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FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2012 @alwatandaily Issue No. 1445 20 PAGES 150 Fils with IHT Finance Minister submits his resignation Staff Writers & Agencies KUWAIT: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mustafa Al-Shamali tendered his resignation to parliament on Thursday, after the conclusion of the interpellation session filed against him and the completion of its discussion. Discussions on the interpellation filed by MPs Musallam Al-Barrak, Abdurrahman Al-Anjeri and Khaled Al-Tahous against Al-Shamali continued until late last evening, and ended with Parliament Speaker Ahmad Al-Saadoun announcing that ten MPs had come forward to file a no confidence motion in the finance minister. The no-confidence motion was scheduled to be submitted June 3, at which time the issue of voting would be discussed. The request was filed by MPs Mubarak Al-Waalan, Al-Saifi Al-Saifi, Khaled Shakheyer, Naif Al-Merdas, Riyadh AlAdsani, Obaid Al-Mutairi, Osama Al-Munawer, Ahmad Mutee, Saad Al-Khanfour and Adel Al-Damkhi. Parliamentary sources spoke of a document carrying the signatures of 33 MPs, which was apparently aimed at proving the availability of enough votes to remove A general view of the parliamentary session, during which the quizzing of Minister of Finance Mustafa Al-Shamali took place, on Thursday, May 24, 2012. (Al Watan) In this photo Minister of Finance Mustafa Al-Shamali is seen taking the podium during his questioning session at Parliament, on Thursday, May 24, 2012. (Al Watan) the minister from office, which requires 25 votes, under the Constitution, in the event that the minister does not resign. Kuwaiti opposition MPs accused the finance minister on Thursday of being re- in a local company suspected of breaking the international embargo on Iran over its controversial nuclear program. The company has also helped the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah to Visibility today expected to be less than 500 meters 3 ‘Employees who worked for 35 years at ministry to retire gradually’ Hamed Al-Sayyed Staff Writer KUWAIT: Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Ahmad Al-Rujaib announced that the ministry will refer employees who have been working for 35 years to retirement, before referring other employees who have been working for 30 years to retirement gradually. During the first phase, unproductive employees and those who are not committed to their work will be referred to retirement first, then all employees who have been working for 30 years. Al-Rujaib mentioned that the elections of cooperative societies union will begin on June 10, and that there were reelections at cooperative societies that are managed by ministry employees. He asserted that it is wrong to continue adopting the policy that allows the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor to manage cooperative societies. He went on to demonstrate the achievements made by the ministry during the past three months, such as applying the system that allows employees to handle all tasks. He explained that this system has simplified procedures for employers and the public. He also revealed that the ministry is planning to setup centers to service citizens, which is the system followed by the Ministry More on 2 of Interior. Norway separates Church and state OSLO: Norway, which is one of few developed countries to still have a state religion, passed a final hurdle Thursday to separate the Protestant Lutheran Church from the state, parliament said. The move, which requires changes to Norway’s constitution, was approved by parliament a second time Thursday, in what was a formality after lawmakers voted through with overwhelming support on Monday, with 161 votes in favor and just three opposing votes. When parliamentarians were asked to confirm that result on Thursday, “no one was opposed,” parliament spokesman Torodd Noreng told AFP, pointing out that this meant the initial vote was confirmed and parliament would begin making the necessary changes to the constitution. The change will officially come into effect on June 15, Noreng said. “The Evangelical Lutheran religion will no longer be the state’s official reli- gion,” parliament wrote in a statement, pointing out that the church would receive public financing “on par with other religious and belief-based societies.” It stressed though that “the Norwegian Church will continue to have a special basis in the constitution and the state will be built upon ‘our Christian and humanistic heritage’.” The Norwegian Church, which supported the change, counts nearly four million of Norway’s 4.7 million inhabitants as members. In practice, the change will give the Church the authority to name its own bishops and deans, without having to bow to the government’s final say on such issues, as the situation stands today. The current requirement for at least half of all government ministers to be members of the Church will also be scrapped, and even the minister of church affairs will no longer need to belong to the church. -AFP sponsible for wide-ranging violations that are estimated to have cost the Gulf state billions of dollars. They also charged that the state-run pension fund, headed by him, is a partner Troops shell Rastan, 13 killed across Syria CAPITALS: Syrian regime forces pounded the rebel-held town of Rastan in central Homs province on Thursday, killing three civilians, as four people were “summarily executed” in a province bordering Turkey, a monitoring group said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a total of at least 14 people were killed across the country, including the four executed in Idlib province of northwest Syria. Elsewhere in the violence-swept country, four civilians were summarily executed in a field near Basamis town in the province of Idlib. “Eight civilians were killed in a field near Basamis this morning, including four who were detained from their homes and summarily executed,” according to the Britain-based Observatory. “The Observatory strongly condemns the summary execution of the four people, in contravention of international treaties signed by the Syrian authorities,” it said in a statement. “The Syrian security and military authorities do not have the right to summarily execute people, even if they are fighters,” it said. More on 4 Nearly 700 arrested in Canada student protests MONTREAL: Nearly 700 people were arrested overnight in rowdy demonstrations in Montreal and Quebec over a planned hike in student tuition fees with rocks being hurled at police, a spokesman said Thursday. Police in Montreal had said the unsanctioned protest would be tolerated if there was no trouble but after some unruly behavior around midnight they moved in and arrested 518 demonstrators. Another 170 people were detained in Quebec. All were issued with more than a 600 Canadian dollar fine and released on Thursday morning, the police spokesman said. Several thousand demonstrators had poured into Montreal’s central square late Wednesday for the rally, defying a law passed last week requiring organizers to notify authorities eight hours ahead of 9 Climate scientists say warming could exceed 3.5 C global temperature rise could exceed the dangerous 3.5 Celsius (6.3 Fahrenheit) warming they had flagged only six months ago. Marion Vieweg, a policy researcher with German firm Climate Analytics, told AFP the 3.5 Celsius (6.3 Fahrenheit) estimate had been based on the assumption that all countries will meet their pledges, in themselves inadequate, to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. More on 15 Polish union protests against retirement at 67 Firefighters try to extinguish a huge fire spreading at the Moncef Bey souk (market) on May 24, 2012 in Tunis. A huge fire was raging in Tunis’s Moncef Bey market on Thursday, causing damage to dozens of shops, according to an AFP photographer on the scene. (AFP) WARSAW: Polish union members took to the streets of the capital Thursday in the latest protests against a new law that will gradually raise the retirement age to 67. Under legislation pushed through by Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s centrist government, the current retirement ages of 60 for women and 65 for men will gradually increase to 67 by 2020 for men, and 2040 for women. The reform has been lambasted by unions and opposition parties on the right and left but the government insists the move is key to keeping the pension system solvent given the ex-communist EU nation’s low birth rate and ageing population. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Egypt election body estimates 50 percent turnout CAIRO: Egypt’s election commission on Thursday estimated that around 50 percent of eligible voters participated in the first presidential poll since a popular uprising ousted Hosni Mubarak. “Indications show that the number of ballots (represent) almost 50 percent of those eligible to vote,” said election commission chief Faruq Sultan, quoted by the official MENA news agency. Sultan spoke just hours before polling stations were to close on the second and final day of voting in the landmark election. Around 50 million eligible voters were choosing among 12 candidates, with the frontrunners divided between Islamists who say they will champion the uprising’s goals and Mubarak-era ministers. Pollsters say the large number of voters undecided among candidates reflecting radically different trends and the novelty of a free vote made the election almost impossible to call. The election seals a tumultuous military-led transition from autocratic rule marked by political upheaval and bloodshed, but which also witnessed democratic parliamentary elections that saw Islamist groups score a crushing victory. -AFP public demonstrations. Of those arrested in Montreal, 506 were held for unlawful assembly but among the other 12 detentions one person was held for “armed aggression,” two others for assaulting police, and one more was detained for wearing a mask. Protesters said they were handcuffed and their arms held behind their back, local media reported. Demonstrations have raged in Montreal since mid-February over a plan by provincial Premier Jean Charest to raise tuition fees at Quebec universities by 82 percent to rein in a budget deficit. Some of the demonstrations have turned violent, with store fronts smashed. The conflict escalated on Sunday with more than 300 overnight arrests after the passing of the new public assembly law. -AFP Dow announces $2.16 billion award in K-Dow arbitration BONN, Germany: Climate researchers said Thursday the planet could warm by more than 3.5 degrees Celsius (6.3 degrees Fahrenheit), boosting the risk of drought, flood and rising seas. The UN’s target is a 2 Celsius (3.6 degree Fahrenheit) limit on warming from pre-industrial levels for manageable climate change. In a report issued on the penultimate day of new UN talks in Bonn, scientists said Earth’s average buy arms, MP Abdulrahman Al-Anjeri charged during a parliamentary grilling of the minister. MP Mussallam Al-Barrak charged the minister of violating the law in the pro- cess of awarding Kuwait’s first Independent Water and Power Project (IWPP) at Al-Zour North, 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of Kuwait City. A consortium of Japan’s Sumitomo Corp, International Power-GDF SUEZ and a Kuwaiti construction company has been named preferred bidder for the 2.5 billion US dollar (2 billion euro) joint gasfired combined cycle power and desalination plant. Al-Barrak called for scrapping the awarding process and for adopting a public auction for local and international firms. The minister categorically denied the allegations claiming that they were part of settling personal and political scores. Al-Barrak also held the minister and the government responsible of squandering around $20 billion from foreign companies under an offset program that requires the firms to reinvest 35 percent of their contracts in Kuwait. Al-Barrak and MP Khaled Al-Tahous accused the ministry of being responsible for squandering billions of dollars of public funds by leasing state land at a very cheap price to “influential businessmen.” Tusk’s governing party has pointed to the risk of “a dramatic labor shortage in Poland expected around 2040.” It has also compared the reform to similar moves in fellow EU states Denmark, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands which are currently phasing-in 67 as their official retirement age. Already adopted by both chambers of the Polish parliament, the proposed reform still requires approval from of President Bronislaw Komorowski to take effect. The law would still allow early retirement for women at 62 and men at 65, but with the trade-off of a pension reduced by half. Women would also still need to accumulate 35 years of work, and men 40, to opt for the early retirement. -AFP Yemeni guard of honor carry the coffins of soldiers who were killed in a suicide bombing earlier in the week during their funeral procession in Sanaa on May 24, 2012. (AFP) Pakistan speaker refuses to disqualify PM ISLAMABAD: The speaker of Pakistan’s national assembly on Thursday quashed efforts to disqualify Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani over a court conviction. Gilani was found guilty of contempt by the Supreme Court last month over his refusal to ask Swiss authorities to re-open corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari. Under Pakistan’s constitution, anyone convicted of defaming or ridiculing the judiciary is barred from being an MP. The speaker has to refer any disqualification process to the election commission. “I am of the view that the charges... are not relatable to the grounds mentioned (in the constitution),” said Fehmida Mirza, who is a member of Zardari and Gilani’s Pakistan People’s Party. “No question of disqualification of Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani from being a member arises,” she added. The Gilani case has been highly politically charged, with members of the government accusing judges of over-stepping their reach and of trying to bring down the prime minister and president before the administration becomes the first in Pakistan to complete a term in office. Prime minister Gilani on Thursday called the speaker’s decision a “victory for democracy”. “Today, for the first time in the history of Pakistan, democracy has won and the speaker ruled in my favour,” he told a ceremony in Islamabad. Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, opposition leader in the lower house from the main opposition party Pakistan Muslim League-N, rejected the decision and told reporters that the speaker “has not done justice,”. The allegations against Zardari date back to the 1990s, when he and his late wife, former premier Benazir Bhutto, are suspected of using Swiss bank accounts to launder about 12 million US dollars allegedly paid in bribes by companies seeking customs inspection contracts. The Swiss shelved the cases in 2008 when Zardari became president. Gilani insists the president has full immunity, but in 2009 the Supreme Court overturned an amnesty that had frozen investigations into the president and other politicians. -AFP

May 25, 2012

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