Issuu on Google+

CR IP TI ON BS SU MONDAY, MAY 14, 2012 Mexican police find 49 mutilated bodies Madrid cap season with win for record 100 points Record-breaking Juve finish league season unbeaten City seal title with injury time fightback 18 20 18 Leading businessman shuns 7 NO: 15448 probe, ex-PM leaves country 40 PAGES 150 FILS JAMADI ALTHANI 23, 1433 AH Juwaihel denies spitting at fellow MP Matar Max 40º Min 27º High Tide 07:02 & 18:02 Low Tide 12:28 By B Izzak Bahrain PM backs Gulf union RIYADH: Bahrain’s premier has backed Saudi Arabia’s plan for the creation of a Gulf union, a report said yesterday, but the nation’s Shiite opposition is demanding the proposal be put to a referendum. The “option of a (Gulf Cooperation Council) union has become urgent,” Bahraini Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman was quoted as saying by the Saudi Al-Riyadh daily. Khalifa said the six GCC nations, whose foreign ministers were meeting in Riyadh ahead of a meeting of their countries’ leaders in the Saudi capital yesterday, must cooperate to ensure security in the region. The GCC must “concentrate during this period on achieving and ensuring security and increasing coordination in the fields of security, military and defence by adopting a unified Gulf security structure to protect the council’s states,” Khalifa told the newspaper. The GCC leaders at their meeting today are expected to discuss a Saudi proposal to develop their six-nation council into a union, possibly starting with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The exact nature of this union, first floated by Saudi King Abdullah in December, remains unclear but Bahrain’s state minister for information, Samira Rajab, said it could follow the “European Union model”. Sheikh Ali Salman, the leader of Bahrain’s main Shiite opposition formation, Al-Wefaq, has criticised the project which he said must first be subjected to a referendum that should take place in all GCC states. Continued on Page 13 RIYADH: Foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council are seen during their meeting yesterday. (Inset) Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah AlKhaled Al-Sabah arrives to attend the meeting. — AP/AFP IMF worried about Kuwait’s finances KUWAIT: Kuwait’s recent wage hikes have raised concerns about the sustainability of its public finances, the Central Bank governor told the state news agency KUNA, citing a preliminary report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF said Kuwait’s fiscal stimulus had helped non-oil sectors to recover from the global financial crisis, Governor Mohammad Al-Hashel was quoted as saying by KUNA. “But elements of the fiscal stimulus, such as the increase in wages in the state budget for the financial year (2012-2013) raised concern about the sustainability of public finances in the medium term ... and management of public finances in the short-term,” the report said. The IMF was in Kuwait on a regular visit between April 18 and 30, Hashel told KUNA. Around 3,000 Kuwaiti customs workers went on a week-long strike in March, which disrupted traffic at ports, demanding higher salary increases despite the government plan for a 25 percent rise in public wages. Employees at national carri- er Kuwait Airways grounded planes for three days during a walkout. The IMF said that the rising cost of retirement would also put pressure on public finances, KUNA reported. Only 7 percent of Kuwaitis work in the private sector, the report also said. Policymakers and economists in Kuwait have warned that growth in public-sector salaries is unsustainable in the long term. They say it also puts pressure on private sector wages and could fuel inflation. The IMF forecast 4.4 percent inflation in 2012, KUNA said. It also sees a budget surplus of 30 percent of gross domestic product and a current account surplus of 40 percent of GDP. The IMF expects Kuwait will keep up its “liquidity support” during 2012 and allow interest rates to remain low to encourage credit growth, KUNA said. “The report predicts increased recovery of the economy this year led by high Kuwaiti government spending,” it said. Real GDP is seen at 6.6 percent, it added, compared to 8.3 percent in 2011. — Reuters Sectarian clashes erupt in Lebanon TRIPOLI, Lebanon: Three people were killed when fighting erupted overnight in the Lebanese city of Tripoli between members of the Alawite minority loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and members of the Sunni majority, witnesses and security officials said. Rocket-propelled grenades and automatic rifles were used in the fighting in an Alawite enclave and surrounding Sunni neighbourhoods in the port city, 70 km north of Beirut. “The clashes peaked at dawn. The sound of gunfire is still echoing in the city,” a Lebanese security official said. The Lebanese state news agency said a soldier hit by sniper fire was among those killed. A statement from the army said two soldiers were also wounded and reinforcements were being sent to the city and that troops were “pursuing armed men to return the situation to normality”. Troops had deployed in an area separating the Alawite enclave from the rest of the city. A Reuters correspondent in the city said sporadic fighting was also taking place between groups of armed Sunnis and the army near a main Sunni district, adding most of Tripoli’s main intersections were blocked by burnt tyres. The fighting underlines how sectarian tensions in Syria can spill over into neighbouring Lebanon. A small Alawite minority is concentrated in Tripoli, a conservative Sunni city where many residents have been enraged by the Syrian government’s crackdown on the 14-month revolt against 42 years of rule by the Assad family and their Alawite establishment. Continued on Page 13 Egypt candidate calls ‘racist’ Israel a threat CAIRO: A leading Islamist candidate in Egypt’s presidential election has branded Israel a “racist state” and said a shared 1979 peace treaty was “a national security threat” that should be revised. Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh also denounced AlQaeda leader Osama Bin Laden’s assassination by US special forces as an act of “state terrorism,” in a late Saturday Egyptian television interview. Abul Fotouh, a front runner in the May 23-24 election according to polls, had earlier described Israel as an “enemy” in a televised debate with his main contender, former foreign minister and Arab League chief Amr Mussa. In Saturday’s interview with the private Egyptian CBC satellite station, he said he had opposed the treaty since its implementation. “I still view the peace treaty as a national security threat to Egypt, and it must be revised. It is a treaty that forbids Egypt from exercising full sovereignty in the Sinai and allows Israelis to enter Sinai without visas, while they need visas for Cairo,” he said. The treaty, in which Israel withdrew from the Sinai after capturing it in a 1967 war, does not allow Egypt a military presence in parts of the peninsula. Abul Fotouh said Israel was “a racist state with 200 nuclear warheads” that continued to pose a threat to Egypt. A moderate Islamist with support from both hardline fundamentalists and liberals, Abul Fotouh refused to describe Bin Laden as a terrorist, saying the term was used by the United States to “hit Muslim interests”. But he said the killing of the Saudi militant was an “act of state terrorism,” and Bin Laden had deserved a fair trial, although he disagreed with Bin Laden’s use of violence. “If a just court sentenced him, then the sentence should be applied,” he said. Abul Fotouh’s rival Amr Mussa has also argued for the KUWAIT: Parliamentary investigations into two major corruption scandals involving the former prime minister and ex-MPs took a new turn with new facts emerging, while leading Shiite businessman Mahmoud Haider refused to attend the probe as the former premier left the country and will not attend today’s probe. Haider, a close associate of former prime minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, was summoned by the bank deposits probe committee after his name was mentioned during previous sessions of the parliamentary panel. The panel was formed two months ago to probe allegations that accounts of 13 former MPs received huge cash deposits in a short period of time and opposition MPs had alleged that the money was political bribes to buy their votes on crucial issues. Former Islamist MP Mubarak Al-Duwailah also did not turn up but informed the panel that he will be coming to the next meeting. The committee, headed by opposition MP Musallam AlBarrak, however met the chairmen and CEOs of a number of local banks to inquire about the inflated accounts of the former politicians. Former premier Sheikh Nasser was scheduled to attend today the meeting of a parliamentary panel probing the allegations that he transferred millions of public funds into his private bank accounts overseas. But Sheikh Nasser left the country yesterday for Britain to represent HH the Amir in the celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s reign. Head of the panel MP Faisal Al-Mislem has already made landmark visits to the foreign ministry and the prime minister’s office to collect documents about the alleged graft. Continued on Page 13 revision of the treaty with Israel and described its policies towards Palestinians as an Egyptian “national security issue”. The election, which will go into a June run off if there is no outright winner in the first round, should end a military-led transitional period since an uprising toppled president Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Mubarak is now standing trial on charges of ordering the shooting of protesters and selling gas to Israel at cheap price. The former air force chief was seen as a close regional ally of Israel, which is unpopular in Egypt. After his over throw, an attack by protesters forced Israel to close its embassy and Cairo annulled the controversial gas treaty, alleging lack of payment from Israel. The Sinai pipeline that exported gas to Israel was bombed on an almost monthly basis by Bedouin militants following Mubarak’s ouster. — AFP TRIPOLI, Lebanon: A Sunni gunman fires during clashes in this northern port city yesterday. — AP Drawing focuses on Iran’s nuclear work VIENNA: An image said to come from inside an Iranian springboard for making atomic arms. military site shows an explosives containment chamber A former senior IAEA official said he believes the of the type needed for nuclear arms-related tests that drawing is accurate. Olli Heinonen, until last year the UN inspectors suspect Tehran has conducted at the UN nuclear agency’s deputy director general in charge site. Iran denies such testing and of the Iran file, said it was “very has neither confirmed nor similar” to a photo he recently saw denied the existence of such a that he believes to be the pressure chamber. The image was providchamber the IAEA suspects is at ed to AP by an official of a counParchin. He said even the colors of try tracking Iran’s nuclear prothe drawing matched that of the gram who said the drawing photo. After months of being proves the structure exists, rebuffed, IAEA and Iranian officials despite Tehran’s refusal to meet starting today in Vienna, and acknowledge it. the IAEA will renew its attempt to The official said he could not gain access to the chamber, discuss the drawing’s origins allegedly hidden in a building. beyond that it was based on Any evidence that Iran is hiding information from a person who such an explosives containment had seen the chamber at the This undated rendering said to come tank, and details on how it funcParchin military site, adding that from inside Iran’s Parchin military site tions, is significant for IAEA investigoing into detail would endan- shows a chamber of the type needed gations. ger the life of that informant. His for nuclear arms-related tests. — AP Beyond IAEA hopes of country, a member of the International Atomic Energy progress, that two-day meeting is being closely Agency, is severely critical of Iran’s assertions that its watched by six powers trying to persuade Iran to make nuclear activities are peaceful and asserts they are a Continued on Page 13

14th May 2012

Related publications