. вЂњIt might just be one of those off days.вЂќ AUSTRALIA 1ST INNINGS 530 INDIA 1ST INNINGS (OVERNIGHT 108 FOR 1) M. Vijay c Marsh b Watson 68 S. Dhawan c Smith b Harris 28 C. Pujara c Haddin b Harris 25 V. Kohli c Haddin b Johnson 169 A. Rahane lbw Lyon 147 K. L. Rahul c Hazlewood b Lyon 3 M. Dhoni c Haddin b Harris 11 R. Ashwin c and b Harris 0 The ragged Australian п¬Ѓelding was in contrast to the morning session when Brad Haddin took a stunning catch to dismiss Cheteshwar Pujara off the second ball of the day. The veteran wicketkeeper, who missed a far easier chance off Pujara late on Saturday, pulled off one of the catches of the series, п¬‚inging himself to his right to take a spectacular acrobatic catch as the batsman failed to add to his overnight 25. Skipper MS Dhoni was out late in the day, caught behind off Harris for 11, and the lion-hearted Harris took a tumbling caught and bowled to dismiss Ravi Ashwin for a duck. There was a chilling moment as Murali Vijay on 63 turned his head to avoid a searing Johnson bouncer and took a blow on the side of his helmet early in the day. It was eerily reminiscent of the blow Australian batsman Phillip Hughes took when he was fatally struck by a similar delivery in a domestic game last month. Vijay batted on but was out п¬Ѓve runs later when he was caught by Shaun Marsh at п¬Ѓrst slip off Watson. Johnson was also involved in a п¬‚ash point when he hurled the ball back at Kohli, striking the batsman on his back. Kohli collapsed to the ground. Johnson quickly apologised but the mood soured, with the umpires intervening to ease tensions between the two. India, trailing 2-0, are striving to win the Melbourne Test to stay alive in the four-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy series. But they have not won at the MCG for 33 years. M. Shami not out 9 Extras (lb1, w1) 2 Total (8 wickets; 126.2 overs) 462 Fall of wickets: 1-55 (Dhawan), 2-108 (Pujara), 3-147 (Vijay), 4-409 (Rahane), 5-415 (Rahul), 6-430 (Dhoni), 7-434 (Ashwin), 8-462 (Kohli) Bowling: Johnson 29.2-5-133-1, Harris 257-69-4 (1w), Hazlewood 25-6-75-0, Watson 16-3-65-1, Lyon 29-3-108-2, Smith 2-0-11-0 Ajinkya Rahane (right) plays a shot. Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 2 CRICKET SPOTLIGHT FIRST TEST Boult double keeps New Zealand in control Kohli hits out at Aussies on and off the field Sri Lanka reduced to 293-5 at stumps, still 10 runs from making New Zealand bat again Reuters Melbourne V irat Kohli blasted a brilliant 169 to help India claw back into the third Test yesterday and was still п¬Ѓring missiles at the Australian team well after the close of play on day three. The п¬‚amboyant batsman has not taken a backward step on the tour, compiling three deп¬Ѓant centuries and п¬Ѓghting п¬Ѓre with п¬Ѓre in the face of AustraliaвЂ™s verbal pot-shots. He was dismissed by Mitchell Johnson to п¬Ѓnish play at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, but subjected the paceman to his worst day in the п¬Ѓeld in years, smashing him to the fence in three consecutive balls in one over. Having driven India from a position of some peril in the morning to 462-8 at stumps, a tough-talking Kohli raised the stakes again for the rest of the series, saying he respected only вЂњsomeвЂќ of the hostsвЂ™ players. вЂњThey were calling me a spoilt brat,вЂќ Kohli told reporters. вЂњI said вЂ�maybe thatвЂ™s the way I amвЂ”I know you guys hate me and I like thatвЂ™. I donвЂ™t mind having a chat on the п¬Ѓeld and it worked in my favour, I guess. I like playing against Australia because itвЂ™s really hard for them to stay calm. I donвЂ™t mind an argument on the п¬Ѓeld. It really excites me and brings the best out of me, so they donвЂ™t seem to be learning the lesson.вЂќ Having struggled on tour in England and brought a middling batting average of under 39 Down Under, Kohli now has the record to match the swagger. Not even retired great Sachin Tendulkar managed three Test centuries on tour of Australia and the last Indian batsman to achieve the feat was Sunil Gavaskar in 1977. KohliвЂ™s average has soared above 44 and his imperious 262-run stand with fellow centurion Ajinkya Rahane (147) was a record fourth-wicket partnership at the MCG. It was also the third-best by any Indian team in Australia and the eighth highest by any touring outп¬Ѓt in the country. When Kohli strayed from his crease, Johnson raised the tension by п¬‚inging a shot at the stumps that struck the batsman in the back. Kohli winced but got back to his feet and after smashing Johnson for four, strode up to the 33-year-old to express his displeasure. Kohli leaped for joy when he notched his ton, blowing a kiss off his bat to his glamorous girlfriend and Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma watching in the stand. After a lofted off-drive for four off Johnson, he blew two kisses at the bowler. вЂњI respect a few of them but if someone doesnвЂ™t respect me IвЂ™ve got no reason to respect them,вЂќ added Kohli. Australia paceman Ryan Harris, who took 4-69, appeared surprised when he heard the comments and reminded Kohli to keep the chatter out in the middle. вЂњWe try not to say too much to him, but sometimes he brings it on himself I guess when he starts it,вЂќ Harris said. вЂњItвЂ™s never personal, itвЂ™s always a bit of fun. вЂњItвЂ™s interesting to hear him say that. ItвЂ™s probably a good thing. If heвЂ™s worrying about stuff like that, hopefully his batting goes down hill. If that (banter) doesnвЂ™t stay out there... he needs to have a look at that.вЂќ New Zealand's Trent Boult (right) celebrates with captain Brendon McCullum after dismissing Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara (left) in Christchurch. (AFP) AFP Christchurch T wo late wickets by Trent Boult put New Zealand back in control of the п¬Ѓrst Test against Sri Lanka yesterday after a maiden Test century by Dimuth Karunaratne had brieп¬‚y given the tourists a glimmer of hope. Sri Lanka were closing in on wiping out their 303-run п¬Ѓrst innings deп¬Ѓcit with seven wickets in hand when Boult brought their cautious progress at ChristchurchвЂ™s Hagley Oval to a halt. He removed the deп¬Ѓant Karunaratne for 152 and Niroshan Dickwella for four as Sri Lanka were reduced to 293-5 at stumps, still 10 runs from making New Zealand bat again. Angelo Mathews is not out 53 with Tharindu Kaushal on п¬Ѓve while Boult, New ZealandвЂ™s chief wicket-taker, has three for 62. Karunaratne was annoyed with his dismissal which came as he was about to appeal against the fading light. вЂњThe light was a bit low. Boult was bowling beautifully at that time. I wanted to tell the umpires it was difficult to bat and just get to the dressing room,вЂќ he said. Karunaratne believed a lead of 150 was possible for Sri Lanka and would be competitive on a turning wicket. But New Zealand wicketkeeper BJ Watling said BoultвЂ™s late double strike kept the initiative with the Black Caps. вЂњTo make the bang-bang tonight put us back in the position where we look comfortable,вЂќ Watling said. вЂњThey obviously fought hard and played some good cricket but, all-in-all, 200 runs and п¬Ѓve wickets in a day and theyвЂ™re still behind us thatвЂ™s good for us.вЂќ KarunaratneвЂ™s wicket was vital for New Zealand after the 26-year-old had stood in 87-run partnership with Lahiru Thirimanne (25) for the third wicket and then a 97-run stand with Angelo Mathews. The left-hander had been under enormous pressure after making a four-ball duck in Sri LankaвЂ™s п¬Ѓrst innings paltry 138 in reply to New ZealandвЂ™s 441 and were forced to follow on. But he easily surpassed his previous Test best of 85. Sri Lanka were in trouble when they lost two quick wickets at the start of the third day, including another failure by the worldвЂ™s topranked batsman Kumar Sangakkara, who fell for one. But if New ZealandвЂ™s hopes were up with Sri Lanka at 94-2 and trailing by 209, Karunaratne had other ideas. With survival foremost in his mind he batted for a shade over eight hours and faced 363 deliveries in his marathon knock which included 17 fours. Karunaratne started the day on 49 with Sri Lanka 84-0 and reached his п¬Ѓfth half century with a single off the second ball. Kaushal Silva was caught behind four balls later without adding to his overnight 33 and Sangakkara followed soon after. It was a disappointing outcome for Sangakkara, the most proliп¬Ѓc batsman in the world this year with 1,493 runs from 22 innings, including a п¬Ѓfty in each of his past nine Tests. He could only manage seven from his two innings and remains six runs short of becoming the п¬Ѓfth member of the exclusive group of Test cricketers to score more than 12,000 runs. SCORECARD NEW ZEALAND I INNINGS 441 SRI LANKA I INNINGS 138 SRI LANKA II INNINGS (OVERNIGHT 84-0) D. Karunaratne b Boult 152 K. Silva c Watling b Southee 33 K. Sangakkara c Watling b Boult 1 L. Thirimanne c Watling b Neesham25 A Mathews not out 53 N. Dickwella c Neesham b Boult 4 T. Kaushal not out 5 Extras (lb19, nb1) 20 Total (5 wickets, 125 overs) 201 Fall of wickets: 1-85 (Silva), 2-94 (Sangakkara), 3-181 (Thirimanne), 4-277 (Karunaratne), 5-287 (Dickwella) Bowling: Boult 30-8-62-3, Southee 25-5-54-1, Wagner 27-6-67-0 (1nb), Craig 34-10-67-0, Neesham 7-2-20-1, McCullum 1-0-3-0, Williamson 1-0-1-0 Virat Kohli (centre) exchanges words with Mitchell Johnson on the third day of the third Test in Melbourne. (AFP) SECOND TEST Brathwaite, Samuels defy South Africa pace attack AFP Port Elizabeth K raigg Brathwaite and Marlon Samuels hit half-centuries as the West Indies fought back on the third day of the second Test against South Africa at St GeorgeвЂ™s Park yesterday. Brathwaite made 65 not out and Samuels was unbeaten on 60 as the West Indies reached 144 for two in reply to South AfricaвЂ™s 417 for eight declared. Morne Morkel was the only successful South African bowler, taking two wickets in two balls. He ended a 55-run opening partnership between Brathwaite and Devon Smith by having Smith caught at п¬Ѓrst slip, with Leon Johnson edging the next delivery to third slip. Bad light ended play with 16 overs remaining after rain delayed the start of play by an hour. With most of the second day lost to rain, South Africa were hoping to score quick runs on Sunday morning before making inroads into a potentially fragile West Indian batting line-up. But they were frustrated on both counts. The West Indies took four wickets before lunch, including the prize scalps of Amla and AB de Villiers, who were dismissed in successive overs. Only 80 runs were scored during the South African fast bowler Dale Steyn (right) delivers a ball during the third day of the second Test against the West Indies at St GeorgeвЂ™s Park in Port Elizabeth yesterday. (AFP) morning but Dale Steyn went on the rampage after the interval, thrashing 58 off 28 balls with six fours and п¬Ѓve sixes. Amla declared when Steyn was caught attempting another big hit off left-arm spinner Suleiman Benn. Amla hit two fours in the п¬Ѓrst over of the day, bowled by Jerome Taylor, but only added ten to his overnight score of 23 before he was trapped leg before wicket by a ball from Jason Holder which nipped back off the pitch. New cap Temba Bavuma scored a boundary off his п¬Ѓrst ball, when a defensive shot п¬‚ew to third man off a thick edge from Holder but De Villiers was out in the next over, bowled by Taylor. De Villiers survived a failed review after a leg before appeal was turned down by umpire Paul Reiffel but was bowled next ball when he tried to work a full-length delivery to leg. The scoring rate slowed as Bavuma and the similarly inexperienced Stiaan van Zyl, playing in his second Test, could only add 21 in 10.2 overs before Bavuma (10) gloved a bouncer from Shannon Gabriel to wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin. Van Zyl made 29 before he was caught behind, playing a loose drive against the left-armed Kenroy Peters. Steyn transformed the tempo of the innings as he launched a brutal assault on fellow fast bowler Taylor immediately after lunch. He reached his second Test п¬Ѓfty off 26 balls, the joint fourth fastest in Test history. Brathwaite and Smith made a solid start, seeing off the new ball pairing of Steyn and Vernon Philander. The tall Morkel troubled Smith several times after coming on as п¬Ѓrst change and п¬Ѓnally tempted the left-hander into edging a drive to Hashim Amla at п¬Ѓrst slip. Johnson followed immediately. Samuels batted soundly but had an escape on 20 when he was given out lbw to Morkel by umpire Reiffel but a review showed the ball was going a centimetre or two above the stumps. SCORECARD SOUTH AFRICA I INNINGS (OVERNIGHT 289-3) H. Amla lbw Holder 33 A. de Villiers b Taylor 10 T. Bavuma c Ramdin b Gabriel 10 S. van Zyl c Ramdin b Peters 29 V. Philander not out 13 D. Steyn c Holder b Benn 58 Extras (b4, lb5, nb8, w6) 23 Total (8 wkts dec, 122 overs) 417 Fall of wickets: 1-47 (Petersen), 2-226 (Elgar), 3-274 (Du Plessis), 4-300 (Amla), 5-304 (De Villiers), 6-325 (Bavuma), 7-348 (Van Zyl), 8-417 (Steyn) Bowling: Taylor 30-7-114-2 (2nb, 2w), Peters 20-7-69-2, Holder 22-7-43-1 (1nb), Gabriel 21-0-80-2 (4nb), Benn 28-4-1021 (1nb), Samuels 1-1-0-0 WEST INDIES I INNINGS K. Brathwaite not out 65 D. Smith c Amla b Morkel 22 L. Johnson c Du Plessis b Morkel 0 M. Samuels not out 60 Extras 0 Total (2 wkts, 44 overs) 147 Fall of wickets: 1-55 (Smith), 2-55 (Johnson) Bowling: Steyn 9-2-36-0, Philander 11-2-30-0, Morkel 8-1-24-2, Imran Tahir 15-1-52-0, Elgar 1-0-5-0 West Indies trail by 270 runs Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 3 FOOTBALL EPL FOCUS Lloris curbs Man UnitedвЂ™s title surge Platini pushes вЂ�white cardвЂ™ idea again вЂ�We could have scored four or five goals and we didnвЂ™t reward ourselvesвЂ™ AFP Dubai U EFA president Michel Platini yesterday reiterated his desire to introduce a вЂ�white cardвЂ™ that would lead to a player being sin-binned. The 59-year-old Frenchman п¬Ѓrst presented his concept in October only to be met by п¬Ѓerce opposition from footballвЂ™s world governing body (FIFA) president Sepp Blatter. However Platini was sticking to his guns at the 9th edition of the Dubai International Sports Conference. вЂњThe white card is a new initiative. It is related to the behaviour of football players. Playacting, criticism on the п¬Ѓeld, these are not accepted by people who love the game. вЂњYellow cards will still exist too but it might be interesting to have another card. вЂњThis white card would send off a player for a few minutes, maybe п¬Ѓve or 10. This would be a way to promote the game among fans who donвЂ™t want to see this. вЂњWith a white card, there would be no suspension. I think we should learn from other sports, like rugby, who have used this system.вЂќ Former Nancy, Saint-Etienne and Juventus playmaker Platini, who led France to the 1984 European championship and two World Cup semi-п¬Ѓnals, said the offside rule also needed to be simpliп¬Ѓed in order to reach a larger audience. вЂњThere are different types of offside rules. It is difficult to п¬Ѓnd common and ethical standards to simplify the offside rule. We need to allow people who are in front of the TV to understand offside, too.вЂќ added Platini. вЂњNow we have to convince FIFAвЂќ. Tottenham HotspurвЂ™s Hugo Lloris saves a shot on goal during their English Premier League match against Manchester United at White Hart Lane in London yesterday. (Reuters) AFP London M anchester UnitedвЂ™s efforts to force their way into the Premier League title race faltered as they were held to a 0-0 draw at Tottenham Hotspur yesterday. An outstanding display by Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris together with wasteful United п¬Ѓnishing meant Louis van GaalвЂ™s side were denied an eighth victory in nine games. вЂњWe lost two points I think,вЂќ United manager Van Gaal told BT Sport. вЂњWe had the best performance of Manchester United this season in the п¬Ѓrst half. We could have scored four or п¬Ѓve goals and we didnвЂ™t reward ourselves.вЂќ Had United claimed three points, they would have increased the pressure on top two Chelsea and Manchester City. Instead they were left to reп¬‚ect on a missed opportunity, but Spurs, who п¬Ѓnished the game strongly, also had cause for regret after failing to enhance their own challenge for a top-four п¬Ѓnish. Van GaalвЂ™s decision to name an unchanged side for the п¬Ѓrst time since he took charge at Old Trafford was a clear indication of the managerвЂ™s growing satisfaction with his teamвЂ™s efforts after some good recent results. Results, however, have told only part of the story, with United having failed to convince on occasion. Their defensive struggles, which have allowed goalkeeper David de Gea to shine, gave Tottenham grounds for prematch optimism, particularly with Harry Kane in such good form. The 21-year-old striker had scored in his four previous appearances and quickly demonstrated he was capable of unsettling UnitedвЂ™s back three of Phil Jones, Paddy McNair and Jonny Evans. An excellent threaded pass from the recalled Andros Townsend almost allowed Kane to get in behind the visitorsвЂ™ back-line, but McNair was alert enough to smother the danger. That, though, proved to be a rare example of the home sideвЂ™s attacking threat as United assumed control to the extent that Tottenham would have been out of the game before half-time had it not been for Lloris. Mata hits post With Antonio Valancia and Ashley Young п¬Ѓnding space on the п¬‚anks and Juan Mata and Wayne Rooney buzzing around in midп¬Ѓeld, United repeatedly opened up a route to LlorisвЂ™s goal, but neither Rademal Falcao nor Robin van Persie could п¬Ѓnd a п¬Ѓnishing touch. Mata came closest to breaking the deadlock with a 22ndminute free-kick that struck the post and when the ball bounced towards the goal-line, Vlad Chiriches hacked it away from the feet of Falcao and Van Persie. Falcao saw an angled shot parried by Lloris, moments before the Spurs goalkeeper snuffed out an opportunity for Van Persie after the striker had deftly brought down Michael CarrickвЂ™s chipped pass. Then, in the п¬Ѓnal minute of the half, the France international produced an acrobatic, fullstretch save to tip YoungвЂ™s curling cross-shot around the post. The goalkeeperвЂ™s heroics had kept Spurs in it and his teammates responded after the restart by adopting a more ambitious approach. Townsend had been SpursвЂ™ most dangerous attacking player and the England international became even more prominent as the game wore on, testing De Gea with a swerving 20-yard shot that the Spaniard did well to hold. The wingerвЂ™s pace was troubling United and he appeared to have caught out Young in the 70th minute when he got behind the wing-back only to be hauled back. Young had been booked 15 minutes earlier for a foul on Nacer Chadli, but although Spurs coach Mauricio Pochettino and his players were convinced he should have received a second caution, referee Jon Moss waved play on. Moments earlier, Mata had п¬Ѓred over from Rafael da SilvaвЂ™s cut-back, but that proved to be UnitedвЂ™s last clear chance as the momentum of the game tipped in SpursвЂ™ favour, with Christian Eriksen and Federico Fazio threatening. Van Gaal withdrew the unconvincing Evans in favour of Chris Smalling, while Luke Shaw replaced McNair, but although the visitors hung on, it was amid a growing sense of panic. UEFA President Michel Platini speaks during the opening session of the 9th Dubai International Sports Conference in Dubai yesterday. (AFP) SCOTTISH PREMIERSHIP McDowall says sorry after Rangers thrashing AFP Glsgow R angers caretaker manager Kenny McDowall said sorry to the Glasgow clubвЂ™s support after his п¬Ѓrst match in charge ended in a 4-0 thrashing by Hibernian. It was a painful start for former assistant boss McDowall, who was handed the reins earlier in the week after manager Ally McCoist was placed on gardening leave. It followed yet another turbulent week off the pitch at the Glasgow giants, who gained approval for a new share issue to raise the ВЈ8mn it needs to continue trading for the next 12 months at a stormy AGM earlier this week. вЂњIвЂ™m hugely disappointed, especially for our support who were here today. I think the best team won and I donвЂ™t have any excuses at all,вЂќ a clearly despondent McDowall said. вЂњObviously п¬Ѓnding yourself 2-0 down after 12 minutes isnвЂ™t an ideal start. All the work that we done during the week went up in the air after that. вЂњNormally you get a response when there is a change in management but that didnвЂ™t happen for us today. вЂњIt was very disappointing and IвЂ™d just like to apologise to our support for letting them down. ItвЂ™s been a very difficult day.вЂќ The hosts dominated the match at Easter Road while the visitors looked dispirited and disjointed. McDowall said he would shoulder the blame for the result but said the players needed to take more responsible for their performances on the pitch. вЂњObviously heads are down in there and weвЂ™ll have a chat on Monday and go over the game again,вЂќ the Gers gaffer said. вЂњThey just did not look or- ganised at times. They were not where they should have been on the park. вЂњI will accept the responsibil- ity for the result. I set the team up and the boys will accept responsibility for the performances. It was not good enough. вЂњAt the moment weвЂ™ve got to keep working away. IвЂ™ve been told to carry on so IвЂ™ll need to try and get the players up and ready for their next game.вЂќ The defeat, RangersвЂ™ п¬Ѓfth in just 17 matches, all but ends their hopes of beating Hearts to the one automatic promotion spot back to the Premiership, with the Jambos opening up a 15 point lead at the top of the table with their 1-0 defeat of Livingston. It leaves Rangers in the unenviable position of trying to gain promotion via the play-offs. вЂњI was under no illusions that this was going to be easy. IвЂ™ve been working with Ally McCoist and Walter Smith and itвЂ™s always been tough,вЂќ McDowall said of the task facing the Ibrox club. вЂњItвЂ™s a tough job anyway at the best of times even when itвЂ™s going well so I knew it was going to be a tough job.вЂќ First half strikes from David Gray and Jason Cummings followed by goals from Scott Robertson and Liam Craig after the break helped secure HibernianвЂ™s biggest margin of victory over Rangers since 1912 and closed the gap between the clubs to four points. вЂњI think when you are standing in this position very rarely do you talk about a complete performance. But I feel as if today the lads have just produced a complete performance,вЂќ Hibs manager Alan Stubbs said. вЂњWeвЂ™ve worked hard all week on where and how we were going to hurt Rangers and itвЂ™s nice when everything comes together.вЂќ Elsewhere on Saturday, Celtic increased their lead at the top of the Premiership to п¬Ѓve points despite a goalless draw with bottom of the table Ross County after nearest challengers Dundee United lost 2-1 to St Johnstone. 4 Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 FOOTBALL EPL SPOTLIGHT Shot-shy Chelsea run aground at Southampton S SouthamptonвЂ™s Italian striker Graziano Pelle (L), ChelseaвЂ™s Brazilian defender Filipe Luis (C) and ChelseaвЂ™s Brazilian-born Spanish striker Diego Costa (R) contest a high ball during the English Premier League match at St MaryвЂ™s Stadium in Southampton yesterday. (AFP) C helseaвЂ™s п¬Ѓve-match winning streak came to an end in a 1-1 draw at Southampton yesterday, although the point was enough to keep them at the Premier League summit. Sadio Mane opened the scoring for the hosts, who impressed in the п¬Ѓrst half but did little but defend for the second period as Chelsea, who levelled through Eden Hazard just before halftime, launched attack after attack. Southampton midп¬Ѓelder Morgan Schneiderlin was sent off in the closing stages, but the hosts held on. The п¬Ѓnal whistle was greeted joyously by the home fans, who have seen Southampton prosper under new head coach Ronald Koeman, who previously worked alongside Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho at Barcelona. Chelsea manager Mourinho complained that his players were being unfairly treated by referees following a recent spate of diving accusations. вЂњThe reality is there are penalties and penaltiesвЂ”this one was a huge one,вЂќ he told Sky Sports. вЂњMatch after match, coaches are saying Chelsea players are diving. I will go to the referee and wish him a good year and tell him he will be ashamed.вЂќ Chelsea made three changes to the side that beat West Ham United 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day, with Filipe Luis, John Mikel Obi and Andre Schurrle coming in for Cesar Azpilicueta, Willian and Oscar. Jose Fonte returned from suspension for Southampton, 3-1 winners at Crystal Palace that day, but Ryan Bertrand was ineligible to face his former club and fellow full-back Nathaniel Clyne was unavailable due to injury. The hosts were fortunate early on when goalkeeper Fraser Forster failed to collect a corner, but John Terry, scorer of the opening goal in ChelseaвЂ™s two previous matches, could not direct his header on target. Forster was second to the ball again when Schurrle burst into the box on the left, but the German could only poke wide from a tight angle. Southampton almost took the lead when Schneiderlin and then Mane connected with a corner, only for Terry to prevent Fonte from tapping in at the back post. But ChelseaвЂ™s defence was caught out by the next Saints attack as Mane, put through by Dusan Tadic, kept calm and п¬‚icked his shot past goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois as if it were a training exercise. Fabregas booked for diving ChelseaвЂ™s response was a run from Cesc Fabregas, but Schurrle, right in front of goal, could not get on the end of the former Arsenal captainвЂ™s deп¬‚ected cross. Chelsea levelled in п¬Ѓrsthalf stoppage time when Hazard AFP London underland coach Gus Poyet has hit out at the Premier LeagueвЂ™s jampacked festive п¬Ѓxture schedule, branding the arrangement вЂњa disgraceвЂќ in comments published by several British newspapers yesterday. Following a full programme of matches on Friday, all 20 topп¬‚ight clubs will play again on Sunday and Monday, with another round of games scheduled for New YearвЂ™s Day. PoyetвЂ™s side won 1-0 at Newcastle United last weekend before losing 3-1 at home to Hull City on Friday and ahead of SundayвЂ™s trip to Aston Villa, he warned that his players were struggling to cope. вЂњWe shouldnвЂ™t be playing on the 28th,вЂќ said the Uruguayan, who represented Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur during his player career and previously coached Brighton and Hove Albion. вЂњIвЂ™ve been in England for a long time and I know that Boxing Day games are a tradition and I accept that and think we should maintain it. вЂњBut I think that then playing on the 28th is a disgrace. We shouldnвЂ™t be playing then, we shouldnвЂ™t. If you want to see the best players performing well, you need to make sure you are not playing every two days. вЂњIt is not needed. That is not tradition and anyone who says it is is not telling the truth.вЂќ вЂ�The reality is there are penalties and penalties вЂ” this one was a huge oneвЂ™ AFP London Festive schedule a disgrace, says Poyet Spurs double-winning defender Henry dies, aged 80 out-paced Maya Yoshida on the left and cut inside to beat another defender before curling past Forster to convert his sideвЂ™s п¬Ѓrst shot of the afternoon. Mourinho made a change at the break, with Willian replacing the ineffective Schurrle. The newcomer saw two shots blocked in quick succession be- fore referee Anthony Taylor had a decision to make when Fabregas went down in the box under Matthew TargettвЂ™s challenge. The official ruled it had been a dive and booked the Spaniard, much to FabregasвЂ™s consternation. Hazard п¬Ѓred across goal and narrowly wide after chesting down a pass as Chelsea be- gan to take control of the game. Stout defending blocked Diego CostaвЂ™s shot and he was joined up front by Didier Drogba for the п¬Ѓnal 15 minutes, with defensive midп¬Ѓelder Mikel the man to make way. Southampton had hardly threatened all half, such was ChelseaвЂ™s domination of possession, but the home side continued to defend bravely and in numbers. They were fortunate, too, with Costa losing his footing in the box after a mis-placed pass from substitute James WardProwse put him in on goal. The home team had to see out the п¬Ѓnal two minutes a man down when Schneiderlin, previ- ously booked for a foul on Hazard, hacked Fabregas down and received another yellow card. This they managed despite Drogba twice threatening to п¬Ѓnish off balls into the six-yard box, while Forster had to react sharply after a clearance struck one of his team-mates and rebounded towards him. Tottenham HotspurвЂ™s doublewinning defender Ron Henry has died at the age of 80. вЂњWe extend our condolences to his family at this sad time,вЂќ the Premier League club said on their website (www. tottenhamhotspur.com) on Saturday. Henry, who won one cap for England, was a member of the Spurs side that won the league and FA Cup double in 1961. The left back also played in the team that beat Burnley in the 1962 FA Cup final and featured when Spurs overcame Atletico Madrid in the 1963 European Cup WinnersвЂ™ Cup final. A-LEAGUE Asian champions Wanderers stay win-less AFP Sydney A sian club champions Western Sydney Wanderers remain win-less in AustraliaвЂ™s A-League this season after a 1-0 loss to Wellington Phoenix yesterday. The Wanderers are stranded in last place on the standings after in-form Fijian striker Roy Krishna scored the winner from the penalty spot. While Ante Covic saved KrishnaвЂ™s initial spot-kick, the Phoenix forward followed up to tuck away his п¬Ѓfth goal of the campaign. WellingtonвЂ™s win consolidated a place in the top four, п¬Ѓve points above п¬Ѓfth-placed Sydney FC. Sydney suffered their third straight home loss, to Adelaide United, on Friday. Adelaide rebounded from two straight losses of their own to win 3-0 through late goals by Bruce Djite, Spaniard Pablo Sanchez and Awer Mabil. Melbourne Victory snatched a late 1-0 win on Saturday, with Brazilian Gui FinklerвЂ™s brilliant late free-kick sinking the Newcastle Jets. Melbourne City held leaders Perth Glory to a 1-1 draw on Friday, with Richard GarciaвЂ™s header cancelling out Aaron MooyвЂ™s opener. Glory hold a four-point lead over Victory after 12 games. The A-League continues through the New Year break, with two full rounds in the next nine days before breaking for the Asian Cup in Australia. Wellington Phoenix players celebrate after scoring a goal against Sydney Wanderers yesterday. Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 5 FOOTBALL EPL FOCUS Arsenal survive West Ham test to boost top-four bid Managerless Palace show fight in QPR stalemate WengerвЂ™s side secures second successive win over the festive period to move up M AFP London A rsenal withstood a second-half onslaught from West Ham to boost their Champions League charge with a 2-1 victory at Upton Park yesterday. Arsene WengerвЂ™s side secured their second successive win over the festive period to move up to п¬Ѓfth in the Premier League, behind fourth placed Southampton only on goal difference. West Ham, surprise contenders for the coveted European places, had been punching above their weight all season but back-to-back defeats have dented their challenge heading into 2015. They were undone by two goals in three minutes late in the п¬Ѓrst half by Santi Cazorla and Danny Welbeck. Senegal midп¬Ѓelder Cheikhou Kouyate scored his п¬Ѓrst West Ham goal to give the hosts renewed hope in the second half but, despite mounting pressure, the Gunners held on for a hard-fought win. West Ham midп¬Ѓelder Alex Song thought he had opened the scoring against his old club in the sixth minute. SongвЂ™s 25-yard shot through a crowd left Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny stranded, but his view was obstructed by two West Ham players standing in an offside position. Replays suggested the assistant referee had made the right call but Song protested angrily following the decision. Wenger had opted to call up French centre-back Laurent Koscielny to help combat the aerial power of burly West Ham striker Andy Carroll. But Carroll shrugged off the attentions of Koscielny before the former Liverpool player saw his low shot scrambled clear. Arsenal had barely got out of their own half but Alexis Sanchez sparked them into life when he was afforded too much room before driving a deп¬‚ected shot just wide of AdrianвЂ™s left-hand post. Glorious chance West Ham were still in control with James Tomkins wasting a glorious chance when he blazed over from a good position. But the Hammers would regret not taking their chances as Arsenal opened the scoring through Cazorla in the 41st minute. Cazorla was tripped up by Winston ReidвЂ™s trailing leg for a clear penalty which the Spanish midп¬Ѓelder calmly converted. And it went from bad to worse for the hosts as Welbeck struck two minutes later. Alex Oxlade-ChamberlainвЂ™s cross saw the England striker have the simple task of slotting in at the far post in the 44th minute. Stewart Downing should have done West Ham UnitedвЂ™s English defender Aaron Cresswell (R) beats ArsenalвЂ™s Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla (L) in the air during the English Premier League match in London yesterday. (AFP) AFP London anagerless Crystal Palace responded to the sacking of boss Neil Warnock with a gritty display in a 0-0 draw against fellow strugglers QPR yesterday. Palace chairman Steve Parish ended WarnockвЂ™s п¬Ѓve-month reign on Saturday after the south London club slumped into the Premier League relegation zone, but caretaker manager Keith Millen convinced his players to ignore the turmoil and they delivered an improved performance at Loftus Road. The Eagles, linked with moves for former Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood and ex-Porto chief Vitor Pereira, remain in the bottom three on goal difference, while QPR are two points above the drop zone. Millen, in his third spell as caretaker, made one change to the Palace team beaten by Southampton on Boxing Day, with Wilfried Zaha replacing Fraizer Campbell up front as the Eagles looked to register a п¬Ѓrst win in seven matches. Both teams looked short of conп¬Ѓdence and composure in a scrappy opening and QPR striker Charlie Austin should have done better than shoot straight at Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni. Yannick Bolasie produced PalaceвЂ™s п¬Ѓrst real moment of quality when he unleashed a powerful strike which Robert Green was at full stretch to keep out. The visitors went even closer in the 21st minute when Joe Ledley picked out Jason Puncheon and the Palace winger curled in a п¬Ѓrst-time effort that beat Green but rebounded to safety off the post. After failing to build any momentum in a drab п¬Ѓrst half, QPR went close to breaking the deadlock soon after the interval when Leroy FerвЂ™s volley п¬‚ew just wide. Fer forced Speroni to show his athleticism to get a hand to a powerful strike from the Dutch midп¬Ѓelder as QPR п¬Ѓnally found some rhythm. Austin had a goalbound header blocked from a corner soon after and PuncheonвЂ™s shot was tipped over by Green at the other end. Millen responded to his sideвЂ™s struggles by sending on Campbell for Zaha midway through the half. But Harry RedknappвЂ™s side went agonisingly close to taking the lead in the 75th minute when Steven Caulker nodded goalwards from Joey BartonвЂ™s corner, only for James McArthur to alertly head clear from under the crossbar. And QPR spurned one last chance when Junior Hoilett failed to hit the target with a clear sight of goal. Diouf double keeps West Brom in trouble better than shoot wide just before the break as West Ham tried to respond. But just eight minutes into the second-half, Kouyate gave AllardyceвЂ™s men a lifeline. Tomkins found room to deliver a cross and Kouyate rose above Arsenal right-back Mathieu Debuchy to scramble his header home. The hosts dominated possession as they pressed for an equaliser, but West HamвЂ™s Adrian was the busier goalkeeper. He kept out CazorlaвЂ™s shot and then denied Oxlade-Chamber- lainвЂ™s 74th minute header. Sanchez and Welbeck wasted chances to give Arsenal some precious breathing space but, despite surviving a scare when Enner Valencia headed over in the п¬Ѓnal attack of the game, the visitors held on. SenegalвЂ™s Mame Biram Diouf scored twice as Stoke City sharpened the focus on West Bromwich Albion manager Alan Irvine with a 2-0 win in the Premier League yesterday. Former Manchester United striker Diouf struck twice in 15 secondhalf minutes at the Britannia Stadium to give Stoke back-to-back wins for the first time this season after FridayвЂ™s 1-0 success at Everton. It was a third defeat in a row for West Brom, who have won only once in nine games, and follows IrvineвЂ™s admission that he feared for his job at the Hawthorns. The defeat saw IrvineвЂ™s side fall one place to 16th and left them just a point above the relegation zone ahead of a trip to high-flying West Ham United on New YearвЂ™s Day. While Stoke manager Mark Hughes made only one change, replacing Jonathan Walters with Peter Crouch, Irvine drafted Brown Ideye, Chris Brunt, Graham Dorrans and Chris Baird into his starting XI. The visitors enjoyed the best of the first half but it was Stoke who went closest to breaking the deadlock, with Bojan Krkic fizzing a shot narrowly wide in the 14th minute. Bojan has been one of StokeвЂ™s most impressive performers in recent weeks and he was the catalyst for the home sideвЂ™s opening goal in the 51st minute. The former Barcelona forward sprayed a pass wide to Erik Pieters on the Stoke left and the Dutch full-backвЂ™s low cross was in turned in by Diouf via a slight deflection off Joleon Lescott. Irvine responded with a double change, sending on Saido Berahino and Silvestre Varela, and saw his side hit the woodwork when Gareth McAuley stabbed a shot against the post following a goalmouth scramble. SPOTLIGHT Barnes thunderbolt keeps Man City trailing AFP London A shley BarnesвЂ™s dramatic 81stminute equaliser earned struggling Burnley a 2-2 draw at Manchester City yesterday, preventing the defending champions from closing on Premier League leaders Chelsea. First-half goals from David Silva and Fernandinho had apparently put Manuel PellegriniвЂ™s side well in control as they attempted to close the gap behind Chelsea to a solitary point. But with inп¬‚uential City midп¬Ѓelder Yaya Toure absent, presumably rested, goals from George Boyd and Barnes earned Burnley an improbable draw and denied PellegriniвЂ™s side a clubrecord 10th consecutive win. The supposed gulf in class between the sides was highlighted by the manner of CityвЂ™s opening goal in the 23rd minute, as Silva п¬Ѓnished clinically to register his fourth goal in the last three games. It came from a darting run down the right by the energetic Jesus Navas, who reached the dead-ball line and pulled the ball back for Silva. The former Valencia player switched feet neatly, swivelled and sent an unstoppable п¬Ѓnish past Tom Heaton in the Burnley goal. Yet the goal followed a promising п¬‚urry of attacking activity from the visitors. Kieran TrippierвЂ™s cross into the box was just missed by Danny Ings, Dean Marney shot straight at Joe Hart and Ings was guilty of a wasteful 22-yard attempt when there were better options available. It was not difficult to see why Burnley had scored just 12 goals in their previous 18 league games and the contest looked likely to follow the form book despite City starting without an orthodox forward. The stand-in вЂ�false nineвЂ™ James Milner shot over from six yards, Martin Demichelis had an effort blocked by Jason Shackell from similar distance and NavasвЂ™s angled drive rose over the bar before the opening goal. Game of two halves Once again without the predatory Sergio Aguero in their side, City turned to an unlikely source for their second goal in the 33rd minute. The visiting defence stood off the hosts on the edge of their own area, allowing Samir Nasri to move the ball along to Fernandinho. With time and space, the Brazil midп¬Ѓelder switched the ball to his right foot and deposited a magniп¬Ѓcent shot in off the underside of the crossbar from a step outside the 18-yard box. With leaders Chelsea having earlier drawn 1-1 at Southampton, this appeared a perfect opportunity for City to close the gap and improve their goal difference. But City were hugely disappointing, and Burnley much improved almost immediately from kick-off in the second half. Pablo Zabaleta failed to tackle Ings and the forwardвЂ™s low, driven shot was glanced into the goal by Boyd, despite replays suggesting the Scotland international did so from an offside position. Had IngsвЂ™s п¬Ѓrst touch not let him down moments later as he attempted to carry BarnesвЂ™s through ball towards goal, Burnley might have claimed an equaliser even earlier. Instead, Heaton was required to keep his team in the contest with a one-handed save at the foot of his right-hand post from Nasri. Unmoved, Shackell headed just over and Ings shot narrowly wide for the visitors, prompting Pellegrini to bring on Stevan Jovetic and Frank Lampard. Neither move improved matters greatly and Scott Arп¬Ѓeld wasted a glorious chance to equalise after 78 minutes when his shot was blocked by Demichelis from only six yards. No matter for Burnley. Within two minutes, ShackellвЂ™s long free-kick into the City area was poorly defended and the ball rebounded kindly for Barnes to lash a deadly 12-yard shot into the top-left corner. BurnleyвЂ™s English striker Ashley Barnes (C) celebrates scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester yesterday. The game finished 2-2. (AFP) 6 Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 SPORT YACHTING Wild Oats XI clinch record eighth Sydney to Hobart honours вЂ�It was our toughest race. To have a boat (Comanche) so close is always difficult, especially when they are going faster than you. We managed to pull it off and I just said to the guys, we have just got to hang in there, hang tough, minimise the losses and wait for the first opportunity we could to attack and we did and it paid offвЂ™ Marussia collapse hits McLaren, Ferrari hard London: Ferrari and McLaren stand to lose millions as a result of the collapse of the Marussia F1 team, the Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported yesterday. The paper said documents from administrators FRP Advisory dated December 18 showed that Ferrari, Formula OneвЂ™s oldest and most successful team, were owed 16.6m pounds ($25.81m) for engines supplied. McLaren, who had a technical partnership with Marussia, were owed 7.1m pounds ($11.04m). The newspaper said Lloyds Development Capital (LDC), the private equity division of taxpayer-owned Lloyds Banking Group, was owed 13.2m pounds which was secured on all of MarussiaвЂ™s assets, unlike money owed to more than 200 other creditors. FRP managing partner Geoff Rowley was quoted as saying LDC had priority over other creditors but the estimated payout was unlikely to exceed 1.6m pounds. Marussia ceased trading in early November, with some 200 staff made redundant, and the team missed the last three races of the 2014 season. Much of the teamвЂ™s kit has been auctioned off already but another sale date is scheduled for January 21, when the three 2014 cars вЂ”minus the enginesвЂ”will go under the hammer. The team scored just two points in five years, with those coming in Monaco this year thanks to French driver Jules Bianchi, who subsequently suffered severe head injuries in a Japanese Grand Prix crash. Hector opens World Cup account with win in Kuhtai Wild Oats XI (left) tries to get past Comanche during the course of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. The bluewater classic race, in its 70th year, was won by Wild Oats XI for a record eighth time. (AFP) AFP Hobart S upermaxi Wild Oats XI won its eighth line honours in the Sydney to Hobart race yesterday, officials said, to become the most successful yacht in the history of the competition. The Mark Richards-skippered 100-footer crossed the п¬Ѓnish line ahead of American newcomer Comanche in the gruelling 628 nautical mile (1,163 kilometre) race down the east coast of southern Australia, organisers the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia said. The nine-year-old yacht crossed the line after two days, two hours, three minutes and 26 seconds at 3.03pm (0403 GMT), while Comanche п¬Ѓnished in two days, two hours, 52 minutes and 44 seconds. вЂњIt was our toughest race. To have a boat (Comanche) so close is always difficult, especially when they are going faster than you,вЂќ Richards told reporters in Hobart after the yacht crossed the line at Battery Point. вЂњWe managed to pull it off and I just said to the guys, we have just got to hang in there, hang tough, minimise the losses and wait for the п¬Ѓrst opportunity we could to attack and we did and it paid off.вЂќ Wild Oats XI, one of п¬Ѓve supermaxisвЂ”the biggest and fastest yachtsвЂ”in this yearвЂ™s race was also п¬Ѓrst across the line every year from 2005 to 2008 and in 2010, 2012 and 2013. It surpassed the record of Morna/ Kurrewa IV, which won seven line hon- ours titles in the 1950s and in 1960. But choppy seas during the race meant the leaders were unable to challenge the race record set by Wild Oats XI in 2012 of one day, 18 hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds. The brand-new, cutting-edge Comanche, owned by American technology entrepreneur Jim Clark, had a stellar start when it п¬‚ew out of Sydney Harbour at the start on Friday, followed closely by Wild Oats XI. But as the boats turned south they encountered choppy seas, prompting the п¬‚eet to spread out as they tried to avoid the worst of the weather. By morning the winds had eased, giving an advantage to the slim-line Wild Oats XI, owned by billionaire Bob Oatley, which broke away from the wider-bodied Comanche on Saturday afternoon. Wild Oats XI extended its lead on the second night, taking advantage of a high-pressure ridge in the Bass Strait, although Comanche narrowed the gap to 10 nautical miles at Tasman Island yesterday. вЂњIt all went really, really well. To win a Hobart is such a great honour, but to win an eighth one, itвЂ™s just wonderful,вЂќ Richards said. вЂњThe opportunity to rewrite a bit of sailing history doesnвЂ™t happen every day of the week, thatвЂ™s for sure. Just a very exciting moment.вЂќ Oatley said his yacht would вЂњdeп¬Ѓnitely be back next yearвЂќ, adding: вЂњItвЂ™s a miracle... she is the best boat in the world, sheвЂ™s proved that.вЂќ Clark said he was not sure if Comanche would be back to race next year, but praised Wild Oats XI and its crew. Australian yacht Wild Oats XI races ahead in the Sydney to Hobart race. The nine-year-old yacht took two days, two hours, three minutes and 26 seconds to complete the gruelling 628 nautical mile (1,163 kilometre) race, ahead of its American challenger Comanche, which finished in two days, two hours, 52 minutes and 44 seconds. (AFP) вЂњWild Oats and Mark Richards ran one hell of a race and itвЂ™s a really excellent boat,вЂќ he said. The Sydney to Hobart was ComancheвЂ™s п¬Ѓrst major ocean race, with accomplished American skipper Ken Read admitting before the start that the yachtвЂ”which is broader than its class rivals and has a towering 150foot mast set further back than mostвЂ” was not perfect for the competition. Perpetual Loyal, another supermaxi, was the most high-proп¬Ѓle retirement after withdrawing with hull damage, while Brindabella, a former line honours winner, also pulled out after it started taking on excess water due to damage to rudder bearings. The 70th Sydney to Hobart bluewater classic drew its biggest п¬‚eet since 1994 of 117 yachts. Kuhtai (Austria): SwedenвЂ™s Sara Hector opened her World Cup account yesterday when winning the giant slalom at Kuhtai in Austria. The 22-year-old clocked a time of 2 minutes 17.61 seconds to see off Anna Fenninger of Austria, who took silver at nine hundredths of a second and American Mikaela Shiffrin. Hector set off for her first run in poor visibility but still managed to place second at 27 hundredths of a second behind Shiffrin. Hector then made up time towards the end of her second run. вЂњThey told me the slope was gentle here, thatвЂ™s what IвЂ™d heard, but itвЂ™s not true!вЂќ she told the post-race press conference. Hector was building on her bright showing when claiming second in the last World Cup giant slalom at Are. Up to then her best placing was fifth. She added: вЂњItвЂ™s not easy to put into words the emotions IвЂ™m feeling right now. I know how to ski, IвЂ™m not perfect but I can always improve.вЂќ HectorвЂ™s win reflected the open nature of the discipline as she was the fifth different woman in four racesвЂ”Fenninger and Shiffrin double-heating in SГ¶lden, Eva-Maria Brem winning in Aspen, Tina Maze in Are and now Hector in Kuhtai. The leader of the World Cup overall standings, Maze of Slovenia, had to settle for a share of seventh place. She comfortably leads the classification however on 692 points from Fenninger (487) and Shiffrin (345). The giant slalom standings are led by AustriaвЂ™s Brem who was fourth on the day. SKIING Ganong surprise winner of menвЂ™s downhill in Santa Caterina DPA Santa Caterina, Italy T ravis Ganong of the United States was the surprise winner of the menвЂ™s downhill in Santa Caterina yesterday, beating AustriaвЂ™s Matthias Mayer into second place. Ganong claimed the п¬Ѓrst World Cup victory of his career on a shortened course due to strong winds and poor visibility in a time of 1 minute, 32.42 seconds, п¬Ѓnishing 0.09 seconds clear of Olympic champion Mayer. ItalyвЂ™s Dominik Paris completed the podium placings, crossing the line 0.21 seconds slower than Ganong. The victory is a perfect boost for Ganong with less than six weeks to go before his home world championship race in Beaver Creek. вЂњI had a superb run and am delighted. ItвЂ™s a sensational end to the year,вЂќ said the 26-year-old. вЂњI didnвЂ™t have any expectations after performing so poorly in training. Today I attacked and enjoyed myself.вЂќ Mayer was happy with his podium place after failing to п¬Ѓnish in recent races. вЂњIt doesnвЂ™t hurt to get to the end once in a while,вЂќ he said. вЂњI knew that we were all racing well.вЂќ Overall World Cup leader Kjetil Jansrud of Norway, meanwhile, п¬Ѓnished down in 17th place. вЂњWhat goes up, must come down,вЂќ tweeted Jansrud, winner of two downhill races already this season. вЂњToday was a rough day at work. As said before: LotвЂ™s of great skiers out there. One mistake and you are gone.вЂќ Jansrud still managed to extend his lead in the overall standings by 14 points. The Norwegian has 624 points, followed by AustriaвЂ™s Marcel Hirscher on 576 and Paris on 405. The menвЂ™s World Cup continues with a slalom in Zagreb, Croatia, on January 6. Surprise winner Travis Ganong of the United States beat AustriaвЂ™s Matthias Mayer to claim the first World Cup victory of his career on a shortened course due to strong winds and poor visibility. Ganong clocked 1 minute, 32.42 seconds, finishing 0.09 seconds clear of Olympic champion Mayer. Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 7 FEATURE MLS A year later, BeckhamвЂ™s dream of soccer stadium in Miami still not a reality вЂ�It makes it easier to sell a known product. Until we figure out a stadium plan, I think weвЂ™ve got to get a team on the fieldвЂ™ David Beckham attempts to tour the Kendall Soccer Park in February this year after announcing that he planned to get a Major League Soccer franchise to Miami. (Miami Herald/TNS) By Patricia Mazzei Miami Herald (TNS) D avid BeckhamвЂ™s business team swooped into Miami a year ago, full of irresistible excitement and lofty ideas, and got politicians to agree to negotiate a location for a new Major League Soccer stadium. An enthusiastic Miami-Dade County Commission voted unanimously on December 17, 2013, to authorise Mayor Carlos Gimenez to sit down with BeckhamвЂ™s representatives and try to п¬Ѓnd a home for a professional soccer franchise to be owned by the retired English footballer, one of the worldвЂ™s most-famous celebrities. Twelve months after that vote, there is still no stadium site. BeckhamвЂ™s group has stayed largely silent since June, regrouping вЂ” and, some supporters fear, reconsidering вЂ” after feeling burned by politicians who eagerly proposed potential sites on public land only to quickly back away from them. The county and city commissions nixed stadium proposals at PortMiami and on a boat slip north of AmericanAirlines Arena, stinging BeckhamвЂ™s team and forcing them to question whether they really wanted to come here. The Miami Beckham United organization, which at п¬Ѓrst said it would take three months to weigh its remaining options, says itвЂ™s still hunting for a stadium location, though quietly this time, with private property owners. After being denied twice, the group appears reluctant to openly discuss a new one until a deal вЂ” assuming one can be reached вЂ” is п¬Ѓrmly in place. вЂњWe have made very meaningful strides in the last couple of months,вЂќ John Alschuler, BeckhamвЂ™s real estate adviser and lead negotiator, said in an e-mail to the Miami Herald. вЂњWhile nothing in this complex equation can be taken for granted, I am optimistic that there will be several positive announcements in the п¬Ѓrst quarter of the next year.вЂќ The county and city commissions nixed stadium proposals at PortMiami and on a boat slip north of AmericanAirlines Arena, stinging BeckhamвЂ™s team and forcing them to question whether they really wanted to come here Meantime, County Commissioner Juan C. Zapata, a Beckham supporter, said he plans to propose legislation in the new year asking Beckham to consider temporarily locating his team at Florida International UniversityвЂ™s main campus in West Miami-Dade, which is in ZapataвЂ™s district. Once thereвЂ™s a team for fans to cheer, negotiating a stadium may not be as difficult, Zapata said. вЂњIt makes it easier to sell a known product. And it doesnвЂ™t look good for us to not be proac- tive,вЂќ he said. вЂњUntil we п¬Ѓgure out a stadium plan, I think weвЂ™ve got to get a team on the п¬Ѓeld.вЂќ Beckham and MLS want to launch a Miami franchise with a new stadium and not a shortterm location. But the league has been inconsistent, allowing the expansion New York City FC to play temporarily at Yankee Stadium. вЂњI think itвЂ™s obvious that the MLS isnвЂ™t going to get what they want,вЂќ Zapata said. Other politicians have tried to п¬‚oat possible locations, with little success. County Commissioner Xavier Suarez likes the former Bertram Yacht headquarters and surrounding properties east of Miami International Airport. So does Coral Gables City Commissioner Vince Lago, who wants BeckhamвЂ™s stadium to also house the University of MiamiвЂ™s football team. Miami City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff pushed for the Miami HeraldвЂ™s former downtown headquarters, now owned by Malaysian casino giant Genting. BeckhamвЂ™s representatives had eyed the site early on but concluded it wouldnвЂ™t be п¬Ѓnancially viable, since it would require a signiп¬Ѓcant land investment in addition to the cost of building a stadium with mostly private funds, which Beckham has pledged to do. Earlier this year, Beckham exercised an option in his player contract to purchase a franchise for a deeply discounted $25 million after his retirement. However, itвЂ™s unclear how long he has to come up with п¬Ѓnancial and stadium plans. MLS has required new franchises to build soccer-speciп¬Ѓc facilities вЂ” preferably in urban, downtown locations вЂ” to replicate the business model that has worked in cities such as Seattle and Portland. Beckham and the league had indicated there was a short time frame for a stadium deal to come together. But the passing months have shown there was no hard deadline, at least not for 2014. An MLS spokesman did not respond this week to emailed requests for comment. League Commissioner Don Garber told Reuters earlier this month that BeckhamвЂ™s search вЂњcanвЂ™t go on forever.вЂќ Beckham and the league had indicated there was a short time frame for a stadium deal to come together. But the passing months have shown there was no hard deadline, at least not for 2014. League Commissioner Don Garber told Reuters earlier this month that BeckhamвЂ™s search вЂњcanвЂ™t go on foreverвЂќ Worried fans have held their breath every time another city, such as Las Vegas or San Antonio, has said it wants a professional soccer team. When MLS shut down its ailing Chivas USA franchise in Los Angeles, the city where Beckham used to play for the LA Galaxy, a rumour posited that Beckham would pack his bags and head back west. He didnвЂ™t. Overtures from Broward County and Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton seem to have been greeted with polite thank yous from BeckhamвЂ™s representatives, but no real interest. MLS has been hesitant to try its luck again in Miami after the Fort Lauderdale-based Fusion folded in 2001. The leagueвЂ™s president has scorned a possible location next to Marlins Park in Little Havana because itвЂ™s not downtown вЂ” even though MLS and the city of Miami wrote draft agreements to build a stadium there six years ago. One of BeckhamвЂ™s investors вЂ” his manager, Simon Fuller вЂ” has called the site вЂњspiritually taintedвЂќ by the unpopular public п¬Ѓnancing for the MarlinsвЂ™ ballpark, though the group has never taken the location entirely off its list. Marlins President David Samson declined to say last month whether heвЂ™s been approached by BeckhamвЂ™s group. Privately, politicians have continued to say that site offers Beckham the best shot at leasing public land at a discount so he can afford to build a stadium on his own вЂ” especially since returning to the home of the old, beloved Orange Bowl might entice UM to share the expense. вЂњThatвЂ™s the only place that we have that they might be able to use,вЂќ Daniel Alfonso, MiamiвЂ™s city manager, said last week. But, he added, no Beckham representative has sat down with the city in the months after the bayside boat slip site was rejected. вЂњWe have not heard from them since,вЂќ he said. 8 Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 SPORT NBA BrownsвЂ™ Gordon suspended for violating team rules Lowry outplays Paul, Raptors beat Clippers New York: Wide receiver Josh Gordon was suspended on Saturday by the Cleveland Browns, who elevated wide receiver Phil Bates from the practice squad to replace Gordon, general manager Ray Farmer announced. Gordon was suspended for violating team rules. He appeared in five games this season and caught 24 passes for 303 yards. Rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel and Gordon were absent from the BrownsвЂ™ walk-through Saturday morning, and the team had trouble locating them, a source told ESPN. The Browns did not mention Manziel in their release, and players on injured reserve are not required to attend walkthroughs. Manziel sustained a hamstring injury in last weekвЂ™s loss to Carolina. Gordon served a 10-game suspension earlier this season for repeated drug violations. The Browns also promoted defensive lineman Jamie Meder and quarterback Connor Shaw from the practice squad to the active roster after waiving linebacker Eric Martin and tight end Ryan Taylor. Toronto improves to 23-7, the best record in the Eastern Conference RYAN READY TO GET FIRED New York Jets coach Rex Ryan has already cleaned out his office at the teamвЂ™s practice facility in Florham Park, New Jersey, in anticipation of being fired, NJ.com reported on Saturday. Ryan has not been informed by the team that he will not return, according to the report, but did find out that Jets consultant Charley Casserly has started contacting potential replacements. The Jets (3-12) finish the season on Sunday in Miami against the Dolphins. MCCLAIN WILL NOT PLAY DUE TO ILLNESS Kyle Lowry (right) of the Toronto Raptors gets past Jordan Farmar of the Los Angeles Clippers during the first half at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. (AFP) DPA Los Angeles K yle Lowry and the Toronto Raptors didnвЂ™t look like they were on a long road trip. And Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers didnвЂ™t look like they were on a long homestand. Lowry scored 25 points on Saturday as he outplayed Paul and the Raptors pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 110-98 victory over the Clippers, who had an eight-game home winning streak snapped. LithuaniaвЂ™s Jonas Valanciunas had 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Raptors, who began a six-game trek with MondayвЂ™s loss at Chicago and still have visits to Golden State and Portland on their itinerary. Toronto improved to 23-7, the best record in the Eastern Conference, and is 10-4 since losing All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan to a groin injury. вЂњWe canвЂ™t make excuses because DeMarвЂ™s not playing,вЂќ said Lowry, who added seven assists and three steals. вЂњItвЂ™s all about the next man up. WeвЂ™re a very deep team.вЂќ Lowry got the better of Paul, considered by many as the best point guard in the NBA. Paul made just 3-of-12 shots and scored 10 points, matching his season low. вЂњIt felt like we ran out of gas before the game even started,вЂќ said Paul, who added eight assists. The Clippers (20-11) had not lost at home since Nov. 17 and began a ninegame homestand - the longest in the NBA in 35 years - with a Christmas win over league-leading Golden State. They may have been thrown off by the early afternoon start. вЂњA few of us said at 12:30, right before tip-off, we were like, вЂ�Man, it feels like we played last night,вЂ™вЂќ said Clippers guard JJ Redick, who scored 23 points. вЂњItвЂ™s not an excuse. Toronto played amazing, great second half.вЂќ The Raptors pulled away in the fourth quarter without the help of Lowry, who scored just two points in the period. Toronto got a huge boost from reserves Greivis Vasquez of Venezuela (16 points), Patrick Patterson (10), and Lou Wil- liams (9). вЂњWeвЂ™ve got a great bench and we feed off of each other,вЂќ Vasquez said. The Raptors opened the fourth quarter with a 13-2 burst featuring a threepointer from Patterson and two from Vasquez for a 93-80 lead with 9:03 to play. Williams drained a pair of threepointers 30 seconds apart before a basket by Valanciunas made it 103-86 with 4:54 to go. вЂњWe did break down in a lot of areas,вЂќ Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. вЂњThey do a great job moving the ball. They stretch you out.вЂќ Terrence Ross scored 11 points and Amir Johnson grabbed 12 rebounds for the Raptors, who made 13 three-pointers and had 25 assists. Blake Griffin scored 22 points, Jamal Crawford added 20 and DeAndre Jordan swept 20 boards for the Clippers, who made 12 threes but committed 15 turnovers. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES 103, MIAMI HEAT 95 Spanish star Marc Gasol had 22 points and 10 rebounds as the visiting Grizzlies snapped a four-game slide. Dwyane Wade scored 25 points for the Heat. CHICAGO BULLS 107, NEW ORLEANS PELICANS 100 Jimmy Butler scored 33 points to power the host Bulls to their sixth straight win. Chicago native Anthony Davis had 29 points, 11 boards and six blocks for the Pelicans. INDIANA PACERS 110, BROOKLYN NETS 85 Rodney Stuckey was in brilliant form as he scored 20 points to lead seven players in double п¬Ѓgures as the visiting Pacers stopped the NetsвЂ™ three-game winning streak. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS 110, MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES 97 Stephen Curry scored 25 points for the Warriors, who improved to 11-1 at home and dealt the Timberwolves their eighth straight setback. ATLANTA HAWKS 90, MILWAUKEE BUCKS 85 Jeff Teague collected 25 points and seven assists as the Hawks avenged a home loss to the Bucks one night earlier. WASHINGTON WIZARDS 101, BOSTON CELTICS 88 Former Celtics Kris Humphries and Paul Pierce scored 18 and 17 points, respectively, to lift the host Wizards to their eighth win in 10 games. Boston has lost four in a row. ORLANDO MAGIC 102, CHARLOTTE HORNETS 94 Nikola Vucevic had 22 points and 11 boards as the visiting Magic overcame a career-high 42 points by Kemba Walker. Dallas Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain will not play against the Washington Redskins because of an illness. McClain, the CowboysвЂ™ second-leading tackler this season, did not make the trip to Washington. McClain participated in practice Thursday and Friday. The Minnesota Vikings placed rookie linebacker Anthony Barr on injured reserve and promoted linebacker Josh Kaddu from the practice squad. Barr has missed the past three games with a knee injury. The team decided to shut him down. SACRAMENTO KINGS 135, NEW YORK KNICKS 129 (OT) DeMarcus Cousins scored nine of his season-high 39 points in overtime as the host Kings overcame 36 points by Carmelo Anthony and handed the Knicks their seventh consecutive loss. UTAH JAZZ 88, PHILADELPHIA 76ERS 71 Derrick Favors and Trey Burke scored 17 points each for the Jazz, who have won four of п¬Ѓve overall and beat the 76ers for the 10th straight time at home. Josh Gordon NHL StepanвЂ™s hat-trick leads Rangers to eighth straight win Reuters New York D erek Stepan scored his third career hat-trick as the New York Rangers earned their eighth straight win by beating the New Jersey Devils 3-1 in the National Hockey League on Saturday. New YorkвЂ™s longest winning streak since winning eight in a row 40 years ago spoiled the debut of New Jersey co-coaches Scott Stevens and Adam Oates. Calgary Flames left wing Curtis Glencross celebrates after scoring a goal against the Edmonton Oilers. PICTURES: USA TODAY Sports SABRES 4, ISLANDERS 3 (SHOOTOUT) The Buffalo Sabres produced a brilliant comeback with three unanswered goals in the third period before Tyler Ennis scored the lone goal in the shootout for a 4-3 victory over the New York Islanders. The Sabres looked likely to extend their four-game losing streak when they fell behind 3-0 in the second period, but rallied for three goals in barely п¬Ѓve minutes. PREDATORS 4, FLYERS 1 Peter LavioletteвЂ™s Nashville Predators scored a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, the team that п¬Ѓred him as coach last season. Filip Forsberg and Mike Fisher each bagged a power-play goal and an assist for Nashville (23-9-2), who have not lost consecutive games this season. STARS 4, BLUES 3 Power-play goals from defensemen Trevor Daley and Jason Demers in the second period carried Dallas to a 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues as the Stars posted their п¬Ѓrst win in 11 games against Central Division opponents this season. The loss extended the BluesвЂ™ winless streak to four games (0-3-1), their longest of the season. BLUE JACKETS 6, BRUINS 2 Scott Hartnell had two goals and the Columbus Blue Jackets scored four in the second period for a 6-2 win over the Bos- ton Bruins. Columbus continued their recent hot streak, improving to 9-1-1 in December and ended a seven-game losing streak against Boston. RED WINGS 3, SENATORS 2 (OVERTIME) The Detroit Red Wings twice came from behind before defeating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in overtime. Winger Gustav Nyquist held the puck for almost half a minute before sliding a low shot home for the winner. COYOTES 2, DUCKS 1 (SO) Shane Doan scored in a shootout despite breaking his stick on the shot to give the Arizona Coyotes a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks, the п¬Ѓrst team in NHL history to get to 50 points before the holiday break. JETS 4, WILD 3 (OT) Andrew Ladd scored a strange goal in overtime to lift the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild. LaddвЂ™s shot missed the net and hit the glass but bounced back off the top of the net and hit Minnesota goalie John Curry in the back before landing in the net to give the Jets their fourth win in п¬Ѓve games. CAPITALS 3, PENGUINS 0 Braden Holtby had his third shutout of the season and Eric Fehr scored twice as the Washington Capitals beat Pittsburgh 3-0 for their п¬Ѓrst victory over the Penguins in nearly three years. BLACKHAWKS 5, AVALANCHE 2 Patrick Kane had two goals and an assist as the Chicago Blackhawks beat Colorado 5-2 on the road, ending the AvalancheвЂ™s threegame winning steak. LIGHTNING 2, HURRICANES 1 Goalie Ben Bishop made an emphatic return to the net after missing four games, stopping 24 shots to guide Tampa Bay Lightning to a 2-1 win over the Carolina. Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 9 FEATURE YEARENDER Olympics and World Cup get all the attention in 2014 German players Mario Goetze (left) and Andre Schuerrle celebrate on stage at the German team victory ceremony in Berlin July 15, 2014. Germany beat Argentina 1-0 in the 2014 FIFA World Cup final. (EPA) DPA Berlin T he Olympics and football World Cup dominated the sporting year 2014 as expected, but also made big waves outside the arenas. Hosts Russia topped the п¬Ѓnal medal table at the most expensive Winter Games ever in Sochi while Brazil ended their home World Cup battered and bruised in fourth place after a historic 7-1 thrashing by later champions Germany in the semi-п¬Ѓnals. But SochiвЂ™s overall 51-billion-dollar prize tag was also one reason why cities like Oslo and Stockholm from traditional winter sport countries withdrew bids for 2022; and the IOC reacted with an Olympic Agenda 2020, approved on December 8, under which bidding is to be made easier and cheaper, and new sports to п¬Ѓnd easier entry. The reform also includes future hosts having to abide by anti-discrimination rules, seen in connection with RussiaвЂ™s controversial anti-gay legislation. FIFA, meanwhile, was in shambles at the end of the year in connection with the probe of possible corruption in the bid process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Summary of the Michael Garcia report by ethics committee cochairman Hans-Joachim Eckert cleared hosts Russia and Qatar of wrongdoing. The 2014 World Cup went well and beyond all expectations from RioвЂ™s Copacabana to the jungle of Manaus from an organising point of view. On the п¬Ѓeld, Manuel Neuer kept a clean sheet against Cristiano Ronaldo MercedesвЂ™ Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix on November 23, 2014. (Reuters) and Lionel Messi en route to winning the World Cup with Germany, and is now challenging for the World Footballer of the Year award as well against the two who have won the famous award the past six years. The biggest individual prize in football will not be awarded until January 12, just under six months after Neuer and his team-mates lifted the World Cup trophy in Rio de Janeiro on July 13 after beating MessiвЂ™s Argentina 1-0 in extra time. Joachim LoewвЂ™s team opened 4-0 against RonaldoвЂ™s Portugal but the biggest win was to come in the memorable 7-1 against hapless Brazil whose talisman Neymar could only watch injured from the sidelines. That result was even more stunning than a Dutch 5-1 drubbing of title holders Spain who went out in the group stage while UruguayвЂ™s Luis Suarez was banned for biting an opponent. The World Cup raised optimism that Brazil will now be well-prepared to stage At the Sochi Winter Olympics opening ceremony on February 7, 2014, one of the five Olympic rings malfunctioned. (AFP) a great Olympics 2016 in Rio as well. The Sochi Games meanwhile were hailed by Olympic supremo Thomas Bach as вЂњThe AthletesвЂ™ GamesвЂќ and saw Norwegian biathlon king Ole Einrar Bjoerndalen become the most decorated Winter Olympian with two more golds for an overall tally of 8-4-1. Compatriot cross-country skier Marit Bjoergen, Belarussian biathlete Darya Domracheva and Russian short track skater Viktor Ahn won three golds each; Tina Maze got double alpine ski gold for Slovenia; the rampant Dutch snatched 23 of the total 32 speed-skating medals; and hosts Russia topped the п¬Ѓnal medal table. But there was also bad news for Russia when it came under п¬Ѓre over allegations of systematic doping in the country via a German TV documentary which has prompted investigations by the World Anti-Doping Agency and ruling athletics body IAAF. Russia also staged its maiden Formula One race, in SochiвЂ™s Olympic Park, where Briton Lewis Hamilton won one of his 11 season races en route to the world title in a п¬Ѓerce duel with teammate Nico Rosberg from totally dominant Mercedes. Big F1 news were also the move of exchampion Sebastian Vettel to Ferrari for 2015, taking the place of McLaren-bound Fernando Alonso, and the п¬Ѓnancial struggles of Caterham and Marussia. The F1 community held its breath after Jules BianchiвЂ™s life-threatening crash in Japan, and was also hoping for good news from record champ Michael Schumacher who almost lost his life in a skiing accident in late 2013. Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes died of injuries after being hit in the head by a ball; and football legends Eusebio and Alfredo di Stefano were among other famous sports people who passed away. Back on the football pitch, Messi smashed the Champions League and Spanish league scoring records but has Ronaldo on his heels just three goals behind in Europe. Ronaldo helped Real claim вЂњLa DecimaвЂќ in the Champions League at last, 4-1 in extra time over crosstown rivals Atletico, who however pipped Real and Barca for the Liga title. Spain also won the Europa League in the form of Sevilla. Manchester City snatched the Premier League crown in a dramatic title race with Liverpool, Juventus got another Serie A title, while NeuerвЂ™s and Pep GuardiolaвЂ™s Bayern Munich won another Bundesliga title in record time. Europe won golfвЂ™s Ryder Cup in convincing fashion over the US at Gleneagles while the majors went to Rory McIlroy (PGA Championships, The Open), Bubba Watson (Masters) and Martin Kaymer (US Open). Tennis saw new Grand Slam winners in Stanislas Wawrinka (Australian Open) and Marin Cilic (US Open), with Rafael Nadal the familiar French Open champ and top-ranked Novak Djokovic the Wimbledon winner. On the womenвЂ™s side Li Na won the Australian Open before retiring later in the year, and number one Serena Williams won another US Open. Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova won French Open and Wimbledon respectively. Frenchman Renauf Lavillenie sensationally bettered Sergey BubkaвЂ™s indoor pole vault world record to 6.16m, and Dennis Kimetto was the latest Kenyan to lower the marathon world record to now 2:02:57 hours. Usain Bolt graced the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow with his presence, helping Jamaica to relay gold; and China dominated the Asian Games in Incheon as expected. In US sport, the San Antonio Spurs won another NBA trophy, the Seattle Seahawks a п¬Ѓrst Super Bowl, the San Francisco Giants the World Series and the Los Angeles Kings the Stanley Cup. A tourist jokes in front of an advertisement with the portrait of Uruguay forward Luis Suarez at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Suarez was banned for four months for biting Italian Giorgio Chiellini during their World Cup match. (AFP) 10 Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 SPORT QATAR BASKETBALL LEAGUE Qatar Club down Wakrah in thriller; Arabi beat Ahli Al WakrahвЂ™s Cage Calvin (left) Qatar ClubвЂ™s Cox Torrington Wallace (18) was in great form yesterday as he ended up his teamвЂ™s top scorer with 32 points during the teamвЂ™s thrilling 90-95 win over Al Wakrah in the Qatar Basketball League yesterday. WallaceвЂ™s teammate Farrington Scott Arrindell (17) was the second highest scorer with 21 points. For Wakrah, Cage Calvin managed to score 37 points, the highest of the match. PICTURES: Othman Iraqi Wind plays truant on opening day of Qatar Optimist Cup In the second match of the day Al Arabi comfortably beat Al Ahli 97-73. For Arabi, Rogers Kevin LaвЂ™Charles (7) and Pigram Courtney Ray Leonard were the top scorers with 33 points each. For Ahli, Mcneal Tyronne (52) got his teamвЂ™s highest score with 20 points but that was in vain. Qatargas Open badminton from January 21-28 By Sports Reporter Doha The opening dayвЂ™s race for the Qatar Optimist Cup 2014 was started in light winds at KataraвЂ™s Cultural Village beach, but later due to shifty winds, the race was abandoned by the race officer yesterday. The races will start at 10:00am today and will be held as per scheduled. Sailors from 11 countries are taking part in the competition. The Qatargas Open badminton, sponsored by Qatargas and organised by Qatar Badminton Association (QBA), will be played from January 21 to 28, 2015 at the Qatar Table Tennis Association training centre in Ras Abo Aboud. Competitions will be held in both senior and junior categories. The closing date for entries is January 15, according to a release from Gamal Rasmi, QBA board member. The entry forms are available at the QBAвЂ™s reception desk of the Qatar Squash Federation, in the premises of Khalifa Tennis & Squash Complex. Details are available on the Facebook page of QBA (fb. com/qatarbadminton). Alternatively, those interested to take part in the event may send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Gulf Times Monday, December 29, 2014 POSTER nicol david MALAYSIAN SQUASH STAR | WORLD NUMBER ONE | RECORD EIGHT-TIME WORLD CHAMPION 11 Monday, December 29, 2014 SPORT GULF TIMES ASIAN CUP We feel confident: Muftah вЂ�Now that we are in clearly good form, we are looking at something better вЂ“ we are looking at the Asian CupвЂ™ By Sports Reporter Doha T he big 3-0 win over Estonia has boosted the morale of the players ahead of next monthвЂ™s Asian Cup, Qatar left back Khalid Muftah said on Saturday. This was QatarвЂ™s п¬Ѓrst appearance since winning the 2014 Gulf Cup last month. Qatar beat regional giants and hosts Saudi Arabia 2-1 in the Gulf Cup п¬Ѓnal in Riyadh. вЂњQatar football has developed at all levels,вЂќ Muftah said in an interview. вЂњNow that we are in clearly good form, we are looking at something better вЂ“ we are looking at the Asian Cup,вЂќ he added. вЂњAs a player, I want to participate at the Asian Cup and I hope we win in Australia,вЂќ he added. вЂњWe must be humble as we are not a major power in Asia. But winning the Gulf Cup and following it with a display like tonightвЂ™s motivates us to do better,вЂќ the Lekhwiya player said. Qatar featured in the quarter-п¬Ѓnals of the last Asian Cup held in Doha in 2011. Managed by Bruno Metsu, Qatar lost to eventual champions Japan in 2011. вЂњWe must continue to work seriously and make appropriate plans,вЂќ Muftah said. вЂњWe know our level of play and we know what needs to be done, our moral is high and we feel confident,вЂќ he said. QATAR UNBEATEN IN 10 GAMES Qatar will head into the AFC Asian Cup as one of the form teams in the tournament after continuing their strong run of results with a 3-0 victory over Estonia. The 2014 Gulf Cup of Nations champions extended their unbeaten streak to ten matches with a dominant victory over a team ranked 14 places higher than them. The goals came in a 13 minute period in the opening half with Mohammad Muntari opening the scoring on 23 minutes. Abdul Karim made it 2-0 on the half hour mark before Mohammad Ismail put the match beyond EstoniaвЂ™s reach nearing half time. Djamel BelmadiвЂ™s men have now won seven of their past ten including a 1-0 victory over AFC Asian Cup hosts Australia and a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia in the Gulf Cup п¬Ѓnal. Qatar will now head to Australia and play their п¬Ѓnal friendly on New YearвЂ™s Eve when they face Oman in Canberra. They will then be conп¬Ѓdent of progressing through a group that features Iran, Bahrain and the UAE. Qatar defender Khalid Muftah (right) on his arrival with the rest of team in Canberra yesterday for the AFC Asian Cup. The Annabis play their first match on January 11 against UAE. PICTURES: Fadi Al-Assaad Jordan welcomed in style in Mulgrave Oman name squad for Asian Cup The Jordanian national team have been welcomed in style by the students of Mazenod College after being the first AFC Asian Cup side to arrive in Australia. Jordan will set up camp at the Mulgrave based facility in the lead up to AsiaвЂ™s biggest football tournament as they look to claim their first continental title in Australia. Hundreds of students turned out to get up close and personal with some of AsiaвЂ™s top players and many had the opportunity to be put through their paces on the pitch by some of JordanвЂ™s best. вЂњFor a proud school, this is a remarkable day,вЂќ said former student and esteemed ABC sports commentator Gerard Whately. Goalkeeper Ali al-Habsi will lead OmanвЂ™s 23-man squad at next monthвЂ™s Asian Cup as they bid to advance to the knockout stage of the tournament for the first time. Coach Paul Le Guen and the squad will reach their Canberra base on Sunday and play warmups against Qatar and China before starting their campaign for continental glory in Group A against South Korea on Jan. 10. The вЂ�Red WarriorsвЂ™, who were unbeaten through qualifying, will have a tough task to make it to the knockout stage with Australia and Kuwait the other вЂњIt is time to demonstrate the values that are taught and cherished here, and to experience the unifying power of football like never before on these shores.вЂќ Jordan will take on the UAE on January 30 before the Mazenod students will have a chance to see Ray WilkenвЂ™s men in action when they take on Mazenod United on January 3. They will then face Bahrain in their final friendly before opening their bid for a maiden AFC Asian Cup title against 2007 winners Iraq on January 12 in Brisbane. With their final two group matches against Palestine and Japan in Melbourne there is no doubt that some of the Mazenod faithful will be there cheering on Jordan in full voice. members of the group. Squad: Goalkeepers: Ali al-Habsi, Mazin al-Kasbi, Mohannad al-Zaabi Defenders: Abdul Salam Amir, Mohammed Mussallami, Saad Suhail, Jaber Owaisi, Ahmed Saleem, Nasr al-Shimli, Ali alBusaidi Midfielders: Ahmed Mubarak, Eid al-Farsi, Ali Saleem, Raeed Ibrahim, Ali al-Jabri, Hassan Mudhafar, Mohsin Johar Forwards: Imad al-Hosni, Abdulaziz Muqbali, Saeed alRazaiqi, Mohammed al-Siyabi, Yakoob Abdulkarim, Qasim Saeed QATAR STARS LEAGUE IN SUPPORT El Jaish announce Sabri Lamoushi as new coach By Sports Reporter Doha E l Jaish have announced that Frenchman Sabri Lamoushi will be their new head coach. He will succeed Tunisian Nabil Maloul who moved to Kuwait to coach their national team. Lamoushi will arrive in Doha in the coming days and the club will hold a press conference to announce the details. A delegation from El Jaish headed by Dr Thani Abdul Rahman al-Kuwari, the General Secretary and CEO travelled to the French capital city Paris to п¬Ѓnalise the contract. Dr Thani stated to the ClubвЂ™s official website: вЂњThe Club Administration has signed on Sabri Lamouchi to lead the п¬Ѓrst team.вЂќ Lamoushi was born in Lion city in France on 1971. He started his career with the amateur team Alice, and then moved to Auxerre for four sea- sons until 1998, during which he participated in 129 matches and scored 19 goals. After which he transferred to Monaco for two seasons and participated in 54 matches. On 2000 he became more famous in Europe by joining the Italian Club Parma. For three seasons Sabri participated in 90 matches and scored seven goals. Then he moved on loan to Inter Milan for two seasons and then Jenoa. In 2005 he returned to France to join Marseille for one season and played in 36 matches and scored п¬Ѓve goals. In 2006 he started his adventure in the Qatari league by joining Al Rayyan, Umm Salal and Al Kharaitiyat. He was the Head Coach of Kharaitiyat for one season. Lamouchi played 470 matches and scored 79 goals during his football career, while on the national team level he represented France in 19 matches with only one goal. Lamouchi was the head coach of Ivory Coast Team during 2014 FIFA World Cup. QSL organises session about integrity for Qatar team in the presence of Hani Balan By Sports Reporter Doha Q atar Stars League Management convened a session for Qatar National Team players, technical staff and ofп¬Ѓcials about the risks of football integrity and match-п¬Ѓxing before the inauguration of AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 on the 9th of Jan. Hani Balan, QSLM CEO, participated in this session, while Maksat was the official instructor approved by the Interpol. Qatar National Team Manager Farid Mahbob, Qatar National Team Head Coach Djamel Belmadi and all of the players attended the session. Maksat spoke about the risks of matchп¬Ѓxing and the lack of integrity in sports. While talking to Balan, he commented that this session was convened out of AFC keenness on this issue as well as the workshop previously convened for the professional leagues, especially those participating in AFC Asian Cup. He added: AFC didnвЂ™t only focus on the national team, but also included all football stakeholders such as coaches, officials and referees to warn them about the risks of match-п¬Ѓxing. Balan wished Qatar National Team all the best during the AFC Asian Cup as the team now is witnessing their best moments as well as the spectatorsвЂ™ conп¬Ѓdence, which makes us aiming at reaching the furthest, level possible. He also said that the Qatari football п¬Ѓnished the 2014 with many accomplishments and titles for both the Qatar National A Team and Qatar National Youth Team.