firms in fix over new truck weightage rule

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firms in fix over new truck weightage rule
TUESDAY | MARCH 10, 2015 | JUMADA AL ULA 19, 1436 AH
P17 ECB and euro zone central banks begin buying bonds
VOL. 34 NO. 116 | PAGES 32 | BAISAS 200
P32 Strokes of Oman’s culture and tradition
P25 ƒ‰Žƒ†‡•Š•–‘”‹–‘“—ƒ”–‡”ϐ‹ƒŽ•
Inside
Chief Executive Officer
DR IBRAHIM BIN AHMED AL KINDI
Editor-in-Chief
ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI
Oman Establishment for Press, Publication and Advertising
PO Box 974, Postal Code 100, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman
www.omanobserver.om
FOLLOW US ON:
[email protected]
FOCUS ON OMAN-SAUDI RELATIONS
OMAN
RO 430 million
set for electricity
transmission
HM gets thanks cable
from King Salman
MUSCAT: His Majesty Sultan Qaboos
has received a cable of thanks from
King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud of
Saudi Arabia in reply to His Majesty’s
condolences cable on the death of the
King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud.
In his cable, King Salman expressed
his thanks for His Majesty the Sultan’s
generous feelings and sincere prayers,
praying to the Almighty to protect His
Majesty the Sultan against all harms.
VINOD NAIR
MUSCAT
WORLD
Merkel backs plan
for European army
BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela
Merkel gave her support to a new
push to forge a European army in the
wake of the outbreak of tensions with
Russia. The chancellor is in favour of a
“deeper military cooperation in Europe,”
government spokeswoman Christiane
Wirtz said. But Wirtz insisted that Berlin
saw the proposal, which was revived at
the weekend by European Commission
President Jean-Claude Juncker, as a
“future project” without any concrete
plans for its launch. REPORT ON P12
League calls for
regional force
CAIRO: The Arab League called for
the formation of a regional force to
combat militants as countries face
a growing threat from IS and other
groups. The United States leads a
coalition that is fighting IS in Iraq
and Syria. Washington says Saudi
Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Bahrain
have participated in or supported air
strikes in Syria. Iran is also playing a
major role in fighting the group in
Iraq. Speaking at the opening session
of an Arab League meeting of foreign
ministers, Secretary General Nabil el
Araby called for action.
REPORT ON P13
INSIDESTORIES
P6
38 CRUISE SHIPS
VISITED SALALAH
P14
FUKUSHIMA RESIDENTS
TORN OVER NUCLEAR WASTE
P15
US SENDS HEAVY ARMOUR
TO BALTIC STATES
WEATHER TODAY
MUSCAT
MAX: 280C
MIN: 180C
HH Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmood al Said, Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers, yesterday received Shaikh Dr
Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Ibrahim al Shaikh, Chairman of Majlis Ash’shura in Saudi Arabia, who conveyed the greetings of
the leadership in Saudi along with their best wishes of continuous success to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos and the Omani
people further welfare and growth. HH Sayyid Fahd hailed the strong relations binding the two brotherly countries and the
growing cooperation between them in several fields. REPORT ON P2
(PHOTO BY MOHAMED AL RASHDI)
FIRMS IN FIX OVER NEW
TRUCK WEIGHTAGE RULE
ISSUE OF LOAD: Limits on trucks add to the existing problems
REGION
SALALAH
MAX: 280C
MIN: 200C
SUNRISE 06.21 AM
PRAYER TIMINGS
FAJR: 05:06
DHUHR: 12:22
ASR: 15:46
MAGHRIB: 18:18
ISHA: 19:28
NIZWA
MAX: 330C
MIN: 170C
China to regulate foreign NGOs Greece takes reform plan to Brussels Indian woman stabbed in Australia LAKSHMI KOTHANETH AND
KHALID AL KUSH
MUSCAT
March 9: Transport companies in
Muscat have expressed concern over
the plans to implement the new rules
on truck weightage by the Ministry of
Transport and Communications.
“We are just not rejecting the
regulation but we have our concerns
that it would bring hardships to lots
of people. In addition to the cost,
there would be an added pressure on
the road traffic. We have voiced our
concerns to the Ministry of Transport
and Communications and the
companies have been given 25 per cent
concession on the weightage, but we
are still not happy,” said Khalid Salem
al Dara’i, head of Oman Association for
Transportation.
Companies dealing with cement,
crushers, mining, marble and shipping
among others are some of the businesses
who have voiced their concerns about
the new regulation. The importers
and traders in the country are still
coping with issues related to transition
of commercial operations from Port
Sultan Qaboos in Muscat to Sohar Port.
NO MORE HEAVY TRUCKS
Q TRUCK with a single axle 8 tonnes
Q VEHICLE with non-single axle
13 tonnes
March 9: The Sultanate of Oman’s State
General Reserve Fund (SGRF) and
Oman Brunei Investment Company
(OBIC) have announced an alliance to
set up Oman Brunei Aviation Leasing
Company (OBALC) with an authorised
capital of RO 200 million. Commenting
on
this
strategic
partnership,
Abdulsalam al Murshidi, Executive
President of SGRF, said, “As Chairman
of Oman Brunei Investment Company,
I am very proud of this promising
investment as it represents a stepping
stone towards the continued efforts to
diversify Oman’s economy.
“SGRF has always worked to support
such initiatives presented from joint
venture companies,” he added.
Abeer Mohammed al Abduwani,
OBIC’s CEO, talked about the new
joint venture saying, “After we came up
Q GROSS weight with tri axle 32 tonnes
HAMAD BIN SALIM AL MAGHDARI
CEO, Rural Areas Electricity Company
the distribution codes of the electrical
system in the Sultanate with lower
voltage of 132 kv to make sure that
the terms of the distribution code is
constantly working in favour of the
distribution companies and the users of
the network.
Al Wahaibi spoke about the
importance of such meetings of
the electricity sector companies to
share experiences and views on very
important matters relating to the
areas of electric power, explore the
needs in different fields of generation,
transmission and distribution of
electricity, listen to the challenges that
companies may face in implementing
their projects and search for necessary
solutions and treatments, to ensure
sustainability of power supply.
TURN TO P3
CLOUDY WEATHER
Low pressure likely to bring rains
Some of the grievances were raised
at a gathering at Oman Chamber of
Commerce and Industry last week.
As per the provision of Article No
37 of the Executive Regulation of the
Traffic Law issued by a Royal Decree,
transporters will be declared violating
rules depending upon the axial weights
and not on the gross weight of the truck.
According to the ministry, the
maximum load of each truck driven
with a single axle should not exceed
eight tonnes. At the same time the gross
Joint venture to establish
aviation leasing company
STAFF REPORTER
MUSCAT
Q GROSS weight of any tandem axle 21
tonnes
March 9: Over RO 430 million will be
spent in the electricity transmission and
distribution this year, said Omar bin
Khalfan al Wahibi, CEO of Electricity
Holding Group.
He was speaking at the second
annual forum for companies operating
in the electricity sector of contractors
and suppliers.
Hamad bin Salim al Maghdari,
CEO, Rural Areas Electricity Company
(RAEC) and Chairman of Distribution
Code Review Panel (DCRP), said
that the forum aims at exchanging
ideas and opinions and highlighting
the challenges that might face the
companies while carrying out projects.
He said DCRP will discuss a
mechanism to develop work in the
electricity sector, how to assign tenders
for the 47 small and medium companies
(SMEs) that are capable technically in
the implementation of projects and
have been approved by DCRP, and the
introduction of the laws and standards
applied in the registering of companies
operating in the sector, in addition
to informing suppliers of equipment
used and approved in the electricity
distribution companies.
DCRP is the entity authorised by
the electricity distribution companies
and Electricity Regulation Authority to
review and discuss the development of
DCRP will discuss
a mechanism to
develop work in the
electricity sector,
how to assign tenders
for the 47 SMEs that are
capable technically in the
implementation of projects
with the business plan for an aviation
leasing company, we looked for a
strong founding and strategic business
partnership and accomplished both by
having SGRF as a founding-partner.
“The newly-formed venture will
invest in and manage the purchase
and lease of modern and fuel-efficient
commercial aircrafts operated by
airlines in the Middle East and globally.”
Abeer Mohammad al Abduwani
said: “Aircraft leasing represents an
attractive investment product and
in due course we will be offering
institutional investors the opportunity
to participate in the sector through an
aviation leasing fund”.
Oman Brunei Investment Company
SAOC is a private equity company
jointly capitalised by State General
Reserve Fund of Oman (50 per cent)
and the Brunei Investment Agency (50
per cent).
SEE ALSO P17
maximum weight for any vehicle driven
with non-single axis should not exceed
13 tonnes. The ideal gross weight of
any tandem axle of any vehicle should
not be more than 21 tonnes as per the
new regulation. The total gross weight
on the road by any vehicle driven by tri
axle should not be more than 32 tonnes.
The ministry and ROP have allowed
variation factor of 25 per cent of the
total weight of the gross weight of the
vehicle axis as of the end of 2015.
TURN TO P3
MUSCAT: Latest weather charts
indicate that trough of low pressure
area will affect the northern parts of the
Sultanate during the next few days.
The weather will be partly cloudy
over the Governorate of Musandam
by today afternoon and will gradually
extend to the governorates of North and
South Al Batinah, Muscat, Dakhiliyah,
Al Buraimi, Dhahirah, North and
South Sharqiyah tomorrow and day
after with chances of isolated rains.
Thundershowers may be associated
with hail and strong winds.
The sea is expected to be moderate
to rough along the Sea of Oman and
Musandam coast with maximum wave
height of three metres.
Numerical weather prediction shows
that the weather will become gradually
stable by Friday.
The Public Authority for Civil
Aviation advises the public to follow
weather bulletins and updates and take
precautions during rains and not to
cross over-flowing wadis.
— ONA
FIRST LEG OF EPIC ROUND-THE-WORLD BID
Solar Impulse 2 landed yesterday at Muscat International Airport, completing the initial leg of its epic bid to become the first
solar-powered plane to fly around the world, testing its pilots to the limit. REPORT ON P2
(Photo by Mohamed Mahjoub)
2
OMAN OIL PRICE SLIDES
T U E S DAY l M A R C H 1 0 l 2 0 1 5
The Oman oil price (May
delivery) yesterday declined to
$57.35 per barrel, $1.30 down
from Friday’s $58.65, at the
Dubai Mercantile Exchange
(DME). The average price
of Oman oil (March delivery)
has stabilised at $46.73 per
barrel $14.28 lower than
February delivery.
OMAN
Fraternal ties between Oman, Saudi hailed
MUSCAT: His Highness Sayyid Fahd
bin Mahmood al Said, Deputy Prime
Minister for the Council of Ministers,
yesterday received Shaikh Dr Abdullah
bin Mohammed bin Ibrahim al Shaikh,
Chairman of Majlis Ash’shura of Saudi
Arabia who conveyed greetings of
Saudi leadership to His Majesty Sultan
Qaboos and the Omani people further
welfare and growth.
HH Sayyid Fahd hailed the strong
fraternal relations binding the two
brotherly countries and the growing
cooperation between the two countries
in several fields. He also reviewed
the developments in the region and
cooperation among the GCC countries
to maintain its peace and stability in the
region.
HH Sayyid Fahd also reviewed the
FUNDAMENTALS OF MUSIC THEORY
development of the Shura march in the
Sultanate and the GCC countries, in
addition to their role in supporting the
efforts exerted in serving the societies
progress and achieving growth and
prosperity for their citizens. The Saudi
guest expressed his gratitude and that
of his accompanying delegation for this
visit, commending the Shura approach
in the Sultanate.
— ONA
The 4th course on music
fundamentals and theories
concluded at the Police
Music Department in Al
Watteya, yesterday. More
than 156 participants
underwent theoretical tests
in different levels under
the supervision of music
teachers for Britain.
Solar plane makes historic
first stop in Muscat
KEY POINT: Promotion of true tolerant picture of Islam stressed
Grand Mufti receives Saudi
Shura Council Chairman
MUSCAT: His Eminence Shaikh
Ahmed bin Hamed al Khalili, Grand
Mufti of the Sultanate, received in his
office yesterday Shaikh Dr Abdullah
bin Mohammed bin Ibrahim al Shaikh,
Chairman of the Majlis Ash’shura of
Saudi Arabia.
The meeting touched on a number
of issues and matters of concern to
the Islamic societies and stressed the
importance of discarding violence
and fanaticism, besides promoting
tolerance and presenting the true
tolerant picture of Islam.
The Saudi guest later visited the
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in the
The guest also familiarised himself as the Islamic Sciences Institute,
Wilayat of Bausher.
with the Omani and Islamic unique the library, lecture halls and various
The guest was briefed on the history architectural designs and acquainted utilities.
of building the mosque.
with the centres of the mosque, such
— ONA
KABEER YOUSUF
MUSCAT
March 9: The Sultanate witnessed a new
era in aviation history when the first
solar plane made its first leg landing
at the Muscat International Airport
yesterday.
It was about 8.30 pm and the sky
was dark and cloudy but the spirit of
the waiting crowd including VVIP’s and
dignitaries was undyingly high albeit
the waiting was extended over 3 hours.
The crowd cheered as the first sight of
the plane was visible through suspended
dust particles in the sky. The next few
minutes saw the global aviation history
being rewritten as the Solar Impulse 2
(Si2) touched the Oman soil silently on
the runway following a trouble-free 12
hour first leg flight from Abu Dhabi and
screeched to a halt.
The pilot of the Solar Impulse
André Borschberg emerged from the
plane to be greeted by a welcoming
reception presided over by His
Highness Sayyid Shihab bin Tareq al
Said, Adviser to His Majesty the Sultan
and Chairman of The Research Council;
Dr Mohammed bin Nasser al Zaabi,
CEO of the Public Authority of Civil
Aviation (PACA); Shaikh Aiman bin
Ahmed al Hosni, General Manager
of Muscat International Airport, their
excellencies and a huge gathering of
other dignitaries.
Congratulating the pilots on their
safe arrival in the Sultanate, HH Sayyid
Shihab said: “We are proud that Muscat
International Airport is the first stop for
the Solar Impulse 2. I hope the reception
of such a brilliant technological
innovation in Oman will motivate
the next generation of Omanis to be
more creative and innovative in order
to develop our vision for the future; as
well as help the Sultanate play its part
in contributing towards the growth and
development of human civilisation as a
whole.”
Welcoming his fellow countryman
upon their arrival in Muscat, Christian
Winter, Swiss Ambassador to the
Sultanate, commented: “The arrival
here this evening of the Solar Impulse
underlines the close cooperation and
mutual understanding between the
Sultanate of Oman and Switzerland.
Safely secured on the tarmac at
Muscat International Airport, the next
leg of the Solar Impulse adventure will
see the aircraft cross the Gulf of Oman
heading onwards to Ahmedabad and
Varanasi, India and onto Mandalay,
Myanmar.
Commenting on the groundbreaking technology behind the Solar
Impulse flyer, Shaikh Aiman bin
Ahmed al Hosni, General Manager
of Muscat International Airport, said:
“The technology behind this incredible
machine inspires all Omanis — young
and old — to embrace sustainable
and renewable energy for the benefit
of future generations. As a nation of
explorers, we’re extremely proud that
Oman is the first stop for this historic
circumnavigation by the Solar Impulse
flyer. (With inputs from ONA)
OMAN
T U E S DAY
MARCH 10 l 2015
BESTOWAL FRUITS: The bank grants 40,584 loans with an average of 4,584 per year
ODB provided loans worth RO 320m
ZAINAB AL NASSRI
MUSCAT
March 9: The Oman Development Bank
(ODB) has provided 40,584 loans at an
average of 4,584 loans every year, to
the tune of RO 320 million. The annual
average of loan amount stands at RO 32
million.
This was revealed during the
‘Bestowal Fruits’ ceremony, presided
over by Shaikh Al Fadhl bin Mohamed
al Harthy, Secretary-General of the
Council of Ministers, yesterday at
Hormuz Grand Hotel.
During the ceremony, Shaikh
Al Harthy launched the “Success
Stories” book, which recounts the
stories of 36 projects financed by ODB
and achieved great success in their
fields. In addition, the proprietors
of such projects; started with small
initial stages till they became big and
sustainable projects that succeeded in
providing many job opportunities and
providing new services and products
for the citizens in the governorates,
were honoured.
Hamad bin Salim al Harthy, Acting
General Manager of ODB, said: “We
have reviewed some programmes that
show the achievements of the bank
during the past stages through which
we confirm that ODB has kept pace
with the government’s plans aiming
to diversify the sources of income and
providing opportunities for the Omani
youth to be involved in business and
investment sectors.”
He said that the main objective
of ODB is to contribute to the
development
of
the
national
economy by financing, developing
and
expanding
the
economic
projects till they become big economic
entities.
He explained that the bank takes
pride in making such achievements
made the big projects and companies
has it financed.
During the ceremony, Talal al
Zedjali, Director of ODB’s branch in
Seeb, gave a presentation on the size of
loans provided by the bank during the
last ten years.
Al Zedjali said that the highest value
of loans was granted in 2013 logging
RO 51 million; while the lowest value
of loans was given in 2005 logging RO
6 million.
The agriculture, livestock and
fisheries sectors got 78 per cent of the
total value of such projects and the
default rate has not exceeded 9 per cent
by the end of 2014.
He indicated that the highest number
of loans granted by the bank was in
2008 and reached 5,888 loans; while the
lowest number was granted in 2005 and
reached 1,525 loans.
The data explained that the fisheries
sector got the lion’s share of the loans in
terms of the number. The sector received
about 25,000 loans with a total amount
of RO 72.3 million. It was followed by
agriculture and livestock sector with
10,000 and 480 loans in total amounting
to RO 55.6 million.
Education and health services sector
received 632 loans in total amounting
to RO 19.3 million; while tourism,
professional and public services sector
received 1,835 loans in total amounting
to RO 45.3 million.
The industry, mining and building
materials sector obtained 1,373 loans
amounting to RO 52.1 million; while
the chemicals, petrochemicals and
petroleum industries received 902 loans
amounting to RO 17 million.
The other industries got 4,371 loans
with a total value of RO 85.3 million.
The data indicated that the fisheries
sector has acquired 52 per cent of the
loans and 23 per cent of their value.
It was followed by the agriculture and
livestock sector with 26 per cent of the
Oman Development Bank hosted a ‘Bestowal Fruits’ ceremony yesterday highlighting the successful projects financed by the bank.
Transport firms in fix over
new truck weighing rules
FROM PAGE 1
While speaking to the Observer, Al Dara’i
said the industry representatives would
like to have a dialogue between the private
sector entities comprising of the Ministry of
Transport and Communications, Royal Oman
Police, Ministry of Financial Affairs, Ministry
of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of
Manpower, Public Authority for Consumer
Protection in addition to the organisations
that have been effected by the new weightage
regulation.
“The representatives feel the regulating
authority did not alert companies and
institutions about the intentions before
applying the rule. In most companies the new
situation has created disorder as they have
contracts locally and internationally with
other companies,” added the head of Oman
Association for Transportation.
Overloading of trucks is one of the leading
problems of the industry globally. In addition
to the dangers posed by heavy trucks one of
the main concerns for the authorities have
been the trucks’ impact on the roads and their
maintenance.
The transportation industry also voiced
their concern that the new move can have its
share on the cost for the common man. “The
need for more vehicles, back log at ports can
all lead to higher cost for products by the time
they reach the shelves,” highlighted another
concerned industry representative.
Nasser bin Ali al Jabri, General Manager,
Desert Enterprises, a company that supplies
raw materials for cement production, said
the new regulation is related to a law ratified
in 1989 and stated reduction of truck weight
from 90 tonnes (15 tonnes dead truck weight
and 75 tonnes of load) to a total weight of
36 tonnes. The truck weight was reduced by
half regardless of the fact that modern trucks
are manufactured in a way that considers the
effect on the road. “Is it fair to apply a law that
was devised on the basis of outdated truck
specifications that are incomparable to those
of modern-day trucks,” Al Jabri questioned.
He added, “It should have been taken into
consideration that modern-day trucks
have the ability to carry 70 tonnes without
damaging the road.
“For instance, as a result of the new
regulation the cost of gypsum transportation
rose by 75 per cent, which in turn has affected
the production of gypsum in Al Wusta badly.
The need for more vehicles,
back log at ports can all lead to
higher cost for products by the
time they reach the shelves.
The reason given for reducing truck weight
has been the effect they cause on roads,
however, there are old roads that have never
been affected by truck weight,” Al Jabri said,
pointing out that this decision is unconvincing
particularly at a time when the economy is
suffering from the impact of falling oil prices.
“The decision should have been preceded
by discussion to agree on the appropriate
mechanisms for its application and to avoid
the shock it causes to the economy and the
business environment,” Al Jabri said.
“The mining and construction materials
sectors have borne the brunt of that regulation
while other sectors such as fuel and sewerage
were not affected at all. The increase in the
prices of construction materials not only
affects the entire real estate sector but, most
importantly, the consumers as the suppliers
and traders get the same profit margin,” Al
Jabri said.
Another victim of the regulation are the
small and medium enterprises especially
the small companies working in the fields of
transport and construction equipment rental.
“It is unfortunate that it was ill-timed. Coming
into place only two years after the decisions
taken at the Saih al Shamikhat where SMEs
symposium went into effect,” reflected Al
Jabri. Industry members said that truck and
cargo backlog at the Sohar Port will be a
normal scene as the trucks used to carry two
containers will be now allowed to carry one.
“Another downside of the regulation could
be that diesel subsidies will increase by 40 to
50 per cent from the current RO 750 million,”
said Al Jabri worried about future situation on
subsidies.
Supporting the move on regulation, experts
said, “We should have had weigh bridges
long time ago in the country. It is extremely
important for road safety and maintenance.”
The damage on the roads are felt when one
drives on the Muscat Expressway (right lane)
from Mawaleh to Bidbid. So is the case with
the track to Qantab, an area that is seeing a
big movement of construction trucks causing
serious damages to the road network.
loans and 18 per cent of their value.
The other industries sector came
third with 11 per cent and 18 per cent
respectively.
As for the tourism services sector, it
obtained 4 per cent of the number and
14 per cent of their value.
The mining and building materials
sector received 3 per cent and 16 per
cent respectively.
The statistics indicated that the
Governorate of Muscat got the largest
loans in terms of the value during the last
ten years with 2,845 loans amounting
RO 77.2 million; while the Governorate
of Musandam got the lowest numbers
with 2,527 loans amounting to RO 11.6
million.
As for the number of loans; the
Governorate of Sharqiyah South
received the highest number with 22
per cent; while the Governorate of Al
Buraimi received the lowest with 2 per
cent of the loans only.
Al Zedjali indicated that a big segment
of the local investors has benefited
from the loans provided by the bank
which are distributed according to
the nature and characteristics of the
governorates and the wilayats or
according to the economic activity
prevailing in them.
omandailyobserver
3
RO 430m to be spent on
electricity transmission
FROM PAGE 1
He urged contractors to focus on
training Omanis as electricians and
technicians, apart from trying to
minimise fatalities while on the job.
Al Maghdari said that DCRP has
approved 70 companies operating
in the electricity sector during 2014,
and approved 16 companies since the
beginning of this year until February,
so the total number of companies
approved by DCRP became 203
companies of contractors and suppliers.
It may be noted worth mentioning
that the Distribution Code Review
Panel is an entity operating under
the Law regulating and allocating the
electricity sector and its related water
issued by Royal Decree No 78/2004,
Article 90.
DCRP lists electricity distribution
companies
including
Muscat
Electricity Distribution Company,
Rural Areas Electricity Company,
Mazoon Electricity Company, Majan
Electricity Company and Dhofar
power Company.
4
omandailyobserver
OMAN
Unified water strategy
MUSCAT: The Public Authority for
Electricity and Water (PAEW) yesterday
hosted a seminar on “Unified Water
Sector Strategy and the Executive Plan
for GCC Arab Member States 2015 –
2035” under the auspices of Mohammed
bin Abdullah al Mahrouqi, Chairman of
PAEW, at Radisson Blu hotel in Muscat.
Al Mahrouqi said the leaders
of the Gulf Cooperation Council
directed that there should be a unified,
comprehensive and long term strategy
for water sector, as the study began in
September of 2013 and is expected to be
completed during this year and will be
submitted to the committee of the GCC
ministers of electricity and water for
discussion and approval and then will
be submitted to the Gulf Summit for
approval and implementation.
He added that the study is still
ongoing and upon completion,
the
committee
will
announce
the most important findings and
T U E S DAY
MARCH 10 l 2015
Dhofar Gov meets municipal council members
SALALAH: Sayyid Mohammed
bin Sultan bin Hamoud al Busaidy,
Minister of State and Governor of
Dhofar, yesterday met with members
of the Municipal Council in the
Governorate of Dhofar. During the
meeting, Al Busaidy urged them to
exert more efforts to serve this dear
homeland.
The meeting, held under the
auspices of Shaikh Salim bin Ufait al
Shanfari, Head of Dhofar Municipality,
Chairman of the Municipal Council in
the Governorate of Dhofar, discussed
a number of topics and took the
appropriate decisions.
— ONA
recommendations included in the study.
Dr Ali bin Hamad al Ghafri, PAEW
Assistant Chairman for International
Relations and Media, said that the
seminar discusses several topics
including national water strategy and
plans of the Sultanate, the stages that
have been implemented by the project
consultant and workflow stages, in
addition to the discussion on the vision,
mission and objectives of the strategy
and policies for the water sector. — ONA
Oman’s first
e-media
conference
on March 22
MUSCAT: Future Event
Management
Company
in collaboration with the
Information Technology
Authority
(ITA)
will
organise the first e-media
conference under the
auspices of Shaikh Khalid
bin Omar al Marhoon,
Minister of Civil Service, on
March 22-24 at the Crowne
Plaza Hotel, Muscat.
The conference aims
to shed light on e-media
development and how to
benefit from it and the social
and national responsibility
of the e-media sector in the
Sultanate. Over 30 speakers
with rich experience in
e-media, will cover a
number of themes on the
e-media
infrastructure
in the Sultanate, the
legislations
and
laws
regularizing it and its future
prospects.
— ONA
GCC Traffic Week activities continue
MUSCAT: The Royal Oman Police
(ROP) continues with the activities
of the GCC Traffic Week 2015, which
comes under the theme ‘Your Decision
Determines Your Fate’.
The Sultan Qaboos University
(SQU), in cooperation with the
ROP and a number of government
institutions, yesterday organised a traffic
seminar under the auspices of Salim
bin Mohammed al Nu’aimi, UnderSecretary of the Ministry of Transport
and Communications for Transport.
Dr Mohammed Maliki, Dean of
the College of Law, gave a speech
highlighting the role of the SQU and
the college, as well as its participation
with the community in tackling the
phenomena.
Assim Sa’ab, Head of the Seminar’s
Organising Committee, gave a speech
stressing the importance of the seminar,
its programme and themes.
He pointed out that the seminar
presents 16 working papers addressing
some themes.
The two-day seminar includes four
sessions touching on the legal status
in facing traffic accidents and the
responsibility resulting from traffic
accidents among others.
A number of researchers and
academics from inside and outside
the Sultanate, the ROP, the Public
Prosecution, the Ministry of Transport
and Communications and a number
of government agencies take part in
presenting working papers during the
seminar.
T U E S DAY
MARCH 10 l 2015
OMAN
Al Ajyal college panel explores
ways to attract students
MUSCAT: The main committee of Al Ajyal College
for Sciences of Craft Industries and Traditional
Professions held its 1st meeting yesterday under
the auspices of Shaikha Aisha bint Khalfan al
Siyabiyah, Chairperson of the Public Authority for
Craft Industries (PACI).
The committee reviewed the latest developments
with regard to the initial study on the college,
the measures that will encourage students to join
different specialties, the incentives provided to
The committee also launched the experimental project, following up the committee’s previous
them, the college logo and brochure, as well as core version of the college’s website. The meeting recommendations and decisions and reviewing the
principles values.
touched on a number of issues related to the college’s progress made in the project.
— ONA
Riyada organises seminar
on redefinition of SMEs
MUSCAT: The Public Authority for the Development of
Small and Medium Enterprises, ‘Riyada’ has organised at
Hormuz Grand Muscat Hotel a seminar on the re-definition
of small and medium enterprises in order to reach a new
definition commensurate with the next phase of the support
and development of small and medium enterprises based on
the results of the seminar to assess the implementation of the
decisions of Saih Al Shamikhat.
The seminar, in which a number of relevant government
agencies and a number of the private sector companies,
entrepreneurs and those interested in this sector, included
a number of working papers. The first paper was presented
by Khalifa bin Said al Abri, Acting CEO of ‘Riyada’ on the
criteria for the provision of services of ‘Riyada’.
Al Abri also referred in his paper to some statistics,
including the total number of micro, small and medium
enterprises 139,722 as stated by the National Centre for
Statistics in March 2015. Dr Mahmoud B, expert at ‘Riyada’
presented a paper on the results of some studies presented
on small and medium enterprises.
Rafael B, CEO of the National Fund for Financing of
Small and Medium Enterprises, made a presentation on the
review of the definition of small enterprises in the Sultanate
and touched on the reasons that require a revision of the
current definition, as well as the principles and criteria that
are taken into account to prepare the definition. — ONA
Gulf edu
ministers
to meet
on Wed
MUSCAT: The two-day
preparatory meeting for
the 17th meeting of the
GCC Ministers of Higher
Education and Scientific
Research, scheduled to
be held on Wednesday,
started at Barr Al Jissah
Resort and Spa yesterday.
Abdullah bin Juma
al Shibli, GCC Assistant
Secretary-General
for
Economic
and
Development Affairs at
the GCC SecretariatGeneral, said that the
agenda of the meeting,
on top of which are
the decisions of the
GCC Supreme Council,
provides the required
support for a serious leap
in the comprehensive
education development at
the GCC higher education
institutions.
The
meeting
also
discusses a number of
important issues that
enhance and activate
the joint efforts made to
achieve shared objectives.
On his turn, Dr
Abdullah bin Mohammed
al Sarmi, Under-Secretary
of the Ministry of Higher
Education, said that
despite the achievements
made in education sector
in the GCC countries, the
challenges witnessed by
the region and the world
require the education
sector in the region to
double their efforts to
create generations that
can
understand
and
analyse what is going
on around them very
objectively.
— ONA
omandailyobserver
5
NCSI participates in UN meet
NEW YORK: The Sultanate, represented
by the National Centre for Statistics
and Information (NCSI), concluded its
participation in the 46th session of the United
Nations (UN) Statistical Commission’s
meetings, which were held in New York. The
Sultanate delegation was led by Dr Khalifa
bin Abdullah al Barwani, CEO of the NCSI.
The meetings discussed the millennium
development goals post 2015 and launching
the international programme of population
(2020), as well as discussing basic principles
of official statistics, international trade,
globalisation, crimes, government, safety and
security statistics.
The agenda of the session included a
number of important topics, which pave the
way to publicise the universal declaration
of the international agenda of sustainable
development post 2105. The meetings
also touched on modernising the national
statistical systems and enabling them to
produce more efficient and effective official
statistics.
— ONA
6
OMAN
omandailyobserver
T U E S DAY
MARCH 10 l 2015
SEA TO SALALAH: Over 32,000 toured various historical and tourist sites in the wilayat
38 cruise ships visit Salalah
SALALAH: The Port of Salalah received
38 cruises carrying 32,150 tourists
from different parts of the world. The
tourists visited various historical and
tourist locations in the governorate
such as the frankincense plantations, Al
Baleed archaeological site, Frankincense
Museum, Itin mountain, beaches
and traditional markets. The tourists
expressed their delight with the tours
considering the richness of the locations.
Dhofar Governorate enjoys ancient
locations and eco variety in terms of
the desert, mountain and maritime
life. Due to the strategic location of
Dhofar Governorate and the Salalah
Port with its infrastructure, the Port can
receive different kinds of vessel. This
is enhanced by its closeness to various
ports in the Indian subcontinent and the
Red Sea.
The sultanate enjoys different kinds
of environment in the sea, mountain
and desert. This has given it an
advantage over other countries in the
region. Another advantage is that all
these locations are easily accessible.
Omani equestrian team in Delhi to
compete in Asian Championship
STAFF REPORTER
NEW DELHI
March 9: Oman’s national equestrian
team have arrived in the Indian capital,
New Delhi, to take part in the International Asian Championship, organized
by the Indian Equestrian Federation
under the auspices of the International
Federation for Equestrian Sports, from
March 10 to 15.
The event has attracted participation
from 11 international teams, namely
Oman, India, Russia, America and Kazakhstan Germany, Britain, Sudan, Jordan, Iraq and Iran.
The Omani team was greeted on arrival by representatives from the Omani
Embassy in India, who have worked
tirelessly to facilitate the procedures for
the team’s entry into the Championship
and are accompanying them during the
event, in the presence of delegates from
the Indian Equestrian Federation.
Oman’s national equestrian team
The event has attracted
participation from 11
international teams, namely
Oman, India, Russia,
America and Kazakhstan
Germany, Britain, Sudan,
Jordan, Iraq and Iran.
consists of 12 members: Mohammed
bin Salim al Maliki, Team Manager;
Hamoud al Riyami, Administrative
and Media Head; Mansour al Mahrouki, Coach; Mohammed bin Juma al
Maliki, Assistant Coach; Khamis al
Balushi, Team Coordinator; and Jockeys Captain Faris al Balushi, Hamoud
al Dageshi, Yousef al Maamari, Nasser
al Siyabi, Safwan al Maamari, Hamad al
Riyami and Mohammed al Siyabi.
Dhofar Governorate enjoys
ancient locations and eco
variety in terms of the
desert, mountain and
maritime life. Due to the
strategic location of Dhofar
Governorate and the Salalah
Port with its infrastructure,
the Port can receive different
kinds of vessel.
National equestrian team
Oman Air inks deal for sea-air
freight services to India
STAFF REPORTER
MUSCAT
March 9: Oman Air has signed a Letter
of Intent with Cargolux Airlines International SA to enable the freight specialist to use Oman Air’s facilities in Muscat, Salalah and Sohar.
The agreement includes the launch,
on April 15, of Cargolux’s full freighter
services from Luxembourg to India via
Oman. The formal signing of the agreement will take place when the first Cargolux flight arrives in Muscat on April
16.
The agreement signifies Oman Air’s
latest step in expanding its cargo operations. It follows earlier initiatives by
the national carrier of the Sultanate of
Oman, which includes the launch of
pan-GCC and pan-European trucking
services, and a joint cargo service with
DHL between Oman and Dubai.
Cargolux intends to increase the
number of services it operates to Oman
during 2015 to several flights per week,
with onward connections to multiple Indian cities, including Chennai, Bombay
and Hyderabad. Additional services to
cities in India are being considered and
connections to China, Europe, Africa
and the United States are also planned.
In addition, Oman Air will provide
Cargolux with access to the freight capacity of its passenger fleet, which flies
to 11 destinations in India and three in
Pakistan, as well as to destinations in
Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. This
will give the Luxembourg–based carrier
the opportunity to feed consolidated
freight to Oman from a number of larger markets.
Announcing the agreement with
Cargolux, the Chief Executive Officer
of Oman Air, Paul Gregorowitsch said:
“Oman Air has extensive and long-term
experience of operating flights to numerous destinations across the Indian
sub-continent and East Africa. Cargolux is a leader in carrying air freight
and offers huge capacity. This agreement
therefore represents an important strategic partnership that will give an important boost to the Sultanate of Oman’s
standing as a major hub for the move-
ment of freight between Europe, Asia
and Africa.
“In addition, Oman’s natural harbours, positioned at the entrance to the
Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf, and its
proximity to the sub-continent provide
a major advantage over its competitors
in the region. Furthermore, under the
guidance of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos,
Oman has invested in the development
of state-of-the-art logistics facilities - including ports, freight terminals and airports — not just in Muscat, but also in
Salalah, Duqm and Sohar.
“Oman therefore has an excellent
logistics chain for Cargolux to leverage
and Oman Air is pleased and proud to
be working with them to further expand
the country’s cargo sector. We offer a
warm Omani welcome to Cargolux and
we look forward to working with them
on this exciting enterprise.”
2 Omani photographers win gold medals in Qatar
DOHA: Said bin Ali al Wahaibi member
of the Omani Photographic Society,
affiliated to Sultan Qaboos Higher
Centre for Culture and Science, won
the gold medal at Al Thani Award for
Photography for his picture entitled
‘Fading like Smoke’.
His teammate Abdul Hakim bin Said
al Oujaili also won the gold medal in
the same competition for his image
entitled ‘Hunter’.
Omani photographers win those
awards after competing with 8488
photographers representing 99 states
from around the world who submitted
46,658 images. — ONA
DRUG SMUGGLERS ARRESTED
Inflation up 0.73 pc
The Directorate General for Combating Drugs and Psychotropic Substances arrested
2 Omani citizens on charges of smuggling drugs with the intent of trafficking, said a
Royal Oman Police (ROP) official. The two were arrested while attempting to smuggle
in 990 psychotropic tablets via Muscat International Airport.
MUSCAT: Inflation rate rose 0.73
per cent at the end of February this
as compared to the corresponding
month last year, according to a report
by the National Centre for Statistics
and Information (NCSI).
The NCSI consumer price index
(CPI) showed that the inflation rate
fell 0.19 per cent as compared to the
month of January. The inflation rose
due to increases in the prices of the
key commodity groups that constitute
the basket of consumer commodities
apart from the food and non-alcoholic
beverages group, and the clothing and
footwear group which fell by 0.67 and
1.27, respectively.
The exhibition will be held in Muscat on March 23-24 and in Salalah during March 25-26
UK Education Expo to showcase wide array of academic options
MAI AL ABRIA
MUSCAT
March 9: The UK Education Expo 2015 will
be organised from March 23-24 at Muscat and
March 25-26 at Salalah by Nimr Expo in association with Al Ahlam Higher Education Services.
This was revealed yesterday at a press conference chaired by Said Amer al Rahbi, Director
of Qualifications, Equivalence and Recognition
at Ministry of Higher Education, Salim Omar
al Hashmi, Chairman of Al Nimr Expo, Kate
Clarke, Managing Director and Education Advisor at Al Ahlam Higher Education Services, and
Muktar Mirza, Project Director at Al Nimr Expo.
Addressing the media, Al Rahbi said: “Higher Education and Training plays a vital role in
Oman’s development and there has long been a
strong relationship between the UK and Oman.
UK has always been the most preferred destination for Omani students to pursue their Higher
Education and enhance their English language
skills.
“The Ministry has noticed a sharp increase
in the enrolment of Omani students in British
institutions by both scholarship as well as privately funded students. There are about 30,000
full scholarships inside and outside the Sultanate
provided by the Ministry of Higher Education
every year which covers around 90 per cent of the
graduates. There are still some vacancies from the
past year as we only accept student with grades
above 65 per cent.”
Lola Lam, Commercial Attaché at UK Trade
and Investment said “Omani students have been
studying in the UK for many years and each year
we welcome many more new students. The relations between the United Kingdom and Oman are
strong and strategic and an increasing number of
UK institutions now have programmes in affiliate
colleges in Oman.”
The expo will attract over 2,000 visitors to
explore education opportunities from over 30 institutions offering a number of academic options
for the coming academic year.
Kate Clarke said: “UK is the number one destination for English language study and ranks
second in the world for university education.
The UK is a great place to study — whether it is
for undergraduate, post-graduate, or language
development. Excellent academic opportunities,
great internships, a tolerant society and welcoming culture are few reasons an international
student should consider study in the UK. For
students who like a little extra travel, it is also a
gateway to Europe.”
The expo in Muscat will be held at the
InterContinental Muscat and will remain open
for visitors from 4:30 pm to 9:00 pm; whereas the
expo in Salalah will be held at the Hilton Salalah
Resort and will be open from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
Al Hashmi said: “The Expo team has worked
extremely hard to plan and organise a variety of
activities to ensure maximum exposure for the
exhibitors participating at the exhibition. I would
like to acknowledge our thanks and appreciation
to UK Trade and Investment, British Embassy,
the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry — Dhofar Governorate for supporting this
important event. This year we have also included
the language schools to enable students strengthen their language during the summer vacation.”
The UK Education Expo enables students to
collect information and make informed choices
about career focused study programs. It also
gives them a chance to consult UK education
counselors for advice on study choices and to
directly meet with university representatives to
discuss and submit applications.
UK Education develops knowledge and skills,
provides freedom to be creative, and supports
students achieve their full potential. UK language
schools, colleges and universities offer a worldclass education — the chance to follow passion
for learning and gain qualifications that are valued by employers and academics worldwide. Students benefit from state of the art facilities and
excellent teaching due to strict quality standards
set by the UK government and education bodies.
The UK Education Expo has established itself
as a unique event dedicated to UK Higher Education Institutions and language schools since its
inception in 2011. The most comprehensive UK
educational event of its kind to be held in the Sultanate — the expo provides a perfect opportunity
for students, parents and working executives interested in education at all levels to meet and discuss with institution International Officers.
RELATIVES VISIT DEATH ROW PRISONERS
Chinthu Sukumaran (centre), an
unidentified relative (at right wearing
helmet), Michael Chan (2nd right) and
other family members of Australian death
row prisoners Andrew Chan and Myuran
Sukumaran leave their boat after visiting
the two prisoners in Nusakambangan
prison island, off Central Java on Monday.
The families of two Australian drug
smugglers face imminent execution.
A TASTE OF FRANCE IN SINGAPORE
T U E S DAY l M A R C H 1 0 l 2 0 1 5
The Moulin Rouge cabaret
dance troupe from France
pose for photographs in
Singapore on Monday.
The troupe performed in
Singapore on Saturday at
a gala dinner attended by
members of the French
community to celebrate
Singapore’s Golden Jubilee.
7
ASIA
Foreign NGOs in China
fear a clampdown
NATIONAL SECURITY: Govt prepares a new law to regulate
their activities may drive out several groups
BEIJING: Foreign non-government
organisations (NGOs) in China
are bracing for a crackdown as the
government prepares to pass a new law
to regulate their activities, which critics
fear could curb activism and drive out
several groups.
It is unclear how strictly the
government will enforce the rules,
which a parliament spokeswoman said
last week were necessary for national
security reasons.
But rights activists say the new law is
part of a broader trend under President
Xi Jinping’s administration to rein in
dissent.
The draft law, according to a copy
seen by Reuters that was obtained by a
foreign NGO, bars foreign NGOs from
activities that violate “Chinese society’s
moral customs” and from setting up
branches in China.
Issued by the Legislative Affairs
Office of the National People’s Congress
Standing Committee last December 22,
the draft law says foreign NGOs will be
regulated by a “business unit”, the police
and other authorities.
The Ministry of Public Security and
provincial public security departments
will administer registration of foreign
NGOs, it says.
The draft law bars foreign
NGOs from activities that
violate “Chinese society’s
moral customs” and
from setting up branches
within China
Foreign funding has to come from
“legal” sources and NGOs are not
allowed to raise money in China, it adds.
“This really worries me a lot,” said
Shen Tingting of Asia Catalyst. “It
shows that the government definitely
sees foreign NGOs as anti-government
agents.”
The National People’s Congress did
not respond to a request for comment.
The law aims to protect the legal
rights and interests of NGOs, Yang
Huanning, Vice-Minister of Public
Security, was quoted by state media as
saying.
Foreign NGO workers have met
several times since last October to
discuss how to respond, said two NGO
representatives with direct knowledge
of the situation.
They said they feared the law would
shut them down because of the difficulty
of getting permission for their activities,
which could ultimately face rejection.
“The rumour we’ve heard is the
purpose of the law is to get rid of us,” said
the China director of a foreign NGO,
who declined to be named, because of
the sensitivity of the topic.
Since last June, foreign NGOs have
faced closer scrutiny. State security
agents have interviewed them about
funding, representatives said. Two
foreigners working for NGOs recently
had to leave China because they were
working on incorrect visas, said three
people familiar with the matter.
The sudden departures of Tim
Millar, an Irish national from the Rights
Practice, a human rights NGO with
offices in Britain and the United States,
and Jeremie Beja, a French national
from China Development Brief, which
studies civil society, have unnerved the
NGO community.
Nicola Macbean, director of the
Rights Practice, confirmed Millar’s
departure. Beja and China Development
Brief did not respond to e-mails seeking
comment.
China says it has about 6,000 foreign
NGOs. Many train lawyers, judges and
Chinese NGOs, and push for a cleaner
environment.
— Reuters
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects Unit 1016 of KPA (Korean People’s Army) Air and Anti-Air Force honoured with the
Title of O Jung Hup-led 7th Regiment, in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency in
Pyongyang on Monday.
— Reuters
GENEVA: A United Nations human
rights investigator recommended an
international strategy on Monday to
press North Korea to clarify the fate of
hundreds of foreign nationals allegedly
abducted over decades, mainly from
Japan and South Korea.
Marzuki Darusman, an independent
expert, laid out the strategy in a report
to the UN Human Rights Council saying
that the International Criminal Court
(ICC) in the Hague was “competent for
prosecuting these perpetrators”.
“The strategy aims at eventually
shedding light on all cases of abductions
and enforced disappearances allegedly
committed by agents from the
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,”
Darusman, Indonesia’s former attorneygeneral, said on Monday.
“Achieving closure and accountability
for the abductions... is the ultimate goal
of this strategy,” he said in the 19-page
report, due for debate next week at the
47-member state forum.
A UN commission of inquiry, in
a major report a year ago, found that
since 1950 North Korea had engaged
in the “systematic abduction” of foreign
nationals “on a large scale and as a matter
of state policy”. Darusman was part of
the investigation that called these and
other abuses crimes against humanity.
In the report presented on Monday,
he said that agents from North Korea had
abducted “hundreds of nationals from
South Korea, Japan and other countries
between the 1960s and 1980s”. Since the
1990s, North Korea is believed to have
abducted several people from China,
including nationals of China, South
Korea and a former Japanese national,
Darusman said.
Japan’s national police agency is
looking into 881 possible abduction
cases blamed on North Korea over the
years, he said.
“In addition to victims from
Japan and the Republic of Korea, the
Commission of Inquiry recorded cases of
abductions and enforced disappearances
of nationals of Lebanon, Malaysia,
Romania, Singapore, and Thailand, and
possibly others,” he said. North Korean
Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong, addressing
the Geneva forum last week, again
rejected the findings of last year’s UN
inquiry as being “politically motivated”
and “based on lies” by a few defectors
whom he called criminals. — Reuters
8
ANALYSIS
omandailyobserver
T U E S DAY
MARCH 10 l 2015
COUNTING THE COST
OF RUSSIAN RECESSION
R
ussia’s lurch into recession has hit many tourism and luxury goods companies
hard, forcing them to cut prices — and in turn costs — in an attempt to limit the
damage. And there are few signs things will get better soon, with a fragile ceasefire
in eastern Ukraine doing little to ease international tensions over Moscow’s
support for pro-Russian separatists in the region.
The rouble lost almost half of its value against the dollar last year after oil prices
crashed and the West imposed sanctions on Moscow. That has crushed Russians’
spending power, forcing them to cut back and put pricey holiday plans on hold.
Spending on international travel by Russians fell by 6 per cent in 2014,
according to the UN World Tourism Organisation, a sharp drop from growth of
more than 20 per cent previous years.
Russian tourists are major buyers of luxury goods, particularly in European
capitals such as Milan where they are regular customers of brands such as
Ferragamo, Moncler and Kering’s Italian tailor Brioni.
Clerks at the menswear department of
posh Milan department store Rinascente said
Russian tourists
Russian clients had virtually disappeared.
According to tax-refund company Global are major buyers
Blue, spending by Russian tourists fell 17 of luxury goods,
per cent last year, and plunged 51 per cent
particularly in
in January following a 44 per cent fall in
European capitals
December.
Although there was an unexpected spike such as Milan where
in sales for some in December as Russians
they are customers
offloaded the fast-depreciating roubles for
durable luxury goods such as Cartier watches, of top brands,
many brands are preparing for a tough 2015.
reports ASTRID
Italian fashion group Roberto Cavalli
WENDLANDTSATO
expects Russian sales to drop 20 per cent this
year, while LVMH’s watch brand Hublot has
already seen sales decline 20 per cent in Russia
since January, a source close to the company said.
Eager to preserve client relationships, some brands have kept a lid on Russian
prices at the expense of margins.
Jerome Biard, who exports Swiss watches to Russia through his distribution
company LPI and represents brands such as Burberry, Michael Kors, Armani and
Raymond Weil, has suffered an extra blow from a surge in the Swiss franc, but has
held back from passing the costs on to customers.
“My strategy was to protect my distributors and help them empty their stocks
at the end and beginning of the year, so we all agreed to sacrifice our margins,”
Biard said.
LVMH’s Swiss luxury brand Tag Heuer, whose boutique in Ekaterinburg
enjoyed record sales in December, said it kept prices relatively unchanged in
Russia last year, though now plans to raise prices by around 20 per cent this month.
Mid-range French textile maker Maison LeJaby, which counts on Russia for
30 per cent of turnover, has had to shed 27 per cent of its staff, or 50 people, this
month.
Upmarket watchmaker Ulysse Nardin, recently acquired by Gucci owner
Kering, last month put some employees on temporary unemployment, blaming
the slump in Russian business.
It’s been a similar story for airlines, tour groups and hotels with a big exposure
to Russia. Some hotels in Turkey have slashed prices to fill beds after arrivals from
Russia dropped by more than 21 per cent in 2014, and by 22 per cent in January.
“We believe that the Russians won’t come (to Turkey),” said Markus Daldrup,
managing director at German tour operator Alltours, which is offering price cuts
of up to 24 per cent on summer trips to Turkey.
Egypt, whose tourism sector gets 30 per cent of its business from Russia, saw a
50 per cent plunge in visits from Russians in December, and another 20 per cent
in January year-on-year.
The country waived the $25 visa fee for Russians through the end of April and
plans to launch a massive campaign in Russia in the next months to win back
customers.
Several airlines, such as Emirates, have responded to the decline in Russian
travel abroad by offering fewer flights or seats to the country.
The posh ski resort of Courchevel estimates its Russian clientele has shrunk by
20-30 per cent this year, and those that have come have spent less.
“Before you would often see Russian clients buying bottles of wine at 6,000
euros, now they only get those for a few hundred euros,” said Adeline Roux, head
of tourism at the resort.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a event in New Delhi on February 17. — Reuters
Kashmir challenge for Modi
A
principal reason for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi build up Modi as the development messiah, was no longer
being swept to power in May was disgust with Sonia Gandhi, available. And, above all, prices of food had risen sky high.
Came a series of by elections in UP, Bihar, Jharkhand.
Rahul Gandhi and Manmohan Singh — indecisive, short
on ideas, bereft of charisma and supervising a government The Modi magic appeared not to be working. Then came
of scams. In a house of 543, the Congress had 209 seats. The the elections to the Delhi Assembly. On a platform against
corruption and for social justice the Aam Admi Party
shortfall of 63 was made up of coalition partners.
Manmohan Singh was a fine finance minister but, as trounced the BJP. Of the 70 seats, AAP won 67, making
prime minister, had a problem of being deferential to the Arvind Kejriwal the David to Modi’s Goliath.
After this experience last month, there was general
Gandhis to the point of being obsequious. He looked more
ineffective than he was. This collective anti-incumbency nervousness among big industry and their multinational
partners: what kind of budget will Modi and his bright
was harvested by Modi.
Big business along with their multinational linkages Finance Minister Arun Jaitley produce?
They have produced a market friendly budget focused
mounted a media campaign larger than any in electoral
history; by some estimates even bigger than the Obama on massive infrastructure projects, putting out allurements
to invite Foreign Direct Investment. After
campaign. This campaign too found
the electoral debacle in Delhi, the fear was
the adage apt: with opponents like the
The riveting
that the government would fall back on
Congress, who needs friends? For the
development the
populism, increasing public spending to
first time in decades, a single party
enhance the social security net. But Modi
government came to power. Without any
one that will define
surprised everybody. The corporates
alteration that same defunct Congress is
Modi’s innings, has
were overjoyed.
being sought to be resurrected.
been the power
In fact, Modi has placed himself at the
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is
committed to nationalism. This does
sharing government, mercy of corporates: it is in your interest,
he seems to be telling India Inc, as well
strike a chord with the majority. But the
writes SAEED NAQVI as that of the country, to keep the BJP
storm troopers who helped bring BJP
government buoyant with cent percent
to power were from the groups like the
media support on the scale that was
RSS and the VHP. These groups read
the mandate which brought Modi to power according to available to the party eversince Modi’s candidature was
their exclusive lights. They went on a rampage demanding announced in June 2013, right upto the elections in May
“ghar wapsi” or reconversion. They went to absurd lengths 2014. Will the corporates now attend to his requirements,
crediting ancient India with every conceivable scientific in the forthcoming elections in Bihar, Assam, UP. He has
invention. They provoked communal riots; barged into gambled for growth not electoral populism. If the economy
parties admonishing youngsters against dancing. Modi shows promise he will look safe by the next general
elections in 2019.
waited and watched from an ambiguous distance.
The riveting development the one that will define
By their excesses, they ended up embarrassing the
majority community along with other Indians. This when Modi’s innings, has been the power sharing government in
that very helpful tailwind, the anti incumbency against Kashmir. This has opened up the possibility of improved
Sonia, Rahul and Manmohan Singh had disappeared. The relations with Pakistan which in turn will bring down
international talent Corporate India had mobilised for one the communal temperature, an enabling precondition for
full year buying up every square inch of media space to accelerated economic growth.
Greece takes reform plan to Brussels with a referendum warning
G
reece faced deepening scepticism ahead
of talks on its plans for reforms to secure
a financial lifeline as Athens warned of a
possible referendum if its proposals are
rejected.
Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said
“there could be problems” if his colleagues
from the 19-country euro zone do not
accept the list that he is due to present at
the Eurogroup meeting in Brussels.
“We can go back to elections. Call a
referendum,” Varoufakis warned in an
interview with Italian newspaper Corriere
della Sera on Sunday.
“But, as my prime minister told me, we
are not glued to our seats yet.”
The Greek measures include plans to
streamline bureaucracy, raise revenue
from online gambling and, in a widely
derided suggestion, hire any army of
amateur tax sleuths — including tourists
— to help clamp down on tax dodgers.
But
Eurogroup
chief
Jeroen
Dijsselbloem, to whom Varoufakis sent
the proposals in an 11-page letter on
Friday, said that Greece’s reform plans
were “far from complete”.
“The Greeks know this. It’s a difficult
process that’s going to take a long time,”
he told a panel discussion in Amsterdam
on Sunday. The list must also be discussed
with the European Central Bank (ECB)
and International Monetary Fund (IMF),
the other members along with the EU
of the “troika” of Greece’s creditors, a
member of Dijsselbloem’s entourage said.
Varoufakis later said the comments
had been taken out of context but they
risk causing further irritation at home and
abroad at the hard-charging style of the
shaven-headed, Burberry scarf-wearing
“rock star” former economics professor.
“We will find a solution. Building up
scenarios to the contrary is pointless,”
Greek Deputy Budget Minister Dimitris
Mardas said yesterday when asked about
the referendum comments.
Dimitris Vitsas, an official from the hardleft Syriza party of new Prime Minister Alexis
Tsipras, told Greece’s MEGA television:
“Neither elections nor a referendum are on
the table. We are going to the Eurogroup to
seal a deal on the base of a popular mandate,
which is not to back down.”
Tsipras told Varoufakis and other
ministers at the weekend to give fewer
European Commission chief
Jean-Claude Juncker warned
of the need to recognise the
gravity of the situation in
Greece, both for its citizens
and the wider risks to euro
zone, notes DANNY KEMP
interviews, urging “fewer words and more
action”.
The last time Greece threatened a
referendum on its bailout in November
2011, it sent global markets into panic,
infuriated its European partners and led
to the fall of then prime minister George
Papandreou. Euro zone ministers agreed
at a meeting on February 20 to extend
Greece’s current bailout by four months
until the end of June, but the payout of the
next tranche of some seven billion euros
at the end of April is dependent on its
partners accepting the reform plans.
Greece has had two EU-IMF bailouts
worth 240 billion euros ($260 billion)
since 2010 to stave off bankruptcy and
keep the country in the euro, in exchange
for widely-loathed austerity measures.
But Tsipras, who won elections in
January, has caused alarm in the euro zone
by vowing to renegotiate Greece’s debt and
abandon much of the austerity.
European Commission chief JeanClaude Juncker warned of the need to
recognise the gravity of the situation in
Greece, both for its citizens and the wider
risks to the euro zone. “We must be sure
that the situation does not continue to
deteriorate in Greece. What worries me is
that not everyone in the European Union
has understood how serious the situation
is,” Juncker told German paper Die Welt.
People read newspaper headlines in a kiosk in Athens. A large majority of Greeks
want Athens to reach a compromise deal with international lenders. — Reuters
ANALYSIS
T U E S DAY
MARCH 10 l 2015
omandailyobserver
9
Are we headed for a new brave world or the same?
A
ALI AHMED AL RIYAMI
[email protected]
t the outset, let me say that some may think or find
this piece to be over generalistic or simplistic, but
it must be borne in mind that as a column piece
trying to cover an expanse of time, it is necessary
to have brevity and, as such, there’s no need to
go into too much detail about events and
outcomes.
To think that we’re already fifteen years into
the 21st century and we still find many old
stereotypical problems occurring that were faced
in the previous one, goes to show how even
the ardent optimist believing in a brighter,
safer and more pleasant future would
have to agree that this century has taken off with
much of the old bellicose baggage of the
previous one.
That is to say, we are still in the midst of
ongoing wars, civil strife and, to top it all, a
new range of pan and epidemics that threaten
the lives of everyone, viz-a-viz bird flu, swine
flu, Sars (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome),
Ebola… and so on.
The toll in the West African Ebola epidemic
is more than 18,000 reported cases and 6,800
known deaths, according to the World Health
Organisation (WHO).
And, here in the Middle East, the theatre of
war seems to be spreading wider and wider to to follow either of the aforementioned ideologies
the point where one wonders which regional and sought a separate path.
This stand-off carried on for much of the latter
country will become embroiled.
Things are very much far removed from part of the 20th century, where, especially in the
the hope of a ‘brave new world’ of peace and 80’s and 90’s, there was real fear amongst many
people of the world that the stand-off would
prosperity following on from two world wars.
eventually lead to nuclear
The 1960’s was a social
war and the potential of
watershed,
when
many
destroying the entire world.
citizens of the world thought
We are in the midst
As modern history has
that anything could be
of ongoing wars, civil
shown, this was averted with
achieved — after all man had
strife and, to top it all,
the virtual collapse of the
walked on the moon and we
Eastern bloc’s state control,
had entered the realm of the
a new range of pan
communist approach and
space age.
and epidemics which
the ensuing democratisation
But oh! how things turned
threaten the lives of
process that followed.
out so differently.
This period, like the 60’s
The division of Europe everyone, viz-a-viz swine
beforehand, was a heady time
between the Western alliance
flu, Sars and Ebola
and the hope was for universal
and the Eastern bloc that
peace and prosperity within
helped shape the entire world
the concept of a ‘Global
into those who believed in
Village’. Unfortunately, this
the premise of state control
(the communist East) and those who believed in concept was torn apart by the newly espoused
democratic control (the democratic socialist and one of ‘Clash of Civillisations’. What a terrible
turn of phrase the Clash of Civilisations is,
capitalist Western nations).
Added to this was a coalition of countries of especially when compared to the all-embracing
the Non-Aligned Movement who did not wish nature that the Global Village concept had, or is
it has.
I think what caused the deadly unwarranted
change from global harmony to universal
infidelity — i.e. out of tune with the idea
of peaceful coexistence — is obvious and
although nobody in their right mind would
approve of the cause, the resultant reaction
remains and lingers on.
Now, after so many new generations have
come and gone, we are still looking at old ways
to solve new problems, it may be right to think,
that were planned intentionally and exploited
for whatever advantage they could offer; without
even minding or caring in any way for the great,
unnecessary suffering they would cause.
In this era of fantastic technological
advancement, with all the benefits to mankind
that it entails, we should be utilising it for the
benefit of one and all, rather than as part of a
way of eliminating ones enemies, both real and
imagined.
We have the tools at hand to raise the level
of international cooperation and friendship
a thousand-fold and it makes complete sense
to use them this way, as opposed to a narrowminded way that aims at maintaining advantage
and, in turn, maintaining supremacy.
BEING A WOMAN
KRISTINA DUNZ UND LARS NICOLAYSEN
T
he female student wanted to know yesterday how German Chancellor
Angela Merkel feels about being a woman in the male-dominated world
of politics. The question was posed during a visit by Merkel to Japan, a
country not known for women advancing to the top echelons of politics
or business, and three days after Merkel’s coalition government passed
legislation mandating that 30 per cent of the members on supervisory
boards at Germany’s biggest listed companies be women.
Merkel said that, when she took office in 2005, there were certainly
many doubts about whether she, as a woman, could handle the job of
chancellor. “That was certainly the hardest thing in the first election, but
when people then see that things are also fine with women, it becomes
normal,” she said. “Examples are important.”
Merkel is certainly setting an example.
She was named Forbes magazine’s most powerful woman in the
world for eight of the past nine years and sits at number five on its list of
the most powerful people in the world.
Her government has been leading efforts to negotiate a resolution
to the Ukraine conflict, and she has held firm in demanding austerity
measures of debt-ridden euro zone countries in return for financial aid.
The 60-year-old enjoys high popularity ratings at home, and her
party, the Christian Democratic Union, is hoping she will stand for a
fourth term in 2017.
Merkel is also trumpeting the need to strengthen the rights of woman
and promote their independence and equality during Germany’s
presidency of the Group of Seven developed economies this year.
She admitted in Tokyo that Germany has too few women in top
positions and said it is no better in Japan.
And although it was her coalition partner and not her own party
that pushed through the corporate quotas, Merkel sounded proud at
the discussion at the Asahi Shimbun newspaper that the 30-per cent
threshold, which goes into effect in 2016, was passed by Germany’s
parliament last Friday. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is himself
pushing for women to contribute to their country’s economic recovery.
In a country that is rapidly ageing and not relying on immigration to
provide new members of its workforce, Abe is trying to make the maledominated society a place where women can “shine.”
The conservative prime minister calls it “womenomics.” By the time
Tokyo hosts the Summer Olympics in 2020, he wants to increase the
number of woman in top positions from today’s less than 10 per cent
to 30 per cent.
Former governor of Florida Jeb Bush speaks at a fundraiser for US Representative David Young in Urbandale, Iowa, on March 6. — Reuters
Policy wonk Jeb Bush faces campaign image test
I
n Republican Jeb Bush, Americans are seeing
a different sort of Bush on their TV screens:
a policy wonk who wears horn-rimmed
glasses and has neither his brother’s famous
Texas swagger nor his father’s patrician air.
The more introverted nature of Jeb,
who admits he would rather stay home
with a book than go out dancing, could be
one challenge for his expected presidential
campaign as he begins the kind of face-toface interaction needed in the early voting
states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
The former Florida governor will need
to convince voters to elect another Bush
in 2016 over other Republican stars, many
of whom so far appear more at ease in the
public glare, such as New Jersey Governor
Chris Christie and Florida Senator
Marco Rubio.
Bush, who has not run for office for
12 years and who admits he lost the 1994
Florida governor race because people did
not connect with him, has not always looked
comfortable on stage in the early stages of
the Republican nominee race. Bush’s aides
say he prefers question-and-answer formats
to set-piece speeches because they plays
to his strengths, such as a detailed knowledge
of policy.
Many Republicans say that all he needs to
do is shake off some rust.
“Jeb’s got substance,” said Florida
Republican strategist Rick Wilson. “He’s got
a lot of stories to tell as a successful governor
and those things matter in the assessment
people are going to make about the various
candidates in the field.”
The brother of former president George
W Bush and son of former president George
H W Bush is a practiced public speaker, but
he tends to rush through prepared speeches
and image experts say he has room to
improve his body language.
And Bush is downright nerdy when it
comes to details of policy and prides himself
on minutiae.
While the folksy George W Bush
famously described al Qaeda militants as
“evildoers,” Jeb uses diplomat-speak to say
the IS group is an “asymmetric threat.”
David Yepsen, a long-time Iowa
watcher who is director of the Paul Simon
Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois
University, said presidential candidates need
an electric and charismatic presence and
Bush has a ways to go to get there.
“If he’s not exciting them with speeches
and rhetoric the way Barack Obama did,
he’s got to do that personally and spend
time with caucus-goers and primary voters
and really work to overcome some of the
problems he has as a result of his being the
third Bush to run,” he said.
Image can be a crucial factor in
presidential races, as voters seek someone
they can envision in the Oval Office and to
whom they can relate. The 2012 Republican
nominee, Mitt Romney, was seen as stiff
and aloof, a perception that also dogged
Democrat Al Gore in 2000.
Image experts describe Bush’s body
language as a work in progress after
reviewing videotapes of his recent
appearances. They notice that he slumps
his shoulders forward to look less than his
The 62-year-old Jeb Bush
admits that he is at heart an
introvert, telling a crowd that
he “would rather read a book
than go out and get in a conga
line or go dancing,” reports
STEVE HOLLAND
six-foot-four-inch frame, and that he rubs
his hands together, twists his wedding ring
and thrusts a hand into a pocket, all signs
suggesting some degree of public anxiety.
Jane Seaman, owner of the Imagine
Image consulting firm in Houston, said
Bush “seems uncomfortable in his clothes.”
Image consultants say he will need to add
passion to his obvious policy expertise.
“His words are very crafted. He’s not yet
personally passionate,” said Patsy Cisneros,
owner of West Coast-based Corporate Icon,
an executive image specialist.
Bush is not known to consult an image
specialist. The Bush camp declined to
comment on how he is prepared for public
appearances.
At an agricultural forum in Des Moines,
Iowa on Saturday, Bush appeared to be
getting the hang of things.
He praised the local food and reminisced
warmly about his father’s first, unsuccessful
presidential bid in 1979.
The 62-year-old Jeb admits that he’s at
heart an introvert, telling a crowd in San
Francisco recently that he “would rather
read a book than go out and get in a conga
line or go dancing.”
When he ran again for Florida governor
in 1998 and won, he did so by showing
voters he cared about issues important to
them.
Vowing to improve education, for
example, he visited 250 schools.
“I earned it by working hard to connect
with people,” he said in Detroit last month.
“That experience on a national scale is going
to be part of the strategy.”
Jeb Bush stepped up his criticism of
Hillary Clinton, calling it “baffling” that she
stored official US State Department e-mails
on a personal server rather than safer
government systems.
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INDIA
omandailyobserver
T U E S DAY
MARCH 10 l 2015
Dimapur lynching rocks Assam assembly
COSTLY LAPSE: Former Assam minister claims he alerted Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi about the impending incident
This is a sensitive
matter. opposition is
politisising the issue.
The Centre must find out if
there is any truth in Ahmed’s
statement and if there is no
truth, action should be taken
against him by the state
government
PRANAB GOGOI
Assam Assembly Speaker
A women walks through a market in Dimapur as residents shop during a six-hour break in a round-the-clock curfew on Monday. Police said they have charged 42 people
after the killing and lynching of a man who was dragged from his prison cell, with more arrests overnight.
— AFP
GUWAHATI: The fifth day of the
budget session of the Assam legislative
assembly on Monday witnessed noisy
scenes over the lynching of a youth in
Nagaland’s Dimapur town.
The problem started after some of the
opposition members raised concerns
over former Assam minister and
Congress legislator Siddeque Ahmed’s
statement that he had prior information
that the mob will break into the jail in
Dimapur and kill the accused and that
he had informed Assam Chief Minister
Tarun Gogoi about this on the morning
of March 5.
Ahmed had on Sunday said that he
had informed the chief minister and
requested him to take up the matter
with the Nagaland government.
However, the chief minister negated
the possibility of such an incident and
ignored the matter, Ahmed had alleged.
The
former
Border
Area
Development minister, who was
dropped from the Gogoi cabinet last
year for anti-party activities, also alleged
that the victim could have been saved
had the chief minister taken up the
matter with the neighbouring state.
The opposition MLAs demanded a
clarification from the government over
the statement of Siddeque Ahmed.
“Ahmed is a Congress legislator and
he has said that he had informed about
the matter to chief minister several
hours before the lynching...We want to
know the truth. If he had informed the
chief minister, then why did the chief
minister not take up the matter,” said
AIUDF legislator Rafikul Islam.
AGP legislator Padma Hazarika
demanded a statement by the
House members cannot participate during the entire budget session
government on the issue. “Ahmed is a
Congress legislator and he has brought
the allegation against the government
run by his party. We must take it
seriously and inquire into the matter,”
Hazarika said while demanding a
statement from the government.
Assam government spokesman
Rockybul Hussain, however, said
there is no need for a statement as the
government had taken all necessary
steps over the incident.
“This is a sensitive matter and the
Opposition is trying to politicise the
issue,” he said.
Assembly Speaker Pranab Gogoi,
however; ruled that the government
should write to the central government
to verify whether there was any prior
information about the jail break
incident and subsequent killing of the
man accused or outraging the modesty
of a woman.
“The Centre must find out if there is
any truth in Ahmed’s statement and if
there is no truth, action should be taken
against him by the state government,”
the speaker ruled.
Meanwhile, the Congress Legislature
Party has served a show-cause notice to
Ahmed seeking an explanation for his
statement.
The Assam Pradesh Congress
Committee has also served a showcause notice to the legislator asking
him to explain his position within three
days, failing which the party might
initiate disciplinary action against him.
— IANS
BAD WEATHER
Road leading
to Badrinath
shut following
heavy snowfall
DEHRADUN: The highway to the hill
shrine of Badrinath in Uttarakhand
has been shut due to heavy
snowfall, officials said on Monday.
Officials said that Sunday’s snowfall
blocked traffic in Lokhandi region of
Chakrata, 86 km from here.
Landslides were reported on
the Rishikesh-Badrinath road near
Khadchadha and Lambagad while
Gaursaun, Vedni Bugyal, Roopkund,
Rudranath and Kuari Pass received
light snowfall. The Badrinath shrine,
dedicated to Vishnu, is located some
10,240 feet above sea level in the lower
reaches of the Himalayas.
The route to the temple is one of
the most fascinating due to the hilly
terrain and numerous mountain cliffs.
The inclement weather has
also stopped the restoration and
construction work in the Kedarnath
temple area, which suffered extensive
damage following massive floods two
years ago.
Badrinath
and
Kedarnath
constitute two of the shrines in the
“Char Dhaam”, the others being
Yamunotri and Gangotri.
The Met department has predicted
more snow in the next few days after
which summer is expected to set in.
The winters have been unusually
harsh in Uttarakhand.
The recent rains and snowfall have
only added to the miseries of the
people. — IANS
EXPOSED TO HAZARDS
TDP legislators suspended
from Telangana assembly
HYDERABAD: Ten legislators of the
opposition TDP were suspended on
Monday from the Telangana assembly
for the entire budget session for stalling
the proceedings.
Speaker S Madhusudana Chary
announced the suspension of the Telugu
Desam Party members after Minister for
Legislative Affairs T Harish Rao moved
a resolution.
As soon as the house met, the second
day of the budget session, the minister
asked the members to apologise for
showing disrespect to the national
anthem by their unruly conduct during
the governor’s address to the joint session
of the legislature on March 7.
The TDP members, on their
part, rushed to the speaker’s podium
demanding action against the ruling
Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS)
Earlier, a meeting of leaders
of all parties called by the
speaker decided that the
members who showed
disrespect to the national
anthem should apologise.
legislators who allegedly attacked
opposition members during the
governor’s address.
Amid pandemonium, Harish Rao
moved the resolution for suspension
of the TDP members for the rest of the
budget session, and it was adopted by
voice vote.
Sampath Kumar of the main
opposition Congress party apologised
to the house but clarified that it was not
a deliberate show of disrespect to the
national anthem.
Earlier, a meeting of leaders of all
parties called by the speaker decided that
the members who showed disrespect to
the national anthem should apologise.
This was decided after they saw the
video footage of the governor’s address.
Some opposition legislators had
disrupted the proceedings by raising
slogans when the national anthem
was being played before and after the
governor’s address.
They also stood on the tables, tore
the copies of the governor’s speech and
hurled it at him.
The leader of the opposition, K Jana
Reddy, said the entire footage should be
seen and action be taken against all the
members found indulging in unruly
behaviour, irrespective of their party
affiliation. — IANS
A man fishes on the banks of the polluted river Yamuna in New Delhi on Monday. Despite being heavily polluted and laden
with sewage, millions of people depend on the Yamuna as a source for water.
— AFP
IN BRIEF
Satyam fraud
case verdict
deferred till
April 9
HYDERABAD:
A
special CBI court here
on Monday adjourned
pronouncement of the
judgment in the multicrore Satyam scam till
April 9. Special Judge B V
L N Chakravarthi, who was
scheduled to pronounce
the verdict on Monday,
deferred it by a month.
The court on December
23, 2014 had set March 9 as
the date for the judgement
in
country’s
biggest
accounting fraud that
left the corporate world
stunned in 2009. All 10
accused, including prime
accused B Ramalinga Raju,
the Satyam Computer
Services Limited’s founder
B Ramalinga Raju (centre), the former chairman of IT
and former chairman,
company Satyam, walks out of the Metropolitan Courts in
appeared in the court.
Hyderabad on Monday. The court postponed a verdict in the
— IANS multi-billion-dollar Satyam fraud case until April 9. — AFP
Bedlam in UP
assembly over
law & order
LUCKNOW: BJP and BSP legislators
on Monday created uproar in the
Uttar Pradesh assembly over what
they said was the deteriorating
law and order situation in the
state. As the house met after Holi
break, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)
and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
members accused the government
of failing to control crime. The
opposition claimed that 33 people
had been killed across the state
since Holi and police had failed to
control criminals. The BJP legislators
also raised the issue of farmer
suicides, especially after the rainfall
and hailstorm that damaged crops
in the state. The opposition leader,
Swamy Prasad Maurya of the BSP,
pointed out that banks were being
robbed in Lucknow and police
appeared to be helpless.
Cabinet minister Ambika
Chowdhary slammed the BSP and
the BJP for the bedlam saying that
everyone knew how the interests
of farmers were hurt by the central
government’s land acquisition bill.
Tourism infrastructure in 12
cities to be developed soon
Maharashtra plans 1.41 million
toilets in villages
NEW DELHI: The tourism ministry will develop world class
infrastructure in 12 cities — that see high pilgrim traffic — in
different parts of the country, the Lok Sabha was informed
on Monday. The 12 cities — Amritsar, Ajmer, Amaravati,
Dwarka, Gaya, Kanchipuram, Kedarnath, Kamakhya, Mathura,
Puri, Varanasi and Vellankani will be developed as part
of the ministry’s Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual
Augmentation Drive (Prasad).
The project will implemented in mission mode, Mahesh
Sharma, Minister of State for Culture and Tourism
(Independent Charge) said in a written reply. — IANS
MUMBAI: Maharashtra will construct around 1.41 million
toilets in rural areas in the current fiscal under the ‘Swachh
Bharat Abhiyaan’, Governor C V Rao said on Monday. Another
800,000 toilets will be provided to households in urban areas of
the state, Rao told a joint session of the Maharashtra legislature
on the opening day of the budget session 2015-16. With a view
to provide sanitation, water and other related services, the
government will launch Jalswarajya-II Programme in 12 districts
with World Bank assistance. — IANS
Six held for attacking police
CHANDIGARH: Unidentified men on Monday looted over Rs.
1.34 crore from the cash van of a private bank in a village near
Mohali town in Punjab, 20 km from here. Police officials said the
robbers waylaid the Axis Bank’s cash van at Saneta village and
hijacked it after over-powering the guard in broad daylight. The
van was later found abandoned a few kilometres away. — IANS
BHUBANESWAR: At least six people were arrested for
attacking policemen during an anti-liquor protest in Odisha’s
Kendrapara district, police said on Monday. More than
1,000 residents carried out an anti-liquor rally in Namatara
village on Sunday, about 160 km from Bhubaneswar. They
also ransacked a shop, police said. When police tried to
prevent them, villagers pelted stones and attacked them.
The protesters also set fire to a police jeep and damaged a
fire brigade vehicle. “Police were compelled to resort to a
baton charge and blank firing to disperse the protesters,”
Superintendent of Police Satish Kumar Gajbhiye said. At least
13 policemen, including the inspector-in-charge of a police
station and nine villagers were injured in the incident, he
said. “The situation remained tense but under control. We
have arrested six for attacking police,” he said. — IANS
Cash van looted in Punjab
Two cops shoot each other
PATNA: Two policemen shot each other dead, following an
argument on Monday in Bihar, police said. The incident took
place at Bikram block office in Patna, where they were on duty,
Patna Senior Superintendent of Police Jitendra Rana said. “We
have started the investigation to ascertain the actual reason
behind the incident,” he said. According to police, they had a
heated argument over some issue, following which both shot
each other dead with their service rifles. — IANS
INDIA
T U E S DAY
MARCH 10 l 2015
omandailyobserver
11
Centre seeks new report on Alam’s release: Rajnath
FREEDOM AND AFTER: Home Minister Rajnath Singh agrees there are ideological
differences between the Bharatiya Janata Party and Peoples Democratic Party
NEW DELHI: Home Minister Rajnath
Singh said here on Monday that the
Centre has asked for a fresh report from
the Jammu and Kashmir government
as its clarification on the release of
separatist leader Masrat Alam was
unsatisfactory.
“Many leaders have expressed
concern over the release of Alam. As
soon as we got information in the matter,
we asked for a report from the Jammu
and Kashmir home department,” said
Rajnath Singh in the Lok Sabha and
the Rajya Sabha. He also said that the
central government was not satisfied
with the report and has sought further
clarifications on this.
“As far as public safety and national
security is concerned, our government
will not compromise at all. Will not
allow anyone to play with the safety and
security of the nation.”
The minister’s statement came
as members from both houses of
parliament expressed concern over
Alam’s release.
Alam, arrested during the 2010
unrest in Kashmir Valley for allegedly
inciting youth to pelt stones at security
and police forces, was released by the
newly-installed PDP-BJP coalition
government on Saturday.
In the Rajya Sabha, as opposition
members accused the Bharatiya Janta
Party (BJP) of having a “hidden agenda”
in Jammu and Kashmir, the home
minister said: “We have no hidden
agenda. Our agenda is in the open.”
While giving clarifications on his
statement, the home minister agreed
that there were ideological differences
between the Bharatiya Janata Party
Masrat Alam Bhat (second from right), a Kashmiri separatist leader, speaks on his mobile phone at his residence in
Srinagar on Monday. — Reuters
(BJP) and Peoples Democratic Party
(PDP).
“Despite ideological differences,
this government was formed in Jammu
and Kashmir, because the mandate
was fractured. If not us, you could have
formed the government... The garden
that you destroyed, we are trying to
make it bloom again,” the home minister
said, targeting the Congress.
The home minister said he was
speaking on behalf of Prime Minister
Narendra Modi.
“I am happy the whole house is
concerned. If I can understand their
feeling, the whole house agrees Jammu
and Kashmir is an integral part of India,
and will always be...,” he said.
“...I want to assure the house, and
I am speaking on behalf of the prime
minister, we will not allow anyone to
disintegrate the nation, howsoever big
the power may be,” he added. Rajnath
Singh also said that Modi has so far not
had any talks with Jammu and Kashmir
Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad
Sayeed on any topic of significance.
“The prime minister has not had
any talks with Mufti sahab on major
issues. He met the PM but it was just
a courtesy call,” he said. The home
minister informed the house that the
Jammu and Kashmir government has
said that Masrat Alam had 27 criminal
cases against him since 1995.
“They have informed that the high
court has granted him bail in all 27 cases
as he could be detained for only two
years on the same grounds,” Rajnath
Singh said.
The home minister, however, said
that the central government was not
satisfied with this report.
“We have further sought clarifications
— IANS
on this.”
J&K normal following
the separatist’s release
JAMMU/SRINAGAR: Though the
ruckus that followed the controversial
release of separatist leader Masrat
Alam continued to ruffle feathers in the
national capital on Monday, normalcy
prevailed in Jammu and Kashmir.
Life remained normal in the state
despite a two-day shutdown call given
by the Panthers Party in Jammu against
the release of Masrat Alam at state Chief
Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed’s
orders.
Shops, other business establishments,
government offices, banks, post offices
and public transport operated normally
in Jammu city and other parts of the
Jammu region and across Kashmir.
The shutdown call had little effect
on life in Jammu, where BJP leaders,
including the ministers in the ruling
coalition, refused to speak to the media
on the controversy created by the
separatist leader’s release.
However, state BJP president and
parliamentarian Jugul Kishore said:
“We were not asked before releasing
Masrat Alam. If they had asked us, we
would not have given approval from
our side on this and even today our
consent is not with this decision.”
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi
told parliament that he was equally
concerned over the development since
the issue was related to the country’s
security, the respective leaderships of
the BJP and PDP in the state maintained
silence over the issue.
Modi’s assertion that he had not been
consulted before releasing the separatist
Freed without
Centre’s nod: PM
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister
Narendra Modi said on Monday
that Masrat Alam was released
without taking the central
government into confidence.
Making an intervention in the Lok
Sabha, Modi said it was legitimate
for the house to show its anger
on the issue. “I assure the nation
and the house that after the
Jammu and Kashmir government
was formed, proceedings are
taking place without taking
the Indian government into
confidence,” the prime minister
said. “I associate with the concern
and anger in the house,” he
added. — IANS
leader has put a question mark on the
PDP statement that the BJP was on
board regarding the separatist release.
Masrat Alam told reporters in
Srinagar: “Mufti Sayeed should not
try to take political mileage out of it. I
was released through a normal legal
procedure since my Public Safety Act
(PSA) detention was about to end in
the next two to three days.” He also said
that his release should not be turned
into a political issue. “What difference
does it make if one person is released
when there are thousands languishing
in jails,” he said while denying that he
had been responsible for the killings of
youths during the 2010 unrest. — IANS
Opposition attacks Indian woman fatally stabbed in Australia
govt over land bill
NEW DELHI: Opposition parties
on Monday attacked the central
government over the land acquisition
bill even as the government said
amendments would be brought in to
address their concerns.
As the government moved The Right
to Fair Compensation, Rehabilitation
and Transparency in Land Acquisition,
Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act,
2015 for discussion, leader after leader
of the opposition questioned the
urgency of the government in bringing
in an ordinance to amend the 2013 law
in December last year.
In the new bill, the government has
removed the need for obtaining the
consent of landowners and carrying out
Social Economic Assessment (SIA) for
acquiring land under certain categories.
Many parties in the Lok Sabha
on Monday, including the Congress
and the Nationalist Congress Party,
demanded that the bill be sent to the
standing committee.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M
Venkaiah Naidu said the government
has brought in the amendments after
extensive consultations with the state
governments. “It was suggested that
the act was flawed and we have tried
to improve it”. “We will come out with
further appropriate amendments to the
bill from the government side,” he said.
“It is not a unilateral decision. It is a
decision taken after proper consultation
by the states. The government felt
that there was a need to make certain
amendments”.
Naidu assured that the Modi
government will not take any step which
will go against the weaker sections.
Opposition leaders, meanwhile,
argued that taking away farmers’ lands
will affect the country’s food security.
“Farmers in our country do not
have water for irrigation and fertilizers;
now they will also not have any land,”
Congress member Jyotiraditya Scindia
said. Asserting that the Congress will
oppose the new law from the streets to
parliament, Scindia said: “It will affect
the food security of the country.”
“If you take tribal land, then be
prepared for a spurt in Maoist activities,”
the member said, adding the country
cannot have islands of prosperity.
Farmers in our
country do not have
water for irrigation
and fertilizers,
now they will also
not have any land
JYOTIRADITYA SCINDIA
Parliament member
The Right to Fair Compensation,
Rehabilitation and Transparency in
Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and
Resettlement Act, 2015, would replace
an ordinance which was promulgated
by the government in December 2014.
Scindia also asked if the government
respects the president. “The president
had said ordinances need to be
promulgated in emergency situations
only.” “This bill should have been sent to
the standing committee, but you vetoed
it as you have a majority,” he said.
Trinamool Congress leader Kalyan
Banerjee said: “We are opposing the bill
100 percent.”
“In 2007, our leader fasted for 26
days to protect the interests of farmers
in Singur in West Bengal,” he said.
Banerjee said his party was
struggling for farmers’ rights. “By this
amendment, the honour of farmers in
this country is being taken away.”
“We have seen a number of cases
where farmers have not been given back
the land though the project has not
been completed,” he said, asking why
should multi-crop land be given away
for industry.
“This will affect the food security of
the country,” he said.
— IANS
SYDNEY: An Indian mother was fatally
stabbed in a Sydney park during a brutal
attack as she was on the phone to her
distraught husband back home, police
said on Monday.
Prabha Arun Kumar, a 41-year-old
IT professional, was taking a shortcut
through Parramatta Park in the city’s
west at around 9.30 pm on Saturday
when she was killed.
Family members told Indian media
that the woman was speaking with her
husband, G Arun Kumar, at the time
and he heard her scream for help.
“She was walking while talking
to Arun on the phone when she said
that a suspicious-looking man was
following her,” brother-in-law Thrijesh
Jayachandra told an Indian newspaper.
“The next moment he heard her
scream for help and then plead with the
man not to harm (her) and take all her
belongings if he wanted. Seconds later,
he heard her scream and say she was
stabbed.”
The husband jetted into Australia
on Monday and was helping police with
their investigation.
“He’s understandably extremely
distressed,” homicide squad commander
Michael Willing said.
People walk in a Sydney park on Monday past the spot where IT professional
Prabha Arun Kumar was stabbed to death during a brutal attack on March 7. — AFP
“Here we have an Indian national
who has been in the country for some
time, going about her business and ends
up being killed in a very vicious way.”
Police appealed for help from the
public, releasing footage of Kumar
walking from Parramatta Railway
Station. “It’s a horrific crime. It’s a very,
very disturbing crime,” Willing added.
“We think that she sustained a
number of injuries to the neck area
with what we believe is a sharp-edged
weapon.”
Police said there was nothing to
suggest the murder of Kumar, who
planned to move back to India in April
to be with her husband and nine-yearold daughter, was racially motivated.
“Could this be a random attack? Well,
yes it could. It could be a whole range of
scenarios... and we are considering all of
them,” Willing said.
The dead woman’s flatmate said
Kumar had probably not wanted to
bother anyone to ask for a lift home
after finishing work late and arriving at
Parramatta train station at 9 pm.
“Because she was working late
regularly, she felt bad to ask for help,”
her flatmate, who asked to be identified
as Sarada, told The Daily Telegraph.
Instead she decided to walk, and
was attacked near a quiet, tree-lined
path where bouquets of flowers were on
Monday left in her honour.
Kumar was found by a passer-by
shortly after the attack and rushed to
hospital, but had lost too much blood
and doctors were unable to save her. She
was just 300 metres from home.
“I don’t know how I am going to face
her husband,” Sarada said. “She is very
close to her husband and her daughter.
“She talks to them every day, as
soon as she finishes work she calls her
husband and keeps talking. She has a
good family.”
No arrests have been made so far.
A spate of violent crimes against
Indian students in Australia in 2010,
including the murder of 21-year-old
Nitin Garg as he walked to work at
a fast-food restaurant in Melbourne,
heightened tensions between the two
countries.
— AFP
Snowfall hits power, air links in J&K
SRINAGAR: Heavy snowfall threw normal life out of
gear in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday, disrupting
electricity, road and air links between Kashmir Valley
and the rest of the country. The strategic JammuSrinagar National Highway No. 1A remained closed for
the second day on Monday while air traffic, which was
suspended on Sunday, was resumed in the morning.
Trains’ movement in Kashmir was also suspended
because of gathering snow on the rail tracks.
Overnight rain and snowfall toppled electric poles
in many parts of Kashmir, including in Srinagar city,
disrupting electricity supply.
“All flights were cancelled on Sunday afternoon
due to accumulation of snow on the runway. However,
snow was cleared and flights operated as per schedule
on Monday,” an airport official said here on Monday.
Srinagar received 18 cm of snowfall during the past
12 hours and the minimum temperature was recorded
at minus 0.3 degree Celsius on Monday.
In Gulmarg town 30 cm snowfall was recorded, and
mercury dipped to minus 7 degrees below the freezing
point, the weather office said.
A Kashmiri farmer works on a snow covered rice field after fresh snowfall in Srinagar on Monday. The only land
route connecting with India remained closed for the eighth day after heavy snow and rains triggered land slides
along the mountanious national highway.
— AFP
The state administration postponed all secondary
education board and university exams scheduled for
Monday. “Fresh dates for the postponed papers will be
notified separately,” authorities said. The Met Office
said the weather will improve after March 9. “Weather
will remain mainly dry in the state during the next 24
hours,” a meteorological department official said.
In Ladakh region, Leh town recorded the minimum
temperature of minus 2.4 degrees and Kargil town was
colder at minus 6.4 degrees Celsius.
“The night temperature in Jammu city was 9.8
degrees Celsius”, the official added.
— IANS
12
WORTH THE LONG WAIT
T U E S DAY l M A R C H 1 0 l 2 0 1 5
Dorothy Webster holds remains of the
RAF plane and the wedding ring of her
brother, F/Sgt John Thompson Flight
Engineer, during a ceremony at the
Albanian Defence Ministry in Tirana. F/Sgt
Thompson was declared missing in action
during World War II after the RAF plane he
was in crashed in the Albanian mountains.
Years later, an Albanian villager found the
wedding ring engraved “John & Joyce”.
WORLD
Merkel backs European army
NEW PUSH: German Chancellor favours deeper military cooperation in Europe
A spokesman for the
European Commission
defended EU calls to create
its own army, saying that
the EU treaty allows for the
pooling and sharing
of national resources
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe take part in a meeting in Tokyo. — Reuters
BERLIN/BRUSSELS:
German
Chancellor Angela Merkel gave her
support on Monday to a new push to
forge a European army in the wake of
the outbreak of tensions with Russia.
The chancellor is in favour of a
“deeper military cooperation in Europe,”
government spokeswoman Christiane
Wirtz said.
But Wirtz insisted that Berlin saw
the proposal, which was revived at the
weekend by European Commission
President Jean-Claude Juncker, as a
“future project” without any concrete
plans for its launch.
A spokesman for the European
Commission
defended
Juncker’s
remarks calling for the European Union
to create its own army, saying that the
EU treaty allows for the pooling and
sharing of national resources.
“It makes sense to get EU member
states to combine military and defence
capabilities to make spending more
efficient in times of fiscal consolidation,”
Margaritis Schinas said, pointing also
to the fact that there is “geopolitical
uneasiness around us.”
“We have studies that show that the
potential from such cooperation (in)
the European defence sector could lead
to savings of up to 120 billion euros
($130.3 billion) a year,” he added.
Schinas said these issues will be
discussed by EU leaders at a summit due
to be held in Brussels on June 25-26.
“Such an army would help us to
shape a common foreign and security
policy and to seize together Europe’s
responsibility in the world,” Juncker told
the weekly German newspaper Welt am
Sonntag.
“You do not have a European army
to deploy it immediately. But a common
army of Europeans would convey to
Russia that we are serious about the
defence of EU values,” he added.
German Defence Minister Ursula
von der Leyen also backed on Sunday
the EU army plan, calling in an interview
with German radio for increased links
Obama orders Venezuela sanctions
WASHINGTON: US President Barack
Obama on Monday ordered a fresh wave
of sanctions against senior Venezuelan
officials involved on opposition
crackdown and the prosecution of
Caracas’s mayor.
Obama ordered visa bans and assets
freezes on seven officials, including
the director general of the intelligence
service and the director of the national
police.
He also targeted Katherine Nayarith
Haringhton Padron the prosecutor who
charged the Mayor of Caracas Mayor
Antonio Ledezma over an alleged coup
plot.
“We are deeply concerned by the
Venezuelan government’s efforts to
UN aid chief named
UNITED NATIONS: British lawmaker
and former Parliamentary UnderSecretary of State for International
Development, Stephen O’Brien, will
replace Valerie Amos as the United
Nations aid chief, UN Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon announced on Monday.
Amos, a former British Cabinet
minister, Leader of the House of Lords
and Secretary of State for International
Development, is stepping down in
May after more than four years in the
position.
“Mr O’Brien is expected to bring
innovative and strategic ideas as a
strong humanitarian advocate with
more than 20 years of experience in
international development and health
care,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric
told reporters. Since 2012 O’Brien has
been Britain’s special representative
for the Sahel, the zone of transition in
Africa between the Sahara Desert to the
north and the Sudanian Savanna to the
south.
— Reuters
The US president has
ordered visa bans and assets
freezes on seven officials,
including the director
general of the intelligence
service and the director of
the national police
escalate intimidation of its political
opponents,” the White House said,
unveiling the executive order.
The move is certain to worsen
already fraught US-Venezuela ties.
Two years after the death of leftist
firebrand Hugo Chavez, his hand-picked
successor, President Nicolas Maduro
has ramped up anti-US rhetoric as the
economy has worsened.
His government recently ordered
the number of officials at the American
embassy be reduced from 100 to 17 by
March 17 and began requiring visas
for US travelers. Most of those targeted
for US sanctions on Monday were
accused of being involved with a 2014
crackdown on opposition protests that
left more than 40 dead.
The White House on Monday
described the charges against Caracas
Mayor Ledezma, a important opposition
figure, as “based on implausible — and
in some cases fabricated — information.”
— AFP
Troops launch offensive
against Boko Haram
MARADI: Troops from Niger and
Chad have begun a military offensive
against Boko Haram in Nigeria,
witnesses said Monday.
The troops launched the operation
from Bosso in the south-east of Niger
and from Diffa, the main town in the
region.
It is the first joint operation by the
two countries in Nigeria, though troops
from Chad have crossed the border in
the past to take on Boko Haram.
Witnesses in Diffa said they saw
hundreds of military vehicles cross
a bridge into Nigeria and reported
which
subsided
into
gunfire,
occasional shots during the course of
the morning.
At least 2,000 Chadian soldiers were
participating in the operation, local
journalist Issa Ibrahim estimated. The
number of Nigerien troops was not
known, but the country’s parliament
has approved the participation of 750
troops in the fight against Boko Haram.
Nigerian army spokesman Chris
Olukolade said there had been “preemptive manoeuvres” with the
BELGIAN ROYALS MEET POPE
participation of Nigerian troops,
according to the newspaper Premium
Times. The operation came just after
Boko Haram pledged allegiance to
Islamic State.
The African Union has endorsed the
creation of a regional force numbering
more than 8,000 troops to combat
the group, which has killed more
than 13,000 people in Nigeria since
2009 and has also launched crossborder raids into Chad, Cameroon and
Niger.
Meanwhile, troops from Chad and
Niger have retaken the northeastern
Nigerian town of Damasak from Boko
Haram as part of a regional offensive to
combat the militants who have pledged
allegiance to the IS group.
Boko Haram had held the town near
the Niger border since November, part
of a swathe of territory it had seized in
Nigeria’s northeast, where the group’s
six-year insurgency has been based.
“The offensive has allowed for
control to be taken of Damasak,”
a Chadian security source said on
Monday.
— dpa
between the German military and other
European armed forces.
Meanwhile, Merkel waded into the
fraught area of wartime forgiveness
during a visit to Japan on Monday,
saying that “facing history squarely”
and “generous gestures” are necessary to
mend ties.
Merkel was speaking in Tokyo
ahead of the 70th anniversary of Japan’s
defeat in World War II, in which Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe’s conservative
views on Tokyo’s war crimes are
under scrutiny, and as China and South
Korea continue to call for ever more
contrition.
“Germany was lucky to be accepted
in the community of nations after the
horrible experience that the world
had to meet with Germany during the
period of National Socialism (Nazism)
and the Holocaust,” she said in a public
lecture hosted by the left-leaning Asahi
newspaper
“This was possible first because
Germany did face its past squarely,
but also because the Allied Powers
who controlled Germany after the
Second World War would attach great
importance to Germany coming to grips
with its past.”
— Agencies
Pope Francis
exchanges
gifts with King
Philippe Filip
of Belgium and
Queen Mathilde of
Belgium during a
private audience
yesterday at the
Vatican.
US envoy urges Europe to
boost peacekeeping efforts
BRUSSELS: Europe should get more
involved in global peacekeeping efforts,
US ambassador to the United Nations
Samantha Power said Monday, during a
visit to Brussels.
The United States bears a large share
of global security costs, covering two
thirds of Nato’s budget and more than
28 per cent of UN peacekeeping costs.
But economic constraints have led
Washington to call on other countries
to step up their involvement.
“Twenty years ago, European
countries were leaders in peacekeeping,”
Power said in a speech at the Friends
of Europe think tank, adding that at
the time, more than 40 per cent of UN
blue helmets — or 25,000 troops - came
from European forces.
By comparison, faced with today’s
record demands of more than 190,000
UN troops, she said that just 6,000 came
from Europe.
The UN is involved in peacekeeping
operations across the world, ranging
from missions in Haiti and Kosovo and
in African countries such as the DRC,
the Central African Republic, Mali and
South Sudan.
Suggestions have also been floated
for the UN to take on a possible
peacekeeping role in the crisis in
eastern Ukraine, as well as in Libya, if
talks there on creating a national unity
government succeed.
“UN peacekeeping needs European
militaries more than ever,” the US
diplomat said, citing their extensive
training, professionalism and high-end
equipment, as well as medical units
or reconnaissance teams. Power’s visit
comes as the UN prepares to mark its
70th anniversary this year.
Twenty years ago,
European countries
were leaders in
peacekeeping. By
comparison, faced with
today’s record demands
of more than 190,000 UN
troops, just 6,000 came from
Europe.
SAMANTHA POWER
US Ambassador to the UN
US President Barack Obama is
hosting a summit of world leaders
in September aimed at generating a
“wave of new commitments” to UN
peacekeeping, she said.
The US diplomat also chided
Europeans for contributing an overall
lower share towards Nato defence
spending than Washington does.
This disparity is “not only
unsustainable, it is dangerous,” Power
warned.
She also deplored the fact that the
European Union had never used its
battlegroups, a quick military response
force established in 2007 to intervene in
crises.
— dpa
AROUND THE GLOBE
Hillary says ‘not there yet’ on women’s equality
Putin reveals
details of Crimea
annexation
MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir
Putin said in comments released
Monday that he took the decision to
annex Crimea at a nightlong Kremlin
meeting after former Ukrainian
President Viktor Yanukovych was
ousted in February 2014.
“When we parted, I told
everybody: We have to start working
on bringing Crimea back into Russia,”
Putin said in the trailer to
a documentary film about the
subject, produced by Russian state
television.
It was the first time that Putin had
revealed details about the Kremlin’s
decision-making on Crimea.
He said that the meeting of
security officials took place in the
night from February 22 to February
23.
Crimea’s pro-Ukrainian
government was replaced by a
pro-Russian one four days later,
after troops without insignia — who
were later confirmed to be Russian
— seized the Black Sea peninsula’s
government buildings.
Moscow declared the region part
of Russia two days after a March 16
referendum, in which it said that 98
per cent voted for unification.
The annexation was not
recognised by Ukraine and its Western
allies.
Putin said later that Crimea would
remain part of Russia forever.
In the trailer, Putin also says that
during that meeting he arranged an
operation to save Yanukovych’s life by
bringing him to Russia “by land, sea
and air.”
— dpa
NEW YORK: Two women with global clout — Hillary Clinton and Melinda Gates —
released a sweeping report on Monday showing that women are still far from winning
equality in leadership positions.
The “No Ceilings” report is a review of progress made by women since the 1995
Beijing conference laid out a platform of action for achieving gender equality.
It was at that gathering that then first lady Hillary Clinton declared: “Let it be that
human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights, once and for
all.” But 20 years on, women are still “very much a minority” when it comes to holding
political office, representing fewer than 30 per cent of the world’s lawmakers, the
report said. About a fifth of ministers in Latin America and Africa are women, but they
tend to run portfolios such as health, education or welfare and are left out of defence
and financial ministries. Women hold finance or budget cabinet posts in just 24 of 189
countries studied for the report.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has noted that five countries still have all-male
parliaments, and eight countries do not have a single woman in cabinet. The report
was released at the start of a 12-day UN conference on women that will focus on
women’s political power and their influence in economic decision-making. — AFP
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth is presented with flowers as she leaves after
attending the Commonwealth Observance service at Westminster
Abbey in London yesterday.
— Reuters
No bath for Cologne’s sooty cathedral
COLOGNE: Cologne’s Cathedral, one of Germany’s architectural wonders and one of
its most visited sites, won’t be getting a scrubbing.
The 157-metre-tall, soot-covered Gothic structure and World Heritage Site will keep
its black colour, its deputy master builder, Peter Fuessenich, said Monday.
The cleaning of individual sculptures is being carried out now, but a wide-ranging
cleaning like those undertaken at other large churches
“will never ever happen,” Fuessenich said.
The cost would be too great, “and even if we could do it, the result would be an
absolute pied cathedral,” he said.
The multiple colours would come from the different kinds of stone used to
construct the cathedral from 1248 to 1880.
The landmark, whose two towers and flying buttresses rise high above the banks
of the Rhine River, survived World War II although Cologne was flattened around it
by aerial bombings. It was heavily damaged, however, after it was hit 14 times in the
bombardments. Repairs were finished in 1956.
— dpa
REGION
T U E S DAY
MARCH 10 l 2015
War on IS will be won, says US
BATTLE FOR TIKRIT: Iraqi troops and militia backed by Iran battle to retake former
president’s home city of Tikrit from the control of IS fighters
BAGHDAD: The top US military
officer said on Monday that IS would be
defeated, as he visited Baghdad during
an offensive against the insurgents
which has seen Washington’s military
role overshadowed by Iran.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff General Martin Dempsey held
talks with Defence Minister Khaled al
Obeidi while Iraqi troops and militia
backed by Iran battled to retake the city
of Tikrit from the IS.
US forces withdrew from Iraq
in December 2011, eight years after
invading to overthrow Saddam
Hussein. Since IS fighters took
over parts of the country in June,
Washington has been training and
equipping the army to fight back.
It has also led an international air
coalition which has been striking IS
positions in Iraq and Syria.
But it says Baghdad did not request
US help in the battle to retake Saddam’s
home city of Tikrit, which is being
waged by more than 20,000 fighters,
mostly known as Hashid Shaabi
(Popular Mobilisation) units, as well as
army troops.
Iranian General Qassem Soleimani,
commander of the Revolutionary
Guards elite Quds brigade, has been
seen directing operations on the
eastern flank, where the Iran-backed
Badr Organisation has been steadily
fighting towards Tikrit.
Dempsey sought to emphasise the
wider international support behind
Baghdad’s counter-offensive.
“Daesh will be defeated and it will
be defeated because the coalition
that has organised together to face
this common threat,” he told a news
conference, standing alongside Obeidi.
Daesh is the Arabic acronym for IS.
Tehran and Washington have been
major adversaries since Iran’s 1979
Revolution, although there has been
a recent thaw linked to negotiations
US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey (left) holds a press conference in Baghdad on Monday.
Dempsey’s visit also coincided with the start of an offensive by Kurdish peshmerga forces in Kirkuk that further increases the
pressure on the last IS strongholds east of the Tigris river.
— AFP
between big powers and Iran on
curbing its nuclear work in exchange
for sanctions relief.
Obeidi defended Baghdad’s close
reliance on its neighbour, which he
said was one of many allies. He said
Iran provided most of its support to
the militias, although he described the
label as misleading and called them
instead as “popular forces”.
“We are in a state of war, and
the condition of the military in the
previous period is no secret to anyone,
especially in terms of weapons and
military equipment for the Iraqi army,”
Obeidi said.
Iraqi army brigades north of
Baghdad collapsed in a matter of days
IS kills 20 opponents in
northern Iraq: officials
KIRKUK: IS fighters executed 20
people who wanted to fight against
them in the northern Iraqi province of
Kirkuk, officials said on Monday.
The killings of the men, who wanted
to join anti-IS paramilitary forces
known as Popular Mobilisation units,
took place in the town of Hawijah, a
police intelligence officer and two local
officials said.
The executions could not be
independently confirmed, but a
gruesome series of photos posted
online and shared on social media are
evidence that they took place.
The photos show the bodies of
more than a dozen different men
strung by their feet from light poles,
what appears to be a communications
or electricity tower, and under a
massive sign featuring the IS flag and
name.
Captions under the photos
said the men were members of the
Popular Mobilisation units and used a
derogatory term that could either refer
to the units’ leadership.
IS spearheaded a sweeping offensive
last June that overran large parts of the
country north and west of Baghdad,
including in Kirkuk province.
Security forces backed by militia are
battling to regain ground, with support
from a US-led coalition and Iran.
The Popular Mobilisation units —
which are dominated by on faction but
also include other volunteers — have
played a key role in the anti-IS fight,
shoring up the government’s flagging
troops.
But militiamen have also been
accused of carrying out atrocities
targeting other factions in areas
retaken from IS.
— AFP
in front of IS’s June offensive.
“When we need something that Iran
has, we make use of it. And the same
is the case for the US... Iran mainly
helps the Hashid Shaabi, it supports the
popular forces in Iraq.”
While not involved in the Tikrit
offensive, the United States has been
training Iraqi troops for a campaign
further north to retake Mosul, the
largest city under IS control. So far
5,000 troops have completed the
training.
Last month a US official said the
Mosul offensive may be launched in
April or May — a forecast Washington
later dismissed as inaccurate — but the
announcement was met by frosty anger
in Baghdad. Obeidi said the timing of
any military action was an entirely
Iraqi decision.
Iraq has also criticised the US-led
coalition for failing to use air power
to protect its cultural heritage from IS
fighters, who have attacked artefacts in
Mosul museum and bulldozed parts of
the ancient cities of Nimrud and Hatra.
Dempsey said the military priority
was focused on populated areas and
protecting residents from the militants.
“So it’s a little difficult to prioritise the
areas of antiquities, but there are times
when that may be possible. It would be
a matter of prioritisation with our Iraqi
partners,” he said.
— Reuters
BEIRUT: A German woman fighting
alongside Kurdish forces in Syria was
killed over the weekend in clashes with
the IS group, Kurdish officials said on
Monday.
The Kurdish forces, backed by US
air strikes and local rebel fighters, have
been battling IS in northern Syria after
the al Qaeda offshoot captured large
tracts of land along the border with
Turkey.
The woman, Ivana Hoffmann, was
killed in a village near the town of Tel
Tamr in northeastern Syria, Kurdish
official Nasir Haj Mansour said.
She had joined female Kurdish
fighting units, known as the YPJ, two to
three months ago, he said.
Nawaf Khalil, a spokesman for
the Kurdish PYD party in Europe,
confirmed she had died over the
weekend.
The
British-based
Syrian
Observatory for Human Rights said
she was the third foreigner fighting
alongside Kurdish forces to be killed in
Syria’s four-year-old war.
Last week the Observatory, which
tracks the conflict using a network of
sources on the ground, reported that
another European had been killed
further east, days after an Australian
man died.
The Observatory estimates that
just over 100 Western fighters have
joined the Kurds in Syria and include
Americans, French, Spanish and Dutch
fighters, among other nationalities.
A Canadian-born immigrant to
Israel was the first female foreign fighter
to join the Kurds in Syria, a Kurdish
source said last year.
The number of foreigners fighting
alongside the Kurds is small in
comparison with the thousands of
foreign recruits to IS and other hardline
groups.
— Reuters
Four Arab parties uniting under one banner for the first time
Egypt to begin Mubarak,
sons retrial on April 4
in January after they served the
maximum pretrial detention period
pending their retrial.
But Mubarak, whose lawyer said
he too has served his maximum
pretrial detention, is still held in a
military hospital.
In November, a criminal court
dropped murder charges against
Mubarak, 86, and also acquitted
seven of his top security chiefs,
including feared former interior
minister Habib Al Adly, in a case
involving the killing of protesters
during the 2011 revolt that ousted
the ex-strongman. Prosecutors have
appealed against the verdict and the
Court of Cassation is still to decide
on it. — AFP
Joint force must to fight
militants: Arab League
CAIRO: The Arab League called for
the creation of a regional force to
combat militants as countries face
a growing threat from IS and other
groups.
Speaking at the opening session
of an Arab League meeting of
foreign ministers, Secretary General
Nabil el Araby called for action.
“What is required now and
urgently is to look into creating a
multi-national force that is able to
look at what unites them in terms of
responsibilities in the areas of quick
intervention to fight terrorism, the
activities of terrorist groups, helping
in peacekeeping operations and
securing humanitarian operations,”
he said.
It was not immediately clear
13
German woman dies in Syria
GRAFT CASE
CAIRO: The retrial of ousted
Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak
and his two sons on charges of
corruption will open on April 4, a
judicial official said on Monday.
In January, the Court of Cassation
overturned Mubarak’s conviction
on corruption charges and ordered
that he and his sons Alaa and Gamal
be tried again.
A lower court had sentenced
Mubarak to three years and his
sons to four years for allegedly
embezzling $16 million (14
million euros) earmarked for the
maintenance of presidential palaces.
Alaa and Gamal — symbols
of corruption during their father’s
three-decade rule — were released
omandailyobserver
which countries would join such a
force or where or when it would be
created. The Arab League is due to
hold a summit of Arab leaders later
this month in Sharm el Sheikh.
The ultra-radical group has taken
over swathes of Iraq and Syria and
splinter groups in other countries
like Egypt and Libya have pledged
allegiance to it. Yemen’s Al Qaeda in
the Arabian Peninsula is also very
active.
The United States leads a
coalition that is fighting IS in Iraq
and Syria. Washington says Saudi
Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Bahrain
have participated in or supported
air strikes in Syria. Iran is playing a
major role in fighting IS in Iraq.
— Reuters
Arab party a new force in Israeli polls
UMM EL FAHM, Israel: A political
sideshow for much of the past six
decades, Israel’s Arab minority is hoping
to gain much-needed muscle after next
week’s parliamentary election, with four
Arab parties uniting under one banner
for the first time.
Surveys show the Joint Arab List
could even finish third in the vote and
become a factor in the coalition-building
that dominates Israeli politics, where no
party has ever won a parliament majority.
Many in the Arab community, which
makes up 20 per cent of Israel’s eight
million population, see the newfound
unity as a breakthrough in battling
discrimination and gaining recognition.
Though they have full and equal rights,
Arab Israelis often say they are treated as
second-class citizens.
“We’ve been waiting for this for
decades,” said Mirna Baransi, 24, a
student from Nazareth. “We’ll have more
power now to make a difference.”
Israeli Arabs are descendants of
residents who stayed put during the
1948 war of Israel’s founding, in which
hundreds of thousands of fellow
Palestinians fled or were forced to
leave their homes, ending up in Jordan,
Lebanon and Syria as well as in Gaza, the
West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Those who remained have long
pointed to inferior services and unfair
allocations for education, health and
housing. More than half of the Arabs in
Israel live below the poverty line.
In Umm el Fahm, an Arab Israeli
town of 48,000 that borders the northern
part of the occupied West Bank, signs
urging residents to vote for the Joint Arab
List are pinned along the main road that
winds up into the hills.
A blue and grey party banner —
“One cause, one vote” — hangs at the
town’s entrance. Nearby, a mosque
minaret overlooks the golden arches
of a McDonald’s and memorials
commemorate 13 local youths killed by
Israeli police in 2000 while demonstrating
Members of the Joint Arab List gesture during a news conference in Nazareth, in this file picture. A political sideshow for much
of the past six decades, Israel’s Arab minority is hoping to gain much-needed muscle after next week’s parliamentary election,
with four Arab parties uniting under one banner for the first time. Surveys show the Joint Arab List could even finish third in the
vote and become a factor in the coalition-building that dominates Israeli politics, where no party has ever won a parliament
majority.
— Reuters
in solidarity with a Palestinian uprising.
Khitam Mahmis, 46, said she has
never before voted in an election, but
this time she will. “Life is getting worse
for the Arabs here. If we go to the ballot
with more people, then we will get more,”
she said.
Arab parties have never been included
in any Israeli government, nor have they
sought membership. That is unlikely to
change now — but the Joint Arab list
could still have a big role to play after the
votes are counted.
The Arab parties have traditionally
won around 11 seats in the 120-seat
Knesset. As a joint list, opinion polls
predict, they could win 13, while their
internal projections suggest this could
even rise to 15, putting the group a clear
third.
In Israel’s parliamentary election
system, voters choose parties rather than
individual candidates, and the head of
the party with the most political allies
will usually win a presidential mandate
to try to form a government.
Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint Arab
List, has hinted that the faction may back
Isaac Herzog, whose centre-left Zionist
Union is running neck-in-neck with
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s
right-wing Likud before the March 17
vote. In such a tight race, every seat is
crucial.
“We want this government which led
all of us, Jews and Arabs, to a dead end,
not to continue,” Odeh said. “But we are
not in Herzog’s pocket.”
Some of Odeh’s partners are unlikely
to recommend any candidate as prime
minister, but if Herzog gets the job,
the Joint Arab List could lend essential
outside backing. That has happened
in the past, with Arab lawmakers
supporters of late Prime Minister Yitzhak
Rabin, who struck a peace deal with the
Palestinians in 1993.
“We had a successful formula in
the ‘90s with the Rabin government,”
Odeh said, indicating he was seeking a
similar arrangement. “We united those
marginalised and threatened, and we
seek partnership with Jews too.”
Arab voter turnout in the 2013
election was 57 per cent, lower than the
68 per cent national average. But Tamar
Hermann of the Israel Democracy
Institute said the number could rise.
Arab citizens make up about 15 per
cent of eligible voters, which means they
have an electoral potential of 18 seats.
Some vote for non-Arab parties.
In a possible political twist, if Herzog
and Netanyahu end up equal and form a
“grand coalition” together — as pollsters
are starting to predict — Odeh’s list
would withhold its support and become
the official opposition, a first for an Arab
party in Israel’s history.
Odeh, 40, is not well-known
outside the Arab community, but he
drew attention during a TV debate in
which he kept his cool when far-right
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
accused him of representing “terrorist
organisations” in the Knesset.
“’Peace’ has become a dirty word in
this election campaign and I am worried
democracy will become a dirty word
in the next, because of this man,” Odeh
replied.
— Reuters
14
omandailyobserver
ENVIRONMENT
T U E S DAY
MARCH 10 l 2015
FUKUSHIMA RESIDENTS TORN OVER
NUCLEAR WASTE STORAGE PLAN
OKUMA: Norio Kimura lost his
wife, father and 7-year-old daughter
Yuna in the March 2011 tsunami.
Now, he fears he may lose his land,
too, as Japan’s government wants to
build a sprawling radioactive waste
storage site in the shadow of the
wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant.
Like many here, Kimura is angry
the government is set to park 30
million tonnes of radioactive debris
raked up after the nuclear accident
on his former doorstep.
Few believe Tokyo’s assurances
that the site will be cleaned up and
shut down after 30 years.
“I can’t believe they’re going to
dump their trash here after all we’ve
been put through,” said Kimura, 49,
standing near the weathered planks
on a shrub-covered hill that represent
all that’s left of his home.
Kimura was forced to abandon
searching for his family in the frantic
hours after the tsunami and ordered
to evacuate after explosions rocked
the Fukushima complex, just 3 kms
from his home.
Months later, he found the bodies
of his wife and father.
But all he has left of Yuna are
her mud-soaked pink skirts, a pair
of striped leggings and a blackened
soft toy he found tangled in a heap
of debris.
Four years after the earthquake
and tsunami disaster, Kimura still
returns to his hometown and combs
the deserted beach for Yuna’s body
— in 5-hour stints, the maximum
allowed under radiation health
guidelines.
The March 11, 2011 earthquake
and subsequent tsunami tore
through coastal towns in northern
Japan and set off meltdowns at Tokyo
Electric Power’s Fukushima Daiichi
plant, which sits partly in Okuma.
Japan has since allocated more
than $15 billion to an unprecedented
project to lower radiation in towns
around the plant, such as Okuma.
Every day across Fukushima
A temporary housing complex covered in snow that accommodates nuclear evacuees from Okuma, a town inside the
exclusion zone next to Tokyo Electric Power Co’s tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, in
Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima prefecture.
— Reuters
prefecture, teams of workers blast
roads with water, scrub down
houses, cut branches and scrape
contaminated soil off farmland.
That irradiated trash now sits in
blue and black plastic sacks across
Fukushima, piled up in abandoned
rice paddies, parking lots and even
residents’ backyards.
Japan plans to build a more
permanent storage facility over the
coming years in Okuma and Futaba,
another now-abandoned town close
to the Fukushima nuclear plant —
over the opposition of some local
residents.
“This land has our blood and
sweat running through it and I can’t
just let go of it like that,” said Koji
Monma, 60, an Okuma resident who
heads a local landowners’ group.
Fukushima’s governor agreed to
take the waste facility after Tokyo
said it would provide $2.5 billion in
subsidies, and promised to take the
waste out of the prefecture after 30
years.
Tomoko Hoshino, 78, who was evacuated from Okuma, a town inside the
exclusion zone next to Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. — AFP
Mayors of Futaba and Okuma
have since agreed to host the 16
square km facility— about five
times the size of New York’s Central
Park — which will wrap around the
Fukushima plant and house multiple
incinerators.
Some 2,300 residents who own
plots of land in Futaba and Okuma
which the government needs for the
waste plant face what many describe
as an impossible choice.
The storage site will be built if the
government can lease or buy enough
land — whatever concerns the last
hold-outs may have.
In a dozen town-hall meetings
organised by the environment
ministry last year, angry landowners
confronted junior officials over thenminister Nobuteru Ishihara’s remark
that any agreement with landowners
simply came down to money.
Only half of the area’s registered
landowners attended the meetings,
and there have been no agreements
reached between any of the residents
and the government.
Distrust of government promises
runs deep among residents here.
In more than four decades of
nuclear power plant operations
Japan has yet to set up a permanent
storage site for the nuclear fuel piled
up at plants like Fukushima.
“I’m sure they’re considering this
site as a final storage destination for
radioactive trash.
I can’t trust them, no one can,
about what will happen in 30 years
time,” said Takashi Sugimoto, 73, an
Okuma landowner.
In a law passed in November,
Japan Environment Storage and
Safety Corp (JESCO), a taxpayerbacked group with no experience
in dealing with nuclear radiation,
was put in charge of operating the
facility, with a promise to shift the
radioactive trash out of Fukushima
after 30 years.
“We understand that residents
have concerns.
But we have made this promise at
the highest level,” the ministry said,
adding it would do its utmost to meet
that deadline.
The ministry has hired around
140 real estate representatives to
negotiate land sales with individual
owners.
Kimura, who has moved to
Nagano prefecture, knows it’s only a
matter of time before they knock on
his door.
He has vowed not to take their
deals. — AFP
REMINDING A PROMISE
Greenpeace
activists display
banners on the
Seine river in
front of the
French National
Assembly in
Paris, yesterday.
The banner was
hung to remind
people of an
electoral promise
by French
President
Francois
Hollande who
declared that
nuclear power
would be 50 per
cent of the
France’s energy
production by
2025. — AFP
China could struggle to meet 2020 N-targets
BEIJING: China could struggle to
meet its 2020 nuclear energy targets
with the industry still waiting on a
cautious government to speed up the
approval process, a senior industry
executive said on Saturday.
But as it waits for domestic
projects to go ahead, the state-owned
China National Nuclear Corporation
(CNNC) is now ready to start selling
reactors overseas, said the firm’s
chairman Sun Qin, speaking to
Reuters on the sidelines of the annual
session of parliament.
China planned to raise its total
installed nuclear capacity to 58
gigawatts (GW) by 2020, up from
20 GW now, but despite ending a
freeze on new approvals late in 2013,
the state has not yet given any new
projects the full go-ahead following a
nationwide safety probe in the wake
of Japan’s Fukushima crisis.
“The country’s determination to
develop the nuclear industry has not
changed but the planning has slowed
a little,” said Sun. “The target won’t
change, but it will need hard work,
especially these next two years.”
Sun said he hoped his firm would
win approvals for six reactors this
year, with new units at Fuqing in
Fujian province and Sanmen in
Zhejiang likely to start construction.
China is now in the process
of building advanced “thirdgeneration” reactors and would be in
a better position to press ahead once
those are completed, he said.
“My belief is that after the
thirteenth five-year plan period
(2016-2020) China will be able to
accelerate the pace,” he said. “In the
transition from second- to thirdgeneration, we need to be a little
more prudent.”
China aims to become a
dominant force in the international
nuclear market, and is developing
its own-brand reactors, including
the Hualong 1, with a view to selling
them overseas.
Sun said CNNC would start
building the first Hualong 1 this year,
but he denied the firm would have to
wait until it was completed before it
could sell the model abroad.
“We have already done the
preparation and we can sell them at
any time,” he said. “The technology is
mature.”
China is planning a sweeping
restructuring of the nuclear sector
in order to boost its competitiveness
abroad.
The State Nuclear Power
Technology Corp (SNPTC) is
currently in the process of merging
with top state utility China Power
Investment (CPI), and industry
sources said CNNC could also be
combined with its main rival, China
General Nuclear Power Corp (CGN).
“The merger of SNPTC and CPI
is not hot air — the State Council has
not yet formally approved it but the
two sides intend to go through with
it — but other mergers haven’t been
put on the agenda yet,” said Sun.
He also said the firm was “near
the front of the queue” to raise 16.25
billion yuan on the Shanghai Stock
Exchange through a share sale of its
primary subsidiary, expected later
this year.
— Reuters
ILLICIT
TASTE
More than 2 m
migratory birds
killed in Cyprus
NICOSIA: More than two million migratory
birds were killed in Cyprus last autumn to
feed an illicit taste for the delicacy on the
Mediterranean island, a conservationist group
said on Monday.
The survey by Birdlife Cyprus was carried
out in the key season between September
and October and estimates the number of
birds indiscriminately trapped in nets or with
limesticks.
The group said its surveillance showed “a
dramatic situation of this illegal activity sadly
taking place,” with the number of mist nets
used almost doubling in 2014 from the year
before.
It found some 16 kilometres of net supports
active during autumn and more than 6,000
limesticks were reported from enforcement
agencies and other non-governmental
organisations.
Limesticks are twigs covered in a sticky
substance that instantly trap birds that alight
onto them, leaving them to dangle helplessly.
“With these trapping levels for autumn
2014, BirdLife Cyprus estimated that over two
million birds could have been killed across the
whole of Cyprus,” said Birdlife, the most since
it began monitoring the activity 13 years ago.
S u c h
methods are ‘With these trapping
used to catch
levels for autumn
blackcaps
and
song 2014, BirdLife Cyprus
t h r u s h e s , estimated that over
m u c h
two million birds
sought after
d e l i c a c i e s could have been killed
that
fetch across the whole of
up to 80
Cyprus,’ says Birdlife,
euros ($86)
for a dozen the most since it began
at Cypriot monitoring the activity
restaurants.
13 years ago
The Game
and Fauna
Service, in
charge of the fight against poaching in Cyprus,
says the illegal trade is worth about 15 million
euros a year.
Birdlife said the figures showed illegal
trappings were now “out of control” and that
more needed to be done by the authorities in
Cyprus, including the British military at bases
on the island.
A clampdown on restaurants was needed to
prevent Cyprus revisiting the 1990s when up
to 10 million birds were estimated to have been
killed.
Autumn is the peak season for bird trapping
with an estimated 3,000-4,000 poachers
involved. The numbers for spring are lower
because the birds are less plump.
Birdlife Cyprus chief Clairie Papazoglou
said poaching was a “serious, persistent and
growing problem” in “what has been the worst
year with the highest trapping levels since the
start of the monitoring programme in 2002”.
Tim Stowe of the Royal Society for the
Protection of Birds called for zero-tolerance by
the British military.
“The report highlights the illegal trapping
of songbirds on the British military base has
escalated and we are urging the Ministry of
Defence... to resolve it before this autumn’s
migration,” said Stowe.
A huge crackdown on trappers and
restaurants was enforced before Cyprus
joined the European Union in 2004, but now
conservationists say the government lacks the
political will to eradicate the trade.
Birdlife has also called for tougher
sentencing available to the courts to be
enforced while pinpointing a need to change
attitudes towards killing and eating migratory
birds. The law provides for penalties of up to
three years in jail and fines as high as 17,000
euros but these are rarely imposed.
—AFP
EUROPE
T U E S DAY
MARCH 10 l 2015
omandailyobserver
US sends heavy armour to Baltic states
MANOEUVRES: Nato is countering Russia’s moves by boosting defences on Europe’s eastern flank
An Abrams battle tank, for US troops deployed in the Baltics as part of Nato’s Operation Atlantic Resolve, leaves Riga port.
National Front leads pack
in local election run-up
PARIS: The far-right National Front is on
track to win more votes than any other party
in the first round of French local elections
this month, a poll showed on Monday, and
the Socialist prime minister spoke of “fear” it
could win the presidency.
The survey by pollster Odoxa showed
Marine Le Pen’s anti-EU, anti-immigration
party gathering 31 per cent of votes on March
22 in the first of two election rounds.
That would place her National Front ahead
of the ruling Socialist party, with 21 per cent
of the vote, and the centre-right opposition
UMP party, with 29 per cent.
While Le Pen is unlikely to get large
numbers of party officials elected in the
March 30 runoff, such a first-round score
would build on her party’s defeat of both
mainstream parties during European
parliament elections last May.
“I fear for my country. I fear that it will
smash itself to pieces against the Front
National,” Prime Minister Manuel Valls told
Europe 1 radio at the weekend.
“Do you think a National Front scoring 25
per cent in European elections, perhaps 30
per cent in local elections, and so on, cannot
win the presidential election? Not in 2022, or
2029, but in 2017,” he added.
Most political analysts say that if Le Pen
keeps up her momentum, she could reach a
runoff round in the 2017 presidential election
but then would have little chance of defeating
Leader of the french far-right Front National
(FN) party Marine Le Pen holds a press
conference in Metz, eastern France. — AFP
a mainstream candidate to win power.
However, Front officials note that in 12
recent local by-elections, voters switched
to the National Front after voting for a
mainstream party, hinting that Le Pen could
boost her score between rounds in 2017 and
edge close to 50 per cent.
Previously President Francois Hollande
- whose own approval score has sagged
after a rise in January — said Socialists
needed to “tear away National Front voters”
in the elections to designate officials in 96
administrative districts.
National Front Vice President Florian
Philippot accused the president of comparing
National Front voters to “bad weeds” that
need to be rooted out.
Odoxa’s online poll was carried out on
March 5 and 6 with a sample of 800 people
aged 18 and over.
— Reuters
French aid for Mali terror probe
BAMAKO: Counter-terrorism investigators
arrived from Paris overnight to aid Mali’s
hunt for the killers of five people, including a
French national, in an opposition attack at a
nightclub, local sources said Monday.
Bamako has been on high alert since a
masked gunman burst into La Terrasse, a
popular venue among expatriates, spraying
automatic gunfire and throwing grenades.
The assailant and suspected accomplice
are still at large despite a huge manhunt and
stepped-up vehicle checks across the capital.
“On Sunday night, the prosecutor of
the anti-terrorist department of Paris and
10 French police arrived in Bamako from
Paris to participate in the investigation into
Saturday’s killings,” an airport source told
AFP.
A security source confirmed the
information, saying: “They will work on
Saturday’s incident hand-in-hand with their
Malian colleagues.”
Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita
said Mali was “still standing” in a statement
on Sunday evening to mark International
Women’s Day. “Those who dared claim this
attack will pay dearly,” he said, adding that
they “have failed and will fail” to spread fear
through the murders.
Al-Murabitoun claimed responsibility
for the massacre, which left a Frenchman, a
Belgian and three Malians dead.
It said the attack was partly vengeance for
Ahmed el Tilemsi, one of its commanders
killed by the French army in Mali in
December, but mainly retribution for its
prophet “whom the miscreant West insulted
and mocked”.
The group was referring to cartoons of the
Prophet Mohammed published by French
satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The weekly
was targeted in an attack in Paris in which
12 people were killed, exactly two months
before the Bamako attack.
French President Francois Hollande has
led the international outcry, condemning the
“cowardly attack” and vowing to meet Keita
to offer Paris’s help to its former colony.
The attack was the first to target Westerners
in Bamako, although Mali’s vast desert north
is riven by ethnic rivalries and an insurgency,
and has seen attacks on security forces.
RIGA: The United States on Monday
delivered more than 100 pieces of
military equipment to vulnerable
Nato-allied Baltic states in a move
designed to provide them with the
ability to deter potential Russian
threats.
The deliveries are intended to
“demonstrate resolve to President
(Vladimir) Putin and Russia that
collectively we can come together,”
US Major General John R O’Connor
told AFP as he oversaw the
delivery of the equipment in the port
of Riga.
The delivery included Abrams
tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles,
Scout Humvees as well as support
equipment and O’Connor said the
armour would stay “for as long as
required to deter Russian aggression”.
The three former Soviet-ruled
Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and
Lithuania, all Nato and European
Union members since 2004, have very
little miliary hardware of their own.
Moscow’s annexation of Crimea
last year and its meddling in the
conflict in eastern Ukraine have
galvanised Nato and focused
particular attention on its vulnerable
Baltic members.
A series of military manoeuvres by
Russia in the Baltic area has stoked
deep concern that the Kremlin could
try to destabilise the countries that
were in its orbit during Soviet times.
Nato is countering Russia’s moves
by boosting defences on Europe’s
eastern flank with a spearhead force
of 5,000 troops and command centres
in six formerly communist members
of the alliance, including the three
Baltic states and Bulgaria, Poland and
Romania. “What we’re demonstrating
is a unified front from the north to
the south,” O’Connor said.
Lithuanian
President
Dalia
Grybauskaite warned last week that
Baltic states must be ready to repel
any invasion on their own for “at least
72 hours” before Nato allies could
send in help.
Meanwhile, A director of a mine in
a rebel-held part of east Ukraine has
been arrested over a blast that killed
34 miners last week, separatist press
service DAN reported on Monday,
quoting prosecutors.
The man, who was not named, was
detained on suspicion of “violating
mining rules” at the Zasyadko site in
the city of Donetsk, said DAN which
is seen as the official news agency for
rebel forces.
Mine
officials
have
said
Wednesday’s explosion was most
likely caused by a build-up of gas and
not fighting in the war between the
Moscow-backed separatist rebels and
Ukraine government forces.
— AFP
15
CONTROVERSY
Anger over plan
to name Kosovo
street after
Milosevic
BELGRADE: A Serb mayor has
angered the majority Albanians in
Kosovo by proposing to name a
street after Belgrade’s late strongman
Slobodan Milosevic, blamed for
thousands of deaths and devastation
in the former province, local reports
said Monday.
Gradimir Mikic, the mayor of
Ranilug in eastern Kosovo, has made
the proposal but the town council is
yet to vote on it, Belgrade TV B92 said.
An Albanian-language newspaper
in Pristina, the Gazeta, has published
photos of what it said were already
finished signposts with Milosevic’s
name on them, in preparation for
being put up.
The main Kosovo daily, Koha
Ditore, on Monday quoted the deputy
minister for local government, Bajram
Gecaj, as saying that Prime Minister
Isa Mustafa’s cabinet would discuss the
issue — though street names fall under
the local government’s jurisdiction.
“So far we only have information
from the media, but on Monday we
have a meeting scheduled in which
we will discuss the events in that
municipality,” Gecaj said. Ethnic
Albanian politicians say that Serbia,
with Milosevic in charge, committed
genocide in the 1999 war for control
— dpa
over the former province.
16
PANORAMA
omandailyobserver
T U E S DAY
MARCH 10 l 2015
Palestinian school children fly kites to show solidarity with
the Japanese people, near the Japan-funded housing
project in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. The
event was organised by the United Nations Relief and
Works Agency (UNRWA) to mark the fourth anniversary of
the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami that killed
thousands and set off a nuclear crisis in Japan. — Reuters
Audi cars are
parked at a
car dealer in
Eching near
Munich.Audi,
which
outsold
German rival
MercedesBenz for a
second
month in
February, will
publish fullyear results
March 10.
— Reuters
A model presents a creation by British designer Stella
McCartney as part of her Autumn/Winter 2015/2016
women’s ready-to-wear collection during Paris Fashion
Week. — Reuters
A raccego
ce oer takess a sel
e fie with Faugheen, favvou
o rite to win the
e Ch
hampi
p on Hur
urdl
dle on the
gallllo
ga
ops at the Che
elt
l enham racecourse in we
esstter
e n En
ngllan
and.
d. The
h fou
ourr-da
dayy Ch
Cheltenham
am
Fest
Fe
stiivall 201
15 culm
min
inat
a ing with the Gold Cu
Cup,
p, will be
egin
n on
on Tuesd
dayy. — Reuterss
Labourers work at a
construction site near a
smoking chimney in a suburb
of Shanghai. A popular
documentary on China’s
struggles with pollution was
inaccessible on the country’s
video sharing websites on
Saturday, sparking concern
from Chinese Internet users
that it had been censored
within a week of its launch.
“Under the Dome”, a film by
journalist Chai Jing that
explains air pollution in
straightforward terms,
spurred a national debate
after its release last weekend
and quickly garnered
hundreds of millions of
views on streaming
video sites. — Reuters
Afghan
policemen
display their
skills at a
police
training
centre in
Nangarhar
Province.
— Reuters
Dutch queen
Maxima
speaks with
schoolchildren
playing the
boardgame
“Risk” at an
elementary
school in
Capelle aan
de IJsselon at
the start of the
Dutch initiative
“Money Week”,
which aims to
teach children
how money
works. — AFP
TUESDAY | MARCH 10, 2015 | JUMADA AL ULA 19, 1436 AH
P18
P20
P21
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Bank Muscat launches driving campaign China Feb trade surplus hits $60.6 bn Challenges of the Arab banking sector FOLLOW US ON:
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SGRF, OBIC set up RO 200m
aviation leasing venture
BUSINESS REPORTER
MUSCAT
March 9: The Sultanate of Oman’s State
General Reserve Fund (SGRF) and Oman
Brunei Investment Company (OBIC) have
announced an alliance to set up Oman Brunei
Aviation Leasing Company (OBALC) with an
authorised capital of RO 200 million.
Commenting on this strategic partnership,
Abdulsalam al Murshidi, Executive President
of SGRF said, “As Chairman of Oman Brunei
Investment Company, I am very proud of
this promising investment as it represents a
stepping stone towards the continued efforts
to diversify Oman’s economy. SGRF has always
strived to support such initiatives presented
from joint venture companies,” he added.
Abeer Mohammed al Abduwani, OBIC’s
CEO, talked about the new joint venture
saying, “After we came up with the business
plan for an aviation leasing company, we
looked for a strong founding and strategic
business partnership and accomplished both
by having SGRF as a founding-partner.
The newly formed venture will invest
in and manage the purchase and lease of
modern and fuel-efficient commercial aircraft
operated by airlines in the Middle-East and
globally. Abeer Mohammad al Abduwani
commented: “Aircraft leasing represents
an attractive investment product and in
due course we will be offering institutional
investors the opportunity to participate in the
sector through an aviation leasing fund.”
Oman Brunei Investment Company SAOC
is a private equity company jointly capitalised
by State General Reserve Fund of Oman
(50 per cent) and the Brunei Investment
Agency (50 per cent). The company has been
created to promote financial and economic
benefits to Oman, GCC and Brunei. The firm
undertakes investments in Aviation Finance,
Infrastructure, Transportation, Education,
Food, Healthcare, Manufacturing and Oil
and Gas by targeting attractive private equity
investments in medium sized — businesses
that offer opportunities for growth and value
creation.
OBIC’s focus is on acquiring strategic
stakes in new projects and existing operating
companies; through direct participation and
joint venture investments which cater to
building a diversified portfolio across the vital
sectors of the economy and industries.
Consultant named for Salalah
Port GCT redevelopment plan
CONRAD PRABHU
MUSCAT
March 9: A keenly awaited
consultancy contract for the
redevelopment of Salalah Port’s
existing General Cargo Terminal
(GCT) has been awarded to
Simon Engineering & Partners,
a group company of the wellknown Omani multidisciplinary
engineering services firm HMR
Environmental
Engineering
Consultants.
The contract award, valued
at RO 2.89m, was announced
by the Tender Board last week
on behalf of the Ministry of
Transport and Communications.
The Ministry is overseeing plans
for the rehabilitation of the
existing General Cargo Terminal,
formally known as Mina Raysut –
the precursor of the present-day
Port of Salalah.
Once redesigned, rehabilitated
and modernised, the old
terminal is expected to open up
opportunities for investment in
an array of new ventures at the
transshipment and logistics hub,
ECB and euro zone
central banks begin
buying bonds
FR ANKFURT:
The
European
Central
Bank
announced
on
Monday that it and
the national central
banks of the euro
area have started
buying bonds as
part of the longawaited purchase
programme to kickstart inflation in the
single
currency
area. “The ECB and Eurosystem national central banks have,
as previously announced, started purchases under the Public
Sector Purchase Programme,” the ECB announced via the
micro-blogging site Twitter.
Earlier, a spokesman for the German central or
Bundesbank confirmed that it had been “active in the market
since 9:25 am (0825 GMT).”
Further details about the purchases — the amounts or
whether they were public or private-sector bonds — were
not immediately available.
ECB chief Mario Draghi had announced last week that
the central bank would launch its bond purchase programme
on Monday. Under the programme, central banks will buy
around 60 billion euros of public and private bonds each
month at least until September 2016.
The move comes as traditional efforts to boost sluggish
economic activity in the 19-nation euro zone have been
exhausted through interest rate cuts that have brought
borrowing costs to nearly zero.
The policy known as quantitative easing or QE is also
being adopted as the euro zone faces growing threats of
deflation, in which falling prices lead consumers to put off
purchases in expectation they will drop further, sparking
a damaging cycle of falling production, job creation and
prices. — AFP
Revamp of old General
Cargo Terminal to
potentially make way
for tank storage, coal/
iron ore berth, oil jetty,
value-add business
zone
including tank storage facilities,
oil jetty, limestone stockyard, and
even dedicated berths for coal
and iron ore.
With construction underway
on a new General Cargo Terminal
at Salalah Port, the old terminal
is proposed to be redeveloped
to attract investment in new
green-field investments that will
capitalise on Salalah’s strategic
location overlooking the Indian
Ocean.
Around $143 million is being
invested in the development
of a state-of-the-art General
Cargo Terminal designed to
cater to surging limestone,
gypsum, cement, grain and
other general cargo volumes
being handled at Salalah Port.
Dedicated jetties envisioned as
part of this investment will also
enable the handling of liquids
associated with the multibillion
dollar petrochemical schemes in
operation or under development
at the adjoining Salalah Free
Zone.
According to the Ministry, the
selected consultant will provide
design services to redevelop
the existing General Cargo
Terminal, so it can meet the
future operational demands from
import and export business at the
port. TO PAGE 20
18
OMAN
omandailyobserver
Bank Muscat launches ‘value
life, drive safely’ campaign
BUSINESS REPORTER
MUSCAT
March 9: Bank Muscat, the flagship financial
services provider in the Sultanate, as part of
its commitment to road safety in the Sultanate
has launched a series of initiatives to inculcate
responsible driving behaviour by motorists.
The ‘value life, drive safely’ campaign initiatives
coinciding with the GCC Traffic Week include
four video clips which powerfully communicate
four aspects responsible for majority of accidents
— speeding, fatigue, driving distraction and
negligence of wearing seat belt.
Beginning this week, one video highlighting
the major causes of road accidents will be posted
on the bank’s social media channels, building
up the campaign aimed at creating a safe driving
environment in Oman.
The ‘value life, drive safely’ campaign is a natural
progression of the health and safety measures
adopted by the bank.
The bank considers human capital as the most
valued asset and any loss or disruptions caused by
accidents lead to major setbacks for the affected
persons.
As ambassadors for health and safety in the
banking community in Oman, the bank remains
committed to proactive measures to maintain a
safe environment for all on Oman roads.
The campaign focuses on the four major aspects
linked to road accidents - speeding, fatigue, driving
distraction and negligence of wearing seat belt.
The bank will organise programmes in all
regions to engage employees and customers in
road safety awareness.
Defensive driving training programmes will
also be arranged for employees to motivate them to
follow safe driving practices.
The campaign will highlight the tragic
consequences of negligent driving.
Bank Muscat, as part of HSE initiatives, is the
first to create a safety management system in the
banking sector in Oman.
In line with the Royal directive of His Majesty
Sultan Qaboos bin Said to enhance road safety and
reduce traffic accidents, Bank Muscat has launched
various initiatives to spread traffic safety awareness
among employees and other stakeholders.
The bank vehicles are monitored under the
in-vehicle monitoring system (IVMS) aimed
at ensuring safety and avoiding accidents,
thereby contributing to efficient use of fuel and
corresponding reduction in carbon footprint.
Bank Muscat remains committed to road safety
in partnership with the government and the ROP,
aimed at educating people, especially employees, to
make safer choices when using the roads.
Al Nimr Expo back again with
shopping exhibition
BUSINESS REPORTER
MUSCAT
March 9: Nimr Shopping Exhibition,
organised by Al Nimr Expo — a wellestablished Omani events management
company — will take place during
March 12 – 18, 2015, behind Oman
International Exhibition Centre.
Over 400 exhibitors will be
showcasing products from garments,
shoes and bags, gifts, abaya, scarves,
textiles, perfumes, wedding dresses,
accessories,
jewellery,
electronic
items, handicrafts, children’s toys,
baby clothing, gift items, home décor,
comforters and bedding, and rugs and
carpets, among other goods.
The exhibition, offering an amazing
collection of modern-day merchandise
and contemporary fashion goods, is
an interesting platform for traders and
buyers alike.
This will be an excellent opportunity
for customers to purchase some of the
Rumais
warehouse
nearing
completion
BUSINESS REPORTER
MUSCAT
trendiest clothing. Retailers, designers
and professionals from the textile
industry will find an avenue to present
their products as well.
The seven-day exhibition is open to
all visitors from 10 am - 1:30pm & 4:30
– 10pm daily. On Friday, the exhibition
will open in the evening from 4pm 11pm. Admission on Sunday, March 15,
is for families only.
Al Nimr Expo is made up of an
enthusiastic team of young, experienced
and dynamic professionals, who
have the passion and requisite skills
to organise high-profile events for
prestigious exhibitors and clientele.
Al Nimr conducts quality and highprofile B2B trade fairs, country specific
shows, corporate events, conferences,
event management and festivals. It also
provides a complete marketing tool and
exhibition solution to exhibitors.
March 9: A large-scale
warehouse development,
established
by
First
Logistic Services Company
— an Omani-Kuwaiti
joint venture, is nearing
completion in Rumais on
the outskirts of Muscat. The
development is the latest
addition to the burgeoning
warehousing and logistics
infrastructure taking shape
all across the South Al
Batinah Governorate.
Leading international
real estate consultancy,
Cluttons
has
been
appointed as the lead
marketing and leasing agent
for the Rumais project, with
units expected to be ready
for rent at the start of May
2015.
The
First
Logistic
Services Company’s masterplanned development is
in a prominent and easily
accessible position on the
Muscat-Sohar
highway
in Rumais, approximately
1.5 kilometres from the
Naseem Gardens junction
and 30 kilometres to
the West of Muscat
International Airport.
The location allows easy
access to and from Muscat
Expressway, and the under
construction
Batinah
Expressway and proposed
Barka railway goods yard.
It is ideally positioned
for occupants looking
to service the Muscat
and interior markets,
particularly following the
recent movement of sea
freight from Port Sultan
Qaboos to Port of Sohar.
The first phase is
under construction on the
eastern part of the 81,000
sqm development site. It
provides 36 warehouse
units in three different
types with floor areas of
500 sqm to 1,000 sqm. A
notable feature is that the
12 units along the front
of the development have
been designed as retail
warehouses, which will
allow occupiers to take
advantage of the prominent
highway frontage.
T U E S DAY
MARCH 10 l 2015
DME ’s CEO to head Asian operations
MUSCAT: Dubai Mercantile
Exchange
(DME)
yesterday
announced that its Chief Executive
Christopher Fix (pictured) will be
taking up new responsibilities from
June onwards.
Fix will become Chairman of
DME Asia Pte Ltd and will also take
up a role as Managing Director,
Head of Asia-Pacific, for DME’s
core shareholder CME Group. In
addition, he will be appointed to
the Board of Directors of Dubai
Mercantile Exchange Limited.
T U E S DAY
MARCH 10 l 2015
BUSINESS ALERT
Bank Sohar enhances Internet Banking
MUSCAT: In its efforts to consistently
enhance the portfolio of Products and
Services provided, Bank Sohar has
introduced new features to their already
popular Internet Banking services. Internet
Banking customers now have the added
convenience of transferring funds to local
Banks within Oman as well as conduct Online Bill payment; both of which
significantly enhance the comprehensive range of Internet Banking services
offered by the Bank as well as overall Customer convenience.
Commenting on the introduction of these new services, Rashad Ali al Musafir,
Acting CEO of Bank Sohar said, “At Bank Sohar we are committed towards making
Banking easy and convenient for our customers, regardless of it being done in
person, or online. With a focused approach towards our Customer’s requirements
and paying close attention to the growing popularity of Online Banking in the
Sultanate, we decided to add new facilities to our Internet Banking Service. This
will bolster our online services with an additional layer of convenience and offer
our Customers a more complete and satisfying internet Banking experience.”
Land Rover reveals ‘My Journey, My Inspiration’
PREMIUM SUV manufacturer Land Rover has revealed
the second instalment of its ‘My Journey, My Inspiration’
film series with the moving story of Lebanese paraplegic
Michael Haddad who defied all odds to become a
professional athlete, including completing recordbreaking walking and climbing challenges to raise
awareness for those with disabilities.
Land Rover MENA launched the series earlier this
year as part of its Myland creative communications
platform, as a way to showcase the unique and inspirational stories of achievers
from across the region. The achievers, from Oman, Qatar, Lebanon, Kuwait and
the UAE, all share one thing in common: inspired by the culture and heritage
of their land, they have succeeded in truly going above and beyond in their
accomplishments. Michael’s story begins with a tragic tale of how he was involved
in a jet skiing accident at the age of six which left him paralysed from the chest
down, with the heart-breaking diagnosis that he would never walk again.
Altima showcases state of the art features
THE Nissan Altima, which breaks new ground for the mid-size sedan segment
is hands-down the most engaging vehicle in its class. And if you’ve never driven
an Altima before, get ready to have your notion of a mid-size sedan redefined.
Nissan has taken one of their most successful model, the Nissan Altima —
kept its DNA and changed nearly everything — the visual appeal, the driving
experience and, of course, the technology. Nissan Altima offers numerous
segment defining attributes that enhance the ownership experience and provide
real customer value.
OMAN
Remote engine starter in Mid and Top
Grades: Nissan vehicles are known to offer
smoother ride comfort, more refinement and
benchmark fit and finish, while delivering
breathtaking performance and road-holding.
Their ‘multi-dimensional performance’
means the driver can enjoy the full depth of
a Nissan’s capabilities whether navigating the
corners of a winding mountain road, cruising
on a motorway or even travelling in an urban environment.
The 2015 Altima comes with the Nissan Intelligent Key® that allows the
owners to drive in comfort and style regardless of the rising temperatures of the
Sultanate. The Nissan Intelligent Key® allows drivers with a tap of a button on the
door handle or trunk to unlock them, while the keys stay inside a pocket or purse.
Drivers can start a car from up to 60 meters away with the Remote Engine Start
System. This convenient solution lets drivers cool down the vehicle before it’s
time to get in, provided they set the climate control functions when they step out.
ORPEC two-day conference programme
THE inaugural Oman Refining
& Petrochemical Exhibition and
Conference (ORPEC) will showcase
a two-day conference from March
16 to 17 at the Oman International
Exhibition Center. The Conference at
ORPEC has been specifically designed to not only highlight the vital components
essential to ensure the successful growth of Oman’s downstream industry but also
presents visions, new projects and perspectives on the refining and petrochemical
markets and current challenges. An international speaking faculty of renowned
experts has been assembled to address these key themes.
One such challenge that will not be shied away from is the current market
volatility in terms of oil price and working with a disrupted status quo. Even
with the oil price recovering somewhat in recent weeks, Dr Ed Morse, Managing
Director and Global Head of Commodity Research for Citi Group stated last
month “Overwhelmingly prices are likely to go down before they really go up.
This has been a series of head fakes in the market. Nothing is really sustainable
on the reasoning on any of these moves upward.” Dr Morse, one of the world’s
leading thinkers, will be sharing his expert insight at ORPEC on how the buildout
in the Middle East downstream sector can cope with an oversupplied market.
Ooredoo teams up with Horizon Fitness
OOREDOO has announced a first of its kind partnership with Horizon Fitness
as part of its commitment to promoting healthy lifestyles and creating awareness
about the importance of health in overall personal success. From March 9,
Ooredoo customers, who opt in, can receive an exclusive offer from Horizon
Fitness, one of the Sultanate’s most well-known fitness chains, with the aiming of
providing a boost to their health and wellbeing.
“In this first-ever collaboration between a network operator and the health and
omandailyobserver
19
fitness industry in Oman, we want to live out one of
our values of ‘caring’ by giving customers something
positive for their health. One of our Corporate
Social Responsibility focus areas is to foster human
growth through healthy active lifestyles,” said Feras
Al Shaikh, Director of Consumer Sales at Ooredoo.
“Horizon Fitness is a perfect partner that shares
this value and together we look to support the
local communities’ health conscious approach by
increasing access specialised facilities across Oman.”
OSN-Orbit announces subscription offer
OSN-ORBIT Showtime Network announced the most
exciting offers for both new and existing subscribers.
Now viewers have a choice to subscribe or renew to
OSN platinum HD, Premier HD and Premier Packages
to avail 2 months free viewing by subscribing one year.
The offer doesn’t end here; it also covers Free Dish, LNB
and accessories along with free installation for all new
subscribers. In addition to that, OSN also announced
two months free offer for package upgrades to OSN
platinum HD, Premier HD and Premier Packages. The
two months free offer can be availed both for cash and
credit card payments.
Mustafa Sultan Enterprises Entertainment Factory (Pay-Tv) division is pioneer
in Pay TV business for more than 20 years and is the distributor for OSN in
Oman. Besides OSN, MSE-EF is a leading distributor for beIN Sports. They have
a showroom in Al Khuwair and two kiosks at Muscat City Centre and Muscat
Grand Mall (MGM). MSE-EF also offers the Pay Tv services through their sub
dealers spread across in all major towns of the sultanate.
2015 Renault Fluence — dynamic, lively
SUHAIL BAHWAN Automobiles, the
exclusive importers and distributors
of Renault vehicles in Oman, unveiled
their most anticipated vehicle last year
— The 2015 Renault Fluence. The 2015
Fluence features a new look with the
1.6 16V 115 CVT X-Tronic automatic
gearbox and the 2.0 16V 140 CVT
X-Tronic automatic gearbox.
Fitted with a new petrol engine that
is powerful and dynamic (117hp and 156Nm), Fluence sparks with energy. With
the CVT X-Tronic next-generation automatic gearbox, the 2.0 16V 140 combines
responsiveness and low fuel consumption. CVT technology — Continuously
Variable Transmission — allows for smooth gear shifting with instant responses
and no bumps. The new Fluence is comfortable, dynamic and lively with low fuel
consumption.
20
OMAN/INTERNATIONAL
omandailyobserver
MARKET
T U E S DAY
MARCH 10 l 2015
UPDATE
Weakness strikes as gold feels the dollar heat
selling, not least due to a bigger-thanexpected forecast on 2015 production
from the UN FAO. The soft sector is
another casualty of the rising dollar,
not least sugar and Arabica coffee,
considering Brazil’s important role in the
global market for these commodities.
The combination of ample rain in
Brazil leading to raised production
estimates and the continued weakness
of the Real have seen both commodities
remain under some considerable selling
pressure.
Ole S
Hansen
F
EBRUARY may have
marked a first rise in eight
months for commodities,
but it was back to type in
the first week of March
with weakness across
Crude oil
most sectors.
This was driven by the adverse
impact of the dollar rising to a fresh 11year high against the euro while China
downgraded its growth target for 2015
to just 7 per cent, the lowest in more
than decade.
The resumption of dollar buying
occurred as the market prepared for
the beginning of quantitative easing
from the European Central Bank. A
move that has already seen bond yields
tumble across the euro area and the
governments in France and Netherlands
to Germany can now issue two-year
government debt at negative yields.
The agriculture sector, not least
the grain sector, came under some
renewed selling pressure as a the rising
dollar continue to erode US crops
competitiveness on the global market
exacerbated by competitors in South
America, the Black Sea area and Europe
all enduring significant currency
weakness against the dollar.
Chicago wheat took the brunt of this
Both WTI and Brent crude saw
volatility drop to December levels as
both continue to settle into a range.
On the supply side, US production
continues to rise and during the last
week of February, inventories rose by
10.3 million barrels to another multidecade high at 444 mn barrels.
US refineries are yet to emerge from
the annual slowdown in demand due to
maintenance and turnaround towards
gasoline production.
Once they do, the build in inventories
will slow especially if we finally begin to
see negativity filter through from the
price slump.
These developments are still weeks
away so in the near-term inventories
are expected to keep rising and this has
raised some speculation and concerns
about just how close the US storage
facilities and pipeline infrastructure will
come to full capacity.
As a result, the potential upside for
WTI crude remains limited at this stage
and at the start of the week the discount
to Brent crude reached $13/barrel.
Current Opec focus
Brent crude, however, failed to hold
onto this elevated premium on increased
speculation that a deal with Iran over its
nuclear programme could be reached.
Iran has made it clear that once
sanctions are eventually lifted, it will be
ready to increase exports and reclaim
some of the market share that has
been lost since Western sanctions were
introduced back in 2012.
State owned Saudi Arabian Oil
Company raised the prices that
customers in Asia, Europe and the US
will have to pay for its crude oil during
April. The market took this as a sign
that the market outside the US is slowly
Crude oil markets remain
under pressure with
increased supply — and
even talk of supply gluts —
continuing to hurt sentiment
beginning to balance itself.
Saudi oil minister Ali Al-Naimi
warned nevertheless that it was not
the Saudi’s role to subsidise high-cost
producers and that non-Opec producers
would have to help balance the market.
US supplies will continue to rise in
the near term, thereby putting some
additional pressure on US storage
facilities while supply disruptions in
Precious metals came under some
countries like Libya and recently Iraq renewed selling pressure as the dollar
together with the prospect of rising resumed its ascent against most
Precious little joy
BIZ BRIEF
MUSCAT SECURITIES MARKET
MSM Daily Bulletin As on 09/03/2015
Regular Market
Security Name
ISIN
Par
Value
Volume
Turnover
Trades
Open Price
High
Low
Close
Pr.
Prev.
Close
Diff
(RO)
Diff %
Last
Pr
Last
Bid
Last
Offer
Market Cap
2,809,946
762,272
247
0.263
0.277
0.263
0.271
0.254
0.017
6.693
0.268
0.268
0.269
5,691,000
0.100
OM0000002028
GULF INTERNATIONAL CHEMICALS
OM0000001533
OMINVEST
158,000
75,068
25
0.464
0.488
0.464
0.476
0.464
0.012
2.586
0.480
0.470
0.480
160,289,668
0.100
OM0000002614
ONIC. HOLDING
138,400
58,128
7
0.420
0.420
0.420
0.420
0.410
0.010
2.439
0.420
0.420
0.424
72,837,765
0.100
OM0000003521
GALFAR ENGINEERING AND CON.
1,040,097
159,032
96
0.152
0.155
0.151
0.153
0.150
0.003
2.000
0.155
0.153
0.155
40,333,670
0.100
OM0000003125
GLOBAL FINANCIAL INVESTMENT
21,250
2,288
6
0.113
0.113
0.106
0.108
0.106
0.002
1.887
0.106
0.107
0.108
21,600,000
0.100
OM0000003026
OMAN TELECOMMUNICATION
260,762
459,496
17
1.760
1.765
1.760
1.760
1.750
0.010
0.571
1.760
1.750
1.760
1,320,000,000
0.100
OM0000002226
AL JAZEERA SERVICES
OM0000001772
AL ANWAR HOLDING
OM0000001160
OM0000001418
OM0000001517
HSBC BANK OMAN
16,864
2,294
1
0.136
0.136
0.136
0.136
0.136
0.000
0.000
0.136
OM0000001525
OMAN INVESTMENT AND FINANCE
169,000
39,099
17
0.231
0.232
0.230
0.231
0.231
0.000
0.000
0.230
OM0000001749
OMAN CEMENT
340,912
175,911
13
0.516
0.516
0.516
0.516
0.516
0.000
0.000
0.516
OM0000001962
AL MADINA INVESTMENT
90
6
1
0.070
0.070
0.070
0.070
0.070
0.000
0.000
0.070
OM0000002200
AHLI BANK
5,461
1,158
3
0.212
0.212
0.212
0.212
0.212
0.000
0.000
OM0000002549
BANK DHOFAR
50,751
18,270
3
0.360
0.360
0.360
0.360
0.360
0.000
OM0000003711
SOHAR POWER
4,800
1,824
4
0.380
0.382
0.380
0.380
0.380
0.000
OM0000001145
PORT SERVICES CORPORATION
7,521
2,252
4
0.296
0.300
0.296
0.299
0.300
OM0000003224
RENAISSANCE SERVICES
199,110
85,617
22
0.430
0.430
0.430
0.430
OM0000003968
OOREDOO
101,561
72,792
10
0.720
0.720
0.716
OM0000002796
BANK MUSCAT
826,385
484,936
85
0.584
0.588
0.584
OM0000001400
OMAN FLOUR MILLS
15,000
8,640
3
0.576
0.576
OM0000002440
AL SHARQIA INVESTMENT HOLDING
21,800
3,892
5
0.177
OM0000001483
NATIONAL BANK OF OMAN
27,110
9,533
4
0.352
OM0000002176
AL JAZEERA STEEL PRODUCTS
25,820
8,910
7
0.348
0.348
0.344
0.346
0.350
-0.004
-1.143
0.344
OM0000002820
GULF INVESTMENT SERVICES
83,300
13,328
11
0.160
0.160
0.160
0.160
0.162
-0.002
-1.235
0.160
OM0000001681
OMAN AND EMIRATES INV. HOLDING
268,600
37,012
27
0.138
0.138
0.137
0.138
0.140
-0.002
-1.429
0.138
0.137
0.138
16,818,750
0.100
OM0000002168
AL ANWAR CERAMIC TILES
744,289
364,817
118
0.494
0.494
0.488
0.490
0.498
-0.008
-1.606
0.490
0.488
0.490
120,953,920
0.100
OM0000003398
BANK SOHAR
1,709,105
350,343
73
0.205
0.205
0.204
0.205
0.209
-0.004
-1.914
0.204
0.202
0.205
234,520,000
0.100
OM0000001319
NATIONAL ALUMINIUM PRODUCTS
23,500
7,271
3
0.306
0.310
0.306
0.310
0.340
-0.030
-8.824
0.310
0.314
0.338
10,407,150
0.100
11,923,837
4,044,425
977
Traded Sec.
30
30,000
11,332
7
0.378
0.378
0.376
0.378
0.376
0.002
0.532
0.376
0.370
0.376
23,135,215
0.100
2,770,175
777,200
133
0.280
0.283
0.279
0.281
0.280
0.001
0.357
0.280
0.280
0.281
36,670,500
0.100
NATIONAL GAS
33,664
15,816
20
0.470
0.474
0.466
0.470
0.470
0.000
0.000
0.470
0.466
0.470
21,413,865
0.100
RAYSUT CEMENT
20,564
35,890
5
1.745
1.750
1.745
1.745
1.745
0.000
0.000
1.750
1.750
0.000
349,000,000
0.100
0.135
0.136
272,042,539
0.100
0.229
0.230
46,200,000
0.100
0.000
0.516
170,730,318
0.100
0.067
0.070
14,500,597
0.100
0.212
0.206
0.212
274,643,330
0.100
0.000
0.360
0.328
0.360
483,567,197
0.100
0.000
0.380
0.380
0.390
83,983,800
0.100
-0.001
-0.333
0.300
0.300
0.304
28,416,960
0.100
0.432
-0.002
-0.463
0.430
0.430
0.438
121,300,615
0.100
0.716
0.720
-0.004
-0.556
0.720
0.716
0.720
466,076,069
0.100
0.586
0.590
-0.004
-0.678
0.586
0.584
0.586
1,279,055,278
0.100
0.576
0.576
0.580
-0.004
-0.690
0.576
0.000
0.576
90,720,000
0.100
0.180
0.177
0.179
0.181
-0.002
-1.105
0.180
0.178
0.180
15,487,080
0.100
0.352
0.350
0.352
0.356
-0.004
-1.124
0.352
0.350
0.352
429,027,280
0.100
0.322
0.344
43,214,694
0.100
0.160
0.163
9,414,915
0.100
Sum:
Parallel Market
Volume
Turnover
Trades
Open Price
High
Low
Close
Pr.
Prev.
Close
Diff
(RO)
Diff %
Last
Pr
Last
Bid
Last
Offer
Market Cap
135,453
17,504
24
0.125
0.130
0.125
0.129
0.125
0.004
3.200
0.129
0.127
0.129
9,701,832
0.100
1,390,967
259,579
144
0.190
0.191
0.180
0.187
0.182
0.005
2.747
0.180
0.174
0.180
5,610,000
0.100
6,474
2
2.350
2.350
2.350
2.350
2.310
0.040
1.732
2.350
2.310
2.470
224,324,408
1.000
29,349
11
0.604
0.608
0.604
0.608
0.600
0.008
1.333
0.608
0.604
0.608
30,400,000
0.100
777
2
0.037
0.037
0.037
0.037
0.037
0.000
0.000
0.037
0.037
0.038
3,145,000
0.100
2,000
460
1
0.230
0.230
0.230
0.244
0.244
0.000
0.000
0.230
0.225
0.230
10,253,685
0.100
2,585,754
212,405
13
0.082
0.090
0.082
0.082
0.082
0.000
0.000
0.090
0.085
0.090
2,976,600
0.100
161,000
14,324
12
0.089
0.089
0.088
0.089
0.089
0.000
0.000
0.089
0.088
0.089
133,500,000
0.100
3,500
308
1
0.088
0.088
0.088
0.088
0.088
0.000
0.000
0.088
0.085
0.088
88,000,000
0.100
232
766
1
3.300
3.300
3.300
3.300
3.300
0.000
0.000
3.300
3.300
3.450
32,274,713
1.000
AL BATINAH POWER
25,240
4,568
6
0.181
0.181
0.181
0.181
0.181
0.000
0.000
0.181
0.180
0.181
122,154,625
0.100
AL SUWADI POWER
29,107
5,268
6
0.181
0.181
0.181
0.181
0.181
0.000
0.000
0.181
0.181
0.182
129,307,548
0.100
AL MADINA TAKAFUL
153,000
13,213
12
0.088
0.088
0.086
0.086
0.088
-0.002
-2.273
0.086
0.086
0.088
15,050,000
0.100
4,558,306
564,995
235
Traded Sec.
13
Volume
Turnover
Trades
Open Price
High
Low
Close
Pr.
Prev.
Close
Diff
(RO)
Diff %
Last
Pr
Last
Bid
Last
Offer
Market Cap
Par
Value
0.100
Security Name
ISIN
OM0000002564
AL HASSAN ENGINEERING
OM0000002366
AL BATINAH DEV. INV. HOLDING
OM0000004735
SEMBCORP SALALAH
2,755
OM0000005005
ALMAHA CERAMICS
48,298
OM0000001368
CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS IND.
21,000
OM0000001855
MAJAN GLASS
OM0000002671
GULF STONES
OM0000004420
BANK NIZWA
OM0000004511
ALIZZ ISLAMIC BANK
OM0000004669
SHARQIYAH DESALINATION
OM0000004925
OM0000004933
OM0000004768
Sum:
Par
Value
Bonds Market
Security Name
ISIN
OM0000004602
BANK MUSCAT CONV. BONDS 4.5
1,602
170
3
0.106
0.106
0.106
0.108
0.108
0.000
0.000
0.106
0.108
0.111
32,696,904
OM0000004628
BANK SOHAR BONDS 4.5
1,597
144
1
0.090
0.090
0.090
0.101
0.101
0.000
0.000
0.090
0.090
0.110
7,221,500
0.100
OM0000004867
BANK MUSCAT C C B 4.5
374
40
2
0.106
0.106
0.106
0.106
0.106
0.000
0.000
0.106
0.106
0.108
33,882,124
0.100
6
Sum:
3,573
353
Traded Sec.
3
Trading Summary
9ROXPH
7XUQRYHU
7UDGHV
0DUNHW&DS
8S
'RZQ
(TXDO
6HF7UDGHG
16,485,716
4,609,773
1,218
15,077,258,611
12
14
20
46
,QGH[
+LJK
/RZ
9DOXH
3UHY
9DOXH
'LII
'LII
Nationality
Buy %
Volume
Buy %
Value
Sell %
Volume
Sell %
Value
70.84 %
Indecies
Nationalities Trading
MSM30 Index
6,521.60
6,513.02
6,521.60
6,525.73
-4.13
-0.06
OMANIS
80.47 %
72.87 %
83.59 %
Financial Index
8,117.03
8,094.55
8,114.76
8,124.21
-9.45
-0.12
GCC
5.32 %
10.17 %
1.98 %
2.82 %
Industrial Index
8,659.54
8,615.01
8,615.47
8,636.22
-20.75
-0.24
ARABS
6.21 %
5.42 %
5.39 %
5.16 %
Services Index
3,548.24
3,541.82
3,547.79
3,541.82
5.97
0.17
OTHERS
8.00 %
11.54 %
9.03 %
21.18 %
MSM SHARIAH INDEX
994.75
993.26
993.26
994.22
-0.96
-0.10
demand, will help balance the market
outside the US. Brent should find some
support on the back of this but while
we wait for news from Iran, the upside
seems limited.
Technically, the price of Brent is being
boxed into a tight range and a breakout
is expected soon. A break below $60/b,
however, has the potential to cause a
bigger upset than a move above $63/b.
This scenario is being reflected in
the options market where the cost of
protecting a downside move through
puts remains much higher than the cost
of calls.
China February
trade surplus hits
record $60.6 bn
BEIJING: China’s monthly trade
surplus hit $60.6 billion in February,
the government said, a new record for
the world’s second-largest economy.
Exports leapt 48.3 per cent
year-on-year to $169.2 billion while
imports fell 20.5 per cent 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 alltime 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 per cent 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 per cent 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 over-invoicing
by traders seeking to disguise capital
flows, they added. — AFP
currencies. Against the euro, it reached a
new 11-year high as the prospect for QE
in Europe and rising rates in the US left
both metals on the defensive.
The renewed focus on the adverse
impact of dollar gains was found in the
numbers with gold falling by more or
less the same percentage that the dollar
rose. Silver took out a technical support
level at $16.08/oz which led to some
underperformance relative to gold.
Holdings in exchange traded
products backed by physical gold
jumped by 80 tonnes to 1,680 tonnes
during January and the subsequent $100
plus sell-off has so far only had a limited
impact on these holdings.
Negative bond yields on core
government bonds in Europe have been
adding some support and probably helps
to explain the recent resilience among
ETP investors with many private investors
balking at the prospect of negative yields
and getting into stock markets which
have seen strong gains already.
Following another strong US job
report on Friday gold broke out of its
recent $1,190-1,223/oz range, and while
the dollar continue to scale new highs,
the focus will be centred on the risk of
further losses, not least considering
the continued expectation that the US
Federal Reserve will raise rates later this
year.
Amid a rising dollar the near-term
risk to gold is that it will have to go lower
with the next level of support being the
January low at $1168 followed by $1150.
(The writer is Head of Commodity
Strategy at Saxo Bank)
UK’s WPP enjoys strong January trading
LONDON: Britain’s WPP, the world’s biggest advertising company, said it had seen
strong trading in January after reporting 2014 results broadly in line with forecasts due
to strong growth in all regions.
The British group, owner of the JWT and Ogilvy & Mather agencies, said like-for-like
net sales in January were up 3.9 per cent, ahead of the 3.3 per cent growth it recorded
for the full 2014 year.
Its underlying growth was helped by estimated net new business billings of £5.8
billion ($8.7 billion) in the year, which put WPP at the top of the net new business
tables for the third year in a row.
The firm, run by the high profile businessman Martin Sorrell, said it had also won a
lot of assignments from existing and new clients that would be felt in its 2015 group
revenue.
For 2015 it said it would target net sales growth of over 3 per cent and an
improvement in its headline operating margin target of 0.3 margin points.
For January it said all regions, except Latin America, were up, with Asia Pacific and
Africa and the Middle East up well above the average. — Reuters
A car dealer checks a Maserati Ghibli car at its dealership in Seoul. Flashy
Maseratis and Bentleys are fast becoming the cars of choice for young,
monied South Koreans, eclipsing German luxury brands now so
commonplace that some in Seoul’s upscale Gangnam district jokingly refer to
a BMW 5-series as a Hyundai Sonata. — Reuters
Consultant named for Salalah Port plan
FROM PAGE 17
Part of the consultancy firm’s remit is to advise the Ministry on the
redevelopment of the general cargo terminal in accordance with the existing 20year Port Master Plan (2009 – 2029).
Envisioned in the revamp is a central service corridor for transport of dry bulk
and liquid cargo through the site, refurbishment of existing berths, development
of new berths, and land development for existing and future business.
Also as part of its brief, the consultancy firm will review options for the future
development of a number of important port-related initiatives. In particular, it will
look at opportunities for the possible development of tank storage capacity for oil
products, ethylene, ethylene glycol and other liquid commodities.
Additionally, the consultant will study the feasibility of establishing a Value
Added Business Zone for future customers in a vacant area just 600 metres inshore
from berths 30 and 31.
In this regard, the consultant is required to prepare a concept design report
outlining opportunities for attracting new business, and provide alternative layout
options as well.
Other strategic ventures being explored at the redeveloped terminal include
options for a New Multipurpose Berth to be located along the old breakwater, as
well as a new Coal / Iron Ore Jetty to be located in the Port basin between the old
breakwater and new breakwater. Opportunities for the development of an Oil
Jetty, grain and cement silos, limestone stockyard, among other infrastructure, will
be explored and studied as well.
PERSPECTIVE
T U E S DAY
MARCH 10 l 2015
BANKING
omandailyobserver
21
SERVICES
Challenges of the Arab banking sector in 2015
Lo’ai B
Bataineh
T
he size of the Arab
banking sector is very
big compared to the
GDP in general as the
accumulated financial
assets at the end of Q3,
2014 stood at about $3.05 trillion which
is equal to 105 per cent of the GDP for
the Arab world. It should be noted that
the accumulated assets of the Arab
banking sector grew by about 7 per cent
over the past 9 months of last year — as
shown in the report of the Arab Banks
Union recently.
Current estimates point out that the
total deposits of the banking sector at
the end of Q3, 2014 is about $2 trillion
which is about 70 per cent of the
accumulated GDP of the Arab world.
The accumulated capital of the Arab
world hit about $335 billion, which is
11.5 per cent of the GDP of the Arabs.
The economic challenges facing the
Arab countries, which are greater than
any time in the past, include the lack of
political to foster economic infrastructure
by enhancing the socioeconomic
development, creating job opportunities
and
reducing
the
ballooning
unemployment rates. The political, social
and economic changes witnessed by some
Arab countries over the past four years
led to great economic losses.
The surveys , field researches, studies
and discussions point out that one of the
main challenges facing the Arab banks
over the past five years is the inability of
these Arab banks to keep pace with the
requirements of investments expenditure
and modernise its systems to achieve the
required operational efficiency amidst
the traditional competition. They also
need to provide the best services and
banking solutions to their individual
and corporate customers.
The major challenges facing the
Arab banking sector
1. Over the past 10 year, the oil
producing countries, especially from
Basel III to meet the needs of the
the AGCC, have been the driving
next stage especially post the global
force of the Arab economies. The
financial crisis and the requirements
continuous drop in oil prices may
of Basel III. This may lead to slow
affect the growth of the economies
growth of the loan portfolios if the
of these countries over the medium
banks failed to augment their capitals
and long term. This may aggravate
and equity. This has been very clear
the growth of the Arab economies in
when many banks increased their
general.
capitals and changed their dividend
2. Continuous
improvement
of
policy by distributing bonus shares
investment, saving, finance and
and reduce the cash dividends.
commercial products and services to
keep pace the constant growth of the 6. The inability of the Arab banks to
conclude deals and transactions and
industrial, business and investment
create opportunities for financing the
sectors.
various projects as well as their ability
3. Doing every possible effort to contain
to take over the functions of the
the operational and administrative
foreign banks in case they decided to
expenses.
leave when the political or financial
4. Limiting and controlling the NPL
risks are high. They have to address
rates as a per centage of the loan
the lack of interest by foreign bank
portfolio despite the fact that the rate
to finance certain projects especially
of NPLs in the Arab region is one of
after the sharp decline of oil prices
the best rates in the world.
and shrinking of government
5. Maintaining
compliance
with
expenditure.
the international legal, audit and
accounting requirements especially 7. The development of audit and control
Most Arab banks recently
started studying the
basics and methods
for financing SMEs to
contribute to creating
fresh job opportunities for
the youths and promote
entrepreneurship
policies was achieved through issuing
a number of bylaws that are consistent
with the principles outlined by Basel
III and Financial Stability Board to
address the loopholes that surfaced
due to the global financial crisis. These
banks need to ensure that their aims,
objectives and management model
contribute to protecting the interests
of the depositors, shareholders ,
beneficiaries and internal control as
this will lead to better immunity and
integrity of the banking sector. This
ECONOMY
China takes lessons from Japan, past
master on slowdown, deflation
C
HINESE regulators are
turning to Japan for
lessons on economic
history, determined to
keep the world’s second
biggest economy from taking the same
path of recession and deflation that has
blighted its neighbour for the past 20
years.
Beijing views Tokyo’s handling of the
liberalisation of capital flows and the yen
over 30 years ago as key factors that led to
the creation and subsequent bust of the
asset bubble in Japan in the early 1990s,
according to Japanese government and
other sources who are in direct contact
with Chinese regulators.
“They aren’t a single bit interested in
Japan’s successes.
Their biggest interest is in Japan’s
mistakes,” one China-based source
who is directly in touch with Chinese
regulators said on condition of
anonymity.
“Japanese and Chinese economies
do share many similarities, so I assume
there is quite a lot to learn from our
experiences.”
Chinese policymakers and analysts
at government think-tanks are already
well versed in the experiences of Japan
and other countries, and the sources
say two-way communication at both
government and private-sector level
continued even through a chill in
diplomatic ties after a territorial spat in
2012.
But as economic growth slows
and signs of deflation emerge, China’s
interest in Japan has increased notably
around policy details, according to the
sources.
At an annual parliamentary meeting
that began on Thursday, China
announced an economic growth target
of around 7 per cent for this year, down
from 7.4 per cent in 2014, already the
slowest in 24 years.
LOST DECADES: China is
carrying out three key financial
reforms Japan undertook over the past
decades - liberalising interest rates,
internationalising its currency and
opening up its capital account.
will also augment the sector’s ability
to address any future risk.
The continuous decline in oil price
may lead to shrinking government
expenditure on projects in general. This
may not be clear in the current years
but surely will become very clear in the
coming years if oil prices continued to
decline or remained at these levels. This
will reflect badly on the activities of the
investment and commercial banks.
The decline in oil prices will have a
negative effect on certain business and
economic activities that are linked to oil,
gas and logistic sectors. It will also curb
the growth of the banks’ loan portfolios
and may later lead to affecting the
liquidity rates and the cost of finance.
The Arab banks recently approved
a number of initiatives and steps to
maintain their good performance
amidst exceptional political, financial
and economic circumstances. These
factors, limitations and risk factors
will have a negative direct effect on the
SURVEY FINDING
Innovation to drive
petrochemical
industry in GCC
N
A woman selects products at a supermarket in Shanghai. — Reuters
“They aren’t a single bit
interested in Japan’s
successes. Their biggest
interest is in Japan’s
mistakes. Japanese and
Chinese economies do
share many similarities, so I
assume there is quite a lot to
learn from our experiences.”
These reforms should help develop
the economy, but mis-steps could have
huge repercussions.
Chinese policymakers see the 1985
Plaza Accord between Japan and the
Western powers, which effectively
approved a stronger yen and the
opening up of the capital account during
the 1980s and 1990s, as pivotal events
for Tokyo which ultimately led to Japan’s
“lost two decades”, sources say.
The surge in the yen that followed
the agreement hit the country’s
main exports; Japanese auto makers,
for example, started shifting more
production overseas.
This started to hamper economic
growth and prompted the Bank of Japan
to ease monetary policy.
However, much of the cash from
the easing, along with hot foreign
money that followed the liberalisation
of the capital account, flowed into
stocks, property and other assets, often
magnified through leveraging.
“China is already applying lessons
from Japan’s experience.
Even when growth is slowing,
Chinese policymakers aren’t taking
policy measures that could heighten
financial imbalances.
That’s very wise of them,” Bank of
Japan board member Takahide Kiuchi
told a news conference in Maebashi,
north of Tokyo, on Thursday.
He said that even when asset bubbles
were forming, Japan wasn’t able to
tighten monetary policy because of the
impacts it would have on the United
States, its biggest partner.
“One of the lessons from Japan’s
experience is that achieving domestic
economic stability should be the top
priority for policymakers (rather than
international considerations),” Kiuchi
added.
DEBT RISK: China has other
challenges that echo Japan’s past.
Its property market has cooled
since the government tightened policy
to prevent overheating and due to
oversupply, and that, coupled with
economic slowdown, is raising fears
of a rapid rise in bad loans at banks
and a further dent in local government
finances.
Sources said regulators have also
been asking how Japan dealt with
bank bankruptcies, and that could
be a signal Beijing is preparing for a
likely consolidation in the fragmented
banking sector once interest rates are
liberalised.
“It makes perfects sense for them
to look to Japan rather than other
countries since our financial systems
are very similar,” said another Shanghaibased source.
Like Japan, Chinese firms rely heavily
on bank loans to meet their financing
needs as opposed to debt or equity
issues.
Also China heavily regulates its
banking sector, for example by limiting
the number and locations where banks
can open branches, similar to Japan in
the 1970s and 1980s.
— Reuters
Arab banking sector. Most Arab banks,
supported by the World Bank, recently
started studying the basics and methods
for financing SMEs to contribute to
creating fresh job opportunities for the
youths and promote entrepreneurship
which in turn will alleviate the burden
on the Arab government with relation
to creating job opportunities for those
seeking to work for the government. The
Arab banks also intensified the effort
made to combat money laundering and
finance of terrorism by adopting the
rules and regulations imposed by the
central banks and regulatory bodies on
commercial banks, financing agencies
and capital markets.
At the end, we should not
underestimate the many economic and
financial challenges facing the Arab
banking sector because these challenges
jeopardise the Arab banking sector to
any risks the foremost of which are the
decline in growth and investment rateswhich have been already low in the last
ten years, and inability to generate
sufficient numbers of job opportunities.
In such scenario, the rate of
unemployment , which is one of the
highest in the world , +11.5 per cent
as per the World Bank statistics, will
aggravate, the financial deficit of the
Arab countries’ budgets will continue
to increase and the exchange rates
and foreign currency reserves will also
deteriorate. This has been very clear with
countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, Syria,
Libya and Sudan which suffered sharp
declines in tourism revenues ; a major
source of foreign currency for many
Arab countries.
EARLY 80 per cent of the GCC region’s major petrochemical
and chemical producers have made innovation strategy
a key business priority, indicating that the advancement,
improvement and modernisation of the sector is a top
priority, according to a new survey by the Gulf Petrochemicals and
Chemicals Association (GPCA).
According to the GPCA Innovation Survey 2015, the number of
companies that have formulated an explicit innovation strategy has
doubled from 21 per cent in 2010 to 41 per cent in 2015. Additionally, 38
per cent of surveyed companies in the Arabian Gulf ’s chemical industry
are seriously considering implementing an innovation strategy and expect
it to remain a priority over the next ten years.
“Over the last four decades, the GCC’s petrochemicals industry has
evolved from humble beginnings into a multi-billion dollar industry,
which has a more than 140 million tonne capacity that has applications
in host of sectors,” said Dr Abdulwahab al Sadoun, Secretary-General,
GPCA.
“And as growth forecasts indicate stable progress, the latest GPCA
Innovation Survey shows that the region’s petrochemical producers are
increasingly looking towards applying a meaningful innovation mandate
to stay relevant in the face of rising market competition.”
Now in its
second edition,
the
GPCA
Innovation
Survey tracks
the perceptions
and priorities of
the region’s top
petrochemical
producers. This
year, the survey spoke to 24 manager level or above executives in the
Arabian Gulf, representing 70 per cent of GPCA full member companies.
In terms of investment, the GCC’s chemical industry invested an
estimated $367 million on research and development (R&D) in 2013, a
figure that is around 0.8 per cent of global R&D investment.
“R&D investments are traditionally seen as indicators to an
organisation or country’s openness to innovation,” explained Dr Al
Sadoun. “While the GCC’s spending on R&D may be perceived as low,
implementing innovation into operations is a long- term programme
that requires careful planning. Over the last 5 years, the industry has
implemented ambitious training programmes, collaborated with countless
universities and unveiled five impressive research institutions, signalling
that innovation is something that top management takes very seriously.
Innovation, after all, will ensure that the industry can weather the storm
of oil price fluctuations.”
The GPCA Innovation Survey 2015 will be unveiled at the Research &
Innovation Summit in Dubai. From March 16-18, the conference will host
senior executives from the petrochemical industry’s foremost companies,
academia and research institutions to share insights on “Mastering the Research
and Innovation Challenges”.
22
LEISURE
omandailyobserver
T U E S DAY
MARCH 10 l 2015
Online Editor’s Choice
CARTOONS
9
ADAM @ HOME
by Brian Basset
10
12
13
14
15
17
18
CALVIN AND HOBBES
19
20
by Bill Watterson
23
25
26
27
29
32
34
GARFIELD
35
36
37
38
by Jim Davis
39
CRYPTIC PUZZLE
ACROSS
Giving the ring back meant trouble
all round (9)
Are not in the part of the book
showing descent (9)
Position there’s a lot to be said for
(4)
Give the would-be vendor a look
and go off (6)
Bear out that it’s not for business
(7)
Too big, concluded it’s wrong to
prune (9)
Opens up only in the sun: not
otherwise (9)
Figure among the potential assets,
though they’re merely decorative
(7)
Islander about to get time in jail (6)
It’s not, you said twice, a girl’s name
(4)
Garment a lot of pins are showing
in (9)
Not surrendering easily (5,4)
Want to put ‘Born on the first of
December’ (4)
How you spoke when speaking for
the company? (6)
Gets rid of, thought one plays ball
with? (7)
Force to move, as an expedient (9)
Immediately, at that point, taking
up on (9)
Catch the shot for game (7)
Concedes it starts off strangely (6)
Mix in a can or jug (4)
When away can pop into, though
not drinking (9)
Awful big! (9)
DOWN
1 Identification for fathers to wear
(8)
2 What prevented one from buying
that silly wardrobe? (7,5)
3 The man pouring ours out is very
liberal (8)
4 Stress the family background (6)
5 Opening up, tear in pieces again
(8)
STONE SOUP
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
11
16
19
21
22
23
24
25
28
29
30
31
33
34
CR O SSW O R D
6 A mastermind but a nutcase! (10)
7 In any case, it is foolishness (7)
8 Through with the job, gets leave
(10)
11 It’s a plane! Duck, chum! (5)
16 A film of oil (6)
19 Up to ‘With a cold, in bed’ (3)
21 The tenant is not jobless (2,10)
22 ‘Suppose’, you add, ‘the raging sea
engulfs it’ (6)
23 Like the awful blunder the mason
made? (10)
24 At first went ahead and gave the
OK to (10)
25 I demand your attention presto! (3)
28 To lessen it, I take the gun in
myself (8)
29 Complaining about many a defeat
(8)
30 It’s made from little material Ð a
small strip! (8)
31 In the act I will be made up, as I
play the Easterner (7)
33 They’re attached to strings: ties
knotted on the back end (5)
34 Taking a turn in the vehicle, having
got a shock (6)
9
10
12
13
14
15
17
18
19
20
23
25
26
27
29
32
34
35
36
37
38
39
1
YESTERDAY’S CRYPTIC
SOLUTIONS
ACROSS: 4, Assess 7, Outstrip 8,
Rammed 10, Get-up 13, Nile 14, Even
15, Poll 16, Few 17, Is-is 19, Upon 21,
Contender 23, Mona 24, Goes 26,
Law 27, Read 29, Trip 32, Den-y 33,
Aside 34, Nu-Di-st 35, Re-action 36,
Me-rely.
DOWN: 1, Dodge 2, State 3, Stop 4,
Apri-L 5, Same 6, SW-Eden 9, Allude 11, Eve 12, Union 13, N-oseg-ay
15, Pit 16, For 18, Snares 20, Pests 21,
Cow 22, Nod 23, Man-Ure 25, Kid
28, En-try 30, Rig-I’d 31, Penny 32,
Dive 33, Arcs.
EASY PUZZLE
ACROSS
Unpaid worker (9)
Fruit (9)
Destroy (4)
Motorist (6)
Heat (7)
Watchful, heedful (9)
Mountain range in Italy (9)
Articles fit to eat (7)
Part, subdivision (6)
Flying toy (4)
Restore to a former rank (9)
Morning meal (9)
Limbs (4)
Niggardly, mean (6)
Cast a spell over (7)
Fellow worker (9)
Imposes limits on (9)
Very old (7)
Affectionate, caring (6)
Insect (4)
Clients (9)
Evergreen shrub (9)
DOWN
All time to come (8)
YESTERDAY’S EASY SOLUTIONS
ACROSS: 4, Accord 7, Recorder 8,
Savage 10, Slump 13, Move 14, Tire
15, Sane 16, Gen 17, Lair 19, Need 21,
Continual 23, Cant 24, Meet 26, Job
27, Robe 29, Emit 32, Diva 33, Snipe
34, Salami 35, Neatness 36, Staple.
DOWN: 1, Trust 2, Scour 3, Drop 4,
Arson 5, Cave 6, Ragged 9, Avenue
11, Lit 12, Melon 13, Marimba 15, Sit
16, Gel 18, Antrim 20, Eaten 21, Cab
22, Nee 23, Cobalt 25, Sip 28, Ovine
30, Miser 31, Tease 32, Damp 33, Sate.
Hospitals
by Jan Eliot
Hospital. . . . . Board . . . . . . . Emergency
Royal . . . . . . . 24599000 . . . 24590491
Health Services Department
‘YO UR STARS ‘
Muttrah . . . . . . . 24797602
Quriyat . . . . . . . 24845001 . . . . 24845003
SQH, Salalah. . . 23211555 . . . . 23211151
Police. . . . . . . . . 24603988 . . . . 24603980
Al Nahda . . . . . . 24831255 . . . . 24837800
Ibn Sina. . . . . . . 24876322 . . . . 24877361
Nizwa. . . . . . . . . 25439361 . . . . 25425033
Al Rustaq. . . . . . 26875055 . . . . 26877186
Sumayil. . . . . . . 25350055 . . . . 25350022
Izki . . . . . . . . . . . 25340033 . . . . 25340033
IF IT’S YOUR
BIRTHDAY:
Since you value
the security of
yourself and
your family very
much, you may
have to forego
some pleasures
in the coming
year to keep
your finances
in a healthy
state. Some
frustrations
are inevitable,
and can only
successfully be
dealt with if you
persevere in
your efforts.
Easy progress (5,7)
Backs off (8)
Neckwear item (6)
Intermittent (8)
Free from restraint (2,3,5)
Style of piano jazz (7)
Incessantly repeated (10)
Fold in clothing (5)
Savour (6)
Diocese (3)
Incoherent (12)
Kebab spike (6)
Disinclination (10)
With everything included (10)
Young male (3)
Unnecessary (8)
Trade or profession (8)
Kidnapped people (8)
Bring to maturity (7)
Makes secure (5)
Patch up, renovate (6)
Haima . . . . . . . . 23436013 . . . . 23436055
Sohar . . . . . . . . . 26840022 . . . . 26840099
Al Buraimi. . . . . 25650855 . . . . 25652319
Sur . . . . . . . . . . . 25440244 . . . . 25461373
Tanam . . . . . . . . 25499011 . . . . 25499033
Masirah . . . . . . . 25404018 . . . . 25404018
Ibra. . . . . . . . . . . 25470533 . . . . 25470535
Adam. . . . . . . . . 25434167 . . . . 25434055
Bidiya . . . . . . . . 25483535 . . . . 25483535
Ibri . . . . . . . . . . . 25491011 . . . . 25491990
Saham . . . . . . . . 26854427 . . . . 26855148
Khasab . . . . . . . 26830187 . . . . 26830187
Dibba. . . . . . . . . 26836443 . . . . 26836443
Burkha. . . . . . . . 26828397 . . . . 26828397
Sinaw. . . . . . . . . 25474338
PISCES
ARIES
TAURUS
GEMINI
CANCER
LEO
February 20March 20
March 21April 20
April 21May 20
May 21June 21
June 22July 21
July 22August 21
It would be a mistake to take the
help you have received for granted. Show your appreciation to the
donor, and offer to reciprocate
should the occasion arise.
A matter, which has been worrying
you for a long time, will gradually
lose the importance, which you gave
it at first. You will have more pressing
things to think about.
Consider the consequences before
acting on a sudden impulse and sending an angry text to someone. Keeping quiet may resolve the matter without having to involve anyone else.
A dogmatic person born under
PISCES will hardly ever be ready
to accept other people’s views, and
it would be futile to try to convince
him yourself.
By being too flippant with persons
of the opposite sex you will fail to
arouse their interest. Sometimes a
thoughtful talk can achieve more
than flirtatious chitchat.
Be prompt about replying to an email
from a friend living far away who is
anxiously waiting to hear from you
with advice on a subject about which
you know more than he does.
VIRGO
LIBRA
SCORPIO
SAGITTARIUS
CAPRICORN
AQUARIUS
August 22September 22
September 23October 22
October 23November 21
November 22December 21
December 22January 20
January 21February 19
Don’t let small irritations influence your mood in your daily
work, and consider yourself lucky
to be able to handle your job without undue restrain.
Don’t get into a heated argument
today over a trivial matter. Keep
your temper and let the other person lose face by over reacting on a
matter of no importance.
An association with a person of
the opposite sex born under the
same sign should have a forceful
effect on you. Your ideas will coincide to a marked degree.
The skills you are acquiring
through spare time study
should make you an expert
in your field in the near future.
Just because you feel a bit out
of sorts today is not reason to
make life unpleasant for everyone else. Don’t be so selfish.
You will be surprised at an
overture of friendship on
the part of a neighbour who
has been rather aloof in the
past.
CLASSIFIEDS
T U E S DAY
MARCH 10 l 2 0 1 5
omandailyobserver
23
Situation Vacant
WE Al Mayar Co LLC
are seeking talented
experienced Sales
Executive for the
FMCG, Electrical and
Electronic Sales. The
interested persons
can send thire CV’s to
[email protected]
com and [email protected]
gmail.com.
REQUIRED Public
‡Žƒ–‹‘ˆϐ‹…‡” with
7 years experience.
95955041.
·····
·····
WANTED Sales
Manager, for a leading
Interior Fitout and
Furniture Supply
Company in Oman.
Experience: 7+ years,
preferably in Oman.
Salary: negotiable.
Preference for Omani
nationals. Interested
candidates may
please forward their
resume to e-mail id:
[email protected]
gamil.com
SYRIAN Mashavi
Cook and Moroccan
Lady Cook for Qurum
Beach Hotel.
24704994 or
99238012.
·····
REQUIRED family
driver with valid
Omani driving licence.
Accommodation
will be provided.
92230282.
·····
·····
PURCHASE
manager with 14
years experience
in construction
indusrty with valid
D/L & NOC. Contact:
92884811. E-mail:
[email protected]
com
·····
INDIAN male, postgraduate, 20+ years
experience in
pagemaking/
proofreading/
production dept with
a publishing house
and with valid Omani
driving licence seeks
suitable placement.
NOC available.
98423154.
·····
INDIAN male, having
heavy vehicle driving
licence, 3 years Gulf
experience, looking
for suitable post.
99651214.
·····
INDIAN male, 29
years, Civil Engineer,
diploma holder, 4 years
experience in Oman, 2
years in road division,
looking for placement.
NOC available.
93298395.
·····
CIVIL Engineer, BTech
with 3 years experience,
looking for suitable
placement, on visit visa.
Contact: 98545520.
e-mail: [email protected]
gmail.com
·····
·····
REQUIRED Salesman
ˆ‘”‘‹Žϐ‹‡Ž†•
company, must
have experience on
‘‹Žϐ‹‡Ž†•ƒ††”‹˜‹‰
licence. Contact:
[email protected]
hotmail.com
·····
Situation Wanted
FILIPINA Housemaid,
with release required
for a family in Medinat
Al Alam. 24704994,
99238012.
Situation Vacant
WANTED: 1. A/C
Mechanic; 2.
Electrician plumber;
3. Computer
headwear Tec. Contact
No. 99447257/
97014234 [email protected]
hotmail.co.uk.
·····
Situation Wanted
INDIAN male — Civil
Engineer — 12+ years
Gulf experience in high
rise building and land
development. MS
Project, Primavera P6,
ˆϐ‹…‡•‹ŽŽǡ
available. Living in
Salalah 94093300,
93884335. E-mail:
[email protected]
yahoo.com
·····
ELECTRICAL Engineer
Sudanese, with 9
years experience and
UAE driving licence.
94429749.
·····
INDIAN male 26 years,
MBA - Finance &
Marketing, BCom with
Tally, 2 years experience , currently working in Oman. Contact:
94282980. e-mail:
[email protected]
com
·····
BE COMPUTER Engineer,
4+ years experience,
valid Omani driving
licence with NOC, seeks
suitable placement.
98097727.
·····
5 YEARS experienced
Civil Site Engineer seeks
suitable placement.
98758539.
HOUSEMAID with 15
years experience with
European family, seeks
suitable placement.
91216255.
·····
·····
Tourism
ARE you looking for
a voyage with your
family on a legacyboat, including
buffet? Only with RO
15/-. For more
[email protected]
alainaintourism.
com 92808636.
·····
Ȉ ƒ”•ˆ‘”•ƒŽ‡
Ȉ ‘””‡–
Ȉ ‘„ƒ’’Ž‹…ƒ–‹‘
Ȉ Šƒ”‹‰”‡•‹†‡…‡
Ȉ ”ƒ•’‘”–…ƒ”•
Ȉ ‡ƒŽ•–ƒ–‡ȋ•ƒŽ‡Ǧ
”‡–Ǧ‹˜‡•–‡–•
WE need HSE personal,
Salesman and
Electrical Supervisor
with Omani Driving
licence. Apply to:
[email protected]
com Contact No:
00968 95714746.
·····
Services
Situation Wanted
ARABIC/English
ϐŽ—‡–‡…Šƒ‹…ƒŽ
Engineer, MBA, PMP,
8 years experience,
ͷ›”•‹’”‘Œ‡…–ϐ‹‡Ž†
(management and
supervision), familiar
with Primavera P6.
Contact:
94687010,
e-mail: [email protected]
gmail.com
CHARTERED Accountant
9 years experience in
Finance — consolidation
as per IFRS, Treasury,
Budget, Investments,
taxation, AP/AR.
Currently working in
Sr Finance position in
Oman. Joining immediate.
NOC available. Contact:
95489269, [email protected]
gmail.com
·····
YOUNG Indian male,
MBA, around 5 years
experience in a
reputed multi national
company as Branch
Head. Well experienced
in management &
coordination. Looking
for suitable position in
Suwaiq & Sohar area.
92700670. E-mail:
[email protected]
·····
SITE Engineer (Civil),
more than 6 years experience with valid Omani
licence, seeks suitable
placement. 95154081.
·····
IT Professional, 25, Sri
Lankan, BTech- Final,
MCTS, MCP, CCNA, LINUX
having 4 years experience
including MNC, looking
for suitable position.
(Visit visa). Contact:
93354526, e-mail:
[email protected]
Services
For Sale
Lost
INDUSTRIAL area
land in Rusayil, 5,000
Sq.mt and building
with 8 shops. Contact
95490842,
92702891.
·····
JOVIE Borres Israel has
lost Philippines
passport No XX
4852737. Finder please
handover to ROP.
MAITENANCE: 1.
A/C Maintenance &
Servicing; 2. Fridge,
Washing Machine &
Dish washer repairing;
3. Painting & cleaning
services; 4. Electrical
& Plumbing Carpentry
work. Contact:
99447257,
97014234, 24504281.
·····
Ȉ ƒŒŒƒ†”ƒ
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For information, please call:
99841230-95919344
92721879 - 99639264
Tel: 24649597, Fax: 24649590
BankMuscat account: 0397003776610011
Bank Dhofar account: 01040141195001
E-mail: [email protected]
·····
AN Iraqi electrical engineer, long experience in
construction works and
factory maintenance getting electrical works and
driving licences looking
for suitable replacement.
Contact: 98959043
INDIAN male, IT Prof,
2 years exp as system
administrator in Oman,
3+ yrs exp in India
(Hardware, Networking,
Windows Server,
Exchange Server),
1 year exp in PHP, CSS,
HTML, Java Script, AJax,
Mysql. NOC available.
Contact: 97496998
·····
·····
·····
3 BEDROOM house at
Betras Zanzibar RO
90,000. Contact Owner:
99348943.
·····
SHOP for sale, Beauty
Salon Barka, near LuLu
Hypermarket Centre.
Contact: 97655500.
·····
A 400 sq m residential
commercial building situated at the first line of
the public road in Rawdat Samad Al Shaan.
The building is within
300 m far from the
Imam Noor Al Din Al
Salmi. It houses a 100
sq m 3 outlets. The
remaining 300 sq m
plot is workers residence, a store and a toilet. The premise is at RO
55,000 plus 3 per cent
commission.
99600909.
·····
REQUIRED Salesman
cum Hardware
Engineer for
Computer Shop at
Ruwi with minimum
2 years experience.
E-mail: [email protected]
com 98825805/
98825806.
·····
·····
ANMAL Alhaq Aboos
has lost Bangladeshi
passport No E
1402489. Finder please
handover to ROP.
·····
KHADEEJA Wejam has
lost Bangladeshi
passport No E1534486.
Finder please handover
to ROP.
·····
MOHAMMED Miyah has
lost Bangladeshi
passport No C0443723.
Finder please handover
to ROP.
·····
QBAIDULLAH
Almamun has lost
Bangladeshi passport
No B0003986. Finder
please handover to
ROP.
·····
Guest House
QURUM BEACH
HOTEL24564070.
·····
1. HOOPOE SMART
CARD SERVICES
2. AL FAHAD
TRANSLATION
SERVICES
STOP!!!
Good News to all our
dear customers: Our
PRO will visit your
‘ˆϐ‹…‡ȀŠ‘—•‡–‘…‘ŽŽ‡…–
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clearing and will deliver
the same on completion.
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typing all forms
related to Ministry of
Manpower, Immigration,
e.g., visas, renewal
of visas, all services
related to Ministry of
Commerce & Industry,
e.g., reservation of
commercial names,
amendment of activities
of the company and
all services related to
Royal Oman Police;
Cancellation of Visas at
the Muscat International
Airport for repatriation
of employees;
Directorate General
‘ˆ”ƒˆϐ‹…Ǣƒ†ƒ
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& Industry.
Translation of legal
documents. Medical
reports, commercial
agency agreements,
literature, catalogues
(Languages: Arabic,
English, French, Spanish
& Italian)
Our Address: Ruwi,
Adjacent to Gulf
Transport Co. (GTC).
Telephones: 24793331
/24794286
GSM: 99231500
/96777170/ 95959838
Managed by: Salim
Khalfan al Hadi (33
years of experience in
management)
·····
1. AC maintenance
and servicing.
2. Fridge, washing
machine and dish
washer repairing.
3. Painting and
cleaning services.
4. Electrical,
plumbing and
carpentry work
97014234,
99447257,
24504281.
·····
Ȉ
Ȉ
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ƒ”•ˆ‘”•ƒŽ‡
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For information, please call:
99841230-95919344
92721879 - 99639264
Tel: 24649597, Fax: 24649590
BankMuscat account: 0397003776610011
Bank Dhofar account: 01040141195001
E-mail: [email protected]
TUESDAY l MARCH 10, 2015 l JUMADA AL ULA 19, 1436 AH
[email protected]
www.omanobserver.om
RENT A CAR
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SPECIAL Rates on
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RENTING & LEASING
Tours and Airport Transfer
Tel: 24582663
GSM: 95859497,
Fax: 24582664,
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Car for Sale
PORSCHE Cayenne
S-2004, white colour,
158,000 km, RO 4,500/96417989.
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MERCEDES CT 55,
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122,000 km, RO 2,900/96417989.
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Supply
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P. O. Box: 565, Wadi Kabir,
Postal Code: 117,
SULTANATE OF OMAN
FREE INFORMATION
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Good News
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LINCOLN Navigator
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335,000 km, RO 1,600/96417989.
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OFFICE & Household
furniture and
electronics items.
99834373,
97102699.
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AUTO REPAIR
CENTRE
Available on UNBEATABLE prices
Tours
Announcement
DOLPHIN
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94110088/
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gmail.com Web:
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coraloceantours.
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Abu Ayyub
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land transport
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register No. 1205902
announces that
it is intending to
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to Abu Ayyub alHashemi trade
(recommendation).
Beneficiaries should
be informed of the
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·····
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If you would like to know
more about
Islam, please call:
Tel : 99425598, 96050000,
99353988, 99253818,
99341395, 99379133, For
ladies: 99415818, 99321360,
99730723
Or visit: www.islamfact.com
al-haditha
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GOOD PRICE!!! GOOD PRICE!!!
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ROOM for rent (with AC
and some furniture),
opposite Zakher Mall.
96339371.
SHOP for rent, 200
sq m in Maabela
Industrial. Call:
97314122,
99349878.
·····
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A COMMERCIAL shop &
room with accessories
in Al Ghubra.
95054077,
99219333.
A 735 Sq M store in
Bausher, Al Misfah
Industrial is offered
for rent. The premise
is built in accordance
to high standards.
A 3-5 year lease
contract is required
99332902,
99047584.
·····
VILLA in Bausher (Al
Awabi) consists of
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5 toilets, 2 living
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kitchen 99364586.
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1510 Printer
RO 11.000 only
HP
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on UNBEATABLE prices
AII HP, Epson, Canon,
Lexmark, Samsung
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2 BEDROOMS, 2 baths
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rent in Al Wattayah,
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99428161 (Owner).
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BRAND new villa in
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from beach. 6 bedrooms,
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92230282.
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93009999.
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Mabella - 2 rooms,
kitchen, hall and 3
toilets for rent. Call:
99357404.
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FLAT in Mabella 3
rooms, sitting room,
hall, kitchen
(spacious) with 4
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2 STOREY villa at
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halls, 3 bedrooms
with attach toilets (Municipality water
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ONE B/R flats in Madinat
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SHOWROOM Front 120/
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95497323.
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99219596.
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99331181.
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Telephone: 24595951/1414, Fax: 24597979.
Manpower
FRIENDS
MANPOWER: Filipino
housemaids and all
kinds of workers.
24489268 Tel:/Fax:
24478153, 92462496.
·····
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To communicate
26713500,
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·····
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information contact:
99336263.
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Ruwi: 24792-792
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COMPUTER SUPPLIES
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rent 93009999.
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consists of 6
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98825805/
98825806.
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99420312.
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Wilayat of Haima,
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Ali al Maashari: 99639264 [email protected]
e-mail: [email protected]
Mohammed al Rashdi: 99841230 [email protected]
DIRECT: 24649595 — FAX : 24649590
TUESDAY | MARCH 10, 2015 | JUMADA AL ULA 19, 1436 AH
POOR SHOW: Woeful England crashed out of the tournament with a 15-run loss to the Tigers
Bangladesh storm into quarterfinals
BEST
QUOTE
I’m gutted at the moment.
We struggled and
fought our way since we
arrived here. With short
boundaries and the way
the wicket played it was
well within our reach.
— EOIN MORGAN,
ENGLAND
CAPTAIN, AFTER
HIS SIDE WAS
KNOCKED OUT OF
THE WORLD CUP
BY BANGLADESH IN
ADELAIDE.
BEST BATTING
104
Mahmudullah for
Bangladesh against
England.
BEST BOWLING
4-53
Rubel Hossain
for Bangladesh
against England.
ADELAIDE, Australia: Mohammad
Mahmudullah became the first
Bangladesh batsman to score a World
Cup century as woeful England crashed
out of the tournament with a 15-run
loss to the Tigers at the Adelaide Oval
on Monday.
Mahmudullah scored 103 and
brother-in-law Mushfiqur Rahim
made 89 as the Tigers recovered from
eight for two to post a challenging 275
for seven after being sent in to bat in
overcast conditions.
England, needing a win to stay afloat
after winning just one of their previous
four Pool A matches, were bowled
out for 260 as seamer Rubel Hossain
claimed four wickets and wicket-keeper
Rahim held four catches.
Ian Bell made 63 but England slipped
to 163 for six before Jos Buttler (65 off
52 balls) and Chris Woakes (42 not out)
briefly revived their hoped with a 75run stand for the seventh wicket.
But the dismissals of Buttler and
Chris Jordan off successive balls
in the 46th over turned the match
Bangladesh’s way.
“It was pretty poor, to be knocked
out of the World Cup is unbelievably
disappointing,” said England captain
Eoin Morgan, whose side will bow out
having failed to beat a Test nation at the
tournament with their only win thus far
against Scotland.
“I’m gutted, we’ve struggled and
fallen away since we arrived here. We
wanted to get to the quarter-finals and
from there fight through three games.”
MORTAZA PRIDE
This was Bangladesh’s third win
over England in their last four oneday internationals, including the twowicket success in Chittagong during
the previous World Cup four years ago.
“I feel very proud,” said Bangladesh
captain Mashrafe Mortaza, who led his
side superbly in the field.
“Mahmudullah scored his first
hundred
for
Bangladesh,
and
Mushfiqur was also brilliant at the end.
“I think Rubel Hossain will be very
happy now as he picked up four crucial
wickets. I’m really happy for all those
people back home who have wanted us
to make it this far.
“We had a good combination today,
especially with the seven batsmen.
They showed their guts today, and the
bowlers then did a very good job.”
Victory meant Bangladesh assured
themselves of a place in the knockout
phase even before their last pool match
against co-hosts New Zealand, only the
second time in five attempts they have
moved beyond the first round, with the
‘Gutted’ Morgan
clueless about
England’s future
Bangladesh’s
Mahmudullah makes a
heart gesture as he
celebrates his century
against England at the
Adelaide Oval. — AFP
SCOREBOARD
Tigers stunning India to move to the
Super Eights at the 2007 edition in the
Caribbean.
England will return home after their
closing ‘dead’ league match against
Afghanistan in Sydney on Friday.
Mahmudullah and Rahim, who are
brothers-in-law, put on 141 off 144 balls
for the fifth wicket after Bangladesh
were struggling at 99 for four in the
22nd over. Mahmudullah, who hit
seven fours and a six in his maiden oneday international century, surpassed the
previous highest individual Bangladesh
score at a World Cup of 95 by teammate Tamim Iqbal against Scotland in
Nelson last week.
Rahim’s 77-ball knock contained
eight boundaries and a six.
Soumya Sarkar, a 22-year-old lefthander playing only his fifth ODI,
teamed up with Mahmudullah to
retrieve the situation with an 86-run
stand for the third wicket. He made 40.
Bell and Moeen Ali gave England a
flying start with an opening stand of 43
off 44 balls when a messy run out cost
them a wicket.
Bell turned his back at the nonstriker’s end as Ali charged down the
wicket for a sharp single and failed to
beat Sarkar’s throw to the wicket-keeper
from mid-on.
Alex Hales marked his first
appearance in the tournament by
helping Bell add 52 for the second
wicket, before he was caught behind off
skipper Mashrafe Mortaza for 27.
Rubel, returning for a second spell,
broke England’s back with the wickets
of Bell and Morgan (nought) in four
deliveries to make it 121 for four in the
27th over. Bell’s 82-ball vigil, in which
he hit seven fours, ended when he
edged a catch to Rahim aiming towards
cover.
— AFP
BANGLADESH
T Iqbal c Root b Anderson .......................... 2
I Kayes c Jordan b Anderson...................... 2
S Sarkar c Buttler b Jordan....................... 40
M Mahmudullah (run out) ....................103
Shakib c Root b Ali ..................................... 2
M Rahim c Jordan b Broad ...................... 89
S Rahman c Morgan b Jordan ................. 14
M Mortaza (not out) ................................... 6
A Sunny (not out)....................................... 3
Extras (B-1, LB-4, W-8, NB-1)................... 14
Total (for 7 wkts, 50 overs) ............ 275
Fall of wickets: 1-3, 2-8, 3-94, 4-99, 5-240,
6-261, 7-265
Bowling: Anderson 10-1-45-2, Broad 10-052-1, Jordan 10-0-59-2, Woakes 10-0-64-0,
Ali 9-0-44-1, Root 1-0-6-0
ENGLAND
M Ali (run out) ......................................... 19
I Bell c Rahim b Rubel ............................. 63
A Hales c Rahim b Mortaza ...................... 27
J Root c Rahim b Mortaza ........................ 29
E Morgan c Shakib b Rubel........................ 0
J Taylor c Kayes b Taskin............................. 1
J Buttler c Rahim b Taskin........................ 65
C Woakes (not out) .................................. 42
C Jordan (run out) ..................................... 0
S Broad b Rubel ......................................... 9
J Anderson b Rubel ................................... 0
Extras (LB-4, NB-1) .................................... 5
Total (all out, 48.3 overs) .............. 260
Fall of wickets: 1-43, 2-97, 3-121, 4-121,
5-132, 6-163, 7-238, 8-238, 9-260
Bowling: Mortaza 10-0-48-2, Rubel 9.30-53-4, Sunny 8-0-42-0, Shakib 10-0-41-0,
Taskin 9-0-59-2, Sabbir 2-0-13-0
ADELAIDE: England captain
Eoin Morgan was “gutted” after
his team’s premature exit from
the World Cup on Monday and
confessed he was clueless about
what the future holds for the
team. England’s woeful form on
50-over cricket’s biggest stage
appeared intertwined with the
miserable form of their captain
who fell for his fifth duck in 11
innings against Bangladesh on
Monday.
England handed the oneday captaincy to Morgan in
December in place of Alastair
Cook and England’s only World
Cup win came against Scotland
while they lost to hosts Australia
and New Zealand and former
champions Sri Lanka.
Asked what went wrong,
the solemn-looking 28-yearold struggled to offer any
explanation. “I can’t at the
moment,” he said at the
presentation ceremony after his
team’s 15-run defeat.
“I’m gutted at the moment.
We struggled and fought our way
since we arrived here.
“With short boundaries and
the way the wicket played, it was
certainly well within our reach,”
he said. “Our expectations are a
lot higher than we performed, so
that’s extremely disappointing,
to be knocked out this early,” said
Morgan. Asked where does the
team go from here, Morgan said:
“To be honest, I have no idea
what happens from here. I’m still
surprised that we are knocked
out so early.”
He insisted there was
no problem with squad
composition. “We picked guys
who can play a brand of cricket
that, if we perform, we could win
this World Cup. Again ultimately
we have not performed.”
His counterpart Mashrafe
Mortaza was ecstatic. “We’re
proud. The wicket was pretty
good, we had to bowl well. Our
start was not that good but in
the middle we bowled really well
and put the pressure back on
England,” he said. Asked if he was
tense when Tamim Iqbal dropped
Chris Woakes in the 48th over
which could have cost them the
match, Mortaza said: “Tamim felt
really bad, he is our best fielder. It
happens in cricket.”
— AFP
Passionate fans give Bangladesh a lift
ADELAIDE, Australia: Bangladesh
may not have the best cricket team in the
world but the support they receive from
fans around the world will leave many
established nations envious.
Bangladeshi
supporters
were
outnumbered during Monday’s key
World Cup match against England at
the Adelaide Oval, but they made their
presence felt by deafening cheers for
their team. Every run was applauded
loudly from flag-waving crowds wearing
the Bangladeshi team colours of red
and green, while fours and sixes were
celebrated wildly.
“We will win the World Cup... some
day. Till then we must support our
team all the way,” said Nazrul Ahmed, a
Melbourne-based shopkeeper who had
travelled overnight to watch the match
in Adelaide.
Skipper Mashrafe Mortaza was
overwhelmed by the reception his team
had received from supporters during this
World Cup in both Australia and New
Zealand. “We are used to seeing 30,000 to
35,000 people at our matches at home, but
having people turn out in large numbers
here is just amazing,” he said. “I hope we
can live up to their faith in us.”
Failure attracts contempt and fans
are known to desert their favourite
sporting teams during a losing streak,
but Bangladeshi cricketers have never
faced that problem. They went without
a win in Test or one-day matches for
‘We are used to seeing
30,000 to 35,000 people at
our matches at home, but
having people turn out in
large numbers here is just
amazing’
five years from 1999 to 2004, but in that
period cricket replaced football as the
South Asian nation’s favourite sport.
“Nothing unites Bangladesh like cricket
does,” said Dhaka-based journalist Azad
Majumdar. “There is hardly anything
else people at home can look up to.”
Another reporter Sanjoy Saha added:
“Unlike India, there are no film stars to
follow. Cricketers have to be the biggest
heroes.”
Since gaining Test status in 2000,
Bangladesh have lost 70 of their 88 fiveday matches. Their seven wins include
just two against an established side, a 2-0
series win over an under-strength West
Indies in 2009. Bangladesh’s one-day
record is also uninspiring — 206 defeats
in 297 matches — but their 87 wins
have included some fine victories over
Australia, India, Pakistan and England.
A robust domestic 50-overs-aside league has attracted a galaxy of
international stars like England’s Eoin
Morgan, Moeen Ali and Ravi Bopara, Bangladesh paceman Mashrafe Mortaza (right) celebrates his wicket of England’s
but fans wait patiently for one of their batsman Joe Root (not pictured) during the World Cup Pool A match at the Adelaide
— AFP
own to shine on the world stage. — AFP Oval.
T U E S DAY M A R C H 1 0 l 2 0 1 5
26
iN BRIEFS
Watson takes his
second chance with
both hands
SYDNEY: The obituaries had been
written only three days earlier, Shane
Watson’s 13-year international cricket
career declared dead and buried.
And yet at the Sydney Cricket Ground
on Sunday, there was the unmistakeable
figure of the Australian raising his bat
in celebration of his 32nd one-day
international half century.
The 33-year-old was only the support
act to Glenn Maxwell’s brilliant 53-ball
102 in a match-winning partnership of
160, and his bowling later in the match
was expensive at 1-71, but Watson was
back, back, back.
“I thought he played really well, yeah.
His batting was how we know Watto can
bat. He’s got amazing power,” said his
captain Michael Clarke.
“He played a big part in helping set
the game up, that partnership between
Maxi and him. He held his nerve under
pressure with the ball as well.”
The death knell for the all-rounder’s
career had appeared to sound when he
was left out of the team for Australia’s
fourth World Cup match against
Afghanistan in Perth last Wednesday.
He was omitted because of poor
form, chief selector Rod Marsh said, and
something would need to change going
forward if he was to return to the side.
‘Had his immediate return been
confusing for Clarke and his teammates?’ The Australia skipper was
asked after the 64-run victory over Sri
Lanka that put Australia through to the
quarter-finals.
Clarke, who had spent much of his
pre-match news conference on Saturday
emphasising that he was no longer a
selector.
— Reuters
India’s Mohit
wary of ‘slog overs’
pressure
HAMILTON, New Zealand: India
seamer Mohit Sharma warned on
Monday that the defending World
Cup champions’ razor-sharp attack
will only be judged fully once they are
exposed to a desperate, late innings
assault.
The pace trio of Mohammad
Shami (nine wickets), Umesh Yadav
(six) and Sharma (six) have been
instrumental in their team’s success,
but Sharma is still braced for potential
run gluts in the closing overs of
matches. “We have performed well as
a unit,” said the 26-year-old right-arm
fast bowler.
“But there is no limit to doing
well, I feel that we have not faced the
pressure of the slog overs and there is
a lot to do.”
Sharma said the shorter
boundaries in New Zealand will not
be a concern despite India having
played all four games so far in
Australia, at the major Test venues
of Adelaide, Melbourne and twice in
Perth.
“It makes a little bit of difference
in the mindset of the bowlers,” said
Sharma.
“You have to adjust your line and
length but it’s the same for both
teams. We don’t want to disturb our
momentum by thinking that, so we
will concentrate on our strengths.”
Sharma is being utilised by
captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni as a
first change bowler once Shami and
Yadav have had the early overs.
“Shami and Umesh are bowling
well with the new ball and putting on
a lot of pressure. My job is to maintain
that pressure. “I keep that pressure
on so that spinners (Ravichandran)
Ashwin and (Ravindra) Jadeja can
take them on,” said the bowler. — AFP
FEBRUARY 14 TO MARCH 29
ON TARGET: Dhoni is pleased with bowling which was seen as India’s weakness
SUPER
AUSTRALIA &
NEW ZEALAND
SANGA
Ireland target shock India
triumph to make last eight
HAMILTON, New Zealand:
Ireland face defending champions
India on Tuesday where a shock
victory would put them into the
World Cup quarter-finals and leave
either Pakistan or West Indies facing
elimination.
Non-Test playing Ireland have
already hunted down two Full
Members — the West Indies and
Zimbabwe — in Pool B so far on
their way to six points from four
matches but know they will expect
no mercy against India who have
won all four matches so far to
comfortably reach the last-eight.
“I don’t think their guard will
ever be down and they’re not going
to look to lose any momentum from
their point of view. Whatever they
decide to do is out of our control,”
said Ireland captain William
Porterfield.
Ireland are no strangers to
upsetting big teams.
They famously ousted Pakistan
from the 2007 World Cup held
in the West Indies on their way to
the Super Eights where they beat
Bangladesh and then defeated
England in the 2011 tournament.
Ireland started their campaign
with a shock four-wicket win over
former champions the West Indies
and then outlasted United Arab
Emirates by two wickets.
They came down with a nasty
bump against rampaging South
Africa in their third match, losing
by 201 runs, before they upset
Zimbabwe in a five-run thriller in
Hobart on Saturday.
“We’ve just got to keep all the
momentum and keep improving
the little things and keep taking
things forward,” said Porterfield,
whose team play Pakistan in their
Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara celebrates
scoring his century against Australia during their Pool
A match in Sydney.
— AFP
Sangakkara the
‘man to fear’, says
Muralitharan
MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli play football during a training session ahead of their Group B match against Ireland, in
Hamilton on Monday. — AFP
WORLD CUP STANDINGS
STANDINGS (PLAYED, WON, LOST, TIED, N/R, POINTS, RUN RATE)
POOL A
New Zealand
Australia
Bangladesh
Sri Lanka
England
Afghanistan
Scotland
5
5
5
5
5
5
4
5
3
3
3
1
1
0
0
1
1
2
4
4
4
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
1
0
0
0
0
10
7
7
6
2
2
0
+3.090 - Q
+1.597 - Q
+0.211 - Q
-0.151 - Q
-1.001
-1.881
-1.423
POOL B
India
South Africa
Pakistan
Ireland
West Indies
Zimbabwe
UAE
4
5
5
4
5
5
4
4
3
3
3
2
1
0
0
2
2
1
3
4
4
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
8
6
6
6
4
2
0
+2.246 - Q
+1.462
-0.194
-0.820
-0.511
-0.595
-1.691
NOTE: ‘Q’ for qualified
last group match in Adelaide on
March 15.
Porterfield hopes his bowlers
lift their performance against India
after conceding 304 runs against the
West Indies and 411 against South
Africa.
In contrast, India captain
Mahendra Singh Dhoni is pleased
with his bowling which was
considered a weakness before the
tournament.
“I feel the contribution of all the
bowlers is superb,” said Dhoni of his
attack who bowled the West Indies
out for just 182 in their last game
and South Africa for 177.
“Umesh (Yadav) is bowling well,
he is bowling quick. (Mohammad)
Shami has taken the extra
responsibility of bowling with
the new ball, and it gives Mohit
(Sharma) a bit more time in the
middle order with a bit more feel,
and he has been very consistent.”
Dhoni admitted the shorter
boundaries in New Zealand, where
they play their first match after four
in Australia, is a concern.
“Yes, the short boundaries will
be a bit of a concern, but overall,
again, it will be good exposure for
the bowlers, the reason being we are
nicely positioned in the table right
now, but we would still like to give
our best,” said Dhoni.
— AFP
India players warm up during training ahead of their match against Ireland, in Hamilton.
— AFP
SYDNEY: Sri Lanka great Muttiah Muralitharan said
Kumar Sangakkara would be the batsman all other
teams feared at the World Cup after the left-hander
made his third successive hundred on Sunday.
Sangakkara’s superb 104 against Australia in Sydney
saw him become the first batsman to score hundreds
in three consecutive World Cup innings.
“In Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka have the number
one one-day batsman in the world at the moment,”
Muralitharan wrote in his column for the International
Cricket Council website.
“You can talk all you like about Virat Kohli, AB
de Villiers or Glenn Maxwell — and all of them have
played superbly in this tournament — but Sanga is the
man all other sides
will fear most of all,” ‘You can talk all
added Muralitharan, you like about Virat
a key member of Sri
Kohli, AB de Villiers
Lanka’s 1996 World
or Glenn Maxwell —
Cup-winning team.
“His
feat
of and all of them have
scoring three World
played superbly in
Cup hundreds in
a row is incredible this tournament —
and his ability to but Sanga is the man
score at better than
all other sides will
a run-a-ball without
appearing to take fear most of all’
risks is exceptional.
“As this is his last
World Cup he looks like a man on a mission,” said the
off-spin great of the 37-year-old Sangakkara.
“He is showing himself to be the complete player
in every sense.
“And with the other players in the top-order
feeding off him and firing too, Sri Lanka is a side that
looks capable of causing plenty of opposition bowlers’
headaches over the remaining matches.”
Despite Sangakkara’s latest century, Sri Lanka
suffered a 64-run defeat by Australia at the Sydney
Cricket Ground as they just ran out of steam trying to
chase down a huge target of 377.
Muralitharan said the blame lay with the balance
of the side and urged Sri Lanka to include an extra
bowler.
“Beyond Lasith Malinga, who is slowly but surely
getting back to somewhere near his best, Sri Lanka
does not have any high-quality operators, especially
with Rangana Herath on the sidelines as he recovers
from an injury to his spinning finger.
“On that basis, and with the confidence of the
batsmen sky-high, it again cried out for the selection
of an extra specialist bowler but, as yet, it is a cry that
is falling on deaf ears.
Sri Lanka, still on course for the quarter-finals,
conclude their pool programme against Scotland in
Hobart on Wednesday.
— AFP
Their six-wicket loss to Bangladesh also featured the first WC ton by a Scot, Kyle Coetzer smashing 156 at Saxton Oval
Scotland hope this is not final World Cup fling
SYDNEY: Given that Scotland still have
a mountain to climb to win their first
ever cricket World Cup game, it is a pity
that tales of bowler Iain Wardlaw scaling
Mount Everest turned out to be nothing
more than a joke that got out of hand.
Cricket’s global showpiece has
confirmed the Scots are a way from being
able to compete with the top test playing
nations but they have shown glimpses of
quality and been involved in some of the
tournament’s most enjoyable games.
After briefly threatening co-hosts
New Zealand in their opener, Scotland
were beaten handily by England and
Bangladesh but were on the verge of
a milestone win against Afghanistan,
losing a nailbiter in the final over.
Their six-wicket loss to Bangladesh
on Thursday also featured the first World
Cup century by a Scotland batsman, Kyle
Coetzer smashing 156 at Saxton Oval in
Nelson. A bowling unit that impressed
in a comfortable win over Ireland ahead
of the World Cup has been picked apart
at times during the tournament but both
Josh Davey and Wardlaw have enjoyed
some success and collected some highprofile victims.
Right-arm seamer Wardlaw took
three wickets against New Zealand,
including those of in-form openers
Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum.
However, while he has been far from
embarrassed on the field, Wardlaw has
somewhat sheepishly had to set the
record straight about his claim to fame
— that he climbed Everest. “A couple
of years ago, when I first started with
Scotland, we had a bit of a joke. Somehow
it got misconstrued, put on the website
and it spiralled out of control,” he told
the BBC. “It got totally out of hand. I
had people from Nepal tweeting to say
‘good luck, I’m sure it won’t be as tough
as climbing the mountain’.”
While Wardlaw’s Everest claim was
made in jest, Scotland have been no
joke at the World Cup. With the ICC set
to cut the number of teams at the next
tournament to 10 from the current 14,
qualification will become that much
harder. Scotland played 24 matches
between the 2011 and 2015 World
Cups, with just four of those against
test nations, and a continued lack of
exposure to top level cricket could leave
them caught up in a vicious circle.
One of four non-Test playing nations
at the World Cup alongside Ireland,
Afghanistan and UAE, ‘associates’
Scotland needed more big-match
experience between the elite fouryearly tournament, said skipper Preston
Mommsen. “For me what is even more
important is what happens in between
every World Cup and the fixtures that are
made available to associate nations and
the amount of cricket they’re playing at a
high quality level,” he said. — Reuters
SPORT
T U E S DAY
MARCH 10 l 2015
omandailyobserver
27
DOMINATING AT THE TOP: Bayern Munich moved 11 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga with a 3-1 victory at Hanover 96
Messi takes Barca top, bitter sweet for Villa
LONDON: Former World Player of the
Year Lionel Messi secured a goal-scoring
record as Barcelona went top of La Liga
with a 6-1 rout of Rayo Vallecano at the
weekend.
Real Madrid slipped to second after
suffering a surprise 1-0 defeat at eighthplaced Athletic Bilbao.
In England, Aston Villa became the
first side to reach the semi-finals of the
FA Cup but their 2-0 win over West
Bromwich Albion was marred by ugly
crowd scenes at the final whistle.
SPAIN
Lionel Messi broke a hat-trick record
as Barcelona’s 6-1 home victory over
Rayo Vallecano took them to the top
of La Liga following Real Madrid’s 1-0
defeat by Athletic Bilbao.
Real continued to misfire with
attacking trio Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim
Benzema and Gareth Bale creating few
problems for Bilbao who triumphed
thanks to a header by Aritz Aduriz.
Barca swept Rayo aside, with Messi
hitting his 32nd treble for the club, to
open a one-point lead.
Messi beat the record for the most
hat-tricks in Spanish football that he had
previously shared with former Athletic
Bilbao striker Telmo Zarra.
Atletico Madrid remained in third
spot, seven points off the pace, after a 1-1
draw with Valencia.
ENGLAND
Aston Villa capped a good week by
reaching the FA Cup semi-finals with a
2-0 win against West Bromwich Albion,
a second victory over their Midlands
rivals in five days.
Villa’s delight was marred by a fullscale invasion of the pitch by fans at the
end of the game, an incident that could
lead to an FA charge.
Liverpool were left frustrated as they
had to settle for a replay after being
held 0-0 at home by Championship side
Bayer Leverkusen’s Stefan Kiessling and Paderborn’s Uwe Huenemeier vie for the ball during the German Bundesliga match in western Paderborn, Germany.
Blackburn Rovers.
Giant-killing Bradford City, of
League One, and Championship team
Reading also shared a 0-0 draw. Holders
Arsenal travel to Manchester United on
Monday.
In the Premier League, in-form
Harry Kane scored twice as Tottenham
Hotspur kept up their bid to qualify for
the Champions League with a 2-1 win at
struggling Queens Park Rangers.
GERMANY
Bayern Munich moved 11 points clear
at the top of the Bundesliga with a 3-1
victory at Hanover 96, Thomas Mueller
scoring twice including a penalty.
Winger Arjen Robben broke the
record for registering 100 wins in the
fewest Bundesliga matches as he reached
the milestone in 126 games.
Second-placed VfL Wolfsburg failed
to keep pace with the champions,
slumping to a surprise 1-0 defeat at
Augsburg.
— AFP
Borussia
Moenchengladbach
squandered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2
at Mainz 05 but held on to third place,
two points ahead of Bayer Leverkusen
who won 3-0 at promoted Paderborn.
ITALY
AS Roma failed to make up significant
ground on runaway leaders Juventus as
they were held 0-0 at struggling Verona,
the eighth draw in nine Serie A games
for Rudy Garcia’s high flyers.
Second-placed Roma are eight points
adrift of Juve who play their game in
hand at home to lowly Sassuolo on
Monday. Napoli, in third spot, let slip a
two-goal lead as they were held 2-2 at
home by Inter Milan while bottom club
Parma, playing for the first time in three
weeks after being hit by a financial crisis,
drew 0-0 with Atalanta.
Lazio, in fourth position, also play on
Monday at home to Fiorentina who are
fifth.
FRANCE
Olympique Lyonnais stayed top of
Ligue 1 with a 5-1 win at Montpellier as
all the top guns shone over the weekend.
Nabil Fekir’s double was matched by
team mate Alexandre Lacazette, who
leads the league goal charts with 23, as
Lyon stayed one point ahead of Paris St
Germain.
PSG thumped RC Lens 4-1 as they
warmed up in style for Wednesday’s
Champions League last-16 return leg
against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Olympique de Marseille are third on
53 points, four points off the pace, after
demolishing Toulouse 6-1. Monaco
remained fourth on 47 following a 3-1
win at Evian Thonon Gaillard.
NETHERLANDS
Champions-elect PSV Eindhoven
maintained their 11-point advantage
over Ajax Amsterdam at the top of the
table with a 3-0 triumph at Go Ahead
Eagles Deventer.
On target for PSV were Memphis
Depay, Jop van der Linden (own goal)
and Andres Guardado.
Ajax won 1-0 at home to Excelsior
thanks to a late strike from Anwar El
Ghazi while third-placed Feyenoord
beat NAC Breda 3-0 with Mitchell te
Vrede scoring twice.
— Reuters
Front three still untouchable for Ancelotti
MADRID: Real Madrid boss Carlo
Ancelotti has insisted that his star front
three of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim
Benzema and Gareth Bale will always
start when fit despite a recent dip in
form from all three.
The European champions were
usurped at the top of La Liga for the
first time in five months on Sunday as
Barcelona took advantage of Madrid’s
fourth defeat in 14 games in 2015 at
Athletic Bilbao 24 hours earlier with a
6-1 thrashing of Rayo Vallecano.
However, Ancelotti believes his faith
in the players that delivered a club record
four trophies in 2014 will eventually be
rewarded.
“As long as they are fit, it is
unnegotiable because they have given
us a lot,” Ancelotti said on the eve of his
side’s Champions League last 16, second
leg against Schalke on Monday.
“Without doubt I have confidence
in them. There has been a general dip
from the team not just them. They have
scored less in the last three games but I
think that we have to help the strikers.
“We will play in the same way. We
won’t change our identity because that is
how we feel most comfortable and how
the players have produced good results
and scored many goals.”
Bale has been particularly poor in
recent weeks and is currently on his
longest goal drought since joining
Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur 18
months ago having gone eight games
without finding the net.
‘As long as they are fit, it is
unnegotiable because they
have given us a lot. Without
doubt I have confidence
in them. There has been a
general dip from the team
not just them.
LA LIGA
(Left-Right) Real Madrid’s Lucas Silva, Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo and
Raphael Varane take part in a training session at Valdebebas training ground in
Madrid on the eve of the UEFA Champions League against FC Schalke 04.
— AFP
Ancelotti, though, said that it would
be unfair to pick out the Welshman for
criticism given the poor performances
of the whole team in 2015.
“I think we would have to drop the
whole team using that criteria given the
whole team isn’t playing well.
“I would have to drop Karim because
he hasn’t scored in a few games. I would
have to drop Cristiano, the central
midfielders, I am making a more general
consideration of the team that has to
improve.
“Everyone must do their bit. I don’t
think Bale is happy with how he is
playing and he understands that he has
to improve.”
Los Blancos should still ease into the
last eight of the Champions League for
a fifth consecutive season as they hold
a 2-0 advantage from the first leg in
Gelsenkirchen three weeks ago.
Kayak Charity Challenge
SPORTS REPORTER
MUSCAT
March 9: Dar Al Atta’a Association
announced the Kayak Charity Challenge
to be held in March-April to raise funds
for the Dar Al Atta’a Pre-School Project.
The project is aimed at improving
teaching facilities and infrastructure in
pre-schools. Six kayakers led by veteran
Brian Wilson and also including an
Omani Almunthir Mustafa Abdullatif
will be part of the initiative.
The overall objective of the team will
be to circumnavigate the entire Oman
coastline. The Musandam Peninsula
will be their first challenge as part of
the bigger goal of covering the entire
coast. Abdullatif will be the first Omani
to take up a task of this magnitude and
was excited about the challenge.
“I am looking forward to it as I
haven’t done anything of this sort
before,’’ he added.
Wilson, who has been into kayaking
for several years now, said they would be
challenged by the vagaries of the coast
and the weather too.
Madrid will also be boosted by the
return of Bale’s former Spurs teammate
Luka Modric to the squad for the first
time in four months after suffering a
torn thigh muscle.
Ancelotti confirmed that the
Croatian will start on the bench with the
view of giving him a run out for half an
hour in the second-half.
Sergio Ramos won’t be risked despite
returning to training after a month
out with a hamstring injury with the
Spanish international likely to return
against Levante on Sunday.
Meanwhile,
Modric’s
return
also means that 16-year-old Martin
Odegaard will miss out on the chance
to become the youngest ever player to
appear in the Champions League.
“He will not be in the squad because
he is following his programme,”
Ancelotti said of the Norwegian.
“He is doing well, he is improving
and how close he is to playing with the
first team I don’t know, but he is a very
talented player.”
— AFP
All 11 clubs withdraw
demand for EGM
ANUROOP A
MUSCAT
March 9: All eleven clubs those handed
disciplinary notice by the Oman Football
Association (OFA) have responded
by withdrawing their demand for
Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM)
to discuss the no-confidence motion
against the OFA chief, it was learnt.
The OFA had served notice to 11 clubs
such as Dhofar, Fanja, Bausher, Ja’alan, Al
Kamil Wal Wafi, Seeb, Al Musannah, Al
Ittifaq, Ibri, Nizwa and Ahli Sidab.
The clubs were given three days to
respond to the disciplinary notice.
Initially, nine clubs barring Bausher
and Al Kamil Wal Wafi were to respond
to the notice, but send in their responses
later, according to sources in the OFA.
After the development, these
clubs may also be exempted from any
disciplinary action after their withdrawal
of demand.
Meanwhile, the fate of Oman coach
Paul Le Guen will also be discussed
during the OFA General Assembly on
March 28, the source said.
The same was not discussed during
the consultative meeting between clubs
and OFA on last Saturday. A proposal
to reduce the salary of Le Guen is also
under consideration, it was learnt.
The 11 clubs had defied OFA
Chairman Sayyid Khalid al Busaidy’s call
to drop the demand for EGM after world
football body Fifa informed that there
was no need for an EGM as per the rules
of the board.
Al Hamra and Al Salam clubs had
withdrew demand for the EGM and the
OFA chief dismissed the demand of other
10 clubs saying the EGM does not meet
the quorum for holding such a meeting.
“The clubs are given disciplinary notice
for violating clauses two and three of
Article 28 of the OFA Constitution and
inviting other clubs for EGM,” an OFA
statement had said.
UAE to host 2019 Asian Cup
BAHRAIN: United Arab Emirates
were, as expected, named hosts of
the 2019 Asian Cup on Monday after
beating outsiders Iran to stage the
expanded 24-team tournament.
The Asian Football Confederation
(AFC) announced the safe bet decision
after a meeting of their executive
committee in Bahrain on Monday.
Iran’s hopes were always hindered
by the unwillingness to allow women
to attend matches at home, a decision
FIFA president Sepp Blatter labelled
“intolerable” on Friday after he claimed
he had been given hope in 2013 that it
would be overturned. Iran is also subject
to western sanctions over its nuclear
programme, which has made it difficult
for the country’s football association to
host friendly matches, a vital source of
income for the federation, which has hit
the men’s team.
The UAE have proved to be a safe
pair of hands in organising global soccer
events, having staged the 2009 and 2010
FIFA Club World Cups and the FIFA
under-17 World Cup in 2013. — Reuters
28
omandailyobserver
SPORT
T U E S DAY
MARCH 10 l 2015
Season-high Parker powers Spurs past Bulls
GOOSE EGG: Star forward Duncan went without a field goal (0-for-8) for the first time in his career
LOS ANGELES: Tim Duncan has had
many milestones during his 18 NBA
seasons with the San Antonio Spurs.
But the future Hall of Famer’s latest
achievement is not high on the list.
Frenchman Tony Parker scored a
season-high 32 points, Kawhi Leonard
added 20 on Sunday, carrying the Spurs
to a 116-105 home-court victory over
the undermanned Chicago Bulls.
The reigning NBA champions (3923) won their fifth in a row despite
getting little help on the offensive end
from Duncan.
Arguably the NBA’s greatest power
forward and the league’s 16th all-time
scorer, Duncan went without a field goal
(0-for-8) for the first time in a career
spanning 1,311 games, including 1,545
in the play-offs.
“I don’t talk to Timmy too much
anymore, so if you want to tell him go
ahead,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich
told reporters. “You talk to him. Say,
‘What the hell was that about?’”
Duncan finished with three points on
free throws and left without speaking to
reporters.
Argentine Manu Ginobili added 16
points and Australian Patty Mills had 15
off the bench for the Spurs (39-23), who
sit in seventh place in the West play-off
race.
Spaniard Pau Gasol had 23 points
with 15 rebounds, while Aaron Brooks
netted 22 for the Bulls (39-25) who
committed 22 turnovers resulting in
32 Spurs’ points to drop one-half game
behind idle Cleveland atop the Central
Division.
“We turned the ball over too many
times against a very good team,” Gasol
said.
The Bulls, playing without injured
starters Derrick Rose (knee surgery),
Jimmy Butler (left elbow sprain) and top
reserve Taj Gibson (left ankle sprain),
trailed 25-19 after one that swelled to
57-39 by halftime.
Chicago pulled to within 93-85 with
7:24 remaining.
But the Spurs responded, as Mills,
Ginobili and Parker nailed triples to
open a 102-85 cushion en route to the
San Antonio Spurs’ Tony Parker (9) drives to the basket past Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah during the second half.
win. “They’re a good team; they’re
strong on both sides of the ball,” Bulls
coach Tom Thibodeau said of the Spurs.
“They’re the defending champions
and they’ve got a lot of veterans that
know how to play. You’ve got to give
them credit.”
At Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma
City Thunder prevailed over Toronto
Raptors 108-104. Red-hot Russell
Westbrook made two free throws with
14.3 seconds left to cap a 30-point,
17-assist, 11-rebound outing for his
fifth triple-double in the last six games
and seventh of the season, leading
the Thunder (35-28) past the visiting
Raptors.
DeMar DeRozan had 24 points for
SLSM ease to 9-wicket
win against MCCC ‘B’,
GCC finish with win
JUNIOR CRICKET
MUSCAT: Sri Lankan School Muscat
(SLSM) recorded an emphatic 9-wicket
win against Muscat Cricket Coaching
Centre ‘B’ (MCCC ‘B’) in their last
outing in the Junior League Under-13
tournament during the weekend at
the Municipality Ground No.1 at Al
Amerat.
Opting to bat, MCCC ‘B’ were
bowled out for 99 runs in 18.2 overs.
The bowlers to cause the damage were
skipper Udantha S Palihawadana
grabbed 4 wickets conceding 20 runs in
4 overs.
SLSM in reply got to their target
scoring 102 for 1 wicket in 7.3 overs
thanks to an unbeaten second wicket
partnership of 86 runs in 5.2 overs
between opener Yazid Nabil Makoon
who remained unbeaten on 57 (23b,
12x4) and Udantha Palihawadana 26
not out (16b, 5x4).
Brief scores: MCCC ‘B’ – 99 all out in
18.2 overs (Nishanth Sridhar 28; Udantha
Palihawadana 4-20, Arfar Ramees 2-10) lost
to SLSM – 102 for 1 in 7.2 overs (Yazid Nabil
Makoon 57 n.o., Udantha Palihawadana 26
n.o.); Points: SLSM - 2 (11 games – 12), MCCC
‘B’ - 0 (11 games – 0)
in 16 overs (Arjun Rajesh 73 n.o., Swastik
Moolya 2-25); Points: GCC - 2 (11 games – 5),
BOC - 0 (11 games – 2)
NOUMAN HITS TON FOR ISWK
Skipper Shah Nouman smashed a
brilliant unbeaten 115 (45b, 21x4) to
steer Indian School Wadi Kabir (ISWK)
to a massive 209-run win against
Muscat Cricket Coaching Centre ‘A’
(MCCC ‘A’) in another Junior League
T20 Under-13 match at Ground No.2 at
Al Amerat.
Indian School Muscat ‘A’ had
emerged as champions in the league
with 20 points from 11 games, while
Indian School Al Seeb were runnersup after edging out Indian School Wadi
Kabir on a better net run rate as both
the teams ended their campaign with
19 points each.
Electing to bat, ISWK posted a
daunting 266 for 1 wicket in 20 overs.
An opening partnership of 75 in 6.4
overs between Vishnu Gopalakrishnan
63 not out (48b, 5x4) and his partner
Tushar Awasthi 58 (27b, 11x4) set the
pace for a huge total.
Vishnu and Shah Nouman added
another 191 runs in an unfinished
second wicket partnership.
MCCC ‘A’ requiring a mammoth
267 for a win, were bundled out for a
paltry 57 runs in 13.1 overs with only
opener Muzahir Raza getting into
double figures scoring a run a ball 34
(5x4).
Tushar Awasthi continued to
contribute towards the win claiming 4
wickets for 10 runs off 4 overs.
GCC END SEASON WITH WIN
Gulf Cricket Centre (GCC) defeated
Bosher Olympic Centre (BOC) by 6
wickets in their last Junior League T20
Under-13 match.
Batting first, BOC were restricted to
131 for 5 wickets in 20 overs.
Set a target of 132 for a win, GCC
scored 132 for 4 wickets in 16 overs
thanks to opener Arjun Rajesh who
Brief scores: ISWK – 266 for 1 in 20
top scored with an unbeaten 73 (50b, overs (Shah Nouman 115 n.o., Vishnu
12x4).
Gopalakrishnan 63 n.o., Tushar Awasthi 58) bt
Brief scores: BOC – 131 for 5 in 20 overs MCCC ‘A’ – 57 all out in 13.1 overs (Muzahir
(Rushil Dadwal 24, Atharva Bhide 21 n.o., Raza 34; Tushar Awasthi 4-10); Points: ISWK –
Swastik Moolya 21) lost to GCC – 132 for 4 2 (11 games – 19), MCCC ‘A’ – 0 (11 games – 9)
tumbling Toronto (38-25), losers in
eight of its last nine decisions.
At Golden State, the Golden State
Warriors beat LA Clippers 106-98.
Draymond Green tossed in 23 points,
Klay Thompson and reserve Shaun
Livingston had 21 apiece, and the
league-best Warriors (49-12) used a
decisive 30-18 third quarter to pull away
from the visiting Clippers.
Reserve Austin Rivers scored 22,
Chris Paul added 14 and 11 assists for
the Clippers (40-23) who again played
without All-Star forward Blake Griffin
(right elbow staph infection surgery)
and top reserve Jamal Crawford (bruised
right calf).
At Los Angeles, Dallas Mavericks got
the better of LA Lakers 100-93. Monta
Ellis fired in 26 of his 31 points in the
second half, and the visiting Mavs (4124) closed on a 16-3 run in the final 6.5
minutes to hand the Lakers (16-46) a
fifth straight loss.
At Brooklyn, the Utah Jazz dominated
Brooklyn Nets for a 95-88 win. Gordon
Hayward scored five of his 24 points in a
pivotal 10-0 fourth quarter run, Derrick
Favours added 22, and the visiting Jazz
(28-36) clipped the Nets (25-36) for
their seventh win in the last nine games.
At Orlando, the Orlando Magic
edged past Boston Celtics 103-98. Victor
Oladipo tallied 22 points, Tobias added
21 and the Magic (21-43) rallied from 20
to beat the visiting Celtics (25-36), who
— USA Today Sports
got 21 from Isaiah Thomas.
At Detroit, Charlotte Hornets beat
Detroit Pistons 108-101. Al Jefferson
scored 24 points, Mo Willians had
19 with nine assists and the visiting
Hornets (28-33) won their fifth in a
row, while extending the Pistons’ (2339) slide to six despite Reggie Jackson’s
game-high 25.
— dpa
WGC
CADILLAC
American
Johnson rallies
for victory
at Doral
MIAMI: American Dustin Johnson
overcame JB Holmes’s five-stroke
final-round lead for a one-shot victory
at the WGC-Cadillac Championships
on Sunday, just over a month after
returning from a half-year break from
the game.
Johnson, in his fifth tournament
since taking a leave of absence in July
to deal with personal issues, carded
a three-under 69 at Trump National
Doral for his ninth PGA Tour win.
“All of them are good but this
one might be the best for sure,” said
Johnson, who kept his cool on the
difficult 18th, which he had bogeyed in
his three previous rounds, to make par
and secure the win. “I’ve been working
hard on my game and been working
hard on me, and so it means a great
deal to have some success right out of
the gate. It gives me a lot of confidence,
too,” said Johnson.
Holmes, who led the tournament
after each of the first three rounds at
Doral, quickly lost ground with three
early bogeys. Australia’s Adam Scott
(71) and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson (72)
finished tied for fourth. World number
one Rory McIlroy, who struggled with
his ball-striking throughout the week,
finished tied for ninth, eight shots
behind Johnson, after an even-par he
shot even-par 72 that was capped by a
double-bogey on the 18th. — Reuters
NBA RESULTS
San Antonio bt Chicago 116-105
Golden State bt LA Clippers 106-98
Utah bt Brooklyn 95-88
Charlotte bt Detroit 108-101
Orlando bt Boston 103-98
Oklahoma City bt Toronto 108-104
Dallas bt LA Lakers 100-93
Dustin Johnson with the trophy.
— USA Today Sports
LOCAL FLAVOUR
Minke Gijselman wins Muscat Ladies Open
MUSCAT: Minke Gijselman, who claimed
the Nearest the Pin prize last year,
clinched the Gross Winner title at the
2015 Muscat Ladies Open with a score
of 94 at the Ghala Golf Club on March 6.
Rachel Connor came a very close second
with a score of 95.
The Muscat Ladies Open took place
at the Ghala Golf Club for the second
year running. This 18-hole strokeplay
competition was open to all ladies with
a verified handicap and included ladies
from all the golf courses in Oman. This
year, all the proceeds and entry fees
were donated to the Oman Cancer
Association, for Breast Cancer Awareness.
Over RO 400 was raised on the day for
the cause, with over 30 ladies joining in
for the event.
Dr Zahid al Mandhari from the Oman
Cancer Association awarded the prizes
to the winners. In the Nett category,
Michelle Kubota won with a Nett score of
73, and Avis Pickering was the runner-up
with a Nett score of 74. There were a few
course prizes during the round with the
Nearest the Pin going to Janice Coutinho
and longest drive to Ayse Kazdal.
For new golfers and non-golfers there
was also a Bodybalance class, put on by
the Art of Life Centre in Al Ansab, Muscat.
The Bodybalance class was a mixture
of tai chi, yoga and pilates, focusing on
strength and serenity.
This class was followed by a golf
clinic with Jay Townsend, the General
Manager of Ghala Golf Club and PGA
Golf Professional, teaching different
techniques to improve each lady’s golf
swing.
Commenting on the event, Jay
Townsend, said: “It was fantastic to work
with the Oman Cancer Association this
year to create this Open for the second
year running. There were many sponsors
who made this day possible, including
the Red Baron for sponsoring the overall
tournament and prizes. The Body Shop
for sponsoring the gift bags, Gloria Jeans
for providing unlimited beverages,
sandwiches and cakes, The Catering
Partner for providing breakfast and
snacks for the participants, Art of Life
Centre for putting on the Bodybalance
class, Desert Dreams for providing the
backdrop for the tournament and Golf
Oman for providing prizes and golf sets.
It is only with the help of these sponsors
that we see this event growing each year
and attracting golfers from across the
Gulf.”
The Ghala Golf Club is now getting
ready for the Club Championships,
sponsored by Omantel on the March 13
and 14.
PSC MRI ball cricket tourney
Muscat Hills holds LNG junior golf tournament
MUSCAT: Muscat Hills Golf and Country Club
hosted the first of four Oman LNG Junior Golf
Tournaments on March 7.
As many as 38 players took part in the
tournament, which was held in three categories
between the ages of 5 to 18 years old. The
remaining three tournaments will take place
throughout remainder of 2015.
Jade Lucas, Lady PGA Teaching Professional at
Muscat Hills, conducted the tournament.
Junior golf has been growing steadily over the
last few years mainly due to the efforts of all the
golf clubs working with the Oman Golf Committee
(OGC).
The OGC has now successfully established an
Omani development squad where they can draw
from and has already seen some young talented
Omani stars making their way onto the national
team. “With the OGC Junior programme in place
at club level, the juniors have an opportunity to
grow. But they also need to compete amongst
themselves to better their individual standards.
There is no better way to do so than by competing
in these tournaments,” said Director of Golf at
Muscat Hills, Ray Stopforth.
RESULTS OF THE 3 CATEGORIES: 3 Hole Winning Team: Mahir
Sampat, Ahmed Al Mawali and Darsh Pawan; 9 Hole Individual
Winner: Anton Phillips; 9 Hole Individual Runner-Up: Nina
Goswami; 18 Hole Individual Winner: Jordan Whitelaw
MUSCAT: The Pakistan
Social Club (PSC) will
organise an MRI ball
cricket tournament from
April 3 to 17 at Ghubra
Power Plant ground.
Matches will be held
on April 3, 4, 10 and
17. The draw will be
conducted at Pakistan
Social Club office on March 29.
The Pakistan Social Club is organising the tournament
after its successful Ramadan Tape ball flood light cricket
tournament. The organisers are offering several prizes for
the MRI cricket tournament. For more details, contact: Tahir
Mahmood (92893063), CH Abbas (99344649), M Kaleem
Akhtar (95262759) or Jamil Zaidi (99383935).
Table tennis camp at ISC
MUSCAT: The Indian Social Club Muscat will organise an open
table tennis coaching camp from March 15 to 31. The camp is
open to all, members and non-members and is being held to
enable children to utilise their free time during the holidays.
The coaching camp will be conducted by Sharmila
Mauskar, former Maharashtra State player and an experienced
coach. Those interested should register at the Indian Social
Club in Darsait by 6 pm on March 13. Further details can
be obtained from the Indian Social Club (Tel. 24701347 or
24703263).
ENTERTAINMENT
T U E S DAY
MARCH 10 l 2015
WITH A FUTURISTIC
SETTING, ‘CHAPPIE’
TAKES CINEMA-GOERS
TO A WORLD WHERE
CRIME IS PATROLLED
BY AN OPPRESSIVE
MECHANISED POLICE
FORCE. IT NARRATES
A STORY OF A POLICE
DROID WHICH IS
STOLEN AND IS REPROGRAMMED, MAKING
HIM THE FIRST ROBOT
WITH THE ABILITY TO
THINK AND FEEL FOR
HIMSELF. THE FILM
HIGHLIGHTS MEASURES
TAKEN BY HUMANS
TO SAFEGUARD THEIR
EXISTENCE
‘Chappie’, starring Dev Patel (inset), debuted at the top of the North American box office.
‘Chappie’ incredibly
relevant: Dev Patel
B
ritish actor of Indian
descent Dev Patel feels
that he bagged the role
in sci-fi entertainer
Chappie to add an
Indian appeal to the
film on artificial intelligence.
“India is one of the most rapidly
developing nations and we know
everyone around the world respects
its technological advancement, so the
film is incredibly relevant. I think that
director Neill Blomkamp cast someone
like me to make the film international
and appeal to the audience in India,”
Dev, who earned global recognition with
the Oscar winning Slumdog Millionaire,
said over phone from Berlin.
With a futuristic setting, the film
takes cinema-goers to a world where
crime is patrolled by an oppressive
mechanised police force. It narrates a
story of a police droid, Chappie, which
is stolen and is re-programmed, making
him the first robot with the ability to
think and feel for himself. The film
highlights measures taken by humans to
safeguard their existence.
The film, which also stars Sigourney
Weaver and Hugh Jackman, will release
in India on March 13. And Dev hopes
audience “really respond to the film
well” and “find it entertaining”.
Talking about his character — Deon
Wilson, Dev said: “ He’s a young guy who
lives a reclusive lifestyle, and happens
to be a genius from Oxford in London.
But he doesn’t care about violence and
robots that can fight, his real objective is
to find a companion and to find a robot
that can feel.
“So he goes and pitches in about the
idea, but is ridiculed by his boss. He then
decides to steal a droid and put a chip
of artificial intelligence in it to make a
artificial intelligent robot.”
The 24-year-old actor seems to be
a fan of Robot Maid from Richie Rich
cartoon as he fancies a robot who can
help him with his daily chores.
“I would love a robot that could clean
my bedroom, do dishes, the laundry, cut
my grass. That would be just lovely,” he
said.
Al Pacino hasn’t ruled out getting
married: The Godfather star Al Pacino,
74, thinks it is “possible” he could get
married.
The actor, who has daughter Julie,
25; and twins Anton and Olivia, 14;
from previous relationships, doesn’t
expect to marry so late in life, but says
he hasn’t ruled it out completely, reports
femalefirst.co.uk.
He said: “Of course it’s possible (I’ll
get married). It seems beside the point
though. I mean, yeah. I have no idea, but
I never say never.
“I don’t think of marriage that way,
but it’s very possible that this could
happen.”
Meanwhile, reports from Los Angeles
said Chappie debuted at the top of the
North American box office over the
weekend, industry estimates showed.
The dystopian romp took in $13.3
million, according to box office tracker
Exhibitor Relations. The film kicked
last weekend’s top earner, con-artist
flick Focus, into second place. The dark
comedy, starring Will Smith as a crook
who takes on a protege played by Margot
Robbie, raked in $10 million.
Debuting in third with $8.6 million
was sequel The Second Best Exotic
Marigold Hotel, featuring an all-star,
if aging, cast including Judi Dench,
Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Penelope
Wilton and Richard Gere.
The tale of retirees staying in an
expanding hotel in Jaipur, India, also
stars Dev Patel as the facility’s manager,
in his second weekend box office debut.
Falling to fourth was British spy film
Kingsman: The Secret Service with $8.3
million, while children’s animated romp
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of
Water trailed behind with $7 million.
Racy bondage tale ‘Fifty Shades of
Grey,’ which saw a record February
opening, meanwhile slid into sixth place.
The erotic tale of billionaire
Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and
his sadomasochistic relationship with
college graduate Anastasia Steele
(Dakota Johnson) took in $5.6 million.
Kevin Costner sport drama
McFarland, USA, the story of a smalltown cross-country team made of
students from immigrant families, was
in seventh place with $5.3 million in
its third week out. Landing in eighth
with $5.1 million was horror flick ‘The
Lazarus Effect,’ about medical students
who discover a way to bring people back
to life. — IANS/AFP
TRAILER LAUNCH
Aamir, Amitabh to launch ‘Broken Horses’ trailer
M
egastar Amitabh Bachchan and superstar
Aamir Khan will share the stage to launch
the much anticipated trailer of Vidhu Vinod
Chopra’s maiden Hollywood venture Broken Horses.
It is the first Hollywood film that has been written,
directed and produced by an Indian. The trailer will be
released on Tuesday.
“I am grateful to Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir
Khan who have agreed to launch the trailer of my first
Hollywood film Broken Horses. It is a very special film
for me and special people launching the trailer will
make the moment even more memorable,” Chopra said
in a statement. Set in the shadows of US-Mexico border
gang wars, Broken Horses is an epic thriller about bonds
of brotherhood, laws of loyalty and futility of violence.
Distributed and marketed by Fox Star Studios in
India, Broken Horses will hit the theatres on April 10.
Zarine set for Telugu debut: Bollywood actress
Zarine Khan, who has worked in films such as Veer and
Housefull 2, is set to make her Telugu debut in a yetuntitled film opposite actor Meka Srikanth.
“Zarine has been finalised as one of the leads in the
film. She is paired with Srikanth and will join the sets of
the film later this month,” a source from the film’s unit
said.
To be directed by Sudhir Raju, the film will be
launched shortly.
It also features Esther Noronha and Prachi Sinha in
important roles as well.
Srikanth will be essaying the role of a Casanova in the
film, which will be produced by SN Reddy.
Zarine is currently shooting for The Legend of Michael
Mishra and Amar Must Die.
Minaj considers Kanye ‘brilliant’: Rapper Nicki Minaj
says she has nothing but admiration for Kanye West and
will forever be in debt to him for the opportunities he has
presented her with which helped to elevate her career.
“I adore him. He gave me a great opportunity, there’s
no way I could ever outshine him. I mean he’s just
brilliant,” dailymail.co.uk quoted Minaj, who worked
with the rapper on songs like Monster and Blazin, as
saying.
“He has done something that I’ll never forget, you
know, he’s given me one of the best opportunities that
I’ve ever gotten in my career,” she added.
Minaj further said she puts on a lot of pressure on
herself to ensure she’s always at the top of her game.
“Sometimes I think I put even more pressure than
people would ever know. I have always pushed the
envelope with lyrics and I always want people to say and
talk about a dope Nicki line and I have always been that
way,” she said. — IANS
omandailyobserver
29
TINSELTOWN
Miley Cyrus wants
to elope with beau?
S
inger Miley Cyrus and her boyfriend Patrick Schwarzenegger are “as
good as engaged” and are reportedly thinking of eloping.
According to a source, the 22-year-old, who is dating actor Arnold
Schwarzenegger and his former wife Maria Shriver’s son since November last
year, wants to marry him because she thinks she has found “the one,” reports
femalefirst.co.uk.
“Miley is telling everyone she’s found The One. And he’s totally under her
spell. They’re as good as engaged,” ‘US OK! Magazine’ quoted the source as
saying.
Patrick’s mother is allegedly still “urging” him “to end things” with Cyrus,
as she and Arnold “don’t like Miley’s party-girl image”.
But the source said: “Miley knows that it won’t work with his family. But
she’s madly in love and told Patrick they should run off to a tropical island and
even Las Vegas and take the plunge, just the two of them. Miley pretty much
sets the agenda in the relationship.”
Dench candid about her
vision problem
V
eteran actress Judi Dench,
who is suffering from
macular degeneration that
leads to gradual loss of vision, says she
usually gets thicker scripts which has
the typeface enlarged.
“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,”
people.com quoted Dench as saying.
“They’d think, ‘why does she have
a bigger part?’ when it’s all the same,”
she added.
The 80-year-old’s fading eyesight
also prevents her from painting.
She explained: “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. My eyes only affect me if
I’m somewhere dark and there are steps and I don’t see very well. I couldn’t
go on the London Underground now without somebody because I couldn’t
work a machine. I’m not going to make it something that’s going to stop me.”
Waterhouse itching for
engagement
M
odel-actress
Suki
Waterhouse
reportedly
wants her boyfriend and
actor Bradley Cooper to propose to
her soon.
According to a source, the 23-yearold, who started dating Cooper, 40, in
March 2013, has been talking to him
about the idea of marriage, reports
aceshowbiz.com.
“Suki says she’s been warming him
up to the idea of marriage and he’s
starting to get excited about it,” Us
Weekly magazine quoted the source as
saying.
“It’s up to Bradley to pop the
question, of course, but she hopes it
happens soon,” the source added.
Waterhouse is said to be taking her
romance with Cooper very seriously
and is seen having a close bond with
his mother Gloria.
The source added: “They hang out when Bradley is busy. She wants Gloria
to know she’s in the relationship for the right reasons.” — IANS
30
LIFESTYLE
omandailyobserver
T U E S DAY
MARCH 10 l 2015
LOCAL SCENE
Technical Open Day
organised in Ibri
T
Exhibition on art of knife
painting tomorrow
M
inspired the title of this seminar.
For Abdul, who grew up in
Muttrah, the Corniche is part of his
heart and soul and the inspiration
behind majority of his dynamic city
scape paintings.
Abdul started painting at the age
of eight. He takes his inspiration from
his childhood, also from the unique
heritage and folklore of Oman.
He is a member of the Omani
Society for Fine Art and the Youth
Studio and has won three distinctive
awards and has exhibited in Oman,
Egypt, Dubai and New Delhi.
Meet the artist, and those who
are aspiring to be one to join
Meeting point will be opposite of will be available for purchase but you
Abdul Majeed in this live painting the Souq entrance.
may bring your own. Come paint,
event.
Material for those wishing to join draw, create, or simply watch.
uscArt will
be holding a
free of charge
open-air art
seminar at the
Muttrah from
4.30-6pm, on Wednesday, March 11.
Leading the group will be Omani
artist Abdul Majeed Karooh (pictured),
whose knife painting technique is the
most prominent in his works.
This brisk and vibrant technique
that captures the light of the moment in
real time, concentrating on the essence
of the subject rather than minute
details, often reminds one of the freely
placed brush strokes of 19th century art
movement Impressionism, which has
coined the term ‘en plein-air’ and has
he College of Applied Sciences,
Ibri, organised a Technical
Open Day, in cooperation
with the IT Programme Director and
Assistant IT Programme Director, in
the presence of Dr Jehad al Khalaf
Bani-Younis, Dean of the college, and
the Head of the IT Department.
The open day featured various
activities including presentations by
the Oman IT Society (OITS), and an
exhibition of IT student work. These
events were held as part of the efforts of
Professor Robert (PDIT) and Dr Qasim
(Asst.PDIT) to strengthen ties between
the IT Programme at CAS and the local
community.
Areef al Zadjali (OITS) gave a
lecture on ‘Change Management’. The
lecture focused on methods of change
management and some of the challenges
of e-government; 16 employees from
IT Departments at local government
institutions participated in this activity.
OITS also made a presentation on their
efforts to promote IT.
The Software Specialisation team
organised an exhibition of software,
dynamic websites, mobile applications
and students’ graduation projects
which was attended by IT Department
employees of local government
institutions and students.
Dr Jehad al Khalaf Bani-Younis, Dean
of the College, drew attention to the fact
that the events were in accordance with
the recently approved strategic plan,
which aims to foster cooperation and
generate contributions from academic
institutions in the industrial sector’s
training, and scientific research in
applied specialisations.
Dr Mayyada Hammoshi, IT
Department Head, noted that such
events strengthen the relationship
between the college and local
institutions in the Al Dhahirah
Governorate.
IT workshop held at
CAS-Ibri with OITS
A
s part of the cooperation
between IT Department at
College of Applied Sciences Ibri
and IT Programme Director, the college
organised a workshop for students on
IT programme specialisations.
The workshop was conducted by
Maryam al Amri, Akram al Raisi
and Areef al Zadjali from Oman IT
Society.
Al Amri talked about social media
networks’ negative and positive impact
on the youth and the use social media
in enhancing learning process. Akram
al Raisi talked about information
security challenges that face users and
how to face them.
Finally, Areef al Zadjali introduced
the society’s vision and mission to
participants, explaining that OITS
works co-operatively with institutions
to promote IT all over the country.
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ARABIC
ENGLISH
Jack: ayn turiid tarooh?
Salim: qsr al.a’lam, lakin ma a’rf kehyf arooh hinak.
Jack: sahil. ta’rif sooq matarah?
Salim: na’m.
Jack: rooh siiidah w albahr a’la yasarak w alsooq wara’k.
b’ediin, lif yamiin ma’ il.dawar. rooh siidah w b’ediin lf
ymyn. m’e aldwar batashoof alqsr.
ȒȠȶǍůNjƁǍůǜƁȚ
.ȱƾƶƀȠȶȤȖǗƸżȯǍŸȖƾžǜƳŽȆǛƴƯŽȚǍƫŻ
ȒȠǍƭžȰǞŴȯǍƯů .ǚƷŴ
.ǛƯſ
ȆǜƁNjƯŮ .ȱȔȚȤȶȰǞƉŽȚȶȱȤƾƉƁǟƴŸǍƇƃŽȚȶȵNjƸŴȠȶȤ
ȤȚȶNjŽȚǕž .ƞƚǗŽǜƁNjƯŮȶȵNjƸŴȠȶȤ .ȤȚȶNjŽȚǕžƞƚǗŽ
.ǍƫƲŽȚȯǞƪƄŮ
Salim: OK! mumkin a’ref wynuh. huwa qariib qala’t almyrany. sah?
Jack: na’m. wa ma b’iid min mutahf beit alzubiir.
Salim: shukran
Jack: ma’ esalamh
Ȓljǧ .ǠſȚǍƸƓȚǀƯƴŻƿƁǍŻǞƀ .ǝƶƁȶȯǍŸȖǜƳƛ !ǠżȶȖ
.ǍƸŮǎŽȚǁƸŮǗƇƄžǜžNjƸƯŮƾžȶ .ǛƯſ
ȼȚǍƳŵ
ǀžǾƉŽȚǕž
Where do you want to go?
Al alam Palace, but I do not know how to get there.
It is easy. Do you know Matrah Souq?
Yes.
Go straight with the sea on your left away from the
souq. Then, turn right at the roundabout. Go straight
and then turn right. At the roundabout, you will see
the palace.
Ok. May be I know where it is. It is near the Mirani Fort. Right?
Yes. And it is not far from the Bait Al Zubair Museum.
Thank you!
bye
EXTRA VOCABULARY
qriib
muqabel
siidah
dawar
albahr
ƿƁǍŻ
ǚŮƾƲž
ȵNjƸŴ
ȤȚȶȢ
ǍƇƃŽȚ
Near
Opposite
Straight
Roundabout
sea
CULTURAL LESSON: Greetings are a big part of Omani culture. If you walk into a closed space, you are expected to say as-salaamu alaikum. In addition,
when people greet you, you should greet them back. Actually, it is considered impolite if you enter a place and you do not greet the people who are there.
Expanding Opportunity through
Education and Training
www.amideast.org\oman
M
any studies may have
all along misinterpreted
brain mapping data and
overestimated the age of the human
brain, suggests a new study that
challenges current theories of brain
ageing.
Previously reported changes in
the ageing brain using functional
resonance
imaging
magnetic
(fMRI) may be due to vascular (or
blood vessels) changes, rather than
changes in neuronal activity which
is associated with brain function, the
findings showed.
The study suggests that older brains
may be more similar to younger brains
than previously thought.
A fundamental problem of fMRI
is that it measures neural activity
indirectly through changes in regional
blood flow, the researchers pointed
out.
“There is a need to refine the
practice of conducting fMRI.
Researchers should make use of
available resting state data as a suitable
alternative,” said Kamen Tsvetanov
from the University of Cambridge.
An alternative candidate for
correction makes use of resting state
fMRI measurements, which is easy to
acquire in most fMRI experiments.
While this method has been
difficult to validate in the past, the
unique combination of an impressive
data set across 335 healthy volunteers
over the lifespan, allowed the team
to probe the true nature of ageing
effects on resting state fMRI signal
amplitude.
The study found that the age
differences in signal amplitude during
a task are of a vascular but not of
neuronal origin.
The new method can be used as a
robust correction factor to control for
vascular differences in fMRI studies of
ageing, the study noted.
SPOTLIGHT
T U E S DAY
MARCH 10 l 2015
omandailyobserver
31
DR RAJAN PHILIPS
[email protected]
Inching towards
women
empowerment
T
People sit on a chair lift at the Oukaimeden ski resort
From sand dunes
to ski slopes
Q HICHAM RAFIH
O
n a clear day, skiers can
see the dunes of the
Sahara desert shimmer
in the distance from the
Moroccan ski resort of
Oukaimeden, the highest
in North Africa.
The view is impressive, even on a cloudy day,
but ski instructors say a lack of infrastructure
and hotels stands in the way of growth.
The resort is located in the High Atlas
Mountains, a mere 50 km from the popular
tourist destination of Marrakesh with its
luxury hotels and pools.
Oukaimeden in southern Morocco is
perched at an altitude of 3,600 metres (about
11,800 feet). Joumayna, a visitor from Britain
who took the only chairlift to climb 1,000
metres to the summit, said: “We are at the top,
so close to the clouds. It’s magnificent.”
Six T-bar tows and 18 pistes were covered
by a heavy carpet of snow this year for the first
time in nearly two decades.
Local officials say a record number of
visitors, some 30,000 a day, visited Oukaimeden
during the first weekends of the winter season.
“But that is not enough. Much more needs
to be done to build the infrastructure so that
we can compete with Europe,” said Mohamed
Bennani, a ski instructor with the Royal
Moroccan Ski Federation.
Bennani said the shortage of hotels and
chalets resulted in most visitors coming from
Marrakesh only to spend the day.
“It’s like when people go to the beach for the
day,” he said.
Oukaimeden has only three small hotels,
including one with 15 rooms run by a French
family, and a handful of chalets.
Bouzekri Attifi, who runs a private school in
Marrakesh, agrees Oukaimeden does not have
enough beds for visitors.
He had taken 50 schoolchildren on a day
trip to the resort, leaving Marrakesh at dawn.
“I had to urge the ski federation to provide
us with a place where the children can have
some breakfast before hitting the slopes,” he
said.
Driving to Oukaimeden is a challenge,
along a narrow road that winds its way up.
“The road’s too small and it can be closed for
four to five days when there’s heavy snowfall,”
said ski instructor Hazzan Azougagh.
A weekend escape can turn into a nightmare
when up to 5,000 cars head the same way.
Authorities in El Haouz province, where
the resort is located, have built several open-air
car parks and set up a bus station to help ease
traffic.
Work is also underway to open a second
road. Locals make a modest but brisk business
from November to March when, snow
permitting, skiers spend money for lessons or
to hire ski gear.
Off-season, local entrepreneurs offer
trekkers the chance to climb up to Mount
Tubkal, one of the highest peaks of the Atlas
range reaching an altitude of 4,000 metres.
Paragliding is also being promoted,
especially when temperatures in the Marrakesh
plain below soar to 45 degrees Celsius.
“Everyone comes here. The French, the
British ... really, everyone, including many
Moroccans,” said Brahim Chah, who also gives
skiing lessons.
Dubai’s Emaar group announced plans
more than eight years ago to invest $1.4 billion
in developing the resort together with 11 hotels
and the world’s highest altitude 18-hole golf
course, but the project remains on standby.
Oukaimeden is one of two ski resorts
in Morocco, along with Ifrane, a smaller,
picturesque resort of the Middle Atlas near the
northern city of Fez.
Tourism earnings are a backbone of
Morocco’s economy and the kingdom hopes to
double the number of visitors from 10 million
to 20 million by 2020. — AFP
FASHION
Khaki fatigues match high heels on fashion catwalks
A
Military style jackets with belts and epaulettes are
part of the look (Inset) High heels.
rmy style is back on the catwalks,
and Europe’s boutiques are full of
fatigues, khaki jackets and desert
boots and clunky sandals that look great on
a dainty, feminine figure.
Just don’t mention camouflage patterns,
which are this season’s fashion no-no.
The military khaki look first cropped up
last season in several collections including
Alexander Wang’s. Now it’s playing an even
bigger role in women’s fashion, so get ready
to stand to attention!
Military style jackets with belts and
epaulettes are part of the look, along with
casual pants with lots of pockets and rough
looking boots. Olive green is a typical
military colour along with beige, dark blue,
grey and brown. The difference here is
that these colours are highly stylised. But
camouflage is definitely out.
“This army trend is not really new. But
this season it’s been stylised in just so many
different ways,” says German personal
shopper Maria Hans. Stylised also means
made to look more feminine.
“That includes long flowing materials,”
says fashion stylish Stephanie Zarnic. Zarnic
says designer Ralph Lauren has gone for this
look by “combining the hard cuts normally
found in military wear with feminine blouses
and fine pullovers.” Designer Christopher
Bailey even created an army-look, khaki
evening dress for Burberry.
Maria Hans advises clashing the army
look with another style. “A severe military
jacket with gold buttons and epaulettes will
look very different if you wear it with a long
chiffon skirt. It might
also be enough to wear high heels instead
of heavy boots with it.”
Playing with colours is also a great way to
profit from this look.
“An army outfit in typical military colours
looks great with a pink blouse. A necklace
with colourful gemstones or a lovely belt will
take away some of the severe appearance.”
But what type of person is best suited
to this look? “Strong women — in terms of
their figure — should avoid this,” explains
Lydia Maier, a style consultant. The typical
elements of the
military style such as belts and breast
pockets can amplify the parts of the figure
that you may not want attention attracted to.
“That means: if you want to look thinner,
military style may not be for you. However
curvaceous girls can follow the style’s colours.
They should, however, make sure to be
consistent and wear a blouse and pants in the
same colour,” advises Maier.
You also need to check that the colour you
choose suits your skin type too.
“Not every woman can wear olive green.
You really need to have a warm skin tone.”
A variation on the army look is the socalled Amazon style, which Hermes designer
Christophe Lemaire has been inspired by.
This is where minimalism and clear cuts
dominate to create a very straight and elegant
figure.
“This variation on the army look is
consciously playing with austere and
androgynous elements,” says Stephanie
Zarnic. On the one hand it’s about hiding
femininity and on the other, femininity is
subtly underscored by the careful choice of
materials.
If the idea of wearing a complete military
style outfit is too much for you, you can soften
it up by wearing high heels or a billowing top.
“If you decide to wear rough-looking boots
you will emphasise the masculine aspect to
this style,” says Zarnic.
In hot climates, light canvas boots can be
worn, or else desert sandals with wide straps
in leather will keep your feet cool and achieve
a smart military look at the same time. — dpa
he 2015 International Women’s Day
(IWD) observance on March 8, is just
behind us but the relevance of the day
continues and is worth a little more reflection.
It is indeed a special day when women are
meant to be recognised for their achievements
and multi-dimensional contributions to
society. It’s a day for introspection as well as
for looking forward to the day when women
can enjoy genuine security and equality of
opportunities in theory and practice.
The United Nations began celebrating the
day in March during International Women’s
Year in 1975. In December 1977, the General
Assembly passed a resolution proclaiming
a UN Day for Women Rights to be observed
annually.
The declaration itself was the culmination
of a long movement for establishing women‘s
rights, especially at the workplace, that
stemmed from the labour movements at the
beginning of twentieth century, across Europe
and North America.
The UN initiative and support to promote
women participation as equal partners with
men to achieve peace, development and basic
human rights, has turned the observance into a
truly purposeful global endeavour.
Every year, UNO suggests a significant
and lofty theme to provide a clear focus to the
observance. Some of the past themes include:
Women and Human Rights (1998), Gender
Equality and the Millennium Development
Goals (2003) and Equality for Women is
Progress for All (2014 ). The 2015 theme is
‘Make It Happen’.
In this context, the message of the UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is very
relevant: ‘When we unleash the power of
women, we can secure the future for all. The
world will never realise 100 per cent of its goals
if 50 per cent of its people cannot realise their
full potential. We call on countries to ‘step it up’
for gender equality.”
Despite the long years of observance,
good intentions and sustained efforts by
governments and NGOs, the key goals of
equality and security for women remain a pipe
dream in many societies. Gender bias is a grim
reality even in the most developed countries’
societies. The principle of ‘equal pay for equal
work’ is conveniently ignored.
In many developing and underdeveloped
countries the plight of women is far worse.
They are suppressed, demeaned and subjected
to regular domestic violence, and exploitation
at the workplace. Girls are denied equal
opportunities for education, healthcare and
nourishment by their parents.
Someone recently remarked that a
progressive democracy like the USA has never
had a woman President, while a number of
developing countries like India, Sri Lanka and
Philippines and Pakistan have had years ago,
capable lady Head of Governments. But we
know their rise was facilitated by the family
ties (as spouse or daughter) with the leaders
they succeeded. Hence, a corresponding rise
in the social or economic status of the average
women was never realised.
Surely, women have come a long way.
And there is much to celebrate in the acts
of courage and determination and string of
accomplishments by ordinary women who
constantly play a sterling role in shaping their
families and societies despite the heavy odds
they face.
Safeguarding the legitimate rights of every
woman is the best way to empower them
and ensure overall human emancipation and
dignity. Only an educated and free woman can
nurture an enlightened family and a self-reliant
and progressive society. Celebrating the spirit
of womanhood in its true sense is the best way
to usher in a more humane and secure world
for all.
Quotes :
™ Women are the real architects of society.
— Harriet Beecher Stowe
™ Women who seek to be equal with men lack
ambition.
— Timothy Leary
™ A free race cannot be born of slave mothers.
— Margaret Sanger
™ Being a woman is a terribly difficult task,
since it consists principally in dealing with
men.
— Joseph Conrad
TUESDAY | MARCH 10, 2015 | JUMA AL ULA 19, 1436 AH
P29
P30
P31
Inside
‘Chappie’ incredibly relevant: Dev Exhibition on art of knife painting tomorrow From sand dunes to ski slopes FOLLOW US ON:
www.omanobserver.om
[email protected]
Q KABEER YOUSUF
H
Anjali Babu- Expat strokes of
Omani culture (1)
Strokes of Oman’s
culture and tradition
er brush seeks
not the memories
of her childhood
days in a remote
island of India
where majority of
her time was spent but the imageries
of her ‘Karmabhoomi’ (land where one
lives and works), that is the Sultanate of
Oman.
The myriad images of the Sultanate
are captured in several strokes of
abstract as well as portrait paintings
of Anjali Babu, who has been living
with her husband in Oman for nearly
two decades- and ask her what is her
next painting about? “I’m drawing His
Majesty the Sultan of Oman whose
astute personality is praised locally as
well as internationally”.
Her passion for painting started
at a very early age in school when
her teacher identified that she had
that spark in her which many of her
contemporaries didn’t they registered
her name for an upcoming contest.
Anjali came out with flying colours
that might not have, at least shocked
the teacher, who sensed that spark in
her. Later on, as she noted, she lost the
touch with painting in the midst of dayto-day running after the pursuits of life,
but it was after her arrival in Oman after
marriage that she started feeding the
innate desire to do something creative.
Impressed by the natural beauty and
cultural heritage of the country, Anjali
resumed painting the daily visuals that
she was into on a regular basis. And this
is where she found her inspiration to
carry on with her talent.
“The images that I see and feel every
day in Oman have influenced me and I
cannot think of anything else than the
visuals that stay closer to reality”, says
an even humbled Anjali who was seen
showcasing her paintings at the recently
held expo by ace creative designer Louai
Alasfahani of Paragon International
at the Oman International Exhibition
Centre in Seeb.
Anjali has been a versatile artist par
excellence who has been pursuing her
passion for painting since childhood.
She is well-versed in all mediums of the
art, such as acrylic, water and oil.
Anjali’s works include highly realistic
portraits of men, women, landscapes,
figurative themes and abstracts that
radiate positive energy in any setting.
Realistic portraits of stalwarts in art
such as Rembrandt and Ravi Verma are
part of her creations.
“It was the meeting with Oman’s own
artiste Sheffi Thattarath, an ace artist
and the master behind several budding
talents in the country, that proved to be
a major turning point in my career and
I have been trained by him since then”,
Anjali adds.
She has participated in several
exhibitions both in Oman and India.
Anjali is an active member of Mona
Lisa Art Club and Synergy Art, Oman
Fine Arts Society.
Anjali lives here with her husband,
Babu, who is a private sector employee
and her two children who are studying
in Indian School Muscat.
TOURISM
The Galapagos battle to stay pristine amid floods of tourists
Q BERND KUBISCH
V
isiting the Galapagos Islands, which
are thronged with unusual animals,
used to be difficult and expensive,
but times are changing and affordable flights
from the Ecuadorian cities of Quito and
Guayaquil are now available.
The Galapagos are one of the world’s main
showcases of the drama of evolution.
Travellers with small budgets can get
accommodation for around $14 a night,
and can get to see the giant tortoises, seals,
pelicans and monster terrestrial and aquatic
lizards virtually for free.
More than 200,000 tourists per year visit
the Pacific islands, located about 1,000 km
west of the South American coastline.
Those who wish to go hiking amid the
booby and albatross nests on otherwise
uninhabited islands are still better off to
book a ship excursion, which can range
between $250 and $800 per day.
But it costs much less to enjoy the
astonishing sight of a giant tortoise
withdrawing its long neck and tiny head into
its shell, tucking its stubby legs inside too and
slowly settling immovably in the sand. That
makes it a perfect natural fortress.
Sometimes the animals simply withdraw,
emitting a hissing sound and going into the
shell when a tourist gets a little too pushy
and wants to touch the animal. The tortoises
weigh up to 300 kg and can be well over 100
years old.
Santa Cruz, the most important island for
tourism in the archipelago, has a population
of the giant tortoises.
The island capital of Puerto Ayora is home
to nearly 15,000 inhabitants, more than half
of the Galapagos population. In the harbour,
seals doze while water taxis ferry people back
and forth in the bay.
Fishing boats, freighters, and high-speed
ferries ply the waters, heading to the other
three inhabited islands, San Cristobal, Isabela
and Floreana. A number of cruise ships lie at
anchor here most months of the year.
Galapagos guides are emphatic in
repeating to the guests before they arriving at
the nature reserves on the islands: “Nobody
may leave the marked path, or touch an
animal, or use their flash when taking
photos.” Anyone who smokes or even as
much as drops a piece of paper can be in for
trouble nowadays.
The plants and animals on the archipelago
of around 130 islands were able to evolve for
5 million years without major predators.
One of the guides is Harry Jonitz, from
Germany. More than 20 years on the islands,
he can help visitors to better observe and
understand what they are seeing of this rare
natural world. — dpa

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