Sunday, 11 November 2012

Teenage bedrooms big trouble turf



KRISTYNA Krueger took a deep breath, girding herself to enter her 14-year-old son Brandon’s bedroom. Then she gingerly stepped in and described the spectacle.

“Every drawer is open,” Krueger said, speaking on the phone from her home in Lake Ozark, Mo. “His desk, the night stand, his computer desk, his dresser.

You cannot walk without stepping on clothes, cords for charging things, cologne and body-spray bottles.

He does paintball. That stuff is all over.” She sidestepped his workout equipment but nearly tripped over a bowl of crushed potato chips that had been obscured by a sports award plaque.

“Hmmm,” she said. “That’s not like him to take the trouble to cover it up. Probably an accident.” She continued: “There are maybe 30 hangers in his closet, but they’re empty. Except for the clothes he would never wear, like a suit, which have been pushed to the back. But the bottom of the closet, that’s where his clothes are. On top of shoes. Which are on top of papers. And empty shoe boxes.” She concluded, “His room is an absolute wreck.” Yet Krueger’s tone was surprisingly matter-of-fact.

With two older teenagers at home, she has become inured to the fury and frustration familiar to parents who have ventured into the teenage wasteland their offspring proudly call a bedroom.

This is the time of year when the mess kicks in, full force. Most of the weapons in the parental quiver (including threats and bribery) have long since been fired, just to get that bedroom ready for the new school year. And by now, it has reverted to its natural anarchic state. What is a parent to do? And from the point of view of the beseeched and the berated, what is a teenager to do about the parent? After consultations with dozens of parents, teenagers and professionals who specialise in adolescent mess, there is some good news: Although teenage tidiness may be too much to hope for, sanitation is a possibility. Better still, detente may be within reach. Here, then, is a point guide to navigating that most entrenched of domestic battlegrounds.

Once again, your teenager’s wet towel has been tossed onto the bed. Why does this always incite you? Maybe because it feels like a nyah-nyah, a rebel colony’s defiance of the parent ruler. But parental insta-rage can be about so much more.

“Parents are embarrassed,” said Deborah Silberberg, an owner of ShipShape, a professional organising company. “They wonder whether it represents their lack of parenting control. It’s hard for parents to have to let go of their kid.” Guilt and fear are also factors. Does the mess mean that parents have poorly prepared their children to care for themselves? As Hillary Barnett of Hillsdale, New Jersey, whose son Eric is a college freshman, put it, “God help his dorm mate.” Parents like Sandy Atanasoff of Danbury, Connecticut, for whom hygiene and neatness are second nature, cannot understand how their children can be oblivious to their living conditions – like the network of cobwebs growing in her daughter Gina’s room, or the sheets on the bed that remain unwashed for weeks. Sandy Atanasoff is also taunted by the memory that somewhere under her 17-year-old daughter’s T-shirts, preschool memorabilia and thrift shop treasures, there is a desk.

“I can’t bear to stay in there too long,” Atanasoff said. “It causes me angst.” As Barbara Greenberg, a psychologist and an author of “Teenage as a Second Language,” observed, “The more you make it an issue, the more you’ll prolong the problem.” “It’s in their nature to assert boundaries and say no,” she said. “So parents have to do what seems paradoxical: Let it go. Otherwise, the kid will have identified it as a wonderful way to act out.” Teenagers are on a long march toward autonomous adulthood, as psychologists like Marsha Levy-Warren, the author of The Adolescent Journey, point out. And mastering the clean room is a blip on their map.

“Kids are so preoccupied during adolescence with who they want to be that they are inside themselves,” Levy-Warren said. “They lose sight of what’s outside. They don’t even see their rooms. There’s a lot for them to figure out.” Homework. Social tribes. After-school activities. Hygiene. Driving.

The minutiae of living can take teenagers years to fully grasp. In the moment, which is where they exist, it can feel overwhelming.

“Most kids are quite chaotic internally, and rooms reflect the degree of chaos,” Levy-Warren said.

So, are the clothes on the floor thoughtless or intentional? “Some kids’ messiness consists of every item of clothing being on the floor, and they’ll say, ‘That’s what I want and I know what I have,”’ she said.

“Other kids don’t even have an answer.” His mother may call his room an “absolute wreck,” but what does it mean to Brandon Krueger, a freshman who drills with the marching band at 6:45 am, practices football daily for the junior varsity and varsity teams, plays three games a week and maintains an A-minus average? “My privacy, my place to relax and to get some peace,” he replied in an email. “I don’t clean it very often. I am busy and tired all the time.” Kristi, a mother who asked that her last name be withheld for privacy, has a 13-year-old daughter whose room is an archeological site of dirty socks, sports-drink bottles, ripped papers and empty boxes of Cheez-Its.

But Kristi raised her daughter during two traumatic marriages and a recent uprooting from Omaha to a Seattle suburb. And her daughter has new friends, made the gymnastics and volleyball teams and gets straight As.

So Kristi is fine with her daughter’s bedroom-as- Dumpster.

“It’s the one place where she gets to act out,” Kristi said. “She is so pulled together in so many other ways.” The shout heard ‘round the neighb o u r - hood: “Clean your room!” A common (though unspoken) response? “I don’t know how.” Certainly parenting blogs reverberate with cries for guidance about how to deal with teenagers and their rooms. But there is a parallel universe on teenagers’ blogs, where teenagers seek advice about how to deal with the mess.

Prominent among the cleanup tips: “Get in the mood by blasting your favourite music” and “Limit Facebook breaks to 30 minutes.” As Levy-Warren observed, sometimes teenagers really don’t know how to pick up after themselves.

“Or they’re not ready to,” she added, “because that’s eliminating the role of the adult who picked up after them in childhood. And some kids aren’t ready to let go.” Also, to many teenagers, attacking the wreckage can feel Sisyphean. Gina Atanasoff has just about given up.

“My room has so much clutter,” she said, “that it’s too hard to penetrate.” But she has reframed the task and given herself a pat on the back.

“I read online somewhere that creative people function better with mess,” she said.

Other teenagers express creativity through excuses.

Barnett’s youngest child, Kelsey, 14, invokes what Barnett calls “The Kids of Divorced Parents Rule 101: I’m never in one place long enough to clean it up.” Often, though, the reason for the mess is more basic: inertia.

As Barnett said of her s o n , “Eric thinks that by taking clothes out of the laundry to his room, he’ll be exhausted.” And so, the folded, the clean, the wrinkled, the soiled – they all carpet his carpet.

“I think he throws something against the wall and whatever sticks, he decides is dirty,” Barnett said.

Still, she has managed to find a silver lining.

Recently, as she was preparing to leave on a business trip, she reminded Eric that there would be no parties at the house while she was gone.

“He said: ‘Mom, think about it: If I had a party here, I would have to clean up so you wouldn’t find out.”’ Barnett relaxed. “And that’s how I knew there was no way this child would have a party in my absence,” she said.

If parents are baffled by the mess, teenagers are often equally baffled by (and indifferent to) their parents’ reactions.

During a phone interview, as Jeanne Buckley, a mother of three teenagers in Chatham, New Jersey, wondered aloud how her 17-year-old daughter could sleep in such a messy room, a shouted retort could be heard in the background: “Quite easily!” Buckley said she has asked her daughter, “‘Doesn’t it bother you that I nag you?’ And she says, ‘No, I just switch it off.”’ Ask most adolescents why their rooms make parents so angry, and the response is usually a shrug, the hounded expression of the persecuted or a list of friends whose rooms are so much worse that their own parents should feel lucky.

Brandon Krueger’s parents, for example, think his room should be “crystal and shiny,” he said. “Mine is just organised: shoes with shoes, clothes with clothes,” he said, but his parents complicate things by wanting him “to keep things separate: light jeans with light jeans, shorts with shorts, shirts and everything on hangers.” “I like to keep cleaning simple and easy,” he said. “I will throw away trash, put laundry in. My parents don’t consider this cleaning, but I do.” There are piles of parenting books about adolescent clutter, advocating strategies that range from draconian to determined indifference. But on one thing they all agree: Define boundaries.

Teenagers want to rule their bedroom like a kingdom. In exchange, parents should insist that the mess not creep throughout the home.

It is easier for a parent to wash the dirty plate left on the kitchen counter than to enforce those boundaries. But establishing public-private territorial respect is nonetheless part of the parenting job description, said Dena Gardi, the mother of an 18-year-old and 13-year-old twins in San Francisco.

“You say it over and over,” Gardi said. “‘Public spaces are public spaces! Move the backpack.’ And they’ll say: ‘Oh, really, I have to do it? OK, OK.’ But then they walk away. And I say, ‘No, pick it up.’ And I’ll stand there till it’s done.” When is a mess more than just a mess? Greenberg said that if “you have a teenager who until 15 was keeping a tidy room and suddenly it’s a mess, plus other changes are happening,” it is time to investigate. “If their eyes are bloodshot, they’ve stopped doing homework, something is going on.” The question looms: How do you get teenagers to do something they don’t want to do? First, experts say, praise their accomplishments, assuring them that you don’t consider them to be out-of-control messes personally.

Then what? Cattle prod? (No phone and no weekend plans for the foreseeable future.) Bribery? (Offer movie tickets when the teenager evicts the village of bacteria living under the bed.) Kidnapping? (Shove the teenager’s clothes into a garbage bag and return them once designated areas of the room have been cleaned.) What are you really trying to achieve? Experts say that because adolescents are stubborn and defensive, harsh approaches tend to have limited success. Improving communication is key, both to the room and the relationship.

Try to pop the tension of the power struggle with a pinprick of humour.

Shashant Shah wants to work with Lara again


AFTER critically acclaimed comic satire Challo Dilli, director Shashant Shah is keen to work with Lara Dutta again in his next untitled project.

Released in 2011, Chalo Dilli was the first film from Lara’s banner Bheegi Basanti Productions. She also acted in the comedy.

“I would love to work with Lara again. We had a great time working together in Challo Dilli. She is superb. But it will be unfair to comment about anything before I sign my producers for my next film,” said Shah, who directed Challo Dilli.

He added: “There is a particular role in the film, which I feel she would look perfect in. Now let’s wait and watch.

It’s too early to say anything.” Meanwhile, the director assures that his next venture is not a sequel to Challo Dilli.

“No, my next film is not a sequel to Challo Dilli. It’s a fresh script. My next film falls under comedy genre. It can be called comic thriller. I am ready with my script, now waiting for the producers’ nod.” “If producers sign my project in a week’s time, then my film will go on the floors by the end of this year itself. So it all depends on producers now,” he added.

Shah debuted as a director with 2008 movie Dasvidaniya.

Miley Cyrus to take time off for marriage


MILEY Cyrus is working hard to finish her new album so she can take some time off to enjoy being engaged.

The 19-year-old entertainer plans to marry Hunger Games star Liam Hemsworth. They announced their engagement in June but haven’t revealed their wedding date.

“I am married in my heart and my mind. I do everything that I would be if I had the paper, but I want to take the time to actually enjoy it,” Cyrus said.

“My most important thing right now is ... I want people to hear what I want to say and get my record out, so when there is a time that I can take some time off, I’ll feel like I accomplished my stuff,” she said. “Then I can take a break and just enjoy being married for a little while.” So until then, Cyrus is busy working, promoting her film So Undercover, due in February, and wrapping up her album, though no title or release date have been announced.

Rihanna rocks Victoria’s Secret catwalk


RIHANNA rocked lingerie at Wednesday night’s Victoria’s Secret fashion show in New York, providing the highlight of the live-music soundtrack and holding her own on the catwalk with some of the world’s top models.

And those models even had props, including Adriana Lima’s ringmaster wand, Doutzen Kroes’ body cage and several pairs of the oversized wings that the retailer has made its signature. It would be a close contest who got the biggest wings: Toni Garrn’s giant poppy pair or Miranda Kerr’s swan-style feathered pouf. Only Lily Aldridge could boast star-spangled wings that shot out silver sparkles.

Alessandra Ambrosio’s orchid-petal wings might have lacked a little grandeur, but she made up for it with a $2.5 million jewelled “floral fantasy bra.” Still, wearing a sheer pink mini that gave glimpses of her bra, Rihanna sang Fresh Out the Runway at the end of the corset-and-garter parade and she was the one to grab the audience’s biggest applause.

The fashion show has become a pre-holiday season tradition for the retailer.

CBS will turn it into a one-hour special, which also had performances from Justin Bieber and Bruno Mars, to be shown on December 4
Lima said she loved opening the show in the ringmaster costume.

“The atmosphere of the Victoria’s Secret fashion show is electric,” she said. “It’s so much fun to be able to interact with the audience! What other show will you see Rihanna, Justin Beiber and Bruno Mars on the runway with angels?” This year’s event had a slight twist. It started with an announcer noting that Victoria’s Secret and CBS had each made a donation to relief efforts for Superstorm Sandy, and a thank you to the National Guard members who are based out of the Lexington Avenue Armoury that has for years been home to the show.

M o s t l y , though, models are encouraged to smile, ham it up and show off the extra time at the gym that most admit to in the weeks beforehand. “It’s highly televised, and you take that into consideration,” said model Joan Smalls ahead of the show. “This is kind of not the same as other runways. You have to prepare your body: No 1 is the wings are heavy, and No 2 is you have to be comfortable with your body because the camera will pick up on it if you’re not comfortable and confident.” There’s an emphasis on glitz, skin and dramatic production here, not wearable undergarment trends for typical Victoria’s Secret shoppers. It was divided into six sections: Circus, complete with acrobats, contortionists and a sword eater; Dangerous Liaisons; Pink Is Us; Silver Screen Angels; Angels in Bloom; and Calendar Girls, which allowed Bruno Mars to serenade a model for each month of the year.

For his first song, Beauty and the Beat, Bieber, wearing low-slung white pants and a white leather studded vest, sat alone with his guitarist in the mellowest part of the show. For As Long As You Love Me, however, he brought in backup dancers and interacted with the models while moving around a giant makeshift pinball machine.

“It’s like a dream come true,” said Bieber on the pink carpet before the show. “I would rather be here than anywhere in the world.”

Not the last of Lynyrd Skynyrd songs yet



IT’S a time of mixed feelings for the members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and particularly for Gary Rossington, the sole remaining founder of the influential Southern rock group.

On one hand, the band has a new album – Last of a Dyin’ Breed, whose August debut at No 14 on the Billboard 200 was Lynyrd Skynyrd’s best showing since Street Survivors (1977) hit No 5. However, this year also marks the 35th anniversary of the airplane crash that killed singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and backup singer Cassie Gaines, as well as tour manager Dean Kilpatrick and the plane’s two pilots and put Lynyrd Skynyrd in dry dock for a decade, as well as the 25th anniversary of the surviving members’ decision to reunite.

The reconstituted band has released nine studio albums since then, and the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.

The sadness certainly lingers.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t think of Ronnie and the others,’’ Rossington says.

At the same time, the guitarist is thrilled that there’s still a Lynyrd Skynyrd that not only plays Free Bird (1973) and Sweet Home Alabama (1974) but also continues to add new material to its catalog.

“You know, we love doing the old songs,’’ says the 60-year-old Rossington, who cofounded Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1964 in Jacksonville, Florida, naming the band after their high-school gym teacher, Leonard Skinner. “It still feels great to play the music and pay tribute to those guys who are gone now, whether they died in the crash or later on. That’s why I’m sticking around, even though this is not the original Lynyrd Skynyrd.

“But we’re creative and we’re still songwriters,’’ he continues, “so we like to write new stuff a lot. We can’t help it. I still feel young in my head. I feel like I’m in my 20s, and I love playing and being on the road and that whole thing. And when we have new music, I’m proud of it.’’ Rossington’s pride is hardly misplaced.

Coming off the Top 20 success of God & Guns (2009), Last of a Dyin’ Breed shows all the confidence and swagger of vintage Lynyrd Skynyrd, from hard-rock anthems such as the title track, Homegrown and Mississippi Blood to melodic, reflective numbers such as Ready to Fly. As far as Rossington is concerned, the album’s strong reception is a victory not only for his band but for groups in general these days.

“Bands like us are a dying breed nowadays,’’ he explains. “You see more single acts, the Lady Gagas and Katy Perrys, and more pop stuff and hip-hop. Touring bands like us and the Allman Brothers and all the other Southern bands that used to be around are not really around anymore.

“It’s just a dying breed, so it’s great to see that folks are still interested in something like a band anymore.’’ Rossington reports that, after God & Guns, Skynyrd – which since 1987 has been fronted by Van Zant’s younger brother, Johnny – felt “a lot of momentum’’ going into Last of a Dyin’ Breed. The group again worked with producer Bob Marlette and wrote songs with the likes of John 5 Lowery and Marlon Young of Kid Rock’s Twisted Brown Trucker, as well as the middle Van Zant brother, Donnie, best known as the singer for .38 Special.

The new album isn’t a continuation of the previous one, though. The political tenor of Gods & Guns is replaced by more populist concerns on Last of a Dyin’ Breed.

“We just wrote songs about ourselves and things that are happening,’’ explains Rossington, whose wife, Dale Krantz- Rossington, is one of the band’s backing vocalists. “We didn’t really have politics to write about, even though this is a political year. We wanted to stay away from that, because it’s just such a big fight now between the right and the left. We don’t want to get into all that.

“We just write songs from our hearts and songs about the road, and what we’re going through or what we see people going through, that’s all.’’ Johnny Van Zant agrees.

“If it ain’t broken, don’t try to fix it,’’ the 53-year-old Van Zant says in a separate interview. “We write about things that we’ve done or things that have happened to people around us. It’s for the common people, people who have made this great country of ours, the people we see in our audience every night. That’s what the heck I say we always write about.’’ That ability to create has vindicated that 1987 decision to bring Lynyrd Skynyrd back to active duty, starting with a reunion tour.

Rossington remembers that the group didn’t want to really do it at the time, but a trial run of concerts was so well-received and so successful that the idea picked up steam.

The notion of the new Lynyrd Skynyrd becoming a recording concern, however, was put into action only after the various estates of the dead band members had signed off on it.

“They all said yeah, they thought it would be all right as long as it was good and it kept with the style and the nature of the band to never do a (bad) record or a bad something just for the money,’’ Rossington says. “We usually try to deal with dignity and class and uphold the high standards of the Skynyrd name. So that’s what we did, and are still doing, I think.

“I think, if the (deceased) guys heard some of these songs, they would give a smile and say, ‘Yeah, boys, way to go. That’s the way to do it.’’’ For his part, Van Zant recalls that stepping into his brother’s shoes onstage was one thing, but doing so on a record on Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991 was another matter.

“I’ve got to be honest, I was a little freaked out,’’ he says, laughing. “Skynyrd fans are great fans if they are on your side, but, if they are not, it can be a bad scene. And for me personally, I knew that we couldn’t, and I don’t think any of us said, ‘OK, we need to write the next Sweet Home Alabama or Free Bird,’ because you just don’t do that.

Nobody has written those yet.

“We just knew that we wanted to write an album and do it and keep the family together,’’ Van Zant says. “And I think it was all part of the healing process at that time too.’’ If Rossington has his way, Lynyrd Skynyrd will keep its Free Bird flying for quite some time. The group has survived the deaths of additional band members, including guitarist Allen Collins, keyboardist Billy Powell and bassist Leon Wilkeson.

Though he himself has had health issues that occasionally have kept him off the road, Rossington says that he’s doing good now, and he’s well aware of his importance as the last remaining tie to the original band.

“I think it’s going to have to end when I’m gone,’’ he says, “because of legalities with the other estates and stuff like that. I don’t think it could go on without me. Not that I’m that great, but me being around is kind of a condition that lets us keep it going.

‘’I never really thought about it without me,’’ Rossington says, ‘’because I’ve never been in that position.

Balooshi second in Pomona race qualifying round


WHEN the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing season began here in Pomona last February, Khalid al Balooshi was the No. 7 qualifier and lost in the first round of eliminations in his debut for the Qatar Al Anabi racing Top Fuel team, the two-time, defending NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel World Championship team.

Fast forward to today, and Balooshi has won a race, has a semifinal finish and is currently the No. 2 qualifier at the season’s final race, the 48th annual Automobile Club NHRA Finals. Qualifying resumes Saturday with eliminations set for Sunday.

Balooshi, who will finish the season in 11th place in the NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel point standings no matter what happens this weekend, ran a dazzling 3.781-second pass at 324.20 mph to claim the No. 2 qualifying position with two rounds of qualifying remaining.

Thursday’s first round of qualifying was cancelled due to persistent rain showers.

“I am very happy with our run today,” Balooshi said.

“Our Al Anabi car is making good runs, and we are happy that our hard work is paying off. We will try to get a little bit better in the two rounds we have left, and maybe we can be the No. 1 qualifier before we race on Sunday.” Al Anabi silver driver Shawn Langdon was on a brilliant pass before the clutch malfunctioned causing the car to smoke the tires. Langdon pedalled the car but could only post a 4.063-second pass at 289.45 mph. He is 14th with two rounds of qualifying remaining.

“The Al Anabi car was on a really good pass before we had that problem with the clutch,” Langdon said. “That tells us our tune-up was right for the conditions, and the good news is we have two chances to improve our position and ready to race for

Fulham holds Arsenal to 3-3 draw; Arteta misses spotkick


LONDON MIKEL ARTETA’S failure to convert an added-time penalty summed up Arsenal’s frustrations as Arsene Wenger’s side squandered a two-goal lead in a 3-3 draw with Fulham at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski had put the home side 2-0 up inside 23 minutes, but Fulham recovered with two goals from Dimitar Berbatov, either side of a Alex Kacaniklic header, and it took a second Giroud effort to rescue a point for Wenger’s team.

Victory was denied the Gunners when Mark Schwarzer saved from Arteta in the final act of a dramatic game, but defeat would have been harsh on a spirited Fulham side. It would have also deflected attention from another unconvincing display by Wenger’s team, who let a two-goal lead slip for the second time in four days after the mid-week draw at Schalke in the Champions League. The defensive weaknesses that have crept into Arsenal’s play were once again plain to see, while Fulham confirmed the progress they have made under Martin Jol, with Berbatov again outstanding.

Wenger, though, can at least draw comfort from his side’s comeback, two goals from Giroud, who has now scored four in four games, and another threatening display from Theo Walcott.

Walcott has found himself on the fringes of Wenger’s plans while his contract situation remains unresolved, but he strengthened his case for the deal he wants by playing a role in both his side’s opening goals on his first league start since August.

Fulham had started brightly and were arguably the dominant side before Walcott delivered a right-wing corner into the path of Giroud, who headed past away goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer in the 11th minute.

Then, when Podolski doubled Arsenal’s lead 12 minutes later, it seemed the home side were on course to claim a comfortable victory. Once again Walcott was involved, this time laying a neat flick into the path of Arteta, who picked out Podolski for the Germany international to stab the ball home from six yards.

The scoreline was harsh on Fulham, but they hit back through Berbatov, who was granted acres of space inside the Arsenal area to head home from Bryan Ruiz’s corner.

Arsenal’s attacking threat receded, while their defence continued to look shaky, and it was no surprise when Fulham levelled five minutes before half-time, with Berbatov again at the heart of the move.

The striker’s run down the right flank was picked out by Fulham right-back Sascha Riether and Berbatov clipped a precise cross towards substitute Kacaniklic, who headed past Vito Mannone.

Giroud headed over immediately before the break but there was no doubt the momentum had swung Fulham’s way.

The visitors were rewarded for their efforts mid-way through the second period when Arteta was dispossessed by Bryan Ruiz on the edge of his own box and fouled the Fulham forward as he tried to recover his mistake.

Referee Phil Dowd — who had earlier resisted the temptation to show Fulham midfielder Steve Sidwell a second yellow card — pointed to the spot and Berbatov beat Mannone with ease.

Ulsan beats Ahli, wins AFC Champions League


ULSAN HYUNDAI thrashed Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli 3-0 on Saturday to lift their first AFC Champions League trophy and become the third South Korean club in four years to be crowned kings of Asia.

Goals from Kwak Tae-Hwi, Rafinha and Kim Seung- Yong raised the roof at Ulsan’s home stadium and ensured that Kim Ho-Gon’s side followed in the footsteps of Pohang Steelers and Seongnam Ilhwa, winners in 2009 and 2010 respectively.

Al Ahli rarely troubled the hosts’ defence throughout the 90 minutes and in the end Ulsan were comfortable winners, to the delight of an impressive crowd of 42,153.

Ulsan started the game brightly, with Rafinha and Kwak both going close in the opening 10 minutes in what was threatening to be a onesided affair even at such an early stage.

In the 13th minute, Ulsan claimed the lead their impressive start deserved when club captain Kwak ambled up from defence to meet Kim Seung-Yong’s free kick with a firm header.

Juan Estiven Velez tried his luck from long range on two occasions as Ulsan sought to extend their advantage and Al Ahli continued to struggle, but both attempts were well off target.

Al Ahli offered little serious threat in attack and, with four minutes left in the half, Kim Shin-Wook hooked his attempt wide as Ulsan sought what was turning out to be an elusive second goal.

That though changed midway through the second half when Velez’s ball was headed across goal by Kim Shin- Wook and into the path of Rafinha, who scored his fifth goal in five Champions League games since arriving from J-League side Gamba Osaka.

And, with 15 minutes to go, Kim Seung-Yong added a deserved third for the dominant Ulsan when his left-foot drive from a tight angle gave Al Ahli goalkeeper Abdullah Al Muaiouf little chance.

Ulsan’s fans celebrated wildly after the win which also secures their team a berth next month’s FIFA Club World Cup finals in Japan.

Del Potro shocks Federer, reaches semis


Juan Martin del Potro claimed a surprise 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 6-3 victory over defending champion Roger Federer on Saturday to book his place in the semi-finals of the ATP Tour Finals.

Del Potro’s victory ended Federer’s 12-match winning run at the season-ending event and guaranteed he will qualify from Group B along with the Swiss star.

Federer, who has won the Tour Finals title for the last two years, already knew he was through after winning his first two group matches at London’s O2 Arena.

The semi-final match-ups will not be decided until after the final group match between David Ferrer and Janko Tipsarevic later on Saturday.

Victory for Ferrer would mean it is Federer who plays Andy Murray with del Potro playing Novak Djokovic, while a Tipsarevic win would reverse the fixtures.

“I’m so happy to beat Roger once again, I know he’s a favourite here but the crowd respected me also,” Del Potro said.

“I was a little lucky towards the end of the match. Always when you beat these kinds of players you need luck on your side but I played well.

“I took the break-point chances in the last set, then I served really well in the last game. I was very nervous but I closed out the match.

“It’s going to be a tough match against Djokovic or Murray, but I’m so excited to get into the semis.” Federer had won 13 of his previous 16 meetings, but the Argentine has given him plenty of trouble at times.

As well as winning his only Grand Slam title with a win over Federer at the 2009 US Open, del Potro also handed the 31-year-old his only other indoor defeat in the last two years in the final of his hometown tournament in Basle last month.

That pattern continued as a tight first set saw sixthseeded del Potro save three break points to keep Federer at bay.

Then in the tie-break, Federer suddenly lost his rhythm and del Potro took advantage to snatch the first set.

Federer made a strong response, reeling off eight successive points to break at the start of the second set, and that was enough to level the match.

But del Potro’s big-hitting style blew Federer off course again in the deciding set.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion was unable to survive the barrage and del Potro broke for a 2-0 lead before holding his nerve to serve out a superb win in two hours.

Doha Bank launches personal loan promotion campaign



THE personal loan from Doha Bank, which was proclaimed earlier this year as the best deal in town, beat itself with a new scheme offered for a limited three months period.

The new loan scheme offers the chance of consolidating loans and transferring it to Doha Bank or even topping up existing loans with additional cash at a zero percent interest rate and perks of three months postponement on installments offered for everyone.

It is a fitting time for all customers, expressly Qataris to combine all their loans and transfer them to Doha Bank. Doha Bank, which treats its premiere Qatari customers with gratitude for their loyalty which stretches over a lengthy 30 years, is offering exclusively 12 months of zero percent interest on personal loans.

Now all Qataris will benefit from the smallest installment with the biggest loan amount at the lowest interest rate ever.

At the launch of the new personal loan campaign, Doha Bank Group CEO R Seetharaman said, “Clearly, our offers make it reasonable, accessible and affordable for almost anyone to undertake anything they had in mind this year. The offer will actually give you the ultimate flexibility for financing any purchase or project.” He said, “We invite all the Qataris to transfer their loans to Doha Bank and benefit from the best perpetually stirring offers.” Suresh Bajpai, head of retail banking at Doha Bank, said, “We invite all prospect customers to transfer their salary accounts to Doha Bank and benefit from the best personal loan offer in Doha with an assured 3 months postponement period and a minimum 6 months of zero percent interest rate.

He said, “In brief, truly all customers who have great ambitions and goals for the upcoming year are invited to get a huge loan from Doha Bank at the utmost ease and to eventually pay the lowest interest for the lengthiest period possible with payments that are absolutely small.

The guaranteed speedy approval processes will certainly make your banking experience exciting and equally rewarding. So transfer your salary account to Doha Bank to take advantage of this offer.” Doha Bank is also offering new customers a welcome gift with every salary transfer - a complimentary free for life Lulu Doha Bank shopping credit card loaded with 5,000 bonus points to enjoy free shopping at Lulu hypermarkets in Qatar.

Ally likely to sell auto financing arm for $4 billion



ALLY Financial is nearing a deal to sell its auto financing operations in Europe and Latin America for around $4 billion, with General Motors emerging as the lead bidder if the company decides to sell those operations as a whole, two sources familiar with the situation said.

Ally is still considering whether to split the business geographically - Europe and Latin America - and sell it to two different parties, the sources said on Friday. A deal could come as soon as next week, they said.

Details of an agreement have not been finalised, and the outcome could change, the sources said. Ally is still talking to a handful of financial institutions that have made separate bids for its European and Latin American assets, they said.

Ally, which is 74 percent owned by the US government after a series of bailouts during the financial crisis, announced in May a plan to sell its international operations in a bid to speed up repayment to taxpayers.

GM, also partly owned by the US government after its own taxpayer-funded bailout, declined to comment.

An Ally spokeswoman said, “We continue to be focused on maximising shareholder value and finding the best solutions for the remaining international operations.” Once known as GMAC, Ally is the former auto lending arm of GM, which has been rebuilding its finance operations. The US automaker bought AmeriCredit Corp in 2010 and in August disclosed that it was among the bidders for Ally’s international operations.

Ally Chief Executive Michael Carpenter said last week that the lender had interest from multiple parties for its Europe and Latin American operations and that he expected a sale to be announced this month.

Last month, Ally agreed to sell its Canadian auto finance and deposit business to Royal Bank of Canada for $4.1 billion and its Mexican insurance unit to ACE Ltd for $865 million.

Those two sales are expected to bring in about $5 billion in proceeds, producing pretax estimated gains of $1.2 billion, Ally said last week. The European and Latin American operations have a book value of about $3.3 billion.

Ally is focusing on US auto lending and banking in a bid to turn its business around. Its Residential Capital mortgage unit filed for bankruptcy in May, and it is looking to sell most of its remaining mortgage operations.

Of the $17 billion it owes the US government, Ally has paid back $5.8 billion, including dividend payments.

Obama faces major economic challenges: QNB



THE new term in office for President Obama could be even trickier than the previous one from an economic perspective, according to QNB Group analysis.

The previous term started in the midst of the global financial crisis, while this one is starting with a looming fiscal crisis. Unless Congress can reach agreement, $600 billion of automatic tax increases and spending cuts are due to come into effect at the beginning of 2013, creating what is known as the ‘fiscal cliff’. The US Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that these would cut GDP growth by 4 percent, pushing the economy back into recession.

Rising government debt means that some fiscal consolidation is needed. Federal debt reached $16.2 trillion at the end of October 2012, near the ceiling of $16.4 trillion, which was set in August 2011. The increasing federal debt, which is already over 100 percent of GDP, could lead to downgrades by ratings agencies Moody’s and Fitch in 2013.

The economy was in a steep recession when Obama entered office in 2009 as the financial crisis undermined the wider economy.

Government debt increased sharply as efforts to support the financial sector and create jobs to stimulate the economy were put in place. As a result debt increased to 103 percent of GDP in 2011 and is forecast by the IMF to reach 107 percent by the end of 2012.

During Obama’s term, Congress has been unable to agree on a fiscal policy to lower the deficit and reign in public debt, which has led to the enactment of automatic spending cuts and tax increases from the beginning of 2013. The US elections have not changed the political dynamics that drive US fiscal policy, according to QNB Group. Obama remains President, the Democrats retain control of the Senate and the Republicans retain control of the House of Representatives.

This implies a likely continuation of the status quo with ongoing lack of agreement and likely delays in implementing fiscal consolidation.

It is critical to the sustainability of the US economy that action is taken to limit increases in government debt. However, a lack of consensus between Republicans and Democrats, essentially around whether to cut spending or increase taxes, has led to delays in implementing fiscal consolidation.

Qatar Exchange trade value up 42% percent



THE Qatar Exchange (QE) showed a mixed performance during the five trading days of the week that started on November 4. The official QE index decreased by 0.36 percent over previous week’s closing and finished the week at 8,572.75 points on Thursday.

The Alshall index (cap weighted) closed at 1,201.76 points, decreasing by 0.78 percent compared to previous week’s closing at 1,211.17 points. Alshall index is produced by Alshall Economic Services, a Qatar-based business advisory services company.

Total value of trade during the five trading days was QR706,313,123. This represents an increase of 42.1 percent compared to the value of QR497,228,990 during the three trading days of the previous week.

The financial sector led the trading, accounting for 32.6 percent of the total trading value, followed by the industrial sector which accounted for 32.6 percent, while the consumer services sector represented 24.9 percent of the total trading value.

The number of shares traded increased to 14,969,954 with a daily average of 2,993,991 shares; this was higher by 60 percent as compared to the previous week’s number of shares to 9,353,680.

The number of transactions stood up to 10,737 with a daily average of 2,147 which is higher by 36.3 percent as compared to the previous week’s number of 7,879 deals .

The top five leading companies in terms of value traded during the week were Industries Qatar which represented 20.4 percent of the total value traded, followed by Qatar National Bank (12.5 percent), Qatar Company For Meat & Livestock Trading (Mawashi) (12 percent ), Masraf Al Rayan (7.9 percent) and Qatar Navigation (6.1 percent).

The most active companies in terms of volume traded were Qatar Oman Investment Company which represented 18.8 percent of total volume traded, followed by Masraf Al Rayan (14.1 percent), Qatar Company For Meat & Livestock Trading (Mawashi) (8.3 percent), Industries Qatar (6.3 percent) and Qatar Gas Transport Co. Limited (Nakilat) (5.4 percent).

Seventeen stocks of a total 42 listed companies stocks advanced and ended the week at higher prices than their previous week last trading day’s prices, while 22 stocks declined and ended at lower prices than their previous week last trading day’s prices and three stocks remained unchanged.

QFI to train youth for green challenges


DOHA IN the lead up to Qatar’s hosting of COP18/CMP8 later this month, Qatar Foundation International (QFI) selected 52 students from the US, Brazil, Argentina and Qatar to join with hundreds of youth coming together at Doha College’s Model United Nations V (DCMUN) and The Hague International Model United Nations’ (THIMUN) Youth Assembly on November 15 and 16.

As policy makers begin to travel to Doha for Climate Change negotiations, these youth are already beginning the conversation, gaining the skills they need to be global citizens and developing projects that will contribute to tackling the climate change challenge.

Sponsored by IBQ, Georgetown and Geometric Training, this year’s DCMUN is focused on climate change and related environmental issues.

The THIMUN Youth Assembly will be taking place around the Model United Nations and will engage students on action papers discussing solutions to critical climate change issues. The DCMUN Youth Assembly Action papers will be sent to Qatar UN COP conference to be held in Doha a week after the DCMUN conference.

In the past, the solutions proposed at THIMUN affiliated Youth Assemblies have resulted in numerous youth projects making a real change in the issues that are facing our world today.

Alan Butler, DCMUN director, said, “We are delighted that QFI is taking part in our THIMUN affiliated conference and our students are excited about meeting delegates from the Americas. Our student executive, led by President Josh Casson and S-G Ben Walters, are working hard to make this fifth DCMUN better than ever before.” QFI student participation in DCMUN and the Youth Assembly is part of a larger educational exchange, taking place from November 10-18 that will explore environmental issues in and around Doha in the lead up to COP18.

The exchange is part of QFI’s Road to Doha programme, which helps train youth from Qatar, the US, Brazil and Argentina to better understand and develop solutions to critical global issues, such as climate change and to more effectively raise environmental awareness in their own communities.

The Road to Doha exposes students to the two key elements of environmental education in the 21st century: conservation and innovation.

QU to host climate change activist at pre-COP18 talk


DOHA QATAR University (QU) will host an internationally- recognised climate change activist Wael Hmaidan at a discussion on the relevance of the topic of climate change for young people in Qatar and the Arab world on November 15.

The university’s Energy and Environmental Law Forum (QUEELF) at the College of Law is organising the first youth-focused lecture ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP18), which will be held in Doha from November 26 to December 7
The guest speaker is the director of Climate Action Network (CAN)- International – a network of over 700 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in more than 90 countries working to slowdown humaninduced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels.

The lecture and workshop is part of the programmes run by the QUEELF, which focuses on academia, governmental organisations and experts in energy industry as well as on environmental and climate law.

Hmaidan said: “What the region requires is a strong, long-term movement to address climate change and help eliminate greenhouse gas emissions.

This can only be achieved if the issue of climate change becomes a priority of civil society, businesses and governments.” Wael is a former greenpeace campaigner in the Arab world and founder of IndyACT in Lebanon in 2007. Through his climate campaign, he was able to influence Arab climate policy and he was one of the leading negotiators for the Lebanese government team in climate change COPs.

QUEELF Director Rudiger Tscherning said: “One of the missions of QUEELF is to inspire the youth of Qatar to take part in the management of the country’s natural resources and in the protection of the local, regional and global environment.

“COP18 is the perfect catalyst for the involvement of the most valuable resource in Qatar - the youth – in building local capacity to meet global challenges by way of a dialogue on climate change and environmental awareness.” Tscherning is a specialist in environmental and climate change law and policy. He has worked as a lawyer in London, where his practice focused on advising the energy industry on environmental and climate change issues.

QUEELF was founded as an independent incubator, research and educational unit at the QU in 2011 to assist the country’s aspiration of achieving environmental sustainability along with an accelerated development towards a knowledge-based economy as enshrined in the Qatar National Development Strategy 2011-16 and the Qatar National Vision 2030.

QCVA launches donation drive for Syrian refugees


DOHA THE Qatar Centre for Voluntary Activity (QCVA) is embarking on a six-month campaign to source relief materials for displaced Syrians.

During the campaign, QCVA aims to collect clothing items and other in-kind donations in Qatar and distribute them to Syrian refugees in Jordan.

Speaking to mediapersons on Thursday, QCVA Secretary- General Yousef Ali al Kazem said, “Syrian people are in need of our help now. They need us to assist them during this hard time and contribute positively to the lives. I believe our donations will go a long way in alleviating the refugees’ suffering.” He said the drive was particularly important with the onset of the winter season.

“The time to act is now, especially given that winter is coming and the conditions in this cold season may be severe for them in their present situation,” Kazem said.

He noted that the items collected would be distributed to Syrians in refugee camps in Jordan and along the Jordanian borders, adding the opportunity to donate to the cause is open for six months.

The project, according to Kazem, was initiated by volunteers at the centre, who aimed to help their Syrian brethren.

“These individuals were able to convince administrators at the centre on the need to support a drive and collect donations for the refugees.

QCVA urged members of various communities in Qatar, both citizens and expatriates, to make the drive a success.

According to Kazem, the centre places emphasis on in-kind donations, such as used items of clothes, blankets and beddings, urging people to purchase the items and donate them to the centre instead of cash donations The initiative is the second of its kind to be organised by the QCVA, following a successful donation drive to help Somali people and others hit by drought in the Horn of Africa.

Move to train the disabled in job skills to better lot


DOHA QNB HAS signed a memorandum of understanding with the Qatar Society for the Rehabilitation of People with Special Needs (QSRPSN) to train and develop people with special needs and involve them in jobs that suit their type of disability.

After the training, QNB will employ people with special needs with the support and guidance of the QSRPSN.

The memorandum was signed by Ali Rashid al Mohannadi, QNB executive general manager/chief operation officer, and Rabia bin Mohd al Kaabi, deputy chairman of QSRPSN.

Mohannadi said that QNB aims to encourage this important category of society, who have special talent and skills, and help them to be more self-confident and live the life they have always dreamed of.

Kaabi highlighted QNB’s initiative as a great opportunity to continue supporting people with special needs and providing more vacancies in future.

He also stressed that QNB was one of the first institutions that offered to employ people with special needs and supported all other activities related to them.

This step is in line with the bank’s vision towards this category of people, to help them achieve their aspirations and provide the environment that perfectly suits them.

QSRPSN strives to offer employment opportunities to people with several types of physical disabilities, with the aim of enhancing their lives by helping them achieve personal satisfaction from their work and know that the can rely on a stable source of income.

Two killed as Yemen militias, tribe clash


ADEN TWO aides to a tribal chief with alleged Al Qaeda links were killed in a clash with pro-army militiamen in the troubled southern province of Abyan on Saturday, a local militia official said.

“Two aides of (Tareq al- Fadhli) were killed and another man was wounded” when the militiamen fired on Fadhli’s house in Abyan’s capital Zinjibar, the official said on condition of anonymity.

On November 5, hundreds of the militiamen, known as the Popular Resistance Committees and who fought alongside the Yemeni army to oust Al Qaeda from southern towns last May, surrounded Fadhli’s home.

They want the known warlord, who has fought in Afghanistan, to turn himself into the police.

Last week, tribal chief Hussein al Waheshi said the local security committee agreed that Fadhli should “surrender to the public prosecutor who issued an arrest warrant last month over threats to kill leaders of the (southern) Socialist Party.” The militiamen threatened to storm the house if he refused to surrender.

The militia official said Saturday that tribal mediators had secured an agreement “for (Fadhli’s) departure from Zinjibar” to the nearby southern port city of Aden, but did not specify if he planned to surrender.

20 Syrian troops killed in twin suicide blasts


BEIRUT TWIN suicide bombings shook a southern Syrian city on Saturday, killing at least 20 regime troops, an activist group said.

The early morning blasts in Daraa targeted an encampment for government forces in the city, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists on the ground.

The explosions were followed by clashes between regime forces and rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad, said the Observatory. Its chief, Rami Abdul-Rahman, said at least 20 soldiers were killed in the blasts but the claim could not be independently verified.

The state-run news agency SANA said the explosions caused multiple casualties and heavy material damage, but did not provide further details.

Daraa was the birthplace of the uprising against Assad, which erupted in March 2011.

The conflict began largely with peaceful protests against Assad’s rule but turned bloody after rebels took up arms in response to the regime’s crackdown.

The crisis has since morphed into a vicious civil war and in recent months, rebels have driven regime forces out of much of a pocket of northwestern Syria and are battling troops in several key cities and towns. The fight has also taken on dangerous sectarian tones between a mainly Sunni opposition and a regime dominated by Assad’s minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

“I heard two very loud explosions and a third smaller one followed by bursts of gunfire,” said Mohammad Abu Houran, an activist in Daraa. He said the first two were likely car bombs and the third a mortar shell or rocket propelled grenade.

Abu Houran said black smoke could be seen over the high-security area, which was sealed off. Heavy shooting could be heard from the area for about 10 minutes after the explosions, he added.

Bombings targeting state security institutions have become frequent in recent months, and military intelligence branches in Damascus and other cities have been hit.

Most dramatically in July, rebels detonated explosives inside a high-level crisis meeting in Damascus, killing four top regime officials, including Assad’s brother-inlaw and the defense minister.

The targeted area is considered a security zone that houses a branch of the country’s Military Intelligence as well as an officer’s club where dozens of regime forces are based. Around 30 tanks that regime forces use to shell Daraa and surrounding areas are also stationed in a nearby stadium, activists said.

IAEA to resume talks with Iran in December


VIENNA THE UN atomic agency said on Friday it will next month hold its first talks with Iran since August over Tehran’s contested nuclear programme, in a first sign of renewed diplomatic activity since the US election.

“The IAEA and Iran have agreed to hold further talks on 13 December in Tehran,” International Atomic Energy Agency spokeswoman Gill Tudor said.

“The aim is to conclude the structured approach to resolving outstanding issues related to Iran’s nuclear programme.” The Vienna-based IAEA wants Tehran to address evidence it says it has suggesting that until 2003, and possibly since, Iran conducted research work “relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.” A parallel diplomatic push by six world powers has been aimed at persuading Iran to scale back parts of its current nuclear programme because of suspicions — denied by Tehran — that it wants the bomb.

Efforts on both “tracks” have however effectively been on hold in recent months because of campaigning for the US presidential election on Tuesday won by incumbent Barack Obama.

The last high-level talks between Iran and the P5+1 — the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany — took place in Moscow in June. The last IAEA-Iran talks were in August.

“The (US) administration was in a very defensive position for the past six months,” Mark Hibbs from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said this week. “It was also difficult for Iran because they didn’t want to negotiate with someone who might not be in office after November.” Analysts and diplomats told AFP after Obama’s reelection this week that a new round of P5+1 talks was possible before the end of the year or in early 2013.

Experts also see bilateral US-Iranian talks as possible.

However, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said there were no plans yet for a meeting of the P5+1 group, and again categorically denied as “ridiculous” reports of secret talks between Washington and Tehran.

“We commend the IAEA for keeping at it, and we call on Iran to do what it needs to do to meet the international community’s concerns,” she told journalists.

An announcement by Iran this week that it will attend a forum in Finland in December on creating a Middle East free of nuclear weapons was also interpreted as a sign that with Obama re-elected Tehran may be ready to talk again.

Women directors take centrestage at DTFF 2012


DOHA FROM the time when it opens to capacity crowds on November 17, to when the curtain falls on the Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF) 2012, women filmmakers will remain in the limelight of DTFF’s fourth edition, with 26 films by women directors slated to be shown.

The films are distinct in their thematic and narrative approach, highlighting the imprint left by women filmmakers globally.

The Doha Film Institute’s (DFI) annual cultural celebration opens with accomplished Indian filmmaker Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist and pays tribute to women filmmakers, increasingly playing an active role in the Arab world’s film industry. Mira Nair will also lead a panel on the making of The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

At DTFF 2012, eight Qatari films are helmed by women directors, 11 films by Arab women filmmakers are to be screened in the Festival’s Arab Film Competition, while the Contemporary World Cinema, Special Screenings, and Tribute to Algerian Cinema are to feature another six films directed by women.

In the Arab Film Competition segment are Maggie Morgan’s Asham: A Man Called Hope, which narrates the stories of six couples at different stages in their relationship, set against the backdrop of the January 25 (Egyptian) Revolution; and Hanan Abdalla’s In the Shadow of a Man, that presents the personal revolutions of four women from different backgrounds in post-revolution Egypt.

Also in competition are Tamara Stepanyan’s Embers, a touching tribute to the memory of the filmmaker’s grandmother; A Deep Long Breath by Tahani Rached which documents the 18 days that brought about the end of dictatorship in Egypt; Rafea: Solar Mama by Jehane Noujaim and Mona Eldaief, which follows the story of a Jordanian Bedouin mother, who leaves her home to travel to India to obtain an education; The Lebanese Rocket Society co-directed by Joana Hadjithomas– a reflection of the reawakening of hopes in the wake of the Arab spring; Sanctity by Ahd Kamel, which documents the story of Areej, a pregnant, young Saudi widow, who will endure anything to protect her unborn child; L`Mrayet by Nadia Rais is about a man who is hired to write the future; Ismail by Nora Alsharif is about a young Palestinian boy living in a refugee camp who struggles to escape imminent death when he and his little brother stray into a minefield; When They Slept by Maryam Touzani is about the relationship between a grandfather and a granddaughter and The Wall by Odette Makhlouf Mouarkech is about living everyday life in Beirut during the civil war.

‘Made in Qatar,’ includes Amna al Khalaf’s Brains of Empowerment, an experimental film about the empowerment of women in the Middle East; and Lyrics Revolt by Shannon Farhoud, Ashlene Ramadan, Melanie Fridgant and Rana Khaled al Khatib, a documentary that started as a student project at Northwestern University in Qatar, exploring the events of Arab Spring through hip hop artists of the Middle East in addition to Ghazil - The Story of Rached & Jawaher by Sarah al Derham, Rain by Rehab El Ewaly, The Worker by Manal Ahmed, His Name by Hend Fakhroo, Bader by Sarah al Saadi, Maaria Assami, Latifa al Darwish and Crazy Calm by Noor Ahmed Yaqiub.

As part of the Contemporary World Cinema line-up, DTFF will screen Children of Sarajevo by Marija Pikic and Ismir Gagula, the story of two siblings living in the harsh battlescarred Sarajevo, Dominga Sotomayor’s Thursday Till Sunday, narrates the story of 10-year-old Lucia, her parents, and brother and their holiday in the north of Chile, which results in broken familial bonds, ending in an emotional farewell and a family in crisis and Venus and Serena by Maiken Baird and Michelle Major, document the story of the greatest tennis champions in the world.

The dedication to women filmmakers under the Special Screenings’ segment includes Naomi Kawase’s Traces, an unusual personal documentary focusing on the aging foster mother of the filmmaker; The Tsunami and The Cherry Blossom by Lucy Walker, a stunning, moving visual poem about the ephemeral nature of life and the healing power of Japan’s most beloved flower and Assia Djebar’s The Nouba of the Women of Mount Chenoua, under the ‘Tribute to Algerian Cinema,’ segment, documenting conversations with Algerian women, 15 years after the end of the war for independence.

Liposuction on the rise as obesity grows in Qatar


DOHA IT may sound unbelievable but it is true that the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) every year treats more than 10,000 plastic surgery cases, and most of the patients seeking the surgeons’ intervention happen to be adults between the ages of 25 and 45, an HMC official has said.

Speaking to Qatar Tribune on the sidelines of the 1st Fit4Forum Exhibition & Conference which opened at St Regis Hotel on Saturday, Dr Habib al Basti, a senior consultant plastic surgeon at the HMC, president of the Arab-Plast and Gulf-Plast and chairman of the conference, said that the demand for plastic surgery has been growing in Qatar.

He said the trend was prevelant not only among females, but among young males as well.

He added, “So high is the demand for the procedure that we have nine teams working in the surgical department of the HMC’s Rumaillah Hospital, and the average waiting time for patients is about a year and a half.

“With obesity becoming a leading problem in the country, liposuction is one of the most common procedures we conduct.

Rhinoplasty, a nose job, is much popular among younger patients, while many women who have given birth to more than two children go for the abdominoplasty,” he said.

Basti pointed out that most of the child patients undergo the treatment due to congenital anomalies.

“And, for most elderly patients, plastic surgery is not a beauty option but a clinical procedure,” the HMC plastic surgeon stated, adding, that older patients usually go for mastectomy, removal of tumors, and other surgical interventions due to fractures suffered in a fall.

“This conference aims to highlight the latest advances made in plastic surgery. And during the process we also want to educate the public and raise their awareness about this surgery,” al Basti pointed out.

The Fit4Forum Exhibition & Conference is organised by Joud, a division of Qatar Information & Marketing (QIM) and is supported by the HMC in collaboration with the Pan Arab Association for Burns & Plastic Surgery and the GCC Association of Plastic Surgeons.

The three-day event runs parallel to the Doha Inside-Out Body Care Exhibition which was inaugurated by al Basti, Heart Hospital Executive Director Mahmoud Saleh al Raisi and Mohammed al Noimi Chief of Staff to the managing director and chief of communications at HMC.

The event also coincides with the 13th Pan-Arab (ARAB-PLAST) Conference, the 9th GCC (GULF-PLAST) Conference, and 3rd Qatar International Conference of Plastic Surgeons which will be officially inaugurated on Sunday.

The Doha Inside-Out Body Care Exhibition features as many as 26 exhibitors showcasing the latest modern methods and technologies in plastic surgery, cosmetics, beauty care and fitness facilities.

Slimming procedures offered by the various exhibitors is one of the key attractions of the event. GerminMED, one of the exhibitors, brings to Qatar for the first time the ‘formoline’ slimming pill, which, he claims, has been the number one slimming pill in Germany for the past seven years.

“Formoline helps to achieve the daily calorie reduction required for successful weight loss. It has been proven to lower the body weight up to 4.2kg a month,” said Bashar Dibo, a medical representative at GerminMED.

SNC under pressure over opposition unity plan



THE Syrian National Council came under increasing pressure on Saturday to accept an opposition unity plan after saying it will put forward its own proposals amid growing frustration among other dissident groups.

Once regarded as the leading opposition representative but increasingly derided in Washington as dominated by outof- touch exiles, the SNC had already twice asked for a postponement of the talks on plans for a broad-based government-inwaiting.

“We have started an open dialogue with our brothers and looked at their initiative,” newly elected SNC leader George Sabra told a news conference ahead of the resumption of talks in the Qatari capital with other opposition factions.

“But we have our own point of view and our own ideas that we plan to put forward.” On arrival at the hotel hosting the gathering, SNC members went into talks on the sidelines with officials from Qatar, the United States, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, coalition members said.

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdallah bin Zayed al Nahayan “gave an assurance that the Gulf states stand by the side of the Syrians, and said that international support will be stronger if the opposition unites,” senior SNC official Ahmad Ramadan said.

“We are being submitted to pressure to accept being part of a new formation, in exchange for international promises but with no guarantees,” he added.

Until recently, the SNC was considered internationally to be the legitimate face of the Syrian opposition, but it has been increasingly criticised — in particular by the United States — for not representing the broad opposition spectrum.

“The SNC is older than... any other initiative” on the table, Sabra told reporters, adding that no opposition group should be forced under the banner of another.

The SNC’s own initiative calls for a general congress to be held, followed by the formation of a “provisional government,” according to a document obtained by AFP.

It also proposes “the creation of a fund to assist the Syrian people,” a “unified direction for the command of the military and of the interior” and a judicial authority.

Ramadan suggested it would be “difficult to reach an agreement today” (Saturday), but added that the meeting may come up with a “declaration of principles” in order not to end in failure.

However, former SNC chief Burhan Ghalioun told reporters he was optimistic of a positive outcome.

“The meeting is still on, but there has been real progress.

There will be a political agreement for common action, a political body to supervise military action,” he said.

Salem Muslet of the SNC added: “Inshallah (God willing), we will reach agreement tonight.” Ramadan earlier said that the SNC “is eager to play a leading role in the opposition, and rejects any attempt to marginalise or wind it up,” adding the initiative being debated aims to “create a political authority to substitute for the SNC.” The SNC has been vying to retain its role in the face of US- and Arab-backed proposals to form a new broadbased government-in-waiting that could win deeper support.

Those proposals, inspired by leading dissident Riad Seif who is reportedly seen by Washington as a potential new opposition leader, envisage the formation of a transitional government, a military council to oversee rebel groups on the ground and a judiciary to operate in rebelheld areas.

The 10-member transitional government would be elected by a new 60-member umbrella group drawn from civilian activists and rebel fighters inside Syria, as well as by the exiles who have dominated the SNC.

The SNC’s repeated postponement of its response to the plan has drawn strong criticism from other opposition groups taking part in the unity talks.

“The SNC’s requests for delays are a bad thing — they want to take over everything and the only thing that matters to them is who forms the leadership while our number one concern ought to be the bloodshed,” dissident Haytham Maleh said.

Meanwhile, Sabra described the council’s general assembly in Doha as “historic”, and stressed that the meeting renewed commitment to the Syrian revolution and the people of Syria.

At a press conference Sabra voiced appreciation of the Qatari efforts being made to unite the Syrian opposition.

“Our brothers in Qatar no longer need thanks for their efforts because we have been thanking them a lot. Yet we thank them again for hosting the meetings of the National Council,” Sabra said.

He praised Friday’s elections of the SNC president, which he said was a “democratic lesson” that the SNC members were looking to translate in Syria. He expressed hope that one day “we (Syrian people will) vote in municipal, parliamentary elections. That’s the revolution’s main goal and its drive for change.” He saluted Syrian rebels inside Syria who he said were up against an “arrogant” regime that was using all tools of murder and torture against their people who demand freedom, democracy and stability.

According to watchdog the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, more than 37,000 people have died since the uprising against President Bashar al Assad erupted in March 2011, first as a protest movement and then as an armed rebellion.