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VOL. 34 NO. 94 | PAGES 32 | BAISAS 200
P29 ”ƒǯ•ƒƒŠ‹™‹•
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Chief Executive Officer
Oman Establishment for Press, Publication and Advertising
PO Box 974, Postal Code 100, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman
HM greetings to
Lithuania President
MUSCAT: His Majesty Sultan Qaboos
has sent a cable of greetings to
President Dalia Grybauskaite of the
Republic of Lithuania on the occasion
of her country’s National Day. In his
cable, His Majesty the Sultan expressed
his sincere greetings along with his best
wishes of good health and happiness to
President Grybauskaite and the friendly
people of Lithuania further progress.
Arab League to
meet on Yemen
CAIRO: The Arab League said it will
hold an extraordinary meeting on
Wednesday on the crisis in Yemen
where Huthi fighters have ousted
president Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.
The decision to hold the special
meeting of Arab foreign ministers
comes as the UN Security Council
prepares to discuss a resolution on
Sunday, calling on the militiamen to
step down or face consequences. “The
purpose of the meeting is to review
the recent dangerous developments
on the Yemeni scene,” Arab League
deputy head, Ahmed bin Helli, told
reporters yesterday at the organisation’s
headquarters in Cairo.
Police step up raids
in Copenhagen
COPENHAGEN: Armed Danish police
yesterday raided an Internet cafe in
a major operation in Copenhagen
near the spot where officers killed
the suspected gunman behind fatal
shootings, local media said. TV2, which
reported from the scene, showed
footage of armed officers in dark
uniforms outside the Internet cafe
and said at least two people had been
taken away by police. “It’s part of our
investigation,” a police official told a
Oman Air tops in punctuality league Indonesia warned of tough response 10 injured in Brazilian shooting [email protected]
REPORT FINDINGS: Consumers in Salalah left without power on August 14 for unacceptably long period
Feb. 15: Chain of events have been listed
as reason behind five-hour blackout
on August 14, 2014 in Salalah and its
adjoining areas. Based on an investigation,
the Authority for Electricity Regulation
issued a statement stating the reasons
behind the blackout and the steps taken
to restore regular supply.
The outage, according to the
statement, was triggered by a sudden drop
of gas pressure at one of the power plants
and the subsequent failure to successfully
switch to backup fuel, eventually leading
to a loss of all generation units in the
plant. The investigation report presented
key findings commissioned by the
The abrupt outage had caused traffic
snarl ups and disruption in fuel supply at
petrol filling stations.
Being the beginning of khareef
season, large number of vehicles had
come to Salalah from the neighbouring
countries and long queues of vehicles
were seen at petrol stations waiting to
refill their tanks.
Qais Saud al Zakwani, Executive
Director and Member of the authority,
said: “The Salalah system blackout
left customers without electricity for
15 new projects in Dakhiliyah
NIZWA: The Governorate of Al
Dakhiliyah secured a large share
of the projects being implemented
by the Ministry of Transport and
Communications last year.
Giving details of the projects,
Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al
Futaisi, Minister of Transport and
Communications, said seven road
projects with a total length of 345 km
are in the pipeline, as bidding and
assigning process are under way for
approximately other 15 projects with a
total length of 531 km, and it is hoped
that these projects, when completed,
will make a qualitative jump in easing
movement between the wilayats in the
The minister met dignitaries and
shaikhs from the wilayats of the
governorate to review the projects being
implemented by the ministry and the
future plans regarding implementation
of development projects in the wilayats
of the governorate.
The minister pointed out that the
aim of organising such a meeting is
to introduce the current and future
projects of the ministry to the people
in the governorate and inform them of
Inflation rate rises
marginally in Oman
Feb.15: The latest statistics released
by the National Centre for Statistics
and Information on consumer price
index pointed out that while the
inflation rate in the Sultanate during
January this year increased by 0.4 per
cent compared to that in 2014.
The increase in price index
during January compared to the
same period last year is attributed
to the rise in price of most of the
main groups which comprise the
consumer basket except for food and
beverages which fell by 1.44 per cent,
textile and footwear declined by 1.18
per cent. The sub groups under the
food and beverage groups witnessed
slight variation.
While fish and seafood, vegetables
and bread and cereals declined by
8.59 per cent, 10.01 per cent, 0.08
per cent respectively, milk, cheese
and eggs groups increased by 0.86
per cent, oil and fats by 0.2 per cent,
fruits by 1.18 per cent, beverages by
0.13 per cent and tobacco by 3.19 per
The major groups which recorded
increase in prices during January
compared to the same month
in 2014 include home appliance
and equipment, home regular
maintenance (6.12 per cent), health
(5.79 per cent), communication (4.8
per cent) and education (4.5 per
cent). Housing, water, electricity,
gas and other fuels increased by
0.4 per cent compared to 0.43 per
cent for transport, 0.47 per cent for
restaurants and hotels.
unacceptably long period. The authority
conducted a formal investigation of the
incident and making the report available
for public inspection. The investigation
identified serious shortcomings in the
response to the incident.
“Some licencees were not properly
prepared for such an event and their
response was haphazard. This left the
customers without electricity for longer
period than expected in such situations.”
The statement said that the authority
assumed direct regulatory responsibility
for the Salalah Power System on January
1, 2014 and has a statutory duty to ensure
the security of supply.
the latest developments and status of the
He stressed that the railway project is
one of the most important ones in road
transport sector and is implemented
within the Gulf railway project, which
connects the GCC countries. He pointed
out that Oman Railway is responsible
for following up the implementation
of this project which has made rapid
progress, including pre-rehabilitation
tender and the tender of the first track of
Al Buraimi-Sohar sector for qualifying
companies which hopefully will be
assigned this year.
Feb.15: Oman Telecommunications
Company SAOG (Omantel) announced
its audited results for the year ended
December 31, 2014, posting a 4 per cent
increase in revenues to RO 481.2 million,
compared with RO 462.9 million in 2013.
Expenses for the period have grown
by 2.8 per cent to RO 350.8 million from
RO 341.4 million in 2013.
The company’s net profit witnessed
an increase of 2.6 per cent to reach RO
122.4 million in 2014, compared to RO
119.3 million in 2013. This is the highest
net profit achieved by the operator in
the last five years, it said.
The growth was mainly driven by
domestic retail revenues, which climbed
4.3 per cent to reach RO 392.6 million
in 2014, compared to RO 376.3 million
for the corresponding period of 2013
mainly contributed by broadband and
corporate data services. DETAILS ON P6
Crowds gathered at The Wave, Muscat, yesterday to Oman Sail and the 11 teams
competing in this year’s edition in celebration of the launch of EFG Sailing Arabia
— The Tour. Now in its fifth year, this six-leg race, which runs from February 15-28,
offers 14 days of demanding offshore sailing and exciting inport races to test the
skills of some of world’s best sailors, including a mix of elite regional and
international sailors alongside young sailing talent making their tour debut. With
eleven teams representing seven nations, this year’s tour is the strongest and
largest field ever. Participants include some of the world’s most talented sailors
from 21 nations, including Sidney Gavignet (FRA) defending his title as skipper of
the EFG.
Embassy of Philippines to implement the decision on pay for household workers from March 1
MAX: 280C
MIN: 200C
MAX: 260C
MIN: 190C
FAJR: 05:20
DHUHR: 12:20
ASR: 15:36
MAGHRIB: 18:02
ISHA: 19:32
MAX: 330C
MIN: 160C
Filipino workers minimum salary fixed at RO 160
Feb. 15: The Embassy of the Philippines
here has said that as of March 1, “the
office is strictly implementing the POEA
Rules and Regulations on the $400 or
RO 160 minimum salary for household
service workers.”
In a notice issued yesterday, the
embassy emphasised that the parties
concerned would have to sign a
certification stating the minimum salary
and no employment contracts would be
processed otherwise.
Though the RO 160 minimum salary
has been in place since 2011, Filipinos
complained that they received wages less
than of that penned in the contract.
“We have received complaints here at
the embassy as well from homeland that
workers are being paid RO 80, 90 or 120
which is less than what has been agreed
in the contract,” said Nasser Mustafa,
Labour Attaché at the embassy.
The office will now fully oversee the
implementation of the contract. “There
was leniency in the implementation of
the decision earlier,” he added.
The recruiters requested
the embassy to make it
public and issue an official
notification on this to
inform the public
Not following the minimum salary
rule will lead to disqualifying the
recruitment office from employing
Filipinos. “Investigation will be held and
partner office in the Philippines will also
be penalised if proved that it has acted in
contrary to the POEA’s regulations,” the
official said.
announcement was a step in regulating
the affairs of the workers, adding that the
embassy held a meeting with manpower
agencies two days ago to highlight the
necessity to follow the contract signed
with the worker pertaining to minimum
“The recruiters requested the
embassy to make it public and issue
an official notification to relay to the
“The $400 minimum wage is
paid to the Filipinos worldwide. The
Government of Philippines stopped
employment of its citizens in some
countries until an understanding
regarding the affairs and conditions
of the workers has been reached,” the
official elaborated.
The announcement of the embassy
has come in the wake of a series of
steps taken by foreign embassies in
the Sultanate to regulate the affairs of
their nationals in cooperation with the
government of the Sultanate.
M O N DAY l F E B R U A R Y 1 6 l 2 0 1 5
The Information Technology Authority
and the Industrial Innovation
Centre of the Public Establishment
of the Industrial Estates on Sunday
signed an MoU for the support and
development of the IT industry in the
Sultanate. The MoU was signed by Dr
Salim bin Sultan al Ruzaiqi, Chairman
of ITA and Dr Hamad al Dhahab,
Chairman of the Centre.
The embassy of Oman in
Korea organised the Travel
and Tourism Forum as part
of its ‘Welcome to Oman’
programme. Mohammed
bin Salim al Harthi, Oman’s
Ambassador to Korea
inaugurated the forum and
made a presentation on
Sultanate’s cultural heritage.
State Council chairman praises
coordination with Majlis
Dr Yahya bin Mahfoudh al Mantheri, Chairman of the State Council, and other members at a meet in Muscat on Sunday. — ONA
MUSCAT: The State Council Office held
its sixth meeting of the 4th annual sitting
of the fifth term under the chairmanship
of Dr Yahya bin Mahfoudh al Mantheri,
Chairman of the State Council.
Al Mantheri praised the existing
level of coordination and cooperation
between the State Council and the
Majlis Ash’shura which serves the role
played by both of them to support the
development programmes and the
interests of the citizens.
The honourable heads of the
committee commended the efforts done
by the Council’s Office and heads of the
committee and appreciated the existing
cooperation between them.
Participants in the Committee
praised the efforts which were crowned
by the establishment of the Information
and Research Centre.
They expressed their optimism
over the role that will be played by this
Centre in serving the committees and
providing them with the information
that will activate their roles in studying
the draft laws.
he Centre will also play a role in the
parliamentary decision making in the
coming period. — ONA
Majlis Ash’shura takes part in Arab
parliament meeting at Cairo
Majlis representatives Salim bin Ali al Kaabi, Raheela bint Amer al Riyamiyah and Dr Ahmed bin Salim Raafeet at the Arab
Parliament in Cairo. — ONA
CAIRO: Majlis Ash’shura is taking part in Parliament at Cairo. The meeting will
meetings of the permanent committees, conclude on February 7.
as well as the 3rd and 4th sessions of
The Majlis delegation includes Salim
the 1st legislative chapter of the Arab bin Ali al Kaabi, Deputy Chairman of
Majlis Ash’shura, Raheela bint Amer al
Riyamiyah, member of the State Council
and Dr Ahmed bin Salim Raafeet,
member of Majlis Ash’shura. — ONA
FEBRUARY 16 l 2015
Health insurance system ‘My Profession’ employment
discussed at Majlis panel programme unveiled in Nizwa
Ali bin Khalfan al Qutaiti, Head of Majlis Ash’shura Health and Environmental Committee, with Dr Ali bin Talib al Hinai, UnderSecretary of the Ministry of Health for Planning Affairs, and other members in Muscat on Sunday. — ONA
MUSCAT: Majlis Ash’shura Health and
Environmental Committee held its 7th
meeting of the current annual sitting
(2014 - 2015) under the chairmanship
of Ali bin Khalfan al Qutaiti, Head of the
Committee, on Sunday. The committee
hosted Dr Ali bin Talib al Hinai, UnderSecretary of the Ministry of Health
for Planning Affairs to discuss the
establishment of the health insurance
system in the Sultanate.
During the meeting, the committee
discussed the ministry’s vision towards
health insurance, its practicality,
feasibility, the benefits that will be
achieved when implemented and the
challenges facing the programme before
and after its implementation with the
Al Hinai said that over the past 24
years, the ministry was studying the
introduction of health insurance for a
number of reasons the most important
of which was to avoid making the
citizen incur additional costs. He added
that the health insurance idea is not
Majlis Ash’shura Health and
Environmental Committee
discussed the ministry’s
vision towards health
insurance, its practicality,
feasibility, the benefits
when implemented and
the challenges facing the
programme before and after
its implementation with
the under-secretary of the
Ministry of Health
novel but was rather considered in 1990
during the 4th five-year plan.
He added that the issue should be
carefully considered and we should
not focus on the experiences of other
countries. During the meeting, the
under-secretary of the Ministry of
Health for Planning Affairs presented
a number of experiences and how they
are different from the Sultanate. He
also spoke about the challenges that
faced them as well as the successful
experiences and the reasons behind
such success.
On the other hand, the undersecretary of the Ministry of Health
for Planning Affairs called for
revising the population system in the
Sultanate, the rate of population
growth and the private health sector
He affirmed that the ministry
was regularising the private health
insurance sector, especially for those
working in the industrial estates. He
stressed on the need to have high quality
IT systems to ensure the success of such
The members of the committee
said that they prefer to phase out the
implementation of the system to ensure
that health insurance is provided
without additional cost, in addition to
providing better healthcare.
Feb. 15: BP Oman and the Ministry of
Social Development officially launched
‘My Profession’, an employment project
that will benefit 220 individuals with
special needs and social security
recipients, under the auspices of Dr
Yahya bin Badr al Mawali, UnderSecretary at the Ministry of Social
Development, recently at the Oman
Chamber of Commerce and Industry
(OCCI) in Nizwa.
The guest of honour was welcomed
by Ibrahim bin Said al Nabhani, board
member OCCI and Chairman of Al
Dakhiliyah Governorate Committee.
The programme is part of BP
Oman’s Social Investment Programme,
which aims to support Oman’s In
Country Value agenda by supporting
the community and encouraging
entrepreneurs to develop their own
programme, Ahmed al Muqbali,
Assistant General Manager of Planning
and Studies, Ministry of Social
Development, said: “My Profession is a
technical programme agreed between
a joint committee from the Ministry
Ahmed Al Muqbali, Assistant GM of
Planning & Studies at Ministry of Social
Development explains the programme
of Social Development and the Public
Authority for Craft Industries (PACI)
to empower a number of social security
workers, with special needs and low
income workers in manufacturing
handicraft that suit their abilities and
“The objective is to encourage
these segments of society to learn and
specialise in these skills, as well as to
create job opportunities to improve
their standard of living.”
The project, which is managed by
implementing partner Sharakah, will
select, train and evaluate the individuals
with handicraft and employment skills
and is run in association with the
Ministry of Social Development and
PACI. Khalid al Kindi, Deputy General
Manager of BP Oman remarked: “We
are very proud that we are making a
positive impact on the community with
the support of the government and our
“This is a nationwide programme
that will target social security families,
families with limited income and special
needs individuals across many areas in
the Sultanate. The uniqueness of this
programme comes from the fact that
it will give beneficiaries new skills,
which should allow them to make their
businesses sustainable.”
The two-month course will include
training in hands-on handicraft skills,
entrepreneurship skills and how to
market the products.
The training will take place across
varying regions in the Sultanate,
including Adam, Dhank, Liwa, Mahout,
Buraimi, Daba and Masira. ‘My
Profession’ will also include training in
embroidery, and creating handicrafts,
as well as in producing furniture, model
boats, hunting tools out of palm leaves,
Kumma (Omani caps) handcrafting,
woodwork, weaving wool, recycling
materials and other activities.
Members of BP Oman, Ministry of Social Development and Public Authority for Craft Industries at the My Profession launch
ceremony in Nizwa on Sunday
ADAM: The Royal Oman Police (ROP) on
Sunday celebrated the opening of a new building
of Adam Police Station in the Governorate of Al
Dakhiliyah under the patronage of HH Lt Gen
Sayyid Munthir bin Majid al Said, head of the
liaison and coordination apparatus at the Royal
Office in the presence of Lt Gen Hassan bin
Mohsen al Shraiqi, Inspector General of Police
and Customs, a number of their excellencies and
senior officers at ROP, the Sultan’s Armed Forces
(SAF) and security units.
During the ceremony, Police recruits sang the
ROP anthem.
Later, the chief guest, accompanied by the
Inspector-General of Police and Customs,
unveiled the commemorative plaque and
inspected the new building. — ONA
FEBRUARY 16 l 2015
SQU begins to offer
Japanese course
George Hisaeda, Ambassador of Japan to the Sultanate, formally launched the Japanese
language course at SQU in the presence of Dr Ali bin Saud Al Bimani, the Vice Chancellor of
the university, on Sunday.
RNO team participates at Sailing Arabia Tour
MUSCAT: The Royal Navy of Oman (RNO) is
participating in the Sailing Arabia Tour 2015,
which was launched on Sunday from Wave Marina
Muscat under the auspices of HH Sayyid Kamil bin
Fahd bin Mahmoud al Said, Assistant SecretaryGeneral for the Office of the Deputy Prime
Minister for Cabinet Affairs with the participation
of 11 teams from various countries around the
Officer Cadet Ali bin Khalfan al Rahbi, Team
Leader, said that this is RNO’s 4th participation,
at exchange experiences and gain skills through
which comes within the context of fine-tuning podium.
Sergeant Mubarak bin Salim al Farsi, Deputy competing with a group of teams that have wide
skills and title-earning, stressing that the team
will make unremitting efforts in order to reach the Team Leader, said that this participation is aimed experience in sailing.
MUSCAT: Japanese language course, has
been launched at the College of Arts &
Social Sciences at Sultan Qaboos University
as university elective course. The formal
launching of the Japanese language course
was held on Sunday at SQU in the presence
of Dr Ali bin Saud Al Bimani, the Vice
Chancellor of SQU, and George Hisaeda,
Ambassador of Japan to the Sultanate. The
course will be offered in two sections, two
contact hours per week. Each section will
have 25 to 30 students.
Speaking on the occasion, Al Bimani said
that Omanis are good at learning languages
and many of them speak more than one
language. “I hope that students will show
enthusiasm to learn Japanese language at the
university. This will also help to enhance the
strong ties between the Sultanate and Japan”,
he said.
Ambassador George Hisaeda thanked
everyone involved in bringing the Japanese
language course at SQU. “For me, it is a dream
come true. Learning a foreign language is an
important step in getting to know each other.
Introduction of Japanese language at the
national university of Oman is important for
both countries and I hope it will help to deepen
the mutual understanding between the people
of both the countries”, the Ambassador said.
He assured continued support from the
Embassy of Japan to the newly introduced
Japanese course at SQU.
Dr Abdullah Khamis Al Kindi, Dean of the
College of Arts & Social Sciences, said that the
college was adding the fifth foreign language
to the students, after German, French,
Persian and Italian. “Japanese language is
gaining great importance today because of
the production of significant knowledge and
research output in this language. Learning
this language will give our students the
opportunity to understand more about the
Japanese civilisational and cultural values,
particularly those of tolerance, dialogue and
loyalty”, he said.
The Dean added that the college would
continue the efforts to bring more languages
for SQU students in future. “Now the
Japanese language has been introduced as an
elective course. In future it can be upgraded
as a core course”, he said.
FEBRUARY 16 l 2015
Hold your breath, Tour of Oman all set to begin tomorrow
Feb 15: The Six-day-long Tour
of Oman, that will test the riders’
determination and persistence on the
wheels will be off to a colourful start
on Tuesday.
In the second most sought-after
sports event after the Tour de France,
the world’s greatest names in the
cycling sport will vie for the coveted
title of the event which is in its sixth
edition, Muscat Municipality officials
These biggest names among
the International Grand Tours and
Classics contenders includes, Tour
de France winner Vincenzo Nibali
topping the provisional list of the race
Some of the other popular
names include Orica-GreenEdge,
Etixx-Quick Step, Movistar Team,
BMC Racing Team, Trek Factory
Racing, FDJ, Lampre-Merida, Team
Sky, Astana, Team Giant-Alpecin,
MTNQhubeka, Bora-Argon 18, Topsport
Bardiani-CSF, IAM Cycling.
“Tour of Oman is growing from
strength to strength and our objective
back in 2010 was to create a new
world-class platform for this highadrenaline game and pre-season
training ground for competitive
cycling in the country”, Khalid bin
Mohammed Omar Bahram, Assistant
Chairman of Muscat Municipality for
Services Affairs, Deputy Head of the
Main Organising Committee of the
festival told the Observer.
“Bringing top professionals of the
sport to the Sultanate to witness the
speed, team effort and dedication
required for their achievement is an
ideal way to inspire our population
which is predominantly young”, he
Nibali claimed his first overall
victory in a Grand Tour (the 2010
Vuelta a España) when he was on
stage 5 to Jabal Al Akhdhar and
carried on to his successful campaigns
of the past three years at the Giro
d’Italia and the Tour de France. Since
he made its debuts in the Sultanate in
2012, he hasn’t missed an occasion
to test his legs against the other stage
race specialists in the event that has
attracted the winners of the past six
Tour de France since its inception in
Grand Tours podium finisher
Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) who
has competed in all Tour of Oman
since 2011 and won atop Green
Mountain one year after Nibali, will
return to Muscat as well as Colombia’s
Rigoberto Uran at the helm of EtixxQuick Step, while a duel of the new
generation is expected to take place
with Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Fabio
Aru (Astana), the best young rider of
the Tour de France and the Vuelta in
2014 respectively, crossing path for
the first time with their new status in
a high profiled stage race.
With the electrifying names
in the cycling sport descending
down on Oman from February 17
to 22, the sports aficionados in the
country are all anticipating a neck
to neck competition that pump their
adrenaline high during this year’s test
of speed and consistency.
A huge lineup of sponsors are the
soul and strength of the mega festival
of one month, according to the
organisers. These sponsors include:
Omantel, BankMuscat, Ministry of
Tourism, Oman Air, Suhail Bahwan
Group, BankDhofar, Oman Arab
Bank, Saud Bahwan Group, Mohsin
Oman chairs
Arab rights
standing panel
CAIRO: The five-day 37th
Session of the Arab Human
Rights Standing Committee
started at the HQs’ of
the Arab League under
the chairmanship of Dr
Mohammed bin Sulaiman
al Rashdi, Chairman of the
Representatives of the
Arab countries, who are
in charge of human rights
field and representatives of
NGOs and human rights
organisations in the Arab
world take part in the
session as observers, as
per the provision of article
No. 9 of the Committee’s
internal regulation.
Dr Al Rashdi said that
the agenda of the meeting
includes a number of
topics including the report
of the Secretariat-General
on the measures taken to
implement the Committee
recommendations, which
were discussed at the
previous session.
He added that the
agenda of the meeting also
includes the Arab project
to criminalise blasphemous
libel as one of the human
rights. It also includes a
proposals to develop a
regional Arab strategy for
human rights, submitting
a paper on marking the
Arab Human Rights Day,
which falls on March
16 each year. The final
report of the education
experts on the Arab plan
for education on human
rights and inculcating the
concepts on citizenship, as
well as individuals’ duties
and obligations towards
their countries were also on
the agenda. It also includes
considering a proposal
to update the Arab
Convention for Regulating
the Conditions of Refugees
and other topics related to
human rights in the Arab
world. — ONA
Oman takes part in
water meet at KSA
RIYADH: The Sultanate,
represented by the Ministry
of Regional Municipalities
and Water Resources, is
taking part in the 2-day
23rd meeting of the Water
Resources Committee in
Saudi Arabia. The meeting
discusses a number of topics,
such as the unified electrical
and water statistical book,
besides discussing guiding
laws and converting them
to obligatory laws among
other topics. — ONA
Haider Darwish LLC, Ooredoo, National
Bank of Oman, City Centre, Lulu, Muscat
Grand mall, Tameer, GPS, Haya, Towell group,
MEDC, Oman Cement Company, Khimji
Ramdas, Oasis Water, Strabag, L&T, Marah
Land, Shell Oman, Hasan Juma Backer, Bank
of Beirut, Markaz al Bahja, CCC, The Wave,
Pepsi, Sayyarat, Capital Stores, and Oman
Arabic and Oman Observer English as media
FEBRUARY 16 l 2015
Top aviation experts expected at conference
WIDER PARTICIPATION: The conference to discuss smooth, efficient transition to the new Muscat International Airport
MUSCAT: Oman Airports Management
Company (OAMC) — the organising
company of the first International
‘Operational Readiness and Airport
Transfer’ conference (ORAT) —
disclosed details of the participations
in the meet. According to a statement
from OAMC, the conference will
witness participation from international
airport operators including Heathrow
in London, Munich, Berlin, Zurich,
Dublin, Bangkok, Thailand, Turkey,
Canada, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, and
Hong Kong. Additionally, key speakers
from Delhi Airport, Changi Airport and
Incheon Airport will be participating in
the conference.
“operational readiness” will be including
Munich Airport Company from
Germany, Zurich Airport Company
from Switzerland, INECO from
Spain, ARUP from the UK, ADPM
from France, and the Airport Council
International ACI, are also expected to
Said bin Khamis al Zedjali, acting
CEO of the OAMC said: “The success
of any international conference is
measured on the quality and quantity
of the participations. Based on that,
the ORAT conference has taken the
first steps towards success. The number
and the experience of participants has
exceeded our expectations and we
are still receiving applications from a
number of other organisations who
would like to join the experts in the
field of civil aviation industry and the
operational readiness.”
“The conference, to be held on March
25 and 26 in Muscat, will welcome top
officials of the civil aviation industry
from around the globe. It is already
attracting international media. The
civil aviation and operational readiness
experts in this field, hailing from some
of the most important airports in the
world will gather in Muscat to share
their experience and knowledge. We
Serious flaws behind
August 14 outage
“We believe that more could
have been done from a regulatory
perspective to ensure the licencees
complied with the conditions of their
licenses and we intend to ensure the
recommendations of the investigation
report are addressed by the licensees as
an immediate priority.”
Customers have the right to expect
electricity companies to expend
maximum effort when providing
services and to ensure they benefit from
continuous and reliable supplies of
The authority wishes to reassure
customers that appropriate steps will
be taken to secure improvement in
the performance of licencees and to
ensure the failings identified during the
Salalah System Blackout are rectified,
the statement said.
“I acknowledge the full cooperation
and transparency of the licensees during
the investigation. This enabled the
authority to conduct a comprehensive
assessment of the incident and propose
recommendations to ensure a similar
incident is not repeated,” said Al
Giving background details of the
blackout, the statement said that the
Salalah power system experienced a
total system blackout on August 14,
The blackout was apparently due
to a sudden drop of gas pressure at
one of the power plants which then
failed to successfully switch to backup
fuel, eventually leading to a loss of all
generation units in the plant.
The failures in the production
facilities placed the dispatchers at
the Oman Electricity Transmission
Company (OETC) in a difficult position,
that despite their best intentions and
efforts, they did not have the resources
to manage effectively.
“The difficulties were compounded
as SembCorp Salalah Power and
Water Company SAOC (SSPWC) had
reported issues that prevented them
providing the black start services that
they were expected to implement in
accordance with the provisions of
the contract between them and the
Oman Power and Water Procurement
Company (OPWP). The Salalah system
is supplied by two gas fired generation
plants namely SSPWC and Dhofar
Generation Company SAOC (DGC).
Since July 2014, the Salalah system
is synchronously interconnected to
the Petroleum Development Oman
(PDO) system through a 132 kV
The investigation identified issues at
DGC who also experienced problems
with their black start procedures and
the OETC dispatchers were only able
to black start the system by utilising the
interconnector with PDO.
Said bin Khamis al Zedjali
are confident that the benefits will be
reflected on different fields. Additionally,
Muscat will be placed as one of the
prominent destinations for hosting such
international conferences,” he added.
OAMC is responsible for the
management and operation of Muscat
International Airport, Salalah Airport,
Sohar Airport and Al Duqm Airport.
well as the Ambassador’s residence.
Welcoming the move from
the Embassy’s current location in
Hamriya, Ambassador Miguel Berger,
Regional Director — Middle East
and Maghreb of the German Federal
Foreign Office, thanked the officials
of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and Muscat Municipality for their
continued and valuable support. “The
new German Embassy will reflect both
“This conference will also benefit
large-scale strategic projects of the
Omani Government, including, the
railway project, the Oman Convention
and Exhibition Centre, new ports, and
other projects which will all need to
go through a transitional phase when
moving from the construction phase to
the operational phase. Therefore, this
is a good opportunity which cannot be
missed to learn from global experiences.”
In addition to the global participants,
the “Hive” conference will also
see participation of local bodies
including Ministry of Transport and
Communications, Public Authority
for Civil Aviation, Royal Oman Police,
Oman Air, in addition project manager,
project engineer, main contractors,
commercial partners, suppliers and
contractors. Ministry of Tourism, travel
and tourism agencies, hotels, aviation
companies in Oman will also participate
as they are linked directly to the civil
aviation field.
Omantel revenues climb 4pc
to RO 481.2 million in 2014
Feb. 15: Oman Telecommunications
Company SAOG (Omantel) announced
its audited results for the year ended
on December 31, 2014, posting a 4 per
cent increase in revenues to RO 481.2
million, compared with RO 462.9
million in 2013. Expenses for the period
have grown by 2.8 per cent to RO 350.8
million from RO 341.4 million in 2013.
The Company’s net profit witnessed
an increase of 2.6 per cent to reach RO
122.4 million in 2014, compared to RO
119.3 million in 2013. This is the highest
net profit achieved by the operator in
the last five years, it said.
The growth was mainly driven by
domestic retail revenues, which climbed
4.3 per cent to reach RO 392.6 million
in 2014, compared to RO 376.3 million
for the corresponding period of 2013
mainly contributed by broadband and
corporate data services.
Fixed Line and Mobile Business
retail revenues recorded a growth of
10.9 per cent and 2 per cent respectively.
Fixed Broadband, Mobile Broadband
and Data services revenues increased
by 30.4 per cent, 32.1 per cent and 15.4
per cent respectively. Fixed Broadband
subscriber net addition in 2014 was the
highest ever recorded so far. However,
revenues from national, international
calls and SMS have continued its
Groundbreaking held for new
German Embassy building
Feb 15: The groundbreaking ceremony
for the new building of the Germany
Embassy in Muscat was held at the
Diplomatic Enclave yesterday.
“Small is beautiful,” commented
Hans-Christian von Reibnitz, the
German Ambassador to Oman,
characterising the new premises which
will host both the Embassy offices as
Organising the ‘Operational Readiness
and Airport Transfer’ conference comes
as part of preparing for the operational
stage following the completion of
construction works for the new Muscat
International Airport.
The company has deployed a
dedicated and efficient team to manage
the different aspects of project, and has
made great effort to reach the desired
opening phase according to the agreed
Khalfan bin Said al Shueili, General
Manager of Readiness at OAMC said:
“The conference will attract expertise
from numerous companies managing
the operation of some of the busiest
regional and global airports. They
will share their experiences and the
challenges faced in commissioning new
airports, and this will create a good
opportunity for us at OAMC to ensure
a smooth and efficient transition to the
new international airport and sustaining
this success in the future.”
German modern architectural design as
well as features of classic Omani
architecture such as mashrabiyas and
locally produced building materials,” he
The building will be equipped with
the most modern technology in terms of
energy conservation and sustainability
while reducing the environmental
footprint to a minimum. It will be easily
accessible and enable the Embassy to
provide services of the highest standard
to the Omani people.
Responsible for Project Management,
Architectural Design and Engineering
is Hoehler+Partner LLC, an OmaniGerman Architects and Engineers
Consultancy. The project is led by
Richard Lisker, Project Management,
Architectural Design.
“We are proud to contribute to the
modern Omani architectural landscape
with a new German Embassy design that
combines the highest German building
standards and technologies with
traditional Omani cultural heritage,”
said Muhammad Alsalmy, Managing
Partner of Hoehler + Partner LLC.
Talal Said, CEO, Omantel
declining trend due to Over The Top
(OTT) services, the operator said.
Omantel Subsidiary Worldcall (WTL)
revenues declined by 26.2 per cent,
impacting overall revenue growth at
group level, it said.
marginally increased by 2.8 per cent to
RO 350.8 million compared to RO 341.4
million for the corresponding period of
2013. It attributed the increase spikes
in operating & maintenance (O&M),
depreciation, employee costs and
administrative expenses.
EBITDA recorded a growth of 6.1 per
cent while Net Profit after tax increased
by 2.6 per cent. EBITDA and Net Profit
margin for the Year 2014 was 44 per cent
and 25.4 per cent compared to 43.1 per
cent and 25.8 per cent respectively for
2013. Group Net Profit was impacted by
WTL’s performance.
Broadband segment both Mobile
and Fixed Broadband services have
been the key driver for the growth in the
subscriber base, said Omantel. Mobile
and Fixed Broadband subscribers grew
by 11 per cent and 31 per cent, while
revenue also recorded a growth of 32
per cent and 30 per cent respectively.
Omantel’s domestic subscriber
base witnessed a remarkable growth of
7.9 per cent as of December 31, 2014
reaching 3.341 million (excluding
mobile resellers). Including Worldcall,
the total subscriber base reached 4.296
million, compared to 4.022 million for
2013, an increase of 6.8 per cent.
Commenting on the results, Talal
Said al Mamari (pictured), Omantel
Chief Executive Officer said: “Omantel
recorded positive growth across all
business lines and was able to close
the year with a 4 per cent growth in
revenues and 2.6 per cent increase
in the net profit. We are pleased with
the overall performance in Year 2014
and in particular the growth of fixed
broadband services, which is the highest
recorded to date. This has been achieved
despite unfavourable market conditions
and increased competition from Over
the Top Players (OTTPS).”
(OEPPA Business Development
Italian Army
Chief arrives
in Sultanate
MUSCAT: Lt Gen Claudio Graziano,
Chief of Staff of the Italian Army and
his accompanying delegation arrived
here on Sunday in an official severalday visit to the Sultanate.
The guests were received at
Muscat International Airport by Maj
Gen Mattar bin Salim al Balushi,
Commander of the Royal Army of
Oman (RAO), Brigadier Salim bin
Khamis al Abri, Director General
of Administration and Human
Resources at the RAO Command
and a number of senior RAO officers.
The guests were also received by the
Italian ambassador to the Sultanate
and the Military Attaché of the Italian
Embassy in Muscat. — ONA
Oman Air tops
ontime league
MUSCAT: Recent figures published
by London Heathrow Airport show
that Oman Air topped the airport’s
punctuality league for November
2014. The national carrier of the
Sultanate of Oman recorded 100 per
cent on-time performance for its
departures and 96.7 per cent on time
performance for arrivals over the
course of the month.
These figures placed Oman Air at
the top of the league for departures and
second for arrivals, giving an overall
first place for combined on-time
performance. In recent years, Oman
Air has remained consistently within
the top ten list for airline punctuality
at Heathrow.
To have achieved first place for
on-time performance at Heathrow in
November is a tribute to the ongoing
commitment and the hard work of all
Oman Air’s staff at Heathrow, and its
Service Partner Dnata.
As the world’s busiest airport,
environment in which to operate
and the consistently high ranking
— over a number of years — shows
that the Oman Air team’s efforts,
and their close working with the
airport authorities, are delivering an
outstanding service.
While this is good news at a
professional level, the most important
impact is on Oman Air’s passengers,
who can rely on its punctuality, as
well as the outstanding service both
on the ground and in the air.
Oman Air looks forward to
maintaining this excellent record
and to continuing to deliver a superb
passenger experience for all its
Travel medicine conference concludes
MUSCAT: The Travel Medicine
Conference organised by the ministry
of health in cooperation with the Royal
College of Physicians and Surgeons of
Glasgow, United Kingdom, conclude
at the Grand Hyatt Muscat hotel, on
The conference has come up with a
number of recommendations including
the importance of adopting a practical
strategy for introducing travel medicine
services in the Sultanate, the importance
of raising awareness among citizens and
residents about the centres specialising
in the provision of travel medicine.
Also among the conference
recommendations was the importance
of introducing specialist centres for
complicated cases for providing medical
consultations and treatment and also
the requirements of training health
cadre who will be in charge of travel
medicine centres.
It also recommended the importance
of conducting studies to identify the
financial resources needed for the
provision of the necessary vaccinations
for those travelling abroad and the
importance of conducting research
studies about travel medicine in the
This is the first travel medicine
conference of its kind to be held in the
region and it was attended by over 200
physicians and nurses from different
health institutions in the Sultanate but
also from other countries.
Lectures were delivered by local
physicians as well as six travel medicine
specialists from the UK and Holland.
The conference was aimed at
reviewing and deliberating on a road
map for the introduction of travel
medicine service in the Sultanate,
increasing the awareness of medical
staffs about the importance of travel
medicine and acquainting with the
knowledge pertaining to epidemics
and vaccinations and how to deal with
incoming passengers infected with
FEBRUARY 16 l 2015
Engg Services of Defence Ministry celebrates Annual Day
MUSCAT: The Engineering Services
at the Ministry of Defence on Sunday
celebrated its annual day which is
observed on February 15 every year.
The ceremony was held under the
patronage of Commodore Mohammed
bin Said al Hinai, Head of the
Engineering Services.
The ceremony included a number of
recreational activities.
At the end of the ceremony, the chief
guest presented appreciation rewards for
those who achieved advanced positions
in various competitions and honoured
a number outstanding employees of
engineering services.
The ceremony was attended by
a number of senior officers, noncommissioned officers, personnel of the
Engineering Services and a number of
retirees and invitees. — ONA
FEBRUARY 16 l 2015
he South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc), the eight-nation
regional economic grouping which started its journey 30 years ago but failed
to make much headway, has taken a big and positive step in promoting intraregional travel.
Four members of Saarc comprising Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India,
the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are close to signing a deal allowing
cross-border movement of motor vehicles. The four countries are Bangladesh,
India, Nepal and Bhutan.
The positive move will allow movement of vehicles through their borders just
like in European countries. The deal will also allow vehicles to ply on designated
routes within the four member countries. The countries have drawn up a draft
plan for transit of passengers, cargo and personal vehicles.
The move, apart from boosting trade and tourism, will also enhance people-topeople contact and enrich knowledge of cultural heritage of the countries. It also
will reduce cost and time of unloading and
loading of people and goods at border points,
The measure will
making cross border trade more efficient.
The sub-regional move is an initiative allow movement of
parallel to the proposed Saarc Motor Vehicles vehicles through their
Agreement (MVA) and will be open to other
borders just like in
neighbouring countries.
India, Bhutan and Nepal have accepted the European Union.
a Bangladeshi recommendation to keep the The countries have
membership of the sub-regional group open
already drawn up a
so that neighbouring countries like Myanmar
and China can connect to the region if they draft plant for transit
facilities, reports
Bangladesh is making desperate efforts to
link China through road communications
through Kunming, the capital of Yunnan
province, via Myanmar.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, during her visit to China last year,
also proposed connectivity through road via Kunming to boost exports and
imports between the two countries.
Transport officials of the countries had a meeting in Kolkata February 2-3 to
finalise the draft MVA.
A transport ministers’ meeting is likely to be held in May or June to approve
the proposed deal.
The agreement will help transform transport corridors linking the four
countries into economic corridors and increase people-to-people contact.
The initiative of the four nations is clearly in pursuance of an agenda of
economic development and connectivity against the backdrop of the inability of
Saarc to take pro-active measures.
Political observers here said the draft agreement was smarter than the proposed
Saarc transport agreement.
The deal will allow the member countries to bilaterally fix the fees,
administrative costs and service charges among others.
The countries will also decide on traffic volume through mutual negotiations
and only authorised operators will be allowed to carry passengers and cargo.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing financial, technical and
administrative backing to implement the MVA.
A national committee in each country will coordinate and monitor the
agreement and a sub-regional joint committee is going to look after the process
to make land transport easier and coordinate and monitor the agreement
implementation. The agreement will not hamper the proposed Saarc MVA.
The Saarc effort is moving slowly because of delays on the part of some member
Meanwhile, the four countries have also formed a group named BBIN
(Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal), which at a meeting in New Delhi last
month agreed to make joint efforts to explore harnessing of water resources,
including generation of hydroelectricity, and alternative energy sources.
Pakistan would be among the countries which Indian Foreign Secretary S
Jaishankar would visit as part of his tour of Saarc nations during which he would
utilise the opportunity to discuss “bilateral issues”, External Affairs Ministry said.
Modi on Friday spoke to his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, along with
leaders of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, to convey his best wishes for
their teams who are participating in the ICC cricket World Cup 2015.
The prime minister informed Sharif about India’s initiative to send the foreign
secretary on a “Saarc tour” , including Pakistan.
Residents clear up debris in the village of Opytne, near Artemivsk in the Donetsk region. — AFP
Doubts over Ukraine ceasefire
esidents of the rebel stronghold of Donetsk breathed a sigh of shooting from automatic weapons at around midday
of relief on Sunday morning following a first night without close to a Ukrainian frontline position on the edge of the
bombardments after a fragile ceasefire came into force in city. Around the rest of the conflict zone the ceasefire
appeared to be being generally respected despite getting off
east Ukraine.
But despite the sudden outbreak of peace few around to a rocky start. An elderly man and woman died after Grad
the conflict zone seemed confident that the truce would missile fire hit the town of Popasna in Lugansk region some
20 minutes after a truce came into force at midnight local
last long after the collapse of previous ceasefire deals.
“I have trouble believing that the ceasefire will be time, local Kiev-loyal Governor Gennadiy Moskal said.
Some 25 km from the flashpoint town of Debaltseve,
respected for long. But even if it lasts a few days, then that
isn’t bad,” said pensioner Andrei, 77, who lives in one of the where just a few hours before fierce battles had raged
as rebel forces tried to surround Ukrainian troops,
worst affected areas of the city.
“That would maybe allow us to re-establish water, government soldiers were playing football and reading.
The sound of isolated explosions could be heard in the
gas and electricity to our house after it was cut off since
distance but it was insignificant compared to before the
bombing in January.”
Across the road from the railway
“At this moment, just now, there are
station — which has been shelled
Few seemed
no shellings, and the night was quiet. But
repeatedly — there was more life on the
confident that the
an hour and a half ago there were shots
streets of Donetsk than at any time in
recent months.
truce would last long and shooting,” a soldier said.
Like others around the region the
“There are ten times more people at
after the collapse
government troops are highly sceptical
the market than normal,” said cake-stall
of earlier ceasefire
about the prospects of any ceasefire
worker Irina, 55. “It is almost like it was
before the war.”
deals, writes NICOLAS definitively stopping 10 months of
fighting that has killed over 5,480.
Irina said she would dearly love to
“There is hope, of course, but very
believe that the end of fighting had come
small,” another soldier said.
and peace was here to stay but she feared
In Debaltseve deputy regional police
that was too much to expect.
“We always have hope because you can’t live without chief Ilya Kiva said by phone that firing there and in the
hope, but if you think about it there is little chance that this nearby village of Chornuhine had dropped off but not
stopped entirely. “If before they were shooting at us with
will last.”
Running a neighbouring stall, Natalia recounted how Grads every 37 seconds then now they’re firing mortars but
she waited with bated breath for the start of the ceasefire with big intervals between,” Kiva said.
“We hope that it will just take a bit of time before we get
that started at 2200 GMT on Saturday.
“We waited for the truce to start like you do when the a full ceasefire. It is not an immediate process.”
The ceasefire between Ukrainian government troops
clock ticks down to New Year,” said Natalia, 50.
“But the people here have been so affected by the daily and Russian-backed separatists is largely holding but with
bombardments that they find it hard to believe that the some infractions, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said yesterday.
situation can improve.”
Sporadic shelling was reported in Debaltseve, a disputed
Underlining the fragility of the situation, an AFP
reporter heard several mortars being fired and a brief burst transport hub that has been the epicentre of fighting.
Greeks brim with pride as country totters on the edge
or over a fortnight, Europe’s single
warning to Greece has been that the chaos
and misery of national bankruptcy await
it unless its new left-wing government
changes its anti-austerity tune. The
message of impending doom appears
to have gone largely unnoticed on the
streets of Athens, where a mood of hope
and optimism bordering on euphoria
reigns as Greeks see themselves finally
shaking off foreign shackles to shape their
own destiny.
“Bankrupt but free” proclaimed a banner
at a pro-government demonstration on
Wednesday that drew thousands. Finance
Minister Yanis Varoufakis was isolated at
last Thursday’s crunch euro zone meeting
in Brussels, but Greek TV channel Mega’s
main news broadcast on Thursday gushed
over him “stealing the show”.
“For the first time in years I feel proud
to be Greek,” said Lena Dousiou, a 32-yearold who worked in a printing shop before
being laid off two years ago. “We went to
the Europeans with our head held high
and told them ‘Enough is enough!’”
Another TV feature on Varoufakis had
the pop hit “Can’t take my eyes off you” in
the background.
Far from obsessing over a potential
Greek banking collapse or a euro zone
exit after Thursday’s talks ended without
agreement, Greek newspapers ran
headlines suggesting a “bridge” deal would
soon be adopted. “Spring in Athens, fog
in Brussels” proclaimed Efimerida ton
Syntakton on its front page.
Two polls last week showed that over
three-quarters of Greeks support Prime
Minister Alexis Tsipras’s hardline stance
for a wholesale cancellation of Greece’s
bailout programme, which has alarmed
Europe and left Athens dangerously close
to bankruptcy.
An opinion poll last week showed 79
per cent of Greeks backed Tsipras’s policies
and 74 per cent believed his negotiating
strategy will succeed, even though Greece
has so far found not a single ally among 19
euro zone nations.
The mood is in stark contrast to 2012
when panic over a potential Greek euro
zone exit prompted Greeks to vote in a
pro-bailout government despite popular
discontent with the programme.
Two and a half years later, the public
The mood is in stark contrast
to 2012 when panic over a
potential Greek euro zone
exit prompted many to vote
in a pro-bailout government
despite discontentment,
mood has shifted from anger to the point
where many Greeks feel they have nothing
more to lose. Austerity imposed as a
condition of the 240-billion-euro EU/IMF
bailout has pushed joblessness over 25 per
cent and cut incomes by over a third.
“We’d hit rock bottom,” said Minas
Kontogeorgopoulos, 59, who works in
a key-cutting shop in a dimly lit arcade
in central Athens where some shops are
boarded up and others bear “For Sale”
“The Europeans have humiliated
us. I don’t know if Tsipras will succeed
but someone had to tell them enough is
The fledgling prime minister’s
resounding success on the domestic
front while simultaneously horrifying
policymakers elsewhere reflects the extent
to which Greeks resent the “humiliation”
of being told what to do by foreign powers,
a common theme in the Mediterranean
nation’s history.
In an emotional first speech to
parliament as prime minister, Tsipras
mentioned the word “dignity” 11 times.
A skilled orator with a keen sense of the
public mood, Tsipras has made restoring
Greek pride after four years of “national
humiliation” at the hands of what he
paints as dogmatic foreign technocrats a
cornerstone of his rhetoric.
A tourist looks at Greek national flags at a shop in Athens yesterday as Greece has agreed
with its European partners that there are needs for a ‘national reform plan.’ — Reuters
FEBRUARY 16 l 2015
UK interest rate cut could follow as inflation drops
Foreign Correspondent
[email protected]
lready at record low of just 0.5 per cent, inflation
in the UK seems set to fall to zero for the first time.
In fact, it could even turn to deflation as early as
this summer and with prices falling, it is helping
household finances.
The Governor of the Bank of England (BoE),
Mark Carney, said last week that interest rates at
their historic low could drop even further. It is
thought, however, that low inflation may not last
for very long as one of the main factors behind
it has been the fall in oil prices which is now
beginning to stabilise.
Carney said he would only cut interest rates if
he saw signs of persistent price decline that might
affect wage growth and investment by companies.
In a mandatory letter to a presumably pleased
Chancellor, George Osborne — with the general
election just a little over two months away — he
wrote: “Were these downside risks to materialise,
the bank could adjust the pace and degree of rate
increases, expand the asset purchase facility, or cut
the bank rate further towards zero.”
Current consumer price index (CPI) inflation is
the lowest since records began in 1996.
Using the closest comparable data, deflation
was last seen in the UK back in March 1960.
Rates have been 0.5 per cent for 71 months, and
Vicky Redwood said: “February’s BoE Inflation
it had been thought this was rock bottom.
Carney said banks are now better capitalised Report confirmed that deflation is now on the
than before, and therefore are more capable of horizon, but that it will be fairly short-lived.
Indeed, the stronger medium-term inflation
taking a hit to their reserves that could accrue from
forecast was a warning to financial markets that
a cut to rates.
According to the BoE’s report inflation is more they may have pushed their expectations for the
first rate hike too far into the
likely than not to fall below
zero in the coming months.
A further cut in the rate will
December’s reading for
Banks in England are
of course have enormous effect
inflation was 0.5 per cent as
measured by annual growth in
now better capitalised on mortgages.
Pension provider, Liberty
the CPI — calculated from the
than before, and
SIPP’s John Fox said: “The
price of a basket of goods. Yet
therefore are more
prospect of rates going below
Carney played down overall
deflationary fears in Britain.
capable of taking a hit to their current rock-bottom level
will be a very mixed blessing.
He said: “A temporary
their reserves that could Those
with a flexible mortgage
period of falling prices driven
accrue from a cut to
could get a huge financial shot
by large adjustments in a few
specific components of the
rates, says Marck Carney in the arm — what amounts to
a free giveaway.
CPI is a fundamentally distinct
But for those who live on
phenomenon from ‘deflation’.”
their savings, a zero-interest
The BoE raised its forecast
rate would be a further kick in the teeth.”
for what inflation would be in two years’ time.
London mortgage broker Capital Fortune’s
Its growth forecast for this year remains at 2.9
per cent but next year’s forecast has been revised business manager, Rob Killeen, has urged people
to consider re-mortgaging now while rates are low.
up from 2.5 per cent to 2.9 per cent.
He believes there’s complacency among some
Chief UK economist at Capital Economics,
mortgage borrowers, who should seek to lock in
interest rates while they are record low.
“Our research shows that the average rate
people are paying across the top 10 lenders — who
control maybe 92 per cent of the mortgage market
— is 4.6 per cent and pointed out that fixed rates
could currently be locked in for rates as low as 1.26
per cent,” Killeen said.
Meanwhile Sweden became the latest European
country to push interest rates into negative
territory, cutting them from zero to minus 0.1 per
cent. It means the central bank Riksbank will be
paying commercial lenders to borrow from it.
The bank also announced it would buy
government bonds to pump £92million into its
economy. Sweden’s annual inflation stood at minus
0.3 per cent last month.
Swedish central bank chief, Stefan Ingves said
it is prepared to cut rates even more: “Should this
not be enough, we want to be very clear that we are
ready to do more.” Denmark has also been cutting
rates — it cut for the fourth time in three weeks last
week to minus 0.75 per cent.
Both central banks have had to react to a large
scale asset purchase programme by the European
Central Bank that has weakened the euro and
destabilised their exchange rate.
he arms deal that eluded France for 20 years, its first foreign order for the
Rafale combat jet, came with a Thursday evening phone call crowning
weeks of diplomacy carried out with unusual speed and stealth.
Egypt’s decision to buy 24 of the Dassault Aviation fighters follows
failures by successive French governments to sell the plane and leapfrogs
three years of inconclusive talks for a 126-plane contract with India.
By giving the green light via his defence minister last Thursday,
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi has boosted a defence project that
is barely ticking over in a half-empty production hall.
“It isn’t the deal we were expecting but it won’t do any harm to the
Rafale to have an export order under its belt.
It gives France a little more breathing space,” said Douglas Barrie, a
senior fellow at London-based thinktank IISS.
Diplomats say the deal suits both Cairo and Paris geopolitically with
both particularly invested in the fight against militant groups in North
Africa. Sisi has been looking to upgrade Egypt’s military hardware over
fears militias in neighbouring Libya could take control and directly
threaten Egypt.
“Egypt needs planes quickly,” said Patricia Adam, president of the
French parliament’s defence committee. “You just need to take a look
at what’s happening at its border. They are especially worried by what’s
happening in Libya.”
France has urgently been looking for an export buyer to prevent Rafale
production lines from going cold after the military slowed deliveries due
to budget problems.
Negotiations began in September after France’s Defence Minister JeanYves Le Drian visited Cairo, hoping at best to interest Egyptian authorities
in the modernisation of its existing Mirage 2000 jets.
The phlegmatic Breton politician, a long-time ally of French President
Francois Hollande, had been actively courting potential Rafale buyers.
But Egypt was not on the list of prospects containing India, Qatar,
Malaysia and Kuwait.
“On the Rafale, when Sisi told Le Drian he was interested it came as
a complete surprise,” said a French diplomat. Talks were kept to a tight
circle, but in a TV interview during a visit to Paris in November, Sisi
hinted at the condition for striking new deals: financing support.
“Will France better understand our economic situation or not? We
shall see,” he told France 24. Diplomats say talks took a significant step
forward on the sidelines of the inauguration of Saudi King Salman last
month, where Sisi told Hollande he wanted to move ahead quickly.
A Moldovan student holds a paper that reads “I vote pro-Europe” in Bucharest, Romania, in this file photo. — AP
Romania exerts soft power in Moldova
stone’s throw from the mounted T-34 Soviet
tank in the centre of this Moldovan city is
an emergency ambulance service set up by
Romania, one of several soft power moves
to steer its eastern neighbour away from
Moscow’s orbit.
Wary of Russian intentions after Ukraine
lost control of Crimea and much of its east
to Russian-backed forces last year, Romania
is trying to bring Moldova towards the
European Union.
Its sweeteners, the ambulances, as well
as offers of cheaper gas supplies and closer
trade ties, have been warmly welcomed by
impoverished Moldova’s two-month-old
pro-European government.
Some locals are wary of Romania’s
intentions, but many are grateful in this
corner of Moldova, where villagers trudge
along muddy, unpaved roads and western
cars like the red, Volkswagen ambulances
are novel enough to win salutes from their
“People calling 903 for an ambulance ask
us to send them the red cars with the red
men,” said 35-year-old Ion Picalau, a rescue
captain with the newly-created ambulance
service in Balti, about 60 km east of the Prut
river border, who trained for the job for six
months in Romania.
Moscow has warned Moldova that its
drive for closer ties to Europe could cause it
to lose control of Transnistria for good, just
as Ukraine lost Crimea, and lead to more
costly gas from Russia, its main supplier.
unapologetic, saying even though it sees
Russia as a serious security threat, it will step
up a battle that is, for now, economic rather
than military.
“(Russia’s) main weapon is neither
warplanes, nor its tanks or its frigates. It is
energy,” Prime Minister Victor Ponta said
in a televised interview with local media
in November. He has vowed to press ahead
with a gas pipeline to Moldova.
Among the people of Moldova, divided
into several ethnic groups with varying
allegiances, Romania’s actions have met a
mixed reaction, with some seeing them as a
bulwark against Russia and others worried
Romania may try to swallow Moldova up.
Part of Tsarist Russia for a century,
Moldova joined what was known as Greater
Romania after the First World War but was
annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940.
It is now split between a Romanianspeaking majority and the breakaway region
Transdniestria, propped up by Russia in one
of a series of “frozen conflicts” that have kept
separatist regions in several former Soviet
republics under Moscow’s wing.
Nato’s supreme allied commander in
Europe, US Air Force Gen Philip Breedlove
has said Russian forces could easily annexe
Transdniestria. Moscow has denied any
such plans.
EU and Nato member Romania
championed Moldova signing a trade
agreement with the EU in June and, as Russia
moved to restrict imports of Moldovan fruit,
vegetables and meat, Romania overtook
Russia as Moldova’s largest trade partner.
Moldovans can now travel visa-free to
Europe’s Schengen zone and to wean them
Wary of Russian intentions
after Ukraine lost control of
Crimea and much of its east
to Russian-backed forces,
Romania is trying to bring
Moldova towards Europe,
from Russian gas, Romania has built a 43 km
pipeline across the border, inaugurated last
year on the 23rd anniversary of Moldovan
independence from the Soviet Union.
The project will initially cover about five
per cent of Moldova’s energy needs, and
Romania plans to extend the pipeline to
the Moldovan capital Chisinau, offering gas
for 1,010 lei ($263) per 1,000 cubic metres,
excluding transport fees which are still
under negotiation.
That compares to the Russian price of
more than $300.
Moldova’s acting Economy Minister
Andrian Candu said it was a “key project
creating a basis for our country’s future
integration in the European Union’s internal
Romania funded about three-quarters
of the initial pipeline’s 26 million euro cost
and is expected to fund the extension while
Chisinau is seeking international financing
for the pipeline. Critics note that gas has
yet to flow and question whether the line to
Chisinau will ever be built.
Candu estimated the extension’s overall
joint costs at 200 million euros, with 120
million to be invested by Romania.
Romania’s emergency ambulance and
rescue service, developed in the early 1990s
by Raed Arafat, a Syrian-born doctor of
Palestinian origin, will soon straddle the
border. As well as training up Balti’s medical
workers, Romania donated five ambulances
to the city and rescue helicopters, based in
Romania, will soon fly across the border,
taking victims to Chisinau, or, if they have
dual Romanian-Moldovan citizenship,
possibly to Iasi.
“There has been strong political will
from the two prime ministers to achieve
this,” Arafat, who is also Romania’s deputy
interior minister, said.
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M O N DAY l F E B R U A R Y 1 6 l 2 0 1 5
A newly built house in northern India
collapsed early on Sunday killing 13
residents as they slept, the latest in a
string of building cave-ins. The roof of
the house suddenly gave way in Uttar
Pradesh state, trapping the residents, four
of whom managed to escape from the
rubble with the help of neighbours. Police
were searching for the building contractor
after suspecting poor construction.
CHINA’S LATEST CYBERWAR: Train tickets can only be bought a maximum of 60 days
before departure, triggering a scramble selling 1,032 tickets every second
Battle for New Year train tickets
Passengers wait to board a train at Beijing West Railway Station. — AFP
BEIJING: As hundreds of millions in
China flock home to celebrate the Year
of the Sheep, the world’s biggest human
migration places extraordinary pressure
on roads and railways — but technology
is offering new ways to find a route
Chinese tradition requires people to
gather at their family home before the
Lunar New Year begins — on February
19 this year — with authorities expecting
more than 2.8 billion trips to be taken
over the festive period.
Rail is one of the favoured ways
to travel and while historically there
have been endless queues at the ticket
windows, China’s official train booking
website is helping to relieve
congestion in stations and kiosks.
But with such huge demand users
say it can be still be an exercise in hair-
Equality of the people may
be a founding principle of
communism, but it does not
exist in the rat race of Lunar
New Year ticket purchases.
Japan to give $15m
to fight terror in
Mideast, Africa
TOKYO: Japan, reeling from the
murder of two nationals by IS
extremists, will offer an extra $15
million in aid to fight terrorism in
Middle East and Africa, a report said.
Japan hopes to demonstrate its
resolve not to cave in to terrorism
with the fresh assistance, which will
be announced at a global counterterrorism conference starting on
Wednesday in Washington, the Sankei
Shimbun said.
It said the money would be
distributed through international
organisations to affected regions,
including countries bordering Syria
and Iraq. — AFP
tearing frustration.
Posters on social media say the
booking website is “more difficult to
access than the Diaoyu Islands” — the
uninhabited East China Sea archipelago
disputed between Beijing and Tokyo,
which calls them the Senkakus.
There are, however, new tactics in the
Kelly Gan, a 27-year-old accountant,
explained: “I was using a program that
refreshes the page every five seconds to
grab a spot as soon as it was available on
ASTRONAUT MUM RESUMES TRAINING I basically did it all day long,
from when I woke up until I slept.”
She finally managed to get her ticket
from Shanghai to Chengdu, a journey
of more than 2,600 kilometres and 39
hours. It cost her 450 yuan ($72) for a
“hard sleeper” — a bed and mattress that
are a far more comfortable option than
the firm bench most passengers will
have to endure.
Chinese train tickets can only be
bought a maximum of 60 days before
departure, triggering a scramble.
All tickets are sold in the first few
minutes after they become available,
and purchases for this year’s festivities
peaked on December 19, with
at one point selling 1,032 tickets every
The next best opportunity to buy is
15 days before departure, the last date
that people can secure a full refund for
tickets if they are unable to use them.
Vast numbers of people initially buy
tickets that are not exactly what they
want, in order to have some way to get
home, and then seek better alternatives.
At Shanghai railway station, more
than 7,000 tickets were being returned
each day, reports said in late January.
The program Gan used to secure
a returned ticket was an open-source
one made available for free by a lone
independent developer, but major
Chinese Internet firms have also waded
into the fray.
Chinese search giant Baidu
developed software to speed up the
booking process and avoid losing a ticket
between booking and payment, one of
the most frustrating user experiences.
The company says 18 million people
have installed it, and bought 28 million
tickets between them.
Web browser LieBao offers a prebooking function, allowing users to
select a ticket beforehand and sending
an automatic request as soon as booking
officially opens.
Equality of the people may be a
founding principle of communism, but
it does not exist in the rat race of Lunar
New Year ticket purchases.
Instead runners come in two
divisions: the Internet users who have
ways to handle the booking rush, and
the technologically illiterate, often poor
migrant workers.
A maid in Beijing, Guo Dengxiu
is one of the hundreds of millions of
migrant workers who have left the
countryside during China’s economic
rise to seek work in the cities.
But she does not know how to use
online tools, and failed to secure the
ticket to return to her home in the
Anhui province, 1,000 kilometres south
of the capital. — AFP
Japanese soldiers escort people during a Cobra Gold 2015 exercise at a military base in Sattahip, Thailand, yesterday. — AFP
China’s first female astronaut has begun
training for her next mission after having
a baby, state media reported. Liu, 37, is
receiving training for her next mission,
an attempt to dock with a future space
station for which no firm date has been
set. China sent its first astronaut into
space in 2003, becoming the third
nation after Russia and the US to achieve
manned space travel independently.
Bangkok police ordered to
stop searches of foreigners
A police officer on patrol in Bangkok.
BANGKOK: Police in a popular
tourism area of Bangkok have been
ordered to stop searching foreigners
without due process following
widespread complaints of harassment, a
report said yesterday.
Recent news and social media
reports have highlighted tourist
complaints of being randomly stopped,
searched, ordered to show passports
and even subjected to on-the-spot urine
tests by police along the Sukhumvit
Road tourist belt.
“I have instructed policemen under
my command to strictly refrain from
searching foreigners or asking to see
their passports unless necessary,” the
Bangkok Post quoted newly appointed
Thong Lo Police Superintendent
Khajohnpong Jitpakpoom as saying.
His predecessor was removed as
chief of the district that includes a long
strip of tourist hotels, spas, restaurants
and nightclubs following several
complaints of police shakedowns.
“Now it is our job as policemen
to provide services to tourists rather
than conduct searches,” Khajohnpong
said. “We need to create confidence for
them.” — dpa
Indonesia warned of tough
response to executions
SYDNEY: Millions of Australians are
“sickened” by the imminent execution
of two of its citizens by Indonesia,
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on
Sunday, warning of a tough diplomatic
His comments came as the families of
Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran
made emotional last-gasp pleas to
Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
“I beg him (Widodo) again and
again to please forgive them and give
them, both of them, a second chance,”
Sukumaran’s tearful grandmother Edith
Visvanathan told reporters.
A statement from the Chan family
said Andrew Chan “continues to pray”.
“While there is life, there is hope. Let
them live,” it said.
No date has been set for their killing,
but Indonesia has said governments
with citizens on death row have been
invited to talks at the foreign ministry
on Monday.
Chan, 31, and Sukumaran, 33, are
facing execution by firing squad as
early as this week as ring leaders of the
so-called Bali Nine group trafficking
heroin from Indonesia’s island of Bali
into Australia. While all hope appears
to be lost, Abbott put pressure on
Jakarta for the second day in a row.
“Millions of Australians are feeling
sickened by what might be about to
happen in Indonesia,” he told Channel
Ten. “If these executions go ahead, and
I hope they don’t, we will certainly be
finding ways to make out displeasure
Brazil and The Netherlands recalled
their ambassadors in protest at
executions of their citizens in January.
Abbott has not said what Canberra’s
response would be.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop last
week warned Jakarta that Australians
could boycott Indonesia, including the
island of Bali, a popular holiday spot for
its travellers.
Abbott also stepped up criticism
of Indonesia for trying to save its own
citizens on death row in other countries
for drug trafficking while rejecting pleas
from Australia.
“What we are asking of Indonesia is
what Indonesia asks of other countries
when its citizens are on death row,” he
“If it’s right for Indonesia to ask and
expect some kind of clemency, it’s surely
right for us to ask and expect some kind
of clemency.” — AFP
Bill proposes ban on members of the business families from working at their companies for at least five years if convicted of a crime
‘Nut rage’ prompts South Korea to consider toughen law
SEOUL: Resentment has mounted so
much in South Korea against what has
come to be known as “gabjil”, highhandedness by the rich and powerful,
that parliamentarians are proposing
legislation to punish some of the worst
A bill to be presented in the national
assembly this month is formally called
the “Conglomerates Ethical Management
Special Law” but has been nick-named
the Cho Hyun-Ah law.
Cho, also known as Heather Cho, is
the daughter of the chairman of Korean
Air Lines and was sentenced last week
to a year in prison for an outburst on a
Korean Air plane while on the ground
in New York. It was considered a severe
sentence by some legal experts.
The bill proposes to ban members of
the powerful business families known as
chaebol from working at their companies
for at least five years if convicted of a
In earlier cases, some high-profile
offenders were pardoned, serving little or
no jail time, although recently-convicted
chaebol executives have found it harder
to avoid prison.
In February, the Supreme Court
confirmed a four-year embezzlement
sentence for SK Holdings Chairman
Chey Tae-Won, who has been in prison
since January 2013, among the longest
terms served by a chaebol boss.
In 2007, Hyundai Motor Chairman
A bill to be presented in
the national assembly
is formally called the
‘Conglomerates Ethical
Management Special Law’
but has been nick-named
the Cho Hyun-Ah law
Chung Mong-Koo was given a three-year
jail term for fraud but the sentence was
suspended in exchange for community
service and a $1 billion charity donation
as the court deemed he was too important
to the economy to be jailed.
Cho, who has appealed against her
sentence, was Korean Air’s head of inflight service at the time of the December
5 episode, which has come to be called
the “nut rage” case.
A court found she had violated the
law by ordering the plane she was in to
return to the gate after it started to taxi.
Cho had demanded the flight crew
chief be expelled from the flight after she
was served macadamia nuts in a bag, and
not on a dish.
“I hope the recent case involving Cho
has created the right environment to pull
together consensus on this,” said ruling
Saenuri Party lawmaker Kim Yong-Nam,
the sponsor of the bill.
an opposition party has proposed an
amendment along similar lines.
“There have been calls to put
in place a systematic tool to police
heavy-handedness by chaebol family
members, and stop them from being
able to participate in management just
because they are relatives,” Kim said in
an interview.
Cho’s lawyer Suh Chang-Hee declined
to comment on the proposed legislation.
It is not clear whether the legislation
will be approved by a parliament
controlled by the business-friendly
Saenuri Party. Shin Seuk-Hun, head
of corporate policy at the Federation
of Korean Industries, a lobby group
for chaebol, said improving corporate
transparency and ethical standards was
positive, but the proposed legislation
appeared to regard a corporation as a
public interest group.
“It’s almost like trying to supervise a
company by getting the public involved
and treating it as if it’s a group of holy
clergymen,” he said. “It seems excessive.”
A recent survey of 1,000 people found
three-quarters considered heavy-handed
conduct by those in superior positions to
be a widespread problem in South Korea,
with families of the chaebol topping
the list as most likely to be responsible.
Bosses at work, doctors and professors
were also cited as being unreasonably
heavy handed, according to the survey
by the Korea Press Foundation.
— Reuters
FEBRUARY 16 l 2015
India has strength, resources to
lead world in warming fight
NEW DELHI: Calling for an energy
revolution in the country, Prime
Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday
said India had the strength and
resources to lead the world’s fight
against global warming.
“If there is one country to
show the world the way to combat
global warming it is India,”
Modi said inaugurating the first
three-day Renewable Energy Global
Investors Meet and Expo (Re-Invest)
“The way for humankind out of
disaster, only India can show the way
because we love nature, we worship
our rivers as mother,” he added.
Speaking of the importance of solar
energy in the Indian consciousness,
Modi referred to increasing the scope
of renewable sources in the current
“In our mythology we have
imagined the Surya riding on seven
horses. In today’s age the first four of
Petrol, diesel
price hiked
NEW DELHI: As a consequence of
recent volatility of international crude
oil prices, state-run Indian Oil Corp
yesterday hiked rates of transport
fuels effective from midnight.
Accordingly, the price of petrol will
increase by 82 paise per litre, while
that of diesel will go up by 61 paise per
litre from today.
“There has been a steep increase in
international prices of both petrol and
diesel and the rupee-dollar exchange
rate has also depreciated slightly since
the last price revision,” IOC said in a
“Increase in retail selling price
of petrol by Rs.0.82/litre at Delhi
corresponding increase in other
“Increase in retail selling price
of diesel by Rs.0.61/litre at Delhi
corresponding increase in other
states,” it added.
Fuel prices were last revised
February 3 when petrol was made
cheaper by Rs 2.42 per litre and diesel
price was also lowered by Rs 2.25 per
The Indian basket of crude oil
recently re-crossed $50 a barrel level
and traded Thursday at $55.19 after
having plunged to near six-year lows
of $43 last month.
This is the first upward revision in
the price of petrol since August 2014,
and also the first in case of diesel
since it became market-priced from
October last.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives to open the first Renewable Energy Global
Investors conference in New Delhi yesterday.
the seven horses would respectively be
thermal (coal), gas, hydro and nuclear
“We need to utilise more the
three other horses of solar, wind and
Modi said the over 50 countries
identified to be blessed with good
solar radiation were trying to work
together on research and development
in solar energy and on finding ways to
make it economically viable.
The UN has declared 2014-24 as
the Decade of Sustainable Energy. Its
Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL)
initiative signed a memorandum
of understanding with the Gujarat
government last month to support
the UN objective to make sustainable
energy accessible for all.
Currently, 15 per cent of the global
population (about a billion people),
including 250 million in India have
no access to electricity and 2.6 billion
lack modern cooking facilities. They
depend on polluting solid fuels.
The India-US nuclear agreement
concluded during President Barrack
Obama’s visit here has eased the way
for foreign firms to develop nuclear
energy in India.
The government has revised
upwards the target of solar power
generation from 20,000 MW by 2022
to 100,000 MW by 2020.
Modi not involved in Bihar crisis
government or Prime Minister
Narendra Modi has no role in the
political crisis in Bihar, said union
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M
Venkaiah Naidu yesterday.
He told reporters here that the
crisis arose due to infighting in Janata
Dal-United. “There was already a war
going on in Janata parivar. They are
divided and not united,” he said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party leader
alleged that JDU Nitish Kumar was
blaming Modi for his own failures.
“Who asked you (Nitish) to resign
from the chief minister’s post and who
asked you to make Jitan Ram Manjhi
the chief minister, and why are you
asking him to resign now,” he said.
Naidu also denied that the central
government has any role in fixing
February 20 as the day when Manjhi
will face the trust vote in the assembly.
He said the decision to convene the
assembly was taken 12 days ago and
Who asked you
(Nitish) to resign
from the chief
minister’s post and
who asked you to make
Jitan Ram Manjhi the chief
minister, and why are you
asking him to resign now
Parliamentary Affairs Minister
the governor decided to hold the
exercise on that day.
“If you have the numbers, prove it
on the floor of the house. Why this
drama of calling MLAs to Delhi (for
parading them before president),”
asked Naidu.
He also criticised JDU for first
staking claim to form the government
and later seeking the status of main
opposition party.
Naidu also denied that there is
any proposal to invite Telangana
Rashtra Samiti (TRS) to join BJP-led
NDA government. “These are mere
speculations. The BJP and TRS are
different parties,” he said.
He also hinted at the possibility
of introducing amendments to the
Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation
Act in the ensuing budget session
of parliament. He, however, said
this would be done only after
reaching a broad consensus with the
governments of both Telangana and
Andhra Pradesh.
Naidu said special status to Andhra
Pradesh was under the consideration
of the central government. Admitting
that it is no easy task, the minister said
the central government was trying to
overcome the hiccups.
Lanka president arrives in
Delhi on first foreign trip
NEW DELHI: Sri Lanka’s new
president arrived in India on Sunday on
his first foreign trip in office, trying to
rebuild ties hit by tensions over growing
Chinese influence on the strategically
located island.
Maithripala Sirisena landed in
New Delhi for the four-day trip
aimed at allaying Indian fears over
China’s influence on the island that
strengthened under President Mahinda
Rajapakse’s decade-long rule.
Sirisena, who defeated Rajapakse in
a presidential election last month, was
due to hold talks with Prime Minister
Narendra Modi on Monday, and will
later be guest of honour at a banquet.
Sirisena, accompanied by his wife
Jayanthi Pushpa Kumari, waved to
waiting media before being greeted at
the airport by India’s junior minister for
shipping P Radhakrishnan.
India has long considered Sri Lanka
to be within its strategic sphere of
But China ploughed huge sums
into Sri Lankan infrastructure projects,
becoming the country’s biggest foreign
financier and enjoying significant
political and even military influence
under Rajapakse.
Critics say China is trying 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 interests.
“A first visit is always an opportunity
to set directions. President Sirisena will
be welcomed warmly in Delhi,” India’s
foreign ministry spokesman Syed
Akbaruddin told reporters ahead of his
“We expect substantial talks,
we expect outcomes in terms of
agreements, in terms of frameworks,
and in terms of announcements.”
Sirisena is expected to try to secure
greater Indian investment in Sri Lanka,
which said last week it was seeking an
international bailout of more than $4
Sirisena will also travel to the
Buddhist pilgrimage site of Bodh Gaya
and a Hindu temple in Tirupati further
south on Tuesday before leaving on
Anna, Kejriwal part of RSS
plan to eliminate Congress
‘Black Scorpion’
arrested in Goa
sharpshooter wanted in the 1993
Mumbai blasts that killed more than
250 people has been arrested in Goa,
police said yesterday.
Superintendent of Police Karthik
Kashyap said Sham Kishor Garikapatti
alias ‘Black Scorpion’, 50, worked for
the Dawood Ibrahim gang and was
jailed for harbouring terrorists.
“We arrested him from Saligao, a
village 10 km north of Panaji, where he
was living in a rented room for nearly
eight years,” Kashyap said, adding
the arrest followed a tip off from an
According to police, Garikapatti
was involved in the 1993 Mumbai
blasts executed by the Dawood gang,
known in police files as “D Company”.
The man was also involved in J J
Hospital shootout in Mumbai more
than a decade ago in which two
policemen and a rival shooter were
The accused will be handed over to
Mumbai Police.
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, accompanied by his wife Jayanthi
Sirisena, arrive in New Delhi yesterday.
Indian Border Security Force personnel celebrate as they watch a live broadcast of the Cricket World Cup match between
Indian and Pakistan at the India-Pakistan Wagah Border Post yesterday.
NEW DELHI: Senior Congress leader
Digvijaya Singh yesterday said the RSS
supported anti-corruption crusader Anna
Hazare and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal
for its overall “Congress Mukt Bharat”
plan. The AAP hit back, saying the
Congress had no desire to reinvent itself.
“When I said the Rashtriya
Swayamsevak Sangh was behind Anna
movement, no one believed me, I was
called Mad. But ultimately I was proved
right and I would be this time too,”
Digvijaya Singh tweeted.
The Congress leader also said that
Kejriwal, whose Aam Aadmi Party swept
the February 7 elections winning 67 of the
total 70 seats, too was part of the overall
plan of the RSS to eliminate Congress
from Indian politics.
“I know I would be abused by both
RSS and Kejriwal fans,” he wrote in
the message. In response, AAP leader
Ashutosh reacted saying that Congress
was not interested in reinventing itself.
“More Digvijay speaks, better for AAP.
It proves the point that Congress has no
new perspective to reinvent itself. Old
idiom needs to be replaced,” he said in a
message on a social media website.
To the Congress leader’s charge
that AAP does not have any ideology,
Ashutosh retorted: “Congress can’t
understand AAP”, and sought to pose the
same question to Digvijaya Singh, asking
him to explain what his own party’s
ideology was.
Rs 40 crore for river embankment, inundation
government has decided to release
an additional Nepali Rs 700 million
(over INR 40 crore) for the remaining
Lalbakaiya, Bagmati and Kamala rivers.
Around 80 percent training and
embankment works on these three rivers
in southern Nepal has been already
completed. These trans-boundary rivers
pose threat during monsoon on both
sides of the border.
During a five-day meet of the NepalIndia Joint Committee on Inundation
and Flood Management here this past
week, India agreed to release more
amount to complete the remaining
task of embankment extensions on
the three rivers including for the river
training — often required to improve
the navigability of a waterway.
The Indian side also approved 18
various new packages of technical works
for these rivers.
The meet also included field
inspections at these river sites.
India has already disbursed NRs
3,284.4 million for embankment
construction and river training in these
three rivers.
According to the Director General
of Water Induced Disaster Prevention
Ramanand Prasad Yadav, leading the
Nepalese delegation, the meet also
brought under convergence for training
and taming more rivers that inundate
India has agreed to release
more amount to complete
the remaining task of
embankment extensions on
the three rivers including
for the river training — often
required to improve the
navigability of a waterway.
On a request by the Nepali side
during the third meet of the Nepal-India
Joint Commission last July, the two sides
had agreed to work for river training
in Dodha, West Rapti, Mohana and
“In the first phase, technical works
will begin from most destructive part of
West Rapti,” said Yadav.
The meet also decided to extend the
embankment in Kamala River, touching
the no-man’s land on either side of the
border so that Nepal would not witness
further inundation on its side of the
both sides during rains.
With the latest approval of funds, border during rains.
Similarly, for the first time, Indian
Nepal will call tenders for these 18 new
packages to complete the river training side also agreed to work on river
training works in Dodhara River in far
west region.
“We have successfully narrowed
down past pending issues and ventured
into new ones. We have maintained a
level up progress in Dodha, Mohana
and Lakhendehi and hope next meeting
at the Joint Secretary of Ministry of
Irrigation level would make further
progress,” he said.
During the meeting, Nepali side also
demanded the complete halt of Indian
road construction along the Nepal-India
border until both sides could find a
solution of water drainage.
It also reiterated the request made
during the 11th meeting of Nepal-India
Border Management in Pokhara, Nepal’s
second largest city.
M O N DAY l F E B R U A R Y 1 6 l 2 0 1 5
Obama concerned over
Ukraine violence
WA S H I N G T O N :
US President Barack
Obama called his
Ukrainian counterpart
Petro Poroshenko on
Saturday to express
his “deep concern”
and “sympathy” over
as a ceasefire came
into force in eastern
Ukraine. The truce officially started
at midnight but surging fighting
in the runup to the ceasefire has
already cast doubt on whether it will be
“The president spoke with Ukrainian
President Poroshenko today to express
his sympathy for the mounting toll of
the conflict in eastern Ukraine and
his deep concern about the ongoing
violence, particularly in and around
Debaltseve,” a White House statement
A senior State Department official
said separately that top US diplomat
John Kerry spoke with Russian Foreign
Minister Sergei Lavrov in which he
“underscored the importance of full
implementation” of peace agreements,
including the ceasefire.
Kerry also “expressed concern about
the fierce fighting around Debaltseve,
and efforts by Russia and the separatists
to cut off the town in advance of the
ceasefire,” the official added.
Earlier, Kiev-loyal regional police
chief Vyacheslav Abroskin said constant
artillery bombardments were razing the
strategic railway hub of Debaltseve,
where Ukrainian forces were hanging
The State Department released
images it said showed
that Russia was still
weapons in eastern
“The United States
government considers
images as one of
credible evidence that
lead to the conclusion that the Russian
military has deployed large amounts of
artillery and multiple rocket launchers
around Debaltseve, where it is shelling
Ukrainian positions,” spokeswoman Jen
Psaki said in a statement.
“We are confident that these are
Russian military, not separatist systems.”
“emphasised the pressing need for all
signatories to implement the ceasefire
and protocol agreements reached at
Minsk last September and reaffirmed
by the Minsk Implementation Plan
this week,” the White House statement
importance of establishing a lasting
sovereignty and unity.”
The US president separately spoke by
phone with German Chancellor Angela
Merkel, who has played a critical role in
peace negotiations.
The two leaders are “particularly
concerned about the intense fighting
in and around Debaltseve,” the White
House said, adding that Obama praised
the chancellor’s “tireless efforts to bring
the conflict in eastern Ukraine to an
end in manner that preserves Ukraine’s
sovereignty and unity.”
A Fawn-breasted Brilliant (Heliodoxa
rubinoides) at the Alejandria Farm in the
framework of Colombia BirdFair 2015,
in a rural area of Cali., Colombia possess
a large biodiversity of birds, with 1,876
species, of which about 72 are endemic
species and about 197 migratory
species. There are some 116 areas for the
conservation of birds, 56 of which are
protected covering 11 pc of the country.
Police cars are seen outside the Halifax Shopping Centre, which was named by police as the intended target of an attack which
they said was thwarted in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
— Reuters
MONTREAL: Canadian police in
the Atlantic province of Nova Scotia
charged two people on Saturday after
foiling a plot to carry out a Valentine’s
Day massacre in a mall in Halifax.
The two people charged, Lindsay
Kantha Souvannarath, 23, from the
US state of Illinois and Randall Steven
Shepherd, 20, of Halifax, are facing
charges of conspiracy to commit
A 19-year-old man who was also
allegedly involved in the plot was
found dead early Friday morning in a
house in the community of Timberlea,
about 17 kilometres west of Halifax.
Police said they recovered three
long-barelled guns in the house.
Federal Justice Minister Peter
MacKay described the group as
“murderous misfits” and said the
planned mass shootings did not appear
to be “culturally” motivated or “linked
to terrorism.”
The accusation now goes to the
judge in the case, Daniel Rafecas, to
decide whether to call Kirchner to
make a statement.
Anibal Fernandez, the president’s
top spokesman, emphasized there had
been no formal request for subpoena
in Nisman’s written allegations.
“They have not been able to back up
a single thing, and that’s why there has
been no formal request for subpoena,”
he argued.
Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner gestures after inaugurating an
amphitheatre in the Patagonian Argentine city of El Calafate.
— Reuters
Kirchner, 61, has presidential
face punishment over the case
if two-thirds of Congress voted to
remove it — unlikely in the current
The president got word of Friday’s
indictment while she was in a plane
heading from the capital to her late
husband’s home turf in Santa Cruz
province for a Friday night event.
She wrote in a Facebook post that
her accusers “can just keep all that
hatred, resentfulness...and lies.
We are going to let them keep them
like that.
“We are going to be known for
(the per-child subsidy for parents),
good retirement benefits, same-sex
marriage, more rights, collective
bargaining, a better minimum wage...
for being on the side of scientists,
schools and kids,” Kirchner said,
looking to reframe her legacy as
elected woman president.
The bombing at the Buenos Aires
Jewish centre, known as AMIA, was
the deadliest such attack in Argentina’s
After the initial investigation ended
with no convictions, Nisman was
named in 2006 to reopen the case.
He accused the country of
ordering the attack via Lebanonbased Hezbollah, and requested arrest
warrants for five officials.
On January 14, four days before he
was found dead, Nisman filed a 300page report accusing Kirchner and
Timerman of colluding to shield the
Iranian suspects from prosecution.
His death was initially labeled a
suicide, but suspicion has fallen on
Kirchner’s government.
The president has suggested
disgruntled former intelligence agents
who then killed him to smear her.
“All suspects are either dead or in
custody,” said MacKay.
Police were mum on what motivated
the suspects, but said a serious crime
appeared to have been averted.
“Based on what we know so far it
would have been devastating,”
MacKay said.”Mass casualties were a
real possibility.”
Local media reports identified the
dead man as James Gamble.
Several media in the US, citing
unnamed sources in the Canadian
police, reported that Gamble took
his own life when the house was
surrounded by police.
Ron MacDonald, director of the
Serious Incident Response Team, a
civilian agency that is mandated by the
provincial government to investgate
whenever serious incidents involving
police occur, refused to confirm or
deny media reports of Gamble’s suicide.
MacDonald told dpa that the
19-year-old man had suffered a single
gunshot wound and it was too early to
determine whether it self-inflicted or
caused by police action.
Nova Scotia Royal Canadian
Mounted Police Commanding Officer
Brian Brennan said police launched
the investigation after getting a tip on
Thursday morning.
“Information came forward to
police via a Crime Stoppers tip that
suggested that a 19-year-old Timberlea
male and a 23-year old Geneva,
Illinois, female had access to
firearms and it was their intention
to go to a public venue in the Halifax
region on February 14 with a goal of
opening fire to kill citizens, and then
themselves,” police said in a statement
Souvannarath was arrested Friday
at the Halifax Stanfield International
Airport upon arriving in Canada.
Police also arrest Shepherd who was
there to meet her.
— dpa
10 hurt in carnival shooting outside Rio
Officials rally behind Kirchner
An indictment filed against
Kirchner endorsed the claim
made by investigating
prosecutor Alberto Nisman
before he was found
dead on the eve of a
congressional hearing
Revellers from
the Vai-Vai Samba
School take part in a
carnival in Sao Paulo.
The Rio Carnival
focus was on the
city’s elite schools
as they prepared to
strut their stuff at the
Canadian police charge two
people in mass killing plot
No formal request for subpoena in Nisman’s written allegations
BUENOS AIRES: Members of
Argentina’s government rallied behind
President Cristina Kirchner yesterday,
tossing aside allegations she protected
Iranian suspects in an investigation
into a 1994 bombing.
“It’s utter nonsense,” interior and
transportation minister Florencio
Randazzo said of the allegations.
An indictment filed Friday against
Kirchner endorsed the claim made
by investigating prosecutor Alberto
Nisman before he was found dead on
the eve of a congressional hearing.
investigation into the bombing of the
Argentine Jewish Mutual Association
which killed 85 people.
He had alleged Kirchner protected
high-ranking Iranian officials from
prosecution in the bombing probe.
After Nisman was killed, a new
team of prosecutors quickly endorsed
his charges against the president.
Boehner ready to
let US homeland
security funding
WASHINGTON: John Boehner, the
Republican speaker of the US House
of Representatives, said he is willing
to let funding for the Department
of Homeland Security lapse as part
of a Republican push to roll back
President Obama’s executive actions
on immigration.
“Senate Democrats are the ones
standing in the way. They’re the ones
jeopardising funding,” Boehner told the
“Fox News Sunday” programme.
Asked if he was prepared to let
financing for the department lapse, he
said, “Certainly.
“The House has acted. We’ve done
our job.” With a February 27 deadline
near for funding the department,
more than 40 Senate Democrats
have voted three times this month to
block consideration of the Homeland
Security appropriations bill, which has
already been approved by the House.
House Republicans have written
their version of the bill so that it
also blocks Obama’s actions on
immigration. The Democrats want
to fund the department but oppose
House amendments that strip funding
from Obama’s executive orders in 2012
and 2014. Those orders lift the threat
of deportation for millions of illegal
“The House has acted to de-fund
the department and to stop the
president’s overreach when it comes to
immigration and his executive orders,”
Boehner said.”... And the Congress just
can’t sit by and let the president defy
the Constitution and defy his own his
oath of office.”
— Reuters
RIO DE JANEIRO: Ten people were hurt when a man fired shots during carnival
celebrations in the tourist magnet of Paraty, west of Rio, Brazil’s CBN radio reported
Sunday. Locals were enjoying the festivities far from the hubbub of the huge
celebrations in Rio when a man pulled out a firearm and began shooting following an
Five men and five women were hurt, but police did not indicate how seriously,
CBN reported. In another incident, one man was injured after being shot after
an altercation in the northern city of Salvador, which hosts one of Brazil’s most
spectacular carnivals.
Since Friday, Brazil has been awash with raucous nationwide parties celebrating
carnival. The revelry will continue through Tuesday. Dancers on stilts, bare-chested
cowboys, Carmelite nuns in miniskirts and plenty of bare flesh flooded Rio’s streets
Saturday as revelers cranked up the volume at Brazil’s intoxicating Carnival festival.
Crowds of residents and tourists drank and partied during the joyous carnival,
considered the greatest show on Earth by many who live in the “Marvelous City.”
On Sunday night, a crowd of tens of thousands is expected to flock to the Rio
Sambodrome about 160 kilometers from colonial era jewel Paraty.
Forensic personnel work at the site of a bus crash in Anahuac, Nuevo Leon
state. At least 20 people were killed and 31 injured when a freight train
slammed into a packed passenger bus in northeastern Mexico, authorities
said, warning the death toll could rise.
Venezuela to announce change in fuel policy ‘soon’
CARACAS: Venezuela will announce a change of policy soon on gasoline, the finance
minister said in an interview broadcast on Friday, signaling the OPEC nation is moving
ahead with along-awaited hike in the world’s cheapest fuel.
Gasoline is so heavily subsidised in Venezuela that one US cent buys about 5
gallons, costing the government as much as $12 billion annually and spurring a
lucrative business in smuggling fuel across the border to neighbouring Colombia.
President Nicolas Maduro has suggested a fuel price hike as a means of improving
state finances amid a tumble in crude prices, but has repeatedly balked at doing so
because many Venezuelans view cheap fuel as a birthright.
“Soon there will be important announcements on the issue of gasoline,” Marco
said in an interview with regional television network Telesur.” A piece of candy cannot
cost more than a litre of gasoline.” The announcement, slammed by opposition
sympathisers via social media, came on the eve of the carnival holiday during which
Venezuelans are often on vacation.
It also followed a 70 per cent currency devaluation launched on Thursday. — Reuters
FEBRUARY 16 l 2015
SOLUTION: Fighters urged to act ‘immediately and unconditionally’ to solve the crisis
UN to urge Houthis to step aside in Yemen
Yemeni supporters of Southern Movement gather in the southern city of Aden during a protest against the Houthi which seized power in the country last September. — AFP
Council is due to adopt a resolution
Sunday urging the fighters behind a
power grab in Yemen to step down,
release government officials and
negotiate, diplomats said.
Calling upon the Houthis, to act
“immediately and unconditionally,” the
council’s 15 member states will demand
the group “withdraw their forces from
government institutions...and relinquish
government and security institutions,”
according to a draft of the resolution.
Yemen has descended into chaos since
the Houthis seized Sanaa in September,
sweeping into the capital unopposed
from their northern stronghold.
Despite a UN-brokered deal, they
have refused to withdraw their fighters
from the city.
The crisis escalated after the
militia last month took control of key
government buildings, prompting
President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to
tender his resignation.
The Huthis must “engage in good
faith in the UN-brokered negotiations”
being led by UN special envoy Jamal
Benomar and “safely release President
Mahfoudh) Bahah, members of the
cabinet and all individuals under house
arrest or arbitrarily detained.”
The member states also alluded to
sanctions, expressing their “readiness
to take further steps in case of nonimplementation,” but made no explicit
reference to Chapter Seven of the
United Nations Charter, which allows
for economic and military pressure to
enforce council decisions.
Yemen’s neighbours Saturday, at a
Riyadh meeting of the Gulf Cooperation
Council, had urged the UN to evoke
Chapter Seven.
According to Western diplomats,
Russia, under US and European
sanctions over Crimea and eastern
Ukraine, was reluctant to vote for
The text marks the UN Security
Council’s first resolution since the
Houthis took control of the country, in
a power grab that Washington and Gulf
countries have described as a coup.
The council was due to adopt the text
on Sunday in New York, according to
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
has warned that Yemen is falling apart
and said Thursday that Western-backed
Hadi should be restored to power.
The Houthis, who have expanded
their presence into central and western
Yemen, resumed UN-brokered talks on
Meanwhile, fighters who seized
power in Yemen vowed to defy
“threats” as the UN Security Council
prepared to adopt a resolution Sunday
calling on them to step aside or face
In another city they captured last
year, Ibb in central Yemen, Houthis fired
on hundreds of protesters to disperse
them on Sunday, wounding several.
Following their seizure of Sanaa
and Ibb, the crisis deepened when they
ousted the government and dissolved
parliament on February 6, tightening
their grip after Western-backed
President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi
resigned in protest at their advance.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
has warned that Yemen is falling apart
and called for Hadi’s reinstatement.
Citing security concerns, nine Arab
and Western countries shuttered their
embassies in Yemen last week and
evacuated diplomats.
The Security Council is expected to
adopt a resolution calling on the militia
to withdraw its forces from government
and security institutions “immediately
and unconditionally”.
It also urges the Houthis to “engage
in good faith in the UN-brokered
negotiations” led by special envoy Jamal
Benomar and to release Hadi, his Prime
Minister Khalid Bahah, and other
officials and activists under de facto
house arrest or in detention.
denounce Chapel
Hill murders
Authority condemned Saturday the
“heinous murder” of three American
Muslims of Palestinian origin who
were shot dead this week in what it
described as an act of “terrorism”.
The murder of sisters Razan
Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, and Yusor
Mohammad, 21, along with Yusor’s
husband Deah Shaddy Barakat,
23, in North Carolina was a
“dangerous sign of racism and
religious extremism,” Palestinian
official Wafa news agency quoted the
foreign ministry as saying.
The ministry said the shooting
“directly threatens the lives of
hundreds of thousands of Muslim
Americans”. The sisters were Jordanian
Americans of Palestinian origin, and
Barakat’s parents are immigrants from
Syria of Palestinian descent.
The three were killed on Tuesday
in their Chapel Hill home, allegedly
by neighbour Craig Stephen Hicks, 46,
whose Facebook page espoused antireligious views. He is charged with
three counts of first degree murder.
The murders are being investigated
as a hate crime, and have sparked
outrage among Muslims worldwide.
The Palestinian foreign ministry
called the murder “terrorism, which
targets civilians based on their religion,”
according to Wafa. Demonstrations
have been held throughout the
Palestinian territories, especially the
Gaza Strip, where further rallies are
planned for next week.
US President Obama condemned
the “brutal and outrageous” executionstyle murders of the three, saying no
one in the US “should ever be targeted
because of who they are, what they
look like, or how they worship.”
Jordan sentences senior Scores dead as fighting intensifies in Syria
Brotherhood leader
AMMAN: A Jordanian court Sunday
sentenced a senior leader of the
Brotherhood to 18 months in prison for
criticising a decision by the United Arab
Emirates to blacklist his organisation.
The state security court in Amman
found Zaki Bani Rsheid, deputy head
of the Brotherhood in Jordan, guilty of
making statements “likely to damage
relations between the kingdom and
a foreign country”. Rsheid, 57, made
no comment after the verdict but his
lawyer Saleh al-Armuti said he planned
to appeal.
The Action Front, political wing of
the Brotherhood’s Jordanian branch,
in a statement denounced the verdict
as going against “individual liberties
and the freedom of expression”.It was
“a clear and negative political message”,
the IAF said. Rsheid was arrested in
November after he criticised the UAE
for blacklisting more than 80 opposition
groups including the Brotherhood.
Jordan’s Brotherhood, which has
substantial grassroots support, said
in a statement the verdict “represses
freedoms and confiscates the rights of
individuals and is proof of the regime’s
retreat from (political) reforms.”
Jordan’s Brotherhood,
which has substantial
grassroots support, said the
verdict ‘represses freedoms
and confiscates the rights
of individuals and is proof
of the regime’s retreat from
(political) reforms.’
The organisation has ideological ties
with the Brotherhood in Egypt, which
Cairo authorities banned in December
2013, but the two groups are not
directly affiliated. While long tolerating
the Brotherhood’s presence, Jordan’s
government arrested several members
of the group last year who criticised it
for not censuring Israel more following
the summer’s conflict in Gaza.
But Bani Rushaid is the most
prominent politician to be arrested
since opposition figure Laith Shubailat,
a leading opponent of Jordan’s 1994
peace treaty with Israel, was detained in
BEIRUT: Heavy fighting in southern
Syria has killed scores of progovernment and insurgent fighters
in the past week, a group monitoring
Syria’s war said on Sunday, forecasting
even fiercer violence as the weather
Syria’s army and allied combatants
from Lebanon’s Hizbullah launched
a large-scale offensive in the region
last week against insurgent groups,
including al Qaeda’s Syria wing Nusra
Front and non-opposition rebels.
Southern Syria is one of the last areas
where mainstream rebels opposing
President Bashar al Assad have a
They have lost ground to hardline
fighters in the four-year conflict.
More than 50 rebels have been killed
in the fighting, the head of the Britainbased Syrian Observatory for Human
Rights said. Rami Abdulrahman said
43 members of the Syrian army and
allied groups had also died, including
12 officers.
“Now the weather is better there will
be Syrian air strikes.
With the air strikes they will move
forward,” he said. State news agency
SANA said Syrian forces had inflicted
“heavy losses” on “terrorist groups” in
Deraa on Sunday after killing many
Southern Syria is one of the
last areas where mainstream
rebels opposing President
Bashar al Assad have a
Children carry banners inside a cage during a protest, against forces loyal to Syria’s
President Bashar al Assad, in Douma Eastern Al Ghouta, near Damascus. Reuters
enemy fighters and destroying their
vehicles the previous day.
Syrian officials were not immediately
available for comment on Sunday.
State media and Hizbullah’s alManar channel have carried regular
reports on the fighting in the south.
Abdulrahman, who tracks the war
using sources on the ground, said
around 5,000 pro-government troops
were taking part in the offensive, which
aims to take a triangle of rebel-held
land from rural areas southwest of
Damascus to Deraa city to Quneitra.
Sources on both sides of the
battlefront have said the offensive aims
to shield Damascus, the capital, which
is a short drive to the north.
The insurgents made significant
gains in the south in recent months,
taking several army bases.
“The situation remains hit-and-run
between us and regime forces,” said
Abu Gaiath, a spokesman for the rebel
Alwiyat Seif al-Sham group.
Its fighters are part of the “Southern
Front” rebel alliance that has had
support from states opposed to Assad.
Speaking via the Internet from inside
Syria, he said fighting had calmed in
the past two days but the military was
aiming to encircle a village northeast of
Quneitra and had captured towns and
villages south of Damascus.
The Observatory’s Abdulrahman
said 10 fighters on the government side
had been executed after being accused
of passing information to the enemy.
— Reuters
Iraqi MPs boycott parliament after tribal chief killed Italy suspends operations
at Libya embassy
The boycott comes weeks
BAGHDAD: Iraqi lawmakers said
Sunday they were boycotting parliament
after the killing of a senior tribal leader
was blamed on militia, sparking fresh
tensions between the two communities.
The boycott comes weeks after
gunmen in January
killed three clerics in Basra, a
majority southern province, triggered
outrage in a country mired in sectarian
Sheikh Qassem Sweidan al-Janabi,
his son and seven bodyguards were
killed by gunmen after their convoy was
ambushed late Friday in Baghdad, with
most shot in the head, members of his
tribe have said.
Janabi’s nephew, MP Zeid alJanabi, was with the group when they
after suspected gunmen
in January killed three
clerics in Basra, a majority
southern province, triggered
outrage in a country mired
in sectarian violence
were ambushed but was later released
unharmed. The boycott by lawmakers
— who hold 73 seats in the 328-strong
parliament — was announced in a
statement posted on the official Facebook
page of parliament speaker Salim alJuburi. Representatives of parliamentary
blocs held “an extraordinary meeting
late Saturday...and agreed to suspend
their parliamentary activities”, said the
statement released after an all-night
The politicians discussed the killings
and “insisted on submitting to the
government a draft resolution to ban
militias and criminalise sectarianism”,
it said. MP Nahida al-Daini said that
lawmakers “began observing from
Saturday night an open-ended” boycott
of parliament.
They also set up a commission
tasked with holding negotiations with
other parliamentary blocs, namely the
formation of Prime Minister Haider
al-Abadi. Another MP, Ghazi al-Kuoud,
said commission would aim “to put
pressure on the prime minister to ban
militias” and halt crime.
“We are not prepared to be partners
with a government that cannot protect
its citizens,” he said, calling for Janabi’s
killers to be identified and prosecuted.
Friday’s killings were not claimed
by any group, but Abu Qusay, a cousin
of Sheikh Janabi, accused “armed
militias backed by some sides of the
government” — a reference to militias.
On Saturday, officials and security
sources said “gunmen manning a fake
checkpoint stopped the convoy carrying
MP Janabi and kidnapped all who were
on board”.
ROME: Italy said Sunday it was pulling
out staff from its embassy in Libya and
suspending operations there because
of mounting insecurity in the troubled
The move came as Rome reiterated
its willingness to lead a multinational
force to tackle the growing threat in
Libya, a former Italian colony.
In total, about 100 Italians were
being evacuated by ship from the north
African state, foreign ministry sources
The ministry said the embassy — the
last Western mission to remain open in
Libya — has “suspended its activities
because of the worsening security
situation”. But it said in a statement that
“essential services” would continue.
Rome had on Friday warned its
nationals against travelling to Libya and
urged those already there to leave as the
opposition gain ground.
However, hundreds of Italians,
working in the Libyan oil and gas sector,
remain in the country.
Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti
said in an interview published Sunday
that Italy was ready to lead a coalition
from Europe and north African states to
battle against the advance of opposition
in Libya.
FEBRUARY 16 l 2015
MONITORS DENIED ACCESS: Firing continues at strategic Debaltseve, but stops elsewhere; Russia urged to implement ceasefire in full
Ukraine rebels disavow ceasefire at encircled town
rebels disavowed a new truce yesterday
hours after it took effect, saying it did
not apply to the town where most
fighting has taken place in recent weeks.
Guns fell abruptly silent at midnight
across much of eastern Ukraine in line
with the ceasefire agreement, reached
after a week of diplomacy led by France
and Germany.
But rebels announced they would
not observe the truce at Debaltseve,
where Ukrainian army forces were
“Of course we can open fire (on
Debaltseve). It is our territory,” senior
rebel commander Eduard Basurin said.
“The territory is internal: ours. And
internal is internal. But along the line
of confrontation there is no shooting.”
The Organisation for Security
and Cooperation, responsible for
monitoring the ceasefire, said rebels
had denied its observers access to
It said firing continued in the town,
one of a few exceptions to a truce that
was otherwise largely being observed.
Both sides blamed what firing there
was on the enemy.
But Debaltseve has been the focus of
fighting for weeks, and it will be hard
to speak of a truce if Ukrainian troops
remain trapped there under fire, or the
rebels press on with their advance.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov
said Thursday’s peace deal including
Ukrainian servicemen ride
on a tank along a road
from Artemivsk to
Debaltseve yesterday.
the truce must be implemented
“unconditionally”. But he made no
mention of whether Moscow believed
the truce applied to Debaltseve, and
declined to comment on Basurin’s
Journalists heard volleys of artillery
from the direction of Debaltseve in the
morning after a night that had been
mostly quiet. Ukrainian forces have for
Bomber kills seven
in northeast Nigeria
KANO: A female bomber killed
at least seven people in northeast
Nigeria yesterday in an attack
believed to be the work of Boko
Haram, as neighbouring Niger
stepped up efforts to stop the
insurgency from spreading.
The suicide attack at a bus station
in the Nigerian city of Damaturu
came after authorities across the
border in Niger’s Zinder region
detained dozens of suspected
Boko Haram began its brutal
uprising against Nigeria in 2009,
but the insurgents have increasingly
posed a regional threat.
The affected countries —
including Chad and Cameroon as
well as Nigeria and Niger — have
launched an unprecedented joint
effort to crush the insurgency,
claiming some early success,
including the recapture of towns
previously under rebel control.
But Boko Haram this month
carried out its first-ever attacks
inside Chad and Niger, apparently
in retaliation for the regional
offensive, raising fears of the unrest
spreading further.
Nigerian President Goodluck
Jonathan has called for more US
help to combat the threat, and for
the first time drew a direct link
between Boko Haram and the IS
group in Iraq and Syria.
Police in Damaturu, capital of
Nigeria’s Yobe state, said a woman
with explosives entered the city’s
main bus station shortly after
midday (1100 GMT).
She got out of a vehicle and
walked towards a grocery store
at the back of the terminal, then
positioned herself in a crowd,
according to multiple witness
She then blew herself up, killing
at least seven people and injuring 32
others, some of them seriously, said
Yobe’s police commissioner Marcos
A shop owner in the park, who
requested anonymity, said an angry
mob prevented rescue workers
from evacuating the remains of the
While there was no immediate
claim of responsibility, suspicion
immediately fell on Boko Haram.
Across the border from Yobe
state in Niger’s Zinder region,
several dozen people suspected of
having links to Boko Haram have
been arrested, local governor Kalla
Moutari said.
weeks been holding out in the town,
which sits astride a railway junction in
a pocket between the two main rebel
Rebels say they have completely
encircled the town, but Ukraine says its
forces have kept open a road to resupply
it in the face of an onslaught.
Kiev military spokesman Andriy
Lysenko said Ukrainian forces had
foiled an attempt to close the circle in
the last 24 hours.
Washington says regular Russian
forces armed with tanks and missile
launchers advanced on the town from
all sides in the days before the truce.
Journalists operating on the rebel
side have seen armoured columns of
troops without insignia arriving in the
area in recent days.
In the main rebel centre, Donetsk,
journalists said artillery had been
exploding every few seconds in the
hours before the ceasefire, but halted
abruptly at midnight.
A photographer in governmentheld territory also said constant
bombardment had halted overnight,
although he heard a volley of artillery
around 7 am from the direction of
Greece confident ahead of EU meet,
but sticking to its no-austerity guns
ATHENS: Greece said yesterday it was
confident of reaching agreement in
negotiations with its euro zone partners
but reiterated it would not accept harsh
austerity strings in any debt pact.
A day before a euro zone finance
ministers’ meeting in Brussels to shore
up with Greece’s dwindling finances
and help keep it in the euro zone, Prime
Minister Alexis Tsipras told Germany’s
Stern magazine Athens needed time to
implement its reform programme and
shake off the mismanagement of the past.
“I expect difficult negotiations;
nevertheless I am full of confidence,” he
said. “I promise you: Greece will then,
in six months’ time, be a completely
different country.”
The Eurogroup of finance ministers
meets in Brussels today to try to find
common ground with Tsipras’ new
leftist government, elected on a pledge
to scrap the austerity strictures of
Greece’s international bailouts, on issues
such as debt management, financing,
privatisation and labour reform.
If the meeting produces no results,
there is a concern that Greece will be
headed for a credit crunch that would
force it out of the euro zone.
Progress, however, could mean further
negotiations, perhaps later in the week.
“The irresistible force will be meeting
the immovable object,” Vasileios
Gkionakis, head of global FX strategy at
UniCredit, wrote in a note.
People wave Greek flags in front of the parliament during an anti-austerity progovernment demonstration in Athens yesterday. — Reuters
European Central Bank President
Mario Draghi refused to discuss the
possibility of Greece leaving the euro zone
if an agreement with European Union/
International Monetary Fund lenders fell
apart as a result of Greece’s demands to
alleviate its debt burden.
He simply reiterated the euro zone’s
founding position that membership is
Tsipras wants a bridge programme to
be put in place for a few months while a
new deal is agreed to replace the bailout,
which has already forced drastic cutbacks
onto ordinary Greeks.
The rest of the euro zone, particularly
Germany, says Greece must continue with
those commitments as a quid pro quo for
the 280 billion euros ($320 billion) it has
received in bailouts.
Slovak Finance Minister Peter Kazmir,
whose country is said to be taking a
tough line, tweeted that he was sceptical
whether all details could be agreed today.
Greece’s current bailout expires at the end
of the month.
A Eurogroup meeting last week ended
without apparent progress although
technical talks were later approved.
— Reuters
Scientists emphasised that the technology could be no substitute for reducing greenhouse gas emissions
Call for global authority on climate geoengineering
SAN JOSÉ: US scientists and legal experts
are calling for a strong, international
authority to regulate any man-made
interventions meant to combat global
warming, amid fears that the technology
could be harmful to the environment.
The field known as geoengineering is
not currently regulated by any institution
or treaty, Edward Parson, professor of
environmental law at the University of
California, Los Angeles, explained on
“If some nations decide this
year to embark on a crude untested
experimental attempt to do it, we cannot
prevent it,” Parsons said in San Jose,
California at the American Society for
the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS)
annual meeting.
The lawyer called for creation
of an international institution with
authority to make decisions related
to geoengineering, adding that “some
favour a UN body, some favour smaller
discussions among great powers or some
favour a transnational NGO.”
Geoengineering, which covers an
array of climate manipulation, includes
everything from reflecting sunlight from
the Earth’s surface to sucking carbon
dioxide out of the atmosphere.
The topic made headlines last week
when the US National Academy of
Sciences released two reports by a
committee of experts calling for more
research into geoengineering and
warning that the technology, at present,
could pose significant risks.
The scientists also emphasised that
the technology could be no substitute
It covers an array of
climate manipulation,
includes everything from
reflecting sunlight from the
Earth’s surface to sucking
carbon dioxide out of the
for reducing greenhouse gas emissions,
the most sound approach to fighting
global warming.
But geoengineering should be
explored in depth, in case of need in the
future, the committee said.
Marcia McNutt, who led the 16-person
committee, told the conference that “the
governance mechanism should be open,
be transparent and should involve the
civil society on deciding where is the
dividing line for these experiences.”
“If the US starts to talk about this, we
can have other nations joining in,” said
McNutt, editor-in-chief of the journal
Science and the former president of the
American Geophysical Union.
Such institutions are necessary before
large-scale geoengineering experiments
can be conducted, she said, adding that
small-scale research could be carried out
in the meantime.
Committee member Lynn Russell of
the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at
the University of California, San Diego,
said that reflecting sunlight from the
earth, a process known as albedo, still
requires greater understanding before
being implemented.
The committee concluded that
research was “not sufficient to decide if
albedo modification could be useful at
the current or the future time,” she said,
adding that it recommended against
the practice presently, while calling for
much-needed research.
Riley Duren, an engineer with Nasa’s
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said that
volcanic eruptions were the closest thing
in nature to geoengineering techniques
aimed at reducing solar radiation and
warming. But, he said, “we are not
currently prepared to monitor the next
large volcanic eruption in terms of its
impacts on the upper atmosphere.”
“Current observation systems are not
designed to detect, attribute or monitor
geoengineering activities,” he said.
A Ukrainian military spokesman
said the ceasefire was being “generally
observed”. Its forces had been shelled
10 times since the truce took effect in
“localised” incidents, and no soldiers
had been killed.
A Ukrainian staff officer stationed
near Debaltseve said: “The general level
(of attacks) has decreased, although
there are violations.”
Poroshenko, wearing the uniform of
the armed forces’ supreme commander,
announced the order to stop firing in
a midnight televised address, but said
there was still alarm over Debaltseve.
“I very much hope that the last
chance to begin the long and difficult
peaceful process for a political
settlement will not be wasted,” he said,
adding, however, that if Ukraine were
slapped, it would not “turn the other
cheek”. The ceasefire, negotiated in allnight four-power talks on Thursday,
foresees creation of a buffer zone and
withdrawal of heavy weapons.
More than 5,000 people have been
killed in a conflict that has caused the
worst crisis in Russia-West relations
since the Cold War.
Russian President Vladimir Putin
denies Moscow is involved in fighting
for territory that he calls “New Russia”
but Washington and its allies have
imposed economic sanctions over
Russia’s role in the conflict. — Reuters
Congo spurns
UN support
for campaign
against rebels
KINSHASA: Democratic Republic
of Congo President Joseph Kabila
has spurned a United Nations offer
of support for a military campaign
against Rwandan Hutu rebels
inside the country, and criticised
international interference in its affairs.
UN peacekeepers were due to
support an operation against the
Democratic Forces for the Liberation
of Rwanda (FDLR) but suspended
cooperation last week because two
Congolese generals tapped to lead the
campaign are accused of human rights
The MONUSCO peacekeepers
say their support is key to defeating
the estimated 1,400 rebels, who have
been at the heart of conflict in Africa’s
Great Lakes region for two decades.
But Kabila told diplomats in the
capital the operation in the east had
already started without help from the
MONUSCO peacekeepers, and the
government would work alone.
“The Democratic Republic of
Congo today renounces, in the
most official manner, the support
of MONUSCO to track the FDLR.
We are going to track them alone,”
government spokesman Lambert
Mende quoted Kabila as saying.
— Reuters
Poland plans to
spend billions
on defence
WARSAW: Looking east to the
bloody conflict gripping Ukraine,
Nato-member Poland has kicked off
an unprecedented military spending
spree worth billions to overhaul its
forces as Warsaw believes peace in
Europe is no longer a given.
The escalation of tensions
with Russia over its annexation
of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula
and subsequent role in the crisis
in that country’s east has sounded
the alarm on Nato’s eastern flank in
countries that were under Moscow’s
thumb during the Cold War.
Poland has earmarked 33.6
billion euros ($42 billion) on the
upgrade over a decade, which
includes a missile shield and
anti-aircraft systems, armoured
personnel carriers and submarines
as well as combat drones. — AFP
FEBRUARY 16 l 2015
Denmark gunman may be
inspired by Paris attacks
A man mourns for the shooting victims outside the ‘Kruttoende’ cultural centre in
Copenhagen yesterday. — AFP
COPENHAGEN: Danish police on
Sunday claimed to have established
the identity of a suspected gunman
they shot dead in connection with two
fatal shootings at an event promoting
freedom of speech.
Jens Madsen, head of Danish security
service PET, told reporters
police were working on the theory
that the shootings were “inspired by the
attacks in Paris,” referring an extremist
killing spree that left 17 people dead in
the French capital in January.
He said the suspect “has been in our
sights,” but added that his agency “has
no specific or concrete knowledge that
he travelled to conflict zones” like Iraq
and Syria to wage war alongside militant
Police shot and killed the suspect
outside his apartment building
near Noerrebro train station earlier
on Sunday. Members of a SWAT
team shot the man after he opened
fire on them. None of the officers were
Police said they have also found a
weapon they believed was used in the
first of the two attacks.
Jorgen Skov of the Copenhagen
police said the suspect’s movements
were being analysed through the use of
surveillance camera footage.
Due to ongoing investigations
and house searches, it was necessary
withhold the suspect’s identity, Skov
The suspect was traced to the
apartment building after police were
tipped off by a taxi driver who had
given him a ride after the first shooting.
Noerrebro is known for its large
immigrant population.
Speaking at a televised news
conference in the wake of the attacks,
Prime Minister Helle ThorningSchmidt said that investigations were
ongoing and that she was liaising with
the leaders of Britain, France, Germany
and Sweden.
“When any community is attacked,
our democracy is attacked, the whole of
Denmark is attacked,” said the premier.
“We don’t know the motive for the
attacks but we know that there are forces
that want to harm Denmark, that want
to crush our freedom of expression, our
belief in liberty,” she added.
Queen Margrethe expressed “grief
over the scope of the events” and urged
the citizens of Denmark to “stand
The two earlier gun attacks claimed
two civilians lives and left five police
officers wounded.
The first shooting took place in a
cafe hosting a freedom of speech event
attended by Lars Vilks, a Swedish artist
who has received death threats.
Vilks was unharmed. In remarks to
Swedish daily Aftonbladet, he said he
feared “there will be more attacks.”
The victim of the first shooting was
55-year-old Danish film director Finn
Norgaard, who had been attending the
event, tabloid newspaper Ekstra Bladet
reported. Three police officers were
injured in the attack.
The second shooting, which occurred
about 10 hours later, took place near the
city’s main synagogue. A victim who
died from a gunshot wound to the head
was a young man in charge of checking
visitors into a building.
The assailant failed to enter the
building, where about 80 people had
gathered for a confirmation party. Two
police officers were injured by gunshots
to the arm and leg. The gunman fled on
The prime minister visited the
building to pay her respects, while
Justice Minister Mette Frederiksen
visited the scene of the first shooting, the
Krudttoenden cafe and arts venue. She
was accompanied by French Interior
Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and
the French ambassador to Denmark,
Francois Zimeray. — dpa
Croatia first female president sworn in
ZAGREB: Croatia’s first female president Kolinda GrabarKitarovic pledged to help kickstart the country’s ailing
economy as she was sworn into office yesterday.
The 46-year-old conservative former foreign minister and
Nato official narrowly defeated her left-wing predecessor Ivo
Josipovic in an election run-off in January.
“I will be a top economic diplomat of our country,” she
said in her inaugural speech, vowing to do her utmost “to
make Croatia a wealthy nation”. “Almost two years of (EU)
membership, I would like us all to eventually start to live the
life of a European Union member,” Grabar-Kitarovic said at
the ceremony in the old quarter of Zagreb.
Hopes that EU membership would boost the economy of
the small Adriatic nation of 4.2 million have faded.
The Croatian economy, hit by a six-year recession, remains
among the weakest in the 28-nation bloc.
Unemployment is almost 20 percent and the government
forecasts a meagre 0.5 percent growth this year.
Grabar-Kitarovic, a leading member of the main opposition
HDZ party until becoming president, called for national unity
to overcome the crisis. “We are facing a moment that requires
a broad national consensus over key issues.
There is neither space nor time for divisions.”
The ceremony was attended by hundreds of Croatians
and top local officials as well as presidents of several regional
states and, notably, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic.
Grabar-Kitarovic said Croatia would continue to support
bids by other Balkan countries to join the EU and Nato as it
was in the country’s “strategic interest”
“I want that countries of southeastern Europe become
The new Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic is being
sworn in central Zagreb yesterday. — AFP
members of the European family and we offer them a hand
of cooperation.”
Grabar-Kitarovic is the fourth to hold the largely
ceremonial role in the former Yugoslav republic since its
independence in 1991. She was European affairs and foreign
minister from 2003 to 2008 and then served as Croatia’s
ambassador to the US until 2011 when she was named Nato’s
assistant secretary general.
Her election was seen as a major boost for HDZ ahead of
parliamentary elections due late this year, and in which the
party is likely to make significant gains.
The current centre-left rulers face major public discontent
largely over their failure to revive the economy. — AFP
London mayor plans to ditch US passport
LONDON: London’s flamboyant mayor
Boris Johnson plans to renounce his US
citizenship to prove his “commitment
to Britain”, the Sunday Times reported,
although he denied suggestions he
wanted to become prime minister
during last week’s visit to the US.
The mop-haired Johnson, who was
born in New York in 1964, holds British
and US passports.
He recently settled a capital gains tax
bill sent by the US after he sold his house
in north London, calling the demand
“absolutely outrageous.”
All US citizens have to pay tax to
Washington, even if they live outside
the country.
But Johnson told the newspaper
that his intention to renounce his US
passport was due to patriotic reasons,
although admitted the process may not
be straightforward.
He said his US passport was “an
accident of birth” and that he had to
“find a way of sorting it out” with US
ambassador Matthew Barzun.
“The reason I’m thinking I probably
will want to make a change is that my
commitment is, and always has been, to
Britain,” he added.
“They (the Americans) don’t make it
easy for you.”
Johnson hopes to make a return to
British national politics in May’s general
election, standing for a seat in the
London suburbs, opening the way for a
push for the top job.
Although not an insurmountable
obstacle, constitutional experts warn
that dual citizenship could throw up
difficulties in any bid to become prime
During his recent six-day visit to
Boston, New York and Washington —
officially billed as a trip to strengthen
US ties with London, but seen as many
as a chance to raise his international
profile — Johnson insisted he had “no
ambition” to replace David Cameron as
Conservative leader. — AFP
Warsaw’s main Lazienkowski Bridge on fire. Firefighters battled for 12 hours to overcome the blaze. — AFP
Warsaw’s main bridge up in flames
WARSAW: Firefighters battled for
12 hours to contain a blaze that tore
through the main bridge in Warsaw,
cutting off one of the capital’s key
transport links.
No one was hurt in the blaze, but
it is feared to have cause considerable
damage to the Lazienkowski Bridge, a
40-year-old steel span that was set to
undergo renovation.
“The main operation lasted 12
hours,” fire service spokesman Pawel
Fratczak told reporters yesterday.
“But the firefighters are continuing to
monitor the site.”
“Experts were going to examine
the state of the bridge to check for any
structural damage... But it is already
clear that the asphalt on a long stretch
will have to be relaid,” Fratczak said.
Authorities also fear that the fire
has damaged telecommunications, gas
and electric cables that ran along the
423-metre bridge across the Vistula
The effort involved 144 firefighters
deployed on both banks of the river as
well as on a barge that sprayed jets of
water onto the burning structure.
A huge cloud of smoke hung over
the Saska Kepa neighbourhood near the
banks of the Vistula.
The fire broke out when wooden
planks stored under the six-lane bridge
burst into flames, quickly spreading to
wooden parts of the bridge.
The Lazienkowski bridge was
ravaged by a fire the year after it was
built in 1974.
That fire was “almost identical”,
Fratczak said. “Who says history doesn’t
repeat itself?” — AFP
FEBRUARY 16 l 2015
Thierry Neuville of Belgium and his co-driver
Nicolas Gilsoul steer their Hyundai i20WRC
during the 18th stage of the Rally Sweden,
second round of the FIA World Rally
Championship in Vargaasen, Sweden. — AFP
The members of the Keylemanjahro School of Art and Culture gather in a circle for a group photo at their base yard in Harding Place, Cocorite, just West of the capital
Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. — Reuters
A pedestrian walks on the street through the snow during a
winter blizzard in Cambridge, Massachusetts yesterday. The
US Northeast faced yet another major winter storm at the
weekend, with blizzard conditions in six states’ coastal
regions, much of which is already buried under recordsetting snow, forecasters said. In Boston, snow fell hard on
Saturday afternoon, pausing for an evening lull before
picking up again. Forecasters predicted accumulations of up
to 14 inches of snow through yesterday. — Reuters
Mount Fuji is seen covered with snow behind blossoms fields in full bloom at a
park in Ninomiya, Kanagawa Prefecture, yesterday. Visitors can enjoy some 45,000
blossoms until the middle of February. — AFP
Participants of the X9 Paulistana samba school perform during the first night of the
carnival parade at the Sambadrome in Sao Paulo, Brazil. — AFP
British-made classic MG cars seen during the “British Car
Day” rally in Colombo. Over 100 British-made classic cars
participated in the rally to celebrate British Car Day in Sri
Lanka. — Reuters
Revellers hit drums during a carnival parade in Athens yesterday. — Reuters
Faithful gather in St Peter’s square during Pope Francis’ Angelus prayer at the Vatican yesterday. — AFP
A new name in Oman telecoms Sony revamp wins over investors Netflix streams into Cuba FOLLOW US ON:
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RIE poised to offer new
dimension to investors
Environmental study on for industrial estate in Thamrait
Feb. 15: With 59 companies
and more than 70 others in
various implementation stages, the
investment in Raysut Industrial
Estate (RIE) is likely soar by double
its current investment. It is poised to
offer an entirely new dimension to
investors, as the Public Establishment
for Industrial Estate (PEIE) is in the
process third phase of the industrial
Said Ali al Mashani, Director
General of Raysut Industrial Estate,
elaborated the present status of the
RIE in an interview with Observer
and expressed happiness over the
achievements so far.
He explained about the steps
being taken to make the Industrial
Estate more productive for the
people of Dhofar and the Sultanate
as well. “I am glad to mention that
Said Al Mashani
about 99 per cent of the RIE’s land
has been occupied. Among the
tenants 59 have already started
rest are either under advance
preparation stage or planning to
start operation by the end this year
or early next year,” he said.
He also revealed the likely setting
up of an industrial estate in Thamrait,
the environment study for which has
already started. “We are getting very
good response from the investors
that is why we have plans to expand
towards Thamrait and set up an
independent industrial estate over
Asked about the likely time taken
for the commissioning of an industrial
estate in Thamrait, Al Mashani said,
“We have just started environmental
studies for the project and due to
interest shown by the investors, it
seems that in another two to three
years, after proper allotment of land
other formalities, the industrial area
would be operational.”
Commenting on the performance
of the Raysut Industrial Estate, Al
Mashani expressed satisfaction over
its progress, as current investment
has gone up to RO 180 million, which
is likely to double when new units get
operation by the end of this year or
early next year.
Al Mashani said that the RIE had
been working in close coordination
with the authorities concerned
including the Ministry of Housing
and the Supreme Council for
Planning for the development of the
RIE and industrial estate in Thamrait.
He finds opening of new factories
and expansion by the existing RIE
companies as a good indication.
He cited the examples of newly
opened Gtech, an assembling
company for complete solution for
power distribution and controls and
eurotherm a PPR (Polypropylene)
pipe production company along
with Salalah Mills, Salalah Macarony,
Oman Edible Oil and Derivatives,
National Packaging and Printing and
some others companies in the RIE.
He also cited the example of newly
opened Jenan Residency inside the
RIE campus, which has capacity
to accommodate more than 1000
Oman to emerge
as new hub for
antimony metals
Feb. 15: Bank Nizwa has signed a financing facility
agreement with Strategic & Precious Metals Processing
(SPMP) totalling up to $40 million to build an Antimony
Metals Roasting and Tri-Oxide Manufacturing Plant in the
Sohar Freezone. The bank tailored a unique combination of
Shari’a compliant financing solutions to meet the needs of
SPMP for a seven year ‘door-to-door’ period.
The agreement was signed by Dr Jamil El Jaroudi, CEO
of Bank Nizwa alongside SPMP partners Shaikh Hassan bin
Ahmed Al Nabhani, CEO of Oman Investment Fund; Emin
Eyi, Managing Director of Tri-Star Resources and Jason
Peers, Director of Castell Investments Ltd.
Eyi said that the project will be completed over a period
of 18 to 20 months and will cater largely to the electronics
industries of Europe and Asia.
A project will be also initiated that will help train and
develop Omani engineers to meet the big demand for them
over a period of time. A pilot project will be set up before the
completion of the first phase and it will cover around seven
per cent of the total capacity.
Eyi said that Oman, with its natural history for mining
and a strategic location for logistics, was the ideal place for
setting up this project.
“SPMP is the first energy-related sector company to utilise
Islamic financing in the Sultanate, proving that Islamic
banking can spur more private sector growth especially
in new and perspective industries and in turn actively
contribute to Oman’s economic diversification. Our aim is
to become a trusted partner of choice for businesses looking
for an alternative to conventional financing solutions,” said
Dr Jamil El Jaroudi, Bank Nizwa CEO.
Established in 2013, SPMP is a Joint Venture company
owned 40 per cent by Oman Investment Fund (OIF),
Looking for job, car, flat and furniture? Check out the Observer classified page. It’s where buyers meet sellers.
FEBRUARY 16 l 2015
Leadership forum outlines customer-centric strategies
BUILDING RELATIONS: Bank Muscat meets the expectations of customers at the grassroots level
MUSCAT: Bank Muscat, the flagship
financial services provider in the
Sultanate, outlined its customer-centric
future strategies at the annual Leadership
Forum attended by the Management
and branch leadership. The event
themed We are Part of Something Bigger
reviewed the bank’s 2014 performance
and strategies to chart the way forward.
Addressing the forum, AbdulRazak
Ali Issa, Chief Executive, commended
the front line branch managers for their
dedication and commitment to steer
the bank to greater heights in serving
the largest banking family in Oman as
well as contributing to the development
march of the nation.
AbdulRazak Ali Issa said: “The
bank’s operations are ingrained in
its values which represent what we Muscat meets the expectations of commitment to remain as the bank of doorstep of customers. The dedication position in Oman. In order to maintain
stand for: how we conduct ourselves customers at the grassroots level. The first choice in all parts of the country, and commitment of employees has the leadership position, the bank
as the trusted banking partner, and expanding branch network reflects the offering banking convenience at the helped to steer the bank to its flagship accords priority for value addition
how we engage with our shareholders,
business partners, colleagues and the
communities we serve. These values
form the very foundation on which
Bank Muscat is built, being a part of
something bigger as reflected in the
communities and customers we serve.
The bank is focused on articulating
the corporate values in order to better
support its customer-centric strategy
and sustain the competitive advantage.
Amidst the challenging situation, the
bank is progressing well on track with
clarity on its vision, values and strategy
which have helped in distinguishing
ourselves in banking excellence.”
The forum was addressed by Sultan
Al Subhi, renowned Omani inventor,
who highlighted the key aspects of
innovation in his presentation. Dr
Yasmin Shannan Al Balushi, Assistant
Dean of Academic Support and Student
Affairs at the College of Banking and
Financial Studies (CBFS), made a
presentation on the ‘Importance of
Renowned for top-notch customer
service, Bank Muscat accords priority
for building key relationship with
customers. With the widest reach and
the largest network of 139 branches
spread across the Sultanate, Bank
Memorable Toyota presence
at Muscat Festival
A new name in Oman
MUSCAT: Like the previous years, this year too Toyota
was the Gold Sponsor of the Muscat Festival. The festival
celebrated traditional arts, culture and heritage while
providing people of Oman fun, adventure, excitement and
The event line up provided great excitement at the
Naseem Garden and Al Amerat venues in the city of Muscat.
In the same spirit, the Toyota Zone featured innovative
programmes and quizzes. These specially prepared
programmes ran in concurrent modules.
“Over the years Toyota has made its presence felt at the
Muscat Festival,” said a spokesperson from Saud Bahwan
Automotive. “Every year there are many exciting and
engaging events visitors look forward to at the Toyota zones.
INTEGRATED Telecommunications Oman SAOC (TeO),
the latest name in the telecommunications industry, designated new members to its board in anticipation of a formal
launch of its MVNO and VOIP services later this year. The
board of directors met recently at TeO’s headquarters in
Ghoubra Plaza to formally announce this.
TeO holds multiple telecommunication licenses issued by
the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority. It already
has a dynamic, young and multi-cultural management team
in place, with a vision to bring innovative telecommunications and technology solutions for the corporate, government and consumer sectors in Oman.
Suleiman bin Mohamed bin Hamed al Yahyai, the
Chairman of TeO, says: “We believe Oman is one of the most
exciting markets in the region today catering to a young,
Toyota continues to present its fans with some of the finest
events set to make a lasting place in their hearts and minds,”
he remarked. The Toyota Zones had a lot to offer in terms
of gifts, on-stage activities, and entertaining performances.
At the Naseem Garden venue the latest Toyota models —
Corolla, Aurion, Avalon, Land Cruiser and the new Fortuner
TRD — were catching everyone’s eyes. At the Al Amerat
venue, the RAV4, F.J. Cruiser and Yaris Hatchback were the
centres of attention.
and strengthening of relationship with
The analysis of 2014 performance
and the growth plan for 2015 were
highlighted in presentations made by the
various departments. The bank’s future
strategies in line with the ‘Let’s Do More’
vision seeks to achieve an ideal balance
between the contributions of a loyal,
productive workforce and customerservice focused solutions, continuously
measuring and delivering value for
all stakeholders. The core focus of the
vision is to stretch further the standards
in banking excellence.
The ‘Let’s Do More’ vision reiterates
a leadership which continuously
challenges everything, from listening
to improving and looking for positive
change as the bank believes that only
through questioning convention can it
truly deliver sustainable value.
Over the past 32 years, Bank Muscat
has achieved steady and significant
growth in various disciplines to emerge
as the flagship financial institution
in Oman. The bank has leveraged on
investments in new technology to
further increase efficiency and improve
customer service.
The sophisticated banking experience
stems from the right mix of traditional
and electronic channels. Bank Muscat
enjoys an edge in hi-tech products,
notably electronic payment and webbased services in tune with Oman
moving towards a cashless society and
meeting the banking requirements of a
young, tech-savvy generation.
tech-savvy population who seek smarter and more effective
ways to stay in touch with the world. Our challenge will be to
constantly innovate and add value to their communications
and technology experience. In our journey, His Majesty’s
grand vision of transforming Omani Society into a digital
society will be our guide.”
On the role of TeO in the market, Gurkan Ozturk,
Chief Executive Officer of TeO, says: “We look forward to
complement existing networks to provide affordable, highquality and easy-to-use telecommunications services to
individuals and booming SME sector”.
ZNA pick-up range display
Al Hassan Engineering
adjudged ‘Best Contractor’
AL HASSAN Engineering Company SAOG (AHEC)
Oman’s leading EPC Contractor added one more feather
to its cap by completing 3 million LTI free Manhours while
executing the Subcontract for Electrical and Instrumentation
Works at Oman Oil Company Exploration & Production
LLC’s (OOCEP) Musandam Gas Plant Project. OOCEP and
the Main Contractor, Hyundai Engineering Co. Ltd (HEC),
recognised AHEC by awarding it with the ‘Best Contractor
of the Month’ at Musandam Site. This is Al Hassan’s third
award in the category a?d a reflection of its commitment to
strict Safety and Quality standards.
Under its Health and Safety initiatives, a “Behaviour
Based Safety” programme was introduced by OOCEP
and HEC at the project site, as a part of which Al Hassan
conducted periodic research and shared insights with
The ‘Let’s Do More’ vision
reiterates a leadership which
continuously challenges
everything, from listening to
improving and looking for
positive change as the bank
believes that only through
questioning convention can
it truly deliver sustainable
employees regarding the different aspects of Safety. Daily tool
box talks and weekly gate meetings were some of the channels
employed in regularly communicating and reinforcing high
Safety and Quality guidelines. “I take this opportunity to
convey my sincere thanks to the team of OOCEP and Hyundai
Engineering for their support, guidance and encouragement
to strictly adhere to all safety norms that have resulted in the
achievement of this important milestone. At Al Hassan, the
health and safety of our people is our top most priority and
we are extremely proud of our performance in the field,” said
Maqbool Ali Salman, MD, Al Hassan Group congratulating
the project team.
THE reliable and complete value for money, the pick-ups
from Zhengzhou Nissan Automobile (ZNA) were drawing a
lot of attention and appreciation at Muscat Festival. Towell
Auto Centre (TAC), the sole distributors of ZNA range of
pick ups in Oman, were displaying the range at Naseem park.
Many people belonging to different strata of the society and
from different parts of the country came to see Oman’s biggest
annual cultural event which showcases the different cultures,
crafts, art and technology from around the world. What
better place than this to showcase the ZNA range of Pick ups.
Combining Nissan’s hi-tech quality standards, reputation and
durability with low cost production facilities at Dongfeng,
ZNA manufactures the same Nissan quality at a Value which
now becomes even more attractive. A Guaranteed Cash Gift
of RO 450 from Towell adds to the attraction.
Delivering an impressive combination of power,
capability and efficiency, ZNA has the potential to become
a money saver for the small and medium businessmen in
the country who are looking for an option which has lower
initial capital and less running costs on their fleet.
ZNA indeed has been a reliable workhorse for the SMEs
in the country and to help them further, TAC is offering a
guaranteed cash gift of RO 450 on its purchase. 24 hours
AAA roadside assistance with the purchase of a ZNA
pick-up for a period of 3 years from TAC is another added
FEBRUARY 16 l 2015
Port of Salalah renews
pact for automated
mooring systems
Juergen Strommer
Feb. 15: Port of Salalah will get eight newgeneration automated mooring units
installed at berth 5 in the container terminal
by Cavotec, a leading global engineering
group which has recently won a new order
to supply.
This is the third installation of MoorMaster
400E15 at the Port and these state-of-the-art
systems bring forth a plethora of additional
facilities and benefits to the Port, according
to the CEO, EMEA.
“This order for our MoorMaster
automated mooring system indicates
the ever-increasing acceptance of the
technology in the regional ports sector, and
points to the substantial future potential
MoorMaster has for our continued growth
in the segment,” says Juergen Strommer,
who has been recently promoted to
Cavotec’s Chief Operating Officer for
EMEA, told the Observer.
With the installation of MoorMaster,
a vacuum-based automated mooring
technology, the need for conventional
Mooring systems
mooring lines can be eradicated. These are
controlled by remote control and supported
by vacuum pads which can be recessed in
or mounted on the quayside or pontoons,
vessels can be moored and released in a few
MoorMaster™ has completed more than
100,000 mooring operations to date,
container and bulk handling and lock
applications worldwide.
“In addition to the high degree of safety
offered by the system, MoorMaster also
enables port operators to maximise utilisation
and increase efficiency and productivity. The
new generation of MoorMaster represents a
breakthrough in global mooring operations,”
he added
Cavotec supplies a wide variety of
innovative technologies to the posts sector,
including shore-to-ship Alternative Maritime
Power (AMP) systems, Panzerbelt cable
protection systems, crane controllers, marine
propulsion slip rings, radio remote controls,
motorised and spring driven cable reels and
steel chains.
Merger will help in
growth: Bank Nizwa
Feb 15: The merger proposal sent to
United Finance was to help meet a higher
growth objective and we are waiting for
a proposal from the other side, said Dr
Jamil el Jaroudi, CEO, Bank Nizwa,
“We have to see what benefit two
entities will bring to each other if they
go through a merger. Both sides have
to sit down and try to weigh in all these
He added as United Finance is a
conventional company, all its assets and
products post-merger will have to be a
Sharia-compliant. The merger will have
to be approved by the Sharia Board and
hopefully it will give a grace period to
comply with its requirements.
On the time frame, he would it depend
on the progress of negotiations and how
various issues are sorted. He said it will be
not proper to comment why the United
Finance was picked over other financing
companies that are currently operating in
United Finance made a profit of close
to RO 5 million last year while Bank
Nizwa recorded a fall in losses at RO 7.7
million for 2014. So if the merger goes
through, Bank Nizwa may reach breakeven sooner than expected. But much
will depend on how much premium Bank
Nizwa will be ready to offer for the deal,
an analyst told Observer.
New hub for antimony metals
the country’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, 40
per cent by Tri-Star Resources, a UKbased integrated antimony development
company and 20 per cent by Dubai’s Castell
Investments, a subsidiary of Dubai Natural
Resources (Dutco), an energy and mining
sectors’ investment company.
With an annual production capacity of
20,000 tonnes, the plant is the world’s first
commercially viable antimony roasting
facility to be constructed outside the People’s
Republic of China in the last 30 years. The
various phases of the project are expected to
take from 18 months to two years to design,
engineer, construct and commission to full
production. The total cost for the project is $
65 million of which approximately 60 per cent
is being financed through this agreement and
40 per cent to be raise? by various investors.
New dimension to investors
“This is a good location for the employees
working in the factories located inside
the RIE. Besides being very close to their
factories, the residential area is equipped
with state-of-the-art facilities inside the
campus,” he said.
Al Mashani’s vision 2020 lies in “finding
vacancies in the private sector to cater for
the huge number of graduates from local
universities and schools. That means many
investment schemes have to be introduced to
find a balance between businesses and labour
market. I think the free zone should work
better in logistic and attracting international
trade marks, while the Raysut Industrial
Estate should have enough utilities and new
big manufacturing projects have to find us
ready with the suitable space.”
“Over 22 years, the RIE managed to attract
a development average of over than 4 per cent
per year.” He, however, lamented developing
infrastructure within the industrial estate
that lagged behind rating less than 0.2 per
cent a year. This needs to improve with the
PEIE’s efforts in third phase of the industrial
Estate,” he said.
Al Mashani also hoped good participation
from local companies at the Exhibition of
Omani Products being held from tomorrow
till February 19 and an open day on the same
day (February 19).
FEBRUARY 16 l 2015
Barra faces roadblocks in rebuilding Cadillac brand
eneral Motors Co
Mary Barra’s strategy
of rebuilding the
has run into twin
roadblocks: the carmaker can’t persuade
enough American sedan buyers to
switch from foreign competitors such
as BMW or Mercedes, and it can’t make
enough of its Escalade SUVs to satisfy
domestic demand.
Even though chrome-bedecked
Escalades retailing for more than
$100,000 each are rolling every day out
of an Arlington, Texas, factory that’s
been working weekend overtime for
months, Cadillac still can’t keep more
than a few weeks’ worth of the big SUVs
in stock.
By contrast, its dealers are offering
discounts of thousands of dollars on the
ATS sedan, intended to compete with the
BMW 3 series, and on the CTS sedan,
meant to rival the Mercedes E-class.
At Brotherton Cadillac Buick
GMC in the Seattle suburb of Renton,
Washington, owner Brad Brotherton
is offering 2014 ATS sedans at up to
$12,000 off a sticker price that starts at
about $33,215.
In St. Peters, Missouri, near St.
Louis, Bommarito Cadillac was cutting
as much as $17,500 off the price of a
2014 CTS sedan, which starts at about
“Cadillac made a commitment
to relieve dealer inventories by
incentivising” the leftover 2014 sedans,
Brad Brotherton said.
“Dealers had been asking for that for
a long time.”
The fire sale marks a setback
To kindle demand, Cadillac
has offered subsidised
leases, discounted
financing and rebates
for Cadillac’s strategy to challenge
BMW and Daimler AG’s MercedesBenz brand head-on in the luxury sedan
But while an American Cadillac
owner will happily consider a BMW
or a Mercedes, drivers of those famous
German cars just won’t put a Cadillac on
their shopping list.
“The problem is, Cadillac is not
BMW,” said Larry Dominique, president
of ALG in Santa Monica, California,
which sets and tracks auto leasing
values.”The ATS is the product that
Cadillac could have used to build
brand equity, but it was overpriced and
Cadillac has wrestled for more than a
year to shrink inventories of unsold ATS
and CTS models.
In mid-December it shuttered the
Lansing, Michigan, plant that builds the
ATS and CTS for six weeks.
The factory reopened January 26
on a single shift with a greatly reduced
production schedule.
Even with the production cuts,
Cadillac and its dealers had about four
months’ worth of unsold CTS sedans
and six months’ worth of unsold ATS
sedans on hand at the end of January, a
Reuters analysis showed.
In January, GM sales rose 18 per cent,
largely on the strength of full-size trucks
Rows of unsold Cadillac CTS vehicles sit in the snow in the back lot of Cadillac automobile dealership in Michigan. — Reuters
and utility vehicles.
Cadillac sales increased just 2 per
cent, with ATS sales dropping 8 per cent
from a year ago and CTS sales down 24
per cent. “We understand we have a lot
of work ahead of us with Cadillac,” Barra
said last week.
Dominique said Cadillac’s residual
values — the projected end-of-lease
values, expressed as a per centage of the
new car’s retail price — are among the
lowest in the luxury segment, ranking
near the bottom with Ford Motor Co’s
Lincoln and Jaguar.
So far, Cadillac has resisted price cuts
on either model, although it recently
tweaked option prices.
unchanged could undercut the
resale values used to set lease prices,
Dominique said.
The failure of the ATS and CTS to hit
their targets is costing GM.
To kindle demand, Cadillac has
offered subsidised leases, discounted
financing and rebates.
Consumers are being given $1,000
on the 2015 ATS and 2015 CTS, $4,000
on the 2014 ATS and $6,000 on the 2014
But some dealers are getting
additional subsidies from Cadillac — up
Yoshida’s Sony revamp wins over investors
bought So-net,
the broadband
provider’s chief
Kazuo Hirai for having his “priorities in
the wrong order”.
He told Hirai his focus should be on
restructuring the struggling electronics
conglomerate rather than spending time
and effort buying a firm it had previously
spun off, said a person familiar with the
That was two years ago and Hirai was
sufficiently impressed to hire Kenichiro
Yoshida as Sony’s chief strategy officer.
Within months, he was promoted to
chief financial officer.
Yoshida, a reserved foil to the more
flamboyant “Kaz” Hirai, has since
sought to turn around Sony with a
no-nonsense programme of cuts and
targeted expansion that has won over
investors, even as the Tokyo-based
conglomerate prepares to post a sixth
loss in seven years.
Yoshida is pushing each Sony
division to take more responsibility for
its performance, a direction that insiders
say Sony is likely to confirm in a new
multi-year business plan to be unveiled
on Wednesday.
Colleagues say Yoshida’s low-key
demeanour conceals a straight-talker
who is unafraid to ask tough questions.
Under Yoshida’s knife, Sony sold its
ailing Vaio personal computer division,
a seismic shift for the group as this was
an established, 17-year-old brand.
He spun off the TV business and axed
thousands of jobs across the company
while raising spending on imaging
sensors, a profitable segment and likely
future profit driver.
Yoshida’s overhaul is not only
being felt in Japan; it has rattled Sony’s
traditionally autonomous Hollywood
big shots.
Late last year, he pressed Sony
Pictures CEO Michael Lynton to give
“serious consideration to modifying
compensation plans,” e-mails leaked by
hackers in November revealed.
Lynton confided to studio co-chair
Amy Pascal that he felt he was under
“enormous pressure.” Pascal has since
to $5,000 more on the 2014 ATS and up
to $7,000 more on the 2014 CTS — to
help clear out unsold cars.
Cadillac has cleared 90 per cent of the
leftover 2014 sedans, a spokesman said
last Monday.
Meanwhile, the Escalade is hauling in
the cash, as year-on-year sales in January
rose 149 per cent, according to Cadillac
spokesman David Caldwell.
GM’s truck factory outside Dallas,
which builds the Escalade and longwheelbase Escalade ESV and their
Chevrolet and GMC siblings, has been
running steadily on three shifts and
working weekend overtime for months
Netflix streams into Cuba
with new TV options
Sony Corp’s Chief Financial Officer Kenichiro Yoshida speaks during a news conference in Tokyo recently. — Reuters
Yoshida is pushing each
Sony division to take
more responsibility for its
performance, a direction
that insiders say Sony is
likely to confirm in a new
multi-year business plan
to be unveiled later.
left the company in the wake of other
embarrassing emails disclosed in the
The Yoshida shake-up seems to be
paying off. Sony this month reported
results, forecast a smaller net loss for the
year to March than previously expected
and reversed a forecast operating loss to
a profit.
Some analysts believe Yoshida is
striving to get Sony’s mobile business
back in the black with an eye on a
possible sale.
Sony declined to comment for this
Sony shares have risen more than 70
per cent since Yoshida was named CFO
last April — including a 28 per cent runup in the past month that was missed by
activist investor Daniel Loeb, who said
in October he sold his Sony stake after
failing to persuade management to sell
part of its entertainment business.
Under Yoshida, Sony’s 5-year credit
default swaps , the cost of insuring its
debt against default, have halved.
Jefferies analyst Atul Goyal, who has
a “buy” recommendation on Sony, last
week raised his target price by 15 per
cent to 4,050 yen.
The stock closed on Friday at 3,220.5
With Yoshida as CFO, “Sony has
responded more quickly to the changing
environment and competition,” said
Fitch Ratings director Kelvin Ho.”It’s
been able to make more bold decisions.”
Yoshida has injected a sense of
urgency, Ho added, but to return Sony
to investment grade — Fitch still rates
its debt a speculative BB — the company
needs a broader base for profits.
Ho and others say the real test for
Yoshida will be in securing long-term
sales growth rather than merely making
Sony profitable again.
Aside from an announced increase
in production capacity of image sensors,
used in smartphones and security
cameras, analysts say Sony’s best growth
opportunity ahead may be in making
better use of its PlayStation network to
attract consumers beyond videogame
players, with better movie and music
Sony has fumbled to emulate the
success of Apple Inc’s iTunes platform,
and recently said it was ending its own
Music Unlimited service, offering music
through Spotify instead.
For Yoshida, the challenge may be
in continuing that search while keeping
costs under check.
Jefferies’ Goyal warned: “given
the sharp recovery in the stock price,
the CFO may need to watch out for
senior executives relapsing into grand
expansionary visions.” — Reuters
to try to keep up with unrelenting
“If we could run that plant eight or
nine days a week, we probably would,”
said a GM insider familiar with the
production schedule.
Cadillac marketing boss Uwe
Ellinghaus, a former BMW executive,
calls the Escalade “almost a brand in
itself,” but adds that the big SUV “does
not set the direction” for Cadillac’s longrange strategy.
As it is, Cadillac is likely to get only “a
few more” Escalades this year, according
to Caldwell, who said, “A little bit of
scarcity isn’t a bad thing.” — Reuters
of “House of
Cards” and global
adventures of “Marco
Polo” are now available
communistruled Cuba, with the
by streaming US
television giant Netflix.
Netflix said “a curated selection of popular movies and TV shows”
would be available to the estimated one quarter of Cubans who have access
to the Internet.
The move coincides with a thaw in US-Cuban relations following a
decades-old embargo by Washington that limited trade between the two
Although some US programs are shown on state-owned television,
Netflix is likely to vastly expand the offerings available on the island where
media and Internet are tightly controlled by the government.
Full details of the programming were not announced, but Netflix said
it would offer Cubans its original series such as “House of Cards,” about
political intrigue in Washington and “Orange is the New Black” about life
in a US prison, along with its new global series “Marco Polo.”
In a statement, Netflix said the service is available “starting today,” for
“people in Cuba with Internet connections and access to international
payment methods.”
The Netflix website was already online in Cuba on Monday although
it required an international credit card to open an account. Pricing was
between $7.99 and $12 a month, depending on options.
“We are delighted to finally be able to offer Netflix to the people of
Cuba, connecting them with stories they will love from all over the world,”
said Netflix co-founder and chief executive Reed Hastings.
“Cuba has great filmmakers and a robust arts culture and one day
we hope to be able to bring their work to our global audience of over 57
million members.”
The Netflix audience could be limited in Cuba however because of the
relatively small number of people with high-speed Internet and a lack of
access to hard currency.
Only about one-fourth of Cubans have Internet access, and most online
access is filtered by the government, according to a December report by
the human rights group Freedom House.
Only 3.4 per cent of Cuban homes have Internet access, according to
the International Telecommunications Union. Most of those with private
online access are journalists, doctors, researchers or others approved by
the government.
Many Cubans do get access to foreign television by black market
trades of USB sticks loaded with Hollywood blockbusters, pop music or
European football.
US President Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro surprised
the world in December when they simultaneously announced plans to
normalise relations following months of secret negotiations.
The raising of the US and Cuban flags in each other’s capitals would
send powerful signals of the new era the two nations want to enter, though
no timeline has been given for the reopening of embassies. — AFP
FEBRUARY 16 l 2015
Online Editor’s Choice
Supporters very useful to actors (5)
Cries: ‘Shoot at random!’ (5)
Figures to go into town for a book
Certificates of some description (5)
Taking a rest from being truthful
Floral component in the form of a
lacy cross (5)
Decoration of stone, possibly (7)
It doesn’t take long to get dry (3)
Desire it for a companion (4)
In World War II, a victor in a very
thorough way! (6)
A boaster’s bloomer (5)
Join up with either 8 or 22 Down
Members of an eleven (4)
Paternal army man (3)
Plants trees for a chap (7)
One can hardly make light of his
villainy (5)
To fix something, I have to be in
the right (5)
Noted duet arrangement, as from
Chopin (5)
Imaginably apt to go up? How
funny! (7)
Conservative leader (5)
15 Deadly sins are so numerous! (5)
Wine swilled by an unnamed
16 Categorise as a study group (5)
comedian (5)
Though keen or cutting, it may be 18 One of the pair we left
incompletely finished (5)
fine by the week-end (5)
19 Religious type, but he’d be acid if
his self-starter went (7)
21 A name I have for being natural (6)
Something hard for a space
22 Attend to out-of-order inlets (6)
traveller to shoot up (6)
23 Golfed sportively with Bob (6)
On which to stand statuesquely,
25 Use of a veil? (5)
stonily staring (6)
26 A champion may mean nothing to
Little man of the month? (3)
her (4)
Where there’s a point to gain,
28 Animal chewing some leeks (3)
possibly (5)
Salvation Army crusade? (4,3)
Stone mostly derived from
chalcedony (4)
Being bright, can upset little Leslie
6 Hit (5)
Roll down to the sea (5)
9 Previously (7)
Punished a good number (5)
10 Exhausted (5)
Reprove for having sold out the
by Brian Basset
by Bill Watterson
by Jim Davis
ACROSS: 1, BR-est. 6, Eagle 9, Mustang 10, Sta-I-n 11, D-ebts 12, Cloud
13, MI-chae-L 15, Rep. 17, Only 18,
Fed-O-ra 19, FA-Red 20, Trader 22,
S-it-E 24, Hen 25, M-utters 26, Altar 27, Hippo(-crates) 28, Frome 29,
Sweater 30, Med-ES 31, Dying.
DOWN: 2, Re-TA-in 3, Smithy 4,
Tun 5, S-tall 6, Endu-red 7, Age-D 8,
Letter 12, C-Ed-ar 13, Mo-U-th 14,
Clean 15, Rosie 16, Paces 18, Femur
19, Fellows 21, Retire 22, Sta-RR-y 23,
T-rum-an 25, MA-rat 26, Apse 28,
Dead language (5)
Danger (5)
Saunters (7)
Domestic fowl (3)
Rip (4)
Suitcase (6)
Black bird (5)
Expressed a view (6)
Dry (4)
Notebook (3)
Ship (7)
Tracks (5)
Biscuit (5)
Scope (5)
Take for granted (7)
Flower (5)
Snoops (5)
ACROSS: 1, Dream 6, Satan 9,
Bestows 10, Sprat 11, Ether 12, Dubai
13, Rivulet 15, Sup 17, Ores 18, Better
19, Rower 20, Donkey 22, Arid 24,
SAS 25, Athlete 26, Bombs 27, Tiber
28, Boils 29, Amorous 30, Chars 31,
DOWN: 2, Repair 3, Abacus 4, Met
5, Stout 6, Sweater 7, Asti 8, Avenue
12, Decoy 13, Road 14, Veins 15, Store
16, Pride 18, Beats 19, Reforms 21,
Oafish 22, Almost 23, Italic 25, Abort
26, Bear 28, Bus.
2 Fame (6)
3 Adviser (6)
4 Affectionate tap (3)
by Jan Eliot
Hospital. . . . . Board . . . . . . . Emergency
Royal . . . . . . . 24599000 . . . 24590491
Health Services Department
Muttrah . . . . . . . 24797602
Quriyat . . . . . . . 24845001 . . . . 24845003
SQH, Salalah. . . 23211555 . . . . 23211151
Police. . . . . . . . . 24603988 . . . . 24603980
Al Nahda . . . . . . 24831255 . . . . 24837800
Ibn Sina. . . . . . . 24876322 . . . . 24877361
Nizwa. . . . . . . . . 25439361 . . . . 25425033
Al Rustaq. . . . . . 26875055 . . . . 26877186
Sumayil. . . . . . . 25350055 . . . . 25350022
Izki . . . . . . . . . . . 25340033 . . . . 25340033
On the occasion
of your birthday
you will come
face to face
with a number
of relatives and
friends whom
you do not meet
s a rule during
the busy year.
On the business
front, certain
facts will come
to light which
may have a
certain influence
on your actions
in the coming
Insects (5)
Aquatic bird (7)
Russian river (4)
Peals (6)
Implore (5)
Bend (5)
Quick (5)
Bees’ homes (5)
At no time (5)
Swerves (5)
Wed again (7)
Country (6)
Cook gently (6)
Edit (6)
Conflict (5)
Agents, informally (4)
Unit of current (3)
Haima . . . . . . . . 23436013 . . . . 23436055
Sohar . . . . . . . . . 26840022 . . . . 26840099
Al Buraimi. . . . . 25650855 . . . . 25652319
Sur . . . . . . . . . . . 25440244 . . . . 25461373
Tanam . . . . . . . . 25499011 . . . . 25499033
Masirah . . . . . . . 25404018 . . . . 25404018
Ibra. . . . . . . . . . . 25470533 . . . . 25470535
Adam. . . . . . . . . 25434167 . . . . 25434055
Bidiya . . . . . . . . 25483535 . . . . 25483535
Ibri . . . . . . . . . . . 25491011 . . . . 25491990
Saham . . . . . . . . 26854427 . . . . 26855148
Khasab . . . . . . . 26830187 . . . . 26830187
Dibba. . . . . . . . . 26836443 . . . . 26836443
Burkha. . . . . . . . 26828397 . . . . 26828397
Sinaw. . . . . . . . . 25474338
January 21February 19
February 20March 20
March 21April 20
April 21May 20
May 21June 21
June 22July 21
The visit of an older relative
may cause a certain upheaval
in your household and routine,
but the stay will not be of very
long duration.
Even though you may have
worked hard without success to
achieve a certain result, if you
keep on trying things may turn
out for the better.
Try to suppress your feeling of jealousy of a colleague who has been
promoted over your head. There
must be a good reason for it, and
your turn will come in due course.
By having too many irons in the
fire at once, you cannot give them
all the attention they need. Tackle
one thing at a time today, and results will be more satisfactory.
Indecision and hesitation may
spoil a very good chance for you.
If you can see any possibility of
success in the proposal make up
your mind right now.
Evening classes in a favourite
subject could form the basis of
an absorbing interest in later life.
Knowledge acquired now could
be very useful in years to come.
July 22August 21
August 22September 22
September 23October 22
October 23November 21
November 22December 21
December 22January 20
There could be trouble with communications today. Take your time when using
the telephone to obtain the best results in
connections and conversations. Determine
what you need to emphasise beforehand.
You may have to change your
weekend plans owing to the arrival of an unexpected visitor, but
the pleasure of their company
will be ample compensation.
Exceptional circumstances may
make it expedient for once to
break your rule not to combine
business with pleasure and the
occasion will be a great success.
A person of the opposite sec
may exert a strong attraction on
you, but you ought to consider
the wisdom of getting too seriously involved.
Your social life is showing a
decided improvement. Make
the most of the good times
now, and take a rest when
things become quieter later on.
Having been entrusted with an
assignment quite new to you,
make sure you follow all the
instructions to the minutest
FEBRUARY 16 l 2 0 1 5
Situation Vacant
WANTED ‡š’‡”‹‡…‡†
accountant with
experience in
Aluminium, Glass sales.
Call to 99705023.
E-mail: [email protected]
IT Helpdesk Engineer
(Omani Only) z‡”–‹ϐ‹‡†
MCITP, A+. zHaving
Information Technoloy
(IT) zMinimum of
3-5 years’ experience.
principles zǦ†‡’–Š
Microsoft architectures.
Drive Mappings,
Internet Explorer,
etc.). z”ƒŽƒ†™”‹––‡
skills. Contact: Global
Computer Services, PO
Box 875, PC 130, Azaiba,
Sultanate of Oman
Phone: +968 95297150,
+968 24503026.
[email protected]
PRIVATE bilingual
school at Muscat
Teachers (Chemistry,
Physics, Maths,
English). Email:
[email protected]
†‹ƒDriver for
Sewage Tanker.
Contact: 95339249.
SYRIAN Mashavi Cook
and Moroccan Lady
Cook for Qurum Beach
Hotel.24704994 or
Situation Wanted
Engineer-Civil (BE,
ACQE) in Oman on
visit visa, overall 10
years of experience
in high rise tower,
construction project
00968 93958533,
INDIAN male 39
years, with 5 years
4 years experience as
On visit visa. Contact:
mechanical engineer,
5 years experience
in steel fabrication
(piping & structure)
projects, looking suitable
placement. Contact:
96115463. jijo
[email protected]
INDIAN male BTech
instrumentation, seeks
suitable placement.
Contact: 92103704.
E-mail: roshin.
[email protected]
Situation Wanted
INDIAN male, 25 years,
two years experience
in Oman as showroom
with NOC from previous
company. Visa expires
on — April 10. Contact:
SRI Lankan male, 23
years, CIMA (Part qualiϐ‹‡†Ȍ͵›‡ƒ”•‡š’‡”‹‡…‡
in an American company
ƒ•ƒ—†‹–‘”Ȁƒƒ‰‡ment trainee seeks a
suitable job in Oman.
Contact: 94633968
INDIAN male, 24 years,
BTech Electrical Engineer,
presently working
job in Oman. Contact:
99446193. E-mail:
[email protected]
PAKISTANI male, 26,
MBA with 1 year
experience in accounts/
experience in FFC,
Peachtree, quickbooks,
computer skills, on visit
suitable position.
91795092, e-mail:
[email protected]
mechanical engineer
with 3-month
NDT. In Oman on visit
visa, seeks suitable
placement. Contact
95803035, E-mail:
[email protected]
INDIAN male with 6
years experience in
sales/ marketing &
purchase/ accounts with
looking for a suitable job.
Contact: 98851980.
INDIAN female, age 24,
with MBA-HR/BCom
looking for job/visa
computer software
namely Final Cut Pro,
Photoshop & Combustion
seeks suitable job.
PRO will visit your
typing all forms
of Manpower,
Immigration, e.g.,
visas, renewal of
visas, all services
e.g., reservation of
commercial names,
Royal Oman Police;
Cancellation of
Visas at the Muscat
International Airport
for repatriation of
employees; Directorate
Oman Chamber of
Translation of legal
reports, commercial
agency agreements,
literature, catalogues
(Languages: Arabic,
English, French,
Spanish & Italian)
Transport Co. (GTC).
Telephones: 24793331
GSM: 99231500
/96777170/ 95959838
(33 years of experience
in management)
yPROPERTIES for sale
processing, clearance.
Contact Ali: 99830331,
Nasser: 99325183.
MIDAWA ”ƒ†‹‰
& Cont. Est: For
Plumbing, Painting
1. AC
2. ”‹†‰‡ǡ
washing machine
3. ƒ‹–‹‰ƒ†
cleaning services.
4. Electrical,
carpentry work
Truck Driver, Pakistani/
for Ras
Al Hamra Recreation
Center (PDO Club)
Supervisor — Omani
Fitness Training,
Training. Experience:
3 years supervising
24832193 or e-mail
to: [email protected]
Lab Specialist/
Biochemist. For
managing lab referral
service. Must have
Apply to: [email protected]
LOOKING to recruit
Designer (preferably
[email protected]
LOOKING for an
investor for a full‡“—‹’’‡†‡š‹•–‹‰
soon as possible in
Wilayat of Haima,
Governorate of Al
Wusta. 92212557,
photocopier (all
copier & printers
& rental of
S-2004, white colour,
158,000 km, RO 4,500/96417989.
2001, black colour,
122,000 km, RO 2,900/96417989.
MERCEDES S 55, 2001,
km, RO 1,900/96417989.
LINCOLN Navigator
4WD, 1998, grey,
335,000 km, RO 1,600/96417989.
TOYOTA Innova,
equipment in ‘is where is’
Muscat Misfah Camp of the
for inspection to the public
between 08:00 am to 12:00 pm
Tel.: (+968) 91372796
Every Day 8 am
91162534. E-mail:
[email protected] Web:
Car for Sale
Good News
Treatment, Yoga
Massage &
slimming. Web
If you would like
to know more
Islam, please call:
Tel : 99425598,
96050000, 99353988,
99253818, 99341395,
99379133, For ladies:
99415818, 99321360,
Or visit: www.
Expatriate Heavy duty
drivers and Forklift
operators with PDO
CONTACT: 99465358/99348352
For Sale/Rent
ARE you looking for
a voyage with your
family on a legacy„‘ƒ–ǡ‹…Ž—†‹‰
buffet? Only with RO
15/-. For more
[email protected]
com 92808636.
VILLAS for sale/
rents WADI
rent/ Al Khuwair)
(Flats for rent/
AL Hikmani for
— With a host of
the following:
Hiring luxurious
arranging weekly
trips, preparing
visas for expats
at cost-effective
housing, meals
shrine locations.
Land and air
trips weekly.
MIRZA Amir has lost
Pakistani Passport No
MOHAMMED Amran has
Passport No Z 0452597.
to ROP.
LAL Bibi Ghulam
Hussain has lost
Pakistani Passport No
transporter for a
lives in Al Mawaleh
Qurum School
AL Jawharah Al
Masyiah National
Register of the
No 1173209 takes
to your attention
that it’s
transforming its
legal form from
company to
company as per the
article (13) bis of
the Commercial
Companies Law No
Those who are
objecting the
shall file reasons of
objection at the
Secretariat of the
Register of the
Ministry of
months of
publishing this
Ȉ ƒŒŒƒ†”ƒ
Ȉ •‡†ˆ—”‹–—”‡ˆ‘”•ƒŽ‡
Ȉ ƒ—…Š…‡”‡‘‹‡•‘ˆȋ”‡•–ƒ—”ƒ–•Ǧ
Ȉ ‘„ƒ†•
Ȉ ‡ƒ…Š‹‰†”‹˜‹‰
Ȉ ‘—•‡•…Ž‡ƒ‹‰Ǧ•‡”˜‹…‡•ƒ†’‡•–
For information, please call:
92721879 - 99639264
Tel: 24649597, Fax: 24649590
BankMuscat account: 0397003776610011
Bank Dhofar account: 01040141195001
E-mail: [email protected]
[email protected]
z Low Rates
z Wide Range of Cars
z Excellent Service
Muscat 24489248,
Salalah: 23296246.
E-mail: [email protected]
SPECIAL Rates on
New Cars & 4 WDs
Tours and Airport Transfer
Tel: 24582663
GSM: 95859497,
Fax: 24582664,
[email protected]
Gel (Cockroaches),
Public Health
Snake repellent, Rodent
other insect
repellent from
Ltd UK.
in Pest Control Service,
Bedbug Treatment, Rodent
Treatment, Snake Treatment
and Termite Treatment
(Pre and Post Construction).
Tel: 24787606 / 24787503
Fax: 24787607
land in Rusayil,
5,000 and
building with 8
shops. Contact
3 BEDROOM house at
Betras Zanzibar RO
90,000. Contact Owner:
A 400 sq m residential
commercial building
situated at the first
line of the public road
in Rawdat Samad Al
Shaan. The building is
within 300 m far from
the Imam Noor Al Din
Al Salmi. It houses a
100 sq m 3 outlets.
The remaining 300 sq
m plot is workers
residence, a store and
a toilet. The premise is
at RO 55,000 plus 3
per cent commission.
workshop with
equipment for sale.
The facility has 3
workers and situated
in Al Maabela
Street 7.
3 BEDROOMS flat for
sale in Maabela South.
For back or neck pain / discomfort
due to injury, illness, stress or
computer overuse,
Let us help you restore your body
and Get you back on track.
For more information
contact our coordinators at
P. O. Box: 565, Wadi Kabir,
Postal Code: 117,
For Sale
A PRIVATE visit to the
Sultanate of Oman/
Muscat, of the most
famous developers
Apartments and villas
for sale in Dubai. For
inquiries call:
00971 506123451.
TWO twin villas in Al
Khuwair 33. Total built
area 526m2.
RO 178,000 (for both).
Negotiable, from the
owner. 99414767.
Mumtaz, 1 bedroom,
sitting room, 2 toilets,
kitchen, terrace.
bedroom, sitting room
2 toilets, kitchen.
apartment with
accessories in Al
Amerat Al Mahaj is
offered for rent at RO
180 per month.
Sale and Buy
OFFICE & Household
furniture and
electronics items.
Available on UNBEATABLE prices
E-mail: [email protected]
For Sale
al-haditha LLC
+968 22094265
Guest House
shops for rent
SHOP for rent, 200
sq m in Maabela
Industrial. Call:
A 735 Sq M2 store
in Bausher, Al
Misfah Industrial
is offered for rent.
The premise is
built in accordance
to high standards.
A 3-5 year lease
contract is required
VILLA in Bausher
(Al Awabi) consists
of majlis, 5
bedrooms, 5 toilets,
2 living rooms and
external kitchen
FURNISHED offices for
rent in prime location
in Ruwi (Mumtaz) with
free electricity, water
and internet. For lease
long & short term
on UNBEATABLE prices
AII HP, Epson, Canon,
Lexmark, Samsung
Cartridges also available
Ruwi: 24792-792
[email protected]
For Rent
For Rent
in Misfah for rent.
for rent throughout
Capital Area Muscat.
Contact: 24692151.
NEW Villa for rent. In
Al Mawalleh 11, close
to Omantel Building,
5km from SQU and Al
Russail. Contact:
3 BEDROOM flat, family
only with 2 bathrooms
+ kitchen, provided
with Airconditions at Al
Khodh. Rent RO 280/month. 99385957
accommodation on
lease available in Ghala
for long term from
March 2015. Facilities
— Total number of
rooms 30, total no of
bathrooms 16, 8 rooms
are bath attached, 8
common toilets and
bathrooms. This
accommodation can
accommodate 100
workers. Rent RO
4000/- per month. For
more information
please call
All Cartridges also available
(ROP approved Grade A Workshop)
RUWI : 24785668
For Rent
1510 Printer
RO 11.000 only
Quality Repairs & Maintenance of all
types of Cars and Heavy vehicles
VILLAS for rent in Al
Khoudh! Three new
villas available in Al
Khoudh behind KFC
along the SQU road.
Each villa has three
floors with 7 spacious
self-contained rooms, 2
big majlis (sitting
rooms), 1 spacious living
room, a kitchen with
cupboards and a store.
The first and second
floors have wide
balconies. All rooms
including the kitchen are
fully air-conditioned.
Each villa has its own
roofed parking space for
two cars and a sizeable
playground. Each villa
has a separate perimeter
wall. The rent for each
villa is RO 650\- only.
Contact: 99898384.
ATTACHED Flat for rent
in Al Ansab, 3 bedrooms,
sittingroom, kitchen and
2 bathrooms. RO 260\only. 99462266.
THREE bedroom and hall
with kitchen available
near Indian School in
Darsait. Contact
Mr Khamis. 92211050
3 BEDROOM, 3 toilets
flat at Mabellah, ph4 blk
7 ground floor, private
entrance, RO 250
4 BEDROOM + living
room + 2 bathroom and
kitchen next to Al
Khaleje Glass, Al
Hamriya 99472223
1 BHK + sitting + bath +
kitchen at Al Mawaleh
near Al Sahwa garden.
Contact 24560040,
1 B/R available in Rex
Road, Ruwi, suitable for
bachelors. 99889590
TWO bedroom, living
room, 3 toilets and
kitchen with airconditioned flats for
rent at RO 320/- in Al
Ansab, behind Bank
Muscat. For inquiry call
SEMI-furnished 2
bedrooms with 3
bathrooms, flat at South
Ghubra. Contact
93200424. 24502254
FLAT located in Al
Muhaj Sq/Al Amerat on
the main road.
Telephone: 24595951/1414, Fax: 24597979.
MANPOWER: Filipino
housemaids and all
kinds of workers.
24489268 Tel:/Fax:
24478153, 92462496.
KHALIFA AlSinani Manpower
— labourers &
housemaid from
Indonesia, Kenya,
Uganda and other
countries. Al Suwaiq.
To communicate
[email protected]!PVUMPPLDPN
A NEW villa with 14
bedrooms, toilets, three
living rooms and three
kitchens in Al Amerat,
Al Mahaj (4).
120/M2, Back 130/M2.
First floor commercial
flat 1BHK, 2 BHK, Al
Athaiba North, behind
Al Fair. 99565364,
BRAND new villa in Al
Hail. 92817777
LUXURY villa for rent in
Al Hail South at
excellent location,
equipped with high
quality finishing
material, split AC, 5
bedrooms + 2 sitting
rooms, two kitchen
inner and outer with
servant room, huge car
parking. RO 700/-.
Contact: 99220958,
FLATS for rent Al Wadi
Al Kabir. Call:
Ali al Maashari: 99639264 [email protected]
e-mail: [email protected]
Mohammed al Rashdi: 99841230 [email protected]
DIRECT: 24649595 — FAX : 24649590
THE NEXT SACHIN: Kohli surpassed Sachin
Tendulkar’s 98 at Centurion in 2003 to become the only
Indian to score a century against Pakistan in the World
Cup. The Delhi batsman struck a well-paced 107 to flay the
Pakistan bowling attack in the company of Dhawan and Raina
I’d like to wrap
up this wicket
and take it home
with me.
R Sharma c Misbah b S Khan ................. 15
S Dhawan (run out)................................ 73
V Kohli c U Akmal b S Khan.................. 107
S Raina c Sohail b S Khan ...................... 74
M Dhoni c Misbah-ul-Haq b S Khan ...... 18
R Jadeja b Riaz..........................................3
A Rahane b S Khan ...................................0
R Ashwin (not out) ....................................1
M Shami (not out) ....................................3
Extras (LB-2, NB-1, W-3)...........................6
Total (for 7 wkts, 50 overs) .................. 300
Fall of wickets: 1-34, 2-163, 3-273, 4-284,
5-296, 6-296, 7-296.
Bowling: M Irfan 10-0-58-0, S Khan 10-055-5, S Afridi 8-0-50-0, W Riaz 10-0-49-1, Y
Shah 8-0-60-0, H Sohail 4-0-26-0.
A Shehzad c Jadeja b U Yadav................ 47
Y Khan c Dhoni b Shami ...........................6
H Sohail c Raina b Ashwin ..................... 36
Misbah c Rahane b Shami ..................... 76
S Maqsood c Raina b U Yadav ...................0
U Akmal c Dhoni b Jadeja.........................0
S Afridi c Kohli b Shami ......................... 22
W Riaz c Dhoni b Shami............................4
Y Shah c U Yadav b M Sharma................ 13
S Khan c U Yadav b M Sharma ..................7
M Irfan (not out) .......................................1
Extras (LB-1, NB-1, W-10) ..................... 12
Total (all out, 47 overs) ....................... 224
Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-79, 3-102, 4-102,
5-103, 6-149, 7-154, 8-203, 9-220.
Bowling: U Yadav 10-0-50-2, M Shami 9-135-4, M Sharma 9-0-35-2, S Raina 1-0-6-0, R
Ashwin 8-3-41-1, R Jadeja 10-0-56-1
Not out, David Miller
for South Africa
against Zimbabwe
Sohail Khan for
Pakistan against
bowlers backed-up a landmark century
by Virat Kohli as the defending
champions continued their World Cup
domination of Pakistan with a 76-run
win at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday.
Kohli hit 107, the first century by an
Indian in World Cup matches against
their arch-rivals, to lift his team to
an imposing 300 for seven after they
elected to bat on an even-paced pitch in
their World Cup opener.
Mohammad Shami picked up four
wickets and Umesh Yadav and Mohit
Sharma two each as Pakistan were shot
out for 224 with three overs to spare as
they suffered their sixth consecutive
World Cup defeat by India dating back
to 1992.
Skipper Misbah-ul Haq played a lone
hand with a valiant 76 off 84 balls that
ensured Pakistan did not surpass their
heaviest World Cup defeat, a 112-run
reverse against England in Cape Town
in 2003.
Kohli showed why he is one of the
most feared batsmen in modern cricket
as he survived two dropped catches to
notch up his 22nd one-day international
reduced Pakistan to 103 for five in
the 25th over.
Ravichandran Ashwin had
Haris caught in the slips,
seamer Umesh Yadav removed
Shehzad and Sohaib Maqsood
in three balls through catches
at point and slips.
Umar Akmal failed to
score as India earned a
favourable review by the
third umpire for a thin
edge caught by captain
Mahendra Singh Dhoni
behind off Ravindra
experienced pair of
Misbah and Shahid
Afridi revived their
team’s hopes by
adding 46 for the
sixth wicket, but
the recovery
late. Seamer
century in his 151st match at this
level. Opener Shikhar Dhawan made
73 and fellow left-hander Suresh
Raina smashed 74 off 56 balls in front
of a sell-out crowd of over 47,000 in
a Pool B game that was beamed to an
estimated 2.5 billion viewers across the
Kohli surpassed Sachin Tendulkar’s
98 at Centurion in 2003 to become
the only Indian to score a century
against Pakistan in the World Cup.
The Indian vice-captain put
on 129 for the second wicket with
Dhawan and 110 for the third with
Raina to leave Pakistan chasing a
target of six runs an over under lights
and overcast conditions.
Pakistan, whose most successful
World Cup chase was 262 against New
Zealand in 1992, sent Younis Khan
to open the batting but the gamble
backfired as the veteran was dismissed
for six.
Ahmed Shehzad (47) and Haris
Sohail (36) put on 68 for the second
wicket, but the fall of four quick wickets
Shami dismissed Afridi (22), caught off
a full toss by Kohli, running back in the
covers, and four balls later had Wahab
Riaz edging to Dhoni.
Kohli was let-off on the long-on
fence by Yasir Shah on three and again
by wicket-keeper Akmal after he had
made 76. He was finally caught by
Akmal in the 46th over.
Raina holed out in the deep two
overs later before three wickets fell with
the score on 296. However, India still
managed to add 83 runs in the last 10
Earlier, Dhawan and Rohit Sharma
made a slow, but steady start against
the spot-on Pakistani seamers with an
opening stand of 34 by the eighth over.
Sharma, the only batsman with two
200s in one-day internationals,had
made 15 when he top-edged an intented
pull off hard-working seamer Sohail
Khan and was caught at mid-off.
Sohail, a 30-year-old who played
the last of his five one-dayers in 2011,
conceded just 15 runs in his first five
overs. He finished with creditable
figures of five for 55 from 10 overs.
Euphoric Indian fans hail emphatic win over Pakistan
Indian cricket fans react and pose at a barbershop in Hyderabad on Sunday, as they
watch a live broadcast of the match between India and Pakistan.
NEW DELHI: Jubilant fans spilled
out onto India’s streets and let off
firecrackers after the national team
defeated bitter rivals Pakistan in their
opening World Cup match in Adelaide
on Sunday.
nationwide, millions watched Virat
Kohli score a majestic 107 before the
side cruised to an emphatic 76-run
victory at the jam-packed Adelaide
Scores of euphoric university
students gathered in the heart of the
capital New Delhi as soon as the last
Pakistan wicket fell, dancing and
waving the saffron and green Indian
“I love you, Virat Kohli, it’s the best
gift that you could give India,” said
Shreya Sharma, 21, planting a kiss on
a blow-up poster of the Indian vicecaptain.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi,
who had called his Pakistani
counterpart Nawaz Sharif to wish him
luck before the match, took to Twitter
to congratulate the team.
“Congrats Team India. Well played.
We are all very proud of you,” he
For legions of supporters in both
India and Pakistan, a win over the
old enemy is almost as important as
winning the tournament.
“The pressure is now off India,
now they can relax for the rest of the
tournament,” S Shriram, a software
professional, said.
“For me, India has won the World
The pressure is now
off India, now they
can relax for the rest
of the tournament.
For me, India has won the
World Cup today!
Indian fan
Cup today!,” he said.
Earlier in the day a photo trending
on Twitter showed guests at a wedding
craning their necks to watch the match
live on a giant screen.
On Saturday special prayers were
held at a famous temple in Mumbai
where fans chanted hymns in front of
a replica of the World Cup Trophy —
kept beside Ganesha, the Hindu god of
luck and fortune.
However, some Indian fans were
left seething after their Air India
flight to Sydney was delayed by eight
hours — meaning they missed the
game altogether — according to local
newspaper reports.
Enraged fans held heated arguments
and engaged in “fisticuffs” with
besieged airline staff who blamed the
delay on a shortage of cabin crew, the
Times of India reported.
“AI (Air India) has killed the World
Cup for us. We had a connecting flight
to Adelaide. We won’t get to see it even
on TV now,” one passenger told the
Hindustan Times. — AFP
M O N DAY F E B R U A R Y 1 6 l 2 0 1 5
Australia, New Zealand make intentions clear
he co-hosts for the 2015
renewal of the Cricket
World Cup, Australia
and New Zealand
made statements of
intent with convincing
wins over England and Sri Lanka. Both
wins were achieved in the same manner,
by setting huge targets battering the
opposition bowling line-ups into
submission, then strangling the life
out of them with efficient, though not
flawless, bowling and fielding efforts.
After being asked to bat, Black Caps
captain Brendon McCullum ensured
his counterpart Angelo Mathews would
rue the decision by hitting three of his
first four balls for 4 in his hard hitting 65
off only 49 balls. He shared an opening
stand of 111 with Martin Guptill (49).
Sri Lanka were in with a chance at
193/4 as Williamson and Taylor fell to
consecutive balls, but Elliot (39) and
Corey Anderson steadied things. Then
Anderson smacked 75 off 46, assisted by
Luke Ronchi, with a perfectly timed 29
off 19.
The surprise was the manner in
which the Black Caps pummeled
overweight superstar bowler Lasith
Malinga. Savaged for 84 runs, and no
wickets, Malinga bowled cleverly, but
was simply not allowed to dominate.
Rangana Herath looked the best of the
Sri Lankan attack, and Jeevan Mendis
took two key wickets but was not used
again, as medium pace was preferred.
In reply, Sri Lanka started very
well as Lahira Thirimane (65 off 60)
and Tillekeratne Dilshan (24) took
toll on a nervous Milne, and wayward
On day one, big totals as especially Vettori.
Vettori made the
the batsmen, especially
Game 2 saw
difference as he
snared Dilshan
Fich and Anderson
Australia on the
and Jayawardene.
dominated each first
ropes at 70 for
The match was
innings, while the
3, with Warner,
effectively over
as Boult and
bowling plaudits go
Smith all back in
Milne both came
to Marsh and Vettori.
the pavilion, but
back very much
Both winners should
their poor prebetter in their
tournament form
progress to next stage,
came back to bite
and Southee and
while losers will have to
them as Aaron
man of the match
improve appreciably
Finch, with better
Anderson cleaned
than a run-a-ball
up the tail.
135, and Bailey (55)
New Zealand
were the favourites, but will feel that took them over 200.
Then Maxwell (66), Marsh and
someone in the top order should have
scored a century, while happy with the Haddin took late toll on a poor bowling
confidence and enthusiasm of their attack. All of the bowlers used conceded
Chigumbura sees
positives in defeat
India’s batsman Virat Kohli reacts after scoring a century during their match against
Pakistan in Adelaide on Sunday.
— Reuters
Federer ‘bleeds
blue’ for India
SYDNEY: India recruited a superstar
supporter for their World Cup clash
against Pakistan on Sunday in the
shape of tennis legend Roger Federer.
The Swiss great, a winner of 17
Grand Slam titles, was pictured on his
Facebook page admiring an Indian
team shirt which he had unwrapped
from a gift box.
“Dressing up for a Gentleman’s
game today. #BleedBlue,” wrote the
33-year-old. Federer would not be
a complete stranger to cricket as his
mother Lynette was born in South
Africa, a country which has high
hopes of a first World Cup title in the
sport. Federer and Indian batting
legend Sachin Tendulkar are known
to be close with the ‘Little Master’ a
regular visitor to Wimbledon each
year to see the Swiss play.
Virat Kohli, who made a century
for India on Sunday, also met Federer
in Sydney in January, describing the
tennis player as an “absolute legend”
in a captioned picture he posted on
his Twitter site.
Mitchell Marsh would end up with 5 for
33 off nine tidy overs. His previous best
in 14 matches was two wickets.
While Australia were the favourites,
they will want to look at their feeble start,
which could have been much worse had
Finch not been dropped. Their late order
batting was impressive though, and they
will be delighted with Marsh’s bowling.
Marilyn Monroe had more runs in her
stockings than Eion Morgan has scored
recently. Maybe he is injured? The wicked
would wonder whether Kevin Pietersen
should be called in?
To summarise day one, big totals as the
batsmen, especially Fich and Anderson
dominated each first innings, while
the bowling plaudits go to Marsh and
Vettori. Both winners should progress
out of the group stages, while both losers
will have to improve appreciably.
Miller, Duminy shine as
jittery SA beat Zimbabwe
HAMILTON, New Zealand: Zimbabwe
captain Elton Chigumbura believed
his team could take some positives
from a 62-run defeat by a formidable
South Africa in their World Cup opener,
where a costly final five overs in the field
proved crucial.
His attack conceded a whopping 96
runs in the last five overs.
“The way we played there were a lot
of positives,” said Chigumbura. “I thought
we were in the game for a long time,
maybe we lost it the last five overs of
the game, maybe batting and bowling,
especially bowling. “I think, the 47th
over, that’s where we gave away too
many runs that went away.”
“I think the way we started we
were going on well,” said Chigumbura.
“We didn’t lose too many wickets. The
partnership between Masakadza and
Chibhabha put us in the game.
“And it’s unfortunate they went out
the wrong times. We had wickets in
hand the last 15 overs, but obviously
we ended up losing two wickets in the
powerplay. Then from there on, the
pressure was on us.”
Chigumbura admitted South Africa
were the better side on the day. — AFP
at least a run a ball, and though Steve
Finn took 5 for 71 including a very late
hat-trick, England looked very ordinary.
No more so, than in the field, where their
dropped catches, including Finch early,
were costly.
In reply, only Ian Bell looked half
comfortable, as Moeen Ali, Balance, and
(again) Morgan all looked out of sorts,
and along with Root, perished cheaply
as their innings never got going. Then,
with the big hitting Jos Buttler falling
to a stunning Steve Smith catch, it was
only a question of when. James Taylor
deserved a century for his gutsy knock in
a lost cause, but it wasn’t to be, with the
controversial Anderson run out decision.
Of course Mitchell Starc, and Mitchell
Johnson were among the wickets, as they
will always do against a ‘pace shy’ batting
order, but who would believe all-rounder
Kohli continues love
affair with Adelaide
and Australia
ADELAIDE: Virat Kohli continued
his love affair with Australia and the
Adelaide Oval when he scored his 22nd
one-day century to drive India to a 76run victory over Pakistan in the World
Cup on Sunday.
The 26-year-old has now scored
seven centuries in 21 one-day and
test matches on Australian soil and
four in five matches in both formats
at the historic ground beside the River
Two of those came last December
in the first test against Australia and it
was also at the Adelaide Oval that he
secured his maiden test century in the
2011-12 tour.
“I want to wrap up this ground and
take it home,” Kohli said in a pitchside
interview after his knock of 107. “This
has been a really special ground for me.”
Since the last test series ended,
though, he had raised eyebrows by
going through four one-day matches
and two warm-ups in Australia without
getting anywhere close to a century,
only once getting into double figures.
The right-hander was obviously just
keeping his powder nice and dry for
when it really mattered and on Sunday
he returned to the triple-figure club in
imperious style. His first World Cup
century came against Bangladesh in the
opening match of the triumphant 2011
campaign on home soil but his second
was a more significant knock.
For once in Australia, Kohli had
the crowd mostly cheering rather than
barracking him as India trounced their
neighbours to get their title defence off
to the best possible start.
“It’s probably one of the biggest wins
I’ve had in my career right now,” he said
after being named Man of the Match.
“Just an amazing way for us to kick
His 22nd century in his
143rd innings put him joint
fourth on the all time list
of most one-day centuries
alongside his former
captain Sourav Ganguly
off the World Cup, just an amazing
pressure game against Pakistan. Good
to get that one under the belt.”
Forming partnerships of 129 with
opener Shikhar Dhawan and 110 with
Suresh Raina, Kohli’s measured innings
— he hit no sixes and eight fours in the
126-ball knock — was the glue that held
India’s batting together.
“My role in the team is to bat through
and the power batters around me can
come in and play with freedom because
they know one end is secure,” he added.
His 22nd century in his 143rd
innings put him joint fourth on the
all time list of most one-day centuries
alongside his former captain Sourav
Ganguly, who took 300 attempts to
accumulate as many.
Only Sachin Tendulkar (49 centuries
from 452 innings), Ricky Ponting (30
from 365) and Sanath Jayasuriya (28
from 433) now sit above him in the list.
Being described as the “new Sachin
for Indian fans” in the post-match
ceremony just drew a huge smile
from the batsman. “That’s a really big
compliment,” he said. “Expectations
will rise when you do well for your
country and I just try to live up to them
because I love winning games and I love
playing for my country.’’
“It just comes naturally to me and I
like the expectation and the pressure as
— Reuters
New Zealand
Sri Lanka
South Africa
West Indies
WORLD RECORD: Both batsmen scored centuries as they shared
an unbroken stand of 256, a fifth-wicket record in ODIs
David Miller and JP Duminy both scored
hundreds as South Africa overcame a
nervy start to beat Zimbabwe by 62 runs
in their World Cup Pool B opener in
Hamilton on Sunday.
Wobbling at 83 for four, South
Africa were lifted by brilliant hundreds
by Miller (138 not out) and Duminy
(115 not out), with the pair sharing
an unbroken stand of 256 — a new
fifth-wicket record for all one-day
internationals — as they piled up 339
for four at Seddon Park.
Zimbabwe, as they had with the ball,
started well with the bat and were 191
for two in the 33rd over as Hamilton
Masakadza (80) and Chamu Chibhabha
(64) threatened before they lost eight
wickets for 86 runs. Masakadza hit
eight fours and two sixes in his 74-ball
knock while Chibhabha knocked 10
boundaries off 82 balls but Zimbabwe’s
batting wilted after their departure.
Brendon Taylor chipped in with 40
and Solomon Mire scored 27.
South Africa’s spearhead Dale Steyn
struggled with his line as he conceded
38 runs in his first five overs before
finishing with one for 64 in nine.
It was leg-spinner Imran Tahir (three
for 36) who dismissed both Chibhabha
and Masakadza in his first spell while
Vernon Philander (two for 30) and
Morne Morkel (two for 49) shared the
spoils later on.
South Africa, after losing the
toss, slumped to 83 for four against
Zimbabwe’s unheralded attack with key
batsmen Hashim Amla (11) and skipper
AB de Villiers (25) both falling cheaply.
Miller smashed nine sixes and seven
fours off 92 balls to better his previous
highest score of 130 not out against the
West Indies at Port Elizabeth last month.
Duminy almost matched his fellow
left-hander stroke for stroke, smashing
three sixes and nine boundaries in his
100-ball knock.
Their partnership beat the previous
fifth-wicket best of 226 which England’s
Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara shared
against Ireland in Dublin two years ago.
“I really enjoyed that, it’s been a long
time since I last got three figures,” said
Duminy whose side had been put into
bat. “The pitch was definitely slower
than we all predicted initially, but with
wickets in hand, we could go after them.”
Duminy praised Miller’s innings by
saying: “David was exceptional — he
just muscled it about all over the park.”
Miller became the 15th batsmen
overall and second South African
behind Gary Kirsten (against the
United Areab Emirates at Rawalpindi in
1996) to score a hundred on his World
Cup debut. South Africa had also lost
Quniton de Kock (seven) and Faf du
South Africa’s David Miller (left) and Jean-Paul Duminy shake hands at the end of
their innings during the Pool B match against Zimbabwe in Hamilton.
Q de Kock c Ervine b Chatara ............................7
Hashim Amla b Panyangara .......................... 11
F du Plessis c Taylor b Chigumbura ............... 24
AB de Villiers c Ervine b Kamungozi .............. 25
D Miller (not out) ......................................... 138
JP Duminy (not out) .................................... 115
Extras (LB-1, NB-2, W-16) ............................. 19
Total (for 4 wkts, 50 overs) ..................339
Fall of wickets: 1-10, 2-21, 3-67, 4-83
Bowling: Panyangara 10-2-73-1, Chatara 101-71-1, Mire 6-0-61-0, Chigumbura 4-0-30-1,
Williams 8-0-44-0, Kamungozi 8-0-34-1, Raza
3-0-19-0, Masakadza 1-0-6-0
C Chibhabha c Duminy b Tahir ...................... 64
Plessis (24) by the 17th over and de
Villiers (25) also didn’t linger long. De
Villiers hit the first six of the innings,
off Tendai Chatara but, trying to play
a similar shot off leg-spinner Tafadzwa
Kamungozi, he was brilliantly caught on
the boundary by Craig Ervine.
Realising he was going over the
rope in his attempt to hold onto the
Sikandar Raza b Philander................................5
H Masakadza c Amla b Tahir .......................... 80
B Taylor c Philander b Morkel ........................ 40
S William c de Kock b Duminy ..........................8
C. Ervine c de Villiers b Steyn......................... 13
E Chigumbura run out (De Villiers) ..................8
S Mire c de Villiers b Philander...................... 27
T Panyangara c de Villiers b Tahir ......................4
T Chatara c and b Morkel ..................................6
T Kamungozi (not out) ......................................0
Extras (lb13, w9) .......................................... 22
Total (all out; 48.2 overs) ....................277
Fall of wickets: 1-32, 2-137, 3-191, 4-214,
5-218, 6-236, 7-240, 8-245, 9-272
Bowling: Philander 8-0-30-2, Duminy 8-0-45-1,
Tahir 10-0-36-3, Behardien 5-0-40-0, Steyn 9-064-1, Morkel 8.2-1-49-2
catch, Ervine threw the ball back before
leaping across the boundary to complete
the dismissal on the field.
But Zimbabwe failed to take any
more wickets as Miller and Duminy
smashed 146 runs in the last 10 overs,
taking 30 alone in the 48th over bowled
by Mire with three sixes and as many
FEBRUARY 16 l 2015
KEY MAN: The half-time introduction of Mario Balotelli tipped the tie in the visitors’ favour and Lallana scored after Sturridge’s equaliser
Liverpool end Palace jinx to reach last eight
LONDON: Liverpool claimed a
first victory at Selhurst Park in seven
attempts to reach the FA Cup quarterfinals on Saturday, coming from behind
to win 2-1 against Crystal Palace.
Liverpool’s Premier League title
challenge ran aground in a 3-3 draw at
Palace last season and they lost 3-1 there
in November, so they had reason to fear
when Fraizer Campbell netted a 15thminute opener.
But the half-time introduction of
Mario Balotelli tipped the tie in the
visitors’ favour and after Daniel Sturridge
equalised, Adam Lallana scored in the
58th-minute to give Liverpool a first win
at Palace since 1997.
“After we scored, I thought we were
very good. We had 15 efforts on goal in
the first half, but we weren’t aggressive
enough,” Liverpool manager Brendan
Rodgers told BT Sport.
“I wanted us to keep the width on the
pitch. We changed it around at half-time
and it worked well for us.”
With captain Steven Gerrard and
Raheem Sterling injured and young
winger Jordon Ibe cup-tied, Rodgers
brought Lallana and Joe Allen into his
starting XI.
Palace manager Alan Pardew scored
a famous semi-final winner against
Liverpool as a player in 1990 and he
had another goal against the seven-time
winners to celebrate when Campbell
broke the deadlock.
Martin Skrtel failed to clear Joe
Ledley’s lofted pass and although Dwight
Gayle’s brave header was blocked by
outrushing Liverpool goalkeeper Simon
Mignolet, Campbell found the net with
a tidy volley.
Liverpool piled forward and a flurry
of chances saw Palace goalkeeper
Julian Speroni thwart Lallana, Philippe
Coutinho and Jordan Henderson, while
Allen and Lazar Markovic shot narrowly
At the other end, Mignolet had to
produce a smart save to deny Gayle in a
one-on-one, but after Balotelli was sent
on in place of Markovic to join Sturridge
up front, Liverpool took control.
Sturridge equalised in the 49th
minute, slamming a back-post volley
between Speroni’s legs from Henderson’s
clever pass, before Lallana scored the
winner after Speroni could only parry
Balotelli’s fierce free-kick.
Earlier, Norway striker Josh King
scored a hat-trick as second-tier
Blackburn Rovers reached the last eight
by coming from behind to beat 10-man
Stoke City 4-1 at Ewood Park.
Stoke manager Mark Hughes saw his
side take a 10th-minute lead against his
former club 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 and 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
“We are just delighted to be in the
next round. We would love another
home tie and then we will go from there.”
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
Crystal Palace’s Dwight Gayle (left) vies for the ball with Liverpool’s Emre Can (right) during the English FA Cup fifth round match at Selhurst Park in south London.
also reach the quarterfinals. 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-
Higuain slinks off as Palermo punish Napoli
MILAN: Gonzalo Higuain was whistled
off the park by Palermo fans as the
Sicilians put the brakes on Napoli’s quest
for Champions League football next
season with a crushing 3-1 defeat on
Napoli travelled to the Stadio Barbera
wary after being held to a 3-3 draw by
Giuseppe Iachini’s men at the San Paolo
last September.
And those fears proved warranted as
Achraf Lazaar, Franco Vazquez and Luca
Rigoni hit a goal apiece to put Palermo
firmly in the driving seat by 65 minutes.
Manolo Gabbiadini, who replaced
Marek Hamsik on 54 minutes, hit a late
consolation for Napoli only minutes
after Palermo fans had given Higuain a
rousing send-off, in somewhat mocking
fashion, when he was replaced by Duvan
Zapata on 74 minutes.
It was only Palermo’s ninth win
over Napoli in 42 meetings and moved
Iachini’s men up to seventh place in
Serie A, nine points behind Napoli,
who sit in third in the final Champions
League qualifying place.
Iachini played down his team’s
chances of qualifying for Europe, but
was quick to praise his side for adapting
to a new formation to curb Napoli’s
usually potent 4-3-3.
“During the week we’d worked on a
4-3-2-1 formation, which we also used
in our game at Napoli to take some of
the fizz out of their game and close them
down on the flanks,” Iachini told Sky
“The lads executed things perfectly in
terms of the intensity and concentration.”
Napoli had won their last four games
on the trot to tighten their grip on third
‘During the week we’d
worked on a 4-3-2-1
formation which we also
used in our game at Napoli
to take some of the fizz out
of their game and close
them down on the flanks’
Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain reacts during the Serie A match against Palermo at the
Renzo Barbera Stadium in Palermo.
place, while their promising run of late
had also fired a warning shot to title
challengers Roma.
But Roma, who host Parma on
Sunday, now have a chance to take their
advantage over Napoli to seven points.
Napoli’s bid started to unravel before
the quarter hour when a howler by
goalkeeper Rafael allowed Lazaar, who
hit a drive from almost 40 yards, to
savour his maiden Serie A goal.
“We succumbed to a surprise goal,
and that changed the whole gameplan,”
Napoli coach Rafael Benitez told
Mediaset, although the Spaniard refused
Musannah hold Nahda
MUSCAT: Al Nahda played out a 1-1
draw with Al Musannah in the Omantel
Professional League match at the Al Buraimi
Complex on Saturday.
Al Musannah took the lead in the 8th
minute through De Silva while Shaikh Ali
struck the equaliser in the 50th minute for
Al Nahda.
Al Musannah are in the ninth spot with
16 points from 14 matches while Al Nahda
are at the bottom of the table with five
points from 13 games.
Result: Al Nahda: 1 (Shaikh Ali 50th) drew with
Al Musannah: 1 (De Silva 8th)
to blame his keeper.
“The lad works hard, these things can
happen in games. We win as a team, so
you can’t just lose on your own.
“But we’re conceding too many goals,
and that’s not satisfying. It’s something
we have to work to eradicate.”
Palermo spurned a chance to double
their lead when Francesco Bolzoni
dragged his angled shot wide after nice
work by Paulo Dybala and Vazquez.
Jonathan De Guzman scuffed his
shot for Napoli and soon after a classic
counter-attack launched by Robin
Quaison saw Dybala lay off for Vazquez
to stroke the ball home from close range.
Moments later Higuain saw his low
drive tipped around the post by Stefano
Sorrentino but the Argentinian would
have a frustrating night, a booking just
before half-time meaning he will miss
the visit of Sassuolo next week.
Rafael made amends for his earlier
error when he finger-tipped Vazquez’s
half-volley on to the upright, but the
keeper was left stranded on 65 minutes
when yet another move involving
Dybala saw the hosts go 3-0 up.
The Argentinian, a target for a
number of top clubs in England,
intercepted a poor Raul Albiol pass and
when his cross was headed into the path
of Rigoni, the midfielder slid in to slot
the ball into a virtually empty net.
In spite of Gabbiadini’s late goal,
Napoli were soundly defeated.
Earlier, on-loan Chelsea midfielder
Mohamed Salah hit his first Serie A goal
and set up one of a brace for Khouma
Babacar as Fiorentina continued their
push for Europe with a 3-1 win away to
Salah joined La Viola on a six-month
loan deal last month after failing to make
a lasting impression on Blues coach Jose
stamp West Brom’s progress to the Stoke to the final in 2011.
“He is scoring goals and that takes
quarterfinals for the first time since
the weight off your shoulders, and he
“Brown Ideye was fantastic,” said looks a good player,” Tony Pulis added.
West Brom manager Tony Pulis, who led
I retired eight years
ago, says Hodgson
LONDON: England manager Roy
Hodgson has revealed that he believed
his coaching career had come to an
end when he stepped down as national
coach of Finland in November 2007.
Then aged 60, Hodgson had
accepted an offer to return to Inter
Milan, where he had twice previously
been coach, to work alongside the
Italian club’s long-standing president,
Massimo Moratti.
But a month later he was appointed
manager of Fulham, whom he would
lead to the Europa League final in
2010, and after subsequent spells at
Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion,
he became England manager in May
Asked if he had an age in mind
when he will eventually step away from
the game, Hodgson replied: “I retired
at 60. At the age of 60, before I went to
Fulham, I was on my way to Inter to join
Massimo Moratti as his presidential
advisor and to go into semi-retirement.
“Here I am eight years later and I’m
still working in the biggest job in the
country, so that taught me to not make
any decisions.”
The well-travelled Hodgson, now 67,
led England to the quarter-finals at the
2012 European Championships before
presiding over a disappointing groupstage exit at last year’s World Cup in
His contract is due to expire after
Euro 2016 and he refused to be drawn
when asked if he could see himself
continuing in the role beyond then.
“I prefer to let the future take care
of itself, have my clearly focused goals,
and as time goes on, we’ll see what
develops from there,” he told journalists
in London this week.
“But I must say, it’s not something
that really occupies me at the moment.
I’m quite confident that when the day
comes, I’ll know what the right thing to
do is and then I’ll do it.
“But I don’t want to think about it
now because I’ve got important things
to think about, I’ve got an important
job to do which I really enjoy, and 2018,
2020, we’ll see.”
Hodgson has blooded several
youngsters since succeeding Fabio
Capello and with players such as
20-year-old Raheem Sterling and
uncapped Tottenham Hotspur striker
Harry Kane, 21, appearing to represent
the team’s future, he believes it could be
up to six years before they reach their
“I would say with the current crop,
if you were going to be realistic with
them, I think you could be hoping that
in 2020, 2022, they’d be at the peak of
their powers,” he said.
“But you can win things if you’re
good when you’re not at the peak of
your powers, so I wouldn’t write off
2016 and 2018 either.”
GUtech students win beach soccer title at Muscat Festival
MUSCAT: GUtech students won for the first
time the beach soccer championship for Higher
Education Institutes during the Muscat Festival
at Al Athaiba beach on Saturday. Participating
male soccer teams were from Muscat College,
Caledonian College, Technical College in
Musannah, Majan College, Gulf College, Nizwa
Technical College and GUtech. The first round
of the game started on January 16 .
“Our GUtech team played a thrilling final
and won 2-1 against Gulf College yesterday,”
said Gunhild Pfaff, sports officer at GUtech. The
GUtech team participated for the first time in
the championship.
“The weather was great and it was a great
experience for our students. During this time
of the year it is good to do sports outside” said
Gunhild. GUtech offers a wide range of sports
on campus, for females and male students and
staff members.
The GUtech sports and friends team also
won the first prize during the beach basketball
tournament, 3-on-3 for women, beginning of
this month.
Beach soccer winners GUtech with other teams. RIGHT: Mohammed al Tamimi receives the trophy.
FEBRUARY 16 l 2015
Curry outguns ‘Splash Brother’ Thompson
ROOKIE STAR: Timberwolves teenage rookie Zach LaVine won the Slam Dunk contest at NBA All-Star Night
LOS ANGELES: Sizzling Stephen Curry
settled the sibling rivalry between the
‘Splash Brothers’.
Curry outgunned Golden State
Warriors team-mate Klay Thompson
and the strongest field in event history,
scorching the nets in the Three-Point
Contest at NBA All-Star Saturday Night
in Brooklyn, New York.
Considered by many to be the best
pure shooter in the NBA, Curry sank 13
straight three-pointers during his final
round to shoot down fellow All-Stars
Thompson and 2013 champion Kyrie
Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“I think this is definitely the best
field that’s ever been in a three-point
shootout,” said Curry, who finally won
the event in his fourth try.”Just a pretty
cool moment for me.”
Before a reserved crowd at Barclays
teenage rookie Zach LaVine won the
Slam Dunk Contest, Houston Rockets
guard Patrick Beverley was a surprise
winner of the Skills Challenge and
Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh’s team
won the Shooting Stars event for the
third straight year.
There was more anticipation for the
Three-Point Contest rather than the
Slam Dunk Contest, and with good
Every player in the eight-man field
was either a former champion or in
the top 10 in three-pointers made or
Curry and Thompson are known as
the “Splash Brothers” and have shot the
Warriors to the NBA’s best record.
Curry came in with 161 threepointers, tied for the league lead with
Atlanta Hawks All-Star forward Kyle
Korver and Portland Trail Blazers guard
Wesley Matthews.
Thompson is next with 155 and
scored an NBA record 37 points in a
quarter earlier this season.
The field also included Houston
Rockets All-Star guard James Harden
(140 three-pointers), Los Angeles
Clippers guard JJ Redick (.436
percentage) and defending champion
Marco Belinelli of Italy, a guard for the
San Antonio Spurs.
Each player took 25 shots, with six
“money balls” worth two points each.
“If you look at everyone individually,
it’s pretty special to have all these guys
out there shooting,” Curry said. “And I
Raha trounce
NYDT by six
MUSCAT: Raha Cricket Team
trounced the National Youth
Development Team (NYDT) easily
by 6 wickets in a Muscat Pharmacy &
Stores LLC sponsored ‘A’ division 50
overs a side league match played on
Saturday at the MOS Turf Ground at
Al Amerat.
Opting to bat after winning the toss,
NYDT were bowled out for 131 in 40.4
overs with Kunal Pandya 31 (48b, 6x4)
and Yousuf Abdulrahim Mahmood al
Balushi 31 not out (47b, 5x4) making
noteworthy contributions.
The bowlers to dominate were
skipper Khalid Rasheed 3 for 22, David
Samrot 3 for 27 and Mohammed
Adnan 2 for 22.
With a required run rate of under
3 runs per over Raha got to their
target scoring 132 losing 4 wickets
off 24.5 overs thanks to an opening
partnership of 77 runs off 16 over
between Akmal Shahzad 49 (70b,
8x4) and Shahid Naseem 36 (48b,
Jaspreet Singh claimed all 4 wickets
conceding 34 runs off 10 overs 3 of
which were maiden overs.
Brief scores: NYDT – 131 all out in
40.4 overs (Kunal Pandya 31, Yousuf
Abdulrahim Mahmood al Balushi
31 n.o.; Khalid Rasheed 3-22, David
Samrot 3-27 and Mohammed Adnan
2-22) lost to Raha – 132 for 4 in 24.5
overs (Akmal Shahzad 49, Shahid
Naseem 36; Jaspreet Singh 4-34);
Points: Raha - 5 (5 games – 15),
NYDT - 0 (6 games – 5)
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine (right) and guard Andrew Wiggins during the 2015 NBA All Star Slam Dunk Contest. RIGHT: Golden State Warriors guard
Stephen Curry after winning the 2015 NBA All Star three point competition.
— USA Today Sports
wanted to be a part of that group.”
Irving and Curry each posted a 23
in the first round but were outdone by
Thompson’s 24.
Korver, who leads the NBA with a
.523 percentage, managed just an 18, as
did Belinelli.
Irving opened the final round with
an 18, which Curry obliterated with a 27.
Thompson was up next. “I looked
in his eyes,” Curry said. “He’s obviously
capable of 37 in a basketball quarter, so
he can probably knock down a couple of
threes and get a high number.”
But Thompson faltered with a 14,
giving the title to his team-mate.
The Slam Dunk Contest was a rout
as well, with the 19-year-old LaVine
impressing the panel of New York
basketball legends, including Julius
Erving, Walt Frazier, Chris Mullin,
Tiny Archibald and Bernard King, with
creative, hand-to-hand slams.
He had two perfect scores of 50 and
another of 49 on four dunks.
“I tried to get a 50 on every dunk,”
LaVine said. “It didn’t happen, but I
was close on all of them. So that was the
main thing. I wanted to show everybody
what I got.”
The 6-5 LaVine opened by wearing
Michael Jordan’s uniform from the
movie “Space Jam” and went through his
legs before a reverse slam.
For his second dunk, he took the
ball off a high bounce and went behind
his back from left hand to right before
jamming it home.
Both received perfect scores.
“That was one of my childhood idols,
childhood favourite movies,” LaVine
said. “I thought it would be something
In the final round against Orlando
Magic 6-4 guard Victor Oladipo,
LaVine’s dunk was a spectacular display
of athleticism.
He caught a pass from Timberwolves
team-mate Shabazz Muhammad off the
stanchion behind the backboard with
his left hand, put it through his legs to
his right hand and slammed it home for
a 49.
Brooklyn Nets 6-11 centre Mason
Plumlee and Milwaukee Bucks 6-10
forward Giannis Antetokounmpo of
Greec were eliminated in the first round.
Beverley is a defensive demon and
three-point specialist not known for his
ball skills.
In both the semifinals against Atlanta
All-Star guard Jeff Teague and the
final against Milwaukee Bucks guard
Brandon Knight, he fell behind when
he was unable to complete the chest
pass but won by sinking a three-pointer
before his opponent. “The passes didn’t
go through, but I made all the shots,”
Beverley said.
Knight defeated defending champion
Trey Burke of the Utah Jazz in the first
round. The festivities began with Team
Bosh again claiming the Shooting Stars.
Bosh, Hall of Famer Dominique
Wilkins and WNBA star Swin Cash sank
four shots in just 30.8 seconds in the first
round and 57.6 seconds in the final, with
Wilkins draining the clinching halfcourt shot.
“The last half-court shot I took was
last year’s competition,” Wilkins said.
“That’s how seriously I took it.”
Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star
guard Russell Westbrook’s team clocked
35.2 seconds in the first round but
missed 26 straight half-court shots in
the final, reaching the 90-second limit.
— dpa
Dodt banishes
losing streak
BANGKOK: Australia’s Andrew
Dodt pinched the $2 million Thailand
Classic by a shot on Sunday from
home favourite Thongchai Jaidee and
overnight leader Scott Hend, claiming
his first win since 2010.
Five birdies in a flawless finalround 67 left him 16 under for
the tournament, with 272 over the
four days’ competition at the Black
Mountain course in Hua Hin. It was
enough to edge him ahead of Thai star
Thongchai, who was well set until a
horrible double-bogey on 13 left him
playing catch up for the co-sanctioned
European and Asian Tour title.
Thongchai finished with 71 for the
day and 273 overall, level with thirdround leader Scott Hend — who was
left to rue bogeys on seven, fourteen
and seventeen to go round in 72. Dodt
has been in dismal form since winning
the Avantha Masters in India in 2010.
He lost his European Tour card in
2013 and had to endure qualifying
school last November.
“I’m speechless — it’s just come out
of nowhere,” the stunned 29-year-old
said, according to a European Tour
release. “I played really well yesterday
and today but I just didn’t think I’d
come out on top,” he added. “To be
honest, losing my card was probably
the best thing that could have happened
to me. I went home last year, spent 12
months at home, played the Asian Tour
again, found myself again, found my
game and to be in the winner’s circle
again — it’s unbelievable.”
Round of the day went to Canada’s
Richard T Lee who hit six birdies in a
perfect 66 to drag himself into a top
ten finish.
Andrew Dodt with the trophy.
Sinha boost chances for runner-up slot in B division
MUSCAT: Sinha Cricket Team
enhanced their chances for the runnersup position in the Khimji Ramdas
sponsored ‘B’ division 30 overs a side
tournament with a massive 7-wicket win
in their last league match against Muscat
Cricket Caching Centre ‘A’ (MCCC ‘A’)
during the weekend at the Municipality
Ground No.2 at Al Amerat.
Opting to field, Sinha justified their
decision bowling out MCCC ‘A’ for 156
runs in 28.1 overs. Skipper Nalinda
Kularatne took 4 for 17 supported by
Prabath Indika with 3 wickets for 32.
Sinha in reply got to their target
scoring 160 for 3 wickets in 14.1 overs
with a blistering 76 (31b, 4x6, 10x4)
from opener Rangajeewa Perera.
In another ‘I’ division T20
match, Ahli Bank recorded a
42-run win against ONEIC
to stay in contention for
the top honours
Opting to bat, Ahli Bank
posted 201 for 3 wickets
in 20 overs. Major
contributions came from
opener Syed Imran 64
(39b, 1x6, 8x4), Haris Alam
60 (35b, 8x4) and Manoj
Anchan who remained
unbeaten on 51 (28b, 5x4)
Brief scores:MCCC ‘A’ – 156 all out in 28.1 overs
(Narendra Vandaria 32, Ivan Manjila 30, Gayash Dias
30; Nalinda Kularatne 4-17, Prabath Indika 3-32,
Manjula Chrisantha 2-22); Sinha – 160 for 3 in 14.1
overs (Rangajeewa Perera 76, Nalinda Kularatne 38;
Gimash Dias 2-65); Points: Sinha - 2 (7 games – 11),
MCCC ‘A’ - 0 (7 games – 6)
In an Enhance sponsored ‘E’ Division
T20 match, OCT Al Hail ‘A’ defeated
Mott MacDonald by 4 wickets.
Batting first, Mott MacDonald were
bowled out for 153 in 19.1 overs with
Muzamil Kazi top scoring with 36
(28b, 3x4), while Tawsif Tambe scored
35 (24b, 5x4). OCT Al Hail ‘A’ in reply
got to their target in 16.2 overs losing
6 wickets. Opener Khalid Moosa al
Balushi lead the way with a brilliant 50
(25b).Ritesh Lad picked up 3 wickets for
26 runs in 4 overs.
Mohammed Sohil 37, Mohammed Shafeeq Nagori
27 n.o.; Viju Krishnan 2-18); Points: Caledonian
College - 2 (7 games – 12) and Bank Sohar - 0 (7
games – 8)
Abu Maather recorded a six-wicket win against Bank Muscat.
In a ‘F’ division T20 match at the
OAC Ground No.3 at Seeb, Newrest
Wacasco defeated Atkins by 19 runs.
Batting first, Newrest Wacasco were
bowled out for 153 in 19.2 overs with
Jaganathan chipping in with 35 (29b,
Sajeev T Mohanan claimed 3 wickets
for 14 off 3 overs.
Requiring 154 for a win, Atkins
managed to get to 134 for 7 wickets
thanks to a brilliant 58 (46b, 5x4) from
Brief scores: Mott MacDonald – 153 all out in Immesh Nanthakumar. Krishnaraja
19.1 overs (Muzamil Kazi 36, Tawsif Tambe 35, bagged 3 wickets for 19 runs.
In an ‘H’ division T20 match, Abu
Maather recorded a six-wicket win
against Bank Muscat.
Winning the toss and electing to
field, Abu Maather did well to restrict
Bank Muscat to 148 for 8 wickets in 20
overs with opener Younis Murad top
scoring with 38 (33b, 3x4).
Mohammed Arshad picked up 3
wickets conceding 20 runs in 4 overs.
Abu Maather reached their target
scoring 149 for 4 wickets in 14.4 overs
with Mohammed Rizwan contributing
an undefeated 38 (31b, 4x4).
Moosa al Balushi 50, Ahmed al Balushi 32 n.o,
Sufyan Mahmood 31; Ritesh Lad 3-26); Points: OCT
Al Hail ‘A’ -- 2 (6 games – 5), Mott MacDonald - 0 (6
games – 0).
Abdulrahim al Balushi 25; Mohammed Arshad 3-20)
lost to Abu Maather – 149 for 4 in 15.5 overs
(Mohammed Rizwan 38 n.o., Wasim Jamadar 33,
Abu Bakar 26; Pratik Dalal 2-17, Younis Murad 2-43);
Points: Abu Maather - 2 (6 games – 7), Bank Muscat
- 0 (7 games – 6)
In another ‘I’ division T20 match,
Ahli Bank recorded a 42-run win
against ONEIC to stay in contention for
top honours. Opting to bat, Ahli Bank
posted 201 for 3 wickets in 20 overs.
Major contributions came from
opener Syed Imran 64 (39b, 1x6, 8x4),
Haris Alam 60 (35b, 8x4) and Manoj
Anchan who remained unbeaten on 51
(28b, 5x4).
A 10-member ONEIC team requiring
a mammoth 202 for victory, managed to
get to 159 for 4 wickets in 20 over aided
by a unbeaten 84 (62b, 1x6 and 10x4)
from opener Rehan Siddiqui.
Caledonian College recorded an easy
5-wicket win against Bank Sohar in an
Oman Cricket organised ‘I’ division T20
match at the University grounds at Al
Invited to bat, Bank Sohar lost wickets
regularly and were restricted to 145 for
7 in 20 overs with opener Nandakumar
R scoring 48 (38b, 5x4). M Ehtisham
claimed 3 wickets for 8 in 2 overs.
Caledonian College thanks to a brilliant
50 (33b, 6x4) from opener Hamza Yunus
Sagar Ingle 28; Waleed al Balushi 2-23, Parviz al Brief scores: Newrest Wacasco – 153 all out
Balushi 2-26, Khalid Moosa al Balushi 2-33) lost to in 19.2 overs (Jaganathan 35, Shreeef Majeed Brief scores: Bank Muscat – 148 for 8 in 20 overs Nagori raced to their target scoring 151 Brief scores: Ahli Bank – 201 for 3 in 20 overs
OCT Al Hail ‘A’ – 154 for 6 in 16.2 overs (Khalid 25; Sajeev T Mohanan 3-14, Tasleem Khan 2-18) (Younis Murad 38, Benny Mathew 26 n.o., Yousuf for 5 wickets off 13.5 overs.
(Syed Imran 64, Haris Alam 60, Manoj Anchan 51
bt Atkins – 134 for 7 in 20 overs (Immesh
Nanthakumar 58; Krishnaraja 3-19, Bibin Joseph
2-22); Points: Newrest Wacasco - 2 (7 games – 10),
Atkins - 0 (7 games – 5)
Brief scores: Bank Sohar – 145 for 7 in 20 overs
(Nandakumar R 48, Abdul Suhan 21, Praveen Kumar
20; M Ehtisham 3-8) lost to Caledonian College –
151 for 5 in 13.5 overs (Hamza Yunus Nagori 50,
n.o.; Mohammed Awais 2-37) bt ONEIC – 159 for 4
in 20 overs (Rehan Siddiqui 84 n.o., Kamal Haider
33 n.o.; Manoj Anchan 2-21); Points: Ahli Bank - 2
points (7 games –12 points), ONEIC - 0 (6 games –1).
FEBRUARY 16 l 2015
among Oscar
Director Malgorzata Szumowska poses with her Silver
Bear for Best Director
Hana Saeidi,
niece of absent
Iranian Director
Jafar Panahi,
holds the
Golden Bear
Iran’s Panahi wins Golden Bear top prize A
ranian director Jafar Panahi
won the Golden Bear top prize
at the 65th Berlin film festival
for Taxi, his third movie.
Panahi, who was absent
from the festival, appears on
screen in the film as a Tehran cab driver,
swapping stories with the denizens of his
“Limitations often inspire storytellers
to make better work but sometimes
those limitations can be so suffocating
they destroy a project or damage the
soul of the artist,” the jury president,
Hollywood director Darren Aronofsky,
Panahi was represented on stage
by his young niece Hana Saeidi, who
appears in the film, and she wept openly
as she accepted the statuette.
“I’m not able to say anything, I’m too
moved,” she said.
The Silver Bear prizes for acting
went to Charlotte Rampling and Tom
Courtenay for their performances in the
British drama 45 Years.
Rampling said her father had won a
gold medal at the 1936 Olympic Games
in Berlin and that she had long dreamed
of taking “the baton from him”.
“Well, I think this Bear has done the
trick,” she said with a smile.
The slow-burn drama by Andrew
Haigh shows a couple on the eve of
their 45th wedding anniversary whose
marriage begins to founder when the
husband learns the body of his longdead first love has resurfaced.
Chilean drama The Club by Pablo
Larrain about defrocked priests given
refuge from justice by the Roman
Catholic Church claimed the runnerup jury prize. Two film-makers shared
the Silver Bear prize for best director,
Romania’s Radu Jude and Malgorzata
Szumowska of Poland.
Jude’s Aferim! is a Balkan Western
about a 19th century constable and
his son dispatched to track down a
runaway gypsy slave. The film explores
the roots of contemporary prejudice
against Roma. Jude called on Romania’s
cultural authorities to “support quality
filmmaking more” with increased
Szumowska’s ‘Body’ tells the story
of a Warsaw widower and his anorexic
daughter who seek the help of a therapist
who believes she can communicate with
the dead.
“I am director but I’m also a woman
— I think it’s a nice combination,”
said Szumowska, one of three female
filmmakers among 19 contenders in
competition at this year’s event.
Chilean documentary ‘The Pearl
Button’ by Patricio Guzman, a searing
indictment of his country’s brutal
history as told through the image of a
single trinket, won best screenplay.
‘Taxi’ is the first Iranian film to win
the Golden Bear since Asghar Farhadi’s
drama of tangled relationships, ‘A
Separation’, in 2011.
Film industry bible ‘Variety’ called
Taxi a “terrific road movie” that offered
“the art of cinematic storytelling”.
The 54-year-old Panahi’s work is
celebrated in the world’s arthouses.
In Taxi, Panahi himself offers his
impressions of contemporary Tehran
from behind the wheel of a yellow cab.
Each person he offers a lift has a story
to tell, an axe to grind or an issue to
debate about life.
Panahi proves a genial master of
ceremonies, treating his sometimes
hysterical fares with unfailing politeness
and good humour.
The film builds to a chilling climax
in which the extent and limits of the
director’s liberties are revealed.
Prizes at the 11-day Berlin film
festival, the first major cinema showcase
in Europe of the year, can help propel a
picture to global box office success and
further honours.
Among award winners last year
were ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ and
‘Boyhood’, both nominated for Oscars
later this month, and the gritty Chinese
thriller that won the Golden Bear, ‘Black
Coal, Thin Ice’.
Michelle Keegan ‘Boyhood’s’ Linklater reflects on evolving family unit
set for hen party
ctors Jason Bateman,
Idris Elba, Ansel Elgort,
Nicole Kidman, (pictured)
Liam Neeson, Gwyneth Paltrow
and Channing Tatum have joined
the growing list of presenters at
the forthcoming 87th Academy
Awards. According to the awards’
official site, the show
producers Craig Zadan and Neil
Meron announced the news on
The producers have also lined
up stars like Chiwetel Ejiofor, Chris
Evans, Dakota Johnson, Jennifer
Lopez, Chloë Grace Moretz, Eddie
Murphy and Margot Robbie to
present this year’s Oscars.
Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris,
the 87th Academy Awards will
take place at the Dolby Theatre on
February 22.
Lopez sued
over dog bite
Richard linklater
ctress Michelle Keegan is throwing her hen
party in Dubai. The former Coronation Street
star is set to tie the knot with fiancé Mark
Wright, 28, later this year and it’s been reported Michelle
will return to the city where he proposed to her, to party
as an unmarried woman for the last time.
The 27-year-old actress, who played Tina McIntyre
on ‘Corrie’ until her character was killed off last year, will
travel to Dubai with Mark’s sister Jess, mother Carol and
her former co-star Brooke Vincent, who plays Sophie
Webster in the ITV soap, reports
Meanwhile, her former ‘The Only Way Is Essex’ star
beau is believed to be planning a stag party for himself
and his close friends, including his brother Josh and his
best friend and former co-star James ‘Arg’ Argent, in the
US party capital of Las Vegas.
“They will say goodbye to the single life in style,” a
source told The Sun newspaper.
fter 12 years of filming Boyhood and
a year promoting it, director Richard
Linklater (pictured inset) is finding it
hard to fathom saying goodbye to a project that
he calls deeply personal in its reflections of the
modern American family.
“This film and the way we shot it for so long,
I don’t think it even feels like it’s over, and it
won’t maybe until we quit all being together,”
Linklater said.
Up for six Oscars on February 22 and a front
runner for the best picture top prize, Boyhood
has been lauded for doing what has never
before been done in cinema — filming the story
of a boy as he grows into a man, using the same
cast over 12 years.
Released in theatres last July, Boyhood
captures the coming-of-age of Mason (Ellar
Coltrane) from age six to 18, as he and his
sister are raised by their single mother (Patricia
Arquette) and see their father (Ethan Hawke)
on occasion.
“I think Boyhood hits a lot of people as
it’s similar to the way they grew up, so many
people have families that aren’t by-the-textbook
perfect,” said Linklater, the writer-director of
films including ‘Dazed and Confused’ in 1993
and ‘Before Sunrise’ trilogy between 1995 and
“It does say a lot about the ever-changing
family unit and the notion of family.”
‘Boyhood’ has so far made $44 million
worldwide after being made for a budget
of $4 million, according to movie tracker Both Arquette and Hawke
are nominated in the Oscars’ best supporting
acting categories while Linklater is up for best
director and screenplay.
Boyhood won three categories at Britain’s
Bafta awards including best film earlier this
month, and also received the coveted Golden
Globe for best drama in January.
“You can’t make a film like this and expect it
to be so widely embraced,” Linklater said. “We
feel very fortunate that audiences and critics
have appreciated what went into it and what it’s
The film has put its distributor, AMC
Networks-owned IFC Films, in the spotlight
for taking a chance on Linklater’s arduous
“It’s been a banner year for us,” said Jonathan
Sehring, Boyhood producer and president of
IFC Films and Sundance Selects, which has an
additional two Oscar nominations in the best
actress and foreign language film categories.
Oscars talk for Boyhood began right after the
film’s premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in
January last year, where critics raved about the
story, Sehring told said.
Working with Academy Award strategists,
Sehring decided to release the film in July rather
than fall, when a lot of award contenders hit the
big screen, in order to allow ‘Boyhood’ to grow
through positive reviews and filmmakers’ guild
The success of Boyhood has also sparked an
interest in IFC Films’ production arm, which
financed Linklater’s film but closed around
2006 as the studio put its focus into distribution.
“We’re exploring whether or not to get back
into the production business,” Sehring said.
“AMC Networks is working with great
storytellers, be it something like Breaking
Bad or Mad Men or Walking Dead, so will we
get back into it? We’re looking at it seriously.”
— Reuters
ennifer Lopez and her former
boyfriend Casper Smart have
been sued by one of the singeractress’ neighbours over a dog
The lawsuit filed by Andrea
Ashley says she was bitten by Smart’s
dog, Bear, when she was getting out
of her car in December last year,
Ashley said she was left with
broken bones and cuts after the
boxer breed dog mauled her left
arm and hand.
In the lawsuit, she included
photographs of her injured arm
and said Smart was in Lopez’s
house when the incident happened
although the two broke up months
Ashley says after the incident,
Smart walked out of Lopez’s house
wearing only pyjama bottoms and
came over to apologise. She claimed
this wasn’t the first time Smart’s dog
had attacked her.
Back in April, Bear tried to attack
her after escaping through a hole in
Lopez’s fence. She didn’t get serious
injury at that time because her
gardener saved her.
Ashley said she was including
Lopez in the lawsuit as the 45-yearold was also to blame for letting the
dog escape through her fence.
FEBRUARY 16 l 2015
App that can turn you
into a supermodel
f you have always wished to possess
looks that would make the opposite
sex go weak in their knees, here
is an app for you. The app claims to
transform you into a supermodel at the
touch of a button. YouCam Makeup lets
its users virtually transform themselves
into their favourite model by tweaking
their features to match the globe’s most
famous ramp stars.
transforming fashion and style. We
can now experiment with an unlimited
number of make-up looks in seconds —
this is smart and empowering, the very
essence of what fashion is all about,” a
spokesperson was quoted as saying.
The app, unveiled recently, analysed
the world’s top models’ make-up
preferences and picked the looks
regarded as the trendiest.
Downloaded more than eight million
times since its launch last summer,
YouCam Makeup harnesses the latest
facial detection and skin analysis
technology to apply realistic cosmetic
looks on selfies and other photos. The
app features a complete set of true-to-life
make-up effects, including eye shadow
palettes, mascaras, eyeliners, lipsticks,
blush and foundation.
Selfie obsession is not just narcissism
use affecting kids’ development
estered by his parents to go out and
play, 10-year-old Ashwin refused to
budge from his gaming console. It was
only after his harried parents promised
more gaming time that he ventured out
— that too for a bit.
Instances of conflicts between parents and their
tech-obsessed wards, poor social interaction and
worsening of basic skills are some of the consequences
of addiction to and excessive use of technology among
children, experts warn.
And it is not just a child health issue but a public
health concern as well, National Indian Public Health
Association President J Ravi Kumar said.
“Technologies like the Internet, smartphones and
electronic gadgets like gaming consoles, tablets and the
like are essential for development, but the side-effects
of overuse is a concern for public health,” Ravi Kumar
He said this has brought to the fore the importance
for parents to be aware of the extent to which they
themselves spend time on gadgets.
“Children tend to follow what their elders do. So
when they see parents working for long hours on their
laptops, they are bound to get influenced.
“This, in turn, results in conflicts: when parents try
to limit their children’s exposure to electronic devices,
they are smart enough to question why the elders are
tinkering with their laptops so much,” Ravi Kumar said.
Ashwin’s parents, both employed in the IT industry in
Kolkata, agree.
“We do need to monitor our usage, especially in
presence of Ashwin,” M Bhargav (names changed)
While for pre-teens like Ashwin, the attractions are
mainly video games and gaming apps, for teens, social
networking and internet activity (on smartphones
or computers) are the top draw, said Manoj Kumar
Sharma, associate professor at the Department of
Clinical Psychology, National Institute of Mental
Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore.
Sharma said the institute’s SHUT clinic (Service for
Healthy Use of Technology) receives three to four mails
per week from other states of India — from parents
of teenagers — enquiring about the service as well as
possibility of online help or telephone counselling.
“We get users of video gaming, mobile texting,
social networking sites and pornography in the age
group of 14-19 years, belonging to mid-to-upper
socio-economic class.
“They are predominantly male and indulge in online
activities on their smartphone or at home computers
or cyber cafes and have low to zero knowledge of cyber
laws,” Sharma said.
Counselling was sought by parents in the wake of
declining academic grades, behavioural changes in the
form of irritability or angry outbursts when restricted
in usage of technology by adults, said Sharma.
“Another consequence is decreasing contact with
family, inclination to be hooked on to IT-enabled
devices and indulgence in high risk behaviour due to
online pornography. In these situations parents should
explain to their children why too much technology is
inhibitive. They should limit the time of exposure to
gadgets and spend more time with them.
“Restricting them from using devices in totality is
not the solution in this age,” Sharma added.
What about technology-enabled education
processes? Can students today have a holistic
educational experience sans the intrusion of virtual
world? Do the cons sideline the pros of technology in
child welfare?
Bani Bhattacharya, associate professor, Centre
For Educational Technology, Indian Institute of
Technology — Kharapgpur, said the benefits of playing
video games and the like are usually not incorporated
in the educational set-up.
“Though it is known computer games and the
like help in strengthening reflexes, multitasking and
other functions, such things are not much wanted in
educational set-up.
“Parents are mostly worried about marks and
academic excellence. There are good sides to games
also, but that is not reflected in the educational
curriculum of schools,” Bhattacharya said.
Connecting the dots, award-winning educationist
Devi Kar highlighted the category of small children
who are also adept at handling devices.
However, she said, one must also consider the fact
that they are born in the era of high-end technology
and a balanced approach must be taken while using
gadgets in classrooms and more interaction with
nature should be encouraged.
“Small children too love to fiddle and know what
buttons to press to get what they want. There is nothing
wrong with it as long as they are not deprived of other
things. They are born into this kind of world.
“But we have to be very careful about the addiction
facet. Schools can help. There should be judicious
combination of traditional methods and use of
gadgets,” Kar, the Director of Kolkata’s Modern High
School for Girls, said. — IANS
s one’s love for selfies just an exercise
in self-obsession? Perhaps not.
New research suggests that
clicking selfie’s could actually be an
empowering activity, helping young
people to develop their identity, and
boost confidence and self-esteem.
The report, compiled by a leading
cosmetic surgery group called
Transform Cosmetic Surgery in Britain,
contains results from a recent study of
2,000 British respondents in the age
group of 18-24.
The study revealed that eyes are the
stand-out feature for both men and
women, and the smile is classified as the
most attractive asset.
“It is interesting, but not surprising,
to see that looks and image are very
important to young people.
“We’re not sure whether this has
always been the case or if it has, in
recent times, been heavily influenced
by the onset and proliferation of
social media profiles and platforms,”
said Steven Taylor from Transform
Cosmetic Surgery.
In an age when health and
appearance are given the highest
priority, and obesity is classed as the
most embarrassing physical feature, it is
no surprise that a surge of selfie hybrids
— including the ‘belfie’ and gym selfie
— are on the rise.
The study also found that 29 is the
age when people feel most confident
about their body, and 25 to 34-year-old
love their bodies the most. — IANS
Satellites to track parasites soon
cientists have teamed up to use
satellite data for targeting deadly
parasites and help predict patterns
of parasitic diseases such as malaria,
worms and hydatids (infection by the
larval stage of the dog tapeworm).
The team has successfully organised
trials for malaria in Bhutan, Vanuatu
and the Solomon Islands and is now
seeking support to scale up to larger
Additionally, spatial predictions
for other diseases such as worms and
hydatids are being developed for China,
the Philippines and other countries in
the Asia-Pacific region.
“Some diseases are highly sensitive
to their environment, especially
parasitic diseases. With remote sensing,
you can identify places where disease
flourishes,” said Archie Clements from
the Australian National University.
The team uses satellite data such as
temperature, rainfall, vegetation and
land usage and combines it with health
data in a geographical information
The approach combines the skills of
many scientists, such as entomologists,
epidemiologists, software developers,
social scientists and health policy
“The result is maps that are accessible
to countries with limited capacity for
managing disease data, tailored to their
local needs,” Clements added.
Parasitic diseases affect hundreds of
millions of people every year, many of
them in the least developed parts of the
Drill, games display at Indian School Wadi Kabir
Scientific College of Design holds fine art exhibition
he Afternoon Shift at ISWK, Primary
Wing, hosted its Inter House Annual
Sports Day on November 11, 2014, a
test of the pupils’ mettle in sports.
The guest of honour along with members
of the School Managing Committee graced
the event.
The school grounds were decorated for
the drill displays and various athletic events.
The event began with the torch relay followed
by a variety of ‘fun games’ by the pupils of
Kindergarten and Classes One to Four. The
theme festivals were effectively displayed
with the help of props, fun games and drill
The inter house relay, which was a combo
of sack, baton, hula hoop and cycle was an
exciting event.
he Scientific College of
Design (SCD) is organised
their Class Work Exhibition
of Fall 2104 created by their Fine
Art Department students under the
supervision their respective lecturers,
at the Glass Gallery of the college.
Imad Adel, Deputy Dean of
the Scientific College of Design
inaugurated the exhibition which
included the student’s works from
various levels. The display was on
show from February 2 to 7 and
included a wide range of artistic
proposals that Fine Arts Department
has undertaken during Fall semester
2014. The exhibition put up a fine
display of paintings, drawings,
ceramics, sculptures, sketches and
design studios.
Apart from the common artistic
disciplines, there was a space
dedicated to Foundation students
that showed the possibilities that the
elements and principles of art such
as colour, texture, shapes and lines
offer as a resource to create three
dimensional structures that can
be articulated and modulated as a
way to understand how the modern
designers, architects and artists are
working nowadays.
The Scientific College of Design
holds a unique place in sphere of art
as it is one of a kind in the Sultanate.
The college offers majors in Fine Arts,
Graphic Design and Photography,
Interior Design and Architecture and
Fashion Design. They are affiliated to
the Lebanese American University
since its inception in 2006.
FEBRUARY 16 l 2015
Astronauts’ exercise
regime reveals how
to stay fit
The madness of Nuremberg fest
t’s carnival time again, with
Shrove, or Mardi Gras, falling
this week, a time to let their
hair down and party before the
fasting period of Lent.
In Germany, hundreds of
thousands of revellers flock every year
to the biggest carnival processions in the
cities of Dusseldorf, Cologne and Mainz
on the river Rhine. But not many people
are aware that the actual birthplace of
the German carnival procession is in the
Bavarian city of Nuremberg.
Starting with the traditional dance
called the ‘Zaemertanz’ and followed
later by the Beautiful Beards Walk
(Schembartlauf), Nuremberg laid the
foundations for the modern celebrations
as early as the end of the 14th century,
according to experts. When organisers
and party-goers take to the streets it will
be for the 618th time in Nuremberg.
If we are to believe the writings
of humanist and astrologer Lorenz
Behaim, Nuremberg must have
resembled a mad-house just before Lent
during the Renaissance. “Ye must have
greatly cavorted before Lent.
Had I known, I would also have
come to Nuremberg to cavort with you,”
he wrote in a letter from the year 1507
to a friend in the city. “Cavorting” was
only permitted once a year in the strictly
controlled imperial free city of the
Renaissance era: during the Beautiful
Beards Walk just before the start of Lent.
The first documented Beautiful
Beards Walks in 1449 were colourful,
musical processions through the lanes
of the free city of Nuremberg.
The “walkers” wore one-piece red
and white costumes bedecked with
little bells. “They were armed with a
blunt lance to make a path through
the onlookers,” says Horst Kaufmann,
acting chairman of the Nuremberg
Beautfiul Beards Society, who has
researched the history of the custom
for years. The “beautiful beards” name
came from the smooth white masks that
the walkers wore.
Kaufmann’s research of the archives
shows that the historical forerunners
of the beautiful beards were the
Zaemertanz dances — organised by
the city’s butchers — which were first
mentioned in
1397. It is no coincidence that the
butchers were given the privilege of
organising the masked dances in the
conservative city, carnival experts say,
because they were the only guild that
stayed loyal to the city council during
an uprising by tradesmen in 1348.
Kaufmann says as a sign of gratitude,
the city fathers gave the butchers the
right to organise public merrymaking,
and thus the Zaemertanz was born.
Soon the sons of the rich patricians
of Nuremberg found delight in “turning
the world order on its head for a couple
of days.”
The butchers managed to exploit
their privileges by hiring themselves
out as red-and-white-clad security
troops for cash; after all, they needed
to earn some money before the lean 40
days of Lent when Christians were not
supposed to eat any meat.
Later, very little remained of the
customs apart from the Beautiful
Beards Walk, which took on more
and more traits of the modern street
carnival. From 1475 there were even
early examples of the modern carnival
float. There is documentary evidence of
the Beautiful Beards between 1449 and
Hans Driesel, head of the German
Carnival Museum in the Bavarian town
of Kitzingen in the Lower Franconia
region, does not see any reason to doubt
that Nuremberg was the originator of
the modern carnival procession. His
colleague and scientific director at the
museum, Daniela Sandner, stressed that
there were smaller processions before
the Nuremberg Zaemertanz, “but the
first organised processions during
Shrovetide did actually take place in
Nuremberg,” she confirmed.
— dpa
stronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) are not only
working out to keep their hearts healthy but also to generate data to
advance knowledge of health and fitness on Earth, a Nasa research
Researchers assessed exercise on longer spaceflights with the help of
astronauts on the space station, measuring their oxygen consumption peak
VO2 before, during and after missions of four to five months.
Widely accepted as the best measure of cardiovascular fitness, VO2peak,
also called VO2max, is a measure of peak oxygen uptake.
That represents the highest amount of oxygen your body can use to
produce energy during exercise.
“Oxygen is used by cells to provide the energy to perform work and a more
aerobically fit individual’s cells take up and use more oxygen,” said Meghan
Downs, senior researcher at Nasa’s Exercise Physiology Laboratory in the US.
The results showed that VO2peak decreased by an average of 17 per cent
by day 15 in space, but then gradually increased.
Most astronauts never recovered their pre-flight V02peak levels during
the mission but a few were able to maintain or even improve VO2peak during
flight with frequent bouts of high-intensity exercise.
Currently, each crew member is prescribed a two-hour daily workout
using three pieces of equipment on the station.
The data would also help predict what activities an astronaut should be
able to tolerate after a long spaceflight. This would help in planning future
Astronauts with higher VO2peak levels, for example, would be better able
to work in heavy spacesuits exploring an asteroid or walking around Mars.
The results was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. — IANS
Here comes the briquette look New kitchens feature concrete cupboards
usseldorf — What will women be wearing
on their feet in coming seasons? Some
experts in Germany predict that chunky
block heels and plateau soles will be among the
footwear women round the globe will be buying.
“There is a trend towards the square briquette
look,” says Claudia Schulz from the German Shoe
Institute, DSI. For men, footwear trends will likely
include old-fashioned looking soles and multicoloured heels.
“Chunky boots will remain an important trend
also,” believes Schulz who spoke to dpa ahead of
the GDS shoe trade fair in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Sneakers and hippy style boots with frills will also be
among the items women will be stocking up on. They
match perfectly the Urban Trapper style, according
to Schulz. Last year’s trend colour of black has been
succeeded by warm tones such as cognac.
Footwear designers have being going for highend materials like velvet, brocade and velour in
their products. Siegfried Jacobs from Germany’s
Association of Footwear Retailers,
BDSE, believes last year saw too much emphasis
on black in the trade.
Most shoppers now have plenty of black to choose
from in their cupboards. The new lighter colours in
shop windows will encourage shoppers to go out and
buy new shoes, believes Simone Reiner, an editor at
Germany’s fashion trade journal, Textilwirtschaft.
Reiner thinks the “chunky sole” trend in footwear
is following in the footsteps of a development in
clothing: jackets and pullovers have been getting
bigger and more voluminous for some time. Baggy
trousers and pant skirts have also been in fashion for
“The big clothing we’ve been seeing needs a
counter-weight: a more substantial shoe. Fur and
fluffy materials are being used to decorate footwear,”
says Schulz. “Lizard, zebra and leopard prints,” will
be “indispensable” according to the fashion expert.
“Lustre is back in style,” she says.
If the thought of wearing ostentatious fluffy shoes
is too much, then you could try dandy-style loafers or
bootees. Thanks to the trend to higher trouser cuffs,
boots that reach half way up the leg might also be
something worth looking at.
If you are looking for something more comfortable,
sneakers or flat-soled boots might be to your taste.
Another trend in the globalised trade is towards
comfortable sports shoes made from expensive
materials. “2015 will be the year of the sneaker,”
declares Schulz. Simone Reiner says the trend of retro
style white sports shoes is set to continue.
Along with white sneakers, be prepared for the
arrival of the “pre-mudded” sneaker in a shoe store
near you soon. These plain white sneakers have a
— dpa
bottom half that is covered in fake mud.
oncrete can be a rough material
that looks and feels cold. But fittedkitchen designers are aiming to
change that image by creating bench and
cupboard units with concrete surfaces.
Several big name German makers have
chosen to integrate concrete into their latest
One maker, Leicht, names its new range
simply Concrete. The cupboard doors are
MDF boards that have been very finely
polished. A layer of concrete no more than
1 millimetre thick is then spread across each
Concrete kitchens are possible thanks
to the development of high-performance
concrete, which can be laid thinly but remains
“The cement is ground to a very fine
powder and mixed with special additives,”
says Ulrich Nolting from the information
portal Beton, a website run by Germany’s
association of cement makers. The additives
make it possible to use this new type of
concrete in ways never before thought
High performance concrete is also being
used to make furniture. Thanks to flatter
surfaces, sanding machines are no longer
needed to rework and smooth the concrete.
“Self-thickening concrete has the same
consistency as honey,” says Nolting. “It
flows slowly into every nook and cranny.”
According to Nolting concrete is an excellent
material for use in the
kitchen and as a surface for preparing food
— with just one exception. If concrete comes
into contact with food acids such as citrus
juice, the surface will not break apart but it
will develop
spots, according to Nolting.
“Some people love that kind of patina and
think it looks great.” If you don’t want to have
spots, you can get a special coating put on the
concrete similar to wood varnish.
Zeyko’s concrete kitchen unit is called
Horizon Forum Stucco. Its concrete cupboard
doors are double coated with a special
Zeyko’s marketing chief Tobias Hollerbach
says that makes concrete a perfect material
for the kitchen.
Along with concrete Zeyko’s kitchen also
uses elements of walnut-wood and glass.
Concrete is not the only material designers
are using more in kitchens; natural stone
is also becoming a favourite material, and
not just for use on counter-tops. New on
the market are kitchens with thin-cut stone
cupboard doors.
Strasser Steine has made a stone kitchen
unit called ST-ONE, which comes in four
colours. But high-grade concrete and timeconsuming production techniques make this
type of kitchen an expensive choice to import
from Germany.
That means kitchen units with veneer are
set to remain popular. Just like wood veneer,
manufacturers are now producing kitchens
where a very thin layer of stone is glued to the
Ballerina Kuechen, a German company,
has chosen slate for its new kitchen, while
Rempp Kuechen has gone for the full stone
veneer style.
— dpa
Astronauts’ exercise regime reveals how to stay fit App that can turn you into a supermodel Iran’s Panahi wins Golden Bear top prize
Marta stepping out of the crack
[email protected]
Peter and Khaled checking the landing spot
Khaled starting the 85m ‘Great Crack’ drop
Abseiling down the
[email protected]
Marta finishing the
‘Great Crack’ drop
ne month after our
first trip to Wijmah
we decided along with
Marta (my wife) Khalid
al Siyabi, Peter (Estonian
(Khalid’s sister-in-law) and Sami (Khalid’s
youngest son) to go back to abseil the ‘Great
crack’ aka Shass al Daeynah locally.
This time we took all the gear we needed
to set up the anchors and our climbing
equipment to abseil the drop.
Our bags were extremely heavy as we had
200m of rope and the drill.
Before we reached the top of the cracked
mountain we split into two groups. Peter and
I went to the bottom of the drop to check the
height of the abseil with a laser measure and
the landing area while the rest of the group
waited for us in the wadi before the final hike
to our destination.
Together with Peter we managed to reach
the bottom of the crack but we could not
reach the landing spot as the fissure was
blocked with the dead branches of a tree.
My measure showed a height of around
100m to the place where we were standing.
We joined the rest of the group who were
resting in the wadi and climbed up the final
part together to reach the top of the crack
around midday.
It was very important to choose the right
place to set the anchor and make sure that the
rope wouldn’t have any friction in case I had
to climb back if I couldn’t get through the tree
blocking the way at the bottom.
We managed to find a place where the
rope was free of any contact with the cliff and
I set up two anchors.
As always I was the one on whom the
material I’d set was put to test.
I attached the rope to the anchor, installed
my descender and started sliding slowly into
the abyss!
The distance between the two walls of
the fissure was less than two metres and the
descent in that chimney was just amazing! I
could contemplate the valley of Wadi Sahtan
through that crack while sliding down the
rope for about 85 metres. Khalid was at the
top of the crack trying to slow me down to
take some pictures.
The Everest guy
in the crack
w a s
so scared
when I suddenly
a weird noise just behind me. A bunch of
pigeons flew from inside the crack. They
were probably more frightened than me
because they have probably never seen such
a creature in their own terrain. I reached
the ground in about five minutes. I was very
anxious, checking if we could get out of the
crack because I did not want to climb back up
the 85m. I walked out of the fissure and got to
the tree we’d reached earlier with Peter. There
was a drop of around 5m and it was possible
to clear up our way from the dead branches.
I called Khalid on the phone to tell him
that everything was okay.
Marta was the first one to join me, and
Khalid followed her.
The others waited for us to come back and
join them for a very late lunch break as it was
almost 4pm.
We finished eating quickly and managed
to reach our car just before the dark.
Abseiling the ‘Great Crack’
WHALE strandings natural part of life on sandbar
Dozens of pilot whales lie beached at Farewell Spit on the
northern tip of New Zealand’s South Island. — Reuters
he regular strandings of whales on
New Zealand beaches are one of the
saddest sights in nature, and rarely
have a happy ending.
About 140 pilot whales died after a pod
of nearly 200 stranded at Farewell Spit, a
sandbar in the South Island on Friday, in the
biggest mass beaching in recent times.
Department of Conservation staff and
volunteers helped to refloat 60 of the whales
on Saturday evening’s high tide, and were
hopeful that they would stay in deeper water
and not re-strand, Golden Bay Conservation
Services manager Andrew Lamason said
yesterday. Whale strandings are common at
Farewell Spit, a 35-km sandbar in the shape
of a fish hook which arcs across the northern
tip of the island, forming a trap.
More than 60 pilot whales stranded in the
same area in January 2014, and nine were
euthanised after they continued to re-strand
in spite of efforts to return them to deeper
It is not known why the large pod of 198
whales became stranded last week. Lamason
said they may have been hunting fish and
had become caught in shallow water when
the tide went out.
“There are huge schools of yellow-eyed
mullet in the bay and they could be trying
to catch those, but it is very, very shallow
around the spit there, and when the tide
drains out, it drains out for
kilometres and kilometres.”
“Once they are enclosed there is a good
chance that their echolocation is just not
able to pick up where the shore is and where
deeper water is and as the tide drains out,
they are caught.”
Marine mammal conservation group
Project Jonah’s General Manager Daren
Grover said pilot whales stranded more
than any other species, with the entire pod
following if an injured or sick whale turns for
sheltered water.
“If one does get into trouble the others
will be looking out for each other and trying
to protect each other. Whereas you might
see in orca or in other species of dolphins —
where one strands the others will stay nearby
in the water free swimming - with the pilot
whales they will just come in en masse and
a lot of healthy animals will get into trouble
and subsequently strand.”
Grover said it was possible the pilot
whales had been fleeing from orca, known as
killer whales because they hunt the calves of
other whales.
— dpa
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