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8.7bn spent on oil sector in sultanate

VOL. 34 NO. 151| PAGES 32 | BAISAS 200
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Chief Executive Officer
Japan hopes to resume whale hunt Pakistan, China eye metro train project Amazon soaking up less carbon now Editor-in-Chief
Oman Establishment for Press, Publication and Advertising
PO Box 974, Postal Code 100, Muscat, Sultanate of 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.
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
UK Conservatives
take six-point lead
[email protected]
OPTIMISTIC: Muscat-Sohar pipeline to be completed in 2016
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
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.
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
Mina Al Fahal
refineries was 81
million barrels
(of which 46
million barrels
were produced
refinery and 35
million barrels
from Mina Al
Fahal refinery
MAX: 370C
MIN: 270C
MAX: 300C
MIN: 230C
FAJR: 04:26
DHUHR: 12:07
ASR: 15:34
MAGHRIB: 18:27
ISHA: 19:57
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
(increase of 0.2%)
Rain in Saturn similar
to an earthly drizzle
Great White Spots can be seen by telescopes from Earth
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
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.
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
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
Upgradation of Madha
and Haima hospitals
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
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
(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.
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
T U E S DAY l A P R I L 1 4 l 2 0 1 5
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
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
“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
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.”
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.
APRIL 14 l 2015
Iran-Oman gas pipeline talks still on: Rumhy
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
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
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
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
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.
“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
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
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
In terms of the current regional
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
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
The Sultanate continues its
participation in the congress by a
delegation led by Hussain bin Ali al
Hilali, Attorney General.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
The Board approved the estimated
budget for the planned investment
projects after it had viewed the
presentations on these projects.
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
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
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
A working paper dealing with
the mechanism of CSR and how to
develop the concept, will be presented
by researcher Ahmed al Mukhaini.
Conference is expected to see a
wide participation of civil society
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
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
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
DU’s Friends Club gesture to sick children
April 13: The Friends Club
of the Students Affairs
University visited the Sultan
distributed gifts among the
children who are undergoing
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.
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
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
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
T U E S DAY l A P R I L 1 4 l 2 0 1 5
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.
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
‘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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
Hong Kong has a separate customs
jurisdiction from mainland China,
which imposes tariffs on foreign
imports. — AFP
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
Japan hopes to
resume whale
hunt this year
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.
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
APRIL 14 l 2015
Taliban kills 18 Afghan
soldiers, some beheaded
OUTPOST STORMED: Bid to save missing soldiers is under way
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
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
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
government installations.
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
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
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
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
APRIL 14 l 2015
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.
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.
“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
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
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’
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,
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,
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
APRIL 14 l 2015
It is right, ‘service to man is service to mankind’
[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.
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.
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
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
“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,
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
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
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
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.
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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Abdullah bin Salim al Shueili
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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
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.
century depends on cooperation and
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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
Telangana CM
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
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
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
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.
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.
APRIL 14 l 2015
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
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
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
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
“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
“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
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
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.”
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
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
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
“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
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
“It’s a massive blast. I guess it could be
about 50 kg IED (Improvised Explosive
Device) used to trigger a blast near a
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Indian ship to make last trip from
Yemen to Djibouti on Tuesday
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.
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.
T U E S DAY l A P R I L 1 4 l 2 0 1 5
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
APRIL 14 l 2015
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.
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.”
An activist in Eden
Aid workers said Sanaa is also
suffering, as air strikes hit rebel
positions there and supplies dwindle.
“There is a food and water
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
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
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
“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
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
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
He has warned against a change in
government while the wider region is
embroiled in violence from Libya to
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
“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.
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.
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
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,
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
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
Tribal leaders in al-Anbar have
accused the government of failing to
arm local tribes who are willing to
fight the extremists.
— dpa
to be back in
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
The study is based on analysis of the
birth, growth and death rates of 200,000
trees in 321 forest plots dotted across
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
“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
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
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
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
APRIL 14 l 2015
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.
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
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
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
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
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
boys ride
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
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
Top organisations back logistics meet Oman’s National Energy Strategy soon Asian stock markets mostly up FOLLOW US ON:
[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
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
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
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
assurance that your
Kia is being attended
by the people who
know it best — the
skilled professionals
at Kia service!
“This is part of
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.”
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.”
APRIL 14 l 2015
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
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
“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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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.
MSM Daily Bulletin As on 13/04/2015
Regular Market
Market Cap
Open Price
Diff %
OM0000001533 OMINVEST
OM0000002614 ONIC. HOLDING
Security Name
OM0000002200 AHLI BANK
OM0000003398 BANK SOHAR
OM0000003968 OOREDOO
OM0000002796 BANK MUSCAT
1,256,250,000 0.100
1,210,082,331 0.100
OM0000002549 BANK DHOFAR
Traded Sec.
Market Cap
Parallel Market
PDO unveils 600,000 barrels daily output target
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
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
commented: “Simply put, we are
working to create more value through
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.
Open Price
Diff %
OM0000004420 BANK NIZWA
Security Name
Traded Sec.
Open Price
Diff %
Market Cap
Traded Sec.
Open Price
Diff %
Market Cap
OM0000004867 BANK MUSCAT C C B 4.5
Traded Sec.
Third Market
Security Name
Bonds Market
Security Name
Trading Summary
Buy %
Buy %
Sell %
Sell %
Nationalities Trading
MSM30 Index
82.43 %
75.25 %
66.67 %
48.69 %
Financial Index
7.32 %
7.49 %
8.33 %
9.96 %
Industrial Index
1.02 %
0.66 %
2.36 %
1.35 %
Services Index
9.23 %
16.60 %
22.64 %
39.99 %
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
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
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
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
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
China last year recorded its slowest
annual growth since 1990, expanding
7.4 per cent, down from 7.7 per cent in
“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.
— its highest since March 11, 2008 — on
turnover of 781.7 billion yuan ($127.3
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
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
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.
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.
APRIL 14 l 2015
Investment risks and how they can be avoided
Lo’ai B
([email protected])
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
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
characteristics, religious and social and
emotional tendencies play role in taking
an investment risks and encounter
respective risks of the associated
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.
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
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
The potential economic rebound
or recession that a certain region and
Istanbul’s financial hub goal hampered
by lightweight stock market
urkish President Tayyip
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
It also raises questions about the
viability of the government’s drive to
make Istanbul a global top-10 financial
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
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
The investor should be aware of
the potential risks associated with
the investment he is going through,
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
Yum’s upmarket China
diner seeks recipe and
new menu for revival
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.
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
At around $220 billion, Istanbul’s
stock market is the world’s 29th largest,
well behind some emerging market
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
Trade is concentrated on just a
handful of companies, with just ten
stocks accounting for 70 per cent of
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
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
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”,
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
APRIL 14 l 2015
Online Editor’s Choice
by Brian Basset
by Bill Watterson
by Jim Davis
Building wherein father shelters a
stray dog (6)
Silver seaman with singular undies
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
Like pineapples, they’re handy for
throwing (8)
Junior player (6)
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)
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
28 Border of Hashemite Kingdom (3)
30 Letter to obtain permission to
sunbathe (4)
Cask (6)
Unusual (8)
Parts (4)
Believe (6)
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)
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.
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.
by Jan Eliot
Hospital. . . . . Board . . . . . . . Emergency
Royal . . . . . . . 24599000 . . . 24590491
Health Services Department
Muttrah . . . . . . . 24797602
Quriyat . . . . . . . 24845001 . . . . 24845003
SQH, Salalah. . . 23211555 . . . . 23211151
Police. . . . . . . . . 24603988 . . . . 24603980
Al Nahda . . . . . . 24831255 . . . . 24837800
Ibn Sina. . . . . . . 24876322 . . . . 24877361
Nizwa. . . . . . . . . 25439361 . . . . 25425033
Al Rustaq. . . . . . 26875055 . . . . 26877186
Sumayil. . . . . . . 25350055 . . . . 25350022
Izki . . . . . . . . . . . 25340033 . . . . 25340033
Your sensitive
nature may
sometimes be
an obstacle to
forming a lasting
While you are
anxious to
please those
close to you,
there is always
the problem
of clashing
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
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
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
keep your mind on the job.
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
Once you have spent your money
on a particular article, it is always
easy enough to find the same
thing a lot cheaper somewhere
A friend, whose visit which
you were not exactly looking
forward to, will make his stay
unexpectedly amusing and
A legal matter may need some
further explanation and you
must not hesitate in consulting
a solicitor, no matter what the
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.
APRIL 14 l 2015
Situation Vacant
IT TeacherƒŽ‡‘”
ƒǤ ʹͶ͸ͻ͸ʹͷͶǡ
SENIOR marketing
Situation Wanted
MALE, 24, BCom, MBA
Situation Wanted
Situation Wanted
ͳǤ ƒ‹‡…”‡–ƒ”›
ʹǤ —–‘…ƒ†‡…Š‹…‹ƒ
͵Ǥ ‹˜‹Ž‰‹‡‡”‹ͷ
ͶǤ Ž‡…–”‹…ƒŽ‰‹‡‡”
For Sale
’Ž‡ƒ•‡Šƒ†‘˜‡”–‘Ǥ ʹ͵ǡͺͺ͸•“–”•
Salesman cum
Hardware Engineer
Operational Manager,
ͶǤParents Relationship
ȋȀȌwaiters ‘‘‹Žϐ‹‡Ž†•ƒ††”‹˜‹‰
ƒ†ƒcaptain ™‹–Š
family driver
1. ƒ
Tint and body paint
protection installer to
Manager and Marketing Public
‡Žƒ–‹‘ˆϐ‹…‡” with
‡š’‡”‹‡…‡†Engineer to
CIVIL Engineer‹Ͷ
SYRIAN Mashavi Cook
and Moroccan Lady
Sales Manager, ‘–‡ŽǤʹͶ͹ͲͶͻͻͶ‘”
—’’Ž›‘’ƒ›‹ƒǤ · · · · ·
‡‡†HSE personal,
Salesman ƒ†Electrical
…‘ C‘–ƒ…–‘ǣͲͲͻ͸ͺ
Executive ™‹–Š͹–‘ͳͲ
ȄLight driver
ȋͳȌǡHeavy driverȋͳȌǡƒ†
Engineering. –‡”‡•–‡†
SALES Manager‘ˆ
Biomedical Technician
MechanicǢʹǤElectrician ‡š’‡”‹‡…‡ǡ
hardware TecǤ
‘–ƒ…–‘ǤͻͻͶͶ͹ʹͷ͹Ȁ Ǧƒ‹Žǣ‹ˆ‘̷
Ȉ ƒŒŒƒ†”ƒ
Ȉ •‡†ˆ—”‹–—”‡ˆ‘”•ƒŽ‡
Ȉ ƒ—…Š…‡”‡‘‹‡•‘ˆȋ”‡•–ƒ—”ƒ–•Ǧ
Ȉ ‘„ƒ†•
Ȉ ‡ƒ…Š‹‰†”‹˜‹‰
Ȉ ‘—•‡•…Ž‡ƒ‹‰Ǧ•‡”˜‹…‡•ƒ†’‡•–
For information, please call:
92721879 - 99639264
Tel: 24649597, Fax: 24649590
BankMuscat account: 0397003776610011
Bank Dhofar account: 01040141195001
E-mail: [email protected]
[email protected]
Tours and Airport Transfer
Tel: 24582663
GSM: 95859497,
Fax: 24582664,
[email protected]
AHAD 2000 for rent car.
93203481, 93204595.
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
AL Hikmani for
— 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,
ARE you looking for a
voyage with your
family on a legacyboat, including
buffet? Only with RO
15/-. For more [email protected]
com 92808636.
Gel (Cockroaches),
Public Health
Snake repellent, Rodent
other insect
repellent from
Ltd UK.
in Pest Control Service,
Bedbug Treatment, Rodent
Treatment, Snake Treatment
and Termite Treatment
(Pre and Post Construction).
Tel: 24787606 / 24787503
Fax: 24787607
E-mail: [email protected]
P. O. Box: 565, Wadi Kabir,
Postal Code: 117,
Available on UNBEATABLE prices
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.
If you would like to know
more about
Islam, please call:
Tel : 99425598, 96050000,
99353988, 99253818,
99341395, 99379133, For
ladies: 99415818, 99321360,
Or visit:
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:
INVESTOR required.
New project under
process. Gourmet
sweet brand. Call:
(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,
CCTV & IT solution
CCTV, Time
LAN, Wan, DSL,
PABX Exchange
installation, Laptop,
Printers and Copiers
repairing. Contact
VILLA for rent in
Wattayah 3 bedroom,
sitting room, garage.
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
A ǧhouse in Al
Maabela encompasses 2
bedrooms, kitchen, living
room, and 3 toilets.
Contact 99357404.
Cartridges also available
For Rent
4 BEDROOM villa at
Madinat Al Alam RO
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
bedroom +
showroom, 18
November road, Al
Ansab consists
of 6 bedrooms, 6
toilets and a large
kitchen is for rent.
on UNBEATABLE prices
[email protected]
For Rent
All Cartridges also available
Ruwi: 24792-792
SANDOS of Babel
Transport Trading
And Contacting
announces that
it is intending to
convert its name
to Line Spectrum
International L.L.C.
Beneficiaries should
be informed of the
1510 Printer
RO 11.000 only
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
Treatment, Yoga
Massage &
slimming. Web
address: www.
SPECIAL Rates on
New Cars & 4 WDs
For Sale/Rent
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
BEDROOM furniture villa
at Maabela 5. For more
details pls call
LIVING room & utilities in
Al Hail, 3 bedrooms,
sitting room
FURNISHED flat in South
Al Maabela. 3 bedrooms +
living room + kitchen + 3
bathrooms. Area 185
sqm, Price: RO 400.
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.
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.
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.
2 BEDROOM flat in Al
Ghubra near Oman Oil 18
November Street, RO 330
monthly. 99333479 or
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.
Public relation
Services (PRO),
Auditing, Formation
New Companies,
Foreign Investors
Visa, Legal Services.
Contact Saleh:
Car for Sale
BMW 745i, 2002, silver
with black, very good
condition, good price.
VILLAS for sale/
rents WADI
rent/ Al Khuwair)
(Flats for rent/
Wadi Kabir).
Sale and Buy
OFFICE & Household
furniture and
electronics items.
ͳǤ AC maintenance
and servicing.
ʹǤFridge, washing
machine and dish
washer repairing.
͵ǤPainting and
cleaning services. ͶǤ
Electrical, plumbing
and carpentry
work 97014234,
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
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Kings XI conquer Mumbai Indians in IPL City blown away by United fightback Spieth takes first major with historic Masters win FOLLOW US ON:
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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.
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
“I feel I competed well and took care
of my serve very well,” Sock said of his
“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
“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.
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
“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.
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
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,
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.
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. —
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
— 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.
APRIL 14 l 2015
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
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
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.
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
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
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho shouts instructions to his team. — Reuters
goal. One point would have been fair but
we played well with the circumstances.”
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
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
“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
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.
Van Gaal says United
top dogs after derby
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”.
“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
“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
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
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
“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.”
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
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)
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 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
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
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
“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.
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
His Augusta win will see him move
up to number two on Monday, one
step closer to his goal of being the
“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.
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
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.
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
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.
I’m getting closer at
Masters, McIlroy says
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
“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
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
APRIL 14 l 2015
Shailene Woodley accepts the
award for Best Female
Performance. — Reuters
‘Fault’ wins big at MTV awards
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.
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
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
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
From Royal Ballet to Broadway, via the shower
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
breathtaking sets.
JLo, Casper Smart
spotted with friends
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,
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.
Zinta on
India 4’ set
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.
“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’
ctress Gwyneth Paltrow
and singer Chris Martin
are reportedly set to split their
£200 million fortune down the
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.
“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
Learn rabic
Jack:mata tatla’ ala’barih li.masirah?
Salim: tatla’ alsa’eh saba’h. hel turiid takhid sayartk
Jack: na’m! bikem alsyarh alsghiirh?
Salim: a’shrit ryalat. bes sa’eh wahidah li.masirah.
Salim: la! mumkin takl mn almyna’. honak mt’em
Jack: hel ahtaaj tethkera?
Salim: la bes rooh ala’barih.
Jack: shukran ma’ el.salamah
njųƺůNjƁǍůǚƀ .ǀƯƃŴǀŸƾƉŽȚǕƴƭů
ǛƯƭžȱƾƶƀ .ȔƾƶƸƓȚǜžǚżƺůǜƳƛ !ǽ
When does the ferry to Masirah leave?
It leaves at 7. Do you want to take your car to
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
Do I need a ticket?
No, you can board the ferry and pay directly.
Thank you. Bye.
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\oman
The Love of
Chunhyang by
the Universal
Ballet of Korea
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
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
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
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
APRIL 14 l 2015
‘Around the World with
Artists’ art exhibition
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
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.
Eating out linked to high blood pressure
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
Globally, high blood pressure,
or hypertension, is the leading risk
factor for death associated with
cardiovascular disease.
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.
APRIL 14 l 2015
[email protected]
Tiny Rays of Sunshine
POZNAN: Unjustly
overlooked by tourists
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
Not to forget Lech or the Poznan
croissant, a pastry specialty for those
who like their croissants sweet.
In any case, Poznan is something
“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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
“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
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
turtles’ movements, the researchers found that the
turtles’ paths differed significantly from the passive
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
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.
‘Fault’ wins big at MTV awards The Love of Chunhyang at ROHM Poznan: Unjustly overlooked by tourists FOLLOW US ON:
[email protected]
The Colours
of CoBrA
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
the line, it is
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
“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.
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
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
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
eyes, a child’s
shows no
of that we
have been
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.
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