CR IP TI ON BS SU WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 Sisi concludes вЂ�historicвЂ™ visit to Kuwait www.kuwaittimes.net RABI ALAWWAL 16, 1436 AH Female suicide bomber strikes in Istanbul, killing policeman ChinaвЂ™s Xi proves keen student of US power Ruthless Sharapova brushes aside Shvedova NO: 16395 growth for oil вЂ�tensionsвЂ™ 40 PAGES 150 FILS 2Saudi Arabia 8 14 20 blames weak Crown prince speaks on kingвЂ™s behalf вЂў Crude falls to fresh lows conspiracy theories The world is changing By Badrya Darwish [email protected] I t was very disappointing that the US vetoed a request by Palestine to end the Israeli occupation with a timeframe, despite the blessings of many Western countries and the legitimacy of the request. In the meantime, it was former US President George W Bush who said that the Palestinians should have a state. Now when itвЂ™s the time for its backing, it was expected that DC would not support the idea and will never support it. This is not my issue. The US has been against Palestine since the creation of Israel. But what is surprising me is the criticism of many people of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for opting to pursue peaceful and legal steps to help strengthen the global recognition of Palestine. Before, the West and the whole world used to attack the Palestinians as if they are terrorists and want to use violence and killing as their only means. But for many years now, the Palestinian Liberation Organization is opting for peaceful and legal steps. Two years ago, Palestine applied for and received from the UN General Assembly in an overwhelming majority recognition as a nonvoting member state. Thank God the US doesnвЂ™t have the veto power in the General Assembly. Although this was a peaceful effort, they were punished by Netanyahu and his government by freezing tax revenues that are due to Palestine. The Palestinian Authority is not bending and continues to pursue peaceful options and global recognition through legal means. In late December, they started the process of joining the International Criminal Court (ICC). We hope within 60 days, they will be recognized as a full member. But again, Israel has frozen the $125 million in taxes due to the Palestinian Authority and the US has threatened to cut $400 million in aid. So what do you want the Palestinians to do, may I know? If they fight, you call them terrorists. If they pursue peaceful means, they are punished and starved. They have tried for 70 years to negotiate with the Israelis and time and time again nothing materializes. On the contrary, Israel is confiscating more land day by day, building walls to besiege the Palestinian areas and doing its best to stifle the Palestinian people. They cannot breathe, much less grow and thrive and develop. Whether they choose the gun or the courts, the Palestinians suffer. But at least what gives the Palestinians some hope is that there are many other countries who are backing them in their peaceful pursuit of statehood. America is not the whole world and one day it might change its position. Well done, Mr Abbas. RIYADH: Saudi Crown Prince Salman gestures during a session at the Shura Council, where he delivered an annual televised speech yesterday that has traditionally been given by King Abdullah, who is in hospital after being diagnosed with pneumonia over the weekend. вЂ” AP Min 07Вє Max 22Вє High Tide 00:05 & 14:20 Low Tide 07:53 & 19:33 RIYADH: A weak global economy is the main reason for вЂњtensionsвЂќ in world oil markets, Saudi ArabiaвЂ™s crown prince said yesterday, in a speech on behalf of ailing King Abdullah. Prince Salman also indirectly touched on the violence ravaging Syria and neighbouring Iraq, saying Saudi Arabia remains вЂњan oasis of peaceвЂќ despite turmoil around it. вЂњYou are aware of the urgent tensions taking place in the international oil market, caused by a number of factors, foremost the weak global economic growth,вЂќ the prince said in address to the Shura Council, an appointed body that advises the monarch. вЂњThis development is not new in the oil market, and the kingdom has in the past dealt with it firmly and wisely,вЂќ he said, adding that Saudi Arabia will maintain its вЂњsame approachвЂќ towards the market. The speech would have been given by King Abdullah, but he has been hospitalised since last week with pneumonia. Global crude prices fell about 50 percent in 2014, mostly since June, and the rout has continued into the new year. The benchmark US oil price fell below the psychological $50 a barrel level yesterday for a second day. Economic growth remains uncertain in Europe and in many emerging economies including China and Brazil. Along with worries about global demand, analysts have also blamed a strong dollar and a supply glut for oilвЂ™s price fall. Saudi Arabia is the major producer among the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cartel, which decided in November to leave crude output unchanged, further pressuring prices. Oil minister Ali Al-Naimi has been quoted as saying it is unfair to expect the cartel to reduce output if nonmembers, who account for most of the worldвЂ™s crude production, do not follow suit. Continued on Page 13 Syrian embassy resumes services Oil minister says diesel subsidies remain for some By B Izzak Hamas denies Meshaal expelled from Qatar JERUSALEM: The Israeli government Gaza, also told the AP the report was yesterday claimed Qatar had expelled false.In Turkey, the Foreign Ministry said the leader of the Hamas militant group, it had no information on a Qatari deciin what would be a significant diplo- sion or plans by Meshaal to relocate to matic victory for Israel. Hamas officials Turkey. denied the claims as вЂњbaselessвЂќ. The Israel and Hamas, an Islamic militant Israeli Foreign Ministry group sworn to the issued a statement saying it destruction of the Jewish вЂњwelcomes QatarвЂ™s decision state, are bitter enemies. to expel the head of the The sides fought a 50-day Hamas political bureau, war last summer that killed Khaled Meshaal, to Turkey.вЂќ more than 2,100 It said the Qatari decision Palestinians in Gaza and 72 came after heavy diplomatpeople on the Israeli side. If ic pressure from Israel. вЂњWe the claim is true, the expulexpect the Turkish governsion would mark a major ment to act responsibly in a setback for Hamas. Khaled Meshaal similar way,вЂќ it added. In recent years, Hamas Hamas officials in both Qatar and has faced growing isolation in the Gaza angrily dismissed the Israeli region after disputes with its longtime claims. Izzat Rishq, a top aide to sponsors, Syria and Iran, and the downMeshaal, said the claim was wrong. fall of its close ally, former Egyptian вЂњThere is no basis of truth about broth- President Mohamed Morsi, who was er Khaled Meshaal leaving Doha. We overthrown by the military. Meshaal are in Doha now,вЂќ he told AP. Hamas moved to Qatar after the Syrian civil spokesman Hossam Badran in Qatar war erupted in 2011. and Salah Bardawil, a Hamas official in Continued on Page 13 Prince Ali to stand for FIFA president model of ethics, transparency and good governance.вЂќ AMMAN: FIFA Vice President Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of FIFA has been steeped in controversy and allegations Jordan declared yesterday he would challenge Sepp of corruption since Russia and QatarвЂ™s successful bids to Blatter to lead footballвЂ™s world governing body, vowing host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Prince Ali, the son of to end years of controversy surrounding the game. If the late King Hussein of Jordan, had been one of the most successful, he would be only the second FIFA chief from senior FIFA officials to call for the publication in full of a outside Europe, and the first ever from the Middle East. вЂњI report last year into the winning bids. But FIFAвЂ™s executive am seeking the presidency of FIFA because I believe it is voted to release only an вЂњappropriateвЂќ, edited version of time to shift the focus away from administrative controtop US lawyer Michael GarciaвЂ™s report into the alleged corversy and back to sport,вЂќ the 39-year-old prince said in a ruption. statement. вЂњThe headlines should be about football, the Blatter last month ruled out any suggestion that Qatar beautiful sport, not about FIFA.вЂќ could lose the right to host the tournament. вЂњIt would The prince, who was elected FIFA vice-president for really need an earthquake, extremely important new eleAsia in 2011, aims to prevent Blatter winning a fifth term ments to go back on this World Cup in Qatar,вЂќ he said. in office. Frenchman Jerome Champagne has also Prince Ali Blatter has long been a controversial figure, and FIFA, declared his candidacy in the May 29 election. Prince Ali said he had been encouraged to run after consultations with senior fig- which oversees a multi-billion dollar industry, has never been far from ures in football. вЂњThis was not an easy decision. It came after careful con- scandal. The 78-year-old Swiss national succeeded scandal-plagued sideration and many discussions with respected FIFA colleagues over the Brazilian Joao Havelange - the only non-European to have headed FIFA last few months,вЂќ he said. вЂњThe message I heard, over and over, was that it in 1998. FIFA and Blatter have sought, without success, to silence critics of is time for a change. The world game deserves a world-class governing the Qatari and Russian bids. Continued on Page 13 body - an International Federation that is a service organisation and a KUWAIT: Kuwait said yesterday that SyriaвЂ™s embassy had resumed consular services for some 140,000 Syrian nationals living in the state after closing nearly three years ago. Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Khaled AlJarallah said three Syrian diplomats arrived in Kuwait recently and are operating the embassy. Jarallah however insisted that Kuwait had not closed the Syrian embassy nor opened it because it was вЂњour Syrian brothers who closed and opened it for matters relating to the services of their communityвЂќ. The Damascus mission remained shut from Feb 2012 when Kuwait and other Gulf countries expelled the Syrian ambassadors in protest against the regimeвЂ™s massacres of Syrian people. Before its closure, the embassy was ransacked by thousands of Syrian and Kuwaiti activists who stormed the building in protest against the Syrian regime. About 40 people were arrested by riot police. The embassy is expected to start offering its services next week. Syrians in Kuwait have been unable to renew their passports or obtain official documents after Damascus closed the embassy, citing the refusal to accredit its envoy. In another issue, Jarallah said that the foreign ministry was in contact with a number of embassies regarding the issue of residency fines for failing to update passport information at the immigration department. Continued on Page 13 WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 LOCAL Crime R e p o r t Policeman reports assault KUWAIT: A policeman told Fahd Al-Ahmad police that he was beaten by a group of people in the area. Detectives are working on identifying the culprits. Kids with guns Ahmadi police arrested two juveniles with a firearm. The two were driving in Mangaf without a driving license. They were sent to concerned authorities. KUWAIT: In this March 7, 2013 file photo, expatriate workers lined up and enter a bus following their arrest during a crackdown on illegal residents at the vegetables market. вЂ” KUNA One-year-old rescued after mom caught in visa crackdown By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: A one-year-old baby girl was surrendered to the Philippines Embassy extension in Hateen area by a Bangladeshi driver 10 days after the infantвЂ™s mother, who had been living illegally in Kuwait, was arrested. The childвЂ™s father, who is also a Bangladeshi, was deported before her birth, also for illegal residency violations. The baby had been cared for a Bangladeshi taxi driver who is a family friend. вЂњI didnвЂ™t have anyone to leave the baby with in the house so I brought her with me every day,вЂќ said the taxi driver who asked that his name be withheld. The case came to the attention of the embassy when a regular passenger of the taxi noticed the baby. вЂњIвЂ™ve seen the baby almost every day for a few weeks so I asked the driver to whom the baby was and he told me the story,вЂќ explained Bernadette, a Filipina secretary. вЂњI thought maybe she was his baby or somebodyвЂ™s baby so I didnвЂ™t really mind at first. I just asked the basic questions: how old is she, her name but didnвЂ™t go in details,вЂќ she said. вЂњBut then, I noticed the baby was very jolly and laughing with the driver too much, so I asked a bit about her. That was when the driver opened up about her. I told him that maybe I could help him contact the embassy. Reunite the family Bernadette contacted the вЂ�SandiganвЂ™ of Ms Ann Abunda (a non-governmental organization helping Filipinos in trouble in Kuwait that coordinates with the embassy). When contac ted, Annie Mendoza, Philippine Department of Social Workers and Development headKuwait confirmed that the baby is now in the embassyвЂ™s custody. вЂњYes, we received the toddler already this afternoon (yesterday). I was very emotional to see the baby because sheвЂ™s just a toddler and sheвЂ™s already separated from her mother,вЂќ Mendoza said. Philippines Vice Consul Attorney Shiena Tesorero spoke with the mother, who is in police custody in Fahaheel. Efforts to reunite the two are now underway. вЂњWeвЂ™ll try to negotiate with the authorities here if they could entrust (to us) the mother under our custody so she could be with the toddler. We are trying our best, we hope that by tomorrow [Wednesday] the two will be reunited once again,вЂќ Mendoza mentioned. More cases Mendoza said this case was just one of many children separated with their mother as crackdown continues against residency violators. вЂњWe have many cases of children separated with their parents,вЂќ admitted Mendoza. вЂњIn August last year we got a two year old boy from his guardian. The boyвЂ™s name is вЂ�KhaledвЂ™ and he was separated at first from his mother. She was arrested for violating residency law. After a month or so the father was also caught by the police for the same reason and he was deported. The boy stayed with his parentвЂ™s friend for some time until we eventually rescued him. The boyвЂ™s parents were both Filipino and they are now waiting in Manila for their baby,вЂќ she said. Another case of a baby separated from their parents according to Mendoza is the case of four-year-old baby вЂ�MohammadвЂ™. His father was Egyptian and a Filipina mother. вЂњThe father was deported too in their country, the mother is now in the Philippines. They are all in our custody. I also have here a seven year old, a 12 year old and a 13 year old child. They are all awaiting formalities and if their papers are ready, they will be reunited with their parents,вЂќ she said. Long process Asked why the process of repatriation is taking so long to complete. вЂњBecause they have the law to follow here, they cannot send babies out just that. They need to know everything they do is in accordance with the law of Kuwait. So please bear with us, we are all for the reuniting with their respective parents but it has to be dealt based on legal procedure of the land. They are very careful sending out babies, because according to law of Kuwait, not one Kuwaiti will be abandoned or neglected. The good thing is that they are now safe and they are being cared for by the embassy or by their guardians,вЂќ Mendoza said. Stolen bus A security source said that police on a routine patrol in Salwa noticed a bus being driven recklessly. The bus was found to be stolen, so they stopped and arrested the driver who attempted to escape after attacking a policeman. The driver is a citizen in his forties and was under the influence of drugs. Ten narcotic tablets were found on him. вЂ�Fake copsвЂ™ wanted for robbery Three thieves posed as detectives and robbed a Bangladeshi of KD 10 while standing in front of his sponsorвЂ™s house. When he attempted to get his wallet back, they pulled out a knife and escaped. The victim gave police the license plate number of the car. Police are working on the case. Drug smuggling foiled Kuwait airport customs officers foiled an attempt by two citizens to enter Kuwait with hashish, marijuana and cocaine. The two who arrived from Lebanon drew the attention of the officers, so they searched them and found the drugs. They were sent to concerned authorities. Drug possession Farwaniya police arrested an Asian man for possessing and using drugs, as marijuana and heroin were found with him in Khaitan. He was found wanted to serve a six-month jail sentence. He was sent to concerned authorities. Thief at large A thief in Hamad Al-Mubarak Street is still worrying residents as a new theft was reported after he broke into a car parked in front of a house. While a girl was receiving condolences for the death of her father, the thief broke the windows of her car and stole its contents. Police are working on the case. вЂ” Al-Rai and Al-Watan Man killed in Fourth Ring Road crash By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: A 39-year-old citizen was killed and two girls were injured in a two-car collision on Fourth Ring Road yesterday. Meanwhile, a Saudi national was killed in a collision on Salmy Road, while a Bangladeshi man was taken to hospital in critical condition. Homicide Farwaniya prosecutor charged a 43-year-old Egyptian with killing his compatriot, 50, and asked detectives to carry out investigations. A security source said police received a call about an Egyptian who fell from a high place, so police went to the building. The Iranian haris (building janitor) told them where his flat was, so they went there and found the suspect, who said he did know about the incident. Interior Minister opens вЂ�mobileвЂ™ operations rooms KUWAIT: Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad AlKhaled Al-Sabah opened modern units of mobile field operations rooms on Sixth Ring Road. The ceremony coincided with the visit Egyptian President Abdelfatah Al-Sisi. The Interior Minister was accompanied to the site by Interior Ministry Undersecretar y Lieutenant General Suleiman Fahad Al-Fahad, Assistant Undersecretary for Special Security Affairs Major General Mahmoud AlDousary, Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs Maj General Adballah AlMuhanna, Assistant Undersecretary for General Security Major Gen Abdelfattah Al-Ali, Assistant Undersecretar y for Operations Maj General Jamal Al-Sayegh and several field security leaders. Electricity theft A Ministry of Electricity and Water official told Salmy police about theft and property damage. He said that unidentified persons broke several poles and stole copper wires. Daughter charged with theft A citizen accused his daughter of stealing a laptop and other things worth KD 5,500, then escaping from the house. A case was filed for investigations. Commerce seizes counterfeit inks KUWAIT: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has confiscated over 436 boxes of replica inks used in photocopiers and printers in several stores yesterday. The MinistryвЂ™s copyrights department is taking legal measures against those responsible, and will send the replica inks to the forensic evidence department at the Ministry of Interior, Assistant Undersecretary for international organizations and foreign commerce affairs Sheikh Nimer Al-Sabah said. Sheikh Nimer also noted that the Ministry has executed thorough inspections on ink-selling stores after receiving complaints from owners of authentic ink companies, regarding the presence of fake products carrying their brand labels. The Ministry had recently formed a committee to protect copyrights, in coordination with the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Information, Ministry of Health, KuwaitвЂ™s Municipality and the customs department, aiming to fight fake and replica products. вЂ” KUNA Border alert lowered KUWAIT: Security authorities lowered an alert on the borders of Kuwait a day after it was raised following a suicide attack on a border patrol in Saudi Arabia. On Monday, Kuwait issued instructions to keep military intelligence on continuous duty at border points and to increase security presence and the frequency of patrols on the borders along with border surveillance, Al-Qabas daily reported yesterday. Kuwait also coordinated with Iraqi counterparts as a preventive measure following the attack on Saudi Arabia. KUWAIT: Director General of Kuwait Fire Service Directorate Maj Gen Yousuf Al-Ansari opened the fourth meeting of the search and rescue teamsвЂ™ development committee in GCC countries and Jordan. Ansari lauded the efforts of the teams and their coordination of action during natural disasters, as well as preparing training plans with unified procedures between the countries. The committee was formed in 2013. вЂ” By Hanan Al-Saadoun WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 LOCAL Sisi promises less red tape for prospective investors Egyptian president concludes вЂ�historic visitвЂ™ to Kuwait KUWAIT/CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdelfatah Al-Sisi noted in a meeting yesterday with the Kuwaiti media his countryвЂ™s penchant for encouraging Kuwaiti investments in Egypt through, among other things, reducing sharply red tape or any existing impediments that might stand in the way of Kuwaiti investors. In a meeting with Acting Chairman and Director General of Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) Abdul-Hameed Malek and editors-inchief of Kuwaiti newspapers, President Sisi stressed that his country had put in place a special approach or procedure to assist investors in concluding their applications for investment in Egypt in a matter of days. The Egyptian president applauded the great role played by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in promoting amity and harmony among Arab states and in filtering out differences among them. President Sisi extolled the вЂњfirm and historicвЂќ ties between his country and Kuwait, and emphasized the imperative that all Arab countries strive for joint Arab work and cooperation. He considered that the stability of Egypt reflected directly on that of the Arab region and underlined the importance of the economic conference Egypt was organizing in March in the city of Sharm El-Sheikh for the purpose of attracting Arab and foreign investments in his country. The president emphasized the role the media and youth play in Arab societies, saying the media helped in disseminating stability in the region, and the youth offered energy, knowledge, and enthusiasm as building blocks for a progressive and prosperous Arab society. KUNAвЂ™s Acting Director General and Editors-in-Chief of the Kuwaiti newspapers praised the visit of the Egyptian President as one that would boost security, peace, and stability in the region and lauded the great progress Egypt has achieved in the last six months since President Sisi assumed the reins of power. Same views President Sisi concluded yesterday a twoday official visit to Kuwait where he held talks with HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah. He was seen off at the airport by HH the Amir, HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al- Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, National Assembly Speaker Ali Al-Ghanem, Deputy Chairman of the National Guard Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad AlSabah, Deputy Minister of Amiri Diwan Affairs Sheikh Ali Jarrah Al-Sabah and several other ministers and senior officials of the army, police and National Guard. Before leaving, the Egyptian president said that he and HH the Amir shared the same views on вЂњhot issuesвЂќ in the region, primarily Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. вЂњThere were also identical views on economic and investment dossiers and the attraction of more investments to Egypt,вЂќ Sisi was quoted by EgyptвЂ™s official news agency (MENA) as telling reporters accompanying him during his visit to Kuwait. He said the significance of his visit to Kuwait is due to the fact that вЂњEgypt shares concerns with other Arab countries which are in trouble at presentвЂќ. вЂњNow, we need to stand united as one group in the context of unifying Arab ranks in face of risks, and we are able to do so,вЂќ Sisi said. He pointed out that his visit to Kuwait as well as foreign tours in general give a message to the outside world that вЂњEgypt has regained its position in the regionвЂќ. вЂ�ProductiveвЂ™ meeting President Sisi also received Chairman of the Arab and International Relations Council Jassim Al-Sager and Board members of the Kuwaiti-Egyptian relations council. Following the meeting, the board members described their meeting with Sisi as вЂњproductive,вЂќ as they discussed many common matters in the realms of trade, security and investment. The councilвЂ™s board members agreed that their meeting with the Egyptian President was positive and focused on attracting more investment to Egypt from Kuwait and other Arab countries. вЂњEgypt is a promising country for investment,вЂќ the members expressed, adding that the Egyptian President is working on facilitating investment regulations for foreigners, especially the Kuwaitis. Meanwhile, Sager pointed out that the Kuwaiti-Egyptian relations council was established to promote bilateral ties and it was suggested by the Egyptian Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Munir Abdelnour in his recent visit to the State of Kuwait. Stronger relations Sisi began his visit Monday - his first to Kuwait since becoming president. The visit was seen as a change to boost bilateral relations and cooperation as Egypt is set to take over the Arab Summit presidency from Kuwait in March. Deputy Minister of Amiri Diwan Sheikh Ali Jarrah Al-Sabah said in a statement talks between Sisi and Kuwaiti leaders dealt with ways of boosting bilateral relations and cooperation, as well as issues of common interest. Following the summit talks, HH the Amir decorated Al-Sisi with the Order of Mubarak Al-Kabeer in appreciation of the Egyptian leader and people. The Egyptian leader, accompanied by Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri, Minister of Oil and Mineral Wealth Sherif Ismail, Minister of International Cooperation Najlaa Al-Ahwani and Minister of Investment Ashraf Salman, had already started high-level meetings with Kuwaiti officials at the beginning of his twoday visit. The Egyptian leader, meanwhile, met with President of the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Ali Mohammad Thunayan Al-Ghanem, who was accompanied by KCCI board members. The PresidentвЂ™s visit was described following the meeting to be вЂњwithin the framework of efforts exerted by Egypt to promote joint Arab action and the development of relations between the Arab countries.вЂќ Sisi will also meet with Egyptian businessmen in order to strengthen economic relations between the two countries. First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled had said AlSisiвЂ™s visit to Kuwait would open future prospects of bilateral relations, describing it as вЂњvery important to complete what the country started in both regional and international issues.вЂќ Brotherly visit Meanwhile, two leading Egyptian newspapers published yesterday stressed the importance of the Egyptian PresidentвЂ™s brotherly visit to Kuwait. Al-Ahram newspaper said that President SisiвЂ™s visit to Kuwait is a historical event in the bilateral ties between both countries, and it reflects the presidentвЂ™s deep concern of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countriesвЂ™ security, which he considers part of the Egyptian national security. EgyptвЂ™s bid to fight terrorism through its intellectual wisdom tops the PresidentвЂ™s agenda during his current visit, the newspaper said. Egyptian President Abdelfatah Al-Sisi during his meeting with editors-in-chief of Kuwaiti newspapers yesterday. вЂ” KUNA photos KUWAIT: Egyptian President Abdelfatah Al-Sisi is seen off at the airport by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. It shed light on the Arab nationвЂ™s agreement on a regional plan to face terrorism and uproots its funding sources. Sisi greatly appreciates KuwaitвЂ™s support of June 30th revolution, and later to its вЂњroad mapвЂќ politically and economically, recalling KuwaitвЂ™s great role in the reconciliation between Egypt and Qatar, it said. KuwaitвЂ™s announced its participation in the economic and Arab summits to be held in Egypt next March, as it considers Egypt a great country which always bears the Arab worldвЂ™s concerns, Al-Ahram newspaper said. The official talks between Sisi and HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah that took place yesterday were of high importance where they contributed to boosting bilateral ties at all levels, Al-Gomhoria newspaper said. This visit is a part of a series of other visits of President Al-Sisi to various Arab and African countries, as a step to reflect the return of the Egyptian key role in sustaining the regionsвЂ™ stability and security, it added. вЂ” KUNA Sisi in a group photo with board members of the Arab and International Relations Council. KUWAIT: In celebration of Christmas, a Holy Mass was celebrated at the Armenian Church Kuwait - Salmiya yesterday, attended by Armenian Ambassador to Kuwait Fadey Charchoghlyan and Ambassador of Lebanon to Kuwait Khodr Helweh. The Armenian Church is located in Salmiya since the 1960s. Armenian orthodox celebrate Christmas on January 7 every year, as fifth century AD Christians celebrated Christmas, Baptism and Epiphany on that date. вЂ” Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat NBK sponsors Kuwait UniversityвЂ™s Finance Club KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) sponsors the Finance Club of the Faculty of Business Administration in Kuwait University. NBK is sponsoring the Finance Club activities for the whole year including studentsвЂ™ participation in a training course in London on financial analysis. вЂњNBKвЂ™s sponsorship and support to the Finance Club comes in line with the BankвЂ™s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility as well as the vital role it plays in supporting all students, youths and educational initiatives,вЂќ said NBK Public Relations Manager, Abdul Mohsen AlRushaid. Rushaid added вЂњNBK is committed to supporting youths and empowering them to realize their potentials. NBK provides career and training opportunities to encourage youths to assume roles and obtain the required tools to create an environment ripe for their leadership.вЂќ NBK Annually promotes a range of educational initiatives as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility. In addition to sponsoring studentвЂ™s clubs at the university, NBK offers many training programs including NBK Academy, Shabab program and the Summer Internship Program. The Finance Club at Kuwait University is a non-profit club that seeks to serve and help business administration students at the university. The club helps in advancing the interests of business administration students vocationally and academically. It aims at presenting a clear view of activities through providing lection and seminars, or participating in exhibitions and conventions. WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 LOCAL KUWAIT: Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and State Minister for Planning Hind Al-Subaih speaks, as Mubarak Al-Kabeer Governor Ahmad AlRujaib and mayors are seen. вЂ” Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat Co-ops privatization under consideration: Al-Subaih Mubarak Al-Kabeer residents explain problems to minister By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: Kuwait is studying the idea of privatizing co-operative societies, a senior government official said yesterday. If a decision on that regard was made, it will first be applied on one co-op to see how it works, said Hind Al-Subaih, Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and State Minister for Planning. вЂњI believe that [the privatization] may eliminate corruption, as there wonвЂ™t be bribes for the manager or board members to sell certain items, and there will be competition in price, which in the end will be in favor of the consumer,вЂќ she explained. Subaih was invited yesterday by Mubarak AlKabeer Governor Ahmad Al-Rujaib to meet residents of the governorate and listen to their complaints, suggestions and present and future plans. Mayors of various areas of the governorate and some residents attended the meeting to speak about problems and shortages in their areas. The mayor of Messila demanded establishing a cooperative in Messila and Hasaniya as residents in this area have to go shopping for their groceries in Fintas and other nearby areas. Co-op license Subaih noted that the law requires having a supermarket in the area in order to get a license for a co-op. вЂњI suggest you make a deal with Fintas co-op to build a supermarket in your area, and then separate from them. After that, you can demand establishing a co-op in the area,вЂќ she suggested. The mayor of Qurain complained of having 20 branches neglected and suffering from many problems and shortage of services. He also complained of have large numbers of вЂ�bachelorsвЂ™ in Block 4. He also demanded establishing a park and club for children in Qurain. A resident of Qusoor complained of lopsided demography over the presence of huge numbers of expats. Subaih stated that the ministry formed a committee with four groups from various public institutions to discuss this issue. вЂњThe committee will make a study on the actual numbers of each community and it should be announced next month, to have a forecast of the population after 20 years and their percentages,вЂќ she pointed out. A member from Qurain co-op demanded imposing departure permits for expat cashiers or money collectors, especially since some of them are responsible for huge amounts of KD 40,000 or more. The minister commented that the law does not allow this and employers canвЂ™t even hold their passports. General problems Some attendees spoke about general problems facing needy people who have to frequently visit more than 10 institutions to get the paperwork done to receive donations. вЂњThe min- istry is now working on a project of connecting 10 institutions online, so patrons wonвЂ™t have to go personally to all the places, and will only need to enter their civil ID number,вЂќ stressed Subaih. She also spoke about future plans. вЂњA longterm plan is now being discussed at the parliament and should be approved in April, while the first of the two five-year plans was already approved, and the second should be approved in February. We also are cooperating with schools and universities to spread planning awareness, such as asking students to plan what they want to achieve this year. We signed a protocol with the United Nations Development Program to raise planning awareness in ministries, and an international consultant will train local achievers to set plans,вЂќ explained Subaih. Developing parks She also spoke about plans to develop and improve public parks that are under the umbrella of the ministry and adorn them with landscaping and games instead of abandoned buildings. She added that a committee of young people was formed to check service centers, co-ops, traditional cafes and parks to improve them under the supervision of the ministry. Subaih concluded saying that her doors are open to any suggestion and that she will not take any decision before studying it from the view of the consumer and not the decision maker. KUWAIT: The National Union of Kuwait Students - United States Branch (NUKS - US) honored the Commercial Bank of Kuwait (CBK) for sponsoring the 31st annual NUKS - US conference which took place in San Francisco, California under the patronage of His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah. Water tankers next? KUWAIT: Water tankers were scarce or charging increased prices yesterday despite a warning from the government that they are not allowed to raise prices. The water tanker issue follows on the heels of a strike of Iranian bakeries in Kuwait after the government removed subsidies and lif ted the price of diesel and kerosene. The Consumer Affairs department at the Ministr y of Electricity and Water warned drivers of fresh water tankers against selling water at prices higher than those set by the ministry, adding that this is a violation and will be met with legal action. An average 3000 liter tanker costs around KD 5.750 and KD 6 but now some drivers are ask ing as much as KD 15 per tank. Many people use the water tankers to fill their pools or apartment water tanks or to water their gardens or farms. The ministry sent a circular to all water filing stations and those con- cerned warning them to refrain from supplying tankers caught trying to sell at the higher price. They are to be banned them from entering water stations, in case of a complaint or violation, and may face legal action. It was not clear, however, what the government is doing to address the problem as water tankers will now have to pay the higher costs of diesel fuel, which went up January 1 from 55 fils per liter to 170 fils per liter. Govt favors monopolists, harms middle class: ICM By A Saleh KUWAIT: The Islamic Constitutional Movement (ICM) yesterday issued a statement commenting on the fall of oil prices and slammed government measures in this regard, deeming them as вЂ�favoring monopolists and harmful to the middle class. The statement strongly criticized the government for failing to diversify sources of income, especially in view of the recent fall of oil prices that was devastating to the national economy. ICM also stressed that the recent decisions showed that the government did not care about people with limited income. MoH, MoI coordinate on Ebola Health minister Dr Ali Al-Obaidi stressed that the ministry has set special policies and methods to fight Ebola and listing the virus on the list of dangerous infectious diseases that require special measures and handling of cases and those in contact with them. Responding to a question from MP Kamel Al-Awadhi, Obaidi said that MoH was coordinating with MoI to suspend issuing visas to people from affected countries. He added the needed lab technology and the faculty of medicine labs were alerted to examine any possible cases round the clock. In addition, Obaidi said that effective examination devices had been set up at all exits to examine arrivals, as well as in various centers to examine medical staff dealing with possible cases. On a different issue, Obaidi said that the ministry suffered from a lack of ambulances, especially along the Salmi highway that is served by only four ambulances. Responding to an inquiry from MP Saud Al-Huraiji, Obaidi said that MoH ambulances were equipped according to international specifications and said that the ministry plans to replace old ambulances once the Audit Bureau approves a tender to purchase 50 new ones. He added that the ministry also signed contracts to purchase two air ambulances (helicopters) to be used within Kuwait in addition to a jet to be used for medical evacuation to and from Kuwait. Driving blind By Sara Ahmed KUWAIT: Perhaps you are a new driver, just learning how to navigate KuwaitвЂ™s roads and its often erratic and dangerous traffic. Or maybe you never actually took a course in driving but instead got your license and learned from a friend or relative. Whatever the case, you are posing a danger on the highway. You drive to the left of the right of my car, hovering right exactly in the middle of my blind spot and creating a hazard I can hardly avoid. Never heard of a blind spot? ItвЂ™s one of the most dangerous and misunderstood aspects of driving. A blind spot is an area on the sides of the vehicle that the driver cannot directly observe without turning his head. Side view and rearview mirrors are meant to help but they do not completely eliminate blind spots. If youвЂ™re in heavy traffic, on the Fifth Ring Road, for instance, driving the blind spot may be unavoidable. But in many cases, its lack of knowledge and not lack of lane space that leads to people driving in a blind spot. When you ride where the driver of the car next to you cannot see you, you increase the chances of a sideswipe or accident if the main vehicle tries to change lanes. Perhaps itis a cultural thing? In countries like Egypt or India, roads are so packed that leaving a few hundred feet distance between you and the car in front isnвЂ™t a question of safety but more an invitation for someone to cut in front. Similarly in Kuwait, it seems that driving in another carвЂ™s blind spot is fashionable, a way of staying close but not abreast of a potential rival. There are ways to avoid the dangers of a blind spot. First off, adjust your rearview and side view mirrors to see more of your own blind spot. Second, simply be aware that a blind spot exists and that the driver of the other car may not be paying attention. Third, always check your blind spots by turning your head to look before changing lanes. Fourth, try to maintain parity with your neighbor on the road. Fifth, drive abreast rather than having the nose of your car level with your neighborвЂ™s car doors. Now go out and try it. Drive on the Fifth or Sixth Ring Road in the far right (aka slow) lane. Wait until you see car passing you in the middle lane. Now watch it in your rearview and sideview mirrors. Now you see and as it approaches, it suddenly disappears. Now turn your head to the left - just a glance or two. See it right next to you? ThatвЂ™s a car in your blind spot. If you had changed lanes just then, you would have smacked into it. DonвЂ™t be invisible. WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 LOCAL PRICES ... City for all religions By Labeed Abdal [email protected] P Al-Jarida kuwait digest Where exactly are we? By Mudaffar Abdullah T o start with, with the fall in oil prices, some ministers appear calling for cancelling some of the current expenses because they are not necessary. It is as if they are saying that вЂ�we have made a mistake now by such expenditure!вЂ™ Unlike what happened in other capitals, it is really strange that the new yearвЂ™s occasion goes by without seeing any sign of joy and celebration in Kuwait. An entire state with all its development plans was incapable of having us listen to live music. Are we in a country that has completely lost all forms of reaction of normal human feelings? All the stateвЂ™s assets, including funds, hotels, cinemas, theatres and yards went to sleep on an occasion that has been known to bring joy and social and human pleasures over years. This happened because of the same old practices and warnings of violating religious regulations by celebrating this particular occasion, though it does not actually belong to a specific religion. Even security forces made their own warnings, threatening to raid private celebrations, which looked more like showing off what they are capable of. I have read so many remarks and tweets warning those planning to return home to Kuwait on the occasion, namely students studying abroad, and advising them to spend the vacation wherever they are studying in US, UK, Australia or other countries because the decision to spend it in Kuwait is вЂ�fool- ishвЂ™! Even the secret fear expressed by some officials of religious parliamentary blocs is no longer justified because the current parliament is very вЂ�kindвЂ™ in this regard. I wished that local media had made a feature story about where senior state officials spent their own An entire state with all its development plans was incapable of having us listen to live music. Are we in a country that has completely lost all forms of reaction of normal human feelings? vacation! To exaggerate the societyвЂ™s false idealism actually defames it and helps behavioral and social concepts that develop social hypocrisy spread within the society. It is a mistake to make calls prohibiting the celebration. It is also a mistake when all security forces get mobilized before the occasion and start threatening, as this give a false idea about the real tasks of such forces, while in fact celebrating the new year has nothing to do with any religious beliefs. It is rather a phenomenon practiced by all mankind around the globe driven by their own feelings to assess what they have been through in the previous year and aspire to achieve more happiness and things in the year to come. It is this simple! I would like here to stress that if we had had officials who think wisely, they would have arranged for organizing various recreational activities in various theatres and yards as the rest of the world does and this would have spared security forces of having to appear as commandos and religious scholars of appearing as preachers warning of punishment in hell! People are fed up with restrictions. I dare one sane official of the current government to announce the millions spent by Kuwaitis in other GCC states and the number of crimes committed by youth because of the lack of entertainment in Kuwait. Our distinguished government, let me tell you a secret. The sound of fireworks launched from the roofs of our houses on new yearвЂ™s eve - the ones we have purchased by our own money - are but the weak sideвЂ™s means of telling you that we need to have fun within our country! вЂ”Translated by Kuwait Times from Al-Jarida kuwait digest Soaring prices...whom to blame? By Dr Bader Al-Daihani D iesel subsidies have been annually costing the state budget over one billion dinars, which is three times as much as the governmentвЂ™s subsidies to social care and almost six times as much as it spends on rent allowance given to citizens still waiting for government housing. Moreover, and especially after privatizing gas stations in 2004, subsidized diesel has been stolen and smuggled abroad, leaving the government so far incapable of fighting this crime. According to the governmentвЂ™s financial advisors and International Monetary Fund recommendations, the government recently decided cancelling diesel, kerosene and aviation fuel subsidies from Jan 1 with exemptions to local factories and national aviation companies pending reduction or cancellation of social subsidies. Since this decision has negative impacts on citizens with medium and limited incomes, special comprehensive protection programs should have been set before applying the decision in order to make sure things would not end up overburdening them with soaring prices and high cost of living. The lack of serious consumer protection programs and the weakness or absence of government monitoring apparatuses made some local factories, major com- panies and retail outlets immediately increase their prices, though companies selling their products locally are exempted from the subsidy cancellation decision and the fact that they even get generous government facilities and subsidies, not to mention the internation- Referral to prosecution as the government threatened to do would take long while people suffer in their daily life ally falling oil prices which reduced raw material prices. Nevertheless, this was their golden opportunity to multiply their profits. The question now is: What will the government do? If it wishes, the government can take immediate legal measures to stop price increases including facility closure, license cancellation, confiscating goods, completely or partially depriving the violators of the privileges and facilities it provides. But it is not expected to make worthy decisions due to conflicts of interests because some of the major company and factory owners are board members in administrative bodies supposed to punish violators. Some of them are even members in the government or the parliament itself. So who is going to blame whom?! Therefore, unless public pressure is made, the government will not prevent price increases nor hold accountable retailers, companies or factories, be them those who already increased their prices or those expected to do so once electricity, water and petrol prices are increased according to the governmentвЂ™s plan. Referral to prosecution as the government threatened to do would take long while people suffer in their daily life. Things may even end up the way it did in previous cases - by minor fines that are nothing compared to the profits violating companies and factories have made. These fines will not compensate people for the losses they have incurred. вЂ” Translated by Kuwait Times from Al-Jarida kuwait digest Sisi in Kuwait By Sami Al-Nisf I learned through various sources about how Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi grew in a well-off family that is strongly bonded and keen on socializing with all its members. I learned how he is very religious and how he used to wake up all his family members to pray Fajr prayers on time. He was never financially or morally corrupt. During our recent meeting with Sisi, he expressed fear that the terrorist groups fighting in Egypt would be fighting on behalf of other mightier powers plotting against Egypt and the whole region. Therefore, I believe that fighting terrorism, Arab-Arab reconciliation and Kuwaiti investments in Egypt would be on top of the KuwaitiEgyptian talks, especially with advent of the World Economic Forum due to be held in Egypt next march. Egypt is the strong barrier protecting the whole region from wars and chaos. It is the first linedefending Gulf security, especially after some political blocs Egypt is the strong barrier protecting the whole region from wars and chaos revealed their true intentions and hidden wish to control GCC states to turn its security into fear, wealth into poverty and stability into civil wars the way it happened in other regional Arab countries. The Arab nation needs the Egyptian leadership to work on reaching political, not military, solutions to the problems in Syria, Libya, Yemen and the Palestinian cause, because with its size and influence, it is well-qualified to do so. The Egyptian Al-Youm Al-Sabe newspaper recently published an interview with the Muslim BrotherhoodвЂ™s international organizationвЂ™s secretary general Dr Ibrahim Muneeb in which he admitted that the Brotherhood had made a mistake by nominating Mohammed Morsi for the Egyptian presidency in 2012 and that they had politically misinterpreted the Egyptian political arena. This actually proves that the Egyptian people were right in rising up against Morsi and supporting Sisi! вЂ” Translated by Kuwait Times from Al-Anbaa alestinian President Mahmoud Abbas criticized Israel in a recent speech marking the 50th anniversary of the Palestinian Revolution, and that for their ongoing settlement construction and Judaization of Jerusalem. He blamed those practices for foiling international initiatives and efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East. The Palestinian president further pointed out that the roadblock that the peace process has reached was caused by IsraelвЂ™s failure to separate between the terrorist activity practiced by the Islamic State group, and between PalestiniansвЂ™ right. Furthermore, Abbas claimed that the ongoing building of illegal settlements in occupied territories fuels extremist sentiments that are on the rise in the region. Abbas then reiterated that Palestine will not accept having their cause marginalized under the pretext of fighting terrorist groups in the region, and argued that achieving peace and restoring PalestiniansвЂ™ rights are the best way to defeat those groups. Finally, Abbas slammed IsraelвЂ™s вЂ�illegitimate decisionвЂ™ to annex East Jerusalem, saying that the holy cityвЂ™s fate will determine the dimension of the conflict with the occupying forces. вЂњThe Israeli practices in Jerusalem will turn the conflict into a religious war that burns the region and the whole world,вЂќ he warned. First of all, we have to be realistic when discussing this prolonged conflict, and identify the points where the two sides meet, and others where they remain in disagreement on. The Israeli position is not new, and is based on agreements reached with superpowers after World War I and the fall of the Ottoman Empire. And since neither Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor United States President Barack Obama would be able to change the Israeli reality, the peace process needs to be built on mutual acceptance to the future, based on achieving regional security. Meanwhile, the United NationвЂ™s recent assertion of the Palestinian peopleвЂ™s right of self determination has indeed restored some hope; which has also been restored lately with decisions of some European parliaments - namely in Sweden and France - to recognize PalestiniansвЂ™ right of statehood. Yet, this glimmer of hope remains clouded by the recurrent tensions and religious-fueled attacks, which goes against the principles of tolerance and acceptance that all Abrahamic religions call for. Jerusalem is a city of vital importance in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and should always remain a place where all can practice their religions freely and peacefully. kuwait digest Abdulfattah has gone By Waleed Al-Jassim W ith these words that we made a little for the column, a citizen began his complaint against the strong return of reckless driving and showing off, and the rest of the words that describe the practices of youth in their cars in some well-known streets and areas of Kuwait. The caller reminded of the efficiency and ability by Maj Gen Abdulfattah Al-Ali when he was in charge of the traffic sector in the country and felt sorry that those days are gone. The caller said: вЂњI visited a friend for dinner in his Jahra jakhour (animal pen), then the reckless youth began showing off from 10:00 pm until 1:00 am when we left after hearing enough of tyres squealing and smoke from hot tyres that kept rubbing the earth until they exploded, which made the youths happy and proud. Then they changed the exploded tyres with a used one worth KD 1 only! But this dinar is enough to disturb one neighbor for I hope that the state and youth ministry in cooperation with the Interior Ministry finds safe and quick alternatives in suitable places for youth who practice this hobby. 10 minutes, which is the approximate time used by each car out of tens of cars. вЂњI left with the rest of my friends, while the pen owner remained until the morning to make sure the animals remained safe. He could not sleep that night because the youth began celebrating the New Year at an early hour, and kept showing off until the sun rose. They remained at this, one car after another, and there were more than 100 cars until 10:30 am, when they exhausted their excessive energy and their worn tyres and decided to go back home and sleep after depriving hundreds of people from it.вЂќ I listened to the callerвЂ™s complaint and told him: вЂњI cannot do anything, and you said it...вЂ™Abdulfattah has goneвЂ™.вЂќ I hope that the state and youth ministry in cooperation with the Interior Ministry finds safe and quick alternatives in suitable places for youth who practice this hobby. I am not in support of suppressing their hobbies. If they find a suitable place for it, they would practice it there instead of disturbing people, and as long as he state does not find an alternative for them, the problem will remain hanging and there will only be temporary solutions like those of Maj Gen Abdulfattah Al-Ali. вЂ” Translated by Kuwait Times from Al-Watan WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 Guatemala ex-dictator appears at genocide trial Female suicide bomber hits at heart of Istanbul Page 8 Page 9 Israel military divided over Gaza probes JERUSALEM: A fierce debate is raging within IsraelвЂ™s military over the extent to which soldiers should be held legally accountable for their actions during last yearвЂ™s Gaza war, with commanders increasingly at odds with military lawyers. The dispute has set off a firestorm in Israel, where many say the legal threat would shackle soldiers in any future battle, lower their morale and shatter a sacred trust on which IsraelвЂ™s compulsory military service relies. But with the Palestinians announcing their application last week to the International Criminal Court, the decision to investigate becomes all the more pressing: A robust Israeli inquiry into its militaryвЂ™s actions could be essential in thwarting an embarrassing and potentially incriminating outside probe. Israel launched the operation in Gaza on July 8 in what it said was a mission to halt relentless rocket fire by Hamas militants. During 50 days of fighting, more than 2,100 Palestinians were killed, most of them civilians, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry and the United Nations. On the Israeli side, 66 soldiers and 6 civilians were killed. Israel has defended the operation as an act of self-defense and blamed Hamas for the heavy civilian death toll, saying the militant group used residential areas for cover. But critics have pointed to the heavy Palestinian civilian death toll and questioned whether IsraelвЂ™s response was proportionate. Israel has also come under fire from critics who say it fails to thoroughly investigate its military operations or prosecute soldiers for abuses. Israel says it does investigate its actions, although those inquiries rarely lead to criminal punishment. Following a similar operation in Gaza in early 2009, the army convicted a total of four soldiers on various charges, including looting, improper use of a weapon and life-endangering conduct. The most serious sentence was a three-and-a-half month prison term. IsraelвЂ™s outgoing military chief, Lt-Gen Benny Gantz, has walked a fine line in the debate, trying both to soothe the troopsвЂ™ worries and explain the need for inquiries. вЂњSoldiers and commanders know they have the full support of the command level,вЂќ Gantz said last month. вЂњI feel very secure with our support and with the investigations, which are a necessary tool for our continued improvement.вЂќ IsraelвЂ™s military advocate general, Danny Efroni, is seen as the leader of the drive to investigate soldiers. Efroni and his legal team have received more than 100 complaints regarding incidents from last summerвЂ™s war and plan to conduct criminal investigations into at least 10, including the deaths of four boys in an NETANYA: Israeli soldiers take part in a military exercise on the seafront of this coastal town north of Tel Aviv yesterday as a winter weather front reached Israel. вЂ” AFP explosion on a Gaza beach on July 16 and an attack on a UN school on July 24. EfroniвЂ™s perspective, military analysts say, views an internal investigation as preferable to a potential probe by the International Criminal Court. The military did not answer a request seeking comment. The Palestinians are expected to join the court within about 60 days. Once that happens, they can submit war crimes claims against Israel. However, if Israel can show the court that it has carried out its own investigation in good faith, it could avoid an outside probe. вЂњSome in the military say вЂ�let us investigate, we have nothing to hide. The moment we investigate, international law wonвЂ™t intrude. There will be no international inquiry and no trial in The Hague,вЂ™вЂќ said Ilan Katz, a former military deputy advocate general. Still, the threat of criminal investigations has fueled concerns that soldiers and commanders will increasingly face prosecution. Critics say that would undermine performance in the field and dissuade new recruits from joining key combat units. The main bone of contention in the military ranks surrounds the events of Aug 1, when a temporary cease-fire was interrupted by the suspected capture of an Israeli soldier by Hamas militants. Israel unleashed a massive barrage of airstrikes and artillery fire aimed at blocking any potential escape routes of the suspected abductors, which killed nearly 200 people in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, according to Palestinian rights groups. The Israeli army subsequently declared that the Israeli soldier had been killed in action. The debate over whether to investigate the soldiers follows a separate inquiry into a commander of the same brigade that fought in Rafah, who was suspected of covering up crimes alleged to have been committed by his troops, including sexual misconduct. A group of reservists has appealed to Efroni not to investigate the Rafah incident, calling the possibility вЂњoutrageous and worryingвЂќ. Brig Gen Udi Simhony, a retired military commander, warned that investigating the soldiers could lead them to lose motivation and conceal evidence from the battlefield to protect themselves. вЂњThis needs to stop before we see its implications harm us mercilessly,вЂќ he wrote on the Walla website, a popular Israeli news portal. вЂ” AP p8_Layout 1 1/6/15 9:39 PM Page 1 WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 I N T E R N AT I O N A L Few options for fixing Libya, a major threat to West PARIS: Verging on full-blown civil war, Libya may pose an even greater threat to Europe than jihadists in Iraq and Syria, yet the international community has few tools to help resolve the crisis. Three years after NATO intervened to help overthrow Muammar Gaddafi regime, two rival governments claim his mantle and a rash of heavily armed militias fight for ter- ritory and oilfields. Hopes for a diplomatic solution are fading, say analysts, but the stakes are extremely high, particularly for southern Europe. Most of the 200,000 migrants who braved the Mediterranean crossing to Europe last year came from Libya, the UN said last month, and security risks are multiplying. вЂњThe West is distracted with ZWARA, Libya: Fighters from the Islamist-backed Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn) militia flash the sign for victory after securing the perimeter of the Mellitah Oil and Gas terminal in western Libya yesterday. вЂ”AFP Syria and Iraq, but arguably Libya is the greatest threat,вЂќ said Richard Cochrane, a senior analyst at IHS Country Risk in London. вЂњThe jihadists - who are in the same mould as the Islamic State - have got a firm foothold and weвЂ™re only expecting that to grow. вЂњThere is nothing stopping fighters using Libya as a conduit to get to Europe. It is a training ground right on EuropeвЂ™s front door.вЂќ Western diplomats have been shuttling frantically between the elected government - which has been driven into refuge in the remote east - and the Islamist-backed militia alliance that has seized most of the capital Tripoli. So far, UN attempts to bring the two sides to the negotiating table have been in vain. вЂњEven if they get them to talk, they wouldnвЂ™t achieve anything,вЂќ said Geoff Porter, head of the US-based North Africa Risk Consultancy. вЂњBoth sides think they stand a strong chance of military victory, each feels they have enduring support from external supporters, and both feel they have been done a severe injustice by the other party and would be betraying their followers if they backed down.вЂќ вЂ�LetвЂ™s Not DreamвЂ™ Some neighbouring countries such as Niger and Chad have called for military intervention to stem the tide of jihadists, refugees and weapons spilling over their borders. But these hopes are unlikely to be met. вЂњA NATO-style operation? LetвЂ™s not dream,вЂќ a French government source told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity. вЂњWe are not going to restart the idea that we can show up, drop a few bombs and it brings democracy and national unity.вЂќ An intervention force would have to be massive to make any dent on the chaos engulfing Libya. вЂњAnything short of a full-scale peacekeeping force would be highly vulnerable,вЂќ said Cochrane. вЂњThey would be stuck in compounds and repeatedly hit by morale-sapping IED (improvised explosive device) attacks.вЂќ Making matters worse is the fact that Libya has also become the theatre of a proxy war between regional powers. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates oppose the Islamist militias, seeing them as the military arm of the Muslim Brotherhood that they have tried to eradicate in their own countries. Qatar, and less overtly Turkey, have suppor ted the other side. вЂњRegional powers are ac ting as spoilers,вЂќ said Cochrane. вЂњRather than helping with mediation, they are supplying arms.вЂќ This is one area in which Western diplomacy could be effective, pushing these external forces to reduce their military support. Back Where it Started But the harsh reality is that Libya may be doomed to a prolonged and bloody conflict. вЂњThe informal consensus from Libyans and their neighbours is that the Libyans are going to fight until they get tired of fighting,вЂќ said Porter. That is something which Algeria - which went through its own brutal insurgency in the 1990s - knows all too well. Resigned to a long period of unrest on its eastern flank, it opposes any international intervention in Libya, fearing it will only make matters worse. The ultimate, tragic irony is that Libya may end up right back where it started before Gaddafi was toppled and killed in 2011. вЂњThere are two possible scenarios for a political solution,вЂќ said Porter. вЂњOne is that the Libyans acquiesce to some kind of federalism sharing power and resources. But the other is that a new strongman emerges who can bring the various warring tribes and factions to heel - who would rule in much the way Gaddafi did.вЂќ вЂ”AFP Female suicide bomber hits at heart of Istanbul ISTANBUL: A female suicide bomber blew herself up inside a police station in IstanbulвЂ™s historic Sultanahmet district yesterday, killing one officer and wounding another, the cityвЂ™s governor and Turkish media said. The woman spoke English as she entered the building but her nationality and identity were unknown, Governor Vasip Sahin told reporters at the scene. Turkish media said one of the officers died from his wounds. There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the bombing comes less than a week after far-left group DHKP-C said it was behind a grenade attack on police near the prime ministerвЂ™s office in Istanbul. Police sealed off the street where yesterdayвЂ™s attack happened, across the square from the Aya Sofya museum and Blue Mosque and near the Basilica Cistern, which are among the top tourist destinations in one of the worldвЂ™s most visited cities. Public transport resumed after being briefly shut down and some tourists, braving heavy snow, were still walking around the historic Sultanahmet square. The DHKPC (Revolutionary PeopleвЂ™s Liberation PartyFront) had warned of further strikes after last ThursdayвЂ™s attack, in which a man carrying an automatic weapon was detained near the Ottoman-era Dolmabahce Palace. The group was also behind a suicide bombing at the US Embassy last year as well as attacks on Turkish police stations. Turkey faces other security threats. Some of the thousands of foreign fighters who have joined the ranks of Islamic State militants in neighbouring Syria and Iraq have entered via Turkey, raising concern that they could return and strike on Turkish soil. There have also been clashes in predominantly Kurdish southeastern Turkey in recent weeks between members of Kurdish Islamist party and youths linked to the outlawed Kurdistan WorkersвЂ™ Party (PKK), which has also carried out urban attacks in the past. вЂ” Reuters Erdogan tells EU: Crack down on вЂ�IslamophobiaвЂ™ ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday warned the European Union it should crack down on вЂњIslamophobiaвЂќ amid rising anti-Muslim protests instead of trying to teach Turkey lessons about democracy. Erdogan told TurkeyвЂ™s ambassadors posted abroad in a speech in Ankara that they should pursue an assertive foreign policy to represent strong and selfconfident вЂњnew TurkeyвЂќ under his rule. In a new attack on the EU, Erdogan called on the 28-member bloc to вЂњrevisit its Turkey policyвЂќ, accusing Europe of dragging its feet on AnkaraвЂ™s decade-old membership bid. вЂњBelieve me it is regrettable that the EU is trying teach a lesson to Turkey instead of trying to tackle very serious threats it is facing,вЂќ he said. Erdogan said racist, discriminatory activities and Islamophobia were on the rise in Europe, complaining that racist organisations won sympathy in some Western societies with вЂњeach passing dayвЂќ. вЂњ The Islamophobia - which we constantly draw attention to and warn of - represents a serious threat in Europe. If the issue is not dealt with seriously today, and if populism takes European politicians captive, the EU and European values will come into question,вЂќ he said. His comments came a day after controversial German group PEGIDA rallied thousands of people in Dresden for a demonstration against what it calls the вЂњIslamisation of the OccidentвЂќ. Erdogan told the ambassadors Turkey needed to see itself as a great country, amid growing tensions with the EU over the crackdown on the opposition. вЂњTurkey is not a country which anyone can accuse by wagging their finger in big arrogance. Those who have such habits should abandon them,вЂќ he added. вЂњThose who shake their finger and reprimand Turkey must see that they are dealing with a new Turkey, big Turkey, with its economy, democracy and foreign policy.вЂќ вЂ�Stand Firm Against ThemвЂ™ Erdogan in August moved to the presidency after over a decade as prime minister in a period during which he worked to earn Turkey respect as a global Islamic power. вЂњYou are the envoys of a big state -with its history, culture, civilisation and victory from the independence war,вЂќ Erdogan told the Turkish ambassadors, referring to the fight against occupying allied forces in the early 1920s. He said that with a program of reforms, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had been вЂњtearing down that tight dress tailored for Turkey and its people, and getting rid of all the shackles one by oneвЂќ. But the president also warned the ambassadors to be вЂњvery carefulвЂќ and вЂњon alertвЂќ in the face of what he said was a campaign by Western media to portray Turkey as a country which вЂњdid not take its share from democracyвЂќ. вЂњThey (Western media) are not honest, they are not sincere. They come sit and talk with us. We give them necessary answers. We show them documents but despite all this, they go their own way,вЂќ he said. вЂњTherefore, I am asking ambassadors to stand firm against them. You should hit all this immoral and false news in its face. You should not make any concession,вЂќ he added. ErdoganвЂ™s comments yesterday coincided with the detention in southeastern Turkey of Dutch reporter Frederike Geerdink. She was released after several hours of questioning over tweets allegedly supporting a вЂњterrorist groupвЂќ. вЂ” AFP CAIRO: Grand Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb, head of Al-Azhar, the Sunni Muslim worldвЂ™s premier Islamic institution (left) talks to Coptic Pope Tawadros II, the 118th pope of the Coptic Church of Egypt, during his visit on the eve of the Egyptian Orthodox Christmas at St MarkвЂ™s Cathedral yesterday. вЂ” AP Two Egyptian policemen shot dead outside church Another officer killed dismantling bomb MINYA, Egypt: Two Egyptian policemen were shot dead by masked men yesterday as they stood guard at a Coptic Christian church in a city south of Cairo, witnesses and a local security source said. EgyptвЂ™s Coptic Christmas falls today and security is typically tightened at churches ahead of the holiday after a string of attacks on Christian targets over the past years. Interior Ministry spokesman Hany Abdel Latif was quoted by state newspaper Al-Ahram as saying yesterdayвЂ™s attack in Minya was not sectarian. вЂњ(It) has nothing to do with any of the holidays of our Coptic brothers, it is instead aimed at the security forces, to try to undermine their resolve.вЂќ The countryвЂ™s Coptic Christians, who make up about 10 percent of the population of 85 million, have largely coexisted peacefully with majority Sunni Muslims for centuries. But following the armyвЂ™s ousting of President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in July 2013, a number of churches and Christian properties were burned and destroyed in the impoverished south that is home to many Christians. The Brotherhood said at the time it had nothing to do with attacks on Christians and accused the army of cynically using the minority population to justify a fierce security crackdown. The most populous Arab nation faces a jihadist insurgency that has killed hundreds of soldiers and police since MorsiвЂ™s overthrow. A group of Sinai-based militants has pledged allegiance to Islamic State, the Al-Qaeda offshoot that controls parts of Iraq and Syria. Most of the attacks on security forces have been in the Sinai peninsula, which borders Israel and the Gaza Strip. But some attacks have occurred in cities, including the capital. Yesterday afternoon, an Egyptian police officer was killed while dismantling a homemade bomb near a police station in the Giza governorate, outside Cairo, security sources said. Three employees were also wounded when the device, hidden in a flowerpot, exploded near a police station on AlHarram Street, a busy avenue leading to the pyramids. A video posted on the website of Egyptian daily Youm 7 shows the officer dressed in protective gear being thrown metres away as the device explodes in his hands. The jihadist group Ajnad Misr (Soldiers of Egypt) claimed on Twitter that it had placed the device, saying it was targeting police officers. Four years of political turmoil since the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak has battered EgyptвЂ™s economy and frightened off tourists and investors. вЂ” Agencies Iraq says rebuilding of army in early stages BAGHDAD: Iraqi Defence Minister Khaled Al-Obeidi said yesterday that the Iraqi military has started rebuilding after its near total collapse last summer but that the effort is still in its initial phase. вЂњWe are still in the early stages; some of them are known to you, and some remain a secret,вЂќ Obeidi said in a televised address on the national holiday Armed Forces Day. Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi has sacked several dozen commanders and told Obeidi to lead a probe into corruption within the Iraqi military after Islamic State seized vast swathes of territory from Iraqi security forces last summer. Since then the hardline militants have been pushed out of several districts around Baghdad and near the Iranian border, but continue to hold large sections of the country. Although Shiite militias, Kurdish peshmerga forces and US-led air strikes have played a leading role in Islamic StateвЂ™s military reversals, a strong Iraqi army will be needed to recapture territory and also to establish law and order. вЂњChanging some military leaders will be the first step towards building a strong army and we will make changes in the entire military pyramid down to the last soldier,вЂќ Obeidi said on the national holiday commemorating the 94th anniversary of modern Iraqi militaryвЂ™s founding. Rampant corruption was seen as one of the main reasons why the Iraqi army failed to stop Islamic State in battle. Many units were short of weapons or had soldiers listed on paper who were not actually present in the field. Currently, several Iraqi security officials estimate the number of functioning military forces at between seven and nine divisions. They caution even those divisions are not all operating at full strength. The Iraqi army had at least 14 divisions on paper before Islamic State toppled the northвЂ™s biggest city of Mosul and soldiers deserted en masse.вЂ”Reuters ISTANBUL: A woman walks under the snow yesterday. Heavy snowfall descended on large parts of Turkey yesterday, snarling road and air traffic and leading to closures of schools. вЂ” AFP Chaos as heavy snow hits Turkey ISTANBUL: Heavy snowfall descended on large parts of Turkey yesterday, snarling road and air traffic and leading to closures of schools, reports said. In the northern province of Karabuk, a school bus went off the road and turned over on to its side in slick conditions caused by snow, leaving a student dead and 18 others injured, the Dogan news agency reported. The snowfall also seriously disrupted road traffic across Turkey and caused trouble with the electricity network causing some power cuts, particularly in the northern parts of the country. TurkeyвЂ™s national flag-carrier Turkish Airlines cancelled 44 international and domestic flights in and out of Istanbul and some other cities including the capital Ankara. In mega-city Istanbul, the authorities appeared to take every precaution including closing down schools. But the snow has so far failed to appear in the city in the quantities predicted. Some ferries across the Bosphorus have been cancelled. Schools have also been shut down in some parts of Ankara where the snowfall reached 1520 cm in some areas. Dozens of people were injured in accidents caused by poor weather conditions that caused traffic snarl-ups, media reports said. The snow led to the closure of the Istanbul-Izmir highway, with hundreds of cars being stuck on the road. Authorities have been warning for days that the cold spell would be unprecedented, saying the temperatures might drop to as low as minus 20 degrees Celsius for Istanbul. вЂ” AFP WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 I N T E R N AT I O N A L Guatemala ex-dictator appears at genocide trial GUATEMALA CITY: GuatemalaвЂ™s former dictator Efrain Rios Montt arrives on a gurney to court where he faces charges of genocide and crimes against humanity on Monday. вЂ” AP GUATEMALA CITY: GuatemalaвЂ™s ex-dictator Efrain Rios Montt was hauled to court on a stretcher Monday to attend his retrial on genocide charges before proceedings were halted by a motion to change judges. The 88-year-old former ruler, who is accused of ordering the army to massacre 1,771 Ixil Maya Indians during GuatemalaвЂ™s brutal civil war, was brought to court in an ambulance after failing in his bid to be tried in absentia for health reasons. But two of the judges on the threejudge panel accepted a motion by Rios MonttвЂ™s attorneys to replace lead Judge Jeannette Valdez, who wrote about the case in a 2004 masterвЂ™s thesis that the defense team said showed bias. Valdez said she accepted the decision and would recuse herself, adding that a new trial date would be set once her replacement had been chosen. Rios Montt, who ruled Guatemala with an iron fist in the early 1980s, was sentenced in 2013 to 80 years in prison for genocide and war crimes, but the countryвЂ™s Constitutional Court threw out the conviction on procedural grounds and ordered a retrial. After Valdez rejected Rios MonttвЂ™s request to be excused from attending the trial, say- ing medical documents did not indicate his health problems were high-risk, the former leader was brought into court on a stretcher, his face covered with a beige blanket. Dozens of indigenous protesters gathered outside to call for a new guilty verdict, led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu. They shouted вЂњGenocide!вЂќ and вЂњWe want justice!вЂќ as Rios Montt was taken from court. Rios Montt has been under house arrest in an upscale neighborhood in the east of the capital, where he must be under вЂњabsolute rest,вЂќ according to his lawyer Luis Rosales. He ruled Guatemala from March 1982 to Aug 1983, as the small Central American country struggled with a bloody civil war pitting successive rightwing regimes against leftist rebels. Rios Montt and his former intelligence chief, Jose Rodriguez, are charged with ordering the army to carry out 15 massacres of Ixil Maya indigenous people in Quiche in northern Guatemala. During the war, indigenous Guatemalans were often accused of supporting the rebels. Rodriguez was acquitted in the initial trial. The pair now face a new trial over the dictatorshipвЂ™s scorched-earth policy. 200,000 Killed or Disappeared Arriving at court in a wheelchair, Rodriguez said he was confident the retrial would clear his name. вЂњI want to put an end to this humiliation, this circus put together by NGOs that live off the conflict and international pressure,вЂќ he told AFP. Human rights activists reject the defenseвЂ™s claims that Rios MonttвЂ™s poor health prevents him from standing, calling them a strategy to delay the ruling. вЂњThe evidence is overwhelming,вЂќ said Juan Francisco Soto of human rights group CALDH, adding that he would submit more than 800 pieces of evidence and the testimony of 120 survivors and victimsвЂ™ relatives. вЂњWe already proved that there was genocide in Guatemala, and we expect another sentence,вЂќ said Hector Reyes, a lawyer representing the victims. Some 200,000 people were killed or vanished without a trace in GuatemalaвЂ™s 1960-1996 civil war, according to a 1999 UN-sponsored report. More than 90 percent of the human rights violations took place between 1978 and 1984. Rios MonttвЂ™s lawyers say he was unaware of the armyвЂ™s killings of indigenous people. вЂ” AFP US charges two over failed Gambia coup WASHINGTON: US prosecutors on Monday charged two men with conspiring to overthrow the government of Gambia in a failed coup ostensibly aimed at restoring democracy to the small west African nation. USGambian dual national Papa Faal and US resident Cherno Njie were arrested in the United States after they returned from Gambia, where they had traveled to help launch a December 30 coup attempt against President Yahya JammehвЂ™s government, according to the US Justice Department. Faal, 46, was expected to make an initial appearance in court Monday in his home state of Minnesota, while Njie, 57, living in Texas, was to appear Monday in US District Court in Baltimore, Maryland. вЂњThese defendants stand accused of conspiring to carry out the violent overthrow of a foreign government, in violation of US law,вЂќ US Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. вЂњThe United States strongly condemns such conspiracies. With these serious charges, the United States is committed to holding them fully responsible for their actions.вЂќ State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki stressed that: вЂњUS law enforcement action in this matter highlights the importance we place on preventing our citizens from taking part in violence of this nature overseas.вЂќ According to a criminal complaint released by the Justice Department, an FBI agent interviewed Faal, who described his own participation вЂњas a member of a group of fighters responsible for the attempted coup.вЂќ Faal also identified Njie as one of the coupвЂ™s leaders and main financiers, and told the FBI agent that вЂњNjie was also planning to serve as the interim leader of The Gambia upon the successful completion of the coup.вЂќ The men are charged with conspiracy to violate the Neutrality Act, which prohibits US citizens or residents from taking up arms or plotting against a nation at peace with America, and conspiracy to possess a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Last monthвЂ™s attack was repelled by security forces, and at least three suspected attackers died during the fighting, according to unconfirmed reports. On Jan 1, strongman Jammeh - who has ruled Gambia with an iron fist for 20 years - blamed unidentified foreign dissidents and вЂњterroristsвЂќ for the assault on his presidential palace. The criminal complaint details a plot cobbled together by men of Gambian origin including Faal, who had not lived in Gambia for 23 years but agreed to join the movement last August because he grew angry with the way вЂњthe president was rigging electionsвЂќ. According to Faal, the group had planned to ambush JammehвЂ™s convoy as he toured the country around the Christmas holiday.вЂ”AFP Tabloid, prominent Germans condemn anti-Muslim rallies DRESDEN, Germany: Top-selling German tabloid Bild and 50 prominent Germans called yesterday for an end to what they see as rising xenophobia, a day after thousands of protesters in several German cities rallied against Muslim immigration. MondayвЂ™s rallies, organised by a new grassroots movement called PEGIDA, or Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West, have become a weekly event in the eastern city of Dresden. Some 18,000 people, the biggest number so far, turned out in Dresden but similar rallies in Berlin and the western city of Cologne were heavily outnumbered by counter-protesters who accuse PEGIDA of fanning racism and intolerance. Bild published a вЂ�No to PEGIDAвЂ™ appeal on Tuesday, covering the front page and a double page spread on page 2 and 3 with quotes from the 50 politicians and celebrities. вЂњ(They) are saying вЂ�noвЂ™ to xenophobia and вЂ�yesвЂ™ to diversity and tolerance,вЂќ BildвЂ™s deputy editor, Bela Anda, wrote in a commentary. вЂњWe should not hand over our streets to hollow rallying cries.вЂќ In Dresden, the PEGIDA protesters waved GermanyвЂ™s black, red and gold flag and brandished posters bearing slogans such as вЂњAgainst religious fanaticism and every kind of radicalismвЂќ. One poster in Cologne called for вЂњpotatoes rather than doner kebabsвЂќ, a swipe at ethnic Turks who at around three million represent GermanyвЂ™s largest immigrant community. Germany has some of the worldвЂ™s most liberal asylum rules, partly due to its Nazi past. The number of asylum seekers arriving in Germany, many from the Middle East, jumped to around 200,000 last year four times as many as in 2012. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Germans to shun the anti-Muslim protesters, saying their hearts are full of hatred and argued that hostility towards foreigners has no place in Germany. In Cologne, home to a large Muslim population, there were 10 times as many counterdemonstrators as PEGIDA protesters. In similarly multi-ethnic Berlin, some 5,000 counter-demonstrators swamped around 400 anti-Muslim protesters, local police said. Cologne Cathedral and BerlinвЂ™s Brandenburg Gate switched off their lights to protest against the rallies. PEGIDA has nonetheless shaken GermanyвЂ™s political establishment which some say could help the Eurosceptic party Alternative for Germany (AfD). But the AfD, dogged by internal power struggle, is split over how to deal with the movement. BildвЂ™s campaign drew current and former politicians, celebrities and businessmen. вЂњ(PEGIDA) appeals to hollow prejudices, xenophobia and intolerance,вЂќ wrote former Social Democrat Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. вЂњA look at our past and economic sense tells us Germany should not spurn refugees and asylum seekers,вЂќ he added. Others included Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, rock star Udo Lindenberg, 76-year old pop star Heino and former German soccer captain Oliver Bierhoff. вЂ” Reuters DRESDEN: Demonstrators wave German national flags during a rally by a mounting rightwing populist movement called Pegida on Monday. вЂ” AFP WASHINGTON: Bicyclists travel past the US Captiol in falling snow as schools and business close due to unexpectedly heavy precipitation yesterday, the opening day of the 114th Congress. вЂ” AFP Empowered Republicans take control of Congress Keystone veto showdown looms WASHINGTON: Republicans determined to upend President Barack ObamaвЂ™s agenda were taking control of both chambers of Congress yesterday, setting the stage for power struggles that could define the final two years of ObamaвЂ™s presidency. The Republicans took control of the Senate in their sweeping election victories in November and expanded their majority in the House of Representatives. In their sights are ObamaвЂ™s signature healthcare law, his recent executive actions on immigration sparing millions from deportation and environmental and business regulations. Obama, meanwhile, has sent a message that heвЂ™s still relevant and infuriated Republicans with a series of high-profile presidential moves, including steps toward normalizing relations with Cuba. And no matter what the Republican Congress passes, Obama retains the power to veto legislation, an action heвЂ™s taken only twice in six years. As mandated by the Constitution, Congress was to convene at noon yesterday. Republicans, despite some intra-party leadership struggles, are showing their potential to advance their agenda, pointing toward a swift veto showdown with Obama over the long-stalled Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to Texas. The legislation, opposed by environmental groups and many rank-and-file Democrats, passed the House but died in the Democratic-led Senate late last year. Now, Republican leaders intend to push the bill through the House late this week, and appear to be close to having enough votes to clear it through the Senate as well. While Obama has not said if he will reject the measure, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest outlined a series of concerns before adding, вЂњIвЂ™m not prepared at this point to issue a veto threat related to that specific piece of legislation.вЂќ Despite the looming clashes, Republican leaders and the White House have indicated there is potential for cooperation on issues like trade, tax reform and infrastructure spending. The challenge for leaders of both parties will be facing down pressure from their more ideological members. Obama might face pressure from his partyвЂ™s liberal wing if he tries to work out a deal with congressional Republicans to fast track approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal that 12 nations are trying to negotiate. Senate liberals, led by Democratic Sen Elizabeth Warren and independent Sen Bernie Sanders, have declared opposition to the trans-Pacific trade deal contending it would benefit global corporations at the expense of American workers. The leader of the House, Speaker John Boehner, has seen his efforts to forge compromises thwarted in recent years by lawmakers aligned with the conservative tea party movement. But his hand is considerably stronger this year as a result of the Republican electoral triumph. The party will hold its biggest House majority in nearly 70 years. First, Boehner must be re-elected as speaker. His prospects of getting a new term appeared secure, despite challenges from at least 10 Republicans, including tea partybacked members. Many Republican lawmakers dismissed the challenge as a needless distraction at a moment when the party should be celebrating its new majorities and showing voters it can lead. Another distraction for the party has been revelations that the HouseвЂ™s No. 3 Republican, Majority Whip Steve Scalise, spoke to a white supremacist group 12 years ago. The White House waded into the furor Monday, with Earnest saying itвЂ™s up to Republicans to decide whether Scalise will retain his job and who the party has in leadership вЂњsays a lot about who they areвЂќ. In the Senate, Kentucky Sen Mitch McConnellвЂ™s ascension yesterday to the post of Senate majority leader was automatic following his approval by rank-and-file Republicans late last year. McConnell, who had been the Senate minority leader, faced criticism from tea party supporters over his role in brokering a bipartisan spending deal that ended a government shutdown in 2013. But he survived a tea party primary challenge last year and went on to handily win re-election to his Kentucky seat in the general election. вЂ” AP NYC mayor brushes off arrests slowdown NEW YORK: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio described a sharp decline in arrests and court summonses in the two weeks since two policemen were shot dead in an ambush as a few вЂњaberrantвЂќ days, brushing off reports they were signs of a police work slowdown. De Blasio, in his first interaction with journalists in two weeks, joined Police Commissioner William Bratton on Monday to announce a continued general decline in serious crime in the city in 2014, which he called a recordbreaking year. вЂњI certainly donвЂ™t think a few very aberrant days suggest anything compared to what you see over the course of a whole year of success,вЂќ de Blasio said when asked whether officers were ignoring low-level crimes because of safety fears or in protest against the mayor. However, both he and Bratton said they needed more time before explicitly ruling out the possibility the sharp decline in police activity was evidence of widespread insubordination. Tensions have risen between the police unions and de Blasio over his first year in office after the mayor, a liberal Democrat who campaigned on a promise of police reform, expressed qualified sympathy for the nationwide protests that began last summer over police killings. The rift widened on Dec 20 when two policemen were shot dead in their parked patrol car by an itinerant, suicidal man who said he was seeking to avenge the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers. De Blasio called the many hundreds of police officers who have since turned their backs to him at the policemenвЂ™s funerals and other events вЂњdisrespectfulвЂќ to the city. The drop in police activity since the ambush has continued into a second week. The number of arrests across the city was down more than half in the week ending Sunday compared with the same week the previous year, to 2,401 from 5,448, police said, confirming data first reported in the New York Times on Monday. The number of criminal court summonses dropped more than 90 percent to 347 from 4,077. вЂњAm I overly concerned at this particular point?вЂќ Bratton replied when asked if police were turning a blind eye to some crimes. вЂњTalk to me a little later in the week once I have a clearer idea of the impacts of the demonstrations, the funerals.вЂќ De Blasio, who has expressed impatience with what he calls вЂњdivisiveвЂќ news coverage of his problems with his police department, was keen not to dwell on the topic. вЂњI want to get us back to questions on this presentation,вЂќ he said, pointing to charts showing the steep fall in crime since 1993. вЂњThis is breathtaking, the information we have here.вЂќ вЂ”Reuters NEW YORK: New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (center), accompanied by New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton (second right) and other ranking NYPD officers, addresses a news conference at the New York City Police headquarters on Monday. вЂ” AP WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 I N T E R N AT I O N A L BangladeshвЂ™s Khaleda Zia faces murder charge threat DHAKA: Bangladesh authorities yesterday threatened to bring murder charges against besieged opposition leader Khaleda Zia and arrested her deputy over accusations that they incited a nationwide wave of deadly violence. A day after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina accused Zia of trying to trigger anarchy, a minister said her arch rival should expect a murder charge over an arson attack which left three people fighting for their lives. The threat, which comes after four activists from ZiaвЂ™s Bangladesh Nationalist Party were killed in the mounting unrest Monday, was made while the opposition leader remained confined to her offices in Dhaka, barred from leaving by police. The three people injured in the alleged BNP attack in Dhaka last week were in an autorickshaw that was firebombed by protestors-a frequent tactic of BNP hardliners who are trying to topple the prime minister. вЂњShe should prepare for a murder case,вЂќ Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said in comments that will do little to ease tensions in the volatile South Asian nation, a year on from HasinaвЂ™s controversial re-election. Confined and padlocked in her office in a up market Dhaka district, Zia on Monday called a nationwide non-stop transport blockade in an effort to topple the government and pave the way for inclusive polls. As supporters took to the streets to clash with officers, police arrested BNP secretary general Fakhrul Islam Alamgir over a series of violent protests by supporters. вЂњHe was arrested on charges of arson, bombings and vandalism,вЂќ Shiblee Noman, assistant commissioner of Dhaka police, said. Alamgir, the partyвЂ™s defacto number two, had been holed up in the national press club since Monday but was arrested as he tried to drive away from the building, according to an AFP journalist at the scene. Minutes before his arrest, Alamgir had denounced HasinaвЂ™s government and renewed calls to enforce a nationwide transport blockade. вЂњThis unelected government .. has turned the country into a prison,вЂќ he said. Police have virtually sealed off all the exit gates of the press club in central Dhaka since Monday afternoon after Alamgir spoke at a rally of a group of journalists, lawyers and other professionals. DHAKA: Burning vehicles, set on fire by opposition demonstrators, are pictured during violent protests in Dhaka yesterday. (inset) BangladeshвЂ™s main opposition leader and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson Khaleda Zia attends a rally in Dhaka. вЂ” AFP In another sign of the governmentвЂ™s determination to silence critics, a private television network was forced off air and its chairman arrested a day after broadcasting a speech from London by ZiaвЂ™s exiled son. While police said the detention of the ET V chairman was prompted by its airing of вЂњpornographicвЂќ material, a senior editor at the channel dismissed the official explanation as a smokescreen. ZiaвЂ™s eldest son Tarique Rahman, who has been living in exile since 2008, is seen as his motherвЂ™s heir apparent. He has become a particular bane of the government after claiming that HasinaвЂ™s fatherwho is widely regarded as the hero of BangladeshвЂ™s 1971 independence war from Pakistan-was in fact a stooge of Islamabad. Poisonous relationship Hasina and Zia, who have between them ruled Bangladesh for most of the last three decades, have a notoriously poisonous relationship and frequently exchange insults and barbs about each othersвЂ™ families. Ties hit a new low after the BNP and 19 other opposition parties boycotted last yearвЂ™s elections, claiming the contest would be rigged. Awami League party leader Hasina, who has been in power since 2009, refused their demands for the polls to be organized by a neutral caretaker government as with previous elections. Zia has been a virtual prisoner since Saturday, with the gates of her compound padlocked and a phalanx of riot police posted outside. In brief comments Monday to reporters who managed to scale the walls of her compound, Zia accused her rival of trying to cling to power by force in a country that has seen more than a dozen coups in its 43-year history. In an address to the nation on Monday night, a defiant Hasina laid the blame for the latest unrest firmly at ZiaвЂ™s feet. вЂњI am urging the BNP leader to stop these bomb and grenade attacks, these acts of sabotage, and killings, of arson and damage to property,вЂќ Hasina said. Although there were no reports of deadly violence yesterday, police said they had fired rubber bullets and tear gas at scores of BNP supporters when they tried to mount a transport blockade outside the capital. Two police officers were injured during clashes with Islamists, who are part of ZiaвЂ™s cadre of opposition parties. вЂ” AFP Wife of former Indian UN diplomat was вЂ�murderedвЂ™ Delhi police say TharoorвЂ™s wifeвЂ™s not committed suicide ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani paramilitary soldier stands guard at the main entrance of National Assembly building as the assembly met yesterday. вЂ” AP Pakistan legislators approve military courts for terrorism ISLAMABAD: PakistanвЂ™s lower house of parliament yesterday approved the establishment of military courts to hear terrorismrelated cases, after a Taleban massacre at a military-run school in the northwest shocked the nation. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had announced the plan after militants gunned down 134 children and 16 adults at the Peshawar school last month. He also ended a six-year moratorium on the death penalty in terror cases, and several people have since gone to the gallows. Members of the main opposition joined the ruling party yesterday to pass the measure, which now goes to the upper house. вЂњThe bitter pill of this new law is being swallowed for the security of Pakistan,вЂќ said Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah, opposition leader in the lower house. The measure was approved after 247 legislators-more than a two-thirds majority-voted to amend the constitution to allow for military courts to be set up. Members of the Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazal group) abstained. вЂњWe were not taken into confidence when the amendments were being made,вЂќ JUI (F) chief Fazalur Rehman told reporters at parliament. вЂњThe story of 9/11 is being repeated here,вЂќ he said, referring to September 11, 2011 attacks on the United States. вЂњAfter 9/11 Muslims were being targeted and the same thing is being done in the name of constitutional amendment. вЂњSome forces are trying to initiate a war between religious and secular forces in the country,вЂќ he said. Members of the party of cricketer-turnedpolitician Imran Khan were not present as their resignations are pending with the speaker. He alleges that last yearвЂ™s general election which brought Sharif back to power was rigged. Apart from the religious parties, some moderate political parties and members of the intelligentsia have criticized the military courts plan. The leading English-language newspaper Dawn termed it a вЂњsad dayвЂќ in an editorial yesterday. It accused political leaders of being unable to defend the countryвЂ™s constitutional and democratic roots or resist the вЂњgeneralsвЂ™ demandsвЂќ. вЂњYes, we need a coherent strategy to fight militancy and political and military leaders to work together. But military courts are not the answer,вЂќ Dawn said. Soldiers killed In the countryвЂ™s largest city Karachi yesterday, two paramilitary soldiers were killed and a passer-by injured during a raid on a hideout of Taleban militants. Police said the raid followed an intelligence report that the insurgents were hiding in a house in the Khurramabad neighborhood of Landhi district. вЂњThe militants opened fierce gunfire while the paramilitary troops were raiding the house, killing at least two soldiers,вЂќ a senior police officer told AFP on condition of anonymity. Police officer Akhtar Farooq said seven people-two women, two children, two men and the owner of the house-were taken into custody for further investigation. He said empty shells from 9mm pistols and Kalashnikovs and some improvised explosive devices were found in the house. вЂ” AFP Thailand to extradite Pakistan fugitive convicted of India blast BANGKOK: A Pakistani fugitive convicted in India over a 1995 bomb attack that killed 16 people including a chief minister will be extradited after his capture in Thailand, authorities said yesterday. Gurmeet Singh, 37, escaped from a highsecurity Indian jail in 2004 while on trial for involvement in the assassination of Punjab chief minister Beant Singh nearly a decade earlier. In 2007 he was sentenced in his absence to life imprisonment, along with five others. Thai police arrested Singh, also known as Jagtar Singh or Tara Singh, on Monday at a house he was renting near the eastern beach resort of Pattaya, local commander Suttisak Wantee said. вЂњHe has been living illegally in Thailand for four months,вЂќ Suttisak said. A Bangkok court approved his extradition to India yesterday. Beant Singh was killed by a Sikh suicide bomber outside the heavilyguarded state secretariat complex in the city of Chandigarh along with 15 other people in August 1995. Radical Sikh groups had held him responsible for abuses by security forces in the suppression of a Sikh nationalist insurgency in Punjab in the 1980s. вЂ” AFP NEW DELHI: The wife of a former high-flying UN diplomat and Indian government minister was murdered and did not commit suicide as earlier suspected, DelhiвЂ™s police chief said yesterday. Sunanda Pushkar was found dead in her five-star hotel room in the capital last January, two days after she alleged on Twitter that her husband Shashi Tharoor had been having an affair with a Pakistani journalist. Pushkar, married to Tharoor since 2010, had been taking medication for various illnesses and early autopsy results suggested she may have overdosed on anti-depressants and sleeping pills. But speaking to reporters yesterday, Delhi Police Commissioner Bhim Sain Bassi said new medical reports had led investigators to register a case of murder вЂњagainst unknown personsвЂќ. вЂњWe have registered a case of murder,вЂќ Bassi said in the capital. вЂњThe report given to the Delhi Police by the medical board says that her death was unnatural and it was because of poisoning. вЂњThe poison could have been administered orally or could also have injected, so keeping all these factors in mind, the case has been registered.вЂќ The discovery of PushkarвЂ™s body triggered intense speculation that she had committed suicide after being humiliated by her husband. Her death dealt a severe blow to the image of Tharoor who was a cabinet minister at the time and remains a member of parliament for the Congress party which lost elections last May last. In remarks carried by several media outlets, Tharoor was quoted Thursday as saying he was вЂњstunnedвЂќ to hear his wifeвЂ™s death was being treated as murder. вЂњAll I want is that a comprehensive investigation be conducted and that the unvarnished truth should come out,вЂќ said the 58year-old. Also an acclaimed author, Tharoor served as under-secretary general during Kofi AnnanвЂ™s leadership of the United Nations and was a candidate to replace him as secretary-general in 2008. After being beaten to the post by Ban Ki-moon, he then entered Indian politics as a member of parliament for the southern state of Kerala. Tharoor had to resign from his first ministerial post in 2010 after revelations that his then-girlfriend Pushkar had been given a free stake in a new Indian Premier League cricket team. вЂ” AFP NEW DELHI: Former minister of State for External Affairs and Congress PartyвЂ™s MP Shashi Tharoor (right) and his wife Sunanda Pushkar arrive at parliament in New Delhi. The wife of Tharoor was murdered and did not commit suicide as earlier suspected, DelhiвЂ™s police chief said yesterday. вЂ” AFP Hunt for suspects after gang-rape in India govt office PATNA: Police have arrested one of five suspects accused of gang-raping a teenage girl inside a local government office in eastern India, an officer said yesterday. The 16-year-old victim was attacked after arriving in eastern Bihar state late Sunday where the gang, including a local administrator вЂ™s driver, approached her and offered her a lift to a relativeвЂ™s home. Instead they took her to a nearby local government office in Muzaffarpur district and raped her. The victim, who hails from the eastern state of West Bengal, later escaped and filed a police complaint on Monday. вЂњFive men, mostly youths, forcibly dragged her to a nearby building of the (district) collectorate and gang-raped her till early Monday,вЂќ Naseem Ahmad, a senior district police officer, told AFP. Police chief Ranjit Kumar Mishra said that they had вЂњarrested one accused so far and ... are working to arrest the other fourвЂќ. The case is the latest in a string of violent sex attacks against women in the worldвЂ™s second most populous country. In another case in neighboring Uttar Pradesh state, one of two police officers accused of raping a teenage girl was reportedly arrested yesterday. The December 31 incident took place in Badaun district when the two policemen picked up the 14year-old as she stepped out to relieve herself. Badaun was thrown into the spotlight last May when two teenage girls, who were initially thought to have been gang-raped, were found hanging from a tree. The incident sparked uproar in India, echoing the outrage over the fatal gang-rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi in 2012. вЂ” AFP Thousands flee homes in Kashmir to escape firing SRINAGAR: Thousands of villagers in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir have fled their homes because of artillery battles between Indian and Pakistani soldiers along the highly militarized border, officials said yesterday. Authorities have evacuated more than 6,000 people to relief camps as of yesterday, nearly a week after the shelling broke out, said Shantmanu, a senior official in Indianheld Kashmir. About 4,000 other people have fled their homes and are staying with relatives, he said. At least a dozen people have been killed in the border skirmishes. While there was no shelling reported yesterday, tensions have heightened along the 200-kilometer (125-mile) border that India and Pakistan share in Kashmir, the Himalayan region claimed by both countries and divided between them. India and Pakistan have fought two wars over control of Kashmir since they won independence from Britain in 1947. Indian officials have set up about 20 relief camps where food and medical care is available to villagers, many of whom fled their homes with no belongings. Many residents said they fled their homes as mortar fire began landing in border villages. вЂњWe were very frightened as bullets and shells were raining from all sides,вЂќ said Kamal Singh, a construction worker. вЂњWe somehow managed to flee to a safer place,вЂќ he said in a telephone interview. Singh said he and his family fled from Baniglad village and have been staying at a government-run relief shelter for four days. Paramilitary officials said the shelling went on until midnight at numerous places along the border. вЂњAbout two dozen Indian forward border posts were under attack,вЂќ said D Parekh of the Border Security Force. While New Delhi and Islamabad each blame the other for starting the violence, border residents said both are responsible. вЂњThe two governments want to settle their scores and we are the ones who always suffer,вЂќ said Raj Chowdhry, a resident of Bobyia village, speaking from a relief camp. Chowdhry said he was worried about his elderly parents who stayed behind. вЂњMy parents couldnвЂ™t leave as theyвЂ™re too old. I donвЂ™t know if theyвЂ™re all right,вЂќ he said. Some villagers refused to move. вЂњWhatвЂ™s the point of leaving the village? This has been going on for decades. IвЂ™ve gotten used to it,вЂќ said Bishen Das, an 80-year old farmer who stayed in Baniglad, a village near an Indian border post that came under intense shelling. вЂњBy staying here I can at least attend to the hapless cattle caught in a situation where even humans donвЂ™t know what to do,вЂќ Das said. In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday that the US is concerned by the border tensions and encourages dialogue between India and Pakistan. India says Pakistani troops committed more than 550 cease-fire violations in 2014, the most since the two nations signed an accord in 2003. India accuses Pakistan of sending militants into the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir under the cover of the artillery. Islamabad says it only gives the militants moral and diplomatic support. вЂ” AP WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 I N T E R N AT I O N A L Strong currents slow search for AirAsia wreckage PANGKALAN BUN: Strong currents forced Indonesia to expand the search area for the crashed AirAsia plane yesterday, as rough seas and bad weather pushed debris and made it difficult to reach suspected chunks of the fuselage on the ocean floor. With only 37 bodies recovered since Flight 8501 crashed Dec. 28, there are also concerns that it will become harder to find the remaining corpses. вЂњTime is of the essence,вЂќ said the National Search and Rescue AgencyвЂ™s director of operation, Suryadi B Supriyadi. вЂњBut it seems like it is hard to beat the weather.вЂќ The search operation will expand by about 185 square kilometers (70 square miles), search and rescue chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo said. Dozens of new air carriers have popped up in Indonesia in recent years to meet the industryвЂ™s booming demand, but a string of deadly accidents has raised concerns about safety. Experts say poor maintenance, rule-bending and a shortage of trained personnel are largely to blame. Infrastructure has also failed to keep pace with exploding demand. The countryвЂ™s transportation ministry said it was cracking down after it was discovered that Flight 8501 did not have a permit to fly between Surabaya, Indonesia, and Singapore on the day of the crash. It suspended two ministry officials and five workers at SurabayaвЂ™s main airport yesterday for allowing the flight. Others are still under investigation. All AirAsia flights on that route also have been canceled for the time being. It is not known what caused the Airbus A320 to crash into the Java Sea 42 minutes after takeoff, though IndonesiaвЂ™s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency says bad weather appears to have been a factor. Just before losing contact, the pilot told air traffic control he was approaching threatening clouds, but was denied permission to climb to a higher altitude because of heavy air traffic. No distress signal was issued. Sonar has identified five large objects that are believed to be pieces of the fuselage on the ocean floor, but strong currents, silt and mud have kept divers from seeing or reaching the objects. No pings have been detected from the planeвЂ™s allimportant cockpit voice and flight data recorders. ThatвЂ™s because high waves have prevented the deployment of ships that drag ping locators. The batteries in the pingers on the black boxes are likely to go dead in about 20 more days. вЂњWe are confident that rescuers would be able to locate them in time,вЂќ said Nurcahyo Utomo, an investigator for IndonesiaвЂ™s National Committee on Transportation Safety. The search for the remaining 125 bodies has been exhausting for family members anxiously waiting to identify and bury their loved ones. Eight Islamic clerics flew in a helicopter over the site yesterday and scattered rice into the sea, a local tradition, and prayed for those who perished. вЂ” AP PANGKALAN BUN: Indonesian clerics pray next to a helicopter for the victims of ill-fated AirAsia flight QZ8501 in Pangkalan Bun, the town with the nearest airstrip to the site of search operations, yesterday. вЂ” AFP HK leader warns against protests ahead of talks Public consultation on picking new chief to start BEIJING: Costa Rica President Luis GuiHermo Solis Rivera (centre left) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (centre right) prepare to inspect Chinese honor guards during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing yesterday. Luis GuiHermo Solis Rivera is on a visit to China from January 4 to 10. вЂ” AFP Thai junta vows action if Shinawatra aides protest BANGKOK: ThailandвЂ™s junta chief yesterday warned the military will вЂњtake actionвЂќ under martial law if protests occur as a result of impeachment proceedings against ex-premier Yingluck Shinawatra. On Friday the army-stacked National Legislative Assembly (NLA) will begin the impeachment of former Prime Minister Yingluck for driving through a costly rice subsidy scheme. ThailandвЂ™s first female premier, who is due to appear at the assembly on Friday, was removed from office by a court ruling shortly before the military coup in May knocked out the rump of her administration. Observers say a vote to impeach her-which carries an automatic five-year ban from politics-could stir her вЂ�Red ShirtвЂ™ supporters to protest, ending months of relative calm since the army grabbed power and imposed martial law on the kingdom. But junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha, the prime minister, shrugged off any potential revival of the street protests which have blistered ThailandвЂ™s recent political history. вЂњThere will be no protest, they canвЂ™t protest. If they donвЂ™t accept the ruling, we will take action, thatвЂ™s it,вЂќ he told reporters. вЂњWhat is the condition of martial law? No political movement,вЂќ he said, urging the public to allow the NLA to reach its conclusion, which is due before the end of the month. A successful impeachment needs three fifths of the 250-strong national legislature to vote in favor. Critics say the NLA is driving through a junta-led agenda to dismantle the power base of Thaksin Shinawatra-YingluckвЂ™s older brother who lives in selfexile to avoid jail for a corruption conviction. вЂњDriving her (Yingluck) out of politics could instigate resentment among her political supporters,вЂќ said Thai academic Pavin Chachavalpongpun, of Kyoto University. вЂњThailand is Thailand and the rule of law can be bent to serve the power interests of the elites.вЂќ Thaksin, who was deposed as premier in a 2006 coup, sits at the heart of ThailandвЂ™s deep schism. He is loathed by the Bangkok-centered establishment and its supporters among the judiciary and army, but still enjoys support in the nationвЂ™s poor but populous northern half. Shinawatra-led or aligned parties have won every election since 2001. In that time they have been battered by two coups and seen three other premiers banned by the kingdomвЂ™s interventionist courts. The ShinawatrasвЂ™ electoral dominance comes as concerns mount over ThailandвЂ™s future once the reign of revered 87-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej ends. While popular among YingluckвЂ™s rural voters, the loss-making rice policy galvanized the protests against her government that presaged the coup. The scheme punched a hole in Thai finances and led to huge rice stockpiles as buyers baulked at the attempt by YingluckвЂ™s administration to fund the multi-billion dollar subsidy by hoarding the grain to force up global prices. The junta has said fresh polls are unlikely before 2016 as it seeks to re-write the constitution and enact sweeping reforms aimed at rooting out corruption. вЂ” AFP HONG KONG: Hong KongвЂ™s leader warned yesterday against fresh pro-democracy protests before the next step in the cityвЂ™s contentious political reform process, as a new official report on the mass rallies sparked widespread anger. The government will today launch a second round of public consultation on the process for electing the cityвЂ™s next chief executive in 2017. Beijing has promised Hong Kong it can vote for its leader for the first time, but insists that candidates be vetted by a loyalist committee-a decision which sparked more than two months of street blockades in protest. But Leung Chun-ying, current leader of the semi-autonomous Chinese city, said more protests would not change anything. вЂњIf we really want to implement universal suffrage on 2017, we... should not do anything that threatens the Hong Kong government or the central government,вЂќ Leung told reporters. вЂњCoercive actions that are illegal or disrupt social orderвЂќ would not sway authorities in Hong Kong or Beijing, he said. Democracy campaigners are pessimistic that the consultation will offer meaningful proposals. вЂњThose coming from the democratic camp will be able to enter (the election as candidates), but they will never be able to be selected for election,вЂќ pro-democracy lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki said. вЂњThe government will try to create an impression that we have a lot of room to discuss how candidates of different persuasions can enter the race, but the nominating committee will still do the gatekeeping,вЂќ added political analyst Ma Ngok. CampaignersвЂ™ anger A report on the street protests submitted by city leaders to Chinese authorities yesterday sparked anger. The 220-page report gives a day-by-day summary of events during the rallies, which saw tens of thousands take to the streets at some stages at their height. It pledged to truthfully reflect public sentiment and acknowledged there were вЂњdivergent opinionsвЂќ over the election process. But it concluded that the вЂњcommon aspirationвЂќ of citizens and the government was to abide by Hong KongвЂ™s constitution and BeijingвЂ™s rulings on political reform. вЂњThis report was lazy and lacked emotion Shanghai stampede a вЂ�bloody lesson:вЂ™ Mayor SHANGHAI: The New YearвЂ™s Eve crush that killed 36 people in Shanghai was a вЂњbloody lessonвЂќ for the city, the mayor of ChinaвЂ™s commercial hub said Tuesday according to official media. The comments by mayor Yang Xiong are an implicit acknowledgement that the events of December 31 should have been handled differently. New Year revellers had flocked to the Bund, ShanghaiвЂ™s historic waterfront, but massive overcrowding caused people to be trampled, raising questions over why authorities failed to enforce better safety measures. вЂњAlthough the cause of the incident is still to be confirmed by investigation... we must learn from the bloody lesson, as well as deeply reflect on this matter,вЂќ Yang told lawmakers, according to the official Xinhua news agency. He did not say what agencies were carrying out what he described as a вЂњjoint investigationвЂќ. Yang also ordered an overhaul of emergency plans for handling large crowds, Xinhua said. Some 25 of the 36 who died were female, and all but five of the total number were aged 25 or under, the Shanghai government has said. They included one Malaysian woman and a woman from Taiwan, it said. The youngest victim was a 12-year-old boy and the oldest was 37. The dead included students from three universities in Shanghai, according to Xinhua. Relatives and friends of the victims visited the site on the Bund under the watchful eyes of government-assigned minders yesterday-the seventh day after the inci- dent which caused the deaths, a date with special meaning under traditional Chinese mourning customs. вЂњWe went to the Bund in separate groups, and someone escorted us there and took us back afterwards,вЂќ one said. The sister of one victim has told AFP that her family will not hold a funeral until the government has explained how the accident could have happened. Relatives said yesterday that the government has yet to offer compensation packages to the families of the victims. The accident, which has tarnished ShanghaiвЂ™s reputation as ChinaвЂ™s most international city, is the cityвЂ™s worst since a fire in a high-rise residential building killed 58 people in 2010. вЂ” AFP SHANGHAI: Chinese officials try to control a relative of a New YearвЂ™s Eve stampede victim as she grieves at the site of a memorial ceremony for people who were killed in the tragic accident in Shanghai yesterday. вЂ” AP and did not identify the cause of the entire exercise,вЂќ said Sin Chung-kai of the Democratic Party. вЂњNot only does it support the (Beijing) decision... it also rapes the opinions of Hong Kong residents.вЂќ Student leader Lester Shum ridiculed the report, likening it to a вЂњsecondary school newspaper cuttingвЂќ project. вЂњThe government was not willing to face the political problem,вЂќ he said. Several lawmakers ripped up copies. The report was submitted to ChinaвЂ™s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, an agency of the State Council (cabinet). вЂњEveryone should express their appeals in a peaceful and legal way,вЂќ a spokesperson said on receiving the report, according to ChinaвЂ™s official news agency Xinhua. Police crackdown ChinaвЂ™s ruling that candidates must be vetted was made after Hong KongвЂ™s first round of public consultation on political changes. The report submitted by Hong Kong leaders to Beijing on that occasion was strongly criti- cized by democracy campaigners for failing to reflect public views. The second round is expected to put forward specific proposals on mechanisms to select candidates. Meanwhile authorities continue to clamp down on activists. On Monday the justice department made court applications to formally charge 20 activists for obstructing bailiffs clearing one of the protest camps, in Mongkok, in November. Student protest leader Joshua Wong, 18, said Tuesday he had been summoned to a police station to provide вЂњassistance in an investigationвЂќ later January. Shum said he and other student leaders had also been asked to attend police stations, but had not been told for what offences. Dozens of other protest leaders, including founder of the Occupy movement Benny Tai, have also been asked to turn themselves in, local media said. Police have said they would target the вЂњprincipal instigatorsвЂќ of the mass protests as part of their investigation. вЂ” AFP HONG KONG: Lester Shum, one of the leaders of the Federation of Students, talks to the media outside the government building in Hong Kong yesterday. Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying warned against fresh pro-democracy protests ahead of the next step in the cityвЂ™s contentious political reform process. вЂ” AFP Chinese Communist hero Lei Feng not beloved by US cadets BEIJING: A former Chinese journalist has admitted falling for an April Fool joke which sparked a decades-long myth in his country that US officer cadets learnt from the example of Communist military hero Lei Feng. Li Zhurun, a former reporter for ChinaвЂ™s official Xinhua news agency who is now a university professor, made the confession on his Sina Weibo microblog. Ever since Communist ChinaвЂ™s supreme leader Mao Zedong recognised Lei Feng for his humble heroism, said to include washing his comradesвЂ™ uniforms and giving his pay to the needy, authorities have encouraged citizens to do good and follow his example. While ChinaвЂ™s increasingly media-savvy population has come to question the authenticity of the Lei Feng story, the folk hero remains popular in some quarters. Pictures of him wearing his trademark earflap army hat have become a pop icon emblazoned on everything from bags to cups. In his posting, Li said he had been duped by an unspecified Western news outlet, which reported on April FoolвЂ™s Day 1981 that the West Point military academy in New York State had held up the PeopleвЂ™s Liberation Army (PLA) soldier as an example for all students. вЂњI was young at the time, and I didnвЂ™t know that Western media often invent вЂ�newsвЂ™ on April FoolвЂ™s Day,вЂќ Li wrote. The state-run China Daily newspaper yesterday identified the Western outlet as the United Press International news agency. But it was not clear where Li was based at the time, or who he wrote the story for. Over the past three decades, the West Point myth has become so entrenched in China that even a member of the countryвЂ™s advisory discussion body, the Chinese PeopleвЂ™s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), cited it in a 2009 proposal urging Beijing to apply for UNESCO recognition of the вЂњLei Feng SpiritвЂќ. вЂњAt AmericaвЂ™s famous West Point, Lei FengвЂ™s portrait is among five hanging in the hall, and the academyвЂ™s code of student conduct includes his famous quote: вЂ�Human life is limited, but serving the people is limitless,вЂ™вЂќ CPPCC member Liu Jianglong said, according to the Chongqing Morning Post. Lei Feng joined the PeopleвЂ™s Liberation Army in 1960, when it still basked in the glory of winning the Chinese civil war just over a decade earlier. He died aged 22 in August 1962 after a truck driven by a fellow soldier hit a telegraph pole, which fell on him. In his posting on Sunday Li called his report вЂњone of the biggest mistakes of my lifeвЂќ and said he discovered his error when a Chinese magazine ran a 1997 expose on the issue. вЂњBut I still feel that it was not enough, and I have always wanted to have the chance to cleanse (the rumor) on a wider scale,вЂќ he wrote. In an op-ed a China Daily writer worried that the fabrication of the West Point tale has вЂњmade many question their longstanding belief in (Lei FengвЂ™s) selflessnessвЂќ. вЂњPeople can hardly accept the fact that what they once believed was a sign of Lei FengвЂ™s international renown was just a madeup story,вЂќ wrote Wang Yiqing. вЂњHowever, the Lei Feng spirit should never be a bubble that can burst,вЂќ he continued, adding: вЂњMaybe the image of Lei Feng... can be updated to better resonate with people today.вЂќ вЂ” AFP WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 NEWS Bulgarians dive into the icy waters of a lake to catch a cross thrown by an Eastern Orthodox priest in Sofia as part of Epiphany Day celebrations yesterday. вЂ” AFP Hamas denies Meshaal expelled from Qatar Prince Ali to stand for FIFA president Continued from Page 1 Facing diplomatic isolation and deep financial problems, Hamas, which seized control of Gaza in 2007, reluctantly agreed to the formation of a unity government led by its rival, President Mahmoud Abbas, last year. But the group remains in firm control of the seaside territory. Asked about the Hamas denial, an Israeli official said the government had received вЂњserious and reliable informationвЂќ from вЂњofficial channelsвЂќ that the expulsion order had been granted. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter, refused to say whether Qatar had delivered the news directly. Israel used to have a diplomatic office in Qatar and still maintains low-level relations with the country. There was no immediate comment from Qatar, a wealthy Gulf state that has allowed Meshaal to set up a base there. Under a deal reached with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia late last year, Qatar agreed to a number of foreign policy directives that are largely believed to be related to its support of Islamist groups throughout the region. The details of the Gulf reconciliation agreement have not been made public. A number of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood members were forced to leave Qatar last year after the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain withdrew ambassadors from Doha. The three Gulf countries had accused Qatar of interfering in their domestic affairs and of failing to uphold a security pact. Ambassadors were reinstated after a deal was reached in November. The following month Al JazeeraвЂ™s live channel dedicated to coverage of Egypt was shut down. Egypt had accused the Qatar-based-and-funded Al-Jazeera news network of bias against the new government and of supporting the Brotherhood. The network has denied the charges and demanded Egypt free three journalists imprisoned there from its English-language channel. вЂ” AP Continued from Page 1 Prince Ali is the FIFA vice president for Asia, head of JordanвЂ™s Football Association and founder of the West Asian Football Federation. A major general in JordanвЂ™s armed forces, the prince was educated in the United States and Britain, where he attended the prestigious military academy Sandhurst. His wife Rym Brahimi is a former CNN journalist. In 2011 he became the youngest member of the FIFA executive committee at the age of 35 after rallying Arab support behind him. Prince Ali will need five of FIFAвЂ™s 209 member countries to nominate him as a candidate before a Jan 29 deadline and is believed to have plenty of support, including that of European football governing body UEFA president Michel Platini. The Jordanian will be hoping for backing from FIFAвЂ™s European federation, many of whose members have been vociferous in their objections to the victorious Qatar 2022 bid. He will also lobby for support from the Asian confederation, whose head is BahrainвЂ™s Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa, as well as from the United States and Caribbean nations. вЂњFIFA exists to serve a sport which unites billions of people from all over the world, people of differing and divergent political, religious and social affiliations, who come together in their enjoyment of вЂ�the worldвЂ™s gameвЂ™,вЂќ the prince said. Ali first became Jordanian football president in 1999 before being elected as the Asian Football ConfederationвЂ™s FIFA VicePresident in 2011, surprisingly edging out powerful South Korean administrator Chung Mong-joon. An initial ally of Blatter, relations between the two weakened over the course of AliвЂ™s four-year term as the Jordanian strengthened his ties with Platini, long tipped as a future FIFA president. вЂњI know Prince Ali well. He has all the credibility required to hold high office. We now await his proposals and his program for the future of football,вЂќ said Platini in a statement. вЂ” Agencies Syrian embassy resumes services Saudi Arabia blames weak growth for oil... Continued from Page 1 The royal court announced Friday that Abdullah had pneumonia but was in stable condition and breathing with the aid of a tube. He was admitted to the King Abdulaziz Medical City in Riyadh on Dec 31 for checks. Prince Salman said he wished that вЂњGod will grant the king a speedy recoveryвЂќ. Without naming Iraq and Syria, he said Saudi Arabia вЂњis facing unprecedented regional challenges that resulted from the severe crises that swept through neighbouring or nearby countries and that pushed them to the quagmire of civil wars and sectarian conflicts.вЂќ Jihadists from the Islamic State group have declared a вЂњcaliphateвЂќ in parts of Syria and Iraq they have seized, where they have been accused of widespread atrocities. Since September, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates have been taking part in air strikes against IS jihadists in Syria as part of a US-led coalition. Prince Salman said the regional situation вЂњshould make us cautious, and I would like to assure you that your leadership is aware of these challenges and their consequences,вЂќ he said. On Monday, three Saudi border guards, including a top commander, were killed in a rare attack and suicide bombing by вЂњterroristsвЂќ on the frontier with Iraq. In a telephone call with Prince Salman yesterday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called for вЂњcoordination of common effortsвЂќ between their countries to combat IS, the premierвЂ™s office said. It said they discussed the danger posed by the jihadist group вЂњnot only for Iraq but for the region and the worldвЂќ. вЂ” AFP Continued from Page 1 The department has been charging hefty fines from expatriates who extended the validity of their passports without updating the information at the department, considering them as holding expired residency permits. Separately, Oil Minister Ali Al-Omair said yesterday that the government has exempted a number of companies and factories from the lifting of subsidies on diesel and kerosene, adding that those who were affected failed to contact the government committee. Omair said that the decision was issued on Oct 15 and implemented on Jan 1, leaving enough time for companies to contact the subsidies committee to secure the exemption. He said that Kuwait Petroleum Corp had asked owners of factories and companies to submit their documents about their needs of diesel or kerosene in a order to provide subsidized fuel to them. Omair said that some KD 200 million is spent on diesel subsidies annually, but some have used this to smuggle diesel outside the country. The National Assembly is expected to debate the lifting of diesel and kerosene subsidies at its next session on Jan 13 after a number of MPs criticized the governmentвЂ™s measure following price rises of a number of products and services. MP Saud Al-Huraiji said that the lifting of subsidies was accompanied by a number of shortfalls, especially price rises and exploitation by some merchants and professionals. Huraiji said there was no reason to lift subsidies on kerosene because it is consumed only by citizens and bakeries. The lawmaker called on the government to cancel its decision and activate the consumer protection department to control prices. ANALYSIS WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 THE LEADING INDEPENDENT DAILY IN THE ARABIAN GULF ESTABLISHED 1961 Founder and Publisher YOUSUF S. AL-ALYAN Editor-in-Chief ABD AL-RAHMAN AL-ALYAN EDITORIAL : 24833199-24833358-24833432 ADVERTISING : 24835616/7 FAX : 24835620/1 CIRCULATION : 24833199 Extn. 163 ACCOUNTS : 24835619 COMMERCIAL : 24835618 P.O.Box 1301 Safat,13014 Kuwait. E MAIL :[email protected] Website: www.kuwaittimes.net Issues Roma baby case highlights their plight in France By Claire Gallen he tragic case of a dead Roma baby refused burial in a Paris suburb has underscored the plight of the community in France, where supporters say they are a scapegoat for the countryвЂ™s ills. The affair made headlines around the world, and was all the more poignant because the baby of just two and a half months died the day after Christmas from sudden infant death syndrome. The local town of Champlan, just south of Paris, refused the family a burial plot, with the mayor reportedly saying that priority should be given to those who pay their taxes - although he later denied this. After nearly a whole day of conspicuous silence, top politicians then fell over themselves to condemn the case, with Prime Minister Manuel Valls saying it was an вЂњinsultвЂќ to France. Even far-right leader Marine Le Pen criticised the decision, saying it showed a вЂњlack of humanityвЂќ. But the president of the National Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH), Christine Lazerges, said the case was вЂњthe terrible proof that the Roma are the new scapegoat in FranceвЂќ, which is suffering from high unemployment and a sluggish economy. In its most recent report on racism in France, the CNCDH already voiced fears over the вЂњtrivialisation of racist comments about the RomaвЂќ. The European Union believes there are currently 10 to 12 million Roma throughout Europe, making them the largest minority on the continent. A nomadic people whose ancestors left India centuries ago, the Roma have long suffered from discrimination and are frequently accused of carrying out petty crime. But experts believe their plight is getting worse in France. The CNCDH report showed that more than 87 percent of people in France believe the Roma are вЂњa group apartвЂќ in society, a rise of 21 points since 2011. This is much more than other ethnic groups such as people from North Africa (46 percent) and Asians (41 percent). Polls also show that 85 percent of French people believe that Roma often exploit their children and 78 percent think they basically live off theft and petty crime. T вЂ�Criminality, Deviance, CrueltyвЂ™ Tommaso Vitale, a researcher into Roma at the Paris-based Sciences Po University, said that FranceвЂ™s own economic woes worsened the plight of minorities. вЂњThe spectacle of misery in times of crisis is very sensitive in political terms,вЂќ he said, with most Roma living in makeshift facilities on the outskirts of towns with little basic amenities. Almost everywhere in Europe, the same question is being asked, he said. вЂњIs Europe there to send us Roma or is it there to give us social policies to get out of this crisis?вЂќ Eric Fassin, a social scientist at Paris University and author of a book about the Roma, said verbal attacks on the community had got steadily worse. вЂњBut in the case of the Roma baby, for once, we found that we had gone a bit too far,вЂќ he said. Lazarges said the вЂњpublic debateвЂќ in France had to change. Successive governments have drawn fire for demolishing numerous camps and evicting families with children, although some in France have cheered the tough approach. In August, a French court fined a member of parliament Г„3,000 for saying that Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler вЂњmaybe did not kill enoughвЂќ Roma. Vitale said the only way to start de-stigmatising the Roma was to change their image as an isolated community living in shanty towns on the fringes of society. вЂњWithout that, nothing is possible. There will always be a stigma of criminality, deviance and crueltyвЂќ. вЂ” AFP All articles appearing on these pages are the personal opinion of the writers. Kuwait Times takes no responsibility for views expressed therein. Kuwait Times invites readers to voice their opinions. Please send submissions via email to: [email protected] or via snail mail to PO Box 1301 Safat, Kuwait. The editor reserves the right to edit any submission as necessary. Mideast conflict enters new phase By Sarah Benhaida he Palestinians have moved into uncharted territory by bidding to join the International Criminal Court, analysts say, with the decades-old conflict with Israel now set to play out on the world stage. After years of threats, the Palestinians finally turned to the ICC last month after the UN Security Council rejected a resolution setting a deadline for ending IsraelвЂ™s occupation of their lands. A furious Israel responded by freezing the transfer of tax revenues it collects for the Palestinian leadership and threatening further punitive measures. The moves dashed hopes of a return to peace talks that have failed time and again, including in last yearвЂ™s aborted bid led by US Secretary of State John Kerry. Analysts say the Mideast conflict has moved into a new chapter, with the Palestinians pursuing a fresh strategy of putting pressure on Israel through the international community. вЂњThe peace process born at Oslo is dead and buried, and weвЂ™re now at the start of a new phase,вЂќ said Karim Bitar, a Middle East analyst based in Paris, referring to the 1993 peace accords. How far Israel will take its response to the ICC bid will be a key question, analysts say, as it will fear going too T far in undermining the Palestinian Authority. вЂњIsrael has a dilemma - we want to have leverage against the Palestinians, to prevent them from referring (cases) to the ICC,вЂќ said Robbie Sabel, a former legal adviser to the Israeli foreign ministry. вЂњHowever, we donвЂ™t want to undermine them. ItвЂ™s in our interest that they be in effective control of the West Bank.вЂќ Under the 1993 Oslo Accords which established the Palestinian Authority, the two sides agreed to coordinate on security issues in the occupied territories. The Palestinians have threatened to halt that cooperation, raising fears of increased security risks to Israel. Following the ICC move, IsraelвЂ™s Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz threatened вЂњsevereвЂќ steps in response, even referring to a вЂњgradual dissolutionвЂќ of the PA. But analysts said such a step would be unlikely. No вЂ�Clear AdvantageвЂ™ Yet вЂњIts dismantling would cause instability and an explosion in the region. The PA is banking on the international community to put pressure on Israel to avoid this,вЂќ Gaza-based political analyst Naji Sharab said. Even the United States, IsraelвЂ™s key ally, has denounced its freezing of the transfer of some $127 million in tax mon- ey to the PA, with the State Department urging both sides вЂњto avoid actions that raise tensionsвЂќ. But Washington also said it was вЂњdeeply troubledвЂќ by the Palestinian move to become party to the ICC, describing it as вЂњcounterproductiveвЂќ and warning it would вЂњonly push the parties further apartвЂќ. The Palestinians, who became an observer state at the UN in 2012, say they will turn to the court to seek the prosecution of Israeli officials for alleged war crimes, including during last summerвЂ™s 50-day war in Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to put up a vigorous defence of his troops, while officials have warned the Jewish state was ready to counter with its own lawsuits against senior Palestinian officials. Bitar said both sides seemed to be struggling with how to adjust to this new phase. The Palestinians, he said, had demonstrated вЂњamateurismвЂќ in going to the UN Security Council вЂњwithout doing the groundwork in terms of lobbying and negotiatingвЂќ, while the Israelis were вЂњrigid and inflexibleвЂќ in their reaction. вЂњThis new chapter, of a power struggle in the international arena, is still in its early stages and itвЂ™s not yet clear how it will play out,вЂќ Bitar said. вЂњSo far no one appears to have a clear advantage.вЂќ вЂ” AFP Xi proves keen student of US power By John Kemp i Jinping is ChinaвЂ™s first US-style president. Many commentators have noted Xi is the most powerful leader since Deng Xiaoping and even Mao Zedong. But a better comparison might be with the style and powers of the American president. He wields enormous personal power, in contrast to the more collective leadership style of Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin, has assumed an unprecedented profile abroad as the countryвЂ™s chief diplomat and has been heavily promoted at home as the responsible face of the party and the government. Xi is regularly portrayed in the domestic media carrying out ceremonial functions, inspecting military parades, welcoming foreign dignitaries, and demanding explanations from lower level officials in the event of disasters and political controversies such as the stampede in Shanghai at New Year, all the sorts of things that a US president does. XiвЂ™s image-makers show the same obsession with controlling perceptions of the leader as the West Wing staff of President Barack Obama, presenting him as a strong, dynamic, well-informed and singular leader who takes responsibility for all decisions carried out by the party and the government in his name. вЂњHe is the first leader to employ a big team to build his public profile. But he also has a flare for it - thanks to his stature, his toughness and his common touch,вЂќ the Economist magazine noted last year. Xi has also cultivated a distinctly presidential approach abroad. In 2014, Xi and Premier Li Keqiang - the number two in the Chinese hierarchy who combines the functions of vicepresident, secretary of state and secretary of the treasury spent a total of 85 days on high-profile visits to 30 countries across Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and Oceania. Xinhua, the official news agency, likened this flurry of top-level summits and meetings to a вЂњChinese whirlwindвЂќ. Putting top leaders on the international diplomatic circuit so much is no accident. вЂњThe year 2014 is a bumper harvest for ChinaвЂ™s diplomacy,вЂќ Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced proudly to a year-end reception of foreign diplomats in Beijing. вЂњAiming to build a global network of partnerships, we have established partnerships of different types with 64 countries and five regional organisations,вЂќ Wang told his hearers. The foreign minister promised that in 2015 China will continue to вЂњactively practice a distinctive diplomatic approach befitting ChinaвЂ™s role as a major country to provide strong support for realising the Chinese dream of national renewal and make a new contribution to peace and development of the world.вЂќ It has often been remarked that the United StatesвЂ™ global network of alliances (military, diplomatic and economic) is its biggest asset as a superpower. Now China is determined to build its own diplomatic network befitting its role as what officials prefer to call a вЂњmajor countryвЂќ but which means a superpower. X Diplomatic Whirlwind For the United States, presidential diplomacy has always played a crucial role in nurturing relationships and building influence abroad. Foreign leaders get carefully graduated visits from military commanders, top diplomats, cabinet secretaries, the vice-president and even the president himself to cement ties, as well as carefully controlled invitations to visit the State Department, the White House and even the Oval Office itself. China is developing a similar system. The PeopleвЂ™s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has started to send warships on port calls around the world. In 2014, the PLAN paid its first port call to Bandar Abbas in Iran, the first time its warships have entered the Middle East Gulf. In 2015, the PLAN will conduct joint naval exercises in the Mediterranean with RussiaвЂ™s navy. On the diplomatic side, lesser partners get a visit from the foreign minister. More important ones get a visit from Premier Li. And the most important ones get the full treatment with a personal visit from the Chinese president. Choreography is vitally important and the trips are stagemanaged with growing care, harnessing the full resources of ChinaвЂ™s diplomatic service, domestic and foreign media to convey carefully controlled messages about ChinaвЂ™s aims and the importance of particular countries. ChinaвЂ™s leaders have developed their own foreign policy doctrines around the countryвЂ™s вЂњpeaceful riseвЂќ, the вЂњChinese dreamвЂќ and the вЂњBelt and the RoadвЂќ to promote a vision of peaceful economic development with China at the centre - much as the United States earlier developed diplomatic doctrines around free trade, global finance and individual freedom. White House incumbents like to have a doctrine named after them to summarise their posture and strategy in foreign affairs. Xi has developed something similar with his вЂњSilk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk RoadвЂќ. Just as the United States has used free trade agreements, military assistance, aid and lending by policy banks to reward allies and deepen diplomatic relationships, ChinaвЂ™s leaders have been busy doling out trade deals as well as billions of dollars of loans and investments to selected strategic partners in the hope of winning greater influence and support. President Xi and ChinaвЂ™s diplomatic corps seem to be consciously copying the American model of international relations, adapted to meet their own strategic priorities and resources, seeking to put China at the heart of a web of diplomatic, economic and military influence equal but different to the United States. Xi Who Must be Obeyed At home, too, ChinaвЂ™s top leader appears to have learned important lessons from the United States about the importance of very visible and singular presidential leadership. Xi has become adept at using the presidential bully pulpit to advocate a clear policy direction and agenda in a manner that would be instantly recognisable to US presidents from Theodore Roosevelt (who coined the phrase) to Ronald Reagan. Even the anti-corruption campaign and the presidentвЂ™s repeated focus on strengthening the rule of law are clearly designed to centralise political and administrative control as well as remove rivals and rebuild the partyвЂ™s legitimacy. Reducing corruption and strengthening the rule of law are not about making the political system more participative, let alone democratic. They are primarily focused on making the party-government system more effective, efficient and stable. In many instances during the Hu and Jiang years state enterprises, provinces and local administrations ignored directives from the top leadership with impunity. Extensive corruption, intra-party factions and weak legal controls meant that the entire party-state system was becoming increasingly unresponsive. If President Obama issues an executive order from the White House there is a fair chance it will be carried out by the federal bureaucracy. But under the collective leadership of Hu and Jiang it was increasingly unclear whether commands from top leaders would be obeyed. The party-state system was decaying from within. XiвЂ™s campaigns for more discipline, rule of law, and against factionalism are a blunt reminder to lesser officials that there are serious consequences for failing to obey instructions from above. As in foreign policy, ChinaвЂ™s internal reforms are meant to equip it with the economic, political and military decisionmaking structure necessary for a modern economic and diplomatic superpower. The priority is not transitioning to democracy but making the existing system work effectively, enabling it to deal with the challenges of running one of the worldвЂ™s largest economies and countries, as well as what the foreign minister described as increasingly close interactions with the international community. вЂ” Reuters p15_Layout 1 1/6/15 9:37 PM Page 1 WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 S P ORTS Leafs fire head coach Players sick in Perth heat Szukala joins Al Ittihad TORONTO: The Toronto Maple Leafs have fired head coach Randy Carlyle in a bid to salvage a season that has started to slip away, the National Hockey League team said yesterday. The decision to part ways with Carlyle comes with Toronto having lost seven of their last nine games and clinging to the final wild-card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the Boston Bruins. вЂњItвЂ™s never an easy decision to make when changing your leadership but our team was not trending in the right direction and we felt an immediate change was necessar y,вЂќ Maple Leafs General Manager David Nonis said in a statement. Assistant coaches Peter Horachek and Steve Spott will handle coaching duties for the Maple Leafs in their next game on Wednesday against the visiting Washington Capitals. The Maple LeafsвЂ™ coaching job is widely considered one of the toughest in the 30-team NHL given the intense media scrutiny and pressure to bring home the franchiseвЂ™s first Stanley Cup since 1967.вЂ”Reuters PERTH: Extreme heat in Western Australia led to unhappy players vomiting and suffering excessive weight loss during a top of the table A-League clash on Monday, the local players union said. Perth Glory have since requested for later kick-off times after the 2-1 home loss to Adelaide United was played out in 39 degrees Celsius (102 Fahrenheit) temperatures which dropped by only four degrees at the end of the game, local media reported. вЂњSome players have since reported heat illnesses, including excessive weight loss, headaches and vomiting,вЂќ Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) Chief Executive Adam Vivian said in a statement yesterday. вЂњThe PFA will continue to monitor the playersвЂ™ health and will be conducting further discussions with Football Federation Australia and the clubs. вЂњWe will be asking them to share with us the advice in which they were satisfied the playersвЂ™ health and safety was not compromised by proceeding with the match at that time.вЂќ League officials shot down suggestions they had risked player safety by allowing the match to go ahead on the hottest January day in Perth in 20 years. вЂњWeвЂ™ve gone to great lengths to take serious medical advice on heat,вЂќ A-League head Damien de Bohun was quoted as saying by ABC news. вЂњItвЂ™s important to note that the FFAвЂ™s standards are more stringent than FIFAвЂ™s standards and itвЂ™s based on medical best practice. вЂ”Reuters BUCHAREST: In a refreshingly honest admission, Poland centre back Lukasz Szukala says he turned down offers from England and Germany to join Saudi Arabian side Al Ittihad from Romanian champions Steaua Bucharest because the money was too good to refuse. Szukala, who has played 10 times for Poland since making his international debut in 2013, signed a two-year contract, starting on July 1 and did not bother with the footballerвЂ™s common claim that he was moving for the вЂњchallenge and interest of a new environment.вЂќ вЂњI had offers from Germany and England, but the financial conditions offered by Al Ittihad were fantastic,вЂќ said the 30-year-old, who was voted the best foreign player in the Romanian league in 2014. вЂњIt was impossible to turn down their offer.вЂќ Szukala became the second Steaua player to join Al Ittihad after highly-rated midfielder Lucian Sanmartean agreed a one-year deal with the team coached by former Romania boss Victor Piturca.вЂ”Reuters Ryder captain to be named inside six weeks - McGinley LONDON: The captain of EuropeвЂ™s 2016 Ryder Cup team will be decided by the middle of February, according to outgoing skipper Paul McGinley. The Irishman, a member of the five-man panel that will elect the next skipper, told Reuters in an interview at Wentworth Golf Club on the outskirts of London that the top players would have a big say in the decision-making process. вЂњWe are pretty far down the road,вЂќ said the 48-year-old McGinley. вЂњI think within a maximum of six weeks weвЂ™ll have a new captain in place. вЂњThe wheels will turn on another Ryder Cup and weвЂ™ll be getting ready for Hazeltine in two yearsвЂ™ time.вЂќ The bookmakers have installed 2011 British Open champion Darren Clarke as the odds-on favourite to lead the side in Minnesota and McGinley said it was important for the panel to canvas the opinions of EuropeвЂ™s leading golfers. вЂњYou look mainly at who the players want when you are looking for the next captain,вЂќ he added. вЂњOne thing thatвЂ™s worked in our favour over the years is that we have voted in captains that the players have wanted to play for.вЂќ McGinley was lauded by the entire team for the way he plotted the downfall of Tom WatsonвЂ™s United States side in Scotland in September, EuropeвЂ™s eighth victory in the last 10 editions of the biennial team event. There is always a twinkle in his eye when his thoughts drift back to that special week at Gleneagles and the Irishman is hoping the vast majority of his team will be back in the side at Hazeltine. вЂњIвЂ™m pulling for all my players from Gleneagles to do well,вЂќ said McGinley who is joined on the selection panel by 2010 captain Colin Montgomerie, 2012 skipper Jose Maria Olazabal and European Tour officials. INDIVIDUAL SUCCESS вЂњThey all did so well and IвЂ™d love to see them all having individual success. IвЂ™d like as many of them as possible to make the team again in two yearsвЂ™ time.вЂќ Justin Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open winner, and Henrik Stenson formed the most successful pairing for Europe at Gleneagles and McGinley is particularly keen for the 38-year-old Swede to end his long wait for a first victory in a major championship. вЂњHenrik and Justin were arguably the best players at the Ryder Cup and it would be a shame if Henrik went through his entire career without winning a major,вЂќ said the Irishman who is an ambassador for the specialist bank and asset manager Investec. вЂњBut I have no doubts he will. He has proved himself at the top level, heвЂ™s won big tournaments all around the world. вЂњHe has the game, he has the power and he has the mental capacity to win a major championship,вЂќ said McGinley. вЂњJustin is continually improving year on year and he will certainly be a factor as well this year.вЂќ McGinley also expects world number one Ror y McIlroy to come out firing on all cylinders when he begins his season at next weekвЂ™s Abu Dhabi Championship alongside the second-ranked Stenson and number six Rose. The Northern Irishman achieved back-to-back major wins in 2014, at the British Open and US PGA Championship, and McGinley said there were many more victories ahead for McIlroy. вЂњWhatвЂ™s good about Rory is the great balance he has in his life,вЂќ he explained. вЂњHeвЂ™s had a good winter off, heвЂ™s enjoyed himself and will come back fresh and invigorated for a new year of golf.вЂќвЂ”Reuters Terranova clinches second stage CHILECITO: Argentine Orlando Terranova claimed his second stage win of the Dakar Rally yesterday, to move third overall in the standings led by Mini teammate Nasser AlAttiyah. Qatari Al-Attiyah, the 2011 champion, finished fifth in the dayвЂ™s 542km third stage, which included 284km of specials. South AfricaвЂ™s Giniel de Villiers, picked up his third podium finish in three days, ahead of another Toyota driven by Saudi ArabiaвЂ™s Alrahji Zayed, to stay second overall. Spaniard Carlos Sainz, winner in 2010, finished fourth at 4min 6sec to move up to fourth in the overall standings, while fellow Peugeot veteran Stephane Peterhansel, finished seventh, nine minutes off the pace, to sit 16th overall at 1hr 12 min. In the motorbike section, AustriaвЂ™s Matthias Walkner, was a surprise winner of his first Dakar stage, ahead of KTM teammate and reigning champion Marc Coma and overall race leader Joan Barreda Bort of Spain. вЂњI made some little mistakes because it was a little bit dangerous today with many stones and it forced you over the limit, but overall it was quite good,вЂќ said Walkner. вЂњItвЂ™s my first rally and I hope I can enjoy it.вЂќ Overall HondaвЂ™s Barreda Bort leads ahead of Portuguese teammate Paulo Goncalves and Walkner. Coma sits fourth at 10min 50sec. вЂњIt was really dangerous because we were on river beds with a lot of stones and broken up tracks all day,вЂќ said Barreda Bort. вЂњNow we go to Chile and there will be different stages and a different feeling so we will see there.вЂќ TodayвЂ™s stage runs between Chilecito in Argentina to Copiapo in Chile. вЂ”AFP WASHINGTON: Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8), from Russia, goes airborne as he collides with Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo (1) in the first period of an NHL hockey game.вЂ”AP Capitals see off Panthers WASHINGTON: Alex Ovechkin had a goal and an assist to help the Washington Capitals beat the Florida Panthers 4-3 on Sunday. Brooks Laich and Karl Alzner added second-period goals for Washington, which has won 10 straight home games against the Panthers. The Capitals improved to 101-3 in their past 14 games, and avoided a letdown after their 3-2 victory over Chicago in the Winter Classic. Braden Holtby made 29 saves for Washington. Nick Bjugstad had a goal and an assist for Florida. Vincent Trochek and Dylan Olsen also scored. HURRICANES 2, BRUINS 1 Eric Staal scored the only goal in the shootout to lift Carolina past Boston. Anton Khudobin got the start in goal for Carolina in place of Cam Ward, who played the previous four games. Khudobin, a former Bruin, made 19 saves and stopped Reilly Smith, Patrice Bergeron and Torey Krug in the shootout. Tuukka Rask made 35 saves for Boston, but couldnвЂ™t stop Staal. Patrick Dwyer opened the scoring for Carolina with 33.2 seconds left in the first period. Bergeron tied it for Boston, one-timing a pass from Brad M archand past Khudobin in the second period. BLACKHAWKS 5, STARS 4 Patrick Sharp scored 1:17 into overtime to give the Chicago Blackhawks a win over Dallas and end the StarsвЂ™ four-game winning streak. Sharp drove past Jason Spezza down the slot, took Duncan KeithвЂ™s feed from the left point and beat Kari Lehtonen with a shot that slipped between the goalieвЂ™s body and his blocker. ChicagoвЂ™s Brad Richards fooled Lehtonen with an improbable sharp-angle shot with 3:57 left in the third period to tie it at 4 and set up overtime. Brandon Saad, Patrick Kane and Bryan Bickell scored for the Black hawks, who came back from four one-goal deficits to win. Erik Cole had two goals and an assist for the Stars. Jamie Benn and his brother, Jordie, also scored for Dallas. ARGENTINA: Toyota driver Giniel de Villiers of South Africa and co-pilot Dirk Von Zitzewitz of Germany, race during the second stage of the Dakar Rally 2015. вЂ”AP BLUE JACKETS 4, AVALANCHE 3 David Savard drove in shot from just inside the blue line with 1:01 left in the third period, lifting the Columbus Blue Jackets past the Colorado Avalanche. Savard, whose turnover early in the game led to a goal for Colorado, was able to get enough on the puck to k nock it past Semyon Varlamov for the Blue JacketsвЂ™ fifth win in their last six road games. Brandon Dubinsky scored a pair of goals for the Blue Jackets, and Ryan Johansen and added a goal. Colorado scored its quickest goal of the season when Jarome Iginla intercepted a wayward pass by Savard in the Blue JacketsвЂ™ zone and wristed a shot past Curtis McElhinney 30 seconds into the game. Gabriel Landeskog and Cody McLeod also had goals for Colorado. DUCKS 4, PREDATORS 3 Francois Beauchemin scored the tying goal with 2:17 left in the third period and Ryan Kesler got the deciding goal in the shootout, giving the Anaheim Ducks a victory over the Nashville Predators. Matt Beleskey and Corey Perry also had goals in regulation for the league-leading Ducks, and Frederik Andersen made 27 saves. Seth Jones and Craig Smith had power-play goals in the second period and M attias Ek holm also scored for the Predators. Backup goalie Car ter Hutton stopped 30 shots, but remained winless in five starts this season - all on the road. LIGHTNING 4, SENATORS 2 Tyler Johnson had two goals and Nikita Kucherov had two assists to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning past the Ottawa Senators. The Lightning took a 3-2 lead into the third period and increased that to 4-2 at the 7:58 mark on JohnsonвЂ™s second goal of the game. The Lightning also got goals from Victor Hedman, who also had an assist, and Steven Stamkos. Ben Bishop made 20 saves and improved to 6-0-2 against his former team. Ottawa got a goal and an assist from Kyle Turris, along with another goal from Mark Stone, but had its two-game winning streak end. OILERS 5, ISLANDERS 2 Matt Hendricks scored a pair of goals and the Edmonton Oilers topped the New York Islanders. Jordan Eberle, Derek Roy and Matt Fraser also scored for the Oilers, who won for just the third time in their last 25 games. Edmonton, however, improved to 20-2 in its last four games since interim head coach Todd Nelson took sole possession of the OilersвЂ™ bench, with general manager Craig MacTavish moving back upstairs. Johnny Boychuk and Brock Nelson scored for the Islanders, whose three-game winning streak ended. New York is 7-2-1 in its last 10.вЂ”AP NHL results/standings Anaheim Vancouver San Jose Los Angeles Calgary Arizona Edmonton Nashville Chicago St. Louis Winnipeg Dallas Minnesota Colorado Montreal Western Conference Pacific Division W L OTL GF 26 9 6 115 22 12 3 109 21 14 5 109 19 12 9 112 21 16 3 115 15 19 4 92 9 22 9 88 Central Division 25 9 4 116 26 11 2 124 23 13 3 118 20 13 7 103 18 14 6 119 18 15 4 104 15 16 8 101 Eastern Conference Atlantic Division 26 11 2 108 GA 110 98 105 103 105 124 135 PTS 58 47 47 47 45 34 27 88 85 99 96 124 106 117 54 54 49 47 42 40 38 Tampa Bay 25 12 4 134 108 54 Detroit 20 10 9 109 99 49 Toronto 21 16 3 130 122 45 Boston 19 15 6 104 108 44 Florida 17 11 9 87 97 43 Ottawa 16 15 7 102 105 39 Buffalo 14 23 3 77 136 31 Metropolitan Division Pittsburgh 24 10 5 118 94 53 NY Islanders 26 12 1 121 109 53 Washington 20 11 7 112 99 47 NY Rangers 21 11 4 113 90 46 Columbus 17 17 3 96 119 37 Philadelphia 14 18 7 106 120 35 New Jersey 14 20 7 90 117 35 Carolina 12 23 4 77 102 28 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the 89 54 standings and are not included in the loss column (L). p16_Layout 1 1/6/15 9:49 PM Page 1 WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 S P ORTS Elgar guides SA to victory CAPE TOWN: Dean Elgar guided South Africa to a series-clinching victory by eight wickets on the fifth day of the third and final Test against the West Indies at Newlands yesterday. South Africa won the series by two matches to nil, with one match finishing in a rain-affected draw. The left-handed Elgar made 60 not out as South Africa reached a victory target of 124 shortly before lunch. It was tough going for South Africa at the start of the day after they resumed on nine for one. Fast bowler Jerome Taylor and left-arm spinner Suleiman Benn did not concede a run until Elgar pulled Taylor for four after 26 minutes and off the 45th ball of the day. The tall Benn was particularly difficult to score off, getting turn and bounce from a wearing pitch, with Faf du Plessis completely tied down. Benn, who bowled Alviro Petersen with the last ball of the fourth day, did not give up a run until Du Plessis took a single off the fifth ball of his sixth over. Du Plessis struggled to 14 off 69 balls before a ball from Benn kicked viciously and took the shoulder of his bat for Jermaine Blackwood to take a catch running back from gully. Benn took two for 24 in an unbroken spell of 17 overs. Elgar, who spoiled BennвЂ™s figures slightly by hitting him for six, went to his fifty off 86 balls with six fours and a six. The scoring rate accelerated when captain Hashim Amla joined Elgar in an unbeaten partnership of 73 off 91 balls. Amla made 38 not out. South Africa won the first Test in Centurion by an innings and 220 runs. The second match in Port Elizabeth was drawn after more than two days of playing time was lost to rain. The sides start a three-match Twenty20 international series at Newlands on Friday, to be followed by five one-day internationals.вЂ”AFP SYDNEY: AustraliaвЂ™s Steve Smith pulls the ball against India during their cricket Test match. вЂ”AP SCOREBOARD CAPE TOWN: Final scores on the fifth day of the third and final Test between South Africa and the West Indies at Newlands yesterday. West Indies, first innings, 329 South Africa, first innings, 421 West Indies, second innings, 215 South Africa, second innings (overnight 9-1) D. Elgar not out 60 A. Petersen b Benn 0 F. du Plessis c Blackwood b Benn 14 H. Amla not out 38 Extras (b8, lb2, nb2) 12 Total (2 wkts, 37.4 overs) 124 Fall of wickets: 1-9 (Petersen), 2-51 (Du Plessis) Bowling: Taylor 7-3-20-0, Samuels 3.4-024-0, Benn 17-8-24-2, Holder 5-0-19-0, Gabriel 5-1-27-0 (2nb). Result: South Africa won by eight wickets Aussies punish India SYDNEY: David Warner kissed the ground in Phillip HughesвЂ™s memory to lead an Australian run spree with an emotional century on the opening day of the final Test against India yesterday. The dynamic opener posted his third ton of the series and 12th in Tests as he honored the memory of his fallen friend Hughes, who was fatally struck by a bouncer at the same Sydney Cricket Ground in November. Upon reaching the symbolic score of 63 that Hughes had made when he was hit, Warner kissed the ground and then looked skywards before clapping in tribute. Warner scored 101 and shared in an opening stand of 200 on a benign SCG pitch with veteran Chris Rogers, who again fell short of a ton in his fifth consecutive half-century of the series. Skipper Steve Smith and Shane Watson maintained AustraliaвЂ™s grip with an unbroken 144-run stand after winning the toss to put the home side at a formidable 348 for two at the close. Smith, who glided to his half-century off 67 balls for his fifth innings beyond 50 in the series, was unbeaten on 82 with Watson on 61. Watson was dropped by Ravichandran Ashwin at slip off the second-last ball of the day. вЂњWe got lucky the coin fell our way. At the moment it was a fantastic toss to win, weвЂ™re two for 348, fantastic position to be in,вЂќ Warner said. вЂњThere was no swing, there was no sideways movement at all, so it was quite challenging for the bowlers. вЂњItвЂ™s going to be challenging for us to take 10 wickets as well.вЂќ India have already lost the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with Australia holding an unassailable 20 lead following wins in Adelaide and Brisbane. The tourists have won only one of their last 22 Tests overseas and have been successful in only one of their 10 Tests at the Sydney Cricket Ground, that sole victory coming 37 years ago. вЂњIt was a very tough day. ItвЂ™s very important that we pick ourselves up tonight and try to be as fresh as possible tomorrow,вЂќ Ashwin said. вЂњItвЂ™s going to be a hard day. If we can keep them down to (a reasonable score) we can get back into it.вЂќ Warner batted for 180 minutes with 16 fours, pulling Mohammed Shami to the boundary to bring up his ton off 108 balls with 16 fours. He was out soon after for 101 off 114 balls, caught at slip off a leading edge from spinner Ashwin. вЂњItвЂ™s great to get milestones and IвЂ™ve done my job for the team as well as I can,вЂќ Warner said. вЂњThe thing IвЂ™m most proud of is putting up a double-century partnership with Bucky (Rogers). ItвЂ™s our first one and we bat very well together.вЂќ Rogers, who gave chances on 19 and 90, followed Warner to the pavilion six balls later when he was bowled for 95 by Shami. The Sydney Test was being played against the poignant backdrop of the tragic death of Hughes. Warner posted his first Test century at the SCG and he, along with Smith, Watson, Brad Haddin and Nathan Lyon, were all on the field when Hughes was felled by the short-pitched ball. A plaque honouring the batsman has been installed outside the home dressing room at the SCG and served as a reminder for the Australian players of their former team-mate. India, with Virat Kohli leading the team after the sudden Test retirement of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, made four changes with Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Wriddhiman Saha and Bhuvneshwar Kumar coming into the side. The tourists left out opener Shikhar Dhawan with Lokesh Rahul promoted to open the innings, Sharma replacing Cheteshwar Pujara and Saha for Dhoni at wicketkeeper, while Kumar came in for paceman Ishant Sharma. The Australians made only one change with Mitchell Starc replacing injured paceman Mitchell Johnson.вЂ”AFP SCOREBOARD SYDNEY: Scoreboard at the close on the opening day of the fourth Test between Australia and India at the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday: Australia 1st innings C. Rogers b Shami D. Warner c Vijay b Ashwin S. Watson not out S. Smith not out Extras (lb3, w6) 95 101 61 82 9 Total (2 wickets, 90 overs) 348 Fall of wickets: 1-200 (Warner), 2-204 (Rogers) Bowling: Kumar 20-2-67-0, Yadav 16-1-97-0 (6w), Shami 16-2-58-1, Ashwin 28-5-88-1, Raina 10-2-35-0 To bat: S. Marsh, J. Burns, B. Haddin, R. Harris, M. Starc, N. Lyon, J. Hazlewood. Williamson, Watling record smashes Sri Lanka hopes CAPE TOWN: South African Dean Elgar reacts after hitting the ball as the team plays West Indies during the third Test match. вЂ”AP India pick three spinners for World Cup MUMBAI: IndiaвЂ™s selectors yesterday chose three frontline spinners to help Mahendra Singh DhoniвЂ™s men defend the World Cup title in Australia and New Zealand from next month. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was joined by left-armers Ravindra Jadeja and young Akshar Patel in a 15-man squad announced in Mumbai for the showpiece event from February 14 to March 29. Jadeja was selected despite being treated for a shoulder injury that forced him out of the ongoing Test series in Australia. Patel, 20, has claimed 14 wickets in nine one-day internationals so far. вЂњJadeja is doing wonderfully well in his recovery process and we are hopeful he will be fit in 10 days time,вЂќ Indian cricket board secretary Sanjay Patel told reporters. The squad includes just four playersDhoni, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and Ashwin-who were part of the winning team in 2011. The selectors ignored Yuvraj Singh, the man of the tournament in 2011, who was not in the preliminary 30-man squad, but came into reckoning with centuries in three consecutive first-class matches. Teams are allowed to select players from outside their preliminary pool, but the 33-year-old SinghвЂ™s absence from the one-day team over the past year due to poor form went against him. The nucleus of the squad is the same which helped India win the Champions Trophy one-day tournament in England in 2013. There was no place for opening bats- man Murali Vijay, one of the few Indian players to emerge with credit from the Australia Test series with 402 runs in the first three matches at an average of 67.00. Vijay, 30, played the last of his 14 oneday internationals in July 2013. Rohit Sharma, who hit one-day cricketвЂ™s highest score of 264 against Sri Lanka last November, will open the batting with left-hander Shikhar Dhawan, despite both faring poorly in the Tests. The squad includes seven batsmen, three spinners and five seamers in Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and all-rounder Stuart Binny. The same players, along with two extra new-ball bowlers Dhawal Kulkarni and Mohit Sharma, will take part in the one-day tri-series with England and Australia starting on January 16. India are drawn in pool B of the World Cup alongside Pakistan, South Africa, West Indies, United Arab Emirates, Ireland and Zimbabwe. The top four in the pool will advance to the quarterfinals. DhoniвЂ™s men begin their campaign with a mouth-watering clash against arch-rivals Pakistan in Adelaide on February 15. Squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Akshar Patel, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Stuart Binny. Coach: Duncan Fletcher. вЂ”AFP WELLINGTON: A world record sixth-wicket partnership of 365 by Kane Williamson and B.J. Watling, who both posted career bests, slammed the door on Sri Lanka in the second Test in Wellington yesterday. WilliamsonвЂ™s unbeaten 242, with Watling not out 142, rescued New Zealand from a deep hole and carried them to 524-5 declared in their second innings. Sri Lanka were left facing a 390-run final-day target on a ground where the record for a successful fourth innings chase is 277-3 set by Pakistan 11 years ago. At stumps they were 45-1 with Kaushal Silva on 20 and Dhammika Prasad on one. Dimuth Karunaratne was out for 17 four overs before the close, the only dismissal of the day. With wickets hard to come by on a flat track, and Sri Lanka holding middle-order strength led by Kumar Sangakkara, a draw seemed the likely outcome. This would give New Zealand the two-Test series 1-0. Williamson and Watling came together as New ZealandвЂ™s last recognised batsmen with the score on 159-5, a perilous 24run lead. They methodically ground the Sri Lankan bowlers into submission over the following eight hours. Williamson said their focus was on occupying the crease to save New Zealand and records were secondary. вЂњWe needed to draw on that to bat as long as we did. That was very much the motivating factor. Talk about 100s or 200s, itвЂ™s great to get them but more important to keep going to put the team in a better position,вЂќ he said. Sri Lanka need a further 345 on the final day to win. While the odds favour New Zealand, Williamson said both sides fancied a result. вЂњWe know if we put it in the right areas and bowl the way we know we can, we can create opportunities, but anyone with someone like Kumar Sangakkara in their team will certainly have confidence, and itвЂ™s set up for a really good dayвЂ™s cricket.вЂќ New Zealand declared 13 runs ahead of the previous sixth-wicket record of 352 set by Watling with Brendon McCullum in similar Testsaving circumstances against India a year ago. Then, as now, New Zealand were fighting to claim the series after winning the first Test. Sri Lanka squandered several opportunities to break the partnership and regain control, and paid a heavy price for sloppy fielding. Williamson offered four chances-dropped by Rangana Herath on 29, dropped by Nuwan Pradeep on 60 and dropped by Prasanna Jayawardene on 104 before Jayawardene missed a blatant stumping opportunity on 233. WilliamsonвЂ™s unbeaten 242, the product of more than 10 hours at the crease, gave the 24year-old his ninth Test century and the seventh highest score by a New Zealander. After cautiously steering New Zealand into a commanding position, Williamson opened up towards the end of the innings, scoring 52 of the 79 runs added in the 15 overs before the declaration. In his marathon innings he faced 438 deliveries and scored 18 fours, including a boundary to midwicket when he danced down the wicket to bring up his maiden 200 off Rangana Herath. While Williamson steered New Zealand to safety, Watling proved a sound ally at the other end as he brought up his fourth Test century. He had nine fours and a six in his 142. His previous best was 124 in his match-saving knock with McCullum against India. As the innings progressed the Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews set defensive fields in hopes the batsmen would make a mistake, but when the chances came they were not taken. Herath, the leading bowler in the world last year with 60 wickets at 24.85, finished with figures of one for 154. Sri LankaвЂ™s most successful bowler Pradeep had figures of three for 117 after being three for 32 before Watling went to the middle.вЂ”AFP SCOREBOARD WELLINGTON: Scoreboard at stumps yesterday on day four of the second Test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at the Basin Reserve in Wellington: New Zealand 1st innings 221 (K. Williamson 69; N. Pradeep 4-63, S. Lakmal 3-71) Sri Lanka 1st innings 356 (K. Sangakkara 203, D. Chandimal 67; J. Neesham 3-42, D. Bracewell 3-93) New Zealand 2nd innings (overnight 253-5) T. Latham c Jayawardene b Pradeep 35 H. Rutherford c Chandimal b Pradeep 40 K. Williamson not out 242 R. Taylor b Herath 0 B. McCullum lbw Prasad 22 J. Neesham lbw Pradeep 19 B. Watling not out 142 Extras (b7, lb7, w4, nb6) 24 Total (five wickets dec, 172 overs) 524 Fall of wickets: 1-75 (Rutherford), 2-78 (Latham), 3-79 (Taylor), 4-122 (McCullum), 5-159 (Neesham) Bowling: Lakmal 32-4-89-0 (1w), Pradeep 37-4117-3 (5nb, 1w), Herath 56-8-154-1, Prasad 28-1102-1 (1nb, 1w), Mathews 11-3-29-0, Thirimanne 8-1-19-0 (1w) Sri Lanka 2nd innings D. Karunaratne c Rutherford b Craig 17 K. Silva not out 20 D. Prasad not out 1 Extras (b4, lb2, w1) 7 Total (one wicket, 17 overs) 45 Fall of wicket: 1-42 (Karunaratne) Bowling: Boult 7-0-21-0, Southee 4-3-4-0, Bracewell 2-0-11-0 (1w), Craig 2-2-0-1, Rutherford 1-0-2-0, Williamson 1-0-1-0. NEW ZEALAND: Sri LankaвЂ™s Dimuth Karunaratne bats on day four of the second international Test cricket match between New Zealand and SriLankaвЂ at the Basin Reserve. вЂ”AFP p17 2_Layout 1 1/6/15 9:50 PM Page 1 WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 S P ORTS MEMPHIS: Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (11) drives past New York Knicks forward Quincy Acy (4) in the second half of an NBA basketball game. The Grizzlies beat the Knicks 105-83. вЂ”AP Mavs beat Nets, Warriors silence Thunder NEW YORK: Dirk Nowitzki made a clinching 3-pointer in overtime that moved him into seventh place on the NBAвЂ™s career scoring list, and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Brooklyn Nets 96-88 on Monday night to match their season high with a sixth straight victory. Monta Ellis scored 19 points and made a pair of jumpers early in overtime before consecutive 3-pointers by Chandler Parsons and Nowitzki made it 96-88 with 34 seconds to play. That gave Nowitzki 15 points for the game and 27,412 in his career, moving him past Moses Malone into the No. 7 spot. Rajon Rondo shot 1 of 13 for two points but had 14 assists and 10 rebounds for the Mavericks, who have the longest current winning streak in the NBA. Tyson Chandler finished with 14 points and 13 boards. Brook Lopez had 22 points and 13 rebounds for the Nets but faded after an 18-point first quarter. Jarrett Jack had 20 points and 10 assists. The Nets were without Deron Williams (sore left side) and Kevin Garnett, who rested on the second night of back-to-back games, and dropped their second straight after winning three in a row. WARRIORS 117, THUNDER 91 Harrison Barnes scored a season-high 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds, and Golden State used a smothering defensive effort to rout Oklahoma City. Klay Thompson and Stephen Curr y scored 19 points each as the NBA-best Warriors (27-5) bottled up Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Thunder. Golden State held Oklahoma City to 30.6 percent shooting. The WarriorsвЂ™ whipping denied the rejuvenated Thunder (17-18) a chance to move above .500 for the first time this season. Westbrook scored 22 points, and Durant had 14 points and 10 rebounds on a night when everything seemed to be a struggle for the Thunder. Durant shot 3 of 16, and Westbrook finished 5 for 21 from the floor. But help is on the way for Oklahoma CityвЂ™s All-Star tandem. The Thunder acquired shooting guard Dion Waiters from Cleveland in a threeteam trade that was announced during the game. Oklahoma City sent the Cavaliers a protected 2015 first-round draft pick and moved reserve Lance Thomas to the New York Knicks. BULLS 114, ROCKETS 105 Pau Gasol had 27 points and 14 rebounds, Jimmy Butler scored 22 and Chicago rallied for its 13th win in 15 games. Derrick Rose added 19 points, Nikola Mirotic had 17 and the Bulls outscored the Rockets 19-5 over the final 3:19. Josh Smith led Houston with 21 points. James Harden scored 20, but the Rockets lost for the fourth time in six games. Butler scored five points and took a charge against Harden during the game-ending rally to help the Bulls wipe out a five-point deficit.Mirotic also hit a 3 and scored five points during that stretch. 76ERS 95, CAVALIERS 92 Tony Wroten scored 20 points and hit the go-ahead layup with 9.1 seconds left to lift Philadelphia over short-handed Cleveland. Philadelphia had been 0-14 at home this season. Kevin Love had 28 points and 19 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who didnвЂ™t have LeBron James and Kyrie Irving because of injuries. They lost Dion Waiters and two reserves shortly before tipoff because of a three -team trade with New York and Oklahoma City. After the Cavaliers blew all of a 17-point lead, Love made it 92-90 with a pair of free throws with 1:09 left. Wroten made one of two free throws, then scored the go-ahead layup to help the Sixers end their home -losing streak. Michael Carter-Williams had 18 points and 13 assists for the Sixers. HAWKS 107, CLIPPERS 98 Paul Millsap scored 23 points, Jeff Teague added 20 and Atlanta pulled away from Los Angeles in the fourth quarter to earn its seventh straight road victory for the first time in 21 years. DeMarre Carroll had 17 points and eight rebounds, and Al Horford scored 16 for the East-leading Hawks, who won their fifth in a row and 19th in 21 games. Blake Griffin had 26 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Clippers, whose biggest lead of nine came at the start of the game. DeAndre Jordan added 15 points and 16 rebounds, and Chris Paul had 10 points and 10 assists before fouling out with 1:50 to play as the teamвЂ™s three-game winning streak ended. GRIZZLIES 105, KNICKS 83 Mike Conley scored 14 of his 22 points in the third quarter, and Memphis sent depleted New York to its record-tying 12th straight loss. The Knicks (5-32), who have the NBAвЂ™s worst winning percentage, lost for the 22nd time in 23 games. New York played without injured starters Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. The Knicks were also missing J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert, who were traded to Cleveland. Reserve forward Quincy Acy led the Knicks with 19 points, and Jose Calderon added 13. The Grizzlies led by 11 at the half and pulled away in the third quarter. Courtney Lee scored all 11 of his points in the first seven minutes of the period. TRAIL BLAZERS 98, LAKERS 94 Damian Lillard scored 39 points and made the go-ahead basket with 36 seconds remaining as Portland rallied from a 10point deficit in the second half to beat Los Angeles. Lillard hit four 3-pointers, and scored 16 points during the fourth quarter to lead the Trail Blazers (27-8). He has scored at least 39 points in three of his past nine games. LaMarcus Aldridge added 21 points, and reserve center Meyers Leonard had 12 points and 12 rebounds for Portland. Jordan Hill led Los Angeles (11-24) with 23 points and 14 rebounds. Five Lakers scored in double figures, including Jeremy Lin with 14 points. Kobe Bryant, the LakersвЂ™ leading scorer at 23.6 points per game, stayed home for a scheduled day of rest. WIZARDS 92, PELICANS 85 John Wall had 15 points and 12 assists, and Washington ended its longest skid of the season at three games with a victory over New Orleans. Paul Pierce scored 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting for the Wizards, who had five players in double figures. Andre Miller added 12 points, and Marcin Gortat and Kris Humphries each had 10. Anthony Davis had 21 points and 10 rebounds for New Orleans, which led only once - by a single point in the first 4 minutes of the game. Tyreke Evans, playing despite an illness that kept him out of the teamвЂ™s shootaround earlier in the day, scored 21 points. Pelicans guard Eric Gordon, returning from a left shoulder injury, played for the first time in 21 games, but scored only six points in 33 minutes. HORNETS 104, CELTICS 95 Kemba Walker scored 20 of his 33 points in the second half and Cody Zeller finished with a career-high 20 on a perfect shooting night, carrying Charlotte over Boston. It was just the second win in seven games for the Hornets, who learned last week that leading scorer Al Jefferson will be sidelined for about three more weeks with a left groin injury. Zeller went 8 for 8 from the floor, hit all four of his free throws and improved to 6-0 against his older brother Tyler, who plays for the Celtics. Tyler Zeller had two points in 16 minutes. Walker added five assists and five rebounds. Jared Sullinger led Boston with 22 points and eight rebounds. The Celtics have dropped three straight and seven of eight. NUGGETS 110, TIMBERWOLVES 101 Arron Afflalo scored 34 points to help Denver hand Minnesota its 12th straight loss. JJ Hickson had 16 points and 11 rebounds and the Nuggets shot 55 percent to cruise past the Timberwolves (5-28), by far the worst team in the Western Conference. Jusuf Nurkic scored 14 points and Ty Lawson added 12 assists for the Nuggets, whose reser ves outscored MinnesotaвЂ™s 47-10. Gorgui Dieng tied a career high with 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and Shabazz Muhammad added 19 points and six boards for Minnesota. The Timberwolves shot just 43 percent and have not won since Dec. 10 while playing without Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin. PACERS 105, JAZZ 101 Roy Hibbert scored 22 points to help Indiana outlast Utah. Hibbert, who got into a skirmish with the LakersвЂ™ Carlos Boozer in a one-point loss at Los Angeles on Sunday, again played with a fiery edge and repeatedly went over 7-foot-1 Rudy Gobert for inside baskets before fouling out in the final minute. Derrick Favors had 27 points and 11 rebounds and Gordon Hayward scored 24 for the Jazz, who were missing starting point guard Trey Burke (strep throat) and center Enes Kanter (sprained ankle). The Pacers led 98-90 with a minute remaining, but the Jazz nearly completed a furious comeback with a 39-point fourth quarter.вЂ”AP NBA results/standings Philadelphia 95, Cleveland 92; Charlotte 104, Boston 95; Dallas 96, Brooklyn 88 (OT); Chicago 114, Houston 105; Memphis 105, NY Knicks 83; Denver 110, Minnesota 101; Washington 92, New Orleans 85; Indiana 105, Utah 101; Portland 98, LA Lakers 94; Golden State 117, Oklahoma City 91; Atlanta 107, LA Clippers 98. Toronto Brooklyn Boston Philadelphia NY Knicks Chicago Cleveland Milwaukee Indiana Detroit Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L PCT 24 10 .706 16 18 .471 11 21 .344 5 28 .152 5 32 .135 Central Division 25 10 19 16 18 17 14 22 10 23 .714 .543 .514 .389 .303 6 7 11.5 14 Southeast Division 26 8 .765 23 11 .676 15 20 .429 13 24 .351 12 24 .333 3 11.5 14.5 15 Western Conference Northwest Division Portland 27 8 .771 Oklahoma City 17 18 .486 Denver 15 20 .429 Utah 12 23 .343 Minnesota 5 28 .152 10 12 15 21 Atlanta Washington Miami Orlando Charlotte Golden State LA Clippers Phoenix Sacramento LA Lakers Memphis Dallas Houston San Antonio New Orleans Pacific Division 27 5 23 12 20 16 14 20 11 24 .844 .657 .556 .412 .314 5.5 9 14 17.5 Southwest Division 25 9 .735 26 10 .722 23 11 .676 21 14 .600 17 17 .500 2 4.5 8 Scrabble squabble: Ruling body forced to eat its words SYDNEY: A long-running war of words between an Australian and the official Scrabble body has finally been declared a draw by a state court. The Victoria state magistratesвЂ™ court ruled that the local chapter of the Australian Scrabble PlayersвЂ™ Association must overturn a years-old ruling that retired teacher Mohammed A Hegazi had behaved in a manner вЂњunbecomingвЂќ to the popular boardgame. But Hegazi failed to persuade the cour t to declare he had never cheated while playing the 77year-old game thatвЂ™s played in 121 countries in 29 languages, HegaziвЂ™s lawyer Robert Frajsman said told Reuters. Hegazi was also ordered to pay costs of A$3,000 ($2,440). вЂњWho would have thought that Scrabble would be a bloodsport?вЂќ Frajsman told Reuters by telephone. Hegazi had agreed in 2008 to a 12-month suspension from the association after it found him guilty of bullying competitors, cheating and unprofessional conduct. Details of the cheating accusation wre not immediately available. But despite returning to competition once the ban was up, Hegazi maintained he never cheated and asked the association to overturn its finding. In mediation late last year, the association agreed to revoke its finding, but Hegazi took the matter to GB 8 12 18.5 20.5 the state court, asking for the body to be ordered to say he never cheated. Despite failing to have the cheating clause added to the court order, Hegazi feels вЂњjustified that he didnвЂ™t lie down and cop it (and) stood up for what he firmly believed inвЂќ, Frajsman added. The secretar y of the associationвЂ™s Victorian branch at the time when Hegazi was banned, Marjorie Miller, declined comment.вЂ”Reuters WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 S P ORTS Torres eyes dream homecoming in Madrid derby MADRID: Fernando Torres was responsable for the second highest attendance of the season at the Vicente Calderon on Sunday despite the fact there was no match to see as 45,000 Atletico Madrid supporters welcomed вЂ�El NinoвЂ™ home. Torres will be free to make his second debut for his boyhood club, for whom he scored 82 goals in over 200 appearances between 2001 and 2007, against their closest and bitterest rivals when Real Madrid come to the Calderon for the first leg of their Copa del Rey last 16 tie today. вЂњIвЂ™m back at home after seven long years. IвЂ™d been waiting a long time for this to come true and now my feelings are a bit strange. I still donвЂ™t believe this is realвЂќ, Torres told the clubвЂ™s website. However, the 30-year-old is well aware of the hard work that lies ahead of him if the real reality check is not to be for the thousands that attended his presentation on Sunday still in awe of the baby faced a ssa ssi n t he y s aw l e ave fo r England during tougher times for the club. As Torres has struggled for form and fitness in recent years at Chelsea and earlier this season in an ill-fated loan spell at AC Milan, Atletico have soared u n der hi s for m e r te a m m a te D i e g o Simeone. Since the Argentine took charge three years ago, Atletico have only lost three out of 18 two-legged ties on route to winning the Europa League, the Spanish Supercup and the Copa del Rey. However, one of those defeats came to Real in comprehensive fashion in last seasonвЂ™s Cup semi-final as Los Blancos ran out 5-0 winners on aggregate. вЂњ The club has been able to build a te a m i n whi c h t he wo rd team i s a strength and that has led to successes,вЂќ added Torres. вЂњFor my part, I have found a path which has given me great satisfaction, but something seemed to be missing. вЂњThis reunion closes a circle that started when I was just 10 years old wearing this shirt and now I hope to enjoy it. вЂњI will always give my all and more for this shirt because itвЂ™s what I feel. The fans know it is going to be like that.вЂќ Real boss Carlo Ancelotti acknowledged the lift that TorresвЂ™s arrival has given Atletico. вЂњ Without playing Torres has brought enthusiasm to the fans and received their love,вЂќ said the Italian, who managed Torres for five months at Chelsea. вЂњTorres has quality, experience and in this atmosphere, which is his, he will be motivated and desperate to do well.вЂќ The European champions also have reason to be motivated after their 22game winning run was snapped by defeat at Valencia on Sunday and Ancelotti admitted he is likely to make changes at the Calderon. вЂњ We are focused on a match that will be difficult. We will continue with the same fight and desire as we have done until now. вЂњThere could be changes. There are some players that havenвЂ™t recovered yet, but we will play our strongest team available.вЂќ Ancelotti confirmed that Keylor Navas will star t all of his sideвЂ™s Cup games in goal ahead of Iker Casillas and that Gareth Bale will retain his place in the side despite criticism of his performance at Mestalla. вЂ”AFP Celtic close gap at the top GLASGOW:Celtic closed to within one point of Aberdeen at the top of the Scottish Premiership with a comfor table 2-0 win over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park. The score didnвЂ™t reflect the dominance of the Hoops who twice hit the crossbar through K ris Commons before Emilio Izaguirre volleyed the Glasgow giants ahead with only his third goal for the club. Killie survived a number of chances for Celtic, while also coming close through Robbie Muirhead, before Stefan Scepovic added a second in the 71st minute. It ended a two-game winless run for the Hoops who will now head for a winter break in Gran Canaria after postponing their January 10 match against St Johnstone. вЂњIвЂ™m very happy with the result and the performance. The attitude and commitment of every player on the pitch was excellent,вЂќ Celtic manager Ronny Deila said. вЂњ The first half especially was ver y good. We controlled the game, created chances and should have scored more goals.вЂќ K illie manager Allan Johnston felt it could have been much worse for his side. вЂњThe first half was very disappointing and we never got anywhere near anyone and allowed Celtic to pass the ball around without any pressure. вЂњIf you allow good players to play and donвЂ™t put any pressure on them then they are always going to cause you problems.вЂќ Commons, mak ing his first star t since November 22, was quick to show the kind of form that saw him earn last yearвЂ™s Player of the Year award with the forward involved in everything. After surviving a couple of hef t y challenges early on, Commons came close to the opener in the 16th minute as his leftfoot strike from outside the box clipped the crossbar with keeper Craig Samson stranded. Commons, linked with a January move to join former Celtic boss Neil Lennon at Bolton, soon had a shot deflected just wide after good work from Scepovic before firing over the bar after weaving his way through the Killie defence. A great passing move then saw Nir Bitton and Liam Henderson combine to set up Commons for another effort from the edge of the box that crashed off the bar. Despite their dominance, Celtic were nearly left to rue their missed chances when Josh M agennis forced a great save out of Craig Gordon with a power ful header from Alexei EremenkoвЂ™s free-kick. The Hoops finally made the breakthrough in the 36th minute with a superb strike from Izaguirre. The Honduran international got on the end of a clipped pass from Stefan Johansen to send a wonderful dipping volley past the helpless Samson. Commons was to be denied yet again just before the break when a Scepovic backheel sent him clear in the box but Samson made a super save. The former Scotland international was foiled once again when Mark Connolly produced an excellent defensive header to flick his powerful drive, which looked destined to burst the net, over the b a r. Ce l t i c k e e p e r G o rd o n h a d been a virtual spectator for most of the match but had to be at full stretch to tip a wicked strike from Muirhead over the bar after he tried his luck from the edge of the box. Celtic finally got the second goal their play deser ved in the 71st minute. Efe Ambrose sent a downward header towards goal f ro m J o h a n s e nвЂ™s co r n e r a n d Scepovic stuck out a foot on the line to divert it into the roof of the net.вЂ”AFP MADRID: Spanish forward Fernando Torres and his children play wearing the Atletico Madrid jersey during his presentation at the Vicente Calderon stadium. вЂ”AP Asian Cup wide open SYDNEY: With hosts Australia in a state of flux and holders Japan engulfed by scandal, the Asian Cup looks to be the most wide open in years. Redemption for a humiliating 2014 World Cup beckons should Australia, Japan, South Korea or Iran win AsiaвЂ™s showcase tournament, which begins on January 9 when the Socceroos face Kuwait in Melbourne. The quartet flopped badly in Brazil as Asia failed to register a single victory for the first time since 1990, a new-look Australia arguably emerging with the most credit. But coach Ange Postecoglou must find an alchemistвЂ™s touch to replace a golden generation of players who qualified for three successive World Cups-or at the very least, a quick fix with his side short on firepower in attack. Much of the responsibility will fall on talisman Tim Cahill, who lit up the World Cup with a stunning volley against the Netherlands but will need his supporting cast to step up. вЂњWe have to be ruthless,вЂќ the former Everton forward told the Sydney Morning Herald. вЂњIf we are ruthless, teams are not going to know whatвЂ™s hit them.вЂќ Australia have added incentive after being upset by Japan in the 2011 final in Doha, but the defending champions will be a tough nut to crack, while 2002 World Cup semifinalists South Korea lurk for the hosts in Group A. However, pressure will also be on Japan, whose Mexican coach Javier Aguirre is under investigation following claims of match-fixing while he was manager of Spanish club Zaragoza in 2011. To what extent the furore unsettles the Blue Samurai remains to be seen but Aguirre, who is scheduled to appear in court in Valencia next month, has raised eyebrows with his team selection since taking over after the World Cup. вЂњAll my attention is focused on winning the Asian Cup,вЂќ Aguirre told reporters before flying to Australia. вЂњI have nothing to hide and understand the media have a job to do, but that is my sole objective.вЂќ Failure at the Asian Cup could end in the termination of his contract, however, although the four-time champions will be expected to comfortably negotiate their first-round group, which also features Jordan, Iraq and war-torn Palestine. Iraq overcame conflict and turmoil to win the Asian Cup in 2007 but Uzbekistan could prove the best of the rest this time around, with the United Arab Emirates and Qatar also potentially dangerous to the top sides. But with no outright tournament favourite, the title could come down to which team has the courage to abandon caution and take risks. South Korea last lifted the trophy in 1960 вЂ” the year Muhammad Ali, then Cassius Clay, won Olympic boxing gold-and will be hoping that the success of their Under-23 side in winning last yearвЂ™s Asian Games rubs off on the senior team, despite their own lack of cutting edge. Iran, led by former Portugal and Real Madrid coach Carlos Queiroz, will also be looking to make an impact after a disappointing World Cup, but the three-time Asian champions have struggled to fill the void left by the likes of Ali Karimi, Mehdi Mahdavikia and record goalscorer Ali Daei. вЂ”AFP BRAZIL: In a file picture taken on June 22, 2014, South KoreaвЂ™s midfielder Son HeungMin advances with the ball. Son Heung-Min is one of the players to watch at the Asian Cup. вЂ”AFP From minority sport in Australia to Asian Cup JAPAN: In this Tuesday, June 4, 2013 photo, AustraliaвЂ™s Tim Cahill listens to the national anthem before their Asian zone Group B qualifying soccer match for the 2014 World Cup in Saitama.вЂ”AP SYDNEY: Football was once sneered at in Australia as a game played mainly by immigrants but it will cement its rise from a minority sport to an established pastime when the Asian Cup starts this week. In times past, lovers of football could find themselves insulted and attacked in a country where the rugby codes, Australian rules and cricket dominate the sporting landscape. But international successes and a vastly improved domestic scene have been behind footballвЂ™s steady ascent in Australia, capped with the 16-nation Asian Cup starting on Friday. Football is now more readily associated with stand-out moments like Tim CahillвЂ™s sublime strike at last yearвЂ™s World Cup, or Western Sydney Wanderers winning the 2014 AFC Champions League. Traditional attitudes to football are summed up by the title of influential ex-player and broadcaster Johnny WarrenвЂ™s 2002 book, вЂњSheilas, Wogs and PooftersвЂќ. вЂњWogsвЂќ is a racial insult applied to immigrants, mainly from southern European coun- tries like Greece, who arrived in waves in the years following World War II. вЂњвЂ�SheilasвЂ™, вЂ�wogsвЂ™ and вЂ�pooftersвЂ™ were considered the second-class citizens of the day and if you played soccer, you were considered one of them,вЂќ explained Warren, who died in 2004. вЂњThatвЂ™s how soccer was regarded back then and, to some extent, still is today.вЂќ Debate remains lively over whether the sport should retain its formerly preferred name of вЂњsoccerвЂќ, to avoid clashing with rugby league and Australian rules, both proudly known as вЂњfootballвЂќ. Football in fact has deep roots in Australia, with reports of games as far back as the 1830s, and the first match played under the official Laws of the Game taking place in Sydney in 1880. But rugby was then the game of choice in colonial power Britain, a preference which helped push football in Australia to the margins, despite its early successes. So while football flourished across the globe, there was little being played in Australia until the post-war migrants arrived from Europe and took root in the country. вЂњWhen I was at primary school in the 1970s, kids like myself-who decided to kick a soccer ball around their streets and in the schoolyard-were ridiculed, mocked and beaten up,вЂќ wrote Nick Giannopoulos, star of AustraliaвЂ™s вЂњWog BoyвЂќ comedies, in 2006. вЂњNot a week would go by when some kid would come up to us and tell us that if we were Aussies then we should be playing footy and not that вЂ�wogballвЂ™.вЂќ Despite ambivalence towards the game, Australia reached their first World Cup in 1974, exiting at the group stage, but they would have to wait 32 years before making a triumphant return in 2006. Goals from Cahill, John Aloisi, Craig Moore and Harry Kewell took the Socceroos into the quarter-finals in Germany, where they were undone by a controversial last-gasp penalty against eventual winners Italy. Despite the cruel defeat, it was a campaign that ignited football interest in Australia, also spurred on by the resurrection of the domestic game by Football Federation Australia (FFA).вЂ”AFP WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 S P ORTS Enrique under threat as Barca crisis spirals MADRID: Five days of 2015 was all it took for crisis mode to envelop Barcelona as two club legends Andoni Zubizarreta and Carles Puyol left their roles with the Catalan giants following a shock 1-0 defeat to David MoyesвЂ™s Real Sociedad at the weekend. Yet, worse could still be to come with rumours of dressing room discontent between coach Luis Enrique and star players like Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique bringing EnriqueвЂ™s position under serious threat should they fail to comfortably see off Elche in the Copa del Rey in midweek and beat La Liga champions Atletico Madrid at home on Sunday. ZubizarretaвЂ™s sacking as the clubвЂ™s sporting director by president Josep Maria Bartomeu on Monday came as little surprise. Bartomeu is fighting a losing battle to see out his mandate until 2016 and needed a scapegoat for the one year transfer ban imposed on the club by FIFA for irregularities in the signing of minors, which rules out any further reinforcements to the playing squad until next January. Anticipating the ban, Zubizarreta was in charge of BarcaвЂ™s near 160 million euros ($191 million, ВЈ125 million) splurge on seven new players over the summer which has so far proved largely unsuccessful. The most expensive signing in the clubвЂ™s history, Luis Suarez, has scored just one league goal, whilst 18 million euro defender Thomas Vermaelen is yet to make his debut for the club after being sidelined until April with a hamstring injury. However, there was widespread shock when former captain Puyol decided to follow Zubizarreta out by resigning. The 36year-old intimated his departure from the Camp Nou may be fleeting, stating that he hoped вЂњto grow both personally and professionally so that, in the future, I can return home.вЂќ Yet, it was another major body blow for a beleaguered board to lose an icon with a lot more recent credit with the fans, having won three Champions League and six La Liga titles in the past decade. Indeed in the brief period between ZubizarretaвЂ™s sacking and PuyolвЂ™s resignation, the latter was being touted as the ideal man to step into the role of sporting director with a year to properly learn the ropes before having to dive into the transfer market. Instead, reports in Spain yesterday suggest that FiorentinaвЂ™s sporting director Eduardo Macia will be approached for the role. The boardroom unease has spread onto the pitch as Barca failed to capitalise on Real MadridвЂ™s first defeat in 23 games on Sunday away to Valencia as just hours later they suffered a third league defeat of the season with Enrique having left nearly 300 million euros of talent on the bench. Messi was among those left on the sidelines after only returning to Spain from his Christmas break in Argentina 48 hours before the match. The four-time World Player of the Year then missed an open training session in front of the clubвЂ™s fans on Monday due to a reported stomach bug. However, the rumour mill churned into overdrive when the Argentine followed ChelseaвЂ™s official account and two of their players Filipe Luis and Thibaut Courtois on the social networking site Instagram later in the day. Selling Messi, particularly in the midst of a transfer ban, is unthinkable even for a Barca board on the brink. On the contrary, getting he, Neymar and Suarez playing well together on a consistent basis appears to be the Catalans only hope of claiming some silverware come the end of the season. Should Enrique fail to provide the necessary answers when Diego SimeoneвЂ™s Atletico revisit the scene of their title triumph last season, he may be next to face the brunt of BartomeuвЂ™s blame game.вЂ”AFP Prince AliвЂ™s FIFA push needs AFC support LONDON: With the expected backing of European body UEFA, Prince Ali Bin AlHusseinвЂ™s hopes of becoming the first Asian president of FIFA will rest on his ability to sway support at home in the Asian Football Confederation. UEFA and AFC members will account for 100 votesalmost half of the total-at the May elections in Zurich, where the 39-year-old Jordanian royal will stand against Jermone Champagne and, barring a shock U-turn, incumbent Sepp Blatter. YesterdayвЂ™s announcement of AliвЂ™s decision to stand followed UEFA President Michel Platini revealing last month that he did not want to back either Blatter or Champagne and hoped another candidate would emerge. And stepped forward the FrenchmanвЂ™s close confidant Prince Ali. The Jordanian royal, who said he had been encouraged to stand by his FIFA colleagues, will be able to bank on the support of the 54 members associations of a united UEFA, who have been critical of Blatter. But a successful election will need votes from elsewhere, and Blatter has already been assured of the support of AfricaвЂ™s 54 members, Confederation of African Football general secretary Hicham el Amrani said in September. Asia is the key battle ground. Despite being the founder and head of the West Asian Football Federation, and the AFCвЂ™s FIFA Vice President, AliвЂ™s stock in his home continent has dropped since taking on the role at the world governing body in 2011. Ali lost a political power struggle to AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa last year, with the Bahraini forcing through policy to ensure the head of the organisation took the FIFA seat on the all-powerful executive committee. The Bahraini came to power in 2013 with a conclusive election victory after being backed by Kuwaiti Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah-the man Ali needs to topple Blatter. Sheikh Ahmad is the head of the Olympic Council of Asia and the Association of National Olympic Committees and his support has swayed many a sporting election campaign, with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach among those who have won votes after the KuwaitiвЂ™s backing. When Blatter spoke at the AFCвЂ™s awards dinner in Manila in December he made a point of reaching out to thank and praise Sheikh Ahmad in his pre-dinner speech rather than Bahraini Shaikh Salman, who had opened proceedings by reiterating the AFCвЂ™s full support for Blatter to stand for a fifth term. Asian members, and in particular Ali, know Sheikh Ahmad can change that and back the Jordanian as he has done before. Ali surprisingly toppled powerful South Korean Chung Mong-joon for the FIFA Vice-Presidency seat but their relationship is unclear now following Sheikh SalmanвЂ™s election in 2013. Despite the political powerplays at the top, Ali has won plaudits for his four years of vice-presidential work, where he has increased the number of countries competing in the AFC Champions League, promoted womenвЂ™s football in Asia and removed the ban on head scarfs in the game. The Asian Football Development Project, a non-profit youth commission he founded in 2012 to develop football across the poorest areas of the continent will also have curried favor among some Asian members-and he hopes in all powerful Kuwait. вЂ”Reuters AMMAN: In this Monday, May 26, 2014. file photo Sepp Blatter, President of FIFA (left) is greeted by FIFA Vice President, JordanвЂ™s Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein (right) prior to their meeting on the first day of BlatterвЂ™s regional tour to Jordan. вЂ”AP ITALY: AC MilanвЂ™s Andrea Poli (center) scores during a Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and Sassuolo, at the San Siro stadium. вЂ”AP Roma snatch Udinese win MILAN: Title challengers Roma had Davide AstoriвЂ™s controversial first-half goal to thank for a 1-0 win away to Udinese yesterday that pulled them level with Juventus at the top of ItalyвЂ™s Serie A. Ahead of JuveвЂ™s later fixture with Inter Milan, Roma travelled nor th without Ger vinho, Seydou Keita, Emmanuel Badu and Molla Wague -all of whom are on Africa Cup of Nations duty-as well as injured defender Leandro Castan. Despite shading the encounter at UdineseвЂ™s Friuli stadium, Rudi GarciaвЂ™s men rode their luck in the closing minutes when late substitute Urby Emanuelson seemed to haul down Panagiotis Kone in the box, only for the referee to waved play on. RomaвЂ™s 12th win of the campaign left them in second place on 39 points, with Lazio, 3-0 winners over Sampdoria on Monday, in third a further nine points adrift. Juventus can restore their three-point cushion with a win in Turin later Tuesday, a game Garcia and Roma will be watching in earnest. Frenchman Garcia told Sky Sport: вЂњItвЂ™s important to win when youвЂ™re the first to play. WeвЂ™re relaxed, tonight weвЂ™ll be in front of the television to see who wins.вЂќ Roma took the lead in the 17th minute when AstoriвЂ™s powerful header from Francesco TottiвЂ™s free-kick came off the underside of Orestis KarnezisвЂ™s crossbar and bounced over the keeperвЂ™s goalline. The goal appeared to be initially ruled out by the goalline official-Italy uses a goalline official at either end as well as the referee and his two assistants-but, following protests by Roma, was validated by the referee. Television replays appeared to show that not all of the ball had crossed the line, an incident which is likely to reinforce existing calls for goalline technology to be introduced into ItalyвЂ™s top flight. Garcia admitted that the use of goalline technology would вЂњend any doubtsвЂќ but added: вЂњAt the end of the day the match referee is the one who decides, he was quite well placed to see the ball go over.вЂќ However Udinese coach Andrea Stramaccioni hit out: вЂњMy biggest complaint is about the goalline referees. ItвЂ™s got nothing to do with the score. вЂњRoma won and we accept the scoreline. But if the goalline officials, who are put there to rule on borderline goals, are simply ignored by the referee then what is the point of them being there?вЂќ Elsewhere, AC MilanвЂ™s push for a place in Europe stalled after a shock 2-1 home defeat to Sassuolo left Filippo InzaghiвЂ™s men seventh but five points behind Lazio in the third and final Champions League qualifying place. Andrea Poli gave Milan a ninth-minute lead but Eusebio De FrancescoвЂ™s visitors levelled thanks to Nicola SansoneвЂ™s 28th minute strike before I taly for ward Simone Zaza wrapped up the points in the 67th minute. Gianfranco ZolaвЂ™s Serie A coaching debut at former club Cagliari, meanwhile, ended in a painful 5-0 rout at Palermo, whose sixth win of the campaign moved them up to eighth place. Former Cagliari coach Zdenek Zeman was sacked just before the festive break, but Zola- hired on Christmas Eve-saw the Sardinians crumble quickly at the Stadio Barbera. Michel Morganella and Matias Munoz struck inside the opening 10 minutes and after Cagliari captain Daniele Conti saw red for a second bookable offence just before the half hour, Paulo Dybala struck from the penalty spot to give Palermo a 3-0 half-time lead. Dybala completed his brace in the 72nd minute and Osvaldo Barreto grabbed a late fifth five minutes from the whistle to hand Cagliari their heaviest defeat of the campaign. Rock bottom Parma claimed only their third win of the season, their shock 1-0 win over Fiorentina helped by the expulsion of Viola pair Gonzalo Rodriguez and Stefan Savic in the final 11 minutes.вЂ”AFP ITALY: CesenaвЂ™s Ze Eduardo (right) vies for the ball with NapoliвЂ™s Gonzalo Higuain, during their Serie A soccer match. вЂ”AP Reformist Ali not one to blend into FIFA crowd LONDON: Prince Ali bin Al Hussein became the youngest member of the FIFA executive committee when he was elected to the governing body in 2011 but the Jordanian has never been overawed by the more established members on soccerвЂ™s top table. His royal background, military education and a fierce determination вЂњto do the right thingвЂќ marked him out as someone who stood out from the old guard. He is also one of the few FIFA executive committee members who might slip into a pair of jeans, pull on a leather jacket and go and watch his favourites Arsenal in London or eat at a modest restaurant and feel completely at home. And he could become the youngest FIFA president since Robert Guerin, became its first aged 28 in 1904. Those who have followed his career progression closely over the last four years were not surprised by yesterday вЂ™s announcement that he has decided to challenge Sepp Blatter for the presidency later this year. Softly spoken, and usually with a few days growth on his face, he clearly resembles his late father King Hussein and has some powerful supporters including UEFA president Michel Platini. Platini, who decided to remain as president of the European soccer body and not run for the FIFA office despite saying BlatterвЂ™s time at the top should end, welcomed the announcement. вЂњI know Prince Ali well,вЂќ the Frenchman said in a statement. вЂњHe has all the credibility required to hold high office. We now await his proposals and his programme for the future of football.вЂќ Jim Boyce of Northern Ireland, BritainвЂ™s FIFA vice-president, told Reuters: вЂњI have sat on the executive committee with him for three and a half years and I hold him in the highest esteem. вЂњIf he feels something needs to be said, he says it. He comes across to me as being moral and open and we now have the fascinating situation of the 209 members of FIFA being able to make a democratic decision in May.вЂќ Ali has campaigned against the secretive nature of BlatterвЂ™s FIFA and was among the first there to support the publication of Michael GarciaвЂ™s original report into the alleged scandals surrounding the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids. He has urged reform in Zurich, and unlike most of the other executive committee members, is not afraid to speak to the media to get his own point of view across and in many ways is above the вЂњparty politicsвЂќ at FIFA House. He became president of the Jordan Football Association when he was 24 in 1999 and likes to joke, вЂњwhen I went into the dressing room, I was the same age as most of the players. вЂњBut there was one major difference,вЂќ adds the royal. вЂњThey could play the game a lot better than me.вЂќ Among his achievements, Prince Ali founded the West Asian Football Federation in 2000 and started the Asian Football Development Project in 2012, a non-profit scheme aimed at developing grass roots football across Asia. He also campaigned successfully to lift the ban on female Islamic players wearing headscarves or hijabs in competitions. Blatter might still be favourite to win the FIFA election in May, but no-one should underestimate Prince AliвЂ™s potential to make an even greater impact this year.вЂ”Reuters Matches on TV (Local Timings) Spain Copa del Rey Villarreal v Sociedad 22:00 beIN SPORTS 1 HD Atletico v Real Madrid 23:00 beIN SPORTS 2 HD Thursday Almeria v Getafe 0:00 beIN SPORTS 3 HD Valencia v Espanyol beIN SPORTS 1 HD 0:00 Roma snatch Udinese win Terranova clinches second stage 19 15 WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 Mavs beat Nets, Warriors silence Thunder Page 17 BRISBANE: MariaSharapova of Russia serves against Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan in the second round of womenвЂ™s singles match on day three of the Brisbane International tennis tournament. вЂ” AFP Sharapova brushes Shvedova aside Serena goes down in Perth BRISBANE: Top seed Maria Sharapova began her 2015 campaign in ruthless fashion as she brushed aside Yaroslava Shvedova 6-0, 6-1 in the second round of the Brisbane International yesterday. Sharapova dominated her opponent in every department as she raced through the first set in just 23 minutes. Shvedova, a qualifier from Kazakhstan, offered more resistance in the second but was no match for the world number two. Sharapova had not played a competitive match since the WTA Finals in October. But there were no signs of rust as she cruised into the quarter-finals.вЂќIt certainly felt good to start (well) after not playing a match for a couple of months,вЂќ Sharapova said. вЂњDespite all the training, itвЂ™s such a different feeling to go out on the court and play in front of a crowd in an actual match atmosphere. вЂњI wanted to start off sharp and try to do the right things.вЂќ Sharapova broke her opponent five times throughout the match, but had to save two break points on her own serve in the second set. She said this was important in stopping any chance of a Shvedova comeback. вЂњShe lost the first set in her previous match (against Sabine Lisicki) 6-0 and ended up winning the match in a tough three-set battle, so you never know,вЂќ Sharapova said. вЂњThere were moments where I saved a few important break points, which was crucial. That gave me good confidence towards the end of that second set.вЂќ Sharapova will now play the winner of the clash between seventh seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain and CroatiaвЂ™s Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. Earlier, third-seeded German Angelique Kerber remained on course for a semi-final showdown against Sharapova when she crushed Russian qualifier Daria Gavrilova in straight sets. Kerber needed just 90 minutes to see off Brisbanebased Gavrilova 6-3, 7-5. вЂњI think itвЂ™s good to be now in the quarters and have a lot of matches before Melbourne,вЂќ Kerber said. вЂњI think that was my goal, and right now it looks good.вЂќ She will now take on UkraineвЂ™s Elina Svitolina, a 63, 6-2 winner over Croatian Ajla Tomljanovic. Defending menвЂ™s champion Lleyton Hewitt suffered a shock loss at the hands of big-serving fellow Australian Sam Groth. Groth blasted 14 aces and won 89 percent of his first serves to overpower Hewitt 6-3, 6-2 in just 58 minutes. Fifth seed Kevin Anderson was another casualty in the menвЂ™s draw, with the South African falling to Polish qualifier Lukasz Kubot 7-6 (7/3), 6-4. Seventh seed Alexandr Dolgopolov, a finalist in Brisbane in 2012, cruised into the second round with a 6-2, 6-3 win over ArgentinaвЂ™s Carlos Berlocq. Meanwhile in Perth, world number one Serena Williams complained of tiredness after being trounced by Canadian Eugenie Bouchard at the mixed teams Hopman Cup yesterday. Williams was humbled by the sixth-ranked Bouchard in straight sets as Canada upset the tournament favourites 2-1. Williams went down one set against 12th-ranked Flavia Pennetta in her first outing in Perth on Monday but was rejuvenated by a mid-match coffee and went on to beat the Italian. However, there was to be no coffee-inspired miracle against the sixth-ranked Bouchard, who doubled-fault- Ito advances in Chennai Nadal suffer shock defeat in Qatar DOHA: Rafael NadalвЂ™s ability to make a quick recovery from multiple ailments was thrown into doubt yesterday as he lost 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 to Michael Berrer in Qatar. This first round match was NadalвЂ™s first match of the 2015 ATP World Tour and he appeared to have had insufficient time to recover from an appendectomy, and far too little match practice over the last two months. Nevertheless, it was a humiliating outcome for one of the most successful players of all time, who won the first set at a canter, and then found himself quite unable to play anywhere near the standard he would have hoped for. Berrer is a 34-year-old qualifier ranked outside the top 100 who is playing the last season of his career. Nadal has also been suffering from back and wrist injuries, which reduced his service speed greatly. Berrer had only taken four games in four sets off Nadal in their previous two meetings, but recognised a career-greatest opportunity and in patches responded by raising his standards to new heights. He was also admirably frank in his assessment. вЂњItвЂ™s one of the matches which will stay in my memory for ever, but letвЂ™s be honest it was the first match for Rafa after injury,вЂќ he said. Earler Berrer commented: вЂњWhat IвЂ™ve learned from my studies for my sports psychology masters degree is to avoid thinking about these things.вЂќ This was a reference to dealing with the pressure of closing out a career-best win against a legend. вЂњIn the first set it felt like the other matches against him,вЂќ he added. вЂњThen it became easy to attack because it was the only chance I had. вЂњItвЂ™s also my last season and I had nothing to lose, and IвЂ™m enjoying it here-so why not?вЂќ Berrer had plenty of time to think about answering that question, for he broke early in the final set and led 3-1, sometimes finding angles which perhaps only a fellow lefty could manage against Nadal. The French Open champion almost broke back immediately, but a Hawkeye decision showed his ground stroke to have landed a millimetre beyond the baseline, and his only real chance after that came in the final game. That saw Berrer slip to 15-40, only to produce two good first serves, and then go break back point down by delivering a double fault, before attacking the net on each of the last three points and finding Nadal unable to come up with any of those rasping passing shots for which he has become so renowned. It not only cost Nadal the title here and raised doubts about his ability to make any sort of ed five times in her first two services games and yet cruised to an emphatic 6-2, 6-1 win over the 18-time Grand Slam singles champion. Errors flowed off the Williams racquet during her match with Bouchard and the 33-year-old said she hadnвЂ™t been feeling at her best since arriving in Perth on Saturday. вЂњI donвЂ™t know whatвЂ™s wrong with me, I am so tired, itвЂ™s so weird,вЂќ she said when asked if she was suffering from jet lag. вЂњI canвЂ™t get my body to move and I feel like I have no energy.вЂќIt is a little frustrating because I know I can play 2000 times better.вЂќ But Williams said she wasnвЂ™t overly concerned by the issue. вЂњIвЂ™m so fit, I can run 10km, I donвЂ™t know how to describe it,вЂќ she said. вЂњI have to figure it out, hopefully I can do better in my next match.вЂќ Williams certainly played with renewed vigour in the later mixed doubles rubber. In beating Williams for the first time, Bouchard rebounded strongly from the disappointment of CanadaвЂ™s opening tie, when she was beaten 6-0, 6-4 by the Czech RepublicвЂ™s in-form Lucie Safarova.вЂ”AFP QATAR: Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal reacts after losing his tennis match against Michael Berrer of Germany in QatarвЂ™s ExxonMobil Open yesterday. вЂ” AFP challenge for the Australian Open, but may cause questions about what sort of season this is going to be for him Earlier Novak Djokovic, who succeeded Nadal as world number one in June, made a satisfactory start with a 6-1, 6-4 win over his Serbian compatriot Dusan Lajovic. вЂ” AFP CHENNAI: JapanвЂ™s number two Tatsuma Ito moved into the second round of the ATP Chennai Open with a straight-sets win over Indian wildcard Ramkumar Ramanathan yesterday. The 87th-ranked Ito, playing for the first time in the $450,000 season opener in the southern Indian city, won 6-3, 6-3 on the centre court of the Nungambakkam tennis stadium. вЂњIt is good to start the year with a win, but I must play a consistent game to go forward,вЂќ said Ito, who next plays fifth seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain. Garcia-Lopez overcame the loss in the tie-breaker of the first set to edge past error-prone qualifier Evgeny Donskoy of Russia 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 6-3 in two hours. Sixth seed Yen-Hsun Lu of Taiwan also breezed through to the next round with a 6-3, 6-4 win over IndiaвЂ™s top player Somdev Devvarman. вЂњOne is always a bit worried at the start of a season, but I think I played okay,вЂќ the 31-year-old Lu said. вЂњI hope I can do well in the other matches.вЂќ LuвЂ™s next opponent will be Spaniard Pablo Carreno-Busta, who beat Alejandro Gonzalez of Colombia 6-1, 6-3. Swedish wildcard Elias Ymer moved up by defeating Dutchman Igor Sijsling 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 and Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania beat qualifier Luca Vanni of Italy 6-1, 2-6, 7-5. Another qualifier Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia brushed aside Lukas Lacko of Slovakia 7-6 (7/0), 6-3 to set up a tough second round meeting against second seed Feliciano Lopez of Spain. Australian Open champion and world number four Stanislas Wawrinka leads the 32-man field which includes a strong Spanish contingent of 14th-ranked Lopez, number 15 Roberto Bautista-Agut and Garcia-Lopez. Other leading contenders are BelgiumвЂ™s David Goffin, and WawrinkaвЂ™s second round opponent Borna Coric of Croatia. The top four seeds-Wawrinka, Lopez, Bautista-Agut and Goffin-received a bye in the first round. The champion will pocket $73,400 and 250 ranking points. вЂ”AFP Business Kuwait real estate activity remains robust Page 22 Cairo stops subsidies to farmers of cotton Page 23 WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 US home prices coasting upward in November A track-ready Lexus poised to make global debut at 2015 NAIAS Page 25 Page 26 MANHATTAN: A construction worker clears wood from a platform that spans the Penn Station railroad tracks in midtown Manhattan, in New York. вЂ”AP (See Page 25) Euro-zone growth faltered in 2014: Survey Big EU economies choking off growth in region LONDON: Weakness in the eurozoneвЂ™s major economies, such as Germany and France, risks choking off the growth emerging in countries that were at the forefront of the regionвЂ™s debt crisis, a closely monitored survey indicated yesterday. In its monthly survey of business activity, financial information company Markit said the euro-zone ended 2014 on a tepid note despite вЂњsigns of lifeвЂќ in countries like Ireland and Spain, which were hit hard by the financial crisis. ThatвЂ™s another potential headache for policymakers across the region. As well as fears that the euro-zone will soon suffer a bout of deflation, or falling prices, which can choke the recovery further, there are renewed concerns over GreeceвЂ™s future in the eurozone. In concert, theyвЂ™ve renewed pressure on the euro and exacerbated the fall in oil prices. Many of the problems confronting the euro-zone would be helped by economic growth but survey after survey shows that prospect remains distant. MarkitвЂ™s so-called purchasing managersвЂ™ index - a gauge of business activity across manufacturing and services - reinforced that picture. Its main index rose to 51.4 points in December from 51.1 the previous month. However, that was down from a preliminary estimate for December of 51.7, with figures above 50 indicating expansion. Overall, Markit suggests that the rate of economic expansion during the fourth quarter was the weakest since the third quarter of 2013. Markit estimates that the euro-zone, which now numbers 19 countries following LithuaniaвЂ™s adoption of the euro at the start of January, grew by a quarterly rate of 0.1 percent in the last three months of the year, continuing the trend of minimal growth since the recession ended in mid2013. Recession missed вЂњThe euro-zone will look upon 2014 as a year in which recession was avoided by the narrowest of margins, but the weakness of the sur vey data suggests t h e r eвЂ™s n o g u a r a n t e e t h a t a renewed downturn will not be s e e n i n 2 0 1 5 ,вЂќ M a r k i t вЂ™s c h i e f economist Chris Williamson said. Williamson said he was particularly concerned by the downturns in France and Italy, as well as the вЂњstutteringвЂќ performance of Germany, EuropeвЂ™s economic powerhouse. He warned that the recoveries in countries like Ireland and Spain, which are enjoying their best growth spells in years, вЂњare in danger of being extinguished by malaise spreading from the regionвЂ™s largest economies.вЂќ The weak data will likely add to calls for more aggressive action from the European Central Bank. Its president, Mario Draghi, recently hinted that the bank stands ready to launch a full-blown bond-buying program similar to those undertaken by other central banks, such as the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England. Many experts think the ECB could make the announcement at its next monetary policy meeting on Jan 22. Although the ECB has cut interest rates to record lows and backed the purchase of some private-sector bonds, it has refrained from a fullscale bond-buying program - socalled quantitative easing, or QE. The euro has been in retreat for months on the back of expectations that the ECB will back a further stimulus as traders anticipate more of the currency in circulation. On Monday, the euro fell to a nine-year low against the dollar below $1.19. While anemic economic growth across the euro-zone is a major source of concern for policymakers at the ECB, it is too-low inflation thatвЂ™s prompting the speculation of further action. Inflation, at last count, stood at 0.3 percent, far below the ECBвЂ™s target of annual price increases just below 2 percent. Figures Wednesday are expected to show a further decline, with some economists predicting an actual decline due to sliding oil prices. The benchmark New York rate has fallen below $50 for the first time in nearly six years. Although falling prices may sound good, so-called deflation can choke the life out of an economy if consumers put off purchases in the hope of future bargains, and companies struggle to remain profitable. Deflation can prove difficult to reverse, as evidenced by JapanвЂ™s economic stagnation over the past two decades.вЂ”AP DIB to test Gulf debt markets post oil fall DUBAI: Dubai Islamic Bank will reopen the Gulf bond market next week with a capital-boosting sukuk, the regionвЂ™s first debt offering in two months as financial markets there wobbled under the impact of falling oil prices. A successful offering would not just bolster reserves at DIB, the largest Islamic bank in the United Arab Emirates, but also pave the way for others who may have been waiting to see the fallout from oil prices before coming to the market. Benchmark Brent oil has plunged by more than half from its June peak, hitting a 5-1/2-year low on Tuesday. The slump gathered pace after a Nov. 27 meeting of OPEC ministers said the group would not cut output to support prices. Oil and gas production account for nearly half of economic output in the six Gulf Cooperation Council nations, some three-quarters of exports, and an even higher ratio of state revenues, raising fears about the effect on local economies. Stock markets in Dubai and Saudi Arabia have slipped by 19.4 percent and 11 percent respectively since the OPEC gathering, while debt yields have risen. DubaiвЂ™s 3.875 percent January 2023 sukuk widened by 77 basis points between the end of November and mid-December to 4.483 percent. The volatility brought a halt to what had been active issuance. The last deal from a Gulf issuer came on Nov 12, when fellow Dubai lender Emirates NBD completed a $500 million five-year trade. Prior to that, there had been 14 deals since Sept 4. Against this backdrop, DIB said yesterday it had picked eight banks to arrange roadshows between Jan. 8 and 12 in Hong Kong, Singapore, the UAE and London. The potential benchmark size dollar sukuk issue will boost the bankвЂ™s Tier 1, or core, capital. VANGUARD Despite the lack of bond deals and higher potential costs for issuing new debt, the DIB deal should find strong local demand if it is priced well, said Abdul Kadir Hussain, chief executive at Mashreq Capital, the investment unit of Mashreq bank. вЂњWe will need stability in oil prices for spreads to start tightening again. But there is still strong liquidity in the market and the widening in this region has been much more disciplined than in other regions.вЂќ A strong deal could accelerate the plans of other potential issuers who have been waiting on the sidelines, a senior Gulf-based banker on the deal said on condition of anonymity as he is not allowed to speak to the media. A slew of companies had announced plans last year for bond issues including Bank Muscat, Gulf Finance House and Etisalat. The transaction is important for DIB, after the bankвЂ™s Chief Executive Adnan Chilwan said it would need to bolster its capital reserves to sustain growth. Strong lending and acquisitions had reduced its total capital adequacy ratio - a key indicator of the bankвЂ™s health - to 15.2 percent on Sept. 30. While above the minimum 12 percent set down by the UAE central bank, it was 3 percentage points down from the star t of 2014. HSBC and Standard Chartered are joint structuring banks for the potential issue, with Al Hilal Bank, Emirates NBD, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Noor Bank, Sharjah Islamic Bank and DIBвЂ™s own investment banking team chosen for the deal. вЂ”Reuters Oil weighs on bourses, but Saudi cuts losses MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS DUBAI: Gulf stock markets extended their losses yesterday as Brent crude plunged for a second session in a row and the threat of a fresh euro-zone crisis in Greece also prompted investors to sell risky assets globally. Brent crude touched a fresh 5-1/2-year low at $51.23 a barrel on oversupply concerns. MSCIвЂ™s emerging market index fell 1.0 percent to a three-week low. Saudi ArabiaвЂ™s main index dropped as much as 4.0 percent in a broad sell-off early in the session, but then pared its losses and closed only 0.6 percent down. The kingdomвЂ™s market is heavily weighted towards petrochemicals, whose profit margins will suffer from cheaper crude. The sector was the main drag on the bourse as it fell 1.2 percent. But dozens of stocks closed in the black and Makkah real estate developer Jabal Omar was the main support, jumping 2.2 percent after it secured a 4 billion riyal ($1.1 billion) loan to refinance part of an existing facility. The broad marketвЂ™s recovery followed a speech by King Abdullah - read on his behalf by Crown Prince Salman on state television - in which the monarch said the worldвЂ™s top oil exporter would deal вЂњwith a firm willвЂќ with the challenge posed by lower oil prices, although he did not give policy details. Also, a survey of companies showed on Tuesday that growth in Saudi ArabiaвЂ™s non-oil private sector had accelerated slightly in December, driven by an expansion in output, though it remained weaker than it was in most of 2014. вЂњThe rise in DecemberвЂ™s whole economy PMIs suggests that, in spite of the plunge in oil prices at the end of last year, economic activity in the Gulf has held up reasonably well,вЂќ Jason Tuvey, Middle East economist at London-based Capital Economics, said in a note. The kingdom adopted a large 2015 state budget last month which provides for a marginal increase in spending rather than a cut as some retail investors had previously feared. UAE, EGYPT DubaiвЂ™s bourse led losses in the Gulf, dropping 3.2 percent. Emaar Properties, the emirateвЂ™s largest listed developer, topped trading volume as it lost 5.8 percent. However, shares in Air Arabia bucked the trend and added 1.4 percent after the firm said on Monday it had bought a 49 percent stake in JordanвЂ™s Petra Airlines and would establish a hub in the country. The carrier may also benefit from the sustained drop in oil prices. DubaiвЂ™s non-oil business activity growth also edged up in December. But the emirateвЂ™s bourse, which unlike Saudi ArabiaвЂ™s is open to direct foreign investment, has been hit in recent days by a global pullout from emerging markets. Foreigners from outside the Gulf were again net sellers on Tuesday, bourse data showed. Elsewhere in the Gulf, Abu DhabiвЂ™s index fell 2.7 percent, Kuwait lost 1.5 percent and OmanвЂ™s bourse slipped 1.3 percent. EgyptвЂ™s market dropped 2.4 percent. As an oil importer, Egypt should benefit from cheaper crude, but its equities are also vulnerable to global emerging market flows and CairoвЂ™s government relies heavily on financial aid from the oil-exporting Gulf states, which could conceivably shrink if they become more cautious about spending. вЂ” Reuters WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 BUSINESS Kuwait real estate activity remains robust News i n NBK ECONOMIC REPORT KUWAIT: KuwaitвЂ™s real estate market had one of its best months of 2014 in November, with sales totaling KD413 million. Across the three real estate subsectors, the residential and commercial sectors performed more strongly than the investment sector in November, which saw a year-on-year (y/y) decline in the value of transactions. In general, KuwaitвЂ™s real estate market had a good year in terms of growth with investors seeing it as an alternative to the stock market in its capacity to deliver more stables returns. Sales in the residential sector totalled KD178 million during the month. This was an increase of 26.5 percent y/y. NovemberвЂ™s performance was the second best this year after a few months of relatively subdued activity attributed to PAHW plot distributions and infrastructure developments in areas such as Abu Fateera and Fintas. The number of transactions was also up by 30 percent y/y. The average value of residential transactions has remained relatively steady for a number of months now. Residential activity was, once again, heaviest in the Ahmadi governorate, which accounted for 60 percent of all residential transactions during November. More specifically, plots in Sabah AlAhmed Sea City accounted for 47 percent of all transactions in the residential sector. The average transaction size in November was KD 300,000, down 3.3 percent y/y due to the higher volume of lower-priced units from Sabah Al-Ahmed Sea City coming online. Meanwhile, the Mubarak Al-Kabeer and Hawally governorates accounted for 15 percent and 8 percent of all transactions, respectively. Investment sector Meanwhile, in the investment sector, sales of KD 104 million were recorded in November, a decrease of 29 percent y/y. The announcement by one bank that it intended to liquidate one of its real estate portfolios in December may have contributed to the slowdown in activity, with many investors likely holding off on purchases in November in order to take part in the following monthвЂ™s auction. In terms of the number of transactions, only 99 were recorded during the month, a decline of 21 percent y/y. The average transaction size also dropped, to KD 1 million. In the investment sector, whole buildings accounted for 43.5 percent of all transactions. Apartment units followed, with 40 percent of all transactions. The Ahmadi governorate once again witnessed the bulk of activity, with 51 percent of all transactions, while the Hawalli governorate accounted for 22 percent. The largest transaction, however, involved the sale of a building for KD 22 million in Al-Salmiya. In the volatile commercial sector, sales grew more than five-fold over the corresponding month in 2013 to reach KD 131 million. The large increase is mainly attributed to a single transaction of KD 92 million in the Ahmadi governorate. 13 transactions in total were recorded in November. November also saw two small coastal line transactions: a restaurant in Funaitees that was bought for KD 175,000 and a plot in Mahboola that was sold for KD 533,000. Coastal line transactions are unique as they are independently regulated. They can also include both commercial and residential properties. The Kuwait Credit Bank (KCB) approved 336 housing loans worth approximately KD 20.4 million in November, a drop of 41 percent y/y. Again, this was largely due to a base and seasonal effect. Disbursed loans totalled KD 20.3 million, an increase of 30 percent y/y. Kuwait oil barrel down by $3.99 to $47.36pb KUWAIT: The price of Kuwaiti oil went down by $3.99 Monday to $47.36 per barrel compared to $51.35pb last Friday, said Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) yesterday. The global oil price dropped tremendously in the beginning of this weekвЂ™s trading with future contracts of American crude reaching $50pb for the first time since April 2009. Brent mix prices also went down under $55pb which raised fears of increasing oil supplies with no demand noticeable for the black gold. The new policies to be carried out by Iraq and Saudi Arabia had also affected prices with Baghdad considering increasing exports up to 3.3 million barrels pd in January, while Riyadh is planning to lower the price of its oil exported to European buyers this month. OPECвЂ™s meeting last November decided to keep production at 30 million barrels per day, a contributing fact to the continuous drop. Main currencies stabilize against Kuwaiti dinar KUWAIT: The exchange rate of the main currencies, namely the US dollar, euro, yen, Swiss franc and the sterling were all stable against the Kuwaiti dinar yesterday, compared to yesterdayвЂ™s exchange rate. The Central Bank of Kuwait said in its daily bulletin that the exchange rate for the US dollar was stable at KD 0.293 against the KD, while the euro was also stable at KD 0.350, whereas the Sterling Pound stood at KD 0.448, the Swiss franc was KD 0.291, while the Japanese yen was unchanged at KD 0.002. Bahrain sovereign fund signs $500m loan DUBAI: BahrainвЂ™s Mumtalakat has signed a $500 million five-year loan with a group of banks and will use the cash to refinance debt, the sovereign fund said yesterday. Reuters reported on Sunday that Mumtalakat had signed the loan with the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered, Arab Banking Corp and National Bank of Bahrain. The loan is structured as a revolving credit facility and was signed towards the end of December, Mumtalakat said. One of the smaller sovereign wealth funds in the Gulf region, Mumtalakat had $7.1 billion of assets under management at the end of September. It holds stakes in 40 firms in the kingdomвЂ™s non-oil sector, including Bahrain Telecommunications Co (Batelco) and Aluminium Bahrain (Alba). EgyptвЂ™s Bisco Misr to sell stake to Kellogg CAIRO: Shareholders in EgyptвЂ™s Bisco Misr have agreed to sell a controlling stake to Kellogg as the worldвЂ™s largest breakfast cereal maker emerged as the likely winner of an $87 million takeover battle for the cake and biscuit producer. Private equity firm Abraaj said last week it would withdraw from a bidding war with Kellogg that had driven up the offer price by over 20 percent, leaving the US group as the only remaining suitor. Shareholders controlling 59.91 percent of the firmвЂ™s shares agreed to sell at 89.86 pounds a share, Bisco Misr said in a statement yesterday, for a total of just under $87 million. The tussle over Bisco Misr is part of a flurry of mergers and rights issues boosting activity on the Cairo bourse, which has struggled to revive investor confidence in the turmoil that has followed the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings. Though the values are relatively small, along with a takeover battle for Arab Dairy, the Bisco Misr acquisition suggests growing international interest in the Egyptian market. Kellogg had indicated it was willing to buy 100 percent of Bisco Misr and would only accept a controlling stake. It scuppered an effort by Abraaj to snap up the Egyptian company for an opening gambit of 73.91 pounds a share. Though Kellogg appears almost certain to seal the deal, the regulator last month extended the bidding period to Jan. 11, which means another suitor could yet emerge. Shareholders holding 56 percent of Bisco Misr agreed in November to sell their shares to Abraaj and a deal seemed likely until Kellogg entered the fray. Food is seen as a fast-growing sector in the most populous Arab nation of 87 million people and Bisco Misr is a well-known brand with three baking facilities in Cairo and Alexandria. вЂ” Reuters RAWALPINDI: A Pakistani man pushes a bicycle laden with recyclable items at a market in Rawalpindi yesterday. PakistanвЂ™s official reserves crossed a historic high of $15.098 billion dollar in December. вЂ” AFP EgyptвЂ™s foreign reserves fall to $15.33bn at end-Dec CAIRO: EgyptвЂ™s foreign currency reserves fell to $15.33 billion at the end of December from $15.88 billion the previous month, the central bank said yesterday. Foreign reserves fell sharply after the 2011 uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak but had risen again on the back of billions of dollars of Gulf Arab aid that has flooded into Egypt since the army overthrew elected Islamist President Mohammad Morsi last year. In November, Egypt repaid to Qatar a $2.5 billion central bank deposit received under Morsi, which some traders had warned could have an impact on reserve levels. Reserves stood at about $36 billion before the 2011 revolt. British petrol prices drop to five-year low LONDON: British petrol prices have fallen to the lowest level for five years, data published by the government shows, reflecting the steep decline in crude oil prices. Prices at the petrol pumps have slumped to an average of 111.06 pence per litre this week, the lowest since the week starting Jan. 11, 2010, according to BritainвЂ™s energy ministry. Diesel prices have also fallen to multi-year lows at 117.93 pence per litre, a level not seen since Sept 20, 2010. A glut in global oil supplies has caused Brent crude prices to more than halve in a little more than six months, with motorists now starting to benefit from the decline. Around half of the average current petrol price, or 57.95 pence per litre, is a government tax. This explains why petrol prices have not fallen as sharply as crude prices. Consumer groups have complained the slump in wholesale prices has not been passed on to consumers, with less than half of the drop in crude accounted for by early December, even after exchange rates and taxes were taken into consideration. British finance minister George Osborne, gearing up for a May general election, warned petrol retailers in November he would be watching them carefully to ensure savings from falling wholesale prices were passed on to consumers. вЂ” Reuters Syrian Pound Nepalese Rupees Malaysian Ringgit Chinese Yuan Renminbi Thai Bhat Turkish Lira Philippine Peso Sierra Leone Singapore Dollar South African Rand Sri Lankan Rupee Taiwan Thai Baht 0.006498 0.000066 0.217169 0.019122 0.001859 0.009080 0.008633 0.006778 0.000072 0.223169 0.027622 0.002439 0.009260 0.009183 Bahraini Dinar Egyptian Pound Iranian Riyal Iraqi Dinar Jordanian Dinar Kuwaiti Dinar Lebanese Pound Moroccan Dirhams Nigerian Naira Omani Riyal Qatar Riyal Saudi Riyal Syrian Pound Tunisian Dinar Turkish Lira UAE Dirhams Yemeni Riyal Arab 0.774574 0.039069 0.000081 0.000195 0.411244 1.000000 0.000144 0.024043 0.001198 0.758784 0.080167 0.077883 0.001746 0.153356 0.125217 0.079186 0.001329 0.782574 0.042169 0.000083 0.000255 0.418744 1.000000 0.000244 0.048043 0.001833 0.764464 0.081380 0.078583 0.001966 0.161356 0.132217 0.080335 0.001409 EXCHANGE RATES Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. Japanese Yen Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Srilankan Rupees Nepali Rupees Singapore Dollar Hongkong Dollar Bangladesh Taka Philippine Peso Thai Baht Irani Riyal transfer Irani Riyal cash Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham Egyptian Pound - Cash Egyptian Pound - Transfer Yemen Riyal/for 1000 Tunisian Dinar Jordanian Dinar Lebanese Lira/for 1000 Syrian Lira Morocco Dirham ASIAN COUNTRIES 2.460 4.658 2.913 2.227 2.908 224.280 37.933 3.763 6.605 8.946 61.555 121.740 GCC COUNTRIES 78.498 80.871 764.880 781.850 80.166 ARAB COUNTRIES 42.250 41.069 1.374 158.880 415.430 1.975 2.098 330.620 EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 294.250 Euro 358.130 Sterling Pound 459.320 Canadian dollar 255.980 Turkish lira 126.180 Swiss Franc 300.260 Australian Dollar 243.640 US Dollar Buying 293.050 20 gram 10 gram 5 gram GOLD 238.100 121.740 61.560 b r i e f UAE Exchange Centre WLL COUNTRY Australian Dollar Canadian Dollar Swiss Franc Euro US Dollar Sterling Pound Japanese Yen Bangladesh Taka Indian Rupee Sri Lankan Rupee Nepali Rupee Pakistani Rupee UAE Dirhams Bahraini Dinar Egyptian Pound Jordanian Dinar Omani Riyal Qatari Riyal Saudi Riyal SELL DRAFT 231.71 256.71 302.93 362.08 293.55 461.65 2.49 3.761 4.636 2.220 2.893 2.918 79.77 779.11 40.93 417.10 761.26 80.83 78.19 SELL CASH 228.71 257.71 300.93 363.08 296.55 464.65 2.51 4.031 4.936 2.655 3.428 2.790 80.23 781.18 41.53 422.75 768.56 81.38 78.59 Bahrain Exchange Company CURRENCY Belgian Franc British Pound Czech Korune Danish Krone Euro Norwegian Krone Romanian Leu Slovakia Swedish Krona Swiss Franc Turkish Lira Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd Rate for Transfer US Dollar Canadian Dollar Sterling Pound Euro Swiss Frank Bahrain Dinar UAE Dirhams Qatari Riyals Saudi Riyals Jordanian Dinar Egyptian Pound Sri Lankan Rupees Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Bangladesh Taka Philippines Pesso Cyprus pound Japanese Yen Selling Rate 291.750 260.085 456.630 366.500 303.035 775.760 79.330 80.935 77.975 411.660 40.707 2.225 4.716 2.867 3.759 6.481 715.865 3.480 2.710 3.945 87.645 48.035 9.885 131.225 Australian Dollar New Zealand Dollar BUY Europe 0.007670 0.442233 0.004670 0.043172 0.346090 0.034536 0.078001 0.008637 0.033101 0.286085 0.125217 SELL 0.008670 0.451233 0.016670 0.048172 0.354090 0.039736 0.078001 0.018637 0.038101 0.296285 0.132217 Australasia 0.230848 0.220891 0.242348 0.230481 Al Mulla Exchange Canadian Dollar US Dollars US Dollars Mint Bangladesh Taka Chinese Yuan Hong Kong Dollar Indian Rupee Indonesian Rupiah Japanese Yen Kenyan Shilling Korean Won Malaysian Ringgit Nepalese Rupee Pakistan Rupee America 0.245043 0.290350 0.290850 0.253543 0.295050 0.295050 Asia 0.003451 0.045994 0.035880 0.004341 0.000019 0.002384 0.003233 0.000257 0.080049 0.003010 0.002774 0.004051 0.049494 0.038630 0.004742 0.000025 0.002564 0.003233 0.000272 0.086049 0.003180 0.003054 Currency Transfer Rate (Per 1000) US Dollar 293.850 Euro 356.650 Pound Sterlng 455.100 Canadian Dollar 252.600 Indian Rupee 4.650 Egyptian Pound 41.110 Sri Lankan Rupee 2.224 Bangladesh Taka 3.748 Philippines Peso 6.535 Pakistan Rupee 2.915 Bahraini Dinar 781.900 UAE Dirham 79.970 Saudi Riyal 78.400 *Rates are subject to change WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 BUSINESS Rolls-RoyceвЂ™s shift to smaller, sporty cars spurs sales to record FRANKFURT: Luxur y carmaker RollsRoyce is upbeat about sales this year after smaller, more sporty cars gained appeal with younger customers, resulting in a 13 percent jump in deliveries in 2014. Chief Executive Torsten MuellerOetvoes said the brand had benefited from expanding its model range beyond the flagship Phantom, which can measure up to six meters in length and sells for more than 300,000 pounds ($455,580). Rolls introduced smaller models such as the Ghost II in late 2014 and the Wraith Coupe in late 2013, helping lift overall deliveries to a record 4,063 last year. Both models are almost one meter shorter than the Phantom. The company is broadening its portfolio to suit a younger market with different aspirations, Mueller-Oetvoes said. In China for example the average customer is in his or her late 30s or early 40s, around 10 to 15 years younger than elsewhere. Rolls is even considering building a sports utility vehicle. A decision about whether to go ahead will be made this year, the CEO said. Given the companyвЂ™s product portfolio and the growth in its ultra-wealthy clientele, Mueller-Oetvoes said he was quietly confident about sales for 2015. Around the world, wealth accumulated by high net worth individuals, defined as those having investable assets of $1 million or more, is expected to reach a record of $64.3 trillion by 2016, 22 percent more than in 2013, according to a report by Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management. Growth at Rolls has been steady since 2003, when the company sold 300 models of its Phantom, the first car developed by the company under BMW ownership. But it still lags rival Bentley, owned by Volkswagen, which has yet to disclose fullyear sales but which sold 7,786 cars in the first nine months of the year and 6,516 in 2013. Rolls says it is not playing the volume sales game. вЂњBMW gives me an earnings target, not a volume target,вЂќ MuellerOetvoes said. Asked if Rolls might consider a move toward greater independence, just as Ferrari is being spun off from Fiat Chrysler, the German executive saw little appeal in such an idea. вЂњI hope not. I am glad to be part of BMW Group because we can learn from their vehicle development capacities and k now-how,вЂќ MuellerOetvoes said. вЂњDeveloping the next generation of fuel-efficient technologies is really expensive.вЂќ вЂ” Reuters ATHENS: A street vendor sells chestnuts outside from a branch of the National bank in Athens yesterday. Fears that Greece could end up leaving the euro-zone after elections later this month rattled European markets, hammering stock prices. вЂ” AFP Cairo stops subsidies to farmers of cotton Traders say move final blow to EgyptвЂ™s вЂ�white goldвЂ™ MUMBAI: A stock dealer watches share prices on his screen at a brokerage house in Mumbai yesterday. The BSE 30 share benchmark index - SENSEX plunged over 600 points in trade in cue with the sink in Asian markets, which were trading lower as investors are starting to worry that the prolonged slump is signaling a weaker global economy. вЂ” AFP Libya pays heavy economic price as fighting takes toll CAIRO: The central bank is burning through its foreign reserves and many government services are being cut as Libya reels under the effects of a collapse in oil revenues caused by factional fighting that threatens to tear the country apart. With the oil price plunging and no sign of an end to hostilities, economic options are few. Experts say the bank, which is struggling to remain neutral amid the fighting, might have to devalue the currency sharply to meet the public payroll. As the fighting has knocked out most oilfields and ports, oil exports have fallen below 300,000 barrels a day, less than one fifth of the 1.6 million barrels Libya was pumping before Muammar Gaddafi fell in 2011. Since then, the country has been in turmoil as the rebel brigades that helped overthrow Gaddafi are now fighting each other for power and are backing two competing governments. Neither side-the internationally-recognized government in the east and a rival outfit which seized Tripoli in summer- has prepared a budget for 2015. Both seem determined to defeat each other on the battlefield, with oil facilities, ports and steel plants their targets. The turmoil has cut the value of LibyaвЂ™s currency by 30 percent against the dollar on the black market as oil exports are the only means of funding the budget and an annual import bill of $30 billion. An employee at a state bank in Tripoli said the central bank had stopped making dollars available months ago. Worse is to come. Husni Bey, head of one of LibyaвЂ™s biggest private firms, said the central bank might have to devalue the dinar by 50 percent to offset the loss of oil revenues and pay public salaries. Libya had a budget deficit of around $15 billion at the end of November, the bank said, before oil output fell by half. This year the gap will balloon because oil and gas exports will fetch just $11.6 billion, said Bey, head of the HB Group, one of LibyaвЂ™s biggest importers. Salaries, wheat and petrol subsidies will alone cost 38 billion dinars ($28 billion), he said. Last yearвЂ™s budget had assumed oil output of more than 600,000 bpd, a level now unattainable as only two ports and offshore fields have escaped the fighting. Foreign reserves As a result, the central bank warned last week it was depleting LibyaвЂ™s foreign reserves. It did not say how much it had got through since last June, when reserves were $109 billion. The bank has acknowledged the countryвЂ™s economic problems but has spoken only of вЂњmaintaining the current value of the Libyan Dinar exchange rateвЂќ and discussing вЂњhow public finance obligations can be met in 2015вЂќ. One problem is that only half of its foreign assets are held in cash or bonds in major currencies. The rest are a mix of somewhat illiquid or exotic assets- equity stakes in I talian or Bahraini banks, Chinese bonds or deposits in CFA francs, the currency of West Africa-and some investments are blocked by legal disputes. Cutting the budget is not a viable option as twothirds of the funds are reserved for salaries for civil servants and subsidies. Most adults are on the public payroll, a tactic Gaddafi used to buy loyalty, and the warring parties will not touch the system as their own fighters are on state salaries. Alex Warren of advisory group Frontier, which runs The Libya Report website, said both rival parliaments would have to seek loans from Libyan banks or get suppor t from abroad. вЂњThere is effectively no more Libyan state,вЂќ he said. вЂњBoth seek further loans or bonds from domestic banks that they respectively control, or look for patronage from overseas,вЂќ he said. Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni, who is holed up in the east, and his rival, Omar Al-Hassi, running Tripoli, are trying to show they are solving the economic crisis by holding televised meetings with business leaders. But ordinar y people say the state has stopped providing basic services in some parts of the country as funding is frozen or ministries simply halt work. In eastern Libya, state cell phone operator Al-Madar has stopped working while power cuts have become part of daily life. Officials blame a lack of funds for maintenance or shortages of spare parts to fix facilities damaged by fighting. At BenghaziвЂ™s state-run hospitals, patients must bring their own drugs or have blood tests done at private laboratories. вЂњThere is a big shortage of drugs. We donвЂ™t have a budget any more from the ministry of health,вЂќ said a spokesman for BenghaziвЂ™s biggest hospital. Petrol has become scarce in Benghazi and other eastern cities, while people queue for bread. Imports stopped two months ago due to fighting. Nor is there money to rebuild infrastructure such as airports or oil facilities. That will cost $38 billion, said Bey. вЂ” Reuters CAIRO/ABU DHABI: Growers of EgyptвЂ™s high quality cotton will no longer receive any state support and have been advised not to plant the crop unless they have contracts to sell it, a move some traders say is a final blow to the longneglected industry. The market for EgyptвЂ™s high quality extra long staple cotton, once known as the countryвЂ™s вЂњwhite goldвЂќ, has been shrinking for years. Farmers have turned to more lucrative crops and local textile firms have shifted their focus to creating low-quality products with cheap raw cotton imports. Agriculture Minister Adel el-Beltagy said yesterday the government will no longer pay the subsidy of 350 Egyptian pounds per qintar of cotton (160 kg), as much as 40 percent of the domestic market price in the current season. He said cultivation of EgyptвЂ™s long and extra long cotton, which competes with the US Pima variety for high quality fibres, was too expensive and Egyptian factories no longer bought local cotton because of the availability of far cheaper short cotton. The liberalization of EgyptвЂ™s cotton sector in 1994 exposed farmers to volatile global prices and rising fertilizer costs. Cotton acreage has fallen dramatically since the heyday of the 1960s, when Egypt produced cotton from up to 2.2 million feddans (924,000 hectares), helped by fixed state prices. One Egyptian cotton trader said planted acreage had dropped last season to around 350,000 feddans. вЂњIn almost all countries the cotton crop is supported by some kind of subsidy so it is very de-motivating that Egypt is taking away the subsidy from its farmers now,вЂќ he said. The government will ask spinning and weaving companies to sign contracts with farmers for long staple cotton according to their needs, EgyptвЂ™s Trade and Industry Minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour said. Deputy Agriculture Minister Hamdy Aasy told Reuters that removing subsidies would benefit farmers because instead of the government giving direct support to producers amid price volatility in the global market, it will help coordinate favorable contracts between companies purchasing the crop and the farmers. вЂњThis will give (farmers) a profit margin instead of dealing with the free market that goes up and down and endangers them with price fluctuations.вЂќ According to the state-run statistics agency CAPMAS, cotton exports in the second quarter of EgyptвЂ™s current financial year that began in July were 109,600 metric tons, down nearly 70 percent from the same quarter in 2013. вЂ” Reuters French, German borrowing rates at new all-time lows PARIS: French and German borrowing rates reached new all-time lows yesterday amid fears over the prospect of Greece leaving the euro-zone. As of 0830 GMT, FranceвЂ™s 10-year debt hit 0.772 percent on the secondary market, while the German 10-year Bund fell to 0.484 percent. вЂњFactors causing the recent risk-off mode are unlikely to fade rapidly,вЂќ BNP Paribas analysts said in a note. вЂњGreece and the question of QE (stimulus) are keeping bond markets nervous,вЂќ it said, adding that the anxiety is likely to persist through January. At the weekend, the Der Spiegel weekly quoted German government sources as saying that Berlin sees a Greek exit from the euro-zone as вЂњalmost inevitableвЂќ should GreeceвЂ™s radical leftist Syriza party win snap elections on January 25. Both Chancellor Angela Merkel and her finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble have come to consider that GreeceвЂ™s departure from the single-currency bloc would be вЂњmanageableвЂќ, the magazine said. German media saw the Spiegel article as an attempt by Merkel and Schaeuble to put pressure on Greeks and Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras, who has vowed to end austerity policies. The specter of a Greek exit from the euro-zone caused major stock markets to tumble on Monday despite a European Commission declaration that eurozone membership was irrevocable. Meanwhile, the European Central Bank is coming under heightened pressure ahead of its January 22 meeting on monetary policy to do more to help prop up the euro-zone economy amid fears of deflation. If euro area-wide inflation turns negative, the ECB may have to resort to radical measures such as so-called quantitative easing (QE), the large-scale purchase of sovereign bonds, analysts said. At times of uncertainty, traders prefer to park money in the relatively safe haven of sovereign bonds rather than play the riskier stock market. Even countries considered more fragile such as Spain and Italy benefit from this trend. SpainвЂ™s 10-year bond yield dropped to 1.594 percent yesterday from 1.609 percent on Monday, while ItalyвЂ™s stood at 1.826 percent, down from 1.839 percent.вЂ” AFP India coal workers go on strike over reforms MUMBAI: Millions of coal miners in India began a five-day strike yesterday in protest at moves to open up the market to private companies, sparking fears of power cuts in the energy-hungry nation. вЂњI can say that a nationwide strike is on and this the biggest one since 1977,вЂќ Gurudas Dasgupta, general secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), told AFP after last-ditch talks to avert the stoppage failed. Dasgupta was speaking on behalf of the five unions which represent the 3.7 million workers on the payroll of state-run Coal India, which has a near monopoly over production. Unions fear that any move to privatize the coal industry could lead to job cuts. Coal India has been under pressure for years to increase production, with the countryвЂ™s rapid industrialization leading to ever-rising demand. No one from the management of Coal India was immediately available for comment but reports said that unions would be meeting government officials within the next 24 hours. IndiaвЂ™s new right-wing government pledged in October to open up the coal mining industry to private players as part of a raft of reforms by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to revive the ailing economy. The government approved an ordinance to allow auctions of coal mines to private companies for their own use, as well as permitting commercial mining at some point in the future. The decree came after the Supreme Court in September cancelled more than 200 permits for coal mines, after declaring the process of awarding them illegal, throwing the sector into turmoil. India imports vast quantities of coal, despite sitting on the worldвЂ™s fifth largest reserves. Coal provides nearly 60 percent of IndiaвЂ™s electricity generating needs, but the power sector relies heavily on imports of the fuel. Blackouts are common across India, especially during peak summer months, amid surging demand including from a fast-rising middle class. There are also fears that a lack of power at the height of winter could put lives at risk as temperatures often drop to below freezing in some parts of northern India. A prolonged strike would run the real risk of triggering outages since many power stations are already operating on dangerously low supplies, an analyst at an equities house told AFP, requesting anonymity. вЂ” AFP WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 BUSINESS Asian shares slump as oil gloom deepens TOKYO: Asian shares slumped yesterday as sliding oil prices and political uncertainty in Greece forced investors out of riskier assets and into the safety of government bonds, while the euro wallowed near nineyear lows. MSCIвЂ™s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.4 percent, giving up half of the gains made since it hit a 10-month low on Dec. 17. JapanвЂ™s Nikkei dropped 3 percent, its largest fall in almost 10 months while South Korean shares fell 1.7 percent to a 1-1/2-year low. Even high-flying mainland Chinese shares pulled back after hitting 5-1/2-year highs earlier in the session. European shares were seen little changed, with many countries on holiday. Spreadbetters expected BritainвЂ™s FTSE and GermanyвЂ™s DAX to open almost flat. The slide in oil prices showed little signs of abating in the new year, plunging as much as 6 percent on Monday to hit their lowest since spring 2009, as increased output of US shale oil has exacerbated a global supply glut. вЂњFalls in oil prices are going beyond many peopleвЂ™s expectations. This will put pressure on the earnings of US energy firms,вЂќ said Hirokazu Kabeya, senior strategist at Daiwa Securities. US crude crashed below $50 a barrel on Monday while benchmark Brent tumbled under $53 after data showed Russian oil output at post-Soviet era highs and Iraqi oil exports near 35-year peaks. They rebounded slightly yesterday with US crude last traded at $50.21, up 17 cents. Brent stood at $53.34 but that did little to dispel concerns that current low prices would squeeze many energy producers and hurt many assets with close links to energy. The US S&P 500 had its worst day in almost three months on Monday, dropping 1.8 percent, with energy shares leading the decline. Adding to the gloom was increasing speculation that Greece might be kicked out of the euro-zone if a left-wing party that has vowed to end austerity measures and erase a big portion of its debt wins in Jan. 25 elections, as widely expected. Developments in Greece, however, have not hit other periphery euro zone bonds so far, with their yields stuck near record low levels as investors see limited risk of a collapse of the monetary union. Part of the reason behind that stability is expectations that the European Central Bank could start buying government debt to shore up the economy as soon as this month. The prospect of more policy easing from the ECB kept the euro at bay. The common currency last traded at $1.1956 after slipping into the $1.1860 area on Monday, reaching depths not seen since early 2006. вЂњ The next possible targets for the euro will be around $1.18, the level when the common currency started and around $1.16, its November 2005 low. It could see further falls depending on the outcome of Greek election, or the euro-zoneвЂ™s reaction to that, rather,вЂќ said Daisuke Uno, chief strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Bank. Adding pressure on the ECB to do more, German inflation slowed to its lowest in over five years in December. The data came just days after ECB President Mario Draghi said the risks were growing that inflation would stay too low for too long. As riskier assets came under pressure, prices of safe haven assets such as the yen and government bonds gained on flight-to-quality bids. The yen strengthened 0.6 percent to 118.88 to the dollar from a low of 120.745 hit on Friday. The 30-year US bond yield fell to a 2-1/2-year low of 2.592 percent on Monday and last stood at 2.601 percent. Gold prices extended gains after 1 percent on Monday to trade at $1,206.60 per ounce. вЂ” Reuters SEOUL: Currency traders work in front of a screen showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index, top right, at the Korea Exchange Bank headquarters in Seoul yesterday. The Korea Composite Stock Price Index fell 1.74 percent, or 33.30, to close at 1,882.45. вЂ” AP WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 BUSINESS Lloyds hopes for waiver from ring-fenced rules LONDON: Lloyds Banking Group wants BritainвЂ™s financial regulator to grant it a waiver from new rules requiring banks to have separate boards of directors for their retail and investment operations, sources said. The Bank of England (BOE) is forcing banks to establish a boundary around their branch activities to protect taxpayers from any future exposure to the multibillionpound bailouts required to rescue lenders during the 2007-09 financial crisis. Among the requirements will be new boards for the supposedly safer, ring-fenced entities, new staff contracts and separate pension schemes. Banks will also need to separate their risk-management and IT operations. By dividing up a bankвЂ™s activities, it would make it easier to wind up troubled sections without the risk of dragging down the healthy parts of the business. The Financial Times reported late on Monday that Lloyds was seeking an exemption from the board requirement, arguing that because more than 90 percent of its operations will sit inside of the ring-fence there is no need for a separate board. The BOEвЂ™s Prudential Regulation Authority has said it will take a вЂњproportionate approachвЂќ to how the rules are applied. вЂњThe PRA will consider applications from firms for modifications of rules,вЂќ the regula- tor said in a consultation paper published in October. In the consultation paper, the regulator said it had a вЂњdiscretionary power to waive or modify rules...where the application of rules would be unduly burdensome or would not achieve the purposes for which the rules were madeвЂќ. Any bank with 25 billion pounds of UK deposits will need to set up a ring-fenced unit by 2019. At present, six lenders would be affected-HSBC, Lloyds, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander UK and the Co-operative Bank. Andrew Tyrie, head of an influential parliamentary committee that scrutinizes BritainвЂ™s finance ministry, has warned that banks could look to find ways around the ring-fence and should face the threat of being broken up if they do. BritainвЂ™s biggest customer-facing banks-Lloyds and RBShope to include as much as possible within the ring-fenced entity, whereas those with more risky investment activities, such as Barclays and HSBC, want fewer of their assets to be kept within the ring-fence, industry sources have said. Barclays plans to keep its Barclaycard credit card division outside of the ringfence, the sources said. Barclays and HSBC are also expected to set up separate subsidiaries for their IT operations and other functions. Banks must submit their plans to the PRA by yesterday.вЂ”Reuters Hedge fund manager Andurand strikes gold again by betting on oil crash LONDON: Energy hedge fund Andurand Capital returned 38 percent in 2014 betting on the collapse in oil prices, a source familiar with the matter said yesterday, emerging as one of the biggest winners from the near halving in crude since June. French fund manager Pierre Andurand, who made his name in 2008 by calling the sharp rise and subsequent collapse in oil prices that year at his BlueGold fund, launched Andurand Capital in 2013. The London-based fund had $400 million of assets under management at the start of this year, the source said. The return of 37.9 percent was net of all management and performance fees. Returns not including performance fees were 47.4 percent. Most of the returns came in the last two months of the year, as Andurand bet on the sharp drop in crude prices accelerating. The fund was up only slightly for the year at the end of October, when Andurand predicted at LondonвЂ™s Oil & Money conference that the market could drop to $50 a barrel-well below the roughly $85 a barrel North Sea Brent was trading at the time. Brent hit a 5-1/2 year low of $51.23 a barrel yesterday, down by more than 50 percent from the 2014 high near $115 a barrel. Speaking in December, Andurand said wild price swings would continue after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) declined to cut production, choosing to compete to hold on to market share rather than trying to prop up the price. вЂњThere needs to be real pain in the oil market before the price can go back up,вЂќ Andurand said in December, predicting a number of high-cost producers would go bankrupt before the US-led surge in shale supplies slowed enough to balance the market. Andurand Capital declined to comment yesterday. вЂ”Reuters RICHARDSON: A for sale by owner sign sits in front of a home in Richardson, Texas. Real estate data provider CoreLogic reports on November home prices yesterday. вЂ”AP US home prices coasting upward in November Factory orders edge lower WASHINGTON: US home values rose at a measured pace in November, a sign that demand remains weak as many buyers have been priced out of the market. Prices increased 5.5 percent in November compared with 12 months earlier, real estate provider CoreLogic said yesterday. That was up slightly from OctoberвЂ™s year-overyear increase of 5.4 percent, which was revised downward from a previously reported 6.1 percent. The housing market faces an affordability crunch. Many potential buyers were sidelined by double-digit home price gains in 2013, which eclipsed average wage growth of roughly 2 percent. That affordability gap caused sales to slide in 2014, restraining price growth in recent months. CoreLogic projects that price growth will remain mild as the US real estate market continues to recover from the lows reached after the Great Recession. Nationwide, home prices remain 12.9 percent below their April 2006 peak. Over the next 12 months, CoreLogic expects that home values will rise 4.6 percent. The firm estimates that roughly half the countryвЂ™s homes will match or surpass their pre- recession prices by the middle of 2015. But вЂњpockets of weaknessвЂќ are surfacing in some parts of the country, noted Sam Khater, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic. In three of the states with the highest annualized gains in November - Texas (8.5 percent), Colorado (8.8 percent) and North Dakota (7.9 percent) - home values have вЂњbeen benefiting from the energy boom,вЂќ Khater said. But as oil prices have more than halved from $107 a barrel in June, home values in these states may see downward pressure, he said. Prices nudged up just 2.5 percent over the past 12 months in the Washington, DC metro area. That slowed growth in surrounding states, with Maryland chalking up a nearly flat 0.1 percent gain and Virginia prices increasingly only 1.8 percent. Still, home values increased a solid 9 percent in Michigan and 7.6 percent in California. And falling oil prices correspond with cheaper gasoline, which could free up income for Americans to spend on homes. Economists also expect that solid hiring over the past year should produce stronger wage growth in 2015, which would also help with affordability. The National Association of Realtors estimates that 2015 sales will total 5.3 million. The trade group forecasts that 4.9 million existing homes were sold in 2014, down 3 percent from 5.1 million in 2013. Analysts say sales of roughly 5.5 million existing homes are common in a healthy real estate market. Meanwhile, orders to US factories fell for a four th straight month in November, with demand in a key category that signals business investment plans down for a third month. The Commerce Department says factory orders dropped 0.7 percent in November after a similar 0.7 percent fall in October. The November weakness came from decreases in demand for primary metals, industrial machinery and military aircraft. A closely watched category that serves as a proxy for business investment spending dropped 0.5 percent in November, the third straight decline, the longest stretch of weakness in this category since 2012. Economists, however, remain optimistic that the drop in orders is a temporary soft patch and a stronger economy with increased consumer spending will trigger a rebound in demand in 2015. вЂ”AP China HSBC services PMI touches 3-month high Analysts expect more stimulus as economy cools RAWALPINDI: A Pakistani watch repairer tends to a timepiece at his roadside stall in Rawalpindi yesterday. PakistanвЂ™s official reserves crossed a historic high of $15.098 billion in December. вЂ”AFP US stocks edge higher at open; oil extends decline NEW YORK: US stocks opened slightly higher yesterday, after a big slump on Monday. The price of oil continued to slide and the yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell below 2 percent. KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & PoorвЂ™s 500 index gained four points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,025, as of 9:52 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 42 points, or 0.3 percent, to 17,547. The Nasdaq composite was flat at 4,649. OIL SLIDE: US crude continued to fall, dropping $1.11 to $48.94 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The price of oil has fallen by more than half since trading as high as $107 in June. Brent crude, the global benchmark, was down 94 cents at $52.16 a barrel. It plunged $3.31 on Monday. IMPACT: The prolonged slide in oil prices should help economic growth by reducing energy costs, however investors worry that the large scale of the downturn could foretell a global economic slowdown. Also, as the price of oil falls, energy companies might cut jobs, put off investment or go out of business. EUROPEвЂ™S DAY: GermanyвЂ™s DAX rose 1.1 percent and FranceвЂ™s CAC-40 rose 0.4 percent. BritainвЂ™s FTSE 100 edged up 0.3 percent. EURO JITTERS: The possibility that GreeceвЂ™s anti-austerity Syriza party might win national elections this month has fed doubts about whether the country will stick to terms of its bailout and remain in the euro bloc. Meanwhile, a new survey showed that economic growth in the euro-zone was weak at the end of 2014, suggesting that a robust recovery is still a dim prospect.вЂ”AP BEIJING: ChinaвЂ™s services sector grew at its fastest pace in three months in December as new orders remained strong, a private survey showed, an encouraging sign of strength even as manufacturing activity slows and the property market softens. The robustness in the services sector contrasted sharply with surveys last week which showed Chinese factories were struggling at the end of 2014, suggesting a further loss in economic momentum. Those findings reinforced expectations that more stimulus measures are on the cards, either in the form of more liquidity injections by the central bank, interest rate cuts or reductions in the amount of reserves banks must hold to encourage them to lend. вЂњGiven the traditional industrial sector is still under pressure, more policy loosening is necessar y,вЂќ said Zhou Hao, ANZ economist in Shanghai. вЂњRecent moves by the central bank showed they actually kept a relatively loosening policy stance to lift growth, even though they seem to not want to send a strong easing signal.вЂќ The HSBC/Markit Ser vices Purchasing ManagersвЂ™ Index(PMI) picked up to 53.4 last month from NovemberвЂ™s 53.0, well above the 50-point level that separates growth from con- traction in activity on a monthly basis. A subindex measuring new business cooled slightly to 53.9 in December from a 2-1/2 years high of 54.2 in November, but remained well in expansion territory. The labor market was also buoyant, with the employment sub-index hitting an 18-month high as companies expanded. Chinese leaders suggested last year they could tolerate somewhat slower economic growth as long as labor markets remained healthy. But services firms were not so optimistic on the outlook. A subindex for business expectations for the year ahead dipped to the lowest level since August 2014, with many firms saying increasing competition was dampening their pricing power. вЂњThe services sector continued to hold up well amidst the manufacturing downturn, providing some counter-weight to the downward pressures on the economy,вЂќ said Qu Hongbin, chief China economist at HSBC. вЂњWe continue to believe that there is insufficient demand in the overall economy and more (policy) easing measures are warranted in the coming months.вЂќ Flagging growth A similar official survey released last week showed similar strength, with the services PMI rising to 54.1 in December from NovemberвЂ™s 53.9. That survey focuses more on larger, stateowned firms. Hurt by a sagging housing market as well as slowing domestic demand and investment, ChinaвЂ™s economy is expected to grow at its slowest pace in 24 years in 2014, with annual growth seen at 7.4 percent. With weakness in property and fixed investment expected to persist for much of this year, and bad loans likely to rise, some economists have urged Beijing to set a 2015 growth target of 7 percent for 2015, compared with 7.5 percent for 2014. After saying for months that China doesnвЂ™t need any big economic stimulus, the central bank unexpec tedly cut interest rates in November for the first time in more than two years to support growth. It has also loosened some lending restrictions to persuade banks to make more loans and injected funds into the banking system in an attempt to bring down high funding costs. Those moves may have bought the central bank some time to see if conditions improve, though many economists still expect more rate cuts as well as reductions in banksвЂ™ required reserve ratios (RRR) this year. вЂ” Reuters UK banks years away from end to mis-selling scandal: Ombudsman LONDON: BritainвЂ™s banks will be paying out compensation to customers mis-sold loan insurance for years to come, having already set aside 24 billion pounds ($36.5 billion) to deal with the issue, the chief financial ombudsman said. The Financial Ombudsman Service, which steps in when banks and their customers canвЂ™t reach an agreement, said it expected to settle 250,000 disputes about the mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI) in the next financial year. PPI policies were meant to protect borrowers in the event of sickness or unemployment but were often sold to those who would have been ineligible to claim and the resulting compensation bill has made it BritainвЂ™s costliest ever consumer scandal. The ombudsman said it was continuing to receive around 4,000 complaints about PPI each week, although that is down from a peak of 12,000 cases a week in late 2012. вЂњComplaints about PPI are still the main driver of financial disputes. And although numbers are slowly declining, it will be years before we can truly say this mis-selling scandal is over,вЂќ Chief Ombudsman Caroline Wayman said yesterday. Lloyds Banking Group has set aside 11.3 billion pounds for compensation, more than any other bank. Barclays , Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC have also set aside billions of pounds. In its proposed plan and budget for the 2015/16 financial year, the ombudsman said it would take on 200 new staff to deal with new complaints relating to PPI and other matters. The ombudsman, which is funded by the financial services industry, said it planned to freeze case fees paid by businesses and reduce its cost to the industry by 13 percent. вЂ”Reuters BANGKOK: An electronic board showing stock movements is seen at a private trading firm in Bangkok yesterday. TokyoвЂ™s Nikkei led an Asian share slump following painful losses in New York and Europe, with fears sparked by the global slump in oil prices and the Greek political crisis. вЂ” AFP WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 BUSINESS A track-ready Lexus poised to make global debut at 2015 NAIAS New model will broaden Lexus brandвЂ™s high performance portfolio KUWAIT: Lexus announced it will be adding a second vehicle to its growing stable of F brand high performance models. Last year, the luxury manufacturer launched the RC F, a V8 powered performance coupe. The newest Lexus F brand vehicle will make its global premiere at the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) on Jan 13, 2015. Named after the famous Fuji speedway in Japan, the вЂњFвЂќ marque stands for true high performance and takes intense motorsport technology and driving passion to a level never encountered for the ultimate exhilarating ride. Lexus F vehicles are born of a pure passion for driving with a unique Lexus perspective on extreme driver engage- ment. The вЂњFвЂќ marque was first introduced with the Lexus IS F in 2008. Takayuki Yoshitsugu, Chief Representative, Middle East and North Africa Representative Office, TOYOTA Motor Corporation, said, вЂњThe premiere of a new F brand model in 2015 will reveal a unique vehicle with a stunning and emo- tive design that follows in the footsteps of the launch of the вЂњRC FвЂќ which also made a bold statement with its aggressive attitude and sleek look. Lexus has been pushing the boundaries of performance right from the start and our new Lexus F brand vehicle will take this even further to exceed customer expectations.вЂќ ABK announces winner of Final SMS banking draw India Education Exhibition 2015 to open on Jan 9 KUWAIT: The eighth edition of the annual India Education Exhibition is set to take place on Friday (January 9) and Saturday (January 10) at the Ramada Hotel in Al-Riggae. The two-day exhibition, which will be open on both days from 11am to 8pm, is expected to showcase the wide ranging resources, best practice methods and effective training available at educational establishments in India. NRI students and parents will get an opportunity to interact with leading education experts, practitioners and academic heads of various institutions across India, and offer one-on-one counseling for students. It is proven fact that in spite of available information in the digital form on websites, interaction with academic heads and professors in persons is very highly ranked as the best mode of getting information about the courses available, fee structure, job opportunities and placements. It also helps parents and students decide from the various options available in their field of choice. Information on more than 100 courses which are in demand, scholarships available and other relevant material will be on display during the event. Manipal University is the co-sponsor of this exhibition and other leading participants include Anna University, Hindustan University, DY Patil University, Datta Meghe Medical University, KJ Somaiya Institutions, CMR University, Vishwakarma Institute of Technology among others. Indus Group is a leading business to business media group and the largest Indian exhibition organizer with many events in its umbrella for NRIs across the world. The exhibition is being held in Kuwait in association with Response Media & Exhibitions. Every year Indus conducts exhibitions across 15 countries, drawing tens of thousands of visitors who avail of the counseling available at these events. Visitors are also able to discuss and compare thousands of educational resources designed to meet a wide range of educational needs. KUWAIT: Al-Ahli Bank of Kuwait conducted their fourth and final weekly draw on their SMS banking promotion, in the Head Office, in the presence and supervision of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry representatives. ABKвЂ™s fabulous offer addresses subscribers of SMS banking; they go into a draw and a winner of the iPhone 6 Plus is declared, every week. This fourth week winner was Mr. Abdulkareem Mohammed Ismael from Hawally Branch. Stewart Lockie, GM, Retail Banking stated, вЂњABK encourages its customers to subscribe to SMS banking, more so from a security viewpoint, itвЂ™s a safe means of keeping track of their transactions. This service allows customers to access their account, check account and credit card balance as well as currency exchange rates which implies that customers remain informed of their banking transactions at all times.вЂќ For further information please visit one of the ABK branches or chat directly with a customer service officer from Ahli Chat service on our website www.eahli.com, or call Ahlan Ahli at1899899. Gold climbs to 3-week high as investors seek safety LONDON: Gold hit a three-week high yesterday as sliding oil prices and concerns over GreeceвЂ™s future in the euro-zone fuelled risk aversion, prompting investors to seek out bullion as a safe store of value. Spot gold was up 0.5 percent at $1,209.71 an ounce at 1452 GMT, having earlier touched a peak of $1,214.40, its highest since Dec 16. The metal rose 1.3 percent on Monday. US gold futures for February delivery were up $5.80 an ounce at $1,209.80. Gold priced in euros hit its highest since Sept. 2013 at 1,019.15 euros an ounce, benefiting from a 0.3 percent drop in the euro versus the dollar. Investor sentiment was rattled by a drop in oil prices to fresh 5-1/2 year lows, with crude futures extending a 5 percent plunge in the previous session as worries over a global supply glut intensified. Political uncertainty in Greece has also renewed fears of a possible Greek exit from the euro-zone ahead of the countryвЂ™s elections on Jan 25. That prompted investors to buy assets perceived as offering safety, such as US and German government bonds, the Japanese yen and gold, offsetting the negative impact on the metal of a stronger dollar. вЂњPeople are rushing to gold as a safe haven, along with the dollar - this is one of those times when the dollar and gold strengthen together,вЂќ Citi analyst David Wilson said. вЂњThere is a lot of risk out there which is supportive, connected to the euro zone, a possible slowdown in China. Gold is coming back as a safe-haven risk hedge.вЂќ Holdings in the worldвЂ™s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Shares, rose 0.25 percent to 710.81 tons on Monday, though they remained near a six-year low. Meanwhile data showed hedge funds and money managers raised their net long positions in gold futures and options for the first time in three weeks in the week to Dec. 30. Premiums on the Shanghai Gold Exchange were $5-$6 an ounce over the global benchmark on Tuesday, seen by dealers as a sign of good demand in top consumer China. Buying in China has increased in recent weeks ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, when gold is bought for gifts, and demand is likely to stay strong until the holiday in February.вЂ”Reuters WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 technology Smart gadgets take center stage at CES LAS VEGAS: Imagine a world in which your garage door opens automatically as you pull into the driveway. The living room lights and heater turn on - perhaps the oven starts warming up, too. In the so-called вЂњsmart home,вЂќ cars, appliances and other devices all have sensors and Internet connectivity to think and act for themselves, and make your life easier. WeвЂ™re not there just yet, but weвЂ™re getting closer. The smart-home concept is known in tech circles as the Internet of Things. Current iterations primarily include our ability to control gadgets such as lights and security alarms or view data remotely through a smartphone app. At the International CES gadget show in Las Vegas this week, manufacturers will promote more devices and functionality. Some gadgets will be able to talk directly with one another, not just to an app. The four-day show opens to the public Tuesday. That garage door? Mercedes-Benz would like people to imagine their luxury car of the future pulling in all by itself, without a driver behind the wheel, to bring its passengers home. The carmaker unveiled the sleek concept car that it is calling F 015 Monday night when it turned a stage inside The Cosmopolitan on the Strip in Las Vegas into a scene usually reserved for annual car shows, attracting a swell of people on stage afterward wanting a closer look. The carвЂ™s futuristic look belies some historic inspiration in its design. Dieter Zetsche, head of MercedesBenz, said the wheels were pushed to the outer edges much like a horse carriage, giving ample room inside for seating rather than wheel wells - in this case four modern swivel chairs that can face each other. And much like those horse carriages, the passengers inside the car of the future can chat, read a newspaper, or even take a nap while their car would ferry them home. вЂњMankind has been dreaming of autonomous cars since the 1950s,вЂќ Zeetsche said. He said his company has been working to make it a reality, albeit still a concept and not in production yet, since the 1990s. вЂњItвЂ™s basically a revolution,вЂќ he said of the car. The Internet of Things could mean big business for gadget makers. The Consumer Electronics Association projects U.S. sales of smart energy and security systems alone will total $574 million this year, a 23 per- cent increase from 2014. Although that pales by comparison to the $18 billion spent on TVs and displays, growth has been swift. In terms of people smartening up their homes in earnest, though, it will probably be another two years before devices are cheap and widespread enough for the typical consumer, says Eduardo Pinheiro, CEO of Muzzley, which makes a hub that allows devices to talk to each other. For now, the smart home is more about possibilities than practice. Many companies exhibiting at CES are laying the foundation for what a smart-home system will eventually do, hoping to entice consumers to start thinking about upgrading to smart gadgets. ItвЂ™s not always an easy sell. Consider wearable devices that track fitness and other activities. In many cases, the novelty wears off quickly, and devices end up in drawers. But what if a wearable device that tracks sleep could tell the coffeemaker to start brewing as soon as you awoke? When the coffeeвЂ™s done, what if the sprinklers on the front lawn automatically turned off so you didnвЂ™t get wet walking out the front door to work? вЂњItвЂ™s these great benefits that we need to explain,вЂќ says BK Yoon, SamsungвЂ™s CEO and chief of consumer electronics. вЂњWe canвЂ™t just talk about the Internet of Things because itвЂ™s so impersonal like a bedtime story for robots. We have to show whatвЂ™s in it for them.вЂќ That includes freeing people from chores to spend more time with family, pursue more hobbies and, in his case, spend вЂњquality time on the putting green,вЂќ he says. Some examples: Lucis Technologies will soon ship a smart-lighting device called NuBryte that can learn your behavior, such as what time you tend to come home. Sensors can turn on the night light if you wake up to use the bathroom but switch on brighter lights during the day. A coffeemaker from Smarter will soon use data from fitness trackers such as Fitbit. If you had a bad night of sleep, the coffeemaker will know to make the java stronger that morning. Other products focus on better notifications: a battery for a smoke detector to alert you on your phone when the alarm goes off, or a bracelet that vibrates when the baby cries in its crib. (Moms rejoice: the bracelet is even smart enough to alternate which parent it alerts LAS VEGAS: A man demonstrates the eGeeTouch Smart Luggage Lock by Digi-Pas at CES Unveiled, a media preview event for CES International. The device allows you to unlock luggage with a smart tag or mobile device. вЂ” AP automatically. to get up.) Meanwhile, a smart-home hub called DigitalStrom вЂњItвЂ™s got to be something people are seeing it can do and want it to do,вЂќ says Chris Penrose, AT&TвЂ™s senior plans to take cues from Nest. If Nest is trying to cool vice president for the Internet of Things. вЂњItвЂ™s got to down the house, for instance, DigitalStrom will lower automated window shades to block out sunlight. make their lives better and be incredibly easy to use.вЂќ These are the building blocks for an eventual autoвЂњTrue consumer value will come when devices work in concert with one another and in many cases across mated home. Once those building blocks are in place, manufacturers,вЂќ adds Brett Dibkey, a Whirlpool Corp. services can better predict what you want. For examvice president. вЂњThe home adapts to the way con- ple, Netflix is already good about recommending movies to watch based on your preferences, but it sumers live rather than the other way around.вЂќ At CES, Whirlpool will showcase dryers that can run might suggest something different if it could read data at a slower, energy-saving cycle if you arenвЂ™t home and from a wearable device or camera and tell that youвЂ™re thus arenвЂ™t in a rush. The dryer integrates with Google with friends, or stressed out, says Shawn Dubravac, Inc.вЂ™s Nest smart thermostat, which has sensors to fig- senior director of research with the Consumer ure out that no oneвЂ™s home and then lowers the heat Electronics Association. вЂ” AP Meet the new Nokia 215, MicrosoftвЂ™s most affordable Internet-ready phone DUBAI: Microsoft Devices Group on Monday announced the Nokia 215, its most affordable Internet-ready phone. The Nokia 215 is designed to connect and introduce first-time mobile phone buyers to the Internet and new digital experiences. Available in both Single SIM and Dual SIM models, the Nokia 215 will expand the reach of Microsoft services at more affordable prices. At only $29, the Nokia 215 will allow more people to access popular Web content and digital services, and enable them to do the following: вЂў Enjoy online experiences via Opera Mini browser, Bing search, MSN Weather, Twitter and Facebook. вЂў Stay in touch with friends and family using Facebook and Messenger with instant notifications. вЂў Connect in new ways with SLAM, which enables content to be shared between devices and callers making hands-free calls using Bluetooth 3.0 and Bluetooth audio support for headsets. вЂў Delight in the fresh design, durable quality and outstanding battery life - all the features entry-level mobile phone owners have come to trust and love. вЂў Enter the mobile-first world with all the everyday essentials, including these: вЂў Built-in torchlight вЂў Up to 20 hours of talk time вЂў Outstanding battery life (up to 29 days of standby time for the Single SIM variant and up to 21 days for the Dual SIM) вЂў MP3 playback of up to 50 hours вЂў FM radio playback of up to 45 hours вЂў VGA camera вЂњWith our ultra-affordable mobile phones and digital services, we see an inspiring opportunity to connect the next billion people to the Internet for the first time,вЂќ said Jon French, Vice President Middle East, Microsoft Mobile Devices. вЂњThe Nokia 215 is perfect for people looking for their first mobile device, or those wanting to upgrade to enjoy affordable digital and social media ser vices, like Facebook and Messenger.вЂќ The Nokia 215 and Nokia 215 Dual SIM come in Bright Green, Black and White, and will roll out first in select markets in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe in Q1 2015. The Nokia 215 is expected to be available for an estimated retail price of $29вЂў before taxes and subsidies. Device Nokia 215 and Nokia 215 Dual SIM Operating system Nokia Series 30+ Display 2.4-inch QVGA Battery BL-5C, 1100 mAh Talk time and standby time Talk time: up to 20 hours Standby time: up to 29 days (Single SIM), 21 days (Dual SIM) Camera VGA camera Connectivity 900/1800 MHz, Micro USB, 3.5mm AV connector, Bluetooth 3.0 with SLAM and HSP/HFP profile Memory Up to 32GB microSD supported Dimensions and weight 116mm x 50mm x 12.9mm. 78.7 grams LAS VEGAS: Roger Lynch, far right, CEO of Sling TV, demonstrates Sling TV, a live television streaming service, at the Dish NetworkвЂ™s news conference at the International CES. вЂ” AP TV makers design for streaming video to stay relevant LAS VEGAS: Does anyone just watch T V anymore? The dramatic shift toward online and mobile viewing is driving television set makers to design as much for streaming video as for watching broadcast or cable channels. Traditional TV is far from dead, but these days viewers care less about watching shows live and even prefer saving certain series to watch all at once in an evening or weekend of binge-watching. Broadcast networks and hundreds of cable channels share viewer attention with thousands of online services, including amateurs creating their own series on YouTube. Already, Netflix has outbid traditional channels for hits such as вЂњHouse of Cards.вЂќ And Dish this week announced it will sell online access to a bundle of channels including live sports network ESPN for just $20 a month. Online video will account for a third of all video viewing in 2020, up from about 10 percent in 2013, predicts The Diffusion Group, a research firm that specializes in Internet video. So how to keep the television set, that focal point of the American living room for decades, relevant? Design for online video. At the International CES gadget show this week in Las Vegas, TV makers unveiled new models with 4K resolution, or four times the clarity offered by todayвЂ™s high definition TVs. They are pushing the features even though not a single TV channel is yet available in 4K. But Internet services such as Netflix, Amazon and M-Go are starting to offer 4K video. Sony on Monday promised to create more 4K content to watch on those sets. Four popular shows from its entertainment division - вЂњThe Goldbergs,вЂќ вЂњThe Blacklist,вЂќ вЂњMasters of SexвЂќ and вЂњThe Night ShiftвЂќ - will soon be available in 4K and itвЂ™s working with partners including Netflix and YouTube to deliver more 4K streaming video. вЂњItвЂ™s going to be the first format primarily driven by streaming,вЂќ says Jim Funk, a senior vice president at Roku Inc., which makes streaming TV devices. Beyond 4K, Sharp developed an engineering trick to make its high-end set look even sharper. Samsung added a nanocrystal semiconductor layer to make colors purer and the screen brighter. LG is pushing organic LED screens with richer colors and pure black - the kind typically limited to smaller displays such as phones because of price. And Internet connectivity is becoming standard in sets, the way all TVs are color now. LG and Samsung also have ways to easily switch video between TV and mobile devices, so that if youвЂ™re watching a movie on a phone, you can continue it on your TV as soon as you get home. The Consumer Electronics Association expects TV sales to increase 2 percent to 251 million units this year. The average screen size is projected to be 40 inches, up from 31 inches in 2007. CEA predicts more than 23 million of the units will be 4K TVs this year, about 2.5 times the shipments in 2014. ThatвЂ™s even with the explosion of viewing on tablets and smartphones. People tend to use phones and tablets while traveling or for shorter video, says Tim Alessi, head of new product development for home entertainment at LG Electronics USA. For a full-length movie, viewers want to replicate the theater in the home. ThatвЂ™s only done through a big TV set. вЂњWhen I want a full home-entertainment experience, especially with my family and friends, the TV is still the best way to do that,вЂќ agrees Tim Baxter, president and chief operating officer of Samsung Electronics America. And just as TV makers are hopping on the online train, so are content providers. Traditional channels are becoming available without the need for a cable or satellite subscription. Satellite T V provider Dish Network Corp. is the latest, offering its Sling TV package of channels, including ESPN and CNN, for delivery entirely over the Internet. The availability of ESPN addresses a major reason people still keep their TV service - live sports. Sony also has an Internet television service expected to debut by the end of March - PlayStation Vue - and HBO and Showtime plan to debut Internet-only subscription offerings this year. The packages are aimed at the millions of so-called cord-cutters or вЂњcord-neversвЂќ that find cable and satellite bundles too pricey and donвЂ™t subscribe to either, turning instead to Hulu, GoogleвЂ™s YouTube and Amazon. Lesley H. Stahl, 31, is one potential customer of an Internet-only offering. She and her husband never considered cable when they bought a new house in Sunnyvale, California, figuring they had been mostly watching video online anyway. But Stahl says she would be cautious about subscribing to new channels, as sheвЂ™s used to just waiting until Hulu or Amazon gets the show. She said costs for individual subscriptions add up, and thereвЂ™s only so much time to watch. вЂњ ThereвЂ™s not any one T V show IвЂ™m so addicted to that IвЂ™m going to pay extra,вЂќ she says. вЂњAt a certain point, weвЂ™re just spending a whole lot of money.вЂќ These Internet offerings alone wonвЂ™t accelerate cancellations of cable or satellite services, says Joel Espelien, senior analyst for The Diffusion Group. But they might get more people to downgrade to lower tiers, he says, and use the savings to buy specific channels or services of interest. Or a brand-new 4K TV? вЂ” AP H E A LT H & S C I E N C E MONROVIA: Red cross workers, wearing protective suits, prepare prior to a burial for victims of the Ebola virus on January 5, 2015. вЂ” AFP photos CytRx brain cancer drug shows promise in trial, shares rise NEW YORK: CytRx Corp said interim data showed its experimental brain cancer drug was effective in preventing the progression of tumors and even shrunk them. The companyвЂ™s shares rose up as much as 30 percent and were among the top percentage gainers and the most actively traded on the Nasdaq. CytRxвЂ™s drug, aldoxorubicin, was tested in a mid-stage trial on patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) whose tumors had progressed post surgery and radiation. GBM is the most deadly form of brain cancer and affects more than 12,000 people in the United States annually. Aldoxorubicin is an improved version of the chemotherapy agent, doxorubicin, without any of the side effects such as gastrointestinal disorders and heart muscle damage at higher doses. The drug belongs to a class of cancer drugs called anthracycline which prevents cell division by disrupting the structure of cancer cell DNA and destroying them. вЂњAldoxorubicin appears to be the first anthracycline to cross the blood-brain barrier in GBM, potentially creating a new approach to MONROVIA: Red cross workers, wearing masks, carry the body of a person who died from Ebola during a burial with relatives of the victims of the virus. Ebola вЂ�challengeвЂ™ will promote unity in west Africa attacking brain tumors,вЂќ CytRx Chief Executive Steven Kriegsman said in a statement. The blood-brain barrier is a layer of membranes to prevent toxins and other substances from passing from the blood stream into tissue. But drug developers have faced challenges in making a treatment capable of crossing this barrier to reach cancer cells. CytRx said more detailed data on the trial is expected in the first half of 2015. The US Food and Drug Administration had in November placed a hold on enrolling new patients in trials, after one patient died. CytRx did not disclose the cause of death at the time. Aldoxorubicin is also being tested to treat patients with other forms of cancer such as soft tissue sarcoma, small cell lung cancer and pancreatic cancer. CytRx shares touched a high of $3.72 yesterday, boosting its market value by nearly $50 million to about $207 million. The stock, which traded as high as $8.35 last January, was trading up 16.5 percent at $3.32 yesterday. вЂ” Reuters MONROVIA: Red cross workers, wearing protective suits, carry the body of a person who died from Ebola. Breaking the law may be a sign of dementia Corn syrup more toxic than table sugar in female mice NEW YORK: Corn syrup was found to be more toxic to female mice than table sugar, shortening their lives and cutting their rate of reproduction, according to a study by University of Utah researchers published online in a scientific journal on Monday. The research, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, is among the first to differentiate between the effects of the fructose-glucose mixture found in corn syrup and sucrose, or table sugar, said University of Utah biology professor Wayne Potts, senior author of the paper. It is to be published in March in the print edition of the Journal of Nutrition. The study showed that female mice fed a diet which contained 25 percent of calories from added fructose and glucose carbohydrates known as monosaccharides that are found in corn syrup died at a rate 1.87 times higher than female mice on a diet in which 25 percent of calories came from sucrose. The mice on the fructose-glucose diet produced 26.4 percent fewer offspring than their counterparts on the diet containing added table sugar, according to the paper. Male mice given either high-fructose or sucrose diets showed no differences in lifespan or reproduction for reasons that were not immediately clear, Potts said. He added that it is possible that both forms of sugar are bad for male mice. The study suggests humans, especially women, could face adverse health effects tied to consuming too much corn syrup, which is found in many processed food products, Potts said. Between 13 and 25 percent of Americans are estimated to eat diets containing 25 percent or more of calories from added sugars, according to the paper. The study on corn syrup struck a sour note for the Corn Refiners Association, which said the research lacked scientific merit and misrepresented the effects of consuming high-fructose corn syrup. вЂњThe physiological and psychological differences between humans and rodents are so diverse that you simply cannot compare the two when determining the health impact of any food or ingredient,вЂќ the group said in a statement. WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 NEW YORK: Criminal behavior in older adults, including theft, traffic violations, sexual advances, trespassing, and public urination, may be a sign of dementia, researchers say. There is a subgroup of people, especially older adults who are first-time offenders, who may have a degenerative brain disease underlying their criminal behavior, said Dr Georges Naasan of the Memory and Aging Center and Department of Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco. He and his coauthors reviewed the medical records of 2,397 patients diagnosed with AlzheimerвЂ™s disease or other types of dementia between 1999 and 2012. They scanned patient notes for entries about criminal behavior using keywords like вЂ�arrest,вЂ™ вЂ�DUI,вЂ™ вЂ�shopliftвЂ™ and вЂ�violenceвЂ™ and uncovered 204 patients, or 8.5 percent, who qualified. Their behaviors were more often an early sign of frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) or primary progressive aphasia (PPA), a type of language-deteriorating dementia, than of AlzheimerвЂ™s disease. Of the вЂ�criminalвЂ™ group, 64 had bvFTD, 24 had PPA, 42 had AlzheimerвЂ™s, and the rest had various other forms of dementia. Patients with bvFTD or PPA tended to be younger, averaging 59 to 63 years old, compared to AlzheimerвЂ™s patients, who were an average age of 71, when their doctors made notes about criminal behaviors. More than 6.4 percent of those in the вЂњcriminal groupвЂќ with bvFTD exhibited physical or verbal violence during their illness, compared to 3.4 percent of those with PPA and two percent of those with AlzheimerвЂ™s disease, the researchers reported in JAMA Neurology. For four percent of patients with bvFTD, violence was one of the first symptoms of their brain disease. Men were considerably more likely than women to make sexual advances to others and to urinate in public. If patients have a family history of the neurodegenerative disease, it may be possible to connect new criminal behavior to an underlying problem with the brain, Naasan said. вЂњHowever, most of these diseases are вЂ�sporadicвЂ™ meaning that they occur for no identifiable genetic cause and it is difficult to predict,вЂќ he said. вЂњIn general, an early detection of changes in personality, deviation from what constituted a вЂ�normвЂ™ for a particular individual, should prompt an evaluation for possible brain causes.вЂќ Early signs of bvFTD can include personality changes including disinhibition, lack of empathy, loss of motivation or apathy, or obsessive-compulsive behavior, he said. вЂњIt is sometimes hard to wrap our minds around the concept that a specific part of our brain is not functioning properly, leading to behaviors that may range the gamut of disruptive, detached and sometimes criminal,вЂќ Naasan said. Medical evaluation Family and friends can easily take these behavior changes personally, but they should understand that it may be the first sign of a disease and should request a medical evaluation, he said. вЂњThe amoral conduct seen in FTD spectrum disorders strikes the examiner as patientвЂ™s deliberate choice, these individuals seem selfish and temperamental with little regard for their worried and frustrated family members,вЂќ said Dr Adonis Sfera, staff psychiatrist at Patton State Hospital in Orange County, California, who was not part of the new research. вЂњAs their behavior looks like mental illness, some of these people end up admitted in psychiatric hospitals, while others are imprisoned or placed in state psychiatric hospitals after being diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder,вЂќ Sfera told Reuters Health by email. ItвЂ™s difficult to say how much crime may be due to these types of causes, Naasan told Reuters Health by email. He and his colleagues did not survey criminal records and so they canвЂ™t say what percentage of all people who commit crimes have neurological disorders. Health care providers are not usually familiar with FTD, and frequently misdiagnose it as bipolar disorder or late onset schizophrenia, he added. FTD spectrum disorders can be accurately diagnosed with so-called PET scans (positron emission tomography) and neuropsychological testing, вЂњbut only if we think of it,вЂќ Naasan said. вЂ” Reuters MONROVIA: West AfricaвЂ™s Ebola epidemic could have a positive side by uniting the regionвЂ™s countries in their response to the вЂњserious challenge,вЂќ the acting head of the African Union said. Regional experience in fighting the deadly virus вЂњshould consolidate our solidarity and our mutual support,вЂќ AU chief Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, the president of Mauritania, told journalists late Monday in the Liberian capital Monrovia. The вЂњserious challenge... will help countries in the region (to) come out more determined to unite through our bilateral relations which have been very strong,вЂќ he added on the second leg of a tour of the three worst-hit countries. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf thanked the chairman of the pan-African body for help with funds, supplies and personnel, announcing that вЂњ30 African health workers (are) working with Liberia against the Ebola disease.вЂќ Abdel Aziz was in Monrovia after a swift visit to Guinea and he was awaited in neighboring Sierra Leone yesterday. Together, the three nations account for almost all of the 7,900 victims of the most virulent outbreak of the Ebola virus to date, also the first to hit west Africa. The highly contagious disease, first identified in 1976 in what is today the Democratic Republic of Congo, was declared present in southern Guinea in December 2013. The virus is fatal, but victims can be helped to recovery by swift treatment of early symptoms in quarantine. In his capacity as head of state, Abdel Aziz signed an agreement with Johnson Sirleaf for Mauritania to donate 37 million Liberian dollars (336,000 euros, $400,000) to Liberia to help combat the virus. вЂ” AFP Flu widespread in 43 US states CHICAGO: Flu is widespread in 43 US states, up from 36 states in the prior week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Monday. Six children died from the flu during the last full week in December, bringing the total flu deaths to 21 this season, the report showed. Last week the CDC reported for the first time that deaths from flu and pneumonia reached an epidemic level, comprising 6.8 percent of all deaths. That figure slipped slightly below the epidemic level in this weekвЂ™s report, the CDC said. вЂњLast week was the first week that this particular number exceeded the epidemic threshold, but weвЂ™ve been in a flu epidemic for weeks now,вЂќ said Dr Michael Jhung, medical officer in the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionвЂ™s Influenza Division. The statistic is just one of many clues the CDC uses to gauge the severity of flu in the United States, which has a widespread outbreak - or an epidemic - every year. Jhung reviews several factors when determining whether the flu season has started, suggesting the nation is in a period of epidemic. Initially, he considers the percentage of positive flu tests. When that exceeds 10 percent for 2 weeks, the season is starting. That happened around midNovember this season. He also looks at the proportion of patients seeking care for influenza-related illnesses. When that exceeds 2 percent of visits, it is another sign of a flu epidemic. This season, flu watchers are keenly focusing on hospital admissions because the current vaccine may not be a good match for the most common seasonal flu strain circulating in the United States known as influenza A (H3N2) virus. Flu seasons dominated by H3N2 tend to have higher overall hospitalization rates and more flu-related deaths, especially among older people and very young children compared with flu seasons dominated by the H1N1 virus or influenza B viruses. In the latest CDC report, flu hospitalizations, a key measure of severity, have reached 12.6 per 100,000 for all ages. Last season, the rate was 5.8 per 100,000 and in 2012, the most recent season dominated by H2N3, the rate was 8.1 percent. вЂњWe are above that now,вЂќ Jhung said, suggesting this flu season вЂњis at least as severe as 2012 was.вЂќ вЂ” Reuters WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 H E A LT H & S C I E N C E Radiation plus hormone therapy saves lives in prostate cancer MIAMI: Older men with prostate cancer may live longer if they receive a combination of radiation and hormone therapy, but many men do not get the right treatment, US researchers said Monday. The dual therapy saved nearly 50 percent more lives among men aged 76 to 85 with locally advanced prostate cancer, compared to those who received hormone therapy alone, said the findings in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The study is the first to focus on older men with locally advanced prostate cancer, and builds upon the results of two clinical trials that showed combination therapy could save lives in younger men. Locally advanced prostate cancer occurs when cancer has spread outside but near the prostate gland, making for more aggressive tumors that are prone to metastasize and become fatal, the researchers said. Previous research has shown that about 40 percent of men with aggressive prostate cancer are treated with hormone therapy alone, suggesting there is a significant group of people who could benefit from radiation therapy. вЂњFailure to use effective treatments for older patients with cancer is a health care quality concern in the United States,вЂќ said lead author Justin Bekelman, an assistant professor of Radiation Oncology, Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of PennsylvaniaвЂ™s Perelman School of Medicine and Abramson Cancer Center. вЂњRadiation plus hormone therapy is such a treatment for men with aggressive prostate cancers.вЂќ He urged patients to talk with their doctors, and called on physicians to вЂњreduce the use of hormone therapy alone.вЂќ The study involved 31,541 men with prostate cancer, ranging in age from 65 to 85 years. Those aged 76 to 85 and who got the radiation plus hormone therapy saw 49 percent fewer deaths than those on hormone therapy alone after seven years of follow-up. The younger age bracket, 65 to 75, also benefited from combination therapy, seeing 57 percent fewer deaths than in those who received just hormone therapy. Bekelman said the combination therapy has minimal side effects and вЂњis both tolerable and effective in curing prostate cancer.вЂќ вЂ” AFP Modern standup desks coax DASH named best office workers back on their feet overall diet for fifth year NEW YORK: The DASH diet, rich in vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy, has been named the best overall diet for the fifth consecutive year, outpacing Weight Watchers and the Mediterranean diet, US News & World Report said yesterday. DASH, which was developed to lower blood pressure without medication, was also chosen by a panel of health experts as the top diabetes diet and the best plan for healthy eating. Weight Watchers retained the No. 1 spot as the best diet for weight loss, followed by the HMR (Healthy Management Resources) low-calorie, meal-replacement plan; and Jenny Craig, which offers prepared meals to drop excess pounds. вЂњThe DASH diet has been our top diet overall for five years now and this is the fifth year we are evaluating and ranking diets,вЂќ said Angela Haupt, senior health and wellness editor at US News & World Report. вЂњOur experts, who rate these diets for us, say it will end up being very good for your waistline, in addition to your high blood pressure, because it is such a common-sense, balanced diet,вЂќ she added in an interview. The TLC ( Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes) diet, which is designed to lower levels of cholesterol, came in second in the best overall category, followed by the Mediterranean diet, Weight Watchers and the Mayo Clinic Diet, which each tied for third place. At the opposite end of the scale is the Paleo Diet, which focuses on meat, fish and vegetables, and the four-phase Dukan Diet, tied for last place. вЂњThe Paleo Diet never does well in our rankings,вЂќ said Haupt, adding both are restrictive eating plans. Weight Watchers, based on a point system assigned to foods, Jenny Craig and the Mediterranean Diet, with its emphasis on vegetables and olive oil, were deemed the easiest diets to follow. A panel of two dozen experts in diet, nutrition, obesity, heart disease, diabetes and food psychology ranked 35 eating plans to compile the annual list. They looked at sample menus and published medical studies to rate of top diets overall as well as the best for weight loss, diabetes, heart disease and the easiest to follow. вЂњWe provide people with all the facts, comprehensively, in the hope that they can make the best decision for themselves,вЂќ said Haupt. The panel selected the Ornish Diet, which is focused on fruits, vegetables and grains, as the top heart-healthy diet, along with TLC and DASH. вЂ” Reuters NEW YORK: Advocates of workplace wellness initiatives are hoping 2015 will be the year that standup desks, historically favored by great minds from Leonardo da Vinci to Virginia Woolf, will reconfigure the modern cubicle. Some 50 to 70 percent of people spend six or more hours each day sitting, according to a 2012 study from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Fitness experts say office workers are particularly susceptible to what has been dubbed the sitting disease. вЂњResearchers have said that sitting is the new smoking,вЂќ said Jessica Matthews, exercise physiologist at Miramar College in San Diego. Prolonged sitting is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity and early mortality. Medical studies show that even people who are active are not immune to health concerns resulting from hours of sitting, she added. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) has offered its workers the option of standing workstations for more than two years. вЂњMany people report feeling more energetic. It certainly helps with mental processing,вЂќ said Dr Cedric X. Bryant, chief science officer at ACE. Bryant, who works on a treadmill desk, which is attached to a treadmill, said standing helps him stay alert and focused. He believes the desks are a reasonable expense. There are various types of standup desks, from freestanding workstations to others that are placed on top of a regular desk or table. Prolonged standing California-based Joe Nafziger was a creative director at an ad agency when he developed theReadyDesk, a $169 adjustable standup desk. вЂњItвЂ™s definitely a worldwide thing thatвЂ™s picking up speed,вЂќ said the 35-year-old, whose desks have been sold as far away as Australia, Germany and Japan. вЂњAnd I love that youвЂ™re always ready. YouвЂ™re not half turned off. Leg muscles fired up, core activated,вЂќ he said, вЂњwith less stress on your spine.вЂќ A study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health showed that over an eighthour day standing at a desk burns an additional 163 calories compared to sitting. Bryant said just as sitting all day isnвЂ™t good, Whole grains lower heart disease risk, but not cancer MIAMI: People who eat more whole grains are more likely to live longer and avoid heart disease, but such a diet does not affect risk of dying from cancer, said a US study released yesterday. The findings by researchers at Harvard University appear in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine. Scientists examined the records of more than 74,000 women and nearly 44,000 men from the mid1980s until 2010. They found that the more whole grains people reported eating, the lower risk they had of dying, particularly from heart disease, after adjusting for factors such as age, smoking and body mass index. Every serving (28 grams per day) of whole grainssuch as brown rice, oatmeal, whole wheat bread and pasta-was associated with five percent lower mortality, and a nine percent lower risk of dying from heart disease. However, eating more whole grains did not make cancer deaths any less likely. вЂњThese findings further support current dietary guidelines that recommend increasing whole grain consumption to facilitate primary and secondary prevention of chronic disease and also provide promising evidence that suggests a diet enriched with whole grains may confer benefits toward extended life expectancy,вЂќ the study said. вЂ” AFP neither is prolonged standing, which studies have shown can increase the risk of hardening arteries and varicose veins. вЂњStart by standing for a half hour or an hour of the workday,вЂќ he said, giving the body time to adjust. The goal is to break up the day to avoid the typical, constant sitting that most do in an office. вЂњItвЂ™s more of a lifestyle approach: turning the clock back to where life used to be before we engineered movement out of our lifestyle,вЂќ he added. вЂ” Reuters Researchers identify new strain of deadly pig virus in US NEW YORK: US researchers have identified a new strain of a hog disease that has wiped out millions of baby pigs, a sign the virus will keep mutating as producers work to contain it. A third strain of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus, or PEDv, was detected in a Minnesota hog herd and found to be at least as virulent as an original strain that emerged in the United States in early 2013, said Douglas Marthaler, assistant professor of veterinary population medicine at the University of Minnesota, on Monday. Marthaler, who reported on the strain last month in a journal from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, believes the strain is a mutation of the original. A second, less-virulent strain had previously been identified. The original strain may have mutated in response to increased immunity in herds, Marthaler said. It is also the nature of viruses like PEDv to evolve as they replicate. вЂњThe virus is always changing,вЂќ Marthaler said. PEDv has killed at least 8 million pigs, roughly 10 percent of the US hog population, in the past two years. The pork supply reduction was largely responsible for pushing prices to record highs. It is unknown how the virus, which causes extreme diarrhea in piglets, came to the United States. It was previously found in parts of Asia and Europe. The impact on hog production from the emergence of the new strain, which was first identified last year, is unclear. It could have existed in the United States without being detected since early 2013 or could be a new mutation, experts said. It is unknown whether the third strain even exists outside of the Minnesota herd in which it was found, Marthaler said. Hog producers need to take the same precautions to prevent the new strain from spreading as they did for the previous two strains, including washing trucks and other equipment. Researchers previously determined that PEDv can spread from pig to pig by contact with manure, which contains the virus. It can also be spread from farm to farm on trucks. вЂњWhether or not exposure to one of the earlier strains provides protection against this strain, I donвЂ™t think anybody knows the answer to that question,вЂќ said Harry Snelson, a veterinarian who represents the American Association of Swine Veterinarians. PEDv is not a threat to humans or food safety, according to the US Department of Agriculture. вЂ” Reuters WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 W H AT вЂ™ S O N Teachers training conducted A ACK wraps up 1st Intramural Football Tournament T he Australian College of Kuwait (ACK) successfully concluded its first Intramural Football Tournament at the CollegeвЂ™s campus. The tournament witnessed the participation of 16 teams consisting of ACK students, aimed at promoting the spirit of sportsmanship while encouraging students to take up a more active lifestyle. Official sponsor of the tournament, the Commercial Bank of Kuwait was represented by Bashar Al-Bader Senior Manager, who was on hand during the closing ceremony to crown the first and second place teams as well as awarding prizes to the tournamentвЂ™s best player, best goal keeper and top scorer. Basel Dana, Manager of the Students Recreational and Activities Center at ACK, proudly said: вЂњWe truly believe in the potential of our students. We always encourage them to participate in sports and health-related activities, which only benefit them in their pursuit of achieving their academic and non-academic goals. The tournament was hailed a success and the College looks forward to hosting its second intramural tournament in the near future.вЂќ s part of the one year Golden Jubilee celebrations of St Gregorios Indian Orthodox Church Sunday School, Kuwait - the largest Sunday School of Malankara Orthodox Church with 1,365 students and OSSAE, a Teachers Training program was conducted, in which more than 135 teachers from 3 Orthodox parishes participated. The program was divided into three sessions, and the first session was handled by HG (Dr) Joseph Mar Dionysius, Metropolitan of Calcutta Diocese and Director of St Stephens College Zoology Research Centre, Pathanapuram on вЂ�General Principles of TeachingвЂ™. HGвЂ™s 34 years of rich experience as a teacher, research guide and environmentalist had a positive influence on the participants, who were enthralled by his advice on the various ways a teacher could be molded, before trying to mould their students. He further emphasized that the primary responsibility of a teacher shall be to prepare the students to face the truth and tell the truth, that can transform the society beyond our expectations. The second session was by Prof Mary Mathew, former Vice Principal and Head of Malayalam Department of Baselios College, Kottayam on вЂ�How to take an effective class based on the psychology and age group of studentsвЂ™. She had emphasized the importance of effective inter-action between the teacher and students, that unfortunately is not taking place now. Understanding a student is the key to the success of a teacher. Teachers are no longer role models as in the past, mainly due to their changed attitude and life style. Shibu Alex, a highly talented orator and a successful trainer handled the third session - How to make your class memorable to your studentsвЂ™. He gave practical and simple tips to the participants from his own experience that are vital in attracting the attention of the students and make each class interesting to them. Earlier, the inaugural meeting was presided over by the Parish Vicar, Fr Raju Thomas. HG (Dr) Joseph Mar Dionysius, Fr Regi C Varghese, Fr Kurian John, Fr Shaji P Joshua, Fr Shiju John, Kurien Varghese (Headmaster), P C George (Golden Jubilee convener), John P Abraham (Program Jt Convener) spoke on the occasion. Besides St Gregorios Maha Edavaka, teachers from St. Basil and St. Thomas parishes participated in the program. Other programs planned during the one year celebrations are seminars on career guidance, personality development, public speaking, scholarship to students, financial assistance to needy children in and outside Kuwait, other charity projects, workshops, family meet, inter-Sunday school competitions, Alumni meet of students from Kuwait and other GCC countries, honoring teachers serving above 25 years and so on. A web portal to enhance Sunday school studies will also be launched shortly, open to all throughout the world. Al Fanar restaurant and cafe now open at Town Center, Jumeirah T he latest branch of Al Fanar Restaurant and Cafe has just been launched at Town Center in Jumeirah. The hugely popular Emirati restaurant first began operation at Dubai Festival City Mall followed by its second outlet in Venetian Village within Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal. Al Fanar Restaurant and Cafe has successfully established itself as the UAEвЂ™s first and only restaurant offering traditional Emirati cuisine in a themed rustic setting. Hashem Al Marzouqi, Principal, Al Fanar Restaurant and Cafe, said, вЂњOur motivation with Al Fanar Restaurant and Cafe is to put the national identity of the UAE on a plate combining the most authentic flavours with our glorious heritage and culture. Inspired from DubaiвЂ™s various facets in 1960s, it offers diners a unique experience recreated from the ageold traditions of a Bedouin way of life. Reviving memories of Dubai as a small town on the shores of the Arabian Gulf, every corner has a story to tell at each of our restaurants. Here, along with glimpses of a bygone era we serve the finest Emirati flavours.вЂќ Each and every detail is noteworthy. Discover the joy of dining under the desert tree, or have a lazy lunch at the fishermenвЂ™s hut or dine like a pearl merchant. The food is as fabulous as the decor. On the menu are a tempting array of fresh Emirati breads, appetizers, soups, salads, main dishes and desserts that have been created using family recipes handed down generations. Sizzling seafood, tender grills, aromatic rice and delicious desserts work up your appetite with scenes and scents of old Dubai. The service is equally impeccable and friendly. Al Fanar Restaurant and Cafe is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner featuring indoor and outdoor dining areas with both modern and traditional Emirati style seating. For reservations Call 04 344 2141 For more information about the restaurant visit www.alfanarrestaurant.com Kuwait Continental HotelвЂ™s management hosted a dinner banquet for members of a medical delegation who held a seminar there recently on autism treatment methods. Entertainment City welcomes visitors in spring break T he Entertainment City will receive visitors during the spring break from January 9 to 24, 2015, Sager AlBader, Public Relations and Media Director at the Touristic Enterprises Company said. He added that the Entertainment City opens from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm every day, while Mondays are allocated for female visitors only. Special programs are arranged for every Friday, Bader said. W H AT вЂ™ S O N WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 Information Minister opens 21st Qurain Cultural Festival M KUWAIT: Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Al-Sabah honors veteran actor Ahmad Al-Saleh during the festivalвЂ™s inauguration ceremony. вЂ” Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat inister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Al-Sabah opened on Monday the 21st Qurain Cultural Festival by honoring the recipients of the state orders of merit. Addressing the opening ceremony, he said the festival has become an impressing cultural platform that gathers notable intelligentsia and creative artists from various literary, artistic, social and humanitarian fields. Sheikh Salman, also President of the National Council for Culture, Art and Letters (NCCAL), was speaking on behalf of His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, the sponsor of the festival. вЂњItвЂ™s a good omen that the festival takes place while Kuwait is preparing for the national celebrations marking the 54th Independence Day, the 24th Liberation Day and the ninth anniversary of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-SabahвЂ™s assumption of office,вЂќ he said. вЂњKuwait continues contributing to the development humanities as seen in the period between 2001 when Kuwait City was selected as capital of Arab culture, and 2014 when the UN named His Highness the Amir as humanitarian leader and Kuwait as humanitarian center. вЂњThe cultural achievements made by Kuwait during this period are indicative of deep belief of the Kuwaiti leaders and people in role of cultural enlightenment in the promotion of such values as tolerance and good for all humanity,вЂќ he pointed out. He reaffirmed the commitment of the country to opening new horizons for culture and arts through new projects such as the modernization of the National Museum and the National Library and opening of AlSalmiya Theater and Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah Cultural Center. Sheikh Salman commended the celebrities who were awarded the state orders in recognition for their outstanding contributions to the cultural movement of the country. The laureates of the 2014 state awards include Ibrahim Al-Shatti, Ahmad Al-Saleh, Suleiman Al-Khulaifi, Mai Al-Saad, Yusuf Al-Hashash, Abdullah Al-Turkmani, Abdullah Al-Aber, Waleed Sarab, Anwar Abdullah, Dr Fatma Al-Melhem, Dr Nawaf Al-Jahma, Dr Mohammad Al-Baker, Dr SuвЂ™ad Al-Shabo and Dr Ahmad Al-Hassan. The ceremony culminated into concert performances, led by maestro Fahad Al-Haddad and featuring lyric poems of martyr Fayq Abduljalil. The Qurain festival continues until January 24. вЂ” KUNA WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 TV PROGRAMS 00:15 As Time Goes By 00:45 Eastenders 01:15 Doctors 01:45 Being Erica 02:30 Being Erica 03:15 Being Eileen 03:45 As Time Goes By 04:15 The Weakest Link 05:00 Woolly & Tig 05:05 The Green Balloon Club 05:30 Gigglebiz 05:45 Boogie Beebies 06:00 Nina And The Neurons: In The Lab 06:15 Woolly & Tig 06:20 The Green Balloon Club 06:45 Gigglebiz 07:00 Boogie Beebies 07:15 The Weakest Link 08:00 As Time Goes By 08:30 Being Eileen 09:00 Eastenders 09:30 Doctors 10:00 Being Erica 10:45 The Weakest Link 11:30 As Time Goes By 12:00 Being Eileen 12:30 Kidnapped 13:15 Eastenders 13:45 Doctors 14:15 Being Erica 15:00 Rev. 15:30 As Time Goes By 16:00 Being Eileen 16:30 The Weakest Link 17:15 Eastenders 17:45 Doctors 18:15 Being Erica 19:00 Rev. 19:30 Saxondale 20:00 Money 20:50 DCI Banks: Aftermath 21:40 The Omid Djalili Show 22:10 Mad Dogs 22:55 The Weakest Link 00:00 Homes Under The Hammer 00:55 Rick SteinвЂ™s India 01:45 Home Cooking Made Easy 02:10 Celebrity MasterChef 03:05 Antiques Roadshow 04:00 Come Dine With Me 04:25 The Good Cook 04:50 Homes Under The Hammer 05:45 Rick SteinвЂ™s India 06:35 Home Cooking Made Easy 07:05 Celebrity MasterChef 08:00 Antiques Roadshow 08:50 Come Dine With Me 09:15 Homes Under The Hammer 10:10 Rick SteinвЂ™s India 11:00 The Roux Legacy 11:35 Celebrity MasterChef 12:25 Antiques Roadshow 13:20 Come Dine With Me 13:45 Homes Under The Hammer 14:35 Rick SteinвЂ™s India 15:25 Fantasy Homes By The Sea 16:10 Celebrity MasterChef 17:05 Antiques Roadshow 18:00 Come Dine With Me 18:25 Homes Under The Hammer 19:15 The Planners 20:10 Nordic Cookery With Tareq Taylor 20:35 Nigellissima 21:00 Baking Mad With Eric Lanlard 21:25 Celebrity MasterChef 21:55 RachelвЂ™s Favourite Food For Living 22:25 Bargain Hunt 23:10 Come Dine With Me 23:35 The Little Paris Kitchen 00:20 01:10 02:00 02:50 03:15 03:40 04:05 04:30 05:00 06:00 06:50 07:40 08:30 08:55 09:20 Dive Wars Australia Manhunt Fast NвЂ™ Loud Auction Hunters The Liquidator Dukes Of Haggle How ItвЂ™s Made How ItвЂ™s Made Dual Survival Siberian Cut Car Chasers Fast NвЂ™ Loud Auction Hunters The Liquidator Dukes Of Haggle 09:45 10:10 10:35 Grylls 11:25 12:15 13:05 13:30 13:55 14:20 15:10 16:00 16:50 17:15 17:40 18:30 19:20 19:45 20:10 20:35 21:00 21:50 22:40 23:30 How ItвЂ™s Made How ItвЂ™s Made Get Out Alive With Bear Dive Wars Australia Manhunt Auction Hunters The Liquidator Dukes Of Haggle Siberian Cut Car Chasers Fast NвЂ™ Loud How ItвЂ™s Made How ItвЂ™s Made Dual Survival Troy Magic Of Science Magic Of Science The Liquidator Dukes Of Haggle Troy Dynamo: Top Ten Moments Dynamo: Revealed Troy 00:00 Violetta 00:45 The Hive 00:50 Art Attack 01:15 Art Attack 01:40 Jungle Junction 01:50 Jungle Junction 02:05 Jungle Junction 02:15 Jungle Junction 02:30 Violetta 03:10 The Hive 03:20 Art Attack 03:45 Art Attack 04:10 Jungle Junction 04:20 Jungle Junction 04:35 Jungle Junction 04:45 Jungle Junction 05:00 Art Attack 05:25 Art Attack 05:50 Mouk 06:00 Dog With A Blog 06:25 Liv And Maddie 06:50 So Random 07:15 I DidnвЂ™t Do It 07:40 Jessie 08:05 Austin & Ally 08:30 Girl Meets World 08:55 Suite Life On Deck 09:20 Wizards Of Waverly Place 09:45 Hannah Montana 10:10 ThatвЂ™s So Raven 10:35 Cheetah Girls: One World 12:15 Austin & Ally 12:40 Jessie 13:05 I DidnвЂ™t Do It 13:30 So Random 13:55 Liv And Maddie 14:20 The Adventures Of Disney Fairies 14:55 Jessie 15:20 I DidnвЂ™t Do It 15:45 Liv And Maddie 16:10 Austin & Ally 16:35 Girl Meets World 17:00 Twitches 18:30 Wolfblood 19:05 Gravity Falls 19:30 Liv And Maddie 19:55 Austin & Ally 20:20 Wizards Of Waverly Place 20:45 Suite Life On Deck 21:10 Hannah Montana 21:35 ThatвЂ™s So Raven 22:00 Suite Life On Deck 22:25 A.N.T. Farm 22:50 Shake It Up 23:10 Wolfblood 00:00 Escape Club 00:55 Extreme Close-Up 01:25 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 02:20 Giuliana & Bill 03:15 Eric And Jessie: Game On 03:40 Eric And Jessie: Game On 04:10 E!ES 05:05 E!ES 06:00 Kourtney And Kim Take Miami 06:55 Kourtney And Kim Take Miami 07:50 Style Star 08:20 #RichKids Of Beverly Hills 08:45 #RichKids Of Beverly Hills 09:15 Giuliana & Bill 10:15 Giuliana & Bill 11:10 Kourtney And Khloe Take The Hamptons 12:05 House Of DVF 13:05 Extreme Close-Up 13:35 E!ES 14:30 Style Star 15:00 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 16:00 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 17:00 #RichKids Of Beverly Hills 17:30 #RichKids Of Beverly Hills 18:00 E! News 19:00 Live From E! 19:30 Fashion Bloggers 20:00 Giuliana & Bill 21:00 Kourtney And Khloe Take The Hamptons 22:00 E! News 23:00 Live From E! 23:30 The Soup 00:05 Chopped 00:55 Amazing Wedding Cakes 01:45 RezaвЂ™s African Kitchen 02:10 RezaвЂ™s African Kitchen 02:35 ChingвЂ™s Restaurant Redemption 03:25 CharlyвЂ™s Cake Angels 03:50 Amazing Wedding Cakes 04:40 All You Can Meat 05:05 Roadtrip With G. Garvin 05:30 RezaвЂ™s African Kitchen 05:50 SibaвЂ™s Table 06:10 Sweet Genius 07:00 Roadtrip With G. Garvin 07:25 Roadtrip With G. Garvin 07:50 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 08:15 Chopped 09:05 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 09:30 Farm Kings 10:20 Recipes That Rock 10:45 All You Can Meat 11:10 Roadtrip With G. Garvin 11:35 GrandmaвЂ™s Secret Cookbook 12:00 Chopped 12:50 SibaвЂ™s Table 13:15 Jenny Morris Cooks The Riviera 13:40 Mystery Diners 14:05 GuyвЂ™s Grocery Games 14:55 Roadtrip With G. Garvin 15:20 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 15:45 Farm Kings 16:35 Chopped 17:25 Jenny Morris Cooks The Riviera 17:50 GuyвЂ™s Big Bite 18:15 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 18:40 SibaвЂ™s Table 19:05 GrandmaвЂ™s Secret Cookbook 19:30 Mystery Diners 19:55 Burger Land 20:20 GuyвЂ™s Grocery Games 21:10 Amazing Wedding Cakes 22:00 Chopped 22:50 Roadtrip With G. Garvin 23:15 Roadtrip With G. Garvin 23:40 Burger Land 00:40 The Hungry Sailors 01:30 Celebrity Exposed: Richard Young Photography 02:00 Emmerdale 02:25 Emmerdale 02:55 Coronation Street 03:25 Midsomer Murders 05:15 Murdoch Mysteries 06:10 The Jonathan Ross Show 07:05 Celebrity Exposed: Richard Young Photography 07:30 Midsomer Murders 09:20 The Chase 10:15 Murdoch Mysteries 11:10 Emmerdale 11:35 Emmerdale 12:00 Coronation Street 12:30 The Hungry Sailors 13:25 The Jonathan Ross Show 14:20 Celebrity Exposed: Richard Young Photography 14:45 Murdoch Mysteries 15:35 The Chase 16:30 The Great Fire 17:25 Chasing Shadows 18:20 The Jonathan Ross Show 19:10 Coronation Street 19:35 The Chase 20:30 The Great Fire 21:25 Chasing Shadows 22:20 Coronation Street 22:50 Emmerdale 23:15 Emmerdale 00:00 Knights of Mayhem 01:00 Family Guns 02:00 Wild Untamed Brazil 03:00 Ancient Secrets: Cathedrals Decoded 04:00 Chasing UFOs 05:00 Salvage Code Red 06:00 Pirate Patrol 07:00 Megacities 08:00 Knights of Mayhem 09:00 Family Guns 10:00 Wild Untamed Brazil 11:00 The Truth Behind 12:00 Dangerous Encounters 13:00 Street Monkeys 14:00 Mega Factories: Supercars 15:00 Diggers 15:30 Diggers 16:00 Naked Science 17:00 Street Genius 17:30 Street Genius 18:00 Sea Patrol 19:00 Diggers 19:30 Diggers 20:00 Naked Science 21:00 Street Genius 21:30 Street Genius 22:00 Sea Patrol 23:00 The Truth Behind 00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 Two And A Half Men 01:30 Web Therapy 02:00 JaвЂ™mie: Private School Girl 02:30 The Big C 03:00 Back In The Game 03:30 About A Boy 04:00 New Girl 04:30 The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon 05:30 My Boys 06:00 Til Death 06:30 Welcome To The Family 07:00 Late Night With Seth Meyers 08:00 New Girl 08:30 My Boys 09:00 Back In The Game 09:30 The Simpsons 10:00 Baby Daddy 10:30 Welcome To The Family 11:00 The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon 12:00 Til Death 12:30 New Girl 13:00 My Boys 13:30 Welcome To The Family 14:00 About A Boy 14:30 The Simpsons 15:00 Baby Daddy 15:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 16:00 Two And A Half Men 16:30 Til Death 17:00 Late Night With Seth Meyers 18:00 Back In The Game 18:30 About A Boy 19:00 Melissa & Joey 19:30 Baby Daddy 20:00 The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 Two And A Half Men 22:00 Brickleberry 22:30 The League 23:00 The Big C 23:30 Late Night With Seth Meyers 00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 12:30 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 16:30 17:00 18:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 White Collar Killer Women True Blood Supernatural State Of Affairs Criminal Minds White Collar Helix C.S.I. Criminal Minds State Of Affairs Helix Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show C.S.I. White Collar Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show C.S.I. MarvelвЂ™s Agent Carter MarvelвЂ™s Agent Carter Legends 00:00 Unforgettable 01:00 Good Morning America 03:00 04:00 05:00 07:00 07:30 09:00 10:00 10:30 13:00 14:00 15:00 18:00 19:00 21:00 22:00 23:00 Dracula The Leftovers Good Morning America Emmerdale Coronation Street 24 Emmerdale Coronation Street Unforgettable 24 Live Good Morning America Unforgettable 24 Unforgettable Dracula The Leftovers 00:00 02:00 04:00 06:00 08:00 10:00 12:00 14:00 16:00 18:00 20:00 22:00 The Marine 3: Homefront Dead In Tombstone Summoned Ghostbusters II After Earth Flightplan Summoned American Warships After Earth Into The Blue Flightplan Safe 00:00 02:00 04:00 06:00 08:00 10:00 12:00 14:00 16:00 18:00 20:00 22:00 Dead In Tombstone-18 Summoned-PG15 Ghostbusters II-PG After Earth-PG15 Flightplan-PG15 Summoned-PG15 American Warships-PG15 After Earth-PG15 Into The Blue-PG15 Flightplan-PG15 Safe-PG15 Plunkett & Macleane-PG15 00:00 Boomerang-PG15 02:00 The HitchhikerвЂ™s Guide To The Galaxy-PG15 04:00 All American Christmas Carol-PG15 06:00 Syrup-PG15 08:00 The Little Rascals Save The Day-PG 10:00 Something New-PG15 12:00 Standing Ovation-PG15 14:00 Three Men And A Baby 16:00 The Little Rascals Save The Day-PG 18:00 Proof Of Love-PG15 20:00 Keeping The Faith-PG15 22:15 The Parole Officer-18 01:00 03:00 05:00 07:00 09:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 17:00 19:00 21:00 23:00 The Impossible-PG15 Grace Of Monaco-PG15 Stolen Child-PG15 The Impossible-PG15 The Sapphires-PG15 Stolen Child-PG15 HeavenвЂ™s Door-PG Lost Christmas-PG15 The Sapphires-PG15 Inescapable-PG15 Phantom-PG15 The Frozen Ground-18 01:00 The Master-R 03:30 Mud-PG15 05:45 Annapolis-PG15 07:30 I Am Sam-PG15 09:45 The Fifth Estate-PG15 12:00 Goal II: Living The DreamPG15 14:00 Mud-PG15 16:15 Eastwood Directs: The Untold Story-PG15 17:30 The Fifth Estate-PG15 19:45 The Count Of Monte CristoPG15 22:00 The Next Three Days-PG15 01:45 03:45 05:30 07:15 09:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 DevilвЂ™s Knot-18 Last Vegas-PG15 Free Birds-PG The Pretty One-PG15 Grand Piano-PG15 Last Passenger-PG15 Labor Day-PG15 Turbo-PG FIRE WITH FIRE ON OSN MOVIES PREMIERE HD SAFE ON OSN MOVIES ACTION 17:00 19:00 21:00 23:00 Grand Piano-PG15 Empire State-PG15 Out Of The Furnace-PG15 Lone Survivor-18 01:00 ArthurвЂ™s Missing Pal 02:45 CasperвЂ™s Scare School 04:30 The Happy Cricket 06:00 Los Campeones De LA Lucha Libre 08:00 Wheelers 10:00 Blue Elephant 11:30 The Adventures Of Rocky And Bullwinkle 13:00 CasperвЂ™s Scare School 14:30 Barbie Fairytopia 16:00 Unstable Fables: The Goldilocks & The Three Bears 18:00 Blue Elephant 20:00 Home Alone 22:00 Barbie Fairytopia 23:30 Unstable Fables: The Goldilocks & The Three Bears 00:00 02:00 04:00 06:00 08:00 10:00 12:00 14:00 PG 16:00 18:00 20:00 22:15 Fire With Fire-18 47 Ronin-PG15 The Croods-PG Legendary Amazons-PG15 Austenland-PG15 The Smurfs 2-PG 47 Ronin-PG15 MarvelвЂ™s Ultimate Avengers IAustenland-PG15 Red Sky-PG15 About Time-PG15 The Best Man Holiday-PG15 00:00 Live MSNBC Now With Alex Wagner 01:00 Live MSNBC The Ed Show 02:00 Live MSNBC Politicsnation 03:00 Live NBC Nightly News 03:30 ABC World News With David Muir 04:00 Live MSNBC All In With Chris Hayes 05:00 Live MSNBC The Rachel Maddow Show 06:00 Live MSNBC The Last Word W/ Lawrence OвЂ™Donnell 07:00 NBC Nightly News 07:30 ABC World News With David Muir 07:57 NBC Nightly News 08:18 ABC World News With David Muir 08:39 Live ABC Nightline 09:06 MSNBC The Rachel Maddow Show 10:00 MSNBC The Last Word W/ Lawrence OвЂ™Donnell 11:00 Live ABC World News Now 11:30 Live ABC World News Now 12:00 Live NBC Early Today 12:30 Live ABC America This Morning 13:00 Live ABC America This Morning 13:30 Live ABC America This Morning 14:00 Live ABC America This Morning 14:30 MSNBC First Look 15:00 Live NBC Today Show 18:57 MSNBC Hardball W/ Chris Matthews 19:38 MSNBC The Rachel Maddow Show 20:19 MSNBC The Last Word W/ Lawrence OвЂ™Donnell 21:00 Live MSNBC Ronan Farrow Daily 22:00 Live MSNBC The Reid Report 01:00 Live Cricket 09:00 Futbol Mundial 09:30 Super Rugby Final Highlights 11:00 Hero Indian Super League Highlights 13:30 Sevens World Series Highlights 15:00 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 15:30 Futbol Mundial 16:00 PDC World Darts Championship 19:00 Inside The PGA Tour 19:30 European Tour Weekly 20:00 Trans World Sport 21:00 European Senior Tour Highlights 22:00 PGA Tour Year in Review 23:00 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 23:30 Futbol Mundial 01:00 Pool Mosconi Cup 05:00 Futbol Mundial 07:00 NFL Road To The Playoffs 08:00 European Senior Tour Highlights 09:00 PGA Tour Year in Review 10:00 Champions Tour Year in Review 11:00 PDC World Darts Championship 16:00 WWE Superstars 17:00 WWE SmackDown 19:00 WWE Vintage 20:00 NFL Gameday 23:30 European Tour Weekly 02:30 Series 10:30 11:00 16:00 19:30 Live Australia v India Test ICC Cricket 360 Live Big Bash League T20 Big Bash League T20 Ranji Trophy Classifieds WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 KNCC PROGRAMME FROM THURSDAY TO WEDNESDAY (01/01/2015 TO 07/01/2015) Kuwait SHARQIA-1 VICE VICE 090 (Kuwaiti Film) INTO THE WOODS 090 (Kuwaiti Film) VICE VICE 12:45 PM 2:45 PM 4:45 PM 6:30 PM 9:00 PM 10:45 PM 12:45 AM SHARQIA-2 THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH SHARQIA-3 LEGEND OF THE NEVER BEAST LEGEND OF THE NEVER BEAST LEGEND OF THE NEVER BEAST UNBROKEN LEGEND OF THE NEVER BEAST UNBROKEN 090 (Kuwaiti Film) 11:30 AM 1:30 PM 3:30 PM 5:45 PM 7:45 PM 10:00 PM 12:15 AM 11:30 AM 1:15 PM 3:00 PM 4:45 PM 7:30 PM 9:15 PM 12:05 AM MUHALAB-1 UNBROKEN ANNIE INTO THE WOODS UNBROKEN 090 (Kuwaiti Film) UNBROKEN 12:15 PM 3:00 PM 5:30 PM 8:00 PM 10:45 PM 12:30 AM MUHALAB-2 LEGEND OF THE NEVER BEAST LEGEND OF THE NEVER BEAST LEGEND OF THE NEVER BEAST VICE 090 (Kuwaiti Film) VICE VICE 12:45 PM 2:30 PM 4:15 PM 6:00 PM 8:15 PM 10:00 PM 12:05 AM MUHALAB-3 THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH 11:30 AM 1:45 PM 4:00 PM 6:15 PM 8:30 PM 10:30 PM 12:45 AM FANAR-1 UNBROKEN UNBROKEN UNBROKEN 090 (Kuwaiti Film) 090 (Kuwaiti Film) UNBROKEN 11:45 AM 2:30 PM 5:30 PM 8:15 PM 10:00 PM 11:45 PM FANAR-2 VICE VICE NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB VICE NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB VICE VICE 12:45 PM 2:45 PM 4:45 PM 6:45 PM 8:45 PM 10:45 PM 1:00 AM FANAR-3 INTO THE WOODS 090 (Kuwaiti Film) INTO THE WOODS THE WATER DIVINER THE WATER DIVINER 090 (Kuwaiti Film) 1:00 PM 3:45 PM 5:30 PM 8:00 PM 10:30 PM 12:45 AM FANAR-4 THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH 12:30 PM 3:00 PM THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH 5:00 PM 7:30 PM 9:30 PM 12:05 AM UNBROKEN PERSONAL DVD Special Show вЂњUNBROKEN вЂњ VICE Special Show вЂњVICE вЂњ UNBROKEN 6:45 PM 7:00 PM 6:45 PM 9:30 PM 9:30 PM 11:30 PM FANAR-5 LEGEND OF THE NEVER BEAST LEGEND OF THE NEVER BEAST LEGEND OF THE NEVER BEAST LEGEND OF THE NEVER BEAST P.K -HINDI P.K -HINDI THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH 12:00 PM 1:45 PM 3:30 PM 5:15 PM 7:00 PM 9:45 PM 12:30 AM AVENUES-6 VICE VICE VICE VICE VICE VICE VICE 1:15 PM 3:15 PM 5:15 PM 7:15 PM 9:15 PM 11:15 PM 1:15 AM MARINA-1 VICE INTO THE WOODS VICE INTO THE WOODS VICE VICE 12:30 PM 2:45 PM 5:30 PM 7:45 PM 10:15 PM 12:15 AM AVENUES-7 PADDINGTON LAGGIES PADDINGTON LAGGIES LAGGIES 090 (Kuwaiti Film) 090 (Kuwaiti Film) 1:00 PM 3:00 PM 5:00 PM 7:00 PM 9:00 PM 11:00 PM 1:00 AM MARINA-2 THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH 11:30 AM 1:45 PM NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH 4:00 PM 6:15 PM 8:30 PM 10:30 PM 12:45 AM AVENUES-8 P.K -HINDI ANNIE ANNIE P.K -HINDI THE WATER DIVINER 1:30 PM 4:15 PM 6:45 PM 9:15 PM 12:15 AM MARINA-3 LEGEND OF THE NEVER BEAST-3D UNBROKEN LEGEND OF THE NEVER BEAST-3D LEGEND OF THE NEVER BEAST-3D 090 (Kuwaiti Film) UNBROKEN UNBROKEN 11:45 AM 1:30 PM 4:15 PM 6:00 PM 8:00 PM 9:45 PM 12:30 AM AVENUES-9 LEGEND OF THE NEVER BEAST-3D LEGEND OF THE NEVER BEAST-3D LEGEND OF THE NEVER BEAST LEGEND OF THE NEVER BEAST-3D LEGEND OF THE NEVER BEAST LEGEND OF THE NEVER BEAST THE WATER DIVINER 11:30 AM 1:30 PM 3:30 PM 5:30 PM 7:30 PM 9:30 PM 11:30 PM AVENUES-1 INTO THE WOODS INTO THE WOODS INTO THE WOODS INTO THE WOODS INTO THE WOODS 1:00 PM 3:30 PM 6:00 PM 8:30 PM 11:00 PM AVENUES-10 NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB 12:00 PM 2:15 PM 4:30 PM 6:45 PM 9:00 PM 11:15 PM AVENUES-2 090 (Kuwaiti Film) 090 (Kuwaiti Film) 090 (Kuwaiti Film) 090 (Kuwaiti Film) 090 (Kuwaiti Film) 090 (Kuwaiti Film) 090 (Kuwaiti Film) 12:15 PM 2:15 PM 4:15 PM 6:15 PM 8:15 PM 10:15 PM 12:15 AM AVENUES-11 THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 12:30 PM 2:45 PM 5:00 PM 7:15 PM 9:30 PM 11:45 PM AVENUES-3 UNBROKEN UNBROKEN UNBROKEN UNBROKEN UNBROKEN 11:45 AM 2:45 PM 5:45 PM 8:45 PM 11:45 PM 360Вє- 1 VICE VICE VICE VICE VICE VICE VICE 12:15 PM 2:15 PM 4:15 PM 6:15 PM 8:15 PM 10:15 PM 12:15 AM 360Вє- 2 090 (Kuwaiti Film) 090 (Kuwaiti Film) 090 (Kuwaiti Film) 090 (Kuwaiti Film) 090 (Kuwaiti Film) 090 (Kuwaiti Film) 090 (Kuwaiti Film) 1:15 PM 3:15 PM 5:15 PM 7:15 PM 9:15 PM 11:15 PM 1:15 AM 360Вє- 3 INTO THE WOODS INTO THE WOODS INTO THE WOODS INTO THE WOODS INTO THE WOODS 11:45 AM 2:15 PM 5:00 PM 7:30 PM 10:00 PM AVENUES-4 NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB 11:30 AM THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH 1:30 PM THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH 3:45 PM Special Show вЂњNIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMBвЂќ 4:00 PM THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH 6:00 PM Special Show вЂњLEGEND OF THE NEVER BEASTвЂќ 6:00 PM Special Show вЂњVICE вЂњ 6:00 PM THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH 8:15 PM THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH 10:30 PM THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 ANGEL OF DEATH 12:45 AM AVENUES-5 VICE UNBROKEN VICE 12:00 PM 2:00 PM 4:45 PM ANGEL OF DEATH ANGEL OF DEATH ANGEL OF DEATH ANGEL OF DEATH ANGEL OF DEATH ANGEL OF DEATH CHANGE OF NAME I, Thiru Sakthivel R. (Hindu) holder of Indian Passport No. E6574227, Subbaiyapillai street, Pattukkottai, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, has been converted Islam with the name R. Abdul Nazeer. (C 4901) 7-1-2015 MATRIMONIAL RC Christian boy, aged 29, native of Chalakkudy, presently settled in Wyanadu Dist, Kerala, working in Kuwait as Computer Engineer, seeking proposals from parents of working girls in Kuwait. Contact: [email protected] (C 4900) 6-1-2015 ACCOMMODATION SITUATION VACANT Required a driver for a Kuwaiti family. Has a valid driving license, has experience in Kuwait, speaks English. Tel: 90030691. (C 4899) A well experienced cook for a family house in Kuwait. Tel: 90030691. (C 4899) 5-1-2014 Sharing accommodation available in a flat at Jabriya, area - 10 near Jabriya Indian School for decent working ladies or couple from February-2015. Contact: 99300513. (C 4898) 5-1-2015 Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (www.kuwait-airport.com.kw) Airlines JAI JZR JZR JZR THY FDB QTR PGT ETH MSC GFA UAE JAI FDB RJA CEB MSR ETD KKK OMA QTR MSC THY DHX BAW KAC FDB QTR KAC KAC KAC UAE KAC KAC ABY ETD FDB QTR GFA IRM GFA IRA UAE AXB MSC KAC JZR JZR IRM MEA IAW UAE MRJ MSR CLX IYE IRC ABY KAC KAC QTR MSR Flt 574 239 267 539 772 069 1084 858 620 403 211 853 526 067 648 7694 612 305 6507 643 1076 401 770 170 157 412 053 1086 352 302 206 855 344 362 125 301 055 1070 943 1186 213 665 873 889 405 204 165 561 1188 404 157 871 4815 610 792 826 526 129 382 672 1078 575 Arrival Flights on Wednesday 7/1/2015 Route Mumbai Amman Beirut Cairo Istanbul Dubai Doha Istanbul Addis Ababa Sohag Bahrain Dubai Chennai/Abu Dhabi Dubai Amman Manila Cairo Abu Dhabi stanbul Muscat Doha Alexandria Istanbul Bahrain London Manila/Bangkok Dubai Doha Kochi Mumbai Islamabad Dubai Chennai Colombo Sharjah Abu Dhabi Dubai Doha Bahrain Tehran Bahrain Shiraz Dubai Mangalore/Bahrain Sohag Lahore Dubai Sohag Mashhad Beirut Al Najaf Dubai Mashhad Cairo Luxembourg Sanaa/Mukalla Mashhad Sharjah Delhi Dubai Doha Sharm el-Sheikh Time 00:10 00:25 00:30 00:40 00:45 00:55 01:00 01:35 01:45 02:30 02:30 02:35 02:50 02:55 03:05 03:10 03:10 03:10 03:20 03:25 03:45 04:05 05:35 05:40 06:40 07:10 07:45 07:50 08:10 08:20 08:25 08:40 08:45 08:45 09:00 09:20 09:40 10:00 10:15 10:20 10:40 10:40 11:00 11:15 11:25 11:25 11:30 11:45 11:45 11:55 12:05 12:50 12:55 13:00 13:15 13:30 13:30 13:40 13:45 13:55 14:05 14:15 MSC KNE SVA SYR FDB RJD GFA KAC JZR KAC KNE UAE ABY FDB KNE JZR KAC JZR JZR QTR RJA ETD AGY SVA GFA IRM GFA JZR UAE JZR JZR FDB ABY KAC QTR KAC KAC KAC KAC GFA KAC KAC JAI KAC OMA FDB ETD MSR ALK MEA ETD FDB UAE GFA QTR KNE JZR JZR ETD FDB AIC JZR THY FDB 1401 472 500 341 057 135 221 284 175 788 462 857 127 051 460 535 562 787 357 1072 640 303 680 510 215 1180 944 777 875 177 483 063 121 786 1080 618 774 674 542 217 166 102 572 742 647 061 919 606 229 402 307 073 859 219 1074 480 135 157 309 059 975 185 764 071 Sharm el-Sheikh Jeddah Jeddah Latakia/KAC Dubai Abu Dhabi Bahrain Dhaka Dubai Jeddah Madinah Dubai Sharjah Dubai Riyadh Cairo Amman Riyadh Mashhad Doha Amman Abu Dhabi Alexandria Riyadh Bahrain Mashhad LCA Jeddah Dubai Dubai Istanbul Dubai Sharjah Jeddah Doha Doha Riyadh Dubai Cairo Bahrain Paris/Rome New York/London Mumbai Dammam Muscat Dubai Abu Dhabi Luxor Colombo Beirut Abu Dhabi Dubai Dubai Bahrain Doha Taif Bahrain Dubai Abu Dhabi Dubai Chennai/Goa Dubai Istanbul Dubai 14:20 14:25 14:30 14:30 14:30 14:55 15:00 15:15 15:20 15:40 15:45 15:45 15:45 16:00 16:00 16:10 16:20 16:25 16:30 16:40 16:55 16:55 17:05 17:15 17:30 17:35 17:50 17:55 18:00 18:20 18:40 18:40 18:40 18:45 18:50 19:15 19:15 19:25 19:25 19:30 19:40 19:55 20:00 20:00 20:20 20:20 20:30 20:45 21:10 21:20 21:30 21:35 21:40 21:45 21:55 22:00 22:05 22:10 22:15 22:30 22:30 23:15 23:35 23:45 Airlines AIC FDB UAL JAI KAC KAC ETH THY PGT MSC KAC UAE FDB ETD MSR KKK OMA QTR CEB MSC JZR QTR THY FDB JAI JZR RJA GFA THY FDB BAW QTR JZR KAC ABY KAC UAE JZR KAC ETD KAC JZR FDB KAC JZR QTR GFA GFA IRM IRA KAC AXB KAC JZR MSC UAE MEA KAC IAW IRM JZR JZR Departure Flights on Wednesday 7/1/2015 Flt Route 982 Ahmedabad/Hyderabad/Chennai 072 Dubai 981 IAD 573 Mumbai 203 Lahore 283 Dhaka 621 Addis Ababa 773 Istanbul 859 Istanbul 404 Sohag 381 Delhi 854 Dubai 068 Dubai 306 Abu Dhabi 613 Cairo 6508 Istanbul 644 Muscat 1085 Doha 7695 Manila 406 Sohag 560 Sohag 1077 Doha 765 Istanbul 070 Dubai 525 Abu Dhabi/Chennai 164 Dubai 649 Amman 212 Bahrain 771 Istanbul 054 Dubai 156 London 1087 Doha 534 Cairo 671 Dubai 126 Sharjah 787 Jeddah 856 Dubai 482 Istanbul 117 New York 302 Abu Dhabi 561 Amman 356 Mashhad 056 Dubai 175 Frankfurt/Geneva 174 Dubai 1071 Doha 943 LCA 214 Bahrain 1181 Mashhad 664 Shiraz 541 Cairo 890 Mangalore 103 London 776 Jeddah 402 Alexandria 874 Dubai 405 Beirut 785 Jeddah 158 Al Najaf 1189 Mashhad 786 Riyadh 176 Dubai DIAL161 FOR AIRPORT INFORMATION Time 00:05 00:45 00:55 01:10 02:00 02:25 02:45 02:55 03:25 03:30 03:40 03:50 03:55 04:05 04:10 04:10 04:15 04:30 04:40 05:05 05:10 05:15 05:40 06:30 06:35 06:55 07:05 07:15 07:30 08:25 08:45 08:50 09:15 09:25 09:40 09:50 09:55 10:00 10:05 10:20 10:25 10:30 10:35 10:40 10:45 11:00 11:00 11:25 11:30 11:40 12:05 12:15 12:20 12:20 12:25 12:30 12:55 13:00 13:05 13:10 13:10 13:45 MSR MRJ UAE ABY IRC IYE CLX KAC MSR QTR FDB KAC MSC KNE SYR SVA GFA KAC RJD KAC ABY KNE KNE FDB KAC JZR KAC JZR QTR UAE JZR ETD RJA AGY SVA GFA GFA JZR IRM JZR JZR ABY JZR UAE QTR FDB GFA KAC JAI KAC KAC FDB OMA MSR DHX ALK ETD KAC MEA ETD FDB GFA UAE KNE 611 4814 872 120 527 827 792 673 576 1079 058 617 1402 473 342 503 222 773 136 501 128 463 481 052 741 266 545 156 1073 858 538 304 641 681 511 216 944 184 1187 238 134 122 552 876 1081 064 218 361 571 331 351 062 648 619 171 230 308 301 403 920 074 220 860 461 Cairo Mashhad Dubai Sharjah Mashhad Mukalla/Sanaa Hanoi Dubai Sharm el-Sheikh Doha Dubai Doha Sharm el-Sheikh Jeddah Damascus/Latakia Jeddah/Madinah Bahrain Riyadh Abu Dhabi Beirut Sharjah Madinah Taif Dubai Dammam Beirut Alexandria Dubai Doha Dubai Cairo Abu Dhabi Amman Sharm el-Sheikh Riyadh Bahrain Bahrain Dubai Tehran Amman Bahrain Sharjah Alexandria Dubai Doha Dubai Bahrain Colombo Mumbai Trivandrum Kochi Dubai Muscat Alexandria Bahrain Colombo Abu Dhabi Mumbai Beirut Dubai Dubai Bahrain Dubai Riyadh 14:00 14:10 14:15 14:20 14:30 14:30 14:45 15:00 15:00 15:05 15:10 15:15 15:20 15:20 15:30 15:45 15:45 15:50 16:05 16:15 16:25 16:30 16:50 17:00 17:00 17:05 17:30 17:35 17:40 17:45 17:45 17:50 17:55 18:05 18:15 18:20 18:35 18:40 18:45 18:50 19:10 19:20 19:30 19:40 19:50 19:55 20:15 20:50 21:00 21:10 21:15 21:20 21:20 21:45 21:50 22:10 22:15 22:15 22:20 22:25 22:30 22:30 22:50 22:50 34 stars WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 CROSSWORD 777 STAR TRACK Aries (March 21-April 19) Today is an easy, relaxing day if you avoid extremes. You are inclined to expect that the world will come to you; do not expect too much. It is important to pay attention to the way you handle stress. You are more successful in the workplace than most when it comes to sharp minds. It is important that you have an awareness of your stress level and positive ways to balance it. Begin to develop and increase the time you are in touch with the spiritual side of yourself. Moneymaking ideas do not interest you but substantial ways to increase your income or investments are where you are focused this afternoon. A friendвЂ™s scheme may actually turn you in a direction that will help you to increase your savings. You enjoy the family this evening. Taurus (April 20-May 20) When a department in your office or store needs to complete an order at a faster time than usual, you are the one that could be stuck with the how and the when issues. A good plan of action will emerge soon. There is a natural tendency to experience some delays at this time, which may be the cause of some frustration. However, like the little train that climbed the mountain-you can see this day through to the end and walk away with many accomplishments. You may find yourself in deep discussions about the world and the progress of different countries or technologies. Taxes, investments and other financial ties or obligations may grab your attention as well. Get outside, weather permitting of course, and enjoy some fresh air this evening. Gemini (May 21-June 20) ACROSS 1. Little known Kamarupan languages. 5. Expectorated matter. 11. The elementary stages of any subject (usually plural). 15. An indication of radiant light drawn around the head of a saint. 16. Someone who pays rent to use land or a building or a car that is owned by someone else. 17. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 18. (usually followed by `to') Having the necessary means or skill or know-how or authority to do something. 19. Measuring instrument in which the echo of a pulse of microwave radiation is used to detect and locate distant objects. 21. The cry made by sheep. 24. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 26. Essential oil or perfume obtained from flowers. 28. Filled to capacity. 30. Conforming to an ultimate standard of perfection or excellence. 33. Before noon. 34. A resort city in southern Ukraine on the Black Sea. 37. A Loloish language. 38. A Loloish language. 40. An outer garment that has sleeves and covers the body from shoulder down. 42. (used of count nouns) Every one considered individually. 44. A victory (as in a race or other competition). 45. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 46. The basic unit of money in Peru. 48. A Hindu disciple of a swami. 50. Norwegian mathematician (1802-1829). 51. An involuntary spasm of ineffectual vomiting. 53. (Norse mythology) One of the Aesir known for his beauty and skill with bow and skis. 54. A boy or man. 56. An ester of adenosine that is converted to ATP for energy storage. 57. (Greek mythology) One of the three Graces. 61. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 67. Situated in or facing or moving toward the east. 71. An implement used to propel or steer a boat. 75. The law enforcement agency in the Justice Department. 76. Organelle in the cytoplasm of a living cell that is composed of ribonucleic acid. 78. (in Scotland or Ireland) A mountain or tall hill. 79. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 80. Wealth as evidenced by sumptuous living. 81. Animal reproductive body consisting of an ovum or embryo together with nutritive and protective envelopes. DOWN 1. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 2. A small cake leavened with yeast. 3. Leaf or strip from a leaf of the talipot palm used in India for writing paper. 4. Fish eggs or egg-filled ovary. 5. The act of sitting or standing astride. 6. The state prevailing during the absence of war. 7. Located below or beneath something else. 8. An official language of the Republic of South Africa. 9. Not prepared or in a state of readiness. 10. A unit of weight equivalent to 1000 kilograms. 11. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 12. An imaginary elephant that appears in a series of French books for children. 13. Baby bed with high sides. 14. Stalk of a moss capsule. 20. A law passed by US Congress to prevent employees from being injured or contracting diseases in the course of their employment. 22. Any wingless blood-sucking parasitic insect noted for ability to leap. 23. A mug intended for serving beer. 25. The sodium salt of amobarbital that is used as a barbiturate. 27. A flat wing-shaped process or winglike part of an organism. 29. Naked freshwater or marine or parasitic protozoa that form temporary pseudopods for feeding and locomotion. 31. Very hot and finely tapering pepper of special pungency. 32. A historical region of southwestern India on the west coast. 35. Long-tailed arboreal mustelid of Central and South America. 36. (of complexion) Blemished by imperfections of the skin. 39. A kind of danceable music popular among black South Africans. 41. In bed. 43. A protocol (utilizing TCP) to transfer hypertext requests and information between servers and browsers. 47. Being nine more than ninety. 49. Small genus of erect balsam-scented herbs. 52. The (prehensile) extremity of the superior limb. 55. An official prosecutor for a judicial district. 58. A rare silvery (usually trivalent) metallic element. 59. A Russian river. 60. American professional baseball player who hit more home runs than Babe Ruth (born in 1934). 62. Open-heart surgery in which the rib cage is opened and a section of a blood vessel is grafted from the aorta to the coronary artery to bypass the blocked section of the coronary artery and improve the blood supply to the heart. 63. An elaborate song for solo voice. 64. (Babylonian) God of wisdom and agriculture and patron of scribes and schools. 65. A material effigy that is worshipped as a god. 66. (law) A comprehensive term for any proceeding in a court of law whereby an individual seeks a legal remedy. 68. A French abbot. 69. A brace that extends from the rear of the keel to support the rudderpost. 70. The taste experience when a savoury condiment is taken into the mouth. 72. Electronic equipment that provides visual images of varying electrical quantities. 73. (informal) Informed about the latest trends. 74. Any of numerous hairy-bodied insects including social and solitary species. 77. One million periods per second. Allow for delays today-exercise patience. Some people do not care for challenges, but if you did not have challenges in your life it would be easy for you to become bored. Today you will be able to show off your problem-solving abilities. If you are humble in your attempt to help others, you will make many friends. If you are looking for the answer to a haunting problem from the past, you will find it now. This can be a lucrative time for you, but there are risks as well as rewards. A good example of this might be an investment in the stock market that looks as though it may be on an upswing. You are motivated to give some personal time to a family member this evening. A healing of emotions may take place tonight. Harmony is achieved. Cancer (June 21-July 22) You feel very good about yourself today-others tend to support your selfconfidence. If you enjoy your work, this is a good day to expand your horizons. If you consider your job little more than drudgery, this is a good time to begin a vacation or to make vacation plans. You may find yourself reviewing some sales technique or some old project this afternoon. This is the best time to clear away the debris. You may insist that whatever does not contribute to security and other long-term goals is trivial. Your ambition is intensified. This evening you may enjoy a good movie, book or perhaps a computer game that you have not had a chance to investigate. Leo (July 23-August 22) You make all the moves and seem to have the last say in situations today. This is fun for a while but carries a lot of responsibility. Everything points to your taking the initiative. This is a great time to be with others and to work together. Someone wants you for a particular job. You could feel great support from those around you. You are very aware of other people and their needs. Your receptiveness to the input from others may encourage them to ask for your help. Doing so should give you a great sense of satisfaction. Spiritual matters are highlighted and it is not enough merely to understand what something is-you need to know what it means. You may be able to feel especially kind toward a friend or loved one this afternoon. Virgo (August 23-September 22) Ambition, practicality and achievement are admirable, but they are means to an end-not ends in themselves. It is important that you share the responsibilities to complete an old project now. If you can be a bit flexible, you will see successful results from most anything you try to involve yourself with now. Your focus and self-discipline are admirable and others may want some advice on how to do what you do. It is time to build a solid foundation for yourself. This may mean in the workplace, home or in a volunteer organization. Whatever the case, a spirit of cooperation is the most important asset. There may be a little scattered energy today but you will come across as very organized. You can relax with friends tonight. WORD SEARCH PUZZLE Libra (September 23-October 22) You may be reminded of your various responsibilities at this time. You are able to cut through the red tape and find exactly what is needed to solve most problems. In-depth discussions and probing conversations find you at your mental best. Your analytical abilities are at a high point. Lunchtime is a good time to get down to the basics and take care of some personal business you had set aside. Past obligations may come to your attention. A meeting with someone older or in authority is insightful. Harmony with friends and loved ones is the order of the day. A healing between neighbors is possible this afternoon. You will enjoy socializing or just spending time with a loved one tonight. This is a good time to improve your love life. Scorpio (October 23-November 21) Spend some extra time to study a special problem today. There is much too much rushing and the time is not right to move on this special project just yet. Contracts and ventures need to be analyzed carefully, making sure that all signatures, dates and addresses are correct. You are very aware of other people and their needs. Your receptivity to input from others may encourage them to ask for your help. Doing so should give you a great sense of satisfaction. Spiritual matters are highlighted-it is not enough merely to understand what something is; you need to know what it means. You may decide to join a choir or take some sort of creative lessons in the evening. This could also involve you and another member of your family. Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) Work moves along well today, although there could be a few delays. This may be an important time to change a delivery company, particularly if this is one of many times a delay has happened. A massage set up for later in the day will help to alleviate some of the stress you have recently been experiencing. This afternoon you may find that groups have gathered for ideas on how to help people in need. There is talk of needing a senior math or reading mentor program; recruiting retirees as volunteers would actually be benefiting many. This volunteer work is for helping young people learn the basics or helping the elderly maintain a sharp mind. This volunteer work is within your expertise and will fill you with a great deal of satisfaction. Capricorn (December 22-January 19) A shuffle of desks, equipment or merchandise creates a new look after the holidays but it is also a brain teaser to find the essential props needed for your work. The process of getting back to the organized state that you prefer is becoming more comfortable. There are only a few more details to gather together that will make your work routine move along in a reliable fashion. Finally, with your head down or with your feet busy doing the chores, your day moves along quickly. There are very few interruptions and people are cooperative. You have plenty of opportunities to help interest people in spending their money. If you are in the technical field, you will find yourself interested in teaching. Aquarius (January 20- February 18) A perfect balance between your career needs and personal needs should bring about an inner peace that you rarely get a chance to enjoy. The lighter side of you usually has to struggle with the more serious side of you. In addition, you have a supersensitive awareness of the moods and needs of others, making this an excellent time to run seminars or work with groups. Do not skip any breaks-take this allotted time to recharge your energy. You may find yourself serving to guide someone younger than you in matters of importance this afternoon. You could also perceive how to precede with plans and decisions in regard to your life goals. Any problems you encounter should have easy solutions. You socialize with friends this evening. Pisces (February 19-March 20) Negotiations and persuasions to change or update an old technical way of doing things are met with success this morning. This clarity is a bit unusual just now. You do not have to draw a picture to get your message over to others-communications are clear. Indepth thinking brings success with work of a mental nature. Your intuition will prove valuable in a business meeting after lunch. Work is definitely on the back burner this afternoon, although you could be inspired to do something to beautify your home or surroundings. You enjoy being around people in general, but the rapport between you and your significant other is especially strong at this time. With this understanding, you both can be nurturing without being pushy. YesterdayвЂ™s Solution YesterdayвЂ™s Solution Daily SuDoku YesterdayвЂ™s Solution WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 i n f o r m at i o n For labor-related inquiries and complaints: Call MSAL hotline 128 INTERNATIONAL CALLS GOVERNORATE Sabah Hospital 22450005 Maternity Hospital 24843100 Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital 25312700 Chest Hospital 24849400 Farwaniya Hospital 24892010 Adan Hospital 23940620 Ibn Sina Hospital 24840300 Al-Razi Hospital Physiotherapy Hospital Ahmadi 24812000 Amiri Hospital PHARMACY Jahra Capital Farwaniya Hawally 24846000 24874330/9 ADDRESS PHONE Afghanistan 0093 Luxembourg 00352 Albania 00355 Macau 00853 Algeria 00213 Macedonia 00389 Andorra 00376 Madagascar 00261 Angola 00244 Majorca 0034 Sama Safwan Abu Halaifa Danat Al-Sultan Fahaeel Makka St Abu Halaifa-Coastal Rd Mahboula Block 1, Coastal Rd 23915883 23715414 23726558 Anguilla 001264 Malawi 00265 Modern Jahra Madina Munawara Jahra-Block 3 Lot 1 Jahra-Block 92 24575518 24566622 Antiga 001268 Malaysia 0060 Argentina 0054 Maldives 00960 Armenia 00374 Mali 00223 Australia 0061 Malta 00356 Austria 0043 Marshall Islands 00692 Bahamas 001242 Martinique 00596 Bahrain 00973 Mauritania 00222 Bangladesh 00880 Mauritius 00230 Barbados 001246 Mayotte 00269 Belarus 00375 Mexico 0052 Belgium 0032 Micronesia 00691 Belize 00501 Moldova 00373 Benin 00229 Monaco 00377 Bermuda 001441 Mongolia 00976 Bhutan 00975 Montserrat 001664 00212 Ahlam Khaldiya Coop Fahad Al-Salem St Khaldiya Coop 22436184 24833967 New Shifa Ferdous Coop Modern Safwan Farwaniya Block 40 Ferdous Coop Old Kheitan Block 11 24734000 24881201 24726638 Tariq Hana Ikhlas Hawally & Rawdha Ghadeer Kindy Ibn Al-Nafis Mishrif Coop Salwa Coop Salmiya-Hamad Mubarak St Salmiya-Amman St Hawally-Beirut St Hawally & Rawdha Coop Jabriya-Block 1A Jabriya-Block 3B Salmiya-Hamad Mubarak St Mishrif Coop Salwa Coop 25726265 25647075 22625999 22564549 25340559 25326554 25721264 25380581 25628241 Kaizen center 25716707 Rawda 22517733 Bolivia 00591 Morocco Bosnia 00387 Mozambique 00258 Adaliya 22517144 Botswana 00267 Myanmar (Burma) 0095 Khaldiya 24848075 Brazil 0055 Namibia 00264 Brunei 00673 Nepal 00977 Kaifan 24849807 Bulgaria 00359 Netherlands 0031 Shamiya 24848913 Burkina 00226 Netherlands Antilles 00599 Shuwaikh 24814507 Burundi 00257 New Caledonia Cambodia 00855 New Zealand 0064 Abdullah Salem 22549134 Cameroon 00237 Nicaragua 00505 Nuzha 22526804 Canada 001 Nigar 00227 Cape Verde 00238 Nigeria 00234 Industrial Shuwaikh 24814764 Cayman Islands 001345 Niue 00683 Central African 00236 Norfolk Island 00672 Chad 00235 N. Ireland (UK) 0044 00687 Qadsiya 22515088 Dasmah 22532265 Chile 0056 North Korea 00850 Bneid Al-Gar 22531908 China 0086 Norway 0047 Colombia 0057 Oman 00968 Shaab 22518752 Comoros 00269 Pakistan 0092 22459381 Congo 00242 Palau 00680 Cook Islands 00682 Panama 00507 00506 Papua New Guinea 00675 Qibla Ayoun Al-Qibla 22451082 Costa Rica Mirqab 22456536 Croatia 00385 Paraguay 00595 Cuba 0053 Peru 0051 Cyprus 00357 Philippines 0063 Cyprus (Northern) 0090392 Poland 0048 Czech Republic 00420 Portugal 00351 Denmark 0045 Puerto Rico 001787 Diego Garcia 00246 Qatar 00974 Djibouti 00253 Romania 0040 Dominica 001767 Russian Federation 007 Sharq 22465401 Salmiya 25746401 Jabriya 25316254 Maidan Hawally 25623444 Bayan 25388462 Mishref 25381200 Dominican Republic 001809 Rwanda 00250 22630786 Ecuador 00593 Saint Helena 00290 Egypt 0020 Saint Kitts 001869 W Hawally Sabah 24810221 El Salvador 00503 Saint Lucia 001758 Jahra 24770319 England (UK) 0044 Saint Pierre 00508 Equatorial Guinea 00240 Saint Vincent 001784 New Jahra 24575755 Eritrea 00291 Samoa US 00684 West Jahra 24772608 Estonia 00372 Samoa West 00685 Ethiopia 00251 San Marino 00378 Falkland Islands 00500 Sao Tone 00239 Faroe Islands 00298 Saudi Arabia 00966 Fiji 00679 Scotland (UK) 0044 Finland 00358 Senegal 00221 South Jahra 24775066 North Jahra 24775992 North Jleeb 24311795 Ardhiya 24884079 France 0033 Seychelles 00284 Firdous 24892674 French Guiana 00594 Sierra Leone 00232 French Polynesia 00689 Singapore 0065 Omariya 24719048 Gabon 00241 Slovakia 00421 N Khaitan 24710044 Gambia 00220 Slovenia 00386 Georgia 00995 Solomon Islands 00677 Germany 0049 Somalia 00252 Ghana 00233 South Africa 0027 Gibraltar 00350 South Korea 0082 Greece 0030 Spain 0034 Greenland 00299 Sri Lanka 0094 Grenada 001473 Sudan 00249 Guadeloupe 00590 Suriname 00597 Guam 001671 Swaziland 00268 Guatemala 00502 Sweden 0046 Guinea 00224 Switzerland 0041 Guyana 00592 Syria 00963 Haiti 00509 Fintas 23900322 PRIVATE CLINICS Ophthalmologists Dr. Abidallah Al-Mansoor 25622444 Dr. Samy Al-Rabeea 25752222 Dr. Masoma Habeeb 25321171 Dr. Mubarak Al-Ajmy 25739999 Dr. Mohsen Abel 25757700 Dr Adnan Hasan Alwayl 25732223 Dr. Abdallah Al-Baghly 25732223 Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) Dr. Ahmed Fouad Mouner 24555050 Ext 510 Dr. Abdallah Al-Ali 25644660 Dr. Abd Al-Hameed Al-Taweel 25646478 Dr. Sanad Al-Fathalah 25311996 Dr. Mohammad Al-Daaory 25731988 Dr. Ismail Al-Fodary 22620166 Dr. Mahmoud Al-Booz 25651426 General Practitioners Dr. Mohamme Y Majidi 24555050 Ext 123 Dr. Yousef Al-Omar 24719312 Dr. Tarek Al-Mikhazeem 23926920 Dr. Kathem Maarafi 25730465 Dr. Abdallah Ahmad Eyadah 25655528 Dr. Nabeel Al-Ayoobi 24577781 Dr. Dina Abidallah Al-Refae 25333501 Urologists Dr. Ali Naser Al-Serfy 22641534 Dr. Fawzi Taher Abul 22639955 Dr. Khaleel Abidallah Al-Awadi 22616660 Dr. Adel Al-Hunayan FRCS (C) 25313120 Dr. Leons Joseph 66703427 Psychologists /Psychotherapists Paediatricians Plastic Surgeons Dr. Mohammad Al-Khalaf 22547272 Dr. Khaled Hamadi Dr. Abdal-Redha Lari 22617700 Dr. Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rashed Dr. Abdel Quttainah 25625030/60 Family Doctor Dr Divya Damodar 23729596/23729581 Psychiatrists Dr. Esam Al-Ansari 22635047 Dr Eisa M. Al-Balhan DrAdrian arbe 23729596/23729581 Dr. Verginia s.Marin 2572-6666 ext 8321 25340300 Dr. Zahra Qabazard 25710444 Dr. Sohail Qamar 22621099 Dr. Snaa Maaroof 25713514 Dr. Pradip Gujare 23713100 Dr. Zacharias Mathew 24334282 Dermatology 22613623/0 Gynaecologists & Obstetricians Endocrinologist 25665898 Dr. Mohammed Salam Bern University 23845955 Dentists Dr Anil Thomas Dr. Majeda Khalefa Aliytami 25343406 Dr. Shamah Al-Matar 22641071/2 Dr. Ahmad Al-Khooly 25739272 Dr. Anesah Al-Rasheed 22562226 Dr. Salem soso 22618787 Dr. Abidallah Al-Amer 22561444 Dr. Faysal Al-Fozan 22619557 Dr. Abdallateef Al-Katrash 22525888 Dr. Abidallah Al-Duweisan 25653755 Dr. Bader Al-Ansari 25620111 Dr. Amer Zawaz Al-Amer 22610044 Dr. Mohammad Yousef Basher 25327148 Internists, Chest & Heart Dr. Adnan Ebil 22639939 Dr. Mousa Khadada 22666300 Dr. Latefa Al-Duweisan Dr. Nadem Al-Ghabra 25728004 25355515 Dr. Mobarak Aldoub 24726446 Dr Nasser Behbehani 25654300/3 Soor Center Tel: 2290-1677 Fax: 2290 1688 [email protected] www.soorcenter.com Dr. Kamal Al-Shomr 25329924 Physiotherapists & VD Dr. Deyaa Shehab 25722291 22666288 Rheumatologists: Dr. Adel Al-Awadi 22655539 25339330 Dr. Ahmad Al-Ansari 25658888 Dr. Musaed Faraj Khamees Dr. Fozeya Ali Al-Qatan General Surgeons Dr. Abd Al-Naser Al-Othman 25330060 3729596/3729581 Neurologists Dr. Sohal Najem Al-Shemeri 25633324 Dr. Jasem Mola Hassan 25345875 Gastrologists Dr. Sami Aman 22636464 Dr. Mohammad Al-Shamaly 25322030 Dr. Foad Abidallah Al-Ali 22633135 Kaizen center 25716707 Noor Clinic 23845955 Dr. Khaled Al-Jarallah 25722290 Internist, Chest & Heart DR.Mohammes Akkad 24555050 Ext 210 Dr. Mohammad Zubaid MB, ChB, FRCPC, PACC Assistant Professor Of Medicine Head, Division of Cardiology Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital 25339667 Consultant Cardiologist Dr. Farida Al-Habib MD, PH.D, FACC Inaya German Medical Center Te: 2575077 Fax: 25723123 2611555-2622555 William Schuilenberg, RPC 2290-1677 Zaina Al Zabin, M.Sc. 2290-1677 Serbia 00381 Holland (Netherlands) 0031 Taiwan 00886 Honduras 00504 Tanzania 00255 Hong Kong 00852 Thailand 0066 Hungary 0036 Toga 00228 Ibiza (Spain) 0034 Tonga 00676 Iceland 00354 Tokelau 00690 India 0091 Trinidad 001868 Indian Ocean 00873 Tunisia 00216 Indonesia 0062 Turkey 0090 Iran 0098 Tuvalu 00688 Iraq 00964 Uganda 00256 Ireland 00353 Ukraine 00380 Italy 0039 United Arab Emirates 00976 Ivory Coast 00225 United Kingdom 0044 Jamaica 001876 Uruguay 00598 Japan 0081 USA 001 Jordan 00962 Uzbekistan 00998 Kazakhstan 007 Vanuatu 00678 Kenya 00254 Venezuela 00582 Kiribati 00686 Vietnam 0084 Kuwait 00965 Virgin Islands UK 001284 Kyrgyzstan 00996 Virgin Islands US 001340 Laos 00856 Wales (UK) 0044 Latvia 00371 Yemen 00967 Lebanon 00961 Yugoslavia 00381 Liberia 00231 Zambia 00260 Libya 00218 Zimbabwe 00263 Lithuania 00370 WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 lifestyle Eminem sued Carey to accept Las Vegas residency G O S S I P Affleck M ariah Carey has landed a multimillion dollar deal to perform in Las Vegas. The вЂњ#BeautifulвЂ™ singer is in negotiations with Caesars Palace for a performing stint that will reportedly earn her more than the $30 million Britney Spears is receiving for her two-year residency in the gambling capital of the US, the New York Post newspaperвЂ™s Page Six column reports. Once the deal if confirmed, Mariah is expected to take to the stage in Las Vegas before the end of this year. If the deal goes ahead, it seems Mariah - who has three-year-old twins Moroccan and Monroe with estranged husband Nick Cannon - has had a change of heart as it was claimed in November she was looking for a вЂњmini residencyвЂќ outside of the city. A source said: вЂњMariah doesnвЂ™t want to go to Vegas. She put out feelers to the Borgata in Atlantic City and the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut about a mini residency. вЂњShe wants a stable, high-paying gig that will keep her close to her New York home. Mariah is crossing her fingers that she can figure out a way to make money on her own turf.вЂќ replaces Damon in Manchester-by-the-Sea C asey Affleck has replaced Matt Damon in вЂ�Manchester-by-the-SeaвЂ™. The 39-year-old actor will take over the lead role from Matt, 44, in director Kenneth LonerganвЂ™s drama after a scheduling conflict prevented Matt from starring. LonerganвЂ™s film tells the story of a Boston plumber who has to become the guardian of his 16-year-old nephew after his brother tragically dies, however, his attempts to be a carer are hindered by a past secret tragedy. Revealing he is replacing Matt in the movie, Casey the brother of Ben Affleck - quipped: вЂњ(IвЂ™m going to be in) вЂ�Manchester-by-the-SeaвЂ™. Matt canвЂ™t do it. And, you know, if MattвЂ™s not in it, itвЂ™ll be good.вЂќ Writer-anddirector Lonergan previously worked with Matt on the critically acclaimed вЂ�MargaretвЂ™ and his previous films include вЂ�Analyze ThisвЂ™, вЂ�The Adventures of Rocky and BullwinkleвЂ™ and вЂ�You Can Count on MeвЂ™. Matt is currently shooting Ridley ScottвЂ™s highly-anticipated sci-fi film вЂ�The MartianвЂ™ and is then due to reunite with Paul Greengrass to reprise his role as Jason Bourne for another installment in the Bourne action series. Casey has been busy filming Disney disaster movie вЂ�The Finest HoursвЂ™, which tells the true story of the Pendleton rescue mission which saw the Coast Guard deal with the devastation of two oil tankers in a storm off the coast of Cape Cod in 1952. Lambert wants to honor Mercury A dam Lambert wants to keep Freddie MercuryвЂ™s вЂњmemory aliveвЂќ when he performs with Queen. The former вЂ�American IdolвЂ™ star sings with the legendary band live and has won rave reviews for his performances as the groupвЂ™s frontman. Adam insists he never tries to imitate or replace Freddie - who died in 1991 at the age of 45 - on stage and his main motivation for singing with Queen is to keep his idolвЂ™s wonderful music alive. The 32-year-old rocker said: вЂњThereвЂ™s never going to be another (Freddie), and IвЂ™m not replacing him. ThatвЂ™s not what IвЂ™m doing. IвЂ™m trying to keep the memory alive, and remind people how amazing he was, without imitating him. IвЂ™m trying to share with the audience how much he inspired me.вЂќ Queen guitarist Brian May has praised AdamвЂ™s vocal abilities, and says he is the first singer he has worked with since FreddieвЂ™s passing who can perform all of their songs. Speaking to the new issue of Classic Rock magazine, he enthused: вЂњAdam is the first person weвЂ™ve encountered who can do all the Queen catalogue without blinking. He is a gift from god.вЂќ Drummer Roger Taylor is also blown away by AdamвЂ™s talent, adding: вЂњ(His voice is) one in a billion ... HeвЂ™s incredibly musical, and we certainly take anything he says quite seriously.вЂќ QueenвЂ™s concerts still feature Freddie, as they use video recordings of him singing on certain tracks, and Brian admits itвЂ™s important for them to pay tribute to their friend without getting too nostalgic. The musician said: вЂњWeвЂ™ve been on tour in the States with Adam, and FreddieвЂ™s already there because of the writing, and the original performances that we model the E minem is being sued for $8 million. The 42-year-old rapper and his record label are the subject of legal action from Raymond Jones, an MC from the group Hotstylz, who has alleged the star has sampled one of his songs without permission. According to TMZ, the case claims EminemвЂ™s song вЂ�Rap GodвЂ™, from his вЂ�Marshall Mathers LP 2вЂ™, features a 25-second clip from RaymondвЂ™s track вЂ�Lookin BoyвЂ™ and he wants to be compensated financially for the unauthorized use. A spokesperson for Eminem has not yet commented on the allegations. In September, вЂ�Rap GodвЂ™ made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for the most words in a hit single, with the six minute, four seconds-long track totting up 1,560 words. Eminem recently admitted he loves performing live with musicians because he thinks they add a new element to his sound. He said: вЂњItвЂ™s definitely better, it definitely brings a whole new element to it. There are more things to do with your hands. ItвЂ™s a whole different energy, itвЂ™s louder, itвЂ™s more in your face, itвЂ™s more explosive. For me, music is about feeling and energy and all that. вЂњWe always try to mess around with the order of things. There are certain songs that just, for some reason or another, they donвЂ™t work as good live. You have to go with the ones that work best to perform live. Sometimes weвЂ™ll [also] add ones in we havenвЂ™t done in a while.вЂќ Kate Moss fronts MatchlessвЂ™ 115th anniversary campaign K ate Moss is the face of MatchlessвЂ™ 115th anniversary campaign. The 40-year-old supermodel has teamed up with the British motorcycle brand for the fourth time to front the labelвЂ™s celebratory collection marking its foundation in 1899, reports WWD. Kate stars in the campaign - which was shot in a desolate-looking field in Ibiza - alongside male model ClГ€ment Chabernaud and can be seen reclining on a motorcycle in iconic studded leather creations from the labelвЂ™s spring 2015 line, including the Kate vent waistcoat and a cropped leather jacket called the Miss Kate Blouson. The Croydon-born beauty also had a hand in styling the ads with Ludivine Poiblanc, while famed photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott shot the campaign. The brandвЂ™s owners Manuele and Michele Malenotti have chosen the fashion icon to front their campaigns since their Autumn 2013 collection. Managing director Michele said Kate, вЂњepitomizes the Matchless spirit through her energy and status as a Londoner.вЂќ Kate also teamed up with model of the moment Cara Delevingne to front a campaign for BurberryвЂ™s latest fragrance, My Burberry, in September last year. The adverts were shot by photographer Mario Testino and featured the supermodel duo sporting the labelвЂ™s signature trench coats as they posed together under an umbrella. Courtney Love is bored of rock вЂ�nвЂ™ roll C ourtney Love is bored of rock вЂ�nвЂ™ roll. The hellraising singer realized she had to walk away from the genre that made her a star while on stage in Australia last year when she felt dismayed having to perform her old songs. Recalling the gig, she said: вЂњI got to that part where IвЂ™m looking down at the set list going, вЂ�Really, вЂ�MalibuвЂ™ next? Are we halfway done yet?вЂ™ And when that happens in rock вЂ�nвЂ™ roll, itвЂ™s like, вЂ�OK, IвЂ™ve got to look at something else. Because IвЂ™m not loving this. IвЂ™m not in the moment. Forget persona, forget who is new and who is old, your mojo is your mojo.вЂќ After deciding to turn her back on rock, Courtney was inspired to try something completely new which led her to landing a role in Todd AlmondвЂ™s pop opera вЂ�Kansas City Choir BoyвЂ™. The 50-year-old musician insists the show - which opens at the Prototype Festival in New York on Thursday - has given her a new lease of life because itвЂ™s a totally new challenge for her. Courtney hopes she and Todd can take the production to other cities if it is well received. The former Hole rocker - the widow of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain - said: вЂњItвЂ™s baptism by fire, but IвЂ™m going to hang in and give it my best ... IвЂ™ve never done musical theatre - I really wanted to do theatre, but probably IвЂ™m not ready to do a play quite yet. Fortuitously, Todd wrote this thing eight years ago, and I met him and I fell in love with it ... ItвЂ™s like putting out a single. If it gets catchy, then we do it in London or something. If it doesnвЂ™t, it doesnвЂ™t. We think itвЂ™s really catchy and fabulous.вЂќ Cumberbatch doesnвЂ™t see Doctor Strange as a risk B enedict Cumberbatch doesnвЂ™t think taking on the lead role in вЂ�Doctor StrangeвЂ™ is a risk. The 38-year-old actor was recently cast in the role and says heвЂ™s confident the film will be a success, because of MarvelвЂ™s ability to bring lesserknown characters to life. He shared: вЂњI donвЂ™t think itвЂ™s a risk because of Marvel.вЂќMarvel is a stable of bringing out ordinary comic characters and turning them into screenlike gods. вЂњItвЂ™s very different, itвЂ™s an Astral Plane. ThereвЂ™s a huge new element to this Marvel universe thatвЂ™s going to be employed in building this story and this character. вЂњBut you know, IвЂ™m really excited about it, about working with [director Scott Derrickson] whose imagination is endless, and all the boys and girls at Marvel who know what theyвЂ™re doing.вЂќ Cumberbatch, who confirmed he will begin shooting вЂ�Doctor StrangeвЂ™ after appearing on the stage in вЂ�HamletвЂ™ and filming for the вЂ�SherlockвЂ™ Christmas special in 2015, revealed he was never a big fan of comic books as a child. However, he told The Wall Street Journal newspaper: вЂњYou can bet your bottom dollar IвЂ™m reading them now, avidly.вЂќ вЂ�Doctor StrangeвЂ™, which is set for release in November 2016, is also expected to feature Morgan Freeman and Bill Nighy. Aniston doesnвЂ™t care about weight gain J ennifer Aniston doesnвЂ™t care about gaining weight. The вЂ�Horrible Bosses 2вЂ™ actress recently adapted her diet to include carbohydrate-rich foods and while itвЂ™s made losing weight more difficult for her, she insists she doesnвЂ™t care about the extra pounds. She told InStyle magazine: вЂњI never ate pasta. IвЂ™ve been allowing myself a lot more in the past few years. Which does make it harder to lose those last few pounds. But you have to live. And so what? You go up a size. WhatвЂ™s the big deal?вЂќ The 45-year-old star previously opened up about her struggle to get back in shape after portraying Claire Bennett - a car crash survivor who manages her chronic pain with illegal drugs - in the drama вЂ�CakeвЂ™, which is set to be released next month. She said: вЂњItвЂ™s not so easy coming back, let me tell ya! WeвЂ™ve got a way to go, but it puts you in a different state of mind not to be physical and not take care of yourself.вЂќ JenniferвЂ™s co-star Camille Guaty added that many of her friends thought the actress could be pregnant with her and her fiancГ€ Justin TherouxвЂ™s first child due to her curvier figure. She said: вЂњItвЂ™s so funny, because a lot of people were like, вЂ�Is she pregnant?вЂ™ IвЂ™d say, вЂ�No,вЂ™ and theyвЂ™d say, вЂ�But she looks so dowdy.вЂ™ IвЂ™m like, вЂ�This is the role that sheвЂ™s playing!вЂ™ Knowing the story, itвЂ™s just a complete transformation.вЂќвЂ”Bang Showbiz 37 WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 LIFESTYLE F I L M S вЂ�Birdman,вЂ™ вЂ�Boyhood,вЂ™ вЂ�Imitation GameвЂ™ among Producers Guild nominees merican Sniper,вЂќвЂњBirdman,вЂќвЂњBoyhood,вЂќ вЂњFoxcatcher,вЂќвЂњGone Girl,вЂќвЂњGrand Budapest Hotel,вЂќвЂњThe Imitation Game,вЂќвЂњNightcrawler,вЂќвЂњThe Theory of EverythingвЂќ and вЂњWhiplashвЂќ have been nominated for the Producers Guild of AmericaвЂ™s Darryl F. Zanuck Award for top feature film. The winner will be announced Jan. 24 in the PGAвЂ™s 26th вЂњA The Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Comedy: Birdman Producers: Alejandro G. Inarritu, John Lesher, James W. Skotchdopole The Big Bang Theory Producers: Faye Oshima Belyeu, Chuck Lorre, Steve Molaro, Bill Prady Boyhood Producers: Richard Linklater, p.g.a., Cathleen Sutherland, p.g.a. Louie Producers: Pamela Adlon, Dave Becky, M. Blair Breard, Louis C.K., Vernon Chatman, Adam Escott, Steven Wright Foxcatcher Producers: Megan Ellison, p.g.a., Jon Kilik, p.g.a., Bennett Miller, p.g.a. Modern Family Producers: Paul Corrigan, Megan Ganz, Abraham Higginbotham, Ben Karlin, Elaine Ko, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Morton, Dan OвЂ™Shannon, Jeffrey Richman, Chris Smirnoff, Brad Walsh, Bill Wrubel, Sally Young, Danny Zuker Gone Girl Producer: Cean Chaffin, p.g.a. The Grand Budapest Hotel Producers: Wes Anderson & Scott Rudin, Jeremy Dawson, Steven Rales The Imitation Game Producers: Nora Grossman, p.g.a., Ido Ostrowsky, p.g.a., Teddy Schwarzman, p.g.a. Nightcrawler Producers: Jennifer Fox, Tony Gilroy The Theory of Everything Producers: Tim Bevan & Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, Anthony McCarten annual awards ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. The PGA has about 6,000 members. вЂњNightcrawlerвЂќ was probably the biggest surprise among the 10 nominees, while вЂњA Most Violent Year,вЂќвЂњInto the Woods,вЂќвЂњSelma,вЂќ вЂњUnbrokenвЂќ and вЂњWildвЂќ were among the notable exclusions. вЂњGravityвЂќ and вЂњ12 Years a SlaveвЂќ wound up in a dead heat last year as both won the Zanuck award-the first tie in the PGAвЂ™s 25year history for the trophy. The PGA uses the preferential balloting system employed for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for the Oscars. The PGAвЂ™s Zanuck award has become a strong indicator of Oscar sentiment in recent years, matching the Oscar for best picture in 18 of its 25 years-including the last seven, with вЂњ12 Years a Slave,вЂќвЂњArgo,вЂќвЂњThe Artist,вЂќвЂњThe KingвЂ™s Whiplash Producers: Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, David Lancaster Hawley, Warren Littlefield, Chad Oakes, Kim Todd The Normal Heart Producers: Jason Blum, Dante Di Loreto, Scott Ferguson, Dede Gardner, Alexis Martin Woodall, Ryan Murphy, Brad Pitt, Mark Ruffalo The Roosevelts: An Intimate History Producers: To Be Determined Sherlock Producers: Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat, Beryl Vertue, Sue Vertue In late 2014, the Producers Guild of America announced the Documentary Theatrical Motion Picture, Television Series and Non-Fiction Television Nominations. The following list now includes complete producer credits. The Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures: Life Itself Producers: Garrett Basch, Steve James, Zak Piper The Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures: Big Hero 6 Producer: Roy Conli, p.g.a. The Book of Life Producers: Brad Booker, p.g.a., Guillermo del Toro, p.g.a. The Boxtrolls Producers: David Bleiman Ichioka, p.g.a., Travis Knight, p.g.a. How to Train Your Dragon 2 Producer: Bonnie Arnold, p.g.a. The Lego Movie Producer: Dan Lin The Colbert Report Producers: Meredith Bennett, Tanya Michnevich Bracco, Stephen Colbert, Richard Dahm, Paul Dinello, Barry Julien, Matt Lappin, Emily Lazar, Tom Purcell, Jon Stewart Veep Producers: Chris Addison, Simon Blackwell, Christopher Godsick, Armando Iannucci, Stephanie Laing, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Frank Rich, Tony Roche The Award for Outstanding Producer of NonFiction Television:\ 30 for 30 Virunga Producers: Joanna Natasegara, Orlando von Einsiedel The Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama: Jimmy Kimmel Live Producers: David Craig, Ken Crosby, Doug DeLuca, Gary Greenberg, Erin Irwin, Jimmy Kimmel, Jill Leiderman, Molly McNearney, Tony Romero, Jason Schrift, Jennifer Sharron, Seth Weidner, Josh Weintraub Last Week Tonight With John Oliver Producers: Tim Carvell, John Oliver, Liz Stanton Real Time With Bill Maher Producers: Scott Carter, Sheila Griffiths, Marc Gurvitz, Dean Johnsen, Bill Maher, Billy Martin, Matt Wood The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Producers: Rob Crabbe, Jamie Granet Bederman, Katie Hockmeyer, Jim Juvonen, Josh Lieb, Brian McDonald, Lorne Michaels, Gavin Purcell Breaking Bad Producers: Melissa Bernstein, Sam Catlin, Bryan Cranston, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Mark Johnson, Stewart Lyons, Michelle MacLaren, George Mastras, Diane Mercer, Thomas Schnauz, Moira Walley-Beckett Downton Abbey Producers: Julian Fellowes, Nigel Marchant, Gareth Neame, Liz Trubridge Game of Thrones Producers: David Benioff, Bernadette Caulfield, Frank Doelger, Chris Newman, Greg Spence, Carolyn Strauss, D.B. Weiss House of Cards Producers: Dana Brunetti, Joshua Donen, David Fincher, David Manson, Iain Paterson, Eric Roth, Kevin Spacey, Beau Willimon True Detective Producers: Richard Brown, Carol Cuddy, Steve Golin, Woody Harrelson, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Matthew McConaughey, Nic Pizzolatto, Scott Stephens The nominees are: The Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures: American Sniper Producers: Bradley Cooper, p.g.a., Clint Eastwood, p.g.a., Andrew Lazar, p.g.a., Robert Lorenz, p.g.a., Peter Morgan, p.g.a. Top Chef Producers: Doneen Arquines, Daniel Cutforth, Casey Kriley, Jane Lipsitz, Hillary Olsen, Erica Ross, Tara Siener, Shealan Spencer The Voice Producers: Stijn Bakkers, Mark Burnett, John De Mol, Chad Hines, Lee Metzger, Audrey Morrissey, Jim Roush, Kyra Thompson, Mike Yurchuk, Amanda Zucker The Award for Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment & Talk Television: The Green Prince Producers: John Battsek, Simon Chinn, Nadav Schirman Merchants of Doubt Producers: Robert Kenner, Melissa Robledo Particle Fever Producers: David E. Kaplan, Mark A. Levinson, Andrea Miller, Carla Solomon Speech,вЂќвЂњThe Hurt Locker,вЂќвЂњSlumdog MillionaireвЂќ and вЂњNo Country for Old Men.вЂќ The PGA winner last diverged from the Oscar best picture in 2006, when вЂњLittle Miss SunshineвЂќ won the Zanuck while the Academy opted for вЂњThe Departed.вЂќ The producers branch of AMPAS constitutes about 8% of the AMPAS membership. When the Academy expanded the best-picture Oscar category to 10 nominations, the PGA followed suit with an expansion of the Zanuck nominations to 10. The PGA also announced вЂњBig Hero 6,вЂќвЂњThe Book of Life,вЂќвЂњThe Boxtrolls,вЂќвЂњHow to Train Your Dragon 2вЂќ and вЂњThe Lego MovieвЂќ as nominees for the animated award. вЂњFrozenвЂќ won the trophy last year. MondayвЂ™s announcement included the nominees in the longform television category, which encompasses both movies of the week and miniseries, with noms going to two FX seriesвЂќAmerican Horror Story: Freak ShowвЂќ and вЂњFargoвЂќ-along with PBS pair вЂњThe Roosevelts: An Intimate HistoryвЂќ and вЂњSherlock.вЂќ HBOвЂ™s вЂњThe Normal HeartвЂќ scored the other nomination. The individual producers have yet to be determined on вЂњThe Roosevelts.вЂќ The PGA had previously announced nominations in the feature documentary, and digital and other TV categories. Orange Is the New Black Producers: Mark A. Burley, Sara Hess, Jenji Kohan, Gary Lennon, Neri Tannenbaum, Michael Trim, Lisa I. Vinnecour The television nominees are: The David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television: The Long-Form Television category encompasses both movies of the week and miniseries. American Horror Story: Freak Show Producers: Brad Buecker, Dante Di Loreto, Brad Falchuk, Joseph Incaprera, Alexis Martin Woodall, Tim Minear, Ryan Murphy, Jennifer Salt, James Wong Fargo Producers: Adam Bernstein, John Cameron, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Michael Frislev, Noah Producers: Andy Billman, John Dahl, Erin Leyden, Connor Schell, Bill Simmons American Masters Producers: Susan Lacy, Julie Sacks, Junko Tsunashima Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown Producers: Anthony Bourdain, Christopher Collins, Lydia Tenaglia, Sandra Zweig Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey Producers: Brannon Braga, Mitchell Cannold, Jason Clark, Ann Druyan, Livia Hanich, Steve Holtzman, Seth MacFarlane Shark Tank Producers: Becky Blitz, Mark Burnett, Bill Gaudsmith, Phil Gurin, Yun Lingner, Clay Newbill, Jim Roush, Laura Roush, Max Swedlow The Award for Outstanding Producer of Competition Television: The Amazing Race Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer, Elise Doganieri, Jonathan Littman, Bertram van Munster, Mark Vertullo Dancing With the Stars Producers: Ashley Edens Shaffer, Conrad Green, Joe Sungkur Project Runway Producers: Jane Cha Cutler, Desiree Gruber, Tim Gunn, Heidi Klum, Jonathan Murray, Sara Rea, Teri Weideman The following programs were previously announced in late 2014. They were not vetted for producer eligibility this year, but winners in these categories will be announced at the official ceremony on Jan 24.вЂ”Reuters WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 lifestyle M u s i c & M o v i e s Bradley Cooper on вЂ�American Sniper,вЂ™ packing on 40 pounds and turning 40 E ven if вЂњAmerican SniperвЂќ missed out on Golden Globe nominations, it still emerged as one of the big winners of the holiday season. Clint EastwoodвЂ™s drama about Navy SEAL Chris Kyle has grossed a stellar $2.2 million since it opened in only four theaters on Christmas, and the Warner Bros release expands on Jan 16. The Oscar lead actor race is especially overcrowded this year, but as ballots are due on Thursday, voters should take a look-if they havenвЂ™t already-at Bradley CooperвЂ™s careerbest performance. ItвЂ™s a transformation that had KyleвЂ™s widow, Taya, in tears the first time she saw the film, and sheвЂ™s been talking about how Cooper captured her husbandвЂ™s essence. In the last few weeks, many actors, including Ben Affleck, Jane Fonda, Julia Roberts and Jonah Hill, have also been singing CooperвЂ™s praises. To play Kyle, Cooper spent six months working out 4.5 hours a day, but the role went beyond the physical. He practiced a Texas drawl with a dialect coach, learned how to shoot three military sniper rifles and spent time with KyleвЂ™s family and friends, who gave him access to his emails and home videos. Cooper, who turns 40 on Monday, had a strong 2014. He picked up a second consecutive Oscar nomination for вЂњAmerican Hustle,вЂќ performed the voice of Rocket Raccoon in вЂњThe Guardians of the GalaxyвЂќ and is now on Broadway in вЂњThe Elephant Man.вЂќ He spoke to Variety over the weekend. Q: вЂњAmerican SniperвЂќ is doing really well in only four theaters. Are you surprised by the filmвЂ™s success? Bradley Cooper: IвЂ™m always surprised when things do well, because you can never bank on that. We were just hoping that awareness was going to be enough for people to see it on Christmas. It was such a competitive market that day-with вЂњInto the Woods,вЂќ вЂњUnbrokenвЂќ and вЂњThe Hobbit.вЂќ We were happy that people came out in droves for вЂњAmerican Sniper.вЂќ And then the A-plus Cinemascore. I didnвЂ™t even know they had that. Q: Actors have been reaching out to you. Cooper: IвЂ™ve got to say thatвЂ™s been the most amazing thing. I just heard from Ed Helms and Jonah Hill. I donвЂ™t know Ashton Kutcher that well, but he made the effort to contact me to say how he felt about the work and the movie. IвЂ™ve never experienced anything like that. It really does make me feel like weвЂ™re a community and weвЂ™re all invested in each otherвЂ™s work. Q: You recently screened вЂњAmerican SniperвЂќ at Fort Hamilton military base. What was that like? Cooper: We showed it to veterans. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to take вЂњSilver Linings PlaybookвЂќ to Walter Reed (National Military Medical Center). Without us even realizing it, Pat Solatano was a character that many young males and women could relate to coming back from war. It was a really impactful film at Walter Reed. That was probably the best experience IвЂ™d ever had showing that movie. And so, when we were making вЂњSniper,вЂќ I thought if I could make a movie that people could relate to in this field, I imagined showing it at Walter Reed, which weвЂ™re going to do on Jan 13. We are also going to take it to San Antonio, a hospital there, with ChrisвЂ™ father and brother. ThatвЂ™s when you really get to experience storytelling and the impact that it could have. Q: There have been a handful of movies about the Iraq War, including вЂњThe Hurt Locker.вЂќ Why did you sign on to produce ChrisвЂ™ story? Cooper: I love the character study. Growing up, вЂњUnforgivenвЂќ was one of my favorite films, dealing with the psychology of that character. Jason Hall came with me with this story. I saw it right away as a war movie but told as a Western. But everything changed when Chris died and Steven Spielberg came in and said, вЂњWe need to make this movie now.вЂќ ThatвЂ™s when I fell in love with the guy. It was an incredible experience-the investigative process of trying to get inside a human beingвЂ™s mind and emotions. Midnight Meat Train,вЂќ with Ryuhei Kitamura, and was very collaborative in the editing room with him. Todd Phillips was like that too with вЂњThe Hangover.вЂќ By the time we got to вЂњLimitless,вЂќ Ryan Kavanaugh at Relativity encouraged me to be part of it in the post-production process, and I became an executive producer. If a director is open to me helping him or her tell the story, IвЂ™ll be there as much as they want. IвЂ™m lucky that David O. Russell enveloped me with both arms and made me his partner. And Clint was the same way. Q: Did you and Clint Eastwood talk about framing it as a Western? Cooper: Oh yeah. I constantly talked about вЂњUnforgiven.вЂќ When Chris says to his son, вЂњItвЂ™s a heck of a thing to stop a beating heart,вЂќ it was really right out of вЂњUnforgiven,вЂќ when Will Munny says, вЂњItвЂ™s a hell of a thing, killing a man.вЂќ At the end of вЂњUnforgiven,вЂќ when he goes down to get his friend Ned, thereвЂ™s this storm outside. In terms of ChrisвЂ™ last tour, we did this desert storm. HeвЂ™s almost Will Munny 20 years prior to вЂњUnforgiven.вЂќ Q: How much time do you spend in the gym preparing for the role? Cooper: In the actual gym? Probably 4 hours a day. Q: Was it similar to your workout for вЂњThe A-TeamвЂќ? Cooper: That was totally different. That was cardiovascular and high reps for bodybuilding. This was weightlifting. There was no cardio. There was no toning of muscles. It was just get strong. Q: And when you see yourself onscreen? Cooper : My main thing, after each take, the only thing I would ask anybody, вЂњHey man, am I too big?вЂќ When I watched the first cut of the film, I was so monstrous, I thought any more pounds, it would have been farcical. Q: Did you feel like you got it right as you were shooting? Cooper: I knew it was working. I felt him. I felt like I had successfully entered the world of his, so I would be able to tell the story. If you do all the research, you let yourself be open. I had hours and hours of home videos, and all of their email exchanges, and even his workout playlist. I basically had a dossier on this manвЂ™s life. And I had his children, his parents, his wife and the people who knew him. It was a huge amount of information to be digested. Once that all happened, and then I got to the size, and I felt comfortable in his voice, or my voice as him, and I got comfortable with the three sniper rifles that he used, then it was like, вЂњOK, letвЂ™s tell the story.вЂќ Q: What did you learn from the emails? Cooper: Just how fiery their relationship was-how much love there was, how much lust there was. And how much their relationship is relatable. How I could relate to it, and I think anybody who could read them could relate to it. It just humanized him in a huge way. Q: Your first producing credit was on 2011вЂ™s вЂњLimitless.вЂќ Why did you decide to go down that path? Cooper: I started way before. It was when I was doing вЂњAlias.вЂќ I used to get everybodyвЂ™s dailies. They were video cassettes. I would get back to my little apartment that I was renting, a bottom floor of this womanвЂ™s house in West Hollywood, and I would watch them all day long, and then I would go into the editing room. I would only work three days a week, and I was from the East Coast, and I was going to shoot myself living in LA I was just so fascinated by the process of making this show. I did that for a year, basically. It was like going to school. Then I went to вЂњThe Q: How did your career change after your first Oscar nomination for вЂњSilver Linings PlaybookвЂќ? Cooper: You could probably tell me more than I could. I canвЂ™t tell you how many times people came up to me after вЂњSniper,вЂќ and said, вЂњHey man, I didnвЂ™t know you could act.вЂќ I canвЂ™t concern myself with that, or IвЂ™ll go crazy. Bradley Cooper Q: YouвЂ™re now starring in вЂњElephant ManвЂќ on Broadway. How do you feel about your career as youвЂ™re about to turn 40? Cooper: IвЂ™m the most fulfilled IвЂ™ve ever been artistically. Nathan Lane has got it all figured it out. This lifestyle of doing it, being able to show up and tell a story to 740 strangers every day and sometimes twice a day, and you have the rest of your day free. ItвЂ™s ideal, and in New York, itвЂ™s absolute heaven. Q: Will you do another Broadway play? Cooper: I have to finish this one first. And then I think weвЂ™re going to take it to London for three months this summer. IвЂ™ll spend half the year doing theater. Q: Are you going to do a вЂњGuardians of the GalaxyвЂќ sequel? Cooper: Hell yeah, if theyвЂ™ll have me. вЂ” Reuters Scarlett Johansson signs on to star in DreamWorksвЂ™ вЂ�Ghost in the ShellвЂ™ F Channing Tatum ollowing the success of вЂњLucy,вЂќ Scarlett Johansson looks ready to take on another action pic, this one coming from the world of Japanese anime. Johansson is set to star in DreamWorksвЂ™ adaptation of the popular anime pic вЂњGhost in the Shell.вЂќ Deadline Hollywood had reported that the actress had the offer to star but at the time she was still undecided about taking the role. Sources now say she has agreed to star in the pic. The story follows the exploits of a member of a covert ops unit of the Japanese National Public Safety Commission that specializes in fighting technology-related crime. Rupert Sanders is on board to direct. Avi Arad and Steven Paul are producing the film from a script by Bill Wheeler. Mark Sourian is exec producing. Insiders also tell Variety that Paramount has the option to come on as coproducer and financier and that decision is expected in the coming weeks. Channing TatumвЂ™s X-Men spinoff to hit theaters in 2016 T wentieth Century Fox has set Channing TatumвЂ™s XMen spinoff вЂњGambitвЂќ for Oct 7, 2016. The Gambit character, who debuted in 1990, is an expert cardthrower and has the power to manipulate kinetic energy. вЂњGambit,вЂќ written by Joshua Zetumer, will be FoxвЂ™s eighth XMen movie. вЂњX-Men: ApocalypseвЂќ debuts on May 27, 2016. вЂњGambitвЂќ will face off against Warner BrosвЂ™ вЂњLive by NightвЂќ and UniversalвЂ™s вЂњMonster High.вЂќ Fox also announced Monday that it had set or shifted dates for six other films-most notably, moving its next вЂњPlanet of the ApesвЂќ movie back a year to July 14, 2017. The studio had originally planned to open its ninth вЂњPlanet of the ApesвЂќ on July 29, 2016. Instead, Fox has taken the вЂњFantastic FourвЂќ sequel off July 14, 2017, and moved it forward six weeks to June 2, 2017. Fox successfully rebooted the вЂњApesвЂќ franchise in 2011 with вЂњRise of the Planet of the Apes,вЂќ which grossed $482 million worldwide. This yearвЂ™s вЂњDawn of the Planet of the ApesвЂќ was even more successful with over $700 million. FoxвЂ™s reboot of вЂњFantastic Four,вЂќ directed by Josh Trank and starring Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Bell, will open on Aug 7. вЂњMike and Dave Need Wedding Dates,вЂќ a comedy to be directed by Jake Szymanski, has been set for July 29, 2016. The script by Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan OвЂ™Brien focuses on two brothers posting an online ad for wedding dates. The studio dated two films for next yearвЂ™s holiday season-vidgame adaptation вЂњAssassinвЂ™s Creed,вЂќ starring Michael Fassbender with Justin Kurzel directing, has been dated for Dec 21, 2016; and P.T. Barnum biopic вЂњ The Greatest Showman on Earth,вЂќ starring Hugh Jackman, will open Dec 25, 2016. Romance movie вЂњThe Mountain Between Us,вЂќ starring Charlie Hunnam and Rosamund Pike, has been set just before Valentines Day on Feb 10, 2017. вЂ” Reuters DreamWorks principal Steven Spielberg is a huge fan of the original and has long wanted to get this film off the ground. A commitment from a star like Johansson should help in getting the pic greenlit for production. Besides Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Lawrence, Johansson is becoming one of the few actresses in town with the clout to get a project greenlit on her name alone. вЂњLucyвЂќ made $394 million worldwide and Johansson can be seen next in вЂњAvengers: Age of Ultron,вЂќ bowing in May. Johansson has also done a nice job of balancing actionheavy tentpoles with serious dramas and comedies. She received rave reviews for Spike JonzeвЂ™s вЂњHer вЂќ and is a part of the ensemble of the Coen brothersвЂ™ next pic вЂњHail, Caesar!вЂќ She is repped by CAA and LBI Entertainment. вЂ” Reuters Scarlett Johansson вЂ�The HobbitвЂ™ holds on at top at N American box office F antasy epic вЂњThe HobbitвЂќ enjoyed a third week atop the North American box office while controversial North Korea comedy вЂњThe InterviewвЂќ earned another $1 million in its limited release, figures showed Monday. вЂњThe Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,вЂќ by Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson, is the last of six films adapted from J.R.R TolkienвЂ™s books and the third and final installment based on the authorвЂ™s novel вЂњThe Hobbit.вЂќ It took in $21.7 million over the weekend, for a total of $220.6 million since its release three weeks ago, according to box office tracker Exhibitor Relations. In second place for a second week was DisneyвЂ™s вЂњInto the WoodsвЂќ, the star-studded big-screen adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical. The film took $18.7 million in its second weekend. Third place was occupied by вЂњUnbroken,вЂќ the Angelina Jolie-directed drama about Louis Zamperini, an Olympic athlete taken captive by the Japanese during World War II. The movie took $18.2 million. A newcomer, вЂњThe Woman in Black 2вЂќ opened in the number four spot. The horror flick starring Helen McCrory and Jeremy Irvine earned $15 million in its debut weekend. Following close behind was вЂњNight at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb,вЂќ the third movie in the Ben Stiller franchise about a museum security guard trying to keep track of exhibits that come to life. Popular series The family comedy earned $14.5 million in its third week in theaters. вЂњAnnie,вЂќ about the adventures of an orphan girl starring Quvenzhane Wallis in the title role and Jamie Foxx as the tycoon who takes her under his wing, brought in $11.3 million, good enough for sixth place. вЂњThe Imitation Game,вЂќ about a code-cracking mathematician and logician during World War II, rose to seventh with $7.8 million, beating out вЂњHunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1,вЂќ which slipped into eighth place. The sequel, one in the hugely popular series starring Jennifer Lawrence, earned $7.6 million this weekend, bringing its total seven week take to a whopping $323.7 million. Rounding out the top 10 were вЂњThe Gambler,вЂќ starring Mark Wahlberg, which earned $6.3 million, and Disney animated hit вЂњBig Hero 6,вЂќ with $4.8 million. Meanwhile, вЂњThe Interview,вЂќ playing in 581 independent movie houses, after threats from hackers who claimed a cyberattack of Sony Studios, which the White House said was orchestrated by Pyongyang, added $1 million to its two-week theatrical take. The film has also earned millions in online rentals and sales, making it what Sony said was the studioвЂ™s вЂњ#1 online film of all timeвЂќ. вЂ” AFP WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 lifestyle M u s i c Cameron Diaz and rocker Benji Madden H ollywood star Cameron Diaz and rocker Benji Madden got married in their Los Angeles home on Monday, People magazine reported. Diaz, 42, and Madden, 35, had been dating since May and got engaged shortly before Christmas, People reported. вЂњWe couldnвЂ™t be happier to begin our new journey together surrounded by our closest family and friends,вЂќ the couple told the magazine. Diaz, a Golden Globe-nominated actress, most recently starred in the film вЂњAnnie,вЂќ a reworking of the Tony-winning 1977 Broadway musical of the same name. Madden is best known for performing in the rock bands Good Charlotte and The Madden Brothers with & M o v i e s marry his twin brother Joel Madden. A representative for the couple told People that the two were married at вЂњan intimate ceremony at their home in Los Angeles.вЂќ Representatives for Diaz and Madden could not immediately be reached for comment. вЂ” Reuters Cameron Diaz and rocker Benji Madden STING UNABLE TO SAVE HIS MUSICAL вЂ�THE LAST SHIPвЂ™ ON BROADWAY S ting is going down with his ship. Producers said early yesterday that the Grammy Award-winning singersongwriterвЂ™s Broadway musical вЂњThe Last ShipвЂќ will close when he leaves the show Jan 24. Sting, who wrote the songs, jumped into the show in December, playing a shipyard foreman, played by Jimmy Nail. While that improved sales, they didnвЂ™t skyrocket. вЂњThe Last ShipвЂќ is a semiautobiographical story about a prodigal son who returns to his northern England shipbuilding town to reclaim the girl he abandoned when he fled years before. He finds the workers are now unemployed and entertaining the idea of building one last boat to show off their skill and pride. The show has struggled at the box office, attributable in part to its challenging topic and mixed reviews. It earned well during the Christmas and New Year holidays, but all shows enjoyed bumps. A long February loomed without tourists to swell the ranks in the audience or Sting to draw New Yorkers. Sting, born Gordon Sumner, drew on his childhood, growing up in Newcastle. He was last onstage on Broadway in 1989вЂ™s revival of вЂњThe Threepenny Opera.вЂќ On the eve of joining the cast onstage, the singer acknowledged his show faced tough odds: вЂњThis was never going to be easy. I didnвЂ™t anticipate a shoo-in at all. I expected a battle because I want to succeed against the odds.вЂќ For вЂњThe Last Ship,вЂќ Pulitzer Prize and Tony-winning lyricist Brian Yorkey (вЂњNext to NormalвЂќ) and Tony-winner John Logan (вЂњRedвЂќ) wrote the book, and Tony-winner Joe Mantello (вЂњWickedвЂќ) directed. Other rock stars have joined shows they helped create, including Green DayвЂ™s frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, who made several onstage visits to his show вЂњAmerican Idiot.вЂќ But others - including Bono and The Edge from U2 and Trey Anastasio from Phish - chose to stay offstage even after their shows sprung a leak. вЂ” AP In this file photos, Sting appears at the curtain call following his debut performance in BroadwayвЂ™s вЂњThe Last Ship,вЂќ in New York. вЂ” AP photos Sony chief thanks supporters after вЂ�viciousвЂ™ cyber attack S ony chief Kazuo Hirai called the devastating hack on the company вЂњvicious and malicious,вЂќ in his first public comments about the attack that derailed the launch of controversial comedy вЂњThe Interview.вЂќ Speaking Monday at a press event on the eve of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Hirai thanked supporters who stood by the company in the face of the massive cyber assault, including employees and movie-goers who saw the film when it finally hit theaters. вЂњFreedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of association-those are important lifelines of Sony and our entertainment business,вЂќ Hirai said. His comments were his first public statements about the attack on the Japanese companyвЂ™s film and television unit. вЂњWe are proud of partners who stood up against extortionist efforts by criminals who attacked Sony,вЂќ Hirai said. Sony employees, he added, вЂњwere victims of one of the most vicious and malicious cyber attacks we have known, certainly in recent history.вЂќ вЂњThe InterviewвЂќ is now showing at 580 independent theaters in the US, in addition to online platforms, according to Hirai. вЂњI want to thank all the partners who made this possible, media who supported the launch, and those who have gone out to see the movie,вЂќ Hirai said. вЂњThank you for being part of that great event,вЂќ he added, before ending with a quip referring to another Sony Pictures Entertainment film released during the year-end holidays. вЂњAnnie is a great movie as well,вЂќ he said. Movie plot to kill Kim Jong-Un The late-November cyber attack against Sony led to an online leak of employee information, unreleased films and embarrassing in-house emails. The hackers also mounted threats against Sony over the planned Christmas release of вЂњThe Interview,вЂќ which depicts a fictional CIA plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. Threats by hackers issued after the cyberattack on Sony Pictures initially prompted the movie giant to cancel the filmвЂ™s Christmas Day release, after many large US theater chains got cold feet. The comedy, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, eventually opened on December 25 in more than 300 independent movie houses that offered to show the film after Sony came under fire for pulling it. US investigators have said North Korea, which has repeatedly denied involvement, was behind the attack, but some experts have raised doubts about the conclusions of the FBI probe. US President Barack Obama last week authorized a new layer of sanctions on several Pyongyang institutions and officials, in retaliation for the alleged cyber attack on Sony Pictures. North Korea on Sunday lashed out at the fresh sanctions, criticizing Washington for refusing a proposed joint investigation. The impoverished but nuclear-armed state was already heavily sanctioned following a series of nuclear and missile tests staged in violation of UN resolutions. Pyongyang, which repeatedly slammed the movie as an вЂњact of terror,вЂќ praised the hacking attack as a вЂњrighteous deedвЂќ possibly staged by its sympathizers. The isolated country last month suffered several mysterious Internet outages. The Obama administration denied comment on whether it was linked to the blackouts. вЂ” AFP Jewel вЂ�Saved by the BellвЂ™ actor to stand trial in stabbing case D ustin Diamond, the actor who played Screech on the 1990s television series вЂњSaved by the Bell,вЂќ was ordered to stand trial Monday in the stabbing of a man at a Wisconsin bar on Christmas Day. Diamond, 37, is charged with felony reckless endangerment and two misdemeanors stemming from the incident in Port Washington, about 25 miles north of Milwaukee. His defense attorney noted that none of witnesses reported seeing Diamond stab the man, who wasnвЂ™t seriously hurt, but an Ozaukee County judge ruled there was enough evidence for the case to go to trial. DiamondвЂ™s fiancee, Amanda Schutz, told police she shoved a woman who was making rude remarks and antagonizing her and Diamond at The Grand Avenue Saloon, according to a criminal complaint. The women then got into a physical altercation, and two men held Schutz by her hair, Diamond told investigators. During Monday вЂ™s hearing, Port Washington police officer Ryan Hurda testified that a man confronted and shoved Diamond as the actor moved toward the fight. The manвЂ™s brother вЂњintervened when he heard the snap of a knife,вЂќ Hurda said. The officer said the brother never saw Diamond stab anyone, and that there was nothing in the barвЂ™s video surveillance that shows Diamond stabbing the man. вЂњNo, itвЂ™s not distinct, but you see heвЂ™s holding some type of object in his right hand,вЂќ Hurda testified. Defense attorney Thomas Alberti told the judge that of the half-dozen people interviewed at the bar, no one saw Diamond stab the man during their confrontation. Hurda was the only witness at the hearing. Diamond, who remains free on $10,000 bond, was granted permission to temporarily leave Wisconsin, where he lives, for work. Alberti said Diamond was working as a comedian and had shows scheduled outside the state. вЂ” AP working on revealing memoir, to be published this fall M usician and actress Jewel is going back to the books. She has a deal with Penguin Random House imprint Blue Rider Press for a memoir scheduled to come out in the fall. Blue Rider announced the currently untitled book Monday. In 1998, JewelвЂ™s вЂњA Night Without ArmorвЂќ became the rare poetry collection to sell more 1 million copies. Blue Rider says Jewel will reveal a вЂњfar more complicated lifeвЂќ than previously known. She will write about her childhood and career while offering writing advice and insights on being a mother. The singer was born Jewel Kilcher. The 40-year-old star had one of the most successful debuts in history with the 1995 multiplatinum album вЂњPieces of You.вЂќ Her other albums include вЂњSpiritвЂќ and вЂњ This Way.вЂќ She has appeared in movies including вЂњWalk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.вЂќ вЂ” AP Dustin Diamond вЂ�Game of ThronesвЂ™ to hit IMAX theaters H BO and IMAX have struck a deal to make вЂњGame of ThronesвЂќ the first TV series to grace the theatrical distributorsвЂ™ big screens. An exclusive season 5 trailer, as well as the final two episodes of the fourth season, will get an unprecedented run Jan 23-29 at 150 theaters in top markets across the US While the visual spectacle of the HBO hit makes it a natural for the big-screen treatment, вЂњThronesвЂќ will be digitally remastered to fit the IMAX format. Fans will be able to purchase tickets to the special event for an unspecified price on Imax.com in the coming weeks. вЂњThe cinematic brilliance and grand scope of the series is perfect for the IMAX format,вЂќ said Pamela Levine, chief marketing officer at HBO. вЂњWe are always looking to provide fans with new and exciting ways to experience the show and viewing two key episodes, along with the new trailer, on such an impressive platform makes for a great event.вЂќ IMAX has indicated previously its intent to branch out beyond the typical Hollywood fare in search of innovative content distribution opportunities. The company signed a groundbreaking pact late last year with Netflix to get a theatrical day-and-date component of the upcoming вЂњCrouching Tiger, Hidden DragonвЂќ sequel. вЂњIMAX always seeks innovative ways to provide moviegoers a unique and differentiated experience and todayвЂ™s partnership with HBO and вЂ�Game of ThronesвЂ™ achieves just that,вЂќ said IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond. вЂњThis deal also furthers our efforts to offer exhibitors the opportunity to participate in alternative forms of content in a new and exciting way.вЂќ The fifth season of вЂњThronesвЂќ premieres in April.вЂ” Reuters Cameron Diaz and rocker Benji Madden marry WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015 39 Visitors take photographs on an ice sculptures during the 16th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, northeast ChinaвЂ™s Heilongjiang province. вЂ” AFP photos Strong dollar makes world travel cheaper for Americans T rips in Europe or Asia should be cheaper for Americans this year. Thank a stronger dollar. Since the middle of last year, it has been gaining against the euro, the British pound, the Swiss franc, the Russian ruble, the Indian rupee, the Japanese yen and other currencies. That means dollars go further in those countries, reducing the price of everything from a hotel room to drinks. вЂњThis is one of the best times for Americans to travel in years,вЂќ says Matt Kepnes, author of вЂњTravel the World on $50 a DayвЂќ and other travel books. mer, which is peak season. When to book a flight Demand for travel is so strong that most airlines donвЂ™t have to cut prices to sell seats. вЂњThe summer fares are still very expensive,вЂќ says George Hobica, founder of travel website airfarewatchdog.com. But airlines might cut prices this spring if the strong dollar discourages Europeans and Asians from flying to and from the US. Why the dollar is strong Other economies are shaky, making their currencies less valuable. Europe is barely growing. Japan is already officially in recession. ChinaвЂ™s growth has slowed. Meanwhile, the US economy has been chugging along. Many economists expect that steady US growth will compel the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates later this year, making dollar investments more attractive and leading traders to sell other currencies and buy dollars. What it means LetвЂ™s say that in June you had a charming dinner for two in Paris for 75 euros. First, congratulations. Second, it cost $103 then; today it would be $89. Expensive countries may not be cheap, but at least theyвЂ™re more affordable now. In this July 22, 2008 file photo, tourists take pictures in front of the Eiffel tower, in Paris. вЂ”AP photos Best bargains Thanks to the poundвЂ™s decline, England is cheaper than it was six months ago. But the euro has slumped more, making most of continental Europe an even better bargain. Travel writer Kepnes says Greece is attractive right now because hotels and tour operators have been slashing prices to fill rooms. The same thing is happening in Portugal and parts of Spain. вЂњBe the contrarian traveler,вЂќ Kepnes says. вЂњIf you want to go to Europe, consider eastern or central Europe, where prices are generally cheaper,вЂќ he says. He recommends going during the вЂњshoulder seasonвЂќ - late spring or early fall - rather than in sum- Consider all the options Hobica recommends checking foreign airlines. He says Etihad, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines and others sometimes offer better prices to Europe than US carriers do, although they could include a distant stopover. вЂ” AP In this Tuesday, March 22, 2011 file photo, tourists take pictures in front of RomeвЂ™s ancient Colosseum.