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Govt firm on new diesel prices, but open to talks

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NO: 16401
‘Boyhood’ wins
big at Globes;
next stop,
the Oscars
Children return
to Taleban
massacre school
in Pakistan
Qatar ‘ready’
for 2015 men’s
handball world
Govt firm on new diesel
prices, but open to talks
HRW urges Kuwait to drop charges against Mulla
Min 04º
Max 17º
High Tide
04:10 & 17:07
Low Tide
10:35 & 23:38
By B Izzak and Agencies
2-year passport
validity needed
for first iqama
KUWAIT: A security source said that iqama affairs
departments have received instructions not to issue
a residency visa to any person who enters the country for the first time whose passport validity is less
than two years. The source said that this decision
became active Sunday, adding that it applies to all
those who want iqamas, be it the government, private companies, domestic helpers, etc.
The source said there an awareness campaign
will be launched in a few days about enforcing article 15 of the law that links the iqama period with
the validity of the passport, which means the iqama
validity will not exceed passport validity. The source
said the decision aims at sparing expats from having new violations, as no iqama will be granted to
an expat whose passport’s validity is less than one
full year, in order to protect the expat and national
security after discovering forgeries in 7,000 Syrian
passport renewals. The source said those who want
an iqama for two years should have a passport valid
for two years and the same for those who want a
one-year iqama. — Al-Qabas
ZURICH: Real Madrid and Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo smiles after receiving the 2014 FIFA Ballon
d’Or award for player of the year during a ceremony at the Kongresshaus yesterday. — AFP (See Page 20)
KUWAIT: Oil Minister Ali Al-Omair yesterday reiterated
that the government has no intention of reversing a
decision to raise the prices of diesel, kerosene and aviation fuel, but kept the door open for negotiations with
MPs for a compromise. The minister told reporters that
the government’s resolve on prices does not prevent it
from negotiating a proposal by several MPs to suspend
the increase temporarily and start implementing it on
April 1.
The decision to scrap subsidies for the three fuels
was taken in October and implemented at the start of
the new year. A large number of MPs strongly objected
to the implementation after the hike in diesel and
kerosene prices led to an increase in the prices of a
number of products and services. Several MPs even
called on the government to reverse the decision.
Omair’s statements came on the eve of an expected
debate called by a number of MPs to discuss the consequences of raising the prices of diesel and kerosene. The
debate request was filed last week. The minister said the
responsibility of the government is to prevent any corruption or exploitation of these products. A number of
diesel smuggling cases are currently before the public
prosecution, said the minister, adding that besides
smuggling, the issue has an economic aspect.
Omair said that the finance minister amended the
decision to raise the prices of diesel and kerosene from
Continued on Page 13
Debate on free expression rages
Erdogan blasts Netanyahu for ‘daring’ to attend rally
Potential shale
oil, gas reserves
found in Kuwait
TABUK, Saudi Arabia: Saudi men make a snowman in the Aleghan Heights, located some 1,500 km northwest of the Saudi capital Riyadh, on Jan 10, 2015 after a
heavy snow storm hit parts of the Middle East. — AFP
Saudi cleric condemns
anti-Islamic snowmen
Qatar pulls risqué perfume
DUBAI/DOHA: A prominent Saudi cleric
has whipped up controversy by issuing a
religious ruling forbidding the building of
snowmen, described them as antiIslamic. Asked on a religious website if it
was permissible for fathers to build snowmen for their children after a snowstorm
in the country ’s north, Sheikh
Mohammed Saleh Al-Munajjid replied: “It
is not permitted to make a statue out of
snow, even by way of play and fun.”
Quoting from Muslim scholars, Sheikh
Munajjid argued that to build a snowman
was to create an image of a human being,
an action considered sinful. “God has given people space to make whatever they
want which does not have a soul, including trees, ships, fruits, buildings and so
on,” he wrote in his ruling. That provoked
swift responses from Twitter users writing
in Arabic and identifying themselves with
Arab names. “They are afraid for their
faith of everything ... sick minds,” one
Twitter user wrote.
Another posted a photo of a man in
formal Arab garb holding the arm of a
“snow bride” wearing a bra and lipstick.
“The reason for the ban is fear of sedition,”
he wrote. A third said the country was
plagued by two types of people: “A people looking for a fatwa (religious ruling)
Continued on Page 13
‘Muslim’ Birmingham
remark draws mockery
LONDON: A Fox News commentator’s
remark about the British city of
Birmingham being “totally Muslim” was
widely mocked on Twitter yesterday,
while Prime Minister David Cameron
called the expert a “complete idiot”.
Security analyst Steven Emerson said
Sunday that “non-Muslims just simply
don’t go in” to the city, during a discussion
of multiculturalism in Britain after last
week’s Paris attacks. “When I heard this, I
choked on my porridge and I thought it
must be April Fool’s Day. This guy is clearly
a complete idiot,” Cameron told ITV News.
“What he should do is look at Birmingham
and see what a fantastic example it is of
bringing people together of different
faiths, different backgrounds,” he said.
Emerson later apologized, saying it
was a “beautiful city” and announcing that
he would make a donation to
Birmingham Children’s Hospital. The apology itself was soon the butt of jokes despite a makeover, even the city’s supporters struggle to love some of its
remaining 1960s high-rise buildings and
urban motorways.
Continued on Page 13
KUWAIT: An unofficial specialized study has shown
a potential existence of shale oil in Kuwait, as there
are 23 calcareous clay layers expected to be a
source of shale oil and gas, an expert said.
Comparing these layers with the layers of Eagle
Ford shale in the US, a large amount of reserves of
shale gas is expected to be found in Kuwait, said
Head of Al-Sharq Petroleum Consulting Company
Abdul-Samea Behbehani.
Behbehani pointed out that Saudi Arabia is currently developing five experimental wells of shale
gas in the Ghawar field and in other fields near its
border with Jordan. But Behbehani admitted that
the process is facing challenges. Oil shale is an
organic-rich fine-grained sedimentary rock containing kerogen (a solid mixture of organic chemical
compounds) from which liquid hydrocarbons called
shale oil can be produced.
Behbehani said shale oil well production continues up to five years, indicating global production by
2020 is expected to reach 12 trillion cu ft. The cost
of producing a shale oil barrel is between $30-$40,
down from $60-$70 before the current drop in oil
prices, he said. “Some countries have announced
the discovery of large quantities of shale gas. China
tops these countries with 1,115 trillion cu ft, followed by Argentina (808 trillion cu ft), Algeria (707
trillion cu ft) and the US (655 trillion cu ft) as well as
other countries like Canada, Mexico, Australia,
South Africa, Russia and Brazil,” he said.
As for reserves of shale oil, he pointed out that
Russia has announced the discovery of 75 billion
barrels, the US 58 billion barrels, China 32 billion
barrels, Argentina 27 billion barrels and Libya 26 billion barrels. — KUNA
HONG KONG: Blanket news coverage
around the world of the Charlie Hebdo
massacre, culminating in Sunday’s huge
march in Paris, is increasingly laced with
debate among opinion-makers about
the limits of free expression and the right
to offend. The immediate aftermath of
the attack, which saw Islamist gunmen
storm the offices of the satirical French
weekly and leave 12 dead, saw countless
posts on social media in which Twitter
and Facebook users voiced solidarity
with the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie, or “I am
Publications in Russia, China, Malaysia
and elsewhere - countries that have been
criticised for suppressing free speech to
varying degrees - have said the magazine was wrong to publish cartoons lampooning Islam. But others in the West
have voiced their own unease with
unequivocal support for the publication’s
often controversial stances. “The message was clear... that what is at stake is
not merely the right of people to draw
what they wish but that, in the wake of
the murders, what they drew should be
celebrated and disseminated,” Teju Cole
wrote of the victims of last week’s
assault. But, he added in the New Yorker,
“just because one condemns their brutal
murders doesn’t mean one must condone their ideology”.
Continued on Page 13
POITIERS, France: Worshippers remove building material at the mosque in this
city in west-central France following an arson attack yesterday. The fire is
believed to have been started in reprisal to the attack against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Jan 7.— AFP
IS hackers seize US Centcom accounts
WASHINGTON: US Central Command suspended its Twitter page yesteray after a group
declaring sympathy for Islamic State jihadists
hacked its social media accounts and posted
internal documents. In an embarrassing propaganda jab at the American military, a blackand-white banner with the image of a hooded
fighter and the words “CyberCaliphate” and “I
love you ISIS” replaced Central Command’s
standard Twitter banner. “We can confirm that
the US Central Command Twitter and YouTube
accounts were compromised earlier today. We
are taking appropriate measures to address
the matter,” a defense official told AFP.
The CyberCaliphate “is already here, we are
in your PCs, in each military base,” the hackers
wrote on the seized Twitter feed before it was
taken down. The military’s powerful Central
Command, located in Tampa, Florida, oversees
the US-led air war against the group in Iraq
and Syria and other American forces in the
Middle East. The hacking of CENTCOM’s social
media accounts came as President Barack
Obama was delivering a speech on cyber
It was unclear if the hacking represented a
genuine threat to sensitive computer networks, Pentagon officials said. US officials said
they were investigating the effect of the cyber
hack but it appeared no classified documents
were posted by the hackers. The hacked
Twitter feed posted a phone directory of officers, which looked to be slightly out of date, as
well what appeared to be personal photos taken by troops and some power point slides
related to North Korea and China. — AFP
R e p o r t
Maid accuses
sponsor of rape
KUWAIT: A Filipina woman accused her sponsor of raping
her several times in a flat were she was held in Fahaheel. A
security source said a citizen took the Filipina from a labor
office to a Fahaheel flat, and as soon as they arrived he
raped her. The woman managed to escape to Fahaheel
police station and told them what happened. Police are
Drunk duo caught
Police found a citizen and his Iraqi girlfriend drunk
in a car on Wafra road. A police patrol noticed the car
being driven erratically, so they forced the driver to
pull over and found the couple had two liquor bottles
with them. Both were arrested and will be sent to concerned authorities.
Angry driver
A policeman stopped a citizen on Fifth Ring Road for
using a mobile phone while driving. When the policeman
was writing him a ticket, he became very angry and swore
at him. The citizen then took the citation book and tore it
before escaping. The suspect is being sought.
Domestic violence
A citizen told Ahmadi police that she was beaten by
her husband, who became furious when she refused
to take out a bank loan of KD 15,000. Police are investigating.
Drug possession
Andalus police station officer Lt Dhari Al-Enezi noticed a
man in his car in the station’s parking lot. When asked why
he was there, he seemed nervous. When he was searched,
an envelope of shabu was found. The suspect was sent to
narcotics authorities. —Al-Rai
The scene after the fire was put out
Mother, son killed
in camp inferno
MoI won’t intervene to
shut religious centers
By Ben Garcia
KUWAIT: The Ministry of Interior will not
intervene to shut down religious centers
and charitable societies in residential
areas, the ministr y spokesman told
Kuwait Times yesterday. Adel Al-Hashash
said the interior ministry is not aware of
any decision by the ministry of housing
on the matter. “Such an issue may be
related to the municipality,” he added.
The ministry of housing affairs has
allegedly ordered religious and charitable
organizations in residential areas to
vacate or face eviction, according to
repor ts in the local media quoting
Minister of Housing Yasser Abul. “We are
not taking any action in the present time
since the housing ministry has not contacted us yet. But if it wants us to get
involved or needs our help, we are ready,”
Hashash noted.
Some churches and charitable organi-
zations hold their activities in residential
areas for shortage of places of worship.
Bishop Camillo Ballin said the Catholic
Church needs new land to build a new
church. “Our numbers are very large, and
the present premises are not enough to
accommodate us all. If a stampede occurs,
hundreds will die,” he warned. “We only
want to pray,” he told Kuwait Times.
There are other Christian sec ts in
Kuwait including Evangelicals, Anglicans
and Coptic and Orthodox denominations.
Christians are recognized by the state and
are allowed to conduct their religious rituals and obligations, but only at their designated places of worship. The Holy
Family Cathedral in Kuwait City, the
National Evangelical Church, also in
Kuwait City, an Orthodox compound in
Hawally, the Armenian Church in Salmiya
and Anglican and Catholic churches in
Ahmadi are some of the recognized
Christian places of worship in Kuwait.
The Catholic Church in Kuwait.
Energy topics dominate
cabinet meeting
Kuwait government ‘strongly condemns’ Paris attack
KUWAIT: Al-Zour refinery’s biofuel program, the closure of
the Shuaiba refinery, and the strategic alternatives to the
Kuwait Petroleum International (Q8) refinery in Europort
were amongst energy topics dominating the weekly meeting of the cabinet held yesterday.
Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad
Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah said that the meeting,
chaired by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber
Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, was briefed by Minister of Oil
and Minister of State for National Assembly Affairs Dr Ali
Al-Omair on the energy-related topics.
Sheikh Mohammad added that Al-Omair informed the
cabinet about strategies to provide power stations with
low-sulfur fuel and using Shuaiba refinery’s fuel tanks to
store biofuel products.
On the subject of the Zakat House board members,
Sheikh Mohammad said that the cabinet approved
appointment of Shereda Al-Muosherji, Mohammad AlMukhaizeem, Jameel Abdulrazzaq Al-San’e, Mohammad AlHbeshi, and Khawla Al-Hasawi as board members for a
period of three years.
The minister said that the cabinet’s preparation for the
upcoming session of the National Assembly were discussed during the meeting.
World conference
The Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs said that the
cabinet took note of a letter by Japanese Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe inviting His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah
Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to attend the 3rd World
Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction next March in
A letter from British Prime Minister David Cameron to
His Highness the Amir on the British government’s priorities for 2015, and preparations for the Vaccine Alliance
(GAVI) conference in Berlin, Germany, this month were discussed during the cabinet meeting, said Sheikh
The cabinet also welcomed the recent visit by Bahraini
Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa to
Kuwait, affirming the strong brotherly relations linking
Kuwait and Bahrain, said the minister.
Terrorist attack
Meanwhile, Kuwait strongly condemned the “terrorist”
attack that took place in Paris recently killing and wounding several civilians and servicemen. The government of
Kuwait “condemns this despicable criminal act, and reiterates rejection to terrorism regardless of its forms, reasons
and justifications,” Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs
Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Sabah said in a statement
following the cabinet meeting.
He said the religion or Islam and Islamic teachings were
opposing these “criminal acts.” Paris has witnessed violent
actions that claimed lives of 17 people, amongst them 12
in an attack against the Charlie Hebdo newspaper. —KUNA
KUWAIT: His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber
Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah chairs the cabinet meeting yesterday. — KUNA photo
By Hanan Al-Saadoun
KUWAIT: A Filipina woman and her three-year-old Kuwaiti
son were burned to death by a fire in a camp on
Nuwaiseeb road. The fire department received a call shortly after midnight about the blaze, but firemen found the
charred bodies of the woman and her son. The fire also
spread to two parked cars. Investigations are underway to
determine the cause of fire. Fire authorities asked citizens
and expats to follow safety and security procedures in
camps and houses, as temperatures are go down and use
of various heaters increase.
Meysan Partners launches
first Middle East office
Drug possession
Narcotics officers arrested an expatriate with three kilograms of marijuana and nine joints. The arrest was made
following tips about the suspect, who told officers that he
trades in drugs. He was sent to concerned authorities.
Meanwhile, a collision between a motorcycle ridden by a
bedoon and a car driven by a female citizen led to the discovery of narcotic pills with the bedoon while doctors were
treating him. In the meantime, Hawally police arrested a
citizen for using drugs, and found 175 Captagon pills on
him. He was sent to the narcotics department.
Unlicensed firearm
Loud music led to the arrest of a citizen in possession of
an unlicensed firearm and seven rounds. He was sent to
criminal detectives.
Suicide attempt
A young man who had a criminal record was arrested
for attempted suicide at his family’s house in Sulaibiya.
Meanwhile, a 25-year-old Kuwaiti died of a drug overdose.
Man lured to trap
In Andalus, a young man was stabbed in a public park,
after a girl he knows asked him to go there, where he was
met by six men who beat and stabbed him and took his
mobile phone. The victim said he can identify two of the
100 kg rotten
meat destroyed
By Hanan Al-Saadoun
KUWAIT: Mubarakiya Municipality center
launched a wide-ranging campaign that
resulted in destroying 100 kg of meat unfit
for human consumption and issuance of
10 citations for employing workers before
receiving a license from the municipality,
health conditions, general hygiene and
trading in goods harmful to public health.
Director General of Kuwait Municipality
Ahmad Al-Subaih said corruption at the
municipality has dropped significantly,
and used Audit Bureau reports to prove
this. About a forgery case at the financial
affairs department, he said the case is with
the public prosecution, and “we should
wait until a decision is made”, adding that
he has full confidence in Kuwait’s judiciary.
He said talks are ongoing with the
National Assembly in order to amend law
5/2005 which regulates the work of the
municipality, and it will relieve the municipality from a big burden. Subaih warned
traders in spoiled food, saying “we will
continue confronting them with the law
without any forgiveness”. He said the
camp licensing experiment succeeded
very well and encouraged to continue
with it.
KUWAIT: Meysan Partners, a law firm
specializing in Bank Finance and
Restructuring, Capital Markets, Mergers
and Acquisitions, Project Development
and Finance, and Dispute Resolution,
has today announced the launch of its
first office in the Gulf region located in
Kuwait. Established by its Senior
Partners, Abdulaziz A Al-Yaqout and
Bader A El-Jeaan, the practice will be
comprised initially of five lawyers with
the intention to grow to a team of 20
lawyers by the end of 2015 and to open
a network of offices across the region in
the next five years. Meysan aims to differentiate itself as a regional law firm by
offering unrivalled levels of expertise
and client service in the Middle East by a
team of highly experienced Arabic and
English speaking lawyers. With over 35
combined years in the region, the firm’s
partners have significant experience at
international law firms and have advised
clients across a range of industry sectors
on some of the most noteworthy and
complex transactions in the region.
Unrivalled advice
Its client list to date already includes
some of the largest regional blue-chip
companies and family groups, multinational corporations, international financial institutions, sovereign governments
and their agencies, domestic corporations and financial institutions, as well as
high net worth individuals.
Senior Partner Bader El-Jeaan, said,
“Meysan Partners intends to offer an
unrivalled level of advice to our clients
in the Middle East. We have quickly
established a strong and enviable client
list in Kuwait and our plan is to grow the
firm in the next five years so that we
establish a network of offices around the
region to further support our clients. In
our growth strategy, we will however
maintain a ratio of associates to partners
that is significantly below that of other
firms in the region, focusing on matters
that require the experience of our partners, particularly on cross-border
regional transactions and high-stakes
commercial litigation.”
Highest quality
Abdulaziz Al Yaqout, Senior Partner,
added: “We recognized a gap in the market for high-quality, regional legal
advice, led by a senior team with indepth experience advising clients in the
Middle East. Our unswerving focus will
be on providing the highest quality of
advice combined with unrivalled levels
of client service to support our clients in
achieving their respective objectives.”
Abdulaziz Al-Yaqout has extensive
experience of capital markets transactions in Kuwait and across the Middle
East including IPOs and public takeovers, as well as capital markets compliance matters. He has also advised on a
number of capital markets and corporate regulations, including co-authoring
the Kuwait Companies Law.
Bader El-Jeaan was previously Senior
Executive Officer and General Counsel
MENA at The Carlyle Group, one of the
world’s largest private equity firms. He
has extensive experience in mergers and
acquisitions, international joint ventures
and strategic alliances, and project
development and finance transactions,
including advising on the Sulaibiya
Wastewater Project in Kuwait, the first
BOT in the State of Kuwait (Winner of
Project Finance Magazine’s Middle East
Water Deal of the Year for 2002).
The firm’s Kuwait office will be located at the Al Hamra Tower in Kuwait City
and will officially open in January 2015.
KRCS delivers urgent aid to Syrian refugees
The suspect caught with possession of marijuana
BEIRUT/KUWAIT/AMMAN: The Kuwait Red Crescent
Society (KRCS) yesterday launched a campaign to distribute aid on the Syrian refugees in Lebanon, aiming
to alleviate their sufferings amid the severe cold wave
hitting the region. The urgent aid will be extended to
the refugees in the Beqaa, as the freezing weather
conditions aggravated their plight, KRCS head envoy
in Lebanon Musaed Al-Enezi said.
The urgent aid comprises blankets, winter clothes,
heaters and amounts of diesel, Enezi added, noting
that they are keen to deliver aid to as many refugees
as possible. Amid the tragic conditions of the
refugees in Lebanon, Enezi urged Kuwaiti people to
positively respond to a fund-raising campaign for
Syrians launched by the KRCS at home yesterday.
Meanwhile, head of the Lebanese Red Cross for the
nor th region Youssef Boutros, today highlighted
Kuwait’s humanitarian efforts to help Syrian refugees
in the country. In particular, he emphasized the persistent efforts by the KRCS.
L a t e s t s t a t i s t i c s s h o w t h a t Sy r i a n re f u g e e s i n
Lebanon exceeded a million, most of them in the
Beqaa, Ak k ar distric t, Tripoli and other nor thern
regions. KRCS embarked on a campaign to raise funds
and aid for the Syrian refugees in Syria’s neighboring
countries. Donations are received at the Society ’s
headquarters. The campaign will carry on as long as
people interac t with it, KRCS Direc tor for Public
Relations and M edia K halid Al-Zaid said in press
Shabek: social media
training program announced
Deriving the maximum benefit from social media
By Nawara Fattahova
KUWAIT: One hundred young applicants will
have the opportunity to participate in a firstof-its-kind social media training program in
Kuwait. ‘Shabek’ is an initiative by the Social
Media Club (SMC) in cooperation with the
ministry of state for youth affairs and the government manpower restructuring program.
The interested applicants can register
online on the youth ministry ’s website.
“Applicants should be between 20 to 34 years
old, either having their own projects, working
new horizons to education and invent job
opportunities that will positively develop the
community,” Nahid said.
Social initiative
Shabek is also a social initiative. “It’s a firstof-its-kind training, employment and empowering initiative that aims to provide awareness
about social media and strengthen its role in
the community through training the youth on
dealing with social media and online marketing. It should also teach them how to understand the rapid changes in this field and
KUWAIT: (From left) Alia Al-Natsha, Jamal Al-Sanousi, Fawzi Al-Majdali, Sheikha Al-Zain AlSabah, and Hind Al-Nahid pictured at the press conference. —Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat
in the media or students in the field of information. A hundred applicants will be chosen
to attend the program and priority will be given to Kuwaitis,” CEO of SMC Hind Al-Nahid
said during a press conference yesterday.
‘Shabek’ means ‘connected to the Internet’
in Arabic. “ We came up with the name
‘Shabek’ as most young people are always
connected to the Internet and using it. The
program will provide training to the youth
about the benefits of social media and using it
for the rapprochement of various categories
of the community. This program should also
encourage both public and private sectors to
use social media and derive the maximum
benefit from it, open the news field, bring
exploit job opportunities provided by social
media and online marketing. The applicants
will be trained by best experts in the field,” she
Shabek is geared towards young people.
“Acco rdin g to a study by O ffice Team
Agency, 36 percent of companies think that
paper CVs will be replaced with personal
pages on social media, as the number of
users of innovative ways to market themselves online is increasing. Some of them
have used video clips, Facebook pages and
blogs where they say ‘employ me’, in addition to using the SlideShare website. These
promotional tactics may be effective, and
the user may even get popular, which may
bring him job offers,” stressed Nahid.
Benefiting from social media
Sheikha Al-Zain Al-Sabah, Undersecretary
of the Ministry of State for Youth Affairs,
praised the initiative. “Shabek aims to encourage both public and private sectors to use
social media and benefit from it in various
fields. In fact, social media is the most used
thing by young people, and through Shabek
we aim to shift these skills into a job through
marketing the products of companies, for
instance. I’m sure that a large number of
applicants will register for this program,” she
noted. According to Jamal Al-Sanousi, PR
Manager at Kuwait Petroleum Co, rapid international developments and changes in the
job market need new skills and experiences,
“which needs our cooperation to exploit the
various opportunities offered by social media,
online marketing and digital media along
with other modern technologies”.
Building the future
Fawzi Al-Majdali, Secretary General of the
Government Manpower Restructuring
Program, highlighted the importance of the
demographic addressed by Shabek. “Youth
make up a huge percentage of our community and they carry the responsibility of building
the future and developing the community, so
we should support them,” he pointed out.
Alia Al-Natsha, General Manager of the
Jordan Center for Knowledge Building, said
the training program will include many
important subjects. “The program will include
building and directing the account of an institution, updating with what’s new in the modern media and its tools, discussing issues in
new media which the employer can benefit
from, increasing the followers of the employer’s account, publishing text content and multimedia through social media, managing discussions and replying to followers, dealing
with the website during a crisis, measuring
the achieved goals and its revenue on investments, improving and setting new strategies
and others,” she explained.
Shabek consists of three phases to provide
a group of skilled trainees to work professionally in the field of social media and online
marketing. The first phase is the program,
training, raising awareness and study. The second aims to provide field training to the participants, while the third should provide job
opportunities for the participants.
KUWAIT: Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and Minister of State for Planning
and Development Hind Al-Subaih (center) speaks at the seminar. — KUNA photo
Oil prices fall won’t impact
development plans: minister
KUWAIT: Financing of the projects of the
next national development plan will not be
affected by falls of oil prices, Minister of
Social Affairs and Labor and Minister of
State for Planning and Development Hind
Al-Subaih said.
Half the financing of these projects will
come from the local private sector, through
partnership between it and the public sector, Al-Subaih told reporters on the sidelines of a development seminar that kicked
off yesterday. The seminar was held under
“Impact of oil prices falls on reality and
future development in Kuwait.”
She said that enforcement of the privatization law is likely to boost participation of
the private sector in economic activities,
noting that its executive regulation is not
being looked into by the relevant legal
committee. According to the Minister, the
first annual plan of the mid-term 20152016/2019/2020 will be submitted to the
National Assembly today after being
approved by the cabinet and the Supreme
Council for Planning and Development last
Major projects
It is also the first plan to be referred to
the parliament before the 2015-2016 draft
budget, and it includes major projects such
as the underground, completion of the
Kuwait University, Jaber Hospital and environmental fuel, she noted.
On yesterday’s dialogue, Subaih said
participants will exchange views on what
steps the government has to take.
Recommendations will be submitted to the
relevant authorities. Such seminars are to
continue all through the year, the minister
pointed out.
Addressing the gathering, Advisor at the
Amiri Diwan, Youssef Al-Ibrahim, a former
Minister of Planning and Financing, ruled
out any political dimension or a conspiracy
behind the decline of oil prices. He added
that the repercussions of the 2008 global
financial mayhem still throw negative shadows on oil prices. Ibrahim said the low price
rates will take toll on producer countries
that could be forced to resort to their
reserves accumulated over past years to
finance public projects and bridge any
potential budget deficit.
According to the Amiri Diwan Advisor,
countries of the region have so far lost USD
1.3 billion owing to the falling oil prices. He
also noted that the state budget is the subject to huge pressure due to the decline in
revenues. — KUNA
The students inside the hospital.
KFAED-financed hospital treats
1.5 million patients in China
Madiha Bouftain announced as Gulf
Bank’s Al Danah Millionaire winner
KUWAIT: Gulf Bank announced Madiha
Abdulla Bouftain as the 2014 Al Danah
Millionaire at the climax of an evening of festivity, marked with excitement and anticipation. Hassan Ammar Jabr Ejeil and Bader
Abdulaziz Al-Mutawa were the respective KD
250,000 and KD 50,000 Al Danah winners. The
announcement of the winners was made at
the Grand Avenue - The Avenues Mall on
Thursday, 8th January 2015 in the presence of
the Ministry of Commerce.
Two additional raffle draws were held
throughout the evening in which the winners
were announced live on stage by Hadeel Al
Fadhli, Senior Manager at Gulf Bank. The first
raffle draw included all those who submitted
their details on an Al Danah Online-Sign up; 5
winners were selected and each received a
KD200 Al Danah voucher. The second raffle
draw selected 8 winners from all those who
submitted their details on Al Danah vouchers
distributed at the Al Danah booth from 4 PM 6 PM at the Grand Avenue that same evening;
they each were then awarded with KD500 Al
Danah vouchers.
The Al Danah Millionaire Draw celebration,
which was hosted by Hadeel Al Fadhli and
the guest of honor the renowned actor,
Mohammed Al Mansour, began with the
largest ever ‘flash mob’ performance to take
place in Kuwait, which featured the Kuwaiti
band ‘Miami’, and centered around the theme
of Kuwait’s heritage and history, a video of the
performance can be viewed on Gulf Bank’s
Youtube channel; The performance surprised
the massive audience in attendance and
kicked off the festivities in an exciting fashion.
Al-Mansour and Al- Fadhli engaged the
crowds raising the excitement ahead of the
most eagerly anticipated draw event of the
year. Gulf Bank’s General Manager of
Consumer Banking, Vikram Issar, Salma AlHajjaj, General Manager- Human Resources
and Meshari Shehab, Assistant General
Manager, Consumer Banking at Gulf Bank
along with the Ministry of Commerce
Representative joined both Al-Fadhli and the
special host Mohammed Al-Mansour on stage
to do the draw for the KD 1 million. The winner was caught totally off-guard when she
was called via a live telephone connection to
tell her the good news to great cheers and
applause from the crowds. An exciting 2015
Al Danah draw line-up was also announced
during the evening. For further information
about the Al Danah account and prize draws,
visit one of Gulf Bank’s 58 branches, call the
Customer Contact Center on 1805805, or go
online at
Hospital contributed in treating 1.5 million
patients since its establishment three years
ago, Wang Wei, director of the KFAEDfinanced facility said yesterday. The Hospital
is located in the city of Yinchuan in the
autonomous and Hui Muslims-populated
region of Ningxia.
The statement came on the sideline of the
visit by Kuwaiti students as part of the annual
trip organized by KFAED (Kuwait Fund for
Arab Economic Development) for Kuwaiti
high school well-achievers with the aim to
familiarize them with the Fund’s activities and
projects in countries of operation in cooperation with the Kuwaiti Ministry of Education.
“The Fund contributed in $34 million (41
percent) in financing the building of the
Hospital,” Wei pointed out He added that
Hospital had a 2,630 bed capacity, with 97
medical departments and 3,000 employees.
On their part, Kuwaiti students showcased
pride in their country’s contributions to
China, noting that the KFAED was always on
the vanguard when it came to aiding people
worldwide. KFAED had been operating in
China since 1982, carrying out 35 projects
worth $900 million in various fields.
Islamic culture
On Sunday, A group of Kuwaiti high
schools students paid a visit to a cultural centre in China’s autonomous Ningxia Hui region,
during a trip organized by Kuwait Fund for
Arab Economic Development. The honor students were taken on a tour throughout the
Institute of Hui Islamic Studies at Ningxia
Academy of Social Sciences, which is distinguished by its Islamic architecture.
The structure, which provides cultural and
academic services to around 480 students,
was built in 1962 and acts as a beacon for the
Muslim Hui ethnic people who predominantly reside in the northwestern region. It provides courses in Arabic language, Islamic
studies, literature and Chinese history, and
the Arab visitors were impressed with the cultural insight the centre offers into the faith of
Islam in China.
Mohammad Dashti told KUNA he was
amazed by the Islamic inscriptions he had
witnessed throughout the building, while
Abdullatif Al-Mahmeed hailed the teaching
method applied at the centre in showcasing
Islam through the Arabic language.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Education official
Mubarak Al-Otaibi applauded the trip as an
opportunity for the youngsters to get a firsthand view of different cultures.
Students visit Hassan II Mosque
Separately, a female delegation paid a visit
to the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, the
largest mosque in the country and the seventh largest in the world, as part of the “Be a
Well-achiever” trip to Morocco, organized by
the KFAED. The students toured surroundings
and inside of the mosque, which was
designed by the French architect Michel
Pinseau. The trip is to concluded on January
17th. Completed in 1993, the mosque stands
on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic,
which can be seen through a gigantic glass
floor with room for 25, 000 worshippers. A
further 80,000 can be accommodated in the
mosque’s adjoining grounds for a total of
105,000 worshippers present at any given
time. Minaret of the mosque is the world’s
tallest at 210 meters. The KFAED-sponsored
trip is held on annual basis and it had been
organized since 2010 with the aim to familiarize distinguished Kuwaiti high schoolers with
the Fund’s activities and projects in countries
of operation. — KUNA
YINCHUAN: The students in a group photo during their visit to Ningxia People’s
Hospital in Yinchuan, Ningxia, China. — KUNA photos
KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
during his meeting with governor of Najaf Adnan Al-Zurfi. — KUNA photos
Chief of the Court of Appeal Judge
Mohammad Jassim Bin Naji Al-Qenae
takes the constitutional oath before
HH the Amir.
Diwaniya owners in a group photo with His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
Amir receives Iraq’s Najaf governor
Diwaniya owners celebrate Sheikh Sabah’s honoring
KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah received at Seif Palace yesterday governor of the
Iraqi city of Najaf Adnan Al-Zurfi. The meeting was attended by
Deputy Amiri Diwan Minister Sheikh Ali Jarrah Al-Sabah and
Jawad Ahmad Bu-Khamseen. Also yesterday, HH the Amir
received at Minister of Justice, Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Yacoub
Al-Sane, and the newly-appointed chief of the Court of Appeal
Judge Mohammad Jassim Bin Naji Al-Qenae who took the con-
stitutional oath before HH the Amir. Meanwhile, HH the Amir
received a number of Diwaniya “gathering hall” owners, who celebrated the UN honoring of Kuwait as a Humanitarian Center
and HH Sheikh Sabah as a Humanitarian Leader. The owners
presented Sheikh Sabah with a gift celebrating his achievement.
HH the Amir thanked the Diwaniya owners for their sincere gesture.HH Sheikh Sabah also received Governor of the Central
Bank of Kuwait Dr Mohammad Al-Hashel. — KUNA
Kuwait considering hosting
third Syrian donors’ summit
FM leads Arab delegation to support Lebanon
KUWAIT: His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad AlSabah received yesterday former UK premier Tony Blair on the occasion of his visit to
Kuwait. The meeting was attended by Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs
Mohammad Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah. — KUNA
KUWAIT: National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem received at his office yesterday head of the Korean-Kuwaiti parliamentary friendship committee and his
accompanying delegation. The two sides discussed many common matters and
means of promoting bilateral ties, especially the parliamentary ones. The meeting
was attended by head of the economic and financial parliamentary committee and
head of the honorary mission MP Faisal Al-Shaya, as well as MPs Mohammad Tanna
and Ahmad Al-Qudhaibi. — KUNA
BEIRUT: A team of staff from Kuwait
Fund for Arab Economic Development
will be visiting Lebanon over the next
two days to arrange support needed to
face the burden of over one million
Syrian refugees, a senior Kuwaiti official
said yesterday.
“Kuwait is giving this matter special
significance and is seriously considering hosting a third donor nations’ conference (for Syrians displaced within
and outside of their country),” First
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign
Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled AlHamad Al-Sabah said at a joint press
conference. Standing alongside Arab
League Secretary General Nabil AlAraby and Lebanese counterpart
Gebran Bassil, he stressed Arab support of the territory and identity of
Lebanon in the face of terrorism.
After leading an Arab ministerial
delegation - due to Kuwait’s current
status as chair of the summit - which
held talks with officials in Beirut, he
said the continuing outpouring of violence from Syria into Lebanon was also
discussed. He expressed optimism this
would be resolved by the Arab and
international communities. For his part,
Araby reiterated that there was Arab
consensus on supporting Lebanon. The
Arab League has set out a “comprehensive strategy” aimed at fighting terrorism, which he said was for Arab nations
to commit to. According to UN estimates, he said around 13 million
Syrians are suffering as a result of the
conflict - nine million of them inside
the country and four million in neighboring countries.
Arab solidarity
Earlier, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said
that the visiting Arab ministerial delegation had conveyed a message of
Arab solidarity with, and support for
Lebanon. “The message of solidarity
BEIRUT: Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam (right) meets Arab League Secretary General Nabil Al-Araby
(left) and Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah yesterday. — AP
and support proceeds from the resolutions of the recent Arab summit in
Kuwait and other Arab ministerial
councils,” he told a news conference
following his meeting with his
Lebanese counterpart.
Such resolutions require followingup for implementation especially ones
bearing on Lebanon’s security and stability as well as support for its military
and security agencies in their fight
against terrorism, extremist groups
and Israeli ambitions, he said. He also
pointed to Arab help in boosting
Lebanon’s economic growth, and easing out burdens on Lebanon due to
hosting Syrian refugees. Sheikh Sabah
Al-Khaled added that the Arab delegation had also discussed with Lebanese
officials how the Arab League’s members can provide more help to steps
taken by Lebanon to address its challenges. Condemning recent “criminal
acts” in Lebanon, he said this Arab
country is facing major challenges and
that’s why it needs help from Arab
countries in line with relevant Arab resolutions. He hoped that Lebanon’s
next president would be able to
attend the forthcoming Arab summit
due in Cairo on March 28. Sheikh
Sabah Al-Khaled noted that the Arab
ministerial team would report to Arab
foreign ministers about the outcomes
of the visit to Lebanon.
Lebanon’s security
The visiting Arab ministerial team
also held talks with Lebanese Prime
Minister Tammam Saeb and Lebanese
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, during
which they mulled what Arab countries
can do to help in maintaining
Lebanon’s security, stability and territorial integrity, fighting terrorism and
boosting its economic growth. They
also exchanged views on key issues
and subjects on both regional and
international arenas. Mauritanian
Minister of Foreign Affairs and
Cooperation Ahmed Ould Teguedi and
Arab League Secretary-General Nabil
Al-Araby, as well as senior officials from
the League, Kuwait and Mauritania
were present in the talks. The visit came
in implementation of an Arab League
Council resolution with the aim of
showing Arab solidarity with the
Lebanese people and government, as
well as to support efforts on the political, economic and security level in
order to maintain security and stability
of all Lebanese territories. — KUNA
Piero Corsini, GM of Khorafi Business Machines:
In the Era of Knowledge, the best is yet to come!
By Piero Corsini
General Manager Khorafi Business Machines
The best Is yet to come.
None can deny the tremendous impact that
the INTERNET has brought to our way of
doing business or to our social relationship
and, in general, to our everyday life!.
And yet we are entering a new era where
we will experience an even deeper transformation that will redefine, again, the way we
IBM calls it: The Cognitive Era, the Era of
Knowledge will be the major resource that
Nations will have in their hands to prosper
and to insure high standard of living to their
citizens. Knowledge will be the strategic
resource similar to what ‘oil’ is today. It will be
the engine of growth and progress, with one
important difference versus ‘oil’: the more
you use it ........the more it gets bigger!
The ‘knowledge workers’ will be the ones
that will take advantage and prosper in this
new Era; and they will chose to live in the
Countries where the use of the major systems, that interfere with everyday life , are
effective. Healthcare, Public Safety, Security,
Transportation, Utilities, Education, Business
Environment and joined-up Government
Services are the major macro-systems that
have to be implemented by the “effective
Let’s now have a look to the major drivers that will make the above scenario happen:
• Internet of Things (IoT). The Internet of
the coming future will connect not only
• The Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Mobility, and Cloud Computing are the main drivers of change
• Accurate disease diagnosis, near to perfect weather forecast, and more efficient crops production are in sight
now, it has just been ‘too complicated!;But
the future of accurate weather forecast is
coming very soon.
increased number of human beings but all
the things that you can think of and that are
part of our everyday life. It’s a scenario in
which objects, animals or people are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to
transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer
interaction. Already in 2015 one ‘trillion ‘ of
things will be connected to Internet and this
number will reach 15 ‘trillion’ in a decade.
From heart monitoring implants to biochip
transponders on farm animals, from automobiles with built-in sensors to field operation
devices that assist fire-fighters in search and
rescue, from smart thermostat systems and
washer/dryers that utilize Wi-Fi for remote
monitoring, from food to, potentially, every
object will be connected to provide relevant
information to gain a deeper knowledge.
And this can happen because everything will be digitized!
• Big Data: Big data is the technology that
allows the analysis and consequent extraction of knowledge out of the overall digitised
world that the IoT will make available. Today,
in the Information Technology, we are mostly
dealing with Data that are structured and
well defined. The Big Data technologies go
well beyond since they are dealing with the
wider spectrum of the unstructured data
such as social media blogs , Object signals
and so on that constitute more than 90% of
the digital information versus today structured data. Thanks to these technologies, we
will be able to analyse and extract knowledge
from an immense number of information that
• Mobility: The major beneficiaries of the
IoT and the Big Data will be each one of us, in
our business and in our, at large, social life.
We will have devices more and more friendly
(and our current mobiles are a clear example
in that directions) through which we will be
able to have correct answers to what we are
looking for wherever we are and in the way
we like.
Piero Corsini
well ahead in time. We can even predict with
was unthinkable only few years ago.
outstanding accuracy what will be the traffic
This will revolutionize the way we live!
There will be breakthroughs in Healthcare on a road during the next hour and suggest
with close to perfect diagnosis and cure. alternatives to drivers. This ‘predictive’ analyThere will be accurate predictions on short- sis should not sound as something magic; it’s
age or abundance of food based on close to based on rock science. I’d like to always take
perfect weather forecasting and related con- the example of the weather forecasting. Since
sequences on the crops so that we can put the origin of the human being, we’ve always
appropriate actions. We will be able to pre- grown up knowing that ‘the weather is
dict food consumption and move to-be-wast- unpredictable’ and we do not get upset when
ed food, on time, where it is needed(today up the weather forecasting news do not get it! In
to 40% of produced food is wasted). There reality the weather is regulated by physical
will be accurate predictions related to demo- laws and what’s will happen in a place at a
graphics dynamics in a Country as well as certain time is very certain and thus preshortage or abundance of skills and ,very dictable if you can get the right knowledge
importantly, take proactive corrective actions out of the right huge relevant data. Up to
• Cloud Computing: Finally the predominant model in which these services will be
delivered will be the Cloud model. It’s a ‘utility’ model that allows to have the requested
services when it’s required and to pay on
actual usage. I’d like to make a comparison
with the electricity. We switch on the light
when we need it; and we expect to have it;
and we pay for what we use. We do not ask
where it is generated and by whom although
we may want to know because we need a
reliable provider that will always satisfy our
variable needs. The Cloud Computing model
is similar. It delivers our required and agreed
upon services ‘on demand’ coping with our
variable needs and different useful devices.
Service providers have to make sure that they
will always satisfy what we need with solid,
always on, and secure systems and services.
In conclusion, if we think we have being
already heavily affected by the Internet, well,
it’s not over;
‘the best is yet to come’!!
In Brief
Barghash’s membership
Rumors denied
Vertical housing
KUWAIT: Members of the majority bloc and former
MP Faisal Al-Mislem denied that Abdullah AlBargash’s membership in the bloc was canceled after
his citizenship was revoked. His statement came
after leading oppositionist and former parliament
speaker Ahmad Al-Saadoun stated that Barghash’s
membership was terminated for legal reasons.
Mislem urged fellow oppositionists to avoid conflicts
“which make corrupt people happy.” — Al-Jarida
KUWAIT: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of
Commerce and Industry, Abdulmohsen Al-Mudej strongly
denied social media reports about losing his mobile phone
during a meeting with Egyptian President Abdelfatah AlSisi and the Egyptian media delegation. “This is a silly and
childish rumor that aims at damaging the Kuwaiti-Egyptian
relations”, Mudej underlined in a call-in with an Egyptian TV
station. He pointing out that he looks forward to attending
the economic forum in Egypt.—Al-Watan
KUWAIT: Housing Minister Yasser Abul disclosed
that the Housing Authority has suspended the vertical housing project for the time being for further
studying. He also stressed that the government
was keen on solving the housing problem, adding
that the housing authority had recently distributed
8,000 new housing units according to the plan,
while more would yet be distributed according to
schedule. — Al-Jarida
o f
t h e
d a y
KUWAIT: Overhead power lines tower over an open area located south of Kuwait. Campers are warned to avoid using similar areas in order to avoid the risk of exposure to high voltage current. The camping season
concludes on March 31, 2015. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat
NUKS USA recognizes Zain’s support
Delegates visit Zain offices in appreciation of recent sponsorship
KUWAIT: The National Union of
Kuwaiti Students in the United
States (NUKS USA) recently recog-
nized Zain’s exceptional support as
a Platinum sponsor of the Union’s
31st annual conference that was
held in San Francisco during
A NUKS USA delegation visited
the company’s main headquarters
in Shuwaikh whereby they met
Zain Group Chairman Assad Ahmad
Al Banwan and Zain Kuwait Chief
Executive Officer Omar Saud Al
Omar and expressed their gratitude
to Zain’s continuous support to the
annual conference, implementing
the important role of the private
sector’s contribution to supporting
the Kuwaiti youth locally and
Reciprocally the Chairman and
Kuwait CEO expressed their admiration of the tremendous efforts
exerted by the union’s members,
resulting in a greatly successful
event that witnessed vast participation from students studying the US.
Zain’s annual participation in
NUKS USA reinforces the company’s
commitment to the youth of
Kuwait and its desire to see them
reach their full potential. This is the
main intention behind the company’s support to NUKS USA for the
past 11 years.
As in previous years, Zain took
the opportunity to recognize and
honor the top 15 Kuwaiti students
studying in the US during a Gala
dinner that the company sponsored as part of the conference,
with the aim of shedding light on
accomplishments of leading students. The company also organized
several activities for students; as
well as sponsoring a sports symposium in which prominent Kuwaiti
sports figures discussed issues relevant to the domestic sporting
scene. Additionally Zain sponsored
several sporting activities held in
conjunction with the event, where
it honored the winning teams of
“Zain Football Tournament”, which
Zain sponsored for the second consecutive year. The tournament was
a way to engage with youth and
share a family-like atmosphere with
the students.
Canada woos
investors at Horeca
KUWAIT: The commercial counselor and agricultural exports to Kuwait grew to $20
senior trade commissioner at the Canadian million last year. Ames noted that
Canadian expor ts to
Embassy to Kuwait Tammy
Kuwait were mainly foodAmes stressed the imporstuff, including dair y
tance of enforcing trade
products, ice cream, potacooperation with Kuwait for
to chips, vegetables,
the best of both peoples.
grains, cereals, wheat,
Ames also stressed that the
lentils and seafood. Ames
Canadian embassy would
pointed that the trade
take part in the Horeca 2015
commissioner ser vice
exhibition in order to boost
center ser ves Kuwaiti
companies seeking speKuwaiti and Canadian comcific Canadian products
panies and pave the way for
and ser vices as well as
further investment, especialfind strategic investment
ly in view of the good reputapartners within Canada.
tion and high quality
Finally, Ames highlighted
Canadian products enjoy.
that Canadian companies
Ames added that cooperTammy Ames
provide high quality prodation between both countries had remarkably grown over the past ucts at competitive prices within the
few years and that the value of Canadian Kuwait market.
kuwait digest
kuwait digest
The need for
Which is more
useful to Islam?
By Sami Al-Nisf
By Dr Shamlan Al-Essa
edia icon Ahmed Al-Shoqairi did well by
responding to those who shed blood and
defame Islam every time a ribald or a
spiteful person makes a mistake, by using Quranic
verses and examples from the Prophet’s (PBUH)
traditions. The Prophet (PBUH) never responded to
people ridiculing Islam by killing them. The funny
thing is that not a single response was made by
iconic Muslim scholars. So if they didn’t know
these verses exist in the Quran and kept silent, this
would be a calamity, and it would be even a
greater one if did know them!
By the beginning of the 1990s, a major secular
state and a mighty nuclear power - the Soviet
Union - fell apart. Our scholars and Muslim youth
could have made use of that incident and launch
campaigns from Grozny, capital of Chechnya, to
promote and spread Islam amongst a secular people who had abandoned all religions for decades.
The largest of Muslim countries like Indonesia and
Nigeria were not conquered by war - they were
opened to Islam by good words and setting good
Instead, our extreme youth went to provoke
Chechnyan people urging them to secede and
launch terrorist attacks in Moscow and Grozny that
alienated Russia and made them hate Islam and
also destroy Chechnya. Nowadays, their youth are
repaying this by contributing in wars destroying
our countries and Russia is standing against revolutions that have been stolen by their extreme
For the other major power, the US, the
American people are known to be generally religious and easily adaptable to conversion. This was
done by creating Christian Zionism, for instance.
Instead of using his exper tise in building an
Islamic tower to match the World Trade Center, and
instead of using planes to move from one state to
another across the US to spread and advocate
Islam amongst a spiritually-thirsty people, an
extremely wealthy Muslim architect known as
Osama bin Laden hijacked civilian aircrafts, blew
buildings and killed thousands of innocent people
in the name of Islam.
Defaming Islam continued by encouraging
Muslim minorities to rebel and demand secession,
which created many problems with other religions,
sects and races. The sad thing is that those who
encouraged and provoked them against their own
home countries from the comfort of their own
‘houses’ are the ones currently shedding ‘crocodile
tears’ for the tragedies they are suffering. If only
they had not provoked them, or wept!
—Translated by Kuwait Times from Al-Anbaa
ocial Affairs and Labor and Planning Minister Hind AlSubaih said the ministry has completed its study to privatize cooperatives. We are used to such optimistic statements, as all previous government plans concentrated on
diversifying sources of national income and working on attracting direct foreign investment and motivating partnership
between the private sector with the foreign investor and work
on transforming the country into an international financial and
commercial center. The plans also concentrate on aspects of
privatization, restructuring, reducing state expenditure and
others. We have repeatedly stressed the government’s steps to
privatize cooperatives as they are full of corruption and wasta,
but our problem in Kuwait is that we talk too much and do very
little in implementing this talk. Since the days of the late Ahmad
Al-Duaij and the planning council, the talk was revolving
around transforming Kuwait into an open commercial and economic center, diversify income sources, reduce dependence on
expat labor and review the population structure. The question
is why all government plans are not fulfilled, and did not see
daylight for more than 60 years? And very few of them are
Kuwait, before working with the government plans, was
number one in everything and we were ahead of the Gulf
countries, and the reason goes back to the efficacy of the private sector and openness of the state before the flow of oil and
the state’s monopoly over wealth and power. Today we are at
the bottom because of the continued dominance of the state
over the economy and its monopolizing of everything, which
means that we have an authority that is beyond absolute, and a
society that is more than inept.
The question is do we have the political and societal will for
change and reform? And is there a possibility to correct the
defects practically, especially after the drop in oil prices?
Everything is possible in the presence of clear and strong political will to carry out the required change.
As long as the government has an absolute belief in the
continuation of the welfare state principle which does not
impose taxes or fees on its citizens. Rather, contrary to the rest
of the world, it pays them in a country of taxless economic prosperity and employs citizens in all state establishments and ministries despite the lack of need for them. This is a political bribe
for citizens to get their loyalty. We have a government that
monopolizes the authority and state resources including public
and private parties in exchange for the government’s commitment to employing citizens and offering them all services.
This, in turn, led to the emergence of a dependent, unable
society that receives all these services as a gift from the state in
exchange for keeping silent towards rights of citizenry and the
importance of the citizens’ effective role in running the country’s affairs. The real problem is in having the government control state resources including oil, while it continues the policy of
squandering and expenditure without the need for imposing
taxes and fees, as ministers affirm everyday that wages and
salaries will not change, and that there is no problem with the
budget deficit as long as the state and members of parliament
believe that we are a rich country and has future generations to
control it as it wishes.
Will our goal to have the required social and economic
reform be fulfilled? — Translated by Kuwait Times from Al-Watan
In my view
Talking about corruption
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf
he most dangerous thing for any regime or
establishment, even commercial ones, is corruption. This does not exist and spread without the
knowledge of the authority or administration as part
of it or participating in it, or by inaction. Misuse of
power through manipulating the funds of state
always leads to the collapse of any regime. Keeping
silent towards bribes and thefts and taking advantage
of posts and stealing the state’s funds, keeping silent
towards the crimes of some seniors and their relatives
and applying the law on the weak all lead to the
Although corruption exists in all countries, it is
more widespread in poor countries and dictatorships,
or rich countries that lack supervisory systems and
deterrent laws. If we look at Kuwait, we will find that it
is nearly the easiest to rule in the entire world, and it
was assumed, as far as logic is concerned, to be the
least corrupt country as the number of mosques and
worship places is very large and does complain of real
poverty nor shortage of supervisory and accountability systems or deterrent laws. So it is very difficult to
imagine a logical reason for all this corruption other
than the link of some seniors interests with it, and it
was not strange to have this semi-official push in the
direction of favoring personal interests over public
ones. Kuwait’s history has seen a large number of corrupt people, but the phenomenon now includes lower-rank officials after at one point being limited to
some seniors. It was notable when the authority
approved the founding law of an authority to fight
corruption, but the issue was not free of mistakes,
because its chairman is the minister of justice, and he
according to the law along with his colleagues and
members of the rest of the authorities are subject to
the supervision of this system. So how can the minister be the chairman of a system that oversees his
behavior? So it is necessary for the authority’s internal
rules to prevent the minister from interfering in its
technical affairs.
The major financial scandal that we wrote about a
few days ago was actually simmering since a few
years in the Cabinet and in the meetings of the social
security’s board of directors. And despite the committees that were formed to consider the accusations,
final reports were in many instances ignored or lost
with every ministerial change or a new finance minister. The large drop in state revenues will automatically
be followed by an increase in the frequency of corruption and bribes to pass illegal transactions, so in turn
the mission of the anti-corruption authority will be
very difficult, if it is even allowed to work and not just
be a powerless authority and if its administration is of
the required level! Because some talk has begun
about some of its leaders and their histories, and their
violations in appointing their relatives without competency tests.
— Translated by Kuwait Times from Al-Qabas
letters to Muna
The West nurtured terrorism, now suffers
By Basel Al-Jasser
here were four terrorist attacks in the
West in just a few days - one in Sydney
and three in Paris. I see this as a start and
that terrorist attacks will expand, get more
complicated, more destructive and include
most Western countries.
The West had, and still nurtures, Islamic radicalism, providing it with excuses, providing its
advocates and thinkers with safe havens,
places to operate and logistic support. The
West supports the Zionist entity at the expense
of international legitimacy, rights and justice,
and thus deprived over a billion Muslims of
their first qibla Jerusalem over 50 years ago,
which helped launch the first radical movement in modern histor y - the Muslim
Brotherhood, that only gained power by
addressing people’s
feelings and aspiration to liberate
Jerusalem. I t was
through this move ment and its godfather Say yed Qutub
that ‘takfeer’ (accusing others of being
infidels), encouraging
people to revolt
against their rulers
and regimes and carr ying out terrorist
and suicide operations began and
labeled as the ‘peak of jihad’.
Though the majorit y of contemporar y
Muslim scholars and their ancestors throughout history incriminated committing suicide,
the excuse suicide bombers have been using is
liberating Jerusalem from the Zionists. Well, to
do this, Muslims will have to be united first, as I
said in a previous article by recalling the heroic
leader Saladin who did not liberate Jerusalem
until he united Muslim countries. There is a way
too much difference between Saladin and
those hypocrites.
The West had and still provides leaders of
the Muslim Brotherhood and radical movements full support, shelter and funds to face
the measures taken against them since Egypt from Nasser, Sadat, Mubarak and the current
president Sisi - as well as Saudi Arabia, Jordan,
Morocco and many other countries who have
been having bad relations with the West
because of the Brotherhood.
The West’s support of radicals started by
toppling the Russia-suppor ted regime in
Afghanistan, which led to forming the Taleban
and Al-Qaeda terrorist organizations. A few
years ago, they supported and executed the
so-called ‘Arab Spring’, which I know was plotted by the Freemasons and executed by the
West with the aim of bringing the Brotherhood
(the allies of all radicals) to power in Muslim
Therefore, Gaddafi was toppled by force,
Libya turned into a battlefield for terrorists,
Syrian borders were opened to all kinds of terrorists after the Syrian regime resisted their
‘Spring’ and this includes IS, Nusra Front, Ansar
Sharia and others. The calamity is that the West
still supports these terrorist organizations in
the East and only incriminates them in its own
countries. It has been proven that the Zionist
entity supports the
Nusra Front and that
Turkey supports IS,
and since they both
are strong allies of
the West, they would
not have done so
unless given a green
How can the West
suppor t terrorist
powers who hardly
form one percent of
the total number of
Muslims worldwide
and mobilize them in
Muslim countries practicing violence, terrorism
and bloodshed against Muslims there and
avoid such actions in their own countries
where many Muslim communities live, and it
would be normal that such terrorist ideas
spread amongst them, especially since many of
their ‘scholars’ live in the West. Therefore, I predict that unless a fully sovereign Palestinian
state is born with Jerusalem as its capital and
unless the West stops supporting terrorists in
Muslim countries, the recent terrorist attacks
will only be an endless chain of ‘black’ terrorism
Muslims have been suffering on a daily basis
because of Western support of terrorists.
Saying so, I would like to highlight that I am
totally against terrorist attacks against innocent civilians, be them in Australia, France or in
Muslim countries. I see them as religiously prohibited (haram) and I do hope the West sees
things the way I do because it is unacceptable
to support terrorists in the East and reject
them in the West. This is just a reminder!
— Translated by Kuwait Times from Al-Anbaa
Though the majority of contemporary Muslim scholars
and their ancestors throughout history incriminated committing suicide, the excuse suicide bombers have been using
is liberating Jerusalem from
the Zionists
Divers retrieve one
AirAsia ‘black box’
Pope urges Muslim leaders to condemn religious-based violence
Page 10
Page 12
PARIS: Police officers and French army soldiers patrol Rue des Rosiers street, in the heart of Paris Jewish quarter, in Paris, yesterday. France on Monday ordered 10,000 troops into the streets to protect sensitive sites after three days
of bloodshed and terror, amid the hunt for accomplices to the attacks that left 17 people and the three gunmen dead.—AP
France steps up security after blood-soaked week
France announced an
unprecedented deployment of thousands of troops and police to bolster
security at “sensitive” sites including
Jewish schools yesterday, the day
after marches that drew nearly four
million people across the country.
“We have decided ... to mobilise
10,000 men to protect sensitive sites
in the whole country from tomorrow
(Tuesday) evening,” Defence Minister
Jean-Yves Le Drian said after an emergency security meeting.
“ This is the first time that our
troops have been mobilised to such
an extent on our own soil,” he added.
Ahead of the meeting, Prime Minister
Manuel Valls said one of the attackers,
Amedy Coulibaly, who gunned down
a policewoman and four Jewish shoppers at a kosher supermarket, likely
received help from others.
“I don’t want to say more, but
investigations are continuing into
these attacks, this barbaric terrorist
acts. We think there are in fact probably accomplices,” Valls told French
“The hunt will go on,” he pledged.
The alert level in the shell-shocked
country remained at its highest possible, as the interior minister
announced the deployment of nearly
5,000 police to guard Jewish schools
and places of worship.
Bernard Cazeneuve said he was
putting in place a “power ful and
durable” system of protection for
France’s Jewish community, the
largest in Europe.
The announcement of the fresh
security measures came after more
than 1.5 million people in Paris
marched Sunday in unity and solidari-
ty for those murdered, in the biggest
rally in modern French history.
In an extraordinary show of unity,
dozens of world leaders, including
from Israel and the Palestinian
Authority, linked arms at the front of
the march that was spearheaded by
victims’ families.
All major newspapers splashed
photos of the sea of humanity on the
French capital’s streets, with banner
headlines reading “A people rise up”,
“Freedom on the march,” and “France
stands up”.
During an emotional and colourful
rally, the crowd brandished banners
saying “I’m French and I’m not scared”.
In tribute to the cartoonists slaughtered at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the crowd also
held aloft signs saying: “Make fun, not
war” and “Ink should flow, not blood”.
As Hollande proclaimed Paris the
“capital of the world”, hundreds of
thousands of people turned out in
other French cities and marches were
held in Berlin, Brussels, Istanbul and
Madrid as well as in US and Canadian
‘New anti-Semitism’
Hollande has warned his grieving
countrymen not to let down their
guard and questions were mounting
as to how the attackers slipped
through the intelligence services’ net.
As well as Coulibaly, brothers Said,
34, and Cherif Kouachi, 32, who carried out the Charlie Hebdo murders,
had a history of extremism and were
known to French intelligence.
Valls has admitted there were “clear
failings” after it emerged that the
Kouachi brothers had been on a US
terror watch list “for years”.
He told French radio on Monday he
wanted to see an “improved” system
of tapping phones which had to perform better.
Said was known to have travelled
to Yemen in 2011, where he received
weapons training from Al-Qaeda in
the Arabian Peninsula, while Cherif
was a known jihadist who was convicted in 2008 for involvement in a
network sending fighters to Iraq.
Coulibaly was a repeat criminal
offender who had been convicted for
extremist Islamist activity.
All three were shot dead by security forces Friday after a three-day reign
of terror that culminated in twin
hostage dramas.
Investigators have been trying to
hunt down Coulibaly’s partner, 26year-old Hayat Boumeddiene, but a
security source in Turkey told AFP she
arrived there on January 2, before the
attacks, and has probably travelled on
to Syria.
Coulibaly’s mother and sisters condemned his actions, saying “we hope
there will not be any confusion
between these odious acts and the
Muslim religion”.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu was Monday to visit the
scene of the hostage drama at the
kosher supermarket in eastern Paris
that gripped the world.
Netanyahu had joined Hollande
at the main synagogue in Paris after
Sunday ’s march to honour the
Jewish victims, and praised the “very
firm position” taken by French leaders against what he called “the new
anti-S emitism and terrorism” in
France. — AFP
WASHINGTON: Education Secretary Arne Duncan speaks about the administration’s priorities for education, yesterday, at Seaton Elementary in Washington. Duncan said that testing US schoolchildren annually in math and
reading is critical for measuring their educational progress, setting the stage for what is likely to be a contentious
Capitol Hill debate on the federal role in education. —AP
p8_Layout 1 1/12/15 9:35 PM Page 1
Iran eclipses US as Iraq’s ally in fight against militants
BAGHDAD: In the eyes of most Iraqis,
their country’s best ally in the war against
the Islamic State group is not the United
States and the coalition air campaign
against the militants. It’s Iran, which is
credited with stopping the extremists’
march on Baghdad.
Shiite, non-Arab Iran has effectively taken charge of Iraq’s defense against the
Sunni radical group, meeting the Iraqi
government’s need for immediate help on
the ground. Two to three Iranian military
aircraft a day land at Baghdad airport,
bringing in weapons and ammunition.
Iran’s most potent military force and best
known general - the Revolutionary Guard’s
elite Quds Force and its commander Gen.
Ghasem Soleimani - are organizing Iraqi
forces and have become the de facto leaders of Iraqi Shiite militias that are the backbone of the fight. Iran carried out airstrikes
to help push militants from an Iraqi
province on its border.
The result is that Tehran’s influence in
Iraq, already high since US forces left at
the end of 2011, has grown to an unprecedented level. Airstrikes by the US-led coali-
tion have helped push back the militants
in parts of the north, including breaking a
siege of a Shiite town. But many Iraqis
believe the Americans mainly want to help
the Kurds. Airstrikes helped Kurdish forces
stop extremists threatening the capital of
the Kurdish autonomous zone, Irbil, in
August. But even that feat is accorded by
many Iraqis to a timely airlift of Iranian
arms to the Kurds.
The meltdown of Iraq’s military in the
face of the extremists’ summer blitz across
much of northern and western Iraq gave
Iran the opportunity to step in. A flood of
Shiite volunteers joined the fight to fill the
void, bolstering the ranks of Shiite militias
already allied with Iran.
Those militias have now been more or
less integrated into Iraq’s official security
apparatus, an Iraqi government official
said, calling this the Islamic State group’s
“biggest gift” to Tehran.
“Iran’s hold on Iraq grows tighter and
faster every day,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not
authorized to discuss the sensitive subject.
Over the past year, Iran sold Iraq nearly
$10 billion worth of weapons and hardware, mostly weapons for urban warfare
like assault rifles, heavy machine-guns and
rocket launchers, he said. The daily stream
of Iranian cargo planes bringing weapons
to Baghdad was confirmed at a news conference by a former Shiite militia leader,
Jamal Jaafar. Better known by his alias Abu
Mahdi al-Mohandis, Jaafar is second in
command of the recently created state
agency in charge of volunteer fighters.
Some Sunnis are clearly worried. Sunni
lawmaker Mohammed al-Karbuly said the
United States must increase its support of
Iraq against the extremists in order to
reduce Iran’s influence. “Iran now dominates Iraq,” he said.
Equally key to Iran’s growing influence
has been a persistent suspicion of
Washington’s intentions, particularly
among Shiite militiamen. Hadi al-Amiri, a
prominent Shiite politician close to Iran
and leader of the powerful Badr militia,
complained in a recent television interview that Iraq was a victim of decades of
“wrong” US policies in the Middle East. He
charged that the precursors of the region’s
Sunni extremists had in the past enjoyed
US patronage.
“We fear that the objective of the USled coalition is to contain Daesh, rather
than exterminate it,” he said, using the
Arabic acronym for the Islamic State
Speaking this week at a memorial service in Iran for a Revolutionary Guard officer
gunned down by an Islamic State sniper,
al-Amiri mused that Iraqi Shiite Prime
Minister Haider al-Abadi’s three -monthold administration would have been a
“government-in-exile” if not for Iran’s swift
help to protect Baghdad, according to
Iran’s Fars news agency.
The praise does not just come from
Shiite politicians. During a trip to Tehran
last week, Iraq’s Sunni defense minister,
Khaled al-Obeidi, said Iran’s help against
the militants is a “strategic necessity” for
US Ambassador to Iraq Stuart Jones
acknowledged to The Associated Press
that Iran plays an important role in fighting the Islamic State group. He made clear
there was no interaction between the US
and Iranian operations.
“Let’s face it, Iran is an important neighbor to Iraq. There has to be cooperation
between Iran and Iraq,” he said in a Dec. 4
interview. “The Iranians are talking to the
Iraqi security forces and we’re talking to
Iraqi security forces . We’re relying on them
to do the de-confliction.”
US Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Iraqi
leaders have kept the US informed about
Iranian activities against IS and that
Washington is watching the relationship
He said if the two countries grow closer
economically or politically, “as long as the
Iraqi government remains committed to
inclusivity of all the various groups inside
the country, then I think Iranian influence
will be positive.”
But Ali Khedery, a top US official in Iraq
from 2003 until 2009, warned that Iranian
influence will be “strategically catastrophic.” “It further consolidates Iran’s grip over
the Levant and Iraq,” said Khedery, who
resigned in protest over US failure to
thwart Iranian influence.—AP
Lebanon raids prison
over links to blasts
BEIRUT: Security forces raided Lebanon’s
notorious Roumieh prison yesterday after
discovering that inmates were linked to a
deadly bomb attack last week, security
services said.
The Internal Security Forces (ISF), in a
statement, said an operation was underway at the prison’s B block, where many
high-profile Islamist prisoners are held.
The block in Roumieh, east of Beirut, is
known as a virtual no-go zone for security
forces, where prisoners have access to laptops, phones and money.
The ISF said some prisoners had rioted,
starting fires to thwart the operation, which
follows a double suicide bomb attack
Saturday in the Jabal Mohsen district of the
northern city of Tripoli.
“ The operation is taking place as
planned,” said the statement, published by
Lebanon’s official National News Agency.
“The situation is under control and there
are no casualties and the plan being implemented complements the overall security
plan for Lebanon,” it added.
“Roumieh prison is part of that plan,
especially after the discovery of ties
between a number of prisoners and the
terrorist blasts in the Jabal Mohsen area.”
The attack in often-tense Tripoli killed
nine people in the neighbourhood which is
inhabited mostly by members of the
Alawite sect to which Syrian President
Bashar al-Assad belongs.
Fighting has regularly broken out
between residents of the neighbourhood,
who largely back Assad’s regime, and militants in neighbouring Bab al-Tebbaneh,
where residents back the Syrian uprising.
The Saturday attack was carried out by
Lebanese Sunnis from another Tripoli district known for supporting the uprising.
It was claimed by Al-Qaeda’s Syrian
branch Al-Nusra Front, which said it was
revenge for two attacks against mosques in
Tripoli in August 2013 that killed at least 45
On Monday, as security forces raided
Roumieh, Al-Nusra issued new threats
against 16 Lebanese security forces it is
holding hostage.
“As a result of the deterioration of security in Lebanon, you will hear about surprises regarding the fate of the prisoners we
have,” the group wrote on one of their
Twitter accounts.
Al-Nusra is believed to be holding 16
Lebanese security forces among 30 who
were kidnapped in the eastern border town
of Arsal during fighting in August.
Another nine personnel are being held
by the Islamic State jihadist group, and one
hostage died of wounds during the fighting in Arsal. Four of those kidnapped have
been executed-two of them by their AlNusra captors-and negotiations for the
release of the remaining hostages have
stalled. — AFP
Israeli premier defied
France to join Paris march
JERUSALEM: France asked Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stay away
from a weekend solidarity march in Paris but
he ignored the request and attended anyway,
Israeli media reported yesterday.
The same message was conveyed to
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in a bid
to avoid the commemoration of the 17 people killed in Islamist attacks in the French capital last week being clouded by the Middle
East conflict, the reports said.
But when Netanyahu rejected the appeals
of the French government, Abbas was swiftly
invited, Channel Two television and Israeli
newspapers reported.
President Francois Hollande had wanted
to “focus on solidarity with France, and to
avoid anything liable to divert attention to
other controversial issues, like Jewish-Muslim
relations or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” the
liberal Haaretz newspaper reported.
There was also concern Netanyahu would
use the event to “make speeches” as he prepares for a March 17 general election, in
which he is seeking a fourth term.
The request to stay away was made by
Hollande’s national security adviser, Jacques
Audibert, to his Israeli counterpart, Yossi
Cohen, and was initially accepted, Haaretz
But on Saturday evening, the rightwing
prime minister’s hardline rivals in the governing coalition, Foreign Minister Avigdor
Lieberman and Economy Minister Naftali
Bennett, announced they would travel to
Paris. “When Netanyahu heard they were
going, he informed the French he would be
attending the march after all.”
Haaretz said that the prime minister’s
actions had infuriated the French president,
who had demonstrated his “anger” at a cere-
mony at Paris’s main synagogue to commemorate four Jews who were among those killed.
“Hollande sat through most of the ceremony, but when Netanyahu’s turn at the
podium arrived, the French president got up
from his seat and made an early exit.”
The mass circulation Yediot Aharonot
newspaper also reported the apparent snub
to the Israeli premier. “Before Netanyahu
began his speech, President Hollande left
with his entourage... The impressive delegation of leaders from the Muslim community
who attended the ceremony also chose to
leave. They all, apparently, had prior commitments.”
Netanyahu’s conduct was widely criticised
by Israeli commentators.
“It was embarrassing, not to say disgraceful, to see Israel’s prime minister yesterday
trying to push his way onto a bus that he was
not supposed to board, making his way
determinedly from the second row (where he
was placed) to the row of leaders walking in
front (which he took over), behaving in a
mourning parade as in an election rally,” Ben
Caspit wrote in the rightwing Maariv newspaper. “The reprisal was not late in coming.
President Francois Hollande fell on Abu
Mazen’s (Abbas’s) shoulders in a close
embrace but greeted Netanyahu with a
frozen hand.”
France angered Israel late last month by
voting in support of a draft UN Security
Council resolution on Palestinian statehood
that would have set an end-date for Israeli
occupation. The text failed to secure the nine
votes necessary to be adopted in the 15member council but Israel called in the
French ambassador to protest.—AFP
PORTE DE VINCENNES: Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) arrives at a
kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris, yesterday after four people were killed on January 9 at the Jewish supermarket by a jihadist gunman during
a hostage-taking. — AFP
CAIRO: Defendants react behind the bars at a court in Cairo following the acquittal yesterday of 26 male men accused of “debauchery” after
they were arrested in a night-time raid on a bathhouse in the Egyptian capital last month that triggered international concern. The men were
arrested on December 7 in the raid on a hammam in the Azbakeya district of Cairo, amid fears of a widening police crackdown on homosexuals
in Egypt even though Egyptian law does not expressly ban homosexuality. — AFP
26 acquitted of ‘debauchery’
in Cairo bathhouse trial
Men dragged out of hammam onto police trucks
CAIRO: An Egyptian court yesterday acquitted
26 men accused of “debauchery” after their
night-time arrest from a Cairo bathhouse for suspected homosexual activity, in a case which triggered international concern.
“Allahu Akbar (God is Greatest), Long live justice,” chanted the defendants when the verdict
was announced. “Long live justice and the
police,” cheered the jubilant families of the
defendants, some of who had clashed with
reporters and photographers before the hearing
Prosecutors later filed an appeal against the
verdict. The men were arrested in a December 7
raid on a hammam in the Azbakeya district of
the capital, amid fears of a widening police
crackdown on gays in Egypt.
The raid was filmed by a female television
journalist, who days later aired the footage on
the “The Hidden,” a weekly programme on proregime private satellite channel Al-Qahira Wel
Nas. The footage showed the near naked men,
covering their faces and wearing only towels,
dragged out of the hammam and loaded onto
police trucks.
The defendants, including the bathhouse
owner and four employees, were brought handcuffed to the court room and made to stand in a
metal cage guarded by two rifle-wielding policemen. “The ruling proved our innocence and
cleared the name of the hammam. I swear we
did nothing wrong,” said Fathy Abdel Rahman,
the owner.
“Finally, an Egyptian court issued a verdict in
a case of this kind according to the law,” Ahmed
Hossam, a defence lawyer, told AFP.
Egyptian law does not expressly ban homosexuality, but gay men have previously been
arrested and charged with debauchery instead.
In the past, homosexuals in Egypt have been
jailed on charges ranging from “scorning religion” to “sexual practices contrary to Islam”.
Forensic tests criticised
Relatives of the defendants kissed policemen
present in the court as they expressed joy on
hearing the verdict. “Thanks to Allah, the truth is
out ... my son was in the hammam with his
friend to bath before his wedding. My son is a
real man,” said Hanan, a mother of one of the
Bothaina Halim, a gay woman using a pseudonym, was “ecstatic” over the acquittals.
“But it’s important to remember that they
should have never been arrested, put on display
or subjected to state-sponsored sexual assault in
the form of anal forensic examinations,” she told
AFP. Advocacy groups such as New York-based
Human Rights Watch have regularly condemned
the controversial anal tests carried out on suspected gays.
Hassan Sherif, a gay man also not using his
real name, welcomed Monday ’s ruling but
warned that “the damage has already been
done”. “The social stigma now attached to these
men and their families will not go away. They
have been humiliated in the media and in society,” he said. Relatives threatened to sue television
presenter Mona al-Iraqi who filmed the raid.
“It’s only right that the prosecution files a
case against her for making a false report to the
police,” said lawyer Hossam. “This will be the best
rehabilitation for the defendants.”
Iraqi has said on her Facebook page that airing the footage was not aimed at targeting
homosexuality, but part of a “series uncovering
male sex trafficking and the spread of AIDS in
Egypt”. Defence lawyer Islam Khalifah said there
was no evidence to convict the defendants.
“There was the police officer’s story, and he is
the only witness and the forensic report denied
his version of the story,” he said. The forensic
report submitted to the court states that none of
the defendants showed signs of regular homosexual activities. Dalia Abdel Hamid of the
Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, an NGO,
said yesterday’s verdict was likely the result of
media frenzy.
“Unexpectedly, society broadly condemned
what Mona Iraqi did to these men, and the violation of their privacy,” she said. The verdict came
weeks after a court reduced the jail terms of
eight men over an alleged gay wedding video
that went viral on the Internet, slashing them to
one year each from three years.
Their arrests in September were part of a
series of highly publicised raids targeting suspected homosexuals in the deeply conservative
Muslim country. — AFP
1,400 from France
have joined jihadis
PARIS: Some 1,400 people living in France
have either joined the jihadist cause in
Syria and Iraq or are planning to do so,
Prime Minister Manuel Valls said yesterday.
“There are 1,400 individuals who are
involved in the departures for jihad, for terrorism, in Syria and in Iraq,” Valls told
BFMTV. “There are close to 70 French citizens or residents in France who have died
in Syria and Iraq in the ranks of the terrorists,” he added.
The latest government figures were a
big jump from data in mid-December,
when 1,200 people were said to have left or
are seeking to leave to battle alongside
“It is a massive jump in very little time:
there were just about 30 cases when I
became interior minister (in mid-2012), and
1,400 today,” said Valls. The two gunmen
who slaughtered 12 people at satirical
newspaper Charlie Hebdo, Cherif Kouachi
and his brother Said, were likely among
those who had left the country to “to be
trained to kill and to sow terror”.
The third gunman, Amedy Coulibaly,
who stormed a kosher supermarket on
Friday, never left for such training, said
Valls. “He was not on the intelligence services’ radar,” added the prime minister. French
authorities said in December that they
have dismantled about a dozen networks
that were sending people to fight in Iraq
and Syria. France, along with Belgium, has
seen the largest numbers of volunteers
leaving to join the Islamic State jihadist
group, which has seized large parts of Syria
and Iraq. —AFP
ARBIL: German defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen
(R) talks with a German military trainer as they show
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters how to operate a machine
gun at a training camp in Arbil, the capital of the
Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq, yesterday. After Islamic State (IS) group militants swept federal security forces aside and drove south toward
Baghdad in June, IS launched a renewed push against
Kurdish forces, driving them back toward their regional
capital Arbil. — AFP
New sanctions could torpedo Iran nuclear deal: US envoy to UN
NEW YORK: It is still possible to reach a
nuclear deal with Iran, but new US congressional sanctions could seriously
undermine prospects for an agreement
and end up isolating Washington
instead of Tehran, the US envoy to the
United Nations said yesterday.
The remarks from Ambassador
Samantha Power were in a speech at the
McConnell Center at the University of
Louisville. Among those attending was
the center’s co-founder, Senator Mitch
McConnell, the new US Senate majority
In her address, which was broadcast
live on the Internet, Power called for
Republicans and President Barack
Obama’s Democrats on key foreign policy and security issues, including Iran,
Cuba and the fight against terrorism.
“If we pull the trigger on new
nuclear-related sanctions now, we will
go from isolating Iran to potentially isolating ourselves,” she said.
Earlier yesterday US Secretary of
State John Kerry said that he and his
Iranian counterpart would seek to push
forward negotiations between major
world powers and Tehran on its nuclear
Kerry meets Iran’s Foreign Minister
Mohammad Javad Zarif in Geneva on
Wednesday to renew the push for an
elusive nuclear accord after negotiators
failed for the second time in November
to meet a self-imposed deadline. The
agreement would gradually end sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iranian
atomic work.
“Some members of Congress believe
that the time has come to ratchet up
sanctions on Iran,” she said. “They argue
that this is the most effective way to
achieve the goal of getting Iran to give
up its nuclear program.”
“We in the administration believe
that, at this time, increasing sanctions
would dramatically undermine our
efforts to reach this shared goal,” she
Despite tremendous differences
between Iran and the international community on issues like the future scope of
Tehran’s uranium enrichment program
and the duration of any restrictions on
Iranian atomic activity, Power said a
long-term accord was still possible.
“We are still at the negotiating table
for one reason, and one reason alone,”
she said. “We assess that we still have a
credible chance of reaching the agreement we want.”
The moment the Obama administration decides it is not possible to reach a
deal with Tehran, she noted, it will join
Congress in pushing for new sanctions.
“We have not reached that point yet,”
Power said.
Senior foreign ministry officials from
Iran and six world powers - the United
States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia
and China - resume nuclear talks on
Sunday to hammer out an agreement by
their new June 30 deadline. — Reuters
Obama seeks laws on data
hacking, student privacy
HAVANA: In this Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015 photo, a boy, obscured by a Cuban national flag, walks with an image of
Fidel Castro, to the setting of a caravan tribute marking the 56th anniversary of the original street party that
greeted a triumphant Castro and his rebel army, in Regla, Cuba. Castro and his rebels arrived in Havana via caravan on Jan 1, 1959, after toppling dictator Fulgencio Batista. Social media around the world have been flooded
with a new wave of rumors of Fidel Castro’s death, but there was no sign that the reports were true. The 88-yearold former Cuban leader has not been seen in public for months. —AP
Cuba completes release
of 53 political prisoners
Changes are already occurring in Cuba
HAVANA: Cuba has completed the
release of 53 political prisoners that
was part of last month’s historic deal
between the United States and Cuba,
the Obama administration said yesterday.
The move would clear a major hurdle for the normalization of ties
between the two countries after more
than five decades of estrangement.
Cuba’s leading human rights group
said it had not been informed of any
prisoner release since Thursday, when
the total count stood at 41. The Cuban
Commission on Human Rights and
National Reconciliation has been
keeping close track of the liberation of
prisoners since they began last week,
reporting releases within hours after
hearing from family members or prisoners themselves.
The releases have been shrouded
in confusion due to both a US and
Cuban reluctance to release the
names of those on the list. The prisoners had been on a list of opposition
figures whose release was sought as
part of the US agreement last month
with the Cuban government. They
had been cited by various human
rights organizations as being imprisoned by the Cuban government for
exercising internationally protected
freedoms or for their promotion of
political and social reforms in Cuba.
Speaking in Louisville, Kentucky,
President Barack Obama’s U.N. ambassador said the prisoners were released
in recent days. “Welcome as that step
is, and heartening as it is for their fam-
ilies, (it) does not resolve the larger
human rights problems on the island,”
Samantha Power said, according to
prepared remarks.
Earlier, an official traveling with US
Secretary of State John Kerry in
Islamabad said the US verified the
release. Power was speaking yesterday at an event hosted by Senate
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, RKy. She outlined issues which the
administration and the Republicanled Congress could work together on
and issues they remained further
apart on.
Both sides want to advance freedom in Cuba, she said, but they disagree on strategy. “Some of the
embargo’s staunchest defenders are
Democrats and Republicans with
deep ties to the island - people whose
families came to America fleeing the
Castros’ repression,” Power explained.
“These are men and women who are
completely dedicated to doing all
they can to ensure that Cubans on the
island get to enjoy true freedom. So it
is important to acknowledge that
while there may be disagreements on
the best way to get there, we share a
common goal of advancing the rights
of the Cuban people.”
Power said changes already are
occurring in Cuba. When Cuban artist
Tania Bruguera and other activists
were detained after announcing an
anti-government event in Havana’s
historic Revolution Square, she said,
nearly 300 Cuban artists signed a letter supporting her freedom.
“In spite of genuine fear, Cubans
were speaking out,” Power said. “And
the Castro government was forced to
explain why it would rather arrest a
woman than let her speak freely in a
public square.
Last month, Cuba and the US
agreed to work to restore normal
diplomatic relations as part of a deal
in which Cuba freed an imprisoned US
aid worker along with an imprisoned
spy working for the U.S. and the
imprisoned dissidents. The US
released several Cuba intelligence
“Certainly, for those 53 prisoners,
it’s a great deal. We don’t know who
they are,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said
in an appearance Monday on “CBS
This Morning.” Rubio said he supports
improving ties with Cuba but said he’s
worried that the Cubans are getting
virtually everything they want from
the United States for “these minimal
He said he wants to be certain that
Washington and Havana provides
equal benefits to the US. “My interest
in Cuba is freedom and democracy,”
he said. Rubio, a member of the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee
who’s considering a run for the presidency, said there is “no current example” around the world where a “government of resistant tyranny” has
moved to greater freedom and
democracy as a result of changes in
international relations that are based
on economic incentives. — AP
Police probe motive in Idaho
shooting spree that killed 3
MOSCOW: Investigators say a laptop
computer from the vehicle of a man suspected in a deadly shooting spree in
western Idaho could yield clues to a
motive for the violence.
Investigators searched the car of 29year-old John Lee, recovering two semiautomatic pistols, a revolver, a shotgun
and a rifle, along with the laptop,
Moscow Police Chief David Duke said.
Lee was arrested following a highspeed chase in nearby Washington state
in the hours after the shootings Saturday
Police allege he opened fire at three
locations in Moscow, Idaho, killing his
adoptive mother, then his landlord, and
then a manager at a restaurant his parents frequented. A Seattle man was also
critically injured.
Ballistics tests were expected to help
determine which weapons might have
been used in the shootings. Authorities
were seeking a warrant to search the
computer, Duke said. “There’s still nothing to identify a specific motive as to why
Mr. Lee took these actions,” he said.
The first death was that of Lee’s adoptive mother, Terri Grzebielski, 61, at her
home. Police said Lee then headed to
Northwest Mutual life insurance, where
he shot his landlord, David Trail, 76, who
was a local businessman and the brother
of a former state representative, as well
as Michael Chin, 39, of Seattle.
Duke said Chin had no link to Lee, but
he was discussing business with Trail
when the gunman arrived. Duke said
Chin was shot in the arm and leg.
Authorities initially said he was being
flown to a hospital in Seattle in critical
condition, but Duke said Sunday he was
flown to one in Spokane. It wasn’t immediately clear which hospital he was in; a
supervisor at Providence Sacred Heart
Medical Center said Sunday the hospital
would not confirm whether he was a
patient there. There were “some issues”
regarding Lee’s apartment, Duke said,
but no eviction proceedings that police
were aware of.
Upon leaving the insurance office, the
shooter drove to an Arby’s restaurant and
asked for the manager. When she
appeared, he pulled out a gun and
opened fire. The manager, Belinda
Niebuhr, 47, died at the Moscow hospital.
Duke told The Associated Press that
Lee’s parents ate at the restaurant and
knew the manager well, but it’s not clear
whether Lee did as well. He did not work
at the restaurant as far as police knew,
and workers who witnessed the attack
didn’t recognize him, Duke said.
Kelsey Stemrich said she was working
at a cafe near Arby’s when she and a customer heard three gunshots and then
saw people running from the restaurant.
She says they took down the license plate number of a car seen pulling away
from the Arby’s and called it into police.
Police in Washington spotted the suspect’s black Honda, and a chase involving multiple agencies ensued. Pullman
Police Chief Gary Jenkins said the pursuit
lasted nearly 25 miles, and Lee’s vehicle
at times topped 100 mph before crashing off Highway 195 north of Colfax and
rolling to a stop.
Duke said he had been adopted at
birth, and he recently returned to
Moscow after living for a few years in the
Midwest. But few other details on his
background were available. Lee was taken to a Colfax hospital for treatment of
minor injuries before he was booked into
the Whitman County Jail on a charge of
felony eluding. Duke said Idaho authorities had issued an arrest warrant for Lee
for investigation of three counts of firstdegree murder and one of attempted
murder, and he said they could take Lee
into custody from Washington state by
Monday unless he fights extradition.
Moscow is a city of about 25,000 people in northern Idaho. It’s about 10 miles
from Pullman, Washington. —AP
WASHINGTON: President Barack
Obama wants Congress to pass legislation requiring companies to inform customers within 30 days if their data has
been hacked, a move that follows highprofile breaches at retailers including
Target, Home Depot and Neiman
A White House official said Obama
will announce the proposed legislation
Monday, along with a measure aimed at
preventing companies from selling student data to third parties and from
using information collected in school to
engage in targeted advertising.
Obama’s proposals are part of a
White House effort to preview components of the president’s State of the
Union address in the lead-up to the Jan.
20 speech. The official, who insisted on
anonymity, was not authorized to discuss the proposed legislation by name
ahead of Obama’s speech at the Federal
Trade Commission.
If passed by Congress, the Personal
Data Notification and Protection Act
would require US companies to notify
customers within 30 days of their personal information being compromised.
Recent hackings have exposed the lack
of uniform practices for alerting customers in the event of a breach. The legislation would also make it a crime to
sell customers’ identities overseas.
Obama’s proposals also follow last
month’s hacking at Sony Pictures
Entertainment. The White House has
blamed the cyber attack on North Korea
and responded with new sanctions
against the isolated nation.
In addition to the customer notification legislation, Obama will also ask lawmakers to pass the Student Digital
WASHINGTON: This Jan 9, 2015, file photo shows President Barack Obama
speaking about the France newspaper attack. President Obama wants
Congress to pass legislation requiring companies to inform customers within 30 days if their data has been hacked. Obama will also propose a bill that
would prevent companies from selling student data to third parties. —AP
Privacy Act. The measure would prohibit
companies from selling student data to
third parties, a move spurred by the
increased use of technology in schools
that can scoop up personal information.
The White House official said the
proposed bill is based on a California
statute pushed by Common Sense
Media, a group that promotes privacy.
The organization said the proliferation
of online platforms, mobile applications,
cloud computing and other technology
allows businesses to collect sensitive
data about students including contact
information, academic records, and
even what students eat for lunch or
whether they ride the bus to school.
“We applaud President Obama for
standing up for school children, who
deserve the opportunity to use educa-
tional websites and apps to enrich their
learning without fear that their personal
information will be exploited for commercial purposes or fall into the wrong
hands,” Common Sense Media CEO
James Steyer said in a statement.
The Center for Democracy &
Technology also said it supports
Obama’s moves to protect the data,
while pointing out that his administration still uses electronic surveillance for
national security purposes.
“Even with these proposed reforms,
we must not forget about government
surveillance reform,” said Nuala
O’Connor, the group’s president.
“Without the end to the mass surveillance practices of the US government,
any privacy reform is woefully incomplete.”— AP
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Turkey says Boumeddiene crossed into Syria last week
ISTANBUL: Hayat Boumeddiene, the
wanted partner of one of the gunmen
behind the terror attacks in France,
crossed into conflict-torn Syria last week
after travelling through Turkey, the
Turkish authorities said yesterday.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut
Cavusoglu said Boumeddiene had
crossed into Syria on January 8, the
same day that her partner Amedy
Coulibaly is suspected of shooting dead
a policewoman outside Paris on the second day of the Paris attacks.
“She entered Turkey on January 2
from Madrid. There are images of her at
the airport,” Cavusoglu was quoted as
saying by state -run news agency
“ Then she crossed into Syria on
January 8. This is clear from the telephone records.”
Cavusoglu said the 26-year-old, who
had married Coulibaly in an Islamic cere-
mony, stayed at a hotel in the Kadikoy
district on the Asian side of Istanbul and
was accompanied by another person.
He did not give further details on the
identity of the other individual and did
not make clear if she had travelled to
Syria on her own.
‘No warning from France’
Cavusoglu added that Turkey passed
the information to the French authorities “even before they asked for it” as
soon as Ankara identified her whereabouts. “We told them: ‘The person you
are looking for was here, stayed here
and crossed into Syria illegally’,” he said.
Interior Minister Efkan Ala also said
Turkey did not refuse Boumeddiene
entry because French authorities had
made no such request and that they
hadn’t warned Ankara that she was
He added that Turkey’s intelligence
agency, the National Intelligence
Organisation (MIT), and the police were
still working to shed more light on the
A Turkish security source earlier told
AFP that Boumeddiene had entered
Turkey on January 2 and was believed to
have moved on to the southeastern
Turkish city of Sanliurfa and then to
But Turkey did not arrest her because
of a lack of timely intelligence from
France, the source said.
Turkish officials’ comments confirm
that Boumeddiene was already outside
France when the three-day killing spree
began, contrary to earlier speculation
that she had been involved in the
attacks which claimed 17 lives.
The killings began on Januar y 7
when brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi
stormed the Paris offices of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, slaughtering
12 people.
Coulibaly on January 9 took hostages
at a kosher supermarket in eastern Paris
which was then raided by police in the
evening. The gunman and four hostages
were killed. The Kouachi brothers were
also killed after a separate hostage-taking incident.
A man resembling Coulibaly, claimed
to be a member of the Islamic State (IS)
jihadist group in a posthumous video
released online on Sunday.
‘Under surveillance’
Turkey ’s Yeni Safak newspaper
reported that MIT took action following
reports that Boumeddiene was in Turkey
and put her under surveillance due to
her “suspicious behaviour”.
She stayed at the hotel in the Kadikoy
for two days with a man named Mahdi
Sabri and left the hotel only twice during her stay, Yeni Safak said.
The last signal received from her
phone showed that she was in the
Syrian town of Tel Abyad, the daily said.
Press reports have speculated that
she may have joined IS jihadists who
have captured swathes of Iraq and Syria
right up to the Turkish border.
However there has has so far been no
concrete proof of this. Western countries
have long accused Turkey of not doing
enough to stem the flow of jihadists
seeking to join IS fighters in neighbouring Syria.
But Ankara insists it has now stepped
up border security and has repeatedly
said the West also has a responsibility to
share intelligence. “Foreign fighters
posed a serious problem for Turkey too
but we have taken important steps,”
Cavusoglu said. “As Turkey, we are
against every kind of terrorism no matter which race, religion, sect or region it
comes from.”— AFP
Kosher market attack deepens
fears among European Jews
MILAN: The killing of four French Jews in last
week’s hostage standoff at a Paris kosher market has deepened the fears among European
Jewish communities shaken by rising antiSemitism and feeling vulnerable due to poor
security and a large number of potential soft
In the wake of the attacks, which follow
deadly strikes on a Belgian Jewish Museum
and a Jewish school in southwestern France,
Israeli leaders have called on European Jews to
immigrate to the Jewish state. But European
Jews are deeply ambivalent about leaving, and
their community leaders, along with top politicians, have urged people to stay in their homelands. “The European Jewry is the oldest
European minority and we have our experience of surviving under all possible circumstances,” Moshe Kantor, president of the
European Jewish Congress, told The
Associated Press. “We will not give up our
motherland, which is called Europe. We will
not stop the history of European Jewry, that is
for sure.”
Kantor called for increased security at
Jewish sites, concerted action against antiSemitism across the continent and better
coordination of intelligence forces against
religious extremism. But he acknowledged
that if any Jewish European does not feel safe,
“I say you should leave in this case.”
Many French Jews already are. Last year,
7,000 emigrated to Israel as anti-Semitism
spiked across France, fed by tensions with the
country’s large Arab population after the outbreak of Israel’s war against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. That was double the
previous year, making France, for the first
time, the No. 1 source of immigration to
Israel, according to the Jewish Agency, a nonprofit group that helps Jews move to Israel.
Officials in Israel are expecting - and
encouraging - a new influx following the Paris
standoff. Since last week’s attacks, Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has encouraged European Jews to move to the Jewish
In an interview with Israel’s Channel 10 TV
Saturday, Yohan Cohen, one of the hostages
who hid inside a freezer at the kosher market
for five hours during the hostage-taking, said
he would now move his family of four children to Israel.
“On Monday I am going to make Aliyah,”
he said, using the Hebrew term for immigration to Israel. “We are not going to wait
around here to die.” Overall, immigration was
up 88 percent from Western Europe in 2014,
with the arrival of 8,640 immigrants compared with some 4,600 in 2013, with surges
also from Italy, Belgium and Britain, according
to the Jewish Agency.
Experts say European Jews have not felt
this threatened since World War II, when
some 6 million Jews were murdered in the
Nazi Holocaust. Researchers at Tel Aviv
University monitoring anti -Semitism have
reported a chilling increase in attacks in
Europe over the past decade, including deadly shootings in Toulouse, France, in 2012 and
Brussels last year. In recent years, France has
had the highest number of incidents of any
single country.
For many of Europe’s 2 million Jews, the
mood following the Paris attacks was one of
tense vigilance amid increased security and
additional personal precautions. Some were
defiant and determined to remain. Others
wondered whether their way of life can continue. Heightened security measures, visible
and non-visible, were swiftly enacted at
Jewish places of worship, study and business
across Europe over the weekend. Security
officials and Jewish leaders in Italy, Britain,
Poland, the Netherlands, Germany, and
Austria confirmed increased surveillance of
vulnerable sites without providing details.
Still, many Jews are taking their own precautions: An Israeli mother of three, who has
been living in Berlin for several years, said she
no longer allows her children to talk in
Hebrew outside the home. “When we are outside, I tell my kids to only speak English. I’m
too afraid that somebody will recognize that
we are Jewish or Israeli and then harm us,”
said the woman, who did not want to give
her name out of fear. Security at Rome’s soaring Art Deco synagogue along the Tiber River
was noticeably heightened during Friday
evening prayers. —AP
Pope urges Muslim leaders to
condemn religious-based violence
VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis on Monday
condemned last week’s killings by Islamist
militants in Paris and urged Muslim leaders
around the world to denounce fundamentalist interpretations of religion that use
God’s name to justify violence.
“Violence is always the product of a falsification of religion, its use a pretext for ideological schemes whose only goal is power
over others,” the pope said.
The Argentine pope, 78, made the comments in an annual meeting with diplomats accredited to the Vatican in a speech
that has come to be known as his “State of
the World” address.
Francis said the killings in Paris showed
how the rejection of other people’s beliefs
could lead to a breakdown of society and
spawn violence and death.
Seventeen people, including journalists
and police, were killed in three days of violence that began on Wednesday when
Islamist militants attacked the satirical
weekly Charlie Hebdo, whose unsparing
cartoons have lampooned Islam alongside
other religions.
“I express my hope that religious, political and intellectual leaders, especially those
of the Muslim community, will condemn all
fundamentalist and extremist interpretations of religion that attempt to justify such
acts of violence,” the pope said.
Francis has several times condemned
Islamic State fighters who have killed or
displaced Shi’ite Muslims, Christians and
others in Syria and Iraq who do not share
the group’s ideology.
“Religious fundamentalism, even before
it eliminates human beings by perpetrating
horrendous killings, eliminates God himself, turning him into a mere ideological
pretext,” he told the diplomats from some
180 countries.
In other sections of his speech, he
denounced human trafficking as “an abominable trade” and condemned the
“unspeakable brutality” of last month’s
attack by Taliban militants in which more
than 130 Pakistani schoolchildren were
He held up the recent agreement by the
United States and Cuba to re-establish ties
after more than half a century, in a deal
that the Vatican helped to broker, as an
example of how patient diplomacy and
dialogue can build bridges. — Reuters
VATICAN: Pope Francis meets with ambassadors to the Holy See, yesterday at the
Vatican. — AFP
DRESDEN: In this Jan 5, 2015 file photo about 18,000 participants of a rally called ‘Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West’
(PEGIDA) demonstrate in Saxony’s capital Dresden, eastern Germany. Anti-immigrant protests have been growing by the week, drawing international attention and fears that xenophobia is on the rise again in German - where the Nazi past has long made such sentiments taboo. — AP
German anti-Islamists seize on
terror fears with new rally
Political leaders urge PEGIDA to call off event
BERLIN: Germany’s growing anti-Islamic movement is set to hold a new rally yesterday, this time
condemning the jihadist attacks in France, in a
move slammed as an attempt to exploit the bloodshed. Leaders of the so-called “Patriotic Europeans
Against the Islamisation of the Occident” (PEGIDA)
have asked participants to wear black armbands
and observe a minute’s silence for “the victims of
terrorism in Paris”.
Euphemistically dubbed “evening strolls” by the
group, yesterday’s march in the eastern city of
Dresden is expected to ride a wave of fear and
revulsion at the killings of 17 people in France to
beat last week’s record attendance of 18,000.
However counterprotests are gaining momentum, with 35,000 people turning out Saturday in
Dresden against the anti-Islamic group.
Several German Muslim groups have called for a
silent march in Berlin today to denounce violence
and social division, which Chancellor Angela
Merkel and several members of her cabinet plan to
attend. The latest PEGIDA demonstration comes
after a firebombing early Sunday against a tabloid
in the northern city of Hamburg that had reprinted
cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed from the
French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo.
It was at the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo that
gunmen first struck, kicking off France’s three days
of terror in which 17 people died. German police
were investigating whether there was a link
between the show of support for the French weekly and the arson attack.
As a security precaution, the eastern city of
Leipzig, which will see its first PEGIDA-style demonstration yesterday, has banned marchers from displaying Mohammed cartoons, which have been
seen at other events.
With tensions running high, political leaders
even urged PEGIDA to call off the event, saying it
had no right to whip up hatred against Muslims in
the name of solidarity with terror victims.
“If the organisers had a shred of decency they
would simply cancel these demonstrations,” Justice
Minister Heiko Maas told the mass-selling daily
Bild. “It is simply disgusting how the people behind
these protests are trying to exploit the despicable
crimes in Paris.” The head of Merkel’s Bavarian sister
party, Horst Seehofer, echoed the call. At a time
“when the whole world is mourning and in shock
over the events in Paris”, PEGIDA leaders should at
least “for the time being” cancel their rallies,
Seehofer said.
Anti-Muslim sentiment
The demonstrations, though largely limited to
Dresden in former communist east Germany, have
shaken the reunified country’s hard-won reputation for openness and tolerance.
Merkel, who used a New Year’s Eve address to
call on Germans not to take part in the PEGIDA rallies and on Sunday attended a huge solidarity
march in Paris, was to meet Turkish Prime Minister
Ahmet Davutoglu in Berlin yesterday.
Davutoglu is expected to ask Merkel to address
growing anti-Muslim sentiment in Germany with
concrete action, according to Turkish press reports.
Germany, Europe’s most populous nation with
around 80 million people, is home to about four
million Muslims, three-quarters of Turkish origin.
In a survey conducted several weeks ago and
released Thursday, 57 percent of non-Muslim
Germans said they felt threatened by Islam, four
points higher than in 2012.
And 61 percent said Islam had no place in the
West, according to the study released by the
Bertelsmann Foundation think-tank.
Meanwhile PEGIDA has said on its Facebook
page that the killings at Charlie Hebdo in Paris confirmed its own views. “The Islamists, which PEGIDA
has been warning about for 12 weeks, showed
France that they are not capable of democracy but
rather look to violence and death as an answer,” it
said. “Our politicians want us to believe the opposite. Must such a tragedy happen here in Germany
first???” Activists have announced plans for PEGIDA
spin-offs in Austria and Scandinavia, while other
European far-right groups have voiced support for
the German movement.
However, even as copycat marches are planned
Monday in other German cities, counter demonstrations against PEGIDA are growing in strength.
Many of the 35,000 who hit the streets of
Dresden Saturday carried signs reading “I am
Charlie but not PEGIDA” borrowing from the solidarity slogan with the Paris victims.
And during offshoot PEGIDA marches last
Monday, landmarks such as Cologne cathedral and
Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate dimmed their lights just
as protesters gathered. — AFP
Foreign ministers plan Ukraine
peace summit in heat of battle
KIEV: Foreign ministers from Moscow and Kiev
meet their French and German counterparts in
Berlin yesterday to arrange a Ukrainian peace summit that the Europeans fear is premature because
of festering fighting. Ukrainian President Petro
Poroshenko hopes to stage the leadership meeting
in the Kazakh capital Astana on Thursday so that
two of his closest allies could push Vladimir Putin
into signing a document that finally commits
Russia to peace.
A September 5 truce agreed by the two presidents’ envoys was followed by 1,300 more deaths
and has ultimately failed to end the pro-Kremlin
militias’ separatist claim in the industrial southeast
of Ukraine. But German Chancellor Merkel
informed both Putin and Poroshenko over the
weekend that she would not fly to Central Asia to
put her name on a deal that is valid only on paper
while clashes raged after already claiming 4,700
lives. The rebel stronghold of Donetsk-a once
bustling city of nearly one million that now stands
half vacant and suffering chronic power and water
shortages-has been the target of especially heavy
rocket and artillery fire in the past week.
Kiev accuses the rebels of escalating their
strikes in order to undermine the chances of Putin
agreeing to a settlement that preserves Ukraine’s
eastern border with Russia and buries their independence hopes. A partial Donetsk power outage
on Sunday trapped more than 300 miners inside
one of Europe’s largest coal pits for several hours
with limited oxygen supplies. Residents fear that
stray shells could do similar damage to combustible natural gas lines that snake across former
Soviet lands. Ukraine’s armed forces said the militias attacked federal positions on 63 occasions
since Sunday morning-about five times the number recorded on more peaceful days witnessed in
the nine-month war.
Mutual need in peace
Yet both Putin and Poroshenko have reasons to
end fighting that began shortly after the February
ouster in Kiev of a Moscow-backed president and
Russia’s subsequent seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea
peninsula. Ukraine’s army is a shadow of the onceproud force that made up the communist Red
Army. Demoralised troops have been captured by
the hundreds and even crossed into Russia for safety from insurgent attacks.
Poroshenko backed the September deal after
nearly seeing resurgent gunmen establish a land
bridge between Russia and Crimea that would
have cut off Ukraine’s access to the Sea of Azov on
its southeastern coast. The campaign has since settled into a stalemate in which little ground changes
hands despite the bloodshed.
And Putin-his personal approval soaring but his
country’s economy shrinking for the first time since
2009 — would benefit greatly from an easing of
financial restrictions Western allies slapped on
Russia over its approach to Ukraine.
Fitch on Friday downgraded Russia’s credit rating to the lowest possible investment level due to
Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych
the plunge in the price for its oil exports and dramatic ruble decline. The agency’s negative outlook
means that Fitch could soon consign Russia’s sovereign debt to the “junk” status reserved for the
world’s riskiest investments and which would put it
off limits to most Western funds.
The most painful EU and US measures deprive
Russia’s most powerful banks and energy producers from borrowing money for more than 90 days
on Western markets. This has left indebted firms
dependent on rescues from a Russia government
that has seen its own budget revenues shrink.
The central bank on Monday reported spending
$76 billion last year in its eventually-abandoned
effort to prop up the ruble.— AFP
America vows to work with new Sri Lanka leaders
GANDHINAGAR: Washington pledged yesterday
to work with Sri Lanka’s newly-elected government to help improve human rights and democracy, voicing hope the election will mark the start
of a new chapter in ties.
US Secretary of State John Kerry telephoned
President Maithripala Sirisena late Sunday to say
the US now hoped to strengthen its ties with the
tear-shaped Indian Ocean island.
Veteran leader Mahinda Rajapakse had alienated many foreign leaders by refusing to cooperate
with an international probe into alleged wartime
abuses during a crackdown on Tamil Tiger rebels.
Kerry spoke with Rajapakse just “days ago,” he
told a press conference, to highlight “the importance of maintaining a peaceful process no matter what”.
“So it is good that the people of Sri Lanka have
been able to have an election that has been
accepted and which has resulted in a peaceful
change of power,” he told repor ters in
Gandhinagar, western India.
But the top US diplomat cautioned: “There are
still real challenges in Sri Lanka.” “We offered
immediately to engage in a dialogue to begin to
work at guaranteeing that the problems with
respect to human rights, the problems of inclusivity, challenges with respect to governance are
going to be addressed.”
There was however “hope that we can now
forge a different outcome in Sri Lanka. The election hopefully will become a demarcation point
for a new moment, a new chapter, a new set of
opportunities for the people of Sri Lanka.”
Kerr y had earlier voiced appreciation for
Rajapakse’s early concession of election defeat,
although a Sirisena aide has since said the former
president tried to hold onto power by staging a
Relations between Washington and Colombo
soured under Rajapakse after the United States
secured a UN-led investigation into the final
stages of Sri Lanka’s separatist war that ended in
May 2009.
US envoy Michele Sison had strongly criticised
Sri Lanka’s failure to address allegations that up
to 40,000 mainly minority Tamil civilians were
killed by troops in the final months of the war.
Kerr y is in I ndia ahead of a visit by US
President Barack Obama, who will be guest of
honour at the country’s January 26 Republic Day
celebrations. — AFP
Sri Lanka’s new
president purges
Rajapakse placemen
COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s new president
has axed hundreds of officials and diplomats appointed by his predecessor as he
prepares to form his new cabinet, a senior aide said yesterday.
Lawmaker Rajitha Senaratne also said
President Maithripala Sirisena would
announce his cabinet later.
“He has asked all political appointees
of the former president to resign immediately,” said Senaratne, adding politically appointed diplomats had been asked
to return to the country. “We are going
to have a cabinet of 29 ministers,”
Senaratne told AFP. Sirisena invited all
parties to join his cabinet on Sunday,
two days after ousting Sri Lanka’s longtime leader Mahinda Rajapakse in a surprise election victory. The new president quit Rajapakse’s cabinet in
November to emerge as an opposition
unity candidate in the January 8 polls,
triggering a mass defection of lawmakers.
Analysts have already warned that he
may struggle to satisfy the diverse coalition that backed his campaign. As he got
to work yesterday, Sirisena spoke to top
US diplomat John Kerry after pledging
to mend ties with the West.
The US secretar y of state said
Washington wanted to strengthen its
relations with Sri Lanka, which soured
under Rajapakse. Senaratne said the
new government had secured wide support, including from parties outside the
The main par ty representing the
country’s Tamil minority, who played a
significant role in ousting Rajapakse,
declined to take any cabinet positions
but agreed to support the president,
Senaratne said.
Sirisena, who needs a majority in the
225-member assembly to push through
ambitious reforms, has moved to
strengthen his hold on parliament by
securing further defections.
He has pledged to reverse many of
the constitutional changes made by the
former president, who gave himself
huge powers over all key institutions,
including the judiciary. Rajapakse’s Sri
Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) split on
Sunday night when a section of its policy-making central committee broke
away and pledged support to Sirisena.
Sirisena loyalist Duminda Dissanayake
said the SLFP had appointed the new
president as party leader, though that
was immediately challenged by the
Rajapakse camp.
The new president has already led the
biggest defection from any government
in Sri Lanka since independence from
Britain in 1948. — AFP
PESHWAR: Pakistani students of government-run girls school pray for the victims of Taleban attack on the Army Public School, as schools
opened yesterday in Peshawar, Pakistan. Pakistani children and staff returned to a school in northwestern Pakistan where Taleban gunmen
nearly a month ago killed 150 people - almost all of them students. — AP
Pakistani school reopens
after Taleban massacre
Ceremony held at school to mark its reopening
COLOMBO: In this handout photograph received from the President’s Office yesterday, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena (L) addresses members of parliament
at Parliament House in Colombo. — AFP
PESHAWAR: Pakistani children returned yesterday to the school where Taleban gunmen killed
150 of their classmates and teachers last month,
clutching their parents’ hands tightly in a
poignant symbol of perseverance despite the
horrors they had endured.
It was the first time the school had reopened
since the assault and security was tight. The
nation has been reeling from the Dec. 16 terrorist attack in Peshawar - one of the worst Pakistan
has experienced. The violence carried out by
seven Taleban militants put a spotlight on
whether the authorities can end the stubborn
insurgency that kills and maims thousands every
The massacre also horrified parents across
the nation and prompted officials to implement
tighter security at schools. For Peshawar parents
like Abid Ali Shah,yesterday morning was especially painful as he struggled to get his sons
ready for school, something his wife used to do.
She was a teacher at the school and was killed in
the violence. Both of his sons attended the
school. The youngest was shot in the head but
survived after the militants thought he was
“A hollowness in my life is getting greater. I
am missing my wife,” Shah said. He said he had
wanted to shift his children to a different school
or city but decided not to because they still have
to take exams this spring: “Everything is ruined
here, everything.”
His older son, Sitwat Ali Shah, 17, said it
wasn’t until he saw his brother break down in
tears as they prepared to go to school that he
did as well. Sitwat said both he and his brother
have trouble sleeping and often wake up, crying
for their mother.
“Those who have done all this to all of us cannot be called humans,” Sitwat said, adding he
still wanted to go back to school and become an
air force officer.
A ceremony was held at the school to mark
its reopening, but classes were to restart on
Tuesday. Security was tight, part of a countrywide effort to boost safety measures at schools
in the wake of the attack. Schools around
Pakistan have raised their boundary walls, added
armed guards and installed metal detectors,
although many have questioned why it took
such a horrible attack to focus attention on
school safety.
The government has stepped up military
operations in the tribal areas, reinstated the
death penalty and allowed military courts to try
civilians - all attempts to crack down on terrorism. But in an attack yesterday, gunmen killed
seven paramilitary soldiers in the southwestern
Baluchistan province, underscoring the dangers
the country still faces.
In Peshawar, media and vehicles were kept
hundreds of meters (yards) away from the Army
Public School, which had coils of barbed wire
freshly installed on top of the compound’s walls,
and two helicopters circled overhead. The chief
of Pakistan’s army, Gen. Raheel Sharif, was on
Pope visits Sri Lanka
amid hopes for peace
COLOMBO: Less than a week after its longtime president was surprisingly voted out
of office, Sri Lanka welcomes Pope Francis
today, with the island nation’s Catholic
minority hoping he can help heal the lingering wounds of the country’s 25-year civil war.
The war between minority Tamil rebels,
who are mostly Hindu, and the central government, dominated by the overwhelmingly Buddhist ethnic Sinhala majority, ended
in 2009. Catholics make up less than 7 percent of Sri Lanka’s population, but they
come from both the Tamil and the Sinhala
communities, making them a potential
bridge between the two sides.
On Wednesday, after celebrating Mass in
Colombo, the capital, Francis is scheduled
to fly to the country’s former war zone in
the north, where Tamil Tiger rebels fought
to create a separate homeland. He will visit
the Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu, a site that
draws both Tamil and Sinhala Catholics and
has long been viewed as a symbol of unity.
The pope’s visit “will be useful for
national unity,” said the Rev. Ravichandran
Emmanuel, a priest from Jaffna, in the Tamil
heartland. “The message he will carry to the
south after seeing the people here will be
important. It will be one of peace and justice.”
Many Catholics had worried that Sri
Lanka would not be peaceful enough for a
papal visit because of the Jan. 8 election in
which President Mahinda Rajapaksa was
defeated by a former ally turned rival,
Maithripala Sirisena.
The election campaign had been tense
with sporadic violence. During his nineyear reign, Rajapaksa amassed immense
power backed by a strong parliament, a
subservient judiciary, influential family
members and support within the armed
forces, and he hadn’t been expected to easily relinquish power even if he was defeated. But the church remained confident that
the elections would pass off peacefully, and
as the results started to flow in, Rajapaksa
conceded defeat and stepped down.
“The church always held that the pope’s
visit will not be canceled,” said the Rev. Cyril
Gamini Fernando, media spokesman for
the visit.
Francis is expected to meet the new
president, and to attend an interfaith conference that will include Buddhist, Hindu
and Islamic leaders. Buddhist clergy boycotted an interfaith meeting when Pope
John Paul II visited in 1995. One
Buddhist fundamentalist group has
been critical of Francis, demanding that he
apologize for crimes committed during the
Portugese occupation starting in the 16th
century, but other religious leaders have
been more positive about his visit.
Across Sri Lanka, people were getting
ready Monday for the papal visit. Churches
were being spruced up. Flags in the papal
colors of yellow and white, and the country’s national flag were strung along the
pope’s route from the airport.
Arrangements were being made for the
tens of thousands expected to attend
Wednesday’s papal Mass at the sprawling
Galle Face Green park in Colombo.
At the Mass, Francis will canonize Sri
hand with his wife to greet and console the students.
Some women brought garlands of flowers
and draped them around the children. Passages
from the Quran were read and the national
anthem was sung while parents, students and
teachers were given a pamphlet about the psychological impact of terror attacks on children.
On social media, some Pakistanis questioned
why top government officials were not at the
ceremony. Teacher Andleeb Aftab, who lost her
10th grade son, Huzaifa, in the attack, came in a
black dress and head scarf, walking to the place
where she had last seen her son alive. She said
she chose to go back to school rather than sit at
home and keep mourning.
“I have come here because the other kids are
also my kids,” she said. “I will complete the
dreams of my son, the dreams I had about my
son, by teaching other students.” On Sunday
night, 15-year-old Ahmed Nawaz said he is still
in constant pain and being treated for his badly
wounded left arm but that he was determined
to go back.
For the militants, he said he had one message: “We are not scared of you.” But in many
families, apprehension mixed with anger.
Aurangzeb Khan lost his 16-year-old son in the
attack while his other son survived.
“We all are scared after this incident,” Khan
said. “I am not satisfied about what they are
claiming or what they are doing for security and
safety of the children.” — AP
Kerry in Pakistan to
shore up cooperation
WATTALA: A Sri Lankan policeman stands guard as front of the billboard bearing the
image of Pope Francis in Wattala yesterday. Sri Lanka is preparing to host the pope
who is due to visit the island from January 13 - 15. — AFP
Lanka’s first saint, Joseph Vaz. The 17thcentury priest revived the Catholic faith in
the country amid persecution by Dutch
colonial rulers, ministering to both
Sinhalese and Tamil faithful.
“It’s a great blessing to witness the sainthood of Father Joseph Vaz. It is something
we can tell our grandchildren one day,” said
Tekla Senanayake, 58, a mother of five as
she swept the church yard in Tudella, a
small town on the road from the airport.
Jehan Perera, of the Colombo-based
National Peace Council, said Francis will be
breaking new ground for peace when he
visits the north and celebrates Mass to
commemorate all those who were killed in
the civil war.
A United Nations report has said that
around 40,000 Tamils may have been killed
in just the final months of the fighting. The
UN human rights body is investigating war
crimes allegations against the government
and Tamil Tigers. Many Tamils say they
remain forgotten by the central government; they have been barred from publicly
mourning their dead relatives while yearly
commemorations are held for fallen government soldiers. Perera said that with a
new government in office, it was significant
that a religious leader was taking “the first
step of peace.”
“This is the first occasion the country
will remember everyone, including the
civilians” who were killed, he said. — AP
ISLAMABAD: US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in
Pakistan yesterday on an unannounced visit to press the
country’s leadership to step up the fight against extremists
and eliminate safe havens for terror groups along the
Afghan border.
After landing in Islamabad, Kerry headed directly into
meetings with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his
national security adviser to make the case for more robust
efforts against all extremist groups in the country, particularly after last month’s devastating Taliban attack on a
Peshawar school that killed 150 people, most of them children.
Pakistan has boosted operations against violent extremists in its recent months, notably following the Peshawar
attack that stunned the nation. But US officials traveling with
Kerry said Washington wants to ensure that there is a “real
and sustained effort” to limit the abilities of the Pakistani and
Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani Network and Laskhar e Tayyiba,
which pose direct threats to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India,
as well as to American interests. Underscoring the importance of the security aspect of Kerry’s trip, he was being
joined in his meetings with Gen. Lloyd Austin, the chief of
the US Central Command, which oversees US military operations in the Middle East and South Asia.
Pakistan has been on edge ever since the Dec. 16 attack
on the Peshawar school that was claimed by the Pakistani
Taleban as retaliation for an army operation launched in
June in the North Waziristan tribal area. In response, Pakistan
has boosted operations in the rugged tribal areas, reinstituted the death penalty for terrorists and moved to try civilian
terror suspects in military courts.
The extremists, however, have vowed to keep up attacks
and just on Friday, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside
a mosque in Rawalpindi, next to Islamabad, killing five people. Pakistan faces numerous obstacles in combatting
extremism, not least from networks of hardline Islamist seminaries and religious schools that promote radical ideology,
and a flawed judicial system that has been criticized for an
inability to prosecute and convict terror suspects. India
reacted sharply last month when an anti-terrorism court
granted bail to the chief defendant on trial for the 2008
attack that killed 166 people in the Indian city of Mumbai
due to lack of evidence. — AP
Police kill six attackers in China’s Xinjiang
BEIJING: Police in China’s far-western
Xinjiang region shot dead six attackers
yesterday, a state-run news portal said,
amid a security clampdown in the violence-torn, mainly Muslim area.
There were no police or civilian casualties, according to the report by
Xinjiang’s government-run Tianshan
news site. Xinjiang is home to China’s
nine-million-strong Turkic-speaking and
mostly Muslim ethnic minority.
Monday’s clash was triggered when
residents of Shule county, near the
ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar, noticed
“a suspicious person carrying an explo-
sive device”, Tianshan said.
They called police, who opened fire
after the attacker tried to set upon an
officer with an axe and detonate the
device, according to the report.
The assailant was killed, but soon
afterwards five more attackers “sought
to ignite explosive devices one after the
other”, Tianshan said. The five were “resolutely” shot dead by police, it added.
China’s ruling Communist Party tightly restricts access to the restive region,
and information is difficult to independently verify. Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for
the overseas-based World Uyghur
Congress, said that “several dozen”
Uighurs had been detained by authorities in the wake of the incident.
“China’s allegations of a so-called terrorist attack are an excuse to cover up
the excessive use of force,” he said in a
He pointed to China’s “hostile policies” in the region as having triggered
unrest, without citing specifics. Violence
linked to Xinjiang has intensified over
the past year, with at least 200 people
killed in a series of clashes and increasingly sophisticated attacks in the
resource-rich region and beyond it.
Beijing, which blames Xinjiang-related violence on “religious extremists”,
“separatists” and “terrorists”, has
responded by launching a severe crackdown in recent months, with hundreds
of arrests and around 50 executions and
death sentences publicly announced
since June. Rights groups argue that
harsh police treatment of the Uighur
minority, as well as government campaigns against religious practices such
as the wearing of veils, have led to violence.
On Saturday, Xinjiang’s regional legislature voted to ban the wearing of
burqas in public areas in Urumqi, Xinhua
reported. The measure “is seen as an
effort to curb growing extremism that
forced Uighur women to abandon their
colourful traditional dress and wear
black burqas,” the news agency said.
China denies repression, saying it has
brought badly-needed modernisation
and economic development to the vast
and landlocked region bordering Central
Asia. In December a court in the regional
capital of Urumqi condemned eight
people to death for two deadly attacks,
one on the city’s main train station and
another on a market there. —AFP
Firebomb attacks on home,
office of HK media tycoon
HONG KONG: Firebomb attacks early yesterday on the Hong Kong home and office
of pro-democracy newspaper tycoon
Jimmy Lai have triggered new fears over
the safety of outspoken media figures in
the city.
The attacks came as tension remains
high in the semi-autonomous southern
Chinese city after more than two months of
protests seeking free leadership elections.
They ended when rally camps were cleared
in December.
Lai was targeted during the protests by
a group of men who threw rotten meat at
him. The headquarters producing his outspoken Apple Daily newspaper were
repeatedly blockaded to disrupt distribution.
Other journalists and media workers
have also been victims, including the former editor of liberal newspaper Ming Pao
who was stabbed in the street in broad
daylight last February.
“Anti-democratic forces in Hong Kong
keep resorting to violence,” Lai’s spokesman
Mark Simon told AFP. “Violence and intimidation seem to be the ongoing currency
for those opposed to democracy and free
press. There is no other plausible explanation here.”
Yesterday’s two almost simultaneous
attacks came just before 2:00 am at Lai’s
home and the Next Media headquarters,
which publishes Apple Daily.
“ The cases have been classified as
arson,” a police spokeswoman told AFP,
adding no one had been arrested so far.
Security camera footage uploaded to the
Apple Daily website shows a masked man
throwing a flaming glass bottle towards the
gate of Lai’s mansion. It explodes on the
ground outside as the suspect flees in a car.
Footage from outside the Next Media
headquarters also shows a flaming bottle
thrown towards the building entrance and
smashing on the ground.
There were no injuries. The city’s justice
minister Rimsky Yuen condemned the
attacks. “Regardless of who the target is,
the social status, political background or
stance, Hong Kong as a city with rule of law
definitely does not tolerate this,” he said.
The firebombings take place against a
backdrop of increased vigilance at media
organisations across the globe after the
deadly attacks on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris.
Hong Kong’s Democratic Party called on
officials to act. “Following the terrorist
attack at Charlie Hebdo world leaders
stood up and walked the streets of Paris to
participate in a protest against violence.
The Democratic Party also urges officials to
act to protect freedom of the press,” it said.
‘Think twice’
Simon said the attacks were “more
depressing than shocking” and added that
Lai, 66, quickly went back to bed after
being told what had happened.
“He is psychologically prepared for anything. It’s Jimmy Lai,” Simon said.
He emphasised that the attacks “in no
way compared” to those in France but
voiced his fears over the violence. “Peaceful
disagreement has been a norm in Hong
Kong for so long. Pro-government supporters should really think twice about this
kind of violence being imported to Hong
Kong over political issues.”
Apple Daily divides opinion in Hong
Kong, with reporting criticised by some as
“No matter what we think about the
newspaper and its content and style, the
fact remains that it is almost a lone voice
among the Hong Kong media in its prodemocracy stance,” said veteran television
journalist Chan Yuen-man, now a lecturer
at the Chinese University.
“People in the news media are right to
be worried.” Lai was a regular visitor to the
protest camps and was arrested during the
clearance of the main Admiralty site. He has
been asked to appear at a police station later this month.
Police are targeting “principal instigators” of the protests, which called for full
democracy after China declared that candidates for the city’s leadership election in
2017 would be vetted by a loyalist committee. Lai stepped down as chairman of Next
Media in December following his arrest. He
is still a major shareholder. — AFP
PANGKALAN: Indonesian air force personnel carry the flight data recorder of the ill-fated AirAsia Flight 8501 that crashed in the Java Sea, at the
airport in Pangkalan Bun, Indonesia, yesterday. Divers retrieved one black box Monday and located the other from the AirAsia plane that
crashed more than two weeks ago, a key development that should help investigators unravel what caused the aircraft to plummet into the Java
Sea. — AP
Divers retrieve one
AirAsia ‘black box’
Plane probably exploded before hitting water
PANGKALAN BUN: Indonesian navy divers
retrieved the black box flight data recorder from
the wreck of an AirAsia passenger jet yesterday,
a major step towards unravelling the cause of
the crash that killed all 162 people on board.
But there was confusion about what happened in the final moments of Flight QZ8501,
which crashed off the Indonesian coast on Dec
28, with one official saying the plane probably
exploded before hitting the water and another
disputing that theory.
The Airbus A320-200 airliner lost contact with
air traffic control in bad weather less than
halfway into a two-hour flight from Indonesia’s
second-biggest city of Surabaya to Singapore.
“At 7:11, we succeeded in lifting the part of
the black box known as the flight data recorder,”
Fransiskus Bambang Soelistyo, head of the
National Search and Rescue Agency, told
reporters at a news conference.
The second so-called black box, containing
the cockpit voice recorder, is located about 20
metres away from where the flight data recorder
was found, but divers have not yet been able to
get to it.
“(The cockpit voice recorder) seems to be
under a wing, which is quite heavy,” said
Supriyadi, operations coordinator for the search
and rescue agency. “So we will use air bags to lift
it. This will be done tomorrow.”
The black boxes contain a wealth of data that
will be crucial for investigators piecing together
the sequence of events that led to the airliner
plunging into the sea.
Supriyadi said the wreckage indicated that
the plane likely “experienced an explosion”
before hitting the water due to a significant
change in air pressure.
He said the left side of the plane seemed to
have disintegrated, pointing to a change in pressure that could have caused an explosion.
‘No data’ to support theory
Supporting this possibility, he added, was the
fact that fishermen in the area had reported
hearing an explosion and saw smoke above the
water. But another official disputed the likelihood of a blast. “There is no data to support that
kind of theory,” said Santoso Sayogo, an investigator at the National Transportation Safety
The flight data recorder was brought by helicopter to Pangkalan Bun, the southern Borneo
town that has been the base for the search
effort, and then flown to Jakarta for analysis.
The black box looked to be in good condition, said Tatang Kurniadi, the head of the transport safety committee.
Investigators may need up to a month to get
a complete reading of the data.
“The download is easy, probably one day. But
the reading is more difficult ... could take two
weeks to one month,” the NTSC’s head investigator, Mardjono Siswosuwarno, said.
Over the weekend, three vessels detected
“pings” that were believed to be from the black
boxes, but strong winds, powerful currents and
high waves hampered search efforts.
Dozens of Indonesian navy divers took
advantage of calmer weather on Monday to
retrieve the flight recorder and search for the
fuselage of the Airbus.
Forty-eight bodies have been retrieved from
the Java Sea and brought to Surabaya for identification. Searchers believe more bodies will be
found in the plane’s fuselage. Relatives of the
victims have urged authorities to make finding
the remains of their loved ones the priority.
“I told our soldiers that the search isn’t over
yet,” Armed Forces chief General Moeldoko told
reporters. “I am sure the remaining victims are in
the body of the plane. So we need to find those.”
Indonesia AirAsia, 49 percent owned by the
Malaysia-based AirAsia budget group, has come
under pressure from authorities in Jakarta since
the crash. The transport ministry has suspended
the carrier’s Surabaya-Singapore licence for flying on a Sunday, for which it did not have permission. However, the ministry has said this had
no bearing on the crash.
President Joko Widodo said the disaster
exposed widespread problems in the management of air travel in Indonesia. — Reuters
Pope to travel in ‘jeepney’ during Philippines visit
HONG KONG: A woman reads a newspaper at a kiosk in Hong Kong yesterday.
Firebomb attacks on the Hong Kong home and office of pro-democracy newspaper
tycoon Jimmy have triggered new fears over the safety of outspoken media figures
in the city. — AFP
29 arrested over Malaysia
‘birthday orgy’ party
KUALA LUMPUR: Police in mainly Muslim
Malaysia arrested 29 people including two
auxiliary police officers in a raid on an
birthday party which they said yesterday
had turned into a drug-fuelled orgy.
Officers were called to a hotel in the
town of Klang near the capital Kuala
Lumpur early Sunday after a complaint
about noise in one of the rooms. Ten
women and 19 men were arrested while
drugs including heroin, ecstasy and ketamine were impounded, police said.
“We suspect it to be a sex orgy cum
birthday party,” said North Klang police
chief Mohamad Shukor Sulong. A police
officer involved in the investigation told
AFP on condition of anonymity that all 29
were ethnic Malays, who belong to the
multi-cultural country’s Muslim majority,
and ranged in age from 20 to 35.
“They brought girls, drugs and beer to
celebrate the birthday party,” the officer said.
Premarital sex and lewd behaviour are
deeply frowned upon in Malaysia, which has
traditionally practised a relatively moderate
brand of Islam yet remains conservative on
sexual issues. Muslims who are merely
caught alone in a secluded place with a
member of the opposite sex who is not a
relation can face up to two years’ jail and a
fine. Muslims make up more than half the
country’s nearly 30 million people. —AFP
MANILA: Pope Francis will travel in a different kind
of “popemobile” during his visit to the Philippines later this week-an open “jeepney”, organisers said yesterday. The iconic jeepney-originally made from converted US military jeeps left behind after World War
II-has become a symbol of the Philippines and still
serves as a mode of transportation throughout the
One of three vehicles to be used by Francis will be
built like a jeepney, which is known in the country as
the “king of the road” and transports anything from
people to farm animals and produce.
While jeepney’s are often painted with colourful
religious scenes, the pontiff’s vehicle will be plain
white, a photograph from the organising committee
showed. “We will do everything for his safety,” Bishop
Ruperto Santos from the organising committee told
reporters, when asked if the open vehicle could render the pontiff vulnerable.
Pope Francis, who has shunned the pomp of his
predecessors, said earlier this year he prefers to use
open-top cars rather than the Vatican’s bulletproof
“popemobile” used by previous pontiffs, which he
called a “sardine can”.
The jeepney-inspired popemobile is one of two
built in the Philippines specifically for this week’s
papal visit. Organisers did not elaborate on the style
of the second vehicle, while the third, the popemobile used in South Korea last year, will be flown into
the country.
Francis will arrive in Manila on Thursday from Sri
Lanka, marking his first visit to Catholicism’s Asian
bastion. During the visit, which has the theme “mercy
and compassion”, the pope will meet with President
Benigno Aquino in Manila and say mass before millions in the capital’s main outdoor park.
Security will be tight at the Manila mass as organisers said they were considering jamming mobile
phone signals and advised the public to bring transparent bags instead of backpacks to ease security
checks. During Pope John Paul’s visit in 1995, authori-
ties said they foiled a plot to assassinate him. Francis
will also meet Super Typhoon Haiyan survivors on
the island of Leyte. Haiyan, the strongest typhoon to
hit land with 230-kilometre (143-mile) per hour
winds, brought tsunami-like waves to the central
Philippines, wiping out entire towns and leaving
more than 7,350 people dead or missing in
November 2013. — AFP
MANILA: Filipino workers place barriers as they prepare for the visit of Pope Francis in Manila,
Philippines yesterday. Pope Francis embarks on his second Asian pilgrimage this week, visiting
Sri Lanka and the Philippines exactly 20 years after St John Paul II’s record-making visit to two
countries with wildly disparate Catholic populations. — AP
A Syrian man carries wood for a fire in the rebel-held city of Douma on Sunday. — AFP
Saudi cleric condemns anti-Islamic...
Continued from Page 1
for everything in their lives, and a cleric who wants
to interfere in everything in the lives of others through
a fatwa,” the user wrote.
Sheikh Munajjid had some supporters, however. “It
(building snowmen) is imitating the infidels, it promotes lustiness and eroticism,” one wrote. “May God
preserve the scholars, for they enjoy sharp vision and
recognise matters that even Satan does not think
about.” Snow has covered upland areas of Tabuk
province near Saudi Arabia’s border with Jordan for the
third consecutive year as cold weather swept across
the Middle East.
Separately, authorities in Qatar have ordered bottles
of perfume pulled from the shelves of a lingerie store
after the name of the product - “Victoria’s Secret:
Strawberries and Champagne” - was deemed offensive.
Perfumes as well as creams and a body mist product
were all removed from the shelves at one of Qatar’s
main shopping centres, the Landmark Mall in Doha. The
economy and commerce ministry said on Twitter over
the weekend that the products went against the “customs, traditions and religious values” of Qatar.
The ministry provided no further explanation, but
the reference to Champagne may have been problematic given the Gulf state’s strict regulation of alcohol
sales. Alcohol is not banned in Qatar but its sale is limited to certain hotels and bars. Expatriates can buy alcohol but only if they have an official licence and earn
over a certain amount of money. An employee at the
store told AFP that the products had been removed on
Saturday “because of the name”, suggesting that a complaint may have been made to authorities.
On its website, Victoria’s Secret describes the product
as “a tempting, fruity fragrance... with a splash of flirtation”. A Qatari online news service, Doha News, reported
separately that perfume bottles featuring the Playboy
logo had been removed from another store in Doha.
Energy-rich Gulf emirate Qatar is deeply conservative
but also home to hundreds of thousands of expatriate
workers who far outnumber native Qataris. — Agencies
Govt firm on new diesel prices, but open...
Continued from Page 1
170 fils a litre to be in line with international price
or 170 fils a litre, whichever is lower. Regarding plans
to reduce subsidies on petrol, Omair said that the government will not take any unilateral action on the
issue and will not “surprise” the National Assembly.
In a related development, MP Khalil Abul asked the
oil minister about the names of companies that are
receiving subsidized diesel from the government and
for what reason. He also asked about the quantities of
diesel these companies consume on a daily basis and
also demanded to know the size of the strategic inventory of refined oil products and their averages over the
past five years.
In another development, a number of MPs yesterday called on the Assembly to reverse a decision by
the legal and legislative committee which refused to
lift the immunity of MP Abdulhameed Dashti to be
tried for statements considered offensive to Bahrain.
Islamist Salafist MP Abdulrahman Al-Jeeran said the
Assembly must lift Dashti’s immunity to allow the
court to try him for making the provocative statements against Bahrain. The Assembly is expected to
witness a heated debate over the issue in today’s session.
Separately, Human Rights Watch called on Kuwait
yesterday to drop charges against former lawmaker
Saleh Al-Mulla, facing trial for tweets deemed critical
of HH the Amir and the Egyptian president. “Kuwait
authorities should also cease prosecutions against
other peaceful critics,” the New York-based rights
group said in a statement. Mulla, a liberal former lawmaker, was detained for five days before being
released on bail on Sunday pending trial on Feb 15.
He was accused of insulting HH the Amir Sheikh
Sabah Al-Ahmad al-Sabah and Egyptian President
Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, who visited the state last week. He
was also charged with endangering Kuwaiti-Egyptian
relations. “Mulla’s tweets are nothing more than political commentary,” said HRW’s deputy Middle East and
North Africa director, Nadim Houry. “If he is prosecuted
for these tweets, it will be a textbook violation of protected free speech.”
Since a political crisis in June 2012, Kuwaiti authorities have ramped up efforts to curtail dissent, with
courts sentencing politicians, online activists and journalists to prison terms for exercising free speech
rights, HRW said. In 2014, the authorities used the constitution and a raft of restrictive laws to prosecute at
least 13 people for criticising the government or institutions in blogs or on Twitter, Facebook or other social
media, it added. At least five of those prosecuted were
convicted and sentenced to up to five years in prison.
‘Muslim’ Birmingham remark draws...
Continued from Page 1
“Fox News apologises for calling Birmingham ‘beautiful’,”
wrote several Twitter users.
According to the latest census data from 2011, 21.8 percent of
the city’s one million residents are Muslim - one of the highest
proportions in Britain. Bemused Britons - including locals known
as “Brummies” - meanwhile mocked Emerson. Under the hashtag
#foxnewsfacts, user @chris_wilde tweeted a picture of a convoy
of jihadists waving black Islamic State group flags with the quip:
“Heavy traffic reported in Birmingham today”.
The 1980s Birmingham band Duran Duran have been forced
to change their name to Quran Quran, joked @msalimkassam,
while @petermoore said of the city’s landmark telecom tower:
“Birmingham City Mosque is among the tallest and most sacred
in all Islam”. Journalist Rob Crilly, writing also on Twitter, joked
that Birmingham Bullring, a shopping centre, was in fact “where
Christians were put to death”.
One Twitter user said Birmingham buildings wear burqas and
posted a photo of a building covered in scaffolding. “Bizarre.
Ridiculous. Nonsense. These are the only words I can use to
describe the statement made by Steve Emerson,” said
Birmingham lawmaker Shabana Mahmood. “His apology is welcome but frankly the fact that anyone in his line of work could
even hold those views is concerning.” Some 1,500 people have
signed an online petition demanding an on-air apology to the
city’s residents.
“The city is now called Birming because Ham is not halal,” said
Kamila Shamsie, using the popular hashtag #foxnewsfacts.
“Muslims have their own Mecca in Birmingham. They are trying
to take over the whole UK now,” tweeted “Moss”. Mecca is a chain
of bingo halls popular with some elderly Britons.
Many made references to the city’s cricketing tradition.
“Terrifying photo of how a typical Muslim from Birmingham
guards the city gates against infidels,” wrote “Pavilion Opinions”
below an image of cricketer Moeen Ali, who plays for England
and sports a bushy beard, preparing to swing his bat. Another
published a picture of Queen Elizabeth II in a kerchief reading: “In
the UK, the Queen must wear a headscarf by law when she visits
Birmingham.” A third referred to Britain’s unpredictable climate,
joking that Muslims were in fact controlling it: “In some places it’s
Sunni, but mainly Shiite”.— Agencies
Debate on free expression rages
Continued from Page 1
In an editorial shortly after the attack, The Guardian
chimed in: “The key point is this: support for a magazine’s
inalienable right to make its own editorial judgments does
not commit you to echo or amplify those judgments.” “Put
another way, defending the right of someone to say whatever
they like does not oblige you to repeat their words,” it said,
after many Western newspapers were condemned by freespeech campaigners for refusing to reprint Charlie Hebdo’s
cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday blasted
Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu for “daring” to attend the
weekend’s anti-terror solidarity march in Paris, accusing him of
leading “state terrorism” against the Palestinians. The comments were the latest verbal assault against Netanyahu by
Erdogan, under whose rule Turkey’s relations with Israel have
steadily deteriorated. “I also hardly understand how he
(Netanyahu) dared to go there. For once, you give an account
for the children, women you massacred,” Erdogan told a joint
press conference in Ankara alongside Palestinian president
Mahmud Abbas.
Abbas and Netanyahu, as well as Turkish Prime Minister
Ahmet Davutoglu, all joined the solidarity march in Paris in
the memory of 17 people killed last week. But Erdogan said
Netanyahu had no right to be there after nearly 2,200
Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed in Israel’s onslaught
on Hamas-controlled Gaza earlier this year. “How can you see
this individual who carries out state terrorism by massacring
2,500 people in Gaza waving his hand?” said Erdogan. “He is
waving his hand as if people are very enthusiastically waiting
for him,” said Erdogan, referring to the images of Netanyahu
acknowledging supporters in Paris.
The assault, the deadliest attack on France in half a century,
has sparked a massive show of support, with more than 1.5
million people mourning the victims in the Paris march,
including several world leaders. In all, nearly four million people took to the streets of France nationwide, while thousands
marched in European, US and Canadian cities.
Many were unconvinced by the world leaders’ attendance
in Paris, with London School of Economics student Daniel
Wickham publishing a series of widely cited tweets listing the
various moves against media rights made by high-profile
attendees. “So here are some of the staunch defenders of the
free press attending the solidarity rally in Paris today,” he
wrote, citing a litany of arrests, detentions and beatings of
journalists by some of the countries represented at the march.
Several Asian newspapers, particularly in countries with a
large Muslim population or where the government suppresses the media, condemned the attacks but argued against an
unfettered free press. The New Straits Times, the English
mouthpiece of Malaysia’s Muslim-dominated government,
published an editorial Monday under the headline “Perils of
free expression”, suggesting Charlie Hebdo got away with
what amounted to incendiary hate speech because it had a
“position of strong influence” in the media.”Charlie Hebdo had
a following and cannot spread what is tantamount to a hate
message with impunity.” — Agencies
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Egyptian activist
abandons politics
ahead of polls
By Mahmoud Mourad and Maggie Fick
hen protests erupted in Cairo in 2011, liberal activist
Hassan El-Erian quickly mobilised demonstrations in
his hometown of Zagazig, risking arrest, or worse, to
push for democracy. Inspired by the toppling of Egyptian
President Hosni Mubarak and Arab Spring uprisings which
removed other veteran autocrats, Erian then contested parliamentary elections. Nearly four years later, Erian, now 30, is
a prime example of disillusionment with politics in the
biggest Arab country.
Discouraged by what human rights groups say is widespread repression and what he says is a disinterested public,
Erian, whose father was also an activist, plans to boycott parliamentary elections in March and April. Egypt’s government
describes the polls as critical, the last leg of a roadmap to
democracy announced after the army ousted the nation’s
first-democratically elected president in 2013. “The street no
longer believes in the youth and the revolution. They fear
change,” he told Reuters at a cafe near the university in
Zagazig, north of Cairo, and a centre for the cotton and grain
trade of Egypt.
Once thrilled by the people power which removed
Mubarak’s ruthless security forces, Egyptians are now tolerating tough crackdowns under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
for the sake of stability after years of upheaval triggered by
the Arab Spring. As army chief, Sisi pushed out President
Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood after mass
protests against his rule which critics say was characterised
by growing authoritarianism.
The departure of Morsi, whose hometown was near
Zagazig, was followed by one of the fiercest campaigns
against Islamists - hundreds were killed and thousands
arrested - and then liberal activists. Critics accused Sisi of
delaying the polls to tighten his grip on power by passing
legislation that curbs freedoms. Mubarak’s former military
intelligence chief says he is committed to democracy.
Change in Spirit
Draft legislation further narrows the space for dissent.
One bill loosely defines terrorism as anything harmful to
national unity. It could give security forces a freer hand to
crush opponents. Those changes contributed to a change in
spirit in Zagazig, the scene of lively campaigning and fierce
competition during parliamentary polls in 2011 and 2012
after Mubarak’s demise. The Brotherhood fielded candidates
and organised rallies, eventually trouncing liberals like Erian,
who says the movement was just as power hungry as
Mubarak. Nevertheless, he was happy just competing in
polls after growing up in Mubarak’s 30-year dictatorship.
There is no sign of that passion now, only a few reminders of
how bitter Muslim Brotherhood members are after suffering
from what they say was a coup which robbed them of power.
In a drafty apartment building near the city’s university,
Brotherhood members and former politicians who once
promised to transform Egypt are too nervous to talk to journalists because many of their comrades are behind bars,
some sentenced to death. Old, red graffiti is scrawled on
walls of the building, where M0rsi once lived. “Sisi is a killer”
and “Morsi is President”.
With no signs that Western allies will apply significant
pressure on Egypt to press for the kind of freedom sought in
the 2011 Tahrir Square protests, change is unlikely. While
activists languish behind bars, a court last month dropped
charges against Mubarak, and acquitted his interior minister
and six aides over the killing of protesters in that uprising.
Erian was detained several times by Mubarak’s security
forces for protesting. He now wonders whether his prodemocracy efforts were wasted. “The Mubarak regime never
fell until now,” said Erian who delayed his engineering studies for fulltime activism but is now returning to university.
Cost of Resistance
The repressive climate has made the cost of resistance
higher than ever. Under Sisi’s watch, protesting is riskier than
ever because of a new law that restricts demonstrations.
“The sacrifices in 2011 and before had real outcomes. Now
the sacrifices are huge but unfortunately fruitless,” said Erian.
There are no indications that Egyptians will stage another
uprising, and there is no credible opposition to challenge
Sisi. During Mubarak’s time, the Brotherhood was officially
banned but tolerated and allowed to run in parliament as
independents. That room for manoeuvre is gone.
“In 2015, the opposition is in a weak position indeed - its
boycott threats have been largely ignored and the regime
does not seem to mind driving Islamists outside the system,”
said Egypt expert Nathan Brown, a professor at George
Washington University in the United States. “It is not really
clear that there is an above-ground opposition in Egypt
today.” Some Egyptians in Zagazig and elsewhere are
encouraged by the political landscape. Magdy Ashour, a former Zagazig MP from Mubarak’s National Democratic Party
(NDP), said he is excited by the election. Loyalists of the man
who ruled with an iron fist have a right to compete for seats
again as long as they are not corrupt, he said. — Reuters
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.
US accused of faux pas over no-show
By Jerume Cartillier
o president, no vice-president, no senior government minister. The absence
of a top-ranking official at Sunday’s historic mass rally in Paris outraged some US
commentators and politicians, with many
accusing President Barack Obama of letting
down ally France. Suggestions of a diplomatic
faux pas put US officials on the defensive
Monday, with famously francophile Secretary
of State John Kerry emphasizing he planned
to head to Paris as soon as his current trip to
South Asia is finished.
Speaking in India, Kerry said he would
travel to Paris on Friday, rejecting accusations
that Washington had failed to show sufficient
support to France at a time of national soulsearching following last week’s bloody
jihadist attacks in Paris, which left 17 dead. “I
think I must have been one of the first people
in the world to have gone out publicly and
spoken to the people of France about this, to
our shock and horror and our very, very
strong connection with the French at that
moment,” a visibly stung Kerry said. “And the
president also went out within hours and
spoke about it.”
Yet the absence of a senior US presence at
Sunday’s march, which was attended by some
50 world leaders including the Israeli prime
minister and the Palestinian president, was
greeted with disbelief. Adding to the sense of
dismay among some American pundits and
lawmakers, US Attorney General Eric Holder
had been in Paris for a meeting on terrorism,
but did not join the rally.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Attorney
General Eric Holder... just had no time in their
schedules on Sunday.” The tabloid New York
Daily News issued a blunter indictment of the
no-show in a front-page headline addressed
to American officials: “You let the world
down.” American officials said the United
States was represented on Sunday by the
ambassador to Paris, Jane Hartley. “Proud to
represent the American people today alongside our French friends in mourning,” Hartley
wrote on Twitter in French on Sunday.
‘You Let the World Down’
CNN journalist Jake Tapper, one of the television news channel’s main anchors covering the attacks in Paris, spoke of his “shame”
at the lack of high-ranking US representation.
“I say this as an American -not as a journalist,
not as a representative of CNN - but as an
American: I was ashamed,” Tapper wrote in a
blog on CNN’s website. “I find it hard to
believe that collectively President Obama,
Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State
John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel,
‘Not About Us’
US officials also pointed out that Kerry was
on a longstanding trip to India that made it
impossible to attend. Washington officials
also say that the security circus surrounding
any trip by a US president or vice president
may have risked deflecting attention away
from the spirit of Sunday’s occasion. “For once
this is not about us,” a US official said. Yet the
explanations failed to stem the tide of criticism, particularly from Obama’s staunch
Republican rivals. “Our President should have
been there, because we must never hesitate
to stand with our allies,” said Republican Ted
Cruz. Marco Rubio, who like Cruz is seen as a
possible Republican challenger for the White
House in 2016, also criticized the absence but
said he understood the argument that presidential security may have been disruptive. “I
thought it was a mistake not to send someone,” Rubio said. “There are a plethora of people they could have sent. I think in hindsight, I
would hope that they would do it differently.”
Privately, French officials played down the
alleged snub, and the French embassy in
Washington insisted that Paris was fully satisfied by their ally’s response. “As far as the
reactions of the US authorities are concerned,
we have been overwhelmed and very moved
by them since the beginning of the crisis,” the
mission spokesman told AFP He thanked the
United States for “numerous public statements by President Obama, Secretary Kerry
(in French !), multiple phone calls at the highest level and, of course, the signature of our
condolence book here at the embassy by the
president.” — AFP
In resort towns, working class squeezed out
By Nicholas Riccardi
t first, Loly Garcia didn’t have to travel
far to her jobs in the chic hotels of
this fabled tourist town. She shared a
tiny studio apartment with her father,
brother and a cousin after arriving from El
Salvador more than 20 years ago. But after
she married and wanted a home of her
own, she had to drive 23 miles west, past
tracts of empty land and vacant mansions
whose owners visit only a couple of weeks a
year, to the mobile home park where she
now lives. The drive eventually wore her
down, and she decided to take lower-paying work closer to home. “That commute it becomes 10 hours a week. It’s like working an extra day,” said Garcia, 49. “It’s hard to
live here.”
Resort towns like Aspen dramatically
demonstrate an unnerving trend: Across
the country, the rich are getting richer while
the rest of the country is essentially treading water. From 2009 to 2012, inflationadjusted income for the wealthiest 1 percent of U.S. households surged 31 percent,
according to economist Emmanuel Saez of
the University of California, Berkeley. For
everyone else, income inched up just 0.4
percent. In Aspen, the division is especially
stark because it goes beyond mere money.
The wealth gap is also a geographic divide.
The people who clean the vacation homes,
maintain the mansions’ gardens and work
in the hotels must find housing in mobile
home parks or subdivisions squeezed into
the few acres of developable space dozens
of miles to the west. A lucky few - about half
of Aspen’s year-round population of 6,700 are able to score units in the town’s unusual
affordable housing program that, on the
open market, would sell for millions of dollars.
Meanwhile, residents who struggle to
find affordable real estate watch an increasing number of houses in town become
rarely inhabited vacation properties. “It’s a
mirror image of Detroit, where wealth, not
poverty, is driving population down,” said
Mick Ireland, a former three-term Aspen
mayor. Aspen’s dilemma is similar to that of
other resort towns, from Nantucket,
Massachusetts, to Park City, Utah, especially
those nestled in the jagged terrain of the
western United States. In the West, vast
tracts of public land and sheer mountain
In this Dec 2, 2014 photo, Loly Garcia works on a computer at her home in El Jebel,
Colorado, a small community about 20 miles northwest of Aspen. — AP
faces prevent the easy development of suburbs to house workers, pushing clusters of
more affordable housing many miles away.
The jobs in these communities are largely in the lower-paying service industry, yet
the resort towns are a destination for the
global upper class, said Bill Hettinger,
author of “Living and Working in Paradise,” a
book on resort towns. “In New York City, you
can house your resort workers in the Bronx
or Queens. But in Aspen, they’re in Rifle,
(about 70) miles down an icy mountain
road,” Hettinger said. “That’s the problem
any resort community faces. It has no middle-income base to build on.”
Aspen’s median family income of
$71,000 is higher than the state average.
But the further “down-valley,” or to the west,
you drive, the more incomes drop until you
hit Glenwood Springs, 51 miles west, where
the median family income of $54,000 is
below average and carpenters, plumbers
and other laborers regularly spend hours
commuting to Aspen.
The situation would be worse had Aspen
not gone to extraordinary lengths to try to
avoid being hollowed out by the departure
of middle-class and working-class residents.
Financed by a 1.5 percent charge on real
estate sales and a mandate that any new
projects include affordable housing, the city
and county run a 40-year-old program that
allows people who have worked for one
year or longer in Aspen to rent, or buy,
cheap residences.
Priced Out
Some of these properties are in prime
position, like one-bedroom ski-in, ski-out
units at the base of the lifts downtown,
added to a new development to comply
with the city’s regulations. The properties
are allocated in an online lottery. Before the
Internet age, the whole town was riveted by
suspense over who would win a cherished
affordable home. Names were drawn out of
a hopper, and the event was broadcast live
on the local radio station. Doctors and
lawyers, as priced out of most homes here
as carpenters and bartenders, take advantage of the program. Everyone in town
praises the program for maintaining a critical mass of year-round families that give
Aspen a more lived-in feel than many of its
“Most ski towns are 20 and drunk, and
75 and retired,” said Adam Frisch, 47, an
Aspen city councilman, father of two and
former banker who was able to buy a house
outside the affordable housing program what’s referred to as a “free market” property. The housing program has helped maintain part of Aspen’s legend, a place where
ski bums and teachers rubbed shoulders
with rock stars and millionaires in the 1960s
and 1970s - and today with billionaires and
hedge fund titans.
But many in town grumble about
inequality. The mordant joke is that the billionaires are pushing out the millionaires.
Cheaper eateries frequented by locals are
relentlessly replaced by upscale restaurants
and high-end shops, and even the Aspen
realtor’s association office was pushed out
of town because it couldn’t afford to pay
the skyrocketing rents in a place where the
average property sale is $5 million.
Frisch said he doesn’t feel the town has
changed, just income inequality nationally,
which shows up here in a concentrated
form. “In the 1970s, that upper, upper,
upper echelon, they were making 10 times
more than the $40,000-a-year teacher,”
Frisch said. “That same group that shows up
here, they are 100 times wealthier than the
painter, than the teacher, than the ski bum,
than they were in the ‘80s. The homes are
bigger, the jets are bigger.”
Ireland, however, warned that Aspen’s
feel is different than a decade or two ago,
when year-round residents lived in all parts
of town. “When I moved to town, you could
rent a room one of those houses on the
west end, and the owner would come out
for the music festival in the summer,” said
Ireland, who arrived in 1979. “Now the guy
doesn’t need your $400-a-month and doesn’t want you trampling on the carpet.”
Some here say living amid rampant
inequality is just the price one pays for
residing in what locals sometimes call
“Disneyland for adults”. Elizabeth Milias, a
former official in President George W Bush’s
administration who writes a blog critical of
Aspen’s political establishment, said she
has grown tired of complaints. “There’s that
sense that, my God, their lives would have
been so much better if they lived in
Cleveland,” she said. “Aspen can’t exist without high-end tourists. They signed up for
that.” That’s why Jose Herrera moved to
these mountains from Mexico. The 25-yearold construction worker can’t afford the
prices in town and lives dozens of miles
away in a mobile home park. But he doesn’t resent the wealthy. “ The company
where I work builds houses for rich people,
and because of that it pays well,” Herrera
said. “One way or another, we help each
other out.” — AP
Powell tries new regime
Slanging match over referee
West Ham look for goals
KINGSTON: Jamaica’s Asafa Powell, who has struggled to produce form his
best at major championships, believes a change in coach and a new
approach to training will improve his fortunes.
The sprinter who held the 100m world record between 2005 and 2008
before compatriot Usain Bolt lowered it to 9.58 seconds believes he can
rediscover his form and improve his personal best of 9.72. “Anything is possible. Justin Gatlin surprised me last year he ran his personal best times of
(9.77 & 19.68) at age 32,” said Powell, who ended 2014 as the fastest Jamaican
with 9.87 seconds after serving a six-month drug suspension for using the
banned stimulant Oxilofrine. “I think I’m capable of doing a lot more than
most of the sprinters out there My best is yet to come, so it’s
just to be patient,” said Powell who is eying gold at this
year’s world championships in Beijing. “I feel a lot
stronger, I’m a lot more focused and I think I’m smarter
now, so I know what it takes to do it. It’s just to put myself
out there and do what I’m supposed to do,” added the
man who has run a world-record 84 times under
10 seconds. Powell’s brother Donovan, a 100m
quarter-finalist at the 1997 world championships, is backing his 32-year-old sibling to
add gold to his two bronze medals from
2007 and 2009. —Reuters
MILAN: Serie A was bogged down in another refereeing controversy on
Monday as Napoli and Juventus became involved in a slanging match over
their match on Sunday. Juventus, 3-1 winners, reacted angrily after Napoli
president Aurelio Di Laurentiis said a hairline decision which allowed Juve’s
second goal to stand was “either bad faith or incompetence”.
Juve’s win took them three points clear of AS Roma at the top and 13
ahead of Napoli, who are joint fifth. “We are tired. Juventus are a strong
team, and if they are helped by the referees, they become unbeatable,” Di
Laurentiis said on Twitter. “It’s unacceptable that six referees cannot see two
players offside. Either it is bad faith or incompetence. These six referees
should be banned for a long time.” Napoli claimed that Martin Caceres was
offside when he headed Juve’s second goal, although replays showed it was
only a question of millimetres, if at all.
They were also angry after having a goal of their own disallowed shortly
afterwards for a foul by Kalidou Koulibaly on Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi
Buffon. “They taught me a phrase when facing Juventus: ‘It can happen.’ On
the offside it is very difficult to tell as Maggio is right behind Caceres,” Napoli
coach Rafael Benitez said. “It can happen.
“The Koulibaly goal that was disallowed, it can happen. Koulibaly
jumped, the goalkeeper fell into him, it was Buffon’s momentum that took
him towards the defender. It is not a foul.” —Reuters
LONDON: West Ham United must start scoring more freely again and tighten up defensively when they face Everton in an FA Cup third-round replay
today, manager Sam Allardyce said yesterday.
The teams drew 1-1 at Goodison Park last week and Allardyce is looking
to guide his team to a first win in six matches. West Ham took the lead in
their last three games against West Bromwich Albion, Everton and Swansea
City but were pegged back to 1-1 on each occasion.
“It’s a concern, we are not as free scoring as we were,” Allardyce told a
news conference. “The results have dipped a bit but the performances
haven’t. “One thing that has to happen is we get to more resilient defensively. We’re becoming a much more creative side but our defensive weaknesses have been exploited too much.
“In order to win football games you need to make sure
you’re strong enough in both departments. “We’ve only had
four clean sheets so far and that’s not good enough to keep
you in the top six.” West Ham have slipped back to seventh in
the Premier League but Everton are on an even worse run
having lost four and drawn two of their last six matches.
They needed a last-minute equaliser from Romelu Lukaku
to rescue a 1-1 draw against the Hammers at Goodison last
week but gave an improved performance to draw 1-1 with
Manchester City on Saturday. —Reuters
ANAHEIM: Jakob Silfverberg No. 33 of
the Anaheim Ducks battles for the puck
against Toby Enstrom No.39 and Jay
Harrison No.23 of the Winnipeg Jets
during a game at Honda Center. —AFP
NHL results/standings
Florida 4, Edmonton 2; Chicago 4, Minnesota 1; Anaheim 5, Winnipeg 4 (SO).
Ducks ground Jets
ANAHEIM: Sami Vatanen scored in the sixth round of the shootout, and
the Anaheim Ducks rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period for
a 5-4 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday night.
Rickard Rakell scored the tying goal with 2:03 left for the Ducks, capping the first multipoint game of his NHL career with two goals and two
assists. Rakell and Ryan Kesler scored shootout goals to keep the game
alive after Blake Wheeler and Evander Kane scored early for Winnipeg.
Mark Scheifele missed in the sixth round before Vatanen beat Ondrej
Pavelec to clinch the NHL-leading Ducks’ third win in four games.
Vatanen won it for his fellow Finn after a pregame ceremony honoring
Teemu Selanne, whose No. 8 jersey was retired by the Ducks.
Marian Hossa, Bryan Bickell and Brad Richards each had a goal and
an assist, leading the Chicago Blackhawks over the sliding Minnesota
Wild. Defenseman Johnny Oduya also scored and Corey Crawford had
36 saves as Chicago rebounded from an ugly 5-2 loss at Edmonton on
Friday night. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane added two assists apiece
in the opener of a four-game homestand.
The weary Wild dropped their fifth consecutive game, including a 3-1
home loss to Nashville on Saturday night. Matt Cooke scored his third
goal in the third period, and Niklas Backstrom had 31 saves in his third
consecutive start. The Blackhawks improved to 3-0 against the Wild this
season with their second win over Minnesota in four days.
Brian Campbell scored the go-ahead goal in the second period, and
the Florida Panthers got two more scores in the third period to win their
third straight with a victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
Tomas Kopecky, Jimmy Hayes and Sean Bergenheim also scored for
the Panthers, who are 4-1 through the first five games of a six-game
road trip. Jussi Jokinen added a pair of assists, and Roberto Luongo
made 31 saves. Jordan Eberle and Benoit Pouliot scored for the Oilers,
who have won just four times in their last 28 games. — AP
Western Conference
Pacific Division
27 10 6 121
23 14 3 113
San Jose
22 16 5 116
Los Angeles
19 13 10 119
22 18 3 123
16 21 4 97
10 24 9 97
Central Division
28 9 4 125
28 13 2 134
St. Louis
26 13 3 136
21 14 8 113
18 16 8 112
18 16 7 126
18 18 5 111
Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division
Tampa Bay
27 12 4 140
111 58
26 12 3 111 95 55
22 11 9 117 106 53
22 15 6 113 111 50
20 11 9 100 105 49
22 17 3 137 130 47
17 16 8 110 113 42
14 26 3 81 147 31
Metropolitan Division
NY Islanders 28 13 1 131 116 57
25 10 6 122 98 56
NY Rangers
24 11 4 124 95 52
Washington 22 11 8 123 105 52
18 19 3 104 131 39
Philadelphia 16 19 7 112 126 39
New Jersey
15 21 8 96 124 38
13 24 5 88 112 31
Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one
point in the standings and are not included
in the loss column (L).
Panerai Transat Classique 2015
MARTINIQUE: The epic classic and vintage
yacht regatta par excellence makes a welcome return in the New Year. A marvellous
fleet of grandes dames of the sea casts off
from the island of Lanzarote recently on a
race of over 2,800 nautical miles across the
Atlantic Ocean to For t-de -France in
Martinique, the port of arrival for the Panerai
Transat Classique 2015.
Three years on from the victor y of
Bermudan ketch White Dolphin at the finishline on the island of Barbados in the 2012 edition, the new fleet is preparing for a challenge
that encompasses not just the courage, passion and heroism but also the timeless elegance that makes every classic boat unique.
Once again for the 2015 edition, the honor of
victory aside, the owner of the winning yacht
will be presented with an exclusive watch
from the Officine Panerai collections.
“Racing generates the adrenalin that only
those who push themselves to the limit can
ever know. And when you combine the discipline of sailing with the cohesion of a crew
working in harmony for a common aim, the
ocean becomes the most marvellous of playgrounds,” declared Olivier PÈcoux, president
of the Atlantic Yacht Club, which has organized the 2012 and 2015 edition with the technical and organisational assistance of the
Comet Organisation.
Started in 2012, the Atlantic Yacht Club’s
partnership with Officine Panerai is a natural
extension of the Florentine luxury sports
watch-maker’s commitment to classic sailing.
Officine Panerai is already the undisputed
leader in that area thanks to its sponsorship of
the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, the top
international circuit for such craft. “Elegance,
history, artisanal craftsmanship, uniqueness.
The allure of vintage sailing is the product of
age-old values which it shares with luxury
sports watch-making. The Panerai Transat
Classique 2015 is an event that not only
expresses those same values but
also encompasses a great passion for the
sea, a sense of challenge and the audacity of
confronting the ocean”, declared Officine
Panerai CEO Angelo Bonati.
The transatlantic fleet will include yachts of
different sizes from various eras in the history
of sailing. The oldest member is the extraordinary gaff schooner, Adventuress, built in 1924
by legendary Scottish naval designer William
Fife III. At 31 metres in length, she is second in
size only to the other Fife schooner racing, the
40-metre-plus Altair built in 1931. The iconic
New York naval designer Olin Stephens will
also be present in spirit at least, thanks to the
1971 yawl Amazon and the 1975 sloop
Gweneven. In the fleet too is a regular from
the Panerai racing circuit: The Blue Peter, a
wonderfully elegant 1930 Marconi cutter.
Classic sailing enthusiasts can follow the
race minute-byminute on the website which will
be constantly updated and feature detailed
information on the event itself, the participants, and the start and arrival ports. The
boats should all have made landfall at
Martinique by the end of January 2015.
MEMPHIS: Phoenix Suns guard Isaiah Thomas (3) loses the ball as he drives between Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (11) and foward Tony Allen (9) in the second half of an NBA basketball game. — AP
Grizzlies outlast Suns, T’Blazers win
MEMPHIS: Marc Gasol scored the first seven points
in the second overtime, Zach Randolph had 27 points
and 17 rebounds and the Memphis Grizzlies outlasted the Phoenix Suns 122-110 on Sunday night. Gasol
finished with 12 points to help Memphis end a twogame losing streak. Mike Conley added 25 points and
eight assists and Courtney Lee had 18 points. Isaiah
Thomas led Phoenix with 20 points, but had a costly
turnover trying to get the ball into the front court
with the Suns leading late in the first overtime.
Markieff Morris added 17 points, Alex Len had 14
points and 13 rebounds, and P.J. Tucker, Eric Bledsoe
and Marcus Morris had 11 points apiece.
Tucker’s layup tied it 101 with 5.9 left in regulation. The Grizzlies begged for basket interference,
saying Bledsoe pulled the net as the ball was bouncing on the rim. Bledsoe’s 3-pointer with 33.3 seconds
left in the first overtime gave the Suns a 108-106 lead.
The Suns stopped the Grizzlies on the next possession, but Thomas gave away the ball and Lee - fouled
by Dragic - made two free throws with 16.2 left.
Bledsoe then missed at the buzzer, forcing the second extra period. The Suns trailed by 16 in the second half and 14 early in the fourth quarter.
Damian Lillard scored 17 of his 34 points in the
fourth quarter, leading Portland past Los Angeles.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 15 points and nine rebounds,
and Chris Kaman added 12 rebounds and nine assists
in his fourth start of the season and second against
his former team. The Blazers have won 27 of their last
32 games and are a season-best 22 over .500 at 30-8.
Kobe Bryant was rested by Lakers coach Byron Scott
for the sixth time in 11 games and second game in a
row. The NBA’s third-leading career scorer, playing in
his 19th season at age 36, played in only six games
last season due to a torn Achilles and a fracture in his
left knee. Wesley Johnson returned to the Lakers’ lineup and scored 17 points after missing three games
because of a strained hip flexor.
DeMarcus Cousins had 26 points and 13
rebounds and Sacramento handed Cleveland its seventh loss in eight games with LeBron James out with
a strained back and sore left knee.
Rudy Gay added 23 points for Sacramento. Darren
Collison had 16, and Carl Landry 11. Kevin Love led
the Cavaliers with 25 points and 10 rebounds, and
Kyrie Irving scored 14 of his 21 points in the first
quarter and had seven assists. Timofey Mozgov,
acquired from Denver last week, had 14 points and
12 rebounds. JR Smith struggled after scoring 27
points in his second game since joining Cleveland in
a trade with New York. He had four points on 2-of-10
shooting in 30 minutes. Cleveland is 1-8 in its last
nine games to drop to 19-19.
Kyle Korver scored 19 points and DeMarre Carroll
had 16 to help Eastern Conference-leading Atlanta
beat Washington for its eighth straight victory.
Korver was 5 for 7 from 3-point range, improving
his NBA-leading percentage to 50.2. His smoothest
move, however, was a behind-the-back pass to
Carroll for a layup and a 64-54 lead in the third.
Improving to 16-3 at home and 29-8 overall, the
Hawks got 15 points from Al Horford and 11 each
from Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague and Mike Scott. Atlanta
has won 13 of 14 and 22 of 24. John Wall had 15
points for Washington and Nene added 14. The
Wizards were outscored 33-12 in the fourth quarter.
They won their previous three games.
Chris Bosh scored 34 points, Hassan Whiteside
had career highs of 23 points and 16 rebounds off
the bench and Miami beat Los Angeles to end a
three-game road skid. Whiteside was 10 of 13 from
the field and 3 of 4 from the line in 28 minutes.
Dwyane Wade added 17 points and 10 assists. Blake
Griffin scored 26 points and Chris Paul had 23 points
and nine assists for the Clippers. They had won two
straight and six of their previous eight. — AP
NBA results/standings
Atlanta 120, Washington 89; Miami 104, LA Clippers 90; Memphis 122, Phoenix 110 (OT);
Sacramento 103, Cleveland 84; Portland 106, LA Lakers 94.
Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division
25 11
16 21
12 23
Philadelphia 7
NY Knicks
Central Division
26 12
20 19
19 19
15 24
13 24
Southeast Division
29 8
25 12
16 21
15 24
13 27
Matsuyama, Walker
share Kapalua lead
England get
off to a
winning start
CANBERRA: England’s new-look top
order all scored half centuries as the
tourists made a strong start to their trip
Down Under for the World Cup with a
thumping 216-run win over Australian
Capital Territory XI yesterday.
Eoin Morgan won the toss in his first
match as captain since he replaced the
sacked Alastair Cook and the tourists
wasted no time in piling up 364 for six
in their 50 overs at Manuka Oval.
The top four batsmen-Ian Bell (51),
Moeen Ali (50), James Taylor (55) and
Joe Root (56) — all got to the half-century mark before Ravi Bopara and Chris
Woakes put together a useful unbroken
partnership of 105.
Bopara’s quickfire 56 featured four
fours and five sixes, including three in
successive balls, and his stand with fellow all-rounder Woakes came from the
last 50 balls of the innings.
Spinner James Tredwell took 3-11
as England made light work of the
ACT batting, Stuart Broad and Moeen
also getting into the act with a couple of wickets apiece as the hosts
were bowled out for 148 in the 33rd
over. England take on an Australian
Pr i m e M i n i s te r ’s X I a t t h e s a m e
ground on Wednesday before the
start of a triangular World Cup warmup series also featuring Australia and
India. — Reuters
Western Conference
Northwest Division
30 8
Oklahoma City 18 19
17 20
13 25
Pacific Division
Golden State 29 5
25 13
LA Clippers
22 18
16 21
LA Lakers
12 26
Southwest Division
26 11
26 11
26 12
San Antonio 23 15
New Orleans 18 18
KAPALUA: Hideki Matsuyama, of Japan, putts on the 17th green during the third round of the
Tournament of Champions golf tournament. — AP
KAPALUA: Hideki Matsuyama, helped
by three consecutive birdies on each
nine, moved one step closer to his
second PGA Tour victory by surging
into a tie for the lead at the Hyundai
Tour na m e nt of C ha m p i ons on
The 22-year-old Japanese, already
regarded by his peers as one of the
best iron players in the game, produced near-flawless golf as he fired a
seven-under-par 66 in the third
round on the hilly Plantation Course
at the Kapalua Resort.
M atsuyama, who clinched his
maiden PGA Tour win at last year’s
Memorial Tournament, signed off
with his eighth birdie of the day at
the par-five 18th to post a 17-under
total of 202 in the elite winners-only
That put him level with American
Jimmy Walker, a three-times champion on the U.S. circuit last season who
briefly led by two shots on Sunday
but was unable to get the putts to
drop over the closing stretch on the
way to a 67.
“I made a lot of putts today, so it
was a good round,” Matsuyama, who
totalled only 26 putts, told reporters
through an interpreter. “If I can play
tomorrow like I did yesterday and
today, I’ll have a chance (to win).
“Obviously that’s going to be diffi-
cult to do. I hope to be relaxed and
be able to play my golf tomorrow.”
Walker, one of four players tied for
the lead overnight, burst two shots
clear of a tightly bunched leaderboard with four birdies on the front
nine as he reached the turn in fourunder 32.
Though his advantage was briefly
trimmed to one by fellow American
Russell Henley, he immediately
regained a two-stroke cushion by
sinking a 12-footer to birdie the parfour 10th.
However, Matsuyama drew level at
the top with three birdies in a row
from the 13th and Walker did well to
salvage par at the 14th after his tee
shot sailed way right into thick grass.
Both players birdied the final hole
to m ove t wo s t roke s c l e a r of t he
chasing pack. “I hit really good shots
all the way around the back (nine), a
couple of bad putts,” said Walker. “I
didn’t feel like I was losing any mo
“I was hitting it good. That’s all I
was caring about was hitting it good,
getting looks, because eventually I
was going to make something.” South
Korea’s Bae Sang-moon, among the
four joint leaders overnight, carded a
69 to end the day tied for third at 15
under with American Patrick Reed
(68).— Reuters
Nishikori eyes
Kooyong title
AUCKLAND: Caroline Wozniacki plays a backhand shot in this file photo. — AP
Wozniacki retires
with wrist injury
SYDNEY: World number eight Caroline
Wozniacki pulled out of her first-round
match at the Sydney International with a
wrist injury yesterday, just a week before
the start of the Australian Open.
The 24-year-old Dane, who lost the
final of the Auckland Classic on Saturday,
had already had her left wrist strapped
when she was forced to retire at 6-4 1-1
down to Czech Barbora Zahlavova
“I didn’t want to do it worse before
Melbourne, so I’m just going to try and
get some treatment on it and try and get
ready for next week,” Wozniacki told
“I still have a week to go, so hopefully
it’ll be fine... I’m confident that I’ll be fine
to play in Melbourne.” Zahlavova Strycova
went through to a second round tie
against local hope Sam Stosur, who had
earlier progressed with a rain-disrupted 76(3) 5-7 6-3 victory over another Czech in
Lucie Safarova. Former US Open champion Stosur had already had her first-round
contest put back a day after wet weather
in Sydney on Sunday.
She held her ner ve throughout a
three-hour contest peppered with rain
interruptions and polished off the victory
over the world number 16 with a thumping ace down the middle. It was a wel-
come return to winning ways for Stosur,
who blew a 5-1 lead in the third set last
week to lose to American Varvara
Lepchenko in Brisbane.
“I was pleased with the way I served for
the match,” she said. “After what happened last week, to step up and serve the
way I did, I’m obviously very happy.”
Third seeded Pole Agnieszka
Radwanska enjoyed the more clement later conditions to beat France’s Alize Cornet
6-3 6-2 and reach the second round of a
tournament she won in 2013. The world
number five made it clear, however, that
her focus over the next few weeks under
new coach Martina Navratilova was on
improving on a single semi-final appearance at Melbourne Park. “Martina’s going
to be here tomorrow,” Radwanska said.
“She’s really helping me on and off court.
The goal is the grand slams so we’ll see
how it goes.”
In the men’s draw, fifth-seeded
Argentine Leonardo Mayer downed
Benjamin Becker 7-6(3) 6-2 to set up a
meeting with young Australian Nick
Kyrgios or Pole Jerzy Janowicz in the second round. Local top seed Casey
Dellacqua overcame a second-set glitch
to beat American Lauren Davis 6-4 1-6 6-4
and reach the second round of the Hobart
International. — Reuters
Past time to show the
players some real money
DALLAS: They’re gathering in Big D to
revel in the finale of college football’s
first playoff, a long-overdue idea that is
bringing in hundreds of millions of
extra dollars each year to those who run
this supposedly amateur sport.
No wonder the guy who oversees
the playoff sounded so giddy. “College
Football Playoff,” executive director Bill
Hancock said, kicking off the championship weekend in a hotel ballroom not
far from downtown Dallas. “Let me say
that again. College Football Playoff.
Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?” It sure
does, especially to those who won’t
play a down when Oregon takes on
Ohio State in late yesterday’s championship game.
A new television deal with ESPN
gives the conferences and schools an
additional $320 million per year, a more
than threefold increase that brings the
total annual payout to an astonishing
$475 million. That doesn’t count anything else - ticket sales from an extra
game, additional side deals between
the bowls and conferences, enhanced
marketing opportunities.
Now, it doesn’t take a math whiz to
figure out that all that extra revenue
should move along the debate about
giving the players their fair share, an
idea that so far has focused on providing the full cost of a scholarship (translation: let’s give them just enough so
they don’t have to sell autographs to
make ends meet), plus some worthy
goals such as paying future education
costs and providing long-term health
care. Granted, that will be a sizeable
chunk of money, but it’s really just
chump change. For kicks, we broke out
a calculator and found that $320 million
divvied up among the approximately
11,000 scholarship football players at
the 129 top-level schools would come
to more than $29,000 a year
When those numbers are tossed
around, you can see how big a con that
big-time college football has been perpetuating all these years. And when you
see how quickly the playoff moved to
reimburse player’s families for the cost
of traveling to the games - agreeing in
the bat of an eye to dole out around a
half-million dollars - you realize that
things can move a whole lot faster that
we’ve been led to believe. But the
forces against change are strong, so
many snookered by the ridiculous
notion that a college education is largely a sufficient reward for helping bring
in millions of dollars to the ol’ alma
mater. Even Brian Bosworth, quite the
rebel during his playing days, now
sounds like he’s pushing to be the next
leader of the NCAA.
“It’s a privilege to go to school,” the
Boz said after being announced in the
latest class of inductees for the College
Football Hall of Fame. “That school is
giving you a chance to get an education. That education can afford you an
opportunity to do some great things in
your youth that you’re passionate
about, but it’s also a 40-year opportunity to create a work environment for you
and your family. I think it’s a give-give
on both sides of the coin.”
Give-give? Give us a break. The players are the ones doing most of the giving, and they should be peeved that the
Big Five conferences aren’t pushing to
do more with their so-called reform
efforts to assist students doubling as
athletes. We can only hope that today’s
players, and those still to come, will
realize just how bad they ’re being
ripped off. Hopefully they’ll keep pushing forward with the unionization effort
that started at Northwestern.
It won’t be easy. Many of those who
once played the game are now willing
to go along with the myth perpetuated
for so long by the NCAA.
Just listen to another Hall of Fame
inductee, Lincoln Kennedy, who sounds
like a grumpy old man yelling at the
kids to get off his lawn.
“Personally, I think what’s lost focus
in this whole scope of football and
sport in the college world is the value of
an education,” Kennedy said. “I listen to
kids talk about how many times they’re
going to be on TV, whether or not the
team runs a pro-style offense or
defense. What type of amenities they
have at their facility. Whatever happened to the education?”
Sorry, Lincoln, that horse long since
left the barn. He ain’t coming back
either, despite the insistence of mouthpieces such as Hancock who say there’s
still something pure and genuine about
big-time college athletics.
“There will continue to be debate in
the NCAA about how to do better for
student-athletes, keeping in mind that
this has to be part of higher education,”
Hancock said. “It will not become a
Triple-A for the pros. This is college
sports. That is its charm, and none of us
want to lose that.”
Sorry, when it comes to football and
men’s basketball players, they are
absolutely right to believe that college
as a nothing more than a necessary
steppingstone on the way to the pros.
Because that’s exactly what it is, a de
facto minor league-slash-deal with the
devil worked out by higher education,
the NFL and the NBA. Well, enough
already. Show them the money. Some
real money. — AP
MELBOURNE: Japan’s Kei Nishikori will hope to
use the Kooyong Classic starting today as final
preparation for a run at a possible first Grand
Slam title at the Australian Open.
The Asian ace, who has worked himself up to a
record-setting fifth in the world rankings, claimed
the Kooyong trophy a year ago over Tomas
Berdych. Nishikori is now a serious threat in every
event he enters thanks in large part to a breakthrough 2014 season, sparked by his Kooyong
win, in which he reached the US Open final
against Marin Cilic.
Though the Croatian won the title, Nishikori’s
performance launched the 25-year-old into the
tennis elite. The semi-finalist at last week’s
Brisbane International is the man to beat at the
eight-player Kooyong event, which runs till Friday
at the former home of the Open, the historic
Kooyong Club in the tiny Melbourne neighborhood of Toorak.
He heads a field comprising Frenchmen Gilles
Simon and Richard Gasquet, the Spanish pair of
Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez,
Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov, Serbia’s Filip
Krajinovic and Australian hope Jordan Thompson.
The Japanese star begins with a match against
local player Thompson, the world number 274
who won last month’s Australian Open wild-card
playoff to earn a place in the Grand Slam main
draw. In other day one matches, Simon faces
Verdasco, Dolgopolov takes on Krajinovic in a
battle of young guns and Lopez plays Gasquet.
In the wake of his New York success, Nishikori
kept up his winning momentum, claiming ATP
titles only a few weeks later in Kuala Lumpur followed by a home triumph in Tokyo at the Japan
Open. And the crowd-pleaser announced his
presence on the big stage with a semi-final place
at the season-ending World Tour Finals in
London, where he took a set off world number
one Novak Djokovic. The Florida-based Nishikori
remains humble about his career, saying that any
dream Grand Slam title is likely to come later
rather than sooner. “Winning might take some
time, you need some luck too when you play,” he
said in the run-up to Kooyong. “Hopefully it
comes and one day I win a Grand Slam.
“That’s my dream, so hopefully I can do it in a
few years.” Nishikori takes confidence from last
week at Brisbane, where he beat American
Steven Johnson and Australian Bernard Tomic
before falling to eventual finalist Milos Raonic.
The event, whose past champions include
Roger Federer, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi,
guarantees players three warm-up matches
under identical conditions and surface as they
will find at the Australian Open, which begins
next week. —AFP
BRISBANE: Kei Nishikori of Japan reacts after missing a shot in this file photo. — AP
Middle East and Asia boost
investment in top level sports
LONDON: A new report has highlighted the
growing reach and depth of Asian and MiddleEastern investment in top-level sports around
the world with no sign of any slowdown.
Entitled “Emerging Giants”, the report
released by sports marketing research company Repucom on Monday, examines the trend of
investment in sports sponsorship from the
Middle East into European soccer and from
Asia into US sports franchises.
Across Europe, $1.5 billion has been spent
by Middle-Eastern investors and groups on
team ownership, while in the last two years
alone, Asian businessmen have invested
approximately $1.1 billion in US sports franchises, the report says.
English football clubs Manchester City,
Arsenal and Nottingham Forest all have
Middle-Eastern shareholders, while French
champions Paris St. Germain and Spanish top
flight club Malaga are 100 percent Qatari
Abu Dhabi Holdings spent $330 million for a
90 percent share in Manchester City in 2008
and so far their investment has been rewarded
on the pitch with two Premier League titles, an
FA Cup and a League Cup. Likewise, Qatar
Sports Investments spent $130 million for a
100 percent stake in Paris St Germain in 2011.
Having labored in Ligue 1 for many years,
PSG’s new-found spending power has seen
them crowned champions in the last two seasons, while Brazilian David Luiz became the
world’s most expensive defender in June when
he joined from Chelsea for around 50 million
pounds. Middle Eastern brands have also
invested heavily in soccer sponsorship, with
some of the largest European clubs now sponsored by Middle East airlines.
Spanish giants Barcelona are sponsored by
Qatar Airlines, Manchester City are backed by
Etihad, while Real Madrid, PSG, Arsenal and AC
Milan all carry the Emirates logo on their shirts.
The United Arab Emirates, whose investment was virtually non-existent less than 10
years ago, has emerged as the biggest single
investor in the sponsorship of European team
soccer shirts, the report says. During the
2009/10 season, shirt sponsorship by Middle
Eastern companies was worth about $24.6 million. In 2014, UAE companies, led by Emirates
and Etihad, invested $163 million in shirt sponsorship as the Arab state surpassed Germany at
the top of the sponsorship investment table.
Similarly in the United States, Asian investment is increasing in sports ownership and
sponsorship. Pakistan-born Shahid Khan
became the NFL’s first minority ethnic owner
when he bought the Jacksonville Jaguars in
2012 for an estimated $760 million. —Reuters
College playoff looks a lot like Super Bowl
NEW YORK: The College Football Playoff was supposed to resolve arguments over who was No. 1 and
provide fans with great moments - just as the NCAA
men’s basketball tournament has been doing for
decades. With more than week of buildup that
includes everything from players suspended for bad
behavior to a massive media day, the event the playoff
resembles most isn’t the Final Four, but the Super
Bowl. The first playoff games were a box office smash,
earning tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars.
Sponsors lined up to get a piece of the action, while in
Las Vegas it was all action as the two games raked in
the kind of money that only the NFL drew before.
And now exhibit No. 1 is late yesterday’s title
game, which is different from the Super Bowl in just
one way: The players won’t be paid a dime.
That will likely be changing, thanks to former UCLA
basketball star Ed O’Bannon and the judge in Oakland
who ruled that players on big time football and basketball programs should get at least $5,000 a year for
the rights to televise their names, images and likenesses. Barring a successful appeal by the NCAA, players enrolling after July 1, 2016 will get the money
deposited in a trust fund for when they’re done playing ball. At that trial this summer, all sorts of dire pictures were painted about what paying the players
might do to college sports. On the witness stand, the
women’s athletic director at University of Texas said
she was sure her institution would draw the line at
money flowing to athletes because it went against the
spirit of amateurism. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany
went even further, saying the Rose Bowl could be canceled if players got too uppity. “These games are
owned by the institution and the notion of paying
athletes for participation in these games is foreign to
the notion of amateurism,” Delany said.
Well, guess what? The notion of amateurism was
destroyed long ago, when pay for coaches began
climbing into the millions and everyone but the athletes started making money off of games.
If anyone was still clinging to the idea that somehow big time college sports aren’t also big time business enterprises, the new playoff system - with the
$7.3 billion in guaranteed TV money over the next 12
years - offers plenty of evidence otherwise.
But it’s not just about paying players. It’s about
putting to rest the pretense that football - at least in
the top five power conferences - is anything but a big
business run to keep alumni dollars flowing into universities and provide the NFL with a minor league system at little or no cost to the league.
It certainly is at Florida State, where school officials
kept star quarterback Jameis Winston eligible despite
a woman’s repeated claims - no charges were filed that he sexually assaulted her. Winston was given a
slap on the wrist for the theft of crab legs from a grocery store and for making vulgar comments about
female anatomy on campus, but winning a national
championship for the school trumped everything.
If that wasn’t NFL-like, how about the case of former Georgia defensive lineman Jonathan Taylor, who
was dismissed from the team in July after he was
Jameis Winston
charged with punching and choking his girlfriend.
Taylor was indicted by a grand jury in November, but
that didn’t stop Alabama from signing him in its latest
class of NFL prospects.
Now two Oregon players are suspended for testing
positive for recreational drugs. If we didn’t know better, it would look suspiciously like an NFL trifecta.
College sports have changed, at least at the top
levels. Big conferences make their own rules, the
NCAA has been marginalized, and traditions have
been tossed aside in the mad and ever continuing
chase for television money.
The new football playoffs are all part of that, giving
us something that looks suspiciously like a Super Bowl
from the stadium it is held in to the time in between
the semifinals and the title game. They magnify the
hypocrisy among those who claim they want college
sports at their purest, but then sell out to the highest
bidder. —AP
Look at places, not points: United better off under Van Gaal
LONDON: There’s a simple way of measuring if
there has been any progress at Manchester United
under Louis van Gaal: the Premier League position
and the points tally.
After Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Southampton, with
United on 37 points after 21 games, it was
inevitable comparisons would be drawn with Van
Gaal’s predecessor. After 21 games, David Moyes
had also collected 37 points.
So after a year of turmoil, despite more than
$250 million spent revamping the squad, United
has made no progress? “You have been waiting for
the moment to tell me I have the same points as
David Moyes,” Van Gaal snapped after Sunday’s loss.
The Dutchman’s irritability is partly justified.
The priority is restoring United to the Champions
League, ensuring this is a one-off season jettisoned
from Europe’s elite competition. So with United in
fourth place, Van Gaal is on target (even if United’s
budget projections are for a third-place finish).
For Moyes, 37 points was only adequate for seventh place during a season when he only spent the
first week in the top four. And the downfall for Alex
Ferguson’s anointed successor was United only collecting 20 points from the next 13 matches.
On paper, United has the attacking potency to
avoid such a slump in the second half of the season,
without the distraction of European football.
But the so-called Gaalacticos aren’t always living
up to their star billing or mega salaries. It was risible
that a team featuring Angel di Maria, Robin van
Persie and Wayne Rooney couldn’t manage a shot
on target, albeit against a Southampton team that
has defied expectations to rise to third - above
United on Sunday - with the league’s stingiest
“They came for a draw, I believe, and they go
away with a victory,” Van Gaal said. “That is disappointing.” United, though, expected it was hiring a
manager with the tactical acumen to come up with
a “Plan B” to outwit opponents as he did at the
World Cup last year with the third-place
Netherlands. The former Barcelona coach talks
about imposing a “philosophy” that remains a mystery to many. Equally mystifying was the complete
absence of Radamel Falcao from Sunday’s squad
when United required all the attacking vigor in its
armory to break through such a sturdy back-four.
Paying more than $60 million to turn that loan from
Monaco into a permanent deal at the end of the
season seems unthinkable at the moment, but predicting how the next five months will unfold would
be foolish. “As a coach you have to take decisions
and you have to look at the composition of your
team and your selection and you have to look at
your game plan,” Van Gaal said. “We have a lot of
players who are coming back and (Falcao) has
played the last five matches in a row.”
Those five games capped an 11-game unbeaten
run in all competitions. Unlike Moyes, that included
steering United into the fourth round of the FA Cup,
albeit against weaker opposition.
And Van Gaal’s job seems far more secure than
his ill-fated predecessor. The air of gloom and negativity that pervaded Old Trafford last season has
gone, and fan dissent has been quelled with a cocksure coach in the dugout.
Publicly, Van Gaal is saying the right things.
Moyes was ridiculed for saying of Manchester City:
“It’s the sort of standard and level we need to try
and aspire to get ourselves to.” Whereas Van Gaal
just last week issued a typically crowd-pleasing declaration: “My ambition is that I have the best players
who can collaborate with each other to form the
best team in the world.”
The starting point is ensuring strikers perform
their primary function and find the net more consistently. Only then will the comparisons with the
mediocrity under Moyes stop, even though United
is in a more elevated league position. — AP
Equatorial Guinea braced
for Cup of Nations tourney
MALABO: The Africa Cup of Nations begins in
Equatorial Guinea on Saturday, with organisers crossing their fingers for a successful tournament after a build-up dominated by
Morocco’s refusal to act as hosts amid fears
over Ebola.
The small, oil-rich central African state
stepped in to save the day for the
Confederation of African Football (CAF) in
mid-November when they agreed to host the
competition, despite having barely two
months to prepare.
Morocco had initially asked the CAF to
postpone the event to avoid any risk of a
spread of the Ebola virus, which has so far
killed more than 8,000 people in the worst-hit
countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
However, that request was dismissed, and
Morocco were thrown out of the competition.
And excitement about staging the 16team event in football-mad Morocco has given way to hope that Equatorial Guinea will be
able to stage a satisfactory tournament. “We
are disappointed because Morocco is a great
country with lovely stadia and fervent support,” Tunisia’s Wahbi Khazri told Le Point
Afrique. “Equatorial Guinea is a different
country and the organisation will be different.
We will just have to get on with it.” The
Equatoguinean government have taken
measures to prevent Ebola from reaching
their soil, including hiring the expertise of a
team of Cuban doctors,
but as for the football, many matches are
likely to be played in front of largely empty
grounds in the former Spanish colony, which
has a total population of just over 700,000.
The country ruled with an iron fist by president Teodoro Obiang is not a footballing
hotbed, although it does have experience of
organising the CAN, having co-hosted the
2012 tournament with Gabon. The capital
Malabo, on the island of Bioko in the Gulf of
Guinea, and the largest city Bata, on the
African mainland, both hosted games then
and will do so again, with Bata the venue for
the final.
However, organisers are taking a step into
the unknown with matches also being played
in the interior towns of Mongomo and
Ebebiyin, where facilities are seemingly scarce
and the quality of the venues questionable.
“ The accommodation in Ebebiyin and
Mongomo is perfect and ready...there is no
problem,” the country’s sports minister
Pascual Eyegue Obama Asue insisted last
week, before adding that “everything is being
resolved” to get the stadia prepared on time.
However, Algeria coach Christian Gourcuff,
whose team will be based in Mongomo in the
group stage, admitted his concerns last week,
saying: “We know in advance that we are
going to have infrastructural problems which
is why we put back our departure for
Equatorial Guinea until four days before our
first game.” The leading team on the continent according to the FIFA rankings, Algeria
find themselves in one of two incredibly
tough groups, with the Desert Foxes drawn
alongside Ghana, Senegal and a resurgent
South Africa in Group C.
The winners of that section can look forward to a quarter-final tie against the runners-up in Group D, which contains muchfancied Ivory Coast, Mali, Cameroon and
Guinea. In contrast, the other half of the draw,
featuring Tunisia, 2013 runners-up Burkina
Faso and the hosts, lacks the same strength in
depth. Playing down claims that Algeria are
the favorites, Frenchman Gourcuff said: “We
must guard ourselves from any excess of confidence. It would be a major mistake to listen
to such predictions.”
At least Algeria need not worry about
Nigeria, with the 2013 champions unable to
defend their trophy after surprisingly failing
to qualify despite a good World Cup.
Record seven-time champions Egypt also
missed out, and so others, such as South
Africa, will hope to make their mark. “I have
told the players not to fear anybody because
we have no reason to feel inferior,” said Bafana
Bafana coach ‘Shakes’ Mashaba, who went
unbeaten through qualifying but have had to
deal with the loss of murdered captain and
goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa.
Meanwhile, little is expected of the hostswho face Congo Brazzaville in the opening
game-after they were initially disqualified
from the competition for fielding an ineligible
player and only appointed a coach in
Argentine Esteban Becker last week. — AFP
LISBON: In this May 24, 2014 file photo Real’s Cristiano Ronaldo kicks the ball near to
Atletico during the Champions League. — AP
Atletico poised to
eliminate Real
MADRID: Atletico Madrid have the perfect
chance to lift morale after Sunday’s La Liga
defeat at Barcelona when they play their
King’s Cup last 16, second leg at bitter local
rivals Real Madrid on Thursday. Atletico
have a 2-0 advantage over the holders from
last week’s first leg at the Calderon and
knocking Real out of the competition
would mark the latest triumph for the
Spanish capital’s second club over their
neighbors. Diego Simeone’s men beat Real
to win the Spanish Super Cup in August
and followed up with a 2-1 success at the
Bernabeu in La Liga in September.
Real then embarked on a Spanish record
run of 22 straight victories before losing at
Valencia in La Liga and at Atletico in the
Cup. Atletico fullback Juanfran dismissed
the suggestion that the defeat at Barca
would affect the way he and his team
mates performed on Thursday.
The winners of the tie will almost certainly meet Barca in the quarter-finals as
the record winners have a 5-0 advantage
ahead of their second leg at Elche on
Thursday. “However today’s match had
turned out, Madrid will want to turn the tie
around,” Juanfran told reporters. “We will
not allow that and I am convinced that we
will get through,” added the Spain international. Real, the European and world champions, bounced back from the consecutive
defeats with a 3-0 La Liga victory at home
to Espanyol on Saturday. Clubs often use
the Cup to give second-string players a
chance to shine but coach Carlo Ancelotti is
planning to field the strongest possible
side. “We have time to prepare well for the
match,” Ancelotti said after the Espanyol
game. “The best team will play because we
will try to turn the tie around and do all we
can to get to the quarter-finals,” added the
Italian, who led Real to Champions League
and King’s Cup triumphs in his first season
in charge in 2013-14.
“Everyone is looking forward to this
match but we have to remain calm for now.
We will prepare and we will be playing at
home which will help us.” This season’s edition of the Cup is the first time since 196970, when teams from lower divisions began
competing, that only top-flight sides
reached the last 16. Valencia and Sevilla are
on track to meet in the quarter-finals, as are
Malaga and Athletic Bilbao and Villarreal
and Getafe. — Reuters
AUSTRALIA: Japan’s Yohei Toyoda is tackled by Palestine’s Musab Battat (left) and Tamer Salah (right) during the AFC Asia Cup soccer match. — AP
Kasim inspires Iraq
as Japan hit four
SYDNEY: Yaser Kasim’s wizardry earned Iraq a 1-0
win victory Jordan yesterday, while defending
champions Japan were disappointed despite slamming four past Palestine.
The late match between the Middle East rivals
looked to be heading for a gritty draw before
Kasim slalomed through three defenders to scored
via a deflection deep in the second half.
It was the touch of class that the game sorely
needed and it sealed the points for Iraq as they
strive to recapture the title they won in fairytale
fashion in 2007. Iraq now sit behind Japan on goal
difference after the opening games in Group D and
they will have high hopes of reaching the last
eight, where they could potentially face bitter rivals
Iran. Kasim-style heroics were hardly required by
Japan, who have won four of the last six Asian Cups
and were up against a team playing in the continent’s showcase tournament for the first time.
The match pitched European-based stars
against struggling players from the blockaded
Palestinian territories, and the Blue Samurai wasted
little time getting off the mark in a 4-0 win.
Just eight minutes were on the clock when
Yashuhito Endo rifled Japan’s opener. Shinji
Okazaki and Maya Yoshida also scored, either side
of a Keisuke Honda penalty.
But it was not the goal avalanche that some
expected from Japan, 8-1 winners over Uzbekistan
at the 2000 Asian Cup, and coach Javier Aguirre
admitted there was still work to do.
“I was happy and satisfied with the defence, but
I saw some points to improve in attack,” he told
reporters. “I expect those points to be improved
through the training sessions.
“What we were missing in the first half was
probably speed and mobility, and the missing part
I saw in the second half was middle range shots.”
Man of the match Okazaki said: “As a result with
four goals that was a great win, we played well.
AUSTRALIA: Jordan’s goalkeeper Amer Shafi (right) and Odai Akl Saify of Iraq exchange words
during the first round Asian Cup football match between Jordan and Iraq at the Suncorp
Stadium in Brisbane. — AFP
Earlier record goalscorer Tim Cahill was named
However, we could have been better. “We are not
satisfied with four goals we should have scored as captain of Australia, deputising for the injured
more. We should have played better, especially in Mile Jedinak, for today’s clash with Oman in
going forwards, but overall it was a great result.” Sydney. “It’s amazing, I love playing for Australia
Iraq’s Kasim became the second Swindon Town regardless of which country I’m in but to play at
player to score at the Asian Cup after Massimo home, in front of my hometown fans and obviously
Luongo also scored a cracker for Australia in the family and friends is very special,” said Cahill.
“But with me, not a lot of emotion comes into it
tournament curtain raiser last Friday. The club
when I cross that white line. I feel that it’s going to
team-mates were both named man of the match.
Monday also featured the tournament’s first red be a massive game for us... there’s a lot on the line.”
Victory could put Australia into the quartercards after Ahmed Mahajna was sent off for
Palestine and Jordan’s Anas Bani Yaseen also got finals, provided South Korea avoid defeat against
Kuwait in today’s other Group A tie. — AFP
his marching orders.
Jagielka eyes Everton
revival in Cup replay
LONDON: Everton captain Phil Jagielka says
today’s FA Cup third round replay at West Ham
offers his side the perfect chance to step up their
recent mini-revival.
Roberto Martinez’s side have endured a disappointing season which sees them languishing
at the wrong end of the Premier League, but
they have shown signs of getting back on track
with a pair of battling draws over the last week.
A 1-1 draw against champions Manchester
City on Saturday was the second time in four
days they had come from behind at Goodison
Park after earning a late FA Cup third round
equaliser against West Ham in midweek. The City
result ended a run of four successive league
defeats but England centre-back Jagielka knows
victory against the Hammers at Upton Park in
today’s replay is essential to their hopes of a
more successful second half of the campaign.
“A point was a decent result. It stops the rot
but we still know we have to go out and win
games and get ourselves in a better league position,” Jagielka said.
“A draw against the champions was never
going to be a bad result but the manner of getting back into the game against West Ham on
Tuesday and the manner in which we performed
and kept on going against City will make them
(this week’s draws) really important going forward. “We hoped getting a last-minute goal to
keep us in the cup was the turning point and we
have built on that. “Now it depends how the
next game goes, we need to go and win that
game at West Ham. “We know it is going to be an
important point for our season and we have to
make sure it is a positive one. “The cup is a lot
more cut-throat. We will take any sort of win to
be in the next round.”
Everton’s reward for a win in east London
would be a trip to either League One promotion
chasers Bristol City or fellow third tier side
Doncaster, with their replay also scheduled for
today. Tomorrow, Tottenham will look to bounce
back from their surprise 2-1 defeat at struggling
Crystal Palace when they face Burnley for the
right to host Leicester in the fourth round.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side squandered the
lead at Selhurst Park in a loss that dented their
bid to qualify for the Champions League via a
top four finish.
And, despite Burnley’s lowly position in the
league, the north Londoners can’t take anything
for granted against Seam Dyche’s side, who
secured a crucial 2-1 win over QPR on Saturday.
Premier League high-flyers Southampton will
try to avoid a giant-killing when they travel to
second tier Ipswich. League One side Bradford
face Championship strugglers Millwall at Valley
Parade tomorrow, with the prize for the winner a
glamour tie at Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea. — AFP
DENVER: Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle (left) is knocked out of bounds by Denver Broncos free safety Rahim Moore during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game. — AP
Colts upset Broncos, Packers beat Cowboys
DENVER: Andrew Luck spoiled another Tom Brady vs. Peyton
Manning showdown. Hardly pressured all afternoon, Luck
threw two touchdown passes and led the Indianapolis Colts
past Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos 24-13 on
The Colts (13-5) advanced to the AFC championship game
at New England (13-4), which beat Baltimore 35-31 Saturday
night. “I think we’re playing good team ball,” Luck said. “We’re
feeding off each other. Offensively we’re making enough plays
to put some points on the board. Great night. So proud to be
a part of the Colts in this victory.”
In Sunday’s other playoff game, a hobbled Aaron Rodgers
rallied the Green Bay Packers from an 8-point deficit with two
second-half touchdowns passes to beat the Dallas Cowboys
The Packers (13-4), helped immensely by a video reversal
of a potentially game-changing Cowboys’ play with 4:06
remaining, went undefeated at Lambeau Field this season.
They head to Seattle next weekend for the NFC title game.
The Broncos (12-5) are left to deal with the hangover of yet
another playoff debacle - and maybe questions about
Manning’s future, as well as that of coach John Fox.
Manning, who joined the Broncos in 2012 after his release
from Indy, has gone one-and-done in the playoffs a record
nine times in his otherwise stellar career, including twice in
Denver, where he’s 38-10 in the regular season, but just 2-3 in
the playoffs.
Overall, he’s 11-13 in the postseason and this was one of
his worst playoff performances ever. He never found a rhythm,
constantly overthrew his receivers and finished 26 of 46 for
111 yards, one TD and no interceptions.
Luck completed 27 of 43 passes for 265 yards with two TDs
and two interceptions that were the equivalent of punts and
no sacks. The Colts stretched a four-point halftime lead to 2110 when Luck drove the Colts 72 yards in 11 plays, hitting
Hakeem Nicks from 15 yards midway through the third quarter. Luck then drove the Colts 54 yards in 13 plays in the fourth
quarter, chewing up more than eight minutes before Adam
Vinatieri’s 30-yard field goal made it 24-13 with four minutes
remaining. Luck, who replaced Manning in Indianapolis in
2012, will be the only one of the four starting quarterbacks in
the championship games next Sunday without a Super Bowl
ring. Green Bay might not have had any time left in its season
if not for referee Gene Steratore’s decision on a crucial
Cowboys play late in the game. Dez Bryant’s leaping, bobbling
31-yard catch at the Packers 1 on a fourth-and-2 play was
challenged by Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy. Instead of
first-and-goal for Dallas (13-5), the ball went over to the
Packers. “Some people think throwing the red flag is fun,”
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “It was such an impactful
play, you had to challenge. It was a confident challenge. And a
hopeful one, too.”
One packed with controversy, as well. “Look, I’ll tell you
this, I’ve never seen that a day in my life,” Bryant said. “I want to
know why it wasn’t a catch.” Because Bryant didn’t maintain
control all the way to the ground, as the rule states. Replays
showed Bryant bobbling the ball as he rolled into the end
zone, with part of it touching the field. Green Bay closed it out
before a Lambeau-record crowd of 79,704 on Randall Cobb’s
diving 12-yard reception of a deflected pass on third-and-11.
That gave Cobb eight catches for 116 yards.
The Cowboys’ first postseason trip to Green Bay since the
1967 “Ice Bowl” for the NFL championship resulted in their first
road defeat of the season after eight victories. Dallas got 123
yards rushing from league leader DeMarco Murray and a
courageous effort from Tony Romo, who hurt his left leg in the
third quarter. Rodgers was also bothered by a left calf he
injured in Game 15, losing much of his trademark elusiveness
as the game wore on.
Regardless, he was on-target for a short pass to Davante
Adams that turned into a 41-yard score to make it 21-20. Then
he sharply guided the Packers 80 yards to the winning points,
a 13-yard bullet to backup tight end Richard Rodgers in the
back of the end zone. He finished 24 for 35 for 316 yards and
extended his record string without a home interception to
442 attempts. He has 39 TD passes in that span. — AP
Anelka ‘too
old’ to join
Algerian club
QATAR: In this handout picture released by the Qatar 2015 Organising Committee shows a general view of the Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiya Arena in Doha. Qatar, pushing ahead with its sporting
ambitions, has completed preparations for hosting the 2015 menís world handball championship which opens in Doha on Thursday. — AFP
Qatar ‘ready’ for 2015 handball championship
DOHA: Qatar, pushing ahead with its sporting ambitions, has
completed preparations for hosting the 2015 men’s world championship which opens in Doha on Thursday, organisers said.
“The championship will present a big challenge and Qatar is
completely ready” to host the tournament, said Qatar 2015 organising committee director general Thani al-Kuwari.
“The committee has completed 99 percent of preparations and
only some minor details remain,” he told AFP, three days before the
start of the tournament.
The opening ceremony will take place in Lusail Hall, a stadium
with a seating capacity for 15,000 spectators, while the final
games, scheduled to take place on February 1, will be held in two
other stadiums-Al-Sadd Club (7,000 spectators) and Duhail (4,000
spectators). Teams from 24 countries will participate in the championship and the first match on Thursday will take place between
Qatar and Brazil. The opening ceremony will bring together 24
artists from different countries and will focus on the theme of
“childhood.” The cup, made of pure gold, will be offered by Qatar,
said Kuwari.
Kuwari also stressed that building of the stadiums went
smoothly without causing fatalities in the ranks of thousands of
foreign workers, most of them Asian, who built these facilities.
Qatar has come under the media microscope since winning the
right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, with doubts thrown up over
corruption, its human rights record and treatment of its massive
foreign workforce. But the gas-rich state was cleared by FIFA of
corruption in November, world football’s governing body ruling
out a re-vote for the tournament despite widespread allegations
of wrongdoing. “No fatalities have occurred at our (construction)
sites, said Kuwari, adding that the Lusail Hall alone took 31 million
working hours, starting from December 2012, to build with 26,000
workers on the site per day, working in two shifts. Confident on
the success of the championship, Kuwari said that nearly all tickets
have been sold. Handball is not as popular as football in Qatar,
but organisers are counting on the foreign communities, which
make up a major part of Qatar’s population, to fill the stadiums.
According to the organising committee chief, around 7,000 handball fans have arrived from abroad to attend the championship
and the number is expected to rise. Qatar, which holds the world’s
third-largest gas reserves, sees a new success in its hosting of the
handball championship. Since successfully staging the 2006 Asian
Games, Doha has fought hard to become a world-renowned
sports event city.
It held the 2010 World Indoor Athletics Championships, and for
several seasons the opening meet of the Diamond League, in May
last year. Doha was named in November as host of the 2019
Athletics World Championships. It hosted the World Swimming
Championship in December and will host the 2016 UCI Road
World Championship. — AFP
ALGIERS: Controversial French striker Nicolas Anelka was yesterday
refused permission to join an
Algerian club on the grounds that
he was too old.
The 35-year-old former Arsenal,
Chelsea, Juventus and Real Madrid
star was on the verge of joining Nasr
Athletique d’Hussein-Dey (NAHD).
But the move was blocked by the
Algerian Football Federation,
Mahfoud Kerbadj, president of the
Algerian professional football
league, told APS news agency.
“The rules concerning foreign
players being allowed to play in the
Algerian league are clear,” he said.
“Only those aged under 27 and playing on the international level for
their countries are allowed to sign
up with our clubs.”
Anelka has been training with
NAHD and had hoped to sign an 18month contract with what would
have been his 13th club.
The 69-capped forward’s most
recent employers were Mumbai City
in the Indian Super League. Last
March he was fired by English side
West Bromwich Albion for “gross
misconduct” after he made an
alleged anti-Semitic gesture, known
as a “quenelle”, as a goal-scoring celebration.
That sacking was the latest in a
long history of rows and disputes
over the course of a career which
saw him play for 11 different clubs in
six different countries before heading to India. As well as playing in a
host of top European clubs, he also
had a brief spell with Shanghai
Shenhua in China. —AFP
Kasim inspires
Iraq as Japan
hit four
Grizzlies outlast
Suns, T’Blazers
Colts upset Broncos, Packers beat Cowboys
Page 19
SWITZERLAND: Real Madrid and Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo (center left) poses with his 2014 FIFA Ballon d’Or award for Player of the Year with FIFA president Sepp Blatter (center right) and the other award recipients at the end of the 2014 FIFA Ballon d’Or award ceremony. — AFP
Ronaldo wins third Ballon d’Or
ZURICH: Portuguese and Real Madrid great Cristiano
Ronaldo won his third Ballon d’Or yesterday at the FIFA ceremony in Zurich.
The 29-year-old-who played a key role in Real Madrid’s
charge to a 10th Champions League trophy-beat eternal
rival and four-time winner Lionel Messi of Barcelona and
Germany’s World Cup winning goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
Ronaldo was the star of the night in which Real teammate James Rodriguez won the goal of the year award and
Germany’s Joachim Loew was declared coach of the year.
“I never thought I would win this trophy on three occasions,” Ronaldo said in his victory speech, signalling there
would be no letup in his quest for football glory.
“I want to be one of the greatest players of all time and
of course this requires a lot of effort,” added the Portuguese
striker who also won the award in 2013 and in 2008.
Ronaldo led Real Madrid to their 10th European Champions
League crown in sensational style in 2014, smashing Messi’s
record of 15 Champions League goals in a single season
with 17 in just 11 appearances.
Cristiano Ronaldo shut out Lionel Messi for the second
straight year in the battle for the Ballon d’Or and he is showing no sign of giving up his grip as king of world football.
The 29-year-old Portuguese forward has been at the
height of his powers again this year, terrorising opposing
defences in the Champions League and Spain’s La Liga. He
is also hungry for more. Asked at the Ballon d’Or ceremony
what his favourite goal had been, Ronaldo was only halfjokin when he said: “For me the next goal is always the most
important.” Despite a patellar tendinosis problem in his left
knee that contributed to an underwhelming World Cup, the
Portugal captain was clearly a deserving winner of a third
Ballon d’Or in a year in which he guided Real Madrid to their
10th Champions League title (but first in 12 years) and continued to rewrite the history books.
That night in Lisbon on May 24 illustrated better than
most the two sides of Ronaldo’s character that has at times
made him a divisive figure.
Battling through knee troubles and frustrated for over 90
minutes, Ronaldo and his Galactico team mates looked set
for one of the most embarrassing defeats in Real’s history as
they trailed poorer city rivals Atletico Madrid until Sergio
Ramos’s towering header in stoppage time.
Further goals in extra time from Gareth Bale and Marcelo
made the long-awaited “La Decima”, a tenth European Cup,
secure in Lisbon. But it was not enough for Ronaldo who
surged into the Atletico box and collapsed under the attentions of Gabi.
His moment had finally arrived in the homeland he left
11 years ago for Manchester United at a crucial crossroads
on the road to being the world’s best.
Inevitably he slammed the penalty home to take his
record-breaking tally to 17 goals in a single Champions
League season.
Yet, his outrageous show of vanity as he tore off his shirt
and flexed his muscled torso was a reminder of why many
had in the past preferred the more modest Messi.
The preening side of Ronaldo will always exist. His latest
Ballon d’Or will likely take up residence in the museum he
opened to honor himself in his home city of Funchal on the
island of Madeira.
His story, though, is also one of a testament to extraordinary hard work and sacrifice. Ronaldo came from a poor
background and many would say he has less natural talent
than the elegant, diminutive Messi. But Ronaldo has transformed himself from the skinny kid that arrived at Old
Trafford into a physical specimen of the type football has
rarely seen.
That physical transformation is a symbol of his desire to
improve and raise the bar of achievement to a level previously thought impossible.
When he scored his fourth hat-trick of the current campaign against Celta Vigo in December, he moved through
the double century mark for goals in La Liga in just 178
His overall tally is a staggering 285 goals in 274 appearances for Madrid. It is no longer a question of whether
Ronaldo will become their leading all time scorer, but when.
Moreover, he is likely to pass Raul’s record tally of 323 having played more than 400 fewer games. There is more than
goals to his game too. His wonderful reverse ball for James
Rodriguez to open the scoring against Espanyol on
Saturday took him joint top of the assist charts in La Liga
too. As in the goal charts, Messi lurks behind in second.
The rivalry between the two has marked an era unlike
any other. Maradona and Pele, Johan Cruyff and Franz
Beckenbauer never played in the same league, at the same
time, for the two of the biggest sides in the world, judged
head-to-head, week in, week out.
And for Ronaldo, the rivalry is certain to go on-just look
at the Ballon d’Or count: Messi has four to Ronaldo’s three.
Portugal’s king of football always wants more. — AFP
Messi, Neuer, Ronaldo
voted to FIFPro World XI
LONDON: A combintation of file pictures show big English Premier League players who will depart for the Africa Cup of Nations, which
begins this week. — AFP
Fates entwined, Toure and Bony lead exodus
LONDON: Ivory Coast team-mates and probable
future club-mates Yaya Toure and Wilfried Bony
headline the departures from the English Premier
League for the Africa Cup of Nations, which begins
this week. Toure, star of Manchester City’s title success last season, made a sluggish start to the campaign, but he has rediscovered his best form in
recent weeks, scoring seven times in his last 11
appearances. His goals and driving midfield displays
will be badly missed by Manuel Pellegrini’s side, who
are breathing down Chelsea’s necks in the battle for
the English crown.
But the blow has been softened by the news that
Frank Lampard’s contract has been extended until
the end of the season, delaying his arrival at City’s sister club New York City FC.
City also coped reasonably well in Toure’s absence
during the last Africa Cup of Nations in 2013, winning
twice and drawing twice while the former Barcelona
player was in South Africa. “Yaya is a big miss for us
because of what he has done at the club, but we have
to deal with that and carry on this run we have been
on,” said Toure’s midfield colleague James Milner.
Swansea City are likely to find it altogether more
difficult to compensate for the absence of Bony, who
was the league’s top scorer in 2014 with 20 goals and
has found the net nine times this season. But with the
26-year-old poised to complete a £28 million ($42.5
million, 35.8 million euros) move to Manchester City,
he is likely to have played his last game for Swansea
already. Swansea manager Garry Monk can at least
turn to France international Bafetimbi Gomis, signed
from Lyon during the close season, but he has found
the net only four times in his 22 appearances to date.
“Bafe is a different striker to Bony, but he is outstanding and I want him to enjoy this period and get
some goals,” Monk said. “He is a class striker and now
he is our main striker.”
Newcastle United will also lose the services of an
in-form striker, with Papiss Cisse having been called
up by Senegal, but he was due to serve a three-match
ban anyway for elbowing Everton’s Seamus Coleman.
Newcastle, currently without a manager following the
departure of Alan Pardew, must also cede Ivorian
midfielder Cheick Tiote.
West Ham United will lose Senegalese midfielder
Cheikhou Kouyate, but his compatriot Diafra Sakho,
who has scored nine goals since signing from Metz,
has been ruled out of the tournament by a back
injury. On-loan midfielder Alex Song will also not be
taking part in the tournament after being omitted
from Cameroon’s squad, which prompted him to
announce his international retirement at the age of
27. Bottom club Leicester City must do without
Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez, who has had an influential role in the team’s improved recent form, but
Ghanaian full-back Jeff Schlupp stays behind. — AFP
ZURICH: All three players shortlisted
for the FIFA Ballon d’Or award were
selected by their peers for the 2014
FIFPro World XI team. Lionel Messi,
Manuel Neuer and Cristiano Ronaldo
were among seven 2013 team members
who retained their places in worldwide
voting by 23,000 members of national
players’ unions. Germany’s World Cupwinning captain Philipp Lahm, Brazil
captain Thiago Silva, and Spain pair
Sergio Ramos and Andres Iniesta also
stayed in the elite lineup.
David Luiz was voted into the
defense despite playing in Brazil’s 7-1
rout by Germany in the World Cup semifinals, when Thiago Silva was suspended. Still, the Brazilian pair was reunited
for a second embarrassing loss, 3-0
against the Netherlands in the thirdplace match.
Arjen Robben was picked as the only
player from the Dutch team which started the World Cup by routing title holder
Spain 5-1.
Argentina had a second selection as
Angel Di Maria joined teammate Messi.
Toni Kroos completed the lineup as the
third Germany player, and the fourth
who played for Bayern Munich last year.
As Kroos transferred in the offseason
to join Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos at
Real Madrid, the European champion
also had four players in the FIFPro lineup. Di Maria was a standout in Madrid’s
Champions League final victory, against
city rival Atletico, before joining
Manchester United. David Luiz was the
other World XI player who switched
clubs last season, moving from Chelsea
to join Thiago Silva at Paris SaintGermain. Brazil failed to get a third player elected as there was again no place
for Neymar. The star forward lost out to
Robben in a three-man attack with
Messi and Ronaldo, one year after
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the third forward elected. The other 2013 team
members who lost their places were
Dani Alves, Xavi Hernandez and Franck
FIFPro World XI 2014: Manuel Neuer
(Bayern Munich/Germany), Philipp Lahm
(Bayern Munich/Germany), Thiago Silva
(Paris Saint-Germain/Brazil), David Luiz
(Chelsea/Paris Saint-Germain/Brazil), Sergio
Ramos (Real Madrid/Spain), Angel Di Maria
(Real Madrid/Manchester United/
Argentina), Toni Kroos (Bayern
Munich/Real Madrid/Germany), Andres
Iniesta (Barcelona/Spain), Cristiano
Ronaldo (Real Madrid/Portugal), Lionel
Messi (Barcelona/Argentina), Arjen Robben
(Bayern Munich/Netherlands). — AP
Kuwait inflation sees
slight annual uptick
Page 22
Volkswagen, Ford
take top awards
Page 25
Toyota launches ‘Mirai’
Fuel Cell Sedan
McLaren Automotive races ahead
Page 26
Page 23
DETROIT: Workers prepare the Alfa Romeo exhibit at the 2015 North American International Auto Show yesterday in Detroit. More than 5000 journalists from around the world will see approximately 45 new vehicles unveiled. — AFP (See Page 25)
Venezuela, Iran plea hits Gulf OPEC brick wall
‘No output cut, market must absorb the surplus’
DUBAI/DOHA: A diplomatic push by Venezuela
and Iran for an OPEC oil output cut has failed to
soften the refusal of the group’s Gulf members to
do so for now, delegates said yesterday. An oil price
sinking under $49 a barrel yesterday is twisting the
knife in Venezuela’s steadily shrinking economy
and in sanctions-bound Iran.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on
Sunday met Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Salman in
Riyadh before heading to Qatar and Algeria on a
tour to discuss the oil price crisis. Iran’s supreme
leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also weighed in and
told Venezuela’s president on Saturday he backed
coordinated action between Tehran and Caracas to
reverse the more than 50 percent drop in crude
since June 2014.But the Gulf members of the
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting
Countries, who account for more than half of the
12-member group’s output, are holding to their
stance from OPEC’s November meeting in Vienna.
“There’s a push from Venezuela for a cut, this is
what they argued in Vienna and this is what they
are lobbying for now. But from what I see there is
no sign of cutting production from the Gulf states,”
a Gulf OPEC delegate said.
“The only solution is to have the market absorb
this surplus and the extent of that will be assessed
by OPEC by ministers during their meeting in June.”
Another delegate said: “You need to give it some
time to see the effect on prices. I think the Saudi oil
minister was very clear on that.”
Naimi firm
Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi has said he convinced his fellow OPEC ministers that it is not in the
group’s interest to cut oil output however far prices
may fall. During Maduro’s visit to Saudi Arabia, it
was agreed that a high-level commission between
the two countries would meet every four months
to review the market, a diplomatic source said. The
source added that during Maduro’s meeting in
Qatar, concern was expressed about prices but
Qatar made no promises or commitments as to
what action should be taken.
OPEC holds its next scheduled meeting in June
and sources say there has been no suggestion that
it gather before then. Saudi Arabia is unwilling to
shoulder any output cut unilaterally and any cut
has to be a collective one by all OPEC members,
the sources said.
But Libya, Iraq, and Iran can all plead for an
exemption from an output cut since they are either
affected by war or sanctions, an argument that
some other producers reject. “The only way for any
agreement to work is a full commitment.
Venezuela, Algeria, Iran, Nigeria and Iraq all have to
cut,” another OPEC source said. — Reuters
Goldman Sachs slashes
its oil price forecasts
NICOSIA: A Cyprus airways employee shouts as she is pushed against a police line
during a protest against the closing down of Cyprus airways at the Ministry of
Finance in Nicosia yesterday. — AFP
LONDON: US bank Goldman Sachs slashed it oil forecasts yesterday, saying fuel prices needed to stay low for much longer
in order to curb production and end a global supply glut.
Goldman Sachs oil analysts led by Jeffrey Currie said the collapse in oil prices over the last six months, which has brought
North Sea Brent crude down almost 60 percent to below $50 a
barrel, would eventually balance the market.
But they said crude oil prices could come down much further in the short term, possibly into the high $30s a barrel
before the market saw a rebound. Goldman Sachs is one of the
most influential US banks in commodities markets. In 2008,
when oil prices were racing up towards their all-time high at
almost $150 a barrel, the bank forecast crude could hit $200.
The bank said yesterday it had cut its 2015 forecast for Brent
to $50.40 a barrel from $83.75 and reduced its 2015 WTI price
forecast to $47.15 per barrel from $73.75. For 2016, Goldman
Sachs sees Brent at $70 and WTI at $65, down from $90 and
$80 respectively. In the short term, Goldman Sachs was even
more bearish: “To accommodate the substantial expected first
half inventory build and using the storage arbitrage to the
one-year ahead swap, we are revising down our 3-, 6- and 12month price forecasts for Brent to $42, $43 and $70 respectively, from $80, $85 and $90,” the bank said in a report to clients.
WTI 3-, 6- and 12-month price forecasts have been cut to
$41, $39 and $65 from $70, $75 and $80 a barrel. “While history
would suggest that a storage blow-out would push spot prices
below $35, we believe that by avoiding breaching storage
capacity, the market will hover around $40, potentially dipping
at times into the high $30s which we see as the likely lows of
this cycle,” the report said. — Reuters
Gulf markets edge
down as oil drops
DUBAI: Gulf stock markets ran out of
steam yesterday after several strong
sessions as oil prices fell by more than
$1 a barrel, although positive fourthquarter corporate earnings supported
individual stocks. Brent crude traded
below $49 after analysts at Goldman
Sachs cut their average forecast for
the benchmark in 2015 to $50.40 a
barrel from $83.75.
Saudi Arabia’s stock index slipped
0.1 percent as shares in petrochemicals giant Saudi Basic Industries fell 1.9
percent; petrochemical industry earnings are under major pressure from
weak oil prices. However Saudi banks,
boosted by generally positive financial
results, offset most of petrochemicals’
losses yesterday.
Saudi Hollandi Bank jumped 2.0
percent after it beat analysts’ expectations with a 33 percent rise in fourthquarter net profit. The lender made
461.9 million riyals ($123.1 million) in
the three months to Dec. 31; analysts
surveyed by Reuters had forecast it
would post, on average, a net profit of
433 million riyals. Banque Saudi Fransi
added 1.0 percent after posting a 211
percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit, also ahead of analyst forecasts.
Dubai’s index edged down 0.7 percent after rising as much as 1.9 percent early in the session. Most stocks
declined and real estate developer
DAMAC, which had earlier in the day
surged 21 percent from the last finish
of its London-listed shares as it listed
in Dubai, closed just 1.8 percent higher.
“You cannot have a clear trend in
the current environment,” said
Sebastien Henin, head of asset management at The National Investor in
Abu Dhabi. “The key point is oil prices.
As long as investors don’t think that
we have reached the bottom on oil,
the market will be trendless.”
Abu Dhabi’s bourse also edged
down 0.7 percent, while Qatar fell 0.9
percent. Petrochemicals-to-steel conglomerate Industries Qatar tumbled
6.5 percent to 148.10 riyals after plunging its daily 10 percent limit in the previous session on a disappointing 2014
dividend proposal. The stock has
turned technically very bearish after
triggering this week a double top
formed by this year’s highs and pointing in the medium term down to
about 130 riyals. Oman’s benchmark
rose 0.6 percent. Investment firm Al
Anwar Holding, up 4.0 percent, was
the top gainer after saying late on
Sunday that its profit in the three
months to Dec. 31 had more than doubled to 3.7 million rials ($9.7 million).
Egypt’s bourse jumped 2.2 percent
in a broad rally. GB Auto, the country’s
biggest listed vehicle assembler and
distributor, surged its daily 10 percent
limit. The firm’s chief executive told
Reuters last week that it was working
on a rights issue and planned to invest
$1.5 billion to build two new factories.
Yesterday, the firm said the rights issue
would be worth 960 million Egyptian
pounds ($134 million). — Reuters
Kuwait inflation sees slight
annual uptick in November
KUWAIT: Inflation in the consumer price index (CPI)
witnessed a marginal uptick in November, mainly
on the back of higher food prices. Despite the
uptick, inflation remained largely subdued and is
expected to end the year at or near 3 percent. The
main source of upward price pressures has been
international food inflation. Food inflation climbed
in November, on the back of a recovery in international food prices. However, this is projected to subside in the near-term in-line with lower global food
prices. A strengthening dinar is also set to keep any
significant upward inflationary pressures at bay.
Inflation came in at 3.1 percent year-on-year
(y/y) versus October’s 3.0 percent y/y. (Chart 1).
Core inflation continued to ease in November, coming in at 3.0 percent y/y after October’s 3.1 percent
y/y, as inflation in most of its components slowed
down or remained unchanged.
Inflation in the food price index rose from 2.6
percent y/y in October to 3.3 percent y/y in
November, in-line with a rebound in global food
prices. Upward inflationary pressures on local food
inflation are expected to subside in the near-term,
however, on the back of a slowdown in international food prices. This in turn should help diminish
pressures on the overall inflation rate..
Inflation in housing services was unchanged at
4.4 percent y/y in October. With changes in the
inflation rate of this component reported once
every quarter, the next report is due in December. A
significant change in inflation in this segment is
unlikely in the final quarter of 2014 and it is forecast
to remain near current levels. Inflation in the clothing & footwear and furnishings & household main-
tenance components held on to their downward
trend in November. Clothing & footwear inflation
eased from 1.6 percent y/y in October to 1.1 percent y/y in November. Inflation in the furnishings &
household maintenance component slowed down
from 5.0 percent y/y in October to 4.4 percent y/y in
Inflation in the ‘other goods and services’ segment continued to show signs of resurgence in
November. Inflation in this segment, which
includes prices of personal care products and jewelry and certain business charges, accelerated to 1.0
percent y/y in November, from 0.2 percent y/y in
Oil plunge may cost GCC
billions of dollars in 2015
DUBAI: It’s a weekend morning at the Dubai Mall,
a glitzy complex with 1,200 stores, and the shoppers are pouring in. A traffic jam has formed in the
basement parking area. With passenger arrivals at
Dubai’s airport at record highs, retailers expect a
good month.
The 55 percent plunge of oil prices since last
June might be expected to usher in an age of austerity in the Gulf, which faces a steep drop in its
income. But austerity isn’t happening. The economic defenses which the Gulf states built up
after the global financial crisis five years ago, to
cope with just such a drop in oil, are holding.
Consumers are still spending, companies are
investing, and governments are announcing
record budgets for 2015. Some economists
expect growth in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation
Council to accelerate this year.
A number of building projects are likely to be
slowed or suspended, especially in Bahrain and
Oman, the smallest and financially weakest
economies in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation
Council (GCC). If oil stays at current levels for several years, the big GCC economies may be forced
into painful spending cuts. But for the foreseeable
future, it’s largely business as usual in Saudi
Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and
Kuwait, which have accumulated such large fiscal
reserves that they can comfortably keep state
spending at high levels. This is sustaining consumer and corporate sentiment as oil slides. Jarir,
a top Saudi retailer, reported a 20 percent yearon-year jump in fourth-quarter sales. December
purchasing manager surveys in Saudi Arabia and
the UAE showed non-oil business growing at
roughly the same pace as in June.
Iyad Malas, chief executive of Majid AlFuttaim-Holding, one of the Gulf’s top shopping
mall and leisure operators with over 27,000
employees, said the region’s business community
was uncertain about oil prices but expected solid
growth this year.
“Big infrastructure projects have started and
government spending is continuing...We’re not
expecting a slowdown in retail sales this year in
Saudi or the region,” he told Reuters, adding Majid
Al Futtaim saw no reason to alter investment plans.
The cost to the Gulf of cheaper oil is huge. Jason
Tuvey at London’s Capital Economics estimates
that if Brent crude averages $60 a barrel this year,
GCC states will run a combined current account
deficit of $60 billion. If oil were at $110, as it was in
June, they would enjoy a surplus of $300 billion.
But the structure of the Gulf’s oil industry minimizes the direct impact of oil price changes on
economies. Oil export revenues do not flow
straight to the private sector but to governments,
which decide how much of them to spend. That
means the key factor for economies is not the oil
price but state budget policy. Government
announcements over the past two weeks indicate
state spending may fall marginally in real terms
this year but will stay high and near record levels.
Budget policy
The government of Saudi Arabia, by far the
largest GCC economy, plans to raise nominal 2015
spending by 0.6 percent from its 2014 plan. Dubai
announced a 9 percent spending increase, and
even Oman plans a 4.5 percent rise. Top officials of
other GCC governments, including Abu Dhabi,
Qatar and Kuwait, have said spending on economic development will not be cut.
Some governments are using the oil price slide
as political cover to raise taxes or cut subsidies, but
are stopping well short of austerity. Kuwait cut
diesel fuel subsidies but ruled out similar action for
petrol; Abu Dhabi raised utility fees.
So growth in the region looks unlikely to fall
much if at all this year, and may actually accelerate if other factors are favourable. For example
the initial, negative impact of Saudi labour
reforms, designed to push more local citizens
into jobs by making it harder to hire foreigners,
seems to be fading.
“We project real GDP growth in the GCC region
to accelerate in the range of 5.0 to 5.5 percent in
2015 from an estimated 4.7 percent in 2014,” said
Joannes Mongardini, head of economics at Qatar
National Bank, the country’s largest bank. He
added: “Unless there is a cut in public investments which is not expected - in the region, we do not
see a major impact on overall business sentiment”
from cheaper oil.
GCC governments won’t be able to avoid big
spending cuts indefinitely if oil prices stay low.
With Brent at $50, the current level, all of them
would probably run budget deficits.
But their financial reserves are so large that they
could cope with such deficits for years; the GCC’s
foreign exchange reserves and sovereign wealth
fund assets are worth over 160 percent of gross
domestic product, Capital Economics calculates.
Investment bank VTB Capital estimates that at an
oil price of $60, the assets of the four big GCC
states could fund public spending at current levels
for two to five years, or cover budget deficits for
four to 14 years - all without recourse to debt,
while keeping the GCC’s currency pegs to the US
dollar. So far, professional investors seem equally
confident. GCC stock markets dominated by retail
investors have plunged, but many fund managers
think they were over-valued. Bond and currency
forward markets have moved little, showing
investors don’t expect financial stress in the region.
John Sfakianakis, regional director of asset
manager Ashmore in Riyadh, said that after a
boom in the past decade, the Gulf was entering
a new era because of cheaper oil - an era of
slightly more modest growth, but by no means a
slump. “There will still be good growth, not necessarily a substantial fall - rates of around 4.3 to
4.5 percent,” he said. — Reuters
Al-Muzaini Exchange Co.
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Toyota ushers in the future with
launch of ‘Mirai’ Fuel Cell Sedan
KUWAIT: For the second time in a generation, Toyota has re-imagined the future of
mobility with the Mirai1, its new hydrogen
fuel cell vehicle (FCV) which was introduced to the world with its launch in
Japan late last year on December 15. The
Mirai will hit the streets of Europe and USA
in late 2015.
Using hydrogen an important future
energy source as fuel to generate electricity, the Mirai achieves superior environmental performance with the convenience
and driving pleasure expected of any car.
The Toyota Mirai is a four-door, mid-size
sedan with performance that fully competes with traditional internal combustion
engines - but it uses no gasoline and emits
nothing but water vapor. The groundbreaking fuel cell electric vehicle re-fuels
in about five minutes, and travels up to
300 miles on a full tank.
The Mirai uses the Toyota Fuel Cell
System (TFCS), which features both fuel
cell technology and hybrid technology,
and includes Toyota’s new proprietary FC
Stack and high-pressure hydrogen tanks.
The Mirai delivers everything expected of a
next-generation car: an immediately recognizable design; driving exhilaration
stemming from superior handling stability
achieved by a low center of gravity; and
quiet but powerful acceleration provided
by the electric motor.
According to Takayuki Yoshitsugu, Chief
Representative, Middle East and North
Africa Representative Office, TOYOTA
Motor Corporation, “The Mirai represents a
pivotal moment in automotive history
with Toyota unveiling a new, environmen-
tally-friendly car that is a pleasure to drive
and has zero emissions. Based on Toyota’s
steadfast commitment to environmental
sustainability, the Mirai was conceived to
establish a future filled with vehicles that
would diminish our dependence on conventional fuels and reduce harm to the
environment. With the Mirai, Toyota is taking the opportunity to really make a difference for future generations with this bold
and inspiring vehicle.”
1) Superior environmental performance
The TFCS provides better energy efficiency than internal combustion engines,
superior environmental performance with
no emissions of CO2 or pollutants when
driving, and the same level of convenience
and autonomy as gasoline engine vehicles,
and a hydrogen refuelling time of about
three minutes2. As part of this, the new
Toyota FC Stack achieves a maximum output of 114 kW. Electricity generation efficiency has been enhanced through the
use of 3D fine mesh flow channels3 (a
world first4), which ensure uniform generation of electricity on cell surfaces, providing compact size and a high level of performance.
A new compact, high-efficiency, highcapacity FC Boost Converter has been
developed to boost power generated in
the Toyota FC Stack to 650 volts. Increasing
the voltage has made it possible to reduce
the size of the electric motor and the number of Toyota FC Stack fuel cells, leading to
a smaller, higher-performance Toyota Fuel
Cell System, thereby reducing system
2) Safe and secure vehicle design
The Mirai was designed with safety as a
top priority, based on the basic approach
of ensuring that hydrogen does not leak,
and in the unlikely event that any leaks do
occur, ensuring immediate detection and
stoppage of hydrogen flow and preventing accumulation of hydrogen within the
car body. This has been done by developing high pressure hydrogen tanks with
excellent hydrogen permeation prevention performance, strength, and durability
in addition to hydrogen sensors which
provide warnings and automatically shut
off tank main stop valves.
Use of features such as a structure that
efficiently disperses and absorbs impact
energy across multiple parts ensures a
high impact safety performance that protects the Toyota FC Stack and high-pressure hydrogen tanks during frontal, side or
rear impacts.
3) Immediately recognizable design
In terms of the exterior, a new technique has been employed in the front face
design to emphasize the left and right
grilles that draw in air for the oxygen supply and for FC system cooling. The novel
front face underscores the vehicle’s individuality. The elegant side profile evokes
the flowing shape of a droplet of water to
express the vehicle’s characteristic of drawing in air and emitting water. The roof-side
rails and hood appear to pop out of the
body to create the impression of a low-tothe-ground vehicle while communicating
a futuristic feeling. The interior of the Mirai
has a sophisticated cabin space with soft
padding on door trims and other interior
surfaces, and a high-luminance silver finish
throughout. The front seats provide superior body fit and hold through an integrated cover/seat foaming production
process5. Eight-way adjustable power
seats for achieving the optimal seat position and a motorized lumbar support function are installed as standard on the driver’s and passenger’s seats. The center
meter cluster located in the central top level of the instrument panel includes a
speedometer and multi-information display using a 4.2-inch high-definition TFT
liquid crystal display with a design that
appears to pop out. The battery layout also
enables abundant trunk storage space.
4) Superior handling stability
The high output Toyota FC Stack and
optimal battery power control drive the
electric motor and ensure powerful
Qatar’s QNB earnings to be
lifted by public spending
Public spending, rising overseas revenue sustain earnings
President Barack Obama speaks to media in the Oval
Office of the White House in Washington yesterday.—AP
Obama drops the
tempered tone of
economic message
WASHINGTON: For most of last year, President Barack Obama
tempered his pitch on the economy: It may be improving, he
would say, but millions of Americans had yet to benefit from
the rebound.
But now that caveat is gone, replaced by a bullish new
message as Obama marches into his second-to-last year.
“American resurgence is real,” he says. “Don’t let anybody tell
you otherwise.” Despite multiple signs the recovery is indeed
taking hold, some are saying otherwise, from conservatives to
liberals in the president’s own Democratic Party who point to
stagnant wages and a yawning income gap between rich and
poor. The clashing messages reflect Obama’s need to boost his
economic credentials and establish a post-recession legacy,
and the desire by lawmakers to push their divergent economic policies.
Obama’s retooled message, which he is unfurling as he
approaches his Jan. 20 State of the Union address, comes as
the public begins to warm toward the economy. An AP-GfK
poll last month found negative perceptions of the economy
overall are down compared with four years ago, with 57 percent describing it as “poor” compared with 83 percent who did
in November 2010.
The new tone was evident last week during trips to
Michigan, Arizona and Tennessee, where he touted the government bailout of the auto industry, unveiled new housing
measures and called for free community college. This week, he
is focusing on information technology and cybersecurity with
events in Washington and Iowa. For Obama, the idea of
changing his tone on the economy gelled after the November
midterm election, aides say. So in the two weeks in December
before leaving for a Hawaii vacation, he huddled with his economic team to begin outlining themes for his Jan. 20 State of
the Union address and recast his rhetoric.
His audience, aides say, is the two-thirds of voters who
were too disgruntled to cast ballots in November. “They need
to understand that there are reasons to be optimistic, that
there is true, tangible, solid growth and that we believe it’s
going to portend good things,” White House communications
director Jennifer Palmieri said in an interview.
Some White House allies say there is a risk Obama’s new
message won’t resonate, or may even backfire, if he doesn’t
acknowledge many Americans are still struggling.
“He’s got to paint a picture of why there are continued
problems and what can be done about it,” said Lawrence
Mishel, an economist and president of the liberal-leaning
Economic Policy Institute.
But White House officials no longer worry that optimistic
assessments of the economy will seem tin-eared or that bright
economic news will sour; concerns they still felt after encouraging first quarters in 2010, 2011 and even 2012.—AP
DUBAI: Qatar National Bank (QNB),
the largest lender in the Gulf, is
expected to post another quarter of
healthy profits today, with high public
spending at home and rising revenue
from its international operations helping underpin growth. With QNB
viewed as a gauge of the wider Qatari
economy, the bank’s fourth-quarter
results should signal the state’s
resilience so far to falling oil prices, say
The world’s largest liquefied natural gas exporter, Qatar depends more
on shipments of that commodity than
oil, although prices of the two are
closely correlated. Fifty percent
owned by Qatar’s sovereign wealth
fund, QNB’s fortunes are entwined
with those of the state, especially as
public sector loans account for about
60 percent of QNB’s lending activity
and more 50 percent of its deposit
base, according to HSBC. “There will
be a positive trend in 2015 in that
there will be a pick-up in government
infrastructure projects. They can fund
these projects even with lower oil
prices and that will provide potential
for credit growth for Qatar banks,” said
Laila Sadek, director of financial institutions at Fitch Ratings.
Analysts sur veyed by Reuters
expect the bank to post an average
net profit of 2.57 billion riyals ($685
million) in the fourth quarter, up 8.3
percent from the same period of 2013.
QNB has been a major beneficiary of
Qatar’s increase in public spending in
recent years as the state invests in
development projects and prepares
to host the 2022 soccer World Cup.
Qatar expects its economy will
grow by 7.7 percent in 2015 despite
the oil price slide, the Ministry of
Development Planning and Statistics
said last month. Still, QNB’s year-onyear lending growth has slipped in
the past two quarters, with delays in
getting infrastructure projects started
partially to blame
The bank’s low cost base and low
provisioning requirements would help
shield it from slower credit growth of
between 8 and 10 percent in 2015,
said Elena Panayiotou, financial institutions analyst at Moody’s Investors
Service. And despite sluggish lending
in those quarters, QNB has continued
to post strong profit growth, with its
third-quarter earnings up 21 percent
year-on-year. Like several other Gulf
lenders, QNB has been focusing on
expanding outside its small domestic
market, a drive which has gained
urgency as QNB’s lending profitability
has been squeezed by competition
from other cash-rich Qatari banks. The
fourth-quarter results will be the first
since the bank acquired a 23.5 percent stake in pan-African lender
Ecobank in September. It also bought
Societe Generale’s Egyptian business
for $2 billion in March 2013 and has a
presence in markets including the
United Arab Emirates, Libya,
Mauritania, South Sudan, Sudan and
Tunisia. Those markets are likely to
widen as the bank aims to achieve a
profit contribution of around 40 percent from its overseas operations by
2017 — the year it wants to be the
biggest bank in the Middle East and
It is currently second in that geography by assets, behind South Africa’s
Standard Bank. QNB is eyeing acquisitions or mergers in markets such as
Turkey, Morocco and Saudi Arabia, the
management have said. — Reuters
responsiveness at all vehicle speeds. This
provides an immediate increase in torque
at the first press of the accelerator, and
powerful and smooth acceleration thereafter. Handling stability and ride comfort
are both improved through the location of
major parts such as the Toyota FC Stack
and high pressure hydrogen tanks centrally under the floor to achieve a low center
of gravity and superior front-and-rear
weight distribution, as well as the use of a
high-rigidity body, which features
enhanced rigidity around the rear suspension. Outstanding quietness is achieved by
electric motor drive at all speeds and
reduced wind noise, plus full sealing of all
body parts. The use of sound-absorbing
and sound-blocking materials optimally
arranged around the cabin, including the
use of noise-reducing glass for the windshield and all door windows also enhances
the quietness of the ride.
i n
b r i e f
OPEC basket price
down to $45.19pb
VIENNA: The OPEC daily basket price went down by 49
cents to $45.19 a barrel on Friday, compared with $45.68
the previous day, the cartel said here yesterday. The average monthly rate for November hit $75.57pb compared to
$59.46pb in December, it said. The new OPEC Reference
Basket of Crudes (ORB) is made up of the following:
Saharan Blend (Algeria), Girassol (Angola), Oriente
(Ecuador), Iran Heavy (Islamic Republic of Iran), Basra Light
(Iraq), Kuwait Export (Kuwait), Es Sider (Libya), Bonny Light
(Nigeria), Qatar Marine (Qatar), Arab Light (Saudi Arabia),
Murban (UAE) and Merey (Venez). During their recent
annual meeting, OPEC oil ministers decided to maintain
the cartel’s production level at 30 million barrels per day.
DAMAC shares surge on
home market listing
DUBAI: Shares in Dubai-based real estate developer
DAMAC surged as they listed on the emirate’s bourse
yesterday, after the company initially floated global
depositary receipts in London in late 2013. DAMAC
traded at 3.19 dirhams, up 14 percent from its London
close last Friday. It dominated trading volume in
Dubai; the market’s main stock index was up just 0.9
percent. Property firms enjoy richer multiples in Dubai
than in London. DAMAC’s Friday close was at 5.9 times
its 2013 earnings. Dubai’s biggest listed developer
Emaar Properties trades at a ratio of 20.5 and its smaller competitor Deyaar is valued at 31.8 times 2013
earnings. Before its Dubai listing, DAMAC offered to
allow holders of its London GDRs to exchange them
for Dubai-listed shares. The offer closed last Friday and
DAMAC has not yet announced its result.
Qatar reserves reach
record high of $46.5bn
DOHA: Qatar’s international reserves hit an all-time high of
$46.5 billion (39 billion euros) in November and are expected to climb higher despite falling oil prices, Qatar National
Bank figures revealed. The latest figure was a jump of
almost $7 billion on the level of reserves recorded by the
energy-rich Gulf state at the same time in 2013. In its
monthly monitor, the emirate’s largest commercial bank
said it expected the new record to be broken in 2015 and
for Qatar’s economy to power ahead over the next 12
months as it diversifies away from the energy sector.
“Growth is expected to accelerate further in 2015 as the
implementation of large infrastructure projects and a large
influx of expatriates continue to drive double-digit growth
in the non-hydrocarbon sector,” QNB said.
Banque Saudi Fransi
Q4 profit rises 211%
ATHENS: A woman walks past a shop in central Athens on the first day of the winter sales yesterday. Global markets have been shaken by fears that Greece could abandon the euro if radical left-wing Syriza party wins the election on January 25. — AFP
RIYADH: Banque Saudi Fransi, part-owned by Credit
Agricole, posted a 211 percent rise in fourth-quarter
net profit yesterday, beating analyst forecasts. Saudi
Arabia’s fifth-largest bank by assets made 851 million
riyals ($226.68 million) in the three months to Dec. 31,
up from 274 million riyals in the same period a year
earlier, according to a statement to Riyadh’s bourse.
Analysts polled by Reuters on average forecast the
bank would make a quarterly profit of 780.47 million
riyals. The bank attributed its profit rise to higher operating income and a drop in expenses. Saudi companies
issue brief earnings statements early in the reporting
period before publishing more detailed results later.
Europe stocks gain, Asia falls
BEIJING: European stock markets were higher
yesterday while Asian markets fell as investors
digested another slide in the price of oil and
strong hiring in the US.
KEEPING SCORE: Germany’s DAX rose 1.1
percent to 9,751.14 and France’s CAC-40
added 1.1 percent to 4,223.56. London’s FTSE
100 rose 0.6 percent to 6,537.72. Wall Street
looked set to recover some of Friday’s losses.
Dow futures were up 0.4 percent at 17,718 and
S&P 500 futures rose 0.4 percent to 2,042.80.
Britain’s top share index rose yesterday, as
falling crude oil prices boosted cruise operator
Carnival and British engineering company
GKN gained after a leading investment bank
improved its rating for the shares. GKN rose 2.6
percent, leading the gains in the FTSE 100 ,
after Credit Suisse raised its price target for the
stock to 410 pence from 380 pence and reiterated its “outperform” rating.
Stocks were also helped by speculation of
further mergers and acquisitions among drug
companies, after the Dublin-based drugmaker
Shire said it had agreed to buy NPS
Pharmaceuticals for $5.2 billion.
Acquiring New Jersey-based NPS will
give Shire two important new drugs. Its
shares rose nearly 2 percent in early trading but retreated later as investors scrutinised the financial implications of the
deal. The takeover continues the dealmaking of 2014 among drug companies,
as they jockey for promising assets amid
a wave of new drugs emerging from
research laboratories.
“Healthcare remains top of the list in
terms of likely M&A activity, with Shire
news reinforcing this expectation,” said
Keith Bowman, an equity analyst at
Hargreaves Lansdown. “The NPS takeover
will give Shire two significant new drugs,
diversifying Shire’s drug portfolio further.
“Some beneficiaries of a lower oil
price, such as Carnival, are adding to the
market’s upside.” Holiday cruise company
Carnival rose 2.4 percent, the secondbiggest gainer in the FTSE 100 index,
after oil prices fell further following a cut
in short-term forecasts by Goldman
Sachs. Oil prices are at their lowest since
April 2009 and have fallen for seven
straight weeks.
The benchmark FTSE 100 index was up
0.3 percent at 6,521.13 points by 0914
GMT after falling more than 1 percent in
the previous session. However, energy
shares were under pressure, with the UK
oil and gas index falling 0.6 percent.
US ECONOMY: A healthy month of
hiring in December capped the best year
for US job growth since 1999, demonstrating that employers are more confident than they’ve been since the Great
Recession began. Nearly 3 million jobs
were added in 2014, and continued solid
hiring is expected to propel the economy
this year to its fastest growth in a decade.
The gains are putting further distance
between the strengthening American
economy and struggling nations overseas. But there was one discouraging
sign: hourly pay declined by 5 cents in
ENERGY: Oil slipped below $48 a barrel yesterday and is down 44 percent in
the past three months, reflecting high
supplies and muted demand from much
of the world. Benchmark US crude was
down 98 cents at $47.38 per barrel in
electronic trading on the New York
Mercantile Exchange. The contract shed
43 cents on Friday to close at $48.36.
Brent crude, used to price international
oils, fell $1.39 to $48.72 in London after
losing 85 cents on Friday to $50.11.
THE QUOTE: “If lower oil prices owe to
a surge in supply, that would be the end
of it and the global economy would be so
much the better off in the end,” said DBS
Group in a report. “But if prices are down
because of weak demand instead, all bets
are off. Economies, including the US,
would be no better off.”
ASIA’S DAY: The Shanghai Composite
Index lost 1.7 percent to 3,229.32 and
Seoul’s Kospi shed 0.2 percent to
1,920.95. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added
0.5 percent to 24,045.96. Benchmarks in
Sydney, Taiwan, Manila and Jakarta
declined while Singapore and New
Zealand rose. Tokyo was closed for a public holiday.
CURRENCIES: The euro fell to
$1.1811 from $1.1844 late Friday. The
dollar rose to 118.81 yen from 118.54
yen. — Agencies
Oil prices sink further,
dollar hit by wage data
HONG KONG: Oil prices tumbled again
yesterday, while most Asian stock markets also retreated after a sell-off in
New York at the end of last week in
response to data showing weak US
wage growth.
The news on wages, which overshadowed another forecast-beating
rise in job creation, pushed the dollar
down against the euro because it complicates the Federal Reserve’s plans to
raise interest rates.
Sydney fell 0.78 percent, or 42.9
points, to close at 5,422.7 and Seoul
closed 0.19 percent lower, or 3.75
points, at 1,920.95. Shanghai-which has
surged more than 50 percent over the
past year-slipped 1.71 percent, or 56.09
points, to 3,229.32.
However, Hong Kong edged up 0.45
percent, or 106.51 points, to 24,026.46
thanks to a surge in market heavyweight Cheung Kong Holdings after it
unveiled a multi-million-dollar restructuring plan last week. Tokyo was closed
for a public holiday.
Weak demand and a supply glut
sent crude to new five-and-a-half-year
lows, with analysts tipping further losses this week. The US benchmark, West
Texas Intermediate for February delivery, lost $1.06 to $47.30 a barrel, while
Brent was down $1.32 to $48.79.
Singapore’s United Overseas Bank
said in a commentary: “Oil prices continued to tumble and headed for a seventh straight weekly loss as key producers show no sign of cutting output
in the face of a supply glut.”
Crude prices have lost more than
half their value since the middle of last
year, with weakness in key markets
China and the euro-zone adding to the
supply and demand crisis. Wall Street
provided a negative lead for stock markets after figures showed US wages
grew 1.7 percent year-on-year in
December, barely keeping up with
inflation and indicating consumer
spending power remained low.
The Dow slipped 0.95 percent Friday,
the S&P 500 fell 0.84 percent and the
Nasdaq lost 0.68 percent.
Euro up against dollar
Traders latched on to the data,
ignoring the fact that unemployment
fell to 5.6 percent, the lowest level in six
and a half years, while 252,000 new
posts were created in December to cap
the best year for job creation since
“Despite the robust US jobs data,
markets chose to focus on the weak
wages growth and the likelihood that it
will keep the Fed Reserve ‘patient’ about
any rate hike,” United Overseas Bank
Economists took the report as allowing the Fed to delay raising interest
rates. This dented speculation of an
increase in April and made the dollar
less attractive to investors.
“This tug of war between deflation
and expectations of the first rate hike in
many years by the US Fed is likely to
result in intense volatility,” Nader Naeimi
at AMP Capital Investors in Sydney, told
Bloomberg TV. In Asian trade the dollar
bought 118.48 yen compared with
118.46 yen on Friday in New York. The
euro fetched $1.1846 against $1.1842,
while it was also at 140.22 yen compared with 140.29 yen. — AFP
Gold dips below from
1-month high on dollar
LONDON: Gold retreated from a onemonth high yesterday, as the dollar and
shares rose, but doubts over the likely timing of an increase in US interest rates this
year were seen likely to bolster investment demand in the short term.
US nonfarm payrolls data on Friday
showed US wages posted their biggest
decline in at least eight years in
December, even though payrolls
increased by a brisk 252,000. The data
added to speculation the Federal Reserve
would be cautious in raising interest rates,
which could help non-interest-bearing
Spot gold climbed to its highest since
Dec. 11 at $1,231 an ounce, before edging
0.1 percent lower to $1,221.60 by 1019
GMT. The metal posted its biggest weekly
gain since June last week at 2.9 percent,
also snapping a three-week decline. “The
market is dominated by this ongoing
debate about whether the Fed looks at
the jobs and the GDP growth or wage
inflation and how their focus will impact
the timing of interest rates hikes,” Societe
Generale analyst Robin Bhar said. “In the
meantime there are critical events such as
the ECB meeting on monetary easing
next week and then the Greek political
elections, which could give support to
prices at least until the end of the month,
due to the need for safe havens.”
The dollar index rose 0.2 percent
against six major currencies, but stood
below a nine-year peak hit last week,
while European shares rose and oil prices
fell to their lowest level since April 2009.
Weaker oil prices tend to hurt gold as
they reduce the need for gold as a hedge
against oil-led inflation. But as equity markets have recently been hit by persistent
weakness in oil prices, flight to safety
demand bolstered the metal. Short-term
investor sentiment turned slightly more
positive towards gold, with holdings in
the SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rising
0.42 percent to 707.82 tonnes on Friday.
Hedge funds and money managers
raised their net long positions in gold and
silver futures and options in the week to
Jan. 6, US Commodity Futures Trading
Commission data showed on Friday.
Bullion was also getting some support
from the physical markets, with buyers in
top consumer China stocking up for the
Lunar New Year holiday in February.
Premiums on the Shanghai Gold
Exchange were between $4 and $5 an
ounce, steady from last week. Among
other precious metals, silver was up 0.5
percent at $16.57 an ounce, while platinum and palladium rose 0.1 percent to
$1,229.49 an ounce and $801.20 an
ounce respectively. — Reuters
DETROIT: Mercedes-Benz introduces the c 350 Plug-In Hybrid at the North American International Auto Show
(NAIAS) in Detroit. — AFP
General Motors reveals the new Buick Cascada Convertible to the media.- —AFP
Bring on the power
Detroit auto show roars to life
DETROIT: Luxury and performance vehicles look set to steal
the headlines at the first major international auto show of the
year in Detroit, further proof the industry is back to its boisterous best after near-collapse.
The world’s top vehicle manufacturers were Sunday putting their finishing touches to their extravagant display
stands and there was no mistaking the prevailing sense of
optimism and anticipation.
The US auto industry last year clocked up its best year in
sales in nearly a decade and, with the low cost of gas and low
interest rates, has created what analysts are calling a nearperfect storm.
With host Detroit now on the long road to recovery after
the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history, experts are
expecting the North American International Auto Show to let
its hair down. More than 40 new car and truck models are
forecast to go on display from, when the show opens its
doors to the media. All the talk points to the luxury sector as
being the one to watch this year.
“I’m convinced the US economy and auto market are on
the same upward trajectory as the city of Detroit,” MercedesBenz chief Dieter Zetsche said Sunday, presenting the new
GLE Coupe-a hefty combination of power and luxe at an
upscale downtown hotel.
Much of the pre-show buzz has surrounded a new incarnation of Honda’s legendary Acura NSX supercar and Ford
was expected to roll out one of its own in the shape of an
eagerly awaited new GT.
“The NSX is going to be beautiful. This is what you go into
journalism for,” said Scott Burgess, Detroit editor at Motor
Trend. “You could almost have a motor show just for the NSX.”
Ford’s refusal to give any information away has served
only to whet appetites and increase speculation.”Ford has
been the quietest in not telling us what they have,” he said.
Not to be outdone, Cadillac will show off its most powerful product in the brand’s 112-year history, the new 640
horsepower CTS-V. And then there will be Lexus with it GS F
performance sedan.
‘Good and bad’
“It’s a very exciting time to be a luxury brand in the US.
Luxury cars are making inroads into the mass market,” said
Ravi Shanker, executive director and lead auto analyst at
Morgan Stanley. Brian Bolain, corporate marketing manager,
Lexus division, told the same Society of Automotive Analysts
conference Sunday: “Luxury is about the brand, always has
been, and will continue to be so.” But while the overall mood
in Detroit is overwhelmingly more positive than in recent
memory, it is not all good news.
The European market “continues to bomb,” said Shanker,
while emerging markets in Brazil and Russia “are struggling a
bit.” And while the low price of gasoline is drawing buyers
Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti executive director of design, talks about the Infinity Q60 concept unveiled at the Museum
of Contemporary Art Detroit. — AP
back to gas-guzzling performance vehicles, there is a downside to that too, said Shanker.
“It’s good because there are more dollars in consumers’
pockets,” he said. “But then it’s bad because lots of the US
economy depends on the gas and oil industry.”
And then there is the sensitive issue of recalls-a record 60
million vehicles in the US last year, with GM in particular in
the spotlight over an ignition problem linked to dozens of
deaths. But amid all the gleam and muscle on display, no one
was talking about recalls as the show poised to open. — AFP
Volkswagen, Ford
take top awards
Detroit names VW Golf car of the year
SHENYANG: Workers assembling automobiles on the assembly line in a factory workshop in Shenyang, northeast China’s Liaoning province. China’s auto sales exceeded
23 million vehicles last year, an industry group said yesterday. — AFP
China 2014 auto sales beat
23m, but growth slows
SHANGHAI: China’s auto sales exceeded 23
million vehicles last year, an industry group
said yesterday, but annual growth halved
from 2013 as a weaker economy took its toll
on the world’s biggest car market. Sales rose
6.9 percent, or 1.51 million vehicles, to 23.49
million, the China Association of Automobile
Manufacturers (CAAM) said.
That was short of an 8.3 percent growth
target given by CAAM in July, itself a cut from
an earlier forecast of 10 percent, Bloomberg
News reported. In 2013, sales surged 13.9
percent to 21.98 million vehicles, helped by a
recovery in Japanese brands that were earlier
hurt by a political row between Beijing and
Tokyo. CAAM described 2014 sales as “stable”
in a statement. “Faced with a complex international environment and the arduous task
of domestic reform, development and stability, the auto sector... achieved sound development,” it said. China’s economic growth
eased to 7.3 percent in July-September, the
worst quarter since the depths of the global
crisis in early 2009, as policymakers accept
slower expansion to carry out structural
At least seven cities have slapped limits
on vehicle numbers to cut congestion and
pollution, including the southern boomtown
of Shenzhen, which just announced a new
policy to issue only 100,000 licence plates
annually. But China remained the world’s
biggest auto market last year, a title it has
held since 2009, well ahead of the United
Foreign brands shine
Industry consultant Autodata has estimated total US sales last year reached 16.5
million units, up 5.9 percent from 2013.
China’s passenger car sales, which
account for the bulk of the market, rose a
stronger 9.9 percent to 19.70 million vehicles
in 2014, CAAM said. “The performance of the
passenger car sector was within expectations and the slower overall growth is mainly
due to a decline in sales of commercial vehicles,” John Zeng, general manager of LMC
Automotive Consulting in Shanghai, told
For 2015, passenger car sales were likely
to maintain “relatively high” growth of nine
to 10 percent, but an economic slowdown
and stricter emissions regulations will hurt
overall vehicle sales, Zeng said.
He forecast overall auto sales growth of
7.2 percent for this year, nearly unchanged
from 2014.
Foreign automakers in China outpaced
the overall market, with Germany’s
Volkswagen (VW) as well as General Motors
(GM) and Ford of the United States all reporting record sales for last year.
VW delivered 3.67 million cars to customers in China in 2014, up 12.4 percent, the
company said Sunday, despite recalling
more than 500,000 of its vehicles.
GM sold 3.54 million vehicles in China, up
12 percent from the previous high in 2013, it
said last week.
“GM expects industry demand to rise
once again this year in China,” President of
GM China Matt Tsien said in a statement.
Ford sold 1.11 million vehicles in China in
2014, up 19 percent from 2013, according to
the company.
CAAM said that the market share of
Chinese companies for passenger cars alone
fell 2.1 percentage points in 2014, but gave
no overall figure. Chinese firms held a 40.3
percent market share for passenger vehicles
in 2013, previous figures showed. — AFP
DETROIT: The Ford F-150 has been named North
American Truck of the Year at the North American
International Auto Show.
The Volkswagen Golf was named North American
car of the year at the Detroit auto show yesterday.
The Golf saw off fierce competition from the Ford
Mustang and Hyundai Genesis to take the prestigious
award at the North American International Auto
Show in a resurgent Detroit. Ford’s F-150 pick-up triumphed ahead of Chevrolet’s Colorado and the
Lincoln MKC in the truck segment. The winners were
decided by a jury of 57 journalists and based on qualities including design, safety, performance and value.
The Detroit extravaganza, the first major international
auto show of the year and the biggest in the United
States, launches under renewed optimism that the
industry has bounced back after years in the doldrums.
The press preview days for the North American
International Auto Show officially kick off with the
awards. The announcements came yesterday morning at Cobo Center in Detroit.
The other finalists for the car award were the Ford
Mustang and Hyundai Genesis. The F-150 beat out
the Lincoln MKC and Chevrolet Colorado for truck
honors. About 60 automotive journalists vote on winners from the list of finalists. A vehicle must be all new
or substantially changed for eligibility.
This is the 22nd year for the awards. Organizers
accept no advertising, though carmakers try to capitalize on the marketing value of the honors.
SUV offensive
Volkswagen’s latest push to become more than a
niche player in the United States builds on a truism
the German carmaker has long ignored: if you want
to crack the US market, tune in to American customers.
VW is aiming for leadership in global auto markets, backed by timely expansion in China and Latin
America as well as its dominance in Europe. Yet it continues to struggle in North America. It swapped U.
chiefs a year ago, disappointed by the results of a
push into midsize sedans assembled at a $1 billion
factory in Tennessee. US sales of VW-branded cars
have dropped 16 percent since 2012.
To fight back, the company plans to triple its product range in the fast-growing crossover segment and
refresh models more quickly, company sources said.
The campaign will include a five-seat variant of the
forthcoming midsize sport-utility vehicle (SUV), a concept version of which will be unveiled on Monday at
the Detroit auto show, the sources said.
VW is also stepping up cooperation with dealers
and assembling a team of 200 experts in R&D and
design at its US plant to ensure vehicles better cater
to American tastes. “It took us long to realize that the
US market requires more special attention,” a senior
manager at VW’s German headquarters said on condition of anonymity. “You have to have an ear on the
ground to capitalize on trends and customer desires.”
Michael Horn, VW’s new US chief, has reduced the
product lifecycle from seven to five years for sedans
and is planning similar changes for SUVs, one source
DETROIT: Michael Horn, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America (left) and Dr
Heinz-Jakob Neuser stand with the Volkswagen Golf, named the North American Car Of The
Year at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. — AFP
DETROIT: Joseph R Hinrichs (center), Executive Vice President and President of the Americas
for Ford Motor Company, is surrounded by the media after accepting the North American
Truck Of The Year award. — AFP
said. “It’s the game you have to play in the hype- then, from last year’s 367,000, missing the goal by
about a third. Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn, at a
heavy US market,” the source said.
reception in Detroit on Sunday night, admitted it
could be tough to more than double US sales to
VW’s past failings mean it will miss an 800,000 US 800,000 by 2018. “This will not be a walk in the park,”
sales target for 2018, according to researcher IHS he said. “We are facing challenges in this great marAutomotive. It sees 547,000 sales of VW-brand cars by ket.” — Agencies
McLaren Automotive races ahead
Over 1,600 vehicles delivered
cLaren Automotive ended 2014 with record
sales as it has done
every year since the company
began production of luxury
supercars in 2010. A total of
1,648 vehicles were delivered to
customers around the world, an
increase of 21 per cent over 2013
which was the company’s first
year of profitability. In addition
another 14 new retail locations
were added bringing McLaren’s
total global sales network to 68
Following the international
reveal of the 650S in CoupÈ and
Spider form at the Geneva Motor
Show where the two models
were launched simultaneously,
strong demand for McLaren’s
core model range saw sales reach
1,400 units including some
examples of the outgoing 12C.
In addition, 248 examples of the
916PS petrol-electric McLaren P1
were delivered to customers around two thirds of the car’s
total 375 unit production run.
McLaren’s network of retailers
grew to cover 30 markets with
the additions of Chile, Scotland
and Thailand. New sales outlets
were also opened in existing
markets, most notably Calabasas,
Chongqing, Fuzhou, Hangzhou,
Kunming, Melbourne, Nanjing,
Shenzhen and Tianjin. More
development is planned in 2015.
Growth was recorded across
all four of McLaren’s regional
business units. The Asia-Pacific
region saw the biggest rise with
sales increasing by 80 per cent
over 2013 with 11 new retail
locations across the region helping to fuel this growth. The North
American market remained
McLaren’s largest market
• Asia-Pacific achieves 80% growth
accounting for more than 30 per
cent of overall sales, while sales
in both Europe and the Middle
East grew year-on-year by 10 per
cent and nine per cent respectively. “With the continuously
strong per formance of the
Kuwaiti market, iconic luxury
supercars such as the McLaren is
a strong preference among buyers,” said Yousef Al-Qatami General Manager of Ali Alghanim
& Sons Automotive Company,
the exclusive importer of BMW,
MINI, Rolls-Royce, Land Rover
and McLaren in Kuwait. “As a
result, our sales are on the rise
with a huge demand expected
this year. As reflected in its global
performance, the Middle East
market including Kuwait, remain
as an important market for the
brand.” McLaren Automotive continues to invest significantly in
research and development for
new models. 2015 will see the
launch of the McLaren’s most
attainable model yet, the new
Sports Series which will debut at
the New York International Auto
Show in April. At the top of its
range, the strictly limited edition
track-only McLaren P1(tm) GTR
will also enter production after
the final road-going McLaren
P1(tm) has been built.
Commenting on the 2014
year end per formance, Mike
Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer of
McLaren Automotive explained:
‘These latest results highlight
that McLaren Automotive continues to push boundaries and set
records year-on-year, and are testament to the energy and professionalism of the teams in Woking
and around the world, including
our retail partners. The past 12
months have seen the launch of
the 650S in both coupÈ and
Spider form, and the first full year
of McLaren P1 production, and
sees the third consecutive year of
growth for the brand which is a
fantastic achievement.
‘Since the opening of the first
retailer in June 2011, McLaren
has established a world-class
network of retailers, with 14 key
locations added in 2014, all of
which continue to set benchmarks in the industry the world
over. Add to this a range of
groundbreaking models, shortly
to be completed with the launch
of the Sports Series later this
year, and 2015 looks set to be
another strong year for McLaren.’
Bridgestone appoints Zantrak as
its first sole distributor in Iraq
VIVA expands presence with
5 new branches in Kuwait
KUWAIT: VIVA, Kuwait’s fastest-growing and
most developed telecom operator, announced
yesterday that it has added five new branches
to its network amounting to a total of 63
branches across Kuwait, reinforcing its presence and growing closer to its customers.
VIVA’s new branches are located in Sulaibikhat
(Sama Al-Sulaibikhat Mall), Khaitan (Block 6 Hawazen Complex), Farwaniya Matafi St
(Farwaniya - Matafi St - Farwaniya Commercial
complex), Police Co-op (Al-Zahraa - Block 8 - in
front of The Public Authority for Civil
Information) and Mubarakiya ) Kuwait City Mubarakiya - Al-Jadeed Street - Building 69 Shop 2 ).
The opening of these new branches come
in line with the company’s expansion strategy
to serve a wider audience across Kuwait by
offering convenience in location, and in turn
the provision of excellence in customer service, and unique and exclusive packages for its
VIVA’s network expansion with an additional five new branches is an achievement the
company is proud to announce as it affirms its
commitment to being as accessible as possible
to its customers. VIVA will continue to move
forward in the same direction, to ensure customers are served swiftly and efficiently. VIVA’s
motivation to provide excellence in its services
is driven by its passion to serve its customers
and be closer to them wherever they are.
VIVA is the fastest-growing telecom operator in Kuwait. Launched in December 2008,
VIVA makes things Possible for its customers
by transforming communication, information
and entertainment experiences. The company has rapidly established an unrivalled position in the market through its customer centric approach. VIVA’s quest is to be the mobile
brand of choice in Kuwait by being transparent, engaging, energetic and fulfilling. VIVA
continues to take a considerable share of the
market by offering an innovative range of
best value products, services and content
propositions; a state of the art, nationwide
network and world-class service. VIVA offers
internet speeds of more than 100 Mbps, due
to the implementation of the most advanced
fourth generation (4G LTE) network in Kuwait
resulting in superior coverage, performance
and reliability.
DUBAI: Bridgestone Middle East & Africa East
FZE (BSMEA), a subsidiar y of Bridgestone
Corporation, announced yesterday that it has
appointed Zantrak International as its first sole
distributor in the Republic of Iraq. Under this
agreement, Zantrak International will exclusively
distribute Bridgestone brand tires and tubes in
Iraq for trucks and buses, light trucks and passenger cars as well as for industrial, motorcycle
and agricultural use.
The new distributorship will further strengthen BSMEA’s business in Iraq, an identified growth
market for the company, by increasing its ability
to offer high quality products and services to the
“Iraq is a key Middle East growth market for
Bridgestone we are delighted to partner with
Zantrak International to support the expansion
of our marketing and sales activities,” said
Shoichi Sakuma, President of Bridgestone
Middle East & Africa. “We are confident that
Zantrak International will deliver strong sales
across Iraq as a result of its commitment to
excellence and its extensive nationwide presence.”
Khalil Zantout, Chairman & General Manager
of Zantrak International s.a.l, thanked Sakuma
Shoichi Sakuma of BSMEA and Khalil Zantout of Zantrak International.
for the trust that BSMEA has placed in Zantrak
International and said: “We are proud to partner
with BSMEA to be the first distributor for
Bridgestone tyres and tubes in Iraq. We look for-
Skyline Builders celebrates 25th anniversary
KOCHI: On the occasion of celebrating its 25th
anniversary, Skyline Builders honored its very
first customers, PV Sathisa Baboo and Narayana
Moorthy, home owners of Skyline’s first project,
Skyline Mansion. They were felicitated by
Skyline Builders CMD, K V Abdul Azeez.
Founded in 1989, Skyline Builders has
emerged as Kerala’s No 1 builder by completing
110 projects, with 24 ongoing projects, across
10 cities in Kerala. With a built-up area of over 13
million sq ft, Skyline Builders has a clientele of
over 6000 customers in over 51 countries. The
home builder has also received an award for All
India Best Residential Apartment and been
accredited a rating of 7 stars and DA2+ by
Senior Vice President-Marketing, P A
Verghese; Project General Manager, E A Abdu;
Finance Controller, K R Vasudevan were also
present on the occasion.
KOCHI: On the 25th anniversary celebrations of Skyline Builders, first apartment owner P V
Sathisa Baboo being honored by Skyline Builders CMD, KV Abdul Azeez. Project General
Manager E A Abdu and Senior Vice President-Marketing, P A Verghese watch on.
Global Brands names Gulf Insurance
best insurance Brand in Kuwait 2014
Saudi’s SAFCO Q4
net profit falls 3%
DUBAI: Saudi Arabian Fertilizer Co (SAFCO)
reported a 3 percent drop in fourth-quarter
net profit yesterday, missing analyst forecasts due to lower ammonia sales and
reduced profits from a sister company. The
company, a unit of Saudi Basic Industries
Corp (SABIC) , one of the world’s biggest
petrochemical companies, made a net profit of 779 million riyals ($207.55 million) in
the three months to Dec. 31, according to a
statement to Riyadh’s bourse. This compares with a profit of 802 million riyals in
the corresponding period a year earlier.
In an Arabic statement, SAFCO said
ammonia sales fell in the fourth quarter
and it also received reduced profits from a
sister company, although higher product
sales prices partly offset these declines.
Analysts polled by Reuters on average forecast SAFCO would make a quarterly profit
of 892.6 million riyals.
The company’s 2014 annual profit was
3.17 billion riyals, which was nearly flat versus its 2013 profit of 3.16 billion riyals. SAFCO, a big producer of ammonia and urea, is
dependent on global demand and prices.
Since mid-2013, global players have voiced
concerns over the sustained fall in urea
prices due to China’s ramp up in output.
In the third quarter, SAFCO ended a fivequarter streak of decreasing year-on-year
profits as urea prices recovered. — Reuters
ward to working closely with Bridgestone to
achieve results and to operate as an effective
distributor by developing a robust customer
base for the brand in our market.”
Al-Sanousi receiving the award from Global Brand.
KUWAIT: Gulf Insurance, the leading insurance services provider
in Kuwait and the Middle East, won the ‘Best Insurance Brand’
award from Global Brands Magazine. The award ceremony took
place on 15 December, 2014 at The Address Hotel in Dubai.
The award recognizes Gulf Insurance’s superior brand in the
insurance sector since establishment in 1962, and ongoing brand
development efforts. The Gulf Insurance brand aims to create
greater desirability across the insurance industry sector, with a
primary focus on building long-lasting premium quality relationships that are rewarding and based on mutual respect.
Winners were selected from a competitive group of candidates, all of whom possess unique and superior qualities in the
evolving insurance sector. Gulf Insurance’s recognition comes in
line for its exceptional commitment to quality, branding activities, customer service and performance, as well as providing a
robust insurance system. Corporate Communication and Investor
Relations Manager, Khaled Al-Sanousi, received the award on
behalf of Gulf Insurance. He said, “We are pleased to gain international recognition for what we believe to be a world-class brand.
We will continue to work towards exceeding expectations and
excelling in our industry.”
Foreign investors add
Indian online property
portals to shopping cart
NEW DELHI: Indian businessman Navin
Bhartia’s Internet habits make him a dream
customer for billionaire foreign media
moguls like Rupert Murdoch. The 45-year-old
from Kolkata likes to buy homes online,
sometimes without visiting them. In the last
four years, he has bought five properties for
40 million rupees ($641,900) on, partly owned by Murdoch’s
News Corp. Foreign investors like Murdoch
have already put more than $200 million into
portals that help people like Bhartia buy
homes. Spurring the interest is Prime Minister
Narendra Modi’s vow to provide a house to
every Indian family by 2022 as the country’s
growing army of Internet users embrace ecommerce.
“Scale and growth of businesses like
(online retailer) Flipkart are a proxy that consumers in India are comfortable doing transactions on the Internet,” said Mukul Singhal,
principal at India-China fund SAIF Partners,
which has invested $10 million in Proptiger.
News Corp has a $30 million stake.
India’s Internet legion, already bigger than
Indonesia’s 250 million population and growing at an annual rate of more than 20 percent,
has also lured property portal investment
from the likes of Japanese telecoms-to-media
firm SoftBank Corp. Last week Google Inc’s
Google Capital unit invested an undisclosed
sum in a site called
The need for long-term capital for startups like Proptiger and also
makes India more attractive for foreign
investors compared with China, where local
money dominates, according to one investor,
speaking on condition of anonymity.
Indian home buyers by tradition work
with local brokers. But in a vast country with a
property market already estimated by KPMG
to be worth $121 billion in 2013, the Internet
offers people like businessman Bhartia the
ability to compare house prices hundreds of
kilometres away without leaving home.
“A single broker would have his own limited contacts...and he could have personal reasons for pushing a property. Online you get a
very good and holistic view,” said Bhartia,
whose firm manufactures gas cylinders. He
bought his last two properties without visiting them at all.
Prime Minister Modi has already sought to
make an impact on India’s still largely unregulated property market by making the listing
of real estate investment trusts easier. He has
paved the way for more foreign investment in
construction, and eased land acquisition
“Real estate in India is very messy. There is
a lot of information arbitrage and credible pricing data and that is why
there is a strong case for technology-based
solutions,” said SAIF Partners principal
Driven by expectations that years of property market slowdown may come to an end
soon, investment in property portals jumped
five-fold to $193 million last year, according
to data from Venture Intelligence. The
research firm also expects India’s housing
market to grow to $158 billion by 2020.
Desperate to boost housing sales that have
flagged as India’s economy stuttered in
recent years, property developers are tying
up with portals to push transactions online
with special promotions.
Developer Tata Housing, part of the $100
billion Tata group, in November sold homes
worth more than 500 million rupees through
a partnership with Housing. Buyers could see
3D models of the units, make a token payment online and complete the remaining
purchase offline.
Such websites, which charge subscription
fees or a percentage of the sales price, still
account for a fraction of home sales in India.
For investors like News Corp, though, the
Internet logic is inescapable.
“India’s digital demographics are a key factor in looking at this space,” said Raju Narisetti,
vice president of strategy at News Corp.
“More of the research, decision-making and
increasingly the early part of the journey of
buying a home is all happening on the
Internet.” — Reuters
JACKSONVILLE: According to the website, the SpaceX ocean-going rocket landing pad returned to port carrying debris
from the Falcon 9 rocket booster on Sunday in Jacksonville, Florida. — AP
SpaceX supply ship arrives
at space station finally
Dragon pulls up at orbiting lab with groceries
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida: A shipment of
much-needed groceries and belated Christmas
presents finally arrived yesterday morning at the
International Space Station.
The SpaceX company’s supply ship, Dragon,
pulled up at the orbiting lab two days after its
liftoff. Station commander Butch Wilmore used a
robot arm to grab the capsule and its 5,000
pounds (2,300 kilograms) of precious cargo, as
the craft soared more than 260 miles (420 kilometers) above the Mediterranean.
The space station’s six astronauts were getting a little low on supplies. That’s because the
previous supply ship - owned by another company - was destroyed in an October launch
explosion. NASA scrambled to get replacement
equipment aboard Dragon, as did schoolchildren who rustled up new science projects.
Then Dragon was stalled a month by rocket
snags; it should have reached the space station
well before Christmas. Mission Control joked
about missing not only the December shipment
date, but Eastern Orthodox Christmas on Jan. 7
as well.
“We’re excited to have it on board,” Wilmore
said. “We’ll be digging in soon.” He’s especially
eager to get more mustard. The station’s condiment cabinet is empty. NASA is paying SpaceX
and Orbital Sciences Corp. for shipments.
Orbital’s rockets are grounded until next year,
however, because of its launch accident. SpaceX
is picking up as much slack as it can. Russia and
Japan also plan deliveries this year.
SpaceX is still poring over data from
Saturday’s rocket-landing test, the first of its
kind. After the first stage of the Falcon rocket
peeled away as planned following liftoff, it flew
back to a giant platform floating off the Florida
coast. The guidance fins on the booster ran out
of hydraulic fluid, however, right before touchdown, and it landed hard and broke into pieces.
The California company ’s billionaire
founder, Elon Musk, was encouraged nonetheless and plans another rocket-landing test next
month. — AP
Internet at heart of new tactics
for Med people smugglers
BRUSSELS: Migrants dreaming of
Europe have their pick of social media
sites that work like an online travel
agent, advertising fares and offering
tips on secure payments. Meanwhile,
the traffickers who send them floating
across the Mediterranean are buying
scrapyard cargo ships over the
That’s the picture of an increasingly
sophisticated business in migrant
smuggling painted by European officials and an EU document seen by The
Associated Press. Information gathered
from migrants rescued at sea “confirms
that social media platforms such as
Facebook and Twitter are widely used
to share information on how to enter
the EU illegally,” says the analysis compiled by security experts for EU policy
The document underscores the
ingenuity and flexibility of human traffickers, as Libya’s mounting chaos
forces them to turn away from the
country as the preferred departure
With thousands of sub-Saharan
Africans willing to pay as much as
2,000 euros ($2,400) for a spot in an
overcrowded dinghy - and wealthier
Syrians now barely flinching at shelling
out 9,600 euros ($8,000) for a place
aboard a rusty cargo ship - criminal
gangs from Turkey are homing in on a
share of the profits. Social media,
which helped spread the Arab Spring
revolutions, are now a versatile tool in
the hands of migrants and smugglers.
Many use members-only Facebook
accounts to share information about
how to enter the EU illegally and elude
authorities once inside.
“Would-be migrants exchange
information that can vary from routes
to be used, asylum-related general
information, facilitators’ contacts and
also warnings regarding certain facilitators that usually just take advantage
of migrants in order to obtain money
from them,” says the EU document.
One Facebook page, with several
thousand likes, provides contacts via
Viber and WhatsApp to an Istanbul
office where secure payments for travel
from Turkey to Greece can be made.
Another has regularly updated information on travel document requirements in several countries, including
Turkey. The sites have been confirmed
by The AP.
Buying cargo ships
The Internet is also a good method
for buying cargo ships that carry
migrants across the Mediterranean,
according to EU border agency
Frontex. It says that about 15 cargo
ships with would-be asylum seekers
aboard have tried to reach Europe
since August. More than 1,000
migrants were rescued in two incidents
last week alone. Frontex spokesperson
Izabella Cooper said one of the vessels
used last week appears to have been
purchased online from a scrapyard.
While the smugglers share information online, there is little evidence they
work as one gang. Crews have been
variously Russian or Egyptian, and
Frontex analysts have been unable to
establish any pattern that might link
the smugglers to any larger criminal
“There is no evidence of these networks being connected. This might just
be a new business opportunity that
someone has picked up in Turkey,”
Cooper said in a telephone interview
from Frontex headquarters in Warsaw,
Almost 170,000 people were rescued in the Mediterranean last year,
but hundreds died and more are missing. EU border authorities are struggling against opportunistic tactics,
such as migrants scuttling boats and
throwing motors overboard once they
spot a coast guard ship. Under international law, that turns the encounter
into a search-and-rescue mission obliging the coast guard to haul the vessel
Migrants wait after disembarking from the cargo ship Ezadeen, carrying hundreds of migrants, in the southern Italian
port of Corigliano, Italy. The cargo ship was stopped with about 450 migrants aboard after smugglers sent it speeding
toward the coast in rough seas with no one in command. Migrants dreaming of Europe have their pick of social media
sites that work like an online travel agent, advertising fares and offering tips on secure payments. — AP
to European shores. Last week, smugglers used an even more dramatic
method: They sent the Sierra-Leoneflagged Ezadeen at full throttle in
rough seas toward the Italian coast
Stray satellite signals help
gauge snowfall in arid West
DENVER: Climate scientists are gleaning valuable
information about snowfall and droughts from
errant satellite signals once considered a nuisance.
The data comes from GPS receivers, mostly ones
used by earthquake researchers to detect motion
in the Earth’s surface. The receivers use signals from
GPS satellites to measure movement. But there’s a
problem: In addition to picking up signals directly
from the satellites, the receivers also pick up satellite signals that bounce off the ground first, providing false readings.
“First I tried to get rid of them because they
were making the earthquake data bad,” said
Kristine Larson, a professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Colorado.
But about four years ago, Larson and other
Colorado scientists discovered those nuisance signals have some value. In winter, researchers can
determine the depth of nearby snow by how long
it takes the reflected signals to reach the receiver. If
the ground is bare, they can tell how much moisture is in the soil by the strength of the reflected
That can be valuable information, particularly in
the arid West, where snow depth in remote mountain ranges determines how much water will be
DETROIT: A section of the Toyota exhibit is readied for the 2015 North American International
Auto Show yesterday in Detroit. — AFP
available to cities, farms and wildlife when the
spring melt begins.
Larson and a team of researchers now monitor
about 500 GPS receivers, mostly in the western
United States, for snow and moisture data. The
National Drought Mitigation Center at the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln uses the information from Larson’s team to supplement data from a
nationwide snow-measuring network of about
3,000 human observers and more than 730 automated stations called SNOTEL, for Snowpack
Operated by the US Agriculture Department,
the stations have a pressure-sensing pad, precipitation gauge and thermometer and use radio signals to relay information about snow depth and
moisture content. The stations are widely spaced
and can be difficult to reach if they break, said
Brian Fuchs, a climatologist with the National
Drought Mitigation Center. Data from other
sources, including Larson’s team, helps fill in the
“It gives us a better idea of what’s going on
between data points and in data-poor areas,” Fuchs
said. Larson said the soil moisture data could also
help farmers know whether to expect floods.
Heavily saturated ground can’t absorb much more
rain and snow, making flooding more likely.
With an annual budget of about $250,000, the
project is relatively inexpensive because it uses
data from GPS receivers installed and paid for by
other projects, Larson said. And GPS receivers are
plentiful and well-maintained, because the system
is so integral to society, she said. The satellites provide precise timing and location information used
in weapons, navigation, banking and other applications. — AP
with hundreds of people locked inside.
They then abandoned ship in high
seas. A Frontex vessel from Iceland
eventually managed to tow the
Ezadeen to Italy. “It’s like from the
movies. You would never think that
ghost ships going on full speed could
happen in real life,” Cooper said, “let
alone with more than 360 people on
board.” — AP
Self-taught computer program
finds super poker strategy
NEW YORK: A computer program that
taught itself to play poker has created
nearly the best possible strategy for one
version of the game, showing the value of
techniques that may prove useful to help
decision-making in medicine and other
The program considered 24 trillion simulated poker hands per second for two
months, probably playing more poker
than all humanity has ever experienced,
says Michael Bowling, who led the project.
The resulting strategy still won’t win
every game because of bad luck in the
cards. But over the long run - thousands of
games - it won’t lose money. “We can go
against the best (players) in the world and
the humans are going to be the ones that
lose money,” said Bowling, of the
University of Alberta in Edmonton,
The strategy applies specifically to a
game called heads-up limit Texas Hold ‘em.
While scientists have created poker-playing programs for years, Bowling’s result
stands out because it comes so close to
“solving” its version of the game, which
essentially means creating the optimal
Poker is hard to solve because it
involves imperfect information, where a
player doesn’t know everything that has
happened in the game he is playing specifically, what cards the opponent has
been dealt. Many real-world challenges
like negotiations and auctions also include
imperfect information, which is one reason why poker has long been a proving
ground for the mathematical approach to
decision-making called game theory.
Tuomas Sandholm of Carnegie Mellon
University in Pittsburgh, who didn’t participate in the new work, called Bowling’s
results a landmark. He said it’s the first time
that an imperfect-information game that is
competitively played by people has been
essentially solved.
Bowling’s paper, released Thursday by
the journal Science, introduces some techniques that could become useful for applying game theory in real-world situations.
Bowling is investigating the possibility of
helping doctors determine proper insulin
doses for diabetic patients, for example.
Game theory has also been used to
schedule security patrols, and it has implications for other areas like developing
strategies for cybersecurity, designing
drugs and fighting disease pandemics. But
Bowling doubts the poker strategy will let
anybody make a fortune on the game
itself. The kind of poker it applies to has
waned in popularity over the past seven
years or so, he said. Even online, the stakes
tend to be small and “you’d be winning a
few dollars, not raking in millions.”
In the two-player game, each contestant creates a poker hand from two cards
he is dealt face-down plus five other cards
placed on the table face-up. Players place
bets before the face-up cards are laid out,
and then again as each card is revealed.
The size of the wagers is fixed.
Bowling said the computer’s strategy is
far too complicated for anybody to memorize, with about 1,000 times the amount of
information in the English-language
Wikipedia. But his university has created a
website where people can ask it for advice
and even play against it. — AP
H E A LT H & S C I E N C E
British Ebola patient recovering,
no longer critical, says hospital
LONDON: A British nurse diagnosed with
Ebola last month is recovering and is no
longer in a critical condition, the London
hospital treating her said in a statement
yesterday. Pauline Cafferkey, a 39-yearold nurse who normally works at a
Scottish health centre, became the first
person to be diagnosed with the disease
in Britain after contracting it in Sierra
Leone where she was volunteering at an
Ebola clinic.
“Pauline Cafferkey is showing signs of
improvement and is no longer critically
ill,” the statement from the Royal Free
Hospital said. “She remains in isolation as
she receives specialist care for the Ebola
virus.” Cafferkey is being treated with
blood plasma from an Ebola survivor and
an unnamed experimental anti-viral drug,
the hospital has said.
The Royal Free, Britain’s main centre for
Ebola cases, successfully treated British aid
worker William Pooley with the experimental drug ZMapp-a drug made by the small
biotech company Mapp Biopharma-ceutical in San Diego-after he was flown back to
Britain last August, suffering from the disease. Supplies of ZMapp have since run
out and none has been available to treat
E-learning matches
traditional training
for doctors, nurses
LONDON: Millions more students worldwide could train as doctors and nurses
using electronic learning, which is just as
effective as traditional medical training, a
review commissioned by the World
Health Organization has found.
Researchers at Imperial College London
who conducted the review said yesterday that wider use of e-learning might
help make up for a global shortfall of 7.2
million health workers identified in a
recent WHO report.
Josip Car, who led the study, said that
the use of electronic media and devices
in education - already used by many universities and workplaces to allow “distance learning” to support campus- or
office-based teaching - could enable
greater access to education, especially in
poorer countries where the need for
health professionals is greatest. He said
the barriers were mostly in access to
computers and Internet connections.
Car’s team carried out a systematic
review of 108 existing studies to assess
the effectiveness of e-learning for undergraduate health professional education.
They also conducted separate analyses
looking at online learning, requiring an
internet connection, and offline learning,
delivered using CD-ROMs or USB sticks,
for example. They found that students
gain knowledge and skills through
online and offline eLearning as well as or
better than they do through traditional
LAS VEGAS: This Jan 4, 2015 file photo shows the Zepp sensor and application on display at CES Unveiled, a media preview event for CES
International.—AP photos
Wearable sensors gather lots
of data-now to make it useful
‘what’s technologically meaningful’
LAS VEGAS: It’s not just about how many steps
you’ve taken or how many calories you’ve
burned in a day. Wearable fitness trackers and
health monitors are becoming more commonplace and diverse, but just what do you do with
all of that data?
“We have a lot of people buy wearables and
then stop using them,” said Paul Landau, president of Fitbug, a British maker of fitness trackers.
Landau attended the International CES gadget
show in Las Vegas last week, promoting a series
of 12-week fitness coaching programs that offer
detailed and custom recommendations for getting in shape. “If you want to help people,” said
Landau, “they’ve got to have more than just selftracking.”
Health monitors aren’t just for fitness buffs.
Startups and big tech companies at the gadget
show promoted all kinds of uses for the data
generated by wearable sensors - from mindfulness exercises to figuring out the best time to
get pregnant. Other companies aim to offer value by aggregating data from different sources,
so it can be viewed and interpreted together.
That could be useful, but it also raises a host of
privacy concerns.
TRAVERSE CITY: Microfibers were found inside the body of a Great Lakes fish, shown
in this July 28, 2014 photo.—AP
Scientists: Great Lakes teeming
with tiny plastic fibers
TRAVERSE CITY: Scientists who have
reported that the Great Lakes are awash
in tiny bits of plastic are raising new
alarms about a little-noticed form of the
debris turning up in sampling nets: synthetic fibers from garments, cleaning
cloths and other consumer products.
They are known as “microfibers” - exceedingly fine filaments made of petroleumbased materials such as polyester and
nylon that are woven together into fabrics.
“When we launder our clothes, some
of the little microfibers will break off and
go down the drain to the wastewater
treatment facility and end up in our bodies of water,” Sherri “Sam” Mason, a
chemist with the State University of New
York at Fredonia, said Friday. The fibers
are so minuscule that people typically
don’t realize their favorite pullover fleece
can shed thousands of them with every
washing, as the journal Environmental
Science & Technology reported in 2011.
Over the past couple of years, Mason
and colleagues have documented the
existence of microplastic litter - some too
small to see with the naked eye - in the
Great Lakes. Among the particles are
abrasive beads used in personal care
products such as facial and body washes
and toothpastes. Other researchers have
made similar finds in the oceans. A number of companies are replacing
microbeads with natural substances such
as ground-up fruit pits. Illinois imposed a
statewide ban on microbeads last year.
Similar measures were proposed in
California and New York.
Wave actions
But microfibers have gotten comparatively little attention. They’ve accounted
for about 4 percent of the plastic litter
that Mason and her students have collected from the Great Lakes. The group
drags finely meshed netting along the
lake surfaces, harvesting tens of thousands of particles per square mile, and
study them with microscopes.
About three -quarters of the bits
they’ve found are fragments of larger
items such as bottles. Smaller portions
consist of microbeads, Styrofoam and
other materials. But when Mason’s team
and a group from the Illinois-Indiana Sea
Grant program took samples from southern Lake Michigan in 2013, about 12 percent of the debris consisted of
microfibers. It’s unclear why the fibers
were three times as prevalent in that area
as elsewhere in the lakes, although currents and wave actions may be one
explanation, said Laura Kammin, pollution prevention specialist with Sea Grant.
Ominously, the fibers seem to be getting
stuck inside fish in ways that other
microplastics aren’t. Microbeads and
fragments that fish eat typically pass
through their bodies and are excreted.
But fibers are becoming enmeshed in
gastrointestinal tracts of some fish
Mason and her students have examined.
They also found fibers inside a doublecrested cormorant, a fish-eating bird.
Obvious solution
“The longer the plastic remains inside
an organism, the greater the likelihood
that it will impact the organism in some
way,” Mason said, noting that many plastics are made with toxic chemicals or
absorb them from polluted water. She is
preparing a paper on how microplastics
are affecting Great Lakes food chains,
including fish that people eat.
There’s also a chance that fibers are in
drinking water piped from the lakes, she
said. Scientists reported last fall that two
dozen varieties of German beer contained microplastics. Because microfibers
are used so widely, there’s no obvious
solution, Mason said. Persuading people
to stop wearing synthetic clothes likely
would be a tougher sell than the idea of
switching facial scrubs. But pollution prevention remains the best way to protect
the lakes, Kammin said. “It’s very hard to
remove these microplastics once they’re
out there,” she said.—AP
Turning data into an experience
“A lot of wearables today are just throwing
numbers at people. We’re looking to synthesize
that data and turn it into an experience,” says
Jason Fass of Zepp Labs, a Silicon Valley startup
that makes a tiny, wearable motion sensor for
tennis, baseball and golf enthusiasts.
Zepp has been selling sensors for a year, Fass
said in an interview at CES, but he’s hoping
weekend athletes will see more value in Zepp’s
new smartphone app. It shows users an animated analysis of their swing, and lets them compare their moves with videos of pro athletes.
The trend goes beyond sports. A Canadian
startup called InteraXon displayed a headset
that can measure brain activity, by tracking electrical impulses. It connects to an app that provides mental exercises to relax or focus the
mind, but founder Ariel Garten predicts the
technology might be integrated with other services in the future - to automatically adjust a
wearer’s iTunes playlist, for example.
Other exhibitors showed wearable motion
sensors designed for the elderly person who
lives alone, keeping a record of daily activity and
sending an alert to family members if, for example, the wearer falls, or isn’t following his or her
usual pattern of moving around the house.
Colorado-based Prima-Temp introduced a
cervical ring containing an electronic sensor
that’s designed to track a woman’s internal body
temperature. It can send a smartphone alert to
the woman - and her partner - when it’s her optimum time to conceive a child.
Tiny sensors that can track activity and health
data have been a fixture at CES in recent years.
LAS VEGAS: In this Jan7, 2015 file photo, Garmin’s Vivofit 2 fitness tracker is on display at the
Garmin booth at the International CES.
One in 10 Americans owns a fitness activity
tracker - typically a wristband that measures
things like heart rate, breathing and movement,
according to the Consumer Electronics
Association, which organizes the annual show.
The Gartner research firm estimates more than
70 million such devices were sold worldwide last
year. And that doesn’t count more sophisticated
wearables that can measure body temperature,
glucose levels or other health indicators.
But as the novelty of these devices wears off,
said CES chief economist Shawn DuBravac, consumers will become less interested in “what
technologically can be done” and more focused
on “what’s technologically meaningful.”
Gathering the data in one place
Apple and Google have developed mobile
device software that can gather health and fitness data from wearables and other sources, displaying it in ways that are easy for consumers
and their doctors to interpret. Samsung and
Blackberry are also working on software to collect medical data.
Silicon Valley startup Bellabeat makes several
devices aimed at women, including a wearable
activity tracker that looks like jewelry, a weight
scale and a fetal heartbeat monitor for pregnancy. Instead of showing readings on each device,
they’re designed to send information to a single
smartphone app, “where you can see how your
data is connected,” said co-founder Urska Srsen.
“The future is going to be one where all your
information is going to be in one place,” said
WebMD CEO David Schlanger. Scientists from a
South African company, LifeQ, were making the
rounds at CES to promote their notion of using
sophisticated algorithms to analyze data from a
variety of wearable devices. LifeQ founder Riaan
Conradie says his company can use “bio-mathematical modeling” to make meaningful health
predictions, such as whether a person is at risk
for a heart attack.
But who gets to see all that data?
The prospect of collecting and analyzing so
much personal data - especially sensitive medical records - raises a host of privacy concerns.
Consumer advocates worry the information
could be used by insurance companies to deny
coverage or raise rates. Speaking at CES last
week, Federal Trade Commission chief Edith
Ramirez warned tech companies against selling
health information to data brokers, and urged
them to guard against hackers.
Prima-Temp’s Costantini said the information
her company gathers on body temperatures and
fertility might someday be analyzed for broader
medical insights. But she said identities will
always be shielded and all data is stored in compliance with federal confidentiality rules for
health records.
Companies that collect health information
can’t operate in the same way as, say, online
retailers who tell advertisers what kind of shoes
you like to buy, said Samsung Electronics president Young Sohn. “We can’t just share that information like the marketing data you might get
out of some e-commerce application,” said
Got help paying for health care?
Watch your mailbox
WASHINGTON: If you’re among the millions of consumers who got financial help for health insurance
last year under President Barack Obama’s law, better
keep an eye on your mailbox. The administration said
Monday it has started sending out tax reporting
forms that you’ll need to fill out your 2014 return. Like
W-2s for health care, they’re for people who got
health insurance tax credits provided under the law.
Because this is the first time Americans will experience the complex connections between the health
care law and taxes, there’s concern that some people
may not realize the new forms are important, and
that they do need to open that envelope. Some consumers may not know what to do with the paperwork. Called 1095-A, the forms list who in each
household got subsidized coverage through the
health insurance exchanges, and how much the government paid each month to help with premiums.
You don’t actually file the form with your tax return,
but you can’t complete your return without the information it contains. Taxpayers, or their tax preparers,
will use the financial details to fill out yet another
form - 8962. That one is used to determine whether
people received the right amount of assistance that
they were legally entitled to. The amount of the tax
credit is based on a formula that takes into account
income, household size, and health insurance costs in
your community. Those who got too much of a subsidy will get their tax refunds reduced by the IRS. For
example, you can get dinged if your income went up
during the year, and you didn’t realize you had to
report that to or your state insurance
exchange. If you received less of a subsidy than you
were entitled to, the IRS will owe you instead.
Insurance exchanges
The Health and Human Services department said
it has started sending out forms to consumers in
states where the federal government is running the
insurance markets. The first batches should start arriving by midweek. The forms can also be downloaded
from your account. States running
their own insurance exchanges - including California
and New York - will send out the forms separately. But
they still must meet a Feb. 2 postmark deadline.
Insurers say the feds have told them that they
expect to mail about 4.5 million forms and they’re
tackling the massive job state by state. Tax preparation companies are seeing a whole new line of business in the health care law. But insurers are worried
that perplexed consumers will pepper them with tax
questions they’re not qualified to answer. The health
care law will mean lots more work for the IRS, and
Commissioner John Koskinen is warning Congress
that budget cuts could hamper taxpayer services this
filing season. The Obama administration has been trying to offer reassurance.
“In the coming weeks, HHS will work with other
agencies, tax preparers and community organizations
to arm ... consumers with the information they need to
know as they prepare to file their taxes,” Secretary
Sylvia M. Burwell said in a statement. The health care
law provides subsidized private health insurance for
people who don’t have access to coverage on the job.
Funneling the subsidies through the tax system
allowed the White House to claim that the law was “the
largest tax cut for health care in American history.” But
the downside is it adds more complexity to a tax system that’s already impenetrable for many people.—AP
H E A LT H & S C I E N C E
Britain’s health service to halt access to some costly cancer drugs
LONDON: Several expensive cancer medicines will
no longer be available on Britain’s state-funded
National Health Service (NHS) following an overhaul
of an over-budget drug funding scheme, NHS
England said yesterday. The revamp was triggered
by the escalating cost of supplying modern cancer
therapies, which often cost tens of thousands of
pounds for a course of treatment. Drug companies
have been in urgent talks with the health service
about the cuts. In some cases that has resulted in
price reductions, allowing certain medicines to stay
on the list, but other firms have failed to reach a
workable deal.
Japan’s Eisai said it was “outraged” by a decision
to de-list its breast cancer drug Halaven. Other
notable drugs being dropped include Sanofi’s
prostate and bowel cancer drugs Jevtana and
Zaltrap. The changes follow a review of the Cancer
Drugs Fund (CDF), which pays for treatments
deemed too costly under the normal process for
evaluating medicines. The fund has overspent
hugely since it was set up by Prime Minister David
Cameron in 2011.
Manufacturers argue that the de-listings fly in
the face of evidence that their medicines offer clear
benefits, but critics of the CDF claim it was set up for
political reasons, resulting in money being wasted
on excessively pricey drugs. While most drugs have
been retained, the list of approved clinical uses for
medicines has been cut to 59 from 84 previously.
Despite the revamp, the CDF budget will still
increase to an expected 340 million pounds ($515
million) in the year from April 2015 from 280 million
in 2014/15. If action had not been taken, the projected cost would have grown to around 420 million
in the coming year. “There were drugs that did not
offer sufficient clinical benefit so we simply cannot
go on funding those,” said Peter Clark, chair of the
CDF and a practising oncologist.
“There were others that offered some benefit but
were costly and I am pleased that a number of pharmaceutical firms worked with us to make prices
more affordable, saving millions of pounds that can
now be reinvested in other treatments.” — Reuters
Girl in China got HIV
through blood transfusion
BEIJING: A five-year-old girl in China contracted HIV through a blood transfusion,
state media reported, the latest case to
shine a light on an issue that has long
bedeviled the country. According to the
official news agency Xinhua, the girl, nicknamed Maomao, was infected during an
operation for congenital heart disease in
2010 in the eastern province of Fujian. She
tested positive for HIV last year after she
had come down with a fever for 17 days,
Xinhua said.
A Fujian government official told the
news agency that one of eight donors
whose blood was used during the operation was in a “window period” during which
the virus was undetectable. The donor was
later found to have HIV. Nearly half a million people are living with HIV/AIDS in
China, according to figures released last
month by the National Health and Family
Planning Commission. In the 1990s, rural
parts of China-particularly the central
province of Henan-were hit by the country’s most debilitating AIDS epidemic. It
stemmed from a tainted governmentbacked blood donation program and
infected tens of thousands of people,
including entire villages.
Currently, sexual transmission accounts
for more than 90 percent of infections,
according to the Chinese Center for Disease
Control and Prevention (CCDCP). But transmission through blood transfusions
remains an issue. Wu Zunyou, the head of
the National Center for AIDS/STD Control
and Prevention, told yesterday’s China
Daily newspaper that about 10 people in
China annually are infected with HIV
through blood transfusions.
China Daily
By contrast, the last two such cases in
the US took place in 2008 and 2002,
according to the UK-based charity AVERT.
Screening of donors’ blood led to the
detection of 2,237 cases of HIV/AIDS in the
first 10 months of 2014, Wu told the China
Daily. In the Fujian case, an investigation
found that “neither the hospital nor the
blood centre had broken any law” as the
donor was in the window period, Xinhua
reported on Sunday, adding that negotiations on compensation were underway
with the family. The same donor’s blood
was also used for two other operations, and
officials are trying to track down the
patients, Xinhua said.
In an op-ed yesterday, commentator Tie
Yonggong wrote in the Beijing Times that
“a child who becomes infected with AIDS
due to a blood transfusion is not just a family’s tragedy; it’s a systematic risk to all of
society”. “In addition to this child, there are
others who also received blood from the
same source,” Tie wrote. “So, remedying the
loopholes in the system is in the interests
of the safety of many people.” — AFP
China quietly toughens travel
restrictions on West Africans
BEIJING: China has been quietly toughening travel restrictions on students and businessmen travelling from Ebola-hit West
Africa even as it increases support to fight
the deadly disease on the ground in the
region, diplomats say. Beijing-based ambassadors from Liberia and Sierra Leone, whose
countries along with Guinea are the hardest
hit by the Ebola outbreak, say some of their
nationals are staying away from China due
to the new procedures.
No cases of Ebola have so far been
reported in China. “You have many
Liberians, Guineans and Sierra Leonians
whocome frequently to conduct business,”
Dudley Thomas McKinley, Liberia’s ambassador to China, said in an interview. “Of
course this has impacted them in a negative
way and has slowed it down. “It has impacted the numbers of people travelling to
China from those regions, whether for business or for study,” he added, saying he
planned to raise the concern with China’s
Foreign Ministry.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied
there was any change in visa policy for West
African applicants. Most West Africans enter
China through the southern province of
Guangdong, which neighbours Hong Kong.
The Guangzhou Daily said 438,000 Africans,
mostly traders, passed through the provincial capital from January to October last
year. Victor Bockarie Foh, Sierra Leone’s
ambassador to China, said he himself faced
stepped-up screening when he returned to
Beijing after a recent trip to his home country.
“I came back and at the airport I was very
rigorously examined,” he said, adding he did
not fault China for stepping up restrictions
on travelers from his country. “If you fly with
a disease like this, it is like flying with a
bomb,” he said. “They (China) have not
closed their doors. They are only being
careful.” McKinley said Liberian students,
including those on a government scholarships, had difficulties obtaining visas in time
to begin the fall semester. Most of their cases were worked out but some had postponed their studies by a term, he said.
The Embassy of Guinea did not respond
to repeated requests for comment. China is
not alone in tightening travel restrictions.
The United States has toughened health
checks for passengers from Liberia, Guinea
and Sierra Leone. Other countries such as
Australia have stopped issuing visas altogether for citizens from the impacted countries. China, Africa’s biggest trade partner,
promised last year to send over 1,000 personnel to help fight the outbreak that has
killed over 8,000 people. Beijing has also
contributed over $100 million in aid to the
anti-Ebola effort. — Reuters
Metabolism pointer
for quitting smoking
PARIS: How quickly a smoker breaks
down nicotine is a guide to which
therapy is best for kicking the habit,
according to research published yesterday. Most smokers who try to give
up tobacco fail within the first week,
so matching them to the best treatment is essential, its authors said.
Previous research has found a link
between tobacco craving and levels
of an enzyme called CYP2A6 which
breaks down nicotine.
The faster the nicotine is metabolized, the likelier it is that the smoker
will want to light up again soon, and
the harder it will be to quit. Scientists
in the United States and Canada used
a biomarker-the speed at which
CYP2A6 does its job-to see whether
nicotine patches or a non-nicotine
replacement drug called hantix or
Champix) were more effective.
Smokers who broke down nicotine
quickly-most smokers, in fact-were
twice as likely to quit if they used
varenicline than if they used patches,
they found.
They also had a better chance of
staying of tobacco six months later.
Slower metabolizes found nicotine
patches to be as effective as varenicline, but without that drug’s side
effects. The studies covered 1,246
smokers who wanted to quit, divided
roughly equally into fast and slow
metabolizes. The smokers were randomly assigned to an 11-week course
that comprised either a nicotine
patch plus a dummy pill, varenicline
plus a dummy patch or a dummy
patch and a dummy pill.
The study did not cover electronic
cigarettes, which some advocates say
are a useful tool for giving up smoking. The results should lead to a simple blood test for nicotine metabolism so that doctors can better advise
patients, the authors hope. “As many
as 65 percent of smokers who try to
quit relapse within the first week,”
said Caryn Lerman, a professor of psychiatry at the University of
Pennsylvania, who co-led the study.
“Matching a treatment based on
the rate at which smokers metabolize
nicotine could be a viable clinical
strategy to help individual smokers
choose the cessation method that
will work best for them.” Around six
million deaths annually can be attributed to tobacco, and smoking inflicts
around $200 billion (169 billion
euros) in health costs annually, the
paper said. The study appears in the
journal The Lancet Respiratory
Medicine. — AFP
buys animal-health
firm for $2.5 bn
NEW YORK: US pharmaceutical distributor AmerisourceBergen
announced yesterdaythat it plans to acquire animal-health
company MWI Veterinar y Supply for $2.5 billion.
AmerisourceBergen said the deal would enable it to expand its
services into animal health. MWI sells pet food, animal medications, vaccinations and other goods.
“Animal health is a growing market in the US and internationally, and is a logical extension of our pharmaceutical distribution and services businesses,” said AmericsourceBergen chief
execute Steven Collis. “Utilizing AmerisourceBergen’s knowledge of manufacturer and provider services, our global reach
and partnership philosophy, combined with MWI’s expertise in
veterinary and agricultural markets, we will collaboratively
launch the next generation of superior animal health products
and services together.”
MWI had sales of $3 billion last year, while
AmerisourceBergen had sales just under $120 billion and
about 14,000 employees. AmerisourceBergen said it would
purchase MWI for $190 per share, about a 17.4 percent premium to its price before the deal. In late-morning trade, shares of
AmerisourceBergen dipped 0.1 percent to $92.94, while MWI
jumped 8.1 percent to $189.93. —
W H AT ’ S O N
Albanian artists display works at Modern Art Museum
lbanian formative artists Sunday
evening displayed their paintings and
works at the Modern Art Museum, all
depicting different aspects of life in their
Ali Al-Yoha, Secretary General of the
National Council for Literature, Arts and
Letters (NCCAL), said he was happy to introduce the fine works of the Albanian artists. He
said those artists were known for their contributions to art, ranging from dress design,
graphics, movies and cartoons in addition to
formative art.
Hosting these exhibitions will contribute to
better interaction among countries and people, said Al-Yoha. The exhibition is part of
activities of the 21st Al-Qurain Cultural
Albanian Ambassador to Kuwait Kotim
Morina said the Albanian artists belong to
different schools, traditional and modern,
and their technique in drawing dealt with
nature, personal photos and dress design. He
hoped the Kuwaiti visitors would enjoy the
displays. — KUNA
The recipe for the Dubai Food Festival 2015
he Dubai Food Festival 2015’s full and
flavoursome line-up of new and
returning gastronomic consumer and
business events, celebrity chefs, activities
and promotions, has been announced by
Dubai Festivals and Retails Establishment
(DFRE), an agency of Dubai Tourism and
Commerce Marketing (DTCM).Marking the
Festival’s second edition, this year’s Dubai
Food Festival(DFF) will welcome a bursting
calendar of delicious and diverse events
across four key themes, including Emirati
Cuisine, Homegrown restaurants, Multi-cultural Dining and Street Food and
International Chefs and Restaurants.
With exclusive and new events set to
include the region’s-first foodie film nights,
Dubai Food and Film, and nine back-to-back
celebrity chef cooking sensations as part of
the new-for-2015 and Middle East’s first,
Fatafeat Kitchen, the Festival will also welcome a fleet of the city’s favourite food
trucks in the Food Truck Convoy. Another
highlight comes in the form of celebrity
chef’s taking over the kitchens of the Dubai
Creek’s iconic floating restaurants as part of
Dine On The Creek. The 23-day city-wide
extravaganza will also bring back 2014
event favourites, Beach Canteen, Dubai
Food Carnival, Taste of Peru, GulFood and
the Global Restaurant Investment Forum
(GRIF) amongst many more, to satisfy the
culinary cravings of Dubai’s visiting and resident foodies.
Celebrity Chefs
Promoting the depth and diversity of the
city’s gastronomic offering as it positions
Dubai as a leading international hub for
world-class food, DFF 2015headliners
include the Michelin-starred Jason
Atherton, award-winning Greg Malouf, TV
favourite Sanjeev Kapoor, Queen of the
Arabic Kitchen, Manal Al Alem, criticallyacclaimed chef and best-selling author,
Silvena Rowe, and the renowned Saudi
Arabian Super Chef Yousef Khumayes, many
of whom have restaurants in the Emirate.
Her Excellency Laila Mohammed Suhail
Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Festivals and
Retail Establishment, said:”This year’s edition of the Dubai Food Festival will incorporate a varied and extensive events calendar,
showcasing our Emirate at its culinary best.
Along with welcoming a number of internationally-renowned chefs, including those
who have established restaurants in Dubai,
the Festival will celebrate another key element of Dubai’s gastronomic offering, its
most-loved home-grown concepts.
“The Festival programme has been
designed to both highlight the range of
flavours that inspire Dubai’s menus, drawn
from the cuisines of the 200 nationalities
that live in the city, as well as the traditions
of Emirati cuisine and hospitality, an
increasingly important element of our
tourism offer. We look forward to welcoming residents and visitors from the region
and beyond throughout February to experience the depth and diversity of our city’s
culinary credentials,” continued H E Laila
Four Key Themes
International Chefs and Restaurants
Regional and international celebrity
chefs will appear at Fatafeat Kitchen (20 - 21
February), which will welcome nine in total
including Egyptian cuisine expert Chef
Salma Soliman to take part in live cooking
demonstrations. Another of the Festival’s
inaugural events, Dine On The
Creek(Various dates, to be announced
soon), will see celebrity chefs including
Sanjeev Kapoor, Manal Al Alemand Yousef
Khumayes serve up their internationally
award-winning dishes in traditional Emirati
Emirati Cuisine
The new-for-2015 Made In Dubai
event(27 - 28 February at Zabeel Park) will
pay particular homage to Emirati hospitality
and culture, as it showcases 96 delicious yet
often unknown Emirati dishes through tastings and master-classes with local chefs.
The bigger and better 2015 Beach
Canteen, which this year takes residence at
Kite Beach for the entirety of the Festival (6 28 February), plays host to nine of Dubai’s
very best homegrown restaurants and concepts. Offering visitors a unique beach dining experience, the Beach Canteen will also
serve up pop-up restaurants from celebrity
chefs, Jason Atherton (26 - 28 February),
Sanjeev Kapoor (21 February) and Yousef
Khamayes (6 - 7 February) and a variety of
other entertainment. Similarly, the Urban
Bazaar local foodie street market (6
February, atThe Archive, Safa Park and 27
February, at Creek side, Bur Dubai) will host
stalls showcasing homegrown concepts.
Multi-cultural Dining and Street Food
Celebrating multicultural dining and
street food, DFF will welcome homegrown
food trucks including local favourites Moti
Roti, Raw Coffee and Burger Fuel, to take
part in the Food Truck Convoy (Various
dates). The trucks will arrive at key locations
throughout the Festival, serving up the very
best street food cuisine. DFF will also welcome Street Nights(20 - 21 February), which
will pair street art with street food in the
city’s up-and-coming arts precinct, Al Quoz.
Similarly, a showcase of award-winning
street-food photographer Penny De La
Santos’ most stunning images of the multicultural dining and street food on offer in
Dubai will be on show at Dubai Airport during February.
“With a theme of ‘Find your Flavour’,
Dubai Food Festival 2015 promises entertainment for the entire family as it challenges festival goers to truly discover
Dubai’s unique and growing culinary offer.
Along with expanding 2014 event
favourites, such as the highly popular Beach
Canteen, Dubai Food Festival 2015 will see
the addition of some truly memorable
events and activities that, while inspired by
global foodie trends, will have a distinctly
Dubai flavour”, said Dubai Food Festival
2015 Director, Debra Greenwood.
Further Dubai Food Festival 2015 events
and details will be announced in the coming weeks as the launch of the Festival
approaches. For the most up to date information regarding this year’s DFF, visit
W H AT ’ S O N
The general supervision department of guidance held a health exhibition in Ahmadi Governorate, during the 18th annual scouts camp. The event was supervised by Dhiya’ Bader Bughaith, and was held under the slogan: “Our health
means security”. Sebamed was part of the event, and gave advises on skin care to the visitors. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat
Landmark Group to launch ‘Art Olympiad’
eiterating its commitment to the society, Landmark Group Kuwait is all set to
host the Art Olympiad 2015 for the
eighth year in a row on January 20 from 8.00
am - 2.00 pm at Centrepoint, The Avenues.
Children aged 14 years and below are eligible
to enter the competition. This initiative has
been a part of Landmark Group’s ongoing
corporate social responsibility where young
artists have an opportunity to showcase their
Saibal Basu, Chief Operating Officer of
Landmark Group, Kuwait said, “Landmark
Group regards service to the community as a
crucial component that plays a pivotal role in
the country’s progress. As a premier organization and a frontrunner in various strategic
initiatives, it is our responsibility to con-
tribute to the welfare of the society in which
we operate. This is one of our core values. The
Art Olympiad has become an annual event,
and we hope to continue to raise the spirits
of the students and encourage them to
express their views strongly and in an innovative manner.”
“Year after year I am always amazed at the
outstanding art work created the talented
young students. The judges look forward to
their lovely creations and are impressed each
year. The positive and enthusiastic feedback
we have received from schools and students
as well as the growing number of participants are a clear indication of the successful
engagement the Landmark Group has with
the community.”
As always, Landmark Group is keen on
maintaining an excellent rapport and creating awareness about relevant issues among
the youth with constant activities and events,
while setting a platform for approx 150 students from schools of repute across Kuwait.
Children will be provided with a craft pack
that includes a drawing sheet and a variety of
art materials such as paints, pencils and
Art Olympiad aims to bring fun and entertainment to young artists by encouraging
their creativity and also by rewarding them
for their participation in the art competition.
It provides a grooming platform for these
students by helping them improvise their
flair and encourage their innovative ability
through art.
Some of the participating schools for this
year’s Olympiad are: Kuwait American School,
Salmiya, The English School, Salmiya,
Fahaheel Al Watanieh Indian Private School
Ahmadi, Indian Educational School Jleeb,
Indian Learners Own Academy, Al Ghanim
Bilinguil School, Canadian Bilingual School,
Indian English Academy School- Don Bosco,
Indian Central School, Kuwait National
English School
Students will be judged on the basis of
creativity, workmanship, overall impression
and relevance to the theme. Judging will be
held in two age categories: 1) 9-11 years, 2)
12-14 years.
First, second and third place prizes will be
awarded for each category. A total of eight
winners will be selected at the end of the
competition. Each winner will be awarded
with exciting grand prizes and many other
valuable gifts. They will also receive certificates and trophies in recognition of their participation, and their schools will be given a
plaque of appreciation.
00:25 Being Eileen
00:55 Eastenders
01:25 Doctors
01:55 Being Erica
02:40 Whitechapel
03:30 Scott & Bailey
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 The Vicar Of Dibley
08:30 Moone Boy
09:00 Eastenders
09:30 Doctors
10:00 Being Erica
10:45 The Weakest Link
11:30 The Vicar Of Dibley
12:00 Moone Boy
12:25 32 Brinkburn Street
13:15 Eastenders
13:45 Doctors
14:15 Being Erica
15:00 As Time Goes By
15:30 The Vicar Of Dibley
16:00 Moone Boy
16:25 The Weakest Link
17:10 Eastenders
17:40 Doctors
18:10 Being Erica
19:00 As Time Goes By
19:30 Being Eileen
20:00 Call The Midwife
20:45 Mistresses
21:35 Saxondale
22:05 Money
23:00 Rev.
23:30 Being Eileen
Homes Under The Hammer
Simply Italian
Come Dine With Me
Celebrity MasterChef
Rachel’s Favourite Food For
Antiques Roadshow
Come Dine With Me
Paul Hollywood’s Bread
Homes Under The Hammer
Simply Italian
Come Dine With Me
Celebrity MasterChef
Rachel’s Favourite Food For
Paul Hollywood’s Bread
Antiques Roadshow
Come Dine With Me
Homes Under The Hammer
Bargain Hunt
Come Dine With Me
Celebrity MasterChef
Rachel’s Favourite Food For
Antiques Roadshow
Come Dine With Me
Homes Under The Hammer
Bargain Hunt
Come Dine With Me
Celebrity MasterChef
Rachel’s Favourite Food For
Antiques Roadshow
Come Dine With Me
Homes Under The Hammer
Homes Under The Hammer
Nordic Cookery With Tareq
Home Cooking Made Easy
Celebrity MasterChef
Antiques Roadshow
Come Dine With Me
The Good Cook
Gold Rush
Alaska: The Last Frontier
Fast N’ Loud
Auction Hunters
The Liquidator
Dallas Car Sharks
How It’s Made
How It’s Made
Dual Survival
Siberian Cut
Car Chasers
Fast N’ Loud
Auction Hunters
The Liquidator
Dallas Car Sharks
How It’s Made
How It’s Made
Gold Rush
Gold Rush
Alaska: The Last Frontier
Auction Hunters
The Liquidator
Dallas Car Sharks
Siberian Cut
Rods N’ Wheels
Fast N’ Loud
How It’s Made
How It’s Made
Dual Survival
Dive Wars Australia
The Liquidator
Dallas Car Sharks
Get Out Alive With Bear
08:20 E! News
09:15 Live From The Red Carpet
11:10 #RichKids Of Beverly Hills
11:35 #RichKids Of Beverly Hills
12:05 E! News
13:05 Extreme Close-Up
13:35 Beyond Candid With
14:30 Style Star
15:00 Keeping Up With The
16:00 Keeping Up With The
17:00 Giuliana & Bill
18:00 #RichKids Of Beverly Hills
18:30 #RichKids Of Beverly Hills
19:00 E!ES
20:00 Live From The Red Carpet
22:00 E! News
23:00 Kourtney And Khloe Take
The Hamptons
Dive Wars Australia
Get Out Alive With Bear
00:05 Chopped
00:55 Amazing Wedding Cakes
01:45 Guy’s Big Bite
02:10 Guy’s Big Bite
02:35 Jenny Morris Cooks Morocco
03:00 Jenny Morris Cooks Morocco
03:25 Charly’s Cake Angels
03:50 Amazing Wedding Cakes
04:40 Reza, Spice Prince Of
05:05 Roadtrip With G. Garvin
05:30 Reza, Spice Prince Of
05:50 Siba’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
09:30 Farm Kings
10:20 Recipes That Rock
10:45 Reza, Spice Prince Of
11:10 Roadtrip With G. Garvin
11:35 Grandma’s Secret Cookbook
12:00 Chopped
12:50 Siba’s Table
13:15 Jenny Morris Cooks The
13:40 Mystery Diners
14:05 Guy’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
17:50 Reza, Spice Prince Of
18:15 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives
18:40 Siba’s Table
19:05 Grandma’s Secret Cookbook
19:30 Mystery Diners
19:55 Burger Land
20:20 Guy’s Grocery Games
21:10 Amazing Wedding Cakes
22:00 Reza’s African Kitchen
22:25 Reza’s African Kitchen
22:50 Ching’s Restaurant
23:40 Burger Land
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 Didn’t Do It
07:40 Jessie
08:05 Austin & Ally
08:30 Binny And The Ghost
08:55 Suite Life On Deck
09:20 Wizards Of Waverly Place
09:45 Hannah Montana
10:10 That’s So Raven
10:35 Halloweentown 2: Kalabar’s
12:15 Austin & Ally
12:40 Jessie
13:05 I Didn’t Do It
13:30 So Random
13:55 Liv And Maddie
14:20 The Adventures Of Disney
14:55 Jessie
15:20 I Didn’t Do It
15:45 Liv And Maddie
16:10 Austin & Ally
16:35 Binny And The Ghost
17:00 I Didn’t Do It
17:25 Jessie
17:50 Prank Stars
18:15 Dog With A Blog
18:40 Good Luck Charlie
19:05 I Didn’t Do It
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 That’s So Raven
22:00 Suite Life On Deck
22:25 A.N.T. Farm
22:50 Shake It Up
23:10 Wolfblood
23:35 Wolfblood
00:00 Giuliana & Bill
00:55 The Soup
01:25 Keeping Up With The
02:20 E! News
03:15 Escape Club
04:10 THS
05:05 E!ES
06:00 Kourtney And Kim Take
06:55 Kourtney And Kim Take
07:50 Style Star
00:40 The Hungry Sailors
01:30 Paul O’Grady: For The Love
Of Dogs
02:00 Emmerdale
02:25 Emmerdale
02:55 Coronation Street
03:25 Tricked
04:20 The Widower
05:15 Murdoch Mysteries
06:10 The Jonathan Ross Show
07:05 Paul O’Grady: For The Love
Of Dogs
07:30 Tricked
08:25 The Widower
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 Paul O’Grady: For The Love
Of Dogs
14:45 Murdoch Mysteries
15:35 The Chase
16:30 Midsomer Murders
18:20 The Jonathan Ross Show
19:10 Coronation Street
19:35 The Chase
20:30 Midsomer Murders
22:20 Coronation Street
21:00 Killer Women
22:00 True Blood
23:00 Mistresses
23:15 Emmerdale
23:45 Murdoch Mysteries
00:00 Predator CSI
01:00 My Dog Ate What?
02:00 Mega Breakdown
03:00 Car SOS
04:00 Hunter Hunted
05:00 Fight Science
06:00 Crime Lab
07:00 Puma: Lion of The Andes
08:00 Predator CSI
09:00 My Dog Ate What?
10:00 Mega Breakdown
11:00 Megacities
12:00 How Hard Can It Be?
13:00 Caught In The Act
14:00 Wild Untamed Brazil
15:00 Ancient Secrets: China’s Lost
16:00 Chasing UFOs
17:00 Space Mysteries
18:00 Pirate Patrol
19:00 Ancient Secrets: China’s Lost
20:00 Chasing UFOs
21:00 Space Mysteries
22:00 Pirate Patrol
23:00 Megacities
00:00 Mystery Girls
00:30 The Daily Show With Jon
01:00 Two And A Half Men
01:30 Getting On
02:00 Jonah From Tonga
02:30 Louie
03:00 Back In The Game
03:30 The Michael J. Fox Show
04:00 New Girl
04:30 The Tonight Show Starring
Jimmy Fallon
05:30 My Boys
06:00 Last Man Standing
06:30 The Simpsons
07:00 Late Night With Seth Meyers
08:00 New Girl
08:30 My Boys
09:00 Back In The Game
09:30 Dads
10:00 Hot In Cleveland
10:30 The Simpsons
11:00 The Tonight Show Starring
Jimmy Fallon
12:00 Last Man Standing
12:30 New Girl
13:00 My Boys
14:00 The Michael J. Fox Show
14:30 Dads
15:00 Hot In Cleveland
15:30 The Daily Show With Jon
16:00 Two And A Half Men
16:30 Last Man Standing
17:00 Late Night With Seth Meyers
18:00 Back In The Game
18:30 About A Boy
19:00 The Simpsons
19:30 Hot In Cleveland
20:00 The Tonight Show Starring
Jimmy Fallon
21:00 The Daily Show With Jon
21:30 Two And A Half Men
22:00 Web Therapy
22:30 Ja’mie: Private School Girl
23:00 Louie
23:30 Late Night With Seth Meyers
White Collar
Bates Motel
White Collar
Necessary Roughness
Necessary Roughness
Coronation Street
The Ellen DeGeneres Show
White Collar
Coronation Street
The Ellen DeGeneres Show
Criminal Minds
State Of Affairs
Good Morning America
Good Morning America
Coronation Street
Coronation Street
Live Good Morning America
True Detective
A Good Day To Die Hard
40 Days And Nights
Marvel’s Doctor Strange
Iron Man
Hellboy: Blood & Iron
Escape From L.A.
A Good Day To Die Hard
Iron Man
Red Dawn
Escape From L.A.
Pitch Black
40 Days And Nights-PG15
Marvel’s Doctor Strange-PG
Iron Man-PG15
Hellboy: Blood & Iron-PG15
Escape From L.A.-PG15
A Good Day To Die Hard
Iron Man-PG15
Red Dawn-PG15
Escape From L.A.-PG15
Pitch Black-PG15
Police Story-PG15
00:00 Bad Milo!-18
02:00 Maid In Manhattan-PG
04:00 Girl In Progress-PG15
06:00 All In Good Time-PG15
08:00 Parental Guidance-PG
10:00 Maid In Manhattan-PG
12:00 Son Of Rambow-PG
14:00 Bringing Down The HousePG15
16:00 Parental Guidance-PG
18:00 In A World...-PG15
20:00 Friends With Kids-PG15
22:00 Schuks! Your Country Needs
01:00 The Twilight Saga: Breaking
Dawn Pt. 2-PG15
03:00 Stuck In Love-PG15
05:00 Red Lights-PG15
07:00 Old Stock-PG15
09:00 Everything Must Go-PG15
11:00 Red Lights-PG15
13:00 Christmas Magic-PG15
15:00 Temptation: Confessions Of
A Marriage Counselor-PG15
17:00 Everything Must Go-PG15
19:00 The Factory-PG15
21:00 Trespass-PG15
23:00 As I Lay Dying-18
All Things To All Men-PG15
The Glass Man-PG15
Atlas Shrugged-PG15
Meet Joe Black-PG15
Robot & Frank-PG15
The Glass Man-PG15
Life Happens-PG15
Snow Falling On CedarsRobot & Frank-PG15
19:00 Son Of Rambow-PG
21:00 Promised Land-PG15
23:00 For Greater Glory-PG15
The East-18
Dawn Rider-PG15
Return To Nim’s Island-PG
Sky Force-FAM
The Butler-PG15
The Chateau Meroux-PG15
The Butler-PG15
The Heat-PG15
3 Days To Kill-PG15
American Hustle-18
01:00 Barbie And The Diamond
02:45 Home Alone 3
04:30 The Happy Cricket 2
06:00 Garfield’s Pet Force
08:00 Top Cat: The Movie
10:00 Barbie In The Nutcracker
11:30 Everyone’s Hero
13:00 The Swan Princess: A Royal
Family Tale
14:30 Top Cat: The Movie
16:00 The Great Bear
18:00 Barbie In The Nutcracker
20:00 Shark Bait
22:00 The Swan Princess: A Royal
Family Tale
00:00 The Worricker: Salting The
01:30 Transformers-PG15
04:00 Someday This Pain Will Be
Useful To You-PG15
06:00 Marvel’s The Invincible Iron
08:00 Skyline-PG15
09:45 One Direction: This Is Us-PG
11:30 Man Of Steel-PG15
14:00 Despicable Me 2-PG
16:00 Skyline-PG15
18:00 Stolen-PG15
20:00 Parker-PG15
22:00 Insidious: Chapter 2-PG15
00:00 Live MSNBC Now With Alex
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
04:00 Live MSNBC All In With Chris
05:00 Live MSNBC The Rachel
Maddow Show
06:00 Live MSNBC The Last Word
W/ Lawrence O’Donnell
07:00 NBC Nightly News
07:30 ABC World News With David
07:57 NBC Nightly News
08:18 ABC World News With David
08:39 Live ABC Nightline
09:06 MSNBC The Rachel
Maddow Show
10:00 MSNBC The Last Word W/
Lawrence O’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
13:00 Live ABC America This
13:30 Live ABC America This
14:00 Live ABC America This
14:30 MSNBC First Look
15:00 Live NBC Today Show
18:57 MSNBC Hardball W/ Chris
19:38 MSNBC The Rachel
Maddow Show
20:19 MSNBC The Last Word W/
Lawrence O’Donnell
21:00 Live MSNBC Ronan Farrow
22:00 Live MSNBC The Reid
23:00 Live MSNBC The Cycle
02:00 Top 14 Highlights
02:30 Trans World Sport
03:30 PGA European Tour
04:30 Hero Indian Super League
07:00 PGA Tour
11:00 Top 14 Highlights
11:30 Snooker - The Masters
15:30 Top 14 Highlights
16:00 Live Snooker - The Masters
20:00 Futbol Mundial
22:00 Live Snooker - The Masters
00:00 Super Rugby Final Highlights
00:30 Currie Cup Final Highlights
01:00 ITM Cup Final Highlights
03:00 ICC Cricket 360
03:30 WWE This Week
04:00 Live WWE Raw
07:30 Top 14 Highlights
08:00 Super Rugby Final Highlights
08:30 Currie Cup Final Highlights
09:00 ITM Cup Final Highlights
09:30 Super League Final
10:00 NRL Final Highlights
10:30 Rugby League 4Nations
090 (Kuwaiti Film)
090 (Kuwaiti Film)
(08/01/2015 TO 14/01/2015)
12:00 PM
1:45 PM
3:45 PM
6:00 PM
8:00 PM
10:00 PM
12:15 AM
11:45 AM
2:00 PM
4:00 PM
6:15 PM
8:15 PM
10:30 PM
12:45 AM
11:30 AM
1:15 PM
3:30 PM
5:45 PM
7:30 PM
9:45 PM
12:05 AM
090 (Kuwaiti Film)
090 (Kuwaiti Film)
12:15 PM
2:30 PM
4:15 PM
6:15 PM
8:15 PM
10:30 PM
12:45 AM
11:30 AM
1:45 PM
4:00 PM
5:45 PM
8:00 PM
10:15 PM
12:15 AM
12:45 PM
3:00 PM
5:15 PM
7:30 PM
9:45 PM
12:05 AM
090 (Kuwaiti Film)
12:30 PM
2:30 PM
4:15 PM
6:15 PM
9:00 PM
11:00 PM
1:00 AM
11:30 AM
1:45 PM
3:45 PM
5:45 PM
7:45 PM
10:00 PM
12:15 AM
090 (Kuwaiti Film)
090 (Kuwaiti Film)
11:45 AM
2:15 PM
4:45 PM
6:45 PM
8:30 PM
10:45 PM
12:45 AM
11:30 AM
090 (Kuwaiti Film)
2:15 PM
4:30 PM
6:15 PM
8:00 PM
10:00 PM
12:15 AM
11:45 AM
2:00 PM
4:00 PM
6:00 PM
8:15 PM
10:30 PM
12:45 AM
12:45 PM
3:00 PM
5:15 PM
7:30 PM
9:45 PM
12:05 AM
1:00 PM
3:15 PM
5:30 PM
7:45 PM
10:00 PM
12:15 AM
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
1:15 PM
3:30 PM
5:45 PM
8:00 PM
10:15 PM
12:30 AM
360º- 1
11:30 AM
1:45 PM
4:00 PM
6:15 PM
8:30 PM
10:45 PM
1:00 AM
360º- 2
090 (Kuwaiti Film)
090 (Kuwaiti Film)
090 (Kuwaiti Film)
090 (Kuwaiti Film)
1:15 PM
4:15 PM
7:15 PM
9:15 PM
11:15 PM
1:15 AM
360º- 3
12:00 PM
2:30 PM
5:00 PM
7:30 PM
10:30 PM
1:00 AM
11:30 AM
1:30 PM
3:30 PM
5:45 PM
8:00 PM
10:15 PM
12:30 AM
Toyota Camry - GL 2014,
light blue color, km 12000,
KD 4100. Mob: 50994848.
(C 4904)
Mitsubishi Lancer GLX
2013, white color, km
44000, KD 2000. Tel:
66729295. (C 4905)
Pajero jeep, newly paint,
model 1996, color red, passing Sept 2015, use by a
lady. Call: 66152130.
Sharing accommodation in
Sharhabel Hawally for single / couple Filipino available from January 5, 2015,
with TFC. Please contact
mobile 51080902. (C 4902)
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)
I, Greeshma Jayaraj holder
of Indian Passport No:
F3536524 R/o Aishwarya,
Kakkad P.O. Kakkad,
Kannur Dt, Kerala 670005,
hereby change my name to
Greeshma Avish. (C 4903)
I, Lasya Priya, Holder of
Indian Passport No: Z
2519965, D/o Soma
Sundara Rao Maddukuri
have changed my name as
Lasya Priya Maddukuri and
shall hence forth my name
be known / called as Lasya
Priya Maddukuri. This is for
kind information of all concerned.
I, Thiru Sakthivel R.
(Hindu) holder of Indian
Passport No. E6574227,
Subbaiyapillai street,
Pattukkottai, Thanjavur,
Prayer timings
Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (
Arrival Flights on Tuesday 13/1/2015
Addis Ababa
Chennai/Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi
Kuala Lumpur/Jakarta
Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi
Al Najaf
Muscat/Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi
Departure Flights on Tuesday 13/1/2015
Addis Ababa
Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi/Chennai
London/New York
Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi/Muscat
Al Najaf
Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi
Aries (March 21-April 19)
This is a good day to start new projects–your instinct for success is in full
bloom. If you must explain any motivations, be sure you are on solid ground–be self-critical. Make sure others understand your position as well as you. Your communicative abilities are accented. This is an excellent time to sway others to your cause through speeches or clever arguments; your thinking is most lucid and grasping. Be careful, though, of
taking arguments to the extreme in trying to find a logical reason for every event that
occurs–especially the actions of loved ones. Companionship with others is most rewarding and you should take every opportunity to be with friends. You can be helping them
as much as their presence is helping you.
Taurus (April 20-May 20)
You will find communication problems of the past seem to magically clear
up. Papers lost are found, etc. At this time, you may actively be concerned about the welfare of others in your business or people who work under you. Try listening to their needs
before deciding for yourself how best to help them. You may react suddenly against
things that previously seemed to be the normal thing to do. Also, this is a good time to
lead the way on a project, for your originality is strong. You may need to feel more secure
now, perhaps through some material or sentimental objects that you possess. There may
be a great deal of financial panic with your monetary situation and it may be as difficult to
gauge as an elevator going up and down.
Gemini (May 21-June 20)
1. Any competition.
5. A naturally occurring weak estrogenic hormone secreted by the mammalian ovary.
12. The executive agency that advises the
President on the federal budget.
15. A feeling of strong eagerness (usually in
favor of a person or cause).
16. An adult member of the Boy Scouts
17. European strong-scented perennial herb
with gray-green bitter-tasting leaves.
18. A round shape formed by a series of concentric circles.
19. The act of rubbing down.
20. Either extremity of something that has
21. A name that has been assumed temporarily.
23. Queen of England as the 6th wife of
Henry VIII (1512-1548).
25. An archaic name for Easter or Passover.
27. A gathering of passengers sufficient to fill
an automobile.
30. A small hard fruit.
31. A pilgrimage to Mecca.
34. Relating to or characteristic of or occurring on the sea or ships.
36. A European river.
38. A Loloish language.
40. An edge tool with a heavy bladed head
mounted across a handle.
43. A group of islands in the southeastern
West Indies.
45. A high-crowned black cap (usually made
of felt or sheepskin) worn by men in Turkey
and Iran and the Caucasus.
48. (Akkadian) God of wisdom.
49. A bachelor's degree in naval science.
50. A waste pipe that carries away sewage or
surface water.
51. A Russian river.
55. Of or relating to near the ear.
56. Broad in the beam.
59. A rare heavy polyvalent metallic element
that resembles manganese chemically and is
used in some alloys.
60. A small drink of liquor.
61. A light touch or stroke.
62. Owed and payable immediately or on
64. Any of numerous venomous fanged
snakes of warmer parts of both hemispheres.
67. A white soft metallic element that tarnishes readily.
70. Half the width of an em.
72. North American republic containing 50
states - 48 conterminous states in North
America plus Alaska in northwest North
America and the Hawaiian Islands in the
Pacific Ocean.
75. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake
77. A tricycle (usually propelled by pedalling).
78. Type genus of the family Myacidae.
79. The lowest brass wind instrument.
80. A deciduous tree of the family Ulmaceae
that grows in the southeastern United
81. A barrier constructed to contain the flow
or water or to keep out the sea.
1. A summary that repeats the substance of a
longer discussion.
2. Scale-like structure between the base of
the wing and the halter of a two-winged fly.
3. A shrub of the genus Carissa having fragrant white flowers and plumlike red to purple-black fruits.
4. Spin or twist together so as to form a cord.
5. The rate at which red blood cells settle out
in a tube of blood under standardized conditions.
6. Flesh of fish found in colder waters of
northern Atlantic coast of the United States.
7. Leaves of the tobacco plant dried and prepared for smoking or ingestion.
8. Father of the storm gods Marut.
9. Discharge from the external ear.
10. Not of long duration.
11. Bulky grayish-brown eagle with a short
wedge-shaped white tail.
12. (Greek mythology) One of the mountain
13. Tough Asiatic grass whose culms are
used for ropes and baskets.
14. English monk and scholar (672-735).
22. Lac purified by heating and filtering.
24. The seventh month of the Moslem calendar.
26. A public promotion of some product or
28. Xerophytic evergreen shrubs.
29. A doctor's degree in optometry.
32. Of or relating to the palm of the hand or
to the area at the base of the thumb.
33. An angry disturbance.
35. Praise, glorify, or honor.
37. The district occupied entirely by the city
of Washington.
39. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on
a skewer usually with vegetables.
41. With rapid movements.
42. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike.
44. A state in midwestern United States.
46. A French river.
47. A city in western Lithuania on the Baltic
52. The acetylated derivative of salicylic acid.
53. A Mid-Atlantic state.
54. A small cake leavened with yeast.
57. Hard white substance covering the
crown of a tooth.
58. West Indian tree having racemes of fragrant white flowers and yielding a durable
timber and resinous juice.
63. Relatively small fast-moving sloth.
65. An inhabitant of Lappland.
66. Small cubes with 1 to 6 spots on the
68. Common Indian weaverbird.
69. (Old Testament) In Judeo-Christian
71. The cry made by sheep.
73. 4-wheeled motor vehicle.
74. A doctor's degree in dental medicine.
76. A metallic element of the rare earth
This is a productive working day–an excellent time to get many things
accomplished. You are self-assertive but if you find yourself working on a
project, it would prove favorable for all if you elicited the aid of associates. You may have
the opportunity to speak up about your ideas for a new delivery time that would help
eliminate a backlog of merchandise–coming or going. This would be best in written form
and signed with a date so that you are the one getting credit for your ideas. You make a
positive difference at work and higher-ups will notice and respond in positive ways. Later
today you may find yourself enjoying a long conversation with friends, writing a letter, or
making a special purchase over the internet. Mental endeavors are favored.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Tensions between you and a partner or loved one this morning may increase
because of a difference of opinion. You may need to take the first step in some sort of negotiations–agree to disagree first and then sit down and write out what each of you want for an
end result. Before making decisions, give this some time to develop, you will be pleased with
the outcome. This is also a good day for planning, writing or expanding your intellectual horizons whether you are in the workplace or at home. Negotiations in the workplace go very well
as you discover the agreed upon outcome of this meeting. Perhaps two departments have
different ideas on what is needed and can compromise. Tonight requires a helmet–fun.
Leo (July 23-August 22)
This is a great time to be with others and to work together. You may find
the need to reorganize and be more conservative in the workplace. All of this should go
rather smoothly. Your more common sense qualities are obvious and found to be valuable. You have the foresight to write out an outline before you give a lecture or advise
others. If you are not in charge, you could find yourself running your family or your personal life as finely tuned as those running a big company. You usually have the zest and
enthusiasm that is necessary to accomplish many things. Also, this is a time to clear up differences with a friend by speaking your mind. You express inner confidence and assertiveness in approaching and communicating with others.
Virgo (August 23-September 22)
Your actions may be slowed today, helping you to be more realistic about
your abilities and expectations for success. You take a serious attitude to just about all
aspects of your life. This is an excellent time to sit down and get many things accomplished. You should take note to make sure that you are clearly understood when speaking with superiors–there could be misunderstandings. If needed, make this a day to do
your research. Interactions with the opposite sex on a professional level may occur often
this week; dress for success. Take the time before making any major decisions about the
future of your career or someone else’s. This afternoon you will be visiting with old
friends. Grab a party hat, there are celebrations to enjoy.
Libra (September 23-October 22)
This may not be a good time to try new things or break away from the old
routine. There may be a heavy burden of responsibility just now–you will probably have
to work hard to make yourself understood. However, this period also marks a time when
many projects come to fruition, especially large ones. Clear thinking and communication
among co-workers is important. You should not hesitate in going great lengths to make
yourself clear–this could prove very productive. If you are into some sort of educational
studies, this afternoon, studying and research are highly favored. Exchanging stories with
old chums later today is easy and extremely pleasant. There is a chance to have a special
time with someone you love this evening.
Scorpio (October 23-November 21)
Everything points to you making more and more decisions. You have sufficient energy to apply yourself to the workplace as well as to an additional job that could
help to bring in extra money. If you need the support, psychological or physical, the support will be there for you. Clear decisions affecting others could be made. You put forth
an effort to improve your income, through physical or manual activity. This is a time
when the desire for material success and considerable monetary gain is great. Perhaps it
is time to purchase a home instead of renting apartments. This is a great time to plan
future entertainment with loved ones, perhaps a concert, museum trip, art showing or a
play with your loved one. Your powers of creativity are great.
Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)
Now is the time to make time for a special date, apply for a job or otherwise
make yourself known. You may spend a great deal of time engaged in intellectual pursuits in the home. You may even decide to establish a business or use your
home and family members in some manner to succeed financially–perhaps a family business. There is an air of seriousness to all your dealings with partners now. You are concerned more about the future of business, than at any other time. Later today you will be
able to separate yourself from business. There is not only a desire for outdoor, physical
activity this afternoon, but there is ample opportunity to partake in it. You truly enjoy
crowds–watching others and learning about people. Love is in bloom this evening.
Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
This is a positive day! Schedule that conference; give that party; plan for the
future. There are emotional beginnings–a new attitude–perhaps the establishment of new habit patterns that will set the tone for you for quite some time to come! This could
mean an addition to the family–a birth or a wedding. Your ability to make things run smoothly
should produce excellent results. You are extremely communicative to associates around you.
This is a most positive time to exchange ideas and seek new business–not necessarily a job position. You may find yourself running errands for others this afternoon. This evening is yours to
enjoy. This could mean a dinner date or a soak in the tub. Enjoy your surroundings this evening.
Aquarius (January 20- February 18)
This is a busy day! Concentrate on your own goals–firm up ongoing projects or begin new ones. Working alone today is not a problem for you. The encouragement
or advice of others is not really necessary for now. Now is your chance to be yourself–for
yourself. Good communication is at a high just now. Your timing should be perfect and
those around you should find you most natural. You could come up with new solutions.
Do not forget to include some physical activity in your day. There is a chance to understand those around you and to have a special time with someone you love. General good
feeling and harmony among family members and friends make this a happy time. A
change of scenery may be in order soon.
Pisces (February 19-March 20)
There is much contemplative thinking about your work at this time. There
should also be a great deal of communication about ways in which you can help improve
working conditions for a particular group of people. You should find this a good day to
communicate with members of the opposite sex. Your disposition is open and welcome to
all you meet. You are filled with energy that is best applied in your work or in accomplishing your goals. This is also a most favorable time to work in a group of close associates.
Changes at home should be undertaken soon and this will secure your peace of mind.
Relations with a spouse or business partner are on solid ground. Expressing affection
should come easily. Don’t worry, something borrowed will be returned.
Yesterday’s Solution
Yesterday’s Solution
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Yesterday’s Solution
i n f o r m at i o n
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in fashion from the Golden Globes
carpet, was featured in all silhouettes, from
Helen Mirren in a fitted Dolce and Gabbana
embellished gown to “Girls” stars Lena
Dunham in a backless satin Zac Posen and
Allison Williams in a strapless sequined
Armani Prive number.
Taylor Schilling opted for a deep red
Ralph Lauren halterneck gown with a flowing skirt. But welcome pops of color amid
the red and white came from nominees
such as Amy Adams, who opted for a periwinkle Versace one-shouldered gown.
Maggie Gyllenhaal opted for a dusky
pink strapless dress and Anna Kendrick
channeled her “Into The Woods” character
Cinderella in a blush pink embellished
Monique Lhuillier gown. Last year’s red carpet darling Lupita Nyong’o stood out in a
purple Giambattista Valli gown covered in
ruffled flower motifs, which Wilson said led
the trend for texture tonight.
“There’s a real movement in 3-D texture
in fashion, and it looks like Lupita is wearing fireworks,” he said. “She wears bright
colors so beautifully, it’s quite stunning.”
Jessica Chastain led the metallic trend in a
bronze Versace plunging number, while
Reese Witherspoon went for all out glamour in silver sequined fitted Calvin Klein.
Jennifer Lopez shimmered in a plunging
silver Zuhair Murad. — AP
ith lots of easy breezy makeup,
minimal jewelry and loose hair,
the Golden Globes opened the
awards season with a red carpet chock-full
of sparkly metallics, bright whites and dramatic reds. Among those lauded by fashion
pros Sunday night at the Beverly Hills,
California, awards night was Julianne
Moore as she led a parade of silver in custom Givenchy Haute Couture by Riccardo
Tisci. Her sequins faded to black and a cascade of feathers at the bottom.
“For me she was it. She looked amazing,
but the metallic trend was debated all over
social media. A lot of people see it as very
flashy but I think it looks great because it’s
just a new, totally different texture and
something that’s more interesting than just
the same old strapless gowns,” said Eric
Wilson, fashion news director for InStyle
magazine. Style and beauty expert Mary
Alice Stephenson agreed, adding Emma
Stone’s sparkly silver-and-black Lanvin
jumpsuit to her top five. It had a big floorlength sash at the waist, after all.
“Emma Stone broke a lot of rules and
that’s what Golden Globes fashion is about.
It was this great respite from all the boring
gowns. And her hair was down. It was
super glamorous and a little bit edgy,” she
said. Extending last year’s red trend was
standout Viola Davis in Donna Karan
Atelier. And there was plenty for us to love
or hate, including a daring white Vera
Wang Collection gown for “Gone Girl” costar Rosamund Pike. She showed off midriff
cutouts, a strappy barely there back and
plunging neckline soon after giving birth.
Singer/actress Jennifer Lopez
it completely relevant on today’s modern
The look was criticized by some as ill-fitcarpet,” King said. Ruth Wilson of “The
ting at the top but lauded by Aya Kanai,
Affair” stood alone in green, an edgy formexecutive fashion director of Cosmopolitan
fitting Prada with a high neck and blackand Seventeen, as “white hot and sexy.” A
and-turquoise detailing. Other highs and
chartreuse Gucci column gown worn by
Naomi Watts with a knockout diamond
Amal Clooney: The awards season debut
Bulgari Serpenti necklace was a questionof George’s bride was much anticipated.
able color to others while she was lauded
Her long, baggy white gloves with a black
as a vision by Joyann King, editor of
Dior Haute Couture one-shoulder gown “I love how she took
and long Harry Winston earrings had lots
the classic Old Hollywood glamour equaof fingers tweeting. “To glove or not to
tion - memorable hue, over-the top jewels,
glove,” laughed Stephenson. “It was a big
red lip and Veronica Lake curls - and made
moment. People had high expectations for
what she was going to wear. I think the
gloves were ill-fitting. Her hair was down
and she had that train coming off the Dior
dress and the long earrings. It could have
been a modern Audrey Hepburn moment
but it wasn’t.”
Uzo Aduba: Crazy eyes was, in a word,
awesome. The “Orange Is the New Black”
co-star rarely disappoints on the red carpet. This time around she wore a halterstyle beaded gun metal design by Randi
Rahm with ruby touches and a crystalembellished neckline. “She just looked hot!
Her hair looked great smoothed back,”
Kanai said.
Kerry Washington: Usually solidly on
point, she wore an of-the-moment midi
length design by Mary Katrantzou. It was
off-the-shoulder with pink and purple panels that were “too competitive with each
other,” King said. “A monochromatic color
choice would have been better.”
Stephenson agreed. “It was a little too pristine and buttoned up. She did not look
Julianne Moore
Actress Sienna Miller
Kate Hudson
Viola Davis
Amal Clooney
Amy Adams
White, red and blue
White was the chosen hue for the chilly
night. Nominee Emily Blunt spun a Grecian
twist on the classic white dress in a draped
Michael Kors gown, while Kate Hudson
opted for a flesh-baring Versace fitted dress
with cutouts.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus kept a sleek look in
one-shouldered Narciso Rodriguez. Sienna
Miller in Miu Miu and a pregnant Keira
Knightley in Chanel opted for white with
floral prints. Red, often regarded as a risky
choice for stars for fear of blending into the
Lena Dunham
Emily Blunt
Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Keira Knightley
Emma Stone
Lupita Nyong’o
Anna Kendrick
Naomi Watts
Ruth Wilson
Salma Hayek
Maggie Gyllenhaal
Allison Williams
Jennifer Aniston
Helen Mirren
Kate Beckinsale
Reese Witherspoon
Chrissy Teigen
Nina Dobrev
Katie Holmes
Kerry Washington
Catherine Zeta-Jones
Diane Kruger
Heidi Klum
Eva LaRue
In this image released by NBC, producer Jonathan Sehring, foreground, accepts the award for best dramatic film
for ‘Boyhood’ at the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards on Sunday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills,
Calif. — AP/AFP photos
Jonathan Sehring, from left, Richard Linklater, Lorelei Linklater, Cathleen Sutherland, Patricia Arquette, Ellar
Coltrane, John Sloss and Ethan Hawke pose in the press room with the award for best motion picture - drama for
‘Boyhood,’ ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’
top Golden Globe Awards
gory last year for “American Hustle,” and she
had predicted on the red carpet that she
wouldn’t be winning again. “To say I’m underprepared for this moment is a huge understatement,” Adams said. “Huge! I didn’t even
apply lip gloss.”
oyhood” continued its award season streak by winning three
awards, including best drama, at
the 72nd Golden Globes on Sunday. Director
Richard Linklater and supporting actress
Patricia Arquette were the widely-lauded film’s
other winners. The musical/comedy category
offered a surprise, with “The Grand Budapest
Hotel” edging out “Birdman” for best film.
Director Wes Anderson thanked Hollywood
Foreign Press members “Dagmar, Munawar,
Helmut, Anka...” continuing with the list of
exotic-sounding names.
Eddie Redmayne won best actor, drama for
“The Theory of Everything,” while Julianne
Moore won best actress, for the indie “Still
Alice.” Backstage, the actress said she was
going to celebrate by “eating a lot of potato
chips. I haven’t eaten since 3:30 pm.” Michael
Keaton won best actor in a musical/comedy
for “Birdman.” He talked about growing up in
on a Pennsylvania farmhouse, as the seventh
child of a large family. “I couldn’t remember a
time when my father wasn’t working two jobs,”
Keaton said. He teared up when speaking
In this image released by NBC, filmmaker Wes Anderson, second left, accepts the award for best motion picture comedy or musical for
‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’.
Richard Linklater poses in the press room
with the award for best director for
Eddie Redmayne poses in the press room
with the award for best actor in a motion
picture - drama for ‘The Theory of
did an impersonation of Bill Cosby, who has
been in the news for a series of rape allegations.
Jeffrey Tambor won best actor in a comedy
series for playing a transgender woman in
Amazon’s “ Transparent.” He thanked the
Hollywood Foreign Press for “putting us on the
map and making people aware of our story,”
Tambor said. “I would like to dedicate my performance and this award to the transgender
community,” he said, raising up his trophy.
“Thank you for your courage, thank you for
your inspiration, thank you for your patience
and thank you for letting us be part of the
In honoring “Transparent,” the first Amazon
series to win a Golden Globe, for best comedy,
the Hollywood Foreign Press Association
shined a light on LBGT rights. Producer creator
Jill Soloway dedicated the award to Leelah
Alcorn, the transgender teen from Ohio who
committed suicide last week because he didn’t
feel accepted. Matt Bomer won best support-
ing actor for his portrayal in HBO’s adaptation
of “The Normal Heart,” and he acknowledged
the victims of HIV/AIDs. “To the generation we
lost and the people we continue to lose to this
disease I just want to say we love you, we
remember you,” Bomer said.
Heartfelt speech
John Legend and Common took the stage
to accept best original song for “Glory” for
“Selma,” the only win for the Paramount
Pictures drama. In a heartfelt speech that referenced current events, including the murder
of two New York City police officers, Common
explained what drew him to the project about
he 1965 civil rights marches. “I felt this was
bigger than a movie,” Common said. “I am the
unarmed black kid who maybe needed a
hand, but instead was given a bullet. I am the
two fallen police officers fallen in the line of
duty. ‘Selma’ has awoken my humanity.” He
added, “Now is the time to change the world.
‘Selma’ is now.”
In a night of uncharacteristically few
celebrity winners, George Clooney added a
much-needed boost of star power to the
Globes when he accepted the Cecil B. DeMille
Award. “Ive had a pretty good year myself, and
I’m not just referring to the fabulous reviews of
‘The Monuments Men,’” Clooney joked. “It’s a
humbling thing when you find someone to
love,” he said as his wife Amal Alamuddin
looked on. “Amal, I couldn’t be more proud to
be your husband.”
He made light of the Sony hack. “It’s a good
chance for us to meet face to face and apologize for the snarky things we said to each other,” he said, before ending his speech by talking about the worldwide marches in solidarity
of the 12 people killed in the Charlie Hebdo
terrorist attack. “They didn’t march in protest,”
Clooney said. “They marched in support of the
idea we don’t march in fear.” The Golden
Globes, which honors both television and film,
plays an important role in shaping the Oscar
race. Arquette won best supporting actress for
“Boyhood,” cementing her status as the frontrunner in the category. “Sorry, I’m the only
nerd with a piece of paper,” said Arquette, who
thanked her “onscreen family” cast of Ethan
Hawke and Ellar Coltrane, as well as director
J.K. Simmons won best supporting actor for
“Whiplash,” for his portrait of a demanding
music instructor. He said that his co-star Miles
Teller inspired him every day to “scream at his
face.” In a surprise that speaks to the Weinstein
Co.’s strength in awards-season campaigning,
Amy Adams beat out favorite Emily Blunt
(“Into the Woods”) by taking home the award
for best actress in a musical/comedy for playing artist Margaret Keane in Tim Burton’s “Big
Eyes.” Adams was recognized in the same cate-
Difficult material
On the TV side, the Golden Globes lived up
to its reputation as the hippest award show,
often giving prizes to freshman shows over
veterans. Showtime’s “The Affair” won best TV
drama and its star Ruth Wilson won best
actress. Newcomer Gina Rodriguez won best
actress in a TV comedy for CW’s “Jane the
Virgin.” A shaken Rodriguez thanked everyone
from her fellow cast to CBS chief Leslie
Moonves. Netflix had a good night. Kevin
Spacey landed his first-ever Golden Globe for
“House of Cards.” “This is the eighth time I’ve
been nominated,” he said.
“I cannot believe I won.” Maggie Gyllenhaal
won best actress in a TV mini-series for the
streaming service’s “The Honorable Woman.”
She talked about the wealth of roles for different women on TV. “When I look around the
room at the women who are around here,
what I see actually are women who are sometimes powerful and sometimes not.
Sometimes sexy and sometimes not.
Sometimes honorable and sometimes not,” she
said. Joanne Froggatt won best supporting
actress for “Downton Abbey.” She thanked the
show’s creator Julian Fellowes and made note
of the difficult material involving her character.
“After the storyline aired, I received a number
of letters from survivors of rape,” she said.
FX’s “Fargo” picked up the award for best
miniseries or TV movie, edging the likes of
HBO’s “ True Detective.” Its star, Billy Bob
Thornton, also won the award for best actor in
the miniseries category. “These days you get
into a lot of trouble for anything you say,” he
noted. “So I’m just going to say thank you.” He
was one of the few winners of the night who
didn’t take a political stance. — Reuters
Maggie Gyllenhaal accepts the award for
best actress in a mini-series or TV movie for
her role in ‘The Honourable Woman’.
Actress Julianne Moore poses with the
award for Best Actress- Motion Picture,
Drama for her role in ‘Still Alice’.
about his love for his son Sean. “Two things I
said I wasn’t going to do, cry and give air
quotes,” he said. “Damn.”
Racy monologue
The Golden Globes are usually known for
more lighthearted hijinks, but this year’s telecast took on a more somber tone, as many of
the winners reflected on serious news events,
from Ferguson and Charlie Hebdo to LGBT
rights. Hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, back
for the third (and last) time, kicked off the
evening with a racy monologue that poked
fun of North Korea’s opposition to “ The
Interview” and the unprecedented hack that
brought Sony Pictures to its knees. They also
Filmmaker Wes Anderson accepts the
award for best motion picture comedy or
musical for ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Actress Ruth Wilson poses with the award
for Best Actress, TV Series, Drama for her
role in ‘The Affair’.
Actor Michael Keaton with the award for
Best Actor - Motion Picture, Comedy or
Musical for his role in “Birdman”.
Actor Kevin Spacey poses with the award
for Best Actor - TV Sereis, Drama for his role
in “House of Cards”.
Sarah Treem, foreground, accepts the award for best TV drama series for “The Affair”.
Actor Jeffrey Tambor (third right) and show creator Jill Soloway (third left) pose with the award for Best TV Series,
Comedy or Musical for ‘Transparent.’
Full List of Winners:
Best Motion Picture - Drama
Winner: Boyhood
Lead Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
Winner: Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything
Lead Actress in a Motion Picture- Drama
Winner: Julianne Moore - Still Alice
Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical
Winner: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Lead Actor in a Motion Picture- Comedy or Musical
Winner: Michael Keaton - Birdman
Lead Actress - TV Drama
Winner: Ruth Wilson - The Affair
Winner: Richard Linklater - Boyhood
Lead Actor - TV Drama
Winner: Kevin Spacey - House of Cards
Best TV Drama
Winner: The Affair
Actress - TV Miniseries or Movie
Winner: Maggie Gyllenhaal - The Honorable Woman
Foreign Film
Winner: Leviathan, Russia
Lead Actor - TV Comedy
Winner: Jeffrey Tambor - Transparent
Winner: Alejandro G. Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone,
Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo - Birdman
Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Winner: Patricia Arquette - Boyhood
Noah Hawley, third
from left, accepts the
award for best
mini-series or TV movie
for the series ‘Fargo’.
Animated Feature
Winner: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Lead Actress in a Motion Picture- Comedy or Musical
Winner: Amy Adams - Big Eyes Supporting Actor Series, Miniseries, or TV movie Winner: Matt Bomer The Normal Heart Original Song - Motion Picture
Winner: Glory - Selma (John Legend, Common)
Original Score - Motion Picture
Winner: Johann Johannsson - The Theory of Everything
Best TV Comedy or Musical
Winner: Transparent
Lead Actress - TV Comedy or Musical
Winner: Gina Rodriguez - Jane the Virgin
Actor - TV Miniseries or Movie
Winner: Billy Bob Thornton - Fargo
TV Miniseries or Movie
Winner: Fargo
Alexander Rodnyansky, left, and Andrey Zvyagintsev
pose in the press room with the award for best foreign
film for ‘Leviathan’.
Jeffrey Tambor accepts the award for
best actor in a TV series, comedy or
musical for his role in ‘Transparent’.
Actress Gina Rodriguez (right), winner of Best Actress in a TV Series,
Musical or Comedy for ‘Jane the Virgin,’ and sister Ivelisse Rodriguez
pose in the press room.
Supporting Actress - Series, Miniseries, or TV movie
Winner: Joanne Froggatt - Downton Abbey
Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Winner: J.K. Simmons - Whiplash
Amy Adams poses in the press room
with the award for best actress in a
motion picture - musical or comedy
for ‘Big Eyes’.
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, winner of the
award for best screenplay - motion picture
for “Birdman”.
John Legend, left, and Common pose in
the press room with the award for best
original song ‘Glory’ in a film for ‘Selma’.
Dean DeBlois, left, and Bonnie Arnold,
winners of the award for best animated
feature film for ‘How to Train Your
Dragon 2’.
Actress Joanne Froggatt holds the award for Best
Supporting Actress - Series/Mini-Series/TV Movie
‘Downtown Abbey’.
Warren Littlefield, from left, John Cameron, Noah Hawley
and Geyer Kosinski pose in the press room with the award
for best miniseries or television film for ‘Fargo’.
Matt Bomer accepts the award for
best supporting actor in a series,
mini-series or TV movie for his role
in ‘The Normal Heart’.
Johann Johannsson accepts the award for
best original score for “The Theory of
Writers Alejandro Gonz?lez In?rritu (second right), Nicol?s Giacobone, Armando Bo
and Alexander Dinelaris pose with the award for Best Screenplay - Motion Picture.
‘Boyhood,’ ‘Grand
Hotel’ top Golden
Globe Awards
With humor
and humility,
accepts lifetime
Golden Globe
hen actor-director George Clooney
accepted his lifetime award at Sunday’s
Golden Globes awards, he used his
acceptance speech to both put the value of
awards in perspective and voice his support for
the victims of the deadly attack on French newspaper Charlie Hebdo. “Today is an extraordinary
day,” Clooney said as he accepted his Cecil B.
DeMille award recognizing his work as actor, filmmaker and activist.
“Millions marched not only in Paris but all
around the world, and there were Christians and
Jews and Muslims, leaders of countries all over
the world, they didn’t march in protest, they
marched in support of the idea that we will not
walk in fear. Je suis Charlie.” Clooney, 53, who
wore a “Je Suis Charlie” lapel pin, demonstrated
self-deprecation in his acceptance speech, poking fun at himself for having lost more Globes
than won.
“If you’re in this room, you’ve caught the brass
ring, you get to do what you’ve always dreamed
to do and be celebrated, and that ain’t losing,” he
said. Clooney, who has starred in films including
“Oceans Eleven,” “Syriana” and “The Descendants,”
paid tribute to late stars Lauren Bacall and Robin
Williams, saying “I have no idea what hardware
Robin Williams took home but I sure remember
‘Carpe diem.’”
He also quipped about the backbiting emails
that leaked when Sony Pictures was hacked,
encouraging everyone to make amends, and the
unfavorable reviews for his 2014 film,
“Monuments Men,” joking: “I’ll get you back.” All
eyes were on the actor and his new wife Amal as
they made their red carpet debut as a married
couple on Sunday. “It’s a humbling thing when
you find someone to love, and even better when
you’ve been waiting your whole life,” a choked-up
Clooney said on stage to his wife. “Amal, whatever alchemy it is that brought us together, I couldn’t be more proud to be your husband.”
Earlier in the night, stars such as Jared Leto,
Helen Mirren, Joshua Jackson and Diane Kruger
also voiced support for the Charlie Hebdo victims, while Theo Kingma, president of Golden
Globes organizers the Hollywood Foreign Press
Association, made a poignant speech on stage.
“As international journalists we also understand
the importance of freedom of artistic expression.
Together we will stand united against anyone
who would repress free speech anywhere, from
North Korea to Paris,” he said. — Reuters
George Clooney, left, and Amal Clooney arrive at the
72nd annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly
Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan 11, 2015, in Beverly
Hills, Calif. — AP /AFP photos
Six lessons
from the
Golden Globes
In this image released by NBC, Tiny Fey, from left, Margaret Cho and Amy Poehler speak at the
72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards.
George Clooney poses with the
Cecil B. DeMille Award.
Presenter Oprah
speaks on stage.
Co-hosts Tiny Fey, left, and Amy Poehler introduce Oprah
Jared Leto presents an award on stage.
Model Cara Delevingne and
singer/actress Selena Gomez
Actors Joshua Jackson and Diane Kruger
In this image released by NBC,
presenter Meryl Streep speaks
on stage.
he Golden Globes winners won’t influence
Oscar nominations, since the ballots are
already in. Still, Sunday’s ceremonies offered
some interesting insights into Oscar possibilities
and into the state of this year’s awards race.
1 The big obvious winners Sunday evening
were “Leviathan,” “Grand Budapest Hotel,” Michael
Keaton, Richard Linklater and Eddie Redmayne.
The reaction of the 1,200 people in the Golden
Globes audience is a bigger Oscar clue than the
Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. results. The HFPA
has 80-plus voters and none is a member of the
Academy, so their choices don’t necessarily
reflect AMPAS. However, virtually everyone at the
BevHilton Sunday was an industry member and
their reactions showed widespread enthusiasm
for those films and individuals.
2. The other big winners included “The
Wedding Ringer,” “Kingsman: The Secret Service”
and “Tomorrowland.” Because the Globes are
telecast around the world, the ceremony is a
great opportunity to plug current or upcoming
films, via the nominations-and presenters. There
were nice mentions for those films via presenters
Kevin Hart and Colin Firth and footage from
“Tomorrowland” in the George Clooney montage.
3. Sunday winners shouldn’t feel over-confident. Last year, Alex Ebert won for music score
for “All is Lost,” but wasn’t even nominated for an
Academy Award.
4. The actor, picture and director races are still
up for grabs. Michael Keaton and Eddie
Redmayne scored, but nothing is certain: There
were at least five other contenders who could
still land Oscar bids or even wins. However,
Patricia Arquette, Julianne Moore and J.K.
Simmons seem unstoppable. Their Globe wins
follow multiple prizes from critics, and it’s always
good to have a reputation as a winner. As a
bonus, all gave good acceptance speeches: humble, sincere, thoughtful. That’s always reassuring.
5. “Birdman” is looking good. A lot of recent
awards talk has centered on the stalwart
“Boyhood,” plus newer challengers like “Selma,”
“American Sniper” and even “Nightcrawler.” But
the screenplay win was a reminder that it’s more
than a model of technical artistry and great performances. And one of the film’s themes is, “Even
if you’re out of work for a long time, you still have
talent and value as a human.” That concept hits
home to everyone in the industry.
6. Despite all this handicapping, don’t read
too much Oscar-ness into Sunday’s awards. The
Globes have an erratic track record of predicting Academy results: Only four Globe best picture winners in the last 10 years also went on to
Oscar wins. On the other hand, the vast majority of last year’s GG winners also won an Oscarbut even then, none was an off-the-wall or startling choice: Alfonso Cuaron, Matthew
McConaughey, Cate Blanchett, Jared Leto,
“Frozen,” et al. In an unpredictable year, like
2014, a lot of things can happen in the next six
weeks. It’s been said before, and will be said
again: The Globes are fun. Twenty years ago,
when they returned to network television, the
Globes touted themselves as Oscar omens. But
they’ve taken on their own identity and some
people love to complain about the long day,
but people actually have a good time. And
there were surprises, like the win for “How to
Train Your Dragon 2” that kept up suspense.
Plus, the references to world events from HFPA
prez Theo Kingma, Jared Leto and George
Clooney were brief and appropriate.— Reuters
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