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`Largest` US brigade in region heads to Kuwait

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‘Largest’ US brigade in
region heads to Kuwait
Force is well armed, well trained and well experienced
Over 2,000 Kuwaiti
passports forged
for KD 4,000 each
2 expats arrested
By Hanan Al-Saadoun
KUWAIT: Well-informed security sources said two
Arab expats working for the passports department
for 20 years have been arrested for forging Kuwaiti
passports, charging KD 4,000 per passport. The
sources explained that the two suspects, who are
currently in custody at the central prison pending trial, used to save the information of applicants renewing their passports and then forged other passports
with the same information for different persons.
The sources said one of the suspects had KD
80,000 in his bank account, while the other had KD
18,000, which they had collected from forging over
2,000 passports during their 20 years in service. The
sources explained that such forgery had been creating problems due to the presence of two different
people holding passports with the same information.
KUWAIT: Health Minister Dr Ali Al-Obaidi flags off the sixth ‘Friends of Hearts’ marathon organized by the
Chest Diseases Hospital yesterday. —KUNA (See Page 5)
i n
KUWAIT: The Kuwait Municipality will launch online health
and ad license renewal services today, Minister of
Communications and Minister of State for Municipal Affairs
Essa Al-Kandari said yesterday. The move came at the
behest of the political leadership’s directives for creating an
online government and translating the municipality’s computerized service strategy into reality, the minister said in a
press statement. The municipality’s service improvement
efforts are part of the country’s current development drive,
Kandari added, noting that the municipality is eager to
make use of modern technologies in removing obstacles
and streamlining services.
Central Bank offers
master’s scholarships
KUWAIT: The Central Bank of Kuwait will offer master’s degree scholarships for Kuwaiti students to
pursue their education in business, finance,
accounting and management, Governor Dr
Mohammad Al Hashel said yesterday. Hashel told
KUNA that the Central Bank, in cooperation with the
Institute of Banking Studies and several banks, has
provided this offering as a step to support students
seeking higher degrees. A Central Bank committee
will look into applications and will choose students
according to their credentials, said Hashel, adding
that the scholarship graduates will not necessary
have to work within the banking sector after completing their studies, and will have full freedom to
further seek education or work in any public or private sector entity.
KPC signs flurry
of big oil deals
KUWAIT: Kuwait Petroleum Corporation’s (KPC) has
made a deal with a major international company to
supply it with 200,000 barrels per day for the next
three years, revealed KPC Managing Director for
International Marketing Nasser Bader Al-Mudhaf. He
said in remarks to KUNA yesterday that the deal was
the “surprise he had promised for the Kuwaiti people”
during his participation last week in the annual international petroleum conference. The amount of crude
to be delivered to the company according to the
agreement constitutes up to 10 percent of Kuwait’s
daily oil output. KPC’s marketing sector also succeeded in gaining a foothold in the Spanish market, where
a major company would be supplied with Kuwaiti
crude, naphtha and liquefied petroleum gas, he said.
KPC will soon venture into Portugal too, Mudhaf disclosed. The KPC delegation also succeeded in signing
instant deals with Italian and Thai companies, he
FORT CARSON, Colorado: More than 4,000 Fort Carson
soldiers are heading to Kuwait, where they will take
over as one of America’s largest ground forces in the
region after US President Barack Obama asked Congress
to authorize military action against terrorists who are
cutting a large swathe across the Middle East.
Obama ruled out large-scale US ground combat
operations similar to those in Iraq and Afghanistan, but
he asked for the option to use military force against
Islamic State fighters for three years. The fight could be
extended to any “closely related successor entity” to the
Islamic State organization that has overrun parts of Iraq
and Syria, imposed an extreme form of religious law
and killed several hostages it has taken, Americans
among them.
The US Army has kept a brigade in Kuwait since the
end of the Iraq war in 2011. Those soldiers, including
two units from Fort Carson, have worked to train local
troops from throughout the Middle East. In its most
recent deployment to Kuwait, a combat team from Fort
Carson conducted training missions with allies including Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, which have
joined the coalition against Islamic State fighters.
The unit headed to Kuwait is Fort Carson’s heaviest
force, armed with tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles.
Many of its soldiers are veterans of one or more of the
brigade’s previous combat tours in Iraq. “We’re no
strangers to deployment,” said the brigade’s commander, Col Greg Sierra. The brigade has trained more than a
year for the Kuwait mission.
Continued on Page 13
b r i e f
Municipality launches
online license services
Gulf foreign
ministers hold
Yemen talks
Min 08º
Max 24º
High Tide
09:42 & 19:40
Low Tide
06:59 & 18:40
S&P maintains Kuwait’s stable outlook
KUWAIT: In view of the sharp fall in international oil prices in recent months,
Standard and Poor’s has significantly
revised down its oil price assumptions for
2015-18, affirming Kuwait’s AA/A-1+ rating. “We are therefore affirming our ‘AA/A1+’ long- and short-term foreign and local
currency sovereign credit ratings on
Kuwait,” the credit rating agency said in
its report on Friday. The stable outlook
reflects our expectation that Kuwait’s fiscal and external positions will remain
strong, backed by a significant stock of
financial assets.
“We expect these strengths to offset
risks related to the current volatile oil
price, Kuwait’s undiversified oil economy,
and what we assess as a volatile and
unpredictable political system, in addition to geopolitical tensions in the
region,” according to the report. “Prices of
crude oil in spot and futures markets
have fallen by around 50 percent since
June 2014, leading us to revise down our
oil price assumptions significantly. When
we last reviewed Kuwait on August 15,
2014, we expected Brent oil prices to
average $105 per barrel in 2015 and $98
per barrel in 2015-18,” it said.
“We now assume an average Brent oil
price of $55 per barrel in 2015 and $70
per barrel in 2015-18; Kuwait Crude (KEC)
trades at a five-dollar discount to Brent.
Consequently, we have also revised our
forecasts for Kuwait, particularly of its fiscal and current account positions.
Despite the sharp fall in the oil price, our
ratings on Kuwait remain unchanged. The
ratings continue to be supported by the
sovereign’s high levels of accumulated
wealth and very strong external and fiscal
asset (stock) positions,” the report added.
The Kuwaiti government, via the
Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), has
accumulated substantial assets through
oil and gas production over the years. It
has also saved its oil wealth in what “we
consider to be a prudent manner”. “The
government’s large net asset position,
which we estimate at over 2.8x GDP at
the end of 2014 is a significant ratings
strength providing a substantial buffer to
lower oil prices.
Continued on Page 13
WASHINGTON: A student from Georgetown University makes the call to
prayer as a group of Muslims and their supporters prepare for Friday
prayers outside the White House on Friday in the wake of the murder of
three young North Carolina Muslims. The gathering was in memory of the
Chapel Hill shooting victims, and to press federal authorities for a hate
crime investigation. — AP
High-tech lenses OIC concerned over
zoom with wink Islamophobia in US
Apple working on car
SAN JOSE: Swiss researchers are developing contact lenses that contain tiny telescopes to boost vision and zoom in and
out with the wink of an eye, optic specialists said Friday. The latest advances in
vision aids - some of which could potentially help the 285 million people worldwide
with some form of vision impairment were discussed at the American
Association for the Advancement of
Science annual meeting in California. The
new contact contains an extremely thin,
reflective telescope, which is activated by
winks and embedded inside a 1.55 millimeter-thick lens.
First released in 2013 and fine-tuned
since then, the prototype was unveiled by
Delhi’s new
chief minister
vows to wipe
out corruption
Eric Tremblay from the Ecole Polytechnique
Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland. The
lenses come with smart glasses that
respond to the wearer’s winks - but not
blinks - so that the user can switch almost
effortlessly from normal to magnified
vision and back. The wearer winks with the
right eye to activate the telescope, and
with the left eye to deactivate it.
“We think these lenses hold a lot of
promise for low vision and age-related
macular degeneration,” a vision disorder
that affects older people, Tremblay said. “At
this point this is still research, but we are
hopeful it will eventually become a real
option for people with AMD.”
Continued on Page 13
Bahrain police
fire tear gas
as protests
mark uprising
Obama denounces ‘murders’
JEDDAH: A pan-Muslim body condemned yesterday the murders of
three Muslim students in the United
States by a neighbour who espoused
anti-religious views, voicing concerns
over what it said was increased
“Islamophobia” in the country. Deah
Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor
Mohammad, 21, and her sister Razan,
19, were shot dead on Tuesday in the
North Carolina university town of
Chapel Hill. A 46-year-old neighbor,
Craig Stephen Hicks, has been
charged with three counts of murder
over the killings, which sparked outrage among Muslims worldwide.
Police said they are investigating
what may have been a parking dispute
gone wrong, but have not ruled out a
hate-based crime. Relatives of the victims say they are convinced they were
targeted because of their faith. “This
gruesome crime has left Muslims
worldwide in a state of shock and has
raised concerns of the growing feelings of hatred towards Muslims and
the increase of acts linked to
Islamophobia in the United States,”
said Iyad Madani, secretary general of
the 57-member Organisation of Islamic
Continued on Page 13
New Zealand
lay down World
Cup markers
R e p o r t
Girls die in house fire
By Hanan Al-Saadoun
KUWAIT: Two Kuwaiti girls (aged 6 and 9) died when a fire
broke out in their family house in Mangaf, said security
sources. Further investigations are in progress to determine the cause of the fire.
Money transport driver
escapes with large sum
The lawyer of a money transportation company
informed Jahra security forces that the driver of an
armored money transport vehicle escaped with the
vehicle after collecting KD 58,397, said security
sources. According to the lawyer, on a money collecting tour, the driver, an Indian man, dropped his partner, an Egyptian national, to collect money from a telecom company in Jahra. After doing so, the Egyptian
security man found out that his partner had left the
scene and immediately reported the matter to the
company, the lawyer said. The vehicle was found abandoned and empty two hours later near Jahra Industrial
Area. The absconding driver did not respond to phone
calls but is officially still in the country, stressed security sources expressing fears that he might have managed to leave using a fake passport. Further investigations are still in progress.
Citizen acquitted
in major liquor
trading case
By A Saleh
KUWAIT: The appeals court acquitted two citizens and an
expat who had been sentenced to one year in jail with labor in
a case filed against them for possessing 107 cardboard boxes
of Red Label whiskey. The defendants’ lawyer, Mohammed
Ahmed Taleb, argued that the arrest procedures were illegal
and accused the officer in charge of framing his client. He also
refuted deceives’ report that they found 10 boxes in his client’s
car trunk, noting that it was not big enough to hold 10 boxes.
Govt to empower Audit Bureau
The parliament will refer a law on authorizing the Audit
Bureau to refer violations to the prosecution to the government today, said informed sources, noting that the Cabinet
would have its legal committee study the law so that it could
make its final decision within two weeks. Informed sources
said that out of its keenness on reform and fighting corruption, the government will accept and pass the law as it is.
Conscription law on agenda
The parliamentary interior and defense committee is due
to vote next week on the conscription law, pending referral to
the parliament to be listed on the agenda and passed on
March 10. Committee chairman MP Abdullah Maayouf said
that the committee added an article about citizens dispatched
abroad on special assignments and how they could be summoned back home for enlistment. Maayouf added that the
law would apply to all male citizens reaching the age of 18
and that the service can be postponed till the age of 35. He
added that total service would be 10 years including one year
in actual service and nine years in reserve.
CMA amendments
The parliamentary financial committee is due to meet
today to discuss the amendments suggested by the government to the Capital Markets Authority law. The meeting will
be attended by Deputy PM and Minister of Commerce and
Industry Abdulmohsen Al-Mudej, CMA officials, investment
companies’ union and Kuwaiti banks’ representatives.
Informed sources stressed that the committee will pass the
government’s amendments in March without considering any
changes because they had been made after consulting various relevant authorities.
Kandari slams Omair
MP Faisal Al-Kandari rejected Oil Minister Ali Al-Omair’s
efforts to promote the idea of applying the strategic payroll
alternative in the oil sector with the excuse of following the
state’s policy to cut down expenses. In a press release, Kandari
stressed that this would mean excluding national labor and
handing these lifeblood facilities over to non-Kuwaitis after
Kuwaitization had succeeded in reaching 88 percent in the oil
sector. “This is unacceptable, especially in view of demands to
increase daily production to 3.6 million barrels a day by 2020,”
he warned.
RIYADH: First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah heads Kuwait’s delegation at the meeting. —KUNA
GCC calls for end to
‘illegitimate measures’ in Yemen
Extraordinary meeting held in Riyadh
RIYADH: Qatari Foreign Minister Dr Khaled
Al-Attiyah called on the international community, particularly the UN Security
Council (UNSC), to live up to their responsibilities to put an end to the “illegitimate
measures” that took place in Yemen.
The will of the Yemeni people should be
honored in line with the Gulf Cooperation
Council’s initiative and its executive mechanism, as well as recommendations of the
national dialogue, said Attiyah, who is the
rotating chairman of the GCC council.
“Yemen was facing the most dangerous
challenge since the 2011 revolution,”
Attiyah said in a statement distributed to
the press on sidelines of an extraordinary
meeting of GCC foreign ministers yesterday.
This dangerous challenge, he added,
“imposes responsibilities upon us, which
require rapid action to help the Yemeni
people in order to prevent the country
from sliding into chaos or internal fighting,
and threatening its unity and territorial
All parties in Yemen should realize that
lack of legitimacy and rule of law, as well as
rejectionist policy, will pave way for violence levels to intensify thus undermine
stability and security of the region and the
world, he said. The legitimate authorities in
Yemen should be supported to restore
order nationwide, said Attiyah.
The extraordinary meeting of the Gulf
Cooperation Council (GCC) Ministerial
Council on the developments in Yemen
kicked off in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia yesterday.
First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign
Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad
Al-Sabah headed the Kuwaiti delegation at
the meeting. The delegation included
Director of Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled’s office
Ambassador Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-
Mohammad Al-Sabah and Director of the
GCC Affairs Department Ambassador
Nasser Hajji Al-Muzain. It also contained
Kuwait’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia
Sheikh Thamer Al-Jaber Al-Ahmad AlSabah and a number of Foreign Ministry’s
Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled was received
upon arrival to Riyadh by Saudi Deputy
Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince AbdulAziz bin Abdullah, GCC Secretary-General
Abdullatif Al-Zayani, Kuwait ambassador to
Saudi Arabia and a number of the Kuwaiti
embassy officials. — KUNA
Committee plays crucial role
in resolving housing issue
KUWAIT: The National Assembly’s Housing
Committee has played a key role in amending some relevant laws, thus paving way for
resolving the housing issue.
The parliament, in a report released yesterday, noted that the committee has also
helped in tackling other related problems,
such as long-time waiting duration for citizens eligible to possess housing units.
Moreover, the Public Authority for Housing
has been given substantial jurisdictions to
build on state plots of lands or take possession of lands and properties for public
usage, in necessary cases. It furthermore
indicated using the allotted plots, namely
those located in investment and commercial zones, for sale to the private sector in
The commission has sought to adopt a
law that compels the municipality to prepare plots of lands for housing purposes
and setting up a financial portfolio at the
Savings and Credit Bank, the state public
lender, for financing expansion and repairing private houses.
Key issues
In 1993, the National Assembly decided
to form an interim committee to handle
housing issues. It later embarked on
diverse key issues, such as forming the
housing authority and amending several
relevant legislations. It indicated at a fresh
proposal essentially stating that if a married man gets a housing loan, and he later
sells the house and repays the loan in full
to the bank, provided that he has not
obtained another loan, he is entitled to
apply at the housing authority for a residence. Committee member Faisal AlKanderi confirmed that the commission
had tackled a pile of laws and bills, such as
the law that allows the loan recipient to
obtain all construction materials, valued no
more than KD 30,000.
Law No 113 (2014), for example, along
with Law No 27 (1995) allows the private
sector to build on empty state lands for
housing purposes. Currently, the committee is examining a series of bills; one allows
inheritors of a demised father to get possession of a government house or a plot.
KUWAIT: The Kuwaiti parliament has given top priority to resolving the country’s
housing shortage crisis.— KUNA photo
Kanderi acknowledged that laws concerning Kuwaiti women married to nonKuwaitis, divorcees and widows would
remain intact. Long queues of citizens await-
ing their turn to get housing is, certainly, to
be shortened, with plans to hike distributed
units from 2,500 per year to 12,700 to those
qualified for housing. —KUNA
Fuel shortage?
KNPC recently began a one month development process at
Ahmadi refinery, which has a capacity of 442,000 barrels a day,
said informed sources, noting that the refinery would be back
to full capacity in March and that this might cause a shortage
in petrol products.
Arab-African committee
convenes in Cairo
CAIRO: The seventh meeting of the Arab-African partnership coordination committee convened in Cairo, Egypt yesterday at the level of senior officials under chairmanship of
the State of Kuwait. The Arab side of the committee consists of Qatar, Kuwait and Egypt, while the African side consists of Zimbabwe, Chad and Mauritania.
The conferees mainly discussed a host of key issues pertinent to Arab-African partnership issues, Azeez Al-Daihani,
Kuwait’s permanent representative, said on the sidelines of
the meeting. The agenda primarily involves resolutions
adopted by the Arab-African Summit held in Kuwait in
November 2013, chiefly a brief report on the implementation of initiatives launched by His Highness the Amir of
Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on
investment and development in African countries, he said.
During the meeting, the conferees highly appreciated
His Highness the Amir’s humanitarian efforts, and development and investment initiatives for African countries, he
added. In this context, the Kuwaiti diplomat pointed to
coordination between concerned agencies in Kuwait on
the one hand and the African Union (AU) and the Arab
League on the other hand over the implementation of
development projects in African countries.
Kuwait has sent messages to Arab and African countries
asking about the appropriate vision and mechanism for the
execution of Arab-funded development and investment
projects in African countries in a way that would surely benefit the people of Africa, Daihani added. Since His Highness
the Amir’s development initiatives for Africa were launched,
Kuwait has provided African countries with easy loans
worth $2 billion over five years and $1 billion investments,
in addition to a $1 million prize for African development
research, a senior Kuwaiti official said.—KUNA
Activity held to promote environmental awareness
KUWAIT: Kuwait Dive Team, affiliated with the
Environmental Voluntary Foundation (EVF),
organized a day of environmental awareness
activities at Al-Kout beach south of Kuwait City.
Female students took part in the activity, during which “shaem” fish were released into the
sea waters, as a symbolic act for protecting
marine species living in the territorial waters of
Walid Al-Fadhel, the head of the divers’
team, said that the foundation has “achieved
real environmental partnership with public
schools, through such voluntary and awareness
promotion activities to protect the marine life.”
The activity aims to inculcate among the youth
motivation for environmental voluntary works
to protect the environment, he said.
The foundation is one of several national
bodies involved in diverse activities aimed at
protecting the environment, such as lifting
waste on the ground and at the sea, saving
marine species including endangered turtles,
and safeguarding coral reefs; a key habitat for
diverse species in the national waters. — KUNA
KUWAIT: Staff Brigadier Faleh Shuja’a Faleh, Acting Military Training Commander at the Kuwait National Guard, attended the final training for the advanced ground force
course, held at the Kazma camp recently. The training evaluates officers’ level of preparation to face different tactical and security conditions, Staff Brigadier Falah said.
Special Report
Is 2015 the year of foreign investment in Kuwait?
By Sonia A Salah
n 14 December 2014, Kuwait issued the
Executive Regulations of Law No 116 of
2013 regarding the Promotion of Direct
Investment in the State of Kuwait (the “Executive
Regulations”). This was a highly anticipated and
long awaited event as
the regulations were
expected to clarify certain issues necessary for
the effective implementation of Law No 116 of
2013 regarding the
Promotion of Direct
Investment (the “Direct
During the past year, we
Sonia Salah
have received regular
inquiries from numerous
foreign clients seeking more information about the
Direct Investment Law and whether Kuwait Direct
Investment Promotion Authority (“KDIPA”), the relevant authority whose main function is to attract
and encourage foreign and local direct investment
within the State of Kuwait, was accepting investment license applications (the “Applications”).
The Executive Regulations are composed of 45
articles divided into nine chapters. What follows is a
summary of its main provisions:
1. One-Stop Shop
One of the most exciting aspects of the Direct
Investment Law is the “One-Stop Shop”. The Direct
Investment Law provides that KDIPA will have a
“One-Stop Shop” which is a specialized unit comprising of all relevant officials from the various relevant government departments in coordination with
KDIPA which will assist with the establishment and
licensing for such entities. The Executive Regulations
expand on this to specify that in addition to the One
Stop Shop unit being responsible for transactions
relating to an investor’s establishment of an investment entity, the One Stop Shop unit will also be
responsible for preparing introductory guidelines
setting out relevant requirements and responding to
any inquiries raised in connection with such guides.
These guides will likely prove to be useful for
investors and specialized companies who are currently unfamiliar with the new Applications.
In addition to the above, the Executive
Regulations state that KDIPA will prepare a list of specialized companies, firms and offices that are prequalified and approved to submit and follow-up on
Applications in the name and on behalf of an
investor. Such measures appear to be taken in order
to encourage more foreign investment by easing the
process for foreign investors to submit investment
license applications and establishment of investment
entities. This should hopefully reduce ‘red tape’ for
foreign investors and assist investors to navigate the
procedures and requirements of the Direct
Investment Law and its Executive Regulations.
2. Investment Entity
Pursuant to Article 12 of the Direct Investment
Law, an investment license may be sought for (i) all
company forms, as outlined under Law No 25 of
2012 (the “Companies Law”), (ii) branch offices of a
foreign company licensed to operate within Kuwait,
and/or (iii) a representative office whose main purpose is limited to the study of markets and production. Similarly, Article 8 of the Executive Regulations
confirms Article 12 of the Direct Investment Law
but clarifies that a foreign investor may obtain an
investment license to own 100% of the capital of a
company with limited liability, a joint stock company or single-person company.
In addition to the Executive Regulations,
Director General Decision No 35 of 2014 on
Principles, Rules and Procedures for Licensing
Branches and Representative Offices of Foreign
Companies in the State of Kuwait was also issued to
identify the requirements for obtaining an investment license from KDIPA to open a branch of a foreign company or a representative office in Kuwait.
3. General Submissions to KDIPA
When the Direct Investment Law was issued, we
noted that Article 13 indicated that its executive
regulations would establish the principles, rules
and procedures for the submission and registration
of Applications to obtain an investment license as
permitted by the Direct Investment Law.
Chapter IV of the Executive Regulations state
that KDIPA will prepare application forms for various types of requests including (i) licensing of an
investment entity; (ii) granting of incentives and
exemptions; (iii) amendments to the name,
address, purpose, capital or domicile of an investment entity; or (iv) amendments to the percentage
of shareholders’ equity in an investment entity.
Further, Article 10 of the Executive Regulations
states that submission of applications, papers and
documents to KDIPA by an investor or his representative may be made by any means specified by KDIPA including in person, by registered mail or e-mail.
Upon submission of an Application, KDIPA will provide a receipt evidencing acceptance of such
Application and will record the Application in its
internal application register.
Ministerial Decision No 503 of 2014 (Regarding
the Issuance of Stated Fees Schedule for Services
Rendered by KDIPA), which was issued at the same
time as the Executive Regulations, specifies KDIPA
service fees ranging from KD 10 for a certificate of
record in the investment register, KD 50 for
issuance of an investment license, and KD 100 for
submission of an Application.
4. License Applications
Chapter V of the Executive Regulations further
sets out the information and statements that must
be contained in, or attached to the Application and
the conditions to be met by the applicant, the
appropriate methods of notice and notification and
the fees for the issuance of the investment license
as undertaken in Article 13 of the Direct Investment
Pursuant to Article 14 of the Executive
Regulations, the Application for establishment of a
Kuwaiti company must be accompanied by an ini-
tial study which is to include certain information
including but not limited to the type of proposed
activity or project, the size of the investment and
the economic and environmental impact of such
In addition to the above, the Executive
Regulations also identify the requirements for the
licensing of a branch of a foreign company as well
as a representative office.
The Direct Investment Law states that KDIPA
must respond to an Application within 30 days of
receipt of a complete Application. The Executive
Regulations reiterate this in Article 17, which provides that KDIPA “shall decide on the merits of the
Application within 30 days as of the fulfillment of
all conditions, data, papers and documents
required by KIDPA and the competent authorities.”
Therefore, foreign investors with strict timelines
should be able to obtain a response on whether or
not establishment through the Direct Investment
Law is possible within a relatively short amount of
time subject to when required documents are submitted to KDIPA.
The Executive Regulations provide that the
investor will be notified of KDIPA’s acceptance (in
which case the establishment of the investment
entity and issuance of the commercial license will
proceed) or rejection of the Application. In the
event an Application is rejected, KDIPA will provide
written notice of such rejection including reasons
for the same.
The investment entity must obtain the necessary approvals to commence preliminary procedures and activities (prior to full operation by the
investment entity) within one year from the date of
issuance of the license, unless KDIPA provides for a
longer period. Furthermore, the investor is required
to notify KDIPA of the actual date of commencement of operations within thirty days from such
5. Incentives and Exemptions
Chapter VI of the Executive Regulations discusses the procedures for obtaining incentives and
exemptions including, but not limited to, tax
exemptions, customs exemptions and allotment of
land and real estate. In addition, Chapter VI also
details the procedures for conversion of an investment entity.
6. Grievance Procedures
The Executive Regulations also include an
important feature in Chapter VII - a grievance procedure which permits stakeholders to submit grievances relating to decisions issued by KDIPA. This
grievance procedure provides investors with an
opportunity to attend a hearing before a committee formed by the Board of Directors of KDIPA to
discuss such grievance. The grievance committee’s
deliberations shall be confidential, passed by
majority and issued within thirty days from the
date of its registration.
7. Supervisory Officers
Chapter VIII of the Executive Regulations reveals
that the Minister of Commerce and Industry will
appoint certain employees to act as judicial officers
in order to monitor whether investment entities are
complying with the Direct Investment Law, the
Executive Regulations, any implementing decisions
or instructions issued by KDIPA. The role of these
judicial officers is important as it will allow KDIPA to
ensure that any licenses, incentives or exemptions
issued are not being misused.
8. Negative List
The first question that is commonly raised by
potential foreign investors is the list of sectors
which are excluded from direct investment within
the scope of the Direct Investment Law (the
“Negative List”). Ministerial Resolution No 75 of
2015 (Specifying a List of the Direct Investments
which are not subject to the Provisions of Law 116
of 2013) was issued on 26 January 2015 and published in the Official Gazette - Issue No1211 dated
01 February 2015. Prior to the issuance of
Resolution 75, KDIPA accepted Applications for
investment licenses and the determination of
whether a company was eligible to obtain an
investment license was made by KDIPA on a case
by case basis upon submission of an Application.
Article 1 of Resolution 75 now sets out the
Negative List which includes ten different sectors
which are not eligible for an investment license
including any companies in the crude oil or natural
gas extraction sector.
The Executive Regulations greatly improve how
the Direct Investment Law works. We are hopeful
that the Direct Investment Law will prove effective
in attracting direct investment, whether foreign or
local, to the Kuwaiti market in order to meet the
objectives of Kuwait’s 2035 Plan “to transform
Kuwait into a world class financial and commercial
centre, with the private sector leading economic
activities, fostering competitiveness, increasing
productivity, supported by viable public institutions, while maintaining the deep rooted values
and national identity, towards achieving balanced
economic and human development, supported by
adequate infrastructure, legal framework, and
enabling business environment.” Although the
Executive Regulations were recently issued, we are
aware that several applications have already been
submitted to KDIPA and we anticipate numerous
more applications will be submitted based on the
number of inquiries we receive from our clients on
a daily basis. If you have any further questions
about the Direct Investment Law, please feel free to
contact our Kuwait office.
About Al Tamimi & Company
Al Tamimi & Company was established in 1989
and is the largest regional law firm, with twelve fully-owned offices or through partners in Bahrain,
Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and
the United Arab Emirates and employs 305 fee earners, 49 partners and 565 staff members. The Kuwait
office offers full legal service in Kuwait through a
joint venture with Kuwait lawyer Yaqoub Yousef Al
EQUATE holds bi-annual management forum
KUWAIT: EQUATE Petrochemical Company, Kuwait’s
first international petrochemical joint-venture, held its
bi-annual Management Forum (MF) that included discussing several topics relevant to the company and the
industrial sector as a whole, locally and globally.
During the MF, EQUATE Management and Leaders
reviewed a number of topics regarding sustainability,
continuous development, petrochemical markets, the
company’s performance, human resources, the industr y ’s development, manufacturing operations,
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and other subjects.
EQUATE President and CEO Mohammad Husain said,
“The petrochemical sector is not limited to plants, production and industrial operations, it is an integrated system that includes a number of elements that complement each other. Naturally, the most important competent of sustainability in this long-term industry are our
human resources, especially nationals who have suit-
able skills, capabilities and competencies.”
Husain added, “Applying our tagline of ‘Partners in
Success’ requires considering all aspects pertaining to
our industry, such as areas of improvement and international standards in all fields, including human resources,
environment, health, safety, industrial operations and
others. The ability to tackle challenges, as well as adapting to various local and global developments, are also a
part of our success.”
The forum included hosting Inter ventional
Cardiology Consultant Dr Ibrahim Al-Rashdan, a Kuwaiti
international authority and patent holder in cardiac
medicine, as a keynote speaker who addressed cardiac
health, diseases, identifying symptoms and treatment.
With the attendance of nearly 100 members of senior
and middle management members, the MF is part of
EQUATE’s transparent comprehensive communication
initiatives, which advocate and stimulate discussion and
open-dialogue between all functions at the company.
70 world oil experts to
address safety conference
KUWAIT: Some world oil experts are expected to partake in the Kuwait International Health, Safety
Environment (KIHSE) Conference Exhibition due in
Kuwait from the 16th to the 17th of February 2015.
In their speeches during the conference, they will
expound on useful and fruitful experiences in the
development of oil facilities, the head of the organizing
committee, Dr Fatema Al-Dhatti said in a statement
The agenda of the two-day event includes three key
aspects: health, safety and environment, and covers
major issues bearing on the development of sustainable
culture of health, safety and environment, she added.
The two-day KIHSE Conference Exhibition will be
held under the patronage of Minister of Oil and
Minister of State for National Assembly Affairs Ali Saleh
Al-Omair and under the theme: “ We Can Make a
Difference to Our World”.
The KIHSE Conference and Exhibition will provide an
excellent opportunity for professionals from the oil and
gas industry to share experiences and build fruitful
relationships with stakeholders, she said. The KIHSE will
examine current practices and identify areas of
improvement and world-leading solutions that can be
implemented to move forward into a better future, she
noted. — KUNA
In Brief
Diplomatic missions in Saudi
Arabia cancel celebrations
RIYADH: Kuwait’s diplomatic missions in Saudi
Arabia will not hold national celebrations this year as
a gesture of respect to the recent passing of late
King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Sheikh Thamer
Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Kuwaiti
Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said yesterday.
The Kuwaiti embassy in Riyadh and the General
Consulate in Jeddah will not be holding celebrations
to commemorate Kuwait’s 54th Independence Day
and 24th liberation anniversary, Sheikh Thamer noted.—KUNA
Forum on small
enterprises today
$150,000 aid offered
to Syrians in Jordan
KUWAIT: A forum on small-sized enterprises due
today will mainly thrash out the concepts and
expertise of projects and young people’s awareness
as well as promising investment openings, an official
said yesterday.
The forum will be held under the patronage of His
Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber AlMubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, the manager of the
forum, Salem Hamada said. The conferees will elaborate on governmental facilities to youth-run projects
and joint work mechanisms with civil society organizations, he added.— KUNA
AMMAN: Al-Rahma International Charity distributed
relief aid worth $150,000 to Syrian refugees in
Jordan. The aid campaign was headed by the organization’s chief Dr Jassim Al-Yaseen and some of his
staff. It consisted of a group of young Kuwaiti and
Saudi girls, ages 14-16, who generated KD 27,000
(approximately $90,000) to help out the Syrian
refugees in their crisis.
The girls got a chance to visit the refugees in their
different camps where they handed over the donation themselves and listened to stories of hardships
and sufferings first hand. —KUNA
o f
t h e
d a y
KUWAIT: A teddy bear sits between roses inside a flower shop in Kuwait. Local flower shops make special preparations every year for Valentine’s Day - which has become an annual occasion to make good profit.
Valentine’s Day is fast becoming popular in Kuwait, as more people buy gifts for their loved ones. — Photo by Joseph Shagra
KIB visits anti-addiction organization
KUWAIT: A delegation from Kuwait
International Bank has visited The
Bashayer Al-Khair Committee, a nongovernmental organization which
fights drug addiction using Islamic
methods, as part of the bank’s social
responsibility program aimed at supporting all segments of society.
The delegation consisted of KIB’s
Manager of Corporate Communications, Nawaf Najia and Senior Public
Relations Officer, Fahad Al-Sarhan,
who met with The Bashayer Al-Khair
Committee’s Assembly Director, Sami
Al-Wohabe and its Head of Public
Relations, Mansour Khashti, along
with a group of the Committee’s
“KIB remains steadfast in supporting non-profit organizations out of
our duty as a leading Islamic financial
institution to benefit society at large,”
explained Najia.
In turn, Khashti expressed his gratitude towards KIB’s distinguished role
in raising awareness about the dangers of drug abuse and addiction.
KEPS organizes program on
water usage rationalization
KUWAIT: The Kuwait Environment
Protection Society (KEPS) underscored
the significance of the water consumption rationalization program
that is part of the society’s efforts
aimed at raising people’s awareness
toward the environmental issues.
The program organized by the
society in collaboration with Issa
Ahmad Al-Hamad’s secondary school
included lectures, presentations and
exhibitions that have positive impacts
for students, Wejdan Al-Oqab, KEPS’s
Secretary General, said in a statement
issued yesterday. The events contributed to helping students know
how to preserve environment, she
said, noting the society developed
several programs to raise students’
awareness on environmental issues.
She added that some students
made their presentations on the
rationalization of water consumption.
An experiment conducted by Yusuf
Al-Ramzi, a KEPS’s member, on the
process of rationalization at houses
was also presented during the events,
she said.
For his part, Oqail Al-Mehanna,
school’s senior official, underlined the
importance of school’s keenness on
developing the talents of students
and organizing several events to
make use of these talents. He said that
the Kuwaiti National Committee for
Education, Science and Culture, the
sponsor of program, as well as representatives of Ministry of Electricity
and Water lauded the idea of the program. He added they look forward to
implementing the idea at several
schools to help students be aware of
issues relating to environment, health
and public services. — KUNA
KUWAIT: Wejdan Al-Oqab, KEPS’s Secretary General, in a group photo with
the school’s administration and students. — KUNA
Health Minister Dr Ali Al-Obaidi participates in the marathon.
Health Minister Dr Ali Al-Obaidi speaks to reporters on the sidelines on the
Local Spotlight
KUWAIT: Minister of Health Dr Ali Al-Obaidi and ministry officials at the start of the marathon. —KUNA photos
Kuwait and tourism
By Muna Al-Fuzai
[email protected]
he national and liberation day holidays are around the corner, and
many people have already begun
preparing to travel. What is missing for
Kuwait to be a tourist destination? Most
Kuwaitis and expats take advantage of
any leave granted to them, even if it is for
two or three days, to travel abroad for a
chance to enjoy the beautiful touristic
atmosphere provided by other places
such as Dubai, Oman, etc. These nearby
places are not cheap, yet desired by
everyone, especially families. I don’t
blame them and I encourage them to go
there even for a weekend.
For Kuwait, it’s hard to be a tourist
country in the absence of the right infrastructure unlike the UAE or Qatar. Those
countries took a decision in this matter
years ago and supported the private sector to take a leading role, but Kuwait
unfortunately lacks such support. There
are several obstacles that stand against
the advancement of the tourism industry
in Kuwait. Tourism does not occur by
coincidence and is not linked to a desire
of a few individuals, but is a collective
effort. Tourism today is an industry and a
source of income, so the infrastructure of
the state and its policies must be geared
to this goal.
There’s no law regulating the tourism
sector in Kuwait and establishment of
development projects, coupled with a
lack of land for companies to set up
tourism projects. Every day I see more
new empty hotels, and I wonder why
they are building new hotels because this
will not make the country a tourist spot in
the absence of even a suitable international airport!
A local study confirmed that in the
year 2014, Kuwaitis spent two billion
dinars ($7 billion) on tourism abroad. The
average spending of a Kuwaiti per day is
almost around $3,000 (KD 840), and
according to the study, this is one of the
highest global rates of spending!
Attracting tourists from outside Kuwait is
not only difficult but impossible to
achieve in the presence of many options
available for tourists in nearly all countries in the region.
We are losing tons of money, and
focusing on the tourism industry would
contribute to the revitalization of the
national economy and create new jobs for
young graduates, which will eliminate
unemployment and provide a decent life
for many citizens and expatriates, including businessmen and owners of shops
and restaurants. This should be associated
with facilitating tourist visas. I understand
security precautions, but this should not
be a reason to shut down the country.
Another major obstacle is the absence
of an independent government body for
tourism for cooperating with specialized
local and international media firms and
channels. I don’t recall that I have witnessed a serious call by the National
Assembly or the government for such a
body. I don’t mean nice media talk, but
serious efforts with a substantial budget.
Tourism needs a political decision. It is
an integral part of the national economy.
For those who are making their travel
arrangements, I wish you a happy holiday!
Jordanian Minister
lauds Kuwait’s support
AMMAN: The Jordanian Minister of Water
and Irrigation Hazem Al-Nasser praised
Kuwait’s generous and continuous support
to the development projects in the
Hashemite Kingdom, especially the water
projects. He emphasized the significant
role of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic
Development (KFAED) in financing water
projects in Jordan.
The remarks were made by Al-Nasser
during his reception of the KFAED’s
Economic Advisor Mohammad Ibrahim
The Minister awarded the Sadiqi, on
behalf of KFAED, the Ministry’s Shield of
honor in recognition of its support to the
Kingdom’s efforts to achieve sustainable
development. —KUNA
KUWAIT: Iranian Ambassador to Kuwait Ali Reza Enayati hosted a reception
recently to mark the Islamic Revolution’s anniversary. Kuwaiti officials, led
by Khaled Al-Jarallah, Undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry, diplomats
and media personnel attended the event. —Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat
‘Friends of Hearts’ marathon to
combat obesity-related diseases
KUWAIT: The Ministry of Health’s role is not
only based on treating patients, but also on
raising people’s awareness about health
problems, Minister Dr Ali Al-Obaidi said.
While inaugurating the sixth marathon
of ‘Friends of Hearts’ organized yesterday
by the Chest Diseases Hospital, Obaidi noted that the event is part of the ministry’s
program to educate people about important health issues. He said that the
marathon aims at strengthening relations
between patients and staff at the ministry,
which is tasked with offering better services for people.
Such activities promote the concept of
overall heath, which includes many axes that
guarantee good health, the minister added.
He noted that the ministry seeks to enhance
also the concept of health culture among citizens. Organizing health exhibition on the
sidelines of the marathon comes in line with
the ministry’s strategy toward the prevention
of breast cancer and non-communicable diseases, he said.
Sports’ significance
For his part, Dr Nader Al-Awadhi, Director of
Chest Diseases Hospital, said that the marathon
underlines the significance of sports. He voiced
his gratitude to Minister Obaidi and the organizing committee’s members for their effort and
support to such events.
Meanwhile, Dr Hani Al-Mutairi, Deputy
Director of the hospital, said that the event was
considered an opportunity to raise people’s
awareness on risks of heart diseases and to give
them tips for a healthy diet. —KUNA
Fr om the Arabic press
Spice: New drug spreads among youth
R e p o r t
Drug made of non-criminalized herbs, chemicals
Wife’s lover escapes
KUWAIT: Criminal detectives are currently working on solving the mystery of a Sri Lankan man who suddenly disappeared, according to his wife’s report, said security sources.
Case papers indicate that a Sri Lankan living in Andalus
reported that her husband had gone out to get a new cooking gas cylinder but never returned home. She added that
on calling his mobile phone, it was out of the coverage area.
Detectives’ investigations showed that the wife had been
having an affair with a compatriot of hers and on checking
on the paramour, the airport systems showed that he had
shortly and unexpectedly left the country. A case was filed
and further investigations are in progress.
KUWAIT: Many areas around Kuwait have been plagued
by a new drug commonly known locally as ‘Spice’ or
‘Chemical’, that is beginning to spread amongst youth
and teenagers, especially since it is not so far listed as a
drug and is available at herbal vendors.
Informed security sources warned parents and urged
them to monitor their teenage children’ behavior noting
that if their sleeping hours decrease, if they start to be so
itchy, irritated, disobedient, trouble-making and picking
fights, if they lose interest in study and tend to act irresponsibly, this would mean they might be using the new
drug that is easily obtainable.
The sources warned that the danger of the new drug
is that it is not classified or listed as a drug and therefore,
not incriminated by law. “The new drug is rapidly spreading in schools and amongst teens,” warned the sources
noting that 700 cases have been discovered so far.
In addition, the sources stressed that the danger of
this drug lies in the fact that it can be easily smoked on
shisha (hookah), especially that it has fruity flavors.
“What is even worse is that the drug is being locally
manufactured, as it contains herbal mixtures available at
all herbs or spice dealers. The herb is mixed with some
aromatic substances to change the taste and some
Attorney General in
Switzerland on investigation
Man in woman’s clothing
A GCC male national was recently arrested in Jahra for
impersonating as a woman and carrying a ladies’ purse
that included a wig and some cosmetics. He was
referred to the proper authorities for further action.
Zigzag race ends sadly
A citizen was arrested in Jahra while driving his vehicle in a
slalom race, said security sources noting that the young
man was heavily drugged and had some ICE with him. A
case was filed.
Scammers caught
Two citizens were arrested at a routine checkpoint at
Jahra. The citizens had been wanted for financial
claims of KD 75,000 and KD 30,000.
Accident on Salmi Road
Three citizens and a Sudanese were injured when they lost
control over their vehicle which turned over near the Public
Heritage village along Al-Salmi Highway, said security sources.
The injured were rushed to Jahra Hospital for treatment.
Mother insulted by father
A female citizen reported that on picking her kids from
school, she found her divorcee waiting outside the
school where he insulted and assaulted her in front of
other parents, school staff and the pupils, said security
sources. The women filed a complaint and brought a
medical report of her injuries. A case was filed and further investigations are in progress.
Wanted criminal found
A Syrian was arrested for swindling a GCC national out of
KD 2,100, said security sources. Case papers indicate that
on stopping him at a checkpoint along the Gulf Road, the
suspect seemed nervous and confused. On checking on
him, it was discovered that he was wanted for a fraud case.
chemicals to give esthetic effects,” he explained. He
pointed out that a small bag would cost KD 30-40 for the
locally manufactured kind, and KD 70-100 for imported
Moreover, the sources stressed that some neighboring countries have already incriminated spice, and that a
high-ranking security delegation including members
from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Commerce and
Industry, and Customs General Department had paid
two visits to that country to exchange information and
make use of their experience in dealing with this new
drug pending listing it as a drug in Kuwait. —Al-Rai
10m passengers in 2014
against 7m capacity
KUWAIT: The total number of passengers
using Kuwait International Airport in 2014
was 10.2 million with a record increase of
9.6 percent, compared to 2013 and previous years. According to the 2015-2020
development plan, passenger traffic
increased 13 percent between 2010 and
2013, taking into consideration that the
airport’s annual capacity is only 7 million
passengers. This means that passengers
using the airport last year were 46 percent
higher than its maximum capacity. The
plan added that the major challenge air
aviation faces is to increase the capacity
through building terminal two as quickly
as possible. Notably, a tender for building
the new terminal was cancelled a few days
ago. —Al-Qabas
Ministers, MPs, spouses banned from
privatization process, projects
KUWAIT: The Privatization Law executive
regulations pertaining with regulating privatization state that the privatization technical apparatus would allocate a special
committee to apply unified regulations on
evaluating all projects to be privatized.
In addition, articles 12 and 13 of the law
lay emphasis on the categories of who
would be banned from taking part in any
privatization process and the privatized
projects. The banned parties include ministers, lawmakers, their spouses and first
degree relatives. The regulation also
defined that their ban would be for five
years after leaving their posts in order to
prevent contradiction of interests, sources
The regulations also stipulate that, in
order to ensure transparency, the government would announce in various media its
intention to privatize a certain project so
that interested investors could take part.
The law also stressed companies providing inaccurate information would be fined
KD 50,000 in addition to dissolving their
boards of directors. —Al-Anbaa
KUWAIT: Well-informed sources said that a high-ranking judiciary delegation left for Switzerland to meet Swiss authorities
and resume investigation on the case filed against the former
social security chief Fahad Al-Rajan.
The sources added that the delegation was headed by
Attorney General Chancellor Dherar Al-Assoussi and that it
would continue reviewing Al-Rajan’s bank accounts after a
Swiss court ordered allowing Kuwait’s public prosecution
access to and freeze those accounts.
Notably, following the Swiss court order to expose and
freeze Al-Rajan’s bank accounts, an arrest warrant was made to
the Interpol to arrest and bring Raajan in the country in addition to freezing all his, his wife’s and his daughters’ assets and
cash. —Al-Jarida
Attorney General
Dherar Al-Assoussi
Historical reconciliation
between Naibari, Roumi
Naibari accepts apology from assassin
KUWAIT: In a historic and unconventional event, for- attempt to assassinate Hamad Al-Jouan, this was the
mer MP Abdullah Al-Naibari pardoned Salman Al- third ordeal he experienced during his lifetime.
Roumi apologized to Naibari and Feryal Al-Fraih
Shamlan Al-Roumi, who attempted to assassinate
him in 1997. Speaking during a reconciliation session for what he did and thanked HH the Amir and everyheld at his diwaniya in Abdullah Al-Salem, Naibari body who made this reconciliation possible. “I was
stressed that there had not been any pressure on him released on November 13, and ever since, I have
to accept any kind of compromise. He added that he been looking forward to meeting my brother
had only wanted to know the real instigator behind Abdullah Al-Naibari and beg for pardon,” he said. “I
was very embarrassed by the warm
his attempted murder. The meeting
welcome at the Al-Naibari diwan,” he
was attended by Amiri Diwan
added. “Have you forgiven me?”
Advisor Yousif Al-Nisf, former MP
Salman asked Naibari, who replied
Abdullah Al-Roumi and a number of
that his forgiveness was sent in an offiother former lawmakers.
cial letter to HH the Amir, sources said.
Naibari also stressed that the
Kuwait University Political Science
phone call he received from HH the
Professor Dr Ghanem Al-Najjar said
Amir in this regard was simple advice
both the assassination attempt and
which he accepted in order to
the reconciliation were historic. “We
enhance tolerance amongst fellow
are making history with this session,”
Kuwaitis. “I have never held any
he stressed, emphasizing the signifigrudge for brother Salman,” he
cance of tolerance and forgiveness
underlined. He also pointed out that
along with the occupation and the Abdullah Al-Naibari amongst fellow citizens. —Al-Jarida
Closed domestic office opens
A Filipina was recently arrested for reopening a domestic labor office that had been closed down by the
municipality for not having a license. Security sources
noted that on finding the office open and the clerk
working inside, she was arrested and stressed that she
was just following her boss’ orders. The sponsor is being
summoned though he did not answer his phone.
Fixing the problem...
Salman’s apology,
Abdullah’s acceptance
By Ghanem Al-Najjar
Drug chase
A well-built citizen was recently arrested in Salmiya with the possession of drugs after a long chase from Bayan through Hawally
to Salmiya, said security sources. Case papers specify that a police
patrol suspected a car parked in Bayan and on approaching to
inquire about the wrong parking the driver drove off and was
chased for two hours through Hawalli and then finally into
Salmiya where he stepped off and tried to escape on foot. After
arresting him detectives found three bars of Hashish, a bag of ICE
and some pills. Meanwhile, three citizens were arrested in Jahra
Industrial Area with the possession of 8 packets of ICE and 26
pills, said security sources.
Noisemakers caught
Five Indians were recently arrested at a cinema for
making noise and spoiling other viewers’ pleasure time
while watching the movie, said security sources.
The other half
By Salah Al-Sayer
photo was recently posted all over the Web
showing a masked IS fighter with a US army
division tattoo on one of his arms. Some used
that photo to prove that IS is US-made and that the
man in it was actually a US soldier. However, later on,
the photo appeared of the same person but without
the tattoo, to indicate that the first one was fake and
that the tattoo had been added by means of the
famous Photoshop software!
Well, the story is not over yet. A third opinion
admitted that Photoshop had been used but wondered which photo had been manipulated. Was
Photoshop used to add the US tattoo to the first photo and prove that the US supports IS, or was it used in
the second photo to remove the tattoo to prove the
Americans innocent? Accordingly, Photoshop managed to get Arabs into the endless query of what
comes first - the chicken or the egg!
One can use Photoshop to portray a living being
with a snake’s head, horse’s heels, octopus arms and a
butterfly’s wings. This product, Photoshop, actually
matches and suits Arab mentality that was culturally
created by a ‘cut and paste’ history as if it had been
written using Photoshop by historians who sound
more like novelists or authors writing stories created
by their own imaginations. This can be easily proved
by the fact that a single historic event might have one
thousand versions in our history books!
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf
he woman suffered oppression all along the
human history, and she still suffers a lot nearly in
all countries of the world!
The reasons behind this oppression are many but
they are mostly social or religious and the latter are difficult to change especially in countries where religion
plays an integral role. The history of the woman’s liberation tells us how she got her rights in many countries,
and became equal with man. It also tells us how our
Arab countries are still standing alone with their opposition of this liberation, and their continued refusal to sign
the World Human Rights declaration because some of
their articles related to treatment of women do not
agree with our government’s views towards them.
There is not an area that woman’s rights are violated
and stripped on daily basis and inhumanly more than in
courts that one time they are referred to as Sharia-based
and other times as family court. The personal affairs laws
in the majority of our countries are unfair and extremely
oppressive towards women especially in regards to practices of violence against the wife, or alimony, or custody
of children in addition to the right of divorce apart from
other rights.
The executive authorities avoid interfering in the procedures of the Sharia courts and leave them to issue
whatever they want in rulings, by clergymen and gradu-
ates. Most of them are unfair, hard and deprive the
woman of her simplest of rights. The issue becomes
more complicated when it comes to mixed marriage,
when the couple belongs to different sects, where we
always find the woman on the weaker side. The best
example is the story of a Kuwaiti doctor, who, despite all
opposition, married a Jordanian doctor and went to live
with him in his country. Then after some years and having three children, her father forgave her and asked her
to return to Kuwait, and here was the surprise that
awaited her, because the religious teaching followed in
Kuwait disagrees with her being married without her
guardian’s approval, and here where a ruling annulling
her marriage was awaiting her. We do not forget here
that the man has the right to divorce his wife, while the
wife mostly does not have the same right, even if he was
not spending on her or if he lived with other woman in
another country. The right of the woman of her child’s
custody is always tied with a very limited time period,
and even this right will be lost as soon as she marries
another man or even if her divorced husband claims that
she does not raise his son or daughter in the proper religious way.
Our society has its half not having its deserved dignity. The other half cannot demand its rights. The halves
are unable to reclaim what was stolen from them!
orgiveness is much harder that revenge and apology
is much harder than obstinacy and stubbornness.
Unfortunately, people have been opting to the ease
of hatred and encouraging revenge. They have been
denouncing forgiveness, tolerance and apology. However,
what happened last Sunday was something different!
At 8:00 pm on February 8, 2015, we had a historic
appointment at the Diwaniya of Abdullah Al-Naibari in
Abdullah Al-Salem. We had been quietly planning for that
nice evening for two months and so, it was one of a kind.
Well, the story dates back to 1997 when an assassination attempt took place against the prominent politician,
Naibari and his wife, Feryal Al-Fraih on their way back from
their chalet. They were both injured but managed to survive. Abdullah was subjected to several long surgeries
locally and overseas.
The culprits were arrested and most of them were sentenced to life. But four months ago, HH the Amir pardoned
the prime suspect, Salman Al-Shamlan after he had already
done 17 years in jail. HH the Amir confirmed Naibari’s
approval to issue the pardon, which he had reported to the
Amir in written form. Highly appreciating were the efforts
exerted by Dr Yousif Al-Ibrahim and Yousif Al-Nisf in this
regard. Naibairi stressed that he had not been forced nor
intimidated to forgive his shooter. “It was out of my strong
belief in tolerance and forgiveness that I did so,” he underlined. The meeting held last Sunday was a real attempt to
revive the concept of tolerance and forgiveness instead of
the currently spreading hatred and grudges amongst fellow-citizens.
This phenomenal clemency took three main elements
to make it come true and declare it to the public. The first
element started by HH the Amir who, despite being constitutionally authorized to pardon Salman, insisted on
Naibari’s approval to issue the pardon because of the sensitivity of the case.
The second element was Naibari and his wife, Fraih
themselves, who transcended above their pain and sorrows and declared an unprecedented pardon.
The third one was Salman himself who, ever since his
release, has been trying to apologize as if he wanted to
remove a heavy painful burden off his shoulders. However,
all his attempts had failed for one reason or another
despite the efforts of many people. Those three elements
combined together helped create the beautiful event we
witnessed last Sunday.
The whole idea was reviving past attempts and turning
them from passivity into a positive power driven by apology and clemency. It required some planning and experience in spreading peace amongst people in addition to
lots of patience, honesty and commitment.
In order to have a stable society, we have to stop the
prevailing speech of hatred, no matter what its motives
were and exclude extremists. This will never be possible
unless we had real life examples of clemency, apology and
accepting it. Thanks be to Allah, in this example, we managed to turn negative life-hating feelings into positive ones
and pushing towards optimism in such a time of waste.
Therefore, I wish to thank those who formed the three
elements starting with HH the Amir, the Naibari couple all
the way to Shamlan and all those contributors of peace!
Ukraine fighting
kills 28 as clock
ticks to ceasefire
UAE and Spain close embassies in Yemen
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IS group poses gravest threat to US
Jihadists seize Iraq town near US forces
WASHINGTON: Americans believe the Islamic State
group poses the most serious threat to the United
States in the next decade, according to a poll released
Friday. Eighty-four percent of those quizzed by Gallup
said IS jihadists, who have grabbed large areas of Iraq
and Syria in a brutal onslaught, and terrorism in general
presented a “critical threat.” Respondents put the possible development of nuclear weapons by Iran-which
says its nuclear aims are peaceful-as the next most serious danger, followed by the “military power of North
Despite its alleged backing of rebels in the conflict in
Ukraine, only 49 percent of those polled said the military power of Russia was the gravest threat to the US,
and 44 percent were worried about the Russia-Ukraine
conflict. “In a winter that has seen acts of unspeakable
terrorism, with Obama seeking authorization for military action against the Islamic State, Americans are
clearly concerned about Islamic militants and terrorists,”
Gallup said. “The conflict in Ukraine may not worry
Americans as much because they see it as more of a
threat to Europe than to the US.” The results were based
on telephone interviews conducted from Sunday to
Wednesday, with a random sample of 837 adults, across
the United States.
IS captures western town
Islamic State jihadists have captured the western
Iraqi town of Al-Baghdadi, putting them within striking
distance of an air base where American troops are training Iraqi forces, the US military said Friday. The fall of the
town, which the Pentagon played down as a minor setback, came as IS extremists launched an unsuccessful
assault involving suicide bombers on the nearby AlAsad air base.”We do assess that right now they have
control of Al-Baghdadi,” Pentagon spokesman Rear
Admiral John Kirby told a news conference, adding IS
took hold of the town “in the past several days.”
The town is located in Anbar province, about five
miles from the Asad air base, where about 300 US
Marines are stationed to assist Iraqi government troops.
Iraqi soldiers repelled the IS group’s assault on the base
on Friday which involved several suicide bombers, officials said. A group of 20-25 IS fighters, most of them
wearing Iraqi army uniforms, carried out the failed
attack, which appeared designed to have been an initial
wave of suicide bombings followed by gunmen storming in, Kirby said. All of the militants were killed or died
when detonating suicide bombs.
Under pressure
Kirby said that “at no time were US troops anywhere
near the fighting,” which was about two miles away
from where the Americans were working at the sprawling complex. American surveillance aircraft tracking
the IS extremists assisted the Iraqi army forces and
Apache attack helicopters were sent in but did open
fire, officials said. US-led coalition aircraft carried out
five air strikes in the area over the past 24 hours, roughly 15 kilometers from the Asad base, but those were
not related to the brief firefight with the IS militants at
Asad, officials said. “There were no aircraft involved in
beating back this,” Kirby said. “The Iraqi security forces
AL-DARBASSIYAH: A Kurdish female fighter of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) looks on at a training camp in Al-Qahtaniyah, known to Kurds as Al-Darbassiyah, near the
Syrian-Turkish border. — AFP
did this on their own.” An Iraqi army colonel and a
defense ministry official said the botched attack
involved at least seven would-be suicide bombers
using a military vehicle.
Al-Baghdadi had been under growing pressure for
months and was one of the few towns that had
remained under the Iraqi government’s control in the
predominantly Sunni province. But the Pentagon said
the capture of the town did not represent a major setback in the war effort against the Islamists who have
overrun large areas of Iraq and Syria. “This is arguably
the first in at least a couple of months, if not more,
where they (IS) have had any success at all at taking
any new ground,” Kirby said. “So this is an enemy that
we still assess to be in a defensive posture.” He added:
“It’s one town. It’s not all of Anbar. It’s not all of Iraq.
“We need to keep it in perspective.” US officials have
said it will take some time before Iraqi troops are
trained and ready to stage a major counter-offensive in
Anbar province, where much of the Sunni population
has become alienated from the Shiite-led leadership in
Baghdad — Agencies
Canadian police foil
‘Valentine Day plot’
MONTREAL: Canadian police said they had foiled a plot
that would have seen an armed duo carry out a shooting
spree in the city of Halifax on Valentine’s Day before
killing themselves. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in
Nova Scotia said a 19-year-old man from the rural town of
Timberlea had plotted with a 23-year-old woman from
the US city of Geneva, Illinois to open fire somewhere in
Halifax yesterday. Two others were also allegedly
involved. It was not thought to be terror related.
They “had access to firearms and it was their intention to
go to a public venue in the Halifax region on February 14th
with a goal of opening fire to kill citizens, and then them-
selves,” the RCMP said in a statement. Police said the
Timberlea man was found dead in a home early Friday
morning. The American woman was arrested shortly afteralong with a 20-year-old man-without incident at the
Halifax Stanfield International Airport. Police arrested a
fourth suspect, a 17-year-old boy from nearby Cole
Harbour, at a home later on Friday. “It’s a group of individuals that were of the same... mind to commit a heinous
event and then take their own lives,” RCMP Assistant
Commissioner Brian Brennan told a news conference.
Brennan told the press that the plot was not considered
to be related to terrorism. He added that the attack was
planned for a venue where a significant loss of life would
have been possible, but declined to name an exact location. The CBC reported that police had warned one venue
of the threat. “We believe we have apprehended all known
individuals in this matter and eliminated the threat,” the
RCMP statement read. “We are not seeking any further suspects at this time in relation to this investigation.” The RCMP
indicated that firearms had been seized as well as money.
‘We acted quickly’
Police said they first received word of a “potential significant weapons-related threat” on Thursday morning. “We
became aware, we acted quickly and intercepted a threat,”
the RCMP said. The region’s Serious Incident Response
Team was investigating the death of the Timberlea man.
Timberlea is a small town on the outskirts of Halifax in the
rugged and remote Atlantic province of Nova Scotia.
Steven Blaney, the minister for public safety, praised the
police operation to thwart the attack. “These arrests are a
great example of the fine work they do on a daily basis to
help keep Canadians safe,” he said in remarks reported by
the CBC. “We support our law enforcement agencies who
work tirelessly to ensure our communities are safe places to
live, work and raise families,” he said. All three suspects
were being kept in police custody. Police called on
Canadians to be vigilant and report anything suspect to
authorities. — AFP
p8_Layout 1 2/14/15 7:57 PM Page 1
Egypt government ends US arms ‘monopoly’
France, Egypt to seal jet fighter deal
CAIRO: Egypt’s decision to buy 24
Rafale jet fighters from France underscores its determination to diversify its
sources of weapons and reduce its
dependence on the United States,
experts said. The 5.2-billion-euro ($5.9
billion) deal is a historic first foreign sale
of the Rafale for France, which is set to
sign the contract in the Egyptian capital
tomorrow. Rights group Amnesty
International has criticized the sale of
the jets and a frigate to a nation that it
has accused of “alarming” human rights
The United States-a long-time strategic partner of Egypt, to which it gives
about $1.5 billion in aid each year
including roughly $1.3 billion in military
assistance-has played down the impact
of the sale. “Egypt is a sovereign country,” State Department spokeswoman
Jen Psaki said on Friday. “We have our
own security relationship, so I wouldn’t
say there’s a concern from this end.” USEgyptian relations have been strained
since the military deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 and
launched a brutal crackdown on his
Morsi, the country’s first freely elected head of state, was toppled by then
army chief and now President Abdel
Fattah El-Sisi following massive protests
against his controversial one-year rule.
Sisi was elected president in May 2014
with 96.91 percent of the vote. More
than 1,400 people have died in the
crackdown on Morsi supporters.
Thousands have been imprisoned and
hundreds sentenced to death, while
Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood has been
branded a “terrorist” organization and
banned. The brutal repression of Morsi
supporters prompted Washington to
freeze part of its aid to Cairo in October
2013 and demand that Egypt implement democratic reforms.
“ The contract (with France) is an
implicit message to the United States
signifying that Egypt will no longer
count exclusively on US weapon supplies,” said retired Egyptian army general Mohammed Mujahid Al-Zayyat. Egypt
no longer wants to be “blackmailed” in
its relations with the United States, said
Zayyat, an expert with the Cairo-based
National Centre for Middle East Studies.
US officials “have their own views as to
how the Egyptian army should be
rebuilt and reject the army’s belief that
Israel is its key enemy,” he added. Egypt
signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979
but relations between the two neighbors have never been fully developed
and remain frosty over Israeli policies
towards the Palestinians.
The Russian connection
Washington has tried to balance its
defense relationship with criticism of
alleged human rights violations by the
Egyptian government. It recently delivered to Cairo a shipment of Apache helicopter gunships, supposedly for use in
counterterrorism operations, while also
denouncing mass convictions of Sisi’s
opponents. Military expert and retired
army officer Ahmed Abdel Halim said
Egypt was being held “hostage” by
Washington because of its human rights
record, and needed to diversify its
sources of weaponry.
“The diversification of the supply of
weapons and technology is aimed at
dissuading any country from exercising
a monopoly over Egypt or of trying to
A Rafale fighter jet, manufactured by Dassault Aviation, fly over the desert in Egypt as pyramids are pictured in the
background. France said it will sell 24 Rafale fighters plus a frigate to Egypt in a 5.2 billion euro ($5.9 billion) deal that
marks the first foreign contract for the multi-role combat jet. — AFP
two leaders agreed a deal for Moscow to
build Egypt’s first ever nuclear power
plant to produce electricity.
They also agreed on “further military
cooperation between our two countries
given the current circumstances” in
Egypt, said Sisi, who visited Russia twice
last year to discuss Russian weapon supplies. Egypt is fighting an Islamist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula and also
blackmail it,” he said. Abdel Halim, a former president of the national security
commission at the Egyptian senate, said
Egypt would continue to import
weapons from the United States, as well
as France and “maybe even China”.
Russia, he said, could be another key
supplier. Russian President Vladimir
Putin, a key non-Arab backer of Sisi, paid
a landmark visit to Cairo this week. The
fears that the chaos in neighboring
Libya, where powerful militias are battling for territory, could spread across
the border. “Egypt will continue to buy
weapons from the Americans but it will
also buy them from Russia, and this was
clear during Putin’s visit to Cairo,” said
Arab affairs expert Mathieu Guidere.
That “will put Egypt in a better position
vis-a-vis the Americans,” he said.—AFP
UAE and Spain close
embassies in Yemen
Clashes leave 26 dead
BEIRUT: Lebanese Druze leader and Lebanese Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) chairman Walid Jumblatt (right) places a rose on the burial place of slain former Lebanese
prime minister Rafiq Hariri in downtown Beirut yesterday, to mark a decade following his assassination. — AFP
Hariri returns for father’s
assassination anniversary
BEIRUT: Lebanon’s former prime minister
Saad Al-Hariri arrived back in the country
overnight on a rare visit and to mark the
10th anniversary of his father Rafiq’s assassination, Lebanese media said. He will
speak at a ceremony dedicated to his
father in central Beirut, state news agency
NNA and pro-Hariri newspaper AlMustaqbal said. Special forces officers
patrolled streets near the venue in the capital yesterday and blocked off traffic. Rafiq
Al-Hariri was killed in a 2005 Beirut waterfront bombing that brought the country
back to the brink of civil war. Yesterday
scores of Lebanese queued to lay white
and red flowers at his grave next to the
central Mohammad Al-Amin mosque in
the capital, some breaking down in tears
and others posing for photographs beside
large posters of the late statesman.
Five members of Lebanese Shiite group
Hezbollah have been indicted over his
killing by an international tribunal in The
Hague, which is being closely watched in
Lebanon. The trial in absentia began in
January 2014 and Hezbollah has denied
any involvement in the killing. The assassination pushed Hariri’s son Saad into political life. He remains Lebanon’s most influential Sunni politician, despite leaving the
country in 2011 after his government was
toppled by a coalition including Hezbollah.
He splits his time between Saudi Arabia
and France, who support him.
Despite the animosity between the
two groups, Hariri’s Future Movement is
now working with Hezbollah to contain
sectarian tensions back in Lebanon that
have been exacerbated by the war in
Syria. The four-year-old Syrian conflict
involves overwhelmingly Sunni insurgents who oppose President Bashar AlAssad, a member of the Shiite-derived
Alawite minority, and allied Shiite groups
including Hezbollah. US Secretary of State
John Kerry commemorated Hariri in a
statement late on Friday, saying the man
known as “Mr Lebanon” had given his
country hope during its “darkest days.” “He
stood for peaceful change and the resolution of differences through conversations
- not carnage,” Kerry said.
“Ten years ago today, he was assassinated because some feared he might succeed.” The bomb that killed him, packed in
a Mitsubishi van filled with the equivalent
of 2.5 tons of high explosive, was detonated by a still unidentified suicide bomber. It
killed 21 others and wounded more than
200 as it ripped through a busy street.
Saad, who blames Hezbollah ally Assad for
the murder, visited Lebanon for the first
time in three years in August. Politicians
and public figures expressed hope that his
return would help stabilize Lebanon,
which is plagued by violence and caught
in political deadlock, unable to elect a new
president after several attempts.—Reuters
ABU DHABI: The United Arab Emirates and
Spain said yesterday they had suspended operations at their embassies in Yemen following a
Shiite militia takeover that has prompted an
exodus of foreign diplomats. The Houthi militiamen dissolved Yemen’s government and parliament on February 6 after seizing the presidential palace and key government buildings,
sparking growing security concerns. The UAE
foreign ministry said in a statement carried by
the official WAM news agency that it “has suspended embassy operations in the Yemeni capital Sanaa and evacuated all staff.
“This decision comes in light of the increasingly deteriorating political and security situation” and the “unfortunate events with the
Houthis undermining legitimate authority in
the country,” it said. The move came a day after
Sunni-dominated regional powerhouse Saudi
Arabia announced it had also evacuated all its
staff from the embassy in Sanaa. The United
States, France, Germany, Italy, Britain and the
Netherlands have also closed their embassies in
Yemen and pulled out staff because of security
Spain said it was suspending embassy activity in Yemen “in light of the current situation of
insecurity and instability in Sanaa”. “Spain trusts
that the causes of this decision will be resolved
shortly and that the embassy can soon resume
its duties normally,” the foreign ministry said.
“The government reiterates its support for a
process of democratic transition in Yemen that
leads to the forming of an inclusive government that can meet the desires for freedom,
democracy and prosperity of the Yemeni people.”
It said that the embassy had contacted all
members of the “small Spanish community in
Yemen” and advised them to “temporarily”
leave the Arabian Peninsula countr y. UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said this week
that Yemen was “collapsing before our eyes”
and called for Western-backed President
Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to be restored to
power. Foreign ministers of the six-nation Gulf
Cooperation Council were to meet later on
Saturday in Riyadh for expected talks on the
Yemen crisis. Last week the GCC denounced the
action by the Houthis-who are accused of
receiving backing from Shiite-dominated Iranas a coup.
Clashes kill 26
Meanwhile, clashes between Shiite Houthi
militiamen and Sunni tribesmen fighting alongside Al-Qaeda militants killed 26 people in
Yemen, local officials said. Heavy fighting was
ongoing in the southern mountainous province
of Al-Bayda, leading to the death of 16 Houthi
rebels along with 10 Sunni tribesmen and militants, security officials and tribal sources told
Reuters. The state faces collapse in Yemen two
weeks after the Houthi group took formal control of the country and continued an armed
push southward.— Agencies
Italians urged to leave Libya
ROME: Italy’s foreign ministry has advised
against travelling to Libya and suggested that its
nationals already should leave, adding that it
stands ready to participate in any UN intervention in the country. “We reiterate our invitation
to our nationals to not travel to Libya and for
those already there to provisionally leave the
country,” the foreign ministry said on its website.
Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni told the
SkyTg24 television channel that the question of
a response from the kind by the United Nations
would arise if the fighting in Libya doesn’t stop.
Delegates from Libya’s rival parliaments held
indirect talks this week aimed at ending months
of instability in the violence-plagued country.
The talks, the first of their kind involving Libya’s
internationally recognized government and the
rival General National Congress (GNC), were held
in the southern oasis town of Ghadames.
Libya, still awash with weapons and armed
factions following the toppling and death of
dictator Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed
2011 uprising, has two rival governments and
parliaments. At the same time, rival militias are
also battling for control of its cities and oil
wealth. The Italian foreign minister stressed the
danger of a conflict on the other side of the
Mediterranean, adding that Italy was “ready to
fight” if international intervention was properly
approved. “We can’t accept that just a few hours
sailing away lies a terrorist threat,” said
Gentiloni. Interior Minister Angelino Alfano
spoke of the possibility of an Islamic caliphate
“at our door”.
Hundreds of Africans have left Libya aboard
rubber dinghies, just days after more than 300
perished in a similar attempt to reach Italy,
Italian coastguard officials said Friday. — AFP
BENGHAZI: Smoke rises from the port of the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi yesterday during
clashes between forces loyal to the internationally recognized government and Islamist militias. Powerful militias, backing rival governments and parliaments, have been battling for control of key cities and the country’s oil riches since the uprising four years ago. —AFP
In battle for Kobane, US crews recount bombing
WASHINGTON: American pilots call it “going
Winchester.” That’s when a warplane drops every
bomb on board. And air crews for the B-1 bomber
told AFP it was not uncommon in the battle for the
Syrian town of Kobane, recaptured by Kurdish
forces last month. The airmen, recently returned
from a six-month stint flying combat missions over
Syria and Iraq, recounted how American aircraft
relentlessly pounded Islamic State jihadists fighting
the Kurds in Kobane. The heavy bombing, not seen
since the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, helped the Kurds
hold and eventually recapture the northern border
town last month, a symbolic blow to the extremists
who appeared on the verge of seizing Kobane in
October. “When you went to Kobane, you could
almost guarantee you were going to release a
weapon that day,” said Captain Todd Saksa, a B-1
weapons systems officer. The 31-year-old Saksa had
flown other missions in Afghanistan but what was
different this time was “the sheer number of
weapons dropped,” he said by phone from Dyess
Air Force Base in Texas. B-1 pilot Major Brandon
Miller, 38, has been deployed five times in warzones, but he had never before dropped as many
bombs as during the battle for Kobane. “I personally went Winchester three times,” he said. Before
that, he had never emptied his weapons bay.
In previous six-month tours over Afghanistan, it
was typical for his squadron to unload 15 to 20
bombs. But in their last deployment, the squadron
dropped more than 2,000 bombs and hit more
than 1,700 targets, he said. The B-1B Lancer was
built in the 1980s during the Cold War to fly low
and fast into Soviet air space. But the supersonic
plane became a “workhorse” for the American-led
air campaign in Kobane, delivering much of the
firepower that took out IS fighters and vehicles, US
Air Force officers said. Unlike fighter jets, the
bomber-dubbed “the Bone” by air crews-is able to
linger for hours over a target thanks to a large fuel
tank and can hold a much larger payload of
weapons, with roughly two dozen bombs of different sizes.
8 hours over Kobane
In a six-month period, the B-1 flew 18 percent of
all strike flights against IS and accounted for 43 percent of the total tonnage of munitions dropped in
Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, officials said. The airmen with the 9th Bomb Squadron had deployed to
the Middle East in July preparing for missions over
Afghanistan, where a small US force rarely if ever
would call in a bombing raid.
But one night in August, a B-1 was ordered to
hold on the runway. Instead of Afghanistan, the
four-man crew was told they would be heading to
northern Iraq to escort planes dropping supplies to
encircled Yazidis on Mount Sinjar. By October, the
bombers were frequently flying to aid the embattled Kurds in Kobane, staying eight hours overhead-with one mid-air refueling at the four-hour
mark-looking for IS fighters who were often in plain
sight. The targets were either spotted by the crews
or relayed by Kurdish fighters, whose requests
would be passed to America’s air operations center
in Qatar. Without US forward air controllers near the
front line, approval for a strike could take up to 45
minutes, officers said.
The IS fighters, unaccustomed to being hunted
from the air, took a pummeling-until they learned
to conceal their movements. The bombers were
often joined by two or more F-15 or F-16 fighter
jets, ensuring that “we had air power overhead
almost 24 hours a day in Kobane,” said Lieutenant
Colonel Ed Sumangil, 40, commander of the
squadron. And unlike the past decade of US wars
where insurgents often relied on roadside bombs
and ambushes, there was a clear front line in
Kobane, a conventional battle between two forces
and no civilians nearby.—AFP
At root of Argentina spy intrigue: a deal with Iran
‘The Secret Argentina’ on the intelligence community
BUENOS AIRES: President Cristina Fernandez
has portrayed Argentina’s spy agency as sinister,
accountable to no one, and possibly responsible
for the mysterious death of a prominent prosecutor in his Buenos Aires apartment. As a result,
Fernandez declared last week, the Intelligence
Secretariat needs to be totally shut down - and a
new agency built from scratch.
“You can’t extort me. You can’t intimidate me.
I’m not afraid of you,” she said, speaking directly
to the agency’s leaders, in a nationally televised
address on Monday. But the underlying story of
the dispute, sources close to both the agency
and Fernandez’s leftist government tell Reuters,
is more complicated, with roots in Iran and a terrorist attack two decades ago that has never
been fully solved. They say Fernandez has been
in open conflict with her own spy agency for two
years, following a deal in which she enlisted Iran’s
help to investigate the 1994 bombing of a Jewish
community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85
Fernandez has portrayed the agreement as
the only way to confirm whether Iran’s government was behind the attack, as Argentine prosecutors have alleged. Without Tehran’s cooperation, the investigation would have remained
stalled and it would have been impossible to
question Iranian suspects, Fernandez has said.
Iran has vigorously denied any role in the bombing. However, some of the spy agency’s leaders
felt betrayed by the deal, a source with knowledge of the agency’s affairs said on condition of
anonymity. They had spent many years helping
prosecutors build the case against Iran, and saw
Fernandez’s agreement as an attempt to whitewash their investigation.
“It was like she switched sides ... and was suddenly friends with Iran,” the source said. “That’s
what this (dispute) is all about.” A government
official confirmed the Iran deal was the origin of
the conflict, which he described as a grave threat
to Fernandez. “When (the spy agency) stops supporting you, you’re screwed,” the official said.
Repeated efforts to contact the Intelligence
Secretariat, or SI, were unsuccessful. No one
answered a doorbell this week at the mirrored
entrance to its headquarters in a stately building
across the street from Fernandez’s palace in
Buenos Aires.
Argentines horrified
The conflict exploded into public view on Jan
18, when Alberto Nisman, the chief prosecutor
investigating the 1994 bombing of the Argentine
Israelite Mutual Association, or AMIA, was found
dead in his bathroom with a bullet in his head.
Nisman had been due the next day to present
new findings to Congress regarding Fernandez’s
deal with Iran. His death horrified many
Argentines, as well as Jewish groups around the
world, denting Fernandez’s popularity at a time
when she is already dealing with an economy on
the verge of recession and a long-running battle
Money already paving the
way to 2016 White House
WASHINGTON: A year remains before
party primaries for the US presidential
election-and 21 months until the vote
itself-but potential candidates are
already cranking on a core task: raising
cash. Jeb Bush, for example, has yet to
lay out his vision for America. That
hasn’t stopped executives, consultants
and wealthy donors from seeking
access to the would-be candidate at
closed-door meetings and swish receptions. US media reports reveal how
Bush, the likely Republican frontrunner,
may dominate potential rivals in the
money stakes. Politico reported that the
son and brother of two presidents this
week travelled to New York, where
admissions to a Bush event hosted by
private equity mogul Henry Kravis sold
for a staggering $100,000 apiece.
BUENOS AIRES: Combo picture shows Argentine President Cristina Kirchner (left) and of
Argentina’s deceased Public Prosecutor Alberto Nisman taken. Nisman, who on January 14,
2015 accused President Cristina Kirchner of obstructing a probe into a 1994 Jewish center
bombing, was found shot dead on January 19, 2015, just hours before he was due to testify at
a congressional hearing. — AFP
with foreign creditors over defaulted debt.
Fernandez has said she believes Nisman was
murdered, although she has not detailed how,
and no one has been arrested in connection with
the case. Officials admit privately the truth may
never be known. Meanwhile, the depth and complexity of her dispute with the spy agency suggests the case could drag on for months or
longer, with unpredictable consequences for all
parties. “This will go on and on and on, and we
won’t stop asking questions, no matter who is
involved,” Patricia Bullrich, an opposition legislator who was Nisman’s main contact in Congress,
said in an interview. “The roots are very deep.”
Dirty war
The SI and its 3,000 or so employees report, in
theory, to the president. But in practice, it has
long operated in a murky world of its own, critics
say. The agency played an important role in the
military government’s “dirty war” against suspected leftists in the 1970s. As many as 30,000 died at
the hands of the state during the dictatorship,
human rights groups say. Many of the agency’s
junior officers then are its leaders now, according
to Gerardo Young, a journalist who wrote a book
titled “The Secret Argentina” on the intelligence
community. Today, the agency still enjoys “unacceptable autonomy” and has continued to spy on
politicians, leaders of social movements and oth-
ers in recent years while resisting attempts at
greater oversight, according to a recent report by
the Association for Civil Law, a local non-profit
Nonetheless, Fernandez once believed she
could use the SI in constructive fashion. When
her late husband Nestor Kirchner became president in 2003, he ordered the agency to help
prosecutors uncover who bombed the Argentine
Israelite Mutual Association, or AMIA, the worst
attack on a Jewish institution since World War
Two. The collaboration produced results. With the
SI’s help, Nisman published a report in 2006 saying Hezbollah agents had carried out the attack
with financial and logistical support from Iran.
Nisman cited witness testimony, information
from wire taps and the bank records of Iranians,
and a photo that allegedly showed a then-official
at the Iranian embassy in Buenos Aires looking
for the kind of truck eventually used in the
bombing. In 2007, at Argentina’s request,
Interpol put five Iranians and a Lebanese national
on its most-wanted list in connection with the
bombing. Many in Argentina’s Jewish community, Latin America’s largest, believed that justice
was finally at hand. “It seemed like the government was finally on our side,” said Eliana Hoel, 43,
at an event to commemorate AMIA victims this
week. “ There was so much hope in those
Shadow of Clinton’s war vote
hangs over 2016 contenders
WASHINGTON: In 2002, Sen Hillary
Rodham Clinton cast a vote in favor of
the Iraq war that would later come to
haunt her presidential campaign.
Now, a new crop of senators eying the
White House - Republicans Marco
Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of
Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas - will
face a similar choice over authorizing
military action in the Middle East. A
vote in favor of President Barack
Obama’s use -of-force resolution
would give the potential candidates a
share of the responsibility for the outcome of military action in a combustible region. And as Clinton
learned well, the public’s support for a
military campaign can quickly fade,
making the long-term implications of
the vote difficult to predict.
Obama asked lawmakers this week
to approve a three-year offensive
against the Islamic State group and
affiliated forces. His request includes
no constraints on geographical
boundaries but would bar “enduring
offensive combat” - intentionally
vague language that some lawmakers
fear leaves open the prospect of a USled ground war. So far, most of the
2016 hopefuls currently in Congress
have sidestepped questions about
how they would vote on Obama’s
measure, which could be amended
before they have to say yes or no.
Among Republicans, Rubio has been
perhaps the most specific in outlining
his views, saying he opposes the president putting constraints on his ability
to use military force against an enemy.
“What we need to be authorizing
the president to do is to destroy them
and to defeat them, and allow the
commander in chief - both the one we
have now and the one who will follow
- to put in place the tactics, the military tactics, necessary to destroy and
defeat ISIL,” Rubio said, using a common acronym for the Islamic State
group. A spokesman for Paul said
Friday that the senator is reviewing
the legislation but has not decided
how he would vote. Cruz has called
for Congress to “strengthen” the legislation by making sure the president is
committed to clear objectives. He also
has suggested the authorization
should include a provision to directly
arm the Iraqi Kurds, but it is unclear
what other changes he wants to see.
Despite Americans’ war weariness,
there is public support for formally
authorizing the mission. An NBC
News/Marist poll released Friday
showed that 54 percent of respondents want their member of Congress
to vote for Obama’s request. Clinton,
who is laying the groundwork for
another presidential run, will also be
pressed to take a position. But this
time around, she will have the advantage of weighing in from the outside,
without the pressure of voting. “You
can talk about the subject without
actually being pinned down on a particular vote that you’re going to have
to defend for years to come,” said Jim
Manley, a longtime aide to the late
HILLSBORO: In this file photo, Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown waits
to shake Hillary Clinton’s hand as she enters Liberty High School in
Hillsboro, Ore. —AP
Edward Kennedy, the Massachusetts
Democrat who worked to get Clinton
and other Democrats to vote against
the 2002 war authorization.
Clinton has made no public comments since Obama sent lawmakers
the draft legislation earlier this week,
and her spokesman did not respond
to a fresh request for her position
Friday. The former secretary of state
has previously called the fight against
the Islamic State a “long term struggle” and has said military action is
essential to prevent the group from
making further advances. The military
campaign against the Islamic State
militants began six months ago, and
Obama is, in effect, seeking Congress’
approval retroactively. He has said the
current mission is legally justified
under the 2002 authorization
President George W Bush used to start
the Iraq war - the resolution Clinton
voted for.
By the time Obama and Clinton
faced off in the 2008 Democratic primary, the Iraq war was deeply unpopular. Obama saw Clinton’s vote for the
military conflict as a way to draw a
distinction with his better-known
rival, arguing that while he was not in
the Senate in 2002, he would have
voted against giving Bush the war
powers. The 2002 vote and its political
implications have continued to shadow the way lawmakers have responded to war-power requests. In 2013,
Congress balked at Obama’s request
to authorize strikes in Syria and never
held a vote. And while congressional
leaders pushed the president for
months to seek authorization for the
Islamic State campaign, lawmakers
insisted Obama be the one to actually
draft a resolution.
As with Obama’s current request,
there was public support for Bush’s
Iraq resolution in 2002. A Gallup Poll a
few weeks before the high-stakes vote
found that 57 percent of Americans
said Congress should “pass a resolution to support sending American
ground troops to the Persian Gulf in
an attempt to remove Saddam
Hussein from power in Iraq.” About 38
percent said it should not. As the Iraq
war dragged on, and the death toll
and financial costs mounted, the conflict became deeply unpopular. By the
time Clinton and Obama were facing
off for the Democratic nomination,
sur veys showed a majority of
Americans believed going into Iraq
was the wrong decision - a warning
for potential 2016 candidates trying
to read the tea leaves ahead of their
own war powers vote.—AP
Billionaires’ influence
For America’s billionaires, a potential
candidate’s line is always open. Several
in the top tier of the ultra wealthy are
aggressively courted: industry titans
Charles and David Koch; casino magnate Sheldon Adelson; hedge fund
bosses Robert Mercer and Paul Singer;
billionaire investor Tom Steyer, and former New York mayor Michael
Bloomberg. These elites are not expected to be satisfied with pumping a few
hundred thousand dollars into a
favorite candidate’s campaign; often
they seek broader influence on election
results up and down the ballot.
The Koch brothers, through a network of organizations they control, are
trying to raise $889 million-more than
the Democratic and Republican national committees spent between them in
2012 - to help elect as many libertarianleaning Republicans as possible. Their
reach is long. Three ambitious senatorsTed Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubioparticipated in a January debate organized by the Koch-affiliated Freedom
Partners and conducted before hundreds of donors and entrepreneurs.
How much for a president?
Mounting a successful 21st century
US presidential campaign requires spectacular financial reserves, and each
check written by a Koch or Adelson or
Steyer can equate to the contributions
of hundreds of thousands of individual
donors. In 2012, according to the Center
for Responsive Politics, a grand total of
$2.6 billion was spent on the race that
saw President Barack Obama stave off
Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
About $1.1 billion of that was raised
directly by candidates. Such donations
are capped and tightly regulated, with
only individuals allowed to make them.
Another billion was raised through socalled outside organizations that are
officially independent from candidates.
Such contributions have been helped
by a wave of campaign finance de-regulation, including a 2010 Supreme Court
decision that lifted restrictions on political election spending by corporations.
For outside groups like these, there is
no limit on donations, which can
include direct corporate contributions.
And some organizations are allowed to
shield donors’ names, leading to the
cynical term for their contributions:
“dark money.”
Funding limits?
The coming election will be marked
by unstoppable growth in contributions
from non-institutional sources, money
that will likely be used to saturate
broadcast and online screens with political adver tising. Strict regulations
adopted in the 1970s-and again in 2002
after corruption scandals in the 1990shave rapidly eroded, said Paul Ryan, an
election finance exper t at The
Campaign Legal Center, which exposes
campaign finance abuse. “The candidate contribution limit that has been on
the books for decades, which in this
cycle is $2,700 per donor, will largely be
rendered meaningless,” he said. “Post2010, we really see a re-creation of the
corrupting, unlimited money in politics
that we had in the late 1990s” and earlier. Many critics see the shift as deeply
unsettling, but White House hopefuls
are in no position to ignore the money
train. The New York Times recently
reported that Hillary Clinton, as of now
still a non-candidate for 2016, was
appointing a trusted aide, Dennis
Cheng, as a key fundraiser.— AFP
Nigeria faces critical six weeks to polling day
LAGOS: Nigerians had been due to elect
a new president yesterday until the electoral commission delayed the vote by six
weeks, citing fears about security and the
ongoing Boko Haram insurgency. The
country will now go to the polls for presidential and parliamentary elections on
March 28, with gubernatorial and state
house assembly polls two weeks later on
April 11. The delay has triggered widespread debate about what happens next,
particularly if no significant progress is
made in tackling the Islamist insurgency
raging in the north and there is a further
postponement. Amid fears of widespread
violence, the coming weeks are seen as
among the most important since civilian
rule was restored in 1999. “The next six
weeks are laden with difficult struggles to
protect Nigeria’s hard-won democracy,”
the International Crisis Group’s Nigeria
researcher Nnamdi Obasi wrote.
Political argument
Much of the discussion in the last
week has centered on the Independent
National Electoral Commission’s acceptance of advice from the country’s security
chief and its impact on the political campaign. The All Progressives Congress
(APC) and its candidate Muhammadu
Buhari were seen as mounting the first
serious opposition challenge to President
Goodluck Jonathan’s Peoples Democratic
Party (PDP).
The result was even predicted to be
close to call, with the prospect of the PDP
being dumped out of power for the first
time in 16 years. Buhari, a former military
ruler, called the election delay “a crude
and fraudulent attempt to subvert the
electoral process”, while the APC has
alleged that the PDP used the military for
political ends. Jonathan’s campaign
spokesman Femi Fani-Kayode described
the APC as having “paranoid delusions”
and “far-fetched and childish conspiracy
theories” about the date shift. The distribution of voter identity cards, which is
not yet complete, and the ability to
ensure security were “legitimate and gen-
uine concerns” for a free, fair and credible
election, the spokesman said.
Legal action
Should elections go ahead on March
28, they would be within the timeframe
under electoral laws that stipulate voting cannot be held later than 30 days
before the handover of power.
Jonathan, whose term of office expires
on April 30, has twice described the May
29 date for the transfer of power as
“sacrosanct”. But should he and his party
not gain any advantage from the prolonged campaign and stall the APC’s
momentum, the vote is likely to remain
close-and could even lead to a re-run.
Legal action is a real possibility, particularly if the militar y is unable to
secure and stabilize the restive northeast, allowing hundreds of thousands of
displaced people to vote. The APC has
already said the integrity of the overall
result would be in doubt if voters are
disenfranchised in its stronghold in the
violence -wracked nor theast. Cour t
action could equally come from the PDP
if there are further problems in issuing
all voter cards to the 68.8 million registered electors or if there are claims from
either side of voter fraud. A key question
will be whether any disputes can be
resolved before the handover, particularly if there is a repeat of the deadly
post-poll violence that killed some 1,000
people in 2011.
Further delay
National security advisor Sambo
Dasuki has said the vote will not be
rescheduled again but many believe his
six-week deadline to effectively crush
Boko Haram is unrealistic. “Despite the
recent interventions by Chadian and
Cameroonian forces, Boko Haram has
proved its continued ability to disrupt,”
wrote Obasi, noting that a wider regional force has yet to deploy. A slight delay
after March 28 would still fall within the
30-day limit before May 29. But Lagos
lawyer Festus Keyamo warned: “Any further postponement beyond the 30 days
to the May 29 handover date will be a
recourse to civil disobedience and
unrest.” Violence “may prompt the military to seize power and truncate the current democratic dispensation”, he
Political risk consultants Verisk
Maplecroft said unrest could at worst
inflame tensions between the largely
Christian south and Muslim-majority
north. It warned of a “post-election crisissimilar to Cote d’Ivoire in 2010/2011 or
Kenya in 2007/2008 - potentially even
escalating as far as civil war”. The APC and
others have recalled the political turmoil
after military ruler Ibrahim Babangida cancelled elections in June 1993, when the
business tycoon Moshood Abiola was set
to win. But Nigeria’s Attorney General
Mohammed Bello Adoke dismissed talk of
a military “interim national government”,
saying there was no provision in the constitution implemented in 1999. —AFP
Boko Haram invades
restive city of Gombe
Islamists take fight into Chad
KANO: Hundreds of Boko Haram
Islamists yesterday invaded the
restive northeast Nigerian city of
Gombe, firing heavy guns and
throwing leaflets calling on residents to boycott upcoming general
elections, locals said. “The Boko
Haram gunmen are now at the
A Nigerian fighter jet encircled
the city but made no attempt to
attack the insurgents, said witness
Kabiru Na-Gwandu. He said the residents had been warned to evacuate
Gombe, which has been attacked
by the insurgents previously. “I
received calls from friends in
The Boko Haram fighters
appealed to residents to boycott
the elections which had originally
been planned to take place yesterday before they were postponed
until March 28. Gombe has been
repeatedly hit by suicide attacks
and other bombings blamed on
NOUGBOUA: A picture shows the village Nougboua after it was attacked by Nigeria’s Boko
Haram rebels. Nigeria’s Boko Haram rebels carried out their first attack inside neighboring
Chad, targeting a village on the shores of Lake Chad as part of a widening insurgency that has
sucked in four countries. —AFP
Jeka-da-Fari roundabout in the centre of the city, firing indiscriminately and throwing pamphlets calling
on people not to participate in the
elections,” resident Ali Dahiru said.
Other witnesses said the extremists
stormed the city around 9:00 am
(0800 GMT) and advanced without
any resistance from the security
Kwadam, which is five kilometers
away, warning me to leave because
Boko Haram were on their way,” said
Na-Gwandu, who lives near the military base in the city. “I evacuated my
house along with my family before
they arrived in the city and I’m happy that I did because from information I’m receiving they have taken
over the military barracks,” he said.
the Islamists in the six-year insurgency in Nigeria’s northeast. Two
weeks ago, two suicide bombers
blew themselves up outside a stadium, just minutes after President
Goodluck Jonathan had left the
venue where he had given a campaign speech. Many people were
In February 2012, Boko Haram
launched its first offensive on the
city, killing 14 people in a bomb
attack on a police station. Soldiers
repelled another attack on a nearby prison. Locals said prior to yesterday’s invasion, the militants had
camped at Hani village, 36 kilometers from Gombe, where they
preached to locals and informed
them they were on their way to
take over the governor’s office in
the city. “They came around 6:00
am (0500GMT) and took over the
military checkpoint that was curiously abandoned by soldiers on
Thursday,” resident Mustapha Baba
told AFP.
Ongoing offensive
He said the insurgents had fled
from the Galda forest in neighboring Yobe state following ongoing
offensive on their camps by
Nigerian troops. The Nigerian military last week launched a ground
and aerial offensive on Boko Haram
camps in the Galda forest, from
where the Islamists are believed to
be planning attacks in the area. In
the past few weeks, the group has
stepped up its offensive both within Nigeria and against border
towns of neighboring countries,
forcing Nigerian general elections
that were scheduled for yesterday
to be postponed by six weeks.
On Friday, Boko Haram fighters
attacked Chad for the first time, targeting a village on the shores of
Lake Chad. The attack marked a
new escalation in the group’s
bloody six-year campaign to establish a hardline Islamic caliphate in
northeast Nigeria, which borders
Cameroon, Chad and Niger, a campaign that has killed some 13,000
people since 2009. Nigeria,
Cameroon, Chad and Niger this
month launched an unprecedented
joint effort to crush the Islamists,
raising hopes that the insurgentswho have outgunned Nigeria’s
national army-might finally have
met their match. —AFP
Ukraine fighting kills 28
as clock ticks to ceasefire
DONETSK: Fighting raged in Ukraine yesterday, throwing
doubts on a ceasefire deal due to take effect over the
weekend, as the US said Russia was still deploying heavy
arms and Kiev warned that shelling of civilians had intensified. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said the continuing bombardment of civilians in eastern Ukraine by
pro-Russian separatist rebels was already undermining
the peace plan reached in Minsk on Thursday. At least 28
civilians and soldiers were reported killed in the latest
upsurge in fighting.
“Unfortunately after the Minsk agreement, Russia’s
offensive has significantly increased. We still think that the
DONETSK: The body of a dead pro-Russian separatist lies on a sidewalk after a shell
exploded in central part of the Eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk yesterday. —AFP
agreement is in great danger,” Poroshenko said during a
meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
“After what we concluded in Minsk, these are not only
attacks against civilians but also against the Minsk agreement,” he added, referring to the shelling of the town of
Artemivsk that killed three people including a seven-yearold. The ceasefire, due to take effect from 2200 GMT
Saturday, will be the first test of the commitment by Kiev
and pro-Russian separatists to the freshly-inked peace
plan. But with separatists fighting to conquer more territory ahead of the truce and Kiev forces digging in, there are
fears over whether anyone will observe the truce, considered vital to the success of the peace roadmap.
Fresh fighting
The United States said it believed Russia was continuing to deploy heavy weapons ahead of the ceasefire. State
Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the United
States had received reports of heavy weapons being
moved into eastern Ukraine from Russia over the past few
days, and more apparently on the way. “This is clearly not
in the spirit of this week’s agreement,” Psaki told reporters.
She said the Russian military had deployed large amounts
of artillery and multiple rocket launcher systems and was
using them to shell Ukrainian positions.
“We are confident that these are Russian military, not
separatist systems,” she said, adding that Russian troops
along the border were preparing a large shipment of supplies to pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. Friday’s
fresh fighting came after rebels and Kiev agreed to the
wide-ranging plan on Thursday following marathon talks
in the Belarusian between the leaders of Russia, Ukraine,
France and Germany. German Chancellor Angela Merkel
has warned Russia that the EU, which has already slapped
Moscow with sanctions over the crisis, is not ruling out
further measures if the truce fails. —AFP
VATICAN CITY: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (right) greets Pope Francis in St
Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican yesterday. Pope Francis welcomed 20 new cardinals yesterday into the elite club of churchmen who will elect his successor
and immediately delivered a tough- love message to them, telling them to
put aside their pride, jealousy, self-interests and anger and instead exercise
perfect charity. _AP
Pope to new cardinals: Put
aside pride, jealousy, anger
VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis welcomed 20
new cardinals yesterday into the elite club of
churchmen who will elect his successor and
immediately delivered a tough-love message to them, telling them to put aside their
pride, jealousy and self-interests and instead
exercise perfect charity. Francis issued the
marching orders during the ceremony in St
Peter’s Basilica to elevate the new “princes of
the church” into the College of Cardinals and
give them their new red hats. Retired Pope
Benedict XVI was on hand for the ceremony,
sitting off to the side in the front row of the
basilica, in a unique blending of popes past,
present and future. Francis embraced him at
the start and end of the service and a cluster
of cardinals lined up to greet him before
processing out.
Many of the new cardinals hail from farflung, often overlooked dioceses where
Catholics are a distinct minority - a reflection
of Francis’ insistence that the church look to
the peripheries and reflect them in its governance. Several are pastors who, like Francis,
have focused their ministries on the poor
and disenfranchised. In his homily, Francis
reminded his newest collaborators that
being a cardinal isn’t a prize or fancy entitlement, but rather a way to serve the church
better in humility and tenderness.
He warned them that not even churchmen are immune from the temptation to be
jealous, angry or proud, or to pursue their
own self-interests, even when “cloaked in
noble appearances.” “Even here, charity, and
charity alone, frees us,” he said. “Above all it
frees us from the mortal danger of pent-up
anger, of that smoldering anger which
makes us brood over wrongs we have
received. No. This is unacceptable in a man
of the church.” In some ways, his tough
words were a toned-down version of the
blistering critique he delivered right before
Christmas to Vatican bureaucrats. Then, he
ticked off 15 ailments including “spiritual
Alzheimer’s” and the “terrorism of gossip,”
that can afflict men of the church even at its
highest levels.
This is Francis’ second consistory creating
new cardinals and once again he looked to
the “peripheries” to give greater geographic
representation to the Europe-centric
College of Cardinals. His choices, though,
also reflect his vision for what the church
should be: One that looks out for the poor
and most marginalized, guided by shepherds who have what he has called the
“smell” of their sheep. They include Cardinal
Soane Patita Paini Mafi of Tonga, a tiny
island state in the middle of the Pacific
Ocean on the front lines of global warming.
Another is Cardinal Francesco Montenegro
of Agrigento, Sicily, whose church - which
extends to the island of Lampedusa - has
coped with the arrival of tens of thousands
of migrants over the years.
And there’s the archbishop of David,
Panama, Cardinal Jose Luis Lacunza
Maestrojuan, who works with indigenous
peoples to protect them from mining interests. While cardinals are called on to advise
the pope, their primary job is to elect a new
one. Only those under age 80 can participate in a conclave and with Saturday’s additions, their number stands at 125 - five over
the traditional cap, though four of them will
turn 80 this year. The college as a whole
numbers 227. In addition to naming 15 voting-age cardinals, Francis also made five elderly churchmen cardinals to honor their
service to the church. One of them,
Colombian Cardinal JosÈ de Jes˙s Pimiento
Rodriguez, wasn’t able to make the trip to
Rome for the ceremony because of his age:
He turns 96 next week and will have his red
hat delivered to him.—AP
In Russia, battle for university
places deflates Crimea euphoria
MOSCOW: Alexandra Kartokhina always
dreamed of studying in a big city. She even went
to a Russian school in her native Crimea to help
her achieve her ambition of studying in St
Petersburg. But now that dream has been tainted. After winning a place at a university in
Russia’s second city on an equal footing with
other students, she has to deal with “the eternal
squabbles” over accusations that Crimeans are
stealing “Russian” places.
Nearly a year after Russia took Crimea from
Ukraine, Alexandra’s experiences point to some
of the first signs of resentment among Russians,
potentially complicating President Vladimir
Putin’s calculation over Ukraine. Trying to get
places in Russia’s dwindling number of good
universities is competitive and often expensive.
Trying to get a “budget place”, or free tuition, is
even more challenging, with parents often
spending huge sums on tutoring their children
to get the required grades or number of points.
With the economy heading for recession and
education targeted by budget cuts, the stream
of students from Crimea is adding to simmering
anger over how much Russians are having to
pay for annexing the peninsula from Ukraine in
March last year. “In many universities where I was
going to apply, they’ve reduced the number of
budget places because of Crimean students and
now there’s no chance of getting one,” Katya, an
applicant from Moscow, told a local magazine,
echoing several people who did not want to be
quoted for fear of being seen as unpatriotic. For
Kartokhina, the criticism is unjust, especially
after she studied for, and passed Russia’s unified
state exam to gain entry to the university of her
choice - unlike most other students in Crimea
who were schooled in the Ukrainian system.
She says Crimean students’ special status will
be short-lived and was necessary to allow
school-leavers to go to universities without having to repeat years to take the exam. “As for
these eternal squabbles that students from
Crimea are taking university places from
Russians, I can say only that it’s completely
absurd,” said Kartokhina, pointing out that the
places for Crimean students were in addition to,
rather than part of, those places set aside for
Russians. “And let me say that they have only
allocated budgeted places for Crimean students
to some universities and in some specialisms,
which are often not the best. In some universities, questions about quotas are met with a
shrug and a puzzled look.” —Reuers
Pakistan arrests cyber criminals wanted by FBI, Interpol
Pakistan judge survives bomb attack
KARACHI: Pakistani officials yesterday arrested
two men wanted for cyber crimes by Interpol and
the FBI for defrauding several companies and individuals of over 50 million dollars. Mir Mazhar
Jabbar, a senior official with Pakistan’s Federal
Investigation Agency, told AFP his team had arrested Noor Aziz and Farhan Arshad from the northern
part Karachi, the country’s largest city and commercial hub. “They were on the most wanted list of
the FBI and we have successfully arrested them,”
Jabbar said.
The FIA team also arrested three others who are
all part of the same extended family, Jabbar said.
The FBI on its website said that Arshad and Uddin
were wanted for their alleged involvement in an
international communication scheme and hacking
venture that defrauded individuals, telecom companies and government entities in the United
States and elsewhere in the world.
They cost their targets more than 50 million
dollars. Arshad and Uddin gained access to business telephones systems and used the systems
to place long distance telephone calls to premium rate numbers as part of a scheme known as
international revenue share fraud, according to
the US agency. “Arshad and Uddin are part of an
international criminal ring that the FBI believes
extends into Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia,
Switzerland, Spain, Singapore, Italy, Malaysia
and other locations,” the FBI said in late 2013.
The FBI-which had the pair on their “cyber most
wanted” list-had also offered a reward of up to
$50,000 each for information that led to their
He said the chief justice escaped unhurt, but
one of the paramilitary Frontier Corps vehicles that
was escorting his car was slightly damaged. The
top local administration official Qambar Dashti also
confirmed the incident. Nobody has claimed
responsibility from the attack but the area where is
occurred is one of the most unstable parts of the
violence-torn province. Bordering Iran and
Afghanistan, Baluchistan is Pakistan’s largest but
least developed and most sparsely populated
province and has been racked for decades by a
separatist insurgency that was revived in 2004.
PESHAWAR: Pakistani Shiite Muslims chant slogans in front of the coffin of a victim of a Taleban militants
attack during his funeral in Peshawar yesterday. The death toll in a militant attack on a Shiite mosque in
northwest Pakistan rose to 21 after an injured person died of his wounds. — AFP
Bomb attack
In another development, a top high court judge
in southwest Pakistan survived a bomb attack on his
convoy yesterday, officials said. The incident happened in Naushki district of southwestern
Baluchistan province as the chief justice of the
Baluchistan high court Noor Muhammad Muskanzai
was travelling back to provincial capital Quetta from
his home town in Kharan district. “An improvised
explosive device planted underneath a bridge in
Naushki exploded after chief justice’s convoy crossed
it,” provincial home secretary Akbar Durrani said.
Gunmen attack polio worker
Also, gunmen killed a driver and wounded a
polio worker yesterday in a northwestern tribal
region of Pakistan as another vaccination team went
missing ahead of a nationwide vaccination drive,
authorities said. The shooting happened in
Pakistan’s Khyber tribal region bordering
Afghanistan, said Manzoor Khan, a government official. In the country’s southwestern Baluchistan
province, two male anti-polio volunteers, two
guards and a driver went missing Friday after carrying out a vaccination campaign in a remote area of
the province’s Zhob district, said Nazar Mohammad
Kethran, a top government official. He said authorities were trying to find the missing team. Tahir
Hotak, the head of the paramedic staff association in
Zhob district, said intelligence suggested the team
was abducted by group of armed men. He said
members of the paramedic association blocked a
main highway to protest and demanded the immediate recovery of the team members.— Agencies
UN asks Mexico govt to
probe ‘disappearances’
GENEVA: A United Nations watchdog called on Mexico
on Friday to probe and prosecute alleged complicity of
state forces in thousands of “disappearances”, including
a notorious case of 43 students believed murdered last
year. Mexico’s delegation told the UN Committee on
Enforced Disappearances at a review last week that
11,300 people were unaccounted for. Amnesty
International said in a statement that more than 22,600
had gone missing in the past eight years amid “a huge
problem of impunity”.
In their findings, the committee’s 10 independent
experts said they had received information that “illustrates a context of generalized disappearances in a
great part of the territory (of Mexico), many of which
could be qualified as enforced disappearances”.
“Enforced disappearances” are those linked to detention or abduction by state agents such as police or
security forces, or their allies, who conceal the victim’s
fate. “The state has informed us that in contrast to the
thousands of enforced disappearances that we assume
... there are exactly six persons put to trial and sentenced for this crime,” committee member Rainer Huhle
told a news briefing.
The panel urged Mexico to establish a special prose-
cutor’s office to lead investigations and prosecutions. It
said Mexican authorities should step up searches for all
missing, including migrants from Central America who
have vanished on their way to the United States, and
share DNA samples from unidentified bodies. In a statement, Mexico’s government said it was fully committed
to improving the way the country handles disappearances. Mexico’s Attorney General Jesus Murillo has said
there is no doubt that the 43 students were murdered
last September and their remains incinerated and
dumped into a river in the nearby town of Cocula.
Officials say they were abducted by corrupt police
officers, who handed them over to a local drug gang.
The former mayor of the southwestern town of Iguala
has been arrested. Parents of the students met the UN
panel to appeal for help in seeking justice, saying
they had no faith in the government’s ability to investigate the crime. “The grave case of the 43 students
subjected to enforced disappearance in September
2014 in the state of Guerrero illustrates the serious
challenges Mexico is facing in terms of the prevention, investigation and punishment for enforced disappearances and searching for the disappeared,” the
UN panel said.— Reuters
Sri Lankan leader courts
India on first foreign trip
COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s new president heads to
India this weekend on his first foreign trip in office,
seeking to rebuild ties hit by tensions over growing
Chinese influence on the strategically located
island. Maithripala Sirisena swept to power last
month, ending a decade of rule by former president Mahinda Rajapakse, whose close alliance with
Beijing had sparked serious concerns in New Delhi.
China ploughed huge sums into Sri Lankan infrastructure projects, becoming the country’s biggest
foreign financier and enjoying significant political
and even military influence on the island under
India has long considered Sri Lanka to be within
its strategic sphere of influence, sending troops to
the island in 1987 to enforce a New Delhi-brokered
peace accord between Colombo and separatist
Tamil rebels. New Delhi was reported to have been
furious at the brief appearance last year of two
Chinese submarines in Sri Lankan waters. Sri
Lankan officials said Sirisena, whose administration
last week reversed approval for a controversial $1.4
billion Chinese project, would aim to allay Indian
fears when he meets Prime Minister Modi on
“Our relations with India had nosedived,” said
Plantations Minister Lakshman Kiriella. “We want to
have a new beginning with India. If we have any
relations with China, that will not be to the detriment of India.” Beijing has been accused of seeking
to develop facilities around the Indian Ocean in a
“string of pearls” strategy to counter the rise of its
Asian rival India and secure its own economic inter-
ests. Sirisena is also expected to try to secure
greater Indian investment in Sri Lanka, which said
this week it was seeking an international bail-out
of more than $4.0 billion. The new government has
accused Rajapakse’s administration of understating
the country’s debts and is also seeking to restructure expensive Chinese loans.
‘Tightrope walk’
However, one foreign policy expert sounded a
note of caution, saying India’s pockets were not
deep enough to take over China’s role as Sri Lanka’s
chief financier. “India does not have the economic
might to steer China away from Sri Lanka,”
Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan of India’s Observer
Research Foundation said. “Basically, Sri Lanka’s
policy with India is a tightrope walk. It will be quite
difficult to keep everyone happy and balance
everything out.” China provided $141.9 million in
loans in the first four months of 2014 - the latest
official figures available-making it the island’s
largest financier. India loaned $53.7 million.
Beijing has made clear it wants the relationship
to continue and Sirisena, who has said he wants to
maintain a “middle path” in foreign relations, is due
to travel to there next month. Shortly after Sirisena
took office, China’s foreign ministry said it hoped
the new administration would “carry on the friendly policies towards China and lend their support to
relevant projects”. China has already funded two
ports and an airport, including a $500 million
mega container terminal which is the largest in
South Asia.—AFP
COLOMBO: In this file photograph, Sri Lanka’s newly-elected president Maithripala Sirisena gestures
after being sworn in at Independence Square in Colombo. Sri Lanka’s new president heads to India today
on his first foreign trip in office, seeking to rebuild ties hit by tensions over growing Chinese influence on
the strategically located island. — AFP
NEW DELHI: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) president Arvind Kejriwal (second right) and fellow AAP ministers Asim Ahmed Khan (left),
Satyendra Jain (second left) and Manish Sisodia greet supporters during Kejriwal’s swearing-in ceremony as Delhi chief minister in New
Delhi yesterday. — AFP
Kejriwal vows to
end ‘VIP culture’
New chief to make Delhi first corruption-free state
NEW DELHI: Arvind Kejriwal promised to
make Delhi India’s first corruption-free
state and end what he called its “VIP culture” as he was sworn in as chief minister
yesterday in front of a huge crowd of
cheering supporters. The veteran antigraft campaigner also pledged to stick
out his five-year term and said he would
not succumb to arrogance af ter his
upstart Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party
(AAP) won one of the biggest election victories the Indian capital has ever seen.
Kejriwal dealt Prime Minister Narendra
Modi’s right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party
its first major defeat since last year’s general elec tion af ter pledges to tack le
entrenched corruption and lower utility
bills won over legions of working-class
voters willing to give him a second
chance. The 46-year-old former civil servant’s first term as chief minister lasted
just 49 days and ended in chaos when he
quit exactly a year ago. Despite that, his
party took all but three of the 70 state
parliament seats in elec tions last
Saturday, a remarkable turnaround for the
politician most pundits had written off
after a poor performance in the general
In his inauguration speech, Kejriwal
admitted he had been over-ambitious,
and promised to focus on running the
capital. “I have decided that for the next
five years we will only focus on Delhi. I
will serve Delhi with all my heart,” he told
the gathered crowd at the open-air ceremony. “I will make Delhi corruption-free
within five years,” he said, promising to
push through an anti-corruption bill.
‘End VIP culture’
Corruption is a huge problem in Delhi,
where many citizens complain that they
need to pay bribes even for something as
basic as getting a driver’s licence, and the
city saw the emergence of a huge anti-graft
movement in 2011. Kejriwal also said his
government would eschew the trappings
of power, including the red beacons that
allow senior politicians to glide through
traffic in the gridlocked city. “In developed
countries, even PMs wait at bus stands.
Why can’t the same happen here?” he said.
“We want to end the VIP culture in this
country.” Kejriwal also said people of all
faiths should live in harmony in the Indian
capital, which has suffered a recent spate
of attacks on churches, promising “strong
action” against acts of religious hatred.
Some analysts have attributed the Hindu
nationalist BJP’s poor performance in the
Delhi polls to a failure to address religious
extremism in India. Kejriwal, whose supporters range from domestic servants to
teachers to business entrepreneurs, based
his election campaign around pledges to
deliver cheaper water and electricity as
well as a promise to counter corruption.
Yesterday he said that both the BJP and
the Congress party, which ruled Delhi for
over a decade before suffering a humiliating defeat at the polls, had paid the price
for being “arrogant”. “We must not let our
victory go to our heads,” he said. The new
chief minister was dressed simply in a navy
sweater and trademark white paper cap
bearing the words “complete self-rule”-a
reference to his ambition to secure greater
autonomy for Delhi. The central government retains greater powers in Delhi than
in most states, including controlling the
police. Tens of thousands turned out for
the open-air ceremony at the Ramlila
ground where Kejriwal also chose to have
his first inauguration, in a break from the
tradition of taking the oath in the state
Many carried Indian flags and wore the
white paper hats printed with the words
‘common man’ in Hindi for which the AAP
party is known. During his last brief tenure
as chief minister, Kejriwal famously declared
himself an anarchist and staged several
street protests outside government offices.
Before last Saturday’s election he apologized for leaving voters without an elected
government for a year, telling the Times of
India daily that he and his party had
“evolved”. Kejriwal appears eager to project
a more grown-up image this time around.
He arrived at yesterday’s swearing-in by
car, after famously travelling by metro to
his first inauguration. Posters at the site
showed him dressed soberly in a shirt and
jacket and without the trademark woolly
scar f that earned him the nickname
“Muffler Man”. Kejriwal quit his comfortable
and highly sought-after government job in
2001 and embarked on a career as an anticorruption campaigner that led to national
fame. The taxman-turned-politician came
to prominence as an adviser to elderly
social activist Anna Hazare, whose 2011
anti-graft drive galvanized India. His cabinet was also sworn in yesterday, and held
its first meeting behind closed doors later
in the day. — AFP
Mexico bus-train
collision kills 16
MONTERREY: At least 16 people were killed
and 30 were injured when a freight train
slammed into a packed passenger bus in
northeastern Mexico on Friday, authorities
said, warning the death toll could rise. The
collision happened when the bus was
attempting to cross rail tracks in the city of
Anahuac, Nuevo Leon, state civil protection
chief Jorge Camacho said. The accident
occurred just after 5:00 pm (2300 GMT) at
Camarones station, near the border with
the United States. Two children were among
the 16 dead, said Mayor Desiderio Urteaga,
although other local officials warned that
the final toll could be nearer to at least 20
because some passengers were trapped
after the crash. Images broadcast by local
media showed the bus smashed open and
split in half by the force of the train.
Nine women and five men were identified among the dead, in addition to the
two children, Camacho said. Of the 30
people injured, 22 were taken to hospitals in the nearby border town of Nuevo
Laredo, around 60 kilometers away. The
bus, which normally transports around 40
people, was traveling with 60 passengers,
as it made its way from Nuevo Laredo to
the nor thern city of Nueva Rosita.
Camacho said an investigation was
underway to determine whether the bus
driver was trying to beat the train when
the vehicle was struck. But prosecutors
would determine the cause of the accident who was responsible, he added.
There was no fog or rain in the area at the
time, he said. Prosecutors were already at
the scene. — AFP
Rare anti-coup protest in Thailand
BANGKOK: Demonstrators hold roses and fake ballot boxes outside the Art and Cultural centre during a rally
in Bangkok yesterday. Dozens of anti-coup activists held a demonstration in central Bangkok yesterday,
handing out roses and copies of George Orwell’s “1984”-a rare expression of public dissent in a nation still
under strict martial law. —AFP
BANGKOK: Dozens of anti-coup activists
held a demonstration in central Bangkok
yesterday, handing out roses and copies
of George Orwell’s “1984”-a rare expression of public dissent in a nation still
under strict martial law. The demonstrators, a collection of pro-democracy
groups including students, made no
secret of their Valentine’s Day protest
plans, advertising them on Facebook. In
response the authorities put up a series of
barriers to stop demonstrators accessing
a plaza opposite a mall in the city’s downtown Siam shopping district.
But dozens of activists nonetheless
managed to gather on the streets and
pedestrian walkways in the late afternoon, watched by a similar number of
police officers. Festooning the walkways
and streets with roses, some erected cardboard ballot boxes and put up mock voting tables-a criticism of Thailand’s generals who seized power in a May coup following the ousting of Yingluck
Shinawatra’s democratically elected government. Several of the most vocal protesters were seen being led away by
police. “I am here to protest against the
coup,” Pat Lertkeerstikul, an office worker
said. “It’s almost a year since they stole the
last election. We want our democracy
back,” she added.
Others protesters handed out copies
of Orwell’s anti-authoritarian novel “1984”
and flashed the three-fingered salute
from the popular Hollywood franchise
“The Hunger Games”. Symbolic public
readings of “1984” and the salute have
both become symbols of opposition since
the military’s takeover-but making such
gestures frequently courts arrest. Since
Army Chief-turned-Prime Minister Prayut
Chan-O-Cha declared martial law and
seized power, sweeping curbs have been
placed on freedoms. The military have
banned political gatherings, censored the
media, arrested and detained opponents
and ramped up prosecutions under the
country’s controversial lese majeste laws.
The junta says it will hold fresh elections in early 2016 once reforms to tackle
corruption and curb the power of political
parties are codified in a new constitution.
Some analysts and Shinawatra supporters
fear those constitutional changes are
designed to ensure the family is politically
neutralized in any upcoming election.
Thailand’s decade-long political conflict
broadly pits a Bangkok-based middle
class and royalist elite-backed by parts of
the military and judiciary-against urban
working-class voters and farmers from the
country’s north, many of whom are part
of the ‘Red Shirt’ movement. —AFP
When fake news goes
viral, blame the media
‘Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet’
WASHINGTON: It’s true. Don’t believe everything
you read on the Internet. In fact, according to a
study by media researchers, many news organizations fail to do enough to separate fact from fiction, and often help unverified rumors and
reports to go viral online. “Rather than acting as a
source of accurate information, online media frequently promote misinformation in an attempt to
drive traffic and social engagement,” said the
study led by Craig Silverman, a research fellow at
the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia
University. While news organizations have always
dealt with unverified information, practices at
some websites may accelerate the dissemination
of fake news, said the report, “Lies, Damn Lies and
Viral Content.”
“Many news sites apply little or no basic verification to the claims they pass on. Instead, they
rely on linking-out to other media reports, which
themselves often only cite other media reports as
well,” the study concluded. Fake stories are often
sexier or more interesting than the real ones, and
as such get wider dissemination, Silverman said.
“The extent to which a fake news article can get
traction was surprising to me,” Silverman said.
Examples cited in the study were rumors spread
on Facebook and Twitter that an Ebola patient
had been identified in Britain, and another that
the disease had been found in Richmond,
Virginia. Both reports were untrue.
‘Rehana, ISIS slayer’
In another case, a story about a Kurdish
woman dubbed “Rehana the ISIS slayer,” or the
“Angel of Kohane” purported to have killed 100
Islamic fighters, turned out to have no basis in
fact even though reports about her spread for
weeks last October. The researchers traced the
story to a tweet from Indian journalist and
activist Parwan Durani, who published the
woman’s picture on Twitter and asked people to
retweet it.
Stories of her exploits-and reports of her
death-were picked up widely by news outlets
“but seemed entirely based on falsities,”
Silverman’s report said. “The simple story of the
attractive Kurd who killed dozens of ISIS fighters
is a powerful wish rumor. Add in a compelling
image and it’s perfect for propagation on social
networks. The result is that most of us will never
know the woman’s true story-and the press bears
a level of responsibility for that.”
Silverman said that even if much of the fake
news is spread by “new media” or tabloid journals, the traditional or “quality” journalism outlets
often sit by, allowing rumors to gain traction.
“When (fake) information is out there and websites are covering it, there is an imperative on the
part of news organizations to look at it, flag it for
readers and tell them what we know and what
we don’t know,” Silverman said. “If we remain
silent, the ones who win are the mindless propagators.” And many news organizations fail to follow up when a false report is debunked, the
report said: “The explosive claim that ISIS fighters
had been apprehended at the US-Mexico border
was refuted within 24 hours and yet only 20 percent of news organizations that wrote an initial
story came back to it.”
A ‘disturbing trend’
The findings show “a very disturbing trend,”
said Bill Adair, a Duke University journalism professor who in 2007 founded the fact-checking
website PolitiFact. “It’s particularly disturbing
when journalists pass along things without
knowing whether they are true or not.” Because
of the fast-moving nature of Twitter an other
social media, Adair said that “many people
including journalists feel that if it’s tweeted, it’s
out there and it’s fair game. But news organizations have always had an obligation to check out
what they pass on.”
Sometimes the sheer number of repetitions of
false information makes people believe something is true, the researchers said. One example
of this is the oft-repeated claim that the
Obamacare health plan includes “death panels”
which decide whether a person can receive treatment. “Anyone who repeated it-even when trying
to debunk it-further implanted it and its negative
connotations in people’s minds,” the report said.
Nikki Usher, a George Washington University
professor specializing in new media, said previous research has shown that repeating false
information makes it more believable, “but what
is different now is the speed with which rumors
can unfold.” The Internet’s “crowdsourcing” ability
can often bring the truth out, but cannot entirely
correct the problem, said Silverman, who also
operates the @emergentdotinfo Twitter feed that
tracks online rumors. “Over time the truth
emerges, but the corrections don’t tend to be as
viral or get as widely distributed. And they don’t
always reach the same people,” he said. “I am a
believer in the value of the crowd, but the truth is
often far less interesting and shareable than the
lie.” —AFP
Hong Kong captain found guilty of
manslaughter over ferry tragedy
HONG KONG: A Hong Kong ferry captain
was yesterday found guilty of manslaughter over the deaths of 39 people in a 2012
boat collision, the city’s worst maritime
disaster in nearly four decades. Sea
Smooth skipper Lai Sai-ming, 56, was also
convicted of one count of endangering
the safety of others at sea by a Hong Kong
court over the accident between his highspeed ferry and a pleasure boat near
Lamma Island. The captain of the other
boat, Chow Chi-wai, 58, was acquitted of
all manslaughter charges but found guilty
of one count of endangering the safety of
others at sea.
Lai looked solemn as he heard the
“guilty” verdicts for all charges against him
read out in court, which could see him
sentenced to life in prison. The nine member jury found him guilty by a majority of
seven-to-two. “Mr Lai will be sentenced on
Monday,” his lawyer Audrey CampbellMoffat told press outside the city’s high
court, while refusing to comment on the
judgment. Chow, 58, who was at the helm
of the Lamma IV pleasure boat when it
crashed with more than 120 people on
board on October 1, 2012, faces a maximum sentence of HK$200,000 ($25,787)
and four years’ imprisonment. Chow’s
lawyer, Gerard McCoy, did not comment
on the verdict. The pair had both pleaded
not guilty to the 39 counts each of
manslaughter and have been remanded
in custody until sentencing.
‘Litany of errors’
The jury deliberated for almost four
days before coming to a decision yesterday afternoon. Before the verdicts were
read out after 60 days of court hearings,
deputy High Court judge Brian Keith
called for the packed courtroom to remain
still, saying “these are moments of high
PATTAYA: Couples take part in an event promoted as the world’s longest
dance marathon contest in the Thai city of Pattaya. The winners of the dance
marathon, who will need to dance non-stop without changing partners for
at least 35 hours to break the record, will receive prizes totaling more than
$9,400 and a certificate from the Guinness Book of World Records. —AFP
Couples in Thailand dance
their way to world record
PATTAYA: Nine couples danced their way
to victory yesterday, breaking the record
for the longest dance marathon in the
world in the seaside town of Pattaya,
southeast of Thailand’s capital Bangkok.
The couples broke the World’s Longest
Dance Marathon record by dancing for 35
hours, one minute and one second, gaining a spot in the Guinness World Records.
The previous record was set by a Mexican
couple in 2008 who danced for 35 hours.
Thailand’s dance marathon began on
Friday with ten couples, including one couple from Canada. Only one pair left the
competition before it ended. Under the
contest’s rules, participants, wearing pink
T-shirts and flowers in their hair, had to
move their feet continuously in three different dance rhythms - the waltz, cha cha
and rumba - until a change of song every
few minutes when they were given a 30second break to stretch their limbs.
They were also given a five-minute
break every hour to go to go to the toilet,
said organizers. Natsiya Noorak, 37, one of
the winners, said there were times she felt
like giving up and took her frustration out
on her dance partner. “There were times
we fought with each other because of
fatigue but we made up and pushed
through to the end,” she said. The worldrecord win, which took place at the
Ripley’s Believe it or Not! entertainment
complex in the popular tourist town of
Pattaya, comes just in time for Valentine’s
Day - a popular Western import in touristfriendly Thailand. The winners will share a
200,000 baht cash prize and were each
awarded a certificate from the Guinness
Book of World Records. —Reuters
Abbott pleads with Indonesia
over Australians on death row
HONG KONG: This file picture shows the bow of the Lamma IV boat partially submerged during
rescue operations the morning after it collided with a Hong Kong ferry. A Hong Kong boat captain has been found guilty of the manslaughter of 39 people in the 2012 ferry collision, the city’s
worst maritime disaster in nearly four decades. —AFP
tension”. “The lives of the 39 people cannot
be compensated by this judgment,” an
emotional Irene Cheng who lost her 24year-old son in the boat collision told
reporters after the judgment. Cheng, however, said she accepted the jury’s decision.
Hong Kong’s justice department will
decide this month whether to prosecute
several marine department officials for the
incident as well, a spokeswoman said.
The pleasure boat was filled with staff
from a Hong Kong electricity provider and
their families who were going to watch a
holiday fireworks display when the collision occurred. Scores of people were
thrown into the sea when the Lamma’s left
rear side was torn open by the impact.
Others were trapped inside as the boat
sank in just two minutes, leaving only its
bow protruding from the water. The fatal
accident raised questions over safety in
the waters of Hong Kong one of the
world’s busiest ports-after an independent
commission found a “litany of errors” had
contributed to the disaster. Victims could
have had vital extra minutes to escape if
the Lamma IV had been equipped with a
watertight door, while several were actually left trapped when seats fell on top of
them, the inquiry found. —AFP
SYDNEY: Prime Minister Tony Abbott yesterday
pleaded with Indonesia to heed Australia’s call for
clemency for two death row convicts, and warned
that Canberra would make its displeasure known
should the executions go ahead. No date for the
executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran
Sukumaran has been released but an Indonesian
official said governments with death row prisoners had been invited to a meeting with the foreign
ministry tomorrow.
Chan, 31, and Sukumaran, 33, are facing execution by firing squad as ring leaders of the socalled Bali Nine group trafficking heroin from
Indonesia’s island of Bali into Australia. “Millions of
Australians are feeling very, very upset about
what may soon happen to two Australians in
Indonesia,” Abbott told reporters in Sydney. “And
my plea, even at this late stage, is for Indonesia to
be as responsive to us as it expects other countries to be to them when they plead for the life of
their citizens on death row overseas.”
Australian media reported that there are 360
Indonesians on death row around the world,
including in Malaysia, Singapore, China, Saudi
Arabia and Qatar, with 230 of these on drugs
charges. Abbott, in an interview with The Daily
Telegraph, also noted that Australia had stood by
close neighbor Indonesia in times of need, particularly after the devastating 2004 Asian tsunami.
“We abhor the death penalty, we regard it as barbaric,” he told the paper. Asked whether Canberra
would withdraw Australian officials if the executions go ahead, Abbott said: “We will find ways of
making our displeasure known.” “We respect
Indonesia’s sovereignty but we would very much
appreciate an act of magnanimity in this case,” he
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has warned
Jakarta against underestimating the strength of
public feeling for the pair, sentenced to death in
2006 for attempting to mastermind the trafficking of more than eight kilograms of heroin out of
Bali into Australia the previous year. She said travelers could choose to boycott Indonesia, whose
Bali island is an extremely popular holiday spot
with Australians. Australian politicians are united
in opposing the execution of Chan and
Sukumaran, who have worked to rehabilitate
themselves in their decade behind bars.
But both have lost their appeals for clemency
to new President Joko Widodo whose government recently executed six convicted drug smugglers. Widodo has been a vocal supporter of capital punishment and has vowed a tough approach
to ending what he has called Indonesia’s “drug
An Indonesian foreign affairs spokesman said
yesterday that representatives of several countries
had been invited to a meeting on Monday to
explain the notification process after a clemency
is rejected. “The embassies of the convicts which
have their clemency rejected will be in the meeting,” Arrmanatha Nasir said. “I don’t know yet
whether the ministry is the one who will notify
the embassy on the date (of execution) because
the attorney-general office might notify it directly
to the convicts who will later tell their family and
The uncertainty is wearing on Sukumaran said
friend, Australian artist Ben Quilty, who said his
final goodbye to the convict just days ago. Quilty
said Sukumaran was unable to sleep for fear that
“in the middle of the night there will be knock at
the door” by prison officials to take him to his
death. “I think he’s pretty resolved for what is
going to happen to him and it’s obvious they’re
making preparations inside the prison for him to
move out,” Quilty told broadcaster ABC. —AFP
US cops slam down
Indian ‘black guy’
MADISON, Alabama: A grandfather from India who was
slammed to the ground by a police officer in a northern
Alabama suburb had been singled out by police after a
caller said a “skinny black guy” with a toboggan hat was
walking in the neighborhood and peering into garages,
recordings show. The man, Sureshbhai Patel, 57, doesn’t
speak English and was slammed to the ground face-first
by an officer when he didn’t respond to commands. But he
had committed no crime, the Madison police chief said.
Officer Eric Parker was arrested and is being fired. He
has not commented publicly, and court records were not
available Friday to show whether he has a lawyer. Patel
filed a lawsuit Thursday over the Feb. 6 incident in
Madison, where he was visiting his son’s family. His injuries
include partial paralysis but he hopes for a full recovery,
according to the lawsuit and Patel’s lawyer. The lawsuit
says Patel’s civil rights were violated. It seeks an unspecified amount of money.
The Indian government is taking the incident seriously
and is “extremely disturbed” by the treatment of Patel, a
spokesman said Friday. “This is a matter of concern for us,
and India and the US as open pluralist societies need to
address these issues and find ways in a mature manner so
that these are aberrations and are not the norm,” said Syed
Akbaruddin, India’s foreign ministry spokesman.
Embassy of India spokesman Sridharan
Madhusudhanan said in an emailed statement that the
office has been in touch with Patel’s family, the doctors
who are caring for him and the US Embassy in Delhi. “Our
understanding of the situation is that while there has been
some progress, the medical condition of Mr Sureshbhai
Patel is still a matter of concern,” Madhusudhanan said.
The incident began when a man called police complaining that an unfamiliar man was wandering about his
neighborhood and peering toward garages. He said the
man had been seen wandering the day before as well.
“He’s a skinny black guy. He’s got a toboggan on,” said the
caller, who isn’t identified. Police arrived in patrol cars
within minutes and found Patel walking in his son’s neighborhood in Madison, a Huntsville suburb of about 46,000
people near high-tech businesses, the University of
Alabama-Huntsville, and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight
Video shot from inside one of the cruisers shows two
officers walking toward the man on the sidewalk and
attempting to talk to him. “What’s going on, sir?” asks one
of the officers. “You’re what? India?” Police pepper the man
with questions about what he is doing and where he is
going, but answers are inaudible and someone on the
recording is heard saying, “no English”. Patel appears to try
to walk away and one of the officers warns: “Do not jerk
away from me again.”
One of the officers, neither of whom is identified,
restrains Patel by pulling his arms behind his back and
then slams him face-first into the ground less than 90 seconds after the confrontation began. “He don’t speak a lick
of English,” one of the officers says as another officer
arrives. Madison Police Chief Larry Muncey said the officer’s actions weren’t justified. “I found that Officer Eric
Parker’s actions did not meet the high standards and
expectations of the Madison City Police Department,”
Muncey said.
Chirag Patel has told local news media that his father
has only been to America once before and is visiting to
help care for his grandson. Attorney Hank Sherrod says the
man was stopped and hurt at least partly because of his
brown skin. “I think skin color made him more likely to be a
victim of police power,” Sherrod said Friday.
Mohammed Miran, a volunteer with the local cultural
organization AshaKiran, said many neighbors consider the
encounter an anomaly and the organization has been
working to train law enforcement how to work with immigrant communities. Local law enforcement has a positive
relationship with the community, Miran said, but there are
still concerns over the encounter involving Patel.
“People are really, really upset about what happened
because if that could happen to one person, it could happen to the other people as well,” he said. AshaKiran plans
to ask local law enforcement to call their 24-hour hotline in
case an interpreter is needed in the future, Miran said. As
word of Patel’s treatment and injuries spread, a site established on to help cover medical and other
expenses generated more than $104,000 in donations by
Friday night. Sherrod said Patel has no insurance. — AP
High-tech lenses zoom with wink
Continued from Page 1
The device magnifies objects 2.8 times, meaning AMD
patients can read more easily and recognize faces and
Funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects
Agency (DARPA), the lenses were meant to serve as a form
of bionic vision for soldiers. “Small mirrors within bounce
light around, expanding the perceived size of objects and
magnifying the view, so it’s like looking through low magnification binoculars,” the researchers said in a statement.
Tremblay was careful to stress that the device was still
at the research stage, though it could eventually become a
“real option” for people with AMD. “It’s very important and
hard to strike a balance between function and the social
costs of wearing any kind of bulky visual device,” he said.
“There is a strong need for something more integrated,
and a contact lens is an attractive direction.” The contacts
are made using large, rigid “scleral lenses,” unlike the soft
contacts most people wear, but are nonetheless safe and
comfortable, Tremblay said.
Several precision-cut pieces of plastic, aluminum mirrors and polarizing thin films form the lens, along with biologically safe glues. Because the eye needs a steady supply
of oxygen, the scientists have worked on making the
device more breathable, using tiny air channels that are
approximately 0.1 millimeter wide within the lens. Daniel
Palanker of Stanford University said researchers have so far
been able to restore visual acuity to half the normal level in
blind rats.
Separately, Apple Inc has a secret lab working on the
creation of an Apple-branded electric car, the Wall Street
Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the
matter. The project has designed a vehicle that looks like a
minivan, the newspaper quoted one person as saying. It
would take years to finish the project, and it is not certain if
Apple will eventually build a car, the Journal said. The news
signals that Apple is sharply raising its ambitions for automotive technology, which has become a prime area of
interest for Silicon Valley companies ranging from Google
Inc to ride-sharing firm Uber to electric car-maker Tesla
Motors Inc.
The connected car, or vehicles with a full range of
Internet and software services beyond mere navigation
and communications, is considered one of the ripest areas
for expansion for technology companies. Last March,
Apple unveiled CarPlay, which lets drivers access contacts
on their iPhones, make calls or listen to voicemails without
taking their hands off the steering wheel. Now, the head of
Mercedes-Benz’s Silicon Valley research and development
unit, Johann Jungwirth, has defected to Apple, according
to a LinkedIn profile, which said his title was head of Mac
Systems Engineering. Apple did not respond to a request
for comment.
The Financial Times reported earlier that Apple had created the secret lab and that Jungwirth had joined the new
research team. Two sources told Reuters that Apple has
recently tried to recruit from the automotive industry in
fields such as robotics. The research lab was set up late last
year, soon after Apple revealed its forthcoming smart
watch and latest iPhones, the Financial Times said.
The Wall Street Journal said that the Apple project,
code-named “Titan,” employed several hundred people
working a few miles from Apple’s headquarters in
Cupertino, California. Apple executives have met with
contract manufacturers including Magna Steyr, a unit of
Magna International Inc. A Magna spokeswoman
declined to comment. Google is working on plans for a
self-driving car, but that is not part of Apple’s plan, the
Journal said. — Agencies
PIJ, India: Indian resident Shakuntlaben Sureshbhai Patel, 57, poses for a photograph holding an image of
her husband Sureshbhai Patel at her home in this village near Nadiad, some 65 km from Ahmedabad yesterday, after her husband was allegedly assaulted while visiting relatives in the United States. — AFP
Bahrain police fire
tear gas at protesters
DUBAI: Bahraini police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of Shiite protesters who took to the streets for yesterday’s fourth anniversary of an uprising that deeply
divided the key US ally. Amnesty International urged
Bahrain to “rein in” its security forces and “seize the opportunity of the fourth anniversary of the uprising to
announce genuine and long overdue reforms”. Police
deployed heavily as men and women carrying Bahrain’s
red and white flag and portraits of detained activists
chanted slogans, burned tyres and blocked roads.
The police fired teargas and sound bombs after boosting security around several villages and along major roads
to prevent protesters advancing towards central Manama,
witnesses said. The opposition said on Twitter that the
police also fired buckshot, and posted pictures of wounded protesters, saying several activists were arrested.
The main opposition bloc Al-Wefaq, in a statement
issued in English, urged protesters “to stick to the non-violent movement and... refrain from putting lives and private and public properties under threat”. “The calls for violence acts do not relate to the Bahraini people’s peaceful
movement for democracy,” it said, condemning “the
excessive use of force by security forces and which has
resulted in serious casualties among the peaceful citizens”.
It gave a toll of 13 people wounded.
Bahrain’s Saudi-backed Sunni authorities crushed
protests led by its majority Shiites shortly after they erupted on Feb 14, 2011, taking their cue from Arab Spring
uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa. Yesterday
was also the anniversary of a 2001 referendum in which
Bahrainis approved a national charter for reform which
restored a parliament dissolved in 1975. In Feb 2002,
Bahrain became a kingdom ruled by a constitutional
The radical February 14 Coalition, a cyber youth group
described as by authorities as “terrorist”, had called for
demonstrations and strikes across the kingdom to mark
the anniversary. But the public security chief, Maj-Gen
Tariq Al-Hassan, issued a stern warning. “Action will be taken against those who spread terror among citizens or residents, put the safety of others at risk or try to disrupt the
nation’s security and stability,” he said.
Amnesty said in a statement that “fundamental freedoms have increasingly been curtailed” in Bahrain. The
London-based rights watchdog urged the kingdom to
release detained activists, allow demonstrations and “hold
to account all those responsible for human rights abuses”.
Bahrain, home to the US Fifth Fleet, sits across the Gulf
from Shiite-dominated Iran. It is also one of several Arab
states backing US-led air strikes against the Islamic State
group in Iraq and Syria, making it a vital Western ally.
The sectarian divide is deepening in Bahrain with a
growing gap between the Sunni minority government
and its mainly Shiite opponents. The opposition is
demanding a “real” constitutional monarchy with an elected prime minister independent of the ruling royal family,
but the Al-Khalifa dynasty has refused to yield. Al-Wefaq
leader Sheikh Ali Salman has been behind bars since Dec
28 for allegedly trying to overthrow the regime.
Attacks targeting the security forces have increased.
“The movement has reached its four years with the situation only getting worse and deteriorating with citizens
threatened by losing their nationalities any minute,” AlWefaq said. Bahrain has revoked the citizenships of scores
of activists over the past few years. In October, a court
banned Al-Wefaq for three months for violating a law on
associations. “There looks like little hope of progress in
Bahrain. The opposition is barely legal,” said Neil Partrick,
analyst at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence
and Security Studies. — AFP
S&P maintains Kuwait’s stable outlook
Continued from Page 1
Our base-case scenario assumes that, despite the
sharp fall in the oil price, OPEC will chose to broadly
maintain its current oil production levels and, consequently, Kuwaiti oil output will remain at around 2.7 million barrels per day out to 2018,” the report said.
“There may be some upside if OPEC increases production quotas, and if Kuwait’s planned investment in
the sector comes to fruition. The general government
budget has averaged a surplus of around 35 percent of
GDP for the past decade, if we include investment
income. This has contributed to the net general government (and external) asset stocks. “If, in our forecasts, we
include our estimate of the government’s income from
its vast investments, the Kuwaiti government will continue to run (lower) surpluses of around 16 percent of GDP
for the budget years 2015-18, despite lower oil prices,” it
The 2015-16 proposed budget has a reduced spending plan of KD 19 billion, compared to a planned allocation of KD 23.2 billion in 2014-15. Kuwait typically
spends well below its proposed budgetary allocations
and with the lower oil price will generate significant savings on the fuel subsidy bill. In addition, some large oneoff costs incurred in 2014-15, such as social security fund
top-ups, are unlikely to be repeated. Strong oil exports
led to current account surpluses averaging more than 37
percent of GDP in 2008-14, according to SP estimates.
“We forecast these surpluses will fall to an average of 19
percent in 2015-18,” it said.
Given the government’s policy of investing a large
portion of its surplus abroad, we estimate Kuwait had a
net external asset position of more than 400 percent of
current account receipts (CARs) in 2014. “We believe this
will continue to rise in nominal terms and as a percentage of CARs - owing to ongoing external surpluses and
reinvestment - but we note a distortion in the ratio due
to a sharply declining denominator (current account
receipts). At the same time, we project that gross external financing needs will remain relatively low, averaging
around 67 percent of CARs plus usable reserves in the
next four years.”
Kuwait increased its annual contributions to the
Future Generations Fund to 25 percent of total revenues
in the fiscal year ending in March 2013, from 10 percent
in previous years, because higher oil prices had produced strong revenues. Now that oil prices are lower,
“we expect transfers to the fund to fall significantly. The
fund will still continue to grow on reinvested earnings
and continued, albeit lower, contributions. Disclosure
about the size and structure of the KIA’s assets is limited
but the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute estimates it at
$550 billion in 2014”.
“We estimate real GDP growth to average about two
percent in 2015-18, but GDP per capita growth to contract by about one percent annually, partly because of
high population growth. We estimate GDP per capita at
$44,100 in 2015.” Kuwait’s exchange rate is pegged to an
undisclosed basket of currencies, with a likely bias to the
US dollar, which constrains its monetary flexibility. “We
view its monetary flexibility as limited although we
acknowledge that the exchange rate regime is consistent with Kuwait’s reliance on US dollar-based oil revenues and that Kuwait has sufficient resources to defend
the peg,” the report noted.
“Kuwait’s financial system remains fairly stable, in our
view; its banks operate in a reasonably strong regulatory
environment and have healthy capital levels. The ratings
are constrained by the country’s heavy reliance on oil,
political risks, and regional geopolitical tensions. We
could raise the ratings if political reforms were to
enhance institutional effectiveness and improve longterm economic diversification, if geopolitical risks fade
significantly, and prospects for the oil sector improve,”
the report concluded. — KUNA
‘Largest’ US brigade in region heads...
Continued from Page 1
The soldiers practiced combat skills last used in the
2003 invasion of Iraq, the Colorado Springs Gazette
reported. The brigade’s training regimen readied soldiers
for a range of missions from humanitarian relief to nonstop combat, Sierra said. Sierra told soldiers and their
families that if his brigade tangles with Islamic State
fighters, the outcome won’t be in doubt. “In the end, if
we do get into fights, we win decisively,” he said. —AP
MANAMA: Bahraini anti-government protesters haul what one said was a fake bomb into a street to divert
police attention during clashes yesterday in this suburb of the capital. — AP
OIC concerned over Islamophobia in US
Continued from Page 1
In a statement on the official news agency of Saudi
Arabia, where the OIC is based, he urged the US government to take measures to protect society there from
“negative images, discrimination, and stereotyping that
contradict the core values of the American society”.
Madani also called for international cooperation to fight
“extremism, violence, and religious intolerance, as well
as hate crimes and (acts) that incite them.”
On Friday, US President Barack Obama described the
deaths of the three young Muslims as “brutal and outrageous murders” and said no one in the United States
should be targeted for their religion. The president’s
statement came as the US Justice Department said it
would join the FBI’s preliminary inquiry to determine
whether the man accused in the Chapel Hill shooting
on Tuesday broke any federal laws, including hate crime
“No one in the United States of America should ever
be targeted because of who they are, what they look
like, or how they worship,” Obama said in a statement,
offering his condolences to the victims’ families. The
families had called on Obama to insist that federal
authorities investigate whether Hicks was motivated by
hatred toward the victims because they were Muslim.
Police seized more than a dozen firearms and a large
amount of ammunition from his home, according to
search warrants filed on Friday, WRAL-TV reported.
According to the warrants, a friend of the victims’
stopped police and directed them to the condo, where
authorities found Barakat dead and bleeding from his
head in the front doorway, the television station report-
ed. One of the sisters was found in the kitchen and the
other in its doorway, according WRAL-TV.
On Thursday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan criticized Obama and other US leaders for their silence
about the incident, which has garnered international
attention and left some U.S. Muslims feeling concerned
about their safety. United Nations Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon on Friday praised the three victims, who
were all involved in humanitarian aid work, as representing the best values of global citizenship and said he
was deeply moved by scenes of thousands of people
mourning their deaths. A Justice Department spokeswoman said its Civil Rights Division and the US
Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of North
Carolina would participate in the FBI inquiry announced
in the case Thursday evening.
Muslim advocates on Friday called the inquiries a key
first step towards the full federal investigation they are
seeking. In a separate investigation, local police have
cited a parking dispute as Hicks’ motive but said they
were also looking into whether religious hatred played
a role. Neighbors said Hicks, who posted anti-religion
messages and a photo of a gun he said belonged to him
on his Facebook page, was known in the condo community as someone prone to grow angry over parking
troubles and noise.
Mohammad Abu-Salha, the father of the two
female victims, told CNN that his daughter Yusor had
said Hicks made her feel uncomfortable after she
moved into a neighboring condo where her new husband lived. “Daddy, I think he hates us for who we are,”
Abu-Salha said his daughter told him, according to
CNN. — Agencies
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Rare ray of
hope in UN
climate talks
By Mariette Le Roux
he detente achieved at UN talks that concluded
Friday with a framework for a world climate pact is
only temporary, achieved by kicking the difficult decisions down the road, parties and observers say. But it also
generated a degree of optimism rarely observed in the
tense process - a sense of common purpose which many
hope will bolster negotiators in the months to come. “I
think this has been a very important meeting from a
process point of view and a psychological point of view,”
said Union of Concerned Scientists analyst Alden Meyer.
He pointed to broad consultations held with country
representatives by the talks’ joint chairmen ahead of the sixday session in Geneva - one of four official meetings this
year to prepare for the December conference in Paris that
must adopt a universal climate pact. “That has paid off.
People felt consulted, they felt listened to, they understood
the process,” he added. “This is the parties’ text, they own it
An official framework text prepared for the 2009
Copenhagen climate conference, which failed to produce
an agreement, had exceeded 300 pages and was challenged by a number of alternative drafts. The 86-page
Geneva blueprint, the product of years of negotiations,
seems manageable by comparison, and represents the firstever proposal with buy-in from all the world’s nations. “At
this early stage, the palpable positive spirit coming out of
Geneva is a much better measure of progress than the current length of the negotiating text,” said Jennifer Morgan,
climate director at the World Resources Institute think-tank.
The document lists a variety of alternative approaches
on most issues - often reflecting country positions that diametrically oppose one another. It more than doubled from
a 37-page draft compiled at a conference in Lima last
December, with parties allowed to add items until they
were satisfied all their views were represented. “It’s a bit
unwieldy in the sense that they accepted every proposal
that was made with no discussion or vetting or criteria, but
that’s what they had to do to assure parties that every idea
that they wanted in the draft legal text that’s going to be
the basis for Paris was in there,” said Meyer.
This, in turn, was taken to indicate a desire by all countries to be party to the final pact, though its form and content have yet to be determined and a lot of difficult editing
now lies ahead. “After years of false starts and broken promises, restoring ownership and trust in the process is no small
achievement and I think we have come a long way toward
doing that,” said Ahmed Sareer, an envoy of the Alliance of
Small Island States at highest risk of climate changeinduced sea level rise.
UN climate chief Christiana Figueres, who oversees the
negotiations, described such “trust-building” as the most
valuable resource in the process to draft a plan for limiting
manmade global warming. “Optimism, trust, good mood is
much more conducive to coming to terms with complicated issues,” she said of the road ahead.
Spirit of Geneva
The Like-Minded Developing Countries group, which
includes China, India, Saudi Arabia, several African, Asian
and South American nations, said the talks had been “open,
transparent and party-driven” and welcomed the result.
Europe said it would have wanted more progress on
streamlining the text, but agreed the week had been “an
important and necessary step for securing a negotiating
text,” according to EU delegation head Elina Bardram. There
had been “useful conversations with our partners in the corridors, in the margins, that will enhance common understanding,” she added.
Parties will need all the goodwill they can muster for the
last 10 months of negotiations for a universal pact seeking
to limit warming to two degrees Celsius over pre-Industrial
Revolution levels. Christian Aid’s senior climate adviser
Mohamed Adow noted: “The tone of the negotiations here
have been very optimistic but that’s because we were only
putting things in. “The real fights will come when we start
to take things out.” At the very core of the intended pact,
countries remain deeply divided on the issue of “differentiation” - how to share responsibility for emissions cuts
between rich and poor nations.
Developing countries also want their developed counterparts to commit to long-term climate financing, and
compensation for climate change-induced loss and damage. Yet co-chairman Daniel Reifsnyder closed the meeting
on a hopeful tone. “May the Spirit of Geneva remain with
you and guide you all on the road to Paris,” he told delegates. —AFP
All articles appearing on these
pages are the personal opinion of
the writers. Kuwait Times takes no
responsibility for views expressed
therein. Kuwait Times invites readers to voice their opinions. Please
send submissions via email to: [email protected] or via snail
mail to PO Box 1301 Safat, Kuwait.
The editor reserves the right to edit
any submission as necessary.
NATO expansion at heart of Ukraine crisis
By Steven R Hurst
he Cold War didn’t end. It just took
on a 24-year pause. The East-West
showdown over Ukraine makes
that clear. As the non-Russian republics
broke free in the Soviet collapse and
Eastern European Soviet satellite countries snapped the chains of Moscow’s
dominion, common wisdom held that
the Cold War was over. The victors: The
United States and its European allies,
bound together in the NATO alliance to
block further Soviet expansion in Europe
after World War II.
Since the Soviet collapse - as Moscow
had feared - that alliance has spread
eastward, expanding along a line from
Estonia in the north to Romania and
Bulgaria in the south. The Kremlin claims
it had Western assurances that would not
happen. Now, Moscow’s only buffers to a
complete NATO encirclement on its western border are Finland, Belarus and
Ukraine. The Kremlin would not have to
be paranoid to look at that map with
concern. And Russia reacted dramatically
early last year. US-Russian relations have
fallen back into the dangerous nuclear
and political standoff of the Cold War
years before the Soviet collapse
It began with prolonged pro-Western
demonstrations in the Ukrainian capital.
The upheaval caused corrupt, Russiafriendly President Viktor Yanukovych to
flee to Moscow nearly a year ago. The
political turmoil broke out after
Yanukovych - contrary to an agreement
with the European Union for closer trade
and political ties with the pan-European
political and trading bloc - backed out
and accepted Russian guarantees of billions of dollars in financial aid.
When a new, pro-Western government took power in Ukraine, Russia
reacted by seizing the Crimean Peninsula
and making it once again a part of
Russia. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev
transferred the strategic region from
Russian federation control to the Ukraine
republic in 1954. Crimea remained base
to Russia’s Black Sea fleet, and ethnic
Russians are a majority of the population.
Russian-speaking separatists in eastern Ukraine - along the Russian border began agitating, then fighting to break
free of Kiev’s control, variously demanding autonomy, independence or to
become a part of Russia. As Russianbacked fighters - the West claims they
have been given Russian heavy arms and
are backed by Russian forces - pushed
deeper into Ukraine, a September peace
conference drew up plans for a cease-fire
and eventual steps toward a political resolution.
The cease-fire never held and the
fighting between Ukrainian forces and
the separatist grew more intense. The
separatists accumulated considerable
ground in the fighting, which the United
Nations reports has claimed 5,300 lives.
Now there’s a new peace plan.
Hammered out in all-night negotiations
earlier this week, it calls for a ceasefire to
take effect today. But since the deal was
announced, fighting has only increased,
as Ukrainian forces battle to hold a major
rail hub in Debaltseve. It controls transport between the rebel-held regions of
Donetsk and Luhansk. Those regions are
home to major heavy industrial complexes, many of which produce weapons for
Russia’s military.
As part of the deal that calls for an end
to fighting, both sides are to draw back
heavy weapons from the conflict line.
Kiev is to write a new constitution that
would reflect the autonomy demands of
the separatists. Ukraine would retake
control of its border with Russia. Moscow
views the deal as a guarantee Ukraine
will not join NATO.
The deal was heralded as a new
chance for peace by French President
Francois Hollande and German
Chancellor Angela Merkel, who arranged
the new peace deal at negotiations that
involved Ukraine President Petro
Poroshenko and Russian President
Vladimir Putin. Rebel leaders also signed
on. The administration of President
Barack Obama, which has led a tough
sanctions drive against Moscow over its
actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine,
has taken a wait-and-see attitude.
“The true test of today’s accord will be
in its full and unambiguous implementation, including the durable end of hostilities and the restoration of Ukrainian control over its border with Russia,” the
White House said in a statement.
American officials are skeptical the deal
will hold. Secretary of State John Kerry
put it bluntly: “Actions will be what matter now. We will judge the commitment
of Russia and the separatists by their
actions, not their words.”
In the meantime, the administration
has put off a decision on sending lethal
weapons to Ukraine and additional sanctions on Russia. Putin, who so far has
proven impervious to Western sanctions
and crashing oil prices that threaten his
entire economy, is a step closer to his
goal of making certain there won’t be yet
another NATO member along his
Western frontier. —AP
Washington Watch
Obama: Sound theology, smart politics
By Dr James J Zogby
S President Obama’s remarks, last week, at the annual
National Prayer Breakfast were theologically sound
and politically smart. In spite of this, his comments set
off a storm of criticism from conservative critics who took him
to task for both his theology and his politics. While I cannot
read their hearts, their rhetoric was so predictable and so
harsh, that I suspect some were prompted by a mixture of
blind ideology and anti-Muslim animus, coupled with a tinge
of racism. More to the point, the President’s critics are just
plain wrong - theologically and politically.
What President Obama said was so profound, it bears
“...[we] see faith being twisted and distorted, used as a
wedge - or, even worse, sometimes as a weapon...We see ISIL,
a brutal, vicious death cult that in the name of religion, carries
out unspeakable acts of barbarism...claiming the mantle of
religious authority for such actions.
“Humanity has been grappling with these questions
throughout human history. And lest we get on our high
horse and think that this is unique to some other place,
remember that during the Crusades and Inquisition, people
committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home
country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the
name of Christ...
“So this is not unique to one group or one religion. There is
a tendency in us, a sinful tendency, that can pervert and distort our faith...
“...we should [therefore] start with some basic
humility...Our job is not to ask that God respond to our notion
of truth...[And] we have to speak up against those who would
misuse His name to justify oppression, or violence, or hatred
with that fierce certainty.”
The president was unwavering in his condemnation of IS,
while at the same time recognizing that at the root of their
evil ideology is the sin of blind certainty, through which this
group, and those like it, attempt to validate their actions by, in
effect, imposing their will on God. The antidote is humility,
coupled with an understanding of our own failings - lest we,
too, fall into the trap of arrogant certainty.
Theologically, all of this is quite sound. But latter-day
Pharisees were outraged at the president’s call for humility
and his acknowledgment of the times we have failed to live
up to the ideals of our faith.
In response, one Republican leader termed Obama’s
remarks “the most offensive I’ve ever heard a president make
in my lifetime...He has offended every believing Christian in
the United States...Mr Obama does not believe in America
and the values we all share.” A Southern Baptist leader termed
the president’s words “an unfortunate attempt at wrongheaded moral comparison” suggesting that instead of meddling in theology what the president should do is provide “a
moral framework...and a clear strategy for defeating IS”. He
continued: “The evil actions he mentioned were clearly outside the moral parameter of Christianity and were met with
overwhelming moral opposition from Christians”.
These criticisms were but a rehash of the GOP’s talking
points that were used after President Obama’s Cairo speech.
Then, too, he was accused of creating what his detractors
called “a false moral equivalency between our enemies and
us” and “insulting America”, with not too subtle reminders
that he “was not like us”.
The president has not been without his defenders, especially those who supported his theological view. But as much
as I appreciated his understanding of importance of grounding our faith in humility, the president is not “theologian in
chief”. He is, above all, a political leader whose role is to
defend the national interest of the United States. And it is on
this basis, and not on theological grounds, that I found the
way President Obama framed his remarks to be not only
wholly supportable, but vitally important.
The mention of the Crusades and the Inquisition was not an
historical “throwaway line”. Nor was it directed solely at an
American audience that feels no responsibility for these
ancient actions. Since these events define part of Islam’s
encounter with Western Christianity, acknowledging them is
an important way to begin the discussion with Muslims. Just as
in earlier speeches when the president noted other times
when we have failed to live up to our ideals - as in our use of
torture, or Guantanamo, or the crimes of Abu Ghraib - it is a
way of saying to Muslims “I am hearing you, now listen to me”.
This is diplomacy, at its best.
Preaching at Muslims about their failings and countering
this with the pretense of our perfection is not a way to begin
or have a conversation or to create alliances. If we listen carefully to the discourse taking place in the Muslim world, we
learn that they scoff at our claims of “upholding our values”.
They ask, “exactly which values do you mean”: backing Israel’s
displacement and oppression of Palestinians; the war on Iraq;
the abuses of prisoners; supporting violators of human rights
when it serves your “national interests”?
If we want to have an honest discussion of how we work
together to address a common threat - in this case, the danger posed by IS - is it not best that we begin by removing the
obstacles to that discussion? For those who don’t get that
simple point, it’s called good politics or sound diplomacy.
On the other hand, if we surrender to the president’s critics, we can act like the Pharisees arrogantly feigning perfection. We can sit atop the pedestal we build for ourselves
damning others, while praising ourselves. We’ve tried that
before and found that when we did we were speaking to no
one but ourselves. We may have felt self-validated, but we
were very alone in a world our actions had made more dangerous.
NOTE: Dr James J Zogby is the President of the Arab American
p15_Layout 1 2/14/15 8:46 PM Page 1
Bolt to hang up spikes
Rugby trial for Hawk-Eye
Racing Club stumble
LONDON: Multiple world record-holder and six-time Olympic gold medal
winner Usain Bolt will retire after the 2017 World Championships in London,
the Jamaican told British newspaper The Daily Mail. The 28-year had previously hinted the 2016 Rio Olympics would be his last competition but sponsorship commitments dictated he will continue until 2017 where he will
focus solely on the 100 metres. “That was the initial plan (to sign off after
Rio),” he told the Daily Mail yesterday. “But my sponsor has asked
me to go on for another year, to 2017 and London. But I’ll be
doing one event, the 100. “I’ve already discussed it with my
coach. I can concentrate on that, and on retiring on a winning
note.” Bolt holds the world records for the 100 metres, 9.58 seconds, the 200 meters, 19.19 seconds, and the 4x100
meters relay, 36.84 seconds, and talked of his drive to
beat those times in 2015. His 2015 season culminates at
the World Championships in Beijing from Aug. 22 - Aug.
30 where he will attempt to add to his eight world golds
and beat the 100 meters record he set in Berlin in
LONDON: World Rugby will trial a new Hawk-Eye system to protect player welfare and aid decision making and may adopt it at the 2015 World Cup in
England and Wales, the sport’s governing body said.
The new system will be tested in selected Pro12 fixtures from next week in a
bid to improve and enhance the accuracy of existing television match official
(TMO) systems. Referee’s will still direct queries to the TMO but they will have
access to an enhanced Hawk-Eye ‘SMART Replay’ technology which affords
them simultaneous angles in slow motion.
The Hawk-Eye system has already been successfully utilised in other sports
such as tennis, cricket, athletics and football. “Technology is an important component of the rugby performance and fan engagement environments and
Rugby World Cup 2015 is set to showcase innovation and performance to a
record global audience,” World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper said in a
statement. “Central to our sport is the integrity of player welfare and the match
official decision making process and we are delighted to be collaborating with
Hawk-Eye and ITV as well as PRO12 Rugby and Sky to determine how we can
enhance speed and accuracy in these critical areas.—Reuters
BUENOS AIRES: Racing Club made a false start to the defence of their
Argentine league title but South American champions San Lorenzo will be
looking for a better opening result to the 30-team championship yesterday.
A mistake by goalkeeper Sebastian Saja, who had gone six matches
unbeaten in the run-in to the title last year, handed Rosario
Central a 1-0 win at Racing’s Cilindro on Friday.
Saja’s poor clearance in the fourth minute, 38 seconds
after setting a club record 578 without a goal against, fell to
young midfielder Frano Cervi who lobbed him from outside
the box.
“Better to have taken this slap now,” said Racing
coach Diego Cocca. “We suffered a goal from a mistake, afterwards Central had one more (chance)
that Sebastian closed down. We also had one, the
difference was they found a goal without effort,”
he told reporters.—Reuters
NHL standings
Western Conference
Pacific Division
San Jose
Los Angeles
St. Louis
Central Division
Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division
Tampa Bay
NY Islanders
Metropolitan Division
NY Rangers
New Jersey
Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings
CHICAGO: Blackhawks left wing Patrick Sharp (10) is checked to the ice by New Jersey Devils defenseman Peter Harrold (10) as Eric Gelinas (22) skates by during the second
period of an NHL hockey game. —AP
Blackhawks rally for victory
CHICAGO: Marian Hossa scored his seventh goal in four
games, and the Chicago Blackhawks rallied for a 3-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.
Hossa also had an assist on Jonathan Toews’ tiebreaking goal in the third as the Blackhawks rebounded from
a pair of losses at the start of an eight-game homestand. Kris Versteeg tacked on an empty-net goal, and
Corey Crawford made 25 saves. Peter Harrold scored in
the first for New Jersey, which has dropped three in a
row. Cory Schneider had 32 stops.
Artem Anisimov scored 2:17 into overtime to lift the
Blue Jackets to a come-from-behind win. The Blue
Jackets had been winless when trailing after two periods (0-20-0) and the Flyers had not lost in regulation
when ahead going into the third period (13-0-2).
Flyers goalie Ray Emery stopped James Wisniewski’s
one-timer, but Anisimov jumped on the short rebound
and shifted the puck to his forehand to beat Emery.
Brandon Dubinsky had a goal and an assist, Cam
Atkinson scored, and Jared Boll found the net for the
first time in 64 games for the Blue Jackets. Curtis
McElhinney had 22 saves.
Wayne Simmonds had two goals and an assist and
Sean Couturier also scored for the Flyers, who had a seven-game points streak (5-0-2) end. Emery finished with
29 saves.
Kari Lehtonen shut out the Florida Panthers, making
37 saves. But Dallas lost three players to injuries.
Lehtonen made the Stars’ two first-period goals hold up
for their third straight win. The Panthers have lost on
consecutive nights.
Jamie Benn scored Dallas’ third short-handed goal in
two games; the Stars lead the NHL with nine shorthanded goals. Jason Spezza scored for the 2-0 lead.
Tyler Seguin, Dallas’ leader with 29 goals and 59
points, was helped off the ice after being checked in
the lower leg by defenseman Dmitry Kulikov in the third
period. Patrick Eaves followed Seguin to the locker
room 51 seconds later after teammate John Klingberg’s
wrist shot hit Eaves in the head. A third Stars forward,
Ales Hemsky, left in the first period with a lower body
injury. Florida goalie Al Montoya had 26 saves.
Joe Pavelski scored three goals, Antti Niemi stopped
32 shots and the Sharks ended a three-game losing
streak. San Jose tightened up after falling into a 2-0 hole
in the first period. Pavelski scored twice in the second
to reach the 30-goal mark for the third time in his
career. He added an empty-net goal for his fourth career
hat trick.
Barclay Goodrow also scored to help Sharks coach
Todd McLellan reach 300 wins in 515 career games.
Anaheim’s Bruce Boudreau is the only coach in NHL history to reach the milestone faster, 496 games.
Mark Arcobello had a goal in his Arizona debut to
become the second player in NHL history with a point
with four teams in the same season, joining Dennis
O’Brien in 1977-78. Martin Erat also scored for the
Shawn Matthias scored the first hat trick of his career
with two goals in the opening period and one in the
third. Radim Vrbata and Jannik Hansen, into an empty
net, had the other goals for Vancouver, while Zack
Kassian added two assists. Ryan Miller made 21 saves to
get the win in his 600th NHL game. Patrice Bergeron
and Chris Kelly replied for Boston, which got 20 saves
from Tuukka Rask. Matthias had scored two goals in a
game six times before Friday. —AP
Hirscher falls to ‘Birds of Prey’
BEAVER CREEK: Austrian slalom maestro Marcel Hirscher was left purring with
admiration after being outperformed by
defending champion Ted Ligety in the
giant slalom at the alpine ski world
championships on Friday.
Though Hirscher led after the opening leg and produced “a pretty awesome
run” in the afternoon, he was beaten
into second place by Birds of Prey specialist Ligety, who the Austrian
described as outstanding. Ligety has
now won five consecutive giant slalom
races on the plunging layout and threetimes overall World Cup champion
Hirscher had to settle for silver, his third
medal at these world championships.
“Ted is skiing just brilliant, especially
here at Beaver Creek down the Birds of
Prey,” Hirscher said after finishing 0.45
seconds behind the American in the
two-run technical event.
“If you can win five times in a row
giant slalom races (here), then you definitely feel at home on this course. I am
super happy. I gave my personal 100
percent and I even can’t ski one-hundredths of a second faster.” Hirscher had
been the favourite heading into the
giant slalom after winning four of five
World Cup races this season and finishing third in the other. He led Ligety by
0.24 seconds after the morning leg, then
watched from the start hut as the
American scorched down the piste in
the afternoon with a sizzling run of one
minute, 18.74 seconds that no one else
came within a half second of matching.
“For me, it was really important to
know that Ted had an outstanding run
so it was definitely easier for me to make
a decision in the starting hut,” said the
25-year-old Austrian. “I talked to myself
and I thought, ‘Two chances-no medal
or go for it 100 percent.’ I skied definitely
100 percent and gave everything. I had a
pretty awesome run but Ted’s run was
definitely outstanding.” Hirscher, who
earlier won gold in the super combined
and team events at the 2015 worlds, will
go into Sunday’s concluding slalom as
the pre-race favourite and the reigning
champion from Schladming two years
“I have been training and racing at
this altitude for two weeks and that
takes a lot of energy,” he said. “But I
have been fighting very hard, and I
think I will be able to keep fighting
hard for the slalom today.” —Reuters
BEAVER CREEK: United States’ Ted Ligety races down the course during the men’s giant
slalom competition at the alpine skiing world championships. —AP
and are not included in the loss column (L)
Giant win puts
Ligety in league
of his own
BEAVER CREEK: Ted Ligety does not have a headline
grabbing relationship like Lindsey Vonn nor does he court
controversy like showman Bode Miller.
But he does have more alpine world championship
medals than any American skier after a breath-taking
giant slalom win on Friday. Overshadowed by his more
flamboyant team mates off the piste, Ligety again proved
he takes a backseat to no one on the mountain by coming to the rescue in electrifying but familiar fashion to
end a US gold medal drought at the posh Colorado
resort. The world championships had not unfolded as
planned for the US on home snow as Vonn, the headliner
at Beaver Creek and most successful women’s skier of all
time, exited with a bronze and Miller crashed out early in
his opening race.
Heading into the final weekend the only hardware
American ski fans had to celebrate were a silver from
Travis Ganong in the downhill and a pair of third-place
finishes from Ligety and Vonn, who was cheered on by
her golfer boyfriend, Tiger Woods. But Ligety got the
weekend party started early up and down the Vail Valley
with a jaw-dropping second-leg charge down the plunging Birds of Prey track that carried him to the top of the
podium ahead of first leg leader and three-time overall
World Cup winner Marcel Hirscher of Austria. Ligety has
long believed there is no such thing as a perfect run but,
for the thousands of American ski fans who packed the
finish area grandstands on a sun-kissed afternoon, the 30year-old American’s second leg was about as good as it
gets. “One of the cool things about ski racing is there is
never a perfect run so it’s hard to be satisfied in that
sense, you can always go that extra step,” Ligety told
Reuters at the end of an autograph session for one of his
sponsors, GoPro.
“I don’t think any of us have the realistic goal of having
the perfect run. Ski racing is the most variable sport out
there, conditions change run-to-run, we only get one
chance at it and the margin for error is tiny. “This is a
tough sport because there are so many factors. It is really
hard to have those factors converge and have that perfect run.”
Ligety arrived in Beaver Creek with a target on his
back, having recorded a gold medal hat-trick at the 2013
world championships in Schladming by taking top spot in
the Super-G, super combined and giant slalom. Humbled
on their home snow two years ago, the Austrians had
already gained a good measure of revenge at Beaver
Creek with Hannes Reichelt taking Ligety’s Super-G crown
and Hirscher the combined title.
Known as ‘Mr. GS’ for his domination of the discipline,
Ligety had seen his reign challenged this season with
Hirscher stepping into the American’s territory by winning four-of-five World Cup giant slaloms. Ligety, who has
owned the giant slalom crown since the 2011 worlds, has
39 World Cup GS podiums and 23 wins.—Reuters
p16_Layout 1 2/14/15 9:40 PM Page 1
Nishikori storms into Memphis semis
MEMPHIS: Top seed Kei Nishikori kept
his bid for a third straight ATP Memphis
title alive on Friday with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
quarter-final win over Austin Krajicek.
The 25-year-old Japanese star, ranked
fifth in the world, needed two hours and
10 minutes to subdue the American
qualifier, ranked 156th. Nishikori seized
control in the third set with an early
break for a 2-0 lead. Krajicek broke to level the set at 4-4, but Nishikori immedi-
ately broke back to avert the danger and
served out the match.
“Obviously I didn’t play my best tennis, but I won today, that’s meaningful,”
said Nishikori, last year’s US Open runner-up and a quarter-finalist at this year’s
Australian open.
“I think it’s a very good win today
because he was playing good tennis...
He was hitting a lot of aces that I wasn’t
really expecting.” Nishikori, who saved
Serena out of Dubai Open
DUBAI: Serena Williams, who captured her
19th Grand Slam title at the Australian
Open last month while struggling with a
persistent virus, has withdrawn from the
Dubai Open, apparently suffering from the
same ailment.
Williams’ achievement in those difficult
circumstances in Melbourne was particularly remarkable, but the cost may be high
and has been causing concern about the
33-year-old’s long-term health.
She has been suffering from a nagging
cough since that triumph and was forced
to sit out the second day of the United
States’ 4-1 Fed Cup win over Argentina in
Buenos Aires last weekend.
The world number one made it clear at
the start of the year that she must restrict
her schedule if she is to have a chance of
winning the three more Grand Slam titles
needed to reach Steffi Graf ’s open era
record of 22 - and her Dubai pull-out
underlines her determination to do this.
It is, however, the second time in three
years that Williams has pulled out of the
popular and lucrative Middle East tournament, something which may not help the
American’s image in this region, especially
as she has also failed to win it in four
It may, though, give her a better chance
of doing well at her next tournament,
Indian Wells, early in March, something of
unusual significance for her and for her sister Venus Williams.
It will be the first time either Williams
sister has returned to Indian Wells since
they boycotted the tournament after their
hostile treatment by the crowd 14 years
ago. Serena’s absence in Dubai allows
Venus to squeeze into the top eight seeds,
something which may help her defence of
a title which made her the tournament’s
first unseeded champion.
“Serena’s doing what’s best for her,” said
Venus. “She’s been sick for a while and all
the travelling can have an affect on you.
There comes a time when you need to do
something about it.”
“I know what it can be like (to be
unwell),” added Venus, who has had chronic health problems in recent seasons. “It
builds character - and I have had to build a
lot of character in the last few years.” She
could have a quarter-final with Ana
Ivanovic, the fourth-seeded former French
Open champion, and if she were to survive
that, a semi-final with Petra Kvitova, the
second-seeded Wimbledon champion,
would be a possibility.
“Happily I’m feeling good right now, I’ve
only lost once this year,” the 34-year-old
champion said. “I’ve been playing well and
I’m looking forward to playing even better.”
The player stepping into Serena’s shoes
as top seed is Simona Halep, the French
Open runner-up from Rumania, and
among the other frontline contenders are
Caroline Wozniacki, the third-seeded Dane,
and Agnieszka Radwanska, the fifth-seeded Pole, both of whom are former winners
of the Dubai title. Canada’s Eugenie
Bouchard, a wildcard entry, has also withdrawn, with an arm injury.
Top eight seeds:
1, Simona Halep (ROM), 2, Petra Kvtiova
(CZE), 3, Caroline Wozniacki (DEN), 4, Ana
Ivanovic (SRB), 5, Agnieszka Radwanska
(POL), 6, Ekaterina Makarova (RUS), 7,
Angelique Kerber (GER), 8, Venus Williams
eight of the 10 break points he faced,
next faces American Sam Querrey, who
toppled third-seeded compatriot John
Isner 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/2).
Krajicek said Nishikori played better
on the important points.”Kei, obviously
he’s one of the best players in the sport,
so he comes up with it when it matters,”
said the 24-year-old American, who
saved two match points in a first-round
win over Mikhail Kukushkin then
downed fifth-seeded Ivo Karlovic in the
second. “I gave myself an opportunity and
thought I played well. It was a really fun
match and the atmosphere was great-I
enjoyed myself.” Second-seeded South
African Kevin Anderson also advanced,
downing American Steve Johnson 6-4, 6-4.
Anderson fired 16 aces and saved all
three break points he faced in the 65minute contest. He’ll take on American
Donald Young, who defeated Australian
Bernard Tomic 7-6 (10/8), 4-6, 7-5 to
reach the semi-finals. “I got a little nervous there at the end, but I was happy to
come through,” said Young, who reached
the fourth ATP Tour semi-final of his
“Anytime you make the weekend,
you’re playing well. I made the weekend.
It hasn’t happened too often in my
career, so when it happens I’m very excited.” —AFP
Berdych routs Simon
ROTTERDAM: Holder Tomas Berdych followed his game
plan to the letter and reached his second consecutive final
at the ATP Rotterdam World Tennis event yesterday with a
crushing 6-2, 6-1 defeat of Gilles Simon. The rout, which
took the Czech third seed into Sunday’s final, lasted just 56
Berdych now meets the winner of the other semi-final
between Switerland’s Stan Wawrinka and Canadian second
seed Milos Raonic.
The Czech, now coached by Andy Murray cast-off Dani
Vallverdu, said that he and his Venezuelan coach have
been concentrating on strategy.
“We are focusing a lot more on game plans than I have
done in other years,” said Berdych, who has never defended
an ATP title. “We’ve only had a few weeks together, but we
have been able to implement a lot into my game.”
Berdych stayed in total control as he swept to his ninth
straight Rotterdam victory, losing only one point on first
serve. He kept Simon on the back foot throughout the brief
contest, with the eighth seed barely recognisable as the
man who upset top seed Murray 24 hours earlier.
“It’s good not to find anything wrong with your game,”
said a satisfied Berdych. “It was a really good match, solid
from the beginning.
“And it all started with the right game plan. I felt very
good on court, it was all positive for me. I was able to add
something to to my game.
“I want to keep doing that for one more match here,”
said Berdych, who ended with 14 winners and breaks on
four of five chances.
Berdych, who trailed Simon 3-6 coming into the match,
said: “I did many things differently today compared to our
last matches, this result is clear proof.”I’m happy with how I
handled it, with just the right amount of patience and
choosing the right shots in the right moment.
“I created the moments for myself and got the situation
to my liking.” Berdych won the opening set in 32 minutes
with two breaks of Simon’s serve and then picked up the
pace as he hurtled to victory, advancing to the final on the
first of three match points. —AFP
ROTTERDAM: Czech player Tomas Berdych returns the ball to French player Gilles
Simon during their semi-final tennis match at the ABN AMRO World Tennis
Tournament. —AFP
‘Salwa Cup’ concludes today
KUWAIT: The Kuwait International Table
Tennis Tournament “Salwa Cup” comes to a
conclusion today evening at the Late
Khalid Yousuf Al-Marzouq in Salwa Sports
Club, Qurain as winners in the Men’s,
Ladies and Juniors will be crowned.
The rounds of 32 and 16 saw the champion of Salwa Cup in 2008 Belorussia’s
Alexander Samsonov exit from the men’s
singles and doubles making him the first
among the top ranked to leave. Jordan’s
Mohammad Salama defeated Egypt ’s
Shihab Mohammad in the singles event
by 4-1. The U-21 singles and doubles competition was concluded yesterday with
Chinese dominance with European
attempts to penetrate the Chinese steel
wall to no avail as Russia’s Elaina and
Germany’s W Sabin failed.
Kuwait had attempts through the
women’s singles by Menwah Al-Shimmary
who faced Japan’s Youki Noonaka but lost
4-0. Fajer Al-Hamad lost to Yuwi
Hamamoto 4-0 and Mariam Abdelrahim
lost to Shiho Matusudayra 4-0. Egypt’s
Sarah Hassan defeated Taiwan’s Huwi
Chialin 4-3 while Qatar’s Maha Ramzi lost
to Russia’s Yana Noskova 4-0
In the ladies’ doubles Russia’s Elaina
Troshnaiva and Olga Paranova defeated
Egypt ’s Nadeen Al-Dawalty and Dina
Mishrif 3-1 as Kuwait’s Minwa Al-Shimmari
and Nour Salem lost to Qatar ’s Maha
Faramzi and Ayah Mohammad 3-0.
Maryam Abdelrahim and Fajer Al-Hamad
lost to Turkey ’s Melik Ho and Sanim
Shahieen 3-0.
The finals and semi finals of the men’s
and ladies started yesterday as, the finals
in all groups will take place today. In the
men’s doubles Egypt’s Khalid Usor and
Omar Usor defeated Hungary’s team 3-2,
while the Kuwaiti team lost to their
Singapore counterparts 3-0.
p17 2_Layout 1 2/14/15 10:33 PM Page 1
World Cup glory beckons, arise ‘Sir’ Jadeja
NEW DELHI: In his sprawling farmhouse
at Jamnagar in the west Indian state of
Gujarat, Ravindra Jadeja is often seen riding one of his four horses without even a
The 26-year-old all-rounder brings the
same insouciance into the cricket fieldwhether he is bowling, batting or running backwards chasing a skier.
He wears it like an amulet, a protective shield against a condescending
world that laughed at his achievements,
almost resenting them.
Though classified as an all-rounder,
the Saurashtra southpaw is no Garfield
Sobers. At best, he is a utility player with
skills tailor-made for limited over cricket
but inadequate for sustained success at
test level. Born in a warrior-ruler family
but without the affluence, the son of a
security guard and a nurse has found
acceptability incredibly difficult to come
by. His three triple centuries in domestic
cricket are cited only to lament the
dearth of quality bowlers in India; his
left-arm spin is perceived as innocuous;
and his nonchalance has prompted
those on social media to dub him ‘Sir
This after Australian spin great Shane
Warne, Jadeja’s then captain in the
Rajasthan team in Indian Premier
League, had nicknamed him “Rockstar”
for his brimming self-confidence.
Cast into the Chuck Norris template,
‘Sir Jadeja’ has been the subject of
numerous Twitter jokes, some in good
humour by his team mates, including
skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
“Sir jadeja once wanted to make a silt
mountain to play as a kid, now v all call it
mt. Everest,” Dhoni tweeted of the allrounder, who has been a permanent fixture in the Indian captain’s limited over
team that will begin their World Cup
campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan in
Adelaide on Sunday.
Jadeja has also proved he can take
the gentle ribbing. “I think it is a joke and
we are enjoying. Nothing serious,” he said
of his new-found prefix in 2013. “I am not
seriously thinking about the title ‘Sir’ and
all that. It’s okay as everybody is enjoying
it in the team and it’s fine,” he said.
Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi
could not resist the temptation of mentioning it while wishing the cricketer well
ahead of the World Cup.
“Who is not a fan of Sir Jadeja? We all
look forward to seeing your all round
performances take India to victory!” Modi
posted on Twitter.
Modi, however, is unlikely to have
caused any embarrassment to Jadeja,
whose nonchalance has surfaced every
time he faced the press.
Once asked whether he considers
himself a true all-rounder, Jadeja deadpanned: “Yes. I think when everyone tags
me as an all-rounder then it is not for
nothing that they call me so.”
Former Australia pacer Andy Bichel
has no doubt Jadeja can make a big
impact at the World Cup. “What a talent
this Indian all-rounder is in the right
conditions,” Bichel wrote on his column
for the International Cricket Council.
“With the ball he is very hard to work
away so his pace on the ball will be
important here in this World Cup. His
batting is getting better by the day and
he is starting to be more consistent in
recent times.” —Reuters
CHRISTCHURCH: Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews dives to avoid a run out against New Zealand during the opening match of the Cricket World Cup. —AP
NZ trounce Sri Lanka in World Cup opener
CHRISTCHURCH: New Zealand made the perfect start to the World Cup when a swashbuckling Brendon McCullum led his side to a 98-run
win over Sri Lanka at Hagley Oval in
Christchurch yesterday.
McCullum’s quickfire 65 set New Zealand up
for an imposing 331-6, with Kane Williamson
adding 57 in the middle of the innings and
Corey Anderson blasting 75 off 46 at the tail.
Sri Lanka made a steady start in reply and
were 124-1 in the 22nd over, setting themselves
up for a big finish. But on a grey Christchurch
day, where the temperature hovered around 13
degrees Celsius, they were soon to feel the heat
as New Zealand mounted a triple strike and they
were all out for 233 with nearly four overs
In the space of 12 balls Trent Boult and Daniel
Vettori combined to take three wickets for five
runs to reduce Sri Lanka to 129-4.
Premier batsmen Lahiru Thirimanne (65),
Kumar Sangakkara (39) and Mahela
Jayawardene (0) were back in the hutch as the
batting collapse, a familiar part of Sri Lanka’s pre
World Cup per formances, reappeared.
Sangakkara had the consolation of passing former Australian captain Ricky Ponting as the second highest run-maker in one-day international
Adam Milne then removed Dimuth
Karunaratne (14) and Jeevan Mendis (4) to have
Sri Lanka at 168-6, facing a run rate of nearly 10,
and New Zealand firmly in command.
New Zealand’s dominance underscored their
rising status as serious contenders in a tournament where they have never previously gone
further than the semi-finals.
In heavily overcast conditions and with a little
drizzle in the air that delayed the start by a few
minutes, Sri Lanka won the toss and put New
Zealand into bat in conditions ripe for swing
But it was the New Zealand batsmen who
took control with McCullum setting the tournament alight in a 111-run opening partnership off
95 deliveries with Martin Guptill.
McCullum, at his destructive best in a 49-ball
stay, smacked one six and 10 fours, including
three boundaries off the first four balls he faced,
to the delight of the partisan New Zealand
He was particularly harsh on Sri Lanka’s bowling ace Lasith Malinga who was quickly removed
from the attack when McCullum peppered the
boundary for a lusty 22 off his fourth over.
McCullum, Guptill (49) and Williamson led
New Zealand to 183-2 in the 34th over when
Mendis dismissed Williamson and Ross Taylor in
consecutive balls.
But any hopes Sri Lanka had that the tide was
turning were quickly dashed with the arrival of
Anderson at the crease and the former holder of
the fastest ODI century record mercilessly
launched into the bowling. His partnerships with
Grant Elliott and then Luke Ronchi produced 102
runs in the last 10 overs. Mendis took two wickets for five for Sri Lanka, but only bowled two
overs while Suranga Lakmal took two for 62 off
Tillakaratne Dilshan and Thirimanne put on
67 for the first wicket in Sri Lanka’s reply before
being parted by Vettori. The 36-year-old, who
relies more on guile than spin, baffled Dilshan
on 24 with a subtle change of pace and was
rewarded with a simple return catch. Thirimanne
and Sangakkara added 57 for the second wicket
before the innings fell apart. For New Zealand,
Vettori, Southee, Boult, Milne and Anderson took
two wickets each.—AFP
CHRISTCHURCH: Completed scoreboar in the World Cup Pool A match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at
Hagley Oval in Christchurch on yesterday.
New Zealand
M. Guptill c Sangakkara b Lakmal
B. McCullum c Mendis b Herath
K. Williamson c Karunaratne b Mendis
R. Taylor st Sangakkara b Mendis
G. Elliott c Thirimanne b Lakmal
C. Anderson c Lakmal b Kulasekara
L. Ronchi not out
Extras (lb2, w8, nb3)
Total (for 6 wickets, 50)
Did not bat: D. Vettori, T. Southee, A. Milne, T. Boult
Fall of wickets: 1-111 (McCullum), 2-136 (Guptill), 3-193
( Williamson), 4-193 ( Taylor), 5-258 (Elliott), 6-331
Bowling: Kulasekara 8-0-78-1 (3w), Malinga 10-0-84-0
(3w, 3nb), Mathews 6-0-28-0, Herath 9-0-37-1 (1w),
Dilshan 5-0-35-0 (1w), Lakmal 10-0-62-2, Mendis 2-0-5-2
Sri Lanka
L. Thirimanne b Boult
T. Dilshan c & b Vettori
K. Sangakkara lbw b Boult
M. Jayawardene c Ronchi b Vettori
D. Karunaratne b Milne
A. Mathews c Vettori b Southee
J. Mendis c Ronchi b Milne
N. Kulasekara c Elliott b Anderson
R. Herath c Milne b Anderson
S. Malinga c Ronchi b Southee
S. Lakmal not out
Extras (w10, nb1)
Total (10 wickets, 46.1 overs)
Fall of wickets: 1-67 (Dilshan), 2-124 (Thirimanne), 3-125
(Jayawardene), 4-129 (Sangakkara), 5-163
(Karunaratne), 6-168 (Mendis), 7-196 (Kulasekara), 8-216
(Mathews), 9-217 (Malinga), 10-233 (Herath) Bowling:
Southee 10-1-43-2 (2w), Boult 10-0-64-2, Milne 10-0-572 (3w, 1nb), Vettori 10-0-34-2 (2w), Elliott 2-0-11-0,
Williamson 1-0-7-0, Anderson 3.1-0-18-2 (2w).
Zimbabwe unfazed by facing big teams
AUSTRALIA: The days have long passed
when Zimbabwe were just happy to be at the
World Cup. This year, the Africans are making
their ninth straight appearance at cricket’s
greatest spectacle.
They may still be regarded as one of the
big underdogs but that’s not how they view
themselves, and have the results over a long
time to prove it. Before the end of the 1990s,
Zimbabwe had beaten every major cricket
playing country at least once in a one-day
In 1999 and 2003 they made it to the Super
Six stage of the World Cup. They beat Australia
last year and in their final warm-up before the
World Cup they upset Sri Lanka.
“It gives us a lot of confidence. It gives us a
lot of the belief that we do need as a team,
that it’s possible to beat a big team,” said
Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura.
“We’re looking forward to the main games
now, and hopefully the guys who performed
well will carry on with their form and hopefully finish on the better side.”
Zimbabwe’s first match is against South
Africa in Hamilton on Sunday. Zimbabwe have
only beaten their African neighbours twice in
37 clashes but Chigumbura remains unfazed.
“Obviously playing a big team is challenging, but at the same time for us, it’s also a
good opportunity to express ourselves and
try and play our best cricket,” he said.
“If we stick to our game plans and our
processes right, at the end of the day it’s
about the team that plays the best cricket on
the day.”
Zimbabwe are not without any chance of
progressing in the tournament. Drawn in Pool
B with South Africa, India, Pakistan, West
Indies, Ireland and United Arab Emirates, they
will probably have to win three games to
reach the quarter-finals.
They will start as clear favourites to beat
the UAE and slight favourites to beat Ireland,
with the West Indies looming as perhaps the
key match. “Looking at the results before,
people can call us small team but I believe
this tournament, if we play our best cricket,
the tables will change,” Chigumbura said.
“Looking at the games that we have played
recently, they are good signs. Guys are believing that they belong here, so now it’s obviously about the main games, we just don’t have
to panic.” —Reuters
WAIKATO: South Africa’s Hashim Amla plays football during training at Seddon Park,
Hamilton ahead of their first Pool B 2015 Cricket World Cup match. —AFP
Only World Cup win will
end SA tag as chokers
HAMILTON: A meticulous planner, the
South African captain AB de Villiers has prepared himself for everything at the World
Like every South African, de Villiers
needs no reminding that the Proteas have
never won the World Cup and carry the
label of chokers courtesy of their previous
near misses.
South Africa will open their latest World
Cup campaign against Zimbabwe at
Hamilton yesterday. On the eve of the
match, de Villiers attended the mandatory
pre-match news conference and was prepared for when the inevitable question
came up about his country’s World Cup
“Those past happenings and the chokers and all of that, that’s still very much part
of our system,” he told reporters. “There’s no
doubt about it. We’re going to have to win
to take that away, and we know that. “But
like I said before, it’s a great opportunity for
all of us. The guys being here can make history, and just want to slow things down.
That’s the main message for this tournament.”
South Africa have been among the
favorites to win every World Cup they’ve
contested since 1992 but have come up
short each time, losing in the semi-finals in
1992, 1999 and 2007 and the quarter-finals
in 1996 and 2011.
While de Villiers conceded that the only
thing way South Africa could shed their
chokers’ tag is by winning the World Cup,
he also said it was important they don’t get
too fixated on the title.
“We’re not getting ahead of ourselves,
we’re not thinking about the trophy at the
moment,” he said. “We know we can win,
there’s no doubt about it, but we know
there are lots of obstacles along the way
that we’re going to have to overcome.”
South Africa are again one of the
favourites to win the World Cup and for
good reason. They have a strong bowling
attack and a powerful batting lineup, led
but de Villiers, who is ranked as the world’s
best One Day International batsman.
Zimbabwe are one of the tournament
long shots, though an improving team
capable of testing anyone on their day, and
de Villiers was sticking to the sportsman’s
mantra of talking up his opponents. “They
beat Australia not long ago. They’re a dangerous side,” he said. “They’ve come a long
way and think they’re under good leadership at the moment from the captain and
the coach, so definitely a side to be reckoned with. “We’ve got our plans in place,
but we know we’ll have to take them up
seriously tomorrow. It’s a big start for both
teams.” —Reuters
Fans gear up for India-Pakistan grudge match
World Cup results and standings
Pool A
At Christchurch
New Zealand 331-6 v Sri Lanka 233 all out
New Zealand won by 98 runs
At Melbourne
Australia 342-9 v England 231 all out
Australia won by 111 runs
New Zealand
Sri Lanka
run rate
ISLAMABAD: Big screens are going up, T V
sales are booming and even the Taliban are
getting their transistor radios ready for the
biggest grudge match in cricket: Pakistan
against India.
From the beaches of Kerala to the snowy
Himalayas, from the deserts of Baluchistan to
the tea plantations of Assam, hundreds of millions of fans will be glued to the action as the
two sides clash in the World Cup today.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called
his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on
Friday to wish his team luck in their opening
match at the Adelaide Oval, while Sharif issued
a statement bidding his side a success. “The
whole nation is praying for the success of the
team and expects the boys to do their level
best in this crucial fixture,” the statement said.
The time difference with Australia means
the match will start around breakfast time in
the subcontinent, but that is unlikely to deter
legions of supporters for whom a win over the
old enemy is almost as important as winning
the tournament. In the northwestern Pakistani
city of Peshawar, big screen TVs are selling fast,
with many restaurants installing the latest LED
screens to lure in punters today.
Hundreds of thousands of people are living
in temporary accommodation around northwest Pakistan after being forced to flee the
restive tribal areas on the Afghan border by a
major anti-Taliban military operation.
Many of the displaced are hoping their bighitting hero Shahid Afridi, who hails from
Khyber tribal district, will bring them some
cheer on Sunday.
Ajab Khan, 60, was forced to abandon his
his flatscreen T V when he fled Nor th
Waziristan, but said he had used government
aid to get a replacement.
“We saved from our relief package money
and bought a 17 inch television for the World
true that bookies have disappeared,” Mumbai
police spokesperson, Deputy Commissioner of
Police Dhananjay Kulkarni, told AFP.
“We are cracking down on illegal cricket
betting in Mumbai before the World Cup
begins this weekend.” Restaurants are also
gearing up for the event, hosting cricketthemed breakfasts and lunches. At the
Underdogs Sports Bar and Grill in Delhi, manager Digamber Singh said a whopping 24 televisions were going up to make sure diners did
not miss a ball. But fans in Indian-administered
Kashmir, the disputed territory where many
suppor t Pak istan over India, will not be
allowed to gather for public screenings,
banned by police for fear of unrest in the
volatile region.
MUMBAI: An Indian man with his face
painted in the colors of the Indian national
flag. —AP
Prime Minister Modi may have offered sporting good wishes, but some of his countrymen
have been less charitable. The broadcaster Star
Sports has been keen to remind Pakistanis of
India’s World Cup dominance over them-India
have beaten Pakistan in every one of their
World Cup clashes since 1992, five in all. A Star
Sports advert for the match this week focused
on a Pakistani fan settling down excitedly for
each of the matches over the years, getting
older with each one, only to be disappointed
every time. Back in Karachi, 25-year-old software engineer Fahad Asghar summed up the
mood of a subcontinent. “The World Cup is definitely a big event,” he told AFP. “But for us the
match with India is like the final.” —AFP
Cup,” Khan told AFP. “We want Afridi to score
sixes against India as it is most thrilling and
entertaining part of any match.” The ongoing
militar y operation has also disrupted the
Taliban’s plans to watch the match, but the militants said they would still try to tune in.
Across the border in India, Mumbai police
have launched a crackdown on illegal bookmakers who are set to take a windfall from
thousands of gambling-mad punters.
Although gambling is mostly banned in India,
betting on cricket matches thrives through
networks of underground bookies. “Yes it is
Aussies hammer England
Finch, Marsh star
AUSTRALIA: England’s James Taylor (right) gestures as umpire Aleem Dar gives him
out lbw during the Pool A 2015 Cricket World Cup match against Australia. —AFP
ICC admit umpire error
in England’s final wicket
MELBOURNE: The International Cricket
Council said the match umpires had made
a mistake after reviewing England’s final
dismissal in the World Cup against Australia
yesterday which potentially cost James
Taylor a century.
While England were well beaten by 111
runs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground,
there was some debate about whether the
final dismissal should have been termed a
“dead ball” and as a consequence James
Anderson should not have been given run
out. Anderson’s dismissal after a leg before
wicket appeal on Taylor was overturned by
the video umpire, meant that Taylor lost his
opportunity to score a century as he was
left stranded on 98.
The Australians had appealed for a run
out on Anderson at the non-striker’s end as
he scampered back to regain his ground
and umpire Kumar Dharmasena made a
referral to the third umpire, who gave
Anderson out. The ICC released a statement
after the match, which read: “Following
Australia’s 111-run victory over England in
the Group A ICC Cricket World Cup clash at
Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday
night, the Playing Control Team (PCT) met
and reviewed the final ball of the game
which resulted in James Anderson being
given run out.
“Article 3.6a of Appendix 6 of the
Decision Review System (DRS) Playing
Conditions states that the ball should have
been deemed dead when the batsman
(James Taylor) was given out leg before
wicket (lbw). No further runs or dismissals
were possible.
“The PCT spoke to the England team
management and acknowledges that the
game ended incorrectly and an error was
made.” —AFP
India, Pakistan set
for blockbuster
ADELAIDE: Cricket’s version of a gladiatorial
street fight will play out today when defending champions India take on arch-rivals
Pakistan in a high-voltage World Cup clash at
the Adelaide Oval. Millions of passionate fans
across the world will follow the Pool B match
which organisers said was sold out in 20 minutes despite an uninspiring build up by both
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s India start their
campaign desperate to bounce back after a
miserable bilateral tour of Australia where
they were beaten 2-0 in the Tests and did not
win a match in the subsequent tri-series.
Pakistan have had their bowling attack
decimated due to injuries and the reluctance
to rush back one-day cricket’s number one
bowler Saeed Ajmal despite the off-spinner
being cleared of a suspect action.
With seamers Umar Gul and Junaid Khan
sidelined with injuries, Pakistan suffered a
severe blow when the seasoned Mohammad
Hafeez was ruled out of the tournament with
a calf injury.
Lanky paceman Mohammad Irfan-the
tallest man to ever play international cricket
at 7 feet, one inch-will lead the bowling
attack that includes leg-spinners Yasir Shah
and Shahid Afridi.
With India in disarray, Pakistan will seek to
end their winless World Cup streak against
the neighbours-five successive defeats since
1992 — with renewed hope.
Skipper Misbah-ul Haq, who like Afridi will
quit one-day cricket after the tournament,
will be inspired by Pakistan’s title under Imran
Khan when the World Cup was played Down
Under in 1992.—AFP
MELBOURNE: Mitchell Marsh proved the unlikely
bowling star and Aaron Finch blasted the first ton
of the World Cup as Australia crushed England by
111 runs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground yesterday. The tournament favourites ruthlessly swept to
victory in their opening Pool A match by posting
their highest-ever one-day international total
against England of 342 for nine.
They then dismissed their hapless arch-rivals for
231 with more than eight overs to spare. Allrounder Marsh, making his World Cup debut,
claimed five for 33 as Australia latched on to their
catches with Steve Smith’s mid-air screamer to dismiss Jos Buttler the best of the highlight reel.
It was a comprehensive victory that signalled
Australia as the team to beat as they bid to win
their fifth World Cup and their first at home since
going out in the semi-finals to England when they
last hosted the event in 1992. “I don’t think we’ve
made any secret about it, we’re here to win the
World Cup like 13 other teams are,” Finch said.
“I suppose what was great was that everyone
contributed either with bat, ball or in the field, so
from a team point of view it’s really good to see
everyone playing well and peaking at the right
It was a grim night for England, who only narrowly avoided their heaviest World Cup defeat-in
terms of runs-following a 122 run-thrashing by
South Africa at The Oval in 1999.
And apart from their bowlers getting flogged
and dropped catches, England skipper Eoin
Morgan was out for his fourth duck in his last seven
“Probably the most frustrating thing was that
we were making errors that we haven’t made this
trip and again Australia played well but we had
opportunties to take the game to them and we
didn’t,” Morgan said. “They certainly were the better
team and they outplayed us in every department
right fromm the start which is disappointing.”
James Taylor’s face-saving unbeaten knock of
98 not out was the lone bright spot, with England
now having won just two of their last 16 ODI
encounters Down Under.
Opener Finch punished England for Chris
Woakes putting him down at mid-wicket on the
fifth ball of the innings off James Anderson before
the batsman had scored.
Finch thrilled his massive 84,336 home-town
crowd with three sixes and 12 fours before he was
finally run out by Morgan’s brilliant direct hit in the
37th over. Finch’s knock was the second highest
against England at the World Cup after West Indies
great Vivian Richards’s 138 not out in the 1979 final.
All-rounder Glenn Maxwell showed off his improvised shotmaking in his all-action knock of 66 off
40 balls and skipper George Bailey contributed 55.
England made early inroads before Finch and
Bailey restored the home side’s position from 70 for
three to put on a stand of 146 runs off 156 balls
after Stuart Broad took two wickets in two balls to
remove the dangerous David Warner (22) and
Shane Watson, caught behind for a first-ball duck.
Woakes followed up with the prized wicket of
Smith for five to have the Aussies wobbling at 70
for three. England’s fielding became ragged and
Maxwell smashed seamer Steven Finn for four consecutive fours to bring up his 50 off just 30 balls on
his way to 66 while Brad Haddin slammed 31 off 14
balls. Finn took the 2015 World Cup’s first hat-trick
with the last three balls of the innings but Australia
had already compiled a huge total.
England, who had never before chased down
more than 306 to win an ODI, soon crumbled
under aggressive bowling and tight fielding with
Marsh on a hat-trick after dismissing Ian Bell (36)
and Joe Root (5) with successive balls.
Morgan’s woes continued when he tried to pull
Marsh but instead got an under-edge that was
superbly held, one-handed, by diving wicketkeeper Haddin.
Buttler fell to a sensational airborne catch by
Smith for 10 at short cover. Woakes and Taylor held
up Australia’s victory charge for with a 92-run stand
for the seventh wicket. Mitchell Starc bowled Broad
MELBOURNE: Australia’s David Warner (second bottom) slips on the pitch as teammate Aaron
Finch (top) and England’s Stuart Broad (second top) and Ian Bell (bottom) watch on during the
Pool A 2015 CricketWorld Cup match. —AFP
for a duck, Finn was caught and bowled by Mitchell
Johnson for one.
England didn’t even have the consolation of
seeing the gutsy Taylor get to a maiden ODI hundred when the match ended in confusion. Taylor
was adjudged lbw but overturned the decision on
review. However, Anderson was given run out for
eight as he went for a single with Taylor’s protestations that the ball was dead when he was initially
given out failing to impress the umpires. Offcials
later admitted that the umpires got the decision
MELBOURNE: Scoreboard in the World Cup Pool A match between Australia and England at the
Melbourne Cricket Ground yesterday.
D. Warner b Broad
A. Finch run out (Morgan)
S. Watson c Buttler b Broad
S. Smith b Woakes
G. Bailey b Finn
G. Maxwell c Root b Finn
M. Marsh c Root b Finn
B. Haddin c Broad b Finn
M. Johnson c Anderson b Finn
M. Starc not out
Extras (lb2, w3)
Total (9 wkts, 50 overs)
Did not bat: J Hazlewood
Fall of wickets: 1-57 (Warner), 2-57 (Watson), 3-70
(Smith), 4-216 (Finch), 5-228 (Bailey), 6-281 (Marsh),
7-342 (Haddin), 8-342 (Maxwell), 9-342 (Johnson)
Bowling: Anderson 10-0-67-0 (1w); Broad 10-0-66-2
(1w); Woakes 10-0-65-1; Finn 10-0-71-5 (1w); Ali 9-060-0; Root 1-0-11-0
M. Ali c Bailey b Starc
I. Bell c Starc b Marsh
G. Ballance c Finch b Marsh
J. Root c Haddin b Marsh
E. Morgan c Haddin b Marsh
J. Taylor not out
J. Buttler c Smith b Marsh
C. Woakes c Smith b Johnson
S. Broad b Starc
S. Finn c and b Johnson
J. Anderson run out (Maxwell)
Extras (lb5, w11)
Total (all out, 41.5 overs)
Fall of wickets: 1-25 (Ali), 2-49 (Ballance), 3-66 (Bell),
4-66 (Root), 5-73 (Morgan), 6-92 (Buttler), 7-184
( Woakes), 8-194 (Broad), 9-195 (Finn), 10-231
Bowling: Starc 9-1-47-2, Hazlewood 6.5-0-45-0 (3w),
Johnson 8-0-36-2 (7w), Marsh 9-0-33-5, Watson 3-013-0, Maxwell 4-0-33-0 (1w), Smith 2-0-19-0
Result: Australia won by 111 runs.
Qatar World Cup head protests of ‘clear bias’
DOHA: The Qatar 2022 World Cup head
has complained of “clear bias” against
Doha following the Garcia Report into
alleged corruption in the bidding
process to host football’s biggest tournament.
In his first interview since publication
of the report’s summary last year, Hassan
al-Thawadi, secretary general of the
World Cup 2022 Committee, said Qatar
was not the only bid being investigated.
But the spotlight has fallen only on
the Gulf country and not on Russia,
which is hosting the 2018 World Cup, or
the other countries with failed bids, he
said. “I can’t say if there is a prejudice
against Qatar but what I can say is there
is a clear bias,” Al-Thawadi said in the
interview to be aired late yesterday on
Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television.
“All the reporting on Michael Garcia,
the description was, the focus was on us,
on Qatar, and that was inaccurate. The
simple fact was the investigation was on
all bidding nations, 2018 along with
He added: “And yet nevertheless,
somehow, the focus still seems to be on
us and I think that, if nothing else, clearly
shows there is a bias.”
The Garcia Report looked into allegations of corruption in the bidding
process for the World Cup to be hosted
by Russia as well as the tournament
being held in Qatar four years later.
Qatar’s bid has been mired in controversy, facing allegations over corruption
and lack of workers’ rights, and this has
been compounded by events surrounding the Garcia Report.
American lawyer Michael Garcia,
FIFA’s ethics investigator, quit his job in
disgust after an “erroneous” summary of
his 430-page report was published in
November, which effectively cleared
Qatar and Russia. Al-Thawadi also told
Al-Jazeera that Qatar could still host the
tournament in the summer despite concerns over the country’s climate.
Temperatures top 40 degrees Celsius
(104 Fahrenheit) in Qatar at the time
when the tournament is traditionally
played in June-July.
But Qatar has long argued it has the
technology for the games to be played
in stadiums with cooling technology.
“Since the first days of the bid we’ve
always said a summer World Cup is feasible in Qatar, but whatever the football
community decides, we will fulfill it,” said
Al-Thawadi. Qatari officials are to meet
with bosses of football’s world governing body FIFA later this month in Doha
to finalise a date, with many believing
the tournament will instead take place
in the winter.
On workers’ rights, Al-Thawadi said
reforms to protect tens of thousands of
migrants helping build facilities for the
2022 World Cup would require “time to
be implemented”.
However, a Human Rights Watch
report earlier this month accused Qatar
of not moving “far or fast enough” on
labor reform.—AFP
Celtic go clear of pack
GLASGOW: Celtic extended their lead at
the top of the Scottish Premiership to six
points as they held off a late comeback to
secure a 2-1 victory over St Johnstone at
McDiarmid Park.
The Hoops made what is fast becoming
a trademark explosive start when they took
just 35 seconds to breach the St Johnstone
defence as Leigh Griffiths fired past ‘keeper
Alan Mannus.
The Scotland international then spurned
three chances to add to his tally as Mannus
kept him at bay before he produced an
excellent save to stop Gary Mackay-Steven.
However, the ‘keeper couldn’t do anything to stop Celtic from increasing their
lead in the 52nd minute when Stefan
Johansen showed great skill to finish a
well-executed move.
The Scottish champions appeared to be
strolling to a comfortable victory before
Michael O’Halloran fired past Craig Gordon
in the 72nd minute to reduce the deficit as
Celtic conceded a goal for the first time in
816 minutes of football.
Celtic had ‘keeper Craig Gordon to thank
with two late superb saves as the Hoops
held on to secure their eighth victory in a
row before they head into Thursday’s crucial Europa League last 32 clash with Italian
giants Inter Milan.
“I think the players worked hard for 90
minutes and at 2-0 it seemed quite comfortable,” Celtic manager Ronny Deila said.
“Then we conceded a goal and everything turned around. They were very
aggressive and direct and we needed to
defend well in the end.”
St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright
picked the positives from his players’ performance. “Celtic had a lot of chances in the
game but you’ve always got a chance and it
was a tremendous double save from
Gordon that probably denies us a point,”
Wright said.
“I thought, particularly in the second
half, we played extremely well against
them and I’m proud of the players and how
they responded.”
Celtic had needed just 38 seconds to
open the scoring against Partick Thistle on
Wednesday and made a similar quick-fire
start in Perth. Griffiths was the only change
from the midweek win and the Scottish
striker made an instant impact when he
netted after 35 seconds.
Nir Bitton’s long-ball from the Celtic half
split the St Johnstone defence and Griffiths
nipped in to stroke the ball past Mannus.
The striker had a chance for a second
minutes later when Virgil van Dijk’s downward header from a corner came off his
knee but Mannus snuffed out the danger.
Chris Kane headed just wide from
O’Halloran’s cross in a rare St Johnstone
chance before Johansen’s excellent
through ball released Griffiths for another
effort but ‘keeper Mannus stuck out a foot
to keep out his effort. The St Johnstone
‘keeper was the hero again when he stuck
out a hand to palm away an angled shot
from Griffiths moments later after he was
set up by Mackay-Steven.
St Johnstone managed an effort on target shortly afterwards through a Steven
Anderson header before Mannus produced
a finger-tip save to keep a ferocious 20-yard
strike from Mackay-Steven making its way
into the top left-hand corner.
The Hoops got the second goal their
dominance deserved in the 52nd minute
with a superb strike from Johansen.
Griffiths headed Stuart Armstrong’s lofted
pass into the path of the Norwegian mid-
fielder who juggled the ball superbly
before lashing it beyond the helpless
Out of nowhere St Johnstone managed
to haul themselves back into the match
through O’Halloran. Celtic stopper Gordon
blocked Kane’s shot from Brian Easton’s
cross but the rebound fell to O’Halloran
who expertly rifled it into the roof of the
net. Only an incredible double save from
Gordon kept Celtic in front. The ‘keeper
made a one-handed save to stop Brian
Graham’s header before he managed to
push Dave Mackay’s close-range volleyed
rebound over the bar.—AFP
Matches on TV
(Local Timings)
England FA Cup
Aston Villa v Leicester
Arsenal v Middlesbrough
beIN Sports Max 4
Spanish League
Malaga v Espanyol
Valencia v Getafe
Barcelona v Levante
Rayo v Villarreal
Celta v Atletico
Italian Calcio League
AC Milan v Empoli
Udinese v Lazio
Torino FC v Cagliari
Atalanta v Inter
AS Roma v Parma
Genoa v Hellas
Chievo v Sampdoria
Cesena v Juventus
GERMANY: Bayern’s Thomas Mueller (center), Hamburg’s Johan Djourou from Switzerland (left) and Hamburg’s goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny
from the Czech Republic challenge for the ball during the German First Division Bundesliga soccer match. —AP
Bayern thrash Hamburg 8-0
BERLIN: Bayern Munich claimed the biggest
Bundesliga win for 30 years to warm up for their
Champions League away match to Shakhtar
Donetsk with yesterday ’s 8-0 thrashing of
Stars Arjen Robben, Thomas Mueller and
Mario Goetze all netted twice as Bayern ran riot
at Munich’s Allianz Arena before Tuesday’s last16, first-leg clash against Shakhtar in Lviv.
Just over two years after their 9-2 drubbing at
Munich’s Allianz Arena, Hamburg were again
made to suffer having also been drubbed 3-1, 50 and 6-0 on their last four visits to Bavaria.
Bayern stay eight points clear after racing
into a 2-0 lead with 23 minutes gone as Mueller
slotted a penalty, then his Germany team-mate
Goetze added a second. Arjen Robben danced
through their defence, then curled home a 36thminute goal to claim their third.
Hamburg’s luck had clearly deserted them as
replays showed Goetze had briefly touched the
ball at the start of the move. Robben grabbed
his second after 47 minutes as the game became
little more than a shooting session as the hosts
ran riot.
Mueller then curled home a superb shot after
a run by his captain Bastian Schweinsteiger on
55 minutes. Lewandowski got on the scoresheet
to make it 6-0 barely a minute later when
Robben’s pass found Mueller, who had all the
time in the world to roll his pass to the Polish
striker’s feet.
France winger Franck Ribery came off the
bench to add to Jaroslav Drobny’s misery in the
Hamburg goal on 69 minutes before Goetze
claimed his side’s eighth two minute from time.
Having gone 3-0 up away, Wolfsburg survived
a spirited fight-back to win 5-4 at Bayer
Leverkusen, for whom Son Heung-Min scored a
hat-trick while Wolves’ Bas Dost claimed four
Leverkusen finished with ten men after
Bosnia defender Emir Spahic was sent off late on
for a second yellow card.
With Wolves 3-0 up, the match exploded in
ten crazy second-half minutes as Son claimed a
hat-trick to make it 4-3 with 67 minutes gone
just after Dost had also hit his third. Germany
winger Karim Bellarai then put hosts Leverkusen
level at 4-4 at the BayArena before Dost grabbed
the 94th-minute winner. The result leaves
Wolfsburg both eight points ahead of third-
placed Borussia Moenchengladbach and eight
points behind leaders Bayern.
Gladbach claimed a 1-0 win at Cologne as
Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka headed their 91stminute winner. Werder Bremen’s remarkable run
continues as they picked up their fifth straight
win which has taken them from bottom of the
table to eighth and the verge of a European
place. Ex-Chelsea and Wigan striker Franco di
Santo netted a penalty to leave him with four
goals in three league games in their 3-2 win at
Augsburg, who drop to fifth.
VfB Stuttgart stay bottom of the table after
their 2-1 defeat at Hoffenheim, thanks for
Sebastian Rudy’s 93rd-minute winning goal.
Late yesterday, Schalke 04 host Eintracht
Frankfurt in the Royal Blues final warm-up
before hosting holders Real Madrid in the
Champions League last 16, first-leg, tie.
Strugglers Hertha Berlin host second-from
bottom Freiburg in a basement battle today. On
Friday, Borussia Dortmund move out of the relegation zone with a 4-2 home victory over Mainz
as Germamy winger Marco Reus got on the
scoresheet after committing to Dortmund until
German Bundesliga
Hertha v Freiburg
Hannover v Paderborn
French League
Girondins v Etienne
FC Metz v Guingamp
Lorient v Lyonnais
PSG suffer injury nightmare
PARIS: French champions Paris
Saint-Germain were hit by an injury
crisis yesterday as they not only
saw four players break down but
also threw away a 2-0 lead over
Caen in a dramatic Ligue 1 2-2
draw. It was the worst possible
preparation for the French champi-
ons who await Premier League
leaders Chelsea at the Parc des
Princes on Tuesday in the first leg of
their Champions League last-16
Following midfielder Yohan
Cabaye, who limped off in the 16th
minute, coach Laurent Blanc looked
on in horror as Brazilian defender
Marquinhos, Ivory Coast international Serge Aurier and Brazilian
playmaker Lucas all suffered
injuries and had to leave the match.
The late injuries, to newly
crowned African champion Aurier
and Lucas, meant PSG finished the
Sherwood appointed
Aston Villa manager
LONDON: Former Tottenham Hotspur head
coach Tim Sherwood has been appointed as
the new manager of Aston Villa on a threeyear contract, the Premier League club
announced yesterday.
Sherwood, 46, succeeds Paul Lambert,
who was sacked on Wednesday after a run of
10 games without victory that saw Villa slide
into the relegation zone.
“Aston Villa Football Club are delighted to
announce the appointment of Tim Sherwood
as our new manager,” Villa announced on
their official website.
“Tim, 46, joins after a long and successful
coaching career with Tottenham, culminating
(in) a short but successful period as manager,
and has agreed a contract that will see him
take charge until the end of season 2017-18.
“The club are excited to have secured the
services of one of English football’s most
highly sought after managers.”
Sherwood has been out of work since he
was sacked by Tottenham in May 2014, five
months after taking up his first managerial
role.”It is a great honour to manage one of the
biggest clubs in English football,” said
Sherwood, who won the Premier League as
captain of Blackburn Rovers in 1995.
“I can’t wait to get started and I’m really
looking forward to the challenge.” Sherwood
is expected to take up his role after Villa’s FA
Cup fifth-round game at home to Leicester
City on Sunday, for which first-team coach
Scott Marshall and goalkeeping coach Andy
Marshall have been put in charge.
Villa recently went 11 hours without scoring a Premier League goal and fell into the
bottom three for the first time this season following a 2-0 loss at fellow strugglers Hull City
on Tuesday.
With only two wins from 21 league games,
the 1982 European champions are now at risk
of a first relegation since 1987.
But chief executive Tom Fox expressed
confidence that in Sherwood, he and owner
Randy Lerner had found the right man to turn
the situation around and take the team forward.
“Tim had a fantastic career at Tottenham,
not only in his brief spell as first-team manager but, just as importantly, in the role he
played in developing young talent,” Fox said.
“We are determined to build a football
operation with a long-term vision and a commitment to youth development. “We strongly
believe Tim has the qualities to get the best
out of our current squad and help us build
and develop for the future.”—AFP
FRANCE: Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian midfielder Lucas Moura (right) vies with Caen’s French Beninese
defender Emmanuel Imoroue during the French L1 football match. —AFP
match with nine men after Blanc
had used all of his three substitutes.
The freak scenario in front of a
stunned home crowd at the Parc
des Princes went from bad to worse
when Caen miraculously salvaged a
point with two late goals.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ezequiel
Lavezzi gave PSG what appeared to
be a winning advantage after first
half goals but Caen, who began the
day four points above the relegation zone, were given a lifeline on
89 minutes when Emiliano Sala
scrambled home from inside the
box. Then deep into injury time,
following a foul by Ibrahimovic,
Herve Blazile curled a left-foot free
kick into the top corner leaving PSG
and their watching faithful in
Jose Mourinho and his Chelsea
side are enjoying a weekend off,
after being knocked out of the FA
Cup in the previous round, but will
have looked on with great interest
at what was happening on a rainy
Saturday in Paris. The teams also
met last season when PSG won 3-1
at the Parc des Princes in the first
match only to be eliminated when
Demba Ba gave Chelsea a late 2-0
victory in the second leg, sending
the Londoners through on away
The point against Caen keeps
the capital club level with Marseille,
who drew 2-2 on Friday at home to
Reims, while leaders Lyon can
extend their one point advantage
at the top when they travel to
Lorient as one of three Sunday fixtures. There is also a busy slate later on Saturday including Monaco at
home to Montpellier, Toulouse host
Rennes in a key tie at the bottom
and Lille entertain Nice. —AFP
Aussies hammer
routs Simon
Qatar World Cup head protests of ‘clear bias’
Page 19
SPAIN: Real Madrid’s French forward Karim Benzema (right) controls the ball past Deportivo’s defender Alberto Lopo during the Spanish League football match. —AFP
Real ease pain of derby drubbing
MADRID: Real Madrid bounced back from their 4-0
derby humiliation by Atletico Madrid last weekend
with a 2-0 victory over Deportivo la Coruna to
move four points clear at the top of La Liga yesterday. The hosts started nervously, but could have
been well in front at the break as Cristiano Ronaldo
and Gareth Bale struck the bar before Isco’s curling
effort opened the scoring. Deportivo had their
chances to level early in the second-half with Celso
Borges hitting the post, but Karim Benzema put the
result beyond any doubt with Madrid’s second 17
minutes from time.
Barcelona can move back to within a point of
the leaders when they host Levante today. With the
European champions still plagued by injuries,
coach Carlo Ancelotti made just three changes to
the side that started against Atletico.
However, Real made another slow start as Iker
Casillas blocked from Isaac Cuenca before the for-
mer Barcelona winger fired just over after he had
been gifted possession by Bale.
Madrid slowly began to take control as the firsthalf wore on and Ronaldo nearly answered his critics for hosting his 30th birthday party hours after
the Atletico defeat in style with a dipping effort
that struck the underside of the bar.
Bale then did likewise as his thunderous strike
on his favored left foot also came back off the
woodwork with Fabricio in the Depor goal beaten.
Benzema saw a deflected effort from Bale’s
clever cut-back fly just wide as the pressure mounted, and it finally told on 23 minutes when Isco collected Alvaro Arbeloa’s cross and curled the ball
inside the far post for his fifth goal of the season.
Ronaldo’s frustration in front of goal continued
when he headed over from another purposeful
Bale run and cross just before the break.
However, Ancelotti’s men were very fortunate
not to be pegged back at the start of the second
period when Costa Rican international Celso
Borges volleyed off the post and Casillas came to
his side’s rescue again moments later to parry Oriol
Riera’s header to safety.
Brazilian midfielder Lucas Silva made his Madrid
debut when he replaced Asier Illarramendi 20 minutes from time as Ancelotti looked to make the
game safe.
And the Italian could finally relax three minutes
later when Ronaldo poked the ball through for
Benzema to chip past the onrushing Fabricio to
double his side’s lead.
Earlier, Sevilla leapfrogged Valencia to move
into fourth with a comfortable 3-0 win over
Cordoba. Grzegorz Krychowiak and Carlos Bacca
put the hosts in the driving seat in the first-half
before both sides were reduced to 10 men as firstly
Patrick Ekeng and then Krychowiak were shown
straight red cards. Vicente Iborra rounded off the
scoring to move the Andalusians a point ahead of
Valencia, who host Getafe today.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti
has dismissed criticism of Cristiano Ronaldo and
some of his team mates over the Portugal captain’s
30th birthday party thrown hours after last weekend’s 4-0 La Liga drubbing at Atletico.
Ronaldo and players including James
Rodriguez, Pepe, Marcelo and Sami Khedira were
widely condemned after photographs from the festivities leaked into the media.
Ancelotti said the players’ professionalism could
not be questioned and he was confident the La
Liga leaders would soon return to top form starting
with Saturday’s game at home to Deportivo La
Coruna. “The party issue for me is not an issue,”
Ancelotti told a news conference on Friday.
“I have never given an opinion on players’ pri-
vate lives and I am not going to start today,” added
the Italian. “The problem is that some think this
might affect the professionalism and seriousness of
the players. “In that sense, I would note that this
squad and these players have demonstrated their
professionalism many times.
“My job is to evaluate the professionalism of the
players and about that I have no doubt. There is no
lack of motivation.”
Ancelotti acknowledged that the world and
European champions had lost some intensity and
focus since their Spanish record 22-match winning
streak came to an end with last month’s defeat at
Valencia in La Liga.
He said there was plenty of time for the players
to turn things around and he expected to see an
improvement against Deportivo and in
Wednesday’s Champions League last 16, first leg at
Bundesliga side Schalke 04. —Agencies
King slays Stoke, Ideye lifts Albion
THE HAWTHORNS: West Hamís Morgan Amalfitano (left) is
consoled by West Brom’s James Morrison after being sent off
during the FA Cup fifth round soccer match. —AP
LONDON: Norway striker Josh King scored a hat-trick as secondtier Blackburn Rovers reached the FA Cup quarter-finals by coming from behind to beat 10-man Stoke City 4-1 yesterday.
Stoke manager Mark Hughes saw his side take a 10th-minute
lead against his former club at Ewood Park when Peter Crouch
volleyed home at a corner, only for King to head in an equaliser in
the 36th minute. After Geoff Cameron was sent off for holding
King back, Rudy Gestede put
Blackburn in front with a penalty on the stroke of half-time
before King completed his treble with quick-fire goals early in the
second period.
Asked if his side could go on and claim a first FA Cup trophy
since 1928, victorious manager Gary Bowyer joked: “Do me a
favour, I’ve just finished this game! “We are just delighted to be in
the next round. We would love another home tie and then we
will go from there.”
Earlier, Brown Ideye continued his fine recent form by scoring
twice as West Bromwich Albion beat a woeful West Ham United
4-0 at The Hawthorns to also reach the last eight.
The Nigeria striker, West Brom’s £10 million ($15.2 million, 13.4
million euros) record signing, scored either side of a 25-yard strike
from James Morrison to take his tally to four goals in three
games. West Ham substitute Morgan Amalfitano was sent off
after shoving Chris Brunt in the face and Saido Berahino added a
fourth to rubber-stamp West Brom’s progress to the quarter-finals
for the first time since 2008.
“It was a good performance and we’re very pleased, but
there’s still a long way to go in the league and we need that bit of
luck with the next draw,” West Brom manager Tony Pulis told BT
“Brown Ideye was fantastic. He is scoring goals and that takes
the weight off your shoulders, and he looks a good player.”
Five-time winners West Brom have now won five of the eight
matches since Alan Irvine was succeeded as manager by Pulis,
who is bidding to emulate his achievement of guiding Stoke City
to the final in 2011. Blackburn and West Brom were joined in the
quarter-finals by Reading, who won 2-1 at fellow Championship
side Derby County courtesy of a late strike by former Portsmouth,
LONDON: Blackburn’s Luke Varney (left) tangles with Stoke’s Steven NíZonzi during the English FA Cup fifth round soccer
match. —AP
Middlesbrough and Everton striker Yakubu.
giant-killers Bradford City, conquerors of Premier League leaders
Liverpool tackle Crystal Palace later on Saturday, when Chelsea in round four, take on Sunderland at Valley Parade.
Brendan Rodgers’s side will attempt to arrest a run of six games
Manchester United face a third consecutive tie against lowerwithout victory at Selhurst Park.
league opposition tomorrow when they visit third-division
Holders Arsenal host Middlesbrough today, while third-tier Preston North End. —AFP
Venezuelans scratch heads
over complex devaluation
Page 23
Address structural disorders
in Development Plan: Report
Page 25
Mercedes-Benz Museum loans Classic Cars to Kuwait Concours d’Elegance
Page 26
NBK highlights changes
in British taxation rules
Page 22
ROME: People hold a banner reading “Against austerity, Greece change, Europe change” yesterday in Rome during a demonstration to support new hard-left Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (Syriza) during his talks in Brussels and
to protest against austerity. — AFP
Greek talks begin before ‘make-or-break’ meeting
US urges negotiators to ‘set aside rhetoric’
BRUSSELS: Greek and EU officials met for
talks yesterday ahead of a high-stakes
showdown over Athens’ demands for a radical restructuring of its massive international
bailout program.
“It is not a negotiation but an exchange
of views to better understand each other’s
position,” an EU official said of the final huddle before next week’s crunch meeting. “The
talks are ongoing and the institutions are
expected to report at the Eurogroup on
Monday,” the official said, without giving
further details.
No discussions are scheduled for today,
with the parties reporting back to their governments to complete preparations for
tomorrow’s meeting of the 19 euro-zone
finance ministers at 1400 GMT.
The consultations began Friday after new
hard-left Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras
laid out his plans to his peers, including
Europe’s skeptical paymaster German
Chancellor Angela Merkel, at his first
European Union summit. Merkel recognized
the need for compromise on all sides, but
also called for
Greece to respect the conditions of the
bailout-a position that neatly encapsulated
both sides in the stand-off. Dutch Finance
Minister and Eurogroup head Jeroen
Dijsselbloem said Friday he was “pessimistic” of any quick deal.
“The Greeks have sky-high ambitions.
The possibilities, given the state of the
Greek economy, are limited,” Dijsselbloem
said in describing the difficulties in finding
common ground.
“I don’t know if we’ll get there by
Monday,” he added. The EU and the
International Monetary Fund bailed Greece
out in 2010, and then again in 2012 to the
tune of some 240 billion euros, plus a debt
write-down worth more than 100 billion
euros ($113 billion).
The rescue may have kept Greece in the
euro-zone, but it also left Athens with a
mountain of debt worth about 315 billion
euros that most analysts do not believe will
ever be fully repaid.
In return for the bailouts, the then centre-right Greek government agreed to a
series of stinging austerity measures, and
the much-resented oversight by the EU, IMF
and European Central Bank ‘troika’ to make
sure Greece stuck to the terms. Tsipras campaigned and won elections last month on
promises to ditch the program, which he
said had wrecked the economy, not helped
it, and sent the jobless rate soaring.
In a more conciliatory move, however,
Athens also said it could live with 70 percent of the current program, but that
Greece must be allowed leeway on the rest
so it can do more to boost the economy,
including through additional spending.
Time is pressing to resolve the impasse
amid fears that failure could force Greece
out of the euro-zone, with potentially disastrous consequences for all concerned.
The country’s current debt rescue expires
at the end of this month, and the ECB has
signalled it is unwilling to offer Greece the
cheap funding to keep its banking system
afloat if there is no new arrangement
between Athens and its creditors.
End rhetoric
Meanwhile, US Treasury Secretary Jacob
Lew urged Friday all sides in Greece debt
talks to focus on finding a solution to the
Venezuela currency devaluation
set to hurt US firms’ profits
BOSTON: A massive effective devaluation of
Venezuela’s bolivar currency will likely badly dent
2015 earnings at a swath of major US companies.
The decision, announced late on Thursday, would
almost wipe out the $7.1 billion of Venezuelan
monetary assets currently held on the books of 10
large American companies. At the new exchange
rate of about 170 bolivars to the dollar, the value
of those assets would drop by 93 percent to just
$421 million, according to a Reuters analysis of
regulatory filings. Currently those assets are valued based on the main official rate of 6.3 bolivars
to the dollar, or a second rate at 12 bolivars.
However, the Venezuelan authorities only allow a
limited amount of business to be done at those
rates as the country suffers from a shortage of
available dollars.
Some companies, such as diapers and tissue
maker Kimberly-Clark Corp, had recently taken big
charges after valuing their assets at a third
exchange rate of about 50 bolivars to the dollar,
rather than the 6 or 12. However, that part of the
system has now been replaced with the new freefloating rate, which was last quoted on Friday at
174 (even weaker than 170 on Thursday). That puts
even the companies who had started to use 50 in a
position where they may have to take another hit.
The move represents an effective devaluation of
more than 70 percent.
The currency move is part of President Nicolas
Maduro’s effor ts to shore up the OPEC
(Organization of the Petroleum Expor ting
Countries) member’s coffers amid tumbling crude
oil prices, an annual inflation rate of around 64
percent, and a shortage of many goods in the
Official rate ‘ludicrous’
Among the companies still using the 6.3 rate
still are household products maker Procter &
Gamble, oil services group Halliburton Co, and
drug companies Pfizer Inc and Merck & Co Inc. The
drug companies may have a better argument for
using this rate than most because Venezuela does
allow it to be used for the purchases of some critical goods, such as medicines.
Others use the 12 rate. PepsiCo recently started
valuing some of its assets in Venezuela at that rate,
after being unable to repatriate money at the 6.3
rate for years. But with this week’s further devaluation of Venezuela’s currency, even the 12 rate
seems increasingly imaginary.
“6.3 is ludicrous in my view for most companies,” said Ali Dibadji, an analyst at Sanford C.
Bernstein & Co Inc. The introduction of the new
rate may help ease market concerns about a possible debt default and boost supplies of dollars to a
currency-starved economy. But some investors see
the effective devaluation as cosmetic. There continues to be the reality of runaway inflation and
swelling supermarket lines.
“For the most part, the market’s view is that
things will be horrendous in Venezuela for quite a
while,” said David Whiston, a senior equity analyst
at Morningstar Inc.
The new Simadi exchange rate is close to
Venezuela’s black market rate of 188 bolivars per
dollar, which finance industry leaders described
as a sign the government is willing to allow supply and demand to set prices. PepsiCo has one of
the largest stated exposures to Venezuela with
assets there valued at $1.13 billion using the 12
bolivars exchange rate, company filings show.
Those assets would be worth only $79.1 million
at the 170 rate.
The company said earlier this week in its annual
results filing that re-measuring its Venezuela
assets at a 50 bolivars rate would trigger a net
charge against earnings of about $400 million. It
did not respond to requests for comment on
Friday. — Reuters
crisis that risks pushing the euro-zone country into default.
Lew spoke by phone Friday with Greek
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to discuss the
latest developments, a day after Tsipras laid
out his plans to European leaders in Brussels
to overhaul the country’s international
bailout. Lew “urged all parties to set aside
rhetoric and focus on reaching a pragmatic
path forward,” the Treasury said in a statement.
The US Treasury chief told Tsipras that he
looked forward to working with the new
Greek government “as it proceeds to articulate a concrete and comprehensive reform
agenda in partnership with Europe and
international institutions.” He welcomed the
fact that Greece and its partners were
engaged in technical discussions, the
department said. — AFP
French lawmakers back
Sunday shopping zones
PARIS: French lawmakers voted late Friday in favor of proposals to introduce “international tourist zones” where shops would be open every
today and until midnight every night. Economy Minister Emmanuel
Macron said the special zones, part of a controversial package of reforms
designed to rejuvenate France’s sclerotic economy, would cover the
famous Champs-Elysees avenue and other key Parisian shopping districts,
as well as parts of Nice, Cannes and Deauville.
The zones, bringing the French capital more in line with London’s
longer shopping hours, are “important for French growth and activity”,
Macron said. Working the new Sunday and late shifts would be voluntary
and staff would be compensated for doing so, the extra benefits varying
depending on the job.
Employees working between 9.00 pm and midnight would earn double wages, with companies to pick up the tab for childcare and the journey home. Macron’s reforms aim to shake up Europe’s second-biggest
economy as it battles with stubbornly high unemployment and near-zero
growth, but the package has been hugely controversial, sparking enormous demonstrations last year.
The youthful economy minister’s plan to extend the number of
Sundays that shops nationwide can open their doors-from five a year at
present to a maximum of 12 — is one of the most controversial planks of
the package, in a country where the maximum working week is fixed at
35 hours and leisure time is sacrosanct.
The planned “tourist zones” have proved particularly divisive. Macron’s
proposals also include opening up previously heavily regulated professions, throwing open inter-city bus routes to competition, and privatizing
the airports of Nice and Lyon. — AFP
BUSINESS weekly report
Five sentences
that may be
getting in the way
of your success
NBK highlights changes
in British taxation rules
Bank hosts seminar on London’s residential property
LONDON: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) organized a seminar for its customers to highlight the taxation changes of
UK residential properties for non-UK residents and the outlook for the residential real estate market in London.
The seminar, titled “London Residential Property:
Important Taxation changes and outlook”, hosted Robert
Blower, a senior partner at the leading London Law Firm
Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, Tom Bill, Head of London
Residential Research at Knight Frank, one of Europe’s leading real estate firms, and Fawzi Al-Dajani, NBK-London
General Manager.
Isam Al-Sager, NBK Group Chief Executive Officer, said:
“NBK is keen to present to its customers the latest economic
and financial developments in the world. This seminar aims
to provide our customers with an insight on London’s residential properties market as well as the recent taxation
changes in the UK from two of Europe’s leading firms in
their field.”
Al-Dajani shed the light on the various real estate services that NBK offers to customers in London. “NBK’s real estate
services allow customers to easily own, rent and lease properties with legal consultations in London,” he said. “In a simple and straightforward procedure, NBK customers can buy
and sell, lease or rent, settle bills, receive real estate assessments and many other services with competitive prices.”
Changes to the taxation
Blower made a presentation on the new changes to the
taxation of UK Residential Property. “The new rules are simpler than before, more certain and generally allow a person
to spend more time in the UK without being considered
resident there,” Blower said.
Blower noted that the new rules, which are effective on
6th April 2015, focused on three points; Firstly, the tax rates
for Stamp Duty Land Tax (‘SDLT’) that have increased overall
for higher value properties above £1M. Progressive rates of
SDLT now apply with tiered rates ranging from 0 percent for
lower values up to 12 percent on values in excess of £1.5M
Secondly, Capital Gains Tax (‘CGT’) will apply on gains
made when residential properties are sold after 5 April
2015, but only to increases in value after that date. The rate
of CGT for individuals will be 28 percent. The rates of CGT
for companies are 28 percent for residential properties
occupied by owners and 20 percent for residential properties which are commercially let to 3rd parties.
The third key point stressed on residential properties
owned by companies, announcing that the rates of the
Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings (‘ATED’) will increase by
50 percent after 1 April 2015.
Blower highlighted as well other taxation rules that
haven’t seen any change as the UK taxation of commercial
property investments, including offices and shops, owned
by non-UK residents. Commenting on these changes,
Blower said that UK residential and commercial properties
still represent a good investment opportunity for non-UK
residents. Despite these increases, investors are subject to
favorable taxation rates compared to those of other countries.
“Historically, investment in UK properties has provided
opportunities for capital gain over the longer term and the
impact of taxation can be mitigated with careful planning,”
he said.
Blower saw that the combination of the recent taxation
changes coupled with a UK election in 2015 are likely to
have an impact on investor sentiment in the short term,
particularly amongst international investors in the London
property market.
Blower noted that although gains in the London property market over the next two years are unlikely to be at the
high levels of recent years, the UK property market still pro-
vides a good opportunity for longer term investment within
a stable and developed economy.
Trends and outlook
On the other hand, Bill presented the latest developments and the outlook of the residential property market in
London. Bill said that Prime Central London properties had
been considered as safe haven after Lehman Brothers crash.
Prices grew by 53 percent between 2009 and 2012. The
strong growth achieved at that time is still having its impact
on the market today.
Bill noted that starting from 2013 till mid-2014, the
growth rate eased as normality returned and UK economy
strengthened, though the safe haven effect didn’t completely disappear. Bill added that the political uncertainty
has replaced economic uncertainty. “Growing uncertainty
has caused demand to become more subdued in the prime
London market. As high-value property comes under political focus in the short-term, the grounds for longer-term
optimism remain strong,” said Bill.
However he stressed that the long-term rewards outweigh the short-term risks. Demand will still outpace supply. The prices of the Prime Central London properties will
continue growing in the coming years, though at a less
spectacular pace. Prime Central London is expected to
achieve a 22.1 percent cumulative growth, while prime outer London could reach 25.8 percent.
“Prime London property remained an attractive proposition for investors in 2014, with total returns in prime central
and prime outer London markedly higher than other asset
classes,” Bill noted.
NBK’s Real Estate Services in London
Buying and Selling Real Estate: find the right real estate
or a suitable offer to sell your current real estate with
competitive prices due to the solid business relationship with trust worthy real estate agencies.
Leasing or Renting: through trust worthy business relationships in London, NBK can find the most suitable real
estate or tenant.
Real Estate Assessment: a number of certified real estate
experts to help evaluate the proposed real estate
whether for buying or selling.
Legal Consultations: find a proper lawyer to execute all
legal procedures related to proposed real estate buying
or selling.
Real Estate and Property Insurance: preserve rights and
properties saving time, effort, and expenses.
Bill Settlement Service: includes on time settlement of
all periodical bills such as electricity, water, gas, telephone line.
Saving Your Property Contracts: all property documents related to your real estate are properly saved.
Real Estate Expenses Report: provide a detailed real
estate expense report when needed allowing follow up
Free Property Ownership or Extending Ownership
Contract: assigning a real estate lawyer to supervise and
finalize all the steps and procedures to buy the right of
free ownership or extend the ownership or even add or
cancel an individual from real estate ownership register
Offshore Services: to establish and manage companies
offshore and own real estate
ne of the most dangerous mistakes you can
make at work is unknowingly getting in the
way of your own success through self-defeating thought patterns. These can manifest themselves
through detrimental work attitudes, inappropriate
expectations, poor self-esteem or misplaced preconceptions that lead to misjudging people and situations. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but once you accept
that you may be unwittingly hindering your own
growth, you can choose to break the pattern and
Here, the career experts at, the Middle
East’s leading job site, list five sentences you tell yourself that may be getting in the way of your success:
1. It’s not in my job description
A job description is there as a guide and framework
for your daily activities, not as a limitation on growth,
exploration and innovation. If you are presented with
opportunities to innovate and improve things outside
of your actual job description and if you find you can
solve problems and increase productivity in ways that
benefit the whole organization, even though these
are not literally spelled out in your job description,
then by all means get the support and buy in of your
manager and adapt your activities accordingly. The ‘Innovation in the MENA’ poll, January 2014,
shows that 78 percent of respondents agree that their
organization encourages new ideas to be tried out.
I didn’t receive the right training
Successful professionals have taken it upon themselves to ask for and get the kind of training they
need. How? In today’s networked world it has never
been easier to learn and expand know-how and ideas,
whether it is by formal or informal classes, courses by
institutes and training providers, online courses, independent reading, proactively sought mentorship,
aggressive networking, and active participation on
online forums and industry boards. Continuous learning is the one factor that is non-negotiable if you aim
for lifelong success!
I won’t put in the extra effort
Whether it’s extra hours or extra effort to learn, produce and grow, you need to be willing to do what it
takes to reach targets and achieve your goals. In fact,
34 percent of professionals in the MENA region aspire
to become more effective at their job, as revealed in
the Career Aspirations in the MENA survey,
January 2015.We all know professionals with amazing
“can-do” attitudes who put in the sweat and extra
hours when needed without complaining. And the
last thing any organization wants is team members
with a poor work ethic or contagious negative attitudes to dull their fire and extinguish their spark.
I don’t like to work with that kind of person
In today’s workplace you will in all likelihood be
working with an international set of peers, managers,
clients and suppliers, so it’s essential you put any prejudices and preferences aside and learn how to work
effectively with different personality types. There is no
excuse for personal baggage in the workplace, so
approach all relationships in a purely professional context and at all times show respect and decorum and
attention to the organization’s business objectives and
I don’t have the right resources
The old adage of “a bad workman blames his tools”
is still rather apt today. The ‘Employee
Engagement in the MENA’ poll, April 2014, shows that
65 percent of professionals in the MENA believe they
have everything they need to do a good job. So
instead of hiding behind dated tools and budgets,
why not try to successfully make a well-thought-out
and well-defined business case for changing that
resource pool? Resources invariably go to people who
show the best plan to optimize them and have a track
record of success with meeting ROI and growth targets.
Al-Muzaini Exchange Co.
Japanese Yen
Indian Rupees
Pakistani Rupees
Srilankan Rupees
Nepali Rupees
Singapore Dollar
Hongkong Dollar
Bangladesh Taka
Philippine Peso
Thai Baht
Irani Riyal transfer
Irani Riyal cash
Saudi Riyal
Qatari Riyal
Omani Riyal
Bahraini Dinar
UAE Dirham
Egyptian Pound - Cash
Egyptian Pound - Transfer
Yemen Riyal/for 1000
Tunisian Dinar
Jordanian Dinar
Lebanese Lira/for 1000
Syrian Lira
Morocco Dirham
US Dollar Transfer
Sterling Pound
Canadian dollar
Turkish lira
Swiss Franc
Australian Dollar
US Dollar Buying
20 gram
10 gram
5 gram
UAE Exchange Centre WLL
Australian Dollar
Canadian Dollar
Swiss Franc
US Dollar
Sterling Pound
Japanese Yen
Bangladesh Taka
Indian Rupee
Sri Lankan Rupee
Nepali Rupee
Pakistani Rupee
UAE Dirhams
Bahraini Dinar
Egyptian Pound
Jordanian Dinar
Omani Riyal
Qatari Riyal
Saudi Riyal
Syrian Pound
Nepalese Rupees
Malaysian Ringgit
Chinese Yuan Renminbi
Thai Bhat
Turkish Lira
Bahrain Exchange Company
Belgian Franc
British Pound
Czech Korune
Danish Krone
Norwegian Krone
Romanian Leu
Swedish Krona
Swiss Franc
Turkish Lira
Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd
Rate for Transfer
US Dollar
Canadian Dollar
Sterling Pound
Swiss Frank
Bahrain Dinar
UAE Dirhams
Qatari Riyals
Saudi Riyals
Jordanian Dinar
Egyptian Pound
Sri Lankan Rupees
Indian Rupees
Pakistani Rupees
Bangladesh Taka
Philippines Pesso
Cyprus pound
Japanese Yen
Selling Rate
Australian Dollar
New Zealand Dollar
Philippine Peso
Sierra Leone
Singapore Dollar
South African Rand
Sri Lankan Rupee
Thai Baht
Bahraini Dinar
Egyptian Pound
Iranian Riyal
Iraqi Dinar
Jordanian Dinar
Kuwaiti Dinar
Lebanese Pound
Moroccan Dirhams
Nigerian Naira
Omani Riyal
Qatar Riyal
Saudi Riyal
Syrian Pound
Tunisian Dinar
Turkish Lira
UAE Dirhams
Yemeni Riyal
Al Mulla Exchange
Canadian Dollar
US Dollars
US Dollars Mint
Bangladesh Taka
Chinese Yuan
Hong Kong Dollar
Indian Rupee
Indonesian Rupiah
Japanese Yen
Kenyan Shilling
Korean Won
Malaysian Ringgit
Nepalese Rupee
Pakistan Rupee
Transfer Rate (Per 1000)
US Dollar
Pound Sterlng
Canadian Dollar
Indian Rupee
Egyptian Pound
Sri Lankan Rupee
Bangladesh Taka
Philippines Peso
Pakistan Rupee
Bahraini Dinar
UAE Dirham
Saudi Riyal
*Rates are subject to change
i n
b r i e f
Kuwaiti crude price
rises to $53.90pb
KUWAIT: Kuwaiti crude oil price rose on Friday by
$3.06 to settle at $53.90pb as opposed to $50.84 pb
on Thursday, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) said
yesterday. In London, the Brent crude, for the April
delivery, rose $2.24, some four percent, reaching
$61.52 pb. In the New York commercial market, the
American crude futures climbed $1.57pb, some three
percent, to the level of $52.78pb.
SABIC CEO named to
defense industries post
DUBAI: New Saudi King Salman appointed
SABIC CEO Mohamed Al-Mady as the president
of the country’s military industries corporation, a
royal decree published on the state news
agency SPA said yesterday. The statement did
not make immediately clear whether Al-Mady
would be leaving his post at Saudi Basic
Industries Corp.
Kenya cuts fuel prices,
cites lower costs
NAIROBI: Kenya’s Energy Regulatory Commission
slashed yesterday the maximum retail prices of petrol,
diesel and kerosene, citing lower import prices. Since
2010, Kenya has set a cap on prices of petrol, diesel
and kerosene to protect consumers from what the
regulator has said were unfairly high prices. But consumers have questioned the system in recent months,
saying local prices do not reflect falling global prices.
The ERC cut the price of a litre of petrol in the capital
Nairobi by 8.17 shillings to 84.71 shillings. It also cut
the price per litre of diesel by 7.83 shillings to 75.52
shilling and that of kerosene by 13.19 shillings to
52.40 shillings. Fuel prices are a key component in the
basket of goods used to measure inflation. The price
changes take effect on Feb. 15 and will be in force for
a month.
scratch heads over
complex devaluation
CARACAS: Venezuelans puzzled over the impact of a complicated currency devaluation and fretted that dire product shortages
in the OPEC nation’s recession-hit economy would not go away.
President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government this week
launched a 70 percent devaluation via a new “free floating” currency system known as Simadi, the third of three-tier exchange
controls created by his predecessor Hugo Chavez. “They’re doing
this because they don’t have any money,” said a man who gave
his name only as Felix, and who said he was 83.
“This is not going to solve the problem,” said Felix as he stood
in a senior citizens’ line with about 50 other people to buy rice
and coffee at a Caracas supermarket. “We’re going to keep waiting in line to buy anything we need.” The Simadi system on
Friday posted an exchange rate of 174 bolivars per dollar, but
state officials insist most of the country’s foreign exchange will
be sold at two preferential rates: 6.3 for essential goods such as
food staples, and 12 for other sectors.
The country’s central bank administers dollars at those two
rates, but importers complain that allocations are limited, often
delayed and require overwhelming paperwork.
Dollars on the black market fetch 190 bolivars. The two preferential exchange rates of 6.3 and 12 can help keep prices down
for food and medicine, but businesses consistently struggle to
obtain dollars at the rate, which means they cannot bring in raw
materials or machine parts.
As a result, there are shortages of basic consumption goods
ranging from chicken to laundry detergent, leading to occasional scuffles for scarce products. The scarcities and lines have contributed to a dip in Maduro’s approval rating - to 22 percent
according to one pollster - and give opponents hope of wresting
control of parliament from the ruling Socialist Party in a vote later this year.
Maduro says the country is a victim of an “economic war,” and
argues that Venezuelans today are generally better off and better fed than they were before Chavez took office in 1999.
Impact on corporate accounts
The devaluation is likely to ripple across the balance sheets of
foreign corporations with significant exposure to Venezuela,
ranging from household products maker Kimberly-Clark Corp to
oil services company Schlumberger NV. Venezuelan bonds were
up on Friday after the release of the exchange rate, as devaluations tend to reduce the cost of imports and free up more hard
currency to pay debt.
The benchmark Global 2027 was up 0.603 point to a price of
41.570 and a yield of 24.261 percent. Economists believe the
benefits of devaluing are muted because the new Simadi system
will receive only a fraction of the dollars that the government
sells, with the vast majority being sold at preferential rates.
Essentially, those who cannot obtain dollars at the other two
rates will try to get the Simadi rate.
“We remain skeptical about the impact this three-tiered FX
system will have on an already stagflationary economy,” wrote
UBS economists in a research note. “We believe that Simadi will,
at most, remain a rather marginal FX allocation system.”
Venezuela’s bonds are trading at distressed levels on concerns that the rout in oil prices could prompt a default, and on
average pay 26 percentage points more than comparable US
Treasury bills. Maduro dismisses default talk as ill-intentioned
rumor mongering.—Reuters
US eases import curbs
from private Cubans
Unclear if Cuban govt will permit such exports
HAVANA/WASHINGTON: The United States on Friday
eased restrictions on imports of goods and services from
private Cuban entrepreneurs as part of Washington’s rapprochement with Havana after more than half a century of
enmity. However, the State Department said many goods
were excluded from the liberalization, including tobacco,
vegetable products and some textiles, and it was unclear
whether Cuba would relax its own rules to permit Cubans
to export to the United States.
The U.S. State Department said the import of all goods
was now allowed except in certain broad categories,
including live animals, vehicles, mineral products, machinery and some base metals. Exports of all services are permitted. It was not immediately clear, however, what Cuban
goods would find their way to the US market. One sanctions expert suggested that these could include such items
as artisanal soap, pottery and jewelry.
Of greater significance may be the opening up for services, which could allow Cuban graphic designers, computer
programmers, market researchers or party planners to
acquire US clients.
The move is the latest step toward normalization after
the United States and Cuba agreed on Dec. 17 to begin the
process of restoring diplomatic ties and US President
Barack Obama called for an end to the long economic
embargo against its old Cold War enemy.
both houses of Congress and who oppose normal relations
with the Communist-run island. However, Obama said he
was ending what he called a rigid and outdated policy of
isolating Cuba that had failed to achieve change on the
Communist-led island.
His administration’s policy shift includes allowing use of
US credit and debit cards, increasing the amount of money
that can be sent to Cubans and allowing export of
telecommunications devices and services.
Beyond securing permission from their own authorities,
another problem for potential Cuban exporters may be
coming up with “documentary evidence” that will satisfy
the US government that they are indeed private entrepreneurs. “The problem is going to be proving that it is in fact
a private-sector exporter,” said Cari Stinebower, a partner
with the law firm Crowell & Moring.
Nelson Espinosa, 31, a street merchant in Havana who
sells carved wood artifacts, including old Cuban cars and
miniature drums sets, said he was pleased by the idea of
exporting to the United States but would prefer American
visitors to Cuba.
“It’s good news if now we can sell to the US market,” he
said adding. “It’s not really our goal. What we really want
are the American tourists. That would be much easier for us
than all the hassles of getting licenses to export through
the airport.” — Reuters
From ‘Haircut’ to ‘Dirty Exit’:
Greek bailout buzz words
ATHENS: The Greek bailout drama has given rise to a series
of buzz words that so rile Athens they have become no-go
areas for those attempting to broker a deal. Here is a list of
the offending words:
“ Troika”-the nickname for Greece’s creditors, the
European Union, International Monetar y Fund and
European Central Bank-all of whom keep tabs on Athens to
ensure they’re getting enough reforms for their buck. For
many Greeks, the troika is made up of faceless bureaucrats,
despised “men in black” with no democratic legitimacy,
who lurk around the ministry of finance or gleefully order
Athens around by email-the utmost insult.
“Memorandum”-this is the deal Greece signed with its
creditors in 2010 and again in 2012, which comes to an end
on Februar y 28 unless Athens asks to extend it. In
exchange for billions of euros in aid, Greece was obliged to
implement a slew of unpopular reforms-termed “barbaric”
by the new Greek government-which included public sector lay-offs, pushing back the retirement age and raising
“Germany”-the byword on the streets of Greece for a
ruthless and interfering austerity policy, which claims to be
a remedy for the euro-zone debt crisis but is squeezing
ordinary Greeks dry. Angela Merkel and her finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble are frequently caricatured-sometimes in Nazi uniform-in newspaper cartoons depicting
Greece as a German colony.
It can also be a catchword for money due, after Athens
renewed claims that Berlin owes it around 162 billion euros
($183 billion) — or around half the country’s public debt-in
reparations and an unreturned war loan. “Extension” and
“Bridge”-The EU says Greece must prolong its bailout or risk
defaulting on its debts and crashing out of the euro-zone.
The Greek government insists it wants a “bridge program”
instead, which would tie it over while it negotiates a new
Cartoons in Greece’s dailies have had a field day with
this, with Greece’s Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis depicted enthusiastically building bridges, only to find in one
case that his unfinished wooden creation was about to be
felled by a saw-wielding Merkel.
“Grexit” and “Dirty Exit”-A Greek default would likely
mean its exit from the euro-zone, but the knock-on effect
on its European neighbors feared in 2011 and 2012 may be
After the diplomatic efforts scrambled across the EU to
keep Athens in the zone, however, a failure to clinch a deal
before the bailout expires at the end of the month would
lead to a “dirty exit”-a term flung about by analysts but
strictly avoided by politicians. “Haircut”-Ruling radical left
party Syriza wants Greece’s creditors to write off part of the
money it owes. Faced with EU resistance, the government
appears open to settling for an extended deadline for debt
repayment and lower interest rates-which Varoufakis has
termed essentially a haircut with another name.
“Structural reforms”-This is the watchword of the central
banks, from Mario Draghi of the ECB to Jens Weidmann of
the Bundesbank, who never miss an occasion to remind
the Greek government, and other European countries, that
it’s the key to their future growth.
Their biggest fear? That concessions to Greece would
weaken the resolve of others such as Italy and Portugal to
implement reforms. “ELA”-This is the Emergency Liquidity
Assistance granted by the Bank of Greece under the
European Central Bank’s approval, and is the life-jacket
keeping the country’s banks afloat since the ECB cut off a
key funding avenue last week.
Critics worry the ELA is only serving to keep the Greek
banks alive artificially and have called for strict criteria to
govern access. — AFP
China’s Minsheng to invest 1bn
pounds in new London project
SHANGHAI: China Minsheng Investment Co Ltd (CMI), the
country’s largest private investment fund, said on Saturday it
would invest 1 billion pounds ($1.5 billion) in a Chinese-led
project to develop a new financial district in London. The
project is one of the largest Chinese investments in the
United Kingdom in recent years and one of the most significant for Minsheng, which launched last August with registered capital of 50 billion yuan.
The private equity firm said it would become the majority
investor in the project, which was unveiled in 2013 by
Chinese developer Advanced Business Park (ABP) and Mayor
Boris Johnson and touted as potentially London’s third financial centre after the City and Canary Wharf.
ABP, headed by little-known Beijing businessman Xu
Weiping, wants to develop a 14-hectare sliver of land at the
historic Royal Albert Dock in east London into 400,000 square
metres of offices and shops. Headed by Gong Wenbiao, the
former chairman of state-owned Minsheng Bank Corp,
Minsheng Investment claims no formal relationship with the
bank or the Chinese government despite the name.
In January, the fund’s international advisory committee, a
“They are changing the thrust of US policy to allow the
private sector in Cuba to blossom,” said Pedro Freyre, chair
of law firm Akerman LLP’s international practice. “Of course
there are two ends to this. We are still waiting to see how it
is going to play out in Cuba.” Under Cuban law, private sector entrepreneurs cannot independently import and
export products or services without a government license.
However, artists are allowed to sell their work to foreigners,
and there is also an exotic bird cooperative that obtained a
license in 2013.
Philip Peters, president of the Cuba Research Center in
Alexandria, Virginia, said the step put the ball in Cuba’s
court to see how it would react to opening up the private
“It’s a very important barrier that’s been broken. We’ll
see how the Cuban government reacts,” he said, saying
Obama was opening up trade in broad categories. “He’s not
micro-managing. President Obama is leaving it to the
imagination of both sides.”
After 18 months of secret talks, Obama and Cuban
President Raul Castro agreed in a Dec. 17 phone call on a
breakthrough prisoner exchange, the formal reopening of
embassies and an easing of some restrictions on commerce.
Obama’s call for an end to the economic embargo drew
resistance from Republicans who in January took control of
panel that includes former European prime ministers, Asian
tycoons and a Nobel laureate, assembled at Diaoyutai State
Guesthouse in Beijing for the first time to discuss its globalization strategy.
The fund has said it would invest broadly in areas ranging
from sustainable energy to real estate to business jet services.
The Chinese developers and London officials have envisioned attracting growing Asian companies to establish their
European headquarters at their business park, which is close
to the London City airport.
“After the project is completed, it will be the international
platform and foundation for Chinese companies and capital
to enter the European market,” Minsheng president Li
Huaizhen told reporters in Shanghai on Saturday, hours after
striking a deal with the UK finance ministry.
As China’s economy cools, its businesses are ploughing
money into projects overseas at such a pace that China’s outbound investment will soon overtake inbound flows.
China’s outbound direct investment surged 14.1 percent
to a new high of $102.9 billion last year, according to the
commerce ministry. — Reuters
ROME: A woman shows a flag of Greek party Syriza yesterday in Rome during a demonstration to support new hard-left
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (Syriza) during his talks in Brussels and to protest against austerity. — AFP
KSE shares mixed amid profit booking
KUWAIT: Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) ended last week
with mixed performance. The Price Index closed at
6,695.89 points, down by 0.06 percent from the week
before closing, the Weighted Index increased by 0.47
percent after closing at 449.88 points, whereas the KSX15 Index closed at 1,094.87 points up by 0.83 percent.
Furthermore, last week’s average daily turnover
decreased by 29.20 percent, compared to the preceding
week, reaching KD 23.37 million, whereas trading volume average was 228.64 million shares, recording an
decrease of 15.34 percent.
The stock market indicators closed with mixed performance in light of the traders’ different directions,
among a decreased trading activity when compared to
a week before, for both the volume and the value, as
some traders turned for the sale for profit operations,
ignoring the positive results announced by some companies during the last week, which negatively affected
the Price Index performance to end the week in the red
zone; whereas most of the purchasing operations concentrated on the blue-chip stocks, that had positive
impact on the Weighted and KSX-15 Indices to realize
gains for the second consecutive week.
By the end of last week, the number of companies
that disclosed its 2014 financial results reached 31 company, with approximately KD756.65 million, and 5.47
percent increase for the same companies for the same
period of year 2013. On the other hand, the market
capital for the 192 listed companies reached KD 28.75
billion, with an increase of 0.53 percent from a week
before, which was KD 28.60 billion.
Moreover, the stock market initiated the week’s session with good gains for the three indicators, supported
by the strong purchasing operations witnessed by most
of the traded stocks of different sectors, among a general state of optimism for the listed companies 2014
results. However, the stock market indicators witnessed
a mixed performance in the next session, whereas the
quick profit collection operations that concentrated on
the small-cap stocks, pushed the Price Index to record a
limited loss by the end of the session, whilst the
Weighted and KSX-15 indices continued recording
gains as an effect of the purchasing operations executed on some large-cap stocks.
On Tuesday’s session, the stock market indicators
performed in a stable environment, however with a
downward trend, as the Price Index and KSX-15 Index
recorded light losses, whilst the Weighted Index was
able to continue to increase, recording a limited growth
by the end of the session. On Wednesday session, all the
stock market indicators recorded losses, affected by the
strong selling operations witnessed by the market during the same session, which included many large-cap
and small-cap stocks. In addition, the stock market
returned by the end of the week’s session to vary in performance once again, as the Weighted and KSX-15
indices were able to increase by the end of the session,
supported by the return of the random purchasing
operations executed on some large-cap stocks, while
the Price Index continued its decline to lose all its gains
realized since the beginning of the week.
For the annual performance, the price index ended
last week recording 2.45 percent annual gain compared
to its closing in 2014, while the weighted index
increased by 2.51 percent, and the KSX-15 recorded 3.29
percent growth.
Sectors’ indices
Five of KSE’s sectors ended last week in the green
zone, while the other seven recorded declines. Last
week’s highest gainer was the Technology sector,
achieving 2.04 percent growth rate as its index closed at
929.65 points. Whereas, in the second place, the
Industrial sector’s index closed at 1,136.40 points
recording 0.74 percent increase. The Consumer Services
sector came in third as its index achieved 0.68 percent
growth, ending the week at 1,094.60 points.
On the other hand, the Consumer Goods sector
headed the losers list as its index declined by 2.01 percent to end the week’s activity at 1,208.55 points. The
Real Estate sector was second on the losers’ list, which
index declined by 0.69 percent, closing at 1,154.63
points, followed by the Telecommunications sector, as
its index closed at 621.37 points at a loss of 0.38 percent.
Sectors’ activity
The Financial Services sector dominated a total trade
volume of 469.25 million shares changing hands during
last week, representing 41.05 percent of the total mar-
ket trading volume. The Real Estate sector was second
in terms of trading volume as the sector’s traded shares
were 25.35 percent of last week’s total trading volume,
with a total of 289.85 million shares.
On the other hand, the Banks sector’s stocks were
the highest traded in terms of value; with a turnover of
KD 30.85 million or 26.41 percent of last week’s total
market trading value. The Financial Services sector took
the second place as the sector’s last week turnover was
KD 24.27 million represented 20.77 percent of the total
market trading value. — Prepared by the Studies &
Research Department
US stocks up as oil rises,
overseas fears abate
NEW YORK: American flags fly in front of the New York Stock Exchange, in New York. Stocks rose yesterday as
energy and technology stocks climbed. —AP
Fitch cuts Ukraine credit rating
WASHINGTON: Fitch downgraded Ukraine’s credit rating
a notch deeper in junk territory on Friday, citing an
increased probability that the conflict-hit country would
default. The rating firm lowered Ukraine to “CC” from
“CCC”, saying that the new International Monetary Fund
aid program announced Thursday would be inadequate
to meet its financing needs and private debt restructuring
looked “increasingly probable.”
Ukraine agreed to a $17.5 billion four-year bailout
from the IMF in exchange for undertaking economic
reforms. The loan replaces a previous two-year, $17 billion program announced in April that has proven inadequate to stabilize Ukraine’s finances, as the country fights
a pro-Russia insurgency in the industrialized east. “The
new IMF program... will help to close Ukraine’s financing
gap, but an associated restructuring of privately held
external debt appears increasingly probable,” Fitch said in
a statement.
“Sovereign creditworthiness has deteriorated.” Fitch
said the country’s fiscal deficit, including losses of state
energy company Naftogaz, reached 13 percent of gross
domestic product in 2014. It estimated that direct and
guaranteed debt rose to 72 percent of GDP in 2014.
“The escalation of the conflict with rebels in the eastern
regions of Donetsk and Lugansk has severely affected the
economy,” Fitch said. A ceasefire between the government
and the pro-Russia rebels was due to take effect today in
Ukraine, but fighting continued to rage on Friday. — AFP
NEW YORK: US stocks pushed higher for a second week
running as investor relief at higher oil prices and greater
confidence over Greek debt talks and Ukraine peace
prospects lifted the market.
The broad-based S&P 500 finished the week with a
flourish, closing at its first record of 2015 at 2,096.99 after
adding 41.52 points (2.02 percent). The Dow Jones
Industrial Average crossed its own threshold, breaching
18,000 for the first time this year to end at 18,019.35, up
195.06 (1.09 percent). The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite
Index gained 149.44 (3.15 percent) at 4,893.84.
“While investors recognize the market may be expensive, I don’t think too many people are calling for the next
crisis around the corner,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment
officer at BMO Private Bank.
The gains came despite some disappointing US data,
especially a January retail sales report that showed a
drop of 0.8 percent compared with the prior month.
That dulled some of the luster from last week’s surprisingly robust US jobs report. Yet, investors largely
shrugged off the data, focusing instead on the pickup in
the oil market, with US prices finishing above $50 a barrel for the second week in a row.
Investors took an optimistic view of a cease-fire
roadmap unveiled Thursday between Kiev and pro-Russian
rebels. Ukraine officials continued to speak cautiously of
the deal as fighting raged on Friday. They also saw reason
to be optimistic about ongoing talks between Greece and
the euro-zone over Athens’s demand for a new bailout deal,
taking cues from European markets, which rose Friday in
part due to expectations that an agreement will be reached
to avoid a Greek sovereign debt default.
Ablin said investors still do not know what to expect
from Greece, but have become less rattled by a potential
Greek departure from the currency bloc. “Investors increasingly believe that if Greece were to leave the eurozone, it
wouldn’t be the end of the world,” he said. “In fact, it could
catalyze growth.”
Apple soars, AmEx sinks
Among corporate news stories, Apple stole more headlines when it became the first public company to reach a
market value of $700 billion. The jump followed an upbeat
appraisal of the company’s iPhone and soon-to-arrive
smartwatch prospects by chief executive Tim Cook at a
technology conference. The technology giant rose 6.9 percent for the week, ending with a market capitalization
above $740 billion. The week’s most dramatic merger was
US online travel operator Expedia’s announcement that it
will buy rival Orbitz Worldwide for about $1.6 billion. The
deal is the latest move to consolidate the online travel
industry and comes less than a month after Expedia
announced the purchase of rival Travelocity in a $280 million deal.
Dow component American Express took a hit when it
announced that its venture to provide exclusive credit
cards at Costco Wholesale stores would end in March 2016.
American Express sought to extend the venture, but said it
was “unable to reach terms that would have made economic sense for our Company and shareholders.” Shares fell
8.2 percent for the week.
Shareholder activists continued to pressure big companies, with Nelson Peltz’s firm Trian Fund Management
amplifying its call for the election of four activist-backed
board members at DuPont and Harry Wilson, a corporate
reorganization specialist who worked on the Obama
administration’s auto task force, publicly calling for General
Motors to buy back at least $8 billion in shares. Next week’s
earnings calendar includes Wal-Mart Stores, one of the first
big retailers to report results for the critical holiday-shopping period. The calendar also includes data on the housing market, inflation and industrial production and the
release of minutes from the Federal Reserve’s January monetary policy meeting. — AFP
Address structural disorders
in Development Plan: Report
KUWAIT: In our report in the week before
last, we stated that the trend towards cutting
expenditures is a right move though it is just
a step on a long road. The starting point is to
guarantee the principle of sustainability for
the volume of public expenditures; more
importantly is their distribution in such a way
as to serve development goals that guarantee sustainability in the long term. Boasting
about value of projects that are expected to
execute is meaningless unless it is linked to
the number of job opportunities to be created for the Kuwait’s nationals. It is also meaningless unless it is linked to what serves the
support of Kuwait’s competitive position in its
transformation to a trade and finance center.
Cuts in the draft budget were about KD 4.1
billion below estimates of the current budget,
or 17.7 percent, which is positive. However,
about KD 3.2 billion were taken from the subsidies and salaries chapter, and KD 2 billion
out of KD 5.8 billion, or 35 percent, were from
subsidies. The salaries share from the cuts
was KD 1.2 billion, or 11 percent. This raises a
legitimate question regarding these substantial cuts in inflexible chapters and items, without having impact. The logical explanation is
that they are either imprecise, inflated or
contain irrelevant expenses. In all cases,
although the cuts give comfort, they generate concern with all budget chapters and
items. We firmly believe that we are owed a
convincing explanation for this inquiry from
the financial authorities.
As for allocation of expenditures, their volume at KD19.1 billion remains quite high.
Within the likely flow of nationals to the labor
market, requirements of horizontal housing,
not to mention health and education services, remain at unsustainable level even with a
$70 per barrel scenario. There are direct and
indirect means for more compression of public expenditures. However, this compression
has a certain limit that helps buy time, or a
step along the long road. The real challenge is
creating economic activities capable of creating genuine jobs that are transformable later
on to tax vessels that secure sustained
income flow.
On April 1, 2015, the new budget becomes
effective and so do the 5-year development
plan and the financial policy, both expenditures and general revenues, which is one of
the main tools to achieving the Plan’s objectives, but without any connection between
the two until now.
Early indicators unfortunately foretell that
the fate of this is the same as its predecessor
with the measurement tool for its execution
success or failure, which is the volume of cash
contractual commitment for the contemplated projects without qualitative and quantitative linkage with the gaps or structural disorders that are bridged, most important of
which are the labor market disorders and the
imbalance of financing the structure of public
finance, and without connection with the
positive goals, or what projects accomplish in
enhancing Kuwait’s competitiveness as a
financial and trade hub. This necessitates linking the educational policy and utilizing the
foreign policy to their service and even with
the description of the infra-structure which
serves the goal.
Certainly, the change affecting the oil
market and weakening it is a long term development. Prior to that development, the
State’s institutions were operating like
autonomous cantons, which was bad but
possible during high financial surpluses. The
main objective of the financial policies during
such surpluses was distributional and not
developmental. The policy rule was to take
care of urgent matters. The situation now is
different and the only thing that saves the
country is the compulsory commitment to a
clear and unified vision, and the indicators so
far are not promising.
Financial administration accounts
In its monthly follow-up report for the
state’s financial accounts (as published on its
website) until December 2014, the Ministry
of Finance indicates a continued rise the revenues. Until 31/12/2014, i.e. nine months of
the current fiscal year 2014/2015, total collected revenues amounted to approximately
KD 21.202 billion, higher by 5.6 percent than
the total estimated revenues for the entire
current fiscal year at approximately KD20.069
billion, a noticeable decline by -11.6 percent
below the total received revenues during the
same period of last fiscal year 2013/2014 in
the amount of KD 23.984 billion.
In details, the bulletin estimates actual oil
revenues until 31/12/2014 by about KD
19.406 billion, higher by 3.2 percent than the
estimated oil revenues for the entire current
fiscal year in the amount of about KD 18.806
billion, or about 91.5 percent of total
received revenues. Therefore, received oil
revenues during the first nine months of the
current fiscal year were less by about KD 2.791 billion, about -12.6 percent below its
counterpart value during the same period of
last fiscal year. An amount of KD 1.796 billion
was collected from non-oil revenues during
the same period, at a monthly average of
about KD 199.575 million, while the non-oil
revenues estimated for the entire current fis-
cal year were about KD 1.263 billion. This
means the realized amount will be more for
the entire fiscal year by about KD 1.132 billion than the estimate.
Expenditures allocations for the current
fiscal year were estimated at about KD
23.212 billion, of which an amount of KD
10.574 billion was actually spent -according
to the bulletin- until 31/12/2014, a monthly
average of spending by KD 1.175 billion. We,
however, recommend not to rely on this figure because there are expenses which have
become due but have not been actually
spent. In addition, spending will be higher
when settlements in the last month of the
fiscal year and consequently in the final
account. Although the bulletin concludes
that the budget surplus in the end of the first
nine months of the current fiscal year scored
about KD 10.627 billion, we publish it without recommending its endorsement as we
believe that the actual surplus figure of the
budget will be less than the published figures when the final account is issued.
In reality, the current fiscal year will prove
to be essentially different than those experienced in recent years, and unfortunately it
will be a negative change. The average price
per barrel of Kuwaiti crude oil was $42.3 for
January 2015, and it is expected to creep up
further during February and March. However,
the price is also expected to remain significantly lower than the average for the first
half of the current fiscal year, and it presents
severe difficulties for the current budget.
Financial and monetary statistics
The Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) stated in
its monthly monetary statistics bulletin for
December 2014, published on its website,
that the balance of total public debt instruments has increased by KD 60 million to KD
1.587 billion at the end of December 2014
(KD 1.527 billion at the end of December
2013). Public debt instruments consist of
Treasury bonds, longer-term, with a balance
by KD 1.587 billion (KD 1.527 billion at the
end of December 2013), and the Treasury
bills with “zero balance”. Average interest rate
on Treasury bonds, for one year term, was 1
percent. Local banks capture about 98.4 percent of total public debt instruments (around
98.4 percent at the end of December 2013).
Thus, total local public debt scored about KD
1.587 billion, or about 3.2 percent of the
nominal GDP for 2013, of about KD 49.863
The Central Bank of Kuwait bulletin indicates that total credit facilities to residents
offered from local banks amounted to
approximately KD 30.751 billion, approximately 55.4 percent of total assets of local
banks, an increase by about KD 1.790 billion
from its amount at the end of December
2013. This value represents a growth rate of
about 6.2 percent in 2014. The growth rates
of credit facilities in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008,
2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 scored
approximately 19.9 percent, 26.3 percent,
34.9 percent, 17.5 percent, 6.1 percent, 0.4
percent, 1.6 percent, 5 percent and 8.1 percent respectively.
Total personal facilities scored about KD
12.462 billion, or about 40.5 percent of total
credit facilities (approximately KD 11.282 billion at the end of December 2013), a growth
rate by approximately 10.5 percent. As issue
that requires observation and supervision.
Value of installed loans scored about KD
8.112 billion, or 65.1 percent of total personal
facilities, for purchase of securities about KD
2.827 billion, or 22.7 percent of total personal
facilities, and KD 1.199 billion for consumer
loans. Credit facilities for real estate sector
scored approximately KD 7.889 billion, or
25.7 percent of the total (about KD 7.601 billion at the end of December 2013), of
which two-third were attributed to personal
and real estate facilities. For trade sector they
scored about KD 2.838 billion, or 9.2 percent,
(about KD 2.744 billion at the end of
December 2013). About KD 1.906 billion
went for the construction sector, 6.2 percent,
(KD 1.917 billion at the end of December
2013), KD 1.743 billion went for industry sector, 5.7 percent, (KD 1.774 billion at the end
of December 2013), and for financial institutions -excluding banks- KD 1.412 billion, or
4.6 percent, (KD 1.612 billion at the end of
December 2013).
The bulletin also notes that total deposits
in local banks scored some KD 37.625 billion,
representing approximately 67.8 percent of
total local banks liabilities, with an increase
by about KD 1.182 billion, from what its
amount at the end of December 2013, a
growth rate of approximately 3.2 percent. Of
these deposits, KD 32.339 billion, 86 percent,
in the comprehensive definition, including
major institutions like the Public Institution
of Social Securities -excluding the government- belong to the private sector clients,
with KD 29.447 billion, or 91.1 percent,
deposits for private sector’s clients and the
equivalent of KD 2.891 billion in foreign currencies for private sector’s clients, too.
The average interest rates on customers
time deposits, in both the Kuwaiti dinar and
the US dollar, compared to the end of
December 2013, the bulletin states the dif-
ference in the average interest rates on customers time deposits is still in favor of the
Kuwaiti dinar, in the end of the two periods.
It scored approximately 0.449 points, for 1month deposits, about 0.519 for 3-month
deposits, 0.591 for 6-month deposits, and
0.614 for 12-month deposits. But that difference at the end of December 2013 was
0.407 points for 1-month deposits, 0.460
points for 3-month deposits, 0.528 points
for 6-month deposits, and 0.509 points for
12-month deposits. The monthly average of
the Kuwaiti dinar ’s exchange rate for
December 2014 against the dollar was at
291.893 fils, a decrease of about -3.3 percent
vis-a-vis 282.393 fils per one dollar for
December 2013 average.
Gulf Bank financial results
The Gulf Bank announced its results for
the fiscal year ending December 31, 2014
which indicate that the bank achieved profits, after deducting due taxes, by KD 35.5
million (KD 32.2 million for 2013), up by KD
3.3 million, or by 10.3 percent. The bank
achieved operating profit before
provisions/impairment losses by KD 106.8
million, down by KD 2.7 million versus KD
109.4 million.
The bank’s total operational incomes
scored KD 162.8 million, a drop by KD 4.2
million, or by 2.5 percent, below KD 167 million for last year. This was due to the drop in
the item of net gains from dealing in foreign
currencies and derivatives by KD 5 million to
KD 8.6 million vis-a-vis KD 13.6 million in
2013. Item of net interest income also
dropped by KD 3.7 million or by 3.1 percent,
and scored KD 117.7 million (KD 121.4 million for the same period 2013) due to
decrease in interest income by 0.2 percent
compared with increase in interests expense
by 7.6 percent. Item of realized gains from
disposal of investments available-for-sale
increased by KD 3.8 million to KD 6.1 million
versus KD 2.3 million in the end of 2013.
Total operational expenses dropped by
KD 1.5 million, 2.6 percent, and scored KD 56
million versus KD 57.5 million in the end of
2013, due to the drop in the other expenses
items by KD 3.1 million to KD 8.5 million (KD
11.6 million). Item of staff expenses
increased by KD 1.7 million to KD 41.3 million versus KD 39.5 million. Analysis of the
bank’s financial statements indicates clearly
that the main reason for the bank’s profits
resulted from the retreat in total provisions
which scored KD 69.5 million (KD 75.6 million in 2013). As such, net profit margin of
the bank rose to 21.3 percent (19.3 percent
in 2013).
The bank’s financial statements show its
total assets increased by KD 266.1 million, or
by 5.3 percent, to KD 5.331 billion vis-a-vis
KD 5.065 billion in 2013. Item of loans and
advances to customers increased by 6.6 percent, about KD 221.9 million putting their
total at KD 3.583 billion (67.2 percent of total
assets) versus KD 3.361 billion (66.4 percent
of total assets) in December 2013. Item of
cash and cash equivalents increased by KD
73.9 million, or by 13.9 percent, to KD 607.4
million (11.4 percent of total assets) compared with KD 533.4 million (10.5 percent of
total assets) due to the rise in deposits with
banks and other financial institutions maturing within 30 days by about 26.9 percent,
(which represent 40.2 percent of total cash
and cash equivalents in 2014).
Figures indicate that the Bank’s liabilities
(without calculating total equity) increased
by KD 237.9 million, or by 5.2 percent, to KD
4.820 billion (KD 4.582 billion in the end of
2013). This resulted from increased customers’ deposits by KD 335.5 million, or by
10.1 percent, to KD 3.662 billion (76 percent
of total liabilities) compared with KD 3.326
billion (72.6 percent of total liabilities). Item
of deposits from financial institutions
declined by KD 81.1 million, or by 10.7 percent, to KD 678.7 million (14.1 percent of
total liabilities) compared with KD 759.8 million (16.6 percent of total liabilities).
Results of analyzing financial statements
indicate that all bank profitability indexes
increased compared with 2013. Return on
average capital (ROC) increased to 12.5 percent (11.9 percent). Return on average equities (ROE) increased to 7.1 percent (6.9 percent). Return on average assets (ROA),
increased slightly, to 0.7 percent (0.6 percent). The bank announced intentions to distribute 5 percent bonus shares, the same as
in last year. (EPS) increased to 13 fils (11 fils).
(P/E) scored 22.3 times (34.1 times). (P/B)
scored 1.6 times (2.1 times) in 2013.
Weekly performance of KSE
The per formance of Kuwait Stock
Exchange (KSE) for the last week was mixed,
where the indices of the trade value, the
trade volume, and number of transactions
show a decrease, while the general index
shows an increase. Al-Shall Index (value
index) closed at 451.3 points at the closing
of last Thursday, showing an increase of
about 3.4 points or about 0.8 percent compared with its level last week and it’s an
increase by 7.3 points or about 1.6 percent
compared with the end of 2014.
Mercedes-Benz Museum loans Classic
Cars to Kuwait Concours d’Elegance
KUWAIT: The Mercedes-Benz Museum of Stuttgart, Germany,
is loaning two of its prized motor vehicles to the Kuwait
Historical, Vintage and Classic Car Museum to be displayed at
the upcoming Concours d’Elegance. A R Albisher & Z Alkazemi
Co, authorized general distributors of Mercedes-Benz have
confirmed the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut CoupÈ as the most valuable
car in the Mercedes-Benz collection, and the iconic MercedesBenz 500 K Luxus Roadster is flown to Kuwait especially for
the event from 11 February to the 18 February.
Showcasing the extensive history of Mercedes-Benz and
its associated brands, the Mercedes-Benz Museum is home to
over 160 classic cars dating back to the earliest days of
motoring history, and includes every great model ever produced by the German titan. From Carl Benz’s pioneering of
the modern car to the latest feats in automotive advancement, the museum holds an unprecedented collection of car
models documenting the rich involvement the MercedesBenz name has with the history of the automobile.
Closer to home, the Kuwait Historical, Vintage and Classic
Car Museum is dedicated to the careful preservation and display of a big collection of classic cars, representing more
than a century of motor history and connecting future generations with a fascinating automotive past.
“The decision for the Mercedes-Benz Museum of Stuttgart
to loan two of its exceptional models to Kuwait for Concours
d’Elegance is a significant one and testament to Kuwait’s
leading position in Middle Eastern classic car community. We
are delighted to give car enthusiasts the opportunity to
admire these amazing examples of automotive history first
hand,” said Michael Ruehle, CEO, Abdul Rahman Albisher &
Zaid Alkazemi Company.
Dating back to 1936, the Mercedes-Benz 500 K was the
answer to growing customer demand for greater luxury and
performance. Succeeding the Mercedes-Benz 380, it offered a
larger, more powerful 5-litre straight eight 160hp engine that
weighed a substantial 600kg, and reached a speed of
160km/h. With opulent paintwork, fenders mimicking a tidal
appearance, steel disk and spoke wheels with two rear
mounted spare wheels and a shorter wheelbase, the luxury
roadster made for a highly impressionable vehicle that is currently one of the most sought after vintage models. With
impeccable interior design, a beautifully streamlined body
and a promise of long-distance travel comfort, the 500 K was
to the 1930s what the S-Class Coupe is to today. A highly
prized heritage piece rarely seen due to its limited production of 342 pieces, it was the first of many models that have
helped elevate the Mercedes-Benz name to what it is today.
the sports car World Championship in 1955. Characterised by
its elongated bonnet and a distinctive swelling over the passenger side of the hood, the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut’s front-mid
engine angles to the right to reduce the profile and allow for
maximum aerodynamics. The striking exterior offers sidemounted exhaust pipes, air vents and wire-spoke wheels, all
of which are complemented by the vehicle’s distinctive gullwing doors.
Concours d’Elegance is renowned for bringing together
The Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut, the road-legal version of the iconic two-seat racer that took competitive racing
by storm in the 1950s, is indisputably the most valuable
model ever manufactured by Mercedes-Benz. A total of ten
300 SLR sports cars were built in 1955, only two of which
were fitted with coupÈ bodies. Derived from the MercedesBenz W196 Formula One racer, the three-litre water-cooled
straight eight thoroughbred weighed in the vicinity of
1,000kg and reached maximum speeds of 280km/h. The
fastest road-legal closed car in the world, the 300 SLR won
true motoring aficionados to admire, compare and ultimately
judge a selection of the most unique and well maintained
vintage cars from around the world. Taking place at Marina
Crescent from 11 - 18 February, the 2015 edition will feature
over 60 historical cars.
A.R.Albisher & Z.Alkazemi Co. is also premiering the two
new models from Mercedes-Benz - the Mercedes-AMG GT
and Mercedes-Maybach S-Class at this year’s Concours
d’Elegance. These vehicles will be shown for the first time in
Kuwait at this event.
Gulf Bank announces winners of Al-Danah daily draws
KUWAIT: Gulf Bank held its Al-Danah daily draws on February
8, 2015, announcing the names of its winners for the week of
February 1 to February 5. The Al-Danah daily draws include
draws each working day for two prizes of KD1000 per winner.
The winners are:
(Sunday 1/2): Fahad Mohsen Hamed, Sulaiman Ahmed
Mohammed Al-Rowdhan
(Monday 2/2): Mubarak Shehab Khalaf Al-Enezi, Rana
Snoubar Sayed Ishfaq
(Tuesday 3/2): Shareefa Lafta Abdullah, Zahra Hassan
Mohammed Ali
(Wednesday 4/2): Mani Parakunnel Joseph, Adel
Mohammed Hussain Al-Musaed
(Thursday 5/2): Fatma Al-Sayed Bunayan Taher, Abeer
Fouzi Khoulaif Al-Thefiri
Gulf Bank’s Al-Danah 2015 draw lineup includes daily draws
(2 winners per working day each receive KD1000). Al-Danah’s
1st quarterly draw will be held on 26 March (KD200,000,
KD125,000, and KD25,000), 2nd quarter - 25 June (KD250,000,
KD125,000, and KD25,000), 3rd Quarter - 17 September
(KD500,000, KD125,000, and KD25,000).
The final Al-danah draw for the million dinars will be held
on 7 January, 2016 whereby the Al-Danah millionaire will be
announced alongside winners of KD250,000 and KD50,000.
Al-Danah allows customers to win cash prizes and simultaneously encourages them to save. Each KD100 gives the customer 1 chance daily which accumulates day by day. The more
money saved and the longer it is in the account, the more
chances individuals stand to win. Every
Al-Danah prize draws will automatically be deposited into
the winner’s account within two working days. Open an
account and Deposit now to Win Big, Live big, with Al-Danah
Al-Danah also offers a number of unique services including
the Al-Danah Deposit Only ATM card which helps account
holders deposit their money at their convenience; as well as
the Al-Danah calculator to help customers calculate their
chances of becoming an Al-Danah winner.
Gulf Bank’s Al-Danah account is open to Kuwaitis and all
residents of Kuwait. Customers who open an account and/ or
deposit more will enter the draw within two days. To take part
in the Al-Danah 2015 upcoming yearly draw, customers must
have an Al-Danah account containing at least KD 200. To be
part of the Al-Danah draws, customers can visit one of Gulf
Bank’s 59 branches, transfer on line, or call the Customer
Contact Center on 1805805 for assistance and guidance.
Customers can also log on to, to find out more about Al-Danah and who the winners are.
Qualitative leaps in higher
education in Bahrain
RCSI Bahrain Perspectives
Zain’s new roaming
package for KD4 only
KUWAIT: Zain, the leading telecommunications company in
Kuwait, launched yesterday its newest roaming package to
provide customers with more international talk time at a more
attractive price during their travels.
Customers can now enjoy 60 minutes of international talk
time for only KD 4 per month, as the package was specially
designed to enhance the customer’s travel experience by giving them peace of mind and convenience. As a leading company, Zain has a deep understanding of customers’ telecommunication needs when travelling, and it is constantly introducing offers and services that are tailored to match customers’ expectations and needs during their travels, and to
keep them connected to their families and businesses.
Zain’s introduction of this latest roaming package at a
competitive price is in line with the company’s commitment
to enriching customers’ experience wherever they may be.
The Royal College of Surgeons In Ireland - Bahrain (RCSI
Bahrain) welcomes the recent inauguration by the Higher
Education Council (HEC) under its general secretary Professor
Riyadh Hamzah, and for the first time in Bahrain, of two
national strategies launched simultaneously in higher education and research for the next ten years. This development
was a major milestone in shaping the future direction of
higher education in this country and its predicted impact on
the economy, public sector and society. The two strategies
produce an in-depth analysis of the current situation in higher education and research in Bahrain and the Gulf region,
whilst reflecting the extensive deliberations and discussions
that were held with different public and private stakeholders.
The launch of both strategies highlights the reciprocal and
integrative nature of higher education and research. The
strategies will serve as a road map for development and will
signal a new era of opportunity for expansion, internationalization and growth in Bahrain. The expressed vision in the
strategy documents is to create a high quality sector which
fuels the economy, and through knowledgeable, skilled and
work ready graduates exiting from Universities, will promote
excellence in the public and private sectors. In summary, creating a SMART Bahrain and SMART economy.
The HEC, in its approach to implementing a new strategic
direction, acknowledges the many challenges exist in
resourcing the necessary reforms and in capacity building,
both at national and institutional levels. The National higher
education strategy sets out a series of high level objectives
and themes which underpin economic growth, investment
and innovation. The guiding themes relate to quality
enhancement; skills for the future; strategic access; becoming
a regional hub for higher education; technology in education
and entrepreneurship. Such aspirations for higher education
are noble and sit comfortably with similar strategies from
other countries across the world, reflecting the common
issues faced globally. The National Research strategy recognizes the centrality of research in a knowledge based economy and its role in defining a strong university system which
supports a culture of knowledge, evidence and innovation.
The expressed vision for building a research-based economy
will lead to enduring economic and social benefits through
innovation and commercialization.
One of the themes of the National Higher Education strategy is to promote Bahrain as a regional hub for quality higher
institutions with a strong quality brand. RCSI Bahrain, this
year, celebrates ten years of its existence as a University in
Bahrain. Drawing on a secure academic reputation built over
the last 230 years by RCSI in Dublin, RCSI Bahrain is well positioned in addressing the challenges presented in the new
strategic documents. The RCSI Bahrain Strategic Plan for
2012 - 2017 includes three pillars; Education; Research; and
Community Engagement, and sets out a challenging agenda
for University growth and development. At RCSI Bahrain
there has been exponential growth in student numbers and
as well as higher education opportunities for students from
Bahrain, the University is a great attraction for international
and regional students and currently there are over 35 nationalities from the Gulf, USA, Canada and Europe among the student population. Recently, the university after been inspected by the Irish medical council, received a recognition for 5
In promoting the creation of an entrepreneurial ecosystem for students in Bahrain, the HEC have been innovative
and fully understand the potential benefits to all students,
employers and society of enterprise education. RCSI Bahrain
welcomes the development by the HEC of a credit bearing
module in entrepreneurship that will be made available to all
students regardless of their program of study. The value of
entrepreneurial education is clear as it promotes creativity,
innovation, showing initiative and risk taking, as well as the
ability to plan and manage projects. Allied to entrepreneurship is the development of a Technology Enhanced Learning
strategy (TEL). RCSI Bahrain has a strategic objective to
enhance its TEL capabilities with a goal of empowering faculty and students to embrace new pedagogies and research
Entrepreneurship and innovation are productive when
they are underpinned by an inter-disciplinary approach in
education and research in addition to a fully integrated
ecosystem including industry. RCSI Bahrain is working on a
policy that engages the students in an inter-professional education and training approach, with innovative plans to pilot a
project that brings medical and nursing students together for
learning. The main objective of such plans is to prepare students for the reality of the work environment, which requires
professionals to work as a team. There is an opportunity for
our medical and nursing students to work as a team on carefully selected health scenarios designed to be conducted in
the clinical simulation center. To date, most notably, selected
students avail of international opportunities to work together
on charity projects in Lesotho, Vietnam and this year in India.
The RCSI Bahrain medical and nursing curriculum already
deliver on all six of the HEC’s “Expected Key Outcomes by
2024” for Higher Education Institutes. In keeping with these
expected outcomes, the University has recently added new
learning experiences for undergraduates which are specifically focused on improving both hard and soft skills of future
graduates, to be “work ready” for the work environment. A
pilot sub-internship (SUB-I) has been introduced into one of
our affiliated teaching hospitals, King Hamad University
Hospital. The SUB-I program is delivered to all students in
their final medical year. The aim of the SUB-I is to prepare the
student for the demanding experience of internship in the
hospital after graduation.
Through the Research pillar of its Strategic Plan, RCSI
Bahrain has worked tenaciously towards understanding disease processes, healthcare interventions and health services
within Bahrain. Such actions are consistent with the Bahrain
Research Strategy of enhancing the application of global
health research to the unique medical needs of Bahraini citizens. This year, in celebration of its 10 year anniversary, RCSI
Bahrain will offer the DILMUN Research Fellowships of six fully funded PhD scholarships. The supervision arrangements
will afford Bahraini students the opportunity to spend time in
Dublin and Bahrain. Such awards will provide research
opportunities to health professionals, ensure international
evaluation and strengthen research capacity in the health
services of Bahrain.
Central to the HEC strategic documents is the pursuit for
excellence through quality teaching and leading edge curriculum. This presents an opportunity to reconsider the
autonomy of Universities, which meet the criteria of the HEC
and may also have international recognition levels.
Autonomy for a University is an honor to be earned though
the pursuance of excellence and reputation, incorporating
models of governance, accountability and transparency.
Our 10th anniversary celebrations are a major focus for
the university this year and we will be running a number of
events throughout the year that will carry this theme. As a
medical university, fitness and wellbeing are very important
theme to promote and core to our values. RCSI Bahrain
recently announced a $700,000 investment in its Sports and
Recreation facilities. The funding has been used to construct
a FIFA approved all-weather floodlit football pitch and a refit
of the existing Sports and Recreation facility, which includes
new flooring for the basketball courts, and a number of other
works. We are also looking to host our first major alumni
event in 2015, which will hopefully bring together our ever
expanding group of alumnus.
RCSI Bahrain education and research activities are benchmarked against internationally recognised standards of excellence in teaching and research and the University looks forward to enhancing its role in contributing to the education
and research objectives detailed in the new HEC strategies for
higher education and research in Bahrain. The strategic goal
was, still is, and will continue to be a full commitment to
excellence in education and to a brighter future for Bahrain.
5 ways unmanned drones could affect American food supply
WASHINGTON: Herding cattle. Counting
fish. Taking an animal’s temperature.
Applying pesticides.
When it comes to drones, “your imagination can go pretty wild in terms of what
would be possible,” says Roger Johnson,
president of the National Farmers Union.
This month, the Federal Aviation
Administration issued the first permit for
agricultural use of unmanned aerial vehicles. Steven Edgar, president and CEO of
ADAVSO, says his Idaho-based business
will use a lightweight, fixed-wing drone to
survey fields of crops.
Drone technology, already used in other countries, can make farmers more efficient by helping them locate problem
spots in vast fields or ranchlands.
Increased efficiency could mean lower
costs for consumers and less impact on
the environment if farmers used fewer
chemicals because drones showed them
exactly where to spray. The Association for
Unmanned Vehicle Systems International,
a trade group, says agriculture could
account for 80 percent of all commercial
drone use, once government regulations
allow it. That could be a while. The Federal
Aviation Administration has been working
for years on rules that would balance the
desire for commercial flights of small
drones with the need to prevent collisions
involving manned aircraft. Five ways
drones could affect the food supply:
Scouting farms
The first agriculture drones are looking
at massive fields of crops to scout out
where crops are too wet, too dry, too diseased or too infested with pests. They can
help farmers count plants or measure
their height. Farmers can now use satellite
technology, but it’s slower and less
detailed than images from low-flying
drone. “This is about getting the most productivity from every square inch of a
farm,” says ADAVSO’s Edgar. Alabama
farmer Don Glenn said he would buy a
drone or use a service that provides drone
surveillance on his farm of corn, wheat,
soybeans and canola. It’s hard to survey
corn fields when they are 8 feet to 10 feet
tall, he says. Drones can carry different
tools, including high-resolution cameras,
infrared sensors and thermal sensors.
Ground-penetrating radar could even
measure soil conditions.
Applying chemicals
Once the land is surveyed, farmers
could use that data to narrow the areas
that need treatment. If a plot of farmland
is infested with weeds, for example, a
farmer could spray a small amount of herbicide just in that area, instead of an
entire field, to kill them. Farmers hope
that they eventually could use drones to
do the spraying. Kevin Price of the Iowabased drone company RoboFlight
Systems says that kind of precision would
put farmers at a huge advantage, helping
them reduce the costs of chemicals and
their application.
Playing cowboy
The National Farmers Union’s Johnson
says his father used to fly a plane over his
ranch and his neighbors’ to spot escaped
cattle when he was growing up in North
Dakota. That’s something a drone could do
with far less money and effort. Lia Reich of
the UAV manufacturer PrecisionHawk says
the company’s drones can use thermal
sensors to take the temperature of cattle.
The data comes back as bands of color,
and “if all of the cattle look green and one
looks dark purple then that one has a
higher temperature,” she said. Drones
could help ranchers count cattle, disturb
pests that are aggravating livestock or
even apply insecticide to an animal.
Finding fish
A University of Maryland project is
developing drone technology to monitor
fish in the Chesapeake Bay. Matt Scassero,
the project director, says the idea is that a
laser-based sensor mounted on a drone
would allow scientists to see through the
water and measure the size of a school of
fish. Researchers could ascertain the conditions of the water, too. Some drones can
land on water, making it possible to measure water quality, as well.—AP
Obama brings tech firms
into cybersecurity push
SAN FRANCISCO: US President Barack
Obama called Friday on Silicon Valley to
put aside distrust of the government and
become allies in defending cyberspace
from terrorists, hackers and spies. Obama’s
call came at a California summit, where he
signed an executive order aimed at
spurring better and faster sharing of cyber
threats between the private sector and
“This has to be a shared mission,” Obama
said at a White House summit on cybersecurity at Stanford University, considered
the birthplace of Google, Yahoo, and other
technology titans. “So much of our computer networks and critical infrastructure are in
the private sector, which means government cannot do this alone. But the fact is
that the private sector can’t do it alone
either, because it’s government that often
has the latest information on new threats.”
He likened the Internet to the “wild, wild
West” and said that the government was
expected to be the sheriff. Apple chief
executive Tim Cook endorsed the effort as
he addressed the packed conference prior
to Obama. Improving cybersecurity “is an
enormous task, and no single company can
accomplish it on its own,” Cook said, while
pressing the case for improved privacy protection as well. “We believe we can bring
about a future that fully embraces both privacy and security; we must get this right,”
Cook said.
Sony, Snowden in focus
The summit comes amid increased concerns over cybersecurity following a major
intrusion last year into the network of Sony
Pictures blamed on North Korea, and data
breaches exposing the personal data of
tens of millions of Americans. Part of the
reason the White House held the summit in
Silicon Valley is to close a rift opened when
a massive US online surveillance program
was exposed by former National Security
Agency contractor Edward Snowden. Many
tech firms and civil liberties activists have
said they would back a cybersecurity plan
only if accompanied by reforms of NSA surveillance. “Grappling how government protects the American people from adverse
events, while at the same time making sure
that government itself is not abusing its
capabilities, is hard,” Obama said before
signing the executive order.
“When people go online, we shouldn’t
have to forfeit the basic privacy we are entitled to as Americans.” During his remarks,
Cook cautioned that history has shown sacrificing privacy can have dire conse quences. “Too many people do not feel free
to practice their religion, or express their
opinion or love who they choose,” Cook
said. “In a world in which that information
can make the difference between life and
death, if those of us in positions of responsibility fail to do everything in our power to
protect the right to privacy, we risk something far more valuable than money; we
risk our way of life.”
Seeing classified info
Rapid information sharing is considered
an essential element of effective cybersecurity, because it enables companies to work
together to respond to threats and thwart
the spread of attacks. Obama’s executive
order lays out a framework for expanded
information sharing designed to help companies work together, and work with the
federal government, to quickly identify and
protect against cyber threats. The new
measure goes beyond a similar order
signed by Obama last February, by allowing
for cooperation between the Department
of Homeland Security and private sector
entities aimed at sharing data on threats. It
also makes it easier for private sector firms
to gain access to classified threat information to step up cyber defenses.
In January, the White House made a
renewed push for a new cybersecurity law,
asking the new Congress to revive an initiative stalled over the past few years. A White
House statement said the order “paves the
way for new legislation” by establishing a
framework for private sector information
sharing networks. “Information sharing
doesn’t sound very threatening unless it is
your information that others want to share,”
said Electronic Frontier Foundation senior
staff attorney Lee Tien. “The new executive
order may encourage information sharing,
but it’s unclear whether it will further the
public’s interest in accountable information
sharing or in the privacy of their personal
information, given the roles of the intelligence and law enforcement communities.”—AFP
GIRONDE: Technicians work on the assembly chain of French Rafale fighter aircrafts at the Dassault Aviation plant in Merignac, near
Bordeaux. —AFP
Scientists try to unravel global
warming impact on jet stream
Researcher studies ‘very messy’ changes
MONTREAL: A winter of strange weather and
turbulent transatlantic flights has scientists
asking: Has a predicted climate imbalance of
the jet stream begun? The Arctic is warming
faster than other parts of the world, and scientists believe that is having a dramatic
impact on the jet stream, which may be
responsible for the unusual weather and
stronger upper atmospheric winds of late.
On January 8, thousands of Britons were
left without electricity in the aftermath of the
most violent storms to hit the isles in more
than a century. British Airways Flight 114 carried by strong winds journeyed from New
York to London in a record five hours and 16
minutes. Several jetliners flying from Europe
to North America in recent weeks faced powerful headwinds, which forced them to make
unscheduled mid-flight stops to refuel.
Canada’s easternmost Goose Bay airport on
the shores of Labrador in December and
January welcomed several large passenger
jets that had spent all of their fuel fighting
Some days, the tiny, remote airport’s tarmac has been lined with as many as a dozen
Airbus or Boeing jetliners waiting to refuel,
airport operations chief Goronwy Price said.
“When the weather patterns are not right, we
have a constant stream of jets coming in for
gas. When things are good, you don’t see
them,” said Price. The jet stream-a narrow, variable band of westerly air currents miles above
the Earth-is strongest in winter, when boundaries between hot tropical and cold polar air
masses are most pronounced. Currents can be
even more turbulent at high altitudes flown in
by jetliners some 10 kilometers above the
Earth, where winds can reach 300 kilometers
per hour.
‘Chaotic atmosphere’
Since 2012, researcher Jennifer Francis of
Rutgers University in New Jersey has been trying to develop new scientific tools to study
these “very messy” changes in the jet stream.
She revealed her preliminary findings to the
Royal Society of Britain last fall. “Last winter
and this winter the jet stream has been
unusually strong,” she said, adding that scientists expect more of the same in coming years.
“The Arctic melting,” she explained, “is happening very rapidly and it must be having an
impact on the jet stream.”
But not every expert feels the same way.
Climate expert James Screen of the University
of Exeter, who recently co-authored an as yet
unpublished paper on the impact of Arctic
warming on the jet stream, is skeptical of any
direct link between the dramatic retreat of
Arctic sea ice and more turbulent air travel. “I
have not seen any evidence to suggest a
trend in the speed of the jet stream over the
past few decades,” he said in an email. He
added, however: “That is not to say that climate change may not impact the jet stream in
the future.”
The jet stream changes from year to year
due to natural climate variability, Screen
explained, so it is difficult to detect “robust
trends.” Reading University climatologist
Paul Williams told AFP that “equator-to-pole
temperature difference is decreasing in the
bottom few kilometers of the atmosphere
because of rapid Arctic warming.” Research
shows “evidence that the lower part of the
jet stream is weakening as a consequence,”
Williams said. But planes cruise at higher
altitudes, where wind shears are believed to
be strengthening. More study is needed, he
said, but the impacts on aviation in the coming decades “could be more clear-air turbulence, resulting in a bumpier ride for passengers.”—AFP
Argentine youth long for
pricey high-tech gadgets
SAN FRANCISCO: A Marine Osprey flies past the Golden Gate Bridge in San
Francisco as part of a convoy carrying President Barack Obama from San Francisco
to Palo Alto, Calif for a summit on cybersecurity and consumer protection at
Stanford University. —AP
CALIFORNIA: A man checks out his iPhone 6 Plus outside the Apple store in
Pasadena, California. Kill switches that render stolen smartphones useless have
credited with stifling robberies and thefts in London, New York City, and San
Francisco. In London, the number of reports of smartphones being stolen from
people dropped 40 percent last year, after kill switches were introduced there,
according to officials. San Francisco last year recorded a 27 percent decrease in
overall mobile phone robberies, and a 40 percent plunge in robberies targeting
iPhones, according to the district attorney here. —AFP
BUENOS AIRES: Ten-year-old Cloe Barrios
spent a year saving for an iPod, a struggle
shared by many Argentine youth scrambling
to keep up with technology despite economic woes that make such gadgets exorbitantly
pricey. The third-largest economy in Latin
America, Argentina was one of the most
plugged-in countries in the 1990s. But its
high inflation, devalued currency and
exchange controls have produced infrastructure failures and a dearth of technological
gadgetry today.
Cloe, who bought her iPod with help from
her mother and an aunt in France, is one of
her generation’s lucky ones, possessing a
“toy” with the coveted Apple label. “There are
only four of us in the class who have iPods,”
she told AFP. “Six have cell phones and one
has an iPhone but only because their mom
lends it,” she said of her class of 28. Her particular iPod came from Chile, the Latin American
country where technology is most readily
available today.
Workers in Argentina, which still has no 4G
network, must earn far more than people in
the region’s other countries-except for
Venezuela-to be able to buy the same technological products, according to Marco
Marketing Consultants. A notebook computer costs 2.2 times the average monthly salary
in Argentina, while in Chile it costs 0.96 times
below the average. The consulting firm’s
report, published at the end of 2014, argued
that “the difference between the average
wages needed in Argentina and Chile to buy
an average notebook computer is 129 percent. But if high-end notebooks are compared, the gap rises to 166 percent.” “This
means that for mid-range products, the comparative situation in Argentina is better, if still
‘Everyone reads newspapers’
While Cloe attends public school,
Candelaria Zapata lives in the upper-middleclass Buenos Aires neighborhood of Palermo
and goes to private school. She loves her cell
phone: “It’s my best chum, it takes my selfies,
supplies my music videos and connects me,”
the 11-year-old said. Although Argentina’s
middle and upper classes often complain
that it’s “a shame” that there is not a larger
supply of Apple products, a fetish among the
country’s youth, Candelaria does not stress.
She boasts of having a Samsung “that was
made in Tierra del Fuego,” the archipelago at
the southern tip of South America, where the
South Korean tech giant was drawn by generous tax breaks. iPhones are not sold in
Stores authorized by Apple can sell other
products from the company at prices tied to
the dollar, with an exchange rate of 8.60
Argentine pesos to the dollar-or anywhere
from 12-13.60 pesos per greenback on the
black market. That makes Apple products an
expensive purchase even for a middle-class
American. An iPad is 12,599 pesos or $1,465,
compared to $499 in New York or Miami. The
most basic MacBook Air-which costs $999 in
Chile, Mexico and the United States-costs
$2,813 (24,199 pesos) in Buenos Aires. “This
explains why everyone reads printed newspapers, that’s what impressed me the most
when I came to Argentina,” Mike Snow, an
American who arrived in the country last
April said.
‘Connect Equality’
Since 2010, the government has delivered
4.7 million netbooks under its Connect
Equality plan, which made the country the
leader in computer distribution in public
schools. But a lack of teacher training and the
technological smartphone gap are still big
issues. Argentine technology analyst Enrique
Carrier told AFP the plan was “very valuable
at a national level, because in some ways it’s
giving a first tool that will help people understand network access, especially in distant
But he acknowledged that smartphones
are the tool to bridge the digital divide. In
Argentina, a country of 42 million people
where 47.5 percent of households have
Internet access, “everyone buys a multifunctional cell phone, and most have access to
social networks,” according to consulting firm
Infolatam, using data from the World Bank. As
Candelaria’s mother put it: “Here we are like
Cubans. We may lack things, but we always
H E A LT H & S C I E N C E
US approves first biotech apple that resists browning
NEW YORK: US regulators on Friday
approved what would be the first commercialized biotech apple, rejecting efforts by
the organic industry and other GMO critics
to block the new fruit.
The US Department of Agriculture’s
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
(APHIS) approved two genetically engineered apple varieties designed to resist
browning that have been developed by the
Canadian company Okanagan Specialty
Fruits Inc.
Okanagan plans to market the apples as
Arctic Granny and Arctic Golden, and says
the apples are identical to their conventional counterparts except the flesh of the fruit
will retain a fresh appearance even after it is
sliced or bruised.
Okanagan President Neal Carter called
the USDA approval “a monumental occasion.” “It is the biggest milestone yet for us,
and we can’t wait until they’re available for
consumers,” he said in a statement.
Carter said Arctic apples will first be
available in late 2016 in small quantities,
and it will take many years before the
apples are widely distributed.
The new Okanagan apples have drawn
broad opposition. The Organic Consumers
Association (OCA), which petitioned the
USDA to deny approval, says the genetic
changes that prevent browning could be
harmful to human health, and pesticide levels on the apples could be excessive.
The OCA will be pressuring food companies and retail outlets not to make use of
the apples, said OCA Director Ronnie
“This whole thing is just another big
experiment on humans for no good reason,”
he said. USDA said it had determined the
apples were “unlikely to pose a plant pest
risk to agriculture” and they are “not likely to
have a significant impact on the human
environment.” The law only allows the
agency’s decision to be based on its analysis
of the plant pest risk to agriculture or other
plants in the United States.
The Food and Drug Administration,
which has no mandatory review process for
genetically engineered foods, is looking at
the new apples through a voluntary consul-
tation with Okanagan.
Several science, environmental and consumer groups said they worry the genetic
changes could have unintended consequences on insects, animals and humans.
“We think there are some possible risks
that were not adequately considered,” said
Doug Gurian-Sherman, a plant pathologist
and senior scientist with the Center for Food
Safety non-profit group. Okanagan said in a
statement its apples have undergone “rigorous review,” and are “likely the most tested
apples on the planet.” —Reuters
As sign-up deadline
nears, a new risk for
Obama health law
PHOENIX: Caylyn Otto stands next to her son, Oliver, at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Phoenix on Friday. Born nearly seven
weeks early, the baby is one of the youngest heart transplant recipients at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Doctors say Oliver, who
was due Feb. 20, has been doing remarkably well post-transplant. At background left is his father, Chris Crawford. —AP
Environmental groups sue
predator control agency
Federal agency in 2013 killed 200,000 animals
BOISE: Five conservation groups that contend
federal officials in Idaho are violating environmental laws by killing wolves, coyotes and other
wildlife to protect livestock and crops have filed
a federal lawsuit.
The Idaho-based Western Watersheds Project
and four other groups filed the 40-page lawsuit
Wednesday in US District Court against the US
Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services
and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
The lawsuit seeks to have Wildlife Services
adopt nonlethal methods and replace existing
studies with a more rigorous and time-consuming Environmental Impact Statement to better
understand the effects of the agency’s killing of
wildlife, which the groups say could be harming
federally protected grizzly bears, Canada lynx
and bull trout.
“ Without a comprehensive analysis of
Wildlife Service’s wildlife-killing activities across
the state, it’s impossible to know whether it’s
leading to widespread damage to other species
like grizzly bears,” Andrea Santarsiere, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, said
in a statement.
The lawsuit notes that the federal agency in
2013 killed more than 200,000 animals, much of
that number representing the killing of birds
that can pose problems on cattle feedlots or
dairies. The agency in 2013 also killed 2,739 coyotes and 79 wolves.
Wyn Hornbuckle, a deputy director with the
US Department of Justice, said Friday that the
federal agency was reviewing the lawsuit and
had no comment.
Stan Boyd, executive director of the Idaho
Wool Growers Association, said Wildlife Services
plays an important role in the state and members of the association are always advised to call
the federal agency if they have problems with
“If you did away with Wildlife Services, I guarantee you people would not stand by and let
their property be destroyed,” Boyd said Friday.
“They’d try to do it themselves. That’s when
things really get messy.”
Specifically, the lawsuit contends that
Wildlife Ser vices is violating the National
Environmental Policy Act by not analyzing sufficiently its activities and disclosing its work to
the public.
The lawsuit said the agency has never prepared an Environmental Impact Statement to
assess wildlife damage management in Idaho,
but instead has relied on an outdated model
that the groups say runs contrary to modern
understanding of the effects of killing wildlife.
That includes, the groups said, a better under-
standing of the role of carnivores in ecosystems
and the harm caused by removing them.
Caught in traps
The US Fish and Wildlife Service is named in
the lawsuit because the groups say that agency
is failing in its responsibility when it comes to
enforcing protections required by the
Endangered Species Act. The groups say Fish
and Wildlife is illegally allowing Wildlife Services
to carry out its operations without fully understanding the consequences.
The lawsuit notes that of the four Canada
lynx sighted in the state in recent years, three
were accidentally caught in traps.
When it comes to protected bull trout, the
lawsuit said Wildlife Services has removed 104
beaver dams in the past five years, with at least
54 of them in bull trout habitat. The lawsuit noted the federal agency has killed more than 420
beavers in Idaho since 2006.
The lawsuit also contained a photo taken by
a Wildlife Service employee in 2012 showing his
dogs attacking a coyote caught in a leg-hold
trap. The lawsuit said the same employee failed
to check traps for up to 69 days at a time, leaving trapped animals to a slow death. The lawsuit
said the federal agency didn’t fire or discipline
the employee. —AP
WASHINGTON: Thousands of people signing up for health insurance this weekend
may not realize it, but their coverage under
President Barack Obama’s law could be
The 2015 enrollment season, which ends
today, has avoided last year’s website meltdown so far. But a Supreme Court case
could result in millions of consumers losing
financial assistance for their premiums later
in the year.
The Affordable Care Act still sits on shifting political sands. “This would be devastating,” said Nita Carter, who oversees
statewide enrollment efforts for UHCAN
Ohio, a health care advocacy group.
“Without the subsidy, health insurance will
be unaffordable for many. If it is unaffordable, then it is not accessible.”
The Supreme Court case, called King v.
Burwell, is the talk of Washington policy
experts. But a recent Kaiser Family
Foundation survey found that more than
half of Americans have heard “nothing at all”
about it and another 30 percent “only a little.”
The health care law offers subsidized private coverage to people who don’t have
access to it on the job. However,
“Obamacare” opponents who brought the
lawsuit argue that the law’s literal wording
allows the federal government to pay those
subsidies only in states that have set up
their own insurance markets, or exchanges.
Most haven’t.
The administration and Democratic lawmakers who wrote the law say Congress’
clear intent was to provide subsidies to people in every state. No one knows how the
court will rule. But if the plaintiffs succeed,
beneficiaries living in the 37 states where
the federal government is running the markets would lose their subsidies.
Two independent estimates say about 8
million people would drop coverage in a
chain reaction that would also send premiums zooming for self-pay customers buying
individual policies outside of the exchanges.
Self-pay and subsidized consumers are in
the same insurance pool. Without the subsidies, the healthiest might bail out.
Major challenge
Oil worker Nassir Al Sawafi renewed his
coverage this week at an Austin, Texas, center run by Foundation Communities, a social
service agency. But he was unaware that the
health care law faces another major challenge. More than 800,000 people have subsidized coverage in Texas, where the federal
government runs the exchange because
former GOP Gov. Rick Perry refused to.
Sawafi said he was recently laid off from
his job operating and maintaining drilling
equipment, a consequence of the oil industry slowdown. But because his income has
dropped drastically, he was able to get a
much bigger federal subsidy for his family’s
health plan. That cut his share of the monthly premium to $14, from $570.
“When I have the money, I pay. But
when I have no money, they pay for me, so I
feel very safe,” said Sawafi, an immigrant
from Iraq. He’s not sure of his options if the
subsidies go away.
Oral arguments in the Supreme Court
are set for March 4. The legal issues revolve
around the leeway federal agencies have
when interpreting and applying complex
legislation. It’s an arcane subject, but the
consequences will be easy enough to grasp
if the administration loses.
While predicting victory at the court,
Health and Human Services Secretary
Sylvia M. Burwell has refused to discuss
what backup plans the administration has,
if any.
Individuals’ coverage losses would be
concentrated in Republican-led states like
Texas, which have resisted the law. Florida,
North Carolina, Georgia, Michigan and New
Jersey are also among the states whose
subsidized customers would have much to
Residents of Democratic-dominated
states that are running their own markets,
including California and New York, would
continue to receive benefits. Yet blue-state
residents could also be affected if Obama is
forced into a negotiation with the
Republican-led Congress and agrees to
major changes.
Because a Supreme Court decision
against the White House would rearrange
health care politics, “you don’t know what
could come out of that process,” said
Anthony Wright, executive director of
Health Access California, a consumer coalition.
The ruling is expected in late June. If the
court agrees with the law’s opponents, it
would leave little time for the federal government and states to act.
The health law’s 2016 sign-up season
would be only months away. And most
state legislatures are not in session during
the summer.
There’s speculation that the White House
could quickly roll out an administrative fix,
but Obama could also toss the whole mess
into the lap of the GOP-led Congress.
Technically, a few tweaks from Congress
would fix the problem. But after years of
voting to repeal “Obamacare,” Republicans
are unlikely to come to its rescue.
With the mechanics of sign-up season
working relatively well, the administration
seems on track to meet its target of 9.1 million people signed up and paying premiums. But with the Supreme Court case
hanging over everything, big questions
remain. —AP
Scientists warn of ‘mega
drought’ risk in western US
SAN JOS: Long-lasting megadroughts could occur with increasing frequenc y in the western
United States later this century if
no action is taken to rein in climate
change by curbing fossil fuel use,
researchers said Thursday.
Mega-drought is defined as any
drought as bad as the worst
already seen in the 20th century,
but lasting much longer, for 35
years or more.
The study is the first to predict
that the coming intense dry spells
could exceed the decades-long
mega-droughts that occurred centuries ago and are blamed for the
demise of certain civilizations in
the late 13th century.
“I was honestly surprised at just
how dry the future is likely to be,”
said co-author Toby Ault, an assistant professor in the Department
of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
at Cornell University.
“I look at these future megadroughts like a slow moving natural disaster. We have to put megadroughts into the same category as
other natural disasters that can be
dealt with through risk management.”
The risks and dangers are worse
today because of the larger population and greater dependence on
water resources, scientists warned.
“We are the first to do this kind
of quantitative comparison
between the projections and the
distant past, and the story is a bit
bleak,” said Jason Smerdon, a coauthor and climate scientist at the
Lamont-Doher ty
Ear th
Obser vator y, par t of the Ear th
Institute at Columbia University.
“Even when selecting for the
worst mega-drought-dominated
period, the 21st century projections make the mega-droughts
seem like quaint walks through the
Garden of Eden.”
‘Unfavorable’ forecast
Researchers applied 17 different
climate models to analyze the
future impact of rising temperatures on regions from Mexico to
the United States and Canada.
They also projected a continued
rise in emissions of the greenhouse
gases that contribute to global
warming, and looked at a scenario
in which actions were taken to cut
back on greenhouse gases resulting in lower emissions. Both
approaches raised concern for the
“ The results... are extremely
unfavorable for the continuation of
agricultural and water resource
management as they are currently
practiced in the Great Plains and
southwestern United States,” said
David Stahle, professor in the
Department of Geosciences at the
University of Arkansas who was not
involved in the study.
Currently the western United
States has been experiencing a
drought for about 11 of the past 14
The dry area spans California,
Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona,
Texas and Oklahoma and other
parts of the region, directly affects
more than 64 million people.
“Natural droughts like the 1930s
Dust Bowl and the current drought
in the Southwest have historically
lasted maybe a decade or a little
less,” said Benjamin Cook of the
NASA Goddard Institute for Space
Studies and the Lamont-Doherty
Earth Observatory.
“What these results are saying is
we’re going to get a drought similar to those events, but it is probably going to last at least 30 to 35
years.” —AFP
MALTA: In this Jan. 29, 2015 photo, Rhonda Birnie, a regional mathematics specialist with the Idaho
Regional Mathematics Centers, demonstrates deeper mathematical thinking for students in a fifthgrade class at Raft River Elementary School in Malta, Idaho. The Legislature provided $1.6 million in
fiscal 2014-15 for the centers, a program now in its second year, to forward work begun with the Idaho
Math Initiativeís professional development for teachers in their classrooms. —AP
Obama signs veterans suicide prevention bill
WASHINGTON: Acknowledging the struggles of the nation’s veterans, President
Barack Obama on Thursday signed legislation intended to reduce a military suicide
epidemic that is claiming lives by the day.
“If you are hurting, know this. You are not
forgotten,” Obama said, addressing soldiers
and veterans as he prepared to affix his signature to the law.
The law requires the Pentagon and
Veterans Affairs Department to submit to
independent reviews of their suicide prevention programs and make information on
suicide prevention more easily available to
It also offers financial incentives to psychiatrists and other mental health professionals who agree to work for the VA and
assist military members as they transition
from active duty to veteran status. “Too
many of our troops and veterans are still
struggling,” Obama said. “They are recovering from injuries; they are mourning fallen
comrades; they’re trying to reconnect with
family and friends who can never fully
understand what they went through in war
theater. “For many of them, the war goes on
in the flashbacks that come rushing forward,
and the nightmares that don’t go away,”
Obama said. —AP
H E A LT H & S C I E N C E
Mumbai slum holds art biennale
Aiming to promote health through creativity
MUMBAI: The Mumbai neighbourhood
made famous by the film “Slumdog
Millionaire” is set to host its first “biennale”, aiming to promote health through
creativity, although it will be very different to some of the world’s grander art
The three -week festival, opening
today, will showcase works created by
residents of Dharavi, the densely populated settlement in the heart of India’s
financial capital that is known as one of
Asia’s biggest slums.
From hand-painted pots arranged to
show how sexually transmitted diseases
spread, to a quilted map marking known
locations of domestic violence, the
Dharavi Biennale is designed to raise
Study ties more deaths,
types of disease, to smoking
NEW YORK: Breast cancer, prostate cancer,
and even routine infections. A new report
ties these and other maladies to smoking
and says an additional 60,000 to 120,000
deaths each year in the United States are
probably due to tobacco use.
The study by the American Cancer
Society and several universities, published
in Thursday ’s New England Journal of
Medicine, looks beyond lung cancer, heart
disease and other conditions already tied
to smoking, and the 480,000 US deaths
attributed to them each year.
“Smokers die, on average, more than a
decade before nonsmokers,” and in the U.S.,
smoking accounts for one of every five
deaths, Dr. Graham Colditz, an epidemiologist at Washington University School of
Medicine in St. Louis wrote in a commentary in the journal.
The report shows that current estimates
“have substantially underestimated the
burden of smoking on society,” he wrote.
About 18 percent of US adults smoke. More
about the report.
Researchers looked at nearly 1 million
Americans 55 and older taking part in five
studies, including the National Institutes of
Health-AARP Diet and Health Study, since
2000. They tracked the participants’ health
for about 10 years and compared deaths
from various causes among smokers, never
smokers and former smokers, taking into
account other things that can influence risk
such as alcohol use.
Death rates were two to three times
higher among current smokers than
among people who never smoked. Most of
the excess deaths in smokers were due to
21 diseases already tied to smoking, including 12 types of cancer, heart disease and
stroke. But researchers also saw death rates
in smokers were twice as high from other
conditions such as kidney failure, infections, liver cirrhosis and some respiratory
diseases not previously tied to smoking.
The report strengthens evidence tying
them to smoking. It finds that female smokers’ risk of dying of breast cancer is 30 percent greater than for nonsmokers. Male
smokers have a 40 percent greater risk of
dying of prostate cancer than nonsmokers
do, the researchers found.
One strong sign is that the risk of dying
of these other conditions declined among
people who quit smoking. The longer ago
they stopped, the greater the drop in risk as
time went on. —AP
PHILADELPHIA: This Tuesday, July 15, 2014 photo shows the tobacco in cigarettes in Philadelphia. A study ties a host of new diseases to smoking, and
says an additional 60,000 to 120,000 deaths each year in the United States
are probably due to tobacco use. The study by the American Cancer Society
and several universities is published in the Thursday edition of the New
England Journal of Medicine. It looks beyond lung cancer, heart disease and
other conditions already tied to smoking and adds breast cancer, prostate
cancer and even routine infections to the list. —AP
awareness without being “preachy”, say the
But they also want to celebrate the neighbourhood itself, home to an estimated
750,000 people from all over India, which has
been held up over the years as a symbol of
both grimy destitution and flourishing industry.
“What we see is that Dharavi is sitting on a
lot of wealth and a lot of talent and art that
gets missed out when you want to show
squalor and slum,” said festival co-director
Nayreen Daruwalla.
Britain’s Prince Charles in 2010 cited
Dharavi as a role model for sustainable living,
praising its habit of recycling waste and the
“order and harmony” of the community, in
contrast to Western countries’ “fragmented”
housing estates.
Guided tours around Dharavi’s mini-factories-producing all manner of goods from
clothes to pottery-are now a popular tourist
attraction, while initiatives such as the
SlumGods, a group of hip-hop street dancers,
have challenged outsiders’ negative perceptions.
But the difficulties facing the community
remain stark, and “there is a danger of going
to the other side and romanticising”, said
Daruwalla, pointing out the cramped conditions, poor ventilation and lack of toilets.
With such issues in mind, the Society for
Nutrition, Education and Health Action (SNEHA) held an exhibition in Dharavi two years
ago called “Dekha Undekha” (“Seen Unseen”),
aiming to foster discussion, through art,
about themes such as sanitation and maternal
Its success led SNEHA to develop the biennale, a more ambitious project funded by the
British charity Wellcome Trust, which culminates in the exhibitions and events this
month at various locations across Dharavi’s
maze of alleyways.
Different spirit
Aside from being held every other year, the
festival has little in common with some of the
world’s better known art fairs, said co-director
David Osrin, who in a presentation this month
described the name as “slightly a joke, and
slightly ideological”.
“The spirit and the way that our biennale is
structured is very, very different,” he told AFP.
While other festivals simply ask artists to
submit works, the focus in Mumbai has been
on participation with Dharavi residents, particularly through workshops led by “mentor”
The results include the “Immunity Wall”, a
depiction of the body’s immune system using
recycled materials and everyday items: red
hair bobbles for red cells, scouring pads for B
cells and flexi bracelets as antibodies.
Another exhibit uses traditional blockprints on cloth to illustrate the various levels
of depression, a problem thought to be widespread but under-diagnosed in Mumbai’s
Thousands are expected to attend the
exhibitions over the coming weeks, but social
scientists will be conducting surveys to try
and assess the festival’s qualitative impact as
well as footfall.
“It’s quite an ambitious thing to try to
MUMBAI: Project co-director, Professor David Osrin (2R) speaks on his phone as
workers discuss outside the “Colour Box”, one of the venues of the Dharavi biennale
starting today, in Mumbai. It’s a long way from the glamour of Venice, but India’s
most famous slum Dharavi is hosting a biennale this week, aiming to use art as a tool
to raise awareness about health and sanitation. —AFP
develop artworks that speak to a health agenda without being preachy, and we think we’ve
achieved it, but it would be very interesting to
know what people actually think about that
synthesis,” Osrin said.
A festival on this scale has proved a logistical challenge, be it finding space to display art
amid the crowded dwellings or financing
projects in the cash-based informal economy.
Sticking to sustainable, pro-health agendas
while creating the exhibits also proved tough,
said urban gardener Adrienne Thadani, who
worked on the project “Growing Fresh Air in
Dharavi” promoting the use of plants indoors
to stay healthy.
“By using locally crafted clay pots to create
easily replicable home gardens, we were
working with kilns fired with synthetic scraps
and used oil rags, which was polluting the
area further,” she said.
However much it raises health awareness,
the biennale appears to be boosting morale
among Dharavi’s residents, such as student
Saraswati Bhandare, 21, who helped to create
giant puppets for the opening show about
tuberculosis. “People think this is just a slum
area where we aren’t educated, but the truth is
that it’s a place where so many talents come
together. We’re proud to be from Dharavi,” she
said. —AFP
MUMBAI: Foreign volunteers set up the “Colour Box”, one of the venues of the
Dharavi biennale starting today in Mumbai. —AFP
W H AT ’ S O N
My Small World holds Patriotism Day
By Faten Omar
y Small World organized National Day festival
(Patriotism Day) for families and children on Friday
at Discovery Mall. The festival was attended by
Sheikh Duaij Khalifa Al-Sabah and a large crowd of families
and young people. Alaa Marefi, Manger of Small World
Group, said that the aim of the program is to support the
youth skills and to make families spend their time together.
The entertainment shows included heritage shows, an
exhibition of old classics and workshops and plays for children. The governmental bodies also participated in the festival. Marefi stressed that the festival also aimed to grow
the national identity in every young Kuwaiti through the
Kuwaiti heritage shows that display the history of Kuwait.
The Patriotism Day festival combines the past and originality in modern Kuwait. “The festival comes from our belief in
the role of supporting the national spirit and the development of skills and abilities that every Kuwait family has,”
she said.
The Patriotism Day festival was in Discovery Mall’s park,
from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. The ceremony and the shows
officially began in the presence of Sheikh Duaij Khalifa AlSabah after the Friday prayers.
The event was full of a variety of amazing activities such
as a play for kids, stories as well as competitions for all participants of all ages and a host of activities for children with
gifts for winners.
Anti Alcoholism Movement concludes medical camp
nti Alcoholism Movement, a Spiritual
and charitable Organization of St
Gregorios Indian Orthodox Church,
Kuwait, had successfully conducted its sixth
Free Medical Camp in association with IDF
(Indian Doctor’s Forum), Indian Dentists’
Alliance, Kuwait Heart Foundation and Kuwait
Medical Association on Friday 6th February,
2015 from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM at Integrated
Indian School, Abbassiya. The Medical Camp
was inaugurated by Dr Vivek Vani, Vice
President of Indian Doctor’s Forum. He emphasized on the need of the hour to support the
needy people from the community. He promised the IDF’s commitment to support AAM in
its future ventures. In addition to Dr Vani’s inaugural speech, Dr Sunil Yadev (Secretary, IDF), Dr
Subu Thomas (IDA), Abu Kamal (Kuwait Heart
Foundation), Mathai T Varghese (Vice President,
Anti Alcoholism Movement), Ebey Samuel
(Medical Camp Coordinator) and Ajish Thomas
(Ex Officio, AAM) delivered felicitation speeches
during the inaugural function. More than 50
doctors from various specialties like General
Medicine, Neurology, Pediatric, Gynecology,
Oncology, Dental, Skin, Cardiology, Ortho, ENT,
Indian Embassy notice
The Indian Embassy would like to inform that the
EdCIL (India) Limited, a Government of India Enterprise,
formerly known as Educational Consultants India
Limited (Ed.CIL), has been designated as the “Nodal
Agency” to promote Indian education abroad.
EdCIL has been assisting NRIs, PIOs and foreign
nationals for pursuing Under-graduate courses, PostGraduate Courses and Doctoral Programs in Indian
Institutions. Details of assistance provided by EdCIL to
Indian Diaspora as well as foreign nationals are available
on their website ‘’. Those interested
may please contact Dr Shaik Suleman, Head, Placement
and Secondment, EdCIL (India) Ltd, EdCIL House-18-A,
Sector-16-A, NOIDA - 201301, UP (Tel 0091-120-2515281,
Fax: 0091-120-2515372, E-mail: [email protected],
[email protected]), for further information.
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should be minimum 200dpi.
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Ophthalmology, Gastrology, 40 plus Nurses and
35 volunteers from AAM joined hands together
to make this camp a grand success. Various
medical diagnosis like Blood Sugar, Cholesterol,
Blood Pressure, ECG, Ultra Sound Scan, Dental
checkup and Eye testing were provided at free
of cost in this camp. More than 500 people from
various nationalities attended the Medical
Camp. The successful conduct of Medical Camp
2015 has reiterated AAM’s commitment to
social responsibility, to help and support the
needy people from the society.
Anti Alcoholism Movement has accom-
plished a successful year 2014 with a wide list of
activities being conducted. Health awareness
campaigns, where the participants were briefed
on the lifestyle diseases and measures to tackle
them. How to effectively manage the health
and the importance of a balanced diet and
maintain a healthy life cycle? Seminars for
young families; where necessary guidance was
given for a successful parenthood. 21st century
parents lack the grooming and guidance on
how to bring up their children in the right way.
The over influence of social media and internet
has actually spoiled the young generation.
Mukundan critiques Keralites
By Sunil Cherian
elebrated writer M Mukundan
is writing a novel on the evolution of Malayalis, the Keralite
community now spread across the
globe. “Post-independence, our
progress as a generation is on the
decrease. However, we have a new
breed, the second and third generations of Malayalis who settled elsewhere, who don’t necessarily identify
themselves as Keralites despite their
roots,” said Mukundan, 70, in a
speech at the Youth India Kuwait
program held at Integrated Indian
School, Abbassiya on Friday.
The new face of the Malayali is
that of the young lady in the US who
prays early in the morning in front of
the picture of Parasinikkadavu
Muthappan, a local deity in Kannur,
north Kerala, whose offering is alcohol and dry fish, and drives off to the
airport to take the morning flight to
Philadelphia for work, the feted novelist said.
We had a ship in us which made
us explorers, said Mukundan, remising Kumaran, the character in his
award-winning novel Pravasam
(Exile). Kumaran, one of the first
Keralites to leave Kerala for then
Burma, had a mind of an explorer.
Later Kumarans, Mukundan’s gener-
ation, had a train in them, leaving
them in several cities in India. Train
gave way to airplane making a large
number of people fortune seekers in
the Gulf in the ‘70s. Now we may
have rockets in us which might
French embassy, shared an incident
to illustrate how shallow we have
become. “Only in a godless community we find a child and his parents
approaching me to write a foreword
for the collection of English poetry
make us space explorers, the writer
said with a wink, to thunderous
applause from the audience on
On our way to the money making,
we left god somewhere, lamented
Mukundan. It is high time we
retrieve god back. The writer, also an
orator after his retirement from the
the child has written,” Mukundan
said. “The poems are crap. Their only
intention is fame,” he said.
Mukundan is busy now writing a
movie script based on his book
Haridwaril Mani Muzhangumpol
(When the Bell Tolls in Haridwar). The
film, directed by Rajeev Menon, will
be released in Tamil and Malayalam.
These seminars paved ways for moving the children to the right track. Drug awareness
Seminars for Students; which was aimed at
building awareness among students on the
negative effects of drugs and abuse. Today’s
children are vulnerable to drugs and alcohol.
These sessions helped building moral values in
Children and help them to grow ethically. Visits
to Labor Camps to guide and support the
needy with regards to their medical needs etc
are the few of the activities to mention.
AAM look forward to another successful year
with its commitment to social responsibility.
The thrilling Tulu
Koota Kuwait family
picnic is here again
ime has come to put on your sporty gears and
showcase your togetherness of the much
awaited day that rolls in as TTK takes privilege
and feel proud to announce the much awaited
“Family Picnic” being scheduled on Friday 27th
February 2015 at Mishref Garden from 9:00 am to
6:00 pm.
A fun filled day with your family, lots of breathtaking games and many ardent sport performances
will mark the highlight for the day. Plan your day
ahead and don’t miss this perfect opportunity to
participate and applaud the enthusiastic members
as they strive to show excellence on the ground. It’s
a refreshing time to exhibit your sporty talent
Children can rejuvenate their skills and be ready
to compete with all their peer groups in a variety of
games, while ladies, men and couple can show their
aptitude and fitness as they compete with each other. What’s more, the exhilarating team games like
Kabaddi, volleyball and throw ball will keep the
audience glued to the venue.
To ensure participation, register your team
games well in advance with the TKK Sports
Secretary Paustine Pinto Tel: 66614622 and for
membership renewal, please contact TKK PRO
Srikrishna Rao Tel: 99562593
For more details please contact 97875789 or
check on the website: or you can even email
us at: [email protected]
W H AT ’ S O N
Lu&Lu opens new hypermarket in Salmiya
u&Lu Hypermarket, the leading retailer
in Kuwait, inaugurated their latest
branch in the country at the Al Salam
Mall in Salmiya on 12 February at 11:00 am.
The latest hypermarket was inaugurated by
Abdullah S Alenezi, Undersecretary - Ministry
of Commerce and Industry in the presence of
Sheikh Malik Homoud Al-Sabah, Royal family
member, Yusuff Ali MA, the MD of Lulu Group,
Saifee T Rupawala, CEO, Ashraf Ali MA,
Executive Director and Mohammed Haris,
Director of Kuwait region.
Prominent businessmen, government
officials and other dignitaries were also
present on the occasion along with a large
gathering of shoppers’ well-wishers and
media personnel.
The Al Salam Mall branch of Lu&Lu
Hypermarket, located in popular upmarket
retail area of Salmiya, is destined to increase
the popularity of the brand. The new branch
is the fifth outlet of the brand in Kuwait and
the 113th branch in the region.
Recognized recently as among the top 250
retailers in the world, the Lu&Lu brand has
transcended borders and cultures to become
a dominant name in the regional retail arena
with its popularity gaining new heights with
each new branch opening.
In line with all branches of the brand, the
latest outlet in Salmiya offers an ultra-modern
shopping ambiance in a spacious area that
offers shoppers high-quality products at very
competitive prices.
The 120,000 sq. ft. hypermarket will showcase a fresh food section comprising fruit,
vegetables, dairy products; meat, fish and hot
and cold ready-to eat food. A major highlight
of the newly opened store is that it has an
exclusive section for all ‘free from worry” food
range that offer extensive import line of
Gluten-free, Lactose free, Dairy free, Yeast free,
Wheat free, Vegan, Organic, Fat free, nut free,
soy free, salt free, GM free, egg free, free
range, no sugar, no additives, no preserva-
tives, no hydrogenated fat and other specialty
food imported from around the world.
In addition, and in true tradition of Lu&Lu
Hypermarkets the new branch will feature the
widest choice of world-class brands at the
fairest prices and also offers a whole world of
shopping with a good selection of brands and
product lines under one roof. Lu&lu’s winning
formula of value for money quality shopping
will be a matter of delight for the residents of
Salmiya and nearby areas, who will cherish
the pleasurable shopping experience and the
economy it offers.
“We are very clear in our approach to
expansion and I am very confident about the
economic situation of the Kuwait and have
full trust in the visions of High Highness the
Amir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and
we are fully committed to continuing our forward march,” said Yusuff Ali MA after the inauguration. He added that new hypermarkets
will be opened at Fintas, Egalia by the end of
the year and another two will be opened in
2016 in Jahara and Fahaheel.
Since its inception, Lu&Lu Hypermarket
has become the top retail destination for discerning shoppers in the country, welcoming
more than a million customers a year to
experience the distinctive Lu&Lu shopping
23:05 Alaska: The Last Frontier
23:55 Dive Wars Australia
00:50 Bite Of The Living Dead
01:45 After The Attack
02:40 Shamwari: A Wild Life
03:05 Shamwari: A Wild Life
03:35 The Wild Life Of Tim
04:00 The Wild Life Of Tim
04:25 Tanked
05:15 Treehouse Masters
06:02 Shamwari: A Wild Life
06:25 Shamwari: A Wild Life
06:49 The Wild Life Of Tim
07:12 The Wild Life Of Tim
07:36 The Wild Life Of Tim
08:00 The Wild Life Of Tim
08:25 Treehouse Masters
09:15 Treehouse Masters: Bionic
10:10 Treehouse Masters: Boxtrolls
11:05 Treehouse Masters: View
From Above
12:00 Treehouse Masters
12:55 Prehistoric Elephant
13:50 The Wild Life Of Tim
14:20 The Wild Life Of Tim
14:45 Deadly Islands
15:40 Wild Things With Dominic
16:35 Wildest Middle East
17:30 Call Of The Wildman
18:00 Call Of The Wildman
18:25 The Wild Life Of Tim
18:55 The Wild Life Of Tim
19:20 Deadly Islands
20:15 Wild Things With Dominic
21:10 Megalodon: The New
22:05 Tanked
23:00 Treehouse Masters
23:55 Prehistoric Elephant
Doctor Who: The Waters Of
Live At The Apollo
Watson & Oliver
Him & Her
Moone Boy
The Omid Djalili Show
The Weakest Link
The Green Balloon Club
Mr Bloom’s Nursery
Me Too!
Garth And Bev
The Green Balloon Club
Mr Bloom’s Nursery
The Weakest Link
Doctor Who: The Waters Of
As Time Goes By
My Family
Dad’s Army
Being Eileen
Doctor Who: The Waters Of
Call The Midwife
Call The Midwife
Call The Midwife
Call The Midwife
Call The Midwife
Scott & Bailey
The Omid Djalili Show
00:25 Masterchef: The
01:15 Phil Spencer: Secret Agent
02:05 The Hairy Bikers: Mums
Know Best
02:55 Delicious Iceland
03:20 Antiques Roadshow
04:15 Antiques Roadshow
05:10 Bargain Hunt
05:55 Bargain Hunt
06:40 Bargain Hunt
07:25 The Roux Legacy
08:00 Come Dine With Me
08:25 Come Dine With Me
11:50 Masterchef: The
15:45 Come Dine With Me
17:50 Bargain Hunt
18:30 Bargain Hunt
19:15 Antiques Roadshow
20:10 Come Dine With Me
20:55 Food Glorious Food
21:40 The Roux Legacy
22:15 Homes Under The Hammer
23:10 Homes Under The Hammer
How It’s Made
How It’s Made
How It’s Made
How It’s Made
How It’s Made
How It’s Made
How It’s Made
How It’s Made
How It’s Made
How It’s Made
Kindig Customs
Gold Rush
Gold Divers: Under The Ice
Alaska: The Last Frontier
Street Outlaws
Street Outlaws
How It’s Made
How It’s Made
How It’s Made
How It’s Made
How It’s Made
How It’s Made
How It’s Made
How It’s Made
How It’s Made
How It’s Made
Auction Hunters
Auction Hunters
Auction Hunters
Auction Hunters
Auction Hunters
The Carbonaro Effect
The Carbonaro Effect
The Big Brain Theory
You Have Been Warned
Gold Rush
Gold Divers: Under The Ice
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 Kim Possible
06:25 Liv And Maddie
06:50 Girl Meets World
07:15 Wizards Of Waverly Place
07:40 Jessie
08:05 High School Musical 2
09:45 Girl Meets World
10:10 Gravity Falls
10:35 Jessie
11:00 Austin & Ally
11:25 Kim Possible
11:50 Liv And Maddie
12:15 Dog With A Blog
12:40 Good Luck Charlie
13:05 Good Luck Charlie
13:30 Good Luck Charlie
13:55 Good Luck Charlie
14:20 Sabrina: Secrets Of A
Teenage Witch
15:00 Austin & Ally
15:20 Austin & Ally
15:45 Jessie
16:10 Austin & Ally
16:35 Girl Meets World
17:00 Liv And Maddie
17:25 I Didn’t Do It
17:50 Dog With A Blog
18:15 Good Luck Charlie
18:40 Austin & Ally
19:05 Austin & Ally
19:30 Binny And The Ghost
19:55 Gravity Falls
20:20 Kim Possible
20:45 Spooksville
21:10 I Didn’t Do It
21:35 Gravity Falls
22:00 Suite Life On Deck
22:25 A.N.T. Farm
22:50 Shake It Up
23:10 Wolfblood
23:35 Wolfblood
00:30 Fashion Bloggers
00:55 Fashion Bloggers
01:25 #RichKids Of Beverly Hills
01:50 #RichKids Of Beverly Hills
02:20 E! News
03:15 Eric And Jessie: Game On
03:40 Eric And Jessie: Game On
04:10 The E! True Hollywood Story
05:05 E!ES
06:00 Kourtney And Kim Take
06:55 Kourtney And Kim Take
07:50 Style Star
08:20 E! News
09:15 Fashion Police
09:45 Christina Milian Turned Up
10:15 House Of DVF
11:10 Fashion Bloggers
11:35 Fashion Bloggers
12:05 E! News
13:05 THS
14:05 Kourtney And Khloe Take
The Hamptons
15:00 Kourtney And Khloe Take
The Hamptons
16:00 Giuliana & Bill
17:00 Giuliana & Bill
18:00 E! News
19:00 Eric And Jessie: Game On
19:30 Eric And Jessie: Game On
20:00 Kourtney And Khloe Take
The Hamptons
21:00 Kourtney And Khloe Take
The Hamptons
22:00 Christina Milian Turned Up
22:30 Christina Milian Turned Up
23:00 Fashion Police
00:05 Coronation Street
00:30 Coronation Street
00:55 Coronation Street
01:15 The Chase
02:00 Paul O’Grady: For The Love
Of Dogs
02:25 Paul O’Grady: For The Love
Of Dogs
02:55 Emmerdale
03:20 Emmerdale
03:55 Emmerdale
04:20 Emmerdale
04:45 Emmerdale
05:00 The Jonathan Ross Show
05:55 Get Your Act Together
07:05 James Nesbitt’s Ireland
07:35 Sunday Night At The
08:25 Murdoch Mysteries
09:10 Murdoch Mysteries
09:55 Murdoch Mysteries
10:35 Murdoch Mysteries
11:20 Murdoch Mysteries
12:30 Midsomer Murders
14:05 Who’s Doing The Dishes
15:00 Sunday Night At The
15:55 The Chase: Celebrity
16:50 The Jonathan Ross Show
17:45 Who’s Doing The Dishes
18:30 Paul O’Grady: For The Love
Of Dogs
19:00 Sunday Night At The
19:55 The Chase: Celebrity
20:50 The Jonathan Ross Show
21:45 Who’s Doing The Dishes
22:30 The Chase
23:15 The Chase
00:00 Mad Scientists
00:30 Mad Scientists
01:00 Big, Bigger, Biggest
02:00 Perilous Journeys
03:00 Secrets Of The Great
Escape Revealed
04:00 Wild Australia
05:00 Animal Autopsy
06:00 Car SOS
07:00 Street Genius
07:30 Street Genius
08:00 Mad Scientists
08:30 Mad Scientists
09:00 Big, Bigger, Biggest
10:00 Perilous Journeys
11:00 Crime Lab
12:00 Sea Patrol
13:00 Dangerous Encounters
14:00 Live Free Or Die
15:00 Air Crash Investigation
16:00 The Living Edens
17:00 Swamp Men
18:00 Ultimate Airport Dubai
19:00 Air Crash Investigation
20:00 The Living Edens
21:00 Swamp Men
22:00 Ultimate Airport Dubai
23:00 Crime Lab
00:30 The Daily Show Global
01:00 Modern Family
01:30 Saturday Night Live
02:30 South Park
03:00 Enlisted
03:30 How I Met Your Mother
04:00 Men At Work
04:30 The Tonight Show Starring
Jimmy Fallon
05:30 My Boys
06:00 The Goldbergs
06:30 Better Off Ted
07:00 Late Night With Seth Meyers
08:00 Men At Work
08:30 My Boys
09:00 Enlisted
09:30 2 Broke Girls
10:00 Cougar Town
10:30 Better Off Ted
11:00 The Tonight Show Starring
Jimmy Fallon
12:00 The Goldbergs
12:30 Men At Work
13:00 My Boys
13:30 Better Off Ted
14:00 How I Met Your Mother
14:30 2 Broke Girls
15:00 Cougar Town
15:30 The Daily Show Global
16:00 Modern Family
16:30 The Goldbergs
17:00 Late Night With Seth Meyers
18:00 Enlisted
18:30 The Michael J. Fox Show
19:00 Community
19:30 Hot In Cleveland
20:00 The Mindy Project
21:00 The Daily Show With Jon
21:30 Modern Family
22:00 Girls
22:30 Girls
23:00 Girls
23:30 The Mindy Project
Covert Affairs
The Strain
The Blacklist
Covert Affairs
Witches Of East End
The Blacklist
Witches Of East End
Coronation Street
14:00 Parenthood
15:00 Covert Affairs
16:00 Emmerdale
16:30 Coronation Street
18:00 Parenthood
19:00 Castle
20:00 How To Get Away With
22:00 Better Call Saul
23:00 Grimm
Good Morning America
Good Morning America
Coronation Street
Live Good Morning America
Drop Dead Diva
Royal Pains
Babylon A.D
Prisoners Of The Sun
The Lone Ranger
Olympus Has Fallen
Tactical Force
Hellboy: Blood & Iron
Babylon A.D
Olympus Has Fallen
Into The Blue
Tactical Force
Prisoners Of The Sun-PG15
The Lone Ranger-PG15
Olympus Has Fallen-PG15
Tactical Force-PG15
Hellboy: Blood & Iron-PG15
Babylon A.D-PG15
Olympus Has Fallen-PG15
Into The Blue-PG15
Tactical Force-PG15
Along Came Polly-PG15
Keeping The Faith-PG15
Never Been Kissed-PG15
Keeping The Faith-PG15
The Addams Family-PG
10 Years-PG15
Fatal Instinct-PG15
Stuck In Love-PG15
Safe Haven-PG15
Won’t Back Down-PG15
Girl In Progress-PG15
Playing For Keeps-PG15
Won’t Back Down-PG15
Safe Haven-PG15
Heaven’s Door-PG
Playing For Keeps-PG15
Empire State-PG15
Citizen Gangster-PG15
End Of Watch-18
Into The Wild-18
Spiderwick Chronicles-PG
The Past-PG15
Son Of Rambow-PG
As Good As It Gets-PG15
I Am Sam-PG15
Promised Land-PG15
Little Miss Sunshine-18
Everything Must Go-PG15
Endless Love-PG15
The Nut Job-FAM
Great Expectations-PG15
Endless Love-PG15
A Family Reunion-PG15
Great Expectations-PG15
Saving Mr. Banks-PG15
Seven Psychopaths-18
01:00 Barbie Fairytopia Mermaidia
02:45 Barbie As Rapunzel
04:30 Pacific Pirates
06:00 Tristan And Isolde
08:00 Niko 2: Little Brother, Big
10:00 Barbie Magic Of The
11:30 Princess And The Pea
13:00 Barbie As Rapunzel
14:30 The Apple & The Worm
16:00 Soccer Dog: European Cup
18:00 Barbie Magic Of The
20:00 A Turtle’s Tale 2: Sammy’s
Escape From Paradise
22:00 The Apple & The Worm
23:30 Soccer Dog: European Cup
Bullet To The Head-18
Chinese Zodiac-PG15
Call Me Crazy: A Five Film
Ender’s Game-PG15
Death Clique-PG15
The Book Thief-PG15
Red Tails-PG15
Ender’s Game-PG15
The Legend Of Hercules
Escape Plan-PG15
The Conjuring-18
03:00 Total Rugby
03:30 ICC Cricket 360
04:00 Live ICC Cricket World Cup
12:00 ICC Cricket 360
12:30 Inside The PGA Tour
13:00 Champions Tour
15:30 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights
16:30 IRB Sevens World Series
19:30 Sevens World Series
20:00 Live IRB Sevens World
08:00 Live Super Rugby
17:00 Super Rugby
21:00 Live PGA Tour
Super Rugby
Super Rugby
Golfing World
Live PGA European Tour
Super Rugby
Super Rugby
PGA European Tour
Live NHL
WWE Vintage
WWE Smackdown
WWE Smackdown
06:30 Live ICC World Cup: IND v
16:30 ICC World Cup H/L: SA v
17:30 ICC World Cup H/L: IND v
Alaskan Women Looking For
Body Bizarre
Extreme Couponing
Extreme Couponing
Extreme Couponing
Extreme Couponing
What Not To Wear
What Not To Wear
17 Kids And Counting
Super Soul Sunday
Say Yes To The Dress
Little People, Big World
Bakery Boss
Mormon Half Love
Cake Boss
Sister Wives
Sister Wives
What Not To Wear
Oprah’s Master Class
Super Soul Sunday
Brides Of Beverly Hills
Brides Of Beverly Hills
Sister Wives
Cake Boss
Little People, Big World
Hoarding: Buried Alive
Say Yes To The Dress
17 Kids And Counting
Sister Wives
Sister Wives
What Not To Wear
Cake Boss
Cake Boss
Super Soul Sunday
Cake Boss
Bakery Boss
Extreme Couponing
My 600lb Life
Cake Boss
00:40 Magic Of Science
01:05 Mind Control Freaks
01:30 Dynamo: Magician
02:20 Through The Wormhole
With Morgan Freeman
03:10 How Do They Do It?
03:35 How Do They Do It?
04:00 Magic Of Science
04:24 Mind Control Freaks
04:48 Magic Of Science
05:12 Mind Control Freaks
05:36 Magic Of Science
06:00 Mind Control Freaks
06:24 Magic Of Science
06:48 Mind Control Freaks
07:12 Magic Of Science
07:36 Mind Control Freaks
08:00 Food Factory
08:25 Food Factory
08:50 Food Factory
09:15 Food Factory
09:40 Food Factory
10:05 Food Factory
10:30 How Do They Do It?
10:55 How Do They Do It?
11:20 How Do They Do It?
11:45 How Do They Do It?
12:10 How Do They Do It?
12:35 How Do They Do It?
13:00 How It’s Made
13:25 How It’s Made
13:50 How It’s Made
14:15 How It’s Made
14:40 How It’s Made
15:05 How It’s Made
15:30 Curiosity: How Does Life
16:20 Magic Of Science
16:45 Mind Control Freaks
17:10 Magic Of Science
17:35 Mind Control Freaks
18:00 Magic Of Science
18:25 Mind Control Freaks
18:50 Magic Of Science
19:15 Mind Control Freaks
19:40 Magic Of Science
20:05 Mind Control Freaks
20:30 Deadliest Space Weather
20:55 NASA’s Unexplained Files
21:45 Alien Mysteries
22:35 Close Encounters
23:00 Long March Into Space
23:50 How The Universe Works
00:40 Deadly Affairs
01:30 Serial Killers
02:20 Reel Crime/Real Story
03:10 True CSI
04:00 The First Kill
04:45 Deadly Sins
05:30 Serial Killers
06:20 Fatal Encounters
07:10 Fatal Encounters
08:00 Deadly Affairs
08:50 True Crime With
Aphrodite Jones
09:40 Real Emergency Calls
10:05 Real Emergency Calls
10:30 Who On Earth Did I
10:55 Who On Earth Did I
11:20 Who On Earth Did I
11:45 Who On Earth Did I
12:10 The Will: Family Secrets
13:00 The Will: Family Secrets
13:50 Nightmare Next Door
14:40 Deadly Affairs
15:30 Deadly Affairs
16:20 Disappeared
17:10 Real Emergency Calls
17:35 Real Emergency Calls
18:00 Stalked: Someone’s
18:25 Stalked: Someone’s
18:50 I Was Murdered
19:15 I Was Murdered
19:40 Forensic Detectives
20:30 Forensic Detectives
21:20 Forensic Detectives
22:10 Forensic Detectives
23:00 Who On Earth Did I
23:25 Who On Earth Did I
23:50 Blood Relatives
00:10 Zou
00:25 Mouk
00:35 Jungle Junction
00:50 Art Attack
01:15 Julius Jr.
01:25 Calimero
01:40 Henry Hugglemonster
01:50 Zou
02:05 Mouk
02:15 Jungle Junction
02:25 Art Attack
02:50 Julius Jr.
03:00 Calimero
03:15 Henry Hugglemonster
03:25 Zou
03:40 Mouk
03:50 Jungle Junction
04:00 Art Attack
04:25 Julius Jr.
04:35 Calimero
04:50 Henry Hugglemonster
05:00 Zou
05:15 Mouk
05:25 Jungle Junction
05:35 Art Attack
06:00 Julius Jr.
06:10 Calimero
06:25 Henry Hugglemonster
06:35 Zou
06:50 Mouk
07:00 Jungle Junction
07:10 Art Attack
07:35 Julius Jr.
07:45 Calimero
08:00 Jungle Junction
08:10 Zou
08:25 Henry Hugglemonster
08:35 Julius Jr.
08:50 Mouk
09:00 Calimero
09:15 Art Attack
09:40 Henry Hugglemonster
09:50 Doc McStuffins
10:05 Zou
10:15 Sheriff Callie’s Wild West
10:30 Minnie’s Bow-Toons
10:35 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
11:00 Sofia The First
11:25 Doc McStuffins
11:50 Calimero
12:05 Jake And The Never Land
12:30 Doc McStuffins
12:55 Doc McStuffins
13:20 Doc McStuffins
13:45 Doc McStuffins
14:10 Doc McStuffins
14:35 Henry Hugglemonster
14:45 Zou
15:00 Jake And The Never Land
15:10 Sheriff Callie’s Wild West
15:25 Calimero
15:40 Julius Jr.
15:55 Handy Manny
16:05 Justin Time
16:20 Sofia The First
16:45 Minnie’s Bow-Toons
16:50 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
17:15 Lilo & Stitch
17:40 Adventures Of The
Gummi Bears
18:05 Chip n Dale Rescue
18:30 Ducktales
18:55 Art Attack
19:20 Sofia The First
19:45 Calimero
20:00 Doc McStuffins
20:10 Jake And The Never Land
20:25 Sheriff Callie’s Wild West
20:35 Zou
20:50 Minnie’s Bow-Toons
20:55 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
21:20 Sofia The First
21:45 Adventures Of The
Gummi Bears
22:10 Chip n Dale Rescue
22:35 Ducktales
23:00 Minnie’s Bow-Toons
23:05 Art Attack
23:30 Julius Jr.
23:40 Calimero
23:55 Henry Hugglemonster
00:00 Programmes Start At
7:00am KSA
07:00 Dude, That’s My Ghost
07:25 Zeke & Luther
07:50 Star Wars Rebels
08:15 Supa Strikas
08:40 The 7D
09:05 Phineas And Ferb
09:30 Supa Strikas
12:30 PM
3:00 PM
5:15 PM
7:45 PM
10:00 PM
12:30 AM
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
11:30 AM
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TEMPER (Telugu)
TEMPER (Telugu)
TEMPER (Telugu)
11:30 AM
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4:00 PM
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10:00 PM
10:00 PM
1:00 AM
TEMPER (Telugu)
1:30 PM
12:45 PM
3:30 PM
5:30 PM
7:30 PM
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12:15 AM
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
12:15 PM
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10:15 PM
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KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
12:15 PM
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KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
7:30 PM
10:00 PM
12:30 AM
TEMPER (Telugu)
TEMPER (Telugu)
TEMPER (Telugu)
1:00 PM
3:30 PM
3:30 PM
6:30 PM
6:30 PM
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KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
11:30 AM
2:00 PM
4:30 PM
7:00 PM
9:30 PM
12:05 AM
11:45 AM
2:00 PM
4:15 PM
6:30 PM
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360º- 1
12:00 PM
2:15 PM
4:30 PM
6:45 PM
9:00 PM
11:15 PM
360º- 2
11:45 AM
2:00 PM
4:15 PM
TEMPER (Telugu)
TEMPER (Telugu)
TEMPER (Telugu)
6:30 PM
8:45 PM
11:00 PM
1:15 AM
3:30 PM
6:30 PM
9:30 PM
12:30 PM
360º- 3
12:45 PM
3:00 PM
5:15 PM
7:30 PM
9:45 PM
12:05 AM
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
12:00 PM
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5:00 PM
7:30 PM
10:00 PM
12:30 AM
1:00 PM
1:30 PM
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KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
11:30 AM
1:45 PM
4:30 PM
7:00 PM
9:15 PM
11:45 PM
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
11:30 AM
2:00 PM
4:30 PM
7:00 PM
9:30 PM
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KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
1:30 PM
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6:00 PM
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12:45 AM
KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
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KINGSMAN: The Secret Service
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Automated enquiry about
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Prayer timings
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Aries (March 21-April 19)
This is the time of the year when much of the world is under a blanket of drizzle in one form or another-snow, sleet, rain, etc. Let yourself dream today. These days do not
come too often-do not ignore this opportunity to let your imagination loose. Perhaps a
good book or movie will take on that more-than-real dimension. Consider the stars. This
could be a long and dreamy time when you find it easy to lose yourself in one flight of fancy
or another, often at the expense of rational thinking. Family and security are things that rattle your chain more than ever. Now is a good time to do repair jobs inside the house-pipes
perhaps. When the last nail is hammered down, consider some fun time with the kids or other family members-cards, charades, etc.
Taurus (April 20-May 20)
Restlessness today may have you exercising out-of-doors. You have too much
energy to stay indoors. Neighbors and friends that visit early are included in your afternoon
activities. You may enjoy some form of group competition today. Speak less and listen more,
because today you will win friends and influence people. Connections with people on a
grand scale-for example, at a distance or en masse-play a bigger part in your life now, perhaps by communication with people through the computer. Education, advertising and travel could play a part in this. Law and philosophy and perhaps religion have much potential to
impact your lifestyle. This is certainly a time when you may feel that you are in harmony with
Gemini (May 21-June 20)
1. Characteristic of a mob.
4. The fourth compartment of the stomach
of a ruminant.
12. Electronic warfare undertaken under
direct control of an operational commander to locate sources of radiated electromagnetic energy for the purpose of immediate
threat recognition.
15. Any of various primates with short tails
or no tail at all.
16. Pronounce with a lowered velum.
17. The cry made by sheep.
18. Having leadership guidance.
19. Abnormally high acidity (excess hydrogen-ion concentration) of the blood and
other body tissues.
20. Any of various units of capacity.
21. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike.
23. United States composer of musical
comedies (1885-1945).
24. A hard gray lustrous metallic element
that is highly corrosion-resistant.
26. Before noon.
27. Offensively bold.
28. A state in the Rocky Mountains.
30. A rounded thickly curled hairdo.
33. Conforming to truth.
35. The father of your father or mother.
37. Twist or braid together, interlace.
40. Concerning those not members of the
41. Flightless New Zealand birds similar to
45. A guided missile fired from shipboard
against an airborne target.
46. (prefix) Opposite or opposing or neutralizing.
48. North American water snakes.
50. An intensely radioactive metallic element that occurs in minute amounts in uranium ores.
51. Small tropical American tree bearing
edible plumlike fruit.
53. Lower in esteem.
54. Medium-sized tree having glossy lanceolate leaves.
56. A state in northwestern North America.
57. Angular distance above the horizon
(especially of a celestial object).
59. A primeval personification of air and
60. A material effigy that is worshipped as a
62. The battle in 202 BC in which Scipio
decisively defeated Hannibal at the end of
the second Punic War.
64. A geographical area and former kingdom in northeastern India in the Himalaya
Mountains between Nepal and Bhutan.
70. Fiddler crabs.
71. Stout-bodied insect with large membranous wings.
74. Used especially of fruits.
75. A diagrammatic representation of the
earth's surface (or part of it).
76. Relating to or located near the organ
that produces tears.
78. A long projecting or anterior elongation
of an animal's head.
79. Hawaiian dish of taro root pounded to a
paste and often allowed to ferment.
80. A wild and exciting undertaking (not
necessarily lawful).
81. (astronomy) A measure of time defined
by Earth's orbital motion.
1. A master's degree in library science.
2. An organization of countries formed in
1961 to agree on a common policy for the
sale of petroleum.
3. English monk and scholar (672-735).
4. (Irish) Mother of the ancient Irish gods.
5. (rock music) A loud steady beat.
6. Flexible twig of a willow tree.
7. A state in southeastern India on the Bay
of Bengal (south of Andhra Pradesh).
8. Cuban dancer and choreographer (born
in 1921).
9. A female person who has the same parents as another person.
10. A type of submachine gun that is
designed and manufactured in Israel.
11. A woman of mixed racial ancestry (especially mixed European and Native American
12. A gradual decline (in size or strength or
power or number).
13. A region of Malaysia in northeastern
14. A port in southern Sweden.
22. An unbroken or imperfectly broken
25. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind.
29. Acute lung injury characterized by
coughing and rales.
31. United States physicist (born in
Germany) who with Gustav Hertz performed an electron scattering experiment
that proved the existence of the stationary
energy states postulated by Niels Bohr
32. An Indian side dish of yogurt and
chopped cucumbers and spices.
34. A kind of sideboard or buffet.
36. (Irish) Mother of the Tuatha De Danann.
38. Very slow in tempo and broad in manner n.
39. (computer science) A system of worldwide electronic communication in which a
computer user can compose a message at
one terminal that is generated at the recipient's terminal when he logs in.
42. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked
on a skewer usually with vegetables.
43. The biblical name for ancient Syria.
44. Socks and stockings and tights collectively (the British include underwear as
47. Any small spherical group of cells containing a cavity.
49. Of the appetites and passions of the
52. A metal cleat on the bottom front of a
horseshoe to prevent slipping.
55. Not capable of being swayed or diverted from a course.
58. Chipmunks of eastern North America.
61. Similar to the giraffe but smaller with
much shorter neck and stripe on the legs.
63. The space between two lines or planes
that intersect.
65. The United Nations agency concerned
with civil aviation.
66. A metal frame or container holding cartridges.
67. God of the Underworld.
68. Made agreeably cold (especially by ice).
69. The state of owing money.
72. Being one hundred more than two hundred.
73. A constellation in the southern hemisphere near Telescopium and Norma.
77. A public promotion of some product or
A community program may call for your negotiation expertise. Others enjoy
being around you and you know just what to say and how to help. If you want to have some
time to yourself today, you may enjoy a walk. You and a friend may also find that some time
at a nearby gym is rejuvenating! Of course, exercise of this sort can help your stamina. An
instinctive urge to get serious about taking care of you at many levels is emphasized now.
Diet, exercise and work somehow mean more to you: you want to feel good about the way
you do things. This evening is a good time to write letters and make phone calls. It may get
warmer before it gets cold again but for now . . . Heat up that fireplace, warm up a cup of
cider and enjoy your surroundings.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
You may find yourself working by choice today, but it is likely to be inside your
home. If you negotiate, you could be on the phone. If you create proposals or
make sales, you will probably be using some high tech equipment. Ambitious schemes and the
pursuit of success take on a high priority. This brings a focus on the practical and successful. You
may be looking for a new computer to help you seek out new sales possibilities-perhaps you
want to create a site on the internet for yourself. Rain, cold, snow and all sorts of reasons to stay
inside could create friction if too many people share the same space. Take time for a one-on-one
and take time for yourself-perhaps some private reading or earphones for listening to beautiful
music or intelligent words.
Leo (July 23-August 22)
You may make it a point to be alone most of this day-your energies seem to be in
need of rest. You may find yourself shopping, not necessarily to purchase items, but to investigate the new technical items on the market at this time. Later this afternoon, you will feel more
like being with others and perhaps, talking about all those new high tech products you saw this
morning. Ideas and technologies that change the way people live-not just one person, but
many-are a major new focus in your life just now. Uphold any obligations such as promises,
errands, chores, etc. Someone is really depending on you to come through with a special promise. Although your finances will look better later this year, it would be a good idea to lighten your
spending trend.
Virgo (August 23-September 22)
Watch, take notes, play it cool and ask questions this morning. Although your
energies are high, now is not the time to make yourself heard. Allow others to speak first and
when they are completely finished you can state your views simply. You may find yourself in a
renters’ or homeowners’ meeting later today. This is a good time to speak up for the benefit of
the group. You seem to take unexpected events in your stride. Today may be a particularly interesting day in this regard. It is good that your attitude is to be prepared for just about any unexpected event that might happen. This is a time when your path of expression becomes more and
more defined-making it easy to help others. You are the center of attraction at a party this
Libra (September 23-October 22)
Seeking employment, taking a vacation and obtaining a loan are favorable
activities now, even if it is a Sunday. You seem more interested in cleaning up or finishing
things left undone from another time. Perhaps you will go into work this morning for a
few hours. Friends encourage you to play this afternoon. After tending to a few chores,
you may decide to join your friends in a game of hockey or racquetball, roller lading, wall
climbing, etc. Proper gear for these activities is very important and will assure you the
enjoyment of a safe and fun afternoon. Pay attention to the family members this
evening-it seems everyone has a story to share. You encourage positive, open communications. Hugs are easy to find; give them freely.
Scorpio (October 23-November 21)
A change of residence is possible this weekend-perhaps a long-distance
relocation. Educational plans may need changing: you now realize that they do not suit
you as well as you would like. Anything connected with publishing, advertising or broadcasting requires reexamination. A change of plans or perspective will give you the upper
hand for your future financial security. This is an exciting time that is full of opportunities
for you to fulfill your wishes and plan your successes. A fun adventure today may include
a camping trip, a special date, being invited to a party, etc. Today is the first day of more
exciting times to come. Good feelings come from friends and family members. Consider
keeping a dream diary.
Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)
Unexpected strange behavior from a family member or friend may find you
jumping in to lend a listening ear. Perhaps you can suggest a physical
checkup. Exercising your initiative opens doors for you, as well as others-your charm wins
the support of others. Energies will return to a more balanced and positive position soonyou will feel you have truly made a positive difference. This afternoon is a good time to
gather your friends to trade reading material, organize a closet or play board games. The
quality of the energies around you is upbeat and an attitude of gratitude takes hold. You
may get into discussions such as near death experiences, or educational or spiritual journeys. You could tweak your imagination.
Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
Learning what makes people tick interests you. If you did not study psychology in school, you might enjoy reading about the mind. You may find yourself in a mall, a
theater, a play, a class, anywhere that a lot of people gather. Being the observer today is
fun and may present several ideas for a book, a poem or some photography. Some kind of
healing process is at work in your life these days: you will find positive results from isolating what doesn’t work, eliminating it and going on from there. In other words, you are
embarking on new adventures. All through this day you will find that your common sense,
efficiency and practicality serve you well.
Aquarius (January 20- February 18)
You have learned your lessons well and are happy to be helping others to
learn. You may find that you enjoy teaching or administering aid in some way. The service
industry loves you, the financial industry could learn a lot from you and the medical services beg for your help. Wow! With all those talents that are available for your expression,
now is a good time to plot your path into your future. No matter what you do in life and
how your choices culminate, you will be able to teach and guide others now or in the latter
years of your life. All in all, there are plenty of opportunities for you to mold your desires;
now is the time to decide what you enjoy the most and where you want to shine. Have a
camera ready this evening.
Pisces (February 19-March 20)
Your desires are strong and you will want to enjoy yourself today. Spending
is very possible. There is a basic drive to appreciate and taste life. You may cease to waste
time acquiring that which is worthless and may develop an eye for that which is lasting
and worthwhile. If someone is trying to change your plans-stop! Stay on your defined path
for now, especially if changes would cause you to rush or go into areas unknown. If you are
driving today, leave early and do not rush. You may receive a new pet or take care of a
friend’s pet today-enjoy, this could be an unusually entertaining animal. Expecting company this evening may have you rushing around to pick up and clean up-of course, this does
not seem necessary-company will enjoy their visit.
Yesterday’s Solution
Yesterday’s Solution
Daily SuDoku
Yesterday’s Solution
i n f o r m at i o n
For labor-related inquiries
and complaints:
Call MSAL hotline 128
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Mahboula Block 1, Coastal Rd
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Jahra-Block 92
Marshall Islands
Khaldiya Coop
Fahad Al-Salem St
Khaldiya Coop
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Ferdous Coop
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Farwaniya Block 40
Ferdous Coop
Old Kheitan Block 11
Hawally & Rawdha
Ibn Al-Nafis
Mishrif Coop
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Salmiya-Hamad Mubarak St
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G o s s i p
Sienna Miller is an ‘optimistic’ person
he ‘American Sniper’ actress - who has twoyear-old daughter, Marlowe, with her fiancÈ
Tom Sturridge - knows her life isn’t perfect
but never gets too upset when things go wrong.
She said: “I’ve always been an optimistic person.
Of course not everything is perfect in my life. But
if things doesn’t work out, my reaction about
that is not negative. I don’t let myself go down
that easily. I’m a real tumbler.” The 33-year-old
actress feels lucky to have a “child-friendly” job
which allows her to take Marlowe to work with
her. She said: “I take her with me [to work]. On set
is like at a big family, everyone takes care of the
kids of the others. When I’m shooting my daughter is in my trailer playing. My job is actually quite
child-friendly.” Before falling pregnant, Sienna who has previously been engaged to Jude Law
and also dated Rhys Ifans - took a step out of the
spotlight because she felt her personal life was
overshadowing her work. She explained to
German’s Myself magazine: “There was I point
when I had that feeling, that the media is doing
more reports about my private life than about
my work. This is why for a while I have withdrawn. I wanted to bring my life back on the
right track. Then I got pregnant. It was perfect
Neil Patrick Harris practiced saying
Benedict Cumberbatch’s name ‘2,086 times’
he 41-year-old actor, who is set to
present the prestigious awards ceremony in Los Angeles on February 22,
has been putting the hours in to make sure
he doesn’t mispronounce a nominee or
performer’s name. He said: “I’ve always
been keen on diction. And inflection. And
pitch. And pace. We reveal a lot about ourselves by the way we communicate verbally. So there’s quite a bit of vocal warming
up.” Asked how many times he has said
‘Cumberbatch’ in front of the mirror, he
replied: “2,086 times.” The former ‘How I Met
Your Mother’ star also doesn’t want to
offend anyone with his jokes at the ceremony. He said: “I don’t like to be mean. It’s
such a celebration for everyone; I think it
should stay positive and buoyant. Why,
after getting nominated for a friggin’ Oscar,
would you want to get heckles? Not my
thing.” Neil is thrilled that his ‘Gone Girl’ costar Rosamund Pike is nominated for Best
Actress and can’t wait to see what she
wears to the event. He added to PEOPLE
magazine: “She is one of the most stunning
women I’ve ever seen, so I’ll probably be
drooling. Lady Pike can do no wrong in my
David Cassidy files
for bankruptcy
Oprah Winfrey
doesn’t watch TV
he 64-year-old singer has begun proceedings
by filing papers in Florida which show he has
assets worth £6.5 million, but almost an equal
amount in debt. In a statement, he said: “I am going
through bankruptcy proceedings.” Although the former The Partridge Family star has sold over 30 million
records worldwide, he explained the process is “necessary” following a split from his third wife of 22
years, Sue Shifrin, and their subsequent divorce
which is still ongoing. He continued: “This is necessary for practical reasons to reorganise my life as I go
through divorce and to restructure my finances.” The
news comes just a year after the ‘How Can I Be Sure’
hitmaker was forced to enter rehab after committing
a string of drink driving offences, shortly before the
breakdown of his marriage. In papers filed by the
musician - who is the father of ‘Gossip Girl’ actress
Katie Cassidy - the breakdown of the money he owes
indicates he has £190,000 worth of debts on his
property, £85,000 in legal and medical fees, while
also owing £25,000 on credit cards.
Katy Perry suffering
from chronic knee pain
he ‘Roar’ singer - who recently performed her ballad ‘By the Grace of God’
at the Grammy Awards - has revealed
her constant performing has taken its toll on
her body and she has resorted to multiple
sessions of acupuncture each week in a desperate bid to save her knees. She admitted:
“My knees are giving out on me now. I do
acupuncture every two or three days.” The
singer-songwriter - who turned 30 last year explained why she thinks her body is suffering, blaming it on her energetic stage performances which tire her out because they
make her exercise like an Olympian. She told
The Sun newspaper: “I tour with a stage that
goes from the front of the house to the back
of the house with a triangle thrust that is a
moving treadmill, like I think I’m some kind of
Olympic athlete.” However, the state of her
joints isn’t the star’s only worry, as she has
been busy threatening to sue a New York
company after they began producing figurines of the dancing sharks which accompanied her during her record breaking Super
Bowl half-time performance. Attorneys representing the ‘Prism’ maker sent a cease and
desist letter to the 3D printing service
Shapeways last week after it was discovered
they were selling 6.9 centimetre models of
the uncoordinated characters, with the company now halting production and offering
customers refunds.
he media mogul may have her own network, OWN,
but she doesn’t watch programmes or listen to the
radio at home because she finds background noise
affects her “energy”. She said: “Nothing keeps me awake at
night. I don’t watch news before bed. I have a very sensitive
spirit - I absorb other people’s feelings and empathise with
them. “I have to measure the energy that comes from my
private space. I’m never in the house with noise - other
than dogs yapping. I don’t leave the TV or radio on. I don’t
have energy coming into my sphere that I’m not consciously inviting in.” The ‘Selma’ star also believes it is important to
“clean her spirit” every night by writing in her “gratitude
journal” five things she is thankful for that day. She
explained to Psychologies magazine: “I write in a gratitude
journal every night before I go to bed. It cleans my spirit for
the day and sets me up for the next day. “I go through life
looking for five things I can be grateful for and that
changes my personal vibration as I’m looking for positive
things to happen during my day.”
Eddie Redmayne loves being married
he ‘Theory of Everything’ star, who tied
the knot with long-term girlfriend
Hannah Bagshawe in December, insists
he doesn’t miss being a bachelor. The 33year-old actor said: “New marriage is pretty
wonderful, pretty extraordinary. I’m very happy.” The British heartthrob is planning to
whisk his new wife off to a tropical island
after the Oscars in Los Angeles on February
22. He told Us Weekly magazine: “The plan is
to go sit on a beach somewhere with
Hannah, as she certainly deserves it.” The couple were forced to cut short their original
honeymoon to attend the Golden Globe
Awards earlier this month after tying the knot
on December 15, and Eddie is not expecting
to come back with a suntan. He joked: “I’ll get
a few more freckles.” The ‘Les Miserable’ star
previously admitted he is looking forward to
reading a “trashy book” on the beach. He said:
“When you’re an actor, there’s always something you have to read for work, so you
always have to either be reading a script or
researching a script. That moment where you
get to choose a book that you want to read
just for pleasure is that rare thing.”
John Lennon
hit his son Julian
statement written by The Beatles’ star’s former
domestic worker Dorothy Jarlett about John’s
behaviour during his split from first wife Cynthia
Powell has been unearthed following her death last year,
and suggests the musician was violent towards his son,
born in 1963. In the five-page document - written in 1968 Dorothy explained how the late rocker, who was shot at
the age of 40 in 1980, was “too severe” with the couple’s
son when he was a youngster which frequently led to
explosive arguments. She wrote: “When Mr Lennon was at
home there were often rows during meals when John
seemed to be too severe with Julian and criticised the way
he behaved at table. “Julian, who was a very sensitive child
at the time, would become upset and Mrs Lennon would
argue with Mr Lennon about this. As a result there would
be an argument about the way Julian was being brought
up. “Mr Lennon would say Mrs Lennon was too soft with
him. I think he was probably not enough with his son
owing to his profession to know how to handle him.” A line
at the end of the document which was then crossed out
reads, “As a result he would often smack him.” The statement was written for John’s divorce solicitors when he was
seeking a separation from Cynthia in order to marry his
mistress, Yoko Ono, who he wed the following year and
had a second son, Sean, with. The document is set to be
auctioned off next month and is expected to receive bids
of up to £5,000.
Benedict Cumberbatch set
to marry Sophie Hunter
he couple, who announced their engagement in
November shortly before confirming they are expecting their first child, have planned an extra special
Valentine’s Day and will exchange vows in front of family
and close friends, including Keira Knightley, during a
church ceremony on the Isle of Wight, England. The 38year-old actor’s ‘Sherlock’ co-star Martin Freeman, 43, is
expected to serve as his best man, according to The Sun
newspaper. The ‘Imitation Game’ star and the theatre director, 36, were first spotted looking at venues on the island
last month and marquees were erected in the gardens of
their reception venue on Thursday. Vans supplying food,
sculptures and flowers were seen making deliveries on
Friday. All roads close to the church have also been closed
off for the occasion and security guards are on patrol. The
couple are expected to postponed their honeymoon until
after the Oscars in Los Angeles on February 22, as Benedict
is nominated for Best Actor at the prestigious event. But
the newlyweds will fly back to the US shortly after tying
the knot so the actor can appear on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ on
Monday (16.02.15). A source recently revealed the duo,
who met on the set of ‘Burlesque Fairytales’ in 2009 but
only started dating last year, were eager to get married
before welcoming their baby into the world this summer.
Sarah Jessica Parker spending
Valentine’s Day with babysitter
he former ‘Sex and the City’ star, who has
been married for 18 years, admits she isn’t
doing anything romantic to celebrate the
occasion with husband Matthew Broderick yester
because he is working. Asked if she has any special plans, the 49-year-old actress, who has son
James Wilkie, 11, and five-year-old twins daughters, Tabitha and Marion, with the actor, told E!
News: “Well I’m actually going to be with my children because my husband’s working, so I’m going
to be with my children, but I think that’s kind of
nice. And actually I’ll be with our babysitter too. I
keep making fun of her, I’m like, ‘We’re spending
Valentine’s Day together Anna,’ and she’s like,
‘Yeah, great.’ “ Matthew, 52, is currently starring in
the Broadway comedy, ‘It’s Only A Play,’ alongside
Martin Short in the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre in
New York City, and has two performances scheduled for today. The actor recently revealed that
his long-lasting marriage to Sarah is based on
“talking a lot”. He said: “We really are friends
beyond everything else and we talk a lot. “Keep
talking I guess, I know how clichÈ that is. Too
much silence is definitely not a good idea.”
Taylor Swift
about falling
in love again
he ‘Blank Space’ hitmaker, who has been single since splitting from Harry Styles in
December 2013, admits she deliberately
took a step back from dating to focus on her
career and friendships, but fears people will see it
as a “weakness” if she opens herself up to love in
the future. The 25-year-old singer, who also previously dated Jake Gyllenhaal and John Mayer,
explained: “I wasn’t going to sit next to somebody
and flirt with them for five minutes, because I
know the next day he’ll be rumoured to be my
boyfriend. I just kind of took the narrative back.
It’s unfortunate I had to do that. And it’s unfortunate that now I have this feeling like if I were to
open myself up to love, that would be a career
weakness.” But the blonde beauty claims she has
changed a lot recently and insists she no longer
really cares what people think about her. She told
the US March issue of Vogue: “This last year has
felt very different than any other year of my life.
I’ve felt more settled and unapologetic about who
I am and what I stand for. I think that might be
one of those symptoms of growing up and
becoming your own person, and depending less
on other people’s opinions of you. I just hope that
keeps going-because I’m liking it.”
Angelina Jolie passion for acting
grew after death of her mother
he 39-year-old star, who recently
revealed she wants to focus on directing and her humanitarian work in the
future, admits she only realised her passions lay elsewhere after Marcheline
Bertrand passed away from ovarian cancer
in 2007. Asked why she is planning to retire
from the big screen, the ‘Unbroken’ director
said: “It’s somewhat personal. When my
mother died, I realised how much my being
an actress was linked to her desire to be an
actress herself, and especially what satisfaction it brought her when she saw me
onscreen. Once she was gone, I didn’t feel
the same attraction for it.” The brunette
beauty insists the idea of becoming less
famous doesn’t bother her. The Oscar winner told France’s Dandy magazine: “What I
Kristin Cavallari scared about
leaving her kids with babysitter
he former ‘The Hills’ star, who has two sons, Camden,
two, and eight-month-old Jaxon with her Chicago
Bears player husband, Jay Cutler, admits she feels
uneasy about going out on a date with him tonight because
he has asked one of his best friends to take care of their children. Asked about their plans for the romantic holiday, the
blonde beauty said: “Jay just told me that he made really
great dinner reservations, and he has one of his best friends
babysitting, which is a little scary. It’s like, ‘Oh, that’s who is
babysitting? okay...’ But it is one of his good friends, so it’ll be
pretty hilarious.” The shoe designer, 28, recently started lifting weights because she “can look really skinny” if she isn’t
careful, and admits is very competitive with NFL star Jay, 31,
in the gym. She told E! News: “I’m right there with him, if not
a little bit more. “I work my butt off in the gym, I do a lot of
weight training with a trainer and I try to eat real, whole
foods rather than all the processed c**p.”
really like is to be behind the camera, to
put others into the light. Being in the spotlight’s shine doesn’t interest me. I prefer to
have my head almost under water ...”
Meanwhile, Angelina, who married Brad
Pitt last August, admits she waited a long
time to find a “real man.” The ‘Maleficent’
star, who was previously married to Johnny
Lee Miller and Billy Bob Thornton,
explained: “At 20, we’re all looking for
Prince Charming, the big handsome hunk,
only we’re generally disappointed because
of his instability. At 40, you know what you
want: a real man.”
Wu offers ‘grown-up’ clothes; Rosie in red
veryone always asks Adam Selman about “that” dress,
and no wonder: The designer’s totally sheer, crystalencrusted gown for Rihanna at the Council of Fashion
Designers of America awards last June made global headlines.
“It was a game-changer,” he said on Friday before his runway show in a Chelsea gallery. “It definitely put me on a worldwide scale. It’s February, and people are still talking about that
dress. I knew it was going to make a big splash but I didn’t
expect for people to still be talking about it now!”
Why the huge reaction? “I think it was just shocking, and it
was just interesting to see a woman
feel so confident that she didn’t need to be all nipped and
tucked,” Selman said. “She was just so natural, and there was
no retouching - that was her.”
For his runway show this time, Selman, whose background
is in costume design, said he was inspired by the “bad-girl”
characters in the 1974 movie “Female Trouble,” starring Divine.
His runway featured fencing, as in a schoolyard, and the
ground was littered with crushed soda cans and wrinkled
wrappers. The models hung onto the fences and chatted, or
looked in compact mirrors to check their makeup.
As for the clothes, they were a colorful, playful mix of
schoolgirl gingham and more body-hugging fabrics. Selman
said he also wanted to infuse his fashions with an arts-andcrafts theme, so he covered many of his garments with cute
little bows as appliques. Colors were evocative of a schoolyard, too: Bubblegum and bottle green were two of Selman’s
favorites. Front-row guests included pop singer Ke$ha and
Disney Channel star Zendaya.
Jocelyn Noveck
The weather has been sobering indeed for the opening of
Fashion Week - a deep chill settled in on Friday, with worse to
come - and Jason Wu says he was thinking about such things
when he designed his collection.
“What’s new here is that a lot of outerwear pieces are interchangeable,” he said Friday after his runway show in downtown
Manhattan. A number dresses or coats, for example, were
accompanied by removable fur pieces. “The fur can come off, so
you can wear the wool coat by itself,” Wu said. “It’s the idea of
addressing the weather changes, all the time. It’s simply realistic.”
Wu, who became famous by designing not one, but both of first
lady Michelle Obama’s inaugural gowns, called his new collection “a grown-up collection for me,” with colors that were darker
and more sultry. He favored an olive green, an ash gray, and
black - with a pop of bright red in the middle, “for sex appeal,” he
Wu was tight-lipped about whether he’s dressing any famous
actresses for the Oscars on Feb. 22; Last year, a pregnant Kerry
Washington wore a gown of his in a plum-violet shade. “You
never know,” he said. “It’s about the right girl and the right dress. I
hate to name names.” He did agree, though, to reveal the name
of someone he aspires to dress one day: last year’s best actress
winner. “I’d love to work with Cate Blanchett,” he said.
Jocelyn Noveck
Rosie O’Donnell opened with a wry quip: “I had a lot of
stress today, I don’t know if you heard.” Hours after ending her
second stint as a host of ABC’s “The View,” O’Donnell was on a
fashion runway - a strange place for her to be, she said - introducing the American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women”
Red Dress Collection, an annual fashion show featuring entertainment personalities modeling bright red designer dresses
to promote awareness of heart disease.
O’Donnell donned a red jacket and black pants to open the
show Thursday night, but she wasn’t hazarding a walk down
the runway (and back) teetering on stilettos. That job fell to
some 20 women of all ages, culminating in a much-cheered
appearance by actress Barbara Eden, the 83-year -old former
star of the 1960s series “I Dream of Jeannie,” who even did her
trademark fold-the-arms-and-blink move for the cameras.
Eden wore a lacy Carmen Marc Valvo gown. Others at the
show, which was presented by Macy’s, included TV personality
Star Jones in a B. Michael gown, who brought along her tiny
white dog on a leash (the dog appeared to be a real pro, hardly flinching in the hot lights and loud music).
Some of the biggest cheers were awarded to Laverne Cox,
a star of TV’s “Orange is the New Black” and the first openly
transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy. Cox
twirled at the top of the runway in her gauzy Donna Karan
number. The show ended with a song from the girl group Fifth
Harmony - all clad in red, of course.
Jocelyn Noveck
Most of the time when you hear a Bon Jovi song in a store,
it’s playing over a loudspeaker.
But Thursday night, around 100 lucky fans were treated to
seeing the New Jersey-born rocker perform a bunch of his hits
during an intimate acoustic set inside of a Kenneth Cole store
in Soho.
The performance, as New York Fashion Week began, was
part of Common Thread, an initiative the musician started
with Cole that provides a platform for the new creators of
today and tomorrow to help them find an audience.
The initiative benefits both young designers and musicians, something Cole said the pair spent a lot of time discussing.
Before the show, the 52-year old musician expressed his
feeling that while the technology for
making music has gotten simpler, he sees no substitute for
raw performance as the true measure of talent.
“You can have all the bells and whistles of production
these days, and these guys that are out there singing on the
Grammys with auto-tune,” Jon Bon Jovi said. “I always used to
say, ‘I’m going to hand you my guitar, sing me something, and
I want to see you play it.’” — AP
Steve Madden unveils a stylish
Spring Summer ’15 collection
For dangerously stylish woman and the urbane man
et into the swing of the new season with the
Steve Madden Spring Summer 2015
Collection for men and women.
The Steve Madden girl is cool, confident, and
always on the go, dressed to impress at all times,
her outfits make a statement from the ground up.
For Spring 2015, Steve Madden has filled her closet
with prints and embellishments, ranging from
espadrilles and flat sandals to sneakers and party
No delicate floral prints for our girl; bold, punchy
florals are more her speed. Steve Madden has created incredibly graphic floral patterns ideal for any
occasion. The SANDDY is the perfect flat sandal for
our daring city girl. Its edgy zipper detail along the
sole adds sophistication to the floral upper. Still
casual for her daytime shopping trip on Broadway,
the STEFANO features an eye-catching floral print
on a white platform block heel. When evening falls
and she wants to channel her inner vixen, our girl
turns to the VARCITY Y and STECY, both single-sole
heeled styles that will have her turning heads and
breaking hearts.
When the sun goes down this Spring, show stopping styles like the FRINGLY, with its ankle-to-toe
suede fringe, take the magnificent silhouette to the
next level. With such beauties at her feet, it is
absolutely impossible to not have admirable looks.
The espadrille is a timeless spring and summer
staple. This season, however, our girl is a risk taker;
Steve Madden has elevated the espadrille trend
with patterns and embellishments sure to turn
heads. The GARRDEN wedge provides serious
height and sparkle.
The Steve Madden girl is modern and understands fashion; she loves heels and wedges, but
gets just as excited over gorgeous flats and kicks.
Slip on sneakers like the BUHBA and ECENTRCQ
boast metallic finishes, as well as shredded leather
and quilting details. The DONDDI flat sandal also
flaunts a metallic finish that immediately dresses up
a casual look.
Who doesn’t love a good dose of sparkle? Our
girl rocks gems, glitter, and shine day and night, and
does it just right. With its multicolored gemencrusted straps, the BLAZZZED is the way our girl
injects fabulous into her day wear. As she enjoys an
iced latte on her suite balcony, she admires the
bejeweled straps of the ZSAZA sandal. When the
sun sets, she puts on her red lipstick and glamorous
CAGGED heels. She’s an absolute knockout, with a
smile almost as blinding as the shoes on her feet.
A great pair of shoes deserves an equally great
bag, and for Spring 2015, Steve Madden has provided our girl with the collection of luxe handbags
she’s seeking. BTOTALLY, available in arresting
embossed snake skin and metal hardware, come in
classic shapes for everyday wear.
The Steve Madden man is effortlessly stylish and
never looks out of place, no matter the occasion.
For Spring 2015, his looks are urbane, yet possess a
bit of rebelliousness. The Steve Madden guy is anything but standard, and he wears chukka boots to
reflect that taste. His closet contains an abundance
of casual and cool styles, appropriate for an afternoon stroll downtown with his girl. The sneaker bottoms FARSIDE lend an athletic touch, while the
leather and suede details give a gentle flair. The
HALLOWAY in camouflage adds zest to the classic
silhouette, while the leather detail at the heel adds
The Steve Madden guy has mastered the art of
style; he’s never overdressed or underdressed, but
ready for every occasion on his social agenda. The
DROGO, with its leather know detail and white sole;
give another spin on the versatile driving moccasin.
The SOJOURN is a casual take on the oxford style,
but the white sole and suede upper make it eyecatching.
Even when he needs to dress more formal, the
Steve Madden man always makes a statement. The
HIGHBALL elevates the driving moccasin by adding
tassels and seams. All eyes are on him as the sun
sets over the city, and his girl can’t help but admire
her arm candy.
Practically polished and sensibly fashionable; the
all new Steve Madden Spring Summer 2015
Collection is out in stores now! Available at The
Women look at heart-shaped boxes containing Valentine’s Day chocolates on sale at a store in Tokyo. In Japan, women
buy chocolates for men on Valentine’s Day, not vice versa.
Ten killjoys hold a banner saying “Smash Valentine’s Day” march during a demonstration around the Shibuya shopping
district in Tokyo yesterday.
Japan killjoys protest Valentine’s ‘love capitalists’
s Japan celebrated Valentine’s Day yesterday a group of
killjoys marched through Tokyo protesting what it called
the “passion-based capitalism” of the annual celebration of
Members of ‘Kakuhido’, which translates as the Revolutionary
Alliance of Men that Women find Unattractive and claims on its
website that “public smooching is terrorism”, walked through the
busy Shibuya district waving banners with buzzkill slogans
demanding an end to Valentine’s Day.
However, the spoil-sport group was met by bemused looks
from passers-by as the grumpy comrades, numbering just 10 in
total, chanted: “Don’t be duped by the conspiracy of chocolate
“In Japan, women give men chocolate (on Valentine’s Day) to
show their affection,” Kakuhido chairman Mark Waters told AFP.
“Society is addicted to capitalism. People are profiting from it and
we are here today to demonstrate our resistance to the love capitalists.”
Dressed in a white helmet and sunglasses with a pink scarf
covering his mouth, the Japanese protester added: “The name of
our organisation is a parody but it does have a serious message.”
In previous protests, members denounced “housewives who
control Japan’s future” as their hapless husbands work all hours at
the office.
But the group’s “Smash Valentine’s Day” rally, whick took aim
at commercialism, fell flat as they set off along the streets, largely
drowned out by Shibuya’s wall of sound, after Waters reminded
marchers of police guidelines, including the banning of hate
“The blood-soaked conspiracy of Valentine’s Day, driven by
the oppressive chocolate capitalists, has arrived once again,”
Kakuhido said on its website in a bellicose attack on all that is
warm and fuzzy about Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day in Japan is a huge money-spinner for the confectionary business as women are traditionally expected to buy
chocolates for the men in their lives-from partners to work colleagues and bosses.
Men reciprocate a month later on White Day, a Japanese marketing brainwave dreamed up by confectioners in the 1980s to
keep the cash tills ringing.
“We will also be protesting White Day,” insisted Waters, cheerlessly. “And Christmas.”
Kakuhido was founded in 2006 by Katsuhiro Furusawa, who
began reading the Communist Manifesto after being dumped by
his girlfriend and came to the conclusion that being unpopular
with the opposite sex was a class issue, fuelling his anti-Valentine
Japan is experiencing a loss of mojo with couples apparently
too stressed or busy to have sex, frustrating government efforts
to raise the birthrate as policymakers struggle to cope with a
shrinking population.
Despite the Marxist rhetoric, Furusawa has since stepped
down as head of the group, posting distinctly un-Marxist photographs of his new set of wheels, boasting “thanks to our actions I
purchased a Mercedes” as a parting shot. — AFP
Afghan resident Khujesta, 18, leaves a shop selling flowers to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the Shar-e-Naw area of Kabul
yesterday. In conservative Afghanistan, many Afghans are unaware of or don’t mark Valentine’s Day, but younger generations in urban areas are celebrating the day despite restrictions.
An Afghan vendor decorates the area around his shop with flowers to be sold to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the Shar-eNaw area of Kabul yesterday. — AP/ AFP photos
A Palestinian girl holds flowers infront of a shop displaying red teddy bears on Valentine’s day in Gaza yesterday.
Women, not men, buy P
Valentine’s Day sweets
erusing the Valentine’s Day chocolate selection during
my lunch break made me stand out in the crowd in
Tokyo: I was the only male in the Godiva store.
In Japan, women buy chocolates for men on Valentine’s
Day, not vice versa. And not just for their boyfriend or partner,
but also for co-workers, friends of both sexes and even themselves these days. It’s a big business: the Godiva store had
shelves of specially boxed assortments rising to its high ceiling, while competing chocolate makers went head-to-head at
temporary counters set up at a commuter rail station.
OSN to launch wwe network in the Middle East
SN, the leading pay-TV network in the
Middle East and North Africa (MENA),
and WWE(r) (NYSE: WWE) today
announced a five-year partnership to distribute
WWE Network as a premium, linear channel in
time for WrestleMania(r)on Sunday, March 29,
exclusively on OSN.
The agreement will run concurrent with WWE
and OSN’s existing partnership to air WWE’s flagship programming, Raw(r) and SmackDown(r),
as well as NXT(r), Superstarsand more in the
OSN subscribers can access the premium linear network via their set top boxes, and anytime,
anywhere on multiple devices via OSN Play and
through authenticated access via WWE Network
apps. WWE Network will also be offered in the
region on a direct-to-consumer basis through
the WWE app, available on GO by OSN.
“OSN has a long-standing relationship with
WWE and we are very excited to be expanding
that relationship further with the exclusive carriage of the WWE Network,” said Andy Warkman
OSN’s VP, Sport and Production “We will be cobranding the linear channel OSN WWE Network
HD and following on from our enhanced TV deal
renewal last year. This is great news for WWE
fans in the Middle East & North Africa region. We
are looking forward to launching the Network in
the coming weeks and cementing our position
as the Home of WWE in the region.”
“OSN is the leader in pay television in the
Middle East and North Africa, and we are excited
to expand our partnership and further our reach
within the region by adding WWE Network as a
premium, linear channel,” said Gerrit Meier, WWE
Executive Vice President, International. “WWE is
committed to growing our brand globally and
this agreement illustrates the flexibility we have
in rolling out WWE Network around the world,
offering our fans an extraordinary experience.”
WWE Network is available in more than 170
countries and territories and recently surpassed
1 million subscribers just 11 months after
launch, making it the fastest-growing digital
subscription service. WWE Network’s one-of-akind programming includes all 12 WWE pay-perview events LIVE at no additional charge plus
groundbreaking original series, reality shows,
documentaries, classic matches, exclusive coverage of special events and nearly 3,000 hours of
video-on-demand content.
WWE Superstar John
Cena with OSN CEO
David Butorac.
Two female co-workers brightened our office Friday by
handing out chocolates to everyone else: a handful of
Hershey kisses from one, a minibag of M&Ms from the other.
Women get their just “desserts” one month later. Marketers
have created “White Day” on March 14, when men are supposed to reciprocate with gifts for women. — AP
Japan killjoys protest
Valentine’s ‘love
Revelers of the Nene de Vila Matilde samba school perform during the first night of carnival parade at the Anhembi Sambadrome in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Friday. — AFP
Party time!
Carnival opens in Rio
Revelers of the Nene de Vila Matilde samba school perform during the first night of carnival parade at the
Anhembi Sambadrome in Sao Paulo. — AFP
Revelers of the Rosas de Ouro samba school perform during the first night of carnival parade.
asting aside its economic woes, corruption scandals and
recent humiliation on the football pitch, Brazil opened
five days of non-stop partying Friday as Rio de Janeiro’s
Carnival officially opened.
“King Momo,” the portly partier who presides over Carnival,
gave the official green light for the lavish festivities to begin,
after arriving in a limousine flanked by the carnival queen and
two princesses.
“For the second straight year I receive the key to the city
and declare Rio carnival open,” said this year’s “Momo,” 28year-old Wilson Dias da Costa Neto, before busting some samba moves as revellers showered him with confetti.
Although his princesses were resplendent in long
sequinned dresses-albeit one of them largely transparent-carnival is a chance for both sexes to bare maximum flesh in an
outbreak of rampant and unashamed hedonism.
Momo himself urged revelers to “enjoy yourselves-but be
responsible.” In a nod to the latter plea Brazilian authorities
said they were distributing more than 100 million condoms
to push a safe sex message.
Rio’s mayor Eduardo Paes joked that he was happy to relinquish symbolic control of the sprawling city and its “traffic
snarl-ups” to Momo for a few days, noting: “I’ll be back at work
from Ash Wednesday.”
A dozen samba schools, each with thousands of performers, compete Sunday and Monday in the Special Parade,
which will draw around 70,000 spectators to the city’s fabled
The non-elite schools were having their taste of the limelight Friday night. Tennis champion Rafael Nadal will be only
one of a clutch of celebrities attending-he plans to join a
weekend sambadrome parade before looking to defend his
Rio ATP title next week.
For three weeks already, Rio and other major Brazilian cities
have been awash with hundreds of pre-carnival colorful street
parades, known as blocos, each seeking to out-do one another in volume and visual outrageousness, with garish garb and
cross-dressing de rigueur.
The countless street groups, whose traditions date back to
the early 18th century, will be led by the Cordao da Bola Preta,
Rio’s oldest group, founded in 1918, which will gather an estimated 1.8 million people.
Tourist throng
Around a million tourists-most of them Brazilian-will
descend on Rio, cramming the city for the dizzying and decibel-defying spectacle.
City hall officials hope visitors will spend around $500 million during the event.
Hotels in Rio will be at 78 percent capacity during Carnival
week, according to the Brazilian Association of Rio Hotels.
The five-day party will unfold under tight security —
15,000 military police will be on hand, 6,000 more than last
year. Rio’s main thoroughfares will be closed to traffic from
Friday night.
Near the Sambadrome, 65 surveillance cameras have been
set up to monitor activity in the crowded stands.
The samba teams, led by reigning champions Unidos da
Tijuca, have spent months putting the finishing touches to
giant colorful floats and glittering costumes with bold headdresses-and not much fabric.
This year, the festivities will extend beyond Carnival’s official end owing to Rio’s 450th birthday on March 1. The city is
also looking forward to next year’s Summer Olympic Games,
the first ever for South America.
Partygoers will be looking to forget the current context of
economic malaise and a massive corruption scandal at stateowned oil giant Petrobras.
Two Japanese visitors to Friday’s festivities as the noise level steadily rose said they were fulfilling a lifetime ambition to
see the event unfold with their own eyes.
“It’s completely crazy-but very exciting. I can’t believe I am
actually here,” said Shota Oniki, a 22-year-old language student.
“We’ve been playing samba drums at our university, the
Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, for the past four years.
They have a Brazilian music club,” Oniki explained to AFP.
“It’s just so huge when you’re used to the samba carnivals
they have in Tokyo,” he added, wide-eyed at the growing
crowds. — AFP
Revelers of the Mancha Verde samba school.
Revelers of the Rosas de Ouro samba school perform.
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