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oman exports to 130 nations positive outlook

P20 ‹••ƒ”ƒ‹•‡•’”‘ϐ‹–ˆ‘”‡…ƒ•––‘̈́͵Ǥͷ„
VOL. 34 NO. 89 | PAGES 32 | BAISAS 200
P31 ƒ–„‡””‹‡•–‘Ž‘•‡™‡‹‰Š–
P25 †‹ƒ„”‡ƒ—••‹‡–‘—”†—…™‹–Š˜‹…–‘”›
Chief Executive Officer
Oman Establishment for Press, Publication and Advertising
PO Box 974, Postal Code 100, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman
HM greetings to
Iranian President
MUSCAT: His Majesty Sultan Qaboos has
sent a cable of greetings to President Dr
Hassan Rouhani of Iran on the occasion
of his country’s National Day. In his
cable, His Majesty expressed his sincere
greetings along with his best wishes of
good health, happiness and long life
to President Rouhani and the friendly
people of Iran further progress and
prosperity. Meanwhile, His Majesty has
received a cable of thanks from President
Beji Caid Essebsi of Tunisia in reply to His
Majesty’s condolences cable on the death
of his brother. SEE ALSO P2
India PM’s party
mauled in Delhi
NEW DELHI: India’s Narendra Modi
yesterday suffered his first major
election setback since becoming prime
minister last May, as anti-corruption
campaigner Arvind Kejriwal won a
landslide victory in Delhi state polls.
Modi’s party won just three of the 70
seats in the Delhi Assembly in elections
held over the weekend, dealing a
setback to his efforts to consolidate
power and push through much-needed
economic reforms. REPORT ON P10
US to close embassy
in Yemen today
SANAA: The United States is closing its
embassy in Yemen, embassy employees
and a US official in Washington said
yesterday. Employees of the embassy
in Sanaa said the US mission had been
getting rid of documents and weapons
and staff had been leaving the capital
over the past days with a view of closing
down completely by today. Employees
at the British, French and German
embassies said their missions had also
been getting rid of documents and have
given local staff two months’ paid leave.
MAX: 260C
MIN: 200C
MAX: 270C
MIN: 190C
FAJR: 05:23
DHUHR: 12:20
ASR: 15:35
MAGHRIB: 17:59
ISHA: 19:29
MAX: 260C
MIN: 110C
Myanmar fighting pushes refugees Obama says American hostage is dead Neil Armstrong’s camera found [email protected]
Sultanate reports
three new cases
of Coronovirus
sector to see
$35 billion
Feb. 10: The Ministry of Health recorded three
new cases of Coronavirus including one death
and other two have almost recovered. The total
number of cases recorded in the Sultanate since
the discovery of the disease stood at five including
three deaths. Around 18 HINI cases have been
recorded and all of them recovered.
Releasing a statement on the latest statistics
about HIN1 and Middle East respiratory
syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) during
January, the Ministry of Health affirmed its close
monitoring and combating of these diseases
through effective epidemic control system.
Around 502 laboratory samples were tested
in various governorates to detect respiratory
The ministry calls upon everyone to remain
cautious when dealing with animals, especially
camels. It also urged those suffering from
respiratory symptoms, such as flu to adopt
healthy practices while sneezing and coughing. It
also advised them to maintain safe distance and
avoid contact with others.
Meanwhile, an official from the ministry said
that health institutions in the Sultanate should
adhere to strict compliance of infection control
and lapse of an in-house policy should be avoided.
The official said that millions of lives are lost
due to infections in hospitals worldwide.
Team Al Thuraya hope to challenge for honours this year as the only all-female crew take on their male counterparts
during EFG Sailing Arabia — The Tour 2015. Skipper Mary Rook, returning for her third tour, is fully aware of the
strength of the opposition but the seven members of her team, a mix of Omani and international sailors, have
agreed on one thing — they can compete with the very best.
POSITIVE OUTLOOK: Non-oil exports grew by 7.2 per cent to touch RO 3.3 billion
Feb. 10: The Public Authority for
Investment Promotion and Export
Development (Ithraa) yesterday unveiled
the details of its annual plans for 2015. The
plan includes a number of events, activities
and initiatives aimed at promoting and
attracting foreign investments to the
During the press conference, Ithraa
affirmed its endeavours to explore more
export markets for Omani products by
conducting more studies on the focus
markets by ‘Ithraa’ in the coming period.
Russia to build
Egypt’s first
nuclear plant
CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel
Fattah al Sisi said yesterday that
Russia had agreed to jointly build his
country’s first nuclear power plant.
A memorandum of understanding
was signed in the presence of Sisi and
visiting Russian President Vladimir
Putin. At a joint press conference with
Putin, Sisi said the nuclear power plant
would be built in Dabaa in northwest
Egypt on the Mediterranean coast.
Egypt had laid the foundation for such
a facility in Dabaa during the regime of
Hosni Mubarak, but work was halted
due to disputes with local residents.
Sisi said Putin had agreed with him
that “the challenge of terrorism that
faces Egypt, and which Russia also
faces, does not stop at any borders”.
Putin, making his first state visit to
Egypt in a decade, said they agreed on
“reinforcing our efforts in combating
terrorism”. He presented his host with
a Russian-made Kalashnikov rifle,
and Sisi handed him a plaque with a
picture of Putin. REPORT ON P13
It will also avail electronic data and
information on the Omani economy and
corporate sector.
Faris bin Nasser al Farsi, DirectorGeneral of Investment Promotion at
Ithraa spoke on the major events which
will be implemented by the directorate
this year. The events include taking part
in the emerging market centre meeting,
scheduled to be held in Dubai this month
and holding an investment promotion
meeting. The plan also includes organising
seminars in Iran and Italy under the
theme ‘Invest in Oman’. It also includes
holding of Omani-Brazilian investment
seminar in Sohar, as well as the OmanIndia Investment seminar, Oman-Asian
investment seminar and the Investment
Promotion Plan Seminar in Muscat.
In the field of export development,
Talib bin Saif al Makhmari, Director
of Export Facilities Department at
the Directorate-General for Export
Promotion, spoke about the plan of the
directorate by organising a meeting with
the export development work team,
organising ‘Shiyameen’ exhibition for
stone and marble, in addition to a number
of seminars on promoting business
more export
markets for
Omani products
Iran, India and
Brazil planned
organise mobile
Q ELECTRONIC data on Omani economy
and corporate sector
Feb.10: The Ministry of Tourism
is about to launch new projects in
various governorates with a view to
boost tourism and generate investment
opportunities for small and medium
enterprises (SMEs). These include
creating new heritage houses and
exploiting old neighbourhoods in
different wilayats as restaurants, guest
houses and artifacts markets.
This was stated by Ahmed bin
Nasser al Mehrzi, Minister of Tourism,
in an interview with Oman Arabic,
sister daily of the Observer. He said
that an agreement has been reached
with Al Raffd Fund and other entities
for funding of these projects.
“The exploitation of heritage
houses to accommodate tourists
will encourage individuals to attach
attention to old buildings and
refurbish them for tourism purpose
thereby encouraging small and
medium enterprises to enter this field,”
the minister said.
“Among the new tourism projects
envisaged by the ministry include
setting up of guest houses in farms
in accordance with the specifications
and conditions required for obtaining
licences. In other tourist sports which
lack basic tourist facilities some
houses will be used as guest houses for
tourists,” Al Mehrzi said.
The firm which will develop
the projects is due to present its
penultimate draft to the main
ministerial committee on February
25, and that draft has been finalised
with only small observations related
to implementation mechanisms.
There is a comprehensive and detailed
strategy for all which is related to
the development of tourism sector.
In this stage the governorates of Al
Dakhiliyah, Dhofar and Musandam
have been considered as the best
in terms of tourism potential to be
developed in the current plan. The
total volume of investment as part of
Oman Tourism Strategy (2015-2040)
is estimated at $35 billion including
the cost of infrastructure.
After 20 years court orders maternity clinic to pay $2.13 million
French baby-swap families win damages
GRASSE, France: Two French families
whose babies were switched at birth
more than 20 years ago won nearly
two million euros in compensation
A court in the southern town of
Grasse ordered the clinic at the centre of
the mix-up in the French Riviera city of
Cannes to pay 1.88 million euros ($2.13
million), six times less than what the
families had called for.
The clinic was ordered to pay
400,000 euros to each of the swapped
babies — who are now adult women
— and 300,000 euros to three parents
concerned and 60,000 euros to three
However, the court threw out a suit
against doctors and obstetricians also
brought by the family.
One of the mothers, Sophie Serrano,
38, voiced her joy and “relief ” at the
“Finally, after so many years, the error
has been recognised. Now, I’m cleared of
everything. I’ve no reason any more to
Manon Serrano (L), one of two women switched at birth more than 20 years ago,
and her mother Sophie Serrano at their home in Grasse. — Reuters
feel guilty for anything,” Serrano told
French television channel iTele.
Gilbert Collard, a lawyer for one of
the families, said they were “completely
satisfied with the decision” and there
was no question of an appeal.
The story began on July 4, 1994,
when Sophie Serrano gave birth to little
Manon at a clinic in Cannes.
The baby suffered from jaundice and
doctors put her in an incubator equipped
with lights to treat the problem along
with another affected newborn girl.
An auxiliary nurse unwittingly
switched them and although both
mothers immediately expressed doubt
about the babies, pointing to their
different hair lengths, they were sent
home anyway.
Ten years later, troubled by the fact
his daughter bore no resemblance to
him with her darker skin, Manon’s
father did a paternity test that revealed
he was not her biological parent.
Sophie Serrano then discovered
she was not Manon’s mother either,
prompting a probe to try to find the
other family who had been handed their
biological daughter.
The investigation revealed that at
the time of the births in 1994, three
newborns suffered from jaundice — the
two girls and a boy — and the clinic
only had two incubators with the special
lights. The girls were therefore put
together in one incubator. The two sets
of parents met their biological daughters
for the first time when they were both
10 years old, but did not ask that they be
switched back.
W E D N E S DAY l F E B R U A R Y 1 1 l 2 0 1 5
The Royal Guard of Oman
celebrated the conclusion
of a training course on the
use of the baton for military
music personnel under the
auspices of Brigadier Ramis
bin Jaman al Awira, Director
General of Music at the Royal
Guard of Oman at the Training
The Education and Outreach
Area of the Royal Opera House
Muscat is hosting the second
ROHM Open House of the season
at Opera Galleria, on February
14. It will feature family-friendly
entertainment, including a variety
of music and dance, as well as art
exhibitions that celebrate traditional
and contemporary Omani art.
Tunisian President Majlis Ash’shura food, water security panel meets
thanks HM
MUSCAT: His Majesty Sultan Qaboos has received a cable of thanks from
President Beji Caid Essebsi of the Republic of Tunisia in reply to His Majesty’s
condolences cable on the death of his brother.
In his cable, President Essebsi expressed his utmost thanks and gratitude for
His Majesty’s good feelings, praying to Allah the Almighty to protect His Majesty
the Sultan and the Omani people against all harm and grant His Majesty good
health, well-being and a long life.
KOM organises career fair
MUSCAT: The working team of the
Food and Water Security Committee at
Majlis Ash’shura on Tuesday held its first
regular meeting of the 4th annual sitting
(2014 – 2015) of the 7th term under the
chairmanship of Sultan bin Majid al Abri,
Head of the Committee.
The meeting took up several issues
and topics related to food and water
security in the Sultanate and the
mechanism adopted by the competent
departments to implement the strategic
plans in relation to achieving food and
water security in the Sultanate.
The meeting also reviewed and
Committee’s study on achieving food and
Food and Water Security Committee at Majlis Ash’shura met under the chairmanship of Sultan bin Majid al Abri, Head of the
Committee in Muscat on Tuesday.
water security in the Sultanate, data and
information reached by the team to enrich
the topic of the study that included reply
of members of the Majlis on the request
to provide information and data from
each wilayat. The reply of the Ministry of
Commerce and Industry on mechanisms
to achieve food and water security in the
Sultanate that include information and
several recommendations clarified by the
Ministry within the reply was discussed
as well.
Al Thuraya women aim to beat the boys team
MUSCAT: In line with the events
held by the Public Establishment for
Industrial Estates (PEIE) to celebrate
the Omani Industry Day, the technical
arm of PEIE; Knowledge Oasis Muscat
(KOM), on Tuesday organised a Career
Open Day to showcase the services and
job opportunities offered by the various
companies based in the KOM.
“This is a great opportunity for the
companies to meet with prospective job
seekers and perform first interviews,
as well as collect resumes of potential
candidates. Students from different
universities and colleges in the Sultanate
have an opportunity to meet with
representatives from KOM tenants to
answer their potential questions and get
acquainted with the available vacancies,”
said Mohamed al Maskari, DirectorGeneral of KOM.
Al Maskari added that the open
day comes in line with the belief
that supporting young Omanis
contributes to the development of the
country’s economy. “We have received
overwhelming feedbacks from KOM
tenants once we announced the event.
These feedbacks eventually confirm
the interest and commitment of these
companies in offering opportunities to
the young generation in the country.
On the other hand, the Open Day
aimed at informing students and jobseekers of local market requirements
in the field of information and
communication technology,” he pointed
out. More than 227,000 sqm of land has
been leased in KOM and the occupancy
rate has reached 39 per cent. Additionally,
the number of operating companies in
KOM has touched 148 by the end of the
first half of 2014, marking an increase
of 15 companies in comparison with
the year 2013, and provided around
3,100 jobs by the end of the first half of
2014, marking an increase of 950 jobs,
compared to the year 2013.
The Omanisation rate in KOM has
exceeded 52 per cent and the volume of
private sector investment has touched
RO 63.3 million, with an increase rate of
RO 30.3 million from 2013.
Opened in 2003, KOM is the Sultanate
of Oman’s flagship technology park.
Symbolising successful public-private
partnership in nurturing knowledgebased businesses, KOM is committed
to creating an environment in which
budding entrepreneurs, small and
medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and
established multi-nationals can coexist,
innovate and flourish within a Middle
East setting.
KOM aims to enhance Oman’s
position as the region’s leading centre
of business excellence, innovation and
entrepreneurship. Providing its tenants
with innovative real estate solutions
and excellent service, KOM is the ideal
location for businesses starting or
expanding in the Middle East. — ONA
MUSCAT: Team Al Thuraya hope to
challenge for honours this year as the
only all-female crew take on their male
counterparts during EFG Sailing Arabia
— The Tour 2015. Skipper Mary Rook,
returning for her third Tour, is fully
aware of the strength of the opposition
but the seven members of her team, a
mix of Omani and international sailors,
have agreed on one thing — they can
compete with the very best.
Mary said: “The field is looking very
tough this year with lots of other good
teams so it will be hard to put a number
on where we hope to finish until we get
started, but as ever we would love to beat
the Omani Boys team! This year we have
Ibtisam al Salmi, who has taken part in
the tour with me once before and last
summer became an expert trimmer on
the J80 in France. She is the best female
sailor we have on the programme.”
She added: “Also in the team, we
have Raiya al Habsi who was one of the
first girls from the Oman Sail Women’s
Sailing Programme to join the Tour
and the first Omani woman ever to
take part in the Rolex Fastnet Race.
She is back again this year to keep us
entertained and happy with her fun
personality! We then have two more
girls from the women’s programme
who are completely new to competitive
sailing as well as Annemeike Bes from
Holland, a three time Olympian and a
Silver medallist from Beijing who was a
member of Team SCA’s training crew for
the Volvo Ocean Race.”
Ibtisam al Salmi
“Lauren Eatwell did the tour last year
and Hannah Morris from New Zealand
raced with us last year and is a very
accomplished offshore racer. Five of
our team have done the race before and
might have an idea of what to expect
which is a great help. Two of the Omanis
are brand new to sailing so we will be
able to talk them all through it.”
“As we are lighter we will be able
to sail with eight people which will be
useful have the extra few pairs of hands.
We haven’t been sailing together for
very long as a team but hopefully we will
come together as the race progresses.
Two of the new girls won’t have ever
done an offshore race before so it will be
quite an experience for them!”
In 2015, the 760nm route has
been reversed by Oman Sail with the
boats starting in Muscat in Oman and
finishing the race in Manama, Bahrain,
completing six legs and visiting seven
stopovers with two inshore races in
Dubai and Doha scheduled along the
way. These changes have repercussions
for all the teams, says Rook.
“The climate is going to get colder
as we go along which is the opposite
to normal and might pose an added
difficulty especially with the Omanis
who suffer with the cold! The first leg
will be massively tough as the three
times I have sailed the route, we have
been becalmed for between 24 - 48
hours each time. So it will be interesting
to see how that goes but we will be doing
our best to make sure we are always
fresh whatever the conditions.”
The Young Round Square conference aimed to nurture students to make them better citizens, beyond the academic arena
Young environmentalists from ISG attend Mumbai meet
MUSCAT: A young and enthusiastic
team of nine students, along with the
YRS representative Ms Juthika from
Indian School Al Ghubra attended the
Young Round Square Conference South
Asia and Gulf Region held at Singapore
International School, Mumbai from
January 29 to February 1. The theme of
the conference was ‘Code Green — The
Power of One to Make a Difference’. The
conference focussed on the RS pillars
of environmental stewardship and
The chief guest at the conference was
Papri Gosh, Principal, Regional Director
of Round Square (South Asia and Gulf
Region), Board Member and Trustee of
Round Square.
The YRS delegates were offered an
exciting line up of workshops, activities
to inspire them to find new channels for
leading their generation in caring for our
planet and its inhabitants. Delegations
had stimulating Barazza sessions, camp
fires, hands-on projects and challenging
outdoor activities. There were very eminent
speakers who have made a difference by
contributing to the environment. To name
the few of them: Diya Mirza, Irfan Khan,
Agatha Sangama, Atul Sathe, Bittu Sehgal.
The YRS ISG delegation comprised
Uttkarsh, Kanupriya, Kaushik, Ambika,
Dev, Raya, Suzanne, Abhiram and Kaushik
with the student mentor Pavithra Ramesh.
Pavithra Ramesh, the student mentor said:
“Students collaborated in exploring and
constructing paths to a brighter future.
Togetherness can achieve wonders.”
“The activities on carbon emission and
waste management made us aware of the
need to protect our environment,” said
Uttkarsh, Kaushik, Abhiram and Dev.
Suzanne, Raya, Ambika and Kanupriya
said: “The hands-on projects on carbon
footprints and ‘shift your shopping’
activities emphasised on new ideas and
strategies on saving our environment.”
The Young Round Square conference
aimed to nurture students to make
them better citizens, beyond the
academic arena. Students were taken to
Environmental expedition to the Essel
World, Environmental Initiative Park and
Reflective visit to Global Pagoda. It was
indeed a very informative, memorable and
enriching experience of a life time.
FEBRUARY 11 l 2015
exports up
7.3 per cent
Her Highness Dr Mona bint Fahd Al Said, SQU Assistant Vice Chancellor for International Cooperation, receiving books from
Italian Ambassador Paola Amadei in Muscat on Tuesday.
Italian books gifted to SQU
MUSCAT: On behalf of the Italian
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and
Amadei, the Ambassador of Italy to
the Sultanate of Oman, handed over a
set of Italian books to Sultan Qaboos
University on Tuesday. Her Highness
Sayyidah Dr Mona bint Fahd Al Said,
SQU Assistant Vice Chancellor for
International Cooperation, received
the books from the Ambassador. This
initiative is linked to the introduction
of the Italian language course launched
in last October at SQU that is seeing
the participation of many committed
Omani students. The books included
Italian classics, basic grammar books
and workbooks for beginners in
addition to audio CDs.
Commenting on delivery of books to
SQU, Paola Amadei said that Italian is
one of the most studied and most spoken
languages in the world, not only in the
European Union but also in the United
States, Canada, Latin America, North
Africa and Horn of Africa, Australia,
because of the presence of Italian
communities in those countries. “Many
of the terms of music, art, design, are
from the Italian language. The demand
for Italian is growing, due to the love
for the most distinctive aspects of the
Italian culture: from music to visual arts,
from architecture to the Italian style and
the “Made in Italy”, or simply because it
is a beautiful, melodious language”, the
Ambassador said.
Paola Amadei further said that
after the launch of the Italian language
course at the SQU, a number of new
initiatives are on the way to promote
this language in the Sultanate of Oman.
“There are more and more Omanis
who speak Italian or who would like
to learn it. More and more delegations
from eminent Italian universities show
interest in the Sultanate of Oman”.
“The launch of the Italian course
and the creation of an Italian literary
and language section within SQU
library is an excellent outcome of
the strong cooperation between the
Italian Embassy and the university. We
strongly hope that the cooperation with
SQU will continue. Works are always
underway to finalise new agreements
aimed to enhance academic exchanges
and cooperation between Italian and
Omani Universities and, of course, the
study of the Italian language in Oman
and Arabic in Italy. I am sure that the
knowledge of the Italian language
will contribute significantly to bring a
greater number of Omani students to
our universities where they can excel
at the Italian language and at the same
time attend major courses in various
disciplines of interest to them”, Paola
Amadei said.
MUSCAT: The total value of
Sultanate’s exports stood at RO 18.9
billion in 2014 which was down 4.8
per cent compared to the previous
year’s figure of RO 19.8 billion.
Total imports was lower at RO
10.3 billion as against the previous
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The Sultanate’s trade saw a 7.3 per
cent increase in non-oil exports at the
end of November, 2014 compared to
the same period in 2013.
The latest NCSI’s statistics showed
the value of oil and gas exports
stood at RO 12.4 billion to the end
of November, 2014 down 5.3 per
cent compared to same period of the
previous year when the figure was RO
13.1 billion.
Crude oil exports stood at RO 10.8
billion down 4.6 per cent compared
with the previous year’s figure of RO
11.3 billion.
The Sultanate’s exports of refined
oil stood at RO 276.4 million down 2.6
per cent compared to the previous year
when the figure was RO 283.7 million.
The Sultanate’s exports of liquefied
natural gas exports stood at RO 1.3
billion down 10.8 per cent from the
previous year’s figure of RO 1.5 billion.
Non-oil exports saw an increase
of 7.3 per cent and recorded RO 3.7
billion compared to RO 3.5 billion. Of
these, mining products stood at RO 1.1
billion, chemical products increased
by 18.8 per cent over the previous year
and recorded RO 858 million, rubber
and plastics exports saw an increase
of 26.6 per cent over the previous year
and stood at 329.5 million.
Omani products
go to 130 countries
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export week.
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the non-oil Omani exports grew by
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—”‹ ƒŽ ƒ‹†ǡ ‹”‡…–‘”Ǧ
‡‡”ƒŽ ‘ˆ
ƒ”‡–‹‰ ƒ† ‡†‹ƒǡ •ƒ‹† –Šƒ– –Š‡
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namely the investment system in
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FEBRUARY 11 l 2015
S&P’s Oman ratings declines on oil price concerns
POSITIVE SIGNS: In addition to higher external borrowing, net inflows of foreign direct investment are expected to pick up to the equivalent of
1pc of GDP, which will help finance major projects such as the Duqm port and petrochemicals complex and the Khazzan gas project
Feb. 10: International ratings agency
Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has
lowered its foreign and local currency
sovereign credit ratings on the Sultanate
of Oman to ‘A-/A-2’ from ‘A/A-1’.
The outlook is stable, the agency
said, noting that it reflects the view
that the deterioration in nominal GDP
and the fiscal and external positions
will not substantially exceed current
S&P’s attributed its decision to the
significant decline in the prices of crude
oil in spot and futures markets, which
have fallen by over 50 per cent since June
“As a result, we have revised our
oil price assumptions significantly
downward for the period 2015-2018.
When we last reviewed our ratings on
Oman, in December 2014, we expected
Brent oil prices to average $80 per barrel
(/bbl) in 2015 and $84/bbl in 2015-2018.
We now assume an average Brent oil
price of $55/bbl in 2015 and $70/bbl in
2015-2018,” the agency said.
In the Sultanate, oil accounts for
just under half of GDP, slightly over
half of exports, and three-quarters
of government revenue. “Given the
country’s high dependence on the
commodity, we have revised our forecasts
for economic growth and the fiscal and
external positions to incorporate the
lower expected oil prices. Since our
December 2014 review of our ratings on
Oman, we have reduced our real GDP
growth forecasts for 2015-2017, to an
average of 3.3 per cent a year from 3.6
per cent. Our forecasts for the current
account balance saw a more significant
revision; we now expect to see an
average deficit equivalent to 3.7 per cent
of GDP in 2015-2018. Furthermore,
we now anticipate larger fiscal deficits,
equivalent to 4 per cent of GDP in 2015
and 2 per cent on average in 2016-2018,”
the agency said.
In line with the weaker forecast fiscal
position, S&P says it now expects bigger
rises in government debt, averaging an
equivalent of just under 1 per cent of
GDP a year in 2015-2018. “Given our
expectation that deficits will partly be
financed by liquidating assets and partly
by extra borrowing, we now forecast that
the government’s net creditor position
(its gross debt, less its significantly larger
liquid assets) will be smaller than that
we anticipated in December. However, it
will still be substantial at 53 per cent of
GDP in 2018.”
S&P also anticipates slightly bigger
government spending cuts than
previously, given the lower oil revenue
outlook. Nevertheless, it added that
it still views the government’s room
for manoeuvre as limited, given that
nearly 50 per cent of spending relates to
public-sector wages and subsidies and
exemptions, which are typically hard to
“We expect some cuts to outlays
on subsidies, as well as postponement
of some defence spending and lower
priority capital expenditures, but the
government currently plans to stick
to its capital spending programme as
budgeted,” the agency noted.
The 2015 budget assumes an average
price of $75/bbl for Omani crude in
2015, which is around $25/bbl higher
than our current forecasts (assuming a
$5 discount to Brent oil), the agency said,
adding it could change its assumptions
for the fiscal position and government
debt should a revision of the 2015 budget
occur later in the year.
Factoring in lower oil price forecasts
into its current account assumptions
significantly, S&P says it expects a deficit
in 2015 equivalent to nearly 5 per cent of
GDP (compared with the small surplus
we forecast in December).
Oman’s net external creditor position
— as measured by liquid external assets
minus external debt — will remain
a rating strength, but is nevertheless
expected to decline sharply from an
estimated 62 per cent of current account
receipts (CARs) in 2014 to 30 per cent
in 2018.
The country’s gross external financing
requirements are also expected to rise to
112 per cent of CARs and usable reserves
in 2018 from 95 per cent in 2014,
according to the agency. In addition to
higher external borrowing, net inflows
of foreign direct investment (FDI) are
expected to pick up to the equivalent of 1
per cent of GDP, which will help finance
major projects such as the Duqm port
and petrochemicals complex and the
Khazzan gas project.
“We have revised our real GDP
growth forecasts down only slightly
since we last reviewed the rating, in line
with the outlook for lower oil prices.
We now forecast annual average growth
of 3.4 per cent a year in 2015-2018,
chiefly based on large capital projects
and consumption. We estimate trend
growth in real GDP per capita as slightly
negative, although this measure is
complicated by volatile population data,
given the large and variable proportion
of expatriate workers,” the agency added.
(OEPPA Business Development Dept)
Ambassador of Poland visits PEIE Challenge 22 roadshow concludes in Oman
Polish Ambassador Witold Śmidowski with Musallam bin Mohammed Al Shehri, Assistant Chief Executive Officer of PEIE and
other officials at Public Establishment for Industrial Estates on Tuesday.
MUSCAT: With the aim of
strengthening relations between the
Sultanate of Oman and the Republic
of Poland, the Public Establishment
for Industrial Estates (PEIE) received
on Tuesday Witold Śmidowski, nonresident ambassador of the Republic of
Poland to the Sultanate of Oman.
The visit aimed at reinforcing
cooperation between the two countries,
promote investment opportunities and
discuss opportunity of setting up joint
ventures. The Polish ambassador was
received by Musallam bin Mohammed
Al Shehri, Assistant Chief Executive
Officer of PEIE for operations, who
briefed about the history of PEIE, its
vision, mission and main services.
The ambassador was also acquainted
with the various industrial estates that
come under the ambit of PEIE across the
Sultanate in addition to the Knowledge
Oasis Muscat and Al Mazunah Free
Officials at PEIE highlighted the
role played by PEIE in promoting
Oman as a vibrant business destination
and an active and leading centre of
manufacturing, ICT, innovation and
entrepreneurship excellence, locally,
regionally and internationally. The
officials also presented an overview on
the types of investments in the various
industrial estates which are supervised
by PEIE.
The two sides emphasised on the
significance of boosting the bilateral
relations between Oman and Poland in
several areas including manufacturing,
IT, among others.
The ambassador of Poland expressed
his admiration on the efforts made to
advance the Omani industry and the
outstanding infrastructure within the
industrial estates.
Feb. 10: The Challenge 22 Roadshow
concluded its three-day visit to the
Sultanate of Oman on February 9
as the exciting regional competition
Ahead of four information sessions
in Muscat about the initiative, Fatma
Al Nuaimi, Human and Social Legacy
Manager at Supreme Committee
for Delivery & Legacy (SC), spoke
about the team’s successful visit to the
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia when the
roadshow was preparing for its latest
stop in neighbouring Oman, starting
on February 8: “We are very happy
about the excitement we’ve seen from
young innovators in Saudi Arabia, with
hundreds of attendees per session, all of
who were very excited to take part. We
are sure to see the same interest from
The Challenge 22 roadshow
continued with four sessions in Muscat,
between Tawasul Global Connection
Centre, Knowledge Oman and
Al Nuaimi added: “We were delighted
to be in Muscat and to work with our
three partners on the information
sessions. This is a great opportunity
to reach out to the innovators and
the brightest minds in the country to
encourage them to apply.”
Mohammed Saeed Harib, founder of
Distinguished groups from local performing arts scene will present a variety of programmes
Enjoy Omani music, culture at ROHM
MUSCAT: The Education and Outreach
Area of the Royal Opera House Muscat
is hosting the second ROHM Open
House of the season at Opera Galleria,
on February 14. It will feature familyfriendly entertainment, including a
variety of music and dance, as well as
art exhibitions that celebrate traditional
and contemporary Omani art. The
event offers Opera Galleria visitors
an excellent opportunity to enjoy and
engage with the arts.
Many distinguished groups from the
local performing arts scene will present
a variety of international and Omani
art forms designed to celebrate Oman’s
cultural diversity. These include a ballet
presentation by Muscat School of Ballet
and Folklore Dance and a recital by two
talented Omani flamenco guitarists,
accompanied by percussion and a
Moving from the west to the east, a
talented classical dancer will perform an
Odissi dance, demonstrating a classical
Indian dance form. The finale will be
traditional Omani music known as
‘Fann al Bar’a, from the city of Salalah in
Dhofar province.
The featured guest artist for this event
is photographer Ahmad Al Shukaili, the
recipient of the 2014 Sultan Qaboos
Award for Culture, Arts and Literature.
This is the first exhibition of Al Shukaili’s
award winning portraits and landscapes
of Oman. There will also be a special
floor for traditional Omani handicrafts
— pottery, woodwork, copperware,
textiles, and frond crafts – provided by
the Public Authority for Craft Industries.
This is a free and family-friendly
event! Children will have ample
activities to engage with the arts.
Besides a magic show and face painting
there will be hands-on demonstrations
on how to play musical instruments
and the art of clapping using various
rhythmic patterns. All are welcome to
enjoy this enlightening and entertaining
Lammatra Production and creator of
Freej, Mohammed Saadon Al Kuwari,
popular sports TV presenter, and
Areej Al Kharafi, Kuwaiti business
entrepreneur, continued their tour
during the visit to Oman and talked
about their involvement with the
Reflecting on her experience with
Challenge 22 so far, Al Kharafi said:
“I am blown away by the amount
of interest I’ve seen. I think what’s
different about the initiative is that it’s
an opportunity for people in the GCC to
share their ideas. We’d like to encourage
more people to attend and find out how
they can be part of Challenge 22.”
Meanwhile, Al Kuwari pointed out:
“This initiative stays true to the promise
that was made during Qatar’s bid for the
World Cup that this will be a regional
tournament, and we are eager to see
regional submissions for this innovation
award. This will prove a lasting legacy
past 2022.”
Challenge 22 is seeking residents and
applicants from the Gulf Cooperation
Council (GCC), with solution- based
proposals related to three key themes
that address challenges faced by Qatar
and the world, when hosting major
sports events.
The three themes for the inaugural
launch of the award are Sustainability,
Event Experience, and Sports and
Health. Successful applicants have the
opportunity to win a cash prize of $20,000
during Phase 1 of the competition and a
grant to further develop their idea into
a proof of concept during Phase 2 of the
The Challenge 22 Roadshow
commenced on January 25 in Kuwait
and will conclude on February 17 in the
United Arab Emirates. The next stop
on the Challenge 22 Roadshow will be
in Bahrain for a two-day visit. For a full
schedule of Challenge 22 activities and
for more information about the award,
please visit
15 films screened at Muscat Fest
Feb 10: As many as fifteen short films
were screened as part of the Muscat
Festival film competition. There
were two signature movies shown
to the invitees out of which one was
directed by Dr Khalid Zadjali.
Fifteen directors from across the
region made their presence felt at the
screening which started on February
6 at the Oman Film Society (OFS)
and Bayan College and a number
of other venues across the country
where majority of the movies were
Oman’s budding film makers
Fatima al Mukhaini (Film: ‘Paradise
of Capitals’) and Fatima al Salmiya
(Film: ‘My Second Country’) won
the Special Prize of the Judging
Committee for their movies while
Abdulla al Battashi won the Best
Director for his movie ‘Muscat
Beaches’; while the second prize
went to Nasser al Jabri for his movie
‘Uncle Ali’); followed by Humaid al
Amri for the film ‘Al Huqum’
the story based on the pigeons of
The prize for the best script went
to Talib al Balushi for the movie
‘Tohfa’ and the second prize went
to Sultan al Ahmed for his script on
Assaidiya School.
Essam al Balushi bagged Best
cinematography award for his movie
‘Muscat from Sunrise to Sunset’ and
Hamed al Wardhi’s work on ‘Birds
in Ansab Lagoon’ fetched him the
second prize.
The judging committee comprised
besides Oman’s Malalla Darwish
al Balushi, Aladdin from Egypt,
Mohammed Ameen from Tunis,
Hamed Ash’shabi from Bahrain, and
Khamis al Jidlani from Jordan.
Meanwhile, the annual Oman
Film Meet (OFM) will be held in
March this year in Muscat, according
to Dr Khalid al Zadjali.
Anyone who has the talent in
making short films, documentary or
feature films can submit their works
to the Society and there will be as
many as six categories which include
Best Director, Cinematography,
Script, Actor, Actress and Best Jury
Member to be decided by the
“Short films and documentaries
should be of less than 20 minutes
length while feature film should be
of normally acceptable duration or
below”, Dr Khalid added.
Meanwhile, there have been
overwhelming response from the
Omani film makers for the film
contest to be held as part of the
Muscat Festival which is solely
supported and guided by the Muscat
FEBRUARY 11 l 2015
Course sheds light on cardiovascular risk
Atherosclerosis Society (IAS) and
the Oman Society of Lipid and
Atherosclerosis (OSLA), jointly
organised a three-day course on “Lipid
Metabolism and Cardiovascular
Risk”. The course which concluded
on Tuesday, was co-chaired by Prof
Philip Barter (Australia), President
of the International Atherosclerosis
Society and Dr Khalid Al Rasadi
(Oman), President of the Oman
Society of Lipid and Atherosclerosis.
According to Prof Barter, this
meeting addressed one of the most
important public health issues of
the 21st century. “We should not
forget that lipid disorders, such as
high cholesterol and triglycerides to
mention the most common ones, are
major risk factors for cerebrovascular
diseases that we know to be linked to
the growing epidemics of obesity and
diabetes worldwide and especially
MSM declines by 59 points
MUSCAT: Muscat Securities Market (MSM) general index 30 on Tuesday lost 59.47 points,
comprising a decline by 0.89 per cent to close at 6,631.80 points, compared to the last
session. The trading value stood at RO 8.28 million, comprising a decline by 9.61 per cent
compared to the last session, which stood at RO 9.16 million.
The report released by MSM pointed out that the market value declined by 0.46 per cent
to reach about RO 14.94 billion. The report added that the value of shares bought by nonOmani investors reached RO 4,216,000 comprising 50.93 per cent. The value of shares sold
by non-Omani investors reached RO 4,553,000 comprising 55 per cent. The net non-Omani
investment declined by 4.07 to RO 337,000.
Oman Oil price rises 5 cents
Participants at the three-day course on lipid metabolism and cardiovascular risk that concluded on Tuesday.
in the MENA region countries.
Prevention of these diseases to be
implemented thorough a healthier
lifestyle and, when needed, a better
adherence to lipid lowering treatment
is one of the goals national health
systems have to reach in order to have
healthier populations.”
This unique residential course
increased the knowledge and
experience of 31 early-to mid-
career English-speaking practicing
clinicians from 13 different countries
in the MENA region interested in
the management of lipid disorders
through active and vibrant interaction
with top level faculty of some of the
most renown leaders worldwide.
The benefits derived not only
enhance the careers and reputations
of the individuals and their respective
institutions but more importantly
will provide better care for patients,
thus improving the healthcare of the
MENA region.
The International Atherosclerosis
Society (IAS) is an international
federation of 64 national and regional
societies, representing 53 countries,
whose basic missions are to promote
the scientific understanding of the
etiology, prevention, and treatment of
Oman at Morocco meet
MARRAKESH: The Sultanate, represented by the Ministry
of Civil Service and the Institute of Public Administration, is
currently taking part in the 3-day annual meeting and sixth
annual conference of the Governance Institutes Forum for
Training in the Middle East and North Africa — GIFT-MENA Network, Marrakesh, Morocco.
Dr Hammad bin Hamad al Ghaferi, Ministry of Civil
Service Advisor and Sayyid Zaki bin Hilal al Busaidi, Director-General of the Institute of Public Administration, represent the Sultanate in the conference and meeting.
The conference addresses the constraints and opportunities that can promote a culture of cooperation in the South
and deepen joint work culture and openness to the successful international experiences. The conference will discuss
several issues, including the public sector in a time of crisis,
the way to modernity in light of instability. Moving to a more
participatory and transparent governance is among the priorities for the countries of the Middle East and North Africa
besides cooperation prospects between the countries of the
South in the Arab world.
State Council
hosts civic water
resource official
The State
Council’s Social Committee
on Tuesday held a meeting
with Dr Sheikha bint Salim
al Musalamiyah, Chairperson of the Committee presiding and hosted Hamad al
Ghuraibi, Undersecretary
of the Ministry of Regional
Municipalities and Water
Need to raise
public awareness
and that it is the
responsibility of
everyone to care for
the environment
Resources (MRMWR) to
familiarise with the efforts
made by the Ministry to
limit pollution and its effects on man and environment. The Undersecretary
of the MRMWR highlighted the need to raise public
awareness and that it is the
responsibility of everyone
to care for the environment.
He affirmed the importance
of having a law that regularise the measures taken to
preserve environment.
He pointed out that the
Ministry regularised the
sanitary drainage sector by
issuing a number of decisions related to the reuse
of drainage water and their
discharge. It also regularised the construction of
drainage tank.
He added that the Ministry completed the development and drafting of
the Sanitary Drainage Law
which bans the discharge
of superficial water and
rain water at the sanitary
drainage network. In a bid
to protect environment, the
Law also bans the discharge
of sanitary drainage water
into the water drainage or
white lands. — ONA
MUSCAT: Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME) said that Oman oil price April delivery has
reached $55.89. The DME statement on Tuesday said that the price of Oman oil rose 5 cents
over Monday’s price which was $55.84. It is worth noting that the average price of Oman oil
(February Delivery 2015) has stabilised at $61.1, thus $17.23 per barrel lower than January
delivery 2015.
W E D N E S DAY l F E B R U A R Y 1 1 l 2 0 1 5
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott must
take onboard the “frank and blunt” assessment
of his performance by a restive backbench if he
wants to stay in the job, his deputy Julie Bishop
warned on Tuesday. The unpopular Abbott
survived a confidence vote on his leadership
on Monday initiated by MPs from his
conservative Liberal Party which was sparked
by poor poll ratings, policy backflips and his
perceived high-handed decision-making
Japan’s economy continues to show
gradual improvement with both
employment and corporate earnings
recovering, Finance Minister Taro
Aso said on Monday. “There is no
change in the Japanese economy’s
trend of gradual improvement,” Aso
told reporters on the sidelines of the
G20 meeting of finance ministers and
central bankers in Istanbul
BACK TO PRISON: Conviction disqualifies him from political office and contesting the next election in 2018
Anwar loses appeal, sent to jail for 5 years
Taiwan’s China
minister quits
over spy row
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s highest
court rejected on Tuesday an appeal
by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim
against an abuse conviction, sending
the politician who poses the greatest
threat to the long-ruling coalition back
to prison for five years.
The UN Human Rights office and
Australia said they were disappointed by
the ruling.
Human Rights Watch condemned
it as persecution and Amnesty
International said it would have a
chilling effect on freedom of expression.
Anwar, the ruling party’s rising star
in the mid-1990s before he fell out
with then Prime Minister Mahathir
Mohamad, denied the charge that led
to his second conviction as a fabrication
aimed at ending his political career.
“I will walk again for the third time
into prison but rest assured that I will
walk in with my head held high,” a
defiant Anwar said in a statement he read
out in court. I maintain my innocence.”
Prime Minister Najib Razak’s
government has rejected any suggestion
of interference in the case.
“Malaysia has an independent
judiciary, and there have been many
rulings against senior government
figures,” the government said in a
statement after the ruling.
children and had a meal with them
before being taken to the Sungai Buloh
prison, about 30 km from Kuala Lumpur.
A court found the 67-year old former
deputy prime minister guilty in March
last year of sodomising a former political
aide. The conviction disqualifies him
from political office and contesting the
next election that must be held by 2018.
Nurul Izzah, Anwar’s daughter who
is also a political leader in his Parti
Keadilan Rakyat, was also defiant.
“This is not the end,” said told
reporters outside the court.
Anwar is head of a three-party
opposition alliance that made stunning
gains in a 2013 general election which
for the first time raised the possibility of
a genuine challenge for the coalition that
has ruled Malaysia since independence
in 1957.
The decision against him raises the
prospect of a fresh bout of political
agitation which could make investors
even more cautious about putting
money into an economy so heavily
Anwar Ibrahim arrives with wife Wan Azizah (L), for the verdict in his final appeal
dependent on oil and gas revenues at a
against a conviction for sodomy, at the federal court in Putrajaya. — Reuters
time when global prices are so low.
Anwar’s party and the opposition
Anwar criticised the court saying that scruples in a sea of falsehood and
in rejecting his appeal it was “bowing to subterfuge,” he told the judges who alliance plan protests against the verdict.
Hundreds of his supporters outside
walked out of the court as he spoke.
the dictates of the political masters”.
the court waved party flags and shouted
“I will not surrender,” he said.
“You chose to remain on the dark
Anwar later comforted his wife and “Down with Barisan Nasional”, referring
side and drown your morals and your
Hong Kong warns over
digital coins amid fraud
HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s central bank has warned people against investing in virtual currencies amid local media reports that a bitcoin exchange may have run off with $387 million in client funds — making it
potentially the biggest bitcoin scandal after last year’s bankruptcy at Tokyobased Mt.Gox.
The South China Morning Post reported on Monday that clients of Hong
Kong-based MyCoin had approached a local lawmaker alleging the company absconded with their money.
An assistant for Legislative Council member Leung Yiu-chung said
that Leung had received more than 15 complaints from MyCoin clients regarding the alleged fraud, and these would be passed on to the police on
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) said in a statement late
on Monday that the case “may involve fraud or pyramid schemes,” adding:
“Given the highly speculative nature of Bitcoin, we have all along urged the
public to exercise extra caution when considering making transactions or
investments with Bitcoin.”
Calls to MyCoin in Hong Kong could not be connected.
Calls to the company’s China customer service line were not answered.
Bitcoins are created through a ‘mining’ process where a computer’s resources are used to perform millions of calculations.
Advocates say the virtual currency is revolutionary as it’s not controlled by a central bank and has potential as an alternative means of online
payment. But the rise of bitcoin, which is unregulated in many countries
including Hong Kong, has stoked concerns it can be used as a vehicle to
launder money and finance extremist groups.
to the ruling coalition.
“What has happened today is not fair
but this has happened before...we will
keep fighting,” said an Anwar supporter
who identified herself as Salihah M, 36.
Australia said it was disappointed
and “deeply concerned” about Anwar’s
Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director
for Human Rights Watch, called the
court ruling a “travesty of justice”.
“Prime Minister Najib Razak’s
government has persisted in its
politically motivated prosecution of
opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim at the
expense of democratic freedoms and
the rights to non-discrimination and
privacy for all Malaysians,” he said.
The UN Human rights office said
sodomy should not be a criminal
offence. Anwar has for years been the
greatest threat to Malaysia’s political
His jailing could undermine the
opposition’s unity and the challenge it
poses but it could also galvanise dissent.
His political career has been turbulent
since he was sacked in 1998 after falling
out with then premier Mahathir and
then campaigned against corruption
and nepotism and led a nationwide
“reformasi” (reform) protest movement.
— Reuters
China to build
dam, roads in
promised to help build a hydroelectric
power plant in a violent Afghan
border region, as well as road and
rail links to Pakistan, in the latest
sign it is taking a more active role in
The assistance will include an
unspecified amount of financing, an
Afghan foreign ministry spokesman,
Sirajul Haq Siraj, said on Tuesday, a
day after senior Afghan, Chinese and
Pakistani diplomats met in Kabul.
“China agreed to support relevant
initiatives for projects including
the Kunar hydropower plant
and strengthening road and rail
connections between Afghanistan
and Pakistan,” Chinese Foreign
Chunying told a daily news briefing
— Reuters
in Beijing.
A couple sitting on their motorcycle cross a flooded road on a cart in Jakarta on Tuesday. Heavy monsoon rains have flooded
many sections of the Indonesian capital causing heavy traffic and leaving some commuters stranded.
The 24-year-old maid was hospitalised after beating and keeping her prisoner in by mother-of-two Law Wan-tung
Hong Kong woman guilty of Indonesian maid torture
HONG KONG: A Hong Kong woman
was convicted on Tuesday of beating
and starving her Indonesian maid
and keeping her prisoner in a case
that sparked international outrage
and highlighted the plight of migrant
domestic workers.
The verdict, read out to a packed
courtroom, was met with cheers by
activists and supporters of Erwiana
Sulistyaningsih, a former domestic
helper who has become the face of a
campaign for improved workers’ rights
in the financial hub.
Pictures of the injuries sustained by
the 24-year-old, who was admitted to
hospital in her home country emaciated
and in a critical condition after being
abused by mother-of-two Law Wantung, fuelled anger in Indonesia and
shocked Hong Kong.
Sulistyaningsih hailed the ruling but
called for reforms to ensure Hong Kong
employers no longer treated domestic
workers “like slaves”.She said that while
TAIPEI: Taiwan’s China affairs
minister Wang Yu-chi resigned on
Tuesday after prosecutors decided
not to indict a former deputy whom
he had accused of spying for Beijing.
Wang had alleged in August that
Chang Hsien-yao, a deputy minister
at the Mainland Affairs Council
which handles relations between
Taipei and Beijing, was leaking
national secrets to China.
Chang denied the allegations, but
stepped down from his post in August
of last year, and prosecutors launched
an investigation into the claims.
He was cleared on Tuesday after
authorities said there was not enough
evidence against him. “I disagree with
the reasons of the prosecutors that
enabled them to make the decision,”
Wang, the council’s chairman, told
He said however that he had to
respect it, stating: “I would like to
resign to take responsibility.” The
government has yet to announce who
will take over from Wang. — AFP
Amanda Woodcock said, referring to
“She was completely isolated, and
(this) helps explain why this abuse could
go on for so long without her retaliating
or anyone knowing.”
“When Erwiana left Hong Kong she
was a shadow of her former self.”
Law, 44, was found guilty of 18 of the
20 charges laid against her, including
grievous bodily harm, assault, criminal
intimidation and failure to pay wages.
She lowered her head but appeared to
be calm as the verdict was announced,
while a jubilant Sulistyaningsih, clad
in a black T-shirt with her face and the
word “justice” emblazoned on it, hugged
Erwiana Sulistyaningsih (C) leaves the court of justice in Hong Kong on Tuesday after
“I am happy that she was found
her employer Law Wan-tung (inset) was convicted of beating and starving the
guilty,” she said.
Indonesian maid in a “torture” case that sparked international outrage and
“Myself, I can forgive her. But Hong
spotlighted the plight of migrant domestic workers in the Middle East and Asia.
Kong has a justice system, because of
that, justice must be upheld.”
she forgave her abuser, she hoped Law on February 27.
At a separate news conference, she
would receive the maximum seven year
“She was, for want of a better word,
jail term when sentencing is announced a prisoner in those premises,” Judge called for reform in Hong Kong, and
said her native Indonesia must not shirk
its responsibilities to protect its citizens
who travel abroad to work.
“I hope they will start treating
migrant workers as workers and human
beings, and stop treating us like slaves,”
she said.
Sulistyaningsih said she hoped her
former employer would receive the
greatest possible sentence, “even though
for me, that is still not enough compared
to what she did to me and other victims”.
During the six-week trial, prosecutors
said Law turned household items such
as a mop, a ruler and a clothes hanger
into “weapons” against her maids.
Sulistyaningsih described in vivid
detail how she was “tortured”, starved,
beaten and ritually humiliated by Law,
with prosecutors saying she was treated
as an “unpaid slave”.
“It’s a victory for Erwiana,” Aaron
Ceradoy, programme coordinator for
the Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants,
Taiwan govt to
indict Sunflower
leaders for riots
TAIPEI: The leaders of antiChina protests that roiled Taiwan’s
legislature for weeks last spring will
face charges of agitating the public
and attacking police, officials said on
Student leader Lin Fei-fan and
noted legal scholar KC Huang are
among 22 people named in a lawsuit
by the Taipei District Prosecutors
Office for offences committed during
the three-week occupation of Taiwan’s
blocked a controversial trade services
pact with the mainland.
Officials have not decided on
what kind of punishment they will
seek, though they did not exclude the
prospect of jail.
“We’ve submitted the suit to
judges and are awaiting word from
them on how to proceed,” said head
prosecutor Chang Chieh-Chin.
China regards Taiwan as a
renegade province and has not ruled
out the use of force to bring it under
its control. The protests, nicknamed
the Sunflower Movement, were
the largest display of anti-China
sentiment the island had seen in
— Reuters
FEBRUARY 11l 2015
Myanmar fighting pushes
refugees across China border
Smoke rises in the sky after a suicide car bomb attack in Kunduz province on Tuesday. Taliban insurgents launched an attack on
a police headquarters in northern Afghanistan, provincial police spokesman Sayed Sarwar Hosseini said.
— Reuters
Afghan police
station repels
Taliban attack
KUNDUZ, Afghanistan: Five Taliban fighters were killed when
they attacked a police
headquarters in northern Afghanistan on
Tuesday, officials said.
One attacker blew
himself up at the entrance and four others
were shot dead, said
Sayed Sarwar Hussaini,
police spokesman for
Kunduz province. No
police died, but “an officer and a woman passerby were injured,” he
said. “The situation is
under control now.”
Taliban spokesman
responsibility for the attack, saying “several police were
killed.” Insurgents control some of Kunduz’s
districts, from where
they occasionally attack.
BEIJING: China’s expressed concern on
Tuesday about renewed fighting between
Myanmar rebels and government forces
which forced civilians to cross the
border to seek refuge in China.
The fighting flared up in the Kokang
region of northeast Myanmar’s Shan
State between rebels from a group called
the Myanmar National Democratic
Alliance Army (MNDAA) and the army.
“From yesterday until today, some
Myanmar border residents, because of
safety considerations, entered China.
They have been looked after,” Chinese
foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua
Chunying told a daily news briefing,
without giving a number.
The rebels were formerly part of the
Communist Party of Burma (CPB),
a China-backed guerrilla force that
battled the Myanmar government until
the group fell apart in 1989.
Hua said China would pay close
attention to how the situation developed
The fighting flared up
in the Kokang region of
northeast Myanmar’s Shan
State between rebels from a
group called the Myanmar
National Democratic Alliance
Army and the army
and it would maintain peace and
stability on the border. “We also believe
that the Myanmar side should work
hard for this,” she added.
“We hope that relevant parties in
northern Myanmar can resolve their
differences via continuing to uphold
peaceful talks and prevent the clashes
from escalating and affecting border
stability, especially from affecting
security and order on the Chinese side.”
The MNDAA signed a ceasefire
agreement with the government in
1989, the first of about a dozen factions
that formed after the CPB disintegrated.
Despite such ceasefire agreements,
clashes between government troops and
guerrilla groups do break out from time
to time.
The state-backed Global New Light
of Myanmar newspaper said the fighting
began on Monday between the army
and “renegade troops of Kokang”.
“They took over a police outpost.
There were some casualties on both
sides,” a Myanmar military officer based
in the northeast said on condition of
“We’re planning to get it back after
reinforcing our troops.”
In December, Myanmar state media
accused the group of killing seven
soldiers and wounding 20. Fighting
between the rebels and the army in 2009
pushed tens of thousands of refugees
into southwestern China, angering the
government in Beijing. — Reuters
Climate change: Bhutan’s seed
bank ensures food security
THIMPU, Bhutan: Boasting of more
than 300 local rice varieties that have
withstood varying weather conditions
over the ages, Bhutan is relying on its
seed bank — a conserve of seeds and
other genetic resources of indigenous
plants — to tackle food security issues
arising out of climate change.
Nestled in the southern slopes
of eastern Himalayas, Bhutan is the
one of the world’s smallest countries,
with 69 per cent of its population of
just 760,000 people dependent on
agriculture. Around 56 per cent are
farmers, the community most aware
of local symptoms of climate change
that is perceived as a threat to the loss
of on-farm agro-biodiversity, said
Ugyen Tshewang, secretary of Bhutan’s
National Environment Commission
“Our National Gene Bank will
definitely play an important role for us
in tackling climate change because it has
all the indigenous seeds. For example,
there are more than 300 varieties of rice
and many varieties of corn and others
staples,” Tshewang said.
“The local varieties are more resilient
because they have passed the test of time
and are adapted to the local conditions
they have passed through the cold
weather, hot weather, frost and snow,”
he added.
Tshewang was speaking on the
sidelines of the just-concluded APN
South Asia on ‘Global Climate
Change: Reducing Risk and Increasing
Resilience’ here organised by AsiaPacific Network (APN) for Global
Change Research in collaboration with
the Bhutanese government.
The essence of a gene bank is to
preserve a diversity of seeds for posterity
and for research, Tshewang explained.
Established in 2005, it holds 1,268
accessions of cereals, legumes, oilseeds
and vegetables.
Rice, maize, wheat, barley, buckwheat
and millets are the major staple
cereals that are cultivated in Bhutan,
which is opposed to the introduction
of genetically modified crops/food,
Tshewang informed.
Officials estimate the presence of 350
landraces (locally adapted varieties) of
rice, more than 40 of maize, 24 of wheat
and 30 of barley in the country.
“We have also developed eight
climate resilient rice varieties in the
wake of climate change,” Tenzin
Drugyel, deputy chief of the ministry of
agriculture and forests (MoAF), said.
Some of the local symptoms of
climate change that Bhutan has seen
recently include floods from a glacial
lake outburst (GLOF) and erratic
monsoons. — IANS
FEBRUARY 11 l 2015
hen Red Cross pickups crawl through the streets of the Guinean town of Lola in
search of Ebola victims, crowds of women gather to shoo the medical workers
away, young boys throw stones and angry men reach for their machetes.
In the country where West Africa’s Ebola outbreak began, hostility towards aid
workers - fuelled by ever more far-fetched rumours — is undermining efforts to
contain the deadly virus.
“People tell us if we don’t leave they’ll beat us up, or smash up the car,” said
Paquile Zoglelemou, head of the Red Cross in Lola, a town set in thick, tropical
jungle in the deep southeast of Guinea near the Liberian border.
Concerns about violence directed at aid teams comes as the number of new
cases of Ebola rose at the start of February in all three of West Africa’s worst-hit
countries — Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — ending previously encouraging
declines. In Lola, a market town with houses of mud brick and tin roofs, a spate of
new Ebola cases in recent weeks has stoked fear and mistrust.
Despite government efforts to inform people about the virus, false rumours
and conspiracy theories win out. One rumour holds that Western governments
have planted the virus, another that spraying of disinfectants is actually a means of
infecting others, and even that Ebola treatment centres are used for the extraction
and trafficking of human organs.
“The Red Cross wants to kill us,” said Lah Wiemou, an elder in the village of
Ouye, near Lola. “They put the virus in the water and spray it around the village,
or when they take away the sick, the medication they give them contains Ebola.”
The Ebola epidemic has killed nearly 9,000 people in West Africa over the last
year, more than 1,900 of them in Guinea. Resistance to aid efforts has made it
hard to isolate and treat patients, trace their
contacts and safely bury the dead, key to
Resistance to aid
preventing another flare up.
“They set up barricades to stop us leaving. efforts has made
Some threw large stones that broke the car it hard for Guinea
windshield, and others ran home to get their
to isolate and treat
machetes,” said Saa Yola Tolno, the top local
official in Lola, who accompanied a Red Cross patients, trace their
convoy last week.
contacts and safely
Some communities still hide their sick
bury the dead, key to
and secretly bury their dead, despite high
transmission risks during traditional funeral preventing another
rites, which involve washing and preparing flare up, reports
the body. Forecariah, a town southeast of
the capital Conakry, is another hotbed of
Here, Red Cross teams drive unmarked
cars, their iconic symbol viewed with suspicion by a fearful population.
Responding to a tip-off via the national Ebola hotline, a team of eight Red
Cross workers approaches a man lying motionless under a village water tower.
A slight movement indicates he’s still alive, but barely.
“We’ll take him to the Ebola transit centre in Forecariah,” said Alain Kapete,
who leads the French Red Cross team in the town. “If he has Ebola, we’ll have to
come back and trace everyone that came into contact with him.”
The team’s presence draws attention. A crowd gathers. “They spray the virus in
the village,” one man says.”That’s why we’re getting sick.”
The dissenter is hushed by the village chief and the team gets to work. They
kit up in full protective clothing, lift the man into an ambulance and disinfect the
area. “We now prepare the disinfectant in front of them so they can see we are
adding bleach,” said Kapete.
Just the night before, the team had escaped an attack in the town of Sikhourou,
near Forecariah, they said. Had it not been for the heavily armed escort of a
minister passing through, things could have turned violent.
Attitudes have changed little since Reuters first reported attacks on Ebola
health workers 10 months ago in the southeastern town of Macenta.
In Coyah in western Guinea locals attacked aid workers in January when
they tried to spray disinfectant around a mosque, said the emergency evacuation
service International SOS. The police used teargas to disperse the crowd, the
organisation said in a memo to its members.
In Kaback, south of the capital, residents attacked health workers when they
tried to add disinfectants to wells, acting on rumours they had come to spread
Ebola. The aid workers were badly beaten, said International SOS.
Guinea’s government on January 10 set a 60-day target to completely eradicate
the disease, but resistance to containment efforts paints a disturbing picture.
This file photo shows Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko at a polling station in Minsk. — AFP
An unlikely star of peace talks
olitical pariah turned would-be peacemaker, Belarussian sanctions,” said Dobrovolsky. “The idea to come to Minsk
President Alexander Lukashenko will bask in the limelight emerged out of desperation.”
Lukashenko, 60, has been in power for over two decades,
this week when European leaders desperate to end the
bringing Belarus to international isolation and increased
Ukraine war are expected to gather in Minsk.
Today’s planned summit of heads of state from France, dependance on Russia. But the crisis in neighbouring
Germany, Russia and Ukraine is billed as a last-ditch chance Ukraine has also exposed complications in the ex-Soviet
to prevent an irreversible breakdown in attempts to resolve republic’s relationship with Moscow.
While Lukashenko met Putin in the Russian resort of
peacefully the conflict between pro-Russian separatists and
Sochi this week to discuss Ukraine, he has also switched his
Ukrainian government forces.
But the event is also a rare chance for Lukashenko — Russian defence minister for a Belarussian and amended
shunned by the West over his human rights record — to the law on what his country considers a military threat —
a move interpreted by many as a countermeasure against
come in from out of the diplomatic cold.
The arrival of Chancellor Angela Merkel, for example, possible Russian invasion. Although his domestic rights
record is dismal, Lukashenko can seem moderate alongside
would be the first visit to Belarus by a German leader since
more radical Russian officials who have
Adolf Hitler in World War II. Lukashenko
called for occupying Kiev and made
has been popularly branded in the West
With Western
veiled threats of using Russia’s nuclear
as Europe’s last dictator.
criticism now
But with Western criticism now
“Russian ultra-patriots consider
homing increasingly in on Russian
increasingly on Putin,
Belarus the next after Ukraine,” MoscowPresident Vladimir Putin, Lukashenko
Lukashenko has
based analyst Konstantin Kalachev said
has won breathing space and a chance to
won some breathing of growing calls for the “return” of eastern
play a constructive role.
“Though Belarus is not the focus of the
space, writes TATIANA regions of Belarus to Russia.
“Lukashenko is playing on two
visit by European leaders, it is extremely
chessboards” as the West criticises his
significant for the country,” said historian
rights record, while Moscow threatens to
Igor Kuznetsov. “It is a great honour for
swallow Belarus, he said.
Having all but destroyed political opposition over the
“Belarussian problems have gone on the back burner
because of the war in Ukraine,” said former lawmaker and last five years, Lukashenko is likely to use his high-profile
mediator status to his advantage ahead of presidential
opposition politician Alexander Dobrovolsky.
Lukashenko and many government officials are under elections in November, said observers and critics.
“If Merkel and Hollande come to Minsk, they will have
US and EU travel bans and financial sanctions imposed in
to meet with Lukashenko, and that will be used by state
response to brutal crackdowns on protests.
In recent years Lukashenko expelled Swedish diplomats media to boost his image among the public,” said political
after activists in Sweden airdropped hundreds of teddy analyst Andrei Fyodorov.
“These Minsk talks will go down in history books,” he
bears bearing pro-democracy slogans.
In 2011 he arrested protesters for clapping at flash mob added.
“Lukashenko will build the image of a peacemaker who
rallies. All that makes Belarus an unusual site for hosting
does not have problems with the international community,”
international peace talks.
“European leaders are forced to go to a country under said top opposition leader Anatoliy Lebedko.
Greek finance minister tests EU’s ways of winning friends
reece’s new Finance Minister Yanis
Varoufakis heads to a Eurogroup finance
ministers meeting today to ask for
something almost no one there wants
to give — at its most basic, a new debt
agreement without the strings of austerity.
His officials say he expects a tough
time. The question is whether he will come
out like one of his predecessors, Evangelos
Venizelos, having been humiliated.
Varoufakis is a charismatic type who is
clearly enjoying a degree of European, if
not global, celebrity.
He has been dubbed “Superstar” by
Greek media and even become something
of a hearthrob in Germany’s media.
But he has already upset some of the
people he needs to convince, saying the
euro zone was at risk of collapse, Italy’s
debt is unsustainable and bringing up
Germany’s Nazi past.
He will need his counterparts onside
if he is to get first a bridge agreement to
cover immediate financing and then a
renewed debt plan.
“The best way to get a deal in the EU is
by quietly building alliances behind closed
doors and then trying to build consensus
around compromises. Noisy confrontation
usually leads to resistance and isolation,” a
former diplomat in Brussels said.
Greek officials have made it clear that
they have some “red lines”, namely a refusal
to run large primary budget surpluses (the
balance before interest payments on debt)
and that the debt must be restructured.
The Greek approach to date has been
to talk about negotiations but make
strident and sometimes threatening
demands, rationalised by Prime Minister
Alexis Tsipras’ anti-austerity sweep in
popular elections. Some of Varoufakis’
performance may go further because
of his economic expertise and practice
in game theory.
But despite the media delight at his
persona — leather jacket, rugged looks,
bluntness — Varoufakis’s attempts so far
to get support in Europe have done little
to improve Greece’s position in what is
as of now an 18-to-1 euro zone standoff.
Perhaps most damaging were comments
on Italian television broadcast on Sunday.
He said that the whole euro zone
structure was teetering.
“The euro is fragile, it’s like building a
Finance Minister Varoufakis’s
attempts so far to get support
in Europe have done little to
improve Greece’s position
in what is as of now an
18-to-1 euro zone standoff,
castle of cards, if you take out the Greek
card the others will collapse,” he according
to an Italian transcript.
This is a threat to his partners and the
last thing a currency union struggling
with economic malaise needs to hear.
He then went on to imply that other
countries will be next if Greece is forced
by the crisis to leave the euro zone, saying
according to the transcript: “Let’s face it,
Italy’s debt situation is unsustainable.”
Italian Economy Minister Pier Carlo
Padoan, who will be at today’s Eurogroup
meeting to hear Varoufakis’s requests, said
the remarks were “out of place” and that
a European solution to Greece’s problems
requires “mutual trust”.
Varoufakis later said that Padoan had
telephoned him and that he had told the
Italian he had been taken out of context
and was referring to past experience from
2010-11. In Brussels, officials who regard
Varoufakis as a bit of a loose cannon
console themselves with that fact he is not
in charge. “He’ll only be implementing
policy, not (be) the architect. Tsipras will
give the signals,” said one EU official who
has been watching Varoufakis closely.
But that may be wishful thinking.
Tsipras himself gave an unbending speech
at the weekend, announcing the end
of austerity and adding an unexpected
demand for German war reparations.
Greek Finance Minister Varoufakis and German Finance Minister Schaeuble
during a news conference at the Finance Ministry in Berlin. — Reuters
FEBRUARY 11 l 2015
Sultanate can learn a lot from Korean experience
[email protected]
here are many reasons which have led to the
development of South Korea during the past few
decades. However, the most important for this is
the quality of education received by children in
this Asian country, which did not have a mention
four centuries ago.
Last year at Oman Fourth Economic Form
2014, we heard the former South Korean
president Myung-bak Lee, speaking about these
reasons. He said at the forum that education was
the essence and foundation for this progress.
He pointed out that Korean universities and
educational institutions pay great attention to
engineering, science and associated disciplines
and other sciences, adding that there was
significant cooperation between universities and
institutes, as well Korean community at large
in supplying the market and the people with all
new developments, inventions and creations.
He stressed the need for governments to fund
universities to enable them achieve the hopes and
aspirations of people.
In response to questions posed to him at
the forum, the former president noted that
at the beginning of the renaissance in Korea,
there were state-owned companies operating in
various fields. However, he said at the start of
the era of globalisation and the entry of global country. There were countries which depend on
investments, many tangible changes took place in human efficiency, while there were others that
depend on global energy resources that have had
the development of companies.
Privatisation of most public companies began a great contribution in their development.
He realised that the Sultanate of Oman is
and the Korean government was evaluating those
experiences in order to rectify any errors which working hard to meet the post-oil age, and this
is a good thing, saying that is
might have take place in the
especially important as the
privatisation process.
government accords great
He believed that a number
Former South Korean
attention and interest to
of countries began their
economic experience with
president reiterated the education. Nevertheless, he
again on the need
South Korea, including the
importance of education focused
to stress on education and
Sultanate. Nevertheless, he
as the cornerstone of
economic vision and on
thought that the prevailing
learning from the experiences
environment had much to
development of any
of others as well.
do with the development and
country, and said this
In this regard, the former
economic progress. However,
is the secret behind his Korean president reiterated
the environment in Korea was
the importance of education
different from that in Oman,
country’s progress
as the cornerstone of any
for instance.
development. He pointed
At the beginning of the
out that the secret of the
seventies, he said the price of
a barrel of oil was one dollar, but at the end of that renaissance and development of Korea and
clearing itself from its problems lied on this
decade, the price of oil hit $70 a barrel.
This makes difficult to compare countries sector, adding that education was the direct cause
in the field of economic development because of Korea getting rid of poverty and rising up to
the needs of the people differ from country to achieve economic development.
He praised the efforts of the Sultanate in the
field of education and in achieving the integrated
vision of Oman 2020 through its great focus on
human resources development.
In general, it is imperative to understand and
accommodate the idea of benefiting from the
Korean experience and other Asian experiences,
especially in the educational sector.
These countries had grown and developed
because of their great attention to the models
of basic education. That was the direct cause of
their growth and development, and of what they
achieve in sustainable development in economic
and scientific comprehensive renaissance.
The educational experience of Korea and
some other Asian countries have contributed to
the successful development of those countries. It
also contributed in the generation of more jobs
for their young people, enabling them to work in
infrastructure projects.
They also depended greatly on their local
languages in education and work, on the local
human element, and on the energy resources,
they received from other countries.
Korea and other Asian countries achieved
their experiences of development and progress in
a scientific manner.
surge in support has made the Green Party a potentially disruptive antiausterity political force in what is set to be Britain’s most unpredictable
election, even if it wins only a few seats. As she spoke to voters in
London, Australian-born party leader Natalie Bennett said the Greens
had been boosted by the electoral triumph of Greece’s Syriza.
“This could be the election where the future of British politics looks
nothing like the past,” Bennett, a former journalist running for election
to the Holborn and St Pancras constituency, said.
The party’s support has steadily risen over the last year and
broke into double figures in two January polls, drawing from mostly
younger voters disillusioned with mainstream politics and angry at the
government’s public spending cuts. Membership of the party, which
holds a single seat in parliament, doubled to 51,000 in three months,
overtaking junior coalition partner the Liberal Democrats and the antiEU UK Independence Party.
But Britain’s voting system means even if smaller parties have
significant support nationally, they will not win seats in parliament in
May unless they dominate individual constituencies — something the
Greens may lack the organisational power to do.
The Greens could however play a key role by chipping away at
Labour support in key constituencies, with the left-leaning party
neck-and-neck against Prime Minister David Cameron’s centre-right
Conservatives. Bennett said she would not join a coalition with either
party, but would consider supporting Labour “on a vote-by-vote basis”.
The Greens’ priority demands in any negotiations would be a reversal
of austerity and the scrapping of Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons
programme, she added.
University of Manchester senior politics lecturer Robert Ford said
the main impact of the Greens would be its effect on Labour, which
is also facing pressure from the Scottish National Party and the antiEuropean Union UK Independence Party.
“It’s such a close election that every one of these things count. If five
seats tilt away from Labour because of the Greens that’s a big problem
for Labour,” Ford said.
London conservation worker Cia Marsh, 25, said she was inspired to
join the Green Party following mass political engagement in the Scottish
referendum in September, in which an 85 per cent turnout broke
British records. “As a young person I’m very aware the government is
failing me and that none of the other parties have any interest in my
generation,” Marsh said.
Supporters of Aam Aadmi Party take part in the celebrations outside the party office in New Delhi. — Reuters
Congrats Kejri, but no repeat of old things!
win in 67 out of the 70 seats of the Delhi
Assembly elections. That’s the Aam Aadmi
Party’s performance, here and now —
spectacular and mindboggling, defying
not only all electoral logic, but AAP’s own
expectations and calculations as well!
Looks like they just had a magical broom
to sweep Delhi polls!
The Delhi poll results, out to catapult
AAP beyond all expectations, have just
rendered the poll pundits too breathless to
delve into “the whys and hows” of it. You
call him anarchists or “dhanrnebaaz” (sit-in
expert), it’s the fate accompli now of New
Delhi and its voters, thanks to the wisdom
of the capital voters.
But lest and before AAP and its leaders
reach beyond the reach of common men
like us and surpass the threshold after
acquiring the what Rahul Gandhi once
aspired to acquire for his Grand Old party
— the obscure escape velocity, one would
like to caution, nay just plead with, Arvind
Kejriwal and his band of leaders, just not to
do a few things that they were so keen and
prone to do during their last term.
Here are the few don’ts for Kejriwal – not
prescribing any list of do’s as one is sure they
would be doing almost anything that would
suit their hyperactive whims and fancies.
Among the first and foremost don’ts is
indulging in policing — Don’t do personal
policing please! This would perhaps be the
first plea of the common men and women to
Kejriwal and his companions. Politicians are
politicians, not policemen as AAP erstwhile
law minister Somanath Bharti apparently
thought while raiding the residence of some
African natives in middle of a fateful night
to please some of his voters.
In the process, they did not only violate
some key Fundamental Rights of African
natives — Bharti, a lawyer by profession
must have known it that Indian Constitution
grants some Fundamental Rights even to the
foreigners, they also indulged in virtually a
“tu-tu-main-main” (paw-paw) and fisticuffs
with the policemen, refusing to obey
them to do their biddings during the midnight swoop.
It had posed a question mark on the
maturity of the Indian democracy and its
respect for the rule of law. Bharti should have
known that politicians are not supposed to
indulge in policing and resorting to “tu-tumain-main” (paw paw) with those very men
in khakhi to whom he was elected to guide
and direct, ask and tell, order and command
and to observe and preserve the rule of law
by issuing legal diktats.
But what Bharati had resorted to was just
the antithesis of the rule of law and slur on
the maturity of Indian democracy. What
he was doing was holding a jan-addalat
(people’s court), or a kangaroo court, often
reported to be held in the backwaters of
Naxal-hit areas, where the rule of olaw has
been supplanted by the rule of Maoists.
But sure enough Kejriwal government
was not that of Naxals. So that’s why Bharati
or any of the Kejriwals minister or MLAs
in his next government must not do what
Bharati did a few months back.
That is not the first and the last of the
don’ts for the soon-to-be sworn Kejriwal
Among the first and foremost
don’ts is indulging in policing.
Don’t do personal policing. This
would perhaps be the first plea
of the common man in Delhi to
Kejriwal and his companions,
reports R A K SINGH
government. There is a second one as
well. The second one is directly linked to
Kejriwal himself — as the Delhi next chief
minister, holding a constitutional position
and arguably the most powerful post in
the national Capital after that of the Prime
Minister, powered directly by people’s
power, must not resort to the wayward and
childish sit-ins and dharnas, whatever may
be the provocation.
With the people having made him their
chief minister, Kejriwal must know that
he has now been empowered enough by
the Constitution of this country, having a
federal system of governance that he need
not resort to any dharna or sit-ins to have
his say for the welfare of the people.
He must know and some of his “Mr All
Know” journalist friends must let him know
that as the chief minister of a state, he may
talk to anybody and everybody, including
the Prime Minister, on equal footing and
terms and can resolve any problem — all
that he should and must know is the skill of
talking and holding dialogues. Democracy
is all about holding dialogues. It’s not about
stomping feet and throwing tantrums like
a child and spread himself out on an open
street corner, all wrapped in a blanket.
The images of a chief minister of the
state sleeping in an open street all wrapped
in a blanket and smilingly peeping out of it
projects the image of not a matured chief
minister of a matured democracy. It reflects
the image of either a pampered kid or a
lunatic. Accordingly, Kejriwal, the next chief
minister of Delhi, need to swear that he will
neither do nor let any of his ministers do any
such bizarre thing.
The list of don’t for Kejriwal and his party
is in fact a trifle long, but for now it’s more
than enough. Best of Luck and good day, Mr
next- Delhi CM!
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FEBRUARY 11 l 2015
AAP again hero, BJP 3, Congress zero
Modi mauled in Delhi poll after BJP had won a string of big states in recent months
Aam Aadmi Party chief
and its chief ministerial
candidate for Delhi,
Arvind Kejriwal (C)
addresses his
supporters in New
Delhi after its landslide
win on Tuesday.
— Reuters
NEW DELHI: An upstart antiestablishment party crushed India’s
ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in a
Delhi state election on Tuesday,
smashing an aura of invincibility
built around Prime Minister
Narendra Modi since he swept to
power last year.
With the vote of the main
national opposition Congress party
collapsing, the Aam Aadmi, or
Common Man Party, was set to
capture more than nine-tenths of the
seats in the capital, in what Modi’s
critics said was a warning against the
partisan politics of Hindu hardliners
in his fold.
Winning power in India’s states
is critical to control of the upper
house of parliament, where Modi’s
party lacks a majority and has been
thwarted in its effort to pass reforms,
including wider opening of the
insurance sector.
Delhi is a small state, but high
profile, and such a comprehensive
rout in the capital is a blow to the
BJP’s ambitions to capture India’s
second most populous state, Bihar,
in an election later this year.
“While Delhi is not very
significant in electoral terms,
a BJP loss there shatters the
popular narrative around the BJP’s
invincibility,” said Milan Vaishnav,
an associate at the Carnegie
Endowment for International Peace.
“A loss in Delhi certainly signals
an end to Modi’s honeymoon.
Furthermore, because it is
the capital city, an opposition
government, especially one led by
the confrontational AAP, would
be a constant thorn in the Modi
government’s side.”
The Aam Aadmi, led by former
tax inspector Arvind Kejriwal and
campaigning on a platform of propoor polices and clean government,
was set to win 67 seats out of 70 seats
in the Delhi assembly, the biggest
ever tally for any party in the capital.
Congress, the BJP’s main
nationwide challenger, failed to win
a single seat, underlining how far the
Gandhi dynasty has fallen since the
party lost power federally in 2014.
The BJP, seen as a party of traders
and big business, had slumped to 3
seats, its worst showing ever, with its
chief minister candidate and former
cop Kiran Bedi losing her seat.
Modi, who threw himself into the
campaign, congratulated Kejriwal
and said in a Twitter post he would
work with him for the development
of the mega-city of more than 15
million people.
Hundreds of supporters of
the AAP swarmed into its office,
wearing their trademark boatshaped white caps, and showered
their leaders with flower petals.
Congress had ruled Delhi for 15
years until 2014.”The Congress party
is on its deathbed,” said Mohan
Guruswamy of the Centre for
Policy Alternatives.”Earlier it was
in an ambulance on the way to the
hospital. Now it is the intensive care
Epic to be retold on Twitter
from Duryodhana’s viewpoint
NEW DELHI: A lecturer based in
Britain has reimagined an ancient
Indian epic for Twitter audiences,
spawning a book and spurring a second
attempt, this time from the perspective
of the main villain.
Chindu Sreedharan began retelling
the Mahabharata on the microblogging
service in 2009, taking more than four
years and nearly 2,700 tweets to finish
“Epic Retold”, published in December
as a book billed as India’s first Twitter
The ancient Sanskrit epic, one of
Hinduism’s crucial texts built of around
100,000 couplets, tells of a dynastic
struggle for power and a cataclysmic
war won by the righteous Pandava
Sreedharan’s Twitter version is told
from the point of view of Bhima, the
strongest of the five Pandava warriors.
Now the 41-year-old academic
is reading up on Bhima’s cousin
Duryodhana to present a shorter
Twitter narrative from his point of view,
turning the antagonist into an antihero.
“It’s going to be challenging to write
Duryodhana too, but there’s a quick end
in sight,” Sreedharan said in an e-mail
interview from Bournemouth, where
he teaches journalism.
“I know where it will start and how it
will end, much more clearly than when
I began Epic Retold.”
Such is the appeal of the Mahabharata
that when it was first adapted for
television in the 1980s, city streets
emptied out on Sunday mornings, with
most Indians glued to their TV sets.
Even today, politicians fighting
election campaigns often identify
themselves with one of the heroic
Pandava siblings, while characterising
opponents as Duryodhana or one of his
99 depraved Kaurava brothers.
occasional liberties with the epic,
annoying a few followers of the
“Epic Retold” Twitter account with
his portrayals of some Mahabharata
For example Yudhisthira, the eldest
Pandava brother, and a traditional
byword for integrity, proves to be
less than honest. One of Sreedharan’s
initial reasons for microblogging the
Mahabharata was to make it palatable
to British colleagues and see how
Indians reacted to an epic reinterpreted
for Twitter.
— Reuters
It has never been entirely wiped
out like this.” India’s main stock
exchange shrugged off the BJP’s
defeat, rising more than 1 per cent,
as traders turned their sights to a
reform-friendly federal budget that
the Modi government is expected to
unveil later this month.
Modi swept to power with the
biggest national election victory in
three decades last year, promising
to revitalise India’s economy. His
BJP has won a string of big states
in recent months. While he has
sought to fix governance and tried to
push through reform legislation by
executive decree after the opposition
blocked him in parliament,
corporate investment has yet to
revive, waiting for structural reforms
in the economy.
Meanwhile, social tensions have
risen as Hindu hardline groups
tied to the BJP become more
emboldened, rowing with Muslim
minority groups over religious
conversions. Christian groups have
also sought greater police protection
after a series of attacks on churches.
Even President Barack Obama
warned during a visit last month
that India could only realise its full
potential if it practised religious
NEW DELHI: “It is not my defeat, it is
a defeat of the BJP.” With this telling
statement following her humiliating
defeat in the Delhi assembly election, the
decorated police officer-turned-political
debutante may well have written off
her short-lived political flirtation — and
probably burnt her political boats — that
saw her being pitchforked surprisingly as
the leader of the party’s campaign in Delhi
to being roundly rejected by the people
of the capital — all in the space of a heady
fortnight. In a career spanning over three
decades in policing, India’s first woman
Indian Police Service officer Kiran Bedi
faced many challenging tasks.
But in her new political avatar of
leading the country’s ruling party in the
Delhi polls, she faced probably her life’s
toughest test with the BJP banking on her
‘tough taskmaster’ image to win power
in the capital that witnessed arguably the
most interesting electoral battle since its
first assembly election in 1993.
But Bedi’s defeat has been all the more
humiliating especially in her losing the
BJP’s bastion of Krishna Nagar, considered
a safe seat. The seat has been represented
by Harsh Vardhan, who is now a union
minister, since 1993. She lost by 2,277
votes. The winner is the virtually unknown
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) member SK Bagga,
an advocate, who polled 65,919 votes to
her 63,642 votes.
Bagga, in his 60s, is described by his
supporters as a soft-spoken, confident
man. He pitched his battle against Kiran
Bedi as an “insider vs outsider” contest.
When BJP party president Amit Shah
named Bedi as chief ministerial candidate,
foisting her over the heads of the senior
party workers who have toiled long years
on the ground for the party, it triggered
seething resentment in the ranks over
her surprise entry. Bedi, 65, was viewed
as an “outsider” in the party having never
risen from the ranks. The election rallies by
Bedi, known for her unconventional and
outspoken ways, were mostly lacklustre
events though the BJP top brass including
Modi canvassed for her. Bedi, known for
her no-nonsense ways as a top cop in New
Delhi in the 1980s and 1990s, was called
Delhi’s Iron Lady and Crane Bedi, for having
reportedly towed away former prime
minister Indira Gandhi’s car parked outside
a shop in Connaught Circus on Aug 5,
1982. — IANS
the defeat, the facts are inescapable that
the BJP — and Modi personally — has paid
the price for putting his own image and
reputation at stake in a provincial poll.
In fact Kiran Bedi’s defeat in the Krishna
Nagar constituency should be a personal
defeat for Modi, who not only chose her
in spite of her not even being a primary
member of the party, but campaigned
aggressively for her in ways no prime
minister has done for a local poll.
The BJP campaign bypassed local
leaders and focussed solely on Modi’s
supposedly personal charisma.
It was obvious that Bedi as the chief
ministerial candidate was just a proxy and
Modi intended to exploit his own larger
than life image in this election.
Such was his hubris that Modi stuck his
neck out and put himself loud and large
in every advertisement of the party in the
election - from bus shelters to billboards to
All posters and full page advertisements
in newspapers even on the day of
polling had full blown pictures of
Modi with Bedi, the party’s chief
ministerial candidate, occupying
only inset space at the bottom.
In a personal letter
to voters on election
day February 7, Modi
promised a “world-class
city” and said it was his
undertaking that he
would make Delhi a city
that its citizens would be
proud of. — IANS
NEW DELHI: He campaigned like a
local leader, handpicked his own chief
ministerial candidate for Delhi and made it
a personal referendum on his leadership.
Yet Prime Minister Narendra Modi
could not halt the AAP juggernaut in these
assembly polls and in the process lost
his first election since his winning streak
began with the Gujarat assembly polls in
Modi delivered Gujarat for his party for
three consecutive terms in 2002, 2007 and
2012 after he was parachuted to the state
from Delhi in 2001.
His portrayal as the party’s prime
ministerial candidate in the 2014
general election was a direct
result of this winning spree and
he managed to win yet again
with the BJP for the first time
getting a full majority in the
Lok Sabha.
Despite assiduous
efforts by the party
to firewall him from
A group of nine Iranians who entered India on student visas set up shell companies to tap funds
RBI tightens compliance rules after
suspected $3.2 bn Iran export scam
NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: India’s central
bank has ordered banks to tighten
monitoring of export finance deals after
investigators uncovered an invoicing
scam they suspect is part of a multibillion-dollar scheme to exploit Western
financial sanctions against Iran.
Although the Reserve Bank of India’s
ruling made no mention of the scheme
that targeted UCO Bank, an RBI source
familiar with the matter said it was
related to a probe into the suspected
misuse of up to $3.2 billion in export
advances paid out by the bank.
“Banks should exercise proper due
diligence and ensure compliance with
KYC (know your customer) and AML
(anti-money laundering) guidelines so
that only bonafide export advances flow
into India,” the RBI said in a circular to
banks posted on its website on Monday.
Under a provision in US sanctions
law, Iran can accumulate oil export
revenues with its Asian buyers and use
Iran officially draws on the
rupee balances to buy food,
machinery, medicines and
other goods not covered by
the funds to buy essential imports.
According to sources familiar with
the investigation by the Enforcement
Directorate, a group of nine Iranians
who entered India on student visas set
up shell companies in a provincial city to
tap into these funds held at state-owned
UCO Bank.
Under Indian rules advances for
exports, or for the re-export of goods
imported into India, should be covered
within 12 months by proof that an actual
delivery is made.
The shipments, which included
purchases of diamonds for re-export to
Iran, were never made.
“Clearly, the export was not
happening,” said one source with direct
knowledge of the investigation by the
Enforcement Directorate, an agency
responsible for fighting financial crime.
At this stage, the Enforcement
Directorate is examining possible
violations of India’s foreign exchange
law and may widen its probe to include
money laundering, the source said.
Investigators have confirmed 9.25
billion rupees ($150 million) in suspect
transactions involving eight firms.
The real figure could be as high as 200
billion rupees ($3.2 billion), according
to the RBI source.
The news comes at a delicate moment
for Iran, following the revival of sixpower talks on its nuclear programme
that seek to bridge a rift with the West
dating back to the Islamic revolution of
1979. US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew,
whose department oversees sanctions,
is due to visit India on February 11-12
after attending a meeting of finance
ministers from the Group of 20 nations
in Istanbul.
A US Treasury spokeswoman had no
immediate comment.
Refiners buy about 220,000 barrels
of oil a day from Iran and deposit 45
per cent of the cost in rupees at UCO
Bank on behalf of the National Iranian
Oil Company. The rest is sent in dollar
tranches to Iran, on the nod of the
Western powers.
Iran officially draws on the rupee
balances to buy food, machinery,
medicines and other goods not covered
by sanctions.
— Reuters
FEBRUARY 11 l 2015
Facebook launches free
mobile Internet service
7 LANGUAGES: The app, aimed at poor users, will offer free access
via mobile phone to more than 30 pared-down web services
School students participate during a traffic awareness campaign to celebrate `Road Safety Week` in Kolkata on Tuesday. — IANS
‘Iran, India are
key partners
for peace
in the region ’
TEHRAN: Iran and India have played
a significant role in establishing peace
in the region, a top Iranian official said
Ali Shamkhani, secretary of
Supreme National Security Council,
made the remarks during a meeting
with India’s National Security Adviser
Ajit Doval in Tehran, state-run IRNA
news agency reported.
Iran and India are two neighbours
without joint borders and the two
sides’ political leaders are determined
to broaden cooperation in line
with their national interests and
maintain stability in the entire region,
Shamkhani said.
Referring to historical and
welcomed investments by Indian
companies in Iran’s development
projects such as construction of ports
and rail tracks along with transit of
goods between the two sides.
Implementation of economic
agreements between the two countries
will play a decisive role in expanding
economic cooperation, which in turn
will bring economic prosperity for
both sides, he said.
Doval, on his part, praised Iran’s
brilliant role in fighting terrorism
and its positive role in restoration
of stability and security in West
Asia and called for expansion of allout cooperation between the two
Referring to the significant roles of
Iran and India in maintaining stability
and security of the region, he said the
two sides have always tried to broaden
cooperation without leaving any
negative impact on other countries.
Nitish, legislators
reach Delhi for
show of strength
PATNA/ NEW DELHI: Aiming to put
pressure on Bihar Governor Keshri
Nath Tripathi for inviting him to form
the next government in the state,
former chief minister Nitish Kumar
reached New Delhi on Tuesday to
parade the legislators supporting him at
Rashtrapati Bhavan on Wednesday.
Embattled Chief Minister Jitan
Ram Manjhi Tuesday sought to
play the “reservation card” as his
cabinet approved reservation for
Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes
in all government contracts of road
construction up to Rs.50 lakh and
reservation for poor upper castes in
government jobs.
Earlier, Nitish Kumar and 130
legislators supporting him left for New
Delhi in two batches, Janata Dal-United
chief whip Shrawan Kumar said.
“In the first batch, 60 legislators, and
in second batch, 70 legislators along
with Nitish Kumar left for Delhi,” he
said in Patna.
Party MP KC Tyagi said that Nitish
Kumar had reached the national capital,
and was likely to meet President Pranab
Mukherjee Wednesday.
He said the party would urge the
president to ask the governor to invite
Nitish Kumar to form the government
as he has the majority.
“Since we have not heard a decision
from the governor, we have come to the
president,” Tyagi said.
Meanwhile, Manjhi, who insisted
that he remained chief minister till he
fails to prove his majority in the state
assembly, had called a cabinet meeting
Tuesday where it was speculated that
he may recommend dissolution of the
state assembly.
It was in the meeting that the
decision on the quotas was taken.
A JD-U leader close to Manjhi,
however, said he “may or may not
recommend dissolution of the state
assembly, but by holding a cabinet
meeting, he wanted to send a strong
message that he is still the chief
Principal Secretary in the Cabinet
Pradhan said the cabinet meeting
approved reservation for SC/STs in all
government contracts of Rs.50 lakh,
as well as the proposal for reservation
of poorest of the poor upper castes in
government jobs.
Nitish Kumar earlier Tuesday said
he and the legislators would go to
Delhi to meet the president as they
did not receive any invitation from the
governor a day after staking claim to
form the next government.
He, along with 130 legislators of his
JD-U, the Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD),
the Congress and the Communist
Party of India (CPI) Monday went
to Raj Bhavan in Patna to show his
Nitish Kumar has accused Manjhi,
who was expelled from the JD-U on
Monday, of trying to organise defections
to stay in power.
“It appears that Manjhi has got a
horse-trading licence after he met Modi
in Delhi,” he said, referring to the chief
minister’s meeting in Delhi Sunday
with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Manjhi was hand-picked by then
chief minister Nitish Kumar as his
replacement when he quit last year
following the JD-U’s rout in the Lok
Sabha polls.
In the 243-member assembly, the
JD-U has 115 legislators — most of
whom are reportedly with Nitish
Kumar. — IANS
MUMBAI: Facebook has tied up with
Reliance Communications to provide
basic internet services on mobile phones
for free, making India the first country
in Asia to get Facebook’s
The companies will first offer the
app in seven of India’s 22 regions, or
zones and it will then go nationwide
in the next 90 days, Gurdeep Singh,
chief executive of Reliance’s consumer
business told reporters.
The service is run by, the
non-profit organisation whose backers
also include Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung,
Qualcomm and Opera Software, which
has the declared aim of making basic
Internet services available to the twothirds of the world’s population which is
not yet connected.
The app, aimed at low income and
rural users, will offer free access via
mobile phone to more than 30 pareddown web services, focused on job
healthcare and education sites in
seven regional languages — as well as
Facebook’s own social network and
messaging services.
It will be available to all of Reliance’s
106.3 million subscribers who have
handsets capable of handling internet
Singh declined to comment on who
will bear the cost of carrying this data
traffic for free.
Mobile phones sales have been
booming in India, the world’s secondbiggest mobile market, with smartphone
sales surging 90 percent in the OctoberDecember quarter.
A journalist checks Twitter during a joint news conference by Reliance
Communications Ltd and Facebook Inc in Mumbai on Tuesday. — Reuters
But less than 20 per cent of the
country’s population can access the
Internet — leaving over a billion
people offline. Facebook said it had
worked with Reliance Communications
since last October to address barriers
to connectivity. Both Reliance and
Facebook said they also expected to
benefit from the venture over the longer
term. India has the world’s third-largest
population of Internet users, and could
take the number two spot this year.
“It gives us a great lever in terms of
our proposition differentiation at the
point of sale...
which will help us accelerate our
acquisition journey of good quality,
sticky customers,” Singh said.
Singh said the company has beefed
up infrastructure to meet the anticipated
increase in data traffic, but did not give
Two Indians jailed for
role in Singapore riots
SINGAPORE: Two more Indian
nationals in Singapore were sent behind
bars on Tuesday for their involvement
in the December 2013 riots in the
Little India area of this city state, media
Rajendran Mohan, 26, and
Sathiyamoorthy Sivaraman, 27, were
respectively awarded 27-month and
25-month jail sentences for their
involvement in rioting, Today Online
Mohan pleaded guilty Tuesday while
co-accused Sivaraman pleaded guilty in
September last year.
Mohan committed an offence of
mischief against a motorbus.
Rajendran joined a group of
at least five others in committing
violence against a motorbus on the
road, by throwing objects such as a
plastic crate at it, and inserting lighted
The panchayats, through resolutions, are empowering the women to act against the violators
objects in the fuel inlet.
He also tried, in futility, to topple
the bus by kicking and pushing
it, before cajoling others in the
unlawful assembly to join him, a
district court heard. Rajendran was
arrested at the scene and his acts
identified through footage captured
by the CCTV camera mounted on the
side of the bus.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Santhra
Aiyyasamy said Rajendran had a clear
intention to burn the bus and persistent
disregard for authority.
The maximum penalty for rioting is
a jail term of seven years and caning.
The riots were sparked off after an
Indian, Sakthivel Kumaravel, was run
over by a bus in Little India.
This was the worst outbreak of
violence in the country in more than
four decades. — IANS
details on the amount it had spent.
“We address the affordability of
data by having beneficial services and
then we’ll make it scalable for our
partners so that once these users want
to use more, they just buy the regular
(data) plan,” Markku Makelainen,
Facebook’s director of Global Operator
Partnerships, told Reuters.
“One of our goals is to have a
profitable partnership.”
Facebook has partnered with more
than 150 wireless providers over the past
four years to offer free or discounted
access to its social network, but the new app is the first time the
company has added services beyond
its own website. The service comes to
India following similar launches in
Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana and
Colombia. — Reuters
to ban sale of
loose cigarettes
CHANDIGARH: The Chandigarh
administration will soon ban the sale
of loose cigarettes and other tobacco
products in the union territory,
an official spokesman said on
“Sale of loose cigarettes and loose
tobacco products is going to be
prohibited in Chandigarh soon. This
was discussed and decided at a meeting
of Chandigarh Tobacco Control Cell,”
the spokesman said.
NGO Burning Brain Society
chairman Hemant Goswami raised
the point of smoking areas in
hotels and restaurants to which the
administration assured that these
premises would be checked to ensure
that all norms on smoking were being
followed. Smoking is banned in public
areas of the union territory, making it
a smoke free city. — IANS
Where women take up cudgels to save forests
KEYLONG: A movement that a handful
of woman activists started in the early
1980s to save forests in the Himalayan
terrain of the picturesque Lahaul Valley,
populated mainly by Buddhists, has
yielded the fruit of labour.
It began in the panchayat of
Kawaring, which has a population of
112, of whom 64 are women, according
to the 2011 Census, and then was taken
up in other parts of the valley located
at an elevation ranging from 13,000 to
20,000 feet above the sea level.
Currently, 139 ‘mahila mandals’
or women groups in 27 of the 28
panchayats in the valley have pledged to
guard the forests.
The latest addition is the Thirot
panchayat, some 40 km from district
headquarters of Keylong.
“Two ‘mahila mandals’ in the Tindi
panchayat are yet to pass a resolution
to guard the forests,” Divisional Forest
Officer Hira Lal Rana said.
This is the last panchayat located
adjoining Pangi in Chamba district.
The ‘mahila mandal’ in the Thirot
panchayat passed a resolution last month
that if anyone was caught cutting trees, a
fine of Rs 5,000 would be imposed.
The offender will be even socially
boycotted. Rana said the ‘mahila
mandal’ in Thirot has also decided
to fence the entire forest. Before this,
three panchayats in the Miyar valley
decided to protect the forests through
community participation.
“If the forest is saved, we will save
the biodiversity. The fencing of the
forests, which will be done in summer,
will enable the native fauna to flourish,”
octogenarian Dolma, a resident of
Thirot, said. She said the colossal
damage to the biodiversity with the
upcoming hydropower projects in the
Lahaul Valley can now be witnessed and
it’s high time to save the biodiversity.
Another villager Chokpa said the
villagers have taken a pledge to safeguard
the local flora and fauna.
Severe winter in the higher reaches
prompted wild animals to migrate to
lower altitudes. “During the winter
season, we remain alert as poachers are
active. In summer, we will set out in
batches to the nearby forests to guard it
voluntarily,” Chokpa added.
Wildlife officials said migration of
the Asiatic ibex — a wild goat species
— and the Himalayan blue sheep
or ‘bharal’ in the valley is common
during winters.
Even the sighting of the red and the
common fox goes up in the villages.
Rana said in October every villager
in the valley is allowed to collect
salvage (fallen or dry standing trees)
from the forests for 10 days. After that
no extraction of the forest produce
is allowed. There is also provision to
provide firewood at subsidised rates to
locals during winters.
“A few years ago the demand for
firewood at our Udaipur depot was
around 4,000 quintals during winter.
Now it’s over 7,000 quintals. T
his shows that the locals are now
banking more upon government
supplied wood than on forests,” said an
According to Rana, taking the help
of villagers, especially the women, in
protecting the forests has been a great
success. The forest department has only
a “supervisory role”.
The panchayats, through resolutions,
are empowering the women to act
against the violators. — IANS
Smoke billows out of one of the cooling towers after a fire broke out at a thermal
power plant in Chanda of Maharashtra’s Chandrapur district (some 200 km away
from Nagpur) on Monday. — IANS
W E D N E S DAY l F E B R U A R Y 1 1 l 2 0 1 5
US President Barack Obama spoke to
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko
on Tuesday about the situation in
Eastern Ukraine, the White House said
on Twitter. The two leaders discussed
ongoing work by US and European
leaders to establish a ceasefire in
the region and a peace deal with
neighboring Russia, the
White House said.
Canadian legislator Eve Adams
left the governing Conservatives
to join the opposition Liberal
Party on Monday in a fresh blow
to Prime Minister Stephen Harper
(pictured) ahead of an election
scheduled for this October. “The
party no longer shares my values”.
She also blasted what she called
Harper’s mean-spirited leadership.
IS hostage Mueller’s death
confirmed by Obama, kin
A volunteer for the Department of Homeless Services, speaks with a man at the Borough Hall subway station in New York on Tuesday. Thousands of volunteers fanned out
across New York before dawn on Tuesday to conduct the city’s yearly homeless survey, trying to count the people who wander the sidewalks all night, sleep in subways for
warmth or slip into the shadows to avoid being seen.
— Reuters
President Barack Obama
on Tuesday confirmed the
death of Kayla Mueller
(pictured), a US aid
worker who had been held
hostage by IS militants,
saying the United States
would “find and bring to
justice the terrorists who
are responsible.”
Mueller’s family also
said in a statement that they were
“heartbroken” to learn of her death
and released a copy of a letter she had
written in 2014 while in captivity.
The comments by Obama and the
family come four days after IS said
Mueller, a 26-year-old humanitarian
worker, was killed on Friday when
Jordanian fighter jets bombed a
building where she was being held,
although Jordan expressed doubt about
the militant group’s account of her
death. Mueller was determined to have
died after her IS captors reached out
privately to her family over the weekend,
a White House spokeswoman said.
“Over the weekend, the family received
a private message from Kayla’s IS
Chile president’s Plane lost in Andes over
family caught up 53 years ago discovered
in loan scandal APRIL 3, 1961: 24 passengers including footballers were onboard
SANTIAGO: Members of Chilean
President Michelle Bachelet’s family
were given privileged access to a bank
loan, the government acknowledged
this week, a revelation that threatens
to weaken the government’s popularity
Chileans’ trust in politicians.
Bachelet’s daughter-in-law, Natalia
Compagnon, obtained a loan worth
around $10 million to buy land on
behalf of the company in which she
owns a 50 per cent stake, news magazine
Que Pasa first reported last week.
Compagnon clinched the loan
during the 2013 election campaign
after meeting with Banco de Chile vicepresident Andronico Luksic, one of
Chile’s wealthiest men and a member of
the family that controls the bank.
Bachelet’s son, Sebastian Davalos,
who serves as the president’s
representative at the head of a charitable
foundation, was also present at the
meeting. The land in question is now
being sold at a profit of about 3 billion
pesos ($4.79 million). Although there is
no indication that anything illegal took
place, the claims have caused waves in
Chile and triggered accusations from
Bachelet’s daughter-inlaw, Natalia Compagnon,
obtained privileged loans
worth around $10 million
to buy land on behalf of the
company in which she owns
a 50 per cent stake
the opposition that Compagnon and
Davalos took advantage of their family’s
position to obtain credit and make
money. The center-left government’s
acting finance minister, Alejandro
Micco, said in an interview with local
radio station ADN that there was
“nothing irregular” about the loan, but
added: “Without doubt not everyone
has access to the president of the bank”.
SANTIAGO: After a gruelling
journey up into the rarefied air of
the Andes mountains, an expedition
team announced it has discovered the
fuselage of a passenger plane that went
missing over a half century ago.
The LAN Chile Douglas DC-3 twinpropeller aircraft was reported missing
on April 3, 1961, near the city of Linares,
some 300 kilometres south of the
Chilean capital of Santiago.
Eight players and the coach of the
top-flight Green Cross soccer club as
well as three referees were among the 24
passengers travelling aboard the plane.
The group plans to return to the site
with victims’ relatives. “They want to
close a chapter in their lives. Some of
them were children and never got to
know their families,” he said. The airline,
now part of Latam Airlines Group, the
region’s largest carrier, was state-owned
at the time of the accident.
Rescuers found the tail end of the
aircraft and some human remains a
week after the crash, an official who
asked not to be named said, but the
recovery effort was abandoned near
the snow-capped peaks due to its
dangerous and remote location. The
To get to the crash site at 3,000 meters (9,843 feet) above
sea level, the nine-member mountaineering team travelled
two days by horseback, traversing streams and ravines,
and then spent another two days climbing deep into the
mountains. It took another two days to get back down
rediscovery of the plane is shedding
new light on the tragedy, and rekindling
the hopes of a long-awaited farewell
for some of the passengers’ surviving
family members.
To get to the crash site at 3,000
meters (9,843 feet) above sea level,
the nine-member mountaineering
team travelled two days by horseback,
traversing streams and ravines, and then
spent another two days climbing deep
into the mountains.
It took another two days to get back
down. For expedition team leader Lower
Lopez, who unsuccessfully made two
attempts last year to locate the plane, the
third time was the charm.
January to April is typically the best
time of the year to climb in the Chilean
Andes south of the capital.
His team found pieces of the plane,
including a propeller, scattered about a
rocky slope.
“We also found human remains,”
Lopez said on Monday. Several family
members want to make the journey to
the site themselves to pay their final
respects, he said.
“They want to go up, close a chapter
in their lives, see where the plane and
the remains of their loved ones are,”
said Lopez, adding that some family
members had reached out to him
Efforts to contact family members
for this story were unsuccessful. “If they
aren’t physically able, I won’t go up with
them... it’s too dangerous,” Lopez added.
The accident occurred 11 years
before another famous aviation tragedy
in the Chilean Andes, the crash of a
Uruguayan air force plane carrying
45 people including the members of a
rugby team.
Some people suggested Lee was manipulated into releasing the decades-old manuscript of Go Set A Watchman
Controversy rages over Harper Lee’s second novel
NEW YORK: A week after HarperCollins
stunned the literary world with news
that Harper Lee is publishing a second
novel, controversy rages about whether
the reclusive, 88-year-old novelist is of
sound mind.
More than half a century after the
mesmerising success of her book To Kill
a Mockingbird, fans and writers were
both delighted and taken aback to hear
that Lee was releasing another novel.
They were even more surprised to
learn that it was a manuscript written
60 years ago and hidden away after an
editor told the young novelist to recast
the book into what become Mockingbird.
Go Set a Watchman, finished in the
mid-1950s, features many of the same
But could Harper Lee, who had
a stroke in 2007 and so often
said she would never publish
again, really be happy that a
manuscript, long since discarded,
was going to see the light of day?
characters as Mockingbird and was
discovered last year among her papers
by lawyer Tonja Carter.
But could Lee, who had a stroke in
2007 and so often said she would never
publish again, really be happy that a
manuscript, long since discarded, was
going to see the light of day?
Diane Roberts, an English professor
at Florida State University who
specialises in Southern culture, said
the author probably never counted the
manuscript when deciding against a
second novel.
And her insistence on absolute
privacy — her refusal to play publicity
games, appear on chat shows and do
interviews — allows others to fill the
void with their own, speculative ideas.
“There’s just no way to judge it
without talking to her,” Roberts said.
“And no one’s going to talk to her
because even when she was in her best
health, she was very private.”
It is well known that Lee has poor
eye sight and is deaf. She has lived since
2007 in a nursing home in Monroeville,
Alabama, where all requests for visits
reportedly go through her lawyer.
Gossip blog Gawker quoted Carter as
saying last July that her client sometimes
signed things “she did not understand.”
Tongues started wagging and Carter
has been on the defensive, telling The
New York Times that Lee is “extremely
hurt and humiliated” by allegations that
she has been manipulated. “Instead, she
is having to defend her own credibility
and decision-making.” Last week, Carter
released an earlier statement telling fans
that Lee is “happy as hell” about the new
book. US media has fallen on the story,
quoting alleged friends and associates
of Lee as attesting to her excitement
and lucidity, or raising doubts and
speculation. Lee, who rarely speaks to
the media, said via HarperCollins that
she was “humbled and amazed” the
manuscript was to be published after
so many years. Go Set a Watchman is
already number one in the best-seller list
at online bookstore Amazon, where the
304-page hardback is available for preorder ahead of its July release. —AFP
captors containing
a d d i t i o n a l
i n f o r m a t i o n ,”
N a t i o n a l
Bernadette Meehan
said. “Once this
concluded that Kayla was deceased,”
Meehan said. Neither Obama nor the
family gave details of the circumstances
of her death. Mueller was the lastknown American hostage held by IS,
which controls wide areas of Syria
and Iraq. She was taken hostage while
leaving a hospital in the northern Syrian
city of Aleppo in August 2013.
“No matter how long it takes, the
United States will find and bring to
justice the terrorists who are responsible
for Kayla’s captivity and death,” Obama
said in a statement released by the White
House. “IS is a hateful and abhorrent
terrorist group whose actions stand in
stark contrast to the spirit of people like
Kayla,” Obama said.
— Reuters
US defence
chief nominee
clears key
Senate hurdle
WASHINGTON: A US Senate panel
voted unanimously on Tuesday in
support of Ashton Carter (pictured)
to be the new secretary of defence,
sending his nomination to a full
chamber vote possibly this week.
The Senate Armed Services
Committee voted 25-0 to advance
the nomination of Carter, a highlyregarded technocrat who is expected
to be confirmed to replace outgoing
Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel.
Hagel resigned under pressure,
criticised by some as too passive in
the face of rapidly changing security
developments, and as the United
States prepares its next phase in the
war against Islamic extremists.
Senator John McCain, the panel’s
chairman, is a fierce critic of President
Barack Obama’s foreign policy, saying
that as commander in chief Obama has
failed drastically to show leadership in
the midst of crises in Syria, Iraq and
elsewhere. But McCain praised Carter
as an accomplished and intelligent
defense overseer.
“Hopefully we can get a vote
perhaps even as early as tomorrow,”
McCain told the committee after the
The US military that Carter would
inherit finds itself in an air war against
Islamic extremists in Iraq and Syria,
a sharp reversal of course for an
administration that had sought to
bring home troops after 13 years of
He must also oversee the
withdrawal of US forces from
Afghanistan, as well as challenges
posed by Iran’s nuclear programme
and China’s growing military might.
Carter served as deputy defence
secretary, the Pentagon’s number two
position, from 2011 to 2013. He was
also the Defence Department’s chief
weapons buyers from 2009-11 when
he led a major restructuring of the
F-35 fighter jet programme. — AFP
FEBRUARY 11 l 2015
Egypt, Russia sign trade, energy deals
BOOST: Russian investment will mainly focus on the automobile and petrochemical industries
CAIRO: Egypt and Russia Tuesday
signed deals on investments and nuclear
energy on the second and final day of
President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Cairo.
Putin and his host, Egyptian
President Abdel-Fattah al Sissi, looked
on as ministers signed the agreements,
under which Russia is to help Egypt
build a nuclear power station.
The station would “open new domains
for the Egyptian economy,” Putin told a
subsequent press conference.
Potential Russian investment in
Egypt would focus on the automobile
and petrochemical industries, he
Al-Sissi said that Putin’s visit
confirmed the growing relations between
the two countries since the overthrow of
former president Mohammed Morsi in
The new Egyptian authorities have
been eager to prove that they are not
dependent on the United States, which
suspended some of its annual 1.3 billion
dollars of military aid after Morsi was
In a reference to Cairo’s struggles
Brotherhood, Al Sissi said the visit
— which has been given wall to wall
coverage by Egyptian television — also
Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo.
showed Russia’s “solidarity with Egypt in
its war against terrorism.
“We agreed that the fight against
terrorism cannot mean just confronting
it in the security field, but must also
reach its ideological roots,” the Egyptian
president added.
Putin also invited al-Sissi to Moscow
for what would be his third visit to the
Russian capital since, as head of the
armed forces, he overthrew Morsi after
mass demonstrations.
Meanwhile, Egyptian President
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said Tuesday that
Russia had agreed to jointly build his
country’s first nuclear power plant.
A memorandum of understanding
was signed Tuesday in the presence
of Sisi and visiting Russian President
Vladimir Putin.
At a joint press conference with
Putin, Sisi said the nuclear power plant
would be built in Dabaa in northwest
Egypt on the Mediterranean coast.
Egypt had laid the foundation for
such a facility in Dabaa during the
regime of ousted president Hosni
Mubarak, but work was halted due to
disputes with local residents.
Putin was received with a guard
of honour and a 21-gun salute, while
posters of the Russian leader were
plastered on Cairo’s main roads greeting
him in Russian, Arabic and English.
Russia hosted Sisi’s predecessor
Morsi during his one-year presidency
despite having banned the Brotherhood
as a “terrorist group” in 2003.
But Moscow was also one of the first
countries to endorse Sisi’s presidency
last year. Sisi visited Russia when
he was defence minister soon after
ousting Morsi — amid deteriorating
relations with Washington — and he
followed up with an August 2014 trip
as president.
At their meeting last summer at
Putin’s summer residence in Sochi,
the two discussed Russia supplying
weapons to Egypt, which is fighting
an insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula
that has killed scores of policemen and
soldiers. — Reuters
Qaeda suspects
dead in Yemen
drone strike
ADEN: Four suspected Al-Qaeda
fighters were killed on Tuesday in a
drone strike in Hadramawt province
in southeastern Yemen, a military
source said.
He said the drone, which only the
United States operates in the region,
targeted “a gathering of Al-Qaeda
fighters” between the village of Qatan
and the town of Shibam, killing four
and wounding several others.
It was the fourth drone strike
since US President Barack Obama
vowed on January 25 not to let up
in Washington’s campaign against
fighters in Yemen despite the
country’s political turmoil.
Fighters last month took control of
key government buildings in Sanaa,
prompting Western-backed President
Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to tender
his resignation and the militia to take
over the government.
Al-Qaeda said on Thursday that
Harith al-Nadhari, a senior figure who
threatened more attacks on France
after last month’s killings at satirical
magazine Charlie Hebdo, had died in
a US drone strike in Yemen.
French Rafale fighter jet Syrian govt launches offensive against fighters
sale to Egypt ‘imminent’
PARIS: France is close to selling
Dassault Aviation-built Rafale fighter
jets to Egypt, sources close to the
matter said on Tuesday, as Cairo looks
to upgrade its military hardware over
fears the crisis in neighbouring Libya
could spill over.
France and Egypt have been
negotiating since a November state
visit by Egyptian President Abdel
Fattah al-Sisi over 24 Rafale jets,
a Fremm naval frigate and MBDA
air-to-air missiles in a deal worth 5
billion to 6 billion euros ($5.65-$6.78
billion), two industrial sources told
Reuters last week.
“It’s imminent. For me the
signature is certain,” a French source
told Reuters on Tuesday.
The source said one remaining
issue was the delivery timeframe.
Despite exclusive negotiations with
India for the last three years, Dassault
has not found a foreign buyer for its
multi-role Rafale.
Billed to be one of the most
sophisticated fighter jets in the world,
it is also one of the most expensive.
The source said the French and
Egyptian defence ministries, Dassault
and other industrial firms, including
Thales and Safran, were holding
technical talks on Tuesday.
Le Monde newspaper reported
on Tuesday that Sisi had approved
the deal and that the contract could
be signed on Wednesday or
It did not identify its source.
A second source, close to French
Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian,
said talks would conclude in “several
Egyptian army and government
officials could not be reached for
Dassault declined to comment.
Paris and Cairo have enjoyed
close economic ties in the past but
turmoil in the north African state
since President Hosni Mubarak
in 2011 left
Western governments wary of
signing contracts, especially in
“Egypt quickly needs planes,”
Patricia Adam, president of the French
parliamentary defence committee,
said “They are especially worried by
what’s happening in Libya.”
She added that the deal could be
financed through loans and by credit
insurance firm Coface.
France secured its first major
military contract in Egypt in about 20
years in 2014 with a 1 billion euro deal
for four naval frigates.
Dassault is under increasing
pressure to sell the jet overseas.
The French government is slowing
the pace at which it takes delivery of
Rafale jets, taking 26 over the next five
years instead of 11 a year.
The Fremm is built by statecontrolled DCNS, 35 per cent owned
by Thales.
— Reuters
BEIRUT: Syria’s army gained ground
from fighterss in the south on Tuesday
in what a monitoring group described
as a large-scale offensive in the region
backed by Hizbullah fighters against
insurgents including al Qaeda’s Syrian
The south is one of the last remaining
areas where mainstream, non-actiivst
fighterss fighting President Bashar alAssad have a foothold.
Just a short drive to Damascus, the
area remains a risk to the Syrian leader,
who has otherwise consolidated control ‘The operation started two
over much of the west.
“The operation started two days ago days ago and is very big,’
and is very big,” Rami Abdulrahman, Rami Abdulrahman, head of
head of the Syrian Observatory for the Syrian Observatory for
Human Rights monitoring group, said
Human Rights monitoring
on Tuesday.
Abdulrahman said the offensive group, said
aims to take a triangle of fighters-held
territory from rural areas southwest of
Damascus to Deraa city to Quneitra.
Syrian media and fighters sources several areas of southern Syria.
said on Tuesday that battles raged in
Syrian troops had been on the
Sweden and Palestine
forge deeper ties with
more aid, embassy
Turkish riot police stand guard near the Istanbul Congress Center (ICC) where the
G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meet in Istanbul. The United
States urged a meeting of the Group of 20 leading economies not to resort to
currency devaluations to boost exports, while a draft communique gave a gloomy
assessment of the outlook for global growth. The meeting of finance ministers and
central bankers in Istanbul comes at a difficult time, with major economies running
at different speeds, monetary policies diverging and Greece casting a new shadow
over Europe. — Reuters
Security guards prevented tankers from docking in a row over wage payments
Libya’s reopens oil port, UN talks await
TRIPOLI: Libya reopened its oil port
of Hariga on Tuesday, ending a strike
by guards that threatened to further
cut the Opec country’s petroleum
production that is already battered
by factional fighting over two export
The threat to shut down Hariga
port illustrated the fragility of oil
shipments from Libya, where two rival
governments and their armed allies are
locked in a scramble for control over
the OPEC country and its petroleum
Hariga reopened shortly before the
United Nations was expected to hold
talks to prevent a wider conflict that
Western governments fear will turn
Libya into a failed state just across the
Mediterranean from Europe.
Libya shut most operations at the
Hariga terminal near Egypt’s border
Hariga reopened shortly
before the UN was expected
to hold talks to prevent a
wider conflict that Western
govts fear will turn Libya
into a failed state just across
the Mediterranean from
— the last functioning land oil export
terminal — on Saturday after security
guards prevented a tanker from docking
in a protest over wage payments.
“An oil tanker was supposed to dock
at the port this morning; but the weather
was against this.
We will wait until the weather allows
us to go ahead,” said Omran Al-Zwie, a
spokesman for the company operating
Hariga. The North African country’s
two largest oil ports, Es Sider and Ras
Lanuf — with a combined capacity of
around 600,000 barrels per day — have
been closed by fighting between the two
loose confederations of armed factions
since December.
Nearly four years after civil war
toppled Muammar Gaddafi, Libya
is caught in struggle between an
internationally recognised government
and a rival administration set up in
Tripoli after an armed faction known as
Libya Dawn took over the capital in the
Each faction claims legitimacy
and is backed by brigades of former
fighterss who once fought against
each other against Gaddafi, but
steadily turned on one another in
internecine warfare over the country’s
defensive in the south, losing control of
large areas of countryside near Jordan
as well as parts of the border along
with Israel near the Golan Heights,
according to regional military analysts
and diplomats.
The southern fighterss, often
described as the best organised of the
mainstream armed opposition, see
themselves as the last hope for a fouryear-old uprising and civil war hijacked
by militants, and are seeking a higher
profile and more help.
— Reuters
oil and territory.
Underlining the scale of the crisis,
the International Energy Agency said
on Tuesday Libya’s oil production fell
by 100,000 bpd in January to 340,000
Before the 2011 civil war, Libya
produced around 1.6 million bpd.
Hoping to bring the two sides to the
negotiating table, the United Nations
last month began a new round of talks
in Geneva, which brought some of the
warring factions together to discuss a
unity government and a ceasefire.
Representatives from both sides said
those talks would restart in the Libyan
town of Ghadames on Wednesday
with delegates from the elected House
of Representatives and from the rival
General National Congress, the former
parliament reinstated by Tripoli’s new
rulers. — Reuters
STOCKHOLM: The Palestinians will
open an embassy in Stockholm on
Tuesday night, cementing closer ties
just months after Sweden became the
first western European Union country
to recognise Palestine as a state.
Visiting Sweden for the first
time since recognition in October,
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
called on other countries to follow
Sweden’s lead.
“Your recognition...should push
forward negotiations in the peace
process,” Abbas said.
Relations between Sweden and
Israel have nose-dived since the initial
announcement and Foreign Minister
Margot Wallstrom called off a visit to
Israel in January.
Israel temporarily recalled its
Palestinians seek statehood in
the Israeli-occupied West Bank and
the blockaded Gaza Strip, with East
Jerusalem as their capital.
Israel seized the territories in the
1967 Middle East War and has built
Jewish settlements in several areas
despite international criticism, although
it had pulled out of Gaza.
Long-running peace talks collapsed
nearly a year ago and the Palestinians
forged ahead with an alternative
strategy to achieve statehood.
Most Western European countries
have yet to give a Palestinian state
official recognition, as has the
United States, although the UN
General Assembly approved de facto
recognition in 2012.
A total of 135 countries recognise
Palestine, including several East
European nations that did so before
they joined the EU.
Swedish Prime Minsiter Stefan
Lofven said Palestine would open an
embassy in Stockholm immediately.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
poses with Sweden’s King Carl Gustaf
yesterday at the Royal Palace in
Stockholm. — AFP
In most Western European countries,
Palestine has a diplomatic mission, not
a full embassy.
He promised more aid for Palestine
but stressed he wanted progress on
“There are challenges: we must
help one another to fight corruption,
increase gender equality, improve
respect for human rights and of course
continue the state building process,”
Lofven said.
A deal signed by the two leaders will
see Sweden raise aid to Palestine by 1.5
billion crowns ($179.74 million) over
the next five years.
Lofven used his inaugural address
in parliament last year to fulfill a
long-standing promise by his Social
Democrat party to recognise a
Palestinian state.
Their resolution in the UN Security
Council calling for the establishment
of a Palestinian state had failed in
December but they have also moved to
join the International Criminal Court
— Reuters
FEBRUARY 11 l 2015
May launches welfare review of migrants
Foreign Correspondent
[email protected]
he Home Minister, Theresa
May, announced a wideranging independent review of
the welfare of immigrants held
in detention centres or awaiting
The review, led by Stephen Shaw,
the prisons and probation ombudsman until 2010, came as May prepared to publish a highly critical
but more narrowly drawn report
on the mental health of detainees,
prepared for her by the Tavistock
She responds to the review’s
damning findings by preparing
guidelines for how mentally ill people must be treated in detention
centres, and stressing the primacy
of Department of Health advice.
The system for detaining immigrants and asylum seekers awaiting
decisions or deportation has been
described as the harshest and most
inhumane branch of the UK judicial administration. The Home Office has faced criticism over the welfare of detainees, following deaths,
self-harm and abuse. Repeated court
rulings have found Home Office
practice unlawful.
The implicit acknowledgement
by May that the system needs reform contrasts with increasingly
tough Tory statements on tightening UK immigration law.
We’re furiously
Labour MP tells
private sector
leading Labour MP described
enthusiastic” about business chiefs
making healthy profits as he sought to
steer his party out of a row with the
private sector.
Tristram Hunt echoed his political
mentor Lord Mandelson — who once
said that new Labour was “intensely
relaxed about people getting filthy rich”
—by telling businesses that Labour was
“on their side”.
“I’m enormously enthusiastic about
businessmen and women making money, about delivering shareholder return,
about making profit,” The shadow education secretary said that Labour was
a “furiously, passionately, aggressively
pro-business party”.
His comments stand in stark contrast to those of Andy Burnham, the
shadow health secretary, who said in
an interview last week that new Labour had “got too close” to big business
and claimed that the likes of Amazon,
Google and Starbucks were “damaging
the fabric of our life”.
Labour pledge to double
paid paternity leave
ew dads will get an extra two
weeks’ paid paternity leave, Ed
Miliband promised.
He vowed to almost double the
amount of time off for fathers to four
weeks under a Labour government.
And he will increase paternity pay to
at least £260 a week — equivalent to the
national minimum wage.
The Labour leader said the “father’s month” would help an estimated
400,000 families a year to give their
children “the best start in life”.Dads
currently get up to two weeks off and
£138.18 a week paternity pay, or 90 per
cent of average weekly earnings.
Miliband said the £150million proposal would be paid for by savings in
tax credits by extending free childcare
to 25 hours a week for working parents
of three and four-year-olds.
Gulf in London house
prices just a Tube
stop away
he huge gap in property values
between the most affluent inner
boroughs of London and the poorest
peripheries has been underlined by
new research based on house prices
close to the capital’s tube stops.
The townhouses and apartments
that line the street surrounding Bond
Street station, the most expensive residential area in London, cost £3million
more than the houses and flats near Dagenham East, the cheapest stop on the
capital’s underground network.
Although these two points on the
tube are only 15 miles apart, the average house price within a mile of Bond
Street — which is located opposite
Selfridges, the Oxford Street department store — is £3.2million compared
to £194,000 in Dagenham East.
six staff on the contracts, which do not
have a set minimum number of hours.
Other Labour MPs using casual
contracts include election campaign
co-ordinator Lucy Powell.
Miliband has repeatedly blasted zero-hours contracts.
Just last week he said: “If you are
working regular hours then you should
get a regular contract.” Zero hours contracts typically allow a company or employer to vary the number of hours a
new recruit works each week or month
between full-time and none at all.
Both the Institute of Directors and
CBI say zero-hours deals give employers greater flexibility.
Older women next
for three-parent IVF
lder women struggling to have
children could soon be offered
the controversial “three parent” IVF
technique recently backed by MPs, a
pioneering doctor hopes.
One of the doctors who developed
the technique has asked American regulators for permission to conduct trials
of the procedure to treat age-related infertility.
MPs last week overwhelmingly
backed changing the law to allow doctors to use DNA from a “second mother” to fix faulty genetic material in those
with a family history of diseases such as
muscular dystrophy.
Under the new rules, IVF (in-vitro
fertilisation) clinics will be able to replace an egg’s defective mitochondrial
DNA with healthy DNA from a female
donor’s egg.
It is controversial because it would
result in babies having DNA from three
people and, effectively two mothers.
Smaller firms
look on the
bright side
he confidence of small firms is on
the rise, according to a new survey
of the sector.
Almost half of decision makers are
confident the economic situation will
improve within the next year, compared to 34 per cent two years ago.
More than one in five now sees
the economic environment as one of
the top three opportunities for their
business, compared to 15 per cent in
January 2013. The findings come from
Zurich’s SME (small and medium enterprises) Risk Index.
However the Zurich study also
found regulation is still causing headaches for small firms.
The top challenges for small firms at
present are employment regulation (27
per cent), pension legislation (20 per
cent), tax compliance (23 per cent) and
health and safety (22 per cent).
And despite a more optimistic economic outlook, profitability remains a
serious concern.
ED’s MPs zero in
on jobs
abour MPs are employing staff
on zero-hours contracts despite
criticising bosses who use them.
Figures from Parliament’s expenses
watchdog show 36 Labour MPs employed staff on casual contracts in 2014.
Karen Buck, one of Ed Miliband’s
parliamentary private secretaries, has
Nationalists plan to
block English vote
for EU exit
ach of the four parts of the United
Kingdom should have a veto
over a decision to leave the EU, the
leader of Welsh nationalists said
Leanne Wood said she was in
regular contact with Scotland’s First
Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and they
agreed on the plan which would give
the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish
the power to compel England to stay
in the EU even if a majority of the
English electorate voted for withdrawal.
The plan will infuriate Eurosceptic
Tories because there are almost
40 million people in England who
would be entitled to vote in a referendum, compared with fewer than
eight million in the other parts of the
Anti-EU sentiments run higher
in England than in Scotland and
Hold EU vote as
soon as possible,
Cameron warned
avid Cameron was urged to hold
a European Union referendum
as soon as possible after claims
Downing Street was pondering a vote
next year.
The Prime Minister vows that if
the Tories are elected in May he will
renegotiate Britain’s EU membership
terms and give the electorate a vote on
whether to stay in or leave by the end
of 2017.
But he was urged to act next year
by Tory Eurosceptic MP Peter Bone,
who recently helped to organise
a poll in Northamptonshire that
found 80 per cent wanted to leave Europe.
“We don’t need an unbelievable
amount of time to renegotiate,” said
“From a Conservative point of
view it would be very nice to be able
to go into May’s election saying the
referendum will be next year.
Governor to
predict near
zero inflation
ark Carney will slash the Bank
of England’s inflation forecast
near to zero when he publishes
an updated outlook for the UK
The Bank’s governor has already
said there is a strong chance that the
Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate
of inflation will turn negative this
The latest figures show that
the CPI fell to 0.5 per cent in December, equalling its lowest level
on record, and meaning Carney
must write a letter to the Chancellor to explain why it is more than
one per cent off its two per cent
It has been driven down by tumbling oil prices and the lower cost
of petrol, as well as the supermarket price war.
The letter, the first Carney has
been obliged to write since he took
the helm in the summer of 2013,
will be published alongside the
Bank’s inflation report on Thursday.
Why turning 60
no longer means
getting old
hese days retirement is said to
be the start of a new lease of
Now there is research which
seems to prove it.
Sixty-somethings can no longer
be considered old because they are
less likely to be afflicted by age-related illnesses.
A study of health data has revealed the proportion of men and
women in their 60s blighted by
cancer, heart disease and other serious conditions has almost halved
in a decade.
Improvement in diet and lifestyle, reductions in smoking and
the use of statins and other drugs
designed to stave off ill health, are
credited with bringing about the
‘dramatic’ upturn.
The study which is the first of
its kind found that 7.7 per cent
of the 60 to 64 age group in England had dementia, cancer or
Parkinson’s disease in 2012 or
had suffered a heart attack or
This is almost half of the 2002
figure of 13.8 per cent.
FEBRUARY 11 l 2015
PEACE SUMMIT LIKELY: City shelled with Russian-made Tornado rockets, which have a range of up to 90 kilometres
Ukraine fighting intensifies as truce talks planned
KIEV/BERLIN: Fighting in eastern
Ukraine escalated on Tuesday, as
preparations for a peace summit in
Belarus gathered steam.
At least five people were killed and
26 injured in an artillery attack on
Kramatorsk, Ukrainian authorities said.
Most of the victims were civilians,
but ten of those injured were soldiers
stationed at the city’s airfield, the local
administration said.
The government-held city in the
Donetsk region has served as the
headquarters for Ukraine’s military
operation in the east, and President
Petro Poroshenko accused the
separatists of the attack.
“They hit the headquarters, but
the second salvo hit a residential
area,” Poroshenko said in parliament,
according to the Interfax Ukraine news
Poroshenko said that the city was
shelled with Russian-made Tornado
rockets, which have a range of up to 90
Kramatorsk is some 50 kilometres
from the front line. The separatists
denied responsibility. “In contrast to
People look at a missile embedded in the street after shelling in eastern Ukrainian city of Kramotorsk.
Kosovo,” a policewoman confirmed to
AFP Tuesday. Most of them cross into
EU member Hungary near the southern
town of Szeged, on the Serbian border.
However, their final destination is
rarely Hungary, but other EU countries
in Western Europe. Prime Minister
Viktor Orban has repeatedly lashed out
at economic migrants and his ruling
Fidesz party has promised tougher
measures to keep people out.
A senior Fidesz lawmaker, Antal
Rogan, meanwhile said on Tuesday that
immigration rules should be amended
so that illegal immigrants can be kept
locked up until their application has
been approved or rejected. In 2014,
Hungary saw 43,000 asylum-seekers,
compared to 2,200 in 2012, according to
official data.
— Reuters
‘Pink Panther’ jewel
thieves arrested
Actress Charlotte Gainsbourg attends a news conference to promote the movie
Every Thing Will Be Fine at the 65th Berlinale International Film Festival, in Berlin.
— Reuters
VIENNA: Police announced Tuesday
they had arrested two Israelis, as well
as a Serbian and a Belgian suspected of
belonging to the notorious international
“Pink Panther” group of jewel thieves.
The four men, aged between 35 and
40, were arrested last Thursday in a
Vienna hotel and jewellery and watches
worth about 500,000 euros, as well as
about 57,000 euros in cash were seized,
police said. “This is the first time we’ve
managed in Austria to crack a Pink
Panther redistribution operation and
identify and arrest the suspects,” Ewald
Ebner from the criminal police said
at a press conference. The seized loot
included 18 luxury watches — including
one valued at about 53,000 euros — that
were stolen in January from a jewellery
shop in Montreux, Switzerland.
Syriza expected to have no trouble in winning the no confidence
Greek govt seeks confidence
vote ahead of Eurogroup meet
ATHENS: Greece’s leftist-led coalition
government, which has vowed to
overturn a series of austerity measures
that were a condition of its international
bailout, will seek a confidence vote in
parliament on Tuesday — two weeks
after it was elected to power.
The ruling Syriza government which
has a 162-seat majority in the 300-seat
parliament together with his junior
coalition partner, the small right-wing
Independent Greeks, is expected to have
no trouble winning the confidence vote,
scheduled for midnight.
The vote comes less than 24-hours
ahead of a crucial emergency meeting
of Eurozone finance ministers on
Wednesday and an EU summit on
Thursday to discuss Greece’s financing
The plans by the Greek Prime
Minister Alexis Tsipras to end budget
cuts and tax increases as part of its
conditions for continued bailout aid
have put it on a collision course with its
The vote comes less than
24-hours ahead of a crucial
emergency meeting of
Eurozone finance ministers
on Wednesday and an EU
summit to discuss Greece’s
financing needs
European partners.
Tsipras reportedly called Jean-Claude
Juncker, the president of the European
Commission, ahead of the meetings,
Greek private Mega television said.
Senior Greek finance ministry
sources said the government plans to
attend the Eurogroup summit with a
proposal for a bridge programme to
cover the government’s funding needs
until it can negotiate a replacement for
its bailout programme with creditors,
which would come into force in
Ukraine, we do not shoot at cities with
a civilian population,” Donetsk militia
leader Eduard Basurin told the Interfax
news agency.
Earlier on Tuesday, Ukrainian troops
launched an attack on separatists east of
the port city of Mariupol.
National Guard units broke through
their opponents’ defences,
Ukraine’s National Security Council
said, adding that council secretary
Oleksandr Turchynov was in Mariupol
to coordinate the fighting.
The Azov volunteer battalion, which
is part of the National Guard and has
controlled the area since May, said its
forces have taken a number of villages
east of the city and would press on
towards the town of Novoazovsk.
Ukraine’s Security Council said that
seven soldiers were killed and 24 injured
in clashes during the past 24 hours.
Authorities in the rebel stronghold
of Donetsk city said two civilians were
killed and 12 injured by artillery shelling
during the same period.
The attack east of Mariupol was
the first time that Ukraine has said its
troops are attacking since a ceasefire was
declared in September.
That truce has largely gone
unheeded, but Germany and France
are spearheading a new peace drive,
and their talks with Ukraine and Russia
are planned for Wednesday in the
Belarussian capital, Minsk.
Russian President Vladimir Putin
has said that Wednesday’s summit will
only take place if all parties agree to the
details of the new truce, proposed last
week by German Chancellor Angela
Merkel and French President Francois
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov
said on Moscow’s Russian News Service
radio station Tuesday that the summit’s
preparations are ongoing.
— dpa
Nearly 8,000 Kosovo illegals detained
BUDAPEST: Close to 8,000 migrants,
mostly from poverty stricken Kosovo,
have been detained in the past six days
after crossing into Hungary illegally,
police said on Tuesday amid a rising
influx of asylum seekers. Since the
beginning of February, over 1,000 illegal
immigrants have been arrested every
“Ninety-five percent of them are from
Most of the victims
were civilians, but ten
of those injured were
soldiers stationed at the
city’s airfield, the local
administration said
The government’s proposal is in four
parts, according to a finance ministry
The first foresees keeping in place
70 per cent of the bailout conditions
while 30 per cent of the memorandum
would be scrapped and replaced with
10 new reforms which Greek officials
are to agree with the Organization
for Economic Cooperation and
Development. The second proposal
says Greece’s primary surplus target of 3
per cent of GDP for this year should be
reduced to 1.5 per cent.
The third proposal outlines the
Greek government’s desire to reduce the
country’s debt through a swap plan.
Finally, the government wants the
country’s humanitarian problems to
be eased using measures outlined in
its policy programme, which include
gradually increasing the minimum
wage and pensions and putting an end
to tax increases.
— dpa
Moon objects found in Armstrong’s closet
WASHINGTON: A treasure trove of
objects that were supposed to have
been left behind after the first moon
landing have turned up in the closet of
Neil Armstrong, the first man to step
onto the lunar surface, the Smithsonian
Institution has said.
Armstrong died in August 2012
and his wife, Carol, found the items
from the 1969 lunar landing as she was
cleaning out one of his home closets
in Cincinnati, Allan Needell, a space
history curator at the National Air and
Armstrong used one of the tethers to
support his feet during his rest period
on the moon, Needell said.
The items were stashed in a white
stowage bag informally known as a
McDivitt Purse used aboard Eagle
to store items. “Needless to say, for a
curator of a collection of space artifacts,
Space Museum, wrote in a recent blog. it is hard to imagine anything more
Among the objects are a camera that exciting,” Needell wrote.
The items were intended to be left
was mounted in the window of the Eagle
lunar module to record the landing and behind on the moon but were instead
brought back.
two waist tethers.
Picasso’s ex electrician accused of stealing art
Cameron calls
on businesses to
boost worker pay
LONDON: Businesses must share the
rewards of Britain’s economic recovery
by boosting pay, Prime Minister David
Cameron said on Tuesday, as they in
return called for an early referendum
on membership of the European
Union to help reduce damaging
With the opposition Labour party
threatening tougher regulation
in several sectors and Cameron’s
Conservatives promising a
referendum by end-2017 which could
see Britain leave the EU, business
faces a difficult choice ahead of what
is set to be a closely fought national
election on May 7.
Hoping to capitalise on their
strong economic competence
ratings, the Conservatives have put
the economy at the centre of their
campaign to remain in government.
Last year, the British economy
grew at its fastest rate since 2007.
Official data showed the wages
of British workers grew by more than
inflation in November for a third
month in a row, having previously
lagged it for five years.
But with earnings in real terms still
well below pre-financial crisis levels,
Labour have argued that many Britons
are suffering from what it calls ‘a cost
of living crisis’.
“As the economy continues to
grow it’s important that everyone
benefits,” Cameron told the British
Chambers of Commerce (BCC)
It’s time Britain had a pay rise,” he
PARIS: A judge in the French city of Grasse is considering whether 271 works of art by
Pablo Picasso stored for 37 years in the garage of an electrician who worked for the
painter were stolen or legally acquired as a three-day trial got under way Tuesday.
Pierre Le Guennec, who worked at Picasso’s villa near Cannes in the south of France,
has said the works — including a few small oil paintings, drawings and lithographs —
were given to him one evening around 1970.
“He often invited me for cake, coffee; you talked about everything and nothing
with the master,” Le Guennec said in 2010, referring to Picasso, who died in 1973. “One
night when I left, the madame gave me a package, saying it was for me.” Picasso’s heirs
dispute that recounting, and charges were filed against Le Guennec and his wife in
2011 for concealing goods acquired through theft.
The trove became known when Le Guennec travelled to Paris in 2010 to obtain
authentication certificates from the Picasso Administration, French media reported.
The 40 years that have passed since the disputed incident complicates the case
because many potential witnesses are no longer alive to provide testimony. Le
Guennec and his wife, both in their 70s and retired, have not tried to sell the works,
which are wide-ranging in style and were produced by Picasso from 1900 to 1932.
Tourists take photos atop the Athens Acropolis during a snowstorm. The
European Commission that it had low expectations that meetings of euro
zone finance ministers and EU leaders this week would produce a final
agreement on Greece, which wants a restructuring of its debt.
— Reuters
Tirana rocked by twin bomb blasts
TIRANA: Albania’s capital was rocked Tuesday by two blasts targeting a pharmacy
owned by a minister’s family and the apartment of a senior police officer.
No one was injured in the pre-dawn explosions described by Prime Minister Edi
Rama as “terrorist acts”.
The first explosion heavily damaged the pharmacy owned by Interior Minister
Saimir Tahiri’s family, a police statement said.
The second blast, which followed shortly afterwards, rocked the apartment of a
police official, also causing heavy damage, the statement said.
Rama said the blasts were clearly aimed at intimidating Tahiri’s family.
“The perpetrators will be found and brought to justice soon,” he vowed in a
statement. Police also said they had defused a third explosive device around 0515
GMT, near a bus station just a few meters from the site of the first blast.
Local prosecutors said a probe was underway.
The explosion at the drug store of the minister’s father occurred close by the
main office of the national secret intelligence police, while that of the third device
close to the apartment of the prime minister’s mother.
Prosecutor’s office also said in a statement they had started the investigation for
“terrorist acts.”
A zoo employee removes the snow leopard costume after a drill to practice what to do in the event of an animal escape at the
Tama zoo in the western suburb of Tokyo. About 70 zookeepers participated in the annual drill.
FEBRUARY 11 l 2015
Students attending a balloon launching event to mark a three-year countdown to the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, at
the Alpensia resort in Pyeongchang. The Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics will be held between February 9-5, 2018. — AFP
Fans pose next to a wax figure of US singer Taylor Swift unveiled at Madame Tussauds in
Girls play at
the “San Jose
de la Vega”
park in
The park,
was ordered
by the
government, is
guarded by
the military in
order to keep
members at
bay. — AFP
Female members of the Palestinian presidential guard demonstrate their skills during a
training session in the West Bank city of Jericho.
— Reuters
China January inflation plunges Nissan raises profit forecast to $3.5 bn Petrobras’ CEO seen as loyal footsoldier FOLLOW US ON:
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RO 57m contract awarded for Oman Rail PMC package
Feb. 10: Oman Rail’s prestigious Project
Management Consultancy (PMC)
contract — an issue that been hanging
fire for over a year — has now been
settled in favour of the consortium
headed by Spanish-based international
contractor Técnicas Reunidas, the
Observer has learnt.
Earlier this week, the Government
Tender Board, which has been
overseeing the competitive tender on
behalf of the Ministry of Transport
and Communications, announced the
winning bid at RO 57.470 million.
The award brings to closure a
contentious, year-long tussle for the
eagerly sought-after package involving
the two lowest bidding groups: one led
by South Korea’s Dohwa Engineering Co
Ltd (which quoted RO 34.297 million
for Option 1 and RO 106.803 million
for Option 2), and the other headed by
Tecnicas Reunidas (which quoted RO
59.539 million for Option 1 and RO
165.086 million for Option 2).
The announcement also ends
speculation that the authorities would
temporarily do away with a Project
Management Consultant — at least for
Segment 1 (Sohar–Buraimi) currently
under tender — in order not to delay
implementation of this key section,
slated for completion by 2018.
Now that a Project Management
Consultant has been named, it is
expected that the winning consortium
will work alongside experts already
recruited by Oman Rail and form an
Integrated Project Management Team to
help expedite the execution of Segment
As the principal interface between
contractors and the client, the Project
Management Consultant (PMC) has
one of the most significant roles to play
in ensuring the smooth, timely, and costeffective implementation of the multibillion dollar national railway project.
The PMC is required to, among
other things, undertake a complete
review of the preliminary design
work of the network already prepared
by Italferr, the Preliminary Design
Consultant for the Oman National Rail
Project. Additionally, the PMC will
review the contract process, extend
contract management and construction
supervision, and provide project
management services.
Part of its brief is to oversee the
procurement of rolling stock and
procurement of the services of a rail
transport operator in coordination with
the government. Also as part of its remit,
the PMC will be responsible for testing
and commissioning of the completed
railway system of each segment planned
for the Oman Railway project.
Separately, a number of international
contractors are competing for Oman
Rail’s multi-billion dollar Design & Build
contract covering the 207 km Segment 1
of the national rail network. Technical
bids were submitted by January 18, with
financial offers due in by March 1.
Awaiting the successful bidder
is a substantial package of works
encompassing virtually all aspects
of rail design, engineering, supply,
commissioning. It requires the
contractor to undertake, among other
things, topographic and geotechnical
site surveys; earthworks design;
hydrology and drainage; design and
construction of major and minor
structures such as bridges, tunnels and
viaducts; track works; stations; freight
facilities and yards; and the provision of
line maintenance facilities.
Oman Rail hopes to announce an
award for Segment 1 by around the
middle of this year.
MENA M&A to maintain
healthy growth into 2015
ROBUST GROWTH: Q4 2014 ended with 150 deals with value of $16.2 bn
Feb. 10: Announced MENA M&A deals rose
by 6 per cent in 2014 to 468 deals from 442
deals in 2013 on the back of strong market
fundamentals, according to EY’s Q4 MENA
M&A update. In 2014, announced deal value
decreased from $50.7 bn in 2013 to $44.9 bn
in 2014, a decrease of 11 per cent.
Phil Gandier, MENA Head of Transaction
Advisory Services, EY says: “The MENA
M&A market performed very well in 2014.
Deal value saw a slight dip compared to last
year, as 2013 witnessed some large ticket
consolidations. However the number of deals
was 6 per cent higher as regional markets
displayed resilience to oil price volatility.
The growth of MENA M&A is expected to
continue in 2015 at a normalised year on
year growth rate of up to 10 per cent. The
majority of MENA M&A transactions tend
to occur in consumption-led sectors such
as food and beverage, retail, healthcare and
education, which have little correlation to
economic activity and changes in oil price, so
the positive trend is expected to continue.”
Q4 2014 ended the year strongly with 150
deals with a value of $16.2 bn, the highest
value and number of announced deals in
2014. Compared to the same quarter in 2013,
Q4 announced deals doubled in value and
increased by 26 per cent in number.
Outbound announced deal value increased
by 19 per cent from $18.5 bn in 2013 to $22.0
bn in 2014, signalling a return in the trend
of outbound deals leading the MENA M&A
market. Domestic and inbound announced
deal values decreased by 31 per cent and 24
per cent respectively in 2014 compared with
Anil Menon, MENA M&A and IPO
Leader, EY, says: “We expect to see outbound
M&A deals continue to lead the market into
2015. With the exception of 2013, which
saw domestic deal value exceed outbound
deal value, outbound deals have historically
been the most popular option for MENA
investors. We expect investors to continue
looking outside the region for investment,
particularly in sectors such as real estate and
oil and gas.”
The MENA M&A market will be led
mainly by the GCC, namely the UAE, Saudi
Arabia and Qatar. The revival of Egypt’s M&A
market in 2014 is expected to continue in
“The UAE dominated as the target country
with the largest number and value of inbound
deals in MENA which points to the strong
confidence of international investors in the
UAE’s potential. Egypt also came back into
the deal market with a vengeance in 2014 with
many multinationals investing in Egypt. The
return of investments into Egypt signals that
international companies are willing to bet
on the long term future of Egypt as they see
stability improving. Saudi Arabia will see a
number of local family businesses looking to
reconfigure their investments to focus more
on their core businesses,” comments Anil.
In the private equity space, 90 SWF/
PE deals were announced in 2014, with
December 2014 having the most activity of
18 deals followed by November with 11 deals.
“The total number of MENA deals in
2015 are expected to range from 400-500,
continuing the same trend that we’ve seen
in the past few years. We expect to see a lot
PE equity deals in particular as an increasing
number of PE firms will be seeking exits for
their investments,” concludes Phil.
Bank Muscat SME workshop for
women evokes good response
MUSCAT: Bank Muscat, the flagship financial
services provider in the Sultanate, hosted a
2-day workshop on ‘How to run and manage
your business’ for women entrepreneurs at
the bank’s head office on February 7 and 8.
The workshop organised by al Wathbah, Bank
Muscat’s SME department, as part of activities
aimed at expanding and strengthening avenues
for SME development in Oman, evoked good
response from a large turn-out of existing and
prospective women entrepreneurs.
Expert trainers led the workshop which
served as a platform for women entrepreneurs
to familiarise themselves with the various
aspects of running successful SME ventures.
Topics covered included market analysis and
marketing plan, operation plan, financial plan
and writing a business plan etc.
Ilham al Hamaid, AGM — SME Credit,
Marketing and Regional Corporates, said:
“Bank Muscat regularly organises workshops
and seminars to facilitate unique learning
opportunities to address the challenges
faced by entrepreneurs and thereby create
an environment favourable for SME success.
Over the years, Bank Muscat has launched
several initiatives as part of its commitment
to SME development in Oman. Serving as
building blocks for entrepreneurs, these
initiatives assume importance in the backdrop
of the priority accorded by the government
to develop the SME sector in Oman. Aimed
at strengthening the SME sector and creating
a successful generation of entrepreneurs, al
Wathbah is committed to facilitating such
unique initiatives, especially for women
The bank has launched a series of initiatives,
including Al Wathbah Businesswomen’s
Forum, as part of a comprehensive strategy to
support women entrepreneurs in Oman. The
support to SMEs and women empowerment
initiatives stem from the bank’s commitment
to create self-employment opportunities for
youth who constitute more than 50 per cent of
the country’s population.
In step with the directives of His Majesty
Sultan Qaboos to support the SME sector
and strengthen its role in the economic
development of Oman, Bank Muscat has taken
the lead to develop the SME sector in Oman.
Aimed at strengthening the SME sector, Bank
Muscat offers a comprehensive suite of tailormade finance solutions, including al Wathbah
non-collateral finance.
China inflation plunges
BEIJING: China’s inflation plunged to a more
than five-year low of 0.8 per cent in January,
official data showed yesterday, fuelling fears the
world’s second-largest economy is on the brink
of a deflationary spiral.
The rise in the consumer price index (CPI)
was sharply down from the 1.5 per cent recorded
in December, and was the weakest since 0.6 per
cent recorded in November 2009, according to
the National Bureau of Statistics.
It was also short of the median forecast of
1.0 per cent in a survey of analysts by Bloomberg
News and came despite a surprise interest rate
cut in November.
Moderate inflation can be a boon to
consumption as it encourages consumers to
buy before prices go up, while falling prices
encourage shoppers to delay purchases and
companies to put off investment, both of which
can hurt growth.
Analysts warned of deflation in the China, a
key driver of global expansion, and urged Beijing
to take more measures to boost the economy.
“The weak inflation profile suggests that the
deflation has become a real risk for China, thus
paving way for further monetary policy easing,”
ANZ economists Liu Ligang and Zhou Hao said
in a research note.
Liu Dongliang, an analyst with China
Merchants Bank in Shanghai, noted that
consumption may have started to be affected
by China’s growth slowdown, as services and
consumer goods prices slumped last month.
“We should get vigilant about this sign and
pay high attention to changes in the job market,”
he said in a research note.
“Consumption played a key role in stabilising
economic growth last year. If consumption cools
down while investment struggles to rebound,
the economy will face even more trouble,” he
China’s economy grew 7.4 per cent in 2014,
its weakest for almost a quarter of a century, and
slower than the 7.7 per cent in 2013.
Customers select goods at a supermarket in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province.
— Reuters
MUSCAT: Waleed Pharmacy and
Stores LLC, a leading Omzest group
Lean in Healthcare
seminar by Peter
Willats on February
17 at Hormuz Grand Hotel.
On the importance of Lean in
healthcare, Dr Mahesh Karajgikar,
CEO (pictured), Waleed Pharmacy,
says: “Lean is a holistic approach to
quality and process improvement.
Looking at the present economic
crisis in Europe and in the Middle
East, where crude oil prices are on the
decline, it becomes paramount for all
organisations to incorporate processes
to reduce wastages. Lean thinking
begins with driving out waste so that
the entire work is value oriented to
serve customer who in healthcare
sector happens to be a patient. We
have to use Lean to improve safety,
service and flow to the ultimate and
utmost satisfaction of patients”.
Dr Karajgikar feels this seminar will
be highly beneficial to the country: “In
Oman the prime focus is on healthcare
and the Sultanate aims to become a
strong hub for medical tourism in the
coming years.”
FEBRUARY 11 l 2015
Ford Expedition earns highest vehicle safety rating
MUSCAT: Family fun is always different in
the Ford Expedition. And with the arrival
of the All New 2015 model, enthusiasts
have a lot more to look forward to. Space,
Comfort, Power, Safety all score high in
Ford’s latest introduction.
The 2015 Expedition has also earned
the highest score in National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration awards in
USA. The Expedition earned a five-star
Overall Vehicle Score in its New Car
Assessment Programme. The New Car Assessment Programme is the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration’s evaluation programme for new automobile designs. It was established to test for
performance against safety threats. It includes tests for front and side impacts.
The 2015 Ford Expedition offers drivers comprehensive safety systems that include AdvanceTrac®
with Roll Stability Control™, Safety Canopy® side-curtain airbags, SOS Post-Crash Alert System, tyre
pressure monitoring system and traction control.
The 2015 Expedition now has driver-assist technology features that are new to the nameplate. These
technology upgrades make Expedition the full-size utility vehicle for customers who want capability,
style and modern conveniences.
McDonald’s premium grand chicken spicy
McDonald’s Oman announces a new addition
to its core menu, the premium Grand Chicken
Spicy. McDonald’s premium Grand Chicken
Spicy beautifully brings together a combination
of ingredients curated especially for this new spicy
The Grand Chicken Spicy patty, complemented
with the delicate heat of the Dijon mustard, two
melted slices of Emmental Cheese, fresh lettuce
cuts, blush-red tomatoes, are all brought together
in a tasty artisan bun.
Commenting on the new premium offering
from McDonald’s, said: “The new high quality
product in our permanent menu comes in
response to customers’ demand for additional
spicy chicken sandwiches.
At McDonald’s, we are committed to providing
our loyal customers with favoured flavours using
only quality ingredients, as they have come to
expect from us.”
McDonald’s is committed to serving the best
ingredients in the quick-service restaurant sector,
and food quality is considered a top priority.
All products served at McDonald’s restaurants
in the region are Halal certified, inspected and
approved by local authorities and Halal officers
at the countries of export and customs officials
at the port of entry. All meat used in McDonald’s
restaurants can be traced back to a trusted supplier
that shares the company’s dedication to the highest
quality standards.
Oman Flour Mills showcases Dahabi products
Oman Flour Mills Company SAOG is exhibiting
its full range of Dahabi products for the second
consecutive year at Gulf Food 2015 at the Dubai
World Trade Centre.
Oman Flour Mills was established in 1977 in
Oman and is a major player in the food industry
in the Middle East & Africa with diversified
businesses in flour, poultry and bakery products.
The Dahabi brand covers a wide range of flour
varieties along with bakery products such as
breads, buns, cakes, puffs, muffins, croissants and
Gulf Food is the world’s biggest annual food service, hospitality and retail event, which provides a
trading and sourcing platform to industry professionals. Entering its 20th year, Gulf Food is hosting
over 120 national pavilions and has a participation of nearly 5,000 International exhibitors in the fiveday business extravaganza.
Oman Flour Mills is currently showcasing their entire range of products and services at the Za’abeel
Pavilion stall XE-74 with live baking and tantalising cooking demos. Participants and clients are pouring
in to sample the high quality products made available by Oman Flour Mills and its Investment arm,
Atyab Investments.
Jaguar, LR announce
partnership with Spectre
Jaguar Land Rover has announced its line-up of
vehicles set to feature in SPECTRE, the 24th James
Bond adventure, from Albert R Broccoli’s EON
Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, and
Sony Pictures Entertainment.
These will include; Jaguar C-X75s, Range
Rover Sport SVRs and Defender Big Foots which
have been provided by Jaguar Land Rover Special
The Jaguar C-X75 will feature in a spectacular
car chase sequence through Rome alongside the
Aston Martin DB10. The C-X75 vehicles have been
built in collaboration with Williams Advanced
Engineering facility in Oxfordshire, England.
Scenes including the heavily modified Land
Rover Defenders & Range Rover Sport SVR have
already been filmed in Austria. The Range Rover
Sport SVR is the fastest and the most powerful
Land Rover ever.
The highly capable Big Foots were constructed
by the Special Operations division with huge 37inch diameter off-road tyres to tackle the extreme
terrain. They also feature bespoke suspension and
enhanced body protection.
Al Araimi’s shopping
Al Araimi Complex is giving avid shoppers
the chance to win instant prizes under
their ‘Happy 2015 shopping’ campaign
that runs until February 28. Under the
promotion, all one needs to do to have
a chance to win, is shop from any of the
outlets at Al Araimi for RO 50 or more,
and get a scratch card that entails them
to win instant prizes of diamond rings,
dining vouchers and Al Araimi Complex vouchers, amongst several other exciting prizes.
“As pioneers in the shopping malls business, we’re excited to be amongst the first shopping malls in
the Sultanate to come up with a unique offer such as — ‘Happy 2015 shopping’,” said a spokesperson
from Al Araimi Complex.
Centrally located in Qurum, Al Araimi Complex is one of the most prominent shopping malls in the
Sultanate. Having a parking space for over 1,100 cars, the mall has revolutionised shopping and family
entertainment since its inception in 1994; and attracts leisure-seekers and customers for its several
multi-brand and product shopping outlets and eateries.
FEBRUARY 11 l 2015
Hassad Food
acquires equity
interest in
A’Saffa Foods
Right to Left Nasser al Hajri. Mohamed bin Obaid al Mazrouei, Chairman, Arab
Authority For Agricultural Investment & Development.
MUSCAT: Hassad Food, Qatar’s
premier investor in the food and
agriculture sectors, has acquired a
minority equity interest in A’Saffa.
The transaction which was
recently announced here in Muscat
was concluded and signed by the
Chairman of Hassad Food, Nasser
al Hajri, and Mohamed bin Obaid al
Mazrouei, Chairman, Arab Authority
For Agricultural Investment &
A’Saffa Foods SAOG (formerly
A’Saffa Poultry Farms, SAOG) was
established in 2001 and is the largest
integrated poultry project in the
Sultanate of Oman with an over a 40
square kilometre farm area is situated
in Thumrait, Southern Oman. The
produces high quality fresh and frozen
poultry meat products and its 100 per
cent owned subsidiary produces value
added processed meat products.
On the occasion Al Hajri said: “We
are very excited about this acquisition
which is a strong testament that Hassad
Food is on the right track towards
achieving its vision in becoming a
leading global provider of high quality
food products.”
“Hassad’s mission is to invest in
efficient, profitable, growth-oriented
global brands, contributing to the
welfare of Qatar and the region by
providing high quality products while
using the latest technology, in harmony
with the environment and adhering
to the highest standards of corporate
social responsibility. I am confident that
this partnership is in line with what we
are trying to achieve in supporting the
economic development and integration
with the GCC market.”
A’Saffa chickens are fed with 100
per cent
natural feed, produced
in a highly equipped feed mill and
slaughtered according to Islamic law
(Sharia). Company plans are to expand
its existing poultry operations and
diversify into other parts of the value
chain that complements its business
over the next three to five years.
Saleh bin Mohammed al Shanfari,
Chairman A’Saffa Foods stated: “We
are very happy with the deal. A’Saffa
Foods has managed to establish its
presence regionally and now it has
become amongst the top respected food
companies in the GCC.
Cheaper robots could
replace more factory
workers — study
NEW YORK: The falling
manufacturers to use
them to replace more
factory workers over the
next decade while lowering
labour costs, according to new
roughly 10 per cent of
manufacturing tasks that can
be done by machines, according
to the Boston Consulting
The management
projected that to rise to about 25 per
cent of such “automatable” tasks by
In turn, labour costs stand to drop
by 16 per cent on average globally over
that time, according to the research.
The shift will mean an increasing
demand for skilled workers who can
operate the machines, said Hal Sirkin,
a senior partner at Boston Consulting.
Factory workers “will be higher paid
but there will be fewer of them,”
Sirkin said.
The research found a
tipping point for installing
robots: Companies tend
to start thinking about
replacing workers when
the costs of owning and
operating a system come
at a 15 per cent discount
to employing a human
For example, in the US
automotive industry,
predicted to be
one of the more
aggressive adopters of robots, a spotwelding machine costs $8 an hour
versus $25 an hour for a worker.
A robot that can perform certain
repetitive tasks costs about one-tenth as
much as it did more than 10 years ago,
Sirkin said.
Costs tied to one commonly used
robotics system, a spot welder, are
expected to fall 22 per cent between
now and 2025. — Reuters
FEBRUARY 11 l 2015
Asia stocks hit by Greek fears; Shanghai rallies
HONG KONG: Asian markets slipped
yesterday on renewed fears Greece
will default on its debt obligations, but
Shanghai rallied on fresh easing hopes
after Chinese data showed inflation at its
lowest level in more than five years.
Investors took their cue from New
York and Europe as the new antiausterity government in Athens refused
to back down on demands to renegotiate
its bailout, putting it on a collision course
with its creditors.
Tokyo slipped 0.33 per cent, or 59.25
points, to 17,652.68, Seoul shed 0.57 per
cent, or 11.14 points, to 1,935.86 and
Sydney eased 0.25 per cent, or 14.36
points, to 5,800.57.
In late trade Hong Kong was 0.10 per
cent lower but Shanghai jumped 0.98
per cent.
Greece’s newly elected far-left leaders
have pledged to stick by their demands
for a renegotiation of the country’s
stringent bailout demands, which they
describe as “toxic”.
Ahead of a European Union summit
on Thursday, Prime Minister Alexis
Tsipras and his Finance Minister Yanis
Varoufakis are asking for bridging loans
so they can come up with an austerityfree reform deal to run from September
But European Commission chief
Jean-Claude Juncker warned he did not
expect any new deal to be reached at
the meeting in Brussels, despite Tsipras
saying he was “optimistic that we can
reach a compromise”.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
on Monday pressed Greece to present
a “sustainable” finance plan, as Athens’
insistence sparked fresh fears of a euro
exit. On Wall Street, the Dow fell 0.53
DEBT CONCERNS: Greece has pledged to stick by its
demands for a renegotiation of bailout demands
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. — Reuters
per cent, the S&P 500 dropped 0.42
per cent and the Nasdaq eased 0.39 per
cent. Earlier, key markets in London,
Frankfurt and Paris ended lower, while
Athens ended down almost five per cent.
The euro managed to hold up, buying
$1.1330 and 134.32 yen, compared with
$1.1325 and 134.35 yen in New York.
The dollar was at 118.55 yen against
118.64 yen. Shanghai advanced on hopes
for more monetary easing after data
showed inflation in China had tumbled
to 0.8 per cent in January, well down
from 1.5 per cent in December and the
lowest since November 2009.
The figures, which come despite
an interest rate cut in November, are
the latest to highlight problems in the
world’s number two economy and raise
the spectre of possible deflation.
Mainland traders are hoping they
will spur more easing measures by
US West Coast port operations
resume after partial shutdown
LOS ANGELES: US West Coast port
operations has resumed in full after
shipping companies halted loading and
unloading of freighters for the weekend,
citing chronic cargo backups that
shippers and dockworkers have blamed
on each other during months of labour
But a planned resumption of federally
mediated contract talks was pushed
back until today without explanation,
even as the White House joined retailers
and manufacturers in urging the sides to
redouble efforts to settle a dispute that
has rippled through the US commercial
supply chain.
Shippers and terminal operators
announced last week they would
suspend cargo crane operations for
container vessels at the ports on
Saturday and Sunday because of
mounting congestion that they said had
brought the docks to virtual gridlock.
Still, work continued in the terminal
yards through the weekend to clear
cargo containers stacking up on the
waterfronts, at least at the five busiest
ports — Los Angeles, Long Beach,
Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma, according
to management spokesman Steve
Both sides said full port operations
were restored on Monday as planned.
The 29 ports affected handle nearly
half of all US maritime trade and more
than 70 per cent of Asian imports.
The companies have accused the
International Longshore and Warehouse
Union of instigating work slowdowns
since October to gain leverage for 20,000
dockworkers whose contract talks with
the Pacific Maritime Association have
dragged on for nine months.
The union faults the carriers for
worsening congestion, citing changes in
shipping practices.
Union officials have said a settlement
is near, and characterised the shippers’
weekend move as posturing aimed at
exaggerating the magnitude of the crisis.
The companies have said they
remained at odds with the union over
several issues, including the system for
binding arbitration of contract disputes.
Port slowdowns have trickled
through the US distribution chain,
disrupting shipments of a wide
range of goods affecting agriculture,
manufacturing, transportation and
— Reuters
Fine is biggest ever in China; could have been higher
Qualcomm to pay $975m
to resolve antitrust dispute
SAN FRANCISCO/BEIJING: Qualcomm Inc has agreed to pay a fine of
$975 million, the largest in China’s
corporate history, ending a 14-month
government investigation into anticompetitive practices.
The deal — the details of which were
first reported by Reuters on Monday —
also requires Qualcomm to lower its
royalty rates on patents used in China,
likely helping local smartphone makers
such as Xiaomi Technology Co Ltd and
Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.
Qualcomm said the agreement
removes a major source of concern for
its investors, sending shares of the San
Diego-based chipmaker up 2.8 per cent
to $69 in after-hours trading.
4G network is driving demand
for smartphones with leadingedge technology, but Qualcomm’s
opportunities have been clouded by
the antitrust probe, which has also
contributed to problems in collecting
royalty payments from device makers.
Qualcomm said in a statement
A Qualcomm sign is pictured in front of
one of its many buildings in San Diego,
California. — Reuters
on Monday it would not contest the
National Development and Reform
Commission’s (NDRC) finding that it
violated an antitrust law.
Asked whether the resolution
in China could affect the outcome
of ongoing antitrust probes into
Qualcomm in Europe and the United
States, Qualcomm President Derek
Aberle said, “We fully respect their
authority, but we don’t believe it’s likely
that other agencies will necessarily meet
similar conclusions.”
The US firm cut its full-year earnings
estimate, putting the cost of the fine at
about 58 cents per share, but it raised
the lower end of its revenue forecast
“It removes a significant source of
uncertainly from our business and
positions our licensing group to really
participate in the full growth of the
wireless market in China,” CEO Steve
Mollenkopf said in a phone interview.
‘‘It’s something we’re happy is over.”
Discussions in Beijing over one
of the most contentious cases under
China’s 2008 anti-monopoly law had
intensified in recent weeks, culminating
in meetings between Qualcomm senior
executives and the NDRC on Friday.
Xu Kunlin, head of the NDRC’s antimonopoly bureau, said the $975 million
fine — equal to 8 per cent of Qualcomm’s
2013 sales in China — was less than the
10 per cent of sales maximum allowed
under Chinese law because Qualcomm
fully cooperated with investigators.
“Issuing the fine was not our primary
purpose,” Xu told reporters on Tuesday,
according to a live-blog of his
— Reuters
Beijing. “The rising deflation risks
require further monetary policy easing,”
Liu Li-Gang and Zhou Hao at Australia
& New Zealand Banking Group wrote
in a note before the data, according to
Bloomberg News.
“We believe this is just a beginning of
an effective policy easing cycle.”
Oil prices retreated after enjoying
another day of strong gains on Monday
that came after the Opec cartel forecast
Wang Jianlin (L) with Philippe Blatter
after a signing ceremony in Beijing
yesterday. — AFP
Wanda buys sports
group Infront for
1.05 bn euros
BEIJING: China’s Wanda Group has
agreed to buy Infront — the Swiss
sports marketing group headed by
Sepp Blatter’s nephew and which
holds some broadcasting rights to
the World Cup — for 1.05 billion
euros ($1.2 billion), the two firms
said yesterday. The Chinese property
and entertainment conglomerate is
looking to increase its influence in the
global sports business, as Beijing bids
for the 2022 Winter Olympics while
rumours swirl that it could seek to
host the 2026 football World Cup.
Wanda Chairman Wang Jianlin
said in a joint statement that Infront
“is best positioned to actively support
China in its bidding efforts for major
sports events”.
At a news conference following
the announcement, he also cited
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s threestep plan for developing football in
China: “To qualify for a World Cup, to
host a World Cup and to win a World
Cup.” Wang said he planned to take
Infront public, but did not say when or
where he would list the company.
The deal puts Wang — who
recently bought 20 per cent of
Spanish football champions Atletico
Madrid — and his company firmly
in the front row of the global sports
business. Infront Sports and Media,
based in Zug, Switzerland, and
directed by Philippe Blatter, handles
the media and marketing rights for
many international sports events.
It is expected to rake in several
hundred million dollars on the next
two football World Cups alone.
The company, which counts some
600 employees across 12 countries,
is also heavily present in all aspects
of sports marketing, with sponsoring
activities including advertising around
sports halls and stadiums.
Philippe Blatter said in the
statement: “We are looking forward
to jointly tackle a variety of major
expansion projects with the aim to
strengthen our leading position in the
global sports market.” — AFP
Anite: Q3 trading
ahead of expectations
LONDON: Anite Plc, which tests
handsets and telecom networks,
said trading in the third quarter
ended on January 31 was ahead of
its expectations as positive trends
from the first half continued.
Shares in the company rose as
much as 6.1 per cent.
The company said trading in the
traditionally “quiet quarter” was
helped in part by the integration
of Xceed, the US-based wireless
network data analytics software
company it acquired in October
last year.
The update indicates continuing
healthy order intake momentum,
with strong growth in Asia-Pacific,
particularly China, Jefferies analysts
said in a note.
“The company is progressively
returning to consistent growth
now that the disruption created
by large-scale telecoms industry
consolidation is out of the way,”
non-Opec supply growth in 2015 would
be lower than its previous estimate, and
would be led by a cut in US output.
On Tuesday, US benchmark West
Texas Intermediate for March delivery
fell 75 cents to $52.11, while Brent crude
for March eased 77 cents to $57.57.
Jefferies analysts said and kept their
“buy” rating on the stock.
“We have entered the seasonally
important final trading quarter
with a larger pipeline of sales
opportunities than at the same
time last year and improved
confidence in the outlook for the
year as a whole,” Chief Executive
Christopher Humphrey said in a
Anite had said in July that it
expected the financial year ending
April 30 to be a recovery period,
expecting profitability to rebound.
Jefferies analysts expect Anite’s
handset-testing unit to grow 8.6
per cent in the current financial
year, with a network testing organic
growth forecast of 5.6 per cent.
Analysts were expecting fullyear pre-tax profit of £21.78 million
for the year, according to Thomson
Reuters StarMine smart estimates.
— Reuters
However, the IEA said prices would
only partially recover after their recent
sharp falls of more than 50 per cent since
June. Citing a major shake-up in the oil
markets, it said in its five-year forecast
that crude prices will climb to around
$73 per barrel by 2020. — AFP
Nissan raises profit forecast to $3.5 bn
TOKYO: Nissan said it had raised its
full-year net profit forecast to $3.5 billion,
thanks to cost cutting efforts and a
cheaper yen, while booming US and
European sales offset a plunge in Japan
caused by last April’s sales tax hike.
The Japanese automaker said on
Monday it expected to make a profit of
420 billion yen ($3.5 billion) in the year to
March 31, up from an earlier forecast of
405 billion yen.
Nissan’s announcement came as it
said net profit for the nine months to
December rose 23.6 per cent year on year
to 338.8 billion yen.
Operating profit for the term jumped
39.0 per cent to 417.9 billion yen on sales
of 8.09 trillion yen, up 11.1 per cent from
the previous year.
For the year to March, the company
is expecting to earn an operating profit
of 570 billion yen on sales of 11.15 trillion
yen, also marking increases from earlier
projections for 535 billion yen and 10.80
trillion yen respectively.
Solid US sales, cost-cutting
programmes and favourable currency
movements contributed to the robust
earnings, said Nissan President and Chief
Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn.
“Nissan delivered solid financial
results in the first nine months of the
fiscal year, reflecting rising US sales of
our latest models and a normalising
yen-dollar exchange rate,” he said in a
statement. “We anticipate good full-year
results as our product offensive and
positive momentum in North America
and Western Europe offsets volatility in
other markets. — AFP
A Chinese visitor asks for the price of a canned infant formula at a store, in
Hong Kong. Visitors departing the territory are only allowed to take two cans
of such milk powders, to stop cross-border traders. — Reuters
Gold miner Randgold hikes dividend
LONDON: Africa-focused miner Randgold
Resources Ltd said it would raise its final
dividend to 60 cents per share from 50
cents as a fall in cash costs and a rise in its
cash pile acted as a buffer against lower
gold prices.
The gold miner has proven more
resilient than most of its peers to a falling
gold price, having calculated its reserves
using a $1,000 benchmark even as the
yellow metal tumbled to a more than
four-year low in November. Gold prices
slipped about 1 per cent in 2014 to as low
as $1,137.40 an ounce, compounding a 28
per cent fall in 2013, forcing many miners
to scrap dividends, halt projects and shut
mines in an attempt to survive.
But, Randgold said on Monday gold
production rose 26 per cent in 2014,
while total cash costs fell 2 per cent.
The company ended the year with
no borrowings, while cash and cash
equivalents more than doubled to $82.8
“The now rising cash pile has resulted
in a nice rise in dividends, which we
would expect to remain strong going
forward if Randgold finds no other use for
it”, Oriel Securities analyst Nick Chalmers
said in a note.
The prolonged period of low gold
prices might be an opportunity for
Randgold to buy assets, Chief Executive
Mark Bristow has said, a stance he
reiterated on Monday saying, “we
are closely monitoring this situation”.
However, the tumble in gold prices pulled
the company’s profit for the year down
nearly 17 per cent to $271.2 million.
Randgold said it expects to produce
between 1.20 and 1.26 million gold
ounces in 2015, up from 1.15 million in
2014, as production at its Kibali mine
in the Democratic Republic of Congo
continues to ramp up.
— Reuters
FEBRUARY 11 l 2015
More chances, more winners & more prizes with
Bank Sohar 2015 Al Mumayaz savings scheme
At a press conference
held yesterday at the Grand Hyatt
Hotel-Muscat, Bank Sohar unveiled
the latest edition of the Al Mumayaz
Savings Scheme for the year 2015.
Following the resounding success of
last year’s campaign, and based on the
overwhelming response from customers,
the bank has comprehensively revamped
the Al Mumayaz Savings Scheme for the
year 2015 to offer more chances, more
winners and more prizes with hourly,
weekly, monthly, half yearly, year-end
and special Branch Draws.
The conference commenced with
a welcome speech and a reveal of the
2015 Al Mumayaz Savings Scheme.
The gathered journalists and media
professionals were then addressed
by the Acting CEO of Bank Sohar,
Rashad Ali al Musafir. Joining him were
other members of the bank’s senior
management including R Narasimhan,
DGM and Head of Retail Banking,
Munira Abdulnabi Macki, DGM
of Human Resource and Corporate
Support; Salim Khamis al Maskeri,
Senior AGM of Branches; Mazin
Mahmood al Raisi, AGM and Head of
Marketing and Publicity; and Khamis
Masoud al Rahbi, AGM of Branches.
Other Senior Managers together with
Branch Managers and members of the
bank’s liabilities team also attended the
launch ceremony.
Addressing the Press Conference,
Rashad Ali al Musafir, highlighted the
efforts put in by the bank to develop the
new scheme with innovative features
which directly benefit savers and
encourage people to develop a habit
of saving to achieve future goals. He
noted, “At Bank Sohar we consider the
satisfaction of our valued customers as
our highest priority. We always keep their
best interests in mind as we continue to
explore opportunities which enhance
their financial health over the long
-term. We strive to provide them with
the best possible banking services and
tailor our banking solutions to fit each
client’s personal needs. It is also their
collective feedback that forms the basis
of every product we develop and bring to
market, and is also the key driver behind
the evolution of Al Mumayaz Savings
Scheme each year.”
“In fact, our 2014 Al Mumayaz
Savings Scheme was one of our greatest
success stories of last year; significantly
growing in popularity and earning itself
a reputation as ‘the’ scheme of choice
with the greatest chance to win within
the market. For 2015 we are building on
that success by not only increasing the
number of prizes but also adding entirely
new Branch-specific prizes as part of
weekly and year-end draws,” he added.
Following the introductory address
by Acting CEO, was a speech by R
Narasimhan, who touched upon the
many achievements of Bank Sohar’s
retail business and especially the Saving
Scheme over the past year. He recalled
that in the year 2014, in order to spread
the message of Savings across the
Sultanate, the weekly, monthly, halfyearly and annual draws were scheduled
at different branches by inviting key
clients; thereby enhancing the visibility
of the campaign. The bank also took
the opportunity to take direct customer
feedback at such gatherings, not only
on the prize draw scheme, but also on
the other range of products and services
Shortly after, a documentary video
was played showcasing the journey of
the 2014 Al Mumayaz Saving Scheme
together with its highlights and various
weekly and monthly draws, as well as
the Year-end Grand Draw event which
took place last month. A comprehensive
overview of the features of the new
scheme was then provided by the Head
of Liabilities, Redha al Lawatia, who
highlighted the main improvements
in the new scheme compared to 2014
saving scheme and other value added
This was followed by a Q&A session.
Al Mumayaz Savings Scheme 2015
will continue with its hourly prize
draws of RO 1,000 each from Sunday
to Wednesday; totalling more than 900
winners. As with 2014, the bank will
once again undertake a branch-wide
tour conducting the weekly draw at each
of its branches throughout the year. In
addition, the bank will also conduct a
special branch draw worth RO 1,000
specifically for customers of the branch
in which the weekly draw event is held.
In total the weekly draws will see more
than 70 winners before the end of the
The monthly draw will witness over 80
winners throughout the year; where each
month five winners will each receive RO
10,000, while five minor account holders
will win RO 1,000 each.
Furthermore, the bank is also proud
to announce its half yearly prize draw
worth over RO 150,000 where two
winners will receive RO 50,000 each, one
minor account will receive RO 5,000,
and one exclusive draw winner will
receive RO 50,000. Meanwhile, the Yearend Prize Draw boasts a prize pool of
over half a million rials for more than 30
winners, with one lucky saver winning
RO 450,000, one exclusive winner
receiving RO 50,000 and one lucky minor
receiving RO 5,000. In addition, as part
of the Year-end Prize Draw, the bank will
also be conducting a special branch-wide
draw for the first time where one lucky
winner from each of the bank’s branches
will win RO 5,000.
With more chances, more winners
and more prizes, the Al Mumayaz
Savings Scheme is another great way to
increase savings as it provides customers
with a fair chance to win exciting cash
The Hourly and Weekly Draws require
customers to maintain a minimum
average balance of only RO 100 for the
previous 30 days and minimum balance
of RO 100 on the day preceding the draw.
All minor draws and the newly
introduced branch draws, including
those in the monthly, half-yearly and
year-end draws, require the customer to
maintain a minimum monthly average
balance of only RO 100.
Australian windfarms face $13 bn
wipeout from political impasse
Petrobras’ CEO seen as
loyal govt footsoldier
ustralia faces a A$17 billion
($13.3 billion) exodus of
investment from its windfarm
industry because of a political deadlock,
threatening to deal the country a
major economic blow and kill hopes of
meeting a self-imposed clean energy
Some 44 Australian windfarm
projects, about half overseas-funded,
have been shelved since a new
conservative government said it wanted
to cut state support for the industry a
year ago, with investors and operators
saying they are considering either
downscaling or leaving the country
altogether if it succeeds.
Even Australian windfarm companies
such as Infigen and Pacific Hydro have
effectively shelved their Australian
operations, with Infigen saying it plans
to pour all its financial muscle into the
more amenable US market.
“It’s a difficult time at the moment,
and the policy uncertainty is the main
cause of it,” said Shaq Mohajerani, an
Australian spokesman for wind farm
company Union Fenosa, owned by
Spanish energy giant Gas Natural.
“We’re still considering all options on
how to proceed.
The parent company will provide us
with the strategy.”
A Gas Natural spokesperson said
the firm had an “attractive backlog”
in Australia but “we are waiting for
the whole development of the new
framework for renewable energy and
hope our presence... in the country can
be maintained”.
Wind power in Australia is not the
only renewable energy sector to be
affected by uncertainty over government
subsidies or actual cuts.
In Europe, Germany has scaled back
support for solar power over the past few
years, leading to a flood of insolvency
filings by solar firms and a shrunken
Italy’s plans to cut subsidies for solar
Low rain clouds pass over wind turbines operating near Tarago, north of Australia’s capital, Canberra, in this file photo.
— Reuters
power firms have prompted an investor
Retroactive solar subsidy cuts
have also happened in Spain, Greece,
Bulgaria and the Czech Republic over
the past couple of years, putting off new
investors as governments try to rein in
energy costs and cut debt.
Windfarms are Australia’s No 2
renewable energy source, behind
hydropower but ahead of solar,
providing a quarter of the country’s
clean energy and 4 per cent of its total
energy demand.
But while households can collect
rebates for installing their own rooftop
solar panels, windfarms rely on
“certificates”, or tradeable securities
handed out by the government, to offset
That support hit a roadblock a
year ago when new conservative
prime minister Tony Abbott ordered a
review of the country’s target for clean
energy use by 2020, which ultimately
recommended slashing it by a third, in
line with falling overall energy demand.
A lower target would mean a lower
certificate price.
The Australian arm of
Spanish infrastructure group
Acciona , the world’s largest
renewable energy firm,
has frozen about A$750
million of windfarm projects
because of the stalemate.
The centre-left Labor opposition,
whose support the government needs
to lower the target, refused to budge on
the higher target it set when in power in
2009, resulting in an impasse that has
effectively seen the industry grind to a
A spokeswoman for US-owned
GE Australia & New Zealand, which
has stakes in several renewable energy
projects, said further investment “will
only occur once investor confidence in
the policy environment is restored.
For this to happen, bipartisan support
regarding the future of the renewable
energy target is essential.”
The Australian arm of Spanish
infrastructure group Acciona, the
world’s largest renewable energy firm,
has frozen about A$750 million of
windfarm projects because of the
stalemate, said local Managing Director
Andrew Thomson.
“When you’re a subsidiary (of a
global business), you’re competing
for capital, you’re competing for your
budget allocation next year,” he said.
“If the parent company can’t see that
there’s a stable environment it becomes
really difficult to get traction.
For us at the moment it’s a really
difficult sell.”
If the renewable energy target is
cut, “it’s the type of jolt to industry that
basically would create such an upheaval
that you would have a mass exodus”,
said Alex Hewitt, managing director of
Bulgarian-Polish-US-backed windfarm
operator CWP Renewables, which has
A$1.5 billion of projects on ice.
“I can’t say whether we’d completely
exit the country, but you would be
looking at such a level of reduction
in the level of investment into people
in the company that it would be very
significant,” Hewitt said.
— Reuters
ldemir Bendine (pictured), the new chief of Brazil’s embattled
oil company Petrobras, spent recent years dutifully pushing the
leftist government’s economic agenda while also pleasing private
shareholders — a tricky balance that will be key to his survival in a much
tougher job.
While many investors had hoped for a more independent figure,
President Dilma Rousseff opted instead on Friday to choose a loyal
footsoldier who has worked at the country’s largest bank by assets, Banco
do Brasil from the age of 15, eventually becoming its CEO.
Like Petrobras, Banco do Brasil is a hybrid — run by the government,
but also accountable to private-sector shareholders.
Under Bendine’s leadership, the bank appealed to both groups,
expanding loans to support the economy in the wake of the global financial
crisis, while its shares soared about 90 per cent.
Asked why Rousseff picked Bendine, an official close to her told
Reuters: “Maybe because he (made) big profits while he was CEO?”. The
official noted the bank likely made about 12 billion reais ($4.4 billion) last
year, up from 10.4 billion in 2013.
However, Petrobras will be an entirely different challenge for the
51-year-old of Italian descent, who worked his way up after starting as an
intern, in part due to strong connections to Rousseff and her predecessor,
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Petrobras is ensnared in a huge graft and bribery
scheme, with former executives accused of conspiring with construction
and engineering firms to overcharge for projects and then kick money
back to political parties, including Rousseff ’s own Workers Party.
Critics worry that Bendine’s background and loyalty to Rousseff will
make him less likely to push back against the heavy-handed government
intervention many blame for the company’s woes in recent years.
“His mission at Banco do Brasil was to carry out the wishes of the
government,” said John Forman, a consultant and former executive at oil
regulator ANP.
“He probably won’t have the necessary independence to be a counterweight to government ideas of what should be done (at Petrobras),” said
Forman, who does not know Bendine personally.
Bendine did not respond to requests for an interview on Friday.
Others say, however, that Bendine should not be seen as a mere
government yes-man.
He took the top job at Banco do Brasil in 2009
after then CEO Antonio Lima was pushed
aside after reportedly refusing to follow
government instructions to lower borrowing
costs to help pull Brazil out of recession. Yet,
under Bendine’s
leadership, the
bank was often
more rigorous
other state-run
— Reuters
FEBRUARY 11 l 2015
Online Editor’s Choice
9 Admitted, he’s not well (2-7)
10 Having reached your destination,
have to be picked up? (4,4)
12 Blinking, set to work with the needle
13 Strive for variety (6)
14 Return and change it to a later date
15 Don’t worry about the tough guys
recuperating (2,3,4)
17 The lucky period doesn’t last long —
one doesn’t have enough (4,5)
18 Gets fed up and now interrupts the
long speeches (7)
20 Roughly only, as one provides for
21 For the hunger, give it a little cheese
24 Came back and were caught in a
sand-storm (8)
26 Gave, when one had the money to
give (8)
28 Someone binding and creating a row
29 An attempt, during a depression, to
get food (6)
31 An about turn in the jobs
advertisements (7)
34 Yes; given a mere twinkling, the spy
pocketed it (9)
36 Doesn’t stop to get the papers one’s
ordered (7,2)
38 The brave man having a G and T
outside (7)
39 He is, having taken the tram back, at
home (6)
40 Take it for the animal (4)
41 A really good figure: a heavenly body
42 Explain the clue I compiled to the
girlfriend (9)
1 Learns — to phone before calling on
you? (5,3)
2 What’s in the bottle? That’s
immaterial (6)
3 Lacking support, is jittery (8)
4 Leave just a wisp (6)
5 Hurt a boy in the aquarium (8)
6 Removing roughly when fleecing
7 Try to disprove — and do try (7)
by Brian Basset
by Bill Watterson
by Jim Davis
8 United in song, perhaps (6)
11 Roughly drawn small boat: a very
little yacht (7)
16 Gives a party that gets into the news,
unfortunately (6)
19 Big area of open land to wander
about in (5)
20 The boy is a little smaller than the
woman (3)
22 Among those present at that point
23 Levers gently and it comes up (6)
25 Not those American houses you
fantasise about buying? (4,6)
26 Painting a man (3)
27 “19” is, by the way, odd (7)
30 Get the better of, forcing us to take
to market (8)
31 It’s in need of insurance, my love (8)
32 Heat has a parching effect on various
things (8)
33 Restores and finds another duplicate
for (7)
35 Hurry up — it’s not a spray (4-2)
36 Hotel worker having a drink (6)
37 Look at, saying “Children will like
this” (6)
ACROSS: 4, Pa-tch-y 7, All the go 8,
Small-S 10, S-t-eam 13, Tea-M 14, Earn
15, B-urn 16, Bet 17, Deer 19, Thud 21,
Seven-ties 23, P-is-a 24, Oast 26, Can
27, D-rum 29, Trim 32, H-eat 33, Kyoto
34, Breast 35, Ever-more 36, Stages.
Butt in (9)
Linoleum (8)
Small branch (4)
Deed (6)
Ask to marry (7)
Large dog (5,4)
Accord (9)
Prickly plant (7)
Kidnapper’s payment (6)
Caution (4)
Aromatic herb (8)
Pullovers (8)
Second-hand (4)
Type of lottery (6)
Light shoes (7)
Turf accountant (9)
Golf building (9)
Planet (7)
Freewheels (6)
Fastener (4)
Restaurant worker (8)
Large hairy spider (9)
DOWN: 1, Ca-u-se 2, Alter 3, Chum 4,
Poser 5, Tram 6, Hal-Ted 9, Mantis 11,
Tap 12, An-Des 13, Turn-out 15, Be-e
16, Bus 18, Eva-Des 20, Hetty 21, Sin
22, Tam 23, Par-rot 25, Bit 28, Rates 30,
R-obot 31, Mode-L 32, Hang 33, Kirk.
ACROSS: 4, Aspect 7, Heptagon 8,
Gloves 10, Tribe 13, Peer 14, Saga
15, Earn 16, Pro 17, Sari 19, Tray 21,
Financial 23, List 24, Talc 26, Rat 27,
Leer 29, Edit 32, Dear 33, Aside 34,
Resort 35, Ecstatic 36, Stamen.
DOWN: 1, Shots 2, Sprig 3, Game 4,
Anger 5, Poor 6, Cherry 9, Lentil 11,
Ray 12, Basis 13, Painter 15, Era 16, Pal
18, Antler 20, Races 21, Fit 22, Car 23,
Latent 25, Lid 28, Eaten 30, Ditto 31,
Teach 32, Doom 33, Alto.
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
This year
could prove
to be a very
profitable one
if you choose
your partner
with care and
make sure that
you hold the
reins. It would
only take one
member of the
team to upset
the balance and
put a damper
on what should
be a moneyspinner.
Wait patiently (3,5)
Try extremely hard (6)
Buy (8)
Clothes, garments (6)
K2, say (8)
Useful for many things (3-7)
Loaf type (7)
Touch lightly (6)
Fate (7)
Teachers (6)
Mental picture (5)
Manage (3)
Major artery (5)
Stink (6)
Goalie (10)
Diocese (3)
Spouse (7)
A prediction (8)
Strolls (8)
Motorcycle sport (8)
Quantities (7)
Child without living parents (6)
Shrewd, cunning (6)
False or incorrect (6)
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
If you invite a business associate to your home you will
have a far better chance of
developing a pleasant working relationship.
A chance remark made by a
very experienced colleague
will point to an efficient method of handling some of your
A sudden responsibility, which
will keep you at home for a while,
may prevent you from accepting
an invitation which you were anticipating with enjoyment.
A person on whose co-operation you confidently counted
may have second thoughts for
no obvious reason and refuse
to get involved.
You need to rid yourself quickly
of the influence of a domineering person before he succeeds
in robbing you of all your initiative.
Tangible proof today that you
are moving in the right direction in your business will give
you the incentive to double
your efforts in the coming year.
July 22August 21
August 22September 22
September 23October 22
October 23November 21
November 22December 21
December 22January 20
This is not a good day to make
any important decisions it would
be far wiser to sleep on it and see
if you feel the same way tomorrow.
A financial matter concerning some essential economies
may cause some friction in the
family and you will have to try
to settle it in a friendly way.
A business offer, which you
once regarded as being beyond
your capacity, may be worth
considering now in the light of
recently changed conditions.
You ought to show a certain
amount of pride in your accomplishments and talk about
them to make others aware of
A highly confidential business matter ought to be kept
strictly to yourself even your
best friend should not be taken into your confidence.
A person of the opposite sex
may be waiting for you to
make the first move before
expressing a particular interest in you.
FEBRUARY 11 l 2 0 1 5
Every Day 8 am
and 10 am. For
91162534. E-mail:
[email protected] Web:
Leading construction company
in Oman intends to dispose
off their used vehicles and
equipment in ‘is where is’
are presently located at their
Muscat Misfah Camp of the
company and will be offered
for inspection to the public
on 8, 9 and 10 February 2015
between 08:00 am to 12:00 pm
and 02:00 to 05:00 pm.
Situation Vacant
PRIVATE bilingual
school at Muscat
needs a Specialist
and experienced
Teachers (Chemistry,
Physics, Maths,
English). Email:
[email protected]
SYRIAN Mashavi Cook
and Moroccan Lady
Cook for Qurum Beach
Hotel.24704994 or
transporter for a
female student who
lives in Al Mawaleh
from and to Shatti al
Qurum School
REQUIRED experienced
Indian Driver for
Sewage Tanker.
Contact: 95339249.
WANTED experienced
accountant with
experience in
Aluminium, Glass sales.
Call to 99705023.
E-mail: [email protected]
SENIOR Mechanical
Power Engineer,
Egyptian, 7 years
experience in (oil &
shore in Agiba
Petroleum Co.
94249022. E-mail:
[email protected]
INDIAN male, Video
Editor, excellent
knowledge of computers
including MS Office and
computer software
namely Final Cut Pro,
Adobe After Effects,
Photoshop &
Combustion seeks
suitable job. Contact
PAKISTANI male, 26,
MBA with 1 year
experience in accounts/
Admin, 3 months
experience in FFC,
working knowledge with
Peachtree, quickbooks,
fluent in English, good
computer skills, on
family visit till 2nd
March, seeks suitable
position. Contact
e-mail: [email protected]
INDIAN IT prof, MCA 5+
yrs exp in Hardware,
Networking, PHP, CSS,
HTML, Java Script, Sql.
NOC available, seeks
suitable job.
97496998. E-mail:
[email protected]
24 YEARS Oman
experienced can handle
accounts upto
finalisation, banking,
preparation of job
costing receivable/
payable, age-wise
analysis and timely
follow-ups, preparation
of BRS and other
required MIS, having
Omani driving licence,
can join immediately.
Contact: 94070799
CIVIL engineer
experience in Oman with
Omani driving licence
Engineer-Civil (BE,
ACQE) in Oman on
visit visa, overall 10
years of experience in
building and
construction project
in Qatar and UAE,
holding valid GCC
driving licence
00968 93958533,
e-mail: [email protected]
Technician having 3
years exp in software
programming (PABX,
CCTV...) and marketing
looking for a job in
technical area or
HR, Admin, sales,
marketing. Contact:
91706132. E-mail:
[email protected]
INDIAN male with
10-year Oman
experience in sales with
Omani driving licence
looking for sales/driving
job 95067844.
E-mail: [email protected]
INDIAN male, 22 years,
BE Mechanical Engineer,
seeks suitable placement.
Contact: 95020044.
e-mail: sameemsm2009
INDIAN male, 24 years,
MBA, having 2 years of
knowledge of Tally ERP,
Focus, Wings, Peachtree,
MS-Excel, currently on
visit visa, seeks suitable
placement. Available
immediately. Contact
91058205, E-mail:
[email protected]
CIVIL Engineer, 14 years
experience, 5 years in
Oman, valid driving
licence, NOC release
available Contact:
Situation Wanted
Accountant, 9 years
consolidation as per
IFRS, Treasury, Budget,
Investments, taxation,
AP/AR currently
position in Oman.
Joining immediate
NOC available.
95489269. E-mail:
[email protected]
Situation Wanted
LOOKING to recruit
Designer (preferably
female). Please forward
your CV to: idesigner.
[email protected]
INDIAN male, BTech-E&I,
10 years experience in
Sales, Procurement and
Business Development.
6 years Oman
experience in Oil & Gas
Sector, having Omani
driving licence, NOC
available, seeks suitable
placement. Contact:
M COM, 4 years
experience in marketing
& sales, 2 years
experience in Oman
having Omani driving
Arabic, seeks sales
job. Contact:
E-mail: [email protected]
INDIAN male, 29 years
old, engineering diploma
holder, 4 year’s
experience in Oman, 2
years in PDO Road
Division, looking for
placement. NOC
available. 99352822.
Expatriate Heavy duty
drivers and Forklift
operators with PDO
Interested parties may contact:
Tel.: (+968) 91372796
CONTACT: 99465358/99348352
INDIAN male, with 10
years Oman experience
in sales with Omani
driving licence, looking
for suitable job. Contact:
95067844. E-mail:
[email protected]
SMART professional,
excellent English,
communication, highly
Oman exp in Admin
management, operations,
credit & collection,
procurement, business
development, customer
relations, commercial,
analytical thinking.
Quick joining, NOC.
If you would like to know more about
Islam, please call:
Tel : 99425598, 96050000, 99353988, 99253818,
99341395, 99379133, For ladies: 99415818,
99321360, 99730723
Or visit:
Good News to all our
dear customers: Our
PRO will visit your
documents for typing
or clearing and will
deliver the same on
Our services include
typing all forms
related to Ministry
of Manpower,
Immigration, e.g.,
visas, renewal of
visas, all services
related to Ministry of
Commerce & Industry,
e.g., reservation of
commercial names,
amendment of activities
of the company and
all services related to
Royal Oman Police;
Cancellation of
Visas at the Muscat
International Airport
for repatriation of
employees; Directorate
Oman Chamber of
Commerce & Industry.
Translation of legal
documents. Medical
reports, commercial
agency agreements,
literature, catalogues
(Languages: Arabic,
English, French,
Spanish & Italian)
Our Address: Ruwi,
Adjacent to Gulf
Transport Co. (GTC).
Telephones: 24793331
GSM: 99231500
/96777170/ 95959838
Managed by: Salim
Khalfan al Hadi
(33 years of experience
in management)
mechanical engineer
with 3-month
QA/QC, pipeline and
NDT. In Oman on visit
visa, seeks suitable
placement. Contact
95803035, E-mail:
[email protected]
Situation Wanted
INDIAN male, 27 years,
B Tech Mechanical,
having 1 year pipeline
experience, seeking
job in any mechanical
mentioned points need
attention: 1 NOC is
available, 2. Available in
Oman till 31st January.
Contact 95982207.
E-mail: [email protected]
BSC Civil Engineer
(degree 4 years hons)
with GCC driving licence,
about one year Gulf
experience seeks suitable
job. 93929310.
CHEF with 7 years
experience in tandoor,
Chinese & Indian food,
available 95924771
SUDANESE male, BSc in
Chemical Engineering
honours degree from
U of K, fresh graduate,
looking for suitable job
in project evaluation.
Contact: 92647250.
INDIAN male, 2 years
experience in Oil
accounting, oil supply
chain management and
looking for a suitable
position. Contact:
96534120. E-mail:
[email protected]
wireless networks,
CCNA & MCSE trained,
3 years experience as
IT support assistant
at a leading higher
education institution in
Oman seeking a position
as network/ systems
engineer. 96008737.
E-mail: [email protected]
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and rent
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·· · · · ·
LOOKING for an
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Masyiah National
registered at the
Commercial Register
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and Industry
Ministry No
1173209 takes to
your attention that
it’s transforming its
legal form from
company to Limited
company as per the
article (13) bis of
the Commercial
Companies Law No
4/74 and its
amendments. Those
who are objecting
the transformation
shall file reasons of
objection at the
Secretariat of the
Commercial Register
of the Ministry of
Commerce and
Industry within 2
months of
publishing this
AHMED bin Abdullah
bin Salim al-Mamari
and his son Trading
register No. 1087786
announces that
it is intending to
change its name to
Kanoz Hafeet Trade
be informed of the
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3 X Casio cash registers
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SHOP for rent, 200
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This accommodation
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MANPOWER: Filipino
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24489268 Tel:/Fax:
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MD Afsar Ali has lost
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No E1279454. Finder
please handover to ROP.
has lost Pakistani
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Mustafa has lost
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Scotland thrash Ireland in warm-up Fabregas returns to boost Chelsea Sultanate’s sports stars honoured FOLLOW US ON:
Simon, Chardy
advance in
ROTTERDAM: French eighth seed Gilles
Simon overcame a slow start to defeat
Joao Sousa 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 at the ATP
Rotterdam World Tennis tournament on
The French number two, a semifinalist at the Ahoy Stadium in 2008
and 2013, was joined in the second
round by his compatriot Jeremy Chardy,
who advanced as another countryman
Julien Benneteau retired 3-3 with a leg
Simon wore down the resistance of
Portugal’s Sousa in just under two-anda-half hours.
The Frenchman saved eight
break points and fired eight aces in a
laboured victory.
“It was a really difficult match,” said
the 19th-ranked winner, who rode a
roller-coaster of match momentum
against a dangerous number 46
“I got on top of him in the first set,
but he came back to win the set (from
5-2 down).
“In the second set I had to
come from a break down. I was not
particularly happy with my game, but
my only solution was to fight as much
as possible.
“Finally, I got through this one.”
Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky reached
the second round over Spaniard Marcel
Granollers 6-2, 7-6 (9/7) while Canadian
Vasek Pospisil spent just an hour in a
winning debut with a defeat of German
Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 6-2.
Pospisil, the reigning Wimbledon
doubles champion, broke Kohlschreiber
three times on the way to his fourth win
of 2015.
The Canadian broke the German
twice in the second set in what he
called a perfect performance.
“I played a flawless match, I did
everything well,” said the ATP number
59.”My forehand and return were both
working. I didn’t do much wrong today.”
Pospisil will next face the winner
form top seed Andy Murray, who plays
on Wednesday against France’s Nicolas
Hisham, Saeed
star in Musannah
win over Suwaiq
MUSCAT: Goals from Hisham Al
Rashidi (20th) and Saeed al Dhaboni
(86th) helped Al Musannah edge
past Al Suwaiq 2-1 in the Omantel
Professional League (OPL) match at
the Seeb Sports Stadium on Monday.
Abdullah Kofi had taken the lead
for Al Suwaiq in the 14th minute
before Hisham and Al Dhaboni rallied
for Musannah.
In other matches, Dhofar drew 1-1
with Al Seeb. Basin Abdullah scored
in the 39th minute for Dhofar after
which Mazin A’ Saadi struck in the first
minute of stoppage time for Al Seeb.
Sohar beat Al Khabourah 1-0
riding on a goal from Abdul Aziz al
Hosni in the 82nd minute.
Results: Dhofar: 1 (Basin Abdullah
39th) drew Al Seeb: 1 (Mazin A’Saadi
90+1); Sohar: 1 (Abdul Aziz al
Hosni 82nd) bt Al Khabourah: 0; Al
Musannah: 2 (Hisham 20th, Saeed al
Dhaboni 86th) bt Suwaiq: 1 (Kofi 14th).
[email protected]
India break Aussie tour duck with victory
RELIEF: India finally celebrated success in Australia with a 153-run win against minnows Afghanistan
SYDNEY: India finally celebrated a first
win on their marathon Australia tour
on Tuesday with a resounding 153-run
victory over outclassed Afghanistan in a
World Cup warm-up.
The defending World Cup champions
piled up 364-5 in their 50 overs at the
Adelaide Oval with record-breaking
batsman Rohit Sharma making 150 with
12 fours and seven sixes.
He was well-supported by Ajinkya
Rahane’s 88 not out with Suresh Raina
hitting a stylish 75.
Afghanistan, who will be playing
in their first World Cup when the
tournament starts on Saturday, batted
their full 50 overs but managed just 2118.
Nawroz Mangol was the only
batsman to make an impression with 56.
There had been some early
encouraging signs for the Asian
minnows when they had India
struggling on 16-2 after Hamid Hassan
and Dawlat Zadran got rid of Shikhar
Dhawan and Virat Kohli.
But once Sharma and Raina had put
on 158 for the third wicket, there was no
way back for Afghanistan who opted for
team and their batting is quite long,” said
Nabi. “We started well when we batted
but then the ball began to skid and we
struggled. We played out the 50 overs,
that was a plus point.”
meanwhile, Scotland clinched an
impressive 179-run win over Ireland, the
strongest of the Associate nations who
stunned England and Bangladesh at the
2011 World Cup.
Matt Machan made 103 for the Scots
with skipper Preston Mommsen (56)
and Richie Berrington (52) also in the
In reply, Ireland skipper William
Porterfield (23) and Paul Stirling (37)
put on 57 for the first wicket inside 12
But medium pace bowler Alasdair
Evans then dismissed both openers as
well as Ed Joyce and Niall O’Brien to
finish with 4-17 off five overs.
Indian players celebrate the wicket of Afghanistan’s Nawroz Mangal during the World Cup warm-up match in Adelaide. — AFP
Ireland lost nine wickets for just
60 runs with only Gary Wilson (15)
batting practice rather than chase down good,” said India skipper Mahendra on the solid foundation given them by managing to join Porterfield and Stirling
in double figures.
the opening pair.
the total. “I’m not a big fan of practice Singh Dhoni.
The Irish side were all out by the 27th
Afghanistan captain Mohammad
“The bowlers couldn’t put ball in the
games, but a bit more time in the middle
does help. Overall it has been quite Nabi admitted his bowlers couldn’t build right place, but India are a champion over.
I’ve no problem with
Djokovic, says Murray
Australian Open finalist Andy Murray
says there is no need for Novak
Djokovic to explain himself after their
controversial Australian Open final.
Djokovic struggled through to an
eighth Grand Slam title eight days ago
— looking beaten physically but pulling
through for a four-set victory at the
expense of a furious Murray, who came
close to accusing him of theatrics on
court. “Everything has been made out
to be much bigger than what is was,”
said the number four Scot on Monday
at the Rotterdam World Tennis. “That
happens all the time these days.”
“In reality, you can go through
periods of being very tired, then get
better. You can get a second wind.
“As the finishing line gets closer, you
can feel better. If Novak feels he has
something to explain, I’d be pleased to
speak with him, But I don’t feel he really
needs to explain anything.”
Murray added that while media may
try and beat up the story of his own
anger at losing the Melbourne final for a
fourth time into a feud, he and Djkoivic
remain on excellent terms.
Last year’s Australian Open winner
Stan Wawrinka meanwhile said he is
happy to shake up his February schedule
as he makes a return to Rotterdam for
the first time in a decade.
The Swiss 29-year-old was to have
played here 12 months ago, but a
combination of injury plus the sheer
shock of lifting a first Grand Slam title
kept him away.
Now, Wawrinka, whose ranking has
slipped to ninth after going out in the
Melbourne semifinals to Djokovic, has
come good on his vow to shake up his
“I haven’t played indoor in February
for 10 years,” said Wawrinka, who lost
in the 2005 second round here to Roger
“I used to play in South America
and the last few years I haven’t played
in February.
“I’m excited to be back. I feel good.
It’s important for me to come to play
here. It is a great tournament, a good
indoor court.”
Wawrinka said that after arriving
on Sunday afternoon, he has already
had two training sessions at the Ahoy
Stadium. He said mixing and matching
his calendar serves a good purpose.
“It’s good to change a bit, to see some
new tournaments. Even if I played here
before, it was so long ago. It’s also good
to stay mentally fresh.”
Wawrinka, who stands behind
Murray, Milos Raonic and holder
Tomas Berdych in the seedings, will
open in the first round against Dutch
number 250 Jesse Huta Galung, whose
best showing at home was reaching the
second round three years ago.
“I’ve seen him around for many
years, but I’ve never played or practised
with him. I’ll watch a few videos and
talk to my coach. The Dutch always play
well here.
“He will be pumped for the first
match - he’ll be ready and dangerous.
“Everything this week depends on
how I’m gonna start. If I play my best
tennis I can do some good results. It’s
indoors, so you have to be ready for the
first match, I’m feeling great so we will
see.” — AFP
FEBRUARY 11 l 2015
Pakistan’s Maqsood wants to do an Inzy ‘92 encore
SYDNEY: Pakistan’s newest batting
star Sohaib Maqsood Tuesday said he
hoped to emulate the heroics of his
fellow Multan native Inzamam-ul Haq
by playing a key role at the World Cup.
Maqsood, who hit an unbeaten 93
in Monday’s three-wicket warm-up win
over Bangladesh, said he still watched
footage on YouTube of Inzamam
smashing Pakistan to victory in 1992.
“Inzamam was a great player and if
I come close to what he did in 1992 I
would be a proud man,” said Maqsood.
“I grew up watching him as a great
batsman,” he added. “I still watch
his World Cup knocks on YouTube
whenever I get time and it always
inspires me to match his knocks.
“Inzamam was a great player, an icon
in Pakistan and it’s my desire to do what
he did in his career, especially in the
1992 World Cup.”
In 1992 Inzamam, then 22, blazed
a match-turning, 37-ball 60 to help
Pakistan beat New Zealand in the semifinals of the World Cup, also held in
Australia and New Zealand.
He then chipped in with another
whirlwind, 35-ball 42 in the final against
England in Melbourne to finish as one
of the stars of Pakistan’s only World
Cup win. Maqsood, 27, showed similar
“My goal is clear and that is to win
matches for Pakistan and for that I am
doing extra hard work,” he said.
“We are working on playing more
back-foot shots as we are used to playing
front-foot shots in our part of the world.”
He added that Pakistan’s first match,
against arch-rivals and defending
champions India in Adelaide on Sunday,
was important for their chances.
“It’s a crucial game for us and if we
win that it will be an ideal start for us,”
qualities in Monday’s win when his said Maqsood. Pakistan will also play
undefeated knock helped Pakistan the West Indies, Zimbabwe, United
overcome early jitters and overhaul their Arab Emirates, South Africa and Ireland
247-run target in Sydney.
in Group B.
‘Inzamam was a great
player and if I come close
to what he did in 1992 I
would be a proud man. I
grew up watching him as a
great batsman. I still watch
his World Cup knocks on
Pakistan’s Sohaib Maqsood plays
a shot as Bangladesh
wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim
looks on in Sydney.
POOR RUN: ’It’s just a matter of time before their batting clicks’
India will get into WC
groove, says Hazlewood
Australia’s Josh
Hazelwood bowls
(right) during the
against India in
This file photo shows Bangladesh batsman Tamim
Iqbal playing a shot during a one-day international
warm-up match against Pakistan at Blacktown Sports
Park in Sydney.
Fit-again Tamim
delighted with
SYDNEY: Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal says he
was delighted with his recovery from knee surgery
after hitting 81 in the narrow World Cup warm-up
loss to Pakistan. The 25-year-old left-hander showed
no ill effects from last month’s operation during a
168-run stand for the third wicket with Mohammad
Mahmudullah (83) on Monday.”It’s quite satisfying
to be back after knee surgery and perform well,” said
Iqbal. “My goal is to help Bangladesh win as many
games as possible.”
“I am quite happy that I could start well on my
return. I needed this confidence ahead of a major
tournament,” he added.
Despite Iqbal’s efforts, Pakistan surpassed
Bangladesh’s total of 246 in the penultimate over and
the Tigers will now target a win in Friday’s final warmup against Ireland.
They will then turn their attention to their February
18 World Cup opener against Afghanistan, a chance
for revenge after their shock defeat at last year’s Asia
Cup. “We could take a lot of positives from this practice
match. If we can win the next one, everyone will enter
the tournament with much confidence,” Iqbal said.
“We have been preparing well and have learnt our
lessons of the defeat against Afghanistan in the Asia
Cup,” he added.
MELBOURNE: Australia paceman
Josh Hazlewood has played down
India’s 106-run drubbing in a World
Cup warm-up against the co-hosts on
Sunday, saying it was a matter of time
before the champions clicked.
Australia dominated India in batting,
bowling and fielding in the Adelaide
match to bolster their status as favourites
to win the global showpiece which starts
on Saturday.
India have been in wretched form
Down Under, however, going winless
from their three matches in the triseries against England and Australia in
recent weeks.
“It’s just a matter of time until their
batting order clicks,” Hazlewood told
reporters in Melbourne on Tuesday.
“They’ve got some outstanding
players and they’ve all got great records.
I think it’s just a matter of time before
they get going.
“They’re a very dangerous side.”
Australia have been in ominous form
in the lead-up, going undefeated to win
the tri-series despite missing injured
captain Clarke, who is nonetheless
expected to play in the team’s warm-up
match on Wednesday against United
Arab Emirates at the Melbourne Cricket
James Faulkner’s side strain has
been the only major fly in the ointment
and Hazlewood underscored the fast
bowling all-rounder’s value as “an
edge” over the 13 other teams who will
compete at the World Cup.
“I think it’s just that batting edge,
probably especially when Faulks
(Faulkner) is in that team, to have him
at eight at full strength is probably the
key,” he said.
“Where other teams probably have
bowlers who can bat a bit, we’ve got
Jimmy down there who can finish it off.
“I think our quicks as well (are an
edge). We’ve got great depth in our
“Probably those two things are...
above the other teams.”
With Mitchell Johnson to lead the
attack and Faulkner almost certain to be
included if fit, Hazlewood will compete
with left-armer Mitchell Starc and Pat
Cummins for the remaining pace spots.
Though one of the junior members
of the pace battery, Hazlewood has been
impressive in his eight one-day matches
and said he would have no problem
being picked for “death bowling” duties
during the World Cup.
“Yeah, definitely,” he said. “All the
bowlers want to have that opportunity
to win the game for Australia whether
you’re bowling the start, the middle or
the end.
“I think the end’s obviously crucial.
We’ve seen Starc and Faulkner do the job
in previous games but everyone wants
that opportunity to prove themselves.”
— Reuters
Machan, Evans
shine as Scotland
thrash Ireland
SYDNEY: Matt Machan scored a century and Alasdair
Evans took four for 17 as Scotland romped to a 179run victory over Ireland in a World Cup warm-up
match at Blacktown Oval on Tuesday.
Ireland have caused huge upsets at both their
previous World Cups but it was Scotland, who have
yet to taste victory in two tournaments, who won the
battle of the Celtic minnows with 23 overs to spare.
Scotland won the toss and chose to bat but made
a faltering start when they lost their top batsman and
skipper for the day Kyle Coetzer for a duck in the
second over.
They slumped to 2-42 when Hamish Gardner
became paceman Max Sorensen’s (3-55) second
victim in the eighth over but that brought Machan to
the crease.
The young lefthander formed partnerships of 44
with Calum MacLeod (41), 96 with Preston Mommsen
(56) and 98 with Richie Berrington, who hit his 52 off
40 balls as Scotland accelerated the scoring rate in
their final 10 overs.
Machan was finally bowled by Craig Young having
blasted six fours and four sixes in his 108-ball knock
but the Scots were already well on their way to an
imposing score of 296 for six.
Ireland started their run chase with a solid opening
stand of 57 between skipper William Porterfield and
Paul Stirling (37) before Evans struck with a threewicket blitz in two overs.
The right-arm seamer returned to remove
Porterfield for 23 and the Irish were really on the ropes
at 77-5 when Andrew Balbirnie followed for eight in
the following over.
Ireland’s tail were only able to eke out another 40
runs as experienced off-spinner Majid Haq (3-9) and
seamer Josh Davey (2-36) got among the wickets to
secure a handsome victory.
Ireland get their World Cup campaign underway
against West Indies in Nelson next Monday, while the
Scots face co-hosts New Zealand in their opener in
Dunedin the following day. — Reuters
Scotland captain Preston Mommsen speaks at a press
conference in Sydney.
Richardson says players with already poor records of on-field behaviour could face immediate match bans if found guilty of a single breach
Sledgers to face match bans at the quadrennial event
MELBOURNE: The International
Cricket Council will crack down on
excessive sledging between players at
the World Cup, saying first offenders
can expect heavier fines while repeat
offenders face suspension from matches.
ICC chief executive David Richardson
also said players with already poor
records of on-field behaviour could face
immediate match bans if found guilty
of a single breach of the ICC’s code of
conduct during the February. 14 - March
29 tournament.
“That issue has been addressed at all
the pre-event team briefings,” Richardson
told reporters in Melbourne on Tuesday.
“I suppose it started a few months
back already that the behaviour in some
That issue has been
matches by some players was deemed to
addressed at all
be unacceptable and not a good example
to young fans watching the game.
the pre-event team
“I think there’s been something like
briefings. I suppose
12-13 code of conduct charges laid in the
it started a few months back
last few months in bilateral series.
“So the crackdown had already already that the behaviour
started. I think the teams are going to be
told that the umpires intend to remains in some matches was
firm, that the penalties handed out by the deemed unacceptable
match referees will be perhaps a little bit
more serious or higher than before but
ICC chief executive
that hopefully everyone will be treated
equally and fairly.
“For a first offence, you’ll likely end handing back most of his match fee. “But
up with a fine which no players likes, certainly a repeat offence, not only in this
tournament but some players already
sitting with offences behind their name,
will be punished with a suspension.”
The crackdown may give Australia
opening batsman David Warner some
pause before charging into a verbal
altercation given he has been found guilty
of breaching the code of conduct twice
in two months. India batsmen Shikhar
Dhawan and Virat Kohli were also fined
for conduct breaches in December
during the occasionally ill-tempered test
series with Australia.
Pundits have suggested a soccer-style
yellow and red card system to better
stamp out poor on-field behaviour but
Richardson said cricket would continue
to rely on post-match reviews with onfield umpires and off-field referees to
analyse incidents and lay charges where
“That idea has been debated at a
number of previous cricket committee
meetings that I’ve attended and probably
will be debated again,” he said.
“We don’t necessarily want to follow
the way that football goes. A lot of these
decisions are taken after a measured
response by match officials reviewing
footage of the match afterwards.
“That obviously cannot happen when
you are brandishing a red or a yellow card
on the spur of the moment.”
— Reuters
FEBRUARY 11 l 2015
EPL: City have slipped to seven points behind leaders Chelsea with 14 matches left to play, the first of which is against Stoke City today
Toure has faith Manchester City can clinch title
KINGDOM: Yaya Toure believes
Manchester City can win all of their
remaining Premier League fixtures and
successfully defend their title.
Manuel Pellegrini’s team have slipped
to seven points behind leaders Chelsea
with 14 matches left to play, the first
of which is against Stoke City at the
Britannia Stadium on Wednesday.
City have failed to win in their last
five matches, a run that has coincided
with Toure’s absence due to Africa Cup
of Nations commitments with Ivory
Toure helped his country win the
continental competition on Sunday with
a penalty shootout victory over Ghana
in the final and is due back in Britain
this week.
However, Pellegrini has said it
would be “impossible” for Toure or
compatriot Wilfried Bony to feature
against Stoke and that their return to the
Premier League is likely to come against
Newcastle United on February 21.
After triumphing with his country,
Toure, 31, is ready to inspire his club to
“With my confidence I know football
is not about one game or two games,
especially in the Premier League,” he
“We have 38 games and if we want to
achieve it (winning the title) we have to
win all the games.
“I know it is difficult but now I have
to go back and do my duty again.”
After being held by Hull, Manchester
City are unlikely to take the prospect of
facing Stoke lightly, especially after Mark
Hughes’s team enjoyed a surprising 1-0
victory when the teams met at the Etihad
Stadium in August.
Jesus Navas says Pellegrini’s team can
ill afford any similar slips.
“Stoke are a team who are very well
organised and very disciplined,” said
“As we saw in the first game, if you are
not focused and even momentarily lose
concentration, they can hurt you - just as
they did at the Etihad.
“We were disappointing that day
but Stoke played very well and won a
game they perhaps weren’t expected to
win. They are playing very well at the
moment and unless we have to be at our
best from start to finish.
“We know from experience that
playing at Stoke can be similar in many
ways, especially if their fans are behind
them throughout so we have to try and
get on top early and perhaps quieten the
home support.”
The Potters have lost just one of the
last nine games in all competitions,
while victory over Queens Park Rangers
on January 31 extended an unbeaten
record on home soil to four games.
“We’re looking forward to it and it’s
important that we keep our impressive
run going,” Hughes said.
“We are playing really well at the
moment and I am pleased with the form
we are showing so we need to keep it
“It won’t be easy, Manchester City
are a little bit of a wounded animal at
the moment and have got a little bit of
criticism for their home form.
“We need to be ready for them, but
we’re playing very well at the moment so
bring it on.”
Stoke salvaged a point against
Newcastle United on Sunday thanks to
Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara holds the African Nations Cup trophy as he walks with captain of Ivory Coast’s soccer team Yaya Toure at the Felix Houphouet
Boigny International airport in Abidjan. — Reuters
Of the 34-year-old’s 22 league
Peter Crouch’s late header.
It was the former England striker’s appearances, nine have come as a
fifth Premier League goal of the season, substitute.
“He’s understandably been a little
during which he has been used sparingly
disappointed of late because he hasn’t
by his manager.
Mata warns United can’t afford another slip
KINGDOM: Juan Mata has warned
his Manchester United team-mates
they can’t afford another slip-up when
they face Burnley at Old Trafford on
United have not lost at home to
Burnley since 1962 and nothing less
than victory will do in their quest to
qualify for the Champions League via
a top-four finish in the Premier League.
The Clarets, who are just one place
above the relegation zone, will once
again be massive underdogs when they
take on Louis van Gaal’s fourth placed
But, after taking just one point from
a 1-1 draw at West Ham on Sunday, and
that thanks only to a stoppage-time goal
from Daley Blind, Spanish midfielder
Mata knows United can’t afford another
lacklustre performance.
“We must win this one because the
race for the Champions League spots is
now very close,” Mata said.
“We have to get the three points at
home, we know that, and that’s what we
are working for. I’m sure we will make it
with our people’s help.”
United slipped a place to fourth
following the weekend’s results and
could be overhauled, temporarily at
least, by the north London duo of
Tottenham and Arsenal. Tottenham face
a tough trip to seventh-placed Liverpool
but Arsenal will expect to beat bottom
‘We must win this one
because the race for the
Champions League spots is
now very close. We have to
get three points at home, we
know that, and that’s what
we are working for’
Manchester United’s Juan Mata (third right) scores the opening goal of the FA Cup
fourth round replay match against Cambridge United at Old Trafford in Manchester.
club Leicester at home.
That leaves United with no margin
for error and defender Phil Jones is
determined to make up for what he saw
as a missed opportunity to close the gap
on second-placed Manchester City by
failing to win at West Ham.
“Ultimately, we are disappointed.
We needed to win and it was a big
game for us. We could have gained
some ground,” Jones said. “But it was
not to be. We have got another big
game on Wednesday night now and we
need to win that one.
“The manager said in the dressing
room after the game that he couldn’t
fault our spirit. If we had shown that
more in the first half then we might have
started games, but he came on and games or comes off the bench.
“Again that’s a credit to him because
invariably made a massive impact for
it shows he is fully engaged and readily
us,” Hughes said.
“That’s the type of player he is. He’s prepared for every game he plays in.”
a solid professional whether he starts
come away with a victory. We need to
address and evaluate this and move on
to the Burnley game.”
Burnley have won just once away
from home all season and, after letting
slip a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at home
to West Bromwich Albion last Sunday,
have tasted victory only once in their
last eight league games.
But Sean Dyche’s side are renowned
fighters, coming back from 2-0 down to
draw at Manchester City over Christmas.
And after holding United to a 0-0
draw at Turf Moor earlier in the season,
midfielder David Jones, who started
his career at Old Trafford, believes
they can again cause van Gaal’s side
“We are looking to get something
from the game and it’s a big one for us,”
Jones said. “Personally, I’ve been back
to Old Trafford a few times with my
previous clubs and it’s always good to
go back to a ground such as that and see
people. — AFP
FIFA reformers to
keep plugging away
pressure group campaigning for
reform of Fifa has uncovered a
reluctance within football to publicly
back the organisation even though
many support its motives, one of its
founding members has said.
Jaimie Fuller, an Australian
businessman who previously led the
“Change Cycling Now” lobby group
following a series of doping scandals,
said there was a reticence to speak out
against world soccer’s ruling body.
“I had some conversations and the
response was, privately, ‘We love what
you’re doing but publicly we can’t get
involved with you politically’,” said
Fuller, the chairman of the Swiss-based
sportswear company SKINS.
“Whether you talk about players’
representation, or national associations,
or about sponsors in particular, I have
a degree of empathy for the position
many find themselves in,” he added.
Fuller’s company values state that
“athletes should handle themselves
with honesty and integrity at all times.
They should play hard and fair — be
determined and driven with the ‘true
spirit of competition’.”
So it is not hard to see why its
chairman should find himself part of
the “New Fifa Now” pressure group
which believes there is little honesty
or integrity at Fifa, which has been
discredited by a number of scandals
over the last two decades.
New Fifa Now was launched in
Brussels on Jan. 21 with Fuller on
the top table and an abundance of
politicians and disenchanted sports
officials in attendance.
But Fuller said he was disappointed
that FIFPro, the world players’ union
and various supporters’ groups were
“One of our key criticisms is
that there is a lack of player and fan
engagement within Fifa, so we really
wanted to try and get that going with
those groups,” he said.
“We were very disappointed that
FIFPro said they wouldn’t attend and
likewise with the supporter groups.
(Perhaps) they are in the midst of
some delicate negotiations in Fifa,” he
added. — Reuters
Mourinho has been handed a major fitness boost with the return of the Spain star who came off during the League Cup win over Liverpool
Fabregas returns to boost Chelsea’s title charge
In a file photo, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales meets Chelsea and Spain
footballer Cesc Fabregas (left) at the British Asian Trust dinner in central
London. — AFP
LONDON: Chelsea manager Jose
Mourinho has been handed a major fitness
boost after revealing Cesc Fabregas will be
back in his side for the visit of Everton on
Spain star Fabregas came off during the
Blues’ League Cup semi-final victory over
Liverpool with a hamstring injury and
missed the draw with Manchester City and
Saturday’s win at Aston Villa. But Mourinho
confirmed Fabregas will be back in midfield
for the showdown at Stamford Bridge as
the Blues aim to maintain their seven-point
lead over City at the top of the table.
“I think he (Fabregas) plays Wednesday
because on Saturday it was a decision to
protect him,” Mourinho said.
“We didn’t want to risk two players at the
same time. We risked with Willian and to
start two players with a risk is a big gamble
and we gambled with only one.”
In the absence of Fabregas, Ramires
had been selected in midfield, alongside
Nemanja Matic, following his own return to
full fitness and Mourinho admitted it was a
great help to have such quality back-up.
“The best Ramires is back and the best
Ramires played against Liverpool, Man City
and Aston Villa,” Mourinho added.
“He is a different profile of player
(compared with Fabregas) but he is a
fantastic player for us.”
Mourinho also hailed Branislav Ivanovic
following his superb winning goal in the 2-1
success at Villa. “Every striker in the world
would be proud to score that magnificent
goal,” he added.
“For a right-back whose left foot is not
his best one it is an amazing goal, especially
when it is the winning goal. If you score that
goal and it is 3-0 or 4-0 it is a different thing.
“I am very happy because he is a
great guy and what he is doing for us is
unbelievable with the foot injury he had
against Liverpool when he played the rest
of the game, and he played against Man
City and Aston Villa. “He is one of the best
signings. He came immediately after I left
Chelsea and after that he made a fantastic
contribution for this club.”
Everton have not won in the league at
Stamford Bridge since November 1994, but
defender Bryan Oviedo believes Roberto
Martinez’s side can defy recent history
and end that barren run. One win in eight
league games doesn’t suggest an upset is
on the cards with Everton 12th in the table
and only seven points above the relegation
places. — AFP
FEBRUARY 11 l 2015
The Ministry of Sports Affairs honoured a total of 320 sportspersons during its annual awards ceremony for the year 2014 at Hotel Grand Hyatt late on Monday. The sportspersons were given cash prizes and certificates. Shaikh Saad bin Mohammed al Saadi
was the chief guest for the event.
Spurs’ Popovich picks up 1,000th victory
MILTESTONE: With the win, Popovich became just the ninth coach in league history to reach the mark
LOS ANGELES: Marco Belinelli’s
heroics gave San Antonio Spurs coach
Greg Popovich entry into an elite NBA
Belinelli buried the go-ahead baseline
jumper with 2.1 seconds left on Monday,
and the Spurs rallied from 14 down in
the final quarter to pull out a dramatic
95-93 road victory over the Indiana
With the win, Popovich earned his
1,000 career victory (1,000-462) and
became just the ninth coach in league
history to reach the milestone.
Popovich, who has guided the Spurs
for 19 seasons, also joined former Utah
Jazz coach Jerry Sloan as the only ones to
win 1,000 games with one team.
Frenchman Tony Parker tossed in 19
points, Tim Duncan added 15 for the
reigning league champions (33-19), who
outscored Indiana Pacers 30-14 in the
decisive final frame for their 14th win in
the last 18 outings.
Rodney Stuckey scored 18 for the
Pacers (20-33), whose season-best
three-game winning streak ended.
At Philadelphia, the Golden State
Warriors prevailed over Philadelphia
76ers 89-84.Stephen Curry scored 20
points, “Brazilain Blur” Leandro Barbosa
added 16 off the bench, and the leaguebest Warriors (41-9) stopped the Sixers’
(12-41) four-game home success despite
Robert Covington’s game-high 21.
In Washington, the Washington
Wizards got the better of Orlando Magic
96-80. Marcin Gortat had 14 points with
Greg Popovich
Atlanta Hawks’ Jeff Teague passes the ball past Minnesota Timberwolves’ Thaddeus Young as he drives to the basket.
as many rebounds, John Wall added
nine with 10 assists and 10 rebounds,
and the Wizards (33-20) sent the visiting
Magic (16-39) to its 12th loss in the last
13 games, including 1-2 under interim
coach James Borrego.
At Minnesota, the Atlanta Hawks
beat Minnesota Timberwoplves 117105. Al Horford scored a season-high 28
points, DeMarre Carroll added a careerbest 26, and the Eastern Conference-
ISG record 10-wicket
win over AHSC
MUSCAT: Indian School Al Ghubra
(ISG) recorded a massive 10-wicket
win against Al Hail School of Cricket
(AHSC) in an Al Turki Enterprises
sponsored 25 overs a side Under-16
match during the weekend at the
Municipality Ground No. 2 in Al
Opting to field, ISG did well to bowl
out a 10-member AHSC team for 71
runs in 22.4 overs.
Ali Asger took 3 wickets for 19, while
Harith Raghuram picked up 2 for 1 run
in 4 overs including 3 maiden overs and
Shivam Saraf ended with 2 for 6 in 2.4
ISG in reply got to their target
scoring 72 for no loss in 5.1 overs.
Brief scores: AHSC – 71 all out in 22.4 overs
(Ali Asger 3-19, Harith Raghuram 2-1, Shivam Saraf
2-6) lost to ISG – 72 for no loss in 5.1 overs
(Mohammed Salman 29 n.o., Ali Asger 28 n.o.);
Points: ISG - 2 (10 games – 9), AHSC - 0 (10 games
– 3)
In a Junior League T20 Under-13
match at Ground No.3 in Al Amerat,
Indian School Muscat ‘B’ (ISM ‘B’)
defeated Bangladesh School Muscat
(BDSM) by 120 runs.
ISM ‘B’ batting first scored 193 for
3 wickets in 20 overs with a top score
of 76 (54b, 7x4) from opener Smit H.
Asher. Other contributors were skipper
Mohsin Ali Varya 50 (36b, 4x4) and
opening batsman Bharat Srinivas 35
BDSM in their turn were bundled
out for 73 in 14 overs.
Mohsin Ali Varya took 4 wickets for
19 in 4 overs.
Brief scores: ISM ‘B’– 193 for 3 in 20 overs (Smit
H. Asher 76, Mohsin Ali Varya 50, Bharat Srinivas 35)
Smit Hemang Asher of ISM ‘B’.
bt BDSM – 73 all out in 14 overs (Mohsin Ali Varya
4-19, Shitikshu S 2-9, Bharat Srinivas 2-17); Points:
ISM ‘B’ - 2 (9 games – 9), BDSM - 0 (10 games – 11)
Bosher Olympic Centre (BOC)
registered a 21-run win against Muscat
Cricket Coaching Centre (MCCC) in
another Al Turki Enterprises sponsored
Junior League Under 16 match.
Brief scores: BOC – 154 for 8 in 25 overs (Kevin
Mathew 37, Vikram Nabira 26; Mohit Zanwar 3-28,
Prathyush Sivakumar 2-22) bt MCCC – 133 all out
in 22.5 overs (Anish Rane 30; Akinjay Jha 4-30,
Santosh Narayan 2-12, Aswin Unnikrishnan 2-16);
Points: BOC – 2 (10 games – 12) MCCC – 0 (10
games – 7)
In an Under-13 T20 match at Ground
No.4 in Al Amerat, Indian School Wadi
Kabir (ISWK) routed Bosher Olympic
Centre (BOC) by 7 wickets.
Batting first after winning the toss
BOC scored 133 for 8 wickets in 20
overs. ISWK replied with 134 for 3 in
14.1 overs.
Brief scores: BOC – 133 for 8 in 20 overs (Ayman
Bijili 36, Rushil Dadwal 24; Vishnu Goplakrishnan
3-20) lost to ISWK – 134 for 3 in 14.2 overs (Shah
Nouman 34, Vishnu Gopalakrishnan 33, Amanpreet
Singh Siram 24, Joshin 20 n.o.); Points: ISWK – 2 (8
games – 13), BOC – 0 (8 games – 0)
best Hawks (43-10) trimmed the leagueworst T-Wolves (11-41) for their 21st
win in the last 23 decisions.
Kevin Martin scored 21 points
for hosting Minnesota, which had
its season-high three-game success
At Dallas, the LA Clippers thrashed
Dallas Mavericks 115-98. DeAndre
Jordan collected 22 points, a careerhigh and NBA-season-best 27 rebounds,
Chris Paul netted 25 and 13 assists, and
the visiting Clippers (34-19)- minus star
forward Blake Griffin (right elbow staff
infection) snapped a four-game slide
after dropping the Mavericks.
Charlie Villanueva scored a seasonhigh 26 points for Dallas (35-19), which
lost starters Monta Ellis (left hip) and
Tyson Chandler (left ankle) early in the
— dpa
— USA Today Sports
San Antonio bt Indiana 95-93
Golden State bt Philadelphia 89-84
Washington bt Orlando 96-80
Miami bt NY Knicks 109-95
Milwaukee bt Brooklyn 103-97
Atlanta bt Minnesota 117-105
Utah bt New Orleans 100-96
LA Clippers bt Dallas 115-98
Oklahoma City bt Denver 124-114
Young ousts
French seed
MEMPHIS: American Donald Young
upset French eighth seed Adrian
Mannarino 6-3, 7-6 (11/9) on Monday
in the opening round of the ATP
Memphis Open.
In a 90-minute showdown of
left-handers who both went out in
the second round at the Australian
Open last month, 67th-ranked Young
booked a second-round match against
a qualifier by downing the 40thranked Frenchman.
Young won the only break point of
the first set, then took a 3-2 lead as the
rivals exchanged five breaks of serve
to begin the second set. Mannarino
broke back to 4-4 and they fought out
a tense tie-breaker that the American
finally claimed, having fired seven of
his nine aces in the second set.
Mannarino, 26, reached a careerhigh ranking of 36th last month after a
run to his first ATP final at Auckland,
where he lost to Czech Jiri Vesely.
Young, 25, lost to Vesely in the
Auckland quarterfinals.
Croatian Ivan Dodig, ranked 86th,
advanced with a 6-2, 6-2 victory
over 72nd-ranked Russian Teymuraz
Gabashvili. Dodig will meet US third
seed John Isner, who had a first-round
bye. Top seed Kei Nishikori of Japan,
South African second seed Kevin
Anderson and Ukrainian fourth seed
Alexandr Dolgopolov also received
first-round byes.
Gutsy Abdullah beats Nevil for double crown in ISC junior tennis
MUSCAT: The clash of the junior titans,
Nevil Philips and Abdullah al Barwani
not only signalled the conclusion of the
highly successful ISC-Muscat Pharmacy
Open Junior tennis tournament
organised by the Indian Social Club
Muscat but also lived up to its reputation
and provided the spectators with tennis
of a high order.
Curtains came down on the twoweek long tournament which has been
dominated by brilliant performances by
talented Omani players. In the grand final
of the boys under-18 singles, Oman’s
top junior player, Abdullah bin Hamdi al
Barwani stole the limelight with a gutsy
performance to defeat top seed and
defending champion Nevil Philips 6-4,
5-7, 10-4 to win a double crown.
Chief Guest Gloria Gangte, Charge
d’Affairs a.i. of the Embassy of India
was all praise for the high standard of
tennis exhibited by the two talented
finalists. Also present at the final were
ISC Chairman, Dr Satish Nambiar, Eng.
Mohammed al Balushi, Secretary
General of Oman Tennis Association,
representatives of the sponsors, ISC office
bearers and a packed gathering of tennis
In the first game, Nevil squandered
a 40-15 advantage as Abdullah scored
brilliant forehand winners and after six
deuces, broke Nevil. Nevil broke back
in the second and fourth games, held at
love and dominated to take a 4-1 lead
as Abdullah struggled to match up to to
the defending champion’s play. Abdullah
regained his composure, broke Nevil in
the seventh game and saved three break
points to level at four-games-all. Nevil
suddenly lost his way as Abdullah played
with renewed energy and broke Nevil
again and served out the first set leaving
Nevil stranded at four games.
Abdullah drew first blood in the
second set. Scores went neck-and-neck
with Nevil looking for the crucial break
which he gained in the tenth game for
five-all. Abdullah took his chances and
scored brilliant cross court and down the
line winners to race to a 5-1 lead before
Nevil staged a minor recovery but could
not catch up as Abdullah romped home
to win the boys’ under-18 singles title to
add to the junior doubles which he won
with partner Younis al Rawahi.
The tournament was sponsored by
Muscat Pharmacy & Stores LLC, powered
by Horlicks and Pocari Sweat and cosponsored by Supa Sportsman LLC,
Khimji Ramdas Watches and Hindustan
Assarain beat CCC Builders to enter FMB-Filcosoc basketball final
MUSCAT: The Assarain
basketball team proved once
again that they belong in
the final after surviving a
tough challenge from a wellconditioned and determined
CCC Builders team in the second
game of their semifinal contest
in the ongoing Filcosoc/FMB
Winter Basketball Tournament.
CCC Builders won Game
1 negating the twice to win
advantage of Assarain, but
unlike in Game 1, the Assarain
Team played with a sense of
urgency in Game 2. Defending,
hustling and attacking the
basket consistently.
A 10-0 blast turned a close
game into a 12-point lead for
Assarain midway through the
second quarter. However, CCC’s
prolific scoring tandem Sherwin
Solano and Jerry Abelgas proved
too much to handle pushing
CCC into the drivers’ seat with
pure hustle and energy. The
third quarter ended with CCC on
top 49-47.
The fourth quarter saw
Assarain surge with an 8-3
scoring run to regain the lead.
However, the Builders continued
to make it a tight contest behind
Solano’s 11 points.
With under a minute left,
and Assarain were comfortably
ahead by 4 points by 71-67,
Solano hit a huge 3 point shot
to keep it close 71-70. The final
score was 72-70.
Assarain were top-scored
by Roel Capati (19 points and
6 rebounds) and Jayson Cortez
(13 points, 17 rebounds), Mark
Anthony Sta Juana, the reigning
Assarain will now face the
undefeated Sayarti sponsored,
Barangay Ginebra Oman Team
in the Championship Round on
February 13 at the Oman Club.
PDO 3-on-3
MUSCAT: The PDO 3-on-3
basketball will begin on
Friday, February 20 at the Ras
Al Hamra Recreation Club
from 8 am to 4 pm.
There will be three
categories under the
following: (1) Men above 19
(2) Boys below 18 (3) Girls
above 13. There are some
more slots for grabs and
registration is still open.
For further enquiries
regarding registration the
nos to be contacted are
99364656 or 99335292.
FEBRUARY 11 l 2015
JLo reuniting with
former beau?
(L to R) Director Simon Curtis, actors Max Irons, Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds and Daniel Bruehl during a photocall for “Woman in Gold” in Berlin. — AFP
Emotional Mirren brings
‘Woman in Gold’ to Berlin fest
scar winner Helen
Mirren presented
her new movie
about Nazi-looted
art in Berlin on
Germany and Austria should not rest
until all the works are returned.
The 69-year-old British actress stars
in US-British co-production “Woman
in Gold”, premiering at the 65th Berlin
film festival.
Mirren plays Maria Altmann, who
fought the Austrian government for
years to secure the return of five Gustav
Klimt paintings stolen by the Nazis from
her family during World War II.
They include two stunning portraits
of Altmann’s aunt Adele Bloch-Bauer,
completed with gold leaf, as well as three
Altmann finally won her battle in
2006 and died five years later aged 94.
She “was such a remarkable,
wonderful, funny, sexy, witty, humane...
a great, great woman,” said Mirren, who
picked up an Academy Award for her
portrayal of Elizabeth II in 2006’s “The
“I didn’t know if I’d be able to do her
justice, because she deserved it,” she
said of Altmann.
The case brought to light the issue
of the Nazis’ systematic plundering of
cultural treasures, an estimated 100,000
of which are in the possession of the
world’s great museums, hidden away in
private collections or lost forever.
Asked about the progress made
by Germany and Austria in coming to
terms with the issue, Mirren said she
saw progress but added: “We mustn’t
ever feel that we’ve come to the end of
that particular human journey.”
‘Story in one image’
In the film, directed by Simon Curtis,
Mirren plays Altmann as an elderly
woman living in Los Angeles who enlists
the grandson of Austrian composer
Arnold Schoenberg, a California lawyer
played by Ryan Reynolds, to accompany
her back to Vienna to take on the
Austrian authorities.
The story is also told in lushly shot
flashbacks beginning with Klimt, played
by German actor Moritz Bleibtreu,
painting Adele, until Altmann was
forced to flee Austria after Hitler
annexed the country in 1938.
The present-day Austrian officials
implore Altmann to drop the case,
calling “Woman in Gold”, hanging in
Vienna’s Belvedere museum, “Austria’s
Mona Lisa”.
Mirren said she visited the Belvedere
during the shoot and discovered the
haunting, unfinished Klimt painting
of Amalie Zuckerkandl, who was later
killed at the extermination camp Belzec.
“In a way I found that just the most
emotional thing to see,” Mirren said,
fighting back tears.
“To me that brings all of the whole
story together in one image.”
Mirren, who was previously
unfamiliar with the Altmann case,
said that now, almost a decade on,
implications. — AFP
inger-actress Jennifer Lopez has fuelled reconciliation rumours with
her former boyfriend Casper Smart after the duo was spotted together
at rapper Big Sean’s concert In a video, Lopez is seen enjoying Kanye
West and Sean’s performance while standing next to Smart at the balcony of a
restaurant, reports
Lopez, 45, and the 27-year-old dancer and choreographer are seen
enjoying the music while dancing together.
At one moment, West is seen shouting out Lopez’s name while rapping
After the show, Lopez shared on Instagram some photographs of her with
other celebrities, but not with Smart.
The “On the Floor” hitmaker posed for a group image with West, Sean,
Chris Brown, Justin Bieber and Kendall Jenner.
She also took a photograph with Demi Lovato.
Lopez first sparked reconciliation rumours with Smart after they were
spotted together outside the Hotel Cafe last week.
At that time, Smart was seen wrapping his hand around Lopez’s waist.
Miranda Kerr happy being single
odel Miranda Kerr doesn’t
want to date anyone at the
moment so that she can
focus on herself for a while.
The 31-year-old model has been
romantically linked to a string of men
since splitting from husband Orlando
Bloom in October 2013.
But for now she’s happy in her own
company, reports
“For the record, I’m single. What I’m
trying to do right now, as I’ve always
been the girl with the boyfriend, is to
find that comfort within myself.
Because it’s quite easy to always
look to other people to lift us up or make us feel better about ourselves.
“At the end of the day, it’s really important to be comfortable with your
own company and to feel good about that and not have to rely on anyone
else,” Kerr told Australia’s Harper’s Bazaar magazine in its March 2015 issue.
Anna Kendrick to perform at Oscars
Delevingne keen to interview the Queen
Delevingne, who tried her
hand at journalism when
she interviewed reality TV star Kim
Kardashian for the latest issue of LOVE
magazine, says she’d love to have a oneon-one with comedian Stephen Fry and
Queen Elizabeth II.
Asked who she’d like to interview,
Delevingne told Sunday Times
newspaper: “Stephen Fry. When you
interview someone, you want it to be
published because you want it to be out
“But in a way, I’d like to interview
him and it not be (published). Because
knowing it’s going to be is always in
the back of your mind when you’re
answering questions.
I just want to get as close to the truth
of possible.”
Delevingne, who was previously
rumoured to have dated the
Queen’s grandson Prince Harry
further added: “Oh, and the Queen. I’d
love to interview the Queen. She would
be the best.”
The 22-year-old also defended the
Kardashians, with whom she’s grown up
as a close friend, insisting people’s ideas
of celebrities would change if they could
get to know them, reports femalefirst.
“Everyone has a particular idea of
them (the Kardashians), often negative.
Yet they don’t even know them. I wanted
to crack that. I wanted to do a completely
honest interview,” she said.
“With every single famous person,
you have preconceived ideas. Usually, if
you don’t like them, it’s just because you
don’t know them,” she added.
ctress Anna Kendrick will
perform at the 87th Academy
Awards here on February 22.
The 29-year-old took to her Twitter
account to announce her special
appearance at the annual show, reports
TheAcademy has invited me to be part
of a special performance at the #Oscars
on Feb 22nd,” she tweeted.
The announcement was confirmed
by the show’s producers Craig Zadan
and Neil Meron, who said in a joint statement: “Out of the woods and on to
the Oscar stage, Anna will be performing something special that is sure to be
an ‘Only on the Oscars’ moment.”
Hollywood’s movie tech wizards honoured
rom the team who
made it possible to
digitally curl and trim
outrageous hair in
“The Hobbit” trilogy
to the inventors of
a high-speed car chase camera
used in James Bond film “Casino
Royale”, some of the most ingenious
behind-the-scenes innovators were
celebrated at a pre-Oscars ceremony
on Saturday night.
Two weeks before the Oscars,
the Academy of Motion Picture
Arts and Sciences handed out
its Scientific and Technical
Achievement Awards to the visual
effects, sound and technical wizards
whose work behind the camera is a
vital but often unheralded part of
making movies.
While the Academy Awards on
February 22 will present Oscars to
actors, directors and others who
worked on films released in 2014,
the yearly scientific and technical
awards honour those who have
contributed to the process of film
making over a longer period of
time, sometimes decades.
Presenting the awards were a pair
who have had recent breakthrough
roles in front of the camera:
Margot Robbie, in “The Wolf of
Wolf Street”, and Miles Teller, the
star of “Whiplash”, a current best
picture nominee. Robbie thanked
the audience for making movies
“stunning”. The Beverly Hills event
gave awards to 58 individuals
for 21 scientific and technical
achievements. These usually consist
of plaques or certificates but on
Saturday two Oscar statuettes were
presented, one to veteran sound
engineer and Dolby Laboratories
executive David W Gray for his
ground breaking work on movie
Gray, whose statuette came
with the Gordon E Sawyer lifetime
technical achievement award, has
dozens of film credits, including
sound work on the 1983 hit
“Flashdance” and the 1988 action
blockbuster “Die Hard” starring
Bruce Willis.
He thanked his children “for
understanding that dad’s a geek and
a complete workaholic.”
Also receiving an award was a
team that developed SpeedTree,
a software that creates virtual
vegetation and has been used in
the movies “Avatar” and “The Great
Other honorees were the
inventors of the MOVA Facial
that records every movement of
an actor’s face, enabling facial
movements to be reproduced or
altered. It has been used in movies
including “The Curious Case of
Benjamin Button” in 2008 for Brad
Pitt’s ageing facial effects. That film
won the visual effects Oscar.
“They wouldn’t watch movies
without us,” said Richard Edlund,
a multi-Academy Award winning
special effects cinematographer,
summing up the collective work of
the audience.
— Reuters
Warm welcome for Queen of
Indipop ahead of Feb 14 concert
playback singer Asha
Bhosle arrived in
Muscat on Monday
Saturday’s (February
14) eagerly awaited concert at the City
Amphitheatre, Qurum.
The legendary artiste was accorded
a warm welcome upon her arrival
at Muscat International Airport by
representatives of the concert’s Muscatbased organisers Light and Shadow
Enterprises and Hi FM, both of which
have been associated with some of the
biggest Bollywood and Western style
musical shows held in the Sultanate.
Asha’s arrival in Muscat — a full five
days before the event — will afford the
iconic star and her large entourage of
musicians and performers ample time to
acclimatise and rehearse ahead of what
is expected to be a blockbuster show.
Adding to the epic nature of this
month’s concert is the attendance of
The Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra
(ROSO), the Sultanate’s very own
national orchestra founded by His
Majesty the Sultan. The coming together
of these icons from Oman and India
symbolises the strength of relations
between the two countries. Indeed, the
February 14 concert is one of a series of
activities planned during the course of
this year to mark the Diamond Jubilee
of diplomatic ties between Oman and
India. Additionally, it will also serve as
a finale to the ongoing Muscat Festival
“Hi FM is proud to be bringing Asha
Bhosle to Oman, and the pairing with
the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra
FEBRUARY 11 l 2015
[email protected]
Emotional Intelligence
Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra
Asha Bhosle with aides pictured on her arrival at Muscat International Airport
firmly cements this as a once in a
lifetime event, and we are thrilled to be
part of this,” said Darren Shortt, Head
Of Operations, Hi FM.
Asha Bhosle is undoubtedly one of the
greatest playback singers in Bollywood
history having recorded over 10,000
songs for over 800 movies. Although
every class (ghazals, pop etc) of song was
within her vocal range, her specialty was
in sensual songs or Western-styled songs
— she had an uncanny knack for making
every actor for whom she sang, from
Zeenat Aman to Urmila Matondkar,
smoulder on the screen.
In the 90s she experimented with
peppy numbers and produced hits
like Tanha Tanha, Yaire, Kambakth
Ishq, Chori Pe Chori etc, she also has a
number of pop albums to her credit and
has acquired international by singing
with artists like Boy George, Black Eyed
Peas and cricketer Brett Lee. She has
many awards including eight Filmfare
awards and two National Awards apart
from numerous other accolades.
Orchestral music for Asha Bhosle’s
renditions during the February 14
concert will be provided by Oman’s
very own ROSO. Members of ROSO
are young Omani musicians who
began their musical training under
the instruction and directives of
professional musicians from different
parts of the world. To date, ROSO has
performed over 100 public and private,
both inside and outside the Sultanate.
There have been many landmarks in
the history of ROSO including their
appearance in 1996 with Lord Menuhin
and in 2005 with Dr Subramaniam, both
world famous violinists.
ROHM to hold blood donation campaign
elebrating the precious gift of life, the Royal
Opera House Muscat in association with
a medical team from the Blood Bank will
organise the second blood donation campaign on
Sunday, February 15.
Aiming to revive the noble humanitarian values
and stressing the paramount importance of blood
donation to provide help to patients in need, the
Royal Opera House Muscat underlines its mission in
rendering to the community.
Royal Opera House Muscat’s “Celebrate Life,
Donate Blood” campaign will be held from 10:00 am to
4:00 pm at the South Porch Hall (Southern Entrance of
ROHM). Open to public including Omani nationals
and all residents, in addition to staff members are
welcome to contribute in this generous act of giving
the gift of life and helping the needs of people. The
volunteers will be tested by the medical team from the
blood bank, to check the level of haemoglobin, blood
pressure and the type of blood.
ROHM launched its first blood donation campaign
The whole blood donation process takes about 45
minutes, whereas the procedure of drawing blood takes last year successfully, where it witnessed big numbers
from 10 to 20 minutes. Since blood donation is useful of generous donors from different nationalities and
for an individual and the community, blood donors are ages who supported those in need of blood.
The collected blood from the campaign was
able to donate blood for several times a year.
provided to patients who are in urgent need of blood
Appreciating donors’ support in this noble goal,
souvenirs will be distributed to volunteers from the
Royal Opera House Muscat.
egardless of what you want to accomplish in life, you will need the
help of others to achieve it. You need to build relationships with
people who are in a position to offer you help and support. You
could try and assert authority and dictate to, and bully others into doing
what you want them to do. While this approach may work in the shortterm, in the long-term you are going to create damaged relationships
where nobody wants to help you. If you want to be truly successful, you
need to build better relationships and this requires emotional intelligence.
Whereas old style management practices were based on shows of strength
and exerting authority; emotional intelligence allows you to build better
relationships, based on mutual respect and understanding. While the use
of fear and authority tend to lead to immediate improvements in employee
performance, the effect soon wears off. This requires more scare tactics.
Before too long, employees are running for the exit door. When you build
better relationships with emotional intelligence, the results can be startling.
People like to help those whom they like and respect. They don’t need to
be forced into helping them; they willingly volunteer. Whether you are
dealing with employees, management, customers, colleagues or peers;
when you use your emotional intelligence to build better relationships,
you create a team of people who will do anything within their power to
help you succeed.
But how to build better relationships with emotional intelligence, here
some great tips for how you can use your emotional intelligence to build
better relationships and increase your influence. Be an example of the type
of attitude and behaviour that you wish to see more of. If you would like to
see more confidence in the workplace; demonstrate your own confidence
eg back your decisions, tell people about the goals you are aiming to
achieve and how you plan to achieve them. Rather than waiting for people
to do things wrong before correcting them; catch them doing things right
and praise them for it using positive feedback. Don’t just say well done, tell
them exactly what they did right and how you, or the organisation, benefit
from their efforts. This helps to create a positive, supportive environment
which people want more of.
Also learn to use your physiology; your physiology and your psychology
are closely linked. Try the following: keep looking up while trying to hold
on to negative thoughts. It is nigh on impossible to remain in a negative
disposition while looking upwards. Next time that you are feeling
confident, take a note of your body language eg your stance, your gestures
etc. When you are feeling down, try to replicate this body language. If you
hold yourself in that position, before long you will feel an improvement in
your confidence levels.
Top athletes and leading businessmen receive training on how to
use their physiology to influence their emotions. They know that body
language is the biggest factor in communication and that using their own
physiology; they can influence their own emotions while inspiring and,
motivating those around them.
Another tip is to share, when you know someone and you feel that you
understand them, you are more likely to trust them. Sharing a little bit of
information about yourself and your personal life can reap great rewards
and enable you to build better relationships. It never ceases to amaze me
when I encounter people who have worked together for years but know
little or nothing about each other’s lives outside of the workplace. Many
managers could improve the morale and confidence of their team by
scheduling time, first thing in morning, to have a chat about the weekend.
Just a few minutes would allow the team to let go of the weekend, get
to know each other better and bond. Because the content is not work
related the discussion would be less threatening. Some companies spend
thousands on bonding sessions when a few minutes, once per week, would
reap bigger rewards.
Emotional intelligence is essential if you wish to build better relationships
which can help you to speed towards your goals and objectives. The ability
to manage your own emotions is critical to success. When you broadcast
positive, supportive emotions, you will get a far better response from those
who you interact with.
When you build better relationships with emotional intelligence,
you build a team of people who are happier, better motivated, and more
confident and, willing to do anything they can to help your cause. It takes
time, effort, patience and a little courage to build better relationships but
the positive effects are long lasting. That is the power of using emotional
Indian School Al Wadi Al Kabir celebrates Founders’ Day
he 25th Founders’ Day celebrations of Indian
School Al Wadi Al Kabir brought out the
essence of cultural diversity and rich heritage
of India an Indo-Oman relations.
Dr Hamood bin Khalfan al Harthi, Under Secretary
of Education and Curricula in the Ministry of
Education was the Chief Guest.
A colourful cultural programme and prize
distribution ceremony marked the 25th Founders’ Day
SMC President Harshendu Shah in his speech
stressed upon the need to further upgrade the existing
facilities in the school to make it one of the most
modern and a premium educational institutions in
D N Rao, Principal of the school presented the
annual report highlighting the various activities
undertaken during the academic session 2014-2015.
The cultural programme with ‘Light’ as the theme
saw some riveting performances by the children of
the school. There was an underlying message in all of
them, which aimed at bringing the world communities
together and fostering universal brotherhood.
Indian classical as well as western dances presented
by students received a huge applause. Brilliantly
choreographed dance performances such as ‘ Light
of the World’, ‘Flight of Fancy’, ‘Illuminating Glory’,
‘Dancing Lights Paint the Sky’ and ‘Fusion of Colours’
bedazzled the audience with their mesmerising
effect. A melodious composition with lyrics sung in
eight different regional languages by young singers
enthralled the audience. Western choir of the school
presented a soulful rendition of the song ‘We are the
World’ which received a standing ovation by the Chief
Guest and the audience.
Meritorious students of Class XII, who managed
to be placed among the top 0.1 per cent and those
from Class X with CGPA 10 received awards from
distinguished guests. Awards were also given away
for special achievements in SAT, sports, co-curricular
activities. Teachers who received the coveted
‘Excellence in Teaching Award’ were also felicitated
along with those who have completed a dedicated
service in the school for 25, 20 and 10 years respectively.
Above all, it was an evening full of joy, entertainment
and glory.
FEBRUARY 11 l 2015
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Culinary calls
TV Production Studio at CAS
Nizwa trains 400 students
ince its launch in the last academic year,
the TV production studio of Nizwa
College of Applied Sciences offered
training for around 400 students from
different media specialisations. These
students had specialised mainly in Digital
Media, Advertising, Journalism, as well as other
specialisations offered by the Communication Studies
Programme in the College.
Through this step, the vision of the Communication
Studies Department evolved into becoming a leading
communication studies programme in the region
designed to educate and prepare skilled professionals
for the industry; the main focus was applied research
and the provision of practical and innovative solutions
for both local and regional needs.
Zahid Waheed, an assistant lecturer at the
Communication Studies Department and the
supervisor of the studios said: “to fulfil this vision,
the department is privileged to have a state-of-the-art
television studio. The professionally equipped, high-
definition television studio also has a digital media
production facility, including editing suites with
advanced and sophisticated equipment for various
productions that are part of the students’ practical
Zahid added that “since its inception, the television
studio serves both as a production floor and a handson classroom where the students have qualitatively
enriched their learning outcomes by understanding
key concepts through practical learning”.
He continued “the students learn how to transform
their ideas into the visual medium by means of various
production tools and facilities. These include, but are
not restricted to, a multi-cam set-up, online chroma
keying and lighting and sound equipment.”
The studio was launched last year under the
patronage of Dr Abdulmonem bin Mansoor al Hasani,
Minister of Information, during his visit to the College
to discuss training issues. In the first live interview that
took place in the studio, Dr Abdulmonem stated that
“the practical sessions are fundamental to the learning
process, and this studio will give a better understanding
of the media environment”.
He also added that “undoubtedly, the studio will
not limit the scope of its services within the College; it
will also benefit any media organisation.”
CAS Nizwa is the centre of the Communications
Studies Programme among the six Colleges of Applied
Sciences; besides which it offers two other programmes
in Design and International Business Administration.
Coconut oil, daily exercise
can beat high BP
Eat berries to lose weight
o need to skip a meal or head
to a gym as easy ways to lose
a few pounds — not anymore.
Replacing just one between-meal
confectionery snack with a handful of
berries can do the trick as well.
Research shows that when people
swapped a confectionery treat for a
berry snack with the same energy
content, considerably fewer calories
were consumed at their next main meal.
This suggested that a simple change
in habit alone could reduce a person’s
calorie intake by nearly 1,000 calories a
week, reports
The reduction in calories would be
expected to produce a loss of around
0.45 kg of body fat per month, and much
more if consumed alongside exercise
and other healthy-eating choices,
according to researchers.
Lewis James from the School of conducted the research, said anyone
Seasonal Berries commissioned
Loughborough University to conduct Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences who does the simple swap could feel the
the research.
at Loughborough University, that effects on their health and waistline.
y wife has not been keeping well for the past one week. Down
with a fluctuating-fever and stubbornly-stable body ache she is not
strong enough to be on her feet to keep pace with her household
chores. Even the lure of the daily dose of her favourite TV serials has not
been proving tantalising enough to get her out of the bed to such charms of
the living room though surprisingly she has been able to muster motivation
enough and surge on its strength to get back on her feeble feet to trail the
maid visually and even pace up with her to the blind spots adjusting the focal
length of her binoculars to cover all distant corners of the house in diligent
discharge of her supervisory duties as the maid with the hitherto unverified
credentials comes to clean the house in the mornings. But with the benefit
of the past experience during her sabbaticals, my wife has no such doubts on
my culinary capabilities and is content in leaving the unbridled charge of the
kitchen readily on my equally aching shoulders.
So here I am setting up alarm at quarter to six in the morning on the
bedside clock to rush to the kitchen to prepare the bed tea, stoically sacrificing
the warmth of the bed in these cold winter mornings. This is notwithstanding
that by that time I am already wide awake as my overzealous wife ensures not
to forget to switch off those routine recurring alarms set on her mobile phone
for herself buzzing right from five-fifteen onwards. That is to doubly ensure
my timely ejection from the bed. While I get busy with the preparation of
breakfast and tiffin for our school-going daughter, my wife joins me in the
chorus of cautious hammering in of the running commentary of elapsing
time in the ears of our sleeping daughter, whom we are concertedly able to
wake up and get out of the bed only around or beyond seven even though her
bus docks at the gate sharply at a quarter past seven. So getting her out of the
house in nick of the time to catch the school bus is a daily challenge for us, the
accentuated charge for which also has come fallen as an integral part of my
duties as the standby chef.
But I thoroughly enjoy donning the occasional Chef Hat as it usually
proves to be a win-win situation for all in the family. Our two daughters
have equally enjoyed my trying new dishes and even presenting the oft-tried
ones in new flavours. The magic ingredients of them all, which I prefer to
keep secret from my wife for intellectual property rights reasons, really floor
them all on such endeavours and resultantly there are persistent promptings
by the daughters for finding some more steaming immersion in the salt and
spice company of the pots and pans in the house. Even my wife also bored
sometimes by her own insipidly drawn menu proposes that I prepare kuch
baria sa majedar (something nice and tasty) for the meals. Though, I can
sense the trap being laid by her to make me work, yet most of the times I
willingly walk into that with confidence as these are the moments which knit
a family close together.
I was introduced to the art of cooking when I was around fourteen-fifteen
by my mother whom I used to follow and assist in the kitchen when she
would not be well. I honed those skills in the late eighties when I had to
stay alone in our Kabul posting. Even though there was a day-time Begum
or the maid to clean the house and do all other chores including cooking,
each one of us colleagues as friends in the Mission would proudly display
their individual culinary skills when we would be holed up together in the
night at one of the houses during the daily curfew that would be clamped by
seven in the evening. The skill was honed further in the mid-nineties when
my wife was working in Delhi and expecting our second child. She would
return from job past eight in the night. As I had plenty of time after return
from my nearby office in the evening, I would devote that time to pleasantly
surprise her with some new dish or the other so that she would not have to
slog anew after a hectic day. She had simply to roll out some chapattis for us
to enjoy our dinner together even though the artist in me had since perfected
the art of creating the round ones in pure geometric proportions and his chefcounterpart being able to puff them to precision, the hybrid skills which too
were occasionally put to test, nonetheless.
For these reasons I have taken interest in books on cooking and those
columns on recipes appearing in newspapers and magazines. Over the years,
I have collected nearly a dozen books on the art of cooking and on recipes
of exotic dishes, appetisers and snacks from around the world to try myself
and also to motivate my wife to treat us more often with something different
from the mundane. As despite my collection of books bursting at its seams
and the situation turning nightmarish on finding no appropriate place for
those volumes, my holding on to those books on the art of cooking marks my
optimism that one day she would surely find time to tingle our taste buds with
some of those beckoning gourmet-delight recipes.
“Our research shows that an
afternoon snack of mixed berries
decreases energy intake at dinner.
It’s a simple method that might help
people control and lose weight,” said
“There are a number of potential
health benefits of consuming berries,
but this is the first time that consuming
them as a snack has been shown to
reduce how much people eat during the
next meal of the day.
The cumulative effect of the reduced
calories could help people lose the extra
pounds without them having to make
an effort, or even noticing,” added the
In the research trials, which
were carried out over four months,
12 participants tested the effects of
swapping a confectionery snack with
a handful of berries — strawberries,
blueberries, blackberries and raspberries
— with the same energy content.
combination of daily coconut
oil intake and exercise
training results in reduction
in blood pressure and bringing
it to normal level, says a
The reduction in blood
pressure might be explained by
the improvement of the reduced
baroreflex sensitivity and by
the reduction in oxidative
stress in the serum, heart and
aorta — key factors regulating
blood pressure, the researchers
“The possibility of using coconut
oil as an adjuvant to treat hypertension
adds to the long list of benefits associated
with its consumption,” said co-author
Valdir de Andrade Braga from Federal
University of Paraiba in Brazil.
Their experiments were performed
in spontaneously hypertensive rats.
They found that both coconut oil
and exercise training were able to
reduce weight gain compared to rats
that were given saline and were
not exposed to the exercise
training protocol during the
five weeks of study. “Our next
step is to start some clinical
trials in order to
verify whether we can reproduce
those findings in hypertensive human
patients,” Braga said.
“This is an important finding
as coconut oil is currently being
considered a popular ‘superfood’ and it
is being consumed by athletes and the
general population who seek a healthy
life style,” he added.
The study was published in the
journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition,
and Metabolism.
‘Woman in Gold’ at Berlin fest Warm welcome for Queen of Indipop TV Production Studio at CAS Nizwa FOLLOW US ON:
[email protected]
Bygone era
at Heritage
he model of a
village at the Heritage
Village in Amerat Park
has become a major
attraction of the Muscat
Festival 2015 as a few more days are left
for the curtain fall.
As one enters, a huge line-up of old
guns, spears, daggers and swords which
are older than two hundred years is what
you find at the entrance to the heritage
The vast collection of armoury and
ancient weaponry with which the men
of yesteryear used to live in harmony
with animals and the environment
around them, earned a living by doing
indigenous jobs, is a major crowd puller
at the village.
Mostly from Rustaq, the archery is
giving the visitors a trip down memory
lane which, according to many, is aweinspiring and thought-provoking.
A wide collection of archery tools
and weaponry from across the country
helps a curious visitor travel beyond
The swords and other weaponry
used during the 13th and 14th centuries
are catching the visitors’ eye giving an
inexplicable feeling of a bygone era.
“We used to stand guard at some
of the forts in Oman when I was
young and these weapons are really
giving a nostalgic feeling”, Hamoud, a
septuagenarian whispered after taking
a stroll along the exhibits. He said the
metals used in the manufacturing of
these weapons were a class apart and the
reason behind their sheen is nothing but
the quality of the metals used.
Pure iron mixed with
copper, brass and silver
and heated at a high
temperature before it
could be moulded into
the desired shape is all
what Hamoud, the then
warrior could recollect.
The vast range of
antiques include the old
conventional weapons and
bronze age Sabaean sword that
belongs to the Sabean Dynasty
which ruled Southern Arabia that
included Yemen, Oman and one third
of Saudi Arabia. The weapon called
Caldura dates back to the Islamic
conquests and built or used during the
reign of the Ottoman Empire, along with
bayonets dating back to three thousand
years are some of the few rare objects
that inspire visitors.
“These swords and other weapons
date back to the time of Imam Ahmed
bin Saeed al Said, founder of the State”,
Hamoud said, adding, “And these
pottery, which dates back to 300 years,
as well as these copper pots, agricultural
and household items, jewellery and
women’s accessories are part of the
legacies of yesteryear”.
These various metal shields,
protective headgears of warriors, and
other self-defence as well as fighting
tools are a must see at the Amerat Park.
“Oman’s position is unmatched in
terms of its vast reservoir of historical
military arms and a visit to this tent is a
eye-opener to the past”, Sadiq al Araimi
a public sector employee who came
for the festival with his family told the
more visitors as days
galore at Naseem
At the Naseem Garden where
many family village events are taking
place every day, a number of cultural
and educational programmes in cooperation with Ministry of Social
pass by.
Corner, Nature Pavilion, Omani Heritage
Pavilion Child, Theatre Pavilion, Arena
of Skills Events, Fireworks shows, and
Omani Folkloric Arts Band are some of
the countable attractions.
Energy drinks trigger hyperactivity in children
iddle-school students who
consume heavily sweetened
energy drinks are 66 per cent
more likely to be at risk for hyperactivity
and inattention symptoms, reveals a new
The finding has implications for
school success and lends support
to existing recommendations
to limit the amount of sweetened
beverages schoolchildren drink.
The authors also recommend that
children avoid energy drinks, which in
addition to high levels of sugar also often
contain caffeine.
“Our results support the American
Academy of Paediatrics recommendation
that parents should limit consumption of
sweetened beverages and that children
should not consume any energy drinks,”
said lead researcher Jeannette Ickovics
from the Yale School of Public Health.
The research team surveyed 1,649
middle-school students randomly selected
from a single urban school district in
The researchers found that boys were
more likely to consume energy drinks
than girls.
The average age of the student
participants was 12.4 years.
“As the total number of sugarsweetened beverages increased, so too
did risk for hyperactivity and inattention
symptoms among our middle-school
Importantly, it appears that energy
drinks are driving this association,”
Ickovics explained.
In addition to hyperactivity and
inattention, heavily sugared beverages
also impact childhood obesity, Ickovics
The study appeared in the journal
Academic Paediatrics.
Economy and Finance
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