Oil rout forces OPEC to trim price expectations Gulf delegate says market to correct itself

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1 SUBSCRIPTION Kuwait to build new airport 2 in 1-1/2 years SATURDAY, AUGUST 29, 2015 THULQADA 14, 1436 AH No: Greece s new PM 10 names caretaker cabinet Schippers wins metres gold 150 Fils Oil rout forces OPEC to trim price expectations Gulf delegate says market to correct itself GEVGELIJA: Migrants wait for Macedonian police to allow them to cross in Macedonia at the border line between Greece and Macedonia near the town of Gevgelija yesterday. Serbia and Macedonia s foreign ministers called for EU action on Europe s migrant crisis at a summit of leaders from the western Balkans, attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Both have become major transit countries for tens of thousands of migrants trying to reach the European Union in recent months, with Macedonia last week forced to declare a state of emergency. AFP Europe migrant crisis brings tragedy by land and sea VIENNA: Rescue workers counted dozens of victims yesterday from the increasingly desperate tide of humanity sweeping into Europe fleeing war, oppression and poverty. Austrian police said 71 people likely suffocated in an airless truck and authorities estimated 200 people drowned off the Libyan coast when two overloaded boats bound for Europe capsized. Authorities around an unsettled world have struggled to respond to the largest global movement of people since World War II. In Europe, thousands of people a day are boarding flimsy boats to Italy or Greece, and thousands more are placing themselves at the mercy of human-trafficking gangs and ordinary thugs as entire families slog for days or weeks through the countryside of the western Balkans toward what they hope will be a brighter future. European officials were stunned by the grisly developments. One is basically at a loss for words in view of the extent of suffering there, German Chancellor Angela Merkel s spokesman Steffen Seibert said of the Austrian deaths. The UN refugee agency says more than 300,000 migrants and refugees have sought to cross the Mediterranean Sea this year- nearly 40 percent more than in all of 2014, which saw the highest numbers ever recorded. The vast majority are fleeing war, conflict or persecution in countries including Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea. The International Office of Migration, or IOM, has recorded 2,432 deaths linked to Mediterranean crossings this year, but countless more have vanished beneath the waves out of sight of rescuers. The official count was set to rise yesterday as authorities counted the dead from three shipwrecks off the Libyan coast. Two ships went down on Thursday alone off the western Libyan city of Zuwara. Hussein Asheini of Libya s Red Crescent, said at least 105 bodies had been recovered, adding: a coast guard team is still diving in and checking inside to see if there s anyone else. About 100 survivors, including nine women and two girls, were rescued from the two boats, according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and the IOM, and at least 100 more were believed to be missing. AP (See Page 7) Min 35º Max 49º DUBAI/LONDON: A second oil price rout of 2015 has forced Arab OPEC members to cut their price expectations for this year, showing they are prepared to tolerate cheaper crude for longer to defend market share and curb rivals output. OPEC delegates, including those from core Gulf OPEC countries, see economic troubles in top energy consumer China as short term and unlikely to have much impact on demand for crude which will rise seasonally in the fourth quarter. But they also believe it will take more than just a few months for weak oil prices, which fell to a more than six-year low near $42 on Monday, to reduce supplies from higher-cost producers such as US shale and stimulate demand. They expect the recent price drop will help reduce the crude oversupply towards the end of the year and thus lift oil prices slightly. The comments further indicate that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is sticking to its policy of defending market share rather than cutting production to shore up prices - regardless of how low they would fall and how long it would take to balance the market. It will be better to leave the market to correct itself. I don t think this low price will continue, said a Gulf OPEC delegate who declined to be identified. Prices will be around $40-$50 a barrel until the end of the year and hopefully they will reach $60, assuming there will be a recovery in China. A second Gulf OPEC delegate also expected the oil price to remain around $40-$50 a barrel for the rest of the year. A third Gulf oil source said: People are over-reacting to China. But you cannot underestimate the sentiment, that s the problem. Oil is bottoming... and the deeper it goes the more the rebound will be quicker and the supply reaction will be even bigger, the source said, adding prices may dip again to slightly below $45 before slowly recovering to around $60 by December when OPEC meets next. Arab OPEC delegates initially thought prices would recover more quickly after the group s shift to the market-share strategy in 2014 deepened the decline, saying last December they saw oil between $70 and $80 by the end of Other OPEC delegates outside the Gulf are also bracing for a prolonged period of low prices as they do not expect the group s top producer Saudi Arabia, the driving force behind OPEC s refusal to cut output, to change course and prop up prices. If this oversupply continues with no action from OPEC or Saudi Arabia, then I expect prices will stay around $45 until the end of the year, said one. As a policy, OPEC has not openly targeted specific oil prices for over a decade, ever since it abandoned a $22 to $28 price band instituted after a price crash in the late 1990s. But the comments signal how big producers see the market playing out and that OPEC s strategy championed by Saudi Arabia is not a short-term one, but rather a plan that needs time to work and they are willing to wait. Gulf oil insiders see no sign of Saudi Arabia wavering on its longterm strategy. This is not going to be two-three quarters adjustments, this is going to be a two-three years adjustments, said Yasser Elguindi of economic consultants Medley Global Advisors. OPEC reconfirmed the market-share strategy at its last meeting in June and the Gulf OPEC delegates were still expecting a recovery in prices towards the end of 2015, supported by higher global demand. But those sentiments have changed with the latest unexpected price drop, growing concern about the demand outlook in China and persistent oversupply. Reuters

2 LOCAL Kuwait to build new airport in 1-1/2 years KUWAIT: The Civil Aviation Directorate General said that a new airport with a capacity of up to four million passengers per year will be built in Kuwait, said well informed sources. The airport will be built with readymade buildings which will be completed in one and a half years, says Arabic daily Al-Qabas quoting the sources. It will be considered a backup for the Backup terminal to handle 4m passengers current terminal which will help accommodate the increased traffic expected to increase in the coming years until the new terminal is completed. The source added that the Central Tenders Committee approved the request to introduce the tender for designing, construction, furnishing, operational maintenance and maintenance of the back-up passenger terminal at the Kuwait International Airport. He said the building of the new terminal will solve in part the congestion at the current airport terminal for many years. He said the back-up building is expected to accommodate four million passengers and include all facilities for departures and arrivals. It will have a car parking facility with a capacity of 1,700 vehicles. He said some airlines will be moved to this back-up airport according to certain standards. He said the number of passengers at the airport reached more than nine million last year exceeding the capacity of the current building. So it is necessary to build the backup building to relieve the pressure and maintain the services level, the sources added. KUWAIT: State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Abdallah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah with Colonel Omar Al-Marshoud and Colonel Mohammad Al-Shatti after conferring on them new brigadier ranks. New brigadier ranks for KFSD officers By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Abdallah Al-Mubarak Al- Defense ministry denies reports on of naval arms KUWAIT: Defense Ministry s Directorate of Moral Guidance and Public Relations late Thursday dismissed as untrue reports circulated on social media networks on inefficiency of Kuwait Naval Force s missiles and boats, as well as the ministry s desire to auction its boats. The Directorate affirmed, a press statement, the ministry s keenness in acquiring modern, advanced, high-efficient naval equipment, noting that that Sabah conferred on Colonel Omar Al- Marshoud and Colonel Mohammad Al-Shatti their new brigadier ranks in the presence of Director General of Kuwait Fire Service naval force continuously conducts a set of exercises and drills. The force also executes several live ammunition shootings to assure readiness and efficiency of its naval equipment and weapons, the ministry said. It called media sources to pursue accuracy and not to post any news related to the Kuwaiti army, reiterating the Directorate s welcome to answer any question by the media. KUNA Directorate Lieutenant General Yousuf Al- Ansari, Deputy Director General for Prevention Sector Major General Khalid Al- Mikrad, Acting Deputy Director General for KUWAIT: VIVA, Kuwait s fastestgrowing and most developed telecom operator, announced the fourth lucky winners of its weekly draws campaign that gives prepaid customers a chance to win $1,500 daily cash prize for every KD1 they spend on recharge, as well as $ 5,000 monthly. The campaign began on 28 July 2015 and valid for six consecutive months. VIVA s prepaid daily draws is taking place once a week with 7 winners, one winner for every day of the week to get the $1,500 cash prize, and the winners for the fourth week, held on 25 Administrative and Financial Affairs Brigadier Saleh Al-Ansari and Acting Deputy Director General for Fighting Brigadier Jamal Al- Bulaihees. VIVA announces fourth daily draw winners of its prepaid campaign August 2015 are: Ahmad Salah Altararwah, Lionida Martinez, Aala Abdulaziz Mohamed Thiab, Belli Sourcha Beili, Mebeerat Sisai Diro, Habib Rasoul Dashti, and Khaled Ahmad Alsharhan. Both new and existing prepaid customers are eligible to enter daily and monthly draws throughout the promotion period, upon recharging their lines with KD 1 credit. Lucky winners of the daily draws will get $1,500 cash prize while winners of the monthly draws will get $5,000 cash prize. VIVA reiterates its commitment to providing unique promotions designed to create an exceptional customer experience and reward its prepaid customers for their continued trust in VIVA. VIVA will continue to seek new and innovative ways to facilitate the lives of its customers and share with them the latest in communication technology. To find out more about VIVA s new prepaid packages, or any of its other competitive promotions, products and packages, visit one of the 69 VIVA branches, or the VIVA website at or call VIVA s 24 hour call center on 102.

3 Interior Minister touts nation s pavilion at Expo Milano MILAN: Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah yesterday said that Kuwait s participation in the Expo Milano 2015 has highlighted the country s gracious and humanitarian achievements. The minister made the statement during his visit to the Kuwaiti distinguished pavilion at the universal event that took off on 1 May, accompanied by the country s ambassador to Italy Sheikh Ali Khaled Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. A the pavilion, they were received by Kuwaiti Commissioner General for Expo Milano 2015 Faisal Al-Mutalaqim, Minister of Public Works and Minister of Electricity and Water Ahmad Al-Jassar and the Kuwaiti General Consul in Milan Abdul-Nasser Bukhadhour. Talking to KUNA, Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khaled expressed pleasure for visiting the Expo, and the Kuwaiti pavilion showcasing Kuwaiti achievements under the bannerline Challenge of Nature. He noted that the pavilion, inspired by the Kuwaiti history and traditions, embodied the gracious and humanitarian image of our dear country. The minister thanked all people who have taken part in Kuwait s honorable participation in the sixmonth universal exhibition, especially the Ministry of Information. He paid tribute to Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs: Sheikh Salman Sabah Al-Salem Al-Humoud Al-Sabah. Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khaled also voiced admiration for the Kuwaiti young people receiving visitors from worldwide to brief them on the history of Kuwait. He conveyed to them greetings of His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al- Hamad Al-Sabah who will visit the Expo next month. Al-Mutalaqim thanked the Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister for his visit, offering him a scale model of the pavilion as a souvenir. He said that yesterday s visit as well as the Premier s reflect the special care to Kuwait s participation in the Expo, as well as the success to convey the country s sophisticated message. Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khaled also toured the pavilion of other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states at the Expo. Dubai is to host Expo 2020, to be held in the region for the first time. KUNA By Faten Omar KUWAIT: As any child with fears, Saleh Al-Ojairi in particular was afraid of nature such as lightning and thunder, the sky and the stars. But one day Ojairi decided to face his fears by knowledge, and now, at 95 years old, Ojairi no longer consider nature his foe, but rather see it as his friend. Now, he is Dr Saleh Al-Ojairi, a popular Kuwaiti astronomer, who made the history of the astronomy of Kuwait. Dr Ojairi was born in Kuwait in 1920, the eldest of nine siblings. At 4 years old, his father enrolled him in school to learn reading, the Holy Quran, mathematics and other subjects. His father was the first to encourage him to study astronomy as he was the one who sent him to the desert when he was a kid to learn the life of bedouins (stateless tribe) and learn horse-riding, shooting and other skills. It was in the desert observing the sky with its sun, moon and stars that Dr Ojairi became more in love with astronomy. Turning point When he was 18 years old, Dr Ojairi began his passion in reading books and read the book that changed his life. Al-Manaheg Al-Hamedia, written by the Egyptian writer and astronomer Ghaith Abdul Al-Hamid Morsi, made Dr Ojairi wonder about many things in life and it was in reading this book that Dr Ojairi made a turning point and decided to meet the writer and ask him about everything. I traveled to Egypt to meet the writer who made my brain explode with questions. That time we had no buses or planes, so I went to Egypt by land, and traveled from Kuwait to Basra, then to Beirut, then to Alexandria and finally to Cairo, said Dr Ojairi. I met the writer who welcomed me and taught me a lot but he kept his valued books away from me, and I was dying just to take them, and read. Later, Dr Ojairi continued his university studies in Egypt and got married when he was 20 and had four sons and one daughter. During the interview, Dr Ojairi opened a cupboard and showed Kuwait Times a set of old books. After a while, the Egyptian writer s wife called me and told me that her husband passed away and that she wanted me to have some of his books, and that was my chance to get in his secret library. I took all the books that I so desired and asked the wife how much I owe her. Her response was that those books were her husband s second wife s and she hated them so bad. That moment was my happiest, he said. After graduation, Dr Ojairi worked as a teacher and was a LOCAL The man who fell in love with astronomy Dr Saleh Al-Ojairi walks down memory lane Dr Saleh Al-Ojairi teacher to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al- Sabah. He then worked as an accountant first for the government and then for a bank. In 1971, Dr Ojairi retired and spent his time managing his business. Ojairi calendar Dr Ojairi issued his first calendar in 1945 which he printed in Baghdad and was called the Ojairi calendar. Later he issued different publications such as wall calendars, pocket diaries, office diaries and others. Dr Ojairi is a model to follow by those thirsty for knowledge. He spent seventy years of his life struggling to learn astronomy and received highly valued medals and certificates, an act that has made him a well-known scientist not only in the Arab world but also in the entire world. KUWAIT: The Arab Fund For Economic & Social Development has recently launched a number of projects of providing fresh drinking water in Gaza.

4 LOCAL Crime R e p o r t Carcass of dead whale swept away KUWAIT: Very strong winds swept the carcass of the dead whale, detaching it from the ropes that were used to hold it, and disappeared. The whale s disappearance alerted the committee concerned with the incident, which decided to search for it through the Science Club team. The team designated divers to look for it while the environment police used a helicopter in the search. Sources said the whale weighs 4.5 tons and is 11.5 meters long. Asian tries to rape Filipina An Asian man was charged with attempted rape, when he attacked a Filipina maid inside her sponsor s house in Abdallah Al-Salem. The Filipina was attacked in the presence of two other domestic helpers who testified that the man who works as a driver in the same house attacked the Filipina after threatening to kill them. All three women said the incident took place at 4:30 am. Officer swindled A police officer was swindled by a Kuwaiti woman, as he deposited KD 10,000 in her account, only to discover that he was tricked into a bogus investment. In another story, a citizen accused a person she knows of tricking and swindling her of KD 21,000 after tricking her of buying goods, but he disappeared. The lady gave police details of the man in her complaint against him in Rumaithiya police station. Investigations showed the man left the country to an Asian country and detectives were asked to arrest him as soon as he returns. Kidnapping A Bangladeshi national told Jleeb police that his brother was kidnapped by five expats who demanded KD 1,000 for his release. Farwaniya detectives are investigating the case. Insulted A policeman in Ahmadi accused a citizen of insulting him after he issued the citizen a traffic ticket. The citizen is being sought. Illegal entry Nuwaiseeb border crossing police foiled the attempt of an Arab national to get into the country, hiding in a truck used to transport heavy goods. When police searched the truck they found the man hiding and he did not have an iqama (visa). The man said he intended to beg for money in Kuwait then return home. The man was sent to concerned authorities. Domestic abuse A citizen filed a complaint against her husband who beat her in the parking lot of a mall as a dispute took place between the two. Police operations received a call about a man beating a woman in a Salmiya mall so a police patrol was sent there and found out they were married. The woman insisted to file a complaint because of the embarrassment her husband caused her in front of others. Neighbor attacked Two brothers who live in Sabahiya ganged up on their neighbors son and beat him with a stick causing a cut in his head during a fight that started over a motorcycle deal. The victim s family rushed him to the hospital and got a medical report stating that he sustained a head injury and various bruises on the back and thighs. A complaint was filed and detectives are looking for the brothers. Car robberies Criminal detectives arrested two men who specialized in breaking into cars and stealing its contents. The thieves targeted cars parked in mall parking lots in Fahaheel and confessed to committing eight thefts. Following the many complaints, detectives learned that one of the suspects lives in Mahboula, so they waited for him until he left his home and arrested him. He told detectives that he, along with his Syrian partner, targeted multi-storey parking areas and gave them his partner s details and he was arrested. Al-Rai KUWAIT: The Ministry of Interior in collaboration with the Kuwait Municipality launched on Thursday an inspection campaign in and around the Friday market. More than 40 traffic violations were registered in addition to the detaining of 20 vehicles. Cat hooked like fish By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: A cat was the victim of animal abuse after its body was penetrated with fish hooks and cast out like fish bait in Anjafa beach. A passer by heard the painful screams of the cat and when he saw the cat he called 112 where the call was responded to by Mishref center men. The rescue team went to Anjafa beach where they recued the cat and took the poor animal to the center where the hooks were cut successfully. Weapons A citizen was sent to criminal detectives to find out why he kept two swords, an axe and a knife. The arrest was made during a campaign in Bneid Al-Qar. Beggars deported Two Arab expat women were seen and arrested begging during a routine patrol in Farwaniya. The women were sent for deportation and sources said that it is possible that their husbands will likewise be deported. Drug arrest An Egyptian man was sent to Drugs Control General Department (DCGD) for trading in narcotic pills. The suspect was stopped at a check point in Khaitan then when he took out his Civil ID from a small bag, an envelope with tablets was seen. There were eight half-tablets and 37 tablets of suspected Tramadon pills, as well as KD 350. Insulted An officer from Farwaniya back-up police patrol accused a Kuwaitis cannot directly acquire real estate in Bosnia KUWAIT: According to Bosnian law, Kuwaitis cannot acquire real-estate in Bosnia and Herzegovina directly from sellers unless through registered companies operating in the country, said Kuwait s Ambassador to Bosnia Nasser Al-Mutairi here yesterday. In a press release obtained by KUNA, Al-Mutairi said that registered Kuwaiti companies do seek to document acquired properties through the embassy; however, this procedure does not equate the ownership of any real-estate within KUWAIT: A fire fighter trying to unhook a cat from a fishing hook on Anjafa beach yesterday. 40-year-old citizen of insulting him, after writing her a ticket. The officer said the female driver then attempted to kill him by trying to run him over and he avoided the speeding car by jumping aside. Bosnian law. He indicated that the Bosnian government is looking into measures to attract Kuwaiti and GCC states investors to the country, affirming that there will be meetings between Kuwaiti and Bosnian officials to look into the matter. KUNA

5 British Airways exiting Kuwait skies over security? KUWAIT: British Airways took a decision to stop flying to Kuwait within weeks due to what it observed as weak security procedures at Kuwait International Airport, said Arabic daily Al-Rai quoting British sources in a letter by British Aviation Authorities to their Kuwaiti counterpart. The British side said British Airways decision is final and will not be revoked, unless certain security procedures are taken quickly and such procedures will be under watch and subject to evaluation. Concerned Kuwait authorities took several steps, especially under the tense atmosphere of the region and in the presence of active terrorist groups. The Customs Department plans to buy communications and radioactive systems to increase the safety and security of their procedures and will be able to discover explosives and drugs. Further, the Customs Department announced a bid to buy advanced systems and said there is coordination with the Interior ministry to increase checking and inspection of passengers and their cars. Al-Rai By Sajeev K Peter KUWAIT: Members of the Malayali expatriate community in Kuwait yesterday celebrated Onam, Kerala s harvest festival, in its traditional fervor and flamboyance. Luckily for many, this year s Onam fell on a Friday, making it convenient for Malayalis in Kuwait to celebrate the festival on the same day itself. We are glad that we could celebrate Onam on the same day itself this year, said Mari, a housewife in Abbassiya whose family enjoyed a traditional Onam feast at their friend s house in Jleeb. For many Keralite families in Kuwait, the festival served as an occasion for social gettogether where the traditional Onam feast was served. Onasadya or Onam banquet is the highlight of the Onam celebration that consists of pure vegetarian dishes and is traditionally served on a banana leaf in Kerala. The feast is quite elaborate and a usual feast can have about dishes served as a single course. At many apartments, men and women in their traditional attire joined hands to lay colorful pookalams or floral rangolis. Cashing in on the soaring demand during the season, supermarkets and grocery shops in Indian neighborhoods announced major promotions and sales on fruits, vegetables and other essentials. They also welcome the Onam shoppers with specially imported jasmine flowers, plantain leafs and traditional Kerala sweets and delicacies at discounted prices. Many Indian restaurants in Abbassiya, Salmiya, Mangaf, Farwaniya and Mirqab yesterday home-delivered ready-to-serve Onam meals in packets LOCAL Malayali community in Kuwait celebrates Onam at attractive rates ranging from KD 2.5 to KD 4 per packet. Yesterday s celebration marked the beginning of a festival season for the strong 300,000 Malayali community in Kuwait with associations scheduling Onam festivities and feasts in the coming weekends which could very well roll over into October. Many Kerala associations have planned cultural programs staging dance, music, drama events and various competitions. Thiruvonam marks the culmination of ten days of Onam festivities which is observed as the homecoming of the mythological King Mahabali. The festival brings alive the cultural heritage of Kerala in its best form and is celebrated in commemoration of a glorious past during the regime of the king when peace and prosperity prevailed in the country. KUWAIT: Assistant Undersecretary for Nationality and Passports Affairs at Ministry of Interior Maj Gen Sheikh Mazen Al-Jarrah met at his office last Thursday the ambassador of Philippine to Kuwait Renato Bedro. They discussed bilateral issues and topics of mutual concern. Kuwait s $15m donation helps UNRWA schools reopening RAMALLAH: UNRWA announced that schools for Palestinian refugees would start on time after Kuwait has donated $15 million for the agency. There are currently half million Palestinians whose future depends on receiving a decent education, and Kuwait s donation would help to open schools on time, Commissioner- General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Pierre Krahenbuhl said in a statement yesterday. Students of UNRWA have hopes of starting their academic year normally despite the difficulties and challenges they face, said the official, praising Kuwait s humanitarian aid and generosity. UNRWA previously announced a deficit of $101 million, which could lead to delaying the start of the new academic year in 685 of the agency s schools. The UNRWA was established in 1949 by the UN s General Assembly to aid and support about five million Palestinian refugees, who were displaced by Israel in The agency provides Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria with education, social services, health care and infrastructure service in refugee camps. KUNA KUWAIT: Indian Ambassador Sunil Jain poses for a photograph with ladies in their traditional Kerala attire during an Onam celebration. Kuwaiti youth keen to achieve development programs: SCPD KUWAIT: The Supreme Council for Planning and Development (SCPD) said on Thursday that Kuwaiti youth is currently sparing no effort to achieve several development programs, calling citizens to await development plans promising outcomes. There are several other state bodies that interacted with SCPD to follow-up with results of the development plans, Khaled Mahdi, Assistant Secretary- General of SCPD s General Secretariat, said in a press conference. Mahdi stressed the importance of commitment to prepare monthly reports that inform all sides on latest updates regarding development programs, confirming the General Secretariat s efforts to raise awareness in the public on the development plans, actions to activate its role in following present and future plans, and commitment to implement the Council s recommendations. Meanwhile, Mahdi indicated that the General Secretariat has recently conducted field visits to several project sites that made a notable progress in achieving these projects, calling media sources to activate its positive role and highlight efforts exerted by workers and organizers of development plans projects. In the past period, the Council s follow-up teams have inspected a number of strategic projects in the country, listed within the annual plan 2015/2016, including expansion of three hospitals; Adan, Sabah, and Frawaniya, Mahdi said, adding that achievement pace of these projects is currently proceeding in accordance with their time frame. The team also visited Al-Zour refinery, in which large part of the project s area has been reclaimed with a total achievement ratio of 13 percent, he said, adding that achievement ratio for the area s soil treatment project is 50 percent and it is set for completion by mid Other field trips also included the environmental fuel project, which is currently proceeding on good pace as drilling started, concrete has been laid, and contracts were signed, Mahdi said. The SCPD team also visited the Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC) to inspect the Olefins 3 project, which is the largest among other developmental projects as it is expected to attain highest revenues for the country s treasury by producing 12 industrial products, he added, noting that the project remains under initial study as the Company received the project s land from Kuwait Municipality last July. On Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah Bridge project, Mahdi said that achievement ratio for this project is currently 37 pct, expecting its completion by end of 2017 or by November A significant number of data has been updated in SCPD s automated follow-up system to allow bodies in the country to follow the development plan automatically, he said, indicating that this would help in following projects and submitting their monthly reports to the Cabinet. KUNA


7 Three arrested for deaths of 71 migrants in truck 10 Ten killed as India, Pakistan border skirmishes continue 11 Obama praises New Orleans on Katrina anniversary tour 14 ZUWARA: Members of the Libyan Red Crescent, wearing protective white clothing and masks, collect the body of a migrant that had washed ashore on a beach yesterday in the port town of Zuwara, about 160 kms West of Tripoli, after two boats carrying hundreds of migrants and refugees sank off the coast of the town. Seddik Said, head of a joint crisis team, told AFP at the scene that according to survivors around 400 people were on board the main vessel and another 60 on a smaller boat which sank. AFP 200 dead in latest migrant disaster ZUWARA: Libyan authorities were collecting the bodies of migrants who drowned off the coastal city of Zuwara, with some 200 feared dead yesterday in the latest disaster involving desperate people trying to reach Europe. An Associated Press photographer at the scene saw workers removing bodies from the water, and pulling a flooded boat into the harbor that contained several drowned victims floating face down. At least one victim, a man, was wearing a life vest. They were put into body bags and lined up on the waterfront. Hussein Asheini, the head of Libya s Red Crescent in Zuwara, said at least 105 people were killed, some while trapped inside the boat after it capsized. Fishermen and the coast guard found the waterlogged vessel at sea and towed it back to Zuwara, where they had to break the ship s deck to reach people trapped inside. The boat sank out sea and a coast guard team is still diving in and checking inside to see if there s anyone else, he said. There were conflicting casualty figures and the Red Crescent was still counting the bodies and the survivors, he added. In a statement, the United Nations refugee agency said that up to 200 people were missing and feared dead after the Libyan coast guard carried out rescue operations Thursday for two boats carrying an estimated 500 migrants. Othman Belbeisi, chief of mission for the International Organization for Migration for Libya, said in a statement: We are still waiting for more details, but we have learned there were 400 people on one of two boats. He said 100 were rescued, including nine women and two girls. In a separate rescue operation by the Libyan coast guard on Wednesday, UNHCR said 51 people were found dead of suffocation in the hold of a boat, with survivors recounting how smugglers beat them with sticks to keep them under the deck. It said one survivor described how smugglers forced passengers into the packed hold and were demanding money to allow them to come up to breathe fresh air. Dozens of boats are launched from lawless Libya each week, with Italy and Greece bearing the brunt of the surge of migrants. Since a 2011 civil war that ended with the overthrow and killing of longtime dictator Moammer Gaddafi, the oil-rich north African country of Libya has plunged into chaos. It is divided between an elected parliament and government based in the eastern port city of Tobruk and an Islamist militia-backed government in the capital Tripoli. Militants from the Islamic State group are also exploiting the chaos. Violence and poverty in the Middle East and Africa are driving a surge in refugees headed to Europe, with many crowded rafts capsizing and leaving hundreds feared dead. Libya in particular has been a hotspot for human trafficking, although boats occasionally try to leave from Egypt as well. AP

8 INTERNATIONAL BAGHDAD: Protesters chant in support of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-abadi as they carry national flags during a demonstration in Tahrir Square in Baghdad, Iraq, yesterday. Friday s protesters were joined for the first time by followers of Muqtada al-sadr, a radical, anti-american Shiite cleric. The protesters have staged weekly rallies since last month to press demands for reforms, better services and an end to corruption. AP Iraq PM orders easier access to Baghdad s Green Zone Sistani warns politicians against empty promises BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al- Abadi yesterday ordered security forces to ease access to Baghdad s fortified Green Zone and main streets, in an apparent bid to improve daily life for ordinary Iraqis as the country braces for fresh protests. The capital and many southern cities have witnessed demonstrations in recent weeks calling for provision of basic services, the trial of corrupt politicians, and the shakeup of a system riddled with graft and incompetence. Thousands of people were heading to join yesterday s protests following a call from powerful Shi ite cleric Moqtada al- Sadr. Security forces deployed in force to prevent violence, which has been limited in past weeks. Partly in response to the protests, Abadi is pushing reforms to a system he says has deprived Iraqis of basic services and undermined the fight against Islamic State militants. He has announced several measures this month to combat corruption and mismanagement including scrapping layers of senior government posts, cutting security details and other perks for officials, and encouraging corruption investigations. Yesterday, he directed military commanders to ease civilian access to the Green Zone, the central Baghdad district home to many government buildings and several Western embassies. The 10-square-kilometre area on the bank of the Tigris River once housed the headquarters of the US occupation and before that one of Saddam Hussein s republican palaces. Checkpoints and concrete barriers have blocked bridges and highways leading to the neighbourhood for years, symbolising the disconnect between Iraq s leadership and its people and wreaking havoc on traffic in the city of 7 million people. Abadi also ordered the elimination of nogo zones set up by militias and political parties in Baghdad and other cities in response to more than a decade of car bombings. But yesterday s edicts showed that security remained a high priority. Abadi called for a plan to protect civilians... from being targeted by terrorism, according to online statements, but did not identify specific measures or a timeline. Bomb attacks, many of them claimed by Islamic State, continue to strike the Iraqi capital. At least six people were killed on Friday morning in a car bomb attack in the southern district of Zafaraniyah, police and medical sources said. Abadi pledged in November to remove concrete barriers from the capital, but movement in many areas remains constrained by the blast walls. He has managed to reduce the army s security role in the city and lifted a nighttime curfew. Previous promises Abadi also ordered yesterday the formation of a legal committee to review the ownership of state properties and return illegally gained assets to the state. Critics say some officials have abused their authority to appropriate state-owned properties for personal use. Top Shi ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al- Sistani, who wields authority few Iraqi politicians would openly challenge, has called on Abadi to strike with an iron fist against corruption. Yesterday, he cautioned protesters against letting personal goals distract from their demands while urging politicians to provide tangible results of reform measures. Reuters NABI SALEH: Palestinians fight to free a Palestinian boy (bottom) held by an Israeli soldier (C) during clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian protesters following a march against Palestinian land confiscation to expand the nearby Jewish Hallamish settlement yesterday in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh near Ramallah. AFP Amnesty accuses UAE of torturing Libyan-Canadian NICOSIA: Authorities in the United Arab Emirates have tortured a Libyan-Canadian man who has been held for a year on suspicion of having links to the Muslim Brotherhood, Amnesty International said yesterday. Salim al-aradi has been in detention since August 29 last year. Although police in Dubai gave no reason for his arrest, it is believed that authorities suspect he is linked to the banned Islamist organisation, the rights watchdog said. Aradi is believed to have been tortured or otherwise ill-treated in custody. His health is said to be deteriorating rapidly and he has been denied access to adequate medical care, said Amnesty in a statement. The unlawful treatment of Salim al- Aradi demonstrates the extreme tactics the UAE authorities are resorting to in the name of protecting national security, said Amnesty s Middle East and North Africa deputy director Said Boumedouha. The group said that Aradi was among 10 Libyan businessmen arrested in the UAE, four of whom were released in December and deported to Turkey. The UAE has not seen any of the proreform protests that have swept other Arab countries since 2011, including fellow Gulf states Bahrain and Oman. But authorities have stepped up a crackdown on dissent and calls for democratic reform. Most of those targeted have been Islamists. A rare mass trial of 41 radical Islamists accused of seeking to overthrow the government and of having links with terrorists opened on Monday. AFP Saudi-led air strikes kill 10 in Yemen SANAA: Warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition killed 10 people in air raids in central Yemen yesterday, local officials said. One air strike targeted the home of a retired army brigadier in the central city of Ibb, killing him and five members of his family, the officials said. Four more people were killed in separate air strikes on military and security buildings in the city, the officials said. The mountainous area of Ibb lies between the coast and the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa. The Iranian-allied Houthis seized Sanaa last September in what they called a revolution against a corrupt government, then took over much of the country. Yemeni government forces intend to launch an attempt to recapture Sanaa within two months. Steps are already under way to break the grip of Houthi fighters, the country s exiled foreign minister told Reuters on Thursday. President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi fled Aden, where he had sought refuge, for Riyadh in March. Arab countries led by Sunni Muslim power Saudi Arabia intervened in the conflict to push back what they see as spreading Iranian influence in their backyard. The war has killed more than 4,300 people, many of them civilians, and spread disease and hunger in one of the Arab world s poorest states. Reuters

9 INTERNATIONAL S Sudan army ordered to end fighting JUBA: South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has ordered all government troops to cease fighting rebel forces as part of a peace agreement, his spokesman said, ahead of a full ceasefire today. Kiir has ordered all the army to stop shooting and remain in their barracks where they are, but they can shoot in self defence once attacked, spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told AFP yesterday. Both sides accused each other of launching attacks on Wednesday as Kiir signed a peace deal aimed at ending the 20-month long civil war in which tens of thousands of people have been slaughtered. The accord, already signed by rebel chief Riek Machar, gave a 72-hour deadline for a permanent ceasefire, with comes into effect around sunset today. Late on Thursday, rebels accused the army of attacking their positions in the northern battleground state of Unity. The army did not respond, but has previously dismissed rebel claims as lies, or accused them of launching attacks. Facing the threat of international sanctions, Kiir signed the deal but annexed a list of reservations that he said would have to be addressed for the deal to take hold in the world s newest nation. Massacres, rape, atrocities Machar has said the reservations casts doubts on the government s commitment. The UN Security Council has given Kiir until September 1 to get fully behind the agreement or face possible sanctions, and the United States has circulated a draft resolution that would impose an arms embargo and targeted sanctions on those who undermine peace efforts. Two powerful rebel generals, Peter Gadet and Gathoth Gatkuoth, split from Machar earlier this month, accusing him of seeking power for himself. The government has said the split is a key reason they doubt the peace deal can be effective. Ateny said rebels must also stop fighting. We expect also Riek Machar to do the same with his forces, Ateny said, but added that as rebels were no longer one entity, it remains to be seen how Machar will control his forces. The signed deal gives the rebels the post of first vice president, which means that Machar would likely return to the job he was sacked from in July 2013, an event which put the country on the path to war later that year. But the 12-page government list of reservations of the peace deal calls this a humiliation and a reward for rebellion, and insists the post of first vice-president must be on equal footing with the current vice-president, whose post remains. AFP Teen gets more than 11 years for helping Islamic State ALEXANDRIA: A northern Virginia teenager was sentenced yesterday to more than 11 years in prison for helping another teen travel to Syria to join the Islamic State and for providing other aid to the militant group. The judge said he considered 17-year-old Ali Shukri Amin s age and lack of a criminal record during sentencing in federal court in Alexandria. Amin told the judge he didn t expect sympathy. Amin pleaded guilty in June to conspiring to provide material support to terrorists. The Manassas teen would have otherwise been graduating from high school with honors around the time of his plea. Juveniles rarely face charges in the federal system. I have not attempted to deny or explain away anything I have done, Amin said. He said he has resolved to not blindly become more radical. Defense attorney Joseph Flood had argued that a sentence of about six years was appropriate. He said in court that Amin s Twitter account may have had some 4,000 followers but that his influence was actually very small. In June, Flood said Amin was motivated by sincere religious beliefs and outrage at the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. He said yesterday that Amin had been manipulated by older radicals and Amin has repudiated ISIS in conversations with family and religious leaders. Assistant US Attorney Michael Ben Ary said in court yesterday that Amin wasn t being radicalized. He was radicalizing others. He said Amin knew what he was doing was illegal. Today s sentencing demonstrates that those who use social media as a tool to provide support and resources to ISIL will be identified and prosecuted with no less vigilance than those who travel to take up arms with ISIL, US Attorney Dana Boente said in a press release. The Department of Justice will continue to pursue those that travel to fight against the United States and our allies, as well as those individuals that recruit others on behalf of ISIL in the homeland. Amin admitted that he helped 18-year-old Reza Niknejad to travel to Syria to join the group in January. FBI Assistant Director Andrew McCabe said that after taking Niknejad to the airport, Amin delivered a letter and thumb drive to Niknejad s family informing them that they would likely never see him again. Today marks a personal tragedy for the Amin family and the community as we have lost yet another young person to the allure of extremist ideology focused on hatred, McCabe said in a news release. Amin s case serves as a reminder of how persistent and pervasive online radicalization has become. Charges against Niknejad were unsealed in June, alleging he conspired to provide material support to terrorists and conspired to kill and injure people abroad. Boente said at the time that Niknejad made it to Syria. As part of his plea, Amin also admitted to using Twitter to provide advice and encouragement to the Islamic State and its supporters. Through his Twitter handle Amreekiwitness - Amreeki translates to American - Amin provided instruction on how to use Bitcoin, a virtual currency, to mask funds going to the group and helped supporters seeking to travel to Syria to fight with the group, court documents said. AP LONDON: The British Library is pictured in central London yesterday. Academics have criticised the British government for creating a climate of fear after the country s national library declined to store the world s biggest collection of Taleban-related documents over concerns it could be prosecuted under terrorism laws. AFP British Library rejects Taleban trove fearing terror laws Terrorism Acts make it an offence to collect material PARIS: Academics have criticised the British government for creating a climate of fear after the national library declined to store the world s biggest collection of Taleban-related documents over concerns it could be prosecuted under terrorism laws. A group of international researchers spent years putting together a trove of documents related to the Afghan Taleban, including official newspapers from their time in power, poems, maps, radio broadcasts, and several volumes of laws and edicts-digitising the estimated two-three million words and translating everything into English. It was hoped the project, which was launched in 2012 and included members of the British Library on its advisory board, would prove an unprecedented resource for academics and officials trying to understand the movement and the ongoing insurgency in Afghanistan. But despite hopes that the library would host a master copy of the digital collection, it got cold feet at the last minute, telling the project s organisers that they feared they could be in breach of Britain s increasingly stringent counter-terrorism laws. No recipes for making bombs It s surprising and disappointing, said Alex Strick van Linschoten, a Berlin-based author and researcher who helped spearhead the project. There s no recipes for making bombs or anything like that. These are documents that would help people understand history, whether it s Afghans trying to learn about their recent past, or outsiders wanting to understand the movement. Any scholar would realise it s essential to read primary documents related to your subject if you want to understand militant groups, but there is a climate of fear among academics who study this kind of material because UK law is very loose, he said. The British Library was reluctant to discuss the decision, referring queries to the government. A spokeswoman confirmed the library was not currently able to acquire a copy of the archive. It is a large digitised archive which contains material that could contravene the Terrorism Act, she said. The legal advice received jointly by the British Library and other similar institutions advises against making this type of material accessible. The Home Office declined to comment. The Terrorism Acts of 2000 and 2006 make it an offence to collect material which could be used by a person committing or preparing for an act of terrorism and criminalise the circulation of terrorist publications. But under the laws, police must also prove that the owners share the views expressed in the publications and intended them to be used for terrorism. James Fitzgerald, a professor at Dublin City University and editor of the Critical Studies on Terrorism journal, said the library s decision to turn down the Taliban archive was completely, completely ridiculous. But he put the blame on the government for creating an atmosphere in which academics are increasingly nervous about touching anything to do with extremist groups. How much fear must there be to bring about a decision that is clearly ridiculous, he said. This is a symptom of a creeping orthodoxy of UK legislation that is trying to enforce so-called British values, said Fitzgerald, adding that the atmosphere has worsened since new guidelines were issued for universities calling on lecturers to look out for potential radicals. AFP

10 INTERNATIONAL 17 years jail for organiser of Russian MP s murder SAINT PETERSBURG: A Russian court yesterday sentenced the organiser of the 1998 killing of prominent opposition politician Galina Starovoitova to 17 years in prison. Saint Petersburg s Oktyabrsky district court sentenced former lawmaker Mikhail Glushchenko to 17 years in a tough-regime prison colony for organising Starovoitova s murder almost two decades ago. The gunning down of the 52-year-old liberal member of parliament in the stairwell of her home was one of Russia s most notorious political killings of the 1990s. The court established that Glushchenko along with an unidentified person decided to kill the State Duma deputy Galina Starovoitova with the aim of ending her active political and governmental activity, the prosecutor-general s office said in a statement. A charismatic politician and rights activist, Starovoitova was an MP in the State Duma lower house of parliament and chaired Democratic Russia party. She was also an advisor to Boris Yeltsin during his presidency. In 2005, a court in Saint Petersburg convicted two hitmen, one of whom was disguised as a woman at the crime scene, and sentenced them to 23 and 20 years, but failed to identify the mastermind. Glushchenko, a former deputy for the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party led by Vladimir Zhirinovsky, was arrested in 2009 over a separate case after being on the run for several years. His sentence took into account that he is already serving an eightyear sentence for extortion in a separate case after being convicted in Glushchenko, who appeared in court in a crumpled grey suit, pleaded guilty to being one of the organisers of Starovoitova s murder and asked for forgiveness from the Russian people. He ordered it, we did it Glushchenko said in court the murder was ordered by the head of the powerful Tambov criminal syndicate, Vladimir Barsukov, a one-armed mobster nicknamed the night governor of Saint Petersburg for his far-reaching influence. He ordered it, we did it. If I hadn t done it, they would have killed me. Barsukov is a very harsh person, Glushchenko said in court last week, quoted by Russian media. Barsukov, also known as Kumarin, is being held in a Moscow jail while he is investigated over numerous crimes. He is already serving time for extortion and corporate raiding. AFP Three arrested for deaths of 71 migrants in truck ATHENS: Caretaker government take a religious oath during a swearing in ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Athens, yesterday. Greece s new caretaker government, led by the nation s first female prime minister, Vassiliki Thanou, not pictured, was sworn as the country heads to early elections next month, the third time Greeks will go to the polls this year. AP Greece s new premier names caretaker cabinet Elections expected to be set for Sept 20 ATHENS: Greece s new prime minister, a top judge who is the country s first female premier, named the members of her caretaker government yesterday as the country heads to early elections next month, the third time Greeks will go to the polls this year. The appointments come a day after Supreme Court head Vassiliki Thanou was sworn into office. The 65-year-old was appointed after outgoing prime minister Alexis Tsipras resigned last week, barely seven months into his four-year mandate, following a rebellion by members of his radical-left Syriza party who objected to his agreement with the conditions of Greece s third international bailout. The finance ministry post went to Giorgos Houliarakis, an academic who had been on Greece s negotiating team during talks with creditors. Popular Greek pop singer Alkistis Protopsalti was named tourism minister. The new cabinet was to be sworn in later yesterday. Elections are widely expected to be set for Sept. 20. Tsipras has said he needs a stronger mandate to implement the tough austerity measures accompanying the three-year, 86 billion euro bailout, but an opinion poll published in the left-leaning Efimerida ton Syntakton newspaper Friday found small support for his move. Sixty-four percent said Tsipras decision to call the snap poll was wrong, compared to 24 percent who considered it correct. The remainder took no position or did not reply. Sixty-eight percent said they believe the country should remain within the euro even if it means further austerity measures and sacrifices. Asked whether the government got the best deal it could for the third bailout, 48 percent said yes and 45 percent disagreed. The poll showed Syriza supported by 23 percent, compared to 26 percent in an early July survey by the same company. The conservative New Democracy party stood at about 20 percent compared to 15 percent in July. The small nationalist Independent Greeks, Syriza s partner in the sevenmonth coalition government, were backed by 2 percent, below the 3 percent threshold for to enter Parliament. Tsipras has ruled out forming a coalition with any of the center-right or center-left parties if he fails to win a majority to govern outright, meaning he would be unable to form a government unless a party that didn t make it into parliament last time manages to win above 3 percent. The poll was conducted by the ProRata company on Aug with a sample of 1,000 people nationwide and had a margin of error of 3 percentage points. AP VIENNA: Three people believed to be part of a human smuggling operation were arrested overnight in Hungary in connection with the deaths of 71 migrants found in a refrigerated truck abandoned on Austria s main highway, law enforcement officials said yesterday. It was the latest tragedy in a year that has seen tens of thousands of people risking everything to seek a better life or refuge in wealthy European countries. At least 2,500 have died, mostly at sea, where another tragedy was unfolding Friday as Libyan authorities counted bodies from two ships that capsized off the coast of that country. The U.N. refugee agency said 200 were missing and feared dead. In Austria, officials said they are still investigating but believe the migrants suffocated in the truck. Investigators found a Syrian travel document, indicating that at least some of the dead were refugees fleeing violence in Syria, though it wasn t clear if some were from elsewhere. The 71 included eight women and four children, the youngest a girl between 1 and 2 years old, the others boys aged 8 to 10. Authorities initially estimated the death toll at 20 to 50, but raised it after towing the truck to a refrigerated warehouse and counting the partially decomposed bodies. Migrants fearful of death at sea in overcrowded and flimsy boats have increasingly turned to using a land route to Europe through the Western Balkans. They start in Greece, which they can reach via a short boat trip from Turkey, then move on through Macedonia, Serbia and into Hungary, where thousands have been crossing the border every day, crawling over or under a razor-wire fence meant to keep them out. Most go from there to other countries in the European Union, sometimes paying smugglers to drive them, but the discovery of the bodies in the truck showed there is no truly safe path. Police in Hungary said that as of Tuesday, 776 suspected human smugglers had been detained so far this year, compared to 593 all of In the southern part of the country, police said they had found 18 Syrians near an overturned van on the M5 highway between Szeged and Budapest early yesterday. Ten were taken to the hospital for treatment while the driver, a Romanian, was treated for head injuries and then taken into custody on suspicion of human smuggling. The truck with the 71 migrants inside was found parked in the safety lane of the highway from Budapest, Hungary, to Vienna on Thursday. It was not clear how long the bodies had been in it, but police believed they may already have been dead by the time the truck crossed the border into Austria overnight Wednesday. Autopsies were being conducted, said state prosecutor Johann Fuchs, with results expected in several days. At least two of those arrested are Bulgarian citizens, while the third has Hungarian identity papers, police said. One is the truck owner, a Bulgarian of Lebanese descent, while two others were apparently taking turns driving, said Hans Peter Doskozil, chief of police in Burgenland province, where the truck was found. He said police believe that the suspects were part of a larger Bulgarian-Hungarian human smuggling ring. Fuchs said it was unclear when the suspects would be extradited by Hungarian authorities, who were looking to see if they had jurisdiction in the case. Romania s foreign ministry also said that 12 Romanians had been detained in Hungary on suspicion of human trafficking and Hungarian authorities are seeking to arrest them. Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said the tragedy should serve as a wake-up call... for joint European action in dealing with the torrent of migrants flocking to Europe. Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman for the UN refugee agency in Geneva called the tragedy absolutely shocking. We believe this underscores the ruthlessness of people smugglers who have expanded their business from the Mediterranean Sea to the highways of Europe. It shows they have absolutely no regard for human life, and that they are only after profit, she said. It also shows the desperation of people seeking protection or a new life in Europe, and their only means is to submit themselves to these criminals. AP

11 INTERNATIONAL Nepal vows that protests will not ruin constitution KATHMANDU: Nepal s government has vowed that protests in which 14 people have been killed will not derail a constitutional process that is in the final stretch, even though pressing ahead could further anger ethnic minority groups on the southern plains. In the most serious incident, nine people were killed this week when protesters attacked a police post in the far southwest of the poor Himalayan state, which lies sandwiched between India to the south and China to the north. The government deployed the army to restore order following the protests by members of a minority group called the Tharus. Together with another group of plains people, the Madhesis, they demand autonomy under plans to turn Nepal into a federation. I don t see any possibility for the process to stop, Law Minister Narahari Acharya told Reuters. Nepal, which emerged from a civil war in 2006, has all but completed work on a permanent charter that would carve the country of 28 million people into seven federal provinces. The Tharus, a group that numbers about 1.7 million, want a separate eighth province - but their demands have been rebuffed as unworkable by the government. A great deal is at stake for the country. Adoption of the constitution, which requires a two-thirds majority in parliament, would start a transformation in which a new president, prime minister and speaker would be chosen. Talks hindered Prime Minister Sushil Koirala has invited protest leaders to Kathmandu for talks, but they refuse to attend unless a curfew is lifted and 15 arrested activists - some charged with murder - are released. Without this we will not go for talks, said Ram Janam Chaudhari, who leads a caucus of Tharu lawmakers. The escalation led one government leader to accuse India of instigating the protests. That prompted a rare intervention by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who urged Nepal to make the constitutional process more inclusive. Ashok Mehta, a retired Indian army general and expert on Nepal, dismissed the accusation of meddling but urged that the protesters demands be addressed - including for an eighth state. The plains are simmering, Mehta told Reuters. There is a need for a pause to take on board the concerns of the plains people. Bishnu Raj Upreti, head of the Nepal Centre for Contemporary Research, said the frustrations of marginal communities had been exploited by politicians who oppose the constitution and want to create trouble. The government should reach out to the people at local, constituency level, he said. This will help ease the tension. Otherwise the feeling of injustice will be cemented further. Reuters DHAKA: Bangladesh police officials parade suspects Kamal Hossain Sarder (second left) and Kausar Hossain Khan (second right) in Dhaka yesterday, after their arrest in connection with the murder of secular blogger Niloy Chakrabarti. AFP Two more suspects in blogger killing DHAKA: Police in Bangladesh have arrested two more suspected members of a banned militant group thought to be behind the slaying of a secular blogger in the fourth such killing this year. Dhaka Metropolitan police official Mahbub Alam said Kausar Hossain Khan, 29, and Kamal Hossain Sardar, 29, were arrested late Thursday and were suspected members of the Ansarullah Bangla Team blamed for attacks on atheist bloggers and writers. The arrests follow the arrests two weeks ago of two other suspects - Saad-Al-Nahin and Masud Rana - for involvement in the killing of the 28-year-old blogger Niladri Chottopadhay Niloy. Alam said the latest arrests were a result of interrogations of the two. Niloy was hacked to death on Aug 7. His wife, Asha Moni, filed a murder case against four unnamed persons, and the seriousness of the case meant the investigation was handed to the Detective Branch of the police from the regular police. Police would not provide more details about Khan and Sardar but said they were out on bail after being accused of attempted murder in an attack on another blogger, Asif Mohiuddin, two years ago. Mohiuddin has since fled for Germany. Niloy was known to his friends as an atheist blogger whose online name is Niloy Chowdhury. His family and friends said he has criticized radical Islamists at home and abroad, and had sought police protection after receiving threats. The police asked him to leave the country for his safety, they said. The United States has expressed its concern over the killing, while the United Nations called for Bangladeshi authorities to ensure accountability and prevent such violence. UN Special Rapporteur Heiner Bielefeldt is scheduled to visit Bangladesh from Monday to assess the state of freedom of religion and belief in the South Asian country. In February, Bangladeshi- American blogger Avijit Roy was hacked to death on the Dhaka University campus while walking with his wife. Two others were attacked and killed in March and April, one in Dhaka and another in the northeastern city of Sylhet. Investigations into those cases have made no headway. AP Ten killed as India, Pakistan border skirmishes continue Pakistan accused of targeting civilians ISLAMABAD: At least 10 civilians were killed yesterday as India and Pakistan traded fire across their disputed border, officials said, less than a week after high-level talks were aborted amid a row over Kashmir. Six died near the city of Sialkot in Pakistan s Punjab province and at least four villagers were killed in Indian-administered Kashmir. Officials said more than 50 were wounded. A meeting between the Indian and Pakistani national security advisors in New Delhi on Sunday was called off at the last minute amid a dispute about whether the agenda should include Kashmir, the Himalayan territory both sides control in part but claim in full. In a statement issued to the media, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Pakistan summoned the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad to lodge protest against ceasefire violations. The Government of Pakistan strongly protested over the latest ceasefire violations by India in Harpal and Chaprar sectors at the Working Boundary resulting in shahadat (martyrdom) of 6 civilians, including a woman and a child, the statement said. The two sides regularly fire shells and mortars across the disputed border both in Kashmir and to the south in Punjab, killing civilians. A senior Pakistani security official told AFP that Indian forces began firing around 3:00 am yesterday and continued intermittently during the morning. Six civilians embraced shahadat and 46 were severely injured including 22 females due to Indian unprovoked firing/shelling on working boundary near Sialkot in Chaprar and Harpal sector, a statement from the Pakistani military said, adding that they had returned fire. In Indian-controlled Kashmir, Border Security Force (BSF) official Rakesh Kumar Sharma accused Pakistan of targeting civilians with unprovoked mortar fire. Four villagers died in the shelling from across the border, three of them were killed early morning and one died RANBIR SINGH PURA: An Indian villager shows a roof damaged in alleged firing from the Pakistan side into a residential area at Abdullian village. AP of injuries in a hospital later, Pawan Kotwal, the top administrator of the region told AFP. Another BSF officer, JS Oberio, put the number of injured at 16, saying at least 10 border posts and several villages were targeted by Pakistani troops. Age-old tensions Pakistan and India have fought two of their three wars over the Himalayan region since both gained independence in 1947, and it remains a major source of tension. About a dozen militant groups have been fighting since 1989 for either the independence of the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir or its merger with Pakistan. Shelling across the de facto border, known as the Line of Control (LoC) in disputed Kashmir and the working boundary in Punjab, has been on the rise this month. Sunday s talks had brought hopes of a possible easing of tensions, but these were dashed as the meeting was sunk amid a welter of angry rhetoric on Saturday. The plan for Sunday s talks came from a meeting between Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi at a regional summit in Russia last month. Little of substance was expected but the very fact that the security advisors, Sartaj Aziz for Pakistan and Ajit Doval for India, were to meet at all was seen as progress. But the plan faltered at familiar obstacles: Aziz s intention to meet Kashmiri leaders in New Delhi-an issue that scuppered foreign secretarylevel talks last year-and India s insistence the agenda should focus on terrorism. Pakistan s failure to hand over or prosecute the alleged masterminds of the 2008 Mumbai attacks has infuriated India, particularly when the suspected ringleader, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, was freed on bail. Islamabad, for its part, insists talks must be wideranging and include thorny issues like Kashmir. AFP

12 INTERNATIONAL Islamic militants killed in Philippine military clash MANILA: Three Islamic militants were killed after the Philippine military yesterday launched a second attempt in two weeks to rescue hostages held by the Abu Sayyaf rebels, the army said. About 300 Abu Sayyaf fighters retreated after the hour-long firefight in the jungles of the remote southern island of Jolo, said Brigadier-General Alan Arrojado, the military commander in the area. However the military did not say if any of the hostages were freed or injured in the clashes, or how many hostage were believed to have been held at the rebel camp. Ten Philippine soldiers were wounded in the fighting, Arrojado added. The bandits positioned their hostages in the back (of the rebel camp), they don t want another escape, Captain Antonio Bulao, a military spokesman in Jolo, told AFP. Last week two Philippine coast guard men, who were among 11 hostages held by Abu Sayyaf, escaped during fierce clashes which erupted after elite military forces launched a risky rescue operation, leaving 15 Abu Sayyaf men dead on Jolo. The militants have since split into smaller groups, each holding some hostages, Bulao added. The military rescue attempt came after the decapitated remains of a 12th hostage, Rodolfo Boligao, were found on a deserted Jolo highway. Impoverished Jolo is a known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf, a loose band of several hundred armed men set up in the 1990s with seed money from the Al- Qaeda network of Osama Bin Laden. The group engages in kidnappings to finance operations, often targeting foreigners and sometimes beheading captives if ransoms are not paid. It has also been blamed for the worst bomb attacks in the country, including the firebombing of a ferry off Manila Bay in 2004 that killed more than 100 people. AFP Widodo dumps changes to foreign press laws JAKARTA: New restrictions on foreign journalists in Indonesia have been dumped just a day after being announced, with President Joko Widodo directly intervening to kill off the controversial changes. Indonesia s interior minister this week unveiled tighter rules for visiting press, including requirements that journalists obtain a second working permit and report their activities to all levels of government. The measures were condemned by local and international press associations and free speech advocates, with the Jakarta Foreign Correspondents Club (JFCC) describing them as a sad reminder of the authoritarian Suharto regime, referring to the general who ruled Indonesia for 32 years. But in a rare public rebuke Widodo instructed his minister to revoke the contentious regulations, an official said Friday. That was a direct order from the president, interior ministry spokesman Dodi Riyatmadji told AFP. Widodo promised in May to lift reporting restrictions for foreign journalists wanting to report from Indonesia s easternmost province of Papua. Indonesia has long been sensitive about foreign journalists covering Papua, where poorly armed fighters have been waging a low-level insurgency against Jakarta for decades on behalf of the mostly ethnic Melanesian population. Applying for permission to go there is complex and rarely granted. In a statement issued Thursday the JFCC said the measures announced this week contracted Widodo s order on Papua and calls into serious question whether the interior ministry understands or heeds orders from the Presidential Palace. AFP BEIJING: US National Security Advisor Susan Rice (left) takes part in talks with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi (right) during their meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse. AFP US national security adviser in China as Xi prepares for us trip Both sides expressing optimism despite differences BEIJING: The US national security adviser met with President Xi Jinping yesterday amid final preparations for the Chinese leader s visit to Washington next month, with both sides expressing optimism despite their differences. Susan Rice s visit to Beijing comes as China is dealing with fallout from a sharply sliding stock market and slowing economic growth that have rattled global markets. A move to devalue its currency and make Chinese exports more competitive has brought criticism from some US politicians, in a throwback to past years when Beijing was accused of manipulating its currency. The economic setbacks are seen as weakening Xi s clout as he prepares to meet with President Barack Obama at the White House in late September and address the UN General Assembly in New York. Neither Xi nor Rice mentioned the economic turmoil in their opening YANGON: Myanmar lawmakers yesterday held their last meetings at parliament as the body was suspended ahead of crucial general elections set to redraw the former juntaruled nation s political landscape. The combined houses of parliament will reconvene only after the November 8 vote, the first nationwide poll in a quarter of a century to be contested by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi s hugely popular National League for Democracy (NLD). There will be no legislative meetings before the election in November, Soe Yin of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) told AFP, adding that parliament would only reconvene in an emergency. Under Myanmar s electoral system the current parliament will still be active until the end of January 2016, when it will hand over to a new legislature that then selects a president. Suu Kyi is barred from the top political job by the constitution, drafted by the country s former junta rulers, who kept her locked up for some 15 years as they tried to quash the democracy movement. The Nobel laureate was recently thwarted in her attempts to change aspects of the charter by hardliners in the army-backed ruling party and unelected soldiers, who are guaranteed a quarter of seats in the legislature under the constitution. remarks, focusing instead on the importance of Xi s visit to strengthening relations between the world s first and second largest economies. I look forward to continuing my conversation with President Obama, to continue to have in-depth exchanges on important issues of mutual interest, and together we would like to work with the US side to make sure that China-US relations will enjoy sustainable and steady growth, Xi told Rice. Xi also spoke of the need to effectively manage the sensitive issues between Washington and Beijing but offered no specifics. Differences and difficulty In her comments, Rice referred to issues of difference and some difficulty that the sides need to work through and we will continue to do so. She called Xi s upcoming trip a milestone in deepening our cooperation and strengthening our relationship. In an earlier meeting with senior foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi, Rice pointed to progress in areas ranging from climate change to tourist exchanges, the military relationship and cooperation in fighting the Ebola virus. She said both sides are looking forward to a successful meeting in Washington. Yang said China is eager to ensure the trip is a complete success. Rice also met with Fan Changlong, a vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. While China s more assertive foreign policy under Xi has raised concerns among US military leaders and the two countries have been at odds over Internet security, Xi and Obama have forged a strong working relationship as a result of frequent meetings. Xi hosted Obama in Beijing in November, during which the sides announced a landmark agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other moves to boost relations. AP Myanmar suspends govt ahead of crunch elections Suu Kyi this week told AFP that the country was not very far along its path to democratisation, citing an internal putsch at the USDP earlier this month in which President Thein Sein used the security forces to remove his rival Shwe Mann from the leadership. Shwe Mann, who remains in his influential role as party speaker, had cultivated a close working relationship with Suu Kyi and many speculated that he could be endorsed by the NLD as a potential compromise candidate for president. But Suu Kyi this week said the NLD would choose someone from its own ranks, shrugging off criticism that she has failed to cultivate an heir within the party, which remains dominated by ageing veterans of mass 1988 democracy protests. I think it s a better idea to have a lot of number twos rather than just one particular number two. It s healthier, she told AFP in an interview on Tuesday. Her party is fielding over 1,000 candidates in the elections, the first national vote it has participated in since a 1990 poll that it won by a landslide but was later annulled by the junta. The military handed power to a quasicivilian government in 2011 following an election that was marred by widespread allegations of cheating and the absence of the NLD and Suu Kyi, who was under house arrest. AFP

13 INTERNATIONAL With more killings, Louisiana police deaths rising Brutal murders increasing at an alarming rate BATON ROUGE: Police badges in Louisiana are banded with black ribbons more than usual this year, a grim reminder that officer deaths are on the rise with two killings just this week alone. Louisiana has had more jobrelated police fatalities in 2015 than any other state but Texas, with nine on-duty deaths in each state, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Law enforcers are weary of what they call the end of the watch. Police deaths nationally also are showing an uptick this year, though not at the rate in Louisiana, where the law enforcement community is readying for two more funerals. Even though we re grieving, we ve got to go out there every night and every day and do this job, said Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso. We re not allowed to stop what we re doing. On Sunday, a Louisiana State Police trooper was shot in Calcasieu Parish by a stranded motorist stuck in a ditch. Senior Trooper Steven Vincent, 44, died Monday, leaving behind a wife and 9 -year-old son and two other brothers in law enforcement. On Wednesday, a domestic dispute in the tiny town of Sunset left a 13-year-veteran officer dead, shot with his own gun. In a sad twist, the 51-year-old Sunset police officer Henry Nelson was killed by his own cousin, the town s police chief said. Heightened tensions The police deaths come amid high-profile shootings in other states that have heightened tensions between the public and police officers. But Louisiana officials say officers already went to work with safety concerns every day before the most recent shootings. There s no such thing as a routine traffic stop. There s no such thing as a routine interaction with the police. We ve got to always be prepared for what might could happen, said Col. Mike Edmonson, the Louisiana State Police IOWA: A memorial service took place in honor of La. State Trooper Steven Vincent s home town. AP superintendent. Eighty police officers have died on the job so far this year, preliminary data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund shows, compared to 72 at the same time last year. Steve Groeninger, with the memorial fund, said the 11 percent increase is largely tied to an increase in traffic-related fatalities. He said the rise nationally this year hasn t reached a level that sets off alarm bells. But Jonathan Thompson, executive director of the National Sheriffs Association, sees more reason to worry. It s incredibly disturbing, Thompson said. When you look across the nation, the number of brutal attacks are up significantly on law enforcement. Louisiana has averaged about five job-related officer deaths annually over the last decade. It had three last year. This year, according to the data, Louisiana has already reached the high-water mark of 2007, nine on-duty deaths. And the year s far from done. In addition to Nelson and Vincent, three other officers have been fatally shot this year, in Shreveport and New Orleans. A New Orleans officer was struck by a car while investigating a vehicle fire in July. A Jeanerette police officer died after crashing his patrol car in a high-speed chase in April. Two officers had heart attacks in January, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. No single reason Law enforcement officials can t point to a single reason for the spike. It can go from a simple car in a ditch to a trooper laying on the ground now, shot to death, Mancuso said earlier this week as he spoke of Vincent s fatal shooting. In Sunset, a domestic violence call led to Nelson s death. Harrison Lee Riley Jr is accused of stabbing his wife and two women trying to protect her, before fatally shooting his cousin Nelson, who responded to the call. One of the sisters, Shameka Johnson, 40, died Wednesday. Surlay Johnson, 34, remained hospitalized in critical condition Thursday. The Johnsons also are cousins of Riley s, Police Chief Luis Padilla said. Riley s wife, Courtney Jolivette Riley, was hospitalized in stable condition with stab wounds, authorities said. Harrison Riley was hospitalized Wednesday following his arrest, complaining of pain in his ribs. He was treated and transported to the local jail Thursday, the St. Landry Parish Sheriff s Office said. Riley was naked when he was arrested, said Capt Clay Higgins, who is both a member of the sheriff s office SWAT team and the department spokesman. Riley was booked on multiple felony charges, including first-degree murder. He may never again see the light of day, Higgins said. The 35-year-old accused shooter had a string of arrests in Louisiana and Texas. He served prison time in Texas for assault and aggravated robbery, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Nelson died two days before he was to be off Friday for a month-long visit with his teenage daughter, according to Sunset Police Chief Luis Padilla. Always with a smile, Padilla said. Even when he arrested you, he still had a smile. Never saw him mad or angry or upset, never. The shooting death shocked the small, 14-person department. The last time a Sunset officer was killed onduty was 1932, Padilla said. No funeral date has been set for Nelson. Vincent, the trooper shot earlier this week, will be buried Saturday. A new class for state police cadets begins a day later. AP

14 INTERNATIONAL Student shot dead at Georgia university WASHINGTON: A student died early yesterday after being shot at a US university in the state of Georgia, in an altercation that triggered a temporary lockdown of the campus. Christopher Starks, a junior from the Atlanta metropolitan area, died at a local hospital following an altercation late Thursday at Savannah State University s student union building, the school said. No arrests have been made, though the campus was placed on lockdown for about two hours until just before midnight The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating the incident along with campus police because the university is a state school. It comes just days after the brazen shooting of two journalists during a live broadcast that has once again renewed calls for stricter US gun controls. The school said classes would be delayed until 10:00 am (1400 GMT) yesterday. The safety of those who live, study, work and visit Savannah State University remains a top priority-no exceptions, the university said in a statement on its website. Savannah State University has zero tolerance for violence of any kind. It urged students to report to campus police with any information about the incident or the presence of weapons on campus. Two women told NBC affiliate WSAV there had been a fight at the student union that resulted in one person being shot in the collarbone area. Founded in 1890, the school has about 4,100 enrolled students, 145 members of the faculty and a 173-acre (70-hectare) campus, according to its website. AFP Clinton trying to discourage Biden from presidential bid NEW ORLEANS: President Barack Obama waves after speaking at an event commemorating the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. AP Obama praises New Orleans on Katrina anniversary tour You inspire me, you inspired all of America NEW ORLEANS: President Barack Obama held out the people of New Orleans as an extraordinary example of renewal and resilience 10 years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, while visiting residents on tidy porch stoops and sampling the fried chicken at a corner restaurant. Nearly 2,000 people died, most in New Orleans. Video of residents seeking refuge on rooftops, inside the Superdome stadium and at the convention center dominated news coverage as Katrina came to symbolize government failure at every level. Obama was a new US senator when Katrina s powerful winds and driving rain bore down on Louisiana on Aug. 29, The storm caused major damage to the Gulf Coast from Texas to central Florida while powering a storm surge that breached the system of levees meant to protect New Orleans from flooding. Obama spoke Thursday to hundreds of residents assembled at a bustling new community center in an area of the Lower 9th Ward that was once under 17 feet (5 meters) of water. There s something in you guys that is just irrepressible, he told the crowd. The people of New Orleans didn t just inspire me, you inspired all of America. Obama held out the city s comeback as a metaphor for what s happening all across a nation that has moved from economic crisis to higher ground. Look at what s happened here, he declared, speaking of a transformed American city that was once dark and underwater. A rough road Still, Obama acknowledged that much remains to be done. And after walking door to door in the historic Treme section of a city reborn from tragedy, he cautioned that just because the housing is nice doesn t mean our job is done. Areas of the city still suffer from high poverty, he said, and young people still take the wrong path. There is more to be done to confront structural inequities that existed long before the storm happened, he added. In his remarks at the community center, Obama blended the same themes of resilience and renewal that he drew from encounters with the sturdy residents he met along Magic Street and at other locations. Leah Chase, the 92-yearold proprietor of Dooky Chase s Restaurant, was one of those to chat with Obama. She pronounced herself a fan of the man, saying he d handled a rough road. Chase - who s known as the Queen of Creole Cuisine - said, That s all you have to do: handle what s handed to you, voicing what could be a credo for the city. Obama was clearly energized by his visits, at one point breaking into a song from The Jeffersons sitcom after meeting a young woman who calls herself Ouisie. He stopped for fried chicken at Willie Mae s Scotch House, and pronounced the resulting grease stain on his suit a good indication that he d enjoyed his stay in the city. He held out the community center as an example of what is possible when, in the face of tragedy and in the face of hardship, good people come together to lend a hand and, brick by brick, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood, you build a better future. And that more than any other reason is why I ve come back here today, he said. In his speech, Obama said Katrina helped expose inequalities that long plagued New Orleans and left too many people, especially minorities, without good jobs, affordable health care or decent housing and too many kids growing up in the midst of violent crime and attending inefficient schools. The setting of his address at the community center spoke to the stark contrasts that remain. It sits near nicely renovated homes but also next to a boarded-up wooden house. Colette Pichon Battle, executive director of Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy, cautioned against slapping too happy a face on New Orleans, saying rebuilding since the storm favors privileged private enterprise and this illusion of recovery is not progress. AP WASHINGTON: Hillary Rodham Clinton s campaign is sending a message to Vice President Joe Biden about his potential 2016 presidential campaign: This won t be easy. As Biden ponders a challenge to front-runner Clinton for the Democratic nomination, she has rolled out a string of high-profile endorsements in Iowa and South Carolina, which hold two of the first votes in the nominating process, and scheduled an onslaught of fundraisers across the US in the effort to throw cold water on a possible Biden bid. Donors who have publicly expressed support for a Biden run have been contacted by the Clinton team, according to donors and Democratic strategists who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the private conversations. Even Clinton herself has made a few calls, they said, to express her disappointment. While Clinton and her team speak warmly of Biden in public, they have taken steps to show their dominance over the party s establishment and President Barack Obama s political infrastructure in hopes of quietly discouraging the vice president from entering the race. The effort comes as Clinton and the Democratic field of candidates prepare to address members of the Democratic National Committee on Friday during their summer meeting in Minneapolis. The night before her formal address, Clinton made her case in private briefings to attendees. Meanwhile, representatives from a super political action committee backing Biden plan to woo delegates in his absence. Organizing advantage I have great deal of admiration and affection for him, Clinton said of Biden during a stop in Iowa on Wednesday. I think he has to make what is a very difficult decision for himself and his family. He should have the space and the opportunity to decide what he wants to do. While Biden considered his options, Clinton s team released a series of memos Thursday night that detailed their organizing work in early voting states. For months, we were the only campaign on either side of the aisle with offices and staff reaching out to voters, wrote Clay Middleton, her state director in South Carolina. This head start has provided an organizing advantage. Clinton s campaign has taken other steps in South Carolina to showcase her clout there. She recently picked up the endorsements of two former governors, Jim Hodges and Dick Riley, who served as education secretary during Bill Clinton s administration. Her campaign s chairman, John Podesta, appeared at an event in the state last week. During a trip to the Iowa State Fair earlier this month, former Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin joined Clinton and endorsed her campaign. When she returned to Iowa this week, she was joined by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a former Iowa governor who wrote in an oped in the Gazette of Cedar Rapids that he intended to caucus for her, plain and simple. Clinton s fundraising apparatus has extensive overlap with Biden s, causing some awkwardness among their donors. Clinton s campaign, however, is not leaving an opening in fundraising, lining up about three dozen events in September. While her husband presides over the annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York in late September, Clinton will raise money at seven fundraisers planned in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Following her West Coast swing, she will tap into the network of country music stars Faith Hill and Tim McGraw at a Nashville fundraiser on Sept 29. Those advocating for a Biden run say they will be able to build a vibrant primary organization and have already solicited commitments from a number of Clinton backers who say they are ready to switch sides. AP

15 China worries to dominate Tokyo trading next week Business SATURDAY, AUGUST 29, Japan needs firm to Africa uneasy as China turmoil set female exec goals threatens investment boom Fears aside, business leaders eager for migrant workers 19 BEIJING: A Chinese investor monitors stock prices at at a brokerage house. AP Asian stocks rally, Europe stumbles Rollercoaster of a week ends on bright note LONDON: Asia stocks rose yesterday on strong US economic growth figures, but European markets stumbled at the end of a torrid week that has been plagued by worries over China s slowdown. Global equities were hammered on Black Monday as risk-averse investors dumped shares on spreading panic that the flagging Chinese economy could spark a new world recession. However, sentiment was soothed by Tuesday s interest rate cut from the People s Bank of China (PBoC) and by Thursday s bright gross domestic product (GDP) data in the United States. After a hectic rollercoaster of a week across financial markets, many will be glad to see the back of it, said London Capital Group analyst Brenda Kelly. The moves by the PBoC and the better-than-expected US GDP has revived risk taking to a degree. Tokyo led the gains yesterday, with Shanghai and several other markets in tow, and oil prices zoomed higher after the US reported a surprisingly strong new estimate of economic growth for the second quarter. The latest data, which showed the world s biggest economy grew at an annual rate of 3.7 percent in the April-June quarter, buoyed markets that have been worried over the faltering Chinese economy, which accounts for some 13 percent of global output. We end the week on another positive note, and the craziness we ve seen over the last couple of weeks seems to be dissipating, said Chris Weston, chief markets strategist at IG Markets. Markets across the world saw recoveries, with the S&P 500 surging to its second straight gain on Wall Street on Thursday. In Asia yesterday, Tokyo jumped 3.03 percent higher and Shanghai gained 4.82 percent. Seoul, Sydney, and several other Asian markets also rose. Hong Kong, however, dropped 1.04 percent despite making early gains. In Europe, Frankfurt and Paris stocks fell by 0.69 percent and 0.51 percent respectively, with London shedding 0.23 percent. All began the day with modest rises. The advances across key Asian bourses first began on Wednesday, when markets-with the exception of Shanghai-began to find their footing. The Chinese market made substantial gains the following day, however, indicating prices have, for the moment, found their floor, dealers said. China mitigating concerns The latest advances come as a relief to investors who at one point saw $8 trillion wiped off global markets in a two-week stock market rout. Beijing has sought to mitigate those concerns in recent days by taking a series of measures, from boosting the amount its massive state pension fund can invest in stocks, to cutting interest rates and slashing the amount of money banks need to hold in reserve. The measures are not only aimed at increasing cash flow in China, but also at reviving confidence that Beijing can steer the economy away from a hard landing and keep global growth on course. Markets took their lead, however, from the US growth report, which, though it covered only through June, confirmed the economy has not yet been undermined much by China s downturn. It added to other strong recent data on consumer confidence and durable goods orders. The US economy continues to perform on a consistent basis... (showing) that its economic recovery is sustainable, said FXTM chief market analyst Jameel Ahmad. Concerns in the recent stock market panic focused on China s role in past years as the main driver of global growth, with Europe in the doldrums and the United States struggling to maintain a recovery. But Chris Green, an Auckland-based strategist at First NZ Capital Ltd., said the figures showed the US economy was in better shape. It gave credence to the story that the US economy could be building momentum, he said. We seem to have gained some sort of stability and people are focusing more on the underlying strength of the US economy. Dollar boosted The latest data boosted the dollar as well as oil prices on Thursday, but caution crept in yesterday. In London foreign exchange deals yesterday, the dollar edged up to yen and $ Eyes were turning toward a central banking symposium that the US Federal Reserve was hosting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which lasts until Saturday. Investors hope for indication whether the US central bank believes the global turmoil is severe enough to delay a long-expected hike in interest rates. On Wednesday, New York Federal Reserve head William Dudley said that the Chinese turmoil had made the arguments for a rate rise in September less compelling. Gains from upbeat releases in the US were tempered, however, by data in Japan that showed that inflation in the Asian powerhouse fell back to zero in July while household spending dropped for a second straight month. AP

16 BUSINESS China banks report flat H1 net profits SHANGHAI: Two of China s biggest lenders, including the main foreign exchange dealer Bank of China, reported flat net profits for the first half of 2015, due to the weak domestic economy and growing bad loans. Bank of China (BOC) net profit rose a mere 1.14 percent year-on-year to billion yuan ($14.18 billion), the bank said yesterday in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange, where it is listed. The bank said the global economy experienced sluggish growth in the first half and it was also seeking to adjust to China s new normal -the authorities preferred term for slower but hopefully more sustainable expansion. China s economy grew 7.0 percent in each of the first two quarters, slowing from a 7.4 percent expansion last year, which was its weakest since BOC s non-performing loans (NPLs) reached billion Yuan in the first half, for an NPL ratio of 1.41 percent by the end of June, higher than 1.18 percent at the end of last year, the statement showed. The bank s stock price fell 3.53 percent in Hong Kong and was unchanged in Shanghai yesterday before the results were announced. Another of China s Big Four stateowned banks, Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), said its net profit for the first half rose only 0.3 percent on-year to billion Yuan, a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange showed late Thursday. The bank, which has traditionally served rural areas of China, said downward pressure on the world and domestic economies, as well as increased bad loans, weighed on its performance. Currently, global economic development remains unstable and uncertain. China s economy is still confronted with great downward pressure, bank Chairman Liu Shiyu said in the statement. In the face of various challenges such as increasing nonperforming loans and slowing profit growth, the bank has a difficult task of preventing and controlling business risks, Liu said. Its bad loans rose to billion Yuan, implying an NPL ratio of 1.83 percent by the end of June, up from 1.54 percent at the end of last year, according to the statement. The bank s stock fell 2.84 percent in Hong Kong and rose 1.01 percent in Shanghai yesterday after the announcement. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the country s biggest bank, on Thursday reported a less than one percent year-on-year rise in net profit to billion Yuan for the first half, also affected by the slowing economy. AFP Q&A about this week s China market turmoil TOKYO: A woman passes before a share prices board. AFP China worries to dominate Tokyo trading next week World s number two economy awaits results TOKYO: Lingering worries about China will dominate Tokyo trading next week, analysts said, after global equity markets took a roller-coaster ride on fears a slowdown in the world s number two economy would weigh on global growth. The Nikkei 225 at the Tokyo Stock Exchange ended a wild week down 1.54 percent at 19,136.32, with a three-day rally from Wednesday pulling the benchmark index off six-month lows. The broader Topix index of all first-section shares lost 1.48 percent over the week to end Friday at 1, The Nikkei racked up six straight losing sessions through Tuesday as markets around the world nosedived on the uncertain outlook for China, a key driver of global growth now seen as a potential threat to the world economy. After China s central bank chopped interest rates and cut the amount of money banks must hold in reserve, global investors returned to buying and drove up major indexes around the world. Upbeat data from the US this week, including a sharp upward revision to second-quarter GDP to annual growth of 3.7 percent, from 2.3 percent, along with solid durable goods figures also helped fuel optimism. But concerns over China will likely hang over equity markets as investors mull whether the moves by Beijing will be enough to kick-start growth in Asia s top economy, Daiwa Securities said in a research note. Markets would keep a close eye on the Chinese manufacturing purchasing managers index due next week. Caution warranted Caution is warranted given the possibility that slowdown worries over China will be rekindled if the data disappoint, Daiwa said. Investors are also awaiting news from an annual US Federal Reserve symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, this weekend, followed by a meeting of finance chiefs and central bankers from G7 nations scheduled for next weekend. The Fed s regional economies Beige Book report and US trade data are among a string of figures due next week. Dealers will keep a close eye on those reports for the latest clue about the health of the world s top economy, and the possible timing for a Fed rate hike. On currency markets, the dollar rose to yen, from yen in New York, where it firmed against other major currencies on the revised GDP figures. In Tokyo share trading, struggling electronics maker Sharp surged 8.92 percent to 183 yen, as the top-selling Yomiuri newspaper said it may sell a majority stake in its liquid crystal display business to rival Japan Display. Meanwhile, the weaker yen supported exporters, including Fuji Heavy Industries, maker of Subaru brand vehicles, which jumped 5.56 percent to 4,294.0 yen. Auto giant Toyota soared 4.55 percent to 7,346 yen, while Sony added 3.86 percent to 3,169.5 yen. AFP BEIJING: With the Chinese stock market turmoil that incited global panic abated - at least for now - here are some questions and answers about it, as well as lessons to learn: Why did the Chinese stock market plunge? China s main stock index tumbled nearly 23 percent over five days before returning to positive territory Thursday and yesterday. It had more than doubled over 12 months from June 2014 as state media encouraged the public to invest even after economic growth began to slow. That fostered expectations the government would intervene if needed to keep the market from falling. By June, stocks were trading at sky-high, rocket-crazy valuations, said Dickie Wong, executive director of research at Kingston Financial Group in Hong Kong. Prices started to fall in mid-june after regulators tightened margin financing to limit the amount brokerages could lend to customers to trade shares. That prompted concern authorities would no longer support share prices. As those fears spread, panicky investors dumped shares. The central bank s Aug. 11 devaluation of the yuan accelerated the declines by fanning concern the move would accelerate an outflow of capital from China, leaving less credit to finance stock trading. Authorities responded with a flurry of measures to shore up prices, including barring big shareholders from selling and ordering brokerages and pension funds to buy. But that blizzard of announcements confused small shareholders and fueled panic. It gave an even harder hit to the stock market and made those local investors even more fearful, said Wong. Why did global investors react with such alarm? China is the world s second-largest economy and has been a key driver of global growth for several years. Signs of a slowdown in China s economy began to emerge earlier this year, but the market kept climbing. So when the market began to slide in mid-june, global investors began to take note. When the drops worsened and Shanghai index tumbled 8.5 percent on Monday, that spooked international investors who were already worried about the possibility of higher US interest rates, prompting a global sell-off. Most people outside China can t even invest in the country s stock market, but as worries persist about tenuous global growth, anything that suggests that the prospects look more dim is going to send equity investors running for cover, said Lori Heinel, chief portfolio strategist at State Street Global Advisors. Is China s stock market a reliable indicator of its economic prospects? Not really. Chinese stock markets have little connection to the rest of the government-dominated economy. The biggest companies are state-owned and their health is decided by official policy, not the market. So traders respond to government cues and the availability of credit to finance speculation. Stock prices can rise when the economy is weakening or fall even though conditions are improving. The plunge in recent weeks has little to do with the general economic landscape, but is merely a proper market adjustment to dispel bubbles, said Zuo Xiaolei, chief economist for Galaxy Securities in Beijing. I don t think the performance of the stock market in China is a barometer of China s economy. What lessons can be learned from this? For one, it s a reminder that stock markets can and do swing wildly, and should be viewed as long-term investments for people with a tolerance of risk. After an uninterrupted four-year rise by US stocks, I think people have forgotten that equity markets go down as well as up, said State Street s Heinel. Another lesson is that China s stock market has become big and closely watched. Though it s a poor indicator of China s well-being, and most of the world is shut out of it, investors need to know more about it. AP

17 BUSINESS Kyrgyzstan hails historical China-financed power line BISHKEK: Ex-Soviet republic Kyrgyzstan yesterday inaugurated a Chinese-financed power line officials say will bring energy independence to the country, one of the many projects Beijing has sponsored in the region. The 450-kilometre Datka-Kemin power line is expected to save Kyrgyzstan millions in transit fees, as its electricity will no longer pass through neighboring Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. We are witnessing a historic event, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev said at the power line s inauguration in the provincial town of Kemin. Workers in the energy sector, especially veterans, are well aware of this. Today we can say that Kyrgyzstan gained energy independence. In the Soviet era, the electrical grids of Central Asia republics were unified, meaning that as much as one third of Kyrgyzstan s domestically-produced energy transited through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan before returning to the country. The $390 million deal to build the power line was struck with the Chinese Tebian Electric Apparatus Stock Company (TBEA) in China s economic influence in Central Asia has grown tremendously in the last decade, surpassing its traditional partner Russia in regional trade and encompassing deals worth tens of billions of dollars with energy-rich Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. China, to which Kyrgyzstan owes more than $1 billion in external debt, is also financing a number of other key projects in the resource-poor country. In June, Beijing allocated $300 million in credit to help Kyrgyzstan build a North- South road across its territory. Since the mid- 1990s China has pledged to build a railway up to 300 kilometers-long linking its restive western Xinjiang region to Uzbekistan via Kyrgyzstan. The railway-which would cost over $2 billion-is opposed by many in Kyrgyzstan, who argue it could lead to overwhelming migration from the country s 1.3 billion-strong neighbor and add to growing dependence on Beijing. These projects complement Beijing s Silk Road Economic Belt, a vision of massive investments in infrastructure and trade links across Eurasia to increase its heft in the vast region. AFP Oil markets relived after biggest gains in six years SEOUL: Crude oil futures were largely steady yesterday after posting their biggest one-day rally in over six years the day before led by recovering equity markets and news of diminished crude supplies. Stock markets around the world rallied on Thursday, shaking off a slump related to China growth fears, as strong US economic data boosted investor sentiment, and the dollar advanced for a third consecutive session. Front-month October Brent crude had dipped 20 cents to $47.36 per barrel as of 0046 GMT. It settled $4.42 higher at $47.56 per barrel in the previous session. US crude edged down 3 cents to $42.53 per barrel, after ending up $3.96, or 10.3 percent, at $42.56 per barrel, its biggest one-day percentage gain since March A short covering rally, led by crude oil pushed commodities higher across the board. Better than expected US GDP numbers was the main spark, although the force majeure on BP s exports from Nigeria extended the gains, ANZ said in a note yesterday morning. The recovery in commodity prices looks fragile with concerns over China s growth still weighing on market activity, the bank added. The US economy grew faster than initially thought in the second quarter on solid domestic demand. Gross domestic product expanded at a 3.7 percent annual pace instead of the 2.3 percent rate reported last month, the Commerce Department said on Thursday in its second GDP estimate for the April- June period. Shell s Nigerian unit, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), declared force majeure on Bonny Light crude oil exports on Thursday after shutting down two key pipelines in the country due to a leak and theft. China s falling auto sales have been at the forefront of concerns that its economy is slowing much faster than expected, weighing on oil prices. Venezuela has been contacting other members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), pushing for an emergency meeting with Russia to come up with a plan to stop the global oil price rout, the Wall Street Journal reported. Myanmar airport project postponed by four years YANGON: A long-delayed international airport project in Myanmar has been postponed again, by four years this time, because of a delay in securing funds, state media and an official source said yesterday. A South Korean company first planned to build the Hanthawaddy International Airport on an old World War Two Japanese airfield near the town of Bago, about 100 km north of the commercial city Yangon. However, the project was abandoned in 1994, soon after a groundbreaking ceremony. The state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper said the country s fourth international airport was now expected to open in seven years. The launch date of the fourth international airport in the country, had been put off from 2018 to 2022 due to delays in getting ODA (official development assistance), the newspaper said, citing Deputy Director Min Lwin Oo of the Civil Aviation Department. A senior Transport Ministry official confirmed the project had been delayed because of a difficulty in seeking fund. Frankly, major construction work still hasn t started at the site as talks are still going on for the ODA, said the official who declined to be identified as he not an authorized spokesman. He declined to give further details. The project was revived in 2012 when tourist arrivals were boosted by political and economic reforms after a government led by civilians took office after nearly 50 years of military rule. The project attracted criticism because of the lack of a plan to transfer passengers to Yangon. In 2014, a Japan-Singapore consortium called Yongnam-CAPE-JGCC won a bid to build the airport at a cost of $1.5 billion with 49 percent of that being secured through an ODA loan and the rest from private loans and the consortium. Reuters TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, poses for a photo with participants during a reception of WAW or the World Assembly for Women. AP Japan needs firms to set female exec hiring goals Labor shortages arise as population ages TOKYO: Japanese lawmakers approved a law yesterday requiring large employers to set and publicize targets for hiring or promoting women as managers. The law approved by a vote of in the House of Councillors is intended to promote greater gender equality and counter labor shortages that are arising as Japan s population ages and declines. The decision coincided with an international conference showcasing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe s commitment to increasing the share of women in leadership positions to 30 percent. Japan now lags most other industrial countries in this respect, and Abe has spearheaded various empowerment initiatives, vowing to make it a society where women shine. The law is effective for the coming 10 years and applies to companies with 300 employees or more. Small and medium companies account for more than 99 percent of all companies and more than 70 percent of all employment in Japan, according to government data. It also only requires that targets be set, not met and does not address a lack of enforcement of existing requirements for companies to give equal pay for equal work. Provisions for ensuring such equal treatment for contract or part-time workers have been watered down in recent labor reform legislation, says Richard Katz of the Oriental Economist. The Abe Administration had a chance this year to do something that would be genuinely effective in raising wages: putting in a solid equal pay for equal work provision in the law. Instead, it took the opposite tack and actively defeated the attempt, Katz wrote in a recent research paper. Work-life balance Officials say the government plans to publicly recognize companies that make progress toward their targets and give them preference in winning public contracts. The greatest challenge facing Japan is our declining population, brought about by our aging society and falling birthrate, Abe told the conference of mostly Japanese and foreign women. We will more proactively value and support companies working to provide a sound work-life balance, he said. Nearly half of all women stop working to raise young children and then return to part-time or contractual work that pays much less than career track jobs. Japan s rigid corporate culture, with long hours and limited opportunities for women, means they are only about 11 percent of all managers and supervisors in Japan. The government exceeded its target of increasing the number of women it hired for career track positions to 34.4 percent. It has also required publicly listed companies to report the number of women on their boards of directors. Abe said that figure has increased by about a third since he took office. Women working in managerial positions in the government say that conditions are fair, but that working hours remain punishingly long. Harassment of working mothers is so endemic that Japanese have coined an expression for it, mata-hara, or maternity harassment. AP

18 BUSINESS Nestle sued for using slave caught fish in cat products NEW YORK: Swiss food giant Nestle is being sued in the United States for allegedly knowingly allowing its Fancy Feast cat food to contain fish from a Thai supplier that uses slave labor. Pet food buyers who filed the class action lawsuit on Thursday in US federal court in Los Angeles seek to represent all California consumers of Fancy Feast who would not have purchased the product had they known it had ties to slave labor. According to the lawsuit, Nestle works with Thai Union Frozen Products PCL to import more than 28 million pounds of seafood-based pet food for top brands sold in the United States, and that some of the ingredients in those products came from slave labor. Men and boys, often trafficked from Thailand s poorer neighbors Myanmar and Cambodia, are sold to fishing boat captains who need crews aboard their ship, the complaint said. It spoke of shifts of up to 20 hours a day with little or no pay, and beatings or even death if the work is deemed unsatisfactory. By hiding this from public view, Nestle has effectively tricked millions of consumers into supporting and encouraging slave labor on floating prisons, said Steve Berman, managing partner of the Hagens Berman law firm. It s a fact that the thousands of purchasers of its top-selling pet food products would not have bought this brand had they known the truth-that hundreds of individuals are enslaved, beaten or even murdered in the production of its pet food. Nestle lists protection of human rights as one of its Corporate Business Principles. But Nestle has failed to uphold its responsibility to ensure the absence of slave labor in its supply chains-and even worse, Nestle not only supported these human rights violations, but forced consumers to unknowingly do the same. AFP MAPUTO: In this file picture taken on February 6, 2009 a Chinese supervisor gives instructions to fellow workers on the construction site of the National stadium in Zimpeto. AFP Africa uneasy as China turmoil threatens investment boom Vast scale future projects under threat JOHANNESBURG: When Chinese company Shanghai Zendai bought 1,600 hectares of land outside Johannesburg in 2013, it promised to build the New York of Africa. The sleepy district of Modderfontein would be transformed into a $7.8 billion metropolis with a forest of skyscrapers, 35,000 houses and a sanctuary of green space to rival Central Park. The planned city became a symbol of China s seemingly limitless ambition across the African continent. But as global alarm bells ring over China s slowing economic growth, future projects on the vast scale of Modderfontein could be under threat. It s like we had a big party and the hangover is going to continue a bit longer than we anticipated, Dennis Dykes, head economist at South Africa s Nedbank, told AFP. It was unrealistic to believe that China would continue operating at the level it was. For the past decade, China gobbled up much of the commodities that Africa produces, overtaking the United States in 2009 to became the continent s single largest trading partner. Surging commodity prices helped the sub- Saharan Africa region grow at over four percent annually for two decades. From power plants in Botswana to diamond mines in Zimbabwe-and a spate of shiny sports stadiums-africa counted on China for investment, infrastructure and jobs. Beijing even built the $200 million African Union headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa in 2012 as a gift expressing friendship to the African people. Chinese companies are involved in hydropower projects in Zambia, Gabon and the Democratic Republic of Congo. China built a huge shopping mall in Zimbabwe s capital Harare, laid a ring road around Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, and invested billions in Nigeria s newly refurbished Lagos-Kano rail line. China has also funded coal power stations, roads and schools in Botswana, mines in Namibia, and in Malawi it provided funds for a new parliament, a university, hotels and conference centres. However, the rapid pace of investment could be at risk as China grapples with weak demand for its goods and a schizophrenic stock market. Drunk on China s growth Many experts now question the sturdiness of China s growth and warn of the inevitable damage to those countries who rely on it. The first impact is on commodity prices, which directly influences Africa. The second is investment, which will obviously slow down, said Celeste Fauconnier, Africa analyst at Rand Merchant Bank. We should be concerned. Already, countries are reeling from the Chinese turmoil, with commodity prices falling to a 16-year low, according to the Bloomberg Commodity Index tracking 22 raw materials. Bureaucrats have had their pay delayed in Nigeria after the price of oil collapsed to less than $50 a barrel and depleted state coffers. In South Africa, iron ore sales tumbled 36.9 percent since last year and mining companies have announced major layoffs. We are worried because China is one of the major consumers, said Fredson Yamba, a treasury official in Zambia, which derives almost 70 percent of its export earnings from copper. Exacerbated problems The China slowdown has exacerbated problems in African countries that depended on high commodity prices to balance their books, with South Africa particularly hard hit. It has impacts on our current account balance, it has implications on our trade balance, said Hugo Pienaar, economist at the University of Stellenbosch Bureau for Economic Research. You ll see it in investment numbers and you ll see it in employment numbers, and that has spillover effects. AFP Mugabe inks law to end mass lay-offs HARARE: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has signed a new law banning mass lay-offs following a spate of redundancies that unions say put 30,000 people out of work, local media reported yesterday. The Supreme Court ruled last month that employers could fire workers after giving them three months notice and an equivalent of three months salary. Several companies, including top mobile service provider Econet and the state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, sacked many workers to tackle huge wage bills and rising operational costs. The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions tried to stage protests in the capital Harare two weeks ago, but police banned the event and briefly arrested union leaders. Labor unions say more than 30,000 workers have been forced out of jobs in just a few weeks. The new law compels employers to give notice to workers representatives and a government board before any redundancies are processed. Zimbabwe s economy has been on a downward spiral for more than a decade amid slow growth, low liquidity and high unemployment. Many companies have closed, downsized or relocated to neighboring countries. AFP Nigeria to stop its crude oil exports LAGOS: Nigeria is moving to rapidly diversify the country s economy to stop its dependency on crude oil exports, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said Thursday. Nigeria has depended on oil as its major source of revenue in the last three decades at the expense of agriculture and other sectors, Buhari said. He spoke as he received new ambassadors. Buhari, who took power in late May, inherited near-empty coffers, tens of thousands of unpaid civil servants and an economy battered by a sharp drop in oil prices. Africa s largest economy and oil producer has also been plagued by widespread corruption, especially in the oil sector. In July, a government body revealed more than $20 billion in oil revenue to be missing. Despite the challenges, Nigeria is still attracting investment due to the scale of the market, according to analysts. South African supermarket giant Shoprite announced last week that it will open 14 new stores in addition to the existing 12 in Nigeria. Nigeria isn t a particularly appealing market. It s a very difficult place to do business, growth is stalling, and the retail sector is much less well-developed than other markets, like Kenya, said John Ashbourne, the Africa expert in Capital Economics, a leading macro-economic research firm. But the potential for growth is absolutely jaw-dropping if you manage to get in, as they say, on the ground floor of a country that could have 500 million people within a few decades. Ashbourne said expansion of the economy of just Lagos, the country s commercial capital, is almost as big as Angola s. If independent, (Lagos) would be Sub-Saharan Africa s fourth largest economy, after the rest of Nigeria, South Africa, and Angola, he said. AP

19 BUSINESS Greece s caretaker govt sworn in ahead of vote ATHENS: Greece s new caretaker government, led by the nation s first female prime minister, was sworn yesterday as the country heads to early elections next month, the third time Greeks will go to the polls this year. Prime Minister Vassiliki Thanou, a top judge, and her cabinet will lead the country to elections expected to be on Sept. 20, following outgoing prime minister Alexis Tsipras resignation last week. He stepped down following a rebellion by members of his radicalleft Syriza party who objected to his agreement with the conditions of Greece s third international bailout. The new cabinet may be in power for less than a month but it will have to oversee the implementation of several of the austerity measures which are conditions of the new bailout. The critical finance ministry post went to Giorgos Houliarakis, an academic who had been on Greece s negotiating team during talks with creditors, while veteran diplomat Petros Moliviatis was named foreign minister, a position he has held twice in the past including in the last caretaker government in A highly popular singer, Alkistis Protopsalti, was named tourism minister. Thanou, the 65-year-old head of the Supreme Court, had been sworn in on Thursday. Tsipras, who resigned barely seven months into his four-year mandate, has said he needs a stronger mandate to implement the tough austerity measures accompanying the threeyear, 86 billion Euro bailout. The first major opinion poll since elections were called, published in the left-leaning Efimerida ton Syntakton newspaper yesterday, found small support for his move. Approval sliding Sixty-four percent said Tsipras was wrong to call the snap poll, compared to 24 percent who considered it correct. The remainder took no position or did not reply. Although Syriza was still the most popular party, the poll showed its approval ratings sliding since early July, before a referendum in which Tsipras successfully urged Greeks to reject creditor reform proposals. Those intending to vote for Syriza stood at 23 percent in the new poll, compared to 26 percent in an early July survey by the same company. The conservative New Democracy party stood at 19.5 percent, up from 15 percent in July. The small nationalist Independent Greeks, Syriza s partner in the coalition government, were backed by 2 percent, below the 3 percent threshold needed to enter Parliament. Tsipras has ruled out a coalition with any of the center-right or centerleft parties if he fails to win a majority to govern outright, meaning he would face problems forming a government unless a party that didn t make it into parliament last time manages to win above 3 percent. Support for remaining in Europe s joint currency remained high, with 68 percent in the poll saying they believe the country should remain in the euro even if it means further austerity and sacrifices. Forty-eight percent said the government got the best deal it could for the third bailout, while 45 percent disagreed. The poll was conducted by the ProRata company on Aug with a sample of 1,000 people nationwide and had a margin of error of 3 percentage points. AP France s economy minister stumbles on 35-hour-week PARIS: France s divisive economy minister has once again made waves among Socialists by criticizing the country s sacrosanct 35- hour week just as the ruling party gathers for its annual conference. Emmanuel Macron, a 37-year-old former investment banker whose appointment last year created a stir among the leftist rebel rump of the party, told a gathering of business leaders that those on the left were not exempt from criticism. A long time ago, the left believed... that France would be better off if people worked less. That was a wrong idea, he said Thursday, in a thinly-veiled criticism of the 35-hour law introduced under the government of former Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin. Supporters say the flagship policy of the French left creates jobs by limiting the amount of time employees are allowed to work, thereby encouraging companies to take on more staff. But critics at home and abroad say it is an inflexible law that hampers business and creates a bloated workforce. Socialist leaders were quick to bring Macron back into line Friday, just as the annual party conference opened in the western coastal city of La Rochelle. Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the 35-hour week would not be reformed. The real issues are employment and growth. Small comments harm public life, he added, while Macron himself said he was not talking specifically about the 35-hour week but of work in general. This is not the first time that the clean-cut former Rothschild banker has irritated Socialists who see his appointment as a shift to the right for the government. Just one day into his job in August last year, he kicked off a political firestorm with comments about... the 35-hour week. We could allow companies and sectors... to depart from the rules on working time and pay, Macron told Le Point weekly. He later described France as being sick. AFP AUE, Germany: Asylum seekers are wrapped in blankets after a fire yesterday in the courtyard of an asylum seeker accommodation. AFP Fears aside, business leaders eager for migrant workers Employers welcome stream of young refugees LONDON: Raghad Al Sous braved bombings in Syria to keep studying at school before fleeing in 2013 to rejoin her mother, who had been granted refugee status in Britain. She is now about to start studying at university with the hope of becoming a hospital pharmacist. I had to walk to school and take the risk of being kidnapped but I kept on going because I knew that I had to get a qualification, al Sous said. Two years after moving from Damascus to Huddersfield in northern England, the 19 year-old s plans for a well-paid career contrast with concerns among some Britons that migrants are a drag on the country s economy and public services. I feel like I have to pay back the favor that this country has given me, she said. They saved my life. I can t thank the UK enough. Across Europe, employers have largely welcomed a stream of young and often well-educated foreign workers who are helping to offset the ageing of the population. Britain this week said net migration levels hit a record high of 330,000 in the year to March as workers from other EU countries and from outside the bloc flocked to take up jobs. While media said the figures showed a failure of control by the government, the Institute of Directors, an employers group, said half its members companies employed immigrants because of their skills and said UK public services depended on them. The situation is less clear for many of the hundreds of thousands of people from the Middle East, Africa and Asia who, unlike documented migrants, are trying to dodge border controls to enter Europe. Non-governmental organizations in Germany say that many of those fleeing the war in Syria and from Iran and Iraq appear to be well educated, making them potentially attractive to employers in their host countries. Germany s government expects the number of refugees and asylum-seekers to quadruple this year to 800,000, part of the biggest refugee crisis seen in Europe since World War II. Berlin has responded by sending government officials to emergency shelters to speed up skills assessments and language training for those likely to be allowed to stay in the country. The hope is to open the labor market more for refugees, Harald Loehlein, head of migration at Paritatische, an umbrella organization of German NGOs, said. It is because of the demographic trends. Everybody knows we need more migrants. Fear factor But the images of crowds pouring over borders in eastern Europe are likely to keep concerns about immigration high. A survey by the European Commission published in July showed immigration jumped to the top of the list of worries for people across Europe, overtaking concerns about the economy. In France, employers say they cannot match the enthusiasm in Germany for hiring foreign workers because France s unemployment rate of more than 10 percent is double that of Germany. We don t have enough jobs for the French people. It s easier to give jobs to migrant people in Germany, Pierre Gattaz, head of French employers group Medef, said. Britain s government also says it is sticking to its plan to bring net migration under 100,000 a year - less than a third of the current rate - and its foreign minister recently said African migrants posed a threat to Europe s standard of living. Yet academic research often points to a positive impact from immigration for developed economies. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development estimates that migrants accounted for 70 percent of the increase in Europe s workforce in the 10 years to European employers say they need more foreign workers to fill a range of jobs from highly-skilled positions to lower-paid menial positions that native Europeans no longer want to take. At the same time, researchers mostly say immigrants contribute more in taxes than they take in state benefits, a positive for governments many of which are still struggling to get their public finances in order after the financial crisis. A study by University College London found immigrants to Britain, from within the EU and beyond, represented a net positive for the public accounts, and brought with them qualifications that would have cost nearly 7 billion pounds in education spending in Britain. Furthermore, immigrants were less likely to claim benefits than native Britons, the study found. Critics of the UCL research said it underestimated the cost of providing public services to migrants. Aware of the public s concerns about overloading schools and hospitals, campaigners say governments should invest the extra tax revenues generated by migrant workers in public services and infrastructure. But Christian Dustmann, one of the researchers who wrote last year s UCL report, said that while little information was available on the new arrivals, some early signs were positive. Many of the people who are seeking refugee status are very highly educated and would probably be very productive and they are young, Dustmann said. Reuters

20 BUSINESS Brazil falls into another recession this quarter RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil has fallen back into recession, deepening the gloom in the world s seventh largest economy already battered by falling commodity prices, political crisis and a corruption scandal. In the second quarter of this year, gross domestic product slipped 1.9 percent, according to official figures released yesterday. Gross domestic product (GDP) had already been down 0.7 percent in the first quarter, the government statistics agency IBGE said. Brazil s economy has been in trouble for four years, ever since the end of a boom fueled by commodity exports, principally to China. Falling prices for oil and other commodities have punched huge holes in the budget. Adding to the economic malaise is a growing political crisis in which President Dilma Rousseff faces calls for her impeachment and discontent-even among many of her own supporters-over austerity measures. A huge corruption investigation named Operation Car Wash has revealed a bribes and embezzlement scheme revolving around state oil giant Petrobras and involving politicians and senior executives. Rousseff s Workers Party has also been dragged into the scandal. The GDP points to what Brazil has been experiencing recently: a strong recession, a pretty turbulent political situation, with inflation rising, with rates rising, said Alex Agostini, chief economist at Austin Rating. This has impacted on the confidence of investors, or businesses and consumers. A quick recovery is not expected, with unemployment rising steadily and the national currency, the real, down about 25 percent this year against the US dollar. Earlier this month, a central bank survey of economists for the first time indicated that the contraction will continue through 2016 at a shallower rate. That survey also showed that inflation remains forecast at 9.32 percent this year, but it raised the 2016 projection for price rises to 5.44 percent from 5.43 percent. Moody s has cut Brazil s credit rating to near junk status, reflecting growing struggles with debt. Yesterday s figures showed the steepest second quarter shrinkage in the industrial sector, which includes the troubled oil industry centered on Petrobras, at 4.3 percent. Agriculture, where Brazil is one of the world s main producers of commodities like soybeans, sugar and poultry, slipped 2.7 percent. AFP Single Canadians feel forgotten both financially and politically ATLANTA: In this Saturday, June 6, 2015 photo, a customer at left pays for produce with cash to a worker at a stand at the Atlanta Farmers Market. AP US consumer spending climbs, wages jump to a yearly high Economists encouraged by July results WASHINGTON: US consumers increased their spending moderately in July, as wages and salaries made their biggest jump in eight months. Spending rose 0.3 percent in July, helped by purchases of big-ticket items such as cars, the Commerce Department reported yesterday. June s result was revised up to a matching 0.3 percent gain. Incomes increased 0.4 percent in July. The key category of wages and salaries rose 0.5 percent, the biggest advance since last November. The report suggests that consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity, got off to a good start in the third quarter as strong momentum from the second quarter rolled into July. Economists, who believe the economy will be fueled in the second half of this year by solid income and spending gains, were encouraged by the July results. All of the data are heading in the right direction, said Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets in a note to clients. Except for inflation. A key price gauge tied to consumer spending that is closely watched by the Federal Reserve posted a tiny 0.1 percent increase in July. Over the past 12 months, the figure is up just 0.3 percent, reflecting the big plunge in energy prices over the past year. Excluding volatile energy and food, prices are up just 1.2 percent over the past 12 months, far below the Fed s goal of having prices rise at an annual rate of 2 percent. Recent turbulence The low inflation rate and recent turbulence in stock markets, triggered by a sharp slowdown in the Chinese economy, have left many economists believing that the central bank will keep a key interest rate unchanged when the Fed meets in September. That is a reversal of expectations from just a few weeks ago that the Fed would likely raise rates next month. The saving rate rose to 4.9 percent in July from 4.7 percent in June, stemming in part from a big jump in after-tax income of 0.5 percent, the best gain since November. The overall economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, grew at a healthy 3.7 percent pace in the April-June quarter, the government reported Thursday in a sharp upward revision of an earlier estimate of a more moderate gain of 2.3 percent. Part of the new-found strength came from an upward revision in consumer spending, which grew at a 3.1 percent rate in the spring, up sharply from a 1.8 percent increase in the first quarter when a harsh winter kept shoppers away from stores. Economists believe that growth will remain solid in the current July- September period. Paul Ashworth, chief US economist at Capital Economics, said that the strength in consumer spending indicated that the economy may perform better than his current estimate of a 2.5 percent growth rate in the third quarter. Analysts expect spending will be supported by further strong gains in employment. The jobless rate in July was at a seven-year low of 5.3 percent. With more people working, that supports continued gains in consumer spending. AP OTTAWA: Benoit Lavigne has a good job but covering monthly living expenses including rent for a small Ottawa flat is a challenge, largely because he is doing it all on his own. And he wishes Canadian politicians cared more about his lot, instead of wooing families in upcoming October 19 elections. All of my married friends seem better off than me, although maybe a bit more sleep-deprived with young children, the 35-year-old translator told AFP. I feel like I m paying for everything myself, while couples with two salaries are getting tax breaks left and right. Singles make up 28 percent of Canadian households and are among the nation s fastestgrowing demographics, according to the government statistical agency, while the traditional nuclear family is fading. But you wouldn t know it from listening to Canadian politicians. Tracking of Commons debates by Openparliament.ca found nearly 6,000 mentions of Canadian families since 1994, with the frequency doubling since the Tories swept to power in During the campaign, the top three political parties have promised a litany of tax breaks, benefits and programs for families. Tory proposals include increased tax relief for parents adopting children, while the New Democrats want to bring in a national daycare program and the Liberals have called for longer parental leave. In interviews, several families said these perks will influence their vote. But a recent study by Elections Canada found that parents with children under five are actually less likely to cast their ballots. Queen s University professor Elizabeth Goodyear-Grant, who studies voting behaviors, said this is because parents of young children are too busy taking care of them. She suggested that the campaign strategy is really aimed at women voters. While child care and parental leave are obviously things that concern both mothers and fathers, these have traditionally been of greater salience politically to women, and that s still true today, Goodyear-Grant said. Also, nothing suggests responsible and compassionate governance like talking about working families. Alone against the world Lavigne has never missed a ballot. It s very annoying that my vote doesn t count much to political parties, he said. Former Conservative strategist Tim Powers, who is also single, said it s a numbers game. If you can get two votes (couples) instead of one, you re going to do better in an election, he said. But his comment doesn t account for those couples with differing political views. A party needs to win 40 percent of the popular vote to form a majority government, and singles as a group fall short. They also have a wide range of views and wants, whereas certain issues such as child care resonate with all families, so it is easier to formulate policies targeting families to win their votes. I doubt any of the parties have found a way to put enough singles into one group, Powers said. Where singles live also matters. There are only nine electoral districts-all in major cities-out of 338 where singles account for more than 40 percent of the local population, according to a breakdown of the electoral map by the National Post daily. In the last census in 2011, Statistics Canada counted 2.7 million married or common-law couples with children under 18, compared to 3.7 million single person households (out of a total of 13 million). Commonlaw and single parent households have increasingly displaced the nuclear family that was dominant in the 1950s, while the proportion of singles has increased fourfold. Most economists agree that broad-based tax cuts are better for the economy. But Powers noted: Good economic policy is not always good political policy. Although the data suggests otherwise, many still insist that families need more help than singles. According to government data, the median household income of singles in Canada is Can$31,000 (US$24,000), or a third of the median income of a two-parent household with children under 18. AFP

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