Saturday, 10 November 2012

Delhi Safari in Oscar race, Advani thrilled

IANS

FILMMAKER Nikhil Advani’s 3D animation movie Delhi Safari has been shortlisted for the best animated feature film category for the 85th Oscars. He is thrilled and urges Indian studios to start investing in such projects.

“I am very happy. When I was making Delhi Safari, I had no expectation from the film... The film has found its own way. We are thrilled and excited. We have received positive response for the movie,” said Advani.

Twenty-one films have been submitted for consideration in the best animated feature film category, including another Indian venture - Hey Krishna (Krishna Aur Kans).

The final list will be announced on January 10. Advani feels animation films need support from studios.

“With animation films, things will not change unless studios start backing these projects. This is a wakeup call for the industry that says the audiences are ready for such films,” Advani, who earlier directed Kal Ho Naa Ho, Chandni Chowk To China, and Patiala House, said. “I am not asking them to put huge amount of money like they put in for Rowdy Rathore or any other films. But at least put some money for such films,” he added.

Khiladi 786 Good music, could have been better

BHASKAR PANT

IANS

BOLLYWOOD’S khiladi (player) Akshay Kumar is back in action to pack a punch with his new outing Khiladi 786. The film’s soundtrack has been composed by Himesh Reshammiya. It has seven original tracks and five remixes.

First up on the playlist is Lonely, whose initial tune sounds similar to Alexandra Stan’s hit number Mr Saxobeat. The song has rap by Yo Yo Honey and, on the whole, the number has good dancing beats. There are good vocal inputs by Himesh Reshammiya and Hamsika Iyer. The song is addictive, thanks to Himesh’s nasal touch as he croons Oh bawariya at regular intervals during the song. The track has a remixed version too, but that isn’t too great.

Balma pays tribute to the musical genius of the late RDBurman and features sounds from the past.

However, it also takes some inspiration from LMFAO’s track Sexy and I know it. It is full of energy and manages to charm the listener with its groovy beat and the seductive voice of Shreya Ghoshal who has good company in the vocals with Sreeram Chandra. Surely a track that can make you hit the dance floor.

The remix though is quite ordinary and it is better to stick with the original.

The next track Long drive starts off as a rock number with the guitar but suddenly moves into desi beats.

The sounds then fuse and it transforms into a hip-hop and rock mix.

It’s a daring experiment by Himesh, who has got Mika behind the mike in a different avatar altogether. He is slow, yet his voice doesn’t dilute the track; instead, it allures you all the more towards it. It also has a fun Bhangra remixed version which features dhol and tumbi to make you sway.

Next up is the romantic number Sari sari raat, crooned by Himesh. It has a very dreamy and beautiful composition, and will surely strike a chord with lovebirds.

It is followed by Hookah bar, which has the trio of Himesh Reshammiya, Vineet Singh and Aman Trikha sounding quite celebratory. However, despite some fine music, the song is unable to move the listener. It’s remixed version is passe.

The title track gets the smiles back. However, it sounds like a new version of Hud hud dabangg with fresh lyrics. Despite the vocals by Vineet Singh, Aman Trikha, Yashraj Kapil, Alam Gir Khan and Rajdeep Chatterjee, the listener is unable to get out of the Dabangg mode. There is a racy remix of this one too, but it suffers because of the same trajectory.

Last but not the least is Tu hari peer, which musically speaking has a lot to offer as Himesh combines qawwali and Punjabi folk to dole out an eclectic mix. Javed Ali, Shreya Ghoshal, Chandrakala Singh and Harshdeep Kaur mesmerise with their voices.

Overall, the album is a mixed bag that has some shortcomings, but there are tracks which are capable of making it to the music charts.

Taylor Lautner finding new dawn after Twilight

REUTERS

AS dusk sets on the Twilight saga with the final film, actor Taylor Lautner is looking at a new dawn for the next stage in his career.

Lautner, 20, shot to fame after being cast as werewolf Jacob Black in the Twilight films, entangled in a torrid love triangle with Kristen Stewart’s Bella Swan and Robert Pattinson’s vampire Edward Cullen. He became a household name and pin-up for his clean-cut good looks and shirtless scenes.

In Breaking Dawn - Part 2, out in US theatres on November 16, Lautner’s character finds new love, albeit unusual, and indulges his comedic side as the story comes to an end.

Lautner spoke about leaving Jacob and his cast mates behind, and why the final film may leave fans in tears.

Q: What’s different about Jacob in Breaking Dawn - Part 2? A: “He’s always been so stressed and emotional and things aren’t going his way and there was a huge weight lifted off his shoulders in this one, huge. It was nice to play that side of Jacob where he could sit back and relax and have a smile on his face and crack a few funny jokes every now and then.” Jacob finds his soul mate in Bella and Edward’s daughter Renesmee from the moment she is born. Was it challenging to balance his affection for her without coming across creepy? “It was a challenge, and it is so complicated, but really nobody understands it more than Stephenie Meyer who created it. I was picking her brain all day long about it. She basically told me over and over again, ‘Taylor, stop trying to overthink it, stop trying to take it different places ... It’s a life-long bond between two people, that’s it.’ In the movie, (Renesmee) is 10 years old, it’s much more of a protector relationship right now, and of course the relationship will grow but we don’t explore that, but it was important for me to keep it simple.” What are you going to miss most about your character and the franchise? “These characters have never stopped changing throughout the entire franchise, and that’s what I love about Jacob. Jacob himself has grown up so much and gone through so many hurdles and it was a fantastic character to play. For me, it’ll be tough to say goodbye to spending time with people that I love. We’ve grown so close over the past few years. Our relationships will go on past this but to not have that excuse to spend day after day together while filming or promoting will be different.” Twilight fans are not just interested in your characters, they’re also interested in your personal lives.

The past summer has seen a lot of attention on Robert and Kristen’s relationship. How do you handle that level of scrutiny? “It’s unlike anything else because when we do talk about the movies, 90 percent of the time people want to know more about ourselves than the characters and what’s going on. I guess that just comes with a fan base like this, it comes with the job and you try and not let it affect you too much, but I have no complaints ... The scrutiny, is it unfortunate? Yeah, but you just got to make your way around it and think about things more.” Do you feel protective of your cast members? “Yes, I definitely do, we’re so close by this point, I think that it’s hard not to.” What do you hope Twilight fans take away from Breaking Dawn - Part 2? A: “I just hope they’re happy and they’re proud because we really do make these movies for them. They’re the reason we are able to make them, their support is unreal and we’re so proud of this last one. This last one specifically wraps it up so nicely, it’s an amazing movie. During the movie, it’ll keep you on the edge of your seat but by the end, I think more than a few of the fans will be in tears.” Post-Twilight, where do you want to take your career to, what roles would you like to explore? I hear you have a cameo in the comedy Grown Ups 2? “It was great to do (comedy), just hop in and show a different side, do something fun and work with somebody like Adam (Sandler). But now I’m looking forward to doing something different from that. There are a few projects that I’m very excited about that are extremely challenging and dramatic and would be tough.”

Aaron Taylor-Johnson finds Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina ‘almost like a soap’

NANCY MILLS

NYT SYNDICATE

THOUSANDS of young people around the world first encounter Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel Anna Karenina in high school. Not Aaron Taylor-Johnson, the 22- year-old British actor who plays Count Vronsky in the new film version.

“God, no, not at my school,” Taylor- Johnson says. “I’m not from that background or that world. I have no further education.

Obviously I knew of Tolstoy, but I had never really tackled anything that big before.

“Once I attacked it, it wasn’t as hard as it seemed.” Taylor-Johnson may not have be booksmart, but when he takes up an acting challenge he is relentless. To play the teenage John Lennon in Nowhere Boy (2009), he spent three months studying the Beatle and learning to play the banjo and the guitar. He had no trouble transforming himself into a California pothead-drug dealer in Oliver Stone’s Savages (2012), obliterating any trace of his middle-class British accent. He played an American high-school nerd turned superhero in Kick-Ass (2010) and is currently filming Kick-Ass 2
Speaking by cell telephone while being driven from the set to his home in Somerset, England, Taylor-Johnson talks about playing Vronsky, a wealthy young cavalry officer who falls in love with the title character (Keira Knightley), an older married woman.

When Anna gets pregnant with his child, she leaves her husband (Jude Law), a government official, and flaunts her new relationship – but Russian society won’t accept her.

Tom Stoppard adapted the novel for the film, which will open on November 16. The director is Joe Wright, who also made Pride & Prejudice (2005) and Atonement (2007), both starring Knightley.

“Anna Karenina is almost like a soap,” Taylor-Johnson says. “It’s a huge story with a fantastic character that you admire, love and hate at the same time. I don’t see it as an intellectual, educational movie. It’s a magical, enchanting spectacle, very theatrical, expressive, wild and different.” Instead of going for Merchant-Ivory realism, Wright and Stoppard have set the story on a stage and incorporated a certain amount of deliberate artificiality.

“It’s more of a dreamlike imagination world,” Taylor-Johnson says. “No one really knows how people were in the (late 19th century), so we could invent this and that.

He’s in white, she’s in black. There are all kinds of visuals. You don’t have to do much thinking.” The world of Czarist Russia is long gone, of course, but the young actor sees modern parallels to the story.

“Of course it could happen today,” he says.

“It shows the love that people wish they could have. Some never have it. Others do and it doesn’t make them happy.” Taylor-Johnson’s own life is not so far removed from the romantic elements of Anna Karenina, although so far his story has a happier ending.

While making Nowhere Boy three years ago, he fell in love with director Sam Taylor- Wood, who at the time was 42 to his 19.

After having two daughters together – 2- year-old Wylda and 10-month-old Romy – they married this past June. She changed her name to Sam Taylor-Johnson, while he went from Aaron Johnson to Aaron Taylor- Johnson.

The romance made headlines in England, mostly because of their age difference, but Taylor-Johnson dismisses the hoopla.

“When you’re ready, you’re ready,” he says. “I fell in love and I wanted a family. I wanted babies. I’ve got two beautiful girls.

We’re very happy. I need them in my life.

“I actually now have a life,” Taylor- Johnson says. “I have something worth waking up for. They’re my grounding.” That Taylor-Johnson has taken so readily to domesticity is something of a surprise.

The young Aaron Johnson, son of an engineer, led an existence that was anything but settled.

“I did lots of stuff outside school – gymnastics, karate, singing, acting and dance,” he says, recalling his childhood in High Wycombe, a large town about 30 miles from London. “One took off more than the others. I started doing bits and bobs in the theatre and the West End. I started slowly, but I was open to everything and I enjoyed it.” He was 6 when he appeared in his first commercial, and 9 when he played the son of Macduff (Rufus Sewell) in a 1999 London production of Macbeth. At 10 he made his first film, Tom & Thomas (2002).

“It took six months, and we filmed in Amsterdam,” Taylor-Johnson recalls. “I lived in the red-light district with my mom.

That was quite a laugh.

“I learned how to talk to adults and have opinions,” he continues. “It became my secret life. Then, when filming was over, I’d go back to school and hang out with my mates.” Taylor-Johnson agrees with Joaquin Phoenix’s take on acting.

“He describes it as his ‘extreme sport,”’ the young actor says. “You have to be brave, because you’re throwing yourself into the deep end constantly. It’s scary because you’re vulnerable, but that’s fun. It gives you a boost of adrenalin and endorphins.

“I like to put myself in uncomfortable situations,” Taylor-Johnson says. “When I was growing up, I didn’t find anything else interesting in the regular world. I learned to read by reading scripts.” At 15 he decided to focus full-time on his acting career.

“I left school and went from job to job,” he recalls. “I lived out of a suitcase for a couple of years. I travelled and experimented and experienced everything. I’ve met people who are older than me, but they’re actually younger.” Before Nowhere Boy brought him to Hollywood’s attention, Taylor-Johnson spent a decade working in British television and making only the occasional film. Lately, however, movies have been consuming all of his time.

“I arrived on the Anna Karenina set straight from Savages,” he says. “I still had blood on my face.” Although Taylor-Johnson makes a dashing Vronsky, he doesn’t care to be pegged as a romantic lead.

“The first time it happened to me was with Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008),” he says, referring to a British teen comedy directed by Gurinder Chadha.

“When Kick-Ass came along, I was so grateful that I could play this nerdy fanboy, a kid who can’t get anywhere.” He’s hoping that his dreamboat status will be torpedoed by Kick-Ass 2
“In the sequel my character has overcome some obstacles,” Taylor-Johnson says, trying to not give away plot details.

“Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) and Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) are back and have a very distinctive dynamic.” Whatever he does next, it almost certainly will be something unlike either Anna Karenina or Kick-Ass.

Ulsan, Ahli to clash in AFC Champions League final

AFP

ULSAN (SOUTH KOREA) ULSAN Hyundai will bid to become the first South Korean team to clinch the AFC Champions League on home soil on Saturday after storming unbeaten into the final against Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli.

K-League teams have been the dominant force in the tournament since its inception, winning three of the nine Champions League titles so far and reaching the final in each of the last four seasons.

But curiously, and despite their passionate fans, none of those wins was sealed at home. In 2004, Seongnam Chunma Ilhwa were thrashed 0-5 by Al Ittihad in the second leg, and last year Jeonbuk Motors lost on penalties to Al Sadd.

On the road it’s been a different story. Jeonbuk were crowned 2006 Asian champions against Syria’s Al Karama in Homs, while Pohang Steelers and Seongnam won in 2009 and 2010 when the final was staged at a neutral venue, Tokyo.

Last year’s Korean Cup champions nevertheless start as hot favourites for Saturday’s game at Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium after bulldozing their way to their first Champions League final.

The team coached by former South Korean international defender Kim Ho-Gon are unbeaten in all 11 of their matches this season, and they are on course for a tournament record if they can seal their ninth successive victory this weekend.

As well as seeing off Uzbekistan’s Bunyodkor in the semi-finals, they also beat Brisbane Roar and Kashiwa Reysol, the champions of Australia and Japan, plus Japan’s Emperor’s Cup holders FC Tokyo and Beijing Guoan of China.

Their most impressive display came in the quarterfinals when they travelled to Riyadh to face Al Ahli’s Saudi rivals Al Hilal with a slender 1- 0 advantage but ripped apart the current Saudi league leaders with a 4-0 away win.

The Tigers’ attacking style owes much to Brazilian striker Rafinha, who has scored four Champions League goals since arriving in the summer, as well as big centre-forward Kim Shin-Wook and winger Lee Keun-Ho.

“There is very good communication between myself and our other attacking players Lee Keun-ho and Rafinha,” explained Kim, a South Korean international.

“We are all very skillful and have very good technique and we are confident that we can score many goals.” It is not only in front of goal where Ulsan have impressed as their defence, marshalled by skipper Kwak Tae-Hwi and superbly backstopped by goalkeeper Kim Young-Kwang, has let in only one goal in their last four games.

While Ulsan’s passage has been relatively smooth, Al Ahli have battled their way to the final, needing a penalty shoot-out against Al Jazira in the last 16 and a come-frombehind 2-1 aggregate win over Al Ittihad in the semi-finals.

They will start as the underdogs but Czech coach Karel Jarolim has a talented squad that includes captain Taisir al Jassim, Omani forward Amad al Hosni and Brazilian frontman Victor Simoes, who has seven goals so far in the competition.

However the Jeddah club, who reached the final of the Asian Club Championship — a precursor of the Champions League — in 1986, will be without key defender Mansour al Harbi after he was sent off in the semi-finals.

Thunderstorms threaten McIlroy’s $6 mn Barclays Singapore Open bid

AP SINGAPORE

TROPICAL thunderstorms threw the $6 million Barclays on Singapore Open into chaos Friday and threatened Rory McIlroy’s bid to seal the European money title this weekend.

After a rain-hit first day, play was suspended twice before finally being abandoned for the day as forked lightning streaked the skies and heavy downpours hit par-71 Sentosa Golf Club.

Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat and Simon Dyson held the joint lead midway through their second rounds, with half the field yet to take the course and more rain forecast for the weekend.

Organisers said more delays could force them to slash the event from 72 to 54 holes or to complete the fourth round on Monday. Last year, it was cut to 54 holes and still only finished on the Monday morning.

“At present, our aim is still to complete 72 holes, weather permitting,” said tournament director Jose Maria Zamora.

“However, if we do suffer more delays we would then decide, in consultation with the sponsor and promoter, whether to reduce the tournament to 54 holes or complete the fourth round on Monday,” he added.

Reducing the tournament could be inconvenient for world number one McIlroy, who was tied for 29th after 12 holes of his second round and needing a high finish to confirm himself as Europe’s top prize money-winner this year.

The 23-year-old, bidding to become only the second man to seal the money titles on both sides of the Atlantic in the same year, completed his first round five shots off the pace and went straight back out for round two.

Watched by tennis star girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki but suffering from a cold, McIlroy made a wretched start to his second round with bogey and double bogey in his first four holes.

But some razor-sharp iron shots got him back to oneunder- par for the tournament before he was hauled off the course for the second time, in a golf buggy with Wozniacki sitting cosily on his lap.

“Nearly 12 hours at the golf course already today!” McIlroy tweeted, with a picture of Wozniacki asleep on a desk.

“@CaroWozniacki really enjoying her holiday this week... Not!! #ratherbeonabeach.” Chapchai was a first-round leader at the 2005 Singapore Open, and in 2009 he set a world 72-hole scoring record with a staggering total of 32- under-par 256 to win India’s SAIL Open.

However, the victories have since dried up and after only one top-10 finish this year, he said he had taken his father’s advice to lose some weight and had been visiting a Buddhist monastery to improve his temperament.

“I’ve been going there a lot to calm myself. I used to be very hot-tempered and I get frustrated easily especially at such a young age,” said Chapchai, 29.

“My parents sent me to the monastery and I became a monk for a while. My temper is better now but I still try to go back to the monastery once in a while.” Ryder Cup star Francesco Molinari, his fellow Italian Matteo Manassero and Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn were a shot back from Chapchai and Dyson at fiveunder- par during their second rounds.

Last year’s runner-up, Juvic Pagunsan of the Philippines, hit the shot of the day with a 161-yard hole-in-one on the par-three second — the second ace of the tournament, after Edoardo Molinari’s on day one.

Organisers of the event, sometimes referred to as “Asia’s Major”, have admitted they are keen to move it to a different time of year to avoid the notorious storm delays.

‘Winter WC decision within 2 years’

TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK DOHA

ANY decision on whether to switch the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup from summer to winter would be taken within the next two years to make it logistically possible, Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee Secretary General Hassan Abdullah al Thawadi was quoted by insideworldfootball.biz.

Ever since Qatar upset the odds two years ago to win the right to stage the 2022 World Cup, pressure has been growing to break with tradition and bring the event forward several months to avoid the searing summer desert heat.

UEFA President Michel Platini has continually pressed for the tournament to be staged in winter, supported by several other senior football officials and millions of fans worldwide.

Thawadi, who was asked about a winter World Cup at virtually every sporting conference he attends in Europe, revealed for the first time that a deadline would have to be put in place for this to happen.

“Our bid was always based on a summer World Cup and we are proceeding with planning for a summer World Cup in 2022,” he said.

“Having said that I know there are prominent members of the international football community who have raised preferences for the winter, whether the governing body or otherwise.

“We have always said that whatever the international community comes up with, we’re happy to accommodate.

“[But] we’d have to look at it, probably, by 2013 or 2014, mainly because of the international calendar.

“That would be the most realistic deadline.

“Our legacy promises in terms of developing cooling technology will continue, summer or winter.” Although Qatar has little football pedigree and is struggling to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, al Thawadi said he was confident the country would be no pushovers by the time they host the tournament.

“There is a lot of investment going on to improve the game,” he said.

“By 2022 we will have a team that will able to meet aspirations but I’m also confident that even before 2022 we will make an appearance in the World Cup – and an honourable appearance as well.” Thawadi has long talked of the Qatar World Cup being a tournament for the entire Middle East region but he would not comment on Platini’s call to expand the tournament to neighbouring states beyond Qatar’s borders.

“It’s not part of our plans and no discussions have taken place,” he said.

Djokovic subdues Berdych, reaches semis

AFP LONDON

NOVAK DJOKOVIC advanced to the semi-finals of the ATP Tour Finals with a 100 percent record as the world number one defeated Czech fifth seed Tomas Berdych 6-2, 7-6 (8/6) at London’s O2 Arena on Friday.

Djokovic had already defeated Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in his previous Group A matches and the Serb knew he needed only to win one set against Berdych to be sure of qualifying.

The 25-year-old achieved that goal in just over half an hour, but he refused to take it easy after that and secured the victory which guaranteed first place in the group and potentially an easier route to the final.

In the process, Djokovic also secured his 73rd match win of 2012, moving him level with David Ferrer as the year’s two most successful players on the Tour.

Berdych’s second loss of the tournament means he is eliminated, while US Open champion Murray can seal his place in the last four by taking one set from his match against Tsonga later on Friday.

“I didn’t want to think about scenarios or calculations. I leave that to other people and just try to do my job and win on the court,” Djokovic said.

“I played a really good match but I thought he served better towards the end of the second set. I was fortunate to come back and win in straight sets.” Djokovic had won 10 of his previous 11 encounters with Berdych, a dominant run which included victories over the Czech in the Tour Finals for the last two years.

The Serb, who won the Tour Finals in 2008 in Shanghai, was quick to take command again, breaking for a 2-1 lead when Berdych netted on the fourth break-point of the game.

Berdych had a chance to get back in the match when he earned his first break point on the Djokovic serve in the next game, but the Serb snuffed out that glimmer of hope before pressing home his advantage.

Djokovic was dictating the tempo of the rallies and the unnerved Berdych, unable to cause much damage with his booming serve, surrendered a second break in the fifth game that effectively ended the first set.

With his last four place now secured, Djokovic looked like sprinting to victory when he broke to go 2-1 ahead in the second set, but a loose service game presented Berdych with an unexpected lifeline.

That gave renewed impetus to Berdych, who started to unload his groundstrokes with more freedom, and the set went to a tie-break.

The Czech looked certain to force a final set when he raced into a 6-3 lead in the breaker.

But Djokovic, who has had to cope with the stress of the sudden illness that struck his father Srdjan recently, once again showed tremendous resolve as he saved all three set points and then shattered with Berdych with a mini-break of his own to seal the win.

Diageo to pay $2.1bn to take 53.4% stake in United Spirits

Two Leaders, Different Crises
SO, in the same week, it is revealed to us who will be the next leaders of both superpowers: Barack Obama and Xi Jinping. We knew it would be Xi long before the process that begins in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Thursday, from which he will emerge as Communist party.
CAN REPUBLICANS ADAPT TO CHANGE?
THIS was one that the Republicans really should have won. Given the weak economy, American voters were open to firing President Obama. In Europe, in similar circumstances, one government after another lost reelection. And, at the beginning of this year, it looked as if the ...

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OPEC cuts crude demand forecasts on economic woes

Chrysler recalls 745,000 Jeeps over faulty airbags

Two Leaders, Different Crises
SO, in the same week, it is revealed to us who will be the next leaders of both superpowers: Barack Obama and Xi Jinping. We knew it would be Xi long before the process that begins in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Thursday, from which he will emerge as Communist party.
CAN REPUBLICANS ADAPT TO CHANGE?
THIS was one that the Republicans really should have won. Given the weak economy, American voters were open to firing President Obama. In Europe, in similar circumstances, one government after another lost reelection. And, at the beginning of this year, it looked as if the ...

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PLEASE REFER TO THIS LINK
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OPEC cuts crude demand forecasts on economic woes

Greece to tap markets to raise cash amid bailout delay

Two Leaders, Different Crises
SO, in the same week, it is revealed to us who will be the next leaders of both superpowers: Barack Obama and Xi Jinping. We knew it would be Xi long before the process that begins in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Thursday, from which he will emerge as Communist party.
CAN REPUBLICANS ADAPT TO CHANGE?
THIS was one that the Republicans really should have won. Given the weak economy, American voters were open to firing President Obama. In Europe, in similar circumstances, one government after another lost reelection. And, at the beginning of this year, it looked as if the ...

NO TEXT AVAILABLE


PLEASE REFER TO THIS LINK
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OPEC cuts crude demand forecasts on economic woes

Wall Street up on strong consumer confidence

REUTERS

NEW YORK

STOCKS bounced higher on Friday as buyers stepped in following two days of steep losses after data showed confidence among consumers and wholesale business inventories were stronger than expected.

Consumer sentiment rose to its highest level in more than five years in November, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of sentiment, indicating Americans felt more optimistic about employment prospects and the outlook for the overall economy.

Still, markets remained concern about the widening eurozone crisis and the looming ‘fiscal cliff.’ President Barack Obama, re-elected three days ago, is expected to make a statement in the White House about the looming tax increases and government spending cuts.

The so-called fiscal cliff would begin early next year and unless Congress acts to change the law before then, experts warn the economy could tip into recession.

Obama’s statement is scheduled for 1:05 pm (1805 GMT).

“The bounce-back in stocks is a little bit of a realization the selloff is overdone, but it doesn’t mean it won’t continue,” said John Manley, chief equity strategist for Wells Fargo Advantage Funds in New York.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 22.28 points, or 0.17 percent, to 12,833.60. The S&P 500 gained 6.52 points, or 0.47 percent, to 1,384.03. The Nasdaq Composite added 18.65 points, or 0.64 percent, to 2,914.24.

OPEC cuts crude demand forecasts on economic woes

ZAWYA DOW JONES

LONDON

OPEC ON Friday trimmed forecasts of demand for its own crude over economic concerns and rising output by rivals, a move that makes it likely to significantly cut production next year.

The downgrade, the second such revision in as many days, suggests Gulf producers will be pressured to tighten their spigots when the group meets on December 12 in Vienna.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said in its monthly oil market report that demand for its crude will be about 100,000 barrels a day less than expected next year.

While markets will need more oil overall, they will require about 400,000 barrels a day less from the group itself next year—an amount nearly equivalent to the production of OPEC’s smallest member Ecuador.

Part of the downgrade stems from lingering economic concerns, which also led OPEC to cut its global oil demand forecast for 2013 by about 20,000 barrels a day to 89.57 million barrels a day—though still up about 1 percent from this year.

“The economy is placing a considerable amount of uncertainty on the world oil demand forecast,” the group warned.

But the group, whose members extract more than one in three barrels of oil consumed each day in the world, is also facing mounting competition from new barrels coming from outside the group. The Organisation upgraded non- OPEC production estimates for next year, mostly due to revised expectations for Australian output.

On Thursday, OPEC trimmed a demand forecast for its crude by 1.6 million barrels a day through 2015, as part of a broader downgrade by one million barrels a day for global oil demand in the medium term.

The numbers are likely to inspire some soul searching at OPEC’s meeting next month.

Though no change is expected for its current production ceiling of 30 million barrels a day, some members could seize on the latest figures to put pressure on Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries that have ramped up production to make up for lost Iranian output.

OPEC’s output is already easing, but it is still producing more than the market needs for next year. Expected demand for OPEC crude next year stands at 29.7 million barrels a day. The group said its output fell by 66,900 barrels a day in October to 30.95 million barrels a day, the first time in a year it fell below 31 million barrels a day. The numbers, based on secondary sources such as shipping and oil consultancies, were driven down by lower Iranian and Nigerian output.

Iranian output dropped by to about 47,000 barrels a day, OPEC’s secondary sources said, continuing to decline as strict sanctions designed to deter the Islamic Republic from pursuing its nuclear program hit its oil industry. Iran denies a sharp decline in output and pegs it at 3.74 million barrels a day—more than one million barrels a day higher than secondary sources.

OPEC output was also hit by Nigeria, down about 109,000 barrels a day due to flooding in the Niger Delta and sabotage targeting oil pipelines.

But Saudi Arabia’s output remains close to its highest level in at least three decades at 9.7 million barrels a day, according to OPEC’s secondary sources.

Markets will now be watching out for the oil-market predictions of the International Energy Agency, which represents some of the world’s largest oil consumers, which are due next week.

230 swimmers take part in H2O Cup

CATHERINE W GICHUKI

DOHA AROUND 230 swimmers took part in the 5th H2O Short Course Autumn Cup organised by H2O Swim Club at the American School of Doha indoor pool on Friday.

The three-day event which began on Thursday saw swimmers as young as sevenyear- olds from 19 clubs belonging to seven countries contesting for the Cup. The championship will conclude on Saturday where winners will be awarded with medals.

Countries represented at the event included the UAE, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Bahrain and Qatar.

Males and females competed in different categories like backstroke, butterfly, freestyle, breaststroke and individual medley. There was also a special H2O Challenge event.

Speaking to Qatar Tribune, H2O Swim Club Managing Director Seema Pascoe said, “This was the largest event of the H2O Short Course Autumn Cup. These kinds of events promote sports culture in Qatar and the region.” “The aim of this event is to spread the awareness of swimming in Qatar. Sport helps in time management.

It’s an important part of everybody’s life. This event has been growing since the day it started. We are happy to get support from various clubs in Qatar. Our intention is to hold sporting events for everyone.

We are happy to host clubs from outside Qatar. We want to make this event recognised globally,” she added.

She further said, “Seeing children smile while achieving their personal best is very encouraging. They train so hard all year round. Our motto is to participate, challenge and achieve.” Pascoe added that the H2O Swim Club opened a club in Abu Dhabi recently. Regarding this, she said, “We want H2O to be part of the child’s life when their parents leave Qatar. The parents are committed. I would like to thank ASD and the parents for their support.” Clubs which took part in the championship were Al Ahli, H2O Swim Club, Piranhas Swim Club, Qatar Woman Sports Committee, Torpedoes and Al Saad from Qatar; Aqua Sports Academy, Sports Life Swimming Club and Wahoo Sports (the UAE); Cougars, Al Jazira Club, Al Najah Club (Lebanon); Elite Swim Team (Kuwait); King Faisal Specialist Hospital, Kohbar Laser Swim Team, Ras Tanura Swim Club and Team Typhoon (Saudi Arabia); and Yantar (Russia).

Praising the event Rola Natour, administrator at Cougars, said, “The event is well organised. We took part in a similar event in April. We tried to inspire the swimmers to fare better,” he said.

Alex Borodai, a coach at King Faisal Specialist Hospital who came with 23 swimmers from Saudi Arabia all aged between 8 and 16 years of age, said, “Events such as these create a competitive environment which motivates the swimmers. Parent’s involvement is also important.

It’s good to mingle with swimmers from other countries to share experiences. I believe my swimmers will get trophies by the end of the contest on Saturday,” he said.

Pierre Estragues, a swimmer from Piranhas swim team, who participated in six events, said, “I started swimming when I was 10. Backstroke is my favourite,” said the 15-year-old student of the French school.