VOL. 34 NO. 151| PAGES 32 | BAISAS 200 TUESDAY | APRIL 14, 2015 | JUMADA AL THANIA 24, 1436 AH P21 ǯϐ P30 P25 Ǧ Inside Chief Executive Ofﬁcer DR IBRAHIM BIN AHMED AL KINDI Japan hopes to resume whale hunt Pakistan, China eye metro train project Amazon soaking up less carbon now Editor-in-Chief ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI Oman Establishment for Press, Publication and Advertising PO Box 974, Postal Code 100, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman www.omanobserver.om FOLLOW US ON: OMAN New centre to boost SME sector MUSCAT: Al Zubair SME Center was opened yesterday at Bait Al Zubair in the Wilayat of Muscat under the auspices of Dr Ali bin Masoud al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry. The centre is part of the Al Zubair Corporation’s strategy and vision to support SMEs in Oman. Dr Sunaidy said that the centre will complement the efforts made by public organisations in this regard and highlighted the role played by Zubair Corporation in supporting SMEs. The centre provides entrepreneurs with the ability to benefit from experts and consultants, who have huge experience in different fields. REPORT ON P3 INDIA National Pension System for NRIs NEW DELHI: India has sought to rope in its 10-million strong non-resident Indian (NRIs) community in its sole official social security scheme National Pension System for NRIs through its quite relaunch early last week, prompting the country’s pension regulatory authority supervising the scheme to approach expatriates through Indians missions abroad. “The Government of India has launched the National Pension System for the benefit of 10 million NRIs so as to provide old age security to Indians, both in India and abroad,” said an official statement. REPORT ON P11 EUROPE UK Conservatives take six-point lead [email protected] $8.7BN SPENT ON OIL SECTOR IN SULTANATE OPTIMISTIC: Muscat-Sohar pipeline to be completed in 2016 VINOD NAIR MUSCAT April 13: Oman’s policy is to maintain oil production at 950,000 barrels a day and the long-term challenges include finding new exploration areas and introducing new technologies, said Salim bin Nasser al Oufi, Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Oil and Gas. Al Oufi said that the government’s spending on the sector stood at $8.7 billion last year while spending on natural gas production was $2.8 billion. In a presentation during a special media briefing, he said that four fatalities were reported in the sector in 2014, compared to six in 2013. “Our aim is to bring it down to zero,” he said. The Lost Time Incident was 81, compared to 61 in 2013. It was also said that due to falling oil prices, companies will focus on main projects and no employees will be removed as part of cost cutting measures. “Firms have their own methods to spend and we do not interfere in their operations. Training LONDON: Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives have taken a six-point lead over the opposition Labour Party ahead of Britain’s May 7 election, according to an opinion poll yesterday which showed support for the governing party at a three-year high. The ICM poll for the Guardian newspaper put the Conservatives on 39 per cent, an increase of three points and their highest standing in that polling series since March 2012. REPORT ON P15 programmes still continue, maybe there is a cut in overseas workshops or seminars,” he said. He said the oil and gas reserves in 2014 saw the addition of 393 million barrels of oil and condensates and 1.9 trillion cubic feet of gas due to new discoveries. At the end of 2014, the total reserves stood at 5,306 million barrels of oil and condensates and 24.3 trillion cubic feet of gas. He pointed out that in terms of production, daily oil production in 2014 stood at 943,000 barrels of crude oil and condensates, an increase of 0.2 per cent from 2013. The average gas production was 97.8 million cubic meters per day (of which 79.2 million cubic meters were of non-associated gas and 18.6 million cubic meters of associated gas); 3.8 per cent less than 2013. He added that the combined output from Mina Al Fahal and Sohar refineries was 81 million barrels (of which 46 million barrels were produced from Sohar refinery and 35 million barrels from Mina Al Fahal refinery including residues). OIL AND GAS RESERVES 2014 5,306 PHILIPPINES SAYS CHINA DAMAGING REEFS FRANCE DEBATES TO GIVE SPIES MORE POWER P12 P14 24.3 943,000 P15 WEATHER TODAY MUSCAT MAX: 370C MIN: 270C SALALAH MAX: 300C MIN: 230C SUNRISE 05.46 AM PRAYER TIMINGS FAJR: 04:26 DHUHR: 12:07 ASR: 15:34 MAGHRIB: 18:27 ISHA: 19:57 NIZWA MAX: 390C MIN: 260C giant’s atmosphere. As on Earth, Saturn’s atmosphere consists of different layers, explain Cheng Li and Andrew Ingersoll of the California Institute of Technology, the authors of the report published yesterday in Nature BARRELS OF CRUDE OIL (increase of 0.2%) TOTAL EXPENDITURE ON OIL AND GAS EXPLORATION AND PRODUCTION $11.5BN DIVIDED INTO 68.9% CAPITAL INVESTMENTS AND 31.1% AS OPERATIONAL EXPENDITURE OMANISATION LEVEL FOR UPSTREAM AND DOWNSTREAM OPERATORS 12,000 Rain in Saturn similar to an earthly drizzle OTHER PLANET CLASHES, STRIKES HIT YEMEN DAILY OIL PRODUCTION IN 2014 Great White Spots can be seen by telescopes from Earth ON THE April 13: The Ministry of Health yesterday signed two agreements with consulting firms for projects related to Madha Hospital and expansion of Haima Hospital. Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Saeedi, Minister of Health, signed the agreements on behalf of the Government of Oman. The signing of the agreements is a translation of His Majesty’s directives to upgrade the healthcare services in the Sultanate, Dr Saeedi said adding that one of the agreements will convert Madha health centre to a full-fledged 26-bed capacity hospital boasting eight clinics for internal medicine, pediatrics and gynecology in addition to an emergency unit, ultrasound unit, x-ray laboratory, cardiology unit and a dialysis department. The Haima Hospital in Al Wusta Governorate will also be expanded to contain 45 beds with the addition of pediatric section, surgery unit, dialysis department, intensive care unit, dialysis department and CT scan unit, Dr Saeedi said. TRILLION CUBIC FEET OF GAS TURN TO P3 PARIS: Once every 20 or 30 years, a superstorm greater than Earth breaks out on Saturn and whips around the ringed planet in a violent spectacle that rages for months on end. The storm can stretch hundreds of thousands of kilometres before fizzling out — some continue all the way around the planet until they meet their own tail. Dubbed “Great White Spots” after the tinge of their lightninglaced brew, the outbursts are so large they can be witnessed by telescopes from Earth. In the last century and a half, astronomers have observed six of these events, bemused by their titanic scale but puzzled why they occur so infrequently. Now a team has offered an explanation: the extraordinary behaviour of water vapour in the gas STAFF REPORTER MUSCAT MILLION BARRELS OF OIL INSIDESTORIES GERMAN LITERARY GIANT GUENTER GRASS DIES Upgradation of Madha and Haima hospitals Geoscience. For most of the time, the outer layer where clouds form is less dense than the sub-cloud layer that stretches all the way down to the centre of the gassy planet. Like oil floating on water, the less dense outer layer rests on top of a denser air mix of mainly hydrogen and helium, but also water molecules. In Saturn’s case, the outer layer prevents the warmer air underneath from rising, cooling and condensing — the process required to create thunderstorms. This state of affairs lasts for decades at a time. During the very long calm before the storm, the outer atmosphere radiates heat into space and progressively cools until finally it becomes more dense then the lower layer. — AFP OMANIS IN 2014 (an increase of 15.6% than 2013) An army sniper takes position at look-out point in Al Dokhan mountain along the Saudi-Yemeni border, in Saudi Arabia’s southwestern Jizan province, yesterday. REPORT ON P13 Low turnout in Sudan presidential election KHARTOUM: Few Sudanese voters came to cast their vote yesterday in general elections expected to extend the 25-year rule of President Omar al Bashir and his National Congress Party. Sudan’s main opposition parties are boycotting the April 13-15 election, which means Al Bashir will face 15 candidates who are running on independent platforms or whose parties are little known in the country of 38 million people. Many of the 13.3 million registered voters seemed to join the boycott of Sudan’s first elections since the oil-rich east African nation split from South Sudan in 2011. Polling stations remained largely empty yesterday, with only a few dozens voters and no need to queue. REPORT ON P13 2 OMAN OIL PRICE RISES $2.67 T U E S DAY l A P R I L 1 4 l 2 0 1 5 OMAN Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME) said that Oman oil price (June delivery) has reached $57.87. The DME statement on Monday said that the price of Oman oil rose $ 2.67 from the price of last Friday, which was $55.20. The average price of Oman oil (April delivery 2015) has stabilised at $ 56 and 21 cents, thus $ 9.48 per barrel higher than March delivery 2015. Want to dive, explore more LAKSHMI KOTHANETH MUSCAT April 13: Oman In Focus 2 exhibition held at The Wave Marina brings the event which brought together national and international divers to a conclusion with divers wanting to visit more diving sites in the Sultanate. The exhibition was inaugurated by His Highness Sayyid Asaad bin Tareq al Said. This is a great moment to discover the treasures of Oman by using underwater videography and photography said Dr Hamed Said al Oufi, UnderSecretary of Fisheries at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. “It is exciting to see that the divers have come from all over the world. This event is also being followed by the international media. I think the divers have experienced something new. The Omani marine environment hosts huge amount of treasures some of which we know and lot of which we do not know. We are discovering many new species unknown to public. They know the king fish and the troopers but they have not seen up close the other species such as the ornamental fish, coral and cuttle fish as well as other variety of crabs,” explained Dr Al Oufi. Speaking on the exhibition the under-secretary said, “This is a good event to publicise for people in Oman and abroad. The exhibition depicts the diversity, the colours, vibrancy and the importance of Oman’s marine environment and how it supports the nation’s economic wealth of the Ocean, not only for fisheries but also for tourism and heritage highlighting Oman’s role in relation to the Indian Ocean for many centuries.” All the logistics development such as the Port of Sohar, Port of Duqm and Port of Salalah will all enable Oman to become a logistics hub for international travellers. Ellen Hui Fong could not contain her excitement as she introduced her images. “It was an eye opener. It was the first time to visit the Omani waters and we found beautiful creatures out there. Horn fish, the patterns of coral, the most colourful scorpion fish which is also a poisonous fish, the coral fish and it is bright and vibrant surroundings and of course the ever popular clown fish,” said Ellen enthusiastically. “The most exciting part was when I came across the leopard fish. I wished we could have dived more. I am sure we have not covered all the sites,” added Ellen. Phil Simham who has come all the way from Switzerland said, “It was really a fantastic environment. It is a very unique one because in Oman you are just on the cross way between the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean which results in a unique diversity that cannot be seen anywhere else in the world.” Every diver has about five photographs of theirs displayed at the exhibition taken during the dives in the Sultanate arranged by Oman in Focus, a project headed by Maisa al Hooti. One of Phil’s pictures is about a wreck. “The wreck is very interesting because this wreck was sunk in 2003 so it is fairly recent. It shows what nature can do in 12 years if you give it a chance. You can see how much of coral it can grow and this is what nature can do when you leave it alone. Altogether it was an amazing experience. I am impressed with the environment as much as I am with the discovery of the people and their hospitality.” His work will be on magazine publications and some of the images will be featured in his future book as well, said Phil. International media representing France 24, Al Arabiya, Sky News, Monte Carlo, BBC, Extra London, Russia Today, MBC, Tunis TV, Radio Australia along with national and international media attended Oman in Focus event taking Oman’s marine wealth to international audience. Coming from Paris, Hannan al Baruk, from Monte Carlo summarised by saying, “We found Oman is rich when we talk about sea and life. It was extremely interesting to discover this environment. We hope the organiser Maisa al Hooti takes this picture of Oman outside to other countries.” ) www.omanobserver.om CBO CERTIFICATES OF DEPOSIT TENDER RESULTS Certificates of deposit tender was held at the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) this week. The total amount allotted for issue No 913 was RO 10 million. A bulletin issued by the CBO stated that the average interest rate of these certificates was 0.11 per cent while the maximum accepted interest rate was 0.11 per cent. The tenor of these certificates is 28 days, so their maturity date is on May 13. OMAN T U E S DAY APRIL 14 l 2015 omandailyobserver 3 Iran-Oman gas pipeline talks still on: Rumhy VINOD NAIR MUSCAT April 13: Discussions are still going on to finalise the route for the proposed 230-km gas pipeline project with Iran, said Dr Mohammed bin Hamad al Rumhy, Minister of Oil and Gas, at a special briefing for the media yesterday. He said the following phases will include the design of the pipeline and both sides will deal with the crucial issue of pricing of the gas in the later stages of negotiations. “We don’t want get stuck with the pricing issue and the initial focus is to get the project moving and it is crucial for the energy security.” Dr Ruhmy said the Oman has not started marketing the Iran gas because we still do not have a delivery time. He also said having too much gas is a nice problem to have and it is a not major problem at all. “We expect the region to witness a major gas shortage in the long run,” he said. The minister said that there are no scientific centres to forecast oil prices and different opinions have been expressed on the subject. “This level is of prices between $55-65 per barrel, however, is expected to continue this year,” he said. He said the details of Tehran’s nuclear deal are still not fully available and it is difficult to predict when the anticipated 1.2 million bpd of oil from Iran will go to the market. “Time has not yet come to discuss the impact of the Iranian oil supply.” He said the Opec used to regularly discuss with the non-members on various issues, including that of increasing or reducing oil production. “This did not happen last time and said I am still not convinced of their decision that was taken in November last year.” He said the Habhab project has been delayed for technical reasons as it requires highly advanced technology and added that this delay has nothing to do with oil price slump. New premises for Al Zubair SMEs Centre MUSCAT: Dr Ali bin Masoud al Sunaidi, Minister of Commerce and Industry, on Monday sponsored at Bait Al Zubair in the Wilayat of Muscat over the opening of the new premises of Al Zubair SMEs Centre in the presence of a number of their excellences, businessmen and members of al Zubair SMEs Centre. The centre comes within Al Zubair Corporation strategy and vision to support SMEs. Dr Al Sunaidi hoped that the centre will complement the efforts made by the respective public organizations. He highlighted the role played by Al Zubair Corporation in supporting SMEs and dedicated its staff and senior executives to serve the interests of young entrepreneurs. The Minister of Commerce and Industry then toured the new centre and viewed a number of successful projects that were subsidized by the centre during the past period. The Centre, $8.7bn spent on oil sector FROM PAGE 1 which has made a remarkable progress over the past two years, has 240 male and female entrepreneurs as members. It provides them with incubation for their ideas and projects. It also provides them with free of charge administrative, legal and financial advice. Moreover, the centre provides entrepreneurs with the ability to benefit from experts and consultants, who have long experience in different entrepreneurship fields. — ONA RAFO HELICOPTER AIRLIFTS INJURED INDIAN FROM SHIP “The government exerts continuous efforts to encourage the local and foreign companies of the private sector to invest in the oil and gas sector and all oil related projects including drilling, exploration, production, and refining, as well as developing gas dependent projects and related services,” he said. “The total expenditure on oil and gas exploration and production for 2014 was around $11.5 billion divided into 68.9 per cent as capital investments, such as drilling and facilities, and 31.1 per cent as operational expenditure.” He added that the Omanisation level for upstream and downstream operators was around 12,000 Omanis in 2014; an increase of 15.6 per cent than 2013. Al Oufi said that in 2014, the ministry signed an agreement with MEDCO Arabia (Concession Area 56), and local and international oil and gas companies were invited to submit their tenders to obtain exploration licenses in five open concession areas onshore and offshore. It is our hope to sign some of these agreements during this year. As for the challenges facing oil and gas sector, oil exploration and production operations as they need sophisticated technology especially the Sultanate strives to maintain its production at 950,000 bpd with plans to increase production to 980,000 in 2015. Mus’ab bin Abdullah al Mahrouqi, CEO, Orpic, said the total capacity of Sohar and Al Fahal Port refineries is about 185,000 barrels per day, which constitute 20 per cent of the daily production of oil and condensates in the Sultanate. He added that the two refineries have refined about 59 million Qatari PM receives justice minister An Indian man was airlifted on Monday by a Royal Oman Air Force (Rafo) helicopter after he sustained serious injuries on board a commercial ship that was passing by the Omani territorial waters some 140 nautical miles off Muscat Governorate. The man was flown to Khoula Hospital to receive medical treatment. French military official received MUSCAT: Sayyid Badr bin Hamad al Busaidi, Secretary General of the Foreign Ministry, received in his office on Monday Gen Pierre de Villiers, Chief of the Defence Staff of France. The meeting reviewed the existing friendship relations and the fruitful cooperation between the Sultanate and France in various military, political, economic and cultural fields, in addition to the keenness accorded by the two countries on supporting and enhancing these relations to serve the joint interests of the two friendly peoples. In terms of the current regional challenges and developments, Sayyid al Busaidi stressed the need to continue exerting efforts to reach consensual political solutions through peaceful dialogue to enhance the pillars for security, stability and good neighbouring in the region. The French Military official hailed the Sultanate’s rich history and its constructive and wise political role in handling the different issues and developments quietly. He also stressed his country’s keenness on cooperation with all efforts being exerted to eliminate the hot spots of terrorism, besides supporting the efforts made to achieve peace and security. Also on Monday, Gen Pierre de Villiers and his accompanying delegation visited the Sultan’s Armed Forces (SAF) Museum. Brigadier Saud bin Khalifa al Hatmi, Head of the Military Protocols and Public Relations at COSAF, escorted them in a tour to various sections of the museum. The guest viewed a side of the historic stages of the Omani civilization and its roles in different fields. — ONA DOHA: Shaikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of the State of Qatar, received Shaikh Abdulmalik bin Abdullah al Khalili, Minister of Justice, Head of the Sultanate’s delegation taking part in the 13th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, being held in Doha. The meeting discussed the most important topics listed on the agenda of the congress. The Qatari Prime Minister wished the Sultanate’s and the GCC delegations success and come out with results that contribute in enhancing criminal justice. Meanwhile, Sheikh al-Khalili and his accompanying delegation concluded their participation in the congress, which lasts till April 19th. The Sultanate’s delegation included Majid bin Abdullah al Alawi, Head of the Administrative Court, Dr Khalifa bin Mohammed al Hadhrami, Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Court, Secretary- General of Administrative Affairs Council for Judiciary, Sultan bi Mattar al-Azizi, Director General of Legal Work and International Cooperation and a number of officials at the Ministry of Justice. The Sultanate continues its participation in the congress by a delegation led by Hussain bin Ali al Hilali, Attorney General. — ONA The total expenditure on oil and gas exploration and production for 2014 was around $11.5 billion barrels per year in 2014 compared to 55 million barrels in 2013. He said that the company’s projects will return direct commercial benefits on various business sectors in the Sultanate and will on the other hand secure 300 direct and permanent jobs in these projects, in addition to temporary 2,400 jobs for Omanis during the period of implementation of the projects. He added that these projects will contribute in providing 900 indirect jobs in the region through business that will arise as a result of the establishment of the Liwa Complex for Plastic Industries and the improvement project of Sohar Refinery, which will be a great value to the local economy. He pointed out that the company is currently investing more than $6.5 billion in the implementation of three major projects that will have a significant impact on the development of manufacturing plastic industries in the country and increase the added value that can be derived from Omani crude oil and natural gas as well. He explained that the three major projects will lead the transition in the company and will be completed by 2018. He said Sohar Refinery will increase the production of fuels, naphtha and propylene by 70 per cent. He added that this increase will contribute to meet the increasing growth in the consumption of fuel in the country, which has grown at a rate of 10 per cent annually in the last five years, saying that at the same time, the needs of aromatics and propylene factories for raw materials will be met, and will decrease the rate of purchase of naphtha from 75 per cent to 25 per cent, noting that the MuscatSohar pipeline will be operated in 2016, which will contribute to linking the MAF Refinery with Sohar refinery by 280-km pipeline. He explained that the expansion projects of the company will contribute to the triple growth of the company’s assets to reach by the end of 2018 to about $10 billion as the company’s plan includes investments in previously mentioned projects at a total value of $7 billion, about 70 per cent of which are funded by local and international banks and financial institutions. He noted that these projects will contribute to increasing the capacity of refineries to reach 250,000 barrels per day, and natural gas liquids will be extracted for the first time and used in plastics production and Liwa complex for plastic industries. Salim bin Zahir al Siyabni, CEO of Oman Oil Company Exploration and Production, reviewed in his presentation the company’s plan and said that the average daily production of the company in 2014 amounted to 32,000 barrels as commercial production of gas and condensates began last December. He said that the laying of pipelines is completed that linking the platform in the concession area 8 with gas station in Musandam. The gas export line to the gas network in the UAE was also completed and that more than 99 per cent of the construction of oil and gas treatment plant activities was completed as well. Civil service minister receives Qatari IPA GM MUSCAT: Shaikh Khalid bin Omar bin Said al Marhoon, Minister of Civil Service, Board Chairman of the Institute of Public Administration (IPA), received in his office on Monday Hadi bin Said al Khayareen, General Manager of the Institute of Public Administration (IPA) in Qatar. Shaikh al Marhoon welcomed the guest, wishing him a pleasant stay in the Sultanate. Shaikh al Maroon stressed the existing fraternal relations between the two brotherly countries in various fields, including the administrative and human resources development areas. He hailed the existing cooperation between the Ministry of Civil Service and the IPA in Qatar in fields of implementing a number of programmes, workshops and training courses for the employees of civil service sector. Al Marhoon also touched on the constructive cooperation between the IPA in the Sultanate and the IPA in Qatar. The guest expressed his delight to visit the Sultanate, stressing the strong relations binding the two IPAs. The meeting was attended by Sayyed Salim bin Musallam al Busaidi, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Civil Services for the Administrative Development Affairs Deputy Chairman of IPA, Sayyid Zaki bin Hilla al Busaidi, Director General of IPA, Saud bin Ahmed al Siyabi, Head of the Office of the Minister and Abdulaziz al-Magli, Director of Training in the Qatari IPA. — ONA 4 OMAN omandailyobserver T U E S DAY APRIL 14 l 2015 TRC launches database of research programme SIGNIFICANCE: The integrated management research programme of dubas bug is one of the ﬁrst research-oriented programmes at TRC MUSCAT: The Research Council (TRC) on Monday launched the database of the integrated management research programme of the dubas bug under the auspices of Dr Fuad bin Jaafar al Sajwani, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, in the presence of members of the Steering Committee of the research programme, which is implemented by TRC, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. Dr Al Sajwani said: “The research project is very important as the dubas bug has economic and social damage and therefore should intensify efforts to combat it”. He added that the database project will help all the teams working in this area to take advantage of this data. Dr Hilal bin Ali al Hinai, SecretaryGeneral of TRC, said that the integrated management research programme of dubas bug is one of the first researchoriented programmes at TRC, which aims to take advantage of local and international expertise in the fight against this bug. Dr Ahmed bin Nasser al Bakri, Higher education system discussed with Polish Jagiellonian University official MUSCAT: Dr Rawya bint Saud al Busaidiyah, Minister of Higher Education, on Monday received Professor Wojciech Nowak, Rector of the Jagiellonian University in Poland, and his accompanying delegation in the presence of Dr Abdullah bin Mohammed al Sarmi, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education; Hamad bin Hamoud al Balushi, Director-General of Scholarships; and Sayyidah Aliaa bint Badr al Busaidiyah, Director of International Cooperation Department. During the meeting, Prof Nowak spoke about the most important disciplines offered by the university such as medical sciences and biotechnology disciplines. He gave a briefing on the study system in the university and the basic requirements. On her turn, Dr Rawya spoke about the higher education in the Sultanate, foreign scholarship programmes and the criteria made by the Ministry for dispatching students. — ONA GHEDEX 2015 to kick off on Monday Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Head of the Programme Steering Committee, said that the dubas bug strategic programme is one of the important research programmes in the Sultanate, as the date palm is the main crop in the Sultanate and the dubas bug is one of the pests that negatively affect the palm productivity. The database included 72 scientific papers, 12 specialised books, 45 official government reports, 9 leaflets and 8 MSc and PhD dissertations, 8 informational materials, 12 digital data and summaries, in addition to many multimedia materials, including presentations, photos, videos and scientific materials from 16 countries. — ONA MUSCAT: The Global Higher Education Exhibition (GHEDEX 2015) will begin next Monday at Oman International Exhibition Centre. The three-day exhibition is organised by the Ministry of Higher Education, in cooperation with the Oman International Exhibitions and Trade (OIET). Tariq Ali, Director General at OIET said that the exhibition will attract more than 200 universities from 23 countries around the world to share and review the latest programmes in the field of higher education, as well as the participation of 30 local competent agencies. The participations include 170 world-class international educational institutions. Joukha bint Abdullah al-Shukailiyah, Director General of Private Universities and Colleges at the Ministry of Higher Education, said at a press conference held at the ministry that GHEDEX 2015 will see a significant presence of prominent educational institutions in the Sultanate, Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States along with Australia, Austria, Canada, Cyprus, France, Germany India, Ireland, Jordan, Malaysia, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Turkey and the UAE. — ONA ISD educational trip a success Sea gliders to monitor algal blooms Panel reviews MUSCAT: The educational-cum-historical trip to India, organised by Indian School Darsait, was a huge success. In all, 42 spirited young minds accompanied by five teachers left Muscat for India on a 10-day visit to Delhi, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. The team started their journey on March 29 and reached Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi. On the first day, they had ‘Delhi Darshan’ and visited historical monuments such as India Gate, Qutab Minar, and centres of power namely Rashtrapati Bhavan and Parliament. The next day they left for Amritsar in Punjab and visited the Golden Temple, the holiest Sikh gurdwara. They also spent time and paid tribute at Jallianwalah Bagh, a memorial of national importance. They went to Pushpa Gujral Science city to learn a lot of new concepts on science and environment. The visit to Wagha Border was very much interesting as they were enthralled by the Beating the Retreat ceremony on the IndiaPak border. Later they left for Manali, Himachal Pradesh. At Gohar, they had an adventurous journey interspersed with trekking and rock climbing. For leisure, they had bonfires, dance parties and many indoor games to entertain themselves and were served with delicious homemade delicacies. Later, they returned to Delhi, and spent a quality time visiting Agra and were mesmerised at the most attractive Mughal marvel and one of the wonders of the world, Taj Mahal. They returned to Muscat on April 8 and were received by Principal Dr Sridevi P Thashnath at the airport. MUSCAT: Periodic algal blooms hitting the Omani coastal waters is a serious ecological issue resulting in numerous fish kill incidents, terminations in desalination plant functioning, and causing problems for numerous tourists visiting Omani beaches. In monitoring algal blooms, Sultan Qaboos University has worked out an innovative approach dealing with the application of sea gliders. Sea gliders are autonomous robotic systems equipped with numerous sensors allowing recording of physical, chemical, and biological parameters of the water column. This records could be carried out every 6 hours, on the way to the surface (from the depth of about 1000 m) and back. Dr Sergey Piontkovski, Associate Professor in the Department of Marine Sciences & Fisheries at SQU, is the Principal Investigator leading the project linking scientists from SQU, University of East Anglia, and Washington University. The team has launched two gliders in March 2015, with the prospective to keep them scanning the Omani shelf waters throughout the year, Omanisation efforts recharging batteries every 4 months. In reaching the surface, the glider transmits recorded data via satellites and gets a new command — on what to do and where to sail. Data on vertical distribution of temperature, salinity, water density, current speed, dissolved oxygen concentration, phytoplankton biomass, and sound scattering layers (mainly formed by fish schools) could be complemented by a traditional sampling on board a 5-star W Hotel in Qurum under way HASAN KAMOONPURI MUSCAT April 13: Having completed the building and commissioning of Alila Jabal Akhdhar Resort, Crowne Plaza in Duqm, Atana Musandam Hotel and Rotana Hotel in Salalah during 2014, Omran is now all set to ensure that the pace of development in 2015 continue to grow. Between 2015 and 2017, a total of 16 new hotels are scheduled to open in the Sultanate — six of which are being developed by Omran, either in joint venture, or as wholly owned entities, Wael bin Ahmed al Lawati, Group CEO, Omran, told the Oman Observer. An important project is the new 5-star W Hotel in Muscat’s Shatti Al Qurum District, adjacent to the Royal Opera House and InterContinental Hotel Muscat, which once completed will be operated by Starwood Hotels and Resorts. W Muscat Hotel comprises 290 rooms and suites, including 29 suites, 4 special suites. In line with Omran’s environmental sustainability framework, in 2013, the designs were submitted for LEED Standard Gold accreditation. Construction on its site started this year, with a public opening scheduled for the first quarter of 2018, added Wael al Lawati. The start of this hotel’s construction this Wael Al Lawati, Group CEO, Omran. year in the heart of Shatti Al Qurum in Muscat assumes much significance. The hotel’s luxurious facilities and prime location will make it as well as Shatti Al Qurum one of Oman’s most sought-after destinations amongst travelers. The W Muscat Hotel is being set in an unparalleled location, complementing some of the most important buildings in Muscat and giving guests the opportunity to experience the rich arts and culture scene with the nearby Royal Opera House. The new development will offer iconic design and contemporary standards of luxury, coupled with the unique cultural experience that comes from visiting Muscat. The attraction of Shatti Al-Qurm, an upscale residential locality situated in the heart of the city’s diplomatic district on the coast of Muscat, will increase manifold. Bordered by Al-Qurm to the east, the Ministries and Embassies to the west and Madinat Sultan Qaboos to the south, Shatti Al-Qurm is within close proximity of many of the city’s landmarks, shopping malls and tourist spots. Wael says since its inception in 2005, Omran has remained committed to building facilities and capacity within the tourism sector to help achieve the goals of economic diversification and creating sustainable employment opportunities for the citizens. Last year Omran saw the broadening of its mandate, with responsibilities expanded from being a tourism developer for small to medium developments to one that includes mega-developments like large scale mixed use projects and new urban centres. Omran is now building infrastructure to support increased tourist and business visitor arrivals in the future, including hotels, resorts, integrated tourism complexes (ITC’s) and urban centres, all of which create sustainable direct and indirect job opportunities for citizens, increased opportunities for the growing SMEs sector and added revenue streams for the national economy. research vessel coming from time to time to visit the glider. The sampling based on glider’s information allows scientists to understand what organisms and species have played the most important role in the formation of blooms and layers. On a long run, series of gliders cruising along the Omani shelf could set up a system of reliable monitoring, which the state needs so much. MUSCAT: The Supervisory Committee of the Joint Sectoral Committees for Omanisation held its 2nd regular meeting at the Ministry of Manpower on Monday under the chairmanship of Shaikh Abdullah bin Nasser al Bakri, Minister of Manpower, in the presence of Dr Ali bin Masoud al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Deputy Chairman of the Committee. At the beginning of the meeting, Shaikh al Bakri highlighted the role played by the sector committees in regularising the labour market and its views that help in developing the Omanisation plans, as well as the training and employment of national manpower at the private sector. The Joint Omanisation Committee at the Construction Sector then made a presentation on the scope of work of the committee, the major challenges facing this sector in the Sultanate and the solutions that can address these challenges. — ONA New title for league Cup MUSCAT: Al Swayni Sport Services has announced the amendment to the title of first beach Cup to become “Al Swayni Cup Professional League Clubs”. The announcement came after the recent Championship coordination meeting held at the Oman football association head quarter and attended by the Cup organising committee. The new name will support the future vision to promote the beach soccer and lay down the foundation for the establishment of Oman beach soccer league. The organising committee has decided to list the competition under the Oman Professional league to become an annual championship for all of the fourteen clubs of Oman professional league for the 2015/2016 season. New date and venue to coincide with Salalah Tourism Festival: The organising committee has also decided to change the date and venue to avoid the summer heat. Previously, the championship was planned to take place at end of April 2015 in Al Mussanah Sport city, however due to weather condition and summer heat during that period which would affect the participating players, the organising committee has decided to change the venue to Salalah beach and change the date of competition to be played during Salalah Tourism Festival instead. The coordination meeting proceeded with power point presentation by organising company and was attended by sheikh Mansoor Zahir Al Hajri , OFA board member and chairman of beach soccer committee and sheikh Shabib Hilal Al Hosni the CEO of Oman Professional League and Mr. Amin Saad Al Swayni Bait-Saleem CEO of Al Swayni Sports Services and Mr. Ayman Saad Al Swayni Bait- Saleem COO of Al Swayni Sports Services. The attendees has debated the reason for limiting participation to Oman professional league clubs and it was important to take in consideration the current success factors of these clubs from a technical point of view in order to have the right start for this championship. Live TV Broadcast: With regards to live TV broadcast of championship matches, Al Swayni Sports Services CEO stated Oman TV sport channel has welcomed the new amendment to title and match schedule as it will facilitate the broadcast of championship matches. The championship timings plus the fact that there will be neither any other league matches nor a major sport activity during that period will give Oman sport TV the opportunity to focus on this Championship. OMAN T U E S DAY APRIL 14 l 2015 Meet to focus on CSR mechanisms CORPORATE ROLE: Civil society organisations stand to beneﬁt from the conference MUSCAT: Omani approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR) will be the focus of a CSR conference to be held in Muscat on April 29. Speakers at the conference will deliberate on the CSR practices of companies in the Sultanate and the mechanisms that can contribute to its further development, as well as the government’s role in encouraging companies to integrate CSR with the inherent ethos of the workplace. Civil society organisations stand to benefit from the CSR conference, which will be held at the Faculty of Tourism. Experts will shed light on the state of CSR practices in the Sultanate, and the future steps to be taken to support it. The conference will focus on national companies by hosting experts from the government, the business community and civil society organisations. The conference will discuss a number of questions relating to the benefits accrued to companies by adhering to CSR, one of the topics which has become important both locally and internationally. CSEPF board reviews steps MUSCAT: Board of Directors of the Civil Service Employees Pension Fund (CSEPF) held its first meeting for this year on Monday under the chairmanship of Shaikh Khalid bin Omar al Marhoon, Minister of Civil Service, Deputy Chairman of the Board. The meeting reviewed the performance of the market indicators, including the Fund’s cash flows, the status of its investment and the measures taken by the Fund management to follow up the implementation of the decisions and directives of the board during the past meeting. The board also considered and approved the external auditor report on the Fund audited financial statements for the year ended on December 31, 2014. It also reviewed the list on the activities of the Fund and the changes made in the number of retirees and beneficiaries. The Board approved the estimated budget for the planned investment projects after it had viewed the presentations on these projects. — ONA The Capital Market Authority (CMA) will take part in the conference through a working paper to be presented by Hamed bin Sultan al Busaidi, Director-General of Public Services. Economic analyst Ahmed Kashoob will be presenting paper on the new concepts of CSR in the Sultanate. Oman Economic Society will be represented by its board member Imran Ghazali, who will present a working paper on the ways to advance corporate social responsibility. The conference will also shed light on the role of the private sector in CSR and a paper will be presented by the Chairman of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) interior region branch Ibrahim bin Ahmed al Nabhani . Mohammed bin Sulaiman al Yahmadi, Vice-President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Eastern Province, will focus on the pioneering model of social responsibility in the north eastern of Sharqiah. A working paper dealing with the mechanism of CSR and how to develop the concept, will be presented by researcher Ahmed al Mukhaini. The Social Responsibility Conference is expected to see a wide participation of civil society institutions. The Association of Disabled Children will present a paper shedding light on how the civil society can take advantage of CSR practices in the Sultanate. Daar Al Atta’a Association will share its experience in the CSR field to highlight the support of institutions and private companies to their charity projects. Alhya Association will present a paper on the role of the private sector in the Sultanate in the civil community service and charitable institutions. The conference will see representatives of companies and institutions working in the field of CSR and representatives of charities and the local civil sector. New preschool classrooms opened at Saffanah bin Hatim Al Taei School MUSCAT: An opening ceremony was held on Sunday in Saffanah bin Hatim Al Taei School in Yiti for two preschool classes that Dar Al Atta’a financed its construction and equipped them within its Preschool Project, with the support of many companies. The ceremony was under the patronage of Shaikh Dr Al Khattab bin Ghalib bin Ali al Hinai, Chairman of Education Committee in the State Council. Among the guests of the ceremony was Dr Ali al Jahwari, Director-General of Education in Muscat Governorate, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Education, Dar Al Atta’a board members and representatives from some of the sponsoring companies. The ceremony included several activities from the school students and held a speech from school principal and Dar Al Atta’a Director Rahma al Amri, who welcomed the guests and spoke about the importance of early childhood education and the long-term impact of this project on children’s lives. The collaboration with Saffanah bin Hatim Al Taei School first started by enrolling its preschool teachers with in an early childhood education course, then Dar Al Atta’a decided to take the initiative further towards improving the classroom environment for children enrolled in these two preschool classes by constructing, equipping and fullyfurnishing the classrooms, where total cost of the project was RO 28,193. DU’s Friends Club gesture to sick children STAFF REPORTER SALALAH April 13: The Friends Club of the Students Affairs Department of Dhofar University visited the Sultan Qaboos Hospital and distributed gifts among the children who are undergoing treatment for various diseases. The visit was aimed at delighting the children and getting them out of hospital handing them over toys, monotony. The visiting games and books as per their students also wished them age and grade. speedy recovery, while The hospital administration was happy to see the students and expressed happiness for their concern for the sick children. The staff welcomed the idea and facilitated the students to various departments and specialties to make them aware of the hospital functioning. There was positive energy in the children’s ward of the hospital, as the children were seen engaged with their gifts forgetting about their diseases. The parents of the children also appreciated the idea and termed this as a nice social initiative on the part of the university, students and staff. The visiting students assured to have more such engagements with hospitals, clubs, NGOs and associations which are taking up causes for the general interest of the society. omandailyobserver 5 6 REST IN REMEMBRANCE T U E S DAY l A P R I L 1 4 l 2 0 1 5 CORRUPTION TRIAL BEGINS A stuffed toy is seen in the bedroom of Park Ye-Ji, a high school student who died in the Sewol ferry disaster, in Ansan. Her dream was to become a computer programmer. Nearly a year after the Sewol ferry sank on April 16, 2014, with the death of 250 students, some families keep their children’s bedrooms intact to remember and honour their loved ones. ASIA The trial of former head of PetroChina Company Limited, Jiang Jiemin, China’s top energy group, began yesterday with charges of bribery, abuse of power and other corrupt practices making him the latest in a string of top officials hauled into court by an anti-graft campaign. Jiang was also former vice-chairman. ‘NO CLEAR VIEWS’: It is likely the trio are unlikely to face criminal prosecution, but in the eyes of the police, they are still suspects China releases 3 detained feminist activists BEIJING: Chinese police on Monday released at least three of five feminist activists detained for over a month in a case which prompted an international diplomatic outcry, one of their lawyers said. Wei Tingting, Wang Man and Zheng Churan were “released on bail”, lawyer Liang Xiaojun cited family members as saying. The release indicates that the trio are unlikely to face criminal prosecution. He added that there was “no clear news,” about fellow activists Wu Rongrong and Li Tingting, even as a deadline for prosecutors to formally charge them was due on Monday. Police detained the activists — all aged 32 or under — shortly before International Women’s Day last month as they were preparing to hand out leaflets about sexual harassment on public transport. The five women had been linked to several stunts in different Chinese cities aimed at highlighting issues such as domestic violence and the poor provision of women’s toilets. The three released activists “will still have restrictions on their freedom,” effectively preventing them from engaging in further activism, said Liang, who represents Wu. “In the eyes of the police, they are still suspects... they will need to regularly update authorities on their whereabouts,” Liang said. Police originally told lawyers the activists were suspected of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”, a vague charge increasingly used by authorities under President Xi Jinping to detain and jail protesters for holding smallscale demonstrations. They later changed the charge to “illegal assembly,” which carries the same maximum punishment of five years imprisonment. China’s ruling Communist Party does not tolerate organised opposition, and often The three released activists ‘will still have restrictions on their freedom,’ effectively preventing them from engaging in further activism, said Liang, who represents Wu clamps down on small activist groups. But the detentions were seen by rights groups as unusually harsh given the small scale of the women’s stunts and the fact that they had been praised in China’s state-run media. Police interrogations of the women — several of whom suffer from chronic health problems such as asthma and an unspecified heart condition — have focused on a 2012 stunt named “Occupy Men’s Rooms”, their lawyers said. Chinese criminal lawyers said that given BILATERAL TALKS every day,” Kerry said in a statement. Prospective presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted last week that the detentions were “inexcusable” and “must end”. China rejected the US calls, and said on Monday that it had made “representations” to Washington on the issue. “We urge the United States to respect China’s judicial sovereignty and stop interfering in China’s domestic affairs,” foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular news briefing. Ten of the activists’ parents and spouses at the weekend issued an eleventh-hour plea to authorities for their release. The activists were “young, kind-hearted, and full of a sense of responsibility to society”, the group wrote in a letter to Beijing prosecutors that was posted online on Saturday. They added: “Supporting gender equality and the interests of women is no crime!” — AFP Beijing limits visits by mainland Chinese to HK US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker during her meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Pritzker is leading a US business delegation on a presidential trade mission to China. — AFP Ren had embezzled public funds and accepted bribes to seek promotions Dead official expelled by China’s Communist party BEIJING: China’s ruling Communist party has expelled from its ranks a former provincial vice-governor who died while under investigation for corruption, it said Monday. Ren Runhou, former vice governor of the northern province of Shanxi, “passed away of illness while under investigation” the party’s disciplinary agency said on its website. The inquiry into Ren began last August and respected news outlet Caixin reported he died a month later from cancer, aged 57. The party announced that Ren had been “stripped of his party membership”, on the grounds that he had embezzled public funds and accepted bribes to seek Property amassed by promotions for others. “The nature [of his case] is vile and Ren from his suspected the circumstances grave,” the statement embezzlement and bribery by the party’s Central Commission for will be transferred to judicial Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said. Property amassed by Ren from his ofﬁcials, according suspected embezzlement and bribery to the CCDI will be transferred to judicial officials, according to the CCDI. The ruling party’s internal Since coming to power in 2012 China’s President Xi Jinping has vowed investigations operate without any legal a crackdown on endemic graft by oversight, and since 2007 more than 15 officials have reportedly died from Communist party cadres. the date of their detention, prosecutors had to formally charge them by the end of Monday, or police would be obliged to release them. Their detention prompted condemnation from rights groups as well as the United States and the European Union, which called for their release. Britain-based group Amnesty International said that China must “immediately and unconditionally release the five women if they are being detained solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and association.” US Secretary of State John Kerry urged Beijing on Friday immediately to free the women, with similar comments made by VicePresident Joe Biden. “Each and every one of us has the right to speak out against sexual harassment and the many other injustices that millions of women and girls suffer around the world each and abuse while under such probes. It may be recalled that China’s former state assets chief Jiang Jiemin — one of the highest-profile casualties of the country’s anti-graft drive and an ally of ex-security chief Zhou Yongkang — confessed to corruption at his trial Monday. Jiang admitted his offences at the Hanjiang Intermediate People’s Court in the central province of Hubei, the court said on its Sina Weibo microblog. He is accused of bribery and abuse of power, the court said, adding that Jiang allegedly possessed “a huge amount of assets of unknown origin”. State broadcaster CCTV showed Jiang, with deep bags under his eyes, admitting his guilt. “The facts of my crime are clear, the evidence is true and undeniable, and the Hanjiang court’s lawsuit is objective,” Jiang said according to the court statement, which added that he appealed for leniency. “I confess to the facts of the crime without concealing anything. I admit my guilt and repent for my crimes,” he said, adding that he had “damaged the image of the Party within the hearts of the people”. — AFP HONG KONG: Beijing has scrapped unlimited entry to Hong Kong for mainland Chinese visitors whose voracious shopping for everything from baby milk powder to iPhones has emptied stores and stoked bitter resentment in the protest-hit city. Tension remains high in the southern Chinese city after two months of pro-democracy street rallies were cleared in December with no sign of concessions from the authorities. An influx of millions of Chinese visitors to Hong Kong has become the latest source of strain, prompting protests by residents who are hostile to China’s increasing influence. The protests have led to clashes with police and arrests. “Anything that increases tension between Hong Kong and mainland society is not tolerated,” city leader Leung Chun-Ying said on Monday as he confirmed a limit on the number of visits which mainlanders from Shenzhen can make. Mainland authorities have now stopped visas that allow residents from the border city of Shenzhen to make unlimited trips to Hong Kong, he said, restricting them to one visit per week. Leung said the new restrictions were suggested by the Hong Kong government and adopted by Beijing, adding it will affect about 4.6 million travellers, or nearly 10 percent of the annual 47 million mainland visitors. Anything that increases tension between Hong Kong and mainland society is not tolerated. LEUNG CHUN-YING Hong Kong city leader The decision to restrict mainlanders’ entry was aimed at curbing the practice of “parallel trading” in which visitors buy up prized goods such as baby formula in Hong Kong and resell them in China’s border towns to avoid tariffs. Critics in the semi-autonomous city have said mainland visitors also push up prices, increase delays at border crossings, clog up public transport, and behave badly. China’s state-run Xinhua news agency said on Monday the policy arose from concerns over “growing pressure” on the city’s border due to a surging number of travellers. Leung admitted the move would not completely end parallel trading, because Hong Kong residents may become parallel traders, adding the government would continue to crack down on illegal activities. Hong Kong has a separate customs jurisdiction from mainland China, which imposes tariffs on foreign imports. — AFP NEW START TO DIALOGUE Bolivian Vice-President Alvaro Garcia Linera with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the start of talks at the latter’s official residence in Tokyo. — Reuters WHALING WOES Japan hopes to resume whale hunt this year TOKYO/LONDON: Japan on Monday said it hoped to resume its Antarctic whale hunt around the end of this year, after providing further information to win over an international panel that says its whaling plan does not prove the need for killing the animals. Last year, the International Court of Justice ruled that Japan’s decadesold whale hunt in the Southern Ocean should stop, prompting Tokyo to cancel the bulk of its whaling for the 2014/2015 season and submit a scaled-down plan for future hunts. Japan has long maintained that most whale species are not endangered and that eating whale is part of its food culture. On Monday, an expert panel of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the global body that oversees whales, said it opposed a new Japanese whaling plan that proposed to take 333 minke whales in the Antarctic. Japan’s commissioner to the IWC, Joji Morishita, said the country would furnish additional material before a May meeting of the IWC’s scientific panel for a final report, adding that Tokyo hoped the new data would win over the panel. “I believe that we’ll move forward with the aim of resuming whaling around the end of the year,” Morishita told a news conference, though he did not rule out the possibility of changes to the proposal. The IWC’s expert panel said the information in Japan’s latest proposal did not enable it to determine if lethal sampling of whales was necessary. “The current proposal does not demonstrate the need for lethal sampling to achieve those objectives,” it said, referring to the plan’s key aims. Japan’s determination to resume whaling remains unchanged, said Morishita, echoing statements by government leaders. Japan took the panel’s recommendations seriously, he said, but added, “They haven’t unilaterally said that it’s no good, neither have they come out on the other side with, ‘Go ahead, do whatever research you want to do.’” Japan began what it calls scientific whaling in 1987, a year after an international whaling moratorium took effect, despite growing global opposition. — Reuters SUBCONTINENT T U E S DAY APRIL 14 l 2015 Taliban kills 18 Afghan soldiers, some beheaded omandailyobserver 7 FOLK FESTIVAL OUTPOST STORMED: Bid to save missing soldiers is under way KUNDUZ/QUETTA: Taliban fighters killed 18 Afghan soldiers — including some who were beheaded — after storming an army outpost in the remote mountainous northeast in a major attack before the spring fighting season, officials said on Monday. The attack in the Jurm district of Badakhshan province on Friday also left around a dozen soldiers missing, fuelling speculation that they had been captured by insurgents. “Eighteen Afghan soldiers were martyred and eight of them were beheaded,” provincial spokesman Naweed Frotan said. “Our rescue operations are continuing to track down and bring back the security forces who went missing in the assault.” The defence ministry confirmed the incident in a statement and said the fighting left a total of 33 Afghan soldiers dead, wounded or missing. Twenty Taliban, including foreign fighters, were killed in the battle, deputy provincial police chief Sakhidad Haidar said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Afghanistan is bracing for what is expected to be a bloody summer push by the Taliban, set to be the first fighting season in which Afghan security forces will battle insurgents without full Nato support. Taliban insurgents have stepped up attacks on government and foreign targets since Washington last month announced a delay in US troop withdrawals from Afghanistan. Nato’s combat mission formally ended in December but a small follow-up foreign force has stayed on to train and support local security forces. 13 insurgents shot dead: Meanwhile, in the neighbouring Pakistan paramilitary forces have killed at least 13 members of an insurgent group who shot dead 20 construction workers in the restive southwestern province of Baluchistan, officials said on Monday. Gunmen killed 20 labourers at point blank range on Friday evening in Baluchistan, after identifying them as migrant workers from elsewhere in the country, an attack claimed by the Baluch Liberation Front (BLF) separatist group. Immediately following the killings, security forces launched a search operation in the barren mountainous area and have so far killed 13 militants, with the fighting ongoing. “Security forces have killed at least 13 militants who killed the labourers,” a spokesman for Pakistan’s paramilitary forces said. The spokesman said one BLF commander was among those killed, and another of the group’s leaders was captured alive. Provincial home secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani confirmed the militant death toll. The group, which claimed Friday’s raid on the labour camp in Turbat district of Baluchistan, regularly attacks migrant workers and government installations. The BLF gained greater international recognition after kidnapping American UNHCR worker John Solecki from Quetta on February 2009. Solecki was later released on “humanitarian grounds”. Friday’s incident occurred around 1,000 kilometres southwest of Quetta, the provincial capital of Baluchistan. Resource-rich Baluchistan is the largest of Pakistan’s four provinces, but its roughly seven million inhabitants have long complained they do not receive a fair share of its gas and mineral wealth. Rebels began their fifth insurgency against the state in 2004, with hundreds of soldiers and militants killed in the fighting. — AFP Kalash women dance in their traditional dress around musicians at the Lok Virsa festival in Islamabad on Sunday. Folk Festival of Pakistan, popularly known as Lok Mela organised by National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok Virsa), honoured folk artists, musicians and folk dance groups with cash awards and colourful closing ceremony. — AFP Nepal clears $1.6 bn hydropower project KATHMANDU: Nepal’s investment board on Monday cleared China’s Three Gorges International Corp to build a long-delayed $1.6 billion new hydropower project, the single biggest foreign investment in the Himalayan country. The dam, to be built on the West Seti river in northwest Nepal, will generate 750 megawatts of power when complete, board official Ghanashyam Ojha said. A Nepal parliamentary panel first approved the project in 2012 but state-owned Three Gorges had been waiting for the investment board’s clearance. Nepal, one of the world’s poorest countries, is opening up its vast hydropower potential to help ease chronic power shortages and grow an economy still emerging from a decade-long civil war. That has prompted a rush by China and India to invest billions exploiting their neighbour’s rivers and import electricity to their energy-hungry economies. Last year Nepal cleared two major Indian hydropower projects worth a combined $2.4 billion, including what was at the time the largest foreign investment scheme in the country. New Delhi has long seen Nepal as part of its sphere of influence but growing Chinese investment in recent years has altered the relationship. — Reuters Two students killed as Bangladesh hardliners protest at execution UPHOLDING TRADITION DHAKA: Two student activists have been shot dead in Bangladesh, police said on Monday, as the largest hardline party tried to enforce a nationwide strike to protest at the execution of a senior leader. There were also reports of protesters firebombing vehicles around the country as tensions ran high following the execution late on Saturday of Mohammad Kamaruzzaman, a leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party. Police said the body of a 22-year-old student supporter of the party had been found in the western city of Rajshahi on Monday. He had been shot at least five times. Another student activist died in hospital on Monday morning after he was shot during clashes between police and protesters in the northwestern district of Sirajganj on Sunday night, the district’s deputy police chief Faruq Ahmed said. Ahmed said the clashes broke out after police arrested four student supporters of Jamaat. Kamaruzzaman was convicted of overseeing a massacre An Afghan man holds up his quail to fly in Kabul. — Reuters during the 1971 war of independence from Pakistan. Jamaat has condemned the execution as “political murder” and says the government is more interested in mounting a witch-hunt against its opponents than in justice. Security was tight across the country on Monday with extra police, other security forces and border guards patrolling sensitive places. Police said a driver was critically wounded when protesters firebombed his truck in the eastern city of Comilla just after midnight. Protesters also torched a bus just outside Dhaka and three vehicles in the port city of Chittagong, according to media reports. Bangladesh went ahead with the execution despite last-minute pleas by the European Union and the United Nations, which has said the trial did not meet international standards. There are fears it could deepen a months-long political crisis that has seen hardliners and the main opposition party launch nationwide protests to try to topple Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. — AFP The 27-km-long Orange Line Metro Train project will be implemented in Lahore from Ali Town to Dera Gujjaran via Multan Road Pakistan, China finalises negotiations for metro train project LAHORE: Pakistani and Chinese authorities have completed negotiations on 27km long Orange Line Metro Train project in Lahore from Ali Town (Raiwind Road) to Dera Gujjaran (Ring Road) via Multan Road. The entire project would be elevated except a small stretch while crossing The Mall Road that would be underground and there would be almost no land acquisition involved in the project that would be completed within 27 months, CM’s advisor Khawaja Ahmad Hassan said on Monday. The project will be executed by the China Railway (CR) and Norinco, a leading joint venture sponsored by the Chinese government. The authorities took almost three to four months to finalise modalities related to memorandum of understanding (MoU), terms of reference (ToR) and the final agreement that would be signed by the two governments during the visit of Chinese president this month. China has already pledged to give $1.5 billion soft loan to Pakistan for the project. An MoU between the two states was signed last year under which the Chinese government’s owned ImportExport Bank of China (Exim Bank) would transfer finances to Pakistan under a commercial agreement. “Our talks started with the senior officials of the National Development and Reformation Commission (NDRC) of China, an important department similar to our planning commission at federal or the planning and development department at provincial level. All, including the NDRC officials and our officials representing planning commission, planning and development, Lahore Development Authority, Punjab Metro Bus Authority, Finance and Transport departments took part in the talks,” Hassan said. Bidding was held through which the project was awarded to CR-Norinco that offered completing the project for $ 2.23 billion. Later, after extensive debates, the Pakistani officials succeeded in convincing the CR-Norinco officials to complete this mega project at $1.47 billion, Hassan claimed. He said the final draft of the terms of reference had also been finalised on Friday with the Chinese experts/officials who were present in Lahore. While talking about standards, he claimed the reduction of cost wouldn’t affect the requisite standards/quality of the project. “The Chinese joint venture will be led by the CR, an organisation responsible for operating the entire railway system in China. Under the ToR, they will follow the international standards while executing the project,” he claimed. To a question, he said the markup on the $1.5 billion Chinese soft loan was much lower, less than three per cent and Pakistan would return it within a period of 20 to 25 years. He said the Exim Bank would release the funds after signing of the project’s commercial agreement during the Chinese President Visit. He said the Punjab government would get the civil work started within this year, adding that as soon as the government received money from China, it would immediately start designing and planning of the project that might take two or three months. “We are also planning to get this huge project accomplished before the deadline,” Hassan claimed. Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said 27km long Lahore Orange Line Metro Train project will be completed speedily and transparently while maintaining a high standard of construction. Talking to a delegation of China Railways (CR) and Norinco on Monday, he said 26 stations would be constructed on the route of metro train and more than 200,000 people would travel by the train daily. Shahbaz said the metro train would be a milestone in public transport sector and the agreement on the project was the result of hard work of Punjab and Chinese institutions. Chinese Consul General in Lahore Yu Boren, senior officials of CR and Norinco were also present. — Internews 8 ANALYSIS omandailyobserver T U E S DAY APRIL 14 l 2015 WHAT MIAMI HAS TO DO WITH CUBA? B arack Obama’s historic talks with Cuban President Raul Castro on Saturday were the culmination of a long quest by the US president that included meetings with moderate Cuban-Americans frustrated with the hardliners in their own community who refused to engage Havana. The Obama-Castro meeting in Panama followed a breakthrough agreement by the two men last December to work towards normalising relations, including seeking to restore diplomatic ties that Washington broke off in 1961. A shift in attitudes in the Cuban-American community, most much of which is based in Miami, helped smooth the way to Obama’s change in policy, with a younger generation far more amenable to contact with the communist-ruled island. To be sure, hardline exiles still oppose closer ties with Havana. While there were no public protests over the meeting between the two presidents, there was grumbling on local radio and on social media. Likely Republican 2016 presidential candidate and Miami resident, Jeb Bush, who is close to conservative Cuban exiles, summed up the negative feelings of hardliners President Obama in a tweet: “Why legitimise a cruel dictator of a has been taking the repressive regime?” Obama has been taking the temperature of temperature of the the Cuban-American community for years. Cuban-American His first practical lesson took place over a smoke break outside a fund-raiser at the community for years. Kaleidoscope Club in Chicago in 2004 when His ﬁrst practical he was running for the US Senate. lesson took place at a Former Miami City manager Joe Arriola told Obama — both men were trying to fund-raiser in Chicago quit cigarettes — how to appeal to Cuban- in 2004, reports American voters. DAVID ADAMS “I told him not to listen to the crazy rightwing in Miami that my kids’ generation thought differently,” recalled Arriola, a prominent Cuban-American politician. Arriola, invited Obama to Miami that fall for a fund-raiser that netted his Illinois Senate campaign $50,000. “We brought him down several times after that. He would have breakfast with us and we would pick up people to introduce to him,” Arriola said. The chance encounter in Chicago sparked interest by Obama in the changes in the once solidly Republican Cuban-American enclave in south Florida. The Miami fund-raiser was kept quiet because Arriola, a 67-year-old former Republican, was still serving the city of Miami, and another participant, Manny Diaz, was the mayor. They were unsure how the Cuban exile community — known for taking to the streets — would react. The encounter over a cigarette was also the beginning of a family friendship that would see two of Arriola’s sons — Ricky and Eddy — join Obama’s finance committee in both of his presidential runs. That a small group of Cuban-Americans saw purpose in helping a rising Senate candidate in Chicago turned out to be something that would help shape US policy. “They identified Obama early on and saw the potential and brought him to Miami and got him immersed,” said Carlos Saladrigas, one of a dozen CubanAmericans who participated in the 2004 fund-raiser at the home of developer Jorge Perez. Arriola’s message about changes in Miami exile thinking was not just an idle boast. Polling showed a generational shift was taking place as younger CubanAmerican leaders emerged who were more open to engagement with Cuba than a previous generation, who left the island in the early days after Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution. During his first presidential campaign, and as part of a wider foreign policy vision that favored more openness to dialogue, Obama advocated direct talks with Cuba, and even said he was willing to sit down with Raul Castro. He travelled to Miami to deliver a speech laying out a plan to undo restrictions on remittances and travel to the island for Cuban-American families, while keeping the long-standing trade embargo in place. In his re-election in 2012, Obama won almost 50 per cent of south Florida’s Cuban-American vote, almost double what Democrats had been used to getting. The White House also reached out to other, younger voices in the CubanAmerican community, including Felice Gorordo, co-founder of Roots of Hope, a non-partisan group of young Cuban-American activists. How far could the administration go without sparking rioting in Miami, one former top Obama adviser for Latin America policy, Dan Restrepo, asked Gorordo during a 2012 meeting to discuss reforming Cuba policy. An unending pain of 40 years F orty years after Lebanon’s civil war began, the families of of the disappeared in other countries had not rekindled thousands of people who disappeared are still haunted by conflict. In 1991, Lebanon issued a broad amnesty that benefited the country’s warlords, allowing many of them to the conflict and fighting to learn of their loved ones’ fate. “We just want to know what happened to them. become political leaders. “Abroad, people are astonished when I tell them we We want a grave where we can leave flowers,” Wadad Halawani, President of the Committee of the Families of don’t want justice or the cancellation of the amnesty law,” said Halawani, whose husband was kidnapped in front of the Kidnapped and Disappeared, said. The civil war lasted 15 bloody years from 1975 to 1990, her in 1982. “We cannot put all the political leaders in jail. We just killing more than 150,000 people and leaving some 17,000 want to know the truth and reconcile with the past.” missing, according to official figures. Under pressure from relatives, Lebanon’s government The conflict primarily pitted groups against factions backed by leftist and other parties, with significant regional in 2000 acknowledged the existence of mass graves in the capital, without beginning any identification efforts. and international intervention. And last year, the country’s highest judicial body ruled “Those who buried their children were able to weep that the families had the right to know the for them, but we have not been able fate of their loved ones. However, little to mourn,” said Mariam Saidi, whose The civil war in progress has been made. 15-year-old son Maher disappeared in Lebanon lasted 15 Since 2012, the International 1982 while fighting near Beirut. Committee of the Red Cross has been “It’s a cause that must not die,” she years, killing more compiling a database of information insisted in her apartment on the old line than 150,000 people about each disappeared person. that separated east Beirut from the west and leaving 17,000 Fabrizio Carboni, ICRC Lebanon of the city. President, said efforts were under way Like the Argentine Mothers of the missing, writes to get approval from the authorities to Plaza de Mayo movement, Saidi has since RANA MOUSSAOUI collect saliva samples from still living 2005 participated in a permanent protest parents of the disappeared for future camp outside the UN headquarters in DNA analysis. central Beirut. A bill drafted by the families of the disappeared, with the But despite the long-running protest and various campaigns, the parties to the civil war have refused to share help of the ICTJ, would create a commission of inquiry led by the police and aided by specialised archaeologists and information about the missing. “They refuse to reopen the files, saying it will threaten anthropologists. It has yet to be approved by parliament. As they fight for information, many relatives of the civil peace. As if the country was at peace!” Halawani said. Lebanon has experienced many spasms of violence since disappeared struggle to live normally, feeling that time just the war, and has been criticised by international NGOs for stopped when their loved ones went missing. “There’s Um Issam, who hasn’t left her house for several its “collective amnesia” about the conflict. “To learn the lessons of the war, the past must be years, convinced that her son will knock on the door any confronted,” said Carmen Hassoun Abu Jaoude, Director minute,” Halawani said. Other mothers sit by the window, hoping to see a of the International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) in Beirut. “It’s a wound that was closed up while it was still returning child; or they have left their children’s rooms infected,” she added, noting that investigations into the fate untouched since their disappearance. Literary giant Guenter Grass, who did mankind ‘a genuine service’ F or some, Guenter Grass was a towering literary figure, a magnificent storyteller, who in the words of the Swedish Academy’s Nobel Prize committee “has done mankind a genuine service.” For others, he was a self-appointed moralist for postwar Germany, a righteous polemicist who attacked his fellow countrymen for their collective amnesia of Nazism while at the same time failing to own up to his own lapses in recalling the past. Grass, who died yesterday from an infection at the age of 87, was arguably one of Europe’s greatest modern writers with over half a century of literary success and political commitment. Born in 1927 of German-Polish parents in Danzig, now Gdansk, in Poland, he was the last Nobel literature laureate of the 20th century. “For me, Gunter Grass is on of the greatest writers of our times, whose inflexibility, courage and emancipatory conviction I admire greatly,” former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said at the time of his 80th birthday. His international breakthrough came in 1959 with The Tin Drum, an allegorical novel set in his home town, that was turned into a successful film by director Volker Schloendorff. When he published The Tin Drum, “it was as if German literature had been granted a new beginning after decades of linguistic and moral destruction,” the Swedish Academy wrote. Other works followed, including Cat and Mouse, Dog Days, From the Diary of a Snail, The Flounder and The Rat. “Grass’ novels strip their characters of grand words and emphasise the solidity of the flesh by bringing human forms close to the animal world. We all have a place in his menagerie,” Horace Engdahl said in his presentation speech at the Nobel award ceremony in 1999. A left-winger and a pacifist, Grass became active in politics in the 1960s and took part in election campaigns on behalf of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and its leader at the time, Willy Brandt. He advocated a Germany free from fanaticism and totalitarian ideologies in his political speeches and essays and used The Flounder and The Rat to reflect Widely acknowledged as a towering giant of German literature, Guenter Grass caused controversy when he revealed he was brieﬂy a member of Hitler’s Waffen SS, notes MIKE SWANSON on his commitment to the peace and environmental movements. Later on he became a vocal critic of the US invasion of Iraq and argued that military might alone was not enough to defeat terrorism. A global equilibrium between north and south was needed, he said. Not all his works were well received, however. Marcel Reich-Ranicki, one of Germany’s foremost literary critics, spoke of “books of vastly differing quality.” Dog Years, part of what Grass called his Danzig Trilogy, did not quite succeed, according to the critic. His mammoth work on German unification, Ein Weites Feld (A Broad Field), “turned out badly,” he said. But it was his 2006 novel Peeling the Onion that aroused the most controversy. The book, spanning 20 years of the author’s youth, included the shock admission that he was briefly a member of Hitler’s Waffen SS during the latter part of World War II. The disclosure rocked Grass’ reputation as a moral authority, and some of his adversaries even claimed the revelation was no more than an exercise in damage control before others exposed the truth. Grass faced scathing criticism for keeping quiet about his SS role for more than half a century. German writer Guenter Grass, the winner of the 1999 Nobel prize in literature, signs books during a book fair in Paris on March 17, 2001. — AFP ANALYSIS T U E S DAY APRIL 14 l 2015 omandailyobserver 9 It is right, ‘service to man is service to mankind’ I ALI AHMED AL RIYAMI [email protected] t always used to surprise me somewhat when an old colleague of mine would say “service to man is service to mankind” whenever I asked him for assistance in work related matters. The guy was always very busy with work, but would take time out to assist if asked to do so, only after uttering the, by now, familiar aforementioned saying, and I would wonder why he did so. Reflecting on the saying, I knew there was a deeper meaning to it, but didn’t have the time and, perhaps, the sensibility to absorb it and understand its true meaning, although I would always remember his earnest response when asked for assistance. Whether he knew the profoundness of his statement or whether it was just something he liked to say, I don’t know, but it did bring to light something that was greater than us, greater than our organisation, something that appeals to the better part of people, a ‘humanistic philanthropy’ as it were. This is why, in many ways, providing a good service is its own reward and I know there are those out there, may be hard to find though, who like and actually enjoy serving others — for them, as it should be, it’s not a form of servitude, of compassionate care turning. Their contribution many be thought of as its more to do with bringing a level of comfort pretty trivial, nonetheless it does count and does and satisfaction to one’s fellow human being. As many may confirm, I think people who so highly. Without their daily act and behave in this way wholehearted contribution, are few and far between; many would have to go mostly it’s for the money or Reﬂecting on the without some of their whatever other advantage saying, I knew there was favourite creature comforts that can be gained. and although they would We mainly have a ‘what’s a deeper meaning to make do with what’s left, the in it for me attitude’, one that it, but didn’t have the fact is they would have to primarily thinks of itself first time and, perhaps, the make do. and then, maybe, others on a I suppose this is why we much lower footing. sensibility to absorb it like, or feel obliged, to tip This is why my old and understand its true those providing good services colleague’s saying, “service to meaning, although I — although sometimes man is service to mankind,” it’s more of a gesture than it is struck me so much. always remember it. real appreciation, especially I couldn’t put my finger on when the service given it then, but in time I learnt — leaves much more to be we all learn — that it is those who can put the desires, pleasures, needs and desired. Providing a good level of service makes good wants of others before their own who are truly sense in any organisation and in any applicable benevolent and supporters of their fellow man. They are the people who, day in day out, situation. Within a company or establishment, it is the make the kind of sacrifices that keep the wheels service department’s duty to not only ensure all of the administrative apparatus is working well, but that the services being rendered are being done so effectively and satisfactorily. Unfortunately, even in this day and age, some service departments still see themselves solely as organisation disciplinarians, where everything goes by the book and punishment in the form of docking pay, issuing warnings etc., is the main objective in keeping employees in check and as a kind of negative motivator. Such draconian, outdated measures should not be part of the organisation’s ethos nor the service departments main objective; in fact, it should be quite the opposite, because it would then mean that there is in effect an efficient, positively driven workforce in place and that service departments are functioning properly and effectively. It’s a real treasure to receive a high standard of service, whether it be from a waitress in a restaurant, an administrator in a government bureau or good treatment from a nurse in hospital, the service provided is made that much more sweeter when it is done so not only well, but with a friendly smile too. A LE PEN DRAMA MARK JOHN AND GÉRARD BON T he daughter accuses the father of political suicide; the father publicly suspects she would like him dead anyway; and the grand-daughter watches in the wings, ready to pick up the pieces. The feud within the Le Pen dynasty that has ruled France’s National Front (FN) for four decades is teetering between high drama and a low farce that could emerge as the biggest threat yet to the far-right party’s quest for mainstream power. Party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen’s defence last week of his view that Nazi gas chambers were a mere “detail” of war has prompted Marine Le Pen, FN leader since 2011, to demand his role in the party be discussed at a meeting of FN executives on Friday. The blood line linking the two, plus the family talent for invective, make this no ordinary political row — to the glee of rivals who have seen the FN gain from the rise in support for populist parties in a Europe just emerging from recession. “A father and daughter are ripping each other to shreds in public - the masters of Greek tragedy couldn’t have staged it better,” veteran leftist Daniel Cohn-Bendit, now a political pundit, said this week. “Let’s hope this runs and runs.” Marine Le Pen has sought to rid the FN of its image and position it as an anti-immigrant, Eurosceptic force offering protectionist economic policies to shelter ordinary French from the vagaries of globalisation. At some point she was always going to have to find a way of silencing her maverick father, who at 86 uses his title of honorary president of the party to lob regular stink bombs into the French political debate. The tougher is question is: How? The trained lawyer, unanimously re-confirmed as FN leader at a congress last November, has a firm grip on the party as she prepares for a 2017 presidential election in which she is tipped to make the secondround run-off if not win outright. A survey by pollster Harris Interactive found 99 per cent of FN supporters believe she “embodies” party values against 28 per cent for her father. Harris found the French most associate him with the words “racist”, “old” and “trouble-maker”. Moreover a separate study by Odoxa found nearly nine out of 10 of FN supporters think it is time for him to quit politics. Yet ejecting him against his will would be another matter: As a shrewd strategist Marine Le Pen will recall the brief but sharp decline in the party’s fortunes after the messy 1998 split with its former number 2, Bruno Megret. Hillary Clinton addressing supporters during a campaign event at Rhode Island College in Providence in this file photo. — AP Clinton may struggle to get her message heard H illary Clinton entered the 2016 race for the White House on Sunday and the good news for her is that there are few serious contenders to challenge her for the Democratic nomination. The bad news is that there are few serious contenders to challenge her for the Democratic nomination. Because of her global profile and the lack of other prominent Democrats in the field, Clinton enters the race in a position that is perhaps unmatched in modern US presidential politics. While her grip on her party’s nomination seems commanding, it also makes her a singular target for a bevy of Republican candidates who now share a common enemy. “All of them will be trying to prove they’re the most anti-Hillary, the toughest against her,” said Democratic strategist Joe Trippi, who was behind former Vermont Governor Howard Dean’s insurgent bid against favourite John Kerry in 2004. “They’ll all be taking shots.” One central challenge for Clinton’s nascent presidential campaign therefore will lie in sustaining momentum and generating positive buzz while under constant siege from Republican candidates, their more unruly political action committees, progressives who feel she is not liberal enough, and the media. Republican contenders Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, and Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky wasted no time on Sunday criticising Clinton. Following the video announcement of her candidacy, Bush tweeted: “We must do better than Hillary.” On the left, Bill de Blasio, the progressive mayor of New York, was noncommittal on endorsing her candidacy, saying on NBC’s Meet the Press that he wants to hear Clinton’s vision for the country. The risk is that Clinton’s campaign will be so busy responding to attacks on every front that it could have difficulty spawning positive coverage. “Absolutely she’s going to be on defence, and our goal is going to keep her on defense,” said Jeff Bechdel, a spokesman for the antiClinton PAC America Rising, which is devoted to carpet-bombing the public and press with criticism of the candidate. One way to beat back the tide of negativity, some strategists said, will be for Clinton to use her gravitas as a former secretary of state to announce policy initiatives on a grand scale. They argued that her background would give her proposals a weight that candidates like Republican senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio can’t match. “One of the best tools they’ve got is her ability to project policy at an almostpresidential level,” Trippi said of Clinton, who has been on the global stage for decades. Clinton cast herself on Sunday as a champion of everyday Americans still struggling to recover from the 2008 recession, although she did not offer any specific policy prescriptions. Tad Devine, who advised Kerry’s 2004 bid as well as Al Gore in 2000, said there were opportunities for Clinton to make an impact and generate buzz in areas such as climate change and campaign-finance While Clinton’s grip on her party’s nomination seems commanding, it also makes her a singular target for a bevy of Republican candidates who now share a common enemy, reports JAMES OLIPHANT reform, as well as in the economic arena. “The best way to create positive news is to introduce new policy,” Devine said. “Winning campaigns are about the future. The best way to get to the future is to talk about policy proposals that can be introduced and implemented if she is president.” Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, said in a Tweet that Clinton’s top policy priorities would be “helping working families succeed” and tackling climate change. Ari Fleischer, a former White House press secretary under George W Bush, echoed Devine, saying that Clinton needs to focus less on her qualifications and more on new initiatives. “The resume is money in the bank. She can’t add to it,” Fleischer said. “The upside for her is to be the candidate of ideas and specifics.” Bush might provide the best comparison to Clinton’s position. He built a juggernaut in 1999 that quickly leveled almost the entire Republican field, leaving more time for big-ticket policy events. Fleischer said the campaign took advantage: A speech in Iowa unveiling his tax-cut plan became front-page news, as did his proposal to reform Social Security. Clinton has an experienced hand to guide her. Clinton’s new communications director, Jennifer Palmieri, served in a similar role in the White House under President Barack Obama, where she specialised in trying to drive media coverage through policy roll-outs. But as with most things surrounding Clinton’s candidacy, it’s never that simple. All signs point to this iteration of her campaign wanting initially to keep events on a small, relatable scale. ESTABLISHED ON 15 NOVEMBER 1981 CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Dr Ibrahim bin Ahmed al Kindi EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Abdullah bin Salim al Shueili HEAD OFFICE ADVERTISING Tel: 24649444, 24649450, 24649451, 24604563, 24699437 Fax: 24699643 AL OMANEYA ADVERTISING & PUBLIC RELATIONS, P.O. Box 3303, P.C. 112, Ruwi, Sultanate of Oman Tel: SWITCHBOARD: 24649444 DIRECT: 24649430/24649437/24649401 Fax: 24649434 SALALAH OFFICE Tel: 23292633 Fax: 23293909 NIZWA OFFICE Tel: 25411099 P.O. Box 955, P.C. 611 Website: omanobserver.om DISTRIBUTION AGENT Al OMANEYA for Distribution & Marketing, P.O. Box 974, P.C. 100, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman Tel: 24649351/24649360 Fax: 24649379 e-mail: [email protected] PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY: Oman Establishment for Press, Publication and Advertising P.O. Box 974, Postal Code 100, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman [email protected] Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these pages are solely those of the authors and do not reﬂect the opinion of the Observer. 10 omandailyobserver INDIA T U E S DAY APRIL 14 l 2015 PM says growth engine re-energised CREDIBILITY RESTORED: Modi says that ‘Make in India’ requires creation of new infrastructure HANNOVER: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said his government had “re-energised” the Indian growth engine and that the country wants to become a manufacturing hub to serve its domestic market as well as exports. “We have re-energised the Indian growth engine. The credibility of our economy has been restored. India is once again poised for rapid growth and development. It is the only emerging economy where growth rate is rising. The prospects are even better,” Modi said in an Op-Ed piece in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. He said that “Make in India” requires urgent creation of new infrastructure. “The substantial enhancement in financing in the federal budget for highways, railways and energy is a step in this direction. Work has begun on the development of Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor.” Modi, who is on a two-day visit to Germany, said that through “our ‘Act East’ and ‘Link West’ policy, India has the potential of becoming the middle ground for East and West as a manufacturing hub that serves both our vast domestic market and becomes a base for global exports and general well-being”. He said: “My government has pledged a stable and transparent tax regime, reducing corporate taxes and implementing a single Goods and Services Tax in 2016.” The prime minister said he visualised India as a “key engine of global growth”. Modi said: “Our democratic principles and practices are guarantors of stability. We have a free media and an independent judiciary that allows all Inviting more German companies to invest in India, Modi asked potential foreign investors to come to the country to see for themselves the easing of India’s regulatory environment German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Narendra Modi look at a YuMi robotic arm at the world’s largest industrial technology fair, the Hannover Messe, in Hanover. — Reuters opinions to be aired without fear.” The prime minister said that India believed in Rahein Saath Badhe Saath (stay together-grow together). “There is no other way forward. Mankind’s progress in this century depends on cooperation and collaboration. Conflict is unthinkable. So is poverty which (Mahatma) Gandhi called the worst form of violence,” he said. The Indian prime minister, who is in Germany as part of his three-nation sojourn, said: “Our focus is not merely Photo exhibition traces life of Afghans living in Kolkata NEW DELHI: Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s timeless story Kabuliwala resonates perfectly with the Afghan community living in India. And capturing these connections is an ongoing photo exhibition in the capital that traces the life of Afghans living in Kolkata. Documenting the lives of around 5,000 Afghan families living in Kolkata in the exhibition “From Kabul to Kolkata: Of Belonging, Memories and Identity” two journalists embarked on a three-year journey to tell the story of a century of social transformation within the community. Moska Najib and Nazes Afroz have captured the stories of this secluded and little-known settlement in the present through photographs. “Being away from my homeland, I have been always drawn to the themes of identity and new belonging. This inspired me to photograph one of the oldest settled Afghan communities in India in modern times,” said Najib, an Afghan who has lived in India for most of her life. Najib hopes that the photographs on display will allow viewers to experience the problems of preserving an identity and rebuilding a home in a new space. “Kolkata had amazing diversity and it had made me what I am today. But for the last few decades I felt that this diversity was fading fast, which was disturbing me. So by doing this project, I had an opportunity to capture at least one slice of the diversity of this city and in a way it is a tribute,” Afroz, a journalist from Kolkata said. The series will connect viewers to the themes of human bonding and touch on the issues of loss of identity and a new sense of belonging. — IANS economic growth but an inclusive development.” Observing that international support and collaboration are equally critical to achieving India’s objectives, he said: “I have therefore sought to build a foreign policy which is an integral part of our national development strategy.” “My interactions with leaders of United States, Russia, France, Japan and China have all aimed at creating enduring partnerships with shared stakes in global development and wellbeing.” Inviting more German companies to invest in India, Modi on Monday asked potential foreign investors to come to the country to see for themselves the easing of India’s regulatory environment. “Indo-German partnership should and will flourish. My advice to you is come and feel the change in India’s regulatory environment,” Modi told an IndoGerman business summit here. India is the partner country this year at the world’s largest industrial fair, the Hannover Messe, which was inaugurated on Sunday by Modi jointly with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “I am here to assure the German companies that India is now a changed country. Our regulatory regime is much more transparent, responsive and stable and we have removed a lot of regressive taxation regimes,” he added. “Participation at Hannover Messe will be beneficial for both sides,” the prime minister said. Hannover Messe, which exists since 1947, normally has around 6,000 exhibitors and about 200,000 visitors over a one-week period. India was last partner country in 2006, while the Indian business participation this year has 350 companies taking part. India is very much present in Germany these days through the lion logo representing the ‘Make in India’ campaign unfurled all over the country, at airports and other public places. “The symbol of the lion has been carefully chosen. The lion cannot be stopped, like our journey cannot be stopped, that too by our own rules,” Modi said. “There is more potential in Indo-German economic collaboration. — Agencies NCP rebels against appointment of ‘unknown’ state unit president PANAJI: Top office bearers of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in Goa on Monday claimed they “did not know” their newly-appointed state president Suhas Volvoikar, and accused the party’s high command of foisting a leader unknown to the state leadership. Addressing a joint press conference here, with over a dozen members of the NCP’s state executive committee, party General Secretary Jose Philip D’Souza also said that if party supremo Sharad Pawar and other central leaders like Praful Patel did not revert the decision in seven days, they may have to face a rebellion in the ranks. “This is completely unfair. How can you appoint a state president who no one knows. I can say that many of us have not even met him before. National Green Tribunal announces slew of measures to curb air pollution This is completely unfair. How can you appoint a state president who no one knows. I can say that many of us have not even met him before.” JOSE PHILIP D’SOUZA Former state NCP president The new president is not even a primary member of the NCP,” said D’Souza, a former state NCP president. The appointment of Suhas Volvoikar over the weekend by the NCP top brass has led to unrest in the state NCP unit, with the party’s Senior Vice-President Trajano D’Mello giving an ultimatum to the party’s top brass to sack Volvoikar and appoint a new state president. “If the top brass does not resolve the problem in seven days, then we will be forced to act on our own,” D’Mello said. Secretary of the state NCP Bryan Pegado told reporters that much of the onus for appointing Volvoikar lay on the party’s observer for Goa Bharat Jadhav, who interviewed a series of state NCP leaders last month vis-a-vis the appointment of the state president. “This executive committee is rejecting the appointment outright,” Pegado said. While Volvoikar, an unknown commodity in the state’s political arena, has not commented sources close to him said that the new state president would make his position clear by addressing his first media briefing on Tuesday. — IANS THE SELECTION JUMP Citing diesel vehicles as a major source of Delhi’s toxic haze, the country’s environment court ordered the city government to implement the ban within 20 hours “The court agreed and stayed its order for two weeks. No vehicles will be impounded during this period,” Zubeida Begum, lawyer for the government, said. “Transportation of eatables to the capital has been hit hard, so has the garbage collection,” she said. Thousands of commercial trucks travel through Delhi every night, many of them on their way from one state to another because of a lack of bypasses on India’s dilapidated highways. According to local media reports, some 40,000 diesel cars have been effected by the court’s ban in the capital and more than 90,000 in adjoining towns. Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this month launched a new index to monitor air quality levels in Delhi but environmentalists criticised a lack of initiatives to curb the pollution. The government is under intense pressure to act after the World Health Organization last year declared New Delhi the world’s most polluted capital. At least 3,000 people die prematurely every year in the city because of air pollution, according to a joint study by Boston-based Health Effects Institute and Delhi’s Energy Resources Institute. On Monday, the tribunal said the ban would be suspended until May 1 while it sought submissions from authorities on ways to ensure the ban was implemented effectively. — AFP ‘Swaraj Samvad’ an attempt to break AAP NEW DELHI: The ‘Swaraj Samvad’ (open dialogue) being organised by dissident leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan on Tuesday is an attempt to break the Aam Aadmi Party, AAP leaders said here on Monday. Interacting with the media here, party leader Sanjay Singh said: “The Swaraj Samvad is just an attempt to break the party. They want people to think that AAP has diverted from its principles.” “This is a parallel activity and we are in no way connected to them (Yadav and Bhushan).” Fellow party leader Ashutosh added that AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) was closely watching the activities of the two leaders, who were expelled from the key decision-making bodies of AAP for alleged “anti-party activities”. “The party’s political affairs committee and national council will take suitable action,” Ashutosh said. Bhushan and Yadav, who are co-founders of the AAP along with party chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, have pledged to approach the Supreme Court and the Election Commission against their sacking. Telangana CM congratulates Sania Mirza HYDERABAD: Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Monday congratulated tennis star Sania Mirza on becoming first Indian woman to claim the world number one position in the doubles ranking. The chief minister, in a statement here on Monday, said that Sania will be inspirational to the youngsters of our country. Sania Mirza was elevated to the number one spot in the women’s doubles rankings, according to the latest Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) list released on Monday. “An excellent accomplishment @MirzaSania! Congrats on being World Number 1 in doubles,” Modi, currently on a three-nation European tour, tweeted to his 11.6 million followers. Mirza, 28, climbed to the top of the rankings after she won the Family Circle doubles title in Charleston, United States, on Sunday while partnering Swiss great Martina Hingis. It was the third successive title for the duo, also the number one doubles pair, after their victories in the hard court events in Indian Wells and Miami. — IANS New app for capital’s public transport users Court suspends ban on diesel vehicles in smoggy Delhi NEW DELHI: An Indian court Monday suspended its ban on diesel vehicles more than 10 years old after New Delhi authorities complained they were struggling to comply with the order in the world’s most polluted capital. The National Green Tribunal last week announced a slew of measures to try to curb air pollution in Delhi including ordering older vehicles off the roads and cracking down on illegal construction projects in the capital and surrounding satellite towns. Citing diesel vehicles as a major source of Delhi’s toxic haze, the country’s environment court ordered the city government to implement the ban within 20 hours. But lawyers for the Delhi government appealed to the tribunal for more time, saying essential services such as garbage collection by mostly older trucks have been thrown into disarray. IN BRIEF Kashmiri youth jump over a ditch during a recruitment drive in Pattan, north of Srinagar. Hundreds of Kashmiri youth participated in the recruitment rally organised by the army, an Indian army officer said on Monday. — Reuters NEW DELHI: Ridlr, a public transport app that gives you real time information about bus and Metro schedules, went live in the capital. Built by Bird’s Eye Systems — a real-time traffic alert and travel information tech startup — Ridlr is designed to make travelling within cities easier and more predictable for people using public transport systems. Ridlr plans and optimises people’s travel around the city. It also factors in roadblocks and diversions before suggesting the best mode of transport across destinations at any given point in the day. With Ridlr, people can locate the nearest bus stop or metro station. It shows the latest time-tables of the modes of transportation and allows users of the app to download them in their phones. “In Delhi, public transport keeps the pulse of the city alive. However, it’s no small task to navigate its vast network of metros and DTC buses. — IANS INDIA T U E S DAY APRIL 14 l 2015 omandailyobserver 11 Maoists strike in Chhattisgarh MASSIVE BLAST: The deafening explosion in the twin attacks killed ﬁve security men The Foreign Minister of Korea Ri Su Yongin and Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj arrive ahead of a meeting in New Delhi. Ri Su is on an official visit to India. — AFP RAIPUR: Chhattisgarh was hit by twin Maoist attacks on Monday when four policemen were killed and seven were left bloodied in a massive blast while a trooper was fatally shot by rebels who launched an attack on a BSF camp — barely two days after seven policemen were gunned down by Maoists. Chhattisgarh has witnessed a string of Maoist attacks since April 11. The rebels had gunned down seven policemen in Sukma on Saturday and a day later they burnt down 11 vehicles in Kanker. On Monday, Maoists launched an audacious attack on a Border Security Force (BSF) camp in Kanker in which a trooper was killed. Just hours later, four policemen out on an area domination drive were killed when the rebels exploded a landmine in Dantewada. All the attacks have been reported from the sprawling Bastar region which is made up of seven districts covering over 40,000 sq kms where the Maoists run a de facto government in the forested interiors. Maoists struck early on Monday in Kanker district. Officials at police headquarters here National Pension System for NRIs launched R A K SINGH NEW DELHI April 13: India has sought to rope in its 10 million strong non-resident Indian community in its sole official social security scheme National Pension System for NRIs through its quite relaunch early last week, prompting the country’s pension regulatory authority supervising the scheme to approach expatriates through Indians missions abroad. “The government of India has launched the National Pension System (NPS) for the benefit of 10 million NRIs so as to provide old age security to Indians, both in India and abroad,” said an official statement uploaded last week on various Indian missions’ website with their link extended to the website of the Ministry of External Affairs. “While most NRIs remit a large part of their earnings to India in the form of bank deposits, share investments, real estate acquisitions etc, unfortunately very little is saved for old age financial security,” said the statement. “It is in this context that the National Pension System (NPS) has been launched by the Government of India and supervised by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), New Delhi,” it added. Pointing out that the NPS, although was initially launched for government and semi-government employees with effect from January 2004, it has subsequently been made available ‘The NPS is a well regulated and transparent scheme and is portable across geographies and employments. Its being technology-driven, subscribers can view their accounts online’ to every Indian citizen from on a voluntary basis” the statement said, “The scheme is now open to all citizens of India, whether resident or nonresident between 18-60 years of age.” The statement added that till March 31, 2015, the NPS had a total of 8.5 million subscribers and manages around Rs 80,000 crore of funds. Detailing the subscriber-friendly merits of the scheme, the statement said that “the NPS is a well regulated and transparent scheme and is portable across geographies and employments.” “It being technology-driven, subscribers can view their accounts online,” it added. Listing the safeguards against vulnerability of the equity-linked schemes, the statement said, “PFRDA has laid down prudent investing norms for the fund managers, and their performance and portfolios are regularly monitored by the NPS Trust and under the overall supervision of the PFRDA, the statutory regulator.” “The scheme offers complete flexibility to investors in terms of choice of investment mix. The investor decides the percentage of the corpus that goes into equities, corporate bonds and government securities, with the only limitation being that there is a fifty per cent cap on the exposure to equities,” said the statement. “Hailed as one of the lowest cost pension products in the world, its returns have generally outperformed the market. The returns under the citizen scheme, which would be applicable to NRIs, have ranged from 9.20 per cent to 12.84 per cent for equity-linked fund between March 31, 2014 and September 30, 2014. During the same period, the returns for the corporate debt-liked funds have been 10.53 per cent to 10.84 per cent and for the government securitieslinked fund has been 7.93 per cent to 8.79 per cent, said the statement. The statement added that for more details on NPS, NRIs can approach PFRDA general manager through e-mail at [email protected] or by telephone at +91-11-26897937. Details on the NPS are also available on PFRDA’s website, it added. Incidentally, India has also devised another social security scheme Pension Life Insurance Fund (PLIF), renamed recently as ‘Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojna (MGPSY).’ But this scheme is largely suited for the unskilled and semi-skilled Overseas Indian workers. The government, however, has failed to popularise the same among its target beneficiaries. Govt to share contemporary art with Australia NEW DELHI: Culture and Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma said on Monday that the dates of ‘Festival of India’ in Australia will be finalised soon and promised to share contemporary art with Australia. He was speaking at a meeting with a delegation headed by Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop, where both sides discussed measures and steps to be taken to promote relations, especially cultural relations, between the two countries. Bishop said that an agreement on promotion of arts and culture was signed between the two countries during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Australia last year. “It was also decided to hold a ‘Festival of India’ in Australia in 2015, which is a significant step and needs to be taken forward,” she said. Sharma said that discussions between the officials of the two countries are at an advanced stage and the dates of the festival are expected to be finalised soon. Sharma promised to share India’s contemporary art and also pointed out that the strong cricketing ties between the two countries need to be highlighted. Bishop also met with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and held talks. Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop with Finance — IANS Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi. — Reuters said that a few insurgents tried to sneak into a BSF camp in the Chhotebetiya forests in Kanker district’s Pakhanjoor area. “The alert BSF jawans opened fire on rebels when they tried to storm the camp,” R K Vij, the state’s head of antiNaxal operations, said. He added that trooper R P Solanki was killed on the spot. Vij said a rebel also died at the attack site and three IEDs of 20 kg each were recovered during the combing operation near the camp. A few hours later, four policemen were killed and seven injured when Maoists triggered a massive explosion in Dantewada district. Four Chhattisgarh Armed Forces (CAF) personnel were killed and seven wounded in the deafening blast that targeted their anti-landmine vehicle. The attack took place near Cholnar camp of the CAF in Dantewada district, some 400 km south of state capital Raipur. “It’s a massive blast. I guess it could be about 50 kg IED (Improvised Explosive Device) used to trigger a blast near a bridge. The anti-landmine vehicle was The policemen were returning to the Cholnar camp after an area domination drive. The deafening explosion was so strong that their vehicle keeled over onto its side shaken up by the blast and 4 CAF jawans succumbed to injuries,” Kamal Lochan Kashyap, superintendent of police, Dantewada, told reporters at the attack site. The policemen were returning to the Cholnar camp after an area domination drive. The deafening explosion was so strong that their vehicle keeled over onto its side. Security personnel rushed to help their wounded colleagues. The injured policemen were taken to the NMDC Ltd-owned hospital at Bacheli. Chhattisgarh’s BJP government was left stunned following the repeated highintensity attacks and the opposition Congress has accused it of being a sitting duck. On Saturday, seven policemen of the Special Task Force (STF) were gunned down and 12 injured in Sukma district as Maoists orchestrated a bloodbath after a prolonged period of peace in the state. The Saturday attack took place in a forested patch of the district. Over 100 heavily armed insurgents encircled them from all directions in a difficult forested terrain and sprayed them with bullets. Security has been stepped up at police and para-military camps across the insurgency-hit Bastar where rebels hold sway in the interior areas since the late 1980s. The Maoists are believed to be present in at least 20 states, but are most active in Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand and Maharashtra, occupying thousands of square kilometres of land. The insurgency is believed to have cost tens of thousands of lives, with much action focused around the insurgent-dominated, so-called “Red Corridor” stretching through central and eastern India. Critics believe attempts to end the revolt through tough security offensives are doomed to fail, saying the real solution is better governance and — IANS development of the region. ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ addresses untouchability too, says Rajnath Home Minister Rajnath Singh with attendees from different castes during the “Untouchability No More” event in New Delhi NEW DELHI: Applauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” (cleanliness campaign) Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said it was not just a fight against filth but a battle against untouchability as well. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ is not only about cleanliness but it’s a battle against untouchability too,” he said. Untouchability has been abolished to a large extent “but there is a lot to be done to remove it completely” from the country as not all understand that all humans are equal, he added. Participating in a function here, held on the eve of Bhimrao Ambedkar’s birth anniversary, to symbolically liberate from untouchability thousands of women manual scavengers in Rajasthan and Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh, Singh ate food with them. “It’s a historic occasion and I am touched,” he said later. “Not all are able to understand it (the fact that all humans are equal) and accept it,” Rajnath Singh said, addressing the function. “India is one country which, from ancient times, believed that the entire mankind is one family,” he said, calling upon people to do away with the social evil of untouchability. Geeta, who till some years ago worked as a manual scavenger, said that she was happy to be liberated from the tag of being an untouchable. “I never thought that I would get a chance to sit and eat with such prominent people in my life and that people, in whose house I worked as a manual scavenger, would treat me as a normal human being and not somebody who was untouchable,” she said, adding that it could become a reality because of Sulabh International, an NGO spearheading the sanitation and social reform movement. Vidya Changra, a woman from Tonk in Rajasthan, said that a lot has changed since Sulabh International liberated them from scavenging by providing toilets in their villages and training them in making pickle, ‘papad’ and household products. Senior BJP leaders Murli Manohar Joshi and Jagdambika Pal were also present at the function where thousands of women manual scavengers shared food and sweets with other people. — IANS Indian ship to make last trip from Yemen to Djibouti on Tuesday THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: An Indian ship will make its last journey from war-torn Yemen’s Hodeidah port to Djibouti with stranded Indians on Tuesday, an official said here. Speaking to IANS, R S Kannan, CEO of Roots-Norka (the state agency looking after the welfare of the Kerala diaspora) said the ship was supposed to depart on Sunday but for some reason it has been held up. “With the Indian embassy in Sana’a now almost closed, it is very difficult to get information. “The officials there had sent out information to those Indians who wish to return to reach Hodeidah for ‘Of late what we have come to know is that there are some of our people who are married to Yemenese and they also have chosen to stay back there’ onward travel to Djibouti,” he said. Kannan said this would be the last such trip as two other Indian ships with passengers set sail from Djibouti, on the horn of Africa, for Mumbai and Kochi on Sunday. Since evacuation began from Yemen early this month by both air and sea, close to 3,000 Keralites including more than 2,000 nurses have returned from Yemen. government officials Kerala indicated that there are many Keralites who have preferred to remain in the troubled country and have contended that they will have an uncertain future if they return. “Of late what we have come to know is that there are some of our people who are married to Yemenese and they also have chosen to stay back there,” said Diaspora Minister K C Joseph. — IANS 12 PROTEST TO FREE EDUCATORS T U E S DAY l A P R I L 1 4 l 2 0 1 5 MASS GRAVES IN DR CONGO Protestors chant outside the Fulton County courthouse to free the 11 Atlanta educators who were found guilty of racketeering charges in one of the largest US test-cheating scandals in Atlanta, Georgia on Monday. The cheating on 2009 standardised tests, which included erasing wrong answers, was prompted by pressure to meet test-goal targets and a desire to secure promotions and cash. WORLD DR Congo Minister of communications Lambert Mende and governement spokeperson addresses journalists at Kinshasa central morgue, on Monday where the local government organised a visit to highlight the mass graves after more than 420 bodies were discovered 100 km outside Kinshasa. I’m running for president: Hillary GREAT AMBITION: Aims to become the ﬁrst woman to win the top position at White House WASHINGTON: Hillary Clinton was on a campaign road trip deep into the US heartland on Monday after launching her bid to become the first woman to win the White House with a pledge to champion “everyday Americans.” With an eye to putting behind her the jet-set image of a former first lady, secretary of state and global charity director, Clinton boarded a simple minivan as she headed from New York to Iowa. A few hours into the surprise 1,000 mile journey, the 67-year-old Democrat tweeted a picture of herself meeting a family at a Pennsylvania gas station. “When Hillary first told us that she was ready to hit the road for Iowa, we looked at her and said: ‘Seriously?’ And she said: ‘Seriously’,” senior aide Huma Abedin said. “This was her idea and she has been really excited about it. We’ve been driving for a good part of today,” she added, in a conference call Sunday from the road for supporters and reporters. Long assumed to be the frontrunner for her Democratic Party’s presidential nomination for the 2016 race, Clinton’s formal entry unleashed her formidable fundraising machine and social media operation. Clinton, who lost the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama in 2008, put an end to the pantomime surrounding the worst-kept secret in US politics by posting an ad on her new Facebook page and website and sending links to her three million Twitter followers. “I’m running for president,” a beaming Clinton said in a slickly produced video that went viral. “Everyday Americans need a champion and I want to be that champion.” The two-minute clip featured upbeat middle-class families from a variety of backgrounds sharing their aspirations. Her campaign said Clinton will spend the next six to eight weeks building a grassroots organisation and “engaging directly with voters.” Her first major rally and the speech that kicks off her campaign is not expected until May, but Clinton’s road trip — the van has reportedly been nicknamed “Scooby,” from the classic cartoon — will take her to meet small groups of voters in Iowa. “Road trip! Loaded the van & set off for IA. Met a great family when we stopped this afternoon. Many more to come. -H,” she tweeted. In Iowa, the first state to vote in an election year, Clinton will talk “about how to make the economy work so everyday Americans and their families can actually get ahead and stay ahead.” “We can’t take anything for granted and we’ll have to fight really hard for every single vote, and that obviously starts in the primaries,” said campaign manager Robby Mook. “Hillary got into this race to fight for everyday Americans.” Confirmation she is running will trigger a donation deluge from supporters who have long waited for her to officially enter the race. But it also sparked a fierce Republican response. The Republican National Committee said Clinton “has left a trail of secrecy, scandal and failed policies that can’t be erased from voters’ minds.” “We must do better than Hillary,” World loses two literary stalwarts Republican Senator Rubio joins the presidential race WASHINGTON: Senator Marco Rubio announced to donors on Monday that he is launching a US presidential campaign, becoming the latest — and youngest — Republican in the race to succeed Barack Obama in the White House. US media reported that Rubio told major donors on a conference call about his plans, hours ahead of a glitzy launch event in Miami where he is expected to present himself as the nextgeneration candidate in the candidate. Rubio’s staff, while not directly confirming the announcement, retweeted a news report that the senator was running for president. The 43-year-old first-term senator aims to contrast himself with older contenders like fellow Floridian Jeb Bush, his 62-year-old mentor-turned-rival for their party’s nomination, and Democrat frontrunner Hillary Clinton, 67, who announced her candidacy on Sunday. Rubio wants to take Americans beyond the dynastic Bush-Clinton dynamic that has ruled US politics for much of the last quarter century. Bush, who expected to officially announce his candidacy in the coming weeks, is the son and brother of two presidents, while Clinton is the wife of former president Bill Clinton and was Obama’s first secretary of state. Rubio joins two other Republican first-term senators who are already in the race: Ted Cruz of Texas, who like Rubio is Cuban-American, and Kentucky’s Rand Paul, a libertarianleaning lawmaker whose father Ron Paul ran for president earlier. — AFP AROUND THE GLOBE German literary giant Gunter Grass dies BERLIN: Germany’s most famous writer, Gunter Grass, best known for his 1959 novel “The Tin Drum” but whose reputation was tarnished by his admission he had served in Hitler’s Waffen SS, died on Monday aged 87, his publishers said. The Nobel laureate died in a hospital in the northern city of Luebeck, the Steidl publishing house said on Twitter. Grass quickly followed his debut and best-known novel “The Tin Drum” with “Cat and Mouse” and “Dog Years”, all dealing with the rise of Nazism in his hometown of Danzig, now Gdansk in Poland. He won a string of international awards, including the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1999 and continued to publish into his 80s. Later in life, the novelist, poet, playwright and sculptor, often seen chomping on his pipe and sporting a walrus moustache, courted controversy with a provocative poem that painted Israel as the Middle East’s biggest threat to peace. The prose-poem entitled “What Must Be Said”, published in 2012, voiced Guenter Grass fears that a nuclear-armed Israel could mount a “first strike” against Iran, triggered accusations and a ban from Israel. After years of urging Germany to come to terms with its World War II past, the outcry further darkened the shadow cast by his 2006 bombshell admission that he had served in the Nazis’ elite Waffen SS after being conscripted into the corps as a teenager. Grass remained defiant in the face of the backlash over the poem but admitted he found the accusations of anti-Semitism “hurtful”. Grass’ works have a strong political dimension and are considered part of the German literary movement dealing with “coming to terms with the past”. But he was also not averse to commenting on, and stirring, controversy beyond his nation’s borders. He criticised ex-US president George W Bush for using religious terms to describe his “war on terror”. Grass was born on October 16, 1927 in the Baltic port city of Danzig to parents who had a grocery shop. A passionate visual artist who also studied sculpture and graphics, Grass’ work and psyche were marked by Germany’s past. His first three books, known as the Danzig Trilogy, are tweeted former Florida governor Jeb Bush, a likely Republican opponent, foreshadowing the intense back-andforth expected to play out on social media in the run-up to the November 2016 election. Clinton’s campaign-in-waiting has quietly organised for months, bringing on key staffers and advisors, plotting outreach operations and strategising. On Saturday, she earned praise from Obama, who said she would make “an excellent president.” But experts warn she will have to tread a fine line in how closely she aligns herself with the incumbent, whose approval ratings have lingered below 50 per cent for two years. The soft rollout — a folksy but upbeat video, low-key small gatherings with heartland voters — marks a deviation from the Clinton Inc. juggernaut that ultimately failed in 2008. The one-time senator and wife of former president Bill Clinton leads opinion polls among Democrats, some 60 per cent of whom say they would vote for her in the primaries, according to website RealClearPolitics. A humble approach may ease doubts about Clinton raised in recent weeks, after it was revealed she used a private email account while secretary of state from 2009 to 2013 and that her family’s charitable foundation accepted millions of dollars from foreign governments. Shortly after the campaign launch, Clinton left the board of the family foundation led by her husband. But she will have to brace for uncomfortable questions from voters about not just the policy issues but the various scandals in the Clintons’ past. — AFP Uruguayan leftist writer Eduardo Galeano passes away MONTEVIDEO: Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, an icon of the Latin American left, died on Monday in Montevideo at age 74, hospital officials said. Galeano, whose 1970 essay “Open Veins of Latin America” is considered by many leftists to be the seminal history of the region, was Eduardo Galeano hospitalised last week. He had been suffering from lung cancer. Born September 3, 1940, Galeano had a career that spanned various decades and various genres, including journalism, fiction, essays and the drawings he used to illustrate works such as “The Book of Embraces,” a collection of vignettes filled with politics and poetic prose. He was known for chronicling the deep injustices of Latin America, but also for his love affair with the region’s contrasts and culture, including a deep passion for football. He went into exile when a dictatorship took hold in Uruguay in 1973 — first in Argentina, where he founded the literary review Crisis, and then in Spain. He returned to Uruguay after democracy was restored in 1985. — AFP set in the ethnically-mixed region of his childhood. Danzig was handed to Poland after the war, when its ethnic German population fled or were expelled. “The Tin Drum” was adapted into an Oscar-winning film by Volker Schloendorff. His 2002 novel “Crabwalk” also deals with the effect of the past on the present. Grass defined himself in a 1969 interview as a humanist allergic to ideologies of any kind “to the point of wanting to attack any belief that claims to set absolute objectives”. Equally critical of 1960s consumerism and the revolutionary violence that it spawned among some German youth, Grass was a dedicated pacifist, opposing the installation of nuclear missiles on German soil, and a critical supporter of the Social Democratic Party. He was critical of what he saw as an unseemly rush to unite the two Germanies. — AFP 4 die as S Africans loot immigrants’ shops Suit filed as US open Internet rule becomes official WASHINGTON: A telecom industry group on Monday challenged “open Internet” regulations barring US broadband providers from separating online traffic into slow and fast lanes, hours after official publication of the order. The US Federal Communications Commission published its “net neutrality” order in the Federal register earlier on Monday, making the hotly contested rules effective on June 12. USTelecom, a trade group that includes major broadband providers such as AT&T and Verizon, announced it had filed a lawsuit in Federal court seeking to block implementation of the plan. USTelecom president Walter McCormick said the FCC order is an “unjustifiable shift backward to common carrier regulation” and that the plan “slows innovation, chills investment, and leads to increased costs on consumers.” The FCC’s 3-2 vote in February in favour of so-called “net neutrality” followed an intense debate in Washington pitting backers of online services like Netflix, Twitter and Yelp against big Internet service providers like AT&T and Verizon. The ruling, on the heels of a long regulatory battle, sets a new standard that treats all Internet traffic as equal, preventing Internet firms from charging fees for better access. Backers said the move guarantees Internet users can roam freely online and prevent any effort to stifle expression, but critics complained it would give the government too much control. The new challenge means the case goes back to Federal court just more than a year after an appellate panel struck down a similar order saying the FCC lacked jurisdiction to enforce net neutrality. — AFP JOHANNESBURG: Four people were killed and shops owned by immigrants in South African townships in the coastal city of Durban looted and burnt, police said on Monday, as violence between residents and foreign nationals escalated. Those killed include an Ethiopian, whose shop was petrol bombed last week, an African immigrant whose nationality was not immediately known and two South Africans, police spokesman Thulani Zwane said. Hundreds of people fled their homes after the violence broke out two weeks ago, while police said 28 people have been arrested for looting and torching immigrants’ shops. “We received reports that some of the shops belonging to foreign nationals were looted and some of them were burnt down overnight,” Zwane said. South Africa, with a population of about 50 million, is home to an estimated 5 million immigrants. Some politicians and residents say some of the immigrants are in the country illegally and accused them of committing crimes and taking over local shops and jobs. Some foreign nationals say they are legally in the country, running businesses to provide services for the residents. South Africa’s unemployment stood at 24 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to government data. President Jacob Zuma on Sunday called for an end to the violence and directed the police and home affairs ministers to work with local officials— Reuters Members of the National Fight Front march in front of the National Congress during a demonstration demanding a quick agrarian reform in Brasilia, Brazil on Monday. — AFP Five persons shot dead Guinea protest CONAKRY: At least five people were shot and wounded in Guinea’s capital Conakry on Monday, a government spokesman said, during protests against the timing of elections and what opposition figures say is targeted violence against them. Protesters barricaded streets and burned tyres overnight in Conakry neighbourhood considered Opposition strongholds. Security forces moved in to clear the streets, firing teargas as protesters threw stones. Several witnesses reported hearing gunfire and a government spokesman confirmed gunshot victims had been admitted to two Conakry hospitals. “There’s shooting here. We are barricaded inside our houses,” one witness said, asking not to be named. Government spokesman Damantang Albert Camara said five people had been shot. “For the moment we don’t know where the shots came from,” he said, adding that gendarmes had come under fire in the city’s Hamdallaye neighbourhood, although none had been hit. A police vehicle was damaged and one member of the security forces injured by stone-throwing demonstrators, he said. — Reuters REGION T U E S DAY APRIL 14 l 2015 omandailyobserver 13 Clashes, strikes rock Yemen ALARMING: Aid agencies warn of growing humanitarian crisis ADEN: Aid agencies warned Monday of a growing humanitarian crisis including food shortages in Yemen as Saudi-led warplanes hit rebel positions for a third week and rival forces clashed. In Riyadh, Yemen’s Prime Minister Khaled Bahah was sworn in as vice president at the country’s embassy in front of exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, a day after his appointment, in a move welcomed by Yemen’s Gulf neighbours. Hadi accused Iran of fuelling a “campaign of horror and destruction” by the Houthi rebels, charging Tehran in an opinion editorial published in the New York Times of being “obsessed with regional domination”. Yemen’s main southern city of Aden saw the heaviest fighting overnight, with medics and military forces saying at least 30 people were killed in clashes between rebels and supporters of Hadi. Residents said warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition pounded the rebel-held presidential complex and other positions in Aden, Hadi’s last refuge before he fled to neighbouring Saudi Arabia as the air war began on March 26. The Houthis, who have joined with forces loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, advanced on Aden last month after seizing the capital Sanaa last year. Saudi Arabia has accused Iran, the mainpower, of backing the rebel offensive and rallied support from regional allies for the coalition. Western powers have also backed Hadi as Yemen’s legitimate ruler, while the United Nations has called for a resumption of talks. Heavy fighting in Aden on Sunday killed at least 13 civilians, 11 rebels and six pro-Hadi fighters, medical and military sources said. Humanitarian groups have struggled to deliver aid and said Monday the situation in Aden was deteriorating rapidly. “Shops are closed. We have a problem of food,” said Marie-Elisabeth Ingres, Yemen representative of Doctors without Borders (MSF). Metaz al-Maisuri, an activist in Aden, said basic services had ceased and there had been a “mass exodus” from the city. “Schools, universities and all public and private facilities have been shut,” he said. “Residents’ lives have become very difficult and complicated...They can no longer obtain the food they need,” he said. Adwaa Mubarak, a 48-year-old Aden resident, said: “We are unable to leave our houses to buy what we need because of the Houthi snipers.” She said several people were shot dead as they queued for bread. UN Secretary General Ban Kimoon warned from Doha on Sunday of a huge humanitarian crisis as “civilian casualties are mounting and public infrastructure is being Residents’ lives have become very difficult and complicated...They can no longer obtain the food they need.” METAZ AL MAISURI An activist in Eden destroyed”. Aid workers said Sanaa is also suffering, as air strikes hit rebel positions there and supplies dwindle. “There is a food and water shortage. People are unable to move,” said Marie Claire Feghali, the Red Cross spokeswoman in Yemen. The International Committee of the Red Cross flew more than 35 tonnes of medical aid and equipment into Sanaa on Saturday, after Friday’s first deliveries organised by the Red Cross and United Nations. Thousands of foreigners have been trapped by the fighting, with the International Organisation for Migration saying more than 16,000 are stranded. Some evacuations have taken place, with Russia on Sunday saying it had evacuated more than 650 people by air and sea. The IOM said it had also flown a first planeload of 141 passengers out of Sanaa. Riyadh has called on Iran to end its support for the rebels, accusing 9 dead after migrant boat sinks off Libya ROME: The Italian coastguard said Monday it recovered nine bodies after a boat with over 150 migrants aboard sank off Libya during a surge in attempted illegal crossings to Europe that saw almost 6,000 migrants rescued. Rescuers managed to save 144 of the migrants from the latest capsized vessel and were still searching for others some 150 kilometres off the Libyan coast. The total number of passengers on the boat and their nationalities was not yet known. On Sunday alone the Italian coastguard rescued a total of 3,791 migrants, bringing the total to 5,629 since Friday, authorities said. Recent good weather in the Mediterranean has prompted a surge in the number of migrants setting off for Italy aboard boats. As a result at least 10 rescue operations were underway on Monday. A coastguard member said the 5,629 migrants rescued was not a record, but the number was very high for the month of April. According to Italian authorities more than 15,000 migrants have arrived in Italy so far in 2015. There were 15,000 in April alone last year and an average of 25,000 each month between June and September. Tunisia’s coastguard and navy on Monday also rescued 174 migrants from two boats which broke down as they headed from Libya to Italy. Meanwhile, Tunisia’s coastguard and navy Monday rescued almost 180 African migrants from two boats which broke down as they headed from Libya to Italy, the Red Crescent and an AFP correspondent said. — Agencies SPRING ON STILTS Tehran of assisting “criminal activities” in Yemen and giving the Houthis weapons and aid. Iran has denied the allegation, and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has condemned the coalition’s raids on Yemen as “criminal”. Hadi in his opinion piece accused the rebels of being Iran’s “puppets”. “Having a hostile government in a nation bordering the Bab al-Mandab strait — the highly trafficked shipping lane leading to the Suez Canal — is in no nation’s interest,” he wrote. “If the Houthis are not stopped, they are destined to become the next Hezbollah, deployed by Iran to threaten the people in the region and beyond. “The oil shipments through the Red Sea that much of the world depends on will be in jeopardy, and Al Qaeda and other radical groups will be allowed to flourish.” Al-Qaeda has exploited the chaos to seize areas including one provincial capital. Before the violence escalated, Washington had waged a longstanding drone war against AlQaeda in Yemen. Meanwhile, hundreds of Iranians staged a protest outside the Saudi embassy in Tehran on Monday against the kingdom’s air strikes. Witnesses estimated the crowd numbered 400 at the demonstration, which went ahead without official — AFP authorisation. Saudi soldiers are deployed at al-Dokhan mountain on the Saudi-Yemeni border, in Saudi Arabia’s southwestern Jizan province. — AFP Sudan votes, oppn boycotts KHARTOUM: Sudanese voters headed to the polls in sparse numbers on Monday at the start of a threeday election boycotted by the main opposition parties, with President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on course to extend his quarter century in power. The presidential and parliamentary elections are the first since Sudan saw its south secede in 2011, losing a third of its land and nearly all of its oil production. Bashir has cast himself as a guarantor of stability as his security forces tackle insurgencies in the western territory of Darfur and along the border with South Sudan. He has warned against a change in government while the wider region is embroiled in violence from Libya to Yemen. His campaign speeches have also addressed improving the economy, in which inflation and unemployment remain high. “The elections are better than what is happening elsewhere in the region. Look at the death and killing. Sudan’s President Bashir casts his ballot during elections in the capital Khartoum. Thank God we have avoided that,” said local government official Nadia civil society has created an impossible to choose between Bashir’s National environment to compete against Bashir, Congress Party (NCP) and a handful of Ahmed, 55, voting in the capital. Those boycotting the vote say a who has ruled since 1989. relatively new groups. clamp down on the opposition and — Reuters The boycott means voters are left IS looks determined to wipe out all traces of the history of Iraq’s people ‘Mad’ destruction of Nimrud flayed Men on stilts walk before they perform in a street as Egyptians celebrate the spring holiday of Sham el Nessim in Cairo, yesterday. — Reuters PARIS: The UN’s cultural agency issued a fresh condemnation Monday of fighters’ destruction of Iraq’s Nimrud, once the jewel of Assyria and home to a treasure considered one of the 20th century’s main archaeological finds. “I condemn this mad, destructive act that accentuates the horror of the situation,” Unesco head Irina Bokova said in a statement. The Islamic State group on Saturday circulated an undated video showing militants equipped with sledgehammers and power tools breaking artefacts before rigging the site with large barrels of powder. The subsequent footage shows a massive explosion and its aftermath, suggesting the ruins of Nimrud— which lie on the Tigris about 30 kilometres southeast of IS-held Mosul — were largely levelled. Each centre has the freedom to decide its own training procedures and the ministry issued no instructions about targets. Details of military practices are for each training centre to decide Nimrud, founded in the 13th century BC, is one of the most famous archaeological sites in a country often described as the cradle of civilisation. “With their hammers and explosives they are also obliterating the site itself, clearly determined to wipe out all traces of the history of Iraq’s people,” Bokova said. Iraqi government reports of Nimrud’s destruction emerged in early March, when the Unesco chief branded the IS’s violence against the ancient the site as a “war crime”. Bokova repeated the charge on Monday, after the full extent of the crime became known. “We will do everything possible to fight against this and document it, to ensure that those responsible are identified and brought to justice,” she said. Most of the city’s priceless artefacts were moved long ago to museums but giant “lamassu” statues — winged bulls with human heads — and reliefs were still on site. The IS tries to justify the destruction of antiquities by saying they are idolatrous, but experts say the group traffics in them to fund its selfproclaimed “caliphate” and destroys only those pieces that are too bulky to be smuggled. — AFP FIERCE FIGHTING IS launches assault on Iraq’s biggest refinery BAGHDAD: The IS group launched a fierce assault on Iraq’s biggest oil refinery at Baiji on Monday, officials said, less than two weeks after government forces recaptured the nearby city of Tikrit. Police officials said the fighters attacked the refinery from the north and east, breaking through its defences and capturing its watchtowers. Government forces were fighting to keep IS fighters from the facilities’ inner walls and the Iraqi air force was bombing the attackers, the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said. Baiji, about 200 kilometres north of Baghdad, accounts for almost a third of Iraq’s refinery capacity. It has been out of action since last year, when it was the scene of intense fighting. The refinery is 40 kilometres north of the city of Tikrit, which was recaptured by government forces and allied militias on April 1 after a month-long campaign. The partial success of Monday’s attack indicates that IS retains an offensive capacity in the area despite the government advances. Heavy fighting was meanwhile reported near the city of Ramadi, capital of western al-Anbar province, much of which is held by IS. Officials said warplanes from the US-led coalition against IS were shelling militant positions while Iraqi armoured forces sought to advance in the villages of al-Bu Faraj and al-Bu Eita. Iraqi authorities have predicted the launch of a major campaign to recapture the province, which stretches from Baghdad to the Syrian and Jordanian borders. Local leaders have called for the opposition militias, which provided the main force in the Tikrit offensive and have been accused of abuses against the civilians, to be excluded from any offensive in the province. Tribal leaders in al-Anbar have accused the government of failing to arm local tribes who are willing to fight the extremists. — dpa 14 ENVIRONMENT omandailyobserver SAVING LYNX CORALS to be back in Rhineland-Palatinate China damaging reefs: Philippines MANILA: China has wrought widespread environmental damage in the South China Sea with its construction of artificial islands on disputed reefs, the Philippines has said. The construction works have destroyed 300 acres of coral reefs, resulting in an estimated $100 million in annual economic losses to coastal states, Philippine foreign affairs spokesman Charles Jose said. Three hundred acres is roughly three times the size of Vatican City. “China’s massive reclamation activities are causing irreversible and widespread damage to the biodiversity and ecological balance of the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea,” Jose said. He also accused China of Aside from the tolerating environmentally Philippines and harmful methods among its China, Vietnam, fishermen in Scarborough a rich fishing ground Malaysia, Brunei Shoal, that it has controlled since and Taiwan also 2012, following a tense have competing maritime standoff with the claims over the Philippines. Satellite photos from South China Sea, the US-based Center for said to hold vast oil Strategic and International (CSIS) released last and gas reserves Studies week also showed a flotilla of Chinese vessels dredging sand onto Mischief Reef — which is claimed by Manila. Jose said this highlighted the speed of China’s massive reclamation which threatens to dilute rival claims of smaller governments like the Philippines. On Monday he raised alarm over his Chinese counterpart, Hua Chunying’s, comments last week saying the reclamation would serve Beijing’s military and defence needs. “Such statements by China only serve to raise the spectre of increasing militarisation and threaten peace and stability in the region,” he said. The Philippines maintains that China’s claim to almost the entire South China Sea, based on its ninedash-line map, is illegal, he added. “We call on China to stop the reclamation activities and to be mindful of its responsibilities as a claimant state and an important member of the international community.” US President Barack Obama has criticised China’s use of “sheer size and muscle” to enforce its territorial claims. The Philippines is a military ally of the United States. During a visit to Manila last year, Obama said America had an “ironclad” commitment to defend the Philippines. — AFP T U E S DAY APRIL 14 l 2015 After much debate, it looks as if Europe’s biggest cat, the lynx, will ﬁnally be reintroduced to Germany’s Rhineland-Palatinate region later this year. It will not be welcomed by all. TRIPPSTADT, Germany: Though wildlife conservationists in western Germany are still hoping for the arrival of wolves, another predator is already poised for reintroduction: the lynx. Europe’s biggest cat is likely to be found in the forests of Rhineland-Palatinate in the coming year. “The next possible date is the winter of 2015 - 16,” says Jochen Krebuehl, the director of the organisation leading the programme, the Foundation for Nature and the Environment of Rhineland-Palatinate. A total of 20 cats are to be taken from Switzerland and Slovakia in the coming years and transferred to Germany. But not everyone is happy about it. “Those of us who own farm animals have mixed feelings about it,” says Werner Neumann, president of the region’s association of sheep and goat keepers and breeders. The first cats, distinguished by the pointy black tufts of fur on the tips of their ears, are to be caught next winter. Some luck will be needed, says Krebuehl, explaining that capturing the females is limited to a certain period because in the spring they will mate and the conservationists want to avoid catching pregnant specimens. “We want to avoid causing stress to pregnant lynxes,” he says. If all goes to plan, three to four cats will be moved to Germany every year, one male and several females. However, depending on the success rate of those capturing the animals, five or six could be transferred in one year and in other years none. Once a lynx is captured, it will first be kept in quarantine, in order to prevent it bringing any diseases with it. Then it will be microchipped and given a GPS collar with which scientists hope to follow its progress in the wild via satellite. The data will be passed on to a team at the Research Institute for Forest Ecology and Forestry of Rhineland-Palatinate. “With the GPS data we can follow how the lynxes spread out across the area,” says Krebuehl. That will also enable them to calculate where future animals would be best released, he says. It is not yet certain where exactly the first lynx will be released. In all likelihood it will be in the state-owned forest, which makes up 70 per cent of the forest in Rhineland-Palatinate. It will also be well away from the B10 highway linking the towns of Landau and Pirmasens, which bisects the region. Lynxes roam over wide areas and, according to experts, their territory can take in up to 400 square kilometres. Experience shows that the cats are no more or less endangered by road traffic than other animals, says Krebuehl. But among young lynxes, which at a certain point are cast off by their mothers and forced to find their own territory, there is an increased risk of accidents, he says. And why all this effort? The project is aimed at helping to preserve the endangered species, driven to the verge of extinction by human activity, says Krebuehl. The lynx would not be able to repopulate the area without outside help, says Krebuehl, adding that none have been detected in the area since 2009. The relationship between predator and prey has also been a significant part of evolutionary history, he says, and one which is missing in the case of the lynx in Germany. “We want to recreate that,” says Krebuehl. If the lynxes kill farm animals, the owners are to be compensated. The European Union is contributing 2.75 million euros to the 6-year-long project, half of the cost, while the regional government is giving 400,000 euros. — dpa GREEN COVER VANISHING PROTECTING THE TREES Indonesians sit beside of seawall under a tree at Muara Baru port in Jakarta. — Reuters Amazon soaking up less carbon now SAO PAULO: The Amazon rainforest is losing its capacity to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, raising concerns about how the forest will respond to future climate and atmospheric changes, according to a study in Nature. The study found that net uptake of carbon dioxide by the Amazon forest has dropped from two billion tonnes a year in the 1990s to about half of that today. This means the forest now sequesters less carbon dioxide than is produced in Latin America, which emits more than a billion tonnes a year. The authors say the drop in net uptake might be due to the fact that the growing atmospheric carbon dioxide level causes tree death, which has risen by more than a third since the 1980s. Conventional climate models predict that tropical forests will remain important carbon ‘sinks’ by absorbing large amounts of carbon dioxide in the future. This was thought to be due to a process called carbon dioxide fertilisation, where a higher atmospheric concentration of the gas stimulates plant growth that removes more carbon from the atmosphere. But once trees start growing faster, they are likely to face fiercer competition for space, water and nutrients, triggering a scenario in which many trees die younger. The study is based on analysis of the birth, growth and death rates of 200,000 trees in 321 forest plots dotted across Cross-border cooperation can give Borneo a bright future eight South American countries. “The Amazon has been responsible for 20 per cent of the terrestrial carbon sink,” Roel Brienen, a geographer at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, and one of the authors of the study, says. “If this ability shuts down, growth rates of atmospheric carbon dioxide may go up faster. “If other forests show the same trend, and if the trends continue, then the Earth’s (sequestration) ability could go down and even deeper cuts in emissions would be required.” The Amazon rainforest contains more than 15,000 tree species, which store a fifth of all carbon in the Earth’s biomass. The total annual carbon cycle of the Amazon — both emission and sequestration — is 18 billion tonnes, more than double the amount emitted globally from burning fossil fuels, the paper says. For Erika Berenguer, a Brazilian environmental researcher working at Lancaster University, United Kingdom, the study raises important questions about the future of the Amazon and the planet. “The study’s results are worrying because without the carbon uptake by forests, the effects of climate change may be worse than originally thought,” she says. Better forest management and a slowdown in deforestation could help cut emissions, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation. But monthly deforestation estimates from Brazilian research institute Imazon show that the deforestation nearly tripled between 2013 and 2014. “The Brazilian government should escalate command-and-control operations in order to avoid an upsurge in forest loss,” says Berenguer. — SciDev.Net BORNEO: The island of Borneo can successfully meet conservation targets for protecting orangutan and elephant habitats if its three national jurisdictions work together, finds a study in Nature Communications. This integrated planning approach would allow the island to retain around half of its land as forest and save at least $43 billion. Borneo is the third largest island in the world, and harbours a large number of endemic and endangered species. Its total forested area has declined substantially since the 1970s due to agricultural expansion, in particular the production of palm oil. Division of the island into three national jurisdictions — Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei — each with their own development priorities also means that agreement on coordinated efforts may be difficult to achieve. Rebecca Runting and colleagues quantify how much money could be saved if all three jurisdictions integrated their conservation and economic planning efforts to meet current targets. — SciDev.Net EUROPE T U E S DAY APRIL 14 l 2015 omandailyobserver 15 Conservatives take six-point lead in poll BALLOT BATTLE: The ICM poll put the Conservatives on 39 per cent, up 3 points LONDON: Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives have taken a six-point lead over the Opposition Labour Party ahead of Britain’s May 7 election, according to an opinion poll on Monday which showed support for the governing party at a three-year high. The ICM poll for the Guardian newspaper put the Conservatives on 39 per cent, an increase of three points and their highest standing in that polling series since March 2012. Labour dropped two percentage points to 33 per cent. Another survey by polling firm Populus published earlier on Monday showed the Conservatives and Labour neck-and-neck on 33 per cent of the vote each. Britain is facing its most unpredictable election since the 1970s with most polls showing neither Labour or the Conservatives is likely to win an outright majority. Labour leader Ed Miliband on Monday tried to overturn a damaging perception that his party cannot be trusted on the economy, unveiling a manifesto which he said showed Labour had the most responsible plan to manage Britain’s finances. The ICM poll showed the antiEU UK Independence Party, which threatens Cameron’s chances of reelection by splitting the centre-right vote, slipped two points to 7 per cent. Cameron’s junior coalition partner the Miliband assures fiscal responsibility LONDON: Labour published an election manifesto on Monday that pledged fiscal responsibility, part of the Centre-Left party’s efforts to win the trust of British voters before polls next month. Leader Ed Miliband said Labour will be “not only the party of change but the party of responsibility” for managing the economy and controlling the budget deficit. It will guarantee the deficit will be cut each year, reflecting its “clear commitment to balance the books,” he said in a speech in Manchester. Liberal Democrats were unchanged on 8 per cent, while the Greens were up three points at 7 per cent. Sterling rose on news of the Conservative lead in the ICM poll, climbing to $1.4675, up 0.3 per cent on the day. Many traders in London’s traditionally right-leaning City say a Labour-led government would be a negative. But some foreign investors and analysts worry as much about the prospect of a weak administration that might be unable to deal with Britain’s current account and fiscal deficits, or about the Conservatives’ promise to hold a referendum if Britain should stay in the European Union. — Reuters IN BRIEF Italy coast guard find 9 migrants dead on boat, 144 survivors ROME: Italian authorities have recovered nine bodies and 144 survivors from a shipwreck off the coast of Libya, media reports said on Monday. The Italian Coast Guard intervened some 80 nautical miles from North African shores, and is still searching for missing passengers, the ANSA news agency reported. The coast guard was not immediately available for comment. Sea migrant inflows into Italy — the main entry point for Europebound asylum seekers and refugees — have sharply increased in recent days, with the onset of warmer weather. Another dead migrant was found in rescue operations on Friday. Since then, ANSA calculated that 5,629 people had been picked up — compared to about 2,000 on the previous weekend. — dpa Spain seeks help to handle attacks, migration BARCELONA: Europe, North Africa and the Middle East need to cooperate more to confront illegal immigration and “terrorist barbarism”, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said on Monday Rajoy made the call at a meeting of foreign ministers from the 28 European Union countries and eight countries on the southern rim of the Mediterranean. It was the largest gathering of its kind since 2008. The meeting comes as southern European countries such as Spain and Italy press for the EU, preoccupied by the Ukraine conflict for the past 18 months, to pay more attention to threats and problems emanating from the south. Conflict in North Africa and the Middle East has prompted a wave of migration, which has led to thousands drowning in the Mediterranean and stretched the resources of countries such as Italy. — Reuters Man survives buried under avalanche for 10 hours VIENNA: An Austrian skier was rescued from an avalanche after having been buried under the snow for about 10 hours in the Tyrolean mountains, police reported on Monday. A second skier, a 27-year-old German, was killed in the accident that happened on Sunday when the two men were on a backcountry ski tour in the Gschnitztal valley near Innsbruck. Mountain rescuers found the 23-year-old Austrian two metres below the snow surface. “He was responsive when we dug him out,” a police officer said. The man was extremely lucky because an air bubble in the avalanche allowed him to breathe. — AFP REFUGEE SUPPORT German official reveals getting death threats ERFURT, Germany: The premier of Germany’s Thuringia state, Bodo Ramelow, confirmed on Monday that he has received three written death threats in recent weeks over his support for refugees. The premier said he had also been heckled over the weekend at a ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Buchenwald Nazi death camp near the Thuringian city of Weimar. An unidentified man called Ramelow an “evil fire raiser,” an apparent reference to the town of Troeglitz, in neighbouring SaxonyAnhalt state, where feelings have been running high over a planned hostel for refugees. Several weeks ago Troeglitz residents staged protests against the home, which was supposed to house 40 refugees starting in May; then earlier this month, suspected right-wing extremists set fire to the building and the roof was destroyed. Investigations into what police have confirmed was an arson attack are ongoing. The town’s mayor, Markus Nierth, had earlier stepped down from his post citing pressure from rising rightwing extremist sentiment. — dpa France debates to give spies more power PARIS: French spies could get more powers to bug and track would-be religious extremist attackers inside the country and require Internet companies to monitor suspicious behaviour under a bill to be debated in Parliament. Web hosting companies have raised concerns the legislation could frighten away clients, while civil liberties advocates say it lacks adequate privacy protections — concerns dismissed by the government. More than three months after 17 people were killed in attacks by three hardline gunmen in Paris, the government is pushing measures that will allow spy agencies to tap phones and emails without seeking permission from a judge. Surveillance staff will also be able to bug suspects’ flats with microphones and cameras and add “keyloggers” to their computers to track every keystroke. “The measures proposed are not aimed at installing generalised surveillance,” Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in an interview with the newspaper Liberation on April 11. “On the contrary it aims to target people who we need to monitor to protect the French people.” France is monitoring an estimated 1,200 hardliners and about 200 people who have returned from fighting with extremist groups in Syria and Iraq. It has earmarked about 425 million euros to recruit thousands of extra People holding placards reading ‘I am wiretapped’ demonstrate against a controversial new surveillance laws on Monday in Paris. — AFP police, spies and investigators to beef up surveillance and boost national security and intelligence. Former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden last year disclosed classified details about the breadth of the intelligence gathering, triggering an international outcry. Among those critical of the French bill are web providers who in a column published on April 9 threatened to relocate outside France because the bill would allow intelligence services to place “black boxes” on their infrastructure with algorithms to filter communications. They would be forced to set up systems to monitor metadata and not the content of communications under the legislation. If the activity of specific Internet users looks suspicious, the government could then demand access to their personal information. French web hosts such as the OVH group, which said last December it was looking to invest 400 million euros in its development, say such monitoring would scare customers away to protect their private information. “The draft bill destroys freedoms, but it is also anti-economic and essentially inefficient for the objective it sets out,” read the column signed by it and six other Internet firms. — Reuters 16 omandailyobserver PANORAMA T U E S DAY APRIL 14 l 2015 Arabian Oryx run at the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Umm al Zamool, some 290 kms south of Abu Dhabi near the Saudi Arabia-UAE border. The sanctuary stretches over an estimated area of 8,900 sq km and currently hosts nearly 155 of the species, which were reintroduced into its natural habitat in the UAE in a five-year conservation plan after fears of their extinction. — AFP An Andalusian horseman performs with his animal during the Sacab Andalusian Horse Show in Coin, southern Spain. — Reuters Palestinian boys ride bicycle during heavy rains in Gaza City. — AFP A woman looks at the painting ‘Implementing the Resolutions of the 26th Party Congress’ by Andrei Bondarev at the exhibition ‘Hyperrealism. When Reality Becomes Illusion’ at the Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val in central Moscow. The exhibition runs from March 13 to July 26. — AFP A family stands near blossoming cherry trees in Washington, DC. According to the National Parks Service, the cherry trees are expected to be in peak bloom for a day or two. — AFP Engineer Steffen Braune presents a prototype of a chainless e-bike on the ground of the world’s largest industrial technology fair, the Hannover Messe, in Hanover on Monday. — Reuters A squirrel is pictured in a garden in Greifswald, northeastern Germany, on Monday. — AFP A member of the ceremonial guard adjusts his headgear during the finals of the Murree Brewery Cup polo tournament in Rawalpindi. — Reuters School children perform during a celebration of the Baisakhi festival at a school in Amritsar on Monday. Baisakhi is a harvest festival celebrated in the Punjab region and coincides with other festivals celebrated on the first day of Vaisakh in some regions of India such as Puthandu, the Tamil New Year. — AFP TUESDAY | APRIL 14, 2015 | JUMADA AL THANIA 24, 1436 AH P18 P19 P20 Inside Top organisations back logistics meet Oman’s National Energy Strategy soon Asian stock markets mostly up FOLLOW US ON: www.omanobserver.om [email protected] OUTPUT: The average PDO daily oil production for 2014 was 570,534 (bpd), well above the existing plateau target of 550,000 bpd PDO unveils 600,000 barrels daily production target BUSINESS REPORTER MARCH April 13: Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) has confirmed that it is working towards a new sustainable long-term oil production plateau of an average 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) by 2019. The company said it was pursuing a robust growth programme despite the volatile oil price environment and also unveiled a series of “promising” new hydrocarbon discoveries at the Ministry of Oil & Gas’ annual Media Briefing held in Muscat. The average PDO daily oil production for 2014 was 570,534 (bpd), well above the existing plateau target of 550,000 bpd, and represents PDO’s highest oil production since 2006. In addition, the combined average PDO production (oil, gas and condensate) stood at 1.231 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) last year, the third highest in the Company’s history. Announcing the 2014 performance, Managing Director Raoul Restucci said: “Despite the challenging price PDO Managing Director Raoul Restucci environment, we maintain our profitable growth plans and we intend focus on business improvement and to stay the course with a continued sustainability. “Our well engineering and project activity levels continue to grow and we are pursuing early monetisation of prospects where possible. We are confident in our programme and we must seize the opportunity from the significant oil price decline, enabling increased cost saving opportunities and more collaborative ways of working. “PDO is a reliable supplier and we intend to get even better and more efficient at exploring and extracting the hydrocarbons which power Oman and meet our shareholders expectations. “In the past five years, we have added 700 million barrels to our production profile despite working in some of the most testing conditions in the oil and gas industry.” PDO revealed a significant 8 per cent increase in Stock Tank Oil Initially in Place (STOIIP) from 61.9 billion to 66.6 billion barrels over 2014. This addition included the booking of two discoveries in the Dhulia and Bribe A3C reservoirs, with a cumulative STOIIP of just over 613 million barrels; the Exploration Directorate’s largest booking in the last 20 years. There was also a 16 per cent increase in Gas Initially In Place (GIIP) to 75.4 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), underpinned by new discoveries in Khulud West and Mabrouk South. On the East Flank of the Rima– Marmul field, PDO aims to further appraise, develop and produce a multitude of smaller oil prospects (with an estimated ultimate recovery of 200 million barrels). All four of the prospects drilled in 2014, not only discovered oil, but three are already in production. Jointly with Production, the Exploration Directorate is also accelerating oil appraisal and development of PDO’s Upper Shuaiba project in the Lekhwair area with first oil planned in 2017. TO P 19 18 omandailyobserver BUSINESS ALERT Ahlibank adjudged top bank in Oman MUSCAT: Ahlibank, the nation’s premier financial institution, has been ranked the ‘No 1 bank’ for the fourth consecutive year in a recent survey conducted by the OER-Gulf Baader Capital Markets. The survey is based on the overall performance of commercial banks during the financial year 2014; with the assessment taking into consideration key performance indicators such as — business growth, sustainability, asset quality, productivity and efficiency. Since inception ahlibank is committed to catering to the needs of individuals and companies by offering an attractive suite of products and services. The bank has made significant progress in building its retail and corporate business by successfully launching new and innovative products that help further the interests of the bank, as well as support the economic development of the Sultanate. “Being ranked No 1 for the fourth time is recognition of the trust and confidence that ahlibank has gained from all its stakeholders”, said Lloyd Maddock, ahlibank CEO. “Over the years, the bank has transformed into a dynamic entity with strong values and a customer-centric approach. Driven by innovative customerfocused services, ahlibank has posted an impressive growth year on year. This recognition further bolsters our resolve to build a strong financial institution by setting the highest benchmarks in the industry. We dedicate this recognition to our staff, customers and other stakeholders who have contributed significantly to our achievements”. Higer pick-ups – reliable light duty vehicle OMAN assurance that your Kia is being attended by the people who know it best — the skilled professionals at Kia service! “This is part of Kia’s continuing efforts to delight its customers. Our customers are our pride, and we wish to give them the best value for the money they have invested into buying Kia vehicles,” says a Kia spokesman. “For example, customers will discover very reasonable rates for important jobs like Engine Flushing, AC Blower Servicing and Vehicle Polishing,” he added, “During this period, all customers’ vehicle enrolled under the Kia Enayah Programme will earn additional loyalty points.” Kia customers can avail these and many other benefits from all Kia Service Centres, “Kia’s Free AC check up campaign has already benefited many customers nationwide,” remarks the spokesperson, “For those who have not yet availed them, this is a reminder to visit the location closer to them.” T U E S DAY APRIL 14 l 2015 nothing short of a necessity and this is especially the case when you are travelling overseas. Nobody looks forward to the hassle of searching for Wi-Fi hotspots, buying endless coffees in order to get Wi-Fi passwords or receiving huge bills after you have switched on mobile data while roaming. Smart businesses today want to be able to touchdown and start work. By restricting other data services to avoid unnecessary, unpredictable and unanticipated charges, EEG gives our customers the confidence to stay in touch, with the assurance that they will know their costs in advance. The EEG plan has a monthly subscription fee, but it is available free of charge when customers are signed up for local data bundles of 10GB or more” said Said al Shanfari, Director of Business Marketing at Ooredoo. ‘Big Festival Offer’ on Renault Safrane RENAULT from the house of Suhail Bahwan Automobiles has introduced the ‘Big Festival Offer’ on select Renault models. Renault’s sedan segment comprises of a prestigious line-up of cars that include the sleek and new Renault Fluence and the strikingly good looking Renault Safrane. The SUV range comprises of the Renault Duster and the Renault Koleos. Their newly launched Renault Captur and Renault Symbol is a rave amongst auto enthusiasts. Customers purchasing the Renault Safrane 2.0 ltr or 2.5 ltr vehicle will be entitled to receive free registration, free periodic maintenance service up to 2 years / 30,000 kms (whichever comes first), free unlimited warranty period of up to 6 years, AAA road side assistance card and a cash gift of RO 750. Suhail Bahwan Automobiles is largely committed to supporting Renault Oman’s growth in the Sultanate through major emphasis on customer satisfaction and by providing world-class after-sales services in Oman. With a national network of more than 80 showrooms, service centres and parts outlets, SBA has THE management and staff of Modern Poultry Farms Co SAOC (DANA Eggs) further built upon its legacy of trust, excellent customer service and providing organised a celebration on April 1, to mark the safe return of HM Sultan Qaboos value for money to each of its customers. after successfully completing his treatment programme. The Chairman, Board members and executive management team also participated in the celebration, which included a number of traditional performances such as Azi, Razha and other national songs. On this occasion, several company officials delivered speeches expressing their loyalty and admiration for His Majesty the Sultan. The entire staff and management of Modern Poultry Farms wished Oman and His Majesty the Sultan, good health and prosperity for the years to come. Modern Poultry celebrates HM’s return DELIVERING an impressive combination of power, capability and efficiency, Higer pick-up is a high-grade light duty vehicle, with new generation appearance. Available at a starting price of just RO 4,749, Higer pick-ups have become very popular in Oman because of their reliability and strength. Towell Auto Centre (TAC) is the sole distributor of Higer pick-ups in the country. A senior spokesperson of TAC elaborates on its benefits: “In a country like Oman, a pick-up is the best means of transportation for a perfect weekend adventure and for varying business needs. It has a host of benefits such as better fuel economy, higher actual payloads, comfortable seating and more towing capacity. Higer is a popular award-winning brand within China, known mainly for its buses and coaches. We had introduced the pick-ups in Oman last year and we have seen an impressive response. People especially from fishing, transportation, construction sectors are appreciative of its toughness, power, utility and comfort”. OOREDOO has launched a global first with its With a network of 11 showrooms, 13 service outlets and 10 parts outlets spread Email Everywhere — Global (EEG) package, across the Sultanate, TAC is the sole distributor of the Higer range in Oman. a subscription based data roaming add-on for business mobile customers. The package allows customers to send and receive office emails and WhatsApp messages when they are roaming anywhere in the world, on networks where the KIA Service is currently running a free check-up campaign throughout Oman. carrier has a roaming agreement. With EEG, Customers can avail free diagnostic reports and lots more during the campaign Ooredoo has created a product for business period. This Free Check-Up campaign will go on only till the end of April 30, travellers, which allows them to get their email before they get their luggage. The package is 2015. Customers can look forward to free checking-up of their vehicles by expert available as an add-on and free of charge if customers’ have a local data bundle Kia technicians as a part of this campaign. And for those requiring repairs, there of 10GB or above. “In today’s global arena, access to business communications at all times is are very special discounts up to 30 per cent on labour and parts. And above all the Oman Gas holds team building workshop Ooredoo unveils ‘Email Everywhere’ Kia launches free check-up campaign MAKING enduring progress at any organisation depends upon a team’s capacity to work together towards shared objectives. Pursuing this fact, the Corporate Services Directorate of Oman Gas Company conducted a one-day team building workshop for its employees that addressed various areas, mainly; communication and trust building skills. “At the point when employees comprehend what their obligations are, there is less aggressiveness within the company and each employee can feel contented imparting their thoughts and commitments. We, at OGC, attempt to verify that all expectations and roles are well seen before stepping our feet on any new venture.” Wafa al Balushi added. Firmly believing that its greatest assets are people, the Company spares no effort in ensuring the wellbeing of its employees by helping them to develop themselves in their personal and professional life. Top organisations support 2nd GCC Supply Chain & Logistics Conference BUSINESS REPORTER MUSCAT April 13: Top companies from Oman, as well as global industry leaders, are due to attend the two-day GCC Supply Chain & Logistics Conference, which will highlight the ‘Sultanate of Oman Logistics Strategy 2040’ (SOLS 2040). The main conference takes place during April 15-16 at Al Bustan Palace — A Ritz Carlton Hotel. The two-day conference has been organised by the Ministry of Transport and Communications with the support of Al Nimr Conferences, Oman’s leading conference and exhibition management company. Oman Establishment for Press, Publication and Advertising (OEPPA), publishers of Oman Daily Observer and Oman Arabic Daily, are Strategic Media Partners. Commenting on the upcoming event, His Highness Sayyid Faisal bin Turki al Said, Director General, Marketing & Media at Ithraa: said: “We are proud to support the GCC Supply Chain & Logistics Conference. This important event will draw upon the extensive experience of senior international industry leaders, bestof-breed solutions providers and government representatives. Indeed, it will add significant value to Oman’s fast growing logistics sector.” Andre Toet, Chief Executive Officer of Port of Sohar, added: “The GCC Supply Chain & Logistics Conference 2015 is one of the biggest events of its kind in the region. It is also an opportunity to showcase to the world Oman’s world-class infrastructure, expertise, and capabilities. Over the last decade Sohar Port and Freezone has achieved remarkable growth. The free zone is filling fast, and trade is bringing new and exciting opportunities to Oman. Equally important is that thousands of jobs have been created that allow us to continue to support Omani families.” Albert Pang, Chief Executive Officer, Oman International Container Terminal LLC (OICT), stated: “OICT is one of the key members in the supply chain and logistics industry. Therefore, this conference is a good opportunity to be involved and know more about the government’s strategy to develop Oman’s logistics and other company’s business trends in this sector.” David Gledhill, Chief Executive Officer, Port of Salalah, said: “We believe this is a fantastic forum to showcase the potential locations like Salalah that offer efficient and seamless global connectivity and generates increased opportunities for both Omani and global businesses. As Oman transitions away from a hydrocarbon based economy, under the guidance and vision of His Majesty, the logistics sector will play an increasingly important role in achieving the national objectives of economic diversification of Oman and the wider GCC region. We are honoured and excited to be at the forefront of these developments and to participate in this conference.” Tarik al Junaidi, Acting Chief Executive Officer of Oman Shipping Company, said: “Under the leadership of His Majesty, Oman has achieved immense success in its journey towards economic diversification. This will be a unique opportunity to showcase Oman as the future logistic hubs in the region and Oman Shipping Company, being the national shipping arm of the Government of Sultanate of Oman, can surely play a pivotal role in achieving this objective.” Mohammed al Kharusi, Group Director, Business Development, Mohsin Haider Darwish LLC added that the geographical advantage that Oman holds vis-à-vis its vast coastline, well developed seaports in Duqm, Sohar and Salalah as well as modernisation of its airports, have thrown open a myriad of opportunities in the Supply Chain & Logistics sector of Oman. “MHD Group has been quick to grasp these opportunities and consequently set up a logistics company (MHD Logistics LLC) to create a national as well as GCC wide network for serving the growing needs of the region.” Reggy Vermeulen, Chief Executive Officer, Port of Duqm, stated: “In light of the strategy of the Sultanate to become a global player in the logistics field, we need to start positioning ourselves not only by building and preparing infrastructure, but as important, by generating global awareness of this positioning. Therefore, an event such as the GCCSCL Conference plays a critical role in focusing the attention of the logistic community on Oman in general and on Duqm in particular. As the Port of Duqm is meant to play a significant role in this logistic value chain, it is for us an evidence to be part of such event.” OMAN T U E S DAY APRIL 14 l 2015 19 omandailyobserver POWER: Study will provide the basis to establish national policy with respect to renewable energy and alternative fuel supply for power generation Oman’s National Energy Strategy nearing completion CONRAD PRABHU MUSCAT April 13: A landmark National Energy Strategy study, which serves as a blueprint for achieving the Sultanate’s long-term energy security, is due to be completed by the middle of this year, according to the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP), the country’s sole procurer of all electricity and water capacity. The study will examine a range of conventional, renewable and alternative fuels as potential substitutes for natural gas as the mainstay fuel for electricity generation and water desalination in the Sultanate. As a long-range study, it will look at the energy mix for Oman over the period to at least 2040 and aims to identify both longer- and shorter-term targets in an integrated manner, say officials. “OPWP has worked closely with the Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW) and other stakeholders on the National Energy Strategy Study, which is scheduled for completion in mid-2015. Important expected outcomes of this study include the basis to establish national policy with respect to renewable energy and alternative fuel supply for power generation,” the staterun utility said in its newly issued 7-Year Outlook Statement covering the 20152021 timeframe. A key aspect of the study will be the evaluation and optimization of the sources of energy for electricity generation, including alternatives to natural gas and an in-depth investigation of the wider energy system. Oman’s continuing overreliance on natural gas — 97.5 per cent — for electricity generation and associated water production is an issue of strategic concern for authorities, particularly from the standpoint of securing the nation’s long-term energy needs. This over dependence on a single fuel type comes as domestic gas is now subject to competing claims from different sections of the Oman economy. Accentuating concerns for authorities is the surging demand for natural gas in trend with burgeoning domestic energy consumption. Within the Main Interconnected System (MIS), which covers much of the northern half of the Sultanate, natural gas supplied by the Ministry of Oil and Gas is the primary fuel source for power generation and association water production. Total gas consumption at the main power and desalination plants in 2014 was about 7.1 billion standard cubic metres (Sm3), equivalent to 19.5 million Sm3/day — about 6.6 per cent more than in 2013, according to OPWP. The peak daily gas consumption in 2014 was Bank Muscat launches state-of-the-art integrated ATM/CDMs BUSINESS REPORTER MUSCAT April 13: Bank Muscat, the flagship financial services provider in the Sultanate, as part of its commitment to reinforce customer service and enhance convenience, has launched an additional service in the ATM/CDM network. The new service features state-ofthe-art integrated ATM/CDM machines in select branches and offsite locations across the Sultanate. Equipped with cutting edge technology, the new machines have higher capacity and enhanced capability of deposit, withdrawal and bank transactions integrated in one unit, thus adding to customer convenience. In the introductory phase, the integrated ATM/CDM machines are available in the following branches and offsite locations — Head Office, Corniche, Fanja, Ghala Industrial Branch, Wushail, Al Qurum, MBD, Muscat, Al Kamil, Thumrait, Masirah, Bahla Souq and new Salalah Al Maha petrol station (on the highway near Wali’s office).The bank will be deploying 35 full function machines in upcoming branch locations and service centres. The key benefits and services of the full function ATM/CDM machines include cash withdrawal, cash deposit, cheque deposit, balance enquiry, mini statement, fund transfer within Bank Muscat accounts and to other bank accounts, speed transfer to India by cash, utility bill and school fee payment by bank accounts or cash, credit card payment by bank accounts or cash, mobile top-ups by bank accounts or by cash, cheque book request and PIN change. Tariq Atiq, AGM — Cards & eBanking, said: “ATM/CDMs form a pillar of customer service and Bank Muscat is proud to further enhance customer convenience with the integrated ATM/CDM machines. The bank’s electronic channel services complement the government’s efforts in creating a digital society and providing electronic services which spell convenience and security to customers. The e-channel innovations adopted by the bank are characteristic of the largest network of ATMs and CDMs across the Sultanate.” With ATM, CDM and cheque deposit facilities in one machine, the key benefits to customers include high cash capacity in one machine for deposit and withdrawal as well as more services. The integrated machine facilitates better utilisation of space in branches and offsite location and higher service availability with no impact on downtime. The machine has a scientifically designed simple user interface in keeping with existing customer behavioural pattern. Tariq Atiq added: “Bank Muscat is committed to investments in state-ofthe-art technology to further increase efficiency and improve customer service. The bank lays emphasis on competitive channels and new products to cater to various sectors. Bank Muscat enjoys an edge in hitech products and services, including electronic payment services, in tune with the banking requirements of a young, tech-savvy generation.” Being a member of OmanSwitch and GCCNet, customers from any bank in Oman, the GCC countries and from around the world can use Bank Muscat ATMs for their cash requirements. To locate the nearest ATM, customers can access the ATM locator on the bank’s website, online or mobile banking services. 27.9 million Sm3, an increase of 15 per cent over 2013. On a positive note, however, overall fuel consumption is expected to increase at an average rate of about 4 per cent per year over the next seven years 2015-2021, lower than the growth rate projected in OPWP’s last 7-Year Statement (2014– 2020) due to “a reduced electricity demand projection”, according to the power procurer. “Continuing improvements in the efficiency of power supply have held back the growth rate in fuel requirements,” said OPWP. “Since 2005, through the introduction of progressively more efficient generation plants, the average fuel consumption per unit of electricity production in the MIS has dropped from 374 Sm3/MWh (megawatt-hour) to 285 Sm3/MWh in 2014, an improvement of 24 per cent.” Over the next seven years, OPWP expects that an increasing share of power generation will be provided by the most efficient plants — Sohar II, Barka III and Sur in the near term, and then the new Ibri and Sohar plants — contributing to a further 27 per cent improvement in MIS gas utilisation. Another significant contributor is the shift from multi-stage flash (MSF) to reverse osmosis (RO) technology for water desalination. This is expected to allow some of the combined power and water plants to be operated less intensively in favour of the newer and more efficient power-only IPPs, the state-owned utility added. In the Dhofar System, overall fuel consumption is expected to increase at an average rate of about 6 per cent per year. In 2014, total gas consumption by the governorate’s two main power plants was about 780 million Sm3 (equivalent to 2.15 million Sm3/d), about 7.5 per cent greater than in 2013, which was about the same as the growth in electricity production. The peak daily gas consumption was 3.1 million Sm3 in 2014, compared to 2.4 million Sm3 in 2013, OPWP stated. MUSCAT SECURITIES MARKET MSM Daily Bulletin As on 13/04/2015 Regular Market Market Cap Par Value 0.119 23,800,000 0.100 2.200 151,800,000 0.100 0.238 0.240 4,998,000 0.100 0.300 0.295 0.300 402,213,075 0.100 0.436 0.436 0.440 161,501,943 0.100 1.058 0.378 0.376 0.382 113,153,627 0.100 0.004 0.930 0.440 0.440 0.450 75,265,691 0.100 0.000 0.000 0.300 0.302 0.310 30,600,000 0.100 0.000 0.000 0.180 0.000 0.188 13,860,000 0.100 Volume Turnover Trades Open Price High Low Close Pr. Prev. Close Diff (RO) Diff % Last Pr Last Bid Last Offer OM0000003125 GLOBAL FINANCIAL INVESTMENT 378,430 44,962 25 0.115 0.122 0.115 0.119 0.112 0.007 6.250 0.120 0.118 OM0000003000 ALMAHA PETROLEUM PRODUCTS MAR. 20,000 44,000 4 2.200 2.200 2.200 2.200 2.150 0.050 2.326 2.200 2.150 OM0000002028 GULF INTERNATIONAL CHEMICALS 288,000 68,582 36 0.235 0.240 0.235 0.238 0.233 0.005 2.146 0.239 OM0000001483 NATIONAL BANK OF OMAN 100,000 30,000 14 0.300 0.300 0.300 0.300 0.295 0.005 1.695 OM0000001533 OMINVEST 225,000 98,100 1 0.436 0.436 0.436 0.436 0.430 0.006 1.395 OM0000002168 AL ANWAR CERAMIC TILES 160,518 61,176 22 0.380 0.384 0.378 0.382 0.378 0.004 OM0000002614 ONIC. HOLDING 84,014 36,398 7 0.430 0.440 0.430 0.434 0.430 OM0000001087 OMAN UNITED INSURANCE 1,481 444 1 0.300 0.300 0.300 0.306 0.306 OM0000001301 DHOFAR CATTLE FEED 24,000 4,320 2 0.180 0.180 0.180 0.180 0.180 Security Name ISIN OM0000001517 HSBC BANK OMAN 1,073 139 1 0.130 0.130 0.130 0.130 0.130 0.000 0.000 0.130 0.130 0.135 260,040,663 0.100 OM0000001707 OMAN CABLES INDUSTRY 10,000 19,000 1 1.900 1.900 1.900 1.900 1.900 0.000 0.000 1.900 1.720 1.900 170,430,000 0.100 OM0000001822 UNITED POWER 100 176 1 1.760 1.760 1.760 1.955 1.955 0.000 0.000 1.760 0.000 1.760 3,910,000 1.000 OM0000002176 AL JAZEERA STEEL PRODUCTS 1,000 298 1 0.298 0.298 0.298 0.302 0.302 0.000 0.000 0.298 0.296 0.302 37,719,184 0.100 OM0000002200 AHLI BANK 176,000 36,959 11 0.209 0.210 0.209 0.210 0.210 0.000 0.000 0.210 0.207 0.210 299,257,590 0.100 OM0000002820 GULF INVESTMENT SERVICES 514,644 74,284 23 0.145 0.146 0.143 0.144 0.144 0.000 0.000 0.143 0.142 0.143 8,473,423 0.100 OM0000003224 RENAISSANCE SERVICES 30,356 11,512 11 0.380 0.380 0.378 0.380 0.380 0.000 0.000 0.380 0.378 0.382 107,195,893 0.100 OM0000003398 BANK SOHAR 250 47 1 0.188 0.188 0.188 0.188 0.188 0.000 0.000 0.188 0.185 0.188 270,990,720 0.100 OM0000003521 GALFAR ENGINEERING AND CON. 2,750 371 3 0.138 0.138 0.134 0.134 0.134 0.000 0.000 0.134 0.132 0.134 38,857,405 0.100 OM0000003661 VOLTAMP ENERGY OM0000003968 OOREDOO OM0000003026 OMAN TELECOMMUNICATION OM0000002796 BANK MUSCAT 1,633 637 3 0.390 0.392 0.390 0.394 0.394 0.000 0.000 0.390 0.360 0.390 23,837,000 0.100 117,109 82,899 6 0.708 0.708 0.700 0.708 0.708 0.000 0.000 0.700 0.700 0.708 460,868,515 0.100 75,035 125,680 21 1.675 1.675 1.670 1.675 1.680 -0.005 -0.298 1.675 1.670 1.675 1,256,250,000 0.100 1,676,808 886,440 149 0.530 0.530 0.526 0.528 0.530 -0.002 -0.377 0.528 0.526 0.528 1,210,082,331 0.100 OM0000001525 OMAN INVESTMENT AND FINANCE 122,505 27,564 13 0.225 0.226 0.225 0.225 0.226 -0.001 -0.442 0.225 0.222 0.224 45,000,000 0.100 OM0000001681 OMAN AND EMIRATES INV. HOLDING 1,263,108 155,047 75 0.125 0.125 0.122 0.123 0.124 -0.001 -0.806 0.122 0.122 0.123 14,990,625 0.100 18,334 7,278 12 0.400 0.400 0.394 0.396 0.400 -0.004 -1.000 0.394 0.394 0.400 19,800,000 0.100 OM0000001772 AL ANWAR HOLDING 1,120,156 298,803 95 0.266 0.269 0.260 0.267 0.270 -0.003 -1.111 0.266 0.266 0.267 34,843,500 0.100 OM0000002226 AL JAZEERA SERVICES 105,000 36,422 17 0.350 0.352 0.344 0.346 0.352 -0.006 -1.705 0.344 0.342 0.344 21,176,678 0.100 OM0000002549 BANK DHOFAR 100,000 28,000 11 0.280 0.280 0.280 0.280 0.285 -0.005 -1.754 0.280 0.280 0.294 432,523,993 0.100 OM0000001962 AL MADINA INVESTMENT 201,100 12,468 22 0.062 0.062 0.062 0.062 0.064 -0.002 -3.125 0.062 0.062 0.065 12,843,386 0.100 OM0000002440 AL SHARQIA INVESTMENT HOLDING 79,921 13,087 12 0.174 0.174 0.163 0.164 0.170 -0.006 -3.529 0.163 0.163 0.165 14,760,000 0.100 OM0000001145 PORT SERVICES CORPORATION 39,600 9,906 8 0.251 0.251 0.250 0.250 0.272 -0.022 -8.088 0.250 0.245 0.250 23,760,000 0.100 OM0000002846 GULF INV. SER. PREF SHARES 15,000 1,995 2 0.133 0.133 0.133 0.133 0.147 -0.014 -9.524 0.133 0.000 0.133 12,154,974 0.100 6,952,925 2,216,993 611 Traded Sec. 32 Market Cap Par Value OM0000001160 NATIONAL GAS Sum: Parallel Market PDO unveils 600,000 barrels daily output target FROM P17 On the unconventional oil front, eight wells — including five horizontal — were drilled in the Natih-B resource play. Hydraulic fracturing and testing is progressing, with results expected in the second half of 2015. PDO’s Gas Exploration team continued to deliver and mature new gas resources with discoveries in the Khulud West, Mabrouk South and Tayseer prospects. Five gas exploration wells were completed and five were tested and hydraulically fracked. One of the main highlights was the ongoing successful fracturing campaign at the Khulud tight gas project, one of the deepest tight gas developments in the world. Six wells have been steadily producing through the Early Production System since January 2014. The Company continues to build on its enhanced oil recovery (EOR) programme, and alongside five ongoing commercial EOR projects, is currently operating two trials — Nimr polymer and Amal West steam, with the Marmul Alkaline Surfactant Polymer (ASP) pilot due to commence operations this summer. In an environment of low global oil prices, PDO is making good progress in working very closely with its contractors to identify savings and to work more efficiently together. The Company is progressing with its Lean business improvement programme, with over 100 projects across several value streams, alongside very active Contract Optimisation Reviews. Restucci commented: “Simply put, we are working to create more value through increased production, optimized expenditure phasing and companywide cost saving initiatives.” The Company is also actively pursuing and accelerating projects which can generate increased revenues, whilst maintaining its overarching focus on personal and process safety. Restucci added: “The fundamentals of our business are robust and we are escalating our efforts to address greater efficiency and reduce waste in all we do. We are working with our contractors to identify sustainable opportunities for greater productivity, cost efficiency and revenue enhancement opportunities.” During his presentation at the Media Briefing, Restucci also unveiled a string of PDO achievements and aspirations. This included the creation of 4,300 Omani job and training opportunities with its contractors in 2014 and the further generation of 7,000 such opportunities in 2015 and beyond as the Company further ramps up its InCountry Value programme. Social Investment remains a key focus for PDO, supporting communities across Oman through a wide range of initiatives. In 2014 PDO unveiled its largest ever one-off social investment package with a commitment to spend more than RO 5.5 million on 12 separate projects. Examples included the funding of Muscat’s first drug rehabilitation centre and a new intensive care unit at Khoula Hospital. Good progress was also made with PDO’s social enterprise Banat Oman project — a vocational training initiative to support low-income women with the skills they need for sustainable employment. To date over 200 women have been trained in a wide range of skills including tailoring and embroidery, leather, silver and palm frond crafts as well as baking and confectionary. The products are now sold through a range of outlets across the Sultanate including shops and hotels and with new sales and marketing contracts recently established with the Lulu Hypermarket chain and Muscat Duty Free. Last year the Company also announced that it would build the Sultanate’s first aquarium to mark the 45th National Day in 2015. This marks a long standing tradition of providing wonderful educational facilities for the Nation, which to-date have attracted more than one million children, their families and other visitors from and beyond Oman. Volume Turnover Trades Open Price High Low Close Pr. Prev. Close Diff (RO) Diff % Last Pr Last Bid Last Offer OM0000001368 CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS IND. 302,800 13,323 15 0.044 0.044 0.044 0.044 0.040 0.004 10.000 0.044 0.044 0.000 3,740,000 0.100 OM0000004933 AL SUWADI POWER 180,618 34,649 18 0.190 0.192 0.190 0.192 0.187 0.005 2.674 0.192 0.192 0.194 137,166,017 0.100 OM0000004925 AL BATINAH POWER 69,119 13,143 11 0.190 0.191 0.190 0.190 0.187 0.003 1.604 0.191 0.191 0.192 128,228,612 0.100 OM0000001053 OMAN TEXTILE HOLDING 10,000 2,460 3 0.246 0.246 0.246 0.246 0.246 0.000 0.000 0.246 0.240 0.246 1,476,000 1.000 OM0000001269 COMPUTER STATIONERY IND. 1,300 343 2 0.264 0.264 0.264 0.279 0.279 0.000 0.000 0.264 0.258 0.260 2,790,000 0.100 OM0000001566 OMAN FISHERIES 64,780 4,016 8 0.062 0.062 0.062 0.062 0.062 0.000 0.000 0.062 0.061 0.062 7,750,000 0.100 OM0000004420 BANK NIZWA 0.100 Security Name ISIN 127,999 10,112 16 0.079 0.079 0.079 0.079 0.079 0.000 0.000 0.079 0.079 0.080 118,500,000 OM0000004511 ALIZZ ISLAMIC BANK 1,400 118 1 0.084 0.084 0.084 0.083 0.083 0.000 0.000 0.084 0.082 0.084 83,000,000 0.100 OM0000004735 SEMBCORP SALALAH 14,871 34,967 6 2.350 2.355 2.350 2.350 2.350 0.000 0.000 2.355 2.355 2.375 224,324,408 1.000 OM0000002564 AL HASSAN ENGINEERING 46,040 5,670 10 0.124 0.124 0.122 0.123 0.124 -0.001 -0.806 0.123 0.122 0.123 9,250,584 0.100 OM0000002366 AL BATINAH DEV. INV. HOLDING 131,950 20,156 24 0.155 0.155 0.151 0.153 0.156 -0.003 -1.923 0.151 0.151 0.153 4,590,000 0.100 0.086 0.086 0.082 0.083 0.086 -0.003 -3.488 0.086 0.085 0.087 14,525,000 0.100 OM0000004768 AL MADINA TAKAFUL 56,502 4,710 11 1,007,379 143,668 125 Traded Sec. 12 Volume Turnover Trades Open Price High Low Close Pr. Prev. Close Diff (RO) Diff % Last Pr Last Bid Last Offer Market Cap Par Value 107,000 48,150 1 0.450 0.450 0.450 0.450 0.450 0.000 0.000 0.450 0.450 0.900 851,488 1.000 107,000 48,150 1 Traded Sec. 1 Volume Turnover Trades Open Price High Low Close Pr. Prev. Close Diff (RO) Diff % Last Pr Last Bid Last Offer Market Cap Par Value OM0000004867 BANK MUSCAT C C B 4.5 8,505 887 3 0.107 0.107 0.104 0.104 0.107 -0.003 -2.804 0.104 0.104 0.106 33,242,838 0.100 Sum: 8,505 887 3 Traded Sec. 1 Sum: Third Market Security Name ISIN OM0000002689 OMAN CERAMIC COMPANY Sum: Bonds Market Security Name ISIN Trading Summary 9ROXPH 7XUQRYHU 7UDGHV 0DUNHW&DS 8S 'RZQ (TXDO 6HF7UDGHG 8,075,809 2,409,697 740 14,815,636,909 10 16 20 46 'LII 'LII Nationality Buy % Volume Buy % Value Sell % Volume Sell % Value Indecies Nationalities Trading ,QGH[ +LJK /RZ 9DOXH 3UHY 9DOXH MSM30 Index 6,273.40 6,262.09 6,266.52 6,265.00 1.52 0.02 OMANIS 82.43 % 75.25 % 66.67 % 48.69 % Financial Index 7,742.84 7,712.93 7,728.26 7,726.51 1.75 0.02 GCC 7.32 % 7.49 % 8.33 % 9.96 % Industrial Index 8,298.97 8,285.61 8,294.46 8,276.53 17.93 0.22 ARABS 1.02 % 0.66 % 2.36 % 1.35 % Services Index 3,455.60 3,445.47 3,446.07 3,448.77 -2.70 -0.08 OTHERS 9.23 % 16.60 % 22.64 % 39.99 % MSM SHARIAH INDEX 957.06 956.33 956.55 956.85 -0.30 -0.03 20 INTERNATIONAL omandailyobserver T U E S DAY APRIL 14 l 2015 Asia shares mostly up, China data boosts Shanghai Investors look at computer screens showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shenyang, Liaoning province, yesterday. Chinese stocks jumped to fresh seven-year highs on Monday, after surprisingly bad export data reinforced expectations the government will unveil fresh stimulus moves to aid the economy. — Reuters HONG KONG: Most Asian markets climbed on Monday, with Hong Kong advancing for an eighth straight session and Shanghai rallying after more disappointing Chinese data fuelled hopes for fresh easing measures. Wall Street provided another strong lead on Friday, boosted by a string of merger announcements last week and a huge asset sale by General Electric (GE). Hong Kong stocks rallied for an eighth straight session on Monday, as mainland investors kept flocking to the city and more weak Chinese data fanned hopes of extra economy-boosting measures. The benchmark Hang Seng Index climbed 2.73 per cent, or 743.95 points, to 28,016.34 — its best finish since December 2007. Turnover was HK$263.64 billion ($34.02 billion), the second highest ever. Shanghai closed 2.17 per cent higher. China’s customs administration said exports fell an unexpected 15 per cent year-on-year in March, while imports tumbled 12.7 per cent, the latest round of figures showing the world’s number two economy is struggling. However, investors took the news as a cue to pump even more cash into equities, expecting China’s leaders to unveil more easing measures on top of the two interest rate cuts since November and a reduction in the amount of cash banks must keep in reserve. Premier Li Keqiang’s suggestion in March, that the government was willing to step in to prevent growth from slowing too much, has provided plenty of buying incentive. In mainland China the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index jumped 87.41 points to 4,121.72 IMF sees Brazil economy shrinking GOIANIA: The Brazilian economy will likely shrink this year, but the South American country could return to growth in 2016 if it succeeds in boosting investor confidence with its austerity drive, the International Monetary Fund said. The IMF lowered its 2015 forecast for Brazil’s economic performance to a 1 per cent contraction from the 0.3 per cent growth it forecast in January due to tighter fiscal and monetary policies and a drop in investment by state-run oil company Petrobras. The IMF said an “immediate priority” for Brazil’s recovery is swift resolution of problems at Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as Petrobras is formally called. A massive political kickback scandal at the company has forced it to cut back investment and has paralysed work by its construction and engineering contractors. The IMF said implementation of austerity measures is crucial for Brazil to regain the trust of investors so it can bolster growth. “Determined implementation of these measures should help restore confidence and foster a recovery in growth and investment in due course,” the IMF said in a press release following an assessment of Brazil’s financial and economic situation by its executive directors. Faced with an imminent recession, President Dilma Rousseff has embarked on an aggressive drive to cut public spending and raise taxes to balance the government’s overdrawn accounts. Finance Minister Joaquim Levy told a business group in the central Brazilian city of Goiania on Friday that the belttightening is needed to guarantee sustainable growth in the world’s No 7 economy. To achieve its fiscal goals this year the Brazilian government need “ambitious, front-loaded measures,” the IMF said. — Reuters March export sales contract 15 per cent y/y in shock fall China GDP growth slowed to 6.9 per cent in first quarter BEIJING: China’s GDP growth weakened to a new post-financial-crisis low in the first quarter, an AFP survey shows, as weakness in manufacturing, consumer spending and property prices weighed on the world’s second-largest economy. The median forecast in a poll of 15 economists indicates gross domestic product expanded 6.9 per cent in January-March, down from 7.3 per cent in the final three months of last year. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) will release the official GDP figures for the period on Wednesday. China’s export sales contracted 15 per cent in March while import shipments shrank for the third consecutive month, a shock outcome that deepens concern about sputtering Chinese economic growth. The tumble in exports — the worst in about a year — compared with expectations for a 12 per cent rise and could heighten worries about how a rising yuan has hurt demand for Chinese goods and services abroad, analysts said. In a sign that domestic demand was also tepid, imports into the world’s second-biggest economy shrunk 12.7 per cent last month from a year ago, the General Administration of Customs said on Monday. That compared with a Reuters poll forecast for a 11.7 per cent drop. A worker transporting iron ores on a truck in Qingdao port in QIngdao, east China’s Shandong province. — AFP “It’s a very bad number that was much worse than expectations,” Louis Kuijs, an economist at RBS in Hong Kong, said in reference to the export data. “It leads to warning flags both on global demand and China’s competitiveness.” Such a result would represent the worst for a single quarter since the first three months of 2009, when GDP increased 6.6 per cent as the global financial crisis wreaked economic havoc. China last year recorded its slowest annual growth since 1990, expanding 7.4 per cent, down from 7.7 per cent in 2013. “The environment for economic growth since the start of the year has not been too ideal,” Zhou Hao, Shanghaibased economist for ANZ, said, citing continuing paring down of inventories by manufacturers and further weakness in property. Indicators so far this year have been weak and signs of slowing growth have mounted. During the first two months, industrial production and retail sales data struck multi-year lows, NBS data showed, while new home prices renewed their falls in February and March after a rare uptick in January. — AFP — its highest since March 11, 2008 — on turnover of 781.7 billion yuan ($127.3 billion). The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China’s second exchange, rose 1.80 per cent, or 38.62 points, to 2,187.73 on turnover of 638.8 billion yuan. “The weak trade data again raised market expectations for more monetary easing policies,’’ Zheshang Securities analyst Zhang Yanbing said. The market also climbed on news that the government will now allow individual investors to open up to 20 stock trading accounts, from just one, according to the China Securities Depositary and Clearing Co. Banks were among the biggest gainers. In Shanghai, industry giant ICBC rose 4.31 per cent to 5.32 yuan and China Construction Bank jumped 7.09 per cent to 6.95 yuan. Railway infrastructure companies advanced in Shanghai. China Railway Construction surged 8.33 per cent to 19.64 yuan and China Railway Erju added 5.14 per cent to 24.13 yuan. Seoul gained 0.53 per cent, or 11.16 points, to end at 2,098.92. Tokyo stocks ended flat, dropping only 0.01 per cent on Monday as investors continued to lock in profits after a recent string of gains to 15-year highs. The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange, which closed slightly down on Friday after hitting 20,000 for the first time since 2000, edged down 2.17 points to 19,905.46. Dollar picks up: Attention will now turn to the release on Wednesday of Chinese economic growth figures for the first quarter. In New York on Friday the Dow got BIZ BRIEF Japan’s nuclear industry pledges to refire reactors TOKYO: Japan’s pro-nuclear lobby pledged on Monday that 2015 would be the year reactors are restarted, despite public wariness that has lingered since the Fukushima disaster. Industry officials and supporters said the country desperately needs atomic power to play its part in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and to ensure a stable electricity supply. “This year marks the exit from zero nuclear power,” Takashi Imai, Chairman of the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum, told an audience of around 900 people, including industry officials and global policymakers. “It is self-evident that nuclear power plants that have passed safety tests should be restarted as soon as possible,” he said, citing the need for a stable power supply. Japan’s atomic watchdog last year gave the green light to restarts for four reactors — a move welcomed by pro-nuclear Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The push from the nuclear industry comes as the public remains deeply concerned about safety, more than four years after a tsunami sparked meltdowns at Fukushima, spreading radiation over a large area and forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes. It also comes as Japan prepares to decide its new energy policy — how much electricity will come from renewables, nuclear and fossil fuels — and readies to make a new international pledge on cutting greenhouse gas emissions before a global summit on climate change this year. Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said the atom could not be forsaken. “Despite the Fukushima Daiichi accident, nuclear power has continued to play an important part in the global energy mix,” he said. “Nuclear power can make countries more competitive by delivering the steady supply of base-load electricity which is needed to power the modern economy. It also helps to reduce emissions of greenhouse gas,” Amano said. — AFP China rejects Taiwan as founding member of investment bank BEIJING: Taiwan is not able to become a founding member of the Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) but is still welcome to become a member in the future, the Chinese government said on Monday. In a statement carried by the official Xinhua news agency, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said it confirmed what it said was a Hong Kong media report about the rejection of Taiwan. The report also said Taiwan could join further down the line, the Taiwan Affairs Office added. While the Taiwan Affairs Office provided no explanation, it repeated that Taiwan would be welcome to join if it used an appropriate name. “The mainland will consider opinions from all sides to properly address the issue of Taiwan’s membership,” the statement said. ‘‘The related departments will consider Taiwan’s membership when making the constitution for the AIIB.” — AFP a bump from GE’s announcement that it will sell $26.5 billion in real estate assets as part of a plan to pare off most of its GE Capital unit over the next 24 months. That came at the end of a week that also saw major mergers including Royal Dutch Shell and FedEx. The Dow climbed 0.55 per cent, the S&P 500 rose 0.52 per cent and the Nasdaq gained 0.43 per cent. On currency markets the dollar was at 120.57 yen compared with 120.30 yen in New York. The euro bought $1.0590 and 127.67 yen against $1.0599 and 127.50 yen. Oil prices edged higher. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate added 78 cents to $52.42 while Brent was up $1.22 at $59.09 in afternoon trade. Gold fetched $1,204.33 against $1,202.92 late on Friday. In other markets: Taipei advanced 0.51 per cent, or 48.82 points, to 9,666.52. Formosa Plastics gained 1.57 per cent to Tw$77.7 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co was unchanged at Tw$147.0. Wellington rose 0.12 per cent, or 6.96 points, to 5,854.32. Air New Zealand was up 0.36 per cent at NZ$2.75, while Fletcher Building was steady at NZ$8.25. Manila slipped 0.67 per cent, or 54.23 points, to 8,073.25. Universal Robina was down 1.26 per cent at 219.40 pesos and Ayala Corp eased 0.37 per cent to 797.50 pesos but Bloomberry Resorts was up 1.02 per cent at 11.92 pesos. Bangkok was closed for a public holiday. — AFP Flipkart ties up with Mumbai’s dabba-walas NEW DELHI: The online retailer Flipkart is to tie up with Mumbai’s famous army of lunchbox carriers in a bid to improve the accuracy of its delivery system in India’s financial and entertainment capital. Mumbai’s dabba-walas are famous for the accuracy of their colour-coded delivery system, which ensures that mistakes are almost never made despite the huge scale of their operation and the fact that many are illiterate. More than 5,000 dabba-walas collect freshly-made meals from homes and deliver them to 200,000 customers every day using train services, bicycles and pushcarts in the world’s eighth most populous city. Flipkart said it had trained a group of dabba-walas to deliver shipments to its customers as they picked up their lunch boxes. The company’s head of last mile delivery, Neeraj Aggarwal, said the dabba-walas were Mumbai’s most reliable and trusted brand and had survived the test of time. “We are partnering with them and leveraging this unique expertise to enhance our last mile delivery capabilities,” he said in a statement on Thursday. The dabba-walas have been collecting and delivering home-cooked lunches in round boxes known as tiffin carriers since 1890. They cut distinctive figures on Mumbai’s streets in their white cotton uniforms and Nehru caps and Forbes has recognised them as a six sigma organisation, estimating they make only one error in every 16 million transactions. — AFP A pair of mangos is auctioned off at the wholesale market in Miyazaki in Japan’s southern island of Kyushu for some 300,000 yen ($2,500) yesterday. The high-priced mangoes, called “Taiyo no Tamago” (Egg of the Sun)-brand mangoes were sold to a department store in Fukuoka. — AFP Statoil could cut over 10 per cent of jobs OSLO: Statoil could shed 2,400 jobs in May, or nearly 11 per cent of the total workforce, as the Norwegian oil giant cuts costs following the plunge in global oil prices, an Oslo business daily reported on Monday. Dagens Naerinsliv, citing a labour representative, said the cuts would hit engineering staff, particularly those drilling and maintaining wells, as well as administrative staff. “We are working on reinforcing the productivity within the company and that could have consequences in terms of jobs but it is too early to speculate on their number,” Statoil spokesman Jannik Lindbaek said. The cuts are part of a programme to generate $1.7 billion in annual savings from 2016 that Statoil announced last year when oil prices were still above $100 per barrel. Oil prices have since fallen to under $50 per barrel, pushing energy companies to accelerate cost-cutting measures and suspend or scale back investment. In February, when it announced annual profits had been slashed in half due to tumbling oil prices and heavy write-downs, Statoil also announced a 10 per cent cut in its $20 billion-investment budget for this year. Statoil, which went into the red in the second half of the year, also warned in February that an 8 per cent cut in staff levels last year to 22,500 could be followed by further staff reductions. — AFP PERSPECTIVE T U E S DAY APRIL 14 l 2015 FINANCIAL omandailyobserver 21 RISK Investment risks and how they can be avoided Lo’ai B Bataineh ([email protected]) I nvestment in securities and other investment tools have become one of the hot issues that require every one of us in the developed and developing countries to think carefully before making any decision. The weak performance and the inability of many countries to carry out their social, financial and economic responsibilities encouraged individual and institutional investors to invest in stock market in a bid to maximise their gains. Individuals were encouraged to enhance their saving skills and use their saving in the different investment options that create real value for the national economy. We all know that any investment has its related risks, which may vary from one investment to another, especially in the stock exchange market which may be considered a key investment channel. Investment risks vary from one financial security to another, from one company to another, and from one sector to another. Thus, investors should strive to avoid such risks by all means. Risks and their respective levels vary from one investment to another in accordance with the timing, method, currency, country, circumstances and administrative teams of investment. We are well aware that the higher the revenue and yields generated from an investment, the higher the risks associated with such investment. Also, the ability to take risks varies from one person to another and from one company to another. A team of investors may take higher risk, another one can carry risks of a restricted limit and there is a team which cannot afford to take any risk at all. The investors’ financial and investment capabilities in the financial markets are different. Therefore, they take different investment decisions, taking into account the risk that they may encounter, the type of businesses and investment and their strengths, geographic spread in addition to their respective, economic, financial, and operational risks. The age factor, in addition to the psychological investor’s courage, characteristics, religious and social and emotional tendencies play role in taking an investment risks and encounter respective risks of the associated securities. Risk vary by types and degrees according to different investors and their financial abilities in addition to the diversification of investments in terms of type, sector, currency, area and place of listing. The lower the investment diversification, the higher the risks that investors may face. To be fully aware of the risks, we should make sure that we know the risks inherent in the investment and the respective securities and the financial, economic and operational strengths, particularly for companies which produce certain materials and goods that carry higher financial risks due to the respective operational risks they may face. The other type of financial risk associated with investing is financial market-specific risks, which may include geopolitical and economic risks of the countries housing financial markets. Add to this the risks associated with currency in which the investment instruments are issued and denominated. These currencies fluctuate and their Risk vary by types and degrees according to different investors and their ﬁnancial abilities in addition to the diversiﬁcation of investments in terms of type, sector, currency, area and place of listing. forex rates move according to political and economic conditions of those countries. The potential economic rebound or recession that a certain region and INVESTMENT MARKETING Istanbul’s financial hub goal hampered by lightweight stock market T urkish President Tayyip Erdogan dreams of transforming Istanbul into a financial hub that can rival Dubai or Singapore, but first he needs to win over would-be investors like Ali Bahcuvan. “I’d rather stay away from the stock market these days,” said the 41-yearold Internet entrepreneur. ‘‘The cost of trading has increased and that has hurt liquidity. The stocks I want to trade are all illiquid.” Market participants say interest from small investors is on the wane, thanks to higher fees and as new flotations fail to spark interest. That’s bad news for an exchange that relies on retail investors for much of its liquidity. It also raises questions about the viability of the government’s drive to make Istanbul a global top-10 financial hub. Years of solid growth have turned Turkey into a major emerging economy, but its equity market has not kept up. The government has already introduced some regulatory changes to make Istanbul more attractive for foreign capital, including an ambitious plan to build a $2.6 billion “International Finance Centre”. But investors say more needs to be done, especially given flagging growth and nagging political worries ahead of June parliamentary elections. “Right now, Turkey is — without much doubt — not one of the favourite emerging markets,” said Mike Harris, Turkish strategist at Renaissance Capital. “That also enhances the challenge for Istanbul to be perceived as a financial centre because the economy is going through these doldrums.” Ankara needs to encourage more public listings, more equity issuance and more “truly public” companies, analysts say, especially since many listed firms are still controlled by the government or their founding families. Erdogan has hardly helped investor sentiment, fulminating against high interest rates in comments which have territory may face also play a role in increasing or decreasing risks. Every region, province and financial market may encounter financial, economic and geopolitical crises which may have a substantial impact on the financial and investment instruments listed in their respective bourses. Therefore, we should, before creating any investment portfolio, divide the same into three parts as follows: Part I: For leading and high-yielding and high position stocks. These stocks are of well-known companies in the market. These companies are listed in the banking, industrial and cement, insurance, and telecommunications sectors. The rare of focus should be between 60-70 per cent. Part II: The liquidity that every investor should have, because it enables him to act quickly, flexibly and smartly in the face of a turbulent market. This liquidity enables the investor to seize investment opportunities up for grabs for a short period of time. Liquidity should be retained at levels ranging from 10-20 per cent. Part III: This part relates to speculation if the investor is willing to take the high risks of speculations. Levels of speculation in the portfolio should be no more than 10-20 per cent. Accordingly, we should not increase financial and investment risks when we take any financial and investment decisions, without taking into account the financial, psychological and economic strengths an investor may have. The investor should be aware of the potential risks associated with the investment he is going through, including geographic, political, economic and currency-related risks. Add to this the risks related to changed laws policies and social and military risks. The investor should also be aware of the risks resulting from economic cycles, especially in the case of carrying out investments in areas facing a lingering economic recession and which may take years to recover as is the case with the euro zone, despite its recent rebound. Yum’s upmarket China diner seeks recipe and new menu for revival D A man enters the Bourse Istanbul. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan dreams of transforming Istanbul into a financial hub that can rival Dubai or Singapore, but first he needs to win over would-be investors. — Reuters raised concerns about the independence of the central bank. POLITICAL WORRIES: “Valuations are attractive but there are uncertainties regarding the management of the economy after the elections,” said Didem Gordon, Chief Executive of Ashmore Portfoy, an asset manager. This year should have been “spectacularly positive” for Turkey because of the lower oil prices, Gordon said, but emerging market volatility and domestic politics have weighed on the markets. At around $220 billion, Istanbul’s stock market is the world’s 29th largest, well behind some emerging market rivals. The Johannesburg market is worth more than four times that, even though South Africa’s economy is less than half the size of Turkey’s. “There is a mismatch between the complexity and size of the Turkish economy and the size of its capital markets,” consultancy Oliver Wyman said in a 2014 report, adding that the Ankara needs to encourage more public listings, more equity issuance and more ‘truly public’ companies. equity market could easily double in size. Trade is concentrated on just a handful of companies, with just ten stocks accounting for 70 per cent of transactions. Many smaller companies aren’t liquid enough to draw investors. Retail investors account for 80 per cent of the trade on Borsa Istanbul, but their numbers have thinned after the bourse — which plans to list by next year — hiked its fees. Brokerages are also charging more to offset new capital requirements. “There has been a significant increase in fees that have hit both brokerages and investors,” said Metin Ayisik, the head of Turkey’s brokerage industry group. Last year, Istanbul’s investor base shrank by 5 per cent to around 1 million investors, he said, adding the bourse needs around five times that to ensure liquidity. Istanbul is also hobbled by a buyside industry which is small, even by emerging market standards. By contrast, South Africa has scores of money managers centred in Cape Town. Oliver Wyman said Turkey could build up the buy-side industry by encouraging the engines of the economy — small and medium-sized companies — to go public. There have been some positive signs, such as recent government incentives for retirement savings, which have boosted demand for private pension funds. But the government still needs to do more to encourage savings. “A lot needs to change in terms of creating a strong domestic pool of assets, because then companies come to where the savings are, assuming the regulation is supportive,” said Renaissance Capital’s Harris. — Reuters immed lights and colonial-style balconies give little indication that trendy Shanghai eatery Atto Primo is part of global fast-food giant Yum Brands Inc, owner of the KFC and Pizza Hut brands. Overlooking Shanghai’s iconic riverside Bund and rubbing shoulders with the city’s most expensive venues, the restaurant is what Yum calls a “lab” where it studies Chinese diners as it looks to bounce back from a lengthy slump in its top market. “A high-end test kitchen will let Yum test the waters with new menus and concepts and get feedback from more sophisticated diners — helpful if you want to go a bit upmarket,” said Ben Cavender, principal at China Market Research Group. Yum’s same-store sales at its nearly 7,000 restaurants in China, the firm’s biggest market for revenue and profit, fell 16 per cent in the last quarter of 2014, dragged down by back-to-back food scares, rising local competition and a sense its main KFC brand may have fallen out of touch with China’s consumers. The restaurant is “an innovation lab to help us learn more about the evolving tastes of Chinese consumers”, Yum spokesman Jonathan Blum said in emailed comments to Reuters. He added it would help test recipes to be used at Yum’s China outlets. For Yum, a China turnaround is vital. New CEO Greg Creed said last month that reviving sales in the country was “priority number one, two, and three”. “This new development shows someone has advised them that they’ve got to try something different,” said Michael Griffiths, Shanghai-based analyst with market research firm TNS. With its fancy crystal, high prices and murals influenced by 16th century Italian painters, Atto Primo’s ties to Yum are almost invisible: its only link to Yum is a brief mention in a US regulatory filing. BRAND FATIGUE: The high-end diner isn’t the only new strategy for Yum in China, where it is planning to build 700 new fast-food stores overall this year. CEO Creed said the firm aimed to rival Starbucks Corp with more coffee offerings in China. However, analysts say Yum is suffering “brand fatigue” in the country. Its image has been hurt by the food scares, which raised doubts over its supply chain, and competition is rising. Tang Yenan, a 29-year-old architect in Shanghai, said he used to eat often at KFC about 15 years ago when it seemed “fancy and new” and was seen as a safe and clean alternative to local options. “Now I don’t have KFC so often, because I have so many other choices,” he said. McDonald’s Corp has also been stung in China by food scares, but moves to upgrade stores and roll out its McCafe concept have helped offset the damage, analysts said. Nonetheless, both brands have lost some ground as more nimble local rivals have tempted cost-conscious diners with healthier-sounding, homegrown fare. Online chatter about the two brands — both good and bad — has stalled on China’s influential Sina Weibo. — Reuters 22 LEISURE omandailyobserver T U E S DAY APRIL 14 l 2015 Online Editor’s Choice CARTOONS 1 ADAM @ HOME by Brian Basset 7 8 10 11 14 16 17 19 21 22 CALVIN AND HOBBES by Bill Watterson 23 26 28 29 30 31 32 33 1 2 GARFIELD 3 4 by Jim Davis 5 6 8 9 12 13 15 18 19 STONE SOUP CRYPTIC PUZZLE ACROSS Building wherein father shelters a stray dog (6) Silver seaman with singular undies (4,4) Face a diminutive couple (4) Like a dog circumspect about a horse (6) A French type of seaman, possibly indisposed (6) Rest after finishing toil, that is (3) It’s augmentatively illustrative (5) Start with less than twopence (4) Anticipated getting a boy at the dance (5) Had he a golden touch with the maids? (5) With dizzy head, got a new idea, which helped (5) A bar across the window (4) There’s something engaging about good listeners (5) She who slimmed down father? (3) They’re taken to be holy (6) It’s what you do where you live for years (6) The last word in retrograde cinema (4) Like pineapples, they’re handy for throwing (8) Junior player (6) DOWN Rapid poster production (6) Possibly iron-clad soldier, for a start (6) A jolly joyless 4th of July, mate! (4) Sufferings in Saigon, perhaps, out East (7) Blunders by blockheads (5) Still to be leased because not allowed? (5) A name for lead, possibly? (4) The stage manager’s double for a time (3) Also a bit of a find (3) A smooth back, too (5) Fashions some product out of a piece of wood (5) A problem in prose (5) Covered in aphids (3) 6 8 9 12 13 15 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 30 CR O SSW O R D YESTERDAY’S CRYPTIC SOLUTIONS ACROSS: 1, Blush 6, Dance 9, Hearten 10, Tur-I-n 11, Co-as-t 12, Swain 13, Rest-f-ul 15, Cot 17, Ally 18, Sahara 19, An-gel 20, Granny 22, Ride 24, E’en 25, De-MOT-ed 26, Never 27, Came-L 28, Other 29, Risible 30, Medoc 31, Er-ode. 20 In the home, dad seems to have gone soft in the head! (3) 21 In wild dreams, one may see things wrong (7) 22 Live in the parental home (3) 23 Optionally elects to take one’s choice (6) 24 It’s hard to get one right ahead (4) 25 Joe’s in town with the unit (6) 26 Eat too much cheddar? (5) 27 Creature you may dread to disturb (5) 28 Border of Hashemite Kingdom (3) 30 Letter to obtain permission to sunbathe (4) EASY PUZZLE ACROSS 1 7 8 10 Cask (6) Unusual (8) Parts (4) Believe (6) 11 14 16 17 19 21 22 23 26 28 29 30 31 32 33 Front (6) Number (3) Quick (5) Wound’s mark (4) Writing material (5) Wild (5) Danger (5) Coarse file (4) Assistants (5) Colour (3) Dirty (6) Turn aside (6) Honest (4) Making certain (8) Enrol (6) 1 2 3 4 5 DOWN Building blocks (6) Attacker (6) Endure (4) Dress (7) Fight (5) DOWN: 2, Laurel 3, Sh-ift-y 4, Hen 5, Grow-L 6, Decimal 7, An-on 8, Castor 12, Sun-NY 13, (the) Range 14, Sloan(-e) 15, Can it 16, Ta-X-ed 18, Sever 19, Angelic 21, Reg-ale 22, R-otter 23, Def-end 25, D-evil 26, Nero 28, Ole. YESTERDAY’S EASY SOLUTIONS ACROSS: 1, Organ 6, Sense 9, Bumpier 10, Sport 11, Cobra 12, Scots 13, Stealth 15, Led 17, Herd 18, Comedy 19, Colon 20, Ordeal 22, Here 24, Tee 25, Desires 26, Minor 27, Depot 28, Adore 29, Rapture 30, Steel 31, Trade. DOWN: 2, Repute 3, Abroad 4, Nut 5, Epoch 6, Section 7, Eros 8, Sorted 12, Stool 13, Shoot 14, Erode 15, Lever 16, Dykes 18, Cower 19, Capital 21, Relent 22, Hinder 23, Reared 25, Dolts 26, More 28, Art. Hospitals by Jan Eliot Hospital. . . . . Board . . . . . . . Emergency Royal . . . . . . . 24599000 . . . 24590491 Health Services Department YO UR STARS 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 IF IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY: Your sensitive nature may sometimes be an obstacle to forming a lasting friendship. While you are anxious to please those close to you, there is always the problem of clashing temperaments. You will have to try in the coming year to get used to changing moods and accept that there is little you can do about it. Worked (5) Greek letter (4) Can (3) Vehicle (3) Plunges (5) European capital (5) Singing group (5) For every (3) Friend (3) Rots (7) Favourite (3) Display (6) M East port (4) Powerful (6) Tally (5) Extinguish (5) Tear (3) Venetian prince (4) 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 ARIES TAURUS GEMINI CANCER LEO VIRGO March 21April 20 April 21May 20 May 21June 21 June 22July 21 July 22August 21 August 22September 22 If there is trouble at work, which There is not point in looking for doesn’t concern you, don’t voice a new job until you have gained more experience and increased your opinion on the matter. It is your length of service in your best not to get involved in any way. present one. Time will not hang heavily on your hands if you are busy. There is plenty of voluntary social work waiting to be done, so go and find it. You may receive an unexpected gift of money from a surprising source. Thank the donor gracefully, without any hint of query as to the reason for it. A mistake you made today may be Before accepting a weekend invioverlooked this time, but you must tation, make sure that it does not conflict with any plans your partbe more careful in the future and ner may have made without your knowledge. keep your mind on the job. LIBRA SCORPIO SAGITTARIUS CAPRICORN AQUARIUS PISCES September 23October 22 October 23November 21 November 22December 21 December 22January 20 January 21February 19 February 20March 20 You may find yourself called upon to undertake a new assignment today, don’t be afraid to ask for help if necessary rather than waste time doing it wrong. Once you have spent your money on a particular article, it is always easy enough to find the same thing a lot cheaper somewhere else. A friend, whose visit which you were not exactly looking forward to, will make his stay unexpectedly amusing and eventful. A legal matter may need some further explanation and you must not hesitate in consulting a solicitor, no matter what the cost. You should stop being too modest about your definite achievements. There is no virtue in concealing your merits and keeping all the pride to yourself. Your neighbour hasn’t been at all well and a little sympathy from you could do wonders. Try to forget the irritations of the pat, and show a friendly attitude. 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Ǥ ͻʹͻͻ͵͵Ǥ SALES Manager ǡ ǡ Ǥ ····· ͵ ǡ ͳͺǡͲͲͲǡͲͲͲ ǡ Ǥ ͳͻ Ǥʹ ϐ ϐǡʹͲǡͲͲͲǡͲͲͲǤ ͻͻ͵͵͵Ͷͻ ͻͷʹͳͷ͵ͲǤ Biomedical Technician ǡ ǣͳǤA/C MechanicǢʹǤElectrician ǡ Ǥ plumberǢ͵ǤComputer ʹͶͷʹͲͲͷǤ hardware TecǤ ǤͻͻͶͶʹͷȀ Ǧǣ̷ Ǥ ͻͲͳͶʹ͵Ͷͷ̷ Ǥ ǤǤ ····· ····· ····· ····· Ȉ Ȉ Ȉ Ȉ Ȉ Ȉ ȋǦ Ǧ Ȉ Ȉ Ȉ ȋǦ Ǧ Ȍ Ȉ Ȉ Ȉ Ǧ For information, please call: 99841230-95919344 92721879 - 99639264 Tel: 24649597, Fax: 24649590 BankMuscat account: 0397003776610011 Bank Dhofar account: 01040141195001 E-mail: [email protected] TUESDAY l APRIL 14, 2015 l JUMADA AL THANIA 24, 1436 AH [email protected] www.omanobserver.om RENTING & LEASING Tours and Airport Transfer Tel: 24582663 GSM: 95859497, Fax: 24582664, [email protected] ····· AHAD 2000 for rent car. 93203481, 93204595. ····· Manpower FRIENDS MANPOWER: Filipino housemaids and all kinds of workers. 24489268 Tel:/Fax: 24478153, 92462496. ····· KHALIFA AlSinani Manpower — labourers & housemaid from Indonesia, Kenya, Uganda and other countries. Al Suwaiq. To communicate 26713500, 26713600. ····· Umrah/Haj AL Hikmani for HAJ and UMRAH — With a host of services including the following: Hiring luxurious coaches, arranging weekly trips, preparing visas for expats at cost-effective price, including transport, housing, meals and visits to shrine locations. Land and air trips weekly. (99311310, 24566016, 99361982, 99707248, 99322124. ····· Tourism ARE you looking for a voyage with your family on a legacyboat, including buffet? Only with RO 15/-. For more [email protected] Ǥ com 92808636. ····· Supply of Pesticides, Gel (Cockroaches), Public Health chemicals, Agriculture chemicals, Snake repellent, Rodent baits and other insect repellent from Agropharm Ltd UK. PROFESSIONALS in Pest Control Service, Bedbug Treatment, Rodent Treatment, Snake Treatment and Termite Treatment (Pre and Post Construction). Tel: 24787606 / 24787503 Fax: 24787607 E-mail: [email protected] P. O. Box: 565, Wadi Kabir, Postal Code: 117, SULTANATE OF OMAN Available on UNBEATABLE prices CAR FOR SALE As-is-where-is the condition. Vehicles can be inspected from Sunday 3.30pm and 6.00pm at OIG Head Office Building, Wattayah. Telephone toll free 80076900. Interested parties may submit quotation in a Sealed envelope with payment of RO 50 which will be reimbursed. Reimbursed conditions apply. Investment FREE INFORMATION ABOUT ISLAM 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: www.islamfact.com Good News FOR back or neck pain/ discomfort due to injury, illness, stress or computer overuse; let us help you restore your body & get you back on track. For more information contact our coordinators at: 22094265. ····· INVESTOR required. New project under process. Gourmet sweet brand. Call: 91131398. ····· EXPATRIATE partner (Omani partner is already available) required to establish a LLC Company (Expatriate investors’ LLC Company). Please contact on 99332510. ····· LOOKING for an investor for a fullequipped existing medical complex as soon as possible in Wilayat of Haima, Governorate of Al Wusta. 92212557, 99242249. ····· Announcement CCTV & IT solution CCTV, Time Attendance, LAN, Wan, DSL, PABX Exchange installation, Laptop, Printers and Copiers repairing. Contact 99161542, 96092925. ····· ····· VILLA for rent in Wattayah 3 bedroom, sitting room, garage. 99071071. ····· ····· TWO apartment in Al Saada Salalah, 3 bedrooms + 3 toilets + living room + store. Price RO 200. 99290277. ····· VILLA for rent in Misfa Bausher 99203083. A FLAT in Al Maabela encompasses 3 bedrooms, majlis, living room, kitchen (spacious) and 4 toilets. Contact 99357404. A ǧhouse in Al Maabela encompasses 2 bedrooms, kitchen, living room, and 3 toilets. Contact 99357404. ····· CLASSIFIED SECTION: Cartridges also available For Rent 4 BEDROOM villa at Madinat Al Alam RO 1100/-. NEW 2BHK flat with split A/C G floor behind Khimjimart Darsait RO 400/ONE BHK at Ruwi Opp police station RO 300/24790449. E-mail: [email protected] ····· AII HP, Epson, Canon, Lexmark, Samsung GOOD PRICE!!! GOOD PRICE!!! 1 BEDROOM, 2 bedroom + showroom, 18 November road, Al Athaiba. 999565364, 99617786. ····· VILLA in Al Ansab consists of 6 bedrooms, 6 toilets and a large kitchen is for rent. 99363504. ····· ····· on UNBEATABLE prices [email protected] For Rent ····· All Cartridges also available Ruwi: 24792-792 QURUM BEACH HOTEL24564070. ····· SANDOS of Babel Transport Trading And Contacting (recommendation), announces that it is intending to convert its name to Line Spectrum International L.L.C. (recommendation). Beneficiaries should be informed of the changes. 1510 Printer RO 11.000 only HP COMPUTER SUPPLIES Guest House DOES your family member require full time Medical help? Dedicated to chronic care and physical rehabilitation from injury or illness; Rochester Wellness offers specialised medical recovery services. For more information contact our coordinators at 22094265. AYURVEDIC Treatment, Yoga Massage & slimming. Web address: www. siddhayur.com 92504980/ 24475280. ····· GOOD PRICE!!! GOOD PRICE!!! GOOD PRICE!!! SPECIAL Rates on New Cars & 4 WDs For Sale/Rent GOOD PRICE!!! GOOD PRICE!!! PEST CONTROL OMAN CO. LLC. GOOD PRICE!!! GOOD PRICE!!! GOOD PRICE!!! Rent a Car 2 STOREY villa encompasses 2 majlis along with toilets, 2 living rooms and 3 bedrooms along with toilets and located in a nearby place in Maabela supplied with water service. Contact 99357404. ····· BEDROOM furniture villa at Maabela 5. For more details pls call 99382752. ····· LIVING room & utilities in Al Hail, 3 bedrooms, sitting room 92817777. ····· FURNISHED flat in South Al Maabela. 3 bedrooms + living room + kitchen + 3 bathrooms. Area 185 sqm, Price: RO 400. 99354052. ····· A 1,500 M2 commercialresidential plot is offered for rent or investment in Al Maabela. Interested, please call 95646045. ····· FLATS for rent 1 BHK in Al Khuwair 33. 99800494. ····· NEW 2 BHK flat with split A/C Ground floor behind Khimjimart Darsait. RO 400. One BHK at Ruwi Opp police station RO 300. Details Tel Office. 24790449 or email: [email protected] ····· 300 sqmts available in Wadi Kabir. Suitable for workshop or warehouse. 96001855. ····· 1 B/R available in Rex Road, Ruwi. 99889590. ····· ǧfloor house behind German University of Technology in Halban is offered for rent. The house contains 4 bedrooms, living room, a kitchen and 3 toilets. 91239119. ····· 2 BEDROOM flat in Al Ghubra near Oman Oil 18 November Street, RO 330 monthly. 99333479 or 95215360. ····· A FLAT for rent, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1 sitting room, kitchen for RO 350. Location: At Al Ghubrah North, near to Al Ghubrah Health Centre. 92277043/ 95347854. ····· Services ONE STOP SHOP BUSINESS SERVICES Public relation Services (PRO), Auditing, Formation New Companies, Foreign Investors Visa, Legal Services. Contact Saleh: 96723485. ····· Car for Sale BMW 745i, 2002, silver with black, very good condition, good price. 99328280. ····· ȍ͵ VILLAS for sale/ rents WADI KABIR/AL KHUWAIR), ȋȀϐ rent/ Al Khuwair) (Flats for rent/ Wadi Kabir). ͻͷͻ͵ͶͺǤ ····· Sale and Buy OFFICE & Household furniture and electronics items. 99834373, 97102699. ····· Services ͳǤ AC maintenance and servicing. ʹǤFridge, washing machine and dish washer repairing. ͵ǤPainting and cleaning services. ͶǤ Electrical, plumbing and carpentry work 97014234, 99447257, 24504281. ····· MAINTENANCE: 1. A/C Maintenance & Servicing; 2. Fridge, Washing Machine & Dish washer repairing; 3. Painting & cleaning services; 4. Electrical & Plumbing Carpentry work. Contact: 99447257, 97014234, 24504281. ····· WE offer you the Business Services: Maintenance of buildings and villas for paint and carpentry and decoration works and installation of material water proof and cleaning services building management and leasing of real estate (Out motto is to provide quality in all our business). Muscat Renaissance Development and Investment. 99070093. ····· ͳǤ SERVICES ʹǤ TRANSLATION SERVICES STOP!!! Good News to all our dear customers: Our PRO will ϐ Ȁ to collect documents for typing or clearing and will deliver the same on completion. 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 General of ϐ Ǣ 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 /24794286 GSM: 99231500 /96777170/ 95959838 Managed by: Salim Khalfan al Hadi (33 years of experience in management) ····· Ali al Maashari: 99639264 [email protected] e-mail: [email protected] Mohammed al Rashdi: 99841230 [email protected] DIRECT: 24649595 — FAX : 24649590 TUESDAY | APRIL 14, 2015 | JUMADA AL THANIA 24, 1436 AH P26 P27 P28 Inside Kings XI conquer Mumbai Indians in IPL City blown away by United ﬁghtback Spieth takes ﬁrst major with historic Masters win FOLLOW US ON: www.omanobserver.om [email protected] Mercedes in emergency talks after Rosberg blow-up SHANGHAI: Mercedes held emergency talks with their bickering drivers after Nico Rosberg furiously criticised Lewis Hamilton’s tactics after the Chinese Grand Prix. With relations on a knife-edge before this weekend’s Bahrain race, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has moved swiftly to prevent things spiralling out of control — as they did last year when Rosberg drove into Hamilton in Belgium. World champion Hamilton powered to his second win in three races this season, but Rosberg’s outburst shattered the fragile truce which existed between the rivals following their longsimmering feud. Wolff took a dim view of the German’s accusation that Hamilton had intentionally held him up with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in hot pursuit. “It needs to be contained without any escalation,” he said, flatly denying Hamilton had tried to wreck Rosberg’s chances. “Lewis didn’t do it on purpose. We have cleared that now — there wasn’t any animosity.” Hamilton’s victory was an eighth in 10 races dating back to last season for the Briton, who dominated all weekend before winning for a record fourth time in Shanghai. Once again he simply had too much pace for Rosberg, who appears to be unravelling under the pressure, berating mechanics after missing out on pole position and demanding that Hamilton speed up during Sunday’s race. “It’s not my job to look after Nico’s race,” Hamilton shrugged. “I just focused on myself.” That prompted Rosberg to snipe: “It’s now interesting to hear from Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team’s Lewis Hamilton (right) chats with teammate Nico Rosberg (left) of Germany after Hamilton won the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix and Rosberg finished second in Shanghai. — AFP you, Lewis, that you were just thinking about yourself.” Desert storm — It was an unsavoury end to the weekend for Mercedes after striking back at Ferrari following Vettel’s surprise win in Malaysia, and raises concerns before Hamilton and Rosberg clash again in the desert. “You need to be very careful half-anhour after the race to point the finger,” Wolff said. “(Lewis) was the quicker guy out there and he made the tyres last longer so we have the right order. What we need to look at is, was the race result for the team ever at risk?” Vettel, meanwhile, failed to pull off a repeat of his upset in tropical Sepang but he and Kimi Raikkonen showed again that the Ferraris can be a handful for the Silver Arrows. However, it will take something special to stop Hamilton in this kind of form. His 35th career victory followed a fifth pole in China, joining Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio as the only drivers to score five or more poles at one track as the records continue to tumble. Williams will travel to the Middle East in high spirits after Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas finished fifth and sixth respectively, while there was at least some light at the end of the tunnel for McLaren after their first double finish of 2015. — AFP Sock lifts first ATP title at Houston HOUSTON: Jack Sock captured his first ATP Tour title on Sunday, holding off eighth-seeded Sam Querrey 7-6 (11/9), 7-6 (7/2) in an all-American final in Houston. “It feels incredible,” the 22-yearold Sock said. “It feels surreal. It feels incredible, and to have friends and family here to share it with me feels even better.” Sock had knocked off three seeded players en route to the first final of his career, and is now projected to break into the top 40 in the world rankings with a jump from his current 46th to 36th on Monday. Although he was playing for his first singles title, Sock isn’t a stranger to the game’s big stages. He teamed with Canadian Vasek Pospisil to win the Wimbledon men’s doubles title last year. Sock was slowed late in 2014 by a torn muscle in his pelvis that required surgery in December, but is making up for lost time after launching his 2015 campaign in March. On Sunday, Sock shrugged off a rain delay of more than two hours that disrupted the first set, saving three set points in the tiebreaker to pocket the first frame. After an exchange of breaks the second set also went to a tiebreaker, with Sock sealing the win after one hour and 45 minutes when Querrey fired a service return long. “Jack’s tough,” said Querrey, who was seeking his eighth ATP title but his first since 2012. “He has a big forehand and on heavy clay like that, he’s a tough guy to beat. That’s my first final in a long time, so I’m feeling good.” Sock’s run to the title included victories over second-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut, fifth-seeded Santiago Giraldo and third-seeded Kevin Anderson. “I feel I competed well and took care of my serve very well,” Sock said of his week. “On this surface against these players and the tough field that it was, to only get broken a handful of times is not easy.” — AFP Sur, Fanja register victories in OPL India lauds world number one Mirza NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday led the accolades for Sania Mirza after she became the first Indian woman to be crowned the world’s top-ranked doubles tennis player. “An excellent accomplishment @ MirzaSania! Congrats on being World Number 1 in doubles,” Modi, currently on a three-nation European tour, tweeted to his 11.6 million followers. Mirza, 28, climbed to the top of the rankings after she won the Family Circle doubles title in Charleston, United States, on Sunday while partnering Swiss great Martina Hingis. It was the third successive title for the duo, also the number one doubles pair, after their victories in the hard court events in Indian Wells and Miami. Messages also poured in from cricket great Sachin Tendulkar, current Test captain Virat Kohli and badminton star Saina Nehwal, who had briefly ranked as the number one singles player earlier this month. “Congratulations to @ MirzaSania on being crowned World No. 1 in doubles. Terrific achievement and will inspire more to pursue the sport,” Tendulkar tweeted. Kohli wrote on his Twitter page: “First Saina and now @MirzaSania. Indian women conquering the No.1 spot and making us proud! Congratulations!” Mirza was once ranked in the top 30 in singles before a string of injuries made her take up doubles as a full-time career. She said she hoped her rise to the top would inspire women to believe in themselves. “I hope this makes girls in India believe that anything is possible; we can achieve anything we want if we put our mind and body to it,” she said in a statement. “I feel extremely honoured to be No.1 It’s something that I’ve worked for all my life.” Mirza has been a trail-blazer for women’s tennis in India, despite being hounded by controversy throughout her career. She even faced a fatwa — a ruling by an Islamic religious leader — for wearing short skirts on court. Last year a member of Modi’s BJP party in her home state of Andhra Pradesh called Mirza a “daughter-in-law of Pakistan” because of her marriage to Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik. — AFP MUSCAT: Powered by goals from Saud Al Farsi (7th), Ahmed al Omri (23rd), Juma (32nd) and Ahmed al Siyabi (80th), Sur overwhelmed Al Shabab 4-1 in the Omantel Professional League (OPL) match at the Sur Sports Complex on Sunday. Al Shabab pulled one back through Loks (90th) but it wasn’t enough. The second match of the day between Al Naser and Al Suwaiq ended in a goalless stalemate. Meanwhile, Sameer’s 57th minute goal helped Fanja beat Bousher 1-0 at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex. RESULTS: Sur: 4 (Saud Al Farsi 7th, Ahmed al Omri 23rd, Juma 32nd, Ahmed al Siyabi 80th) bt Al Shabab: 1 (Loks 90th); Al Naser: 0 drew with Al Suwaiq: 0; Fanja: 1 (Sameer 57th) bt Bousher: 0. Oman Sail’s quest for sailing champions of the future MUSCAT: Oman Sail’s Performance Pathway, designed to develop sailing champions of the future, was given a boost last week when 14 talented beginners and two young coaches had their first taste of international competition at the ASAF Youth Cup in Abu Dhabi. As part of Oman Sail’s Omantel Youth Programme, co-sponsored by Oman Shipping Company, the novice Optimist sailors, all aged 13 or under, travelled to Abu Dhabi to compete alongside other young Optimist sailors from across Asia including the Malaysian National Optimist Squad, ranked as one of the best in the world. Oman’s young team was drawn from three of Oman Sail’s Sailing Schools at The Wave, Muscat, Sur and Mussanah, while Suleiman Al Wahaibi, a coach at The Wave, Muscat and Rashid Al Mugharfi from Sur formed the coaching team, headed up by Sultan Al Zadjali, who came direct from the GCC Sailing Championships, to aid their understanding of how teams from other nations run their sailing competitions and succeed. Six days of sailing, including one training day, in conditions that ranged from moderate to light airs, was completed with around 60 sailors participating. The experience proved to be invaluable, according to Abdul Aziz Al Shidi, Oman Sail’s Youth Pathway coach who joined the group after a successful Beach Games in Doha, Qatar. “We wanted to give both sailors and coaches some exposure to what it was like to be members of a national team, travelling to an event overseas, setting up boats, and getting used to different conditions,” he explained. “This was not about results. It was more to do with preparing them for international competition, showing them what the good sailors and coaches from other countries put in place to succeed. They can now take those lessons back to our sailing schools in Oman so we can raise our own standards even higher. “It was an extremely valuable experience and we had a good response from everyone. They understand they have to work harder and focus more on the details. In general, we have been really impressed by the progress of both the coaches and the sailors. “Our youth programme is not only about a handful of top sailors getting results. To get the results, we need to concentrate on the next level of sailors coming up — the bigger our pool of sailors, the more competitive the group can become, and the better our results will be at the top. “It is vital we support these young sailors to maintain their interest and it is equally vital we nurture and develop that interest to achieve results for Oman.” With the 2015 ASAF Youth Cup now completed, the youngsters have gone back to school in Oman but will maintain their training schedule ahead of the first of two Ranking Races on May 15-16 in Mussanah with the second due to take place a month later. 26 SPORT omandailyobserver T U E S DAY APRIL 14 l 2015 IPL: Man-of-the-match Bailey played a captain’s knock of 61 from only 32 balls, plundering four boundaries and three sixes at the Wankhede Kings conquer Mumbai despite ‘Bhajji’ ﬂourish MUMBAI: Harbhajan Singh’s lusty hitting went in vain, as Kings XI Punjab defeated Mumbai Indians by 18 runs in a highly entertaining Indian Premier League encounter here on Sunday. Sent in to bat, the Kings rode on a good start and late fireworks by skipper George Bailey to post an imposing 177/5. Man of the match Bailey played a captain’s knock of 61 from only 32 balls, plundering four boundaries and three sixes at the packed Wankhede stadium. In reply, Mumbai could reach only up to 159/7. The hosts lost early wickets, and the match seemed all but over with Mumbai looking hopelessly placed at 59/6 in 13.4 overs. The required run rate had soared to nearly 20, and all the established batsmen were back in the hut. However, Harbhajan — never one to give up — took the battle into the opponent camp, as he set the ground afire with a 24-ball 64 that included five boundaries and half a dozen towering sixes. The runs came in torrents, and Harbhajn and Jagadeesha Suchith (34 not out; 21b, 4x4, 2x6) formed a rollicking partnership that fetched 100 runs of only 37 balls. While at once stage it had seemed the Mumbai Indians would slump to a big defeat, the two batsmen managed to make it look a somewhat closer affair. The locals’ innings had started on an absolutely wrong note, with skipper Rohit Sharma (0) getting out first ball. The sharp incoming delivery from Sandeep Sharma beat the bat and struck Rohit on the back pad plumb infront The other pacer Anurit Singh then saw the back of wicketkeeper batsman Aditya Tare (7), before Aaron Finch (8) missed a slog across the line to give Mitchell Johnson his first wicket. It was 17/3 in the sixth over, and the Mumbai Indians couldn’t have had a worse launch pad. Spin was introduced in the eight over in the form of Axar Patel, and the left arm bowler responded by taking the prized wicket of Corey Anderson (5). The New Zealander danced down the track and the young Patel held it back a bit, forcing the batsman to miss the shot. The ball came off wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha’s gloves, and unsettled the bails. The Mumbai Indians had slumped to 25/4. Ambati Rayudu (13) and Kieron Pollard (20) tried to retrieve the situation for some time, but the Indian miscued an intended lofted shot over the covers, and the outside edge finished in Saha’s hands. Eleven balls later, Pollard became Patel’s second victim , by holing out to Dabid Miller at long on. That brought into the middle the veteran Harbajan, and a spell of scintillating batting till he got out of the penultimate ball, Earlier in the evening, the Kings XI began on a high with openers Virender Sehwag and Murali Vijay hitting the ball to all parts of the park with ease. The duo didn’t let the run flow go down as the team’s 50 came of just 5.2 overs. But the experienced Harbhajan Singh dismissed Sehwag (36 of 19 balls, with 6 boundaries and a sixer), while Glenn Maxwell had a short stay in the middle. Soon after Maxwell’s dismissal, Vijay (35 off 28 balls) also returned, as did Miller (24 off 23 balls). Bailey then went all guns blazing to give the visitors a commendable score on the board. George Bailey SCOREBOARD Kings XI Punjab M Vijay c Suchith b Harbhajan35 V Sehwag c Pollard b Harbhajan36 Maxwell -----------c Rayudu b Suchith6 Miller c Tare b Malinga24 Bailey (not out)61 R Dhawan c Vinay Kumar b Malinga6 Johnson (not out)3 Extras (B-1, LB-2, W-3)6 Total (for 5 wkts, 20 overs)177 Fall of wickets: 1-60, 2-68, 3-88, 4-134, 5-150. Bowling: R Vinay Kumar 4-0-46-0, P Suyal 3-0-22-0, Malinga 4-0-34-2, Harbhajan 4-0-202, J Suchith 4-0-41-1, Pollard 1-0-11-0. Mumbai Indians Ancelotti targeting more CL glory MADRID: Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti insisted his side’s focus is on retaining the Champions League not gaining revenge over Atletico Madrid when the two sides meet for a seventh time this season in the first leg of their quarter-final on Tuesday. Ancelotti’s men have failed to beat Los Rojiblancos in all six previous meetings, drawing two and losing four, most notably in a 4-0 thrashing when they last met in February. However, Real were the victors in last season’s Champions League final between the two and Ancelotti, who could become the first coach to win the Champions League four times, wants Los Blancos to be the first side to retain the trophy since the AC Milan side he played for in 1990. “We are not obsessed with Atletico Madrid. We have the desire required for the Champions League quarter-finals,” the Italian said on Monday. “It could take us to the semi-final, which is very close to the final. Then once you are in the final there are only two options; to win it or lose it. “Therefore, our objective is not to beat Atletico Madrid, but to dream about winning the 11th European Cup.” Ancelotti described Real’s humilation the last time they visited the Vicente Calderon as his worst game in charge of Madrid. However, the Real side that will take to the field on Tuesday will be much changed with five first-team regulars ‘It could take us to the semiﬁnal which is very close to the ﬁnal. Then once you are in the ﬁnal there are only two options; to win it or lose it. Our objective is to dream about winning the 11th European Cup’ ‘REAL’ POWER Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti (left) and player Marcelo arrive to a press conference at Valdebebas Sport City in Madrid. — AFP back from either injury or suspension. “We come into the game in good shape. You can’t compare it to what happened in February. Everyone has recovered, the team is fresh and it is clear we can use a high tempo in the game. “We can play with intensity and it will be vital to show courage and personality because they are two very important characteristics. This team has a lot of courage.” And Ancelotti dismissed suggestions that his job is on the line should Real once again fail to overcome their more humble city neighbours. “This game is only part of the season. Afterwards there will be other games and I think that the judgement of my work will come at the end of the season.” Left-back Marcelo was one of those to miss the 4-0 thrashing and he insisted that Real can not allow themselves to be mentally affected by the six derbies they have failed to win this season. “Atletico are a great team, they fight a lot, they are very intense and we are not thinking in the other games that we couldn’t win,” said the Brazilian international. “I think it is completely different now and we have two games to show that we can win.” Ancelotti confirmed that Gareth Bale is 100 per cent fit to take his place in the starting line-up after missing Saturday’s 3-0 win over Eibar, whilst James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos return from suspension meaning Isco is likely to miss out. The only doubt in Ancelotti’s starting line-up is at centre-back where the former Chelsea boss has to choose between the fit again Pepe and Raphael Varane to partner Sergio Ramos. — AFP R Sharma lbw S Sharma0 A Finch b Johnson8 A Tare c Vijay b Anureet Singh7 Rayudu c Saha b Johnson13 Anderson st Saha b Patel5 Pollard c Miller b Patel20 J Suchith (not out)34 Harbhajan c S Sharma b Anureet Singh64 R Vinay Kumar (not out)0 CHAMPS Extras (LB-3, W-3, NB-2)8 Total (for 7 wkts, 20 overs)159 Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-15, 3-17, 4-25, 5-46, 6-59, 7-159. Bowling: Sandeep Sharma 4-1-12-1, Anureet Singh 4-0-41-2, Johnson 4-1-23-2, Patel 4-0-30-2, R Dhawan 4-0-50-0. LEAGUE Paris Saint Germain banking on momentum PARIS: Buoyant after their strong domestic performance last week, Paris St Germain will look to overcome the absence of key players including striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against Barcelona. PSG beat Ligue 1 bitter rivals Olympique de Marseille 3-2, thrashed St Etienne 4-1 in the French Cup semifinals, and won the League Cup final 4-0 against Bastia on Saturday. Even if they will be without the suspended Ibrahimovic and Marco Verratti and the injured David Luiz, PSG believe they are peaking. “Do I feel a new momentum? It’s been the case for a while. We worked physically (during the winter break) and today, in money time, we’re good,” said coach Laurent Blanc. “We are gaining momentum while last year at the same time we were on the way down.” Both teams have been meeting regularly recently in the Champions League, with PSG beating Barca 3-2 at home in a Group F game this season before losing 3-1 at the Camp Nou. Barca had reached the semi-finals in 2013 by eliminating PSG on away goals, drawing 1-1 at home after a 2-2 stalemate in Paris. “The quarter-final tie is going to be very different from the group stage. There is a lot more at stake and in football no game is ever the same,” former Barca and PSG winger Ludovic Giuly said. Barca’s 2-2 draw at Sevilla in La Liga on Saturday, when they threw away a 2-0 lead, prompted renewed concerns about their defensive frailty, with both the concedded goals down to mistakes from the Barca rearguard. Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo made an uncharacteristic handling error to let in Ever Banega’s long-range strike before halftime and centre back Gerard Pique’s loss of possession in midfield led to the Andalusian club’s late equaliser. The stalemate in Sevilla meant Barca’s lead over second-placed Real Madrid at the top of La Liga was cut to two points but they remain on course to repeat the 2009 historic treble of Champions League and Spanish league and Cup. Barca’s Brazil right back Dani Alves is suspended for Wednesday’s game, with Adriano or Martin Montoya likely to replace him in the starting lineup. — Reuters Simeone to complete Atletico’s transformation Madrid: When Diego Simeone returned to Atletico Madrid as coach in January 2012, his objective was not to prevent the troubled team from slipping down into the relegation zone — but instead something much more ambitious. The former Atletico midfielder — a hero for the fans for his role in the 1996 league-and-cup-double — did not mention his long-term plan in public, because many people might have questioned his sanity had he done so. His long-term goal was nothing less than to change the balance of football power in the Spanish capital, by equipping Atletico to compete permanently with illustrious neighbours Real, and ultimately emerge from their shadow. After three years of success that even Simeone could not have expected, he is close to his objective. His hardworking, never-say-die team has beaten Real six times now — four of them this present season — en route to winning last term’s Spanish league, the 2013 cup and 2014 Supercup. However, there remains one competition in which Simeone’s battlers have still not beaten Los Merengues: the Champions League. Simeone was just two minutes away from doing this last May, in the final in Lisbon. His team were close to clinching Atletico’s first Champions League crown — until an agonising Sergio Ramos equaliser in stoppage time led to extra-time, in which the Whites prevailed 4-1. “What I would give to play that match again,” mused Simeone some months later. “But I think we will have another chance to beat them in the Champions League, sooner or later.” Well, that chance has now come, with Atletico hosting Real in Tuesday’s quarter-final first leg, in what will be a packed Estadio Calderon. “I’m not obsessed with revenge for Lisbon,” Simeone said when the Madrid teams were paired together in the UEFA draw. “After all, we have beaten them four times since them. But what I would like is to finish our bad luck in the Champions League, once and for all.” That bad luck started in 1959, when Atletico were edged out by Real in the semi-finals. — dpa Paris Saint-Germain’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic (left) is congratulated by defender Marquinhos after scoring a goal during the French League Cup final at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, outside Paris. — AFP SPORT T U E S DAY APRIL 14 l 2015 omandailyobserver 27 EPL: The win gave United a four-point lead over City in the third place and took them back to within a point of Arsenal before Chelsea game Man City blown away by United ﬁghtback MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM: Manchester United dealt Manchester City’s Champions League qualification hopes another blow by storming back from behind to trounce their derby rivals 4-2 in the Premier League on Sunday. Sergio Aguero gave City an eighthminute lead at a blustery Old Trafford, but United hit back through Ashley Young, Marouane Fellaini, Juan Mata and Chris Smalling to register a sixth successive league win. Aguero claimed another goal at the death — his 100th in City’s colours — but it was too late to prevent United ending a sequence of four consecutive defeats against their neighbours. The win gave United a four-point cushion over City in third place — the last automatic Champions League qualifying spot — and took them back to within a point of Arsenal ahead of next weekend’s trip to leaders Chelsea. City have now lost six of their last eight games in all competitions and manager Manuel Pellegrini is likely to face renewed questioning about his ability to revive the team he steered to the title a year ago. It was a fourth successive away league defeat for City — their worst run since 2006 — and hammered another nail in their title defence, leaving them 12 points behind Chelsea having played a game more. While they retain a five-point lead over fifth-place Southampton, Liverpool can close to within four points by beating Newcastle United on Monday. On City’s last visit to Old Trafford, a 3-0 win in March 2014, it had taken less than a minute for Edin Dzeko to put the visitors ahead, and they again attacked United with an intensity that took the hosts aback. David de Gea had to save at his near post after Martin Demichelis’s pass set Jesus Navas scampering through and with United appearing bewildered, it came as no surprise when City made the breakthrough. James Milner’s pass down the insideleft channel found David Silva, who squared for Aguero to tap in his sixth goal in seven league games against his team’s cross-town foes. Having revelled in City’s recent misfortunes, United’s fans were dismayed to see the script veer off in an unanticipated direction. UNITED SWAGGER A back-pass to De Gea from Phil Jones in the 14th minute drew a barrage of boos from the home fans, but it was to prove the precursor to the equaliser. The Spaniard’s hoof downfield found its way, via Fellaini, to Ander Herrera on the left and his cross was turned in at the second attempt by Young, after Gael Clichy had made an initial block. Young and Fellaini have been symbols of United’s recent resurgence and they combined for the 27th-minute goal that put the hosts ahead. Daley Blind reached the byline on the left and cut the ball back for Young, whose trademark in-swinging cross was nodded in at the far post by the unmistakeable frizzy-haired head of Fellaini. It was a brilliant response from Louis van Gaal’s men and City’s frustration almost cost them dearly when captain Vincent Kompany flew in on Blind, for which he escaped with a booking. Kompany had been a doubt for the game with a hamstring injury and he Manchester United’s Marcos Rojo (right) tries to hold off Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero (centre) during the English Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford in Manchester. — AFP gave way at half-time, with Eliaquim Mangala coming on. There was a swagger to United’s play — Michael Carrick flummoxing Yaya Toure with a swish of the hips on the edge of his own box — and they continued to force City back. Joe Hart parried a free-kick from England colleague Wayne Rooney and then saved from Carrick in the penaltyarea stramash that ensued, but the home side would not be deterred. Mourinho sees champion quality in Chelsea LONDON: Jose Mourinho believes Chelsea’s gritty 1-0 win at QPR had all the hallmarks of champions-elect. Mourinho’s side moved seven points clear at the top of the Premier League after Cesc Fabregas’s 88th minute goal settled a scrappy west London derby at Loftus Road. The Blues need 12 more points from their remaining seven matches to be certain of claiming the English crown for the first time since 2010 and, although they were well below their best on Sunday, Mourinho was encouraged by the way they emerged unscathed from a tricky test. It took a poor clearance from QPR goalkeeper Robert Green, seized on by Eden Hazard and eventually converted by Fabregas, to give Chelsea a win that even Mourinho admitted was probably more than they deserved. But it was the way Chelsea kept their composure in such a heated contest that impressed Mourinho and reminded him of the way his previous titlewinning teams, at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid, all found a way to triumph in unpromising situations. “Every time I was a champion I remember a couple of matches that my teams won in the last minute. It is like a little light that shines for the team that will be champions,” Mourinho said. “It is difficult to play here, the pitch is small and 1.30 pm is maybe not the best time to go into the game with intensity. “They gave us a difficult match but we kept good emotional control and never lost balance. If we have to go home with 0-0 ok, but we kept going and got the Every time I was a champion I remember a couple of matches that my teams won in the last minute. It is like a little light that shines for the team that will be champions’ PREMIERSHIP Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho shouts instructions to his team. — Reuters goal. One point would have been fair but we played well with the circumstances.” CRUCIAL SHOWDOWNS With crucial showdowns against Manchester United and then Arsenal looming over the next two weeks, Chelsea’s refusal to settle for a point could prove invaluable as it gives them more margin for error when they face their title rivals. Asked if Chelsea’s victory would be a psychological blow to second placed Arsenal, who had closed the gap to four points on Saturday, Mourinho responded by demanding that his team be given respect for sitting joint top or top of the table since the opening day of the season. “I don’t know if it hurts Arsenal or not but it is not normal for a team to be top of the table in August and arrive in April still top of the league,” Mourinho said. “That is the team that deserves the credit. Other teams have had good runs, but we have had a good run since August.” While Mourinho was right to praise his players’ steely focus, the Blues were indebted to Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who made amends for some recent mistakes with two fine saves to deny Charlie Austin and Matt Phillips. Courtois gifted Hull a goal in Chelsea’s win at the KC Stadium and was caught off his line by Charlie Adam’s 65yard wonder-goal for Stoke last week. “I said after Hull and Charlie Adam he needed to give us a couple of points. We needed a couple of saves and he did it,” Mourinho added. The defeat was cruel on QPR, who remain two points from safety, and manager Chris Ramsey was left to rue one lapse in concentration that ruined an otherwise immaculate gameplan. “I’m disappointed with the manner we let the goal in. I’m not blaming Rob. It wasn’t his best kick but we had plenty of time to defend, and for the first time in the game we didn’t deal with it,” he said. “I would have been more accepting if they had done something clever to pull a goal out of the bag. We could have defended miles better. “All that running that everybody did has gone to waste. Saying that, the players were fantastic and hopefully that performance against a top team has given everybody hope.” — AFP They extended their lead midway through the second half, with Mata running onto Rooney’s pass and tucking the ball between Hart’s legs despite replays showing he had been offside. DERBY Smalling meted out further punishment in the 73rd minute when he headed in Young’s free-kick and after Carrick had gone off injured, Aguero reduced the damage by bundling in a cross from Pablo Zabaleta. — AFP CLASH Van Gaal says United top dogs after derby MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM: Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal proclaimed that his side were once again the biggest team in the city after they overwhelmed Manchester City 4-2 in the derby. City had won the four previous encounters between the teams, drubbing United 4-1 and 3-0 last season en route to the title, but that sequence came to a juddering halt at Old Trafford on Sunday. Victory, five months on from a 1-0 loss in the reverse fixture, left United four points clear of City in third place in the Premier League, prompting Van Gaal to assert that his men had reclaimed the Manchester throne. “We are at this moment four points ahead, so that is a fact,” he said when asked if United were once again the dominant team in the city. “You are playing for the fans and at the beginning of the season it was not so fantastic to be a United fan, because we have started 11 matches with 13 points and still they have supported us. “And now, this week especially, they can go on the streets, hat up, and say, ‘We are this year the better team, because goal average is in our favour (over the two derby games).’” Just as they had done in last season’s 3-0 win at Old Trafford, City started briskly and took the lead in the eighth minute when David Silva teed up Sergio Aguero for a tap-in. But United stormed back with goals from Ashley Young, Marouane Fellaini, Juan Mata and Chris Smalling, before Aguero claimed his second goal — and 100th in City’s colours — at the death. Young and Fellaini, much maligned under Van Gaal’s predecessor David Moyes, have been instrumental to United’s current run of six straight league wins and the Dutchman hailed both players’ contributions. As well as scoring, from an Ander Herrera cross, Young set up headed goals for Fellaini and Smalling, prompting Van Gaal to describe his performance as “fantastic”. PELLEGRINI DUCKS QUESTION “He was our best player. I am very happy for him,” added the United manager, whose side visit leaders Chelsea next weekend. “Ashley has always played with me. Fellaini also, because he was a lot of times injured, but he is from day one the player who is always doing what I ask. “You can say not always very good, but never bad. That’s also very important for a manager, that a player who always gives a certain level of performance.” — AFP Al Harthy makes promising start to Blancpain season in Italy MUSCAT: Round one of the 2015 Blancpain Endurance Series turned out to be a challenging and frustrating event for Ahmad Al Harthy and the Oman Racing Team at Monza in Italy on Sunday, 12th April, with problems in qualifying and the race masking the squad’s undoubted potential. Initially, the clear pace of the No.44 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 was shown in the opening qualifying session with team-mate Daniel Lloyd posting the sixth fastest Pro Cup time and ninth overall. During the subsequent run, though, the team was badly affected by a red flag stoppage. Ultimately meaning the Oman Racing Team car would start the threehour race from 20th position on the combined grid, a major test awaited the Oman Air, Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs, Ooredoo, National Bank of Oman and Al Hashar Group-backed squad but the opening stint went well for Lloyd. Slicing his way through the order, the British racer gained several positions before handing the car over to Ahmad for his stint but at the pitstop there was a costly delay caused by an issue with the air jacks. Losing chunks of time, Ahmad rejoined the race outside the overall top 30 and so had a mountain to climb to try and minimise the damage to the team’s hopes. Frustratingly, the Omani then noticed an issue with the handling – thought to be a possible puncture – and so pace was limited until the next stop when he handed the car over to Jonny Adam for the final hour. Aston Martin works driver Adam joined the track in 34th position overall but managed to haul the No.44 machine into 28th place before the finish, 17th in the Pro Cup. Although nothing like the kind of result the team had hoped for, or expected, the unhindered performance during first qualifying means there is plenty to be positive about ahead of the next round in May. “We started off in the wrong place at the wrong time in qualifying unfortunately, the red flags caught us out so we were on the back-foot from the beginning”, said Ahmad. “We had very good pace with Dan [Lloyd] in the first stint, we were climbing through well, but then we lost important time at my stop with the air jacks. “I rejoined the race a long way down from where we should have been but then we had a bit of a problem with some pick-up or something. It felt like a slow puncture or something like that, so we had to be cautious. When Jonny [Adam] took over for the last stint, he did his best to gain some places and we were competitive.” 28 omandailyobserver SPORT T U E S DAY APRIL 14 l 2015 THE MASTERS: England’s Justin Rose shot 70 to share second on 274 with 44-year-old US left-hander Mickelson, a ﬁve-time major winner Spieth takes ﬁrst major with historic victory AUGUSTA, UNITED STATES: Jordan Spieth won a historic Masters triumph for the ages on Sunday, the 21-year-old American deftly handling the finalround tension to hold off Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose and win his first major title by four shots. Writing an epic conclusion to a week of domination at Augusta National, Spieth fired a two-under par 70 to finish on 18-under 270, matching the 72-hole tournament record set by Tiger Woods in 1997. “This was arguably the greatest day of my life,” Spieth said. “It’s incredible. “It’s a dream come true.” Spieth claimed the green jacket symbolic of Masters supremacy and the top prize of $1.8 million at the $10 million event by denying two of golf ’s top major champions another crown. “It was very nerve-wracking today,” Spieth said. “With two major champions right behind me, I couldn’t let up.” England’s Rose, the 2013 US Open winner and Spieth’s last-pair playing partner, shot 70 to share second on 274 with 44-year-old US left-hander Mickelson, a five-time major winner who shot 69. “I played a good solid round but I needed something exceptional. I just didn’t quite get it,” Mickelson said. “I just got outplayed. Jordan played great.” Top-ranked Rory McIlroy, seeking a third consecutive major win to complete his career Grand Slam, was fourth on 276 after a 66, one stroke ahead of Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama. Woods, a 14-time major champion, fired a 73 to share 17th on 283, his best finish since 2013 and a sign that the worst of his physical and shotmaking woes might be behind him. “Considering where I was... I’m really proud of it,” Woods said of his effort. Spieth was a runner-up to Bubba Watson last year in his Masters debut after squandering a front-nine lead on 2014 Masters champion Bubba Watson (left) applauds as 2015 Masters champion Jordan Spieth of the US wears his green jacket on the putting green after the Masters at the Augusta National Golf Course in Augusta, Georgia. — Reuters Sunday, but this time responded four times when dropping a shot to his rivals, restoring his margin each time on the very next hole. “Every time I thought there was a chink in the armor, he would come up with a big putt,” Rose said. Spieth, who will jump from fourth to second in the world rankings, became the second-youngest winner in Masters history, five months older than Woods when he won his first major in 1997. Also, Spieth became only the fifth wire-to-wire winner in Masters history, joining Craig Wood in 1941, Arnold Palmer in 1960, Jack Nicklaus in 1972 and Ray Floyd in 1976. “It was awfully impressive,” McIlroy said of Spieth’s performance. Starting with a four-stroke lead after setting the 36- and 54-hole Masters scoring records, the youngest 18-hole leader in Masters history answered every stumble quickly. OCT Seeb qualify for semifinals MUSCAT: Skipper Yousuf Rahim Bakhsh Mahmood scored an unbeaten 55 (32b, 1x6 and 6x4) and claimed 3 wickets conceding 16 runs off 2 overs to lead OCT Seeb to a thrilling 8 run win against Renaissance and qualify to meet Fairtrade in the semi-finals this week end. The Khimji Ramdas sponsored Senior Cup T20 knock-out match was played in the afternoon session during the week end at the Ministry ground No.1 at Al Amerat. Opting to bat after winning the toss OCT Seeb amassed 167 for the loss of 6 wickets off the 20 stipulated overs. The other batters to make valuable contributions were Issam Othman Al Balushi 42 and opening batsman Younis Murad Al Balushi 27 (25b, 4x4). Fernando K.S. with 3 for 33 was the pick of the bowlers whilst Ghazanfar Iqbal picked up 2 for 15 off 4 overs. Set a target of 168 for a win Renaissance were restricted to 159 for 9 wickets at the end of the 20th over with opening batsman Ghazanfar Iqbal top scoring with 35 (25b, 3x6 and 2x4). Brief scores:OCT Seeb: 167/6 off 20 overs (Yousuf Rahim Bakhsh Mahmood 55, Issam Othman Al In a Khimji Ramdas sponsored T20 Intermediate Cup knock-out tournament match played in the morning session at the Municipality Ground No.3 at Al Amerat, Landscape Architecture recorded a comprehensive 7 wicket win against SARCO. Winning the toss and electing to bat SARCO scored 162 for the loss of 6 wickets off their quota of 20 overs thanks to a top score of 73 (44b, 3x6 and 6x4) from Hafiz Mohammed Zahid. Pradeep Rajan picked up 3 wickets conceding 38 runs off 4 overs. Landscape Architecture in their turn thanks to a 99 run third wicket partnership between Darwish Ellickal who remained unbeaten on 64 (49b, 8x4) and skipper Prasad Peruli 40 (35b, 3x4) got to their target scoring 163 for the loss of 3 wickets off 19 overs. Balushi 42, Younis Murad Al Balushi 27; Fernando KS 3-33, Ghazanfar Iqbal 2-15) bt Renaissance: 159/9 off 20 overs (Ghazanfar Iqbal 35, Vijayan Veraiyan 25; Yusuf Rahim Bakhsh Mahmood 3-16, Samir Othman Al Balushi 2-24, Issam Othman Al Balushi 2-29) LANNDSCAPE WIN BY 7 WICKETS Brief scores:SARCO: 162/6 off 20 overs (Haﬁz Mohammed Zahid 73, Gireesha Thingalaya 37; Pradeep Rajan 3-38, Laiju Jose 2-22) lt to Landscape Architecture: 163/3 off 19 overs (Darwish Ellickal 64 n.o., Prasad Peruli 40, Murad Khan 25) ORANGE MART TROUNCE OMAN ENGINEERING Orange Mart booked a place in the Khimji Ramdas sponsored Intermediate Cup T20 knock-out tournament when they trounced Oman Engineering by six wickets. The match was played In the afternoon at the same venue. Batting first after winning the toss Oman Engineering playing with 10 players scored 152 for the loss of 6 wickets at the end of the 20th over with opening batsman Syed Fakhar scoring 30 (28b, 1x6 and 1x4). Requiring 153 to win the match Orange Mart got to their target losing four wickets with 3 overs to spare. Coming in at the fall of the first wicket Vijesh 52 (39b, 2x6 and 5x4) and opening batsman skipper Jeason Jacob 42 (36b, 2x6 and 3x4) put together 102 runs for the 2nd wicket. Orange Mart will clash with Landscape Architecture in the Intermediate Cup semifinals on Friday. Brief scores:Oman Engineering: 152/6 off 20 overs (Syed Fakhar 30, Abdul Hameed 28 n.o., Nagesh Kallollu 27; Gopakumar 2-20) lt to Orange Mart: 153/4 off 17 overs (Vijesh 52, Jeason Jacob 42; Irteza Ahmed 2-20) Spieth ready to take golf throne after win AUGUSTA, Georgia: Jordan Spieth was crowned Masters champion on Sunday and immediately hailed as the new face of golf after completing a wire-to-wire win at Augusta National on Sunday. With a winning game and winning personality, the humble 21-year-old American won over fans around the world with a fearless and clinical display of golf, rewriting the Masters record book on his way to the first of what is predicted to be many major victories. “This was arguably the greatest day of my life,” Spieth told reporters. “To join the club that is the green jackets and to join Masters history and put my name on that trophy and to have this jacket forever, it something that I can’t fathom right now. “It all happened quickly. Sometimes it feels like a long time ago and sometimes it feels like yesterday.” Since taking PGA Tour rookie of the year honours in 2013, Spieth has been on a meteoric rise up the golf rankings. His Augusta win will see him move up to number two on Monday, one step closer to his goal of being the best. “The ultimate goal that I have mentioned each week is try to become the number one player in the world,” said Spieth, who recently signed a 10-year endorsement deal with sportswear giant Under Armour. “I’m still chasing that goal. It’s going to be very difficult but to be a large step closer is huge.” Spieth becomes only the fifth man and first since Raymond Floyd in 1976 to post a wire-to-wire Masters victory. In the process he set 36 and 54 hole records for the tournament while his 28 birdies over four rounds smashed Phil Mickelson’s 2001 mark of 25. With a birdie at the 15th he became the first ever to reach 19-under before a bogey at the last left him on 18-under 270. The total matched the lowest ever Masters winning score and made him the second youngest behind Tiger Woods to wear the green jacket. In his Masters debut last year the young Texan played in the final pairing and finished tied for second behind winner Bubba Watson. He has played a total of eight competitive rounds at Augusta and at the end of each, he was in the top five, the most important coming on Sunday when he signed for a twounder 70 for a four-shot victory over major winners Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose. Even more impressive was the manner of Spieth’s win. He began the final round with four shot cushion and ended it the same way, withstanding an all-out assault from some golf ’s biggest names. Rose, playing in the final pairing with Spieth, came out determined to put pressure on his young opponent with birdies on the opening two holes. But each time Spieth answered with a birdie of his own. Rose clawed his way to within three strokes twice on the front nine but the 2013 U.S. Open champion could not hold his ground. — Reuters Three times on the front nine Rose trimmed Spieth’s lead to three shots and each time the Texan boosted his edge back to four on the very next hole. When Rose made bogey at nine and Spieth followed with a 23-foot birdie putt at 10, the lead was six shots over Rose and Mickelson. RORY SPIETH SETS BIRDIE MARK Spieth’s birdie at 10 was his 26th of the tournament, breaking the Masters mark of 25 set by Mickelson in 2001, and he added two more at the par-5 13th and 15th for good measure. Spieth dropped a shot at the par-3 12th and Mickelson birdied the par5 13th to pull within four. But Spieth birdied 13 to restore a five-shot edge. Mickelson eagled the par-5 15th, blasting in from a greenside bunker, and Rose birdied 14 to join him on 14 under, both four back of Spieth with four to play. Again Spieth responded. He went over the green at 15 but pitched to seven feet and made the birdie putt to reach 19 under par, the first time any player at any point in any Masters was so far below par. Rose birdied to stay four back but he and Spieth parred 16 and 17 and made bogey on 18, Spieth missing a five-foot par putt at the last which would have given him the tournament record alone. WOODS HURTS WRIST McIlroy went four under on the back nine to surge into fourth, his best Masters finish. “I played well,” McIlroy said. “I’m happy with how the weekend went. I’ll take a lot of positives from it.” Woods missed every front-nine fairway and was favoring his right wrist after blasting an approach off pine straw and hitting a tree root at the ninth. “A joint went out of place but I popped it back in,” Woods said. Woods showed at age 39 that he can contend in a major, although he said of his next start, “It’s not going to be for a while.” Woods has not won the Masters since 2005, has not won a major since the 2008 US Open and has not won any tournament since the 2013 WGC event at Firestone. — AFP HOPES I’m getting closer at Masters, McIlroy says AUGUSTA, UNITED STATES: Rory McIlroy says his hopes of becoming just the sixth man to win all four major titles this week by taking the Masters were doomed by a slack front nine on Friday. The world number one went four over to the turn in the second round, four-putting from the edge of the ninth green for a dreadful double bogey six that left him shaking his head. He then covered the relatively tougher back nine in Augusta National in a tremendous 31 for a 71 that would have given him a better shot at it over the weekend, had it not been for the front-running of eventual winner Jordan Spieth. The 25-year-old Northern Irishman finished in style with a 66, the equalbest score of the day, and was alone in fourth, his best Masters showing in what was his seventh tournament at Augusta National. His 276 total was six strokes worse than Spieth’s winning margin, having started the day 10 adrift, and that gave McIlroy more cause to regret his Friday lapse. “I prepared really, really well for this tournament. I came in feeling good and I felt like I played OK Thursday,” he said. “I got it in in red numbers. Just the start on Friday was what really what killed me. “Obviously going to take a lot of positives from it. If someone had told me I’d finish 12-under at the start of the week, I would have taken it and sat back and seen where I finished.” Coming into this year’s first major, McIlroy said that being just 25 years old, he felt no urgency to get a Masters title under his belt this week and stand alongside Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen as the only career Grand Slammers. And his 66 was the second best he has scored to date in the Masters after his 65 to open the 2011 tournament. On that occasion he took a four-shot lead into the final round only to collapse down the back nine to a shattering 80 that left him tied for 15th. Talk of a Masters jinx would be premature, but each year McIlroy does not win it, the pressure will grow on the four-time major winner. — AFP Rory Mcilroy of Northern Ireland walks off the 13th green during the final round of the Masters at the Augusta National Golf Course in Augusta, Georgia. — Reuters ENTERTAINMENT T U E S DAY APRIL 14 l 2015 omandailyobserver 29 SPOTLIGHT SHAILENE WOODLEY TOOK THE HONOUR IN THE FEMALE CATEGORY — AS WELL AS THE SPECIAL MTV TRAILBLAZER AWARD — FOR HER TURN IN “THE FAULT IN OUR STARS” AS A TEENAGER WITH CANCER WHO FALLS IN LOVE WITH A FELLOW YOUNG CANCER SUFFERER (ANSEL ELGORT) AT A SUPPORT GROUP Shailene Woodley accepts the award for Best Female Performance. — Reuters ‘Fault’ wins big at MTV awards T een tear-jerker “The Fault in Our Stars” and “American Sniper” actor Bradley Cooper were the big winners at the MTV Movie Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday. Cooper took Best Male Performance for “Sniper” — Clint Eastwood’s Iraq war drama which was nominated for six Oscars and was a massive hit at the North American box office. Shailene Woodley took the honour in the female category — as well as the special MTV Trailblazer Award — for her turn in “The Fault in Our Stars” as a teenager with cancer who falls in love with a fellow young cancer sufferer (Ansel Elgort) at a support group. The duo’s powerful on-screen chemistry was recognised as they took home the award for Best Kiss and the film, which had cinema-goers in floods of tears, was named Movie Of The Year. Veteran Meryl Streep won the Best Villain prize for “Into the Woods,” while other offbeat awards included Best Fight, which went to Will Poulter and Dylan O’Brien for “The Maze Runner.” Zac Efron was honoured for Best Shirtless Performance in “Neighbors” at the awards, which take a sideways look at the film industry and fall outside the traditional Hollywood awards season. Efron and Dave Franco were named Best Duo for the comedy, which received decidedly mixed reviews from film critics on release. Robert Downey Jr was recognised for his achievements down the decades with the Generation Award. The actor received the prize from Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth and Jeremy Renner, some of his fellow cast of “The Avengers: Age of Ultron”, which is about to be released. “In the 34 years that have passed since the birth of MTV, I’ve grown up, I’ve struggled, I’ve failed. I’ve partied way too much,” joked Downey, 50, clutching the award, which resembles a box of popcorn. Sporting a pair of sunglasses, he then turned serious, adding: “I begged for second chances and literally clawed my way to the top.” As is usual for any awards night, many were more interested in what the great and good of Hollywood were showcasing on the red carpet. Johansson paraded in a pink jumpsuit that matched her rosy cheeks and lips, while Jennifer Lopez was striking in an all-black tuxedo-miniskirt combo and high heels that left little to the imagination. Model and actress Cara Delevingne also stood out in a purple minidress complete with lace and dramatic draping. — AFP Host Amy Schumer poses backstage Kevin Hart with his Comedic Genius Award Robert Downey Jr with MTV Generation Award THEATRE From Royal Ballet to Broadway, via the shower Q JENNIE MATTHEW L eanne Cope built a career in the rarefied world of Britain’s Royal Ballet. So it was something of a shock when acclaimed choreographer Christopher Wheeldon asked her to sing in a shower cubicle. It was an unorthodox audition for Broadway’s newest star, who made her New York theatre debut on Sunday night in new musical “An American in Paris” — a recrafted, modernised version of the 1951 Oscar-winning film. “I got a message from Christopher over Facebook saying I heard you used to sing in the school choir and would you be interested in singing for me?” Cope said ahead of New York’s starstudded opening night. “It was a Saturday between a double showing of ‘Swan Lake.’ I went up to the changing room and I sang for him in a shower cubicle because he said it would have the best acoustic.” At the time, Cope had no idea what it was for, but after numerous auditions, she won the role of Lise Dassin, a Christopher Wheeldon (C) and cast members of “An American in Paris” take a curtain at the Palace Theatre in New York on Sunday. — AFP French ingenue who falls in love with an American artist in after the liberation of Paris in 1944. To play the role, she took a sabbatical from the Royal Ballet, where she is First Artist, swapping one of the world’s finest classical dance companies for the razzmatazz of Broadway. “Yes it’s terrifying, but even my husband says you’re a different person when you’re doing this kind of theatre,” she said. “I think maybe I feel a little bit more at home here than I ever felt just doing ballet, so maybe this shoe fits.” Based on the book by Craig Lucas and Hollywood film starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, the score is by George and Ira Gershwin and the musical has long ballet sequences choreographed by Wheeldon, who is also director. It tells of the romance between Dassin and Jerry Mulligan, who competes for her love with a US composer and French resistance fighter turned cabaret star as they recover from the horrors of World War II. “One of the big innovations was that we were able to speak about Paris in a more grounded and truthful context,” Wheeldon said. “It is still a romantic comedy but the romance feels almost more potent because it comes out of this very dark period of history, which makes it very different from the film.” The show made its world premiere in Paris in November, dismissed by one US newspaper as a “try out,” winning rave reviews and selling out 40 performances at the Theatre du Chatelet. To cross the Atlantic, it has been tightened and perfected into an incredible performance of elegant dancing, particularly by the exquisite Cope, stunning costumes and breathtaking sets. JLo, Casper Smart spotted with friends S inger-actress Jennifer Lopez and her former boyfriend Casper Smart were seen dining and dancing with friends in Las Vegas. Smart and Lopez, along with several friends, dined and danced at the MGM Grand’s Hakkasan Las Vegas Restaurant and Nightclub on Friday, reports people.com. Lopez, who wore a white jumpsuit and carried a leopard Valentino bag, arrived for dinner with friends at the restaurant, and “cozied up” at their Private Dining Room table, said a source. After dinner, Lopez, 45, made a quick change for a night of dancing. Clad in a crop top, leggings, sneakers and a bucket hat, the “Feel the light” hitmaker enjoyed the music from her VIP table on the nightclub’s fourth floor main stage. The source said that Lopez, “in good spirits,” posed for photographs with several fans and waved when clubgoers yelled her name. The duo initially called it quits in June 2014, after dating for over two years. They vacationed together on April 4, celebrating Smart’s birthday and the Easter holiday in Ensenada, Mexico. Smart later shared a video on Instagram, biking along the beach with Lopez back in California. Preity Zinta on ‘MasterChef India 4’ set A ctress Preity Zinta along with co-judges of dancebased reality show Nach Baliye 7 — author Chetan Bhagat and choreographer Marzi Pestonji — gave a surprise visit to the grand finale of “MasterChef India 4”. As the “Nach Baliye 7” shooting was taking place next door, the trio decided to pay a surprise visit on the set of the cooking-based reality show, which is heading towards its grand finale on Sunday. The three judges of “MasterChef India-4” — Sanjeev Kapoor, Vikas Khanna and Ranveer Brar — were pleasantly surprised by the visit. “It was a pleasant surprise to see the ‘Nach Baliye’ judges on our set. This was not planned and we had a lot of fun. Our finalists Neha, Bhakti and Nikita were thrilled to no extent,” Kapoor said in a statement. According to a source from the set, Bhagat was seen saying that the common factor between food and dance is that both are done from the heart. Bhagat even made Khanna learn some dance moves from Pestonji. “Nach Baliye 7” will be aired from April 26 on Star Plus. Paltrow, Martin ‘to divide their wealth evenly’ A ctress Gwyneth Paltrow and singer Chris Martin are reportedly set to split their £200 million fortune down the middle. According to a source, the former couple, who announced their decision to get divorced last year, intend to split their wealth evenly and share custody of their children Apple, 10; and Moses, nine, reports mirror. co.uk. “They’re worth pretty much the same amount so are planning to halve everything. They have too much dignity to row about who has what, who should have the most money and who should see most of the kids,” the source said. “From the moment they decided to go their separate ways, they decided they would not allow the world to see them fight over money. “Now they are both moving on with their lives, they see no need to complicate things — they are just keeping it nice and simple,” the source added. 30 LIFESTYLE omandailyobserver CULTURE Learn rabic EVERY TUESDAY WITH OMAN OBSERVER ARABIC TRANSLITERATION ENGLISH Jack:mata tatla’ ala’barih li.masirah? Salim: tatla’ alsa’eh saba’h. hel turiid takhid sayartk li.masirah? Jack: na’m! bikem alsyarh alsghiirh? Salim: a’shrit ryalat. bes sa’eh wahidah li.masirah. -DFNKHOKLQDNPWD¶P¿LDOD¶EDULK" Salim: la! mumkin takl mn almyna’. honak mt’em saghiir. Jack: hel ahtaaj tethkera? Salim: la bes rooh ala’barih. Jack: shukran ma’ el.salamah ȒȜǍƸƫƓȜȤƾƃƯŽȚǕƴƭůǟƄž ǌųƺůǋƁǍůǚƀ .ǀƯƃŴǀŸƾƉŽȚǕƴƭů ȒȜǍƸƫƓǙůȤƾƸŴ ȒȜǍƸưƫŽȚȜȤƾƸƉŽȚǛƳŮ !ǛƯſ ȜǍƸƫƓȜǋŲȶǀŸƾŴǏŮ .ȝǽƾƁȤȜǍƪŸ. ȒȜȤƾƃƯŽȚǠźǛƯƭžȱƾƶƀǚƀ ǛƯƭžȱƾƶƀ .ȔƾƶƸƓȚǜžǚżƺůǜƳƛ !ǽ ǍƸưǧ. ȒȜǍżǌůȟƾƄŲȖǚƀ ȜȤƾƃƯƴŽȠȶȤǏŮǽ. ǀžǾƉŽȚǕžȹȚǍƳŵ When does the ferry to Masirah leave? It leaves at 7. Do you want to take your car to Masirah? Yes! How much for a small car? 10 OMR. It is only one hour to Masirah. Is there a restaurant on the ferry? No. You can eat at the port. There is a small restaurant. Do I need a ticket? No, you can board the ferry and pay directly. Thank you. Bye. EXTRA VOCABULARY tethkera shatii’ sayarah ‘ebarh myna’ ȜǍżǌů ȔǠŶƾŵ ȜȤƾƸŴ ȜȤƾƃŸ ȔƾƶƸž Ticket Beach Car Ferry Port CULTURAL LESSON: Greetings are a big part of Omani culture. If you walk into a closed space, you are expected to say as-salaamu alaikum. In addition, when people greet you, you should greet them back. Actually, it is considered impolite if you enter a place and you do not greet the people who are there. Expanding Opportunity through Education and Training www.amideast.org\oman The Love of Chunhyang by the Universal Ballet of Korea T he beauty of classical Western ballet and music are united with a traditional Korean romance in the Universal Ballet of Korea’s production of The Love of Chunhyang, which will be performed at the Royal Opera House Muscat on April 16 and 17. The Love of Chunhyang is the story of the beautiful Chunhyang, the daughter of a Kisaeng (female entertainer), who is in love with Mongryong, the son of a local aristocrat. When Mongryong has to move to the capital with his family, the new governor tries to force Chunhyang to be his entertainer. Her love for Mongryong is too deep, so she refuses. She is tortured, imprisoned and sentenced her to death for disrespecting the governor, but Mongryong returns just in time to save her. The ballet, which gives ballet lovers a chance to admire Korean culture, was originally created in 2007, based on a libretto by Bo Hi Pak, and adapted in 2009. The choreography is by Brian Yoo, based on a production by Jung-hye Bae. The music is by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, arranged for the Universal Ballet by Fumiyo Motoyama. The role of Chunhyang will be danced by Hyemin Hwang on April 16 and Misun Kang on the 17th. Mongryong is danced by Jaeyong Ohm (16th) and Dongtak Lee (17th), while Governor Pyun is danced by Jiadi Dong (16th) and Taeseok Kim (17th). ROHM’s Acting Director General and Artistic Director Umberto Fanni stated: “This is a stunning production that brings the best elements of ballet, such as the romantic pas-de-deux, ballet solos and corps de ballet dances to a rich Far Eastern culture. We are thrilled to have the Universal Ballet of Korea return to our stage, following their triumphant debut here in 2011.” The Universal Ballet of Korea was founded in 1984. The company is based in Seoul, South Korea. The dancers and staff hail from over a dozen countries in Europe, North T U E S DAY APRIL 14 l 2015 ‘Around the World with Artists’ art exhibition M uscat-based Mona Lisa Art Club will be holding an exhibition titled ‘Around the World with Artists’ from April 16 to 18 at Muscat City Centre Atrium, Al Seeb. Part of American Women’s Group, Mona Lisa Art Club endeavours to promote art in Oman by providing a unique platform for the established and emerging women artists to share and present their creativity. It is aimed at making a meaningful contribution towards making Muscat a cultural hub and melting pot for artists from all over the world. The exhibition showcasing different kinds of works of about 30 artists from the Sultanate would be organised alongside Travel Point’s ‘Big Summer Sale’ promotion event from 10 am to 10 pm on these 3 days. An amalgamation of a variety of art traditions, the paintings on display would present creative concepts in different mediums by noted and emerging artists. Talking about the exhibition, Mona Lisa Art Club’s President Sushmita Gupta said: “The artists are going to showcase different cultures, traditions and destinations from all over the world. Done in various mediums, the artists are going to present the unique aspects of people, heritage and natural beauty of the most popular and exotic international destinations from their own perspective and artistic interpretation. The visitors to the exhibition would be mesmerised by the sheer variety of the art offerings. It is a great opportunity for art enthusiasts to indulge in the artistic exhibits of gorgeous destinations and book their dream trip to their favourite destination on a common platform. We are thankful to Travel Point LLC for their support in putting together this art exhibition.” Video games to cure autism? N on-violent video games which capitalise on engaging storytelling have prosocial benefits that could ultimately be helpful to clinical disorders such as autism, says a study. “The motivation to engage in and enjoy video games corresponds with principles that apply to human motivation in general,” said lead researcher Daniel Bormann from University of Freiburg, Germany. To test the role of in-game storytelling, the researchers randomly assigned participants to play one of two video games. In the first game Gone Home, the player slips into the role of a female American college student, arriving home after a year abroad. The player comes upon an empty house and has to use various clues to figure out what happened to her missing family members. America and Asia. The company brings the grace and harmony of Asian culture and philosophy to the strength and beauty of ballet. Since it was founded the company, now led by General Director Julia Moon, Artistic Director Brian Yoo, and Artistic Director Emeritus Oleg Vinogradov, has gained increasing international fame and recognition. The Love of Chunhyang will be performed for two nights on April 16 and 17 at 7:30 pm. BEWARE Eating out linked to high blood pressure L ove to eat out often — Take care because this may not go down well with your blood pressure, says a new study. Eating meals away from home has been shown to be associated with higher caloric intake, higher saturated fat intake and higher salt intake. These eating patterns are thought to cause high blood pressure. The new study shows that even eating one extra meal out raised the odds of pre-hypertension by six per cent. Globally, high blood pressure, or hypertension, is the leading risk factor for death associated with cardiovascular disease. “Our research highlights lifestyle factors associated with prehypertension and hypertension that are potentially modifiable, and would be applicable to young adults globally, in Singapore. especially those of Asian descent,” said School Singapore. Data on blood pressure, body mass lead researcher professor Tazeen Jafar The team surveyed 501 universityfrom Duke-NUS Graduate Medical going young adults aged 18 to 40 years index and lifestyle, including meals eaten away from home and physical activity levels, were collected. Their association with hypertension was then determined. Using statistical analysis, the team found that pre-hypertension was found in 27.4 per cent of the total population, and 38 per cent ate more than 12 meals away from home per week. Those who had pre-hypertension or hypertension were more likely to eat more meals away from home per week, have a higher mean body mass index, have lower mean physical activity levels, and be current smokers. The gender breakdown showed that pre-hypertension was more prevalent in men (49 per cent) than in women (9 per cent). The novel finding in this study is the link that Jafar’s team was able to show between pre-hypertension and hypertension with meals eaten away from home. The study was published online in the American Journal of Hypertension. For the control condition, the game was against the Wall, in which the player has to climb up an infinite wall by interacting with the bricks, in surreal but humanmade surroundings. Apart from a brief description of the environment and goals, the game provided no narrative elements. For the game rich in storytelling (Gone Home), researchers provided one group of participants the game developers’ instructions and provided a second group of participants instructions to register, memorise, and evaluate various properties of the game. After 20 minutes of gameplay, all participants completed a task in which they assessed facially expressed emotions. The researchers found that narrative game elements contributed to a more immersive video game experience. They also found that being immersed in a game’s story supports players in perceiving opportunities for meaningful choices and relationships. “The results suggest that in-game storytelling contributes to a more immersive and satisfying video game experience while also fostering skills that are useful to players on a day-to-day basis,” Bormann said. The researchers feel that long-term work on narration in video games could yield promising opportunities. “If further research could reveal how exactly in-game storytelling affects theory of mind, clinicians and software developers could utilise this knowledge to develop tools to aid the treatment of disorders characterised by social-interaction impairments, like autistic disorders,” Bormann concluded. The study was published in Social Psychological and Personality Science. SPOTLIGHT T U E S DAY APRIL 14 l 2015 omandailyobserver 31 DR RAJAN PHILIPS [email protected] Tiny Rays of Sunshine T POZNAN: Unjustly overlooked by tourists Q ANDREAS HEIMANN I t’s fairly common knowledge that the Polish city of Cracow is worth seeing and that Gdansk is beautiful. But Poznan? For many people, the city of 560,000 is largely unknown. Who knows, for example, that the last castle built by German Kaiser Wilhelm II was in what was then the German city of Posen, or that one Ludwig Kazmierczak was born there. Who? He was a grandfather of current German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Not to forget Lech or the Poznan croissant, a pastry specialty for those who like their croissants sweet. In any case, Poznan is something special. “Poznanites are considered to Poland’s strictest, hardest-working people,” says Jan Wawrzyniak, head of the Polish tourism office in Berlin, who is from Poznan. ‘‘And they are regarded as miserly.” Wawrzyniak tells a joke to illustrate this. ‘‘A Poznan man falls from his roof. On his way down he shouts through a window to his wife: ‘Dear, cook lunch for only one person today — I have to go to the hospital!’” Digging into the city’s history involves exploring many old buildings, such as the ornately decorated Town Hall, located just around the corner from the Old Market. The town hall was completed in 1555, but had already had a predecessor that was 300 years older. Then there is the Market Square, the third largest in Poland after those in Cracow and Wroclaw. In the city hall there are historical photographs on the walls showing how the square looked in 1945 at the end of World War II. Many buildings were direct casualties of the bitter fighting between the advancing Red Army and the retreating Germans, with 85 per cent of the old city centre completely destroyed. Today, nothing of that destruction remains to be seen. Poznan’s history did not begin at the Market Square, but rather on the Ostrow Tumski, a natural island in the Warta River. It was here that Prince Mieszko, a regional strongman, let himself be christened in 966. Ever since, Polish history and the Catholic Church have been closely intertwined. Shortly afterward, Poznan became the first bishopric of Poland and Mieszko had the St Peter and Paul Cathedral built on the island. He and his successors, including several kings, were buried there. A completely new approach to Mieszko’s time and the centuries that followed is provided by Porta Posnania, the interactive history centre on the banks of the Warta River. Visitors can take a virtual tour through the history of the city featuring information provided by an audio guide and numerous multi-media screens. Classic tours are still available at the neo-romanesque palace that Kaiser Wilhelm II had built in Poznan. It was intended to make an impression and above all, appear huge. The 75-metre-tall tower became the tallest building in the city. “It was completed in 1910,” castle tour guide Michal Chmielewski informs his group. The interior rooms however are more reminiscent of the Nazi period. Chmielewski describes how, under the Nazi German occupation, the new Nazi district chief made the palace into his residence, decorating it according to prevailing Nazi tastes. He also had a balcony built in case Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler should come to Poznan and go outside to address his adoring supporters. He never did. Lectures are held in what used to be the reception room of the empress, and the offices of the Poznan film festival Transatlantik are housed on the premises, as are the consulates of France, Guatemala and the Philippines. Some rooms are used by music and dance groups, or for photography or acting classes. That stands in contrast to the Stary Browar (Old Brewery), the city’s smartest shopping mall. — dpa RESEARCH o those who despair: ‘What can I do as an ordinary individual do to the violent and troubled world we live in a better place? American poet Julia Carney’s beautiful lines, ‘Little drops of water,/Little grains of sand, /Make the mighty ocean/And the pleasant land’ provide a motivational answer. And that seems to be the guiding spirit of the fast growing trend of Micro volunteering. In simple terms, micro volunteering involves individuals taking up convenient, and small actions, often from home, in support of a good cause. For instance, it could be as simple as writing a comforting letter to an elderly and lonely hospital patient or sending some toys to a terminally ill little child or visiting them. Even a conservation effort such as recycling a few books and CDs would qualify as a good act. More often, it could be an online activity via the Internet including, those in support of the activities of a well established non-profit charity organisation. Micro volunteering is already very popular in Australia, the US, Spain and many parts of Asia. As days pass it is gaining in popularity since it is perceived as convenient as it can neatly fit into one’s everyday schedule from where we are. The demand on time is also quite small. It can go with the busiest of lifestyles. Quite often, the volunteer tasks are broken into small parts to make it simple. There is scope for tapping the services of a big number of volunteers. This is termed crowd sourcing. No elaborate processes are involved nor are any specialised skills. Even full-time employees can enrol without ever having to leave the workplace. The growing popularity and significance of micro volunteering has prompted the enthusiasts to institute a day, International Micro volunteering Day to create greater awareness about this innovative humanitarian and socially helpful activity. First ever observance was in 2014 on April 15 and tomorrow will the second year of its celebration. Primary aims of the Day are to create greater appreciation towards those already engaging in micro volunteering tasks, inspiring organisations to embrace the idea to expand its network of volunteers and stimulating positive discussion. This Day offers real impetus to those who have the urge to do something worthwhile for the less privileged in society. Today, many websites and blogs are available to provide a gateway to hundreds of practical possibilities to choose from. Modern micro volunteering networks started in May 2008. But obviously, it is still in its experimental/nascent phase with plenty of room for refinement. We must realize that micro volunteering is simply another way of doing voluntary work. It is meant to replace traditional volunteering. But it has the potential to attract those who may not have otherwise opted for charity work as a conventional volunteer. What makes it attractive for small time good Samaritans at heart is the scope of devoting their spare time to good causes via technology in a quick and easy mode on their own terms. Micro Volunteering Day that falls tomorrow is a timely reminder that we can all help in our little way with what we have and from where we are. And yet hope to make a difference. Let us assimilate and be motivated by the spirit of the charming lines of Julia Carney. Let us believe that the cumulative impact of our efforts will be tremendous and will ennoble our seemingly smalls acts of goodness and kindness in our endeavour to spread a little more sunshine in the lives around us. Quotes: z The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired. — Gordon B Hinckley z Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more. — H Jackson Brown Jr z Volunteers are paid in six figures... S-M-I-L-E-S. — Gayla LeMaire z Volunteers may not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart. — Elizabeth Andrew Baby sea turtle’s ‘lost years’ mystery unravelled Know why some people are slow learners R esearchers have found an important new clue in the sea turtle’s “lost years” mystery. New findings suggest that sea turtles are very active swimmers even at a tender age of six-18 months, and they do not just passively drift in ocean currents as researchers once thought. Where exactly turtles travel in their first years of life, before returning to coastal areas as adults to forage and reproduce, has puzzled scientists for decades. “With a better understanding of swimming behaviour in these yearlings we can make better predictions about where they go and what risks they might encounter,” said lead author Nathan Putman from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Upon hatching, young sea turtles swim offshore and disperse with the help of ocean currents. The turtles are rarely observed during the next two-10 years or so. Not much is known about these juveniles’ movements during this time and researchers dub it the “lost years”. But it has been widely assumed that turtles simply drift with ocean currents. In the new study, researchers placed specially designed solar-powered tags on 24 green and 20 Kemp’s ridley wild-caught sea turtle toddlers in the Gulf of Mexico. The tags were tracked by satellite for a short period. Next to the turtles, they deployed small, carefullyweighted/passively-drifting surface buoys that were also tracked by satellite. When the drifter tracks were compared to the sea BEHAVIOUR W turtles’ movements, the researchers found that the turtles’ paths differed significantly from the passive drifters. Using observed and modelled ocean current conditions, they found a difference of distance between the turtles and drifters to be as much as 200 km in the first few days. In nearly every instance, the toddlers’ swimming behaviour appears to help them reach or remain in favourable ocean habitats. “The results of our study may ultimately lead to new ways to protect these endangered animals,” said coresearcher Kate Mansfield from University of Central Florida. hy are some people able to master a new skill quickly while others take longer? That is because the neural activity in quick learners is different from that in slow learners, reveals a study. The findings suggest that recruiting unnecessary parts of the brain for a given task — similar to thinking over a problem — plays a critical role in this important difference. “It’s useful to think of your brain as housing a very large toolkit,” said lead researcher professor Scott Grafton from University of California Santa Barbara. “When you start to learn a challenging new skill, such as playing a musical instrument, your brain uses many different tools in a desperate attempt to produce anything remotely close to music.” “With time and practice, fewer tools are needed and core motor areas are able to support most of the behaviour,” he explained. However, beyond a certain amount of practice, some of these cognitive tools might actually be getting in the way of further learning, the researchers found. The study participants played a simple game while their brains were scanned with fMRI. The technique measures neural activity by tracking the flow of blood in the brain, highlighting which regions are involved in a given task. Surprisingly, the participants who showed decreased neural activity learned the fastest. The critical distinction was seen in the frontal cortex and the anterior cingulate cortex — thought to be most critical for executive function. “In fact, good executive function is necessary for complex tasks but might actually be a hindrance to mastering simple ones,” Grafton said. Grafton also said that the frontal cortex and the anterior cingulate cortex are among the last brain regions to fully develop in humans, which may help explain why children are able to acquire new skills quickly as compared to adults. The findings were published online in Nature Neuroscience. TUESDAY | APRIL 14, 2015 | JUMADA AL THANIA 24, 1436 AH P29 P30 P31 Inside ‘Fault’ wins big at MTV awards The Love of Chunhyang at ROHM Poznan: Unjustly overlooked by tourists FOLLOW US ON: www.omanobserver.om [email protected] The Colours of CoBrA “ C Q MELANIE HELD very positive and thought ‘let’s rebuild it!’ and also in the art movement.” The name CoBrA has a double meaning, whereby the first one is derived from the capital cities in which the artists lived and worked in, Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam. “CoBrA was an ‘Avant Garde’ group of artists and poets established in the autumn of 1948. They set out to change art by returning to a naive, childlike way of working,” explained Paul Doubleday, General Manager of Bait Al Zubair. Founded in Paris during 1948, a group obra art is not in-between the line, it is outside the line,” explained Els Ottenhof, Director of the Cobra Museum of Modern Art in the Netherlands. For the first time in the Gulf, the Sultanate of Oman is hosting the CoBrA art work which will be on display at Bait Al Zubair until May 7. “The Cobra Movement stands for creative freedom and experimentation, passion and vitality, and social engagement.” “I cannot really describe what the joy,” says Barbara Joziasse, Dutch Ambassador to Oman. “The pleasure and honour that I feel seeing you all here with very fine art works waiting for us The second meaning comes from their of European artists created CoBrA as a inside. Europe had to be rebuilt, and that motto, and thus they chose the ancient way for them and others to express life and themselves in a ‘free manner’ and not was where you saw people who were symbolism of the snake. confined themselves to the classical and realistic form that was present. The opening night of ‘The colours of CoBrA’ was a night of excitement for many involved, as it had taken over 6 months for Bait Al Zubair, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Cobra Museum of Modern Art to come together and present this exhibition to the people of Oman. Inaugurated under the auspices of Sayyid Badr bin Hamad bin Humoud al Busaidi the exhibition looked to bring people back to the simplicity of life, the bold and vibrate colours that it holds and the wonders, layers and textures that is visible all around us. Els Ottenhof said, “CoBrA art movement was truly an international “COBRA WAS AN ‘AVANT GARDE’ GROUP OF ARTISTS AND POETS ESTABLISHED IN THE AUTUMN OF 1948. THEY SET OUT TO CHANGE ART BY RETURNING TO A NAIVE, CHILDLIKE WAY OF WORKING” movement. It’s a crucial link between modern art and contemporary art. The core values of the movements are, innovation creativity and optimism.” As the guests filled the entrance of Bait Al Zubair, patiently waiting for the opening, an air of excitement filled the grounds as the works of artists such as Asger Jorn, Karel Appel, Henry Heerup and Pierre Alechinsky would be revealed to them for the first time in Oman. “The colours of CoBrA transport us to post world war Europe in a time where an age of destruction slowly turned into a new era of creation,” expressed Paul Doubleday Talking about the exhibition itself and what Bait Al Zubair plans to in cooperation with the Cobra art and the local community, Paul said, “The works are also very accessible to children, who see a lot more than we do with their ever inquisitive eyes, a child’s imagination shows no boundaries. Because of that we have been working with the miners of education to organise workshops for over one thousand children and art teachers from the government and private schools, as well as working with colleges and universities to offer their students the change to explore some of the best of the Cobra period in Oman.” After its founding over more than 65 years, this exciting and powerful movement in the light of art has not lost any of its power or meaning. Cobra has been accepted into the canon of the history of 20th century art. The childlike, spontaneous styles and the theoretical thinking and philosophy of this group have had enormous significance for the development of modern and contemporary art in Europe and abroad. With ‘The Colours of CoBrA’ on display until May 7, this exhibition is one that truly transcends to people of all ages and backgrounds.