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June 24, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Arts & Humanities, Performing Arts, Drama
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Omair: Drop in shale output caused oil price rebound

Boko Haram pledges allegiance to Islamic State

NO: 16454

150 FILS

3 40 PAGES



Expats chill with Dubai desert off-roading



Messi breaks Spain hat-trick record as Barca go top


Assembly panel approves draft law for domestics Barrak’s release sought • UAE to try ex-MP Duwailah

Min 09º Max 26º High Tide 01:46 & 14:08 Low Tide 08:10 & 20:33

By B Izzak and Agencies

Snapchat holds talks with Saudi Prince Alwaleed DUBAI: Senior management of Snapchat held talks with Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal on potential cooperation, the prince’s investment company said in a statement yesterday. The meeting, which included the mobile messaging company’s Chief Executive Evan Spiegel and Chief Strategy Officer Imran Khan, comes as Snapchat embarks on a new funding round that values the business at up to $19 billion. “On the agenda of discussions was future potential business cooperation between Kingdom Holding and Snapchat in the technology field,” Kingdom Holding, which is 95 Prince Alwaleed percent owned by Prince Alwaleed, said in a statement without elaborating. The billionaire prince has made a number of investments in technology brands in the past, including social messaging service Twitter and Chinese e-commerce company JD.com Inc. Los Angeles-based Snapchat, which allows its more than 100 million users to send messages that disappear after a few seconds, is looking to raise as much as $500 million in its latest funding round. — Reuters

RABAT: Moroccans shout slogans during a protest calling for gender equality as they mark International Women’s Day yesterday. The placards read in Arabic: “An invitation to think, not to blaspheme” and “We won’t compromise on women’s rights”. International Women’s Day is marked on March 8 every year and is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. — AFP

KUWAIT/ABU DHABI: The National Assembly’s health and labor committee yesterday approved the first ever draft law governing the affairs of domestic laborers in Kuwait, granting them a number of key human rights. Head of the committee MP Saadoun Hammad said the approval came after deliberating all its articles and reducing them to 62 from the original 75 and after debating the opinion of various government bodies concerned with domestic helpers. Domestic helpers in Kuwait, whose numbers exceed 600,000, are governed by a decision by the interior ministry because they are not covered by the labor law in the private sector. Hammad said that the committee added an article to tackle the issue of maids fleeing their employers to new ones, stipulating that new employers will have to pay a certain amount of money in addition to airfare. The law bans recruitment offices from advertising for maids on the basis of religion or color or any other humiliating way. It also requires recruitment offices to provide maids with insurance throughout the work period. The draft law, which requires the approval of the National Assembly and acceptance of the government to become law, introduces KD 45 as minimum monthly wage and bans the appointment of those who are under 20 years and above 50 years of age. The law stipulates eight working hours per day, introduces public holidays and that maids must get paid weekly rest days and annual leave. In addition, employers are not allowed to seize their passports. Continued on Page 13



Kuwait participates in 59th UN women rights session heading the Kuwaiti delegaNEW YORK: Kuwait’s particition to New York, noted the pation in the 59th session of importance of presenting the UN’s Commission on the applicable solutions to ease Status of Women is a chance the suffering of women in difto showcase the country ’s ferent countries. Meanwhile, achievements in the field, a the Chairperson said that the Kuwaiti government official UN had planned to hold the said yesterday. 59th session coinciding with The event mainly focuses the International Women’s on violence against women all Day. The official also praised around the world, especially in countries suffering political Sheikha Latifa Al-Fahad the decision to establish a family court in Kuwait to supcrises, said Sheikha Latifa AlAl-Salem Al-Sabah port the role of women in difFahad Al-Salem Al-Sabah, Chairperson of the Cabinet’s Committee on ferent aspects of society and protect their Women’s Affairs. Sheikha Latifa, who’s rights. — KUNA

KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah meets His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah at Bayan Palace yesterday. — KUNA

Amir, Crown Prince receive top officials CAIRO: Ambassador Abdulhamid Al-Failakawi is seen during the meeting. — KUNA

Arab officials hold meeting to follow up on Summit resolutions CAIRO: Ambassador Abdulhamid AlFailakawi, the head of Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry’s Arab World Department, headed yesterday a meeting of the Arab League permanent delegates, which was held as a prelude to a ministerial meeting due today. The meeting, held within the framework of a special commission charged with following up and implementing the Arab Summit resolutions, was convened in preparation for the ministerial-level meeting, due today under chairmanship of Kuwait’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, said Ambassador Ahmad Bin Hilli, the Arab League Deputy Secretary General, in a statement at start of the meeting. Today’s meeting is designed to follow up on resolutions of the Arab Summit, hosted by Kuwait in March 2014, Bin Hilli added, hailing His Highness the Amir

Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah for the great efforts he had exerted to ensure the Summit success. He also praised Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled for his major role in forming delegations tasked with drumming up international support for Arab causes, namely the Palestinian question, Lebanon and Somalia. Bin Hilli expressed hope that such distinguished Arab effort would continue in the future to support the League resolutions and causes of the nation. He added that the Secretariat General had prepared, in coordination with Kuwait, the Summit current chairman, a full report about following up on resolutions, to be submitted to the ministers during their tomorrow’s meeting. The report includes recommendations on obstacles hindering implementation of some resolutions, pending submission to the upcoming Summit due in Sharm El-Shekikh at the end of this month. — KUNA

KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah received at Bayan Palace yesterday HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Ali Al-Ghanim, HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak AlHamad Al-Sabah and First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah AlKhaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah. Meanwhile, HH the Crown Prince received Marzouq Al-Ghanim, HH Sheikh Jaber AlMubarak, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled, First Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah and Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah. Separately, HH the Amir sent a cable of condolences to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud over the demise of Prince Saud bin Sultan bin Saud bin Abdullah Al Saud. In the cable, HH the Amir expressed his heartfelt sympathy to the Saudi King, praying to the Almighty Allah to bestow his mercy upon the deceased, and grant the Saudi Royal family patience and solace. HH the Crown Prince and HH the Prime Minister sent similar cables. In other news, HH the Amir and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces Sheikh Sabah

Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah is scheduled to patronize the graduation ceremony of the 19th batch of university-level officers, and the 42nd

group of commissioned officers. The event takes place at Ali Al-Sabah Military Academy at 10:30 am this morning. — KUNA

Kuwaiti lawyers visit the Netherlands BRUSSELS: The Board of Directors of the Kuwait Lawyers Association begins today a visit to international courts and organizations affiliated to the United Nations in The Hague, as well as to the Dutch Union of Lawyers and law and training centers in the Netherlands with aim to strengthen cooperation with these organizations. The visit has been coordinated by the Kuwait Embassy which is keen to see that program covers the requirements and interests of Kuwait Lawyers Association and achieve the desired results, said Tareq Al-Shumaimri, Counselor at Embassy of Kuwait in The Hague and Executive Board observer at the Permanent Court of Arbitration. Shumaimri stressed the importance of the visit saying it comes within the framework of the distinguished relations between the State of Kuwait and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, with more than 50 years of political and trade cooperation.

KUWAIT: Australian Ambassador Warren Hauck presents his credentials First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad AlSabah. — KUNA photos

He noted that cooperation has been flourishing between Kuwait and the courts and international organizations in The Hague to which Kuwait has memberships and positions since a long time. The lawyers’ visit ends on Friday, and includes a visit to the Dutch Union of Lawyers, the International Court of Justice, the Permanent Arbitration Court of Justice, Organization for Prevention of Chemical Weapons, the International Criminal Court, the University of Leiden and The Hague Academy of Law. Shumaimri stressed that this visit was preceded by a visit of Kuwaiti Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs Yaqoub Al-Sane to The Hague last week, as well as the visit of a delegation from the Kuwaiti Judicial Council a few months ago which have contributed to increased cooperation between the international judicial organization and Kuwait. — KUNA

First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah receives credentials of the new Ambassador of Thailand Prasas Prasasvinitchai.

Foreign Minister receives ambassadors’ credentials KUWAIT: First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah received yesterday the new Ambassador of Australia to Kuwait Warren Hauck, and the new Ambassador of Thailand Prasas Prasasvinitchai, who presented their credentials. Meanwhile, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled received Jamaica’s Ambassador to Kuwait Audley Rodriques, and Cambodian Ambassador Kim Long on the occasion of ending their

tenures in Kuwait. The meetings were attended by Foreign Minister’s office director Ambassador Sheikh Dr Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah and Director of the Protocols Department Ambassador Dhari Al-Ajran. Separately, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled received a letter from the Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi. The message deals with bilateral relations and means of enhancing them in all fields besides issues of mutual interest. — KUNA

Kuwait, Italy discuss exempting Kuwaitis of Schengen visa ROME: The possibility of exempting Kuwaiti citizens from the Schengen tourist visa highlighted talks between Kuwaiti Ambassador to Italy Sheikh Ali Khaled AlSabah and Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano held at the Italian Interior Ministry headquarters yesterday. The ambassador praised Rome’s strong support for the request for exemption of Schengen tourist visa for Kuwaitis and reviewed Italian efforts within the EU to achieve this, the Kuwaiti embassy in Italy said in a statement. The talks also tackled problems facing entry of Kuwaiti patients, students and scholarships to Italy, in addition to facilitating visits by Kuwaiti tourists and businessmen to Italy, with consideration to the forecast attendance of thousands of people of (Expo Milan 2015) that kicks off in May next year. For his part, Minister Alfano stressed his country’s keenness on boosting cooperation and the special friendship with Kuwait, noting Kuwait’s main role in face of security challenges, namely mounting terrorist threats. The two sides also discussed issues of common interest, and talked aspects of mutual cooperation in the security field, exchange of experience, latest investigation techniques and border security. — KUNA

ROME: Kuwaiti Ambassador to Italy Sheikh Ali Khaled Al-Sabah and Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano are seen during their meeting yesterday. — KUNA



Drop in shale output caused oil price rebound: Oil minister Prices may improve this year

EQUATE, EPA, and GPCA officials as well as the volunteers are seen in a group photo.

EQUATE, EPA, GPCA form partnership for Waste Free Environment campaign KUWAIT: EQUATE Petrochemical Company, Kuwait’s first international joint-venture in this industry, the Environment Public Authority (EPA) and Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) launched, for the third consecutive year, a partnership for the Waste Free Environment (WFE) campaign for Beach Cleanup. The campaign’s partners for this year included Kuwait Municipality, K’s Path and

KUWAIT: EQUATE President and CEO Mohammad Husain speaks during the event. —Photos by Joseph Shagra Touristic Enterprises Company. Held outside the Green Island, the activity was attended by over 300 persons, including EQUATE employees, school students and other volunteers, who collected 1,813 kilograms of waste. EPA Director-General Sheikh Abdullah Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Sabah expressed gratitude to EQUATE and all the event’s partners, noting that EPA will always do its best in light of law number 42 for the year 2014 to ensure protecting and preserving the environment as a whole for Kuwait’s best interests. Overall sustainability On his part, EQUATE President and CEO Mohammad Husain said, “This event is not only about cleaning up the beach, but it is an embodiment of our continuous commitment to protect and preserve the environment for overall sustainability as part of our corporate strategy. Why are we doing this? It is simply because the environment deserves our care and attention. The environment, with all its elements, is a critical part of our existence and daily lives as a whole. This activity is part of sharing success with all

stakeholders, yourselves included, to ensure the environment is protected and preserved. It is a comprehensive commitment that requires an overall partnership between all of us. Your presence here today is a living example of our slogan ‘Partners in Success’ in Kuwait and beyond. Throughout the years, EQUATE has launched several world-class environmental initiatives, including the Middle East’s First Plant Water Recycle Project, Kuwait’s First two projects for CO2 recovery, Kuwait’s First Seawater Cooling Towers, and others. In conclusion, I would like to extend utmost appreciation and gratitude to all of you, the Environment Public Authority (EPA), Kuwait Municipality, K’s Path, Touristic Enterprises Company, schools, media members, and our employees.” Improper disposal GPCA Secretary-General Dr Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun said, “As an industry involved with the production of plastic-a product that is often erroneously blamed for environmental problems-we feel it is essential to educate and engage with different groups about the persistent issues surrounding improper waste disposal. Education plays a crucial role in the campaign, which highlights the fact that plastic litter in marine and desert environments is largely due to irresponsible disposal of plastic waste combined with poor waste management, a lack of regulatory framework and insufficient recycling infrastructure. Plastic forms an integral part of daily life, and is used in the automotive, aerospace and food packaging sectors so the solution to waste is not cutting the production of this vital product but in the reuse and recycle of its many applications,” explained Dr Sadoun. “In the long term, we hope that initiatives like the WFE demonstrate that ultimately, litter is a behavioral problem: plastics do not litter; people do.” Since the launch of the GCC campaign in 2013, the WFE has grown in size, participation and collection. The 2014 edition saw a record collection of 11 tons of waste from 5,512 participants from GPCA member companies, schools and local communities in nine GCC cities. Volunteers included students from 71 schools and universities, and included clean- up teams in beaches and waters as part of the day-long campaign.

DUBAI: A drop in shale oil production has triggered a rebound of global oil prices, but prices will not rise sharply as long as the world’s economy stays sluggish, Kuwaiti Oil Minister Ali AlOmair was quoted as saying by state news agency KUNA. Many factors are affecting oil prices, including violence in Iraq and Libya, KUNA quoted Omair as saying late on Saturday during a visit to Bahrain for an energy industry conference. Reduction of output will not have a major impact without a global economic recovery that would spur demand, he added. He said projections showed prices might improve this year, but added that they might also stay between $50 and $60 a barrel. Later at an energy conference in Bahrain yesterday, Omair argued that Kuwait could live with current oil prices. Brent crude oil closed Friday just below $60, up from lows near $45 hit in mid-January. Asked about OPEC’s decision last November to maintain output instead of cutting it in an effort to support prices, Omair said it “was not a hostile resolution but balanced”. The issue of oil’s drop is the collective responsibility of all oil producing countries, both OPEC and non-OPEC, he added without elaborating. Last week, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister Ali Al-Naimi said he expected oil prices to stabilize as supply and demand balanced, and urged non-OPEC producers to help balance the market. —Reuters

Mohammad Al Thani, Ooredoo Kuwait’s General Manager and CEO, and Rafiah Ibrahim, President Ericsson Region Middle East and East Africa.

MANAMA: Kuwaiti Oil Minister Ali Al-Omair meets Bahrain’s Minister of Energy Dr Abdulhussain Mirza after arriving to Manama late Saturday. —KUNA

Sheikh Mohammad Al Thani, Ooredoo Kuwait’s General Manager and CEO, and Victoria Strand, Head of Ericsson Gulf Council Countries and Pakistan.

Sheikh Mohammad Al Thani, Ooredoo Kuwait’s General Manager and CEO, and Chafic Trabulsi, Head of Global Customer Unit Ooredoo at Ericsson.

Ooredoo partners with Ericsson to deploy Advanced LTE in Kuwait During a celebration at World Mobile Congress BARCELONA: Ooredoo Kuwait, a member of Ooredoo Group, announced its partnership with Ericsson to deploy the first LTE Advanced small cell solution. This milestone is the latest in a successful ten-year partnership between Ooredoo Kuwait and Ericsson. Signing this deal took place last week during the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The event, to which the biggest mobile service providers across the world flock annually, was attended by Ooredoo Kuwait General Manager and CEO Mohammad bin Abdulla Al Thani, Corporate Communications Director Mijbil Alayoub, Chief Sales Officer Tamer Shibil, and CEO Consultant Dr Hamad Alnuaimi. Commenting on this, Ooredoo Kuwait’s General Manager and CEO Mohammad bin

Abdulla Al Thani said: “Kuwait has witnessed an exponential growth of data traffic in the LTE network. The overall data traffic since 2013 grew by 7 folds, or 600%. We are positive that this partnership with the reputable Ericsson will further boost our capacity and provide a differentiated user experience to our customers in Kuwait.” Rafiah Ibrahim, President Ericsson Region Middle East and East Africa said: “Mobile broadband is now an integral part of our everyday lifestyle where constant connectivity is expected anytime, anywhere. By introducing our integrated LTE advanced small cells into the LTE network, we are able to provide Ooredoo in Kuwait with more reliable and higher capacity network that will continue to support their customers’

connected lifestyles.” By integrating Small Cell solution as part of the macro mobile network, Ooredoo Kuwait can cost effectively provide increased network capacity and improved coverage. It also provides full-service transparency in the network, ensuring that, Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services over LTE, designed specifically to provide broadcast service over cellular network, and similar functionality work seamlessly in the network. In the context of an advanced LTE market with heavy uptake of data services, Ooredoo Kuwait’s deployment of the LTE Advanced Small cell solution will help it to stay ahead of competition through advance and innovative solutions.

Major General Abdullah Al-Muhanna, the Ministry of Interior’s Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs, and other participants at the inauguration ceremony.

2015 GCC Traffic Week underway People can avail services at Avenues By Faten Omar

Major General Abdullah Al-Muhanna, the Ministry of Interior’s Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs, is welcomed to the venue.

A traffic police officer distributes brochures to drivers as part of the GCC Traffic Week activities.

KUWAIT: The unified Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) traffic week kicked off yesterday under the patronage and in the presence of Major General Abdullah Al-Muhanna, the Ministry of Interior’s Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs and the Chairman of the Organizing Committee for the activities of the 2015 Traffic Week. Delegates from the GCC, Major General Saleh Bo Dustor and a number of General Department of Traffic leaders were also present in the flag off ceremony of the traffic week which will run until March 13, 2015. Muhanna welcomed the delegates of GCC states and emphasized the greetings of Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammed Al-Khalid Al-Sabah and the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior Lieutenant General Sulaiman Fahad Al-Fahad, and wished the guests a pleasant stay in Kuwait. Road safety “The celebration includes a number of events related to road safety, hoping that the

events will increase the traffic awareness among the public. The exchange of experiences between the GCC countries and Kuwait has added a lot of technological development,” said Muhanna. Traffic Week’s events began yesterday

morning with a field trip in General Department of Traffic with the delegations of the GCC visiting the central control room where they observed the roads and recorded the accidents. Faisal Zafiri, Head of the Central Control Signals Optical Traffic Control provided

Officers are seen during a presentation at the traffic control department.

a brief explanation on the observation of traffic signals and the control system. Mohamed Al-Mansoori, Head of Traffic Operations also gave a brief explanation of the mechanism for tracking the traffic patrols system, explaining the road works, intersections mechanism and how the cameras work. Avenues booth As part of the Traffic Week program, the General Department of Traffic will open a booth today at the Avenues Mall at 6 pm, where people can pay their tickets, unblock the suspended licenses and get the cars that are reserved by the traffic department with no paperwork and long lines. The GCC delegates will visit Al-Razi Hospital, the Driving School, and the Museum of Cars. Muhanna thanked the GCC delegates and also praised the role of citizens and residents and what they are doing to support all the activities to raise the standard of traffic on the road. On the other hand, the Gulf delegates praised the advanced level of the Traffic Department of Kuwait and the security for traffic procedures to serve citizens and residents.



289 arrested, 93 deported in February 97 felonies, 254 misdemeanors investigated Fugitives arrested An Iraqi, bedoon and a Gulf national were arrested following a hot pursuit, during which the driver ran several traffic lights, ending in colliding with a concrete barrier, injuring him and his companions. A security source said an Ahmadi police patrol saw a car being driven erratically, and followed until it reached Fahaheel Expressway, where it hit the center cement barrier. The driver was found wanted on three cases, the bedoon was wanted to serve a four-year jail sentence and the Iraqi was wanted to serve two months in prison. Six rings, suspected of being stolen, were found with them. In a separate case, a citizen was sent to the civil sentences implementation department as he is wanted over a KD 30,000 debt. He was arrested in Mahboula.

By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Police arrested 289 persons and 93 were deported during the period from February 1 until February 28, 2015, said Adballah Al-Ajmi, Acting Director of Hawally Security Department. He said there were 97 felonies and 254 misdemeanors investigated in the same period.

The Egyptian suspect with one kilogram of ice.

3 arrested with drugs Drugs Control Department local unit arrested an Egyptian national with one kilogram of ice. Security men raided his residence where they found the drugs. He was sent to concerned authorities after he confessed that the drugs belonged to him. In other news, Farwaniya police arrested a person with more than 500 gram shabu with him. The drugs were found in his car. Meanwhile, police found 57 small envelopes containing heroin with an undisclosed taxi driver. No injuries in fires A fire spread in a paint warehouse in an eight-storey building in Kheitan. Farwaniya and Subhan fire security men rushed to the scene, evacuated the tenants and put out the fire. No injuries were reported. Separately, a fire broke out inside in a room on the roof of a mall in Salmiya containing wooden boards and goods. Salmiya firemen evacuated the building, and the fire was contained and put out within 15 minutes, sources said.

The police patrol car flipped over after the accident.

Police car flips over A police patrol car flipped over near the American University. Preliminary information indicates that there are three policemen who were injured. The police rescue team rushed to the scene to deal with the accident.

The scene after the fire in Kheitan. Kuwait Municipality confiscated and destroyed seven tons of fish that are not fit for human consumption. The fish reportedly came through Nuwaiseeb border crossing during January and February. Istiqlal AlMusallam, Director of Imported Food Department said the entire fish shipment was destroyed at Nuwaiseeb. The shipment belonged to several companies. ATVs in camp confiscated In other news, the municipality warned against renting all terrain vehicles (ATVs) in the camps area considering the possibilities of dangers involved. Mishal Aba Al-Safi,

Head of the Emergency Team in Ahmadi said 27 ATVs were confiscated. Children killed in accident, fall A six-year-old Kuwait boy was killed when he was run over by a car in Ali Sabah Al-Salem. The driver, a Sri Lankan man, was arrested. Meanwhile, an Egyptian boy, also 6, died after he fell from the fifth floor of a Jahra building. Husband stabbed Police arrested a woman for stabbing her husband four times in Mubarak AlKabeer. He was taken to Adan Hospital.

Arson probe Police are investigating the circumstances of a fire that destroyed four cars in front of a citizen’s house in Mishref. The cars are valued at over KD 100,000, and it is possible it’s a case of arson. Cross-dressers arrested Two men were arrested for cross-dressing, as they had women’s clothes and makeup on. Meanwhile, an addict who escaped from the psychiatric hospital and threatened his brothers with a knife was arrested.

Two sell liquor in bus Ahmadi police arrested two Indian men who used a bus to sell liquor from. A search revealed169 bottles the men were in possession of. Both were sent to concerned authorities. Suspect drives off A Hawally traffic officer accused a Kuwaiti man of stealing goods worth KD 225. According to the officer, he left some of his belongings in the citizen’s car while waiting for the tow truck to arrive to impound it. He alleged that the suspect got into the car using a spare key and drove off with the goods in it. Firefighters are pictured while fighting the blaze at the Salmiya mall.

Food dept seizes fish The Imported Food Department at

KUWAIT: More than 540 weapons and at least one and a half tons of ammunition were handed over so far during the ongoing national weapons collecting campaign, the Interior Ministry announced yesterday. The 4-month-long campaign allows people to handover weapons and ammunition in their possession at 38 centers around Kuwait, or by calling the hotline 1888839, without facing legal action.

Fireman’s Festival concludes By Hanan Al Saadoun KUWAIT: Major General Al-Ansari said the fireman’s festival this year was distinguished by the preparations, public awareness and sponsors. Ansari was speaking during the conclusion of the festival Friday in Souk Sharq. “What distinguishes the festival is the support it receives from State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdallah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah,” he said. He thanked all the sponsors and Souk Sharq for facilitating the event. Ansari said the 14th festival next year will coincide with the fourth international fire conference, and hoped to have a mechanism that “enables us to raise the competition performance between fire centers. He also lauded the participation of army, National Guard, and KOC fire centers in the event.



A Research vessel undergoes rough weather sea trials off Cork Harbour, Celtic Sea, Republic of Ireland, on March 7th, 2015. The catamaran was designed and built for the Kuwait Institute of Scientific Research (KISR). These final sea trials were in preparation for the boat’s delivery voyage to Felixtowe, England next week, from where it will be trans-shipped as deck cargo to Kuwait. The vessel was designed and built by Safehaven Marine Ashgrove, Cobh, Co Cork, Ireland.

MPs prepare to grill Ibrahim, Omair By A Saleh KUWAIT: A meeting was held yesterday at MP Sultan AlShemmari’s diwaniya attended by 7 lawmakers, wellinformed parliamentary sources said. The MPs discussed the bad debts issue as well as their preparations to grill Minister of Electricity and Water and Public Works Abdulaziz Al-Ibrahim, as well as Oil Minister Ali Al-Omair, the sources added. ‘Grace’ for ministers MP Saleh Ashour said that the parliament’s decision to mandate the government to respond to Audit Bureau’s remarks was an unprecedented parliamentary monitoring measure. He added that the government would have to present reasonable responses to those remarks and that serious ministers would be granted enough grace to reform affairs. Child law Chairman of the parliamentary family and women’s committee Ashour said that the articles disputed with Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Hind Al-Subaih concerning child protection have been included in the new child law. He added that 40 juvenile-related articles had been removed from the law to be included in a separate bill to be submitted by the government soon. Fodder subsidies MP Saif Al-Azmi wondered about the motive behind Kuwait Flour Mills Co’s decision to lift subsidies on barley, which has greatly increased animal feed prices, affecting both herders and consumers. “This directly led to increasing prices of livestock,” he charged, urging the government to solve the problem and undo this decision. KU Rector Education Minister Dr Bader Al-Essa received a list of candidates for the new Kuwait University Rector post, to replace Dr Abdellatif Al-Bader. The minister will follow the procedures of nominating one out of the five chosen by the committee headed by former minister Dr Rashid AlHamad, as the report will be sent to the cabinet. One of the nominees is an academic professor, besides a former university rector, and both favor the “liberal” faction, according to sources.

Special needs students to enroll in public schools By Meshaal Al-Enezi KUWAIT: The Ministry of Education announced its intention to bring together learners with special needs with normal peers in public schools from the beginning of the next school year, said informed sources, noting that some educators believe that it is still too soon for this step because those students have mental abilities and would normally be surpassed by healthy students. Minister receives UNDP reps Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and Minister of State for Planning and Development Hind Al-Subaih yesterday received representatives of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), who discussed a plan to set health, vocational safety and inspection standards that match international ones. Meanwhile, Subaih recently issued a decision to dissolve Fatima Al-Zahraa Charity and temporarily transfer its funds to the ministry. Moreover, MSAL undersecretary Mutar Al-Mutairi issued a decision on forming a special investigation committee to review Salwa Co-op’s accounts. Asbestos landfill Kuwait Municipality’s deputy director recently urged Director Ahmed Al-Subaih to refer allocating a landfill site to bury asbestos waste in Jahra to the municipality’s legal affairs department so that it could be reviewed more thoroughly pending referral to the fatwa and legislation department and the Cabinet. Municipality mulls environmental issues Kuwait Municipality made a study for updating and developing a comprehensive strategy for Kuwait’s industrial areas, and a Cabinet decree was made in this regard, said Ahmad Al-Manfouhi, Kuwait Municipality Building Organization and Structural Plan Director. The study included allocating industrial areas at state level, based on environmental studies. There was coordination with all state departments to meet their demands through a workshop, including the Environment Public Authority (EPA), Manfouhi said. Meanwhile, the Municipal Council approved the allocation of land for the Industry Public Authority (IPA) in Salmi covering an area of 100 km, with the condition that all Kuwait factories be moved there. In other news, Kuwait Municipality approved a request by the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) to shift the activity of Horse Riding Club to women’s gym, covering an area of 917.5 meter square, within the entertainment heritage village in Saleel Al-Jahra.


Fr om the Arabic press Al-Jarida


At Morocco Street corner

The ‘New Kuwait’ account

By Hassan Al-Essa By Mudaffar Al-Abdullah


enerally speaking, no public servant works until 3:00 pm in a nation where leniency dominates all public work departments due to lack of administrative punishment. Yet, last Thursday, I saw a very heartening phenomenal sight that is a rare exception amidst the unique Kuwaiti negligence. Just at the corner where the First Ring Road meets Morocco Expressway (at Abdullah Al-Salem side), I saw a man in dishdashah and ogal amongst workers working on widening the U-turn. It was a bizarre eye-catching sight to see someone in traditional clothes standing on the road striving with hardworking foreigners pointing at things and guiding them in their work. It was nice image telling me that Kuwaitis are not all ‘kings of office work’ who adore sitting behind lofty desks signing or punching in-office before they go out roaming various streets. Well, that man did not look strange to me. He was of medium height, skinny and seemed so earnest when dealing with the workers. I made this impression at a glance while driving past. But, who might that hard-working citizen be? Is he an employee in the same company entrusted with engineering supervision or any of its employees? On a second thought, he seemed familiar like the people we occasionally see in the media. After a few quick attempts to recall, the image of the minister of Public Works and minister of Electricity and Water, Abdul Aziz AlIbrahim came to my mind. Yet, it was him. He was unaccompanied by ministerial courtiers who usually escort ‘their excellencies’ when inspecting work at any given public facility to look as if they are fully aware of how work was going on, know the nature of work, the endless problems in the form of corruption, anarchy and lack of law-enforcement in most public facilities. There were no media cameras with the minister like those that usually accompany his propaganda-loving colleagues as if they want their images deeply stored in the minds of the common folk as a ‘Big Daddy’ who works hard on serving the state and ensure the welfare of citizens. Checking today’s and yesterday’s newspapers whether the minister had a ‘candid camera’ hidden somewhere to show us how dedicated he was to his job duties or not, I found no photo of that at all. I mean those kinds of photos that are usually ornamented by headlines and photos of our dear Sheikhs shaking hands with simpler people widely smiling while checking on us (the subjects who live happily without any complaints). Sorry, I got carried away reviewing our officials’ albums while they do miracles to achieve our country’s welfare and prosperity, while I should have focused on Ibrahim as a true plain minister without any Besht on his shoulder or media propaganda surrounding him. I wondered about Ibrahim’s dedication in doing his work though, seeing that the Amiri Diwan that has been taking over most of MPW projects lately. Any minister in his place would get angry and leave the rest of the projects or would even resign in hand over his portfolio responsibilities to the Amiri Diwan undersecretary, Abdul Aziz Eshaq, who always appears on TV in a luxurious Besht looking so elegant and walking on marble our feet would never touch and, most importantly, whom I will never see standing amongst workers at Morocco Expressway corner!










Eradicating terrorism is the answer By Abdellatif Al-Duaij


ews had it that Arab regimes plan to discuss the formation of a security force in their next summit, in order to face terrorism, and safeguard the Arab National Security. This means, without a doubt, that these countries expect, or may know for sure, that terrorism will continue, and that its menace will not stop by annihilating current organizations. They think future organizations will be a worry, and they must be ready to face them from now. The regimes here know that very well. Otherwise, why the need to form a security force to deal with what is coming, at a time when most of those regimes or all are actually participating in a practical international alliance, and is active to eradicate terrorism? What will this joint Arab force be able to do, more than what the current international allied force failed to do to defeat IS? Nothing, of course. That is why the Arab regimes are keen to form the security force. Why will there be terror? Why Arab regimes are getting ready for the military confrontation with this terror? Is it not better and easier to look for the reasons of sources and components of terrorism, and so destroy it in the cradle? Why do we have to continually con-

front terrorism? Why is it not possible to eradicate it forever? Why, to start with, do some Arab regimes place themselves in a permanent war with their people under claims and justifications of preserving national security? Who guarantees that these joint forces, or those regimes, do not generalize their mission to include every revolutionary move and uprising, to crush it on the pretext of terrorism and threatening Arab National Security? Who will stop these regimes from continuing their oppression, especially that some of the regimes themselves have the roots and seeds of terrorism which they claim to resist? Eradicating terrorism requires the removal of its causes, creation of societies and formation of establishments that are able to shun terrorism and confront it in the cradle. Of course, this is difficult for the Arab regimes because they themselves carry the seeds and roots of terrorism, and some of them, as we have said many times, created terrorism and cared for it. Maybe this is why those regimes are getting ready to face its contradiction, which it creates day after day.


e cannot sum up promoting government projects and limit their accomplishments to launching an e-account for propaganda reasons as such media are activated whenever promotable items are present. Yet, there is a problem in linking the promotion of government projects to the transparency in executing them, especially with all the public dissatisfaction with the failure of so many projects such as Jaber Hospital and Jaber Stadium where so many delays and corruptions prevailed overburdening the state budget and abusing its economic reputation. The fuss made on launching the official ‘New Kuwait’ account might have been exaggerated or even driven by bloggers’ partiality towards the ‘Mashrou’e Kuwaiti’ (My projec t is Kuwaiti) account that belongs to a Kuwaiti young man who has 29,000 followers. The young man’s ambitions had been ignored by the government who later on, unjustifiably made something from scratch though the ‘new’ account does have an inactivated Twitter account last used on February 12, 2013. I am not concerned here by talking about using Twitter or any other social media because, in Kuwait, individuals are more effective and creatively active than the government that has no effective presence on social media, except for some that have to be there due to the nature of their jobs. Well, we have many conservations about the content, communication speed and providing information in due time. In addition, the idea of having an official spokesperson for the government seems to have been forgotten with the result that many rumors can easily be spread around Kuwait in times of distress. Checking on the new Kuwait account and promoting it through some satellite TV channels, I found out that the idea is very good, though it came too late. And, in view of the millions spent by the government on social welfare without any statement except when a minister responses to a parliamentary inquiry, this is good news. Here, we are not talking about a mere Twitter account but about how the country is being managed, the abuse of powers, profiteering and bribes admitted by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, who urged his Cabinet members to fight them. So, how will New Kuwait solve all these problems, will it provide followers with delay reasons, cost and justification?

Crime i n

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Ministry to buy electricity KUWAIT: The Ministry of Electricity and Water allocated around KD 8 million to buy electric power from north Zour station to cover demands during this summer, sources said, adding that the cost of buying was determined by the expected number of operating hours of the gas units and the total electricity production and the cost of contracted kilowatt. The station production will be limited to three gas units in the summer of this year that will be in service from June 28 until Sept 28 consecutively, for the production capacity to reach 664 megawatt per hour. The production will continue for 181 days, and the gas units will shut down on March 27, 2016 to complete the rest of stages. —Al-Rai

Kuwaiti to appear in court KUWAIT: The foreign ministry contacted its American counterpart to check on the FBI investigations with a Kuwaiti employee at Washington health office. The sources said the enquiries have not been responded adding that the detained employee is supposed to appear in court this week. — Al-Rai

Amendments to bad loan ‘old story’ KUWAIT: Finance Minister Anas Al-Saleh stated that the issue of amending bad loans law ended long ago and cannot be discussed or amended anymore. “Refusal of the amendment is a clear government stand since two years, and the best evidence is what was mentioned in the Investment Public Authority letter dated May 5, 2013, rejecting such a proposal,” Saleh said. “We cannot talk about amending a law that legal centers have approved, and all courts have ruled in their favor including verdicts of the cassation court. The amendment affair is like any other project that is rejected in favor of not achieving justice between citizens, and because of the lack of clarity in the financial cost of the proposed amendments,” he said. — Al-Rai

R e p o r t

4-year-old lost girl found KUWAIT: Jahra police reunited a girl with her family after she was reported lost in a mall. Police who found the girl behind the mall area said they searched for the missing girl after they received a report from an Iranian expat who complained she lost her four year old girl in the crowd.

Policeman on duty threatened A policeman in Fahad Al-Ahmad reported against a violator of threatening him, when he issued a traffic citation. The suspect was charged with threatening and insulting a public employee on duty. Detectives are looking for him.

Police accused of molesting boy A Syrian expat accused a police officer of sexually attacking his 12-year old boy in Fintas. The complainant alleged that when the boy told him what had happened, he took him to the station to complain. Investigations are underway.

Youths fight in mall Several juveniles broke into a scuffle inside a mall in Fahaheel using sharp objects and sticks. Fahaheel patrols went to the area and arrested some of the combatants, while others escaped.

Fire in police station An electric contact caused a fire in the roof of Surra police station entrance. Firemen put out the fire and no injuries were reported. —Al-Rai

Soaring rent, fees consume budgets of citizens, expats KUWAIT: According to an analysis by local Arabic daily Al-Anbaa on inflation rates as per the latest statistics issued by the Kuwait Central Statistical Bureau’s consumer price index, rapidly increasing rent has been leading to dearer services and consumer goods for both citizens and expatriates living in Kuwait since 2012, affecting their wages and income. The study showed that most tenants in investment buildings had been expats until recently, but many young Kuwaiti couples started renting apartments while waiting for their promised government housing because they would have to wait long in view of the accumulating number of applicants - 108,000 so far. The study also showed that despite the fact that inflation rates were still acceptable, some expenses like hous-

ing has been devouring consumers’ income by at least 28.9 percent. The study also showed that food and beverage expenses came second with 18.4 percent, with an inflation rate of 2.5 percent over the past three years. The study also showed that housing related services like furniture and

maintenance came third in terms of price increases at 11.3 percent. More importantly, the study showed that education and tuition fees, which are very integral for everyone, consumed large portions of families’ incomes with an inflation rate of 4.4 percent. — Al-Anbaa

Selma civil rights milestone marked by black president Page 9 MONDAY, MARCH 9, 2015

Boko Haram pledges allegiance to IS Alliance described as a ‘religious duty’ LAGOS: Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, after repeated indications that it was seeking a formal tie-up and a series of Nigerian military successes against the rebels. The Nigerian group’s leader Abubakar Shekau made the announcement in an audio message on Saturday night, describing it as a religious duty and saying it would “enrage the enemy of Allah”. The declaration raises the possibility that Western powers, which have so far stayed out of direct military operations in northeast Nigeria, might be pulled into the conflict, which has left more than 13,000 people dead since 2009 but largely been seen as a “local” or regional issue. “Operating as an IS proxy could draw Western efforts against its operations, particularly from France, which already runs a multi-country anti-terrorist campaign in the west and central African region,” said Ryan Cummings, from risk consultants Red24. Extremists from Libya to Pakistan have previously pledged support or allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi while the group itself last month expanded its reach into lawless Libya. ‘Natural ally’ There have been growing indications that Boko Haram was looking to formally align itself with IS group, starting last year when Shekau declared the captured town of Gwoza, in Borno state, part of a caliphate. That followed a similar declaration by Baghdadi while both groups have captured swathes of territory. In recent weeks, previously poorly produced Boko Haram videos took on the look and feel of more polished IS propaganda and was posted directly online, guaranteeing a wider audience. IS was also reported to have received pledges of allegiance from militants in Nigeria. Max Abrahms, a specialist in extremist groups, said Boko Haram and IS, which has yet to respond to the pledge, were in many ways a perfect match. “Neither group (IS and Boko Haram) is inhibited in terms of violence. They’re a natural ally,” said Abrahms, from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. Shekau may have attempted to tone down his violent rhetoric and improve Boko Haram’s public image among the wider jihadi movement but indiscriminate attacks have continued against civilian “soft” targets. Scores of civilians have died in suicide attacks and bombings, despite the military fight-back by Nigeria and its regional allies Cameroon, Chad and Niger. On Saturday, a woman with explosives strapped to her body blew herself up at about 11:20 am (1020 GMT) at Baga fish market in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri. — AFP

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Defense minister escapes Houthi-controlled Sanaa ADEN: Yemen’s defense minister has fled Houthi-controlled Sanaa for Aden, officials said on Sunday, in a move expected to bolster President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in his power struggle with the Shiite Muslim group. Yemen is caught in a stand-off between the Western-backed president and the Iran-backed Houthi clan, now the country’s de facto rulers. The group seized the presidential palace in Sanaa in January and confined the president to his private residence. Hadi managed to escape from the Houthis two weeks ago. Officials said the defense minister, General Mahmoud AlSubaihi, escaped in a convoy on Saturday night, arriving in the southern port city of Aden early on Sunday. They said the

Houthis shot and killed four of Subaihi’s security guards in the western province of Hodeida where they attacked a convoy in their search for the minister. Hadi, who resigned after the Houthis seized the presidential palace, has since reclaimed the presidency and is seeking to set up a rival power centre in the south with loyalist army units and tribes. An impoverished country of 25 million, Yemen is part of a regional struggle for influence between rival powers Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Iran-backed Houthis control much of the northern half of the country while several Gulf state embassies have said they would operate from Aden in the south after Hadi’s escape. — Reuters

Pakistan’s toilet shortage a growing health concern ISLAMABAD: More than 40 million people in Pakistan do not have access to a toilet, forcing them to defecate in the open, which in turn is a major contributor to stunting in the country, a top UNICEF official said. “There are 41 million people who do not have access to a toilet in Pakistan and as a result they are defecating in the open. And open defecation has significant health and nutritional consequences,” said Geeta Rao Gupta, deputy executive director at UNICEF. She recently spoke to The Associated Press during a trip to Pakistan to draw attention to the problem. “Open defecation is a major contributor to stunting and that’s why we’ve got to do all we can to stop it,” she said. Pakistan is the third-largest country when it comes to people going to the bathroom in the open, behind India and Indonesia. The problem can spread disease and lead to intestinal infections, which can contribute to stunting in young children,

she said. Stunting means children don’t grow as tall as they would otherwise, and it can also affect a child’s brain development. Stunted children are more at risk of disease, don’t do as well in school and stunted mothers can also give birth to stunted children. UNICEF is working with the Pakistani government to improve sanitation by doing things like encouraging people to wash their hands more often. They’re also working with communities to help them build toilets so they don’t have to use the bathroom in a field or elsewhere. Building more toilets is also vital for empowering women and girls and keeping them in school, Gupta said. If women have to walk long distances to find a private place to relieve themselves, they are more vulnerable and exposed to attack. They’re also less likely to go to school if there are no toilets. “Having toilets is a big advantage to girls,” she said. —AP

KARACHI: A Pakistani villager builds a toilet in Thatta district, Sindh province. — AFP

AD-DAWR: Iraqi Shiite fighters, members of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization units backing the government, fire Howitzer Cannons towards positions of the Islamic State (IS) group. — AFP

IS draws recruits despite setbacks BAGHDAD: Nigeria’s Boko Haram is the latest militant organization to swear allegiance to the Islamic State group, demonstrating what analysts say is the jihadist network’s growing ability to attract new backers. Although its predecessor was active for several years following the US-led invasion of Iraq, IS sprang to worldwide prominence in June last year when it overran large parts of Iraq and Syria, declaring a “caliphate” in the two nations. Several local jihadist groups quickly affiliated themselves, and IS has since received pledges of fealty from extremist outfits from as far afield as Algeria, Afghanistan and Indonesia. But it is in Iraq and Syria-where IS still controls huge portions of Sunni Arab heartland-that the group holds the most sway. According to Pieter van Ostaeyen, an expert on the Middle East, about eight million people live in territory controlled by IS in the two countries. In Libya, where an IS affiliate recently killed 21 Coptic Christians in videotaped execution-style murders, “the territory isn’t too large and isn’t totally controlled by the jihadists,” he said. Luay Al-Khatteeb, a researcher at the Brookings Institute, puts the number of people in IS-controlled areas at

“between six and seven million”. From that, the jihadists have more than enough possible recruits to maintain “a powerful and numerous armed force,” Khatteeb added. Unknown fighter numbers IS’s strict controls on information from its territories make it virtually impossible to evaluate the number of fighters it has at its disposal, and estimates vary greatly. Khatteeb said IS could have 80,000 fighters, including “around 20,000 foreigners”. Van Ostaeyen put the number at 60,000-70,000 — the vast majority in Iraq and Syria-and about 1,500-2,000 in Libya. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, estimates IS has as many as 45,000 fighters in Syria alone. Dalia GhanemYazbeck, an analyst from the Carnegie Middle East Center, believes the true size of IS’ fighting force to be far smaller than most reports suggest. “If they have 25,000 in total, that’s the maximum,” she said, adding that reporting inflated fighter figures amounted to “advertising” for IS. ‘Trademark that works’ It is no less challenging to work out how

much money IS has, or where its funding comes from. The group seized several oil fields when it swarmed across Iraq and Syria last year, and revenue from the crude trade is a key pillar of its income. The US Treasury estimated in October that IS makes as much as $1 million per day from oil sales, even if some analysts dispute this figure. Khatteeb said the group produces “a maximum of 50,000-60,000 barrels a day,” not enough to satisfy demand for the population under its yoke. He added that IS’ income is supplemented by various activities, including the smuggling of antiques, taxes and extortion imposed on “merchants who have to pay to keep their shops open”. Although it has been pinned back militarily by US-led air strikes and a counter-offensive by Iraqi security forces and militias, IS remains a potent draw for would-be recruits. Using social media and slick video productions, Ghanem-Yazbeck said the group had become its own trademark. “It’s a trademark that works, like Coca-Cola or McDonald’s, which attracts,” she said. “Their true strengths are virtual, online, on YouTube... after nearly every defeat they put out a shocking video so that we talk about them. It’s a way of compensating for military defeat.” — AFP

Iran leader appears amid health rumors TEHRAN: Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made a public appearance yesterday amid rumors about his health, as a relative dismissed the claims as gossip meant to derail ongoing nuclear talks with world powers. State television aired pictures yesterday of the 75-year-old Khamenei addressing a group of environmental officials and activists at his residence in central Tehran. He appeared to look comfortable and healthy in the footage. Foreign-based news websites in recent days have claimed that Khamenei, who has the final word on all matters in Iran, had been hospitalized in critical condition. Khamenei has been Iran’s top leader since the death in 1989 of the Islamic Republic’s founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. In September, Khamenei underwent prostate surgery and spent about a week in the hospital before being released. Iran is in the middle of critical negotiations with world powers over its contested nuclear program. Khamenei’s health is given significant attention because it may affect the process of talks for a final nuclear accord. Khamenei has backed Iran’s negotiators publicly in the talks, but also has set his own requirements for what he wants out of any deal. The supreme leader’s office and the government have issued no statement on his health. Iran’s former deputy foreign minister Sadeq Kharrazi, whose sister is married to Khamenei’s son, said rumors spread about Khamenei’s health were released by those seeking to undermine the nuclear talks and weaken Iran’s position. “The intention behind spreading such lies is to demoralize Iran’s negotiators and the Iranian people and overshadow Iran’s successful policy (in fighting the Islamic State group) in Iraq and Syria,” he said in comments widely published yesterday in Iranian newspapers. — AP

TEHRAN: In this picture released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addresses a group of environmental officials and activists at his residence. —AP

3 dead in rocket attack on UN base in Mali BAMAKO, Mali: Three people were killed and 12 wounded in a rocket attack early yesterday on a UN base in Mali’s northeastern city of Kidal, said the United Nations mission in Mali. More than 30 rockets and shells hit the UN base in Kidal at about 5:40 am yesterday, said the UN mission. The attack killed a U.N. soldier and two civilians and an additional 12 people were wounded, said the UN. The UN forces returned fire at about 6 am It said the rocket attack was launched from a spot about 2 kilometers from the camp. The attack was not immediately claimed but the Islamic extremist group Ansar Dine claimed a similar attack against UN peacekeepers in Kidal in September 2014. The rocket attack on the UN camp in Kidal comes a day after Islamic extremists attacked a restaurant in the capital, Bamako, killing five people, including a French person and a Belgian. Bamako is about 1,500 kilometers southwest of Kidal. A masked gunman sprayed bullets early

Saturday in La Terrasse, a restaurant and bar that is popular with foreigners. Al Mourabitoun, or The Sentinels, a northern Mali jihadist group allied with Al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the Mauritanian news website Al-Akhbar. The website often receives messages

from Malian extremists. In addition to those killed, nine people were wounded including two experts for the UN mission, said the UN stabilization mission in Mali. The two are Swiss soldiers and were flown to Senegal for treatment, said the Swiss Defense Ministry.— AP

BAMAKO: UN peacekeeper police officers stand guard at entrance of Hotel Salem. — AFP



5 Nemtsov killing suspects arraigned; 1 admits guilt MOSCOW: Russian news agencies said yesterday one of the suspects in the killing of leading opposition figure Boris Nemtsov has admitted involvement in the crime. Judge Nataliya Mushnikova said that Zaur Dadaev made a statement confirming his guilt, according to the reports. They did not specify his alleged actions. Dadaev is among five suspects detained in the Feb 27 killing, when Nemtsov was shot while walking on a bridge near the Kremlin. Another man, Anzor Gubashev, was charged in the killing, and a hearing for three other unnamed suspects was under way, court spokeswoman Anna Fadeeva said earlier yesterday. Dadaev and Gubashev were identified as suspects by Federal Security Service director Alexander Bortnikov a day earlier. Bortnikov gave no details of how the men were detained or specifics on how they were connected to the killings. However, the state news agencies Tass and RIA Novosti said the pair was detained in Ingushetia, a republic bordering Chechnya, citing Ingush Security Council chief Albert Barakhoev. Dadaev served in a battalion of Interior Ministry troops in Chechnya, Barakhoev was quoted as saying. He said the other, Gubashev, had worked in a private security company in Moscow, according to the reports. Details still hidden There was scant information about the identity of the three other suspects. Barakhoev was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying two others were seized at the same time as Dadaev and Gubashev. But there had been no official announcement of their detention. Shortly before the court session began, Investigating Committee

spokesman Vladimir Markin revealed there was a fifth suspect, but gave no details. Nemtsov’s killing shocked Russia’s already beleaguered and marginalized opposition supporters. Suspicion in the opposition is high that the killing was ordered by the Kremlin in retaliation for Nemtsov ’s adamant criticism of President Vladimir Putin. The 55-year-old Nemtsov was working on a report about Russian military involvement in the eastern Ukraine conflict. But Russia’s top investigative body said it was investigating several possible motives, including that he was killed in an attempt to smear Putin’s image. It also said it was looking into possible connections to Islamic extremism and Nemtsov’s personal life. Chechnya, where Dadaev reportedly worked, was wracked by two wars over the past 20 years between Russian forces and separatists increasingly allied with fundamentalist Islam. Although the insurgency died down in Chechnya several years ago, attacks attributed to Islamic militants sporadically occur in nearby regions. Chechnya’s strongman Kremlin-backed president Ramzan Kadyrov has imposed an Islam-tinged rule on the region, including the mandatory wearing of headscarves by women. Kadyrov, himself a former rebel, has been widely accused of rampant human rights abuses including executions and abductions of opponents. Many believe that Nemtsov’s death in a tightly secured area near the Kremlin wouldn’t have been possible without official involvement, and could be an attempt to scare other government foes. Putin, who had dubbed Nemtsov’s killing a “provocation,” made no comment on the detentions announced Saturday. — AP

MOSCOW: Police escort a man believed to be one of five suspects in the killing of Boris Nemtsov in a court room. — AP

SELMA: President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha as well as members of Congress and civil rights leaders make a symbolic walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.— AP

Selma civil rights milestone marked by black president ‘Our march is not over’ SELMA: America’s racial history “still casts its long shadow upon us,” President Barack Obama said as he stood near the Edmund Pettus Bridge in solidarity and remembrance with civil rights activists whose beatings by police a half-century ago galvanized much of the nation against racial oppression and hastened passage of historic legislation guaranteeing voting rights for minorities. Tens of thousands of people on Saturday joined to commemorate the “Bloody Sunday” march of 1965 and take stock of the struggle for equality. Under a bright sun, the first black US president praised the figures of a civil rights era that he was too young to know but that helped him break the ultimate racial barrier in political history with his ascension to the nation’s highest office. He called them “warriors of justice” who pushed America closer to a more perfect union. Turbulent history “So much of our turbulent history - the stain of slavery and anguish of civil war, the yoke of segregation and tyranny of Jim Crow, the death of four little girls in Birmingham, and the dream of a

Baptist preacher - met on this bridge,” Obama told the crowd before taking a symbolic walk across part of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where the 1965 marchers were attacked by police. “It was not a clash of armies, but a clash of wills, a contest to determine the meaning of America,” Obama said. He was 3 years old at the time of the march. A veteran of that clash, US Rep John Lewis, who was severely beaten by police that day in 1965 and suffered a skull fracture, exhorted the crowd to press on with the work of racial justice. “Get out there and push and pull until we redeem the soul of America,” Lewis said. He was the youngest and is the last survivor of the Big Six civil rights activists, a group led by the Rev Martin Luther King, Jr that had the greatest impact on the movement. Among those in attendance was Peggy Wallace Kennedy, a daughter of the late George Wallace, the Alabama governor in 1965 who once vowed “segregation forever.” Selma’s fire department estimated the crowd reached 40,000. Former President George W Bush shared the platform. Republican congressional leaders were mostly absent but one, House Majority Leader Kevin

McCarthy, joined the walk. The walk progressed under the bold letters on an arch, identifying the bridge named after Pettus, a Confederate general in the Civil War, senator and reputed Ku Klux Klan leader. Obama, his wife, Michelle, and their two daughters walked about a third of the way across, accompanied by Lewis, who has given fellow lawmakers countless tours of this scene. Bush, his wife, Laura, and scores of others came with them before a larger crowd followed. Bloody Sunday march Two years after King’s historic “I have a dream” speech in Washington, the Bloody Sunday march became the first of three aiming to reach Montgomery, Alabama, the state capital to demand an end to discrimination against black voters. Scenes of troopers beating marchers on the bridge shocked the nation, emboldening leaders in Washington to pass the Voting Rights Act five months later. On his way to Selma, Obama signed a law awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to participants of the trio of marches, the last of which brought protesters all the way to Montgomery. —AP

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US role in Philippine raid under scrutiny MANILA: A disastrous raid on alleged Islamic militants has ignited the worst political crisis yet for Philippine President Benigno Aquino-and questions about the extent of any US role in the operation are deepening his discomfort. Some Philippine lawmakers are asking whether the US military played a leading role in the operation in January, which ended with 44 police commandos dead in a field in the country ’s Muslim-majority south. They point to reports that a US drone was overflying the area at the time, and said to be beaming back real-time images to US commanders as the fiasco unfolded. Senate president Franklin Drilon, a powerful member of Aquino’s ruling Liberal Party, is one of at least five senators to have raised questions about what the United States knew.”Did the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) know beforehand about this operation?” Drilon asked the head of the police commando unit Getulio Napenas, who lost his job over the affair, in one hearing. “Or any US armed forces personnel, did they know about this operation beforehand?” Under the terms of an anti-terrorism training deployment, the US is not permitted to engage in combat in the Philippines. A US government official said that its troops helped evacuate casualties, but that the operation was “planned and executed by

Philippine authorities”, and declined to comment further. Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, meanwhile, declined to give a direct answer when asked about any US role, speaking only in generalities about American help to Manila in suppressing militancy. “With the United States, we have very close counter-terrorism cooperation,” del Rosario, who has repeatedly said elsewhere that the operation was led by the Philippines, conveyed via text message. The pre-dawn raid by police commandos on a secluded farming village controlled by Muslim rebels in the south was meant to be a surprise attack to capture or kill two men on the US government’s global list of “most wanted terrorists”. Even though one of the alleged militants was reported killed, hundreds of rebels quickly outnumbered the police, trapping a big group in a cornfield and slaughtering the 44 commandos during a day-long battle. National security silence The botched operation has seriously damaged Aquino, and also forced his national police chief to resign. But many politicians, traditional media and netizens are broadening the net to encompass possible US involvement as they probe the affair. Both houses of parliament have launched inquiries into the raid, and those investigations have

unsuccessfully sought to get specifics on US involvement. In the hearings, broadcast live on television, authorities have declined to give a full explanation on the extent of any US role, citing security issues. In one instance, Napenas began detailing some of the US involvement, stating that American “counterparts” provided intelligence, training and maps. But before he could elaborate, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who was at the hearing, quickly intervened to silence him. “May I interject? May I just remind the officer that he is already dwelling on matters of diplomatic relations and military intelligence,” she said. In another hearing, Napenas confirmed a US helicopter was brought in to evacuate the casualties, although authorities have refused to disclose where it came from. Philippine and US authorities have also said the severed finger from a corpse believed to be from the killed militant, Malaysian national Zulkifli bin Hir, was given to the FBI. The FBI said it did a DNA test on the finger, which showed it was likely from Zulkifli. US military involvement in the Philippines is not unusual, as the two nations are longtime allies. Until last month, the United States had a unit of about 500-600 special forces in the southern Philippines t h a t t r a i n e d l o c a l t ro o p s to f i g h t Islamic militants but was itself not

MAMSAPANO: US military personnel (left) help their Philippine counterparts prepare to load an injured police commando from one stretcher to another and onto a waiting US military helicopter. — AFP allowed to be engaged in combat. Importing war? Senator Grace Poe, another powerful Aquino ally and tipped by some to succeed him as president next year, sought answers in one of the congressional inquiries about the reports that a US drone monitored the battle. Those reports said the drone fed footage back to a Philippine command centre in

which US authorities helped to direct the police commandos into, and through, the deadly battle. “I am concerned because actual participation, if any, of US forces in the operation of a purely law enforcement operation, like service of warrants to accused, albeit known terrorists who are themselves wanted criminals in the US, should not be allowed,” Poe told AFP via text message.—AFP

N Korea rejects links to US envoy attacker SEOUL: North Korea hit out yesterday at accusations that it may be behind a shocking knife attack on the US envoy to the South, branding the claims to be a “vicious” smear campaign by Seoul. Kim Ki-Jong slashed Mark Lippert with a paring knife Thursday in an assault that left the US envoy needing 80 stitches to a deep gash on his face. Kim, 55, was immediately arrested and charged with attempted murder, and police are investigating whether he has any links to the communist North. He has reportedly told police that he had acted alone and denied any links to the North, calling the suggestion “outrageous”. The profile painted of him-based on past brushes with the law and his blog postings-is that of a lone assailant with strong nationalist views who saw the US as one of the main obstacles to the reunification of the divided Korean peninsula. But Kim has also visited the North seven times since 1999, and once tried to erect a memorial in Seoul to the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il after his death in 2011. Kim told police he had stabbed Lippert in protest at massive US-South joint army exercises currently underway. The annual exercises are routinely slammed by the North as a practice for invasion. After the attack Thursday, the North hailed Kim’s ac t as “just punishment ” and a valid “expression of resistance” to the US-South military drills. But yesterday the North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPRK) bristled at suggestions that it might have been behind the assault, calling it an attempt to defame its leadership. “Even the police and conservative media of South Korea joined the (South’s) regime in attempting to link the

case with the (North),” it said in a statement carried in English by the state-run KCNA early yesterday. “Such moves are prompted by a vicious intention to save itself from the present awkward position... and intensify an anti-DPRK smear campaign worldwide,” the CPRK said, using the North’s official title. Questions over ‘mastermind’ Last week police raided Kim’s house in search for evidence of his potential links to Pyongyang and found several books published in the North, a senior Seoul detective on the case said yesterday. “We are investigating if there were any mastermind behind the attack,” Kim Doo-Yeon told reporters, adding police were probing whether Kim had violated the anti-communist national security laws. The notorious laws ban unauthorized contact with the North or activities deemed to be praising Pyongyang, which technically remain at war with Seoul after the 1950-53 Korean War ended with a ceasefire instead of a peace treaty. Offenders are subject to up to seven years of imprisonment. The laws-often used to stifle political dissents under the South’s army-ruled governments in the past-have been criticized by rights groups for curbing freedom of expression. Kim, who also voiced anger at the South’s former colonial ruler Japan on his blog postings, was convicted in 2011 of hurling a stone at thenJapanese ambassador and received a suspended jail term. Lippert, 42, is recovering well and expected to be released from the hospital as early as tomorrow, his doctors say. —AFP

ODISHA: This photo shows Indian sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik creating a sand sculpture of the missing Malaysian airliner MH370 on Puri beach. — AFP

Tears for MH370 mystery persists on anniversary Nation committed to the so-far fruitless hunt

SEOUL: This handout photo taken and released by the Severance Hospital shows US Ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert (left), talking with US Navy Admiral James Winnefeld , vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. — AFP

China asserts its dominance as diplomatic superpower BEIJING: China asserted its place on the global diplomatic stage yesterday, pledging to steadfastly support Russia in the face of Western sanctions, scolding regional rival Japan, and making clear it sees the US as an equal. Foreign minister Wang Yi, speaking to reporters at a packed annual press conference, staunchly defended China’s national interests, while proclaiming that its rise is no threat to the international order. He stressed that Beijing would not abandon old friends and allies such as Moscow, which is beleaguered under sanctions and international opprobrium, and Pyongyang, in recent years more often than not a headache for China’s leaders rather than an asset. Chinese President Xi Jinping is due to visit the US, the world’s only superpower, later this year and Wang emphasized that the two countries are equals that must work to overcome tensions. The two presidents were expected to “inject new momentum into efforts to build

a new model of major country relations between China and the United States”, Wang said, using Beijing’s favored description of their ties, suggesting they are on the same footing. “China and the United States are two large countries,” he added. “It’s impossible for there not to be any disagreements between us.”Wang vowed to deepen economic and diplomatic cooperation with Russia, even as it faces Western sanctions over the annexation of Crimea and the conflict in Ukraine. Beijing and Moscow have regularly used their veto power on the UN Security Council to thwart Western initiatives such as on Syria’s civil war, and Wang said they would “continue to carry out strategic coordination and cooperation to maintain international peace and security”. Sino-Russian relations were based on “mutual need”, he said, and they would work to increase trade to an annual $100 billion a year while intensifying cooperation in sectors including finance and energy. —AFP

KUALA LUMPUR: Emotional families marked the first anniversary of the disappearance of flight MH370 yesterday as a new report said the battery on its black box locator beacon had expired, but shed no new light on the cause of the disaster. Prime Minister Najib Razak said his nation remained committed to the so-far fruitless hunt for the Malaysia Airlines flight, which is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, and was hopeful it would be found. Next of kin, many of whom have criticized Malaysia’s handling of the disaster, held ceremonies in Kuala Lumpur and Beijing to remember the missing and urge authorities to never abandon the expensive and arduous search. “The only answer I want is where is the plane, then only will we know,” said Jacquita Gonzales, wife of the flight’s cabin crew supervisor Patrick Gomes. “The whole world has heard what he (Najib) has said, so they can’t go back on their word.” A report by an international investigative team released yesterday raised no red flags relating to the crew or the aircraft’s condition to indicate any cause for the disappearance. But it said the battery powering the underwater locator beacon on the plane’s flight data recorder was due to expire in December 2012.Although the battery on the plane’s cockpit voice recorder was up-to-date, this could have potentially contributed to the failure to find the plane so far, said Gerry Soejatman, a Jakarta-based aviation consultant. “My major worry is that (search vessels) may have gone over the aircraft but not heard the pings because of this,” said Soejatman, who added that the report otherwise largely restated what is already known about MH370. A year-long hunt in the deep ocean at least 1,600 kilometers off Australia’s west coast, where satel-

lite data indicate the Boeing 777 crashed, has so far yielded no sign of the plane.”Together with our international partners, we have followed the little evidence that exists,” Najib said in a statement. “Malaysia remains committed to the search, and hopeful that MH370 will be found.” ‘A most painful year’ The plane inexplicably veered from its Kuala Lumpur-Beijing route on March 8 of last year with 239 passengers and crew aboard. Relatives and friends of the missing held an emotional public remembrance in Kuala Lumpur that included prayers and live video links with other next of kin around the world. A temporarily wall erected for the occasion contained scrawled messages such as “Never give up hope” and “I miss you so much brother and sister, please come back.” “My mother was on MH370. It has been a year so far. It has been a most painful year for many of us, a never-ending battle,” said Grace Subathirai. “My mother was my world, everything to me,” she added, her voice breaking. In Beijing, relatives who have bitterly criticized Malaysia’s national carrier and government for their handling of the crisis, gathered under a heavy police presence to mark the anniversary. Shouting slogans including “Fight to the End” and “Malaysian Government-apologize to us!” they mounted a small protest near the Malaysian embassy which was blocked off by dozens of uniformed security. Earlier yesterday, the relatives visited the Lama Temple, a popular Tibetan Buddhist place of worship and tourist site, with around 10 entering the site in groups of two or three to pay their personal respects, as if attempting to keep a low profile.

Families still hope China’s ruling Communist Party commonly clamps down on organized gatherings or collective expressions of anger as it seeks to enforce stability. Some families still hope their loved ones could be alive, clinging to conspiracy theories of hijack and kidnapping. Yesterday’s report said investigators had probed a range of issues including the jet’s captain and co-pilot’s personal, psychological, and financial profiles, and the backgrounds of the 10 cabin crew. But although suspicion had fallen on the cockpit crew of pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah and his co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, the report found no evidence suggesting their involvement. “There were no behavioral signs of social isolation, change in habits or interest, self-neglect, drug or alcohol abuse of the Captain, First Officer and the Cabin Crew,” it said. The report ticked through a number of the plane’s major mechanical systems and noted in each case that according to available data and maintenance records, nothing alarming was seen. It noted that as investigators still lack any trace of the jet, including the “black box” data recorders considered most likely to yield clues, the probe remains a work in progress. More than 40 percent of a designated 60,000-square -kilometer zone believed to be the most likely location of the crash site has been scanned for wreckage using sophisticated sonar, but nothing related to MH370 has been found. Earlier yesterday, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that while the current search area is expected to be completed in May, the operation could be extended further “as long as there are reasonable leads”. —AFP

Afghan prison rioters set policeman on fire MAZAR-I-SHARIF: Rioting prison inmates in northern Afghanistan killed two policemen and set another on fire after taking them hostage yesterday, in a dramatic episode that left 20 others wounded before they attempted to escape, officials said. The inmates attacked the police as they were conducting a search for knives, cell phones and other contraband in a prison in Shibirghan, the capital of Jawzjan, provincial police chief Faqir Mohammad

Jawzjani said. “They first took three officers hostage and later killed two of them and mutilated their bodies,” he said. “They burned the third officer alive. He was taken to the hospital with around 75 percent of burns on his body and is in a very critical condition,” Jawzjani said, adding that five officers were wounded trying to rescue their colleagues. He said one prisoner was also killed and 15 were wounded after the prisoners tried to escape

the compound. Abdulhai Hayat, the head of Jawzjan’s provincial council confirmed the details of the incident, and added that the local council and elders intervened to bring the crisis to an end. “The situation is now calm, but the prisoners are on hunger strike,” he said. The prison compound holds around 800 inmates, both criminals and the Taliban from both Jawzjan and neighboring Sari Pul provinces. —AFP



A Maine coon breed cat sleeps during the ‘Catsburg’ cat exibition in Moscow on Saturday. — AFP

Assembly panel approves draft law for... Continued from Page 1 The legislation also stipulates a one-month end of service indemnity for each year of work and introduces fines on employers for delaying the payment of salaries. In another development, the National Assembly’s human resources committee yesterday discussed with Finance Minister Anas Al-Saleh a new pay-scale scheme sponsored by the government for Kuwaiti government employees. Secretary of the committee MP Ahmad AlQudhaibi said that the draft scheme envisages that salaries of 30 to 40 percent of government employees will be raised by 20-25 percent at an estimated cost of KD 350 million. Qudhaibi added that 35 percent of the employees will see their salaries unchanged because they are already too high. Social allowances being paid to employees will not be touched, the lawmaker said. The scheme was prepared by the government in order to overcome major differences in salaries among over 300,000 Kuwaiti employed in the public sector. Meanwhile, the Assembly’s budgets committee yesterday reviewed the final accounts of Kuwait Oil Co for the fiscal year 2013/2014, showing that the company posted a net profit of KD 1.13 billion. Head of the committee MP Adnan Abdulsamad said revenues were KD 5.384 billion while expenditures were KD 1.358 billion. Lawyers of jailed opposition leader Musallam AlBarrak yesterday filed a petition to the court of cassation requesting the judge to order his release pending trial. Thamer Al-Jadaei based his petition on health grounds and also because there is no fear that Barrak might flee. Barrak has been in jail for over a week after the court of appeals sentenced him to two years in prison for allegedly insulting HH the Amir at a public rally. Opposition groups meanwhile called for a gathering outside the National Assembly building today to demand the release of Barrak, besides a number of other demands including an elected government and the resignation of the government and dissolving the Assembly. Former Assembly speaker and prominent opposition figure Ahmad Al-Saadoun said on his Twitter account that the gathering is to press for the scrapping of the so-called one-vote electoral law, halting prosecuting of opposition members and the release of jailed opposition figures.

Separately, the United Arab Emirates said yesterday it will try a Kuwaiti Islamist ex-MP in absentia for allegedly “inciting sedition” in remarks he made about Abu Dhabi’s powerful crown prince. Mubarak Al-Duwailah has been referred to the Federal Supreme Court, the UAE’s top court, for “allegedly abusing religion to incite sedition, harm national unity, (and) disturb social peace,” WAM news agency reported Attorney General Salim Saeed Kubaish as saying. The former lawmaker was also charged with “intentionally” spreading “false news... rumors... provocative and malicious propaganda”, Kubaish said. Duwailah is a leading figure in the Islamic Constitutional Movement, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait. The UAE on Nov 15 published a list of 83 “terrorist” groups, topped by the Muslim Brotherhood. The list was criticized by many Sunni Islamists for not including Lebanon’s powerful Shiite Iran-backed Hezbollah militant group. In a December television interview on the Kuwaiti parliament’s Al-Majlis television channel, Duwailah “falsely alleged” that the UAE was against Sunni Islam, said the statement on WAM. Asked his opinion of the UAE’s anti-Brotherhood stance, Duwailah had said: “I don’t think it’s the UAE... it’s a one-man show. It’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed (Al-Nahayan) who personally has this position (towards the Brotherhood) and has managed to impose it on the state. We don’t know why Mohammed bin Zayed is against Sunni Islam,” he said, criticizing the lengthy jail terms given to 69 activists in 2013 after they were convicted of links to the Al-Islah Society, viewed as the UAE branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Duwailah was questioned by Kuwait’s public prosecution in January on accusations that he insulted the leaders of a friendly country and that he endangered diplomatic relations with the UAE. He denied the accusations and was released on a KD 5,000 ($16,800) bail. No charges have so far been pressed against Duwailah in Kuwait, where he lives. The UAE has not seen any of the pro-reform protests that have swept other Arab countries since 2011, including fellow Gulf states Bahrain and Oman. But authorities have stepped up a crackdown on dissent and calls for democratic reform. Most of those targeted have been Islamists.

Saudi Arabia becomes top defence importer LONDON: Saudi Arabia overtook India in 2014 as the world’s biggest importer of defence equipment, fuelled by tensions in the Middle East, according to a study published yesterday by respected analysts IHS Jane’s. Global defence trade currently stands at $64.4 billion, said the report from the London-based defence specialists. The figure has been driven by “unparallelled demand from the emerging economies for military aircraft and an escalation of regional tensions in the Middle East and Asia Pacific,” IHS expert Ben Moores said. The report, which examines the defence market across 65 countries, found that Saudi Arabia spent more than $6.4 billion on defence kit in 2014, overtaking India on $5.57 billion. Saudi Arabian imports increased by 54 percent over the past year and the study predicts that one out of every seven dollars spent on defence exports in 2015 will be spent by the Middle East kingdom. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) together imported $8.6 billion of defence equipment in 2014, more than the imports of Western Europe combined. The United States maintained its position as the top exporter, shipping $23.7 billion of equipment, ahead of

Russia on $10 billion. “The biggest beneficiary of the strong Middle Eastern market remains the US, with $8.4 billion worth of Middle Eastern exports in 2014, compared to $6 billion in 2013,” said the report. Despite Russia’s strong performance, boosted by $2.3 billion of sales to China, the study predicted tougher times ahead. “A drop-off in exports is forecast for 2015 as major programs draw to a close, a trend that could be accelerated by sanctions,” it said. “Furthermore, falls in the oil price are set to have a devastating impact on some lead Russian clients who are vulnerable to low oil prices, such as Venezuela and Iran.” France was the third biggest exporter ($4.9 billion) followed by Britain ($4.1 billion) and Germany ($3.5 billion). IHS said China had now become the third largest importer, up from fifth place earlier. “China continues to require military aerospace assistance from Russia and its total defence procurement budget will continue to rise very quickly,” said Paul Burton, director of defence industry and budgets at IHS. The study pinpointed South Korea a potential regional leader for defence imports. “South Korea looks set to be the rising star of the Asia Pacific defence industry,” it concluded. — AFP

Egypt dodges diplomatic flak CAIRO: Despite months of embarrassment for Egypt over a series of alleged leaks of sensitive remarks including about Gulf allies, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi appears to have avoided a major diplomatic furore. The tapes, aired by Islamist television channels, purportedly revealed conversations which followed the military’s overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 when Sisi was army chief. The recordings, which have not been authenticated, touch on issues ranging from Morsi’s ouster to development funds that Cairo needs from Gulf allies. Sisi, who toppled Morsi and was elected in May to succeed him, has overseen a brutal police crackdown against supporters of his predecessor that has left hundreds dead. The television channels that broadcast the audiotapes have links to Morsi’s blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood. In the latest recording aired on March 1, two aides of Sisi purportedly discuss how the United Arab Emirates (UAE) gave Egypt’s defence ministry

funds for the anti-Morsi protests which led to his ouster. In another tape released last month, a man identified as Sisi and an aide discuss how much money Cairo wanted from Gulf countries to help rebuild Egypt. “We need 10 to be added to the army’s account ... We need 10 like them from the UAE, and from Kuwait 10 like them,” said the voice purported to be Sisi. “They have money like rice.” “The leaks are embarrassing with regards to the security arrangements of communication at these levels of government,” said H.A. Hellyer, an expert with the Washington-based Brookings Institution. “The questions people aren’t really focusing on is how these leaks managed to get out - and who exists in such sensitive positions of the state that would be willing to release them?” Sisi has dismissed the tapes as “information war,” saying that “anyone could do what he wanted thanks to technology,” suggesting the tapes were fabricated by Morsi supporters to embarrass his regime. — AFP




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Chicken growers set to pay price By P J Huffstutter and Lisa Baertlein


cDonald’s Corp’s decision last week to phase out human antibiotics from its US chicken supply will add to costs of production in a tight-margin business that are likely to be borne mostly by poultry companies. McDonald’s, whose top chicken suppliers include giant Tyson Foods Inc, has given its producers two years to eradicate all antibiotics used on humans from barns and hatcheries. It’s going to be expensive and may take longer than planned: Switching to antibiotic-free chickens could increase on-farm costs by up to 3 percent. Perdue Farms, a supplier with about a third the volume of Tyson, told Reuters it’s taken more than a decade and millions of dollars to make such a change. McDonald’s will use its purchasing muscle as the world’s largest restaurant chain to avoid passing extra costs on to customers, increasingly lower income as more affluent diners prefer competitors like Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc, said analysts including Morningstar’s R J Hottovy. Marion Gross, McDonald’s senior vice president of North America supply chain management, declined to say how much the company’s costs for chicken could rise. Rather, she told Reuters, the project is “an investment” to meet customer demand. While veterinary use of antibiotics is legal, controversy has grown over routine feeding of antibiotics that are important to humans to otherwise healthy chicken, cattle and pigs in a bid to stave off disease and help the animals grow more quickly. The risk is that overuse could spur the creation of so-called superbugs that develop cross-resistance to antibiotics used to treat humans. Reuters found last year that major US poultry firms were administering antibiotics to their flocks on the farm far more pervasively than regulators realized. The poultry industry maintains there is little evidence that bacteria which do become resistant also infect people. However, more restaurants and retailers are heeding the concerns of consumers, straining meat supplies. Sandwich chain Chick-fil-A in 2014 gave its producers five years to meet its commitment to go antibiotic-free for chicken. Perdue is a major supplier to Chick-fil-A. Costco Wholesale Corp, the nation’s third-largest retailer that annually sells 80 million rotisserie chickens, told Reuters Thursday it has a “large” appetite for chicken free of these medically-important antibiotics. The company is aware of the supply difficulties and won’t commit to a timeline, said Craig Wilson, vice president of food safety for Costco. Who Pays the Price? Some of the extra costs of cutting out antibiotics could be borne by franchisees, which could cut labor hours, waste and utility costs to offset higher meat prices. But most analysts expect McDonald’s to push the costs back onto its suppliers, who may not have the market power to resist. The top four US chicken processors control about 53 percent of the domestic market, according to the National Chicken Council. McDonald’s “carries a lot of clout with suppliers”, and some of them are dependent on the chain for survival, Hottovy said. Tyson and Keystone Foods, part of Brazil-based Marfrig Global Foods SA, both told Reuters they have significantly reduced medically-important antibiotic use in their flocks and are positioned to meet McDonald’s and other customers’ needs. However, neither company would answer specific questions about how such drugs are used on-farm and in hatcheries.

Slow Changes Perdue, the fourth-largest domestic chicken producer, began removing antibiotics used for growth promotion in 2002 amid consumer questions about what was being put into the animal feed, said Bruce Stewart-Brown, senior vice-president of food safety, quality and live operations. Now more than 95 percent of the chickens it produces are raised without antibiotics approved for human use, and more than half are raised with no antibiotics of any kind, according to the company. The transition led to unexpectedly high bird mortality rates, a need for more chicken houses and spending at least $4 million more a year on vaccines than rivals who haven’t made the switch, among other things. Birds raised without antibiotics also generally take three to nine days longer to reach their market weight, Stewart-Brown told Reuters - or as much as 20 percent longer than conventionally raised birds. McDonald’s two-year deadline is “a really fast timeframe to do it right and be predictable to your customers and your supply”, Stewart-Brown said. Birds raised on farms without antibiotics take longer to reach optimal slaughter weight, resulting in higher feed costs and death rates, forcing companies to ramp up with more eggs at the hatcheries, said Tom Elam of FarmEcon, an agricultural consulting company. “The ones that aren’t quite as good with keeping up with their biosecurity, it’s going to cause some issues,” Elam said. “This change is not free.” —Reuters

All articles appearing on these pages are the personal opinion of the writers. Kuwait Times takes no responsibility for views expressed therein. Kuwait Times invites readers to voice their opinions. Please send submissions via email to: [email protected] or via snail mail to PO Box 1301 Safat, Kuwait. The editor reserves the right to edit any submission as necessary.

Why US health overhaul drama plays on By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar


S President Barack Obama’s health overhaul remains an all-consuming drama for many, even though millions of people are gaining insurance coverage through a law that’s now 5 years old. During oral arguments last week in the latest Supreme Court case brought by the law’s opponents, Justice Elena Kagan called it a “never-ending saga”. Five reasons why the “Obamacare” epic plays on:

low-income people. Still, Republicans in Congress remain a wall of opposition. Administration Stumbles The president who once said you could keep your health plan if you liked it was caught flat-

Political Opposition Unyielding opposition from conservative voters has made it practically impossible for Republican lawmakers to take a pragmatic approach to a program with obvious flaws, but also popular aspects. Few in the United States want to go back to the days when insurance companies could deny coverage to people with pre-existing health conditions. But Republicans have followed a political game plan that requires them to first repeal Obama’s law before trying to replace it with legislation of their own, presumably to accomplish similar goals. A Supreme Court ruling invalidating the law’s subsidies in most states would give Republicans their best opening yet. But any “replacement” legislation also would spend taxpayer dollars and spawn new federal regulations. When former GOP President George W Bush pushed through new Medicare prescription drug coverage, most Democrats opposed him, and some even called for repeal. Yet they also helped constituents navigate the new program. Some Republican governors have risked a backlash from the party’s political base by accepting the law’s Medicaid expansion for

footed by a wave of insurance cancellations blamed on health law requirements taking effect in 2014. The HealthCare.gov website, talked up as the equivalent of Amazon and Travelocity, broke down the day it was launched in 2013, and took months to patch up. That same year, the administration announced the delay of a major requirement affecting employers on an obscure government blog just days before the Fourth of July. This year, HealthCare.gov sent the wrong tax information to about 800,000 people, and an online insurance market geared to small businesses has disappointed. The administration keeps resupplying the law’s critics with ammunition. Unconventional Path to Passage The Affordable Care Act did not get the legislative equivalent of close editing by a House-Senate conference committee. Congressional committees worked on different pieces of the bill and the complete package was assembled in negotiations shepherded by leadership. That could have made it more likely that glitches would get baked into the 900-plus pages of the law. Problems emerged soon after the law was signed. Vague wording of a provision guaranteeing coverage to children with pre-existing health conditions was cleaned up through regulations after the insurance industry acquiesced. The path to passage may be at the root cause of the current dispute before the Supreme Court, which centers on whether the wording of the law

allows federal subsidies in states that don’t set up their own insurance markets. “It was pushed through on expedited procedures and didn’t have the kind of consideration by a conference committee ... that statutes usually do,” noted Justice Antonin Scalia. Costs of Care Although premiums are heavily subsidized, people who buy private coverage through the law’s new insurance markets may still struggle with costs. Out-of-pocket expenses, including the annual deductible and required copayments, can be as high as $6,600 for an individual and $13,200 for a family. Faced with a serious illness, a family making $60,000 a year might have to shell out more than 20 percent of its income. That’s on top of living expenses. Average monthly premiums rose by 8 percent this year in the states served by HealthCare.gov, according to preliminary administration data. After subsidies, the average monthly premium that consumers pay directly rose by $23 a month. It’s Darn Complicated Obama’s law joined two of the most complicated areas for consumers: Health insurance and taxes. Even now, in the second year of coverage, enrollment counselors say many consumers get overwhelmed trying to understand what plan is best for them. It can be hard to figure out which doctors are in what plans, and what is the patient’s share of the cost for a particular medication. This tax filing season will reveal the connections between the law and the tax system, which is used to deliver carrots and sticks. Premiums subsidies are packaged as tax credits and consumers will have to account to the IRS that they got the right amount. People who remained uninsured will see fines deducted from their tax refunds, if they’re deemed able to afford coverage. If the last five years are a guide, look for more surprises as the saga continues. —AP

What has gone wrong at Real Madrid? By Kieran Canning


uropean champions Real Madrid have been usurped by Barcelona at the top of La Liga for the first time in five months. Los Blancos slumped to their fourth defeat in 14 games in 2015 as Aritz Aduriz’s thunderous header handed Athletic Bilbao a 1-0 win over Los Blancos on Saturday, whilst Barca were rampant in destroying Rayo Vallecano 6-1 on Sunday thanks to a hat-trick from Lionel Messi. After ending 2014 with four trophies on the back of a 22-game winning run, AFP sports looks at what has gone for Carlo Ancelotti’s men since the turn of the year. 1. Injuries Even for the most expensive squad ever assembled in the history of football, a spate of injuries to key players, particularly Luka Modric and James Rodriguez, has left devoid of options in midfield. Meanwhile, Sergio Ramos’s leadership in defence has been badly missed during his month-long lay-off due to a hamstring problem. 2. Lack of squad depth and rotation The impact of those injuries have been exaggerated by Ancelotti’s refusal to rotate when things were going well at the start of

the campaign and the sale of Xabi Alonso and Angel di Maria just before the season got under way.Fatigue of playing every game, particularly after a World Cup summer, is beginning to take its toll on the likes of Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema. 3. Ronaldo’s Ballon d’Or dip Even by his own stunning standards, Cristiano Ronaldo’s goalscoring rate in the first half of the season was barely believable. The Portuguese scored 32 times in 25 games between August and December to propel him towards a third Ballon d’Or in early January. In 2015 that ratio has fallen to seven goals in 12 games, two of which have come from the

penalty spot, whilst Messi’s hattrick means the two are now level on 30 league goals apiece when the Argentine trailed the Portuguese by 12 three months ago. Ronaldo also saw his ninth career red card in that run for kicking out at Cordoba defender Edimar and suffered a high-profile split with long-term supermodel girlfriend Irina Shayk off the field. 4. Bale’s longest Madrid goal drought Just when Madrid have most needed Bale to step up as Ronaldo’s form has dipped,

the Welshman is in the midst of his longest goal drought since swapping Spurs for the Spanish capital 18 months ago. Bale hasn’t found the net in over 720 minutes of football and at times seems hesitant about going for goal after criticism in the Spanish press for being too greedy at the start of the year. 5. Ancelotti not the man for the long haul Just three months ago Real president Florentino Perez was making suggestions that he wanted the Italian to be Madrid’s Alex Ferguson, the legendary Scottish manager who led Manchester United for 26 years. Now there are doubts whether Ancelotti will be in the job 26 weeks from now if he fails to deliver a major trophy at the end of the season. Ancelotti responded to criticism of his easy going management style on Friday by saying it had helped him to win three Champions Leagues - including ending Madrid’s 12-year wait for their 10th European Cup last May. However, Ancelotti is far from as specialised when it comes to the long-term league format where he has won just three league titles in his previous 15 seasons at top clubs like Juventus, AC Milan, Chelsea, Paris SaintGermain and now Madrid. —AFP



Brown and Smith take Puerto Rico Open lead PUERTO RICO: Americans Scott Brown and Chris Smith pushed into the lead at the Puerto Rico Open on Saturday, taking advantage of a rough afternoon for German Alex Cejka, who fell to fifth with a series of bogeys on the final holes. Brown, the 2013 winner, grabbed a share of the lead with birdies on the final two holes for a five-under 67 in the third round of the tournament. Smith shot a 68, leaving him and Brown at a six-under 210, one stroke up on American Jon Curran and Argentine Emiliano Grillo, who had rounds of 70 and 72, respectively. Overnight leader Cejka, who is still seeking his first PGA Tour victory, dropped four strokes late in the round, notching bogeys on the par-5 15th and par-4 17th, and a double-bogey on the par-5 18th. A four-time winner on the European Tour and twice a runner-up on the PGA Tour, Cejka had vaulted to the top of the leader board on Friday with a series of late birdies. He is tied with four others at four-under. Smith’s strong performance represents a comeback. His last PGA Tour win was the 2002 Buick Classic, and his last full Tour season was 2005. His wife was killed and two children were critically injured in an automobile accident in 2009. — Reuters

Sky defend doping rider PARIS: Servais Knaven remains a Team Sky sports director despite doping allegations resurfacing against the former Dutch rider, the British outfit said. “We have taken these allegations very seriously... Handed over the information presented to us to three independent world-class anti-doping experts for their analysis and expert opinion,” Sky said in a statement. “Their view on the basis of what has been presented to us is that there is no proof of doping and Servais continues to maintain his innocence.” Knaven was a member of the TVM team, who faced trial in France in 2001 after vials of EPO were found in a team car back in 1998. The Mail yesterday, who said it had access to court documents, reported that experts found Knaven had doped. “It is important to remember that no charges were ever brought against Servais. This goes back over 15 years and has been looked at several times during that period,” Team Sky’s statement added. “Servais has played an important part in the success of Team Sky over the last five years. He remains a valued team member.” Team Sky claim they have a zero-tolerance policy against doping, asking staff and riders to sign a statement saying they have never doped. In 2012, Dutchman Steven de Jongh, also a member of the TVM team in 1998, admitted to doping and subsequently left his job as Team Sky sports director. — Reuters

Wenger still haunted by Giggs wonder goal LONDON: Arsenal’s FA Cup quarter-final at Manchester United today will revive bitter memories for manager Arsene Wenger who says he is still spooked by a Ryan Giggs wonder goal in 1999. Giggs scored one of the most memorable goals ever in the competition’s long history when he weaved his way through Arsenal’s defence in extra time to deliver a knockout blow in a semi-final replay at Villa Park. Arsenal’s Dennis Bergkamp had missed a penalty in the last minute of normal time with the score 1-1. United went on to complete a treble but Wenger says that night at Villa Park proved pivotal and believes had Bergkamp not missed a penalty, United’s run to glory would have been derailed. “I saw the goal again when Giggs retired,” Wenger said in an interview with The Sun. “It won them the treble because if Bergkamp had scored it was game over. “It was a trauma for us in a negative way and for them in a positive way. It put them on the road to glory. “I still can hear the shouts of that team having won (2-1). They couldn’t believe it, because they were down to 10 men.” —Reuters

Holmes in control in Miami MIAMI: American JB Holmes had a fivestroke lead at the end of the third round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship on Saturday as he and compatriot Dustin Johnson both made holes-in-one on the par-three fourth hole. After Holmes aced the 227-yard hole, Johnson, playing two groups behind, followed suit 15 minutes later to the delight of the crowd at Trump-Doral. The green at the fourth hole on the Blue Monster course is surrounded by water to the front and right but that appeared to only focus the two Americans, who both found the hole with seven irons. Holmes is in control, however, after shooting 70 to move to 11-under for the tournament, a bogey on the 18th coming after the 32-year-old birdied the previous four holes. “When you’re atop the leaderboard and you can get a hole in one, that’s awesome,” said Holmes, who was delighted with his late flurry of birdies. “You want to make some birdies, but I definitely wasn’t planning on making four. I was just trying to get one or just come in

and make some pars because I did have the lead.” Johnson also bogeyed the par-four 18th hole as he made 69 to keep within reach of Holmes while Bubba Watson, the two-times Masters winner, was tied with Johnson, five strokes behind Holmes after shooting a 70. World number one Rory McIlroy was 10 shots back after his evenpar round of 72 featured four bogeys. Saturday’s best round came from American Bill Haas who shot a seven-under 65. Ryan Moore briefly had a share of the lead before Holmes’ late birdie run. Moore had an eagle on the par-four 16th, where he drove the green with a 293-yard tee shot and recovered from his triple-bogey on the third to make 74 and sit six shots back of Holmes. South Africa’s Louis Ooosthuizen (67) and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson (72) kept themselves in the chase, heading into Sunday’s fourth round, seven shots back. Britain’s Lee Westwood, Spain’s Sergio G arcia, Australian Adam S cott and American Webb Simpson were all tied in eighth place, eight strokes behind Holmes. — Reuters

Double victory for Park SINGAPORE: South Korea’s Park In-bee picked up a healthy win-double in one of the world’s biggest gambling cities on Sunday after a father-daughter wager helped her focus to success at the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore. Before the tournament, the five-times major winner bemoaned the toughness of the notoriously tricky Serapong Course on Sentosa Island, home to one of the citystate’s two casinos, so much that her father said he would pay her $500 for every birdie she made. In return, he wanted $1,000 for each bogey. Unfortunately for the dad, his daughter went bogey free over four days to complete a wire-to-wire success at the $1.4 million restricted-field LPGA Tour event thanks to 15 pricey birdies. “I took the bet thinking maybe even if I make bogey, he’s not going to take my money. I think it ended up really nicely,” a grinning Park told reporters after the 13th title of her career. “It gave me extra motivation I guess. It’s so fun and something other to motivate and something else to concentrate on. “I don’t think I can even believe myself that I didn’t make any bogeys for 72 holes. I mean, if I thought about bogeys, when am I going to make bogey, if I was afraid of the bogeys, I’d probably make bogeys.” Park said she didn’t think her father would be paying up the $7,500 prize yesterday. “He ran out of money since yesterday. I’m lending him money.” The 26-year-old, though, said she was indebted to him and the rest of her fami-

ly for their support in Singapore this week as she claimed one of the few titles to have previously escaped her clutches. “Yeah, it’s good to have a family here and they are big energy,” Park added. “This week just went so quick. I was just having dinner with them and chat with them. Every day went so quick, I didn’t have to think about so much golf when I’m not on the golf course, so I think that was a big help.” Starting the day with a two-shot lead over world number one Lydia Ko and American Stacy Lewis, Park remained cool and composed as the red-hot New Zealander drew level after only five holes. Ko, 17, however, could not continue the momentum and struggled from the tee and with her putter as Park closed out a two-shot win. World number three Lewis was four back of the Korean. Park was confident that after coming through victorious in the Sunday shootout between the top three women’s players she could wrestle back the world number one spot from Ko, who won the last two events in Australia and New Zealand. “I think so, because I didn’t play so many times with Lydia, especially in the final round, I thought she doesn’t make any mistakes. But I definitely saw her making a couple of mistakes today and thought actually she is human. “I’ll probably play a lot more with Lydia, a lot more often. I just can’t believe that I’m playing with somebody who can’t even drink (alcohol).” — Reuters

BOSTON: Philadelphia Flyers’ Brayden Schenn (left) collides with Boston Bruins’ Adam McQuaid (54) during the first period of an NHL hockey game. — AP

Bruins down Flyers BOSTON: Boston’s Brad Marchand scored the tying goal late in regulation and added the winner in overtime as the Bruins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 on Saturday Marchand sent it to OT with 14.1 seconds left and then won it 3:52 into the extra session. Zdeno Chara had a power-play goal for Boston, and Tuukka Rask made 29 saves, including two excellent stops in overtime. Chris Vandevelde and Jakub Voracek scored for the Flyers, who fell five points behind Boston in the chase for the Eastern Conference’s second wild card. Steve Mason made 34 saves for Philadelphia. The Bruins are 4-1-1 in their last six games after losing six straight (0-4-2). LIGHTNING 5, STARS 4 Alex Killorn and Victor Hedman scored early third-period goals, and Tampa Bay rallied to top Dallas. After Killorn scored from the low slot at 3:40, Hedman gave Tampa Bay a 4-3 lead 1:51 later. It was just the second time this season the Lightning have won when trailing after two periods (2-18-2). Anton Stralman, Nikita Kucherov and Brian Boyle had the other Lightning goals. Ondrej Palat had three assists. Dallas center Tyler Seguin scored two goals in his return after missing 10 games due to a sprained right knee. He was hurt on a hit by Florida defenseman Dmitry Kulikov on Feb. 13. Vernon Fiddler also scored twice for Dallas. AVALANCHE 4, BLUE JACKETS 0 Jarome Iginla, Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene scored in the first 10 minutes, and Semyon Varlamov made 44 saves to lead Colorado over Columbus. The shutout was Varlamov’s fifth of the season and the 18th of his NHL career. Three have come against the Blue Jackets. Alex Tanguay had a goal and an assist, and Tyson Barrie had three assists for the Avalanche, who played their first game without last season’s rookie of the year, Nathan MacKinnon. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 draft broke a bone in his foot blocking a shot and is unlikely to play again this season. PANTHERS 4, ISLANDERS 3 Jonathan Huberdeau scored the deciding shootout goal to lift Florida over the New York Islanders. Huberdeau beat Michal Neuvirth in the first round of the tiebreaker on the stick side. Huberdeau also scored in regulation, and Nick Bjugstad and Erik Gudbranson added goals for the Panthers. Dan Ellis stopped 25 shots in his second start since being recalled from the AHL. Ellis turned aside all three shots in the shootout. Jaromir Jagr had an assist for Florida. Josh Bailey, Nick Leddy and John Tavares scored for the Islanders. Neuvirth made 15 saves in his first start since being acquired from Buffalo on March 2. Tavares also had two assists. The Panthers won for the first time in three games. The Islanders have lost three of four.

SINGAPORE: Inbee Park of South Korea kisses the trophy after winning the HSBC Women’s Champions golf tournament. — AP

CAPITALS 6, SABRES 1 Curtis Glencross notched a goal and two assists, Alex Ovechkin returned from a onegame injury absence to score his NHL-leading 44th goal, and Washington routed Buffalo. Jay Beagle added a goal and an assist for Washington, which broke a 1 all tie with three second-period scores. Brooks Laich, Joel Ward, and Marcus Johansson also scored, and Mike

NHL results/standings Boston 3, Philadelphia 2 (OT); St. Louis 6, Toronto 1; Tampa Bay 5, Dallas 4; Florida 4, NY Islanders 3 (So); Washington 6, Buffalo 1; Colorado 4, Columbus 0; Winnipeg 3, Nashville 1; Montreal 2, Arizona 0; Pittsburgh 1, Los Angeles 0 (OT); Vancouver 3, San Jose 2. Western Conference Pacific Division W L OTL GF GA Anaheim 42 18 7 198 184 Vancouver 37 24 4 187 178 Calgary 36 25 4 187 167 Los Angeles 31 21 13 175 168 San Jose 32 26 8 187 186 Arizona 21 38 7 142 222 Edmonton 18 36 11 146 215 Central Division Nashville 41 19 7 197 165 41 19 5 204 163 St. Louis Chicago 39 21 5 190 153 Minnesota 36 22 7 184 165 Winnipeg 33 21 12 183 176 Colorado 29 25 11 174 183 Dallas 29 27 10 207 220 Eastern Conference Atlantic Division Montreal 42 18 6 177 146

PTS 91 78 76 75 72 49 47 89 87 83 79 78 69 68 90

Green and Nicklas Backstrom had two assists apiece. Braden Holtby made 16 saves. Johan Larsson scored for Buffalo, which has lost the first four games of a five-game road trip. Ovechkin, who added an assist, has five goals in his last three games. Matt Hackett, recalled Saturday from Rochester of the AHL, stopped 19 of 23 shots before being lifted in the second period. CANADIENS 2, COYOTES 0 Carey Price made 29 saves for his seventh shutout, and Montreal beat slumping Arizona. Lars Eller and Brendan Gallagher scored for the Eastern Conference-leading Canadiens, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Montreal scored six goals during its four-game road trip, three coming Thursday at Los Angeles. Mike Smith made 33 saves for the Coyotes, who have lost 10 of 11 and 12 of 14. Arizona was shut out for the ninth time this season, one fewer than Buffalo’s NHL-worst 10. The Canadiens broke the scoreless deadlock at 4:48 of the second period. Gallagher scored into an empty net in the closing seconds. JETS 3, PREDATORS 1 Blake Wheeler scored the go-ahead goal midway through the second period, and Winnipeg sent Nashville to its season-worst sixth straight defeat. Michael Frolik and Drew Stafford also scored for the Jets, who have won two of three. Ryan Ellis had the Nashville goal. Before this skid, the Predators hadn’t lost three in a row all season. Frolik scored the game’s first goal at 14:54 of the opening period, his 15th of the season. Frolik’s six-game point streak established a career high. He has four goals and two assists in that span. BLUES 6, MAPLE LEAFS 1 Jori Lehtera and Alexander Steen both had three assists, and six St. Louis players scored in a rout of Toronto. The Blues (41-19-5) snapped a two-game skid and moved within two points of Central Division-leading Nashville.

Tampa Bay Detroit Boston Florida Ottawa Toronto Buffalo

41 20 6 222 177 88 36 16 11 184 165 83 32 22 10 171 167 74 29 23 14 163 188 72 29 23 11 179 169 69 26 35 5 176 205 57 19 42 5 126 224 43 Metropolitan Division NY Islanders 42 21 4 214 189 88 NY Rangers 39 17 7 197 155 85 Pittsburgh 38 18 9 188 160 85 Washington 36 21 10 200 165 82 Philadelphia 28 25 13 175 190 69 New Jersey 27 28 10 146 168 64 Columbus 27 34 4 166 207 58 Carolina 24 32 7 145 170 55 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L). Toronto has lost 28 of 35. Jonathan Bernier gave up three goals on 17 shots before being pulled. James Reimer gave up the other three goals on 27 shots. Jaden Schwartz, TJ Oshie, Vladimir Tarasenko, Chris Butler, Paul Stastny and David Backes scored for the Blues. Brian Elliott was barely tested in making 23 saves. He allowed just a third-period goal to David Booth. PENGUINS 1, KINGS 0 Patric Hornqvist scored on a Kings turnover in the slot 1:44 into overtime, and Pittsburgh beat Los Angeles for its sixth victory in seven games. Hornqvist pounced when Jeff Carter made a curious clearing pass from the corner to Tyler Toffoli in front of the Los Angeles net. Toffoli bobbled the puck to Hornqvist, who ended it with his 22nd goal. Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves in his ninth shutout of the season for the Penguins, who completed a Southern California sweep after beating NHL-leading Anaheim on Friday night with two goals from Hornqvist. Jonathan Quick stopped 17 shots for the Kings, who had won 10 of their previous 13 games. The Kings outshot the Penguins 31-16 in 60 minutes of tense regulation hockey, but got nothing past Fleury. Los Angeles lost a 1-0 game for the third time this season, including twice in its last three home games. CANUCKS 3, SHARKS 2 Radim Vrbata scored his second goal of the game to break a tie in the third period and made an alert defensive play to preserve the lead and help Vancouver complete the rally from a twogoal deficit to edge San Jose. Vrbata started the comeback with a goal in the final minute of the first period and then gave Vancouver its first lead when he scored on the power play early in the third. Bo Horvat also scored and Eddie Lack made 38 saves for the Canucks, who avoided their first three-game losing streak since early January. Melker Karlsson and Joe Thornton scored for the Sharks, who were dealt another blow in their bid for an 11th straight playoff berth. Antti Niemi made 31 saves. — AP



Marin lifts All-England crown BIRMINGHAM: Carolina Marin, the 21-year-old Andalucian who created one of the biggest sensations in badminton history last year, created another by becoming the first Spaniard ever to win an All-England title. Marin did that with a 16-21, 21-14, 21-7 women’s singles win over Saina Nehwal, the world number three from India. And it was a remarkable result for someone from a country where until now little badminton has been played, and one which follows her startling capture of the world title in Copenhagen last year. What made it all the more stunning was that Marin had never beaten Nehwal before and that she did so this time, having looked headed for defeat at a game and 6-10 down. But she transformed both the tactical emphasis and the emotion of the match, and well before the end Nehwal’s skills and movement seemed to have strangely evaporated. “This is quite amazing for me,” said Marin. “I lost to her every time before, so to beat her like this, and in this tournament, is very special indeed. “It was special when I won the world title - so many people met me at the airport and this feels very special too. We shall see how people react this time.” Nehwal, who now has to be content with being the first Indian woman to reach this final, nevertheless started well, moving into a three-point lead at once, and extending it to nine points before consolidating it to 20-11, at which stage it seemed that the match night become very one-sided. DECEPTIVE That was because in the process Nehwal also showed how she might be tactically superior. She often kept the shuttle low and flat, away from Marin’s fine smashing and, when she lifted the shuttle, she usually moved it from side to side and was mostly accurate enough. Nehwal was also often better at the midcourt pushing and jabbing exchanges, and it became unclear how Marin was going to get back into the match. It was not until the Spaniard won the point which earned her the serve at 9-15 that she managed to land one of her powerful and deceptive round-the-head smashes for a winner. But Marin started to come good when she won

five points in a row before losing the first game. And from the mid-stage of the second game she started to hustle and dictate much more, improving greatly in the mid-court exchanges, and fighting much harder. Even then Marin went 6-10 down in the second game, at which point thoughts of winning the title which had been her childhood dream might well have come into Nehwal’s head. But when Marin had hit a trademark smash followed by a kill to reach 17-13, she showed a fist and strutted provocatively across the net, and from the then on the emotions of the contest changed, as well as its tactics. UNSTOPPABLE And once Marin had closed out the second set after a rat-a-tat mid-court exchange she got completely on top, and Nehwal seemed unable to respond. “I just lost focus and began hurrying, which was not right,” Nehwal said. “Playing against top players anything can happen at any stage, and you can always get nervous at some point in time. That’s what happened here.” By the change of ends in the decider Marin had become unstoppable. She finished with a fierce sequence of attacks and when she had won threw herself on the floor and covered her eyes, before leaping up to begin a series of embraces. “At 9-11 in the second I heard my coach calling to me,” she said. “I stuck to my game plan (speeding the rallies up more) and tried to make less mistakes. I could feel it was beginning to work but then it started working very quickly.” Earlier, the three-year run of Tontowi Ahmad and Lilyana Natsir as All-England mixed doubles champions came to an end when they were beaten by Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei, the Olympic and world champions. The top-seeded Chinese pair overcame the fourth-seeded Indonesians 21-10, 21-10, thus maintaining China’s chances of winning four of the five titles, as well as Zhang Nan’s hopes of becoming the first man to win two titles at the same AllEngland championship for 13 years. Zhang was due to play later in the men’s doubles, the last final, and China also had players competing for titles in the men’s singles and women’s doubles. — AFP

PHILADELPHIA: Philadelphia 76ers’ Nerlens Noel (right) blocks a shot by Atlanta Hawks’ Kent Bazemore during the second half of an NBA basketball game. — AP

76ers and Cavaliers roll PHILADELPHIA: Hollis Thompson and Luc Mbah a Moute scored 19 points apiece and the Philadelphia 76ers surprised the short-handed Atlanta Hawks 92-84 on Saturday night. Nerlens Noel had 11 points and 17 rebounds to help the 76ers win for the second time in 11 games. Philadelphia (14-49) entered with the NBA’s second-worst record. Jeff Teague had 17 points to pace Atlanta, which had its six-game winning streak snapped. The Hawks (49-13), who came in with the best record in the league, rested starters Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll - taking more than 41 points out of their lineup. CAVALIERS 89, SUNS 72 LeBron James tied Cleveland’s career assists record and scored 17 points in the Cavaliers’ victory over Phoenix. James tied Mark Price at 4,206 assists in the third quarter. James was 6 for 16 from the field and had eight assists and six rebounds to help the Cavaliers win their 13th straight at home and move into a tie for second with Chicago in the Eastern Conference. Timofey Mozgov led the Cavaliers with 19 points, and Tristan Thompson had 15 points with 12 rebounds. Markieff Morris scored 16 points for Phoenix. HEAT 114, KINGS 109 Dwyane Wade scored 28 points, Tyler Johnson added 24 and Miami erased a 12-point, fourthquarter deficit to beat Sacramento. Johnson’s 3pointer as the shot clock was expiring with just under a minute left put the Heat up four. Wade added a pair of free throws with 31.2 seconds remaining as Miami won its third straight home game - almost unbelievably, its longest such stretch of the season. DeMarcus Cousins had 27 points and 17 rebounds before fouling out for Sacramento. Rudy Gay scored 27 points, and Ben McLemore added 20.

BIRMINGHAM: Spain’s Carolina Marin poses with her trophy after beating India’s Saina Nehwal (not pictured) in their All England OpenBadminton†Championships women’s singles final match. — AFP

Hamilton feeling ‘stronger than ever’ LONDON: Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton says he is going into the new season mentally stronger than ever after learning to keep his personal and professional life apart. Hamilton won 11 of the 19 races last year on his way to a second title. However, he and on-off girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger have separated since she watched him win the Abu Dhabi season-ender and title last November. “I think last year, I adapted ... a mental attitude that was kind of, I would like to say, impenetrable,” the Mercedes driver told British reporters before heading to Australia for the March 15 season-opener. “In the previous years it has been the case where it (personal issues) has affected my life in general but I feel that I still carry that kind of mentality from last year. “Having been in this position before, I feel stronger than ever so I don’t feel that it’s going to be a problem.” The Briton started the 2014 season, the first of the new V6 turbo hybrid era, with some pundits suspecting his team mate Nico Rosberg might get the better of a man who so often wears

Lewis Hamilton in action in this file photo.

his heart on his sleeve and lives in the public glare. Instead, Hamilton won more of the mind battles between the two title rivals, stepping up a gear in particular after they collided in Belgium. Everything aligned for the double champion last year and he said that was a rarity. “It’s like once in a blue moon that it’s all in line but I still feel like I’ve got enough in place to do what I need to do and to be the best I can be,” said the 30-year-old. “It’s not easy to better a season like last year. In terms of performance, it was the best year that I think I’ve ever had, but it doesn’t mean I can’t beat it so that’s what I’m trying to do.” Hamilton is also negotiating his own contract extension with Mercedes, with the existing one running out at the end of the year, and he said that was progressing well. “Hopefully we’re in the final stages. I don’t really know what the timeline is for that but we’re not rushing, but we’re very much in the last stages of it,” he said. “So for the foreseeable future, I’m committed to this team.” — Reuters

ROCKETS 114, NUGGETS 100 James Harden scored 28 points, Corey Brewer had 24 and Houston Rockets snapped a threegame road losing streak with a victory over Denver. Trevor Ariza had 19 points and Donatas Motiejunas added 18 for the Rockets. Wilson Chandler had 26 points for Denver. The Nuggets are 2-2 under interim coach Melvin Hunt. PELICANS 95, GRIZZLIES 89 Tyreke Evans scored 26 points, Anthony Davis

added 23 points and 10 rebounds, and New Orleans overcame an 18-point deficit to beat Memphis. Eric Gordon scored 16 points, including two free throws with 24.5 seconds left, to help New Orleans win for the seventh time in nine games and pull a half-game behind Oklahoma City for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. Jeff Green had 20 points for Memphis. TIMBERWOLVES 121, TRAIL BLAZERS 113 Kevin Martin scored 29 points and Ricky Rubio hit a big 3-pointer with a minute left to help Minnesota snap a four-game skid and end Portland’s winning streak at five games. Rubio had 13 points, 15 assists and eight rebounds, and his late 3 gave the Wolves a 109102 lead. Gary Neal scored 27 off the bench and Andrew Wiggins added 18 points. Damian Lillard had 32 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, and LaMarcus Aldridge added 21 points and eight rebounds for Portland in its first game

since losing Wesley Matthews for the season to an Achilles injury. PACERS 92, KNICKS 86 Rodney Stuckey scored 17 points, George Hill made the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 2:34 left, and Indiana beat New York for its season-best fifth straight victory. Hill had 15 points and David West finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds for Indiana. They have won 11 of 13 and came in tied for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Andrea Bargnani scored 21 points for the Knicks. They lost their third straight to drop to 12-49. BUCKS 91, WIZARDS 85 Khris Middleton scored 30 points and hit a key 3pointer from the corner with 40.8 seconds left, and Milwaukee beat Washington to snap a four-game losing streak. Middleton had missed a 3 but the offensive rebound was tracked down by center Zaza Pachulia, who flipped a pass back to Middleton for a successful follow. Paul Pierce led the Wizards with 14 points.— AP

NBA results/standings New Orleans 95, Memphis 89; Cleveland 89, Phoenix 79; Miami 114, Sacramento 109 (OT); Indiana 92, NY Knicks 86; Philadelphia 92, Atlanta 84; Minnesota 121, Portland 113; Milwaukee 91, Washington 85; Houston 114, Denver 100. Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L PCT Toronto 38 24 .613 Boston 25 35 .417 Brooklyn 25 35 .417 Philadelphia 14 49 .222 NY Knicks 12 49 .197 Central Division Chicago 39 24 .619 Cleveland 40 25 .615 Milwaukee 33 29 .532 Indiana 28 34 .452 Detroit 23 38 .377 Southeast Division Atlanta 49 13 .790 Washington 35 28 .556 Miami 28 34 .452 Charlotte 27 33 .450 Orlando 20 43 .317

GB 12 12 24.5 25.5 5.5 10.5 15 14.5 21 21 29.5

Western Conference Northwest Division Portland 41 20 .672 28 .548 Oklahoma City 34 Utah 25 36 .410 Denver 22 41 .349 Minnesota 14 47 .230 Pacific Division Golden State 48 12 .800 40 22 .645 LA Clippers Phoenix 33 31 .516 Sacramento 21 40 .344 LA Lakers 16 45 .262 Southwest Division Memphis 44 18 .710 43 20 .683 Houston Dallas 40 24 .625 San Antonio 38 23 .623 New Orleans 34 29 .540

7.5 16 20 27 9 17 27.5 32.5 1.5 5 5.5 10.5

Jansrud wins Super-G title KVITFJELL: Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud clinched the World Cup Super-G title with victory on home snow in Kvitfjell yesterday, continuing a remarkable run for home skiers at the resort. Jansrud took advantage of the soft snow conditions to triumph in one minute and 37.44 seconds while several favourites failed to complete the course. “It’s the fourth time in succession a Norwegian wins the Super-G crystal globe. We’re really the best!,” Olympic champion Jansrud, whose compatriot Aksel Lund Svindal won the last three editions, told reporters. Austria’s Vincent Kriechmayr was second, 0.24 behind, with Canada’s Dustin Cook, who was runner-up at the world championships in Beaver Creek, was 0.33 off the pace. In the Super-G standings, Jansrud leads Italy’s Domonik Paris by 123 points and can no longer be caught with just one event left at the World Cup finals later this month. Thanks to his ninth career victory, Jansrud is now only 52 points behind three-times World Cup champion Marcel Hirscher of Austria, who will have a slalom and a giant slalom next weekend in Kranjska Gora to stretch his lead. “I haven’t given up on the overall World Cup but if Marcel keeps on skiing the way he has since the start of the season, it will be a little tight,” he said, after emulating his success on the same piste last year. “It doesn’t really matter who wins the big globe in the end because whoever does will really deserve it. I will go to Kranjska Gora and see what happens,” he added. Jansrud is also leading the downhill World Cup standings ahead of Austria’s Hannes Reichelt. In the women’s World Cup, the races

KVITFJELL: Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud speeds down the course on his way to win an alpine ski, men’s World Cup super-G. — AP

for the overall globe and the Super-G title remain undecided after Lindsey Vonn’s victory in Gamrish-Partenkirchen. VONN VICTORY The American took the record number of World Cup victories by a woman to 65, beating the two leading contenders for the overall title, Tina Maze and Anna Fenninger. Slovenian Maze, the 2013 World Cup win-

ner, finished 0.20 seconds behind Vonn and took 20 points off Fenninger to lead her by 44 points in the standings. “I love this battle. I can’t sleep anymore. I’m so focused on my goals but I love it,” Maze said. Vonn said the victory boosted her confidence that she could lift both the Super-G and downhill titles this season. “I love to be in the position of the chaser rather than being chased. I felt great today,” she said. — Reuters



Thurman, Broner win on prime time debut LAS VEGAS: Keith Thurman and Robert Guerrero gave a prime-time television audience something to watch Saturday night. Thurman won a piece of the welterweight title with a bruising decision win over Guerrero in the debut of a new boxing series on network television. And he did it with the kind of fight that had the crowd on its feet and gave a much needed boost to boxing in the first prime-time fights on NBC in 30 years. “That’s kind of performance that wins the hearts of fans even when you don’t win the fight,” Guerrero said. “The fans love that and that’s what boxing is all about.” The fight was the highlight of a card that also included a win by Adrien Broner over John Molina in a super lightweight bout. But while fans booed that fight for lack of action, they cheered from the opening bell as Thurman took apart Guerrero in a fight that had a little bit of something for every fan - except a knockout. “I know I was hurting him each and every round,” Thurman said. “But he’s a veteran and knew how to pace himself and stay a little out of my range.” Thurman knocked Guerrero down in the ninth round and won easily on all three ringside scorecards to capture the WBA version of the 147-pound crown. But Guerrero fought hard and wasn’t afraid to trade punches even while bleeding from a cut over his left eye late in the bout. Thurman landed 211 of 598 punches to 104 of 497 for Guerrero, but that didn’t tell the whole story. Thurman’s punches were much harder and seemed to shake Guerrero on several occasions, though they didn’t deter him from pressing the fight even after being knocked down and nearly knocked out in the ninth round. “I keep fighting my heart out and that’s what the fans like about me,” Guerrero said. Thurman won every round on one ringside scorecard and 10 rounds on the other two, using thudding punches to keep Guerrero away. Still, he was never able to put him away and Guerrero came back in the 10th round to land some big punches of his own while Thurman was on the ropes. “Robert Guerrero was a tremendous warrior,” Thurman said. “He was there the whole way.” It was a signature win for Thurman, and not only because he was showcased on the top of the television card. He beat a fighter who fought Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2012, lasting all 12 rounds though dropping a lopsided decision. And he

remained unbeaten in 25 fights with a performance that could put him in a big pay-per-view fight his next time out. The fight was the first of 20 cards scheduled this year for the Premier Boxing Champions series put together by manager Al Haymon and featuring his fighters. It was also the first of five scheduled Saturday prime-time bouts on NBC. And while it was created for television with an all-star cast of announcers that included Al Michaels, Marv Albert and Laila Ali, it also gave the crowd of 10,106 at the MGM Grand something different, too. Boxers were introduced on a stage at one end of the arena, and there were new high definition monitors above the ring to show the action. Unlike most boxing events, the fights also went off on time to accommodate television. In the first fight, Broner boxed his way to an easy win over Molina, using his left jab to pile up points. Despite winning every round on two of the three scorecards, though, Broner was booed by many in the crowd at the MGM Grand for not trying for a knockout in the super lightweight bout. Broner, trying to re-establish himself after a loss in 2012 to Marcos Maidana, used his superior speed to keep Molina off balance, rarely allowing him to land more than a single punch at a time. The former three-time champion was so far ahead in the final round that he did little but dance away from Molina, finally raising his hands in triumph with 10 seconds still left in the fight. “I know I lived up to the hype,” Broner said. “He was swinging for the fences and I stayed dangerous. I felt like I beat all odds tonight.” Ringside punch stats reflected both Broner’s dominance and the ineffectiveness of Molina’s attack. Broner threw twice as many punches (502-249), and landed four times as many (219-54) in winning a decision that was never in doubt after the early rounds. Broner said he was not concerned about the boos, something commonplace early in his career. “I knew walking into the arena 85 percent of the fans were against me,” he said. “But I know I made some new fans around the world.” Broner, who improved to 30-1, was paid $1.2 million, while Molina (27-6) earned $450,000. Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. —AP

Diniz sets new 20km walk world record

LAS VEGAS: Keith Thurman connects with a left to Robert Guerrero during their boxing match, Saturday in Las Vegas. Thurman won by unanimous decision. — AP

Serbia, France sail into Davis Cup last eight KRALJEVO: Novak Djokovic spurred Serbia to a 3-0 win over neighbors Croatia in the first round of the Davis Cup on Saturday and they will be joined in the quarter-finals by an equally rampant France. Britain’s progress was put on hold after they lost an enthralling doubles to the United States on Saturday. Holders Switzerland, missing Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka, fell behind 2-1 at Belgium while the Czech Republic hauled themselves back against Australia. World number one Djokovic, who was a late replacement for Viktor Troicki, teamed up with Nenad Zimonjic to blow away Marin Draganja and Franko Skugor 6-3 6-4 6-1 in Serbia’s central city of Kraljevo. The home fans, who roared on the Serbs but also gave the Croatians a warm reception throughout the tie, were given a scare in the second set when Djokovic received medical treatment for a cut on his right hand. But they were relieved to see him carry on and produce one of his best doubles performances as 38-year-old Zimonjic rolled back the years. “Novak played unbelievably well today and we are delighted to have sealed a quarter-final spot,” Serbia coach Bogdan Obradovic said. Djokovic added: “We decided that I should come in for Viktor because that was the best combination in this moment. “Being 2-0 up after the opening day was a massive confidence boost and we did everything right today, from the first to the last point.” Having won both their singles against the Americans after Andy Murray beat Donald Young and James Ward staged a comeback against John Isner on Friday, Britain nearly conjured another impressive fightback in the doubles. Murray’s brother Jamie and Dominic Inglot found themselves two sets down against the world’s top ranked pairing of Bob and Mike Bryan but, cheered on by a boisterous crowd in Glasgow, the British duo fought back. As American captain Jim Courier watched on anxiously from the sidelines, the Bryan twins eventually stretched the tie into a third day with a 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-7(8) 9-7 victory. Leading 2-1 ahead of Sunday’s mouth-watering climax, Britain will now rest the bulk of their hopes

on Andy Murray beating Isner in the first reverse singles. The winner’s reward will be a last-eight meeting with France, who dismissed Germany after Julien Benneteau and Nicolas Mahut brushed aside Benjamin Becker and Andre Begemann 6-4 6-3 6-2. Brazil topped Argentina in straight sets, going up 2-1, as Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares beat Diego Schwartzman and Carlos Berlocq 7-5 6-3 6-4. Berlocq was playing a day after losing a five-set singles match. The win puts Brazil in position to advance to the quarter-finals for the first time since 2001 if they can win one of Sunday’s singles matches. Canada went 2-1 up on Japan as Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil beat Go Soeda and Yasutaka Uchiyama 7-5 2-6 6-3 3-6 6-3, setting up a Sunday showdown between world No. 6 Milos Raonic and

No. 4 Kei Nishikori. Belgium’s Ruben Bemelmans and Niels Desein recovered from a set down to beat Michael Lammer and Adrien Bossel 1-6 6-3 6-2 6-2, giving the hosts a 2-1 lead over the holders ahead of Sunday’s reverse singles. Australia missed a chance to seal their tie against the Czechs after Jiri Vesely and Adam Pavlasek beat Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Groth in a 16 7-6(2) 3-6 7-6(4) 6-2 rollercoaster. The Australians lost the fourth set tiebreak before fizzling out in the fifth to hand the Czechs a lifeline. “This was a tough match but we kept fighting and managed to turn it around,” said Vesely. “At the end of the fourth set and the whole of the fifth Adam played perfectly.” Italy took a 2-1 lead at Kazakhstan. — Reuters

KRALJEVO: Viktor Troicki of Serbia returns the ball against Croatia’s Mate Delic during their Davis Cup World Group first round tennis match between Serbia and Croatia. — AP

Kwiatkowski clinches Paris-Nice prologue ZURICH: A file picture taken on August 15, 2014 shows winner France’s Yohann Diniz posing on the podium at the end of the Men’s 50km walk. — AFP

PARIS: France’s Yohann Diniz set a new world record of one hour 17.02 minutes in the 20km walk at the French national championships yesterday. Already world record holder in the 50km (3hr 32.33min) since 2014, Diniz bettered the previous 20km best of 1hr 17.16min set in September 2007 by Russia’s Vladimir Kanaykin in the Russian city of Saransk. The 37-year-old Diniz, a three-time European champion over the 50km walk, went into the French championships in the sea-level town of Arles fresh from a high-altitude training camp in Potchefstroom, South Africa. “Going through 15km in 58 minutes dead, I was told about the world record and I knew I could do it,” Diniz told AFP, hailing the cardio and respiratory benefits he reaped while in South Africa. “We were at 1,400 metres altitude, it was hot and training conditions were ideal.” Diniz will turn his sights later this year on a 20km-50km walk double at the World Athletics Championships in Beijing, where he pulled up in the 50km walk at the 2008 Olympic Games. Meanwhile, Ukrainian pole vault legend Sergey Bubka on Saturday praised tighter anti-doping rules imposed on athletes’ entourage in 2013 following a wave of positive dope tests. “It’s great that step is done regarding entourage sanctions. We can see now that entourage has responsibility,” Bubka told reporters at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Prague. “We must educate athletes and we

must educate entourage to protect our sport and highlight that there are honest, fair and correct athletes,” the 51-year-old added. Bubka, a vice-president of the international athletics federation IAAF and a member of the International Olympic Committee Executive Board, vowed “zero tolerance” to doping which he dubbed the biggest threat to sport in the 21st century. “We took a very good step when we created the (anti-doping agency) WADA,” said Bubka, who is in contention to become the next IAAF president later this year, alongside former British middle distance star Sebastian Coe. “In reality in the society someone respects the rules, someone crosses the road on the green light, someone on the red. And sport is not staying outside of reality.” “The world is not ideal and we must be very strict, very fair and very tough in this.” “This is one of the priorities for future president, to pay attention, to work hard, and athletics in this way should take the leading role. And who cheats there’s no excuse, anyone should pay the price. Late last year, a German TV channel stirred up the doping debate by airing a documentary alleging Russian athletes are involved in a massive doping scheme. “We should fight the criminal networks, which make millions on doping and we should also punish doctors, judges, coaches, managers and others if they are involved in doping and corruption,” Bubka said after seeing the document last December. — AFP

MAUREPAS: World champion Michal Kwiatkowski of Poland won the prologue of the Paris-Nice race, a 6.7 kilometre time trial in Maurepas, south-west of Paris, yesterday. Riding in his first Paris-Nice, the so-called “race to the sun”, Kwiatkowski timed 7min 40sec, to finish ahead of world hour record holder Rohan Dennis of Australia, who was credited with the same time. Another time trial specialist, Germany’s Tony Martin,

was third, seven seconds back. In spring sunshine, race favourite Richie Porte of Australia already found himself trailing Kwiatkowski by 15 seconds, the same time as world time trial champion Bradley Wiggins of Britain. Another of the expected front-runners, Tejay Van Garderen of the United States, fared only slightly better, finishing a second faster than Porte and Wiggins. “When I knew I was going to be riding the

Paris-Nice, I was really up for it, Kwiatkowski said. But he added: “We mustn’t get carried away yet, we’ve only raced 6.7 kilometres and there’s more than another 1,000 to go until Nice, but I’m very happy with my performance today. “I don’t know if I can hold on to the leader’s jersey and I’ve no idea if I have the wherewithal to win the race.” Today’s first stage sees the riders tackle the 196.5km ride from Saint-Remy-les-Chevreuse to Contres. — AFP

FRANCE: Poland’s Michal Kwiatkowski competes during the 6.7 km individual time-trial and prologue of the 73rd edition of the Paris-Nice cycling race. — AFP


Maxwell’s century thwarts Sangakkara’s latest ton

SCOREBOARD SYDNEY: Completed scoreboard in the World Cup Pool A match between Australia and Sri Lanka at the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday: Sri Lanka Australia L. Thirimanne c Haddin b Johnson 1 D. Warner c Prasanna b Malinga 9 T. Dilshan lbw b Faulkner 62 A. Finch st Sangakkara b Prasanna 24 K. Sangakkara c Finch b Faulkner 104 S. Smith c Perera b Dilshan 72 M. Jayawardene run out (Clarke) 19 M. Clarke b Malinga 68 A. Mathews c Haddin b Watson 35 G. Maxwell c Malinga b Perera 102 D. Chandimal retired hurt 52 S. Watson c Chandimal b Perera 67 T. Perera c Doherty b Johnson 8 J. Faulkner run out (Mathews) 0 U. Tharanga c Warner b Faulkner 4 B. Haddin c Perera b Mathews 25 S. Prasanna b Starc 9 M. Johnson not out 3 S. Senanayake c Doherty b Starc 7 M. Starc run out (Perera/Mathews) 0 L. Malinga not out 0 X. Doherty not out 0 Extras (b2, lb5, w4) 11 Extras: (b1, lb1, w4) 6 Total (9 wkts, 46.2 overs) 312 Total (9 wkts, 50 overs) 376 Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Thirimanne), 2-135 Fall of wickets: 1-19 ( Warner), 2-41 (Dilshan), 3-188 (Jayawardene), 4-201 (Finch), 3-175 (Clarke), 4-177 (Smith), 5- (Sangakkara), 5-283 (Mathews), 6-293 337 (Maxwell), 6-338 (Faulkner), 7-368 (Perera), 7-305 (Prasanna), 8-307 (Watson), 8-373 (Haddin), 9-374 (Starc). (Tharanga), 9-312 (Senanayake) Bowling: Malinga 10-0-59-2 (1w); Bowling: Starc 8.2-0-29-2 (1w); Johnson Senanayake 9-0-59-0; Mathews 7-0-59-1 9-0-62-2 (2w); Watson 7-0-71-1; Doherty (2w); Prasanna 10-0-77-1; Perera 9-0-87-2 7-0-60-0; Maxwell 6-0-35-0; Faulkner 9-048-3 (1w). (1w); Dilshan 5-0-33-1

SYDNEY: Australia supplanted Sri Lanka in second spot in World Cup Pool A propelled by a ‘big show’ ton from Glenn Maxwell before they weathered Kumar Sangakkara’s third consecutive century in Sydney yesterday. The Australians, aiming for a fifth World Cup triumph, amassed 376 for nine, Maxwell lighting up the Sydney Cricket Ground with 102 off 53 balls and then restricted Sri Lanka to 312 for nine to win by 64 runs. It was a crucial win by the co-hosts, leapfrogging Sri Lanka into second spot behind New Zealand with one more group match to play. Victory secured Australia’s place in the last eight and made a quarter-final against South Africa less likely. In a high-scoring match before almost 40,000 fans, plenty of them Sri Lankans, Maxwell produced one of his famed ‘big shows’ with a pulsating maiden one-day international century off 51 balls to leave Sri Lanka with a massive run chase. No side batting second have made more to win a World Cup match than Ireland’s 329 for seven against England in Bangalore four years ago. The mighty Sangakkara gave it a big shake, raising his third consecutive ton at the tournament off 100 balls and his 24th century in his 402nd ODI. But the Australians breathed

easier when he holed out to James Faulkner for 104 giving Aaron Finch a running catch to end his otherwise chanceless knock. Maxwell thrilled the SCG full house with his audacious reverse sweeps, flicks and powerful hitting in an innings he has threatened to unleash in his previous 44 ODIs. ‘The Big Show’, as he is known, blasted his half-century off 26 balls with a pulled six off Thisara Perera and was particularly brutal with Seekkuge Prasanna, hoisting the leg-spinner for 34 off just 12 balls. Maxwell and Shane Watson, back in the side after being dropped in Australia’s previous match against Afghanistan for repeated failures with the bat, plundered 160 runs off 13.4 overs. The Sri Lankans were at their wits’ end trying to find ways to stop the run riot as Maxwell and Watson took the bowlers apart. MAXWELL REPRIEVE Maxwell had a life on 93 when he topedged Mathews and wicketkeeper Sangakkara scurried back and made his ground only to drop the catch, but he was out soon afterwards when caught by Lasith Malinga at mid-on. Maxwell narrowly missed out on equalling

the 50-ball record for the fastest World Cup hundred set by Ireland’s Kevin O’Brien against England in 2011. In a solid effort by Australia’s batsmen, Watson struck 67 off 41 balls, Steve Smith hit 72 off 88 balls and skipper Michael Clarke chipped in with a run-a-ball 68. The 1996 World Cup champions lost Lahiru Thirimanne for one in the second over, snapped up behind by Brad Haddin off Mitchell Johnson. But the experienced pair of Tillakaratne Dilshan and Sangakkara set about taking on the challenge, with Dilshan defiantly smacking Johnson for six fours off one over. Clarke dropped Dilshan on 46 in a running two-handed chance as the pair raced along with home fans clapping dot balls. But Dilshan fell leg before to James Faulkner’s slower ball for 62 off 60 balls after putting on 130 with Sangakkara. Mahela Jayawardene threw away his wicket on 19 attempting a risky single only to caught short of his ground by Clarke’s throw from mid-off. Sri Lanka kept fighting until the end with Dinesh Chandimal cracking 52 off 24 balls before retiring hurt with hamstring trouble and skipper Angelo Mathews gloved Watson to Brad Haddin for 35. Faulkner finished with an impressive three for 48. — AFP

AUSTRALIA: Sri Lanka batsman Seekkuge Prasanna is bowled by Australian paceman Mitchell Starc during their 2015 Cricket World Cup Group A match. — AFP

Younis wants more balance between bat and ball in ODIs KARACHI: Pakistan coach Waqar Younis has urged the International Cricket Council and its member boards to sit down and have a rethink on balancing the 50-over format for the good of the game. In an interview to Reuters from Australia, the former test captain said he had no doubts that bowlers are suffering in one-day international cricket due to the change in laws. Improvement in skills, better bats and fielding restrictions have all contributed to making it a nightmare for bowlers, according to the 43-year-old former Pakistan fast bowler. He has no qualms about the shortest Twenty20 format which according to him was a “three-hour cinema”. “But for real cricket which is one-day cricket there is a need to balance the game,” Younis said. “Bowlers are suffering as pitches have gone very flat around the world. “Bowlers just have an opportunity in first six to seven overs than it is a batsmen’s game. We are seeing that in this World Cup. “Cricket has changed since our times but there is a real need to balance it and the administrators need to start thinking again.” The former captain felt cricket in Pakistan also needed to catch up with changing times. Younis and captain Misbah-ul-Haq have come under fire for not playing wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed in the first four games of the World Cup

with allegations of nepotism and favoritism in the dressing room. Younis said he was used to such flak. “There is nothing new and we are used to these sort of things,” he added. “I know it is an emotional time for the country and I guess everyone can’t be happy. “We are trying to do our best and people who understand the game will appreciate that. “I am a patriotic Pakistani and I will never do any harm to my country or team and we are trying to do everything to make our people feel proud of us.” Pakistan have bounced back at the World Cup with wins over Zimbabwe, United Arab Emirates and South Africa after losing their first two games to India and West Indies by big margins. But he advised his countrymen to temper their hopes. “I don’t want to give big hopes to anyone although I am hopeful for good things to come,” Younis said. “I don’t want to think too far ahead but the last week has been good for us and now we are quietly confident, we have started to get our self-belief back in the dressing room and in players that they have the ability to do well.” There were no clear favourites too for Younis and despite the strong starts for co-hosts New Zealand and holders India, he felt the knock-outs will be the real pressure time for teams. — Reuters

Najibullah counter attacks against New Zealand pace NAPIER: Najibullah Zadran wrote himself into cricketing folklore yesterday when he deposited a delivery from Tim Southee onto the roof of the Harris Stand at McLean Park, a shot with a distance of close to 100 metres. It was one of two sixes the 22-year-old hit off Southee, the World Cup’s joint top wicket-taker who had destroyed England’s batting line-up just over two weeks ago with seven for 33. Najibullah also had a particular liking for Adam Milne’s express pace, hitting the fast bowler for four boundaries in his run-a-ball 56. The left-hander’s aggressive innings rescued Afghanistan from 59 for six as he combined in a 86-run partnership with Samiullah Shenwari, who went on to make 54 as the associate nation were dismissed for 186. “He’s an aggressive player,” Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi told reporters in Napier of Najibullah. “We put him in to use him in the last 10 or 15 overs to hit the big shots. “We did not give him the platform for him to do that. Every match he has been under pressure after losing early wickets and low scores, but today he played really well.” While Afghanistan eventually lost to New Zealand by six wickets, they earned some praise from their opponents, with man-of-the-match Daniel Vettori stating they had spent a lot of time analysing Nabi’s side. “There is a lot of

respect for that Afghan team,” Vettori said. “We scouted them pretty hard. “They have got a nicely balanced lineup and you saw that today with the way they were able to counter attack. I think that is the beginning of a very good team. “They have got firepower all through their

batting order and their bowling line-up, particularly their three fast bowlers are very impressive. “When you have three guys who run it at 140 (kmph) that is going to give you the ability to win games at the top-tier level. “They have the makings of an exceptional side.” — Reuters

Najibullah Zadran


World Cup result and standings Pool A At Napier Afghanistan 186 all out (Najibullah Zadran 56, Samiullah Shenwari 54) v New Zealand 188-4 (Martin Guptill 57) New Zealand won by six wickets At Sydney Australia 376-9 (Glenn Maxwell 102, Steve Smith 72, Michael Clarke 68, Shane Watson 67) v Sri Lanka 312-9 (Kumar Sangakkara 104, Tillakaratne Dilshan 62, Dinesh Chandimal 52 retired hurt) Australia won by 64 runs Played won lost tied no result points run rate Pool A New Zealand 5 5 0 0 0 10+3.090 - qualified 5 3 1 0 1 7+1.597 - qualified Australia Sri Lanka 5 3 2 0 0 6 -0.151 Bangladesh 4 2 1 0 1 5 +1.182 England 4 1 3 0 0 2 -1.201 Afghanistan 5 1 4 0 0 2 -1.881 Scotland 4 0 4 0 0 0 -1.423 Pool B India 4 4 0 0 5 3 2 0 South Africa Pakistan 5 3 2 0 Ireland 4 3 1 0 West Indies 5 2 3 0 Zimbabwe 5 1 4 0 UAE 4 0 4 0 Note: Top four in each group qualify for quarter-finals.

0 0 0 0 0 0 0

8+2.246 - qualified 6 +1.462 6 -0.194 6 -0.820 4 -0.511 2 -0.595 0 -1.691

Taylor pulls no punches after Zimbabwe exit SYDNEY: Zimbabwe’s elimination from quarter-final contention at the World Cup after defeat to Ireland on Saturday illustrated their continuing struggle to compete at the top level of cricket in recent years. For brutal honesty in defeat, though, stand-in captain Brendan Taylor has shown himself to be in a league of his own at the tournament. Taylor had already fired a volley at the side, talking of “mental flaws” after they blew a strong position to come up 21 runs short of beating Pakistan in their previous Pool B match. And there was no pulling of punches on Saturday after they went into the final over against Ireland needing seven runs to win only to lose two wickets in the first three balls and fall to a five-run defeat. Those results combined with defeats to South Africa and West Indies, along with their solitary win over United Arab Emirates, made Zimbabwe the first test playing nation to be eliminated from contention for the knockout stages. “ We’ve been very disappointing, there’s no doubt about that, we came here to win three games and we haven’t done that,” Taylor said, summing up the country’s ninth World Cup campaign. “There’s been positions against South Africa, against West Indies, against Pakistan, where we could have got over the line if we’d been smarter as batters. “Hold our catches, put our bodies on the line when we field. And at times we’ve been very sloppy and that’s come back to haunt us. “We’ve played some excellent cricket

for 80 percent of the time we’ve been here but that 20 percent is why we’re not going to progress.” Taylor described the fielding against Ireland as “below poor” and “shambolic”, particularly in the two or three “lives” they gave to Ed Joyce, who won the man of the match award for his innings of 112. Taylor’s frustration was particularly evident over the way the Zimbabweans gave up such a strong position in the final over at Hobart’s Bellerive Oval. “It’s basically six singles, we weren’t making smart decisions as batters, we’re going to be asking ourselves these questions for a long time to come,” he said. “We were sloppy in many ways, in our bowling, our fielding and our shot selection. At the very top level, you need to be on top of these key aspects.” Even his own fine innings of 121 against the Irish, his seventh one-day international century, was little consolation to Taylor. “I hit it nicely, but, again, getting out at the wrong time,” he said. “New batter coming in in the power play, all those little things add up, it’s frustrating.” Taylor said he was hoping skipper Elton Chigumbura would be back from a muscle tear to face world champions India in Zimbabwe’s final match in Auckland next Saturday. “It’s another opportunity to try and get all three departments right and if we do, we’ve beaten India before back home so we have that belief we can do it,” he said. “There’s a lot to play for, a lot of pride at stake, we want to try and finish on a high note.” — Reuters

Too hard to choose, says Nabi NAPIER: Afghanistan skipper Mohammad Nabi could not separate New Zealand and Australia when it came to choosing between the form teams in the World Cup yesterday. The Afghans played the two frontrunners and World Cup co-hosts in quick succession and were soundly beaten both times. After losing to Australia by a massive 275 runs last Wednesday in Perth they suffered a six-wicket thrashing by New Zealand in Napier on Sunday. “New Zealand, they’re quite good. Also Australia,” Nabi diplomatically said when asked to rate the two sides after comprehensively losing to New Zealand by six wickets. “I’m not saying that Australia is the best or New Zealand is the best, both of the teams are quite good and quite balanced.” Afghanistan, making their World Cup debut, scored an historic win over Scotland and were impressive when losing to Sri Lanka before falling apart against Australia and New Zealand. Nabi believed more substantial per-

formances by the top order Afghanistan batsman would have made a difference. Against Australia they were 103-6 and against New Zealand the situation was more dire at 59-6. “In the whole tournament, the top five batsmen didn’t click in five games,” he said. However, he saw positives against New Zealand with Najibullah Zadran and Samiullah Shenwari putting on an Afghanistan seventh-wicket record partnership of 86. “Maybe the top order will learn from that as well-getting in and taking responsibility.” With Afghanistan set to bow out of the tournament after their last Pool A match against England in Sydney next Friday, Nabi felt they would leave without showing their true potential. “We expected a lot at the tournament to play good cricket and to show it to the world. We showed in the bowling, we have good fast bowlers and we have good fielders as well. But we didn’t show our talent on the batting side,” he said. — AFP

SYDNEY: Sri Lankan fans cheer on their team during their Cricket World Cup Pool A match against Australia. — AP

NAPIER: Afghanistan’s Samiullah Shenwari runs to make his ground while batting against New Zealand during their Cricket World Cup Pool A match. — AP

Vettori sets up crushing victory over Afghanistan NAPIER: Daniel Vettori became the first New Zealand bowler to take 300 one-day international wickets as the Black Caps made short work of Afghanistan to remain unbeaten after five World Cup matches yesterday. Left-arm spinner Vettori scythed through the Afghanistan top order, using his guile on a pitch producing no turn, to finish with the remarkable figures of four for 18 in 10 overs as Afghanistan were dismissed for 186. Along the way he became the 12th player, and only the fifth spinner, to take 300 ODI wickets. On a run-laden McLean Park pitch in Napier, New Zealand needed only 36.1 overs to overhaul Afghanistanís total. New Zealand, who had already qualified for the quarter-finals, have yet to be taken the distance in the field and the 47.4 overs bowled to Afghanistan is the most they have sent down in any match in the tournament. But the result was never in doubt when Brendon McCullum, with his trademark aggressive approach, blazed away at the top of the New Zealand innings slamming 42 off 19 deliveries to get the chase off to a rollicking start. When he was bowled by Mohammad Nabi, trying to belt his opposing captain out of the ground, New Zealand were already a quarter of the way to their target after fewer than six overs. The pace slowed from nine to 5.19 runs an over after McCullumís dismissal as New Zealand coasted to victory with their middle-to-lower order not getting the lengthy time at the crease they wanted before the knockout phase. Kane Williamson, in his understated manner, contributed 33, Martin Guptill reached 57, his highest score of the campaign, and Grant Elliott made 19. Guptill and Elliott were both needlessly run out when time and runs were not an issue, leaving Ross Taylor (24 not out) and Corey Anderson (seven not out) to see New Zealand home. It was never going to be easy for Afghanistan who were already jet-lagged having crossed the Tasman Sea twice in the week to meet their gruelling World Cup schedule ahead of this game. They won the toss, elected to bat, and then had few answers to the menacing attack that greeted them. Trent Boult dismissed Javed

SCOREBOARD NAPIER, New Zealand: Completed scoreboard in the World Cup Pool A match between New Zealand and Afghanistan at McLean Park in Napier yesterday: Bowling: Southee 10-0-43-0; Boult 10-2-34-3 Afghanistan (2w); Vettori 10-4-18-4; Milne 10-0-38-1 (4w); Javed Ahmadi lbw b Boult 1 Anderson 6.4-0-38-2 (3w); Elliott 1-0-10-0; Usman Ghani b Vettori 0 Nawroz Mangal b Vettori 27 New Zealand Asghar Stanikzai c Guptill b Boult 9 M. Guptill run out (Shenwari) 57 Shenwari c Taylor b Anderson 54 B. McCullum b Nabi 42 Mohammad Nabi c Taylor b Vettori 6 K. Williamson c Shenwari b Shapoor 33 Afsar Zazai lbw b Vettori 0 R. Taylor not out 24 Najibullah Zadran c Vettori b Milne 56 G. Elliott run out (Nabi) 19 Dawlat Zadran c Ronchi b Boult 1 C. Anderson not out 7 Hamid Hassan c Milne b Anderson 16 Extras (lb2, w4) 6 Shapoor Zadran not out 2 Total (4 wkts, 36.1 overs) 188 Extras (lb5, w9) 14 Did not bat: L Ronchi, D Vettori, A Milne, T Total (all out, 47.4 overs) 186 Southee, T Boult Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Javed Ahmadi), 2-6 Fall of wickets: 1-53 (McCullum), 2-111 (Usman Ghani), 3-24 (Asghar Stanikzai), 4-49 (Williamson), 3-143 (Guptill), 4-175 (Guptill) (Nawroz Mangal), 5-59 (Mohammad Nabi), 6- Bowling: Dawlat 9-0-51-0 (3w); Shapoor 10-259 (Afsar Zazai), 7-145 (Najibullah Zadran), 8- 45-1; Hamid 7-1-36-0; Nabi 7.1-0-39-1 (1w); 151 (Dawlat Zadran), 9-166 (Shenwari), 10-186 Shenwari 3-0-15-0. (Hassan) Result: New Zealand won by six wickets. Ahmadi in the second over, Vettori removed Usman Ghani at the start of the third and by the time the 20th over was completed they were 59 for six. Nawroz Mangal was bowled for 27 to become Vettoriís milestone dismissal and four overs later Mohammad Nabi and Afsar Zazai went in successive balls to give the spinner have four wickets for five runs. Najibullah Zadran avoided the hat-trick as he joined Samiullah Shenwari to rescue the innings with an Afghanistan record seventh-wicket partnership of 86. The 22-year-old Najibullah reached 56, the second-highest score of his fledgling 15-match career, before he was caught on the boundary by man-of-

the-moment Vettori at third man. Afghanistanís leading batsmen at the World Cup, Shenwari added 54 and was on track to get his side past 200 until he played a rash shot and was caught by Taylor off Anderson. For New Zealand, Trent Boult joined Vettori in the impressive bowling stakes with three for 34 off his 10 overs. Although competition debutants Afghanistan were heavily outclassed they can take credit in knowing they pushed the tournament cohosts closest to the 50-over limit. Their innings lasted nine balls longer than Sri Lanka and more than 70 deliveries longer than Scotland, England and Australia. — AFP

England in make-or-break clash ADELAIDE: England face a potential banana skin when Eoin Morgan’s beleaguered side play Bangladesh in a make-or-break World Cup clash in Adelaide today. England lost to Bangladesh by two wickets in the last World Cup in 2011 — a match in which Morgan made 63 — but still survived the shock defeat to qualify for the quarter-finals. There will, however, be no second chance this time as England, with one win in four matches, must beat both Bangladesh at the Adelaide Oval and Afghanistan in Sydney on March 13 to stay in contention for the last eight. Even that may not be enough if Bangladesh, who have five points to England’s two, upset cohosts New Zealand in Hamilton on March 13 to squeak through to the quarter-finals from Pool A. Morgan will be expected to lead from the front but the gifted left-hander had scored just two halfcenturies in 16 World Cup matches so far, nine of them playing for Ireland in 2007. England have been defeated by Bangladesh just twice in 15 one-day internationals, but a woeful World Cup record over the last 20 years will have even their most optimistic supporters worried. England lost every game against a Test-playing nation in 1996, were dumped out in the first round at home in 1999 and again in 2003, and failed to make the semi-finals in the last two editions in 2007 and 2011. ANDERSON ANGUISH England’s lone win this time has been against minnows Scotland, but their most embarrassing moment came last Sunday when Sri Lanka chased down what seemed a reasonably challenging target of 310 with nine wickets and 16 deliveries to spare. In 2011, England had all but wrapped up the match in Chittagong when Bangladesh’s ninthwicket pair of Mohammad Mahmudullah and Shafiul Islam put on 58 off 56 balls to seal victory with six balls remaining. There has been a hundred each in the current tournament from Moeen Ali against Scotland and Joe Root in a losing cause against Sri Lanka, but just

two other England batsmen have scored half-centuries. Morgan himself has managed just 90 runs at an average of 22.50, but his biggest worry will be the ineffectiveness of his two pace spearheads James Anderson and Stuart Broad. Anderson’s two wickets so far have come at an unusually high average of 91, while Broad averages 92 for his two wickets. “We certainly are not taking a win for granted,” said Morgan of Monday’s game. “Bangladesh have come a long way in the last 10 years. “If we play well, I have every confidence we can win this game. The illusion of making it a bigger game than it is, is probably the wrong thing to do.” Bangladesh, meanwhile, have ensured that sharing points with co-hosts Australia in the rainedoff match in Brisbane has not been wasted. Having beaten Afghanistan before losing to Sri

Lanka, Bangladesh came up with what skipper Mashrafe Mortaza described as their “best” run chase when they overhauled Scotland’s 318 for eight with 11 balls to spare for the lost of just four wickets. It was the second-best winning chase in World Cup history following Ireland’s 329 to defeat England in a Bangalore thriller four years ago. Bangladesh will be without batsman Anamul Haque, who was ruled out for the rest of the tournament due to a dislocated shoulder and has been replaced by the experienced Imrul Kayes. Mortaza said the Tigers, who have made it past the first round just once in the World Cup, are keyed up for today’s day/night game. “That win over Scotland has given us a lot of confidence,” he said. “The whole team is very excited about this England game.” — AFP

ADELAIDE: Bangladesh cricket team players warm up during a training session ahead of their 2015 Cricket World Cup Pool A match against England. — AFP

76ers and Cavaliers roll



Maxwell’s century thwarts Sangakkara’s latest ton


Double victory for Park in Singapore

Page 16

SPAIN: Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (right) scores a goal during the Spanish League football match against Rayo Vallecano de Madrid at the Camp Nou stadium. — AFP

Messi hits 32nd hat-trick for Barca MADRID: Barcelona moved to the top of La Liga for the first time since early November as Lionel Messi struck his 32nd hat-trick for the club in a 6-1 thrashing of 10-man Rayo Vallecano yesterday. Real Madrid’s 1-0 defeat at Athletic Bilbao on Saturday handed Barca the chance to overtake the European champions and Luis Suarez wasted no time in taking advantage as he slotted home his sixth goal in as many games. Gerard Pique doubled the hosts’ advantage just after half-time before Messi added a third from the penalty spot at the second attempt thanks to a reprieve from the referee after his initial effort was saved by Cristian Alvarez and Tito had been sent-off

for a second bookable offence. There was no controversy over the Argentine’s final two goals, though, as he moved level with Cristiano Ronaldo on 30 league goals for the season. Both sides ended with 10 men when Dani Alves was shown a straight red card for bringing down Alberto Bueno inside the area and Bueno converted from the spot. However, Barca had the final word when Suarez slammed home his second of the afternoon from Messi’s through ball. “The objective is to be the leader when the season ends,” said Barca boss Luis Enrique. “I have always said the big teams will lose throughout the course of the season and it will continue to happen, therefore we have

to be very careful.” Suarez has found his scoring touch in recent weeks after a slow start to life at the Camp Nou and was razor sharp in front of goal just six minutes in as he rolled his defender before flicking the ball past Alvarez with the outside of his right foot. IMPOSSIBLE TASK Rayo competed well during the first 45 minutes, but were nearly undone by a moment of genius when Messi lobbed Suarez’s lofted pass over the onrushing Alvarez only to see the ball float into the side-netting. Enrique’s men didn’t have to wait long to make the game safe after the break, though, as Jordi Alba’s header from

Xavi’s corner came back off the post and Pique was on hand to force the ball over the line. Rayo’s task became impossible seven minutes later when Suarez was pulled down by Tito inside the area and the defender was shown a second yellow card. Messi’s yips from the penalty spot continued as, after missing five of his last 10 for club and country, Alvarez comfortably saved his first effort. However, referee Jesus Gil Manzano ruled there had been encroachment by Rayo players and gave Messi a second opportunity which he didn’t pass up. The four-time World Player of the Year was in the right place to slot home his second moments later after Alvarez had made

Blackburn put Gerrard’s Wembley send-off on ice

Misfiring Roma draw again MILAN: Misfiring Roma handed leaders Juventus the chance to stretch their Serie A lead to 11 points after being held to their eighth draw in nine consecutive games yesterday. Roma travelled to Chievo hoping to end their sorry run of results that has put champions Juventus, who host Sassuolo on Monday, within sight of a likely fourth consecutive scudetto. But despite creating a host of chances at the Bentegodi stadium, Rudi Garcia’s men were repelled at every turn as Chievo, who are only six points clear of the drop zone, held on for a scoreless draw and a share of the points. The result left Roma in second place, eighth points adrift of Juve with Napoli only five points adrift ahead of their home clash against Inter Milan later in the day. On an afternoon of dour draws in Italy ’s top flight-Cesena v Palermo and Parma v Atalanta finished scoreless while Empoli were held at home by GenoaUdinese stuck out from the crowd thanks to a precious 3-2 home win over Torino. Torino travelled to the Friuli stadium looking to benefit from

the momentum that in recent weeks has seen the on-form ‘Granata’ qualify for the last 16 of the Europa League. Giampiero Ventura’s men opened the scoring on the quarter hour thanks to former Juve striker Fabio Quagliarella but the hosts hit back three times in succession to leave the visitors with a mountain to climb. Udinese veteran Antonio Di Natale levelled Quagliarella’s strike only two minutes later and the hosts took the lead before the half-hour when Cristian Molinaro turned into his own net from a corner. Udinese’s players mobbed Molla Wague four minutes after the restart when the Malian defender took their lead to 3-1 with a bullet header from Di Natale’s corner to claim his maiden goal in Serie A. Torino earned a lifeline when second-half substitute Marco Benassi met a Udinese clearance from a corner with a drive which took a deflection before beating Orestis Karnezis in the Udinese net on 69 minutes. The goal was only validated minutes later after the referee consulted with his fourth official following claims from Udinese’s players the goal

a fine save to deny Suarez. And Messi completed a 12-minute hattrick with a lovely feint to leave Alvarez on the floor before rolling the ball into an empty net. The action continued in the final quarter as Manzano levelled up the numbers by sending off Alves for a foul on Bueno inside the box nine minutes from time. The former Real Madrid midfielder picked himself up to convert the penalty and extend his advantage as the top-scoring Spaniard in the league. However, it was Suarez who rounded off the scoring in style in stoppage time when he latched on to Messi’s neat pass to round Alvarez and turn the ball home from a narrow angle. —AFP

ITALY: Roma’s Gervinho (center) is challenged by Chievo Verona’s Ezequiel Schelotto (right) and teammate Bostjan Cesar during a Serie A soccer match. — AP was offside, but it was not enough to see Torino avoid conceding their first defeat since a 21 reverse to Juventus on November 30. Elsewhere, visitors Genoa got off the mark at Empoli thanks to on-loan AC Milan striker M’Baye Niang’s well-taken individual effort which beat Luigi Sepe at the ‘keeper’s far post. But Empoli levelled in bizarre style in the 66th minute when a corner curled in from the right caught Genoa ‘keeper Mattia Perin unawares on his goalline,

with an alert Federico Barba guiding the rebound from Perin’s fumble over the line with his knee. Napoli are unbeaten at home since a 3-1 reverse to Juventus on January 11 but Rafael Benitez’s men have suffered two defeats, away to both Palermo and Torino, in their past three games. A win at the San Paolo for Inter, who sit ninth at 23 points behind Juventus, would see Roberto Mancini’s men move to within sight of the league’s three Champions League qualifying places. — AFP

LIVERPOOL: Steven Gerrard’s hopes of a Wembley send-off were put on ice yesterday after Liverpool were held to a 0-0 draw by Blackburn Rovers in their FA Cup quarter-final. Gerrard will turn 35 on the day of the final, but he is not yet guaranteed even a semi-final appearance at the national stadium after second-tier Blackburn belied expectations they would be swept aside by Brendan Rodgers’s in-form Liverpool to take the game to a replay. Liverpool are on a run of 12 unbeaten games in the league, but with Gerrard absent due to injury and Martin Skrtel forced off after a heavy early fall, they were held at bay as Blackburn celebrated 20 years since winning the league at Anfield with a dogged display. “Our objective this week was to get four points out of six in the league and get into next round of the FA Cup,” said Rodgers. “We got six points out of six and although we are not through to the next round, we are still in the draw.” With Rudy Gestede a thorn in the hosts’ side, Liverpool failed to impose themselves in the first half and while they took control after half-time, they could find no way past Blackburn goalkeeper Simon Eastwood. And having already eliminated Stoke City and Swansea City on home turf in this season’s competition, Gary Bowyer’s Blackburn will approach the replay at Ewood Park with understandable optimism. “We carried out the game plan to a tee and Rudy Gestede played really well,” said Bowyer, whose side are currently 11th in the

Championship. “He was immense and had a few great opportunities. Unfortunately we just couldn’t convert one.” Despite having returned to training after missing six games with a hamstring injury, Gerrard-who leaves for the Los Angeles Galaxy at the season’s endwas not named in the Liverpool squad, while the inclusion of Glen Johnson in the back three saw Emre Can move into midfield. Liverpool were forced to make further adjustments after Skrtel had to be stretchered off following a collision with Gestede that left him needing eight minutes of treatment, with Kolo Toure coming on. Rodgers revealed afterwards that Skrtel was “fine”, but had been taken to hospital for a check-up. Blackburn, who made seven changes, were missing Josh King, scorer of a hat-trick against Stoke in the fifth round, but in the bruising Gestede they had a capable replacement. The Benin striker headed wide after beating Simon Mignolet to an early freekick and his presence regularly sowed unease in a hesitant Liverpool defence. Johnson was obliged to put a cross from Craig Conway behind his own goal and the same Blackburn player then shot narrowly wide after Gestede had dummied Ben Marshall’s pass. Both teams might have had penalties on a different day, Liverpool when Matthew Kilgallon stepped across Adam Lallana’s run in the box and Blackburn when Raheem Sterling allowed a high ball to brush his right hand. —AFP


KAMCO announces KD 1.96m net profit for 2014 Page 22

Saudi move to open up bourse may not affect Gulf markets


Page 23

Abdulmohsen Abdulaziz Al-Babtain Co introduces new Infiniti Q50 to

Kuwait bourse on threshold of Kuwait transformation: Minister Page 26 Page 25

Pakistan moves to widen tax net Big fish yet to be caught • Govt hopes to add $140m to coffers ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has begun chasing wealthy tax-dodgers who enjoy lives of extravagance and luxury, but revenue officials face huge challenges in trying to force the very richest -and most influential- to pay up. Pakistan’s tax-to-GDP ratio of 9.5 percent is among the lowest in the world and the government is under pressure from foreign donors and lenders, including the International Monetar y Fund (IMF), to increase collection to boost the struggling economy. Revenue authorities say they have identified about a quarter of a million new taxpayers who they project will add around 14 billion rupees ($140 million) to government coffers. Broadening the tax base and improving the economy after years of drift and sluggish growth under the last government was a key pledge in Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s 2013 election campaign, when he was swept to power for a third time. Currently less than one percent of Pakistanis pay income tax and the government collected just $8 billion in total income tax in the 2013-14 fiscal year-barely enough to cover just the country’s defence expenditure of $7 billion. The finance ministry is aiming to boost the tax-to-GDP ratio to 15 percent in the current fiscal year ending June 30. As part of those efforts, the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) is compiling lifestyle and vehicle data to try to trace unregistered taxpayers, including wealthy landlords and businessmen zipping between their luxury homes in imported Mercedes. “We are collecting information from the vehicle registration authority, car manufacturers, utility companies, telecom companies and property registration offices and tracing people who are not paying any tax,” FBR spokesman Shahid Hussain said.

Taxpayer profiles The data is used to generate profiles of potential taxpayers, after which demands are issued for them to pay income tax. “FBR has already issued notices to 261,250 potential tax payers,” Hussain told AFP, adding that that new taxpayers have paid 570 million rupees since the crackdown started. It is not just dodgy businessmen who have been caught-several lawmakers have been found paying either no tax or very little and not filing their mandatory annual tax statements. The FBR has taken punitive measures against some “chronic defaulters”, freezing nearly 300 bank accounts, seizing more than 100 vehicles, putting 78 properties up for sale and issuing arrest warrants in 40 cases. “Employing information technology, the FBR is creating a central database which would contain information about all taxpayers and nobody will be left undetected,” Hussain said. A new FBR department tasked with broadening the task net started working in July 2013 and within one year it started showing results, he added. But Pakistan is a country where wealth and political influence go hand in hand. For generations, landowners and industrialists have given patronage to political parties and scant attention has been paid to their assets by the taxman. Changing this privileged arrangement is a tricky proposition. Umar Cheema, an investigative journalist for Pakistani daily The News who has done several major exposes on taxdodgers, says the FBR’s commitment is encouraging, but he does not expect them to net any big fish. ‘War on tax cheats’ “FBR is after those who can’t influence them,” Cheema told AFP, citing several wellknown tycoons considered among Pakistan’s richest whose names were missing from a list

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani residents shopping at a Pakistan’s biggest mall in Islamabad. Pakistan has begun chasing wealthy tax-dodgers who enjoy lives of extravagance and luxury, but revenue officials face huge challenges in trying to force the very richest - and most influential — to pay up.— AFP of the country’s top 100 taxpayers. “It can be done only by waging a war against tax cheaters without discrimination of good and bad cheaters,” Cheema said. Pakistan’s central bank said in a recent report that tax revenue growth was not keeping up with budget targets. The tax take grew 11.7 percent in the first quarter of the current fiscal year, against an annual target of 26.9 percent-but this was only half the growth of the same period during the previous fiscal year,

Greek referendum possible if debt plan rejected: FM ROME: Greece could call a referendum or on having early elections should its euro-zone partners reject its debt and growth plans, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said in a newspaper interview yesterday. The new Greek government, led by Alexis Tsipras, won an election in January promising to renegotiate a bailout agreed with the International Monetary Fund and its European Union partners that requires strict budget discipline and sweeping economic reforms. The government reached a temporarily deal with its lenders last month and Athens has until the end of April to specify the reforms it will make in exchange for further aid. Euro-zone finance ministers are meeting today in Brussels to discuss a letter of pledged reforms sent by Athens last week. Should Brussels ultimately reject Greece’s proposals, Varoufakis told Italian daily Corriere della Sera: “There could be problems. But, as my prime minister has said, we are not yet glued to our chairs. We can return to elections, call a referendum.” He did not say what the referendum would be on, but there has previously been speculation that an impasse might force the Greek government to hold a public vote on whether to continue to accept EU strictures, a move that could raise questions about Greece’s place in the euro-zone. In the interview, Varoufakis said that the response so

far by euro-zone partners to his proposals to replace its current debt with bonds linked to nominal growth is “silence.” “I’d like for Europe to understand that this would be a way of paying back more money, not less,” Varoufakis said of the growth-linked bonds. With the government’s popularity level above 40 percent, Varoufakis said “people understand” that the government is fighting the “establishment that said it was saving Greece while it put everything on the backs of the poor”. In 2011, Greece nearly tipped the entire euro zone into a debt crisis until it accepted the bailout. Now the concern is that the failure of Greece to reach a new deal with lenders will throw the euro region back into crisis. There has been growing uncertainty over Greece’s cash position. It faces a decline in tax revenues, while aid from EU/IMF lenders remains on hold until Athens completes promised reforms. In the same interview, Varoufakis said that the state had the money “to pay pensions and public administration salaries” and he said Greece does not need a new, third loan to pay its bills. He also criticized the European Central Bank for being a “disciplinary” in not letting it issue short-term debt, and said the central bank should buy Greek debt as part of its bond-buying program right away and not this summer, as it has said it would. — Reuters

Saudi slips despite Mobily; Egypt up MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s bourse edged down in early trade yesterday after Brent oil fell below $60 per barrel, although telecommunications firm Mobily surged again. Egypt rose after strong economic data. Brent crude slid 1.2 percent to $59.73 a barrel on Friday and posted its biggest weekly loss since January, as a resurgent dollar and fear of a US rate hike diverted attention from the shrinking number of rigs drilling for oil in the United States. The main Saudi index inched down 0.1 percent as stocks in all major sectors were mixed. Petrochemicals giant Saudi Basic Industries, whose product prices are in many cases linked to the oil price, fell 0.5 percent. Makkah Construction and Development fell 0.6 percent after posting its quarterly earnings. The firm’s net profit rose 19.4 percent but investors who had bid up the stock 24.6 percent earlier this year may have hoped for more. Qassim Cement Co dropped 3.7 percent as its shares no longer carried the 2014 dividend of 6.00 riyals. Meanwhile Mobily extended its gains, having surged its 10 percent limit on Thursday after a weeklong suspension. The stock rose 7.5 percent to 41.60 riyals, the highest level since it began plunging in late January in response to company’s announcement of a shock fourth-quarter loss. The appointment of Suliman bin Abdulrahman alGwaiz as Mobily’s new chairman appears to have reassured investors. Gwaiz is also governor of a huge

state-owned fund, the General Organization for Social Insurance. Egypt’s market edged up 0.7 percent in a broad rally after the government said on Saturday that the country’s economy had grown 4.3 percent in the quarter ended in December. Also, the government is continuing to announce new projects that it plans to present at its international investment summit on March 13-15. On Saturday, the transport ministry said it would present six projects worth $2.5 billion, according to the Daily News Egypt newspaper. HIGHLIGHTS SAUDI ARABIA The index rose 0.7 percent to 9,579 points. DUBAI The index edged down 0.2 percent to 3,741 points. ABU DHABI The index edged up 0.1 percent to 4,594 points. QATAR The index inched up 0.04 percent to 12,144 points. EGYPT The index climbed 0.7 percent to 9,638 points. KUWAIT The index slipped 0.4 percent to 6,514 points. OMAN The index was flat at 6,526 points. BAHRAIN The index was flat at 1,467 points. - Reuters

according to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). The central bank has urged the government to simplify tax procedures and do more to increase the documentation of the economy. A vast amount of business in Pakistan is done off the books, making transactions hard to trace and levy dues on. “Although FBR has taken a number of measures to increase tax collection, these focused more on deductions at source, and/or increasing the tax rates,” a

recent SBP report said, warning such measures had enjoyed “limited success” in the past. The IMF, though, has said the government’s reform program-tied to a $6.6 billion loan from the Washington-based lender-was on track, and expects growth to accelerate to 4.3 percent in the 2014-15 fiscal year from 4.1 percent previously. But even with growth quickening and officials insisting they are making inroads, challenges to the government’s efforts to gather taxes remain considerable. — AFP


BUSINESS Dimah weekly report

Equities are still cheap By Hayder Tawfik


ow much cheap or expensive they are, depends on how you want to value them and what to compare them with. Cash has been yielding near zero for a while and will stay around the zero level for much longer as long as inflation keeps falling. With cash yielding zero and some developed economies bond yields negative, good quality equities may look much more promising than any other alternatives investments. We have to keep in mind that equity valuation cheapness does not mean they cannot fall a lot when things turn nasty. The good question we should ask is how cheap equities are relative to their historical valuation. One approach that has been used more often is the discount rate. This measure is created by using historical statistics generated from the market. Theoretically speaking any equity value should be equal to the sum of the future cash flows, discounted by the appropriate rate, in this case we should use what we is called Discounted Cash Flow. The difficulty here is in deciding on the right discount rate to be used. I think the best approach is to take the forecasts of future cash flows, compares them with the current share price, and work out the implied discount rate. A high discount rate implies investor caution on the valuation and a lower rate means that equities are still cheap and investors are optimistic going forward. At present most equities in the developed economies are trading on the expensive side of the theory but it does not mean that they cannot go higher in the coming months. However, if we ignore the historical statistics on the discount rates and assume that interest rates stay low for a while then they may not be that expensive. Discount rates do not move that much on yearly basis. I think investors should be more picky on it comes to stock selection than ever before. The very low rates and falling inflation have huge impact on the profitability of a big number of companies. May be we have not seen the worst yet. The present equity valuation should give investors some foods for thought. The most likely chance is that the future return on equity will be lower than average when the return is above average. Over the past few years the returns have been high and above the historical averages so going forward, investors should expect low returns if not zero returns in some years. Some investors have been alarmed by the high Price Earnings Ratio multiples valuation in some markets. But, I recommend that investors use a more accurate and cyclically adjusted Price Earnings Ratio. This will smooth out the very lows and the very highs and give a much better picture for the valuation. Again, at present if investors use this method, they will find that equities are still cheap. Still measuring valuations against historical statistics may not be 100 percent correct as a lot of things have changed i.e. zero interest rates, change in accounting methods etc. but at the end of the day equity valuations will always rotate around their historical averages. If an investor wants to be on the safe side and 100 percent sure about his investment then he should use the intrinsic value calculation or simply the business replacement costs against cash, plus future cash generation. I am a strong believer in that the level of interest rates have big have big implication on equity valuations. Using present low rates to reduce the discount rates will show cheap valuation but rates are low because of the actions of central banks that are worried about growth and falling inflation. However, central banks can be wrong about their forecasts and if this is the case then equity valuation will extend and the rally will go on.

KAMCO announces KD 1.96m net profit for 2014 Board recommends 5% dividend


AUM growth at 23%

Despite market drops throughout the KUWAIT: KAMCO Investment Company (KAMfourth quarter, KAMCO’s total AUM increased CO) has announced a net profit of KD 1.96 milto KD 3.5 billion ($12.2billion) in 2014, comlion, or 8.2fils per share, for the year ended pared to KD 2.9 billion ($10.1 billion) in 2013, December 31, 2014. The company’s Board of registering an impressive growth rate of23perDirectors is recommending a cash dividend of cent. 5 percent (or 5 fils per share), subject to the Commenting on the results, Faisal M approval of regulatory authorities and the Sarkhou, CEO of KAMCO, said, “Although the company’s general assembly. end of 2014 was undermined by the sudden KAMCO achieved KD 5.1millionin fee and severe fall in oil prices which affected the income in 2014 compared to KD 5.3 million in investment sector, where security markets 2013.The company reduced its debts by 17perKAMCO CEO tumbled in the region, KAMCO was able to cent to KD 24 million in 2014 compared to KD 29 million in 2013. Faisal M Sarkhou successfully close several IB deals and offering innovative products and services for its clients”. Core Operational Profits continued to grow KAMCO Investment Company is a premier investment in 2014 compared to 2013. Overall profitability levels (KD 3 million in 2013) was affected in 2014 due to the signifi- company based in Kuwait that is regulated by the Capital cant fall in oil prices during the fourth quarter of the Markets Authority with one of the largest AUMs in the financial year, affecting investor sentiment and equity region. Established in 1998 and listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) in 2003, KAMCO is a subsidiary of United markets across the MENA region.

Gulf Bank (UGB) and the asset management and investment banking arm of Kuwait Projects Holding Company (KIPCO). It has become a leading regional company within its sector offering innovative products and services for its clients, holding over $12 billion of client AUM and over 82 of successfully completed investment banking transactions worth over $12 billion as of 31 December 2014. After many years of conducting business in Kuwait’s dynamic investment industry, KAMCO has successfully established a robust reputation for solidity, characterized by its prudent, conservative investment philosophy and spirit of transparency which has consistently commanded the goodwill of a wide patron-base. The company will further aggressively build upon its core competencies to offer MENA-wide investment management consultancy and services, backed by its proven track-record in stringent risk mitigation, investment product innovation, and a cautious investment approach towards local, regional and international capital markets.

Egypt targets FDI worth $60bn over four years CAIRO: Egypt wants to attract foreign direct investments worth $60 billion and to get an average growth rate of 7 percent over the next four years, the country’s planning minister said. Ashraf Al-Arabi also said Egypt was targeting lowering unemployment-now at about 13 percent-to below 10 percent over the coming four years. Egypt is gearing up for a much-heralded investment conference in Sharm El-Sheikh later this week. It hopes to attract billions of dollars in investments to lift the economy, which has been battered by four years of turmoil since the 2011 uprising that toppled then-president Hosni Mubarak. —Reuters

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Egyptian pound steady on official market

A prosperity decoration is pasted on a restaurant window near a housing construction site in Baoding in north China’s Hebei province. China announced a lower economic growth target for this year and promised to open more industries to foreign investors as it tries to make its slowing, state-dominated economy more productive. —AP

Foreign banks tighten lending for China’s state-backed firms SHANGHAI/HONG KONG: Some banks are adopting stricter lending criteria for China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs), demanding collateral from some companies they used to deem as safe as government debt, as Beijing tries to reform its bloated firms and the economy slows. Singapore’s DBS Group, which recently suffered a loss on a bad loan to an SOE-related firm it had assessed as risk-free, plans to launch a ‘decision grid’ to assess the creditworthiness of SOEs, according to draft internal risk guidelines reviewed by Reuters. A banker at Taiwan’s Chang Hwa Commercial Bank said that from the beginning of this year his bank would only lend to state-owned Chinese companies that provide collateral, in recognition that SOEs were no longer risk free. Such changes in policy suggest some foreign banks are preparing for a rise in defaults in the world’s second-largest economy, which is growing at its slowest pace in a quarter of a century and where the government is trying to make the state sector more efficient. DBS will now lend more conservatively to SOEs seen as receiving less government support, as China plans to prioritize SOEs in strategic sectors. The January-dated DBS document said:

“Not all SOEs receive the same degree of government support. It is our further belief that the differentiation of such support will widen in the future as the government continues to pursue market economy.” DBS will now divide SOEs into tiers according to their likely level of government support, with subsidiaries considered more risky than top-level holding companies. Group companies that are not consolidated into the parent SOE’s financial statements will be evaluated as an ordinary borrower, the decision grid shows. DBS effectively acknowledges that lenders can no longer take for granted implicit support from above. “Compared to ordinary corporates, implicit support obtained from the parents of SOEs are subject to higher risks because of the risk of policy and people changes,” the document said. A DBS spokeswoman declined to comment publicly on the specifics of the policy change. “It is still business as usual for us in China. With slower regional economic growth, we continue to be disciplined and watchful of risks in all the markets we operate in,” she said in an emailed statement. A spokeswoman for Chang Hwa Commercial Bank did not return calls seeking comment.

COLLATERAL DAMAGE The changes at DBS and Chang Hwa are evidence of a broader trend to tighten lending in China among foreign banks, and the practice of demanding collateral is likely to increase so they can recover some value when loans go bad. Global bank Standard Chartered Plc said on March 4 in its annual results statement it had increased the level of collateral it holds by 4 percent, in response to rising bad loans in China, India and the commodities sector. “The requirement for more collateral is essential,” said Jiahe Chen, chief strategist at Cinda Securities. “As the economy falters and SOEs become more market-orientated, there will be more defaults.” “Perhaps for Chinese banks the government still have some arrangements, but for foreign banks the impact of the market is more severe,” he added. About 70 percent of loans made in the fourth quarter of last year in China were collateralised, with the borrower typically pledging land or manufacturing plants, according to a survey of 2006 industrial firms published by Professor Jie Gan of the Cheung Kong School of Business. —Reuters

CAIRO: Egypt’s central bank kept the pound steady at 7.53 pounds to the dollar at a foreign exchange auction yesterday, while the pound also remained stable on the black market. The central bank said it offered $40 million yesterday and sold $38.4 million at a cut-off price of 7.5301 pounds per dollar CBEO, unchanged from the last auction on Thursday. The central bank has now kept the official exchange rate steady for more than a month after letting the pound weaken in an effort to wipe out black market trading. The pound was broadly steady on the parallel market on Thursday. One trader said the dollar was selling for 7.67 pounds, just slightly weaker than Thursday’s rate of 7.66. Analysts say the central bank may have decided to stabilise the currency to stop it from depreciating too much and because it hopes other recent measures will have an impact. The rates at which banks are allowed to trade dollars are determined by the results of central bank sales, giving the bank effective control over official exchange rates. As well as letting the pound depreciate, the central bank gave banks permission late last month to widen the band around the official rate at which they can trade dollars and imposed a limit on dollar deposits in banks.

Oman’s Bank Sohar cuts proposed cash dividend DUBAI: Bank Sohar, the Omani lender in talks on a possible merger with larger rival Bank Dhofar, said yesterday it had revised its proposed dividend for 2014 on the advice of the central bank. Sohar said in a bourse statement that it had revised its proposed cash payout to 4 percent from 6 percent, while increasing its bonus share issue to 6 percent from 4 percent. It did not explain why exactly the central bank had advised it to preserve cash. Separately, non-banking financial firm Taageer Finance Company said on Sunday it had been advised to cut its dividend to 10 percent from 15 percent by the central bank, also without providing any other details. There was no statement on the central bank’s website on the matter, nor was there any indication that this was a sector-wide policy by the regulator.

EXCHANGE RATES Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. Japanese Yen Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Srilankan Rupees Nepali Rupees Singapore Dollar Hongkong Dollar Bangladesh Taka Philippine Peso Thai Baht Irani Riyal transfer Irani Riyal cash Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

ASIAN COUNTRIES 2.487 4.817 2.915 2.226 3.010 219.740 38.320 3.818 6.755 9.195 61.555 121.740 GCC COUNTRIES 79.306 81.682 772.550 789.690 80.970

ARAB COUNTRIES Egyptian Pound - Cash 41.250 Egyptian Pound - Transfer 38.877 Yemen Riyal/for 1000 1.388 Tunisian Dinar 154.190 Jordanian Dinar 419.240 Lebanese Lira/for 1000 1.995 Syrian Lira 2.119 Morocco Dirham 31.617 EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 297.200 Euro 335.110 Sterling Pound 461.550 Canadian dollar 239.390 Turkish lira 118.380 Swiss Franc 315.160 Australian Dollar 235.090 US Dollar Buying 296.000 20 gram 10 gram 5 gram

GOLD 238.100 121.740 61.560

UAE Exchange Centre WLL COUNTRY Australian Dollar Canadian Dollar Swiss Franc Euro US Dollar Sterling Pound Japanese Yen Bangladesh Taka Indian Rupee Sri Lankan Rupee Nepali Rupee Pakistani Rupee UAE Dirhams Bahraini Dinar Egyptian Pound Jordanian Dinar Omani Riyal Qatari Riyal Saudi Riyal

SELL DRAFT 229.42 243.16 313.34 332.63 298.15 457.15 2.52 3.827 4.785 2.230 3.010 2.926 81.04 791.34 38.96 423.63 773.22 82.10 79.42


Syrian Pound Nepalese Rupees Malaysian Ringgit Chinese Yuan Renminbi Thai Bhat Turkish Lira

Bahrain Exchange Company COUNTRY Belgian Franc British Pound Czech Korune Danish Krone Euro Norwegian Krone Romanian Leu Slovakia Swedish Krona Swiss Franc Turkish Lira

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd Rate for Transfer US Dollar Canadian Dollar Sterling Pound Euro Swiss Frank Bahrain Dinar UAE Dirhams Qatari Riyals Saudi Riyals Jordanian Dinar Egyptian Pound Sri Lankan Rupees Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Bangladesh Taka Philippines Pesso Cyprus pound Japanese Yen

Selling Rate 297.900 238.315 447.945 328.420 294.020 792.425 81.485 82.650 79.625 420.480 38.967 2.232 4.783 2.925 3.828 6.752 731.225 3.460

2.575 3.990 82.305 47.920 10.165 114.435

SELL CASH Europe 0.007799 0.446032 0.004081 0.040185 0.321683 0.034692 0.085811 0.008856 0.031845 0.299320 0.116880

SELLDRAFT 0.008799 0.455032 0.016081 0.045185 0.329683 0.039892 0.085892 0.018856 0.036845 0.309520 0.123880

Australasia 0.223448 0.214853

0.234948 0.224353

Canadian Dollar US Dollars US Dollars Mint

America 0.232809 0.295050 0.295550

0.241309 0.299750 0.299750

Bangladesh Taka Chinese Yuan Hong Kong Dollar Indian Rupee Indonesian Rupiah Japanese Yen Kenyan Shilling Korean Won Malaysian Ringgit Nepalese Rupee Pakistan Rupee

Asia 0.003544 0.046405 0.036485 0.004550 0.000019 0.002403 0.003316 0.000262 0.078785 0.003022 0.002769

0.004144 0.049905 0.039235 0.004951 0.000025 0.002583 0.003316 0.000277 0.084788 0.003192 0.003049

Australian Dollar New Zealand Dollar

Philippine Peso Sierra Leone Singapore Dollar South African Rand Sri Lankan Rupee Taiwan Thai Baht

0.006657 0.000066 0.215325 0.019370 0.001869 0.009405 0.008912

0.006937 0.000072 0.221325 0.027870 0.002449 0.009585 0.009462

Bahraini Dinar Egyptian Pound Iranian Riyal Iraqi Dinar Jordanian Dinar Kuwaiti Dinar Lebanese Pound Moroccan Dirhams Nigerian Naira Omani Riyal Qatar Riyal Saudi Riyal Syrian Pound Tunisian Dinar Turkish Lira UAE Dirhams Yemeni Riyal

Arab 0.787040 0.037941 0.000083 0.000189 0.417904 1.000000 0.000149 0.021346 0.001227 0.770997 0.081458 0.079137 0.001267 0.148840 0.116880 0.080466 0.001351

0.795040 0.041041 0.000084 0.000249 0.425404 1.000000 0.000249 0.045346 0.001862 0.776677 0.082671 0.079837 0.001487 0.156840 0.123880 0.081615 0.001431

Al Mulla Exchange Currency Currency US Dollar Euro Pound Sterlng Canadian Dollar Indian Rupee Egyptian Pound Sri Lankan Rupee Bangladesh Taka Philippines Peso Pakistan Rupee Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham Saudi Riyal *Rates are subject to change

Transfer Rate (Per 1000) Transfer Rate (Per 1000) 298.550 329.450 454.750 241.100 4.790 39.115 2.237 3.838 6.740 2.922 794.900 81.500 79.700



Saudi move to open up bourse may not affect Gulf markets KCIC ANALYSIS ON ASIA By Francisco Quintana KUWAIT: The Saudi stock exchange, the Tawadul, is likely to open to foreign investors in 2015, and Gulf’s governments and corporates outside Saudi Arabia are concerned about the impact that it would have on their countries. They fear that investors would switch their capital to Saudi companies, creating rapid outflows that would impact negatively domestic stocks. However, if we consider investment patterns in the region, evidence from previous similar events, and current cyclical factors, those fears turn up to be largely unfounded. Investment First, the traditional investment approach in the region reveals that an abrupt reallocation of assets is unlikely. Gulf’s institutional investors, the key players in the region, do not shift their allocation by divesting in one country and investing in another. Their approach is much more gradual, and, when a decision is made to increase the allocation to a country, the change is implemented through additional investments, without divesting from other markets. Also, these institutions often follow rule-based allocations: they must allocate their assets across countries following a rule previously set which, usually, is linked to the country’s percentage of global GDP. They

are forced to maintain a specific percentage of their portfolio in each country: this constraint imposed on their strategies reduces the overall volatility. Second, similar events in the past did not provoke a reallocation of capital in the region. For instance, in June 2014 Qatar and Dubai were upgraded from “frontier market” to “emerging market”, a move that was announced early in 2013 and that often implies an increase in inflows of foreign capital. As a result the amount of investment coming from “foreign institutional investors” picked up quite markedly: Dubai inflows rose from $203 million in 2012 to $709 million in 2013, while in the case of Qatar the change was more significant, going from a net outflow of $925 million in 2012 to a net inflow of $616 million in 2013. However, these increases did not come from divestments in other countries. An example is Kuwait, where the inflows coming from these investors were only marginally lower in 2013 ($509 million) than in 2012 ($639 million). Another important lesson: the upgrade of these markets did not increase the presence of foreign investors in relative terms. In the year following the announcement, the percentage of Qatari stocks held by foreigners rose from 8 percent to 9.1 percent while in Dubai, it rose from 17 percent to 17.3 percent and Abu Dhabi witnessed a similar change, with foreigners’

holdings going from 10.4 percent to 11.4 percent. Given that both Qatar and Dubai saw hefty returns during that period - 55 percent and 119 percent respectively -, it follows that the increase in demand came from local investors, which proba-

home. Third, the fact that most of the additional investment in Saudi Arabia will probably come from the Gulf, will smoothen the impact of the regulatory changes. Regional investors already have

bly shifted resources from other assets into stocks from these countries. This is consistent with IMF findings about investment portfolios in the GCC, which show a strong domestic bias in the region. Gulf’s investors prefer to invest at

almost unlimited access to Saudi markets, reducing the likelihood of large reallocation of capital following the change. GCC investors would be able to gradually take positions without waiting for the change in regulation to be formally

approved. Furthermore, the liberalization is likely to be gradual, with initial restrictions for foreign investors, which will probably adopt a cautious stance in the initial stages making again less probable a hasty adjustment. Finally, cyclical factors will also reduce the impact of the opening of the Saudi stock exchange. The collapse in oil prices over the last six months has cooled down sentiment among regional investors. In spite of the recent timid recovery, oil price is still 50 percent below its June 2014 level. If oil prices fail to pick up, the spending capacity of the Saudi government - the main driver of the Saudi economy and a key factor explaining performance of Tawadul’s firms - will be substantially affected. Additionally, Saudi would have to compete for investors’ attention with other new important markets such as China, whose stock exchange is currently classified as emerging market by MSCI. China is also embarked in a process of liberalization by which foreign investors are being gradually granted easier access to listed firms. If the Saudi stock market opens up in 2015, it will attract considerable attention from global investors, but the process is likely to be gradual and its impact in the region will be mild. Do not expect immediate sizeable transfers of capital from Kuwait, UAE or any other GCC country into Saudi Arabia.

Shifting currencies shake up tourism landscape BERLIN: Whether it’s the soaring Swiss franc, the plummeting ruble or the sliding euro, recent currency chaos has thrown the travel sector into turmoil as holiday-makers dodge costly tourist traps and hunt for bargains. “In principle currencies always have an impact on travel and tourism,” said Taleb Rifai, head of the UN World Tourism Organization, at the Berlin tourism fair (ITB) this past week. The rule is simple, he said: “A weaker currency attracts people to your country and prevents you from travelling. “A stronger currency encourages you to travel,” Rafai added, and makes vacationing at home costlier in relative terms. When the Swiss franc suddenly soared against the euro after the Swiss National Bank abandoned attempts to hold down the currency in January, leisure and travel provider Pierre & VacancesCenter Parcs Group soon found that Swiss customers hunted euro-priced holidays in France and Germany. “Naturally we had to react,” said Joachim Quadt, sales director for Germany and Switzerland. In February the company offered discounts to tour operators for Swiss sites, in Swiss francs. Switzerland Tourism is also seeking to convince the Swiss to spend their holidays in their own country. Russia’s recent standoff with the West over Ukraine, and the punishing impact of sanctions and falling oil prices, have also made for some cheap holidays for those undeterred by the geopolitical tensions. For only about 90 euros or $100, visitors can buy a three-night package in a four-star Moscow hotel, with breakfast, a city bus tour and museum admissions thrown in. ‘Use chance today’ Sergei Korneyev of the Russian federal tourism agency said the recent fall of the ruble is a “rare opportunity” to attract tourists to Moscow, Saint Petersburg and the “Golden Ring” of ancient cities northeast of the capital. “We don’t know what the situation will be tomorrow, that’s why we have to use this chance today,” he said, welcoming an unusual influx of travel professionals to the Russia stand at the ITB. A major exchange

rate shift “is one element whose effects are felt quickly,” as the rise or fall in purchasing power becomes “immediately apparent”, said Dan Nguyen of Canadian regional agency Tourism Quebec. Thus Quebec hopes to take advantage of the weakening Canadian dollar against the greenback to attract more US tourists. To draw visitors from south of the border, the tourist office has launched advertising campaigns and joint programs with tour operators and purchased banner ads on the websites of major online travel agencies. Germany too expects American, Swiss and British travellers to arrive in greater numbers to take advantage of their currencies strengthening against the euro, which Friday fell to an 11-year low against the dollar. “But it would be too simple to say that demand depends solely on the development of exchange rates,” insisted Petra Hedorfer, head of the German National Tourist Board. “We have long-term strategies” which do not change with every wobble of the euro, said Hedorfer. UNWTO chief Rifai advised that “what you need is a solid industry, to keep moving, keep adjusting (to currency fluctuations), but never be deterred and never try to make dramatic changes in your strategy because of this.” German tour operators argue that some of the best deals can be had in packages as the mass-market providers have often already factored in, or hedged against, currency fluctuations. “In the current main booking phase for the summer, these price and exchange rate developments actually play into the hands of the tour operators,” said Norbert Fiebig, president of the DRV federation of travel agents. “ The package deals can be offered through travel agents at low prices as the tour operators have generally hedged against fluctuating foreign currencies. “Individual services such as flights, hotels or rental cars ... may at times cost significantly more than the complete packages of the tour operators. That means package tourists enjoy a clear advantage.” —AFP

Syriza will have to ‘sacrifice their own’ to reform Greece ATHENS: Xenia takes a deep breath and says, “other than Germany, there is only one thing keeping Greece down-corruption, corruption and corruption.” Like many of her friends, the young lecturer voted for the radical left party Syriza in January’s elections because they were the only ones with “clean hands”, and because they promised to sweep away Greece’s rotten old political system built on favors and kickbacks. “Only a fool would try to do things straight”, when dealing with Greek officialdom, she said. Xenia knows this first-hand. She got her first university post through a friend of her father, a staunch supporter of the former socialist Pasok government. “I am not proud to admit it. I would be more ashamed if it wasn’t the same for half of my colleagues who got their jobs because their families supported the other side.” Greece’s creditors were quick to point to its overstaffed public service, bloated with political appointees, said Theodore Pelagidis, professor of economics at the University of Piraeus. While more than 200,000 have since lost their jobs, the new Syriza-led government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has vowed to find the money to pay off the country’s massive debt mountain by cracking down hard on fraud and tax evasion. Anti-corruption drive It has appointed a tough former prosecutor, Panagiotis Nikoloudis, as its anti-corruption tsar, and he told AFP in a recent interview that “if the new government has come to see me it’s because it really wants to act.” On Tuesday the finance min-

istry announced a huge new trawl through bank accounts and shareholdings looking for billions in alleged undeclared income. But according to Pelagidis, co-author of “Understanding the Crisis in Greece”, any meaningful reform of the Greek state will also have to “get rid of people who are not doing their jobs. Which could be a very big problem for Syriza because public servants are the base of their support. “Are they really going to sacrifice their own supporters?” Pelagidis has his doubts, as does Professor Michael Arghyrou of the Cardiff Business School, who said allowing power company workers a pay rise this week as the government scrabbles to meet its debts does not augur well. Many, however, argue that cuts have gone too deep causing chronic staff shortages, with one health minister saying he needs an extra 1,700 staff. The government would do better to hire tax inspectors, said Arghyrou, to overhaul the “dysfunctional” collection system. While much of Syriza’s rhetoric has been about making the country’s richest families pay their fair share-with Nikoloudis claiming in parliament that some wealthy families “think the state exists to service their interests”Arghyrou believes the problem cuts right across society. “Studies have shown the massive discrepancies between what professional and selfemployed people have in their bank accounts and what they declare for tax. Seven out of 10 say their earnings are below the tax threshold, which is ridiculous,” he said. —AFP

ALLAHABAD: This photograph shows the famous clock tower located in the middle of the old city. —AFP photos

Ancient Indian city hopes for high-tech expansion ALLAHABAD: Its roads are clogged with traffic, the pavements overflow with rubbish and power cuts are a fact of life. But Allahabad, an ancient settlement on the banks of the Ganges, is hoping to become one of India’s first techsavvy “smart cities” under ambitious plans being piloted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “We are the spiritual capital of India, this place is known as king of the pilgrims, of course we should be a smart city,” Swami Anand Giri said at a crowded Hindu temple overlooking the holy river, as devotees filed in to touch his feet and receive his blessing. Plans for the city have been gathering pace since Modi signed a memorandum of understanding with US President Barack Obama during a visit to India in January. The document promised American assistance, with a potential tie-up with global firms. Allahabad, one of India’s oldest cities mentioned in ancient Hindu texts and surrounded by sacred rivers and farmland, was one of three selected for the first phase, along with eastern port Visakhapatnam and Ajmer in the desert state of Rajasthan. But along with the plans, which include a power plant run on cow dung and another on tons of collected plastic rubbish instead of polluting coal, come the growing expectations of a city used to neglect. Saving the Ganges Giri said technology could be used to clean up the filthy Ganges, whose confluence with the Yamuna river in Allahabad draws millions of devotees, ascetics and foreign tourists for the Kumbh Mela and other festivals in heaving seas of humanity. “I’ve seen those machines cleaning up the Thames in London. We should have them too,” said Giri. Solar panels in every home could also help to boost power output, with their stored energy kicking in when the city’s daily three-to-four hour blackouts hit, according to senior professor CK Dwivedi at the University of Allahabad. But some have sought to rein in expectations, with Diane Farrell, acting president of the USIndia Business Council, saying companies would only become involved in the city’s projects if there was a clear profit to be made. “Right now the cities are in a phase where they are putting all of their aspirations on the table, but then you have to sit back and work out how to pay for it,” Farrell, who visited the city as part of a US factfinding delegation in January, told AFP by phone from Washington. “Cities cannot be reliant on US companies for funding or foreign governments,

they need to develop successful PPPs (publicprivate partnerships). “They have to take responsibility, maybe additional taxes have to be introduced to fund these projects,” she said. Shortly after sweeping to power in May, Modi pledged 70.6 billion rupees ($1.2 billion) this financial year to kick start his goal of developing as many as 100 energy-efficient, technology-driven “smart cities”. But with millions of Indians pouring into cities from poor rural areas every year, straining already stretched affordable housing, public transport and basic services, much more money is needed The government’s February 28 budget provided little additional

several Indian companies keen to get involved. Along with the alternative power plants are proposals for optical fiber rollout to create WIFI hotspots, door-to-door garbage collection with bigger machinery and manpower to stop dumping in public areas, and food processing plants to assist farms surrounding Allahabad, which has little industry. Then there’s a possible new airport for the city which sees only a handful of commercial flights every week and vies for space with the air force. “We are at the planning stage, not the project stage,” Pandey stressed. “We will try our best and hope for the best.” As night fell, crowds thronged the market in the

ALLAHABAD: Hindu devotees take a holy dip at Sangam. funding for the “smart cities” project, despite Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu’s estimates that $952 billion worth of investment is needed over the next 20 years. “When you look at the challenges facing India’s cities, it’s easy to start hyperventilating,” said Anil Menon, responsible for developing smart city strategies in India at tech giant CISCO. “The key is to get started on the basics.” Smart traffic grid On the couch in his office, Allahabad’s municipal commissioner or chief executive, Devendra Kumar Pandey, threw down a folder with pages of ideas proposed so far, including many from

densely-packed old centre, jostling on the roads with rickshaws, motorcycles and cows for the approximately two meters of space as traffic inched forward in both directions. “There needs to be traffic management,” said clothes shop owner Mohanji Tandon Bhiya, suggesting traffic lights, cameras and off-street parking via a central command centre. “It’s also dangerous,” he said, pointing to a tangled mess of electrical wires dangling over the street, as shops snatched power from the grid. “There hasn’t been any development here for 40 years,” said Bhiya, a staunch Modi supporter. “But the smart city is sure to come true, because there is a vision behind it.” —AFP



Chinese cooldown, Greek funding in focus GLOBAL ECONOMY WEEKAHEAD MADRID: China’s cooling growth prospects and an interest rate decision in Russia will shift the economic agenda away from the euro-zone next week, although Greece remains firmly in the spotlight because of its precarious funding outlook. China should provide further hints of the challenges it faces after the world’s No 2 economy depicted its “new normal” last week-a growth target of 7 percent for this year, the lowest for quarter of a century. Chinese retail sales growth is expected by some analysts to have slowed slightly in February, with industrial production and investment growth data due out next week seen weaker too. As Chinese leaders try to mould a more bal-

anced long-term growth model, keeping the breakneck economic expansion of recent decades in check, all eyes will be on the reforms they are expected to outline further in the coming days. “Asia will be firmly in focus,” Standard Chartered analyst Madhur Jha said. “The (Chinese) government is likely to emphasize the need for deeper structural reforms to ensure more sustainable growth, even if it is likely to be softer in the near term.” As markets digest China’s warning shots, the euro zone’s ups and downs will not be far from investors’ minds. A four-month respite for Athens after it extended a bailout program has done little to ease concerns that Greece may

face a cash crunch before then. Its funding options will take centre-stage at a Monday meeting of euro-zone finance ministers, who will discuss the economic reforms Athens hopes will help it unlock some financial aid from international lenders. The government sent an updated list of reforms to Brussels on Friday and said it wanted to start talks with lenders immediately on concluding its bailout and a possible follow-up deal. It also repaid part of an International Monetary Fund loan that falls due this month. With Greece insisting it has breathing space, the Eurogroup session is unlikely to prompt any key decisions on Athens’ next steps. Worries about the country’s prospects beyond June are

adding to tensions, however, as European officials wrangle over the chances of a third rescue package. Greece’s travails come against a rosier backdrop for the euro-zone, after the European Central Bank, which kicks off its $1 trillion government bond-buying plan on Monday, raised growth forecasts. Industrial production figures for the single currency area, due on Thursday, are expected to support this encouraging picture, rising slightly after a year-on-year fall in December, and echoing a strong start to the year for German output. US DATA, RUSSIAN RATES After strong labor data on Friday from the United States, attention will shift to retail sales numbers due on Thursday. Firmer US consumer spending would further support expectations the Federal Reserve is braced for a rate hike as early as June, following a sluggish start to the year even after a drop in fuel prices. Retail sales excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services-”core” retail sales, considered to the best gauge of households’ spending patterns-edged up only 0.1 percent in January. Economists polled by Reuters expect core sales to have ticked up 0.5 percent in February, while overall retail sales are seen rising 0.3 percent after slipping 0.8 percent a month earlier. However,

some analysts pointed to soft car sales and weekly department store data as potential drags. US employment accelerated in February, with non-farm payrolls rising a higher-than-expected 295,000, fuelling speculation the Fed will start laying the ground for a rate hike by altering its “patient” stance at a March 17-18 meeting. “Such a blockbusting rate of job creation will encourage the Fed to be more aggressive, and increase the prospect of an imminent interest rate rise,” said David Lamb, senior dealer at foreign exchange brokerage FEXCO. A series of interest rate decisions also pepper the economic calendar, with Russia likely to hog headlines on Friday. Its central bank is expected to hold rates steady at 15 percent, according to a Reuters poll, even as tumbling oil prices and sanctions imposed on Moscow for its role in the Ukraine conflict bite into Russian economic growth. The bank, which last cut the rate by 2 percentage points at the end of January, in a surprise move, is trying to juggle soaring inflation and the faltering economy. An interest rate decision from Serbia, under pressure from the International Monetary Fund to gradually ease policy, is due on March 12, the same day as South Korea, Peru and New Zealand, where the central bank is expected to hold rates. — Reuters



Select Al Mulla launches newpromotion on Chrysler 300L V8 KUWAIT: Select Al Mulla has launched an all new promotion on the Chrysler 300 Limited V8, providing a great opportunity to celebrate class at an affordable price. This exciting offer from Select provides customer an opportunity to own quality Chrysler 300L certified cars with an array of benefits, guaranteed to provide complete

peace of mind to customers. The promotion affords customers an attractive price starting KD 6,799 on the 2013 MY Chrysler 300 Limited. The 300Limited is a rear-wheel-drive powered by a 5.7- litre V8 Hemi engine, mated to an 8-speed automatic with manual capability. The vehicle is equipped with built in fea-

tures like cruise control, 18-inch alloy wheels, 6-speaker CD/MP3 stereo and a 4.3inch touch screen, rear parking camera with sensors, USB port, auto headlights, intelligent keyless entry. Safety features include front, side and curtain airbags, ABS, stability control and tire pressure monitor. Additionally, as part of the promotional offer, customers will be provided a “Peace of Mind” Package offering warranty up to 2 years and free quick services plus free registration. An attractive finance option is available with loan tenure up to 60 months and monthly installment starting KD 111 subject to finance terms. It is also important to note that all Select certified used vehicles pass through a stringent 129 point quality assurance inspection. These strict quality standards ensure that only the best of vehicles receive the Select certification. Select Al Mulla showrooms are open during week-days from 8:30 am to 8:30pm non-stop and from 4.30pm to 8.30pm on Fridays to provide the flexibility required to customers. Select continues to redefine the retail standards in purchase of certified used cars. Customers who wish to know more information on Select can call on 1800007 or visit one of their showrooms in Al Rai or Sharq.

KUWAIT: Speakers Hamad Al-Amiri, Ayman Budai, Ali Al-Bader, and Dr Yousef Al-Awadhi during the first session of the conference at Sheraton Hotel, Kuwait yesterday. —Photo by Yaseer Al-Zayyat

Kuwait bourse on threshold of transformation: Minister ‘Way to the financial center’

A child walking on a path built over gold ingots in a shopping mall in Yichang, central China’s Hubei province. —AFP

China Feb trade surplus hits record $60.6bn: Govt BEIJING: China’s monthly trade surplus hit $60.6 billion in February, the government said yesterday, a new record for the world’s second-largest economy. Exports leapt 48.3 percent year-on-year to $169.2 billion while imports fell 20.5 percent to $108.6 billion, Customs said on its website. The country’s trade surplus, long a source of tensions with its trading partners, rose above a previous all-time monthly high of $60.0 billion recorded in January. The growth in exports last month was well ahead of the median estimate for a 14 percent jump in a Bloomberg survey of economists. But analysts were pessimistic about the outlook for exports and blamed the weak imports reading on falling commodity prices, with stringent bank financing for traders also a factor. China is a key driver of global growth but its economy grew 7.4 percent in 2014, its weakest for almost a quarter of a century, and recent indicators show signs the slowdown is continuing. Customs attributed the surge in exports to a rise in outbound shipments ahead of the Lunar New Year, which fell on February 19 this year. “Affected by the Spring Festival factors, export companies in the country again rushed to export ahead of the holiday and only resumed working after it,” the statement said. The Lunar New Year fell on January 31 in 2014, followed by a week-long national holiday, leading to a low comparison base for this February. For the first two months of the year, China’s trade surplus totalled $120.7 billion, said the statement. The figure stood at $8.9 billion in the same period last year, Customs data showed. “We still see strong headwinds facing China’s exports this year,” ANZ economists Liu Ligang and Zhou Hao said in a research note, pointing to a continuing contraction streak in export orders.

The high increase in February’s exports was partly led by a low base in the same month last year, when authorities also cracked down on overinvoicing by traders seeking to disguise capital flows, they added. Lower targets Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday announced a lowered growth target of “approximately seven percent” for 2015, and-underscoring concern-the central People’s Bank of China last weekend cut benchmark interest rates for the second time in three months. Li also cut China’s trade growth target for this year to “around six percent”, after trade expanded 3.4 percent last year, below the 7.5 percent goal and the third consecutive year it had been missed amid softened domestic and foreign demand. China’s huge trade surpluses were long a source of friction with the United States as the workshop of the world pumped out manufactured goods and US debt mounted, but the issue has receded in more recent years. In the January-February period, China’s exports to the European Union, the United States and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the top three trade partners of the country, increased by 13 percent, 21.2 percent and 38.4 percent respectively. But imports from all three regions declined, falling 10.3 percent with the EU, 16.7 percent with the US and 18.2 percent with the ASEAN countries, indicating domestic demand in China remained weak. China’s exports to Japan, with which it is embroiled in bitter disputes over maritime territory and wartime history, fell 4.1 percent in the twomonth period, while imports from the neighbor decreased by 13.8 percent. —AFP

CivilisedBank plans to join UK challenger banks with 2015 launch LONDON: A new online British bank expects to launch for small and medium-sized business customers later this year after securing its first phase of funding and starting its application for a banking license, it said yesterday. CivilisedBank joins a handful of other socalled “challenger” banks aiming to break the dominance of Britain’s big five lenders, seeking to benefit from lower costs, new technology, no legacy issues and encouragement from politicians. CivilisedBank said it will not have branches but operate through a network of local bankers backed by a technology platform being rolled out for the first time in Britain. Banks using the software platform include BNP Paribas and Alpha Bank, it said. The bank said it will initially target ownermanagers of medium-sized UK businesses by offering business current accounts with deposits, transaction banking, overdrafts, foreign currency exchange, investments, savings and loans. At a later date it plans to target the UK retail market with specific savings and invest-

ment products. Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland have long dominated British banking, and Santander now rivals them on the High Street. Those five control more than 80 percent of the personal current account market and over 85 percent of small business banking. Regulators and politicians have tried to make it easier for new firms to break that stronghold, and in recent years Metro Bank, Aldermore, Shawbrook and OneSavings have launched and there are more than 20 other firms such as Atom Bank applying for licences. Many are targeting specific regions or niche clients. Most challenger banks are planning to operate online and use new technology allowing a quicker and cheaper platform. CivilisedBank’s chairman is Chris Jolly, who has held senior roles in real estate and at Merrill Lynch, Commerzbank and Societe Generale. Its chief executive is Gordon Dow, previously managing director for private banking at Santander. —Reuters

KUWAIT: ‘The Way to the Financial Center’ was the theme of a one-day conference on the future of Kuwait’s financial market and developing stock exchange held at the Sheraton Hotel yesterday under the patronage of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce and Industry Abdulmohsen Al-Mudej. The growth and development of the Kuwaiti economy is one of the most important agendas of the ministry as well as the government. “Our common desire is to see Kuwait getting its leading financial position back and maintain the international standard to reach the goal of transforming Kuwait into a financial and commercial center. This vision should strengthen the position of the Kuwait Stock Exchange as it is the main pillar of the economy that indicates economic performance and reflects the reality about the economy,” said Fawaz Al-Shalal on behalf of the minister. “I’m convinced that we all carry the responsibility of reforming the economy. The government carries the bigger part of this initiative. It’s a national responsibility over which all pub-

lic and private institutions have roles to play. The competitive advantage of the Kuwaiti economy needs changes that transform it into reality. Now we are facing a new phase in the Kuwaiti economy after the new commercial law and the law of founding the stock exchange authority were issued. The new phase of the capital market in Kuwait is built on a legal and regulatory system which will lift the KSE to an international level,” added Shalal. This conference is an ideal opportunity for the investors and specialists from the field to formulate the future vision and set priorities in order to develop the Kuwaiti financial sector. “The investment climate in Kuwait is conducive for global investment, especially after issuing many important legislations from the Ministry of Commerce and the Central Bank,” he pointed out. The Kuwait Stock Exchange is one of the oldest in the region. “The KSE underwent several phases in its development, but it has not fully evolved into a complete financial market yet. But we hope to establish a regional stock

exchange that will set a benchmark for regional capital markets and will meet the investment expectations of local and global investors. It will also support the economic aspirations of Kuwait,” stated Shalal. He also highlighted the priorities of the next phase. “We should work on correcting the course of the capital market in Kuwait to regain the trust of the investors. We should also encourage the creativity and innovation of investment companies through launching modern financial tools that encourage competition and attract international investment banks and companies to launch their operations from the Kuwait market. Finally, we aim to generate more awareness in the community regarding investment opportunities in the country, because safeguarding the interest of investors is also our priority by providing knowledge and information and not just legislation,” concluded Shalal. The conference held two sessions led by speakers from various public and private institutions and companies.

Divergence between CBs puts pressure on the euro NBK MONEY MARKETS REPORT KUWAIT: United States employment levels improved in February and the jobless rate dropped to a 6-1/2 year low of 5.5 percent, giving more room for the Federal Reserve to consider hiking interest rates in June. United States Nonfarm payrolls rose 295,000 last month after rising 239,000 in January. The data came well above market expectation of 240,000 Increase. In Europe, the European central bank announced last week that it would start the quantitative easing program as soon as March 9. The ECB also left the benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low of 0.05percent. In addition, the Bank revised downwards the inflation outlook for the euro-zone area for 2015 due to persistent decline in oil prices. The Central Bank now expects consumer inflation to be flat in 2015; a downward revision from December’s forecast of 0.7percent. Draghi’s statement demonstrated more optimism over the European economic growth outlook. The central bank revised its GDP growth projection to 1.5percent in 2015 up from 1.0percent estimated in December. On the foreign exchange side, the US dollar traded near its highest point in almost twelve years against the major currencies amid positive economic indicators emerging from the US especially with the very upbeat number coming out of the labor market. The data has generated further optimism over the strength of the country’s recovery, while raising expectation of an early rate hike this year. The euro on the other hand started the week at 1.1186 and rallied slightly to a high of 1.1240 where it found major resistance. The currency started to drop on Wednesday reaching an eleven-year low of 1.0840 after the ECB president indicated that he would start the QE program this Monday. Divergence in central bank activities has put pressure on the euro against all the majors. On one hand, the European central bank slashing interest rates and launching a massive money-creating stimulus, and on the other hand, the US Federal Reserve preparing to raise interest rates following its decision last year to bring an end to its multi-year monetary stimulus. The Sterling Pound started the week at 1.5435 against its US dollar counterpart; however dropped sharply reaching a low of 1.5058 after the BOE indicated they would not raise rates any time soon. Reasons cited were mainly the low inflation environment in Europe and the UK. US manufacturing The US Manufacturing PMI expanded in February for the 26th consecutive month. The data registered 52.9percent, lower by 0.6percent from the January’s reading of 53.5percent (A reading above 50 percent indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding). However, most components of

the index declined, suggesting a slowdown in the pace of growth in the factory sector for the first quarter of 2015. ISM non-manufacturing PMI Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector on the other hand grew in February for the sixty-first consecutive month. The ISM Non-Manufacturing Business Survey registered 56.9percent in February, 0.2percent higher than the January reading of 56.7 percent. The rise in the overall index came from a strong rebound in business activity. Yellen praises reforms At the Annual Citizen Budget Commission meeting, the US Federal Reserve Chair Yellen spoke about the most important regulatory changes that occurred since the financial crisis. Yellen stated that all banks are

required to hold significantly more capital with higher standards applied to the largest, most systemically important firms. Large institutions have also been required to substantially increase their liquidity. As required by Basel III, the US authorities’ demands have gone even further to raise capital requirements for the largest firms. Under the DoddFrank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Congress authorized a new regime, known as “resolution,” to manage the failure of large firms in an orderly manner and reduce the chances that such a failure would threaten financial stability. European inflation The euro-zone Consumer Prices Index fell by less than expected in February while unemployment eased in January for the third month in a row, offering signs that the risks of economic stagnation and deflation in the Euro area could be diminishing. The unemployment level fell for the third month in a row to 11.2percent in January from 11.3percent in December while the

inflation rate fell 0.3percent year-on-year in February after a 0.6percent annual drop in the previous month. Mandated to keep medium term inflation close to 2percent, the ECB will start implementing the quantitative easing program that would release 60 Billion Euros a month into the economy. The ECB President Mario Draghi said “By September next year, more than 1 Trillion euros will have been created under the quantitative program. UK construction activity UK construction companies indicated a further acceleration in output growth during February. The UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index rose a full point to 60.1, defying expectations for a slight fall to 59.0 and reaching its highest level since October. The strong number demonstrates renewed vitality within the UK construction

sector according to analysts. Housing, commercial and civil engineering activity all expanded at the quickest rates since last October, thanks to the sharp rises in new business volumes and an improving economic backdrop. UK Manufacturing PMI Improves The growth rate of the UK manufacturing sector continued to improve since the beginning of the year, leading to further job creation across the United Kingdom. Companies benefited from solid inflows of new business from the internal market, which offset lower new export order volumes. The Purchasing Managers Index rose to its highest level in seven months, marking a high of 54.1 in February, up from 53.1 in January. According to analysts, the UK manufacturing sector is reviving in early 2015 after the slowdown seen late last year, as growth rates of both production and new orders continued to strengthen in February. This reinforces the picture of a broader growth revival in the UK so far in the opening quarter.

UK services The UK service sector continued to expand at a strong pace during the month of February, helped by another sharp rise in volumes of incoming new business. Business Activity Index recorded 56.7 in February, compared to January’s 57.2. Sharper growth in new business has been driven by an upward swing of activity in both the domestic and international markets, with a mix of new business and higher levels of interest from existing customers showing an overall improvement. The length of backlog indicated that the recovery may now be sustainable following the rapid growth of last year. BOE bank rate unchanged During the MPC meeting, the Bank of England’s members voted to maintain the Bank Rate at 0.5percent. The Committee also voted to maintain the stock of purchased assets financed by the issuance of central bank reserves at £375 billion. UK interest rates remained unchanged at their record low of 0.5percent for six years. Interest rates were initially cut to 0.5percent in March 2009 as the Bank sought to lift economic growth amid the credit crunch. Recent growth in the economy has encouraged speculation that rates will start to rise again in the near future. However, continuing low inflation environment, now at 0.3percent, gives policymakers little reason to raise rates. Inflation across the UK is remains low, and could even turn negative, thanks largely to the large drop in energy prices. Australia rates unchanged At the Reserve Bank of Australia meeting held last week, the Board of Directors decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 2.25percent. “The Board judged that, having eased monetary policy at the previous meeting, it was appropriate to hold interest rates steady for the time being”, RBA Governor Glenn Stevens said after the bank’s monthly policy meeting. “Further easing of policy may be appropriate over the period ahead. The Board will further assess the case for such action at forthcoming meetings.” Australia’s economy grew slightly last quarter, supported by a large improvement in consumer spending performance, which helped offset softness elsewhere. The Australian Gross Domestic Product expanded by 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter, compared to the previous quarter 0.4 percent rise. The Australian economy grew 2.5percent for all of 2014, but slightly below the expected 3.25 percent. Kuwait Kuwaiti dinar at 0.29830 The USDKD opened at 0.29830 yesterday morning.



Zain Group to extend GSMA’s Mobile Connect service across ME BARCELONA: Zain Group, a leading mobile telecom innovator across eight markets in the Middle East and Africa, has confirmed that it will develop Mobile Connect services across the region in cooperation with other regional operators. The confirmation was made during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week. The GSMA’s Mobile Connect service enables customers to create and manage a universal identity that will securely authenticate them and allow them to safely access mobile and

digital services such as e-commerce, banking, health and digital entertainment, as well as e-government portals, via their mobile phones. Commenting on the plans to bring Mobile Connect to the region, Zain Group CEO Scott Gegenheimer said, “Zain has been proactive with respect to mobile commerce, online identity, and digital services, and we view the GSMA’s Mobile Connect initiative as being completely aligned with our own efforts.” He continued, “ The success of our industry

reminds us that there are greater chances for the entire market to advance and succeed if there is cooperation leading to the mass adoption of technologies. We shall play our role in collaboration with our peers in the region to extend the reach of this program.” Operators are leveraging Mobile Connect to simplify the log-in and account management of their own customers and the service is now in commercial use by a wide range of digital service providers including e-commerce, insurance, email, online travel and

classified sites. “Mobile Connect is designed to simplify consumers’ lives by offering a single, trusted, mobile phone-based authentication solution that addresses the vulnerability of online passwords, while also respecting online privacy,” said Anne Bouverot, Director General, GSMA. “ The industry has made important progress in rolling out the service around the world, giving users control over their own data and enabling consumers, businesses and governments alike to interact

and access online services in a convenient, private, and trusted environment.” The GSMA is working closely with operators globally to support further Mobile Connect deployments. In the United States, for example, the GSMA has been awarded a grant by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as part of the US government’s National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) initiative, to fund a technology proof-of-concept pilot of a mobile-based identity service.

Zain Group CEO Scott Gegenheimer

Abdulmohsen Abdulaziz Al-Babtain Co introduces new Infiniti Q50 to Kuwait

Al-Mazaya reports net profit of KD 8.09 million for 2014 6% distributed as cash dividends to shareholders KUWAIT: Al-Mazaya Holding held its Ordinary General Assembly Meeting of 2014 yesterday at AlMazaya Tower 1, Al-Murqab District -Sharq, which is one of its 3 towers located at the heart of the Capital of Kuwait, where 77.72 percent of the shareholders attended the meeting. Rashid YaqoubAl-Nafisi, Chairman of the Board called the meeting to order with the presence of the shareholders, members of the board, CEO, Eng Ibrahim Abdul Rahman Al-Soqabi, a representative of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and representatives of the Company External Auditors. Additionally, Chiefs of the Company Divisions and investors were present along with elite media representatives from both printed and audio media in Kuwait and the GCC providing full coverage of the event. Al-Nafisi initiated the General Assembly Meeting reciting the Board of Directors Report for the Fiscal Year ending on December 31 2014 assuring that Mazaya has fulfilled its pledge taken at the end of the lapsed year maintaining steady growth resting on solid intrinsic and extrinsic strengths ultimately resulting in positive leaps in profits. The Company resumed expanding its operational performance achieving positive financial results moreover, uniquely releasing its Financial Statements prior to equivalent real-estate companies. Al-Nafisi added, Al-Mazaya successfully achieved a net profit of KD 8.09 million by the end of 2014, compared to KD 6.0 million by the end of 2013, with 13.05 fils earnings per share, compared to 9.69 fils earnings per share representing an increase of 34.7 percent by virtue of the company’s focus on operational activities; increasing the occupancy rate in its income-generating projects in Kuwait and a number of the GCC countries as the KSA and UAE, which ultimately lead to an increase of 33.7 percent in the Rental Revenues of the Company. Speaking of the company’s Financial Results accomplished, they evidently reflect the sharp vision and strong commitment of the Company to its performance standards. The steady growth of the Company’s performance and profit lead to a considerable increase in total assets by 14.8 percent amounting to KD 261.889 million, compared to KD 228.116 million during 2013. The shareholders’ Equity added up to KD 107.755 million at the end of 2014, compared to KD 97.167 million for 2013, representing a 10.9 percent increase. The Board of Directors decided to distribute 6 percent of the paid-up capital as cash dividends; equivalent to Kuwaiti 6 fils per share to the shareholders registered as of the date of the General Assembly Meeting expressing gratitude to the distinguished shareholders. Al-Nafisi concluded stating, by the grace of

Allah, Al-Mazaya is now stronger than before. He further expressed his deepest gratitude to the distinguished Board Members, all Mazaya employees, executives, administrative and technical staff for their dedicated effort contributing to the Company’s success and promised that the Company will continue to lead the real-estate sector in the region. The Agenda of the general assembly meeting: During the meeting, Al-Nafisi presented the agenda of the Ordinary General Assembly Meeting of 2014 and the audience reviewed the Auditor’s Report and the Financial Statements of the fiscal year ending on Dec 31st 2014 and approved the same. The Board’s recommendation to distribute 6 percent of the paid-up capital as cash dividends; equivalent to Kuwaiti 6 fils per share to the shareholders registered as of the date of the General Assembly Meeting was approved as well as Board Members remuneration. The General Assembly further permitted the Chairman and the Members of the Board to trade for their own accounts or others’ accounts at any of the Company’s branches/offices. The above is in accordance with Article no 228 of the Companies Law no 25 of 2012; as well as article 20 of the Statute of the company. Moreover, the Board was authorized to purchase or sell Company shares at no more than 10 percent of the total shares as per Article no (175) of the Companies Law no 25 of 2012, as well as the Regulations of the Capital Market Authority with regard to regulating the purchase of company shares (Treasury Shares) and utilizing the same. Finally the General Assembly approved to relief / discharge the Board Members from their legal liability of the Fiscal Year ending on December 31st, 2014; to assign or reassign the External Auditors for the Fiscal Year 2015 and to authorize the Board to determine their fees provided that the Auditors are already registered at the Capital Market Authority. Company accomplishments: CEO Eng.Ibrahim Al-Soqabi delivered a presentation to highlight the accomplishments AlMazaya has achieved in 2014 stressing that these accomplishments were in line with the Company strategy, willingness and elements of success brought together to leverage Al-Mazaya’s position in real-estate sector. The CEO proudly stated the Company was able to maintain its robust financial position and strong operational performance, in line with its carefully designed smart objectives and viable strategy. During 2014, Al-Mazaya reaped the fruit of its penetration to the Turkish market and the investment opportunities available in there signing an

Alliance with Dumankaya, one of the giant realestate development companies in Istanbul, whereby Al-Mazaya executes rewarding projects of great benefit to the parent company. As a part of this alliance, Al-Mazaya launched “RitimIstanbul” Project commencing its joint venture with the Turkish Company. 2014 also gave birth to four new projects imitating the Lingo middle-class accommodation project in Dubai Land, Clover Medical Centre at Sabah Al-Salim, Mazaya Residence in Oman, and Ritim Project in Istanbul; all in line with the company strategy and its 5-years forthcoming Financial Plan. Al-Mazaya has pushed forward the timetable for all under-implementation projects in all countries the company operates therein; in 2014, Mazaya Logistics Project in Bahrain was 100 percent completed, Queue Point Project in Dubai was 80 percent complete, Sedra Residential Project was 60 percent complete and 100 percent of the foundation works of Marina Mall in Lousil, Qatar were complete where Al Mazaya is managing these projects on behalf of Mazaya Qatar. Taking another step forward to support AlMazaya brand within real-estate markets, AlMazaya expanded and rooted its marketing tools promoting the corporate identity of Al-Mazaya Holding and its subsidiaries therein in Kuwait and in the region. As for our internal systems, Al-Mazaya has upgraded its operations to utilize the latest information technology systems and successfully econnected all subsidiary companies through the ERP System; lease payments can now be collected online, and CRM system was launched mainly to serve our clients. Al-Soqabialso referred to the financial results Al-Mazaya has achieved which are clearly reflected in the Company announced profits. During 2014, Al-Mazaya succeeded in reducing the cost of funds by 5.52 percent not to mention that 81 percent of Company loans are now Islamic Loans. AlMazaya released 261 million shares retained as pledge, and hence, the company can obtain new credit facilities. Also, the Company succeeded in rescheduling its loans at the group level (Mazaya and its subsidiaries) resulting in new credit facilities received amounting to KD 32 million therefore improving company solvency and its ability to enter into new investments. There is no room here to elaborate on the total accomplishments Al-Mazaya has achieved. Yet, once again, we assure you that the Board Members and all Al-Mazaya employees shall continue their journey to achieve the best results and continue to lead the real-estate market in Kuwait and the region.

Zain launches new postpaid plans offer for a limited time KUWAIT: Zain, the leading telecommunications company in Kuwait, announced the launch of an exciting promotion that adds extra new benefits to postpaid smartphone plans. The promotion reinforces the company’s customer-centric strategy that focuses on introducing the latest industry offerings. The new offer, which is available for a limited time only, introduces extra added benefits , including a

KD 100 voucher or a free second smartphone. Zain continues to reinvent its offers with the aim of fulfilling customers’ aspirations, as they are considered the country’s largest family of subscribers. The company introduces the latest promotional campaigns and offers to reinforce its position as the leading telecommunications company in Kuwait. Existing and new postpaid cus-

tomers are eligible to join this promotion. Those who subscribe to the KD 30 package will receive a free KD 100 voucher in addition to the existing free smartphone that comes with the package. Those who subscribe to the KD 40 or KD 57 packages can receive a free KD 100 voucher or a second free smartphone on top of the existing smartphone that comes with the package. By launching the new postpaid

offer, Zain aims at creating a new concept for the services it offers, as well as offering convenience with flexible and handy plans that meet the different needs of customers. Through this exciting limited time offer, Zain continues to reinforce its leadership position and its pledge in offering the best services and offers to meet customersí professional and personal telecommunications needs.

GENEVA: Infiniti signaled further intentions to grow in the premium compact segment with the world premiere of the QX30 Concept at the Geneva International Motor Show. The QX30 concept is Infiniti’s design vision for a new premium compact crossover, targeting at a new generation of individualistic premium customers. Bringing together the sleek lines of the coupe with the command sitting and allwheel drive of a crossover, the QX30 Concept promises to be just as capable navigating city streets as it is exploring weekend getaways. “With the QX30 Concept, we’re showcasing a distinctively contemporary alternative in the premium compact segment for those who want something more than the status quo,” said Roland Krueger, Infiniti President and CEO. An international team designed the QX30 Concept to appeal to the global customer. Complementing the vehicle’s higher stance, the designers added visual cues which instantly identify the concept as a crossover such as 21-inch wheels, large tires, lower bumper, sculpted skid plates, and very distinctive roof racks. “We’ve used expected materials in an

unexpected way, and given functional elements an artistic twist,” said Albaisa. “It is the unconventional execution of a conventional element that makes the QX30 Concept a design leader.” In addition, the Q60 Concept made its European debut at the show, hinting at Infiniti’s next sports coupe. The stunning two-door concept is a unique combination of eye-catching contours, the promise of heart-pumping dynamics, and highestquality finishes, giving premium customers a fresh and expressive design icon to which they can aspire. Infiniti Motor Company Ltd is headquartered in Hong Kong with sales operations in over 50 countries. The Infiniti brand was launched in 1989. Its range of premium automobiles is currently built in manufacturing facilities in Japan, the United States and China. Production in the UK will start in 2015, bringing with it significant expansion of the brand’s portfolio. Infiniti plans to also expand manufacturing into Mexico by 2017. As the Title Partner and Vehicle Performance Partner of Infiniti Red Bull Racing, Infiniti has a far-reaching technical collaboration with the four-time FIA Formula One World Championship winning Team.

Select Al Mulla launches new promotion on Chrysler 300L V8 KUWAIT: Select Al Mulla has launched an all new promotion on the Chrysler 300 Limited V8, providing a great opportunity to celebrate class at an affordable price. This exciting offer from Select provides customer an opportunity to own quality Chrysler 300L certified cars with an array of benefits, guaranteed to provide complete peace of mind to customers. The promotion affords customers an attractive price starting KD 6,799 on the 2013 MY Chr ysler 300 Limited. The 300Limited is a rear-wheel-drive powered by a 5.7- litre V8 Hemi engine, mated to an 8-speed automatic with manual capability. The vehicle is equipped with built in features like cruise control, 18-inch alloy wheels, 6-speaker CD/MP3 stereo and a 4.3inch touch screen, rear parking camera with sensors, USB port, auto headlights, intelligent keyless entry. Safety features include front, side and curtain airbags, ABS, stability control and tire pressure monitor. Additionally, as part of the promotional

offer, customers will be provided a “Peace of Mind” Package offering warranty up to 2 years and free quick services plus free registration. An attractive finance option is available with loan tenure up to 60 months and monthly installment starting KD 111 subject to finance terms. It is also important to note that all Select certified used vehicles pass through a stringent 129 point quality assurance inspection. These strict quality standards ensure that only the best of vehicles receive the Select certification. Select Al Mulla showrooms are open during week-days from 8:30 am to 8:30pm non-stop and from 4.30pm to 8.30pm on Fridays to provide the flexibility required to customers. Select continues to redefine the retail standards in purchase of certified used cars. Customers who wish to know more information on Select can call on 1800007 or visit one of their showrooms in Al Rai or Sharq.

Al-Tijari announces winners of Najma, Base Account draws KUWAIT: Commercial Bank of Kuwait held the Al Najma Account and ASAS Base Account draw on 8th March 2015. The draw was held under the supervision of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry represented by Abdulaziz Ashkanani. The winner of the Base Account is: Mohammad Hussain Al Jedi The winners of the Al Najma daily draw are: Ibtisam Abdulmohsen Al-Shimari — KD 7000, Mohammed Shah Baza — KD 7000, Anwar Abdullah Ali — KD 7000, Nawal Hassan Mohammed— KD 7000, Zaheruddin Saleh Al-Mayahe — KD 7000. The Commercial Bank of Kuwait announces the biggest daily draw in Kuwait with the launch of the new Najma account. Customers of the bank can now enjoy a KD 7,000 daily prize which is the highest in the

country and another 4 mega prizes during the year worth KD 100,000 each on different occasions: The National Day, Eid Al-Fitr, Eid Al-Adha and on the 19th of June which is the date of the bank’s establishment. With a minimum balance of KD 500, customers will be eligible for the daily draw provided that the money is in the account one week prior to the daily draw or 2 months prior to the mega draw. In addition, for each KD 25 a customer can get one chance for winning instead of KD 50. Commercial Bank of Kuwait takes this opportunity to congratulate all lucky winners and also extends appreciation to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry for their effective supervision of the draws which were conducted in an orderly and organized manner.



Being at the big game-without actually being there NEW YORK: Imagine sitting on Center Court at Wimbledon, ringside at a Las Vegas heavyweight boxing title fight, or amongst the VIPs at an NBA game-all from the comfort of your own home. Far-fetched? Maybe. But in a few years, sports fans more accustomed to watching sport on television may be able to don virtual-reality headsets that allow them to experience the action closer than ever before. “Someone is going to be able to sit at home on the couch and feel like they’re sitting courtside at a basketball game,” said David Blitzer, a co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers NBA team. “It’s amazing.” The futuristic vision of home entertainment was just one example of how technology is changing the face of sport and showcased at this week’s Sport Business Summit in New York. The theme of the conference was unmistakeable. Big data and digital

technology are transforming professional sports as never before as innovations provide new tools for superstars and keep fans happy. Technology companies can now mine millions of social media posts for comments about a player and show that the intensity of an athlete’s following merits a fatter endorsement contract. Participants in New York described changes remaking all levels of sports, from the way teams pick and train players to the manner in which leagues and media companies negotiate broadcast rights. Drones as cameras? The event drew more than 500 attendees, from the Nascar racing league to women’s professional golf association and prominent European football teams. Mixed in were agents and a slew of technology providers. “Especially in the context of other media, sports just outshines everything else,” said Eric Shanks,

president of Fox Sports Media Group. Shanks was bullish on the use of drones as a filming tool, describing plans to broadcast a Supercross cycling race that way to give viewers a whole new experience. Shanks also sees growth if more gambling is permitted on professional sports. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver last year expressed support for legal gambling as a way to boost fan engagement. Silver said more legal gambling is “inevitable” in the US, given that much already takes place under the table. But the Fox executive also alluded to some of the challenges facing established market players. Broadcast systems that let fans log in and watch games from mobile devices have boomed, reaching some 80 million Fox fans in the US, Shanks said. Yet there are open questions surrounding what this means for long-term deals such as the NBA’s nine-year contract with broadcasters TNT and ESPN, unveiled in October. “Who is going to be

bidding for those rights” in 10 or 12 years, said Blitzer of the Philadelphia 76ers. “You’re going to see different names.” Fan bases revealed Athletes too face sophisticated new technology challenges and opportunities. Wearable technology gives unprecedented insight into an athlete’s heart rate and other body signals, giving teams key information that can affect which players play and how they train. General Sentiment, a New York data analytics firm, scrutinizes Twitter and other sites to analyze whether there are any patterns within a player’s fan base that might interest advertisers. A disproportionate preference of Twitter followers for a particular car brand could be used in endorsement discussions, said Asher Feldman, a director of Strategic Analytics. Other big data efforts are geared at fans, as when broadcasters or websites

upload past results for viewers who want to know how many times a quarterback has been intercepted or the number of double-faults by a tennis player. Fan engagement could be taken to new levels if the virtual-reality headsets become commonplace. For the time being, the sheer bulk of headsets meant it was still “very early days” for the technology, said Jens Christensen, chief executive of Jaunt VR. But if a viable, comfortable headset is developed it could revolutionize the way people watch sport at home. “It makes it almost a new medium,” Christensen said. But Boston Celtics coowner Wyc Grousbeck said there were limits to where technology could take fans, as when a particularly heroic effort by a hometown hero gets a roar from an adoring crowd. “It’s in the personal connection, it’s walking the streets in your own city,” he said. “It’s an event that transcends the phone.” — AFP

Cash may be king, smartphones seek to rule at the register BARCELONA: Using your smartphone to make payments in shops or public transport should become more widespread this year, but its supremacy will depend on how successful retailers are in enticing people to keep their cards or cash in their pockets. The stakes are high for phone manufacturers and operators, not to mention banks, as the success of contactless systems where consumers sweep their smartphone over a reader could shake up the lucrative retail payments market. But the chief executive of Ingenico, a leading manufacturer of payment card terminals as well as new contactless systems, doesn’t see people as ready to give up their debit cards just yet. “Smartphones will be a small part of the market but the main payment mechanism will remain the traditional (card) terminal which will continue to see growth,” said Philippe Lazare, whose company manufactures more than one in three payment terminals in use worldwide. That view didn’t stop Ingenico from announcing this past week at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona a contactless payments system compatible with Apple Pay. Apple of retailer’s eye? Apple’s adoption last year of NFC, or the near field communication standard, was a major step towards this becoming the dominant technology. Google has had a similar service, Google Wallet, available for a couple years. NFC allows smartphones or other devices to communicate with one another within a distance of several centimetres (inches). This means consumers can quickly sweep their phones over readers rather than having to pull out a card, insert it into a terminal and wait to punch in a code. “It was a decisive step towards the creation of an ecosystem but that may not be sufficient as several solutions are available,” said Anne Bouverot, head of the GSMA trade association for mobile operators that organises the Barcelona event. She said that it is also important to get people accustomed to using their phones for making payments by using them elsewhere, such as with public transportation systems that have adopted contactless technology like in London or Paris. In launching Apple Pay, the US tech giant

was again demonstrating its longstanding role as a trendsetter, rather than responding to consumer demand. It has yet to be rolled out anywhere except in the United States. But Apple’s initiative has pushed its competitors to also move forward. All high-end smartphones are now coming equipped with NFC. Some are coming with added security features, like the new Samsung Galaxy S6 unveiled at Barcelona that has a fingerprint scanner. Google last month bought Softcard, a rival to its Google Wallet co-founded by US mobile operators AT&T, T-Mobile USA and Verizon in 2011. And Samsung recently acquired LoopPay, whose technology links up with the magnetic strip readers in existing payment terminals instead of NFC. This system transmits card details via secure magnetic signals to the reader when held up against it. It has the advantage over the Apple and Google systems of being immediately compatible with more than 30 million payment terminals in use in the United States. Cash still king US banks are watching nervously as the emergence of contactless payment systems comes just as they are investing to upgrade payment cards and terminals from magnetic strips to chip cards. US banks lost out in the Internet payments market to Paypal, which announced during the Mobile World Congress that it was getting into the contactless payments game with the purchase of Paydiant. This US company works with merchants to develop loyalty and incentive programmes as part of mobile payment systems to help them boost sales. Many experts see retailers offering discounts and promotions tailored to each client as an important element in encouraging consumers to make the switch to contactless payments with their smartphones. Not everyone is expecting a boom in the use of smartphones for making payments. “For several years now an explosion of that of kind of payment has been expected but one should not forget that 85 percent of all the transactions in the world are still made via cash,” said MasterCard’s chief executive Ajay Banga. He expects adoption of contactless payment systems to instead grow steadily over several years. —AFP

Apple’s hotly-anticipated smartwatch

Apple takes leap into new territory with smartwatch SAN FRANCISCO: Apple’s hotly-anticipated smartwatch is expected to debut today as the trend-setting firm sets out to make stylish wristworn computers must-have accessories for modern lifestyles. Industry trackers say Apple Watch will star at a media event being held at the same San Francisco theater where the California tech giant introduced the iPad. Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook has revealed little about the sophisticated wrist wear, but has said that he “can’t live without it.” The company announced its plans for Apple Watch last year to much fanfare and has said it would begin shipping in April. It will mark Apple’s first new product type since the iPad in 2010. Apple has indicated that the entry price would be $349 in the United States, and that two different sizes would be available in three collections, including the “Apple Watch Edition,” featuring 18-karat gold cases in yellow or rose, sapphire crystal and finely crafted bands and closures. The Apple device will connect with the iPhone, and also have a range of apps and sensors, notably for health and fitness. The watch is also expected to include map software that guides people to destinations with gentle “taps” on the wrist. Fitness apps on the Apple Watch and its rivals could spell trouble for makers of fitness bands from companies like Jawbone, Fitbit and Nike. “Apple is poised to once again show how computing platforms are won or lost on the one-two punch of eager consumers and hungry ecosystem partners,” said Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey. Apple reportedly had

to scale back health tracking features on the watch after some sensors didn’t rise to the challenges. Catalyze, dominate the market It remains unclear whether Apple — a latecomer to the wearables segment would do for smartwatches what the iPod did for MP3 players and the iPad did for tablet computers. Apple enters a segment crowded with vendors ranging from South Korean giants Samsung and LG, to Japan’s Sony and startups such as Pebble. Motorola, acquired by Chinese giant Lenovo last year, also produces a smartwatch, and China’s Huawei introduced its version at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this month. Pebble, which burst on the scene with a crowd-funded smartwatch in 2012, this month broke the record on the Kickstarter platform with more than $16 million raised. Research firm Strategy Analytics predicts Apple will set fire to the market from the outset, projecting sales of 15.4 million units worldwide in 2015, to give Apple a 55 percent market share. “The Apple Watch is the catalyst to ignite the global smartwatch market,” said Strategy Analytics executive director Neil Mawston. “Apple’s famous brand, loyal fan base, deep retail presence and extensive apps ecosystem will ensure healthy uptake for its watch.” Still, he said Apple may see a few glitches that need to be ironed out. “Apple’s first-generation Watch is not yet perfect,” Mawston said in a statement. “Apple will need to upgrade tangibly its second-generation watch to stay ahead of

competitors later this year.” He noted that rival models are more attractive, have a longer battery life and offer more affordable prices. But Deutsche Bank analyst Sherri Scribner predicted an even bigger splash for the Apple Watch, with sales of 17.6 million units this year. By 2018, Scribner said, one of every four iPhone users will also have an Apple Watch, making the segment worth some $26 billion for the company. In a research note, Scribner said the Apple Watch should be a “catalyst” to expand the market, with wrist-worn devices gradually becoming a complement to smartphones. The next big thing? Others say it’s not yet clear if the smartwatch will become the must-have accessory for consumers, particularly if the pricing remains at current levels. Roger Kay, analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates, said Apple’s loyal consumer base will deliver a certain number of sales but won’t guarantee widespread adoption. “There will be 10 million people who will buy it because it’s from Apple,” Kay said. “But the larger question is whether this category really has legs.” A key question is whether Apple can create the same kind of buzz and energy around a new product without its legendary leader Steve Jobs, who died in 2011. “Steve could distort reality and tell everyone it was the next big thing, and people would believe it,” said Kay. “They’ve never done it without Steve. So this is the challenge for Tim Cook.” —AFP

Boom in journalist drone use flies into legal obstacles

BARCELONA: Visitors test Samsung Galaxy S6 smartphones during the opening day of the 2015 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona on March 2. Phone makers will seek to seduce new buyers with even smarter Internet-connected watches and other wireless gadgets as they wrestle for dominance. — AFP

Hackers threaten phone in pocket BARCELONA: The boom in smartphones among often careless users has made happy hunting for hackers, whose virus attacks and hijacking of unprotected mobiles are multiplying, experts warn. Security analysts and companies at this week’s Mobile World Congress, a top wireless telecom fair in Barcelona, Spain, said phone makers and users must be on guard to stop hackers getting into your pocket. “With smartphones we are going through what we went through 15 years ago with personal computers,” said Tanguy de Coatpont, head of the French branch of international antivirus firm Kaspersky Lab. “ There are more and more security problems because with their processing power they are really like little computers, permanently connected.” Kaspersky’s most

recent study showed that 28 percent of users were ignorant of the risks of cyberattack on their smartphones. Just over a quarter of users in that study said they knew of the risk but were not worried about it. Analysts said that attitude had fuelled attacks on smartphones by hackers over the past two years. “We are seeing an increase in volume (of attacks) of sometimes more than 400 percent quarter on quarter,” said David Grout, southern Europe director of Intel Security, a global software protection firm. That is small compared to the scale of attacks on personal computer operating systems such as Windows, but “it is a bigger and bigger risk,” he said. “Hackers have to hand lots of personal information contained in a smartphone, particularly financial details.”—AFP

PARIS: Flying over the flaming barricades of the Maidan protests in Kiev, the camps of Auschwitz or hurtling down a ski slope-drones have become a vital tool for cameramen, but they are increasingly running into legal and practical obstacles. Many news networks such as the BBC, Russia Today and France’s TF1 have bought their own drones in recent years and trained their cameramen to become remote-control pilots. “We’ve used them all over the world, from Togo, for a report about the Aral Sea, to the Brazilian rain forests,” said Thomas Hannen, a producer at the BBC World Service. Simple to use and able to capture views way out of the reach of traditional technology, drones are also increasingly affordable, with basic models starting at just a few hundred euros (dollars). That compares with shelling out some 20,000 euros a day to get helicopter shots, said Pierre Fourtillan, head of Aliothcam, a French business that specialises in aerial photography. Although some shots are still better achieved with a cameraman in a helicopter, drones provide some novel options. Tightening up the rules “We can kiss the rooftops and sides of buildings,” enthused Nicolas Charbonneau, an assistant director at TF1. Storms, avalanches and traffic jams have all become filmable in a way that would have been impossible just a few years ago, he added, and the station is keen to use them more for extreme sports. Drones have also made it easier to cover hard news topics. “They enable us to tell stories that would be out of reach, particularly when there are safety concerns, for example in war zones or natural disasters,” said Lizzie Phelan, a journalist at Russia Today, which made pioneering use of drones to cover the Ferguson riots in the United States last year.

But there are limits, particularly as the spike in their use makes governments jittery about the security implications. France and Spain already have strict laws banning their use over populated and high-security areas without special permission. Three BBC journalists were arrested in Switzerland in February after flying a drone over a restricted zone. Three more from Al-Jazeera were detained for an unauthorised flight over a Paris park last month. The US is struggling to come up with clear rules. California passed a law in September preventing paparazzi from using drones, after celebrities such

as Miley Cyrus raised concerns about drones hovering over her home. Such restrictions are not seen as a great loss by all paparazzi, however. “On a drone, you can only put a wide-angle lens,” said Sebastien Valiela, whose photos last year revealed President Francois Hollande’s affair with actress Julie Gayet. “You need to be within a few metres of the people to get a usable picture. You get spotted Valiela did buy a drone, and tried to use it last year for the marriage in France of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. “But when I saw how the place was set up, I decided to take a helicopter instead,” he said. After that, he sold his drone. — AFP

BRUSSELS: People listen on as a man shows a drone during a show at ‘Drone-Days’, the first fair on drones in Belgium, at Tour and Taxi in Brussels, on March 7. — AFP


H E A LT H & S C I E N C E

US heroin overdoses shifting to young, white, Midwestern NEW YORK: The people who die from heroin-related overdoses in the US now tend to be young, white and live in the Midwest, according to a government report. That’s a shift from 15 years ago when the death rate was highest among older blacks and the West and Northeast had the biggest heroin problems. The report released yesterday examines the rising trend in fatalities involving heroin. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, based on death cer-

tificates from 2013, tallied drug overdose deaths across the US in which heroin was a contributing factor. More from the report: Overdose count There were 8,257 heroin-related deaths in 2013, compared to 5,925 the previous year. The rates have increased significantly since 2010, when deaths numbered about 3,000. Heroin-related deaths increased in both men and

women, in all age groups, and in whites, blacks and Hispanics. Changing demographics A few of the increases were particularly striking, said Dr. Holly Hedegaard of the CDC, one of the authors of the report. In 2000, the highest death rate from heroin overdoses was in blacks ages 45 to 64. But in 2013, whites ages 18 to 44 had the highest rate. Whites in that age group accounted for more than

half of the heroin-related overdose deaths that year. And the region with the largest heroin overdose problems shifted to the Midwest. The West and Northeast had the same highest rate in 2000. The report did not provide state breakdowns. Gap is closing Overall, there were about 44,000 drug overdose deaths in 2013. More than 16,000 of them involved a type of pow-

erful prescription painkillers, such as Vicodin and OxyContin. Those deaths were nearly twice as high as the heroinrelated deaths in 2013. However, painkiller-related deaths held steady for two years while those involving heroin climbed. The report didn’t explore why heroin deaths are increasing. Other experts have said recent restrictions on prescribing painkillers may be reducing supplies at a time when the heroin supply has been increasing.— AP

Sweet cravings will make sugar curbs hard: Experts PARIS: UN recommendations to curb sugar intake may face an uphill battle for acceptance, experts say-confronted by an ingrained human yearning for sweetness. Sugar is laden with energy, which we are genetically geared to want-a craving the food industry has cultivated to keep consumers coming back for more, they point out. On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) reiterated its advice that added sugar should comprise less than 10 percent of daily calorie intake, but said consumers should ideally strive for half that amount. Experts question the attainability of these goals given that sugar is added to everything these days from tomato-based sauces and bread to charcuterie. “There is a collusion between manufacturers and consumers,” said Jean-Michel Lecerf, head of nutrition at the Pasteur Institute in Lille, northern France-pointing to a “shared responsibility” for the sharp rise in added sugar in food. “Manufacturers like to sell their products and consumers like the taste of sugar.” The UN guidelines apply to so-called “free sugars” added to food and drink by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, and naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates. These are said to have contributed to a global rise in obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other health problems. Food manufacturers will be hardpressed to find a cheaper, easier and more popular flavour-booster, say the experts. Not only does sugar provide a quick energy boost, it is also a natural mood-lifter. ‘Miracle ingredient’ “We want it because we get pleasure from it,” said Lecerf. “It has a psychotropic effect when you have the blues.” Michael Moss, awarded a Pulitzer prize for his book: “Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us”, calls sugar the “miracle ingredient for the food companies”. “They use it to save money. When you’re

making a tomato sauce, instead of using naturally red, sweet tomatoes, you can buy cheap, green tomatoes and add sugar to make up for the natural flavour,” he said. The food industry has developed a “bliss point” measure for the ideal sugar contentnot too little and not too much, said Moss, to make sure consumers are always left wanting more. One of the biggest problems for consumers, he added, was the hidden sugar in savoury products like bread and processed meat. “What it does is create the expected wish that everything you eat is sweet.” The UN advice does not cover sugar in fresh fruit or vegetables. According to Nita Forouhi, a nutritional epidemiology researcher at the University of Cambridge, sugar-sweetened beverages may be the “low-hanging fruit” for achieving the UN’s objective. The 10-percent goal amounts to about 50 grammes (1.8 ounces) or 12 teaspoons of sugar for an adult consuming 2,000 calories per day. The average can of soda packs up to 10 teaspoons, so switching to water or a nonsweetened beverage will swiftly cut sugar intake. The tougher five-percent ideal, aimed at reducing tooth decay, will be “much harder to meet,” said Tom Sanders, a professor emeritus on nutrition at King’s College London. “It would involve not eating cakes, biscuits, confectionary and all sugar-sweetened beverages, including fruit juice,” he told Britain’s Science Media Centre. Tailored approach Sugar consumption patterns vary hugely between countries. It accounts for about seven or eight percent of the adult daily calorie intake in Norway and Hungary, for example, but in Spain and Britain, it is more than double that. On average, South America consumes two-and-a-half times the WHO’s 10-percent recommendation, and sub-Saharan Africans less than the 50gramme goal. —AFP

Thomas Edison’s ‘lost’ idea: A device to hear the dead PARIS: One of Thomas Edison’s little known ambitions was to build a device to hear the voices of the dead, according to a nearly lost chapter of the inventor’s memoirs which is being republished in France this week. The American, who developed the phonograph and is often cited, inaccurately, as being the first to come up with the light bulb, wanted to create a sort of “spirit phone” that recorded the utterances of departed souls. Edison (1847-1931) detailed his efforts and they were published posthumously in 1948 as the final chapter of his “Diary and Sundry Observations”. Strangely, though, his account of dabbling in what would today be considered the occult was expunged in subsequent English-language editions of the book. Some in America thought the idea was maybe a hoax or a joke by Edison, as no design for a “spirit phone” has ever been uncovered. But in France, the 1949 French translation of inventor’s original “Diary” was preserved intact-with the missing final chapter. French readers from Thursday will be able to rediscover Edison’s unusual quest in

a book titled “Le Royaume de l’Au-dela” (The Kingdom of the Afterlife) that republishes the text. It may not be as he conceived it, but in a way the book channels Edison’s words from beyond the grave. The work is presented with commentary by Philippe Baudouin, a French radio presenter and trained philosopher, who told AFP: “This little-known episode in the history of talking machines was of special interest to me, as I’m a radio man.” The chapter shows how Edison tried in late 1870 to find a basis for his “spirit phone” invention by amplifying the sound from his phonographs, the precursor of gramophones and record players. He even made a pact with an engineer working with him, William Walter Dinwiddie, that the first who died would “would try to send a message to the survivor from beyond,” Baudouin said. Edison believed not only that ghosts existed but but also that they were very talkative. He “imagined being able to record the voice of another being, to be able to make audible that which isn’t-the voice of the dead”, Badouin said. — AFP

ADDIS ABABA: People take pictures of a piece of jawbone, that was uncovered in Ethiopia and is the earliest known fossil of the genus Homo, as it is displayed in Addis Ababa. A piece of jawbone with teeth attached, uncovered in Ethiopia, is the earliest known fossil of the genus Homo, to which humans belong, researchers said.— AFP

Jawbone fossil in Ethiopia sheds light on human origins Fossil sheds light on the time when early hominids diverged MIAMI: A piece of jawbone with teeth attached, uncovered in Ethiopia, is the earliest known fossil of the genus Homo, to which humans belong, researchers said. The discovery suggests that humankind’s ancestors were living in what is now the Ledi-Geraru research area of Afar Regional State, Ethiopia, in open grassland environments, near lakes, rivers, and active volcanoes, about 2.8 million years ago, or 400,000 years earlier than previously thought. “It is the first fossil we have on the branch that leads toward us,” said Brian Villmoare, assistant professor at the University of Nevada, lead author of the study in the journal Science. The jawbone, known as LD 350-1, is the lower left side of a mandible with five teeth, and was found in fine sediment near the surface of the research site in 2013. The fossil has not yet been assigned to a particular species, but its slim molars and dental arch proportions indicate an advancement that is not seen in the more ape-like Australopithecus afarensis, dating just a few hundred thousand years earlier. Experts described the fossil as a very early representative of the species that led to modern humans, though not a direct ancestor of our particular species, known as homo sapiens. Researchers are particularly intrigued because the fossil dates to a period when few such artifacts have been found, and sheds light on the time when early hominids diverged, as the ancestors of homo sapiens split from the more ape-like australopithecus, which walked upright but had smaller brains. “The fossil record in east Africa between two and three million years ago is very thin and there are relatively few fossils that can inform us about the origins of the genus homo,” said Villmoare. “However this is one of the most interesting periods in human evolution.” Link to ‘Lucy’ The last known fossil of most recent member of Australopithecus afarensis (“Lucy”) comes from the nearby Ethiopian site of Hadar and is about 3.2 million years old. Meanwhile, the oldest known Homo fossil was, until now, believed to be about 2.3 or 2.4 million years old. The refinement seen in the new fossil “suggests that the transition itself was relatively rapid,” said Villmoare. “Of course this specimen raises many more questions than answers, and those questions will only be resolved by further fieldwork.” With few trees around, and a climate that was likely hot and dry, this creature had likely adapted in ways that

ARIZONA: This undated photo obtained March 4, 2015, courtesy of Brian Villmoare and Arizona State Univerity, shows a close up view of the mandible just steps from where it was sighted by Chalachew Seyoum, Arizona State University graduate student, who is from Ethiopia. A piece of jawbone with teeth attached, uncovered in Ethiopia, is the earliest known fossil of the genus Homo, to which humans belong, researchers said. — AP were different than Australopithecus. “This early homo could live in this fairly extreme habitat and that apparently Lucy’s species could not,” said Kaye Reed, a co-author on the paper from Arizona State University. The journal Science’s deputy editor Andrew Sugden described the findings as opening a “major new chapter in the story of human evolution in Africa, which expands our understanding not only of human origins, but also of the environments in which our ancestors emerged.” A related paper in the journal Nature described how state-of-the-art computer reconstruction of the pieces of a Homo habilis fossil-declared in 1964 to be the earliest known member of our human evolutionary lineage — shows that this so-called Handy man’s jaw was actually more primitive than previously thought. The fossil Olduvai Hominid 7, or OH 7, included a lower jaw, parts of a braincase and hand bones from an individual found in 1.8

million-year-old sediment in Tanzania. Researchers used computed tomography (CT) and 3D imaging technology to digitize and reassemble the bone fragments on a computer screen. The result was a lower jaw that was more narrow, and more like the older species Australopithecus afarensis, than the more closely related Homo erectus. The braincase of the Handy man however was larger than previously estimated and looked similar to that seen in Homo erectus. Researchers now understand that were vast differences in the jaws of three different early Homo species that lived between 2.1 and 1.6 million years ago: Homo habilis, Homo erectus and Homo rudolfensis. “The Ledi jaw helps narrow the evolutionary gap between Australopithecus and early Homo,” said William Kimbel, director of Arizona State University’s Institute of Human Origins. “It’s an excellent case of a transitional fossil in a critical time period in human evolution.” — AFP

FDA finds little evidence of antibiotics in milk

NEW YORK: Undated file portrait of American inventor Thomas Alva Edison (18471931), who created great innovations as the electric light bulb and the phonograph. As stated in a story released one of Thomas Edison’s little-known ambitions was to build a device to hear the voices of the dead, according to a nearly lost chapter of the inventor’s memoirs which is being republished in France, later in the week. — AP

WASHINGTON: In an encouraging development for consumers worried about antibiotics in their milk, a new Food and Drug Administration study showed little evidence of drug contamination after surveying almost 2,000 dairy farms. In response to concerns, the agency in 2012 took samples of raw milk from the farms and tested them for 31 drugs, almost all of them antibiotics. Results released by the agency Thursday show that less than 1 percent of the total samples showed illegal drug residue. Antibiotics and other drugs can end up in milk when they are used on dairy cows to keep them healthy. Small levels of some drugs are allowed in milk, but residues that go beyond

certain thresholds are illegal. “Overall this is very encouraging and reinforces the idea that the milk supply is safe,” said the FDA’s William Flynn, who led the study. He said the agency will use the findings to try and reduce the drug contamination even more. Public health groups are concerned about the levels of animal antibiotics that make it into food because consuming the drugs could potentially be harmful to humans. Repeated exposure to antibiotics can lead germs to become resistant to the drugs so that they are no longer effective. Drug residues can also be harmful if they prompt allergies or other reactions. The industry does regular testing for some of

the drugs the FDA tested, but public health advocates had expressed particular concern about milk that had come from dairy farms that had repeatedly tried to sell older cows for slaughter with illegal levels of antibiotic residue in their tissue. So the FDA study focused on those farms with previous violations, with about half of the samples coming from them and half from a control group. FDA said 11 of the samples from the group with previous violations showed illegal levels of drug residue and four from the control group showed illegal residue. Flynn said the illegal drug residues found in the study were from unapproved drugs, so any level is illegal.—AP


H E A LT H & S C I E N C E

Maker of device in ‘superbug’ outbreak lacked FDA clearance WASHINGTON: The manufacturer of a medical instrument at the center of a recent “superbug” outbreak in Los Angeles did not receive federal clearance to sell an updated version the device, according to officials from the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA confirmed that Olympus Corp. did not seek agency clearance for the redesign of its specialized endoscope, which it began selling in 2010. FDA clearance is required for all substantive updates to medical devices sold in the US. Despite the lack of clearance, the FDA said doctors should continue using the device because it’s not clear that a federal review would have prevented the recent infections in patients. Olympus said in a statement that it determined in 2010 that it didn’t need to submit its changes for FDA review. The company has since filed an application that is now pending at the FDA. The company’s hard-to-clean device is believed to be responsible for infections in seven people two of whom died - who contracted an antibiotic-resistant strain of bacteria after undergoing endoscopic procedures at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center between October and Januar y. Two Olympus devices used at the UCLA hospital were found to have “embedded” infections even though they had been cleaned according to manufacturer’s instructions. The specialized device, known as a duodenoscope, is a flexible fiber-optic tube that is inserted down the throat into the stomach and small intestine to drain fluids. Infections of the “superbug” carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, have been reported at hospitals around the country, and some have been linked to the type of endoscope used at UCLA. Investigation On Wednesday, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center reported that four patients at its hospital had also been infected with the “superbug,” possibly transmitted through the same Olympus device. The Los Angeles hospital launched its own investigation after learning of the UCLA outbreak two weeks ago. Revelations about the lack approval for Olympus’ device came as lawmakers in

Congress questioned the FDA’s performance overseeing the safety and design of the instruments. In a letter Wednesday, 10 members of Congress asked the FDA to answer nearly a dozen questions about oversight of duodenoscopes, including when the agency first learned about problems with infections. “It appears that if a superior cleaning procedure cannot be developed, the best solution will be to develop a new device,” states the letter, signed by six Democrats and four Republicans in the House of Representatives. An FDA spokeswoman said that the agency informed Olympus last March that the company must submit an application for its redesigned device, which the company filed last October. That application is still pending because the FDA asked the company for additional information. Shortage of devices In an online posting, the FDA said it does not plan to withdraw Olympus’ TJFQ180V duodenoscope, because it could cause a shortage of devices used in about 500,000 procedures per year. The agency also noted that FDA has received reports of infections with similar devices made by two other manufacturers, Pentax Medical and Fujifilm. The FDA says it is trying to determine what more can be done to reduce infections and plans a meeting of outside advisers for later this year. A date for that meeting has not yet been set. The FDA said last month that the duodenoscope’s complex design, intended to improve usability, also makes the device extremely difficult to clean. Bodily fluids and other particles can stay in the device’s crevices even after cleaning and disinfection. Cleaning instructions issued by manufacturers of the devices may not adequately disinfect the devices, according to the FDA. Nevertheless, the agency recommends hospitals follow the instructions and also consult cleaning guidelines issued by several medical societies in 2011. Olympus Corp. of the Americas said in a statement the company “continuously strives to improve our products for safe and effective use. This includes changes to device design.” —AP

MANILA: A dog owner queues for a blessing from Roman Catholic priest for her pet in suburban Manila, during a free vaccination, castration and blessing of pets event. The yearly event, which also offers free rabies vaccines is sponsored by the Quezon City government in an effort to eradicate rabies from the Philippines. — AFP

WESTPORT: In this photo taken Feb. 26, 2015, and provided by NOAA Fisheries, newborn Orca calf L121 swims with its mother, L94, off Westport, Wash., with the NOAA research ship Bell M. Shimada in the background. Researchers aboard a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration vessel returned to Oregon earlier this week with a wealth of new data about the whales and their ocean environment. The information was gained after NOAA Fisheries researchers followed the giant marine mammals for 21 days to find out where they go during the winter, what they eat, and what risks they encounter.— AP

States on edge about future of health insurance markets Justices divided in latest challenge to Obama’s law MIAMI: Mixed signals from the Supreme Court have states on edge about the future of health insurance subsidies for millions of Americans. And a summer decision from the justices leaves little time for backup planning. Many governors, especially Republicans, want the federal government to craft a contingency plan and at least one governor - in Pennsylvania - is pursuing a state exchange, which would make sure his state was able to receive the subsidy. During oral arguments Wednesday, the justices appeared divided in the latest challenge to President Barack Obama’s law. Opponents of the law argued that only residents in about a dozen states that set up their own insurance markets can get federal subsidies to help pay their premiums. The administration says the law provides for subsidies in all 50 states. The case sets up an intriguing political backdrop for states like Florida and Texas, both led by Republican governors staunchly opposed to the law. The states now find themselves with the most at stake with large numbers enrollees who could take their anger to the ballot box if they lose coverage. Florida has more people on the health care plan than any other state and most of the 1.6 million people receive the subsidy, along with many of Texas’ 1.2 million enrollees. Austin, Texas, resident Donna Allen, a parttime community college student who also runs a house cleaning service, worries what will happen if she loses the her $400 monthly tax credit. She pays $85 for health insurance she bought on the federal exchange. “We just don’t make the money rich people do, so what am I supposed to do, die? Disappear?” Allen said. Florida Gov. Rick Scott echoed the sentiments of many Republican governors when he said Wednesday that the White House should outline what actions it would take under any outcome in the court case. He and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott have not said what steps they would take if the burden fell back to the states. “In the absence of leadership from the president, the new Republican-led Congress

should quickly propose solutions to undo the federal exchange monopoly,” Scott said in a statement. The “let the federal government figure it out” attitude may not serve Republicans well politically on the eve of a presidential election year if the court rules against the subsidies. “As far as I’m aware the governor doesn’t have a contingency plan and that’s really not surprising considering Republicans have really had their head in the sand on this issue for so long. People are dying as a result of our inaction,” said Florida Democratic minority leader Rep. Mark Pafford. Several states, including Tennessee and Missouri, are proposing laws that would ban or eliminate state exchanges. North Carolina’s Republican-led Legislature passed a law forbidding agencies from putting any resources toward a state exchange, but Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat mounting a gubernatorial campaign, joined with 21 other states and the District of Columbia asking the Supreme Court to uphold the subsidies on the federal exchange. They argue that state leaders chose not to establish their own exchange based on the understanding that using the federal marketplace wouldn’t penalize their citizens. More than half a million people in North Carolina bought plans on healthcare.gov. Auto repair shop owner John Phillips of Decatur, Illinois, is not a fan of the health law, but worries about the outcome of the case. He and his wife, a preschool teacher, rely on a $400 monthly subsidy to pay for the Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance they bought on healthcare.gov. They pay $249 a month. “If the subsidy goes away and rates stay where they’re at, I will not be able to afford health insurance, at least not anything decent,” Phillips said. Some states that are successfully running an exchange have talked about opening their marketplace to neighboring states, although it’s unclear such partnerships were permitted under the new law. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican, signaled he’s open to working with Utah and

other neighboring states. Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper said he talked with at least one other governor about creating a regional exchange. California runs the nation’s largest exchange, with roughly 1.4 million enrollees, but Gov. Jerry Brown’s spokesman, Jim Evans, said it’s too early to comment on opening enrollment to neighboring states. Pennsylvania’s newly elected Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf is working with the federal government to set up a state-based insurance exchange, but GOP-controlled state Legislature would need to approve any funding. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has said it would be up to the federal government to deal with the fallout. A Texas Democrat has filed two bills that would create a state exchange, but the chances of those passing look grim. The Obama administration has said they’ve taken no steps in preparation for defeat. But Congress might feel pressured to act if millions lose insurance in big Republican-led states like Florida and Texas. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said it’s not easy to set up an exchange. The federal government and the states that chose to run their own exchange spent hundreds of millions of dollars and a few years choosing vendors, setting up call centers and testing the website and still had well publicized hiccups. “The concept of moving just to a state exchange is much more complex than just saying move to it the next day,” McCrory said. “Even if it works, there are states where it’s been a total disaster.” In Florida, Theresa Patrick and her husband bought health insurance for their 32-year-old son shortly after he suffered a stroke in January and was hospitalized for several days. Jesse Patrick, who works as a pet store cashier, hasn’t had insurance since he was 18. The Patricks pay $38 a month and the government kicks in $255. “After the stroke there was no way he could not have health insurance. That was just not an option,” said Patrick. “If we had to pay $255 above and beyond what we already help him with, I don’t know how, I don’t know.” —AP


W H AT ’ S O N

6abebat holds annual bazaar to mark International Women’s Day By Faten Omar

Chairman of Kuwait Society for Ideal Family holds talks with Bangladesh ambassador


ajor General Mohammad Ashab Uddin, ndc, psc, (retd.) Ambassador of Bangladesh met H.E. Sheikha Fariha Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah, the Hon’ble Chairman of Kuwait Society for Ideal Family. The Ambassador was received by Her Excellency the Chairman at her office and exchanged words of courtesy and pleasantries. The ambassador extended his gratitude for the call and expressed the greetings on behalf of Bangladesh govt and community in Kuwait. During the meeting the ambassador reiterated the excellent bilateral relations between Bangladesh and

Kuwait since the inception of Bangladesh in 1971. Ambassador handed over an invitation to H.E. Sheikha Fariha to attend the national day program on 26 March. He also invited her to visit Bangladesh at her convenient time. Sheikha Fariha expressed her kind willingness to visit the brotherly country, Bangladesh at a mutually convenient time. She showed her keenness to know about women welfare, especially elderly women, widows, handicapped people of common class and rural areas. She mentioned to see for herself the beauty of rural Bangladesh, its culture and heritage.

KUWAIT: The Kuwaiti Women Doctors (6abebat) held its annual bazaar to mark International Women’s Day at Bayt Lothan on Saturday. With dozens of vendors, a lineup of prominent Kuwaiti women speakers and hundreds of visitors, the event aimed to showcase inspiring women in Kuwait and raise awareness about the organization and its role in supporting women’s issues in Kuwait. Kuwaiti Women Doctors is an independent, non-profit organization for female doctors and health care professionals in Kuwait that Dr Naela Al Mazeedi aims to support networking, enlightenment and empowerment for their members and all women in Kuwait. They are a growing group of female doctors of different ages and specialties across Kuwait to create a better home and career environment. Dr Naela Al Mazeedi, co-founder, CEO and President of the Kuwait Women Doctors, opened the speeches of the day - labeled the White Circle - by explaining how she developed the idea for the group and the importance of

—Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat women working for something they are passionate about. The lineup of women speakers included: Eng. Sarah Akbar, founder of Kuwait Energy and a prominent engineer; Lulwa Al Mulla, secretary general of Kuwait’s Women’s Social Cultural Society; Doctors Kefaya Abdul-Malek; Saud Abul and Hala Al-Oudah as well as speakers from the Kuwait Moms Guide, Kuwait Children’s Rights Society; Masar Consulting and Little Moms

Group among others. “We are proud to honor a group of outstanding women in Kuwaiti society in the humanitarian and medical fields, said Dr Fatma Al-Failkawi, member of 6abebat group. During the event, Noor Al-Nebari, 6abebat’s bazaar coordinator, spoke about the various wonderful activities of the bazaar, which the event started with art activities for kids by Funhouse Kuwait.

TSC participates in February festivities with Kuwait community


Malabar Gold & Diamonds opens 127th outlet


he leading jewellery retailer from IndiaMalabar Gold & Diamonds opened its latest outlet Umm Al Quwain, marking its presence across all the 7 Emirates. Conveniently Located beside Lulu Center, Umm Al Quwain, this showroom was inaugurated by H.E Sheikh Saood Bin Abdul Aziz Al Mualla on 5 March 2015 in the presence of Col. Khalifa Salim Al Shamsi - Ministry of Interior; Shamlal Ahamed M P, Managing Director International Operations, Malabar Gold & Diamonds; Abdul Salam K P, Group Executive Director - Malabar Group, other Directors, personalities from media and well-wishers. Entry to Umm Al Quwain is a double delight to Malabar Gold, as they are the only Indian Jewellery Group that marks their presence in all the 7 Emirates. Malabar Gold & Diamonds, who has started its international journey by opening its first outlet in Sharjah is also the first Indian jewellery that marked its presence in the entire GCC. Their new outlet in Umm Al Quwain is its 50th retail outlet outside India. Malabar Gold is all set to make this occasion memorable by announcing exclusive inaugural offers. As a part of these offers, customers who purchase diamond jewellery worth AED 5,000 will get 1

gm. gold coin free and for every purchase of gold jewellery worth AED 3,000, they will get a free gold coin free. The group also offers ‘Zero Deduction Exchange’ facility through which customers can update their old ornaments to the latest collection of Malabar Gold & Diamonds without any loss. Any 22 ct old gold ornaments can be exchanged with the latest Malabar Gold & Diamonds designs by paying only making charges ensuring they don’t lose any value on the rate of gold. All these offers are valid until 31 March 2015 at their outlet in Umm Al Quwain only. Their latest showroom will display a wide range of collection in gold, diamond and platinum from different parts of the world at attractive prices to cater the needs of its diverse customers. This showroom will also participate in their ongoing campaign-’Studs & Drops Festival’ showcasing an extensive collection of earrings, giving their customers a unique chance to witness and own studs and drops from over 20 countries in gold, diamond and platinum. The jewellery group with its presence in all Middle East countries plans to add more show-

rooms in GCC to strengthen its presence in the region. The retail chain that has 127 outlets worldwide operates 47 showrooms in the GCC countries, out of which 23 are in UAE. Recognizing their potential in the Middle East, they have embarked on expanding their footprints across the region and are planning to add 2 showrooms in UAE, 3 in Oman and 1 each in Qatar, KSA and Bahrain in the next two months. In UAE, they are all set to unveil new outlets in Abu Dhabi and Ajman by the mid of April 2015. The group represents Far East with 3 outlets in Singapore. They are planning to expand their presence in the Far East by entering into Malaysia in the month of April. The jewellery group also plans to roll out into retail markets like and Hong Kong and to spread their operations into USA and UK for immediate expansion. The group is in the forefront when it comes to CSR activities as well. The group sets apart a fixed percentage of its net profit to the benefit of needy and the charity projects of Malabar Gold & Diamonds have touched the lives of thousands of people across the world. They focus primarily in five priority areas such as health, education, environment, housing and women empowerment.

McDonald’s, MasterCard announce 3-year collaboration across ME and Africa


asterCard and McDonald’s yesterday announced a strategic collaboration to introduce innovative electronic payment solutions at McDonald’s restaurants in Kuwait and across other key markets in the Middle East and Africa. The announcement, which highlights the iconic quick-service brand’s ongoing commitment to convenience, aims to leverage the power of both brands to bring customers innovative payment solutions that are safe, simple and secure. As consumers continue to demand more convenient ways to make purchases, whether on location or online, there is an increasing need for simpler and faster payment solutions. With MasterCard’s latest technology, McDonald’s customers will soon be able to swipe, insert or even tap their payment solutions to pay for purchases, enhancing their payment experience. In addition, MasterCard’s innovative digital wallet solution, MasterPass, will be available for McDonald’s online ordering in countries where the option is available.

Yousif Abdulghani, Vice President & International Relationship Partner at McDonald’s Middle East Development Company, commented: “Our alliance with MasterCard comes as part of our ongoing commitment to enhancing our customers’ experience with McDonald’s, providing not only great quality food, but

best in class services and solutions too in an inviting and enjoyable environment. This integration of MasterCard’s state-of-the-art smart payment technologies across our restaurants will accept all major credit cards, and will add to our customers’ convenience and ease of accessibility.

Raghu Malhotra, Division President, Middle East and North Africa, MasterCard commented: “Teaming up with McDonald’s is a great opportunity for us to offer consumers innovative payment options that are safe, simple and secure. As a technology company in the payments industry, MasterCard remains committed to providing the innovation, expertise and flexibility needed to give cardholders the option to pay for purchases anytime, anywhere, and using any device.” In time, cardholders will be able to use a range of devices - including contactless cards, mobile phones, and other NFC-enabled wearable products - to pay for their meals at McDonald’s restaurants. These solutions are ideal for quick-payment environments where speed and convenience matter most. The in-store and online payment technologies will be rolled out in phases in all McDonald’s restaurants across the Middle East and Africa . Additionally, the two world-renowned brands will be combining marketing efforts to offer customers priceless experiences and rewards.

CGS to host 2nd Gulf studies symposium What’s On - Submission Guidelines All photos submitted for What’s On should be minimum 200dpi. Articles must be in plain text and should include name and phone numbers. Articles and photos that fail to meet these requirements will not be published.

Please send them to [email protected]


he Center for Gulf Studies (CGS) at the American University of Kuwait (AUK) is hosting its 2nd Gulf Studies Symposium (GSS) on 13-15 March 2015. The GSS is held on a biennial basis at AUK, and brings together local, regional, and international scholars of the Gulf to engage in interdisciplinary discussions on important topics that are timely to both the region and the field of Gulf studies. The theme of the 2015 GSS is “KnowledgeBased Development in the Gulf.” Arab Gulf states increasingly utilize the phrase “knowledge economy” in their development strategies, and emphasize the need to move away from natural resource dependency towards “knowledge-based” development, where knowledge, skills, and innovation drive economic success and competitive advan-

tage. To this end, significant investment in higher education has become a principal strategy across the GCC states. However, what exactly constitutes “knowledge economy” is not always clear, and there is limited research about the on-the-ground negotiations, experiences, challenges, successes, and failures that go into this form of development. During the three-day public symposium, leading historians, ethnographers, political scientists, theorists, and educators will draw on their original qualitative research, as well as on their own experiences teaching and/or researching within the Gulf, to address key questions related to knowledge-based development in the region. The Symposium will be conducted in English and is open to the public, though advanced registration is required as seating is limited. To register, and to view the full program, please visit: www.auk.edu.kw/cgs/gss.

n celebration of Kuwait’s National and Liberations Day, The Sultan Center (TSC) arranged several festive occasions. Inspired by Kuwait’s culture and traditions, TSC put together a sequel of events with various themes highlighting the spirit of February festivities. A significant and major part of TSC series of events is sharing the joyous celebrations of the national month among communities within Kuwait. In order to integrate the communities into the national festivities, TSC organized a festive morning for a group of adults with special needs, whereby they enjoyed a hearty breakfast at the Jeans Grill Waterfront Restaurant. The group took delight in enjoying the carnival theme setting which created a fun experience ablaze in national spirit. TSC further took the initiative to bring the celebrations to children confronted with the struggles of cancer at the NBK Children Hospital department in Al-Sabah hospital. TSC hosted a gathering for all the children combating cancer for an uplifting time filled with laughter, entertainment, games, and special gifts. TSC aimed to provide the children with encouragement dur-

ing their treatment. In continuance with its national celebrations, TSC revived Kuwait’s history and traditions across all of its branches, letting customers experience Kuwait’s rich heritage through handicrafts and cultural activities. Sharing past cultural practices and traditions offered customers a glimpse of Kuwait’s past. To celebrate the occasion with Kuwait youth, TSC provided young Kuwaiti entrepreneurs with a venue to showcase their business ideas. These young entrepreneurs are an integral part of today’s society and will be tomorrow’s business owners. TSC was delighted to have provided a platform in which these youths could display their products in order to flourish and develop their new business ventures. Commenting on the TSC initiatives, Lisa Al Gharib, Marketing Manager at TSC stated, “We hope all of those who celebrate with us, enjoyed it as much as we did. We’re also very proud to have had the community join us in our celebrations especially during the National Day holiday celebrations.” TSC is committed to giving back to the communities in which it operates.


W H AT ’ S O N

General view of the event held at the Radisson SAS Hotel. —Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

IWG celebrates International Women’s Day The International Women’s Group committee in Kuwait yesterday celebrated the International Women’s Day at the Radisson SAS Hotel, Dasman Ballroom. —Photos by Yasser Al Zayyat

R-L Adam, Camelea Al-Mutawaa, Isaac, Narjes Al-Shatti, Vera Al-Mutawaa, Yousef.

R-L Oyun, Narjes, Aiesya, Atian, Luu.

Group picture

Camelya Al-Mutawaa speaking

Honoring Camelya Al-Mutawaa

Savinj and Mahsa

R-L Shamsa Ali Abbas, Narjes Al-Shatti, Hasel Bona, Bathobile AlAmini.

R-L Ida Pelland, Afi Khan, Jasmine Shuhaiber, Narjes Al-Shatti, Farah Attai, Aziza Khan.

Jasmine Shuhaiber speaking

Nadya Al-Shaar

R-L Nasrah Al-Naqi, Jasmine Al-Zeer, Feryal Faraj

Alexya Lodge


Jannah, Sevinj

R-L Christine Khoraibet, Faredah Yaseen, Zahedah Mohammad

Brandone Dhamiya

Hala Al-Yassini

R-L Deborah, Effat, Barbara, Stefania, Joy

Elessa Al-Duaij

Erfinda Gusti



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00:00 Violetta 00:45 The Hive 00:50 Art Attack 01:15 Art Attack 01:40 Jungle Junction 01:50 Jungle Junction 02:05 Jungle Junction 02:15 Jungle Junction 02:30 Violetta 03:10 The Hive 03:20 Art Attack 03:45 Art Attack 04:10 Jungle Junction 04:25 Jungle Junction 04:35 Jungle Junction 04:45 Jungle Junction 05:00 Art Attack 05:25 Art Attack 05:50 Mouk 06:00 Kim Possible 06:25 Binny And The Ghost 06:50 Girl Meets World 07:15 H2O: Just Add Water 07:40 Jessie 08:05 Wizards Of Waverly Place 08:30 Wizards Of Waverly Place 08:55 Hannah Montana 09:20 Hannah Montana 09:45 Suite Life On Deck 10:10 Suite Life On Deck 10:35 Good Luck Charlie 11:00 Good Luck Charlie 11:25 American Dragon 11:50 American Dragon 12:15 Kim Possible 12:40 Kim Possible 13:05 Good Luck Charlie 13:30 Dog With A Blog 13:55 Dog With A Blog 14:20 H2O: Just Add Water 14:55 Liv And Maddie 15:20 Binny And The Ghost 15:45 Girl Meets World 16:10 Violetta 17:05 Cow Belles 18:40 Dog With A Blog 19:05 Dog With A Blog 19:30 Violetta 20:20 Binny And The Ghost 20:45 H2O: Just Add Water 21:10 Austin & Ally 21:35 Jessie 22:00 Gravity Falls 22:25 Sabrina: Secrets Of A Teenage Witch 22:50 Sabrina: Secrets Of A Teenage Witch 23:10 Wolfblood 23:35 Wolfblood

00:00 The Soup 00:30 The Drama Queen 01:25 The Drama Queen 02:20 E! News 03:15 #RichKids Of Beverly Hills 03:40 #RichKids Of Beverly Hills 04:10 E!ES 05:05 THS 06:00 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 06:55 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 07:50 Style Star 08:20 E! News 09:15 Giuliana & Bill 10:15 Giuliana & Bill 11:10 Eric And Jessie: Game On 11:35 Giuliana & Bill 12:05 E! News 13:05 Extreme Close-Up 13:35 The E! True Hollywood Story 14:30 Style Star 15:00 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 16:00 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 17:00 Christina Milian Turned Up 18:00 E! News 19:00 Kourtney And Khloe Take The Hamptons 20:00 House Of DVF 21:00 Fashion Bloggers 21:30 Fashion Bloggers 22:00 #RichKids Of Beverly Hills 22:30 #RichKids Of Beverly Hills 23:00 THS

00:05 Chopped SA 00:55 Siba’s Table 01:20 Siba’s Table 01:45 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 02:10 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 02:35 Amazing Wedding Cakes 03:25 Chopped 04:15 Chopped 05:05 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 05:30 Siba’s Table 05:50 Siba’s Table 06:10 Sweet Genius

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00:00 The Chase 00:25 The Chase 01:30 Come Dine With Me Ireland 02:00 Emmerdale 02:25 Emmerdale 02:55 Coronation Street 03:25 Who’s Doing The Dishes 04:20 Sunday Night At The Palladium 05:15 Lewis 06:10 Take On The Twisters 07:05 Come Dine With Me Ireland 07:30 Who’s Doing The Dishes 08:25 Sunday Night At The Palladium 09:20 The Jonathan Ross Show 10:15 Lewis 11:10 Emmerdale 11:35 Emmerdale 12:00 Coronation Street 12:30 Ade In Britain 13:25 Take On The Twisters 14:20 Come Dine With Me Ireland 14:45 Lewis 15:35 The Chase 16:30 Get Your Act Together 17:30 Paul O’Grady: For The Love Of Dogs 17:55 Paul O’Grady: For The Love Of Dogs 18:20 Take On The Twisters 19:10 Coronation Street 19:35 The Chase 20:30 Get Your Act Together 21:30 Paul O’Grady: For The Love Of Dogs 21:55 Paul O’Grady: For The Love Of Dogs 22:20 Coronation Street 22:50 Emmerdale 23:15 Emmerdale 23:45 Lewis

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Better Call Saul House Of Cards Scandal Castle Franklin & Bash Castle Scandal Emmerdale Coronation Street Franklin & Bash Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Franklin & Bash Bones Revenge Bates Motel Banshee True Detective

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Good Morning America Supernatural Sons Of Anarchy Good Morning America Emmerdale Coronation Street Switched At Birth Emmerdale Coronation Street Intelligence Killer Women Live Good Morning America Switched At Birth Intelligence Killer Women Switched At Birth Intelligence Killer Women Supernatural Sons Of Anarchy

00:00 Kill Em All 02:00 Chained 04:00 Knuckle 05:45 Marvel’s Doctor Strange 07:15 The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones 09:30 Escape From L.A. 11:15 The Lone Ranger 13:45 Fatal Instinct 15:30 The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones 17:45 Escape From L.A. 19:30 The Lone Ranger 22:00 Flightplan

00:00 Chained-18 02:00 Knuckle-PG15 03:45 Marvel’s Doctor Strange-PG 05:15 The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones-PG15 07:30 Escape From L.A.-PG15 09:15 The Lone Ranger-PG15 11:45 Fatal Instinct-PG15 13:30 The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones-PG15 15:45 Escape From L.A.-PG15 17:30 The Lone Ranger-PG15 20:00 Flightplan-PG15 22:00 2 Guns-18

00:00 Chalet Girl-PG15 02:00 Three Men And A BabyPG15 04:00 So Undercover-PG15 06:00 Son Of Rambow-PG 08:00 See Spot Run-PG 10:00 Chalet Girl-PG15 12:00 Fred 2: Night Of The Living Fred-PG 14:00 So Undercover-PG15 16:00 See Spot Run-PG 18:00 Scary Movie 5-PG15 20:00 The Hangover 3-18 22:00 Go-18

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Won’t Back Down-PG15 The Immigrant-PG15 Grand Piano-PG15 There Be Dragons-PG15 Playing For Keeps-PG15 Grand Piano-PG15 Knife Fight-PG15 Centre Place-PG15 Playing For Keeps-PG15 Pawn-PG15 Disconnect-PG15 Her-18

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Drive-18 Network-18 Unstrung Heroes-PG15 Life Happens-PG15 Quiz Show-PG15 Bully-PG15 The Insider-PG15 Faces In The Crowd-PG15 Quiz Show-PG15 The Fifth Estate-PG15 Promised Land-PG15

01:00 A Single Shot-18 03:00 Temptation: Confessions Of A Marriage Counselor-PG15 05:00 Great Expectations-PG15 07:15 Step Up Revolution-PG15 09:00 The Nut Job-FAM 11:00 Alfie Boe: The Bring Him Home Tour-PG15 13:00 Horizon-PG15 15:00 Madea’s Witness ProtectionPG15 17:00 The Nut Job-FAM 19:00 The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty-PG15 21:00 Girl Most Likely-PG15 23:00 Carrie-18

01:00 The Missing Lynx 02:45 Barbie And The Magic Of Pegasus 04:30 The Happets 06:00 Skateboy And The Voyage To Monster Island 08:00 Twigson 09:15 Barbie Of Swan Lake 10:45 Speed Racer 13:00 Barbie And The Magic Of Pegasus 14:30 Tony Hawk: Boom Boom Sabotage 16:00 Ploddy Police Car 18:00 Barbie Of Swan Lake 20:00 Dudley Do Right 22:00 Tony Hawk: Boom Boom Sabotage 23:30 Ploddy Police Car

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Holidaze-PG15 Peeples-PG15 Last Vegas-PG15 The Host-PG15 Muppets Most Wanted-PG Saving Santa-PG Last Vegas-PG15 Quartet-PG15 Muppets Most Wanted-PG Man Of Tai Chi-PG15 Admission-PG15 The Details-18

02:00 PGA Tour - Puerto Rico Open 07:00 Golfing World 11:00 Live NRL Premiership 13:00 Top 14 Highlights 13:30 Golfing World 16:00 Snooker Shootout 18:00 Golfing World 19:00 World Golf Championship Highlights 20:00 PGA European Tour Highlights 21:00 Super Rugby Highlights



02:30 Super Rugby Highlights 04:30 Super Rugby Highlights 09:00 Golfing World 10:00 World Golf Championships 19:00 WWE Experience 20:00 WWE Afterburn 21:00 WWE This Week 21:30 World Golf Championships Highlights 22:30 PGA European Tour Highlights

04:30 AFG 05:30 SL 06:30 BAN 18:00 18:30 BAN 22:00

ICC World Cup H/L: NZ v ICC World Cup H/L: AUS v Live ICC World Cup: ENG v ICC Cricket 360 ICC World Cup H/L: ENG v ICC Cricket 360

00:20 Cake Boss 00:45 Bakery Boss 01:35 Extreme Couponing 02:00 Mob Wives 02:50 Say Yes To The Dress 03:15 Little People, Big World 03:40 Craft Wars 04:30 Cake Boss 05:00 Sister Wives 05:30 Sister Wives 06:00 18 Kids And Counting 06:25 World’s Worst Mum 07:15 Say Yes To The Dress 07:40 Little People, Big World 08:05 Say Yes To The Dress: The Big Day (Specials) 08:55 Sister Wives 09:45 Cake Boss 10:10 Sister Wives 10:35 Sister Wives 11:00 Craft Wars 11:50 Cake Boss 12:15 Cake Boss 12:40 World’s Worst Mum 13:30 Cake Boss 13:55 Cake Boss 14:20 Bakery Boss 15:10 Cake Boss 15:35 Little People, Big World 16:00 Hoarding: Buried Alive 16:50 Say Yes To The Dress 17:15 18 Kids And Counting 17:40 Sister Wives

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Sister Wives Craft Wars Bakery Boss World’s Worst Mum Breaking Amish Secret Eskimo Escape Extreme Couponing Mob Wives Breaking Amish

00:40 Extreme Forensics 01:30 Solved 02:20 Most Evil 03:10 Devil In The Details 04:00 Blood Relatives 04:45 Extreme Forensics 05:30 Solved 06:20 Forensic Detectives 07:10 Forensic Detectives 08:00 Nightmare Next Door 08:50 Fatal Encounters 09:40 Murder Shift 10:30 I Was Murdered 10:55 Stalked: Someone’s Watching 11:20 Forensic Detectives 12:10 American Greed 13:00 Disappeared 13:50 On The Case With Paula Zahn 14:40 Who On Earth... 15:05 Who On Earth... 15:30 American Greed 16:20 I Was Murdered 16:45 Stalked: Someone’s Watching 17:10 Murder Shift 18:00 Disappeared 18:50 Fatal Encounters 19:40 Forensic Detectives 20:30 On The Case With Paula Zahn 21:20 The Will 22:10 Who On Earth Did I Marry? 22:35 Who On Earth Did I Marry? 23:00 Blood Relatives 23:50 Extreme Forensics

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Zou Mouk Jungle Junction Art Attack Julius Jr. Calimero Henry Hugglemonster Zou Mouk Jungle Junction Art Attack Julius Jr.

03:00 Calimero 03:15 Henry Hugglemonster 03:25 Zou 03:40 Mouk 03:50 Jungle Junction 04:00 Art Attack 04:25 Julius Jr. 04:35 Calimero 04:50 Henry Hugglemonster 05:00 Zou 05:15 Mouk 05:25 Jungle Junction 05:35 Art Attack 06:00 Julius Jr. 06:10 Calimero 06:25 Henry Hugglemonster 06:35 Zou 06:50 Mouk 07:00 Jungle Junction 07:10 Art Attack 07:35 Julius Jr. 07:45 Calimero 08:00 Jungle Junction 08:10 Zou 08:25 Henry Hugglemonster 08:35 Julius Jr. 08:50 Mouk 09:00 Calimero 09:15 Jake And The Never Land Pirates 09:40 Doc McStuffins 10:05 Art Attack 10:35 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 11:00 Sofia The First 11:25 Sheriff Callie’s Wild West 11:50 Calimero 12:05 Jake And The Never Land Pirates 12:30 Jake And The Never Land Pirates 12:55 Handy Manny 13:05 Justin Time 13:20 Sofia The First 13:45 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 14:10 Sheriff Callie’s Wild West 14:35 Julius Jr. 14:45 Jake And The Never Land Pirates 15:15 Doc McStuffins 15:40 Henry Hugglemonster 15:55 Zou 16:05 Justin Time 16:20 Sofia The First 16:50 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 17:15 Lilo & Stitch 17:40 Adventures Of The Gummi Bears 18:05 Chip n Dale Rescue Rangers 18:30 Ducktales 19:00 Art Attack 19:25 Sofia The First 19:55 Jake And The Never Land Pirates 20:20 Jake And The Never Land Pirates 20:50 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 21:25 Sofia The First 21:50 Adventures Of The Gummi Bears 22:20 Chip n Dale Rescue Rangers 22:45 Ducktales 23:15 Art Attack 23:40 Calimero 23:55 Henry Hugglemonster

00:00 Programmes Start At 7:00am KSA 07:00 Phineas And Ferb 07:25 Phineas And Ferb 07:50 Supa Strikas 08:15 The 7D 08:40 Ultimate Spider-Man 09:05 Lab Rats 09:30 Kickin’ It 09:55 Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors 10:20 Phineas And Ferb 10:45 Zeke & Luther 11:10 I’m In The Band 11:35 Camp Lakebottom 12:00 Mighty Med 12:30 Lab Rats 12:55 Marvel Avengers Assemble 13:20 Phineas And Ferb 13:40 Japaneezi Going Going Gong 14:05 Zeke & Luther 14:30 Pair Of Kings 14:55 Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja 15:20 Marvel Avengers Assemble 15:45 Phineas And Ferb 16:10 Supa Strikas 16:35 Pair Of Kings 17:00 Lab Rats 17:30 Mighty Med 18:00 Phineas And Ferb 18:50 Supa Strikas 19:15 Cars Toons 19:20 Phineas And Ferb 19:45 The 7D 20:10 Ultimate Spider-Man 20:35 Phineas And Ferb

Classifieds MONDAY, MARCH 9, 2015




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I, Nainan Polachirackal Cherian, holder of Indian Passport No. F6168416, issued at Cochin and having residence at Manathatil House Cheruparambathu Rd., Kadavanthra P.O., Ernakulam, Kerala, Pin 682020, hereby declare change my name to Anil Cherian Polachirackal. (C 4942) 9-3-2015 ACCOMMODATION Sharing accommodation (separate room & bathroom) is available in Salmiya for vegetarian Indian small family or a working lady near Al Rashid Hospital. Shara Amman round about Salmiya in a central A/C flat from March 20th onwards with a separate room & bathroom, big hall etc at a good location. Contact: 99838117 or 99315825. (C 4940) 8-3-2015 MATRIMONIAL Proposals invited for Marthomite girl, 28 years, BSc nurse working in MOH Kuwait, from well-settled graduate/postgraduate Marthomite boys employed in Kuwait. Email:

[email protected] (C.4937) 5-3-2015 SITUATION WANTED

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Management level IT Engineer (B.Tech.-VCAP5VCP4-CCNACCNP-MCPPMP-BS7799), 14 Years experience, technical expert in entire IT functions including infrastructure storage, network, systems, virtualization & cloud pioneer with transferable Visa. Contact 99154727 or [email protected] (C.4941) 9-3-2015


LOST Original document policy No:633003884-3 Sher Muhammad DV the State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan Gulf Zone is reported to have been lost. Anyone finding the same or claiming any interest in it should communicate with the Manager Kuwait State Life office Ph: 22452208. (C 4938)

Prayer timings Fajr:












Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (www.kuwait-airport.com.kw)


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Arrival Flights on Monday 9/3/2015 Route Mumbai Amman Beirut Cairo Istanbul Dubai Doha Amman Dammam Istanbul Addis Ababa Sohag Bahrain Dubai Chennai/Abu Dhabi Dubai Manila Abu Dhabi Cairo Muscat Doha Alexandria Luxor Istanbul Bahrain London Manila/Bangkok Dubai Doha Kochi Mumbai Islamabad Dubai Chennai Colombo Sharjah Dhaka Abu Dhabi Dubai Bahrain Sharjah Esfahan Doha Bahrain Dubai Mangalore/Bahrain Sohag Dubai Sohag Lamerd Beirut Dubai Cairo Dubai Doha

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Jeddah Jeddah Dubai Sohag Bahrain Jeddah Dubai Muscat Sharjah Dubai Riyadh Dubai Amman Doha Amman Abu Dhabi Riyadh Bahrain Jeddah Dubai Dubai New York Dubai Sharjah Jeddah Doha Istanbul Doha Riyadh Dubai Cairo Bahrain London Bahrain Mumbai Mashhad Muscat Dubai Frankfurt Colombo Beirut Abu Dhabi Dubai Dubai Bahrain Doha Taif Bahrain Damascus Abu Dhabi Chennai/Goa Dubai Dhaka Dubai Istanbul Lahore Dubai

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Departure Flights on Monday 9/3/2015 Route Ahmedabad/Hyderabad/Chennai Chittagong/Dhaka Lahore Dubai IAD Mumbai Frankfurt Addis Ababa Istanbul Istanbul Sohag Dubai Dubai Abu Dhabi Cairo Muscat Doha Manila Sohag Sohag Doha Istanbul Dubai Abu Dhabi/Chennai Dubai Amman Bahrain Istanbul Sohag Dubai Kuala Lumpur/Jakarta London Doha Dubai Jeddah Sharjah Dubai Abu Dhabi Istanbul Amman Sharjah Dubai Esfahan Doha Rome/Paris Bahrain Cairo Mangalore Jeddah London Alexandria Dubai Lamerd Beirut Jeddah Dubai


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Mashhad Cairo Dubai Dubai Doha Dubai Doha Jeddah Jeddah Bahrain Riyadh Dubai Muscat Sharjah Bahrain Taif Dubai Beirut Doha Cairo Dubai Abu Dhabi Amman Riyadh Bahrain Dubai Amman Bahrain Sharjah Dubai Doha Dubai Bahrain Bahrain Dhaka Mumbai Muscat Trivandrum Kochi Dubai Bahrain Delhi Colombo Abu Dhabi Mumbai Beirut Dubai Bahrain Dubai Riyadh Islamabad Abu Dhabi Luxor Doha Damascus Bangkok/Manila Dubai

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CROSSWORD 836 STAR TRACK Aries (March 21-April 19) A little extra energy is available today to sort through some of those relationship problems you have been pushing aside for another day. Two things to remember at this time are first, to think before speaking; and second, to listen. You may be able to better understand a situation from the other side of the coin, so to speak. You are flexible and find pleasant surprises at every turn today. Professionally speaking, your conduct is exemplary and can be mentor quality. A pleasant environment at home this evening fills you with the desire to just enjoy what you have, stay home and love your family or friends. It may be your turn to cook or . . . You will probably find a loved one is willing to please you with a special type of meal this evening.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) A balancing act continues when you report to a place of business and have dreams of being in a completely different type of business. Patience . . . For now, the bills get paid and soon, you will be able to move in a different direction, one that you will like. There are a few scattered energies but as you plan a new path you will be able to leave the old path without any problems. Creating a goal calendar will help you begin to see a realistic timing. Now concentrate on three things you can do at this time that will help you to succeed with your goals. You are moved to appreciate and discover the beauty in your life this afternoon and that may take place with a bit of gardening or an artistic project. Someone special wants to return a favor this evening.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

ACROSS 1. The 19th letter of the Greek alphabet. 4. Deep-bodied percoid fishes of the open seas. 12. A tight-fitting headdress. 15. An edge tool used to cut and shape wood. 16. A sudden uncontrollable attack. 17. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 18. A workplace for the conduct of scientific research. 19. Type genus of the Sialidae. 20. A member of a Turkic people of Uzbekistan and neighboring areas. 22. (Old Testament) In Judeo-Christian mythology. 24. An inhabitant of Lappland. 26. (of a young animal) Abandoned by its mother and raised by hand. 27. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 29. A small Asian country high in the Himalayas between India and Tibet. 30. (Akkadian) God of wisdom. 32. An official prosecutor for a judicial district. 36. Swedish theologian (1688-1772). 39. Being one more than one. 40. Large burrowing rodent of South and Central America. 42. South African plant widely cultivated for its showy pure white spathe and yellow spadix. 43. A state in New England. 44. Being one hundred more than two hundred. 46. An adult male person (as opposed to a woman). 47. A member of the Siouan people inhabiting the valleys of the Platte and Missouri rivers in Nebraska. 50. United States painter born in Germany. 52. A reproach for some lapse or misdeed. 53. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 54. A particular environment or surrounding influence. 56. A tall perennial woody plant having a main trunk and branches forming a distinct elevated crown. 58. An indehiscent fruit derived from a single ovary having one or many seeds within a fleshy wall or pericarp. 61. Of time long past. 62. Any taillike structure. 64. Being five more than one hundred. 66. A preparation used in cleaning something. 69. In an unnatural eery manner. 74. A victory cheer. 75. Feeling or showing anger. 78. The cry made by sheep. 79. Any division of quantity accepted as a standard of measurement or exchange. 80. A Dravidian language spoken in southern India. 82. A hotel providing overnight lodging for travelers. 83. Serving as or forming a base. 84. Growth from increase in cell size without cell division. 85. Relating to or characteristic of or occurring on the sea or ships.

DOWN 1. The basic unit of money in Western Samoa. 2. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind. 3. A member of a Turkic people of Uzbekistan and neighboring areas. 4. (computer science) The rate at which data is transferred (as by a modem). 5. An Indian side dish of yogurt and chopped cucumbers and spices. 6. A constellation in the southern hemisphere near Telescopium and Norma. 7. The girl friend of a gangster. 8. A monocotyledonous genus of the family Iridaceae. 9. Not breathing or able to breathe except with difficulty. 10. A very poisonous metallic element that has three allotropic forms. 11. Any of various systems of units for measuring electricity and magnetism. 12. A clique that seeks power usually through intrigue. 13. In bed. 14. Especially one side of a leaf. 21. The skin that covers the top of the head. 23. Intrude in other people's affairs or business. 25. A tricycle (usually propelled by pedalling). 28. A small cake leavened with yeast. 31. A new embodiment of a familiar idea. 33. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 34. Not enough. 35. Norwegian explorer of the Arctic and director of the League of Nations relief program for refugees of World War I (18611930). 37. Run away secretly with one's beloved. 38. A nucleic acid that transmits genetic information from DNA to the cytoplasm. 41. Make amendments to. 45. (Greek mythology) The Muse of history. 48. A woman's headscarf folded into a triangle and tied under the chine. 49. Resinlike substance secreted by certain lac insects. 51. (Norse mythology) God of light and peace and noted for his beauty and sweet nature. 55. (British) A waterproof raincoat made of rubberized fabric. 57. A card game for 2 players. 59. A sweetened beverage of diluted fruit juice. 60. Type genus of the Carangidae. 63. (Irish) Mother of the ancient Irish gods. 65. Italian operatic composer (1813-1901). 67. The goddess of the moon. 68. (Greek mythology) Goddess of discord. 70. An unfledged or nestling hawk. 71. Wading birds of warm regions having long slender down-curved bills. 72. A narrow way or road. 73. A member of an extinct North American Indian people who lived in the Pit river valley in northern California. 76. The compass point that is midway between north and northeast. 77. The state of matter distinguished from the solid and liquid states by. 81. A soft yellow malleable ductile (trivalent and univalent) metallic element.

Do not stay to yourself today–others benefit from your presence and you benefit from being in the presence of others. Ideals and a sense of belonging to something bigger than the merely personal become a greater focus. You may begin to attach more importance to friendships and taking part in group activities that center on group goals. You also may want to join a group of people from an audubon society or a similar group and go hiking or wild herb hunting. Teach, learn, communicate–social contact have a way of outlining new directions in your life and there is much involvement with these kinds of issues. You may be able to unravel a mystery of your own today. Enjoy an afterdinner walk with a loved one tonight.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) A little extra energy is available today and you will need it because a friend or family member may need your help. This could involve the care of animals or children or even your help to make a move easier to handle. Close relationships take on more emotional importance. Feeling cared for and needed is comfortable; the lack of these things can cause an instinctive feeling of uneasiness. You could find that you are appreciated or valued for your abilities to act and get things done. Someone understands how you feel and is sympathetic today. Your willingness to help others endears you to them–take care of yourself this evening. Perhaps bathing with bubbles, surrounded by a few good smelling candles–relaxation is good.

Leo (July 23-August 22) Deal with the phone calls or they will spill over into next week–patience. You may feel that you are in touch and in harmony with others; the lines of communication are open. Your personal magnetism is at a high. This is a great time to be with others in work or in play. If a short-term project is needed to help or aid in some neighborhood project, you could take the lead. You are entering into a cycle of mental development that emphasizes the past and your roots in life. Curiosity about such things may lead to study and research. Real estate or home and family planning take on greater importance for you. You will find this a time of nostalgia, of thinking about security and permanence. Now is a good time to keep in touch with friends.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) A volunteer service or your effort to help in a religious setting may take up most of your morning. You set an example of giving that others could follow. You enjoy giving as well as having a diversion from your usual routine. This afternoon you may choose to enjoy a bit of relaxation. Steam baths and a good massage will help you to feel at the top of your energy and pampered–increase your drinking water intake. You are excellent at research and may find yourself in the public library or some other facility where you can study and research a subject that is important to you. This period also represents an excellent time to enjoy the company of friends, and a card game or game of charades would be a fun way to end a very busy day.

Libra (September 23-October 22) Health is of interest to you and you may become more and more involved in learning and helping others with healthy foods and exercise. You may spend some time today in an elaborate health-food store. Good for you–take in the good smells–ginger, cinnamon, etc. You have also made some big forward strides with self-confidence and faith in your abilities. Now is the time to learn and to live life to its fullest. Your psychological and mental growth will depend on your ability to keep a balance in all your affairs. Others certainly reflect their confidence in you, as they rely more and more upon your insights. Movies, books and all forms of escape could prove enjoyable this afternoon. A young person or small animal may come to your attention this evening.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) You are not usually the one that others have to tell to go with the flow. Today would be the best time to be in the mode of going-with-the-flow. Taking care of the necessary ingredients for the support of life may become the greater preoccupation of your mindset now. Sorting things out and getting them organized to utmost efficiency keeps you busy. This could mean running errands, or dealing with store clerks or disgruntled neighbors. It could be especially important that you concentrate on becoming more practical and conscientious today. Trying to convince someone of a needed change may be difficult for some people, but you take great pleasure in disclosing a truthful picture. This evening would be a good time for a movie with the family.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) Energy, excitement and the opportunity for new discoveries rule the day. You will rise early tomorrow to do the chores. Take advantage of your heightened good feelings and the world around you. You will enjoy good relations with your family or your spouse’s family today. Relatives take on a greater importance than usual. You could be most persuasive with others just now. Someone previously emotionally cold to you is beginning to warm. Intellectually stimulating conversations are rewarding. There is a good opportunity to get many things done. Interaction with friends is encouraged this evening and may find you having fun around town today. Leisure activities with friends create good opportunities for pictures.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) You are tuned in and turned on to the vibrations around you and you enjoy talking and listening to your family or friends today. This increase in communication also applies to business friends as well as your close relationships. The frequent phone calls today may be fringed with levity. This day can bring spiritual development with it. However, you should be aware of tendencies to believe too quickly, too deeply, or to become dependent on things or people that seem to offer quick and easy answers to life’s deepest yearnings. You will enjoy just about everything today, whether it is work or play. It is just that sort of day. You may decide to do a little meditation this evening . . . Consider writing in a diary for about six weeks . . . List your insights.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) You could be teaching spiritual lessons this sunday. You have a great interest in guiding young people and there are several students that enjoy having you as their teacher. Everything works well today! Your self-confidence and courage enable you to pursue any objective with ease–you will finish anything you start. This afternoon could be set aside for the beginning of a spring cleaning. Do not forget to bag the still useable items for your community shelter or charity organization. You may find yourself being put to good use by your friends, or it could be that circumstances give you the drive to reorganize and become more conservative. All of this should go rather smoothly. You will express your emotions through a creative endeavor this evening.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) Communications, in general, may be clouded this morning. You could be immovable and resistant to others’ ideas as you go about your routine at home, knowing exactly what you want and where you want it. Some sort of stress could be pushing in on you. You may be spending more energy than necessary in planning for a party later today. You could have a great deal of fun in the preparation, particularly since you have all the ingredients necessary for great success. This party will run smoothly because of your ability to organize . . . So, relax. Music, poetry or some other fun occasion at your house is usually a lot of fun. Your creative side is uppermost. Smile! There is time after the party or gathering for meditating on the day’s activities.

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lifestyle G o s s i p

Smith teaching son how to drive


he ‘Focus’ star’s 16-year-old son Jaden has recently got his learner’s permit and has revealed his “awesome” dad is teaching him “a lot” about driving. He said: “My dad is awesome. I wouldn’t be where I am right now if it wasn’t for all of the things he’s taught me. “He’s taught me a lot about driving and just about life. And I love his songs; I go back and re-listen to those songs and the newer songs he’s made in the studio too.” Whilst Jaden takes musical inspiration from his dad, his 14-year-old sister Willow revealed she takes inspiration from her mother Jada Pinkett Smith. She shared: “When I was younger, my brother and I toured with my mom’s band, Wicked Wisdom, so heavy metal was one of the first types of music I heard a lot and I’m still really inspired by it. “I’m into Lolawolf, Tune-Yards, the Runaways, Pink Floyd, and I freaking love Bikini Kill! My mom listens to my playlists on Hype Machine all the time and I listen to hers - that’s how I found out about Radiohead and Lamb of God.” And when it comes to music, the ‘Whip My Hair’ singer is insistent on not using any auto-tune on her tracks because she feels it masks “true emotion”. She told Billboard magazine: “I don’t like having any effects on my voice; I feel like putting a lot of auto-tune on it really covers up the essence of you and is like putting a cloud over real true emotion.”

Fisher urges Ford to take a break Dame Dench still gets ‘starstruck’ T T he ‘Star Wars’ actress has made a plea to her co-star to relax for a bit following the incident. Addressing Harrison, she told PEOPLE magazine: “I know you have incredible bounce back, please take a bounce break for awhile. Can I drive next time?” The 72-year-old star has himself to thank after a “textbook landing” ensured he cheated death. The actor was forced to ground his twoseater vintage World War II training plane on a golf course in Venice, Los Angeles after it suffered from engine failure on Thursday. He escaped with his life but is currently in hospital recovering from the accident, which left him with “multiple gashes” on his head. Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker in the sci-fi flick also tweeted his well wishes to the actor. He wrote: “Glad to hear Harrison is doing well. Get well soon. May all his future flights be green-screen!” A spokesperson confirmed that whilst Harrison was a bit “banged up” following the incident, he is expected to make a “full recovery”. They said: “Harrison was flying a WW2 vintage plane today which stalled upon take off. He had no other choice but to make an emergency landing, which he did safely. “He was banged up and is in the hospital receiving medical care. The injuries sustained are not life threatening, and he is expected to make a full recovery.”

he ‘Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ star has admitted her and her daughter Finty Williams constantly find themselves not behaving in “grown up” ways when they attend events together. Speaking about an award show she attended with the 42-year-old actress, Judi said: “We’re always, ‘Oh, look at that!’ ‘Over there!’ We don’t behave in grown up ways at all. “Antonio Banderas came up to ask Finty for a light - well, I thought she was going to disappear into the ground! Shaking, shaking!” The 80-year-old actress also opened up about her vision loss - which is caused by macular degeneration - and admitted she finds painting very therapeutic. She shared: “I paint a lot and now I find it very, very difficult because if I look at something and then look back here, my eyes don’t adjust quickly enough to actually transfer that. “Then I thought, ‘That’s what’s painting is about. You should paint what you see.’ And therefore it doesn’t matter - don’t translate it literally, translate it in the only way you can. It’s a different system.” Judi also joked her poor eyesight has lead her to get in trouble with a few other actors who think she has a bigger part during a readthrough but it’s only because she requires the typeface to be bigger. She quipped to PEOPLE magazine: “So, if six of us were coming in to read a sonnet they’d all have one piece of paper and I’d have two or three. “They’d think, ‘Why does she have a bigger part?’ when it’s all the same!”

Delevingne was never into fashion


he 22-year-old model admits she was never “into” fashion when she was younger and favored wearing no clothes at all. She said: “Growing up I wasn’t into fashion - I kind of liked being naked. “There are so many people who dress amazingly. I actually really like Charlie Chaplin’s style.” Cara - who has been romantically linked with Harry Styles, Michelle Rodriguez and St Vincent since finding fame - also claimed people are not attracted to her because her career is so intimidating to others. Asked if she has been attracting more mature guys, she said: “No not at all - I think as models you scare them away. So there’s no one.” As well as modeling and acting, Cara is keen to launch a music career and though she is grateful to call on celebrity pals for help, she insists she is in no rush to debut her singing. She told Star magazine: “Music is always going to be something I do for the rest of my life. “It’s just going to take a long time. There’s no rush with it “I have the best people [like Rihanna] to ask for critique and see if they like it.”

Simpson and Ross collaborate on a song The couple - who tied the knot last August -have been spending time together in the studio, recording a track called ‘Permission to Love’. He said: “We did an amazing song together, and we’re trying to figure out what to do with it because I feel like it’s got its own feel to it... “It’s a real powerful song and we’re going to keep making music together. We love doing that. It would only make sense because we sing together all the time. “It’s unbelievable how talented Ashlee is, and her writing is amazing. She just has such an ear, and I know she’s working on music now and she’s going to be deciding how she wants to put it out, but yeah, she’s incredible.” Evan - who is the son of legendary singer Diana Ross - also admitted he finds it “frightening” releasing music because of his family background but insists he doesn’t feel any “pressure” from his mother. He told PopCrush.com: “It can be a frightening thing, putting your music out - especially with the family I come from, you know? “[My mom] never gives me pressure. Whatever I’m doing - music, acting - it doesn’t make a difference to her, as long as I’m happy. “But I think in general there’s always a feeling of, ‘It’s got to be the best’ and I feel like people look at it like that, and you definitely get judged a lot more. “But it’s not the scariest thing, because I grew up with it so it’s kind of normal.”

Woodley doesn’t have time for social media


he ‘Insurgent’ actress believes spending time on Twitter and Instagram is painful for her “poor thumb” if she keeps scrolling away. She told Entertainment Tonight: “I feel like I don’t have enough time. “It takes up so much time! And your poor thumb... like the dexterity of your finger, to constantly be scrolling on your phone.” It was not always this way for the 23-year-old actress who previously admitted she was addicted to photo-sharing site Instagram and she feels as though she’s got control of her life again after giving it up. She said previously: “I did have an Instagram before and I realised that I was just constantly doing this at a stoplight or when I was waiting for something. “And then one day my thumb, I held it still, and it started shaking and it was always shaking. And I was like, ‘I’m 22 years old! That is not OK!’ And I think it was literally from typing so much and scrolling. “So getting rid of Instagram for me was huge [and] my phone in general. I got to know me again and I got to wake up and be like, ‘What do I want to do today?’ “I don’t have a device to be like, ‘What should I do today?’ It was like, ‘What do I want to do today?’”

Paltrow’s hates getting her son to do his homework


he ‘Mortdecai’ actress - who has eight-yearold Moses with her former husband Chris Martin - has joked that she struggles to get her youngest kid to do his schoolwork. She said: “Definitely getting Moses to do his homework, that’s my toughest job for sure.” Not only does Gwyneth - who also has 10-year-old Apple with the Coldplay front man - have to work hard as an actress, she also runs her own successful lifestyle website Goop. She admits, though, that she was a “fool” at the beginning but has since found it “incredibly rewarding” having created her own digital business. She said: “I was a fool and I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But I have to say it’s been incredibly rewarding. “I learn so much every day and we’re in a really exciting time in the business right now and it’s amazing to be the creative force and also to understand what’s going on the fiscal side and with raising money and all of that.” The 42-year-old actress also hopes one day her children will take over the reigns of the business and is slowly making her part in the website less “essential”. She told Bloomberg’s Market Makers program: “I very much want Goop to be its own standalone brand. I know at this point it’s inextricably me but we are a team of amazing people who bring incredible ideas to the site and it’s not only me and my dream would be that in 20 years people would sort of recollect that I had something to do with it at one point and my involvement would be less essential. “I never wanted to do a proprietary brand. I wanted it to be its own thing that my children can run one day if they want to.”



Fergie ‘loves to eat’

Kardashian would host ‘Fashion Police’ for free


Lewis ‘dealt with mania’ all her life


he ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ star is reportedly so desperate to beat rival Amber Rose to the role that she would do anything she could to secure the post. A source shared: “She would do ‘Fashion Police’ for free if it made E! not select Amber Rose for the job.”It is now more important for her to not have Amber Rose on the show than being on the show herself.” The vacancy came after Kelly Osbourne quit her position on the series just days after her co-host Giuliana Rancic apologized for making “offensive” comments towards Zendaya Coleman. Meanwhile, KhloÈ is believed to be “dying” to find a job away from the Kardashian reality show circuit and is worried about losing out to another possible candidate, NeNe Leakes. An insider told HollywoodLife.com previously: “She’s dying to find a gig outside of the family reality show... “KhloÈ is feeling the pressure and losing her mind that ‘Fashion Police’ producers are considering the ‘Real Housewives Of Atlanta’ star. Whilst producers are buzzing over Nene, KhloÈ is bugging.” Meanwhile, a show spokesperson recently confirmed “no decisions have been made” in relation to finding a new host for the show.


he ‘Secrets and Lies’ actress, whose co-star Ryan Phillippe recently revealed depression “has been a huge obstacle” for him since he was a child, admits she also went through a very dark time when she was younger. Asked about his comments, the 41-year-old star said: “I can tell you I have dealt with mania my whole life.” She jokingly added: “I’m gonna top his depression. I am manic and crazy!” The actress, who romanced Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp in the past, says she managed to get her life on track by quitting drugs and now surrounds herself with positive influences. She told PEOPLE.com: “I quit drugs at 22. I travelled a lot, I dealt with my priorities. I have such a beautiful, strong family and friends and they are like everything to me.” Ryan, 40, revealed earlier this week that his depression has decreased with age, but admitted he is worried his 14-year-old daughter, Ava, with ex-wife Reese Witherspoon has inherited it. He said: “I see it in my daughter. She has it, and I wish to hell she didn’t. It’s just, some people do have this pervading sort of sadness, or they’re so analytical that they can kind of take the fun out of things because they think too much.” Ryan also has 11-year-old son Deacon with Reese and daughter Kailani, three, with his ex-girlfriend Alexis Knapp.

Madonna won’t say ‘no’ to her children


he 39-year-old singer is enjoying getting back into shape after having her 18-monthold son Axl but feels as though she has to exercise harder because of her love of fried sandwiches. Issuing advice to those who want to get fit, she said: “Find your local gym and get into different classes. That makes it exciting [and] you’re doing new moves. You don’t even realize you’re working out it because you’re focusing on ‘How do I get this right?’ But you have to control muscles so it’s making you sweat. “Keep it interesting... I have [to do] treadmill, elliptical, bike and dance. I do the bands - I do it all. I have to work out

he ‘Living for Love’ hitmaker - who has four children, Lourdes, 18, Rocco, 14, David, nine and Mercy, eight would rather advise her kids than give them rules. Speaking about her eldest daughter, she said: “I’m not a fan of taking drugs, but I’m not gonna tell my daughter not to do things. I’m just telling her to be careful. “[I tell her] never take a drink that you haven’t seen somebody pour in front of you. Don’t mix alcohol. Your basics, like be safe, do everything in moderation. That’s it. That’s all I can do.” The 56-year-old star also believes it is important not to be “judgmental” of her children because she feels it is discouraging for them. When asked if she talks about sex with her children, she told Access Hollywood: “It’s just a fact of life isn’t it? Somehow, it’s gonna happen sometime. It happened to you, so it’s gonna happen to [Lourdes]. “All you can do is [stress] safe sex. Have discussions about it and encourage her to be open with you about it and not judgmental. “Because then they won’t feel like they can come to you and talk to you - ask you for your advice and stuff.”

because I love to eat - I had two Double-Doubles last weekend!” The former Black Eyed Peas star who is married to Josh Duhamel - took her postbaby exercise “slowly but surely” to ensure she could meet the needs of her little boy first and foremost. She told E! News: “I just slowly but surely got back into it. I wanted to make sure that Axl came first, and figuring that out came first. “And you know I have it all figured out now, so that’s done.”

Kourtney orders Scott Disick to come home


he ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ star reportedly sent an angry message to her partner of nine years telling him to come back to the United States after he cancelled a string of appearances at nightclubs in the UK. A source shared: “She has been calling and texting him, ordering him to come home. She’s at the end of her rope and if he doesn’t come back ASAP she’s changing the locks!” The 35-year-old television personality is “exhausted” after looking after their three children - Mason, five, Penelope, two, and two-month-old Reign - and was believed to be “beside herself” when she realized Scott had flown to Paris to be with her sister Kim Kardashian West and brother-in-law Kanye West as well as step-sister Kendall Jenner. The source added to HollywoodLife.com: “She’s absolutely exhausted. She’s not sleeping well, the kids have been sick and she’s completely overwhelmed. She needs help. She needs her partner to be there. The kids miss him too - it’s so sad... “Kourtney is beside herself. She cannot believe Scott blew off work and went to Paris to party with Kendall, Kim and Kanye. She wasn’t thrilled with the UK party tour in the first place but at least he was making money working. But now he’s just being incredibly selfish.” Meanwhile, the 31-year-old model took to Twitter to apologize to fans after failing to show at clubs in Bournemouth, Southampton, Croydon and Brighton. He wrote: “Sorry to all my UK fans had to cut my UK trip short , love u and miss you already London. Can’t wait to come back soon!”

Brown plans on buying a baby-proof home


he ‘Loyal’ hitmaker - who is rumored to have a nine-month-old child, Royalty, with 31-year-old Nia Amey - thinks his current bachelor pad is too dangerous for his baby daughter and wants to purchase something that is more “conducive” for bringing up a kid. A source shared: “[This] house isn’t set up for a baby. There’s marble everywhere, sharp corners and edges. It’s not conducive for raising a baby. “He wants to get out of the Valley now and move to a new house in the city where he’s centrally located, with everything he and the baby would need at their fingertips.” The 25-year-old singer is also believed to be considering moving after admitting his current home reminds him too much of his ex-girlfriend Karrueche Tran. The source added to HollywoodLife.com: “Chris doesn’t really want to be there much longer anyways. “With all Karrueche’s stuff there, the memories he’s made since he moved in, he’s not really trying to bring his baby into that.” The 26-year-old model appeared to confirm the baby news when she took to Twitter to reveal the couple had split for good so she could avoid any “baby drama”. She wrote: “Listen. One can only take so much. The best of luck to Chris and his family. No baby drama for me.” Chris Brown has yet to comment on the claims. — bangshowbiz

Dornan is a ‘complicated dude’


he ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ actor is attracted to roles that “challenge” and “scare” him and loves learning more about himself through his work. He said: “I’m a pretty complicated dude myself. “I just mean that you want roles that challenge and scare you a little and that you can really discover something, maybe about yourself, that maybe you didn’t understand. “I’ve been lucky recently to have that.” Jamie has had a number of intimate scenes in both ‘Fifty Shades...’ and TV drama ‘The Fall’ and does his best to make things as comfortable as possible for his co-stars. He said: “You have to keep the intensity there and stuff, but you’re still human beings, and it’s still a bizarre position to put people in. “It can be uncomfortable. I just do everything in my power to make the moments before and after the take very light. I make jokes.” When he isn’t working, the 32-year-old hunk loves cozying up to wife Amelia Warner, with whom he has 15-month-old daughter Dulcie, to binge watch TV box sets. He told the new issue of Loaded magazine: “My wife and I have things... We’re both very busy with work and we have a young daughter. “You think you don’t have any time and then we watch a whole series of something in two nights. “I did that with ‘Breaking Bad’. We hadn’t seen any of it and then everyone was talking about the finale so much, we caved in and watched the whole of it in two months.”

Cumberbatch and wife spent honeymoon relaxing


he couple - who tied the knot last month - jetted off to Tahiti in the French Polynesia to enjoy their first holiday as a married couple. An eyewitness shared: “They were completely relaxed and didn’t do much of anything other than read and swim in the water. “Benedict did a little bit of snorkeling and really enjoyed the fact that he could just put on his flippers and his mask and jump off the deck into the turquoise water. He also spent a good deal of time reading scripts and taking pictures of everything with his professional camera, especially Sophie.” The ‘Imitation Game’ star ensured his new wife got a bit of rest and relaxation and he was regularly spotted showering her in adoration. The insider continued: “Sophie spent most of her time taking naps and resting. “Benedict always made sure she was taken care of. He was always rubbing sunscreen on her back and kissing her neck.” The couple also enjoyed breakfast on the terrace outside their little villa and cooled down with dips in the sea whenever the heat got to much. The source told Us Weekly magazine: “They had breakfast every morning together on their patio. They were very leisurely with their time and just sipped their drinks and watched the water. “Whenever they got hot, they went into the ocean and swam, but most of the time they just stayed at their bungalow.” Benedict and Sophie - who met on the set of ‘Burlesque Fairytales’ in 2009 - are expecting their first child together.



Autumn looks



dark leggy

For bloggers, the real show isn’t on the catwalk




hile most of the northern hemisphere is eagerly awaiting spring and summer, on the Paris catwalks right now it’s already about the following autumn and winter - and that season is forecast to be dark and leggy. Such is the predominant look unfurled by some of the top brands including Dior, Kenzo, Lanvin, Balenciaga and Nina Ricci during Paris Fashion Week. Givenchy, Stella McCartney, Hermes, Chanel, Valentino and Louis Vuitton were expected to confirm the trend before the event wraps up on Wednesday. What to wear? If you’re looking to capture the essence of what the major stylists are getting at, a black outfit with a thigh-length jacket, or short dress maybe cinched with a belt and worn over pants or bare legs and black half boots will do the trick. Gloves are also in - again, preferably black and long and holding any of the smaller handbags from the elite labels. Alexandre Vauthier, Dior, Dries Van Noten, Guy Laroche, Lanvin and Maison Margiela all pushed that aesthetic in their collections.

Dress Like the Stars Celebrity endorsement is a mighty mover to sell high-end clothes to the public, and there was no lack of star power at the Paris shows. What were the brighter fashion flames attracting these mediatised moths? Kim Kardashian lent her aura to Lanvin and Balmain - an appearance made all the brighter by the reality TV star’s transformation from brunette to platinum blonde. At Balenciaga, Lady Gaga made the photographers’ shutters click to a crescendo with her presence. Dakota Johnson, star of the erotic melodrama “Fifty Shades of Grey ” movie, flashed her blue eyes at Dior. And British designer Vivienne Westwood, who eschewed all the rules to present a raucous show replete with male models in “unisex” drag, attracted Solange Knowles

and Bond girl Naomie Harris to her front row.

he catwalk parades at Paris Fashion Week and similar events might steal the global media limelight, but street style on the sidelines is the real star for a group of increasingly influential fashionista bloggers. These amateur snappers and writers hang on the periphery of the big shows in Paris, Milan, London and New York, and some are making lucrative livelihoods showcasing innovative looks worn by noncelebrities and non-models who attend. The emphasis is on the affordable and the individual. And it has struck a chord with the part of the buying public that can’t or won’t splurge on pricey designer duds but still wants to be fashionable. “It’s not really difficult to do, you just need a bit of preparation and that gives an image of accessible fashion, far from the sometimes improbable clothes from the big designers,” said French blogger Benoit Wojtenka who was stalking the Paris Fashion Week for his site bonneguele.fr. Attendees are willing participants in the process, keen to stand out - and to play the role of muse, if only for mouse-clicks. Specialised sites and magazines focusing on fashion have come to depend on these improvised photos to add an unpredictable flair to coverage of European and US fashion weeks. The designers themselves are also drawn to this grassroots coverage to sniff out possible trends and canny mash-ups, creating a cycle in which the street influences fashion which in turn influences the street. American photographer Scott Schuman is one of the blogging pioneers. He became famous though his site “The Sartorialist”, where he posted images of New York people with stand-out looks he spotted on the street. Launched in 2005, his blog has soared from 10,000 page views to 12 million in 2012. In 2007, Time magazine named Schuman as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Another big name, Canadian blogger Tommy Ton, built a reputation around taking snaps of random, welldressed people on the go, not posing. His lively, action-filled technique has brought him paid gigs for Style.com, GQ.com and various brands.

Backing Tracks Real life doesn’t have a backing track, unless you’ve got earbuds tucked in all the time. But the fashion shows do, and music is a big part of the spectacle. Probably the most highprofile bit of musicking was from Kanye West, Kardashian’s rapper husband, who announced in the middle of Paris Fashion Week that he was doing four charity concert performances in the city, featuring some tunes from his new album. Others bringing live performance to the stage included Westwood, who found a punk band to channel Sex Pistol-style anarchy at her liberated show. At Kenzo, stylist duo Humberto Leon and Carol Lim enlisted a British synthe-pop band, Saint Etienne, for their event. “Carol and I met when we were 18 listening to Saint Etienne so we’re so excited that they came and made two new songs for us,” Leon told reporters after the show on Sunday. — AFP

Emanuel Ungaro


But, of course, black isn’t the colour for all occasions or tastes. And so Balmain brought out some cheerful oranges and yellows, Issey Miyake offered loose-fitting fall colours like khaki and blue, and Loewe seemed to be determined to carry beachfriendly pastels into the coldest months.

Trying to ‘Stand Out’ Andreas Krueger, a photographer for a London image consultancy, has gone for a niche: Jewellery. Posted in front of the Arab World Institute, one of the Paris Fashion Week venues, he ignored the clothes on the catwalk and focused on the glittering accessories on attendees’ fingers, throats and ears. “Even if the big jewellery brands have their own designers, they are hungry for these photos to inspire their own collections,” the 36-year-old German told AFP as he zoomed in on an oriental-style necklace. “People sometimes tell me they picked up their jewellery on a trip to Pakistan or Morocco. But there are also jewellery design students who come to the shows with their creations with the aim of being photographed and seen by the brands,” he said. And what works for accessories also works for the clothes, as fashionistas fluttering around the bright lights of the catwalk try to out-do each other. Outfits come in leather, in feathers, in black or in multicolours, long, short, gloved or not, many sunglasses and a general studied air of having thrown complex ensembles together without thinking twice. “It’s a bit like the Cannes film festival. There are stars on the red carpet but also unknowns whose only goal is to stand out by the way they look,” said Matthias Gurtler, the chief editor of the French magazine Gala. A few dedicated souls, the ones who persist in their dress-up, have succeeded in being invited to the coveted first row of the fashion shows, rubbing shoulders with prominent magazine editors, actresses, musicians and executives. Among them can be found Chiara Ferragni, a 27-year-old Italian whose online pictures (of herself ) and musings about fashion earned her the title of “the most influential fashion blogger in the world” by the specialist publication Fashionista. Ferragni’s site, The Blonde Salad, attracts more than a million visitors a month - a number that places her up there alongside traditional publications. — AFP



Olympia Le Tan


Maison Rabih Kayrouz

Sweetening gloomy Russia, one chocolate bar at a time W

hen days are dark, friends are few and the state of your bank account makes you want to weep, there is only one thing you can do in bleak, crisis-hit Russia. Keep calm and eat some very expensive chocolate. That was the message from artisanal chocolatiers in Moscow who attended this past week the capital’s first chocolate fair in seven years, in a sign that even as their wallets are battered by

Models display dresses with parts made with chocolate and sweets at the opening event of the “Salon du Chocolat” show in Moscow on March 4, 2015. — AFP photos

the dismal state of the ruble, there are some luxuries Russians are not willing to give up. “It’s surprising but, even though there is a crisis, the demand for artisanal chocolate has increased,” said Vitaly Ponomarev, a chocolatier with Russia’s upmarket Confael. Known for boosting the happiness hormone serotonin in the brain, chocolate “is apparently helping Russians to deal with the crisis in a lighter way, to not fall into depression,” he added. And it isn’t hard to see why Russians would be down in the dumps. Western sanctions for the country’s role in backing separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, combined with falling prices of oil - a key pillar of Russia’s economy - led to a dramatic crash of the ruble in December. And Russians have seen their grocery bills skyrocket as inflation rose to nearly 17 percent in February, with the prices of fruit and vegetables alone jumping 22 percent in one month. The price of cocoa has also soared. But while they may rein in spending on certain items, when it comes to chocolate some Russians insist on enjoying the melt-in-yourmouth treat, even though its often exorbitant price may melt their savings. “The crisis has in no way affected the sale of artisanal chocolate,” said Dmitry Abrikosov, owner of one of Russia’s oldest chocolate brands Abrikosov Sons. “A bar of artisanal chocolate at 1,000 rubles ($16) gives a completely different sensation” to an industrial chocolate bar which sells for about 70 rubles, he said. “And people are willing to pay for that.” A Chocolate a Day Russia’s chocolate industry has taken off in recent years, with several artisanal chocolate companies setting up shop in Moscow and other cities. “Many people in Russia are currently investing their money and knowledge in the industry,” said Abrikosov. Of about 30 participants at the Chocolate Fair in Moscow, 20 were local chocolatiers who could boast that even if cocoa beans were imported, their final products

were made at home, an important point at a time that many items are no longer available in the countr y due to a retaliator y ban that Moscow slapped on western imports in August. And with the current pall of pessimism hanging over the country, chocolatiers at the fair highlighted the depression-fighting qualities of their product. “Chocolate is an extraordinary food ... even in difficult times it gives a bit of happiness,” said Francois Jeantet, the French founder of the fair. Abrikosov said that luxury artisanal chocolate was also much loved by Russians through freezing winters as it “lifts spirits and boosts immunity”. “Chocolate is the best way to fight depression,” said fair organiser Yevgeny Trostentsov. “And in the current situation it appears one should eat some every day not to lose one’s optimism.” — AFP

Sweetening gloomy Russia, one chocolate bar at a time


39 A picture taken on Dec 19, 2014 shows an expatriate and a Emirati man trying to pull one of their 4x4 vehicles out of the sand during an off-road trip in the desert of Swaihan, east of the United Arab Emirates. Scores of expatriates spend their weekend in the desert away from the hustle and bustle of Dubai. — AFP photos

Expats chill with Dubai desert off-roading M

ohammed Iqsaan runs a real estate company in Dubai but off-roading over desert dunes on weekends is his escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. The glitzy Gulf emirate’s skyline is dominated by skyscrapers, topped by the world’s tallest tower, while the emptiness of the Arabian desert lies only a short drive away. And as the city-state attracts droves of tourists with its luxury resorts and grandiose malls, many expats opt instead for the tranquility of the

vast sands. “The desert has a different charm,” said Iqsaan, a South African, standing at a camping spot after a day of driving near Swaihan, in the east of the United Arab Emirates of which Dubai is a member. Iqsaan reached Swaihan in a convoy of all-terrain vehicles that are a must to navigate in the soft sands. Fans of desert driving go through a briefing: places are assigned for vehicles within the convoy, tyres deflated to gain traction and seat belts must

Expats gather at night around a fire during the off-road trip in the desert of Swaihan.

Expatriates set up their picnic spot during the off-road trip.

be worn at all times. Sinking in the sand is not a problem, recovery is part of the weekend fun. If shovels fail to dig the vehicle out, another car comes to the rescue with a strap. The desert outings are a “getaway from the hustle and bustle, the life of the city and traffic”, said Anthony Alan, a US aircraft engineer. “It’s just a great place to be,” he said, setting up a barbeque. Autumn and winter are the best seasons for desert trips in the UAE, when the temperature drops to

pleasant levels. For Liudmyla Pykhtina, the temperatures are perfect compared with the freezing winters of her native Ukraine. “I like the weather,” she said, sporting a thin fleece on a chilly pitch-black evening. “You can see the stars,” she said, compared with the light pollution in the city where the skies are often hazy. ‘Beautiful and Calm’ Several companies organise dune-bashing

desert safaris for tourists, while expats prefer to join off-road clubs, keeping updated on excursions through social media. “Our website brings us all together,” said Islam Mantawy, cofounder of an Abu Dhabi club which organises driving and camping trips. Mantawy is a vice president at a local bank. At weekends, he drops the suit and tie to don the black-andorange outfit of a desert marshall and lead novice off-roaders on desert trips. “The desert is beautiful... calm,” he said, adding that his club boasts now 5,000 members who make regular trips across the UAE. His convoys motor through the desert in search of a quiet spot, then set up camp. At night, families gather around a crackling log fire as the mercury falls. Such trips can however pose an environmental threat to the ecosystem of the desert, just like any off-road activities. According to the US-based website “Defenders of Wildlife”, off-road vehicles, as well as military activities, cause “extensive, lasting damage to the fragile desert cover”. Leaving rubbish in desert areas after camping trips and picnics endangers grazing camels, who can choke to death from swallowing plastic bags. “We avoid driving over grown grass that is grazed by animals and carry away our leftovers,” said Hadeel Balbissi, a woman off-roader and human resources head at a local firm. Iqsaan highlighted the draw of offroading for expats. In the desert, “all the noise pollution is left behind in the city. It just resets your whole biological clock. You get back to work revitalised,” the realtor said. — AFP

Blind kids defy ‘bad karma’ to play in Thai orchestra D eftly feeling their way along the bumps of the braille score, the young players of Thailand’s first blind orchestra memorise scales, defying both their impairment and ingrained negative attitudes towards disability. It is rehearsal time just hours ahead of a concert at an open-air auditorium in a national park, and around 30 fledgling classical musicians enthusiastically strum, pluck and bow instruments they have held but never seen. “At first it was really hard for me... I wanted to stop,” said Joe a 14-year-old budding cellist who picked up the stringed instrument ninemonths ago. “But when I realised that others could do it, I gave it another try,” he told AFP, smiling broadly. Official figures show that Thailand is home to 1.8 million disabled people, of whom around 180,000 are blind, in a population of more than 64 million. Yet campaigners say state provision for disabled people is poor, compounding a widely held Buddhist belief in karma that, in the minds of many, links physical impairments with the supposed ‘misdeeds’ of a past life. The Thai Blind Orchestra, made up of players aged between eight and 15 years old, offers a rare positive platform for disabled Thais. The orchestra, who use donated instruments, were brought together by a professional classical musician whose day job is looking after elephants in the Khao Yai national park in northeastern Nakhon Ratchasima province. ‘The Kids are Happy’ The seeds of the idea were planted when the blind students met their soon-to-be maestro, Alongkot Chukaew, at his conservation classes in the park. Teaching with the help of audible aids, including his guitar, the 43-yearold Alongkot noticed music caught the attention of the children. He asked his music teachers to play different instruments and encouraged the youngsters to follow the sound they liked best. As their affinity with their chosen instrument mushroomed, Alongkot introduced a braille system for the students to learn to read classical music. Shown one-on-one how to position their

fingers on their instruments, the children then memorise both the notes and the correct placement to make the right sounds. “It was hard because they cannot see the demonstration of where to put their fingers or hold the bows,” Alongkot told AFP. “But it was fun.” “Some people might not like their performance, but the kids are happy and have fun with it,” he said, adding they are not looking to compete. Attitudes towards disability across Southeast Asia are often shaped by a sense of karmic destiny. The same philosophy that encourages people to do good deeds so they may be rewarded on reincarnation also leads people to believe that the disabled suffer their impediments because of their actions in a past life. It is something that holds back progressive policies and leaves many of the region’s disabled in poverty or hidden at home by ashamed families. “Disabled people are the poorest of the poor,” explains Suporntum Mongkolsawadi, a Thai double-amputee from childhood who

now campaigns for improved rights. “The belief in karma makes disabled people think they should just surrender and accept their fate,” added the 48-year-old, who heads the Redemptorist Foundation for People with Disabilities.

This picture taken on Jan 31, 2015 shows Joe (center) playing his instrument during a concert at the Thai Elephants Research and Conservation Fund in Khao Yai national park 180 km northeast of Bangkok. — AFP photos

Tang Gwaa of the Thai blind orchestra plays with an elephant after the rehearsal.

Art (right) of the Thai blind orchestra laughs with fellow musicians before the rehearsal.

The Thai blind orchestra performs.

‘My Gift is Music’ Activists say other countries in the region such as Malaysia, Singapore and Philippines tend to have a better track record of rolling out disability aids and policies. Suporntum blames Thailand’s lag on years of political instability and short-lived governments for hampering policy changes to transport, education and health. While the law codifies equality, in practice life remains at best complex for many disabled Thais. Most public transport lacks wheel-

chair access, few state offices have ramps and there are no braille signs and few voice signals. Jobs are also sparse while social opprobrium runs high. But Suporntum sees some reasons for hope, saying the ruling Thai junta is well placed to drive through change, after it vowed to make society more inclusive and include rights for all in its reform agenda. In January, a Bangkok court ordered that lifts be installed at 19 more stations of the capital’s elevated skytrain service within a year - up from four currently - an issue Suporntum has campaigned on for eight years. But for real change to take place Thailand must first shed its preconceptions on disability, says Rosalina Alexander McKay, an activist from the Rainbow Room Foundation in Bangkok. “You don’t have to change the belief system but you have to change your ways of looking at things,” adds Rosalina, who has a seven-year-old daughter with Down’s Syndrome. As sighted volunteers prepare to lead the orchestra to their seats - and instruments - on the open-air stage, cellist Joe says he refuses to be held back by received notions of karma. “I cannot see but I have good ears... that is my gift in music,” he says, the outline of trees overhead as the stage lights catch his crisp white shirt. “When we lose one thing, there will always be a substitute.” — AFP

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